Links 4/19/19

Kakapow! Rare world’s fattest parrot has record breeding season Jakarta Post

Decades of Neglect Threatened Notre Dame, Well Before It Burned WSJ

‘The weakest link’: Why your house may burn while your neighbor’s survives the next wildfire Sacramento Bee


How close are May and Corbyn to a Brexit deal? Institute for Government

Brexit: Nancy Pelosi steps up pressure on UK over Irish border BBC

What the Corn Laws tell us about Brexit Britain World Economic Forum

Britain is once again the sick man of Europe Martin Wolf, FT

Journalist shot dead during rioting in Derry RTE and Four ATMs stolen in Meath, Antrim and Armagh overnight RTE. “It brings to at least 15 the number of ATMs stolen on both sides of the border in recent months, five of those south of the border.” Hmm. A little self-financing?

There is No Alternativelessness n+1. On German domestic politics.


International rivalries are driving Libya towards war, UN warns FT

The Ultra-Orthodox Will Determine Israel’s Political Future Foreign Policy. What could go wrong?

Trump’s America, Netanyahu’s Israel LRB


Elections 2019: Can turnout numbers tell us if the BJP is likely to be re-elected? Scroll

India voter ‘chops off finger’ after voting for wrong party BBC

Indonesia election: Widodo declares victory amid dispute BBC

Jung lovers: BTS delve into psychology on their album, Map Of The Soul BBC. I didn’t know Jessica Jung was a published author as well!


Safety demonstration:

Supervisor: Red (!). Worker: Yellow.

Greenpeace Study Shines Light on China’s Polluted Soils Sixth Tone

Building China: Why Does Chinese Architecture Favor Enclosure Over Openness? Radii


Sell Out: How Corruption, Voter Fraud and a Neoliberal Turn Led Ecuador’s Lenin to Give Up Assange The Grayzone

Massive pro-Assange protest hits Ecuador’s capital Quito Daliy Sabah (zagonostra). From wire services. Not sure how “massive.”


The Mueller probe Associated Press

Robert Mueller Did Not Merely Reject the Trump-Russia Conspiracy Theories. He Obliterated Them Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept vs. Dear Democrats: Mueller Just Handed You a Road Map for Impeachment. Follow It. Mehdi Hassan, The Intercept

The Mueller report is the opposite of exoneration Editorial Board, WaPo and Mr. Mueller’s Indictment Editorial Board, NYT

First Thoughts On The Mueller Report Release Moon of Alabama

What Mueller Found on Russia and on Obstruction: A First Analysis LawFare

Mueller completely dropped the ball with obstruction punt Andrew McCarthy, NY Post. Block that metaphor!

Trump Induces Hysteria. It’s Worth Resisting. Zaid Jilani, Forward

Will the Mueller Report Make the New Cold War Even Worse? Stephen Cohen, The Nation. Worth reading the Mueller Report through this lens.

New Cold War

The Official Skripal Story is a Dead Duck Craig Murray

Russia seeks Chinese support in developing Arctic shipping routes, promising long-term gas supplies in return South China Morning Post

Bernie Steals the ‘No More Wars’ Issue From Trump Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative

The Saker interviews Dmitry Orlov Vineyard of the Saker

The Persisting Relevance of Walter Rodney’s “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa” Los Angeles Review of Books

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Chicago is Tracking Kids With GPS Monitors That Can Call and Record Them Without Consent The Appeal (JBird4049).

Who’s using your face? The ugly truth about facial recognition FT

737 MAX

Bjorn’s Corner: MCAS fix on the way Leeham News

Boeing ‘shielded’ from 737 Max order cancellations MarketWatch

Health Care

Private equity infuses healthcare with $63B investment Modern Healthcare

In the Bronx, AOC Advocates for a ‘VA for All’ The Nation (MR).

Neoliberal Epidemics

The Depths of Despair Among US Adults Entering Midlife American Journal of Public Health. “Results suggest that generally rising despair among the young adult cohort now reaching midlife that cuts across racial/ethnic, educational, and geographic groups may presage rising midlife mortality for these subgroups in the next decade.”

As Syphilis Invades Rural America, A Fraying Health Safety Net Is Failing To Stop It KHN. Everything’s going according to plan!

Class Warfare

The Captain Swing Riots; Workers and Threshing Machines in the 1830s The Conversable Economist

Uber and Lyft drivers say apps are short-changing wages while raising fares Guardian (SlayTheSmaugs). A team of programmes wrote the code; the managers approved it; the executives pocketed the gains. Disruption! Innovation!

Selfie Deaths Are an Epidemic Outside (Re Silc).

Planet’s ocean-plastics problem detailed in 60-year data set Nature

Antidote du jour (CK):

CK writes: “Here’s another lovely creature from Patagonia. So beautifully camouflaged!”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Pogonip

    Yves, how’s your cat?

    I lost 2 good pets at age 10 and still mourn them 50 years later. So if you need a listener please e-mail as I understand.

    1. Yves Smith

      Oh that is so kind!

      Gabriel is still hanging in there….not eating much at all, incontinence getting worse but still doing cat things like getting out in the corridor and wanting to be petted and play.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Surely there are no wolves in Australia; isn’t that how marsupials took such hold there, no natural predators?

      Still not sure I see it but something furry looks to be just right of the tree.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Oh jeez, Patagonia. And it’s curled up to the left of the tree. A little llama?

          1. nippersdad

            The impunity that they have in building their Galt’s Gulch was a real shock. I suppose it shouldn’t be at this point, but it was nevertheless. Thanks for the second installment.

            1. Wukchumni

              The fantasy that one can escape a maelstrom approaching seldom works, but I remember this one tale of a German who saw the writing on the wall in the mid 30’s, and made good his escape to Switzerland-securing citizenship there, where he & his family rid out the hellscape surrounding them geographically in some semblance of normal.

              Me, i’d pick the 3rd worldiest country to hide out in, a place where services were scant and the populace was used to having less, a lot less.

              There’s the slight issue of a regular white guy fitting into their realm, along with the idea that I relish where i’m ensconced, so i’ll never leave.

              1. ambrit

                As the German experience showed plainly, all the money in the world avails one naught when pure power is deployed against one.
                Buying property is not the same as holding on to it during chaos and crisis.
                At least the Sierras are a defensible position.

                1. Wukchumni

                  At least the Sierras are a defensible position.

                  I’ve hiked the Dolomites, and when you think of the idea of what went on there in WW1, it’s really a shock, as forests and mountains are generally off-piste for pissed off combatants. (your Kashmir may vary)

                  The key to battle in the High Sierra would be proficiency in moving large groups of soldiers off-trail sometimes over passes where you go carefully one by one laden with heavy packs, which would take a lot of training beforehand to make them comfortable in their surroundings.

                  Proximity to water is practically a given, and there is the issue of being surrounded by oceans of granite once above say 10k, which would make for excellent ancillary shrapnel, were the other side to mortar you there. The forest for the trees isn’t much better, as it’d be the Hürtgen Forest all over again, with shell bursts splintering the scene of the clime.

                  1. ambrit

                    Have no fear. The 10th Mountain Division based in upstate New York is supposed to be quite good at that sort of thing. As an added bonus, the 10th is also trained for “Crowd Control.” So, if SHTF brings hordes of impecunious urbanites to the heights, the 10th can be the 10 Percent’s Division of choice.
                    Realistically, the rusticality of the region is it’s best defense.
                    Don’t do like Duke Leto’s troops and get bottled up in caves. Mobility is key.

                2. The Rev Kev

                  True story here. I believe that there was one guy who, before WW2, saw the chaos coming and so left Europe to go to the quietest place that he could find – a tropical paradise in fact with friendly natives. The name of this tropical paradise that he chose? Guadalcanal!

              2. Janie

                On moving to a third-world country, John Michael Greer, Archdruid emeritus, says foreigners will be held responsible when things go south. Who thought Equador would change so radically?

                1. Synoia

                  Its amazing how effective an unlimited USAID budget can be at changing things.

                  It even covers the “consulting fees” paid when the IMF commits billions of US $s.

                    1. ambrit

                      How about al Dante? That has an euphonious ring to it.
                      “Abandon every hype, who enter here.”

                    1. ambrit

                      Ray Bradbury wrote a short story about it; “And the Rock Cried Out.”
                      As with true visionaries everywhere, he anticipated the feel of the future.

        1. shtove

          I still can’t see the blasted thing! It’s like Rachel from Friends when she’s shown the ultrasound image of her baby.

        2. David R Smith

          No, it’s standing on the downed tree to the right of the main tree, looking over its shoulder. Something like a coyote.

      2. Marcus

        Australia’s mammals evolved right alongside the placental mammals, not separately. The continents were once joined, even Oz, to a single continental land mass called Pangea…350 million years ago (?) but all the major groups of land animals had appeared by then, including birds. Australia had plenty of predators, they just weren’t wolves or lions like the mammals in the rest of the world. The extinct Tasmanian Tiger is an example.

        1. Wukchumni

          We were @ a hut on the Rees-Dart track in NZ (…a stunning walk combined with a side trip to Cascade Saddle, wow-wow-wow) and the backcountry huts are a wonderful way to meet the world, as typically Kiwis make up only 15% of the occupants and everybody else is on neutral ground…

          There were Aussie & Kiwi brother-in-laws there, and it doesn’t take much to get somebody from the Lucky Country to get into a litany of lethal living things there that’ll set you six feet under, and another Aussie chimed in as well, it’s what they do.

          Meanwhile the Kiwi bro in law was quiet as a clam, for aside from sandflies that’ll put the hurt on you (tip: buy ‘anthisan cream’ @ a chemist in NZ and apply to bites toot suite) there is nothing that can harm you in the land of the long white cloud.

            1. Copeland

              Yes, spider!…but: During my only ever international vacation, in New Zealand, one of our many lovely B&B type hosts went into his storage shed for some scrap lumber for a project while we were staying with them, and he was bitten by a spider. Over the next several hours his hand swelled up like a grapefruit and he could do nothing but rock back and forth, softly moaning in pain. He said “we never used to have anything like this here, they recently came over from Australia”.

          1. Carey

            Sandflies in NZ, yeah. As I remember it, they wouldn’t bite as long as one was moving a bit, which made for some pretty funny human behavior. Man, I hated those things.

      1. crittermom

        That would be my guess, as well. A fox, judging by the tail & proportion of it to its body.

    2. tegnost

      I’m not very good at these things, I think I see something like a bear on the right of the tree, center frame…?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Take a look to the right of the tree. There is a tree lying on the ground in the background. The fox-like animal is standing on top of it and is framed by the first two moss covered trees. It is grey in colour so is hard to pick out at first. Hope this helps.

        1. polecat

          That image could have been plucked straight out of the lot immediately behind our house .. until the city, in it’s un-wisdom gave the go-ahead for the new property owner to completely log it off — all for a fist full of revenue $$ ..then .. to add insult to injury, new ferengi, er, owner .. proceded to log-n-scrape the lot in front of our propery, across the street ! … the same city whose council just last year pushed to reinstate national recognition as a Arbor Day City !!
          Heavens to Murgatroid ..The Irony–it .. uh .. burns biggly !
          I really miss those 2 × 2 blocks of forest ..

        2. Oregoncharles

          Yes, fox. Thanks for the directions – don’t think I’d ever have spotted it otherwise.

      1. Wukchumni

        What do you think is the most common words uttered mid-fall from the last selfie?

        “Goooooooot it!”

        1. Geo

          Jeff Foxworthy has a joke back in the 90’s that is similar and went, “What are the most common last words of a redneck? ‘Hey guys, watch this!’”

  2. ChiGal in Carolina

    The comments on GG are mostly scathing on his claim of obliterated. I was surprised. I really have no use for Medhi Hassan, cheerleading for impeachment.

    The Intercept is turning into a bit of an odd duck. Still like Scahill’s podcast though.

    1. Donald

      The Intercept is frequently mainstream liberal in its bias. On Syria, for instance, while I agree that the Syrian government did terrible things, I would have expected a dissident lefty set of journalists to have covered our attempt at regime change much more critically than they did.

      Th Intercept has some good pieces, but then, so does the NYT. I don’t expect much from either one even if the Intercept is better.

      As for Russiagate, facts don’t matter. People who have invested three years in believing the most melodramatic spy novel stories about how Trump is Putin’s puppet aren’t going to be swayed by facts, including the fact that Trump’s foreign policy is not in alignment with Russia’s.

      1. John

        Even if Trump’s foreign policy is, as you say, “not in alignment with Russia’s” that doesn’t prove the Russians’ weren’t happy to help put him in power.

        1. Donald

          “that doesn’t prove the Russians’ weren’t happy to help put him in power.”

          They obviously preferred Trump to Clinton. I am neutral on what they did, , but taking Russiagate claims at face value, it doesn’t justify the hysteria.. The social media material was a trivial drop in the ocean of nonsense Americans put out on political matters.

          Now if the Russians did hack the emails, that mattered, but it mattered because the emails contained a large amount of newsworthy material about the cynicism of the Democratic Party. Mondoweiss just carried a piece about what we learned just on the subject of Israel.

          If people really care about unsavory foreign influence on our politics, there would be investigations into how Israel and the Saudis and others influence both parties. Trump is obviously in the pocket of Netanyahu and Bonesaw. But hysteria over evil Russians is useful for justifying our Empire and nobody cares about anti Russian bigotry.

          1. Donald

            The Mondoweiss article I mentioned—


            Notice that in the hysteria about the dastardly Russians and the evil Assange we no longer hear anyone in the mainstream talk about what the stolen emails revealed. I noticed that back in 2016. There was a brief attempt at claiming they were fraudulent, but then it pivoted to how it was bad to use the material and then, soon after that, we only heard about how evil it was that the Russians had stolen the documents and interfered with our election, but people stopped talking about what was in the documents.

          2. Donald

            “I am neutral on what they did, “

            I mean that I am uncertain about what is true and what isn’t true regarding what the Russians supposedly did. The intelligence summary that came out in early 2017 was a bad joke. Much of it was about the malign influence of Russia Today. If that was a fair sample of our intelligence community’s analytic capabilities then that should be a scandal in itself.

          3. samhill

            In theory there’s a vast expanse btwn Reagan and Carter, btwn Clinton and Bush, btwn Obama & Trump but in practice I’m having trouble seeing, feeling, or living it, I can’t imaging for the life of me the Russians would waste much effort on who the particular US president is.

            Long time ago I read somewhere that for the USA the USSR serves the same role as The Devil did in the Holy Roman Empire. Perestroika/Glasnost proved a problem, but they got The Devil back. This is fun, if you’ll pardon a digression:


            1. pretzelattack

              the russians likely preferred the guy who said there was an inordinate fear of communism in the united states to the alzheimer’s victim who joked about nuking the russians or planned for a survivable nuclear war “with enough dirt”.

            2. Jeffrey Fisher

              The Russians, which is used as shorthand for very wealthy and hideously corrupt ruling class of the former soviet union, including Putin, are vaguely Fossil Fuel Oligarchs.

              The Republican party is extremely pro Fossil Fuel and pro Oligarch.

              That is entirely enough to explain their preference.

              1. Mike Mc

                Democratic Party leaders simply cannot or will not admit that millions of Americans – Republicans, Democrats and Independents – simply hated HRC’s guts with the fire of 10,000 suns.

                Regular NC readers know all the reasons. It still surprises me (after 35 years as a registered Democrat – last three as a Berniecrat though) how thoroughly the DNC and their minions have avoided this plain fact despite mountains of evidence.

                Almost as surprising as Trump’s support among evangelical Christians and just as reasonable!

                1. Whoamolly

                  Re: DNC blindness

                  “None so blind as those who will not see”

                  Or maybe just that failing to sign on to the HRC gravy train meant being shut out from the anticipated post-election flow of Benjamins.

                  Plus, Clinton literally owned DNC at time. The DNC was bankrupt and Clinton financed their continued operation.

                  1. Mike Mc

                    Cui bono or “follow the money” my standard advice to any and all questions about politics or power.

                    Lifelong habit of reading ancient Roman history reveals there is seldom anything new under the sun; watching America devour itself is, kinda, because as a nation and culture we’re still fairly young. O tempora! O mores!

                2. Synoia

                  Almost as surprising as Trump’s support among evangelical Christians and just as reasonable!

                  Trump’s a family man. He’s proven that at least 3 times.

                  One must consider the potential Evangelical (Male) support for polygamy, based on the Bible’s teachings.

                  1. Lambert Strether Post author

                    This is silly. There are people for whom outlawing abortion is a key issue, nearly all of them evangelical Christians, and Trump (with his Federalist Society advisors) has delivered for them; another Catholic conservative on the Court.

                3. Jeffrey Fisher

                  I don’t disagree. I voted against her in the primary vs obama in significant part because i knew a few boring ordinary people who literally started to salivate with hatred whenever they spoke about her. It was not smart to walk into that. (didn’t end up voting in her next primary, due to a move).

                  Sanders, however, was an equally problematic candidate in the democratic primary. Years refusing to join the party, far NE corner of one of the whitest bits of the US. Maybe Democrats more to the left could have been a bit more strategic there eh?

                  1. Kurt Sperry

                    “Sanders, however, was an equally problematic candidate in the democratic primary. Years refusing to join the party, far NE corner of one of the whitest bits of the US.”

                    I’m still trying to find a valid criticism of Sanders in there.

                  2. Lambert Strether Post author

                    > Maybe Democrats more to the left could have been a bit more strategic there eh

                    Presumably you would be able to come up with such a strategy? If so, what is it?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Some say Clinton worked for the KGB. In that case, did it install Yeltsin, first, then, Putin later?

            I myself doubt the Clinton-KGB link.

            1. Sanxi

              I worked directly for Clinton at that time, more like a DNC op, not CIA. Money to be made after all.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Your point doesn’t prove anything. Are you on board for hand marked paper ballots?

          What about getting rid of Pelosi who ignored the need to reauthorize the voting rights act during her first stint as Speaker despite GOP efforts to limit voting among minorities and the poor? Don’t you agree we need effective leadership in these perilous times?

          Your refusal to call for such pressing changes leads me to conclude you’ve had too much vodka this morning, comrade.

          1. John

            Again, you know nothing about what I believe. I’m certainly not a Pelosi supporter.
            Below I said I was for paper ballots.

            You are just looking for a fight while hurtling insults that are absurd.


            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Though its a bit mean spirited, Ivan, I’m making fun of your lack of reasoning and logic. Perhaps, its lost in translation from English to Russian?

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > help

          “Help” is doing a lot of work there, isn’t it? Here is the Internet Research Agency* meme that “helped” Trump by inducing me to join the Sanders cult:

          That material like this is taken seriously, let alone as a casus belli for war with a nuclear power, shows that our foreign policy elites have lost their minds.

          NOTE * Clearly in the clickbait business, not in the NGO “meddling” space at all.

      2. anon in so cal

        The Intercept’s owner, Pierre Omidyar (owner of First Look Media), is a NeoCon who helped fund the US-supported if not US-engineered Ukraine putsch.

            1. john

              What “facts” can we really know with a 50 billion dollar a year secret national security state determined to keep everything from us,

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                So why did that organization miss the Russian interference?

                Why aren’t James Clapper and John Brennan being investigated? If there was Russian interference, it seems like they dropped the ball. Or are you protecting KGB moles?

                1. John

                  Your comment makes no sense.

                  But continue on with your nonsense.

                  Obviously you get a kick out of calling people who know nothing about traitors.

                  1. Lambert Strether Post author

                    His comment makes complete sense (and in the context of the McCarthyite hysteria generated by liberal Democrats, so does the (ironic) question “Are you protecting KGB moles?”)

                    And if Obama knew “Russian meddling” was real, why the heck did he downplay it? Was he controlled by Putin too?

    2. Detroit Dan

      I thought Glenn Greenwald’s piece on the Mueller report was very good. The more I read, the more the pieces started fitting, clearing up a lot of my confusion on the subject. It was very well structured, proceeding from the core Russiagate allegations to the larger picture regarding the issues and players involved. Nothing seemed a stretch, but rather each point led logically to the next. Must read

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The baseline, as we have forgotten in the ensuing uproar, was set by Clinton herself: She claimed, in debate, before millions of people, that Trump was, quote, a “Russian” “puppet.”

        What the Mueller Report does show — subsequent watering down and walking back to “collusion” notwithstanding — is that Clinton’s baseline claim was false. More pointedly, Clinton’s claim was CT, which she and her supporters than amplified, damaging a very large number of liberal Democrat brains. Permanently damaging.* Even worse than that, she made a nuclear war with Russia more likely.

        NOTE * Permanent in the sense that the brain damage is now a political reality, or to put it another way, a political asset class. Which Warren, to her shame, is now trying to leverage. (“Shame” because anybody who thinks we have the rule of law in the country — or would have it were Trump to be impeached — is living on Earth 2.)

    1. JEHR

      I can see a standing coyote-type creature, a curled up cat, a lizard going up the right side of the tree, numerous insects here and there and if I stare long enough, I can see many, many other insects.

    2. boz

      I had convinced myself that the camouflaged wildlife was Alien (right hand side of the tree, bang in the middle, browny-red skull).

  3. Wukchumni

    ‘The weakest link’: Why your house may burn while your neighbor’s survives the next wildfire Sacramento Bee

    Ran up against the great paywall of Sacramento, so I couldn’t find out who the weakest link was, boo hiss.

    Another fine winter-spring of clearing dead wood from the ground and on trees in apple-lachia, and lit around the 50th burn pile yesterday, with a few more to go before i’ll call it quits until next December. Everything is so verdant, green everywhere, it’d be nearly impossible to start a wildfire, but ask me again in August, when the surroundings become a ticking time bomb, only in need of a spark to light the fuse.

    Here in the land of little rain after April, we may not get more than a scintillas worth until late October after a good drenching thus far, and 3-4 foot high wild grasses and wildflower leftovers all die back, as is their custom.

    There being so much snow this year in the High Sierra, the combination of lots of it, and dangerous creek crossings as a result of meltoff, will not allow passage by foot above say 9,000 feet, until later in July.

    Such a contrast to the worst drought winter, when in late January 2015 we did an overnight backpack to Alta Meadow, and then up to Alta Peak (11,204 ft) and back to our car. The view from up top was stunning, hell just being there @ that time, when there should’ve been a dozen feet of snow in our way and a dearth of dirt, made it memorable.

    1. Wukchumni

      Got it, a nothingburger of an article…

      Giant Sequoia trees tended to shatter internally upon falling when they were logged circa 1900, so usage was limited to grape stakes, fence posts and the best use of all-roof shingles.

      Sequoia wood doesn’t burn well, naturally fire resistant.

      There’s a 6,500 sq ft mansion in Mineral King (7th photo down in the link) built in the late 1930’s that comes with it’s own Sequoia grove, and is powered by state of the art 1939 hydro from the river nearby. The design was inspired by the Ahwannee in Yosemite NP. All of the shingles came from a fallen Sequoia, where one fellow cut them all over the course of a summer.

    2. cm

      A landmark 2008 building code designed for California’s fire-prone regions — requiring fire-resistant roofs, siding and other safeguards — appears to have protected the Carrells’ home and dozens of others like it from the Camp Fire. That year marks a pivotal moment in the state’s deadly and expensive history of destructive natural disasters.

      All told, about 51 percent of the 350 single-family homes built after 2008 in the path of the Camp Fire were undamaged, according to McClatchy’s analysis of Cal Fire data and Butte County property records. By contrast, only 18 percent of the 12,100 homes built prior to 2008 escaped damage. Those figures don’t include mobile homes, which burned in nearly equal measure regardless of age.

  4. Otis B Driftwood

    Camouflage is really more a trick of light and shadow in this case. Didn’t take me long to spot it.

  5. pjay

    Lambert is right. Stephen Cohen asks many of the most important questions concerning the Mueller report and Russiagate. As with other skeptics, his commentary is getting sharper over time. Now we have some of the answers — and we know by the reaction to the report’s release that nothing is likely to change.

    1. Philip

      Professor Cohen asks a rhetorical question…
      Will the Mueller Report Make the New Cold War Even Worse?

      The Report exonerates on collusion, leaves the door ajar on obstruction, confirms all of the Russia Russia Russia, Putin Putin Putin bullshit that Ms Maddow has built her career on and the MSM has been hyping nonstop for nearly three years.

      And here we are:

      But even given all of the horrific decisions being made in the White House, there is one organization that is far crazier and possibly even more dangerous. That is the United States Congress, which is, not surprisingly, a legislative body that is viewed positively by only 18 per cent of the American people.
      A current bill originally entitled the “Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA) of 2019,” is numbered S-1189. It has been introduced in the Senate which will “…require the Secretary of State to determine whether the Russian Federation should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism and whether Russian-sponsored armed entities in Ukraine should be designated as foreign terrorist organizations.” The bill is sponsored by Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado and is co-sponsored by Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey.
      The current version of the bill was introduced on April 11th and it is by no means clear what kind of support it might actually have, but the fact that it actually has surfaced at all should be disturbing to anyone who believes it is in the world’s best interest to avoid direct military confrontation between the United States and Russia.
      * * *
      The February version of the bill included Menendez, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina as co-sponsors, suggesting that provoking war is truly bipartisan in today’s Washington.
      Each Senator co-sponsor contributed a personal comment to the press release. Gardner observed that “Putin’s Russia is an outlaw regime that is hell-bent on undermining international law and destroying the US-led liberal global order.” Menendez noted that “President Trump’s willful paralysis in the face of Kremlin aggression has reached a boiling point in Congress” while Graham added that “Our goal is to change the status quo and impose meaningful sanctions and measures against Putin’s Russia. He should cease and desist meddling in the US electoral process, halt cyberattacks on American infrastructure, remove Russia from Ukraine, and stop efforts to create chaos in Syria.” Cardin contributed “Congress continues to take the lead in defending US national security against continuing Russian aggression against democratic institutions at home and abroad” and Shaheen observed that “This legislation builds on previous efforts in Congress to hold Russia accountable for its bellicose behavior against the United States and its determination to destabilize our global world order.”

      1. polecat

        These rapture-ready people are certifable .. why they’ve not been commandeered and placed into padded rooms is beyond me !

        1. newcatty

          Polecat, just to point out that mentioned senators or representatives are not all rapture-ready people. War hawks, yes. Follow the money.

      2. ChristopherJ

        The only country which is actively seeking to destabilize world order is the US

        Wish it weren’t so. I’d rather holiday in Russia

      3. Efmo

        Projection much, right? But seriously, I think these people believe that no matter how provoked, Putin will blink rather than risk war. A conventional war with Russia, they figure, the U.S., with all its allies, will win. And they believe that we (the U.S.) can accomplish regime change before that even happens and/or Russia goes nuclear. We may soon see, unfortunately, if they are right.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I periodically quote this:

          REPORTER: How will we know the aircraft carrier is obsolete?

          ADMIRAL: When it fails in war.

          The US military is capable of destroying a civil society (that may even be its prime function). However, as far as taking and holding ground, the US military has lost in Vietnam, lost in Iraq, lost in Afghanistan, lost in Syria, and seemingly can’t even invade Venezuela, on the Caribbean, an American lake. Russia is not Panama or Domenica or even Libya. If we went to war with Russia, and managed to keep the war conventional, I wouldn’t be surprised if we lost. I wouldn’t even be surprised if we lost a proxy war. Because that’s what happens to imperial powers in decline.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I thought that that server was connecting with the ones that had Podesta’s emails on them. You know. The ones that the Democrats refused to let the FBI inspect to see what was really going on. Or maybe it was just talking to that server in a basement in in Chappaqua, New York. It all gets so confusing.

      1. John

        This has nothing to do with the Podesta emails.

        Please read the articles if you want to know what this is about.

        1. The Rev Kev

          That story is years old. Don’t you think that if there was something to it, that the Democrats and the FBI would be nailing Trump’s hide to the barn door over it. Wouldn’t you be hearing about it these years? Wouldn’t there be a place earmarked at the Smithsonian for that particular server? Yes, there was treason involved but it wasn’t Trump. It is members of the intelligence community, the FBI, Democrat operatives, members of the media and a host of others. Pushing the US to get into a conflict with a nuclear power just because their ‘choice’ did not win in 2016 is out and out treason and they should be clearing out a wing at Leavenworth for them.

          1. John

            Many of his crimes are years and even decades old. So? That means they didn’t occur?

            He’s managed to evade all of his crimes so far. So I don’t see how what you say means it was investigated thoroughly and then prosecuted if it was a crime.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Look, let’s cut to the chase before we go on and on about this. Donald Trump is President of the United States. He will be in the job until at least the 20th January 2021. Get over it. If people choose to chase after him about these stupid conspiracy theories and not after the stupid laws that he has been passing and the cretins that he appoints into power, then you will help him be in office until 20th January 2025. It is that simple.

                  1. Darius

                    What exactly did the Russians do? Some Twitter memes? Clickbait to drive traffic? That failed as a commercial proposition?

                    I confess to not having enough interest in the Mueller report to read the coverage. What with all the other stuff going on. US interference, to put it mildly, in Venezuela, to name just one example among legions.

                    I did read Moon of Alabama. Good rundown.

                  2. pretzelattack

                    so “buff bernie” swayed the election, when david brock couldn’t? maybe clinton should have hired putin instead of brock, i guess. jesus, i remember when democrats at least nominally supported investigating and regulating the intel community, and didn’t worship propagandists like mueller.

                    1. NotTimothyGeithner

                      David Brock worked against the Clintons in the 90’s and failed. He saw the light and began working for the Clintons leading the Clintons to two defeats.

                      These are facts. The only conclusion is David Brock is the handler for all Russian operations in the United States. “john” by referencing “nose” is clearly leading a code hidden in plain sight to alert other Russian agents he is one of them by listing the famed short story “The Nose” written by a Russian.

                    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeed

                      There is also the observation of this identity:

                      The D party = the R party.

                      And there is not a genuine second party at this time.

                      In that case, he is also a D mole.

              1. David Sarrazin

                Democrats know that if they don’t talk about anything of substance then once Trump is gone they can keep all his policies (just like with “W”) and still claim to be “resisting”
                I’ve seen this movie before.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              > He’s managed to evade all of his crimes so far.

              Lol. (I find myself using “lol” a lot these days, for some reason. I enjoyed this comment at the FT:

              Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found at

              Mueller reported after a nearly two-year effort which involved 19 lawyers, 40 staff, more than 2,800 subpoenas, nearly 500 search warrants, and around 500 witnesses. The investigation spent more than $25 million.

              If the Mueller team could have found President Trump guilty, they would have. After all, Mueller recruited as his legal team – 14 Democrats, 12 of whom have contributed to Democrats. Of these lawyers seven were Clinton donors, one attended Clinton’s election night party, and one represented the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton herself.

              In the Starr Report, Clinton was found to be guilty of breaking the law 11 times. Seven of those charges included acts of perjury (some multiple times), and five were explicitly obstruction of justice (including the ninth charge of witness tampering).

              NC, and the NC commentariat, do not look kindly on commenters who drop a few old links and say “Go read these links! Refute what is in them, if you can!” State your claims and back them with evidence if you don’t want to look like a troll (or an operative).

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            My tin foil hat leads me to believe Bush loyalists wanted Jeb? and tried to find something on his opponent(s) knowing Republicans are almost certain to have committed numerous felonies. They couldn’t simply spy on Trump because they wanted to but had to have reasons. Clinton loyalists naturally glommed onto the excuse for the perceived Clinton victory but by small margins. Obama’s reluctance during the matter because even he could deduce this whole thing was out of control. Then of course with Hillary’s loss, the excuse for looking for dirt on Trump just gave everyone an excuse especially an excuse that would play with low information donors and committee people who might stop being low info voters and reexamine the state of Team Blue.

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          The tone of your comment is quite ‘off’ from what I believe is appropriate to this forum. Are you some variety of troll — or did you just get up on the wrong side today?

          1. pjay

            Yes. I personally don’t mind legitimate questions from different perspectives. But insisting on “evidence” that was debunked *in the mainstream media* long ago arouses suspicion.

      2. Synoia

        Trump had an Account at the bank, anticipating The Trump Moscow Hotel?

        What manner of connection? Direct phone line, or Internet connection?

        If internet how does one distinguish between connection capability (and account at the Bank), used intermittently, and a 7×24 connection?

        Your potential accusation lacks substance and detailed facts.

    2. integer

      The FBI looked into it in late 2016:

      Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia NYT

      F.B.I. officials spent weeks examining computer data showing an odd stream of activity to a Trump Organization server and Alfa Bank. Computer logs obtained by The New York Times show that two servers at Alfa Bank sent more than 2,700 “look-up” messages — a first step for one system’s computers to talk to another — to a Trump-connected server beginning in the spring. But the F.B.I. ultimately concluded that there could be an innocuous explanation, like a marketing email or spam, for the computer contacts.

      If the FBI had found something nefarious, they would have shouted about it from the rooftops.

      1. integer

        The above-linked article is actually quite interesting from the perspective of it having been published one week before the election. Obama was still president, serious people were convinced that Clinton would win, Comey was the FBI Director, and Strzock and Page were having an affair and sending each other texts about an “insurance policy”. Seems like it was a lifetime ago.

        1. integer

          Actually, the FBI “spent weeks examining computer data” from the server, discovered that Trump and a Russian bank were engaged in a nefarious election-related scheme, and then decided to cover it all up. Comey, Strzock, McCabe, Page, and others in leadership positions at the FBI were so enamored with the idea of Trump becoming president that they just couldn’t bring themselves to do anything that would harm his chances of winning the election. Lol.

          1. John

            Name calling without producing any evidence of your stance makes you look like your two brains cells aren’t rubbing together too well.

            Like that reply? Because that’s all your reply was.

            1. Wukchumni

              If you kids don’t stop fighting, i’m going to stop this blog*, and pull over until you settle down.

              * remember how an hour in the car seemed like 6 when you were 7, and now 6 hours on the internet feels like 1?

            2. lyman alpha blob

              Buddy, any number of people (including myself in a comment that hasn’t appeared yet), have pointed out that there is nothing whatsoever to the links you provided, and you continue to offhandedly dismiss them without providing any further evidence of your own other than the unfounded claims you posted to begin.

              Trump does lots of bad s*%t. Point that out rather than concentrating on completely unfounded conspiracy theories promoted by some of the absolute worst people on the planet. Problem is the establishment agrees with all lot of the bad stuff Trump does and would like to get credit for it themselves. If they impeached or imprisoned Trump for his actual crimes they whole lot of them would be going down with him.

        2. False Solace

          If you were arguing in good faith you’d support your assertion with evidence or sources of your own. But we all know that’s not what’s going on here. You’re not persuading anyone, you’re poisoning the discourse. Which is common among Russiagaters, who think all they have to do is repeat themselves louder for others to buy their nonsense.

          That doesn’t work among thoughtful people.

    3. WJ

      “These DNS records alone simply cannot prove that any specific messages were sent at those times. In fact, they can’t really prove anything at all, and certainly not “communication” between Trump and Alfa. This cannot be overstated: No one, not Tea Leaves, not his academic peers, and not Franklin Foer, can show that a single message was exchanged between Trump and Alfa.”

    4. TroyIA

      Hillary Clinton operatives pushed now-debunked Trump-Alfa server conspiracy, testimony reveals

      The Clinton campaign’s operation to spread a now-debunked story on a Russian bank-Donald Trump computer linkage went further than previously known, according to new congressional testimony.

      It turns out that at least two Clinton operatives went inside the Justice Department to sell the allegation.

      The Democrat-pitched narrative went like this: The Trump Organization maintained a secret computer server at Trump Tower directly tied to Moscow’s Alfa Bank, whose partners are linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

      But cybersleuths traced the server’s IP address not to Moscow, but to a spam operation outside Philadelphia that spit out hotel marketing pitches, including the Trump Organization’s.

      It is known that Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, the Clinton campaign’s opposition researcher who hired dossier writer Christopher Steele, pushed the server plot to then-Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr. His wife, Nellie, worked for Mr. Simpson at Fusion GPS as an anti-Trump Russia investigator.

      Hillary Clinton operatives pushed now-debunked Trump-Alfa server conspiracy, testimony reveals

    5. Yves Smith

      Help me. It isn’t against the law to do business in Russia or to communicate with Russians, even before you get to the fact that this was merely the Trump Organization having been spammed.

      Better trolls, please.

    6. Lepton1

      We don’t know. Maybe that is part of the counter-intelligence investigation? Would love to know.

  6. Ptb

    Re: Mueller report

    I kindof liked yesterday’s headlines on politico etc, “Mueller can’t prove that no obstruction took place”.

    Nice standard of evidence that can apply to all conspiracy theories.

    Russiagater’s seem totally unfazed tho.

    1. witters

      I must say, all that has gone on shows that Chris Mooney’s “The Republican Brain” was one mistaken brain fart. “The Reality Based Community” on which the contrast turned turns out to have existed merely in Chris’ reductionistic-fevered brain.

  7. Brindle

    re: In the Bronx, AOC…

    Ocasio-Cortez is the most effective communicator on the progressive side–certainly among those in Congress. She knows how to use language that is easy to understand and quickly cuts to the heart of an issue:

    —“On Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez broke from party orthodoxy. She offered a full-throated defense of the agency and made clear whom lawmakers are really serving with the new legislation: “They are trying to fix the VA for pharmaceutical companies, they are trying to fix the VA for insurance corporations and, ultimately, they are trying to fix the VA for a for-profit health-care industry that does not put people or veterans first.”

    “If we really want to fix the VA so badly, let’s start hiring, and fill up some of those 49,000 [staff] vacancies,” Ocasio-Cortez continued, as nurses in scarlet scrubs and veterans roared back in agreement.”—

      1. newcatty

        Jefemt, we watched that Green New Deal video yesterday on Democracy Now! Narratives are evocative and powerful ways to communicate ideas. It is great and masterfully created. The artist is interviewed.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        Personally, I think the artwork is lovely. Clearly, its aspirational, and tuned to the Sunrise Movement demographic. I don’t take it seriously as a policy document; rather, it’s a rarefied form of political ad (like “morning again in America”). Technically, it’s very interesting, and I wonder if we’ll see more such narratives.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I don’t know if she did (but hope so) mention the a smaller military would allow for fewer veterans in the future*.

      Then, we would not need that many nurses either.

      *and fewer ventures.

      1. crittermom

        Maybe there wouldn’t be a need to wait, to then hurry-up and bury a loved one in a military cemetery, either.

        I received a phone call today from a friend saying another friend’s husband had passed following a long illness.

        She had to make an appt at the military cemetery for his burial at least nine days after his death.
        She will then be allowed only15 minutes for the actual burial. It seems they’re backed-up.

        She was happy to find a nice coffin at Costco(!) for only $1,000, at least.
        I had no idea they apparently offer quite a collection of them.

        What a sad world we now live in, as I often feel I was born in the wrong century…

  8. no one

    As a long time America watcher (50+ years), I am amused and bemused by Russiagate. First of all, given US interference with elections abroad, it is no surprise that any foreign power would take advantage of US openness to return the favour. Second, if a foreign power understands the American electorate better than its oldest political party, someone in America should be worried. Third, given that there has never been the slightest variation between the Democrats and the Republicans in US foreign policy since the loss of the Vietnam War, why would any foreign power care about which party actually won the White House?

    And then there is the logic: if the Russians truly interfered, why would they have waited until the Democrat party selected the most disliked nominee in its (recent) history? Logic suggests that Hillary’s selection was also orchestrated by outside powers, perhaps to the same degree as Trump’s. At the very least, the question must be asked.

    Finally, there is the question of qui bono. As I see it, the Trump presidency has been the gift that keeps on giving — for all 10%ers, but especially Democrat donors, politicians and insiders. They get their wish list (tax cuts, giveaways, the appointment of horrible judges, and “austerity”) AND surging donations to keep the party apparatchiks fully employed and well-off enough to do anything to keep the income stream going.

    Everything is going according to plan.

    1. Jeffrey Fisher

      Our most important policy with regard to a fossil fuel oligarch is our energy policy and climate change denial. The second most important policy is probably ensuring that international financial regulation is loose enough for their looting.

      I’m sure what is usually thought of as foreign policy is a factor, but what is really primary is keeping the world as hooked on oil and gas as possible.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      You capture much of my own amazement at Russiagate’s long-legs.

      In retrospect I have been similarly stumped by the Bill Clinton impeachment proceedings. He gave the the 10%ers all they could hope for in his Presidency..

    1. Hank Linderman

      I used to work in a motorcycle shop, we sold inexpensive polycarbonate helmets that didn’t fracture and expensive fiberglass helmets that did. The explanation was that by absorbing the impact (and breaking in the process) the fiberglass helmet did a much better job protecting your head. The polycarbonate helmets passed most of the energy of the impact right on through.

      So I’m not sure which helmet, red or yellow, is actually the safest.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Are we saying that not all plastics are bad?

        What natural materials would work better?

        Steel? Wood? Cardboard? Cork?

        The latter is likely to be more shock absorbing.

    2. crittermom

      That video from China was very revealing, & excellent. Wow. ‘A picture is worth…’

      If only they had a union & safety regulations…

      Proof, perhaps, that the more we think we’re different, the more we realize we’re the same? (as in being nothing more than a producer of products with little regard for worker safety, while those profiting from the laborers have all the protection).

        1. pretzelattack

          i think the finish line is when the coyote finally hits the canyon floor, and then the acme locomotive falls on him.

        2. Off The Street

          The trick is to be able to hold one’s breath and to exhale at the correct rate when reascending. No mean feat.

        3. Synoia

          But there is a finish line in the race to the bottom is…Death.

          As the Church preached “You will get your reward in the afterlife,” and we, the Church, know this because we’ve never had a complaint.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The DNC has you working overtime.

      The pertinent questions is why haven’t Democrats demanded clear hand marked paper ballots. Especially since the same clowns lost to Shrub in 2000 because of election irregularities, one would think Democrats might want unhackable solutions that can be observed. Unless of course, this is about deflection from the same pack of lovers who lose to dimwitted Republicans.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Absent calling for hand marked paper ballots, you really leave an election open to tampering and any reforms prior to 2020 would be handled by Trump as the President. If you thought Trump was a plant, why would you want him to be the guy in charge of reforms that aren’t secure?

        John or should I say Ivan, are you a Russian plant trying to prevent sensible election reforms?

      2. rd

        I have been pretty happy with the voting machines that we use in our county in NYS. You handmark a paper ballot, put it into an optical scanner that electronically tabulates the results, and then stores the paper ballot inside it. The paper ballots are available for a hand recount. Election results always seem to be able to be tabulated within a couple of hours after the polls close. The ballots are pretty clear (although too many party lines) and I can’t recall anything remotely like Broward County shenanigans.

        1. ambrit

          The optical scanner is the weak link in that method. Anything using electronics is capable of being hacked. Straight hand handling is the only fully transparent method. All sides involved can have observers watching every single step of the process. Unless, of course, we define a pair of human eyeballs as ‘optical scanners.’ Then we only have to worry about the ‘tabulators’ involved.

          1. Jeffrey Fisher

            IMO optically scanned hand marked ballots are good enough. They can be recounted by hand. And both random and anomaly targeted hand checks could be used to verify that the machines are functioning correctly.

            I do believe that hand verification is usually not done, however.

            Hand count is also a good method.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              They aren’t good enough because its about stealing close elections too.

              Oh well, they can check it later. That’s nice, but what is the pragmatism of maintaining an observed chain of custody for two months when you really just need one day? Are campaigns going to keep people on top of these ballots for two months or are they going to wind up in a closet with a key held by that woman denying marriage certificates to gay couples? The answer is the latter.

              1. Jeffrey Fisher

                No, you don’t check later. You check during the machine count so that you can react to a problem. Statistics tell you how much hand verification you need.

                With that I believe the weakest links are elsewhere.

                1. NotTimothyGeithner

                  So if you are checking during the machine count, why bother with the optical scanner at all?

                  It just seems like an additional cost at that point.

                  1. Jeffrey Fisher

                    You are assuming that a 100% hand count is cheaper than a machine count with what? Maybe 5% hand verified.

                    I’m not willing to make that assumption. But I don’t think its implausible.

                    1. witters

                      So we need “the cheapest” voting count available? With that set of priorities, I’d forget about the democracy bit.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              > IMO optically scanned

              No, they aren’t. Digital must be removed from the equation entirely. What is to stop the scanner from sending one set of figures to its counter, and another to the printer?

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            Bingo. But the chain of ballot control can be observed and campaigns can dispatch monitors, and with cameras on our phones, monitoring is so easy. If it’s an expected close election or the polling is flawed, stealing 5% might not produce irregularities sufficient enough to be examined.

            I’ve always believed claims about Rove trying to hack the 2008 election. It’s just he couldn’t steal enough. I’ll note the #resistance has conveniently forgotten the efforts of Jeb, Rove, and Harris. Shrub then declared Putin had a good heart. The leading Russian-gate thought leaders include stalwart Bush or should I say Putin loyalists.

        2. jrs

          funny I vote the same way in CA and election results seem to take a long time to be tabulated, it’s never until the next day and if close, sometimes it’s a month, sometimes not at all.

        3. lyman alpha blob

          My city does the same and I have participated in a recount of ballots like this, personally counting them by hand.

          What we discovered is that the hand count showed more votes than the optical scan count because human beings are better able to infer a voter’s intent than the machines are. For example the machine would not count an oval with an ‘x’ through it as valid because the oval was not completely filled, but a human being would.

          In a democracy everyone deserves to have their vote counted and machines simply do not do that, even the best ones.

    2. tegnost

      absolutely. Hand marked paper ballots publicly counted is the way to go. You’re on board for this, right?

      1. John

        I absolutely am.

        Paper ballots. Counted by hand. In public.

        Or the American people have no way of knowing at this point if our elections are not stolen

        1. barrisj

          Vote-by-mail, archivable paper ballots, able to sustain more than one round of recounts…WA State has had it right for years, full stop. Election for Gov. in 2004 went through two automated (machine) recounts, then a third manual tally, with the winner – Christine Gregoire – decided by 129 votes out of ca. 2.7 million ballots cast. Try that in Florida…ROTFLOL!

        1. polecat

          Oh for Gaia’s Sake ! .. What’s wrong with you people –it’s hand marked Fired CLAY Tablets !!

          Reliable for millenia …. If it worked for Hammurabi, then it should work for us, no ?

            1. ambrit

              The Ostracons, the shadowy judicial branch of the Transformer’s society.
              Really though, I suspect that ostracons are the genesis of the poetically descriptive phrase; “Feats of Clay.”

        2. Yves Smith

          They’ve had hand marked paper ballots in the UK forevah and I don’t recall this problem ever occurring. You need to watch vids of UK elections. The ballots go into secure boxes which are in public view, are transported to a public station in public view (the whole thing is regularly videoed), carried to the counting place, which is usually a public school gym, where the ballots are opened and counted with officials of the various parties hovering right over the people handling the ballots.

          And how would there be a need for a recount with independent people closely supervised making a count? The only time I could see anyone asking for a recount would be if the result was extremely close and you’d expect the recount to occur immediately.

          1. Synoia

            Hmmm, there is a vast cultural difference between the US and the UK. Rudyard Kipling pointed it out in a succinct manner.

            And the UK is no bastion of democracy, because votes in the Commons are not well reported to constituencies, that is accountability is weak.

            The best model I’v e read about appears to be the Swiss.

            1. Yves Smith

              Oh, come on. Totally irrelevant to the point being made. This is about ballot counting methods, not about the entire friggin’ political system. Shifting the grounds of argument is bad faith.

          2. samhill

            Yves’ description is exactly how it’s done in Italy, once you experience it you see it’s brilliant, it’s like watching some long lost antique craft producing something better than anything made today. Nothing’s foolproof but it’s way more robust and reassuring than digital, and cheap to boot, but you do lose the lucrative contracts and kickbacks to Diebold. What amazed me as a techno-indoctrinated American is how fast the counting goes, Italy has the national results up on TV in a few hours after the pols close, exactly the same as the USA with all its mega buck techno wizardry. As for difference btwn EU and USA, we must have used paper ballots for most of our history?

        3. Pat

          Ah, but the ballots were essentially punched for that Brooks Brothers ‘riot’ aka bull shit PR for stopping the count.

          So here’s the response to anyone bringing up that: “no one is looking for hanging chads anymore, and this way no machine can change a human’s vote, something there are multiple reports of happening.”

      2. Hank Linderman

        I was the Democratic nominee for Congress in Kentucky’s 2nd District last year, planning on running again. Last weekend I was visiting my 32 year old nephew, discussing elections, and his girlfriend said that young people would all vote if it were by a secure app on their phones. Another friend agreed, saying his biggest issue in voting is choosing the time to vote, between his schedule and the crowds at the polls.

        Hmmmm. Most of us do banking on phone apps. Why not voting?


        1. Trick Shroade

          The easier it is to vote the more people will vote. The more people that vote the harder it is to control the outcome.

        2. cm

          Difficult to design a system that simultaneously
          a) ensures the person voting is in fact the actual person
          b) ensures that the vote remains anonymous to the public (also ensuring that a “fixer” cannot watch over the shoulder as their “mark” votes (a throwback to the good old days of Party Bosses)

          Designing a fair tamper-proof voting system is complicated.

        3. human

          Mandatory, paid national holiday, except for poll workers who get paid double-time (or some equivalent), if we truly consider voting to be important.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            How much?

            Human nature is such that the bigger the pay*, the higher the turnout.

            *Winning poltiicians get paid (losing ones too, in not a few cases). So, why not the judges (or voters)? Money makes the world go round.

          2. jrs

            a mandatory paid holiday that actually applies to everyone would literally be the first of it’s kind, because such doesn’t exist even for xmas and the 4th of july at present (ask contractors if they get paid for those days off).

        4. John

          You do know about the content of the Assange and Snowdon releases of the national security state right?

          Secure app is funny. Even when I type it.

        5. NotTimothyGeithner

          They shouldn’t be banking on their phone. Voting is even more important than banking.

          1. bob

            Agreed. This whole train of thought is more of the cult of disruption by sillycon valley.

            Just pay us, we’ll figure it all out after the IPO.

        6. bob

          Banking has an entire built in error protecting and reversible bureaucracy that is used millions if not billions of times each day.

          Voting is done once a year. To expect that county boards of election and their *massive* budgets can even come close to the same security is just dumb.

          It took banks 10 years of daily use to perfect atm’s to the point where they could be used outside of banks.

          But phones, with their massive privacy and security issues will be AOK. There’s an app for that.

          1. Yves Smith

            Plus the security issues in banking are completely different than in Internet voting. All you need to do with banking is authenticate (is this person allowed to access this account?) With Internet voting, you need to make sure the person who votes is entitled to vote and votes only once. With banking, you can be pretty sure no one might give their credentials to a third party. Some people don’t value their vote much and might be happy to give or sell their vote to someone else. Now that can happen with polling station voting too, but making it easier and anonymous facilitates fraud of all sorts.

        7. Fiery Hunt

          Because some of us A) value our privacy and B) don’t trust our “smart” phones.

          Hand marked paper ballots.

        8. Janie

          Publicly counted paper ballots and a paid holiday on election day. The day should be 24 hours, say midnight to midnight GMT,.

        9. Yves Smith

          Were you paid to write this tripe?????

          We’ve posted on Internet voting ad nauseum in the context of CalPERS. It’s terrible. ~99% if the security experts in the world who’ve looked at it deem it to be unacceptable for reasons I’m not going to waste my time repeating (go read our posts!!!) and the only reason it isn’t 100% is that the other 1% is trying to make a buck from it.

        10. Oregoncharles

          Oregon’s mail-in ballots make it very easy, and in fact have raised participation. They also encourage thoughtful voting, since it’s done at leisure at home. Personally, I drop our ballots in a box at the courthouse, rather than mail them in.

          Provides hand-marked paper ballots that are stored for 5 years, in case questions come up. The counting depends on the county, but it is in public and at a central location – no precincts wiring in numbers.

          I can see potential security issues, notably if the ballots are mailed, but so far only one case of cheating (by filling in unvoted lines – for Republicans, as it happens) has been caught. It’s a great system, and very voter-friendly. Security might be more of an issue in some states.

    3. Robert Valiant

      From Bloomberg:

      Details of the wave of attacks, in the summer and fall of 2016, were provided by three people with direct knowledge of the U.S. investigation into the matter. In all, the Russian hackers hit systems in a total of 39 states, one of them said.

      Who are these “people?”

      I despise Trump, but this Russian BS has been nothing but the weakest of sauces from the outset.

      1. John

        Reality Winner was sent to prison by the Trump regime for 5 years for leaking an intelligence report about Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections

        Tell her how weak it is.

        1. integer

          I have a lot of sympathy for Winner, but that report was a nothingburger. The most crucial information – whether or not the GRU was responsible for the spear-phishing attacks in question – was cited as an “analyst judgement”, while other information in the report received the “confirmed information” designation. In other words, the NSA could not, and the report did not, confirm that the GRU was responsible. Anyway, true believers gonna true believe, so please carry on Russiagatin’.

    4. Trick Shroade

      Why would you change anything if the current way of doing business has brought you great success?

    5. JoeT

      Well the Republican governor of Florida did remove Broward County election supervisor Brenda Snipes.

    6. Lambert Strether Post author

      Probably for the same reason that the dominant Democrat faction doesn’t support hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public.

      Control of the ballot (who’s on it, and how it’s counted) is the sine qua non of any political party, and controlling the count can be done far more easily digitally than on paper.

  9. Wukchumni

    I wonder if this bank robbery to-go thing in Ireland might catch on elsewhere?

    “You can’t rob a bank on charm and personality.” Willie Sutton

    1. pretzelattack

      “you can get further with a kind word and a gun, than just a kind word” attributed to al capone.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      To be less oblique, I assumed militant factions were raising money to buy arms, explosives (and cops). That’s what I mean by the “self-financing” joke.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “The Captain Swing Riots; Workers and Threshing Machines in the 1830s”: ‘The Captain Swing riots are thus one more example, an especially vivid one, that new technologies which cause a lot of people to lose a way of earning income can be highly disruptive.’

    That term – “highly disruptive” – sounds so innocuous. The reality was very much different. For centuries men had been earning money threshing to get them through the bitter winter with and when these threshing machines were introduced, they had nothing to earn money for rent or even food. Worse if they had family to support. Workhouses did not exist as such yet so these men would have been forced to ask for parish relief. As it was often landowners and the like who ran things and did not want to see expenses rising, the inclination was to try to refuse such charity applications. But wait – there’s more.
    There were a surplus of agricultural workers in England at the time while there was a dire shortage of the same in the Colony of New South Wales. So, Special Commissions were sent out to convict who the could and before long, nearly 500 workers were aboard three separate ships taking them to the ‘far ends of the world’ and most of whom would never return. The reason that I happen to know any of this? Because one of those 500 men was a 20 year-old from Wilton, Wiltshire who had been caught up in the rioting, was convicted by a Special Commission, and was to spend the rest of his life in the Colonies. And he is one of my ancestors.

    1. rd

      That was the same period when the Irish were being starved, many of whom ended up in North America. And England is baffled about why the Irish descendants in America are not necessarily on their side in the Brexit discussions over the Irish border and other issues.

  11. Wukchumni

    From the Orlov interview…

    “The recent initiatives to let everyone in and to let non-citizens vote amply demonstrates that US citizenship, by itself, counts for absolutely nothing. The only birthright of a US citizen is to live as a bum on the street, surrounded by other bums, many of them foreigners from what Trump has termed “shithole countries.””

    I had a bunch of errands to run in Visalia, the nearest big city of 136k, and in a couple hours time, I saw 43 homeless people milling about with the usual shopping cart, ersatz backpack or wheeled cart with all of their belongings in tow, a few on bicycle. They’re easy to spot, as all of them save one, had such a deep tan from being outside all day in the California sun, George Hamilton would be envious.

    1 black male, 39 white males and 3 white females was the score.

    You’ll rarely see a Mexican homeless person on the street…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Instead of ‘VA for all,’ perhaps we can have ‘Shelter for all.’

      Or perhahps, in addition to (rather than ‘instead of.’)

      Do we not hear this more often because the idea is not politically advantageous? I hope not.

    2. Janie

      My observation, too. More extended family is my guess. There is a Hispanic family in our neighborhood with a matriarch and one child and spouse – and a revolving cast of characters I can never keep straight. Grandchildren going through crises, recovering medical patients, various great-grands. They manage.

    3. jrs

      probably more family safety net, but white people’s families don’t necessarily provide that safety net, they NEED a social safety net, a real one.

      Noone can actually make it all the time all on their lonesome or even in nuclear families (they can if things go well, but when they don’t …). Some cultures may preach such, but it doesn’t really work.

      Now if only people would vote for a real safety net!

  12. rd

    The Mueller report indicates that the problem of a completely different level of proof for indicting people who wear ties compared to people who don’t exists.

    If the standard of “willful” and “value exceeded threshold of criminal violation” were played out regularly for non-white collar crimes, we would be able to turn many jails and prisons into hotel compexes.

    The inability to prosecute white collar people for breaking laws because they are stupid or ignorant is intolerable, especially when these people are university graduates.Our prisons are filled with people who are actually stupid and ignorant without the benefit of an education whose “crimes” are often of little value but run afoul of draconian standards of proof and minimum sentencing laws.

    1. Geo

      Thank you. This needs to be repeated often.

      The Ivy League scandal is a perfect example when compared with all the inner city Atlanta teachers who went to prison for cheating on tests for their students to protect their school from funding cuts.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        That’s what I find so grating about Warren supporting Trump’s impeachment by pointing to the importance of the “rule of law.” I mean, come on.

  13. Chris Cosmos

    The power of Washington depends on the existence of external enemies. I believe we are in a neo-Orwellian society. All factions within Washington need a credible enemy the “terrorists” (which were often funded and associated with the National Security State and its allies, particularly the Saudis) just weren’t strong enough “enemies” to galvanize the public. But the fear of Russia, as an existential threat is a much more potent technique to use to cow the public particularly, it seems, the upper-middle class professionals that make up the mainstream Democratic Party whose class interest lies in no change of the status-quo who instinctively love the idea of social cohesion based on the neo-conservative dream of America, i.e., a country motivated by its “role” in the world as a bringer of rule-of-law, peace and democracy. As one foreign policy professionals I spoke to some time ago said “it’s either us or the Chinese that run the world, for the sake of mankind, it better be us.” This would not be an illogical statement if the US hierarchy actually believed in that mission–but there is no evidence that the current career of the National Security State has any good results other than chaos, war, destruction and so on. The other side of the neo-con dream was that they believed that without a common purpose (served by war) the US would descend into hedonism, tribalism and regionalism. Their analysis was correct in the 90s but had the neocons not been such moral monsters they would have chosen a common purpose in making sure the Earth systems required for a healthy life would have been saved and improved. We can still make the saving our environment our common goal–that goal is achievable but, sadly, it features no explosions, torn bodies, and boyish fantasies of world-domination.

    The Russiagate tragedy/con is our test–will we don’t have to fall for the Orwellian conclusions that the Imperial Court are imposing on us. Hopefully the people who , rightly, ignore the media and the official narratives of politics will be there to save us.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From above, relating to your comment about this being our test:

      Bernie Steals the ‘No More Wars’ Issue From Trump Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative

      Will any courageous D candidate step forward to pass the test and stop potential wars?

      1. Chris Cosmos

        My guess is that Washington will avoid direct war and engage in indirect/covert war. War and threats thereof are just about the military industry at this point. I think candidates on the left like Sanders will genuflect in the direction of the military and just change the subject to domestic issues.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          No one is passing that test then?

          What have the candidates like Gabbard, Warren, Sanders, and other leading voices like AOC, Omar said so far about this latest Russiagate development?

  14. upstater

    Bankrupt mall, billionaire owner, nearing default on its financing, recipient of hundreds of millions in taxpayer money, not paying any local property tax to a nearly bankrupt, poverty-stricken city of Syracuse. What else is new?

    Inside Destiny USA’s mortgage emergency: Crisis or hardball bargaining?

    “Under an agreement with the city, Destiny USA does not have to pay property taxes for 30 years, a benefit that will save Pyramid literally hundreds of millions of dollars during that time.

    In addition, Pyramid is collecting $112 million from the state under New York’s much-criticized Empire Zone economic development program and has received $69 million from the state under the equally criticized Brownfield Cleanup Program.”

    1. bob

      But the mall is GREEN™.

      LEED certified and green bond approved.

      Who on earth let that f’ing mall be mortgaged for 430 million dollars? I’d bet thats close to, if not more than the value of all other commercial property in the city of syracuse combined.

      Congel did build a nice house with the money. 430 million still seems steep, even including the Skaneateles Lake waterfront next to The Club.°55'45.0“N+76°25’48.5″W/@42.929179,-76.4322524,17z

      1. anonymous
        From Michael Scherer:

        “The inestimable Charlie Savage, now of the New York Times, had a story yesterday laying out the case.

        ‘An upstate New York developer donated $100,000 to former President Bill Clinton’s foundation in November 2004, around the same time that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton helped secure millions of dollars in federal assistance for the businessman’s mall project. Mrs. Clinton helped enact legislation allowing the developer, Robert J. Congel, to use tax-exempt bonds to help finance the construction of the Destiny USA entertainment and shopping complex, an expansion of the Carousel Center in Syracuse. Mrs. Clinton also helped secure a provision in a highway bill that set aside $5 million for Destiny USA roadway construction. The bill with the tax-free bonds provision became law in October 2004, weeks before the donation, and the highway bill with the set-aside became law in August 2005, about nine months after the donation.’

        I have a vivid memory of the Destiny USA issue from back in 2004 and 2005, when I was reporting a story about all the waste and earmarks in Washington. It was not hard to figure out that the whole “Green Bonds” program pushed by Clinton for Destiny was bad policy. It cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and subsidized the construction of about four shopping malls in the name of the environment. That’s right: shopping malls to save the environment. At the time, as Savage notes, Clinton bragged about her efforts to send federal money to get a new New York mall. “I worked successfully to get the green bonds passed,” she crowed. “I think it would be a big shot in the arm.”

        Now we know that at the same time Clinton was working to funnel millions of dollars in tax breaks to Congel, Congel was writing a $100,000 check to Bill Clinton’s foundation, a contribution that has been shrouded in secrecy for four years…”

        1. Off The Street

          Reading about all those Hillary stories is like submitting to a death of a thousand cuts or a water torture. At some point the voters, er, victims, want the damage to communities around the country to stop. When will it be Her Turn in the barrel?

        2. skippy

          Reminiscent of the native Americans in the deep south that wanted to develop their natural resources after a bit of tiff with an Energy Corp. Seems the EC went the political route, thinking the solution was with a sympathetic ear in Bill they tried the same. Sadly after making it to the end of the gate keepers they were asked by the last how much money did they give to Bills cause.

          Still remember DIA and how that worked out for some.

        3. bob

          Look at the IRS ruling on the tax free green bonds. All they had to do to qualify for tax free status was to include some things in some plans that might in some way be considered green. They did not have to include them in the mall, just tell us a story…

          The USGBC and LEED are from syracuse, funny how that works.

          LEED certified mall, without even the slightest hint of anything green but the massive piles of money.

  15. allan

    Plantidote: NTBG Researchers Rediscover ‘Extinct’ Native Plant Using a Drone [NTBG]

    The plant, called Hibiscadelphus woodii, was rediscovered in a small colony of three individuals growing on a vertical cliff face in a remote part of Kauai’s Kalalau Valley (watch drone footage here). The cliff region is known as a biodiversity hotspot in the Hawaiian Islands where most sections are inaccessible to humans as well as goats that otherwise pose a threat.

    The rediscovery of H. woodii, listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as an extinct relative of hibiscus, provides a dramatic example of the growing importance of drones in conservation work. H. woodii, known only from the island of Kauai, was last seen alive in 2009, leading scientists to recognize the plant as extinct. …

    How long before the first Darwin Award-ready Instagram influencer shows up for a selfie with H. woodii?

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Britain is once again the sick man of Europe”: ‘If treachery becomes part of the debate, there can only be total victory or total defeat’.

    What is that Dune quote that Lambert puts int each day’s Water Cooler? Oh, yes-

    “They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

  17. georgieboy

    What the Corn Laws tell us about Brexit Britain

    Is it the author’s intent to gloss over the irony that the Corn Laws were enacted to protect wealthy British landowners, while Brexit was most vigorously supported by the literal descendants of the people who suffered most under the Corn Laws?

    History does rhyme at times, and so does journalism in the service of the elite.

  18. Craig H.

    > Jung lovers: BTS delve into psychology on their album, Map Of The Soul BBC.

    OK I never heard of them before but I had to read the wikipedia page first paragraph. They were the most retwitted group on twitter for 2017 and 2018. I do not know how many of them there are (5-9, I estimate 7) but I can tell you this for sure: there is no way every single person in that group has read any book by C. G. Jung cover to cover unless there is something about Korea I don’t know like they assign Memories Dreams Reflections as required reading to get out of high school.

    I actually can listen to all of this although when I read some of the band were into Jung I immediately clicked onto a different web page:

    Tool Ænema

    1. Craig H.

      I couldn’t help myself and went a little further. The leader of the most retwitted pop act graduated college and is enrolled in graduate school.

      From the Jin page:

      He attended Konkuk University and graduated with a degree in art and acting on February 22, 2017.[5][6] He is currently enrolled in graduate school at Hanyang Cyber University, pursuing studies in areas other than music.

      studies other than music! :)

            1. ambrit

              I fear that we all suffer from a bit of “Unconscious Racial-ism.”
              However, the main complaint of those afflicted with the pernicious effects of the “Cult of the Jung” is that they have been ‘De-Freuded.” Those same afflictees also are conflicted about their enjoyment of the psychological voyeurism called by the Teutons “schaden-freud.”
              Ah well, time to self medicate.

  19. georgieboy

    The Ultra-Orthodox Will Determine Israel’s Political Future

    Netanyahu’s embrace and the left’s hostility have made the fast-growing Haredi Jewish population the right’s most reliable constituency.


    Just gonna be funner and funner going forward, for everyone! First piece is from today. Then see the second piece, far below, also from the (beleaguered) Jewish Telegraph, from October 2018.


    Non-Orthodox movements left out of Trump’s meeting with Jewish leaders

    WASHINGTON (JTA) — The leaders of three of the four major Jewish religious streams were not invited to a White House briefing on issues “impacting the community,” nor was the Jewish community’s leading civil rights advocacy group.

    Officials of three Orthodox umbrella groups — Orthodox Union, Agudath Israel, and America Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) — confirmed their leaders had been invited to the meeting, which is to take place Tuesday.

    Officials of the Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements, meantime, said the movements were not invited. A Washington D.C.-area Conservative rabbi, Stuart Weinblatt, was invited.

    “On Tuesday, April 16, the White House will host more than 80 Jewish non-profit leaders, business leaders, and Rabbis,” a White House official told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, asked about the omission of the groups. “This is part of our regular ongoing engagement with various faith-community and business leaders.”


    JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Sephardic leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in his weekly Saturday night sermon said that non-Jews exist to serve Jews.

    “Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world; only to serve the People of Israel,” he said during a public discussion of what kind of work non-Jews are allowed to perform on Shabbat.

    “Why are gentiles needed? They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi and eat,” he said to some laughter.

    Yosef, the spiritual leader of the Shas Party and the former chief Sephardi rabbi of Israel, also said that the lives of non-Jews are protected in order to prevent financial loss to Jews.

    “With gentiles, it will be like any person: They need to die, but God will give them longevity. Why? Imagine that one’s donkey would die, they’d lose their money. This is his servant. That’s why he gets a long life, to work well for this Jew,” said the rabbi, who recently turned 90.

    An audio recording of some of the rabbi’s remarks was broadcast on Israel’s Channel 10.

    The American Jewish Committee condemned the rabbi’s remarks in a statement issued Monday.

    “Rabbi Yosef’s remarks — suggesting outrageously that Jewish scripture asserts non-Jews exist to serve Jews — are abhorrent and an offense to human dignity and human equality,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “Judaism first taught the world that all individuals are created in the divine image, which helped form the basis of our moral code. A rabbi should be the first, not the last, to reflect that bedrock teaching of our tradition.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


      I wonder if AIPAC is more an organization of Isreal’s right, and not so much of their left, or if it’s of both.

    2. Buckeye

      This arrogant diatribe by the rabbi reminds of a statement made by a Jewish professor of history I had in college. He said “there is nothing more anti-Semitic than a right wing Jew.” They absolutely hate the “outsider”, adopt the most extreme exploitation philosophies found in Western thought, constantly scream “victim”, and in the process of all this totally degrade Jewish spiritual culture.

    3. ambrit

      No wonder that the ultras in Israel got on so splendidly with the Apartheid Blanks of the old South Africa.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Would you believe that the Chief Rabbi for the Israeli Army is on record as saying that rape of gentile women is OK if they feel the need in wartime? And would you further believe that when a delegation of black South Africans visited Israel after Mandela came in and saw how they were treating the Palestinians, that things grew very, very uncomfortable for them as it all looked so…familiar.

    4. integer

      Jewish supremacist Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s hate speech is nothing but vile anti-nonsemitism.

  20. Whoamolly

    I just got 3 gift subscriptions for Matt Taibbi’s new online book Hate Inc.

    Leave a reply comment if you want one. First come first served.

      1. Whoamolly

        Expat2uruguay — done.

        I will send in the names later today. I expect you will get an automated email back from Tiabbi soon after that.

    1. Geo

      That’s amazing! If you have any left I’d be happy to have one. Love Taibbi.

      Geoff (at) sporkproductions (dot) com

      1. anon

        I see two comments only. If I’m in time I’d love to snap up the third! wthiemov att gmx dott comm – thanks!

  21. Synoia


    >> You are on a horse, galloping at a constant speed.
    >> On your right side is a sharp drop-off…………….
    >> On your left side is an elephant traveling at the same speed as you.
    >> Directly in front of you is a galloping kangaroo and your horse is unable to overtake it…………………..
    >> Behind you is a lion running at the same speed as you and the kangaroo……………..
    >> What must you do to get out of this highly dangerous situation?
    >> see below
    >> …………
    >> ↓
    >> Get off the merry-go-round and go home you old fart,
    >> you’ve had enough excitement at the fun fair for one day!

  22. chuck roast

    Today’s must read: There is No Alternativelessness

    After WWII Henry Morgenthau drafted a plan to deindustrialize Germany, split it up and make the remainder an agricultural and pastoral state. This would eliminate Germany’s ability to again wage war. Apparently, Churchill supported this plan.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That reminds of the Roman response after capturing Carthage: they did or did not plough over the city and sow salt into the soil.

      A century later, Julius Caesar discovered rebuillding it to be useful.

    2. rowlf

      Will the US ever allow another statesman like George Marshall (who opposed the Morgenthau Plan) to rise to influential positions? One of my favorite parts of history is the efforts of Marshall, John Dill and Alan Brooke to ride herd on Churchill and all of his bad ideas. Knowing what these men went through makes me question the mental state and motivations of anyone that admires Churchill.

      1. Wukchumni

        NC readers may enjoy “Harold Nicolson Diaries 1907-64”. It gives a ‘you are there’ feel to the proceedings of the inner circle of UK in the midst of the war and the years before and after.

    3. Oregoncharles

      Since, to my knowledge, Denmark has not started 2 World Wars and sounds like a very nice place to live, maybe that (Morgenthau’s) wasn’t such a bad plan. If it worked, that is.

      Something similar could be done for the US – there are proposals, like JM Greer’s.

      Or “Ecotopia,” by Ernest Callenbach.

  23. John Beech

    Chicago is Tracking Kids With GPS Monitors That Can Call and Record Them Without Consent The Appeal (JBird4049).

    In a word . . . good! I trust those who read this realize the author is writing about a mug (the one with the GPS anklet and complaining about privacy) who is charged with ARMED ROBBERY. And how wearing this thing is in lieu of sitting in jail awaiting trial. Jeez, and they have the balls to complain!

    1. JBird4049

      Okay, I guess having a GPS bracelet that not only tracks you whatever you go and can listen to whatever you say to whom ever you are talking too at anytime without the wearer as well his family, friends, doctors, therapists, lawyers, acquaintances, and strangers being able to know when or by whom; this being done as general policy with juveniles merely accused, not convicted, of any crimes? Either they should be released on recognizance or remain in jail, not this nonsense mobile panopticon.

      Might I also add that in addition the Chicago police is known to be extremely… proactive in seeking arrests and convictions for crimes with blacks and the poor being the preferred targets?

      As far as I know, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights apply to everyone including the unsympathetic especially as they were deliberately written to protect everyone, including you and me, from abuse from the government and even other powerful people.

      1. georgieboy

        Might I also add that in addition the Chicago police is known to be extremely… proactive in seeking arrests and convictions for crimes with blacks and the poor being the preferred targets?


        Cite some data, please. “Known” is a term used too often in journalism in lieu of facts.

        In the meantime, here are some alternative facts:

        Chicago is approximately 1/3 black, 1/3 brown, and 1/3 white. Chicago’s police department is about 20% black. Getting young black men to show up to take the entrance exam is a problem. The commander quoted in the article below, Barbara West, is a black woman.

        Approximately 75% of Chicago homicide victims are black.

        Nearly all of that happens in neighborhoods considered black, especially Englewood and Chatham on the south side and Austin, the Garfields, and the Lawndale areas on the west side.

        Violent crime in Chicago occurs most often in its poorest neighborhoods (see above).

        Approximately 4,300 Chicagoans have been murdered in the 8 years of Rahm Emmanuel’s administration. Approximately 100 Chicagoans have been killed by police in that time, nearly all without post hoc doubt about whether they were shot in flagrante delicto.

        Chicago and Cook County, in which it sits, now by policy release arrested criminals on their own recognizance or de minimis bails (ie, $100), sometimes even after repeated arrests for violent crime.

        This is the policy of State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, the SA who recently abruptly dropped all charges against the celebrity hate-crime faker, Jussie Smollet. …and then could not find one example in her historical files where an SA had dropped all charges for so many felony counts.

        The Superintendent of Chicago Police is Eddie Johnson, a black man. He and all other police command staff signed off on the Laquan McDonald shooting when they saw the videotape (he was not Superintendent at that time).

        The new mayor-elect of Chicago is Lori Lightfoot, a black woman. She won the majority vote in all 50 wards of the city. She won a higher percentage of votes in the far southwest and northwest wards, where police and fire and emt workers tend to live most often. She won, but did the worst in the wards where Bobby Rush (former gangbanger and now Congressman), Chance the Rapper, and Jessie Jackson campaigned on behalf of her (black) opponent, Toni Preckwinkle.

        You may wish to take some time to familiarize yourself with these local websites to get some facts not often “known” by reading only the national media, including the Chicago Tribune.

        And here, below, is a very recent example of what police in all Cook County towns now deal with since Ms. Foxx’s arrival as SA. RIver Forest is a suburb of Chicago, in Cook County and therefore her jurisdiction for charging decisions.

        So yes, Chicago police now have their hands full. Recidivists are put right back on the street in the name of “social justice”, the police are now under orders not to chase offenders (!), and national media happily paint them as the bad guys — when most of what they now do is show up after the crime and sadly take a report from the victims, who are most often black.

        1. JBird4049

          Good points all, but I did not say that black Chicagoans are all innocent victims of the big bad police department. When I said that they were proactive (and probably should have used a different word) I was thinking of things like Homan Square, Laquan McDonald, false confessions often obtained by torture, criminal drug and gang task forces, and I can go on, but I will not.

          Chicago has a serious problem with very bad policing and it has a serious problem with crime by the general public. Apparently part of the solution was thought to be installing mobile panopticons on the accused while allowing most of the police officers to turn off, lose, or just destroy their cameras.

          1. JBird4049

            He was a Black Panther which to some makes him a gangbanger. For many Americans the Black Panthers was just one of those criminal gangs like the Crips, Bloods, and MS-13; that they were a political party and community group that was destroyed by the FBI and local police using illegal methods because they advocated reforms is unimportant.

            1. marym

              “Some” are wrong and should not say wrong things on a public forum.

              Congressman Rush has been a responsible, respectable person who got an education (three degrees); is an ordained minister; and served in the military, as an actual community activist,

              Rush ran the Panther Party’s Free Breakfast for Children program and also organized a free medical clinic. The clinic developed the nation’s first mass testing program for sickle cell anemia while simultaneously raising awareness of the disease’s impact on African Americans in Chicago.

              and as a politician (from my link above).

              The Black Panther Party in Chicago was the antithesis of gangbangers.

              The Panthers and the Patriots

              The story of how a group of poor whites in Chicago united with the Black Panthers to fight racism and capitalism.

              From the Bullet to the Ballot
              The Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party and Racial Coalition Politics in Chicago

              The leadership was murdered by forces of the state. Rush was only by chance not in the apartment the night this took place.

              None of this is secret information, and the author of the “gangbanger” accusation appears to have the ability to search for information from multiple sources.

  24. Toshiro_Mifune

    Regarding the “Deaths from Despair” – I know this has gained a lot of traction in the past few years, however… was Gen-X ever really that happy? I say that as someone born in ‘70 so slightly older than the group in the study but pretty solidly X. A review of Gen-X produced culture does not reveal a lot of happiness, even if we go back to the early 90s heyday. Alice In Chains, Nirvana, NIN, Pearl Jam, STP, even RHCP a band that was know early on for Uplift Mofo Party Plan were all, even in ‘92, lyrically not a bunch of happy people. Every single one of those bands was touched by deaths from despair, either via a slow suicide of drugs or a more direct one.
    It’s not just music either, unhappiness and despair play a central theme in great swathes of Gen-X produced culture. Enough that if I wasn’t just an IT guy now I could get a decent research paper out of it.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is; It took this long for anyone to notice?

    1. Chris Cosmos

      Despair was an honest reaction to the psychic situation that cohort was facing. Young people today tend to be into escape. Either way artists and the sensitive and empathic people react most intensely to the collective unconscious’ descent into a particularly nasty darkness that became clear in the eighties. I’m not sure we can go any lower so I’m hoping for a revival of our culture.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That contrasts with the repressive (some say, those Eisenhower years) 50’s.

      One of the cultural phenomena from then was the TV show, Leave It To Beaver. In one of the earliest episodes, the Beaver was denied a chancee to make money (in order to buy a team uniform). He got his revenge though, when he found out the neighborhood was going to be without water for a while. Then, he got into the business of ‘monetizing water.’ And he became the richest kid around. He even agreed to lend money to buy candles, when they next found out that they were going to be without power that evening.

      Incredibly, that particular episode presaged or conditioned many kids (then) a few of our problems today.

    3. Geo

      There has always been despair and as a teen in the 90’s northwest scene it was definitely embraced as a badge of Honor at the time. Economically, that area wasn’t in a good place – and the weather didn’t help.

      But, having been around it a lot then it was just as much about youthful discontent and social psychology as it was about larger economic forces. Nothing we faced then was anything compared to what’s millenials faced: DotCom bust, 9/11, eternal wars, Wall Street crash, social media… what did we have? Desert Storm? Waco? Iran Contras?

      I’m struggling to make ends meet now days but I wouldn’t trade my 90’s youth and early adulthood for their 00’s in any way.

      1. jrs

        I lost my very first real job in the bust (it has shaped my ENTIRE attitude toward the job market – always wary, always trying to be prepared for the next bout of unemployment and job seeking, until attempts at this too often fail, and fatalism just takes over in middle age, and it increasingly does). I’m not a millennial. Millenials are more like Great Recession etc.. Dot com was Gen X.

        1. Geo

          True. Entering the job market for the first time in the late 90’s was a walk in the park. After the Dot Com bust its been a slog ever since – and only seems to be getting harder. Dot Com was sort of the end of the Golden Age (end of the myth?). For us it hit us as we were getting established, for Millenials though it salted the earth before they even planted seeds.

          1. Toshiro_Mifune

            Wow. We had very different experiences entering the job market then.
            I didn’t land my first “real” job until 2000 when I was 30. And that was after completely switching what I wanted to do and piling up a huge amount of debt for network classes and certification testing. Got the job in IT for Wall St just in time for the dot com bust.
            I can’t tell you the number of friends who couldn’t find a job in the mid 90s and doubled down and went to grad school and piled on debt or enlisted.

            But back to the point of my original post. I didn’t intend this to be a comparison between X and Millenials. I have no doubt Millenials are in a very difficult position and don’t intend to obfuscate that.
            My point was; Almost from the get go Gen-X produced culture has been saying how unhappy it was, it then takes 20-25 years until Case-Deaton before media/academia notices suicide/drug death rates and says “Hey, Gen-X isn’t very happy”

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I lost my very first real job in the bust (it has shaped my ENTIRE attitude toward the job market

          Yep. I thought I was getting raise after raise and moving up because my skills and expertise. Turned out it was a bubble that was carrying me. Oops.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Every single one of those bands was touched by deaths from despair, either via a slow suicide of drugs or a more direct one.

      Well, my favorite band before The Clash and the Wailers came along was “The Grateful Dead,” so…

  25. dearieme

    “Journalist shot dead during rioting in Derry RTE and Four ATMs stolen in Meath, Antrim and Armagh overnight RTE. “It brings to at least 15 the number of ATMs stolen on both sides of the border in recent months, five of those south of the border.” Hmm. A little self-financing?”

    It’s likely that much of their financing comes from the US; it certainly did last time. This time presumably the EU is chipping in too.

  26. Chris Cosmos

    Despair was an honest reaction to the psychic situation that cohort was facing. Young people today tend to be into escape. Either way artists and the sensitive and empathic people react most intensely to the collective unconscious’ descent into a particularly nasty darkness that became clear in the eighties. I’m not sure we can go any lower so I’m hoping for a revival of our culture.

  27. dearieme

    Greenwald: “The result of all of that was that not a single American – whether with the Trump campaign or otherwise – was charged or indicted on the core question of whether there was any conspiracy or coordination with Russia over the election.”

    This evidence of superb Russian tradecraft is surely proof positive of Trump’s collusion with Putin.

    Similarly Hellary’s antics with the home-brew server is just proof that she’s too stupid to be a Russian agent. We can be confident that she’s a pillar of rectitude.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One question we can ask is this: What is the cost (for the D’s) of pursuing this particular course of action?

      If it costs nothing*, they will persist.

      *Perhaps those who can exact a price are not doing it, or the cost has been…well, eternalized.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      I often wonder how much arm-punching and outright high-pitched squee-ing must have gone on at intelligence services around the world when each one first realized the US Secretary of State was directing all official correspondence through some GoDaddy account.

      Exceptional is one word for it.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > This evidence of superb Russian tradecraft is surely proof positive of Trump’s collusion with Putin.

      “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” –Donald Rumsfeld, epistemologist and military genius

  28. ewmayer

    o “Uber and Lyft drivers say apps are short-changing wages while raising fares Guardian (SlayTheSmaugs)” — Gosh, whodathunk that opaque algo-driven money flows might serve as a vehicle for embezzlement? Shocking!

    o Re. camouflage – would any readers here happen to have a cached copy of the leopard-beneath-snowfield photo that featured in this recently-linked Twitter post? Because the link now gives “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!” Maybe the snow leopard was filmed in Russia, so the Twitteroids had to kibosh the post to prevent it from influencing the 2020 election.

    1. J Sterling

      They don’t count it as embezzlement when the owners of the means of production take everything they can. They call it “the reward for taking risks”. Marxists call it “alienation of labor”.

      Not that I have much sympathy for the lumpen blacklegs quoted in the article. When you cross a picket line crying “hey boss! I’ll do that guy’s job for less!”, don’t complain when the boss takes you at your word.

    1. skippy

      Probably should have added: The Government’s been buying up water at record prices, leading to millions of dollars flowing to offshore tax havens. But now, two of our top pollies are facing questions over just who is making a fortune off our water.

  29. flora

    From Wolf Street. NC has covered this.

    “Retail’s Existential Threat? Private Equity Firms.”

    How do the private equiteers do it? Simple, the leveraged buyout. The LBO is the financial world’s pick and roll, that is, a highly effective play that is difficult to counter, especially if the PE firm takes the prudent first step of bribing its intended victim’s CEO into going along with their acquisition.

    In short, the PE firm pays top dollar for a given retailer, often even overpaying, but using as little equity and as much debt as it possibly can. It then improves the company’s profitability by cost-cutting beyond prudence and, as with Debenhams, says, “What a good boy am I,” rewarding itself with a major dividend, often recovering not only its entire initial investment, but a substantial profit to boot.

    1. Wukchumni

      I realize we’re talking about landlubbers here, but ‘pirate equity’ seems more apt for these scalawags of the high seize.

  30. David R Smith

    Elizabeth Warren is getting ready to say that she just can’t deal with things like comforting disaster victims, sitting all night at the Kennedy Center, and breaking bread with dictators and various other psychopaths. So her vice president will do all that, and that person will be George Clooney.

    1. ambrit

      If that is so, then she can’t go far wrong with Brad Pitt for Director of HUD. Seriously. He has experience and a moral compass.

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