Links 6/15/19

Trump says his UK visit was the most fun Queen had in 25 years NY Post. Indeed.

Darwin’s Finches Are In Danger Because a Parasite Is Changing Their Mating Song Vice (see the website of the Galapagos Conservation Trust for background and context: DARWIN’S FINCHES)

A deadly deer disease is spreading. Could it strike people, too? WaPo

Pope backs carbon pricing to stem global warming and appeals to deniers Reuters

Dad of girl ‘excluded’ for ear piercing that ‘stops migraines’ glues himself to school Metro UK

Africa’s Lost Kingdoms New York Review of Books

Are You ‘Virtue Signaling’? NYT (martha r)

World Cup matches are getting washed out – but Britain is actually in the midst of a drought The Conversation


Trump Must Not Be Allowed to Use Gulf of Oman Incidents as ‘Pretext for Illegal War With Iran’: Bernie Sanders Common Dreams. For those who may have missed Thursday’s Real News Network crosspost, note that last week Bernie denounced Brazil’s frame-up of Lula.

Iran Decided To Put Maximum Pressure On Trump – Here Is How It Will Do It Moon of Alabama

Donald Trump blames Iran for oil tanker attacks FT

‘Ridiculous, dangerous’: Iran denies US claims over Gulf tankers Al Jazeera

The Gulf of Credibility Craig Murray

Oil tanker attacks: did Iran’s ties with China just go up in smoke? SCMP

An Isis killer and an unlikely hero have heaved open the cracks in Lebanese politics Independent Robert Fisk

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Self-Destruction of American Power Foreign Affairs. Fareed Zakaria in the house organ of the Council on Foreign Relations.


Hong Kong extradition bill: Carrie Lam backs down and ‘suspends’ legislation, sets no new time frame SCMP

Say hello to the Russia-China operating system Asia Times Asia Times Pepe Escobar

China’s Expanding Media Dominance in Africa Der Spiegel


How Private Sector Slowly Regained Access to Aadhaar Post SC Judgment The Wire

After multiple pauses, India to raise tariffs on US goods Economic Times

India’s overworked doctors are trashed by all —patients, corporates & even PM Modi The Print. Doctors’ strike spreads nationwide from its origin in West Bengal.

Julian Assange

This Assange Supporter Excoriating The Press Is The Best Thing You’ll Watch All Day Caitlin Johnstone

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch


In Stores, Secret Surveillance Tracks Your Every Move NYT

Artificial intelligence-enhanced journalism offers a glimpse of the future of the knowledge economy The Conversation

Waste Watch

So much plastic is being made that “recycling has no impact” TreeHugger

A simple online solution that could end plastic pollution BBC Alas, there are no magical solutions that would allow us to continue spewing out plastic; drastic reduction in waste is also necessary: now!

Class Warfare

Ro Khanna Forces Beltway Bandit to Refund Millions From Price Gouging American Conservative

Hard Times in the Imperial Valley Capital & Main

Credit Scores Could Soon Get Even Creepier and More Biased Motherboard

Profiles in Triangulation Jacobin



The problem with Biden’s plan to push China on climate Grist

‘He has recalibrated on everything’: President Trump blasts Joe Biden’s policy flips after he changed his mind about abortion funding ‘because he’s getting slammed by the left’ Daily Mail

The DNC Tried To Avoid A Lopsided Debate. It Got One Anyway. FiveThirtyEight


Brexit: Moore equals less

Tory leadership: Boris Johnson to take part in BBC TV debate BBC

Boris Johnson under fire over unworkable Brexit plan and for being ‘hostage to Nigel Farage’ Independent

737 MAX

Paris Airshow: Difficult decisions for Boeing lie ahead BBC

Trump Transition

“Freedom Gas” Will Be Used to Justify Oppression at Home and Abroad TruthOut

‘You have to know how to hit a curveball’: Trump’s Pentagon choice fights to win over doubters Politico

Mexico just released the full text of the ‘secret’ deal Trump said they made AlterNet

Health Care

New York ends religious exemption to vaccine mandates AP

One dead after poop transplant gone wrong, FDA warns Ars Technica

Antidote du Jour (via). Jerri-Lynn here: Don’t know which is the more invasive bird species, this Asian export, or the European starling. I’ve seen them on each continent I’ve visited (all expect Antartica).

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “Paris Airshow: Difficult decisions for Boeing lie ahead”

    The way things are going, the only way that the Boeing 737 MAX will be able to attend the Paris Air Show would be by taxiing along France’s highways to get there.

  2. Wukchumni

    Pope backs carbon pricing to stem global warming and appeals to deniers Reuters
    Kind of amusing that header, in that at first I thought the Pope was appealing to atheists to believe in an all being entity that watches over our every move, but no.

    He seems to be the only high up dogmatist hearing the whistle and sounding the alarm, why’s that?

    1. Hepativore

      Too bad that does not include rampant sexual abuse of children among the clergy and shielding said child abusers from the law.

  3. Donn

    Re Brexit, RTE’s Tony Connolly has a good piece on the serious consequences of no deal for the all-island economy: “In other words, throwing technology, infrastructure, scanners, Free Zones and logistics centres at a socially and politically fragile border hinterland will be somewhat academic. That’s because the deeply integrated agri-food supply chains which have flourished since 1998 thanks to no physical border, no tariffs, no food checks at all will already have been destroyed.“

      1. paul

        It genuinely is, but the english population, especially its comfortable tory elderly, seems determined to be led up the culd de sac,just to make sure.
        The representatives of the ruling class are DUI, de peffl johnson will be happy enough though.
        “I always said I’d be prime minister”

        1. vlade

          Alexander Johnson, the man who united Ireland and made independent Scotland. He’s in history books, so what’s not to like?

          1. paul

            The way the SNP are carrying on, he might well turn out to be the saviour of the union.
            People are marching for independence all over the country, westminster is held in its lowest ever regard, the tories are calling for direct rule and they are fannying about over trans rights.
            Still, onwards and outwards.

  4. Wukchumni

    Last month, the island nation released its first “Wellbeing Budget.” Contra most national spending plans, the goal of the coming year’s appropriations is not to boost gross domestic product but to increase the happiness of the country’s citizens. In the next fiscal year, all of New Zealand’s noncore spending must be oriented toward five well-being goals: improving mental health, reducing child poverty, supporting indigenous people, transitioning to a low-emissions economy and thriving in a digital age. And to measure success, the government will track nontraditional indicators such as perceived environmental quality and sense of belonging.

    We could do something similar if we wanted to. Years of growth mean that the United States is not actually short on funds — the question is simply where they go. Focusing on well-being here might mean cutting back on less socially contributive programs (how many malfunctioning F-35s does our military need, after all?) and reorienting our spending toward projects that increase social stability, whether through family supports, racial reconciliation or environmental conservation. We could agree that goosing innovation, while generally a positive goal, is not the only thing that matters — and spend accordingly.

    Oh, in regards to really spendy fighter jets…

    In 2001, the NZ air force did away with them, kinda similar to getting rid of assault rifles earlier this year, see how easy that was?

      1. Wukchumni

        There’s a Japanese Zero in the museum @ the Domain in Auckland, and Kiwis are good at getting things going again, if a foe shows up all of the sudden and they need a capable fighter plane.

        The mainstay of Japan’’s air war in the Pacific this Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero-sen 22 was intended to be flown on a kamikaze mission. Technical problems prevented it from fulfilling its mission.

        The Zero aeroplane is an iconic Second World War object which many Museum visitors come to see. It is displayed in its own gallery that has viewing platforms from which visitors can have a bird’s-eye-view of the plane.

        This Japanese warbird, the Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero-sen 22, was damaged and rebuilt during the last few months of the Second World War, which ended before it could fly its final mission. The kamikaze pilot’s mission was to crash into the target, causing great damage to the enemy and certain death to himself.

    1. vlade

      There’s about zero point in NZ having fighter airforce. Anyone who can stage invasion of the NZ would be able destroy any airforce it could reasonably put it in a few days, for what? A few fighter pilot egos? Better invest in solid AAA + land based anti ship missiles..

      Assault rifles I assume you mean for civilian ownership? The army still has them (even if they keep breaking down..). That does indeed show that it’s possible.

      1. Wukchumni

        An Aucklander friend showed us where cannon emplacements were around the harbour in the 19th century, to ward off a possible Russian threat from the sea.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Some interesting ones around the mouth of the Columbia here, too; and the spot where shells from a Japanese submarine landed. The Japanese also floated incendiary balloons, some of which did reach the PNW. Failed to start any major fires, though.

  5. The Rev Kev

    Antidote du Jour – “Don’t know which is the more invasive bird species, this Asian export, or the European starling”

    That is all very well but what I want to know is this. What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow – European or African? You have to knows these things when you are a commentator you know.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            I think coconuts populate islands by the nuts floating across the ocean. I found a coconut washed up on a Washington State beach once. I had this romantic notion that it might have floated all the way from somewhere in the Pacific Tropics, but was told that was highly unlikely.

    1. marym

      The post as usual attributes all to unnamed “sources” so who knows, but from your link it does seem to confirm the plural “countries” and that the proposals and his responses went beyond Haiti.

      A person familiar with the meeting said Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham brought a plan to Trump that involved cutting the visa lottery in half and, at the behest of the Congressional Black Caucus, the rest would go to underrepresented countries in Africa and Temporary Protective Status nations, including Haiti. The person said the language was salty on both sides.

      One person briefed on the meeting said when Durbin got to Haiti, Trump began to ask why we want people from Haiti and more Africans in the US and added that the US should get more people from countries like Norway.

      1. Wukchumni


        Natives everywhere weren’t real good judges of value when doing trade deals with Europeans, i.e. Peter Minuit buying Manhattan for $24 worth of beads…

        “For several centuries, Western African societies exported what we might call ‘hard currencies,’ especially gold; these were currencies that, on a global level, retained their value over time.” In return, Africans received cowries, copper, cloth, and iron, all things that declined in value over time.

        1. newcatty

          Yes, economic hitmen, and their masters, have been around for a very long time. Exploitation is exploitation.

        2. Brooklin Bridge

          I wonder if the “natives” fully understood what the contract entailed. What concept did they have of land ownership as opposed to land stewardship for instance? Had they known more , the price might have been a little more significant, such as the scalp of the buyer.

          1. Wukchumni

            When they excavated the great houses @ Chaco Canyon, many of the rooms had stored away such rarities as turkey feathers, turquoise & shell beads.

            Stuff you might throw away in a spring cleaning~

            Cultures had wildly different value systems, an arbitragers whet dream.

          2. pasha

            if i remember correctly, according to howard zinn’s A People’s History of the U.S, manhattan island was not a permanent settlement, but was used by many local villages as summer fishing camps. they saw the payment as renting their fishing rights, not as a sale of those rights.

        3. a different chris

          Why is gold valuable and copper and iron not?

          Really, really think about that.

          1. Chef

            In keeping with one aspect of money being store of value, gold does not corrode or tarnish and is much rarer than either of the other two metals.

            It’s also really shiny.

        4. Procopius

          I have read that the group the Dutch traded with for the island didn’t even live there. They were from some other area and just passing through. Tourists? So they were getting things of real value (beads) in return for a lie. The first example of selling the Brooklyn Bridge (which didn’t even yet exist).

      2. Chef

        As an amateur numismatist, I’d have to my Papuan conus shell is the best example of non-metalic money.

        For unusual shapes, my Thracian dolphin shaped bronze ingot is in pole position.

  6. JCC

    Fareed Zararia’s article, The Self-Destruction of American Power” at the Foreign Affairs site appears to be a fairly rational observation. What he fails to address is the United States’ abandonment of its “empire of ideas” internally as well as externally, a sign that things potentially won’t end well over the long haul, anywhere, for anyone.

    1. Quentin

      Nor does he recognise his nasty contribution to the whole shambles. ‘I claim no agency.’

    2. flora

      an aside:
      Yesterday’s Link’s contained the excellent
      Change Agent: Gene Sharp’s Neoliberal Nonviolence (Part One). The writer argues Sharp’s CIA backed and funded research was about using non-violent movements to destroy the state, state organization, state unity, of whatever country the US opposed.
      from that article:

      Gene Sharp was a modern Machiavelli—but in reverse. He was not interested, like Machiavelli, in how to build, maintain, direct, or transform the popular will that buttresses political power. Rather, he was interested in how to disintegrate it. In Sharp’s “politics of nonviolent action,” the state was not the prize, not even a terrain of struggle: it was the enemy, the object to be paralyzed and dissolved. And in this regard, Sharp fit neatly into the emerging neoliberal consensus’s pathological hatred of the state, and unerring faith in the “free market.”


      In today’s links, Zakakria’s article contains this para:
      …The Bush administration insisted that the vast challenge of occupying Iraq could be undertaken with a small number of troops and a light touch. Iraq, it was said, would pay for itself. And once in Baghdad, Washington decided to destroy the Iraqi state, disbanding the army and purging the bureaucracy, which produced chaos and helped fuel an insurgency. Any one of these mistakes might have been overcome. But together they ensured that Iraq became a costly fiasco. (my emphasis)

      If the “Change Agent” article is correct, then a CIA/Neoliberal/US policy to destroy not just a particular sitting govt but the entire organized state structure would be expected, creating chaos. The international US soft-power and legitimacy lost with this policy of ‘destroy the state’ contributes to its own self-destruction as the world leader, imo.

      1. flora

        adding: typo – Zakaria.

        and: post WWII the US and Allies helped build up state structures in new democratic form in the former Axis powers; a very different approach from trying to destroy state structure.

      2. Synoia

        One can make a case that the US’ policy in the ME is not in chaos, but is chaos itself.

        Historically the ME is the Western End of the Silk road. If one’s major competitor’s strategy is dependent on peace and order on the silk road, the US appears to have executed very well.

        1. flora

          One side effect of the chaos: driving thousands of ME refugees north into Europe, destabilizing the political legitimacy of current govts in Germany, France, Greece, Italy, UK, Belgium and others, imo.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


            And like the US destabilized Central and South American countries

      3. JBird4049

        The State Department and the military had created detailed plans pre-Bush for the invasion and occupation of Iraq to treat it like postwar Germany. Defeat and rebuild with a functioning (hopefully democratic) government and society, which takes years and a lot of money. IIRC, all that President Bush had to do was to say go and it would have been done.

        But no that would have made too much sense. In order to keep costs down and shorten the occupation the Bush Administration did use that light touch. Well, flame throwers do have a lighter touch than a hammer, I guess. There are university level programs for the study of what makes a functioning society as well as how to create and maintain them. The state department had been full of the graduates of those programs. All ignored in that neoliberal march of folly.

      4. Procopius

        This is a must read: Baghdad Year ZeroThe neocons were much more radical than was realized at the time. Also incredibly stupid. I still want to know who told J. Paul Bremer to disband the Iraqi Army. Nobody took responsibility, I don’t believe he would have done it on his own, and afterward everybody acted as if nothing had happened. I’ve always suspected Douglas Feith, but it might have been John Bolton.

    3. Hopelb

      It struck me as being a shallow, skimming of the surface, rationalization. No mention of how the New World Order employed the IMF and World Bank to colonize the Third World, impoverishing the populations, while asset stripping their resources, destroying their environment. No mention of the Chicago Boys coming to the “aid” of Russia by privatizing the commons, killing millions of Russians with poverty, and of course, enriching a few Oligarchs. Putin witnessed it and would not continue the US ‘s drunk puppet, Yeltsin’s policies. It is laughable to assert the US ever spread values/ friendship to these countries’ populations, though we did spread them to our ruling vassals. He was right about the expectation of installing instant democracy in countries we had blown to bits, being naive; “bringing Democracy” was never our real intention, was it? Why then would we purge all of South America of its democratically elected leaders and install Puppets loyal to US corporate resource extractors? Fareed even ignores the fact that it was the Clinton Third Wayers free trade policies, assisted by the short term , greed chasing US CEOs that really jump started China’s rise. And it was nafta that led to the impoverishment and increased immigration to the US. It looks to me as though the crash of 08 was the beginning of the end because here you saw the elites actually hollowing out their own country, using the 29 trillion bailout to asset strip the last remaining scraps,( see PE forming the largest single family home rental co by foreclosed homes for pennies on the dollar, see their latest purchase of mom and pop trailer parks) just as they have done everywhere else.

      What is ironic , is that their plan to militarily control oil/ countries depends upon machinery and arms that is produced by outsourcing greedy contractors and so upon the Chinese, whose parts, rare earths and possibly hackable, backdoor laden circuitry is contained within them.

      1. John k

        Good post.
        I used to watch him but stopped years ago, and really lost interest when, after trump bombed the Syrian airport, he said ‘trump is finally being presidential’.
        Now I see him as just another neolib apologist.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        aye! i finally got around to fareed’s incoherent rambling this morning, and it’s just what i expected: rose tinted glasses, at best. do the CoFR people really believe their own propaganda like this?
        if so, there is no hope…because just about everything laid out in this article is contrary to observed reality(“spreading liberal democracy”,lol)
        and if the Masters of the Universe are making decisions for the rest of us based on utter fantasy, at some point, Reality will intrude.
        reading through, just about every problem the us is facing was created by our* own meddling and shenanigans and hubris and blind adherence to myth.(*rather, that of the people in charge. i don’t remember anyone asking for my advice)
        if this article is representative of our current ruling class’ thinking, we’re in bigger trouble than even my decidedly pessimistic outlook would indicate.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      It was blocked for days by youtube for violating music licenses. Read into that what you will..

      1. lambert strether

        > violating music licenses

        Got a link on that? Sounds like sloppy staffwork, if true

    1. JBird4049

      I couldn’t find it on the Star Tribune’s website.

      You probably already know why and just meant to imply the point. Me? I am going to visit my soapbox.

      Mebbe because that cartoon is a little too truthful? Personally, I’m all for very strict immigration controls, but I also know that blaming people for fleeing to America from the Hellscapes that the United States creates, imposed, and maintains is wrong morally, ethically, and illogical. However, just as too many people refuse to see the suffering inflicted on poor and working class American families by this importation of cheap labor, which also includes the various guest workers visas like the H-1B, too many people also demonize the refugees and visa holders who are only here because it often means not dying back home or because powerful American businesses have distorted, sometimes in illegal ways, the importation and hiring of “guest” workers.

      People are often uncomfortable with having what’s there to be easily seen pointed out to them; newspaper owners often want inconvenient truths to remain hidden.

      (Hops off the soapbox)

      1. Procopius

        As somebody asked above, I wonder if the MOTU believe their own propaganda. We supported people like Fulgencio Batista, Idi Amin, and Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlevi because “stability.” We still hate Iran and Cuba because they thwarted our rich people’s desires. The U.S. has never supported any remotely democratic government because Communism.

  7. Carolinian

    Re NYT/store tracking story–just turn off the darned Bluetooth on your phone unless you are actually using it. Of course the paranoid will believe that it stays on whether you turn it off or not (unlikely as you would see the beacon with your laptop–unless it’s a secret beacon). For them the ever handy Faraday pouch is the way to go. Or, if you are in my library, leave the phone at home, please…..

    1. EMtz

      Yep. I just leave the phone at home or in the car. It is not necessary to be on call 24/7.

  8. Svante

    An article on Virtue Signaling in the NYT? Oh my heart be STILL! Am I fantasizing this? I’m suggesting we spend several weeks discussing this? Anybody, ANYBODY?

      1. Svante

        Virtual Virtue… man, I like that! This goes from a friend, who shouts affirmation while watching Amy Goodman, like an old-timey holy roller, to solar powered Teslas making bogus “car noises,” finding their own parking space? I’m just loving how I’m suddenly acceptable wearing digital camo ACUs, in NooYawkCiddy (and I have absolutely no reason why?) Maybe, it’s the Hall/ Davis in ’72 t-shirt?

    1. jrs

      No, I think it’s an illegitimate term. The article mostly argued the same although for psychological reasons.

      I only ever see the term used by the right when someone further left tries to talk about some moral value that motivates their politics or worldview. Which is really a: so? Your issue is with framing things in moral terms? That’s the whole of western culture as least (I know western culture better so I’ll stick to that). There are other ways to frame things (as class conflict, as generational conflict – legit with say climate change). But it does seem a silly point to make.

      If the issue was just phony politicians I don’t think anyone benefits at all by such a mystifying term when there are a lot of plain English ways of talking about things.

      1. martell

        The authors of the article assume that ‘virtue signaling’ means ‘feigned righteousness.’ That is not the explanation I would have given, especially judging from how the term is used on this site. I would have explained that it refers to a kind of vanity, specifically a baseless claim to moral superiority. It is similar, then, to ‘self-righteous.’

        Be that as it may, the authors go on to make the astounding claim that talk of feigned righteousness commits the speaker to a scientific theory which they, the authors, have falsified. I don’t think so. Criteria for righteous indignation have to do with a person’s actions (e.g., use of words expressing disapproval, loud voice, fist shaking) in certain kinds of settings (e.g., at the monthly meeting of a political club). Sometimes, when it seems people are doing something (like expressing righteous indignation), they aren’t. They’re just pretending, for any number of reasons. How do we know? We take account of what the person did before, nuances of the expression of anger, the setting in which the expression occurred (such as a theater), and what the person does afterwards. Occasionally, an individual who would ordinarily count as righteously indignant is found to satisfy the criteria for merely pretending. If the psychologists say otherwise, they’re either wrong or, confusingly, using ordinary English terms in extraordinary ways.

        1. Svante

          I’d tried to address this dichotomy, in my reply to jrs. That there’s doing the right thing (regardless of the hoplessness, because it’s all there is?) Then, there’s “virtue signalling” which seems to be some kind of bad 70’s sitcom of how our betters denigrate, belittle or deligitimize doing what’s necessary, without fussing? First, they ignore you. Then, they belittle you. Then, they make a reality infomercial, selling membership with funny hats? Then, that post flew off to Oz?

  9. ex-PFC Chuck

    Re the Asia Times/Pepe Escobar piece “Say hello to the Russia-China operating system:”
    Yet another own goal of the trade war. Not only forgoing a huge market opportunity but making it much more challenging for the USA spies to penetrate the mobile devices that will be used by those nasty furriners.

  10. Antifa

    Two things missing from the article on using Ethereum to clean up the Philippines:

    * all the plastic bagged with this scheme — anywhere in the world — goes where? Into local landfills, where it will break down into micro-plastic particles during the coming thousand years. As it does, this ethylene effluvia leaches into the water, rain, oceans, soil — and into humans via their vegetables and rice.

    In the longer term, the same plastic enters the environment, just by a slower route. So what has been accomplished here?

    * fully half of the micro-plastic in the oceans comes from gigantic fishing nets, which are cut loose and abandoned when they wear out. No one is doing anything at all about this.

    1. rod

      I caught that also. glaring omission of post collection action. to me this has become the formulaic conclusion in the reporting on plastic pollution collection efforts.

      Then this: So much plastic is being made that “recycling has no impact”

      never guess it highlights citizen science to id more source points for plastic pollution.
      Recycling is your last resort–the 3 r’s are REDUCE/REUSE/ then RECYCLE.

      The Source points are glaringly obvious–the PRODUCERS producing without CONSTRAINT or PENALTY for producing products designed to be pollution in their end state.

      #5 black plastic for example

      1. newcatty

        Let us consider what plastic is made from in the main supply sources. Obviously, oil makes our current world go around and around…in more ways then one. Can’t help but recall the scene from The Graduate, as whispered in the young man’s ear: Plastics!

    2. Cal2

      That article looks like a giant ad for iPhone sales to poor people and a massive datamining opportunity as well as an attempt to eventually end the use of cash in the Philippines.

      Is there any trash pickup in the communities where the junk originates? How about a one dollar, or Philippine equivalent, deposit on every ounce of all plastic items?, to be refunded in cash?

      In the U.S., a five dollar deposit on every plastic bottle or cup, of any type, to be collected wherever sales taxes are collected, and refunded at centralized depots, would create thousands of jobs, create alternate packaging industries, i.e. biodegradable wax lined cardboard bottles, enrich people, end litter and provide spending money to marginalized groups, to boost consumer spending.

  11. Craig H.

    > One dead after poop transplant gone wrong, FDA warns

    The FDA shared minimal details from the deadly transplants. Its warning only noted that the cases involved two patients who were immunocompromised prior to the experimental transplants and received stool from the same donor.


    I was under the impression that this was a fringe experimental procedure which is only done when the patient is in really bad shape with dismal prognosis. Instead of this being a leak of classified data it would be far more useful if they had presented Real_Data although it’s a lot to ask from a government agency.

    There really isn’t much to say about such a story. Maybe Mozart?

      1. Cal2

        Reminds me of the joke about the low I.Q. individual who got a prescription for suppositories and took them with a glass of water…skip body of joke…
        punchline: “For all the good they did, I might as well have shoved them up…”

  12. Wukchumni

    I don’t get the latest murder spree in public @ a Costco in SoCal, where the shooter got off 6 shots in a deadly argument in regards to frozen food.

    What could the gat of give been pulled out in anger over?

    …the last particular tv dinner entree, or the last pint of Chunky Monkey?

    Witnesses told KCAL-TV that a man with a Mohawk haircut was arguing with someone near a freezer section when he pulled a gun and fired at least six shots.

    The man involved in the argument was killed and two other people were wounded, Lt. Jeff Edwards said. There was no immediate word on their conditions.

  13. JEHR

    Re: Trump says his UK visit was the most fun Queen had in 25 years

    Well, the Queen has a wonderful sense of humour and there is “laughing with” and “laughing at.” Who knows which is which?

  14. Chris Cosmos

    In regards to the MoA article: Iran Decided To Put Maximum Pressure On Trump – Here Is How It Will D

    MoA and b have a record of accuracy that goes beyond any other source I’ve found over the years as far as war and war by other means is concerned. In his artricle, b has gone out on a limb and made an argument that Iran has no choice but to hunker down and wage asymmetrical warfare against Washington’s obviously aggressive belligerence. I believe this is probably correct though I don’t have b’s wide connections to occult (hidden) powers. He can’t have his degree of accuracy without very powerful ears and eyes in various high places.

    The Iranians are a perennial Washington punching bag and have learned how to survive. Presidents have used the Iranian “threat” as part of their own and their staff’s jostling for power within Washington. I also know that while neocon true believers have wanted to “bomb, bomb Iran” for a long time, the uniformed military and the finance oligarchs have been cool to the project. That remains unchanged. Ratcheting up tensions in the hope of internal collapse of Iranian society is a losing game, as far as I can see, and is based solely on the contempt people within the security establishment hold towards Muslims in general and Iranians in particular since such people within Washington’s senior leadership self-select for an unsightly combination of arrogance and ignorance which remains unchanged since the beginning of the Vietnam War.

    In any event, the US has forced Iran to start begin asymmetrical warfare:

    The strategic patience Iran demonstrated throughout the year since Trump killed the deal brought no result. Trump will stay in power, probably for another five and a half years, while Iran’s economic situation continuous to get worse. The situation requires a strategic reorientation and the adoption of a new plan to counter U.S. pressure.

    Thus Iran has to focus its own long-term future which is to pull away from the international system and strengthen its own internal industries, expand trade with neighbors and allies, b points out, and defenestrate the internal pro-West opposition/fifth column. In addition Iran will now initiate asymmetrical warfare in the Gulf will leverage the lack of credibility Washington has throughout the world with minor sabotage and attacks on the flow of oil and chemicals from the Gulf. Iran has plenty of proxies and some of us believe, a very capable cadre of intel operators in the region to harass the enemy.

    This cat and mouse game will now continue and steadily gain pace. More tankers will get damaged or even sunk. Saudi refineries will start to explode. UAE harbors will experience difficulties. Iran will plausibly deny that it is involved in any of this. The U.S. will continue to blame Iran but will have no evidence to prove it.

    If this keeps up and escalates steadily the US will either have to de-escalate (unlikely) or go to war. Washington will run smack dab into the same blocks both Bush and Obama ran into when they threatened war. Most of the uniformed military have consistently opposed any war with Iran because they don’t trust the civilian leadership which they view (rightly) as corrupt, opportunisic, and highly fickle. Also the finance oligarchs on Wall Street prefer fake wars to real wars for obvious reasons. But the refugee crisis that would come as a result of massive bombing of Iran would not be able to stop Iranian sabotage of Gulf shipping. Only direct occupation of Iran would insure some relative stability but there would be constant guerilla war from Lebanon to Pakistan. The Democrats with their monomaniacal focus on Russia aren’t going to like any of this because the net winner of any major conflict in the region will be Russia no matter the end result.

    War with Iran could be the spark that could destroy the West already weakened by massive corruption and internal instability. People in the West spoiled by consumer culture and ubiquitous entertainment if ever forced to deal with serious privations would exact revenge on the ruling elites and the rich would then be forced to move the inverted totalitarianism upright into full-fledged Stalinist style regimes.

    1. Edward

      The MoA article was mostly repeating the opinions here

      which I don’t agree with; the last thing Iran should do, IMO, is give up on relations with Russia and China. What is needed is for Russia, Iran, China, and other countries targeted by American imperialism to work together on a common defense. This isn’t necessarily easy, because these countries have different interests, but it should not be abandoned. If it can, I think Iran should try to avoid anything too provocative, simply because the Trump White House is doing a fine job shooting itself in the foot on its own; every week, practically, Trump is picking a fight with a different country. Why would Iran want to get in the way of that?

      As for the points about promoting self-sufficiency, this aspiration doesn’t mean much. The real question is what is the plan for achieving this? Iran has been trying to fix its economy for years.

    2. anon in so cal

      Disagree that a US war against Iran would benefit Russia. On the contrary, militants would potentially cross the border into southern Russia and foment terror. Evidence adduced in various articles suggest the US NeoCon / NED regime change ops in Syria and Iran are precursors to the real target: regime change in Russia.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        An Iran war would flood Europe with refugees which would finally break up the Empire. Russia/China benefits.

        1. Massinissa

          “which would finally break up the Empire. ”

          Um…. How exactly? How does Europe getting flooded with refugees break up the American Empire? Seems like you have some assumptions that are doing an awful lot of work here.

    3. VietnamVet

      Donald Trump’s technique is to break a few kneecaps and scare the opponent enough that he comes out ahead when agreeing to the final deal. This comes with a background of the last 40 years of Western Oligarchs’ successful campaign to end taxes, screw workers, flush government down the drain, and create a corporate New World Order. Since 2003 this has turned into a concerted campaign to destroy nation states and capture flight money in City of London and Wall Street. Iran survived this and the Sunni Holy War as a Persian Nation. There is no deal that can be made with Iran. The USA does not have the manpower or material to invade and conquer Iran. The only choice for Donald Trump is defeat, nuclear war or back down. The one sure thing is that the US government is not telling the truth. The USA cannot continue sanctions against Russia, Belarus, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Yemen and especially the China trade war indefinitely. The blockade of Iran will eventually close the Straits of Hormuz and crash the global economy. I am afraid Donald Trump can’t conceive of an opponent who won’t negotiate. His whole persona will collapse if he backs down.

    4. neo-realist

      I suspect the rubber will really meet the road when the Iranians start to enrich uranium beyond the limits set by the nuclear deal all the way to nuclear weapons grade, assuming the payment system the EU is working on isn’t sufficient to get around the sanctions. If Trump doesn’t go to war to stop the enrichment, he’s defeated the purpose of his breaking the deal since the pressure campaign hasn’t changed their behavior.

      1. Procopius

        I saw that explained in the Grauniad.It’s really the end result of the U.S. sanctions. Since the U.S. is preventing them from selling the fuel they are producing in compliance with the JCPOA they will have more on hand than the JCPOA allows. They had not intended to violate the terms of the JCPOA, but it is the result of the U.S. war against them.

    1. Edward

      Whatever rules of engagement the U.S. came up with for Iraq led to a bloodbath. This was basically a colonial war where zero effort was made to prevent Iraqi deaths. One problem, for example, was that warning signs were in the wrong language, English I guess. When Iraqi travelers couldn’t read the sign and didn’t obey, they were massacred. In an account by an American visitor, he described preparing to photograph an American soldier but stopping when warned by a nearby Iraqi. It turned out the soldiers shot anyone trying to photograph them. In 2020, we still don’t know exactly what happened during the invasion and occupation of Iraq. We only know bits and pieces.

    1. GF

      AOC will be interview on ABCthisweek Sunday morning for her first Sunday morning interview since taking office.

  15. LifelongLib

    Antidote du Jour:

    Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis)?

    We have these here in Hawaii…

  16. John k

    Invasive birds on every continent except Antarctica… probably rough on the natives…
    Kinda like us… except no exceptions.

  17. Edward

    Am I am missing something about the video “proving” Iran attacked the ships? The video shows an Iranian ship REMOVING a mine from a ship, several hours after the attack. I ask you, what is the opposite of PLACING a mine on a ship? Does everyone have an I.Q. of 50 these days?

    1. The Rev Kev

      They are just messing with us now. Back in WW2 it was decided to use colour film to record the war in the Pacific but retain Black & White film for the war in the Atlantic. That is why most battle films from the Pacific War you see are in colour. I can only say that the Pentagon must have made a similar decision by using high-grade colour film in the Pacific (which we saw in those films clips of that near collision between the Russian & US ship a few days ago) but in the Gulf are using Black & White film as evinced by video of the Iranian doing “something”. And not just normal Black & White film but low-grade one from like used during the 1920s with its low-resolution and blurry outlines. All that was missing was the jerky movements and the guy playing sinister piano music in the background and it would be complete.

      1. Edward

        UFO photos also have that grainy, black & white appearance. The thing is, if the White House wants to forge “proof” of Iranian guilt, shouldn’t they at least have the sailors placing a mine, not removing it?

  18. ewmayer

    “Trump says his UK visit was the most fun Queen had in 25 years | NY Post” — Happened across this similar-themed item for June 11th on a “this day in history” site:

    1939 King and Queen of England taste 1st “hot dogs” at FDR’s party

    …which I forwarded to a friend with the comment, “In related news, Felix Frankfurter, nominated by FDR, joined the Supreme Court that same year as an associate justice.”

    As far as the Queen of England having fun, that brings to mind the classic British TV pseudohistoric-comedic TV series Blackadder and its recurring character of the flamboyant sex-crazed Lord Flashheart, played by the late, great Rik Mayall. The scenes between him and Miranda Richardson playing a giggling, prank-loving Elizabeth I were hilarious. Mayall also played flight instructor Flashheart in Season 4 of the series, based on WW1. His flight instruction was distinctly Flashheartian: “Right! Now I say, treat your plane like your best girl – get inside her 5 times a day and take her to heaven and back!” Seeing a young Hugh Laurie as the idiotic inbred Prince George in S3, and again as Lieutenant George in S4 is also a treat.

  19. ewmayer

    Democratic Debate Lineup: Sanders And Biden To Face Off | NPR

    Candidates for the June 26 debate: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

    Candidates for the June 27 debate: Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet; former Vice President Joe Biden; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; California Sen. Kamala Harris; former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders; California Rep. Eric Swalwell; writer and spiritual guru Marianne Williamson and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

    Pleasantly surprised at that, looking forward to Sanders taking dismal Joe to task for his record of Democrat-in-name-only-ness. Still plenty of other ways to rig/slant/bias a debate, though.

    1. marku52

      “Still plenty of other ways to rig/slant/bias a debate, though.”

      Rachel Maddow comes to mind…

      “How have the Russians caused climate change, the opioid epidemic, and inequality. Please explain at length

      1. wilroncanada

        The other way, with 10 people onstage, is to not let him get a word in at all. Give all the time to Biden and the other pretenders. And if Sanders forces himself into the “conversation” at all, he will be labelled as i) trying to take over the discussion, ii) being a rude interloper. The idea of the uncouth Commie savage will be introduced right on prime time TV by moderator or moderators, then echoed for months on MSNBC and CNN.
        Framing–it’s all about framing, and he will be framed.

        1. Svante

          Gong Show format with Komodo dragons and chainsaws, Ivanka introducing, “my DADDY?” Thank GOD, there’s Perry Mason and Peter Gunn reruns on!

  20. Cal2

    Facebook and privacy:

    Does your local phone company have the right to block your outgoing or incoming phone calls, based on the political content, words or quotes in your conversations? How about your email provider?

    Why not? Like Facebook, it’s a private company. Facebook and all social media need to be
    regulated as public utilities
    when they reach a certain threshold of numbers of users.

    The message that needs to be conveyed to wean our society from this invasive scourge, is that Facebook is low class, like being on MySpace, smoking or nose picking.

    If one “has to be” on Facebook, why would anyone use their real name, address and phone number when signing up for social media? A slight alteration, a twenty dollar burner phone and a little care when signing up can help keep everything one does on the platform, or social media gibbet, from being publicly available. Yes, usage reveals a lot, but not if a pseudonym that your friends know and some care is used. Dedicated private free emails are available.

    Why are citizens required to subject them self to data mining when they are required to use Facebook to get alerts from taxpayer funded local governments, as has been proposed in wildfire zones? As there is separation of Church and State, there should be separation of Social Media and State,
    i.e. a town’s Facebook page, except as a chamber of commerce funded stunt.
    No government service should go through or be connected to Facebook or any social media–unless social media companies want to pay local property taxes in exchange, and even then, it should be voluntary on a household per household basis.

    1. Procopius

      There are laws that make the phone company something called a “common carrier.” I think the same laws apply to railroads, but I am not a lawyer and could easily be wrong on that. Anyway, because the phone company is what is known as a “natural monopoly” they are restricted in how they can treat their customers. Verizon and Comcast are, I think, also subject to some of the same restrictions, but not nearly enough. Face book, though, is not in that position. Although it has become dominant it has competitors. I would like to see it nationalized and Zuckerberg stripped of every penny, but that’s not going to happen.

  21. Brooklin Bridge

    Artificial intelligence-enhanced journalism offers a glimpse of the future of the knowledge economy -The Conversation

    Snort, yes, it can’t take over the human touch yet; stenography, after all, is such an art.

    1. Hopelb

      I was thinking this would make a great short story in which Cost saving AI journalists started to actually report the f-ing truth. And of course, the mad scramble by the media overseers to reign the AI in and hire “real” journalist/presstitutes to report again on the only government sanctioned narrative permissible.

  22. Carey

    ‘The Ecology And Economy Of Xylella Fastidiosa’:

    “..Natural elements never stop acting as nature intended, even when they have been ensnared in an economy; in fact, our economies depend on these elements to follow their natural instincts. Farmers count on bees to pollinate their crops, but they do nothing to teach these bees what to do, who are just ‘doing what comes naturally’, as the song goes. Beekeepers, when they are involved, merely move bees from one field to another; they do not direct the bees in their activities.

    So when one of those elements within an economy decides to act on its natural impulses in such a way that does not fit human needs, when an element serves the needs of its ecology irrespective of the needs of an economy in which it has been enmeshed or from which it has been excluded, it can have a disruptive effect on an economy that has been so nicely arranged by humans..”

  23. richard

    Virtue signaling is very much a boomer and gen x malady, imho. It’s all about how you feel, and your opinion, and is it the right opinion? Because when working class communities dissolved after the war and class consciousness took a bit hit, the left atomized and disappeared up its own &*^*$#@. Goodbye unions and collective action, hello to message t-shirts, bumper stickers, and every other kind of sad substitution for real solidarity.
    I don’t think the youngers do it as much. What we teach, we often teach unintentionally.
    I realize this is over-generalized like all generational observations.

  24. Acacia

    “Say hello to the Russia-China operating system”

    The gist of this article — that Trump’s trade war is counterproductively pushing China and Russia to co-develop their own mobile OS — is correct. Beyond that, though, it strikes me as wildly optimistic about Aurora or HongMeng becoming serious rivals to Android. Eventually, sure. But soon? For example, while Escobar notes that HongMeng has been under development for seven years now, he opines that Huawei “would be able to integrate their code to the Russian system in no time”. Somehow we jump from “seven years” to “no time”, and it’s not clear whether he understands that Aurora and HongMeng are two different OSes. Claims such as “rumored to be 60% faster than Android” sound more like engineering chest-thumping than reality. Nor does Escobar seem entirely clear on HongMeng’s release status. After stating that it is already being tested on over one million devices, he joins the speculation about HongMeng’s actual launch. 2019 is indeed rumored, but for now “launch” really does mean “for the Chinese market” only. Other reports on HongMeng note that: “The main reason for the rollout to take place first in China is that the OS would not meet the requirements of the International audience, so Huawei has to scale back a bit with the launch.” Right. Scaling back just “a bit” from the international market. A mobile OS is a pretty complicated piece of kit, involving many different types of expertise, not just engineering. It takes many man-years of work and field-testing to debug, solidify, and polish a code base, not to mention steadily adding new features to keep users happy. Unlike iOS, HongMeng must run on hardware from many different vendors, and it is intended to support Android apps. There are many ways such a project can fail. It’s worth bearing in mind that Microsoft also tried to break into the mobile OS market, but I haven’t heard much about Windows phones in a long while now. Escobar’s take on the issue of “security and protection of users’ data” is downright cringeworthy. “Huawei developing a software impenetrable to hacking attempts”? Cough cough. Yes, I’m sure that a made-in-China OS will have absolutely no backdoors for the CCP, and we can all totally trust Huawei on that. Realistically, I would expect this project to take a lot longer than Escobar opines, to be well-integrated with Beijing’s regime of “surveillance capitalism with Chinese characteristics”, and during the rollout there will be a number of compatibility issues running Android apps. Customers hoping to run Android apps will be more like beta testers for the OS. Also, by tying itself to Android APIs, HongMeng will forever be playing catchup to changes in Android, and even if “native HongMeng APIs” are eventually added, it will only add another vector of complexity.

    1. Non-Eponymous

      Not using my usual eponymous handle… My brother and a friend authored an OS for a then popular Motorola flip phone. Yes, phones were simpler then but this phone could do internet and email as well as voice and SMS. It was a massive pile of work and they were both very generously compensated for writing it but it suggests to me it isn’t a task that is beyond a well-funded, high priority development program.

      1. Acacia

        Yes indeed, phones where simpler then. But I’m not saying it’s not possible. I’m saying that I think Escobar is wildly optimistic and there are reasons to not hold one’s breath for a made-in-China mobile OS anytime soon. Also, whenever it gets built, it will very likely have compromised security — not by accident, but by design.

        More specifically, my reasoning for “not anytime soon” is as follows: HongMeng is aiming for compatibility with Android apps, because they understand that they can’t build the OS and the entire app ecosystem ex nihilio. So, they will just focus on an OS that runs Android apps. This is a reasonable plan, but not so simple, because they must replicate the functionality of all the Android APIs. The Android OS is reported to be 12 to 15 million lines of code. Industry standard is 325 to 750 lines of code per month per developer. Calculating roughly, then, a team of 250 developers would need over 100 months to write that volume of code, and that doesn’t include Q & A, squashing bugs from users, etc. YMMV.

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