Links 5/7/19

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Wandering horse: Strolling mare causes stir in Frankfurt Associated Press (Robert R)

11 ocean-friendly companies like Patagonia and Adidas that are removing plastic from our seas and transforming it into cool new products Business Insider (David L)

Organisms That Breathe Arsenic Discovered In the Pacific Ocean New Atlas

Found this, thought it was pretty good for people who don’t realise what’s going on r/collapse (NP). Important.

Rapid permafrost thaw unrecognized threat to landscape, global warming researcher warns Science Daily (guurst)

BBC (resilc, David L)

U.S. doctors use medical records to fight measles outbreak Reuters (EM)

Data Isn’t ‘Truth’ Forbes (Kevin W). Important.

German parents may face fine for refusing measles vaccination Guardian (resilc)

Mechanics, chemistry and biomedical research join forces for noninvasive tissue therapy PhyOrg (Chuck L)

Why a safe and effective dengue vaccine is proving elusive Scroll (J-LS)

Aging baby boomers are about to push Alzheimer’s disease rates sky high USA (resilc)


Trump trade war 2.0 is Asia’s nightmare Asia Times (resilc)

Global Markets In Tailspin After Trump Reignites Trade War OilPrice. But: Dow makes stunning comeback, recovering nearly all of 471-point plunge on hope trade deal not dead CNBC. Wonder who they found to paint the tape? But: Stocks Fall After U.S. Says It Will Raise Tariffs: Markets Wrap Bloomberg

With Trump threatening to tighten the trade screws, here’s a look at what tariffs have done so far MarketWatch

How Chinese Spies Got the N.S.A.’s Hacking Tools, and Used Them for Attacks Image New York Times (David L)

We Win Trade War, The Communist State Falls Apart American Conservative (resilc)

Hands off the Arctic: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warns China & Russia away from the north RT (Kevin W)

North Korea

Kim Jong Un’s Weapon Test May Have Included Ballistic Missile Bloomberg (resilc)


Tory MPs ‘will move to oust Theresa May this week’ if she agrees Brexit deal with Labour Telegraph

EU elections to be NEW Brexit referendum in WARNING to Tories say experts Express

Senior Labour strategist warns against a shift to Remain after the local elections Guardian

Angry Grenfell Tower survivors and grieving families claim public inquiry ‘failed’ them and showed ‘a total lack of respect’ for the 72 people killed Daily Mail

Madrid court allows exiled Catalans to run in EU election Politico


Pompeo won’t promise to consult Congress about potential military intervention in Venezuela SFGate

Anti-War Voices Warn of CIA Provocation to Kill Guaidó, Blame Maduro MintPress (furzy)


The U.S. Is Pressing Iran To Breach The Nuclear Deal Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

Turkey says it will not bow to U.S. sanctions over S-400 deal Reuters (resilc)

China Set To Defy U.S. Sanctions On Iran OilPrice

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Refunds For 300 Million Phone Users Sought In Lawsuits Over Location-Data Sales ars technica

Microsoft offers software tools to secure elections Associated Press. Kevin W: “Microsoft security for Voting? (Insert joke here)”

Facebook Contractors Categorize Your Private Posts To Train AI Engadget

Trump Transition

House Judiciary to begin contempt proceedings against Bill Barr this week Axios (furzy)

Mueller Stoked Trump-Russia Alarmism, Despite Finding No Collusion Truthout

Mnuchin formally rejects Dem request for Trump’s tax returns The Hill

How the Pentagon took ownership of Trump Asia Times (resilc)

Trump Could Cost Future Retirees Billions Bloomberg (furzy)

Chronicle of a Failure Foretold: Trump Turns the Screws on Cuba War on the Rocks (resilc)

Trump’s former lawyer heads to U.S. prison that offers matzo ball soup and full-time rabbi Reuters (EM)

How US and Foreign Intel Agencies Interfered in a US Election Consortiumnews (UserFriendly)


Pundits Rewrite History To Defend Biden’s Record Of Dog-Whistle Politics Shadowproof (UserFriendly)

2021 Could Be a Nightmare For Liberals, Even If Trump Loses New York Magazine (resilc)

We must demand of candidates: how real is your commitment to fixing democracy? Lawrence Lessig, Guardian. Resilc: “Never a story on “fixing” the endless wars and a trillion $ a year on the military empire.”

Hedge fund firms accused of cheating public sue Kentucky pension agency over fraud suit Lexington Herald-Ledger (j3). This is sure to be thrown out, since the Kentucky Retirement System isn’t party to the suit and even declined a request to join the plaintiffs (although the filing gave air kisses to it). As one attorney noted: “Dragging a non-party into
court is a real stretch, but this move is clearly aimed at chilling other funds from supporting similar litigation in different states.”

The Ruthless, Secretive, and Sometimes Seedy World of Hedge Fund Private Investigators Institutional Investor (Paul R)

Short positions on Lyft cast shadow over Uber IPO Financial Times (David L). Musk has been shameless in making shit up to squeeze Tesla shorts. With so much at stake in the Uber IPO, one can expect move adept measures to achieve similar results.

Class Warfare

Why the ‘one percent’ in the US is worried Al Jazeera

Putting A Face To Surprise Bills: Among Specialists, Plastic Surgeons Most Often Out-Of-Network Kaiser Health News

Antidote du jour. Bob: “According to the former couch owners, it just wanders over from next door to sit in the sun.”

And a bonus from guurst:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. Jesper

    About: “Data Isn’t ‘Truth’ “… Nor is data the same as information. I’ve worked (and will probably work again) for companies who believe that data and information is the same – the ‘data-driven’ companies….

    People (and organisations) who do not understand the difference between the two tend to ignore information that might be easily and readily available in their pursuit of data. Usually the information is found among the ‘peons’.
    Statistics is a difficult subject to master, modern statistical tools are very easy to use. The combination of easy to use tools for a difficult/complicated subject can be hilarious/painful to see. It is similar to seeing your run of the mill bog standard pointy-haired manager trying to use heavy machinery – it works for easy tasks but for day to day operations then experts are needed. Good luck in telling managers that experts, with salaries to match, are needed when they’ve been sold on the easy to use tools.

    1. Off The Street

      Pyramid of success seen in various forms over the years, with data at the bottom. Those conflating data and information may be scheming.


    2. aleph_0

      I know so many MBAs who like to start sentences with “The Data Never Lies.” When people talk about science as a new religion, it’s not that proper science has been proven a poor way of understanding man things in the world, it’s that a whole bunch of charlatans have used the cloak of science to peddle garbage as truth.

      To those MBAs, I like to respond with Cathy O’Neil’s pithy truth that “There is no such thing as raw data.”

      1. Higgs Boson

        Stamp’s Law:

        The government are very keen on amassing statistics. They collect them, add them, raise them to the nth power, take the cube root and prepare wonderful diagrams. But you must never forget that every one of these figures comes in the first instance from the village watchman, who just puts down what he damn pleases.

        (Josiah Stamp, 1st Baron Stamp)

        1. lyman alpha blob

          A little off topic, but I’m reminded of a joke I heard yesterday.

          Two hunters and a statistician go out duck hunting.

          They spy their quarry and the first hunter shoots and misses left.

          The second hunter shoots and misses right.

          The statistician yells “You got it!”

      2. eg

        This is funny, because I had a colleague who used to say, “statistics tell stories — and some of them are lies”

  2. John Beech

    We Win Trade War, The Communist State Falls Apart American Conservative (resilc)

    Who cares if the Communist state falls apart? I don’t. I only care about selling enough goods to make payroll and taxes with enough left over to be worth the bother. What the CCCP is up to half a world away doesn’t even make the top 10. And I’d bet you a milkshake a businessman in China feels the exact same.

    But let’s say the CCP falls apart. What changes? Nothing. Why not? It’s because the top dogs will keep running the show. Note; and how is this ‘any’ different from the USA? You know, where the top dogs (the rich) run the show and the rest of us (the not rich) are like mice on a treatmill?


    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘Who cares if the Communist state falls apart?’

      Actually you should care. Just suppose that the CCP does fall apart so that once again you have several “states” run by de facto-warlords. Have you given any consideration to China and it’s weapons of mass destruction? Who inherits them? What if you have an extreme Nationalist seize hold of a few nukes and decides that the breakup must be the fault of the US and so must pay for all the chaos. Got access to a bunker? Kinda hard to sell goods when a lot of your customers are ashes. Here is a link to what is known that China has. Of course here the big worry is the submarine-launched ballistic missiles-

        1. Monty

          Everybody else in the world, after the ruling class realize it’s game over for them and launch them all out of spite.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        On that concern alone, there are a few nations that we ask if we care that they should ever fall apart.

        Countries like the USSR, UK, France, Israel, India, Pakistan, US, North Korea, maybe Taiwan. All of them have (or had) weapons in question.

        And, for example, when Yellow Vests are protesting all over France, any talk of instability can lead to concerns about bombs falling into the wrong hand, can it not? (search ‘yellow vests protests civil war,’ and a few articles and video links show up).

    2. Ignim Brites

      The thrust of the article is that we must radically cut our trade with China because the CP is dependent upon the status quo trade structure. Maybe, but China’s growing labor shortages will require significant restructuring so that existing labor can be redeployed to more valuable enterprises. Maybe China cannot do it but they have no choice but to try. Hence, a trade deal may be possible.

      1. Procopius

        Predicting a trade deal seems to involve ignoring whatever it is that Trump wants. Do you know? Please tell me, because I don’t. It looks to me like some economic crank in his staff told him, “Hey, you know what? In the 19th Century we had a lot of tariffs and no trade deficit.” He doesn’t seem to understand who pays tariffs and what the trade-offs are.

    3. pjay

      The comments on this article in TAC are pretty good for pointing out some of its significant flaws and omissions.

      1. prodigalson

        In general TAC keeps trying to float various Randroid arguments and shibboleths from the 80s and their commentariate takes them to the woodshed each time. Political realignment is well underway, there’s a lot of fractures within conservadom as all the promises from the 80s have crashed and burned. You’ve got Tucker Carlson on Fox calling Trump a dope and arguing against regime change, meanwhile Rachel Maddow is cheering John Bolton for being a man of principle or something. There’s still a LOT of koolaid drinking 80s conservatives, just like there’s a similar batch of Clinton democrats trapped in the myths of the 90s. No idea how this will all play out, I hope the awareness that the prior generation of (D) and (R) both failed and that the cult of greed has to go. My fear is the tribalists from team red and blue will just keep taking turns at the steering wheel and making a more dystopian reality with each day.

        We live in weird times. Pretty far cry from the optimism of the 50s in flying cars, moon colonies, and capitalist utopia in the future. Now it seems to be which flavor of Orwell/Huxley do we endure.

        1. Chris Cosmos

          reat comment! Yes, we are in the midst of a serious re-alignment both inside the Washington power-structure and even more so with the population. We are facing a plunge into fascism or fragmentation with a chance at unity only if people stop watching, reading or listening to the mainstream media which is absolutely the enemy of the people and the most toxic institution in our country at this time.

          1. prodigalson

            The media went full yellow-journalist stenographer McCarthyite in the span of a few years, the days of a Dan Rather type, even with all his warts, seem positively quaint.

          1. wilroncanada

            Mine too, because people have become convinced to be passive observers, amusing ourselves to death, taking various kinds of Soma. The news media became part of the problem long before WWII. I would trace the media revolution back to Bernays. People like Rather, Morrow, others, in many countries, betrayed real new reporting by becoming “STARS,” thus more important than what they were reporting.
            Journalists cannot be stars. Ask Izzy Stone.

            1. Procopius

              You should also look at Walter Lippmann’s Public Opinion. I was surprised at how authoritarian he was. The 1% have been that way for centuries.

        2. shinola

          The future we face is probably closer to “Mad Max” than “1984” or “Brave New World”.

        3. Oregoncharles

          “Realignment” is a very mild word. “Collapse” is more like it. The Empire is ending, and many unpleasant phenomena accompany it.

          My attitude is bad tonight because I just learned that Medicare disallowed a doctor’s appointment – the first in 3 years! This means I’m back to “don’t get sick.” I might as well not have insurance, because I can’t take the chance of another $500 debt. Tomorrow I’ll call up and find out what’s going on, maybe, but I think I’ll cancel the appointment I have. they can just send me my test results in written form, the way they’re supposed to. No more. Not too happy with the medical xperience, anyway.

          Cranky, like I said.

          I never expected this in the heat of the 60’s, don’t know why not, but I think it’s over.

      1. pjay

        Yet another example of two people who look at the same issue and see two completely different realities. That seems to be the case with pretty much everything today. On this issue, I would say Kunstler’s vision is a bit sharper.

      2. Cal2

        And Charles Smith, an observer who can take the complex and explain it succinctly;

        “China is two economies: one developed and wealthy along the coast, the other rural and impoverished….China can’t have it both ways: if China can afford an army, navy, space program and power projection of a superpower, as well as a global currency, it can’t claim any implicit “right” to trade deals with no enforcement or consequences, nor can it expect to get a free pass to brazenly flout every deal it signs.”

        “Trade Deal” halfway down page

        1. notabanktoadie

          Otoh, it is hypocritical of the US to give foreigners* a positive return on the inherently risk-free debt of the US (including positive interest on reserves (IOR)) and then complain that foreigners prefer that debt to US goods and services.

          *Not that citizens deserve welfare proportional to account balance (what Bill Mitchell calls “corporate welfare”) either.

        2. Oh

          China America is two economies: one developed and wealthy along the coast, the other rural and impoverished…

          There, fixed for ya.

    4. lordkoos

      You should care, perhaps, about the instability that would result if the Chinese communist party should collapse.

  3. vlade

    Labour strategist warns against shift to remain:

    The problem is that Labour is damned if it will, damned if it won’t. That said, it will be most damned if it sits on the fence, as more and more voters from both sides will stop trusting it.

    IMO, there’s no other way, if Labour wants to stay relevant, it has to come off the fence – to an extent, it matters far less on which side than that it (finally) does. I believe that wit clear leave/Remain message it the clarity of it’s other messages would go up too, as right now they are pretty much ignored and all gets swamped by the leave/remain ambiguity and infighting.

    1. Redlife2017

      Vlade – yes, I think you’re certainly on the right track. “Constructive Ambiguity” isn’t really a vote seller, nor is it really a philosophy of action…which is funny considering Corbyn is normally allergic to that sort of wishy/washy no action thing. You may not like his actions, but dude normally will throw it down.

      Of course, what Labour wants in it’s negotiations with T. May isn’t really a thing in any event. People are arguing over a Customs Union that is basically what the withdrawal agreement is (sorta?). But the EU has been unhelpful in being ambiguous as well on what some things mean and what we can really get at the end of it. I’d like to say that I believe that the leadership understands these things, but, I’m not really sure they do. I suspect (as do others in the Labour party) that we are on the long-road to “no deal”. I’m not sure there is any way to sell that dog to the voters though. I’d prefer to put my head into a G&T when I think about it too much.

    2. David

      I’ve always assumed that the constructive ambiguity in Labour’s position came from the judgement that Brexit was actually possible in some form and that Labour could not be seen (or argued to be) the party that stopped it happening. On the other hand, Labour did not want to be too closely associated with failure and certainly not with a crash-out. I’m not sure this judgement holds any longer. Public anger seems directed (understandably) against the system as a whole without much nuance, and I don’t think that there’s much more to be gained by manoeuvring to distance themselves from the Tories when the system has shown itself incapable of reaching any kind of conclusion. What they could do is to say that the Tories have failed to deliver, have betrayed the Brexit vote, but also caused massive damage to the country and its reputation. They have no chance of succeeding and cannot be allowed to continue. Corbyn will therefore introduce a motion to withdraw Art 50, which if it succeeds will be impossible for the government to ignore, but which even if it fails can establish Labour as the party of rationality. Corbyn would promise to take the issue up again when he was PM. This is difficult and in many ways unattractive as an option but what isn’t? The EU won’t like it, it will be unpopular in many quarters etc. But I frankly don’t see an out to this mess that isn’t going to leave the British system a smoking ruin anyway.

      1. shtove

        Oh, I can’t see Labour suggesting revocation. That’s the UK’s simplest escape route, exercisable at the sole discretion of the PM at any moment, without encouragement from the opposition. That’s why the ERG want rid of her now.

      2. witters

        Ah, ‘the Party of Rationality.” I remember that line: it was what distinguished the Dems from the GOP. And work? – you should’a seen it!

  4. John Beech

    Mnuchin formally rejects Dem request for Trump’s tax returns The Hill

    Like the Russia-Russia-Russia story, this one is also good in that it will drag out and in the end provide support for the President. At dinner last week with another Republican-leaning fellow business owner the topic came up and outrage ensued about tax returns for political purposes. I rather doubt only Republicans will be distressed at their taxes being used for political purposes because if this genie comes out of the bottle the game changes for everybody. Any bets Nancy Pelosi wants Republicans rooting around in her tax filings? Schumer? The facts are Congress gets to trade in inside information, which is against the law for citizens. It’s no accident and basically, it’s how they get rich. Stir this pot at your peril is my thought.

  5. Wukchumni

    …the Kosher Nostra?

    Trump’s former lawyer heads to U.S. prison that offers matzo ball soup and full-time rabbi Reuters (EM)

    1. Off The Street

      Itzhak Perlman, one of the prior Kosher Nostra, says to cue the violins.

    2. Lee

      Meanwhile, in a less humorous but related thematic vein, the ideological descendants of the Stern Gang are well on their way to realizing the dream of a “totalitarian Hebrew Republic” replete with democratic rituals and corrupt cronyism at the top. They are indeed the Middle Eastern country with values and institutions most like our own.

      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘They are indeed the Middle Eastern country with values and institutions most like our own.’

        Maybe not so much. Israel’s Channel 13 aired footage recently where rabbi educators at a state-sponsored military prep-academy were teaching all sorts of fun stuff like that Hitler was right about a lot of stuff, that they are a master-race and that not only do Palestinians want to be under occupation because they have “genetic problems” buy goyim want to be slaves. Of course this was in a West Bank settlement but still…

    3. BobW

      I thought of adding federal prison to my retirement plans, but don’t think I would get one of the good ones without any pull.

  6. Olga

    Why the ‘one percent’ in the US is worried Al Jazeera
    Where the article states: “But Gates is wrong. The current system in place in the US is not capitalism, but rather “socialism for the rich,” which favours the “one percent” by granting it ever-increasing subsidies, exorbitant tax breaks, deregulation, and executive bonuses,” my thought was that Bernie should change his slogan (or, add to it). The new slogan could be “if socialism is good enough for the 1%, then it is good enough for all of us! Let’s go get it!” (If we can – of course – agree on what is meant by “socialism.”)

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Pompeo won’t promise to consult Congress about potential military intervention in Venezuela”

    That’s funny that. I know enough about government organization to know that the SecState is definitely not in the chain of military command. That runs from the President to the SecDefence to the actual military. Here is a chart showing the actual relationship-

    I sometimes wonder if there is something about the position of SecState that makes them feel the urge to take command and be the boss. No, I am not thinking about Hillary here and Libya. Anybody remember when Ronald Reagan got shot back in ’83? The SecState back then – Alexander Haig – tried to make a power grab for power. He told the White House team-

    ‘Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the president, the vice president, and the secretary of state in that order, and should the president decide he wants to transfer the helm to the vice president, he will do so. He has not done that. As of now, I am in control here, in the White House, pending return of the vice president and in close touch with him. If something came up, I would check with him, of course.’

    Trouble was that the US Constitution says that it should have gone first to the Speaker of the House and then the president pro tempore of the Senate. The worst part of this power grab? None of the White House team apparently knew the US Constitution enough to call bs on Haig.

    1. larry

      Rev, the next in line to the presidency is, of course, the veep, then the speaker of the house, and then the president pro tem of the senate. It wasn’t long before Haig was brought back onto line. I can’t remember how it was done, but done it was.

      1. The Rev Kev

        The Veep – George H. W. Bush I believe – was out of town when Reagan got shot hence Haig’s power grab.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      After various cabinet reorganization acts including Homeland, State has been left with two jobs, fill in for the VP at funerals when the VP is too stupid and help college kids find their lost passports. State gets all the accolades of an important job and plenty of time to sit around and fantasize. Not knowing much about the world isn’t a job of State, but they are very good at it.

      Because of phones and international organizations run out of DC, internal White House advisors, Defense, and Treasury took much of State’s old role. Like any job overseen by the President, it depends on the President’s mood. I’m pretty certain Kerry was far more relevant than HRC, and Condi’s relevance didn’t change when she became Secretary, she just wound up with a better office.

    3. Wyoming

      There is a misunderstanding here about how power works. What formal power is vested in the Dept of State or in the person of the Secretary of State is not particularly relevant to the exercise of power. If you can accumulate the power you can execute it.

      Just as Bolton is supposed to only be the National Security Advisor (in that he is supposed to be presenting to the President a synthesis of the intelligence provided by the entire community to the President for him to choose to best step forward) where in reality he has a very different set of powers and acts outside of his formal charter. The same is true for Pompeo. Just as Trump exceeds in execution the powers he is actually supposed to have.

      Pompeo and Bolton have in their hands a vast amount of power and great influence on what the US is going to do internationally. Formal job descriptions are ignored and have no meaningful impact on what they can decide to do. All that counts is what they can talk Trump into doing or, even more significantly, what situation they can create which will leave as the only viable path forward the one they desire. War with Iran, invasion of Venezuela, total sanctions on N. Korea (and hopefully war), confrontation with Russia, and China, etc. They have accumulated enough power that they have the ability to move forward on these objectives. That is all that matters.

    4. Chris Cosmos

      The State Department used to be a rival of the Pentagon–but it had no chance. So it decided to become another service within the purview of the National Security State and is now a military organization just like the CIA and all the rest of that ilk. US policy only has one policy–full spectrum dominance through and only through coercion and bribes.

    5. Roy G

      What I find revealing is that Pompeo acts more like the SecDef than SecState. His naked belligerence is far far removed from when the US had actual diplomats practicing the art of diplomacy.

    1. allan

      One of the last administration’s many crimes of omission was to not investigate
      whether the culture of voicemail hacking and suborning law enforcement
      that was endemic in News Corporation’s UK operations
      was also part of News Corporation’s US operations.

  8. marym

    Trump May Redefine Poverty, Cutting Americans From Welfare Rolls

    One proposal the Office of Management and Budget suggested in the filing is to shift to so-called chained CPI, which regularly shows a slower pace of price gains than traditional measures. Chained CPI shows slower inflation growth because it assumes consumers will substitute less expensive items when prices for specific individual goods increase significantly.

    …President Barack Obama in 2014 proposed switching cost-of-living adjustments in Social Security and other retirement programs to the index. Congressional Democrats responded with an uproar, causing Obama to abandon the proposal in later budget


    1. Adam Eran

      Lest we forget: Bill Clinton colluded with Newt Gingrich to “end welfare as we know it.” Before that “end,” 76% of those needing public assistance got it. After: 26%. It threw a half million adults off of food stamps.

      Thomas Frank reports Clinton also had a deal to privatize Social Security (before the market crash in the Great Recession!), but had to abandon it because of Monica Lewinsky. We owe that girl a lot!

  9. Brindle

    re: Lawrence Lessig….The Guardian

    This piece by Lessig is underwhelming and shallow. He has a Biden-esque desire for bi-partisanship. Pollyanna-ish. Lame.

    —“If the Democrats make fundamental reform a “day one” commitment in the next administration, there is at least a chance that that commitment might help rally reformers among Republicans as well.”–

    1. dcblogger

      true story, until 2016 I respected Lessing and Lawrence Tribe, and thought that they were worth listening to.

      1. JohnnyGL

        It’s been really crazy to watch a lot of people do some serious credibility cliff-diving around Russia-gate and Trump, more generally.

      2. beth

        I followed Lessig for almost two yrs and in that time he presented a way forward, but as soon as you learned on his tac, he immediately pulled out of that approach and was on to a new one. Everyone who listened felt whip lash. In essence he accomplished nothing at all. Lambert understood him before I even learned about him.

        Total waste of time.

    1. Isotope_C14

      What’s most depressing is that no one in power seems to want to stop the problem, which is that of an unplanned economy, e.g. “Let the market decide”, instead of WWII-era-scale, planned-economy attempt to fix the problem.

      Admittedly I’m in the camp of, there is no fix, but we should likely try. At the very least the nuclear reactors need to be decommissioned, and the fuel rods launched to mars, should we not go full-on Venus with our stupidity. The sea-level rise is baked into the cake, and the elevation 6-feet above sea level reactors are not the greatest idea. At least it’d be nice to give life another chance to re-evolve here…

    2. Cal2

      “Something especially depressing about today’s collection of links.”

      Like humans servicing cat ventriloquists?

      “fuel rods launched to mars?” One failed high orbit reentry and they vaporize, potentially giving every air breathing animal on earth lung cancer. Bury them.

      Speaking of WWII, it’s amazing how when a competing economic system threatened Wall Street and its access to natural resources, this country came up with instant patriotism, health care plans, mass transit, instant industrialization and massive infrastructure projects like the TVA, to power Oak Ridge and build The Bomb, not give electricity to Hillbillies, etc. Gee, I wonder?

      1. Isotope_C14

        I’m not sure why this 1964 event is so hard to access on the interwebs these days. I guess the pro-nuke lobby probably finds a way to shut them down for their own personal propaganda.

        I’ve read previously that the satellite poofed somewhere in low-earth-orbit and have no way to confirm this. I guess I should have been using the snipping tool for things I thought would be public knowledge.

        As far as my statement, fuel rods launched to mars, it would be to help life evolve there, not here. Apparently the core of mars is not particularly hot, and we could give the future martians a little boost in making the planet warm enough for life, since we are going to cook our own here.

        But at least the markets were “Free”!

    3. Lost in OR

      Indeed. I’m getting less and less joy out of watching this slow-motion train wreck. I should probably reframe that statement but I won’t. In a sense, I feel like I’m not much different than the Maddow watchers. Just a little different.

      I search these daily posts for news I can use. Like communes or gardening or community building. Periodically, some real gems show up.

      It’s hard to see through chaos and scorched earth to a path forward. Somehow, I need to release the chaos and insanity this site captures so well. I’m curious what sites NCers might share that help bring the order and sanity we need to get through this.

      1. jrs

        There is some activism though it’s not going to be found in following the presidential horse race. Not that I discourage anyone who wants to volunteer for the Sanders campaign (or being otherwise involved) from doing so.

        There are local attempts to change laws, there is the DSA (don’t believe how much it gets slammed, while that may apply to a few localities, it’s on the march), citizens climate lobby at least around here, some groups that barely seem off the ground like the sunrise movement that however do have potential.

      2. Geo

        Personally, I find the best way to help bring order is through direct action in our own lives and communities. Seek out local groups doing good stuff. Find causes you care about and get involved.

        We can’t all change the world but we can make it a slightly better place for some. Even if it’s just a small gesture to someone having a bad day it will make you both feel better.

      1. pjay

        Naturally, when warned not to click on something I have to click on it. I must say you were right! For those who do not want to be further bummed out, listen to Lemmy Caution’s caution.

      2. Rod

        The title is really subtle framing for an expression of such real deal truth–imo.
        I read it three times. First time was such a buzz kill I was sure I missed something positive. I didn’t. But the Righteousness sounded louder and clearer the second and third times. He’s sick of it and pissed off. I’m sick of it and pissed off. Everyone that thinks it so should be as sick of it and pissed off-imo.

        He is telling whoever reads it:
        Stop tolerating the middle ground on climate change. there is no middle ground on gravity, the earth is round, and we are on the verge of collapse.

        He used that word– ‘tolerate”–because it’s personal–and that is where it starts.

        1. RWood

          So consider another view (not contrary):

          Today’s news from the IPBES [] is not an easy read (nor should it be). As a chaser, I suggest climate scientist Kate Marvel’s words in Scientific American, [ ] written about climate change on last year’s winter solstice. “This is the alternate reality. This is the timeline we hoped for: the one in which we have a chance, no matter how small, to make things better.”

          Flora Graham, senior editor, Nature Briefing

          [can’t seem to eliminate trailers after “?” in links w/o losing link]

        2. aletheia33

          yes, we are already in crisis, have been for some time, have been ignoring it, and it is becoming observably more dire every year now.

          we, and our children, will have to change the way we think.

          we, especially we of the west and especially of the USA, will have to change the way we process our experience at the deepest level.
          we will have to change our idea of what has meaning for us and what doesn’t.
          we will have to change our attitude toward death, our own and those we care about.
          we will have to learn how to dwell in a level of uncertainty that we have no preparation for tolerating.
          we will have to relearn old wisdom.
          we will have to learn how to tolerate massive suffering going on around us without letting that destroy our ability to care.
          we will have to learn constant readiness to die right now, however many years we’ve been lucky enough to live, with equanimity, based on constant cultivation of the awareness of our mortality.
          we will have to become, in our minds, mortal, frail, utterly dependent on one another, no longer deluded.
          some of us will learn all of this by necessity.

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            Raven sees far, stole fire, and brought fire to Humankind.
            Did Raven act as benefactor or maker of long mischief
            and future feasting for Ravenkind.

      3. Jeremy Grimm

        It’s even worse than that. There are many coupled tipping points in our modern society and its supports. I believe it is far more likely society and with it human populations will collapse as a result of multiple combinations of smaller collapses occurring in society driven by many disturbances from Climate Chaos, resource exhaustion, disease, war, famine, greed, and stupidity.

  10. jfleni`

    RE: Facebook contractors categorize your private posts to train AI.

    Reason 1001 to dump “Buttbook forever”

    1. RopeADope

      Reason #1001 for the FTC to fine Facebook an amount equal to it’s retained earnings. Facebook has clearly shown that is is now a criminal enterprise so you follow through on this self-admitted phase change. This is done by removing the accrued financial assets from the earlier phase.

      Retained earnings to date are ~43 billion.

    2. Craig H.

      They omit the most sinister detail.

      Facebook (and google and amazon and the NSA) all have a jfleni`-bot that they are bringing up to speed with the goal of making the meat-jfleni` superfluous and subsequently disappeared. They have one for each and every one of us.

      That this goal is a logical impossibility is irrelevant. The Be Powers are funding it. Who knows why but it is obvious what for.

    1. Lost in OR

      Yes, and Democratic leaders who fake left and drive right are horrible people. Our Clintonesque Gov. Brown has a knack for it.

  11. WJ

    From “Pundits Rewrite History to Defend…” Biden article:

    “I mean, you got the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” Biden said of Obama in January 2007.

    This quote is quintessential Biden: nonsensical, racist, and patronizing all at once.

    I am not on social media, but if I were, I think I would just tweet this quote all day long.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      It’s odd, or not, that that quote has not been brought up more lately.

    2. Geo

      That one and his more recent one talking about the struggles of Millenials where he said, “I have no empathy” should be nails in the coffin of his campaign.

  12. JohnnyGL

    Doing some poll-watching this morning. I like Morning Consult’s poll. It comes out weekly and seems to be the least heavily ‘loaded’, compared to other polls like CNN, specifically.

    Biden’s definitely gotten a boost of around 10 points. He’s taken a few points off Sanders, which makes some sense, since Sanders’ voters #2 choice comes up as Biden (and vice-versa). Biden seems to have stopped Mayor Pete cold, and Harris and O’Rourke continue their slow fade (O’Rourke’s fade is a little faster). Call me optimistic if you want, but I actually see some silver linings here.

    1) It seems that there’s a lot of fluidity between Sanders/Warren/Biden/Harris supporters. Plenty of polling data showing that the public don’t know much about Biden’s record, just that he’s a likable guy with funny internet memes and was Obama’s VP. There’s plenty of time to draw sharper contrasts on policy records.

    2) Which leads to questions about who you’d like your opponent to be as a Sanders supporter. I think the clear choice is Biden.

    Candidates like Buttigieg/Harris/O’Rourke want to pretend they’re on your side and confuse you. That’s frustrating to deal with because we’re stuck parsing words in speeches to detect wiggle room. Biden isn’t doing that. He’s running on straight up conservatism/centrism in the Dem Party. He’s really going with the notion that the lesson of 2016 was that team dem is fine and the result was chiefly a Hillary problem, and nothing more.

    If you want a real policy battle….you want the Biden vs. Sanders head-to-head showdown. It’s the most clarifying match up and the verdict will be clear for the political class around the country. No fretting over identity and personality or any of the fluffy stuff. Two crusty old white guys with very different views of where the country is and where it needs to go.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      Good analysis–I agree with you. Once people find out who Biden is and see the nasty SOB behind his fake smile (why do people love fake smiles so much?) he’s not going to survive no matter how hysterically the media supports him and demonizes Sanders.

    2. Carolinian

      The problem is that this Dem primary is likely to be less about policy and more about who is most likely to beat the hated Trump. Even Sanders is susceptible insofar as he has taken the pledge to support any other Dem that might prevail. You can already see the MSM warming up to this theme in a WaPo story I linked in yesterday’s Cooler–i.e. Bernie is withdrawn and wonkish and not a hands on (and how!) politician like oh say Biden.

      So I’m not sure Biden would be Sanders’ ideal opponent as the media–and they have great power–are clearly going to favor Biden.

      1. JohnnyGL

        ‘Electability’ is a fickle thing, even if it’s a useful tool for the establishment to manufacture consent.

        Right now, Biden’s pushing it because of the polling edge at the moment. The problem is that the argument rapidly erodes away, if/when those polls tighten up, — and they can move as fast in the other direction as they have in Biden’s favor thus far.

        Once Biden doesn’t have the ‘electability’ argument….supporters will ask what’s the point of supporting him since he’s building his case around that and a ‘return to 11/8/2016’.

        Also, think of the damage to Biden’s candidacy if he starts losing a string of states in the primaries.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Chiefly a Hillary problem, and nothing more.


      Not a few people can buy into that.

      Her unfavorable rating then.

      Her tactical decisions (like not paying attention to some key states).

      Exclusively? No.

      Chiefly? You can make a case of that.

      Plus, it was close. It’s entirely possible, if they replay the same game again, even with the same actors, given it was not a landslide, the result could flip, due to some inherent randomness of the process.

    4. Partyless Poster

      It would also help destroy the old fallacy of “their all good candidates so don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” which I’ve already seen in editorials.
      All one has to do is point out that Biden is closer to Trump politically than Sanders.
      The idea that if you have a D after your name makes you one of the “good guys” must die.

  13. Summer

    RE: 2021 could be a nighare for Democrats

    The focus is on the Senate. Then it includes the prescription of statehood for Puerto Rico as a possible way to increase representation for the Democratic Party in the Senate.
    While there are many reasons for Puerto Rican statehood, the country has been exploited long enough, the assumption that it will automatically be a boon for the Democratic Party is misguided. That will require as much work, and same care, as turning the red states and neglected rural areas on the mainland.

    Puerto Rico Statehood: A Conservative Case

    1. Cal2


      Consider what happens if a winner like Bernie is passed over for a mediocrity like say, Harris or Biden and Trump wins, how many Democrats are going to stay home in the midterms?

      “Say, whatever happened to the DemoWhig Party?”

      1. Summer

        I don’t think there is any way around expanding the participation of new voters and people turned off by the binary political system.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Seeing your comment made me take a look at the article.

      It’s basically a pointless article because of the underlying mentality. It frets about how hard it is to get 51 Ds in the Senate. But that’s irrelevant, because Doug Jones and Joe Manchin mostly just vote with Trump, anyway.

      The way to approach important legislation is to publicly put the squeeze on the holdouts. Force an early floor vote on Medicare for All. Then, start holding rallies and town halls in the states/districts that you want to flip and have conversations and make the case. Tell their constituents to call their reps and DEMAND Medicare for All.

      I don’t care if there’s 70 Repubs in the Senate. With phone calls flooding in, media coverage, extensive polling support from the public, and the use of the bully pulpit to twist arms, they’ll crumble or they’ll be heading to the unemployment office in two years.

      You don’t think so? Look at the power of Obama’s veto threat and Saudi Arabia’s endless bags of money when legislation came up allowing 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia. It passed 98-2 or something crazy like that.

      We haven’t seen the real power of a presidency put to good use with the muscle of strong public support in a long time.

    1. Brindle

      Yes, many Trump supporters believe that white people in America are discriminated against and they love Trump because he is unashamedly on the white folks side. The expectation of a “race war” is also a component of some Trump supporters—part of the reason they are so concerned about their guns.
      I know a couple of strong Trumpists and these memes come to the surface.

    2. bob

      Honest question- What has Pareene ever done of any note? Lots of people I respect seem to see something in his writing that I never have.

      I did see his backside running away from Taibbi as fast as he could…

      Is that what makes a name these days?

  14. dk

    2021 Could Be a Nightmare For Liberals, Even If Trump Loses New York Magazine (resilc)

    Neglects to mention that effective climate policies will be wildly unpopular with US consumers.

    Frankly, an autocratic fascist committed to ecosystem preservation by brutal force would get my vote.

    1. jrs

      unpopular with u.s. consumers, who knows, at this point many people are tired because everything has been reduced to individual responsibility BS (like the recycling that doesn’t work, and avoiding straws and …). But if it wasn’t all made the stupid individuals responsibility … who knows who might be on board for shared action (maybe most people, though not the usual suspects).

      I mean there is lots of propaganda out there on the divine right to consumers to what they want when they want it, but I suspect it only sinks in an inch deep.

      But yea the article on the Senate being an obstacle. Yes that’s a problem, the nominee has to have coattails and even then, it might not be flippable (and then the question of what kind of Dems you get and if they are willing to pass good legislation or at least able to be pressured to do so).

      1. WJ

        It would be perhaps an illuminating exercise to chart the growth of the number of “retired” intelligence officials and generals featured on cable news networks since 2013.

        Likewise, it would be interesting to review the coverage of major foreign policy initiatives since 2012–i.e. Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Iran, Venezuela, to name just a few–and their coverage in the media.

        This same period witnessed the development and perfecting of social media warfare–sock puppets, live-steamed faked videos, etc.–and the proliferation of “independent” expert entities like Bellingcrap, Institute for the Demise of Democracies, a newly voluble Atlantic Council, etc. Even such amateurish–but for Naked Capitalism materially significant–outfits as PropOrNot are likely as not part of a broader coordinated disinformation campaign, which has been subcontracted out at several levels to several “friendly” foreign domestic private partners. Facebook and Twitter and Google are certainly involved in this as well. (Think how well you can control information flow to the masses by changing Google’s search and display algorithms alone. Hardly noticeable to somebody who’s not paying attention.)

        I predict that such an analysis would reveal that the propaganda has on every level become more and more blatant and to some extent less intelligent since 2013, as having a clear legal mandate it does not need to hide itself as much as it once did.

        I would be also be interested to see how beholden to MIC money and the Israel lobby were the original sponsors and pushers of the bill. I bet there’s a nonaccidental correlation there…

        1. pjay

          Yes. It’s like they don’t even have to pretend anymore. They can say anything, and when their claims are exposed there are no consequences, it’s just on to the next blatant lie. I haven’t checked it out, but I’m almost certain your last point is correct.

          1. Bernalkid

            Just opened new New York Review of Books and the premier piece is “An Indictment in all but Name” David Cole
            High class doubling down though I admit that have not got beyond the first paragraph. LOL

  15. Whoamolly

    re: Microsoft voting software

    Sounds good to me. Its open source, which means anyone can examine its internal workings. Plus it is backed by a company with huge financial and intellectual resources.

    It is also said to be designed to work with a system that uses hand marked hand counted ballots.

  16. zagonostra

    >BS – Bernie Smear

    I wish that NC would start a category called BS for Bernie Smear. I’ve lost track of how many WaPo, NYT, The Hill, Politico articles have already appeared to steer people away from Bernie Sanders (below are just two which came up on my Google News – which is a pathetic way for anyone to receive news but does indicate what the MSM is spewing out at any given time.)

    Republicans pray for Bernie as Democratic nominee

    On Saturday, the New York Times published an interesting interview with Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi titled “Pelosi Warns Democrats: Stay in the Center or Trump May Contest Election Results.

  17. Also sick of it

    RE: Marc Doll FB post via Reddit

    No comments so far on a link Yves flagged “Important”. The “I’m sick of…” paragraph towards the end sums up my feelings for years now. At least I’m well past middle age with no offspring so I won’t have to witness the carnage to come. Western “civilization” will destroy itself and take much of the world down with it. The first part doesn’t bother me so much, the second part depresses me greatly. So much suffering and death to come reflecting the suffering and death we’ve brought to the rest of life. Keep focusing on the economy and politics folks, I’m sure that will solve everything. Money and words mean nothing. Action and life are everything. Wake up! Regenerate and foster the web of life if you give a damn about your offspring’s future and forget about your damned material wants, they are a death sentence for the future of your species and most others.

    1. CoryP

      It’s a good and important post. Doesn’t say anything I hadn’t already been thinking for years, though.
      I can relate to Isotope_C14’s attitude of “self-immolation and despair”, but I find that most of the time I’m stuck in uncertainty and confusion about what I’m supposed to be doing.

      I’m 30, living a privileged western life, though not privileged enough to survive a Jackpot. I’m fortunate to be on the verge of buying my own home, but signing a contract that seems likely to extend past the end of civilization naturally brings up these questions. I’m lazy and not so attached to life that I’m willing to start homestead prepping — that seems kind of futile. Yet just accepting the situation and giving in to inertia and living for the moment seems morally wrong.

      I mean, there aren’t (and never were) any guarantees in life, but this is just a baffling concept to think about. Sadly the future is no longer what it was.

      1. Oregoncharles

        If you own a house, you can at least take up gardening and try to be a model of conservation.

        If everyone did that…

        1. CoryP

          Yeah I guess that’s more or less my plan. I just feel like I should do something dramatically different than the rest of society, but i don’t know what that might be.

          And thankfully no kids. Being a homo is nice since I can’t have them by accident either hah.

  18. Oregoncharles

    Sidebar to the BBC article: “Brexit: UK will take part in European elections, says David Lidington”;

    At which point, I assume, the brown stuff hits the proverbial fan. Should be interesting, if you don’t live there.

    With luck, this should completely destabilize the party structure in the UK.

  19. Summer

    We must demand of candidates: how real is your commitment to fixing democracy? Lawrence Lessig, Guardian. Resilc: “Never a story on “fixing” the endless wars and a trillion $ a year on the military empire.”

    Cause the establishment has already “fixed” democracy (by the sorry definition imposed on the world). The fix has been in since 1776.

  20. chuck roast

    “How US and Foreign Intel Agencies Interfered in a US Election”

    And whose name pops up but Dimitri Simes. I missed this part of the whole Mueller extravaganza. Apparently, Dimitri spent a substantial amount of cash from his “think” tank Center for National Interest defending himself from the Mueller’s inquisitors. Now his tank is running low on fuel.

    I checked the Center’s website and the Honorary Chairman is Henry Kissinger and the Chairman Emeritus is Maurice R. (Hank) Greenberg…at the very top of the list and separated from the rest of the hoi polloi on the Board of Directors. Need you know more? You do!?

    Well, Greenberg, who stole billions from AIG, was cutting annual checks to the Center for $1 million. He has recently reduced his contribution to $50 grand annually. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. I remember Simes from around the time of the Soviet break-up. Mr. Eminence Gris. The clouds could not have been more threatening. He was kind of like Stephen F. Cohen’s alter-ego. Here is a guy who made Richard Nixon look like a fellow traveler. But, as the Consortium article says, “(t)hose in the FBI who were so stupid as to buy into this (Simes/conspirator) nonsense should have their badges and guns taken away. They are too dumb to work in law enforcement.

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