Links 6/5/19

Researchers strapped video cameras on 16 cats and let them do their thing. Here’s what they found Science

Golden retriever named Mueller is mayor of Southern California town ABC. From before Mueller was Mueller.

The Dummy Company at the Heart of Deutsche Bank Money Laundering Probe ICIJ

CRA signs secret settlement with wealthy KPMG clients involved in offshore tax scheme CBC

The Wealth Detective Who Finds the Hidden Money of the Super Rich Bloomberg

US farmers’ borrowing boom is built on shaky land values FT

Intense Rainfall Is As Damaging to Crops As Heatwaves and Drought, and Climate Change Is Making It Worse Yale Environment360

China?

A Slower Economy. A Trade War. Now, China Faces Rising Food Prices. NYT

Charting China, the (not always) super power The Interpreter

Tiananmen Square – Do The Media Say What Really Happened? Moon of Alabama

Hong Kong keeps Tiananmen crackdown memory alive with ‘record-breaking’ mass vigil South China Morning Post

Ebola cases pass 2,000 as crisis escalates Nature

Superbugs in the Anthropocene Monthly Review

Venezuela

Venezuela Defaults on Gold Swap With Deutsche Bank Bloomberg

Venezuela’s oil exports drop 17% in May as sanctions kick in: data Reuters

Venezuela crisis: What happened to uprising against Maduro? BBC

Venezuela’s Two Presidents Collide The New Yorker

Russia’s Sovereign Internet Bill explained TechRadar

Syraqistan

Iran attacks US warships in the Gulf of Tonkin Duffel Blog

What war with Iran could look like Military Times.

Here’s Why California Pistachio Farmers Lobby for War (and Represent the Failures of Late-Stage Capitalism) Paste

The Incredible Disappearance of Shai Masot Craig Murray

May retail sales hit by ‘biggest slump on record‘ Sky News. In the UK.

Donald Trump says any US-UK trade deal has to include NHS FT. Trump says the quiet part out loud, as usual.

In the shadow of the Beast: Larry the Downing Street cat takes shelter under Donald Trump’s £1.2m armoured limousine Daily Mail

Trump Transition

Amassing War Powers, Bolton Rips a Page Out of Cheney’s Playbook The American Conservative

Michael Wolff’s ‘Siege’ Is Like His Last Book — But Worse Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

Dems won’t impeach Trump but can’t stop talking about it Politico

Democrats Blame Trump on Trade, But Avoid Their Own Concrete Proposals Bloomberg

Federal aid headed to Missouri, Kansas as disaster bill passes after weeks of delay McClatchy

Top tech executives will be asked to testify in U.S. probe Reuters

Recode Daily: Big Tech’s regulatory reckoning might finally be here Vox

News Media Alliance pushes for new Senate antitrust bill Roll Call

Hospitals Accused Of Paying Doctors Large Kickbacks In Quest For Patients KHN

Facebook shareholder revolt gets bloody: Powerless investors vote overwhelmingly to oust Mark Zuckerberg as chairman Business Insider

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Your iPhone is staying busy while you’re sleeping Denver Post

This ID Scanner Company is Collecting Sensitive Data on Millions of Bargoers OneZero

Utah will test hidden technology that tries to find weapons among crowds at schools, stadiums and churches Salt Lake Tribune

‘I hope they make his life as miserable as possible.’ Parkland parents jeer former cop Scot Peterson after his arrest in school shooting Sun-Sentinel

Imperial Collapse Watch

Everyone acts like America is in decline. Let’s look at the numbers. WaPo

The Sum of All Beards The New Republic

F-35 Dogfight Accidentally Resulted in a Sky Penis, Officials Say Military.com

Against Advertising Jacobin

Class Warfare

Inequality in the US is at the root of the trade wars FT

Homelessness in L.A. is a catastrophe in motion, and our leaders are largely to blame Los Angeles Times

JPMorgan Chase Seeks to Prohibit Card Customers From Suing NYT

‘It Puts You Into a Process That Hugely Favors the Employer’ FAIR

How a quantum computer could break 2048-bit RSA encryption in 8 hours MIT Technology Review

How Technology Grows (a restatement of definite optimism) Dan Wang

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

124 comments

  1. LaRuse

    I loved the article on tracking cats’ movements with video cameras, but this very last Q&A made me so happy:

    Q: You thank the study cats in the paper’s Acknowledgements section. Why?

    A: I always acknowledge the animals I work with. I’ve been doing that since my Ph.D. thesis. I do feel thankful because if the cats didn’t oblige us, we couldn’t do the study.

    Reply
    1. anon in so cal

      Speaking of tracking cats’ movements while outdoors:

      (sorry to introduce negativity):

      “Now numbering well over 100 million in the United States, cats kill approximately 2.4 billion birds every year in the U.S. alone, making cat predation by far the largest human-caused mortality threat to birds”

      https://abcbirds.org/program/cats-indoors/

      “birds don’t just twit around pointlessly. They pollinate plants, spread seeds, control insects and protect environments from the effects of climate change; they are the glue that binds healthy ecosystems together. “Birds are critical,” he says. And outdoor cats, he and other ecologists have determined, are the leading human-influenced cause of dead birds.

      In 1962, biologist Rachel Carson wrote that “in nature nothing exists alone.” Marra couldn’t agree more. Like Carson, he thinks of life on Earth as a complex tapestry in which each species represents a single thread. Outdoor cats threaten that tapestry. Their crimes include contributing to 33 extinctions around the world and counting, to say nothing of their potential to spread deadly diseases like rabies and Toxoplasmosis. They hold in tooth and claw the power to destroy that delicate web—like, well, a cat unraveling a ball of string.”

      https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/moral-cost-of-cats-180960505/

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Did the cats volunteer or were they conscripted (without consent) to ‘oblige us’ in the study?

      If the latter, not sure if thanking makes up for it.

      Reply
      1. Dave

        The cats could “opt out”, at least, with enough complaining. About a quarter of them did.

        “We started with 21 cats, but only 16 tolerated the cameras. The others either started racing around or tried to scratch them off. One mother cat was like this, and when we put the camera on her son, she began hitting him. So we didn’t use either cat.”

        Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I thought the most interesting thing they found was that even if they were going to fight, the cats touched noses first.

            Might take the edge off of real-world human diplomacy too. Make Trump and Nancy touch noses before joining battle. Pompeo and Putin.

            Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Apparently, Larry the Cat ducked under that car because he panicked when he heard that Trump was a p**** grabber.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        Well maybe nobody else does – that’s the problem with us punners, – but *I* appreciate your pun!

        Reply
    2. Stephen V

      Talk about Amerika in decline! Two minutes of Internet sleuthing finds Zero cats in official Federal govt positions. I call for true crapification : A litter box in every Congressional office! Last time I checked….plenty of rats in need of eradication.

      Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          I’ve been harboring a Persian in our hair’m, and of course, plans have been made should we go to war with Iran, and what to do when the authorities come for guilt by association.

          Reply
          1. Stephen V

            Dang Wuk. I’ll contact the Fluffier World Foundation (an infurmal local group) and see if they have any ideas.

            Reply
        2. Wukchumni

          If our leader was a cur, which breed would he be?

          Pick of the litter:

          Personality: True to its origins as a hunter bred to think on its feet, the Afghan hound is strong-willed and independent, aloof and self-confident. A study in contradictions, the Afghan hound has been described as fiercely brave but possibly timid, flighty but sometimes quiet and lazy, dignified but clownish.

          Reply
          1. Oregoncharles

            I’ve also heard it said that their brains don’t operate properly under 20 MPH, which might explain the inconsistencies. They were bred as runners, like greyhounds.

            Reply
            1. Wukchumni

              My sister had one about 30 years ago, dumbest {family blog’n) dog i’ve ever seen, kind of aloof is putting it mildly.

              The pooch always seemed as if it was running late for being in a coronation.

              Reply
  2. Steve H.

    > Superbugs in the Anthropocene Monthly Review

    : The ease and frequency with which bacteria exchange DNA leads some scientists to question whether the concept of species is appropriate for microbes.

    Years ago, I read about how how much sexual reproduction increased the likelihood that an organism would have two positive genetic mutations, v mutating them within a single germ line. Nice maths analysis you got there, shame if it didn’t match material reality.

    Plague is my bet on which Horseman rapidly reduces population. This article does a good job on the global scale, while the Steve Lopez article from the LA Times reminds of that we’ve got plague back from the middle ages in the U.S. Nothing drives the Darwinian ratchet like human agency, both as who and whom.


    Smallville
    .

    Reply
    1. Mike Mc

      Yes. Note also the local human responses to the latest Ebola outbreak in the DRC – anti-doctors, anti-vaccine, bombings/shootings etc. as well as the LA, San Fran and San Diego homless debacles. Throw in our own ‘Mercan anti-vax/anti-science folks et voila! The Fourth Horseman rides.

      Reply
    2. Oregoncharles

      There’s always been a reservoir of plague among wild rodents in the inner SW; occasionally a human catches it. There was a warning sign about it at Frijoles Canyon in New Mexico, back about 1980. Gave me shivers. Don’t touch the rodents.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        There is a theory that the “Plague of Justinian” was caused by drought that triggered a population explosion in the rodent colonies that acted as reservoirs for the Plague germ. Contemporary historians credit the spread of the plague to the rats and their fleas carried all around the Mediterranean by the shipping trade.
        Plague has always been a major winnower of the population. The dreaded “Black Death” of the 1300’s killed off so many people in Europe that it is credited with creating the social conditions that ushered in the “Modern” world.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          I’ve never been all that stressed out about drinking water in the higher climes of the Sierra, usually filtered, but not always, and you never heard of anybody you know getting Giardia, that is until the 4th year of the recent drought and 3 people I knew came down with it, probably on account of doo-doo not being diluted by the usual rain & snow.

          Reply
        2. Oregoncharles

          It’s also credited (sorry no link, saw this a while ago) with causing significant global cooling because so many fields went fallow. With prosperity to follow, because there was so much more to go around.

          Reply
  3. Trick Shroadé

    > Donald Trump says any US-UK trade deal has to include NHS.

    The English will no doubt also need to start accepting our chlorinated chicken and GMO crops. And we’ll probably force them to make all sorts of concessions on climate change somehow.

    Reply
      1. jefemt

        One of his primary techniques: state what you really feel, sow the seed…

        then backtrack.

        The first punch- always thrown to the tip of the nose to resonate with the base and fans.

        Reply
          1. wilroncanada

            The smart money can make profit in both directions.
            Don’t forget. Insider trading is still illegal for members of all members of congress, senators and the administration, plus about 28,000 federal employees apparently, but just try to find the information.

            Reply
      2. Trick Shroadé

        That’s because he said the quiet part out loud, as Lambert pointed out. The fact that he said it means that it’s being discussed, but it’s supposed to be secret. Kinda like when he said during the election that eventually women will need to be prosecuted for having abortions. Of course that’s part of the long-term strategy but you can’t go saying it out loud.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          So it’s very fortunate that the Tories probably won’t be governing much longer .

          Though at this point, it’s hard to see Labour as being much better; but at least they won’t trade away the NHS. I think.

          Reply
      3. anon in so cal

        Remind anyone of Obama’s “grand bargain,” wherein Obama volunteered to put Social Security cuts on the table in an unforced, unsolicited move?

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          Well, reports about the dinner he had with conservative “columnists” in January, 2009, stated he told them he considered “cutting entitlements” one of his most important goals. I hated having to feel grateful to the Tea Partiers for saving us.

          Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      Hey, if they’ll let us import the NHS, we’ll be glad to help them out.

      Or was that not what he was suggesting?

      Reply
  4. Colonel Smithers

    Many thanks, Lambert, especially for the link to Craig Murray.

    Well before the Willsman set-up, the leak to LBC radio, as with many others, was orchestrated by Blairites and Brownites whose leader is, for some strange reason, tolerated by the members, two of the Equality and Human Rights Commission board had been collaborating with the meddlesome embassy and its MSM hirelings. The lawyer acting for the fifth column and dual nationals gunning for Labour and its rabbit caught in the headlights leader and participants in the EHRC enquiry, is also in league with the meddlesome embassy and its MP Joan Ryan.

    There are Labour members in the NC community. One wonders what they think of this. Rest assured that Labour’s domestic enemies, allies with, but not the same as, the above fifth column are watching with interest. They have piped up, too.

    NC readers, especially in the US, should be aware that there is an overlap between the above and the anti-Trump camp in the US, including an Atlanticist Brexiteer, a former Foreign Office official turned master of a college at Cambridge. I suspect that they are keeping an eye on Sanders and waiting for the moment to strike.

    Reply
    1. larry

      Thanks, Col. I would like you to be wrong but what concerns me is that I think you may be right. About both issues, incl. Sanders.

      Reply
      1. Olga

        The Incredible Disappearance of Shai Masot Craig Murray
        Here is a link from Jan. 2017 on Shai Masot:
        https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jan/07/israeli-diplomat-shai-masot-caught-on-camera-plotting-to-take-down-uk-mps
        “An Israeli embassy official has been caught on camera in an undercover sting plotting to “take down” MPs regarded as hostile, including foreign office minister Sir Alan Duncan, an outspoken supporter of a Palestinian state. In an extraordinary breach of diplomatic protocol, Shai Masot, who describes himself as an officer in the Israel Defence Forces and is serving as a senior political officer at the London embassy, was recorded by an ­undercover reporter from al-Jazeera’s investigative unit speaking about a number of British MPs.”
        If the politicians in Austria paid attention to this matter, maybe the govt would not have fallen. Wonder who’s next… Salvini?

        Reply
    2. Clive

      Well, I was weighing up (some unkind wags might say “prevaricating”) about my continued Labour Party membership but the Direct Debit went out on a week when I didn’t check my bank account so they’ve had another £55 out of me and another year’s membership. But it was an accidental membership rather than a happy conscious choice. I voted Labour in the European Parliament election but neither I nor my local constituency party (CLP) had the slightest clue about what we might be voting for. Or against.

      The CLP, talking of which, struggled to get any semblance of candidates to stand in the borough at the local elections. Never mind getting anyone to vote for them.

      Morale is rock bottom. There’s a lot of blaming the media, which is only right and proper, the mainstream media has had a vendetta against Corbyn right from the get-go. But the current awful, hideous state of affairs (I follow what happens in the local party like I used to watch Dr Who episodes; I keep wanting to hide behind the sofa) isn’t the media’s fault, it’s the party’s. The Blairites simply refuse to die. But the Corbynites simply refuse to manage the party effectively.

      Dreadful. Just dreadful.

      But what is the alternative? The Neoliberal Democrats? No thanks. The Conservatives? You’re ‘avin a larf. The Brexit Party? The Uncle Fester of British politics.

      One simply has no other place to go.

      Reply
      1. vlade

        Well, the problem Labour has is that unlike you, most of its voters decided they have somewhere else to go.

        TBH, when you look at how Laboru managed to turn once-in-a-century opportunity of totally destroying Tories into a disaster, you have to wonder how well and efficiently they would govern.

        You’d think that someone from Labour inflitrated Tories to destroy them, but that at the same time Tories managed the same with Labour.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          Belated quote from the article: “Britain’s Greens, boosted partly by their clear-anti-Brexit stance, beat the ruling Conservatives into fifth place with a score of 12.5%. The party’s sole Westminster MP, Caroline Lucas, welcomed a “response to the accelerating climate crisis that was the same in the UK and right across Europe.””

          Reply
  5. Wukchumni

    US farmers’ borrowing boom is built on shaky land values FT
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl

    By Timothy Egan, is a heck of a read. No way in no how did the farmers in the Dust Bowl ever think they were going to have 5 years in a row where it almost never rained, and certainly not in the times you needed it most.

    Farmers in the midwest might just be on the other side of it, where late rains eliminate the possibility of planting for years to come, in a how do you like me now? message from Mother Nature.

    Reply
    1. Kilgore Trout

      Seconded. Egan’s book was terrific. The several first person accounts he includes of surviving the true dustbowl region are riveting.

      Reply
    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      10% of properties with hidden cameras, according to one article. Love AirBnB but that put me off

      Reply
  6. The Rev Kev

    “Russia’s Sovereign Internet Bill explained”: ‘What would happen if Russia unplugged itself from the rest of the internet?’

    I don’t think that the main idea was for Russia to unplug itself from the internet. I would say that for them, the real question was ‘What would happen if Russia was unplugged from the rest of the internet?’. For any large industrial nation that would be a huge threat. It has happened in the past but usually to small countries like Mauritania, Armenia, Tonga, etc. And it’s not like Washington has not threatened to do so to countries that they do not like. Having no internet would have massive repercussions economically as well as psychologically but having your own country having a back-up internet may become the norm sooner or later. For a page talking about the internet stopping, try-

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170207-what-if-the-internet-stopped-for-a-day

    Reply
    1. Olga

      You’re right – the motivation is a defensive one. US has threatened countries with being cut-off from SWIFT – and some can read the writing on the wall.

      Reply
  7. Amfortas the hippie

    Re: Beards.
    (and by extension, long hair on men)
    part of me is pleased that being a hairy white guy no longer gets one chased and/or beaten up by cops and rednecks.
    another part of me is exasperated by such cultural change.
    dammit.
    I’ve worn my hair long since as soon as i was allowed to(due to big ears being a target for my moronic, inbred classmates from elementary on)…and a “doorknocker” for 30 years…with a full beard in winter.
    the fear and loathing inspired by hair on dudes (“he must be a drug dealer/Commie/faggot…lets get him!!”) was always stupid…a method of social control since at least the Beatles, an attempt to put the 60’s back into the bottle, doomed to fail.
    but now country and western music stars look like the bikers and hippies of old, and the bearded militarism laid out in this article, points out, once again, the american inability to “do irony”…as well as our well trained ahistoricity.
    not a major issue, in the grand scheme of things…but still…something about it bothers me, in spite of the fact that my existence is thereby made a little easier.

    ( i sat in the vice principal’s office one day, while he lectured and searched for the rusty bic razor. I countered: “but aren’t we supposed to “be in imitation of Christ?”” pointing to the bearded,long haired, blue eyed white version of same over his desk…)

    Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      Had long hair most of my life. Back in the 60s it was a sure sign of resistance to the System for us. It took some minimal courage to get away with it. I was always a fast runner.

      Today I’d like to cut my hair it’s annoying to manage since it’s way below my shoulders but my wife loves it like that so….

      I’ve been thinking about the 60s lately which is not like me. I’m not fond of nostalgia and am annoyed when my contemporaries seem stuck on 60s or early 70s music. But lately I’ve come to realize that much of what we see in our culture and politics is a reaction to the sixties particularly the openness, and the seeking of truth which was far more present back then than now. What followed that era were decades of active repression (70s) and the solid embrace of “squareness” by the vast majority of the population–a new kind of hedonistic squareness. I see non-squares kind of huddled in corners afraid to speak out afraid of a faux pas and the tyranny of political correctness and identity politics. We are moving towards fascism on the left and utter confusion on the right which is, at least far more diverse than than the current left. There would be no tolerance for a figure like Hunter S. Thompson today–he would be in prison.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        early to mid 70’s music(except for disco) is my favorite genre(when i’m not in 50’s jazz or JS Bach Mode)…all those obscure 70’s rockers…
        i was still a kid in the 70’s, but i remember well the oppression of the 80’s.(and, to your point:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LB5YkmjalDg)
        That “solid embrace of squareness” is i guess the meat of my questioning…(in the other thread, i now realise,lol)

        and the Roman Legions disallowed beards(and the Spartans before them) because it gave the enemy something to grab ahold of.

        Reply
      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        The orthodox fascism of “The Left” (in quotes because as a former member myself I think it is currently unrecognizable) is one of the most confounding and infuriating of developments to me.

        It would be less so if it was not so confused. In the 60s and 70s we organized in particular against a very defined enemy: The War.

        But today the “solidarity” that is demanded is to a shifting, amorphous blob. Anything that by any possible interpretation could be construed to somehow hurt someone else’s feelings somewhere on the planet is denounced.

        They don’t seem to have thought this through to its logical conclusion: that it means that eventually everything is un-PC. There is no consensus around what kinds of Dangerous ThoughtCrime will be tolerated.

        Reminds me of the book The Cultural Revolution by Frank Dikotter (***** Five PodBayDoors Stars). People awoke in fear each day as to which faction had taken control. Depending on which posters had gone up overnight people had to change how they dressed and what they said and how they acted that day. Maybe on-campus “struggle sessions” are next: submit to hours of denunciations, followed by defenestrations if your answers are insufficient.

        Reply
    2. scarn

      In fairness to country & western, lots of artists have been sporting the hirsute look for decades. This outlaw masterpiece was released in ’76, for example.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3_qUDwF-Ns

      A beard is no longer the rebellious symbol it once was, but I still get grief for mine from the bankers and lawyers I work with.

      Reply
    3. wilroncanada

      I was just 15 years old when I grew a handlebar moustache to imitate my French teacher. She was not amused.

      Reply
    4. Oregoncharles

      I haven’t shaved since about 1965 – college. My family don’t know what I look like under the fluff.

      One thing that helped reconcile my mother to the new fashion, I think: when we were cleaning out her mother’s house and attic, which was quite the repository of heritage, we discovered that I looked just like a picture in there – of my great-grandfather. Because he had a full beard.

      This time, we seem to have all recent styles mixed together, and beards have come back. But mainly, shaving is a pain in the neck. My wife made me start getting haircuts, though, when most of my hair fell off. The fringe just looked weird long.

      Reply
  8. Wukchumni

    Venezuela has defaulted on a gold swap agreement valued at $750 million with Deutsche Bank AG, prompting the lender to take control of the precious metal used as collateral and close out the contract, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

    As part of a financing agreement signed in 2016, Venezuela received a cash loan from Deutsche Bank and put up 20 tons of gold as collateral. The agreement, which was set to expire in 2021, was settled early due to missed interest payments, said the people, who asked not to be named speaking about a private matter.

    In the meantime, opposition leader Juan Guaido’s parallel government has asked the bank to deposit $120 million into an account outside President Nicolas Maduro’s reach, which represents the difference in price from when the gold was acquired to current levels.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    …you have to hand it to Guaidofinger

    Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “What war with Iran could look like”

    Not a bad article but I would disagree with a few points. It mentions that if the US wanted to use force in the Strait of Hormuz, that it might use the littoral combat ship. That would be crazy that as that ship class is under-armed and is vulnerable to damage in combat. Here is one article on this ship class-

    https://warisboring.com/the-navys-improved-littoral-combat-ship-is-hardly-better-than-before/

    It also mentions using the F-22 and the F-35 to overcome the Iranian defense systems but that would be, in a best case scenario, would be for a very short war. Neither of these aircraft are really ready for combat as there are not the spare parts to sustain their use. Two articles on this aspect-

    https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/raptor-no-claws-why-stealth-f-22-isnt-ready-combat-48977

    https://www.defensenews.com/air/2019/04/25/government-watchdog-finds-more-problems-with-f-35s-spare-parts-pipeline/

    In any case, the US could not stop Iran from using the Samson option of obliterating the Saudi and Gulf countries oil facilities along with water filtration plants. All oil from the Gulf stops and the world would enter the Great Depression 2.0 which for the US would be akin to burning down their house to deal with a neighbour that they are fighting with.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Lemoore naval air station is about 50 nautical miles away as the F-35 flies, and i’m usually around these parts, and in the past 4-5 months, there have been only 2 dogfights overhead, last week’s sortie unseen above a grey curtain of low flying clouds, but over heard.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXv0kfBLG9s

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i’m in the “west texas training area”. no dogfights(the fighters are usually to my north, but i can usually hear them), but lots and lots of helicopters of various shapes and sizes, and a steady(2-3 in a day, then 2-3 days quiet) stream of c-130’s….and more c-5’s than ive seen or heard since iraq2.
        these latter 2 are not training, but going back and forth, east and west(we’re between ft hood and ft bliss, as the plane flies)
        similarly, in san antone every two weeks,lot more c-5’s in and out of lackland than before.
        (those are weird to watch…just sort of hanging there)
        dont know what any of it means, just incidental observation.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          I think that speaks volumes in regards to the reliability of C-5’s & C-130’s…

          A flyby about every fortnight was the routine here, until performance issues came to the forefront on the F-35.

          Reply
    2. JohnnySacks

      The military industrial corporations have been selling missile defense systems to the pentagon like console video games to suburban kids for years with zero proven success other than carefully scripted demonstrations. Couple that with a public thinking the Iranian military’s guided missiles are like Saddam Hussein’s Korean War vintage ‘point and light the wick’ SCUDs. Any navy within 100 miles of the coast of Iran will be fish food within a half hour after a barrage a handful of Exocets mixed in with a couple Moskit anti-ship cruise missiles. Then all Persian gulf oil facilities and water desalination plants shut down, destabilizing the world’s oil market and plunging economies into deep recession. But think of the investment opportunities!

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        A friend works for the US Army Corps here which oversees Lake Kaweah, a man-made reservoir supplying water to fruits & nuts down the line after a stay of execution from the dam.

        Drones aren’t allowed in the National Parks, and Visalia and environs has a large do-not-fly zone that goes for around 40 miles, so the 5 miles along the lake edge is ground zero for enthusiasts, as its about the only place allowed in the area, and there’ll be as many as 20 @ the joystick on any given day.

        What happens when you can combine a gun that can be fired from afar to a drone, if say you had a sinister purpose?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvpaDUYmn8Q

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          Most consumer drones can barely lift an air mail letter, much less a multi-pound weapon. The winged variety do better with heavy payloads.

          But who knows what the future brings…..

          Reply
  10. Annieb

    Golden Retriever Mueller the mayor— thanks so much for posting this!From personal experience,I absolutely know that there are many qualified Golden Retrievers would do an excellent job in high office, including POTUS. Bernie would do well to tap Mueller the Golden for his VP!

    Reply
      1. Annieb

        Dog years 7 x 1 human years Max Mueller is 6 , so 6 x 7= 42! Calling Bernie! Max the Golden is ready and probably willing to be Vice!

        Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      I thought having a Golden Retriever was a speciest choice for a mayor, and i’d prefer an Australian Sheepdog-who is better with numbers,

      Regardless, hail to the chief and who’s a good doggie!

      Reply
      1. petal

        Then when their corruption is exposed, he grins and wags and says “I did it all for the cookie, come on, the cookie,…”

        Reply
  11. georgieboy

    The Parkland cop who sadly failed the tragic video test has raised an interesting question in these times of occasional outright hostility towards police.

    Chicago cops have largely “gone fetal” since Rahm Emmanuel’s suppression of the McDonald shooting video failed. They have been instructed by their political overlords not to engage in street stops, nor even to chase criminals escaping the scene. This means they tend to stay in their cars until a call comes in, then attend the scene of the crime after the criminals have exited the scene. This is called “showing up and cutting paper,” to stay out of trouble with the Democratic bosses. Why risk getting killed in an active crime situation when nothing you do will be judged correct, or even good-enough? Why risk prison, and ruin for your family?

    Result is approximately 200+ extra homicides per year in Chicago, 80+% of which are black-on-black, since 2015. (One-third of the city population is Black, and about one-third of the police are Black.)

    The questions being asked are: what exactly is it that Americans want cops to do? Use judgment in deadly situations? Whose? Real-time, or retrospective? Should we risk death and then jail-time if we get things horribly wrong? Why are police under more media scrutiny than violent bad guys and the families who made them that way?

    Reply
    1. Kurtismayfield

      The questions being asked are: what exactly is it that Americans want cops to do? Use judgment in deadly situations? Whose? Real-time, or retrospective? Should we risk death and then jail-time if we get things horribly wrong? Why are police under more media scrutiny than violent bad guys and the families who made them that way?

      The US citizens want the police to enforce the law. At this point there is no expectations of the police “To Protect and Serve” because the Supreme Court has stated that is not their job.

      The question remains, did the police officers sign up to enforce the law? Because if that is true, then they should have zero problems with responsibility for their actions.

      Reply
    2. Roger Boyd

      Just maybe the cops should remember that they are there to “serve and protect” their community, not shoot people where there is no real danger present. They should be using real judgement, and they should be ejecting the bad cops that lead to such videos. The attempts at suppression and “accidentally” turning off bodycams only lead to greater levels of public suspicion.

      The police should be overseen by an independent authority staffed by their fellow citizens, which has control of Internal Affairs. As long as they act as if they are above the law, they will not be treated as if they are serving the citizenry. Only recently did it come out that the Chicago police were for years using a building to unlawfully detain and interrogate people before they were brought to the official police building, but I did not notice any policemen going to jail for kidnapping etc.

      Being a policeman in the US does not rate as one of the most dangerous jobs, and they should be fired if they are sitting on their asses while real crimes are being carried out. We should not feel sorry for them. Americans want cops to do their damn jobs, which does not include feeling that they are above the law and covering up for their colleagues illegal activities, nor insulting their fellow citizens. The majority are good cops, they need to expel the bad apples and also get rid of the paramilitary mindset that sets them against and above their fellow citizens.

      Reply
      1. Plenue

        Nothing will change in the US until cops become directly elected and accountable parts of their communities. Not an independent institution that lords over the ‘civilians’.

        Reply
    3. Wyoming

      I see a lot of negative comments here about police. I want to present some balance.

      While I am retired I do a lot of volunteer stuff. The main thing I do (about 50% of full time) is I am a volunteer officer with my local police department. I do not have years of experience but what I do have is first hand. So her are some items for thought.

      1. While is is true that there are other professions which have a higher per capita death rate than policing; like logging, commercial fishing and roofing. There is no other profession which has the level of violence in it that policing does (unless you are a MMA fighter perhaps). Policing is chock full of violence and much of it is random – which is very hard on people as it puts them in constant stress. The two most common ways an officer dies in the line of duty due to gunfire are regular traffic stops where someone pulls a gun and domestic violence calls where a gun comes out. You must treat these calls with total seriousness. An equal way to die is getting run over during traffic stops by some idiot who is not paying attention to what he is doing (or like one of our officers here in AZ who died because the driver who hit him was watching porn on his phone while driving). Traffic accidents are also a big item which kills officers. All the TV nonsense of gunfights with terrorists and armed robbers is just that, nonsense.

      2. But outside of lethal situations like above there is constant violence they have to be prepared for and deal with all the time which other professions do not experience. Over 40% of people who are being handcuffed – whether to be temporarily detained or being arrested – start to fight you the second the first cuff goes on. It is like people just can’t help it. You get elbowed or punched in the face or kicked all the time. Not to mention the high frequency of fighting which results from citizens under the influence of alcohol and drugs – it is very common and very tough to deal with. Dealing with the large number of mentally ill??? A nightmare. Or the suicide by cop method which is very popular – what do you do? A friend of mine was medically retired because while she (yes she) was making an arrest (by herself with no backup) one of the ‘friends’ of the detainee decided to come up behind her and hit her in the side of the head with a 2×4 – traumatic brain injury. The son of a friend of mine was responding to the mass shooting in Aurora, Illinois and was next to an officer who took two bullets in the leg and would have died if another officer had not run out under fire and dragged him to safety for medical treatment. Another officer there lost an eye when a bullet hit his rifle and pieces went into his eye – he continued to fight until the gunman was subdued btw. Which brings up the deputy in FL. Yes he turned out to be a coward and brought shame eternal on himself and his department. But I have been in gunfights (combat not policing) and if you have not been there you have no idea how terrifying it can be. Soldiers fail at this test all the time. Not everyone can do their duty when your time comes – much less run into the line of fire all by yourself – as he should have done. There is no need to do anything to him as there is nothing you can do that is worse than what he already feels.

      3. Violence for officers is very random and comes often out of nowhere. This puts everyone under constant strain and changes you over time. It is part of the reason why officers seem hard. It is necessary to be hard to protect oneself.

      4. Dealing with the disasters of human life is debilitating over time. We have domestic violence calls multiple times a day as well as suicide calls most everyday. Mistreated kids all the time. Endless calls related to drinking and drugs and the cesspool of lives these things lead too. Folks talking like many of the other posts here also lead to real aggression by bystanders over things they often have no idea what is going on. Car accidents. You name it. We only show up during peoples worst times and most of what our experience with people is is negative. Many people hate you but you cannot walk away from the situation. Everyone expects you to be perfect and run to the sound of the guns – but no one is perfect and it is hard to always be brave.

      5. What are police here for? One says to enforce the law. Another says to keep the peace. Different things btw. Others say to maintain public order. Support the Borg as they strip you of your freedoms and take your money and women (sarc). Even the died in the wool anarchists I know admit that police are necessary and that some people are just bad and have to be dealt with. Well everyone wants the law enforced until the officer is dealing with them. Then they have endless lies and excuses as to why it no longer applies. Well I don’t have an answer I guess as this is a tough issue – there has to be a balance. But Police are a critical component of civilization and you get the civilization you paid for. Only a fool would want the alternative to civilization. We live in a sort of human cesspool of our own making today and maybe we always have. We all want it to be better and no one wants it to get worse. But it is getting worse imho. Citizens will get better results by working to make their communities better, working with and helping their Police actually police.

      Hope this was of some use and of some value.

      Reply
      1. laughingsong

        ‘The investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, in his memoir Reporter, describes a moment when as a young reporter he overheard a Chicago cop admit to murdering an African-American man. The murdered man had been falsely described by police as a robbery suspect who had been shot while trying to avoid arrest. Hersh frantically called his editor to ask what to do.

        “The editor urged me to do nothing,” he writes. “It would be my word versus that of all the cops involved, and all would accuse me of lying. The message was clear: I did not have a story. But of course I did.” He describes himself as “full of despair at my weakness and the weakness of a profession that dealt so easily with compromise and self-censorship.’

        https://www.sott.net/article/403778-Seymour-Hersh-Blacklisting-journalists-banishing-truth

        If there were not so many obviously corrupt and racist cops, it would be better for the admittedly more numerous good cops. I wish the bad ones could see how they endanger their comrades. They break trust with their communities and then their communities don’t know who’s good or bad.

        Reply
      2. Anon

        The intensity of police field work is undeniable. Many folks wouldn’t want to do it. That is why my city pays POST graduates nearly $90K per year plus benefits, to start. Those benefits include retirement pay at age 55, or 25 years of service. (Police and Fire retirement benefits consume 25% of the City budget.) The minimum education standard is a high school diploma (which is the extent of the formal education most of them have). That makes the job attractive only to a select few.

        Therein the problem lay. Field police work is sometimes difficult and sometimes requires a sophistication that some officers do not have. High schoolers’ with a lethal weapon in tense situations is a recipe for disaster. My local PD tries to remedy this situation by recruiting at the local community college (which offers 2-year certificates in Criminal Justice); it appears with little impact.

        It’s not clear to me how much training and education is needed in a police force to restrain the concept of “brotherhood” over protecting the neighborhood.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          Police with college degrees are much less likely to kill people. OTOH, they also tend to rise in the ranks or move to the FBI, so are not the cops we see every day.

          Reply
        2. Wyoming

          Policing is expensive and many (most?) communities simply cannot afford to pay anything like $90K a year. Where I live a entry level officer makes about $23 an hour (so under $50K). Considering the nature of the job and its duties one can easily see that filling the ranks with college graduates who largely have much better options is not going to go well. Community respect is actually one of the big draws to being a police officer.

          Brotherhood is essential in ‘job’s’ which require you to be able to depend on your partners (or squad mates) to keep you alive. You don’t want to abolish that as it will have the opposite effect you desire. We must add into the mix ‘more’ of the dedication to community/civilization and the recognition that only the minimum amount of force be used when force has to be used. But we also need to acknowledge that the bystander and video critic, who are not in the situation as a participant, are most always going to be a disturbed by what they see – even when it is necessary.

          Reply
        1. Wyoming

          It is not possible to create and maintain Communities or a modern humanistic civilization without having a system of rules/laws which define what is acceptable behavior. And if you have created such rules/laws and you want your Community to function you have to have enforcement mechanisms. Policing and courts (and prisons) are essential.

          The world is full of human predators who will take advantage of any weakness they see. Indeed many of these flawed humans will commit crimes when any seemingly intelligent of rational mind would point out that there is no chance they can get away with the crime. But they charge on ahead and do it anyway. People kill other people for no good reason all the time. Someone has to deal with them or they are going to do it again. And these predators are in all walks of life and social status. Here at NC we talk most of the time about the real ‘super’ predators who run corporations, Wall Street and even countries. Where we break down the worst as a society is not in dealing sub-optimally with the poor (though we certainly could improve a lot there) but rather with the rich criminals who use their position and wealth to escape the punishment that they need to receive.

          But let us not deliberately make a tough situation worse.

          Reply
    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      Amadou Dialo.
      Eric Garner.
      Sara Bland.
      Abner Louima.

      For example.

      Four violent bad guys? Really?

      Reply
      1. Wyoming

        It is a fair point.

        But my point is let us look at the situation in balance. For example:

        2 officers die over a simple traffic stop. Because? Laws don’t apply to us

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJNakPflLFQ

        5 officers die in ambush

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_shooting_of_Dallas_police_officers

        Check utube and you will find all kinds of videos of people who are crazy and lethal.

        Or take an incident which happened in my town a couple of months ago. A man comes out of his trailer and walks across the street to his neighbors place and stabs the two men there and then holds the woman down with a knife at her throat and rapes her. Then he just walks back across the street and goes inside like this is just normal behavior. When the police arrive he comes out of the trailer and starts throwing knifes at them. Do we or do we not need police?

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If we reach the point where the police themselves are a deadly threat and a lethal menace, then the question becomes a very real one.

          If we can find and purge and burn every last “Eric Garner killer” out of the police departments, then we can obviously say we need police without hesitation and second thoughts. To do that, the police departments themselves and all the “good cops” who are the majority will need to eliminate and destroy the Blue Code of Silence, or “Bluemerta” as it is sometimes called.

          “The police” were the one thing that Eric Garner did NOT need on that day of his recreational murder. Same for Amadou Diallo. Same for Sarah Bland, whom many suspect to have been carefully “suicided” in that jail cell in order to abort the Winning Law Suit her persecutors suspected she was going to bring.

          We also need a lot less law. Some laws, some whole bodies of law, were never written to create any peace or keep any peace. The anti-marijuana laws were invented strictly to persecute marijuana-using culture-groups to begin with. For example.

          Reply
        2. Oregoncharles

          “5 officers die in ambush” That Dallas incident was a clear case of politically-motivated retaliation, a reaction to the killings of blacks. Completely wrong headed, esp. since Dallas PD had been trying to reform, but it takes a crazy to attack the police. There was a similar attack in the New Orleans area.

          IOW, it was blowback. There’ve been several other incidents. An example of “no justice, no peace.” It might help if police realized that protecting bad actors can put everyone in danger, because vigilantes don’t do justice. But I doubt it.

          There are well-managed departments that don’t kill people wantonly. I live in a town like that, the result of work and commitment by the council, city manager, and chiefs. (Portland and Eugene, not so much.) So it can be done, and the models exist.

          Reply
  12. TerrestrialMammal

    Just got my chase notification (via email) that I have the ability to opt out of the arbitration clause, but only via snail mail. Beautiful.

    Reply
  13. foomarks

    So is Scot Peterson basically going to be the fall guy for our garbage gun policies? (I’m already picturing how the NRA are going to take advantage of this situation.)

    Reply
    1. JohnnySacks

      Looks that way, our Facebook poll based judicial system has rendered it’s verdict and righteous vindictive vengeance is ours to behold. All we ask is that our public employees commit suicide on demand, and should the person decide otherwise, off to prison they go. This entire situation is cringe-worthy.

      Reply
    2. WheresOurTeddy

      “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
      So was Peterson just not a ‘good enough’ guy?

      Or maybe he’s a coward who never should have had that job and was just collecting a check like so many others, the NRA narrative is hero-worship bullshit and we need Medicare For All with mental health included?

      I know which one I think it is.

      Reply
  14. anon in so cal

    Discussion on here yesterday of US rail service and the California Bullet Train:

    Besides its flawed routing and arguable merit, the California high-speed rail project seems riddled with corruption. Some of the corruption purportedly involved Diane Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum.

    http://www.allgov.com/usa/ca/news/controversies/feinstein-derails-assertions-that-husband-is-chief-bidder-on-high-speed-rail-130506?news=849937

    Now this:

    Roy Hill, consultant for California’s BulletTrain, awarded a $51 Million Contract to Jacobs Engineering (part of Dragados team). Hill had $100,000 in stocks in the firm he chose for the contract.

    https://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-bullet-train-investigation-20190604-story.html

    Separately, Measure EE, which aimed to levy a “parcel tax” on all developed property in Los Angeles, to provide funding to LAUSD (which gives $600 Million per year to Charter Schools), was defeated.

    Reply
    1. Cal2

      Anon, Ties in perfectly with the Pistachio Wars story. Resnick is California’s biggest private land owner. He is “owns” taxpayer funded infrastructure provided water “rights.” His “farms” use more water than all the people and industries in Los Angeles combined.
      https://la.curbed.com/2016/8/10/12422000/resnick-wonderful-water-california-kern-drought

      Water “rights,” can be sold, or used for subdivisions, or high-rise “Transit Oriented Developments”. His land in the middle of nowhere serviced by the new taxpayer funded high speed rail bond boondoggle becomes valuable.
      https://www.constructiondive.com/news/what-future-high-speed-rail-developers-can-learn-california-bullet-train/554183/

      Resnick donates to Kamala? To beat the war drums against Iran? Willie Brown, her ex-boyfriend and political launching pad, had yet another girlfriend whose company fed off high speed rail at it’s northern terminus in S.F. and so F* things up that millions of dollars or planning work had to be dumped. Got golden parachutes?

      https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/Ousted-Transbay-Center-exec-exits-with-big-perks-7253934.php

      “Transbay Joint Powers Authority directors were barred from discussing the new agreement, a copy obtained by The Chronicle shows the onetime protege of former Mayor and current Chronicle columnist Willie Brown drove a hard bargain that includes:”

      “•$391,622 in severance pay, equal to 18 months salary.
      •$6,000 in unused vacation pay.
      •Up to $10,000 to cover her legal bills, and 18 months of medical and dental coverage.”

      The corruption in California is endless. The Democratic Development Overpopulation Construction Kickback Complex continues apace.

      Reply
    2. jrs

      Lots of prez candidates took a position for the parcel tax, it made me wonder why they care so much about local politics or even know much about it. That it was defeated will hurt them for jumping in on a local issue, and being rebuffed, and in a plenty Dem town (when you’ve lost los angeles … ).

      They should stick to things they know about, they have platforms, run on them, don’t pretend you are experts in local politics that don’t even relate to your platform much, just because your campaign may not be catching on.

      There’s always a lot of people who just don’t like taxes, especially homeowners who are the wealthier maybe 45% of the population, because over 50% of L.A. rents. Yes, well-off people really don’t like taxes (and renters may not care much). But also LAUSD is corrupt, and that also is something people take into account, that they seem to be in such a hole due to their own corruption.

      Reply
  15. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “How Technology Grows (a restatement of definite optimism)” —
    What a long wandering link! But it contains one particularly happy prediction which should please Lambert: “Cars are becoming self-driving, and they may even fly soon” — flying cars and soon! The image showing the interior of a space colony, some artwork from the NASA Ames Research Center near the end of the link, has a disturbing similarity to Elysium—the gigantic space habitat in Earth’s orbit portrayed in the movie “Elysium”.

    One paragraph in the link, which I believe was intended as a hypothetical, captures what I had thought is the current state of US technical innovation and in more than just semiconductors:
    “One day, we can throw up our hands and declare that we’ve had enough innovation in semiconductors. ‘The future is in services instead, not in this kind of toxic manufacturing work.’ We can fire all the nerds, throw out all their books, and shut down all these fabs. Let’s say it takes a few years for us to come back to our senses. When we subsequently want to revive the industry, it may not be as simple as plugging in the machines, blowing the dust off of the blueprints, and then happily expect production to resume at prior levels. The hard-won process knowledge held by these engineers will have decayed, and the workers will have to relearn a bunch of things.”

    I can’t reconcile the author’s assertion: “Instead of waving my hands around to claim that growth comes down to luck, I’d like to wave my hands around in a different way and say that it comes down to a choice to be optimistic” with the rest of his piece. It takes more than optimism to rebuild “hard-won process knowledge” after dismantling industry and scattering and discarding its people. And I refrain from singing paens to the author’s list of notables who “each played some role in helping to build out the digital world”. Seeing Hayek and Ann Rand on his reading list, I think this author is definitely an “artist” as defined by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Men like many of his digital heroes following the dictates of the Market dismantled US Industry and shipped it across the seas along with the “hard-won process knowledge”.

    After reading through this link and scanning it once more, reading the author’s site “About” and scanning one of his earlier pieces “Why is Peter Thiel Pessimistic About Technological Innovation?” [also on Dan Wang’s website] — I’m still not sure what this guy is arguing.

    Reply
  16. Wukchumni

    All of the rivers here have been deemed navigable, so in reliable big flow years such as the behemoth befalling from on high, they are really good for kayaking or river rafting. One such run starts @ the starship captain’s ranch (check out the video)

    South Fork Kaweah, Shatner Ranch Run, Class IV-V

    https://vimeo.com/25171149

    For mere mortals, i’d suggest a whitewater trip down the main fork of the Kaweah, full of class 3 & 4 rapids in a 10 mile stretch of a fairly tight river, where you go by backyards, fun fun fun

    http://kaweah-outdoors.com/

    Reply
  17. Plenue

    >Venezuela’s oil exports drop 17% in May as sanctions kick in: data Reuters

    The United States really is an ugly, evil country.

    Reply
  18. JEHR

    Re: CRA signs secret settlement with wealthy KPMG clients….

    Well, more evidence of the crapification of the Liberal Party in Canada (from e-mail message sent to PM and Minister of Revenue:)

    Honourable National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier

    According to an investigative report by the CBC, Canada Revenue Agency has again allowed wealthy taxpapers to avoid taxes by claiming investment income as tax-free gifts. Has your Ministry done anything to catch such tax cheats and to avoid others cheating in the same manner?

    KPMG should be charged with setting up ways that Canadians can avoid the tax authorities.

    You can see the article here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/cra-kmpg-settlement-taxes-1.5154610

    The Canada Revenue Agency has once again made a secret out-of-court settlement with wealthy KPMG clients caught using what the CRA itself had alleged was a “grossly negligent” offshore “sham” set up to avoid detection by tax authorities, CBC’s The Fifth Estate and Radio-Canada’s Enquête have learned.

    This, despite the Liberal government’s vow to crack down on high-net-worth taxpayers who used the now-infamous Isle of Man scheme. The scheme orchestrated by accounting giant KPMG enabled clients to dodge tens of millions of dollars in taxes in Canada by making it look as if multimillionaires had given away their fortunes to anonymous overseas shell companies and get their investment income back as tax-free gifts.

    KPMG is a global network of accounting and auditing firms headquartered out of the Netherlands and is one of the top firms in Canada.

    “Tax cheats can no longer hide,” National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier promised in 2017.

    Reply
    1. wilroncanada

      We in Canada have a few deplorables, not the poor struggling precariat, but three political leaders of sorts: a former Prime Minister, a current Prime Minister, and a would-be Prime Minister. The first and third are perhaps slightly moreso, but the middle has proven to be a huge disappointment to his “fans.” (One issue was the fandom that swept him into power in the first place–fandom has no place in a democracy.) In spite of having more than two parties, unlike the US, the single party with two branches has continually held power since Confederation 152 years ago. Two other parties, the Green Party and the NDP, are being set against each other to determine who might, when something freezes over, get to clean up the garbage after the damage is done.

      Reply
  19. Plenue

    >Tiananmen Square – Do The Media Say What Really Happened? Moon of Alabama

    MoA is an extremely useful, even important site. But it has a bad tendency towards hyperbole and oversimplification.

    The attempt to imply that the protests were just a failed western color revolution falls completely flat with me. I just don’t see how you can get something like this https://img.buzzfeed.com/buzzfeed-static/static/2019-06/4/11/asset/buzzfeed-prod-web-05/sub-buzz-4318-1559663534-1.jpg?downsize=1600%3A*&output-quality=auto&output-format=auto if there isn’t some genuine popular basis for it. He also makes the leap that western intelligence services extracting leaders of the protest (and for some reason he seems to think it’s a big deal these extraction missions carried weapons) means these leaders were intelligence agents from the start, which isn’t really a justified conclusion.

    The gruesome pictures of burned and hanged soldiers are a useful corrective to a one-sided western portrayal of events, but I’m still not at all clear on the timeline of events. Did the protestors start killing soldiers and seizing weapons first, which sent the military into a rage? Or did these things happened after the soldiers started waging open war on the protestors?

    The full ‘tank man’ footage is really interesting though, and completely demolishes that specific bit of myth. All I see is some dolt out shopping who keeps annoying an armored convoy, that goes out of its way to *not* run him over. I don’t remotely see some Chinese version of August Landmesser here.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘He also makes the leap that western intelligence services extracting leaders of the protest’

      ‘Fraid it’s true. Or at least Wikipedia thinks so as they have a long page on it-

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Yellowbird

      I note too that the Triads were involved. I suspect that the Triads were offered a similar deal to what the Mafia and the Corsican Union were offered in WW2 – help us when we need you and after it is all over and we have succeeded, we will let you run your own operations in large sections of the country and look the other way.
      Just for contrast, imagine if all those leaders of the failed Occupy Wall Street movement turned up afterwards in China with scholarships to their most prestigious universities. Sure Occupy Wall Street was popular with people, but they were crushed as well as far as their aims were concerned.

      Reply
      1. wilroncanada

        Meanwhile, in other news, Chinese media, about 2 weeks ago, celebrated the 48th anniversary of the Kent-Jackson massacres. Apparently at Kent State, reporters and civilians were barred from the scene, but not before indiscriminate shooting occurred, killing somewhere between 4 and 4000. Some reporters were able to get pictures of hundreds lying on the ground, and they were able to smuggle out pictures before they could be confiscated. Less that two weeks later a similar occurrence at Jackson State killed and injured between 2 and 12000. US students and other citizens have been re-educated to eliminate memories of these events.

        Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      MoA sometimes seems to be an anti-Americanitic culture-racist anti-Americanite. It shows in articles like this.

      Reply
  20. Brendan

    “Against Advertising” – isn’t the entire idea of advertising making a mockery of the “rational actor” in economic theory? I never see this discussed outside of Chomsky. Beyond driving overconsumption, mass surveillance, and mental illness – it thrives on emotional, irrational, impulsive decisionmaking.

    Reply
  21. Roy G

    Wow, that New Yorker piece on Venezuela must have been stovepiped directly from Eliot Abrams’ office.

    Reply
  22. ewmayer

    Re. “This ID Scanner Company is Collecting Sensitive Data on Millions of Bargoers | OneZero” —

    PatronScan claims to only store minimal identifying information — name, gender, date of birth, zip code, and photo — and not ID numbers or street addresses. That data is retained by default for 90 days.

    Ah yes, “we only collect minimal data” – because it’s very hard to find out e.g. your street address from your name + zip code. And “photo” as used in a facial-recognition-system context is by no stretch of the imagination “minimal”. Lastly, you hve to take their word regarding the data-retention period … and in this case, another snippet from the article strongly suggests that their word is, unsurprisingly, a lie:

    According to a PatronScan “Public Safety Report” from May 2018, the average length of bans handed out to customers in Sacramento, California was 19 years.

    How could you possibly ban someone for over 90 days unless you were retaining their data for longer than that?

    Reply
  23. The Rev Kev

    “Everyone acts like America is in decline. Let’s look at the numbers.”

    As always, not so simple. Not taking anything away from the troops of D-Day, especially at Omaha, about 75-80% of German military deaths occurred on the Eastern front which makes D-Day the side show. Moon of Alabama just put up an article on this. I note that when the Washington Post said ‘The seas were crowded with warships built in the United States.’ that the Moon of Alabama article went out of its way to point out that ‘Of 1,213 warships involved, 892 were British/Canadian; only 200 US. Royal Navy in charge of Operation Neptune.’

    https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/06/d-day-and-the-myth-of-a-us-victory.html

    The article is kinda sad in that the America of the 1940s is not the same one as today. And you can thank neoliberalism with a slice of neocon for that.

    Reply
  24. rd

    Re: American Decline

    From everything I see, the US is still on top but we can decline if we want to. What we need to do to decline is pretty simple:

    1. Promote policies that create large inequalities that will cause reduced economic growth and increased social unrest;
    2. Sow division between social elements by promoting racism and bigotry;
    3. Promote political graft and corruption favoring the wealthy; and
    4. Continually fight wars siphoning valuable human and financial capital away from productive purposes.

    Reply

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