Links 1/24/19

Dog-walking app accused of cover-up over dog’s death BBC

Planetary collision that formed the moon made life possible on Earth ScienceDaily (Kevin W)

Computer science reveals why this headline is not funny MIT Technology Review (David L)

Greenland is approaching the threshold of an irreversible melt, and the consequences for coastal cities could be dire Business Insider (David L)

Record Number of Americans See Climate Change As a Current Threat Axios

Google and Facebook Backed an Event Denying Climate Change Wired (David L)

Officials in anti-vaccination ‘hotspot’ near Portland declare an emergency over measles outbreak Washington Post (Kevin W)


Microsoft Bing Blocked in China as Tensions, Crackdown Intensify Bloomberg

Rising costs of China’s stimulus addiction Asia Times

U.S. Believes It Doesn’t Need to Show ‘Proof’ Huawei Is a Spy Threat Wall Street Journal


From Politico’s morning European newsletter:

BARNIER ON BREXIT: So here’s the EU’s Brexit negotiator on the record on the EU’s state of readiness and conditions for when Prime Minister Theresa May returns to Brussels: “I have the impression that the backstop is not the central issue. Ultimately, the debate in Britain is about what the future of the U.K. will look like. I believe that we can overcome the current difficulties when we discuss that issue together.” The comments were made in an interview with a number of papers. Pick your favourite language: German: Luxembourger Wort; French: Le Monde; Polish: Rzeczpospolita.

Let me translate Barnier for you: The higher the U.K. climbs back up the Barnier stairway to no-deal hell, the less important the backstop. Hammering that message home, Barnier said: “We cannot tie the backstop to a time limit.”

Extension? If Britain asks for an extension, EU leaders “will only agree if three questions are answered,” Barnier said. “First and second, why and how long? And third, will not that be a problem for holding the EU election in May? I have no clear legal answer to the third question yet. It is important the EU’s democratic processes are not disturbed by this, however.” He continued, “The first two questions are complex and interconnected: [There needs to be] a stable majority in London for all laws related to Brexit that need to be adopted. This will need time,” he said.

Theresa May has a week to save her Brexit deal before the Commons takes control The Times. The Times continues to be the least reliable source on Brexit, a not-trivial accomplishment.

Labour ready to whip MPs to back Cooper’s no-deal amendment Guardian

Article 50 extension not a Brexit solution, May tells MPs Financial Times

Jacob Rees-Mogg urges Theresa May to shut down Parliament if MPs try to thwart Brexit Telegraph. Flagged in comments on our Brexit post yesterday:

January 23, 2019 at 11:33 am
Oh double my.
This is the official parliamentary description of prorogation. The least you can say is that it isn’t intended to cope with such situations . JRM is really trying to stir it up, isn’t he?

January 23, 2019 at 11:49 am
Yes, I agree totally. This is not a situation where parliament being prorogued is even remotely indicated. Which is why one of my hunches (outlined in more detail a little way above) is that one of May’s mind games (Ha! What a prospect …) is to facilitate ever increasing levels of Brexit Derangement Syndrome in order to create that oldest of sales techniques, the drama of persuasion.

January 23, 2019 at 12:01 pm
Paradoxically, his intervention may actually harden the resolve of some in parliament to confront May. If they’re going to treat us like that ….

Ireland faces isolation with Britain as EU border mooted Irish Examiner

New Cold War

A N.Y. Times Story Just Accidentally Shredded the Russiagate Hysteria Lee Camp, Truthdig


Hoo boy:

Venezuela: Trump recognises opposition leader as president Guardian (Kevin W). Bill B added:

This afternoon the President of the United States thrust himself into the political affairs of another country by recognizing Juan Guaidó as the interim leader of Venezuela. Thus echoing the actions of the former Chief Executive who announced that “Assad must go.” The public record shows that America has a long bipartisan history of openly and covertly acting to foment regime change in dozens of foreign countries. With all of the uproar about political meddling during the 2016 election season, if our policy makers find the practice so abhorrent perhaps they would be well advised to abstain from it themselves.

Venezuela crisis: How the world sees it DW

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Julian Assange Launches Legal Challenge Against Trump Administration Guardian

Inside Facebook’s fight against European regulation Politico

There Was Heavy Tech Lobbying On Article 13… From The Company Hoping To Sell Everyone The Filters TechDirt (Chuck L)

Trump Transition

Cohen postpones testimony, citing threats from Trump The Hill

CEOs sour on Trump policies, warn they hurt business, investment Reuters (resilc)

The Memo: Pelosi ups ante in Trump showdown The Hill

Trump Says He’ll Put Off State of the Union Until After Shutdown Bloomberg

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wins seat on powerful House panel set to investigate Trump administration New York Daily News

Biden and Beto’s Aid to GOP Candidates Is Disqualifying New York Magazine. Resilc: “Gee, a death star twofer in a single day.”

Fake News

Don’t trust Daily Mail website, Microsoft browser warns users Guardian (John L)

Microsoft’s web browser now warns users about untrustworthy news. Here’s how your favourite publications stack up. Business Insider (Kevin W)

Saudi Arabia: We’ll Pump The World’s Very Last Barrel Of Oil OilPrice

Amazon spends company record on U.S. lobbying in 2018: filing Reuters

Where Amazon Returns Go to Be Resold by Hustlers Atlantic (resilc)

Amazon (AMZN) Testing Robot Delivery Near Seattle Bloomberg. Resilc: “With police escort?

U.S. airlines tap army helicopter pilots to ease shortage Reuters. EM:

Gee, I wonder if some of the numbers cited here might have had something to do with the failure to convince lots of private-sector mopes to spend upwards of $100,000 on the needed training?

“Airlines have been forced to more than double starting salaries to $54,000, excluding bonuses, in 2018 from $21,000 a decade ago, according to aviation consultant Kit Darby.”

Carlos Ghosn Resigns From Top Job at Renault Bloomberg

Apple just dismissed more than 200 employees from Project Titan, its autonomous vehicle group CNBC

Is public debt a cheap lunch? Bruegel. MMT fans will tear their hair.

Guillotine Watch

How Elon Musk’s secretive foundation hands out his billions Guardian (resilc). Charity begins at home!

Redefining globalisation on the slippery slopes of Davos Financial Times

World’s Billionaires: Taxing Us Our Fair Share Would Be “Disastrous” Vanity Fair

Globalization and the Transformation of the International State System Wolfgang Streeck (Anthonly Lynch)

Antidote du jour (Robert H):


And a bonus from martha r:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. John Beech

    Re: Computer science reveals why this headline is not funny MIT Technology Review

    The article regards humor and AI, but makes no mention of what first came to mind, the 1966 scifi story by RA Heinlein title, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. In it, the narrator, computer repairman Manny, learns his charge, the HOLMES IV computer has become self aware and is asked to help it learn the elements of humor, which he does by compiling and sharing a list of jokes. I re-read it recently and it remains quite a good yarn. Especially if you’re politically of a Libertarian bent. And reflecting how I surely first read it as a freshman in high school (the early 70s), I have no doubt it shaped and informed political beliefs I hold to this day . . . TANSTAAFL!

    1. Wukchumni

      Aside from the ball & chain i’m pecking away at, building up my finger strength, I find myself drawn to things computers can’t do, and if stand-up comedians made of silicon and wires were to amuse us in lieu of the real thing, it would put the 87 people earning a living doing so in deep peril.

      And what if a computer completely blows a joke by telling it wrong, will online hecklers pummel the non-entity with riotous silent laughter?

      Or what if it tells an off-color joke that would usually ruin a comedian’s career?

        1. Wukchumni

          They’ve taken it down for a spell to relist it in order to make the listing ‘fresh’. I’ll see what I can scare up for you…

    2. Mark Gisleson

      Manny also plots trajectories for launching huge rocks at earth when the moon folk decide to become independent. They win their freedom by threatening to pound earth with giant meteors.

      Just sayin’.

    3. False Solace

      I always found it interesting the libertarian revolution depicted in TMIAHM was totally dependent on a perfect omniscient god in the form of Holmes. Holmes kept all their secrets, organized their revolutionary cells, and when it came time for elections was instrumental in manipulating them to ensure the “correct” outcome. That’s literally what happened, btw — Manny tampered with election results to make sure his politically like-minded buddies got elected. Some freedom that turned out to be. Of course, RL libertarians resort to even worse tactics. Their “freedom” turns out to be the freedom to be murdered by death squads and tortured to death to ensure the wealthy elite maintain control of government and pay no taxes.

  2. vlade

    Ireland being isolated – I mooted this some time back as a possible solution by the EU. The repercussions would be not nice though. There is a precedent – the EU states can “reinstall” border in some cases, but it must be temporary and in extraordinary situations. The second definitely fits, but not sure about the temporality.

    I think if this happened, Ireland should push for unification referendum. It’d be cheaper to have a poor NI to join than to be excluded from the UK. DUP would throw a tantrum, but even its unionist Tory buddies would be hard pressed to object if there. Latest polls show it’s pretty much a toss up – which given where it was even year ago is a massive move.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe we have a hostage situation here. As in the UK has a hold on Ireland and tells the EU: “We’re going out the Exit and if anybody makes one wrong move, Ireland gets it!”

      1. Summer

        Or it could be a bit of “If you go out the exit, Ireland gets it..”
        I can’t tell anymore.

        Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I suspect that if that story is being floated by the EU (directly or indirectly) its essentially aimed at forcing the Irish government to get its finger out over preparing to deal with border issues. The Irish government has been frantically trying to pretend it won’t have to put up any physical barriers, and it certainly can’t rely on the UK to do their part. Its such a political hot potato Varadkar has essentially being instructing the various bodies involved not to do anything apart from build up on the recruitment side of thing.

      I can’t see the EU having any motivation for doing this unless there is really a serious problem with products ‘leaking’ from the UK – this would most likely be food products like dairy. But it would certainly not be in Irelands interest to allow it to happen, the EU is a far more important trade partner than the UK in the broader scheme of things. Having said that, given the relatively tightly defined direct trade routes between Ireland and continental Europe, some sort of checks make sense.

      But again, it brings everything back to the stupidity of the DUP’s stance on the border issues. The EU’s offer, to allow NI to stay within the aegis of the EU was generous and a potential boon for the province. A hard border is a disaster, it will simply wipe out Northern Irelands main industries.

      The Irish government will do everything it can to take a border poll (to allow unification) off the table, they dread that more than anything. The Irish media (corporate controlled of course) are already very noticeably stepping up anti Sinn Fein stories in a very obvious way.

      1. vlade

        It may be hard to avoid the border poll in case of no-deal BRexit and NI clamouring for it. The NI republicans may then find what the Irish soft-Tories did (i.e. that the “home country” doesn’t give a toss), but that would almost certainly lead to violence IMO.

        And, if there’s a choice between border poll or hard border with the EU, what would the government chose?

        1. liam

          Border poll!!! Despite the cost, to move back into the UK’s orbit would be unconscionable. It’d be like an abused wife returning to their spouse and saying “I can’t live without you”. There may be troublesome kids involved, but then what relationship with an abusive partner doesn’t have troubled kids??? And what abusive partner doesn’t use those kids as leverage?

          1. ChrisPacific

            To extend your metaphor, how often do abused spouses return anyway, even after taking all those factors into account? It’s one thing to say and another to actually do it, and the challenges on the other side aren’t small either.

        2. David

          Talk about ghosts coming back to haunt … In the 70s and 80s, the unspoken fears in London were much more about the Loyalists in NI than the Republicans. The analysis was that they were more numerous, had nowhere else to go, and had a dangerous amount of support among Tory MPs and parts of the security sector. Whether the security forces would actually put down a serious Loyalist revolt was not at all certain.The Republicans, it was believed, could eventually be worn down, and this proved to be the case. The Loyalists were another matter. If there’s a poll which returns a slight majority for unification, then the security situation could degrade quite quickly, and it’s not clear that this government would have any idea what to do. Apart from anything else, British forces no longer have the training, or even the numbers, to intervene usefully, even if the government could define a mission for them.

          1. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you and well said, David.

            With regard to force numbers, there are fewer army personnel than at any time since Waterloo. There are more estate agents (realtors) in the UK than there are soldiers.

            This said, you would be surprised at the number of EU27 officials who think the UK should be given a good deal as they think the UK is needed to defend Europe from Russia. Go figure. I explain that there aren’t enough Guardsmen to troop the colour, hence the change in formation, and the navy’s carriers have no ‘planes.

            Were you at the MoD with Michael Quinlan?

          2. makedoanmend

            “…The Republicans, it was believed, could eventually be worn down, and this proved to be the case…”

            If you call 35 years of troubles and all that that entailed, the emergence of a new nationalist political party in the six counties that now dominates the nationalist cause, the removal of the British army bases form the west of the six counties, a 360 degree change in the UK’s government “never to negotiate with the IRA” policy, and finally a protracted negotiation that completely changed the political landscape of the six counties and beyond to formally include the Republic of Ireland’s influence on the six counties via the GFA, a wearing down, then there is definitely a difference of perception in what “wearing down” means between different groups.

            The assertion that the British security forces were more worried about the Loyalists than the IRA is tenuous in the extreme, and most probably an insult the individual soldiers of the British army who had to do their tours in dangerous locations. More than once, I’ve met ex-squaddies who thanked their lucky stars they were posted in the relative safety of Antrim rather than South Armagh or West Tyrone.

            And I remember vividly during the last years of the troubles, the UK security forces complained bitterly in that they spent more time protecting the supposed hard case Loyalists in the Shankhill and other enclaves then they did fighting the IRA. And we’ll leave out the extensive collusion between the British security apparatus and their ability to aide and abet the Loyalists. I assume that level of collusion isn’t as deep any more.

            And hopefully last weekends car bomb by dissident Republicans is a one off event. They really don’t, now, have the support.

            In fact, the entire sentiment expressed is a slap in the face of the vast majority of people in the six counties and throughout Ireland who just want peace and don’t want to become political pawns for anyone else’s lofty aspirations or ideals of specialness.

            The quote from Talleyrand about the Bourbons remains as relevant as ever across the spectrum: “They had forgotten nothing and learned nothing.”

            1. David

              The IRA were worn down in the sense that they abandoned the armed struggle. The British, of course, were forced into making a number of changes and concessions as well. Not talking to “terrorists” was always a pose and understood to be such.
              I have no idea what individual squaddies thought. What I do know is that their political masters in London were much more worried about a possible Unionist backlash than continuing IRA attacks. This is why “withdrawal” from NI was never a possibility, and why in the end the IRA were bound to lose. Now, just when everyone was forgetting these problems, if they were even alive then ….

              1. makedoanmend

                The entire “we were more worried about the Loyalists” spiel was nothing more back in the 1980s and is nothing more now than a concocted cover for the British establishment to maintain their existence in the North to thwart nationalist aspirations and their willingness to fight. It was an extension of the meme “we’re merely here as peace keepers” that was used in the early 1970s until Bloody Sunday in 1972 put paid to that little tale. I sure there are many in Ireland who could do without the implied “protection” of the British securostate.

                I would encourage you speak with ex-army squaddies from that time. They have many different perceptions and experiences they can relate. I believe one came clean recently who was involved in Bloody Sunday. Seems he was pretty satisfied with what was accomplished on that day. Mission accomplished, so to speak. Most squaddies I’ve spoken to, however, were thankful to come back in one piece. Others who spent time in areas like Antrim and North Down had very pleasant memories.

                You may like to think the IRA lost but I think you’ll find that they didn’t, and they never will. Mind you, the fast and loose way that people like to revise the entire situation might prove problematic. It’s a bit like the current leader of the DUP who can’t now remember that a hard border existed during the troubles. It funny what time does to the memory.

              2. Synoia

                The IRA stopped when the funding from the US was stopped.

                The US could not simultaneously fight terrorism and support it in against one of its long time allies.

                1. WobblyTelomeres

                  The US could not simultaneously fight terrorism and support it in against one of its long time allies.

                  Since when????

                2. FluffytheObeseCat

                  US-based funding for the IRA and its offshoots dried up long before they stopped their practice of violent ‘struggle’. By the mid-to late 1980s they’d turned to racketeering, shake downs and smuggling to make up for the loss of US money. They staggered on for at least 25 years after the US spigot ran dry.

              3. Avidremainer

                It was the PIRA, Provisional IRA, not the IRA. A small point but better to be precise. The PIRA beat the “B” Specials into a cocked hat hence the deployment of British Regulars to keep the two sides apart. The idea that Loyalists were the greater danger was always a fig leaf.
                The shiners followed the policy of the Armalite and the ballot box. This was to fight the British and counter the Loyalist policy of driving the Irish population out. The policy succeeded. The Irish population of the six counties now equals the British population. Soon there will be a majority of Irish voters.
                About the only thing I have ever agreed with Michael Gove was his description of the GFA as a capitulation to the PIRA. It ended the protestant ascendency and paved the way for a united Ireland.
                Remember the DUP speak for the minority in Northern Ireland not the majority.
                On a different point, the shiners come in for a lot of stick in the Republic because they are serious challengers for political power. What price does anyone give for the current coalition partners merging into one?

          3. Craig H.

            Is some type of subsidized repatriation of the most Protestant (for lack of a better term) to England Scotland or Wales completely impossible? Looking strictly from a resource allocation problem it looks to me from thousands of miles away the solution is the territory goes to Ireland and anybody who doesn’t like it is paid to move away.

            1. makedoanmend

              I’d have to respectfully disagree with any notion of native Irish people having to leave their homes for any reason. At the end of the day, the vast majority of Protestant identifying people don’t want violence and just want to get on with their lives. Many prefer to be British and that has to be respected. There’s been a lot of bad blood in the past, and there are still some hard cases who think they can kick the taigues’ asses out of “their homeland” (taigue used to slur a catholic has the same status as the “n” word in the USA). But the vast majority just get on with daily life. The worst excesses of the original state that constituted the six counties have been neutered. We all hope for good, but Brexit has created uncertainty.

              On the other side of the spectrum there are people who both suffered hardship under the old sectarian regime and are determined to bring about a united Ireland. There are some who just want a united Ireland – mostly those who are nominally identified as Catholic. (What recent immigrants from other part of the world want, I just don’t know.) The desires of Republicans need to be respected equally.

              OTOH, there is a growing number of people, if the situation had been left to settle longer, who just don’t give a flying fig about any identity. A sense of normalcy concerning travelling throughout the entire island, for example, became very common place. A hard border will change this normalcy.

              At the moment everything is up in the air because of Brexit but simultaneously everything is on a holding pattern. A sort of paralysis has crept into everyday life and affected the peace process. Hopefully a vacuum doesn’t develop for any community or for all communities.

              I think whoever mentioned people returning to the “homeland” was just a bit of tongue-in-cheek commentary.

              One of the dynamics which many people don’t of realise is that everybody in the North considers themselves Irish, expect many Protestants also consider themselves British. However, I think many English people might be surprised what some of their British brethren in the Protestant community have to say about them in private – it’s a bit like what some Scottish have to say about English (and indeed Irish) in private.

              Right now, I’m still thinking that something will be worked out in the long run to maintain the peace.

              1. ChrisPacific

                The fundamental issue seems to be that there is a large population in NI that is effectively Irish and British simultaneously. Ireland and Britain are moving further apart due to Brexit, and we may reach a point where those two identities will be irreconcilable and they have to break one way or the other. For all the reasons you mention, this can’t be done without massive dislocation and distress at a minimum. In this sense, extremists who want to ‘win’ by achieving one outcome or the other are equally dangerous to regular folks who just want to peacefully get on with their lives, whichever side they are on.

                Avoiding this outcome will require patience, tolerance, flexibility and goodwill on all sides, qualities currently in rather short supply in the context of the ongoing Brexit issues. An added problem is that extremists in the above sense (DUP) currently hold the balance of power and see an opportunity to ‘win,’ and don’t mind if they have to ruin a few lives along the way in order to do it.

                Bearing in mind Clive’s warning about attempting to reduce NI to simple explanations, is any of that at least somewhat accurate?

        3. PlutoniumKun

          I think the only type of border poll that would be acceptable to the Irish government would be of the sort that puts the decision ‘on the long finger’ as they say here. Say, one that sets out steps over 10 years or more to unification. Brexit alone has shown everyone that a rapid and unpredictable change to a new constitutional order has the makings of a disaster. And being blunt about it, they’d be hoping to give time for the hard core Loyalists to decide they’d rather go live in the home country they love so much. They’d also, to put it bluntly, want as many NI public servants to move too, as the province has a hugely bloated public sector which the Irish government simply couldn’t afford to take on.

          I think this would actually be acceptable to Republicans as they are afraid of a rushed border poll going badly wrong – they know they’ll get one shot at in in most of their lifetimes and they’ll be determined to get it right (this is why they haven’t been pushing it now). The ideal situation for the Irish government and Sinn Fein would be to arrange a sort of grand bargain involving the US and EU with lots of cash being handed over to ‘ease the transition’ (this would include, as the GFA did, handing out blatant bribes to Loyalists to play along).

          But going back to your original question, I’d guess that if you could get Varadkar etc., in a room and promise them nobody was listening and ask the question – they’d opt for a hard border. Yes, it would be damaging, but politicians don’t mind damage that can be blamed on someone else. An older generation of politicians may have dreamed of being the one who delivered a United Ireland, but Varadkar is not of that ilk, its almost certainly a meaningless concept to him and most of his colleagues. And the right wing elements of his party would fear that a united Ireland would have a far bigger left wing vote. If there was a united Ireland tomorrow, Sinn Fein would be very close behind the existing big two parties in their vote and would be capable of putting together a left wing coalition.

          1. larry

            PK, one reason the RoI might not be able to afford to take on NI’s civil servants is that they are in the Eurozone. Were they to leave that, they could reintroduce their fiat currency, which would increase their fiscal space. They would still have problems but that particular monkey would be off their back.

          2. makedoanmend

            Excellent summary PK. Right now and into the foreseeable future everything is in a holding pattern, and that includes the aspirations of Republicans as far as I can tell.

            And it cannot be stated loudly and often enough. People want peace. People who fought for years want peace. They want peace for their children and grandchildren. Many, essentially from the outside, cannot understand the dynamic that goes on within the six counties and its environs. Some seem to take for granted that some achievement other than peace has been obtained. It might be from these attitudes that peace falters. But hopefully not.

            1. a different chris

              ….peace….want peace…They want peace… Many, essentially from the outside, cannot understand the dynamic that goes on within the six counties and its environs.

              Count me among them. If they want peace so much, why is this so hard? Why did a bomb go off, yet again? Why can’t they live together on that stupid (very pretty, granted) nearly irrelevant little island?

              I don’t think they want peace, really. You can’t say “they want peace” and then refer to some mysterious “dynamic” holding it up. Us outsiders don’t need to understand some (BS) “dynamic”, the Irish need to understand that peace will represent some fundamental changes made by them to them. The rest of us are sick of the whole thing. And it shouldn’t be our, even including the execrable Tories, problem.

              I think they do not want peace if it disturbs the established order in any way. Which means peace is nothing but a pretty word they use for style points.

              1. makedoanmend


                “…Count me among them…” – so you have input into the Irish situation in terms of power and influence? In what capacity? For this is what I meant by outside dynamic.

                But, in all fairness and with respect, you do appear willing to lecture us. Interesting.

                “The rest of us are sick of the whole thing.” Then why did you comment? What is your objective? Who is us? And why the belligerent tone?

                I’d also say that there are many topics I don’t particularly have much interest about but I don’t lecture other people about their interests or comments upon their interests.

                I also assume you’ve never experienced peace after actual conflict. It’s easy to dismiss someone else’s sense of peace when others haven’t a shared experience of conflict and subsequent peace.

                Have a nice day.

                1. liam

                  I’ve noticed a sense amongst a number of English commenters, who on most matters would be sound, but seem to believe that regarding Ireland, they’ve either been a) blundering, but essentially well meaning, b) confused about what the course of action should’ve been, considering the changing resources and dynamic, or c) the actual victims of the relationship between the two isles. A telling sign was a comment that mentioned IRA mortars landing in 10 Downing Street, but that either neglected to mention, or forgot that those mortars landed during the meeting of a war cabinet, assembled for the first Gulf war. Go figure.

                  1. David

                    Precisely. The mortars were launched at the time of the weekly Cabinet meeting, so that number of possible targets would be maximised. Logical enough.

    3. Oregoncharles

      Yes, I predicted it, too. A compromise might be to disguise it as “law enforcement,” checking for compliance with the rules. Depends on whether there are tariffs involved, though.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Microsoft Bing Blocked in China as Tensions, Crackdown Intensify”

    And if things get really serious, they might even block NewsGuard. They won’t tolerate Microsoft spying on Chinese people. The Chinese have a government for that.

  4. Wukchumni

    U.S. airlines tap army helicopter pilots to ease shortage Reuters. EM:
    I learned how to fly just before the turn of the century, and in our class of around a dozen students, I can still hear our instructor telling us how if we got our pilot’s license and then became instructors and piled up around 1,000 hours, we could get a job for a small regional airline @ around $25k.

    It was strictly a cautionary tale of nothing @ the end of the rainbow, for those contemplating a career.

    Flying a ho hum small plane rented @ the airport is expensive btw, it was $100 minimum to go anywhere relatively close & back, probably closer to $200 most of the time.

    And the planes we flew were a motley squadron of mid 1970’s Cessna 172’s (the Chevy Nova of the air…), as there was a yawning gap where none were made, as lawsuits by pilots, or families of pilots, in regards to crashes, etc. had caused production to be ceased.

    And helicopters?

    It’s around twice as much to fly in them, as compared to fixed wing aircraft

    1. Off The Street

      My youthful pilot dreams were left on the tarmac back in the day upon learning that the non-military route to that Captain’s seat was long, expensive and futile. Single engine, multi-engine, etc, then try to get an interview when there were guys coming back from Nam with thousands of hours flying transports.

    2. Glen

      Always remember, when companies have to raise prices – it’s just “the market”.
      When companies have to offer higher pay – it’s a disaster!

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Neoliberalism is a racket but also a ratchet. Over decades of grinding relentless political corruption, the table is ever more steeply tipped towards the insatiable mouths of Mammon.

      2. JerryDenim

        All through the Obama years Regional airline management claimed, “We CAN’T raise pilot salaries! If we do we will lose our competitive edge and will go out of business, costing everyone their jobs.” That was the story until they were forced to start raising salaries to fill training classes and staunch costly turnover/training. Once they did start raising pay, dramatically, everything hummed along as before, except better, due to a less disgruntled workforce and lower attrition/training costs. It was never their money anyway, it was always the legacies.

        Republic Airlines pilots voted nearly unanimously (over 99% I believe) to strike after 4 or 5 years of fruitless, bad-faith negotiating with Republic management in 2011, but were denied the right to strike by the NLRB. (Guess Obama misplaced his “comfortable shoes”) As the years dragged on for the pilots working under a long-expired post 9/11 environment contract, the Republic pilot pay and benefits package fell further behind the industry, pilot morale worsened and the airline’s training cost associated with excessive pilot attrition increased dramatically. (Class D full-motion simulator time is very expensive) The staffing issues became so severe the airline could not reliably operate its schedule for its legacy clients. In 2016 the CEO attempted to procure a waiver to hire desperate, cheap, Brazilian nationals to staff the airline, but was denied. Republic immediately filed for bankruptcy, and just as quickly Delta bailed out Republic, backstopping the (fake) airline and preserving their flight schedule (Delta’s) Pilot pay was radically boosted in bankruptcy to attract and retain pilots. It’s a bizarre industry that dramatically raises employee pay while filing for bankruptcy.

        If there’s any logic in denying your employees market-necessitated pay raises through contractual bargaining, only to award huge gains in bankruptcy after precipitating a labor crisis, it’s that the pay gains at the regionals in recent years have mostly come outside of the collective bargaining process and are non-contractual. This is a win for the airlines because they can snatch the non-contractual hiring and retention bonuses away from the pilots as soon as a market downturn gives them more leverage over labor.

        The whole point of the regionals’ existence (fake companies, playthings of the legacy carriers, with do-nothing management) is labor arbitrage plain and simple. When they have to raise employee pay it threatens the entire business model. There is no other reason for these fake companies to exist. If market environment allows regional pilots to continue to win raises, the legacies will probably start bringing the small-gauge jet flying in house. Outsourcing only works when there is a pool of excess labor available to work for D-scale pay.

        This Forbes article gets it mostly correct but fails to mention that many of the so-called regional airlines don’t even own their own planes. The airplanes just like every other asset, minus the employees, belongs to the contracting Legacy or parent company. Sorry to beat a dead horse, but It’s pure labor arbitrage and nothing else.

    3. JerryDenim

      Cessna paused production of the 172 in 1986, but restarted production in 1998. Twenty years later they’re still cranking ‘em out.

      1000 hours from a Skyhawk to a regional? You never know. It’s boom bust, boom bust type of metric with no logic outside of supply and demand. I saw lots of 300 and 400 hour Skyhawk pilots going to the right seat of regional jets around 2006, before the oil spike, the age 65 change and the economic crash, but at the start of 2004 when there was still a post 9/11 pilot glut, and very little hiring, you probably needed at least 3000-4000 hours of flight time with a lot of multi-engine time, prior 121 or part 135 experience and a college degree to be competitive. If it weren’t for the 1500 hour ATP rule now regional airlines would be hiring guys with the ink still wet on their solo endorsements.

      1. RMO

        My power instructor (I already had a glider pilot’s license and several hundred hours plus a glider instructors rating and was adding single engine-land) was an excellent pilot and an extremely hard worker. He was instructing as well as flying for a local bush outfit and later flying twin turboprops for a small BC airline. In the early 2000’s he got a job right-seat in 737’s for a Canadian airline. He pulled in about $25K (Canadian dollars!) his first full year… and had to pay for his own uniform.

        Now they’re crying the blues about an lack of pilots. Forgive me if I don’t weep copious tears for them. I’m also hearing about problems finding good people to be mechanics – In 2003I graduated with the highest marks in the class from one of the best regarded schools in Canada that does Aircraft Maintenance Engineer training. Only one of the thirty-plus people I graduated with got a job as an apprentice. It wasn’t me, though the guy who did get the job fully deserved it. I’m rather lacking in sympathy for any maintenance operation that complains about difficulty in finding staff. I applied several times a year to damn near everyone in Canada and kept up the search for four years. I never got so much as a form letter/email as a reply.

        Here’s a hint: if you’re having trouble getting what you need to operate your business, try spending money for it.

        1. JerryDenim

          “Now they’re crying the blues about an lack of pilots. Forgive me if I don’t weep copious tears for them.”

          Bingo. 100% self-induced crisis. When you pay people with over $200k of student loan debt less than a dog walker or a coffee barista to do a highly skilled job, with terrible hours and awful work/life balance, and a ton of personal liability you shouldn’t be surprised when the qualified applicant pool dries up.

        2. ivoteno

          interesting. more reasons to boycott the airlines than the obvious ones: carbon footprint and avoiding the tsa, the only part of the police state/panopticon that one can opt out of…

  5. Livius Drusus

    Re: Venezuela.

    I honestly don’t know enough about the situation there to pick a side although our habit of backing disgusting right-wingers in Latin America makes me skeptical about Juan Guaido. My basic understanding is that Maduro is popular among poor Venezuelans so that of course makes him an illegitimate tyrant to our political class. Of course I could be wrong, most NC readers probably know the situation better than I do.

    Why not just stay out of the internal affairs of Venezuela? It would be nice if for once the United States didn’t meddle in the politics of another sovereign country. I can’t wait for all of the “Russia! Russia!” people in the media to praise Trump for being “presidential” and saying that something must be done to topple Maduro. I guess meddling in the internal affairs of another country is only bad when Americans are on the receiving end of the meddling.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Whatever you think of Maduro, he is the duly elected President of Venezuela, and clearly has popular support. Venezuela has a relatively transparent and secure electoral system (certainly a better one than the US operates under). He has always operated within the Venezuelan constitution (although he did change the constitution, but did it through legitimate means). He is certainly a ruthless political operator, but there is no evidence he has been involved in either violent repression of opponents or illegal activities. The worst thing he can be accused of is economic mismanagement, and even that is questionable given the collapse in oil prices and the external pressure placed on the economy by the US.

      There is simply no legal or moral justification for external interference in his rule. I think Trump has been sold this one by the Blob as an ‘easy win’ which won’t involve the military.

      1. johnnygl

        I think you’ve got this story right, PK.

        I’d only tweak the blame on oil prices. Ecuador and Bolivia managed much better. One of the biggest problems in Venezuela has to be exchange rate policy mismanagement. It’s been so bad for so long that there must be some corruption involved, too.

        Don’t discount US sanctions, either. Those are a massive headache and cause of shortages. They’re not even being allowed to service existing debt in USD. Paying agents in the US won’t process the transaction for fear that the feds will come down hard on them.

        Maduro looks pretty secure for now, unless i’m missing something. These guys have been operating as if they’re under siege for over a decade.

        Trump’s crew thinks the time is right to move because there right wing nutters in charge in Brazil and in Colombia. Duque and Bolso are both rabid anti-commie. I wonder if Bolton has been organizing this? Trump and Pence have both made speeches, so they’re all in.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          You make a good point that Bolton could be working with the new crew of far right leaders in South America on this. Venezuela has at least the advantage of mostly impenetrable borders with Brazil and Colombia, otherwise I’m sure certain people would be looking at a locally organised ‘intervention’.

          Its a pity commentator ‘Rabid Ghandi’ doesn’t seem to post here anymore, (s)he was a fantastic source of information on South American politics.

          1. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you, Gents.

            Did you see the photo of Blair and Bolsonaro taken at Davos yesterday? It’s the start of a beautiful friendship.

            I have since heard that Blair’s firm and that of Roland Rudd, remain leader and brother of Amber, are competing for a PR account from the new Brazilian regime.

            Rich kid Rudd is campaigning against Brexit from Davos this week. Go figure!

          2. JohnnyGL

            I wouldn’t call those jungles ‘impenetrable’. In fact, probably more the opposite. They’re very porous and none of the states involved have the capacity or will to police them carefully. This is key to why the smuggling business has taken off and become so huge. It’s too much effort to stop anything more than the biggest, most obvious bandits.

            I suspect the paramilitaries in Colombia that have mostly taken over the region’s drug trade have gotten into smuggling, also. Abby Martin found a lot of traffic back and forth when she visited the Venezuela/Colombia border.

            I don’t think Colombia, thus far, has been willing/able to send paramilitaries to fight Venezuelan police/troops.

      2. Synapsid


        I agree that the US is out of line announcing that Guaido is the legitimate president of Venezuela.

        As to Maduro acting within the Venezuelan constitution and changing it through legitimate means:

        Maduro called a special election in 2017 to form a Constituent Assembly to write a new constitution for Venezuela. The elected legislature of Venezuela, the National Assembly, called the election a move to bypass law and boycotted it; about forty Latin-American and Western governments agreed.

        The constituent Assembly convened on 4 August 2017, declared itself the supreme power in Venezuela on 8 August, gave itself power to pass legislation specifically to aid Maduro’s policies on 18 August, over the head of the National Assembly, and on 19 August stripped the National Assembly–the elected legislature, remember–of legislative powers. This done by a body elected to write a new constitution.

        Maduro’s election last year has been held to be illegitimate by the Lima Group, (13 Latin-American governments plus Canada), and the US of course.

        At the moment, Guaido is being supported publicly by Canada, the US, the Lima Group, and the UK. The EU, Mexico, and Uruguay are calling for dialogue, and Russia, China, Cuba, and Bolivia are supporting Maduro.

        The US has a long arm and a history of interfering in other countries, but we must give credit to Venezuela for shooting itself in the foot by nationalizing its oil industry in 1976 which enabled Chavez to take it over and turn it into a cash cow for the Revolution. In 2002 about half of the workers of PDVSA, the oil company that supports the economy, went on strike. Chavez gradually gained control of the situation and then fired 18,000 of them–40% of the workforce. PDVSA began losing more workers, especially the more experienced, and production, investment, and maintenance suffered. This became apparent when production began to fall from about 2400 barrels of oil a day in October 2015 to about 1100 for the same month in 2018. Maduro responded to the drop by naming a General of the National Guard, Manuel Quevedo, who has no experience in the oil industry, the head of PDVSA, his brief to root out the corruption that must be what was causing the fall in production; production has continued to decline and the loss of the workforce has if anything sped up. Other nations, particularly Colombia and the US, have seen their oil industries benefit from the influx of experienced workers, and now some of the companies whose operations with PDVSA were taken by Chavez are winning in courts and PDVSA is becoming even more disabled.

        Venezuela sends much of its oil to refineries on the US Gulf Coast, and a lot to China and to Russia to repay loans in oil, some $50 billion dollars worth in China’s case and billions more for Russia. Both countries have been taking over pieces of oil fields and other resources in Venezuela as partial payment for failure to keep up repayments. Venezuela is giving up its patrimony but she is giving up more than that: estimates of the number of Venezuelans who have left the country over the last three or four years are in the range 2.3 to 3 million, moving into Colombia and on to Ecuador and Peru, and to Brazil (Those borders are not impenetrable). The country’s population is about 30 million, so about a tenth have left. The equivalent for the UK would be close to 7 million leaving over three or four years; for the US the number would be about 33 million, approximately the population of California.

        I disagree that the worst Maduro can be accused of is economic mismanagement but I expect you’ve guessed that.

        1. KPC

          Thank you.
          I do not 100% agree with you but you are fair and just in your presentation unlike so many others, including self designated “experts”.

          1. Duck1

            There is a lot of mismanagement to criticize in the world, so thank you for the post. We also have vast movements over the last 20 or so years from Iraq to Syria and other ME countries, migration from Syria to Turkey and Europe, depopulation of the Baltic in the EU, on and on. Can’t put a finger on who was the unipolar hegemon during this whole time.

      3. KPC

        Allow me to give you experts a few facts:
        1. Venezuela is a master at MMT. If you are interested in this subject, here is a fabulous case study.
        2. Our national oil company also hard owns 100% of the refineries and distribution of oil in the United States of America down to local gas station and home delivery of heating oil including in New England.
        3. On 15 Sept 2019, Venezuela moved off US dollar and, within three days, adjusted its reserves to euro, yuan and ruble.
        In the forgoing I have said precisely zero as to my support for Maduro or Guaido or others.
        As for LINKS, many can be found via google assuming one has retained to the ability to think critically.

      4. Synapsid


        I omitted to note that the figures I gave for Venezuela’s oil production are in thousands. Thus 1100 barrels/day is 1,100,000 b/d.


    2. Roger Smith

      Why not just stay out of the internal affairs of Venezuela?

      $$$ CHA-CHING! Think of the increased Pentagon budget and all those lucrative private contracts! Think of the economy won’t you Livius? Do you really want to hurt the economy, the country? Think of all the globalist enterprise that can be reaped from access to slave labor and dirt cheap local resources! The world is a diverse place and we need to be open to it. Being a closed off nationalist is anti-progress don’t you know.

      By the way, Universal Healthcare will raise your taxes. OooOoooOo SpooooOOooky!

      1. Chris Cosmos

        Washington requires wars to exist (the US military is by far the most popular private or public institution) and with the winding down of Syria and Afghanistan (there’s not even the remotest justification for continuing there) and the Chinese flexing their muscles in Asia, all that’s left is Latin America where covert operatives increased their activities during Obama and are now continuing and expanding the usual US policies in the region of the past century. A nice military invasion of some country is required.

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      “Why not just stay out of the internal affairs of Venezuela?”
      biggest, relatively intact, pool of oil left that remains outside the aegis of the empire.
      heavy, sour crude…so to be held in reserve(by the chaos at ground level)

      as far as whom to root for down there…it’s difficult, to say the least(per the Cuban Experience) to discern what’s what. My go to rule of thumb is to tentatively side with whomever the aristocracy doesn’t appear to like.
      I’d rather have a beer with Fidel or Daniel Ortega than with any of the dictators and assorted thugs that the Machine has installed.
      i think it’s interesting that the only Cubans I have known were descendants of those run out by Castro…and their bias was palpable.(all gop/neocon)…because these were the ones that left. so it’s maybe hard to get a broader view without going there.
      it’s the same deal with the Columbians, Brazilians and Argentinians I’ve run across.
      conversely, perhaps, the de facto refugees from el salvador, honduras and guatemala I’ve worked beside have all been more or less lefty.

      1. Monty

        From the Cuban’s I know that stayed, there comes a point in their lives where the distress of precarious living situation and lack of prospects eventually trumps high minded principles.

        It’s easy to be idealistic when you’re safely ensconced in the US.

  6. Quanka

    If there were two links that describe our current ‘state of the union’ it would be S.A. promising to pump every last barrel of oil combined with the AMZN liquidation article. We produce so much shit thats its cheaper (?? what ??) to nearly throw it away than to keep it in storage. And we better keep pumping oil so that we can keep building this shit that no one wants and has to be moved from warehouse to consumer to warehouse to liquidator to landfill as quickly as possible.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I read the Saudi claim about pumping the last barrel of oil differently. Saudi oil enjoys the lowest cost for producing a barrel of oil. They aren’t claiming they will pump every last barrel of oil but rather that as the lowest cost producer they expect to pump the last barrel. This is based on an implicit assumption that their costs will always be lowest and that oil will be pumped as long as the cost of production is less than the market price — as long as producing a barrel of oil remains profitable. [The Saudi claim they will pump the last barrel of oil is similar to Kruchev’s assertion “We will bury you.”]

      The link article was full of links worth chasing. I checked around the link to BP Oil and found several interesting pdfs there. It seems BP Oil feels our pain over climate change and Peak Oil and shares our concerns about sustainability. The web summaries for the “OPEC World Oil Outlook 2040” included an Energy and climate change Key takeaway []
      “US energy policy has experienced an evolution of goals over time, ranging from ‘energy security’, to ‘energy independence’, and culminating in the current aim for ‘energy dominance’.”
      I’m too lazy to chase down reports from the websites of each of the Seven Sisters of oil, or however many there are at present. I suspect their views on sustainability, carbon reduction, and various other ‘hot-rocks’ might encourage a sense of doom and cynicism about some of the ideas floating around for dealing with Climate Chaos. I admit there is a certain ‘ad hominem’ implicit in my suspicion, but I haven’t noticed many Corporations working against their bottom line to serve the Common Good.

    2. ivoteno

      i found the amazon liquidation article interesting. a few years ago, i scored a lightly used (i have a feeling somebody had an out of town gig with no means to transport their equipment, had amazon ship to gig-site, and then returned after one use) drum set at less than half retail value for brand new. the seller claimed to buy pallets of returned musical instruments from amazon. from what i could ascertain, he received pallets of musical instruments, not just random (family blog). ymmv, but i came out with a great deal and probably ensured the seller made out pretty well on that particular pallet.

  7. zagonostra

    >AOC House Oversight Committee

    Please, please don’t tell me she is going to be re-directed away from M4A, Living Wages, ending wars, etc. and sucked down that gravitational hole of mass distraction…I was already disappointed that she took the “green economy” as her first swag at effecting change.

    There are issues right now, this moment, that will disrupt the business as usual. I was hoping she would be courageous/smart enough to focus on those issues that impact the life of the ordinary bumpkins like myself.

      1. Roger Smith

        This is what I thought immediately after seeing the tone of the headline. I really hope having someone like her on the committee means actual oversight of real problems will occur and that she doesn’t fall for “I am left, must hate Trump!”.

        1. The Rev Kev

          They may come to bitterly regret this idea. They have just given a person, whom they have declared to be hostile to their interests, a position of power in the hope that she will narrow her focus on Trump. And if she doesn’t? What if she goes off reservation? Time to go get more popcorn.

          Love the image of the leopard. That look that you get when your realize that there is no more meat left stored in the tree and that if you want breakfast, you are going to have to jump down and go chase it!

          1. johnnygl

            So, if i understand this correctly, AOC has been added to TWO commitees, now?!!??!

            Fin svcs and oversight?!?!!

            Oh boy…sounds like a target rich environment.

            Let’s see what she can do…

            1. Eureka Springs

              Staffing matters. Who has she hired? And it should be rather easy for most any agent of investigation on these matters to point out our problems are systemic rather than just Trump.

              A side note… The old health care for all H.R. 676 passed faster than light as an forever military madness bill. Voted on before the text could be entered into the record for reading/review. Classic Pelosi – you will have to pass it in order to know what’s in it. Every Democrat voted to maintain military empire (NATO), sans 26 who did not vote at all. I noticed AOC voted for empire and Gabbard did not vote.

              All so very clarifying.



              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Darth Vader…Young Padawan…Anakin

                I am reminded of the dark side of the Force.

                “Alexandra, you have only begun to discover your power…must complete your training…”

                1. Wukchumni

                  What if she were to use the nickname ‘Alexa’?

                  She seems to be quick with on target retorts to her would-be tormentors…

            2. ivoteno

              i think i will purchase a yellow vest at the local home despot and mail it to her. perchance it might become a thing, and keep her on task.

      2. Brindle

        Seeing how the FOX cable channel has made AOC its new uber-villain ( replacing Pelosi) they are probably glad she is on a committee where she can generate many anti-Trump soundbites. It’s a win-win.

        “Shortly after the Democratic midterm takeover of the House, Cummings made clear what the primary mission of the new class of Oversight Dems will be.

        “We will investigate waste, fraud, and abuse in the Trump Administration,” Cummings said in a statement.”

        1. integer

          Yes, she is getting a lot of attention on Fox. Along with frequent criticism and distortion of her proposed policy of implementing a 70% marginal income tax rate on the uber-rich, they are taking every opportunity to play and ridicule a clip from her interview with Ta-Nehesi Coates on MLK day where she says that the world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change and that it is our world war II (?). Don’t get me wrong, I think AOC is the sort of politician the US needs and I get what she was trying to say, but phrasing that the way she did is not a great look imo.

          1. Wukchumni

            Those calling for the end of the world in a defined time scale, risk being lumped in with Jehovah Witnesses…

            They called for the end to come a number of times, and then realized they were losing credibility when it didn’t pan out~

          2. TimR

            I heard a clip on talk radio where she was saying “like” incessantly…

            Sounded contrived to me… In my view these people are actors/ characters… Hence such scripting seems geared to manipulate the passions of both sides.. Her supporters to overlook it, her critics to ridicule it.

            Propaganda uses cartoon characters to tap into peoples psyches and trigger them, or gaslight them..

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              That’s true (about both sides).

              Some of us ridiculed Bush, Reagan, and still ridicules, Trump when that happened or happens.

              Either we condemn the ridiculing consistently, or we accept that as a part of the reality consistently.

      3. Olga

        In other words – to co-opt her. Let’s hope she’s smart enough to see right through it. OTOH, what staff she picks does matter – as someone below mentioned.

    1. voteforno6

      I don’t know…the Trump administration is doing a lot of shady stuff, so any oversight would be a welcome change. Besides, who’s to say that this would only be constrained to Trump?

      1. ivoteno

        so in a nutshell, guaranteeing him a second term to ensure the looting is maximized. yet another round goes to the bad guys. lord acton, some time ago, stopped spinning in his grave. now his ghost laughs at us.

    1. Wukchumni

      A 2/3rds full stadium for the Superbowl would require the most careful camera panning, to make it appear as if 1/3rd of those lost in the airport shuffle on a 4th down hail mary, were in fact there.

      The mess has to get started elsewhere in terms of airports. If you’ve landed @ ATL, you’re out of the woods already and on your way to the game.

  8. Tom

    The Truthdig article is hard to follow. Is there a version of the story with less sarcasm in the way?

    1. Olga

      Probably not… the whole point is that the matter is a sarcasm-rich territory. We’ll just have to learn to live with it (including that applying any semblance of logic here is completely futile). Welcome to the theatre of the absurd.

      1. John

        What a lot of hooey. A parade of maybes, perhaps, seems suspicious and so on. He needs a white board with a bunch of yarn connecting all his wild conspiracies.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. Believes It Doesn’t Need to Show ‘Proof’ Huawei Is a Spy Threat”

    Well this could become embarrassing. The US goes to a Canadian Court so that the Mafia Princess can be extradited to the US. When asked for proof, they admit that they only have circumstantial evidence but once she is in the US prison system, then guaranteed that they will find something or know the reason why. How high a bar the requirements Canada has may be up for debate. A page at shows the bar is not that high.
    Still, the Chinese may argue that apart from lack of solid evidence, that US Justice is a bit on the loose side of life. The US has just released a journalist and an anchor for Iran’s PressTV, who is also an American citizen, from 10 days imprisonment where she was held as a “material witness”. This is a law used as a way to detain people when they lack any legal basis for doing so. The Chinese may argue that if extradited and found not guilty, that she may still be held using this law as long as the Justice Department deems fit and she is therefore not safe there.

    1. John

      Any bets on the probability that this is not a thuggish move to muscle Huawei and the Chinese government?

    2. John

      Looking at the picture of the elite of the elite of the elite dining at Davos, I was reminded of the halcyon days of the Drexel Burnham Predators Ball.

    3. icancho

      How high a bar the requirements Canada has may be up for debate … the bar is not that high.
      Indeed. Canadian University professor Hassan Diab was extradited to France to face synagogue-bombing charges there even though the Canadian judge with responsibility for the extradition case declared that the evidence was so weak that there was no way Diab could be convicted in a Canadian court …

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Some questions.

        1. A judge does not and usually can’t predict the verdict by the jury, when a or any case is tried before the court, does/can he/she, even with weak evidence?

        2. Moreover, an extradition is not a trial by itself. Is a verdict by an jury decided the same way as a decsion by an extradtion judge?

        3. Did the Canadian judge still send Diab to France, even with that declaration? (seems to be so, if ‘Diab was extradited to France..?’ Why did he/she do that? Becuase that was the law in Canada?

    1. Carolinian

      Thanks for links. Perhaps Venezuela should retaliate by recognizing Hillary Clinton as the legitimate president of the US. Everybody can play that game. Of course it could be that the heavy hand of US intervention will simply further discredit the opposition there.

      1. Ignacio

        I was thinking of Sanders as the legitimate interim president. Come on! If we dream do it in full.
        As Tom Waits wrote you are innocent when you dream, when you dream

    2. The Rev Kev

      Of course the whole things was internationally coordinated but that meant that there was no ‘organic’ support to this attempted coup. I wonder what those South American countries were promised for their support? Loan forgiveness? A cut of Venezuelia’s oil? Not that long ago Venezuela was shipping oil to the US cheap but with fracking the US decided that they do not need its oil anymore and decided to go after it. My guess is that Pence’s speech was a heads up to countries that the operation was now proceeding.
      Every President has to claim a country that they destroyed. Clinton destroyed Yugoslavia. Bush wrecked Iraq and Obama did the same for Syria. Perhaps Trump figures that Venezuela is an easy mark. I wonder what would happen if Venezuela said that they no longer recognize Trump as President but Hillary instead as she got more votes? That would be epic trolling that. I see that Carolinian had the same idea.
      Even Big Tech go into the act here and Facebook has given Guaido’s account a ‘verified account’ tick but none for Maduro. There appears to be a stand-off with the US embassy as Venezuela says that they no longer recognize the staff but Pence says they stay as they reckon Maduro is not the President. If I was Maduro, I would wait for the deadline to pass and cut off the water, sewerage and power on the grounds that nobody is supposed to be living there. The place has not had an Ambassador in nearly a decade anyway.

      1. Skip Intro

        I’m not sure how much added incentive right-wing neighbors like Columbia need to work to destroy even hints of socialism or redistribution next door. They may, on the other hand, need cover.

        Also, you gave Obama Syria, does that mean Libya goes Hillary?

        1. The Rev Kev

          Nah. Hillary doesn’t get credit for Libya as she wasn’t President at the time. She should have waited. That is the trouble when you are impatient.

      2. MK

        wait for the deadline to pass and cut off the water, sewerage and power

        The old embassy trick to force the blob to take action (see, i.e. Bengahzi, Tehran, Beirut, Karachi). The blob is probably planning a false flag just incase Maduro doesn’t take up your advice.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      The link article: Saudi Arabia: We’ll Pump The World’s Very Last Barrel Of Oil contains the following statement:
      “The BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2018 put Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves at 266.2 billion barrels at end-2017, or 15.7 percent of global oil reserves, second only to Venezuela’s 303.2 billion barrels.”
      Perhaps that explains some of the US concerns about the Venezuelan people and the need for regime change.

  10. Arakawa

    “Officials in anti-vaccination ‘hotspot’ near Portland declare an emergency over measles outbreak”

    Between the opioid crisis, the unacknowledged debacle around antidepressant & antipsychotic prescribing, and the general situation with over-prescribing, it’s utterly unsurprising that the reputation hit spills over into other areas of medicine, even unfairly.

    Turns out if you expend the medical profession’s credibility on defending dubious treatments, that just means the medical profession loses credibility rather than the particular treatments!

    Surgeons get less of this distrust because people understand intuitively what a surgery does and why it’s good to cut out a tumor or have your broken leg put together; vaccines get more of this distrust because it’s hard to understand the risk-reward tradeoff, and they are the only intervention that is so prominently encouraged or mandated on healthy people.

    Since people are not experts in distinguishing different medicines, if they are given solid cause to distrust one medicine they’ll distrust them all. They will go to the doctor with a mental whitelist of interventions they know about and trust if a doctor recommends them, and any intervention not on the whitelist will be triple-checked and resisted if the doctor shows any sign of pushing it.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      The medical industry, like all other major industries and government structures, cannot be trusted. Studies funded by drug companies cannot be trusted as, frankly, science has lately shown, i.e., they mainly either cannot be replicated or have, upon close examination, deeply flawed methods. In a culture where only money matters it is rational to suspect the alarmingly high rate of procedures recommended by the industry.

      As an aside, I remember that one of my children changed radically after his 9 month inoculations. We as parents know that we are on our own–we can trust no institution public or private. I’ve heard so many horror stories of misdiagnosis, bad drug effects and so on and so on.

      1. windsock

        Surely one only has to do a little research into the history of medicine to understand that vaccines work.

        1. Arakawa

          There are plenty of people who would agree that vaccines work but would disagree that vaccines can never have adverse effects. And rare adverse effects might even be acceptable with the public, if the public believed that the feedback mechanism was working — that these effects were being properly monitored and accounted for in future decisions for when to introduce a vaccine.

          However, given other areas of medicine where catastrophic adverse effects were ignored (opioid addiction) for the sake of business interest, the public’s trust in medical feedback mechanisms has been shattered. Too many uncomfortable questions — which sales reps did your doctor have dinner with? Are they suggesting statins because that’s the best thing for you, or because someone imposed a cholesterol quota? If you accept a medicine and then complain that it’s making things worse, will you be treated like you’re being difficult or ideological? Enjoy the resulting blanket resistance against any and all drugs and vaccines whose mechanism or importance the receiver doesn’t understand.

        2. TimR

          Even if they do.. Debatable.. That doesn’t address the point that these institutions mandating them are not trustworthy. They could be contaminated, intentionally or otherwise.

          1. Greg

            I wish the internet was less good at transmitting crazy and obvious bullshit like “it’s debatable whether vaccines work” around the globe. I’d really rather the crazy (and the consequent health risks) stayed with you and far away from my child.

      2. Earl Erland

        The legislation that caused Biden to give Upton a tongue bath, the 21st Century Cures Act, modifies the FDA approval process for new products or new indications for approved drugs by allowing approval based upon “data summaries” and “real world evidence” such as observational studies, insurance claims data, patient input, and anecdotal data rather than full clinical trial results.

  11. toshiro_mifune

    So computer scientists have begun asking whether humor can be computed—and if so, how.

    No “Why?”, as in “Why are we doing this?”. Honestly, does everything need to be subjected to computational quantification? Do we really need some “Calculando Calrissian 2XR Core i20” parsing scripts for The Mighty Boosh for empirical evidence that its funny? There has to be something better to do with all that computing horsepower. Or is there so much money sloshing around in AI research that even dumb proposals get funding?

    1. Skip Intro

      Once they solve the comedy problem, every genre will be open to AI authors, who will replace sullen and costly human writers.

      A robot walks into a bar, which is funny, ’cause you’d think she would have seen it.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A funny AI robot cannot pass the Turing test unless it masters the full spectrum of human humor.

      Humor is often used by humans to

      1. self-deprecate
      2. to be snarky
      3. to ridicule those who don’t laugh at the humor
      4. to laugh at someone, not with him/her.
      5. to show off intellectual superiority
      6. to lighten up a tense situation
      7. to loosen up people are not feeling sad
      8. to attack political opponents

      1. newcatty

        Good list. I would add humor, though not exactly self-deprecating is also used to cover insecurity, fear and/or pain.

      2. GramSci

        Current AI has no capacity to exercise free will. The generals have consistently refused to fund it. They also have neither humility nor tolerance for humor.

  12. Jason Boxman

    I was concerned enough I checked to confirm a booster isn’t necessary for measles if you’ve received the recommended vaccinations as a child. Interestingly, if you were born before 1957 you’re considered protected — doesn’t explain why, however. (I wonder what year I needed to be born to be protected against all disease? Is there such a year?)

    1. JEHR

      Well, the year in question means that you either had measles and now live with immunity or you were vaccinated successfully and never got the measles. Yes?

    2. KB

      I was born before 1957. We were exposed to multiple episodes of measles before the vaccine was developed in 1963…95 percent of people are immune to it that were born before 1957….I vaguely remember the 3 of us kids coming down with all kinds of rash producing stuff….we either had it or were exposed to it enough as to be immune…..

      1. newcatty

        Just for more information: I was born before 1957. I had measles as a child. All my cousins and kids on the block did too. Also, Rubella. AFAIK, did not have mumps. Some years back I was hired to work in a school district that had just required that all employees, who directly worked with students in any capacity have proof of an MMR vaccination within some window of time. Don’t remember what that was..wanted job. Went to local public health office for vaccination. They said there had been a run on vaccinating employees from this school district. Curiously, it was the most affluent in the area. A couple of days or so later, I woke up with swollen glands, sore throat and a high fever. Yeah and felt like s**t. Called public health office…Oh, this can “happen “. Take two aspirin and call us in the morning. Nothing like getting a case of the mumps when a grown up.

    3. John

      Our kids got immunizations and I get whatever the doctor recommends. Sometimes you get a slight fever later but that seems like a worthwhile trade off. Just had a pneumonia vaccine. I’m trying to get a shingles vaccine but there is currently a shortage. I’m on the waiting list.

      I was born before 1957. We had several diseases as kids. I don’t remember measles. I did have mumps and chicken pox.

  13. Olga

    Don’t trust Daily Mail website, Microsoft browser warns users Guardian (John L)
    Microsoft’s web browser now warns users about untrustworthy news. Here’s how your favourite publications stack up. Business Insider (Kevin W)

    Great! At least now we’ll have a handy guide for what to read – the exact opposite of what NewsGuard illuminates with its red shades. At least, they’ve done the work for us. Thanks (file under “helpful hints”).
    Although, apparently the Daily Mail was a bit peeved.

    And – while I hate to see anyone lose their job – who knew buzzfeed had 200 employees ready to fire?
    Likely, honest in reporting just does not pay!

    And let no one say that those evil russkies aren’t at least entrepreneurial (or quick learners):
    “The game also reflects how the response to the Salisbury poisonings in particular has been treated as something of a joke in Russia. The television station RT sent out chocolate Salisbury cathedrals as end-of-year gifts to other news agencies this year.”
    When those “fair-play” Brits are such jokers…

    1. Carolinian

      exact opposite of what NewsGuard illuminates

      Indeed that’s a comical list, at least when it comes to those deemed “trustworthy.” The Microsoft endorsement provides yet another reason to avoid Microsoft products. As a corporation they are definitely not trustworthy.

      1. beth

        So can you give me the name of a word processing program that allows me to send a copy to somecne else, who doesn’t have lebreoffice. I have run into problems w/o Word.

        Recently I had to buy a new cellphone, since I could not get a dumb one anymore. So now I have to give everything I do over to the “smart guys” in security. For me it was a defeat.

          1. beth

            I can get libreoffice to translate into Word, but not the reverse. At least in trying to mail an Libreoffice attachment, the other end using Word could not read my email. My stop gap method has been to send some small amt inside an email.

            I had a techie put MS on my computer and told him I wanted a version that did not asked me to buy it again every two years. He ignored me so that Windows 10 was eventually downloaded w/o me having any choice. I have had someone take it off since it was driving me crazy. Best Buy salesman said he could load MS so that it is paid for in full for $150. What do you recommend?

            1. aletheia33

              there is a website called officewatch. they currently have articles on who should buy MS office 2019. might be some help. they generally discuss developments with MS office as they occur. they also suggest ways to install the software more cheaply.

          1. barefoot charley

            The trick when sending out files from freeware is to convert them to the common file type. Instead of saving as usual, you ‘Save As’ (which is the next choice on the draw-down menu) your home file as ‘.Docx”, the recent Microsoft format. Send that. I assume the lawyers won’t let that be the default Save, but it’s no trouble when you’re used to it.

            1. beth

              You are saying that I can change the LibreOffice to a .docx document then it can be switched to Word at the other end? Gee, thanks.

            2. aletheia33

              this has not always worked for me. i use MS word for my editing business, and when converting to open office or vice versa, have had problems with numbering of notes and other small things that don’t get translated. not important for everyone but in my line of work it’s all about those the small things. since publishers all require freelancers to use MS word, i seems to be stuck with it. what used to be a very usable program is now ridiculously dis-“improved”.

              what’s the word for that? adding bells and whistles people don’t need while subtracting usefully intuitive basics they had come to depend on? same thing with apple devices. they don’t know when or where or how to stop. they seem to think that things like cars, phones, homes, you name it, can be continually transformed into something never before seen. they must drink their own koolaid. they are not going anywhere. there is no movement. only the appearance of it. and really, not development but decay.

              1. ChrisPacific

                You can’t have detail level accuracy in Word docs unless you edit them directly in Word. You can get close but, as you say, for some work close is not enough. I suspect this is by design on Microsoft’s part.

                You CAN have detail level accuracy if you save as a PDF, but then it’s not editable.

                1. aletheia33

                  thanks chrispacific, glad to have confirmation from someone probably more knowledgeable than me that i need not waste any more time searching for an alternative.

                  as someone mentioned on another thread today: acceptance has a crucial usefulness these days…

                  1. KPC

                    Aletheia, thank you. You rock and you get this.
                    Never ever re-invent the wheel, the keyboard, the… .
                    I believe you will find Microsoft improving to your liking.
                    Security and back doors? This is all about the corruption of human beings with the responsibility to manage and operate these systems.
                    There literally ain’t no such thing as “virtual”.

            3. The Rev Kev

              As an option, how about using an .rtf file aka Wordpad. It is really a stripped down version of Word and if it is just an ordinary letter may suite your needs to use.

    2. Summer

      Any country in conflict with the USA might want NewsGuard.
      Sounds like a handy tool for locating embedded spooks at news organizations. “trustworthy”…warning noted.

    3. knowbuddhau

      Gobsmacked that people are actually putting up with that. More Orwell than Orwell!

      ‘If you like NewsGuard, you’ll love ThoughtGuard. Just hold still in front of the camera while our trusted AI scans your face as you safely surf the Web, and we’ll tell you if you’re reading the right things, the right way.

      ‘Rest assured our trusted engineers are working on an open-air system, to keep you and your family safe wherever you go in these troubling times.’

    4. integer

      “The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”

      – Frank Zappa

  14. DJG

    Venezuela and the term “regime change,” which has all of the sloganish coolness of “kabuki.”

    Would it be okay to call this what it is? Overthrowing a lawfully elected government that happens not to follow orders from the U S of A. A coup d’état, to get all French about it.

    “Regime change” sounds like changing the sheets on the bed: But changing the Venezuelan government is going to involve deaths of real people, not just a new pattern in the fabric.

  15. makedoanmend

    Where Amazon Returns Go to Be Resold by Hustlers Atlantic (resilc)

    As someone who wonders about chance events, how a supposedly convergent confluence of events might radically change course from the expected, I found the last sentence in the quote below humorous. Basically it’s Amazon’s take on infinity intertwined consumerism making that which is mass produced unique in character at one point in time.

    “…On Amazon’s website, sophisticated sorting algorithms relentlessly rank and organize these products before they go out into the world, but once the goods return to the warehouse, they shake free of the database and become random objects thrown together into a box by fate. Most likely, never will this precise box of shit ever exist again in the world.”

    1. beth

      Food suppliers do that in North Carolina and airlines drop off lost luggage in a small town in Alabama.

      Yves could you move this to beelow Polar Donkey’s comment. Thanks.

  16. Polar Donkey

    Next to my family’s auto repair shop in a small town in rural middle Tennessee is a business that sells Amazon returns. On Fridays, they drop 10 or 12 pallets on floor, open the doors, and people race to the pallets to dig stuff out. It got so crazy that the place had to spread out releasing pallets over the course of the day. People were fighting and cars blocking the street. Whole families would come and send one member to a different pallet. Pricing for merchandise on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday would be $5. Monday would drop to $4, Tuesday $3, Wednesday $2, and Thursday $1. You never know what you may find, game consoles, food products, telescopes, etc. When you sit there and watch the spectacle, seeing how desperate a lot of these folks are, you realize how much the country is declining.

    1. barefoot charley

      Yours is the most important paragraph not in the news story, pained thanks. Dystopia had to be there somewhere . . .

      1. Eureka Springs

        Black-eye Friday.

        With a jingle:
        Amazon Honey, make me down a pallet on your floor. Make it boxed, price it low. Your vendors don’t even have to know….

    2. Shonde

      Capitalism in action. More than likely all those pallet items are on EBay within hours. Betcha lots of families make extra income or even a small living this way.
      Maybe we should all start Amazon ordering and returning so the families have a good selection. A little business model destruction that could help some people??

  17. Brindle

    I’d say she’s a hero….

    “An Indiana school superintendent who allegedly used her own insurance to help a sick student faces multiple charges including insurance fraud.

    Casey Smitherman — superintendent of Elwood Community Schools in Elwood, Indiana — was booked on charges of insurance fraud, identity deception and official misconduct on Wednesday and later released on bail, according to court records.

    Smitherman says the charges come after she recently went to the home of a student who had missed school and saw he had symptoms of strep throat. After the student was refused treatment at a clinic, she took him to another one, this time saying he was her son.”

  18. allan

    Wilbur Ross: ‘I don’t quite understand’ why federal workers need food banks during shutdown [The Hill]

    Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday that he was confused why thousands of federal workers, who’ve already missed one paycheck, are relying on food banks during the partial government shutdown.

    Ross said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that he didn’t understand why some of the roughly 800,000 unpaid federal workers have flocked to food banks for meals instead of taking out loans against back pay guaranteed by a bill President Trump signed last week.

    “I know they are and I don’t really quite understand why,” said Ross, who’s reportedly worth roughly $700 million.

    “So the 30 days of pay that some people will be out, there’s no real reason why they shouldn’t be able to get a loan against it, and we’ve seen a number of ads of financial institutions doing that.” …

    Or, if not a loan, why not get a job with their family foundation?

    A reminder that you can’t be out of touch if you were never in touch to begin with.

    1. JEHR

      The super rich will never understand the poor even though they are partly responsible for the plight of the poor–An axiom of life.

    2. David Carl Grimes

      Payday lenders are having a field day. I bet some of these workers are hurtling towards bankruptcy, even if they get paid back.

    3. Wukchumni

      My guess is Wilbur thinks those Federal employees going to food banks are covered by FDIC. (Food Declining In Cupboards)

  19. Wukchumni

    Does anybody attending the World Economic Forum @ the ski resort in Davos actually go skiing?

    I’d guess it’s akin to skiing on Superbowl weekend here in the states, the optimum time to go, as there is hardly anybody on the slopes…

    1. polecat

      I suspect they’d opt out .. for fear of smacking into all those ‘popular’ trees on the downward economic slopes, with lethal consequences .. you know, the trees where the barks are carved with the monikers Sanders, AOC, LePen, Urban and the like … along with those snowdenmen placed along the runskis, All with PUTIN likenesses of course …

      1. Wukchumni

        Never go pro Bono or get into a football game with the Kennedys off piste, and you want to get in way over your skis to that comfort zone where you can almost daydream through a run\

  20. Summer

    Re: Microsoft’s web browser News Guard

    That sampling of trustworthy sites in the article largely consisted of the news organizations that aided the “Iraq has WMDs” story back in the day. (Just the first impression after reading the story).

    Another quick observation:
    BBC – Trustworthy, with caveats
    The Guardian – Trustworthy

    Why do I think that “caveat” is their neoliberalism showing? I don’t see a wide world of difference between these two (though maybe the difference was more apparent decades ago). But could it be a subtle dig at the BBC being govt owned.

    1. nippersmom

      I view New Guard as yet another reason (as if there weren’t enough already) to avoid Microsoft’s web browser like the plague.

  21. Summer

    9Re: World Billionaires: Taxing Us Our Fair Share Would Be “Disastrous” Vanity Fair

    Wow. Maybe the headline should be “World Billionaires Land at Davos and Immediately Begin Talks About AOC”

    They still have the power, but this shows they don’t have their usual level of worship in the world and they are bothered.
    Baby steps in the right direction.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Interesting, as always, but I wouldn’t say hopeful. I think he is right that one sees evidence of a desire for devolution – from larger nation-states to smaller more autonomous region-states? – but I don’t see much evidence that that strategy solves anything. The old Katzenstein small-states argument that he cites – in which Sweden and Denmark do a lot of the heavy lifting – might be a model for Catalonia or Lombardy (maybe) but it is hard to see how, on balance, more people wouldn’t be at least as badly off as they are now.

      I think he is trying to address criticism that he is too relentlessly negative and should be using some of his considerable skill to posit some ways out of the crisis. So he is trying. Personally, I find him more compelling when he says, “I don’t see any solutions.”

  22. Jim A.

    Re: Greenland melting
    My limited understanding is that with current CO2 levels the melting of the Greenbelt Ice sheet is already baked in, but that it will probably take 500-1,000 years.

    1. Duke of Prunes

      Maybe I’m just confusing facts with hysteria, but back in 1988, some WW2 planes were found under hundreds of feet of snow in Greenland. 100s of feet of snow in 50 years. No one (in my recollection of reading the stories at the time, or skimming a few articles today) seems to have a good explanation other than “it snows a lot in Greenland”. Maybe the ice sheets are not in as much trouble as some think.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Those were P-38 Lockheed Lightnings that they found and they had to dig down to retrieve them-

        Now do the maths. If over 50 years the snow has fallen a coupla hundred feet, then over the past few thousand years enough snow would have fallen to reach the stratosphere. Obviously this did not happen. That snow being compacted to ice is being lost around the edges of Greenland as all that snow and ice is in a state of flux and is just not sitting there.
        You see this with glaciers in Europe where a few hikers get killed in them and about 60 years or more later their remains come out at the glacier’s face miles away. Sometimes there are old people, that when young, were part of that hiking trip that are still around to identify the remains and attached names to the remains.

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Greenland is approaching the threshold of an irreversible melt, and the consequences for coastal cities could be dire Business Insider (David L)


    The article does not mention what we can do at this time to prevent it.

    Sometimes, articles are written so you can sent $50 to help, or buy an electric car, but there is nothing in that article.

    Should all flights near Greenland to be re-routed? No more cruise or cargo ships there?

    Evacuate coastal cities?

      1. ewmayer

        Not so fast, young Jedi – my Mac Dictionary app – which is admittedly frozen in time in 2009, same as my Mac OS 10.6.8, the last version of said OS which didn’t suck – says Greenland pop. = 56,300, versus Lodi CA’s 51,874. Man, Greenland is way more crowded than we thought!

        Perhaps you meant Lodi, Ohio? Oh, wait, that’s even tinier … OK, how about “the greater Lodi, CA metropolisexual area”, or something?

        1. Wukchumni

          Wiki shows Lodi, Ca. with 65,884 souls stuck in it in 2017, slightly less than nearby Manteca, which is a funny name on account of it meaning Lard, in Spanish.

    1. Wukchumni

      Evacuate coastal cities?

      Is there any country with a perfectly good harbor, that is building a new one inland a little ways from the current location if possible, to take advantage of the new normal?

  24. Cat Burglar

    The WaPo headline writers had a real geography problem naming the location of the measles cases in Clark County Washington.

    They coudn’t write “Clark County Washington” — the eyes of anybody that counts would slide off that one onto the next story in a New York Minute. Ditto for “Washington county” — and how many of those are there in this country? Somebody could mistake Vancouver Washington for another Vancouver that also sits near the outlet of another big river on the west coast of this continent. And you might get into trouble with “Washington State county” if the right people were seized with fear that Clark County (or Vancouver) might be right next to Seattle! I suppose it is progress that we don’t have to read about a measles outbreak in “The West.”

    Portland Oregon can now hold its head high — it can now be identified by a national audience without the Oregon. Too bad for Portland Maine, now relegated to national invisibility for some reason. At least Clark County is “near Portland,” and can bask in the light reflected across the Columbia.

  25. John k

    I received an extra bottle of Helicidine. If you are interested, let me know where to send it.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Aaw, how kind! I still have a cough from that damned flu. I feel almost normal but the tail end is really hanging on.

      To the mailing address in the Tip Jar!

      1. The Rev Kev

        Hope that that flu that you had is not like the one that has been making the rounds here the past few years. The flu you shake off fairly quickly but it leaves a persistent, annoying cough that lasts for about a month afterwards. Don’t know if this strain is present in other regions or not. Hope you shake it off soon.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Well, almost all those flus seem to originate in Oz! They have name like “Sydney XXX”. Thank you for your concern. I hate being such a wimp, but with all the work I do, I can’t readily find the time to curl up in bed with the TV or radio to make the best of the bad situation.

          I was very sick for nearly two weeks, which is not like me at all. I either don’t get sick, am able to fight off a bug before it really gets a hold of me (as in miserable for 12-18 hours, then suddenly better) or have a very minor sniffle of long duration (I wonder if that rallies my immune system to keep worse stuff at bay). A friend of mine had the same bug and it lasted for 10 days with her, and she had two relapses. She also said it got worse for her as it progressed. I had oral surgery that went not so well just as I was getting sick, so the upset from that (both the pain and it potentially making the bug worse) really didn’t help.

          I do however still have a mild and intermittent cough. And I can’t recall the last time I had a chest cough. I pretty much don’t get them, so now I understand how troublesome they are.

  26. knowbuddhau

    Venezuela. Again. How much longer can Uncle Sam go on acting like it’s still the 19th century?

    As I sit here, I’m being overflown by the Navy’s Growler jets, which look like twin-tail fighters but they’re for electronic attacks. Takes only one to shut down a city, I’m told. First used in Libya*. Loudest jet they have. Actually causes serious harm to health, they’re so loud. They’re in the process of basing as many more here as they can. Rep. Rick Larsen has been surprisingly helpful, though.

    They shouldn’t be doing that. They’re supposed to stay out of city limits, on the other side of a nearby county road. Navy wasn’t supposed to contaminate the groundwater, either. Against the laws.

    From here to Venezuela, that’s no obstacle to empire. Only we are. Viva Venezula!

    *Yet to be used for actual defense.

  27. Craig H.

    Found the antidote photographer’s website.


    If Irene Nathanson doesn’t take a well-armed body guard with her on these shoots she is nuts. In any case they are great photos.

Comments are closed.