Links 1/23/19

Oceans Are Getting Louder, Posing Potential Threats to Marine Life New York Times (Robert M)

A Meteorite Hit the Moon During Total Lunar Eclipse New Scientist

Drone sighting disrupts major US airport BBC

The Matchmaker Who Flirts on Dating Apps for You524 The Cut. Resilc: “Just wait until AI can do it, then your robot can go out for you too.”

Seafood processing water is a surprising source of nutrients TreeHugger. Resilc: “When do we see fish gutzNstuff kombucha at Whole Foods for $19.99 a pint?”

China?

Trump ‘not going to back down’ on trade deal without China concessions: report MarketWatch

Kudlow denies report that US-China trade talks hit wall Asia Times. Kudlow is a negative indicator.

US Will Seek Extradition of Huawei CFO From Canada Reuters

Huawei chairman warns of end to global ‘partnerships’ BBC

Brexit

No-deal Brexit would mean hard Irish border, EU confirms Guardian. A mystery why this is a surprise. Richard North pointed out early on that the EU offering to work out how to keep an open border in the Withdrawal Agreement was generous, in that they could have simply pointed out, “Northern Ireland will have a hard border with the Republic as a result of Brexit, too bad you hadn’t worked that one out.”

EU would want ‘clarity’ before delaying Brexit, minister warns MPs Sky News

Cabinet ministers round on Remain colleagues as backlash builds over plans to stop no-deal Brexit Telegraph

Conservative MPs will be whipped to vote against Brexit delaying tactics The Times

The Campaign For A People’s Vote On Brexit Has Descended Into Infighting And Splits BuzzFeed

UK-EU trade: a trucker’s guide to post-Brexit disruption Financial Times. Cute, but the 3 Blokes video gave much better detail.

Dominic Grieve tables plan which would allow MPs to demand Article 50 extension just three days before Brexit deadline Telegraph. See today’s post.

Brexit cheerleader Sir James Dyson relocates firm’s headquarters from Wiltshire to Singapore Independent (Kevin W)

Europe’s mightiest river is drying up, most likely causing a recession in Germany. Yes, really. Busines Insider (Kevin W)

MasterCard Fined $648 Million for High EU Card Fees Bloomberg

Macron looks to labour reforms to placate gilets jaunes Financial Times

New Cold War

US man accused of spying in Russia may have had state secrets, says his lawyer Guardian. Resilc: “Just an innocent dishonorable discharged Marine, working as the security chief for an American firm that does business in Russia, carrying Russian secrets to a wedding….happens all the time..”

Ex-U.S. marine held in Russia for spying was misled, says lawyer Reuters. Resilc: “The old holiday photos on the thumb drive excuse……”

Syraqistan

Syria on agenda, Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets Vladimir Putin DW

Taliban Kill at Least 126 Afghan Police in Attack Near Kabul AntiWar.com. Resilc: “For sure I’d give up new infrastructure, Social Security and Medicare for helping the good people of Wardak. And used a USA USA Humvee as a weapon against us. Can’t top that…”

‘Strategic Threat’ To Israel – Progressives Lose Fear Of Speaking Out On Palestine Moon of Alabama

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

I Tried to Block Amazon From My Life. It Was Impossible. Gizmodo. Important. Also notice family dependence on Alexa.

China reportedly made an app to show people if they’re standing near someone in debt — a new part of its intrusive ‘social credit’ policy Business Insider (Kevin W)

DHS Issues Security Alert About Recent DNS Hijacking Attacks ZDNet

Wow, fancy that. Web ad giant Google to block ad-blockers in Chrome. For safety, apparently The Register (Kevin W)

Trump Transition

The financial shock for 800,000 federal workers is about to get much worse as the shutdown drags on CNBC

The government shutdown may force Trump to make a nightmare choice between his border wall and the economy Business Insider

FBI Agents Group Warns Shutdown Imperils Investigations Wall Street Journal

GOP: We Have to Destroy the Government in Order to Save It Daily Beast

Trump transgender troop limits can take effect, top court decides Reuters (resilc)

The Future of the Supreme Court in the Liberal Imagination Corey Robin, Jacobin

How Voting-Machine Lobbyists Undermine the Democratic Process New Yorker (furzy)

Mainstream Media Is Literally Making People Sick Caitlin Johnstone, Consortium News

The Young Left’s Anti-Capitalist Manifesto FiveThirtyEight (resilc). Pull out the fainting couch!

Erin Brockovich to lead protest against PG&E bankruptcy at Capitol in Sacramento. Sacramento Bee. In case you hadn’t worked it out:

Bankruptcy would turn wildfire claimants into unsecured creditors, along with bondholders holding billions in PG&E debt. It’s unlikely that the fire survivors would get paid in full, legal experts say.

PG&E shares surge as company secures $5.5 billion in bankruptcy financing Reuters

New CalPERS CIO Orders Full Review of CalPERS Investment Activities Chief Investment Officer (Kevin W). Not consistent with Marcie Frost’s much ballyhooed plan of getting the new PE scheme approved by March.

McKinsey & Company Is Again Accused of Misdeeds in Bankruptcy Case New York Times (Robert M)

The 10 most expensive cities to live in around the world in 2019 Business Insider

Climate Change, Financial Stability and Monetary Policy ScienceDirect (UserFriendly)

Guillotine Watch

The new elite’s phoney crusade to save the world – without changing anything Guardian. Resilc: “Is this davos or the DNC meeting in the Hamptons?”

Record private jet flights into Davos as leaders arrive for climate talk Guardian (resilc)

After the Storm: Progress and the demented quest for historical purity The Baffler (Anthony L)

Antidote du jour. Martha r via Twitter: “This mother hen was found taking care of two small kittens in a snow storm!…”

And a bonus from martha r:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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141 comments

    1. Skip Intro

      OMG!
      Game Over Kamala. If the Onion is onto her ‘slavery problem’, she may need to worry about her re-election.

      Reply
        1. integer

          She’s all in for Israel:

          https://twitter.com/netanyahu/status/932684579097534465

          Also:

          The Onion, A.V. Club, Clickhole Unionize With Writers Guild of America Variety

          The Onion Inc. Organizing Committee issued a statement saying, “Onion Inc. is unionizing with the Writers Guild of America, East. By organizing, we intend to protect the culture and values that make Onion Inc. a singularly great place to work and establish a formal means by which the employees have a collective and meaningful voice in our workplace. We’ve seen the positive effects of unions across digital media newsrooms, especially at our Gizmodo Media Group sister sites, and believe Onion Inc. will similarly benefit.”

          Reply
        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          The Onion unionized.

          Also, donors don’t necessarily pay much attention this early. Saban has his pet issues (Israel obviously), but he’s not a Democratic version of the Koch Brothers who jump in super early. He’ll probably want demonstrations of sufficient fealty before he does anything.

          Reply
    1. rob

      Hopefully their nuclear power plants are not effected by the lack of cooling water. The last time there was a serious drought in the south east of the US, and the rivers were running low, the cooling water was becoming an issue. Of all the things you can cut back on water, cooling those fuel rods, ain’t one of them. And the by product of the aftermath, was warmer water in the rivers down stream causing problems of its own. Luckily that only lasted a couple of years for us. If there was a long term issue, the power plant placement, may be an issue.

      Reply
      1. davidgmillsatty

        All the more reason to further develop molten salt cooled reactors like we did at Oak Ridge in the 60’s. Had we moved on from water cooled reactors to molten salt reactors, there would have never been the catastrophes of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. All of these disasters were due to the limitations of water as a coolant. It is really hard to keep water liquid at high temperatures. Molten Salt does not have this problem. I will stay liquid for a 1000C without any pressurization and it removes heat as well as water.

        Proof we did it. The promo video by Oak Ridge National Labs:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyDbq5HRs0o&t=1036s

        And as the video explains, we could use the thorium cycle as the fuel source which adds to safety because it makes micro amounts of transuranic wastes, which it the bad stuff.

        Reply
        1. Jeff

          You smoke strong stuff. The French halted their Phenix reactor back in 1996, and hope to dismantle it by 2027. I don’t know of any government willing to build such a Frankenstein monster.A molten salt reactor is no different from Chernobyl or Fukushima: you can start it up but not wind it down. If the salt stops being ‘molten’, everything just boils away.

          Btw, you still need lots of water, as the electricity generation requires a steam turbine, condensors, heat exchange and stuff.

          It didn’t work in the ’60s, and doesn’t work any better now.

          Reply
          1. Jobs

            From Phénix on Wikipedia

            Phénix (French for phoenix) was a small-scale (gross 264/net 233 MWe) prototype fast breeder reactor, located at the Marcoule nuclear site, near Orange, France. It was a pool-type liquid-metal fast breeder reactor cooled with liquid sodium.

            That was not a molten salt reactor, as liquid sodium, a metal, was used (a salt in chemistry is defined as an ion consisting of a metal and a non-metal). Also, Phénix used fast neutrons, whereas a typical molten salt reactor would use slow aka thermal neutrons.

            Reply
          2. Henry

            Jeff you may have to find something stronger to smoke:) While the inventor of the light water reactor (our current design) advocated against scaling up what he designed for submarines as he thought they would be inherently unsafe resulting in events like Chernobyl or Fukushima, he instead advocated and tested the first thorium fueled molten salt reactor as mentioned above at oak ridge labs, which worked fine for a prototype, but funding was cut before it was fully developed and until recently the information mothballed. This design uses a fuel that in inherently much safer, a design that winds itself down, is not pressurized so no worries of the coolant rapidly boiling away and produces very little waste. Many governments are looking into building these as they are much cleaner and ironically safer then our current fossil fuels. Did I mention cheaper as well? Oh and you don’t need any water. Here is a good place to start if you dare:
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAiHtrWHxK0
            and here is an example of a current design looking at the economics: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=454&v=Q1Fi3BnwL94
            Even countries like Indonesia are working on designs:
            https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2018/06/indonesia-and-thorcon-continue-working-towards-thorium-reactor.html#more-145919

            Reply
        2. ex-PFC Chuck

          IIIRC, the nuclear regulatory regime in place at the time nuclear generation was being introduced in the electric utility industry was a formidable obstacle to new technology. The path of least resistance was to use proven tech, and pressurized light water cooling was what was being used on all but the earliest nuclear submarines. Again IIRC, the first commercial nuke in the US EU industry was at Duquesne Power Co. near Pittsburgh, and it was an essentially unmodified submarine reactor. As time went on the industry needed to scale nuke plants up in size and light water reactors were what the regulators were familiar with. But their caution extended beyond the central elements of the reactor to the instrumentation with which it was monitored and controlled.
          Some have asserted that this caution led indirectly to the Three Mile Island incident. As reactor capacities grew from a score or two megawatts toward a thousand and beyond, the amount of instrumentation and control equipment needed grew apace, and unused real estate on control room panels became a scarce commodity. In the TMI case status indicators and process variable displays pertaining to equipment that would not be of concern during normal operation (they were typically of interest only during start-up, shut-down and/or maintenance) were mounted on panels in an equipment room, out of sight of the operators in the control room. The TMI incident was precipitated when a valve became stuck in the open position and the operators were unaware of the fact for several hours. As a result their actions as they detected a loss of coolant, which were based on the assumption the valve was closed, exacerbated the situation instead of resolving it.
          At the time computer-based control and monitoring systems with CRT-based user interfaces were being used elsewhere in EU fossil-fired steam electric plants and in system control centers, but had not been approved for use in nukes. Had one been in place at TMI 2 the incident might never have gotten out of hand.
          I’ve been active in the UE industry since the 60s, but never directly involved with nuclear generation. So feel free to comment or correct as appropriate.

          Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Only if the handy with such an app would also give off a pungent smell, as part of the ‘showing,’ at the same time…

      “What is that smell?!!?!?! Let’s get away from that guy.”

      Reply
      1. Joe Renter

        That reminds me of the time I took the bus home from working as a fish monger at Pike Place market here in Seattle. Someone commented, it smells like fish in here! I sat there trying to be invisible. The smell of fish is a difficult odor to remove. One of my boss’s would pour bleach over his hands and scrub trying to erase the smell. The good thing about selling fish is you get to take home the freshest of the fresh. In those years fish was quite affordable. These days it’s the 10% who can dine on it mostly.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          It could be worse. There was a well know Aussie author that started off life working as a chemist. One of his jobs as a young fellow was to put this stuff into smaller bottles that was used to treat those with venereal diseases. I can’t recall the name at the moment of this stuff but it had a common name and later was used as perfume of the sort that you could give your granny. The trouble was that you could not pour this stuff successfully into smaller bottles without getting it all over yourself and so he found that on the tram journey home, that people gave him a wide berth and would not sit next to him.

          Reply
  1. Mango

    Re ad blockers…if you turn off java script the ads will not appear but you will also lose some functionality of the website. I keep it off except when I need a particular site to work correctly then I turn it on just for that use then turn it off again. It is a bit of a pain but a tremendous pleasure to avoid the ads and junk most websites have today.

    Reply
    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      If you use the Firefox browser Press and hold down the Alt key, then “V” followed by “W”. This puts the page in “Reader” view, which is not only in a large, more easily seen font but also shuts down most scripts running in the background, including ads. It doesn’t work on all pages however for reasons I haven’t looked in to.

      Reply
    2. KFritz

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Privacy Badger blocks ads that attempt to install tracking cookies–which is a great many.

      Reply
  2. kurtismayfield

    RE: Amazon removal from life

    Having to run to a physical store rather than opening my Amazon app every time the house runs out of paper towels is annoying, but the harder challenge is losing access to almost every form of digital entertainment I consume.

    We have become so used to convenience that some of us cannot imagine living without it, despite the costs to ourselves and society.

    Reply
    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Even though I never buy from Amazon, clearly since so many other entities use its servers, I am not as independent of it as I thought: Netflix is hosted by AWS.

      Depressing as hell.

      Reply
    2. diptherio

      That line, along with quite a few others (an app to notify you when your kid poops at the daycare?!?) made me kind of despise this woman. Probably because listening to her describer her life reminded me of all the upper-middle class elitist a-holes whom I used to have to deal with as a house painter. I almost want them to be worked over by some corporate behemoth, just for the schadenfreude. I mean, two Amazon Echos? Really?

      Reply
      1. roxy

        I had to bail on that article. That woman reminds me of the character played by Diane Keaton in “Sleeper”. “Ooh, I need to put rose oil on my fingertips.” I wonder if they have an orgasmatron.

        Reply
        1. marieann

          I also tried twice to read it and gave up…..she sounded like an alien to me. Or am I the alien…no phone no TV so no problem with being connected…different worlds for sure

          Reply
      2. Judith

        This line got to me:

        We also wean our daughter from much of her screen time, which means quality time playing with her or taking her to a playground rather than giving her a “movie treat.”

        They have a one-year-old daughter. She should not even have screen time. Try reading some books to her.

        Reply
        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Exactly.

          Read in conjunction with that recent article about kids developing unhealthy feelings towards ‘screens’ is NOT a good sign.

          Reply
        1. diptherio

          Alright, painters! You, me and Knowbuddau (sp?)

          The problem we ran into was that most home owners and contractors would go with the lowest price bid, meaning that even though we were working for people who could have easily afforded to pay us well, we had to lower our prices or risk losing the job. My work buddy and I came to the conclusion that the whole construction industry is a racket and we both found other ways to make a living. Risking our lives standing atop 24 foot ladders for $15/hour to paint some rich guy’s soffits was simply not worth it.

          Reply
          1. Oregoncharles

            The problem faced by most home owners is that they have no idea what kind of job you’re going to do – the price is most of the information they have. Really good references might help. Contractors are more likely to be familiar with your work, but they’re under the same price-point pressure you are.

            My business (I always chuckle when I call it that – if I was any good at business, I’d be a lot richer) was landscaping, which is similar – except, it occurs to me, that it’s a continuing contract. Most of my work is maintenance or remodeling, so I work for the same people for years – often until they die or move. I quit advertising a long time ago; it’s all word of mouth, and mostly time and materials.

            Personally, I restrict myself to 10 foot ladders – I’m not an arborist. 24 feet sounds terrifying, though I know my contractor stepson uses one.

            Reply
            1. Synapsid

              Oregoncharles,

              Puget Sound Checkbook is the solution for recommendations here and it’s based in customer recommendation as well as their own investigations. See if there’s an equivalent where you live.

              Reply
          2. knowbuddhau

            Depends on whether you want to emphasize the “ha” in buddha. ; }

            “Why should I pay you 20 when I can get a kid to do it for 10?” They want all your tools, experience and know-how, for nothing, amirite?

            Reply
      3. cnchal

        > . . . made me kind of despise this woman.

        Me too . . . and feel very sorry for the child for having idiots for parents.

        Reply
      4. JerryDenim

        I felt sorry for her. I thought ‘Wow! What suckers… These poor gullible people have whole-heartedly embraced every single rent-extracting, data-sucking, scam peddled by Silicon Valley in the last ten years. I am somewhat guilty myself, but my goodness, these poor sods can’t achieve the most simple, basic functions of daily life without an App!’

        Never mind what you’re buying, it’s what you’re selling…

        Reply
      1. jrs

        wow like every other online retailer out there? Is this really supposed to be persuasive to anyone except those who never buy anything online?

        Reply
        1. John

          I don’t think that is true. I never shop at Amazon. I do shop at a number of independent retailers. As near as I can recall they give you the option to have them remember your credit card or not.

          When possible I use Apple Pay. With this the computers negotiate a one-time token that allows the retailer to get paid but it is useless to anyone who might steal it.

          Reply
    3. Lambert Strether

      > losing access to almost every form of digital entertainment I consume

      Consider books? From the personal library that you, as a civilized human being, surely have? Especially children’s books?

      Or follow the news. That’s entertaining enough@

      Reply
    1. makedoanmend

      Thanks for the link. Interesting reading.

      If one was to take to surmising, two or three issues come to mind.

      1. As said on NC oft before, the US often leads the way on the main terms of any negotiated treaty because of its economic advantages and usually concedes on fringe issues so that the weaker negotiator can get the deal passed by their legislative assembly.

      2. if half the raw food/food issues become incorporated into a new bilateral treaty between the US and the UK, the phyto-sanitary inspection infrastructure along the Western European coast + Ireland will become substantial.

      3. If the US-UK bilateral trade deal is completed rather quickly, and given possibly drastic changes to the regulatory framework in which the UK will operate, there could conceivably be a delay in completing the future negotiations between the EU and the UK as the conditions of complexity might have increased

      Reply
  3. verifyfirst

    Question about the California fires. I read that one homeowner/property insurer in the Paradise fire area has gone bankrupt because of the fire, leaving those homeowners depending on the CA state guaranty system.

    Does that CA system have a $300,000 per claimant cap on benefits, as some state life insurance guaranty systems do?

    If yes, any home value over $300,000 is effectively lost? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. David

      Home value is not the same as replacement cost. In California, most of the home value is in the property, not the building structure. The insurance is usually for the structure and not the value of the property.

      With $300K, one should be able to build a nice home on existing property, even in California.

      Reply
      1. John

        I’ll disagree. I’m not sure about the Paradise area, near San Francisco we are building a home that will cost about $550 a sq ft. I’ve heard that $500 to $700 a sq ft is typical in this area.

        Maybe a builder could come in and build a large group of identical homes for less. Building homes one-at-a-time is much more expensive.

        Reply
  4. Steve H.

    > Climate Change, Financial Stability and Monetary Policy

    Looks solid, but too complicated for a snap judgement to mean much.

    The questions it asks are focused enough to be valid within its framework. Two issues pop for me in terms of practical application:

    : “However, this does not apply in our model, since we analyse the global economy and, thus, there is no immigration effect.” Local contingencies in a competitive environment determine outcome. Page and Nowak: “Selection chooses the mutant with maximum fitness in the context of the resident population.” Migration is a critical part of ecologic/nomic reality. (Or recall the local effects issues from yesterday’s link on Arctic warming.) tldr: this is a non-Jackpot scenario.

    : Table 3. Transactions flow matrix: +BAILOUT. Presented as a static variable and not a dynamic driver. Think Solyndra. Who gets to choose who gets money for failing?

    I like this article, it is a solid step in integrating economic and ecologic models. Stock-and-flow seems consistent with MMT in its accounting. It does not overstate its conclusions. “Hence, many other types of environmental policies need to be implemented in conjunction with a green QE programme in order to keep atmospheric temperature close to 2 °C and prevent climate-induced financial instability.” Still bullish, but at least speaking the language of those whose minds are money. That’s important.

    Reply
    1. rob

      To me this type of article seems like a warm up type piece, to make people think giving money to someone will help. If you gave to the right people, maybe. But the mention of “quantitative easing”, in some loose way, that is supposed to ward off a negative eventuality, is like a scare tactic.
      The devil is in the details. sure they provided no details, so who knows, right? But considering the lack of any real good QE brought regular americans, I would assume this new version would be just as useless.Just like the whole notion of “carbon credits”, this whole scheme is for market manipulators only. And will certainly not help in any real way.
      According to a council on foreign relations tabulation, the choice of the fed and their QE program,cost the taxpayers the equivalent of giving every citizen in the us a check for $56,000. I bet the economy would have rebounded much faster had everyone received a payment of $56,000, instead of wall st goosing its numbers, for all those years.Giving all the actors who should have been jailed, huge bonuses instead. And the regular investors helped would have been helped by the give away alternatively.. If everyone in my family got a $56,000 check, the last ten years would have been SO much better, than they have been.
      So QE, in my book is corporate welfare pure and simple. And so far is a piss idea, and has all the earmarks of someone trying to market a crappy idea.
      Just like exxon, james baker, and george schulz recently came out backing the carbon tax idea. You know if james baker and george pratt schulz, two heirs of the standard oil fortune and a company that was part of the standard oil behemoth, are FOR carbon taxes…. everyone ought to run from that idea as if someone was giving out free syphillis.

      Reply
    2. Lambert Strether

      I think this is an important article because it speaks the language finance, and so may get the attention of the wise fools at Davos.

      That said, I wish we had another form of decision-making than relying on models*. I’d speculate that by the time things get simple enough for our models to work, we will have long passed our chance to do anything (a variant of “in a crisis, everything correlates”). So, in a way, that our models keep getting overthrown as new feedback loops are discovered (e.g., aerosols) is paradoxically good news.

      * Which didn’t work out real well for economists in the Great Moderation, now did it?

      Reply
      1. Steve H.

        > I wish we had another form of decision-making than relying on models

        Considerations on the nature of models:

        : Like MMT, the Matching Law is descriptive. It may go all the way down. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

        : Melioration: A Theory of Distributed Choice. Presented as a counterargument to both maximization and satisficing. An update of the Matching Law. “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” “Sadly, I work under time constraints.” Functionally a lot like Lipsey-Lancaster.

        : Charlie Munger’s models were effectively a list of cognitive biases. The biases are heuristics that help organisms function in real time. Selection via ‘don’t get et,’ they do not have to be accurate representations of reality.

        : Consider an organism, like a worm, with an light-sensor on both sides, connected to a muscle contraction on the other side, that moves it toward the light source when triggered. More light allows more photosynthesis allows more food, so this is movement toward potential food. Higher sensitivity would mean quicker movement, getting to the food fustest, which is important if the resource is scarce. We amplify signal in our eyes with lateral inhibition, which gives us some optical illusions and acts like video sharpening. It’s not an accurate representation of reality, it’s a selected ?model to increase differentiation.

        : At this level, the selection relation of the matching law is at least mirrored by variation in the organism. A worm with a lower trigger will be better at conserving resources, which can conditionally outperform a faster competitor if the energy payoff of movement is less that what is expended. Mesoderm v endoderm.

        : Via Barabasi, there are network advantages to inequality. Heterogenous hubs lead to resilient systems. Even a random choice can be better than loss of intiative from the paradox of choice. “It is better to have a bad plan than no plan.”

        : Life deals with the flaws of insufficient models through variation. Make failure survivable. Peter Palchinksy and Taleb Nassim give details.

        Reply
  5. notabanker

    Amazon article: Companies that use AWS are feeding critical market data directly to the company that, almost certainly, will one day be their largest competitor.”

    It absolutely boggled my mind in the place I worked at that exec’s and the Board did not understand this or completely ignored it. Or even worse, took them at their word that it’s chinese walled off. With vast capital investments already made in proprietary DC’s, excess capacity they were trying to sell to the likes of Google and Amazon (who btw had close to zero interest) the political push from the very top of the company was to move to cloud. Info Sec said they couldn’t secure it it, Regulators said they couldn’t regulate it yet massive amounts of resources were poured into “overcoming those obstacles”. “Blockers” I believe was the prevailing term used. All under the guise of “they can do it better and more efficiently than we can”.

    Really fantastic engineers were being wasted “fixing” problems that were specifically designed not to be “fixed” by companies with resources 100x larger. It’s one of the main reason I left it. I could never wrap my head around it. There is no speed to market, operating cost or innovation advantage to handing your core business over to a known predatory third party. But hey, what do I know. I’m just some poor schmuck who could never get with the program.

    Reply
  6. bassmule

    From the Caitlin Johnstone piece: “If the mass media were in the business of reporting facts, people would be no more worried about this administration than they were about the previous ones, because when it comes to his administration’s actual behavior, he’s just as reliable an upholder of the establishment-friendly status quo as his predecessors.”

    Really? Trump Reportedly Walked Out Of A Policy Meeting To Watch TV

    Then again, who wouldn’t want to walk out on Paul Ryan…

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps she is separating administration’s actual policy behavior from his acutal personal behavior.

      The latter has been well known…not that we are not surprised when we read about it.

      Reply
    2. TimR

      I’m no insider but Caitlin’s take sounds right to me.. These presidents are fronts for the ruling powers, whose real job is to act out a phony narrative that overlays reality. They carry a gullible public through elaborate theatrical productions, carefully crafted to press the predictable buttons of both sides of the audience (and anyone invested in the narrative.) Trump is no rogue outsider; he’s (probably) a mid rank insider, servant to those higher than him. Playing a role.

      Reply
      1. John D.

        I recall this anecdote about Reagan: One of his henchmen asked him one morning if he’d read an important paper the previous night as had been requested of him, and the Dodderer in Chief replied, “B-but, Don…the Sound of Music was on last night!”

        Cute, huh? Trump’s personal assholish behavior doesn’t strike me as all that different from Reagan’s, or Bush Junior’s…or even dear old Poppy’s, for that matter. Bush Senior, the supposed adult of this little group, could be a real prick in his personal behavior.

        Reply
  7. The CM General

    Slight quibble about the headline “The 10 most expensive cities to live in around the world in 2019”

    Seems like the study only considered Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK, and the US so it doesn’t include anywhere in continental Europe.

    Reply
  8. Amfortas the hippie

    Corey Robin’s woefully short Jacobin bit is likely prescient.
    Combined with the Daily Beast’s bump of the Lofgren Diagnosis and the ever present, but mostly ignored. threat of an Article 5 Convention, and we’re likely in for a wild ride as far as the Idea of Government goes.
    Sadly, I just don’t think the current “leadership” of the Demparty are up to the task…and what passes for mainstream Lib/Prog Received Wisdom/Punditry doesn’t engender all that much optimism, either.
    a part of my Sabbatical was spent wandering around “Metamodernism”(as the sort of hegelian synthesis of modernism and postmodernism)(https://medium.com/the-abs-tract-organization/tagged/metamodernism).
    Intriguing stuff…but far from concrete….and barely even useful at this point.
    I’ve been asking my interlocutors, met at random, what it means to be “an American”, since soon after 9-11.
    until very recently, few wanted to go there…aside from the usual empty professions of faith, with spittle and froth.
    If postmodernism destroyed all meaning….the quintessence of Neitszche’s “200 years of Nihilism”…and if Enlightenment, itself, is now in question…I reckon it’s high time to begin having such discussions….in the feed store, the produce aisle and the greasy spoon that doubles as an unofficial town hall.
    We’ve all taken such foundational ontology for granted, for far too long.
    Uncle Freidreich’s remedy to the Age of Nihilism was to learn to create our own meaning for the world(s)…something we’d done all along any way, just in an unconscious manner.
    Even the apolitical rednecks I encounter seem uncannily ready for this effort.
    we’re entering a strange time.

    Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      Thanks for the article you linked to. The piece was intriguing but a bit too abstract for me though I agree that we do need some new and abstract conceptual frameworks. I think the idea of talking to people as you describe is beautiful. For me connecting with others should be the beginning of any conceptual framework. I’ve come to realize that good and evil can be simplified as connection/isolation such that the culture of narcissism would be evil and a sharing (not via coercion) would be good.

      The fact is, whether we like it or not we are in a militantly post-rational society where reasonable arguments largely go nowhere. This ought to be taken as an opportunity just to listen and connect. People positivel respond to being listed to and noticed. For me the future lies in discovering a higher level of communicating. The cited article certainly alludes to this as developing a higher level of social consciousness but that can only happen when we ourselves take on the project of higher consciousness ourselves.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        while studying the American Right, it struck me one day that they(in the early 70’s) had stolen evangelism–the Great Commission–from the actual christians they were trying at the time to drag under their big tent. they’d send around legions of well dressed, well spoken young men and women(mostly men) to peoples’ homes, or to lions club meetings, church socials, what have you…to spread the Good News(sic) of American “Conservatism”.
        I thought about this for a while…and how damned effective it has been…and wondered, “where’s the Lefty Version?”
        of course, the American Left was either driven underground by 100+ years of anticommie hysteria or absorbed by the nascent Big Center.
        No one even speaks the language any more.
        Ergo…evangelism for American Liberalism, applied with the Socratic Method…using as much Social Gospel Language as appropriate in any given situation.
        I’ve found this much more effective than simply yelling at the rednecks and flinging poo at the erstwhile xtians.
        I gave up all the yelling and poo flinging at the beginning of Obama’s second term, when I finally admitted to myself that Nixon was closer to FDR than O would ever be.

        Reply
        1. newcatty

          While talking about :”learning to create our own meaning for the world(s)…something we’d done all along anyway, just in an unconscious manner.” This is the essence of creating the awareness that gives consciousness is in any human’s reach. When we are creating meaning in our personal lives from that perspective, it not just unconscious anymore. To bring it to consciousness is beginning of the light shinning in the darkness. Its easy and, understandable, to live with the effects of Nihilism in the “world” unconsciously. Besides the incessant propaganda, that enters right into the human mind subconsciously, the person is bombarded with their most basis needs, physical and spiritually either not being met or eroded. Then all that is reinforced with the double down of: if you are poor or slipping into less and less certainty of hanging on to your ride on the society’s merry-go- round it’s your fault. This is part of the narrative fairy tale that is starting to crumble.

          Reply
        2. Chris Cosmos

          The difference between conservative Christians and lefties is certainty. They know the absolute truth in every area and like good sales people are relentlessly confident even when they’re bot.

          Reply
  9. Olga

    This is what we’re all paying for – although the fruits of such labour are nowhere near equally distributed:
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/07/27/the-grand-illusion-of-imperial-power/

    “Few Americans today understand how the United States came to be owned by a London-backed neoconservative/right-wing alliance that grew out of the institutional turmoil of the post-Vietnam era. Even fewer understand how its internal mission to maintain the remnants of the old British Empire gradually overcame American democracy and replaced it with a “national security” bureaucracy of its own design. We owe the blueprint of that plan to James Burnham, Trotskyist, OSS man and architect of the neoconservative movement whose exposition of the Formal and the Real in his 1943 The Modern Machiavellians justified the rise of the oligarch and the absolute rule of their managerial elite. But Americans would be shocked to find that our current political nightmare came to power with the willing consent and cooperation of President James Earl Carter and his National Security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski; aided by intelligence agencies in Europe and the Middle East.”

    Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      Well the coup d’etat of 1963 was the beginning not the Carter years. Carter was deeply and viscerally hated by the Washington establishment and they did all they could to sabotage his work.

      Reply
  10. allan

    Unpaid federal workers: the FBI and TSA might be getting the most press,
    but in terms of performance possibly being affected
    by the stress to which they’re being subjected,
    the air traffic controllers are the ones to really worry about.

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      At least we’re back from our trip to Indiana, and I don’t think any of my family need to fly anywhere soon. We didn’t encounter any TSA slowdown, but I feel sorry for those traveling in the next month or so.

      Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “The new elite’s phoney crusade to save the world – without changing anything”

    I have to admit to a bit of unease in reading this article. Yes, they acknowledge that there are problems with the rise again of both Nationalism and Socialism as counter forces to what they are doing to world societies but I do not think they remember what happened the last time that these two forces combined.

    Reply
    1. makedoanmend

      Socialism was a term Hitler and his cohort co-opted to muddy the waters as they pursued their actual goals. He hated commies, socialists and pinkos of all stripes. They ranked right up there with Jews. They were some of his first inmates in his camps. Economics, among a myriad of other subjects, wasn’t one of Hitler’s fortés. Obtaining and maintaining power was, as was self promotion. He was really big into self promotion.

      Reply
    2. Massinissa

      There WAS an actual Socialist wing to the Nazi party early on… But they were killed off in the Night of the Long Knives in 1934 for being socialist (and also for their leadership being gay). Other than the Strasserists under Ernst Rohm who were killed in the aforementioned event, the Nazi’s were not actually socialists, and 1934 was very early on in Nazi history.

      Also makedoanmend’s comment is very accurate.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        They tried to appeal to workers differently.

        As long as you quailfied or behaved, so that you didn’t get sent to their German version of Siberia, you could look forward to a Strength-through-Joy cruise trip, or vacationing in the never-completed Prora resort, or maybe one day buying a cheap People’s Car.

        Reply
        1. newcatty

          MLTPB,
          Why does this remind me of the Israeli programs of the “free” trips to Israel for American politicians, Congress members, “special interest groups “, and their ,not at all subtle, match making trips for young people to “return” or “reconnect” with Israel?

          They found true love as they worked at a thriving kibbutz farm and danced at a hot club on the seashore. Oh! He kissed me! Mom, I am engaged. Make reservations, now!

          Reply
  12. DJG

    Yves Smith: I read this article that you posted in Links yesterday. The article itself is excellent, as is almost all of the writing at MondoWeiss. So I re-post, given that you have a related article today from Moon of Alabama:

    https://mondoweiss.net/2019/01/alexander-progressives-palestine/

    Any reconsideration of U.S. attitudes toward the Palestinians will have major effects. First, many “experts” for years have portrayed the Arabs as a bunch of irrational blood-thirsty semi-criminals. Second, having some understanding of Palestinian aspirations will also mean that various knuckle-headed schemes of “regime change” in the Middle East will meet with more skepticism. So Michelle Alexander’s column isn’t just bad news for Israel. It is also bad news for our “intelligence community” and various foreign-policy experts like Bolton. And, oh, the mainstream Democrats, too, like Clinton(s), Obama, and Schumer.

    Moon of Alabama points out that pink-washing is already going on: Israel is a paradise for gayfolk! Yeah, sure. I am reminded of how the Ricketts family (the R stands for rapacious) drag out the lesbian sister whenever they want a land deal or tax break or hotel across the street from Wrigley Field. So it is more like Pink Human Shield. (The Rickettses: Why won’t the City of Chicago give us another tax break? Our sister is a lesbian! We haven’t institutionalized her yet!)

    And, believe it or not, the comments section at MondoWeiss and at Moon of Alabama are both worth a look: Real-live discussion of issues! Who’da thunk it?

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Moon doubtless reads Mondoweiss just like we do and that was the inspiration for his post. Which is to say that Mondoweiss–a largely Jewish critique of Zionism–doesn’t seem to have much category company and is the go to site. One should say though that Weiss is constantly announcing elite opinion turning points that never quite come off. He enthused about the election of Obama and thought Obama would finally give the Palestinians a fair shake. Not so much.

      Here’s hoping this time he’s right.

      Reply
      1. georgieboy

        Overly cynical perhaps, or maybe just overly seasoned, but given the NYT history and ownership structure it seems likely Ms. Alexander is just being allowed to run her leash a bit, to develop some street cred.

        Useful for the Times tribe sometime down the road when the stakes around Israel are higher, and coincidentally her personal stakes (job security, public acclaim) will be too.

        Reply
  13. Wyoming

    RE: US man accused of spying in Russia may have had state secrets, says his lawyer Guardian

    I have a different take on what has likely occurred with this nut case. Let’s review a bit.

    A dishonorably discharged non-com Marine (larceny and other offenses).
    While still serving in Iraq takes his leave to go to Russia vice home to his family (this should have raised HUGE red flags to the military counter intel guys btw)
    Has some strange love affair with Russia in that he keeps going there over and over again once in private life.
    Has no immediate family like a wife and kids.
    Lied on employment applications about his previous job experience (was not a policeman as he claimed)
    Had no work or educational experience to hold corporate chief of security jobs at 2 different large US manufacturing firms.
    His known public contacts with Russians include a significant number of Russian military members or employees.

    So where does this leave us?

    Sure he is likely being used as a pawn by the Russians. But is the story about him just being a fool tourist and not a US spy correct? Well I doubt strongly that the US intel folks would use such a flawed person as some kind of corporate information gatherer. But there is another possibility here that the news and the talking head former US intel employees don’t seem to mention for some reason.

    He clearly fits the profile of someone who thinks of himself as some kind of spy and his actions up to his arrest fit the bill as well. So what was he doing if he was not just a nut case playing James Bond?

    How about stealing corporate trade secrets and selling/giving them to the Russians for some kind of, as yet undetermined, compensation (the working girls who hang around the high en hotels in Moscow are spectacular and known to be amenable to directions from the FSB for one possibility). So perhaps he works for the Russians not against the Russians at a low level and is not really very valuable.

    So he is also expendable and the current situation with the US re: Butina ends up making him more valuable as a pawn. And why not? After all he can’t come out and say “I was not spying on the Russians. I was spying for them.”

    Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “Paris vows to extend labour reforms despite gilets jaunes”

    Man, this article is bad. They mention that the government will create more jobs but where? I am betting in Paris and they will end up being McJobs. They “delayed reforms to the civil service to appease protesters” but did not cancel them I note. And the money that was directed at boosting labour reforms? Yeah, I can guess what sort of reforms that will turn out to be. Zero-hour contract maybe. There is also lots of money for the “training of the long-term and young unemployed” – to keep them off the streets protesting their lack of futures. My take on the article is that because unemployment is so high in France, the government has convinced themselves that by solving this problem – or at least hiding the unemployed in training programs – that this will bring the protests to an end. They haven’t learned a damn thing from the protests, have they?

    Reply
  15. Morgan Everett

    Is “I tried to cut tech companies out of my life and failed” going to become a genre? I swear I read another article with an identical premise recently.

    Reply
    1. JohnnyGL

      I saw that yesterday and posted in Watercooler….got it via Jamarl Thomas’s channel (should have given him credit).

      Rogan was awfully nice in his very mild pushback. She really wasn’t prepared to defend the weirdly visceral hatred. You can’t call someone the “motherload of bad ideas” and not list a single one. It just looks like you personally hate her.

      Also, note how going left is equated with pro “id pol”. Going left on econ is not even on the table. Bernie’s entire agenda gets airbrushed out of the picture.

      Reply
    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      That clip illustrates the key difference between the Times’ “Gen-X female demographic” pundits: the left winger knows how to spell her 4-syllable reptile slurs, and inserts them slyly into her prose. The right winger, by contrast, is pleasingly upfront with the insult….. but can’t spell it, and likely doesn’t know that toads are actually amphibians.

      Together these 2 ladies completely embody the past three decades of American opinionating. The “left” winger publicly preens with cleverness; the right winger publicly rants with arrogance. Same shtick, slightly different angles, and the poor get screwed either way.

      I’m eagerly awaiting each woman’s choice of insect slur (to be deployed in a few months when the nomination race tightens). Will Ms. Goldberg liken Gabbard to a preying mantis, while Ms. Weiss goes with cockroach? Or will Michelle favor a semi-obscure beetle allusion, while lovely young Bari choose some poisonous spider?

      Reply
      1. integer

        I like preying mantises. Anyway, maggot is already taken, although it is spelled MAGAt, termite is too controversial after Farrakhan’s widely quoted statement, and WASP is not going to work. Calling someone an earwig would be hilarious. I’d say scorpion is the pick of the remaining insects/arachnids.

        Reply
    3. ivoteno

      wow…thanks for that link. tulsi can probably get several campaign ads worth of material out of that clip. kudos to mr rogan for exposing as many empty establishment talking points as he managed, rather than gloating about scoring the first gotcha like so many these days would have. that was an epic meltdown. i think the word toady is, in this instance, worthy of some sort of black swan award.

      Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    “Syria on agenda, Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets Vladimir Putin”

    I’d like to be a fly on the wall when those two got together. Erdogan may have some ‘splaining to do. His forces were supposed to have the Jihadists separated from Syrian forces in Idlib but instead the Jihadists have taken over most of Idlib. They have already launched attacks against the Syrian Army but it usually does not end well for them. Turkey wants to seize Syrian territory for a buffer against the Kurds but I am betting that it will be Jihadists supported by Turkey that will be occupying this zone with Turkish backup. I doubt that the Kurds in Syria will tolerate being cut off from the Kurds in Turkey and this will heat up into a hot zone, especially since Erdogan wants to depopulate it of Kurds and fill it up with Syrian refugees – who will go to school to learn Turkish and be under Turkish administration. Turkey also wants to seize Manbij for himself but there is already Syrian forces outside that city and US and Russian forces inside so I do not see how the US can simply hand over the city to the Turkish Jihadists with any success. Erdogan may dream of a new Ottoman empire but he may have bitten of more that he can chew, especially since the other Arab countries are now making nice with Syria to form an anti-Turkish coalition. Couldn’t happen to a nicer fellow.

    Reply
  17. dcblogger

    General Strike: Fierce Urgency of Now

    January 20, 2019 — AFA International President Sara Nelson accepted the 2019 AFL-CIO MLK Drum Major for Justice Award, with a call to conference activists from across the Labor Movement to talk with their union leadership about conducting a General Strike to end the Government Shutdown.
    https://www.afacwa.org/fierce_urgency_of_now

    Reply
    1. cgeye

      Have the DSA and other organizers started to connect the dots, about the gig economy being one bad boss away from just about every wage earner?

      At no other time have I seen such sympathetic coverage for working people, unless they were homeless or disabled.

      If not now — when needed tax refunds and safe plane flights are at stake — when?

      Reply
    2. ivoteno

      i see an opening some smooth talker could drive a truck through: a counter strike to keep the shutdown in place (the orange vests?). divide and conquer and whatnot. i hear you can get cheap yellow vests online, even from amazon?

      Reply
  18. Tom Stone

    Bourqui shows up and sits quietly in the audience.
    No comment beyond “This is my Lawyer” to the reporter.
    good tactics, let Marcie’s imagination have something to feed on.

    Reply
    1. ivoteno

      “Elizabeth Warren’s politics aren’t impressive, and they never have been; all she has ever leaned on is a rigid obsession with the sort of basic financial regulation that barely mitigates capitalism’s greatest crimes. “

      this is a great summation of why i have been extremely disappointed in warren as a politician. once again, i was fooled by somebody saying all the right things, only to not follow through in any meaningful way once they went to “the capitol,” in a hunger games analogy…

      and sadly, i say this as an OWSer who happened to, at the time, be of the opinion that warren was the type of person we need in government.

      Reply
  19. djrichard

    Macron looks to labour reforms to placate gilets jaunes Financial Times

    Correction to article headline: uses the word despite instead of placate. I was wondering, given labour reform is never good for labour.

    Reply
      1. djrichard

        Part of me wonders if this is just Macron’s way of boot strapping not only a federal budget for the eurozone, but also a federal deficit and therefore a federal bond issuance. Maybe it’s just one short hop skip from there to federal bond issuance on behalf of other programs, e.g. fiscal spending in the PIIGS to offset the trade surplus that Germany has with them.

        So … Macron to Germany: If we can’t agree to fiscal spending on behalf of the PIIGS to begin with, how about at least fiscal spending on behalf of a federal defense?

        Of course, once they get military spending in place, they’ll want to use it. Regime change anyone?

        Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      My view is most politicians are always game for “sexy” work but avoid hard work at all costs which is why Bernie Sanders despite (until recently) having no leverage over the Democratic caucus has held important posts in the budget and veterans committees. Those jobs require work. The House Oversight Committee is important and requires “hard” work versus “sexy” work. I would guess AOC wasn’t even on Pelosi’s list, but Nancy probably had people flat out beg not to be on the committee.

      Reply
      1. JohnnyGL

        A world of possibilities seems to open up when you don’t take that 2nd job of ‘dialing for dollars’ of approx. 30 hrs per week!

        Reply
    2. djrichard

      If she wants to signal virtue, that committee is the place to be. Personally I think she would be better served pushing the conversation further on other committees.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        In the old British empire, it was said that if an Englishman spoke to a native in English and the native did not understand his language, then the Englishmen would shout the words louder and louder until he did understand.

        Reply
    1. flora

      Foreign-Language programs aren’t STEM programs, obviously. The classics, the humanities, and the arts are being systematically reduced in favor of more STEM courses. This change is done to please big corporate and private financial donors. That’s deemed necessary by academic admin now that public funding of higher ed is reduced so significantly from what it was 20-30 years ago. Whatever college programs bring in lots of external private money – research grant, bequest, or donation – are increased. Whatever programs do not bring in external funding or as much external funding are reduced.

      Higher Ed is being run like a business. If the football program brings in lots of money, but the English department does not, then increase funds to the football department and reduce funds to the Englist department. Reduce tenure track professors and replace them with temp adjunct. etc.

      Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      “OMG Russia” also meant the HRC campaign was never reviewed the way it needed to be. This drivel didn’t work in 2016, but the people behind it weren’t sufficiently pilloried. These DLC style candidates trying to present themselves as progressive will repeat HRC’s campaign on a condensed timeline as they try to capture the old magic. They’ll borrow from Obama too but never address Obama’s strength which was not voting for Iraq and not being aligned with the Clintons.

      Reply
      1. Oh

        NTG,

        After the chameleon changed is color in 2012, he found it important to get Hilly on his side and throw away what you label as his “strength”. His biggest strength was that he was a con artist.

        Reply
  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Oceans Are Getting Louder, Posing Potential Threats to Marine Life New York Times (Robert M)

    I was surprised to learn, watching the BBC documentary Blue Planet 2 that, something as innocuous as a boat passing over above could harm clownfish, by stopping their vocalization they use for, among other things, warning about potential dangers.

    We tend to favor seeing over hearing, I believe…at least in some important instances. The example above, for one.

    The other one is this:

    We say ‘what the witness heard the accused say is called hearsay, and can not be used here.’

    But we don’t say ‘what the witness saw the accussed do can not be used here.’

    Here, seeing is usable, admissible, but hearing is not.

    Reply
  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Media: why is AOC so popular?

    Ppl: her politics are popular

    Media: social media?

    Ppl: no, her politics of unafraid socialism

    Media: it’s cuz she young n hot

    Ppl: s o c i a l i s m

    Media: we may never know

    —–

    I believe Trump without Twitter would be a different politician.

    And if AOC is gathering more media attention than, say, Sanders, social media, her age and other mysteres (such as ‘it’), can not be discounted. And if she is not more popular than Sanders, those factors still can not be overlooked, looking at Trump’s use of modern communications options.

    Reply
  22. allan

    A Tale of Two Cities, tax season edition:

    For the back row kids:

    To be clear, lots of taxpayers might not be affected at all by the shutdown, which has locked down IRS assistance centers and will have a yet-untold effect on the agency’s ability to answer the phone.

    … [but] one group that could have trouble: Taxpayers who rely on refundable tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. The EITC has a high error rate, and refunds for the incentive and other refundable credits can’t go out until Feb. 15, which could lead to something of a vicious circle for those recipients. “Low-income households are the most likely to rely on IRS walk-in centers or the call centers for assistance, and thus will likely have a tougher time getting information about filing. That means their returns are more likely to have errors, which will further delay their refunds,” Howard Gleckman of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center told Morning Tax.

    For the front row kids:

    … the White House’s budget office, which has new review powers over tax law rules, hasn’t listed any new meetings that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has had with outside groups about the tax law. But that doesn’t mean the meetings aren’t happening, a senior administration official told Morning Tax. Instead, the lack of funding has led to “limited staff and resources available to timely post updates.”

    Uh-huh. The best way to rob a government is to run one.

    Reply
  23. Chauncey Gardiner

    Regarding “The government shutdown may force Trump to make a nightmare choice between his border wall and the economy”, from Business Insider, the writer assumes the president actually cares about either one. What if his true objectives in engineering this shutdown are substantially different, and consistent with today’s related linked article from The Daily Beast this president is getting what he, the GOP and their sponsors are really after?… which include damaging government effectiveness, credibility and labor; and a rising stock market?

    Concerning the latter, it is enlightening that Senator Elizabeth Warren questioned why Treasury Secretary Mnuchin made extraordinary calls to the CEOs of six large bank holding companies on Dec 23rd, shortly before the stock market began a rally on Dec 26th.

    Concerning the former, the linked article from the Daily Beast pretty much lays it out. So let’s dispense with the facade that this is about a wall.

    Reply
  24. Oregoncharles

    ” the EU offering to work out how to keep an open border in the Withdrawal Agreement was generous,” – is false. The Irish Republic, which remains in the EU, would be hurt worse than the UK (because NI is only a small part of the UK). It was Irish insistence that drove that part of the negotiations.

    Granted, the EU also has a history of throwing peripheral nations to the wolves – they did it to Ireland during the Financial Collapse. But they can do only so much of that before they fall apart, and there are plenty of signs they’re at that point and may have passed it. Witness Poland, Hungary, and even Italy – which is not peripheral, despite its location. So they were looking out for their own interests, not “generous.”

    Reply
  25. newcatty

    Love today’s antidote. When I saw it, first thing to flash was it is adorable. Second thing was, hmmm, Who is posting Links? Yves or Jerri Lynn? This is a perfect meet-up of the Bird theme and the Kitty.

    Reply
  26. Oregoncharles

    “Cabinet ministers round on Remain colleagues as backlash builds over plans to stop no-deal Brexit” ( & others):
    Does Britain still have a parliamentary government? Parliament has been perfectly clear about just one thing: no no-deal Brexit. Yet they seem unable to stop the Government, which theoretically works for them, from going ahead with one. I would call that a constitutional crisis, or even a collapse, if Britain HAD a constitution.

    What would Parliament have to do to assert its authority? They already failed to throw out May, though the vote was uncomfortably close.

    Reply
  27. ewmayer

    “Seafood processing water is a surprising source of nutrients | TreeHugger”. Resilc: “When do we see fish gutzNstuff kombucha at Whole Foods for $19.99 a pint?”

    Funny you should mention that … back in college I found myself deep in tuition debt at end of my Junior year, so me and a buddy decided to take a flyer and try our luck in the summer fishing industry in Alaska. We didn’t end up on a fishing boat, but worked in several of the numerous coastal processing plants which take in the boats’ catch and prepare it for market in multiple ways (fresh, frozen, canned, brined roe, brine-frozen crabs, etc.) Wherever you go there, the lowest-paid and least desirable entry jobs always involve processing the guts. Job #1 was on the “slime line” in a salmon processing plant, basically a long stainless-steel table, forklift brings large plastic totes full of fish-from-the-boat to head of table, position #1, the “header”, cuts off the head (the skill is being able to cleanly chop off the head of a typically 10-15lb salmon via one quick, surgical, V-shaped cut in a single smooth motion, and do it housands of time per day without crippling oneself with tendinitis – a trickier variant is leaving the head on and excising just the bacteria-laden gills), fish gets slid on to #2, who uses a filleting knife to slit the fish’s belly open from stem to stern without damaging any of the precious roe in the case of the females, then to #3, the “gutter”, who like the rest wears grippy cotton-weave workgloves over thin plastic ‘skin’ gloves and pulls the innards out starting at the sternum. If a male, the wad of guts and long semen-filled sacks go into the discard drum; if a female the bundle gets slid on to #4, who carefully separates the sack of roe from the guts for brining and shipment to the Asian market. (In our plant’s case, the latter processing step was actually subcontracted to a Japanese firm, the staff in the “egg room” where the roe was processed for eventual packing into neat 5kg wooden boxes labeled with the type and quality of the roe in the box was roughly half Japanese men and women). At the far end of the slime line the cleaned fish was loaded onto large racks of metal trays for freezing at 40 below in the large freezer room, or packed with ice and boxed for air shipment to fish markets up and down the West Coast, and elsewhere.

    I started at position #3, pulling the guts out, then got promoted to belly slitter, and eventually proved my worth as a headchopper, but the fishing in the area of Alaska (Kenai Peninsula) unexpectedly went bust right around the expected “peak” in July, when everyone usually works insane hours and makes most of their summer money in a few short weeks as a result of the overtime. The second plant I worked at, a much larger one, “Kodiak King Crab Inc.” – which despite the name mostly handled fish, cod and halibut in addition to salmon – on Kodiak island, I again started with the guts, in this case they had a special large room called the “bio-dry room”, where the tubs of fish guts got ground up by a large machine and several of us lucky fellows got to stomp around in our knee-high rubber boots and plastic aprons in foot-deep ground-up fish offal (insert obligatory “roe v wade” quip here) using shovels to help steer the machine’s output to where it needed to go, for shipment onward to a place that basically dried and mulched it into high-grade fertilizer. That would’ve made a great installment for that Discovery Channel reality series, Messy Jobs. Anyhow, KKCI had suffered from a similar slowdown in the catch, seen most of the seasonal workers leave in search of better pastures (just as we had done in Kenai), but just as we got there the fish had started running again and they were short-handed, so we could work as many hours as we were physically capable of doing. In my case that averaged 120 hours per week – and these were “on the time clock” hours, mind you – for 4 weeks straight. Get up at 4am, quick breakfast and walk to the plant, start shift at 5am, finish around 1am the next morning, walk home in darkness, quick dinner and maybe a brief shower, crash into bed for 2 hours’ sleep, repeat every days for 4 weeks. The kind of craziness you can really only handle when you are still young. The resulting math (this was in 1984): base wage of $5.50/hr, 40 hours of that, 80 hours of time-and-half, total nearly $900 per week. That was a lot of money by the standard of unskilled summer jobs back in those days … and when I got back to school at beginning of September, it all went straight to the cashier’s office to pay off what I owed on the previous year’s tuition, allowing me to enroll for my senior year. (As I recall they were less generous with student loans back in those days … and I had a decent amount of scholarship money, but it was heavily ‘front-loaded’ over my first 2 years, and my family was of the humble-means variety.) Ah, memories. :)

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  28. newcatty

    Ha! Guess that explains why Bernie attracts crowds at his rallies. Think the most attractive characteristics of a person is their inner beauty. Authentic caring for others is a winner.

    Reply
  29. Paul Jurczak

    “Europe’s mightiest river is drying up”: the Rhine is far from being Europe’s mightiest river. Volga, Danube, Pechora and Northern Dvina are longer and have higher water flow, but I suppose, the West is always the best…

    Reply
  30. The Rev Kev

    “State secrets were on US man during Russia arrest, says his lawyer”

    Come, come, man the whole thing sounds legit with his excuse and really, who here hasn’t found a USB drive with secret information about a government’s employees in their pocket at one time or another? I know I have.

    Reply
  31. JohnB

    I haven’t seen any links or postings about Venezuela? How come? I thought that might be something this site would want to have some focus on.

    Reply

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