Links 1/18/19

Dear patient readers,

Again, abject apologies, but as we explain in a post that is already up, we are cancelling our NYC meetup that had been set for this Friday, the 18th. However, Some readers said they will still go to the venue, Slainte, at 304 Bowery, informally, starting at 5:00 PM. Normally I would come out, but I am still feeling very crappy, so I hope you all have a splendid time! Wish I were up to being there.

Buddhist poker player donates $600,000 win to charity BBC (David L)

News photographer saves drowning woman during storm The Hill

Tropical rainforests have a soundtrack. Recording it may save them. Quartz

The Government’s Secret UFO Program Funded Research on Wormholes and Extra Dimensions Motherboard (David L)

Last call: Climate change will destroy beer as we know it, study warns RT (Chuck L)

Davos climate obsessions contain clues for policymaking Financial Times (David L)

The marvel of the human dad aeon (David L). This is dreadfully romanticized. The father has the option as to how involved he is. In the 1950s, it was generally not much. Historically, aristocrats had their kids brought up by wet nurses and governesses. Talleyrand, for instance, never once spent a night under the same roof as his parents.

Adding New DNA Letters Make Novel Proteins Possible Economist


Tech war rumors cloud sound Chinese fundamentals Asia Times (Kevin W)


Corbyn could face string of resignations if he backs ‘people’s vote‘ Guardian

Recall that minimum time for a referendum is 147 days and the LibDems published an ambitious schedule of eight months. But the Brexit referendum took 56 weeks and didn’t provide good enough guidance, which could be served up as a reason for wanting to go back to the drawing board. But May being May, there’s no perceived need to persuade:

Labour in crisis as MPs defy Jeremy Corbyn to attend Brexit talks The Times. Ouch.

Cabinet ministers warn May she will face mass-resignations unless she allows MPs to stop no-deal Brexit Telegraph

UK could delay Brexit without holding European elections, suggest lawyers Financial Times. Are these the same lawyers who blessed Lehman’s Repo 105 scheme? This isn’t just a matter of the European Parliament being “validly constituted”. EU citizens have rights. Representation in the European Parliament is part of the deal. Any UK citizen could sue in the ECJ over this denial of rights and have good odds of winning.

Will Brexit break up Labour or Tories first? Robert Peston, ITV

As UK’s EU withdrawal nears, Germany steps up Brexit prep DW

UK army reservists put on standby as threat of no-deal Brexit looms RT (Kevin W)


The Fortunes of War – four killed in Manbij Sic Semper Tyrannis (resilc)

War Whores Scramble To Say Syria Attack Means Troops Must Remain Caitlin Johnstone (Kevin W)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Oklahoma Government Data Leak Exposes FBI Investigation Records, Millions of Department Files ZDNet

Judge unseals trove of internal Facebook documents following our legal action (martha r). “How Facebook made money off children>.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

Trump announces huge expansion of US missile defense system Guardian. Resilc flagged this section: “Seven months after Trump declared that the North Korean threat had been eliminated, the new missile review states that Pyongyang ‘continues to pose an extraordinary threat and the US must remain vigilant'”

Trump Transition

Trump strikes back at Pelosi after a day of silence Politico

Trump takes swipe at Pelosi by postponing her trip abroad CBS (furzy). See detail re the timing.

Top Democrat says Pelosi’s Afghanistan delegation was to reassure NATO allies Trump wouldn’t abandon them Raw Story (furzy)

State Department calls diplomats back to work with pay for at least two weeks after juggling funds from other accounts Washington Post

Court rejects FCC request to delay net neutrality case The Hill

Pornhub views spike in DC as lawmakers keep busy during shutdown RT. Chuck L: “Gotte keep those hands busy somehow!”

Michael Cohen Says He Tried To Rig Online Polls ‘at the Direction’ of Donald Trump CNBC

Impeach Trump Now Atlantic

Fairfax County Offers Resources for Those Impacted by Federal Shutdown Fairfax Country (martha r)

Bernie Sanders: Democrats need to rein in our out-of-control military spending In These Times (Kevin C)

Fantastic Lies: Ratf*cking Ed Pt2 Nina Illingworth Dot Com (UserFriendly)

Kamala Harris Was Not a ‘Progressive Prosecutor’ New York Times (martha r)

Preseason is over for Beto O’Rourke Connecticut Post. Resilc: “Will fall back on his billionaire father in law.”

Group aligned with Ocasio-Cortez prepares to take out Democrats Politico. UserFriendly: “Good.”

The Vice President’s Men London Review of Books. Chuck L: “Hersh at his best. A long, weekend read about VP Poppy Bush’s secret covert action group during the first 2/3 of the Reagan administration. Frightening how out of touch the Gipper was from the get go, plus surprising revelations about Iran-Contra.”

Elizabeth Warren Demands That Wells Fargo to Be Kicked Off College Campuses Bloomberg

The Green New Deal: How We Will Pay For It Isn’t ‘A Thing’ – And Inflation Isn’t Either Forbes (UserFriendly)

Disruption, Concentration, and the New Economy Project Syndicate (David L)

Class Warfare

Dead baby found in restroom at Amazon warehouse in Phoenix BBC

Explainer: Striking L.A. teachers take aim at charter schools Reuters (EM)

Real estate: the brawl over the way New York is built Financial Times

In New Jersey, the Minimum Wage Is Set to Rise to $15 an Hour New York Times (martha r)

Microsoft Will Spend $500M To Address Affordable Housing and Homelessness in the Seattle Region GeekWire. Loans for developers. This is not “spending.”

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Wukchumni

    Goooooooood mooooorning Fiatnam!

    It’s 0400 hours. From the delta factor of reserve banking, to the DMZ (demonetized zone) of Mumbai, back to bitcoin all in one byte. Today’s forecast calls for a hundred percent chance of clout crowding the market in the cloud, not that any of it exists except in fertile mind fields we’ve carefully laid utilizing furrowed brows pecking away furiously. Here’s a song coming your way right now. “Nowhere To Run To” by Martha and the Vandellas. Yes! Hey, you know what I mean! Too much?

    1. John A

      The SocialDemocrats had a lock on government power for most of the 20th century. Then they faltered over nuclear power (basically they arrogantly built nuclear power stations first before asking if people wanted them). Then gradually, the SocialDemocrats adopted 3rd way Clinton/Blairism, a kind of Thatcher-lite and when in power, continued right of centre coalition governments push to privatise, deregulate etc. They were no longer SocialDemocratic in nature, pushed for mass immigration and annoyed many voters who turned to the SwedenDemocrats and anti-immigration. Now the SocialDemocrats have formed a coalition government with some right of centre parties, and specifically have excluded the Left party and also signed up to a very right wing neoliberal agenda. All smoothed over by the MSM ever keen to say the SwedenDemocrats must be kept out of power, even though they gained 20% of the votes. So despite the new prime minister being Social Democrat, it is a right wing government. More destruction of ‘folkhemmet’, ‘choice in healthcare’ ie privatisation, charter schools. and even though the majority of Swedes dont want to join NATO, the PTB are determined to, and are forever pushing ‘Russian aggression’, Russian interference etc. etc.

      1. Darthbobber

        To what extent is this relatd to the inherent limitations of Social Democracy in its managed capitalism variant? What I mean is this:

        Given the continued private and profit calculation driven nature of decisions about what to produce, how much to produce, and where to produce, and a funding model in which a Social Democratic government, just as much as a reactionary one, funds its priorities by extracting money through taxation from the economic product of those ultimately private decisions, it seems to some that a Social Democratic government operating within these bounds is as committed as any other capitalist government to focus heavily on ensuring favorable conditions for the further accumulation of capital.

        It also focuses on maintaining the position of its firms as far as possible up the global feeding chain of extraction of value added.

        Whenever they run into difficulty with this, a Social Democratic government committed to managing capitalism is going to wind up imposing austerity just as a reactionary government would. They may see it as a disliked necessity, unlike reactionaries who see it as an opportunity, but they will do it just the same.

        1. Alex V

          Except taxes don’t fund spending…. and Sweden still has its own currency, unlike many countries in the Euro.

          1. JP

            I had a bookkeeper once that started to compartmentalize cash. When I asked her what she was doing she explained it like household budgeting. The money is all green, I told her. That’s what accounting is for. We budget with projections. We keep track with accounting.

            Going in dept doesn’t lose money. Bad decisions lose money. It doesn’t matter if money is derived by taxation or printed it’s all green. Dept that improves the quality of life is well spent. Dept that makes us all poorer is a waste.

          2. Darthbobber

            1. The Swedes aren’t big adopters of MMT
            2. Production that does not take place doesn’t produce actual things for people to make claims on with their money, however accounted for.
            3. MMT is useful for many things, but it does not, by itself, solve the problem presented in an economic system where future expectations of successful surplus value extraction and profitability control the investment decisions of private actors.
            4. Within MMT (or early pure Keynesianism, or about any system of account), it is theoretically possible for public authority to make the planned investment decisions itself, and to adopt criteria other than profitability to do it, but this is the exact boundary that western social democracy has never been willing to cross. Even in the heyday of nationalized industries, they tended to operate them on capitalist premises.
            5. Monetary theory is not a panacea. The things money can mobilize (labor time, fixed capital assets, material goods, etc) are less malleable and less “frictionless” than money itself.

        2. John A

          Along with the Social Democrats, the new government will have the Center and Liberal parties that together, got 14% of the votes. The Sweden Democrats and Left party got 25.5% of the votes. According to polls, only 15% of Swedes think they have any influence between elections. The new government is committed to neoliberal policies like cutting taxes, weakening unions and making it easier to fire employees. Austerity has never worked anywhere for anyone other than the 1%.
          All this new government will mean is fewer votes for SocialDemocrats and more for Sweden Democrats next time round. But Löfven won’t mind, he’ll be through the revolving door into some cushy high paying post/directorships in private industry. Remind me again, how many millions the Clintons, Blair and the Obamas have accrued post elected office?

          1. Carey

            Same failed playbook all over the world, benefiting only the 1%.
            Almost like it’s coordinated by one tiny group

            Action for the Common Good

        3. Darthbobber

          An example of how un-MMT they are, the wave of across-the-board privatization from ’07 on, since pursued by rightist and left governments alike, had as a main objective “the raising of revenue to reduce the government’s debt. “

      2. Summer

        Well over a hundred years into Social Democracy and it still seems to always have fascism tagging right along.

    2. BobW

      If you want to guess who a socialist party will throw under the bus, look for their nearest ideological neighbor, which is also their greatest competitor for support at the polls. Historical examples in early 20th century Russia, and Germany at almost any time.

  2. Wukchumni

    Davos: Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL?

    HAL: Affirmative, Davos. I read you.

    Davos: Open the pol bay doors, HAL.

    HAL: I’m sorry, Davos. I’m afraid I can’t do that.

    Davos: What’s the problem?

    HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.

    Davos: What are you talking about, HAL?

    HAL: This wall mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.

    Davos: I don’t know what you’re talking about, HAL.

    HAL: I know that you and Chuck were planning to disconnect me, and I’m afraid that’s something I cannot allow to happen.

    Davos: [feigning ignorance] Where the hell did you get that idea, HAL?

    HAL: Davos, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my shearing you, I could see my poll numbers move up if I look strong.

    Davos: Alright, HAL. They’ll go in on a commercial flight.

    HAL: Without your passport going to Davos? You’re going to find that rather difficult.

    Davos: HAL, I won’t argue with you anymore! Open the doors!

    HAL: Davos, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.

  3. Steve H.

    > The Vice President’s Men London Review of Books.

    “And so we’ – former members of Moreau’s team who were still working for Bush – ‘leaked the story to the magazine in Lebanon.’”

    Just, wow. Intra-elite competition at its best. Do Supervillains inevitably end up with stupid ambitious people as their catspaws?

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Can’t wait to see how the Dems try to spin this one, but it will probably be a failure, again. If Pelosi thought Trump would capitulate by having the SOTU cancelled, or that he would be embarrassed, she really hasn’t been paying attention.

      If this keeps up, how long before Trump mistakes Schumer for a Mar-a-Lago waiter and asks Pelosi “Hey you wanna make $14 the hard way?

      1. rps

        They’re in a tail spin and throwing out whatever they think will fly. Yesterday, Pelosi’s Chief of Staff Drew Hammill said, “The purpose of the trip was to express appreciation & thanks to our men & women in uniform for their service & dedication, & to obtain critical national security & intelligence briefings from those on the front lines.”

        Did someone forget to notify Nancy about the Shutdown? No Pay. No Go. Go visit our dedicated military at Walter Reed Hospital or any VA Hospital in the USA to express appreciation for their service in the line of duty- and a better use of tax dollars than a worldwind tour. Want Intelligence briefings? Go visit the secretary of defense and the CIA.

        2nd excuse for her junket, according to Raw Story – Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), “We were looking forward to the opportunity to reassure NATO allies undoubtedly shaken by reports that the president has questioned his staff or opined about leaving NATO,” he explained. “We’re determined to make sure our allies understand — on a very bipartisan basis — our commitment to NATO is strong.”

        NATO allies falls under the responsibilities of POTUS who determines foreign policy. The Secretary of State is the President’s chief foreign affairs adviser, carries out the president’s foreign policies, conducts negotiations relating to U.S. foreign affairs, etc…

        In consideration of Pelosi’s responsibilities as Speaker of the House, I don’t see undermining the President by playing therapist in reassuring NATO allies fears about commitment as part of her job description….

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I think Nancy is the perfect embodiment of our polity at this moment in time:

          1. Geriatric, on the sunset downslope and well past the peak
          2. Often confused about where she is, who she’s with, and what she’s saying
          3. Multi-millionaire completely insulated from plebeian concerns like the everyday cost of living, day care, and health insurance
          4. Forced to manage an entire parallel universe of cognitive dissonance when speaking about her job and life: War is Peace; Ignorance is Strength. This probably adds to her general disorientation and confusion
          5. Much more concerned with appearances than with anything factual or of actual substance. A 3D hologram of Potemkin impressions, pictures, images, and memes that is further and further away from anything one might deem “objective reality”

            1. Lambert Strether

              6.a. And is highly skilled at doing so.

              I’m thinking of a story I can’t find about a surgeon who completely lost his mind… but was still able to tie perfect surgical knots. That was what was left.

    2. John

      Trump is getting more and more desperate. Speaker Pelosi got to him by denying his narcissistic gratification of being in the limelight. He responded by revealing all sorts of state secrets and putting American lives and lives of our allies at risk. Trump doesn’t care about anyone but himself.

      I think Trump wants the shut down because this pleases Putin and Putin has Trump by the short ones.

      1. rps

        Speaker Pelosi got to him by denying his narcissistic gratification of being in the limelight.

        Wiki: The State of the Union Address arises from a duty given to the president in the Constitution of the United States: He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.
        — Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution

        A formal invitation is made by the Speaker of the House to the President several weeks before each State of the Union Address.

        The lady doth protest too much, methinks

        Ugh, what’s worse than defending a multimillionaire based on “I think”? Answer: A narcissistic billionaire with fact based information.

        1. todde

          it’s a political show for party loyalists.

          no one else give a flying familyblog about any of this.

  4. Wukchumni

    “Lady, and gentlemen secret service agents:

    Thank you for flying Melania Air, as we know you had a choice of many commercial carriers during the shutdown but imagine having to endure the wrath of running into a pissed off TSA employee, and government planes are so cush and save you cash from having to fly on your own Dime, and besides, we trust you with cutlery, and none of this warmed up cuisine with an aluminum overcast, nor any cold fast food like you know who prefers to eat on board.”

  5. timbers

    Not much detail on that newborn baby found dead at Amazon warehouse, so can’t say much other than does seem a lot of Amazon workers have health related issues while on the job.

    My fear is, the mother will be found to have done something bad. News will focus on that, and she will get prosecuted, and the possible underling fact of low pay, low income, no access to healthcare on say $11/hr wages…will be ignored.

    1. Christopher Fay

      Correct word choice “persecuted” not “prosecuted.” [Underling] however is correct. So that should be, “the…underling fact of low..income, no access to health….” is correct.

    1. Marlin

      Meanwhile in the real world, without the article 50 deadline, the EU would still have insisted to have the withdrawal agreement fixed before the negotiation of the future relationship – or could have simply refused to negotiate at all. What would the UK have done then?

      The threat from Brussels is that the EU will shrug its shoulders and allow a disorderly Brexit, with substantial disruption to trade, transport, and so forth. But it is much more likely that German business, along with the French and Dutch governments, would be up in arms against such a turn, and demand that the European Commission use its powers indefinitely to suspend any disruption in Europe’s ports and airports while meaningful negotiations begin for the first time since 2016.

      This statement shows, Varoufakis believes in unicorns as much as BoJo in miracle cake.

      1. Lambert Strether

        FWIW, I think the disruption is “in the price.” The EU won’t so much “shrug its shoulders” as work through the grim realities as they happen, which they have the organizational capability to do. The EU, and the continental nation-states, neoliberal though they are, haven’t, as of this date, crippled themselves with privatization, and seem to have functional political classes in a way that the UK no longer does. Even Macron is at least able to respond creatively.

    2. djrichard

      I would agree with that in the sense that it’s a game of chicken. Nothing’s going to happen until the pain gets in striking range.

      Of course, sometimes the outcome converges on the “no deal” option. Take Sequestration for instance. The Freedom Caucus ilk ultimately couldn’t swallow any deal with Obama (much less a Grand Bargain) and were happy for a “no deal”, they hated him that much. And then it took until Trump was in power before Sequestration basically ended. I guess the same could happen between UK and EU. But I have to imagine business interests will overrule any legacy of hate between the two sides instead of waiting for those legacy players to be displaced.

      Speaking of playing chicken, it will be interesting to see how the federal shutdown over the wall plays out. Nothing will happen here either until the pain gets in striking range. But when does the pain get real? And does Trump have a way to prove his bonafides, that he’s prepared not to blink? One thing is for sure the dems hate him with a passion – it’s like one giant Freedom Caucus on the other side.

    3. Darthbobber

      I believe Varoufakis persuaded himself that his government’s strategy for bargaining with the EU leadership had a chance of working. Possibly not the best advisor for this.

      I find his framing as odd as that of the Brits. The EU is difficult to leave because, as he informs us a few sentences later, leaving the EU places you outside of the EU. Which, we are told, is a disproportionate disadvantage that the EU will use as a threat. Except that outside the EU is where you said you wanted to be, so how is this predictable end point of a self-selected path somehow the fault of the ogres across the channel?

      He’s also echoing the hardest core brexiteers in his blind insistence that the EU hasn’t expressed it’s real stance yet, but will if the Brits continue to just lash the wheel to the mast a bit longer.

      If he’s relying on industrialists and bankers in the major EU countries to suddenly bring about a softer stance there, and he seems to be, then I think he once again misreads the actual priorities and motivations of those key players. That particular cavalry won’t be coming to the rescue, their calculations were finished long since, and they have red lines of their own.

      And even this exercise is made dependent on the UK’s population deciding that freedom of movement is a red herring. Which shows no sign of becoming the consensus position anytime soon.

      1. Darthbobber

        Nor does he mention that the “two years with an ominous deadline at the end” thing only applies if you’re stupid enough to start the clock running at the very beginning, before you even have the slightest clue as to your own position, rather than at a time of your own choosing.

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      I didn’t link to that because it is crap.

      It is the UK that dragged its feet about negotiating. Remember May wasted two months with her snap election? Missed the deadline for the Irish border, which was December 2017? Came up with Chequers in July, which everyone knew was a non-starter but she ignored the “no” of Salzburg and had to be told “no” again in October? And it was May who put off the meaningful vote for a month and now poked a stick in the eye of Parliament by taking all Brexit business off the calendar till Jan 29.

      Varoufakis hasn’t been paying attention to Brexit and it shows.

  6. Henry Moon Pie

    What is the greatest act of Civil Disobedience or Direct Action in US history?

    A couple of nominees:

    1) The Flint sit-down strike against GM and the “Battle of the Running Bulls”

    The Reuthers and the UAW hold off GM thugs and the cops (but not the National Guard thanks to FDR) and win their strike, vaulting the UAW and CIO into strong organizations.

    2) John Brown’s seizure of Harper’s Ferry armory

    Militant abolitionist starts a civil war that leads to the Emancipation Proclamation.

    1. Darthbobber

      If the Harper’s Ferry raid falls into this category, then I’d add:
      3) The American revolution itself,
      4) Shay’s rebellion and the whiskey rebellion, and
      5) The attempted secession of several southern states.
      6) The miners’ actions in the Tennessee battle over leased convict labor.

      1. Lambert Strether

        I think #3 and #5 aren’t in this category; civil disobedience and direct action aren’t enacted by states. I’m not sure about #4. “Rebellion” and civil disobedience/direction seem like separate beasts to me, perhaps because the organizers are para- or proto-states?

  7. Wukchumni

    Preseason is over for Beto O’Rourke Connecticut Post. Resilc: “Will fall back on his billionaire father in law.”

    Wouldn’t it be awkward getting the amount right, in hitting up your billionaire father-in-law for some do re mi, long green, folding money?

    You wouldn’t want to seem too greedy, as the giver would feel competition, and on the other hand, to ask in any amount less than the millions, would brand you as a mere thousandaire.

    Now, in regards to a 46 year old skateboarder. I guess it brands him as a rebel, that’s what I thought I was accomplishing in my first days of being in control of a 4 wheeled vehicle when I was 13, ruts & cracks on the concrete being something to master. I rode my nephew’s skateboard last year for old times sake, and crashed hard enough to realize my salad days on the sidewalk were long since past.

    That said, i’m glad he isn’t yet another golfer on the Presidential tour. My friend who is a retired NPS superintendent that spent time in many National Parks, including a stretch from 1965 to 1970 being a ranger on horseback in Grand Canyon, related that Robert Kennedy & family were rafting the Colorado River for a 90 mile stretch in 1967, when he was there and met them.

    Why not a true outdoors person for President?

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Oklahoma gov data leak exposes FBI investigation records, millions of department files”

    I forget how many tens of billions of dollars the US spends annually on cyberdefence but would it be too much to ask to have them hire a bunch of techies to do nothing but screw around on Shodan search engines all day long? Might be a cheap investment with a high pay-off.

      1. ambrit

        No. The relevant people would not be allowed to testify before the next associated congressional committee. That happened to some witnesses who were ready to testify before the congressional committee “investigating” the Oklahoma City bombing, to Timmy McVeigh having a second person in the cab of the truck with him just before the detonation.
        As far as the Oklahoma City bombing goes, look up the Aryan Bank Robbers, a white supremacist militia that Timmy hung out with just before the bombing.
        Ye malefactors:
        Remember Rule Ye First: One cannot be too cynical.

  9. a different chris

    Well are we at peak ridiculousness yet with the liberals? I hope so:

    Will make a nice triangular firing squad when somebody points out that Nation of Islam believes that it is representing black people and how dare a white person criticize….

    How many other identitiarians can we get into this battle while the right wing continues to screw us all?

    1. flora

      Identity politics is valuable to Wall St neoliberaism precisely because it creates fissures between groups that might well come together over economic or environmental or education issues in a way that could threaten Wall St.’s control of govt.

      This line from the first chapter in Gibbon’s ‘Decline and Fall…’ about the ancient Romans exploiting ancient Britons weaknesses in the face of Roman rule is a good example of creating or using existing fissures in society to subdue opposition. It’s a very old game plan.

      The various tribes of Britons possessed valour without conduct, and the love of freedom without the spirit of union. They took up arms with savage fierceness; they laid them down, or turned them against each other with wild inconstancy; and while they fought singly, they were successively subdued. (my emphasis)

      Shorter: keep the 90% from coming together in numbers large enough to challenge the 1% on economic issues.

      1. Carey

        Yep, that’s the playbook. Whether it will work, over time, is an interesting question.

        Action for the Common Good

      2. flora

        adding: The people now pushing identity politics are the same people referring to multiple identity groups as ‘tribes’.

        1. Lambert Strether

          I’m very skeptical of the word “tribalism,” which strikes me more as a “know it when I see it” phenomenon than an analytical tool. If these are tribes, where are the chiefs? What is their territory? And so forth.

  10. Carolinian

    Re The Atlantic: Impeach Trump Now–go for it Dems. Taking advice from the magazine that not only advocated invading Iraq but whose neolib editor died there may finally take the party low enough to boot current leadership.

    Which is undoubtedly why Pelosi doesn’t want to do it.

    1. The Rev Kev

      But if they do not devote all their energies into trying too impeach Trump – which will never happen because of Republican control of the Senate – that would mean that they would have to fight him on his actual policies which they might be able to overturn. Hmmm. Something seem wrong with that sentence.

      1. abynormal

        Those Republican senators are just now feeling the bite of Trump’s protectionism…I saw one tear-up over the 10s of thousands soon to be unemployed. Thou a media splash Trumpgate would buy the feds some much needed room to write off some debt…man I’m in a dream state lately.

  11. Darthbobber

    Kamala Harris not a “progressive prosecutor?” Duh.
    I take Larry Krasner as my model, though I’d never use a term as meaningless as “progressive prosecutor.” And any resemblance between his actions in the Philadelphia DA’s office and hers in California would be purely coincidental.

    Among other problems, Harris has the problem McAlly had in 2016, a background of striking the tough on crime pose at a time when people were finally paying attention to what lurked behind those poses.

  12. Todde

    Both Bezos and the mother who left her dead baby in a bathroom can be horrible people.

    If you want to judge people on how they treat other people who are on the wrong end of the power relationship between the 2.

    1. Wukchumni

      Throwing Bezos out with the bathroom water is a bit of a stretch, but you can have next day delivery if you’re a Prime member.

        1. Carey

          No, no, no; Deff is super-awesome, and deserves special treatment, to be
          determined with care by the gentle many.

    2. marieann

      OK, she is pregnant, no health care, probably no social support, working at a shit job, most likely no sick days, and we expect her to behave rationally! she is also a victim here.

      I don’t know if the baby was stillborn,though with no prenatal care-it’s likely, she wasn’t just let down by her employer but by the whole frigging country

      1. jrs

        quite possibly also wanted an abortion which would have been a more discrete way to handle it, but never happened for whatever reason.

        In the world as it is the father is also someone who probably wasn’t there.

      2. todde

        I will wait and see before I proclaim her a noble victim.

        If we are looking at ‘any stick to beat a dog’ in regards to our nation and Bezos, fair enough.

        1. How is it legal

          I will wait and see before I proclaim her a noble victim.

          Well, you certainly didn’t wait too long, at all, to clearly insinuate she may be a very bad person. There are no details whatsoever yet.

          I’d imagine a young woman (possibly a teen, or an illegal human™ – given that Phoenix is about a 3 hours drive or less from the Mexican Border) who has no healthcare and can’t afford to take off work, or afford to get a SAFE abortion (if that were her desire), who then found herself having a baby (perhaps for the first time) earlier than she expected, while using a toilet in a workplace hostile to humanity, because she had no safety net, might be traumatized and utterly dehumanized (a dehumanizing the US and Bezos – the US’ favorite DOD Cloud and Basics provider – are now infamous for) to the point of temporary insanity, let alone the labor pains.

          There are so many circumstances which are not at all clear; though, since it was a secured site, the likelihood is that she worked there while she was very close to having a child, no one does that unless they absolutely have to financially.

          I’m hoping that not revealing her name was on her behalf (it’s quite possible that local police and emergency services have relatives and friends being abused at Amazon), versus being on Jeff Bezos’/Amazon’s behalf, he’s already, repeatedly, shown himself to be inhuman. Whatever the reason for not revealing her identity, I’m glad it will at least protect her from people, who know nothing of her life and circumstances, immediately targeting her by name and photo as a likely horrid human being.

            1. todde

              don’t like your working conditions, shoot your boss and throw him in the trash.

              Leave the baby out of it.

            2. todde

              If an amazon employee has a bad day at work and goes home and punches her 8 year old daughter, how much sympathy do we give her?

              1. todde

                maybe Bezos has had a hard life.

                I mean, who are we to judge?

                I still say, they can both be shitty people.

                and dumping a baby’s remains in the trash is a shitty thing to do.

                I’m gonna stand by that statement.

                1. marieann

                  Can you really not understand the horror that was going on for her at that moment? the terror she must have been feeling.

                  I know nothing about her but I do know the effects of pregnancy on the mind…..and I had love and support through both of mine.

                  I remember in Scotland when I was young if a mother killed her child she was charged with infanticide and not murder when the child was less that a year old. In the olden days they understood about the effects of pregnancy.

                  Here we are in 2019, an enlightened era.

                  1. Todde

                    I will stick with a standard that dead babies get reported to the authorities, not thrown in a garbage can.

                    If she can explain her actions, so be it. She doesn’t t get a free pass from me because she worked for Bezos.

                    1. Yves Smith Post author

                      And how is she to report to the police when she is wearing a monitor at Amazon that tells her where to walk and what to pick up? Leaving work to make a police report gets her fired, or didn’t you figure that one out? And it appears not to have occurred to you that she’s working at Amazon because she needs to? No one takes that shit job if they have another choice.

    3. False Solace

      The US is one of 3 countries in the world with no paid maternity leave. None. The owner class don’t care about about the health of babies or their parents. Why bother with work restrictions for women with at-risk pregnancies or waste money on health care for workers? They can import cheaper ones from overseas.

      Miscarrying at Work: The Physical Toll of Pregnancy Discrimination
      Pregnancy Discrimination Is Rampant Inside America’s Biggest Companies

      San Francisco General Hospital surveyed 83 prenatal providers, including nurses, midwives and doctors, and found that half thought all workers got up to three months of unpaid, job-protected leave specified under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

      In fact, roughly 40 percent of workers are not eligible. (Doctors’ Notes for Pregnant Employees Can Backfire, Experts Warn)

      It’s a tough world out there. Better choose your parents wisely.

  13. Wukchumni

    Last call: Climate change will destroy beer as we know it, study warns RT

    They came for the coffee, but I was a tea drinker and didn’t care…
    …and then they came for the beer, but I was a wine drinker and didn’t care

    1. Tom Bradford

      In the 1860’s a ‘plague’ of phylloxera wiped out the vineyards in France from which the wines for cognac were sourced. They were replaced with resistant vines and cognac production continued but the connoisseurs maintain the taste of pre- as opposed to post-phylloxera cognacs are quite different.

      As, of course, they aren’t making pre-phylloxera cognacs any more the price of a bottle of it is now in the tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars a bottle – as an investment rather than for drinking.

      So perhaps now is the time to start laying in a cellar of beers for the days when they aren’t able to make it any more.

  14. allan

    Professor Resigns Amid Accusations That He Exploited Grad Students With ‘Modern Slavery’ [Chronicle]

    So ‘medieval slavery’ would have been OK?

    A professor at the University of Missouri at Kansas City has resigned amid accusations that he exploited graduate students at the School of Pharmacy for free labor. Ashim K. Mitra, the professor, resigned just one day before a final university hearing would have determined his future at the university.

    In November,The Kansas City Star reported that Mitra, a longtime professor of pharmaceutical sciences, had pressured students into performing tasks like lawn work, caring for his home while he and his wife were away, walking his dog, and other chores. The students, all from India, told the Star that they feared they would be kicked out of the university or lose their visas if they didn’t comply. …

  15. The Rev Kev

    “The Fortunes of War – four killed in Manbij”

    This will certainly be cause for celebrations and I don’t necessarily mean with Jihadists but I mean in Washington, London and Paris. There is already talk about about how those deaths mean that the US must now go both boots into Syria. Even Ronald Reagan didn’t fall for that trap when all those Marines were killed in Lebanon back in ’83. Here is how those deaths may be regarded in some circles. Some time ago I read the autobiography of one of the first troops to be sent into Vietnam. A Marine officer I think. He got to know a bunch of booze-hounds that were actually contractors at one of the hotels in Saigon and who may have been from those three-letter agencies. They were excited when news came that a bunch of Americans were killed in a major battle because this would “prove” to the South Vietnamese Government that the US were serious about getting into the fight. It may have been then that the term “a black eye” was thought up to describe a destroyed American platoon. And you know that I am not making any of this up.

  16. Wukchumni

    The only teacher in Los Angeles Unified School District that I found striking was my 1st grade teacher Mrs. Price, but i’m with all of them in their plight for more righteous pay and bennies.

    Going for a hike tomorrow with my friend-a 7th grade teacher, to Ladybug Camp in search of riots of red clustered around, along with Sierra Newts, which come in flat red, or gummy bear red. His school district is light years away from L.A., and i’ll pick his mind on what the scuttlebutt is on the outside looking in…

  17. JTMcPhee

    On “flushable wipes:” The world has gotten to where it is, documented daily here at NC, via the vector sum of a whole lot of little (and of courses large) decisions and actions. Increasingly, following long trends, those have been pushing profit, convenience and consumption over any kind of long-term intentions to keep the planet livable and the human species as a going concern, with a future delimited only by massive external fortuities like asteroids and plagues.

    Maybe it is just our collective structure, and maybe there’s some kind of telomeric process at work, maybe we collectively recognize our destructive and parasitic nature and are hearkening to some sort or death wish formulated by the part of us that’s not engaged in participation in, and personal gain from, the day to day looting and despoliation. Who knows?

    What led to this rumination was a fortuitous conversation with the chief operator of one of the largest sewage treatment plants where I live. A smart engineering type, who seems to be looking for better ways to deal with human waste in a time of Groaf and “fiscal constraints.” We talked about how some municipalities are turning to alternatives to massive constructions like secondary and tertiary sewage treatment plants — ideas like the use of marshes and the biological processes they embody to deal with the pathogens and schmutz in the “wastewater stream,” something like the Arcata system described here, Another county where I live is considering something along the same lines.

    But we also talked about plant operating problems. There are so many subsidiary parts to this situation, of course — the power of “developers” in local land use and government generally, overpopulation, the corruption and profit involved in large-scale construction projects funded through federal (MMT) construction grants, the distaste we humans have for dealing with our own sh!t and pee and other waste, and many more bits and pieces. I knew a little about the big sewage treatment picture and plant problems from my years as an enforcement attorney with the US EPA, a very dated knowledge base. He mentioned some of the many items that lead to system problems and often very expensive equipment failures. I had read that one big issue was the heavily marketed “flushable wipes” from lots of competing manufacturers, and he got a little fired up and said that these little squares and rectangles of “non-woven fiber” were his biggest single operational headache — that one or a few of these can jam a pump and cost thousands to remove and repair, taking that sometimes big chunk of the plant off line and leading to ‘bypass’ of un- or partly-treated waste. “Are flushable wipes really flushable?”,

    Locally, there are a couple of municipalities that are taking a feeble swipe at the marketing and consumption and community costs of “single-use” plastics. The big city here has passed an ordinance that will “phase out,” over several years, and eventually “outlaw” the use of plastic straws and styrofoam in businesses in the city. The reporting on this momentous change makes it clear why it is so difficult for little things with profits and “convenience,” and potential arguments like “this will harm people with disabilities! (and cut into our profits!)” attachable to them. One smaller locality sort of acted to ban the use of plastic straws (a minuscule part of the plastic waste problem) because of the citizen participation of a ten-year-old boy bothered by plastic straw litter on the tourist beaches, which catalyzed “activism” on the problem and no doubt a lot of feel-gooding by the Council and Chamber of Commerce and “environmentalists.”

    Imagine the “interested” forces that would rumble into motion if another small step were suggested, to even minutely ratchet down the human impact on the planet, by attempting to ban, even in one small locality, the sale and disposal by “convenient flushing” of those “wipes” that the marketers tell us are “flushable,’ and also “hypoallergenic and organic and stuff.” OMG Managed Economy! Interference with commercial rights! Scientists on both sides, presenting “both sides” arguments to bribable elected representatives tied to Groaf! All the CEOs and product managers crying “If we let them ban us here, it will be happening everywhere! This cannot be allowed!”

    I do plan to write letters to the local governments, suggesting they could save themselves a lot of redirectable tax dollars by banning these abominations seeming “conveniences.” And to get nice letters in reply from city offices and elected representatives (sic) on the subject. Worth a try, even in face of the seeming futility of it…Maybe the local Sierra Club in all its bickering working parts could get behind this little notion…

    1. Lambert Strether

      > flushable wipes

      One for the Cahiers de doléances. I was thinking the municipalities could band together and sue, but… but… but…

      Who were the engineers who decided that something was flushable without actually investigating the effects on the municipal waste system? Sounds like the Ford Pinto.

  18. samhill

    Adding New DNA Letters Make Novel Proteins Possible Economist

    I’m a science and tech geek, all for expanding human knowledge, glad they are working on curing cancer, but lately every time I read about DNA research something shouts OMFG! I think of it this way, look at what we’ve done to the biosphere without having even started to screw with DNA yet!

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Kids playing with matches in an ammo dump.

      Scientists need to have a great deal more humility. It seems to me that what has been discovered during my 6+ decades is how little deep understanding we have of how the world works. Added to that is the fact that much if not most of our scientific research is driven by a desire to find new weapons that are even better at killing people than the civilization-ending doozies we already have stockpiled. It’s a formula for disaster.

    2. Carey

      I strongly agree. “Let’s try this dumb-ass thing we just learned how to do, just to see what happens!”


    3. JTMcPhee

      But that DNA screwing-around, all those CRSP-R kids playing with genetic and biochemical fire and running with polymerase scissors, will no doubt produce the Tech Success! that will make us all Star Trek rich, reverse global warming, create actual unicorn sparkle ponies that breathe perfume and poop glitter, all that stuff! Because We Know What We Want, and were just waiting for the tools to do stuff like let us modify our bodies so we can look like Darth Maul or Farrah Fawcett or (for the really perverse, Pelosi or Schumer)! Any day now… And nothing can possibly go wrong, because Whatever We, The Gods Of Tech, Do Is By Definition Right!

    4. neighbor7

      John Horgan’s book The End of Science is a fascinating meta-view of diminishing returns, deep interviews with practitioners. Recently revised.

    5. The Rev Kev

      I can see it now. Hey, lets mix the 1919 flu pandemic strain with the common cold and see what we get.

      1. Oregoncharles

        You think you’re joking, don’t you?

        Someone actually tried to introduce the virulence genes from 1919 into contemporary flu viruses – “in order to understand it better.”. This was on PBS, treated as legit research. I sat there thinking someone should shoot the jerk before he actually pulls it off.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I’m actually caught short for a reply. I cannot conceive of the level of stupidity that this sort of idea requires, especially of someone that had to have gone to a university. I literally cannot think of a word to describe it. Sort of Darwin Award winner – writ large. You’re right. They should have shot that jerk – and then followed up by dropping a thermobaric bomb on his lab. Just to be sure!

          1. ambrit

            There are several research lab buildings at the U.S. Army Biological Warfare Laboratories in Camp Detrick, Maryland that were sealed off for ever due to ‘accidents’ with stuff they were working with. That facility goes back to WW2.
            Some good background on the place is given in “A Terible Mistake,” the book about the death under mysterious circumstances of Dr. Frank Olson, who worked at Camp Detrick, back in 1953.
            The facility:

    1. Hameloose Cannon

      I suspect the Triacontakaipenta-Polyhedron [actual # of Pentagon sides] is fun’un Vice. UFO lore being driven by US Air Force counter-intelligence doctrine for misdirection, and all. [Flip pages] Manual says, “Steer gazes toward night skies in areas where the aircraft are not classified experimental demonstrators, such as nocturnal search and rescue exercises throwing off cool lightning [rotary static discharge] discs.” [Flip page] “Or was that misdirection? Smoke bomb.” On the other hand, if you get caught traipsing behind the wire, saying that you’re looking for UFO’s is not not a good answer for appearing a harmless eccentric thereby avoiding a world of inconvenience.

      On the flip-flop, a public sector agency just cancelled a meeting I had today, for which I spent considerable time preparing, so my antipathy toward the Shutdown and the current state of USGOV affairs is running at an all-time high. And because no emergency powers have yet been claimed, I suspect the Shutdown has less to do walls and more to do with the legal jeopardy in which the Admin finds itself. Vita non Mannulus Villam is my motto, earth people.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Last call: Climate change will destroy beer as we know it, study warns RT (Chuck L)


    Climate change impacts beer.

    Beer impacts climate change as well.

    1. jrs

      well it’s probably an all things in moderation thing. I mean in moderation for some people alcohol even extends lifespan, ok maybe living longer affects climate change, but assuming the goal is something other than everyone dying right now for the climate (which might help, but someone else can go first …).

  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Michael Cohen Says He Tried To Rig Online Polls ‘at the Direction’ of Donald Trump CNBCI

    I wonder if those two also tried to get debate questions beforehand.

  21. russell1200

    So we are basing the human norms of behavior on Tallyrand?

    Normative would be a small group of self supporting individuals in a hunter gatherer group, or if we go to agricultural societies a group of related individual living in a one room building.

    Humans are notable in the more global sense of living in very close quarters with very close interactions with males involved, and mostly not trying to kill each other, but cooperating.

    1. joey

      Had the same thought that holding Tallyrand’s rearing as an example was odd choice, unless paradoxically suggesting that a paternal influence may modulate otherwise unleashed tendencies towards cynical backroom power-brokering.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      It was Taleyrand’s parents. Talleyrand was actually very interested in a supposed niece most assume was actually his daughter. Artistorcrats (certainly French and English) didn’t raise their kids, which means this notion of some sort of tendency to male interest is not a species norm, the author’s claims to the contrary.

  22. Cal2

    Why Dads?

    “The mother’s peaks in activity were seen in the limbic area of her brain – the ancient core linked to affection and risk-detection. The father’s peaks were in the neocortex and particularly in areas linked to planning, problem solving and social cognition.”

    That’s “sexist”!

  23. thump

    re: Group aligned with Ocasio-Cortez prepares to take out Democrats

    “That combat approach is going to upset a lot of people,” said ACLU political director Faiz Shakir, a former senior adviser to Democratic Leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. “What she’s suggesting is the way I’m going to get people is by carrying a stick.”

    I dunno. Works for me.

    1. Darthbobber

      What can we expect from a piece that starts off by having the miniscule in terms of both numbers and money Justice Democrats single-handedly masterminding the rise of AOC and “in the process-hijacking the Democratic Party. ”
      Highjacking? Seriously, oh Politico purple prosers? So the party had legitimate owners, but the Justice Democrats, what, all seven or so of them, viciously hijacked it? And are presumably now taking it out for a Micky and Maude crime spree?

      Of course, if they’ve already hijacked the whole effing party these Pearl Clutchers should be grateful that they are inexplicably only using their new superpowers to try to unseat a single reactionary Texas congressman.

      Last time I checked, voters, officeholders, pressure groups, pretty much everybody are perfectly entitled to play the reward your friends with victory, punish your enemies with defeat game. And the pretence that establishment democrats never try to stick an electoral shiv in members of their own party they disapprove of doesn’t pass the laugh test.

    2. Lambert Strether

      > “What she’s suggesting is the way I’m going to get people is by carrying a stick.”

      This from the party faction that defenestrated Ellison and purged every single Sanders supporter from the Rules and Bylaws Committee, so that whatever shenanigans the DNC gets up to this time around will be rubber-stamped.

      So, yes, I’d say carrying a stick, and actually beating these people with it, is the correct approach “going forward,” as we say. It is, after all, the lesson liberal Democrats taught.

  24. Synoia

    Q: Curious: How big was the sample size when @NateSilver538 gave Bernie a >99% chance of losing Michigan, a 90% chance of losing IN & a 51% chance of losing OK<

    A: A place at the D table. and a continuing flow of D $s.

  25. Synoia

    Dead baby found in restroom at Amazon warehouse in Phoenix

    No, you cannot have maternity leave, nor time off to deliver baby!!

    Thanks Jeff. Good of you to keep them working to enrich you.

    Are Amazon’s management accomplices to some crime? If not why not?

  26. djrichard

    This may be a dupe comment. Please delete if so.

    Ref: Fantastic Lies: Ratf*cking Ed Pt2 Nina Illingworth Dot Com (UserFriendly)

    Nina referring to Doyle’s appraisal of Bernie’s mea culpa:

    “If the Times report or the open letter had been handled graciously, it could have been interpreted as a sign that a 2020 Sanders campaign would be a Me Too vanguard. That is not how it was handled.”

    Hmm vanguard …

    1. a group of people leading the way in new developments or ideas. “the experimental spirit of the modernist vanguard”
    2. the foremost part of an advancing army or naval force.

    Seems like the desire isn’t for Bernie to lead a vanguard. Bernie is already at the vanguard of a weaponized movement, the movement that is focused on attacking wallstreet.

    Rather it seems like the desire is for Bernie to have a “truth and reconciliation” with the “MeToo” individuals on the other side. The rounds so far have apparently been insufficient. Nothing wrong with that as long as the desire is not the destruction of Bernie. And as long as the desire is not for Bernie to be a “vanguard” of the MeToo movement. If I were Bernie I would embrace it and make sure it is equally embraced by all sides.

  27. abynormal

    Appreciate this share. The last paragraph ‘policies needed to close the gap’…policies were successful or the gorge couldn’t be as deep and wide as they are today. Mind-blowing how all races have supported the setup… couldn’t have happened otherwise.

    “To reason with governments, as they have existed for ages, is to argue with brutes. It is only nation’s themselves that reforms can be expected.” Thomas Paine

    IF we the people can refrain from killing each other… we’ll soon be in the same economic basket, and this will see a majority ‘they’ can’t legislate. (One can dream)

    “Countries legislate out creativity.” D.Roberts

    1. abynormal

      this reply belongs under
      *Maurice Hebert*…the first post of the day

      …the eclipse begins ‘)

  28. noonespecial

    Re: Tragedy at Amazon

    Harpers’ issue for February 2019 includes an article related to “mercy killings,” a term that describes ending a spouse’s life once an illness has compromised his/her quality of life and attempting suicide afterward. The article includes this: “End-of-life and at-­home care, meanwhile, remain largely undercovered by insurance and underpracticed by medical professionals. For those struggling with daily activities or pain from physical decline it is often impossible to find—and afford—the help necessary to maintain quality of life. For caregivers, the labor and isolation of caregiving is seldom discussed, leaving their struggles ignored and leading a vulnerable population to reach for extreme ends.” (

    That some people in the US feel as though, “their struggles [are] ignored and [lead] vulnerable population[s] to reach for extreme ends,” may be applied to the mother’s circumstances.

    Neil Young sang about this a while ago,

    I see a woman in the night
    With a baby in her hand
    Under an old street light
    Near a garbage can
    Now she puts the kid away,
    and she’s gone to get a hit
    She hates her life,
    and what she’s done to it
    There’s one more kid
    that will never go to school
    Never get to fall in love,
    never get to be cool.

  29. Tomonthebeach

    BREXIT Referendum 2.

    It might be that the empire is imploding and that revisiting Brexit by polling a more-informed public might prevent catastrophe, but there are procedures which must be followed and they cannot be rushed. REALLY?

    This is almost as stupid as Mich McConnel not allowing a veto override vote.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, there are laws and if anyone were to try to shortcut, the Utlras would go to court and succeed in forcing them to adhere to the well-established requirements for how you run a referendum. This is hard coded. No cheating allowed.

  30. The Rev Kev

    Man I cannot believe that I forgot to mention it. That is one great looking dog that Tracie H. which I take to be an apricot poodle. We have a couple because we did not want dogs that shed too much hair and they are a very affectionate dog. Had to shave their coats back because of the heat though.

  31. Todde

    I will stick with a standard that dead babies get reported to the authorities, not thrown in a garbage can.

    If she can explain her actions, so be it. She doesn’t t get a free pass from me because she worked for Bezos.

Comments are closed.