Links 4/26/19

Emperor penguins flee unsteady ice after ‘unprecedented’ failure to breed Science

These Haunting Pictures Show How Chernobyl Has Aged Over The Years Buzzfeed

Pollution and our oceans Lancet Planetary Health

How to stop climate change? Nationalise the oil companies Guardian

Central banks are finally taking up the climate change challenge Gillian Tett, Financial Times (DL).

Bitcoin Tumbles After Officials Allege $850 Million Fraud Fortune (DL). Prosecution futures.

Microsoft is now a $1 trillion company The Verge

Quotation of the Day: Facebook Says U.S. Regulators Will Hit It Hard NYT. From Stoller: “This would be a joke of a fine — a two-weeks-of-revenue, parking-ticket-level penalty for destroying democracy” (of the FTC’s proposed $5 billion fine over privacy issues).

Amazon to roll out one-day shipping worldwide FT

Hua-dunnit? Calls for a police probe as top Tories deny leaking the details of secret security meeting about Chinese telecoms firm Huawei – so who was present… and what do they say? Daily Mail


May drops plan for new Brexit vote before local elections FT

Sir Graham Brady urges PM to support bid to strip Irish backstop from Brexit deal The Sun. Brady is chair of the 1922 Committee.

Labour should leave government talks and campaign in the European elections New Statesman

Goldman Sachs says dragged-out Brexit is doing deeper damage to UK economy Reuters

No-deal Brexit stockpiling panic as British businesses warn warehouses are already booked up for Christmas Business Insider

One in six people dying of lung cancer in UK are non-smokers, experts say Guardian (KW).

France must work more, Emmanuel Macron tells ‘yellow vests’ The Telegraph (KW).

North Korea

North Korea summit: Putin says Kim ‘needs guarantees’ BBC (Re Silc: “when we were in russia last fall we went to a lecture at moscow state university by a political/econ professor who was headed to North Korea the next day. He said its about a warm water port and railway all the way to South Korea”).

North Korea signals shift in nuclear diplomacy; Kim’s right-hand man sidelined Reuters


The Collapse of Deterrence with Iran by Christopher J. Bolan Sic Semper Tyrannis

Asian Companies Pull Back From Iran Amid U.S. Pressure WSJ

End Of Sanction Waivers For Iran’s Oil Will Hurt Trump’s Voter Support Moon of Alabama

More civilians now killed by US, Afghan forces than by insurgents: UN Agence France Presse

Exploring Istanbul, from My Window Medium


Report Finds US Sanctions on Venezuela Are Responsible for Tens of Thousands of Deaths CEPR

Like Venezuela’s Presidency, D.C. Embassy Is in Limbo Foreign Policy. Because:

Indigenous people battle squatters and timber poachers in Peru’s Amazon National Geographic

Illegal Charcoal Trade Wrecks Myanmar’s Bulwark Against Cyclones Asia Sentinel

Where the Silk Roads meet the mighty Mekong Pepe Escobar, Asia Times (KW).

Indonesia Is a Country Divided as Both Candidates Claim Victory Bloomberg

Indonesia’s election and the return of ideological competition New Mandala

Sri Lanka Bombings: A Lesson in Radicalization for Asian Neighbors Benar News

PepsiCo is suing farmers in India for growing the potatoes it uses in Lays chips CNN


The Press Will Learn Nothing From the Russiagate Fiasco Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

How the Obama White House engaged Ukraine to give Russia collusion narrative an early boost John Solomon, The Hill (UserFriendly).

New Cold War

America and Russia Must Agree to Avoid a New Arms Race The National Interest


Fear Of Bernie Sanders The American Conservative (Re Silc).

Joe Biden Is a Disaster Waiting to Happen Jacobin

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Academics hide humans from surveillance cameras with 2D prints ZDNet (SC).

High-profile California housing bill clears hurdle after tense debate over local control Los Angeles Times

Class Warfare

Building a Good Jobs Economy Dani Rodrik, Charles Sabel. “What we seek to explore here is a set of interventions by the public sector – or its delegated agencies – directly in the productive sphere, and in direct collaboration with the most productive segments of the private sector.”

The Forgotten Middle: Many Middle-Income Seniors Will Have Insufficient Resources For Housing And Health Care Health Affairs. Everything’s going according to plan!

The Bogus Justification for Worker Non-Compete Clauses On Labor

Why do the Greens make so many see red? UnHerd

U.S. Navy drafting new guidelines for reporting UFOs Politico

IZA DP No. 12282: Bullshitters. Who Are They and What Do We Know about Their Lives? (PDF) IZA (DK). n= 40,550.

Antidote du Jour (via):

I know it’s not winter in either hemisphere but I couldn’t resist. And from where it’s definitely not wintry, a bonus antidote:

Not exactly a pet, not exactly domesticated, but not wild, either.

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. Ignacio

    RE: France must work more, Emmanuel Macron tells ‘yellow vests’ The Telegraph (KW)

    This is deep…ly stupid neoliberalism at its best. The competitivity meme is well and alive.

    1. Tom Doak

      Such a pronouncement will go over like a lead balloon in France, with its 35-hour work week, long leisurely lunches, and August summer holidays. Is Macron actually French at all, or English with a French last name?

      1. Roger Smith

        Look at the U.S., those guys work 40 hours a week or more! Some have 3 jobs and still can’t get healthcare. We’ve got a long way to go France.

      2. WheresOurTeddy

        Neoliberalism knows no nationality, it subsumes all identities that came before it, leaving only the perfect oligarchy-serving technocrat as the finished product.

    2. Summer

      “On Thursday, Mr Macron confirmed he would continue to take part in debates around the country, saying they were all part of “the art of being French.”

      “…We must work more, I’ve said it before. France works much less than its neighbours. We need to have a real debate on this,” Mr Macron told 150 journalists gathered under the chandeliers of the Elysée’s recently refurbished ballroom.”
      (The art of being “Vichy” French.)

    3. zagonostra

      Of course Macro wants the French to work more. They have too much time on their hands to be engaged in direct political action.

      Get the populace to work a 50 hour week like many in the U.S. have to to get by and poof!, there goes your mass protest and civic engagement: Then the French will be enthralled (in its literal definition) by what the French MSM is spewing instead of what other citizens are telling and confirming to each other.

      In the age of automation and mechanical production of goods it boggles the mind that we (Occident) are being asked to work more and harder to earn our daily bread.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        If you can accomplish the American model, the vast majority of he underclass will be too poor, tired, sick, and disillusioned to fight back. Never should have let them have health care!

      2. JBird4049

        Get the populace to work a 50 hour week like many in the U.S.

        Only fifty hours? Many of my fellow Americans would think of that as an improvement. If actual healthcare was added…

    4. David

      The French media and the political class are still digesting Macron’s announcements from last night. I listened to some of it, and it was fair to say that Macron performed well, answering detailed questions on lots of subjects with great confidence and eloquence. I’ve come to he conclusion that he represents the acme of a certain type of personality, common in the higher reaches of the French system: intelligent, fabulous memory, speaks very well, complete mastery of their subject, but absolutely no evidence of original or critical thinking. He’s completely trapped, for example (as is much of the French elite) in the shopkeeper theory of state finance -“how are we going to pay for this or that?” It’s exactly the response you would expect from a brilliant ENA student who joined the Cours des comptes, and worked at the Finance Ministry.
      The other thing that struck commentators was Macron’s refusal to give any details of what was going to be done, leaving that to others. In part, this reflects the distinction between the Government and the Presidency in the French system, but it’s more than that. Macron is consciously creating a personality for himself half monarch under the ancient regime, half CEO. His job is to issue commands from on high without worrying about the detail: other people will be responsible for carrying them out, and pay whatever the political price is. This is of a piece with his remarks about rebuilding Notre Dame. He didn’t promise that it would be rebuilt in five years, he said that that is what he “wanted.” If it doesn’t happen, in other words, it won’t be his fault.
      Macron has been advised recently by Sarkozy, of all people, and he appears to have resuscitated one of the latter’s most infamous phrases, about “working more to earn more.” I thought this particular phrase had been mocked to extinction, but apparently not. It’s not likely to impress ordinary people, many of whom are in salaried jobs or are self-employed, where the option of working longer to earn more doesn’t arise, and where many of them work very long hours anyway. Quite how a social worker using her own transport to visit families in trouble is supposed to “work harder” is anyone’s guess, and even if she did so there is no money to pay her more. It requires something of an effort of will to be as distant from the concerns of ordinary people as this.
      The Torygraph story, by the way, is disappointingly superficial and obviously written in about five minutes last night. Macron’s remarks were not directed to the Gilets Jaunes, who won’t take any notice, but to the French people as a whole, in an attempt to show that he has addressed the issues about which the GJ have been protesting, and so get his Presidency back on track. And ENA is not a “finishing school for French Presidents”. What the journalist was trying to say (he was probably late for the restaurant) was that most of the Presidents of the Fifth Republic studied there at one point. But it’s the elite training school for the French civil service, set up by De Gaulle in 1944, and the subject of a lot of jealousy and hostility, especially by those (like Sarkozy) who failed the entrance examination.

      1. Ford Prefect

        In the US, hedge fund managers and corporate CEOs work 80 hours a day which is why they get paid so much money.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        Thank you again for your reports. Your reports are consistently well-written and insightful.

      3. curlydan

        Obama’s fraternal twin has been located! “[Marcon] represents the acme of a certain type of personality, common in the higher reaches of the French system: intelligent, fabulous memory, speaks very well, complete mastery of their subject, but absolutely no evidence of original or critical thinking… The other thing that struck commentators was Macron’s refusal to give any details of what was going to be done, leaving that to others.” Great comment from beginning to end.

      1. newcatty

        Macron, Obama …isn’t it perhaps true that neither one does not do any critical or orginal thinking, because that is not their job to do as “presidents” of their countries. Critical and original thinking is in a higher authority’s realm. They are articulate spokespersons.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I always wondered how a lackluster one-term state Senator – and a melanoderm to boot – was ever allowed into the Oval Office. The answer is that they sat him down beforehand and told him “listen, son, here’s how it’s gonna go”.

          Only Nixon could go to China. And only a mellifluous, vacuous empty suit brother could run Bush’s Third Term, codifying and extending virtually all of his policies, all while telling “folks” he was something completely different.

          The divide could last a generation. On the one hand the Dem party apparatchiks, who know precisely who and what they really are, and on the other hand the overworked and ill-informed Dem populace, who still want to believe in the party of FDR.

          Th extermination of Bernie will be very telling. We’ll end up with some anodyne placeholder who will “try hard”, talk alot of blather about “affordable health care” and of course come up short.

          1. JBird4049

            Th extermination of Bernie will be very telling.

            Maybe. It would have to be skillfully done as even the appearance of deliberate sabotage just might doom anyone else of any party from being able to function. There are enough people people suffering and watching his candidacy now who are ready to get angry.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I would like to believe you are right. One new aspect of the recent surge in corporo-fascism (I almost wrote copro-fascism) however is the level of utter brazenness. So they could destroy Bernie in plain sight and I’m not sure it would matter, the MSM would close ranks just like RussiaGate and declare and endlessly repeat “it’s all for the better, nothing to see here, ignorance is strength” etc etc

              1. JBird4049

                The corporate oligarchs and the various minions probably deluded enough to believe that there would be no serious consequences, which is really unfortunate. The whole situation reminds me of the day 1917 Putilov Strike or the 1789 Tennis Court Oath at Versailles, or perhaps the last 2-3 years before Lexington in 1775.

                In those examples no really expected the political situation to so catastrophically blow up as they did. The more astute and forward thinking suspected some trouble and some small numbers of extremists wanted something to happen, but nobody really expected it to get as horrible as it did. So everyone just kinda drifted right into catastrophe.

                I am not aware of anything in history that rhymes very closely to our society’s leadership being so clueless and the population being as miserable as well as aware of how clueless the leadership is as well as everything feeling and being so brittle.

                I love reading about interesting times but those times tended to be very uncomfortable for those who live during them. So I don’t want to live in the interesting times apparently coming up.

      1. Ignacio

        I think they take it as symbolic. It is symbolic in one sense…and thanks for the links!

        Today I have learned that “technology is better than regulation to fight climate change” The phrases one has to read :(

        1. Svante Arrhenius

          Keep expecting Carnival Cruises off of Fukushima Daiichi and along ALL of the US Gulf Coast, with Jurrasic Park type autonomous BTR-80 based tours of the haunting decadence and hep mutant lifeforms? If anybody out there doesn’t get that our betters fully expect to profit from our climate chaos, huge swathes of deadly effluvia poisoning air, water, crops, livestock and we the peons, while they deplore our pathetic, deplorable thrashing & writhing obstructing their 1,300′ penthouse view?

        2. Svante Arrhenius

          I remember dining with two VERY smart people, one a renowned documentary filmmaker the night of the Fukashima catastrophe. Her videographer is Bulgarian, so we were totally cognizant that at least three of the reactor’s cores had already melted down & a huge fissile mass would shortly blow the roof off the exposed spent fuel bundles. It took us well over an hour to realize that our partners had absolutely no idea what we were going on and on about. Eyes glazed, as if we’d just slithered out of a flying saucer. It was even worse, with BP’s Deepwater Horizon blowout and explosion. Since it was Obama lying about it’s severity and ramifications… and it curtailed our enjoyment of shrimp, grouper, etc?

          1. neo-realist

            People here on the west coast still eat sushi with abandon and enjoyment. I’m wondering when and if the mass cancers will ever occur around here.

    1. The Rev Kev

      And here we find out what happens if we humans ever went away through some disease or cataclysmic event. Nature will get along without us just fine apparently.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        As a long-time-ago mentor used to say, “If you think you’re indispensable, fill a cup with water, stick your finger into it, pull it out quickly, and observe the hole left behind.”

        1. Off The Street

          Another version of that was about a coffin sliding into the sea. The water appearance is soon as though nothing had happened.

          Those are ways, of varying impacts, to exhort one to make the most of one’s days.

    2. a different chris

      >“It’s land no one else wants.” said Jenny Chase, a Zurich-based analyst at BloombergNEF.

      Isn’t that quite chilling? We have transformed parts of the earth, which as somebody said “they aren’t making any more”, into places nobody wants to go to. And to top it off many of these places (Appalachia, Chernobyl) were once amazingly beautiful and productive in a Mother Nature Feeds You sense.

        1. a different chris

          Haha you’re right, ok “nobody wants to live” was more what I was getting at.

          Don’t know if for sure Chernobyl is really doing that well, btw. Maybe it is. But I can find a lot of stuff on “people” but no examination at all, let alone in-depth, seems to have happened with the flora and fauna.

  2. Ignacio

    Re: antidote
    The arctic fox converted into a ball with it’s vital heat originating organs in its center is beauty in all senses.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I do believe that it is almost identical to yesterday’s Antidote du Jour but the only difference is that in todays, it has its eyes open so that you can see it now. And yes, it is beautiful.

      1. Yves Smith

        Yesterday’s antidote is up. Jerri loaded it on the landing page but not the body of the post. Sorry it took so long to remedy that. So you can see it now!

        1. The Rev Kev

          I was only joking. I, like a lot of people I guess, had not realized how much I look forward to these images on Links and the Water Cooler when they load up. They really make NC stand out and almost anchor that day’s stories.

  3. Olga

    “North Korea summit: Putin says Kim ‘needs guarantees’ BBC (Re Silc: “when we were in russia last fall we went to a lecture at moscow state university by a political/econ professor who was headed to North Korea the next day. He said its about a warm water port and railway all the way to South Korea”).”
    I would bet it’s also about keeping the area out of a war and not losing the neighbourhood to the pretend-hegemon. Beware simplifications in this complex matter.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I’m rejecting all notions of “right” and “wrong” in America’s “foreign policy” if they do not refer directly to the central guiding principle: The Benjamins.

          As Gore Vidal so eloquently and presciently laid out in this wonderful talk. Hat tip to Olga for the link:

          By this yardstick Messrs Pompeo and Bolton are as “right” as rain.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It is a complex matter, though we see something typicallly human.

      Greed and fear.

      The greed for a warm water port, and fear of war, in this case.

  4. Olga

    Not sure this ran here – it is interesting:
    “Summary: The international liberal order is something of a myth that has been built up since the end of the Cold War and by increasingly anxious Western states that worry about a global governance that has favored them. But liberalism was never critical to global governance, and the future of global governance might not depend on liberalism.”

    1. Carolinian

      Perhaps “international liberal order” is the polite version of “White man’s burden” or “Pax Romana.” Empires have their excuses.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      whenever i see reference to the “liberal international order”,i wonder if they’re talking about all that democracy and freedom the usa has allegedly spread across the globe.(see: for a representative sample of shenanigans)
      the biggest obstacle to changing us “foreign policy” is the ordinary american’s unwillingness to contemplate that we are the evil empire.
      no assertion that i’ve made in my life has put me as at risk of a$$whupping as that one.
      in a tripartisan* manner, no less(*including the largest electoral faction, here: those who generally don’t vote or pay much attention)

      1. pjay

        “the biggest obstacle to changing us “foreign policy” is the ordinary american’s unwillingness to contemplate that we are the evil empire.”

        How profoundly true. “Why do they hate our freedoms?” When it finally catches up with us completely, “ordinary Americans” will be quite taken by surprise.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        When the world is divided into nations, every nation tries to do what is best for itself.

        That’s a feature, not a bug.

        When the division is humans versus, say, pests, then, what room is there for the latter, when the former is such destructive as we are?

        It seems to me there are two bigger ostacles.

      3. Ignacio

        …in a tripartisan* manner, no less(*including the largest electoral faction, here: those who generally don’t vote or pay much attention)

        That was a clever observation. Never forget those who just turn their faces when there is something disgusting. Just another way of making it up.

  5. Inode_buddha

    Random question for the economists out there — I need a way to start debunking an argument. Mainly about markets and regulation.

    Most of the conservative/libertard types I have talked with seem to think that the free market regulates itself, including the events of 1929 and 2008. Either that, or they are the result of government interference in the free market somehow.

    Both of those arguments infuriate me for some reason, I smell a big lie in there somewhere… looking for a way to debunk those. Any help?

    1. Wukchumni

      There was a thread on the first Earth Day in 1970, earlier in the week…

      It was a very deleterious day for my dad, as Wall*Street’s 1960’s Go-Go Years were well and truly over, the beginning of a truly awful tech driven downturn that had him out of work for about a year, as no knight in shining armor from the mouse clique showed up to bail out anybody via QE, free money was in distinct short supply, and market forces regulated things. That’s the way it used to operate.

      Look at the plunge…

      The first “Earth Day” was launched April 22, 1970. It was also Ross Perot’s “back to earth” day. Shares in his Electronic Data Systems (bought by Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ ) last year) fell $60 that day. On paper, Earth Day cost Ross Perot roughly $450 million, but he didn’t seem fazed by all those paper losses.

      EDS was not alone. Many tech stocks fell by 80% or more in the second quarter of 1970. Have you ever heard of that crash? No doubt you recall the tech stock crash of 2000-02 and the general 1973-74 crash — but few remember the 1970 crash. The S&P 500 fell 19% that quarter, and the Dow fell 13%. The core of the 1970 crash came in just five weeks — from April 20 to May 26 — when both major indexes fell 19%.

      The average computer stock fell 80% from its peak in late 1968 to the May 1970 lows. Perot’s EDS shares fell 85%, from $162 to $24. Other big-name tech stocks fell almost as far: Control Data fell 83%, Mohawk Data 84%, Sperry Rand 72%, and NCR fell 64%. Some lesser-known names fell further. University Computing fell from $186 to $13 (-93%); Data Processing Financial fell 94%, from $92 to $6.

      1. Svante Arrhenius

        Thank you so much, for this. Lots of us have great difficulty recalling specifics of what we were being dumped into… though, I have only the foggiest recollection as to what had befallen us between high school, draft lottery, Nixon, Fear and Loathing & Trout Mask Replica? I suspect it’ll come back, eventually?

    2. aj

      Hitchen’s razor: “What can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

      Self-regulating markets is a neoliberal quasi-religious myth with no supporting evidence.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The other aspect is 2008 and the the perceived Obama was elected. Between the lessons from 2006 and 2008 organizing and the various Team Clinton defeats, there really is no need to spiritually save Republican types. We don’t need their votes to win, even with the Senate and gerrymandering.

          The problem is the perception Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are in any way alike as perceived by people who would support Sanders positions but remain convinced these are positions of Team Blue or that Team Blue is merely feckless. I saw a tweet by someone who claimed to be outraged by Pelosi despite believing her to be a hero four years ago. The tweeter seemed young and is a woman, but even four years ago, Pelosi had demonstrated who she was. But Pelosi is also a woman despised by Republicans. This is the great problem.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      I imagine it varies with social class, but much of this is just about unrepentant greed or religious affiliation.

      The story about the goose that lays golden eggs might seem trite, but in many ways, it’s about these people. Then of course, there is simply a religious like devotion to their “ideas” and fellow travelers. The idea free markets exist within any kind of government system is stupid. They only exist on paper and within the fantasies of devoted anarchists (not the community based types). In a way, it’s a bullet proof argument they are presenting except for it being stupid.

      The goal isn’t to convert as much as stop their radical ideas from polluting younger generations.

    4. JacobiteInTraining

      I don’t imagine this helps much, but when I think of ‘markets above all’ and ‘all regulation/intervention is inherently bad’ I go all ‘reductio ad absurdem’ and think of the perfect non-governmental pioneer society. Say….Neolithic period. No governments, no interventions, no regulations, etc. Every man and woman a king or queen, beholden to noone but themselves and their kin.

      As long as you have the strength to avoid being killed, and can defend what you have hunted and gathered – everything is awesome. But, when that clan across the holler starts eyeing your food, your mate, your simple wild grain fields, and your happy hunting grounds….well, if you aren’t quite as buff or craftsmanlike in making artisinal stone axes as them – what is the thing you do?

      Either ‘Go Die!’ or….start networking with other clans to form something. Something that is bigger then yourselves and can help organize bigger groups of people into increasingly larger units for defense and to establish – and enforce – laws about not killing, not stealing one another’s wives and husbands, and leaving the grain in the granary if you didn’t gather it yer own damn self.

      A government – with regulations, of course.

      But then I’ve never felt that the freedom to kill my neighbor if I was stronger then him was really a *good* quality to have in a person. Some do.

      1. Sanxi

        I’m pretty sure the ‘Neolithic’, didn’t in fact work that. At least Colin Renfrew from what I can tease out doesn’t.

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          *pictures neolithic neoliberals and neoconservatives lobbying for deregulation of the industrial artisanal stone axe factories while simultaneously advocating for the immediate pummeling of the peaceful matriarchal clan across the river ‘because freedom’*

          *thinks better of it*

          *decides instead to hold up the ‘ad absurdem’ portion of comment as a potential defense*

      2. Detroit Dan

        Well said, JacobiteInTraining

        @Inode_buddha — As a follow on to what JacobiteInTraining said, I would say that government is an evolutionary development. To think that markets don’t need governments is to go against historical evidence. Governments and markets evolved hand-in-hand. Looking forward, increasing government involvement is needed to stop humanity from destroying the planet. Problems don’t solve themselves. People band together to solve problems such as described by JacobiteInTraining.

        1. LifelongLib

          Any market needs some sort of enforcement mechanism e.g. government. Otherwise people just punch you in the face and take your stuff.

      3. Kurtismayfield

        Just ask them “what country is the most deregulated on the planet?”.. they will never answer truthfully that it is the most lawless.

        1. Janie

          Yes. My response to “no regulations, especially on gun ownership” is “you mean like Somalia or Libya”?

    5. KevinD

      Ask them to explain to you how thousands of irrational human beings can somehow come together in a market and begin trading stocks and bonds on probabilities alone and yet that market is somehow efficient.

      The ruse they are trying to blow past you is that “we are efficient”; keep the government and regulations away from us i.e let us continue pillaging….

    6. Ignacio

      Self-regulation in free-market speech means simply otwo things: 1) “f@ck you” if you are a looser. 2) owners are the only with a right, the only right, the right to keep their properties. To call it primitive would be insulting to our antecessors. To call it darwinism would be insulting our fellow companion species. To call it ideology harms the thinking of ancient phylosophers. It is a vacuum of ideas, of conscience, of humanity, of animality. No matter how sophisticated is this vacuum.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        It is the all powerful ” Invisible hand ” that supposedly regulates Mr. Market, but IMO it only really exists as the rentier’s hand as it very stealthily picks your pocket.

      2. False Solace

        There is no ownership without a government to protect it. Without government you “own” only what’s in your immediate control. A “free market” with no regulation is a contradiction in terms. Markets require trust, there is no trust without an enforcement mechanism. I feel sorry for inode_b. This is Philosophy 101 stuff that should be obvious to a thoughtful 14 year old.

        1. Inode_buddha

          Indeed, but its not at all obvious to the conservative/libertarians. Trying to get them to admit anything like this is like pulling teeth. Of course, conservatives are like that almost by definition, since admitting anything means needing to change.

        2. jrs

          although the problem we have is too much ownership by too few and so … only owning what is in one’s immediate control might start to sound like a good idea, no rentiers?

    7. jrs

      Regulate themselves to do what exactly? Massive bailouts were needed after 2008.

      And as for regulating themselves to care for the commons (air/water/etc.), it’s obviously false.

    8. Ford Prefect

      It actually does regulate itself, in the same way that lodgepole pine forests require forest fires to regenerate a healthy forest.

      The three highest Gini coefficients in the US were the 1870s, 1920s, and the past 20 years. If you look at GDP and the stock market annual statistics, the 1870s were followed by a series of nasty for the next 30 years. Any wealthy people who were speculating got wiped out. Only the people with a sound business and finance model survived with decent assets and income (e.g. JP Morgan). Wealth and income became much more equal in the late 1800s.

      Inequality took off again in the 1920s and was erased again by the Great Depression. The Gini coeeficient didn’t rise substantially until the late 90s. Glass-Steagal was a major part of that.

      Shortly after the repeal of Glass-Steagal, 2008 very nearly took the Gini coefficient back down again, but the political investment in trickle-down economics and the Laffer Curve paid off big time for the wealthy, because the central banks, legislatures, and Treasury departments around the world pulled out all the stops to support the financial sector and to keep asset prices high. As a result, the wealthy speculators dodged a bullet because their illiquid speculative assets were back-stopped. So they didn’t go bankrupt this time around. Instead, they were able to use those assets to purchase other assets and become wealthier.

      1946 – 1998 effectively proved that basic measures like Glass-Steagal, safety nets (Social Security etc.), SEC regulations, etc. could restrain the wildest impulses of speculators so that burning down the forest was not necessary to maintain a healthy forest. The GFC ended up proving that extraordinary measures to protect wealth could actually maintain a high Gini coefficient through a period which would normally have destroyed it. So that has been a monumental social experiment success story.

    9. Grebo

      Tell them there is no such thing as a free market. A market is a set of rules for exchanging stuff. No rules, no market.

      Whilst it is conceivable that a set of rules could be constructed with the necessary negative feedback loops to be self-regulating there are none such in evidence. In reality small randomly arising market advantages are ruthlessly exploited to increase those advantages in a self-expanding positive feedback loop. Every Capitalist’s dream is a monopoly.

      Hit them with Minksy’s Financial Instability Hypothesis.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “How to stop climate change? Nationalise the oil companies ”

    Nah, that’s not the way to go. Nationalize the Big Banks instead because all the big corporations sooner or later have to go to the banks for loans and the like. Turn those face-huggers into public utilities instead. Whether it is oil, plastics, student loans, whatever – sooner or later that all has to get routed through one of the big banks. That will change the oil companies behaviour with climate change. As one US President once said, when we got them by the short and curlys, the hearts and minds will follow.

    1. jrs

      Why prefer an indirect approach over the direct approach? And they have to get loans? Exxon is if the close to the most profitable company in the world.

  7. crittermom

    >2020: Fear of Bernie Sanders

    I was not greatly impressed with this article.
    For one, they miss a very important point, IMO.

    “Two large surveys — one by the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, the other by the Voter Study Group — showed that in 2016 12 percent of Sanders’ primary voters cast ballots for Trump in November.”

    It goes on to talk of how Bernie needs to win back that 12%.

    Hellooo? *heavy sigh*
    I strongly suspect those votes for Trump from ‘former Sanders supporters’ were, rather than support for Trump, votes AGAINST Hillary since Bernie wasn’t a choice by then.

    Apples to oranges comparison in an attempt to make a point, which was a fail in my book.

    1. Ignim Brites

      Also have wonder what percentage of that 12% were in California or New York or Illinois or other states Trump had no chance to win.

    2. Big River Bandido

      I was not impressed with it either. Even the 12% statistic seems unbelievable. Certainly that figure wouldn’t include the huge number of people who wanted to vote for Sanders in the primary but found their registrations purged or changed, or their ballots uncounted.

    3. polecat

      Yep ! … ‘cautiously looks right, then especially left, for any sign of blame cannons … then meekly raises hand …’

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not sure about that 12% number, but from here alone, I have read people not longer supporting Sanders, with them citing his endorsing Hillary, as one reason.

      Those are worthy winning back.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Exploring Istanbul, from My Window”

    That Stuart Williams sure got a break when he got that apartment with such a great view. It must have been amazing just looking out that window from time to time. Did find one odd note in that article when he went on about Russian warships making the passage on their way back and forth to Syria. Did he not note US warships also making the same passage on their way into the Black Sea as well?
    Just a quick search shows that some of the ones going there were the US Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Donald Cook and USS Ross as well as the dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry. If he missed seeing them, there is a video clip of one of these ships making the passage not long ago on the following page-

    1. anon in so cal

      Speaking of the USS Cook: a week or so ago it re-entered the Black Sea

      “USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) visited the Black Sea in February, the second time this year the guided-missile destroyer entered the region. In January, amphibious warship USS Fort McHenry (LSD-43) entered the Black Sea. While in the area, Fort McHenry visited the Romanian port Constanta and conducted a joint exercise with Romanian frigate Regele Ferdinand (King Ferdinand) in Romanian territorial waters.

      However, Russia has long considered the presence of warships from non-Black Sea nations as a threat and regularly tracks their movements from the sea and air.

      “The Black Sea Fleet forces are constantly monitoring the movement of the U.S. Navy’s Ross guided-missile destroyer that entered the Black Sea on April 14, 2019,” said a statement issued by the Russian National Defense Management Center, reported by the state-run TASS news agency.”

      1. The Rev Kev

        I’m guessing that what Russia feels about US warships exercising in the Black Sea as what the US would feel about Russian warships exercising in the Caribbean or maybe the Gulf of Mexico. Technically legal, but not good knowing that those warships have nuclear-tipped missiles aboard.

  9. Ignim Brites

    “America and Russia Must Agree to Avoid a New Arms Race” Hard to imagine how this is going to happen when the leadership of the Dem Party (viz. the Legacy Corporate Media) is formenting war with Russia. They attacked their democracy after all.

    1. zagonostra

      I forgot where I saw an advertisement for a book with the title “The Russian Peace Threat.” The title kind of summarizes what I imagine is the MIC’s fear that its pipeline to the Treasury will be disrupted.

      How can you justify high tech multi-billion dollar Military programs or a trillion dollar nuclear missile modernization program when you can’t even provide basic medical care to millions of your citizens? The threat of a hostile Russia (which was unfortunately reiterated by Elizabeth Warren at a CNN town-hall broadcast and who I now write-off as a possible Dem nominee for POSU) is indispensable to many powerful economic players in this country.

  10. Jen

    Hilarious Friedman satire in Current Affairs this morning. Paralipsis (one of my favorite Lambert words):

    “But while we could analyze how Thomas L. Friedman is both credulous and callous, while we could imply that the Pulitzer Committee should have thought twice before giving him journalism’s highest prize on three separate occasions, while we could gently suggest that Friedman’s Pulitzers are the equivalent of Kissinger’s Nobel, we are compelled to refrain from the exercise.”

    Followed by a thorough skewering one of Lambert’s favorite targets: all things “smart”:

    “The most important question facing us now is: “How should America conduct military interventions in other countries?” The answer is so obvious that I’m surprised I’m the first one to think of it. We should do it smartly. You don’t move forward when you’re moving backward. ”

    1. elissa3

      Thank you. I would say priceless except that it’s like eating a whole box of chocolates in half an hour.

  11. Samuel Conner

    That Jacobin piece could also have been titled “Biden has been a disaster”.

    I take some hope in the possibility that he will do poorly in the primaries as the oppo research works its magic, and that will make it harder at the Convention to anoint him the “unity” candidate if Sanders does not win on the first round.

    I hope that the Sanders strategy team is closely studying the various and diverse ways that delegates are allocated in the different states.

    1. Brindle

      Biden’s history as an Anti-Drug Warrior. Basically he has been a sponsor of some the most draconian drug war legislation of the past 2-4 decades:

      —“Biden also introduced the National Drug Control Strategy Act in 1990. It included a number of jarring provisions meant to deter drug use, including the establishment of “military-style boot camp prisons” that could be used as alternative sentencing options for people convicted of drug-related offenses who tested positive for a controlled substance at the time of an arrest or following an arrest”.—

      Trump has his wall but Biden has his fence:

      —“In 2007, Biden defended his vote in favor of additional border wall fencing by peddling a myth that has since been echoed repeatedly by President Donald Trump, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he “voted for the fence related to drugs.”
      “A fence will stop 20 kilos of cocaine coming through that fence. It will not stop someone climbing over it or around it,” Biden said, despite the fact that the vast majority of drug smuggling occurs at legal ports of entry. “And it is designed not just to deal with illegals, it’s designed with a serious drug trafficking problem we have.”—

      1. Yikes

        Senator and VP Biden is perfectly happy to take pharma money to promote legal addiction, and to try to restrict access to cheaper pharma for 3rd world countries. He also helped spend taxpayer money on cancer research (good) only to turn the research over to private drug companies/speculators for them to patent. Biden brother lobby firm made a lot of money for the family (including his dead son’s estate). This is all public record for anyone who wants to do a few minutes searching on internet, but the press avoids all of it.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      If they can’t do superdelegates or change the 15% rule, they can’t stop Bernie. The 15% rule buries minor candidates.

      Perhaps the most interesting thing online today is Politico’s very long love letter to the DM Register. The content is largely not interesting (lots of big wet kisses, almost no history) but Politico “reveals” something I noticed a while back. The DM Register’s political coverage is almost entirely done by women now.

      I do not know what that means. In the 1970s-80s the DM Register’s political coverage was outrageously sexist in that smarmy way sexists have. Those reporters are gone, but at least one of them had an enormous amount of influence over DMR hires in recent decades. But most of the new reporters are really new, and decidedly female.

      I think this means more neoliberalism from the DMR, but we’ll have to wait and see. So far 2020 coverage is exactly the kind of passive-aggressive table setting I expect from the Register. They make an effort to hide their biases while feeding longer story arcs that can eviscerate the unfavored.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Realistically, I think Harris has the only real path to victory, and this largely dependent on coming in second by under 15 points in the early states followed by a commanding win in California. If Sanders is ahead by more than 20 points in an early state or simply gets 55%, it’s a race to demand a VP spot against Ro Khanna barn storming with Sanders. Gabbard doesn’t have to win this secondary race just raise her profile.

        Sanders isn’t going to be FDR, and we need FDR which means a team and a VP to carry the project forward. It’s Khanna based on their work history unless it’s taken by an acceptable other. Buttigieg is already out.

        1. Cal2


          There’s the Corporate Democrats’ new motto.

          Trump won’t need to worry about drapes in the white house in his second term.

          If Harris is going to get such a “commanding win in California”, why did she hide her campaign headquarters in Baltimore? Maybe she was invited by “the children’s book seller” mayor?

          Check out the reader comments in the most liberal city in California to see how people who have suffered her firsthand, really feel about her.

          In no particular order, The Bologna Family,
          OneWest Bank foreclosures,
          Truancy Jail Terms,
          Willie Brown,
          San Francisco Crime,
          Sexual Harassment payoffs
          and a fake police force in her staff,
          Prison Labor Kickbacks,
          just a few of the things The Kamaleon doesn’t want discussed
          and will be used by the Trump campaign.

          Bernie or bust.

          1. elissa3

            Just thought of a slogan idea for the Bernie campaign:

            Bernie. Because it’s our last chance.

            1. Cal2

              That’s beautiful!

              “Bernie, Our Last Chance”
              would resonate even more?

              Forgot to add to my list the main weakness for
              any ticket with Harris on it in the general election:

              “It’s not a crime to be an illegal alien” -Kamala Harris.

              That’s not going to go over well with most of black and white America, especially among the communities of legal immigrants who have played by the rules.

            2. curlydan

              It could be quite cinematic: “Senator Sanders. Years ago you served my brothers in the desegregation struggle. Now they beg you to help them in their struggle against the Empire. I regret that I am unable to convey my brothers’ request to you in person, but my country has fallen under attack, and I’m afraid my mission to elect you in 2016 has failed. I have placed information vital to the survival of the Rebellion into the memory systems of this R2 unit. My brothers will know how to retrieve it. You must see this droid safely delivered to them. This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Senator Sanders. You’re my only hope”

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            Right…Harris is bad, but I know that. My point is she’s the only one with a reasonable map and organizational capacity to beat Sanders. If California was at the end, I wouldn’t consider her as in some ways she hasn’t run a proper election against viable competition, needing a collapse of the front runner to make her a default for state AG.

            Gillenbrand once had a path to victory but reverted to her Blue Dog Caucus origins so she tossed that chance.

            1. Mark Gisleson

              All hard to parse because the neoliberals are such bad campaign geniuses, making it really hard to guess what they’re actually trying to do. I strongly suspect some honestly (but stupidly) think 20 candidates means Bernie can’t win on the first ballot.

              It should be fascinating to watch how they turn on each other as they keep coming up with fantasy scenarios in which only [fill in the blank] can stop Bernie from losing to Trump. They honestly don’t realize how important cheating was to HRC’s win margin, or that Obama to this day is popular solely because of gaslighting.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                This is about pent up angling for better jobs. Grand plans don’t exist. Washington courtiers and electeds saw HRC lose to Trump and simply believe they can win. Guys like Mook set the bar low.

                Recent history of Democratic politics has been dominated by the Clintons, partially because Obama wasn’t interested, but the KIng is dead and all bets are off now.

        2. Solar Hero

          But Harris won’t win California. We know what she is. Why do you think her Campaign HQ is in Baltimore?

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      I and I suspect others bit our tongues in 2008 in the name of unity because Vice President Biden was not as problematic as VP Bayh who would have virtually guaranteed a GOP win in 2016. Based on anecdotal encounters with Biden supporters over the years, my guess is his backers at any level don’t have a clue how people are going to react to Biden support. The perceived reliable choice is a racist, sexist…Biden is basically the mythical Bernie Bro.

  12. Carolinian

    Re Medea Benjamin and others occupying the DC Venezuela embassy at the invitation of the Venezuelans–the squatters expect to be evicted but by whom? Will Trump send in the Marines to seize this sovereign territory? Perhaps the administration could try their creative tactic with other “adversaries” and simply declare Putin and Kim to no longer be the leaders of their countries as well. The MSM would probably applaud.

      1. Carolinian

        Random Guy seems to have been forgotten at this point and perhaps the Trumpies will do an Emily Litella and just say “never mind.” There’s no predicting the next episode of this short attention span theater.

  13. JerryDenim

    Some kind of asian monitor lizard in the antidote today? Those guys are really cool but kinda give me the heebie-jeebies when they sprint- they are insanely fast for a normally slow moving and slow looking creature!

    A big Monitor, probably a Asian Water Monitor (6ft or so? maybe bigger) gave me one of my worst frights ever when we came face to face or more accurately, nose-to-nose while I was already nervous about snorkeling alone in deep, dark, water, far from shore, off a small island north of Sumatra. I had no idea he was there until we were face to face. Cheeky buggers!

  14. Lemmy Caution

    RE: Joe Biden Is a Disaster Waiting to Happen

    Yikes, things aren’t looking so good for Joe.

    The Jacobin article takes a decade-by-decade walk through Biden’s career, performing a brutal evisceration of Biden’s record on busing, mass incarceration, neoliberal economics, war and civil liberties, abortion, and immigration. It’s grim stuff. Anyone looking for opposition research doesn’t have to look any further than Biden’s long, long track record.

    It’s tough to see how he overcomes all that baggage, particularly since he seems to believe that his “working Joe” shtick is going to play in Peoria and convince voters to forget about all that history.

    Biden is not helping himself with his campaign roll-out, either. First, his stunning tone-deafness was on display as he bragged about his Democratic and Republican mega donors. Then, he announced his first fundraiser with a Comcast executive and an executive from Independence Blue Cross who is also on the on the board of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the trade association working to defeat the progressive push for Medicare for All.

    If that left any doubt about old Joe’s prospects, his one-day-old candidacy was so odious that it was being savaged even at places like DailyKos.

    First, DailyKos front-pager TomP wrote a scathing denunciation of Biden’s big-money donors, then Kos himself took to Twitter to rip Biden a new one:

    “Biden launches fundraising efforts with guy who stans for the most hated company in America. Why? Because he has no small-dollar-donor email list. He has to raise money from rich a-holes.”

    Hope Joe remembers the euphoria of announcement day, because when you’ve lost DailyKos …

    1. Brindle

      I’m guessing Kos is firmly behind fellow Northern Californian Harris. I don’t really trust Harris much but she is a better candidate than “bread turning moldy” Joe.

      1. jrs

        She will run left, it will be a lie, but it will be a potential grip point for people to hold her to, when she betrays it and they want the real thing. Starting out with the donors Biden does there is no pretense left, there can be no: “but you broke your campaign promises, I feel so betrayed”. Fool us with Biden we’re just complete fools. Or really we’re just voting for neoliberalism without even a pretense of it being anything else.

    2. Yikes

      Maybe Joe doesn’t want to win, just keep using the funding to enrich his friends and family. This is starting to become a common theme in politics thanks to laws making it ever easier to misdirect those funds left over, commissions from MSM for buying ads. etc.

      1. Sanxi

        Really? – ‘misdirect those funds left over’, like how exactly, it’s not as easy as you think. I presume you know the law.

    3. Grumpy Engineer

      Heh. Don’t forget about Biden’s contribution to the student loan crisis. Much of the blame for the non-dischargeable $1.5 trillion in student loan debt that is devastating the financial futures of literally millions of people can be laid at his feet. He championed the infamous “Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act” of 2005 that essentially eliminated bankruptcy protection for student loans and worked with Obama to have the Department of Education directly issue loans, which now means that even Social Security benefits can be garnished by loan service contractors.

      No Republican ever did this much damage to students.

      1. False Solace

        > worked with Obama to have the Department of Education directly issue loans, which now means that even Social Security benefits can be garnished

        Whereas Michael Hudson reminds us that loans owed to the state can be painlessly forgiven by the state. If the bacteria in government weren’t so deluded by “shopkeeper thinking”.

    4. Cal2

      “…decade-by-decade walk through Biden’s career, performing a brutal evisceration of Biden’s record on busing,…”

      Because busing was so successful, led to thriving cities, civic unity and led to the election of progressive politicians who endorsed it?

      “Fellow Northern Californian Harris?”

      Being absent from somewhere from the first grade through university disqualifies one as a native.

      Per her autobiography; Born in Oakland. When Kamala was seven years old, her parents separated and her mother was given custody of herself and her younger sister, Maya. Following the divorce, her mother relocated them to Montreal, Quebec, which is where she took up employment at the Jewish Teaching Hospital. After graduating from Westmount High School in Westmount, Quebec in 1981, Harris attended Howard University in Washington, D.C.

  15. Summer

    Re: Building a good jobs economy

    Is “Thought Leader” a good job? I’m thinking about changing careers. Any thoughts?

  16. jfleni

    RE: Can Humanity and Nature Co-Exist Under Capitalism?

    NO, not with the usual grasping turds in charge, G I M M E!

      1. LifelongLib

        Yes, I wonder about that too. Nature’s under no obligation to provide humans with decent lives. There’s a horrendous amount of suffering in the natural world, more than most of us could tolerate. Although hunter/gatherers seem able to alter nature to their benefit without destroying it. Maybe nobody else can.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Lots of pre-Columbus Indian Nationloads of people grew nature-friendly civilizations of millions of people. They began terraforming the Amazon through such inventions as biochar- Terra Preta. This is a matter of record.

          Other nature-friendly human groups more populous and more agricultural/horticultural than hunter-gathering also existed.

          Precedents exist.

  17. Summer

    Re: Why Do Greens Make So Many See Red

    “Worth noting at this point that she (Greta T.) is only 16-years-old, has Asperger syndrome..”

    The summation:
    “But I am also pretty sure that Greta Thunberg is, largely, right when she says that there really is a looming problem. that the world’s governments and businesses aren’t doing enough to avoid the worst effects, and that we really are going to face up to a need to balance economic growth against ecological loss. And if she’s right, it doesn’t matter if she was told it by a burning bush, we still need to do something about it.”

    If she is right, you actully need all the empathy available to deal with the upheaval to peoples lives and emotions.
    For crying out loud people!! What kind of techonocratic hell do people have in mind???

    1. Eclair

      ” …. a need to balance economic growth against ecological loss.” Oooh, let’s see, shall it be 2% GDP growth this year versus a drowned city? Or maybe go for 2.5% and offer up the death of all the dolphins.

      “Brazil? He twirled a Button –
      Without a glance my way –
      But, Madam, is there nothing else
      That we can show – Today?”

      You are right, Summer. We will need (we need now) all the empathy available. All the hugging, all the handholding, all the love, all the sharing, all the tears. (But first, we have to figure out how to neutralize the psychopaths among us, lest they infect us with their greed, meanness and cruelty.)

      1. newcatty

        Yes, Eclair, just another thought about the greedy, mean and cruel psychopaths among us. They infect us through dividing and conquering the people with their lack of empathy for anyone. No empathy is a salient characteristic of the psychopath. They can appear to have affection, or even love, for their families. They actually have a belief that their spouses and children (especially) are their property. Extend this soulless view of family to the rest of their world view. They are entitled and justified in owning their property. Now, that means that greed is, indeed good, mean behavior is strength and cruelty is power. The critical mass of people of kind hearts and generous minds are needed to neutralize rhe psychotic. Maybe a shift in awareness is happening. Hope Sanders can be one of the voices in the wilderness that can be heard.

  18. pjay

    Re: ‘U.S. Navy drafting new guidelines for reporting UFOs’

    For those who have been frustrated by the apparent lack of official interest in UFO activity around military sites, former Pentagon official Luis Elizondo provides a lesson by asking a simple question:

    “What happens in five years if it turns out these are extremely advanced Russian aircraft?”

    There you go. That’s how it’s done.

    1. dearieme

      How about U.S. Navy drafting new guidelines for reporting large, slow merchantmen on collision course with USN warships?

      1. Lemmy Caution

        Ha! Maybe that’s what they’re doing and the Navy’s UFO acronym stands for:

        Unidentified Floating Objects.

    2. Musicismath

      I love how all of this McCarthy-ism ends up projecting deep feelings of inadequacy about American talents. “Yes, Russia has an economy about the same size as Austria’s, but somehow they can develop aircraft so advanced we can’t even see them.” It’s up there with the belief that $100K worth of Russian troll-farm Facebook ads somehow trumped (sorry) the entire Democratic electoral apparatus.

    1. a different chris

      I would watch that if it didn’t start out, like every vid on the Web, with a long (30 seconds in this case) commercial.

      Which I totally don’t get – no, not the commercial itself – but how did our young geniuses miss the part where you know, the sitcom/crime drama/whatever has a short opening, it then breaks to the theme music, and after that the first commercial follows. So you are hopefully captivated enough to sit thru it.

      This isn’t so hard.

  19. Rod

    Thinking of taking to the streets in the upcoming summer and election season, but more than a little creeped out by CCTV in addition to the Police /Cameras/Bike Barricades??
    Here’s some good news–

    Academics hide humans from surveillance cameras with 2D prints ZDNet (SC).

    yes–I would wear a bit of that

    1. Wukchumni

      I always wear my Harold Stassen mask @ political get togethers, which makes it look as if i’m getting ready for yet another Presidential campaign, and draws attention away from me.

  20. Brindle

    Disgusting… Just watching an MSNBC interview with Tulsi Gabbard and interviewer engaging in “Russia-baiting”….claiming flattering pieces on Gabbard showing up on Russian news websites and asking her why this is happening. Gabbard remained cool and collected. She is not my first or second choice among Dem primary but she is getting all kinds of garbage thrown at her.

    1. zagonostra

      If you want to see some really disgusting coverage watch Gabbard’s interview by Stephen Colbert (link below).

      On the positive side it exposed the Corporate State’s penetration into “entertainment” in a way I’ve never witnessed before, also encouraging is the comments by viewers – they weren’t having any of it and about 9 to 1 called Colbert out and his despicable coverage.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      FIrst they came for Trump.

      Then they came for Gabbard.

      When they came for Sanders, no one was left….or something like that.

  21. djrichard

    The Press Will Learn Nothing From the Russiagate Fiasco Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone


    So it turns out that the Mueller report didn’t buy the cover that the GOP in the Senate needed to impeach Trump. Darn. But it’s not a total loss. It would be a total loss if we were to fold up our tents now and admit our mistakes. Because then the risk is that a large part of our constituents (kool aid drinkers) become disillusioned and disenchanted and we lose our GOTV turn out for 2020. Nope, we have to admit nothing. And that means we have to stay on path: the path of impeachment.

    Yes, I know many of you are not shocked by this turn of events and are sharpening your knives looking for who to blame that we even went down this path to begin with. But ask yourself, if we didn’t proceed down this path, what would have happened? Not only were our kool-aid drinkers at risk of being hijacked by other plantations, our entire plantation operation would have been at risk. Nope it was better to overhang the market, no matter how preposterous the marketing. We have to see this for the success that it was: we kept our plantation operation in tact, and we’ve kept our kool-aid drinkers on the plantation. Don’t blow this now by going off message.

    Now it’s up to you guys to win the 2020 election. Use the results of our work to your good ends. There’s lots of bad faith that can be mined from the Mueller report against Trump. And if anything, remove the oxygen from the room so there’s no discussion on policy. And if we don’t win this time, we’ll find the right marketing mix to win next time. Stop worrying.


  22. Musicismath

    The Guardian‘s film editor, Catherine Shoard, has just had a rather brave piece published on the new Avengers movie: Avengers: Endgame may well be brilliant – but the pressure to say so isn’t.

    What was once the job of publicity departments […] is now carried out gratis by eager millions desperate to defend vulnerable underdogs such as, er, Disney.
    The tyranny of niceness discourages anything that might immediately upset anyone. Celebrities are particular beneficiaries of this phenomenon, as people see them as friends who should be protected […] And the emergence of protected categories creates no-go areas for criticism: witness the steep decline in one-star reviews that amusingly trash a movie. It’s currently almost impossible to poke fun at any but a very select group of targets.

    Allied to this is a growing thirst for affiliation on the grounds of identity, which has enabled the fan clubs of old to snowball into impassioned tribes. Religion may be in decline in the western world, but cultish behaviour […] is evidently going strong.

    I shudder to think how that’s going to go down with the fans and the poptimists on Twitter.

  23. Cal2

    California housing bill…

    The California Democratic Party is in the pocket of developers, and builders. They need a constant stream of arriviste voters. New ‘housing’, also known as stack and pack development, is needed to satisfy both.

    Carefully crafted and community built environmental standards and zoning are jettisoned to allow millions of tons of concrete to be poured, millions of trees cut down, fertile soil to be wasted in order to build thousands of mid rises. There will of course, be parking places for the new cars that will be attracted to and driven from neighborhoods to distant jobs. Maybe they’ll ride the new expensive boondoggle train nearby, probably not. Great way to combat climate change.

    Housing crisis? Same Democratic Party wants to import millions more “migrants” and offer them sanctuary state status. Population growth is driven by immigration, while high skilled, high salary and high tax paying citizens flee to trust communities in Montana and Idaho. Winning formula to destroy the Golden State.

    “San Francisco County had a total net migration of 52,066 people…the surge in residents is largely due to international migrants. The net international immigration for the county was 55,042 between 2010 and 2018.”

    “The net domestic immigration number (-2,976) tell another story. The negative sign signifies that more American nationals left San Francisco County than moved there over the past eight years.”

    1. anon in so cal


      California is rapidly being deforested and destroyed. Los Angeles freeways and surface streets are gridlocked a significant part of the day. Anecdotally, it can take two hours to travel 28 miles during peak rush hours.

      Will be interesting to see voter response to Measure EE on the June ballot, which would initiate a 0.16 cent per square foot additional property tax to be used to lower class size in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

    2. Fiery Hunt

      Actually, Cal2, there won’t be parking built as the bill exempts these mid-rises from parking restrictions…meaning more congestion, less parking available for the smoes who have to drive for work.

      Jackpot, here we come.

      Or more likely, Mega City One.

      1. jrs

        +1 it’s ridiculous. And “you don’t need to drive” we will be told, in an increasingly gig economy, where moving for every contract one is at for 6 months is a fools errand, and public transportation is often neither convenient nor fast.

        Of course the NIMBY fools in California brought this on themselves by blocking the housing that was needed for decades. So like with Prop 13 we have a bad solution passed out of desperation.

    3. Summer

      International doesn’t automatically mean low-skill.
      But it only works as long as other countries’ “development” is slowed (foreign policy is the birthplace of the immigration policy).

  24. heresy101

    Since there have been several recent links (eg Michael Schellenberger shilling for nuclear) describing how renewables are too expensive and will never work, a couple of examples proving them wrong are in order.

    In Missouri, hog farm waste is being processed in anaerobic digesters to produce renewable gas.
    While Smithfield farms has a checkered history and this might be greenwashing, if it is built, there will be a big benefit to the environment and butterflies. Hopefully, other companies will spread this project.
    AgStar describes the anaerobic process in detail at this site:
    Agstar has estimated that 16% of California’s energy could come from biogas. If cities and counties were to take their food waste and green waste and run it through digesters rather than composting it, a lot of energy could be produced as well as compost.

    The second item of renewables replacing combustion turbines is in Oxnard Calfiornia, where a proposed 262MW combustion turbine (a jet engine bolted to a generator) is being replaced with a 100MW solar and 400MWh storage system. SCE is projecting that rates will only increase by $0.001/kWh!

      1. heresy101

        This sounds like a comment on ganja; it makes no sense.

        In the commercial solar market there have been big investment funds financing large solar projects. It has nothing to do with “doing good”; it has to do with the $/MWh cost. If the investment firms develop a commercial or community solar project at, say $28/MWh, it really doesn’t matter their profit rate or greed. This cost (lower than coal) will be in place for the 25 year contract. This is why solar/storage beat out a combustion turbine in Oxnard.

        The way to push the investment fund and financial parasites out of renewable energy is the GREEN NEW DEAL.

  25. pretzelattack

    we’re all a little safer; maria butina has been sentenced to 18 months in prison. still not sure what she did to get sentenced, but putin…

  26. djrichard

    Video of Biden dropping out of the 1988 race due to being caught out

    I don’t even think this registered with me back then, but now I find the tone of it hilarious. Joe, still trying to project his presidential timber, “I’m angry”. Except that in this case he’s angry at himself. Can’t make this stuff up. Armando Iannucci needs to weave something like this into whatever political black comedy he delivers unto us next.

  27. lyman alpha blob

    RE: The Bogus Justification for Worker Non-Compete Clauses

    I’m sure this subject is no surprise to NC readers and the practice has always seriously chapped my rear end. Corporations can fire tens of thousands of people at will, and play workers in one state or country against another, but somehow it’s beyond the pale for the C suite types when the tables are turned?

    There’s is ample evidence of our broken and unfair economic system just about everywhere you look, but if you had to pick just one example of how the system is rigged in favor of the rich, this would be a pretty good one.

  28. tiebie66

    Bullshitters seem to be overconfident. An overblown ego seems to lack quality feedback. Are grade inflation and poor testing the problems?

    In the U.S., only about half of states have anything resembling a high-stakes, high school exit exam. And American colleges and universities do consider report cards, teacher recommendations and those obligatory application essays. In fact, hundreds of U.S. schools no longer require test scores at all.
    Contrast with:
    “At the age of 16, almost every child in England will take probably about 15 or 20 substantial examinations,” Wiliam says. They are all part of one test. And how well kids do helps determine whether they finish high school. Not college. High school. Talk about high-stakes testing.

  29. milesc

    RE Bitcoin Tumbles After Officials Allege $850 Million Fraud Fortune (DL). Prosecution futures.

    The story is actually about missing fiat!

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