Links 1/19/19

Australia swelters in record temperatures with warmest ever night New Scientist (David L)

Rent-a-sister: Coaxing Japan’s young men out of their rooms BBC

Apophis asteroid could strike Earth in 2068, warn Russian scientists RT (chuck419)

Why Is All of New Zealand Obsessed With This Drunken, Littering, Rowdy Tourist Family? Slate (Lance N). This account makes clear they were more destructive than just littering: Rowdy tourists: Group served deportation notice, may be banned from New Zealand for 5 years

Mexico explosion: at least 20 killed after burst pipeline ignites Guardian

RTÉ to make climate-change programming ‘a priority’ Irish Times (martha r)

Climate change is affecting health now. Our leaders must take action STAT (martha r)


U.S. Preparing Trump Order to Restrict Chinese Telecoms, Sources Say Bloomberg

Google Faces Renewed Protests and Criticism Over China Search Project Intercept

North Korea

White House: Second Trump-Kim summit coming next month The Hill

High and rising stakes for Trump-Kim sequel summit Asia Times


Theresa May leaves EU leaders in ‘disbelief’ as she fails to make any new Brexit demands in cross-Channel calls despite her historic Commons defeat Daily Mail

Labour would lose voters with ‘stop Brexit’ policy, poll suggests Guardian

Brexit: Liam Fox yet to seal no-deal trade agreements BBC

Amazon warns UK sellers to prepare for no-deal Brexit disruption to deliveries Independent

Brexit ‘has unleashed such a set of demons’ on the UK Irish Times

A Helpful Timeline of Prince Philip Not Dying Vice

EU Cancels ‘Final’ Negotiations On EU Copyright Directive As It Becomes Clear There Isn’t Enough Support TechDirt

A Murder in Gdańsk Project Syndicate

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

FTC may nail Facebook with record fine for privacy abuses Fast Company (David L)

Giving Algorithms a Sense of Uncertainty Could Make Them More Ethical MIT Technology Review

Netflix, YouTube, Amazon and Apple accused of GDPR breach Financial Times (David L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Reagan Wannabe Relaunches Reagan’s Star Wars Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

Trump Transition

Two years in, Donald Trump remains the ‘unprecedented president’ DW

Trump teases ‘major announcement’ about shutdown on Saturday The Hill

10 Things We All Lose If Bernie Chooses Not to Run in 2020 Common Dreams

How World Central Kitchen feeds 3,000 people a day in Tijuana Roads & Kingdoms (Randy K)

Tesla Is Cutting 7 Percent of Its Workforce To Reduce Model 3 Price CNBC

Russian Hackers Allegedly Attempted To Breach the DNC After the 2018 Midterms Fortune.

We didn’t link to the BuzzFeed report, where Michael Cohen supposedly said that Trump pressed Cohen to lie about the dates of Trump’s efforts to get his unsuccessful Moscow development off the ground, due to the utter lack of the “alleged” word and opening section not even making clear that their “law enforcement” sources were reporting on what Michael Cohen supposedly said, and therefore making it sound as if “law enforcement” had come to this view. Remember that reading rates fall off by 50% every para. The start instead made it sound as if “law enforcement” had made conclusions. Now we have this:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s First House Speech Broke a C-SPAN Record. Here’s What She Said Time (martha r)

California Encourages TSA Workers To Sign Up For Unemployment Despite Federal Guidance Huffington Post (Kevin W). See: Federal employees who take unemployment benefits during the shutdown will have to pay them back CNBC (Kevin W)

‘Toxic History’: Washington State Prepares to Sue US Navy Over Hazardous Dumping – Sputnik (Kevin W)

The White House calls food stamp funds for Puerto Rico ‘excessive and unnecessary’ Grist

Fake News

Narrative Control Firm Targeting Alternative Media Caitlin Johnstone, Consortiumnews

Jay Alix, McKinsey Redux Credit Slips

Oddly Enough, More Big Pharma Kickbacks for Docs Are Associated With More Opioid Deaths Splinter News (Kevin W)

More than half of the U.S.’s largest cities are issuing bonds to protect against climate change MarketWatch

Tesla is slashing workers ahead of one of the most crucial deadlines in its history Business Insider (Kevin W)

Everyone who’s telling you that Tesla is influencing the rest of the auto industry is completely wrong Business Insider

Stock-Market Margin Debt Plummets Most Since Q4 2008 Wolf Richter

NY Fed president warns shutdown is hitting US growth Financial Times

Class Warfare

L.A. teacher strike may be cutting edge of a revolution against what’s rotten in America (martha r)

Will this Manhattan Restaurant let women sit alone at the bar? The Cut (chuck419)

Why They Hate the Women’s March Jacobin

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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      1. newcatty

        Yes,, Arizona. Beings to mind the old saying: Consider the source. IMO this is related to the example of hearing from someone that they have no respect for you. When that opinion comes from a person who is a bully or a jealous person, then you are happy that they don’t.

  1. el_tel

    The respite from the Australian heatwave may be only a few days. The BOM is predicting a return of intense heat in SE Australia towards the end of the week . I remember when living in Sydney the first time I experienced 40+ temperatures during the day – the ocean wind (used to keep my non A/C apartment cool) just stopped one weekend and I baked overnight. My non-pommie colleagues who had grown up there were all equally discomfited by it so I didn’t feel like a whinger! Though twas amazing how a southerly wind (straight from Antarctica) can change things so quickly – between 1am and 2am my bedroom dropped 15 degrees celcius.

    One thing I learnt was that far fewer dwellings in places like Sydney have A/C than many non-Aussies might think, so despite being a sun-worshipper I am glad I won’t have to endure the increased heat that is coming their way. I noticed longer and more sustained heatwaves in only 5 years there and bought an A/C unit shortly before I left.

    I wasn’t going to post a 2nd time from the Daily Mash but in the light of the funny Vice article on Prince Philip, there is also this . (I’m in the UK – given current situation if we can’t laugh we’d cry….)

    1. The Rev Kev

      From what I can see, I think that you are right about the increasing number of heatwaves hitting Australia and I see more and more mention of this in newspapers. a/c is getting to be standard now because of this increasing heat. Our conservative Government tries to tell people that climate change is not real but the increasingly hot weather makes them out to be the liars that they are.
      Most of the time in my comments I give only thoughts and opinions. However, this time I can claim with clear authority that yes, in Australia at the moment it is as hot as a b******! And we live only at the edge of where that heat wave is hitting. That southerly wind that el_tel mentioned is very well know in Sydney and is known as the Southerly Buster ( and man, it is great when it hits. It just turns everything around.

      1. norm de plume

        Spare a thought for Marble Bar, WA. 24 days straight over 40, 8 straight over 45.

        And the pub has no air-con!

        Says the publican: “You can’t come to the hottest place in Australia and sit in airconditioning. You can have a cold beer instead.”

  2. el_tel

    Re Algorithms and ethics:

    In the second technique, known as uncertain ordering, you have several lists of absolute preferences, but each one has a probability attached to it. Three-quarters of the time you might prefer friendly soldiers over friendly civilians over enemy soldiers. A quarter of the time you might prefer friendly civilians over friendly soldiers over enemy soldiers.

    That’s Random Utility Theory. It has been around since 1927 (Thurstone) and quite frankly I’m shocked that the AI people are only now paying attention. RUT got McFadden the “Nobel” in 2000 for successful prediction and (when PROPERLY used) has continued to show its power across various disciplines. This is an example of economics *ahem* “discovering” something from psychology, but is a model that actually has been rigorously tested in mathematical psychology for decades, unlike some other psychology models I could mention….(For the record, the 2000 “Nobel” is one of the few economics ones I think was a recognition of good theoretical and empirical work…though I’m biased since much of my career has been based on the model!)

    1. witters

      ‘The algorithm could handle this uncertainty by computing multiple solutions and then giving humans a menu of options with their associated trade-offs, Eckersley says. Say the AI system was meant to help make medical decisions. Instead of recommending one treatment over another, it could present three possible options: one for maximizing patient life span, another for minimizing patient suffering, and a third for minimizing cost. “Have the system be explicitly unsure,” he says, “and hand the dilemma back to the humans.”’

      Well, at least ethical decision making gets back to the ethical decision makers.

      “More and more, complicated systems require AI to be in charge,” says Roman V. Yampolskiy, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Louisville. “No single person can understand the complexity of, you know, the whole stock market or military response systems. So we’ll have no choice but to give up some of our control to machines.”

      Is a matter of having already chosen to give up ethical decision making.

  3. Dita

    Re Bad tourist family in NZ – raise your hand if you’re relieved they’re not Americans at least!

    1. el_tel

      If the interview supposedly revealing which British city they hail from is correct, this family has really really not helped the cause when it comes to eliminating stereotypes regarding Liverpool!

          1. el_tel

            Oh yeah I know the term bogan from my time in Sydney….though the terms being used on the youtube video are definitely more disparaging than that (I showed my Irish mother the video). From the conflicting information on the web, it appears that although at least some of them have clearly lived in Ireland for years, many/most are travelling on UK passports and that they are (to use the least disparaging term) “travellers”. The typical connotations associated with this term, and the ruder terms, here in the UK and Eire are FAR worse than bogans.

          2. polecat

            ‘bogans’ ..
            And here I thought being one was cool !
            Well, lets hope, for everyone’s sake, that they don’t migrate over to Caitlyn Johnstone’s site ..


        Sounds like the kickass UK comedy, The Brothers Grimsby!!!

        Sacha Baron Cohen and Mark Strong are friggin hilarious in this vulgar take on the spy genre.


      2. PlutoniumKun

        They are almost certainly Irish travellers (gypsies). Lots have settled in England over the years and consider themselves English now (the boxer Tyson Fury as an example). Some are quite wealthy thanks to… well, certain activities ranging from trading rhino horn to human slavery. I used to go to a horse fair where they always traded, the kids are hilariously up-front (not so hilarious if you get the wrong side of them), and you could buy bare-knuckle fight videos if your taste in violence was that way inclined. Their accent is very distinct, even if Brad Pitt made a bit of a mess of it.

        I knew a lot of them growing up (I even came home from school one time to find a traveller wedding party in my home – a bit of a long story that). Great people, but they are treated badly by the ‘settled community’ as they call the rest of us, and they are very happy to reciprocate.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Thats an interesting theory – the accent is definitely Limerick-ish (although Limerick people would be horrified to admit it). I’d never heard the kern theory, its an interesting one. There is a theory that the English pikey tradition are descendants of Boudicea’s Iceni people, scattered by the Romans. There is a claim they are descended from early tribes, but most likely Irish travellers are descended from post Famine wandering traders (‘tinkers’, coming from tinceiri, Irish for cheap pots).

            1. ChrisPacific

              Interesting you should say that as the local Irish community has publicly cautioned everyone about jumping to conclusions about their origin (and has taken the Liverpool reports to mean they aren’t Irish). Essentially they’re accusing everyone of being bigoted by making the assumption.

              While they have indeed behaved very badly, the national media pile-on has been something to see. I think it’s a combination of repeated breaches of the normal guest expectations and a slow news season. Their movements have quite literally been tracked in real time by national media via reports of sightings at petrol stations, motels etc. and some of the responses haven’t reflected all that well on us either.

              1. Musicismath

                As an ex pat, it’s been weird peeking at the Herald and seeing the constant news stories about this one family. It does make the country look very petty and insular.

                On the other hand, a lot of the local NZ reporting does seem to reflect a real ignorance about Britain and involves some erroneous assumptions. The author of the Slate piece doesn’t seem to realise that “Irish Traveller” is an ethnic category, not a literal description; pace what she says, it’s entirely possible for them to be English-domiciled and UK-passported, but still Irish Travellers. And the thing about them not being Irish because Liverpool? How much about the history of Irish immigration do people need to not know to come up with that?

    2. shtove

      On reflection, this is nasty stuff – media piles on to a nuisance family with little kids. Have a look at this short vid from England, where the girl says, “If they could push a button, they’d get rid of us … If they could bomb us out they would.”

      And if you look at youtube comments … aieee! Us and them, no commons, kill, maim, slaughter.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        It isn’t just a “nuisance family”. Read the second story. The trashed a rental house, broke into a second one, trashed that, and trashed a car. These are vandals. The fact that they have kids in tow is no excuse.

        1. Joey

          Yet the timeline accused them of touching someone’s hair! The digital age allows for overreaction, and I bet even if they are horrid, they might not deserve global shaming.

    3. DJG

      Dita: Aha, you caught everyone’s guilty peeking: That was why I read the article. I kept looking: Oh, no, what if they are American…

  4. timbers

    Daniel Ellsberg says nuclear arms / missile shield spending is supported because corporate profits.

    I have been informed by my Dem friends that this kind of thinking is “conspiracy theory” and it’s because Russia has caused most of our problems including the Civil War by controlling America with it’s internet powers.

    I think we need to take a pause and recall the advice President Obama gave to us as a nation:

    “Trust the professionals.”

    On another note, MOA’s latest on Bush senior having a secret office within the CIA to oversee some CIA programs – because he thought Reagan’s CIA director Bill Casey was incompetent – while he was servings as Reagan’s VP is fascinating, regarding the Iran Conrtra affair.

    It makes you wonder if Reagan was telling the truth when he claimed he didn’t recall ever authorizing the Iran Contra affair.

    But I’m having trouble deciding which professional we should have trusted in that instance – Bill Casey Director of CIA, or George Bush Sr Vice President and secret real Director of CIA?

    1. Carolinian

      That Hersh article is interesting, not least because it reminds once again that Reagan was out of it for much of his presidency. Which is to say Trump and Reagan may be a lot more alike than the media are willing to admit. Reagan with his affable style won them over and they were “on bended knee” (the Post’s Katharine Graham was even good friends with Ron and Nancy). Trump is also out of it but gets radically different treatment due to his crude personality. He doesn’t stroke the press, give them nicknames etc. Reagan also had a much more professional staff and a wife who zealously protected his image. He was the template for our current crazy era and the press has played a major role in both.

      1. Plenue

        In thirty years I expect Trump will be resuscitated and embraced by Liberals, just like Reagan and (both) Bush’s.

      2. Oh

        Reagan also had a much more professional staff and a wife who zealously protected his image.
        Same goes for Obomber.

        1. Procopius

          Something I’ve seen mentioned about Obama — he had no major scandals. None. Not one embezzlement. Not one case of bribery. I think there should have been, but they got away with all of them.

      3. Jeremy Grimm

        I registered as a Republican in a forlorn effort to use my vote to pull for Bob Dole for the Republican candidate for President. It were best left unsaid what I thought of Bob Dole, but I thought even less of George Bush Sr. although all I had was a feeling about his part in the Iran Contra Affair. Hersh’s essay makes me feel better about my suspicions. I am curious why Hersh made no mention of the CIA’s role, and presumably also the role of Bush’s inside teams, in cocaine trafficking to support the Contras as alleged in Gary Webb’s Dark Alliance series and his book of the same name.

        Besides the Iran Contra Affair the Reagan Presidency was coincident with an ascendancy of Neoliberal Thought and policy. If Reagan were as shallow and lazy as characterized in Hersh’s essay — who were the forces behind the Reagan government’s hard turn toward Neoliberalism?

        1. Carolinian

          Reagan had long worked as a front man following his unimpressive career as an actor. Some of us remember him shilling for “20 Mule Team Borax.” While some have claimed he had “ideas” it’s likely his main idea was sucking up to the powerful which of course included hating communism and, later, promoting Chicago school laissez-faire.

    2. rob

      I wouldn’t doubt that reagan was out of the loop while president. He wasn’t “of the community”. Ghw bush was at the epicenter of all the reagan era crimes. Whether it was iran contra, or the savings and loan scandal. Bush was there before and after, and all his friends.
      Of course bill casey was old oss, and just as likely a part of the crimes as well. But reagan was just “acting” like a president,and was mostly just for show. Who knows what he actually understood, even before he went senile.

    3. pjay

      On this subject: Trump’s nomination of William Barr for AG is very interesting. Barr was an important figure in some key Reagan/Bush cover-ups — BCCI, Iraq-Gate, and (especially) Iran-Contra (as GHW Bush’s AG). Started in the CIA, during which (according to his official bio) he diligently went to law school at night, then promptly resigned as a spook to become a lawyer and start working his way up (uh huh). A very well-connected insider. Of all Trump’s non-swamp-draining appointments, in some ways this one disturbs me the most. Worth keeping an eye on.

      1. jsn

        …and suddenly Mueller’s office is taking issue with “the resistance”…

        Barr looks like an interesting tool with which to root around the darker corners of spook-world.

      2. John

        There is an interesting idea running around that Barr really doesn’t care about a Trump. He is a lobbyist promoting the Time Warner / ATT deal which Trump stopped. According to this hypothesis, Barr figured out how to bait Trump into nominating him. His real goal is to promote the merger. Trump is reportedly shocked to learn how close the Barrs and Muellers are. Their wives attend bible study together. Barr is an insider and will likely support Mueller. Even Fox is getting wise to this. It will be interesting to see if Trump’s failure to vet Barr will come back to bite him.

          1. pjay

            Yes, Barr and Mueller are reportedly very close. And I do think Trump was baited into nominating him. If anyone thinks Mueller will be put in his place they’re going to be disappointed. I think there is more happening than the merger issue, though. At minimum, the CIA’s role in the Trump/Russia collusion campaign will be covered up (the CIA’s full role is *always* covered up in these things; Barr has had considerable experience in that area). Not sure what else is happening though. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          I doubt it – when he starts annoying Trump, Trump will just fire him. In fact, I suspect Trump appoints people in the first place based on how much of a rise he’ll get when he cans them later. That’s how the reality show presidency works – it’s all about the ratings.

          TV ratings are not based on how many people like a given show, just how many are watching. By that metric, Trump has already had the greatest presidency ever with no signs of slowing down. Unless he winds up spending the last years of his life in prison, which is not likely to happen, Trump has already defeated “the resistance”. Bigly. They failed to realize the only way to beat him is to ignore him.

          1. tegnost

            I think you have nailed it, bigly, the problem is that if they ignore him they have to figure out something else to talk about that won’t ruffle any feathers

  5. shtove

    A couple of Irish-related laughs today.

    The writer of that Vice article on the royal car crash has the venerable surname of O’Neill.

    And I recommend the video from New Zealand of the boy in the oversized straw hat threatening to “knock your brains out” – not condoning it (I know the intimidation well), but it is funny. Probably.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Fancy Manhattan Restaurant Allegedly Won’t Let Women Sit Alone at the Bar”

    Yves has mentioned before this weird thing about women by themselves in what is supposed to be one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. The difference here is that it is a lone women at a restaurant. Hmmm. That would be a good name for a TV series that – “The Lone Woman”. Sorry, I forget myself. Now where was I? Oh yeah. I hate to think what this restaurant’s Yelp reviews would look like in this area but I am going with the thought that Nello is off the list of candidates for an NC Meetup. This story has already been mentioned in half a dozen newspaper articles and is not a good look for an up-market greasy spoon. Maybe what they need is their own theme song-

    Making your way in the world today
    Takes everything you got
    Taking a break from all your worries
    It sure would help a lot
    Wouldn’t you like to get away?
    Sometimes you want to go
    Where everybody knows you’re a hooker
    And they’re not always glad you came
    You want to be sitting at a bar but
    The troubles are all the same
    You wanna be where nobody wants to knows your name

    1. Darthbobber

      Lots of traditional flotsam still left. When last I was in Germany, it was still customary for those over a certain age to have the male half of the couple enter the food/drink/entertainment establishment first, to ascertain whether it was a “fit” place for the female half. Though this had been abandoned by many and was clearly on the downhill slide.

      There are diners scattered about Philly and South Jersey that still feature an old sign advertising “booths for ladies.”

      1. Polar Donkey

        The restaurant i work at has a bar you can sit and eat. Many women eat by themselves. Mostly business travelers staying at nearby hotels, not call girls. The bartender and most of the staff would recognize a person if they came in and ate after the third time. What a friendly atmosphere that restaurant in New York must have to not recognize a 4 year regular.

        1. ape

          It seems they did — but they’re a dictatorship. The customer was according to her told not to cause a fuss and when she got the boss to show, he said he could run things like he wanted.

          Zero tolerance, total control freak, power boss.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            It is still very hard for me to sympathize with someone who wants to quietly read a book or organize their papers at the bar at a posh popular restaurant during the evening, especially, ESPECIALLY, when they serve $275 pasta concoctions. Man or woman, anyone complaining about it should be ridiculed. “Boo f**king hoo, your Highness”, etc. About the only one due any sympathy whatsoever is the waiter. I suspect, however, that both the waiter and the bartender were hoping for someone who would toss back some expensive top shelf drinks at a good clip instead of the conspicuous display of largely ceremonial cogitation they encountered.

            OTOH, my better half says the customer has a very valid point and she hopes the restaurant gets sued. My argument that the male customer didn’t proceed to pull out Tolstoy* (or tomorrow’s dayplanner grid or whatever) fell to the floor.

            *currently reading “A Confession”, highly recommended

    2. CanCyn

      Whole thing is just beyond contempt. Men are prostitutes too. If you are worried about the sex trade in your resto, you need to ban all singles at the bar, regardless of gender.
      IMO though, they kind of redeem themselves with the $275 pasta – another great way to get money from the rich and stupid.

    3. timbers

      Do you think the bar could put up a sign that reads “We support the resistance” and would be well.

    4. PlutoniumKun

      I found that weird, especially as she was a regular and presumably recognised by the staff. I can understand a place that has a genuine ‘issue’ with prostitutes bothering customers (or perhaps specifically, bothering customers wives), but a blanket ban seems crazy. Mind you, my favourite local bar here stopped customers eating food at the bar counter, which really annoyed me as i was fond of dropping in for a pint and something to eat when I’m too lazy to cook – I hate sitting at a table when alone, but somehow it feels ok at a bar counter.

      It does remind me though of the first time I visited China back in 1997. I travelled for 3 weeks more or less roughing it (which in China in those days, was very rough) and on my last day booked into a Holiday Inn in Beijing for the night before my flight back. I decided to go down to the bar for a last drink. I’d gone to the bar and ordered when I glanced around to realise I was the only male in the entire establishment. Every customer – at least 20, was a Chinese woman, and they were all staring at me intently. I realised I’d walked into hooker central for Beijing. It made for a very uncomfortable nightcap, I was relieved when a group of drunken Aussie businessmen came in to distract the ladies so I could make my exit.

      1. Eclair

        I say this in the nicest spirit possible, PlutoniumKun (and I have enjoyed and benefited from your comments over the past year or so) …. but being the only male in a bar filled with women who are eyeing you as ‘meat’ (well, paying meat) making you uncomfortable, can give you just a glimpse of how women feel for most of their lives. (I am long past the age when men look at me speculatively, which has given me a definite sense of freedom.) And, I apologize if I have misinterpreted your comment.

        But, travel is definitely broadening, especially when accepted roles are suddenly reversed. My spouse and I travelled through China in 1996, ending up our journey in Hong Kong. I remember having lunch in a large restaurant and being the only non-Asian people there. While other customers were served promptly (and their teapots refilled immediately), we were ignored until someone just got around to us. It was a humbling experience. I had never been in a despised racial minority position before. But, I always remember that feeling of being an ‘other.’ (Interestingly, I did not have this feeling in our journeys through Mainland China; we were regarded as exotic and useful creatures who could give big tips and be used for English practice. The Hong Kongers couldn’t care less.)

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, I appreciate it was very much a ‘boot on the other foot’ situation.

          You certainly learn when travelling in Asia about what it means to be second class – it very much depends on where you are, but in many places if you aren’t part of the local hierarchy, you don’t count. If you know a little of the local language in places like Vietnam and Thailand, you’d be surprised to know how often you are being insulted by someone smiling at you. I’ve been the monkey for everyones amusement in remote Chinese towns (in those days before a white face was common). I wouldn’t really call it racism, but it certainly can make you feel second class.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Not to worry Pk. I have heard it mentioned and it seems to be true that for young women, older men are invisible. Sigh!

  7. Ed

    “Will this Manhattan Restaurant let women sit alone at the bar? The Cut (chuck419)”

    This was wrong, but I have to admit that the first thought that came into my head was how you can afford to pay $275 for a pasta dish unless you are a call girl.

    I’ve noticed though, in the Northeastern US at least, there seems to be some sort of cultural issue on the part of both employees and patrons with letting women sit alone at a bar and not treating them as either, well, available or as fragile objects that any interaction will destroy.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      At some restaurants in the French Quarter not named Mr Bs and Redfish Grill, we would offer a complimentary glass of champagne to single people.

    2. Alex morfesis

      Milo’s ghost….not sure where this upset customer popped up in the last two years but methinks it had to do with some female Milo fake fought with/ used to get some eyeballs/click through…this aggrieved was the agent for or had managed someone milo had a public rant with…

      The restaurant is named for a person who sold out to his partner in 2015…so unless no one noticed him slipping back into the Manhattan restaurant world…the named gentleman she did not in fact speak with…

      secondly… She can not be this daft, considering all the parties she tends to be photographed at…high end restaurants today pay monstrous rent in Manhattan… The days of just sitting back and taking up a seat at a bar during rush hour by anyone are long gone…also… In many establishments, the person behind the bar is on a different pay schedule and is making money off the drink tips and high turnover of parties just jumping up for a drink or two before getting home or going out somewhere else…the one gentleman she clains to have noticed did not sound by her description as someone who came with his papers to casually eat up space…

      Employees in the restaurant business today are played with and twisted up…there used to be a strong Union situation in the high end restaurant business in Manhattan many years ago…

      now it’s crumbs plus tips, with ownership eating some of those tips you earned…

      This might be one of those soon to be urban legends…repeat a fib enough times and it becomes a mark twain quote on instagram…

      and despite the imagined power of the collective internet to filter thru and create alternative narratives, we are coming up on the 50th anniversary of one of the biggest urban legends and best mockingbird operations of all time…

      stonewall never happened anywhere near as described… Recent West point grad just happening to work for an alternative weekly newspaper who many years later admits he staged the photos and many of the “sources” and parties quoted might not have exactly been there…others later describing regular crowds of wandering homeless run away kids as somehow being a “riot” or something new in Washington square park late at night on a weekend…it never happened as described… No “riot” that first night…no copies of the arrest records of the mystery 13 “historical” people “arrested”…but it has been repeated enough times for there to be events globally celebrating “the event”…

      Hopefully this attempt at a new urban legend dies a quick death…

      but then again…fake narratives can sometimes be good…even if the real players are long forgotten…

      Catchy tune: from the halls of Mount something or other to the shores of where exactly… We shall fight our…

      And who exactly was the “we” at that point in what is now the nation formerly known as Libya ?? Might have been a few more Ithakans and other greek rabble…than the handful of “Americans” actually there…

      So maybe we forget the fact in this story line of the strange idea that every woman is a potential call girl…truly a strange notion…very backwards to even imagine it (pearls to swine comes to mind)…and instead use it to complain or lament the loss of the idea of sitting at a bar, taking a mini stay-cation away from the four walls and allow the eyes to absorb the menagerie known as life…

      bartender…another cranberry juice please…yeah…sorry…

      don’t drink anymore…

      Ah…my favorite tune…sing it Frank… My funny Clementine…your my favorite work of art…is your figure less than Greek… Is your mind a little…

  8. JCC

    On “Narrative Control Firm Targeting Alternative Media”:

    Just out of curiosity I installed this plug-in (for a day) and it was pretty bad.

    I looked up a few things on google, some benign like amateur radio stuff (no checkmarks on the results) and some lookups like “Manafort” for example. Those were the bad ones.

    Sites like had gray checkmarks (“not rated yet”) but you had to dig down about 4 or 5 pages before you got to that one. The first 3 to 5 pages had nothing but results with green checkmarks, NYTimes, Wash Post, The Guardian, BBC, etc., so it’s pretty obvious that not only is NewsGuard full of s**t (this article clearly spells that out considering all the retractions on recent Manafort bulls**t stories… actually some of the retractions) but that google is pretty much using NewsGuard rankings to fill their search engine.

    It’s pretty obvious, to me anyway, that the Corporate/Government approved “news” outlets are getting pretty desperate in making sure that information is well-filtered and that only approved propaganda is allowed to to be seen.

    Fascinating stuff. Orwell is shaking a finger saying, “I told you so!”

    (I just realized I forgot to check NC headlines, so I don’t know how this site is rated… and I’m not re-installing the plug-in in order to find out)

    1. allan

      The Johnstone article surprisingly under-identifies

      …. one of its CEOs, Louis Gordon Crovitz, is a Council on Foreign Relations member who has worked with the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation.

      Crovitz is in fact a former editorial writer and later publisher of the Wall Street Journal.

      Crovitz has written many controversial editorials. In July 2012, he argued that Xerox-Parc’s development of the Ethernet protocol meant that the private sector, not the government, created the Internet.[7] Crovitz cited book by Michael Hiltzik to support this argument but Hiltzik himself rebutted the claim.[8]

      And here’s Crovitz’ partner Steve Brill explaining the awesome goodness of NewsGuard:

      … But there is a difference between The Washington Post writing about fracking and the American Petroleum Institute.

      Certainly, there is. Will News Guard parse the vagaries of American Petroleum Institute publishing?

      “We are,” said Brill. “And the American Enterprise Institute and Center for American Progress. Both likely will be green because they’re serious people who do serious scholarship. …”

      Both the Koch brothers and the United Arab Emirates approve of this message.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for throwing yourself on that particular hand-grenade for us. Man, that is worse than I thought. Google has become crappy enough but with this the results will shove you into a news ‘bubble’ where you will mostly see WaPO, the Newspeak Times, Fox News, the Guardian and the BBC. Gacchhh! Better make sure that you do a virus scan and maybe a malware check if you have it in case of traces left behind. If wonder if you can pay to get a better rating from the plug-in’s administrators? Would not be surprised. Bet that they use that ProporNot page as a template for “Trustworthy” news. Must be really getting desperate to pull a stunt like this. Peak MSM?

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Why They Hate the Women’s March”

    But they don’t! They love it. A bunch of women walking around protesting about “stuff” in between taking selfies of themselves. What is not to love for the political establishment? And I serioulsy doubt that it is “advancing a radical vision of feminism for the 99 percent”. Maybe for the 20% but not the 99%. Now if those very same women went to public schools and threw their whole-hearted support behind public teachers, especially as a lot of them have children directly effected by this it would be a completely different matter. Something like that would hull the political establishment between wind and water that. Hard for the cops to adopt their usual heavy handed tactics with pepper spray and the like. The optics are not good in bashing up middle-class women. I guess the lesson is that if you protest everything, you end up protesting nothing.

      1. nycTerrierist

        from the article, the ‘women’s agenda’ sounds great –
        for economic as well as social justice, real material benefits,
        all the right stuff.

        it seems one or more of the leaders is entranced with Farakhan,
        a divisive figure, to put it mildly.
        why in the world wouldn’t these self-annointed leaders
        have the sense to leave this guy out of it?
        would that have been so difficult?
        and if not, why not?

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          The divisiveness goes beyond Farrakhan. One of the original organizers of the March is of Palestinian origin and supports boycotting Israel; nothing arouses the wrath of TPTB like the need to defend poor vulnerable little Israel from those who object to its apartheid state.

          1. Summer

            It’s interesting they don’t mention Farrakhan’s Church of Scientology connections as troublesome…

            However, I can see how the policy agenda has the more establishment marchers worried about their big campaign donors.

    1. aletheia33

      things have changed.
      we’ve got to keep up!
      that’s why we gather ’round here.
      please read the article.
      mark what it reports.
      it will matter.
      thank you!

    2. flora

      “They” in this case is the 1% who really don’t like the push for raising the minimum wage, medicare for all, reducing or cancelling student loans, freedom of speech, and anything else that might hurt Wall St.’s profit margins. So, time to divide and conquer the movement over any issue the 1% and their friendly media neoliberals can work up into a divisive identity issue.

      I especially enjoyed this bit:
      In New York City, there will be two different marches, with a breakaway event (the “Women’s March Alliance”) protesting the supposed anti-semitism led by Kathryn Siemionko, who has worked for JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.


      1. Geo

        The second March sounds like it’s adopting the Debbie Wasseman Schultz motto “America is Already Great”.

    3. LyonNightroad

      Single moms making between 18k-25k will be getting their 8-9k checks (scales down over 25k) from the government soon. One of the few groups that actually have a safety net in this country. Interesting group to be leading the charge for more. I’m not opposed to it, just hope men and the childfree don’t get left behind and all their dream benefits get tied to children.

        1. flora

          adding: the earned income tax credit program is not restricted to women only. It’s available to all based on income.

          So I still don’t know what you’re talking about.

          1. LyonNightroad

            It’s not restricted to women but it’s overwhelming claimed by women for obvious reasons. Again, not opposed to it but it needs to be expanded and not tied to having children. You get basically nothing if you don’t have kids. About $500, vs $5000 eitc plus $2000 per kid child credit.

            My fear is that, in an effort to make these women’s issues rather than poverty issues, they will tie any additional proposed benefits to having children.

            1. jrs

              well it takes money to raise kids, so there is that, but yes people without kids are basically left high and dry by the laughable safety net in the U.S.. Or basically they are told: go die!

            2. Summer

              Yeah, the point should be emphasized that it is not about cutting money for children, not at all, but about expansion.

              The austerity govts all over the world make it about turning one against the other…

              And just because aomeone hasn’t had kids doesn’t mean they won’t have kids or at some point have a dependent.

            3. LyonNightroad

              I should also mention that because the eitc income limits (based on earnings NOT agi) barely increase when married, it creates disadvantages for that too.

        2. ChiGal in Carolina

          The earned income tax credit (EITC), first proposed in the early 1970s, was signed by President Ford. It was later substantially expanded by President Reagan, who deemed it “the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure to come out of Congress” (Snyder 1995).

          1. Eclair

            Also, the best profit maker for H and R Block and the other major income tax preparers. You make the rules for claiming the subsidy just complex enough and then label it as a ‘tax refund’ and then advertise in low-income areas that ‘we get you your tax refund immediately,’ and you have a thousands of low income working parents paying ‘rent’ to a corporate leech. What’s not to love?

            And, then introduce the ‘head of household’ status and the ‘child tax credit’ and you have additional instant clients … all of whom really should not be paying any of their money to a big corporation.

            Other countries (France, the Netherlands, Sweden) automatically pay a set amount for each child. Deposited directly into your account. Regardless of parents’ income or work status. So simple, no corporation gets to rake in a piece of it, but, no, the US has to make sure that poor people really deserve the subsidy. Can’t be paying off all those lazy sluts who just produce babies so they can get a piece of your hard-earned taxes!

            Rant over.

            1. LyonNightroad

              I think a part of the problem is that in middle class circles we all know that one girl who managed to get knocked up more than once between nights of partying and drinking and whose middle class parents basically raise her children for her while she goes to her $12 an hour job that pays for her to continue to go out partying and then in feb-march she’ll get that windfall so she can go wild.

              This is nothing like the experience for people in actual poverty.

              1. LyonNightroad

                … but because middle class people have sorted themselves into homogeneous neighborhoods, that’s their idea of where the credit goes. They don’t know anyone who would qualify under any other circumstances.

                1. flora

                  Interesting. One of the cardinal virtues of the middle class is self control. So, of course, those who “fall by the wayside” are often spoken of as lacking self control in some fashion.

                  But neoliberalism has no self control. It is determined to pull every dollar it can out of every pocket it can. Greed is the antithesis of self control. imo.

            1. flora

              Well, you’re right that the current neoliberal rentier economy isn’t working very well for very many people. More people are worse off economically than they were 30 years ago.


              For me, all the many people and groups opposing this neoliberal rentier-ism and who are working to increase wages and material benefits for the 90-99% are doing something good, imo, and are very welcome.

              1. Richard

                I have often myself felt that both language and policy (in the past) have unreasonably privileged “working families”.
                I’m not interested in hearing anything about taking away a benefit from anyone. I want to remind everyone that the people who bring up the unfairness of this train of thought are not being divisive. They’re reminding you that many, many people are single, for a multitude of reasons, and that single people are human too.

                1. flora

                  Oh, as a single person with no dependants I get that, totally. (Especially when I see how few deductions I can take on my IRS tax forms compared to my married-with-minor-children friends, and how much more I pay in taxes. ; )

                  My point was that the original comment bringing up single moms in this particular thread about the women’s march sounded divisive in terms of suggesting the perfect should here be the enemy of the good. So I wanted to find out what was really being suggested. And I think this back-and-forth has done that.

                  1. flora

                    adding: if I were very poor then as a single, able-bodied adult with no dependants I would not be eligible for Medicaid in my state. Every year my state restricts further the eligibility rules; that’s a “feature” of neoliberal “because markets”. We are all being economically reduced under “because markets” rules.

                    This thread is about the womans march push back against neoliberal “because markets”. We can use as many pushbacks against neoliberalism from as many sources who are allied in this effort, even if the particular issues emphasis may differ from source to source, imo.

    4. abynormal

      Hi5 Rev

      The soul’s maladies have their relapses like the body’s. What we take for a cure is often a momentary rally or a new form of the disease.
      -Francois de La Rochefoucauld

    5. barefoot charley

      I live in Humboldt County CA where our Womens March organizers made national news by postponing our march until they had incorporated more diverse voices. More moderate elements put on the original march anyway, today, insisting they too are inclusive. The original, now diversified organizers will have their march on Monday, MLK day.

      What this article highlights is what really struck me in our local controversy: activists have pulled off their pussy hats and put up a genuine progressive agenda in place of the warm-and-fuzzies that many earlier marchers enjoyed. Here we have an interesting test of Democratic leadership claims that going any more left than hope ‘n change will alienate more people than it will bring in. Thanks for the articles naming march dropouts this year who are running for president, one more proof of their mainstreaming.

      What’s unsettling to me is that, while I support basically everything our Monday marchers will proclaim, I fear their lists of wrongs to right belong in the organizers’ back rooms, to be synthesized into a simple slogan everyone marches behind, like “Bring Our Troops Home Now!” did 50 years ago. I’m ahead of my skis here I know, maybe something more like “Jobs and Justice For All!”

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Chant from Rev Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign:

        Forward Together/NOT ONE STEP BACK
        Forward Together/NOT ONE STEP BACK
        Forward Together/NOT ONE STEP BACK

        May not look it on paper but it’s pretty powerful to the ear

          1. newcatty

            What would be awesome, is if the Women’s March organizers would join up with Rev Barber’s Poor People Campaign. How about great, sincere environmental groups like the Center for Biolgical Diversity getting into the campaign? Code Pink? Many others… Now, that would not be good for the divide and conquer agenda. Could these factions really coalesce and agree to join together?

  10. Harold

    Re: single women at hotel bars. I seem to remember reading recently in the the New York Review of Books or a similar publication that at the turn of the last century that large fancy hotels such as the Ritz banned single women with large hats as a way of controlling prostitution and making themselves more respectable to restaurant goers.

  11. JCC

    From the “Government of the People, By the People, and For the People Department”

    The only thing that did not make the news was an announcement by a little-known government body called the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board — FASAB — that essentially legalized secret national security spending. The new guidance, “SFFAS 56 – CLASSIFIED ACTIVITIES” permits government agencies to “modify” public financial statements and move expenditures from one line item to another. It also expressly allows federal agencies to refrain from telling taxpayers if and when public financial statements have been altered.

    Enjoy reading the FASAB announcement (2 pages), simplified bafflegab at it’s finest.

    1. rob

      this article is one of those times when the truth is there. The truth is the lie is always with us.
      The truth is lying about monies spent has been legal since 1949. So when anyone has lied before congress about budgets, they can “not be lying” but doing their duty.
      It is like the allowances given by intelligence procedures that the truth can’t be told, by nature of the task. Which means that when lies are told ,to the press,to congress, or when in court, they are dutifully fulfilling their duty to not tell the truth.
      So the bottom line is, who Knows …. when lies are condoned for decades, there is darkness. And no one really knows what is corrupt, what isn’t.
      Like when clapper lied about the program bill binney and edward snowden told everyone about, he was “not lying”, therefor not breaking the law by lying to congress… he was “doing his job” by lying to congress, so that the public wouldn’t know what it’s government is actually doing…
      The constitution….. “we don’t need no stinkin’ constitution”…. were the government…
      The constitution is just something we say, it doesn’t really MEAN no one is above the law.

    1. deplorado

      Thank you for the good tip!

      Somewhat tangentially related question:

      A few months ago in comments someone suggested a p2p/open source Youtube clone that basically cloned Youtube content but without the tracking. It had a short name that evokes “tube”, if I remember right… but I can’t seem to find it via Google or DDG, or searching comments (believe it was April 2018). Would make me really happy if someone here can tell me the link.


          1. deplorado

            PS. my search for hooktube reminded me a little of a hilarious story by A.P. Chekhov, “A Horsey Name” in English. A general debilitated by toothache but refusing to have his tooth pulled out is desperately trying to remember the name of a “conjurer” who cures tooth pain, whose name is somehow connected to horses; hence the “horsey” name. I read it as a youth and it still stands in my mind as one of the funniest things I’ve read. Like the general, I in vain tried to remember the name of this “tube”… site, so.. with thanks, here is the story:


            (one note, in the original, “snapping his fingers at him” is actually “giving him the bird”..)

    2. Craig H.

      Thanks. The highlights of 1923 don’t seem to have been all that high. The Prophet is 95 years ago looks like the biggie. Back when we still had (a lot of) bookstores that was a perennial book that people would give to people for a gift when they didn’t know them very well. Like for your brother-in-law for Christmas. Wikipedia says Gibran is still a big thing in Lebanon.

      What would he have thought about being in those remainder stacks with The Secret? I’m thinking he was aiming for Nietzsche superman and for awhile it looked like he had actually made it.

  12. Wukchumni

    Our anticipated storm was a bit of a big nothing, too warm and not enough of it. That said, I took a walk amidst the all cats and no cattle ranch looking for fallen limbs or trees, and on the first morning after round 1, saw nothing out of kilter, but when I went back yesterday, a 50 foot tall-10 to 14 inch wide Live Oak had cracked @ the base & had fallen with the top resting right on a dozen wood pallets each loaded 5 feet tall full of cut rounds from trees that died during the drought.

    …some disassembly is required

    1. barefoot charley

      200 miles north of SF Bay it was a sockdolager. Our 10-inch rain gauge filled several days ago from the last round, and is up 8 inches more so far. A neighbor’s place lost several trees including two across our ridgetop dirt road, and lightning blew out a rectifier in our hydro system, which hasn’t happened in years. Seems like we got the weather that was supposed to go further south. Thanks for all the electrons!

      1. Craig H.

        There is some kind of storm warning up now where they think one to two feet of snow is going to fall by Monday morning in the mountains. There is no warning on the Truckee weather page.

        This is definitely better than last winter.

  13. Robert Hahl

    Apophis asteroid could strike Earth in 2068, warn Russian scientists RT (chuck419)

    The NASA quote at the end makes it sound like, if you have something important to get done, best do it by 2036 ;-()

    Joking aside, isn’t this exactly what any government expert would be expected to say if an asteroid strike were likely?

    “The impact odds as they stand now are less than one in a million, which makes us comfortable saying we can effectively rule out an Earth impact in 2036. Our interest in asteroid Apophis will essentially be for its scientific interest for the foreseeable future,” explained Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at JPL.

  14. Steve H.

    > Mexico explosion: at least 20 killed after burst pipeline ignites Guardian

    Neoliberal nightmares. Decayed infrastructure and poor people. I am not recommending watching this video.

    1. flora

      Thanks for the link. I didn’t sign in to watch the video; I read the comments. One comment from Pigeon has this information:

      A lot of people on this comment section are very unaware of why these people are stealing gas. In Mexico right now, a lot of gas stations don’t have gas as the government is keeping the gas under tight surveillance due to cartels seizing supply. Many people are so desperate for gasoline, that they’re breaking the pipes like this just to get ANY amount of gas. In Mexico, cities and places are way more far out and people depend on their cars to get to their jobs 40 miles away to make any kind of living. No gas = no work = no money.

  15. DJG

    From the article about the murder in Gdańsk and poisonous Polish politics:

    The Polish scholar Andrzej Leder put it best: “Those who have a sense of victimization have hearts of stone.” Among other things, this insight helps to explain the post-World War II surge in anti-Semitism among Poles, many of whom had just witnessed the Nazis murder millions of Jews on Polish soil.

    This is something that doesn’t apply only to Poland.

    1. Eclair

      DJG, Lithuanian homie! I thought of you yesterday as I was researching small towns in Lithuania. Truskunai had this short but chilling paragraph:

      On July 10, 1941, local Lithuanian collaborators killed 8 or 9 Jewish men on the premises of the local school. In mid-July 1941 5-6 Jewish men were shot at the Jewish cemetery by Troškūnai members of the Lithuanian Activist Front.[1] In August, 1941, the remaining Jews of Troškūnai (about 200 people) were transported by white armbanders to the Panevėžys ghetto. There on August 23, 1941, they were murdered along with Jews from the city of Panevėžys and its surrounding areas in a mass execution.[2]

      Also, I discovered this fascinating book written the American consul in Kaunas, during the late 1920’s:
      Lithuania in the 1920’s: A Diplomat’s Diary, by Robert W. Heingartner.

      I was tracking down my father’s sister and her husband, (a buddy of the conservative authoritarian Lithuanian president, thanks to an Army coup, Antanas Smetona) who shot a Lithuanian Army officer, with whom she was having an affair. Heingartner records it all, including his visits to my uncle-by-marriage (my family definitely had the genes for the roving eye, but not for violence; we were all ‘make love, not war!’) in prison.

      1. upstater

        My grandfather’s family was from Kazlu Ruda; there are similar documented horrors in the region.

        This past June NATO was there, in full force in month long wargames.

        Relatives remain and buy into mo’ war.

    1. allan

      Earl Blumenauer … Earl Blumenauer … where have I heard that name?

      Democrats’ Pick For Top Trade Post Leaves Labor In The Lurch [HuffPost]

      Democrats rejected a stalwart union ally’s bid to chair the House panel charged with overseeing international trade, in favor of a more business-friendly choice.

      Democratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday elected Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) as chairman of the panel’s Subcommittee on Trade, defying organized labor and left-leaning trade critics who had pushed for Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) to get the top spot in conversations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other top Democrats.

      In particular, Blumenauer drew ire among critics of corporate influence in trade agreements for his key role in enabling passage of trade promotion authority in 2015. Known as fast-track authority, it assures presidents an up-or-down vote in Congress on international trade deals, precluding a lengthy debate and amendment process. At the time, it was widely viewed as a prerequisite for passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a controversial 12-nation trade pact negotiated by then-President Barack Obama but opposed by a majority of House Democrats.

      Referring to the subcommittee vote, a House Democratic aide who requested anonymity for professional reasons said, “They threw labor under the bus and gave them the middle finger.” …

      1. Oregoncharles

        Blumenauer is a mixed bag, but emphatically a Trade Traitor. The Oregon Pacific Green Party makes a point of running against him, even though he has a reputation as a liberal.

        But we know how far that reputation goes.

  16. JacobiteInTraining

    Covington Catholic High School, on a field trip:

    Maybe it is a teachable moment, maybe not, but scrolling down that twitter thread one can find the contact info for the local Catholic Diocese who I would assume might be able to do something educational for the ignorant. Contrition, perhaps, is in order.

    Yeah, Internet outrage….I know, I know….but if it shames even a few into reflection and penance perhaps it is useful.

    1. Joey

      Just watched the video without reading before, and it was nothing. Kid was wearing MAGA hat, not good look, but on video
      1. Clearly smiling, not smirking.
      2. Standing that close because crowd was that close, then something happened and crowd dissipates behind him, to his unfortunate ignorance.

      The still looks bad, and the gentleman playing the drum was offended.
      But I doubt the outcome will be commensurate with the offense. Firestorms tend to magnify individual missteps (see Bartman, Steve- for whom I still blame the overreaction of Moises Alou)

    1. neo-realist

      Pelosi and Schumer have rejected that compromise–not the best leadership the democratic party could have, but to their credit still hanging tough on wall money.

      1. Summer

        Not a hard calculation for them to make.
        All the proposed deal did was set up another hostage situation at a later date.
        It was the kind of deal the Republicans would be for now so that they could campaign against it later.

        1. Chris

          I don’t know about that. I thought the offer for more immigration legal review teams was quite shrewd on his part. If McConnell brings this up for a vote and the Democrats refuse it, won’t that shift the burden back to Team Blue(tm)?

          Side note, I notice that the Dem$ have shown zero interest in doing any of the first 100 hour things that Nancy promised. Nice to see that they never change… :/

    1. Richard

      heh heh, especially in light of MSNBC’s championing of: female torturers and war manufacturers!
      A little side note: I used to read The Witches to my second grade class every year, for the awesome story telling and fun of it. Then a few years ago, I decided it wasn’t really cool of me to read something every year that scared the s*&% out of 2 or 3 kids every year on average. Can still give nightmares, at ages 7 and 8, with nothing but the power of Dahl’s prose and my own fascinating oral reading style.
      Also, the implicit (and rather explicit) sexism in Dahl’s witches is a little hard to parse in 2nd grade. So I’ve passed it up to my 3rd grade colleagues. Still miss it.

  17. Oregoncharles

    From “A Murder in Gdansk”: “There is a basic psychological mechanism underlying this dynamic. If a society comprises enough people who perceive themselves as victims of some kind, the public reaction to misfortune will tend not toward empathy, but hate. The instinct is to treat sympathy as a scarce resource that must be defended from rivals. It is as if society were locked in a state of competitive suffering.”

    Does this sound familiar, at all? Like it might apply to US politics?

  18. MikeW_CA

    “Russian Hackers Allegedly Attempted To Breach the DNC After the 2018 Midterms”

    Russian, Chinese, Turkish, Italian, American and many other nationalities of hackers attempt to breach my personal email server every few minutes. As they do to everything else that’s on the public Internet. It’s what they do.

  19. Oregoncharles

    “Two years in, Donald Trump remains the ‘unprecedented president”

    Andrew Jackson.

    Certainly the parallels aren’t complete – Jackson wasn’t personally a plutocrat, IIRC. But in terms of a populist drastic change to the Presidency, there is a precedent. Who founded the Democratic Party.

      1. Geo

        While it’s not directly about Jackson, nor a literal history book, Gore Vidal’s “Burr” is a fascinating read.

    1. rob

      Jackson may have been an enemy to the native populations of this country, and many may not have any need to ever forgive him for that. But at least he fought for this country in abolishing the “second bank of the united states”,in 1836. He did that because the banks main shareholders were the same ones as were “the first bank of the united states”, which was abolished in 1811. They were british bankers, who figured, the revolution may have worked, but if we can control their(the colonies) money, we can still retain control. And in the very least, control of the money meant any prosperity the US had, the bankers still made money. the bankers had “plants” in this country’s system. Families like the biddles and the ehrlangers. Damn that alexander hamilton, for selling out this country from the get go.
      This systemic control of our money supply is akin to the federal reserve maintaining control today for the private banking system and wall street, over a public money supply as would be the case if the treasury actually created our money debt free, as is envisioned in the original constitution, before the federal reserve amendment.

  20. Jeremy Grimm

    A table of diehard followers of NakedCapitalism met at Slainte’s yesterday. After lively discussions and some beers we solved the problem of reaching World Peace and solved the Climate Chaos problem. I celebrated with another beer as the discussions moved to other areas. Now I can’t remember how to reach World Peace or solve the Climate Chaos problem. We did treat our server well and treated us well. I believe we can expect a warm welcome for any future meetings there.

    1. Pat

      While I am dismayed that the brilliance of Naked Capitalism followers has been lost in the mist of beer, I am delighted a good time was had by all. I am also overjoyed that Naked Capitalism followers will be welcome in the future (just in case I can ever attend). Thank you for making that happen!

    2. newcatty

      Another golden opportunity lost to save the world! Please, for all of sakes, next time have a dedicated non alcoholic drinker ( or at least someone who can “hold their liquor” and is fine with remembering the night before in all of its glory. Maybe, be willing to take or record notes. (It should be OK, if you all are not sitting at the bar). If a fund is created to pay for a trip to your next meet-up, then no doubt then followers from other locales would volunteer to come and give their contributions to the cause. My spouse and I might be willing…

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        There is no reason to apologize for not sharing the flu and many good reasons you must take very good care for you health and energy.

  21. Pat

    I really do weep for America. Encountered someone yesterday who was sure Donald Trump was a communist. Clearly they have no idea what communism is if they call a capitalist real estate mogul a communist. But even sadder they have so knowledge of Twentieth Century world history that they believe someone working with Russia must be a communist because RUSSIA. So not only have they fallen for a huge the dog ate my homework so the only answer is to wage war on the dog boondoggle, they don’t have any idea about Russia today.

  22. Cal2

    Cities’ climate change bonds. Wow, yet another way for Wall Street to monetize everything. How much interest will be paid on the bonds? Is that interest taxable, or, can the elite avoid yet more taxes?

    How about just limiting growth, no new buildings and putting solar panels on every structure to fight G.C.C.?

    See the opposite of that in California, definitely encouraging immigration from low consumption societies to California’s drive everywhere lifestyle. Now the new governor proposing to force cities to build more housing, or suffer the withholding of recently passed gas tax money, sold to the electorate as “road maintenance.”

  23. Geo

    A truly fascinating read that has me pondering much right now. If you’re in for a long and introspective read I highly recommend it:

    “This present moment must be to language something like what the Industrial Revolution was to textiles.”

    But human subjects are vanishingly small beneath the tsunami of likes, views, clicks and other metrics that is currently transforming selves into financialized vectors of data. This financialization is complete, one might suppose, when the algorithms make the leap from machines originally meant only to assist human subjects, into the way these human subjects constitute themselves and think about themselves, their tastes and values, and their relations with others.

    1. dcrane

      Thanks for that link.

      A small comment about this, in the last paragraph:

      Human beings are absurd, or, which is nearly the same thing, irrational, in a way that algorithms are not

      Human beings appear irrational only because we are not yet aware of every line of the code. The author is right to anticipate a relentless data-vectoring of the human experience….eventually the ad agencies will know exactly what each of us will buy, at a certain moment, if presented with the option, and at what maximum price.

      1. el_tel

        eventually the ad agencies will know exactly what each of us will buy, at a certain moment, if presented with the option, and at what maximum price.

        They already can…and in lots of instances have been doing, since the early 1980s. See my comment towards the top of the thread regarding Thurstone. McFadden’s empirical work on predicting demand for the use of the BART in the Bay Area of SF (before a rail was laid) was part of what won him the economics “Nobel” in 2000.

        Commenter Ape’s point regarding the parameter space in this sub-thread is also not necessarily as bad as it seems. Theoretical statistics has given us “fractional” and Bayesian experimental designs to get parameter estimates from experiments that are much smaller than you might think.

        But my overall point concerns “rationality” – part of the beauty of Thurstone’s/McFadden’s model is that seemingly irrational behaviour need not be irrational at all. What it IS is in fact inconsistency – people make errors. Once you move away from traditional idiotic “fixed” preferences in traditional economics toward ones tested since the early 1960s by mathematical psychologists and which incorporate the fact I might choose A over B 60% of the time but the reverse 40% of the time, then suddenly you can predict extraordinarily well. Of course what is frequently missing (and what leads to misuse of these models) is an understanding of the context in which you are using it – WHAT are the materially important factors to humans in a given context at a given time, etc.

  24. noonespecial

    (In)Justice Files

    To borrow Lambert’s phrase, the Harkonnens rule:

    “A federal judge in Tucson Friday found four volunteers with a humanitarian aid group guilty of misdemeanor crimes…The volunteers work with the group “No More Deaths,” leaving food, water and blankets in the Arizona desert for migrants attempting to cross the border..the group were charged with federal misdemeanor crimes — entering a national wildlife refuge without a permit and driving a vehicle in the area…They could be sentenced to up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.”

    What was that about the Bundy’s being heroes? Sure, I’l buy that for a dollar..

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