Links 5/11/19

Bill McKibben and Elizabeth Kolbert on the U.N. Extinction Report New Yorker

Climate Activists Win Necessity Defense Case in London Climate Liability News

Corporations are funding health and nutrition research – here’s why you should be worried The Conversation

A Bid to Maintain One of the World’s Oldest Culinary Traditions NYT

Tiger farms in Laos fuel demand for tiger parts on the black market WaPo

Procrastination Quartz

A war is brewing over lithium mining at the edge of Death Valley LA Times (Carla)

Germany Open Its First eHighway System for Trucks Interesting engineering (chuck l)

‘World’s fastest bullet train’ starts test runs in Japan Nikkei Asian Review

How weeds help fight climate change BBC

Why the moon’s south pole may be the hottest destination in space National Geographic

Waste Watch

Scrap Collector: U.S. abstains from supporting Basel Convention plastics proposal Waste Dive

Scotland introduces 20p deposit on all cans and bottles TreeHugger

Here’s Why Airplane Boarding Got So Ridiculous New York magazine

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Big Tech Lobbying Gutted a Bill That Would Ban Recording You Without Consent Motherboard

Chelsea Manning Probably Won’t Be Out of Jail for Long Vice

Porsche, Fiat face multimillion-dollar payouts in separate diesel scandals Ars Technica

Class Warfare

L.A. Drivers Strike Against Uber and Lyft New Yorker

Uber stumbles in trading debut CNBC

To Fund African Development, Curb the Looting of African Wealth Foreign Policy in Focus

Health Care

The Hospital Under Medicare for All Jacobin

These are the places in the US most likely to get hit by a measles outbreak Business Insider

How Insys undermined an FDA effort to protect the public from dangerous opioids Stat

WHO warns Ebola could spread elsewhere if attacks don’t stop AP


Rudy Giuliani Plans Ukraine Trip to Push for Inquiries That Could Help Trump NYT

Trump: Biden 2020 reminds me of Trump 2016 Politico

Here’s How The Democrats Will Limit The Debate Field If Too Many People Qualify FiveThirtyEight

Trump’s new nickname for Pete Buttigieg: ‘Alfred E. Neuman’ Politico


A Green New Deal Must Prioritize Regenerative Agriculture TruthOut

Boeing 737 MAX

Boeing to support MAX simulator training: financial analyst Leeham News

Boeing altered key switches in 737 MAX cockpit, limiting ability to shut off MCAS Seattle Times


Narendra Modi’s performance on the Indian economy – five key policies assessed The Conversation

Jet Airways crisis: Etihad Airways submits binding bid; State Bank of India says it has received two unsolicited bids Firstpost

A week after Cyclone Fani battered Odisha, survivors reel under shortages of food, water and power Scroll

India orders anti-trust probe of Google for alleged Android abuse Economic Times

Erdoğan’s Civil Coup Jacobin


‘Pity America, because of this crazy Trump!’ Here’s what Iran’s man in Iraq would say to Mike Pompeo Independent. Robert Fisk.

‘Unreliable’: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards rejects talks with US Al Jazeera

Europe doesn’t have the power to be much more than a spectator in the escalating US-Iran conflict Independent. Patrick Cockburn.


PEPE ESCOBAR: The Eagle, the Bear and the Dragon Consortium News

The New Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan review – the present and future of the world Guardian

US-China relations near new low amid trade battle AP

China’s Vice-Premier Liu He says ‘small setbacks’ will not derail trade war talks SCMP


Silicon Valley Giants Collaborate With The US Government On Caitlin Johnstone

Trump Transition

Trump Nominates ‘Embodiment of the Military-Industrial Complex’ Patrick Shanahan to Lead Pentagon Common Dreams

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Wukchumni

    A war is brewing over lithium mining at the edge of Death Valley LA Times
    The ugliest town in California in my opinion is Trona and adjacent Searles Dry Lake, where extraction of minerals has been going on for a long time. It’s only a 10 minute drive from the city limits, until you can breath a sigh of relief leaving town, it’s that desperate looking.

    The proposed lithium mining area in Panamint Valley would produce a similar disaster, and it needs a ton of water for evaporation open pit ‘lakes’, which is in short supply, it’s a desert eh?

    The water for the one retail operation in Panamint, a motel/restaurant/campground/gas station, comes from Darwin Falls, a spring fed amazing 100 foot tall waterfall about 5 miles away, with a long leaky pipe delivering it there.

    Death Valley NP lies just over a ridge on the other side of Panamint Valley, way too close for this kind of mining.

    1. John k

      Yes. Let’s do the mining in places like Bolivia.
      But gotta have the lithium, my pad runs on it.

      1. JBird4049

        I don’t recall ever being in Trona, and my word, it does have a nicely dystopian look about it, but I have been around and in Death Valley. The name is over doing it, but it is a ginormous area so hot and dry in the Summer that people have died in less than a day. Beautiful actually, but you could not pay me enough to live there.

        As for the lithium mining, maybe we should mine it here. Perhaps we would then find a way to extract it in a less damaging way. Places like the Congo have been destroyed by mining of such resources. The Congo is always prevented from forming an effective national government to allow for cheap extraction it cannot control the environmental costs.

    2. JCC

      I happened to have driven through Trona just today, about 18 miles northeast of my present home. I went through there with 3 friends up to Death Valley for a day trip and, believe it or not, a round of golf at a course there near Furnace Creek (the course is located at a small oasis there about 230 feet below sea level).

      Trona is a very depressing little village primarily inhabited by employees of the Searles Valley Minerals, Inc. mining company. It’s hard to describe the feelings one may have when cruising through the Towns of Trona and Argus, right next to each other, but to give you and idea of how I feel, I always expect Rod Serling to step out in front of the car saying, “Watch out! There’s a stop sign up ahead!”

      The guy I drove up with, his first time seeing the town, said to me, “How could anyone consider bringing up kids here?”

      These pictures don’t do it justice, it’s far more dreary, but at the some time the area is an ecological wonder.

      Surprise Canyon, the focus of the lithium mining, is about 20 miles north of Trona, an area I’ve hiked often. It is famous in the Valley for having the only year-round running water, and for that reason alone it is one of the most impressive areas of the valley. Bringing this type of mining to the area would be disastrous, to put it mildly.

      For those interested, it is known as Surprise Canyon because, although nearly dry for years at a time, it can turn into a raging torrent of water that shoots down the canyon after the very occasional rainstorms that happen in the Panamint Range of mountains between Searles Valley and Death Valley. The water pouring down through this canyon will cover a large portion of the north end of the Valley for weeks at a time. It’s an amazing sight.

      1. Wukchumni

        You’ve nailed the very essence of Trona, well done.

        We were in DV for the big bloom in 2005, and it was one for the ages. Lake Manly was briefly alive again (once was as big as Lake Tahoe eons ago) and the whole NP was awash in yellow.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Trump’s new nickname for Pete Buttigieg: ‘Alfred E. Neuman’ ”

    Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg reportedly not worried.

    1. Bugs Bunny


      Neither was W when he was called the same. In retrospect, he probably didn’t have to.

    2. Lee

      That PB had to “Google it” is proof positive that he is too young and, however well educated, too culturally deprived to be president.

      1. Wukchumni

        MAD magazine was the first periodical I ever read as my mom was a big fan and had a subscription, and it set the pattern for how i’d look at things henceforth, learning how to read between the lines, complete with lots of double standards, half truths, subliminal pitches, faux product placements and other things to traipse through the mind field in, along with a general mistrust of authority.

        …it also taught me that everything can be skewered and hoisted on it’s own petard

        And for what it’s worth, Buttigieg strikes me as more like Sergio Aragonés.

        1. Bugs Bunny

          I loved Al Jaffee and Dave Berg. That stuff is just hilarious. Not sure about its political correctness today.

          My (unknowing) parents allowed me to subscribe to MAD during the early 70s. My first issue had a parody of Clockwork Orange. I wish I had saved those!

          I’d say MAD, Kurt Vonnegut and The Clash pretty much formed my adult mind.

          1. Fiery Hunt

            You’re not alone in that trio’s influence…
            I’d add your namesake as well!!!!

          2. Darius

            I remember the Clockwork Orange parody! I had no idea what it meant because I was too young to see the movie but I LMAO anyway.

        2. Briny

          My mom also introduced me to it as well. Then again, military authority and a proper understanding of being in service to the MIC required that mental framework if you wanted to remain what I consider somewhat sane, for certain definitions of sanr.

        3. Procopius

          I remember being unhappy when they changed the format from comic book to magazine. There was always so much going on in the backgrounds in the comic drawings. Signs that said cute things that changed from panel to panel. People doing strange stuff. Ingroup jokes. “What, me worry?” Potrezebie. How’s your mom, Ed?

      2. Cal2

        He’s the “Puyiot Candidate”.
        Don’t bother Googling it. It’s not there.
        Only early readers of Mad will know what that is.

          1. Mark Alexander

            Yes, it was called a “poiuyt” in Mad (my favorite magazine when I was a kid). More about this here.

      3. Cyndy

        I am hoping your comment was unlabeled snark. It may be hard to accept for us Boomers that what were cultural touchstones for us are simply not for younger generations (I am assuming you are a Boomer, too. Apologies if I’m wrong.). It’s the way of the world. We got old(er).

      4. wilroncanada

        But DJT had to Google it too. After it was suggested by Rudy Giuliani, who knew him personally.

      5. ArcadiaMommy

        I had no clue what what the reference was and I think I’m older than PB. My husband explained it to me.

  3. Isotope_C14

    “Bernie [Sanders] in many ways got this conversation started on a national level in the last Presidential election. I think it’s probably in the end maybe less important precisely who the President is than what the atmosphere is like, what the Zeitgeist is like.”

    Indeed Mr. McKibben, and then you’ll back Biden when they cheat Bernie just like you supported HRC who had Ken Salazar as her transition team leader.

    “In 2006, Salazar voted to end protections that limit offshore oil drilling in Florida’s Gulf Coast.”

    With friends like these…

  4. PeakBS

    It is appaling how the CEO of a “$40B” publicly traded company jokes about a porn unsafely filmed inside one of their cars while DRIVING on the road at highway speeds in traffic !

    If you’re unfamiliar – their AutoPilot was unsafely used – as in, the driver did NOT have his hands on the steering wheel while filming . . .

    “Elon Musk Courts Controversy With Tweets on Sex Video Filmed in Tesla”

    Bloomberg link

    “The chief executive officer sent a series of tweets loaded with double entendre Thursday after a video surfaced this week of two people having sex in a Tesla operating on Autopilot. “Turns out there’s more ways to use Autopilot than we imagined,” Musk wrotein his initial post. His followers replied with jokes of their own.”

    1. Plenue

      Musk just doesn’t care at this point. He has to know he’s doomed. His companies can’t make money and he has five mansions to pay for.

      1. Procopius

        Oh, he’ll be OK. Net worth of $19.8 BILLION. I’m sure he’s got several million of that in Treasury Bonds and I have no doubt he’s had the best business consultants structure his holdings in such a way that if every company he controls were to go bankrupt on the same day he’d just make more money. It’s like Trump “losing” a Billion dollars for tax purposes. When I studied accounting back in the ’60s the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles were already guides to creative writing. There is no way you can determine from the Profit and Loss or Balance Sheet whether a company is sound or an empty shell.

  5. Bugs Bunny

    The NYT Magazine article on Parsi cooking is _must read_. But be ready to be hungry afterwards!

    I’ve always found arriving in Mumbai somewhat forbidding but then after a few days, there’s so much to do that I don’t want to leave.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Glad you enjoyed it. I jotted down some names of places to try the next time I visit the city. Can’t wait!

  6. marcyincny

    “How weeds help fight climate change”

    Thanks to you and the BBC. That’s one of the most fascinating things I’ve read in awhile.

    1. grayslady

      While reading the article, I was struck by how what the Aussies are doing by hand with volunteer humans is done in North America for free by beavers. The construction techniques are almost identical. Maybe this is why more and more water-stricken areas in the U.S. are re-introducing beavers into the environment.

      1. JBird4049

        That is a big reasons that there is the push for expanding the beavers back into the ⅔ of California that they used to live in.

        It is not just to store water but also for flood protection. California gets too much and too little rain, and so when all the plants with their soil holding roots die they turn into floods and mudslides. Those beavers keep alive all those roots.

    2. Cal2

      OK Marcy, I think you, or any any other person who is serious about nature, ecology, gardening, or long term human survival, and who is willing to get their hands dirty, will be in heaven when you read this:

      Now free online, the finest book ever written about doing.

      The Permaculture Manual

      Readers tip, read the introduction, then read about your biome or ecosystem. This is a BIG and LONG book.

      Jerri-Lynn, I suggest you post a link to the above as a public service, now that it is free.

        1. Someday susan

          Geoff Lawton, a student and friend of Bill Mollison, has a blog and a youtube channel that are very accessible to people interested in permaculture. My favorite quote of his: “You can solve all the world’s problems in a garden.”

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        And of course, if one finds one likes the ebook version enough to visit it over and over and over again, one might well buy physical bound-pages codex version of the book. If a Carrington-level solar coronal mass-ejection event fries every chip and melts every wire, those who have the physical book will still have the physical book. But those who have the ebook version . . . will have nothing at all.

    3. Anon

      The title of the article is a little misleading. “Weeds” are simply non-native plant specie that have the potential to disrupt the native ecology. Yes, weeds (as green plants) are photosynthetic and remove CO2 from the atmosphere (during daylight), but they give some of it back during the night (respiration) and ,since most weeds are annuals, give back their carbon sequestration at the end of the growing season. Trees, on the other hand, are perennials and the CO2 they sequester is transferred to the trees bio-mass (woody trunk, and root mass– and leaves/needles if evergreen) for many years.

      The photos (before/after) show a denuded landscape (likely man-induced) while the other is lush because of a higher water table. It is the stream check-dams that slows the stream flow that allows for water percolation into the soil. The weeds, evidently, are used as “mortar” in the check dams (mud would likely act similarly).

      Permaculture, on the other hand, is a time tested form of land manipulation that is taught at my local community college (by a PhD. in Biology).

      1. polecat

        Technically, a weed is any plant that is where you don’t want it, froma strictly human point of view .. indemic or not …. and there are numerous woody perennials, sub-shrubs, shrubs, and trees that would fit the bill .. again, depending on interpretation : scotch broom is one such plant, by human standards. Bees, and other insects however, love it !
        And as far as ecological disruption is concerned, it has always been thus. People REALLY need to get over this idea that nature is static .. never changing, unless it is i n a way we approve

        1. Cal2

          H.L.Mencken used the term “Human weeds” as part of his work.

          100 years later, his work is still relevant to some, and outrageous to others.

          “Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”

          1. Plenue

            Mencken himself turned out to be a massive racist bigot, so I’m fine with ignoring his sneering putdowns of everyone else.

      2. jhallc

        Ralph Waldo Emerson – A weed?
        “A plant whose virtues have never been discovered”

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Europe doesn’t have the power to be much more than a spectator in the escalating US-Iran conflict”

    So, no more Coalitions of the Willing? No more sending of thousands of troops, aircraft and naval units to support the latest hair-brained scheme dreamed up in Washington?

    1. ambrit

      As were the two ‘Irak’ wars, and Syrian “regime change,” this war was dreamed up in Tel Aviv.

  8. Carolinian

    Re Caitlin–the Google search page does indeed list the coup appointed individual as Venezuelan ambassador to the US. This is very bizarre. However next to that “information” block is a list of more informative articles including a WaPo report–finally–on the standoff.

    It appears that the Secret Service is blocking any Codepink supporters from bringing food into the building.

    As for Wikipedia, the Guaido page does open with this

    This article has multiple issues.

    so the well known CIA penchant for editing articles is at least open to challenge. Wikipedia in this instance is defensible–Google not so much.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Tucker Carlson asked recently: “Can someone be elected that Google doesn’t like?”. His answer, and mine too unfortunately, is no.

      Google’s motto over time:

      2005 “Don’t be evil”
      2015 (China censoring kerfuffle) “It’s OK to be evil sometimes”
      2019 “We just do whatever we want and nobody can stop us”

      1. Carolinian

        Google/Amazon/Facebook are under a lot of pressure to kowtow to government and “deep government” demands due to their semi-monopoly status. Antitrust always lurks.

        So maybe it’s “don’t be evil” unless profits are at stake. Then it’s ok.

  9. cripes

    “Big Tech Lobbying Gutted a Bill That Would Ban Recording You Without Consent”

    But if I Recorded You Without Consent in Illinois it’s a Class 3 felony punishable up to 5 years in prison?

    1. allan

      As is often the case, Maté is a bit casual with the facts.
      This is not “the report”. The CNN tweet, off of which he’s doing his in depth reporting, says that it’s
      an offer to allow them to view “the less redacted version of the Mueller report that DOJ made available”.
      Less redacted.
      And no indication of which if any of the supporting materials would be made available.

      1. pretzelattack

        what has he gotten wrong? he replied to a post about the less redacted version, he doesn’t claim that this version is “the” report. and why does it matter? what do you think has been redacted that would show collusion?

        1. BCD

          Read the CNN report. Why try to control who sees the report? Why use executive privilege to shelter witnesses? Why can’t Trump Jr answer Burr’s questions? Why delay? If there’s no incriminating material why go to such great lengths to hide it?

          Dems want the entire Judicial and Intelligence committees to see all the materials including underlying evidence. This looks like a delay tactic, the less redacted version still doesn’t have grand jury redacted material and it isn’t clear what is included.

          Casual with facts indeed, Maté suggested the Dems are fools for not jumping at the chance to participate in another delay and deception tactic from this WH, that’s highly misleading and not representative of facts.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            So many questions. But I think the order you ask them in matters.

            #1 Did the then-current occupant of the White House and his direct reports use the intelligence agencies to spy on or even entrap a presidential candidate?

            #2 Did these officials remaining in the DOJ and FBI after the election continue their efforts with the goal of delegitimizing the elected president?

            #3 Did said officials whitewash the investigation into a national security breach by the Secretary of State in order to further her chances in the presidential election?


            #4 Did the presidential candidate collude with the Russian government in order to boost his chances of election? Mueller says No, he didn’t.


            #5 Did the candidate attempt to block or subvert the investigation? This begs the question of whether obstruction of justice is possible where there is no crime. There must be intent. And it also raises the question of how far a president should be expected to go to defend the presidency against non-electoral means to remove him from office, whether those means are from external or internal foes. We’d probably agree that if China or Russia sponsored those efforts they should be resisted by all means. I believe internal efforts by the intelligence agencies to prevent or unseat a sitting president should be just as vigorously defended against. Voters, not spies, choose who the president is.

            I happen to think Trump is loathsome. But if we let intelligence agencies select the president and then decide whether he can stay in office then we are toast.

            1. Joe Well

              Podbay, that is epic. Thank you.

              Also, if you think that disregarding the protections afforded by law and custom to grand jury testimony is “liberal” than the word has lost any meaning except as an insult. And no, members of Congress are not above the law as to protections of privacy. Do you want them to be able to walk into your house and rifle through your medicine cabinet, too?

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Maybe it is just a trolling tactic. The entire Trump Administration may spend the next 2 years trolling the Capitol Democrats on every issue and every request, just for the pure fun of doing so.

          3. Procopius

            I am not a lawyer, but I understand there are provisions for congresspersons to see Grand Jury testimony in connection with investigations they are conducting. Certainly there are provisions for selected congresspersons (e.g., the Gang of Eight) to review highly classified code word restricted raw intelligence material and for judges to review classified material to determine relevance to ongoing cases. I want to see what, if any, evidence led Mueller to accept CrowdStrike’s report without further examination. In the redacted report he simply ignores the questions and simply accepts that Russians “interfered” with the election.

      2. marym

        This seems to be what passes for principle among the Democrats. They’re standing on their right to request documents and testimony, as Republicans did during the Clinton and Obama years. It would be a reasonable, potentially impressive, defense of checks and balances if they’d spent the last 2-plus years focusing on some real issues of policy and grift in the Trump administration and were now demanding documentation and testimony about that, instead of Russiagate.

        Of course, just as Republicans and their followers are satisfied with questioning HRC for 11 hours about security provisions in Benghazi, but not the actual wanton destruction of Libya, the Democrats won’t use their platform to address any actual problems or solutions.

        1. polecat

          Your comment could be considered a reasonable testament for why voting for candidates from EITHER legacy party is not in the public’s best interest .. because it IS a sport, where the winners win .. and the losers get lip-service, at best .. or die at worst !
          I for one, will no longer vote, should 2020 = zip regarding concrete material changes for the better !!

          1. Joe Well

            Bernie is not a Democrat, he’s only running as one the same way Vaclav Havel might have run as a Communist.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            And Gabbard, while a “Democrat”; is not a “legacy” Democrat.

        2. Lambert Strether

          > Of course, just as Republicans and their followers are satisfied with questioning HRC for 11 hours about security provisions in Benghazi, but not the actual wanton destruction of Libya, the Democrats won’t use their platform to address any actual problems or solutions.

          Yep. The Republicans also seemed unable to bring themselves to mention that we were running an arms-smuggling operation to Syrian “moderates” out of our consulate. When an empire can’t even smuggle arms properly, you know the end is near.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            So the question looming up out of the misty marshes is this: does America “have” an Empire ( as Britain did)? Or is America “is” an Empire ( as Persia, Rome, “Czaristan”, ” Ottomanistan” , ” Austria-Hungary” etc “were” Empires)?

            Why is that “the” question? Because if America “has” an Empire, then perhaps a new emerging National Seclusionist majority can conquer the DC FedRegime machinery and direct it to turn loose all the possessions and control points. But if America “is” an Empire, then the only way for America to not “be” an Empire anymore would be to divide down into a number of Free Republics, neo-Feudal dystopias, re-emerging Indian Nations, various “internal borderline” No-Man’s Lands and etc.

            I hope America “has” an Empire, because if America can “lose” the Empire, America can find itself. But if America “is” an Empire, then the only thing readers of this and other blogs can do is to make their best guess as to where the least Dystopian successor-entities will be . . . . and move there soonest to get entrenched, dug in and bunkered up.

      3. urblintz

        “As is often the case, Maté is a bit casual with the facts.”

        Can you prove that?.. especially the “as is often the case” part?

        The example you offer doesn’t support your fantasy, as pretzelattack points out. If you were to search his voluminous journalistic output certainly someone as sure as you are of your opinion would find a multitude of examples where Maté has been casual with facts. I’ll look forward to your research… links would be helpful.

      4. Plenue

        Oh get off it. There was no collusion. The more you diehards double and triple and quadruple down on ever more pathetic and small issues the worse you look.

      5. Lambert Strether

        > This is not “the report”. The CNN tweet, off of which he’s doing his in depth reporting

        Um, the Twitter has a feature called quote-tweeting. That’s what maté is doing here. Nobody serious could possibly characterize quote-tweeting as “in-depth reporting” without being tendentious. The unevidenced “as is often the case” is a bonus.

    2. JohnnyGL

      This is DC culture…facts don’t matter. All scripted narrative all day long.

      Reading the report doesn’t matter.
      Mueller not interviewing Assange doesn’t matter.
      FBI examining DNC servers doesn’t matter.
      FBI informants getting expedited visas to get into the country so they can spy doesn’t matter.
      Lying to judges doesn’t matter.

      Just when you think all this garbage is done….it somehow gets worse!!!

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        just breezed through Mom’s living room on my shambling survey of what the storms did.
        Bill Mahar rerun from last night is on. trump this, trum that…
        mom: “he’s the most dangerous president ever.”…”The Corruption(tm) is Obvious!…”
        me: “looks to me like an effort to suck all the air out of M4A/GND…”
        mom reaches for the koolaide, always near to hand these days, and …between gulps…”we’re gonna need to rally around whoever wins the Primary…”
        me: “oh, look at the time…”
        the “liberal” MSM is as of one voice, and the choir chortles on obediently..
        continuing my slogging survey, fire ant mounds bloom in the sodden pasture(solenopsis invicta=’unconquerable”)….and the road is filled with sucking mud.

        1. Stephen V.

          Hang in there Amfortas. Maybe a little dark humor on a muddy Texas Saturday?


          by James Kunstler

          For the Progressive Democratic “Resistance” (PDR), post-Modernism is in full flower. They have ruled objective reality inadmissible. There are only stories — his story, her story, they’s story, zhe’s story, and you must believe them because they come out of lived experience — for instance the lived experience of having lost a sure-thing presidential election to a cartoon character with zero political experience, and then having lost the grand inquisition to oust him.

          For the PDRs, the metaphysical concept of reality refers to some land of dark make-believe over a distant horizon where numbers supposedly add up (ha!) and the actions of persons are said to entail a strange cosmic condition known as consequence.

          Now that the Mueller Investigation has concluded empty of charges — despite two-plus-years of sedulous effort by fiercely dedicated antagonists of its target — everything about it, including the sacred Mueller Report, begins to emit odious vapors like unto a rump roast that has laid uncovered in a pantry for three weeks, attracting the attention of flies.

          The PDRs might think twice about a closer examination of all that festering material. What they’re liable to find is evidence of how slovenly and dishonest it was and how the revered legal maestro in charge of composing it may well be subject to charges himself of obstructing justice and malicious prosecution.

          Information emerged over the weeks since the Mueller Report’s release that Mr. Mueller and his team knew unequivocally that the Special Counsel’s mission and the FBI operations that preceded it were based on concocted political bullshit supplied by Mrs. Clinton and her network of flunkies and fixers, ranging throughout the permanent DC bureaucracy (a.k.a. the Swamp), to outposts in foreign intel services and the political kitty-litter box known as Ukraine. Mr. Mueller must have suspected this from the outset, but knew for sure by the summer of 2017, and omitted to advise the American public that he had uncovered a fraud. Rather, he rode on the back of that fraud for two years, as if touring a political landfill on a donkey, leaving the public to stew in anxious hallucinations


      2. Sy Krass

        I’d agree with about “the deep state after Trump,” but tell me why the orange blot in chief doesn’t go after the actual “deep state,” rather than just it’s foot soldeirs, Hmmmm? Why doesn’t anyone pint this out?

  10. Expat2uruguay

    Where’s Mike Gravel in the 538 article, “Here’s How The Democrats Will Limit The Debate Field If Too Many People Qualify”?

  11. petal

    For anyone in the New England/twin states area, there will be a Food Sovereignty Conference at Dartmouth College May 21-22.
    “Foodways in Indigenous Communities centers Indigenous practices and knowledges as they have existed and continue to exist today. Participants will learn of the ways in which tribal nations and Indigenous communities are becoming food sovereign through various initiatives, including some by Dartmouth students and alumni themselves. An experiential gathering, the conference exposes participants to a wide range of events, including workshops at the Hood Museum and the Dartmouth Organic Farm, a film screening at Loew Theater, and feasts at Collis and the Native American House, to experience the diverse ways that traditional foodways are kept alive by Indigenous peoples. Participants will leave the conference with a deeper understanding of the history, meaning, and future of food sovereignty for Indigenous communities.”

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Chelsea Manning Probably Won’t Be Out of Jail for Long”: ‘Chelsea Manning was just released from jail on a technicality. But she’s already gotten another subpoena — to testify for the exact same reason — and is probably headed back.’

    Wait a moment. George Bush got rid of habeas corpus in the US years ago. So is Trump getting rid of the double jeopardy laws now?

    1. Cal2

      Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act which eliminates habeus corpus for Americans. The “Constitutional scholar” must have forgotten that it had been around since
      The Enlightenment.

      What’s the antonym of Enlightenment?

      1. Swamp Yankee

        I think habeas corpus can be traced back far earlier than the Enlightenment; my understanding is it goes back to Magna Carta.

        Which I think further reinforces your point.

  13. richard

    “Biden 2020 reminds me of Trump 2016.”
    It reminds me a little of his endorsement of pelosi
    trump’s conditioned people not to examine the content of his words very much
    because why would you most of the time
    But I think it’s clear from his words who he likes as the “opposition”

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I agree. Trump is very slyly running a “pied piper” gambit of his own. Trump counts on Pied Piper Joe as being the Head Lemming In Charge needed to lead the Democrats to their Historic Rendezvous with Buffalo Jump.

  14. Craig H.

    > Uber stumbles in trading debut

    As Alan Greenspan famously said in 1999 in the first tech bubble blowing:

    A perceptible quickening in the pace at which technological innovations are applied argues for the hypothesis that the recent acceleration in labor productivity is not just a cyclical phenomenon or a statistical aberration but reflects, at least in part, a more deep seated still developing shift in our economic landscape.

    (this was A. G.’s way of saying this sure beats the hell out of me)

    Is this in Class Warfare because fat cats potlatching their money is a victory for the skinny cats? I don’t think us skinny cats are winning anything here.

  15. Wukchumni

    Scotland introduces 20p deposit on all cans and bottles TreeHugger
    How long before the UK equivalent of Newman from Seinfeld comes up with a scheme to bring English cans & bottles to Scotland to do a wee bit of arbitrash?

    1. Oregoncharles

      If it’s like the deposit system here, there’s a bar code on the bottle that indicates whether a deposit has been paid. We can’t return California bottles for a deposit, for instance.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Coppersmith Barbet? Sure fooled me. That’s something I have never heard of and would never have thought of. I am limited to what I remember either having seen or at least seen pictures of.

        Is there a database of Pictures of All the Birds in the Whole World that people are going to and searching to come up with these correct answers?

        1. anon in so cal

          Coppersmith Barbets are widespread and common across southeast Asia. We’ve seen them in Thailand and Cambodia. They make a wonderful kind of high-pitched hammering sound, which is how they got their name. They’re often sitting high up on some tree or post.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            And here is a coppersmith barbet videoed while calling.

            Amazing what you can find on You Tube if you know the exact words to hunt for it by.

            We need a new search-concept and a new name for it. I will offer the suggestion Search Wormhole. Or Search Wormholing.

            You either go You Tube or even more applicably you type in the words for something you remember specifically and then type in the word “images”. The Yahoo ( All The Web) search engine still reveals the URL from which each offered image came. One can click on those URLs to see which one is interesting and valuable.
            I have found things not findable otherwise on the strictly text-verbal parts of the Search Prevention Engines.

            Each image is a wormhole entry. And each URL is the wormhole exit to wherever. Maybe somewhere meh, maybe somewhere nice.

  16. anon in so cal

    Mueller Report:

    “We will also look at problems relating to attribution methods used, countervailing evidence that has clearly been disregarded and other problems that are likely to have affected the quality of the investigation and the report…..


    The Special Counsel seems to have been impervious to critical pieces of countervailing evidence (some of which demonstrates that Guccifer 2.0 deliberately manufactured Russian breadcrumbs) and they have failed to accurately account for the acquisition of WikiLeaks’ DNC emails (missing the date on which approximately 70% of them were collected), which is, in itself, a stunning failure for a supposedly thorough investigation costing US taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.

    There should have been a proper, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the Guccifer 2.0 persona. The Special Counsel certainly hasn’t done that job and, in retrospect, looks to have been ill-equipped (and perhaps somewhat reluctant) to do so from the outset.”

  17. Geo

    If even one-tenth of all the financial fraud and tax scams that have been reported about Trump are somewhat true it’s an even worse indictment on the terribly corrupt state of our justice system then it is about Trump. 30+ years of scams, grift, and cheats brazenly our in the open and no investigations before his presidency ruffled feathers… yet any of us would have been thrown in the slammer decades ago.

    Trump’s finances were never seriously reviewed by the government because he was ‘viewed as a clown’: ex-US Attorney

  18. drumlin woodchuckles

    That bird looks like an immature Green Jay, coming into its full feathers.

    That’s my guess.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I just now read about this a little further up-thread. Is there an image-database of all the world’s birds in pictures somewhere on the web?

  19. Quentin

    Scotland’s 20 p deposit. Great idea. Unfortunately the article at TreeHugger doesn’t make clear how the system works. Is the deposit sent to a central account by the seller from which the deposit can be retrieved by the same or another merchant awho has to return the deposit to the buyer? Or somehow else? I don’t get it. I’ve probably missed something. lGreat idea.

    1. Polar Socialist

      While I’m not sure how it will work in Scotland, in Nordic countries it’s chain of deposits:
      – producers and importers pay a deposit to central organization for each bottle/can they bring to the market
      – stores, restaurants etc pay the deposit to the producers/importers in price
      – customer pay the deposit to the store, restaurant etc likewise
      – collecting point pays to the customer upon collecting the empty can or bottle
      – central organization returns the original deposit to the collecting point

      It’s funded by deposits from the uncollected containers and membership fees.

      The central organization is usually a non-profit company owned by soft-drink producers and large .

      Where I live, we’ve had this since 1950s.

    1. Tyrannocaster

      I hate those, too. But there’s no consistency to them across the board; for example, I NEVER get them here. On the other hand, I get them every single time I post over on the Progressive Wing (the site that follows Bernie-related stuff). That happens with both my desktop computer (Linux/Firefox) and my Android tablet. Weird.

    2. Carolinian

      Try deleting your cookies. On the latest Firefox it’s Preferences/Privacy and Security/Cookies and Site Data/Manage Data. Then search Naked Capitalism and click remove (just remove the NC cookies, not all of them). The NC cookies will come back next time you open the site but this got rid of Captchas for me.

      Chrome has a similar ability to delete cookies for a particular site and probably most other browsers as well.

      1. ewmayer

        So to post I need to lose my cookies? That sounds … messy. :P

        I have NC whitelisted under Privacy -> Cookies in order to comment, obviously, but just looked at the accumulated cookies, looks like one new cookie gets created for each comment one makes, going back at least a couple weeks. Easy to batch-delete them … hope this works, thanks for the tip.

    3. Oregoncharles

      Yeah, i got one today, too. It appeared to be endless, so I finally just gave up. I thought it was a good comment, too.

    4. Lambert Strether

      We’re working on it.

      Captcha hell seems to be a relatively recent thing — last two weeks, maybe? It’s nothing we did, or if we did it, it wasn’t intentional.

      Thanks for your patience. Obviously, nobody ever had to clear their cookies before captcha hell started, so they shouldn’t have to clear them now; it’s a PITA.

  20. VietnamVet

    The world is in a strange new Gilded Age. Instead of John D. Rockefeller or J. P. Moran today it is Elon Musk and Dennis Muilenburg. One tweets touting hands-free autopilot sex and the other has a limited vocabulary who signs his letters DENNIS. All are above the law. One markets autonomous driving without regulatory approval and the other a summer resumption of passenger flights without pilot simulator training on the updated 737 Max flight control system. No one cares about families who are facing an $800 a year tax on imported Chinese goods or gasoline lines if a Summer War with Iran ignites. The bubble is impervious to those who believe their own propaganda. Populism is exploding for a reason.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The $800 a year tax on imported Chinese goods would be a good thing IF there were a wider policy of long-term protectionism designed to shelter the Americonomy long enough for us to restore the production of those things here again, as in the past. The $800 tax on imported Enemy Economic Aggression goods would make those goods no cheaper than the American replacements which could come back into existence if we were freed from the threat of price-undercutting by our economic trading enemy China.

      Trump isn’t sophisticated enough to see that. He thinks the goal should be to “make China buy Moar Stuhhfff”. Actually the goal should be to reduce trade between America and China to as near absolute zero as it is possible to get, while making America as nearly a sealed-off Autarky as possible in today’s world.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Rudy Giuliani Plans Ukraine Trip to Push for Inquiries That Could Help Trump”

    And his trip is off already. He said he would be “walking into a group of people that are enemies of the president, and in some cases, enemies of the United States and in one case, an already convicted person who has been found to be involved in assisting the Democrats with the 2016 investigation.” Story at-

    Stuff is getting even more weirder in the Ukraine. The US Ambassador to the place as been recalled amidst all sorts of shenanigans. The Ukrainians said that she gave them a “do not prosecute” list which did not go down well. More on this at-

  22. Ape

    Uber increases congestion:

    If you think a bit, it’s obvious that only mass transit can reduce the number of cars on the road. Uber could reduce the size of parking lots by reducing the number of cars that aren’t in active utilization, but the number of cars going from A to B isn’t changed by going from a single driver to a single customer — in fact, you add the transport of drivers without customers between customers, which is a function of the ratio of trip length between customers and trip length with customers.

    As a secondary order effect, by reducing the number of people with $$ on public transport, you’re likely to undermine public transport thus leading to more people using private cars to commute because routes are removed.

    Kinda like why charter’s schools secondary, collective effects are worse than their primary effects, and secondary effects are not properly captured in “capitalist economic calculation”, because efficient capitalism can only look at manifold-local effects. Capitalism has an economic calculation problem.

  23. drumlin woodchuckles

    For example, go Yahoo- All The Web and type in System of Rice Intensification Images, like this . . .;_ylt=AwrJ7JuIbthcL0gAWANXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyZzZzdjBhBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjcyMzBfMQRzZWMDc2M-?p=system+rice+intensification&fr=sfp

    And then start actually looking at the images. Here is the very second image that came up for me.;_ylt=AwrJ7JuIbthcL0gAWANXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyZzZzdjBhBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjcyMzBfMQRzZWMDc2M-?p=system+rice+intensification&fr=sfp#id=1&

    And here is the “clickable link” that image is supposed to have come from: Clicking that link brought THIS up . . .

    Does anyone think they would have found that using the strictly text-verbal side of the Search Prevention Engines?

    Search Wormholes. They are an accidental workaround not yet taken away from us by the Search Prevention Engineers. Though I hear Google is working on absolute censorship of URLs to prevent anyone from ever seeing so much as one single URL ever again on the Google.

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