Links 6/18/19

The League of Entropy Forms To Offer Acts of Public Randomness Duo

Dogs’ eyes evolve to appeal to humans BBC

Cheddar To The Rescue? UK Company Uses Cheese To Power 4,000 Homes OilPrice

Robocalls Are Overwhelming Hospitals and Patients, Threatening a New Kind of Health Crisis Washington Post


Huawei Says US Ban Hurting More Than Expected, To Wipe $30 Billion Off Revenue Reuters

U.S. chipmakers quietly lobby to ease Huawei ban: sources Reuters (resilc)

The U.S. Is Purging Chinese Cancer Researchers From Top Institutions Bloomberg (Chuck L)

Free speech under fire in India Asia Times

Uncertainty over output gap and structural-balance estimates remains elevated Bruegel. More important for the EU than the geeky headline suggests.

From coup leaders to con artistry: Juan Guaidó’s gang exposed for massive humanitarian aid fraud Grayzone Project (Chuck L)


From Politico’s morning newsletter:

BRUSSELS TO BOJO: YOU’ll CHANGE YOUR TUNE. Seven EU diplomats and officials who spoke to POLITICO offered a sanguine assessment of a Boris Johnson U.K. prime ministership. Johnson will turn out to be more pragmatic than his rhetoric suggests, they reckon. “Once in office he’ll change,” said one EU diplomat. “It’s very different when you have a country in your hands.”

Labour chaos over Brexit deepens as Tom Watson calls for special party conference Telegraph

New Cold War

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

Bookstore politics Irrusianality (Chuck L)

Erdogan sees Russian S-400s delivery starting in July: NTV Al Jazeera (resilc)


Gulf of Oman: US sends more troops amid tanker tension with Iran BBC

Officials Worldwide Are Skeptical of Claim that Iran Attacked Tankers In Gulf of Oman George Washington

EU warns against blaming Iran for oil tanker attacks DW

Iran To Exceed Some Nuclear Deal Limits Moon of Alabama (Chuck L)

Averting a Disastrous War with Iran American Conservative. Resilc: “Disastrous war is what USA USA does best.”

Accidental cat filter appears on Pakistan official’s briefing Guardian (Bill B)

Solidarity With Glenn Greenwald Jacobin

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

John Pilger: Extradition Process a ‘Very Long Uphill Road’ for Assange Real News

Trump Transition

As promised, Trump slashes aid to Central America over migrants Reuters

Trump: Obama ‘had to know’ of ‘setup’ to block presidential bid The Hill

Trump’s order to trim science advisory panels sparks outrage The Hill

It’s A Horrible Idea To Privatize The Tennessee Valley Authority And Other Public Energy Assets Forbes (UserFriendly)

Navy Contaminates Local Groundwater and Sewer System in Maryland Truthout

Health Care

The U.S. Leads the World in Health-Care Spending Atlantic. UserFriendly: “ROFL you don’t really want m4a.”


Can Elizabeth Warren Win It All? New Yorker

On Being Serious Current Affairs (UserFriendly)

As US-Iran tensions increase, Tulsi Gabbard calls her 2020 candidacy a ‘threat to the foreign policy lies sold to the American people’ Independent (resilc)

First Amendment Constraints Don’t Apply To Private Platforms, Supreme Court Affirms The Verge

Oberlin College case shows how universities are losing their way The Hill

Fake News

Adobe’s Experimental AI Tool Can Tell If Something’s Been Photoshopped The Inquirer

YouTube is Too Big To Fix Completely, Google CEO Says CNBC

Tech Companies Need To Take Responsibility For the ‘Chaos’ They Create, Tim Cook Says The Hill

Airbus Wins 100-Plane Order From Air Lease at Paris Air Show Bloomberg (resilc)

Class Warfare

Amazon slams AOC for saying it pays ‘starvation wages’ New York Post

Antidote du jour. MGL: “As seen at La Serre aux Papillons at Parc Floral in Orléans, France. Sorry, can’t tell you what type of papillon; only that it’s lovely.”

and a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Ben Wolf

    Dogs’ eyes evolve to appeal to humans

    A loooot of anthropocentric judgementalism in this one. Arguing dog’s facial expressions must be “manipulative” and “illusory” is a result of the researcher’s own biases, not fact.

    1. Tyrannocaster

      Yes. Why is it “manipulation” when a dog does it but “display of emotion” when a person does it? I think the writer has spent too much time in academe and not enough non-lab time with dogs.

    2. Svante

      I’d had no issue with this premise, as it’s subliminal and pretty ubiquitous in all media to make facile prejudicial assumptions, based solely upon smug petit bourgeois ofay perspectives. Just look at how DNC’s candidate’s facial expressions encompass side-eye, shade and various Will Smith West Philly High quadruple takes, appropriated from the intended victims they fantasize about manipulating, again. Harris vs Beto puppy eyes!

      1. Cal2

        Harris looks likes the the creature in “Alien” when viewed from the side. Nevertheless, the adulatory pictures of her that are displayed, taken from a slightly low angle to make her look powerful, always show her in a Oliver Wendell Holmes like pose, deep in thought, looking off at a 3/4 angle.

        Don’t be fooled by picture manipulation and photo editing.

        Meanwhile, almost every picture of Bernie in the MSM has wild hair, or something that makes him look crazy. Look at the BBC site linked today. Bernie, trying to hear a question from an audience, has his hand behind his ear like he’s an old fogy and is deaf. The subconscious impression created by that picture is “old.”

        The picture of Gabbard shows her in mid namaste bow. This is not an accident. These are choices made by people working for organizations that want to discredit the real change actors in any manner possible, including open mouths, weird video frame grabs, etc.

        Images are powerful.

        Watch Tulsi Gabbard’s interview by Joe Rogan, from last September. That’s the real picture.

        1. Svante

          Back when it was basically older, decidedly rich, WHITE males sitting about, pouring through film images; trying to make folks look “queer, retarded, silly or Jewish,” they’d be confident that the marks would all fall for it? I believe, somehow, 2018’s women-of-color “blue wave” has simply scared the ever-loving shit outa the Democrat Party, since they’d had VERY well written contracts to keep the status quo for Bayer/ Monsanto, ExxonMobil, AIPAC, Boeing, etc; who all had significant ISDS issues, they needed to have go away. One had to pick through Betacam or UMatic fields to denigrate your scariest, most praiseworthy and best qualified adversary. Now, you can simply CGI anything you want and the electorate will fall for it out of projection, transference or esteem issues. Bernie, looks OK… but Nina Turner, Pramila Jayapal or Rashida Tlaib are folks I’d personally vote for? Opinions vary?

    3. temporal

      Up next: Existence of dog breeds suggests possible human intervention. It might eventually even be possible to prove that there are humans that actively determine how close a dog breeder comes to meeting a set of characteristics that appeal to human judges.

      1. Peter

        no way, your claim is ridiculous. Selective breeding means evolution and evolution is not possible. Dog – I mean god – created all.

        1. Procopius

          That argument assumes that God does not mean to change anything from his original design, and also means you know exactly what is in God’s mind, which is arrogant and prideful. I think it’s also suggesting that God cannot change his mind, which really destroys the argument in favor of free will, which also means that no matter what we do or try to do or believe the result is already set. Which means (at least to me) that sin is not possible.

    4. Carolinian

      It was a brief article and not a detailed account but your “I don’t want to believe this” comment doesn’t address the science. Indeed other studies have suggested that dogs differ from their wolf ancestors in their more puppy like and dependent behavior patterns. Actual wolves are very hard to domesticate.

      And of course it is manipulative when we do it too. Dogs are smart–know where the food is.

      1. georgieboy

        “It was a brief article and not a detailed account but your “I don’t want to believe this” comment doesn’t address the science.”

        Fully agreed, science goes on and steps over snark.

        Dogs have eyebrow muscles wolves do not; the Siberian Husky breed has an intermediate set, consistent with the old age of the breed.

        Interested readers may want to check out Richard Wrangham’s recent book, The Goodness Paradox, on the evolution of various traits amongst humans and the other animals humans have domesticated. Yes, gradual human self-domestication is the theory, backed up by lots of evidence.

        1. lordkoos

          Darwin’s “The Expression of the Emotions In Man and Animals” remains a pretty good read.

      2. Oregoncharles

        FWIW – we had a dog we were told was probably half wolf, in part because she lived so long. Of course, our reluctance to let her go had something to do with that, too. The best evidence was that her personality was different from most dogs. She was very loyal and protective, but lacked the puppy behaviors, like licking your face, that most dogs exhibit. Very dignified. And given to howling.

        I don’t remember whether she made “puppy eyes”, but I think the objections miss the point that the effect is evolutionary. Dogs’ actual intent has little to do with it.

    5. Lee

      Spot on! How about Human Behavior Evolves to Please Cats and Dogs.

      Even plants get us to promote their reproductive success. See Michael Pollan’s Botany of Desire.

      Such is the narcissistic bent of our species that we imagine ourselves as pure agency somehow at a remove from and acting independently from the social and material matrix from which we briefly rise.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            What about dogs?

            Are they our best hope – that they will not, but will refuse to, evolve to appeal to robots?

  2. Ignim Brites

    “As US-Iran tensions increase, Tulsi Gabbard calls her 2020 candidacy a ‘threat to the foreign policy lies sold to the American people’”. The Honorable Gabbard is a threat to the foreign policy establishment. But just opposing regime change wars is not going to do the trick. The foreign policy establishment can always portray this opposition as weakness and retreat, which most citizens find repugnant. What is required is a policy that confronts the fundamental untruths that Russia, Iran, and China are enemies of the US. In view of the dramatic and alarming revelations that the deep state is conducting a secret cyber war against Russia by attacking their power grid, nothing less than the proposal of a treaty of non aggression and friendship with Russia is going to halt the slow drift toward a limited but very destructive war with Russia. Such a war will poison relations with Russia for a generaton or two. The upcoming debates represent the best opportunity to alter this dynamic and Ms. Gabbard should ignore the efforts of the moderators to prevent her from speaking about foreign policy.

    1. Darius

      I hope Tulsi goes after Warren on all her foreign policy deplorables. She should make it her mission to take down Warren.

    2. dearieme

      She’s the only one worth tuppence. And tuppence is better than Pence!! Trump should snap her up. What a ticket: the sitting President and an anti-war, brown, female Hindu with military experience and a head on her shoulders. A rather pretty head too, which in this cruel world is worth something extra.

      Or you could vote for Hand-on Joe.

      1. Cal2

        I like it! If not that, Bernie should make her his V.P. Good insurance against ‘Wellstoning’ (Paul), and a great proving ground for her ideas and a lead up to her running for president again when Bernie’s term expires.

        My two cents: Bernie+Warren, I’d vote for that too.

        Bernie+Harris, I’d vote for Trump, and so would most of America.

        Biden+anyone, Trump.

        1. OpenthepodbaydoorsHAL

          I’ve detected more than a few of what would be called safe “Team Blue” voters saying they would easily vote for Trump if the Blue candidate is just another corporo-fascist stooge. Scorched earth. Maybe that would be exactly the message Blue needs to hear, but my fear would be they’d misread the cue and interpret it by moving even further to the Right

      2. Oregoncharles

        VP is usually a political dead end, with little or no inherent power (the original intent was for them to “preside” over the Senate,but that didn’t work out well) and little chance of being elected President. Tulsi Gabbard is relatively young; if she’s wise, she’ll avoid that trap.

  3. Watt4Bob

    US acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan this month outlined how Turkey would be pulled out of the F-35 fighter jet programme unless Ankara changed course on its plans to buy the missile systems.

    So, Turkey decides to buy a Russian missile system that will undoubtably work exactly as promised, and we threaten to withhold delivery of the most famous, and most expensive non-performing system ever created?

    And I guess that means that Turkey wouldn’t have to pay for it?

    I’d say cut your losses, cry some crocodile tears over the $1.25 Billion already spent, but consider yourselves lucky to be able to stop flushing money down the toilet.

    1. dearieme

      The F-35. The Littoral Combat Ship. The Zumwalt Class destroyers. The Ford class aircraft carriers. What the devil is going on? How deep does the corruption go? Is there the slightest chance this President can do much about it (especially since his energy has been distracted by fighting off a slow-motion coup)?

      Come to that, is there any sign that he understands what’s happening? Is there any sign that any potential Dem candidate would be other than an enthusiastic participant in such corruption?

      1. Olga

        No such sign. The funny thing is that – in the end – the US will be defeated by its own capitalism on steroids (manifested as, for example, outsourcing, corruption at Boeing, corruption at MIICC). The Chinese can just sit back and relax (well, almost).

    2. ewmayer

      Br’er Turkey: “Br’er Uncle Sam, please don’t fling me in dat cost-effective-weapons-systems brier-patch!”

      [Apologies to Joel Chandler Harris.]

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Speaking of Turkey, the same 4 part PBS documentary about the First Civilizations mentioned below, it is said that the most violent period in human history was when people first settled down to farm.

      And the earliest of that event occurred in present Turkey, and the surrounding areas, llke Syria or perahps Taman, Russia, etc.

  4. YY

    re tankers
    Neither of the boats were US registered, US owned, or US crewed. And neither Norway nor Japan have declared that Iran is to blame. Further, other than create inflation of insurance costs and uncertainty for some petrol interests (and opportunity for others), no significant damages from the incident. This is rather thin grounds for starting a war, regardless of who buys into the ridiculous argument.

    1. Ignacio

      Looks like a solid case, if there could be one, is no longer needed. If there is the will only an excuse will be necessary. The stronger the will the weaker the excuse.

      1. Carolinian

        Moon of A has propounded the theory that it really is Iran but on the qt. He suggests they will continue to disrupt Gulf oil shipments until Trump, faced with huge gas prices increases as he goes into his campaign, says uncle.

        1. EricT

          I’m not sure if that’s what Moon of Alabama was saying. The earlier reports took everything with a grain of salt implying that they might be false flag, they might be real. The latest article I think was implying that the United States has created a situation, that whenever they open up their mouths regarding who is responsible for an attack, no one in the international community trusts them, leading to the situation where Iran can do something nefarious and when it comes out, doubt would be cast on the accusers. I for one, am not convinced that Iran performed the attacks. The United States has that part of the world under extreme surveillance, if Iran did commit an attack, the US would have solid evidence. The evidence they presented was so flimsy and idiotic, the people who released it should be ashamed. Why would you commit an attack that requires stealth, with a boat that had 10 or more people on it that could barely fit on its deck? It’s obvious the video was of a rescue not a stealth attack.

          1. The Rev Kev

            After all the lies & falsehoods that Washington has been pushing the past coupla decades on the international stage – and which they still are – Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps could do a parade down Washington DC’s Constitution Avenue and nobody would believe them.

            1. flora

              wait, wait….
              you mean the US war hawk neocons; in league with the craziest, politically active evangel sects who pray for armageddon and the second coming; in league with destroy-the-state neoliberal market worshippers… you mean that league of actors has created doubts in the minds of our allies about US intentions and trustworthiness ??? /s

              They have cried wolf too many times.

        2. Georg Weissmann

          It’s possible. However, the choice of targets (Japanese vessel while Abe was in Teheran and Norwegian oligarch owned ship with a half-Russian crew) seems badly adviced in that case. Why not attack a Saudi ship?

          1. PlutoniumKun

            The explanation I’ve heard (I’m not saying its true, but it sounds credible to me) is that the Japanese and others were the target. The intention was to send a message that cancelling Iranian oil orders and replacing them with Saudi oil is not a ‘no risk’ strategy.

            It was a message to those countries who’ve been wavering over the sanctions that its a higher risk to support the sanctions than to stand up to them. They have a choice of standing up to Trump, or finding that all their Gulf oil supplies get blocked.

        3. VietnamVet

          This is much like the MH-17 shoot down. No one is sure of the facts. Everyone involved has their own agenda. This includes the four oil tankers damaged earlier. All explosions were above the water line, tearing the hull, but no vessel sank. If increasing insurance rates and shipping costs from UAE and Saudi Arabia were the intention, they’ve been successful. Traffic is down. Kamikaze Drones are much more likely than limpet mines being attached 10’ above the waterline to moving ships. In all incidents, American propaganda is laughably incompetent. Ten sailors standing on the boat right next to the detaching of a limpet mine which is designed to explode if handled. The drones may be launched by Shiite proxy forces with revolutionary guard help just like the Donbass rebels may have fired the Buk missile; but with corporate dominance over western governments and more profits the only goal, an independent investigation of facts will never happen. If oil prices increase and gasoline shortages occur; the political pressure to do something will increase the chances for WWIII or, on the other hand, perhaps peace.

    2. Paul O

      One further peg in a public narrative slowing manufacturing the necessary consent? Job done for now – no need for further action at this point.

    3. Jesper

      I suspect that there might be some very powerful interests in the US who do not want a war with Iran. By that I do not mean the general population as the interests of the general population isn’t powerful in the US…
      Suppose that the aircraft-carriers turn out to be expensive coffins then what? Will more aircraft carriers be built? If no more aircraft carriers were to be built then what would happen to employment (and kickbacks)?
      Suppose that the F35 isn’t used much and instead some older, cheaper and more reliable aircrafts are used then what? Would more F35 be ordered?

      It is one thing to have less than good armoured personell carriers, the resulting failures would be serious but not spectacular and might be possible to be kept quiet. If something like an aircraft carrier would turn out to be an expensive white elephant vanity project or similar then that would be spectacular and very public. The loss of face would be immense if aircraft carriers were not used or if they were used but turned out to be useless.

      Hopefully an opponent of the US will not provoke the US too much, there are people who would consider to have thousands dead better than losing face.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        War for America is mainly about business, partly about the thrill of blowing sh*t up, and partly to intimidate the world into obedience. In reality there are no “security threats” worth a tenth of the US “defense” budget. But this racket will only end when ordinary Americans can stop worshuppubg military uniforms (thank you for your service etc.).

    4. Procopius

      Well, with Shanahan out of the way, Bolton only has to neutralize of pre-empt Pompeo. I don’t think Pompeo is as dumb as he acts, but he’s no match for Bolton. That means war withy Iran is more likely, since the new Acting Secretary of Defense is going to be totally unable to compete with the two established war-hawks. I don’t think there are any flag officers who are as brave as Shinseki was to tell Trump that he really needs at least 750,000 soldiers for the initial invasion, he has to be willing to accept at least 20% casualties, probably more, the initial operation is going to take at least two years, and occupation will take at least one million, two would be much better. I think deep down Trump knows this already, but Bolton knows how to push his buttons. To paraphrase LBJ, “They’ll say you’re not a manly man.”

  5. Wukchumni

    Was @ Wal*Mart yesterday, and saw something very telling…

    I sauntered over to the tighty whitey/boxer selection, and the whole aisle was encased in locked glass cases!

    Hunting down an employee, who called another employee over with the key, I pointed to the object of my desire-a $13.98 Fruit of the Loom 9 pack of underwear. She let me touch it, but no further, as I made my intentions clear I was going to purchase it. She told me that it would be with the cashier @ checkout #19, I obviously couldn’t be trusted to bring it there myself.

    Clearly, there must have been a boxer rebellion, people shoplifting undergarments. But I don’t get it, why not just put everything in locked glass cases, if you’re terrified of people making off with $14 worth of nothing in a package that’s kind of bulky?

    1. John Beech

      Holy smokes, I’ll have to saunter over to the tighty-whities department as well to verify this with my own eyes. Hard to believe.

      Then again, some guy and his wife and kids are being made out the victims of overzealous cops because the 4-y/o kid was stealing a Barbie doll, and the (tellingly) husband had stolen something as well (me thinking you gotta start them when they’re young).

      I imagine if you’re dealing with retail customers, pilfering can get to be a real problem. Dunno the answer. Do believe the cop was waaaay over the top when he pulled his weapon, but making these folks out as victims is another color horse altogether.

      1. Monty

        You should watch the video. A massive over application of force and aggression by the police.

        The officer audibly threatens to kill the father by ‘putting a cap in his head’, when he is held at gunpoint with his hands behind his back.
        The police admit they knew the family were unarmed and they were offering no resistance.
        There were very young children and a heavily pregnant woman involved and roughly being manhandled by police.
        The crime (of a 4 year old stealing a doll from the dollar store) was called in by a ‘concerned shopper’ rather than the store itself. For all the cops knew, this shopper could have made the whole thing up, yet they proceeded like they had captured El Chapo or Bin Laden.

        Q. Can you guess what color their skin was?

        1. a different chris

          Yes, bet I could. What I would not even attempt to guess is the color of the officer’s skin. Blue association is way, way tighter than black. They are their own cadre which sees the world in their own way.

          Which is terrifying.

        2. Oh

          These clowns in blue are not capable of capturing El Chapo or Bin Laben. They reach for the low hanging fruit all the time and harass minorities.

      2. Cal2

        Wukchumni, John and Chris,

        What a difference a state line makes.
        Thanks to California’s new 100% tolerance for shoplifting, anything under $950 stolen is a misdemeanor, police rarely even show up. A gang decided to test that by walking out of a Tommy Hilfiger store with multiple armloads of clothing still on the hangers. Nobody stopped them. Details and video here:

        Small merchants in San Francisco are being driven out of business by the usual suspects. Retail is finished if anyone can just take stuff and not pay. Make sure to read the comments at the end of the sfgate story for more examples.

            1. Cal2

              Attitudinal scalability in action.

              Police radio call:
              “Shoplifting at Tommy Hilfiger…”

              “I just started this cup of coffee, forget it…”

        1. Wukchumni

          Seeing as the felony line used to be @ $450, i’d suggest that the increases in shoplifting are mostly a result of being able to get away with it.

          Defenders of the law claim that the increased felony threshold merely takes into account 30 years of inflation from the previous $450 number. Others claim that California is still more lenient than other states. In Texas, for example, one has to steal more than $1500 to be charged with a felony. In South Carolina, that number is $2000.

      3. ArcadiaMommy

        Why is a Barbie worth kicking a mans legs out from under him to lay on the burning hot pavement? Pulling out the gun was the officer’s fault as he escalated the situation rather than sorting out the confusion.
        For comparison, I’m mixed race but clearly well off. I walked a bunch of kids over to the fancy grocery store for pizza the other day and the baby grabbed a little chocolate bar and ate it. They gave all the kids free cookies instead of calling the cops! This is a class issue. There is no way some cop is going to bother me.
        My father was a peace officer for 27 years and I am just amazed at how terrified the police are these days.

    2. Chris Smith

      And this is one more nail in the coffin of brick and mortar retail – I don’t get treated like a presumptive criminal when shopping online. Razors were like this. Walk into the local CVS and razors are under lock and key, so you have to get an attendant (good luck, it seems one guy works there and her is always on break or something) and then they walk it to the counter. Whatever. I signed up for an online razor service, and I get razors of the same quality delivered in the mail at 1/3 of the retail price. Why go back to CVS?

      I know, I know. Razors are the most commonly shoplifted item so the CVS has to take precautions even if personally insulting to me the customer. But you know what? That’s not my family blogging problem. If your going to make my shopping experience a pain in the backside and charge me three times as I’m going elsewhere.

      1. dearieme

        My last purchase of Gillette razor blades needed hammer and chisel to open it. Metaphorically; literally it was actually screwdriver and mallet. What extraordinary incompetence by Gillette.

        1. Terry Humphrey

          My most aggravating take of late-term capitalism, you can buy nothing that you don’t need a tool to get the damn thing open.

          1. John k

            That’s super light weight plastic. What about the box under the wrap?
            Anyway, the way stuff is wrapped today does require special tools to get into. I bought a heavy duty shears to cut thru. Which came inside heavy duty plastic.
            Need to get back to paper and cardboard.
            A big plus with on line ordering is that pilfer proof plastic isn’t necessary. Course, it still comes that way, but maybe that will change as e stuff takes over.

        2. Cal2


          You’re still wasting your money on Gillette’s massive ad campaigns?
          Harry’s are much cheaper and far better quality per shave.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                best razor i’ve ever had.
                got my eldest one when he started shaving

                so long as we have a supply of blades, i figure we’re good to go for hundreds of years.
                mehaz is owned by “Universal Companies”, which is still pretty big…but not as big as the others.
                made in Germany, where they have labor standards and such.

                …and it came in a cardboard box.

                1. Svante

                  Thank you! I’d dreaded getting into the German 5-blades in plastic razors. But my ancient razor’s about had it. Any number of ex girlfriend’s formerly carried straight razors (frequently, inherited. At least I hope they weren’t pre-used?) But, urban females are frequently nervous about carrying defensive equalizers of any kind). I’m more afraid of skin eating micro organisms, but am a cheapskate beyond description.

          1. dearieme

            I got them at a big reduction though.

            But thanks for the tip: maybe next time.

            Can I just say Gillette one more time, to embarrass them? Gillette.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That’s an unfortunate trend as, in addtion to the usual packaging one finds on the razors on store shelves, online purchases are shipped with more packaging (boxes), properly cushioned inside, not to mentioned the energy to ship them.

    3. Bugs Bunny

      Probably the bean counters figured it was more cost-effective to lock them up than install an RFI chip-reading system and portals. At least the receipt checking person still has a job.

      1. Carolinian

        Some years back Walmart actually proposed placing chips on all their merch to deter their famously klepto cleintele. The idea was dropped after outrage about Big Brother style surveillance which now seems laughable given that stores, as just reported by the NYT, are now tracking your every move via Bluetooth.

        1. pricklyone

          Can you share a link? Most of the “high-tech” schemes seem to fail on cost, rather than any concern about surveillance issues. As near as I can tell, the population seems unconcerned about privacy issues, even when it is brought to their attention!
          Local JC Penney fired all security personnel years ago. After deciding to allow “no questions asked” returns of merchandise. And stopped counting inventory delivered in truck shipments… and on and on….
          WalMart clientele is likely no more “famously klepto” than Rodeo Drive clientele, just a larger sample size. And Wally making it easier…

    4. Carolinian

      Rough neighborhood? No locked cases seen at mine other than car electronics and ammunition (don’t think the local sells guns). Of course locked away merchandise increases labor need, decreases self service–the things Walmart is trying to avoid. What my recently revamped store does have are lots and lots of cameras.

      1. Wukchumni

        The Wal*Mart is in Visalia, which I feel is the nicest big city in the Central Valley (which isn’t saying a lot, actually it’s saying a lot more though compared to dual hellwholes: Fresno & Bakersfield) and I asked the cashier how long this particular theft deterrent program has been going on, and she rolled her eyes, and told me “a week”.

      1. newcatty

        Some years ago, I was in a Walgreens and was shopping for a friend. I had her list and was making great progress in checking off items like toothpaste and dental floss, when I came up to shampoo and conditioner. Perused through the “hair care” shelves( yes, plural) and this ,at the time, heavily advertised brand was not there. WTF? So, cause I am just such a nice person, I looked for some help. I went to the cashier, like to a central command station I thought, and asked for assistance. Then tired looking older man said, Oh. You will have to wait for a cosmetics clerk to help you. OK. Should I wait Here? No, go wait by the make up section. I went to the ( it seemed like the beginning of the section…lots of liquid foundations and powders). Waited for what seemed like five minutes and a young woman appeared and asked if I was the one who wanted brand X shampoo. I said yes. She said it’s over here and walked away. I guessed that I was to follow the leader. She stopped at a locked glass enclosed counter. There it was! Surrounded by other precious lotions and potions. What do you want? I politely refrained from saying, as I already said…One bottle of X and one of conditioner, please. She sighed, Do you want regular, super shiny or extra soft? I thought of my friend, who to tell the truth was obsessed with her hair, and decided on extra soft. Is that for both? Yes. She then went to get the key to unlock the case. Fetched out the bottles and gave them to me. I noticed she watched me go to the cashier line, which was now long with sleepy man being the only one available to do the job. What I thought would be a quick shopping trip for friend ended up not.

  6. Amfortas the hippie

    on the first amendment and the internet.
    I’m torn on this…having been suspended/kicked off of face borg for a year for linking a wall street journal article on obamacare=heritage care on ted cruz’ FB page.(his flying monkeys told on me to the robots. there was no appeal)
    in that case, at least, (and since our senators don’t answer their phones or email anymore) I considered “my” senator’s FB page a public forum…and so long as i didn’t go wrong on time honored test for speech(yelling fire, etc) i should be free to yell at my senator in whatever public forum he appears in.
    social media, like it or not, IS the public square of today.
    this doesn’t mean that child molesters have unlimited rights…any more than they have unlimited rights in a physical courthouse square.
    to negate first amendment protections due to such hysterical worries(“hate speech”?) is dangerous….and will almost certainly backfire on dissenting humans.

    1. Procopius

      Back in the ’90s in Usenet some sites and groups refused to delete or ban based on content. There was some discussion, and I tended to side with those who said, you can say anything you want, but not on our property, which the servers were. I used to enjoy alt.flame.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Trump’s order to trim science advisory panels sparks outrage”

    On the bright side, Trump announces a plan to use as a substitute for science advisory panels. He said that he will from now on use prayer meetings to provide scientific oversight of agency decisions.

  8. jo6pac

    Solidarity With Glenn Greenwald

    I do like the work done on this article but until he releases the rest of the Snowden files and whistleblower’s to the intercept stop being arrested he has become the problem.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. chipmakers quietly lobby to ease Huawei ban: sources”

    It’s not only chip-makers that are protesting these tariffs but literally hundreds of American companies both large and small. Trump is even putting a tariff on tea made in China but as tea is not grown in America, you cannot say the point of that tea tariff is to protect American tea growers-

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Indian, Sri Lankan and Japanese tea growers must be happy to learn that! I’ve never been a fan of Chinese brews, frankly.

    2. Olga

      I recently watched a funny film from 1947, “Life with Father,” with William Powell and Irene Dunne.
      There is a hilarious little exchange between the two, when the little wifey admits to going to lectures on politics by (OMG!) another woman (the film is set in the late 19th cent.). Tariffs were one topic, and Irene cleverly explains to her strict husband how she learned that a tariff is just a tax, hitting hard the population, particularly farmers. Too funny for words

      1. newcatty

        Tariffs=taxes on the peoples… Maybe it’s time for tea parties. Not the Rupug kind, the Boston. I will bring my stash of tea from a gift from a Chinese tea shop.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There is a 4 part (War, Religion, Cities and Trade) documentary from the PBS called the First Civilizations.

      There are some questionable claims made in the film.

      One of them is that trade leads to peace.

      Does it?

      I can think of peace fostering trade, and the lack of peace hindering trade.

      The film focuses the trade segment on the Indus Valley Civilization, and it seems people just traded there, and archaeologists have so far not found evidence of kings or temples, just merchants and farmers.

      Not sure if there was a need for money, if there were no kings to collect taxes.

      And the end of that civilization came with diseases brought by trade.

      So, trade is not all good.

      What the film does not explore is the possiblity that trade leads to war. That would be opposite of the statement that trade leads to peace. It could be that life in general is cyclical (history repeats itself) and we get peacw – trade -war – peace – trade – war – etc.

    4. Oregoncharles

      Tea is grown in the US: – in Salem, Oregon. Which reminds me; I should visit them sometime soon. Handsome website. I believe there’s another plantation, up near Molalla; Japanese seed and money. Not so public, if it’s still there.

      And it’s available in local nurseries. Does really well here, but it’s very labor-intensive.

      OTOH, I buy Chinese tea despite growing my own, so the tariff will affect me. But at least I don’t have to order it from Canada anymore.

  10. John Beech

    Still No Minimum Wage Bill – Not Because Of Trump Or McTurtle – Because Of Pelosi And Hoyer And Their Blue Dogs – 06/18/2019 – Yves Smith

    Worth a read. Don’t know the answer but speaking with SIL about my nephew who works in a hospital as a surgical tech (basically, makes sure the instruments are on the tray before surgery) and how proud they were he’d gotten a raise and was now earning $15.85/hour. They’re concerned about $15/hr minimum wage, and how if that comes to pass his pay will stagnate, e.g. not go up to $21/hour to compensate (I think they augment his pay now and I believe they’re right about the folks making $15/hour now).

    Anyway, $15/hour is noting in a big city where rent is $2500 for a tiny walkup you may well have to share, but out in flyover country grown ass men kill for $15/hour jobs with prospects of $20 after a few years. And all the doodads we buy from the Orient, which we’re on the one hand wanting made here in USA USA but on the other hand, we decry the appalling conditions of those with work in repetitive industries (manufacturing,, but also specifically thinking of how Amazon is regularly excoriated on this site because they have very high expectations of their employees with respect to pick-and-pack rates/hour . . . and I don’t know what other metric they could use).

    Anyway, it seems the Speaker is quite aware of how trying to impeach the President would go down. And also with how unilaterally imposing a higher wage on small employers would go down. I predict unemployment shoots up overnight.

    Source? My responsibilities include signing the front of paychecks so I have some inkling about this. Meanwhile, I suspect those slamming Amazon have only signed the back of their paychecks and thus, have no clue. Just saying.

    Finaly note, nobody working for me makes less than $15/hour, even those who pick and pack make more – BUT – we’re in semi-flyover country of central Florida and offering $10/hour (and I’m sure we could hire at that for some of these jobs) pretty much gets you the kind of people you’d expect for $10. E.g. kids starting out and ne’er-do-wells. At $15 we can be a little more choosy.

    1. flora

      Minimum wage currently has half the purchasing power it had in 2007 – when W was pres.

      Wonder if there’s any connection between the declining purchasing power of minimum wage and the increase in petty theft and shoplifting.

      1. lordkoos

        That would seem like a no-brainer. Do you have a link to any stats about increased shoplifting & theft? I hadn’t heard about it.

        1. Pat

          Only anecdotal evidence but I recounted the deodorant being locked up in my closest drug store and Chris Smith has a post up thread about the locked away Fruit of the Looms in his Wal+Mart. I cannot speak to the other poster’s experience but I have been shopping for well over forty years and have never seen so much locked away low value product.

          Unless it really is a neferious plot to annoy customers and drive them to internet shopping, which doesn’t really track for my drug store, I have to say shop lifting is having an upsurge.

    2. a different chris

      >They’re concerned about $15/hr minimum wage, and how if that comes to pass his pay will stagnate

      Man that’s an Olympic level of mental gymnastics to come up with that theory. Impressed.

  11. JCC

    Cornyn’s twitter post was only interesting because it shows how comments can devolve into a mish-mash of biased, non-factual-based, idiots posting over the top, highly partisan, manure that never seemed to directly address the subject line.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Cheddar To The Rescue? UK Company Uses Cheese To Power 4,000 Homes”

    Hmmm. There was an article in Links a coupla months ago about how America had stockpiles of cheese because it was the best way to store all the excess milk that they had. Could this be a possible power source for some American communities that manufacture cheeses?

  13. Brindle

    re: Warren…New Yorker

    Love the “gleaming eyes” and “flushed cheeks”. Actually not a bad piece but I found the flourishes a bit much.
    Reporter observations of Warren:

    “…is thin and sprightly, with bright-blue eyes and flushed cheeks….
    …as Warren streaked past wearing a small backpack, her purple jacket flapping….
    …Warren looked relaxed, dressed in sneakers, yoga pants, and a zip-up sweater…
    …She leaned forward, her eyes gleaming…
    …hopped onto a stage wearing a crimson sweater and black pants….
    …. swept in shortly after 1 p.m., wearing a forest-green cardigan,”

    1. zer0

      Going for the looks factor.
      New Yorker used to be readable, but ever since the other Elizabeth (Holmes), its been a rag. They used to boast rigorous fact checking, if you can believe it….

  14. Wukchumni

    I’m proud to announce the launch of my own cryptocurrency, Nacho Libra. Each monetary unit will be slathered in virtual velveeta as an anti-counterfeiting measure, and the value will vary based on how much time you spend online buying junk.

    1. Ignacio

      If you use my name for a crypto I will sue you for copyright steal… except if I can get some of these without junk purchases.

  15. Anon

    RE: Antidote.

    That is a Julia Longwing Butterfly (Dryas julia), native to Brazil, but also found in the southern US from Texas to Florida. As you probably guessed, it’s related to the more famous Monarch butterfly of mass migration fame.

  16. Olga

    Bookstore politics Irrusianality (Chuck L)
    Not the best piece on this site. This caught my eye:
    “If the shelves of this particular bookstore are anything to go by, there’s not much of a market in Russia for anything willing to give the Western world even the slightest benefit of the doubt.”
    Why in the world would Russians give the west any benefit of the doubt? After everything that has happened in the last 102 years…! I am surprised the author is surprised. (Maybe he’d reconsider after the headlines on destroying R’s power grid.) And I’ve seen Starikov speak – he’s actually quite sober/reasonable.

    1. Alex

      I think everywhere people tend to like reading about how great their country is rather than learning about and reflecting on not-so-nice things that have happened in the past. Just googled the current US history best-seller list and I see books about heroic pioneers who settled the NW territory and another about no less heroic Navy seals.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Its’ true about people everywhere…universally.

        And here, at this website, we see almost daily, that there are Americans criticizing and wanting America to be better, not just be like other Americans tending to like reading about how great the US is.

        Are those Americans exceptional?

        Aren’t there, say, Russians who will show up here, and match the almost-daily frequency of criticising Russia, because they want to improve their motherland? They don’t all like to reading about how great Russia is.

        1. Alex

          There are plenty of them I can assure you but you have to look in right places :)

          On a tangential note, what *is* different in Russian bookstores is a huge amount of pseudo-historical books in or near the history section. I have no idea how to interpret it, possibly it could be kind of a pushback against the officially promoted and sanctioned approach, or reflect a general low level of trust. Or maybe my bookstores sample was biased

      2. newcatty

        Navy seals and Tom Cruise, as was mentioned the other day, in a new “Top Gun” film. The glorification of our heroic military is just being laid on thick through our propaganda machines. Maybe the recruitment of our finest young men and women will ratchet up as the build up to protect our homeland calls for “duty”.

  17. SJW Barista

    Re: Oberlin College case shows how universities are losing their way

    It would be great if credible left-wing sites would devote a little consideration to this issue as well, which is precisely what gives oxygen to the Jordan Peterson/”Intellectual Dark Web” fan club. Instead of capitulating to the twitter outrage machine, the left ought to at least attempt to police itself. Who knows…maybe it could gain some traction with Trump country on social issues? Even if it didn’t work, they could at least maintain a coherent platform while retaining a little dignity.

  18. Oregoncharles

    “Uncertainty over output gap and structural-balance estimates remains elevated”
    Did I understand that right? It appears to say that EU fiscal policies are based on naked BS, estimates of estimates. How is that even possible?

    While not that easy to understand or explain briefly, this strikes me as serious ammunition for Exiters of whatever stripe. On further thought, I assume it’s covering something up. Perhaps we should ask Greece what that is? Or more currently, Italy, which has failed to thrive ever since joining.

  19. Cal2

    On unfairly purging Chinese cancer researchers in Texas:
    Alliances and partnerships with a dozen pharmaceutical companies…

    It’s probably about threats to future patents and profits being weakened by cheap Chinese versions of short lived cancer drugs that American Big Pharma can overcharge people for until they prove ineffective.

    If the government’s really concerned about Chinese spies, how about Feinstein’s driver?

    “Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who then chaired the Intelligence Committee, was approached by the FBI. The bureau had learned that a staffer in her San Francisco office was a Chinese operative… turned by a member of the Chinese Ministry of State Security.”

    “The staffer had served the senator for some two decades as a liaison to the local Chinese community, and, most important, the senator’s chauffeur whenever she was in San Francisco, her hometown. Driving Ms. Feinstein would have been a plum assignment for an intelligence operative; it allowed the Chinese access to the senator’s comings and goings and who she met with, as well as to any conversations she might have had in the car and any documents she may have left in it.”

  20. ewmayer

    “The League of Entropy Forms To Offer Acts of Public Randomness | Duo” — Nice, but they coulda done better with the name. How about The League of Extraordinary Entropians? All official business done under the watchful gaze of a bust of Ludwig Boltzmann, of course.

  21. Oregoncharles

    From “Bookstore Politics”: ” several of the works of the ‘left conservative’ economist Sergei Glazyev, who peddles the line that the United States is deliberately spreading chaos around the world in order to harm potential rivals, most notably Russia.”

    Which is exactly what a lot of leftish Americans think, notably on this blog. The tone is very revealing of the article author’s agenda.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “…the United States is deliberately spreading chaos around the world in order to harm potential rivals, most notably Russia.”
      that’s certainly where I’ve arrived at…and i didn’t need any russians to bring me there.
      either that’s the agenda, or there really is no discernible agenda that i can see.
      i’m sick of the neomccarthyism and the new cold war nonsense(and the related nonsense of late at places like Oberlin)
      I remember fondly when the term “liberal fascism” was just silliness, and one could excoriate jonah goldberg over coffee.
      but mix IDPol and a Big Center that won’t let go of their moribund status quo, and here we are.

  22. Oregoncharles

    “Solidarity With Glenn Greenwald Jacobin”
    Help! The appeal for solidarity appears to offer no way to express said solidarity. The only link that might is in Portuguese and still offers nothing interactive – that I could see.

    Does someone see a way to do this? There are the usual political letters and calls, to our own politicians, but that’s unlikely to be effective without some coordination.

    1. pricklyone

      Simply hire a lobbying firm. Meet up with your Reps on the golf course. Simple. That’s how it’s done, here in the USA.

  23. ewmayer

    Re. ‘What does Joe Biden mean when he calls for a “physical revolution”’ — Perhaps he’s referring to his ancestors spinning in their graves at having such a one as him as a descendant of theirs?

  24. The Rev Kev

    “From coup leaders to con artistry: Juan Guaidó’s gang exposed for massive humanitarian aid fraud”

    Well that explains a lot. A coupla weeks ago there was an article where those Venezuelan army deserters were being thrown out of their hotel rooms due to non-payment of bills. And now this article explains why it is so. Greedo himself is not much in the news lately so I guess that this is why the Venezuelans decided not to arrest him. Just let him alone to self-implode instead. By the sounds of this article, perhaps Colombia is getting jack with the whole thing as well. After all, it was Colombian intelligence which blew up Greedo’s corrupt minions. Couldn’t happen to a nicer group. Not that Trump will give up on the whole project.

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