Links 6/13/19

Sajid Javid signs US extradition order for Julian Assange The Guardian

Wine has barely changed since Roman times, and that’s a problem TreeHugger

France’s fascinating ‘wine treatment’ BBC. From last month, still worth a read.


Walking Alone: On “Digital Minimalism LA Review of Books

Sunday dinner: The family tradition we need to bring back NBC. My Mom hosts family dinner every Wednesday night. My two sisters who live nearby, their husbands and any of their progeny who may be in town usually attend; the rest of us join them when we can.

Massive Ebola outbreak spreads across DRC border, infected 5-year-old in Uganda Ars Technica


Gulf of Oman tanker blasts: Crews rescued safely BBC

Tanker incident in Gulf of Oman CNN. At the time of posting, I can’t tell how serious this is. This link includes live updates.

Today’s Attacks On Ships In The Gulf Of Oman Are Not In Iran’s Interest – Or Are They? (Updated) Moon of Alabama

Waste Watch

Recycling trade associations still see potential to grow export markets Waste Dive

Fracking Companies Lost on Trespassing, but a Court Just Gave Them a Different Win ProPublica

How modern life is transforming the human skeleton BBC

Class Warfare

How Titans of N.Y. Real Estate Were Trounced in Historic Rent Law Deal NYT

Punishing Kids With Years of Debt Marshall Project

Your airport security line could get longer next year — and TSA officers are not a happy crew WaPo

Denver Police Testing Idea Of Civilian Teams Responding To Some 911 Calls CBS Denver

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

What Apple knows about you Axios

The Biggest Data Breach Archive on the Internet Is for Sale Motherboard

Leading voting-machine vendor vows to ditch paperless voting Ars Technica

Microsoft and the Pentagon Are Quietly Hijacking U.S. Elections TruthDig. Lee Camp.

Why AI Deepfakes Should Scare the Living Bejeezus Out of You NY Observer


Brexit: a mistake the nation cannot afford

Boris Johnson supporters want no-deal Brexit and less talk of climate change – new survey of party members reveals The Conversation. And I want a magic sparkle pony and a kangaroo. And a llama.

Health Care

Medicare for All Goes to the Hill Jacobin


Even the 1% Know They Aren’t Paying Their Fair Share: New Poll Shows 60% of Millionaires Support Warren’s Ultra-Wealth Tax Common Dreams

Elizabeth Warren Has a Plan for Everything — Except Health Care Jacobin

Watch Bernie Sanders Deliver Speech on Why Democratic Socialism ‘Only Way to Defeat Oligarchy and Authoritarianism’ Common Dreams

The First Democratic Debate Deadline Is Almost Here: Who’s In And Who’s Out FiveThrtyEight

When Pete Buttigieg Ripped America’s Missionary Zeal Politico

Propaganda Is The Root Of All Our Problems Caitlin Johnstone

Online shopping: why its unstoppable growth may be coming to an end The Conversation


Protests set stage for historic clash in Hong Kong Asia Times

Hong Kong protests against extradition bill may look like Occupy – but young, leaderless demonstrators have learned lessons from the past SCMP

US, not UK, most threatened by Chagos row Asia Times


Language Policy: Education in English Must Not Be the Prerogative of Only the Elites The Wire

Indian villages lie empty as drought forces thousands to flee Guardian

In India, insects are slowly disappearing – and that is a cause for worry Scroll

India’s Adani wins green light for long delayed Australian coal mine Reuters

A railway station that looks more like an airport Economic Times

737 MAX

FAA Official Endorses Boeing Timeline for Max Return This Year Bloomberg Good to know that’s been settled then.

Norwegian 737 MAX denied entry into Germany, lands in France Aerotime News

Trump Transition

JOHN KIRIAKOU: Bolton’s Long Goodbye Consortium News

‘I think I’d take it’: In exclusive interview, Trump says he would listen if foreigners offered dirt on opponents ABC News

Why Trump’s clampdown on academia is forcing many Chinese researchers into a difficult corner SCMP

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. Ignacio

    RE:Wine has barely changed since Roman times, and that’s a problem TreeHugger

    To be sure there have been identified about 1800 grape varieties used comercially to make wine. There is already a concern to identify as many varieties as possible. In Spain more that 200 varieties are cultured for wine production and there are more than 100 “local” wines that use regional varieties or variety mixes. In Spain, multivarietal wines are more frequent than monovarietal wines. Besides, about 300 additional varieties have been identified in Spain by the research network (of these 200 were unknown and have no name). In Portugal 300 varieties have been identified and 400 in Italy. Many of these have different names in different countries but are sinonimous.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I understand that one of the reasons foreigners migrated, en masse, towards Rome was to satisfy their wine connoisseurship.

      If so, you can’t call them uncivilized barbarians.

      And it could be for that reason, for the Gauls. Not sure about the ancient Germans thought, but today they love beer more than wine.

        1. polecat

          “Even good in the afterlife.”

          If it was good for the Dynastic Egyptians, in this case raw honey, well then ..

          Humm .. I wonder what 3000 year-old mead tastes like ?? Guess I’ll have to deposit a case or three of the ‘homebrew’ into my sarcophagus, for the time when I can imbibe at journey’s end.
          That reminds me, berry season is almost upon us here at the polecat haus .. time to start a couple of batches of berry/ginger mead .. it’s to die for !

    2. ewmayer

      What an odd article: It begins with the fact that most popular vintages are close genetic relatives of what our ancestors grew. OK, that would be a problem if that’s all that were getting grown, and consequently genetic diversity were getting lost. But the article next quotes an expert saying “The Old World has a huge diversity of wine grapes — there are more than 1,000 varieties planted — and some of them are better adapted to hotter climates and have higher drought tolerance than the 12 varieties now making up over 80 percent of the wine market in many countries. We should be studying and exploring these varieties to prepare for climate change.” If the experts are saying this, such ‘studying’ is surely underway. The piece then finishes with a bizarre bit about such studies possibly being hampered by “Europe’s strict labeling laws” – hello, if half the world is on fire and people are desperately looking for alternative crops which grow in the new normal, I kinda doubt those ‘strict labeling laws’ are not gonna get revised drastically. In a sense this is like the econ/finance wonks warning about the “climate change threat to markets” – yah, I have a feeling we’re gonna have bigger things to worry about than the frickin’ Dow Jones taking a dump, dude.

    3. Acacia

      RE: Wine has barely changed since Roman times… I forwarded this article to a French friend whose family owns a small chateau that has been involved in wine production since the time of the revolution. She found the article rather annoying, as it doesn’t seem to reflect an understanding of wine and in effect makes a neoliberal case for culture as a commodity rather than real cultural diversity.

      Moreover, she observes:

      No, we are definitely not drinking the same wine as the Romans did, because they liked it with herbs and honey. Open parenthesis here, the Roman Empire stretched from Scotland to North Africa to say nothing of the Greeks who drank wine before them and they used to mix wine with water as only barbarians would drink pure wine. And we’re not drinking the same wine as even four generations ago, because everyday table wine used to be made localy and wasn’t very strong, not like today with wines hitting 14 degrees alcohol, nor to mention all the “rue des coteaux” or “rue des vignes” etc. existing in France. Today’s Georgia claims to be the land where wine was invented but that’s not a very interesting approach. Anyway, obviously the article misses the main point which is the importance of the terroir, which is at the base of wine making. The grape variety counts but the land counts more. Actually, there is a whole generation of French winemakers who don’t want to be AOC and prefer to be more creative by being freelance vin de pays.
      Current wine production isn’t that organic though. And wine like the rest has been subject to mass bad quality production, i.e.: south of Europe & Maghreb.

      1. Oregoncharles

        ” the Romans did, because they liked it with herbs and honey.” And lead. They fermented grapes in lead-lined vats because it made the wine sweeter – a lead salt is very sweet. Lets hope that practice is over.

        Given a recent fashion for flavored mead, the herbs and honey recipe might prove very popular.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Further thought: wine grapes have seeds. Every time you plant a seed, you get a new variety – which may or (more often) may not be preferable to the old ones. This means that in wine country, there are doubtless thousands of new varieties hiding in the hedge rows or people’s back yards. I’ve got one growing on my fence. Haven’t tried making wine with it – maybe when it gets bigger. But my wine making skills aren’t much of a test.

        So the alarmist tone of the Treehugger article strikes me as silly. So wine makers have been carefully nurturing proven varieties; if they become difficult to grow, they’ll start searching the hedgerows. What does really well in Morocco (which does grow wine)? That will do well in southern France, quite soon, as the climate moves north. It’s going to be expensive, but everything will move a couple hundred miles north – where the terroir is a bit different, of course, so subtle differences. False problem.

      3. Ignacio

        That is too frenchie. That could be true long ago but now in southern europe you find lots of small and medium wineries making excellent wines. If you go to a supermarket in france you find more wine labels but not better quality than in a spanish supermarket. Not to mention that for the same price what you buy in Spain is much better.

  2. Carla

    I’m sad that it’s getting harder and harder for me to follow Links because of paywalls. When Bloomberg, WaPo, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, the LA Times and many other major sites are closed to one, it becomes harder and harder to access the wonderful variety of news that our beloved NC Links have provided to so many of us for years. I couldn’t possibly afford subscriptions to all these publications. How are others dealing with this? Any tips?

    Searching the title on Google (which I normally eschew in favor of Startpage) used to work for many sites, but no longer.

    1. Lee

      I pretty much just settle for reading the headlines and imagine what the contents of the article might be. As indicated by comments posted here by those who do read the articles, I’m generally not too far off the mark. IIRC, Thoreau’s rationale for no longer reading newspapers was that once one had learned the general principles at work, one no long need acquaint oneself with the details. But then I’m an old dog and human behavior is pretty much a bag of old familiar tricks. OTOH, the weather and other natural forces are coming up with some unsettling surprises these days.

      1. urblintz

        “…once one had learned the general principles at work, one no long need acquaint oneself with the details.”


        1. The Rev Kev

          Hey, that is the philosophy behind a MBA. You see it at work when they speak. It drives me nuts when you hear a person speak about their business and it does not matter if they are talking about a building or a ship or a tool, they always call it the “product”.

      2. Wukchumni

        I find that reporting I read on events expected to transpire in the future dovetails nicely with long term weather forecasting.


        …think of the newfound power of the headline, as that’s all us cheapskates will ever glimpse

      3. Svante

        Yeah, I really like this strategy. Looking at Caitlin’s hysterically nuanced and typically understated saga of how George Kurtz & a whole mess of oligarchs pulled RussiaRussiaRussiaGate™ to cover up, well… pretty much everything that’s happened in coup 3.0? I think we pretty much concur that we can make up better, or at least more plausible sounding bullshit, based entirely on our own unresolved traumas?

        1. tegnost

          I think we pretty much concur that we can make up better, or at least more plausible sounding bullshit, based entirely on our own unresolved traumas?

          yes, I’ve been doing this for the past couple of days, ruminating on why amazon would want regulations on recognition software. Generally amazon would be asking for regulations as a barrier to entry for the competition, i.e., amazon didn’t pay sales tax until it wanted it’s less “robust” competitors to suffer, at which point they’re all for it…so what gives, and it didn’t come to me until I watched 47+(beginning to end just after finishing work? not my usual habit there) minutes of bernie and flash! it came to me. They prefer to have republicans make the rules before the election because that will insulate them in the event that a centrist dupublicyst fails to win the presidency. You won’t see that analysis in the WaPo…

          1. Svante

            I’d posted a link from 2014, as evidence that the blogs had long been aware of an issue, unreported here in the US. Upon re-reading it’s update, I’d thought, “this is kinda over the top… naahhh, nuh-uh,” only to discover the author’s pretty well authenticated edu citations. Who KNOWS? I know somebody here, who couldn’t understand why we used to buy organic eggs, peanuts, blueberries and wondered how slick water fracking, or Uber could turn a profit?

            1. Epynonymous

              Rock 92.9’s DJ just shared yesterdays (?) link to the March fire where Universal lost a bunch of original rock tapes.

              I wonder where they suddenly got that story?

              Side note: I noticed that although Louie Louie and Sam the sham and the Pharos were lost, a lot of the lost tapes were from black artists, and I just wondered if they weren’t moved as a priority because of the way black art is categorized differently…

              Keep up the great work.

              1. Svante

                I’d figured, from what folks like Ruth Brown had written; it had as much to do with Mr. Market (like pretty damn hip Lavern Baker not realizing just how she was selling in Asia, until she ended up there?) Atlantic, had Ray Charles’ catalog, but I’m asking an exceedingly close friend who’d been with CBS and nobody’s going to admit to this.

                1. Svante

                  See? Great work, my fuzzy pink butt. I’ve not found a single worthwhile URL about your astute observation. I was guessing, it was more dependent on which gobbled-up “race record” label recorded them, like the “hillbilly” or latino recordings? I’ll ask Johnny Otis next time we speak?

                  Anybody? ANYBODY?


        2. lyman alpha blob

          Here’s a link from Johnstone’s piece today – Outrage on Capitol Hill over ‘completely unacceptable’ US-funded scheme to shape Iran debate

          United States officials say they are outraged by a government-funded troll campaign that has targeted American citizens critical of the administration’s hardline Iran policy and accused critics of being loyal to the Tehran regime.

          State Department officials admitted to Congressional staff in a closed-door meeting on Monday that a project they had funded to counter Iranian propaganda had gone off the rails. Critics in Washington have gone further, saying that the programme resembled the type of troll farms used by autocratic regimes abroad.

          Russia cubed is right out of the Rove playbook – accuse others of what you are actually doing yourself.

          The officials profess to be outraged. Wonder if they were also shocked, shocked to find out this was going on.

          1. Svante

            Bush, Zbigniew, Marie Jana Korbelová, Kermit Roosevelt, John Foster Dulles’ playbook… I’m still betting Robby, Debbie and John getting it from David Brock, tipsy as they must’ve been?

      4. Chris Cosmos

        Once you learn the “lines” followed by the propaganda organs you can write the articles yourself. However, from time to time, nuances indicate changes in the lines on various issues so there is hope that the Central Committee may be rearranging chairs.

        1. polecat

          At least the Onion’s not behind a rocky wall .. it’s grown thru the crevices, somewhat, even with the root replacement.
          … and then there’s always CRACKED to get the gist of what ails us .. through its unique erosional forces.

      5. jrs

        there is real value to the articles and the news organizations (printed word anyway). Now don’t confuse this with they aren’t biased and don’t have their party lines. Because they do and it’s good to know what they are (but it’s subtle with some papers compared to say real obvious with NRP or CNN). Ok I don’t think CNN has any value whatsoever frankly, NPR does but only with enough grains of salt to endanger one’s blood pressure! But many papers have some value. Bias is unavoidable, of course it doesn’t help that the papers bias is corporate, but we know who owns them.

        I don’t know a way around it, news is becoming paywalled period.

    2. Ignacio

      I agree, and have noticed that apart from paywalls an increasing number of sites require registration. I am trying to use an extension that disables javascript according to a recommendation by commenter LarryP.

    3. Jessica

      I run three different browsers (Opera, Palemoon, Chrome). I try to avoid using Chrome but some work-related sites only work correctly on Chrome.
      By default, all three are in private mode, but if a site (WaPo) demands non-private mode, I open a new non-private window for that article and close that window after I am done with the article.
      This seems to keep me on the right side of the monthly limit for most sites.
      Googling the title worked for FT the last time I tried it, but I am often too lazy to bother and if the article is good, usually one of our commenters will post up the best bits. [Thank you!]
      I can’t do anything with WSJ except read the first little bit and wait for a commenter to provide a tasty excerpt.
      I hope this helps you but does not give those sites any ideas.

      1. Corbin Dallas

        Also, the FireFox addon “Temporary Container” will allow you to put such “5 free only a month” sites pemanently into a temporary container, which stores no cookies, but importantly is NOT private mode (since WaPo and NYT block private mode). Very handy tool. I use it for Facebook too… you get the best of both worlds, remember history from tabs/windows but not any of your personal data.

    4. John

      …and the NY Times. I have not. bothered to add up either the weekly or yearly cost of websites that I once visited daily. At least The Guardian and Asia Times are still open sites.
      On another topic: Sanders-Gabbard.

      1. Svante

        There’s STILL a New York Times?!? Subscribers still READ (as opposed to simply grocking their opinions from MSDNC?) I’d sorta gotten used to just reading Mondoweiss and Haaretz; figuring NYT was agin’ whatever actual factual journalism they’d published?

    5. Wukchumni

      Think of what we’ve become…

      Back in the day before the turn of the century, there were a few newstands in L.A. where you could buy an array of newspapers from around the country-a day old, or on foreign periodicals, maybe a week old. Now we have the ability to read them in real time, although similar to the vendor back then, he’d get cranky if you read beyond the headlines without buying a copy.

      I remember in the early 1980’s going to the U.S. Consulate in Auckland, in order to pore through couple day old Yankee fishwraps fresh off the 747. Reading the NZ Herald whilst there, it was as if for all intents & purposes, the rest of the world barely existed.

      1. Susan the other`

        Yes. It’s like we are different animals altogether. I think for the most part it’s been good. I just want to see it kept open and cheap and uncomplicated. That’s all ;-)

      2. Harold

        My grandfather used to buy and read about five newspapers a day for pennies each. The NYT now charges $2.50 for a paper copy. But if you are a teacher or scientist it is free.

      3. christofay

        In early 1980s Taipei the best free reading spots included the U. S. library near the city’s botanical garden where they had a poetry magazine in a tabloid newspaper format where I read a poem by John Ashberry that included a line I loved but never found somewhere else. I photocopied the multi-page poem for 2-1/2 cents per page and kept it till I lost it. Lots of magazines there to read including Mother Jones, this during the Reagan administration. The other cheap reads was to go through a hotel catering to international travelers and pick up a copy of the International Herald Tribune or Wall Street Journal for free off the front desk. That was something you could do as a foreigner and get away with it.

    6. SteveS

      What works on many sites is to delete their cookies, then reload the page. It doesn’t work for many of them. Last time I checked it does work for LAT and NYT, doesn’t for WaPo.

      Firefox makes it easy. Next to the URL address is a green lock symbol. Click on that and one choice is to delete cookies for that site.

      1. Procopius

        It works on the WaPo for me, but I use Chrome. I think you have to enter the full url name, washingtonpost dot com.

    7. Frank Little

      I can sometimes read FT articles by searching the headline on Twitter because subscribers are allowed to share a certain number of articles per month with their non-subscriber friends. Doesn’t work all the time but might work in a pinch.

    8. JacobiteInTraining

      My main strategy to deal with that problem is — good bye, and good riddance.

      Any site that paywalls me, doesn’t want me…and thus I don’t want them. It serves as that final kick to re-emphasize that a range of perspectives and analysis by small independent news/journalism/blogs are where its at.

      I read a variety of them from left to right, I pay their donations and use their tip jars, and I think the internet ecosystem is the better for it.

      Oh, as one other small tip for consuming paywalled stuff: you can go to reddit’s ‘news’ and ‘worldnews’ sections, read the comments on the articles, and sometimes a kind soul will have pasted all or a majority of the text of said article into the comments section.


      1. lyman alpha blob

        Any site that paywalls me, doesn’t want me…and thus I don’t want them.

        I feel the same way. I had no problem paying for a print newspaper and still subscribe to some magazines. I felt the small cost was justified because circulation was limited by geography for most papers unless you made special arrangements to have out of town papers sent to you.

        Today the potential readership for a news website is pretty much everybody and with the money they make off advertising because of those potential eyeballs, they ought to be free of charge. If a site really gives something of value like NC, then I feel a donation is warranted.

        Hopefully these sites will take a hit once they start seeing fewer eyeballs because of the paywall. I really thought they had given up on that bad idea – lots of sites used to be paywalled years ago – but for some reason they are now going back to it.

        1. Anders K

          While I don’t disagree that the ads could pay for it, know that by accepting that bargain you give the ad companies the power over the newspapers (or rather the people between the ad companies and the newspaper, aka Google atm). If a newspaper chooses this path, forever will they have to kowtow to the Dark Side, to paraphrase Yoda.

          Also, since it’s essentially a winner take all situation on the net, sooner or later Big Newspaper will come for the Mom and Pop Newspapers (Walmart, but with no physical barriers to stop them).

          One of the main problems is that we got used to the Internet being free – whaddya know, the shaggy leftists who wanted information to be free got their monkey’s paw wish come true. Except it’s everyone’s personal data that comes for free too.

          That said, as long as the current situation lasts, you should be able to get one of the really secure browser packages (like running it in a Virtual Machine and having it reset everytime you restart it) to get your free X articles per month over and over. Not quite as easy as just installing a few browser add-ons but if there’s interest you can holler at me and l will write something up.

    9. flaesg

      Turn off javascript for all of those sites and you’re in. Your browsing will be faster and safer too.

      Except for WSJ where you have to manually append ?mod=rsswn to the URL to get the article. Happy hunting!

    10. Joe Well

      I vote for more independent media and less MSM.

      I am very grateful to NC and Lambert for introducing me to outlets I would not have known about otherwise.

    11. Jon Cloke

      Most offer a certain number of free articles a month – when they’re exhausted the pay-wall comes into play.

      I’ve been told by people who know that you can download CCleaner (free software) from the CNet site and clean your browser before you go online – they can tell when you’ve run through your quota of free articles because of the cookies in your browser.

      Allegedly, according to my expert friends, if you clean the cookies the free article count goes back to zero…

    12. Lambert Strether

      > I’m sad that it’s getting harder and harder for me to follow Links because of paywalls. Searching the title on Google (which I normally eschew in favor of Startpage) used to work for many sites, but no longer.

      Clear your cookies. The only place that doesn’t work for me is WSJ. All the other sites work for me. At the start of a session, I just sit down and clear my cookies.

      1. Oregoncharles

        that makes it considerably harder to access my online banking site, but might be worth it.

    13. Harry

      Of course the FT is easy to just google the headline in question to usually find and read it.

      I use up my WaPo allotment but I generally find that I can still view them on different mobile devices. Same with NYT.

      Its only the WSJ I have trouble with, and now I have a friend who will send me any piece I want if I ask nicely .

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The update indicates that MoA may be changing his mind about this.

      I think its quite likely that Iran, or proxies, are involved. If it was a false flag there would be more of an attempt to provide direct ‘evidence’ of Irans involvement, such as a convenient ‘made in Iran’ brand on a mine.

      Its credible that Iran is sending a message that it will not simply sit back and accept sanctions, that there is a price to be paid. Attacks like this don’t just send a message to SA and UAE, pointing out their vulnerability, but also to customers around the world. They can’t just assume they can switch from Iranian to Saudi products without paying a price one way or another.

      Internally, it would also placate hardliners that ‘something is being done’ – there is undoubtedly a lot of internal discussion within Iranian power structures about what to do. Just sitting tight and trying to wait things out is a hard argument to make when the country is suffering right now.

      Its a difficult balance to hit, but I think using these (so far) non-lethal attacks that can legitimately be blamed on Houthi’s or Shia radicals within the Gulf States is a good strategy for Iran. But its a high risk game all sides are playing – one wrong move and the war can go hot.

      1. John

        …and the war can go hot And who would make the first strike? Certainly not the Saudis; they much prefer to have others do the fighting unless the target is perceived to be helpless. Nor would the small states of the region. I think the only way it goers hot is if the USA makes the first move.

      2. Brian (another one they call)

        Thank you PK. Your idea is feasible. Then again, Iran doesn’t do this sort of thing for many of the same reasons. There are 5 or 10 actors that would love for everyone to think it is Iran, and then shape the news coverage following the desired narrative. Iran makes out best if all the Shia revolt, and they are all watching what is done to make “evidence” that will certainly be used against any nation defying the dictate. There are a few nations that would sacrifice their own to promote this war and they are well versed in propaganda by missile.

    2. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Yes, thanks – I’d noticed that and corrected the link and title before I saw your comment, ex-PFC Chuck. But on another day, I might not have picked up on this point- so thanks for drawing the issue to my attention.

  3. bassmule

    Wine has barely changed since Roman times: There’s an app for that. It’s called massal selection.

    “Selection Massale (aka Massal Selection) is a French wine growing term for the practice of replanting new vineyards with cuttings from exceptional old vines from the same (or nearby) property. Massal Selection is what they call the “old way” of propagating vineyards that’s been replaced with vine clone nurseries. However, several state-of-the-art vineyards are changing their planting methods back to Massal Selection due to its long-term benefits of increasing individuality and uniqueness in wine.”

    Preserving Wine Diversity: Selection Massale.

      1. bassmule

        Well, not all.

        The first U.S. vines exported to Europe were from the Northeast, under the direction of C.V. Riley, state entomologist of Missouri, who first identified the phylloxera aphid as the culprit. Some were not successful, but V. aestivalis, V. rupestris, and V. riparia were. But what really got the technique widely accepted was the result of a meeting between T.V. Munson, a Texas nurseryman, and French ampelographer L. Vialla in 1878. For his work, Munson was awarded a French Legion of Honor medal. Richly deserved!

  4. PlutoniumKun


    The real money shot is in the last two paragraphs:

    This would have been about the time that the Earth was emerging from the last ice age. The period of wild, swinging indicators could have been some noise in the climate signal, errant pulses of information that need not be taken literally, for they might have originated in ice that had flowed and folded over bumps in the Greenland bedrock.

    Then again, it might suggest something else with pressing importance in our own era: that climate can change quickly and drastically.

    This was known before the ice cores – there is plenty of evidence written in the landscapes of the previously glaciated areas of the northern hemisphere (visible to the trained eye) of shatteringly rapid shifts in temperature that occurred for the few thousand years during the start of the current warm period. It wasn’t the gradual retreat of the glaciers that some imagine, but a period of intense shifts from cold to heat, from wet to drought, often over the course of just a few years (so far as can be measured). This is the real threat, not a gradual heating of the planet.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      Indeed. Anyone who has studied biological systems knows that organisms and ecological systems do not change in a linear manner but through sudden “jumps” when homeostasis has been breached. Why people imagine that climate change will be gradual shows the horrible state of our science education. This is why I see no hope in remedying the situation without the help of aliens, angels or some other miracle.

      1. polecat

        I always keep my parka in good condition, should I have to jump suddenly through a climate hoop. You just never know when Gaia decides to endow you with snake-eyes !

        1. Wukchumni

          There’s around 250 caves hereabouts, and i’d become a troglodyte toot suite if Gaia hurls the high heat all of the sudden, and 55 degrees is more my speed.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


            Can u save a cave for me? Its a long way by foot from Louisiana…

            1. Oregoncharles

              Lots of caves in the eastern Midwest – Kentucky, Indiana; a lot closer to you. Might be a lot of demand for them, though; summers there are already unbearable (I grew up there, go back for family events.)

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        file this under careful what you wish for:
        i wish the weather would decide on one state or the other.
        as a farmer guy, i don’t know whether to plant lichen or date palms.
        to plan for desert or for swamp
        prior to maybe 7-10 years ago, there was a modicum of predictability to seasons and weather…hence the old farmer’s Signs(like when you see a scissortail(a kind of swallow) winter is over, etc)
        to wit, last few mornings, it’s been 56 degrees…in the middle of texas…in the middle of june.(then rises to the 90’s. by sunset).
        year to year variation i can handle,lol.
        dry year, wet year.
        but when february is hotter than june, something is terribly wrong.
        chaotic swings are what i’ve expected for 20+ years, since i first got the intertubes and studied the matter(hadley climate model, circa 1999 is still the most accurate prophet,imo)…but damn…it sure makes it hard.

        1. polecat

          It’s been hinted by Gaia that at one time Stromatolites were the big new thing .. you could try those .. ‘;]
          Better yet, propose a venture-capital funded IPO to develope an app to make ‘Stromatolite farming’ the new gig. Your gonna get rich I tells ya !
          You heard it here first … just rememeber my cut, ok ?

          Oh, and don’t forget the black ‘guru’ attire ..

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            the cliffs of our Llano River contain the quintessential example of stromatolites…”rocks” as big as a house, which are really fossilised algal mats that represent some of the earliest life on earth. fallen from the cliff face into the river, one can tie off the kayak and sit on them…have lunch….and contemplate billions of years between these colonies and you, their descendants.
            there’s a small but steady stream of geology and paleontology students and perfessers from A & M and UT renting kayaks to go look at them.
            of all the various tourism schemes out here—deer hunting, bird hunting, fly fishing,wine drinking—this is the one i prefer.
            a better, more respectful and less disruptive quality of Outsider, brought in so their money can be harvested.

    2. Susan the other`

      The very last sentence. Couple that with we really don’t know where we are going, but we’re pretty sure we’re gonna go there fast…we really do need to think “mobilization” because then we will be able to get ready for a variety of hardships.

  5. Steve H.

    There’s a correspondence with both the Lula and the tanker story, that obliquely touches on intersectionality. That the nature of Identity, and the multiple vectors of Cui Bono, render causal analysis difficult with human agents.

    With Lula, it’s not surprise that an ‘impartial’ agent of justice turns out to be anything but. The extremity of the outcome is noteworthy, from a socialist to a fascist president. Is Mueller so different? Is Sanders less at risk? Who is more corrupt, Lula or his prosecutor?

    With the tankers, we have another cui bono? MoA says it doesn’t help Iran. Again, perspective. Who it ‘makes whole’ is anyone with foreknowledge who can then speculate on oil prices. Just because it’s short-term doesn’t mean you can’t profit from it (see Kardashian/Jenner * Snapchat). Point being, when nominal enemies both can benefit, it can be hard to determine agency.

    Wikipedia Category:False flag operations has 56 entries. The 20th century provided a documented evidence train of how it works. And yet I am still astonished that American agents sent weapons to alQueda in Syria. The confluence of interests, to provide aid and weapons to the only group known to physically attack the US in four generations, is a prime case in point.

    This analysis is somewhat doomed, trying to put sharp edges on a fuzzy set. I don’t have an answer except to go to principles. Perhaps starving and bombing people is bad, no matter what group they are supposedly a part of.

    1. dearieme

      I have no idea who did what. But I have been told, by someone well placed to know, that it is a terrible mistake to think of Iran as a monolith. The place is full of groups, in and near government, jostling for power: groups who have few inhibitions about violence and the risk of war.

      It’s rather like my question about Syria: which terrorists belonged to the CIA, which the Pentagon, which the State Department? Which to Saudi, which to Israel?

    2. Chris Cosmos

      Astonished that American agents sent weapons to AQ? Look into the close association with Saudi-funded Jihadis since the 80s in Afghanistan (with the help of Pakistan). Look into the close association with the Muslim Brotherhood that goes back to the 50s or MI-6’s close association with the Saudi royals that goes back before WWII. AQ and other Jihadis have always worked to benefit US/UK policy. In the Cold War to act as a counter to Arab nationalism and socialism and after that to maintain Saudi/Israeli domination of the Sunni world and counter the Shia in Iran.

      1. Olga

        The Pakistani, Saudi, US axis related to stirring trouble in Afghanistan started in the late 1970s, a bright idea of a certain Zia-ul-Haq, quickly adopted by the US/Saudis. Hugely added to the corruption of Pakistan, not to mention the well-known blow-backs elsewhere. And amazing how the Brits co-opted MB (which started as opposition to the British rule), and used it to fight Arab nationalism. Until MB did away with Sadat (or, maybe he became redundant to some, who knows). What a complex web of deceit… Those who wonder about Chinese efforts around the world should recall that the west brought little beyond domination, violence, and destructive intrigue to way too many places. And in many of such places, people have long memories.

  6. Wukchumni

    ‘I think I’d take it’: In exclusive interview, Trump says he would listen if foreigners offered dirt on opponents ABC News

    The claim is we are the cleanest dirty shirt, but it’s really soiled.

    1. Romancing The Loan

      Mouthbreathing Twitter is all over this as “treason” in apparent total ignorance that if it were true it would mean Hillary is guilty too since the Steele Dossier came from Russia by way of England.

      Of course it isn’t even remotely treason and this kind of nonsense is why it’s the only crime defined in the Constitution. “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.” – Article III

      Amusingly, since we’ve stopped officially declaring war on any of the countries we invade or overthrow there’s a good argument to be had that the list of official “enemy” countries of the United States stands at…zero?

      1. Off The Street

        Is that an Alinsky move against the Hillary team and fellow travelers? Make them play defense on the same issue where they have been offensive. I’d like to see more of that all around in DC the help try to cut through the BS spewing from all sides.

      2. Lepton1

        Steele gave his report to John McCain who, on the advice of Lindsey Graham, gave it to the FBI. Not all of it has been proven true but to my knowledge nothing in it was proven wrong.

        Steele was first financed by Republicans, later by Democrats.

    2. Lambert Strether

      The problem is improper use of cutouts. The right way to do it: First, hire a lawyer (say, Perkins Coie), and have them hire a body shop (Fusion GPS). The body shop then hires an operative (Steele), and the operative then digs for dirt with the foreigners.

      Not ensuring that professional players in the Beltway ecosystem get their cut is the norms violation; therein lies the treason.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Too bad Stephanopoulis didn’t think to ask Trump if Trump would mind foreign governments giving dirt about Trump to various Democratic candidates.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Savita.

      Last year, my employer turned down the opportunity to be their correspondent bank. Once bitten by Danske, twice shy :-).

    1. Arizona Slim

      Methinks that Uber is going to find out that the airline industry is heavily unionized. And this includes the controllers, who may have more than a passing interest in Uber Air traffic.

      BTW, the air traffic controllers have a union. Reagan may have busted PATCO back in the 1980s, but the replacements formed another union. Link:

  7. PlutoniumKun

    Wine has barely changed since Roman times, and that’s a problem TreeHugger

    I’m not a huge drinker, but I’ve been enjoying exploring Spanish and Portuguese wines the past few years (not least because they are usually much better value than better known regions). Its noticeable that even when they are ‘modernised’ by adding well known grapes, they seem keener to keep their own lesser known grapes as a key part of the blend. I find the wines much more interesting at a given price point than the main branded Cabs and Sauvingnon Blancs, which to me are increasingly all tasting alike, and (especially the reds), are more like fruit juice with alcohol added, presumably in line with customer demand.

    Another challenge is convincing shoppers that the label shouldn’t matter so much. In the New World, where labeling regulations aren’t nearly as strict as they are in Europe, winemakers don’t experiment as much as they should because people are fixated on buying specific grape types. Wolkovich said, “We’ve been taught to recognize the varieties we think we like.”

    She hopes that wine makers and drinkers alike will realize that just because certain grape varieties were well-suited to a particular climate 2,500 years ago does not mean they always will be. If we want to keep those bottles on our dinner tables for decades to come, we’d be wise to expand out of our comfort zones – and perhaps discover a world of wine that the Romans could only dream of.

    So its nice to see that finding more obscure wines is helping make wine growing a little more sustainable… I’ll drink to that.

    1. larry

      PK, if you like liqueurs, try 43, a Spanish brand. Smells and tastes like vanilla is in it, but that is not one of the 43 herbs used to make it. We love it.

      1. Ignacio

        Hahaha! Licor 43, I would never imagine a NC commender could recommend it here. I am not fan of liquors but this one is OK to me. I have not tried it since long ago.

        1. larry

          Ignacio, have a go again. It has a lovely taste and smell and goes down smooth as silk.

    2. Ignacio

      In a spanish supermkt a bottle of really good wine can be bougth for about 7-10€. Excellent wines for as low as 15€, Premium wines have more price variability.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        *sigh*, I miss the chance to drink good wine at Spanish or Portuguese prices. In Ireland there is a ‘fixed’ tax per bottle which ensures its almost impossible to get a drinkable wine for less than 10 euro, even in Lidl or Aldi. You have to pay at least 12 euro to get a bottle of the quality of wine you can get in Spain for 7 or 8 euro or less. Last year when I was in Lisbon in a little local restaurant I shared with a friend a genuinely delicious bottle of Vinho Verde for 7 euro – I genuinely thought they’d charged for just a glass by accident.

        1. Ignacio

          Having a portuguese style cooked cod (they have many good recipes) with vinho verde in Portugal is an affordable pleasure that I never miss when I visit our neighbours.

    3. Wukchumni

      We’ve been toeing the Mendoza line for years, and Grocery Outlet had a 93 point bottle for $6, so many cases were procured.

      I find I really don’t like California Malbecs, does that make me a terroir’ist?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Saw mention of that on the news last night and it said that the vehicle itself was experimental. Not a confidence booster that. And no real mention of how they sort out air traffic control for these things. The story also said that certain buildings would be made as helipads for these things. Forgetting about the legal liability angle in case something goes wrong, are they really willing to fly in and around skyscrapers just so some pretentious idiot can say he flew in an Uber-type drone? How about during gusty, windy conditions between those towers?
      By the way – I think that there is a problem with today’s Antidote du Jour. Somebody forgot to use the red-eye filter on the camera.

      1. Craig H.

        > The story also said that certain buildings would be made as helipads for these things.

        On May 16, 1977 there was a spectacular crash on the helipad on top the Pan American World Airways headquarters skyscraper in the middle of Manhattan when several people got chopped to death by whirly blades. It was pretty much the end of landing helicopters on top of skyscrapers.

        Atlas Obscura has a decent writeup.

        It is a pity what happened to Pan Am; that is one of those companies that seemed to have everything going for it on the surface. Then it just went poof. In the Warren Buffet investment how-to he says in the first or second chapter to never invest in a commercial airline service.

          1. FreeMarketApologist

            Well, in NYC one crash landed on the roof of the Axa Building (787 7th Avenue) earlier this week. No helipad there, and the pilot wasn’t certified for the day’s weather conditions (heavy fog ceiling above about 40 floors up).

            You can’t land in the middle of midtown (or Central Park, etc.). The Manhattan heliports are on the piers on the East and West rivers – so for all the time you save driving in from LaGuardia or Kennedy, you still have to take ground transportation across town.

          1. Craig H.

            I saw that too and was gobsmacked. He sounded pretty absolute in the book. Written in 1995. Obviously something has changed and I would be curious if anybody knows what exactly that is.

            1. dearieme

              He’s got so much money to invest that he has to ignore his own rules. After all he can’t pay it out as dividends because … well, he can’t, that’s all!

  8. zagonostra

    I was struck by how difficult it was to find Bernie Sanders speech on YouTube yesterday. I thought if I go to the “Trending” function I would find it, boy was I wrong.

    If we really face an existential crisis because of climate change, and half the population is one pay check away from financial ruin, then why is some video of puerile teenagers eating 30 hamburgers or some cartoon film the top viewed video and is “trending?”

    If this “trending” function is accurate, then forget it, it’s all for naught…but then again, Ralph Nader might be right you only need to organize 2% (or was it 5%?) of the population to make substantive change.

    Caitlin Johnstone’s article sure rings true…

      1. Old Jake

        Not that this invalidates the very trenchant point that Sanders is being buried by the MSM. If you are not already on board, you wouldn’t know there is a board to get on.

        1. polecat

          I think that he should step up on that board of Gabbard’s, and make a pact !
          He gives her much needed public exposure, while she gives him better foreign policy cred. A win-win !

  9. PlutoniumKun

    Online shopping: why its unstoppable growth may be coming to an end The Conversation

    Interesting figures quoted in this article – not least that Amazon, for all its abusive practices, still makes little or no money from deliveries. Some retailers are simply ignoring the internet, and in the longer term that might be a good bet – I was listening to a radio interview with a retail specialist a while back and he pointed out that some fast fashion companies such as Primark/Penneys are doing very well even in the face of online competition and have decided that they simply can’t make money from online and are doubling down on major city centre locations.

    Anecdotally, I’ve noticed that people I know who live in rural areas and the outer commuter zones are keenest on online shopping, while I see few deliveries in my urban apartment building. For most urban dwellers, the convenience may not be worth it any more – people like to see and select what they buy.

    So I suspect the article might be right – online sales may be reaching a peak soon and could even start to decline if traditional retailers got their act together.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      I thought it was an interesting piece and I almost crossposted it.

    2. Joe Well

      >>I see few deliveries in my urban apartment building

      I’m just worried they’ll get stolen or maybe even annoy the neighbors. I’ll just pick it up at Target or Amazon and carry it the few blocks from the metro station.

    3. cnchal

      The implication is that Walmart’s brick and mortar customers are subsidizing the online customers. In Amazon’s case, gigantic direct government subsidies and governments grossly overpaying for AWS subsidizes the online goods purchasers, or simply, Amazon customers are subsidized by non Amazon customers.

      . . . Amazon Web Services, a cloud-hosting business unrelated to ecommerce, generated more operating income than the company’s entire North American retail operation – and with margins over five times higher.

      An experienced grocery retail manager has told us that online grocery is necessary as a marketing loss leader but “impossible” to make money from. Such delivery offers are only possible, he said, because online grocery is just 2% of the overall market, since most consumers don’t buy these products online. A recent study agreed with this thinking, finding that online grocery orders have a negative margin of about 15%. It is reminiscent of that old business joke about losing money on every sale but making it up in volume.

      To understand the mindset of retailers like Walmart and other smaller rivals who are not purely online, a supply chain consultant told us last year that they are placing a priority on speed of change before profitability, amid pressure to stay competitive with the likes of Amazon. “It’s a logic of desperation as much as it is of strategy,” he said.

  10. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, J-LS.

    With regard to the links about the Chagos archipelago / Diego Garcia, people from or of Indian Ocean origin, not just Mauritians like me, have always made the distinction between the organ grinder and monkey.

    Further to this week’s alarm in the west about the increasing RUSSIAN presence in Africa, how lovely of those in the western corridors of power to care about us. As the baddie said of British rule in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, “We feel like well cared for children.”

    There is one thing that escapes the people in western corridors of power. Over the past 60 years, many people from the third world have studied in RUSSIA, even worked there, and brought back RUSSIAN spouses. There are a fair number in Mauritius. I have come across them in Syria, too. Ties of blood are thick.

    The small tourist business that my parents and I operate in Mauritius gets RUSSIAN guests every year. Turks, too. French mainly. We have not had Americans and Brits since the 1990s. No one is worried about RUSSIA in the region. We are more worried about Uncle Sam and its lapdogs John Bull and Marianne.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      I thought of you when I included the Chagos link – so am very glad you saw it.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, J-LS.

        I forgot to ask if you read last week-end’s FT. Simon Kuper wrote about Brexit and the Oxford toffs responsible. This is not the first time.

        Not mentioned is that Kuper was there at the same time as Jacob Rees-Mogg. One wonders if you recollect these types when you were there? Also, please see my comments about Dominic Raab in the Links yesterday.

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          Boris and I were at Balliol at about the same time – but I didn’t know him. I was firmly in the post-grad set: no toffs there! I wasn’t a member of the Bullingdon Club (yes, I know, nor could any woman be considered for membership), and for the record, I’ve never, ever engaged in any improper conduct with dead pigs (or parts thereof).

          For several years, Balliol would roll out either Christ Patten or Boris as an after dinner speaker for old member events. They worked as a bit of a tag team. Some of these reunions lasted two days, and you’d have a choice of which night to attend the dinner. So I’ve heard each give after dinner speeches, but never had any closer acquaintance.

          I went up to Oxford in Michaelmas term ’83. The Miners’ Strike commenced the following March. Very different world, certainly a very different UK. Not many (open) Tories at that time in the JCR.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      There was another link yesterday about the US pressurising countries to expel Cuban doctors – its a remarkably tone deaf policy – Cuban doctors are very popular in those parts of the world where they are used. And the notion of course that Russians have any more or less right to be in those countries than anyone else is yet another example of a complete failure to comprehend how people around the world perceive their former (or present) masters.

      But I think the US will give up Diego Garcia when hell freezes over – its far too important to the US military – maybe more so now that aircraft carriers are getting more and more vulnerable.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, PK.

        You’re right. Any accommodation has to factor in realpolitik. That is dawning on the younger Chagossiens.

        KPMG wrote a report for the FO when William Hague was secretary of state. The report recommended the islanders be allowed back, but stay or be kept away from the base. The archipelago is big enough to allow / cater for that. Cameron was scared of the first Kenyan American president, so refused to allow further discussion.

      2. Carolinian

        The Cuba doctor pressure is to deny Cuba the payments it gets when it sends doctors throughout South America. The doctors only get their Cuba salary and the Cuban government gets their actual salary which is a big source of foreign currency–much bigger than tourism. In return the doctors get free medical training from the excellent Cuban medical system.

        All of the above via MOA.

        The is apparently Trump kowtowing to his South Florida masters who all these years later will still do anything to sink Cuba. He has reportedly said re the rest of our hemisphere: “give Rubio what he wants.” Not so little Marco after all?

        On the other hand Consortium News rumors that Trump is about to fire Bolton so perhaps the news isn’t all bad. Perhaps Bolton shot those missiles at the tankers to save his job.

      3. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, PK.

        You are right to highlight tone deafness. It’s not just Uncle Sam, but its lapdogs John Bull and Marianne, too. Mauritians are often lectured by the US, UK and French envoys, the usual and ritual identity politics nonsense.

        The recent death of a jihadist is an example of western hypocrisy. This family blogger was responsible for the deaths of many Syrians, especially Christians. Mauritians, who receive French and British TV, were mystified by the almost tearful tribute paid by, amongst others, the BBC’s Lise Doucette. She called him a hero. When we are lectured by such scoundrels, we switch off.

        Almost 40% of Mauritians are Christian, mainly Roman Catholic like me. Many, including relatives, go to the Middle East on pilgrimage. They often see colonists from Brooklyn intimidating small children and their mothers when trying to get to school or home or fellow Christians going to or from mass. Are we supposed to pay attention to what these scoundrels and, at the expense of the long suffering American people, welfare junkies have to say? We prefer Assad’s protection of minorities, including a few weeks ago his family’s attendance at first communion ceremonies.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Thanks for those insights, CS. One of the ‘clarifying’ things about Brexit is that its shown the world what a certain class of UKer actually thinks of the inhabitants of the ex-colonies. The Irish anglophile establishment has been visibly quite shocked at whats been said in British papers and by UK politicians. I’m sure its the same everywhere. But its also amusing to see the assumption that somehow the ex-colonies would actually run to Britains aid when it comes to trade deals.

          I travelled a little in Syria 16 years ago – a fascinating country. As you say, for all its faults (and yes, the Assad family were and are brutal autocrats), it was always a good country for minorities, all had solid protection by the government. And unlike the interfering neighbours, they kept Lebanon stable, something most Lebanese found it hard to admit.

        2. The Rev Kev

          You saw the same shedding of tears for that singing Jihadist too. That was so vile that as that guy bounced between ISIS and Al-Quada and the west tried to make a hero of him. He sang songs of slaughtering the Alawites and pushing out the Sunnis and yet we are suppose to accept the media saying that he was one of us. The only funny thing was where he sang about being made a martyr and it seems that the Syrian Armed Forces said “Challenge Accepted!”

  11. PlutoniumKun

    How modern life is transforming the human skeleton BBC

    Archaeologists have long been able to get a lot of information about peoples lifestyles from their skeleton – its relatively easy from ancient Rome, for example, to distinguish freeman from slaves from soldiers from bone wear and growth.

    To find out, Scheffler conducted a new study – together with some colleagues this time – in which she also asked the children to fill out a questionnaire about their daily habits, and to wear a step counter for a week. The team found a strong link between how robust the children’s skeletons were and the amount of walking they were doing.

    It’s already well known that every time we use our muscles, we help to increase the mass of the bones that support them. “If you use them again and again, they build more bone tissue, which is measured as a higher density and bigger girth of bone,” says Scheffler. The children’s shrinking skeletons look like a straightforward adaptation to modern life, since it doesn’t make sense to grow bone that you don’t need.

    But there was one surprise lurking in the data: walking was the only type of exercise that seemed to have any impact. Scheffler thinks this is because even the most avid sports fans actually devote very little time to practising. “It’s not helpful if your mother takes you in the car for one or two hours per week,” she says.

    And though no one has looked at whether the link holds up in adults, it’s likely that the same rules apply: it’s not enough to simply hit the gym a couple of times a week without also walking long distances. “Because our evolution tells us that we can walk for almost 30km (19 miles) per day.”

    Its long been a bugbear of mine that kids are driven everywhere – even to sport. In Ireland there was a few years back a wave of sports clubs selling city grounds (for hefty amounts of money) and moving out to rural locations, meaning all the kids had to be ferried out by their parents to every training session. There is plenty of evidence that to be healthy we need to do more than do sport or hit the gym – we need to be active – every day, all the time. In fact it may well be healthier just to encourage kids to just walk and cycle everywhere, rather than trying to find a sport they like.

    But we’ve constructed our cities to be hostile to this – I don’t blame parents for being scared to see their kids on bikes on busy roads, but the whole situation is self-reinforcing – the less kids walk and cycle and the more they are driven, the more hostile our cities become to anything but car transport. Its a cycle that needs to be broken.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Microsoft and the Pentagon Are Quietly Hijacking U.S. Elections”

    And if they really want to go for the trifecta, they could make the Atlantic Council responsible for vetting Presidential candidates who wish to stand for office. That would get rid of the Trumps as well as the Sanders types.

  13. icancho

    today’s antidote anagram: “soak in ale”; or, to be scientific, “speedy layman couscous”.

  14. Brindle

    Rigged Debates….

    DNC chair Tom Perez slathers it on with his explaination as to why there will be no single debate devoted to climate change. When he said ther will be a “robust and granular” discussion of climate change my BS meter went off–“robust” is one of those words the DC/Beltway types use when they are avoiding clear positions, This is Obama’s guy.

    click for video:

    1. Quentin

      ‘Robust’: the word just cracks me up. It is totally owned and trademarked by Tony Blair during his Prime Ministership, it only slowly slithered in Washingtonese. Blair and Bush’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are the epitomes of robust.

      1. Svante

        In QA/ QC circles, “robust” denotes, “wear personal protective equipment consistent with surviving the ensuing explosion.” Hate to think about what “granular” means?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        My suspicion is the “front row” kids (who are not synonymous with the smart kids) simply stop learning once outside of school (judging by discussions of foreign policy in the msm, probably 10th grade) and are largely only concerned with gold stars. Understanding people might be outraged over the lack of a climate change debate wouldn’t win Perez any gold stars from established industry authorities, so it doesn’t enter his head. Even how the internet might allow people to organize outside of the whims of the DNC doesn’t enter his head because there is no gold star for him.

        In light of Trump’s actions, even mildly pretending to care about the environment is such an easy thing to do, but again the Sierra Club is basically a captured entity not a gold star awarding one.

    2. jrs

      speaking of Perez and the sierra club and whatever one thinks of them (i have way bigger fish to fry), this from an article on Perez and climate change from 2018:

      “A little over a week ago, the Democratic National Committee reversed its position on a previously adopted resolution that prohibited donations from fossil-fuel-aligned corporate PACs. According to DNC chairman Tom Perez, the reversal was done out of support for fossil fuel workers and labor interests—specifically as an olive branch to union members who have fled from the party in recent years. But just over 4 percent of mining workers are unionized; more likely, the reversal is an overture to fossil fuel executives who would have seen their influence dwindle under the original resolution.”

      So denying a climate debate is just Perez up to his usual tricks. And if you don’t think labor can be used and sometimes is a reactionary force, I tell you it is and can be. However the corporations are the usual villains and the DNC needs that blood money.

    3. Tom Doak

      The linked FiveThirtyEight article had the rules for the “random” draw dividing the Dem debates in two:

      “The draw, which the DNC plans to do this Friday, will not be completely random. Participants will be selected from two pots of candidates — one with participants who averaged at least 2 percent among all qualifying polls and one with the remaining candidates. The debate fields will then be set by random draws from the two pots to fill up 10 spots for both nights. And based on our average of the qualifying polls, eight candidates are polling at 2 percent or more: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar. By using this approach, the DNC will avoid having all of the leading candidates appear on stage the same night, though there’s still a chance that the very top candidates — such as the two poll leaders, Biden and Sanders — will appear in the same debate.”

      To the last sentence, there’s still a chance, aka a snowball’s chance in Hell.

      My early betting odds have Sanders drawing Warren, Klobuchar, and either Harris or Booker, whichever of the two the DNC decides is a more reliable hit person. I will only believe it’s really random if at least one of Biden, Mayor Pete, and Beto are opposite Sanders, to give him someone to look good against.

      1. Tom Doak

        Well I will post again just to eat crow: the debate draw must have been done randomly.

        It’s Biden, Bernie and Mayor Pete on the second night, and all of the other “serious” candidates on the undercard for the first night.

  15. Henry Moon Pie

    Re: Digital Minimalism–

    Good point made here:

    Likewise, Henry David Thoreau, one of Newport’s constant companions, would walk to town rather than using a horse and wagon, thus exemplifying technological minimalism. In fact, Thoreau calculated how the hours it took him to walk from Walden pond to Concord offset the amount of labor hours it would have taken him to afford the wagon. Tragically, we have surrendered this calculus, Newport argues, to the purveyors of the attention economy. We’ve traded our souls for a few small conveniences, and we need long periods of solitude to recenter the self that is now scattered across the digital landscape.

    Whoever works for a living faces the trade-off between “convenience” and debt/wage slavery. There’s also a trade-off between “passing as middle class” and that same debt/wage slavery. The lazy, hedonist side of me has always struggled with the former, but the latter one has not proven to be that much of a temptation. For most of my life, I’ve reveled in not keeping up with the Joneses.

    1. Wukchumni

      Even in walking, we were surprised by the look of a good many people hiking the John Muir Trail, heads down fixated on the ground, poles pumping up and down powered by internal combustion engine, gotta make 23 miles today if i’m going to complete it in 10 days.

      It was as if the scenery was secondary, they were in a race against time.

      1. neighbor7

        Richard Powers, author of OVERSTORY (a novel worth checking out), lives in a Smokies old-growth forest region. He commented that hikers on the mountain trails “seem to want to look later”–a nicely put comment about photo-phones.

      2. Anthony G Stegman

        In the Bay Area where I live day hikers behave similarly. It’s all about the miles and elevation gain. May as well walk on a treadmill!!

      3. skippy

        You should see the looks I got running the hard trails up and down in Boulder, CO.

        Might have something to do with running trails in AZ desert or the hilly woods of Franklin county Missouri as a kid. Strangely I did see a lot, needed to be quite aware of surroundings moving at speed. Then again its nice sometimes to sit for an hour motionless with back up a tree and wait for the nature to come out of hiding.

        But yeah …. if some would like to “challenge” themselves grinding out miles with pack on, I could organize a forced 30 mile per day road march near the DMZ in Korea in full kit in late summer.

        Bonuses include tunnel vision near the end, one klick assault course at the end, and feet that explode when taking foot gear off at end of day.

        P.S. anyone not starting with specified full gear load get a happy rock [big] substitute replacement.

    2. todde

      We’ve traded our souls for a few small conveniences

      I’ve found, when I went to trade my soul, that it is a buyers market. Probably always was.

    3. Carolinian

      Whoever works for a living faces the trade-off between “convenience” and debt/wage slavery. There’s also a trade-off between “passing as middle class” and that same debt/wage slavery.

      It’s probably the latter much more than the former–at least in America. We are all about keeping up with the Joneses. There’s even a movie about it called, appropriately enough, The Joneses.

    4. BobW

      When I was homeless I noticed my thighs became absolutely huge. Sadly, after becoming employed and buying a car and renting an apartment, they have withered away.

      1. aletheia33

        never too late to get ’em back.
        employment and shelter may be indispensable.
        but is the car?
        e.g., ebikes are taking off for commuting–if you live or work in a city.
        on a bike you are not cut off from the world but, as when walking, you are thoroughly engaged in it.

        there’s also that old method of getting around known as public transportation.

        it is a great way to avoid the stress of driving,
        the expense of car ownership,
        the toxic isolation from air and light, literally everything else in the incredibly rich world that always surrounds one, and other people,
        and a great way to become acquainted with others you might not otherwise meet.

        won’t work outside a big city very well,
        but if one lives in such a city,
        ditching the car might be one shift that one can make, along with walking more,
        for the sake of one’s health physical, mental, and spiritual.

        1. ambrit

          Ditching the car most definitely depends on where you live. Here Down South, except for a few insular urban centres, and not too big ones at that, the distances required to travel to shopping venues, much less entertainment, make having powered transportation necessary. (Unless, of course, you contemplate returning to the days of multi day trips with sleeping out of doors at night.) Neo-Cattle Drives anybody?
          Where I live, I have been using the bus and walking lately much more than previously. Our bus ‘service,’ city run, is only from six to six on the weekdays. What with the southern sun and heat, I’ve taken to carrying an umbrella, or perhaps I should say, parasol. I’m feeling marginally better physically and have discovered a generally unnoticed sub-underworld out “on the street.” There are a lot of ‘deplorables’ in dire straits now. I’ve been hustled quite a bit too. I’ve been offered much from the ‘vendors’ I’ve met; everything from pharmaceutical ‘happiness’ to tawdry fornications. All have a price.
          No wonder the Victorians prized the countryside so much. It must have been a joyous release from the oppressions of the city.

      1. ambrit

        That depends where they deliver. Here in our half-horse town, even the inner ring suburbs use mailboxes on the curb, which the mailcritters fill from mail delivery vans. The only walking I have seen was related to placing packages on porches. Even the apartment complexes use centralized aggregations of pseudo-post office boxes.

      2. Conrad

        Round here the moved to little golf carts seemingly modelled on Little Times toddler mobiles. Probably to cope with all the packages they have to deliver.

    5. aletheia33

      i did not know, and i love, that thoreau engaged in this calculus!
      he’s an old friend of mine,
      and these days i’m engaged in almost the exact same calculus,
      as i spent the winter car-free,
      walking everywhere (or getting rides with friends, using the terribly inadequate local bus service–grateful that it exists at all– and renting once or twice a month to get groceries),
      and now am using an ebike for everything.
      hills are no problem with pedal assist
      and the cost is a fraction of buying/owning/running a car.
      and i miss my many walks during the winter, often in lousy weather!
      don’t knock it till you’ve tried it, and if you try it you’ll like it.
      i’ve literally never been so healthy or felt so alive.
      car free.
      one of many things i’ve learned is that asking to be driven somewhere by a friend means both of us get a chance to talk with one another, so friendships are all strengthening and deepening.
      and the webs that connect us all in mutual dependence and yes love are connecting more of us and more meaningfully.

      1. ambrit

        I know I’m playing Devil’s Advocate here, but your scenario depends a lot on there being a sense of community in your surroundings. Most of the places we’ve lived in were very insular and what ‘community’ we did encounter was quite ‘in group’ oriented. Often, the ‘in group’ was defined by membership in a church. For those of us without orthodox religious beliefs or practices, those regions were quite socially chill and spartan. As an example: in one place, our children began playing with some other children living a few streets over. Soon after, they were informed that in order to continue playing with their “new friends” they would have to start going to church every Sunday and Wednesday with them. Try explaining sectarianism to a ten year old, an eight year old and a toddler.
        So, if you find that civilized environment, hold on to it with tenacity. It is rarer than you can imagine.

        1. aletheia33

          thank you ambrit.
          yes i am aware of my luck in finding the town where i live and sticking here since 1994.
          i am lucky that i have been able to work remotely, freelancing, to earn my living and stay here since then.
          i am lucky that with semiretirement i need no longer work all the time to pay my mortgage and can take longer to do all the usual errands, on my bike.
          i do not have children. that is a sadness. and has given me i’m sure little real grasp of the social challenges parents face for their children’s sake as well as their own.

          i’m very introverted, need much time alone every day, do not go to parties or many other social gatherings.
          having chronic fatigue immune deficiency syndrome, PTSD, etc. since 1994 and earlier has forced me to clarify my priorities. group memberships have not been one of them. i have a tiny little circle of friends for mutual support.
          they and i are who i meant by “us” in my last sentence. my little “society of like minds,” that’s all.

          that said, this little northern new england town where i live, despite its many current problems (including runaway need now for low-income housing), really is a rare gem, as you say, in terms of how many people are firmly committed to maintaining and nurturing the resilience of the community per se.

          there is a strong spirit of tolerance and acceptance here of those who are “different” in all ways. it may be in part due to the presence of a mental asylum here since the 19th century. people are used to encountering oddballs. and oddballs find it congenial and decide to move here when they find this place.

          as you mentioned also, just walking up and down main street i discovered the places of the “unhoused” and noticed how their situations intersect with everyone else’s. you see a lot more reality when you walk, and you learn many things worth learning just by observing your surroundings, eh?

          i am glad you have seen some improvement in your health.
          you are brave to be willing to walk and ride buses as you do.
          (and that while carrying a parasol!)
          for so many, it’s inconceivable.

          there are quite a few churches in this town, some even thriving, and no evangelical or religious hostility or sectarianism that i’m aware of or have heard of.

          indeed a good place and i hope to spend the rest of my life here, probably “ending up” indigent and in low-income senior housing when i can no longer work.

          being a northeasterner born and bred i could not imagine living in the south, though it seems to call out to me sometimes, maybe because some of my ancestors, who were very early settlers in missouri, were explorers who trekked across the continent in the early 19th century on the early expeditions, in just the ways of traveling that you mentioned. isn’t it interesting that people actually love to sleep under the stars on their vacations but today, because of the terrible oppression that capitalism has now fostered to the nth possible extreme, cannot make more time do any part of daily life more slowly once back at home raising their families.

  16. s.n.

    domino theory? During a Casa visit in 2016 I noted numerous official posters & billboards portraying the king and proclaiming “Morocco: An Oasis of Peace, Tolerance & Stability”. Might have run out of traction for that slogan
    The collapse of the ‘Moroccan exception’ myth
    The wave of protests shaking Mohammed VI’s regime may mark the start of violent social unrest

    Aziz Chahir
    9 June 2019 21:00 UTC

    At the dawn of a new Arab Spring, Morocco is going through a major political crisis. The king is starting to become the focus of sharp criticism, especially on social media, something that was extremely rare in the past….

    Among the decisive factors behind popular uprisings, three are worth highlighting: the withdrawal of the “mediating elites,” including local elected representatives, trade union leaders and NGOs; identity conflicts, such as the conflict over Amazigh (or Berber) language and culture; and the disproportionate use of police repression, which can ultimately bolster the protest movement.

    These three mechanisms are already operational, to varying degrees. All it would take would be a catalyst, such as the death of a Rif leader on hunger strike, for the movement to be revived. This confluence of factors could at any time lead to an outbreak of violent social unrest.

    Which actor will seize the opportunity to establish power and use these factors for his own benefit? With a new Arab Spring on the way, the regime is wavering under the heavy pressure of mass protests.

    By embracing repression – both police and judicial – King Mohammed VI has put an end to a myth that he personally strove to create: the “Moroccan exception”. This makes the scenario of a violent popular uprising more and more conceivable.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Hmmm – a number of years ago now (20?), we were tourists in Morocco, with my parents. Our guide, who told us he was Berber from the south of the country, talked rather freely, at least to us younger clients, about the politics there. He described it as pretty equal as between Arab and Berber; there’ve been dynasties from either ethnicity. Of course, that was when it was very peaceful.

      What you’re describing sounds very much like a change of dynasties, motivated in part by ethnic strife – which he claimed was minimal.

      Extremely interesting trip, that. The most foreign place I’ve ever been to – the obvious comparison was Mexico. Amazing mixture of contemporary and ancient cultures. Don’t think I’d want to do it without a guide.

      An anecdote I can’t resist, that gives a hint: the oldest of old cities there is Fez, more in the north of the country. The streets in the Medina, the old city, were so narrow and winding that everything moved on donkey backs. It was deliberately built as a maze, to confuse invaders, and famously you can’t navigate it unless you grew up there. In Fez, our guide hired a guide, a guy in a red sweater who was always just ahead of us – my wife spotted him. (GPS has probably defeated that defense by now.) Marrakesh medina was easy by comparison, but still, we hired somebody to get us out of there, once.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Punishing Kids With Years of Debt”

    Now this is really low. That girl mentioned in this story for example. She was punished by serving nearly three years in juvenile prison. She was then punished afterwards a second time by being forced to pay the full value of the stolen items which was $2,831.69. She was then punished a third time because this amount was the value of items in full when it should have been at most half what her boyfriend had to pay. Most country have double jeopardy laws so that the State cannot keep charging you for the same crime again and again but it seems there are no double punishment laws in effect.

  18. Wukchumni

    Denver Police Testing Idea Of Civilian Teams Responding To Some 911 Calls CBS Denver
    {…a strident knock on the door}

    “We’re with the Rocky Mountain Villagilantes…”

    1. Wukchumni

      Bonus Denver Police story:

      About a dozen years ago we were car camped next to an Airstream trailer @ Chaco Canyon for a few days, and broke bread with them and had dinner the 2nd night, and one of the couples husband had been on the Denver PD for 30 years, and I like to pick brains, and asked him what was the craziest thing he’d seen in all his time, and he told us most of those kind of events included the Denver Zoo in some capacity, and to add to the milieu, the zookeeper spoke with a nervous lisp when calling in to report a fellow that was fighting a kangaroo in it’s cage-and losing, or something along those lines.

      But the best one, was when he was on the job for only about 6 months, and he was paired with an older partner, and one night he had to take a leak, and his partner pulled over, and he went into the bushes and pulled down his pants to do his business, and then when he looked up, he noticed somebody hanging by their legs from a bridge over a creek, and it stunned him, and he rushed back to his patrol car and told his partner of it, and nonchalantly, said copper told him, “oh, that’s no big deal, it’s just Vuckovich, he thinks he’s a vampire…”

    2. ambrit

      (I’m assuming that the knocking is on your door.)
      “What the H— are you lot doing in the Sierras? I thought that I had called in the “Tahoe Thrashers!” Well, not to worry. A local bear took care of the ‘problem.'”
      “Oh, good. Mind if we take an ear as a trophy?”
      “Mind if you show some identification?”
      “Not at all. Here’s my Glock 19, and Joey’s Glock 19 and Sandra’s Glock 19.”
      “Ah. Matching sets. Yep, you’re the real deal. Want an apple?”
      “You have malus domestica diversity! How cool! Need any ‘Denver Dreadnaught?'”
      “That’s why I just love the West! Come on in.”

    1. ambrit

      Even though the piece is in the “New Yorker,” it falls, at the very end, into “Ministry of Truth” level propaganda. The evidence for the ‘eternal verity’ of the book “1984” is Russiagate! I don’t know if the author was writing with tongue-in-cheek or not, but the Meta-Irony is the same as if he did.
      Happy Birthday indeed to “1984.” Prescient is not the word.

  19. Wukchumni

    It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory with stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener.

  20. Susan the other`

    Jacobin. On Liz Warren. Short and sweet: she’s avoiding M4A with determination. It means she has a definite opinion but she isn’t willing to share it. Maybe she doesn’t want to cut Bernie’s grass yet. I felt like Bernie was the front-runner for Hillary in 2014 – because Hill was compromised by deep political debt from long years of donations. Liz could be in the same place. – but certainly not as compromised as Hillary was. But the writing is on the wall. We will get single payer; we will get good quality health care for all. So maybe she isn’t gonna go tilting toward that windmill until it has become a fierce debate in Congress and everything is aired out in public. Which is starting to happen now. The risk she runs is that people will come to distrust her. I wish she were willing to at least defend M4A. Achilles heel.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The writing is not on the wall about single payer. We were going to get the public option in 2008. The Democrats held commanding majorities and the White House after mobilizing millions of previously of unmobilized voters. Instead we got the Heritage Foundation solution to blocking Hillary care in the 90’s with plenty of poison pills.

      These Democrats are too vile across the board to be trusted. Corey Booker is still running for President after his pro Pharma vote. They will say what ever they want to appease you.

      Even if I thought she was on board, she isn’t forcing people to pick sides where we can hold them accountable. If a promise is not clear and direct along with a premise of the pressure that will be brought to bear its a promise to easy to break.

      Obama broke campaign promises because of that “no drama Obama” and “Obama’s got this” bs. Warren doesn’t have enough of a record to tell me she is playing 853rd dimensional chess.

    2. jrs

      Warren seems to have waffled on the issue, there are quotes where she comes out in favor of M4A too, I suppose one could take bets ..

  21. Summer

    I discovered this article. It expresses some concerns that I have had…a lot more eloquently.

    Includes link to an abstract of Rancourt’s study. The bulk of the article is an interview with Rancourt.

    “In the face of this devastation, Western nations have had to secure ongoing consent among their own populations. To help explain how this has been achieved, Rancourt focuses on gender equity, anti-racism and global warming as state doctrines that have been used to divert attention from the machinations of US empire (and also to prevent class consciousness taking hold). I recently asked Denis Rancourt about this aspect of his report….”

    CT: You discuss the need for states to ensure consent: the need to pacify, hypnotize and align populations for continued globalization; more precisely, the need to divert attention from the structural violence of economic policies and the actual violence of militarism. Can you say something about how the issue of global warming relates to this?

    DR:  Irrespective of whether the so-called ‘climate crisis’ is real, exaggerated or fabricated, it is clear, from the data in my report, that the ethos of global warming was engineered on a global scale and benefits the exploiters of the carbon-economy and, more indirectly, the state.

    For example, one of the studies that I review shows that a many-fold increase in mainstream media reporting about global warming suddenly occurred in the mid-2000s, in all the leading news media, at the same time that the financiers and their acolytes such as Al Gore decided to make and manage a global carbon economy. This media campaign has been sustained ever since and the global warming ethos has been institutionalized.

    Carbon sequestration schemes have devastated local communities on every occupied continent. If anything, carbon schemes − from wind farms to biofuel harvesting to industrial battery production to solar-cell array installations to mining uranium to mega hydro-dam construction and so on – have accelerated habitat destruction.

    Meanwhile, economic and military warfare rages, glyphosate is dumped into the ecosphere at unprecedented rates (poured on GM herbicide-resistant cash crops), active genocides are in progress (Yemen), the US is unilaterally withdrawing from nuclear treaties and forcing an arms race with next generation death machines and US-held extortionary loans are serviced by land-use transformation on the scale of nations; while our educated children have nervous breakdowns trying to get governments to “act” on “climate”.

    In the early-1990s, a world conference on climate environmentalism was an express response to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. This was part of a global propaganda project intended to mask the new wave of accelerated predatory globalism that was unleashed now that the USSR was definitively out of the way…”

  22. ewmayer

    o “Recycling trade associations still see potential to grow export markets Waste Dive” — Since cleaning up our own mess is not an option, clearly.

  23. newcatty

    Summer, thank you for pointing out this important article. What can be used for propaganda is something that can be, indeed, in the hands of the power holders. The saying: things are not always what they seem is so often true. Waves of predatory globalism is the essence of our fate to be determined. Can it be STOPPED?

  24. KFritz

    Re: Indian Ultra-Modern Rail Station

    That station looks like a major extravagance for a nation where the lives of so many citizens are so materially precarious. Just sayin’.

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