Links 6/16/19

Chief of Naval Operations lauds return to tradition of ‘false flag’ operations Duffelblog

Target’s computer systems reportedly went down nationally, prompting long lines and confusion MarketWatch

‘Software engineering’ was a joke until the mission to the Moon made it the future Fast Company

Hackers behind the world’s deadliest code are probing US power firms MIT Technology Review

How to Plan a “Support for the Cuban People” Trip Conde Nast Traveler

From Cuba to Greeneland: Graham Greene’s long relationship with the island republic New Statesman

Scots running amok Aeon. Wonder what my great grandfather Gow – born in Bearsden – would have to say about this. Robert Fortune’s story is fascinating – read Sarah Rose’s For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World’s Favorite Drink and Changed History for the full scoop. Industrial (or in this case, more accurately, horticultural ) espionage isn’t a new phonomenon.

Washington state waterfront owners asked to take dead whales AP


WATCH: Glenn Greenwald Explains the Political Earthquake in Brazil Caused by Our Ongoing Exposés The Intercept

Lula Is Innocent. Free Him Now. Jacobin


Double Whammy: A no-deal Brexit and Northern Ireland RTE (Donn) Hoisted from comments.

Dominic Raab warns Conservatives will be ‘toast’ in next election if it fails to secure Brexit by October 31st Independent

All over the country ethnic minorities are victims of more violence than ever – and it’s all because of Brexit Independent Patrick Cockburn

Brexit: no-deal, big deal


Too little, too late for US ‘recommitment’ to Mekong countries? China’s already there SCMP

Protests in Hong Kong Unlikely to Yield Results Der Spiegel

China is courting trouble in Hong Kong Nikkei Asian Review

Leaderless and livid: The youngsters on Hong Kong front lines AFP

Tens of thousands dressed in black rally to demand Hong Kong leader steps down Reuters

Julian Assange

John Pilger: The Global War on Assange, Journalism & Dissent Consortium News

‘The Changes Are Really Accelerating’: Alaska at Record Warm While Greenland Sees Major Ice Melt Common Dreams

Soaring temperatures will raise the risk of armed conflict MIT Technology Review

Weather forecasting in times of extreme weather events Economic Times

Global heating to inflict more droughts on Africa as well as floods Guardian

Western rangelands threatened by intensifying wildfires Grist


India swelters as record temperatures becomes ‘new normal’ FT

The Notion That Doctors Are Infallible Needs to Be Broken The Wire

Indian telecoms now eyeing Samsung for 5G Asia Times

Life after demonetisation: How India’s poor are paying the price Al Jazeera


UN calls for independent inquiry after Donald Trump blames Iran for oil tanker attack Scroll

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince MBS blames Iran for tanker attacks Al Jazeera

Trump’s consistent criticism of Iran pushes U.S. to point of potential conflict WaPo

Class Warfare

UK Government Blew Billions on “Help to Buy” Scheme that Enriched Home Builders and Drove Up Home Prices. Taxpayers on the Hook When Prices Sink, New Report Warns Wolf Street (EM)

People Experiencing Hardship Should Be Allowed to Use Technology Without Your Judgmental Bullshit Gizmodo

New York City Allocates $250,000 for Abortions, Challenging Conservative States NYT


Kamala Harris would lean on presidential power, not Congress, for big plans San Fran Chronicle

Trump campaign zeroes in on a new threat: Elizabeth Warren Politico

Booker, O’Rourke, Buttigieg rally with striking McDonald’s workers in South Carolina The Hill

Bernie Sanders Delivered the Most Profound Speech Since We Lost MLK Common Dreams. In case you missed earlier links about his speech.

Amazon News: What Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders Said About The Retail Giant On Taxes And Its New Credit Card International Business Times

Should We Take These Early General Election Polls Seriously? $#!% No! FiveThirtyEight

New Cold War

U.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russia’s Power Grid NYT

Russia Expert’s 2017 Prophecy About The Nuclear Threat Of Russiagate Is Coming True Caitlin Johnstone

Trump accuses The New York Times of ‘a virtual act of Treason’ for publishing a story saying the US is ramping up cyberattacks on Russia Business Insider

Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw The Hill

Antidote du Jour, courtesy of reader LR from the Pleasant  Lake Protective Association: “We had a pair of wild turkeys mating in our field.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Ben Wolf

    Harris isn’t Hillary 2.0, she’s Obama 2.0. A President whose entire legacy was based on executive orders and erased with the stroke of a pen.

    1. rattllemullet

      Much like t-rump’s presidency = a failed constitution. legislative and the judicial branches of government have acquiesced to a unitary executive.

    2. Blowncue

      Except Obamacare. Still remember being gobsmacked when Rep. Freylinghausen came out and said my constituents are against repeal.

    3. Mrs Smith

      Agree, Harris will (unfortunately) have to do the same as Obama if the GOP retains control of the senate. It won’t matter which Dem wins the presidency in 2020 if they aren’t also gunning for congressional, as well as state, and local level control, or at least not GOP supermajorities. I get so peeved every time I see a 1% candidate stumping for the presidency instead of running for a senate seat in their state.

      1. bob

        Obama had majorities in both the house and senate when he was elected

        The Choke of a Generation

        1. John Wright

          I do not give Obama credit for being a choke.

          That is far too kind.

          Someone chokes when they make a good effort to do something and fail due to nervousness, lack of talent, bad execution or bad luck.

          Obama purposely did not try for Medicare for All.
          Obama purposely did not attempt to prosecute financial crimes while he deferred to the financial industry..
          Obama purposely did not make an executive order to shut down Guantanamo.

          Obama purposely DID go after whistleblowers (Manning, Assange and others) while claiming he had a “transparent” administration.
          Obama purposely DID drone innocents to death in foreign lands.
          Obama purposely DID strongly assist in making Libya a failed state.
          Lame duck Obama purposely DID try to get the TPP passed, despite pushback from the Democratic constituency.

          Obama is great at maintaining the lucrative Obama brand.

          No choke be he.

          He is a great performer.

          1. Pavel

            Thanks… grim but necessary reminders of what an atrocious president he turned out to be. Don’t forget his lies/cover-up of the NSA spying.

            I had such great hopes for him — I remember watching the inauguration in a Tokyo hotel room in the middle of the night with tears in my eyes.

            From my POV the honeymoon — such as it was — ended very soon thereafter with his appointment of Rahm Emmanuel, that consummate political insider, as COS and re-appointing Geithner in Treasury. All downhill since then.

            1. Phenix

              Did no one look at his advisors? I stopped working in politics when he ran. Nothing he did was surprising. He surrounded himself with R2P liberal (neocons) and was obviously a neoliberal.

            2. John Wright

              But I still talk with “progressive” people who assert Obama was prevented from doing many good things by the Republicans.

              At least Trump is showing, for better or worse, that a US president can “do things” without support from the opposition party (or even some in his own party).

              People are quite cynical about Trump, but Obama is always given the benefit of the doubt, that in his heart of hearts, Obama wanted to do the right thing…

              Obama and Trump are both con men in their own ways, but Obama is in a class by himself as, to this day, many US citizens he conned have never realized it.

              1. ambrit

                “…many US citizens he conned have never realized it.” Or don’t want to admit that they have been conned.
                This could be a large, untapped reservoir of potential ‘progressive’ voters.
                A subtle political campaign can bring those voters in. such as: “In your heart, you know it’s time to finally do the right thing. Vote for the Syndics.” (This ad bought to you by an amorphous conglomeration of like minded individuals, LLC.)

              2. Phacops

                Obama told his low information supporters what they wanted to hear while deliberately acting 180 degrees from what he said. Pointing this out as a shuck and jive was not well received by those telling us that he needed to pick his fights or was playing n’th dimensional chess even as he transparently sold out American workers.

              3. Socal Rhino

                A lot of republicans hated Obama from the start just as many still like Trump. This is tribal. A different narrative works with team Dem, that’s all. Obama is better compered with Bill Clinton. IMO.

            3. KB

              So true, so true..all the same for me and my household.

              Truly tragic is my son then in his early 20’s and a roomful of friends also cried when Obama won….May have turned off a generation from ever getting emotional, hopeful, excited about a President again in their lives if my son is an example.

              1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

                I supported Obama in 08 and rallied against the Tea Party for the ACA. Such a waste of time.

              1. JBird4049

                And yet it was a meme amongst the fringe opposition that President Obama was a Kenyan Socialist plant. Remember all that wackiness over his Hawaiian birth certificate? It wasn’t tribalism. It was lunacy. Even three decades ago he would have been considered at least the conservative wing of the Democratic Party.

                This is one of the reasons that shouting liberal, or socialist, or communist as a weapon does not work anymore and even older people are reassessing their beliefs in this supposedly among the best of all possible worlds. Too many broken promises, too many lies, too many broken people to try to shift all the blame as losers and deplorables.

          2. marym

            Obama also folded his OFA campaign organization into the DNC. Sanders has said recently (sorry I don’t have a link) that he would engage his grassroots support to put pressure on legislators to pass his programs.

          3. Oh

            He did not choke when he refused to make public Abu Ghraib torture pictures.
            He did not choke when he tried to make a grand bargain with the Repigs.
            He did not choke when he refused to veto many of the Repig supported bills.
            He did not choke when he appointed Repig Senators to his administration.

            Everything he did was incremental and was therefore half assed.

            He’s not choking when he receives big $$$$ for his “speeches”.

          4. Tangled up in Texas

            Let us not forget – Obama did purposely try to weaken Social Security…multiple times on multiple occasions. Thankfully the Republicans refused to take him up on his many offers.

          5. Glen

            Obama is horrible. The Obama “economic recovery” and new normal is slowly but surely destroying our country. Leaving us with the stupid elites and then everyone else, the 99%, the forgottens, the cannon folder, the slowly dying.

        2. flora


          an aside: For readers outside US/Canada, “choke” is a sporting term. Wiki definition:

          In sports, a choke is the failure of a sportsperson or team in a game in a situation where maintaining their performance is highly important.[1] This can occur in a game or tournament that they are strongly favored to win, or in an instance where they have a large lead that they squander in the late stages of the event. It can also refer to repeated failures in the same event, or simply infer an unexpected failure when the event is more important than usual.

          The Choke of a Generation.

              1. polecat

                Well, at least while whistling from one graveyard .. to another, that we didn’t all get a case of presidential ‘Kerry’s …

                small consolation, I know …

        3. David Carl Grimes

          Re: Bernie’s Democratic Socialism speech. I didn’t know that all three networks terminated live coverage of his speech right before he presented his economic bill of rights

        4. skippy

          An old NC commenter named Hugh had a list of firstly Bush Jr accomplishments and soon after Obama’s list was growing. Right there in black and white contra to all the MSM missives and PR flack.

        5. Procopius

          It looked that way until McConnell demonstrated that you don’t just need a majority in the Senate, you need 60 votes, and there were only a few days in 2009 when the Dems had 58. Of the two Independents one was Weepin’ Joe Lieberman, and the Democrats had never had a tradition on unanimity. Franken wasn’t certified in Minnesota until June. The claim that Obama had a majority is technically true, but irrelevant.

      2. Chris

        But it will matter which Dem candidate gets elected. There’s a lot of things you can do without Congressional approval and without executive orders. Just getting us out of wars for instance. Anti-trust enforcement for another. Pushing the DOJ to do its job with respect to White Collar crime for a third. And then there’s all the appointments to consider. Thomas Frank put a list together of everything the president can do without being extraordinary or issuing executive orders and signing letters. All we need is someone who wants to do what they campaigned on to take advantage of it.

        Team Blue should absolutely be figuring out how to get more seats in the legislatures at every level in this country. But I don’t accept people saying that nothing good can come of it if an honest progressive is elected as president.

        Harris doesn’t even crack my top 10 of people I’d like to see in the White House. The order of preferred candidates for me is still Gabbard, Sanders, Gravel, maybe Warren, then Inslee, and from there you get into the weeds. I realize most of those names are dark horse afterthoughts. Gravel especially. But if you go by what they’ve said and what they could do, that’s a lot of what we need in this country IMO. Especially the no more wars aspect. Harris doesn’t rate on any of those topics.

        1. Phacops

          Exactly. One only needs to see the power of the presidency in the ability of an administration to direct the direction and latitude in enforcement of the CFR (Code of Federal Regulation).

          No budget to enforce regulatory authority? I’m sure refusal to work to industry timelines (and expectations) when an agency is understaffed would receive notice. But then, this would require a strong president not in bed with the rich and powerful.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. Escalates Online Attacks on Russia’s Power Grid”

    One person in that article called planted destructive software ’21st-century gunboat diplomacy’. I think that if would be more like the 20th century equivalent of Mutually Assured Destruction. You could cripple a target nation but they could do the same with you. The problem is this – who launched that attack?
    Was it the target nation or was it another nation that did it instead? And there is the rub. You may never know who did it as you do not need the expertise of a superpower to employ these weapons. It could have been a smaller nation or it could have even been an independent group based in no nation.
    The only bright side that I can think of about such an attack is that all those cafes and restaurants that refuse to take cash but demand only on digital payment would be wiped out overnight. Otherwise it would be an instant return to the 19th century but without all the skills and knowledge to cope.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “… instant return to the 19th century but without all the skills and knowledge to cope.”^^^
      luddites/hippies/”country poor people”/ survivalist/Amish as the appendix/backup drive of civilisation.
      the skills and knowledgebase is out there, although ramping it up to where it would matter will be a challenge(especially with all the denial).
      the bigger problem, i would bet, is soil health and weather weirdness, and the general state of Nature, atm.
      wife and i were talking about floods and tariffs and expensive meat. I told her that our meat going forward might lean more heavily into deer/squirrel/rabbit/turkey/wild pig and all our domestic birds.*
      but if everyone did that, the woods would soon be empty…even accounting for those who would die out if that’s the kind of lifestyle they had to do.
      there’s not enough Nature left to go back to the “Horticulturalist” phase, let alone some KhoiSan hunter-gatherer way of life.

      (*(mom and i both want sheep, but whereas i’d be more than happy to go across the highway and get a few barbadoes, she is diggin in her heels to obtain “catadines”, at great expense and long distance. this is how the old people problem manifests in my life,lol)

    2. Chris Cosmos

      But the real question is why all these hostile acts? Why war? I understand it from Washington’s POV, the Executive branch’s power is based on the perception that we are “at war” all the time and are surrounded by enemies and the only way we can be “secure” is to destroy all threats in every corner of the world whether it’s in Russia or Mauritius. The whole world must be controlled by Washington–that makes for a lot of power and money flowing through that town–that makes sense. But the fact Americans love their military who they, for the most part, honestly believe are defending them, that I find perplexing, perverse and a clear indication that we are collectively insane. This is particularly the case because we all can see there are obvious real threats to our security that stem from our perverse and toxic way of life mainly the environment but also the growth in psychic illnesses like depression, anxiety, drug addiction and so on.

      1. Olga

        That, indeed is THE question. Why all the hostility, all the time? Several thoughts come to mind: (a) right after WWII, Churchill suggested bombing USSR with atomic weapons (luckily, the stock was low); (b) declassified docs from the late 1940s show a list of cities in the USSR and how many bombs would be needed to destroy them (luckily, not enough B52s and/or bombs to inflict final blow); and (c) JFK was seen as insubordinate because he did not want to go with his generals’ push to bomb USSR in the early 1960s. Later, it was thought that the opportunity to inflict permanent damage on USSR receded.
        In other words, the hostility has been there all along.
        Seems to me that the reason for the current escalation has a lot to do with the fairly rapidly diminishing “hegemonic moment” (blink of an historic eye more like it). A wounded animal fights even more fiercely. Disabling Russia would solve a lot of problems (for some). Propaganda plays an enormous role (an eyewitness once explained the crucial role propaganda played in the Germans’ willingness to wage war against USSR – it came via radios back then, every day, and listening was compulsory). Russia is an existential threat to the empire – no question. Even more so than China – although I think the elites underestimate China in this regard.
        Of course, it is insanity.
        One only needs to look at Rome. Eliminating Carthage did not help Rome – at least, not in the long run (but then, who cares about the long run, when there is caviar to be consumed today!). And even if all enemies (threats) could be eliminated, if one has sufficient aggressive impulse to do that – what remains would likely turn against each other! This is the psychology of some humans – which the military planners forget about.
        US has not had a war on its territory for at least 150 yrs – and those horrors were quickly forgotten. Also, US is a young country (no 1000-years wisdom to draw upon); it was built on violence (genocide, slavery come to mind); and the military is taught to fight (without reflection on the long-term consequences).
        Not at all clear what would save us this time.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Wars used to be about resources and empire, today they are about: inventory.

            So people looking through the old lenses get very tied in knots looking for a strategy, any strategy. And through the old lens there isn’t one, so they see The War as a baffling “fail”.

            Au contraire mon ami. Our “foreign policy” is no longer made on behalf of our nation, it’s made on behalf of our corporations. #Winning

            The subtitle of Kubrick’s Strangelove: “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb”

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              i figure that we hafta keep in mind that the “powers that be” are hardly monolithic. they might agree on several, or many, assumptions about the world(maybe most importantly, that their rule is just, essential and deserved)
              on many other parts of reality, they have very different lenses.
              i think that a lot of the focus on Russia(including the propaganda and confusion) is due to old lenses that many of the elite wear….an extension of the unipolar moment…inertia…russia has siberia, and asia in general is relatively untapped(hydraulic despotism is the goal)—and it was relatively easy to keep the unwashed in line(and just look at all the commies here at home!).
              i think another lens in use by a number of the high fallutin(remembering that they can wear more than one, just as we can) is a perhaps subconscious desire to finally “win” the cold war…russia still exists, so we haven’t “won”.(and look at all the commies here at home!)
              (the polite version of this latter is implicit in fareed’s ramble the other day)
              dust off the C.W Mills, Domhoff(sp-2-Mill’s scion) and even/especially, Quigly, Toynbee and the under-read Bertram Gross.
              I’m reading a book that leapt at me, “reconceptualizing the Peasantry”(Kearney,96) that deconstructs(!in a good way) the very idea of peasant, given the enormous changes in everything from production, labor and even “community”.
              the world where the word was formed simply doesn’t exist any more, and our categories cloud more than they reveal.
              he ends up with a deleauzian rhizomatic structure of the “lower classes”(the 80% in our terms).
              i think the PTB are more unified epistomologically, teleologically, ontologically, etc than the rest of us are…but they are after all humans, and we fall into the same trap as perhaps they do if we essentialise them as some unified cabal

        1. Summer

          “Why all the hostility all the time?
          It’s been said that one doesn’t need to be a soldier in battle to experience PTSD or other trauma’s that result from war.
          Name a five year gap since 1898 where the USA hasn’t been involved in some kind of invasion or conflict on top of the accumulating trauma of gun violence. Every mass or domestic mass shooting leaves the friends and family members to cope so you have to multiply all the dead by all those connected to them left alive.
          Nothing only happens to a single person leaving in a vacuum.

        2. Chris Cosmos

          Yes, agreed. I think you’re right on about the “hegemonic” moment. I’ve talked to several FP insiders and read comments to this same effect that “it’s either us or the Chinese that will rule the globe.” It never occurs to them, ever, that there could be such a thing as cooperation, compassion, love, dialogue. This is why I posit that there is a profound spiritual sickness in Washington based on cruelty in its purest sense, i.e., the idea of dominance/submission as the whole meaning of life. They pretend to be “serving” their “country” but they are as bad as the “good Germans” full stop. But, in some ways, the American population is even worse because we spend our time pretending to be compassionate, caring people, while we approve of the world’s Imperial Storm Troopers who reign terror all over the world. All the information is out there but the vast majority of the population desires nothing more than myth, illusion and entertaining itself to death. I an assure you that the minute people stop watching the endless violent movies playing the endless violent video games and maybe start a garden or love someone unconditionally there is no f*cking hope.

          Having said that, the monsters/mobsters in Washington know that their project is on the rocks and that’s why they will be willing to risk the destruction of the world in some kind of Götterdämmerung to assure the Washington Empire continues. But, hopefully, there will be a few Senior military officers who will drag their feet. I have good reason to believe they are there.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            “…their project is on the rocks”?

            I think not, see right above. #PermanentWar = #PermanentWinning

      2. VietnamVet

        The closest depiction of the ethos of oligarchs is the “Godfather” films although dated and the films don’t depict the merger of the Corleone family with the Davos Elite. Buying the media and think tanks has brought them respectability and privilege though undeserved. This is why the horsehead in bed meme keeps coming up. With the establishment’s destruction of democracy and government, propaganda is required to hide reality. Due to history and culture, there is no way for Donald Trump to back down but he has been to the mattresses before. All he wants is a deal. But, he and the Blob have alienated everyone. Six Oil Tankers have been attacked apparently by drones but just like MH-17 shoot down; the truth is long gone. The tanker attacks will continue until someone pulls the trigger and attacks Iran. Democrats too are bought. All of the Presidential Candidates will cheer the destruction except Tulsi Gabbard, Mike Gravel, and perhaps Bernie Sanders.

        The best possible outcome of a war with Iran will be the breakup the Atlantic Alliance, an economic Depression, the pull back of troops behind their borders, building sea walls around Wall Street, and avoiding a nuclear war. The USA doesn’t have the manpower, material, a safe base, or the will to invade and conquer Iran; let alone, Russia or China which do have nuclear weapons.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > The USA doesn’t have the manpower, material, a safe base, or the will to invade and conquer Iran

          Or Venezuela, Syria, or North Korea. Wonderfully clarifying!

    3. lyman alpha blob

      So from today’s links we find that MIT Technology review is claiming someone is trying to put malware into US power utilities and then they throw in the obligatory –

      The hackers, who some security experts suspect may be linked to the Russian government…

      – with no evidence whatsoever.

      Then the NYT claims the US is running cyberattacks on the Russians, however the NYT has been known to print false propaganda for many years, and now thanks to the Obama administration there is even a budget for disseminating said propaganda to US citizens.

      Then we have Trump, also not particularly trustworthy or well informed due to his own ignorance and being kept in the dark by the spooks, declaring the story to be false.

      Then previously we had wikileaks releasing documents that show the tools the US spooks use to commit cyberattacks which allow them to leave false evidence pinning it on someone else, which now other bad actors could also potentially use, which is likely the main reason the US wants Assange’s head on a pike.

      All I can say is thinking about this and trying to figure out what is really true makes my head hurt. Caitlin Johnstone sums it all up best – curiouser and curiouser.

      1. Synoia

        The most effective weapon again the electric grid is a switch. In the “off” position.

    4. Synoia

      Is this an act of war?
      Is it not an act of war of the when The self-proclaimed Exceptional Nation (The nation which claims to have exceptions) performs the Act?

      One does have an uneasy feeling about the definition of “Exceptional” in the US.
      One definition is “above all others,” another is “The rules don’t apply to US.”

      1. The Rev Kev

        How far can this all go? Imagine this-

        Washington: “We just put malware into your electric grid so now Russia will lose all electricity just like Venezuela – Check!”

        Moscow: “We just put malware into your water grid so now America will lose all drinking water – Checkmate!”

      2. Procopius

        Is this an act of war?

        Yes, it is an act of war. Sanctions against Iran are an act of war. Sanctions against Venezuela are an act of war. Sanctions against Cuba are an act of war. Our Navy’s blockade of Yemen is an act of war. Why do you ask?

    5. lambert strether

      The Times buried the lead

      “Two administration officials said they believed Mr. Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to place ‘implants’ — software code that can be used for surveillance or attack — inside the Russian grid.

      “Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction — and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister.

      So now we have factions deep within the intelligence community running the country’s foreign policy with no elected officials in the chain of command. What could go wrong?

      1. Procopius

        the possibility that he might countermand it

        It’s better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.

  3. Steve H.

    This is a sports story with a moral and a tangent.

    Kahwi Leonard was awarded the Most Valuable Player in the NBA finals, leading the Toronto Raptors in their win over the reigning dynasty of the Golden State Warriors.

    He won this championship over a year ago, the proof in the broken bodies of two of the best athletes on the planet. Warriors Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson were elite, one the best scorer in generations, the other the best spot-up shooter and an elite defender for years. One ripped his Achilles off his foot, the other tore his ACL after scoring thirty in the game.

    Thompson’s ACL looked like nothing, perhaps the wear and fatigue of five of the longest seasons in a row. Durant hadn’t played in a month, looked bad in a workout, yet jumped center for the game, a move with zero upside other than making a statement. The first time he tried a basketball move his tendon ripped and the shockwave of contracting tissue rolled up his leg. Both are gone for a year.

    Kawhi had played for San Antonio, an elite organization with the longest-running coach, Greg Popovich, a multi-championship team that Kawhi had won a Finals MVP with. Then the Warriors undercut him and injured him in a playoff series, and last year his leg didn’t feel right. So he sat all but eight games, despite the organizational pressure, teammates publicly throwing shade, doctors grumbling…

    Here’s the tangent. Evolutionary graph theory seems to indicate that tightly connected social groups, where all are in contact with all, tend towards spite rather than co-operation. There’s fuzziness in the word attached the the variable, and it could also be read as group discipline. You fit in or you fit out. If you’re a gangster, you do not want to be in the front passenger seat on a country drive.

    Kahwi is sage. Pay attention to him, his efficiency of analysis and movement. And against the organization with perhaps the highest level of internal pressure, he said No. Then they didn’t trust him and he left for an organization that let him sit out twenty games this year. And he scored the last two points in the Warrior’s arena, being closed out as the team moves from Oakland across the bridge to San Fran.

    Durant did not. He was notably sensitive, burner accounts to defend himself on social media. He did not have the Internal Workers Fortitude to say No, he bought into the pressure and let himself be put in a bad position by management. He’ll still get paid, but his run in the conversation as ‘The Best’ is over.

    So what’s the moral? The guy who said No is now King of the Court. Labor has made its point to Management. Perseverance in truth brings good fortune.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Interesting analysis. For sure Leonard is the king of cool. But did the Warriors really need Durant or was that his own ego driving him onto the court?

        1. Steve H.

          They really needed him to win, his ego drove him onto the court, AND he never should have been out there. Steve Kerr used ‘insecurities’ as coaching leverage.

          The iconic players have shifted the labor relations also. Jordan became an owner. LeBron became a mogul, proving the owners needed him as much as he needed them, controlling where he played.

          I don’t know that we can tell what change Kawhi and Masai Ujiri have created. LeBron wrecked the NCAA as a free feeder system, shifting power to agents and players. Kawhi and Ujiri have shown you can win a championship without lottery picks. So Philly is good because they tanked and got lottery picks, and they peak right when Ujiri wrecks the model, and beats them.

          Right now labor has more leverage in the NBA than it ever has. Just because they’re highly paid labor doesn’t mean they’re not labor. We should pay attention to successful labor movements, whether migrant workers or nurses and teachers or athletes.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Durant wouldn’t’ve helped against the Raptors. People forget Golden St. lost both times in the regular season.

        And another thing…Oakland is losing the team to San Francisco aka poor workers got fd by rich yuppies.


    2. Brindle

      NBA regular season is way too long–82 games. Lots of wear and tear on the human body. Reduce season to 60 or so games would allow for many more two to four day breaks between games.

    3. Cal2

      The only tangent of importance in sports is to keep Americans distracted from what’s going on around them.

      The very people who are getting the most shafted in American society, as well as those with the most to lose because of lack of political and economic awareness, waste their time memorizing meaningless sports statistics and trivia, dedicate their youth and possible academic time to pursuing some ball career and expend whatever energy they have after a long day at work staring at commercials as they idolize genetic freaks who get traded like human commodities and run back and forth as they rake in big bucks for billionaire team owners and media corporations.

    4. curlydan

      Don’t forget the “Willis Reed” mentality of the NBA Championships. Reed will lionized for coming onto the court in Game 7 (I believe) of a pivotal NBA Championship many years ago. Any NBA player will have seen and heard that story many times and would come on the court in the same manner.

      I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s a factor in why Durant was out there.

      I tell my kids that modern day premier athletes, while exceptionally talented, are also exceptionally lucky. Their bodies are able to withstand tremendous punishment for many years (luck) until they suddenly fall off and often breakdown. Don’t look at Tom Brady only as a great athlete…look at his as an evolutionary freak and an extremely lucky guy.

  4. timbers

    Class Warfare

    Prius owners…If you get a maintenance warning when you start your car that reads something like “Your hybrid battery cooling system needs maintenance contact your dealing” the issue is likely fixed by wiping the lint off the screen of the vent to your hybrid battery.

    The battery on many Prius models is located under the rear passenger seat and removing the plastic bolts on the casing beneath the seats allows you to see the screen that filters out debris going to the cooling duct.

    You can google and find youtube videos posted on how to do it. On many models it very easy to do, though older models can vary and not so easy. My Prius is a 2016 Prius C.

    Often the posters are irate on this care maintenance message and angry at Toyota for using low quality fabric that sheds and blocks the air duct screen, and for misleading them about something which has a simple costless fix, and anger also at Toyota-bots attacking their videos showing how to save yourself money.

    I got my maintenance message from my care on Friday late afternoon. My car dealer said it would cost $121.00 just to read the maintenance message. Then likely they would charge an hour labor and I’d end up paying $200.00 or more for something that took my 5 minutes to fix myself (not counting time spent researching on internet.)

    1. Lee

      From cost saving DIY, to medical and gardenting tips and more, not to mention incisive analysis and criticism of finance capital, political economy, and geopolitics, this site is the place to be.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “UK Government Blew Billions on “Help to Buy” Scheme that Enriched Home Builders and Drove Up Home Prices. Taxpayers on the Hook When Prices Sink, New Report Warns”

    Sounds like a case of middle-class welfare here where government payments and funds are diverted to the middle-class. The trouble is that it quickly ends up where money is taken away from people verging on or in poverty to fund these programs. But they are popular with voters that are described as “swing voters” – which tend to be middle-class voters.

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      Thanks Kev, being the contrarian I suggest that it was not a scheme “for” homeowners at all. It was a scheme for banks to lend money that didn’t have risk associated, to enlarge the price of all assets so the banks are ever more dependent on the government and vice versa. When the prices get high enough, no one can afford to own and the banks take all the homes back to rent out to the owners. When collapse is the result of organic demand, hit print. Organic collapse is thus guaranteed. When the banks are the government no one cares about rules. We are in the theater stage. Waiting for the sets to be struck and the brick wall to become entertainment.

  6. Craig H.

    > Washington state waterfront owners asked to take dead whales

    Landowner Mario Rivera of Port Hadlock, Washington, told KING5-TV that the smell is intermittent and “isn’t that bad.”

    Oldie but goodie.

    (The Oregon exploding beached whale is now 49 years ago!)

      1. Craig H.

        That is the first video I loaded on my first PC. I can’t remember the name of the display widget. It was approximately one inch tall and and two inches wide and it took me at least two minutes to download the video file through my telephone modem. I immediately spammed everybody’s e-mail inbox with it that I knew.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Thanks for the laugh. They got a little carried away with the dynamite. I remember that, vaguely; actually lived at the beach then, fortunately not near Florence.

      The gray whale migration is a feature of life out there. There was a time I hiked out to the tip of Cape Falcon and discovered whales going by right below my feet. And another when I saw 3 whales mating (I think) in the surf on my beach. Quite a spectacle. Never encountered a dead one, though, thank goodness.

  7. Chris

    Your daily dose of establishment media hypocrisy aimed at smearing Bernie Sander courtesy of the Atlantic.

    In case you don’t want to read it, this “Ideas” piece stipulates the following:

    (1) Sanders positions are virtually identical to his rivals.
    (2) Sanders is part of a cadre of leaders blocking the GenX and other cohorts from ever assuming leadership positions in the Democrat party.
    (3) There are reasons for Pelosi and company to have maintained their position which have nothing to do with being power hungry or worse.
    (4) The list of politicians who “will not go away” does not include anyone with the last name of Clinton.
    (5) There’s no reason to be concerned that the DNC and party leadership are actively trying to keep people like AOC and other real progressives in a box, in the basement, of a locked house, that Steny Hoyer keeps trying to burn down…

    Bravo to the Atlantic!

    1. Chris Cosmos

      The Atlantic, in recent decades at least is solidly American “tory” outlet so that comes as no surprise.

      1. ambrit

        American Tory. Such a good phrase, and loaded with historical associations.
        There were real American Tories during the struggle now known as the American War for Independence. They lost and, surprise, were treated abominably. Houses and barns burned, forced off their land, assaulted, prosecuted; the usual list of ‘spoilsmanship’ activities.
        I guessed that the ‘Atlantic’ was the new ‘Voice of the Elites’ when I read some of James Fallows articles about flying around America in his own small aircraft. One cannot get very much more elite than that.

  8. Carolinian

    Many good links today. Re the NYT Russia power grid hack story–since it’s from David Sanger and takes as given the hair on fire Russiagate accusations it’s hard to know how seriously to take any of this. But if true the article does shed some light on recent talk of Russia preparing to be able to disconnect from the internet. And it also raises the larger question of why any critical infrastructure is connected to the internet in the first place. Surely at this point it must be known that anything that absolutely must be kept safe or hidden must also be kept off the web. Even Stuxnet had to be introduced via a thumb drive and there were suggestions the recent Venezuela power failures may have partially been an inside job.

    Without further information it’s hard to see any of this as more than turning up the hysteria of the New Cold War. As always the NYT is on the case.

    1. Carolinian

      I see the Caitlin Johnstone link is on this very story and that Trump himself is denying that it is true. Johnstone quotes Steve Cohen.

      “Imagine, for example, John Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis,” Cohen said. “Imagine if Kennedy had been accused of being a secret Soviet Kremlin agent. He would have been crippled. And the only way he could have proved he wasn’t was to have launched a war against the Soviet Union. And at that time, the option was nuclear war.”

      But hey a nuclear war would be great for NYT site traffic and MSNBC instant ratings….for a few last minutes….

      1. Chris Cosmos

        If any of you are familiar with the highly competitive fast-moving big-media world that is basically a form of show-biz every cog in the complex wheels that involve PR companies, lobbyists, contending factions all fighting for domination you would know that thinking about anything beyond the last minute is just going to hang you up and you’ll drop. To put it another way, this community is monstrous in the sense that their entire souls are tied to a mechanical device where they either at in accordance with the very, very tight rules of the game or they’re out. To put it another way these men and women are almost entirely programmed robots by the time they get to any kind of senior position.

        I was told once (over a decade ago) by a wife of an insider (who was my ex-wife’s best friend) that “everyone” she knew (in the field) was on some form of medication to govern depression or anxiety. I suppose that was done in order to keep their humanity from coming out.

      2. flora

        What I take away from Johnstone’s article: Trump isn’t enough of a war hawk to suit the MIC and neocons.

        1. tegnost

          My take is that the people who actually run things are just biden their time until they can get back to the project to rule the world through finance and malware. I’ll project re war that they believe they are up against a bunch of rational actors who will continue to bow down before them but that’s just me

    2. philnc

      “… why any critical infrastructure is connected to the Internet in the first place.” Because power system manufacturers (and their components suppliers) have been pushing that design pattern for the last decade in order to monetize provider data, and gain a competitive advantage from promoting “the next big thing”. Other parties already trawl consumer data directly, now those who supply the service providers want their own piece of the action. Sure, Internet connectivity can bring efficiencies and capabilities that would be more complicated and expensive to do over secure landlines with on-premises computers, but you need to know where to draw the line when it comes to security. Given that US and Western power companies crossed that line long ago, it’s not surprising that the Russians have. This is just the tip of the IoT iceberg that the Titanic global economy is steaming toward. See this humorous take from 2017, .

      1. Olga

        I was going to say that the grid operators need to communicate over long distances, but caught myself: Internet is not that old, but our T/D system is at least 100 years old. So communications were possible (telephone anyone?). No doubt the russkies have figured this out, too, and are taking preventive measures. Pretty sure Stuxnet in 2010 changed how these matters are approached.

  9. Svante

    Gravel didn’t make the cut. Academic, since the totally neutral moderator’s exhaustiv list of permissable topics consist of:
    A) Russia:
    B) Russia:
    C) Russia:


    D) I hate stoopit BernieBros™ because:

    Once our beloved Democrats cast out Cheeto Hitler and install Beloved President Chelsea, she’ll not need stinkin’ Congress, Judiciary or the States to do Putin and his eco-terrorist, super-preditor, commie, jihadist, whistleblowing deplorables like momma dun did to Saddam bin Gaddafi.

  10. Summer

    Re: U.K “Help To Buy”

    “By 2023, when Help to Buy is scheduled to end, the net amount loaned by the government through the scheme is expected to hit a peak of around £25 billion in cash terms. The government believes it will be able to claw back its investment in Help to Buy by 2032, but a downturn in the property market could hit the value of its loan book. It also means that Help to Buy borrowers looking to sell their properties in the future may have to grapple with negative equity.”

    But guess what? If the loan rates are fixed in a way that doesn’t cause a balloon in a monthly payments and the mortgage owner does not want to move (and a good numger of neighbors maybe?), they are a group in this scenario that have a good chance of weathering any coming storms.
    The article didn’t mention too much about interest rates and the deals.

  11. BobW

    On the Class Warfare Gizmodo article: A laptop does not have to cost $1,000. I am typing this on a $125 ThinkPad from FreeGeek Arkansas, and it could have been free in exchange for volunteer work. Quite a few homeless and other precariates have laptop and desktop computers thanks to them. Online sellers also have reasonable prices for refurbished laptops. What the homeless call “government phones” are free. It can be challenging to recharge a cell phone or a laptop, you have to remain within view of the charging devices at all times in order to prevent theft.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Bernie Sanders Delivered the Most Profound Speech Since We Lost MLK”

    ‘Fox “News”, CNN and MSNBC—abruptly terminated their live coverage mid-speech.’ Well that didn’t take long. It’s not even halfway through the year before the Presidential Elections. They haven’t even had the Democratic debates yet. The best thing was that it was a bipartisan effort from both the Right wing Fox News and the Left wing CNN/MSNBC. Taking a page from when the Syrian Ambassador speaks at the United nations, perhaps we will see sudden mike failures when it is Sanders turn to talk. Or maybe once again they will not show him at all but just an empty podium where Trump is due to talk.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      Here’s a question for you. When we live at a time when even habeas corpus, equal justice under law, the Bill of Rights, and Constitutional mandates (only Congress can declare war and so on) are no longer guaranteed and the items you just described how can we call ourselves a “democracy”? I know that we could, if we collectively wanted, establish direct democracy or some form of sortition. The current system has been thoroughly gamed such that what people actually want cannot be implemented. People I know, for the most part, just throw up their hands and go on with their lives–I know this helps the System continue but from a psychological point of view there is no other way to go on with your life.

  13. dearieme

    All over the country ethnic minorities are victims of more violence than ever – and it’s all because of Brexit

    That’s plain silly. It’s all because of Global Warming, or micro-plastics, or glyphosate, or the 0.1%, or Donald J Trump, or or or. I know: it’s because of the cruel anti-semitism of the Labour Party is making xenophobia fashionable. Yes, that must be it.

  14. John

    Pompeo asserts that Iran attacked the tankers and says we have the evidence. Does he not realize or is he so blinded by his sense of righteousness that he has not credibility? The like minded nod and accept; the majority see him as a foolish and malevolent ideologue.

    1. ambrit

      But if the nodding like minded have access to the nuclear weapons deployment systems, the will of the majority means naught.
      Lots of wars have been launched on fraudulent terms.
      Pompeo and Company are at present very dangerous. We have insane people ‘running’ the country.

      1. polecat

        I was thinking that perhaps they could benefit from some ‘shroom therapy’ …

        .. well, upon relection, maybe not – as that might have the opposite effect – they’d become even more psycho-delic then they already are.

        1. ambrit

          You are probably thinking of “Cow Flop” mushrooms. (I do not use any easily understood nomenclature to try and avoid “scrutiny.”) I’m thinking that this bunch are already in a permanent state of “Altered Reality.” Being a “True Believer” in any sect, clade, or ideology is a definitive indicator for monomania, a highly unrational state.
          An encounter with a true “shroom” experience might well lead to the dissolution of the considered individual’s psychological templates.

    2. Synoia

      The like minded nod and accept; the majority see him as a foolish and malevolent ideologue.

      1. He is preaching to the choir.
      2. Unbelievers have no influence.
      3. What else could he say?

      On has to evaluate what come out of our beloved leaders’ mounts, with a simple test: Could they say anything different? Or “What else could they say?”

  15. Cal2

    On Kamala Harris’ “executive” decisions.
    She uses jobs as a lily pad to leap to the next position of power.
    She cannot stop, as she’s sink under long term scrutiny.

    As district attorney in San Francisco, she was a disaster, leaving a city in crime chaos behind her.

    As attorney general, she went after and jailed poor parents when their kids couldn’t make it to school, but favored powerful campaign donors to overlook the Herbalife hoax,

    “in 2015, prosecutors in the San Diego office of the California attorney general sent Harris a lengthy memorandum that argued for an investigation into Herbalife and requested resources in order to undertake such an investigation. Similar investigations into Herbalife were already taking place elsewhere. About three weeks after the San Diego letter was sent, Harris received the first of three donations to her campaign for the U.S. Senate from Heather Podesta, the powerful Washington lobbyist whose ex-husband Tony’s firm, then called the Podesta Group, had worked for Herbalife since 2013. Heather Podesta’s own lobbying firm, Heather Podesta and Partners, would soon be hired by Herbalife, too. Harris did not pursue an investigation…

    She allowed bankers like Mnuchin and his OneWest Bank to slide, not prosecuting 36,000 fraudulent mortgages, then took a tip from him as she leapfrogged to her next sinecure as Senator which she has used as her grandstand to run for president.

    “Executive action?” Yeah, right.

  16. John k

    I thought there would be comments on the first link regarding false flag ops…
    It reads like the onion… is it?

    1. Synoia

      Why comment? All the statement is about is: “who gets the budget.”

      Its staggering dishonesty is not out of the norm for Washington power players.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Yes, duffelblog is a military Onion.

      Come to think, a military onion is quite an image.

    3. psv

      Duffelblog is a satire site as the adjacent article “Iran attacks US warships in the Gulf of Tonkin” would suggest.

    4. BlakeFelix

      Yeah, I feel like duffelblog should get a fake news alert somehow. It’s a bit too hard to tell satire from reality for me these days… Mixing it in is fun but I think it undermines the credibility of he other links.

  17. Oregoncharles

    Updates on Hong Kong: “Protests in Hong Kong Unlikely to Yield Results Der Spiegel” is wrong. The bill has been withdrawn and Lam has apologized.

    And: “Hong Kong protest sees hundreds of thousands call for city’s leader to step down” – The pictures are a sea of black with the little dots of faces. Organizers claim 3 million.

    (Meta on a prior discussion of Google tracking URL’s: I click through to the article to get a clean URL the easy way. OTOH, I’m not clever enough to make the headline into a URL, so you get both.)

    This is looking an awful lot like a game of chicken between the people of Hong Kong and the Chinese government. It’s obvious who COULD win that, so it may come down to how much damage Beijing is willing to take in the process. Others will know better, but it appears HK is pretty important to Chinese trade.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I don’t know, but the 5-clawed dragon is a symbol of Imperial power. Some of the dragon robes are pretty threatening. Don’t know if Chinese dragons breathe fire.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Thanks for the correction. They’re also trying to force Lam out. I suspect they’re not going to get that – she’s Beijing’s agent. The protests are hugely impressive; we shall see how Beijing reacts. Becnel’s reference to dragon fire is scary. This is China at its most imperial.

  18. kareninca

    I have been subscribing to the WSJ for about 15 years; the paper version. Just over the past six months or so, it seems like half of the Review section is about war. It wasn’t like that before; in the past there would be some war stuff but not a lot. But now it is war editorial, war history, war word history, war memoir, war book review. I feel as if I am being desensitized.

    1. ambrit

      Look up William Randolph Hearst and his paper’s part in the run up to the Spanish American War.
      The famous example is when Hearst sent the American artist Frederick Remington down to Cuba to cover the impending hostilities. After a while, Remington became bored with inaction and wired Hearst asking to be brought home. Hearst replied, “Please remain. You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war.”
      This “drumbeat for war” is a bad signal. Modern wars do not ‘go as planned,’ if they ever did. Today, the war fever is promoting war with a nation that can destroy the world if needs be.
      This is the opposite of the “Common Good.”

    2. Eclair

      Same thing in 2002, kareninca. I was a subscriber at that time and slowly became aware (well, it hit me in the face, actually) of how the editorial and op-ed pages were leaning towards Iraq invasion. It happened and I dropped my subscription.

    1. jrs

      Way too soon for her to concede, I mean if one ends up choosing LOTE so be it, but wait until it at least looks probable, way way way too soon. She hasn’t even endorsed in the primary, I don’t know if her endorsement would really help or hurt, but that’s a little more relevant now.

      Of course the ill informed come out of the woodwork to comment on that tweet. It’s literally some kind of conservative meme that AOC says the world will end in 12 years, like they literally think these things come from AOC and not the IPCC (ok the world’s end isn’t technically what the IPCC said either, but that was their deadline, not AOCs). But this is the level of uninformed and propaganda campaign we are dealing with.

  19. tegnost
    “Authorities were working frantically to restore power, but 12 hours after the country went dark, more than a quarter of Argentina’s 44 million people were still without power and the cause of the outage remained unclear.

    As the sun rose over the darkened country, Argentine voters were forced to cast ballots by the light of cell phones in gubernatorial elections”

    move along now, nothing to see here…(because the lights don’t work)

  20. Joe Well

    Re: Scots running amok

    “As loan sharks, drug smugglers, generals and plant hunters, Scots played a central role in expanding the British Empire.”

    Thank you! Some people want to write the history of Scotland and Wales with the same kind of historical amnesia that claimed Austrians were “Hitler’s first victims.” Please, now do one for Wales and Ireland.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Well if the US military thinks that it is cool to build a military base on Babylon, one of the most ancient sites in the world as well as doing military exercise off the pristine coasts of Alaska, then of course they would see no problem with dropping a military base on the Galapagos – along with avgas fuels, lubricants, chemical fire-suppressants and the rest of it. After all, everybody know that the Galapagos is a major staging area for drug runners because it is a thousand miles from Ecuador’s coastline.
      Just in passing, that image of the Galapagos at the top of that article looked very familiar and it took only a few seconds to remember where I had seen it. It featured in that film “Master & Commander” –

    1. The Rev Kev

      Trump was also “calling both The Washington Post and The New York Times “the Enemy of the People.” in that article.

      Don’t you hate it when he says something that is right?

      1. skippy

        WaPo – democrat owned, republican financier, and now Bezos, not hard to reconcile Trumps views there.

        NYT has said quite a few negative things about Trump and who knows how he feels about Slim or not.

        Who knows the real score during a hand of billionaire smiley poker, but then again, Trump does gush about the work of that NYT photographer, something about his subject matter maybe.

        Anywho …. “demand” sounds a wee bit forced don’t you think.

        P.S. great summer were having here in Brisbane – don’t you think.

    1. Eclair

      Oh, great! Well, we won’t need to physically fly anywhere, we can simply sit at our keyboards and simulate The Acropolis, April in Paris, rowing up the Amazon, Carnival in Rio, The Forbidden City and …. now…. The Galapagos Islands (minus the American jets.) Much better for the environment.

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