Links 5/17/19

‘Cow kiss challenge’: Austria tells people to shun charity dare Guardian (ChiGal).

Nearly a quarter of West Antarctic ice is now unstable Science Daily (DL). Original.

Jared Diamond: There’s a 49 Percent Chance the World As We Know It Will End by 2050 (interview) New York Magazine (OregonCharles). “49%” is an obvious case of spurious precision, oddly unquestioned by the interviewer, David Wallace-Wells. But it’s still interesting.

Boom in Dodgy Wall Street Deals Points to Market Trouble Ahead Bloomberg

How the Promise of a $120 Billion Uber I.P.O. Evaporated NYT

Silicon Valley’s ‘kingpin banker’ takes an Uber hit FT

Loose Lips and FX Tips: How Chatrooms Cost Banks $1.2 Billion Bloomberg

Facebook has struggled to hire talent since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, according to recruiters who worked there CNBC

Meltdown Redux: Intel Flaw Lets Hackers Siphon Secrets from Millions of PCs Wired (DL).

Boeing 737 MAX

Boeing says its software fix for the 737 MAX is ready, awaits FAA approval Seattle Times

How much was pilot error a factor in the Boeing 737 MAX crashes? Seattle Times

In his opening statement Wednesday at the House Aviation subcommittee hearing on the 737 MAX in Washington, D.C., the lead Republican congressman blamed errors by the Indonesian and Ethiopian pilots for the two deadly MAX crashes in those countries.

“Pilots trained in the United States would have successfully been able to handle” the emergencies on both jets, said Rep. Sam Graves of Missouri, ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He added that preliminary reports about the accident “compound my concerns about quality training standards in other countries.”

Graves was repeating the main points in a report written by two pilots at a major U.S. airline that pointed to pilot error as “the most consequential factor” in both crashes. Their report was commissioned and paid for by institutional investors with large holdings in Boeing stock.

Hmm. A must-read.

Bjorn’s Corner: Why I wouldn’t hesitate to fly on the MAX after the fix Leenam News.

Now a person of logic says: “If Boeing was as negligent in the development of the 737 MAX to let MCAS slip through, what else is in there?”

Here I rely on the Boeing CEO and top management to have realized the Boeing airliner which pays the bills can’t fail. If there’s one more blip, Boeing will not only be shaken, it will be down for counting.

I expect the top management to have put the question to its MAX team:

“If there’s anything else in the MAX you don’t feel 100% confident about, just tell us. We’ll fix it, no matter what.”

“This time, there’s no pressure,” the engineers would have been told. “You will crash your career if you don’t speak.” Before, it was the reverse.

I rely on this question being put and any answers finding its way into the fix. A 737 flight control software update is not a local patch of a software corner. It’s a global update of the system and any cleanups will ride along. Any such cleanups have been flying on the MCAS test flights for more hours than any cleanups before.

“This time, there’s no pressure” strikes me as requiring an inordinate amount of trust in management by workers. Not so easy for a union-busting firm.

More Questions Than Answers About Boeing, the 737 Max, and the F.A.A. John Cassidy, The New Yorker (MA). The final sentence: “The problem at the FAA] predates the Trump Administration, and it urgently needs dealing with.” Name the problem that doesn’t. Cassidy, however, probably flies a good deal. So, on this issue he keeps a cool head.


Donald Trump says he hopes US can avoid war with Iran FT

Full Senate briefing on Iran scheduled for Tuesday The Hill

Trump Admin Moves Fueled Iran’s Aggression, U.S. Intel Says Daily Beast


U.S. federal agents arrest protesters occupying Venezuelan Embassy Reuters

Venezuela: Gov’t-Opposition Talks Reported as DC Embassy Raided Venezuelanalysis

What 50 Countries are Backing Guaidó? Who Knows? Who Cares? If the Media Say It Enough It Must Be True Counterpunch


May to step down after fourth EU vote BBC

BoJo’s charm offensive: Would-be PM launches his bid for the top job by meeting 200 fellow Tory MPs and warning them he is the only one who can save Britain from Farage and Corbyn Daily Mail

Brexit: Talks between Tories and Labour set to close with no deal BBC

The polls are clear – Labour’s Brexit tactics are failing spectacularly Guardian

Why did we not know? LRB. Review of The New Enclosure: The Appropriation of Public Land in Neoliberal Britain

Angela Merkel Identifies U.S. as Global Rival That, Along With China and Russia, Europe Must Unite Against Newsweek


On Hostile Coexistence with China Chas. W. Freeman. Another must-read. Grab a cup of coffee.

China can use US’ own tactics to counter it China Daily

iPhones cost US$800, I was offered a job at Foxconn to assemble them for US$1.7 per hour, 40 hours per week South China Morning Post

A paper son’s journey to Gold Mountain Northwest Asian Weekly


Trump Administration Withholds Information That Could Debunk Russian Interference Claims Moon of Alabama. Perhaps they wish to show somebody a horse’s head too.

The Russian “Firehose of Falsehood” Propaganda Model (PDF) RAND Corporation (d tivol). From 2016. If you delete the words “Russia” and “Russian(s)” throughout, you actually add value, because you get a generic primer on disinformation techniques, most of which you will readily recognize from the daily media flow.

Trump Transition

Trump immigration plan revamps asylum, requires work skills and learning English McClatchy

Trump’s immigration plan is an improvement. It’s also an act of political positioning. Editorial Board, WaPo

The “smarter” wall: how drones, sensors, and AI are patrolling the border Recode. There’s that word….

* * *

The Justices Had 5 Votes to Overturn ‘Roe’ in 1992. Why That Didn’t Happen. National Law Journal

Opinion analysis: Hyatt fulfills expectations in a surprising way SCOTUSblog

A Different Kind of Emergency NYRB

The Spycraft Revolution Foreign Policy

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Pivot Point Craig Murray

The Military-Industrial Virus Alexander Cockburn, Harpers

Health Care

Health care CEOs took home $2.6 billion in 2018 Axios,

161,000 avoidable deaths occur in hospitals annually, Leapfrog Group finds Modern Healthcare

Black Injustice Tipping Point

‘Not a Big Deal,’ Police Commander Said as Eric Garner Died NYT

Class Warfare

When American Capitalism Meant Equality Matt Stoller, Pro-Market

The Liberal Embrace of War Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

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. Jessica

    “On Hostile Coexistence with China” is an excellent article, but the following is misleading:
    “The Chinese civil war, suspended but not ended by U.S. unilateral intervention in 1950, seems closer to a resumption than it has been for decades.”
    The ROC (Taiwan) elements who opposed the Communists in the Chinese civil war have long since made peace with the autocratic capitalist mainland. If they have their way, Taiwan will continue to be gradually economically absorbed by the mainland. Those opposed to trading away Taiwanese democracy in return for access by Taiwan corporations to low wage labor and the mainland market were not players in the Chinese civil war.

    1. Synoia

      The Nationalist Government which fled to Taiwan, did not treat the local Taiwanese very well, we were told when we visited.

      1. LuRenJia

        Wonder whom you learned that from?! The return of Taiwan to China from Japan after WW2 is not as simple as it appears on the surface. There were different interests involved at the time, including US and some Japanese who stayed in Taiwan. Those staying Japanese changed their names to Chinese ones.

        In addition, that Nationalists’ (KMT’s) land policy after its move to Taiwan “hurt” the interests of some Taiwanese, especially those owned land. These people won’t say anything positive about KMT even Taiwan as a whole benefits from those actions. Those people did get compensation for the land. So it is not land for nothing. Some compensation is the shares or ownership in industrial companies. Of course, one could always argue whether the compensation is “sufficient” but that argument would be endless and useless.

        Taiwanese regimes since early 1990 have been systematically removing Chinese elements from its grade school material and whitewashed the parts of Japanese occupation. One’d wonder if one admits his/her original heritage properly, would he/she do that? Unless he/she comes from Japanese heritage and/or benefited from Japanese occupation.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The local Taiwanese did not treat or have not treated the indigenous Taiwanese very well either.

        A few streets have new names in the latter’s languages. But no reparatioins or redressing historical dispossessions. Superficially, it might show Taiwan as different culturally and demographically from China, though, even though the indigenous Taiwanese have possibly roots on the Mainland, as well as other regions in Asia (going back to the peopling of the island, during the paleolithic or neolithic period). In fact, all provinces of China can make some claim they are culturally and demographically different from other provinces (the Ba people in Sichuan, the Yi people in Shandong and Jiangsu, the Yue people in Zhejiang, etc).

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not sure it’s misleading to say they are closer to a resumptioon than it has been for decades, with some in Taiwan wanting to be gradually absorbed economically by the mainland, and some oppose to trading away Taiwanese democracy.

      Because the pressure could come not from the Taiwan side, but from across the strait (Beijing).

      Hypothetically, if Taiwan was capable, militarily, of taking over China (say, via some wonder weapons), there will be people on the island pushing for re-unification. That’s possible in theory, and with technology changing rapidly, it’s not impossible.

      At the present time, the expectation is , with China being more powerful, people on the mainland expect Beijing to bring back the island, to erase the shame of 1895.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    On Hostile Coexistence with China Chas. W. Freeman. Another must-read. Grab a cup of coffee.

    A very interesting article, although almost certainly wrong in one statement:

    The bad news is that politicians in Taiwan and their fellow travelers in Washington are determinedly testing the policy frameworks and understandings that have, over the past forty years, tempered military confrontation in the Taiwan Strait with dialogue and rapprochement. Some in Taiwan seem to believe that they can count on the United States to intervene if they get themselves in trouble with Chinese across the Strait. The Chinese civil war, suspended but not ended by U.S. unilateral intervention in 1950, seems closer to a resumption than it has been for decades.

    I can’t claim to be a Taiwan expert, but its very clear from their military and diplomatic investments that Taiwan (both government and people) know full well that the US is not a reliable ally. Their defence strategy is not based on US support but on inflicting a fatal blow to China’s amphibious forces. Going back to the 1980’s they were on the verge of a nuclear deterrent, but it was US pressure, not Chinese influence, that stopped this. Its entirely possible they could go nuclear very quickly, they certainly have the knowhow and materials.

    Most likely, the Taiwanese see themselves as part of a Japan/South Korea axis to stop China overstepping the mark.

    1. The Rev Kev

      A great article this. I already have a copy of it on my computer as it is so clear and concise. That bio at the bottom does not give the full story of the author who is a highly respected ex-diplomat and who did not get to be so because he was a good bundler for his political party-

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The author’s desired world seems to be a softer and kinder version of the Washington Consensus.

        He talks about the new infrastructure investment banks, developments and similar international institutions as operating ‘under slightly improved versions of the lending rules pioneered by the Bretton Woods legacy establishments.’

        Slightly? That’s not inspiring.

        Then, there is this (it’s a long article, and there are other points to disagree):

        It’s also not clear which country is most likely to be hurt by U.S. government obstruction of collaboration between Chinese and American STEM workers. There is a good chance the greatest damage will be to the United States. A fair number of native-born Americans seem more interested in religious myths, magic, and superheroes than in science. U.S. achievements in STEM owe much to immigration and to the presence of Chinese and other foreign researchers in America’s graduate schools. The Trump administration is trying to curtail both.

        He shouldn’t make Americans too exceptional.

        And he seems to be guiity of that here, because magic-believing people can be found in any country, not just in the US.

        Overall, I come cross words like nations, companies, corporations, banks many times in the article, but the word ‘workers’ only twice, both times, relating to STEM (only that field, and not how the wellbeing of workers in general figures in his thinking about coexisting bteween American and China).

        1. Olga

          Agree with you on most points. Freeman is highly respected (though not by the pro-Israel lobby), and – as far as the US diplomatic corps is concerned – probably the best US can now produce. I’ve liked his articles before. His diagnosis of the “China problem” seems perceptive and mostly accurate, but the “suggestions” to resolve it are a bit polyanish. Phrases such as “the United States needs to be backed by a coalition of the reasonable and farsighted,” “yield gracefully to its [China’s] inclusion in both,” and “be moderate” are nice and potentially constructive, but if the US were capable of being like that – we’d likely not have a “China problem” in the first place. They may be, in fact, just reflecting a “kinder, gentler” US hegemony (although he does acknowledge “seismic shifts in the regional and global balances of wealth and power”).
          There is an interview with Bannon, in which he directly states that the US policy goal for China is regime change. I imagine the Chinese know this, and no amount of niceness from the US side will make them trust the US again.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            US goal of regime change.

            From the Freeman article:

            Chinese nationalism answers American rhetorical kicks in the teeth by swallowing the figurative blood in its mouth and refraining from responding in kind, while sullenly plotting revenge. 君子报仇十年不长.[1]

            [1] For a gentleman, a decade’s wait for revenge is not too long.

            One possible Art-of-War response is to for Beijing to implement the regime change itself, in order to gain time for ‘plotting revenge,’ while doing it on its own preferred terms, as much as possible.

            That would likely require Xi to sacrifice himself, for the good of China, by making a deal now, and revisit his projects like One Belt One Road in a decade (or more…an Eastern time scale thing). That would enable the gentleman ‘to wait.’

            Moreover, that would buy America time to rebuilt her industrial base…maybe.

            1. Procopius

              There’s a chapter in Dennis Bloodworth’s The Chinese Looking Glass where he explains that proverb, “Swallow the teeth and blood.” I’ve recently been trying to find it and it eludes me. I remember it involved a general who was contemptuously beaten by an emperor, but stayed silent so the emperor would not realize how determined on revenge he was, and after ten years was able to kill the emperor. The term “gentleman,” by the way, is probably the term used by Confucius, which I think can also be translated as “noble man.”

              I wish I still had access to the resources I had when I was studying Mandarin Chinese in the Air Force. The State Department used to publish a daily summary of translations of the most popular and important Chinese publications. The American media are of little use. I don’t think Xi is going to sacrifice himself — instead I think the Chinese are going to hunker down and see if America can endure longer than they can. I’m pretty sure America can’t.

        2. ObjectiveFunction

          I was underwhelmed by this piece tbh. The best bit was his discussion of how the inmates are running the asylums (agencies) in the Trump admin wrt China policy; I wish he’d written the piece about that. The rest reads like CPC talking points.

          1. He entirely ignores China’s crude bullying in the South China Sea and elsewhere.

          2. China’s debt trap deals are hardly limited to one port facility; I have looked at half a dozen in the power sector that are just as onerous and lopsided. Ref the Ecuador dam fiasco (NYT) for an example.

          3. His discussion of Chinese students and scientists abroad makes them out to be pawns Beijing can deploy or withdraw at will. As with the ongoing flight of private capital, the state can certainly hinder but not stop either money or people from seeking a better environment and in a globalized world they are very good at finding new ways to do so.

          4. Finally, he seems to view China’s rise to global superpower as a force of nature and accomplished fact. China is indeed resuming its customary place in the world but as well documented by Hugh Balding and others, some enormous bills are coming due now, on a scale that exceeds even America’s binge. The firehose of state subsidized materials, labor and credit is visibly slowing now. As we enter the 3rd decade of the Pacific Century, the tidal wave that made China the world’s workshop overnight is flowing out again, inexorably. Xi is King Canute. In late stage global capitalism, fixed plant is fungible, a commodity (until Mother Nature blows the whistle; China is also among the first to feel her wrath).

          In sum, China is no longer in a position to buy superpowerdom, or even to send gunboats to collect distant obligations that are repudiated. Nor does Chinese civilization as a whole share the Caucasian nomadic will to project force far beyond its own frontiers.

          One expat’s views….

    2. LuRenJia

      Some people in Taiwan delusionally think US would step in if it gets attacked. That number may not be small. However, do you see the estimate about how long Taiwan military can hold until external help arrives? That number seems not pretty. The external help in general refers to US and Japan. I don’t believe US would step in just for Taiwan.

      No, Taiwan can’t go nuclear quickly as Japan may. Taiwan does not have the material like Japan does. I’d believe Japan can have those material is under US’s permission. In addition, the informant, a colonel, to US regarding Taiwan plan fled to US with a three-letter agency’s help. To Taiwan, he’s a traitor.

      Taking into account of how long Taiwan can hold, it seems not realistic for that kind of move.

      Taiwan’s regimes since 2000 basically depends on US. So it does whatever US instructs. If you count Taiwan as a loyal US lapdog, that is about right. To US, it is just squeezes the last drops ($$$) it can rob from Taiwan before selling it at a good price.

  3. zagonostra

    >The Liberal embrace of War- Matt Taibbi.

    We need an opposition Party in this country, now. It’s why I ignore the Republican Party, the overt face of empire, and focus all my vitriol and energy against the corporate Democrats whose’ putative status as opposition is a fanciful farce. It’s why it is upsetting to see Bernie Sanders state that he would support Biden if elected the Party’s nominee.

    There is no other perspective. Media watchdog FAIR just released results of a study of three months of American opinion pieces. Out of 76 editorials in the New York Times, Washington Post, the “big three Sunday morning talk shows” or PBS News Hour, zero came out against the removal of Maduro. They wrote:

    “Corporate news coverage of Venezuela can only be described as a full-scale marketing campaign for regime change.”

    …[t]he cause of empire has been cleverly re-packaged as part of #Resistance to Trump, when in fact it’s just the same old arrogance, destined to lead to the same catastrophes. Bad policy doesn’t get better just because you don’t let people talk about it.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      ^^^”…It’s why I ignore the Republican Party, the overt face of empire, and focus all my vitriol and energy against the corporate Democrats…”^^^
      me too. and i get hit with the same derailleur, every time. “butbutbut, look at how terrible the repugs are!!”
      at which point, i must list the million demparty betrayals over the last 40 years, in perfect recall, with citations…because all of it has fallen into the memory hole, and is not believed.
      I’ve become somewhat adept at this, and find it boring and exasperating…like explaining why the sky is blue to 20 toddlers in succession.and then doing it again, tomorrow.
      even the bush2 darkness is all but forgotten.
      this is astonishing, and i marvel at the accomplishment.

      1. Hepativore

        I have heard some encouraging news from Jimmy Dore on how inaccurate polls showing Biden’s lead are from places like Vox. It is still very early in the race, so nothing is definite. There is also the fact that while Biden has only been in the race a short while, he is so incredibly gaffe-prone, that chances are high that he is going to mortally shoot himself in the foot very quickly.

        Still, the neoliberal crowd is already putting forth suggestions of a Biden/Harris ticket. While the Clintonite wing is salivating at the thought of making sure that the Overton window remains firmly center-right for the next four years by such a choice, it seems like a rehash of the 2016 Clinton strategy. However, they probably do not care. Either we get four more years of Trump or four years of neoliberal Democrats like Harris and Biden enacting Republican policies. As long as the gravy train runs on time for wealthy donors in both parties that is all the neoliberals care about. Heads, Trump wins, tails, we lose.

        Bernie Sanders had better win the primaries, as I think that is will probably be our last chance to make any sort of progress in reversing the corporate takeover of the federal government.

    2. Cal2

      “why it is upsetting to see Bernie Sanders state that he would support Biden if elected the Party’s nominee…”
      That depends on how bad the corporate Democrats shaft him.
      Assume that happens and they surely lose to Trump with a mediocre middle of the road mess like Status Quo Joe/Kamalacaust.

      It would be particide. Disgusted Democrats would stay home in the general election handing the house and senate to the Republicans. The Democrats would never recover.

      However, were Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard to run on a third party ticket, could they win?

      1. Annieb

        I think, unlike in 2016, I will hold my nose and vote for the Democratic candidate this time. Trump’s neocon warmongers need to go and go quickly. I realize that if we get Pres Biden we might still get warmongers but that’s the chance we have to take. We cannot survive Bolton and Pompeo. Not only are they an abomination to diplomacy, they make our allies and adversaries, including Russia, nervous and pissed off. A dangerous atmosphere. How dare these unelected officials decide when and where to go to war!

        Plus, we have to stop the Trump regime from trying to dismantle Obamacare and from more fracking anywhere and everywhere they please and from building LNG facilities for export which they will surely do if they remain in office four more years. That’s the short list. It would also be great to have a President who doesn’t embarrass himself everyday.

          1. Annieb

            I agree with you, Lambert. Also agree with willf on fracking. Guess I feel kind of desperate that 2020 has to change things. I don’t want Biden. I want Sanders/Gabbard. But if the DNC won’t nominate Bernie . . .?

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Sorry, Citizen Annie, but the time has come for you to grab a brick and throw it. That’s what we did in the 60’s: we stopped the war, threw a crook president out of office, and changed the entire society. Chicago ’68: that’s the kind of convention we need this time around. In Chicago people were following every backroom deal happening inside the convention and reacting. They need to do the same this time: when the superdelegates move to make sure we don’t feel the Bern the bricks should fly. People need to get madder. Alot madder. A whole lot madder. Your country and your planet are being looted by a tiny handful of moral monsters and we’ve got them outnumbered 6,999,990,000 to 10,000.

              Can I suggest the “Shenandoah” model…namesake of the valley where so much citizen blood was spilled before. It’s time.


        1. neo-realist

          Getting Trump out of office would also put a stop to the confirmation of Federalist Society Nazis en masse to the courts. Even if Biden or some other democratic president gets few or no picks for the bench, we can hopefully minimize the authoritarianism on the Federal Bench and pave the way for a half sane replacement for RBG on the SC until the dems figure out how to win back the Senate (I know its asking a lot.)

    3. Geo

      To be fair, Bernie still believes the system is fixable. That’s why he’s running for president as a Dem and not doing what Nader did. His committed optimism is what makes him so admirable. He is not the type to “burn it all down”.

      I don’t hold it against him. He is who he is and he’s the best option we have. It’s the voters who are too afraid to vote for an anti-establishment type, to uninformed to know the difference, or too greedy to care that much of their fellow citizenry is drowning.

      Similarly, as much as I’ve always despised Trump the person, I don’t hold a grudge against him for what he’s doing (it’s who he’s always been) but to the voters who thought a lifelong conman was a good choice, and to Dem voters who thought Clinton was the best choice despite her own record as a war criminal and conwoman.

      A third party, while ideal, isn’t going to happen overnight even if Bernie lead it because too many are already afraid of voting anti-establishment under the Dem monicker. Getting them to consider third party is like getting people to consider vegan. Some know it’s better, more humane, healthier, good for the environment, etc – but just won’t. Others think it’ll turn them commie. Maybe in time minds will change but it will be generational. Not overnight.

      The last time the DNC shafted Bernie we got AOC, Omar, and a few other strong progressives. They do it again and the dam may burst. Then the DNC will wish they’d “felt the Bern” instead of getting burnt to the ground.

      1. witters

        “Bernie believes the system is fixable” – perhaps he’s been reading Jared Diamond who has this to offer: “California has problems like every other place in the world. But California makes me optimistic. It does have the environmental problems but nevertheless we have, I would say, one of the best state governments, if not the best state government in the United States. And relatively educated citizens. And we have the best system of public education, of public higher education in the United States.”

        Nothing to worry about at all then… Just hum “California Dreaming” over and over.

    4. ewmayer

      My one problem with the article is not with the article itself – I happened to load it in a PaleMoon tab where I had inadvertently left “Allow Scripts Globally (dangerous)” enabled because I can’t print online-purchased USPS labels without that setting, and I’d last used said tabe for that purpose. Only loading the Taibbi piece, I noticed the oops-left-this-on-ness because of the resulting flurry of other-site activity flashing in the bottom what’s-loading infobar of the browser. Quickly disabled scripts, and had a gander at the NoScript pulldown – there’s literally almost 20 other sites wanting to “share” what I’m reading and godknowswhatelse. Way to ruthlessly monetize those readers, Rolling Stone!

    5. Procopius

      “The country has only one party, which has two wings. One wing is conservative. The other is b*tsh*t crazy.” Anonymous.

  4. vlade

    Re: Polls are clear.
    It chimes with what I was saying on this blog for a long time. It’s nice to say “Labour has to win those leave seats”.

    But it absolutely could not afford to lose those remain seats. The counter “but those have higher majorities” was false when the LD collapse was taken int account, and one went pre 2015 elections. In leave seats, Labour could hope to get only a few more voters, mostly from UKIP (there was zero chance that Tory voters, remain or otherwise, would vote for Corbyn). TBH, I thought it was a long shot at all times, as those are about the most fickle and most anti-establishment (and Labour is still seen as part of establishment – it’s hard to see how not, with Tory/Labour duopoly ).

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, I think its been a terrible strategic mis-step by Corbyn. I really didn’t understand it – working class Brexit voters are not going to vote for Corbyn just because he doesn’t support another referendum. It was always a strong danger that the very large number of people who are Remainers would find another home.

      I really think a lot of Labour advisors allowed their own hope for a Brexit to cloud their political judgement. Corbyn didn’t have to come out as a Remainer, he only had to be the adult in the room, arguing for a more considered set of negotiations with one or more referendums to confirm such a crucial step. Instead, Labours stance has managed to put off both Remainers and Brexiters.

      In the Guardian today some of the more connected commentators are suggesting that the Tory strategy now is a new leader for the party Conference, with a quick election to take advantage of the bounce. It seems certain the new leader will be a ‘no deal’ advocate, the only question is whether he or she will seek another 6 month extension for preparations.

      Given the polls, its not impossible the next government could be a Tory/Farage/DUP coalition. What a nightmare. The only hope (apart from a surge for Labour), is a left of centre alliance with Labour, SNP, LibDems and maybe Greens if they make a breakthrough. I seriously cannot see Corbyn win an absolute majority.

      1. vlade

        Indeed, I do not believe that there could be a majority govt next time round. In fact, on your Tory/Farage/DUP – I’d not be surprised if Tories were a junior partner in that (GE poll now puts Farage even/over Tories IIRC). Even with Boris at the wheel, I am not sure he could overcome Farage easily who has momentum, and while Tory membership likes Boris, it’s a small voter population (100k across all of UK), and not sure they like him that much better than Farage really. And I can’t see anyone else in the Tory party being even remotely able to stand up to Farage right now, when they nicely prepared the ground for him.

        This is a situation where an opposition party should reap massive benefits. Yet Labour is polling barely high 20s, with LD + Green + CHUK in some polling the same as Labour total – and, where the polsters look at details, Tories are shedding votes to Farage and Labour to LD/Greens.

        One thing I hope for in the EU elections is for the CUK to get pasted, and Greens to do well. CUK are just vote splitting right now, and Greens have shown they can do tactical coalitions with LD (i.e. LD supporting a Green candidate and vice versa) before unlike Corbyn. It’s nice to be ideologically pure, but IMO it’s way better to be able to implemnt at least some of your policies.

        Also, it’s nice to go for a revolution, but given how many people go now to Farage/UKIP, I suspect it may be more of a 1933 revolution than 1917 one.

        I consider myself a realist, although people call me pessimist. But I’ll admit that I’m starting to get scared.

  5. dearieme

    The New Enclosure: The Appropriation of Public Land in Neoliberal Britain is an odd title. It implies that the famous historical enclosures – the “Parliamentary Enclosures” of the 18th and 19th centuries – involved appropriation of public land. But they didn’t: they involved rearrangements in the ownership of privately owned land, with compensation paid to people who lost thereby – e.g. tithe-owners, and owners of common rights i.e. “commoners”. Often the compensation took the form of land; if the value was small enough it involved money.

    There must have been some diddling because humans were involved. I know of one 19th century case where commoners were diddled by their landowner, Cambridge Town Council. I suppose the land that the Town Council owned could be called Public Land, depending on what the expression is intended to mean, but then the case had nothing to with enclosures anyway.

    1. pretzelattack

      oh so the people who lost their common rights were compensated with land they could use for similar purposes?

      1. ambrit

        Probably some Enlightenment version of “tax breaks.” Oh, just spitballing here, say, exemption from press ganging, or access to “Ye Publick Purse” for “projections beneficial to ye Publick Good,” etc. etc.

          1. ambrit

            Your interpretation of events, as far as I can make out from a compendium of your comments is that Sturdy Yoemen replaced grubby collectivists. Well, the Yoemen ended up being the enforcers for the Gentry against the Urban Working Classes later on. That “wonderful” rugged independence created the modern ruin we call Imperialism.
            I prefer the much maligned Socialism because at the least everyone has the prospect of reaching a decent life. The end result of your Libertarian Twaddle is “Go Die” for those not strong enough, connected enough, or lucky enough to grab the Brass Ring.
            “Do not go gentle into that good night.”

      2. dearieme

        @pretzelattack: Yes. But the whole point of the exercise was that they needn’t use it for similar purposes, they could use it for purposes of their own choosing. In other words they got the same advantage as the landowners – the ability to make their own decisions rather than having to follow the decisions of the crowd or the decisions made far in the past when their common rights were first defined.

        Those crofts or smallholdings you often see behind village houses in the relevant counties are, many of them, land that was handed to commoners in compensation for loss of their common rights.

        In Cambridge, by contrast, the Town Council effectively stole the commoners’ rights and paid no compensation, claiming that they were extending commoners’ rights to all citizens. Naturally it turned out that the commoners did lose their rights but the citizens didn’t get them. That’s socialism for you, eh?

        1. ambrit

          A quibble.
          “…they got the same advantages as the landowners…” but not the same power, as individuals. The strength of the Commons, was that, as a collective, they could resist the land owners, thus the still extant division between the Parliamentary Houses of Lords and Commons.
          Another quibble.
          “Naturally it turned out that the commoners did lose their rights but the citizens didn’t get them.”
          Are you proposing that the class of Citizens does not include the entirety of the Commons? Quite an intriguing “Divide and Rule” exercise that.
          Well, let us agree to disagree here.

          1. dearieme

            Of course the large number of citizens included the small number of commoners. I suspect that you don’t understand who the commoners of Cambridge – or any rural manor – were. In which case why do you bother cultivating an opinion on the matter?

            1. ambrit

              Instead of insulting someone, why not try to educate them to your point of view. If the effort fails, then you can say with all honesty, “I tried.” Otherwise, all you are doing is some sort of an appeal to authority.

    2. remmer

      Dearieme, I suspect you know a lot more about the English enclosures than I do. But I think your description of the enclosures also describes the Highland Clearances. There, too, the lairds replaced crofters with sheep, but made arrangements to compensate them. I don’t think that was the case in the Lowland Clearances, though, where landlords got rid of crofters simply by raising the rent to unaffordable levels. Whole families of lowland crofters scattered to cities in Scotland and England, or came to Canada and the U.S. Many Americans of Scottish descent are the great-great-great grandchildren of those dispossessed crofters.

      1. Mac na Michomhairle

        The Highland Clearances did not involve compensation. People were lucky if they were shipped off to Canada on the cheapest available vessel.

        The people had thought they had a right to be on the land. They had ‘duchas’ (hereditary right/connection). The lords’ rights previously had come to include formal ‘ownership’ of the land, as Highland society was gradually integrated into the Lowland state, but it wasn’t until they stood to make a lot of money by putting huge flocks of Cheviot sheep on the land, that they decided to forget about duchas. (The sheep needed to overwinter in the valleys where the people lived, so the people had to go.) The people had no legal right of ownership within property-based capitalism. Duchas was considered ridiculous and an attack on private property.

      2. dearieme

        @remmer There, too, the lairds replaced crofters with sheep: that’s not what the English parliamentary enclosures were about. Their purpose was to let the landowners reorganise their multiple strips of land into consolidated holdings, which they could fence or hedge to separate them from other landowners’ land. Then each landowner, or his tenants, could plough and plant and harvest, or graze, as suited them, rather than having to plant the same crops and harvest at the same time as everyone else. They could also keep their beasts separate from everyone else’s so that they could control their breeding and hope to isolate them from infectious diseases.

        The landowners in counties that had had strip farming overwhelmingly voted to swap to consolidated fields. In none of the counties that had consolidated fields did the landowners try to organise a move to strip framing.

        Historians struggle to explain why strip farming ever developed in the first place. No bloody wonder.

        1. remmer

          You clearly do know a lot more than I do about the English enclosures. Maybe I relied too much on Sir Thomas More. And it’s been many years since I read him.

          1. dearieme

            More could hardly know about the Parliamentary Enclosures of the 18th and 19th century, Saint though he be.

            Similarly I don’t know anything about enclosures in More’s time.

        2. ambrit

          Read your Dark Ages history old son.
          Villages in some parts of France are still somewhat similar to the old system.
          Everyone lived in an easily defended ‘burgh’ so as to extend assistance to each other during a truly lawless time. The fields were out of the town and so ‘followed’ different use patterns.
          The people formed Communes for simple survival.

    3. Synoia

      You are correct. The Enclosures Acts, there were several f them, were a mechanism to protect the Yeoman Farmers’s Livestock from others..

      It succeeded, and the yeomen were exceptionally pleased to leave the holdings which grazed on the Commons and go to work is wonderful factories, at a generous wage, with health care and vacations for all.

      To understand the munificence of the ruling class in the UK, I suggest you watch the first three of the series of the BBC’s “Midwife” and reflect on wonderful living conditions of the East Enders.


      Reflect on the wealth displayed in Knightsbridge vs the squalor in the Cumbria documentary.

        1. Olga

          Could be – or are you, in fact, attempting to rewrite British history? Even the not-always-reliable Wikipedia confirms that enclosures led to a loss of the common land for communal use. Not sure what one gets from twisting history…
          “Enclosure (sometimes inclosure) was the legal process in England of consolidating (enclosing) small landholdings into larger farms[1] since the 13th century. Once enclosed, use of the land became restricted to the owner, and it ceased to be common land for communal use. In England and Wales the term is also used for the process that ended the ancient system of arable farming in open fields. Under enclosure, such land is fenced (enclosed) and deeded or entitled to one or more owners. The process of enclosure began to be a widespread feature of the English agricultural landscape during the 16th century. By the 19th century, unenclosed commons had become largely restricted to rough pasture in mountainous areas and to relatively small parts of the lowlands.

          Enclosure could be accomplished by buying the ground rights and all common rights to accomplish exclusive rights of use, which increased the value of the land. The other method was by passing laws causing or forcing enclosure, such as Parliamentary enclosure involving an Inclosure Act. The latter process of enclosure was sometimes accompanied by force, resistance, and bloodshed, and remains among the most controversial areas of agricultural and economic history in England. Marxist and neo-Marxist historians argue that rich landowners used their control of state processes to appropriate public land for their private benefit.[2][better source needed] During the Georgian era, the process of enclosure created a landless working class that provided the labour required in the new industries developing in the north of England. For example: “In agriculture the years between 1760 and 1820 are the years of wholesale enclosure in which, in village after village, common rights are lost”.[3] E. P. Thompson argues that “Enclosure (when all the sophistications are allowed for) was a plain enough case of class robbery.”[4][5]”
          And in all this arguing the point of the LRB article that Britain is rapidly losing public lands to private ownership seems to have been lost….

          1. ambrit

            Alas, I can see there the malign influences that formed the American Nation’s policy towards the Native Peoples of North America.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            From Wikipedia, itself, on Wikipedia’s reliability:

            Wikipedia is not a reliable source. Wikipedia can be edited by anyone at any time. This means that any information it contains at any particular time could be vandalism, a work in progress, or just plain wrong. Biographies of living persons, subjects that happen to be in the news, and politically or culturally contentious topics are especially vulnerable to these issues. Edits on Wikipedia that are in error may eventually be fixed. However, because Wikipedia is a volunteer run project, it cannot monitor every contribution all of the time. There are many errors that remain unnoticed for days, weeks, months, or even years. Therefore, Wikipedia should not be considered a definitive source in and of itself.

            Not always reliable, but in this instance, Wikipedia seems to be reliable in saying it’s not reliable.

            Current news…living persons…particularly so.

            Ancient or old (or older) events or persons…being old, it is harder to know the details, so they are not always reliable either…

            But that problem is not unique to Wikipedia.

            So for example, that 19th century colonial powers have generally given up
            territories taken from China (Macao, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Qingdao, etc), while Vladivostok is still Russian, that is what it is today.

    4. Mac na Michomhairle

      The 18th/19th century enclosures involved mostly community-owned land, or land to which traditional society had attached a wide range of use rights of various sorts, these use-rights being ‘owned’ by a lot of people. “Owners’ had previously acknowledged these use rights, and ‘ownership’ was a limited thing.

      The new idolization of ”property’ (ie private property that is the absolute possession of one, disallowing any other claim on that land or right of use, whether community or individual) was seen by the gentry class that now dominated utterly British society; was seen as the foundation of society that had to be imposed by force everywhere all the time.

      Enclosure was a clash of ideologies that was, coincidently (!) a clash of classes since the gentry stood to gain from grabbing everything, and all other rural people lost everything. Yes, people were sometimes compensated with a few pennies or an eighth of an acre, but the pennies were soon gone, and because the whole net of natural and social resources to which country people had had access with the common was taken away, and since they were now utterly dependent for wages on the gentry and the large farmers the gentry rented the land to, they were soon bankrupted and had to go to the city to work in factories.

      1. dearieme

        The 18th/19th century enclosures involved mostly community-owned land rubbish. Just rubbish. Land ownership was nothing to do with imaginary communities; the land was all owned by an individual or an institution such as a church, a college, a Town Council, the Crown, or whatever.

        Commoners were specified people who had use specified rights over specified bits of land for specified parts of the year. The commoners who turned their compensation into a successful smallholding, either on its own or by adding it to land they already owned or rented, could do very well. If they wanted to grow vegetables and keep pigs they could – they were no longer tied down by having common grazing rights restricted to two cows and three geese, or whatever, to be grazed from one date in the Spring to another in the Autumn. If they didn’t want hay they didn’t have to grow it any more. And so forth.

        1. False Solace

          The “ownership” you so blithely assert didn’t exist. Your concept of ownership is recent in historical terms. What you believe is ownership is based on modern capitalist ideology and does not apply.

          The reality is that the commons system was a living breathing system which maintained communities under a variety of conditions over multiple centuries. What you describe is a dead system — which may or may not be factually accurate for a specific moment in time, and willfully fails to capture the nuances. A dessicated insect pinned to a tray as opposed to the real thing in nature.

          The commons system supported life and livelihoods. Its end meant the end of those lives and livelihoods. Which is why so many people had to be removed at gunpoint.

  6. jfleni

    RE: Facebook has struggled to hire talent since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, according to recruiters who worked there.

    Looks like the ultimate finale for BUTTBOOK; easy prediction
    the live ones left, will start bailing out in droves now! The only
    thing left is for the chief to adjust his toupee a smidgen!

    1. Craig H.

      I don’t believe a word of this.

      They have all the money you need and that is all you need in that particular industry. There is no position critical to their business plan that they will not fund as required. This is like a law of physics.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I suspect its more to do with FB getting a rapid reputation as a terrible employer. I know a former HR person for FB, she has some pretty awful stories. Few people last a long time there.

    3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Have you told my cousins on the Northshore?!!

      Facebook is here to stay.

      That said – #NationalizeFacebook

    4. Polar Donkey

      The Beale street Music Festival happened 2 weeks ago. There was a special appearance by Miley Cyrus. When crowd heard the announcement Facebook was sponsoring her appearance, the crowd boo-ed. You know you have a public relations problem when a crowd vociferously boo-es the name of a sponsoring company for a concert appearance.

      1. Wukchumni

        I asked my 14 year old nephew last month if he did Facebook, and he gave me one of those ‘you must be joking’ looks, and said he did Instagram, so one of the tentacles was severed, but the other is intact.

    5. Liberal Mole

      Sheryl Sandberg was the commencement speaker at MIT a year ago. The grads did seem unimpressed.

    1. The Rev Kev

      There was a meeting between the Venezuelans and the opposition in Oslo so perhaps the purpose of this raid was to be a spoiler of this meeting as apparently the US was not invited. But when I read that article I was thinking how stupid are they in Washington? No, don’t answer that. You don’t even do this sort of stuff in wartime but I am here to say that moving fast and breaking things does not work in diplomatic law. I doubt that they will prosecute those protesters as they had a legal right to be there but what the police did was absolutely against both international and national law. Only a corrupt legal system would sign off on that action so the ball is in Trump’s court now.
      I don’t think that they even considered the simple question of what happens next. Does Greedo have his boys go in and play Ambassador? Can they legally renew or issue passports? Help its citizens in distress? Register birth, marriages and deaths of its citizens? Issue legal visas? Here is a page talking about what the normal tasks of an Embassy/Consulate are and consider if they are capable of doing any of it-

    1. Light a Candle

      This leak by the whistleblower should be front page news.

      The almost total silence by MSM clearly shows how embedded the MSM are with the deep state and why our planet is now in this sorry state.

      And of course the usual great read from Caitlin Johnstone.

  7. Anon

    Jared Diamond is a damned good writer, and he provides a lot to think about. But he is trying to sell a new book here that caters to the anxiety of the times. There is a really, really good chance things will be different by 2050, but to say that there’s a high probability the world as we know it will come to an end is a bit of a stretch.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’ve read all of Jared Diamond’s books and he’s a great thinker, combined with being an outdoorsman.

      The 49% gambit in terms of the world ending in 2050?

      It’s all about perception, and if he’d said 51% instead, well, game over in our way of thinking where said number in business ownership represents just enough of a majority that there is no other possibility.

      Very nuanced, that.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      “as we know it” lifts tons, here.
      but i don’t think its all that much of a leap to expect a very different world by then.
      all is in flux, and a whole lot of the status quo seems to be held up by grit teeth and believing real hard.
      the Machine logic discounts a great number of very serious problems…from the whirlwind brewing from inequality, to lack of rock phosphate, to antibiotic resistance, to ill maintained infrastructure to economic and environmental chaos.
      add in that the empire is disintegrating, and that we can’t even contemplate that we might BE an empire in polite company…and the safe bet is on rather drastic changes.

      1. Anon

        every few decades it seems that somewhere in the world, “life as they knew it” changed for one or more countries. i don’t see how we should expect any different going forward. that’s a bit different than predicting the end of civilization. someone on this planet will figure it out.

    3. Summer

      “as we know it”
      That leaves a lot of room for interpretation.
      Not least of which, who exactly is “we”?

      1. polecat

        “Not least of which, who exactly is “we”?”

        Those not hovering in L E O via some ersatz Besos version of Elysium ??

        1. Wukchumni

          If all you people complaining would just pick yourselves up by your bootstraps and levitate, why too couldn’t we hover to Elysian Fields?

  8. The Rev Kev

    “China can use US’ own tactics to counter it”

    I really do think that Trump is underestimating the Chinese and their resolve. When they have an aim, they go after it – regardless of the cost. Today I was listening to an old Robert McNamara interview when he said something fascinating. He was in talks with Deng Xiaoping and the old man pointed at him and said “We are poor, we are inexperienced, we make mistakes, we could use your help. we need your technical assistance. we need your financial assistance. Whether or not we get it, we are gonna achieve our objectives”.
    They are not going to wind back the clock on decades of progress simply so that Trump has something to please his base with.

    1. John k

      I wouldn’t think China likes trump much… a deal would help trumps reelection, no deal hurts it… no deal might be good for us long term but short term loss of jobs and crashing market. Market and economy depend on each other, as one goes so goes the other.
      certainly china can tough it out for 18 months. Maybe reneging on all prelim agreements is on account maybe they can swing election.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Chinese have resolve.

      Beijing also has its resolve.

      Americans have their corresponding resolve too, and Trump has his as well.

      If their resolve is strong, that should inspire you to also strengthen yours. It should not make you fold. So, at best, on the resolve front, it is, or should be, a wash.

  9. flora

    re: Opinion analysis: Hyatt fulfills expectations in a surprising way

    Justice Breyer denounces ruling that strikes precedent.

    ‘U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer on Monday warned that his colleagues may be poised to overturn court precedents in upcoming cases in ways that will sow “increased uncertainty” about the court’s consistency.

    Joined by liberal colleagues Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, Breyer dissented in Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt, a state sovereignty case in which the 5-4 majority explicitly overturned a 40-year-old precedent, Nevada v. Hall.

    The California case is one of at least four in which the court is being asked to overturn precedents this term.’

  10. PeakBS

    NTSB finds Tesla in horrific accident was in autopilot mode.

    2 page PDF below:

    Preliminary data from the vehicle show that the Tesla’s Autopilot system—an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) that provides both longitudinal and lateral control over vehicle motion—was active at the time of the crash.1 The driver engaged the Autopilot about 10 seconds before the collision. From less than 8 seconds before the crash to the time of impact, the vehicle did not detect the driver’s hands on the steering wheel.

    This seems to be the second time Tesla has raised capital and did not reveal an autopilot related accident.
    Previously it happened in 2016. Wouldn’t that be necessary material info ?

  11. Harry

    “This time, there’s no pressure” strikes me as requiring an inordinate amount of trust in management by workers. Not so easy for a union-busting firm.

    We will not hold your frank talk and independent nature against you in the future. This is in contrast to our long standing policy of retribution for such behaviors.

  12. Roger Smith

    Donald Trump says he hopes US can avoid war with Iran FT

    Well golly! Maybe stop manufacturing the conflict! Maybe it is time to stop being an Israeli puppet, to fire Bolton and Pompeo, eat some crow, and look for actually competent employees who share the policies you campaigned and earned votes for.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Donald Trump says he hopes US can avoid war with Iran”

    By this stage Trump must be aware that people like Bolton are trying to force him into a course of action for which he personally will be held accountable and not people like Bolton who will crawl back into the nearest think tank. And then Trump can kiss the 2020 elections goodbye. Another factor may be Netanyahu who has been pushing America to attack Iran militarily for decades now. But this week Netanyahu held a meeting with his security chiefs and told them to “take steps to isolate Israel from any developments and ensure that Israel is not dragged into this escalation”. So his good buddy Netanyahu will also leave him swinging in the wind. Saudi Arabia won’t help as the Houthi have just attacked some of their oil facilities with dramatic success showing their vulnerability to attack. The ship attacks were just icing on the cake. Trump and the US will be alone on this one and Trump now knows it-

    1. ambrit

      The best way for Trump to return America to a sane foreign policy is to jettison Bolton, Pompeo, and all the Neo-Cons presently infesting his Administration. This may not be as difficult as imagined. All it would take is for Adelson to say or do something insulting to Trump personally. That is not so far fetched as one might imagine.

        1. Olga

          I dunno… maybe pushing DT into a war against Iran would be a sure way to make him lose the election – and that is what the neocons are counting on. (In other words, accomplish what russiarussiagate could not do.) They don’t care – neocons do fine in any- flavour administration.

  14. roxy

    Not to nitpick but that Harpers article is by Patrick Cockburn. In a few weeks it will be seven years since his brother Alexander passed away. Still miss him, Counterpunch has never been the same.

    1. Pavel

      I was just going to make the same point… RIP Alex… I was a fan of his back in his Village Voice “Press Clips” days. The good die young and Darth Cheney and his ilk go on forever…

      1. jrs

        He used to write for the L.A. times as the left side of the political commentary, alternating with Robert Shearer (from Truthout). This was balanced by conservative commentary. It actually was a fair enough balance.

        Let that sink in: Alexander Cockburn and Rober Shearer were writing opinions for the a major media outlet until they were pushed out. When Chris Hedges says he had to go to RT to get heard: this is what he means. It’s why when hysterical rags call Hedges an asset for writing for RT, uh look I question it too, but that’s a strong case (he also lost his job at the NYT of course).

        Viewpoints are so censored in the U.S.A.. It’s just a limited worldview we are allowed here.

  15. DK

    re: Bjorn’s Corner: Why I wouldn’t hesitate to fly on the MAX after the fix Leenam News.

    “This time, there’s no pressure,” the engineers would have been told. “You will crash your career if you don’t speak.” Before, it was the reverse.

    This seems like a rather simplistic and optimistic assumption put forward by someone who has never worked on a development team, hardware or software. “No pressure”, heh. If the process that resulted in this fiasco failed under normal circumstances, I’m sure it will work much better in a much-compressed time frame by people working overtime and weekends under the microscope of a bloated parasitic management trying to cover its ass, as well as a public one.

    1. tegnost

      It also makes the assumption that it’s an easy fix. I’m reminded of Clive’s accounts of banking IT and the layers upon layers of progressive software with all the little problems embedded who knows where.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      My thoughts too. I was once in an organisation where a catastrophic mistake set it back by one year and potentially cost hundreds of millions of pounds. The senior manager primarily responsible simply lied his way out of it and passed on the blame to an (unsuspecting) third party. Nothing changed. I’ve heard plenty of other stories of organisations where nice speeches about ‘transparency’ and ‘open and honest discussions’ were greeted with well deserved cynicism. If Boeing is as rotten as we suspect, then plenty of engineers will keep their mouths shut about their concerns.

      1. Synoia

        A modern corporation is most similar to a feudal state.

        In the UK’s history, Churchill identified a few “good kings,” many mediocre Kings, and some evil ones, together with Court intrigues and factions.

        I see little difference between Henry VIII of England’s behavior in the relentless pursuit of a Son, and Muilenburg of Boeing’s, pursuit of their Bonuses.

        The difference between an Overlord;s reaction to Historical “Lèse-majesté” and Modern “Insubordination,” is little.

        “Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look. He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous.”

        “lean and hungry look.” Caesar means that Cassius looks dangerously dissatisfied, as if he were starved for power.”

  16. VK

    re: antidote
    Is that an immature water monitor (V. salvator or so)?
    Didn’t know that they are hunting in salt water and in reefs as well.
    Interesting picture, thanks.

  17. Wukchumni

    Nearly a quarter of West Antarctic ice is now unstable Science Daily (DL).

    From a 1983 Time-Life book: “Ice Ages”

    “Scientists also want to keep track of the West Antarctic marine ice sheet, which rests on bedrock lying as much as 3,300 feet below sea level. At present, ice shelves shield the margins of the marine ice sheet from direct erosion by the sea. But if the ice shelves should disintegrate, this ice sheet would be prone to sudden collapse and disintegration-a process that might take less than 200 years.”

    It only took us 1/6th as long to get there…

    Circa 1997:

    “If we keep on with business as usual, the Earth will be warmed more every year; drought and floods will be endemic; many more cities, provinces, and whole nations will be submerged beneath the waves — unless heroic worldwide engineering countermeasures are taken. In the longer run, still more dire consequences may follow, including the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet, and the inundation of almost all the coastal cities on the planet.”~ Carl Sagan

  18. vlade

    On the boeing:

    Duh. Boeing was “contributory?”, right? Sort of like, Cameron was contributory to Brexit? With a simple failure on “non critical” system??? Pull the other one.

    That said, re the yesterday’s disussion on speed. I watched this and the pilot there makes the point I was trying to convey yesterday. Say at 7:39 “To move a flight control at say 220kts is very very different from the forces needed at 300-350 kts.”. He also says (at around 15:15) that in the original Boeing manual one of the two ways of dealing with this was “consider reducing the speed, because as you reduce the speed, you may get closer to in-trim position even without moving the stabiliser”. He says that this is now in the “flight crew training manual” as opposed to the operational manual.

    I encourage you to watch the full video, he does a much better point of explaining it than I did yesterday (and you do not have to take my word, who never piloted any jet plane, for it). You can see at around 13:35 that his FO can’t move the wheel and he says he is at about 300 kts. The FO can initially move the wheel (at around 11:55), but it gets way harder. That said, I think they are triming nose-down, not nose up, as ET302 crew would have.

    1. marym

      Thank you for the link.

      Elizabeth Warren has a big proposal the morning.

      twitter thread:

      Congress should pass new federal laws that protect access to reproductive care from right-wing ideologues in the states. Federal laws that ensure real access to birth control and abortion care for all women. Federal laws that will stand no matter what the Supreme Court does.

      1. Cal2

        Bernie’s blowing it.

        Trump’s possible political retort:

        “Democrats want black babies aborted.”

        The Democrats should focus on peace, the economy and the environment,
        not tax-payer funding of personal decisions.

        1. jrs

          Keep doing that and watch Biden win, because Biden will hammer pro-choice (they pretty much ALL are, well I have no idea about catholic Buttigieg, but all otherwise I think) and come out hard.

          Biden will do it because he has NOTHING else to run on, has nothing that’s good that distinguishes him, and is a corporate whore whose economic and environmental policies are catastrophic .. but if others avoid the issue, nature abhors a vacuum.

      2. jrs

        I’m a little more skeptical you can entirely avoid the Supreme Court IF it wants to outlaw abortion. And anyway the Dems don’t have the Senate, and how to get there (but that’s a huge problem for any legislation at all on any subject under any President). But I don’t know if all the Reps really want to ban abortion either.

    2. flora

      adding, from Bernie’s email:

      ‘In just a minute, I am going to ask you to make a donation to organizations that help low-income women pay for reproductive healthcare. Let me first explain why.

      Politicians should not be getting in the way of a woman and her medical decisions. These are difficult family decisions that governments should not interfere with. These bills and laws are outrageous assaults on women’s rights that have a singular goal: forcing the Supreme Court to take up a case that would overturn …’

      Is any other Dem candidate saying anything about this?

      1. flora

        aside: interesting I got a captcha screen when trying to post the above comment that included certain words. Removing certain words and leaving a’ … ‘instead of certain words got the comment through without the captcha screen. Is captcha politically oriented? heh.

        1. Wukchumni

          I tried to pass a backwards Я through earlier and was rebuffed in my efforts, so here’s another attempt.

        2. Carolinian

          So what were the words? If you can tell us then that would indicate it wasn’t the words but rather captcha wanting a differently written comment.

          Which I suspect may have something to do with it. All a big mystery isn’t it?…..

            1. Carolinian

              For the experiment to work it would have to be spelled the way you did in the rejected post. Normally controversial words get you kicked into moderation, not captcha. It could be that cloudflare is looking for repetitious phrases–from you or perhaps you and other commenters–to defeat spam.

              Or not. All I can say for sure, from experience, is that deleting the NC cookies and allowing them to reload by reloading the page has gotten rid of captcha (3 times now) for me. The cookies keep track of what you are doing and produce those “you just said that” messages….I think.

          1. newcatty

            Speaking of Warren…We watched the PBS News Hour last evening. Judy W. Interviewed Warren, as presidential candidate. I thought that Judy’s prune, frozen face was going to crack apart. Every thing Warren said was countered with something like “We did analysis and it is said that would not be possible, blah, blah economically. ” The most disdainful quote from Judy was that some entity said that some polling reported that people were put off by Warren because she was seen to be “lecturing people”. Warren did not fall for the bait and did a great job just staying on point. Just yuk…if possible News Hour has become more MSM mouthpiece. Hiding in plain sight is no longer even pretended.

  19. Summer

    Re: Merkel Identifies US As Global Rival…

    The context of this story should include that Macron of France said the same thing a few months ago.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “How the Promise of a $120 Billion Uber I.P.O. Evaporated”

    Corporations like this and others seem to operate under their own financial laws where they get to stay in business no matter how many billions of dollars they blow. Lots of real business people are seriously unimpressed by this including Rent the Runway’s CEO Jennifer Hyman. In an interview, she was explaining her approach to running a business, saying, “I haven’t been given the permission or privilege to lose a billion every quarter.”

    1. Wukchumni

      The set-up seemed brilliant, all the mainstream media could talk about was how a coterie of early investors were gonna get steeeenkin’ rich, and hardly a word was said all that much in regards to the indentured drivers, who had no chance @ coming away with a few billion, from the IPO.

      For them, a $15 an hour job is a whet dream…

    2. eg

      Who were the “greater fools” who bought this turd, thus enabling the early private funders to cash out?

  21. Summer

    Re: The Liberal Embrace of War..Rolling Stone

    “America is incapable of understanding or respecting foreigners’ instinct for self-rule.”

    If only “In God We Trust” werd replaced with “Everything Doesn’t Neling To Me”


    1. Summer

      If only “In God We Trust” were replaced with “Everything Doesn’t Belong To Me”

      1. Geo

        Love that!!! Would be amazing to see “Everything doesn’t belong to me” on all our currency.

        Hopefully America 2.0 will be the kind of place that would do that. Sadly, our current nation would be more likely to double down and change it to: “As God We Own You”.

    2. Wukchumni

      I was one of perhaps 250,000 on the streets of SF protesting against the possibility-one fine day, in the weeks leading up to Shock & Awe.

      The media the next day in their reporting focused on a few broken plate glass windows of businesses that some possible peace loving hooligans had been responsible for.

      Now, I watch the shaming act perpetrated on us in this ‘every veteran is a hero’ nonsense, another 1% tactic by the ultimate 1%’ers that call the shots. They realize that 99% of us never enlisted, so keep pushing the angle of how we aren’t worthy.

      How many people could you get together for a protest march on the ongoing Afghanistan War, right now?

      …apathy reigns

      1. Cal2

        Apathy? Hit ’em where it counts, their financial worries.

        “Higher gas prices
        for freedom in Iran
        Venezuela & Syria”

        Or, rub it in

        “Don’t blame me,
        I voted for Bernie.
        Who’d You vote for?”

      2. Geo

        I was in those same protests on the other coast and, honestly, not sure you could rally me to march again. Not sure I’d call it apathy as much as it’s resigned defeat.

        I protested, wrote letters, engaged in conversations regularly with pro-war people (there were a lot of them!), and was called every nasty name in the book for the effort.

        I cried when watching Shock & Awe on tv because I’d watched the trade towers fall with my own eyes from my Brooklyn home and lived through that time in NYC – and the realization we were doing that – ten fold – to others made me sick.

        I cried again when I read an apology in the press in 2007 from a war advocate who admitted he got it wrong and we were right. I hoped there would be more but its the only one I’ve ever seen. Instead they’re all creating more wars.

        I spent four years (and all my money and debt) making an anti-war movie that won numerous “best film” awards, some critics called it “the best film of the year”, and I got interviewed and asked to speak about the wars, veterans, and the issues addressed in the film. Military psychiatrists have told me they use it to help vets with PTSD. But, we’ve invaded numerous counties since then. Now we just do it with few “boots on the ground”.

        I’ve visited VA hospitals and seen some of the wounded vets. Have spent freezing nights outside with homeless vets and heard their stories of what happened “over there”. I see their wounds – both outer and inner – and imagine what it’s like for those in the nation’s we bomb. I’ve read “Guantanamo Diary” and “The Corpse Exhibition” to better understand the impact of our wars. And it breaks my heart that there’s nothing I can do to stop it.

        So, maybe I should march. Maybe I should join Cindy Sheehan and Code Pink who don’t give up. But, I’ve given up. I’ve accepted America, and Americans, are the global villain now. We’re the bad guys looking for a fight with anyone not strong enough to fight back. The worst kind of bullies. That’s what I focus on now. We won’t stop our wars until Americans realize they’re not the heroes anymore, they’re the villain. So, that’s what I’m putting my efforts into exposing. And, again, I’m getting called every nasty name in the book and few are listening yet, and I’m in worse debt. But, the wars won’t stop. And, if they don’t that means climate change won’t be addressed because our wars are for fossil fuels and military is a huge polluter). So, what else can one little person do?

        We were right about Iraq and Afghanistan and they slandered us, still don’t listen to us, and continue doing the same terrible stuff. All I want to do now is let them know they’re terrible people.

        Sorry for the long rant but I gave up on Americans to change a while ago. They will never look inward out of empathy. They need to be shamed into looking inward. Otherwise they’ll keep looking for targets to annihilate for their own inner demons. I hoped the election of Trump would be that reflection moment when America would see in him what we have become but half the country loves him and the other half blames Putin.

        It’s gonna be hard cracking through the wall of ego America has that allows it to keep waging wars and imagining itself as the hero in its own movie version of the real world. Personally, I don’t think a march will do it.

        1. Wukchumni

          I was in a gym that had windows where you could watch going on, on Pacific Coast Highway as you exercised, and a week before bogged down in Baghdad became of us, it was raining and I was on the stairmaster watching a pro-war demonstrator with sign held aloft, on the march. How bizarre, somebody protesting in the rain in L.A.?

          …and then came war.

          If our country was a western movie, we traded in our white hats for a flat black model, right there and then.

          1. Geo

            Lovely picture you paint with that moment. Thanks. And I agree, before that moment I feel there was some “plausible deniability” or whatever to the idea that we were villains or just made some bad choices. After that it was clear we had bad intentions. Our leaders were exposed and the populous barely cared.

            Wars based on lies? Imprison the whistleblowers and promote the architects!

            Torture? Arrest some low level bad apples and promote the architects!

            Domestic spying? Imprison the whistleblowers and promote the architects!

            Wall Street theft of trillions? Arrest one low level bad apple and promote the architects!

            And Americans keep voting for the crooks and warmongers. Black hats is right. This is all done in our name and the majority (who vote) have given it their approval.

        2. ChristopherJ

          thank you Geo for doing what I and others couldn’t. Please link your film

          Every thinking person on the planet agrees the USA is a rogue nation, the kind that the USA would target for regime change. I would find it very hard to live there as a citizen. I sort of like fairness, kindness, humility, self awareness, empathy. The kind of values that Americans identify with weakness

          1. Geo

            Thank you. As a small indie filmmaker I didn’t want to make a “preach to the choir” anti-war film so I made one about the cost of our wars through the eyes of a returning combat vet – which also gave me the chance to address domestic issues like poverty in a way that those with more conservative views would be open to hearing. One of my (many) favorite moments with the release of the film was being on a Tea Party radio show when the host started talking about how our society needs to do more to help people, not just vets, who fall through the cracks. Was great to see the message got through the partisan filters.

            Anyway, here’s the website:

            My newest one is about a guy who thinks he’s the hero coming to terms with the realization that everyone else thinks he’s a monster. Using archetypes from westerns, noir, and horror to deconstruct our social mythology and try to expose the facade in a way that mainstream audiences will both want to watch and understand. I hope it works as well as the last one. These lil’ indies won’t change the world but if they can shift the narrative for a few thousand people it is something at least.

    3. Wukchumni

      For what it’s worth dept:

      “In God We Trust” was only added to our paper money in the white heat of the Cold War, in 1957.

      Needed a bulwark against the godless commies…

      1. Geo

        Without the Gold Standard they needed some other arbitrary marker of the dollar’s worth. Call it the God Standard. /s

        1. Wukchumni

          There is a bit of a mystery to why In God We Trust wasn’t added to paper money until then, as it had been on all other coins since 1866, with the exception of a couple of years in 1907-1908, when Teddy Roosevelt objected to the wording being on $10 & $20 gold coins designed by Augustus St. Gaudens, the larger denomination thought of as one of the most beautiful designs of American coins.

          Why on one, and not the other?

          1. Bernalkid

            If you were packing $20 gold pieces no doubt in your Trust you trusted, no intermediary required.

  22. Eduardo

    Re: 161,000 avoidable deaths occur in hospitals annually, Leapfrog Group finds

    So we could go in for a simple operation and come out with a life-threatening infection, or not come out at all. And 12,000 die from surgeries that were unnecessary in the first place. For those keeping score, that’s 225,000 people dead from iatrogenic causes, meaning death by doctor, death by medical care. And that’s mostly just for patients in a hospital. In an outpatient setting, adverse effects can send millions to the hospital and result in perhaps 199,000 additional deaths. And this is not including all those just non-fatally injured, like oops, we just accidentally amputated the tip of your penis. And these estimates are on the low end. The Institute of Medicine estimated that deaths from medical errors may kill up to 98,000 Americans. That would bump us up to 284,000 dead, but even if we use the lower estimate, the medical profession constitutes the third leading cause of death in the United States. It goes heart disease, cancer, then me.

    One respondent pointed out that it was misleading to call medicine the third leading cause of death since many of those we kill also had heart disease or cancer. Doctors aren’t out there gunning down healthy people. Only people on medications are killed by medication errors or side effects. You have to be in a hospital to be killed by a hospital error. Exactly! That’s why lifestyle medicine is so important, because the most common reasons people are on drugs or in hospitals is for diseases that can be prevented with a healthy diet and lifestyle. The best way to avoid the adverse effects of medical care is to not get sick in the first place.

    Why prevention is worth a ton of cure
    (You can view the transcript or watch the video)

    1. Oregoncharles

      I just ran into this, fortunately not as a fatality. Sorry about the TMI, but here’s the story: I went to Immediate Care with a persistent, odd bellyache. Unfortunately, it was Saturday (lesson learned – wait till Monday), so they sent me to the emergency room for imaging. Once that was done, it turned out I had gallstones – not that bad, in my opinion, but I was sitting in a bed in the emergency room! So the surgeons tried to rush me into surgery. I put them off, mainly because the timing was inconvenient as well as because, even with Medicare, it would cost more than I could afford. So I looked it up and started the nutritional remedies I found on the Internet (somehow, eating beets is far preferable to surgery) – and it got better! At this point, It’s gone; I think I was passing the stones when it hurt. And now I swear by nutritional therapy; try that first if at all possible. It won’t give you a fatal infection or drug reaction (barring food allergies, of course.)

      Stalling paid off on the atrial fibrillation (really uncomfortable and scary), too; it hasn’t come back. Apparently it was nerves, so now I have a couple of calmative supplements for when it comes back. I did get the tests the doctor referred me for (not in the emergency room), and they all came back normal.

      Now I think I’ll switch to a doctor who’s more interested in alternative and nutritional medicine.

  23. Summer

    Re: “Smart” border control

    The border now, your neighborhood tomorrow (some already today).
    Because “markets” and “growth”

  24. Wukchumni

    Went on a 5 mile roundtrip hike last week in Mineral King in Sequoia NP, and we encountered around 50 deadfalls in the 2 1/2 mile stretch, and it takes awhile for a newlydead pine to really let itself go, and this wallop of a winter, 5-7 years after they succumbed in wide swaths, was sufficient enough to bring down a good many, so much so that the 2 car campgrounds-Cold Springs & Atwell Mill won’t be open to the public until June 21st, about a month later than the usual opening for the season.

    Rinse & repeat the same deadfall story all over the National Park, lotsa lincoln logs scattered akimbo

  25. Wukchumni

    A paper son’s journey to Gold Mountain Northwest Asian Weekly
    An interesting article…

    Gold Mountain was the Chinese nickname for SF during the Gold Rush, and during the epoch, the world truly rushed in, with Chinese prospectors being afforded sloppy seventeenths, as far as staking a claim went, @ the back of the line behind miners of 16 other nationalities vying for color. Lowest on the totem pole.

    One of the most interesting events that occurred during the Gold Rush was a Tong War, a buncha would-be Bruce Lees?

    This is some fascinating US history that does not get much mention. I had heard about the Tong War in Weaverville when I was fighting forest fires there way back when. But I did not know about the details of this little known war.

    Basically this was a classic Chinese battle between two mining companies/gangs in Northern California during the Gold Rush. And boy what a battle? Ironically, only four combatants died in the battle that had 2,500 participants! (the monument says 2000 participated and 26 were killed?)

  26. Geo

    A personal story that could fit with the daily NC links (either Guillotine Watch or Bezzle… or just crapification, not sure). Dealing with a conundrum with Google/YouTube:

    The first trailer for my latest movie recently leaked out on YouTube (was stolen from a private server for Cannes Film Fest’s distribution marketplace). Instead of trying to put the cat back in the bag we embraced it and rushed out an official release. The trailer is starting to do really well (40,000+ aggregate views so far) and there are some larger channels wanting to share it but they require “whitelisting” through YouTube to protect them from copyright claims that could demonetize their channels. The problem is that because I’m a nobody on YouTube, I’m not allowed to claim copyright to my own videos. I cannot flag channels that steal it nor can I give permission to those I authorize to use it. In order to do that I must average 4000 minutes of views per month and have over 1000 subscribers on YouTube. I currently have 27 subscribers and average about 150 minutes per month.

    Even my film’s distributor is having troubles because they are a small company and their copyright controls are “limited” so they cannot whitelist these channels for me.

    In the past week there have been 14 channels that have stolen the trailer that I cannot donanything about. And I have nine (each with over a million subscribers) that want to share it but won’t unless they can get me to whitelist them so they don’t risk being penalized with demonetization (something Youtube does often for perceived infractions).

    How can a platform of Youtube’s Size have literally no way to control a creator’s copyright unless that creator is a very successful youtuber? It’s amazing that this has never been addressed. The only thing I’ve found online was an article on Forbes about another film production company with the same problem. Was never addressed for them either.

    To top it all off, a successful launch for a trailer like this can launch a small indie film (my last one did ok but never got any mainstream attention) and yet it looks like YouTube’s lack of copyright controls (yet strict punishment to perceived copyright infringement) will be a barrier to this film gaining mainstream attention now.

    On the flip side, part of the reason my channel has so little views is because my other popular creations are music videos that even though I own them and have close relationships with the bands, I’m not able to post on my channels without getting them removed and being demonetized. So, even though the band’s labels get millions of views on them I cannot post them in my channels (big labels don’t whitelist small channels even if it’s the creator’s page).

    Anyway, thanks for listening. Just another example of the crapification of technology and polarization of power in the once dreamt utopian wilderness of the internet. On the positive side, I couldn’t pay anyone to care about my last film so I guess it’s nice that this one has so much interest so early on. :)

    1. ChristopherJ

      link, bro. Sorry for your troubles.
      Mine are related. I am self published author, through the Ingram Spark group.
      Made it quite clear at outset that I have principles which preclude the sale of my books through Amazon: Yet –

      I wasn’t surprised when my books appeared on the site and took steps, as legal as I could without a US lawyer, to get them to cease, told the company it was not an authorised reseller.

      They continue to ignore me and tell me they have contracts with the publisher!. And, their sales are not showing up in my royalties just to add to the insult. American company, based in Delawhereelse, the worst kind, but with a megalomaniac at the helm.

      Sorry too for the lack of alternatives for indie film makers. Google has crushed or purchased all the competition. It’s the way we roll…

      Good luck

      1. Geo

        That’s horrible to hear. Distribution/publishing are shady rackets. I got lucky with my last film. Went with a small distributor (my producer and sales agent didn’t want to go with them because of how small they were) but I liked them because they seemed honest. They were. And, over the years they’ve grown immensely yet stay honest and their reputation is finally spreading. And some of the ones I was being pushed toward have closed down or had lawsuits from jilted filmmakers.

        So many filmmakers I know never get a dime for their films. Opaque records and “expenses” always come up as excuses for why a distributor can’t pay. I’m sure it’s the same for authors but with the added issues of the only major marketplace left for book selling is Amazon. So, principles or profits? Sadly, sounds like you don’t get to have either, by no fault of your own.

        Didn’t give a link in my first comment because I didn’t want it to come across as a veiled act of shameless self promotion. I respect the NC community too much to use these forums for that. And, I’m trying to spin the theft of the trailer for good: if so many channels are stealing it then it must be in demand! The fact that I can’t get YouTube to allow me to authorize retain channels to post it is still infuriating though. Any one of those channels would get more views that a couple thousand dollar ad buy. But, only already successful people get access to that. America in a nutshell.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Youtube’s policy does not sound legal: You do have copyright, after all, and they’re infringing wholesale. I know lawyers aren’t cheap, but that’s a lawsuit that just might pay off.

      Alternatively, I gather what they’re doing is now a crime. A criminal complaint might get you all sorts of action.

      Not that I know, but it might be worth checking into.

  27. Wukchumni

    Loose Lips and FX Tips: How Chatrooms Cost Banks $1.2 Billion Bloomberg
    I did physical retail/wholesale foreign exchange for quite awhile in L.A., and it was so easy, as the retail banks were terrified of getting involved for the most part.

    A funny story…

    in the early 90’s, we start getting one hawtie after another with Brunei $5,000 banknotes (worth around $3500) that they want to exchange, what is up with that?

    Apparently the Sultan’s men were out and about in nightclubs in L.A. and if they ran into a strikingly beautiful woman, well, sometimes she’d get a little gift with as far as you could tell, no strings attached.

    Maybe we bought half a dozen of them from 10’s, one of them might’ve been a 10.5, that beautiful.

    A possible backstory…

    A federal judge ruled Monday that the sultan of Brunei–one of the richest men in the world–cannot be sued for allegedly holding a former Miss USA as a sex slave in his oil-rich nation.

    Marketic charged in her complaint that she and six other beauty queens were hired for modeling and promotional work on the tiny tropical sultanate, Brunei Darussalam, which means “Abode of Peace.”

    When the models arrived, Marketic alleged, their passports and return airline tickets were confiscated and they were tested for sexually transmitted diseases. She alleged she was held against her will in a palace for 32 days, during which the scantily clad models were forced to attend parties with men who tried to force them to perform sex acts.

  28. Amfortas the hippie

    there’s a bit of weirdness in Texas I’ve been noticing of late.
    here’s an example:

    the criminal Paxton, and the TCEQ…doing their jobs against polluters.
    there was a similar action around galveston bay not long ago…and i remember several other instances of this in the last year.
    it’s totally out of character, and i fear it may be an example of the Right picking up a few of the numerous birdsnests on the ground that the Texdems(and dems in general) leave laying about.
    TCEQ is notorious to Texans interested in the environment as a rubber stamp for big messy industry.
    so far, these actions are below the radar…it ain’t on the austin evening news…but them happening at all is a strange departure.
    i have no idea if this indicates some high level strategy, or if it’s just one of those things that happens sometimes, like raining frogs.
    the current session of the Texas Lege has been sort of weird, too…as in boring…with no hyperventilating from the Radio Preacher(Lite Gov) over who gets to pee where, or any other inanities.
    They’ve actually made what looks like a good, honest effort to tackle a few intransigent problems.

    (given, there’s been a couple of the usual antiabortion things put forward at this late date…but these feel almost perfunctory and ritualistic(and 2 dems sided with them, as well))
    they appear to be moving forward on legalising hemp production…and debated intelligently about marijuana.
    great disturbances in the force.
    makes me nervous when crazypants right wingers play almost convincingly the role of wise leaders.

  29. Oregoncharles

    “U.S. federal agents arrest protesters occupying Venezuelan Embassy Reuters”

    One of them Dr. Margaret Flowers, a leader in the campaign for single-payer, and currently co-chair of the US Green Party.

  30. John Beech

    Angela Merkel Identifies U.S. as Global Rival That, Along With China and Russia, Europe Must Unite Against – Newsweek

    Well, duh!

  31. John Beech

    How much was pilot error a factor in the Boeing 737 MAX crashes? Seattle Times

    Like a report regarding cigarettes and health paid for by Phillip-Morris.

  32. Oregoncharles

    “Angela Merkel Identifies U.S. as Global Rival That, Along With China and Russia, Europe Must Unite Against ”
    4 great powers, assuming the EU holds together ( big assumption, in my opinion). Makes for an interesting world, that the US hasn’t even acknowledged.

    Interesting that she would even say that in public. Of course, she’s leaving office soon – or did I miss that? Still, the mere fact of saying it is important. Or maybe that’s the point of the link.

Comments are closed.