Links 1/8/19

Galápagos island gets its first iguanas since Darwin after mass-release Guardian

Monarch Butterfly Numbers Plummet 86 Percent In California USAToday

“Black Mirror” isn’t just predicting the future—it’s causing it Quartz (Chuck L)

Global warming of oceans equivalent to an atomic bomb per second Guardian

This GIF shows how far the 100th Meridian has shifted since 1980 Grist

New Attack Against Electrum Bitcoin Wallets Bruce Schneier

AT&T, Dish, Comcast All Raising Cable TV Rates To Counter Cord-Cutting Dallas News. Only sports addicts will be left.

Surprise discovery reveals second visual system in mouse cerebral cortex Science Daily (guurst)


WSJ Investigation: China Offered to Bail Out Troubled Malaysian Fund in Return for Deals Wall Street Journal

US-China trade talks: Beijing makes ‘stern complaints’ over American warship in disputed waters Independent

China plans the biggest garden show ever Economist (David L)

North Korea’s Kim begins visit to China BBC

Yellow vests: France to crack down on unsanctioned protests BBC


Theresa May pins hopes on last-minute EU offer on Brexit Financial Times. More unicorns.

$1 trillion is leaving Britain because of Brexit CNN

Brexit: MPs try to limit government’s no-deal financial powers BBC. Insanity. But that’s so normal in the UK the word has lost its power in that context.

Exclusive: British officials ‘putting out feelers’ with EU for Article 50 extension Telegraph

Bernard Jenkin: Could the Commons stop Brexit? It’s harder to do than some are suggesting. ConservativeHome

Brexit: gridlock Richard North

Artist Taxi Driver wants to be the UK’s Michael Moore:

This is how Canada housing correction begins McLean (Michael Hudson)

New Cold War

NBC and MSNBC Blamed Russia for Using “Sophisticated Microwaves” to Cause “Brain Injuries” in U.S. “Diplomats” in Cuba. The Culprits Were Likely Crickets. Intercept

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant Desperately Want To Help You Do Your Routine — But it Takes Too Much Programming and There Are Still Too Many Holes Wall Street Journal

Court: Politicians who block citizens on social media violate 1st Amendment ars technica

Trump Transition

With no deal in sight, shutdown reveals depth of ‘trust deficit’ Christian Science Monitor

Airports Worry About Screener Absences If the Shutdown Continues Bloomberg

IRS to issue tax refunds during partial government shutdown, White House says MarketWatch

House GOP leaders fear support eroding for Trump’s shutdown fight Politico

Pelosi and Schumer issue extraordinary statement saying they expect Trump’s Oval Office address to the nation to be ‘full of malice and misinformation’ and DEMAND networks give Dems equal airtime after deciding to broadcast his shutdown message Daily Mail

Trump administration downgrades EU mission to US DW

Macroeconomic System for Climate Change New Economic Perspectives

Biggest Threat to Single-Payer? Democrat Support for a Public Option. Truthout

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute under fire for rescinding Angela Davis honor Guardian

PG&E is tanking after report says it’s considering filing for bankruptcy protection Business Insider

New Data Suggests Shocking Shale Slowdown OilPrice

Who Wants a Market Downturn? These Investors Actually Do. New York Times (David L)

The tech sector is over FT Alphaville

Class Warfare

Seattle City Council Members Visit New York To Warn About Amazon HQ2 Bloomberg

Bill Gates warns that nobody is paying attention to this state-of-the-art scientific technology that could make inequality even worse Business Insider

Cutting wages — the wrong medicine Lars P. Syll (UserFriendly)

The prime-working-age labor problem Axios

Why the LA Teachers Strike Matters Jacobin

This Is How America Is Failing Its Young Opioid Generation Vice

Antidote du jour. Chet G:

On Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018, Robyn Graboski released a snowy owl (nicknamed St. Nick) that she had been rehabilitating. From Robyn:


News Flash: St. Nick the snowy owl has been released today!
St. Nick came in last Christmas with injuries from razer wire. He was a challenging case. We tried to release him in the spring, but he was not ready. Every time we put him in the flight enclosure, he would stop eating. Then we needed to keep him through the summer because he missed migration up to the tundra. We released him in a remote location where he will be safe…actually hours from where he was found in Huntingdon and here.


There’s a photo album with additional photos on FB (including by two other photographers):

And a bonus video:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Anonymous2


    The Telegraph story is potentially significant. It is after all the newspaper in which Tory speaks unto Tory so probably the Government is putting a toe in the water to see what reaction they get. Of course the EU 27 can read English too (something the monoglot English often forget ) and will draw their own conclusions.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’ve seen a few articles that take an extension as ‘given’ (Polly Toynbee in the Guardian today, for example). I think they are assuming that it will be granted immediately if requested. I’m not sure they realise that there is little if any possibility of an extension past June because of the date of the European Parliament elections.

      1. Anonymous2

        I agree absolutely that any extension will be for a few weeks maximum unless there is some major shift on the UK side.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Plus, the German Foreign Minister today made it clear that there would be no extension of time if it was in order to re-open negotiations.

      The German Foreign Minster has said Germany will not support any Brexit agreement that results in a hard border on the Island of Ireland.

      Heiko Maas was addressing a conference of Irish ambassadors and diplomatic mission chiefs in Dublin Castle.

      In remarks to reporters later he played down suggestions that the Article 50 process might be extended if the House of Commons does not vote in favour of the Withdrawal Agreement next week.

      “I don’t want to have a discussion about what my government might do in the event of the agreement being voted down next week. Those who want the agreement to fall in order to get a better negotiating position are taking a very big risk.”

      1. SoldierSvejk

        I think I figured it out finally – Brexit is Germans’ revenge for the Treaty of Versailles.

      2. Oregoncharles

        But a crashout results, precisely, in a hard Irish border (at least until NI decides to switch sides.) Brace yourself.

  2. Olga

    A bit too much emphasis on immigration, but also a good run-down of the protests’ progress and reactions of various politicians/military/intellectuals:
    “The author Éric Zemmour described the revolt as the result of the “despair of people who feel humiliated, forgotten, dispossessed of their own country by the decisions of a contemptuous caste”. He concluded that he thinks that Macron has lost all legitimacy and that his presidency is over.”

      1. Todde

        The best part is when the government official who called the protesters cowards runs after they break down the door of his office building with a forklift.

        Coward is and coward does buddy.

    1. Felix_47

      The tragedy is that combined Algeria and France could have been an incredibly productive nation. There was California like weather and agriculture and massive amounts of oil combined with advanced technology from France. Muslims don’t like working for white people like the Pied Noirs (the white French settlers and farmers such as the Marie LePen’s father) or anywhere but had they waited by now they would be very prosperous. The Muslims got their independence and ironically as soon as they realized that their own leadership was worse than the French they all wanted to go to France where for the most part, if they find work, they are menial laborers just like the old days in Algeria. France now has to support millions of angry Muslims but does not have the benefit of the oil or agriculture to finance it.

      1. Olga

        Beg to disagree… “but had they waited by now they would be very prosperous.” Really? Waited for what – crumbs of the french table? And waited how long exactly? And what about in the meantime? Colonialism by definition extracts wealth from the colony, not adds to it – however long one waits (except, perhaps for a small comprador elite). The way french treated Haiti after its revolt is very instructive. And it is no surprise that the Vietnamese fought tooth-and-nail to keep the french away after WWII. I cannot think of one nation that would joyously (or rationally) accept a foreign over-lord.

        1. Bugs Bunny

          Totally agree with you. Visit any one of France’s still extant colonies and you’ll see the old exploitation system still in practice, perhaps a bit more sophisticated than in the past but very much obvious.

          To wit: A French infrastructure plopped down in the jungle or on an island, ENA educated elites running the show, overpriced goods directly imported from France that smother out local production and usually a cash crop sold on the international market with profits sent back to the metropole. Ask yourself why bananas from Martinique are less expensive in Paris than in Fort de France…

          1. vidimi

            i found martinique and guadeloupe more prosperous than, say, saint lucia and with food much more reasonably priced.

      2. David

        This was gone through at the time (1960), and was recognised by De Gaulle and others to be impossible. At that point, of course, France and Algeria were combined – Algeria was legally part of France. But the only way to have continued the link would have been by giving all non-Europeans the vote, which was unacceptable to the settlers (and especially the OAS) and would logically have added ten million Algerians to the French electoral rolls, which was impossible anyway.
        Don’t confuse Algerians with Muslims, not least because there is the remains of a Christian community there, as well as a growing evangelical trend within the Kabyle community. The government in Algeria is secular (and fought a terrible war in the1990s against Muslim fundamentalists) even if the country is culturally Muslim. The independence movement owed much more to Moscow than to Mecca. By no means all of the Maghrebian immigrants in France are Algerians, and many Algerians are secular.

    2. David

      Zemmour is someone to treat with caution: his anti-immigration and anti-Muslim views are at the extreme right-wing (broadly Catholic) end of the spectrum, and the reference to “being dispossessed of their own country” is code for the insistence of Zemmour and others that, within the foreseeable future, whites will become a minority in a largely-Muslim France. In general the article isn’t that bad, but it overlooks the fact that the French government have actually introduced a whole series of repressive new legal measures, as well as massively increasing security everywhere. In addition, the author subscribes to the fantasy that it’s somehow possible to “oversee” the 20,000 individuals with an “S” file (the list referred to). Given that there are about 150,000 police in the whole of France, that gives you an idea of the practicability of the suggestion ….
      More generally, mentioning terrorism and the gilets jaunes in the same article, when they have nothing to do with each other, is not only reflecting Macron’s own propaganda, it’s also characteristic of the “France in decline” school of thinking of which this article is part.

      1. zer0

        Well France and the whole EU is in decline so the article was on point about that.
        Also the dispossession could also refer to the younger generation, that cant find jobs anywhere but the cities, but cant live in the cities due to rising costs. I wouldnt necessarily assume the author meant it from a racial standpoint, especially since France has had a large African and Muslim population for quite sometime, really ever since WWII.

    3. A Small Part of the Pantomime

      Poking around his other writings, have to say Milliere strikes me as a Camp of the Saints-style hysteric, perhaps not a surprise considering the website. It’s not immigration that he finds disturbing, but immigrants from former French colonies, Muslim or not.

    4. Octopii

      Some really inaccurate statements in that piece. I assume you know Gatestone’s bias and reputation, and that John Bolton ran it for a while… Macron is in trouble but the demonstrations have eased significantly.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “NBC and MSNBC Blamed Russia for Using “Sophisticated Microwaves” to Cause “Brain Injuries” in U.S. “Diplomats” in Cuba. The Culprits Were Likely Crickets.”

    Well you are not going to have the main stream media admit that they are wrong and that the cause of this ruckus was only crickets and not the Russians. The Guardian still hasn’t walked back their bs story about Manafort visiting Assange after all. I think that the closest you will see to a retraction on the part of NBC and MSNBC will be the following headline-

    “Russians bug US Embassy in Cuba!”

    1. pretzelattack

      i’m now on premoderation at the guardian cause i keep making comments about harding and their failure to address this farce.
      re russia, it’s an escalation to biological weapons!

      1. PlutoniumKun

        It should be a point of honour to be in pre-mod by the Guardian. The fact that the Guardian continue to allow Harding to ‘report’ for them says everything you need to know about the direction a formerly great newspaper is going. Its kind of sad, because it still occasionally produces great work, but something at the head is very rotten when they will willingly lie on such an important subject.

          1. WJ

            The Guardian purged all writers not down with liberal interventionism / NATO propaganda about a decade ago. I suspect that hidden far behind this move you will find MI6 or 77th Brigade (propaganda division). At around the same time they started purging comments that didn’t accord with the official narrative of the day. An entire website has since been started in response to this shift. Off-Guardian.

            1. Olga

              The G went seriously downhill right after the UK’s blob forced them to destroy hard drives with Snowden’s data.

              1. larry

                It hans’t been helped with Viner’s elevation to the editorship. I understand some of the older journalists detest her.

            2. Hameloose Cannon

              The notion that MSNBC has a Cuban desk in a bullpen within which a grizzled foreign correspond runs stringers trying chase down an ultrasonic irritability device from a hot tip mp3 audio of literal crickets is absurd. A press card fedora-ed reporter suffers the crush of paranoia from getting too close to the truth. – Do you think this might be the kind of misdirection certain bureaucracies are obligated to produce in order to protect other gov’t employees doing their jobs? Or is that just a cover story for the cover story? Forget it, Jefe. It’s Cuba-town.

      2. Olga

        I saw something at the G that said “comments are pre-moderated.” Wondered what that meant. Seems like someone is taking Orwell a bit too literally.

    2. Barmitt O'Bamney

      Minitrue does not do retractions. “Retractions” are an artifact of an earlier, unenlightened age.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I keep waiting for them to change the words of omnipresent Anthem (#1 of 4):

        Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
        O’er the land of the surveiled and the home of the easily frightened?

        I guess it’s been decided that such a change for the sake of accuracy would undermine the many mini-Nurembergs we hold this time of year.

    3. Darthbobber

      And like many other endlessly flogged stories about Russian this and that, there was never any motivation that made a lick of sense for the Russians to do anything of the kind. Nor any evidence, even of the most circumstantial variety. But that’s all been dispensable for quite some time now.

      And they wonder at their ever-declining credibility.

      What needs to be explained is how in God’s name they retain even the credibility they still have.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Reputational inertia.

        And enough non-false stories to re-assure the core readership that all the stories are non-false. That keeps the inertia going.

  4. GramSci

    In re crickets: “Indeed – contrary to the sensationalistic MSNBC screen graphics – serious doubt has been cast on whether U.S. “diplomats” in Cuba even suffered brain injuries at all.” No doubt a pre-existing condition.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The question we have to ask is, are they American crickets or Russian crickets?

      The latter would be suspcious.

      Need to catch a few, and test/analyze them.

          1. ambrit

            Kalasnikov claimed that shooting Steppe Mosquitoes that drifted in to the Altai mountains from the adjacent steppes as a kid taught him all he knew about shooting. The Mosin-Nagant in 7.62 x 54R was ubiquitous among the dwellers of the rough and ready region. The result being the AK rifles.
            s/ I remember hunting Everglades Mosquitoes (Culiseta floridensis) as a teen, using a Benjamin air rifle. Everyone living near the Everglades back then did. Usually though, you needed a backup shooter with a .22 long rifle to cover you if you missed or just wounded the mosquito. They are fierce, and dangerous. /s

            1. Wukchumni

              Mossies sometimes attack in V-Pack squadron formation in the High Sierra, but it’s nothing a headnet and covering up exposed body parts can’t fix.

  5. Olga

    That husky is a seriously lazy dog… or maybe he was suffering from indigestion. We actually had to start spelling “o” “u” “t” because if anyone said “go out,” the frisky Ger. Shep. was by the door, guilting you with her eyes to force the lazy human out for a walk. There was no escape..

    1. nycTerrierist

      ha! same here re: ‘o’ ‘u’ ‘t’ with my sheepdog mix (R.I.P).
      she soon figured out what we were spelling, so we switched
      to yiddish: ‘nemen ze hunt?’ (sp) (‘take the dog?’)
      and then she learned yiddish!

      I’m curious what is going on with that husky…perhaps a warm
      day and the tub is cool?

    2. Pookah Harvey

      From the youtube lnked page:

      This is why they say huskies are stubborn. They’re very smart but they have low motivation to please their owners. Zeus loves playing in the water in the bathtub and wanted the water turned on. However it was time for his walk and he was just being stubborn because he wanted to play in the water.

    3. Big River Bandido

      guilting you with her eyes to force the lazy human out for a walk

      Yes, this is husky behavior. They are incredibly communicative, and especially adept at using their nose to point. Loved the bonus antidote!

    4. Janie

      We had to spell c-a-r during the grade school, station wagon days with our 40 pound shepherd mix. That lasted a short while; we resorted to jalopy, heap, automobile, Chevrolet. Good times.

    5. DolleyMadison

      I have to leave my walking shoes in the car because if I put them on in the house the dog (a malenoise mix) loses his mind and will not leave me alone and will keep jumping and “hugging” me around the waist. Sometimes I swear I am just THINKING of going for a walk and he becomes hyper vigilant also…following me and trying to get leash out of bowl on the bookcase. Can they read minds?

      1. Janie

        Yes, sort of. They are so attuned to body language; they notice a change in posture, a different focus of your attention. You lean forward in your chair to see the progress the kids are making toward getting shoes on, then you glance around to see where you put the errand list and, boom, above shepherd mix and, later the malamute mix, are at the door.

    6. Knifecatcher

      Our current go-to is “I’m going to go do the thing with the dog”, which our shepherd mix hasn’t quite figured out yet. If the w-a-l-k word is used, in any context, there’s no hope. If you actually string together the words “go for a walk” you better be ready to go, RIGHT NOW.

      Irritating and endearing all at once.

    7. Oregoncharles

      Yeah, our dog learned “out”, too, with similar results. We learned all sorts of circumlocutions. I think she learned some of those, too.

        1. openandshut

          No, his reporting and facts are wrong because they are wrong. Nowhere in the article he references does anyone, not even Beto’s detractors mention “regular people.”

          1. pretzelattack

            what is the point of the tour? who is he proposing to listen to? still haven’t seen anything “wrong”. btw, i don’t think democrats actually listening to regular people is wrong. i just think they fake doing it all the time. like beto is going to do.

            1. openandshut

              Here is a link to the actual story from which Greenwald plays his Gossip game:


              Please tell me where the words regular folk or even listening tour appear in it.

              What I find more telling upon a 2nd read is that the article itself, though it leads with Beto, gives equal time to the entire potential field, including Warren, Sanders, Harris, Booker etc. and their respective plans. Yet Epstein and Greenwald tweet the regular folk slur only about Beto. Why?

      1. Darthbobber

        I miss anything in that tweet where Greenwald makes any claim at all about his own attitudes regarding folk, regular or otherwise.

        And if Greenwald were Satan himself, he’s still be spot on about what vacuous twaddle this is.

        1. openandshut

          Go reread the actual article. No introduction of regular in the story itself. Only in the tweet by Epstein that Greenwald retweets, while making it seem like to talk to regular people came from someone in the Beto camp directly and not a WSJ reporter’s mischaracterization.

          Greenwald then compounds the offense with his exotic animal dig, which makes his tweet twice removed from anything resembling truth.

          He’s learned well from his appearances on FOX though,

          1. pretzelattack

            who is beto going to talk to, donors? that’s the whole point of the “listening tour”, to be seen as just a “regular guy”. so no offense, and no compounding. unless of course you’re a centrist dem.

            1. openandshut

              Field trip “to talk to the regular people” – like a guided excursion to observe the mating rituals of exotic species in the wild:

              Nah, not offensive in the least. LOL. Have a good night just the same.

            2. ambrit

              “Compounding” makes it sound like Beto’s party will be building mesquite bomas every night and keep the bonfire raging continuously to keep away the ‘wildlife.’
              Potemkin Listening Tour?

              1. openandshut

                And listening tour was erroneously introduced here, in order to compare Beto to HRC, and appears nowhere in the original source material.


                So, let’s take this apart. WSJ does an article on all D candidates. Epstein makes up Beto “regular folk” comment out of whole cloth, Greenwald adds to the slur of alleged elitism on Beto’s part (if you don’t like “compounds”), and commenter does the same by characterizing it as a “listening tour” in order to get the HRC dig in.

                That isn’t news. That’s the Gossip Game.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “This GIF shows how far the 100th Meridian has shifted since 1980”

    So I was reading today how Niagara Falls is eroding at the rate of 1 ft per year and that in roughly 50,000 years Niagara Falls will have eroded the remaining 20 miles to Lake Erie and cease to exist. Still time for that belated visit then. But that gif on the shift of the nominal 100th Meridian is much more rapid than that and the shift over the past 40 year is enormous. In only a few more generations the entire continental United States will have the climate of the American west. Yee-haw!
    Lambert was talking about this story some time ago. If you look closely you will see that the Meridian (now at about the 98th Meridian point) is approaching the farmlands of Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana. What that means is that if there are not massive irrigation schemes carried out, all those corn fields will have to convert to wheat fields or some other crop. Other areas will become western-style grazing ranges and good luck with water supplies in all those cities. God knows how climate change is going to inter-react with all this. More on this topic at-

    1. georgieboy

      Doesn’t seem likely that the entire continental US will have the climate of the American west in ‘human time.’

      Think Great Lakes and winds off the Gulf Coast.

      That said, the Great Lakes watershed runs fairly tight to the western edge of Lake Michigan, so plenty of room for the Meridian to march eastward.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Not to nitpick or anything, but the 100th Meridian isn’t moving. It is the dry-to-wet gradient-zone-of-transition which is moving. Moving East of the 100th Meridian. The actual Meridian isn’t moving at all.

      But on a deeperly more profounder note, farmer Gabe Brown in North Dakota once again deserves referrence, and a long look. He is successfully growing subhumid zone crops like corn and soybeans as part of a much more complex multi-step program in a 16 inches-of-annual-precipitation zone. Without supplemental irrigation.

      Is the same “dry-line shift” to the east happening in Canada too? Will all of non-Arctic Canada have a climate like today’s Canadian West?

  7. jhallc

    “NEW NEWS: Beto O’Rourke is planning a solo road trip to talk to regular people about the country as he mulls a 2020 presidential campaign”
    One wonder’s who he has been talking to all this time?

      1. Swamp Yankee

        I realized recently I went to college with said heiress (I was on a scholarship, my family could never afford it otherwise).

        Part of the College-Industrial Complex’s chief use for the ruling class is to take working-class kids, plop them down amidst heretofore unimaginable amounts of wealth and power, and hope they’ll become a traitor to their own class.

        I hope I have avoided that temptation (“get thee behind me, Satan!”), but it works all too well all too often.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It was popular for a while – DIY…Do It Yourself.

          In this case, DIY college education.

          I beileve, in this case, the government should pay you, the DIY teacher, for teaching you, the DIY student.

          Given that it would one-on-one teaching, the monetary amount could go high…maybe $100,000 a year?

  8. Roger Smith

    File under things no one wants and didn’t ask for: Ford Will Equip All New U.S. Vehicles With 5G Technology Starting in 2022

    Where is the drive to shove this crap in consumers faces coming from? People aren’t stupid have done reasonably well driving for decades. Why now? All this does is let your car broadcast your metadata around as your pass everything and anything willing to receive in. “This person didn’t stop here… how can we get them too?” Are people in the business world really so stupid to think that someone has to be buying something constantly?? Talk about Internet of .

    I called it right away when companies like GM were appearing on the news about how much money they were investing in self-driving cars. Lo and behold, GM just canned a few plants here in MI and laid off tons of of people… There must be some secret lucrative contracts behind this tech to make it worth it for executives.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Well I can think of one useful way that this technology can be used. Cars can have Head-Up Displays on their windscreen already, right? Now with 5G internet connectivity, as you drive down a highway, a McDonald’s ad will display on your windscreen and mentions that the turnoff is in only two miles down the highway. An ad will pop up mentioning the next town’s string museum and brought to you courtesy of the local chamber of commerce. Who needs boring old billboards along a highway when companies can target your profile exactly and feed you a stream of ads tailored to your possible wants right on your windscreen. Talk about your captive audience.

      1. Roger Smith

        Exactly. The data will be collected to determine when people stop and when they don’t. Then business will analyze some metric to assign an emotional signifier to each vehicle, then, based on when that particular vehicle does stop and where, if the probability measure of getting the car to stop calculates to be above a certain rate, you will be targeted with a HUD or radio ad x, y, z, of type tailored to what your emotional disposition was measure to be.

        I am imagining an ad with heavy metal and a guy talking about how much driving sucks, then hamming it up for McDonalds two blocks away on the right. What a time to be alive… or die.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Targeted micro-bursts of air scented like McDonald’s fries 100 yards before each drive-in entry, rotating 3D heads-up windshield displays of burgers oozing goo, a clown in the background shouting about free coupons…the future is gonna be great

        1. The Rev Kev

          Yeah, I think that you are right. And if the police are chasing someone, they will simply instruct all cars in a ten mile stretch of highway via that 5g network to come to a slow stop. Hope that you are not in a rush. Another thought. Traveling by car is still pretty well anonymous as nobody knows you from boo. In this future, companies will know exactly who is in each and every car all the time.

      2. pretzelattack

        an app to tell you the nearest in network hospital might be useful. if you get distracted by the stupid ads and have a car wreck, at least you have a fighting chance to tell the ambulance attendants.
        the crapification will continue until morale improves.

        1. crittermom

          And your insurance company then doubles your rate (or denies your claim) because you were guilty of ‘distracted driving’.

      3. cnchal

        I another. As you drive along, your car rats you out to the cops and deducts money from your bank account automatically whenever a minute driving infraction happens.

        I bet a tech bro is working on it right now, to achieve the ultimate goal and become Davos Man.

        1. MRLost

          Yes. By penalizing you for tiny driving infractions, “they” will force you into self-driving cars that are incapable of breaking the rules.

      4. polecat

        No need to even stop at the drive-through, as the underpaid serfs will just toss the uncooked dreck right onto the dashboard … where it will present itself hot, and fully cooked … in seconds !
        Then your insurance co. will up your rates, considerably !!, for the act of grabbing that scalding excuse for a burger whilst driving, the result of which is a crashthrough into a Wendys lobby !
        What’s not to like ??

    2. Ignacio

      Does this mean that Ford has no other ideas,and no commercial strategy, except for that ridiculously stupid techie/smartie thing?

      For me the only important new from any of these companies would be when are those starting/upscaling electric car production, and when stopping the production of fuel-fuelled vehicles.

      1. Roger Smith

        About 15 years ago (going on 20) Ford had brought a fully functioning hydrogen Ford Focus to our Middle School. They guy then told me the tech was at least 10 years away. 15 years later… self driving cars and personalized ads on your HUD. (Not that Hyrdogen doesn’t have its issues, but as a matter of engineering, creative investment).

        1. Ignacio

          I believe that in search of alternative fuels many companies have done technical investments that went badly. Ford also invested in flexifuel engines and I believe this was not precisely a success story. So they may have reached the conclusion that 5G must be a safer investment.

        2. Cancyn

          I have a friend whose father worked for Ford, he is long retired. He swears that in the early seventies the plans for a mostly plastic, lifetime lasting car (i.e. 50 years) existed (long before Saturn built their plastic cars). They never came to market of course – the whole point is to have people buying/leasing new cars so that the car companies can make money from their financial side (loans and leases). And service said new vehicles. The profits ain’t in the manufacturing.
          I agree that all of this car tech is horrible. I have a 5 year old vehicle, and I don’t want to buy a new car, ever. My husband just bought a new car that has the sensors that beep for every little reason. Even as a passenger I find it wildly distracting and ask him to turn off the technology when I am in the car. I shudder to think about not being able to turn off the tech.

          1. Roger Smith

            Is he actually able to turn off some of those “added features”? I figured you wouldn’t be able too.

            As MRLost says above, I get the feeling we are being pushed into a subscription car market, which fits in with your friend’s father’s story. Just look at how the car market fluctuates since the bailout. They cars suck and are too expensive so people buy less… what is the illogical solution? Merge cars with tech so overly complex that it provides the means to rip ownership away from the consumer.

            1. Cancyn

              Roger Smith – He can turn off the sensors that beep and doesn’t have the ‘stay in the lane’ guidance technology. That one really scares me, I recall discussion here a while back about a windshield replacement causing malfunctioning in the lane guidance tech – the car kept trying to get out of the lane because of a miscalibration. Yikes! Not something I would ever trust.

      2. Alfred

        The upshot seems to be, that Ford’s cars are no longer Ford’s product Instead, those who buy those cars are the product. Which reminds me of something else…

        1. Ignacio

          I see

          New FORD POS with integrated personal data collector. Everybody wants to change to Google/Facebook business models.

          1. Eureka Springs

            Inherent competition between auto makers and insurance to name two who are both selling the same tracking info.

            My gen was promised jetpacks or hovercraft and now all I want after my twenty year old vehicles die is a chipless burro.

    3. Alex morfesis

      Big flubber and my vehicle… Sadly, my mechanic tends to get saucy in the late afternoon when moi usually finds the time to bring in the car for something and wouldn’t ya know it…he messed up putting the car back together again..?? And that off brand computer to analyze the car seems to be quite buggy…but…since car dealers and officially licensed and certified mechanic shops just cost so much…guess driving a car which seems to have developed a small virus or bug or something in that G5 system…is just the price one has to pay in these difficult times….

        1. polecat

          We should all be grateful if what is really offered is the kind of innocuous conveyance as depicted in Woody Allen’s “Sleeper” … slow, bulbous, kinda clunky, but with just a hint of that futuristic touch.

          …. as to the uses of aluminum foil ..

    4. TimR

      “Where is the drive to shove this crap in consumers faces coming from? ”

      Think big picture imo… Everyone buys into the myth that these are “private companies”, but these giant corporations are heavily interlocked with the Borg.. Their execs also sit on boards for gov, banking, think tanks, academia etc. At the highest level It’s not just about profit. That’s why you have these agendas roll out across the board with this eerie sense of totalitarian top-down imposition. That’s what it is. Nobody asked for it, nobody wants it. But the people who own this joint know what’s best for you.

    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      Perhaps there will be a serious aftermarket in stripping the G5 cooties out of your new Ford Truck or SUV or Crossover. Since Ford won’t be making or selling “cars” anymore anyway.

    6. drumlin woodchuckles

      GM is getting out of the “car” bussiness and focusing strictly on the Truck, SUV and Crossover bussiness.
      GM is re-enacting the tragedy of Old GM wherein they focus on high-profit-per-unit Trucks, SUVs and Crossovers which sell during times of low gas prices. And they are ignoring and cancelling the “minicars which make miniprofits” during those same times of low gas prices.

      And if the gas prices go high again and stay high for 3 or more years, GM will be unable to sell its Big Vehicles and will have no cars to sell because it left the car bussiness. People will want to buy Volts and Bolts and Cruizes again and there will be none to buy.

      The only way to solve the problem of yoyo gas prices causing yoyo whipsaws to what GM can sell would be punitive gas taxes which made gas so punitively expensive that people would be price-tortured into buying Volts, Bolts and Cruizes again.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I think this is another of the ‘unknowns’. Ryanair said last year it was buying out the UK Pension fund holdings in order to qualify as EU, not a UK company (it is registered in Ireland, but apparently most shareholders are UK based).

      Some companies have such complex holdings it could keep the courts busy for years deciding whether they are EU or not (and have no doubt, some competitors will use the courts if they see an advantage).

  9. milesc

    Re “New Attack Against Electrum Bitcoin Wallets”

    As the author points out, “Electrum servers are allowed to trigger popups with custom text inside users’ wallets” — that’s inexcusably bad software design on Electrum’s part.

    It also serves as a good reminder that Trusted Third Parties Are Security Holes (Nick Szabo).

    1. rd

      It all depends on how much company funding goes into the 401ks. The problem with conversion to 401ks is not that they replaced pensions, but that the companies slashed how much money they were contributing to the employee’s retirement.

      Pensions are loaded towards longevity with the organization, usually needing at least 20 years or more with the one organization to get worthwhile benefits. We are seeing lots of underfunded pension plans that can leave employees dramatically less than promised.

      401ks with decent employer funding (say 6%+) work out well for employees if there are good investment choices. Vesting is complete in 6 years or less, so that you can keep the entire employer contribution after that time. So a layoff from a struggling employer after 10 years of employment doesn’t mean that your retirement is shot. You take your 401k and get a new job and never have to look back wondering if your pension will be there 20 years later.

      The options in 401ks are typically much better than they used to be and rollovers into something like a Vanguard defined target risk or defined target date fund give you a portfolio equivalent to what an institutional pension plan could have had 20 years ago at low cost. The big problem if you have a decent 401k is lack of investor education and then getting fed to the sharks without fiduciary protections on rollovers etc.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “This Is How America Is Failing Its Young Opioid Generation”
    ‘Maine’s just-departed, two-term Republican governor, Paul LePage, repeatedly blocked attempts to make Narcan widely available.’

    Now that Le Page has upped stakes and is moving to a State better suited to his tastes, does that mean that Narcan will be back on the agenda again? Saw a TV story tonight on Vancouver’s opioid problem but there they treated it as a medical problem and the use of Narcan was widespread. It seemed that every man and his dog carried Narcan to treat addicts, especially the police, and I think I heard that the addicts themselves could carry it.

  11. marym

    Because of the shutdown, more than 1,000 affordable housing contracts have expired

    About 1,150 contracts with private landlords have expired since the shutdown began on Dec. 22, according to Jereon Brown, a spokesman for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That represents about 5 percent of all contracts for a federal Section 8 program known as Project-Based Rental Assistance, which subsidizes rent and utilities for 1.2 million low-income families, including many who are elderly or disabled.

    If landlords have limited reserves — or if they’re squeezed by a continuing shutdown — they could be pushed to delay critical repairs, seek additional financing, raise rents, or ultimately evict tenants, [federal policy director for the National Housing Trust, an advocacy group for affordable housing Ellen Lurie] Hoffman said.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I can think of a couple of neighboring households that I wouldn’t mind seeing evicted. Not to mention their absentee slumlord of a landlord. The neighborhood grapevine speculates that he finally sold the property after three attempts in two years. If that’s true, the rest of us won’t miss him or his crummy tenants.

  12. PlutoniumKun

    $1 trillion is leaving Britain because of Brexit CNN

    A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you are talking about real money….

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Monarch Butterfly Numbers Plummet 86 Percent In California”

    Knew these butterflies from when I was a kid growing up in Sydney and you found them everywhere. They are also to be found along eastern Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. For those interested, here is a news story on them that has lots of great shots-

    1. juliania

      They still have them in New Zealand at least. But if they keep on the glyphosate addiction, they soon won’t. Maybe they’ll learn from the US in time.

  14. rd

    I was in the San Joaquin Delta last year and the Monterey-Carmel area a couple of years previously. The entire region has been largely denuded of native vegetation, even where there are opportunities to have it (e.g. roadside ditches and levee embankments). Corn, artichokes, etc. as far as the eye can see with apparent heavy herbicide use.

    My understanding is that the almond growers were actively wiping out flowering plants because they thought those flowers would compete for honeybees when the commercial beekeepers would come around. In turn, that has probably been contributing to hive collapse disorder by reducing the variety in the bees’ diet. This will also have been wiping out milkweed plants in those buffer strips – so no Monarch butterfly larvae.

    You see the same type of thing in many areas of the mid-west.

    The Eastern US (outside of subdivisions and actual farm fields) appears to be one of the few areas in the country that still has a lot of diverse native vegetation

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If the almond growers are really doing what you say they are doing, they are displaying a rare sort of eco-depravity. There are allegedly “organic” almond growers in California. Are they wiping out all the flowering plants in reach for the same reason? Or are the “organic” almond growers of California suffering the flowers to live? Because if they are, I can permit myself to keep buying “organic” almonds. But if they are slaughtering all the flowers just like their chemo-almond neighbors, then their “organic” almonds are also too depraved and evil to eat. So it would be nice to have an answer to that question.

      As to the Eastern US, I think even the subdivisions have more planto-insecto diversity than the humongo-ginormous petro-chemo factory farms would have.

  15. Pookah Harvey

    There is link in the Grist story of the 100th meridian moving east to YaleEnvironment 360 that lists other changes.

    The tropics are moving north and south at 30 miles per decade

    The Sahara desert has gotten 10 percent bigger since 1920

    The 100th Meridian has shifted 140 miles east

    Tornado Alley has shifted 500 miles east in 30 years

    Plant Hardiness Zones are moving north in the U.S. at 13 miles per decade

    The permafrost line has moved 80 miles north in 50 years in parts of Canada

    The Wheat Belt is pushing poleward at up to 160 miles per decade in Australia

    As Bob Dylan said” The times, they are a changin’ “

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Isn’t 100th meridian just 100 degrees west of Greenwich?

      Wouldn’t that not move, at all, by definition?

      1. Pookah Harvey

        It is the nomenclature that is used for the north/south line that separates the wet east from the dry west. It is now moved from the original 100th meridian closer to the 98th meridian. As the article states:

        But we may have to change the line’s name someday. The shift is the result of rising temperatures drying out parts of the northern plains and less rain falling further south, YaleEnvironment360 reports. This could be due to natural variability — changes caused by nonhuman forces — but the migration aligns with what researchers tell us to expect from global warming.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Things will get a lot more interesting once we succeed in our efforts toward an ice-free Summer Arctic Ocean.

  16. Stephen Haust

    Re: Rising cable rates, “AT&T, Dish, Comcast” (and everybody else too)


    Re: NBC and MSNBC Blamed Russia

    So, if I pay these rates for cable service, including these two media giants, and the “news”
    they proffer turns out to be not only fake but falsely constructed nonsense, are they going
    to pay me back for the portion of my rate that proved to be a defective product or deceptive
    packaging or whatever other description one could apply for their dishonesty?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Chris Matthews and Joe Scarborough work at MSNBC. NBC news hired Megan “Santa is white” Kelly. I can’t imagine a situation where anyone wouldn’t assume the place is parody.

      We’re proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who’s physical, who’s not a complicated guy like [former President Bill] Clinton or even like [former Democratic presidential candidates Michael] Dukakis or [Walter] Mondale, all those guys, [George] McGovern. They want a guy who’s president. Women like a guy who’s president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It’s simple. We’re not like the Brits. We don’t want an indoor prime minister type, or the Danes or the Dutch or the Italians, or a [Russian Federation President Vladimir] Putin. Can you imagine Putin getting elected here? We want a guy as president. Matthews reflecting on the Mission Accomplished Stunt.

      As for Scarborough, he was a Republican Congressman, part of the Gingrich Revolution, who supported every crazy idea one can imagine. As for his anti-Trump stance, he’s probably ticked he resigned after his mistress was found dead in his Congressional office, murdered by her husband. He was a star of the GOP.

      Can you really complain if they advertise MSNBC will rot your brain?

  17. David Carl Grimes

    True, don’t you think? Obama had the benefit of both QE and zero interest rates, yet the economy was moribund. In the Trump era, the economy is surprisingly resilient, despite rising interest rates. Sometimes I think the economy is just starting to kick into high gear instead of being in the ninth inning. Wages are rising, which puts more money into people’s pockets, which leads to higher spending.

    1. Darthbobber

      Actually, I don’t. Practically, for most Americans, there’s minimal difference between the economy of the last 2 years of Obama and that of the first 2 years of Trump. Certainly nothing that would justify describing the one as moribund and the other as surprisingly resilient.

      I also don’t see qe or the zirp environment as having done much for the economy toward the end, either, except to artificially inflate equity prices and depress the returns on the fixed part of portfolios.

  18. jfleni

    RE: AT&T, Dish, Comcast All Raising Cable TV Rates To Counter Cord-Cutting.

    Cut that cord! It is Just the same as cutting their ####’s off! Welcome
    to the world of local Internet managed by thousands of localities, states,
    cities, and many more!

    1. Cal2

      Demand a price cut from your local ISP or you will leave for a different provider.
      You might get a special temporary deal. They have people in the Phillipines whose only job it is to sell you something new. There’s no overall corporate awareness of what people have had, are buying and might buy in the future, I have noticed. Use this against the Mooloch.

  19. Jason Boxman

    On the CSM article and trust, it’s worth noting that, on issues that the American public broadly agrees, like universal healthcare, there’s bipartisan support in Washington to prevent it, no matter what. So the areas where we see this distrust seem to be around virtue signaling and tribalism, rather than public policy that benefits the working class. Surprise, eh?

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      I think he is out of ideas. Which, IMO, didn’t take long. Especially when he surrounds himself with toadies. Isn’t that the way of all narcissists, that everyone must bring a pocket mirror to meetings?

      Seriously, though, I think he plans to use forces from the Syria and Afghanistan draw downs to build the wall and that has been the plan for a while. I, personally, would rather have our young men and women tromping back and forth along the border than shooting peasants around the world. Spend all that money in the border towns, El Paso, Yuma, Brownsville, etc. Don’t really need new dysfunctional aircraft carriers and new dysfunctional F35s to patrol fencing. Perhaps even install solar panels across the Southern border to power the camps and the atmospheric water collection facilities.

      1. David Carl Grimes

        I actually think he’s going to invoke it. After all, he has the Senate, he has the Supreme Court and the lower courts as well. So, it will go through despite the inevitable legal challenge.

        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          Republicans have the Senate, the SCOTUS and most of the lower courts; Trump does not. Most of the traditional Republican elite surreptitiously hate him every bit as much as the squawking Democrats. He has limited control over them. Many of them are biding their time until they think he finally overdoes it, and then they plan to install Pence as POTUS.

          He has the support of right wing voters, not “right wing” elites.

    2. marym

      No one believes there is any “emergency” including, apparently Trump. WSJ reporting he hasn’t decided yet (paywall) and a CBS reporter says Pompeo laughed about it.

      So a better phrasing of the question is whether Trump will invoke his emergency powers as a political stunt to rile up his “base” about a “solution” that nobody believes in* for a misrepresented and fear-mongered problem.

      Democrats are somewhere between useless and evil on most issues, but if Trump pulls this stunt and they cave, they’ll be standing on this hill again for every issue going forward.

      * Here are some links. Think what you will about the editorial slant of the sources, or about immigration issues in general, they describe elements of the 2-year timeline during which Republicans controlling Congress and the WH didn’t bother pass legislation for a wall.

  20. Summer

    RE: “An informal boycott of US products also seems to be taking place.”

    BofAML notes that China consumers seem to be cutting down on US products…”

    Indespensible Nation would be really put on notice if informal boycotts of the entertainment products begin. What was called “soft power” was Indespensible Nation’s best game.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Perhaps our Congressional rodentia can pass legislation making BDS-US illegal? That would show ’em!!!

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      We could start an informal boycott of Chinese products in some cases. But not that many cases because the International Free Trade Conspiracy destroyed trillions of dollars worth of productive thing-making capacity here in America and rebuilt it there in China. So for many things it is now buy Chinese or go without.

      But not yet everything. As more Americans become aware that Chinese consumers are informally boycotting US products, perhaps those Americans can at least find some non-Chinese foreign equivalent to the Chinese products they might begin informally boycotting in a fair and balanced response to the growing Chinese informal boycott.

    1. Pat

      OMG, they are getting so big. So much cuteness.

      Get ready. I think puppy hijinks are just around the corner.

      1. diptherio

        Sheep are something we’d like to get into. Right now we’ve got goats, pigs and cows. Hopefully though, all of these little tykes will be going to other pastures to guard other flocks, as we’ve already got three on the farm and weren’t intending to breed Freyja this year (Ison, the daddy, had other plans, though).

  21. Summer

    Re: Canada/Housing
    “Each quarter, when StatsCan releases its closely watched household debt data, the most talked-about metric is always the debt-to-income figure, a measure of the amount of leverage the average Canadian carries relative to their disposable income. It steadily climbed in the post-recession era to 169 per cent—meaning households carried $1.69 in debt for each $1 of income—surpassing the debt-to-income peak reached in the U.S. before that country’s housing crash. Then in December came sobering news. StatsCan acknowledged it had overestimated the available income Canadians had with which to pay their debts…”

    All that beloved data and one of the most watched stats is overestimated.
    That looks like a story of its own.

    1. a different chris

      The stat itself was underestimated, I think? Debt-to-Income, and “overestimated the available income” thus underestimating the ratio.

  22. McWatt

    Regards ATT: I recently noticed a jump in my ATT small business phone bill. When I called to complain the person who answered apologized and said “last October we ran an algorithm that accidentally raised rates on 1.2 million customers. Thanks for calling in and telling us! We will get it corrected and refund you.”

    Wait…what? You couldn’t have run another algorithm that corrected the mistakes on your own? I need to call in and tell you?

    1. c_heale

      You got a refund because you called them. Did the people who didn’t call them get a refund? Surely they should have automatically refunded everyone.

    2. Jen

      Obviously it’s not a mistake unless the customer calls to complain. “Accidental” my sweet aunt fanny.

    3. pretzelattack

      they had still another algorithm that predicted how much money they would make from the people that didn’t call them if they excluded them from refunds. ka-ching!

    4. Octopii

      My insurance guy pulled that crap when I called to cancel. “Oh it looks like there are some discounts we can apply to your policy.” Should’ve done it before I called…

    1. JEHR

      Wow, that is great stuff. Reminds me of the Inuit throat singers from the Arctic. Thanks for posting the link.

  23. Jason Boxman

    It’s worth noting that building any kind of wall will take many years. If the Democrat Party wins in 2020, it can certainly stop construction with new legislation. Any new Congress can set a different direction, by, well, legislating. Meanwhile, people are getting hosed right now, today. In this case, the Democrat Party is impressing working class people to die on a hill of the Democrat’s choosing, while they safely lounge behind the lines.


    1. notabanker

      Except both the Senate and House have passed a bill. The Republican Senate Leader will not allow it through. Democracy in-action.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Sure, but a bill the president seems unlikely to sign. The damage being done now is probably more widespread than providing funds for a wall and then simply suspending future work in 2020. It’ll take years to even begin construction.

        1. notabanker

          Then Congress should pass a bill that he can’t veto. You don’t reward a petulant child with something you think you can take away later. If Americans hold Congress responsible for not acquiescing to Trump’s absurd demands, then they deserve to have a shutdown government.

          I cannot stand Pelosi and have vitriolic contempt for the entire Democratic leadership. But McConnell and Trump are 100% responsible for this shutdown and they need to face the consequences. If the Democratic leadership cannot paint that picture effectively, they need to be replaced.

          Trump campaigned on building a wall that Mexico was going to pay for. If he can’t cough up their checks, that is his problem. Congress should not make it theirs.

    2. Darthbobber

      This metaphor would work equally well or badly for both parties. (given that all this impressing, and hills, and dying, and hiding safely is equally applicable, and would all go away if either side yielded. )

  24. Carolinian

    What to do while your car is driving you places.

    “The emergence of autonomous vehicles portends a major shift in how people use their time,” said Marcie Miller, Intel’s automotive strategic marketing. “The concept car shows how cars will become a new kind of ‘space.’”

    Intel predicts that the advent of autonomous driving will liberate commuters, resulting in more than 250 million hours of commuting time per year in the world’s most congested cities. That could represent a $200 billion market for in-vehicle applications and content, Intel forecast

    No comment on suggestions that the windshield would soon be designed to double as a widescreen movie display.

    1. Alfred

      Thanks for providing that link to an article that reminds us that we are about to experience another level of liberation. (Wink) I reflect that, for a good century now, shopping has presented itself as a form of entertainment. Naturally a company like Warner Brothers will be on the leading edge of the ongoing trend.

  25. Larry

    Re: AT&T, Dish, Comcast All Raising Cable TV Rates To Counter Cord-Cutting Dallas News. Only sports addicts will be left.

    And they won’t have much longer at that. I have young kids and they have no desire to watch sports, though they are both active participants. They’d rather see highlight packages and watch other things on streaming services. And given the popularity of video game competitions, I can forsee big problems for the major sports. Who will be left to watch the games when a generation of kids has been ignored for prime time audiences and on demand entertainment means they don’t have to sit through extended commercials to enjoy some leisure programming of their choosing? The cable companies will be fine though. They still own the pipes to bring you the internet, so as cable customers drop off, look for the rates for home internet to sky rocket.

    It’s dinosaurs like myself that are captive customers of cable companies. I’m a sports addict. I would cut cable if not for my desire to watch the Boston Celtics and take in other cable only sporting events. My desire has waned quite a bit, but they still stick me with untold numbers of useless channels just to get to my Celtics. For a while I did a set up where I subscribed to the NBA’s League Pass and used a VPN to fake myself as being out of market and not subject to local blackouts. But as the Celtics got better, this stopped working because so many of their games were blacked out due to national contracts with ESPN and TNT. And forget about the playoffs. And while I know it’s a bit of an excessive indulgence, compared to the cost of actually attending a Celtics game, it’s not a bad deal.

    1. nippersmom

      The current NFL TV contract expires in 2022. I suspect they may look at negotiating an agreement with one or more streaming services, which could certainly pave the way for even more people who are still holding on to cut the cable.

      1. phemfrog

        We cut the cord, but use an old fashioned antenna to watch NFL. Just ignore the commercials. Of course we are stuck with our regional selection of games.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Highlight packages…

      That’s foreboding, even though it has been trending that way for a while now.

      Life is not alwyas highlight packages…there is a lot of simply journeying or quite backroom work.

      I feel we should slow down. You don’t need to fly around the globe to see 100 don’t-miss places before you check out (“The best of Europe…the best of Asia…etc).

      Wonder if we should ban that or video games…

  26. Jim A.

    Re: Brexit Gridlock article
    I don’t get what the point of extra ferries is supposed to be when the difficulty with a crashout will be customs enforcement, not getting truckloads onto UK soil. Other than having multiple miles long parking lots instead of adding to the one Dover. it seems to me that X number of Customs agents approving Y tons of cargo per hour are not going to magically get more food imported if you spread them out over multiple ports of entry by adding more ferry capacity.

    It seems to me that the effort doing that would be much better spend hiring and training new agents, and simplifying the customs and excise laws.

    1. c_heale

      Maybe they are trying to prove they are doing something. Or maybe they are just stupid. It’s probably both. Like the lorry park they tried out the other day. Complete waste of time apart from handing out more than 500 pounds sterling to every driver that took part.

  27. Eclair

    And, from the department of, “If it’s not reported on MSM, it’s not really happening.” Or, “The Gilets Jaunes of the North.”

    TransCanada at work again, building pipelines across Indigenous territory in the North, and meeting with resistance from the Natives. The Mounties have gone over to the Dark Side. (I’m not linking, because: FB)

    SHARE WIDELY – Wet’suwet’en territory is under siege by RCMP tactical forces, who are working with TransCanada to force a pipeline through our territory. Yesterday Gitdumt’en people and supporters were forcibly removed from our homelands for upholding our Wet’suwet’en laws. Militarized police confronted unarmed Indigenous people with assault and sniper rifles and made 14 arrests. As of now, Gitdumt’en Clan spokesperson Molly Wickham remains in state custody along with several others.
    We have never signed treaties with Canada or given up our rights and title to these lands. Canada is violating Anuk Nu’at’en (Wet’suwet’en law), it’s own colonial laws, and UNDRIP. The violent separation of our people and our lands is no different today than it was 150 years ago.
    We fear for our neighbours at Unist’ot’en Camp who now face a similar prospect of state violence.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Pro-TransCanada pipeline ads are running in heavy rotation right now on CBC in British Columbia. The ads identify them as being paid by the Province of Alberta.

  28. Carey

    I thought the Truthout article on the biggest obstacle to Single Payer being a public
    option was very good. Nice to see the author use the words “class conscious” in it, too.

  29. Synoia

    This GIF shows how far the 100th Meridian has shifted since 1980

    Was it the illegal immigrants or the left wing liberals? Either way President Thump now has another wall to build.

  30. Unna

    “French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced plans to punish people who hold unsanctioned protests after seven weeks of anti-government unrest. His government wants to draft new legislation that will ban troublemakers from protests….”
    This sounds like Russia! Arrests for participating in unsanctioned protests and for being a “troublemaker.” Is that Yellow Vest leader, truck driver Eric Drouet, now going to be played up in the Western press as France’s “opposition leader” just like Alexei Navalny who gets arrested from time to time for participating in unsanctioned protests? Ah, I didn’t think so. Got to stick to the script.

  31. knowbuddhau

    Biggest Threat to Single-Payer? Democrat Support for a Public Option. Truthout

    Have no fear, Washingtonians, Gov. Jay Inslee is on it:

    The proposal is geared in part to help stabilize the exchange, which has wrestled with double-digit premium increases and attempts by Republicans in Congress and President Donald Trump to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

    Democratic officials this election season talked often about health-care issues, including the expansion of health coverage or making it more affordable. The proposed legislation comes as Inslee seeks to raise his profile as he considers a 2020 presidential bid.

    Under the legislation, the plan would be offered in every county.

    The proposal would have the state Health Care Authority contract with at least one health-insurance carrier to offer qualified health coverage on the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, according to a summary of the proposal.

    The plan would be designed with transparent and consistent deductibles, copays and coinsurance, according to the summary, and would “compete on premium price, provider networks, customer service, and quality**.”

    I suppose there’s an argument for not abandoning people in the shoddy shambulance you set up. Thanks to going broke enough to get shunted to Washington Apple Health, I’m a bit confused about Island County being included in the 14 where there’s only one insurer; had my choice of 3: Molina, AmeriGroup, and another more obscure, went with the one with the most stars.

    That’s right, I based my health care decision on a star rating because all the “more info” pages were exactly the same (“Welcome to Apple Health!”), except for that. America is already great.

    *”Geared in part to stabilize” = this is not the health care you’re looking for. The parasitism will continue, or else omg have you heard what Trump Tweeted now?

    **Actual health care not included.

  32. Unna

    Thanks for the Macleans article on the Canadian housing bubble. Detailed and didn’t for once underplay the problems that are unfolding. Canadian housing prices are insane. Let me make a few observations:

    1. By my untutored calculations, the stress test of the borrower having to be able to pay 2% above the current bank rate takes something north of at least 20% or so of “liquidity” out of what’s available to buyers which should eventually have a similar % impact on prices. People who are smart in this area please correct me if I’m wrong. And that’s why you have buyers going to “private unregulated mortgage lenders” in Toronto and Vancouver to get their money fix. And my questions are, why is this even legal and who are in fact these lenders anyway. The Canadian press is careful never to ask those questions. And when you can’t pay and otherwise have no assets after the house falls in price, how do these guys collect?

    2. All peoples, including both Americans and Canadians are victims of their own national myths. The stories they tell about themselves. So Canadians see themselves as sober, cautious, unemotional types in contrast to the “Hysterical States of America” south of the border. This national myth makes Canadians unwilling to believe that they could fall victim to an emotional greed driven thing like a housing bubble. Also Canadians are more likely to accept prices (and rules) as presented to them which is why, for example, a few years back the Canadian Senate, having done a study on why Canadians pay more for cars, minus taxes, than Americans do discovered that the reason is that Canadians don’t bargain and accept the price as given. And that’s why you hear people say, Well that’s just what things cost. Which is another way of explaining why according to the numbers, the Canadian housing-debt bubble is worse now than the American bubble ever got.

    3. The housing price and activity movements are all looking very much like the American housing bubble circa 2004-2007, declining sales coupled with sticky, and until last year, rising prices, belated government attempts to curb the hysteria, but done too late except to precipitate a steep price decline. The rise in mortgage rates coupled with the 2% buyer stress test sounds like the Fed, I believe in June 2007, pulling the plug on 2-28 mortgages requiring the buyer to be able to pay the 28 part after enjoying the discounted 2 part. That pulled the rug out of under the entire point of having 2-28 or interest only loans for the masses in the first place. And, finally, the change in perception that since prices are no longer rising, that big bad mortgage you once bragged about is no longer a ticket to easy riches but really a financial death trap waiting to eat you. So a buyers strike.

    Once again, if I’m wrong here, please feel free to correct!

    Or as Trump might say: Naaat Guuud Peeeple, Naaat Guuud.

    1. Ook

      The last part of that article highlighted the link between Canadian and US rates. When I was growing up, it was accepted that for a reasonable exchange rate to be maintained, Canada had to offer slightly higher interest rates than the US.
      Currently it is the other way around, (1.75 vs 2.5) and the Canadian dollar is already relatively weak by historical standards, so the Bank of Canada does not have a lot of room to move here.

  33. bstamerjon

    An “atom” bomb/sec? Really?
    Compared to the energy absorbed by the earth from the fusion reactor 93 million miles away?

    Really poor analogy

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