Links 3/26/19

Aussie engineer accuses ‘serial farter’ supervisor of bullying, seeks $1.8m redress The Register (Chuck L)

Gangs using dead rats to smuggle drugs into Dorset prison Guardian

Are natural fibres really better for the environment than microplastic fibres? PhysOrg (Robert M)

Key Greenland glacier growing again after shrinking for years, NASA study shows NBC (furzy)

Tidal energy pioneers see vast potential in ocean currents’ ebb and flow NBC (furzy)

Who keeps buying California’s scarce water? Saudi Arabia Guardian (David L)

Secondhand clothing market is growing faster than apparel retail TreeHugger (resilc)

We Transition Between 19 Different Brain Phases When Sleeping, Study Finds NewAtlas

More Than 90 Percent of Americans Have Pesticides or Their Byproducts in Their Bodies The Nation

The Adult Brain Does Grow New Neurons After All, Study Says Nature

California avocado recall 2019: Everything you need to know Slashgear

BEWARE: McDonald’s touchscreens had enough fecal matter to ‘put people in the hospital,’ study finds Crimeonline (Kevin W). Now those of you who don’t like touchscreen ordering because it eliminates jobs (and removes an information source) now have a basis for persuading people who might not care about those issues to start campaigning against them.


‘We Fear Drought More Than War,’ Say Border Villagers in Gujarat The Wire (J-LS)

Human rights groups slam draft UN plans to send Rohingya to barren island Telegraph (furzy)

One Nation’s James Ashby filmed seeking $20m from NRA to weaken Australia’s gun laws Guardian (Kevin W)

The European Copyright Directive: What Is It, and Why Has It Drawn More Controversy Than Any Other Directive In EU History? Electronic Frontier Foundation (furzy)


Defeat for May Hands Control of Brexit Process to Parliament Bloomberg

I will post on Brexit probably tomorrow (Russiagate ate my mental bandwidth). But as I suggested yesterday, Parliament “taking control” may wind up not meaning much as long as May is still PM. In fact, the “taking back control” bit may by having the appearance of neutralizing her, reduce the scheming to oust her (not that she’s about to leave absent a vote of no confidence). I had thought it was remotely possible she’d resign over the weekend when her Withdrawal Agreement is undeniably dead.

But Parliament can’t push the Government around absent passing a bill. Motions won’t do it. Only legislation could. In light of that, consider May’s remark after yet another historical loss:

I must confess that I am sceptical about such a process of indicative votes. When we have tried this kind of thing in the past, it has produced contradictory outcomes or no outcome at all. There is a further risk when it comes to Brexit, as the UK is only one half of the equation and the votes could lead to an outcome that is unnegotiable with the EU. No government could give a blank cheque to commit to an outcome without knowing what it is. So I cannot commit the Government to delivering the outcome of any votes held by this House.

And then we have this from her:

No Brexit must not happen. And a slow Brexit, which extends Article 50 beyond May 22, forces the British people to take part in European elections and gives up control of any of our borders, laws, money or trade is not a Brexit that will bring the British people together.

BREXIT MAYDAY Four in five Brits have lost confidence in Theresa May’s handling of the Brexit talks, poll reveals The Sun

Most voters believe Parliament is trying to block Brexit, poll reveals Telegraph

Cabinet ‘war game’ prepares for election to end Brexit standoff The Times. Richard Smith deems this to be “displacement activity”.

RESPECT THE VOTE Remainers’ petition to cancel Brexit is totally irrelevant and MPs should just get on with leaving, most Brits insist The Sun

Brexit drives warehouse move to jobs black spot Financial Times

Yellow Vests Act 19 (Paris): Report The Saker. Kevin W:

There are a ton of videos and other material in this article. Am seriously pissed at the moment as one shows that old lady that “fell”. There was a ton of blood under her head so it was not simply a case of Oops!

New Cold War

Russian military officials arrive in Venezuela to discuss ‘training and strategy’ Guardian


ISIS Lost Its Land, But Not Its Bank Account Atlantic

No Nuremberg for ISIS victims as US preps exit Asia Times (Kevin W)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Android Users’ Security and Privacy At Risk From Shadowy Ecosystem of Pre-Installed Software, Study Warns TechCrunch

McDonald’s Bites on Big Data With $300 Million Acquisition Wired

Hacking Lawyers or Journalists Is Totally Fine, Says Notorious Cyberweapons Firm Gizmodo

Imperial Collapse Watch

Why did Bush go to war in Iraq? Aljazeera (furzy). Important.

20 Years of Illegal Warfare American Conservative (resilc)

Trump Transition

Pentagon directs $1 billion to go toward building Trump’s border wall Axios. Hasn’t it been downgraded to a border fence?

The Trump administration wants all of Obamacare overturned by the courts Vox. That includes Medicaid expansion.

His Victory Complete, Trump Faces A New Challenge: Defining ‘American Autocracy’ Heisenberg Report (resilc)

Lawyer Michael Avenatti Accused of Trying to Extort Nike Bloomberg.

‘Greed’: Feds Say Avenatti Tried to Extort Nike, Swiped Client Funds Daily Beast (furzy)


Special prosecutors like Mueller have never uncovered major White House conspiracies MarketWatch (resilc)

Republican delight, Democrat dismay as Mueller details released Reuters

The Mueller Investigation Ends, Along With Its Industry The Atlantic

First Thoughts On The Political Fallout Of The Mueller Report FiveThirtyEight

Robert Mueller’s Probe Was an Unmitigated Success Atlantic. Resilc: “Matt Taibibi is right. Never wrong, just like WMDs.”

What Mueller’s (Apparent) Dud Means for Democrats New York Magazine. Resilc: “Good luck. Trump 2024.”

As Mueller Finds No Collusion, Did Press Overhype Russiagate? Glenn Greenwald vs. David Cay Johnston DemocracyNow! (JohnnyGL). Anyone with an operating brain cell should know better than to go up against Greenwald. But Johnston refused to back down, insists Trump is a Russian asset, that he has divided loyalties between the US and the Kremlin.

Rachel Maddow Reacts To Collapse Of Russiagate Jimmy Dore, YouTube. I particularly like this bit:

What it means is you’re a propagandist conspiracy theorist of the highest order, you wrecked your news show because you hate Donald Trump so much that now nobody can ever take what you say seriously. And if there was a journalism jail, you’d be in it for serving a 10 to 20 year sentence.But there isn’t, lucky for you there isn’t. In fact, you get rewarded for lying because you’ve been lying at the behest of the Establishment.

Russiagate is Birtherism: It is All a Game Ghion Journal

Trump allies await results of two internal probes that could expose Russia investigation backstory Fox. Oregoncharles: “I never thought I’d be suggesting a link from FoxNews, but this is what we’ve come to.”

We’ve All Just Made Fools of Ourselves — Again David Brooks, New York Times (David L). OMG, Brooks is telling Team Dem to quit imbibing the Kool-Aid.


Buttigieg shows signs of emerging from the Democratic pack The Hill

2020 Loss to Trump Would Be Existential Crisis for Democrats New York Magazine (resilc)

Fake News

The social networks are publishers, not postmen Financial Times. Despite the subhead, this is a call for censorship.

‘Flashing amber’: Global stocks tumble, bonds rally on U.S. recession risk Reuters

The quiet desperation of Gen X workers across America MarketWatch. I don’t mean to sound unsympathetic, because short job tenures, weaker social ties at work, and more intense monitoring of performance means many and probably most white collar jobs are less psychologically rewarding even if the job content is the same as it was a decade ago. Even so, I wonder if a contributor is the big change in parenting, where “good” parents were scheduling their children’s time (play dates, soccer practice, etc.) and shuttling them about. They grew up being on the receiving end of attention to a vastly greater degree than my cohort, where kids walked to and from school and had lots of unstructured time. I recall hearing from McKinsey types that they were having trouble with Millennial new hires because they wanted feedback all the time and also expected more frequent promotions and rewards that they would ever receive.

Blow to Boeing: China to buy hundreds of Airbus jets, in mammoth US$35 billion deal sealed on Xi Jinping’s France visit South China Morning Post (J-LS)

DE Shaw: inside Manhattan’s ‘Silicon Valley’ hedge fund Financial Times (David L)

Class Warfare

What happens after rich kids bribe their way into college? I teach them Guardian (UserFriendly, Tom H)

Nasa cancels all-female spacewalk, citing lack of spacesuit in right size Guardian

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “A Vizsla enjoying his run at Eastview Park.”

And a bonus from martha r (forgive me if I featured this before):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. dearieme

    “Russiagate is Birtherism: It is All a Game” And those two games have the same origin: Hellary. Her campaign for the Democrat nomination for 2008 started Birtherism; her presidential campaign for 2016 started Russiagate.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I do think “OMG Russia” definitely appealed to people who fantasize about “reasonable republicans,” and this story gave them a chance to get back at their republican friends. I never took any of the Benghazi style attacks seriously because i know Republicans are deranged, even the “nice, reasonable” ones. On an occasional issue, an individual Republican might be a fellow traveler, but if you believe they are reasonable and still became experts on different kinds of birth certificates, I could see the appeal of “OMG Russia.”

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The idea Tom Perez has a plan makes Maddow’s nightly Glenn Beck routine look sane and reasonable.

        1. Gary Gray

          Put it this way, everybody says that Obama’s admin was like W never left…….well. ACA is Bush ‘s program that their public stance opposes. This is the same usage of the Clinton’s HW used in the 90s despite opposing it as a Republican. Indeed the 93 tax increase was him finishing business he started in 1991.

          Tom Perez is a Bush lackey. You better believe they got a plan.

      2. Gary Gray

        Lol, 4 states, 144,000 votes. You don’t think that is a bit flukish? How would Sanders do better when the J card and socialist card is played? Now come on NC……if the Bush family thought he had a chance, they would have gone with him. Now they have a yuge field to pick from, including Sanders who they will support it picked, despite hardly being a favorite of W. They can’t be choosy…Neither can Sanders. Weird stuff happens during elections. The 2nd Comey letter was the death blow and the one James regrets….It was totally unnecessary. No election was close since the Dewey over Truman debacle.

        I hate to come off as Donad Sutherlands character in JFK, but I am. You need to think like a WWE booker. Basically the Bush dynasty was hit over the head with a chair by a very bad part of the global elite……worse than the Bush’s imo. Notice how illegal immigration has surged under Trump, supported via Russian trafficking that the Trump organization money launders for. Border security is irrelevant. It is already strong. It is the rich supporters smuggling them in through the economic border………..Yet his supporters save their arms like Tony Alamo worshipers.I

        The Bush’s would prefer to impeach Trump and run their successor in 2020, but they will probably back the DNC candidate….quietly as usual. Make a go of it NC. Get your candidate in with Bush support…..truly would be amazing twist of fate.

      3. barrisj

        According to NBCNews, Mueller rather early on saw little evidence of “Russia-collusion”, and his team concentrated largely on the obstruction question…the revealing point here is as the OSC began to shift gears, the collusionists were doubling down, and extracting even from all the minutiae in publicly released docs “clear evidence” of quid pro quo agreements with Russian “state actors”, “clear evidence” of Trump Campaign aiding and abetting Russian “interference”, e.g., the “polling data” handoff, Trump Tower “dirt on HRC” meeting, and the like. How many times were we told that announced indictments were only the “tip of the iceberg”, and Mueller is “holding back” critical indictments…yadda-yadda. It was and is a mini-industry, both for bloggers and cablenews, and for those diehards it’s on to Congressional committees for “justice”

        Obstruction, not collusion, worried Trump’s legal team
        By the time Martin and Jane Raskin joined Trump’s defense, Mueller’s prosecutors were rarely asking probing questions about Russia, sources said.

        WASHINGTON — Donald Trump’s lawyers — including the ones who don’t appear on television but spent a career practicing federal criminal law — never seriously worried their client would be accused of a Russia conspiracy, three sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.

        For Martin and Jane Raskin, a husband and wife duo from Miami who came aboard Trump’s legal team last April, the real threat was obstruction of justice.

        The Raskins, former prosecutors with decades of experience doing battle with the Justice Department, worked in coordination with constitutional lawyer Jay Sekulow, who led the Trump legal team. The Raskins dealt directly with Mueller’s office, the sources said. And by the time they arrived, Mueller’s prosecutors rarely asked probing questions about Russia, the sources said.

      4. Lambert Strether

        > I never took any of the Benghazi style attacks seriously

        The only thing Benghazi shows is that we can’t even run an arms smuggling operation* any more.

        NOTE * Consular basement to “moderate Syrians” IIRC

    2. J.Fever

      Yay, Vizsla. Run dude run. Usually takes about 20 miles, or a few hours hike to even start taxing a V.

    3. zagonostra

      This is a case of cognitive dissonance for corporate Democrat’s mind-shackled minions.

      When the end times don’t come as prophesied at a certain date and time, then the mind desperately grasps at all manner of self-justification/delusions to carry on, never coming to terms with the essential facts.

      You’ve been used, bamboozled, duped, played…it wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last.

      1. anon in so cal

        Even though the Mueller report crushed many Democrats’ hopes (the ones who aren’t totally hornswaggled), the larger Russia-gate psyops continues unabated. It’s parroted by both parties, who continue to falsely allege that, “RU interfered in the election.” US aggression toward Russia keeps intensifying. Nuclear-capable B-52s flying over the Black Sea, as one example.

    4. The Rev Kev

      Gotta give kudos to the author. He owned up to his mistakes, tried to understand what the real situation is, and then is penning this as a caution. Gotta respect that.

    5. Lambert Strether

      > Her campaign for the Democrat nomination for 2008 started Birtherism

      Looks like “successfully amplified” would be correct, although “started” is not. Snopes:

      The idea that Obama was born elsewhere, specifically Kenya, was first floated in April 2008, according to a 22 April 2011 Politico article by Ben Smith and Byron Tau on the origins of birtherism:

      That theory first emerged in the spring of 2008, as Clinton supporters circulated an anonymous e-mail questioning Obama’s citizenship.
      “Barack Obama’s mother was living in Kenya with his Arab-African father late in her pregnancy. She was not allowed to travel by plane then, so Barack Obama was born there and his mother then took him to Hawaii to register his birth,” asserted one chain email that surfaced on the urban legend site in April 2008.

      That Hillary Clinton supporters circulated such an e-mail isn’t in question, but the claim that that’s the moment the birther theory “first emerged” simply isn’t true. The likeliest point of origin we’ve been able to find was a post on conservative message board dated 1 March 2008 (which, according to a report in The Telegraph, was at least a month before Clinton supporters got on the e-mail bandwagon):

      I was told today that Obama swore in on a Koran for his Senate seat. I do not believe he did. Can someone clarify this for me? I am under the impression only a Congressman has so far sworn in on a Koran.

      Also that Obama’s mother gave birth to him overseas and then immediately flew into Hawaii and registered his birth as having taken place in Hawaii.

      Again, any clarifications on this? Defintely disqualifies him for Prez. There must be some trace of an airticket. While small babies are not charged air fare they do have a ticket issued for them.

      Long time ago but there may be some residual information somewhere. Good ammo (if available and true) BEST USED AFTER he becomes PREZ (if that occurs) and it’s too late for Dems – except accept the VP.

      The same rumor was repeated, with elaborations, four days later on the conservative blog Ruthless Roundup:

      Add to the family history shown in this article that Obama’s mother was allegedly visiting Kenya with Obama’s father in the final months of her pregnancy and was not allowed to board a flight in her late term to return home.
      She allegedly had Obama in Kenya and quickly boarded a flight to Hawaii. Airlines do not accept late term pregancies but do not refuse passage to a newborn, usually issuing a 10% or free fare ticket for the trip.
      Once in Hawaii, his mother registered him as being born in Hawaii.

      The conspiracy theory was already fully formed at this point. Clearly, the Clinton supporters accused of spreading it via forwarded e-mails knew “good ammo” when they saw it, but, as the above posts show, they deserve neither credit nor blame for the invention of birtherism.

      So, great. Freepers started birtherism, and it would have remained in the right wing fever swamp had the Clinton campaign not propagated it.*

      Signal boosting works, people! Remember that!

      NOTE * Rather like, if you think about it, what they did with the Steele dossier, which was originally shopped to Republicans.

  2. Gary Gray

    FWIW, Mueller has given his report to Congress and Democrats are using it to extort from Republicans were it gives “strong evidence” of bribery/extortion by just not the Trump organization, but Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul. No wonder they brought in a fixer, but the Bush’s are pissed and told Bob their long time lackey to let it rip. So Dems gave DOJ a week to give them something or they leak it creating one he’ll of political mess.
    I strongly support this source and they gave a good indication on 2016 election results that morning plus pre-second Comey letter polling that was very good job in the end..

    1. Laughingsong

      “We’ve All Just Made Fools of Ourselves — Again”

      What you mean “we” Kemosabe?

      1. Cal2


        Why it’s David Brooks, whose son serves in the Israeli Defense Force
        quashing those pre-terrorist rock thrower brats in Gaza.

        I’m sure we can look to Daddy to honestly report on American politics and represent the interests of the nation.

  3. John Beech

    Not only do I resist using touchscreens and self-checkout because it costs jobs, I also don’t like picking up after myself at fast food places. This, for the same reason I don’t do it at sit down restaurants. While the social pressure is enormous at McDonald’s, and non-existent at a steak joint, I’m sure the employers would love to have us bussing our own tables there, too. Ain’t gonna happen.

    Me? I’d rather wages in food service rise to prevailing ‘and’ we eliminate the tipping practice altogether. Moreover, I hate the server telling me her/his whole life story whilst trying to become my new best friend – as if I were stupid and didn’t grok the real reason involved lucre, and nothing but. How did restaurant lobbies become so powerful as to screw a substantial part of the working class, and why are we complicit in allowing it to persist? Where is Senator Sanders on this?

    1. Carolinian

      So do you also avoid ATMs, doorknobs, handling money? While McDonald’s kiosks may not make a lot of sense this seems a rather silly reason to oppose them. Those who are worried about germs should wash their hands before eating, kiosks or no.

    2. Alfred

      I have come to prefer serving myself and busing my own tables because I’ve grown uncomfortable with waitstaff sequentially handling menus, clean tableware, plates of food, beverage pitchers, dirty plates and glassware, money, credit cards, soiled table ‘linen’, and occasionally bits of trash off the floor — without ever stopping to wash hands. Touchscreens are not the only hazard to be faced when dining out.

    3. Robert McGregor

      @John Beech, Have you ever worked as a waiter, or in any job at all in a restaurant? I think this is an an example of “Don’t judge the other person until you have walked in their shoes.” In the “waiter level of friendliness” question,” and the “division of labor between restaurant server and restaurant customer” question, one should strive for the correct balance. I value good customers in my non-restaurant business, and I try to be a “good customer” to the restaurants I frequent.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > Moreover, I hate the server telling me her/his whole life story

        One of my pet peeves. I don’t want the server to grovel; I don’t need that kind of ego-reinforcement and it makes me uncomfortable. I think it’s degrading.

    4. todde

      I try to put all items on one plate so the person who serves me does as little work as possible.

    5. lyman alpha blob

      As a waiter in the past I have seen customers complain because their waiter did NOT engage in small talk and simply did their job of taking the order and dropping off the food.

      Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > did their job of taking the order and dropping off the food.

        Depends on the restaurant, but the job can also involve steering the customer to the best food for the customer, making recommendations, handling social issues (screaming children), interacting with the kitchen on timing, getting the course sequencing right, and (for old codgers like me) a kuroko-level of unobtrusiveness. Personally, I think treating a server as a skilled, though anonymous, professional gives both parties to the transaction a lot more dignity than over-sharing, but obviously (and sadly) the server needs to read the customer.

  4. Wukchumni

    Gangs using dead rats to smuggle drugs into Dorset prison Guardian
    I guess you might say that Carson City had a ‘vermint problem’. but going the other way.

    Carson City wasn’t far from Virginia City, where so much silver was found in the Comstock Lode, that it altered the longheld 16-1 ratio of silver to gold in terms of value forever (the ratio is now 85-1) .

    It was a natural for coining Dollars*, along with all other silver and gold coins, so a U.S. Mint was established there and struck coins from 1870 to 1893, and going from memory of the story (couldn’t locate hide nor hair on the internet of it ever happening, but alas i’ll continue on…) there was a night guard in the mint that was particularly adept @ catching mice, his ploy later discovered, being that he’d insert a $20 gold coin into the cut on the belly of the recently departed 4 legs bad, and then sew it up, to be retrieved later in the trash outside.

    * The most common coin minted there, the Federal government vis a vis the GSA, sold a million brand new ones dating in the 1880’s for around $35 a piece in the 1970’s, to the general public as collector items, the CC coins being the most valuable of any of the mintmarks.

    As late as the early 1960’s, you could go the Federal Reserve in Washington DC and buy brand new bags of common (non-CC) Morgan Silver Dollars dating from the 1870’s to the early 1900’s, for just face value.

    Because, markets.

    How do you get rid of way too much silver coming out of the ground in the Comstock Lode for a primitive world market that can only absorb so much?

    Turn it into the largest silver coin made in the USA-not needed or desired in commerce, in fact most of them languish brand new-never used in the aforementioned hidey hole in DC for 4 score and 7 years, until the silver value surpassed the face value.

    The Bland–Allison Act, also referred to as the Grand Bland Plan of 1878, was an act of United States Congress requiring the U.S. Treasury to buy a certain amount of silver and put it into circulation as silver dollars.

  5. TiPs

    Awwww…poor elite faculty at elite unis having to deal with unqualified students whose parents bought their way in…boo hoo, poor me, I have to spend an extra 10-12 hours a week that could’ve been used on more (useless) research…

    The Onion should’ve published this, not the Guardian.

    1. CanCyn

      Most institutions now have course websites where lecture notes, assignments and remedial help can all be placed for students to access as needed. Set up this online space once before the semester starts and you can direct students there when they miss lectures or need more help. Most institutions employ ‘educational technologists’ to help profs with this stuff. Many create their own problems by sticking to old fashioned lecturing as subject experts and not learning anything about pedagogy or teaching.
      Further, most institutions also employ an army of academic support people in the form of tutors and advisers who students can see outside of class, in no way does remedial help all fall on the profs.
      Otherwise, I have some sympathy for the lowering of standards advice. Pressure to pass students is prevalent everywhere in post-secondary (and even in elementary and secondary) systems and, yes, administrators tend to back parents and students, not teachers and profs. This is not a new thing.
      I know a high school teacher who is close to retirement and I recently asked him how he is dealing with the stress of teaching and he said he has no longer has any stress. He no longer fails anyone, gives everyone good marks and hasn’t had to deal with an angry parent or principal since he lowered his standards. Along with the elite kids buying their way into college and university, these youngsters are there too. All much more interested in getting the credential to pad their resume than the subject area that they are studying.
      I have spent almost 20 years as a librarian in a community college & I have to say that I am thankful to be close to retirement. It is a different world than when I started and nowhere near as rewarding as it was back then.

      1. Observer

        I trace it back to the administration take-over of academic roles (the professor), which in NYC began in the 1970s with the city’s financial collapse and the Finance Control Board. Thousands (it seemed) of part-timers (adjuncts) replaced full timers during the massive layoffs. Faculty pretty much lost all authority. Administration pursued students for their money, to secure and expand their own positions.

      2. TiPs

        Believe me, I understand what’s been happening CanCyn, as I teach a state college where the pressure to lower standards is coming from enrollment declines and the unwillingness of administrations to cut their bloated bureaucracies to deal with budget deficits.

        However, this whinging smacks of ivory tower elitism. Poor guy has to spend a little extra time each week on his students, which hurts “everyone” because there’s less time for his research. Sorry, no sympathy from me.

        1. Left in Wisconsin

          That story made no sense to me. Virtually no students make use of office hours and it’s thrilling whenever anyone does. And what half-assed student is going to keep badgering a professor to “tutor” him/her? It’s way too much work (for the student).

          If a student is making extra effort outside of class to do better, esp if they struggle with the material, how is that a bad thing? But mostly I think it rarely happens. I did not find that story credible.

      3. Lambert Strether

        > I know a high school teacher who is close to retirement and I recently asked him how he is dealing with the stress of teaching and he said he has no longer has any stress. He no longer fails anyone, gives everyone good marks and hasn’t had to deal with an angry parent or principal since he lowered his standards. Along with the elite kids buying their way into college and university, these youngsters are there too. All much more interested in getting the credential to pad their resume than the subject area that they are studying.

        Welcome to the Third World.

  6. voteforno6

    The article on the Aussie engineer suing for workplace bullying by flatulence was totally unnecessary, and of course I read it, twice. The author managed to work in several euphemisms for the deed that I had never known existed. Thanks for the laughs.

    1. Stillfeelinthebern

      Thanks for your comment. Would have skipped over it and have missed the best laugh of the morning.

      1. ewmayer

        I thought it was more of a let-one-ripping yarn myself. :)

        One wonders if South Park will feature a Terence & Philip cartoon TV episode based on the story sometime soon … “Terence & Philip in The Thunder Down Under!”

  7. Ignacio

    RE: Are natural fibres really better for the environment than microplastic fibres? PhysOrg (Robert M)

    What I dislike about this headline is signalling one problem “in competition” with another problem which is very different in nature. If you are just analysing residues in river water, you are signalling a problem that is mostly a consequence of the absence of proper municipal water treatment. It is interesting but please, try not to divert attention from the much wider plastic problem. In other word, trying to solve this would do probably nothing to help with the microplastic thing. For instance, did they found wool in the feces of humans? Are they accumulating in our bodies as microplastic do?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, I found that article annoying. It threw in lots of issues on top of the microfibre one to muddy the waters, so to speak.

      Of course we should try to look at environmental issues holistically, but if you are just looking at the issue of microfibres, it should be a trivial question to find out which fabrics are worse and which are better. Lifestyle environmental impacts are a totally different question, which often involves the comparison of non-commensurate variables.

      1. Ignacio

        My opinions is that the finding indicates, if anything, that natural fibres are more easily broken/cleaved than plastic or synthetic fibers. What a finding!

      2. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

        Likewise, PlutoniumKun. It read to me as if someone had tossed out lots of info specifically to muddy the waters. Much to unpack here. First, the link between fibres in water, and what happens to those fibres when consumed. If natural fibres either degrade before they’re consumed, or don’t pose a problem if consumed, it doesn’t really matter if they’re present in higher proportions in water samples. And if they do pose a problem then how do we need to change washing practices – or sewage treatment – to filter out fibres.

        And as an aside, if one’s doing a holistic analysis, one needs to consider the environmental impact of using different, less environmentally damaging natural fibres. We know current cotton production methods are notoriously thirsty and use lots of pesticides, but what about reverting to traditional kala cotton instead – which has been produced in dry parts of India for thousands of years and is one product that drew Europeans – Portuguese, Dutch, English, French, among others – to trade w/ India in the first instance ?

        1. Ignacio

          Hi, Jerry Lynn,

          The fact that natural fibers are more frequent in those rivers means, as you say, that during washing more natural fibers are released that synthetic. This may occur because natural fibers break more easily by mechanical damage in the washing machines and/or these are released by the action of enzymes already present in many detergent mixes that help to clean the garments. These include lipases, proteinases (cleaving wool) and cellulases (cleaving cotton). Whether it is the mechanical force, the enzymes or the mixture of both should be analysed. It may result that using enzymes in detergents reduces the life cycle of garments made with natural fibers.

          It is almost certain that once released, the mean life in nature of those in nature will be much shorter than that of synthetic fibers.

    2. Svante Arrhenius

      I’d been trying to switch from the 25-20 yr old thermax, activent, entrant, polartec, thermostat, coolmax, primaloft polyesters (some of us who work outside wear, running from Edmonton to Ciudad Bolivar) to 2nd hand hemp, silk, wool or ventile cotton. Good luck affording any of this stuff, even used. Good luck not dying of hypothermia or heat stroke if your outside 84hrs a week, or running from a 130°F hot-mill floor into air-conditioned computerized NDT shacks. My solution has always been to use electrostatic lint filters. Too bad nobody’s interested in recycling microfiber polyester as an adjunct to building materials. All my clothing is 2nd hand, decades old. I hardly use plastic for groceries or food storage. It makes me CRINGE to see the trash, garbage & “recyclables” collections, here in NYC, seeing the wet-gas pipelines and cracking plants metastasis in PA, WV & OH!) Buy microfiber used, avoid PTFE laminates when not needed, hand wash and air-dry?

      1. Krystyn Walentka

        “Good luck not dying of hypothermia or heat stroke if your outside 84hrs a week, or running from a 130°F hot-mill floor into air-conditioned computerized NDT shacks.”

        Is this a clothing problem or a cultural problem? I lived with some folks who are outside 24×7 in the Arctic. They did not seem to have issues with being outside. But they were not forced to work in a 130 degree mill either.

        1. Svante Arrhenius

          Perhaps, it’s due to genetic acclimatization, over eons of natural selection, huh? For some of us: Patti called me in Panama City to fly up to western Canada, midwinter to work a UT inspection rig (WL Gore/ Primaloft gloves freezing to the pipe. Unable to use oily antifreeze, we’d tried alcohol. It sucked the water out of the steel and froze instantaniously). Then, down to Porto Ordaz. A Pilger seamless mill, Benito built in 1927. They heat steel billets to 2400°F and kinda hammer a carbide plug into them. This was unusually abrupt temperature extremes, but indicative of why folks wear microfiber. I almost had my bags shredded in a messed up conveyor in Caracas’ International Airport (being 2nd hand, maybe a $250 loss?) We’re perpetually covering for sick coworkers, getting pneumonia from cotton “thermals” under Carhartt crap. Wet down, heavy wool torn out seams & brass zippers don’t work.

        2. Svante Arrhenius

          I’m guessing it’s a obliviously classist anti bot/ spam algorithm problem? Sorry, my reply went to moderation.

      2. Wukchumni

        Was looking at the ‘made-in’ labels on my Patagonia gear, and 5 out of 8 garments were made in the USA, i’ve had em’ awhile.

        They’ve all got little rips, smoking holes, tears and what have you from having been constant companions wearing me out.

        Had to throw out a patagooch rainjacket that was 20 years old, a couple years ago, as it had fallen apart to the point where there was more apart than together.

        1. Svante Arrhenius

          That’s just it: in my home town we were buying from the GREAT 2nd hand stores (lost 130K jobs 1981-83) just as yuppies were getting fat on rBGH CAFO protoplasm, having replaced co-ops with Whole foods and were dumping Marmot, LL Bean, Patagonia, Moonstone, Malden Mills stuff. The kids at the RedWhite&Blue store just scrawled: down jacket, nylon: $8 onto a 800 fill GoreTex parka that’s kept me alive for three decades. I’ve a Patagonia fleece WAY older than most of my crew. The Canada to Venezuela activent jacket was Patagonia (I dissolved it in a test lab in Baton Rouge, half asleep. Acid, man!)

            1. Svante Arrhenius

              I’m still wearing an unspeakably doofus Malden Mills PolarFleece jacket I used to lay on incredibly cold monel water-wall tubing in, 140′ up inside power station boilers, then pull on the Patagonia anorak to do the roof beam welds 250′ all night. I’m guessing, the yuppies got these from their SOs, stopped doing cocaine, cycling or circus sex and just called for the $300-$400 gift to go away? They doubtless wore child-slave made Bt Cotton shirts under it and never listened or read the labels? I’ve a hemp yak wool turtleneck a Chinese friend gave me, so it ain’t like I refuse to feed moths!

        2. Cal2

          On the giving end, the Salvation Army is the best destination for used goods. They do the the greatest work for the most people with the funds they generate and don’t highly pay executives, but rather quasi volunteers, with silly military titles.

          Goodwill is fine if there’s no one else to donate to, but they dump 90% of what is donated to them, especially furniture and large items. One of their huge debris boxes was within sight of our office window. It was a sickening parade of waste and was switched for an empty every two days.

          At the opposite end of the donation spectrum is “Us Again” and “Clothing and Shoes”, drop off boxes in shopping centers. This scam is owned by a Scandinavian decca-billionaire. Some people fight back by using them as garbage dumpsters for their cans’ overflow.

          Many of the “Volunteers for veterans” that send out mass mailers and drop plastic bags everywhere are simply rag companies that shred everything and landfill what’s not shredded.

          A good thrift store is a valuable thing to help the environment.

          1. Svante Arrhenius

            Believe me. When I donate clothing, home goods, etc. it’s to folks who’ll use it. Local community service groups, check around your town. I used to write copy for one of the National faith-based charities in school… Ewwww! We’ve now all likely encountered the times I’d mentioned during Reagan’s Miracle in Pittsburgh. Or, post Katrina along the coast. Make DAMN sure your goods are what’s actually beneficial and reach the recipient who needs it and will use it. The stores I mentioned did little for veterans, aside from profiting from their misery.

          2. dearieme

            “On the giving end, the Salvation Army is the best destination for used goods. They do the the greatest work for the most people with the funds they generate and don’t highly pay executives, but rather quasi volunteers, with silly military titles.”

            Fascinating: a few years ago we came to the conclusion that the only (British) national charity that we’d contribute to is the Salvation Army. And we’re atheists.

          3. Oregoncharles

            It’s worth learning the local thrift stores. Most are better than Goodwill. We have quite an assortment: the local humane society, the Association for Retarded Citizens (ARC) with two stores, and a consignment store run by the folk club at the U, which donates to various local charities and funds scholarships. No Salvation Army, but St. Vincent de Paul has a big store in the next town over, seem to do good work despite being Catholic.

            I also work outside, including winter, though I don’t travel like Svante. The only synthetics I wear are polar fleece because I have to wash the jackets all the time. I layer up, instead. Granted, these days I’m wimpier about the weather than I used to be.

          4. skippy

            I recommend looking into the history behind the “Salvation” Army – a forerunner of poverty = profit model you highlight.

          5. newcatty

            Appreciate the info on second hand/thrift stores. We just had a fun and successful shopping trip with our teen granddaughter. We were with her to watch her play sport and so were in a large city. She had a break between games , so after lunch said she wanted to thrift shop. OK! Turns out the Goodwill was closest to the field, so we went there to shop. Hey, there are a ton of cars in parking lot. Hmmm, maybe a sale day? Yep, half off everything day! We all ambled around and found some treasures. I found two cool books, one for me and one for her mom. Spouse found a book, too. I found a great, name brand, long sleeved, all cotton shirt, with a pocket for spouse. The really cool thing is that my granddaughter and her peeps love to thrift shop. Most of her friends are not in the high school wealthy kid’s cohort. But, have amazing eye for quality and unique style. Admire how she handles her life with such intelligence. This also helps out her hard working, single mom, too. I am happy that thrift shops are abounding. My only sadness from it , is that is just another indication of the economic inequality that exists. BTW, we have an awesome thrift store in our town that benefits our local humane society.

      3. Old Jake

        There is a saying among kayakers (and likely canoeists, though I don’t frequent the canoe enthusiast pages): “cotton kills.” It refers to the fact that getting wet while wearing cotton as a base layer quickly leads to hypothermia, while polyester or nylon (or merino wool if you are wealthy and tough-skinned) does not hold the water next to the skin and so continues to insulate. Water temperatures below 65 F are dangerous.

        I have base-layer garments that are twenty and more years old. They have likely through their peak shedding, the damage is done. At this time I think I’ll have to keep them in use. I’m on a septic system anyway, which requires some care in management. A microfiber filter is in the works, because it will help extend the drainage field life. The solution to microplastics is filtering, and eventually replacement of the polymers with materials that are digestible to microorganisms.

        1. Svante Arrhenius

          Tried adding the lint to rust patching compounds and spackling. Then started living in motels half of each year so gave it up. The stuff did work VERY well in Black Magic (though the REST of the car finally gave out? Maybe a lint Trabant update?

          1. Svante Arrhenius

            PS: genetically modified hydrocarbon polymer eating microorganisms sounds like a SEWLL idea!

        2. Lambert Strether

          > getting wet while wearing cotton as a base layer quickly leads to hypothermia, while polyester or nylon (or merino wool if you are wealthy and tough-skinned) does not hold the water next to the skin and so continues to insulate

          It’s very hard to me to believe that nature cannot produce a fibre to compete with what chemists have cooked up in a lab. If not cotton, some other natural plant fibre?

          1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

            Skibums also know: cotton kills. Friends don’t let friends wear cotton. Cotton = deathwrap. There are sound performance reasons why people switched to non-cotton thermal wear, which at least during my skibum days, wasn’t their cheap price: these wicking garments were far more expensive than the cotton equivalent.

            I concur with Lambert: given the environmental costs of microfibres, I’d like to see a return to using wool, hemp, linen, or some form of performance fabric made of a natural plant fibre that breaks down like natural fibres do. I’d also throw out exploring whether microfibres can easily be sequestered, either using filters in washing machines, or during sewage treatment. Problem with that solution is that in much of the world, laundry is still done by hand, and sewage treatment is minimal. So creating the fibres in the first place means they’re sure to get into the water supply.

          2. Svante Arrhenius

            Well, I’d gone with hollow-core microfibers since I was afraid of hypothermia and pneumonia just as the liquidator, T J Max opened near a 1896 vintage “hot mill” I was working at in Lorain, Ohio. I’d been given silk undies by a Chinese student, but she was tiny and my belly was FREEZING (it’s -17F° or +1,600°F in there, no middle ground) Silk has billions and billions of teeny insulating gaps, but of course that’s where the fibers fray, then fall apart. Thermax, Thermostst and Primaloft are extruded with 6 or more longitudinal hollow cores, through fibers 1/6th the width of a geriatric ofay honkey-man hair. This was 1995. I’m wearing one now. Yes, I really mixed the lint with Bondo to patch rust on my 22yr old Nova. It worked OK, I guess? That also worked with spackling.

            Moderation, in all things. Oh, well…

  8. timbers

    Imperial Collapse Watch

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq? Aljazeera (furzy). Important.

    Rather, the Bush administration invaded Iraq for its demonstration effect.

    A quick and decisive victory in the heart of the Arab world would send a message to all countries, especially to recalcitrant regimes such as Syria, Libya, Iran, or North Korea, that American hegemony was here to stay. Put simply, the Iraq war was motivated by a desire to (re)establish American standing as the world’s leading power.

    It’s obvious, isn’t it? The only mistake Bush made was to pick a too small nation that couldn’t defend itself.That’s why Dems decided we need to attack Russia and Republicans China.

    Problem solved.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      The AJ piece brought to mind a snarky phrase coined by the French demographer Emmanuel Todd in After the Empire: The Breakdown of the American Order, published in 2006, describing the USA’s late 20th and early 21st century wars as “theatrical micro-militarism.”
      Todd first came to prominence when he published The Final Fall: An Essay on the Decomposition of the Soviet Sphere in 1979. It was based on his recently completed PhD thesis. His advisor tried mightily to talk him out of the topic, arguing that putting his name to such a preposterous hypothesis would kill his career before it started.

    2. Robert McGregor

      demonstrating the American standing as the world’s leading power:”

      It has a “Roman Empire” sound to it, like we intended to exact tribute.

    3. Chris Cosmos

      The neocon idea was to strike fear into the heart of wogs everywhere so that they fear rather than love us. But the overriding motivation for US wars is to both increase tensions so that arms sales would go up on all sides. At the same time, the denizens of the vicious snake pit of Washington have little reason for being other than war–more war more money and power. The maintenance of Empire is secondary which explains the stunning stupidity in actually carrying out wars.

      1. barrisj

        There is a wonderful logic in play that the MIC employs as part of its endless pipeline of appropriations from the Pentagon, and arms sales overseas: As the US military involves itself in endless wars, the corollary is endless need for arms and war materiel to replace those lost in battle, stolen by “the enemy”, or consigned to “coalition allies”. The in-country “ally”, through massive internal corruption, then sells its US arms to “the enemy”, which of course requires endless top-ups by its patron, and ultimately by the MIC. And as a huge bonus to keep the assembly line full, the “insurgents” move on to adjacent countries, challenging weak governments, which then requires US assistance in the form of “advisors”, “trainers”, and a large supply of new weaponry. Wash, rinse,and repeat…one of the most successful and self-sustaining “business plans” ever confected by militarized capitalism.

      2. Cal2

        And they encourage the gullible local pawns to attack first, like the Marsh Arabs, the Kurds, various Central Americans and “the Venezuelan People.”
        Cancel that one, it’s not working out -yet.
        They in turn get slaughtered and serve as an excuse to start dropping bombs to “help the people.”

    4. tiebie66

      I don’t agree with the conclusion of this article. Saddam Hussein supported Palestinian suicide bombers and I’m convinced he was taken out for that reason. The WMD/oil controversy was created to divert attention from that fact.
      The Dems decided to attack Russia and accuse it of Israel’s transgressions to divert attention from the fact that it was not Putin that flew to Washington for interviews with the presidential candidates, but Netanyahu.

    5. Lambert Strether

      The young Thomas Friedman’s “Suck on this” moment, an amazing combination of arrogance, bellicosity, and (especially if you watch with the sound turned down, hatred and fear):

      Like everyone else who was wrong about Iraq, Friedman retained his position and is still doing very well for himself.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “California avocado recall 2019: Everything you need to know”

    The bad news is that that expensive avocado toast is off the menu. The good news is that more millennials will now be able to afford their own homes-

    Some Sydney University geography students worked up a paper on “avo-economics” which showed that the more expensive a suburb was, the more expensive the avocado toast was-

  10. Wukchumni

    Who keeps buying California’s scarce water? Saudi Arabia Guardian
    Until new groundwater legislation is unveiled next year, California’s first come-first served groundwater laws have been sacrosanct for over a century now. If you had pre-1914 water rights-you had it made in the shade. Passed in the depths of the drought in 2014, it was a classic never miss a chance in a crisis, to make a move, move.

    Require registration from a groundwater extraction facility

    Require that a groundwater extraction facility be measured by a water-measuring device and to regulate the extraction based off the measurements

    Conduct inspections and obtain warrants

    The legislation provides a framework for long-term sustainable groundwater management across California. … Local stakeholders have until 2022 (in critically overdrafted basins until 2020) to develop, prepare, and begin implementation of Groundwater Sustainability Plans.

    “The Great Thirst-Californians and Water 1770’s-1990’s”, by Norris Hundley, Jr., is a lengthy read on H20 in the Golden State, full of interesting episodes of too much or too little, and the harnessing of resources elsewhere that turned SoCal from a place where 200,000 could live on the meager local water available in 1900, to today’s 24 million.

  11. BillK

    Re Brexit
    I have to keep reminding myself that the UK big media are probably behaving towards Brexit exactly the same as USA big media behaved towards Russiagate.
    Lies, fake news, propaganda all designed to manipulate public opinion.
    It is almost impossible nowadays for the ‘silent majority’ to get their opinions heard. No wonder there is such disruption in so-called democratic countries.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its nothing new, Yeats wrote about ‘The best lack all conviction, the worst are full of passionate intensity’.

      The irony now is that in the US and UK at least, its the so called ‘centre ground’ where the loonies* have concentrated.

      In the UK, a major proportion of the press were full on Brexit supporters without even making the most marginal attempt at balance. The BBC – supposedly the voice of impartiality – ended up in a muddle of ‘this side says X, the other side says Y’ reporting, which ended up benefiting the side who could tell the biggest lies with a straight face (i.e. Brexiters).

      This is a major issue with countries with first past the poll systems (i.e. most anglophone countries). You end up with a false dichotomy being set up with issues which involve several shades of grey and if you are not careful, it results in either deadlock or a very passionate minority running over the silent majority.

      Its hard to say for certain, but I doubt if before the Brexit referendum more than 20% or so of the population really had any strong views membership of the EU whatever. Unfortunately, most of them were Tory party members and funders, so this is where everyone ends up.

      *apologies to lunar worshippers everywhere, no offence intended

      1. David

        Yes, no-one wants to be accused of loonophobia.
        But seriously, not only do I think you are right about the 20% figure, I’d go farther, to suggest that even those who had strong views didn’t necessarily regard the EU as the most important, or even one of the most important issues. Even those with strong views probably hadn’t though about the EU in detail very much. If you wanted to find a stupid, and essentially marginal, issue on which to shipwreck the British political system, you couldn’t have done better.

        1. newcatty

          I think the werewolves lurking around London are laughing in the city. We are loonies who hide from the moonlight and the sunlight. We keep to the center underground.

  12. frosty zoom

    won’t the “food” at mcdonald’s put you in the hospital anyway, regardless of how you order it?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      As the old joke goes, McD’s is a cunning scientific experiment to see if its possible to suffer from obesity and malnutrition at the same time.

          1. Judith

            xkcd does seem to have a better and kinder understanding of the world than the Japanese nuclear industry. As does Miyazaki.

          2. ewmayer

            So that link you provided re. TEPCO and its cute nuclear-power anime mascots got me to thinking about PR and its role in remembrance:

            …the undisputed star of the galaxy of TEPCO image characters must be Plutonium kun. I once wrote of Yu-chan, the cartoon mascot of the battered former coal town of Yubari, that “Japan of course has a massive talent for cuteification: if you can cuteify coalmining, you can cuteify anything”, but never in my darkest nightmares did I dream of encountering Plutonium kun. … Plutonium kun also appeared in a 10-minute [i]anime[/i] made about a decade ago by the Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corporation (now the Japan Atomic Energy Agency), an industry body specializing in the development of fast-breeder and advanced-thermal reactors, an anime that was swiftly withdrawn in part because of a scene in which Plutonium kun gets his boy pal to drink a glass of liquid plutonium while he sweetly intones that “I’m hardly absorbed by your stomach or intestines and I’m expelled by your body, so in fact I can’t kill people at all”.

            I seem to recall a Japanese city named Nagasaki whose residents might take issue with the notion of Plutonium boy being unable to kill people – but their PR folks were dismal, they didn’t create a cute mascot for their story. Maybe a sexy anime girl-mascot named Chain Reaction chan, modeled after the racy Denko chan shown in the above article, but with a bikini top in form of a pair of hollow Pu hemispheres. Whenever Chain Reaction chan is threatened by evil baddies like the slavering many-tentacled Nuclear Regulatory Monster, she whips off her bikini top, aligns the 2 cups together to form a sphere, then scrunches it together and chants the magic chain-reaction-invoking chant “rah, rah, sis boom bah!” – and 1 magic mushroom cloud later, the baddies are vaporized, while Chain Reaction chan’s magic powers keep her and her friends perfectly safe. I envision a whole series of animated shorts, graphic novels and mascot-swag sales here.

    2. Wukchumni

      Somebody objected to me shopping @ Wal*Mart the other day, as if I gave up a scintilla of my soul plying their wares, and now the oh my god, McDonald’s is the devil.

      Its useful to get out occasionally and optimize powers of observation, both venues are rich in possibilities.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Unless you are reselling from Walmart, you are not plying their wares.

        It is possible to do #fieldwork without buying anything from the soul-sucking (their employees, the American taxpayer) behemoth.

        But if IRC you have a location issue.

        1. Wukchumni

          I find the employees @ Wal*Mart to be cheerful and always helpful if I have a question. You can see the writing on the wall though as far as the checkers go, there’s a push towards D-I-Y terminals, and W*M doesn’t miss a trick, on most consumer goods they sell, the customer is offered an extended warranty @ the checkstand.

          If i’d mentioned Target instead, would the correctness stasi have still tracked my moves?

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Our nation’s largest employer, aren’t we proud? Complete with advice for employees on how to claim government assistance and sleep in the parking lot. So the Walton billions can roll, baby, roll.

        2. Carolinian

          Think he was being sarcastic re Walmart soul endangerment.

          Wally is getting a bit bizarre–not only the big recent bet on self checkout but also I’m told that some stores now have one way automatic entry gates so you will be steered past a checkout lane or a guard on the way out.

          1. Wukchumni

            W*M has had ‘exiters’ inside on your way out, and no greeters outside for at least a decade now, the exiter’s job is to compare purchases in your cart, to the paper manifest in your hand.

            Trust-but verify.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Well after seeing the article about McD’s $300 million big data acquisition, it may be a moot point since you eventually may not be able to order food at all –

      But in a pilot program at a McDonald’s restaurant in Miami, powered by Dynamic Yield, those displays have taken on new dexterity. Algorithms crunch data as diverse as the weather, time of day, local traffic, nearby events, and of course historical sales data, both at that specific franchise and around the world. In the new McDonald’s machine-learning paradigm, significant display real estate goes toward showing customers what other items have been popular at that location, and prompting them with potential upsells. Thanks for your Happy Meal order; maybe you’d like a Sprite to go with it.

      I rarely go to McDonald’s and hadn’t been in several years. I stopped in during a road trip last year and found their dynamic digital menu board to be nearly incomprehensible. I just wanted to know how much a burger cost and had to stare at the ridiculous thing for quite some time before finding the price. That was before the ‘big data’ acquisition, which if recent history is any guide, will only make things worse.

      What was so bad with the static menu letterboards they used to use? Where they really so hard to operate? They were certainly easy to read.

      The money we spend on tech that is simply a solution in search of a problem is mind boggling to me.

  13. crittermom

    >Tulsi Gabbard
    The more I learn about her, the more I’m liking her.

    She just introduced the “Securing America’s Elections Act”, promoting paper ballots? (see tweet)
    Yes! I responded by donating a meager amount to her campaign to (hopefully) become one of those 65,000 unique contributors.

    Okay. established Democrats. Anyone but Bernie?
    Well, I’ll choose Tulsi then.

    Since they have such tunnel vision & continue to go by the same (losing) playbook while ignoring discussions of actual policies, maybe they won’t notice until it’s too late to kneecap her, as she becomes the next rising star.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      I just got another pair, an email and a text, of communications asking for $ from Bernie. I responded to the text by saying basically, enough already and get some policy content up on your website before you ask again.

      But I noticed the stated goal was to get as many individual donations as possible to really wow ’em.

      Since I have already given twice this go-round, is it unique donors or individual donations the FEC is looking at?

      1. Roger Smith

        I too have been receiving repeated texts from Sander’s campaign as I was a donor in 2016.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          I don’t want to unsubscribe just yet cuz through the texts I get livestreams to his events. I am going to make a donation to Tulsi in the interest of getting her in the debate stage but Bernie is available my guy.

          I had a specific question: is the FEC counting the number of individual donations or unique donors?

          Thanks to anyone who can answer!

          1. marym


            Grassroots Fundraising Method. Candidates may qualify for the debate by demonstrating that the campaign has received donations from at least (1) 65,000 unique donors; and (2) a minimum of 200 unique donors per state in at least 20 U.S. states. To demonstrate that the fundraising threshold has been reached, candidates must provide verifiable evidence, which they may do by authorizing ActBlue and/or NGP VAN to provide that evidence.

            At the same link there’s also an alternative to qualify based on polling results.

            1. jrs

              hasn’t Bernie already reached that? I’m really not worried about him not being in the debates, that seems a done deal.

        2. WobblyTelomeres

          I asked. ActBlue doesn’t send/handle the texts, they just give your phone number away. The young lady said, “You don’t have to supply a phone number!” But their dinky web page won’t let you donate without typing something in. If you err and enter your real number, you’ll have to reply “STOP”.

          My phone plan doesn’t have text messaging, so they can send all they want. I’ll never see them.

      2. CW

        This weekend I attended the Bernie rally in San Francisco and was able to complain to a Bernie communications(?) outreach(?) manager about the email deluge–so many emails dulled the effect, I didn’t bother to read them anymore, and ended up unsubscribing. She told me they were instituting a “I want to receive fewer emails” option, so that should be coming. I pointed out the CA primary is still a year away and they are burning out people way too early. She seemed unmoved by my complaints, however, saying it worked for her in the past (after x number of emails she would give).

        1. nippersmom

          They have instituted the “fewer emails” option- I just exercised it a little while ago. We’ll have to see if it works.

      3. notabanker

        I ordered a couple of shirts and some stuff the day he announced his candidacy. Just got an email telling me my order was cancelled. The machine isn’t running as smooth as it appears.

      4. chuck roast

        If I like a candidate, I go to the USPO and get a modest money order. I put some bogus name on the money order and mail it off to campaign HQ with a bogus address. The campaign cashes the money order; my candidate wins the election, and I go take a nap.

        Knuckleheads are not calling me on the phone, e-mailing me or sending me mailings begging for more cash. I take another nap.

      1. Svante Arrhenius

        Thank you! I’d donate simply to counteract the hateful duplicity of morons like Steven Colbert. Here’s hoping everybody will repost the link to social media immediately. The 1% kleptocracy owns both parties, the media, judiciary & military… so, nu?

    2. AC

      Tulsi: Check out her web site for policy positions. She is lacking on economics. Her voice needs to be heard; think about a contribution.

    3. samhill

      It’s important Bernie be the candiate, he’s actually a long experienced and skilled parliamentarian, we desperately need another LBJ not another neophyte or piece of fluff incapable of holding a hammer, giving a pat on the head, and afraid of getting dirty. May not matter anymore, with the lines so hard drawn skilled statesmen may be as useless as a crank-up Victrola, but I’m done w/ flashes in the pan no matter how well intentioned.

      1. John k

        And he knows the actors, and where their skeletons are buried.
        But tulsi seems to be learning as she moves left, good vp pick.
        Not least as mic would like her less in the oval… good to have an ins policy.

        1. a different chris

          This is the problem: I am finding more and more to like about Gabbard. And I would also automatically say “good VP pick” like up to a minute ago.

          But then I remembered: “VP is worth a bucket of warm spit” and their is some historical belief that he didn’t actually say “spit”. So maybe she’s better off getting into the debates (I will donate in order to add one to her count) but maybe it’s just as well if she goes back to Congress and uses what mojo she can pick up where she can do something.

        2. jrs

          very bad VP pick in my opinion. It would be the political equivalent of McCain choosing Palin (I think she’s a much better person than Palin but I only said the political not the intellectual or moral equivalent).

          But Sander’s is a very smart guy, so I don’t have many worries, as she won’t be the pick. Sanders seems in it to actually win it.

      2. Chris Cosmos

        I’ve been thinking along those lines myself. Sanders understands the political reality of Washington and would, no doubt be more effective as POTUS. However, at this time it is important to air out issues that some other candidates are championing and support those candidates that express our sentiments. It’s too early in the process to think about the eventual nominee.

        1. ambrit

          “It’s too early in the process to think about the eventual nominee.”
          I beg to disagree. I’ll be willing to lay odds on Hillary having already worked up and begun to deploy a plan to force a ‘brokered convention’ and then ‘being available’ to be “drafted” as a “Unity Candidate.”

          1. Geo

            Unity Candidate? I think you misspelled “Mutiny” candidate.

            If such an effort was even attempted the Dem Party would officially be over.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              And a new party (third party, if you ignore the Green Party), or the second genuine party (if you ignore the Green Party), though it has been said that no third party is likely, probably or credibly effective electorally nationwide.

        2. jrs

          It’s too early if the presidency isn’t one’s holy grail, and one wants to see ideas expressed and movements encouraged (which can and likely should be electoral as well, but isn’t just about the presidency). Then having various people in the debate matters. So I am supporting Inslee getting in the debates but that is all.

          I just think we’re going to get overload at a certain point with everyone banging their pet issues and a lot of them really distracting ones. I mean economics matters, climate change matters (war matters but I really think is unwinnable). But how many debates are we really going to have on useless things like expanding the supreme court, and circumcision and etc.. (and fine I have opinions on those too (!) but we do need some FOCUS and prioritization).

      3. AC

        I do not disagree about Bernie or Warren having experience and long held views. They are true progressives. Tulsi’s anti-war view should be aired; Bernie has bought into the Venezuela is dictatorship narrative.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Yesterday, there was a comment, reporting a rally in San Francisco and Sanders urging we stop wars (or police action interventions, perhaps).

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          He makes a one sentence grunt before saying we have no business intervening. He is having to tack to the center to win the nomination. I see this as a gesture not to attract pointless attacks. He’s on the right side of what to do, so does it really matter what else he thinks he has to say? Even Tulsi did’t contest the assertion that Assad gassed his own people.

      4. ChrisPacific

        Many of the same criticisms were leveled at Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand.

        I think Sanders vs. Gabbard comes down to priorities. If you think ending rule by corrupt plutocracy is the highest priority, then go with Sanders. If you think it’s stopping the endless wars and regime change, then Gabbard is your pick.

        Gabbard has the additional virtue that she is the only one of the candidates standing on a position that really ought to be common sense (stopping the endless wars). In that sense she is similar to Sanders in 2016 in that her primary purpose in running is to give people who feel the same way somebody on the ballot that actually represents their views. If you’re in the Bernie camp but find him a little too in tune with the neocons for your liking, you might consider throwing Gabbard a few dollars just to make sure is represented and heard in the debates.

        I also like that Gabbard is skeptical about conventional wisdom and establishment positions, and seeks out opposing viewpoints, so she would probably not stack an administration with Goldman Sachs types for example.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Russian military arrive in Venezuela to discuss ‘training and strategy'”

    And this is how the turnaround started in Syria. The Russians went, in took an estimation of the situation, found out exactly what the Syrians had in terms of men, material & resources and then worked out a plan. I would guess that those 100 Russians are technical experts and I note that after they arrived, an S-300 missile system came online to protect Carracas, Venezuela’s capital.
    My own guess, for what it is worth, is that the Russians figured that if Trump succeeds in seizing Venezuala and its oil fields, that in conjunction with Saudi Arabia (or even without), they would be able to flood the market with cheap oil which would damage Russian oil sales and thus its economy while fueling an economic boom in America. Gee, everything old is new again as in-

    ‘How did our oil get under their jungle!”

    1. Olga

      Possibly, although I think it is about much more than oil. Both China and Russia have lent $$ to Venezuela, so they may be protecting their investment. Additionally, maybe both said “enough retreat.” They cannot cede an entire continent to the ol’hegemon. Moreover, after Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba would follow (similar to ‘after Syria, Iran’). But you’re right, the team of 100 could be there to get the lay of the land and then go from there.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Bolton has specified three countries on his hit list – Venezuela, Cuba & Nicaragua but I have not yet heard about Bolivia. And you are right about all that $$ invested by both Russia & China. If Venezuela falls, then they can kiss all that goodbye like they had to do after Iraq was invaded and it oil fields seized.

        1. Alex Morfesis

          Someone needs to take that bottle of blue pills from Bolton before he gets declared legally blind from his delusional excitement…although after he resigns he can try to sell a “natural” version and stand bare chested next to the Alex whose name can no longer be spoken hawking vitality pills…or is that Vitameatavegamints ?? Or maybe he will call it “the bold ton of lightning” pill…

          Invade Cuba…Raul has been sitting around waiting to retire for well over a decade…do they even have five functioning old MIGs…they could get an old vought os2u up and running maybe with some parts from some 57 Chevy’s…

          1. Plenue

            Don’t forget though, the US is the country that gave soldiers tourists maps and managed to get multiple helicopters shot down when invading Grenada. So I wouldn’t be shocked to hear outdated Cuban hardware still managed to score some kills.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              In the context of people wielding small weapons to take on a tyrannical government with superior air power, and superior everything, does that give them hope?

              1. Plenue

                Probably not. But they might be able to take a grim satisfaction in doing some damage while being absurdly outmatched.

            2. Alex Morfesis

              so glad the “shot down by enemy forces” story in Grenada held instead of having to pay a financial penalty for having delivered faulty equipment…

              1. Plenue


                “When the Seals called in Marine helicopter gunships to relieve the pressure, antiaircraft fire knocked down two. Three of the four pilots died. Desperate, in mid-afternoon the Seals requested an airstrike on Fort Frederick, the area in the hills where much of the heavy fire seemed to be originating. It was one of the few such attacks authorized during the Grenada operation. An A-7 jet from the carrier Independence roared in. When it had finished its work, much of the fort lay in ruins, including a wing of a 180-bed mental hospital. At least 18 patients are now known to have died. Not until reporters visited the scene several days later was the true nature of the target disclosed.”

                Do you have evidence to the contrary?

    2. PlutoniumKun

      If I was to make a wild guess, I’d say all that equipment is to set up a control centre to try to counter the viral attacks on Venezuela’s electricity network. There was a second collapse yesterday. If it is a focused attack (and its hard to believe that it is otherwise), then the absolute first priority for Maduro is to set up firewalls – and the Russians would likely be among the best in the world at this.

      Its a high stakes move by Putin. Syria was very much within Russia’s orbit – Venezuela is a much more difficult situation, very much the US’s backyard. You might say its the US’s Ukraine. Apart from keeping the existing Russian weaponry (most obviously the S-300 Brigade the Venezuelans operate) completely up to date, there is little they can do to militarily shore up the country, its just too logistically distant from Russia.

      Putin would not expend political and military capital on Venezuela if he thought Maduro was doomed. I think he senses a possible easy victory here if Maduro survives with visible Russian help.

      1. Wukchumni

        Seeing as Guaido has turned out to be an ersatz Scarlet Pimpernel, all Bolton et al have left, is really the Monroe Doctrine, with it’s ambitious hands-off our hemisphere wording of 1823.

        1. Carolinian

          Yes we will be sending a flotilla of sailing ships to enforce our regional hegenomy. The USS Constitution is even now being refitted in Boston harbor.

          1. Wukchumni

            I heard in lieu of the original, Old Ironysides in the guise of a Littoral Combat Ship will enforce said doctrine.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Sounds like a reasonable assessment that. The Russians might use Cuba as a secure staging area and the Cubans would probably cooperate as they know they are next which would help with logistics.

      3. carl

        So far, the US has been content to bluster about military intervention, and I suspect, from the lack of support for their chosen would-be leader from the Venezuelan military and the populace, that the US is unwilling to do more than that, even with this latest Russian operation.

        1. ambrit

          That depends on who is ‘influencing’ the “Decider in Chief.” If it does come down to the Neocons holding sway in Washington, expect to see a low level “insurgency” start up in Venezuela. The Russians would be the perfect advisers for defeating such a move by Washington. They have their experiences from Syria to let them plan countermoves, before ‘events’ unfold. If America tries to duplicate the Syria gambit in Venezuela, expect the Venezuelans to shut it down quickly.
          America’s history of promoting tin pot tyrants around the world holds little hope for sanity prevailing in Washington this time.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            There’s that long border (2199km) with Brazil that will be a concern… Far longer than that separating Honduras from Nicaragua (950km), with only one road.

            1. Wukchumni

              Would we be remiss if we didn’t at least think of the prospect of a ‘domed stadium’ over our country?

              1. WobblyTelomeres

                Ambrit’s “insurgency” is contras redux. That’s why (I surmise) Bolsonaro visited Langley.

                Suggest you watch for activity around Pacaraima, Roraima. At the very least, they will need their own electrical source soon as they current ly get their electricity from Venezuela.

              2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Maybe we first try with the borders patrolled by drones and robots (robot guards and robot dogs).

            2. The Rev Kev

              True, but borders work both ways. If Brazil sends formations to Venezuela, then they can expect formations from Venezuela to Brazil to return the favour. Sabotage units for example.

      4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Maybe there will be other opportunites in Central, South America, and elsewhere, for Putin to come to the rescue.

    3. Chris Cosmos

      That is certainly important but, if you follow Russian rhetoric they are always talking about international law as something legitimate while the US almost totally ignores law and seeks to substitute Washington’s decrees for it.

      1. Montanamaven

        Putin coined the term “sovereign democracy” as the Russian Federation’s foreign policy. Each nation should decide for themselves what form of “democracy” they want. They could have a monarchy with a lot of say by the people. Or more socialism or a kleptocracy like in the USA. The Russians no longer believe in spreading their own form of government as did the Soviet Union.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The Soviet Union was being pressured from without, and at the same time, trying to pressure outward, in their spreading of their form of government,

          Much like what we see elsewhere in life, it was not just one way.

    4. Lambert Strether

      > Trump succeeds in seizing Venezuala and its oil fields, that in conjunction with Saudi Arabia (or even without), they would be able to flood the market with cheap oil which would damage Russian oil sales and thus its economy while fueling an economic boom in America.

      The elite’s counter — since they’re all solidly behind Trump in this — to the Green New Deal is moar empire. Trying to find a vein that hasn’t collapsed….

  15. nick

    Re: Why did Bush go to war in Iraq

    The article puts forward a good argument that needs to be fleshed out more. Namely, the US invaded Iraq to demonstrate its power and assert hegemony, motivated especially by the humiliation of 9/11.

    Except the author states at the beginning:

    “And since we know the administration was engaged in a widespread campaign of deception and propaganda in the run-up to the Iraq war, there is little reason to believe them.”

    And then the author goes on to quote Donald Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and other Bush admin officials exclusively. Either these people were engaged in a deception or they weren’t, in which case you can’t cherry pick.

    1. Olga

      Yes, except that the author makes a difference between the official propaganda line (the former) and off-the-record remarks (the latter). Mystery solved.

    2. JBird4049

      Moreover, Afghanistan was a “fair” war, a tit-for-tat response to the Taliban’s provision of sanctuary to al-Qaeda’s leadership. Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith considered restricting retaliation to Afghanistan dangerously “limited”, “meager”, and “narrow”. Doing so, they alleged, “may be perceived as a sign of weakness rather than strength” and prove to “embolden rather than discourage regimes” opposed to the US. They knew that sending a message of unbridled hegemony entailed a disproportionate response to 9/11, one that had to extend beyond Afghanistan.

      I have never ever really understood why in God’s Name we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, and ignored Saudi Arabia, which was the country that actually is the most responsible for 9/11; the fact that the Bush Administration also discarded the detail postwar occupation plans developed by the State Department and the military also guaranteed the failure of the peace. What they did was almost textbook in how not to actually show a hegemonic ability or win a war.

      1. a different chris

        Man, there’s that word again. The term “embolden” has now for me become a quick marker for “total idiot speaking”. I dare you to prove otherwise.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Absolutely correct, “embolden” is a bullshit tell. It comes exclusively from inside the Beltway. I saw a story about the “emboldened” “left” the other day in the Jeff Bezos Daily Shopper.

    3. Brian (another one they call)

      Lets be simple like our autarchs. Iraq was about grabbing oil to make billions, and installing military bases to watch the neighbors. It is a pattern perversely simple, repeatable and built in to the American psychosis. Just follow the money. It leads directly to the criminals. We have thousands of examples over hundreds of years.

      1. Geo

        Thank you. Agree that there’s not much use in overthinking it.

        Reasons for the invasion:
        1. Oil
        2. Strategic power grab
        3. Destabilize the region

        If anyone wants to read the most insightful writing on this issue, this book (and online essay version) was published in early 2003 by the India think tank, The Research Unit for Political Economy, and it not only lays out in detail the reasons, but also the future impacts in a way that is spot on. Seriously, it’s like the authors had a time machine and saw the future. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in truly understanding the Iraq Invasion.

        Indeed it is even willing to provoke, by its invasion of Iraq, uprisings in other states of the region, in order to provide it with an occasion to invade those states. All this is not speculation, but has been explicitly spelled out in various policy documents authored by or commissioned by those now in charge of the US military and foreign policy.

          1. Geo

            Glad you checked it out and hope you found it insightful too. I found the book in a NYC bookstore just before the war began and it was a mind blowing read. I was already against the invasion but this one had insights I’d not read anywhere else. I’ve bought numerous copies over the years and give them away to others often.

            Truly one of the most important books I’ve ever read.

        1. Ford Prefect

          There was more complexity to it than that. They also had an exit plan. It was through Iran.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Blow to Boeing: China to buy hundreds of Airbus jets, in mammoth US$35 billion deal sealed on Xi Jinping’s France visit”

    No big surprise here. Xi went to Europe to see Macron and Merkle who wanted China to let them have more access to China itself and were not happy with China’s preference for state-run domestic companies which blocked foreign competitors. It seems that a lot of deals are being inked such as nuclear power, cultural exchanges & clean energy and the Airbus deal is one of them. All told, the agreements amount to about $40 billion in total.
    With Trump’s constant war against China, Xi probably realized too that even if China had gone through with the Boeing deal, that there would be no gratitude shown by Trump and in fact the US might deny spare parts down the line as a pressure point on China as done before with Iran and Iraq. Things seem to be going well and Macron has called for a “strong Europe-China partnership” so perhaps they wanted in on the action that Italy is getting. Seems like the best deals are win-win deals. Trump will not be happy.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      It may also be a message aimed at Japan. Boeing threw it its lot years ago with Japan (much of the 787 among other aircraft are made there). Airbus has had a Chinese manufacturing facility since 2010, although given how poor the Comac aircraft are the Chinese don’t seem to have learned much from them (yet).

      Airbus probably made the better bet, at least in the short to medium term. China is an enormous aircraft market and is likely to get even bigger.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If we ban, or more realistically, reduce air travel significantly, are these sunset corporations?

  17. Anonymous

    Gen Xers were the latch-key kids, not the over-scheduled kids, so I don’t think that explains the article. And as a Gen Xer, it’s pretty clear that every job has been crapified. I have one that I would consider a good one – interesting work, nice people – but when I look at law firms, which is where I got my start, they are much worse than they were 25 years ago and we were all miserable then.

    On a related note, I don’t like the whole millennials are shitty workers because of how they were raised narrative. I supervise a number of milliennials and they aren’t any different than anyone else. Some are independent, some aren’t. Some are pleasant and easy-going, some are intense and driven. Some are excellent at their jobs, some are average, and some suck. I also think a lot of the stereotypes are very narrowly focused on white professionals. When someone complained about them recently and I noted a lot of them where I grew up work 2-3 crappy jobs just to pay rent because there are no other jobs, the person said those folks weren’t “real” millennials, as if every millennial is a podcaster from Brooklyn. I think it’s also based on their not abiding some sort of social compact about work, which doesn’t really exist anymore, but older people act like it does. Employers have no loyalty to employees, provide no job training by and large, and then expect people to come in and be amazing for crappy wages by historical standards. Not exactly a great motivator.

    I think the old just hate the young or at least judge them very harshly.

    1. toshiro_mifune

      Gen Xers were the latch-key kids I was going to post the same. I was born in `70 and my general experience during my 70s/80s childhood was there were no adults around, for good or bad.

      I don’t like the whole millennials are shitty workers because of how they were raised narrative
      Agreed. I don’t think they’re any worse that those who came before them. I’m in a position to do hiring for my current job so I see a lot of Millennials for entry level positions. One noticeable difference though is a lot come out of college with no real job experience; no retail, fast food, etc. Maybe they’ll have volunteer experience at their college in tutoring but a lot of time that’s it.

      1. Lemmy Caution

        That bit about college graduates with no real job experience does seem different from what I experienced growing up in the 70’s.

        I think my friends and I were 12 or 13 when we started working around the neighborhood — painting garages, mowing lawns, etc. At about 15 we worked at restaurants as bus boys and dishwashers.

        During later high school it was outdoor work on a country club grounds crew and during college a variety of part-time jobs to help pay for books and housing.

        By the time my cohort graduated we had all been working for nearly 10 years. I don’t remember being pressured into any of this either — even as 12 year-olds we were like, what work can we do to make some money?

        I can’t imagine how tough it must be for young people today to start their first job without any experience whatsoever.

        1. a different chris

          Now you have to compete with Grandpa for those jobs, is the problem. And Grandpa won’t go back to college, saving a lot of scheduling headaches. Yeah, they occasionally fall over dead but even that instance is nicely distributed across the work year.

          My son managed to get a landscaping job summers, which is good because older people in general simply can’t do it and being available in February is not any sort of advantage. But that is an exception.

        2. Lambert Strether

          > I think my friends and I were 12 or 13 when we started working around the neighborhood — painting garages, mowing lawns, etc. At about 15 we worked at restaurants as bus boys and dishwashers.

          All true for me.* And I don’t see the “Grandpa” doing, or wanting to do, those jobs. Somehow, they all went away. Why? It does sound like over-scheduling to me.

          * But I was a child of professionals in university towns. Perhaps neighborhoods vary…

      2. Observer

        Rich parents work their networks like crazy to get internships at corporations, first, and then non-profits if all else fails. Internships are the key resume item for hiring consideration. In fact, a lot of hiring (signing contracts) takes place at the end of the summer before college students start their senior year. (Of course the student can break them for a better placement.) So hiring actually starts during the early fall of your junior year. Students need at least one solid internship (after your sophomore year) to be considered for entry into the recruitment pool. Companies hope that the students selected that fall for the following summer will be ‘successful’ and want to join by the end of the summer. This has been going on for over 10-15 years for many technical and business positions. Students who think recruitment starts in the fall of their senior year have slender pickings.

    2. Wukchumni

      I’ve noticed a great uptick in young adults in the wilderness, and there isn’t anything to spend money on in the back of beyond, so it’s a natural to bring out their inner cheapskate. They’ll make for great stewards in the future, as far as forming public opinion in regards to, having been ambassadors of a sort.

      You don’t hear about it much in the mainstream media, because there’s no money in it.

    3. SpringTexan

      Agree completely. When I’ve worked with millennials they are bright and able (and to me surprisingly willing to treat someone as old as me as a person). Of course I’m sure I’ve been lucky but . . . the original comment did seem unsympathetic and Joe-Biden-y. Thanks for the comment, anonymous.

    4. The Rev Kev

      Could part of this article be really about the insecurity of the Gen Xers. What I mean is this age cohort has already seen the baby-boomer cohort get the chop as companies sought to keep a younger work force. Now the Gen-Xers are the old guys (and gals) and potentially on the chopping block next.

      1. Whoamolly

        I seem to recall reading the same complaints about younger generations — in 1965.

        Too lazy to dig into newspaper web sites for a link.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          About the same time my grandfather went on TV in Grand Rapids to rant about evil youth and rock and roll.

      2. Joe Well

        Yeah, but in many cases without the enormous leg up of a house bought cheap and years of retirement savings made possible by not being gouged by a generational transfer of housing wealth to the older + lack of student debt.

        Canada and the US had a golden age for the 99% in the 50s-70s and since then, the wealth has been sucked away. All else being equal, the further you are from that time (which includes all the “Boomers” as well as they only got a taste of the good times) the worse off you are, full stop. Downplaying that reality is intellectually like downplaying racism, sexism or climate change.

        1. flaesq, just another 13th genner

          As predicted in The 13th Gen, 13th genners AKA gen xers will pave the way for newer generation’s successes while simultaneously getting hosed by and blamed for the sins of the Boomers and the Greatest generation (!?)

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Corporatoins are persons too!

        Do young corporation-persons have insecurity angst as well?

        1. Brian (another one they call)

          I hope this is a good time to return to the question of elimiminating all (or most) for profit corporations?

          1. chuck roast

            Why don’t we eliminate 501C-3s while we are at it? They love to wrap themselves in a cloak of piety while they are exploiting young people with their BS “internships” for which they pay them next to nothing, but are overwhelmingly generous with their “experience.” My nephew has a CV full of “experience” but damn little cash to show for it. I am at a loss as to why the kid has not developed a highly defined level of cynicism.

    5. Geo

      Agreed. The ones that live up to the stereotype are the privileged class. But, are spoiled brats new? Or, has economic disparity and the polarization of our cultures due to this gap in wealth made the social circles of the media elites defining these narratives embody the stereotypes?

      Because, as someone not surrounded by rich people, I see Millenials working themselves into an early grave with almost nothing to show for it.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        An early grave…

        That will reflect in their life expectancy.

        The charts I have seen are still trending up (slightly). Will they turn and slope down?

        1. Geo

          Overworked, bad or no healthcare, indebted (stress), little future potential or even hope…

          I’d be surprised if this doesn’t impact longevity. Maybe medicine/science will counter all that though. Who knows what the future holds for us? :)

        2. Oregoncharles

          millennials are still too young for it to show up in mortality rates. Gen Xers might not be, though.

    6. jrs

      Yea Gen X, and on the younger side of that cohort too, over scheduling, not really. And I walked to school alone, we had a lot of freedom really, although I had a stay at home mom. It’s maybe HOW MUCH freedom we had that make modern work such a tough transition. We weren’t over scheduled and monitored ENOUGH to fit in the modern workplace. Maybe millenials ARE a better fit there.

      But the thing about Gen X is at this point we are mostly experiencing all the same crap with this economy the much hyped millenials are, we just don’t get no respect for it (but there were a few good years? yea they are a distant memory at this point). And we also get to experience age discrimination (which being more legal (thanks trump) and with rising medical cost isn’t going to get any better). We’re too old to start over, to young to retire. Stuck in the middle of a giant steaming pile of …

    7. Roquentin

      Yeah, as someone who is somewhere between the tail end of GenX and the beginning of Milennial that really rubbed me the wrong way. I’ll tell you why. I spent a decade working a job I couldn’t stand for shit pay, even relative to standards within the industry, and literally the only way to get more money was promoted. If they’d been paying us halfway decent to start with, there wouldn’t have been people constantly grubbing to get promoted or get a raise. If you pay everyone like shit, of course they’ll want raises and promotions. How else are they going to get it?

      I still get mad when I think about it. After the recession they just raised the salaries of people starting out to get new hires in the door, which basically put them at parity with long term employees from day one. I had a friend who made exactly the same as the person he was supervising. I wasn’t all that left wing beforehand, but I came out of that experience a socialist and never stopped being one.

    8. katenka

      Agreed re: both Gen X childhoods (a lot closer to more or less abandoned and feral than overscheduled in my life and observation) and Millennials in the workforce — people tell them all the time that they’re needy and attention-hogs, and some of them seem to come to believe this of themselves, but in practice I don’t see a whole lot of difference in their work habits from the generations preceding them (so there are some brats and some workaholics and some of everything else as well) except, as you noted, that they usually come in pre-disabused of the notion that their employer cares about them much. I do see a lot of longing for a different state of affairs in this regard from them, which I very much put to their credit.

    9. Arthur Dent

      I have a similar perspective.

      I have been working with millenials. In general, I think they are fine. However, they have watched their parents and other relatives great treated like dirt by companies and are pretty focused on keeping work in its place. They are loyal to the people and places that treat them well. Otherwise, they have no qualms in looking for another job after a year or two.

      They are also the generation coming out of college having basically mortgaged themselves with student debt. That takes a higher percentage of their pay than it did for people who started work in the 70s and 80s. Hiring managers appear to be astonished when the millenials pick a job purely based on highest pay, not realizing that they don’t have much option.

      The millenial work force is also split about 50/50 male/female (totally different than engineering in the 80s) which leads to a more balanced work place. Not a bad thing.

      The Generation X people have sat in the shadow of the baby boomers for 20 years now. Meanwhile, the millenials were viewed as the new cool kids on the block, so you had to show that you were catering to millenials, while everybody forgot about the Generation X’ers. I think the Generation X time is coming as the baby boomers are retiring and there is simply going to be a gaping hole to fill over the next decade. Most companies have not considered succession so as people retire or are discarded, their are massive knowledge voids being left behind that the companies don’t even realize are there. The smart Gen Xers have been sucking in that knowledge and should be in a good position. If they weren’t paying attention, then they will likely be bypassed. Meanwhile management just looks at headcount, not realizing that many of the heads are 20 somethings who still have to develop 20 years of experience.

  18. Olga

    EU leaders hold out olive branch to Chinese ‘rival’ by saying they want active role in Belt and Road Initiative –
    Cute…in spite of all the protestations, EU cannot ignore or antagonise China as a trading partner:
    “Angela Merkel says Europe is still keen to participate in infrastructure scheme that US dubbed a ‘vanity project’ and EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker seeks to reassure Chinese leader Xi Jinping that view of China as ‘strategic rival’ is a compliment.”
    Ok, glad we got that clear…

  19. Yikes

    Maddow = Mad cow?

    Per Yves comment on Jimmy Dore, Madcow invited a host of guest on to help spread the blame. That’s the most fun I’ve had in a while, watching those corporatism sellouts try to explain away their smokescreen for all the Trump appointments that got Democrats votes, Trump Budgets that got Democrat votes, etc.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps a method to that madness, if the purpose is to make people more sympathetic to Putin and Russia.

      “He was a victim of a hoax.”

  20. Off The Street

    Rachel Maddow never seemed very credible to me. I found her unwatchable due to the excessively long buildup to squibs dampened by all the sputtering.

    1. a different chris

      “Squibs dampened by all the sputtering” is now my new favorite phrase. I’m not sure how I’m going to work it into daily conversation but I’m really going to give it a shot.

  21. Roger Smith

    2020 Loss to Trump Would Be Existential Crisis for Democrats New York Magazine

    Riiiing Riiiiing…. 2016 is calling. The reality is that these operatives have to actually interpret and process the environmental responses for them to become observed as existential. These faculties do not exist within these operatives.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “All ISIS Has Left Is Money. Lots of It.”

    Bit late in the game to go chasing all that money stashed around the middle east from all those oil sales to Turkey that the Coalition permitted. If they had really wanted to stop the funding of ISIS, they should have stopped it at it’s source. Places like Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States at the beginning. But the Coalition was asking those very same States to fund the Jihadists in Syria so I guess that was never going to happen either. All that loot will be in the middle east for a very long time as will all the weapons shipped there.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Seems odd. Isn’t the national security apparatus supposed to be really, really good at leveraging the international payments system for imperial purposes counter-terrorism?

  23. Eureka Springs

    At some point in time the fact that question is unanswered and the reasons are all deceptive, offensive, not defensive, says more than one needs to know. Defending oil companies and MIC profiteers, becoming global kidnappers and torturers, is not actual defense, imo. The point in time should have been before any deployments occurred. But above all at a time like this the real question/answer is how do we stop this vicious cycle once and for all? After all the only known chem weapons (which were expired before 9-11) Saddam ever had were provided by us for his use in the Iran Iraq war. It didn’t matter in the least that he also used them on his own Kurdish population.

    The easy arm-chair way to do that today no matter if you are Dem or will ever vote again is send both Tulsi and Gravel some change so they can at least inject a little MIC sanity in the debates’.

    Of course it will take much more than that in the long run, but at a time when an individual can hardly find a genuine, active, much less effective antiwar organization to work with… it’s the least we can do.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        The fact he didn’t announce his first day total right away like everyone else was a tell. Possible sources include $4.5 million left over from his old campaign and his father in law (of course laundered somehow so as not to exceed individual donation limits).

  24. JohnnyGL

    Robert Francis (Beto) O’Rourke on video advocating for ‘mean testing’ cuts to Social Security. Talks about ‘making tough decisions’, raising retirement age, and stuff like, “we almost defaulted on our debt”.


    That’s a kiss of death for your candidacy Mr. O’Rourke. You need the oldies to vote for your garbage centrist policies and they have ZERO tolerance for this kind of trash.

  25. Poopypants

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    All foreign exploits ultimately revolve around one single goal: Energy.

    The history of the modern world can be succinctly stated as white people taking stuff (energy, resources) from non-white people and killing them.

    There are no wars to spread democracy or liberate countries, only wars to obtain and protect access to energy.

    Humans are animals and those in power learned long ago that energy was the key to military dominance and that military dominance ensured access to energy.

    Make no mistake, the Iraq was was very much about Oil and the United State’s continued access to all Oil everywhere. That was the message as is so clearly being repeated in Venezuela today.

    (I capitalize Oil because it is the true God of our society)

    1. Geo

      So true. Same with Venezuela. Same with Syria.

      Something that doesn’t get nearly enough attention is that the US parent company of the Israeli oil co Genie Energy looking to drill in the Golan Heights (which Trump just recognized as Israeli) is a bipartisan group of A-listers: Rupert Murdoch, Dick Cheney, Larry Summers, Mary Landrieu, James Woolsey, Bill Richardson.

      Anyone that thinks our intervention in Syria isn’t about oil dominance is missing the forest for the trees.

    2. Lambert Strether

      > The history of the modern world can be succinctly stated as white people taking stuff (energy, resources) from non-white people and killing them.

      I don’t see white supremacy is the motor of history, sorry, although that seems to be congealing crystallizing as a useful conventional wisdom among 2020-focused liberal Democrats.

  26. FreeMarketApologist

    In Elon Musk news: From a recent article about Virginia officials visiting Elon Musk’s car tunnel prototype, perhaps as an option for a new link between VA and DC, this quote: “It’s a car in a very small tunnel.

    As the article points out, “After Los Angeles and Chicago and even the New York/New Jersey Port Authority seemed to be at the very least sampling The Boring Company Kool Aid, it’s so damn refreshing to hear someone approach the hype machine with at least a little bit of healthy skepticism.”

  27. marym

    House Democrats are introducing “broad legislation to shore up the Affordable Care Act” today.

    (emphasis added)

    According to Pelosi’s office, the bill being unveiled Tuesday would make more middle-class people eligible for subsidized health insurance through former President Barack Obama’s health law, often called “Obamacare,” while increasing aid for those with lower incomes who already qualify. And it would fix a longstanding affordability problem for some consumers, known as the “family glitch.”

    The legislation would provide money to help insurers pay the bills of their costliest patients and restore advertising and outreach budgets slashed by President Donald Trump’s administration, helping to stabilize health insurance markets.


    1. a different chris

      “help insurers pay their bills” — because just having the government directly pay the stupid bills is way too weird. Who does that? My god, I bet Hillary has a 52-pt plan ready for how this will be done.

  28. Wukchumni

    Kind of forgot about the foot-wide clamshell looking mushroom colored like Carthartt which I captured in a Kodak moment some stanzas ago, and went to look yesterday and it’s salad days are done, decomposing.

  29. nippersdad

    The Intelligencer artlcle looked like the closest thing I have seen yet to the Third Way acknowledging that they are going to need Progressives to win an election; all Brock but with less snottiness. The stages of denial and anger seem to have been successfully navigated by the brain trust, so now comes bargaining with the plebes.

    Unfortunately, since the plebes didn’t cause the problem of a lack of representation in governance that is going to be a hard sell (It wasn’t they who asked for a platform which claimed that for every blue collar worker they lost they would pick up two moderate Republicans). The bargaining stage also gets a nod in the “Democrats destroying each other” link at the bottom of the page, and those suggestions now seem to have been implemented by the DNC with their silly loyalty pledges. TBF, there is some passing reference to the pseudonymous Russian Bro’s of the anger stage not being solely to blame in that regard, so progress is being made by the Party in discovering something that Nader was telling them twenty years ago

    IMHO, the best bargain they could make would be to get the Brock Brigade on board before the present depressing reality becomes the accepted norm. My short review would be physician heal thyself. A good start could be made by getting Schumer and Hoyer to stop trashing their own for a few short term bucks ingratiating themselves with the gleefully murderous Netanyahu crowd; their memos aren’t making it to the desks of those still stuck in denial.

    1. Partyless Poster

      I couldn’t make it past the “Russia invaded Crimea” garbage at the beginning.
      They just never stop spinning lies.

    2. Old Jake

      Similar to “Hellscape 2021: Why a Second Loss to Trump Could Produce an Existential Crisis for Democrats” [Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine].

      I was left wondering why it would be so bad if the Democrat party crumbled into dust.

  30. Carey

    I thought the Ghion Journal piece ‘Russiagate is Birtherism: It is All a Game’ was excellent.

  31. Wukchumni

    What happens after rich kids bribe their way into college? I teach them Guardian
    Wow, that’s damning with faint praise for the lowest college denominator, or how we dumbed down higher learning while charging chi-chi prices for the privilege of going.

  32. Craig H.

    Did the old lady with the smashed head in Nice make it to CNN or the New York Times?

    Macron’s gaffe comment?

    1. Whoamollt

      Re: Macron Gaffe comment?

      Good chance it is.

      The first thing I thought when I heard Macrons comment was “Let them eat wisdom.”

      1. Craig H.

        Her name is Geneviève Legay.

        Google news search has a lot of entries including Guardian and Irish Times but I didn’t see one American source on the first page.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Macron under fire for ‘patronising’ injured gilets jaunes protester Guardian:

          Geneviève Legay was taken to hospital with serious head injuries on Saturday. Jean-Michel Prêtre, the Nice public prosecutor, said an investigation had been opened but it appeared Legay had hit her head on a concrete bollard as police tried to clear protesters.

          Macron, who was in Nice on Monday along with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, who is visiting France, told the Nice-Matin newspaper he wished Legay a “speedy recovery”, but simultaneously criticised her.

          “When one is fragile and risks being shoved, one does not go to places that are declared off-limits and one does not put oneself in that kind of situation,” he said.

          Macron added: “This lady was not in contact with the forces of law and order. She put herself in a situation where she went, quite deliberately, to an area that was off-limits and was caught up in a movement of panic. I regret this deeply, but we must respect public order everywhere.”

          He concluded: “I wish her a speedy recovery … and perhaps a kind of wisdom.”

          Not hiding it, is he?

  33. JEHR

    How much corruption needs to occur before it becomes a criminal offense that is indictable? I would surmise a lot: how can a president be corrupted when he already is the corrupter-in-chief? The corruption process has gone on for so long that it no longer looks out of place in any day-to-day activity in Office. Bankers commit accounting control fraud, they counterfeit documents and they lie about their activities and get grandly reimbursed with bailout money. The military invades a country to obtain the oil in that country. The CIA infiltrates other countries’ elections to get the results that it wants. Everyone lies about their misdeeds. Corruption is the means by which business and politics is now accomplished. Why are we surprised?

    Where is the honest man today?

    “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”
    ― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

    1. newcatty

      Science is a candle in the dark, but science has also been corrupted and bamboozled by greed and fear. Look at who “funds” many research projects at any major and or “elite” universities. Its no longer just “publish or perish” for researchers and professors livelihoods. Its not just the usual suspects giving out coveted money, such as corporations, its the federal government’s entities. We have now a corrupted higher education system that either sells out to keep the rice bowls full, or is in collusion to confirm confirmation bias of the funders. Of course, there are exceptions to the rules. Varsity Blues corruption is another form of this fallen institution. Can the candle’s flame be lighted again? And, do we need to realize that science is not the only candle in the Dark? Compassionate, and generous policies by institution’s policies are candles we need to burn. Maybe, feeling the Bern will be a step to reignite those candles. Maybe Tulsi can liight a candle for peace.

  34. Hameloose Cannon

    Taibbi & WMD’s. *See it and laugh. Then feel terrible for doing so. And then laugh again.*
    — As Bush the Elder’s Atty General, William Barr quashed a special counsel investigation into the Reagan-era CIA for selling WMD’s to none other than… Saddam Hussein. It what was known as “Iraq-gate”, when the -gate suffix was heck of a lot cuter than it is now. William Safire even called Barr the “Coverup-General” in the NYT. Death by irony.

  35. barrisj

    Russia-gate sore losers soldier on:

    Trump had plenty of reasons to obstruct Mueller’s investigation, whether or not there was an underlying crime. The most obvious one has been staring us in the face all along.

    Attorney General William Barr’s summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusions, in the fancy language of lawyers, impeaches itself. That means that its own words and reasoning call some of Barr’s conclusions into doubt, particularly Barr’s eagerness to say that Donald Trump can’t be proven to have obstructed justice.

    It is hard for any of us to know how much credence to give Barr’s précis of the Mueller investigation without knowing more about the evidence. Barr’s letter, however, acknowledges that much and pledges to work to disclose as much as he can without violating Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e), which bars making public grand jury proceedings. But the attorney general’s eagerness to clear Trump of possible obstruction of justice, after having the report in hand for less than 48 hours, is unbecoming of his office and Mueller’s two-year investigation. Furthermore, some of the reasoning in his letter is clearly deeply flawed.

    In particular, Barr’s conclusion that obstruction can’t be proven beyond a reasonable doubt involves bootstrapping that is utter nonsense in this case. Barr—just like Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani—claims that ordinarily obstruction requires a nexus to an underlying crime. Because Mueller found the evidence insufficient to prove that Trump actively conspired with the Russians to interfere with the election, traditional legal reasoning would say he’s not likely to have committed obstruction either. Barr says, “Generally speaking, to obtain and sustain an obstruction conviction, the government would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person, acting with corrupt intent, engaged in obstructive conduct with a sufficient nexus to a pending or contemplated proceeding.”
    With our focus on whether the president is going to jail, we have run past a point that is now undeniable: Donald J. Trump was elected president of the United States after a sustained series of crimes by the Russian government aimed at boosting his chances of winning. Because of the political damage to the president that Russia’s criminal interference posed, he had an obvious reason to terminate the investigation. In other words, he had something to hide, and the Mueller inquiry seems to have concluded that there was plenty of evidence that he hid it.

    ”Donald J Trump was elected president of the United States after a sustained series of crimes..”.

    Is not Scott Thurlow committing a fallacy of logic here? Oh, never mind, Russia elected Trump and that’s his story and he’s sticking with it.

    1. Carey

      Looked up Turow’s bio after reading your comment: Amherst, Stanford, Harvard Law.

      “He would say that, wouldn’t he?”

    2. Partyless Poster has been doubling down as well, Amanda Marcotte has a new piece claiming its all Barr’s cover up.
      Frankly I hope it destroys the whats left of her reputation, She was the worst of the Hillary shills.

    3. Lepton1

      Trump won the PR battle. The Mueller report is kept secret while Barr spins it as an exoneration of a Trump. Meanwhile Individual One keeps chanting “no collusion” like it means something.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        As Glenn Greenwald pointed out, if Barr had misrepresented the report, you can be sure that Mueller himself or the members of his team (who had been leaking regularly to the press) would have said so to a reporter or a Dem Congresscritter, who would have been all over it.

        Barr provided exact quotes of key conclusions so as to avoid misunderstanding.

    4. Lambert Strether

      > Donald J. Trump was elected president of the United States after a sustained series of crimes by the Russian government aimed at boosting his chances of winning.

      Note that even Thurlow does not assert that “Russian meddling” had any demonstrable effect, assuming arguendo the existence of crimes.

      Why “sustained series of crimes” instead of “series of crimes” or “crimes”? Which all mean that same thing?

      That’s because with “sustained series of crimes” you can do this*:

      … ? sustained ? series ? of crimes ? ….

      which you can’t do with just the one word:

      … ? crimes ? …

      which would look stupid. Because it is stupid. These people make me so tired. I think I’m spending too much time on the Twitter.

      NOTE * By the emoji-less, this would be typed as the the equally performative and tiresome “Sustained. Series. Of. Crimes.”

  36. Wukchumni

    One Nation’s James Ashby filmed seeking $20m from NRA to weaken Australia’s gun laws Guardian
    That’s kinda ballsy asking for the big bickies, most right nationalists would be happy with a much smaller amount, as it’s the power trip they’re after.

  37. Summer

    RE: The Social Networks Are Publishers Not Postmen

    I don’t have an FT subscription, so I just have this headline.
    But a traditional publisher invests in content creators based on a different business model.
    Think of the concept of a financial advance (recoupable against royalties) among other factors of degree of involvement in marketing and promotion.

    This is the reason social networks have not managed a monopoly on content creation.

    It is also a reason that despite the potential to deliver big audiences, the long term career viability (with the content having intrinsic value – and not only value dependent upon recognition by larger corporations or businesses) remains to be seen.

  38. David

    If you have a couple of neurones spare after thinking about all the other things going on at the moment, have a look at this story from the Independent about a major development in the Algerian crisis, where the situation has been deadlocked for several weeks.
    The Chief of Staff of the Army, General Gaid Salah, has called for the activation of Article 102 of the Constitution, enabling the President essentially to be declared medically unfit for the job. He didn’t say what he expected to happen next.
    Salah is a protégé of Bouteflika, and is himself no chicken (he’s 79). He’s the last serving officer from the independence struggle against the French, and the fact that he made the suggestion during a speech to military officers, and in combat kit, shows that this is the Army clearing its throat, and trying to break the logjam. As you can imagine, the Algerian press is ablaze with speculation about what, if anything, will follow, and what, if anything the Army will do.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Thanks. It’s interensting.

      How many leaders around the world are medically (or mentally) unfit? That’s would be a follow up question.

  39. Joe Well

    Re: Gen X. Lambert is a wealth of insight on issues he has familiarity with, but as so often happens to human beings, when it comes to a problem someone else has but you don’t have, he just doesn’t get it.

    Link to the Momentum “They Just Don’t Get It” video, the greatest work in the history of filmmaking.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Ouch! That is a nasty piece of work that video – which is why it is so great! You could do a version for every country and it still works. Good find that.

  40. RudyM

    Even so, I wonder if a contributor is the big change in parenting, where “good” parents were scheduling their children’s time (play dates, soccer practice, etc.) and shuttling them about. They grew up being on the receiving end of attention to a vastly greater degree than my cohort, where kids walked to and from school and had lots of unstructured time.

    This is a rather sweeping generalization about generation X. Also, how does it fit the latch-key stereotype of generation X?

    This is my generational cohort, and I walked to school alone as early as first grade, and had lots of unstructured time.

    (Granted, I am at the older end of the generation X spectrum.)

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This “sweeping generalization” in fact was experienced by tons of employers when kids in that cohort started working. As indicated, I heard it was driving people at McKinsey nuts, and the press reported the same at the time of big companies hiring new college grads. It was widely discussed in the HR trade journals at the time (this was back in the “war for talent” days), what employers would have to do differently to motivate and keep these kids (when they were kids).

  41. pjay

    Re ‘Trump allies await results of two internal probes that could expose Russia investigation backstory’

    I would love to see a *real* investigation of the “backstory” of Russiagate. That won’t happen. If this Fox News story is any indication, the best we can hope for is an examination of FISA abuse by the FBI, and some inappropriately partisan behavior by DOJ and FBI personnel. No mention of Brennan, the CIA or British intelligence services and assets that were involved (except for “ex” MI6er Steele, of course). This will be framed as another partisan Dem/Repub catfight, as was the Benghazi circus. Inquiries into the Clinton Foundation? Same thing. WWF for the political class and its audience.

    When Barr was nominated for AG out of the blue, it triggered something in my fuzzy memory. I had to go back and check, but Barr was an important “fixer” in the Reagan and Bush I administrations — BCCI, Iraq-gate, Iran-Contra. His role was “damage containment” — keeping legal (and media) attention on a few scapegoats while shutting down any larger inquiry. Above all, this meant minimizing exposure of the CIA. As Bush’s AG he had an important role in the blanket pardon of the Iran-Contra perps. Barr started out in the CIA, though he “resigned” early on to become a very well-connected lawyer. Not that this is relevant, of course.

    My own purely speculative conspiracy musings.

    1. integer

      Yep. Trump was going to declassify some info relating to Russiagate and MI6 pulled some strings and prevented it from happening:

      Russia Investigation: Donald Trump Warned by British MI6 That Declassifying Documents Would Undermine Intelligence Newsweek

      British intelligence agency MI6 is secretly pressuring President Donald Trump to avoid publishing classified information related to the Russia investigation and a surveillance warrant for his former campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page, according to reports.

      On Wednesday, Trump threatened to declassify documents related to the Justice Department’s probe into Russian election interference, claiming that doing so would undermine the efforts of incoming House Democrats to investigate him. He also plans to release information about a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant that allowed federal investigators to wiretap Page, who has suspected ties to Russia.

      The U.K. has warned Trump that declassifying this information would sabotage intelligence collection efforts, according to British newspaper The Daily Telegraph. The revelation raises questions about whether the British were involved in the FBI’s investigation into possible collaboration between Trump’s campaign and Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

      Here is the article from The Daily Telegraph (have to register to read it). Clearly MI6 has something to hide, and it’s pretty obvious they became involved at Brennan’s request. It also seems likely that Obama was aware of what was going on. Then there’s the 17 intelligence agencies, er, 4 intelligence agencies, actually make that 12 intelligence analysts hand-picked by Clapper that concluded Russia hacked the D party and gave the emails to Wikileaks – what a joke.

  42. Phil

    Re: “Who keeps buying California’s scarce water? Saudi Arabia,” I’m no fan of Saudi, but this piece of so-called “reporting” looks an awful lot like an effort to steer the Guardian’s readers onto a new story now that Russiagate has turned out to be the nothingburger we knew it to have been all along.

    It’s not news that much of California’s ag land is foreign-owned; according to the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, non-US owners control more than a million acres of farm and ranchland in the state. Fondomonte/Almarai’s 15,000 acres are not included in the database (the Center is careful to note that the data are from the USDA and are not expected to be completely accurate), but even if we were to add them in, Saudi Arabia’s total would still only rank it 11th among foreign nations that own US farmland, dwarfed by such nefarious actors as the United Kingdom (ranked 1st at 340,000 acres), Japan (3rd place with 112,000), and France (4th place with control of over 97,000 acres). (The second-place Netherlands apparently buys California farmland primarily to build wind farms.)

    Among the many salient data points that the report somehow fails to mention is the fact that the United States is the biggest grabber of overseas land by a comfortable margin: since 2000, US-based companies have acquired over 14 million acres of overseas farmland. Saudi Arabia’s conquests, in contrast, have totaled a measly 4.7 million acres, only about 50,000 of which are in the US. The irony of the article’s lead line – “what business does a foreign food production company have drawing resources from a US desert?” – is palpable.

    But what about the water? Alfalfa is the most water-intensive crop of all, which means it’s ridiculous to grow it in a semiarid climate like California’s. (The same could be said of most of what we grow here, which include such stunningly inappropriate crops as rice, cotton, and almonds). The Saudis should be ashamed of themselves for being such water hogs! Except that total Saudi landholdings in California only amount to about 2% of the total acreage in alfalfa last year. Yup, wasting water is a time-honored tradition practiced by California farmers irrespective of race, creed, color, or national origin.

    If anything, the Saudis seem to have been a little slow in figuring out what an opportunity exists here. (They should have asked Nestlé.)

    I see no purpose in the Guardian publishing such drivel other than to inflame public sentiment against an easy target and draw attention away from their own sorry record on Russiagate. Or is it just me?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I saw the two blokes sprung on TV last night. The older one claimed that the set up was due to middle-east meddling (it was al-Jazeera reporting) while the younger one tried to blame it on drink. And yes, it was as pathetic as it sounds.

  43. AVZ

    The Adult Brain Does Grow New Neurons After All, Study Says Nature

    Er… here’s what the linked summary actually says:

    No new neurons in adult humans

    Previous lines of evidence have suggested that neural precursors are present in adult humans and continue to generate new neurons in the hippocampus even after full maturation. Here, Arturo Alvarez-Buylla and colleagues re-visit that concept and come to a different conclusion. Using a more comprehensive and larger set of samples of human hippocampus than those analysed in previous studies, the authors find evidence for the production of new neurons early in life, but note that hippocampal neurogenesis rates decline rapidly within the first few years of childhood. The authors were unable to detect the production of any new neurons in adults. The same patterns of neurogenesis were observed in rhesus macaques.

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