Links 4/16/19

Notre Dame

I am really sickened by this loss. I can’t bring myself to watch the videos. The still images are bad enough.

Notre-Dame fire Agence France-Presse. Photos.

Notre-Dame de Paris : après des heures de lutte, l’incendie a été maîtrisé par les pompiers Le Monde

Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral devastated by massive fire DW

Monday, April 15, 2019, the cathedral Notre-Dame of Paris is ravaged by a fire. The spire and much of the roof have collapsed. Dartagnans is calling on the entire world to pledge their support. Dartagnans (Chris C). Crowd sourced funding for rebuilding.

Man sues parents for throwing out porn collection Guardian (Tom H). Only in America….

New evidence suggests volcanoes caused biggest mass extinction ever Science Daily (Kevin W)

Google Quietly Disbanded Another AI Review Board Following Disagreements Wall Street Journal

Here Is A Major Soil Problem That Will Affect Health Forbes (David L)

Airborne plastic particles blanket remote mountains: study PhysOrg and Microplastic Found Even In The Air In France’s Pyrenees Mountains NPR (David L)

This Is What Science Says About People Who Like Being Alone Southern Living (David L)

Cause of cancer is written into DNA of tumours, scientists find, creating a ‘black box’ for origin of disease Telegraph (David L)

Scientists Unveil World’s First Human Heart 3D-Printed From Patients’ Own Cells Sputnik (guurst)


Huawei Founder Ren Zhengfei Says Daughter’s Arrest Will Be Good for Her Daily Beast (resilc)

Trade talks might not crack the final frontier Asia Times (Kevin W)

Hungary ponders pitfalls of Chinese rail line Asia Times (Kevin W)


Brexit: British Steel seeks £100m government loan to meet EU rules BBC (Kevin W)

STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH EU Next PM WON’T be able to tear up Brexit deal and start again, Theresa May’s deputy insists The Sun. From yesterday, still germane


US Military Attack on Venezuela Mulled by Top Trump Advisors and Latin American Officials at Private DC Meeting Grayzone (Chuck L)


Trump: Israelis should be immune from Int’l Criminal Court prosecution Jerusalem Post (Dr. Kevin)

al-Sisi is evidently not impressed with Trump Sic Semper Tyrannis (resilc)

Europe urged to reject US Middle East plan if it is unfair to Palestinians Guardian

Secret Report Reveals Saudi Incompetence and Widespread Use of U.S. Weapons in Yemen Intercept (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Four Steps Facebook Should Take to Counter Police Sock Puppets Electronic Frontier Foundation

Why did Pierre Omidyar shut down the Snowden archives, with the full agreement of Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill? Google Groups (furzy). I had assumed that was the plan…or rather, giving Omidyar control was a condition of joining The Intercept, and the implications should have been obvious.

A Hacker Has Dumped Nearly One Billion User Records Over the Past Two Months ZDNet

Imperial Collapse Watch

The great con: In missile defense, nothing succeeds like failure Salon (resilc)

Putin, Xi, Assad, & Maduro vs. the American Hegemon American Conservative

Trump Transition

Trump Gave Most Americans a Tax Cut and They Didn’t Notice Bloomberg (resilc)

Trump’s Planet Jonathan Pie, YouTube (Kevin W). Pie on a new topic..

The Bleak Prophecy of Timothy Snyder Chronicle Review (Kevin C)

Pelosi: Progressive Dem wing represented by Ocasio-Cortez is ‘like five people’ The Hill (resilc). Versailles circa 1788…..

Chuck Schumer Failing to Name Democratic SEC Commissioner Is a Win for Wall Street Intercept (UserFriendly). In case you missed it…


Sanders 2020 Is Off To A Faster Start Than Sanders 2016 | FiveThirtyEight (resilc)

737 Max

Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 Disaster Could Turn China Into Aviation Superpower Daily Beast

“I worked at Boeing for about 1.5 years in the 2008-9 time period” Hacker News (Paul R)

American Airlines Devising Extra Training for Boeing 737 Crews

Keep the Federal Reserve I Love Alive New York Times

Lyft removes e-bikes from various cities over unexpectedly strong brakes Engadget

Exclusive: Toyota sells electric vehicle technology to Chinese startup Singulato – Reuters. Resilc: “USA USA will export two things soon, jack and squat. no planes, no cars soon.”

Lyft Shares Continue to Skid After IPO Wall Street Journal

Musk Draws SEC Attention With Another Controversial Tweet SafeHaven

Volkswagen’s Former CEO Charged In Germany Over Diesel Rigging Bloomberg

Deutsche Bank-Commerzbank Deal Might Rest on Mountain of ‘Badwill’ Wall Street Journal (guurst)

Goldman delays strategic update as core businesses struggle Financial Times

Class Warfare

What dress codes mean for cabin crew BBC

All in the Family Debt Boston Review (UserFriendly)

Mapping San Francisco’s Human Waste Challenge – 132,562 Cases Reported In The Public Way Since 2008 Forbes (Colonel Smithers)

Antidote du jour (timotheus):

And a bonus (Kevin W):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. dearieme

    Missile defence: “it would mix hydrogen with fluoride”. Oh for heaven’s sake.

    But I don’t know everything. What does “(resilc)” mean?

    1. Pat

      resilc is the member of the NC community who alerted Yves, Lambert, to the story And.peovided the link.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        THANK YOU. I have googled ‘resilc’ several times over the years, mostly because it looks Latiny (res ilc).

  2. sd

    For some reason, I always find myself a bit shocked by how phenomenally out of touch Nancy Pelosi is.

    1. Eureka Springs

      You say that as if she’s supposed to be in touch with anyone other than her owners. The more I think about it she is an excellent representative of that anti-democratic party. It’s no wonder at all Trump wanted her to be Speaker again. She has always taken impeachment off the table, M4A too, and spoiled the “Prog” brand from within.

      1. Brindle

        Speaking of owners, gotta like Neera Tanden’s mom for cutting to the chase. From yesterday’s NYT article “The Rematch….

        “Still, Ms. Tanden’s mother, Maya Tanden, says that her daughter “can be very aggressive.”

        “She’s not going to let anyone rule over her,” she said, “and she has loyalty to Hillary because Hillary is the one who made her.”

        “Those Bernie brothers are attacking her all the time, but she lets them have it, too,” Maya Tanden said. “She says Sanders got a pass” in 2016, “but he’s not getting a pass this time.”

        1. The Rev Kev

          Neera Tanden’s mom must be so proud of her daughter. Saw mention of Neera on a Jimmy Dore Video at–U3E (at the 6-minute mark) where he points out an email from her saying that countries like Libya should pay back the US with oil for all that the US has done for them, I kid you not. This is not an email from Donald Trump mind but from Neera Tanden. The email reads like something from Donald Trump though.

          1. Raulb

            That is absolutely odious. These are clearly monsters pretending to be human. What do we call war criminals who have escaped accountability?

            Without serious consequences for the kind of crimes against humanity we have seen in the last 2 decades you are basically creating an assembly line of monsters and psychopaths at the upper echelons of your society and while some may feel this is directed at ‘outsiders’ ie racism the problem with this line of ‘opportunistic’ thinking by ‘pragmatic people’ is sooner or later they will turn on you and this is what has happened to the US.

            The same clip has Nancy Pelosi and other democratic functionaries being briefed on torture as early as 2002.

            ps: Isn’t it a bit troubling that the Faiz in that email thread is now Bernie’s campaign manager. Jimmy Dore does not hold back but he seems to have missed that.

            ps2: This is out of context but a lot of talk about women behaving differently and with more empathy in power never matches reality when they have power, they seem to behave in the same crude power hungry corrupt way as men. It seems we cannot understand or process these contradictions without ‘Class’.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              ” What do we call war criminals who have escaped accountability?”

              War scofflaws?

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Oh no, Neera Tanden’s mommy is on the case. I have to hand it to Team Clinton. They always manage to astound me by how bad they are at politics. Though Tanden’s status revolves around loyalty to the country’s abuela, so I guess it makes sense to get her mother to defend her. In a way, it’s all she knows.

          1. OIFVet

            ‘Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot 2.’ Brocialists be warned, the Tanden chickas mean business this time!

            Is NYT trying to parody The Onion these days?!

        3. Otis B Driftwood

          So now the case of Neera Tanden is clear. It’s a case of nurture, not nature. Horrible people beget horrible people.

        4. jrs

          ok she cares about office politics, but the rest of the voters care about the state of the country (and sometimes the world), your office politics, tit for tat, I’ll scratch your back you scratch mine, networking, ladder climbing etc., don’t mean anything to those of us (most of the voters) with more important things and bigger issues to think about when we cast our votes.

    2. Summer

      She could be talking about Congress itself.

      If she thought it was only 5 people in the country, there wouldn’t be over 20 candidates in the primary so that the media won’t have to cover Sanders as much for the campaign. They wouldn’t be planting the seeds for a brokered convention as a backup.

      And Sanders isn’t close to the radical they present.

      This is: “Never let them see you sweat.”

      1. JohnnyGL

        I don’t know what you’re talking about! The people are DEMANDING an Eric Swalwell presidential run!!!

        (yes, this is sarcastic) :)

      2. Procopius

        And Sanders isn’t close to the radical they present.

        Oh, good heavens, they don’t care about that. They’re concerned he’ll hire more competent people for lower fees than what they’re accustomed to getting. Of course they pretend they’re afraid that he’s radical because that works. Also, some of them are so delusional about “Bernie Bros” defeating The Chosen One by not voting for her that they will vote for Trump rather than vote for Bernie.

    3. notabanker

      The Green New Dream is going to become her nightmare. These people are playing with fire.

  3. Robert Hahl

    Re the Boeing problem, ten years ago an aronotical engineering professor told me he was having trouble attracting Ph.D. students because they thought it was better to spend those years climbing the corporate ladder than getting more education.

    At the time, we thought that this behavior must be all about money, but now it appears that it was better to not have credentials which prove you should have known better how to build an airplane.

    1. Zamfir

      I have been there, exactly there. Studied aeronautical engineering, considered a PhD, and decided not to.

      Thing is, a PhD is not primarily education. It’s an apprenticeship as researcher, especially as academic researcher. That’s good! It’s not healthy to stay learning from books and teachers, at some point you have to get your hands “dirty” and learn from doing. In this case, doing research.

      But engineering is not the same as research. Some jobs are both, some have overlap between the two But most engineering is not much like research at all, and a PhD is a best vaguely relevant work experience for most engineering jobs.

      And, naturally, professors do not like to admit this. They do not have open academic positions for all their PhDs, so they have to “sell” the PhD as useful experience for non-academic work. They tend to oversell – partially because their own experience outside of academia tends to be in the most “researchy” corners of industry.

      1. JeffC

        I was an engineering professor in some of my preretirement years and spent maybe 1/3 and 2/3 of my career overall in engineering and in research respectively. And I couldn’t agree with you more, on all that you said. In my field an MS is a (more or less required) degree in engineering, and a PhD is an apprenticeship into the research community’s culture, methods, expectations, and standards. A PhD is not just education “piled higher and deeper.” It’s a whole different animal.

        1. Arthur Dent

          The best kept secret in the engineering community is the Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) degree. It was created when engineering went from a 5-year to a 4-year Bachelor curriculum. They basically took the fifth year and turned it into a Master degree targeted at making better qualified professionals to go out into the work place.

          It has nearly the same course work as an M.Sc. but does a design project (usually in a team, like in a workplace) instead of a solo research thesis. You get an M.Eng. degree in 9-10 grueling months but you are not at the whim of a thesis adviser and committee which usually makes an M.Sc. a 2+ year event. It does an excellent job of training future engineers and many more engineers should be doing this. So if you know of any young engineers considering grad work, make sure they look into this option. You get an extra one to two years of income earning and lower tuition bills.

          In my experience, there are numerous good Ph.D. engineers in the work place, but just as many duds. The biggest differentiator is whether or not they ever learned to identify and define problems. If you can’t, you will simply not be a good engineer, no matter how many degrees you pile on. If you can, then a Ph.D. can provide advanced tools for coming up with solutions. I have found that GPA is useless at identifying this. You have to ask numerous probing questions of a candidate to figure out if they have the curiosity and capability of identifying and defining problems.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      The economist Ha Joon Chang has written how it is symptomatic of many countries with weak industrial policies that the best and brightest go into what are seen as ‘safe’ careers such as medicine or law, or ‘quick buck’ areas like setting up start-ups or finance rather than engineering or science. He was writing specifically of his native South Korea, but you can see the process everywhere.

      I think Germany and Japan are among the very few countries where the very brightest still see engineering or science as something you can do as a viable long term career for those who are good enough to pretty much choose whatever they want to do.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Seoul has a weak industrial policy or weak industrial policies?

        How does Chang define it? South Korea is one of the tigers. I thought the government had been instrumental in achieving their current status.

        Also, it seems important an individual makes choices that are advantageous to him or herself (a vialbe long term career), at least for the very brightest. Does this spring from the same source that motivates free market and capitalism – everyone does what benefits the self the most?

        1. PlutoniumKun

          In the context he wrote it, it was about the Korean economy ‘liberalising’ in the 1990’s – essentially watering down its industrial policy in favour of more competitive labour markets (i.e. undermining the job for life). But of course Korea still has a very strong centralised industrial policy – but its more a case of state planning for the rich, laissez faire for the poor.

          His point is that most people are risk averse when it comes to careers, so if you don’t provide a protected job market for engineers and scientists, the best and brightest will go to careers that seem more lucrative or protected – such as law and medicine.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Maybe a good time to note that virtually all of China’s top leadership are engineers. As in, problem solvers rigorously trained in identifying cause and trying to build effect.
        By contrast almost all of the senior US government class are lawyers. As in, trained to figure out ways to gain advantage and extract value by using the legal system.

    3. Larry Y

      In my experience, not much real value in industry for engineering PhD unless research (Bell Labs) or teaching. I have an MS in engineering myself. Recently, I saw my advisor at a professional event, and he asks me if I’m going to do a PhD. My response is: “I don’t know what I would I do PhD in”. After my master’s and industry experience, my education is separate from the credential.

      However, I do see many PhD’s in development, mainly because that’s how they got into the US.

  4. Epynonymous

    Mulling invading Venezula -publically- means no war.

    If they were serious, the noise would be off the charts. Maybe tomorrow but not now.

    I may be wrong, but I don’t think Pence’s opinion counts, given all the general political infighting.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      Invasion can’t really occur before the election or I’m reading Trump wrong. His current course of sanctions, sabotage, bribery and covert ops has a decent chance of increasing chaos and misery in Venezuela which seems to be the general goal–i.e., a punishment for any population that wants to ignore the Empire’s diktats. After the election, if Trump wins and the highly corrupt Pentagon gets its ducks ina row maybe they’ll go for a Afghan-style war–should generate a lot of contractor riches.

      1. Carolinian

        I don’t think Trump and his scurvy FP crew know what they are doing. This is MoA’s theory as well. Call it the seat of the pants presidency.

        1. jhallc

          I agree with you on the management by the seat of their pants. Michael Lewis basically comes to the same conclusion in his book “The Fifth Risk”. Rick Perry as head of the DOE? He had no clue they actually managed our nuclear arsenal. Scary stuff.

          1. Mike

            If seat of the pants rules, the Dems are holding up his pants for him.

            A fitting position (sorry, had to…)

        2. wilroncanada

          They’ll keep mulling until the spices are all used up. then they’ll throw Jared Kushner at the problem. He will, of course, propose that the US (Juan Guaido) adopt US and Israeli mercenaries, along with Colombian drug distributors as honorary Venezuelans and takeover part of Venezuela so Israel can eventually annex the country piece by piece.

      2. Procopius

        I think the Pentagon knows they can’t fight two wars, one in Afghanistan and one in Venezuela.

    2. voteforno6

      Invade Venezuela, with what army? The U.S. seems to be engaged all over the world. I don’t think the military has enough bombs, drones, planes, or people to engage in a war with Venezuela. In MMT terms, there are some real resource constraints on the ability of the U.S. to fight another war.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That idiot Bolton tried to spook people with a piece of paper that he let show at a press briefing that said something like 5,000 troops. That is about the size of a brigade. For a country of about 32 million people. With 350,000 active personnel and a reserve of some 2,000,000. Recall that Iraq had only a population of 24 million at the time of the invasion. There will be no Coalition of the Willing this time around and without the draft or abandoning regions like Africa and the Middle east, the troop numbers are not there. Which is why all the threats, sanctions, plots, schemes, etc. It’s all they have.

    3. djrichard

      “the noise would be off the charts”. The propaganda would need to both fill up the airwaves and make it appear inevitable. Just enough to make it appear that we’re united through the lack of any other competing message getting through.

      Part of me wonders if the Trump administration feels their campaign hasn’t really been tested yet, e.g. by expending some political capital against whatever resistance to their campaign exists in the US. Of course the dems have been laying out the red carpet so no resistance there except for the handful that Pelosi isn’t worried about. “Sure we haven’t need to bring out our A game with respect to propaganda, but are you sure we have unity-of-will like we had when we went into Iraq?”

      In which case maybe the Trump administration is actually worried about unknown unknowns, on what happens after they do something more hands on to create regime change. “Surely it’s not this easy.” Which would be a tell, because when you have unity-of-will, you don’t worry about the consequences.

  5. lyman alpha blob

    The Notre Dame fire was truly tragic regardless of one’s religious affiliation or lack thereof.

    But there’s already a crowdfunding campaign to repair it? Last time I checked the the Catholic church coffers were still pretty full. If the church was really interested in repairing its image, it would refuse to take donations for this project, fix it themselves, and distribute money to the needy instead. Didn’t someone once say the church is wherever people are gathered in god’s name?

    1. Pat

      One of the items that surprised me most listening to the France 24 coverage is that Notre Dame belongs to France not the Catholic Church, and that is the standard there.

      So any funding by the Catholic Church would be crowd funding as well, not that they shouldn’t do so.

      1. dearieme

        We’re going to have problems in Britain with the cost of maintaining old churches, given that they belong to the Churches in question – especially the C of E – and their congregations are dwindling fast. Even as a keen atheist I’d be loathe to see some of these beauties tumble down. If the taxpayer is going to pay, he/she surely should have the right to decide on aesthetic grounds which to preserve.

        I know: we can settle the matter with a referendum.

        1. John A

          In England, owners of certain properties can be liable to fund repairs for a local church. Chancel repair liability as it is called, should be picked up by the conveyancing solicitor however and you can take out insurance against it.

          1. dearieme

            Excellent point. What we need is some public-spirited, status-conscious zillionaires who would take a positive pride in boasting how big their chancel repair liabilities are.

            Mind you, the 19th century was a pretty unlovely period for church architecture, so we could usefully lose plenty of those churches. Scotland – for example – is covered with them, because of the combination of wealth from the industrial revolution and the many sects that seceded from the Kirk and consequently needed their own places of worship. Similarly East Anglia has lots of Baptist chapels and the like that, at least from outside, are pretty unlovely.

      2. Harold

        In the late 19th c., during the virulently anti-clerical second Republic, when a lot of French churches were falling into ruin or being plundered for antiquities by American millionaires, Marcel Proust and other artists and writers campaigned for the French state to take them over as “the highest and most original expressions of the genius of France”, recommending that they should continue as active places of worship, because they were more beautiful that way than as dead museums.

        Proust’s embrace of the cathedral as the genius of French art, in which spirituality and nationalism are inseparable, appealed to Republicans and Catholics, perhaps even more so because of his status: he was Jewish (though raised Catholic) and an active Republican supporter of Colonel Dreyfus. Paul Grunebaum-Ballin, the adjunct director of Aristide Briand during the promulgation of the law separating Church and State, cited Proust’s defense of churches in a legal document commenting on each aspect of the Briand Law, while Catholic leader Maurice Barrès congratulated Proust for coming to the defense of the cathedral. –Elizabeth Emery, Romancing the Cathedral: Gothic Architecture in Fin-di-Siecle French Culture (2001) [Great book, though I hate the title]

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Churches in Paris built prior to 1905 are owned by the State – the church is in effect a tenant.

      1. Jeff

        To be precise, churches and cathedrals belong to the city or village where they were built – that is why many cities and villages have problems maintaining them.
        Only the 15 cathedrals that have a bishop do belong to the state. So Notre-Dame is state owned (while all other churches belong to the city of Paris), but the cathedrals of eg Chartres (a beauty since its clean-up), Beauvais (largest cathedral in France) and Nantes (rebuilt when its roof burned 30 years ago) belong to their respective cities.

        1. Cal2

          Utter tragedy. In a historical treasure of this caliber, fire suppression systems of extinguishers every ten feet, smoke alarms, pumped inert gas, a 24/7 fire watch, i.e. human beings, strict control of chemicals and materials, would have prevented this.

          After spending time in Paris and watching the progress of various crews doing public works, the source of the fire is probably that the French are sloppy, careless and mechanically incompetent, the flip side to the wonderful things at which they excel.

          You think American unionized public works crews are inefficient? France is 50X worse.
          Half the workmen couldn’t speak French, seemed to exhibit some kind of inter-tribal hostility, bumbled along, tools misused, broken, smoke breaks, quitting early, blocking sidewalks and streets, tripping hazards for the nearby pedestrians. etc.

          Their attitude toward the project and the public? The post office worker slamming the shutter in your face as you finally reach the counter, magnified 10X.

          I’m sure the artisans and restoration experts in the church were first cabin, but the rest of the workmen? Import people from say Germany?
          The French National Ego would never allow that.

          1. Yassine

            “the French are sloppy, careless and mechanically incompetent”. I am surprised that such a blatantly xenophobic comment could be allowed on NC.

      2. David

        Yes the point about 1905 is that it was the year of the law finally separating church and state. Part of the settlement was an agreement that the « commune » would take responsibility for existing churches. In the case of ND the commune probably has to be interpreted as the city of Paris’ or even the state It makes sense: you wouldn’t want to leave a powerful reactionary anti-democratic institution owning lots of prime real estate.

        1. ambrit

          Somewhat like here, having bankers and financiers owning vital infrastructure like toll roads, airports, dams, bridges, railroads, etc. etc.

    3. Epynonymous

      I tried to pull up the original text of the ex-pope’s essay from just the other day. I didn’t have much success, and would love to read the original text. I did get an official number in my readings though.

      From the LA times…

      “Just last month, Catholic Church officials in Poland released information showing there were more than 380 clergy who had abused in excess of 600 victims dating back to 1990.”

      I’d say that seems a bit low, at less than 2 victims per perpetrator, and presumably only the worst were shamed and named.

      However, given a hard number number 380, we can determine the ‘credibility gap’ of the church and see how things check out.

      I couldn’t get the specific number of Polish Catholic priests on short notice, but I have the number of world wide priests (414,313)… Catholics (1.2 billion)… and Polish Catholics (33 million)…

      We’re busy people, so lets ignore the timeliness and accuracy of these numbers, and also assume the priest-to-parishioner ratio is average in Poland (not the best assumption, but a convenient one.)

      1.2 billion divided by 414,313 gives us a global priest-to-parishioner ratio of 2896 to one. 33 million divided by 2896 gives us an estimated 11,395 Catholic priests in Poland.

      380 confirmed abusers divided by a population of 11,395 means 3.3% of priests are known sexual molesters of children, and that only by assuming less than two victims per abuser.

      An extra check on these numbers would be to take the specific to the general and say that for the nearly half-million priests there must be over a million victims in the last three decades alone, and those numbers are likely under-reported and concentrated among the true faithful who don’t just proclaim their status as Catholics but attend regular services.

      Respectfully, the causes are complicated and I have sympathy for the much higher than 3.3% of priests who are gay and still have to conceal their identity and repress their sexuality, but I wanted to run the numbers myself and thought it fair to post them.

      The potential loss of Notre Dame is tragic, as it stood for a symbol of not just spiritual unity but mankind’s potential for achievement, despite efforts to politicize it since it’s first imagining.

      I’m not a believer, but I choose to hold hope for the rebuilt church.

      1. Savedbyirony

        This is an English translation of Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter.

        True to form, Ratzinger sees little scandal or contributing causes in the hierarchy’s behaviors towards either abusive clergy members or preyed upon parishioners. He does not bother to mention the very high number of priests who left the clergy, particularly to get married, from the late 60’s thru 70’s, leaving a clergy with a higher percentage of psycho-sexually immature members. And for a past director of the Inquisition (the present day Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faithful) to claim to worry over the exercise of due process is rich, very rich.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The fault might lie with John Paul II, but Ratzinger’s long time job meant he was the real authority all those years as the Pope is in many ways a full time ceremonial job. Any failures of the hierarchy would have pointed to Ratzinger. The best case scenario for Ratzinger is he’s an Eichmann.

          1. Savedbyirony

            I would have to strongly disagree with characterizing Ratzinger as an “Eichman” or his practice of clerical authoritarianism, Vatican power politics and CDF sophistry as a form of banal evil. He has always been both an idea man and an active agent. He is certainly not a puppet or mere functionary, and I think he is actually sincere in his take on Roman Catholic Theology and Doctrine, which he understands in great depth and nuance. (As much as I disagree with his letter, I do recognize that from a Roman Catholic Theological, Doctrinal and clerical cultural perspective-which in his institutional RC approved view is the ONLY one that matters-his reasoning in it is sound.) He is much more “evil” than an Eichman in that he personally had the plans and power to create, empower, direct and protect Eichmans, as I think much of his Vatican career demonstrated, as well as harm to outright destroy the careers of many who apposed his intellectual and personal views.

            Neither JPII nor Ratzinger can be described as Eichmans imo. Certainly not in their primes, though JPII seems to have been more susceptible to being used by the heroic, warriors for the will of god brand of authoritarian clergy who who can write big checks than Benedict was willing to be. But they both had leading hands in the makeover of the Bishops and pool for future Bishops of the RCC, and that established the culture and practice of the banality now so often practiced within the lower orders of the RC priesthood and favored theological writers of the church.

      2. Procopius

        Your methodology is sometimes called “back of the envelope” figuring, and I highly approve. It makes it possible to decide (sometimes) if some accusations that seem grossly overblown might be feasible or not. Unfortunately, too often we can’t even get the kind of shaky data you turned up, but it’s great to see the process is still used by thoughtful people. Thank you.

    4. nippersdad

      One of the most affecting things for me when we went to Europe and saw those medieval churches was the knowledge that they were all largely crowdfunded to begin with. Virtually all of them were community ventures, so it seems fitting that the rebuilding of Notre Dame would be one as well. It is not about the church per se, but about the community(ies?) in which it sits.

      it is nice to see that Notre Dame has such a global community wishing it well, and that the larger church is actually pretty irrelevant. The real testament to how beloved it is is that French billionaires right down to even atheist Georgian peasants like myself are seeking the means to donate an anonymous stone, once again each according to his means, for its’ rebuilding.

      The church is a concept. Whatever that concept may be to those who love it the building is its’ outward expression. As you say, “wherever people are gathered in God’s (or, insert your interest here) name,” and its’ rebuilding is a very hopeful thing that could only be tarnished by the larger churches bigfooting its’ reconstruction. I think France would be wise to leave the church out of it and let it continue to be a temple to the vision of those who built it, and have continuously rebuilt it, over the centuries.

      I’ll be very interested in seeing what renovation plans they come up with. Whether it be a perfect historic reconstruction, as with the dining hall at Windsor, or La Pyramide at the Louvre, I hope it will continue to reflect the living communities in which it sits.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I hope it will continue to reflect the living communities in which it sits.

        I don’t know the French version, but Quasimodo might have appreciated an ADA compliant building.

        1. nippersdad

          I guess bell ropes were the dominant form of accessibility for the disabled in fifteenth century Paris. :)

          I didn’t know this, but apparently Hugo wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame in support of protection and sensitive renovation of medieval buildings. Apparently they had replaced the stained glass window of Notre Dame with white glass to let more light in!

      2. Janie

        “Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett describes how a cathedral was built. A good read.

      3. Xihuitl

        I lived in Paris for five years, several of them on the left bank directly across from Notre Dame. I had a lovely view of it, passed it regularly, and visited often. I cried all afternoon yesterday, but was relieved in the end that so much of its seems to be intact.

        At the time I had read — I thought — that the copper statues of the apostles climbing the roof to heaven were modeled after the bankers who helped finance the restoration in the 19th century. But I can’t find any confirmation of that now — other than the fact that the face of St. Thomas was made to look like Viollet Le Duc, the architect of the restoration.

        Maybe Pinault and Arnault can get their faces in there somewhere.

        1. newcatty

          I understand your sadness at the burning of Notre Dame. I cried tears ,too. I think it’s very important to not conflate any anger or abhorrence of the Catholic Church’s sins of child abuse or greed with the fact that so many people have found their faith in God ,or a spiritual belief in something grander or ,in essence a belief in love, or a way to channel gratefulnesss in the church. Its become quite fashionable, or even hip, to be self proclaimed agnostic or , more so, atheist. That is certainly anyone’s business. The burning of Notre Dame, I’m thinking, is so sad is that most people can feel their own personal experience of what it symbolizes as the beauty and sacredness of life on earth. As work of art, alone, It is special. I was touched to have read that Jane Goodell stated, in a response to the fire, that she found her belief in God, in the late 70’s, while at Notre Dame.

  6. zagonostra

    >4/11 (information?)

    This should be a date that sticks in people’s mind like 9/11. Paul Craig Roberts in below clip on the arrest of Assange on 4/11 makes the point that once truth is controlled/eliminated you can kiss your freedom good bye.

    It seems that the majority of people are just standing by and that it will be too late to do anything when they awake from their slumber.

  7. Henry Moon Pie

    Omidyar, Greenwald, Scahill and the Snowden trove–

    There is little doubt that Omidyar is up to no good with the Intercept. That whole “bad tree=bad fruit” thing pretty much guarantees it. The question is why did Greenwald and Scahill sign up with him.

    One thing is confirmed again and again. If you think you’re going to have an (upper) middle class lifestyle while you challenge this corrupt, anti-life system, you’re kidding yourself. While a capitalist may sell you the rope to hang him, he isn’t dumb enough to pay a salary to the hangman.

    Put another way:

    No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God (or truth or humanity) and money.

    1. vidimi

      i can only judge glenn and jeremey by the work they do, which is consistently excellent. i don’t know if there was anything else of journalistic value in those archives that they haven’t published. there were thousands and thousands of documents, so probably not realistic to go through all of them. so long as snowden doesn’t raise any concerns about his sacrifice not being respected, i’m inclined to believe that everything that was explosive and in the public interest in those archives has been released.

    2. tokyodamage

      Thanks to NC for linking to this piece! It isn’t surprising that some tech billionaire would want to own the Snowden docs for leverage, as they negotiate dirty deals with the national security agencies of countries where they do business. . . but it IS surprising that nobody on the left is disturbed by this development. . . .!

      Especially silly when you read Greenwald’s twitter and see the petty things that he unleashes his bile on, while ignoring the huge turd in his own backyard. . .

      1. Anon

        Why do people think Omidyar can control the archives? There are several copies of them. While they may no longer be accessible through The Intercept, they can still be revived surreptitiously (by the possessors of the copies). I think I’ll drop an encrypted email to that GG collaborator in Berlin; see what I can find.

  8. PlutoniumKun

    Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 Disaster Could Turn China Into Aviation Superpower Daily Beast

    Funny how the article entirely focuses on China, when in reality the best alternative to Boeing/Airbus is Brazilian – the successful Embraer E-Jet family. I suppose it doesn’t suit the narrative that those South Americans can actually compete on technology.

    The other big winner is Airbus – because it took over Bombadiers C-series at just the right time. The Canadians must be kicking themselves that they didn’t hang on longer to keep them Canuck.

    I’d be sceptical that the Chinese can benefit – the Comac Aircraft really isn’t much good, even the low cost Asian airlines have shown no interest in it. The Chinese may catch up quickly, but their struggles with military aviation shows its not as easy as it looks – they’ve failed to develop a modern engine for their combat aircraft despite decades of work and no doubt billions invested. Even the Japanese have struggled to get beyond being a contractor for Boeing, despite their very high level of expertise in non-metal construction. And the Japanese recent attempts at building combat jets have made the F-35 look value. Militaries are far more forgiving customers than airlines when it comes to aircraft performance, they don’t mind the occasional crash.

    1. Carey

      Pretty sure Boeing is involved in a large joint venture with Embraer. I also
      think underestimating Comac and China would be a mistake.

    2. Cal2

      Comac? Not sure of the make, but I rode in a Chinese jet, a sort of 727 clone. They couldn’t get the center of gravity right. The entire trip, the plane flew nose up to the point where people walked uphill from the back of plane to their seats and trotted down the other way.
      Had a charlie horse in my arms from gripping the seat in fear.

      I wouldn’t fly in a Chinese jet for a million bucks.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Sounds like the Comac ARJ21. That must have been a scary flight. And looking at the planes history and its customers, I’d hesitate to fly in one too.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Man sues parents for throwing out porn collection”

    Dear 40 year-old man from Indiana. I understand your frustration but there is a new invention that can help you. It is called the internet. In fact, porn is why it was invented and right now about a third of all data going over the net is porn. The next time that you move, instead of 12 awkward boxes, all that downloaded porn can fit onto a portable hard drive. As added benefits, most of it is free and it will make Thanksgiving gatherings with your parents a little less awkward in future. Also, grow the f*** up!

    1. ForFawkesSakes

      Perhaps he was prepping for the collapse. Pornography will have as great a value as cigarettes or toilet paper when the music stops.

      He’s right to take legal action. I would never presume to decide what someone ‘should’ be permitted to own. Parents, too often, are just the (family blog) you are unlucky enough to be related to.

      1. Wukchumni

        You’ll only make off with “Debbie Does a Download in Dallas” from my cold and clammy hands, or more than likely, server.

      1. polecat

        Most likely, in .. um .. hard times, they’d be Sacred relics … or ‘historical documents’ even, kinda like Saint Leibowitz’s pre-Armageddon deli list …

        Can you imagine what a sight for sore eyes those future illustrated scrolls would be …. with the monks of the order of the day putting brush to parchment, copying those skin mags,
        .. especially around the margins ??

  10. PlutoniumKun

    Putin, Xi, Assad, & Maduro vs. the American Hegemon American Conservative

    The current U.S. policy has produced an array of unpleasant results, and cries out for reassessment. Washington has created needless grief for itself. It entails considerable ineptitude to foster collaboration between Iran and North Korea, to say nothing of adding Assad’s secular government and Maduro’s quasi-communist regime to the mix. Even worse are the policy blunders that have driven Russia to support such motley clients and forge ever-closer economic and military links with a natural rival like China. It is extremely unwise for any country, even a superpower, to multiply the number of its adversaries needlessly and drive them together into a common front. Yet that is the blunder the United States is busily committing.

    I can’t help thinking this is, as our hosts would say, ‘a feature not a bug’. For a lot of very powerful security bodies, both inside and outside government, having a big powerful enemy keeps the benjamins flowing. While I don’t doubt the stupidity of many neocons, they can’t quite be so stupid not to realise that they are driving the US’s enemies together into a much more formidable foe.

    1. Grant

      I have a problem with calling other countries enemies. You and I were never asked about this, so who determined that these countries were enemies of the US? And even if we said another country is an enemy, what does that mean? People inhabit those countries, and they often have no say in who runs their governments, or the decisions the people in charge of the governments make. The same group of people that have been running things forever here decided this for us. They declare who our enemies are, and they declare that Saudi Arabia and Colombia are allies. Again, I was never asked whether or not I wanted Colombia as a friend, whether I wanted the government to give them money to kill journalists, union organizers, leftist politicians, social workers and indigenous groups that happen to inhabit land right wing paramilitaries want. I was never asked whether I wanted to economically torture Venezuela. The CIA decided these things for me, but so did institutions like the NED, USAID, the IMF, the World Bank, etc.

      There will be wars in the coming decades over dwindling natural resources. The Pentagon was releasing reports on this in the early 2000s. We could possibly much better deal with that by having a different domestic economic system, a different international economic system, different institutions internationally, and by supporting actual democracy throughout the world. But that wouldn’t be in the interest of those that declare for us who our allies and enemies are. Trump is stone cold stupid though, so are horrible people like Bolton and Abrams, so they are making decisions that undermine the US, which they have been doing for some time. Their illegal war in Iraq also undermined the US, but made war profiteers really happy, and war is central to the US economy.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      1. When put like that (Putin, Xi, et al vs. the American Hegemon), is ‘none of the above’ a choice? Mabye you don’t want any one of them to get what it wants.

      2. The writer of that quote assumes that the superpower can remain a superpower by not doing the things he/she deems unwise. The question we can ask (of the writer) is, why does he/she want the superpower to remain a superpower? For myself, one possible reason for that position would be,that that is one way to allow ourselves a chance for change, instead of letting a victorious adversary (not necessary an enemy) dictate the terms of change

      3. Why are those countries letting themselves be driven into alliances? If an alliance was so good, should they have been proactive and done it alreasy, without being driven into it? Why does Putin, for example, let himself be ‘driven’ into doing what he is doing? Is it something unstable, something he’s reluctant to do, but now he’s being forced to do? And will that something be strong, durable or stable?

      1. newcatty

        Maybe the mistake is to confuse “stupidity ” with immoral choices for greed and lust for power. Perhaps none of the current PTB, such as the neocons, are not basically unintelligent. Perhaps, we who see the futility and dangerousness of hegemony by them, think that is just stupid. Its the ole cut off your nose to spite your face, or more old trope like: a wise bird does not foul it’s own nest. It seems clear that they either do not care about anything but short term gratification or the future. Or, maybe, really do think they can survive in bolt holes on the planet. Or have secret space force dreams to go to another world. Underestimating their intelligence is not a way to bring about sanity in this world.

        1. polecat

          I liken the neocons to those future human mutant fanatics as depicted in the film “Beneath the Planet of the Apes”, where, when confronted with war of the simian kind, go all in, reciting the Book of the Holy Bomb, as they press the red ICBM button .. while revealing ‘thy inner selves’.

          They are all-too-close encounters of the hideous kind ..

  11. jfleni

    RE: US Military Attack on Venezuela Mulled by Top Trump Advisors and Latin American Officials at Private DC Meeting.

    Easy prediction: If trump loses his reason and does this, his reelection is toast and impeachment is not just
    possible, but nearly certain; a large broom will sweep
    away the Bolton and Pompeo nut-boys, and Venezuela
    will survive and thrive!

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The Centrists don’t want impeachment for the right reasons. There are reasons to impeach Trump. Besides Team Blue is so aligned with non-sensical regime change pushes anyway, they’ll fall all over themselves to declare Trump Presidential.

  12. PlutoniumKun

    Secret Report Reveals Saudi Incompetence and Widespread Use of U.S. Weapons in Yemen Intercept

    The report opens with a discussion of the battle to retake Hodeidah, a port city on the Red Sea and the entry point for most commercial goods and humanitarian aid into Yemen. The UAE predicted a decisive victory in Hodeidah, where fighting began last summer. But the intelligence report assessed that the “taking by force of [Hodeidah] appears still out of reach” for UAE-backed militias, despite their having nearly twice as many forces on the ground as their adversaries at the time it was written. However, the report notes them slowly moving to encircle and besiege the city by trying to retake critical junctions on the road between Hodeidah and Sana’a, the capital, which the Houthis control.

    I think this shows just how incredibly resilient the Houthi’s have proven to be. Even Moon of Alabama thought that Hodeidah was doomed last year – it looked certain that the SA/UAE forces (or to be precise, their mercenaries) would take it in a matter of weeks. It may still fall, but for as long as they can hold out, they are bleeding their enemies dry – this is costing the Saudi’s and their allies vast sums of money – eventually they will run out with oil as cheap as it is. Significantly, even the Egyptians are feeling brave enough to say ‘no’ to Gulf requests to take part in their military adventures. Yemen may well prove to be the graveyard of the Wahabist expansion to the south, just as secular Syria has held out, while Qatar is thumbing their nose at them. Trump may not realise it, but he’s backed the wrong horse.

  13. PlutoniumKun

    Re: Brexit.

    Believe it or not, Nancy Pelosi is getting involved.

    Yesterday in London, Speaker Pelosi made reference to the Northern Ireland peace process.

    Delivering an address at the London School of Economics, she said there would be no chance of a US-UK trade deal if there was any threat to the Good Friday Agreement.

    “First of all it is very hard to pass a trade bill in the Congress of the United States, so it’s no given anyway. But if there were any weakening of the Good Friday accords there would be no chance whatsoever, a non-starter for a US-UK trade agreement,” she said.

    Among those travelling with Nancy Pelosi on this Congressional delegation are the chairman and several members of the House Ways and Means Committee. This is the committee that will oversee any future trade deal between the US and the UK in a post-Brexit scenario.

    The Committee’s chairman, Irish-American Congressman Richard Neal, has warned in the past that the return of a hard border on the island of Ireland would threaten a future trade deal.

    Yet more humiliation for May and the Tory Brexiters. With both Trump and Pelosi saying that a new trade deal is not a given, this makes the promises they made look even flimsier. The UK media is so far largely ignoring this, but I’m sure businesses have noticed. This can only build even more pressure up, just as the government is no doubt hoping to move on to something – anything – but Brexit.

    1. shtove

      Yes, would be interesting to get an American take on how this really works. Only first heard of Neal a month ago, before P Day. Obviously much imbibing of Creme da Shamrock in Washington.

      1. polecat

        She probably has an early brunch date with the Werewolves of the Integrity Intiative .. to bitten by the craycray ..

        …. and it’s ALWAYS full on Luna with those ticks !

  14. timbers

    That clip of Fox News audience cheering Medicare for all is amazing.

    Today, Dems have almost arguably become bigger warmongers than Repubs (thanks Hillary and Obama). And now grass roots Repubs are arguably more pro Medicare for all than Dems.

    Funny world.

    1. Chris

      I agree. I watched the whole thing after it aired. It’s so great to see Sen. Sanders interact with citizens that way. It’s also really gratifying to see how humbled the hosts appeared to be by the way Sanders was working the crowd. He came to win this time.

      1. Unsympathetic

        One of my best friends has lived in the south for years and has voted Republican for a while now. He called me last night after the debate on Fox and admitted he was wrong when he would ridicule me in the last election regarding Bernie’s positions.. and that he’ll be voting for Sanders over Trump.

        Shocker to me because he also benefited from the Trump tax cuts.. The people who said Bernie would win votes going into the lion’s den are 100% right. Of course the Fox hosts don’t have a clue about the rationale for Bernie’s positions — as Chomsky pointed out, they wouldn’t have the position they do if they truly had critical thinking skills.

    2. djrichard

      That clip of Bernie is a shot across the bow of Trump. My sense is that Trump was anticipating this, hence his noise about wanting to do something about healthcare. And then the subsequent realization that the horse he’s been riding on is not going to go in that direction.

      1. ewmayer

        Not just a warning shot for Trump … the entire crooked money-grubbing Dem establishment is also dead-set against M4A, as it threatens a big part of their beloved donor class.

  15. KB

    Yes but, the esteemed Kip Sullivan just last week pondered what shall we say to our Senators (support or don’t support) considering Sander’s M4A bill cannot possibly contain costs. His bill still allows ACO’s (accountable care organizations) and no hospital budgets…..If it can’t contain costs it won’t be sustainable and worse would in all likely hood ruin that single payer conversation for a very long time.

    If Bernie won’t fix these issues I can’t in all good conscience support him….

    1. WJ

      “If it can’t contain costs it won’t be sustainable…”

      “Containing costs” is a relative concept. It means literally nothing without comparison to some other cost trajectory. The current system is worse at “containing costs” than Sanders proposal and delivers far fewer benefits.

      It is difficult for people to accept that removing the huge burden and stress of our health care system will lead to lots of positive externalities so to speak. Healthier less financially burdened people do better in school, have freedom to pursue other careers, are less likely to throw 5 year-olds from shopping mall plazas, etc etc etc.

      Just as lots of social ills are part of the current “cost” of our healthcare system but are never treated as such, so lots of social benefits the value of which can’t easily be quantified are likely (based on empirical data) to result from Sanders’ plan.

      So I don’t understand what you mean by “containing costs.”

      1. KB

        Kip Sullivan is speaking about a bad CBO score. It’s not my opinion, as I said it’s one of the well know experts in all things single payers’ opinion….and, IMHO he’s right. The House M4A bill is much better…Kip has studied this stuff for over 20 years…I don’t trust many other than him and his arguments always are well researched. He posts on a listserve I participate in for almost as many years, almost once a week.

        1. WJ

          OK. Thanks.

          My own view is that the “CBO score” of this or that piece of legislation is only ever trotted out to give elected officials a pretext for opposing (on “responsible” fiscal grounds) a piece of legislation they were always going to oppose anyway, because it runs counter to their private interests and those of their donors.

          The problem with a “CBO score” in this context in any case–if I understand CBO scoring rightly–is that it only registers the financial inputs and outputs of the government. From that perspective, any Medicare Bill is going to score poorly because most of the “savings” of the program are initially going to be the private savings of individuals, who no longer have to pay premiums, deductibles, out-of-network surcharges, etc. The “increased” cost to the federal government will be more than outweighed by the value accruing to citizens–both in terms of monetary savings and, more importantly, guaranteed health care and the peace of mind and freedom of action that goes along with it.

          So I’m not sure why we should really care about what the CBO has to say. But I have not waded into the policy weeds on this issue–the comparative cost of Sanders’ and the House’s plan–so others may have a more detailed and informative response.

          1. KB

            I strongly recommend you read both bills. If you want to maintain insurance company like programs (Accountable care organizations) and insurance company-hospital clinic chains then fine. Pay particular attention to Sander’s Section 611(b)….in his bill…BTW I campaigned for and voted in the primary for Bernie in 2016….I do not want his bill in it’s current form to pass.

  16. nippersdad

    Brock is back to being Brock. So much for that unity thing.:

    “There is a growing realization that Sanders could end up winning this thing, or certainly that he stays in so long that he damages the actual winner,” says David Brock, the liberal organizer, who said he has had discussions with other operatives about an anti-Sanders campaign and believes it should commence “sooner rather than later.”

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Given the only time Brock ever stopped a Democrat was when he actually worked for HRC, this is great news!

      1. nippersdad

        Wow! Peter Daou doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo. I thought that this was particularly interesting.:

        “I was hired by Clinton in 2006 (and by John Kerry in 2004) not because I was a party insider, but as a liason to the progressive community. When I joined Clinton, the New York Times said it was “to help disseminate her message in a forum that has not always been that hospitable to her.”

        Well, that didn’t work out so well. I wonder how “Peter Douche’s Liason” would characterize this column?

    2. WJ

      The insulting ridiculous unargued premise of this narrative is that the same groundswell of popular momentum unbeholden to establishment interests that would enable Sanders to win the Dem nomination is suddenly supposed to be a liability in a general election against Trump.

      The thesis of the piece is essentially that Sanders’ enormous grassroots support from people who are non-traditional Democrats will mean that he loses to Trump in a general. It is so stupid of a claim once pared back to its basics that it can’t be taken seriously.

    3. nippersdad

      The Sanders campaign is already fundraising off of that article.:

      “Mr. Brock — who smeared Anita Hill and led an effort to stop our political revolution four years ago — is almost correct. They don’t just hate Bernie Sanders. They hate everything our political revolution embodies. They hate Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, breaking up big banks, free public college for all.”

      “…we are launching a fundraising drive that I hope will send an unmistakable message to the political establishment about the strength of our political revolution.”

      “They may have “canape-filled fundraisers,” we have each other.”

      And they are doing a money bomb. Taking it to their doorstep in this way, it really does look like he is in it to win it this time. Good for them!

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Europe urged to reject US Middle East plan if it is unfair to Palestinians”

    Oh I think that I can imagine what would be in that US Middle East peace plan. Trump gives absolutely everything to Israel that it wants or needs such as Gaza, the West Bank – everything. The Palestinians find a way to be OK with all this.

  18. John

    For comparison to Notre Dame, the dome of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul collapsed on the faithful three times, rebuilt every time before the engineers got it right. And there is the firebombing of the German cities that took down a lot of magnificent architecture in the 1940’s much of which was promptly rebuilt.
    Rebuilding Notre Dame will provide a lot of jobs for gillet jaunes from sentimental oligarchs. If they use old techniques it shouldn’t even have a horrible level of carbon footprint.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Parthenon has been under restoration for a while now. That’s one example.

      And in 1902, St. Mark’s bell tower, or campanile, collapses in 1902. The same evening, the communal council approved 500,000 Lire for rebuilding (per Wikipedia).

    2. sd

      They won’t be able to rebuild in wood without the timber of an old growth forest. They will most likely move towards newer construction techniques. Hopefully, adding a sprinkler system.

      1. dearieme

        Is France short of old growth woodland? It hasn’t appeared to be the case in the parts I’ve driven through. But perhaps more beech than oak.

    3. polecat

      I would bet that Macron will give a flippant toss of a teensy weensy symbolic crumb of a crust of brioche to the G Js … while giving the lion’s share of the restoration to his high-class UPPER CRUST grifting chums in waiting !

  19. The Rev Kev

    “al-Sisi is evidently not impressed with Trump”

    There seems to be a lot of reshuffling of countries and their alliances in this part of the world. I would say that it is because that Syria survived as a country and did not let itself be over-run with Wahhabi Jihadists that has triggered this. Turkey, Iran and Qatar for example are starting to form an alliance which is infuriating Saudi Arabia,. Russia is back again in the Middle East with a vengeance and is using an approach that even the Islamist respect. There is talk of a railway line connecting Iran, Iraq and Syria to boost trade. Jordan is defying Pompeo’s orders to give up chunks of their territory to Israel just because he says so. Egypt, after sitting down at a table with the Gulf states who are all for an Arab NATO found as it could not identify the sucker at the table, realized that it must be them which is why they left. Saudi Arabia and France are backing that Libyan general in his attempted takeover of the country in defiance of such countries like Italy. Interesting times indeed.

    1. michael hudson

      The most positive rebuild that I’ve seen is the Dresden cathedral. It was utterly destroyed, and I almost cried when I saw Dresden.
      But now there are great concert halls in it, good performances, the tower and statue are revived, and it was a great (but decades-long) reconstruction. Many beautiful Jugendstil residential neighborhoods have been rebuilt and are quite comfortable, and the city is a pleasure.

      1. Janie

        Cologne Cathedral also had a huge rebuild after the war. Its spires remained standing; they provided a great navigational aid to Allied planes. It’s just a few blocks from the Rhine and its surroundings are quite nice.

    2. Synapsid

      Rev Kev,

      Iran and Qatar are economic allies, as they share the South Pars natural-gas field, and Iran has been a very great help to Qatar in dealing with the blockade set up by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states; thanks to Iran’s help that blockade hasn’t accomplished much.

      Iran and Iraq are economic allies in particular with Iran supplying electricity to Iraq. It helps that most of Iraq’s population are Shiite. And Syria has given Iran the lease on the economic part of the port at Latakia, on the Mediterranean (I believe Russia has the military part.) Qatar to Iran to Iraq to Syria to the Med was the path of the proposed natural-gas pipeline that was first opposed by Assad but Assad owes Iran big time for its help during the wars, and I expect that that debt to Iran plus the prospect of transit fees for the gas would help see the thing built. Syria has already favored Iran for reconstruction of the country and now has given Iran access to the Med where the pipeline could terminate…even though Russia would likely see the pipeline as against the interests of Gazprom. Syria needs both its big allies, Russia and Iran, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gazprom asked to invest in the pipeline.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You must be reading the same sources that I am. Good summary of the general situation.

  20. Wukchumni

    How do you build 5 story tall structures in the USA’s version of Notre Dame?

    Well, you’ll need to cut down a quarter of a million trees used for timbering throughout-that are 50 miles away, and then transport them to the jobsite w/o benefit of wheels or animal power.

    The wood in the monumental “great houses” built in Chaco Canyon by ancient Puebloans came from two different mountain ranges, according to new research from the University of Arizona Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research.

    The UA scientists are the first to report that before 1020, most of the wood came from the Zuni Mountains about 50 miles to the south. The species of tree used in the buildings did not grow nearby, so the trees must have been transported from distant mountain ranges.

    About 240,000 trees were used to build massive structures, some five stories high and with hundreds of rooms, in New Mexico’s arid, rocky Chaco Canyon during the time period 850 to 1140. The buildings include some of the largest pre-Columbian buildings in North America.

    “The casual observer will see hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of beams sticking out of the walls. There’s wood all over the place in these structures,” said lead author Christopher Guiterman. “They’re built out of stone and wood.”

    1. Eclair

      Gosh, yes, Wukchumni! We explored the cliff dwellings in Mesa Verde a few years ago. I thought they would be caves, hacked out of the rock. Far from it! The structures are built of carefully dressed stone, fitted together (without mortar?) with precision. Plus, the builders were hanging off the sides of cliffs hundreds of feet from the canyon floors. They were building these dwellings in the 11th century, which means they must have been developing these techniques for centuries. Not too shabby! And definitely not the work of ‘primitive’ peoples.

      1. Wukchumni

        The trend in California the past 30 years or so, has been for the facade of many retail buildings to have very much the same look as the precision fitted stone walls of the great houses in Chaco Canyon.

        Every time I see it utilized in modern construction, it takes me back to Chaco if only for a scintilla.

        Last time we were there, 8 of us had Pueblo Bonito all to ourselves for 45 minutes, early in the a.m.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Asia Times has an article from about 4 hours, titled: Still Want to See Notre-Dame? Go To China.

      1. polecat

        Someone surely can do a 3-D rebuild … from the ground-up remains .. complete with pseudo-ancient, faux-grained woodpulp timbers and all …. no ?

        1. Wukchumni

          It’s not uncommon to dig up Tyvek enshrouded ancient buildings these days, they were so ahead of their time.

  21. Summer

    Re: man-sues-parents-for-throwing-out-porn-collection

    “His parents admit they dumped the porn, which included titles such as Frisky Business and Big Bad Grannys [sic].”

    I suppose a little bit of everything makes the world go ’round.

    1. newcatty

      Yeah, makes the world go around for the producers of them, especially. Kind of like arms manufacturers world going around from sales. Or Monsanto’s poisonous sales. Or fossil fuel sales. Or exploitive Big Pharma sales. Or vape sales tailored to kids. Or varsity blues sales. Or puppy mill sales. Or factory farms sales. Or charlatan preacher’s sales. Or…the trafficking of people’s sales. Or…

  22. Craig H.

    > The Bleak Prophecy of Timothy Snyder Chronicle Review

    “There’s a certain danger in politics in crying wolf too many times,” says the Princeton historian David A. Bell. “You start to alienate the people you’re trying to persuade.”

    It has been awhile since I heard anybody refer to crying wolf. According to the wikipedia article on the Aesop fable it has been shown in some education project that teaching children this story does not dissuade children from lying but gives them the idea it would be fun.

    My grandmother’s formula for discouraging lying in children was threatening to whoop their ass.

    I wonder who would give a historian money to write a book about the future? Isn’t that like a religious leader writing a guide to where to score the best whores and crack in Las Vegas?

    His other book cannot easily be put down once opened. Do not begin within an hour of bedtime:

    1. JBird4049

      Bloodlands is such a cheerful book. /s! I Keep meaning to buy, instead of just checking out a copy, to keep and finish reading. Some books I have a hard time finishing because the subject is so disturbing.

      1. Craig H.

        The longer it goes on the more disturbing it gets. I will never touch that book again. The Nazis were bad. The Commies were worse. And the worst of all were your next door neighbors all along.

        1. aletheia33

          The longer it goes on the more disturbing it gets.

          funny, when i read that i thought you were just talking about the world situation today.

        2. Plenue

          “The Nazis were bad. The Commies were worse.”

          That one can come away with that verdict is pretty damning of Snyder as a historian Bloodlands is not particularly well liked among historians.

  23. georgieboy

    Re the Telegraph piece on the DNA signatures from cancer revealing environmental insult:

    If that research holds up these will be interesting times for some large corporations and tort lawyers, alike.

    Monsanto/Bayer comes to mind, of course.

  24. Cal2

    “San Francisco’s Human Waste Challenge – 132,562 Cases Reported In The Public Way”

    Add to that 36,000 car break ins a year.

    Total arrests? 6 (six)

    This is the culmination of five decades of political decisions, voter choices and civic suicide.
    Starting in the Summer of Love, San Francisco has been the choice destination for drifters, drug addicts, the mentally ill and criminals from all over the west who lodge here. In addition, they can commute from Oakland and Richmond across the bay on a nice subway system.
    They like it because of the nearly zero law enforcement on the streets, the California state law that makes thefts under $950 a misdemeanor and the sheer stupidity of ideologues elected by recently arrived identitarian voters working within the civic cancer of district elections of supervisors.
    Kamala Harris, was the alleged district attorney during two terms, during which the violent crime rate, and of course ‘nuisances’ like raving lunatics, feces in the streets and car break-ins increased dramatically.

    In addition, it’s a sanctuary city and offers enormous numbers of language, money, service and material benefits for “migrants”, which further exacerbates the ‘housing shortage’ which leads to even more money and services being thrown at the ‘homeless’ who flock in. $40,000 per person, per year and with a new business tax just passed, to go to $70,000 each per year when all costs figured in.

    Blessed by geography and nice weather, but with an ever shrinking number of productive residents, (most commute), the city is a gilded cesspool with a thin sheen of techbro cream on top.
    The city needs someone like a Giuliani.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      The city needs someone like a Giuliani.

      That’s right – clowns do have a tendency to make people feel better.

        1. JBird4049

          Most of the homeless and the vehicle dwellers are native born Americans and are very long term Californian residents as well as very often having jobs too; as a native born Californian blaming this all on outsiders would appealing, but I have been seeing this housing crisis developed throughout California over a period of four decades. The various Republican and Democratic run governments from the councils of smallest town or most rural counties all the way to the governorship, as well as most of their voters, have just run away blaming everyone and everything else, but those truly responsible, which are themselves.

          San Francisco could find or create housing for the twelve thousand homeless. Public restrooms could be installed as is done in cities across the planet. Mixed public housing of the kind done in Vienna, and elsewhere, would solve the lack of housing and prevent the extreme concentration of either the very poor or the very wealthy so long as the housing was acceptable and affordable to everyone. Heck, the most expensive and time consuming way of buying land and have bids for contracts for enough housing would work eventually.

          LA, San Jose, San Diego, and, if they hammered Sacramento for help, eventually the poor rural counties could too. All of this would decrease the power of developers as well as put some downward pressure on the costs of owners’ homes. It might even (gasp) reduce the de facto racial and class redlining.

          Or we can blame the mentally ill, the unemployed, and refugees from the ongoing slow collapse of the Central American states that was created by the United States.

  25. Jen


    “How, some Democrats are beginning to ask, do they thwart a 70-something candidate from outside the party structure who is immune to intimidation or incentive and wields support from an unwavering base, without simply reinforcing his “the establishment is out to get me’’ message — the same grievance Mr. Trump used to great effect?”


    Email from sanders campaign….

    A serious threat to our campaign

    The New York Times has an article today with the headline “‘Stop Sanders’ Democrats Are Agonizing Over His Momentum.”
    “From canapé-filled fund-raisers on the coasts to the cloakrooms of Washington, mainstream Democrats are increasingly worried…” the article begins.
    “The Bernie question comes up in every fundraising meeting I do,” said one fundraiser.
    “It has gone from being a low hum to a rumble,” said an operative.
    “He did us a disservice in the last election,” said another.
    “You can see him reading the headlines now,” Mr. [David] Brock mused: “‘Rich people don’t like me.'”
    Mr. Brock — who smeared Anita Hill and who led an effort to stop our political revolution four years ago — is almost correct. They don’t just hate Bernie Sanders. They hate everything our political revolution embodies. They hate Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, breaking up big banks, free public college for all.
    That is why, in the next 48 hours, we are launching a fundraising drive that I hope will send an unmistakable message to the political establishment about the strength of our political revolution.
    That’s why I’m asking you today:
    Make a contribution to our campaign as part of our emergency 48-hour fundraising drive to fight back against the “anti-Sanders” campaign being hatched by the financial elite of this country.

    I, for one, am ready to rumble

    1. Cal2

      How about a 38 year old serious politician, House member, female, Army major, combat veteran, athlete, who is immune to intimidation or incentive and wields support from an unwavering base?

      Tulsi Gabbard

      Here’s her voting record:

      Here’s her policy positions:

      Why Trump supporters would vote for her as well:
      She opposes admitting refugees. She a frequent fixture on Fox News, where she has slammed the president over his refusal to use the term “Islamic extremism” to refer to terror attacks.Trump has called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that is supported by many conservative economists and Republican lawmakers, “insanity;” Gabbard has called it “disastrous” and denounced it as looking like “NAFTA on steroids.”

      Here’s how Bernie+Tulsi is stronger than just Bernie or Tulsi:

      Here’s who will win the general election if Bernie+Tulsi are not the nominees of the Democratic Party:
      Donald Trump.

      1. Jen

        I like Tulsi as well, and agree they would make a great team. I’m also getting a real kick out of watching the NYT doing Bernie’s fundraising for him.

      2. CraaaaaaaaaaaaaazyChris

        I like Tulsi, but what I like best about her at this moment is she makes Bernie look like a centrist. It’s great to have her out there pulling the Overton window left.

  26. barrisj

    Amidst so much bad news of late, Bloomberg News reports that the Trump crowd are reviewing “other candidates” for Fed Bd. of Governors, signaling that the reality of pushing Moore and Cain has met a “wall” that even Trump can’t breach.

    1. Wukchumni

      You almost get the idea that the limbo stick approach of picking a Fed candidate is merely to set a bottom, in order to make the next choice seem less odious.

      1. polecat

        I hear tell that Political SNAKES make the best candidates .. being so supple, and slinky .. and are able to do the limbo to great effect !

  27. Copeland

    Re: Bonus Antidote

    I’ve had a lot of Aussies (Australian Shepherds) so I’m partial, but everything about that dogs body language says “I’m an Aussie” and not “I’m a Border Collie”.

  28. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “All in the Family Debt Boston Review” — This essay emphasized the impacts of Neoliberal enforcement of family obligations on lower income families. But as jobs become more precarious, as college costs rocket, as medical costs rocket, as the costs for nursing homes rocket — I think most of us could fall prey to the ravages of the new and constantly ‘improving’ legally enforced Neoliberal family obligations. Though wealthy by no means, I never regarded myself or the people I worked with as lower income. Yet as I recall from talk around the coffee machines most of my coworkers had co-signed for some pricey college education for their children, and almost all were tied to substantial mortgage notes. We had layoffs and transfers every year as contracts began and ended and moved, and old were shoved out and replaced with clueless youth. Very long faces and silent lamentations characterized the last ten years of my employment, up to the time when we started diminishing the office space and working from home, and many not working any more and not missed because they were never seen.

    As my children run into problems maintaining a semblance of independence I have more and more trouble voluntarily helping them without becoming a problem myself. I can foresee a time when I may have to choose between saving my children or swallowing a bitter pill myself.

    1. VietnamVet

      The current economy is a giant extraction scam transferring wealth to a few well connected families. Individuals can duck and dodge but sooner or later everyone who isn’t a mob member will take a hit from which there is no coming back. The alternative is taking back control of the government from the plutocrats and enforcing the laws equally for everyone. A restoration of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

  29. Brendan

    re: Schumer failing to name the SEC commissioner

    Matt Stoller at Friday’s DC meetup used this as an example of Democratic incompetence, saying that if they were just evil and not incompetent, Schumer would have used his power to put in someone who would do things that benefit Wall Street. And lo and behold, this does indeed benefit Wall Street, with the added advantage that Schumer doesn’t have to actively nominate someone and risk upsetting either voters or donors.

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding his position, but I was surprised at Stoller’s view that if Democrats would just wield power, they would do the right thing. He seems not to recognize that there are institutional factors leading Democrats to behave a certain way, instead that they’re incompetent and limited in their thinking. Especially in light of tweets like these from him:

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