Links 3/15/19

Dear patient readers,

One of the two key members of our moderation team is hospitalized and unlikely to be back in the saddle for at least two weeks. Please send her your best wishes for a recovery.

In the meantime, Lambert and I will do what we can to take up the slack, but please bear in mind we can only do so much, and forgive us since many of you will find if you comments get caught up in the moderation tripwires, that it may well take us longer to free them than usual. Ditto with fixing bad links in posts.

Live: Massacre at the mosques – gunmen kill multiple people, Christchurch under siege New Zealand Herald. 40 people dead was the count at 3:00 AM EDT.

Musician Creates a Million-Hour Song Based On the Number Pi Motherboard

Proposal For United Nations To Study Climate-Cooling Technologies Rejected NPR

The World’s Recycling Is in Chaos. Here’s What Has to Happen Wired (resilc)

Fridays for Future: Students hold international climate change protests DW

Want to Help Fight Climate Change? Have More Children Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg. Wowsers.

‘Math Anxiety’ Is Real, and Your Teachers Are Probably to Blame Motherboard

The mental health crisis among America’s youth is real – and staggering The Conversation (Kevin W)


Business groups concerned over China’s new law Asia Times

Italy eyes loans from China development bank Financial Times

North Korea

Kim Jong Un Rethinks U.S. Nuclear Talks, Pause in Missile Tests Bloomberg


Seven Cabinet ministers defy Theresa May to oppose Brexit delay as more than half of Tory MPs vote against PM Telegraph

Stuck in EU till 2021: Ireland pushes for 21-month Brexit delay so UK can reconsider its decision Express

The risk of a no-deal Brexit just increased again Robert Peston, Spectator

One soldier to face charges over Bloody Sunday killings Guardian (resilc)

Yellow Vest week in review: March 16 to be the biggest march in months The Saker (Kevin W)


Andrew Bacevich: The U.S.-Saudi Relationship Is a Principal Source of Instability in the Middle East Democracy Now (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

You Will Soon Be Able To Pay Your Subway Fare With Your Face in China South China Morning Post

The Intercept Shuts Down Access to Snowden Trove Daily Beast (Bill B)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Secret Agent Man Rolling Stone (resilc). A must read.

US Demolishing Entire Cold War-Era Arms Control Regime – Ex-Diplomat UrduPoint (Kevin W)

US Navy ship has been quarantined for 2 months because of virus outbreak Business Insider (resilc)

Trump Transition

Senate Rejects Trump Border Emergency, Setting Up Veto Showdown Bloomberg

Mueller focus shifts to Rick Gates The Hill

The Pentagon’s 2020 Budget Asks for Nearly 380 Aircraft, But One Buy Is Raising Eyebrows Popular Mechanics (resilc)


Beto Wants to Be Like Obama, but Announced More Like Trump Atlantic (resilc)

A TV watching political junkie reader told me that she just saw a Dem strategist, responding to the interviewer comment that Beto has no policy positions of note, that that wasn’t a problem, they’d write them for him. She said it was clear that the party operatives regard Beto as an empty vessel they can make into what they want with PR, and concur that they think they can make him resemble Obama as a vehicle for projection.

Ahem, Obama at least voted against the Iraq War and had not lost his last election. He’s also good looking, moves well, has a lovely speaking voice that he knows how to use, and is an upper class culturally white black. You heard it here first: Beto = New Coke.

Is Beto O’Rourke’s Wife Really A ‘Billionaire’ Heiress? Not Likely. Forbes. I have had US and international clients (three at different times), all of whom had net worths way higher than the bottom of the relevant Forbes 400 list, and they weren’t on them at the time. One was Steve Ross (among other things, endowed the Ross School of Business, developed the Time Warner Center and other major projects), who was delighted he wasn’t because it was easier to do assemblages on the cheap if sellers thought you were a nobody. So don’t take Forbes claims of being a definitive judge all that seriously.

O’Rourke renews Dem hopes about turning Texas blue The Hill

Epstein prosecutor was rebuked for prior child sex case Miami Herald

737 Max

Piece Found at Boeing 737 Crash Site Shows Jet Was Set to Dive Bloomberg

Boeing 737 Max Crashes ‘Linked’ By Satellite Track Data, FAA Says ars technica

College Admissions Bribery

The Yale Dad Who Set Off the College-Admissions Scandal Wall Street Journal (Scott)

A Worry For Some Pilots: Their Hands-On Flying Skills Are Lacking New York Times

Consumer Groups Want to Tax Facebook to Save Journalism Motherboard (resilc)

New York City climate-change plan proposes adding land to Manhattan Nature (martha r)

SEC sues Volkswagen and ex-CEO over diesel scandal Financial Times

Tesla’s in the third version of ‘hell’ with its Model 3 — and it launching an SUV could make even things worse Business Insider (Kevin W)

Toyota Is Losing the Electric Car Race, So It Pretends Hybrids Are Better DeSmogBlog

Margrethe Vestager to hit Google with another fine Financial Times

The human cost of insulin in America BBC

Walmart is so desperate to fix health care, it flies employees to top hospitals in other states for treatment CNBC

Class Warfare

The College Scam Is Exposing All the Legal Ways Rich People Game Society Vice (resilc)

We’re Losing the War on Corruption Atlantic (resilc)

The Real Elitists Who Look Down on Trump Voters Washington Monthly (resilc). Important.

The Century of Spin Liz Franczak, The Baffler. Those of you who attended last summer’s NC meetup in SF would have met Liz. Important piece on propaganda.

Antidote du jour (martha r):

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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        1. polecat

          I wanna wear that python .. live, of course.

          I used to, as a youngin, capture gopher snakes – some as long as 5ft’- and wrap them around my neck. It was at these times that I was quite the unfashionable model in my neck of the hood. It felt very cool on a hot summers’ day, and I would walk around feeling all light and airy .. until it decided to do what it did best, and begin constricting .. polecat’s youthful field-tested blood-pressure procedure ….
          At that point, I would figure it was time for the release part of the endeavor, although not without recieving a hiss and a bitten rebuke for my ‘efforts’.

          1. Wukchumni

            I’ve set a mindfield for so far only rattlesnakes, in that each of the fruit trees here has 6 feet high of chicken wire 8x8x8 feet in a triangle around it, and their heads are always smaller than their bodies, so into a 2 inch square it goes easily and then their midriff gets stuck somewhere in the middle and the head probes into another 2 inch hole, and they are well & truly stuck, and expire quickly in the heat.

            The first one, we had to cut the chicken wire to extract it, the 2nd one I found @ 4 pm, and had stuff to do and figured i’d get it the next day, and what used to be a 3 foot dead rattler was now a 8 inch leftover, after the ‘turkey’ (bowling term) of wild turkeys that call the all cats and no cattle ranch home, had it for dinner.

            1. polecat

              You Do eat them afterwards, don’t you .. I would, assuming you’ve removed the dead ones soon enough before they’d yet dried, in situ, into chickenwire jerky !

              1. Wukchumni

                2019: ‘rattlesnake tastes like chicken’

                2119: ‘I heard chicken kind of tastes like rattlesnake’

        1. Summer

          He’s designed literally and figuratively to suck up air time, keeping the focus on personality instead of policy.
          His handlers will provide the policy. He’ll provide the toothy smiles.
          “A TV watching political junkie reader told me that she just saw a Dem strategist, responding to the interviewer comment that Beto has no policy positions of note, that that wasn’t a problem, they’d write them for him.”

          And his wife isn’t going to inherit billions (she just comes from a struggling millionaire family)…great spin!

        2. Oh

          Too bad many Obamabots don’t realize that they were drinking blue Kool Aid and they’ll lap up this new coke.

        3. Jonathan Holland Becnel


          How about Jolt?

          Fn gross.

          And thats coming from a Diet Coke drinker!

          Drink of Champions if you ask me…

      1. AC

        Beto:. Check out how the NYT, MSNBC and CNN cover Sanders, Warren and Gabbard. They have already done hit pieces on all three.

        In a Broward County (Fort Lauderdale) federal court case Beck v Debbie Schultz and the DNC, the DNC agrued that it was not bound by it’s bylaws and public statements to hold an impartial fair primary election. The DNC could work to undermine Sanders and insure Clinton won the primary. The DNC asserted that it has the right to have it’s delegates “go into the back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way.”

        Case dismissed for lack of standing.

        The take away here is that the DNC would rather fix the election to avoid a progressive candidate and lose to Trump. They would still have their offices and power within the Party.

          1. AC

            Sorry. No the court never got to the merits (like a trial); the case was dismissed on a DNC motion to dismiss the complaint.

            Standing in Federal court means whether the plaintiff has suffered an injury for which the federal court had jurisdiction. Here the court found the facts alleged in the complaint did not state a federal remedy.

            1. Acacia

              But it continues, now in the 11th Circuit Court in Miami (apparently still in progress):


              “DNC lawsuit lawyers Jared and Elizabeth Beck announced on social media Wednesday that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has found sufficient jurisdiction to continue the class action lawsuit against the DNC and former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.”


              1. AC

                Well done.

                1. The 11th Circuit is rather conservative; I would think that the three judge panel will side with the trial jugde, Zloch.

                2. The ruling on the motion to dismiss was the first order. Usually, the judge will allow a plaintiff to amend the complaint to address any pleading omissions.

                3. The judge seems to have wanted the complaint to state reliance on the bylaws and public DNC statements in making donations as well as direct cause of damage to the plaintiffs.

                4. The class action aspect is a toss up.

              2. AC

                I scanned the DNC brief. I do not see a 1st amendment claim nor can I think of one.

                I think the plaintiffs will be allowed to file an amended complaint to state additional facts.

          2. WJ

            “For their part, the DNC and Wasserman Schultz have characterized the DNC charter’s promise of ‘impartiality and evenhandedness’ as a mere political promise—political rhetoric that is not enforceable in federal courts.”

            The Democratic Party: A Politics of Extralegal Rhetoric!

            1. Procopius

              Reminds me of when I first heard in my Commercial Law class about “mere commercial puffery,” as being legal and distinct from fraud. I flunked the class, so never learned the reasoning, but I have always believed it was simply that the judges believed the (rich) defendants were doing what any reasonable businessman would. Lying.

        1. Cal2


          Their ideal candidate:


          In today’s links;
          We’re Losing the War on Corruption
          Paul Manafort and Felicity Huffman are twin avatars of an elite that still acts with impunity.

          “Happy birthday Senator @KamalaHarris. Your effort to speak up, fight back, and continuously crush glass ceilings is inspiring. My 16 year old daughter is going into politics because of you.” #TheFutureisFemale

          — Felicity Huffman (@FelicityHuffman) October 20, 2018

      2. polecat

        “new coke” ..

        So, does that mean they’ll attempt to forge Beto into a shimmery candidate made of new steel .. instead of pig iron ??

      3. JeffC

        I think of Beto as the Cotton Candy Candidate. Sweet and pretty but with no substance or nutrition. Mr. C^3.

    1. FriarTuck

      I often wish I could cuddle with such beautiful creatures.

      …if I was certain they wouldn’t try to eat my face.

      1. John

        At first, I thought you were talking about the animal antidotes, but now I get it.
        Beto is the beautiful creature who might eat your face? Right?

  1. ChristopherJ

    Thank you for the links, NC crew….sorry you’re down a person.

    Elon. What a con man. Perhaps the best ever?

    Christchurch… nasty and too close to home. Bit like when I lived in Hobart and took the family, plus Mum and Dad to Port Arthur a week before Martin Bryant….

    I fear that the increasing frequency of this sort of terrorism and hatred is Just a glimpse of our brutish. nasty future, particularly in countries that have guns in the community. Another example of the past was better meme.

    1. human

      Gun control was much less prevalent in “the past.” Clearly, there is something else going on here.

      1. Wukchumni

        Last time we were in NZ, I went into a sporting goods store in Wanaka that had a selection of around 50 rifles/shotguns for sale, and asked the proprietor what it would take for a New Zealander to purchase one of them?

        He told me that you’d have to take a firearms safety course, and there would be a wait of a few months before you were able to procure your weapon after they had gone through a police check of your records, along with neighbors & friends vouching for your good character, etc.

        I asked him what it would take to buy a handgun, none of which were on display, and he told me i’d probably have to be a member of the NZ Olympic shooting team, and more importantly he asked:

        “What would you possibly ever need one for, if you were hunting”?

        The only time we ever saw guns in the open in NZ in the hands of the public, was on Stewart Island on the Rakiura Track, where a couple of duck hunters had their shotguns @ the ready, and wouldn’t have looked out of place anywhere in the deep south, brandishing their weapons, dressed in the usual garb one sees.

        Gun ownership there, while nothing up to our levels of 1 gun per person, was more akin to 1 gun per 4 people, on a population basis.

        1. allan

          And the current headline on Rupert Murdoch’s NY Post is

          Ocasio-Cortez blasted for criticizing [NRA’s] ‘thoughts & prayers’ ,

          leveraging off of a single tweet critical of AOC by a Washington Examiner columnist.

          Never let a crisis crime against humanity go to waste. /s

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            What preceded this?

            What did she say…anything about the victims, and nothing but?

            A teacher of mine passed away a little over two weeks ago. A class mate reminded me yesterday that traditionally, the period of mourning is 49 days for Japanese.

          2. Lambert Strether

            My response to “thoughts & prayers” is generally Matt 6:1-5:

            1 Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 5 And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

            Christianist performativity. Save the prayers for the privacy of your own home.

            And Kudos to AOC for tweaking the NRA’s tail. More like that, please.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          The Guardian today (sorry, can’t post a link right now) says that its quite easy to buy a semi-automatic assault rifle online in NZ – I’ve no idea if that’s true. I wonder if this is one of those NZ laws which apply differently to a ‘local’ than to someone who looks and sounds a little different.

          1. Wukchumni

            It’s all anecdotal, but I remember reading the crime blotter in a Oamaru newspaper, and seeing somebody sentenced to a year in jail for possessing a 45 caliber handgun-with bullets, and some other circumstances which I now forget, but that’s an everyday thing for far too many Americans, in comparison.

            Here’s the biggest purveyor of guns in NZ, with what now is a truly horrible moniker: GUN CITY


            1. Greg

              I’m in NZ, and can confirm that once you’re past the initial hurdles to become a registered gun owner, it’s relatively straightforward to proliferate your collection.

              I hope that we will see some bans and mandatory buybacks on the military style semi autos that have become common over the last decade or two.

              Last time I went hunting it was ridiculous how easy it’s become. Semi automatics with suppressors are common, which combined with large sights and overcharged small rounds with flat trajectories makes it video-game level point and click with no recoil. Which we saw yesterday in the hands of a psycho.

              I’m hopeful (and have sent pointed comments to key MP’s) that we’ll see some use of 5 eyes capability for cracking down on the breeding grounds in places like 8chan instead of the usual snooping on american trading partners and allies. When a place is known as “where the people too awful for 4chan went” you don’t really need to think very hard about it.

      2. Mirdif

        Drugs of the legal and particularly illegal variety. The truth that nobody dare speak of as their use and misuse is so very pervasive. If you look in to the backgrounds of the majority of mass shootings and more generally violent crime you will find (if you look hard enough because nobody wants to talk about this) three constants:
        -Anabolic Steroids

        Dismiss it if you want but without doubt this needs examining.

            1. Lambert Strether

              I looked at that study:

              We identified 1527 cases of violence disproportionally reported for 31 drugs. Primary suspect drugs included varenicline (an aid to smoking cessation), 11 antidepressants, 6 sedative/hypnotics and 3 drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The evidence of an association was weaker and mixed for antipsychotic drugs and absent for all but 1 anticonvulsant/mood stabilizer. Two or fewer violence cases were reported for 435/484 (84.7%) of all evaluable drugs suggesting that an association with this adverse event is unlikely for these drugs.

              Suggestive (thought not of causality) but very far from backing up the original claim:

              If you look in to the backgrounds of the majority of mass shootings and more generally violent crime you will find (if you look hard enough because nobody wants to talk about this) three constants

          1. Mirdif

            A starter for ten on Cannabis:

            “Violent behavior as related to use of marijuana and other drugs” published in the Journal of Addictive Diseases and has the finding:

            “Greater frequency of use of marijuana was found unexpectedly to be associated with greater likelihood to commit weapons offenses;”

            The antidepressants link is well known ever since Columbine and including the Las Vegas shooter. In this particular case you will find the perpertrator will also be a user of something from the list I mentioned. Brevik was an anabolic steroid user for example as was Omar Mateen the Orlando shooter.

            But like I said the use is pervasive and people do not want to discuss the truth of these things.

            1. WobblyTelomeres

              My opinion, is that you freely intermingle correlation and causation as it suits you.

              I think, as Gary notes, that testosterone level (by being young and male and/or chemically enhanced through steroids) along with mental illness (hence, high correlation of anti-depressants) are far better predictors.

              1. Mirdif

                I post a journal article reference and you ignore it in favour of your opinion.

                An opinion I might add that is not particularly clever or original. If you understood the matter of correlation and causation you would understand that correlation is also not not causation either. It needs further investigation. We can accomplish this very easily – blood test everybody charged with a crime for the next 5 years. You will never agree to this for you know what the result will be i.e. the pervasive use by criminals of those three substances and shockingly so in violent crimes.

                That you enjoy being stoned goes back to my point about the pervasive use and abuse of those substances and that people do not wish to face up to the reality of the choices they make freely.

                Back to the original shooter, you will see in the days and weeks a very small report about his background of drug use – whether legal or illegal. We may even have to wait until it gets to court but come it will. It will be ignored and not reported as widely as it should because it requires people to face up to truths that they would wish to ignore.

                1. WobblyTelomeres

                  This one?


                  I read it. I learned nothing. n=612, 100% inner city African American, “up to age 24”, high percentage of unemployment (38%), high percentage of prior drug dealing experience, and the 612 was twice filtered for prior drug use and violence. Talk about choosing ones results. And you cite this???

                  As near as I can tell, and I agree with you that I’m neither clever nor original, the arguments presented, and logic used, would apply equally to “mass transit usage”. This is one of the reasons I tend to really wonder about the social sciences. You guys don’t do yourselves any favors this way. I’ve used SPSS (never taught it, though, so perhaps you have me there), and could honestly prove just about anything with the approach used by the paper’s authors.

                  “Nevertheless, the following comparisons suggest that this study sample was probably involved in substance use to a degree greater than the national average: The prevalence rate for alcohol use in 1996 reported by the National House-hold Survey (NHSDA) was 74%; and is 93.3% for our study sample. Similarly, the prevalence rate reported for marijuana use in the national sample was 37%, compared to 73% in our sample (see Table 3).”


                  As for your original post, I agree that steroid use makes one rage-prone, and will cede your argument that it is causitive of violence. I suspect rampant use of steroids in law enforcement would also support your argument. Can we blood test law enforcement for steroid abuse at the same time we test the poor for pot?

                  “An opinion I might add that is not particularly clever or original.”

                  Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m a dolt. You win. But, here are a few examples (that aren’t very clever):

                  1. Suicidal ideation and anti-depressant use.
                  2. Bacterial infection and anti-bacterial use.
                  3. Viral infection and anti-bacterial use (at least in the US).
                  4. Poverty/despair and cannabis use.

                  Oh, and

                  5. Cannabis use and mass murder.

                  Your argument is equivalent to (in case 1) arguing that anti-depressants cause suicides and (in case 2) that anti-bacterial use causes anti-bacterial infection. These are correlated, they are not neccessarily causitive (alluding to your “not not”). Your cited paper does not show causation. It certainly wants to.

                  Do I need to discuss case 3? I hope not.

                  “That you enjoy being stoned”

                  I laughed at this. Thanks. Have we met? For the record, I prefer a nice cabernet if someone else is buying, or three-buck-chuck if I am. On rare occasion, I’ll pull out my aged coin purse and add a shot of drambuie to a single malt.

                  Consider the remaining cases (as you obviously have). If we tested every impoverished person for cannabis use (being done in most states if one applies for food or employment assistance thanks to ALEC-pushed bills), I agree, you’d probably find some positive correlation when compared to society at large. Is it cannabis or poverty/despair that is causitive?

                  Note that growing weeds from seeds is cheaper than scotch. Or a trip to the movies (especially if one includes popcorn). Or a trip to a mental therapist to help one develop societally acceptable coping skills for dealing with inner-city blight and despair. Perhaps, that has something to do with it? It certainly did here in the South for years. We called it “Rabbit tobacco”.

                  As you seem convinced that cannabis is indeed causitive of poverty/despair (and cite a study that only shows correlation), one must ask if this alleged causation is transitive? That is, does cannabis use cause poverty/despair which then causes mass murder? Your argument is that it does.

                  It is here that I object.

                2. Yves Smith Post author

                  Repeat after me: correlation is not causation.

                  You have NO business copping a ‘tude to try to overcome a gaping hole in your logic. You are out of line.

            2. Lepton1

              Maybe it’s the other way around. People with noisy demons in their heads look for some way to self medicate.

              1. Oregoncharles


                And another point: cannabis use is so common that, like alcohol, it correlates with everything.

                And in my lifelong experience, is used very freely by people who are NOT down and out.

              2. Lambert Strether

                Self-medication was my thought.

                Adding, there may be a generational thing going on, too. When I was a kid, back in the Age of Steam, ADHD didn’t even exist as a diagnosis, and boys weren’t drugged for being boys. So I can believe, intuitively, that there’s a “chemical cocktail” aspect when young men go wrong in such a terrible way. But I say “aspect” very deliberately…

        1. CarlH

          Cannabis? I’ve been using it for the better part of my adult life and have never, ever felt compelled to do anything violent, let alone shoot up a place of worship. Please provide me with better links so I can avoid becoming one of these vile creatures! /s

          1. Lambert Strether

            Let me take “the other side,” for a moment, and do some vague zeitgeisty handwaving. It seems ludicrous to me that cannabis could be associated with violence, since when I partook I have heard that people tend to zone out to music, have munchies sent in, stare at flowers, etc.

            But on the other hand, that is the experience I was these people were primed for. Perhaps the priming is different today. There were no First-Person Shooter games when I was a kid.

            1. Procopius

              I remember back in the ’50s the statistic being cited, “90% of heroin users smoked marijuana first.” And the thought occurred to me, “100% of heroin users drank milk before they used heroin.” Never saw a statistic of how many marijuana users did NOT go on to use heroin. I’ve always tended toward skepticism.

    2. juliania

      Thank you, Yves for featuring the terror in Christchurch at the top of Links today. Some background:

      The person arrested for this tragedy and charged with murder is an Australian who was described as recently in the country by one of the reports I read. ( The Otago Daily Times has a very complet updated article – – due to the fact that the ‘home base’ for the four arrested was apparently in Dunedin. It’s also a very proud rival to the Herald) This was a well-planned act, not simply some deranged kiwi with too many guns. More than one person has been arrested.

      I would further add that New Zealand has been hosting several cricket teams from Islamic countries. This would have been the final Test series, to have begun today (Saturday there) in Christchurch. One story I saw said that at first the atrocity had been planned to happen in Dunedin at a mosque attended by persons attracted to one of the other matches there – it was moved to Christchurch and this final opening weekend because that would attract the most attention and have the most impact – families travelling down to New Zealand for the series and two before this one would have been in attendance. This, though it was perpetrated by a white person, was a terrorist act.

      The final cricket test has been cancelled.

  2. Polar Donkey

    I have a 3 and a 5 year old. All I do is worry about climate change. My wife and I aren’t having anymore.

      1. a different chris

        Also the more there are of us the less the rich have to pay us.

        So it’s a twofer.

    1. Adam Eran

      Since the response to climate catastrophe needs to be on the order of WWII, should we call “moderates” who decry the GND “climate traitors”? Seems in line with Beto = New Coke.

  3. timbers


    Andrew Bacevich: The U.S.-Saudi Relationship Is a Principal Source of Instability in the Middle East Democracy Now (resilc)

    This makes sense in broad terms, and what the U.S. should do is ally with Iran over Israel and Saudi Arabia. This would also align America with Russia.

    If would also save a lot of lives, millions of displaced families, and cool down all those wars and military sales (probably the reason we’re doing the opposite).

    If Iran became too powerful as a result of this – in the words if Iran become what Israel and Saudi Arabia are like now – a sane America (yes not necessarily likely) could easily alley with Russia to constrain Iran, as Russia is not in the Middle East for any religious or ideological or world hegemnoy reasons – just it’s own rational self interests which at present at lease seem reasonable and benign.

    Now that I think of it, if America was sane she’d be allying with Russia a lot of stuff, and that would improve things for her vs China.

    1. integer

      Meanwhile, the State Department has just announced its intent to resume funding the White Helmets:

      Additional Funding for the Syrian Civil Defense and UN International Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM)

      At the direction of the President, subject to congressional approval, the United States intends to provide $5 million for the continuation of the vital, life-saving operations of the White Helmets in Syria and in support of the UN’s International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) which is charged with assisting the investigation and prosecution of persons responsible for the most serious crimes under International Law committed in Syria since March 2011. Today, at the third Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region, Special Representative for Syria Engagement and Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Ambassador James Jeffrey publicly announced these contributions. In addition to those made last year, these contributions to the White Helmets and IIIM demonstrate the United States’ commitment and ongoing support for justice and accountability in Syria.

      The United States Government strongly supports the work of the White Helmets. They have saved more than 114,000 lives since the conflict began, including victims of Assad’s vicious chemical weapons attacks. With over 2,800 volunteers, they continue to provide search and rescue, emergency response, and early recovery operations helping civilians in areas outside of the control of the regime.

      These heroic first responders have the most dangerous job in the world. In addition to operating in an active war zone and in dire humanitarian circumstances, the Syrian regime and Russia deliberately target White Helmets’ centers and volunteers; since 2013 more than 250 White Helmets have been killed—many in so called “double-tap strikes”—and 60 White Helmets’ centers have been damaged or destroyed by Russian and regime airstrikes and the regime. Despite these dangers, the White Helmets provide these services based on strict humanitarian principles and have become a symbol in Syria and world-wide for these courageous values.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        My guess, is that the White Helmets know too much to be simply allowed to fade away–my guess is the money is hush money. I don’t think they’ll be active the way they were.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I think that you’re right. That is probably why a coupla hundred were evacuated out through Israel a coupla months ago – so that they could not be captured and made to talk.

          1. polecat

            Maybe they’re doing an extended sleep-over at George Clooney’s place .. before being redeployed into parts unknown here in the states …

            Never let a much needed false flag go to waste, right ?

        2. integer

          It looks to me like the White Helmets are going to be used as witnesses in the so-called International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism’s investigation into war crimes in Syria. I expect that is what the funding will be directed towards.

    2. Synoia

      The U.S.-Saudi Relationship Is a Principal Source of Instability in the Middle East


      The U.S.-Israeli relationship Is not a Principal Source of Instability in the Middle Eate?

  4. Henry Moon Pie

    Mental health crisis among youth–

    The article’s explanation–smart phones and social media destroying social interaction–is certainly plausible, but I’m hoping part of what is going on is a seismic shift in the Collective Unconscious that will impel our youth to make the kind of radical changes in their own and our collective lives that are needed to avoid catastrophe.

    We should all be listening to our intuition, our dreams, the I Ching (hell, why not?). Our planet is definitely in a “Danger, Will Robinson!” situation, and it’s largely our “rational” side that’s gotten us here.

    1. urbintz

      Indeed. Beware of calling depression and anxiety about the world we’ve created a mental health “problem.” Might it be the only possible, indeed rational, response to what the kids see unfolding in our utterly corrupted, militarized, socially mediated, blood soaked culture?

      1. Readoutsider

        I have two daughters 18 and 22 both suffering from anxiety and depression and I think it’s the state of the world that is the primary culprit. They are terrified of what climate change might mean for their future; most of their friends no matter what their education don’t have real jobs despite what you hear about the economy, plus the nature of work has become increasingly exploitative and punitive; and the obvious evidence all around them that the US is crumbling – empty buildings, broken roads, rising white supremacy. What is there for them to look forward to for crying out loud? It kills me that I can’t ease their pain, just hoping against hope that some real change happens in this world soon.

        1. jsn

          In Richard Cantelon’s “Essai Sur La Nature Du Commerce En Général”, originally written to bolster his defense against the fraud suits filed against him by aristocratic French gamblers he’d cleaned out when the Mississippi Bubble burst, he talks about how common people sense economic bad times generationally and young men and women who would have been industrious in other times go into monasteries and convents rather than taking over the mills or smiths, there to wait out the bad times.

          Our intake and waste, as a species then, was still tied to the energy of the sun, not fossil fuels, and these social institutions existed, among other reasons, to tide generations over the periodic disruptions the circulation of specie imposed.

          I think it’s up to us to support young people in every way we can to help them set up the counter institutions that will be a necessary precondition to undermining the collective suicide neoliberalism ultimately requires: all the money/property in the world “owned” by the last living human, ending the species on the altar of Mammon. I wish I could figure out something more, but helping your kids generation collectively, in every way we can is our only hope!

          1. jsn

            Young people are hypersensitive gauges of the world into which they’ve been born. The digital mind pollution is new to this generation, but I wouldn’t attribute to much to that.

            It’s just one of the innumerable inputs, most of which have long hence vanished into indoctrination or habit in older people, to which they’re responding.

            I believe it is their moral imagination we will need to nurture and then follow.

      2. sonambulismo

        From this article:
        “A troubled economy and job loss, two typical culprits of mental stress, don’t appear to be to blame. That’s because U.S. economic growth was strong and the unemployment rate dropped significantly from 2011 to 2017, when mental health issues were rising the most.”

        Welp, we checked the GDP and unemployment rate and everything looks fine, no economic problems here! Must be those kids on their cell phones again. No question about who that GDP growth goes to, what kind of jobs are available, how much student debt they’re dealing with, how much they’re paying in rent or the prospects of ever owning a home.

        Reading this incredibly shallow analysis my first response was to look up who this site is funded by. Gates Foundation, Walton Family, other billionaire foundations…now the immediate dismissal of systemic economic causes and shift toward individual behaviors makes more sense.

        1. Chris Cosmos

          Certainly the uncertain situation of young people who have really no good future to look forward to other than as serfs waiting for the end of the world is important. But I think that the article is right about lack of social contact. Science has no proven that depression is caused mainly, by social isolation. When you have lost the capability to come together with others to act–for example, rather than stay on cell-phones go out in the streets and disrupt business as usual that young people ought to be doing, they stay huddled at home. While things look bad for young people reacting with passivity is the main problem. They need to raise a ruckus, shut down highways, take risks for their future and so on.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            “But I think that the article is right about lack of social contact.”

            I couldn’t resist jumping in here by relating some “sports talk” commentary about a perceived lack of communication among team members in the NBA. The offered cause was not only social media but also the ear buds that seem to be constantly worn by players. The anecdotal evidence and speculation was that team members just didn’t get to know each other the way they used to.

            At the college level, commentators marveled yesterday at UVa’s on-court communication and considered it both key to their success and a rarity in today’s game. The former is due to the necessity to talk to one another while switching on screens and helping on defense when someone’s “man” gets free or penetrates to the lane. The latter came from these former coaches’ observations.

            If we’re trying to prepare ourselves so we won’t be alarmed when we’re finally hooked up to the Matrix, we’re doing a heckuvajob.

              1. polecat

                Imagine tens of thousands of young folk marching on the door-steps of the silicon valley titans .. chanting in unison “We Will NOT Become These !!” whilst, down to the one and waving in the air, a coppertop battery.

            1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              Combine that with what NBA Commish Adam Silver said, “NBA players are not happy.”

              Theyre all ostriches sticking their heads in the sand.

        2. ChiGal in Carolina

          Yup, that really jumped out at me. Also, this is the age group who would as kids have been traumatized by eviction by fraudulent banks from their homes in familiar neighborhoods where they had friends at school, knew the teachers, etc. to bounce around between homeless shelters, relatives’ homes, and maybe if they were lucky eventually a rented home for their family in reduced circumstances.

          No socioeconomic stress there, move along, nothing to see.

          Absolutely galling.

        3. False Solace

          I wonder if the sea of pollution we’re all swimming in has something to do with it as well. Endocrine disrupters etc. For all we know there’s some unknown chemical tainting the industrialized food we eat and it’s the emotional equivalent of leaded gasoline. We’ll probably find out 50 years from now if civilization is still a thing. I assume the research is already sitting in a drawer somewhere — that seems to be the case whenever Big Business gets a research result it doesn’t like.

          1. Lambert Strether

            I have always thought that Colonel Ripper’s “precious bodily fluids” speech was correct, at the 30,000-foot level. He just got the wrong perp (not the Russians, the 1%) and the wrong chemical (not flouride, but _______).

        4. jrs

          the economy is not actually very good.

          however, part of why the pure economic explanation is dubious is because there is no increase in those over 26, who are likely facing even more economic pressures, realistically speaking (no more parental help, maybe kids of their own to support etc.). I mean the economic situation does not get easier with more adult burdens.

          But social environment explanations, health explanations, family of origin (and perhaps THEIR economic pressures) explanations – yea maybe.

          A lot of economic explanations I think are older people projecting their anxieties. Look the current economic order sucks, we need a revolution, but that is first and foremost an adult issue, that some younger people may also be experiencing depending on age and experience etc..

    2. cm

      It would be interesting to compare countries where mothers are allowed to raise their infants, vs. countries where infants are shipped to “Brave New World” day care centers at 4 weeks old.

  5. el_tel

    re mental health crisis. This links so much with pieces NC has linked to in the past (concerning possible real explanations for the explosion in autism and the very suspicious collapse in things like gut bacteria due to – most likely – different food handling/processing procedures).

    I certainly don’t rule out a lot of “social” factors (including the well-documented use and misuse of apps on cellphones). However, and apologies for those who’ve heard this before, the potential for stories NC has drawn attention to in the past regarding “links between the gut and the brain” to be the “larger” smoking gun is huge. After all, we have known since the 1960s how the first generation MAOI anti-depressants work (in short, very very well, but they also cause gut issues that are important).

    I’m partly motivated to write this due to a comment yesterday on the ketamine thing which made me nod my head vigorously. There are very old – and crucially off-patent (and therefore non-profitable) – drugs that keep being rediscovered as life-savers in so many areas. But because certain pharma companies have to “tweak them” to make them patentable (profitable) it’s really very unclear whether “oooh ketamine in a nice simple nasal spray” arguments miss the point of what the company did to a well-understood and effective drug/molecule.

    1. notabanker

      I’m driving home last night and got tired of music so I tuned into an AM talk radio station about 200 miles away. Drove for over 30 miles with a crystal clear signal, got off the freeway and was driving down a straight main thoroughfare and got this loud incessant buzzing that wouldn’t go away. After about a mile I figured there was a cell tower beaming microwaves and sure enough in the distance I could see the red flashing lights on the tower. Drove about 5 miles through a decently populated residential area and as soon as I got out of line of sight on the dishes you could see on the tower, no more buzz.

      I mean, I guess that stuff is harmless because you can’t see it, right?

  6. Matthew G. Saroff

    I would like someone to make a song based on e, I think that it would be amazing.

      1. Geo

        Was at a rave years (decades ago) and a giant video screen had an animation of the phrase:

        “We are all one”

        The simple animation moved the “e” over a space to read:

        “We are all on e”

        Everyone cheered.

  7. DJW

    Re: Beto wants to be like Obama, but announced more like Trump and comment that Obama at least voted against Iraq War. Obama did not vote against Iraq War. He was not even in Congress at the time. Bernie Sanders was a Representative at the time and did vote against it. Hillary Clinton was a Senator and voted for it. I believe that Obama did oppose the War

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Obama voted against the Iraq War on a non-binding resolution in Illinois. Given the state of the elites, this action mattered. Donahue was fired for having the highest rated show on MSNBC. Don’t worry Joe Scarborough was hired because his dead mistress was definitely killed by her husband, so he’s clearly just an upstanding extreme right wing Republican who cheated on his wife with an employee. Yes, he did vote to impeach Bill Clinton.

      Including Spectre and Biden 31 members of the Democratic Senate caucus in 2009 voted for the Iraq War as Senators. Blagojevich is still the only Team Blue House Iraq supporter to go on to win state wide office other than a reelection after voting for the Iraq War, and that was in 2002.

  8. Livius Drusus

    Re: You Will Soon Be Able To Pay Your Subway Fare With Your Face in China.

    Just more evidence of why I am not looking forward to Chinese hegemony if it ever materializes. I would much rather live in an inefficient, ramshackle society with corrupt, incompetent rulers than an efficient one where I am constantly living under surveillance and have no real freedom. At least in the former I have some freedom and wiggle room.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That sounds like an improvement over that American sterotyping (before, not today, I think) of Chinese – ‘They all look a like.’

      ‘No they don’t…not according to this algorithm.’

  9. The Rev Kev

    Best wishes to our moderation team member in hospital and hoping that she has a quick recovery. Hope that it is nothing too serious there as who wants spend time in a hospital? It’s full of sick people!

    “A Worry for Some Pilots: Their Hands-On Flying Skills Are Lacking”

    When Chesley B. Sullenberger lost both engines a decade ago and he and his co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles managed to land their craft on the Hudson river, it was from an altitude of 2,818 feet (859 m). When pilots Yared Getachew & Ahmed Nur Mohammod Nur had their Boeing 737 MAX 8 go haywire on them, they were never more than 500 feet (152 m) above the deck. They never had a chance – the poor b*******.

      1. justsayknow

        My takeaway from yesterday’s link is the Boeing plane is a kludge and inherently unstable hence the hiding of the stall problem in their sales pitch and the addition of the automated system to plunge the plane toward the ground when a stall was sensed.

        And probably criminal no doubt.

        A significant failure of no regulation us style capitalism.

        1. jsn

          I find it rich that only after Trump tweeted about grounding the MAX did the FAA suddenly find a “connection” between the two crashes. The credibility US institutions can’t deteriorate too much more, at this point institutional inertia is the only thing holding together the Imperial System.

          As other countries realize they can’t believe in the enforcement of any of the product safety or environmental, of for that matter any profit constraining, laws on the US books, it’s only a matter of time until they decouple.

          As most of the Empire is administered as a neoliberal extraction zone, the primary glue holding it together is the cost of setting up alternative public services like defense and regulatory administration. Look for countries with currency sovereignty to be the first ones out.

          1. Summer

            “Look for countries with currency sovereignity to be the first out…”

            The knives are out for currency soverignity across the globe…slowly, but surely. I don’t doubt its the driver of crises we see popping up so often. Never the stated intention, but all will come up with “common currency” as the solution…watch.

            1. jsn

              Yes, but those who still control their own currency will be the only ones with the political tool, money, to effect change.

  10. Kinmont Johnnie

    It is not surprising that mental health issues are becoming more widespread as our society becomes more and more authoritarian. Bruce Levine (website: offers excellent evidence for, and critique of, our society’s need to psycho-pathologize anti-authoritarian personality traits. This results in the weaponization of the mental health system in service of authority. I highly recommend his latest book on the topic. It surely doesn’t explain the entire trend, but it offers necessary context for understanding the system.

    A good lecture by Levine:

  11. Brooklin Bridge

    The Rolling Stone article, Secret Agent Man, is exceptional. The sort of thing that makes me want to email it to all my friends who don’t “quite,” “at all,” “stop bothering me,” agree with me on foreign affairs. This e’ll show em.

    What it says about the CIA in the Middle East is eye opening.

    The article definitely deserves the, “must read,” qualifier.

    1. Harold

      It is interesting that he didn’t really reply about Lumumba: “Neither confirm nor deny.” Also he was clearly lying—or putting the interviewer on —about his children and perhaps other things. The most striking things were said about Israel’s actions in Lebanon.

    2. Andy

      Though I enjoyed the article, I think it would be appropriate to point out that it was published over three decades ago as part of the link.

    3. Mirdif

      You should read Copeland’s books. They’re very eye opening and have many more details than what he mentioned in that particular interview.

      The Game of Nations: The Amorality of Power Politics
      The Game Player:Confessions of the CIA’s Original Political Operative

      1. Summer

        I’m going to dust off and re-read:

        “Wild Thing: The Backstage, On The Road, In the Studio, Off the Charts Memoirs of Ian Copeland.”

        Especially the “on the road” parts….

    4. Chris Cosmos

      A great limited hang-out. Seemed like a bright guy but I don’t trust people like him at all–and I’ve encountered a few of them. I believe the motivation driving these people is not assassinating leader because it “saves lives” that’s bullshit that these guys tell themselves. One retired CIA officer told us that we need to understand, above all, that the CIA is a cult and he was working on deprogramming himself. They’re in it for the rush power gives as most National Security State and political operatives are as well. Washington is the place for adrenaline jukies–if there’s no crisis then manufacture one.

      1. jsn

        Conrad Black’s bio of “Roosevelt”, Talbots bio of Allan Dulles, “The Devil’s Chess Board” and James Douglas’, “Kennedy and the Unspeakable” round out the story Copeland is telling with deep background and suggest strongly exactly how much you can trust the words of a CIA expert in assassination.

        1. Geo

          Did you ever read any of John Hunt’s books? He’s the son of Howard Hunt and has written three books (one about his Mother who was a CIA agent that died in a suspicious planet crash and another aboutbhis father’s supposed confessions) and the third was co-authored by Roger Stone and called “The Bush Crime Family”.

          His mingling with Stone makes it hard to value his input but his family background is fascinating. Haven’t read any of the books yet but planning to. Curious if you’re familiar and whether they’re insightful or tinfoil hat stuff.

          The promo quote from Stone about the Bush Family book is ironic and curious:

          “Why aren’t these people in prison?”

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        With the aid of MMT, it can be understood that the CIA is a creature of the current monetary and political systems.

        Do we need a different monetary system, a different theory other than MMT?

      3. Harold

        I agree with this — and somehow Copeland’s trolling, for that’s what I think he is doing — seems to tie in with what people are saying about the NZ assassin’s trolling. Speaking of this, Jeet Heer has a fascinating thread about trolling on twitter and there are articles about it in the Washington Post and the Guardian. Not to forget some of our own leaders “joking” about murder and Nixon’s “madman” theory, which comes to mind.

    5. Summer

      “The difference between the CIA’s counterterrorist experts and this new kind that’s been proliferating all over the place is that the CIA has operators who know the terrorists, who’ve actually talked to a few, who’ve even lived with them, or who, like myself, have actually been terrorists.”

      “…who, like myself, have actually been terrorists…”

    6. Summer

      It’s actually an “it takes a terrorist to know a terrorist” interview. Kind of astounding…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I am curious to know if the CIA is an exception among world intelligence agencies, and the Russians, Chinese or British do things differently, of if they do the same, but not as deeply/intensely/extensively/etc.

    7. Hameloose Cannon

      Rolling Stone, Miles Copeland, published **January 16, 1986** –Speaking of the “look over there” trick, this article was published smack dab in the middle of the Iran-Contra scandal. Only the CIA would look straight into the camera, rattle off a litany of the CIA’s past sins, and walk away whistling in the middle of a political bank robbery, after the dye pack goes off in their face [Reagan wearing a Reagan mask, no doubt. The stones on him.] Cliff Notes for Peaceniks: “Miles Copeland: F’ing A, man. CIA man. Greatest Hits. Smoke Bomb!” Kinda makes one wonder what it’s doing here.

      1. pjay

        I think you are right here. Interesting what is *not* discussed, given the date. Like this interview, Copeland’s writings are an interesting mix of insider glimpses, limited hangouts, and flat disinformation, as are all such “memoirs” by “ex” CIA types. In these stories the CIA always comes off as the Wise Ones whose sage advice is ignored by politicians or undermined by the dolts in the regular military. As you imply (“F’ing A, man…’) Copeland was good at self-aggrandizement. There is a lot of truth in this interview, though: that lying for the good of the Company is the duty of every officer; that the CIA is amoral; that “real” operatives see Helms as an absolute hero (rather than the evil force that he was) and Colby as a traitor, that Israel has created one monumental headache after another for the U.S. in the Middle East, etc.

        1. Lambert Strether

          This passage caught my eye:

          How does your vision of the CIA fit Western democracy?

          Come on, what are Miles Copeland’s principles of democracy?

          Let me tell you about democracy. First place, I remember Syria. We decided we were going to bring democracy to Syria. So we got a translator in Arabic, and we got signs. We were going to have an election. This is 1946, ’47. The signs say, Get Out And Vote For The Candidate of Your Choice. We had people coming in the embassy and saying, “Look, these signs are no good — they don’t tell us who the candidate of our choice is.” In the United States, if we had true democracy, it would be a good thing. But true democracy is impossible now because of the fact that the general population cannot possibly keep themselves well enough informed to decide on issues except on a very parochial basis. The average person, the best he can do is something he’s not allowed to do — that’s to vote for a man because he’s known to be honest and competent. But now a candidate has to tell you what his issues are and get elected on that basis. We have to sell the idea to the American public that there are many things about foreign policy the American people simply cannot understand, because foreign policy requires, above all else, judging people according to their own standards. The emphasis should be in choosing people we trust. Where the CIA can work as an institution in a democratic government is, we have to set up criteria where nobody can get into the CIA unless he’s honest and patriotic. And I think they’ve succeeded at that. The guys in the CIA are the most strait-laced people you ever saw.

          Fast forward to giving the intelligence community veto power over the voters’ choice for President…

    8. Brooklin Bridge

      Perhaps some confusion about the timeline of the article. It was not written in 1972, but that is a little unclear from the first couple of paragraphs that seem to be a direct quote from a Central Press/Getty article that was from ’72.

      The point of the history lesson seems to be that CIA agents then and now are not your instant, heavily biased know it all counter terrorism “experts” with a lucrative reason informing their point of view that you see “everywhere,” such as on TV news segments, but rather dedicated, patriotic, professionals who, as in the past, actually know what they are talking about but don’t in general talk about it.

      Also, the author’s definition of terrorist might well include many NC regulars; that is, besides the garden variety terrorist you wouldn’t find on NC given the right circumstances, the author maintains it’s also people who might be affected by or strongly object to life threatening policies or behavior of one’s own government or any government, such as that of Israel, that potentially has life and death power over you. Whether or not a given terrorist is a “bad guy/gal” or otherwise depends, the author suggests, on which side of the fence involved in such a power struggle one finds themselves. The author also implies he is a terrorist, but bear in mind his particular definition of the term.

      Where the article really starts to raise novel ideas (besides the definition of a terrorist) that seem to hew to common sense comes in the paragraph that starts with, “Who’s winning?”

      It’s not a matter of winning. Just different viewpoints. The president of the United States has got to say what is necessary to keep himself in office. We have a domestic foreign policy and a foreign foreign policy. The domestic foreign policy, which is the more important one, is what he has to do to make the American public think he’s doing the right thing. Whether it’s the right thing or not doesn’t matter. The American people have to think he’s doing the right thing because we have a democratic society. Now, the American people were highly indignant about what happened in Beirut [the hijacking of TWA flight 847 in June 1985]. They wanted to do something. They wanted to punish the people without regard to the consequences. The president had to say things to them, make threats, to show the American people that, by God, we were doing something. But the professionals inside the government were worried about the consequences of this. Because what it takes to please the American people is not what it takes to please a lot of people who did not grow up in the American culture but grew up in cultures quite different from our own. We’ve got most of the world against us at the moment. When we drag out our gunboats, bomb villages and kill a lot of women and children — a lot more than the terrorists kill — we turn the world against us. And the American people don’t care. They don’t give a damn. But those people whose job it is to look after the interests of the U.S. government abroad, they’ve got to care. They have to think of the consequences of everything we do. And they know the consequences of dragging out the gunboats are absolutely the wrong ones. In fact, these are the consequences the terrorists created acts of terrorism in order to provoke. That’s the purpose of terrorism, not to kill, maim or destroy, but to terrorize, to frighten, to anger, to provoke irrational responses. Terrorism gains more from the responses than it gains from the actions themselves.

      The other aspect that deserves note is that the CIA agents, particularly those in the Middle East, are all quite familiar with the content of that last paragraph. They are all aware of just how much the US is making itself hated in the region and why, but they also follow orders and can’t spell it out – begging a small question about the author himself, but anyway…

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        The above comment could be deleted… The article isn’t contemporary even if it IS germane.

  12. jfleni

    RE: US Navy ship has been quarantined for 2 months because of virus outbreak.

    UNCLE SAMS canoe club has the mumps!

    1. ambrit

      Let us hope fervently that the crew doesn’t get sent to the quarantine station on Johnson Island. Or maybe Plum Island. Now that would be scary.

  13. Wukchumni

    I’m a but numb from the news of the Ides of March Mass Murder, in Christchurch…

    NZ was really the last good place in the first world, where you’d think nothing like this could’ve happened, but looking back now in a post 9/11 lens, one of the attractants to this Yank, was the idea that security while not lax, wasn’t anything up to our standards of paranoia. The last time we were there in Nelson, I remember watching uniformed unarmed policemen walking down the street, something you’d never see here, certainly.

    This passage of the shooter’s manifesto in alignment with a conman grifter, only adds more grief. The repercussions of being wishy-washy on Charlottesville, opening the door of opportunity of oppression?

    Tarrant said he was a supporter of Donald Trump as a ‘symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose’.

    1. Summer

      They got that down to “lone shooter” very quickly.

      I’m already seeing stories linking this to Trump’s words, but that is the worst mistake liberals in media and the establishment can make.
      This mindset was fortified in developed countries long before Trump. It’s a mindset that is a prerequisite for being considered a “developed country.”

    2. Plenue

      He also says in literally the next sentence that he doesn’t support Trump as a policy maker.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Should or should not the standard be what followers of a person or a belief do?

          It could be for brotherhood, justice and equality, and we still had the Reign of Terror. The executioners at what is now Place de la Concorde could probably give those ideals a lot of good quotes.

          And there is no guarantee any followers of Gabbard, Sanders, Omar, et al will all be saints.

          1. ambrit

            Indeed, I would worry exceedingly if a real saint were to gain power. Saints tend to be monomaniacal and doctrinaire, or better, dogmatic. This is where the ‘balanced personality’ comes into it’s own.
            I always liked the story of Cincinnatus. Appointed as effective Dictator during a crisis, when the crisis was over, he returned to his farm. Promoted as an exemplar of virtue, one must read the entire story to see where his allegiance lay. He was an Ultra Conservative. So, the lesson I take from this is that nothing is cut and dried.
            Avoid the Narrative.
            Ask unpopular questions.
            Question authority.
            The list is well nigh endless.
            Probably the best advice is what this site and it’s facilitators promote: Learn to think for yourself.
            If you cry out that that is a hard job, well, who ever told you that it would be easy?

    3. The Rev Kev

      In the next few days there are going to be a lot of hard questions that will have to be answered. Such as, just how the hell do you accumulate an armoury like that in New Zealand like he had? I imagine they have already run the serial numbers so they will have to track the history of these weapons. But more to the point. Just why did the so-called Five Eyes not single out this guy for closer investigation. He didn’t just come out of the blue and I am guessing that he has more than a few contacts with the ultra-right. Was he not on their screens at all? I have seen images of his weapons and they had crap written on them in white like the year of the Battle of Lepanto so he was a bit looney-tunes already. Was it that they were so busy looking at Muslims instead? As for this total loser, I hope that they find him criminally insane. If you are sane, you stand a chance of being released one day but when you are found criminally insane, they can afford to weld the bars on your door shut.

      1. Jeotsu

        In NZ the license/register people, not guns. A good friend who is a pretty ken collector/shooter has talked for years how not registering the gun is (was?) a serious long-term mistake. More recently the police put it into the “too hard” basket. But at the same time these last few years we’ve started to see armed robberies of Dairy’s (convenience stores) with firearms. 10 years ago those robberies were with hammers, pipes, or maybe a machete.

        There is going to be serious examination of how police track threats. Back in 2007 they raided “paramilitary camps” (, but that turned out to be a disaster. They terrorized a community, and white-on-brown application of disporportionate force raised serious cultural questions.

        For better of worse Christchurch has had a white supremacy problem for a long time. If you wanted to see a National Front rally, that is where you’d go.

        The test of the government is how they react. Do they go down the path of fear, cowardice and cynical control-measures that the US took, or rather do they take informed steps to unify and console a shocked and horrified population while enacting changes that make things better for all of us.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I doubt that it was book reading but more along the lines of obscure right-wing memes. Sort of how with the hard-right in northern Ireland the Battle of the Boyne is still celebrated with marches and bands.

          1. Plenue

            There is (or was, at least) an archive of his now deleted Twitter page. He posted pictures of his guns. They were covered in various names and dates related to killing Muslims. Charles Martel was among them. I very much doubt the guy has ever sat down and seriously read about any of the people or events he referenced. His manifesto really is terribly written; he doesn’t at all strike me as a particularly literate person.

            1. Synapsid

              Rev Kev, Plenue,

              I expect you’re right. I wonder if “Ottoman fleet” or “Saracens” would even catch his attention if he heard them in conversation.

    4. Musicismath

      It’s appalling on so many levels. I woke up early this morning, UK time, checked Facebook, saw the news, and then had to hurriedly try and contact my parents in Christchurch to make sure they were OK. It’s the third time I’ve had to do that in recent years — two big earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 and now this.

      When I was there in November I couldn’t believe how much of the city I used to know has just gone — reduced to rubble and then bulldozed away to leave a swathe of car parks and bare, suburbs-wide expanses of lawn. Whole suburbs gone; the shapes of the demolished houses discernible only by looking at the patterns in the trees that used to grow in their backyards. The heart ripped out of the city and replaced by a kind of silence and tranquility indistinguishable from a deep depression.

      I’ve been trying to work today, but I can’t concentrate on anything; I just think of those poor people spilling out onto the street to get away from the gunshots. The empty city. The shocked, the bereaved, and the traumatized sheltering behinds the walls of their houses. That awful silence.

      1. Wukchumni

        We were in ChCh 2 weeks before the 2011 quake, and it sounds stupid now, but if anything we were disappointed by the relative lack of damage from the bigger quake in the fall that was centered 15 miles away and much deeper.

        When it happened we were driving back from an overnight Doubtful Sound excursion and were around the town of Five Rivers when we heard the news on the radio, and when we got to Queenstown later that afternoon, the clerk at our motel told us it was felt sharply there too, but no damage.

        That was the last time we were in NZ, and Christchurch was always our favorite ‘big’ city.

        Be Well.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “A Worry for Some Pilots: Their Hands-On Flying Skills Are Lacking”

    I sometimes think that what needs to be done is to put pilots in simulators and cut all electronics halfway through the flight. Leave them with just a stick ‘n’ rudder. But here’s the kicker. As the pilots get more proficient in such emergency flying, have the insurance companies give bigger discounts to the airline, even if it has to be subsidized. Read how in his younger days, Richard Bach, the author & pilot, would get in his small craft and practice controlling it using only a throttle and opening alternate cabin doors. That is what pilots can do when they are not just airplane drivers.

    1. Yikes

      Cut out all electronics and your stick and rudder pedals on Airbus become cabin decorations. Boeing use to have a better reputation in part because they at least lefty primary controls surfaces directly connected to hydraulic actuating pilot controls. What happened here is the smart controls overpowered the pilot, and the fuses are no longer in the same place. Outsourced engineering and development.

      1. Wukchumni

        We took a flight in a B-17 around the turn of the century, one of those gigs where you paid $300 to fly from Burbank out to the Pacific and up the coast a bit, before doing a ‘bombing run’ over the San Fernando Valley on the way home. It was a bit chilly @ 5,000 feet and just a thin strand of aluminum skin holding everything together, with open gun stations allowing the wind in. Could you imagine the same conditions @ 30,000 feet, yikes!

        Everything was simply engineered, and hands on, although complicated.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Yes, come back to us soon!

      NC is a model of moderation. Don’t know how you all do it. Thanks, anyway.

  15. Dr. Roberts

    Apparently Ted Kaczinski has survived and taken a job writing for Bloomberg under the nom de plume Tyler Cowen.

    1. John Wright

      One can imagine Tyler Cowen in a fully loaded lifeboat in dangerous waters and 10 more people swim up to the boat.

      He might say, we have to take them on-board, one of them might be so innovative to solve the problem of our emergency.

      His column illustrates that some in the economic profession believe there is a solution for any physical problem, one must wait for the innovator to ride to the rescue.

      Assuming there is an innovative solution, or that it will arrive in time, may be wishful thinking.

      Economics, the optimistic “science”, hardly dismal at all.

      1. jsn

        Yes! Can you imagine a more robust re-statement of the economists classic, “assume a can opener!”

        His delusions have served him well, and like W or Obama, why should he think any differently?

        We live in a world that richly rewards the absence of moral imagination and Tyler Cowen may be that world brightest avatar.

        1. Craig H.

          He still cannot match his New York Times op ed on how more war would help the economy.

          (fun fact: Tyler Cowen has a PhD from Harvard in Economics)

      2. Eclair

        Good grief, Tyler Cowen suffers from the same delusion that high priests, as well as fanatical adherents, of other religious cults have espoused in times of crisis; Plague, Black Death, War, Famine. He places his hope in the fortuitous arrival (or, maybe a ‘second coming’) of a Savior figure. Someone who will magically wave his technological wand and fix the world. Or uplift us all to a Better Planet.

        So far, he has stopped short of trudging from city to city on dusty back roads, collecting like-minded fanatics, flagellating their own bloody backs, while droning, ‘Reproduce, birth the Tech Wizard who will save us!’ But what if the Tech Wizard had already been born, and our bombs have blown her into a pink mist somewhere in Afghanistan or Somalia?

        Life is more and more resembling The Onion.

      3. jrs

        they might be innovators? I have heard a better argument in this vein, that one should have kids and raise them as revolutionaries because we need more. Most parents are not really down with that though.

        And that’s an argument from a decade ago isn’t it? If we only have 12 years, noone born now is likely to be a revolutionary (though if your 10 year old is out there with a molatov cocktail – cheers) or an innovator by then (nor able to vote for that matter!).

      1. jrs

        maybe they could start with providing women with decent medical care so that we wouldn’t have astoundingly high rates of women dying in childbirth.

  16. Whoamolly

    Best wishes to your team member, and the rest of the team. I will make a Get Well Card size donation to the NC fund shortly.

  17. The Rev Kev


    I have a feeling that Brexit is going to sucking a lot of the air out of comments the next fortnight or so as it gets closer. I doubt that any commentator could have predicted nearly three years ago how it would be all ending. In any case – as a suggestion. In Links there is usually a Tag for ‘Brexit’. Perhaps at this stage of the game it might be an idea to have a countdown of days using the website at as a reference. Thus tonight’s Link Tag would have read

    Brexit – 13

  18. todde

    I am surprised the parents bribing people to get their kids into the ‘best’ universities used their own money for the bribes.

    Bezos just tried to bribe NYC with other people’s tax money.

    1. Carolinian

      They did get tax deductions for money paid to that fake nonprofit.

      Here’s a big picture look at the scandal from the LAT.

      “I really don’t think the school you go to matters. I think that has limited value,” said Klein. “The reasons you go to college are a much better indication of success than whatever name is on the college sign.”

      The college entrance cheating scandal is an example of blind ambition at its most grotesque. Well-heeled parents — including CEOs and celebrities — are accused of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to have their kids’ SATs rigged and to cover the cost of bribing their way into USC, UCLA, Stanford, Yale, Georgetown and other schools.

      Sometimes you see parents behaving so badly, you think to yourself that they should be arrested.

      Well, now they have been.

      In other words credentialism is actually contrary to the purpose of education which should be a facilitator to those to those seeking a path or those already motivated–not a USDA stamp of approval complete with testing and inspection. Turning colleges into part of the capitalist machinery diminishes what should be their true role.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Should we reform the current credentialism first, or throw more young people into the rat race, with free tuition?

        Free tuition is good, but it must be accompaniee, always, all th time, preferrably prefaced, with a demand for reform.

        I have seen calls for free tuition without mentioning reform, nearly 100% of the time.

        I have not seen or have rarely seen calls for reform, with our without free tuition.

        1. Carolinian

          Free tuition could turn out to be like the federal student loan program–training lots of people in sometimes dubious institutions for jobs that don’t exist. Perhaps a return to era of practically free state universities would be better.

          And of course credentialism has always been a thing but in the era of one percenters and ten percenters seems to have gotten a lot worse.

          1. Harold

            It should only be for qualifying students at state universities that pay instructors fairly and have no sports.

      2. Whoamolly

        Re: I really don’t think the school you go to matters…

        What is this guy Klein smoking? Does he really expect anyone to believe that a San Francisco State MBA carries the same weight as a Harvard MBA?

        That a student would make the same connections at Harvard as San Francisco State?

        There’s a reason rich parents are paying millions to get their kids into Harvard. And it ain’t because the parents are stupid.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          In the UK, I think, it’s Eton, but perhaps people who are more familiar can say more.

        2. Carolinian

          I think he’s saying that would be true in an ideal world that would replace the one we are currently living in.

          There was a time when even the bosses son would work his way up from the bottom of a company and learn the business through hands on experience. They may not have even gone to college.

          By outsourcing this process to the leading universities our top companies have both corrupted the educational establishment and perhaps not done themselves any favors either. At least that’s one way of looking at it. The reason we even had “liberal arts” institutions in the past was that college was not viewed strictly through the lens of future employment.

      3. Geo

        “I really don’t think the school you go to matters.“

        I totally disagree. An old friend went to an elite Ivy League school for a masters and the circle of colleagues she has from the time there put her in a different stratosphere from the rest of our circle of friends.

        Another friend got a masters from USC and did the same for her.

        My opinion: the elite is a club and being at those schools is a key to entry.

        1. jrs

          but at that point it’s not purely the school you go to, you autistic or for that matter *artistic* weird kid that doesn’t fit in, probably isn’t going to get much benefit from the social aspect. But your social butterfly pretty daughter, will get the right Ms. degree for her years in school…

          1. Whoamolly

            Sorry to disagree but I think it even applies to gifted, out of the norm kids

            Autistic kid codes great. meets future founder of tech co. Becomes partner.

            Artistic kid shoots great footage. Meets future director. Later Gets call to head for Hollywood and crash on directors couch. Makes good film.

  19. Summer

    Re: Beto / Bernie

    Maybe a Democrat can answer this:
    Notice that all fawning press emphasizes Beto’s out reach to Republicans in Texas which can be safely assumed to be mostly white people. Meanwhile, Bernie gets clobbered by the Dem establishment for “alienating black people” (remember all of the stuff with “Black Lives Matter”).

    So when is the Dem establishment going to question Beto along the exact same lines?
    Will we have Beto Bros?

    Just an observation.

    1. Whoamolly

      Re: when is Dem establishment going to question Beto along exact same lines (as Bernie).

      Please check your Weather Underground app for Hell.

      Vigorous questioning will begin the moment the temperature falls below 32F.

    2. polecat

      Ahem ! … please don’t stike me dead for saying this … but, do to his rather handsome, and telegenic qualities, I think the phrase your looking for is .. ‘Beto Bras’ …..

  20. Wukchumni

    Was having a chat with my veteran neighbor who served a tour of duty in Honolulu in 1974-75. He’d told me previously that morale there was on a very low keel, as the Vietnam War was coming to a conclusion, and that many wore a ‘short hair wig’ on top of their less then regulation long hair while on duty, and that the MP’s always had the best Maui Wowie for sale.

    Fast forward to now, and he applied for VA benefits a year ago, after never having applied for any other veterans benefits in the meantime, and the VA hospital that he described in Fresno, sounds like a complete flip-side to our awful civilian hospitals. 3 months of prescriptions costs him $35, there’s virtually no wait to be seen, if you walk in, etc.

    He’s way right on the political spectrum, and talked of how awful the VA hospital situation was apparently, only as late as a few years ago, but Big War has thrown a lot of money at it, and was a whole different kettle of fish now.

    1. Whoamolly

      A few anecdotal observations from a vet who has used the system for 40 years.

      The VA system has been doing superb work since the 1940s when they were treating WWII vets.

      The system was overhauled and modernized under the Clinton administration.

      Despite an unceasing flood of right wing criticism and falsehoods it has performed admirably up to the present day.

      In the last few years the attacks seem to have taken a new twist. Replacing staff lost to retirement or normal turnover seems to be harder and harder, and there is a relentless push to privatize.

      The system is a good example of the cost savings and improved outcomes possible under single payer — which is why it is relentlessly attacked.

  21. Harold

    A friend, originally from Wisconsin, came back to NY a few months ago after a holiday visit to his relatives, farmers and former farmers. He reports that the Wisconsin relatives were all Republicans who voted for Trump in the last election (despite some of them being civil servants). Now, however, they have all switched in a bunch to being Democrats — they all have serious chronic health problems and are appalled at the possible phasing out of Obamacare.

    1. cripes


      I’m appalled that they’re appalled to have to petition for that POS Unaffordable Care Act, instead of working on universal affordable medicare for all.

      Especially in a state with a long tradition of progressive politics

  22. Summer

    Re: The Century Of Spin

    And now the task is informing people that consumerism is a form of moral depravity.
    That’s a tight spot. The only way to change things is to convince people they’ve been programmed to behave in morally depraved ways when at the the same time the proganda has convinced many that their lives are the result of the many “choices” provided by well-intended corporations.
    A tight spot indeed.

  23. JohnnyGL

    Has anyone followed the string of articles published by John Solomon on the Hill that have been coming out over months, perhaps years? Is he a reliable investigative journalist. If he can be believed, he’s dropped a number of bombshells about godawful conduct from the FBI.

    Again, another one that’s a source that can be slippery, meaning the washington examiner.

    I’m not super-comfortable with some of the right-wing media sources, but no one else in the media is digging into the story of how the DOJ and FBI handled themselves during the Clinton email investigation and the Trump-Russia probe.

    I know the judge presiding over Mueller’s case has had to rap him on the knuckles over his conduct.

    Anyone got anything to say on these topics?

    1. allan

      “Is he a reliable investigative journalist[?]”

      No, he hasn’t been one for a long time, although he appears to have been one as recently as the late 1990s.

      For just one of many detailed refutations by Marcy Wheeler of his work, see John Solomon’s Baby Assange ,
      and here’s a golden-oldie from Balloon Juice in 2006: Four Strikes For John Solomon.

      So, he’s reliable, but probably not in the sense that you meant.

      1. pjay

        Don’t know about Wheeler’s critique of Solomon, but I have very little confidence in Wheeler herself these days. Given her recent contributions to the Derangement, I have ruefully added her to a long list of people whose work I used to think was “reliable” but now see as partisan ideologues (at best).

    2. Rhondda

      Yes, I follow all that very closely. I think we NC-ers have all learned that it’s good to be skeptical of everything, regardless of the source…that said, I’ll opine that Solomon’s about as reliable as Marcy Wheeler or Balloon Juice. On this topic more reliable, perhaps, because he’s not blinded by TDS.

      Right-leaning media is the only place you’ll find that info…you just have to put on your waders, use your flashlight and wield your tweezers. It keeps your information immune system well-fortified!

    3. pjay

      There are several sources that have covered Russiagate and the related FBI corruption pretty well that I would not consider right-wing. Consortium News has done a very good job, in my opinion. If anything they lean left, though some of their ex-intelligence contributors are more conservative. Pat Lang’s site, Sic Semper Tyrannis, has also been good on these stories. Lang is traditionally conservative but not right-wing (and he hates the neocons as well as the Clintonites), and some of his contributors are more progressive. Disobedient Media, the World Socialist Website, Moon of Alabama, and others have had good expose articles as well on various aspects of this story.

  24. jawbone

    Link is to the Aussie shooter’s “The Great Replacement,” still up as I type on Pastebin. The similarities of use of language to Trump’s phrasings gave me the chills.

    I don’t know if this has a place here on NC, but the piece is longish and takes time to read. I figure it will be taken down by the Pastebin site or by some PTBs…. Or not?

    Found link at Moon of Alabama comment:
    Posted by: TJ | Mar 15, 2019 9:45:49 AM | 88

    1. Conrad

      I guess I must have missed Trump ranting about birthrates and calling for the outright genocide of Muslims in ‘European’ lands.

      The irony of anti-immigration white Australian is painful.

  25. super extra

    re: right wing extremism in the anglosphere

    someone(? no idea who or how) profits from 4chan/8chan, the boards where the worst of the right-wing violence is cheered on, amplified, and (crucially) performed for. Shut them down, force them offline in the same way certain openly neo nazi sites were. Yes they will find new places to organize, and they will have a smaller broadcast scope and every time a new group is shut down and forced to migrate to a new location, they’ll lose more people (boys and men, this isn’t girls/enbies/trans kids who are shooting up and spree killing while claiming they’re Gentlemen) who snap out of it or age out of it.

    Also, this Ask A Korean! post from a while back about their problems with home-grown extremism triggered by shitposting is possibly relevant and always a good read: Korea’s Alt-Right, and How to Fight the Ones At Home

  26. Bill P

    I’ve read a lot recently about the price of insulin: “One vial of the insulin Ms Marston uses now costs $275 …”
    To put things in perspective go to a site like – you’ll see a vial of R is as low as $66.99.

    1. Roger Boyd

      I looked this up for Canada, seems to be about $30 for the very same vial of insulin. The US single payer people should simply publish a comparison list to show the benefits of not allowing the Medical Industry Complex from ripping off their society.

      1. jsn

        Using the transitive property applying what we now know about the the FAA to the FDA, it’s safer to just go ahead and buy it in Canada if you can.

  27. Phacops

    Having more children in order to combat climate change. What shit-fer-brains is needed to come up with that? Obviously the author has impulse control issues in order to want to share that with the world.

    Population growth is the logic of a cancer cell.

    1. Roger Boyd

      In economics the “magic component” that makes up for the changes in GDP growth that they cannot identify as being caused by anything is assumed to be innovation, so the more innovators you can bring into the world the more chance of solving the world’s problems! Such a wonderfully simple and hermetically sealed ideological universe that mainstream economists live in.

      1. Isotope_C14

        Perhaps he’s simply a cannibal and wants to make sure there is a steady supply of meat for the future?

        Either that, or what if alien shape-shifters really run the world and are just here to heat up the planet to their preferred temperature, and then feast on all the hapless semi-sentient humans?

        Though, I’d think that beef tastes a bit better than chicken. I suspect people taste like chicken. Anyone know Hannibal Lechter? Anyone try to feed the alien overlords a nice rib-eye?

        1. Oregoncharles

          Not sure how much myth is mixed in here, but as long as we’re speculating wildly: The Trobriand Islanders called human meat “long pig.” So, more like pork – similar diet.

        2. Jeff W

          “I suspect people taste like chicken.”

          Nope, not chicken. This Smithsonian piece says “Both serial killers and Polynesian cannibals have described human as being most akin to pork” but notes that William Seabrook, journalist, explorer, and one-time cannbal, said it tasted like veal. Christopher Hitchens had a theory that the traditional Jewish revulsion and disgust at eating pork was related to the similarities between pigs and humans, although that might have had to do with physical and sensory qualities other than taste. In any case, chicken doesn’t appear to be one of the candidates.

  28. lb

    So now it drops that Beto O’Rourke was a member of the cDc: The cult of the dead cow, a t-file group and hacker group of sorts, especially during the late 80s BBS days, and wrote something as a teen that may be oft-quoted… The author of a book excerpted bits here. They link to this bit of O’Rourke’s actual writings here, here and here. We’ll see if this sinks him entirely or gives him some sort of weird online cred.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That might have been a replay that. Remember seeing a Kos cartoon about three or four years ago where it might have been Trump that went back to the 1950s with the Leave it to Beaver or Father Knows Best household. He found the tax rates for the rich were far higher and the boss lived just down the road and not in a gated community so it was not the conservative paradise he imagined.

  29. PlutoniumKun

    One soldier to face charges over Bloody Sunday killings Guardian (resilc)

    As Eamonn McCann (radical journalist from Northern Ireland) points out in another article in the Guardian, this is quite typical in that the ordinary grunt on the ground (albeit one who seems to have deliberately shot at civilians) gets to carry the can, whereas the senior officers who almost certainly authorised the killings get to enjoy their retirement.

    For those who don’t know, Bloody Sunday (which closely followed another massacre of civilians in Belfast), was when 13 innocent protestors were shot down by snipers during a civil rights march by members of the Parachute Regiment. It is widely accepted that this was the action which condemned Northern Ireland to decades of conflict – it deeply embittered and radicalised the urban nationalist communities in Northern Ireland. The impact was made much worse by the notorious whitewashes later carried out by the British government which falsely claimed that those killed were armed or were rioters.

  30. Brooklin Bridge

    Two weeks in the hospital doesn’t sound like a lot of fun – here’s to a full recovery and hopefully little discomfort.

  31. Lynne

    During the discussions last year about Puerto Rico and the lack of news coverage, I commented (to some skepticism here) that there is a similar lack of coverage of news in most of the US. As an example, I offer the following:

    At least half of Nebraska (yes, the entire state) is suffering severe flooding. A dam on the Niobrara River was taken out, which also took out a bridge over US Highway 281:

    Portions of I-29 have been closed due to flooding:

    People in some parts of Nebraska are being ordered or advised to evacuate, even as they are also told: “There is no safe evacuation route.” For ONE example, see

    There is dramatic footage of some of the flooding in the Omaha paper:

    So you may say that disproves my point, because the Omaha paper is covering it. But I looked at CNN, for example, a little bit ago. Their headlines were New Zealand, Mueller, Trump’s veto threat, college cheating, etc. Waaaay down, there was one link to an article about some flooding. And that article focuses on areas around Omaha before moving on to how storms will affect Canada.

    I don’t suppose anyone cares either that the proposed XL pipeline route is covered by extreme flooding and impassable roads, showing how Keystone could not respond to an emergency there even if they wanted to, nor how vulnerable the pipeline would be to natural catastrophe.

    Meanwhile, some of the pictures out of South Dakota must be seen to be believed.

    1. jrs

      I guess we will have to get our news from now. It does cover it.

      CNN is always the worst of the worst in coverage of anything.

      1. polecat

        I get the impression that CNN is only a mainstay at airports, sports bars, and perhaps nursing homes …

    2. grayslady

      This is really depressing–not only for the people who live in Nebraska, but also for the Sandhill Cranes and Whooping Cranes that migrate across Nebraska. This would normally be the beginning of peak migration for the Sandhills on the Platte River. Hundreds of thousands of them won’t have safe places to land. I only found one article that suggested the Sandhills were delaying their migration due to weather, but I saw three of them already here in Illinois just last week.

  32. Lorenzo

    a speedy and full recovery to our dear NC team member! is it Jerri-Lynn,or someone else I haven’t heard of?

    (I noticed nobody is mentioning Jerri-Lynn, so if this is because a good reason please feel free to block my comment)

  33. Plenue

    Lots to say about the shooter. I found and watched the video. It’s bad. It’s 16 minutes long (6 of which at the beginning is just him driving to the first mosque), and ends with him driving to the second mosque. If his attack there was like the one at the first mosque, than the number of dead is only going to rise as a lot of the wounded have to be in really bad shape. He emptied entire magazines into bodies just to be certain they were dead.

    The entire stream was infused with sarcastic internet jackass meme ‘humor’. He tells people to ‘subscribe to PewDiePie’ be leaving his car. He was also playing music the entire time. All the songs had become internet memes to one extent or other.

    He amply demonstrates that the idea that civilian assault rifles are more safe because they lack the full-auto setting is complete bunk. All it would have done is caused him to miss even more than he already did (he was clearly jittery and pumped full of adrenaline).

    I also read his manifesto (or at least a lot of it; it’s really long and really badly written). He maintains that he isn’t racist, he just wants people to stay in their own countries, He cites ‘white genocide’ as his sole motivation, so internet morons who push that lie (it is, objectively, untrue) like Lauren Southern now have blood indirectly on their hands.

    He also says he likes Trump as a symbol but hates his actual leadership and policy, and that the Front National in France are a bunch of milquetoast posers. He says China best embodies his ‘eco-fascist’ worldview. He maintains that Nazis don’t literally exist anymore, while also maintaining that he is proudly a fascist.

    1. Tom Bradford

      I’m a New Zealander and hope, as someone wrote above, that this character is declared insane rather than put on trial, so that rather than being given his 15-minutes of fame grandstanding in court and 15-years in jail with access to the internet and his fan-club, he spends the rest of his life in ‘secure accommodation’ drugged into lethargy, despite the fact that it will be my tax dollars paying for it.

  34. cripes

    Re: the former richest self-made woman on earth, Theranos’s Elizabeth Holmes:

    For those interested ABC News and 20/20 will air a two-hour documentary, called The Dropout on Friday, March 15, and just a few days later, on Monday, March 18, a film from documentarian Alex Gibney (Going Clear, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the World) will air on HBO The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley

  35. William

    Ms.Smith. When did Obama vote against the Iraq war? Unless it came up in the Illinois state legislature.

    1. cripes


      He “would have” voted against it if he had been in the US senate, just like her “would have” prosecuted bank fraud, introduced legislation to raise the minimum and card check, rein in the telecommunications monopolies, and put on his walking shoes, but, but those mean republicans.

  36. TBone

    Walmart employee may in fact have Lyme Disease (symptoms overlap). Geisinger is toeing the CDC line and denying correct treatment to many, many patients. I live nearby and have personally witnessed the terrifying extent of this growing problem.

    1. False Solace

      Let me guess, if the original doctor had recommended a cheaper treatment or told the guy it was all in his head, Walmart wouldn’t have bothered flying the patient anywhere for a “second opinion”.

  37. Savita

    Firstly, thank you to David for taking time to write the essay explaining German-France relations, Security Council etc. As I expected, it was of sufficient interest to everyone that Yves hoisted it to another thread. No secret David you are an esteemed and valued presence here.

    PlutoniumKun and your comment re: Northern Ireland Bloody Sunday murder charge. I had a colleague in the Emergency Services who was a good bit older and was with the English Merchant Navy, and was a presence on Bloody Sunday, although he wasn’t involved in the slightest being on a boat, nonethless he was awarded a medal by the Queen as were all servicemen involved. The point of interest is that it was a very long time, years I believe, before he actually understood that full scope of what went down that day. Such was the disinformation and smokescreen surrounding that event. ‘First To Go, Last To Know’ indeed. His story was that, when he found out what transpired, he was so disgusted and appalled he deliberately sought out a pub in NI, got blind drunk and nailed his medal to the wall. On a visit to said pub some decades later the medal was still there on the wall.

  38. Savita

    To the CIA agent piece in Rolling Stone. A few recommended authors and book titles followed in the comments. Participants here are sure to be enamored, if that’s the right word, with books by Robert Baer
    He’s an ex CIA guy and the two or three of his books of his I’ve read, seem admirably restrained and devoid of the issues one would expect to find in content and style by an author with such a background.
    One can’t help but feel he has his head screwed on, as we say in Australia (that means someone has their wits about them, is sane, shrewd, reasonable)

    A Perfect Kill will be of serious interest to some commentators here.

    I also really enjoyed his book about his husband and wife field agent pairing although not my favourite compare to some others

    His Wikipedia entry is interesting. The George Clooney character in the excellent film Syriana is said to be based on Baer

    1. The Rev Kev

      Here’s a thought. That guy had no problem killing foreign leaders that did not align with US interests. Align might mean though ‘He was not prepared to sign multi-billion dollar defense contracts with us’ or ‘He was not prepared to sell us his water/oil/electricity grid’. There have been a number of leftist leaders in South America that died due to cancer over the past coupla years. So who is to say that they might not bring these same methods back home as they are such patriotic Americans. For all we know, there may have been a number of promising leaders in America that would not sell out to either party but are no longer with us.

  39. Savita

    Oh, and Syriana screen play was actually based on Robert Baers book ‘See No Evil’
    I just appreciated that film so much, for not patronising the intelligence of the audience, and being an ensemble piece without standing lead characters, no conventional narrative structure, indicating the similarly complex world of oil politics that has a whole bunch of threads that don’t necessarily follow neatly or even lead anywhere at all. Admittedly by art house standards it was tame but nonethless

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