Links 5/24/19

Posted on by

Yves here. We’ve gone into holiday mode, so you are getting three posts plus Links and Water Cooler today. I had planned to write something but my yesterday got derailed :-(

Hope those of you in countries with long weekends ahead enjoy the break!

A new artificial photosynthesis breakthrough uses gold to turn CO2 into liquid fuel Business Insider

Another Use for Cannabis Elemental (Glenn F)

Pretty hurts: are chemicals in beauty products making us ill? Guardian (J-LS)


Trump says Huawei could be part of trade deal BBC. Gaslighting.

Trump Wields a More Powerful Weapon Than Tariffs for Trade War Bloomberg


Election Results: How PM Modi Led BJP’s Giant Swoop Across India – 10 Points NDTV

The Guardian view on Narendra Modi’s landslide: bad for India’s soul

It’s Unreasonable to Blame Mamata Banerjee for BJP’s Gains in West Bengal The Wire (J-LS)

U.S. and South Korea Gear Up for Burden-Sharing Talks Atlantic. Resilc: “Does this mean Samsung will be sanctioned?”

Indonesia riots: police draw Islamic-State links to deadly Jakarta protests that killed seven South China Morning Post


A new prime minister intent on no deal Brexit can’t be stopped by MPs Institute for Government (guurst)

This prime minister was destroyed by Brexit. And the next one will be too. Ian Dunt

Hat tip guurst: “And don’t forget to read the comments”:

Brexitannia: The Faces and Voices of Brexit Zero Anthropology (UserFriendly)

European elections 2019: EU citizens turned away from UK polls BBC

New Cold War

Victoria Nuland, US midwife to Maidan-2014, denied visa to Russia RT (Chuck L)


This Is Pure Authoritarian Audacity Charles Pierce, Esquire (resilc)

Assange Prosecution

The Julian Assange Espionage Act Charges Target Press Freedom Wired (Chuck L)

Prosecutors Attack Journalism In Superseding Indictment Against Assange Shadowproof (UserFriendly)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

US Air Force probes targeted malware attack, blames… er, the US Navy? What? The Register (Chuck L)

An entire US city is being held hostage by cybercriminals who are asking for $100,000 worth of bitcoin Business Insider (David L)

Google shut out Baltimore officials using Gmail after ransomware attack The Verge (David L)

Imperial Collapse Watch

The US military was allegedly duped into buying $20 million in Chinese counterfeits Quartz (resilc)

Trump Transition

Carson seeks to clean up testimony on protections for homeless transgender people The Hill

Ben Carson: Black on the Outside, Trump on the Inside Rolling Stone (resilc)

Lawmakers reach deal on disaster aid, leave out border money Trump demanded, top senator says Washington Post

What and Who Gave Us Trump? Counterpunch (resilc)

The Pathology of John Bolton Consortiumnews (furzy)

Kushner Cos. Gets $800 Million Federally-Backed Apartment Loan Bloomberg (UserFriendly)

Big Tech: “If the USA enforces antitrust laws against us, it means China will win!” BoingBoing

McConnell campaign raises $70K through ‘Cocaine Mitch’ T-shirt sales: report The Hill (UserFriendly)

Green New Deal

Green New Deal: why labor unions are divided over it Vox (UserFriendly)


Obama without Obama-ism: 2020 Democrats embrace the ex-president but not his policies Washington Post. UserFriendly: “About damned time.”

Cory Booker Was Once a Foot Soldier for Betsy DeVos New Republic (resilc)

Bernie Sanders Introduces Plans for Wall Street Speculation Tax CFO. Worth doing, but Pigovian taxes are meant to deter the activity, not raise revenue.

Biden Attacks Mexicans & Mexico In Secret Video ( Live From Tempe Improv) Jimmy Dore (YouTube). UserFriendly: “Not family blog appropriate but seriously, Biden is SO AWFUL.”

Anti-Trump Republicans Could Help Democrats in 2020 Atlantic (resilc)

Fake News

It’s Getting Way Too Easy to Create Fake Videos of People’s Faces Motherboard (resilc)

Broker Sales Practices to Face Limits Wall Street Journal. A deliberately weak alternative to the fiduciary rule.

Guillotine Watch

Give Me Your Bored, Your Rich, Your Coddled Asses Sardonicky (UserFriendly)

Courting the Ultrarich With Chateaus and Chefs New York Times (J-LS)

Class Warfare

Almost 40% of Americans Would Struggle to Cover a $400 Emergency Bloomberg (resilc)

Why Urbanists Are Arguing About Housing Supply CityLab (UserFriendly)

The Office Rookies Who Ask for the World Wall Street Journal

Sara Nelson: “People Are Ready to Fight” Jacobin (UserFriendly). Head of the flight attendants’ union.

Antidote du jour. Karl M: “Olympic Peninsula chipmunk, enjoying the tasty remains of an apple slice.”

And a bonus (guurst)

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. dearieme

    May has announced her resignation w.e.f. June the 7th. Whether she’ll honour that we’ll have to wait and see.

    Even dreary old feminist supporters like me must wonder whether such an inadequate got so far by having sexual privilege extended to her: the “we need more woman in cabinet” argument. It’s quite a feat, after all, to be a worse P.M. than Gordon Brown. It’s setting the bar far too low to say that she wasn’t as dreadful a P.M. as Toni Blair.

    1. vlade

      I think she was worse than Blair. I cannot think of a single positive of May. Blair, for example, introduced a national minimal wage. Surely, that’ a plus?

      1. Redlife2017

        And the really great Sure Start Children’s Centres that have state nurseries and midwives to help babies in the community. They built lots of new buildings for them and the services are good (at least in my area).

        I mean, I really loathe Tony Blair, but he had a few things that properly improved some people’s lives as he was originally relatively centre-left. But he also murdered 1 million people. That automatically means he is at the bottom of the list for the past 40 years. Looking at him from a purely political thoughtfulness aspect though, he is leagues ahead of May. There is nothing there with May. She seems like she is a cypher even to herself. You could never say that about Tony Blair.

        1. Anonymous2

          I am pretty sure you will find May supported the war in Iraq. I am not exculpating Blair but it is worth remembering that UK participation was supported by most leading UK politicians, They carry much the same guilt IMO. It was not hard to see that Blair was lying. Those who paid any attention to the comments of others (e.g the French) were able to see the deception involved.

          1. vlade

            Yep. Let’s remember that while Blair was the poster boy for it in the UK, it was, ultimately, the UK parliament that voted it in. Vote no = no (large) UK participation.

            Only two Tories (out of 148) vote no – May voted aye, and 17 abstained. Out of 407 Labour MPs, 84 voted no, and further 69 abstained. While Blair would never carry this vote w/o Tories, still more Labour MPs (254) voted for it than all other combined (principally Tory + DUP).

            Iraq vote is no out for May.

            I believe that if it wasn’t for Iraq, Blair would be remembered (by most) as an ok-ish PM. I believe he delivered more on the hope that got him in the office than Obama ever did (easy, I know).

            May, even if it wasn’t for Brexit, would be remembered as an incompetent Home Office Sec (Windrush anyone?).

      2. PlutoniumKun

        Although John Major got the ball rolling, Blair genuinely did very good work on the Good Friday Agreement. He also (aided of course by being in power during an economic upswing), ensured a lot of money went into local government and urban regeneration and public transport. Cities like Manchester and Leeds did very well under NuLab. With the NHS he put a lot of resources into it, but also introduced the parasite of free market ‘reforms’.

        But I don’t think Blair deserves to be on a list of worst PM’s because whatever you think of his policies, he was genuinely very competent at his job, like Thatcher, although like Thatcher he was eventually the victim of hubris. You could also argue that Cameron deserves credit for steering his deceptively malignant reform agenda through without too much political consequence. Cameron managed for years to ensure that Labour got the blame for austerity, which you must admit is quite a good trick. May stands out for the combination of terrible policies and complete ineptitude. She was intellectually and psychologically unsuitable for the job and completely out of her depth. Brexit just made her inadequacies all too apparent.

        1. Irrational

          But Cameron’s record is in my view blemished by the decision to hold the referendum to fix party-internal politics, a reckless gamble and a complete abandonment of responsibility.

        2. Roy G

          Domestically, Blair may have done well, but on the FP front, his legacy is his wholehearted indeed enthusiastic support for the Iraq War and the neoliberal project. His seeming regret and recant is negated by the mendacious profit and influence seeking of his neoliberal foundation. Clearly, he is above the hapless May in aptitude, but disastrous in diminishing UK prestige abroad just the same.

        3. mpalomar

          But I don’t think Blair deserves to be on a list of worst PM’s because whatever you think of his policies, he was genuinely very competent at his job,

          Isn’t that essentially the, made the trains run on time argument?

          What if Blair had joined the French/German attempt to put the brakes on the Bush-Cheney rush to war?
          There appeared to be a tenable position for the UK to resist the US in their criminal actions in Iraq yet Blair chose otherwise.

          1. Temporarily Sane

            Sure, Blair is a sociopath who consciously lied to the world about non-existent WMD and helped orchestrate a war that killed several hundred thousand Iraqis and unleashed chaos across the region…and he ushered in the “third way” neoliberal era (didn’t Thatcher, when asked what her greatest achievement is, say “Tony Blair”?)but, come on, it’s not like that’s all he did!

            So he’s a war criminal who destroyed the social fabric of his nation and was rewarded for his efforts by an “international community” that let him become filthy rich by slithering around the world and advising western-allied despots and strongmen but let’s not forget the good the man did. He could be a lot worse, like that horrible Assange character and his sidekick Manning, for example.

            (Anyone who apologizes for Blair has a broken moral compass. It’s that simple.)

    2. shtove

      Whether she’ll honour that we’ll have to wait and see.

      Yes, I think you’re wise to enter that caveat. I suspect NC will be filled for the rest of the summer with “not sure about this but ..” speculation on the Tory leadership election technicalities.

      It was a very skilful speech, in which she accepted she would be replaced as leader of the party and as prime minister. Maybe, once the process is over. Early in the year, in Brussels, she was asked if she would lead the party into the next election, and she answered No. Then she said the next election is in 2022.

      Her speech continued with the aspirations and achievements of her government. The entire country was left in a fit of sniggers. Then she cried. Awww – poor ickle lady.

  2. anon in so cal

    Nuland (“”family blog” the EU”) was a supporter (architect?) of the Maidan putsch that creates chaos on Russia’s border, ushered in the neo Nazi-infused regime, etc.

    New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen was also denied a visa to Russia, back in 2018, perhaps because she urged / supported more crushing sanctions on Russia

    1. The Rev Kev

      I could be far worse than just being knocked back on a visa because you are on a Russian black list. Several months ago, famous stem cell researcher Masoud Soleimani landed in the US with a research visa. The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota had invited him to lead a six-month research program there. When his plane landed in Chicago, the FBI nabbed him, supposedly for violating US sanctions on Iran in 2016 by importing growth hormones when such sanctions did not exist then. At the moment he is sitting in a prison in Atlanta. In the ancient world, this was known as hostage taking.

        1. Olga

          Terrible… but not as bad as bumping off nuclear scientists on the streets of Tehran, as kept happening a few yrs back.

      1. a different chris

        Wow that’s the first I’ve heard of this.

        Showing some balls, there Mayo Clinic! Let them step all over your invitee and you can’t even have the guts to try to get it on like the second page of my newspaper? I’d be screaming all day and every day about what they are doing to my guest.

          1. The Rev Kev

            If you Google his name – Masoud Soleimani – and then go to the ‘News’ tab, you will find about half a dozen more articles.

            1. ambrit

              And meanwhile, research of a potentially beneficial nature to tens of thousands of ill people is not being done, at least lead by a generally accepted leader in the field. Not only does this show the petty and vindictive side to the American government, but it’s complete disregard for the health and safety of, not only it’s own citizens, but the world population in general. The cynic in me wonders if these {family blogg} functionaries really, deep down, want people to die off quicker.

              1. Hopelb

                The last thing our for-profit “healthcare “ system wants is a cheap cure for any ailment. What they want are maintenance drugs/therapies. Remember dichloroacetate curing cancer? The doctor who serendipitously discovered it is now at Pitt and has only been able to get funding for a small study. I think he had to crowdfund it.

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  We also under-promote healthy life style and diet (to complement cures).

                  That’s why we see ‘try this new gadget or product,” instead of, say, consuming less (a low caloric diet can be good).

      2. Jeff

        Perhaps we should start an International organisation asking Amnesty for all these non-Americans languishing in US or non-US jails.

      3. Edward

        This is similar to the Huawei case, also with political overtones. There needs to be a travel warning for people visiting America.

    2. Procopius

      Who promoted Nuland to Assistant Secretary of State? Who approved the Maidan Putsch? Who was Secretary of State at the time?

  3. Steve H.

    > concerns that lawmakers, who have security clearances, will not safeguard military plans. [Charles Pierce]

    US Social Credit Score = FICO * Security Clearance level * (Leveraged debt / net assets) * (sum of weighted secondary valency (graph theory)).

    This is a first iteration, to model the US equivalent of the Chinese social credit score. Security Clearance can be approximated by GS-employment level for Federal employees. The more leveraged you are, the ‘smarter’ you are for FIRE sector utility. Secondary valency (whether you’re a hub or a leaf on a social network graph) determines both your own reach and the vulnerability of your social network; the Equifax leak shows they had your image in negative even if you weren’t directly encapsuled, like knowing your Aunt’s name for her dog, or your sister-in-law’s middle name. And their vulnerabilities taint your own capacity.

    1. Off The Street

      That leveraged debt / net assets term is troublesome, and not just for those averse to debt peonage. In a prior era, low debt was a good thing and a manageable single family mortgage was typically the largest entry on the liability side of the personal ledger. Some still follow that model and see their credit scores suffer because they are not being good, patriotic consumers. They watch a younger generation struggle with mounting student loan debt, longer terms on car loans and pervasive credit card enticements, while worrying about how to meet a $400 unexpected expense and lamenting the impossibility of owning a home.

      I’d revise that social credit score to focus on some type of financial health and resilience, to channel an inner Bhutanese-style happiness. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness can be touchstones again.

      1. Steve H.

        You’re right. That was cynically meant to model giving more rope to suckers. But your comment broadens the discussion.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The US equivalent…

      But not quite though, as I can’t see anything in that equation that can be invoked to deny a person in the US, for example, from boarding an AMTRAK train from LA to San Diego, for criticizing our leader, Trump.

      1. Steve H.

        The security clearance term needs to be decomposed some, so that 0<SC<1 is possible.

        The Chinese stuff it in your face explicitly. US'ns do it implicitly. The first layer is probably a global norm, if you ain't got the do-re-mi…

        Here's a case to consider about transport hubs: security at airports + profiling means that I'm not going there if I'm an illegal alien, which is no less than 10 million people within US borders. Add in facial recognition with a higher false-positive rate for darker people, and avoidance begins to bend behaviors.

        The only reason we heard about the Chinese train is because that person wanted us to hear about it; I have no doubt many more people never yank the tiger's tail and try for the ticket. Word gets around.

        In both cases, there is more negative reinforcement than punishment, in that it is a loss of access to reinforcers which drives the majority of compliance. But for some particular people, whether Uighur or Salvadoran, the risk is incarceration.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          US may be more implicit, but also explici, in that Americans can openly talk about impeaching Trump.

          On that front, the resistance over in China, can no afford to be explicit, nor be shown to be implicit. And Beijing probably believes that their civilization is far more superior because of that.

    3. ewmayer

      Sadly, the unpersoning of those who refuse to be patriotic debt slaves is already well underway. When I was apartment-hunting last year, my closing on a place was made tremendously more difficult by my lack of credit history resulting from a conscious choice to live debt-free. The fact that I’d lived in a similar-priced place for the past 20 years and never once missed a rent payment? That doesn’t show up in any of the debt-merchant’s databases. More recently, I tried creating an online login with the US social security administration only to find myself unable to do so due to mystery “unable to verify your identity” error. After several phone calls involving long hold times, finally found out that it was the same issue – turns out that the SS administration uses debt-merchant databases as part of their online ID checking, and apparently my minimal footprint with the Big 3 credit score outfits was insufficient for their system. So now I gotta show up in person at the nearest SS office 15 miles away, and likely waste several more hours getting this resolved. Those bastards have got their greedy, grubby hooks into *everything*.

      1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

        Identity Politics:

        It seems that a DNA test will be required for the merest of transactions if the people at the top don’t get a grip soon.

        …but, on second thoughts, maybe that is the only (yet ethically fraught) solution.


  4. The Rev Kev

    “The Pathology of John Bolton”

    Lots of people take John Bolton wrong. Many think that he is a bully that would chicken out in a fight himself. That though he has threatened women and people’s children, that the prospect of a knuckle sandwich would frighten him. Some say that he is a war-lover but this is not true. After all, did he not once say to his critics-

    “If I like war as much as you all say I do, wouldn’t I have jumped at the chance to take part in one, instead of joining the reserves to avoid being deployed?”

    1. dearieme

      It seems that almost all that generation of US pols avoided Vietnam. The exception was John Kerry, a politician so maladroit that he managed to turn his service into a disadvantage. I fear there is a general lesson there of a rather unpleasant kind.

      1. Oh

        Kerry ran away from his heroic anti-war record where he supposedly threw away his medals. If he had challenged the MICC at leaast verbally he might’ve won the election. Instead, he let himself be labeled a wishy washy clown in a windsurfing political ad.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        He managed to? You don’t think that right wing swiftboat group had anything to do with it?

      3. Oregoncharles

        I consider avoiding “service” in Vietnam a handy IQ test; Bolton passed and Kerry failed. Kerry also lost the debates to Bush II. Might be just as well he didn’t get to be president. (I never checked, but someone claimed Kerry and Bush had very similar grades at Yale – they were contemporaries.

          1. Oregoncharles

            Sigh; I didn’t think that through. My apologies to anyone here who felt that personally.

            I just don’t want it to be a term of praise, and I think most Vietnam vets would agree with me. Returning vets were the most effective part of the anti-war movement. Still are.

        1. Big Tap

          Bolton got himself into the Maryland National Guard during the Vietnam War. It was known that LBJ rarely called up the guard for active service in Vietnam. Bolton knew what he was doing – avoiding Vietnam- and even said so at Yale back in 1995.

          I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy… I considered the war in Vietnam already lost.”
          — John Bolton, 1995

    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      Regarding the linked article from Consortium News, “The Pathology of John Bolton”, by Joe Lauria, it is unfortunate that we are reliant on the circumstances summarized in Lauria’s concluding two sentences:

      “John Bolton must be stopped before he gets his war. It is beyond troubling  that the man we have to count on to do it is Donald Trump.”

      This is particularly so in light of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s public comments yesterday. In response to the president’s behavior and his characterizations of her and other political opponents as “crazy”, House Speaker Pelosi yesterday raised his bet and called him, to use a poker analogy. As reported by the media, his response to Pelosi’s public suggestion that his family seek health intervention for him and that he consider taking a leave of absence from his office, was to have his principal representatives to the media repeatedly state to an audience yesterday that he is calm and mentally stable. Pelosi’s observation was likely not made easily or casually, nor was his response a source of public confidence in this administration. IMO we must legally restrict the war powers of the executive branch and move to formally revoke the AUMF before another endless war is engineered in our name.

      1. Procopius

        There is no doubt in my mind that John Bolton is a lunatic.

        Obviously, lots of people with the power of affecting the course of the nation disagree with me. John Bolton has been near the top since well before 1994. He has never run for office. He has always been appointed to his position. His behavior then was not different than it is now, yet all those supposedly sane people advanced the career of an obvious lunatic. What is wrong with this picture?

  5. johnnygl

    Anyone starting to flirt with the idea that biden is worse than trump…because team dem??? A Biden presidency seems like a great way to flip the house red in 2022, and lock in Tom Cotton as prez in 2024.

    Where’s that Glenn Ford quote asking who’s the ‘more effective’ evil, rather than who’s the ‘greater’ evil???

    1. macnamichomhairle

      I think Biden is soaring at the moment because of the Obama effect and because he is a known quantity and has ‘experience’, but he is like a befuddled Polish hussar battling blitzkrieg and would be easily defeated by Trump.

      There is an element in the Republican party and outside that recognizes that a lot of people today loathe the ‘system’ and its representatives. A right wing populist animus is taking shape in rural and small town America that sees the rich as the enemy, though the rich for them are Silicon Valley, movie stars, etc.These populists aren’t necessarily Fox News people, though they eventually end up there. They are the working people who were the heart of the Democratic Party. I’m watching this happen with my relatives. Offering them Biden or Buttgieg or Warren would be an insult. They’d see it that way, anyway.

      It’s not only policies. The 10% (new Democratic constituency and staff) is now so removed from the world the rest live in, that they can no longer imagine it. They find it difficult to talk to or relate to the 90%, but because they staff most government agencies , the media, and the professions, they are in a position to lecture other people, and make decisions that deeply affect their lives. This makes them loathed.

      It is, I guess, ironic, that the Democrats are now also the Joe McCarthys and warmongers, though they, of course, only see themselves as defending democracy.

      The party and most of the 10% are so hellbent on stopping Sanders that I suspect they will, partly through filling the world with vaguely progressive talk mimicking him, but from approved candidates who merely repeat lines their advisors feed them. I suspect one of the younger Democratic candidates who have flashier lines will rise again against Biden, or will be chosen at a brokered convention. Unless the economy tanks, they will lose to Trump, and keep on doing what they’re doing until we’re so far into the swamp that there’s no way out.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        I’m not sure there is a way out but I’m hoping that votes will not be stolen, hoping a decent person becomes the DP candidate, and if that is the case he or she will win against Trump if they don’t hire former Clinton staffers. All you need is someone authentic and not bought. People were so desperate for authenticity they voted for Trump who is who he is

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        until we’re so far into the swamp that there’s no way out.

        I wonder if that distinction doesn’t go equally to Bill Clinton and Georgie Bush.

      3. dearieme

        Unless the economy tanks It will. Then you will be lumbered with one of those people.

        That means that posterity will view Trump as the accidental hero who at least managed to defer the next Dem president for long enough to ensure it wasn’t Hellary.

    2. Jessica

      If the voters in the primaries actually pick Biden, that would mean that we don’t have an electorate ready for meaningful reform.
      But if the nomination is stolen for Biden, as was done for Hillary, it would be crucial to run a progressive against Biden and Trump. Bernie probably wouldn’t be willing to run, so I guess Tulsi.
      Rejecting the cheating would be far more important than whether Biden or Trump won. I hope it won’t come to that.

      1. a different chris

        >so I guess Tulsi

        I’m not sure there will be anything left if we don’t change course in 2020. It may be too late already. But I *think* Ms. Gabbard might be somebody who could be important in leading us out of the ditch when we finally put this sucker in reverse. And running her as an Independent in 2020 would end her political career but good.

        Except for that one specific, yeah I agree.

      2. Oregoncharles

        How many people vote in the Democratic primary? What percentage? Primaries don’t attract a big turnout, and the people who do vote are not that representative.

    3. Brooklin Bridge

      “… starting to flirt with the idea that Biden is worse than Trump…”

      It would depend on who controls the House and Senate. If the people’s choice of a real progressive to run against Trump is thwarted as is highly likely given the spots on the beast of 2016 are unlikely to change that quickly, then jamming the works with a POTUS of one vulture wing and the legislature with specimens from the other is an unfortunately blunt but better than nothing last resort strategy.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        2020 Senate Map. The GOP has three pick up opportunities in NH, NM, and Alabama where I assume the GOP candidate will not be blacklisted from malls. I would toss in Virginia given Warner’s previous efforts, but the GOP in Virginia is so repulsive they can’t make hay out of not one blackface statewide Democrat but two.

        Team Blue could (and I stress :could” because it needs a proper organizing effort and energetic volunteers, not the dopes who sat sullenly at tables for Hillary when they bothered) pick up North Carolina, Georgia, Colorado, Maine, and Louisiana without relying on scandal.

        As Biden will be the target of efforts to get him to not be so obviously heinous instead of using Biden as a vehicle to expand the electorate (the difference between HRC and Obama), this is a problem for down ballot organizing.

    4. samhill

      Biden Attacks Mexicans & Mexico In Secret Video ( Live From Tempe Improv) Jimmy Dore (YouTube)

      Feature not a bug I’d say, just a guess, Dems see 2020 as a low turnout election, they can ignore the youth vote, run Biden as Trump-lite, win back the swing right and call it day, “everything you like about Trump w/o the crude stupidity” err… ok, Biden’s pretty stupid, “w/o the crudity”.

      In the vid it’s not just what Biden says but the Trump style bloviating, angry venom. I was unfamiliar w/ this Biden, I too was raised on the fabrication of Biden as a Tip O’Neil, Walter Mondale union liberal.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Biden is and always has been a nasty thug. Its just that he’s from Delaware. His campaign office is in Philly, so what happens is the Philly (Baltimore, Washington too) media, which gets picked up nationally, picks up on Biden as a quirky local elected but because he’s not there elected he manages to be ignored as well or not the subject of the rumor mill. He’s just the guy who rides the train and morphs into a name people recognize as an “inoffensive” Democrat who can fit the “generic” template.

    5. ewmayer

      I was going to post this as a standalone, but since you asked –

      “Anti-Trump Republicans Could Help Democrats in 2020 Atlantic (resilc)” — In other news, anti-Biden Democrats could help Republicans in 2020. So there’s that.

    6. jrs

      I don’t know, it all requires a crystal ball. I mean we could elect Bernie, still not be able to flip the Senate, and because he is unable to get much done due to an R Senate, flip the house red as well. Biden is more likely to outright disgust people as a President I’d like to think (more eager for wars and stuff for one thing) but shrug. And then there is the economy and when it tanks. Too much need for a crystal ball.

      That’s why many people just simply and try to vote for the best candidate they can, which might not work either.

      1. Procopius

        For whatever it’s worth, the statistics Lambert posts almost every day don’t point clearly to a recession next year. It’s overdue, I agree, and there are some worrisome hints, but for every leading indicator that starts shaking, another seems to get better. What a world, where our best hope is that tens of millions of people suffer disaster so Trump loses.

  6. Wukchumni

    Another Use for Cannabis Elemental
    Use of marijuana is illegal in National Parks as it’s Federal land, so i’d never do it, but if you did, in the back of Potwisha campground is the trailhead for Marble Falls, and the aforementioned campground is a stoner’s whet dream from a name standpoint, and like most trails in the Sierra Nevada it gains a lot of altitude as you reach your destination, for which you give it all back on the way down. I find i’m fond of fun and it takes awhile to be able to really bang out the miles and enjoy yourself under the influence, one must train diligently.

    1. a different chris

      “I find i’m fond of fun and I’ve heard it takes awhile to be able to really bang out the miles and enjoy yourself under the influence

      Fixed it for ya! :)

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think this mostly destroys any attempts to get the White Flight Republicans Team Blue elites covet. After accusing the President of treason, any other crime will look like nothing especially to Republicans who are more or less okay with all kinds of awful already. Even if Trump was an “aberration” of the GOP (he’s not), Maddow’s Conspiracy Theory drivel built up a series of promises that can’t be delivered on. All things considered Trump is a Republican. Why would Republicans who loved Shrub be impressed by Joe “when Republicans see the White of Joe they will join us” Biden vote for Team Blue?

      The cynical way “OMG Russia” is deployed along with maintaining MIC spending will hurt Team Blue in its quest to win the “moderate”…White Flight Republicans.

      1. JohnnyGL

        It’s actually incorrect to say team blue will never get white, suburban educated republicans. They have been slowly grabbing them over the last generation or so. Each election brings another small %age into their column.

        The problem is they’re shedding working class whites over to team red and depressing minority turn out, simultaneously. And, as 2016 showed, the voters they shed were in all the right places (midwestern swing states) and the voters they picked up (in CA and NY) were in all the wrong places.

        The pattern continued for 2018, most of the red-to-blue suburban swing districts were in blue states like, again, CA, NY and NJ. The midwest did swing back toward them, somewhat, of course.

          1. a different chris

            Chuck wasn’t that far off. See he meant to say:

            “For every two blue-collar Democrats we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up one moderate Republicans in the suburbs

            Because that’s where the money is.

            1. JohnnyGL

              Exactly. And that ‘moderate’ repub is in Orange County, CA. :) Or maybe in Pelosi’s district?

              Team dem doesn’t compete for votes, they’re carefully cultivated and bred to compete for $$$. Always dialing-for-dollars!!!

            2. John k

              The problem is our society has a modest number of wealthy, and a far large number of have nots. So the ratio might be 4:1, or more.
              Schumer has math problems?

        1. Cal2


          Also, a growing number of minorities are straying from the Democrats.

          The black employment numbers, no matter how rigged the metrics of unemployment in general, and his prison reform policies and pardons have enamored some blacks to Trump who I knew in the day as Black Panthers and activists.
          Still waiting for Angela to support him :-)

          Also, Legal immigrants, who have worked their asses off and waited years to naturalize, do not look favorably on any politician who flushes their efforts down the toilet by demanding open borders and offering political sanctuary for illegals.

          Were Trump to do something devious, like pardon
          Leonard Peltier, “take that FBI!”, he would sweep up a large number of activists into his fold.
          Bernie/Tulsi is the Democrat’s only chance for the white house IMHO.
          Like a Greek Tragedy, where you know the end, it’s painful to watch their self-destruction with Biden/Butt/Beto/FrauKlobucher/Kamalacaust etc.

    2. pjay

      The Democrats and their media allies keep pushing this bulls**t, so Trump likely figured he didn’t have anything to lose. I welcome the declassification, though it probably won’t change anything. Partisans will still see what they want to see and the media will distort accordingly. The only way that this would really amount to anything is if Trump and Barr actually went after the elements of the intelligence community behind Russiagate. I can’t see that happening – with the possible exception of a few DOJ/FBI scapegoats.

      Of course it keeps the focus away from actual issues, as you say. Another bonus: four more years of Trump!

      1. Procopius


        I welcome the declassification, though it probably won’t change anything.

        Wait, what declassification? He just granted Barr authority to declassify if he runs across something classified (like and application for a FISA warrant) that he thinks will reinforce the perception “no collusion.” Barr hasn’t declassified anything yet, nor has he indicated there’s something he’d like to declassify to support his propaganda.

      2. Oregoncharles

        This situation may turn out very well: dueling investigations, one from either side, competing to release all sorts of stuff we, the public, aren’t supposed to know.

        Might even turn up some buried bodies – the president is in a position to do that, one reason some people would be assassinated if they won.

        Does anyone think the FBI or CIA are squeaky-clean?

  7. Summer

    Re: Baltimore Cyber Attack

    “Robin Hood” would be more apt for holding Goldman Sachs hostage for Bit Coin.

    But that should tell you all you need to know about the hopelessly infantile mindset of this group.

    1. Wukchumni

      Is there any possible way to transfer ownership of Baltimore, to those holding it hostage?

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Give Me Your Bored, Your Rich, Your Coddled Asses”

    The same story. The elite privatizing public spaces and reserving it for their own exclusive use while the people have to be mostly content with seeing it from afar or online. I guess too that they are nervous about people occupying it like has happened in the past and spoiling their parties-

    Oddly enough I can find no mention of the time black activists occupied the arm of the Statue of Liberty and yet I remember the story and pictures from the 70s. Odd that. That article mentions that a highlight was a close-up view of the original torch. I wonder if anybody pointed out the shrapnel damage on that torch?

    1. Jessica

      IIRC, it was native American activists.
      I did the walk up inside the Statue of Liberty. A little claustrophobic but I am glad that I got to do it.
      Making it only for the rich and substituting screen experience for the real thing, that is so typical. Arrrgh

    2. Summer

      A statue by Manhattan saying “bring me your tired, poor, hungry” is just a joke now.
      It takes a tremendous ability to lie to oneself to think otherwise.

    3. Susan the other`

      I was 62 when I visited my daughter in NYC. I was in very good shape still. She took me on a grand speedball tour of the town. I’d only been to the airports in passing so this was all very interesting. We went to see the Yankees play. Watched some spectacular modern dance. We took tour busses conducted by people who could barely speak English and got most of the details totally wrong. And the most interesting thing was that nobody on the bus cared. We hit her favorite pubs and got tanked up. Canvassed all the art galleries and museums. We walked until my feet actually hurt. We went to the Statue of Liberty and bought a ball cap of course. We snarfed street food. I loved every second of it. When we got home that first afternoon, I dove for the couch. I was almost staggering. She was busy making plans to go on another gruesome outing the next day when it dawned on me, “Oh god, I forgot to look at the Statue of Liberty!”

      1. Wukchumni

        We lived in Port Washington on Long Island in the summer of ’69. and my mom made sure we saw and did everything the Big Apple had to offer, and what was funny I thought, was all of the neighborhood kids in my well off bailiwick had never been anywhere, except for Coney Island.

  9. Wukchumni

    Our FSC is making great strides, and in the aftermath of yet another horrible fire season in the state, there is a lot of opportunity for cities to tap into monies, and it’s a win-win for SoCal Edison, as we’re making the job of keeping fire from harming us and their transmission lines, on their Dime.

    When the Three Rivers Fire Safe Council was organized at the end of 2018, it was clear that among the priorities to launch a local group would be the securing of grants to educate the community to become “fire adapted” and to begin the daunting task of clearance, easily the greatest challenge to create a fire-safe Three Rivers.

    On May 10, LaMar announced that Three Rivers has tapped yet another source for funding –Southern California Edison Company’s “Edison International Fire Safe Community Grant” program.

    There were 47 applications for the grants, and 13 were awarded in the first round; Three Rivers was awarded two.

    The Three Rivers Fire Safe Council was awarded a grant of $6,000 for educational programs and materials.

    In partnership with the Three Rivers Lions Club, the local FSC was also awarded a grant for $20,000 to purchase an industrial chipper.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Harassment and abuse at McDonalds are nothing new. I experienced them more than 40 years ago.

  10. Otis B Driftwood

    That WCCUSD item could not him any closer to home. My life partner, a lifetime educator, has been working 20+ years in WCCUSD schools, and she is retiring from the profession in two weeks. It has gotten harder each year, but especially bad recently when she transitioned to administration. She was essentially doing the work of three people.

    This is an early retirement, but if she didn’t quit now, the stress of this job would have literally killed her. I’d rather find a way to make things work with her than the awful alternative that we were facing. This is the human cost of this awful system.

  11. Eclair

    RE: Brexitannia: The Faces and Voices of Brexit @ Zero Anthropology.

    ZA always has an interesting take on events and this review of a documentary, featuring the stories that ‘ordinary’ Britains tell about Brexit (or their rejection of it) is fascinating. I wish a filmmaker would do the same with ‘ordinary’ Americans talking about Trump: why they voted for him, or why not. (And, perhaps someone has produced such a documentary. Commenters?)

    For so many British, life is becoming worse; austerity has bitten hard. Three films made in the 1990’s portrayed the despair that Thatcher unloosed upon the working class: Brassed Off (coal miners), The Full Monty (steel workers) and Billy Elliot (coal miners). But the despair was cloaked in a comedic, ‘we’ll muddle through,’ take on unemployment, destruction of towns and communities, and the emasculation of once-proud workers. We laughed, or in the case of Billy Elliot, we applauded the decision of his father to break the picket lines and return to work so he could pay for Billy’s dance education.

    The 2000’s saw new TV series that fed us a steady diet of the glories of Empire and the class system. Downton Abby, The Land Girls, Brideshead Revisited, all assure us that with the aristocracy firmly in charge and the lower classes knowing their place, all would be well. Everyone would suffer under austerity; the landed gentry would have real problems borrowing money to repair the leaky roofs over their 30 bedroom family seats and would have to lay off the under-gardeners and some housemaids. The commoners would have to pay more for health care, education and maybe even lose their job.

    So, we now have Remain vs Brexit. Which, Zero Anthropology, in another post, “Brexit, the Uncivil War,” refers to as a “fight was between preservation and restoration, both of which are conservative positions.” We lost the momentum for real change back in the 1990’s.

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      Agreed on all of that & good to see that someone has actually gone & taken a look, while being willing to listen. Personally, I am fed up to the back teeth with listening to the Remainers derision & stereotypes directed at those who have faced the majority of the consequences of globalisalised Neoliberalism. It also strikes me as not being at all wise especially when many of them called for a 2nd referendum – how not to win friends & influence them.

      On my around weekly visits to FB, I often came across a page called something like ” Let’s all laugh at UKIP “, which comprised of sneering, we are are clever & you are stupid digs. I have not seen it in a while maybe because it is Farage who is now for the most part doing all of the laughing. Perhaps it would have been more intelligent to examine the reasons for the phenomenon with a view to use persuasion, rather than stereotype millions of people as racist cretins which is most likely through resentment to confirm them in their chosen positions & prejudice.

      There were cartoons & derision aplenty directed at the Weimar National Socialists – until there wasn’t.

    2. Olga

      There was a link here recently to a great essay in the LRB
      Every para had ideas to ponder further; this was among the observations that caught my eye:
      “A reader directed him to the writings of the radical anti-psychotherapist David Smail (1938-2014), who believed that the injuries of class are ‘indelible’ and always ready to take over. ‘Someone who moves out of the social sphere they are “supposed” to occupy is always in danger of being overcome by feelings of vertigo, panic and horror,’ Fisher wrote, and, quoting Smail: ‘You are a nothing, and “nothing” is quite literally what you feel you are about to become.’ Fisher thought ‘we must understand the fatalistic submission of the UK’s population to austerity’ in this context, ‘as the consequence of a deliberately cultivated depression.’”
      Wonder what NC’s British contingent thinks of this…

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        Thank you Flora…..that will be an at least read once again at a slower pace.

  12. anon in so cal

    Opioid crisis hits school-age children:

    “The opioid crisis has come to school: From Washington to West Virginia, the number of children born in withdrawal from opioids and other drugs has skyrocketed. As these kids reach school age, they present challenges teachers say they have never seen at such a scale…..

    Expected to sit quietly, memorize lessons and manage the basic frustrations of learning, these children, suffering cognitive and developmental problems, instead tend to lash out with explosive physical aggression and wild mood swings. An elementary school in Everett designates a teacher and three aides to handle one classroom of just a dozen special-needs students exhibiting extreme behaviors….

    ….At New Hampshire’s Woodland Heights, the results have already shown up in preschool, where at least 26% of current 3- and 4-year-olds were born to or are living with opioid-addicted parents. Nearly all are in line to receive special-education services, which increased 33% districtwide between 2013 and 2018, though many do not have a traditional diagnosis. The disruptive behavior that results can affect entire classrooms.

    Despite these hurdles, 58% of Woodland Heights’ students improved on state language arts tests in 2018, 42% did better in math, and so far this year disciplinary problems are down 79% from where they were in 2013”

  13. UserFriendly

    “Pretty hurts: are chemicals in beauty products making us ill?”
    Rule of thumb, any article that tries to scare you about formaldehyde, a chemical your body makes quite a bit of naturally, is not a trusted source. Especially if they are warning about cancer risks.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think there are things the body makes that are meant to stay in certain places, and not go in contact with other parts of the body. And it’s an important lesson learned, from history, that we wash our hands after coming close to or actually touching them.

      These things may or may not include formaldehyde. But for example, our stomach can tolerate higher acidity than, say, our nose, such that we avert smelling what* another person throws up.

      (*the ‘what’ can be thought of as products the body produces).

      And all those chemicals don’t make just us ill, but they get washed into the environment, including rivers, bays and oceans.

      Perhaps we ban plastic bags, along with all these beauty products, and air travel.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          In Banning, they ban banning.

          But I am not sure if they ban banns (bans) of marriage.

        2. J.

          I’ve been to Banning, and I recommend avoiding it. I’ve personally banned myself from Banning.

    2. marieann

      The first book I read about chemicals in beauty products was “There’s lead in your Lipstick”

      I learned that there was not really lead in my lipstick but that book lead me to many other books. From them I learned that there was a huge number of chemicals in the items I used on my body every day, some safe but many questionable.
      I also learned that the chemicals in the “Fragrance” part of the ingredients did not actually had to name said chemicals…a sort of “need to know” basis
      Knowing what I know about big business and the lack of trust I have in any of the products they make, I erred on the side of caution.

      I started making my own and when I couldn’t find a way to make my own (mascara) I stopped using it.

      Of course I am an old lady now and so I get to go unadorned now without comment.

      1. Wukchumni

        You’ll pretty much never run into a man wearing a tie, or painted women here. It’s a bit of a shock when I go to a Big Smoke and glimpse distaff, who often take an hour putting on their war face, many of whom would never go out in public unadorned.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Hippie and most students in those day made a point of doing without makeup; I remember seeing it as exotic, not something I saw on peers. Young people need such things least.

        Apparently that was a good idea we should have stuck with.

        Making your own is a good idea generally, if you have time, unless you can find a trusted source.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Trump says Huawei could be part of trade deal”

    Ah, so this attack on Huawei is political after all. I can imagine how any deal would work out for Huawai going by previous Trump deals. Huawai would have to get rid of its executive leadership, cut back on their research program, scale back their plans for expansion around the world particularly with 5G, agree to be under US Treasury supervision in any transaction involving dollars, hand over their code for inspection to determine if there is a buried ‘security threat’, etc. I wonder what the Chinese for ‘stick it where the sun don’t shine’ is?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Chinese for that can likely to be found in Dao De Jing.

      “Water, being soft, wears away the rock.”

      Mr. Freeman (I think that’s his name), in an article linked here a few days ago, also quoted the well-known say, about waiting a decade to get even.

      A decade is the literal reading. I believe, traditionally, and in practice, the great practitioners of that virute (patience) have planned longer than that. After all, the shame of 1895 is still being worked on (also mentioned here recently), 120 plus years later. That relates specifically to Japan (the shame of 1895), and she should probably be concerned. But the list is long, and other shames were inflicted earlier, and have not gone away either…for example, the Convention of Beijing (or Peking), 1887, whereby outer Mongolia was ceded, by prince Gong, to Russia.

    2. rps

      There’s always more to the real story: AKHAN Statement on IP Theft
      KHAN Semiconductor recently cooperated with a U.S. federal investigation into what appears to be a theft of its intellectual property by Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. When AKHAN agreed to send its proprietary Miraj Diamond® technology to Huawei pursuant to an agreement, AKHAN expected that Huawei would abide by the agreement and its material would be returned unharmed. Unfortunately, AKHAN believes that Huawei destroyed our product, shipped it to China without authorization, subjected it to tests that it was not authorized to conduct, and returned most of it to us in pieces. We still have not recovered all of our product from Huawei, despite repeated written and oral requests and inquiries to Huawei.
      Check out AKHAN’s newsroom, boardroom of directors appointments (ex-CIA Chief) and Army contracts.

    3. rps

      so this attack on Huawei is political after all

      Or is Huawei hijacking military technology? AKHAN Statement on IP Theft
      -AKHAN Semiconductor recently cooperated with a U.S. federal investigation into what appears to be a theft of its intellectual property by Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. When AKHAN agreed to send its proprietary Miraj Diamond® technology to Huawei pursuant to an agreement, AKHAN expected that Huawei would abide by the agreement and its material would be returned unharmed. Unfortunately, AKHAN believes that Huawei destroyed our product, shipped it to China without authorization, subjected it to tests that it was not authorized to conduct, and returned most of it to us in pieces. We still have not recovered all of our product from Huawei, despite repeated written and oral requests and inquiries to Huawei.

      Check out AKHAN board of directors appointments (ex-CIA Chief) and Army contracts

  15. Vince

    Homeless transgender people aren’t being denied shelter.

    Homeless males are being denied shelter in the very few shelters that are for homeless females only.

    Given that there’s no definition or qualification for being transgender other than “I declare myself to be,” I fail to see how and why admitting some males but not others wouldn’t be discriminatory against all males.

    Sex is a material reality. Identity is subjective, changeable, unverifiable, and no more solid basis for law than is a soul.

    Note that there is already a class-action suit filed by homeless women for sexual harassment and abuse they experienced in a female- only shelter in Fresno when made to bunk and shower in groups with males who identified as women. The shelter had been instructed by the Obama administration to take any man who declared himself a woman at his word.

    The majority of males who identify as women are heterosexual and do not undergo sex reassignment surgery.

    1. Cal2




      If race or “gender” is a “social construct” and if one may change their biological sex,at least in their own mind, then changing one’s race on a piece of paper is a piece of cake.

      White students who self-identify as minority could, should and have qualified for points on admission, scholarships and affirmative action hiring once out of school.

      Who is to say what is right or wrong in these times of expanded freedom and diversity?

      1. Vince

        Certainly the two boys who are now the state champions for girl’s high school track & field in Connecticut, and are being scouted by Ivy League Women’s Track recruiters, are quite pleased gender identity is now considered more real a basis for allocating rights and protections than sex.

        The actual girls who misssed out on winning, and therefore on college scholarships — well, they’re not so happy about it, but they’re not allowed to say so. Like all girls, they’re being told to smile while they put the needs of males ahead of their own.

    2. Temporarily Sane

      The way the whole transgender thing has become, well, a “thing” is bizarre. If you read the psychiatric literature pertaining to gender related disorders, such as gender dysphoria, published before the late-1990s, the only mention transgenderism gets is that it is so rare (less than 0.4% of the population) it’s practically a non-issue.

      Yet fast-forward a decade and it’s front and center in the culture wars, has a vocal and influential activist wing and is a fashionable cause in celebrity liberal virtue fetishist circles. In 2019 if you suggest there is more to gender than whimsical “self-identity” or that parents of gender confused young teens ought to hold off on okaying gender reassignment surgery for their offspring, you might well be accused of being “transphobic” and an all around terrible and hateful human being.

      Like someone whose name I can’t remember said…a culture in which a concept like “manspreading” is taken deadly seriously, and debated in the pages of a leading newspaper like the New York Times, is not doing well. That is one example of many that indicate we have well and truly jumped the shark and are floating around aimlessly in uncharted territory.

  16. Edward

    I think India uses electronic voting. How confident can we be that the election results were not modified?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      There are claims of tampering. However it does seem that there is a reasonable correlation between the exit polls and the final results, which is usually a strong indicator that the counting has been honest.

      1. Edward

        I hope their polling is more reliable then U.S. polling. If the Indian government has nothing to hide, they should welcome measures to secure voting integrity.

  17. Wukchumni

    Gander RV’s CEO is prepared to be arrested and sent to jail for flying a 3,200sq-ft American flag that the City of Statesville in North Carolina has complained violates ordinance.

    Marcus Lemonis addressed the lawsuit filed May 7 against Holiday Kamper Co. – which is the parent company of the store formerly known as Camping World – on Thursday when he appeared on Bulls & Bears on Fox.

    ‘We have flown this flag for a long time,’ Lemonis said. ‘As I told the city…it’s not coming down under any circumstance.’

    It was despite the risk of being put behind bars if he failed to respond within 30 days to the injunction filed by Statesville City Attorney Leah Messick.

    Turning onto scenic Palos Verdes Drive South, one encounters breathtaking grandeur: the vast ocean, an infinite horizon. And then there is Donald Trump’s 70-foot flagpole flying a nearly 400-square-foot flag.

    The flagpole that Trump illegally erected at his Rancho Palos Verdes golf club over a year ago is at the center of a simmering controversy between the billionaire and the California Coastal Commission. The conflict is the latest in a series for Trump, who has long had a do-it-without-permission approach to his real estate holdings.

    After getting retroactive approval for the flagpole from the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council, Trump is refusing to pay a $10,000 filing fee for the commission’s evaluation of the flagpole and its effect on the coast.

    But Trump maintains that no one should need a permit to fly a U.S. flag, no matter the size.

    “Since when do you have to pay to put up the American flag?” said Trump, who argued that the flagpole was commensurate with the 300-acre site.

    The real estate mogul of “You’re fired” fame said he put up poles of similar dimension at his golf clubs across the country, including New York, New Jersey and Florida, all without permits.

    But that ruffled feathers in Palm Beach, Fla., where zoning officials asked Trump to remove the flag. The flag was 15 times larger than what code allows, according to the Palm Beach Post.

    Trump waged a $25-million lawsuit against the town when Palm Beach officials started fining him $1,250 per day. That dispute was settled in April 2007 when Trump agreed to a pole 10 feet shorter and away from the ocean, and to donate $100,000 to charities, according to the Palm Beach Post.
    As it turns out, a flagpole is the last refuge for a scoundrel.

  18. Wukchumni

    A new artificial photosynthesis breakthrough uses gold to turn CO2 into liquid fuel Business Insider
    I could only read a scintilla of this before BI cut me off, but what interesting implications for something that takes a tremendous amount of effort to extract from the ground, only to typically stick it back in a darkened vault somewhere.

    1. a different chris

      The stupid thing — I read the whole article — is it was at best schizophrenic about the base (pardon the alchemist pun) idea of transforming CO2 “into liquid fuel”.

      How about transforming it into liquid fuel and then not burning it which gives you CO2 right back. Ah well I don’t think they will get it to work anyway.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Parents helping kids get ahead.

    It’s Getting Way Too Easy to Create Fake Videos of People’s Faces Motherboard (resilc)

    What we humans consider beautiful can sometimes be derived objectively, and mathematically (say, the golden ratio, etc), and other times, purely subjectively. In any case, some people are born with a face that can launch a thousand ships.

    That is one more instance of parents helping their children, to the disadvantage of other kids.

    We can list ineqaulity, through inheritance, therefore, in several forms:

    1. Wealth (thank goddess, we attempt to tax a little of it)
    2. IQ (high) inherited – untaxed.
    3. Face (pretty) inherited – untaxed.
    4. Ability to jump – untaxed.
    5. Long legs – untaxed
    6. Nice hair – untaxed.

    The reader can add to the above list. Any one of them is easily monetized (except the first, which needs no monetization, unless we count any conversion that is needed – for example, converting from land to cold hard cash-money).

  20. Cal2

    “Why Urbanists Are Arguing About Housing Supply”
    Since Florida, uses San Francisco as an example, allow me to offer over a half century of personal observation on the most extreme case of ‘gentrification’ there, the Hayes Valley.

    The area was Irish, Italian and partially Japanese from the time the homes were built in the late XIX Century, or rebuilt after the 1906 fire. Before WWII, blacks were .08% (point zero eight). of the city’s population.
    After Pearl Harbor, when Japanese Americans were sent to concentration camps, southern sharecroppers were hired and moved en masse into the ‘evacuated’ neighborhood to work in defense plants in the Bay Area. Housing projects were built on the site of 65 city blocks of bulldozed homes in the 1960s.
    Black population had grown to 13.%+ by 1970.

    The rebuilt housing projects are still there. Often the third or fourth generation of residents from the 1960s still resides in them. No one is gentrifying them.

    Why do the lenses of the gentriphobic breast beaters never focus further back in time than the 1960s in San Francisco? I posit because a once pliable mass of easily controlled voters has been diluted and “lost” to outlying neighborhoods or suburbs. Who was the state assemblyman and power broker for that area back then? Willie Brown, Kamala’s launchpad.

    I like gentrification. So do black property owners who got rich when they sold, or who are now reaping high rents. The Democratic Development Donor Political Machine wants more high-rises in the name of “equity,” that’s the name of the profit game now.

    1. JBird4049

      I will agree with some of what you say. Just remember that the black populations in the rest of the city as well as the East Bay has been declining for the last few decades. This also includes the entire working class of any race although the political idiocy that stopped San Francisco from rebuilding it port from breakbulk to container shipping as well as the concurrent deindustrialization of both San Francisco and the rest of the Bay also did not help.

      I guess that the rich families like the Pelosis and the Feinsteins got what they wanted. All that is left is the Financial District (sorta as it is not as it was) and Big Tech. Most of the small useful stores and businesses that use to all over the Bay Area have been evaporating with flipping little eateries and stuff. Even the bars. So the San Francisco Bay Area is being mummified into some grotesque nightmare of what it used to be. Reminds me of what some are saying of Manhattan.

      And tack this on. Most of the urban “renewal” happened in the 1950s-70s but often the supposed slums were the undesirables lived. The blacks, the poor, the ethnics and by bulldozing entire districts (and often their individual business communities) with expressways and skyscrapers you got rid of them. Also Redlining did not officially end until the 1970s, so most blacks never got a chance to buy a house in the Post-War Boom and if they did there was a good chance that it was bulldozed.

      See Robert Moses and his handiwork in New York City. The demolition and rebuilding of much of Paris after the Paris Communes were suppressed would always be an example of how gentrification is more often a weapon against the undesirables than a true improvement program.

  21. Pelham

    Re New artificial photosynthesis uses gold to turn CO2 into liquid fuel:

    I’ve thought it odd for some time that 99.9% of the attention given to vehicles of the future goes to electric cars when there are a number of projects under way to produce truly sustainable liquid fuels. As an aspiring gearhead, I hope this pans out.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sounds like gold will shine again.

      To Au or not to Au, that is the question.

    2. Edward

      The reason electric cars are green is their efficiency, which is around 90%; the gasoline engine efficiency is only about 10%.

      1. Copeland

        Must also consider the generation/transmission of the electricity itself when tallying the (mostly thermal?) losses in efficiency of internal combustion vs. electrons.

        This is not easy to do, as the electrical grid is enormous and enormously complex these days.

      2. Kurt Sperry

        IC engines were long considered to be roughly one-third efficient in a thermodynamic sense. One third or so of the fuel’s heat energy is transformed to tractive force at the driving wheels while the rest goes mostly out the tailpipe or radiators or brakes as heat.. Fifty percent is now becoming achievable.

        If the current civilization is still around in 100 years we’ll be using metastable metallic hydrogen fuel renewably made from seawater or something.

        1. Edward

          I will take your word for it. Anyway, electric cars are supposed to be more efficient.

    3. RubyDog

      That would be nice, although the vast majority of these types of things never pan out. The article does not address some obvious questions. Does the amount of CO2 and energy required on the input end equal or exceed the amount on the output end, when you burn the hydrocarbons produced? If not, then nothing is being solved other than reducing the need for extraction of fossil fuels and the attendant environmental consequences.

  22. PeakBS

    The Bursting of the Tesla Stock Bubble


    How can the TBTF & friends raise a couple billion one week, and a couple weeks later say out loud “it’s no longer a growth story, but a distressed credit and restructuring story” ? (While the captured regulators still appear to be in a coma.)

    You can hear the class actions being filed right now.

    1. Wukchumni

      There’s interesting parallels to Elon, in ‘The Match King’, Ivar Kreuger. Both share an unusual 4 letter first name, but a lot more than that.

      Kreuger’s financial empire has been described by one biographer as a Ponzi scheme, based on the supposedly fantastic profitability of his match monopolies. However, in a Ponzi scheme early investors are paid dividends from their own money or that of subsequent investors. Although Kreuger did this to some extent, he also controlled many legitimate and often very profitable businesses, and owned banks, real estate, a gold mine, and pulp and industrial companies, besides his many match companies.

      In March 1931, during a meeting at the German Ministry of Finance in Berlin, Swiss banker Felix Somary already warned of a bankruptcy of Kreuger’s match company. By mid-1931, rumours spread that Kreuger & Toll and other companies in Kreuger’s empire were financially unstable. In February 1932, Kreuger turned to Sveriges Riksbank for the second time in his life to support him in raising a large increase in his loans. At this time his total loans from Swedish banks were estimated at about half of the Swedish reserve currency, which had started to have negative effects on the value of the Swedish currency in the international financial market. In order to grant him more loans, the government required that a complete statement of accounts of Kreuger’s entire company group be presented, as the bank’s (Sveriges Riksbank) own calculations showed that Kreuger & Toll finances were far too weak to give him more loans.

      1. PeakBS

        Wukchummi Have you read that book yet ? I have not.

        The similarities between them are amazing – a respected genius hero who eventually loses his creditability and their assets.

        Did you see the incredible admission by Morgan just a couple weeks after putting together the deal to get TSLA $ ?!??!

        1. Wukchumni

          I’ve long known of the Match King, but haven’t read any books about him…

          I’m a bit of student when it comes to Ponzi Schemes, and the biggest one i’ve ever encountered was Bruce McNall, who owned the LA Kings, a movie studio and a string of race horses.

          Elon’s gambit makes McNall’s efforts seem like penny ante.

          Here’s a story from the era…

          A bunch of major banks had loaned him money, lots of it. As the end was approaching they were getting antsy about the collateral, one of the things being rare sports collectibles, and the bank wanted to see them, so his minions combed SoCal in search of commons (baseball cards with no-names on them worth a Cent or so) and bought all they could in a week’s time and rented a big warehouse, where a tremendous amount of boxes of sports cards worth nothing were. This ruse apparently satisfied the bank ‘experts’ for a month or 2, ha!

          1. PeakBS

            “$236 million over a ten-year period”

            Sadly, that appears to be a rounding error in how much Elon will ending up blowing thru of OPM.

            Plus shortcuts that have been taken while beta testing cars on public roads, engineering design & manufacturing kerfuffles etc etc etc.

            Had forgotten about McNall.

            Thank you for sharing !

          2. The Rev Kev

            That’s like the time Rommel captured some city in North Africa and wanted to put off Allied intelligence how small his actual force was. So he had his tanks go on parade through the main street but when they reached the end of town, they whipped around again outside the town and joined the tail of the parade at the other end and would go through the town again making people think that there were more tanks than there actually were.

            1. PeakBS

              unfamiliar with that story The Rev Kev

              interesting !

              it might be a stretch to say Elon would be the guy who’s name starts with an H from WWII parading tanks around at that level but he’ll definitely be remembered more than how crafty Rommel’s career was.


              1. The Rev Kev

                My favourite Rommel quote is one that is very clarifying in a whole lot of areas of life-

                “A risk is a chance you take; if it fails you can recover. A gamble is a chance taken; if it fails, recovery is impossible.”

  23. crittermom

    >Imperial Collapse Watch: “The US military was allegedly duped…” Quartz

    $20M in fakes sold to our govt.
    In addition to having to replace these items (I’d assume, since they’re not safe), how much is the lawsuit now going to cost (taxpayers)?

    Knock-offs are no surprise. We’ve known China has been doing this for quite some time on many things.

    So the military bought from a supplier they had obviously failed to confirm as being legit? $20M worth?
    That lacks any common sense whatsoever. No oversight. Apparently just going for the lowest price.

    Then again, the words ‘common sense’ and ‘govt’ aren’t usually compatible, are they?

    1. wilroncanada

      Both the originals and the knock-offs were from China, dont’cha know.
      Flake news.

    2. Procopius

      Actually, the Chinese are so good at making “counterfeits” their “unauthorized copies” are sometimes (often?) of better quality than the originals.

  24. Oregoncharles

    Some good news:
    “Trump moves to escalate the investigation of intel agencies
    He has directed the U.S. intelligence community to “quickly and fully cooperate” with Attorney General William Barr’s investigation of the origins of the Russia probe.”

    This could work out well: dueling investigations revealing all sort of things we aren’t supposed to know. Trump, in particular, can declassify anything he wants to, as long as he doesn’t alienate someone who has the goods on him. At this point, it’s in his interest to blow the whistle on the “intelligence community”, and the FBI in particular. Does anyone think they’re squeaky clean?

  25. Tim

    That gorilla video was the most human thing I’ve ever seen from the animal kingdom.

    1. Oregoncharles

      They’re very close relatives, practically are us. I’m surprised they mind the rain, though; maybe it was cold there.

  26. Oregoncharles

    “What and Who Gave Us Trump? Counterpunch” Ralph Nader
    I rarely disagree with Nader, but here I think he leaves out something important: why so many people voted for Trump. The article is about his successful manipulation of the reality TV show that is a US election, but it leaves out the voters.

    Trump is the first president, at least in modern times, with no experience of electoral office at all. This actually explains a lot of the obvious furor in office, which also makes good TV. But I think that, along with his outrageous personality, it’s one of the main reasons people voted for him (not that I did, so I’m speculating). He’s a giant upraised middle finger to the whole political establishment. That explains a lot of the establishment’s reaction to him. Of course, he’s also a terrible president, but that’s beside the point.

    Why would people vote that way? That’s actually pretty obvious if you read this site; but one particular item, which may explain his margin beyond just Republicans (under 30%, remember), is that a lot of people weren’t doing well, or knew their neighbors weren’t, but were being told we were in a boom, a “recovery,” and everything was great. That would make anyone mad – even mad enough to vote for a buffoon as president. They also didn’t like Hillary, for much the same reasons, Maybe they even knew that Clintonism was a big part of their problems.

    1. jrs

      people still aren’t doing well and the BS of the economy doing well, unemployment being low, and other lies, damned lies, and statistics has only gotten higher and deeper under Trump.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I didn’t say it was a GOOD choice.

        I suspect that a lot of people didn’t care, anymore. Or didn’t see a better alternative.

Comments are closed.