Links 3/30/19

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Saving snow leopards in Russia BBC (furzy). What a clever approach. And the snow leopards are so handsome!

Tasmanian devils ‘adapting to coexist with cancer’ BBC

66-million-year-old deathbed linked to dinosaur-killing meteor ScienceDaily. Kevin W: “Ugh! Another way to die horribly – by tiny glass beads coming in at 100-200 miles per hour.”

EU Parliament backs ban on single-use plastic products DW (J-LS)

Climate Change and the Death of the Small Farm New Republic

BofA, Wells Fargo sour on blockchain American Banker. Quelle surprise!

Arizona cops release bodycam footage of lead-up to storming home over child with high fever NBC. Kevin W sent an earlier reports of this story. This version omits a key fact: the kid hadn’t been vaccinated and the doctor was worried that he might have meningitis, which is why the doctor wanted him to go straight to the ER. Plus social workers and police are now in a no-win situation. There have been enough cases of failure to intervene in abuse and neglect cases generating bad outcomes and a public/press outcry that many feel pressured to intervene in borderline cases. This part is based on court documents:

Later that day, the child’s fever reportedly broke, and the parents decided not to take him to the ER. After the mother phoned the doctor, the doctor phoned the police.

So the doctor didn’t trust the mother’s account and called the cops and said the child had a “life threatening” condition. The police were put in a position where they had to Do Something. And given that the father had refused the let the cops see the child as requested on two visits and had not opened the door (he could have brought the kid outside if he didn’t want to let the police inside on the second police attempt to assess the child, since by then the father should have worked out the cops were not going to let this go), the police had reason to be concerned about the degree of resistance from the father.

Could the Ancient Jewish Practice of Shmita Be a New Tool for Sustainable Ag? CivilEats (Glenn F)

White Americans’ Food Choices Are Contributing Disproportionately to Climate Change PSMagazine. What white people are you talking about? I don’t eat this stuff and I don’t know anyone who does (well save a 90+ year old couple). This includes many years of observation of grocery carts in Manhattan :-). The problem with talking about large sets (like men versus women) is that the differences within a set are greater than the ones between sets.

EAT-Lancet’s Plant-Based Planet: 10 Things You Need to Know Psychology Today. This illustrates why I am skeptical of “nutrition science”. I could go on for pages as to how astrology is more scientific. You cannot track accurately what people eat over long enough periods of time to conclude anything. However, we do need to be eating further down the food chain.


China’s media companies are failing at home, failing abroad and failing Xi Jinping South China Morning Post (furzy)

The US just ‘invaded’ an island in the South China Sea & no one noticed RT (Chuck L)

US becoming ‘lone ranger’ containing China Asia Times (resilc)


India’s anti-satellite missile test may have created 6,500 eraser-size pieces of space junk near Earth, according to a new simulation Business Insider (David L)


MPs deliver ‘Brexit Day’ blow to May Financial Times

UK faces new Brexit crisis after lawmakers reject May’s deal Associated Press (Bill B). A workman-like overview.

Brexit: Theresa May ponders fourth bid to pass deal BBC. Help me. A 58 vote margin is way bigger than the magnitude of loss of several of the “indicative vote” options.

Cabinet ministers tell May to ’embrace no deal’ after third Brexit defeat in Parliament Telegraph

As lawyers here like to say, “For the avoidance of doubt” (guurst):

Theresa May: An Obituary Jonathan Pie, YouTube (Kevin W)

Ecuador legalized gangs. Murder rates plummeted. Vox (Kevin W)

Secret tape increases pressure on Trudeau in SNC-Lavalin affair BBC


ISIS prepped Baghdadi escape years before defeat Asia Times (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Lawmakers Call for Termination of NSA Domestic Surveillance Program Wall Street Journal

Tesla Model 3 hack shows new cars can snitch on owners after a wreck The Verge

Trump Transition

Barr expects to release nearly 400-page Mueller report by mid-April The Hill

Trump renews threat to shut down US-Mexico border Financial Times

Trump Doubles Down on Keystone Oil Pipeline With New Permit Bloomberg

Trump’s Financial Statements Are So Full Of Lies That His Accountants Put a Warning Label on Them Vanity Fair (resilc). Well, all those lenders and insurers relied on them, so shame on them!

Secretary Pompeo Has No Credibility American Conservative

McConnell to Trump: Health care’s all yours Politico (resilc)

Trump administration awards $1.7 million family planning grant to anti-abortion clinics The Hill

Will the Supreme Court Finally End Gerrymandering? Rolling Stone (resilc)

Cheese wall on U.S.-Mexico border Reuters (resilc)

Health Care

The doctor’s strike that nearly killed Canada’s Medicare-for-all plan, explained Vox. Bob B: “I remember the doctor’s strike well. I was a pre-teen and my mother had been sick with jaundice. I was terrified that the doctors would not help her.” Moi: A difference now is a lot of doctors are not happy with the current US system, particularly the rise of corporatized medicine.


US Prosecutors, Defense Request Maria Butina Be Deported Upon Sentencing Sputnik (Kevin W)

Interview transcripts from Congress on Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, G. Papadopoulos, and B. and N. Ohr Sic Semper Tyrannis (Kevin W)


An Awkward Kiss Changed How I Saw Joe Biden New York Magazine (Chuck L)

All About Pete Current Affairs (UserFriendly)

Is DONE Competent Enough to Conduct Neighborhood Council Elections? If Not, Why Not? Tony Butka, LA Citywatch (Kevin W). A vignette on (mis)managing local elections, with a shout out to NC.

Norway: Low Oil Pressure Caused Viking Sky’s Engine Blackout Reuters. Guurst: “For want of a brain a ship was lost.”

Facebook finally responds to New Zealand on Christchurch attack Guardian (David L)

Airline regulators knew about Boeing 737 MAX nosedive issue 2yrs ago RT (Chuck L)

Missing 737 Sensor Becomes Focus of Ethiopian Crash Probe Bloomberg

iFixit Teardown Reveals Apple’s New AirPods Are ‘Disappointingly Disposable’ ars technica

Vermont governor’s office promotes remote Amazon jobs in Vermont VTDigger (martha r)

UserFriendly: “ROFL Amazon is crapifying.”

Lyft Shares Plunge 10% in 4 Hours from “Pop” to Close Wolf Richter

OxyContin-Maker Owner Maligned Opioid Addicts, Suit Says Wall Street Journal

Class Warfare

HUD Sues Facebook for Fair Housing Act Violations HSH. Why am I not surprised?

An AI startup has found a new source of cheap labor for training algorithms: prisoners MIT Technology Review

This Company Will Pay You to Learn to Code, and Take 15 Percent of Your Income Later Motherboard. Resilc” “And then be out of date with skills by the 25th month.”

I Smuggled Cocaine Into the US to Pay Off My Student Loans Vice (resilc)

Small districts reap big profits by approving charter schools with little oversight Los Angeles Times

Taken for a Ride: How Ambulance Debt Afflicts the Extreme Poor American Prospect (resilc)

The good old days? In many ways, yes Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis (Kevin W). The people who worked in the paper mills in the towns in which I lived growing up (skilled blue collar jobs) had small but nice houses with yards, a car or truck they bought with cash, decent vacations, often had kids who went to college (usually state schools, and had job stability.

A movement to prepare students for the future of work Axios

Antidote du jour:

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “The US just ‘invaded’ an island in the East China Sea & no one noticed ”

    I’m not sure what the point of this mock landing is. Maybe to get some good footage and to “send a message” but I am sure that it would not have impressed professionals. Attacking an island is supposed to be one of the toughest ones in the book. For one thing, this was what I believe is called an ‘uncontested landing’. Here is an example of a ‘contested landing’ so we know what it looks like-

    Since then the technology has moves on. Any aircraft flying over the target island would have to consider missile defenses and man-pads. In addition, there is a technical problem. Those big landing ships at the start of that film clip that released the landing craft? How do you get them near an island near enough to release them before they are taken out by missiles? The Millennium Challenge war game back in 2002 had 5 of 6 landing ships sunk that would have meant 20,000 dead troops. No happy answers here.

    1. Watt4Bob

      Spot on.

      Missiles have changed everything, and considering the fact that US supplied Stingers helped the Taliban chase the Russians out of Afghanistan, you’d think the military would be more careful with their ‘messages’.

      I’m reminded of Mike Tyson’s famous observation;

      “Everybody has a plan until they’re punched in the mouth.”

      1. ewmayer

        Iron Mike may not have had the book larnin’ of the West Pointers, but he obviously had a keen grasp of the wisdom embodied in von Moltke the Elder’s famous dictum, “no battle plan survives first contact with enemy”. He also understood “shock and awe” — just ask legendary light-heavyweight Mike Spinks (brother of Leon), who moved up to heavyweight and did pretty well there until he ran into a young Mike Tyson. A.k.a. Gone in 90 Seconds.

    2. JBird4049

      From what I have read over the years, the United States has refused to put in the resources needed to make a successful amphibious attack.

      It reminds me of the Air Force with the A-10, F-22, and F-35. The leadership wants to dump the extremely useful and popular A-10 because it is not sexy enough and because it does cost money that can used for the F-35 Turkey. Before the turkey it spent too much money to build too few of the still very lethal F-22. So two effective aircraft are crippled because the brass wants to build the now crapified F-35.

      Similar insanity in the navy. Spending most of its budget on sexy junk that make the admirals and the contractors very happy but does not make the necessary tools to do its job. For example, a useful landing craft to ferry the marines from the landing ships that carried them to the actual landing.

      The American military is always focused on expensive futuristic war toys that often do not work at all while neglecting the tools needed for unsexy actual warfare. Like the fifty caliber heavy machine gun. Designed by a legendary gunsmith for the First World War, but came out too late. The American military has been using it very successfully in every conflict since 1920. But despite the near century of almost flawless use, it started to randomly explode during the Iraqi and Afghanistan invasions especially during maintenance because of using bad parts from suppliers. Easy to fix but the leadership refused to and blame the troops for defective maintenance thus keeping the manufacturer and parts supplier in business.

      We are fighting something like five completely unnecessary and evil wars with the military focused on making expensive junk and neglecting the cheaper necessary stuff.

      1. dearieme

        “the United States has refused to put in the resources needed to make a successful amphibious attack.”

        It may be that there are no “resources” that would make a success of an amphibious landing against a non-negligible opponent.

        1. Watt4Bob


          Some of that expensive junk is REALLY expensive.

          And maybe really junk.

          The Navy’s new aircraft carriers cost about $15 Billion apiece and have a lot of issues.

          Three new systems based on new technologies, radar, catapults for launching aircraft, and the system that catches planes as they land, all with big problems that could possibly stop operations in the middle of battle.

          Why would the Navy build $180 Billion dollars worth of ships vulnerable to anti-ship systems costing orders of magnitude less?

          Considering the advanced anti-ship missiles that have been announced as being operational by Russia, I can’t see the reasoning behind planning a Navy around 12 aircraft carriers, even ones not plagued by serious problems with key systems.

        2. JBird4049

          I didn’t say an amphibious assault would make sense, but if you are planning on something, it would make sense that you have working equipment. Just look at the new fricking aircraft carriers that don’t work, the lack of reliable, fast, and useful amphibious vehicles, or the exploding machine guns. None of this is new and there has been effective examples of all these for a century or more. Well, the effective amphibious craft only since 1940 so that is only eighty years.


          Point is that the American military is getting extremely expensive garbage that is going to get people dead because of the fantasy of high tech and the grifting by the contracters. Stupidity, greed, and corruption. Great. That is also why we have started and are fighting in five(?) wars.

      2. WobblyTelomeres

        I keep stating that our nation’s military academies are NOT filled with our best and brightest. Your observations reinforce my assertion. Ask any Marine who has seen combat about Smedley Butler’s “War is a Racket.”

        1. Watt4Bob

          Best and brightest or not, they have only one option once they join the academy, get with the program, er racket.

        1. JBird4049

          and I mean really ugly-

          Which is why it stayed in my mind even after four years and the various fracked up issues like the A10 and the F35 does not really surprise me anymore; neoliberal free market contempt for everything except the acquisition of evermore money without a goal or even an ending.

      3. russell1200

        The US Air Force hates close air support. They have hated the A10 forever. The problem is that close air support puts the Air Force at the beck and call of the ground pounders. That it has been very effective when done correctly is beside the point. I seem to recall the idea being floated at one point to let the Army take over the A10. Which would be a huge concession to let the Army operate a major fixed wing platform.

  2. Musicismath

    There’s an interesting article on the background to the Dinosaur extinction find in the latest New Yorker. It sounds like some in the field are hedging their bets somewhat due to the discoverer’s previous form in over-interpreting his finds.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “An Awkward Kiss Changed How I Saw Joe Biden”

    I’m giving this a 7.5 on the Ewwww Scale. As the British say, Biden has ‘form’ here and this was by no means an isolated incident. But this is the same man that the Democrats want to get behind for 2020. Trump would have a field day with his reputation. Does Biden really want to go there? As a suggestion, try reading this article playing the following music to get a sense of how insane and tone deaf it is-

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think Biden simply exists as a “generic democrat” selected by another “generic democrat if a bit weak”. After all, Biden isn’t introduced on TV as loyal servant of the credit card industry or mentioned as a major supporter of numerous unpopular misadventures.

      Then there is the element of responsible, pragmatic liberals who revel in their “wokeness” and “fact based reality” who have never bothered to do any kind of research on a candidate or anything approaching critical thinking. Having the problems with Biden pointed out (there are so many) is a reminder of how lazy and tribal/faith-based they are.

    2. Joe Well

      We’re living in a time of weaponized identity politics (white people blamed as a race for climate change because they emit 10% more CO2 per capita than black Americans, not controlling for income or any other variable) and yet the Joe Bidens of the world are still in power. [Insert primal scream]

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Really? Is anyone really making a claim like that? Are there any links to such a claim?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          . . . Oh it was an article right up there in the links, which I somehow overlooked.


    3. Yikes

      DNC may think pussy grabing helped get Trump elected? Or just moving the Overton window for someone else?

  4. pete

    I wonder if this coding school is really that bad. I worry about all the shady contracts but it seems like a much better deal then a lot of the things I have seen and my degree has been completely worthless, well I wish it had as much value as to be totally worthless more like a huge never ending liability.

    I like the pessimism on this site but I am not sure I see the value with the coding boot camps. What am I missing?

    1. BlueMoose

      Another exercise in skimming/grifting. For someone with the natural talent and some desire you can teach yourself everything you need to know. For someone with mediocre talent and not really interested but see it as a job, it might work, but I wouldn’t count on it. Those days are gone. Suggesting that everyone learn to code is nonsense. It is the same as suggesting that everyone study skill XYZ. If you have an aptitude for it, ok. If not, you are just somebody’s meal ticket.

      1. Ptb

        It’s a pretty chill way to make money actually, if potentially boring. A lot of programmers are not the adventurous enjoys-solving-puzzles types, more like just hook up the pieces and go back to your online shopping, and that’s ok.

        It is however obnoxious that a lot of these “schools” hype it in various ways and take advantage of people just looking for a new start.

      2. RMO

        During my aborted attempt at learning to code – I went through one semester of computer science in university and learned that coding is NOT something I have any aptitude for whatsoever – I had a classmate who was only in class to get the magic piece of parchment. He knew as much about coding (in quite a few languages too) as any of the professors but found he kept losing out on jobs he wanted because he didn’t have a degree. I was fortunate enough to be matched up with him on the group project that counted for the majority of our C+ class grades. I got to pay him back a bit with the object oriented systems analysis class group project as I was able to understand that mystifying garble better than he was at least.

        I had my doubts that even if I had been adept at coding and able to complete the degree that I would have much of a chance at getting a job in the field, since I would have been trying to start out at about 40 years old by the time I could have graduated.

    2. Odysseus

      My experience with a Software Quality Assurance bootcamp was positive in that they did in fact teach me specific skills, but very negative in the fact that they outright suggested lying on my resume at the end.

      I suspect that experience is not rare in the bootcamp field.

      If these people are truly making an honest effort, that’s great.

  5. divadab

    Re: Vanity Fair article on “Trump’s Lies” in financial statements

    Not a fair presentation of the CPA firm’s Notice to Readers in the financial statements. Quite normal language where estimates of future income are used to value assets.

    Rather, the article is a hysterical rant about all Trump’s “lies” – like referring to Steve Cook as “Steve Apple” then denying he said it – this is so utterly trivial and at the same time typical of his fragile and narcissistic personality that delivering yet another raving hit piece is just a waste of time and a bore. Is this kind of stuff really indicative of how people think? Purely in terms familiar to high school class presidential politics? This seem to me to be really shallow low-IQ stuff.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Norway: Low Oil Pressure Caused Viking Sky’s Engine Blackout”

    So if I am reading this right, the sensors detected what the thought was low levels of lubricating oil, probably caused by the pitching of the ship, and shut down the engines to prevent damage to them. Is this another case of a computer overriding the humans operating the machinery like the 737 MAX? I’m fairly certain that the Captain would not have thought it a good idea to shut off the engines in the middle of a storm next to a ship’s graveyard. What is also of concern is that it seems that they were not able to start those engines straight away. Their solution of topping up this and the other sister ship’s oil to stop this happening again reeks of a kludge and seems to indicate that there is no manual override that the crew can use. Even Microsoft Windows will ask you if you really want to commit to an action but the ship’s computer, by the sound of it, never said to the Captain “Do you really want to have the ship’s engines shut down?” before doing so.

    1. Lee

      My car tried to kill me by randomly shutting off the engine, then after a time starting up again, then suddenly shutting down and so on. This episode was particularly perilous as I was driving mountain roads and then busy freeways. It turned out it was nothing mechanical. It was a malfunctioning digital component.

      Here’s a video of a guy trying to fix the same problem using a diagnostic digital code reader. Then the code reader craps out. Sad.

      1. Svante Arrhenius

        When my 17yr old cast iron efi 2.4L steel suspension Nissan suddenly got run over by a truck by the Lincoln Tunnel, I’d seriously thought of buying a old Celica GT or used (Toyota) Nova/ Vibe to replace it. But we’ve got salt and fracking fluid covered roads? Any input?

          1. Svante Arrhenius

            I’d had to drive 94mi to buy one of the Kraut designed/ Slovenian made Hyundai i30s and immediately drive TO the south, for work. I’m curious just how others, NOT on Manhattan Island are getting past simultaneous expense, crapification, complexity & spookiness of cars that play car sounds through the speakers while streaming images & location, lateral Gs, RPM, media & phone use?

            1. Wukchumni

              Haven’t seen it in almost a year, but half a dozen times previously on my drive into the Big Smoke, a candy apple red mint condition circa 1984 Yugo was going the other way, allowing me not ample enough time to ogle properly.

              1. Svante Arrhenius

                I’d driven my pal’s 1.3L (I’m 6′-5″, he’s a cross between Homer Simpson and Patrick Starfish) in icy Philadelphia, in 1996. Trying to double-clutch in metatarsal boots. I’ve also driven a 2CV in Venlo. I value my life, nowadays!

        1. Charger01

          The matrix/vibe cars are excellent commuters. I’d.highly recommend the focus hatchbacks as well…they’re pretty fun for an economy car

          1. Svante Arrhenius

            The i30CW was $14,370, better equipped than a $21K Focus or Mazda 3 (I’d driven all, as rentals). We’re curious how long, before Kia whups Lexus for dependability… still, I like the Idea of a 70s “desert” BMW 2.8 CSi or 450SL?

          2. JBird4049

            Just be careful with the Focus especially older ones as Ford put in cheap parts like weak springs in the door lock. Having the transmission, door lock, and cooling system die because Ford wanted to squeeze out just a few ollars per a car in profit was really an expensive problem for me.

            It killed the whole enjoyment of the hatchback.

            1. Svante Arrhenius

              London used the i30 for cop cars, Rio & Stuttgart, as taxis and the rest of us: as affirmation that Germans are the world’s biggest cheapskates. Benbro, KYB, Tokico, ZF, Bosch… parts, doubtless under contract from North Korea. Here’s a 1.6TDi Kia version:

        2. Lee

          I live in a snowless area on the left coast and I’ve been driving the same car for 20 years, so I can’t offer any useful advice.

          1. Svante Arrhenius

            Well, we’re thinking about re-batterying a 2nd hand plug-in, if we do end up out there (just as gas hits $6) but, I’ve run the last three cars until the Macpherson struts and valves shot through the hood? I’m guessing teeny EV & fixable wreck, until fuel cell or i3 or… maybe just move to where there’s lotsa streetcars and Rails To Trails?

      2. crittermom

        That’s why I prefer older cars in many ways.

        My 1987 did that to me, as well, while going through Turkey Creek Canyon in the mtns outside of Denver. At night. Yikes!

        Fortunately, I was able to drop a gear, pop the clutch & get it started while still moving, thus regaining all my steering & braking capabilities. (manual transmission)
        Yes. Scary stuff.

        Mine also turned out to be a computer sensor that caused it. One of only 3, I believe, in my old vehicle. (TPS, CPS, & O2)

        A regular garage’s diagnostics machine was unable to detect the problem, however, forcing me to take it to a dealership to have it diagnosed on ‘their’ machine. Grrrrr.

        1. bassmule

          A friend recently bought a 2019 Honda Accord. The top-of-the-line model comes with such features as a “lane departure warning” system and “Lane Keeping Assist.” After two incidents in which she had to struggle to maintain control of the car, she took it back to the dealer. At first she wanted her old car back, but instead had all those “safety” features turned off.

          1. JBird4049

            I have those same features in my Toyota, but I can turn them on and off easily myself. I can even physically overcome them while driving with just brute force. It is disconcerting to have the steering wheel move on it on. I even had my car “save” me from a supporting pillar by causing itself to glance and break part of a brick retainer wall. I had plenty of separation and time, but guess that the programmed safety margin said otherwise.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              my truck, now confined to a 50 mile radius, is an 01(?) dodge. cost me $4k in 07. stck shift, and I’ll run it into the ground, as per my long term vehicle policy.
              after driving my mom around in her ’18 chevy suburban…with all the “features” you indicate…including the damned ai taking over briefly when some sensor or another detects a “car”(or tree) in the other “lane”(the side of the driveway, at 2 mph)…i do not look forward to the eventual death of my beat up truck.
              it has only the most basic computer…all it does is fuel injection and ABS(which hasn’t worked in a long while).
              Mom’s, oth, thinks it’s smarter than i am, and also seems to think it’s a better driver.I’m doing good to turn on the “radio”…now you tell me you can turn all that crap off?
              I’ll seriously consider, in lieu of a mule and buckboard, some circa 1950 truck, and a crash course in shade tree mechanics.
              I’ve noted the ubiquitous and identical varieties of “suv” on the roads…how does anyone distinguish their own vehicle from anyone else’s,lol. every one of them has bells and whistles that i would just as soon do without…multiple points of failure is what I see, there.
              Mom’s old car(04 buick) has plenty of that, already…lights stay on for 10 minutes after one parks(makes me nervous, and i find it hard to go indoors until the computer has decided to turn them off), windows are “automatic”(until they don’t function at all)…and…indicative, perhaps, of a concerted effort at some high level, to encourage retiring older vehicles…when we hit a deer,causing minor damage to the front quarter panel, insurance immediately wanted to “total” it.$300 to fix the cosmetic damage, and the thing runs as good as ever(prolly the best vehicle we’ve ever had, touch wood). had to wrangle with insurance, and let them off the hook, in order to keep it, and still be insurable(won’t insure a totalled vehicle, apparently…altho I am a babe in the woods when it comes to the insurance universe, and find them incomprehensible and untrustworthy in the extreme).

              the mule and buckboard looks more and more enticing…but that would be problematic with our now frequent cancer runs to san antone, 130 miles southeast.(fwiw, we’re on “maintenance” chemo, now…which is as close to a miracle as I’ve ever observed, given where we were in september)

              1. Svante Arrhenius

                I was trying to park in Pittsburgh’s Strip, when all the AI Ubers reenacted HAL’s lobotomy. I’d just begun to appreciate that you could do anything you liked and scores of Fords & Volvos would reform around you (Uber’s campus looks like a “Silicon Valley” CGI set). Now that my peepz can call their Nissan from their Hauwai and our betters can have their i8 silently cruise, then pounce on TINY parking spaces. Well, perhaps we’ll call for autonomous delivery more often?

    2. dearieme

      The headline said that the problem was low oil pressure, the article that it was low oil level. Presumably to Reuters journalists those are the same thing.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        In a very poorly designed dry sump engine, they may be the same. Makes one wonder how radial engined aircraft ever flew…


    3. Cal2

      Who owns the cruise line?
      Where are they from?

      What country is it flagged out of?
      Who are the mechanics in the engine room?
      What country do they come from?
      What is their birth language?

      Who was the engineer in charge?

      The answer my friend IS the economic wind.

      1. Craig H.

        Norwegians are pretty elitist about their shipping industry. The top three officers on a ship like this would have social prestige like a professor at Stanford Medical School would have in Palo Alto.

        They are not like linebackers on the Minnesota Vikings. Maybe the starting quarterback.

    1. Geo

      There are plenty of them doing that digging but it doesn’t matter. Just as it doesn’t matter to the MAGA crowd when facts against Trump’s “greatness” are provided. Lines have been drawn, allegiances made, walls built, and those who are concerned with facts are just standing in the No Man’s Land as shots are fired all around them. It’s a war of idiotic ideologues and no facts can penetrate their defenses.

      It used to be that conspiracy theories were the domain of the highly skeptical (JFK, 9/11) or the fringe fanatics (flat earth, reptilian overlords). Now, conspiracy is mainstream: Millions of illegals voting, the Russians hacked our election.

      It’s a mass psychosis that is feeding on itself and, sadly, these death spirals of insanity don’t end well historically. Sick societies don’t suddenly wake up and realize they’ve become deranged. Historically they hit rock bottom, they blow up, then, in the rubble and ruin they look around and hopefully realize the folly of their ways. Hopefully.

      Unless there is some kind of national “group therapy session” I don’t see any chance for righting this course we’re on. Even with something that ridiculous I wouldn’t wager on progress. Any couples therapist will tell you that a couple driven to seek therapy has most likely already crossed a rubicon. And America doesn’t have a great track record in how it handles disaster. We tend to seek retribution and not reconciliation or rehabilitation.

      As Jeanette Winterson wrote: “There’s no such thing as endings, only revenge or forgiveness.” We know which one American society chooses.

      1. bronco

        the earth is crying out for a great reset , we are the chosen lambs. Run towards the darkness .

        Only in movies does superman save the day.

  7. DorothyT

    Brexit and Kafka. “Brexit: Everyone got it wrong.” Eric Lonergan.

    It is often forgotten that it is not economists who predict the future, but novelists. In this instance, only the great Czech novelist, Franz Kafka, correctly predicted Brexit. In The Castle, the protagonist, named ‘K’, embarks on a never-ending bureaucratic process seeking citizenship from the distant castle. It is ultimately impenetrable. Towards the end, K finally receives second-class status. The letter arrives the day after he dies. Kafka himself died before finishing the novel.

    1. Summer

      Re: Cabinet members tell may to embrace “no deal”

      Would it be appropriate to say that remain and ‘no deal’ are the most passionate teams?
      It seems clearer that everyone else in the UK govt thinks they are in a negotiation – not those two sides. The remain and ‘no deal’ see it as a battle/war to be won. That would be the simplest explanation for arriving at this point.

        1. Oregoncharles

          OK, that one nearly made me spit out my dinner. You’ve got to be careful with stuff like that.

          It does have a point.

    1. barrisj

      And Larry “Kuds” Kudlow is calling for the Fed to hack off rates by 50 basis points…nice work if you get it….because MARKETS!

  8. PlutoniumKun

    EAT-Lancet’s Plant-Based Planet: 10 Things You Need to Know Psychology Today. This illustrates why I am skeptical of “nutrition science”. I could go on for pages as to how astrology is more scientific. You cannot track accurately what people eat over long enough periods of time to conclude anything. However, we do need to be eating further down the food chain.

    There are few things more guaranteed to do your head in than to try to follow modern health advice. This article does raise some good points, but then goes and spoils it by raising straw man arguments and selective assertions. For one thing, the Lancet report never advocated veganism for health, for another, its simply untrue to say that there is only limited and flawed epidemiological evidence to say that a meat-heavy diet is unhealthy. In fact, there are numerous clinical studies, in particular with people suffering from cardiovascular or related problems, pointing to reducing red meat intake as important for health. Whether they ‘prove’ anything is hard to say, but those studies exist and for the author to pretend otherwise is evasive at best.

    A huge problem is that its hard to find any writer on the topic without some form of agenda, either scientific or ideological. A big problem with the ‘genuine’ science is the strong tendency of researchers to focus on research from their own particular branch of study. This results in a form of confimationary bias which riddles the subject.

    For what its worth, one of the few nutrition writers I’ve found convincing is Dr. Valter Longo, a longevity researcher. He’s the only one I’ve read who has tried to balance all the ‘branches’ of evidence – basic biochemical studies, epidemiological studies, clinical studies, centenarian studies (i.e looking specifically at populations who live long healthy lives), and systemic studies (modelling of complex interactions). He recommends mostly (but not exclusively) plant based diets, minimal snacking, minimal processed carbs, and reduced protein levels (but increasing the latter as you go older). Michael Pollen of course is also a great source of common sense.

    1. JohnM

      Would you care to cite a couple of the ‘numerous clinical studies’ pointing to reducing red meat as important for health?

      1. JohnM

        Not to say this is the final word, but here is a fairly comprehensive review of the lack of evidence from clinical trials purporting to show adverse health effects from red meat consumption.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        Why should anyone care about “a couple of the ‘numerous clinical studies’ pointing to reducing red meat as important for health?” The price of beef and other red meats has definitely lead me to reduce their consumption, as a matter important for the health of my pocketbook. And by the way — has our U.S. beef industry stopped their practices which lead to mad-cow disease and a spread of a similar disease to deer?

        1. crittermom

          I’m not aware of any recent reports of mad cow disease, but CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease) has been a problem in recent years for the deer family (which includes both white-tailed and mule deer, elk & moose).
          So far no confirmed reports of transmission to humans, but that still being studied. Advisement to not eat meat from infected animals.

          While it is 100% fatal to the animal, it is not the same thing as mad cow disease & not transmitted to cows.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            I haven’t heard of reports of mad-cow disease either, but I haven’t heard of changes to the way cow-parts are converted to cow feed that would prevent future cases of mad cow. It is heartening to know the deer disease is not transmitted to humans — so far as anyone knows. Even so, I very rarely eat beef and I don’t have access to deer meat.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        Yes indeed, if you don’t have access to major academic portals you can use a site called ‘Google scholar’ and type in ‘red meat’… and any additional health term such as ‘cancer’ or ‘heart disease’ or ‘ageing’, or even ‘health benefits’ etc., and you’ll get literally thousands of hits of peer reviewed studies, the majority (but not all of course) point to evidence of possible ill effects. I’d suggest looking directly at the meta studies and only those from the most reputable journals to save years of your life going through them all.

        1. JohnM

          Ok, in other words you can’t or won’t cite a study. The reason I asked is because the nutrition space is filled with dogma, you know, ‘facts’ that are put forth as authoritative without adequate grounds. And so it is with the red meat is unhealthy meme.

          So when you find someone who gets into the weeds and examines the facts supporting the prevailing dogma, like Harcombe does in the link i provided above, you see that things are quite as settled as the zealots and charlatans that present themselves as nutrition experts would have you believe.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            my sister in law learned some years ago from social media that the crust of bread “causes cancer”…now, many years later, they purchase only the crustless sliced bread(dry and cardboardlike, imo…and it didn’t surprise me to learn that their kids dislike bread).
            I, on the other hand, eschew the latest statistical correlations so breathlessly reported as if they were the voice from on high…and,being a former chef, and lifelong organic-sustainable farming guru…as well as an advocate for simplicity…eat pretty much what I want to….which, coincidentally, perhaps, includes little packaged/processed/industrial/factory food.
            peanut oil, olive oil and bacon fat and real butter…fruits and vegggies that either come from here, or are in their original, goddess designed and approved packaging(“rinds”, etc)…whole grains, no added sugar(abundant honey), little added salt(learn about herbs!),etc.
            cured wife’s type 2 diabetes, this way.
            given, since the colon cancer appeared(likely due to HFCS in soda she used to imbibe), we eat out more often than i would like…but even then, avoid “fast food”(currently, during our biweekly sojourns in san antone, I’ve been working my way through the numerous middle eastern/”Mediterranean” restaurants in that part of town…Halal is as good as Kosher, to my mind).
            I can smell Canola(=rape seed oil, an industrial lubricant) from the front door, and will leave on account of it.
            it’s hard to eat well, in our decadent age…I get it. folks are busy, busy, busy…and it takes time to cook for reals. .and I wonder if the skillset to do so is still extant.
            after surgery…and during the initial emergency phase in hospital…we were on the local “meal train”, where well meaning neighbors take turns sending a meal every night for a week. seems like everyone does “casseroles”,lol…and all find a way to include canned corn in them.
            Those 2 weeks of other peoples’ cooking had me in heartburn city.
            when I eventually get stabilised around here, and finally am able to contribute to this “meal train”, myself…I expect trembling amazement at my offerings,lol.
            (I can cook a running dog)

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          One wonders what sort of red meat was being eaten by the people in these studies. Was it mainstream Corporate Sh*tbeef? Or was it sidestream Artisan Shinolabeef?

          Corporate Feedlot Sh*tbeef with a high percent of omega 6 fatty acids derived from eating corn and soy? And whatever trace pollutants might be coming across with the Corporate Sh*tcorn/ Sh*tsoy generally available in feedlots?

          As against multi-species range & pasture fed beef with a high percent of omega 3 fatty acids from the green grassblades and green broadleaves eaten in the range and pasture? And without any ToxiCorporate Sh*tcorn/ Sh*tsoy anywhere in sight?

          Someone should do studies of this type comparing populations eating strictly and only 1 type of beef OR the other . . . . to see if the KIND of beef involved plays a role in multi-year health profiles.

    1. Cal2

      I carry pre-addressed and stamped envelopes.

      Tulsi Now
      P.O.Box 75255
      Kapolei, HI 96707

      When I chat up people in progressive places, and even some redneck bars, veterans love her. I emphasize how important she is to the debates to come.

      48 and counting, so far. Older people usually carry checks fortunately.

      A one dollar check, from a new donor, made out to Tulsi Now counts as a unique donor to get her on stage and to humiliate the corporate Democrats and to enlighten the voters. I think that she can attract a lot of Trump voters, more than she will take away from Bernie. I worried about that.

      Then a friend sent me this link:

      “Picture this scenario:

      Bernie pretty much stands alone, other progressives drop out ahead of actual voting. Bernie nets stunning wins thanks to Gen Z and all our efforts working our asses off, but reaches…48%. He clearly won the plurality.

      But it’s not 50%+1 at the first roll call, so superdelegates get to run loose, and lo and behold, meet nominee Kamala Harris with a whopping 20% of the original vote! Trump may as well be handed two scoops on a silver platter.

      Terrible for us and the planet. Instead, let’s picture a better scenario:

      Bernie gets 48%, but we also manage to convince a few Tulsi-loving Trumpsters, among others, to bite the bullet and vote in the Democratic primaries for her. We manage to get her about 17% of the vote.

      Tulsi and Bernie cut a deal ahead of the first roll call vote — she releases her delegates in exchange for VP and encourages them to back Bernie. Most, but not all do: about 12% of the total delegates at this stage vote for Bernie on the first ballot in addition to the 48% he receives.

      BAM. Bernie gets 60%, clinching the first ballot — and now, Bernie is the nominee. Many tears from corporate Dems follow as they flee to Trump’s orange arms….”

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        It is something that Bernie and Tulsi and all the Bernie and Tulsi people from staff all the way down to primary voters would have to cross-consult extensively about. If they could all come to a basic agreement to do this . . . or even to adopt the variant that whichever of the two reaches the Convention with less pre-pledged delegates will release those delegates to vote First Ballot for the one with more pre-pledged delegates, then the plan could work whichever one of the two arrives with more delegates.

        It would be the Dynamic Duo’s one and only chance to cram themselves down the Democratic Party’s throat.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Even though Gabbard isn’t my fave, I gave her some $ because I believe having her participate is very important. I’ll give another small donation to help. As I understand it, the requirement is donations, not donors, correct?

      1. marym

        It’s donors.

        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.

        There is also a way to qualify based on polling. And if there are > 20 candidates:

        If more than 20 candidates qualify for the debate, the top 20 candidates will be selected using a methodology that gives primacy to candidates meeting both thresholds, followed by the highest polling average, followed by the most unique donors.

        And this is just for the first 2 debates. It’s like means testing, but for debates.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Oh, oh well, my second small donation didn’t help but thanks for the clarification. This is the sort of thing I ought to know. But all the FEC-related pitches are misleading (even Tulsi’s tweet, as well as pitches I have gotten from various candidates) since they all talk about needing more “donations” to meet the target and not “donors”. They are using the FEC deadline to pull in $ regardless of whether a donation may actually help meet the FEC threshold or not.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              But the Tulsi tweet (see anon in ca above) refers to an “FEC deadline” and I’ve seen that in other pitches. So they are conflating the March 30 FEC deadline with the Dem party requirement…..I assume because the cutoff is based on the FEC deadline. Still…..

              1. marym

                Her tweet (or any candidate conflating the 2 things) is confusing. I don’t even know if any FEC filing deadline applies to the debate criteria, though I guess this is the last quarter-end before the first debate.

                The polling criteria debate deadline is 14 days prior to the debate, none specified in the dnc link for the # of donors deadline.

  9. Kit S

    First-time poster, but I couldn’t not share Glen Ford’s description of the “end” of Russiagate. The most concise, visually accurate rendering of the whole affair:

    Robert Mueller has finally put a plug in the noxious fart that has oozed for almost three years from the conjoined bowels of the Democratic Party and the national security state — but the stain remains, and may yet be lethal to us all.

    1. Mike

      Said it before, will say it again – the election interference accusation and the dulled findings of Mueller’s final report will allow all Dems and Repugs to punch left with abandon. As far as we’re concerned, no change here.

    2. Eclair

      Thank you for sharing, Kit S. Glen Ford is always worth reading.

      I have been studiously avoiding Russiagate, even trying not to think about it, much less discuss it. Mostly because much-loved family members had latched onto it as the means of ridding us of Trump. They were totally irrational about it, always bringing up references to evil Russians. I understood that this was a way of dealing with their grief and shock, but being older, I felt a sense of déja vu about the entire enterprise. Shades of the McCarthy hearings in the ’50’s and all that. So, I simply refused to engage.

      And, I remember clearly, driving from a family gathering on the east coast back home to Denver, in July of 2016, just after the DNC files had been leaked, revealing the machinations of the Clintonistas against Sanders in the primaries, and the remarkable pettiness of the participants. We had the car radio tuned into NPR as we drove through the vast GMO corn and soybean fields of the Heartlands, and listened to Robbie Mook explain, over and over and over, how it was the “Russians what done it!” Thereby deftly turning attention from the sordid workings of the DNC to that KGB chief, Putin, and his Evil Empire.

      Of course, at that time, ‘no one’ believed that Trump would beat Clinton. Except for the inhabitants of the Heartland and the de-industrialized cities of the northeast who were beginning to realize that the Democrats had either forgotten about them or despised them.

    3. Svante Arrhenius

      Thank you! I’m waiting to watch MSNBC turn from 24/7 RussiaRussiaRussia to: stoopit commies must stomped (uppity raghaids & treehuggerz too!) And they’ll doubtless be so subtle about the diversity of DNC churl’s bright eye’d kids, honest, nuanced and convincing K & C Street tropes that It’s won’t feel the least bit like some wry John Waters hallucinogenic feverish nightmare? Except, y’know… SUBTLE!

    4. dcblogger

      sadly it is not over. On Twitter I see all the RussiaGaters doubling down and attacking Glenn Greenwald for being on Putin’s payroll, for real.

      1. urblintz

        There’s a conspiricist at Counterpunch, Pemberton, who is attacking both Greenwald and Taibbi for “aligning” with Trump in oreder to establish their “anti-establishment brand.”. There’s another there, Feffer, who is whole hog that Russia is guilty and “hacked” the e mails and that Trump is indeed a Kremlin puppet. So to Eric Draitser who runs Counterpunch Radio

        Alex Cockburn is spinning in his grave

    5. Lepton1

      Barr’s report has resulted in a feeding frenzy on the right telling us to move along, nothing to see here. We have not seen the Mueller report, only the Barr report. Mueller chose not to bring charges of conspiracy. We don’t know what evidence he had either way. People saying there was “no evidence of collusion” are just making this up. We have to see the full Mueller report.

      By the way, there are some sixteen other investigations into Trump which are still going on, and the Mueller grand jury is still “continuing robustly.”

  10. Wukchumni

    The good old days? In many ways, yes Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
    That graph of the life expectancy of 66 year old males & females in 1940 & 1960 was a bit startling, how had it fallen during the baby boom?

    I’ll go with the advent of television being a factor, making us more sedentary, especially among the 66 year old set.

  11. upstater

    “All About Pete” is well worth a read.

    I didn’t know anything about Buttigieg and this article fully informs. Could have cut the length in half, but well-written and well-researched.

    Another “empty vessel” to project hopey-changey aspirations. Voters have been-there-and-done-that. This time is different.

    1. crittermom

      I appreciated this revealing article. It now gives me good arguments to use on anyone thinking he’s ‘better than Bernie’.
      This answer from Pete to a Vice reporter says a lot: “Right now I think we need to articulate the values, lay out our philosophical commitments and then develop policies off of that.”

      To me, that can be taken as political talk for, “I need to see where the money comes from first.”

      1. ewmayer

        And of course first Pete needs to figure out what said values and philosophical commitments *are* – they will be tightly correlated with donation levels, no doubt.

    2. edmondo

      “I want to be president so I can enact these policies that have not yet been developed.”

      You have a problem with this?

      1. Massinissa

        Pretty sure once he gets into office he will ‘develop’ policies that look a whole lot like neoliberalism.

    3. Mike

      I, for one, would love to see the same “analysis” done to all other Dem candidates in the field…

      Frankly, the articles would not have to be so long after soaking up the method of this one.

    4. ChrisPacific

      Yes, it was very good. I only skimmed it, but it made some useful points, like his ability to pick up languages quickly (i.e., he will end up sounding just like Sanders or even more so, while somehow avoiding picking fights with any of Bernie’s traditional enemies).

      1. Harold

        Maltese is a dialect of Arabic with vocabulary from Italian and French. So if he spoke it from childhood he would have had a big head start. He doesn’t know much Norwegian.

  12. Joe Well

    Re: white people’s food choices causing climate change.

    The obvious methodological issue is that they didn’t control for income, wealth, and geography (suburban vs. urban vs. rural and region of country) or any other intervening variable, judging only by that article.

    This seems like another instance of using race to avoid talking about income and wealth, much less class, which are near-taboo subjects in our oligarchy.

    I first noticed this while I was attending a super-expensive private college in the US (tuition fully paid by financial aid). The most striking thing about this place was that it was a bastion of the 1%. No one inside the ivy walls ever talked about that. Instead, they obsessively talked about race and, stunningly, managed to avoid mentioning the fact that the place was a 1% bastion and almost none of the US 1% are black, Latino or indigenous Americans. It was surreal.

    Of course, not hard to see how this undermines anti-racism.

    1. Darthbobber

      I had great difficulty coming up with any useful purpose that their “analysis” could contribute anything to.

    2. Darthbobber

      Did you notice that the study was down to nudge theory as a recommendation?
      Specifically directing propaganda at the captive audience of SNAP recipients to “implore” them to make dietary changes?

  13. lyman alpha blob

    RE: White Americans’ Food Choices Are Contributing Disproportionately to Climate Change

    So according to the article white people and other ethnic groups all eat about the same amount of beef, but whites are drinking too much water. Sounds like some study authors or headline writers with an axe to grind.

    1. nippersdad

      Water and milk. I had wondered if that wasn’t an oblique reference to cheese. The carbon footprint on that is probably pretty impressive.

      1. JEHR

        Canadian-born Cosimo Caravallaro is building a cheese wall on the Mexican-American border in order to “Make America Grate Again.” That was my laugh of the day.

        Cosimo is looking forward to watching his creation crumble away in the midst of its awesome smell. What a Hero! Cosimo’s art is an appropriate modern take on our very own North American Ozymandias who is building the beautiful border wall.

      2. jhallc

        Or perhaps a reference to greek yogurt. I know that I drink very little milk these days but, consume lots of yogurt which I never did growing up. I do know that there is a fair amount of waste related to producing “Greek” yogurt versus regular yogurt.

      3. Eclair

        Please, nippersdad, don’t knock cheese! The fermentation of fresh milk (from whatever mammal), in order to preserve it without refrigeration, is one of civilization’s great achievements. Well, I think so. As is the process of fermentation in general.

        Beer, sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, beer, kefir, filmjulk, beer, apple cider vinegar, wine, miso, tempeh, beer …. are all delicious foods. Some more than others.

        Note that I do not consider that violently yellow stuff with the consistency of plastic sheeting, to be a food. Using it as a construction material is brilliant!

        1. nippersmom

          I can assure you nippersdad meant no disparagement of cheese. We in the nipper household eat cheese of one variety or another on almost a daily basis.

      4. Darthbobber

        The huge difference in dairy consumption might have a slight connection with the high level of lactose intolerance in the black population.

      1. JohnM

        Those are always fair questions. But they also need to be asked of the authors of the EAT-Lancet diet. Look no further than Walter Willett if you want to find a conflicted participant.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “EU Parliament backs ban on single-use plastic products”

    Wait a minute. When these laws come into operation, that would mean that any shipment going to the EU would also have to be in compliance with this law. Which would also mean shipment of plastic products. Previous articles show that there are moves to ramp up plastic production in rural America. But with this EU law, a lot of the market for all that new plastic would cease to be. More so if other countries adopt the EU’s laws. Saw this with computer manufacturing when the EU banned the use of toxic metals and materials in them which forced the US to substitute other materials for any computer gear going to the EU. It may cost the EU a lot annually but not so much as trying to get rid of future plastic wastage.

    1. Geo

      The fact that Steve Bannon recently said only Harris/Beto could bear Trump should be the nail in the coffin for both those two. Anyone being touted by Bannon as the best hope for Dems is obviously the worst.

    2. Big River Bandido

      Isn’t “Medicare for America” the plan put forth by Pelosi et. al, to *prevent* actual reform?

  15. Frank

    Climate Change and the Death of the Small Farm

    Does anyone have any thoughts on how Contract Broiler Production is classified? Are these small farms, part of a dispersed corporate farm or even farms at all. Here’s how the system is described on this web-site

    “The contract system, which is essentially a partnership arrangement between poultry companies and growers, has generally worked to the benefit of both parties. It is a system that has provided farmers an opportunity to participate in poultry production while allowing integrators the opportunity to invest more capital in the processing and marketing segments of the business.”

    And the income earned? “Depending on the size of bird produced, five to seven flocks per year may be grown per house with flock sizes ranging between 22,000 and 26,000. Gross income per house will generally range from $28,000 to $35,000 annually. Thus, net returns per house are generally minimal ($3,000 to $10,000) during the 10- to 15-year payback period.”

    These operations are located in poor counties. Open Google Earth and zoom in on North East Georgia and one will see a lot of these houses in the midst of where folks live. The smell is awful and waste disposal is a problem and all of these have individual wells for water.

    Additionally one often sees news stories like this

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Don’t know an answer to your question. I’ve heard of modern sharecrop farmers working the 5 acre plus McMansion estates in my locale to help the well-to-do earn the farm income they need to avoid property taxes in my state.

      The thing that bothered me about this latest lamentation about small farmers was how it glossed over just how small a small farmer is these days and just how big some of the big farmers are — above and below 2,000 acres leaves quite a range of size variations and land quality varies. My high school had a strong and very active FHA program. Even many years ago the small farms in the area needed over a million dollars in land and machinery to operate. Small was not that small — I would guess the remaining ”small’ farmers run an operation with considerably more than 40 acres and a mule. I have trouble identifying the small farmers of today with the mythic family farmers of the Dustbowl days and before. While I am very concerned that the ‘smaller’ enterprises are being driven out of farming I am very suspicious of the farm subsidies to help the “family farmer” which I suspect actually help agribusiness disproportionately.

      I am extremely concerned with the long ongoing consolidations of food production. We already support Cartels like Cargill. Do we also need Bayer-Monsanto controlling the production of the food Cargill stores?

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        I don’t know personally about poultry, or dairy, since we no longer have that arund here…but ranchers(cattle, sheep, goat, and hair-goats/sheep) and what remains of the once thriving peanut farmers(now wheat, hay, oats and a handful of legacy melon-farmers(who remain independent) are almost all beholden to Giant Agribusiness for making their livings.
        it’s sharecropping/tenant farmer by anything but name.
        either you sell to the “integraters”(Pioneer for wheat, etc) or you don’t sell. They dictate price, as well as what inputs one needs.
        The melon guys still have local legend going for them(we once were famous for cantaloupes and watermelons), and likely the cost of shipping those big heavy items from the antipodes…but it’s nonmechanised and therefore labor intensive, so idk what the margins look like.
        the richer, more forward thinking peanut guys moved into winegrapes…and even that is dominated by the big, corporate wineries to the south, and the global boxwine makers globally.
        (altho there is a market for boutique, organic and otherwise throwback style grape growers, which the big corporate vineyards can’t as yet invade)
        everyone I know and/or talk to who still farms or runs cattle despises the corporate giants and their cartels, as well as the dysfunctional state and federal systems that are now all about the giantism.
        i point to the big peanut mill, rusting in the sun just north of town….we once were vertically integrated,lol.
        but the Giants caused the grocers and processors to exclude the little guys, and any such localism.
        This last fact is largely ignored by most of the reporting I’ve seen on the plight of rural america. from industry standards(sic) to packaging requirements to just not being able to get into the club for distribution, the little guy is screwed.
        I’m resolved to gray market, at best…and more likely black market produce(!)…at the very least to just hang on until it all comes crashing down, and the skills I maintain in my hermit kingdom museum farm are needed once more.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Thank you for your insight into the plight of not just small-medium farms but independent farms. It seems I might look close anywhere within our economy and there scan a landscape of unhuman giants driven by the mindless ‘logic’ of the full-throttle no-brakes Market building increasingly fragile structures to provide our food, medicine, power, and communications.

    2. meeps


      I don’t work in the industry but have read that the contractual relationship is between a grower and an Integrator, at least that’s the term used by Tyson. The big Integrators are Tyson, Perdue, and Koch.

      Perhaps you might find the classification you seek via the Small Business Administration? The degree of independence between growers and Integrators is debatable, but the Small Business Administration doesn’t think so because it makes SBA 7(a) loans to these operations. I do recall reading that, as of last year, one third of SBA loans made to Mississippi businesses were for poultry operations. One wonders what the losses and defaults in recently flooded states will be if their exposure is similar.

      The questions you raise are certainly worth investigating. If you take the net returns you cited over a 10 to15 year payback period, account for broiler house cost increases which could be substantial, I doubt it’s equitable for the growers, their neighbors, or the environment.

      Would be curious to know what you discover.

  16. JEHR

    Re Trudeau’s big problem:

    Trudeau needs to make a very contrite, humble, truthful speech where he comes clean about his desire to use the deferred prosecution legislation for the corruption/bribery trial of SNC-Lavalin. I visualize that speech along the lines of Obama’s splendid speech regarding his relationship with Minister Wright.

    Will it happen? I don’t think so. He will not be re-elected if he does not come clean, if he does not apologize to all the people he should apologize to (including Jody Wilson-Raybould) and then keeps his party as clean as a whistle. He has been a huge disappointment to our country.

    1. marieann

      “He has been a huge disappointment to our country.”

      I so agree. While I did not vote for him I was really willing to give him a chance….I guess he talked well.

      I shall have to drop him a note and give him a bit of advice.

      1. RMO

        You had the option of voting for him? That must have made the election more interesting – or do you mean that you had a vote at the Liberal convention? I voted for the Liberal candidate in my riding because, for the first time in decades there was a chance that anyone but a Conservative might win the riding I’m in. I would have preferred Green or even NDP but without any form of proportional representation voting for anyone but the Liberal or Conservative candidates would have been throwing my vote away and I was only really interested in getting rid of the Conservatives that election.

  17. dearieme

    “water, a resource that is getting scarcer as the planet warms”: it’s mutton-headed to think about water as if it were in finite supply rather than being part of an endless cycle. Thus, if (say) part of the USA claims to be short of water that just means that water has been incorrectly priced so that there are insufficient economic incentives to bring supply and demand into balance. Install the correct incentives and demand would wane and supply wax. Put otherwise: it’s really stupid and corrupt to subsidise the growth of water-hungry crops in a desert climate and then bemoan a scarcity of water.

    Talking of the untrustworthy, I agree about nutrition – almost everything we are told is obnoxious twaddle. Presumably there is a sound base of scientific knowledge about necessary vitamins and minerals (though I don’t actually know that such a base exists). Most of the brouhaha, however, doesn’t even meet the standard of “96% is crap”.

    1. Wukchumni

      Water is so common here the founders didn’t go with Four Rivers, as it should be as there are 4 forks of the Kaweah River, and chickened out with a mere 3,

      Its pretty much all vouched for by Ag, and from here it goes to the Friant-Kern Canal-which thanks to too many steel straws sucking hard during the drought by avid orchardists, caused subsidence with a repair bill of $400 million, in order to build new sections adjacent to the shrunken underfoot existing canal.

      Meanwhile down south, they’ve mostly got bupkis, SD has little in the way of well water, nor LA. There’s pockets here and there in the desert with good aquifers, always far from population centers.

      A mistake of a lake created accidentally over a century ago, that’s a festering ticking time-bomb. I went once and the odor was pretty hanky, and desolate has met it’s match, the whole thing reeked of wrong, the runoff from Ag chemicals feeding the fuse, only previously diffused by adding precious H20 into a body of water with no intake or out-take stream, and most importantly, with no profit potential to keep on putting off the inevitable, screw it dude, lets go bowling.

      The Salton Sea is a disaster in the making. California isn’t doing anything to stop it

      1. GF

        Good bye to that god forsaken piece of man-made real estate – an take the entire Imperial Valley with it. Growing water intensive crops like alfalfa is not an appropriate use of water in a place that is as hot as Death Valley but with more humidity due to the wasteful flood irrigation practices. Lots of Saudi owned farms where the alfalfa is shipped back home to feed their beautiful horses – can’t use precious Saudi water as they learned growing alfalfa in the desert is disastrous – ruin USA instead.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Potable water is the resource that will become scarce first, by 2050 if not sooner. You are incorrect to dismiss this as an issue. This is globally, not just in the US.

      1. Enquiring Mind

        Bush South American aquifer / watershed acquisition raises questions.

        (A headline I’d like to see)

        And here are some questions:
        Who found the deal?
        Did the seller transact voluntarily?
        How many other under-publicized transactions are locking up water?
        What are the extradition conditions?

        Such purchases years ago make one wonder about the commitment of Bush family members and others with NZ SHTF bolt holes to the country that they allegedly call home. If they are so quick to leave, are they planning to pay handsomely for all of their staff and families to join them, or just fly away to new quarters serviced by vetted locals? Yeah, I know.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Maybe if their trusted private armies find themselves “not on the plane” as it taxis down the runway, their trusted private armies will “shoot the plane down” as soon as it is airborne.

    3. Massinissa

      This comment seems like a non sequitur.

      Yes, ‘water’ will never disappear from a global perspective. But you can’t look at a drought and say, “Oh, its not a big deal. The water isn’t here but it still exists in some other place in the water cycle so there’s no problem”. There will always be ‘water’, but that doesn’t mean countries can’t have shortages of POTABLE water.

      Access to water sources has been a reason for conflict throughout human history. This is a case of relative shortage, not absolute shortage. Water existing in the ocean, in the ice caps, or somewhere along the water cycle doesn’t mean there can’t be a shortage of water to meet the needs of both agriculture and human thirst.

  18. Anonymous

    “OxyContin-Maker Owner Maligned Opioid Addicts, Suit says.”

    In an email, Richard Sackler objected to “criminal addicts . . . being glorified as some sort of populist victim.”

    Can’t imagine what Sackler thinks of criminal drug dealers. The article says Sackler didn’t want “legitimate patients” being confused with “reckless criminals.” He must’ve meant legitimate customers.

    There really is a war in class warfare.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      The Sackler family could learn something from Aubrey McClendon. The entire family. IMHO.

      1. JEHR

        Further to Purdue’s part in creating opiods and selling them as “non-addictive,” the company is also, apparently, developing naloxone for treatment of opiod overdoses. I hope this is not true:

        Purdue Pharma Canada, the privately held maker of OxyContin, the world’s top selling prescription opioid painkiller, is developing its own version of naloxone and hoping to market it in Canada. Purdue Pharma Canada is a separate legal entity from the company’s U.S. operations.

        See also here.

        1. Anonymous

          There’s a bunch of definitions for racketeering. One of them is where you pretend to solve the problem you created.

        2. Anonymous

          the New York City Public transportation system (buses and subway cars) have ads for naloxone. They tout stories where a neighbor or family member’s life was saved.

          (Also, in the age of neoliberalism, when a subway train pulls into a crowded station, the Public address system announces, Let the ” customers” off the train first. For decades it always said let the Passengers off first.)

          1. Big River Bandido

            The whole bit about “customers” is a real pet peeve of mine, but I chalk it up to a general decline in literacy and corruption of language — which could be one result of neoliberalism and the corruption of language by “business-speak”.

  19. Cal2

    More race-baiting, politicization of everything, culturally divisive, pro-reelect Trump propaganda,
    i.e.”White diet horseshit.”

    I guess he thinks all white people drink massive amounts of milk and eat steaks every night?
    Let’s reverse Mr. Jacobs’ cultural criticism of food with the same kind of stereotypes he uses:

    Church’s, Popeye’s or KFC Fried Chicken, made with GMO corn fed, pesticide laced feed, antibiotics dosed chicken. grown on massive factory farms, cooked in cheap GMO, pesticide laced vegetable oil fryers, usually electric fossil fuel powered, from food processors warehouses where ingredients are wrapped in plastic, cardboard and are then trucked long distance to franchisee outlets is what black people eat.

    Hispanics love barbecue which is the same kind of factory farmed high confinement cattle, pig and chicken meat. The pork fat that makes refried beans or a good burrito, comes in five gallon plastic buckets from Armor, and is dosed with PCBs, Roundup, pesticides and antibiotics, originates in hog processing plants in the Carolinas with huge lakes of pig shit that overflow in hurricanes and poison the water table, the meat centrally processed in plants staffed by overworked neo-slaves from Somalia.

    So, Mister Jacobs, what do you eat? Is it an all organic vegetarian diet that you grow yourself?

    1. Lee

      Touché! A famous Mexican chef, whose name I cannot recall, was asked to name the one most important secret ingredient to good Mexican food. He responded, “Lard.” And for the French, I’m sure butter ranks high and for the Inuit, it’s probably blubber. Two-thirds of the Masai diet consists of milk, meat, and blood. These populations may not live long enough to enjoy the pleasures of a nursing home but they have been producing successive generations for millennia.

  20. Synoia

    Could the Ancient Jewish Practice of Shmita Be a New Tool for Sustainable Ag?

    Fallow one year in six? This method replaced the European fallow i=one year in 4 buy choosing crops o replenish the soil.

    The root of this problem is the American Farmers DO NOT practice crop rotation, and rely on chemical fertilizers instead.

    I once visited the Andrew Jackson estate near Nashville, where the tour guide, the Museum Curator, stated the curse of farming in the South was lower yields cased by growing cotton years after year. I asked about crop ration, which was practiced in Europa for millennia, and he paused, and said “You are the first person to ask that question.”

    Something about “Those who do not know their History are condemned to repeat it” crossed my mind.

    Here’s my theory: The practice of farming in the UK was not brought to the US, because the farm workers who actually practiced farming did not emigrated to the Southern Colonies of America. Those immigrants in the South were the younger British Aristocrats, without inheritance under primogeniture, and also ignorant of the them British farming practices.

    Thomas Coke is recognized as sparking the British Agricultural Revolution, at about the time of the US revolutionary war.

    One important change in farming methods was the move in crop rotation to turnips and clover in place of fallow.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’ve heard it argued often that a core problem of American agriculture is that historically it had too much land. It was easier to work land to exhaustion and then move on. Its often forgotten that much of the forests of the north-east in as far as the Great Lakes was once farmland – abandoned in the 19th and early 20th Century as farming moved west. This meant that mainstream US agriculture never really learned how to live with the soil.

      Leaving land fallow has been a standard part of nearly every agriculture system (except perhaps the super fertile floodplains of the Middle East and Asia) for as long as humanity has farmed. Certainly nearly all historic European systems relied on rotation and fallow land and its increasingly realised that what has often been dismissed as ‘slash and burn’ in Central and South America was in fact a more subtle and successful system for keeping delicate tropical soils useable.

      1. Cal2

        Yup. Cotton and tobacco farming exhausted Southern soils. When slavery was banned in new virgin soil states, like Kansas, the south had no choice but to go to war to keep practicing its soilcide.

        That article sure looks like a retrovistic rip-off of Mollison’s theories of Permaculture and a potential politicization of who gets to eat.
        Seen how the shittiest rocky wasteland is greened?

        1. The Rev Kev

          I read once that it was because of the way that cotton exhausted the soil, that it had those in the Confederate south eyeing off places like Cuba after they had beaten the North.

  21. Susan the other`

    BBC. Tasmanian Devils are coexisting with cancer. Maybe I’m too removed from genetic adaptation research, but this seemed almost groundbreaking. The conclusion anyway. In just 8 generations, 16 years, Tas Devils have begun to both survive cancer and become immune to it. Their particular cancer was facial tumors that spread throughout their faces rapidly killing them off. Now some are immune and some are surviving 2+ years – long enough to have 2 litters to pass on their adaptation. There is thought to be a transmissible form of this cancer and researchers believe this variety is the one the Devils are becoming immune to. Their increased resistance is apparently making them immune over 2 or so generations. Now some animals don’t get the disease or recover from it without human intervention. So: they conclude that Devils are “adapting to the transmissible variety of tumor both at genetic and phenotypic levels.” My question is, Which changed first, did the genes mutate or did the acquired characteristic – some somatic immune response – cause full immunity in some animals? The scientists say there is a process beginning with tolerance, moving on to resistance, and ending in more animals being immune. Looks like a clear example of epigenetics. And surely this is a ubiquitous process in all of nature, given enough time for survival.

    1. Susan the other`

      also the transmissible form seems to have been self generated in that the scar tissue from repeated bites can be transmitted causing new infections… so this sounds like the Devils are responding to the original cancer epidemic as if to self-vaccinations… that’s pretty interesting too.

    2. Oregoncharles

      I don’t think I fully understood the study results, but it sounded like the devils are pre-adapted to this type of cancer – their adaptation to it is remarkably quick.

      If the cancer is caused by their practice of biting each other, it has doubtless happened before.

  22. Cal2

    Here’s what I think is the most important and possibly overlooked paragraph in the Arizona Home Invasion article:

    “Bryce once again refused over the phone to let officers into the home and said, “you’re not going to
    make me go to the hospital and spend three grand on an emergency room visit.”

    What the pater familias should have done was ask for a letter written by Child Protective Services indemnifying him from all hospital charges before he opened the door.
    Yet another reason we need M4A, higher rates of childhood immunizations and treatment.

    “An AI startup has found a new source of cheap labor for training algorithms: prisoners”

    Kamala Harris opposed compliance with a court order to dramatically reduce California prison overcrowding, because it would shrink the number of inmates available for work in the prison system.

    “Dehumanization by Deification: On Kamala Harris and ‘Black Women Will Save Us’” [Verso]. “[T]here is a duly irresponsible and unacceptable idea that an individual’s politics are beyond reproach because they possess a marginalized identity (or multiple ones)… This superficial politics of representation (i.e. the idea that elevating minorities to positions of power is an unquestioned social good regardless of their politics) and a weird fetishization, rather than actual respect, for non-white womanhood.” • Yes, it certainly is odd that Harris’ campaign site has no mention of policy…. In 2017, we didn’t have a name for devotees of this “irresponsible and unacceptable idea,.” Now we do: identitarians.

    1. a different chris

      And, although I have no sympathy for the anti-vax stance, I do have a lot for the “three grand” bit.

      Mostly what I see here is as usual the 90% sent to fight each other. You got a guy who can’t afford a hospital visit being stormed by a bunch of people who can’t, either (unless they get shot on the job I suppose). Of course the weaponry the stormers are outfitted with have a price tag that could pay for all involved’s healthcare, but that’s different somehow.

      1. Phenix

        The police and CPS also kidnapped the two other siblings who are placed with separate families. They then refused to allow the grandparents to take custody. Thankfully the judge ruled that they had to complete a safety inspection with in 4 days.

        Pro vaxxers will be releived to know that the state will forcefully vaccinate their children. I hope you pause to consider that the two older children were not sick. They were kidnapped because the house was dirty. A child’s vaccine status is not a reason to remove him or her from a parent’s custody.

        1. Aumua

          Not an anti-vaxxer by any means, but boy do I take exception to forced vaccination via home invasion. Or forced anything, really. It is kind of scary, and also if they want to spread anti-vax sentiment that’s certainly the way to do it.

    2. Stadist

      On the Arizona case:
      I don’t understand this general attitude of refusing to cooperate with the police. Hypothetically, if the father just brought the boy out to be inspected by police this incident could have been avoided. However the family being anti-vaxxer and authority resistant are logically coherent stances at some level.

      But what do I know living in country where we still seem to have functional social contract between people (hint: not USA), so most people tend to be very cooperative with the authorities. This is also a country where police almost always aim for non-lethal takedowns if possible, and police killing criminals or criminals killing police is extremely rare. This is because of the still functional social contract in my opinion.

      On larger level the Fathers fear of large hospital bill is completely reasonable justification for their actions, and this position is twisted only when it’s shown without a doubt that his son was suffering from a condition that children are commonly vaccinated against. I do have negative opinion about him because of the anti-vaccination attitude, but it’s irrelevant in this case, the article does not mention the exact condition child was afflicted with, other than high fever.

      However this quote from the article:
      “The police report said that when officers entered the house, two other children were found “in their bedroom, which was covered in stains of unknown origin.” This is pretty typical example of victim shaming to be honest. So the police and people are supposed to be appalled by the fact that same household avoiding ER because of 3 grand expense is not up to the expected level of cleanliness. It should be pretty clear at this point we are not talking about some perfectly average middle class american household. But apparently being poor and having bad bedsheet hygiene is justifiable reason for police to threaten family with lethal force (guns drawn ready to fire). This is sick.

      Also the dystopian scene of authorities storming home because of refusal to use overtly expensive for-profit medical services. Just wow.

      1. Plenue

        “I don’t understand this general attitude of refusing to cooperate with the police.”

        This is something I often wonder about when I watch video of various acts of police abuse. And make no mistake, they are abuse; cops will claim pretty much anything as ‘resisting arrest’, and will use the claim of resistance as justification for inflicting injury or death. But from a purely pragmatic point of view, just do what the damn cop says. This is the world we live in, it’s not a good thing, but priority one for anyone should be to get out alive and unharmed. I get that people are probably stressed out in the heat of the moment, but people should know not resisting arrest involves more than just chanting, like a mantra, “I’m not resting arrest” while the cops are clearly having to drag you around.

    3. Anonymous

      cal2: you may be right. . . A three thousand dollar trip to the emergency room is the reason the police are called (as a healthcare delivery service of last resort) which, in turn, is the why for all the Media attention . . .which leads to the debate about vaccines. . . when the story — and the argument– is unaffordable critical healthcare . . . so call the cops.

      healthcare is a luxury

    4. newcatty

      Identitarian politics is nothing new. The most obvious examples being Hillary and Obama. Really can’t forget one of Hill’s ardent supporters, Albright, telling women if they don’t vote for Hillary then there is a special place in hell for them. That evil women also told us that dead children from our war in Iraq were “worth it”. Obama, as somebody else stated, served the PTB as a Republican. I remember just being sickened with his statement to the effect: torture was wrong, but let’s just go forward. He was the slick one (Bill was a gangster who pretended to feel our pain). But, Bill played the sax and Obama could bring cool players to the white house! Harris is the next iteration of the DNC brand. Her record is deplorable. But, when did that ever make a difference to them? Biden is a sinister joke and he will just be “campaigning ” for some dems to bring in his admirers. Bernie and Tulsi are going to have to be careful, or the primary could be rigged again.

      1. dearieme

        ‘That evil women also told us that dead children from our war in Iraq were “worth it”’

        Yes, and the number put to her was half a million dead children. And that was the Clinton administrations (alleged) death toll: W’s lunacy was yet to come.

    5. Yves Smith Post author

      The mother had called the doctor saying the fever was down. The doctor didn’t believe her and called the cops. I suspect the kid had more amiss than just the fever, as in he was listless or had poor color and the doctor was skeptical that the child had recovered so quickly.

      The police were asking to see the kid. There is nothing in the video interaction that has the police saying the parents must take the child to the emergency room.

      When the police came the second time, the father should have gotten it through his head that this was not going his way.

      The police may also have started to suspect that the father had other motives in not letting them see the child, like not even getting a look inside the house when he opened the door. The father refused to open the door until the police broke in. Most people open the door and talk to the cops at the door.

      1. Phenix

        I am on a phone right now. It’s hard to get links together. Documents show that the child’s fever was in remission by the time the cops kidnapped him. The family is likely aware that you never let cops into your house with out a warrant especially in Arizona. The state had to pass a law to prevent CPS from kidnapping children ie taking children with out a warrant then refusing to release them to the family.

        The state is claiming neglect because the family refused to seek a 2nd opinion after the fever broke. You would think that the family would be reunited once the state understood that the fever was not a threat. Instead they separated the siblings and are forcing the parents into therapy plus drug tests for the father. The grandparents have not taken custody because the state wants to inspect their house. The state said it would possibly take a month since it’s outsourced. A judge ruled against CPS and gave them 4 days.

        So in short. Follow a clinic doctor’s order even if events change because they will take your kids.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Don’t bullshit. This is all about promoting critical thinking and I’m not keen about having readers make misrepresentations.

          The ONLY thing that would have been a “document” would be a medical record from an independent party showing that the kid’s temperature had fallen enough for him to be considered not at risk.

          No, there are NOT documents that can prove what the kid’s temperature was after the doctor assessed him in person and prior to when the cops removed him from the house. There are only claims by the parents that were not and cannot be independently verified,. They resisted having the cops look at the kid, which would have settled the matter if the kid’s fever had indeed fallen.

          BTW, all sorts of medical stuff on Google (Mayo + various pediatricians) say a fever over 100.4 degrees in a toddler should be checked out. One account says the mother said she called the doctor after the office visit and said the child’s temperature was 102 and she therefore wasn’t going to the ER. The doctor may have actually believed her on the temperature reading but thought this was not enough improvement to rule out meningitis and still wanted the kid tested for that. The fact that the mother called the doctor to report in and he called then the cops strongly suggests that the doctor told her a second time the kid still needed to go to the ER. It would be nonsensical for him to have called the cops if he was satisfied with a report that the temperature was now 102.

          The cops asked to see the child. They did NOT seek to enter the house on the first two visits. That could have been done outside the house. If the kid’s fever was largely over, it would have only been a nuisance to haul him outside the second time the police came, when it was clear they were not going to back down on this one.

          And we only have the family’s side of the story. The doctor can’t talk to the press due to medical privacy rules. The cops/family services haven’t said what they ascertained about the kid’s condition after they took him in custody to the press, presumably for similar reasons, but that may have come out by now in court.

          You also gloss over that the doctor had put the cops in an impossible position by calling in and reporting the parents as not handling a “life threatening condition” properly. If you want to blame someone, he’s the one to blame for the use of what he had to know was a red alert. He chose to force the police to intervene, at a minimum get confirmation that the fever really had abated.

          The other part that is being glossed over is that this doctor was a naturopath. This may have been what led to his response, that he knew his limits (or was worried about legal liability), that the kid should see an allopathic doctor. So the lesson may be, “Naturopaths are fine for wellness and chronic conditions, but not for anything acute.” Or maybe, “If you are a budget-strained parent, skipping vaccinations for your kid puts you at financial risk.”

  23. dcblogger

    White Americans’ Food Choices Are Contributing Disproportionately to Climate Change
    articles like this are planted by the fossil fuel lobby to deflect attention away from the causes of global warming and pit one group against another.

  24. sometimes Sunday Susan

    The doctor’s strike that nearly killed Canada’s Medicare-for-all plan, explained.

    I hesitate to mention anything negative about the Canadian healthcare system, but having lived in Canada since 2010 after spending 30+ years in the US working in medical practices there is one major problem my husband and I have become aware of and that is the problem of access to primary care physicians. In Halifax, NS it took the better part of a year to find a general practitioner and when we did that clinic was nearly 15 miles away from our home.

    Last summer we relocated to Victoria, BC and have found the situation as regards finding a doctor to be even worse. When older physicians retire they’ve found it increasingly difficult to recruit doctors to take over their practices. Many young doctors prefer to become ‘hospitalists’ who specialize in treating/advising patients who are already hospitalized. Presumably this allows them to have regular working hours so they can enjoy the benefits of family life. I can’t blame anyone for that.

    Nevertheless, it’s maddening that in order to be seen by a physician it’s standard to sit in a crowded uncomfortable waiting room for hours in order to consult a tired overworked practitioner. Around here they’re known as travel agents because their main endeavor involves writing referrals to specialists.

    I can’t say I know what the answer might be – perhaps allowing qualified doctors who have come from other countries to practice medicine here or being more open to allowing nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants. Whatever the solution may be, and I’m sure there is one, it’s a problem I haven’t seen mentioned previously. Yes, it’s wonderful having affordable medical coverage, but considering the problems here that include the fact it’s so much more lucrative for doctors to specialize I can’t help but wonder where the US would find all the GPs it would need in order to establish a universal plan.

    1. marieann

      We had a doctor shortage for a time but it seems to be resolved now. We have a lot of new doctors from overseas though we haven’t got into the Nurse Practitioners, I know they use them more in the larger cities like Toronto.
      We do have a lot of walk in clinics which do not replace family doctors but can serve in a pinch.

      I will just add, my doctor is young around 40ish and I can get an appointment with him the same day and be in and out in 15 minutes. He is about 10 miles from me.

      My sister relocated to BC a few years ago and had no problem finding a doctor.

      The horror stories I hear on NC puts my 25 minute drive to see my doctor into perspective

    2. PlutoniumKun

      There is pretty much a crisis in every major developed country for old style family doctors. I’ve a family member who specialises in research into this – a lot of it is societal change although a big one – rarely said in public – is the feminisation of the profession. Quite simply, younger doctors, especially female doctors, aren’t willing to devote themselves to the long unsocial hours and relatively poor pay and conditions of the family practice, preferring instead the steady wages and regular hours of hospital work.

      This is one reason why most countries are opting for a model based on clinics, with multiple doctors working to serve a community. This works in urban areas, but is less suited to small towns and rural areas where there isn’t sufficient catchment to support one.

      Another very successful solution tried here in Ireland is to encourage co-operatives. Essentially, a group of family doctors practices club together to manage home visits on a professional basis (using specialist cars with drivers and share their patient records). This means that outside clinic hours they all share the burden of home visits – this has proven very successful.

      1. newcatty

        PlutoniumKun, could you address the reasons that family doctor’s are not paid, if not as well as specialists and hospitalists, at least close to their yearly income?

      2. dearieme

        “manage home visits on a professional basis (using specialist cars with drivers”: in the GP practice we use one of the partners makes her home visits by electric bike. It’s far quicker through our local clogged traffic than any car could be.

        I have given the practice permission to share my records electronically with other local practices and with the local teaching hospital.

        On the other hand, the hospital seems incapable of marshalling the paper records it keeps on me. At one time it turned out that it had two sets, one corresponding to the correct spelling of my surname and the other to a variant some bozo had preferred. How that worked given that we also all have a couple of unique numerical identifiers, God knows. Some strange recent glitches make me wonder whether the hospital is still running two sets of records, but an e-mail of enquiry has had no response yet. Whatever you finally do, America, do NOT copy the NHS. Try France, or Singapore, or Iceland, or …. as your model, but not the NHS.

    3. rd

      In BC, there is starting to be a focus on family practice clinics instead of traditional small practice family doctors.

      GPs, internists etc. don’t have the cachet of many specialties and not enough doctors are signing up for it, even though it is the key front line position in medicine.

  25. Jason Langford

    RE: White Americans’ Food Choices Are Contributing Disproportionately to Climate Change

    I wonder if anyone ever calculated the impact of NAFTA on climate change, it but a lot of Mexican farmers out of business in favor american corporate agriculture and I remember reading studies showing farming methods used in Mexico were far less resource intensive, the American system of agriculture cuts manpower needs but uses much more energy

    1. newcatty

      Thank you for mentioning the egregious fact that American corporate ag business just plowed over the Mexican farmer’s family farms. Besides their losing their income and way of life, a staple crop and food source were their strains of corn. They farmed without pesticides and herbicides. Could be called organic farming. Also, knew how to sustainably farm, such as using water resources wisely. Add the evil of GMO seeds pushed on what most farming is occurring in Mexico. We used to go to a “mexican” food store once in awhile in former SW city in AZ. Used to be that corn products, like tortillas, were not filled with fillers and were not GMO. Yes, we knew people at local university who knew what was going on. Most shoppers are Hispanic and buy there because it’s familiar food products and less expensive. Also, the shelves got more and more filled with American big ag distributed products. Just the greed and crapification of food sources for low income people. Also, couple that with, has anyone else noticed, rising costs of organic? We are fortunate that we have time to plan shopping for food around organic sales.

    2. ewmayer

      Exactly – just replace “White Americans’” with “Neoliberal Economists'” and the headline works.

  26. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Ambulance Debt” — The paragraph from this link that stuck with me is the following:
    “My ambulance bills ranged from $937 to $1,105 per ride. When asked why the price was so high, Gold Cross Ambulance, the private company that transported me during my homelessness, did not respond to requests for comment. Similarly, The Road Home would not speak to me on the record, with its marketing director supplying a written response that they have “many community partners that play important roles in providing support for people who come through our doors, including emergency medical services.”

    The ambulance bills for the homeless are the same as the ambulance bills for the rest of us … and those bills are outrageous.

  27. JeffC

    “Airline regulators knew about Boeing 737 MAX nosedive issue 2yrs ago” (RT)

    Hard to take seriously any MACS/Boeing reporting that speaks of the system’s purpose as pushing the nose down to prevent engine failure. A stall in an aircraft isn’t a mechanical engine stall, it’s an aerodynamic wing stall, which by now everyone except RT understands.

    1. Geo

      Good article but I just assumed that was the motive of every charter school owner. If they actually cared about “the kids” they’d put their efforts into bettering a once admirable public education system.

      I’ve known a three people who have gone into the private school business. All are “liberals” (vote Dem) but also come from the Ivy League and well off families, and all are guided by status and wealth accumulation. They talk as if they’re doing good for the world by offering education and feel their wealth from this is the reward for doing good.

      I’ve tried to point out in the past that those that do good deeds don’t get wealthy from it. But, have given up because it’s like trying to explain to my cats that sofas are for sitting, not scratching. They just look at me like I’m a narrow-minded idiot and then go find new places to scratch.

  28. Chris Peters

    Color me a wee bit skeptical on that Asia times story that ISIS caliph Baghdadi is hiding out in the desert with a thousand or so ISIS dead-enders.

    The story seems plausible, however I would ask “cui bono?”

    A narrative that Baghdadi and ISIS holdouts are holed up in caves deep in the Syrian desert benefits the US war machine quite nicely:

    1. It’s impossible to disprove – until someone finds a body and does DNA testing at least
    2. It provides a reason to maintain some US military presence in Syria
    3. It provides a nice proverbial self-licking ice cream cone of more funding from Congress to fight “terrorism.”

    1. chuck roast

      I always see Asia Times in the Links. The few times I clicked on the articles they were badly written, obvious propaganda or told me absolutely nothing.

      Now, I look at the headline and think, “what BS!”

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        They do have articles from Pepe Escobar that are good if a bit histrionic in tone, plus I think some doses of China-oriented propaganda are a useful contrast to the US spin we get all the time.

    2. Geo

      That’s the great thing about “The War on Terror”: there is no way to quantify its success because terror, and terrorism, are tactics and the ideologies can pass from person to person so killing a “terrorist” can actually breed many more who saw that person as a provider, loved one, neighbor, or freedom fighter.

      If we actually wanted to defeat terror we’d be building up these places and not bombing them. But, there’s no profit in warm fuzzy feelings… or at least not large of profits.

    3. Plenue

      Badia is also firmly inside the Syrian government controlled parts of Syria, so if anyone is hiding out there, it’s the SAA’s problem. Good luck to the US trying to justify operating there.

      I’m not entirely sure the Syrians would have a pressing need to go in and clear it out, either. Just encircle and blockade, occasionally lobbing artillery in. Starve Baghdadi out.

      1. The Rev Kev

        From what I have read, it is tough, volcanic territory where the ISIS die-hards are located. There are three small pockets of them in the east to clear out but as ISIS is dug in and probably has lots of ammo and supplies cached, any attempt to do so would result in a high casualty count. Of more concern to the Syrian Army is the Al-Tanf region on the southern border where the US base there trains militants and protects them as they conduct raids on Syrian territory. For the ISIS pockets, the Syrians may opt to run constant patrols around them and to starve them out.

  29. nippersmom

    Thank you for the snow leopard link! They are gorgeous animals. I believe this approach to conservation and study has been used with success in parts of Africa as well; I hope it becomes more widespread.

  30. Pookah Harvey

    ‘ Euroskeptic parties — from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean — have recast their message. They have dropped calls to leave the E.U. and are instead advocating for the less drastic approach of changing the bloc from within.’

    Anybody from Europe know if Varoufakis and Diem25 are getting any traction?

    1. Geo

      Great piece. As many here have noted, the whole Russiagate zealotry is mainly about creating scapegoats and not about anything resembling justice/democracy/whatever.

      My fear is this conspiracy will still be raging for the rest of my life because there is no way to convince the committed that the whole thing was a farce.

    2. djrichard

      Remember GWB’s line after the Iraq war, “we need to let history be the judge”? I’m wondering if it’s just a matter of time before we get the dem equivalent to that regarding the 2016 election fiasco and now the russia-gate fiasco. “We need to let history be the judge on dem ineffectiveness” or something to that effect.

      I think Taibbi is writing to inoculate against that. Matt’s putting on his “history” hat and he’s here to render judgement. Love it!

      By the way, he links to a similar type of article by Michael Moore which is just as great.

    3. petal

      My financially comfortable liberal friends are stage 5 clingers. They refuse to let it go or even take a step back to think or read other sources. They are still screaming hysterically about it. I am embarrassed for them. They went all-in a long time ago.

      1. barrisj

        My experience on blogs top-heavy with parishioners from the Church of The Collusionist Redeemer got so nasty that I simply deleted my Disqus handle and went elsewhere…those people are still baying for heretic’s blood.

      2. The Rev Kev

        You should tell them that you suspect Robert Meuller of being a Russian agent and make up whatever proof you like. Tell them too that Barr is a co-conspirator to complete the nuttiness circle. Maybe too mention that Max Boot was born in Moscow to see if that gets a reaction.

    4. VietnamVet

      Cults have problems with the inconvenient truths. In Neverland incompetence is a given when there are no rules, laws or science. Russiagate was a wall that hid reality from the Democrats plus providing them with scapegoats. The braking apart of the British Isles, thousands of migrating families, crashing airliners, Russian troops in the Southern Hemisphere and more than a million acres of Midwest farmland flooded are reality biting back. Unless the rising inequality and the lack of governance for the good of the people are addressed; the unreeling of the final chapters of Western Neoliberal Capitalism will only accelerate.

  31. Oregoncharles

    “White Americans’ Food Choices…”
    There is actually a direct racial connection when it comes to dairy products: lactase. Caucasians – Europeans – are pretty much the only group who typically can consume milk as adults without getting sick to their stomachs. There are other ethnic groups that keep cattle, in both Asia and Africa, but they process the milk (eg, into yogurt or cheese) to get rid of the lactose before they eat it. Some African pastoralists actually use blood from their cattle as much as milk.

    Obviously, this doesn’t affect the other food groups involved, but it certainly affects ethnic eating habits.

    1. Oregoncharles

      And further thoughts on food’s contribution to global warming:
      It all depends on how the stuff is grown, as well as how much of it we consume. For instance, although beef involves a lot of land and water, grasslands, properly managed, sequester large amounts of carbon while producing meat. And growing animals (or crops) moves water around; it doesn’t “consume” it. So it matters a great deal just how and where that is done.

      And I find it odd that potatos are on the list; they’re absurdly easy to grow – that’s why they were so important in Ireland. I think that listing reflects industrial agriculture, not potatos in particular. If you grow them where you have to till, fertilize heavily, and irrigate, yes, very resource intensive. So is anything else you grow that way. Grow them at home under a good mulch – they don’t even need much water (it doesn’t rain in the summer here).

      This article is really about industrial agriculture, not different ethnic cuisines.

    2. Epistrophy

      Actually, there are some Asian populations that cannot tolerate any dairy product including cheese – many Indians do not tolerate it, for example, not even on commonly eaten cooked foods like pizza.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks for promoting Lambert’s fundraiser and the meetup, but Lambert won’t be in the US then and so can’t join. But Matt Stoller said he will come!

  32. Oregoncharles

    “Lawmakers Call for Termination of NSA Domestic Surveillance Program”
    This is the only topic on which Wyden is good (and not all that brave). On others, like Israel and health care, he’s both slimy and arrogant. But Oregon is a very “blue” state, so he can get away with it.

  33. rd

    Re: Saskatchewan doctor’s strike and Tommy Douglas

    Americans constantly talk about “states’ rights” but it has been Canada that has really exercised them over time as little laboratories of democracy. The start of Medicare for all in Saskatchewan is a classic example.

    Saskatchewan is a massive, largely rural province that population-wise would be the 43rd largest state (right after Maine and just before Montana) but is almost as big as Texas in land area, so population density is minute. Yet, it was able to pull off creation of a universal healthcare system that became the model for the rest of Canada.

    Its all about attitude. Hand-wringing and “sky is falling” rhetoric is just more evidence of polarization and political paralysis in the US across the entire country.

  34. The Rev Kev

    “Secretary Pompeo Has No Credibility”

    I think that the problem is that he cannot reconcile his duties as Secretary of State with his religious beliefs. It bothered me how a few days ago he actually featured in his twitter account a model of the temple that Israel wants to put in place of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. It is akin to showing a model of a mosque in Saudi Arabia that they wish to put in place of the Vatican after it has been demolished. He has actually stated that he actually believes in the Rapture but it doesn’t stop him making a little money on the way. Sputnik has an article ( on his nutty religious beliefs but if you want to get a feel for him, I would recommend reading his full Wikipedia entry, especially the section on his early business career-

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