Links 7/14/19

France’s biggest celebration: What you need to know about Bastille Day The Local France

Power Restored Hours After Blackout Hits Midtown, Times Square, Other Sections Of Manhattan CBS

National News Coverage of Tropical Storm Barry Is Its Own Disaster Bayou Brief

Nearly 600 suspects arrested in largest anti-wildlife-trafficking operation ever TreeHugger

Large earthquakes rock Indonesia, Western Australia News.com Australia

Looking out to sea Times Literary Supplement

Waste Watch

‘Disgusting dumpsters’: Rome garbage crisis sparks health fears The Local Italy

Class Warfare

Barack and Michelle Obama net worth 2019: How much is the former US President worth along with his wife? Evening Standard

Mainstream “Centrists” Pose The Greatest Ideological Threat To Us All Caitlin Johnstone

France passes law to tax digital giants Asia Times

Prominent anti-vaxxers lose New York court case over religious exemptions Ars Technica

Plant Researchers Brace for Population Explosion Der Spiegel

Good gut bacteria ‘helps starving children’ BBC

2020

‘We Have a President Who Lost the Popular Vote by Three Million’: Sanders Backs Abolishing the Electoral College Common Dreams

It Won’t Be Easy For Many Democrats To Make The September Debate FiveThirtyEight

Sanders and Warren voters have astonishingly little in common Politico

Julian Assange

U.N. Report Condemns Torture of Assange Truthdig

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Facial Recognition Tech Is Growing Stronger, Thanks to Your Face NYT

Facebook’s FTC fine will be $5 billion—or one month’s worth of revenue Ars Technica

Libra

Facebook As Your Debt Collector, and the Prospects for Libra  Big by Matt Stoller.

Donald Trump blasts Facebook’s Libra, demands strict regulation Ars Technica

l’affaire Epstein

Welcome to the Hellfire Club American Conservative

A Plausible Theory Of What Jeffrey Epstein Was Actually Doing Moon of Alabama

Jeffrey Epstein, the sex offender in plain sight FT

Democrats in Disarray

Voters Don’t Want Democrats to Be Moderates. Pelosi Should Take the Hint. TruthOut

Our Famously Free Press

Could I have some news with my emotions, please? The Hill

Skull of Death: Mass Media, Inauthentic Opposition, and Eco-Existential Reality in a Pre-Fascist Age of Appeasement Counterpunch

Hitler, tweets and Trump: What do they have in common? Independent. Robert Fisk.

Glenn Greenwald has faced pushback for his reporting before. But not like this. WaPo

Yes, Obama deported more people than Trump but context is everything CNN

Trump Transition

Trump, the press, and the politics of pain Columbia Journalism Review

As Trump claims credit for decline in opioid deaths, others see signs of danger ahead Stat

Trump’s Favorite Ambassador Makes a Very Trumpian Splash in Berlin WSJ

Deferring to Trump’s ego over the Kim Darroch leak highlights the weakness of Britain Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

Trump axed Iran deal to spite Obama: How the British ambassador called the President’s actions ‘diplomatic vandalism’ fueled by ‘personality reasons’ – as revealed in more explosive cables that have sparked a free speech row while Iran tensions mount Daily Mail

HOUSE SAYS TRUMP CAN’T GO TO WAR WITH IRAN UNLESS CONGRESS APPROVES Intercept

Syraqistan

How Europe Can Save What’s Left of the Iran Nuclear Deal Foreign Policy

UK: Seized Iranian tanker could be released after ‘guarantees’ Al Jazeera

China?

Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan deleted from website for mainland China’s controversial ‘social credit system’ as rumours swirl of implementation SCMP

India

India all set for 52-day trip to Moon, backpacker style Economic Times

An Indian Bastille: The Andaman Islands and the Red Fort Trial The Wire. From January; apropos for Bastille Day.

Bengal’s Diamond Harbour Records Faster Sea-Level Rise Than Other Indian Ports The Wire

Deaths, displacement as heavy rain and floods hit northeast India Al Jazeera

Gold, jewels, ‘Islamic’ finance: how India’s I Monetary Advisory built a US$365 million Ponzi scheme SCMP

Ross Perot Had the Last Laugh. Rolling Stone. Matt Taibbi.

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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226 comments

  1. Geo

    Re: Epstein – Saw this link to a Vanity Fair article from 2003. The fact he wasn’t in prison decades ago is an indictment on the system. Of course, same with Trump and so many others from the world of finance. Glad there’s finally some traction with the deviant stuff but what does it take for a rich guy to get investigated for financial crimes?

    Anyway, fascinating read if you’re interested.
    https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2003/03/jeffrey-epstein-200303

    Reply
        1. polecat

          “Reach out and touch someone”, eh ?

          Not the Clintons .. and their noids, that there is the kiss of the Fourth Horseman !

          Reply
      1. John

        Do you suspect the Clintons of financial fraud or do you have some actual evidence? I refer not to evidence that is ironclad and would stand up in a court, but evidence that would convince a reasonable person, not a lawyer, that there had been fraud.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith

          The Clinton Foundation was taking gifts from foreign donors, including foreign governments, when Clinton was Secretary of State. Obama had told her that the Foundation could not do that if she took the post but then didn’t tell/force her to stop when the Foundation flagrantly violated it.

          Donations plunged after she lost her Presidential bid.

          Can’t prove it but it sure looks like she was selling government favors.

          Reply
          1. Tom Stone

            Yves, Charles K Ortel took a look at the Clinton Foundation’s structure when it was certain HRC would be our next President.
            Well worth a read.

            Reply
              1. anonymous

                Thanks anonymous. In the first 60 pages of The Republic, which you probably know better than I, Plato goes on at length about how important anonymity is as a moral principle — in all human conduct/ affairs. The Clinton Foundation is a textbook case. They want to be famous/recognized* (and paid) for the good (justice) they do; while their wrongful/harmful (unjust) acts are kept secret/ hidden, (anonymous) — within the same acts themselves. He really riffs on it –to the point where there can be no justice to be found. Pride is a lie; humility is truth –kind a thing. It’s equally as important to keep the good acts (justice) we do hidden/anonymous. It’s the foundation for any kind of integrity or self honesty. Plus it has direct bearing on the public good. It’s Plato– it’s 2,400 years old — im stumbling and way out of my league. It’s — as they say — well worth a read.. . Virtue signaling is more corrosive than it generally gets credit for. And maybe the meek will have something coming to them– better than fame, and self-importance.**

                *Plato uses visible/invisible as a contrast but he means anonymity (in matters of truth and justice.)
                **Bernie Sanders gets it — at his HUGE rallies. “Its us, not me”

                Reply
                1. anonymous

                  I read the Republic years ago, but I don’t know it better than you do. At least three of us must be “anonymous” here. I apologize to those who use a unique and consistent handle. I think I would be easily identifiable, if one could associate the location about which I’ve written, my pets, my spouse’s profession, and my political preferences. My most controversial posts, though, I’ve always deleted before posting. Often, when I express myself, my husband says, “I hope you used your maiden name.” So I’ve stayed anonymous.

                  Reply
                  1. anonymous

                    No worries. Those links are great btw– thanks. No body can copyright anonymity; its not anyone’s intellecutal property. It belongs to no one; it’s an intimate part of our natures.
                    Meister Eckhart said, “I see God with the same Eye that God sees me.” That pretty much sums up anonymity and what Plato had to say.

                    I shouldn’t use it but the NYT regularly violates their own rules/standards on anonymity — Most famously September 8, 2002 — False information to start an endless war. Then they become milquetoast when wiki leaks publishes verifiable documents in the public interest.

                    Reply
                2. Wat

                  Well, that might be jumping the gun a bit. Plato would’ve loved Bernie if, two years into a Sanders admin, Bernie had delivered, or perhaps irretrievably invested large amounts of political capital on attempting to deliver…. I’m his constituent, and I’ve got his adherence to the mainstream Russia narrative of 2015 in writing on my wall where I can always see it…..

                  Reply
          2. DJG

            Yves Smith:

            Thanks for these reminders. You also usually remind us of the famous Hillary Clinton commodities future fandango, in which she invested a couple thousand dollars and left with a couple hundred thousand dollars. Of course, those were in her early days back in hard-scrabble Arkansas, when she and Bill were just learning how to sell access and favors.

            Also, let’s all note that we don’t hear much now about Clinton Foundation initiatives. And with the Epstein thingamabobo brewing, it is not clear to me if the Clinton Foundation is a safe place to work.

            Further on Epstein, if I may: Bill Clinton, like almost every U.S. politician these days, is not going to be taken down by a financial scandal. When did that last happen? Billie Sol Estes? And even then, Billie Sol Estes scored an autogoal.

            Which explains why Bill Clinton has already issued one of his “I didn’t have sex with that woman” denials. He was always supervised on the one or two or nonexistent flights on Epstein’s plane that he took.

            Reply
          3. flora

            No one ever proved – or maybe they didn’t try – the supposed quid pro quo between the B. Clinton administration OK’ing technology transfers to favored Chinese business and Chinese, erm, ‘gifts’ to the Clinton re-election and other funds. It looked like a duck, it walked like a duck, it quacked like a duck, but maybe it wasn’t a duck. Hills was just carrying on the family business, and Obama let her get away with that, imo. heh.

            From 1996
            https://www.gocomics.com/patoliphant/1996/12/03
            and 1997
            https://www.gocomics.com/patoliphant/1997/03/11

            Reply
            1. Hopelb

              Yes, and there was that accidental missile technology transfer, hand over of the Panama Canal to a Chinese co., sell off of our helium reserves to the Chinese, despite Nobel laureates scientists’ protest letter, sell off our only rare earths mine to the Chinese, and the biggest gift of all, the gift that gutted US industry (along with NAFTA/CAFTA) China in the WTO. You could make a plausible case that the Clintons are actual Manchurian candidates.
              To which they will respond, as the elites always do eg the financial crash, 911, fracking poisons, Iraq etc., “Who could have known”.

              Reply
          4. Mark Gisleson

            Thank you for saying this. You really are one of the most high profile people to say as much, and that may be why both you and this site are criminally under-read.

            I was recently shocked by comments at TechDirt, a site I prize almost as much as this one, that showed widespread belief in Russiagate by their readers in the tech community. Being smart isn’t enough (garbage in / garbage out).

            Thank you again for content that goes above and beyond.

            Reply
          5. John

            Corruption yes; from the amazing cattle futures gambit forward. I do not mean to be obtuse, but the Clintons did favors, granted access, gave a wink and a nod to those they favored, but I do not see fraud.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              Would not the act of swearing an Oath of Office to be President of all the United States, and then turning around and selling everything, including the barn door, be an act of fraud? After all, one has pledged to do what is best for the country as a whole. Anything less is not only a breach of trust, but a criminal act as well. A breach of trust and representations.
              Bill Clinton took advantage of the American habit of giving significant leeway to ‘likable’ rogues and rapscallions and did material harm to the nation.

              Reply
            2. flora

              Huh. I do see fraud.

              ‘Charity fraud, type of fraud that occurs when charitable organizations that solicit funds from the public for philanthropic goals, such as seeking cures for diseases or aiding the families of slain police officers, solicit donations in a deceptive manner or use the monies that they collect for purposes not intended by the donors. Charities are subject to the kinds of fraud that can also plague business organizations, such as embezzlement and misappropriation of funds by executives.’

              The IRS refusing to investigate a case of reported charity fraud shows corruption in the IRS; displaying deference to the political power of the charity in question, instead of investigating where ever the facts lead. A smaller fish would have been investigated and possibly prosecuted with the full wrath of the government long ago, imo.

              Saying that no investigation meant no fraud is like say the DoJ refusing to investigate and charge TBTF banks for fraudlent foreclosure practices meant their was no fraud.

              Reply
              1. pretzelattack

                or the refusal to investigate epstein meant there was no abuse and no sex trafficking. acosta said he was told, probably by his boss, to drop the investigation of epstein. why did the fbi take the word of crowdstrike and not seize the computers?

                Reply
        2. Robert Valiant

          Well, there’s the tangential evidence of vast sums of money paid to the Clintons for trivial speaking engagements to large corporations and foreign governments.

          Is effective grift always fraud? Probably not.

          Reply
          1. John Wright

            Then there is the HRC personal email server used while she was SOS, the contents of which were sanitized by a team of lawyers before handing the data, in paper form, to her former employer, the US government.

            Apparently lawyer HRC did not see it important to make a raw backup of the data before the cleaning operation, with apparent 100% accuracy, proceeded.

            Those that suggest HRC did a stupid/foolish action by using her personal server overlook that it may have contained evidence of payments to the Clinton Foundation in exchange for political favors.

            HRC, who as a young lawyer investigating Watergate may have internalized that Nixon may have survived if he had destroyed the tapes, leads me to believe HRC editing and destroying all records of some emails may have seemed the best option.

            We may never know with any confidence if there was evidence of grift/fraud in the emails on the HRC email server..

            It remains very suspicious that so much money flowed to the Clinton Foundation

            from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinton_Foundation

            “Through 2016, the foundation had raised an estimated $2 billion from U.S. corporations, foreign governments and corporations, political donors, and various other groups and individuals.”

            Reply
            1. polecat

              Bet you million quatloos that the NSA sure knows with CONfidence EXACTLY what was on HER’$ -> email server. It’s all in there somewhere, in that big, black, horizontal Utahnian Monolith of unconstitutional secrecy !

              Reply
            2. foghorn longhorn

              The homebrew server was strictly to suppress any FOIA inquiries.
              30 thousand emails out of 60k were ‘personal’, while she was at work.
              Certainly have run across people at work who could waste time, but that is pretty exceptional, even for a clinton.

              Reply
        3. Harry

          Her track record in cattle futures trading was uncanny. She had no significant draw downs and ran an accont up by a factor of 10x in less than a year. She is easily the best untutored futures trader ever, or her broker used a rather banal “write the ticket at the end of the day” approach to make political contributions which contravened the limits.

          You decide.

          Reply
      2. RepubAnon

        Perhaps because she’s not guilt? Given all the investigations by Republicans eager to find her guilty of something, I feel reasonably sure that no crimes were committed by the Clinton Foundation.

        Note: the press have always hated Hillary, too. One of the reasons she lost was that the Press was always willing to publish wild rumors as serious allegations. If she is guilty of any crimes, she’s very good at hiding the evidence.

        Reply
        1. foghorn longhorn

          Don’t forget Bill, he been done wrong by the press too.
          That 800,000us payment to Paula Jones and the loss of his law license not withstanding.
          Them po, po clintons, never done nothing wrong.

          Reply
        2. Chris

          I feel reasonably certain that no crimes were committed by the CF or any Clinton that others in government weren’t also guilty of – hence no way to prosecute them without hurting the wrong people.

          They’re all guilty of charity fraud. They’re all guilty of lying on taxes. They’re all guilty of abusing their public positions for private gain. They’re all guilty of accepting bribes. They’re all guilty of violating conflict of interest statutes. They’re all guilty of insider trading. That is how you can make so much money in Congress, the Senate, the various cabinets…

          If you take down HRC or WJC for any of that, you end up clearing out most of Washington D.C. Which is not a problem for many people! But clearly a problem for the DOJ staff who would have to be involved. They either can’t bring themselves to hurt these good people, or they realize that any attempt to bring them to justice won’t be followed up on. The Republicans can’t criticize them or pursue then for any of these claims because they’d end up ruining their meal tickets too.

          And so it goes…

          Reply
        3. pretzelattack

          it helps in hiding the evidence if the law enforcement agency doesn’t investigate it. “just give us what you want to when you want to”–the fbi, in effect, to clinton. and just because the republicans smeared her doesn’t mean she is innocent in all cases. why do you think she was paid big bucks to give banal speeches by banks? they don’t seem to be buying them anymore.
          have they simply had a surfeit of her wisdom and wit?

          Reply
          1. Procopius

            Yes. I always thought the people who were so avid to get the “transcripts” of the speeches were thoroughly misled. She could have been reading a page from the Manhattan telephone directory (do they still have telephone directories?). The content of her speeches was not important. They were an occasion to give her money. I kind of feel sorry for the people who were dragooned into sitting in the audience, but not very because that’s what they’re paid the big bucks for.

            Reply
      1. pjay

        To be honest, I found that theory to be surprisingly weak, supported as it was from the usually astute MoA. The blackmail story makes sense as far as it goes, but it fails to account — adequately, anyway — for how he could have gotten into such a position to “victimize” the rich and powerful in the first place. It also omits the *many* questions about his early career path, wealth, protection from exposure/prosecution, etc. that have been raised by the numerous articles written over the last few weeks (not to mention a few written years ago). There are many good questions raised in the comments (there are some goofy ones, too, of course, MoA not being moderated at the same level as NC).

        Reply
        1. ewmayer

          Yeah, this latest MofA piece contained glaring internal contradictions. So, someone who has no problem running a wide-ranging underage-prostitution/blackmail ring – i.e. in commiting multiple major felonies – is going to jump through hoops to make the alleged hedge fund investments by the blackmail victims aboveboard and legal? Gosh, wouldn’t want to risk the nightmare scenario of an IRS audit now, would we?

          And not specific to that article, but general to the blog in question: I enjoy MofA as much as the next NCer, but their content is repeatedly marred by horrific lapses of spellchecking and editorship. Examples from a recent piece, Isikoff, Who First Peddled The Fake Steele Dossier, Invents New ‘Russian Influence’ Story, and I’m only listing major blunders here, not the every-other-sentence ones like missing/wrong apostrophes:

          …That report, says Isikoff, was planted by the SVR and was the first to make the connection between the murder of Seth Rich and his work at the Democrat National Councils (DNC) … The claim that ‘Russia’ started the Seth Rich conspiracy story via that whacky website can be easily debunked. That websites version, that Seth Rich was supposed to meat FBI agents, never gained credence …

          I’m pretty sure this is an “author of this particular entry not a native English speaker” issue … so just impose a little more editorial checking on such pieces before posting them, MofA. Please!

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            The originator of MofA is ‘b’, who is German, unless I read wrong. I certainly wouldn’t want to try and write a blog in German. I’d make many native German speakers laugh out loud with my non-existent German grammar and vocabulary. (I don’t know any German.)
            At least with my Spanish I can hide behind the statement that I learned it in a Cuban influenced area. (I have already made real Spanish speakers laugh.)
            Some humans have the ‘knack’ for languages and the rest of us struggle along.

            Reply
          2. jsn

            b is a retired German Intelligence guy as best as I can tell, and like Pat Lang at Sic Semper Tyrannis, he’s been running his website more or less by himself.

            So he didn’t get a degree in English and can’t punctuate or spell any better than I can: so what? That you’re willing to dismiss ideas because they don’t meet your formal standards will deprive you of the better part of human intelligence by confusing lack of training, time or resources for lack of thought or intelligence. People weren’t stupid before Webster codified spelling or Bullokar tried to pin down English grammar, I suspect b knows the Times is unlikely to pick him up as a writer and I don’t think he’s trying to impress anyone with his credentialed achievements, just trying to get his ideas and beliefs out there.

            Im sure I’ve used an apostrophy wrong and misspelled some things, but I don’t choose to pay an editor either, less money left for me.

            Reply
            1. ewmayer

              “That you’re willing to dismiss ideas because they don’t meet your formal standards..” — I made no such claim, though inevitably if something is painful to read it will tend to detract from any message conveyed. Nice strawman, though. As a fellow German-first-languager myself wollte ich nur sagen das es peinlich ist, solch grobfehlergefülltes Schreiben zu lesen. You don’t need to be a fluent English speaker to understand the difference between ‘meet’ and ‘meat’, zum Beispiel.

              Reply
              1. jsn

                My apologies for the straw man, I see now that I did that.

                I still don’t recommend b waste money on an editor, I can sift a little chaff for the grain.

                Running a really informative and well researched web site is enough for my gratitude!

                Reply
      2. Grebo

        While Epstein may have made videos as a form of insurance it doesn’t make sense to me that blackmail was his primary business model. For one he was apparently welcome in high society, and two he is still alive.

        The WSWS article explains his rise satisfactorily. He ran a hedge fund which only accepted investments of a billion dollars or more. There’s not many clients could or would do that, but he wouldn’t need many to become filthy rich himself. He was a math/physics teacher and had the talent to make money in the normal Wall Street way.

        Reply
        1. pjay

          It seems that when asked, most real Wall Street/hedge fund operators are dubious about this account of Epstein’s “rise.”

          Let me see if I have this career path straight:

          1. A college dropout somehow lands a gig at the exclusive Dalton School teaching math. He is, of course, supposed to be charming and very bright — though according to Vicky Ward he wasn’t nearly as brilliant in person back in 2002 as his fawning media coverage would have us believe. Oh yeah, William Barr’s father happened to head Dalton at the time (small world).

          2. Epstein is dismissed from Dalton (reasons vary depending on the story), but immediately lands a position at Bear-Stearns. Starts low but makes partner in four years. But he then leaves, again under suspicious circumstances (but stories again vary depending on the source).

          3. Despite this sketchy record, he sets up his fund for Billionaires — and apparently they come running (though there are only a handful of them in the early 1980s). However, the only one anyone seems to acknowledge is Wexner, and most Wall Streeters seem to have no idea how Epstein made his money.

          4. At some point in the 1980s he is hired by Hoffenberg at Tower Financial. Hoffenberg ends up going to prison for a giant ponzi scheme, but Epstein not only skates, but continues to be tremendously successful — allegedly — and very popular among the rich, famous, and powerful.

          5. Finally gets caught and charged in what seems to be a major underage sex-trafficking operation. Gets a slap on the wrist with most information sealed/repressed.

          6. Etc.

          Unlike a number of people here at NC, I have no direct experience with the Wall Street investment community. I have read a lot about it, and I have talked to enough people who do have this experience that I believe just about anything. But I have a very hard time believing much of this story. I would be happy to be talked down from any “conspiracy theories” I might be tempted to swallow.

          Reply
        2. Hopelb

          You might want to google that finance guy’s Twitter thread on how Epstein’s hedge fund might have actually worked.

          Reply
          1. Grebo

            It’s a neat theory but point 7 is stretching:

            Of course, you don’t really know anything about investing, instead making up some nonsense about currency trading (check), and nobody on Wall Street has ever traded with you (check)

            The WSWS says:

            Epstein started at Bear Stearns as an assistant to a floor trader at the American Stock Exchange. He quickly found his lucrative niche in the world of Wall Street swindling. “At the time, options trading was an arcane and dimly understood field, just beginning to take off,” explained New York. Epstein possessed the mathematical skills to master the field. “Within just a few years he had his own stable of clients.”

            So I don’t think wholesale blackmail is necessary to explain the ‘mystery’.

            Reply
            1. Yves Smith

              No one knows who Epstein traded with and people with connections have been asking for years. Any large or even moderate sized hedgie trades through at LEAST 2 firms, more often 3+ due to the need for more product expertise plus to make sure they are getting good prices.

              The ONLY party anyone has found is Deutsche, and that isn’t consistent with him running other people’s money. It is barely consistent with a guy of his supposed wealth managing his own money.

              My guess is he’s either running a Ponzi (Madoff also didn’t have any known counterparties) or got his money doing very dirty stuff largely outside the banking system (drugs, actually procuring girls for some of his buddies, blood diamonds, you name it).

              Reply
              1. Grebo

                He’s clearly a wrong’un, in more ways than one. The article WSWS quotes is from 2002 and might well be glossing the real events of 20 years earlier.

                It’s the blackmail element I don’t buy. The notion that a school teacher was extorting millions from some of the richest and most powerful people in the country for over 25 years and not only did they not kill him, they invited him to all their best parties and fast tracked him for billionairehood.

                Reply
        3. dearieme

          He ran a hedge fund which only accepted investments of a billion dollars or more.

          Tell it to the marines!

          Reply
        4. Yves Smith

          I’m not going to dig it up, but I saw a tweet by a financial reporter who laughed at that claim, and it is utterly ridiculous.

          When Epstein started out, there were hardly any billionaires. And absolutely no one with serious money would give it all or most of it to one dude with no name.

          Reply
      3. Bugs Bunny

        Isn’t it easier to believe that Epstein concluded that he’d be safer in federal custody than outside if the release of the sealed dossier names names?

        Reply
        1. GERMO

          Easier still to believe he wanted to get home and clean up evidence before the cops got there. That is, further clean up…

          Reply
          1. John k

            That’s my position and I’m sticking to it.
            Would bet the jet was ordered to wait a few hours for his return, then maybe a quick stop to clean out a safe on little st James island.

            Reply
      4. ex-PFC Chuckc

        Whoamolly,
        For future reference when you want to link to a MoA post, it is embedded in the time and date of posting. In this case it is: 17:30 UTC

        Reply
  2. Krystyn Walentka

    RE: National News Coverage of Tropical Storm Barry Is Its Own Disaster

    It is so hard for me to read the news anymore because of the desperation and sensationalism that drive these news agencies to get eyeball$. It was always somewhat sensational but man, it is so bad now.

    Reply
      1. John

        I stopped watching TV in December with the exception of things like the Kentucky Derby and the Women’s World Cup. Thus I do not see the televised news on broadcast or cable. My portal is the local newspapers, which can be found on line. For this storm the Times-Picayune, for the recent earthquake in California the LA TImes, and so forth. You do not necessarily get the pretty or sensational pictures and moving images, but you do get a clearer look at the actual events.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          After the last 7.1 temblor which we felt here in Mineral King, we immediately tuned into LA news radio, and you would’ve thought the quake happened there, based on what we were hearing, and none of the talking heads could figure out that it occurred in Ridgecrest, which became obvious to us, when they reported it was felt in Las Vegas as well, and there was scant damage in either big city, which ought to have been a clue right there.

          We listened for an hour to know nothings that knew bupkis, zip.

          Reply
        2. notabanker

          I stopped watching the national and local news channels over 10 years ago. Once or twice a year it pops up on the tube and it’s like watching a SNL skit devoid of humor. I can’t believe people actually watch that nonsense.

          Reply
        3. Wukchumni

          I watched a little network news the other day, it was the running of the bullshit, the newsreader massaging the message just so, I felt gored.

          Reply
        4. polecat

          What is this ‘TV’ thing of which you speaketh ?

          Thought that died with the dinosaur blue-hairs ..

          Reply
        5. JCC

          As someone who lives in the Ridgecrest area, the LATimes coverage was reasonably accurate, but they did throw in a little disaster porn here and there.

          But, as someone who watches TV about an hour a month, I can safely say that the TV coverage I watched while trying to get the actual situation in hand was close to absolute disaster porn from top to bottom, both locally (SoCal) and nationally. Totally worthless in almost every way would be putting it very mildly.

          Reply
          1. polecat

            I’ll bet the cofted Plasticasters on every channel had not a hair outta place, as they emoted mock shock and concern …

            Reply
    1. rd

      It is a travesty. On the weather side, the forecasting science has gotten immensely better over the past couple of decades. On the NOLA in major storm side, there have been numerous studies and reports over the past 15 years since Katrina, as well as a lot of reconstruction and rethinking of the city’s systems.

      These should be opportunities for really good coverage and discussion at the national level. Instead, you have to go to NOLA.com to find that.

      And the mainstream media are baffled why their ratings are dropping.

      Reply
  3. Geo

    That Bayou Brief article is great! Sending it to some friends from the New Orleans area.

    “rain didn’t cause the city to flood; levee failures did.”

    How easily the ‘news’ forgets little details like that. Wouldn’t want to remind viewers of the systemic failures that caused a humanitarian disaster. Much simpler to just blame it on the rain.

    Reply
    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      After watching what was IMO the excellent series ” Treme ” set during the aftermath of the disaster, I moved on to Spike Lee’s documentary, ” When the Levee’s Broke ” which covers the levee screw up – here is a youtube link in case anyone is interested.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12xj1sHvIWA

      Reply
    2. Nels Nelson

      I won’t argue with what the Bayou Brief says about the tendency of the news media to sensationalize but this does not change the fact that New Orleans is doomed.

      Here’s a recent article in The New Yorker about Louisiana’s disappearing Coast.
      https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/04/01/louisianas-disappearing-coast

      To save you some time scroll down to the pictures of what Louisiana’s coast looks like on maps and what it looks like if a map shows dry land.

      The flooding from Katrina was the result of a levee failure which was under the control of a local levee board and not the federal government. They were spending maintenance money on things other than maintenance.

      In order to prevent flooding, New Orleans relies on a lot of very expensive infrastructure that is very expensive to maintain. In economic parlance this a case of sunk costs. Every major investment leads to further investments (no matter how dumb or large) to protect the value of past investments. This means not only the infrastructure itself but the suburban sprawl the infrastructure enabled. In a complex system, every problem that arises is fixed with an even more complex “solution” which requires ever more energy to maintain. The energy cost (defined broadly) of maintaining the expansion of this dysfunctional system overwhelms its ability to generate surpluses large enough to meet the rising needs of maintenance. Eventually the growing size and complexity of the system causes it to collapse in on itself. This process requires no malignant agency by humans, only time.

      The article in The Bayou Brief sounds like locals in denial about the situation and taking on an air very similar to what is heard from the likes of Fox News.

      Reply
      1. notabanktoadie

        In a complex system, every problem that arises is fixed with an even more complex “solution” which requires ever more energy to maintain. The energy cost (defined broadly) of maintaining the expansion of this dysfunctional system overwhelms its ability to generate surpluses large enough to meet the rising needs of maintenance. Eventually the growing size and complexity of the system causes it to collapse in on itself. This process requires no malignant agency by humans, only time. Nels Nelson [bold added]

        Substitute “government privilege/subsidy” for “energy” and you could be talking about our obsolete Gold Standard banking and fiat creation model.

        Reply
      2. Craig H.

        > a Ievee failure

        I am pretty sure there were at least two spots where the levees collapsed but otherwise you are mostly right.

        An interesting feature of the Katrina disaster is that by the time the storm surge arrived at the points where the levees collapsed the surge was lower than the levees were engineered to hold back. It was something like a 15 foot surge banging against a 20 foot levee. So if the Levee Board had done their due diligence it would have been just another routine hurricane.

        People in New Orleans should go to the Netherlands some time and look at what they build when a levee failure means your whole country goes under water.

        A viable New Orleans would require something like this:

        https://www.holland.com/global/tourism/destinations/provinces/zeeland/oosterschelde-storm-surge-barrier.htm

        They ain’t ever going to get it.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Something seldom mentioned about the Katrina ‘disaster’ in New Orleans was that the City employees who should have been running the water pumps that move the storm waters out into Lake Pontchartrain for Orleans Parish, were allowed to ‘bug out.’ Thus, the storm in Orleans Parish, the City of New Orleans side of the area, flooded heavily, and quickly, while the Jefferson Parish side of the region, roughly Metairie and environs, flooded much more slowly, and with much less damage. The difference being that Jefferson Parish kept it’s flood control people working around the clock to keep the pumping stations running during the storm.
          Just another ‘blowback’ from corruption, which is endemic to New Orleans.
          Some other time I’ll describe how some New Orleans police officers “requisitioned” new SUVs, trucks, etc. from a major local automobile dealership during the storm and used those vehicles to flee the Southshore.
          Welcome to “The City That Care Forgot.”
          Read, o far traveler: http://nutrias.org/facts/careforgot.pdf

          Reply
          1. upstater

            Not true.

            Jefferson Parish allowed pump station crews to evacuate during Katrina. The flooding that occurred in Metairie was from rain and not a levee breach, a direct result of no manning of pumps. My parent’s house got 2″ of water that was a result of rainfall not getting pumped out. Closer to the lake homes got a foot or more.

            Orleans flooded because levees breached. No amount of pumping would have saved the city.

            Drainage canals in Orleans parish are at sea level. In most areas, water is ALWAYS above the ground level. In Jefferson, drainage canals are well BELOW sea level. Water is pumped up and over levees into Lake Ponchatrain. Orleans flooded because water pressure was ever present on the levees along the canals. In Jefferson this does not exist.

            The levees in Jefferson near mom’s house have been raised twice since Katrina. They continue to sink. Soils are basically peat and sediments, not a stable foundation like Holland.

            Heading home after being with Mom through Barry. If 15 or 20 inches of rain had fallen, we’d have been shin deep in water in her house. Pumps can move only half an inch per hour. Anything more they lose ground.

            The whole region should be abandoned. I’d love to move mom back to upstate NY.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              Ah. I had not heard that Jefferson Parish drainage employees had been allowed to go home. Somehow, that feels like it would be a breach of their responsibility. But then, Louisiana.
              True about the locations of the levee failures. The Lower Ninth Ward is right next to the Industrial Canal, where one of the breaches occurred. The other breach, if I remember correctly, was in the outfall canal at the Orleans-Jefferson line.
              I knew several people living in Metairie, and their stories were similar to yours. The ones living near West Napoleon, a low area in Jeferson Parish, had water. Others, such as in Old Metairie, did not.
              Okay. I stand rebuked.

              Reply
        2. Oregoncharles

          Maybe New Orleans should hire the Dutch, forget the Corps of Engineers and whoever else is involved.

          But it’s also true about the long term: 200′, about, of sea level rise. Levees that high would be impractical.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            LSU did indeed have a descendant of Nederlanders on their faculty involved with similar subjects, one Ivor van Heerden.
            He was properly chastised by the Powers for asserting that all was not as it should be concerning the Katrina disaster.
            Read: https://www.businessreport.com/article/moving-on-ivor-van-heerden-contemplates-life-anew-after-a-lengthy-court-battle-with-lsu
            Levees that high are technically impractical, yes. This is perhaps why there is such vehement disputation about the speed of sea level rise to be expected. Slow sea level rise can be used as an excuse to do little except raise the levees some more. Rapid sea level rise would mandate the entire abandonment of both the Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboards, a herculean task. Whenever faced with difficult choices, strangely enough, bureaucratic apparats generally chose the easier response.

            Reply
      3. rd

        Lots of areas in NJ and NYC are doomed in the same way New Orleans is. The big difference between the two is that the Hudson River and NY/NJ Harbor are unlikely to shift in the next century.

        Reply
      4. Plenue

        From the Brief article:

        “So, the official version remains what it always has been: This 301-year-old city was built in the wrong place.”

        I mean, basically, yeah. Not the entire city, but the fact that so much of it is dependent on extensive infrastructure to keep it free of water is kind of a clue that it’s built in an inherently bad place.

        “The flooding from Katrina was the result of a levee failure which was under the control of a local levee board and not the federal government. They were spending maintenance money on things other than maintenance.”

        They weren’t just poorly maintained. They were built badly by the Army in the first place. They weren’t dug properly, and I distinctly recall one of them at the end of a street literally being held together by plastic strap.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Also, the Army Corps of Engineers did not do the actual construction work. Local contractors, supervised mainly by local officials did the work. Knowing New Orleans, a lot of corruption involved there as well.
          Anyone who worked for the Corps of Engineers here today? I’d like some feedback on this. The gap between reality and narrative here is obscure.

          Reply
        2. rd

          There was even more idiotic stuff than that. One area had a break in the flood walls because an Interstate Highway went over the canal. The flood wall wasn’t built under the elevated highway due to property ownership and jurisdiction issues. For some reason, that is one of the spots where water came over the levee…..

          Reply
      5. JEHR

        Every major investment leads to further investments (no matter how dumb or large) to protect the value of past investments.

        Sounds like the financial system.

        Reply
          1. ambrit

            Under the influence of exuberant ‘Animal Spirits,’ basic common sense is jettisoned in favour of the chase for maximum returns.
            As the joke says: Common sense isn’t common nor sense.

            Reply
    3. ewmayer

      “Wouldn’t want to remind viewers of the systemic failures that caused a humanitarian disaster. Much simpler to just blame it on the rain.”

      Exactly – and “it’s a result of global warming” is a great way of fobbing off responsibility for local-infrastructure fubar-ness. “We’d like to take the difficult measures needed to shore up our flood contol system, but what would be the point? Big bad Global Warming – scary! – will render it all a pointless exercise in a few years anyway. Game over, man!”

      Reply
    1. edmondo

      If Nancy starts a futile impeachment fiasco, all will be forgiven. It’s all about the appearance of doing something. Overplaying a losing hand is what Democrats do. She’s holding a pair of deuces and the Democrats want her to go all in.

      Reply
    2. flora

      Dem estab and DNC have been promising themselves the youth vote and the young idenitarian ascendant vote is theirs, now and in the future. Then, Madame Speaker repeatedly sneers at and dismisses 4 young, progressive, newly elected Dem House members. The youth vote and the identiarian ascendant vote get the message.

      MSNBC figured it out quick that insulting your young and future voters (and viewers), letting youth and identitarian voters see into the con designed to fool them, is bad for business.

      Reply
      1. flora

        Shorter: Pelosi’s mistake was telling the young, progressive voters the truth about exactly what the current Dem estab thinks of them and of their progressive policies.

        Reply
        1. notabanker

          Forgive my tin foil hat fashion, but I think they are acting so belligerent because they know they now control the vote via digital voting machines.

          Reply
          1. flora

            Could be. The digital voting machines we have are notoriously insecure and hackable, the machine programs aren’t audited by govt or 3rd parties for security, many of the machines ‘phone home’ during the counting process and during that phone home window algorithms can be ‘adjusted’.

            Reply
        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Great Grandmother Pelosi has not made “mistakes”, she is doing a perfect job for her constituency. She has no desire to win power, her job is to maintain the status quo for her donors. Alienating the youth/progressive vote is an important element towards this goal.

          People who think meaningful change that reflects the will of the great majority of Americans should disabuse themselves of the notion that that change can come about through the Democratic Party. Losing in 2020 will not be enough, it will be too easy to blame/frame the loss as being caused by being “too progressive”, even if the candidate is Biden. So the entire polity can continue its decades-long lurch rightwards. I never thought I’d be wishing for the tax policies of Eisenhower or the health care and environmental policies of Nixon.

          When money is speech and corporations are people should we really be surprised at the outcome? I think I’ll take all my clothes off, climb a tree, and learn to play the flute.

          Reply
          1. Carey

            Thank you. Your middle paragraph is just how I expect (not nope!) that events will go.

            Then there’s “our” three-letter agencies, just in case

            Reply
          2. polecat

            The thing is, when you finally reach what you think is a safe perch is where you find the NINE, sitting on the opposing ‘branch’ .. wraiths cloaked in black robe$, ready and waiting to feast on your a$$ !! Their motto : ‘$upremely United R U$’

            Check$ Balance$, my friend .. Check$ & Balance$

            Reply
    3. Amfortas the hippie

      Thats a pretty significant change.
      when ya lost Joy Reid….
      and wandering in the links further down those twitfeeds was interesting, too…reinforces the vibe that somethings afoot.
      we’ll see if it continues(I doubt that it’s sincere)…I’m watching my Mom,lol…if msdnc goes New New Deal—or merely less Old Guard Uber Alles—, will my Mom go there, too?

      Reply
  4. rattlemullet

    Regarding Bayou Brief, spot about lousy sensationalism barking, I meant reporting. However, obviously with pumps and levees being required, someone has built in some very low lying land areas. This is a failure of the people who do the city planning. Levees and pumps are not required unless excess water has no place to drain. Excess water is only caused by excess rain coupled with bad urban planing leads to flooding. So the city of New Orleans has to suck down federal tax dollar at an inordinate rate, surely more than they put into the system. Bayou Brief failed to even mention the areas original sin and that is the channelization of that little creek know as the Mississippi River, coupled with again poor urban planing, and over population for the area leads to “We need pumps and levees” and American tax dollars so we channelize and pump our way to normalcy. A continual ass backwards way of thinking, especially when everyone has been told that man made global warming will raise the water in excess of 1.5 meters in about 150 years. You may not think so now but your landscape will be forever altered sooner than you are planing. Good luck.

    Reply
    1. Nels Nelson

      Amen brother!

      If the public knew how much it cost the Corp of Engineers to channelize the Mississippi, maintain the channel and keep an alluvial, meandering river in this man made ditch (see Old River Control Structure) they would scream.

      On top of all the money spent on maintaining the channel, altering the natural river system has caused the loss of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands which in the past attenuated storm surge from hurricanes and protected New Orleans. Billions are to be spent artificially restoring the wetlands and in a wonderful bit of irony Louisiana is using money from BP for damages from Deepwater Horizon. This gets back to something I referred to in another comment recently about my undergraduate and graduate courses with Herman Daly about wealth and illth. The costs of reversing or ameliorating the damage caused by man’s folly are considered additions to GDP.

      Reply
    2. ambrit

      Nicely snarky comment, but, much of the now built up land in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes was below sea level from the beginning. It was leveed, (is that a word?,) and drained as the urban population grew and expanded geographically.
      New Orleans proper, what is now known as the French Quarter, was established at a trade nexus for the lower Mississippi. It was a major port for centuries, and thus worth protecting. That being so, moving something as large as an entire port takes time and money. The old Soviet Union, when it stole the remaining German industrial infrastructure after WW-2 needed the resources of the Red Army to accomplish it. Moving New Orleans would be just as big a job.
      I have often joked that I should ‘promote’ a future port facility here inland in Mississippi. That, however, would require forward planning of a national scope. Who do you see running the nation today? Yes. Short term thinkers from business and finance.
      I agree that the sea level rise will not be slow and smooth.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        lol. I’ve considered for 20+ years buying land along the Balcones Faultline for much the same reason(specifically, Beachfront)
        As for Louisiana…I spent a lot of time there during my Wild Years, all along the coast, from Cameron to Venice, including all around New Orleans(especially Algiers, before it was, apparently, gentrified)
        to paraphrase Paul Muad D’ib, “the sea will cover this place!”
        half the state will be underwater before we know it.
        levees and pumps will NOT do the trick.
        Pontoons will be a growth industry.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Massive population migrations away from the rising sea levels will be a big cause of wars and pestilences in the next hundred years.
          As I mentioned in an earlier comment, I like to paraphrase Robert E Howard from his introduction to the Conan stories; “..when the waters drank New Orleans and the gleaming cities.”
          Howard was from Cross Plains, Texas, so you might have insight into his thinking unavailable to most ‘mere mortals.’

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            never been there, but my favorite professor(poli/sci) was from Cross Plains.
            it’s a little over 100 miles to the northwest of me.
            remember, Texas is huge.
            the Balcones being the beach is prolly a long ways away…more likely to see the Coastal Prairies as shallow bays and estuaries in my lifetime.
            like south of I-10, in the eastern half of the state.
            but I’m hardly sanguine…the Greater Houston Area alone is a whole lot of people.
            (much of the coastal prairie is relatively sparsely populated…there’s all those industrial towns of course(Corpus/Beaumont/Freeport), but a lot of dying towns, consisting of old people down there. the blue highways are a rather sad drive in many places….like most of the state, really: everyone went to the cities)

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              “Everyone went to the cities.” That about sums up the Industrial Revolution, which includes the “scientific farming” revolution.
              It’s kind of funny. The myth of the “Happy Agricultural Workers” is on a par with the myth of the “Noble Savage.” Both groups, in the wild, tend to be conservative and tradition bound.
              I wonder if the present technological culture can be supported by a late nineteenth century agricultural technology.

              Reply
              1. Amfortas the hippie

                “I wonder if the present technological culture can be supported by a late nineteenth century agricultural technology.”
                The UN and others say yes…Big Ag and their proxies say definitely not, “you need us”.

                ultimately, the choice isn’t really ours to make any more…Industrial Ag is one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse—from water and soil degradation, resource decline(oil and potash and topsoil, especially), to antibiotic resistance(driven by prophylactic use of the drugs due to living conditions)—mucking around with genetics and robots and high tech indoor high rise “farms” ain’t gonna do the trick.
                Know Thy Farmer.

                Reply
      2. rd

        When the Acadians (Cajuns) arrived in Louisiana, they brought with them centuries of experience in salt marsh farming from both the Brittany areas in France and Nova Scotia. Canada has a National Park dedicated to the Acadian salt marsh farming techniques: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/culture/spm-whs/sites-canada/sec02p

        Its important to distinguish between local small systems that are fairly organic and adaptable versus the large locked-in systems to protect massive infrastructure. The loss of the marshes due to oil support canals etc. are wreaking havoc with local attempts to save things. Meanwhile, we send billions to USACE to construct the massive dikes and walls.

        Reply
  5. The Rev Kev

    “Could I have some news with my emotions, please?”

    Personally I am not that worried about talking heads emoting all over the TV screen. It is, after all, getting to be par for the course. What does give me a lot of agro though is when these no-name talking heads start spinning propaganda lies and pushing what amounts to total bs with no relation to what is happening in the real world. If they tried spouting their opinions in Comments here, they would be shot to pieces for their troubles. After reading through all the stories and articles on NC, you feel like throwing popcorn at the TV screen when they start with a news article that you know is an absolute lie. This is the more dangerous trend.

    Reply
  6. Ancient1

    http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/04/frank-rich-roy-cohn-the-original-donald-trump.htm

    The above is a link to an article written by Frank Rich for New York Magazine in 2018. It is titled: “The Original Donald Trump” It highlights Trump and his lawyer, Roy Cohn’s activities from the 1970’s on.
    I post this as it gives a view of NY establishment and it’s members with all the corruption happenings and reflects on the Epstein Affair. It is a long read and how valid the writing is, I take no responsibility, but it is disgusting if it is true.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      We would need a second political party to consider a third political party. We have the GOP and an association of vaguely economically right wing (more dedicated to the status quo and inertia than ideological factors) professionals who peddle nostalgia for fancy offices.

      Reply
    1. Kurtismayfield

      They are for real. They have to say anything that supports the status quo.. no matter what it is. If we still had debt prisons and indentured servitude, you betcha there would be someone on Fox news supportive of it.

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        Well, yes. Think we already have indentured servitude…it’s just not now exhange for passage to the new world . Now, we have indentured prisoners in for profit prisons. We allow corporations to use people as serfs in awful working conditions, often, and subsidize their exploiting the serfs by supporting their underpaid workers with “food stamps”( snap) and Medicaid services. And, it’s freedom and the American way that more people need to work two, or three, jobs to basically survive. We have indentured college student s with egregious debt . We have millions of people who are in the middle of a squeezing vice of near poverty, who make “too much money” to qualify for food stamps or to be enrolled in Medicare in their state. So,,they have crappy health insurance , through their employers, or go without. When one hears about college kids actually going hungry, or older people, it is often met with snark and hubris. The poverty rate for many children is ,as someone said, a disgrace in this country. We may not have debt prisons, but people who have no means to pay for shelter are now just ” homeless”. Many lost jobs, or are mentally ill and are seen, by some, as throw away people. Not all of these people are fortunate enough to be taken in by family or friends. Many are alone, or in some cases tragically a danger to those who could take them into their homes. Then, we have the case that some degrees of close separation people are just keeping their own heads above the flooding waters. Something has to give…what will it be?

        Reply
        1. marym

          Adding to your excellent list this is a link to ACLU studies and challenges:
          https://www.aclu.org/issues/smart-justice/sentencing-reform/ending-modern-day-debtors-prisons

          Nearly two centuries ago, the United States formally abolished the incarceration of people who failed to pay off debts. Yet, recent years have witnessed the rise of modern-day debtors’ prisons—the arrest and jailing of poor people for failure to pay legal debts they can never hope to afford, through criminal justice procedures that violate their most basic rights.

          Reply
        2. eg

          See Isenberg’s “White Trash” for the story of how indentureship is America’s original sin.

          So it remains …

          Reply
  7. Lee

    Antidote

    The green-backed woodpecker or little spotted woodpecker (Campethera cailliautii), is a species of bird in the family Picidae. It is native to large parts of tropical central Africa. It has an extremely wide range and is an uncommon species, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of “least concern”.[1]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green-backed_woodpecker

    Reply
    1. icancho

      this bird is actually a grey-headed, or grey-cheeked, woodpecker, Picus canus. It ranges through Eurasia from France & s. Sweden through e. Europe east to Korea, China, the Himalaya and s.e. Asia. Not globally threatened.

      Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “UK: Seized Iranian tanker could be released after ‘guarantees'”

    Now this could get interesting. I think that the UK has painted a target over Gibraltar as far as Spain and the EU is concerned. The UK is hiding behind the Gibraltan legal system – under US orders using the UK military – to exercise a vote on who gets to go through the Straits. Sure, the whole purpose that England seized Gibraltar three centuries ago was to control the Straits but if they are trying to reassert this right in the 21st century then they will be making themselves no friends here.

    Reply
    1. shinola

      I used to consider the characterization of the UK as the USA’s “lapdog” as a bit of hyperbole.
      Nowadays I just dunno…

      Reply
      1. polecat

        They Do – the UK elites, Not the prolies – seem to take much ‘Intitiative’ in these end of days … minus any ‘real’ Integrity, of course …
        Just ask that mole who worked for the Sanders campaign.
        ‘;[

        Reply
    2. rd

      The UK and US would be really pissed if Iran grabbed ships going through the Straits of Hormuz. There is supposed to be freedom of passage through these bottlenecks.

      Reply
  9. Carolinian

    Re Glenn Greenwald–while in the past Greenwald has come in for leftie criticism including within this comment section, give him credit for not just reputational courage but also physical courage for standing up to Brazil’s new government. If something were to happen to him it’s doubtful that the Trump administration would protest too loudly.

    Greenwald is doing what journalists are supposed to do–afflict the comfortable. Here in the US our press don’t seem too interested in afflicting themselves. Their Trump obsession is 100 percent distraction. You wonder if they, frequent targets of Greenwald scoldings, would protest very loudly either.

    Reply
    1. mpalomar

      Agree regarding Greenwald. However print jounalists in the US have been afflicted by the shakeout and further crapification of an already well understood Hearstian ‘Frontpaged’ ‘if it bleeds it leads print media, largely only stenographers remain. We know where Cy Hersh, Caitlin Johnstone and others are publishing these days.

      Freedom of the press in a capitalist system requires, it is said, ownership of a press, eg. IF Stone. The early internets provided asymmetric journalistic opportunities which are now being swamped by the swamp creatures.

      The talking head electronic journalists are entertainers and way too comfortable, their gilded cages need a rattling. One of Naked Capitlalism’s missions?

      Reply
  10. Ignim Brites

    “Sanders Backs Abolishing the Electoral College”. Senate too should go and the system of Congressional districts (all gerrymandered) should be replaced by a completely national proportional representation system. It would be simpler to declare California an idependent nation snd be done with it. Californians will basically do this for themselves in 2020 as they will vote for the Dem nominee 3 or 4 to 1. Meanwhile, Trump will win the electoral college and the popular vote sans California. It will be ridiculous to expect California to remain part of the Union under that circumstance.

    Reply
    1. edmondo

      Bernie has been doing a lot of virtue signaling lately. He must be feeling the pressure of those 4th place showings in the national polls. I guess it keeps his name in the news but he is starting to look a little desperate.

      Reply
      1. petal

        He’s pretty much lost me at this point after all of this recent virtue signaling. Going along with the rest of the group didn’t seem to be his thing before, but he is now. Going to be a rough call(hold my nose) at primary time or maybe I’ll sit this one out.

        Reply
        1. Grant

          I know, I too am indifferent about someone that has a decades long record of supporting the policies we all want, is serious about change, realizes that movements will be needed to push the changes through and doesn’t take their bribes. That person could win, even if he faces a number of challenges, but whatever.

          A decent portion of the US left is like this. It seems to be a reason why the left’s policies are popular, even though the ideological left still isn’t well represented in national politics and government. Until very recently, it barely existed at all. Whatever people think of his recent public comments, he has had a bigger role than any single politician on the left in pushing the Overton Window to the left in a long time, has inspired lots of people to get involved, inspired lots of people to run for office (AOC in particular), has a great platform and people are at the same time indifferent to his campaign and what he could do if given power. If people are on the left and support his policies, and if we can trust him more than others to push for those changes, how in the world does that not inspire people to get up and get involved? I realize that the Democrats are going to do everything they can to deny him power, but that is true of anyone like him. Do what you want, but I am really tired of that mindset.

          I also think it is entirely possible that his support is underrepresented in polls, as I think he appeals to groups that traditionally vote in lower numbers more than anyone else. Given that, I think a number of Michigan-type outcomes are possible. Not a given of course, but certainly possible. If poor and working class people, communities of color and the young show up and support him, not only will he do better than the polls show, but the candidates polling well but not likely to get much of that support will underperform. We’ll see what happens.

          Reply
          1. Plenue

            I think the left, barring sneering outliers like CounterPunch, is solidly behind Sanders.

            I’m only being partly facetious when I suggest there are Correct the Record style paid trolls creeping about claiming Sanders has ‘lost them’.

            Reply
            1. Yves Smith

              The polls seriously undersample young people, which is where Sanders far and away polls the best. And he’s building a grassroots effort to have them turn out in much higher #s than they normally do. We won’t know if this works until we get to states with reasonably clean primaries.

              Reply
      2. neo-realist

        The virtue signaling may be proof that he is trying to win as opposed to simply being that so-called sheep dog that people, even on the left, have accused him of being. He’s realized that he has to play the game of appealing to certain demographics in the primary game in order to win.

        Sanders has not only also been victimized by the corporate media and the elites doing their usual hatchet job, but by a democratic field swamped by candidates who have co-opted his talking points to fracture progressive support. I suspect a much smaller field, which wasn’t happening this time around cause Sanders got too close to winning last time, would have garnered much more support for Sanders the candidate as well as the message.

        Reply
        1. meeps

          Responding particularly to Grant and neo-realist above:

          I agree that Sanders must speak to a broad swath of the electorate at this point in the campaign. Some of those people want to end unelected delegates and others would abolish the electoral college. He’s calling neither camp a basket of deplorables whatever their differences, and his record indicates he’s not likely to side with the oligarchs in any case.

          The polls might not be sampling a sleeper-cell base of support. An email this weekend lamented that the individual dollar amount pledged this campaign is down compared to 2016. What might that mean? Is his base under greater financial duress this time around? Are people holding back until thumbs have been more convincingly removed from the scales? There are other possibilities but my experience with other Bernie-to-Stein or Bernie-to-I’m outta here voters is that the Dems salted the earth so thoroughly in 2016 that they don’t want to tread anywhere near the process if their support will be used to nominate the likes of Biden or Harris. Pelosi’s squad-punching doesn’t do much to allay this concern.

          I don’t think this cohort views Sanders as active sheep dog so much as it views Sanders as seen by the party as a useful funnel for votes and Act Blue coffers should the party take control as blatantly as it did in 2016. Much (a majority?) of his base reportedly held their noses and voted for Clinton despite all the tears and horror on display at the convention.

          I seem to recall a poll earlier in the week that placed the number of his donating supporters at somewhere around a million, indicating strength in numbers. His base is beleaguered by comparison when measured in benjamins, so the opposition strategy (including opposition internal to the party) will be to peel-off supporters. People should keep this in mind when weighing their complaints about his campaign against the alternatives.

          Reply
      3. Plenue

        In what world is this virtue signaling? He’s right: the electoral college is an abomination.

        He’s ‘desperate’? I’m sorry, what? The most popular politician in the country, who supports ‘radical’ policies that consistently poll in the majority, and that is raking in vast amounts of money in donations, is ‘desperate’?

        I hope Brock is paying you well.

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          “Sanders Backs Abolishing the Electoral College”. Senate too should go and the system of Congressional districts (all gerrymandered) should be replaced by a completely national proportional representation system. It would be simpler to declare California an idependent nation snd be done with it. Californians will basically do this for themselves in 2020 as they will vote for the Dem nominee 3 or 4 to 1. Meanwhile, Trump will win the electoral college and the popular vote sans California. It will be ridiculous to expect California to remain part of the Union under that circumstance.

          Bluntly, and I say this with complete sincerity and as a Californian, f–k my state’s very corrupt regime. The only reason they would try to run the state as a separate country is too keep the greed going.

          Also, I do not see much difference between the two parties, including Pelosi and Trump. Both are massively corrupt while the Democrats are now conservatives and the Republicans have gone insane.

          As for dumping the Electoral College, there are some good reasons for the Electoral College and two of them is too prevent one part of the country from overwhelming the rest while also preventing the weakest areas’ concerns being ignored. As it is, too many states get vary little attention during the primaries and the general presidential elections.

          The United States of America has always been a bit large and hard to govern. Being comprised of thirteen very different nation-states with a total population of over three million people is the smallest it has ever been. Today, it is comprised of over fifty (nation-)states and assorted territories with a total population of three hundred and thirty five million.

          The various types of representation in the Senate, the House, and in the Electoral College have all been attempts to, yes, allow the governing elites to maintain control, prevent a state like Rhode Island, Maine, or Missouri from being ignored, and prevent a state like California, Texas, or New York from controlling the rest of the country. The people and the individual nation-states, for that is what they are, have to both be and feel, that they are being properly represented and governed for, if they are not, bad things like civil unrest and revolts can happen.

          Governing the Republic like one large, single, somewhat homogeneous nation and country with fifty provinces, instead of a vast, heterogeneous country composed of fifty different states, will not work.

          Reply
          1. polecat

            IMO, with all that’s going on in this country .. or across the planet for that matter, the U.S. has simply become too disfunctional to govern for the benefit of it’s citizenry .. therefore, a ‘discombobulation’ is coming around the bend ! Whether the bend is a sharp 90°, as was the case with the Soviet Union collapse… or a gradual S-curve, similar to the Roman’s drawn-out imbroglio, change is in the air ……

            I just don’t think we’re gonna be able to keep it together .. socially, politically, monetarily, or environmentally. We’re skirting an event horizon. Your seeing things come apart in real time.
            Better grab yourself some pick-me-up sticks !

            Reply
          2. Plenue

            “As for dumping the Electoral College, there are some good reasons for the Electoral College and two of them is too prevent one part of the country from overwhelming the rest while also preventing the weakest areas’ concerns being ignored. As it is, too many states get vary little attention during the primaries and the general presidential elections.”

            In other words even with the electoral college the interior of the country is mostly ignored and screwed. They’re already called ‘flyover country’, filled with ‘deplorables’. I’ll never understand the argument that the electoral system somehow empowers these areas. Parts of Alabama literally look like Bangladesh.

            Reply
        2. edmondo

          If he’s the “most popular politician in the country” why is he running 4th in all the national polls? And if David Brock owes me money, please have him send a check asap. I gave Bernie way too much money 4 years ago and all I got for it was an endorsement of the status quo at the Philadelphia convention.

          Reply
          1. Inode_buddha

            Your bitterness and anger about 2016 should be directed at the DNC then, and not at Sanders. After all, he did not rig the primaries against himself, the DNC did.
            I gave back then and I continue to do so now, because ultimately my goal is to drag the political conversation back in the other direction regardless of the election turnout.
            It would be nice if he did win, but thats not the ultimate goal — the goal is to completely change the political conversation in the USA. FWIW he’s ahead of Trump by a good 10 points nationally, last I heard (yesterday)

            Reply
          2. pretzelattack

            geez, you were a supporter 4 years ago and now you wonder why he isn’t leading the race? could it possibly have something to do with the national media trying to tank his campaign? frankly it’s hard to believe a sanders supporter would not know this. you seem to be saying it’s a fair contest.

            Reply
          3. flora

            Speaking of national polls, the criteria for inclusion in debates was supposed to be number of individual campaign donors. Suddenly it’s changed to national poll numbers? Just when Mike Gravel qualifies for the next debate based on required individual donations?
            Moving goal posts?

            Reply
    2. divadab

      Bah. Waste of energy and time, another flipping distraction. Ain’t gonna happen.

      Dems are gonna lose to Trump again if this is their idea about why they lost in 2016.

      Reply
    3. martell

      According to the article, Sanders called the Electoral College arcane and undemocratic. I’m not sure how it is supposed to be arcane. There doesn’t seem to be anything terribly mysterious or hidden about it. In fact, it’s probably easier to understand than the scoring system in American football. As for being undemocratic, the system is designed to determine the officials of a federal government, which, technically, is government concerned with matters having to do with coordination of activities of individual member states. It does make some sense, then, that state decisions would be inputs in the federal election process. Arguably, it’s actually a quite democratic arrangement, relative to modern expectations of democracy. Elections are central to the modern understanding of democracy, apparently because they are supposed to be an effective device whereby those governing can be held accountable to those governed. Well, in a federal system states are governed by the federal government. So, state level input in the election of federal government officials is in fact democratic.

      Reply
      1. John k

        Intent was to give small pop states a little extra clout, which it does. Back in the day small states worried about Va, now it’s Ca.
        There will always be 13 small states that won’t agree to change, Bernie knows this. Not gonna happen. But probably sells to Clinton voters, and we know they believe in Russian fairy tales. And, apparently, plans.

        Reply
      2. flora

        The electoral college is specifically written into the US Constitution – Article II, Section 1, Clause 3: Electoral College. To change or amend the electoral college requires either a new amendment to the Constitution or a new Constitutional convention; the Koch bros and their fellow travelers in ALEC are hoping for a Constitutional convention. The GOP controls the majority of state houses and ALEC has model legislation ready to impliment in the right environment.

        When did the Dem party become the party of ‘the gullible’?

        Reply
    4. ewmayer

      Yes, Trump lost the popular vote … to the candidate whose party apparatus cheated Sanders out of the nomination. Had said rigging not occurred, Sanders would be president and no one would be talking about the popular-vote-versus-EC issue. So maybe Bernie, if he is worried about undemocratic aspects of the system, should work to abolish the DNC superdelegate crookery first? After all, one can at least make a plausible case for the EC, based on not having a handful of wealthy high-population states run roughshod over the interests of 40-odd smaller ones. Whereas for the superdelegate system, it’s 100% about having the heavy thumbs of the party establishment firmly on the scales of the nomination process.

      Reply
  11. Wukchumni

    France’s biggest celebration: What you need to know about Bastille Day The Local France
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Imagines a determined group of Americans storming a prison holding just a handful of prisoners, releasing them and telling the guards earning $42 an hour plus bennies, that they are out of a job, ha ha ha ha!

    Reply
    1. David

      I was going to post something earlier saying that you won’t learn anything interesting from this story about Bastille day itself, other than that that what we call the Fourteenth of July, the French call Le quatorze juillet. Odd people.
      I was going to say that the things you really need to understand are quite different, viz:
      – Bastille Day is a Republican festival, celebrating the overthrow of the monarchy and the installation of the Republic. All the iconography is Republican and for once Kings, Queens, the Church etc. get never a mention.
      – For the same reason it’s a popular festival. Dances, firework displays etc. frequently take place the evening before, organised by the town hall and local associations. There are often small parades from the military and other local uniformed organisations, who are very close too the populations in most of France.
      – There’s nothing chauvinistic about it. The flat that is everywhere is the flag of the Republic, not the traditional French flag of the monarchy. At the procession in Paris this morning there were a number of European leaders (notably Merkel) and several foreign military units, including a Germany infantry company and even some British helicopters.
      – The military parade in Paris itself (including the police, the fire services and others) is a piece of political theatre, underlining the subordination of the (historically Royalist) military to the democratic and republican system.
      And I was going to suggest that, if you are ever in France at this time, make a point of trying to see the celebrations, especially local ones on 13 July.

      Reply
      1. Janie

        Was in Annecy 20 years ago for the celebration at the big park on the river. It was so lacking in chauvinism that the Marseillaise was not played and the fireworks concluded to the 1812 Overture! The orchestra turned into a smaller dance band that led off with YMCA. Lots of fun.

        Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        From what i’ve seen of our departed evangelical christian/militia/tax evader ‘church’, they’d probably mess up a wet dream, a bunch of nutcases aligned in such a manner as to be a nuisance to themselves, more than anybody else.

        Reply
    2. polecat

      Storming the chambers of the House and Senate would have a greater impact … A nation-wide ‘sit-down’ for say, a month or six maybe, would actually be even more effective.

      just sayin ..

      Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “Facebook As Your Debt Collector, and the Prospects for Libra”

    That should work out well. I can see it now. If you owe a debt that Facebook wants to collect from you, you will find a great big Thumbs Down symbol on your pages which all your friends and contacts can see as well. It would be in the finest traditions of the Chinese social credit system. The only way to get rid of it would be to pay that debt of course.

    I won’t out today’s Antidote du Jour this early, but I am calling it’s intials as a E.G.W.

    Reply
  13. djrichard

    Facebook As Your Debt Collector, and the Prospects for Libra Big by Matt Stoller.

    Will Facebook allow users to go in debt in Libra? If so, would that be with a fractional reserve lending system? Or would they only allow a 100% reserve lending system?

    Reply
  14. Antifa

    Plant Researchers Brace for a Population Explosion . . .

    Twice our current food production in 2050 is far more limited by phosphates becoming harder and more expensive to find. We passed Peak Phosphates back in 1988. Whatever remains of phosphorous rock on this planet will only get harder and costlier to get.

    Doubling our food production will require ‘plant researchers’ to find a way to capture and extract phosphates from human and animal sewage, or it won’t happen.

    Reply
  15. Wukchumni

    Power Restored Hours After Blackout Hits Midtown, Times Square, Other Sections Of Manhattan CBS
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Aside from a generator & a wi-fi connection @ the Silver City resort here in Mineral King, there is no electricity aside from a few solar panels on cabins. I have to walk about 1/4 of a mile to use the internet.

    Not having power in our cabin allows me to read books, I can polish off a 400 page tome in a few days with no electrical distractions to get in the way. And then when I get back down in the foothills and in the embrace of electricity, a 6 page internet article sometimes seems daunting, ha!

    Reply
  16. DJG

    Could I have some news with…. article is more of the ooshy centrism that Caitlin Johnstone criticizes (with some justifiable flashes of emotion) in her piece.

    A typical paragraph: The genies of image and emotion can’t be pushed back into their bottles, nor should they; impersonal and objective always threatened to seem cold-blooded, especially in the face of tragic news. But a new literacy, a new vigilance, is required.

    What author Ferrullo seems unaware of, being a “rational” soul, is the twin problem of melodrama and kitsch. It isn’t image and emotion, both of which have noble pedigrees. And to argue that Americans are an emotional people is rather rich, indeed. Instead, what we are seeing is the endlessness of melodrama in pop culture–which we can define as stories told in a way that they are driven by dishonest feelings and bad faith. And kitsch is misuse of symbols, images, and words in a shallow way to provoke something that isn’t even an emotion–a tropism, a kind of false reaction to a false stimulus.

    Trump is kitsch. But then so is Abuelita Hillary.

    I hesitate to bring up the Nazis, but many art critics have pointed out that the whole Nazi “visual field” was kitsch. Banners and uniforms.

    And Luigi Barzini once reported that he asked an Italian aristocrat from an ancient family what was wrong with Mussolini. The answer, “Too many spats.” [The military footwear]

    Reply
  17. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thanks for the link to the heavy rain and flooding in Northeast India. Not to diminish the tragic loss of life there, but it appears that the monsoon rains are normal in much of that country. Hopefully this is lessening near-term concerns about the effect of severe drought on crop production in India’s agricultural regions.

    Reply
      1. pretzelattack

        well then, i guess we can just ignore the science! can you cite some predictions by scientists that it would always get warmer at a uniform pace in every locale on earth? because i can’t recall any.

        Reply
    1. ambrit

      I was thinking along the magnetic lines of a pun on alt-a and alt-air. However, after another futile ideation at idea ‘alt-air 4,’ I decided to give my poor overloaded id a rest.

      Reply
          1. ambrit

            Obscure reference from “Forbidden Planet.” It is the identification number, it has no name as such, of the Terran interstellar craft, a flying saucer, that lands on the planet Altair 4 looking for survivors of the Bellepheron mystery. The crew meets Morbius (Walter Pidgeon) and his comely daughter Altaira (Anne Francis.) Disasters ensue.
            So, Area C-57D would contain an Earth built flying saucer. A flip flop of the traditional conspiracy theory.

            Reply
  18. Plenue

    >Yes, Obama deported more people than Trump but context is everything CNN

    The context being that inconvenient facts make portraying Trump as uniquely monstrous difficult.

    Reply
    1. marym

      The CNN post does an ok job identifying the difference in Obama/Trump numbers for interior and border deportations, and between the earlier and later Obama years.

      Here’s two more links re context
      Interior vs border removals: Nation 12/2017 Why Numbers Alone Obscure the Real Deportation Story
      Impact of removal policy on immigration court backlog: Politico 8/2017 Trump deportations lag behind Obama levels

      To evaluate a “uniquely monstrous” charge in the broader context of immigration policy one should probably also consider Trump’s actual and proposed policy changes on the Muslim ban, refugees, asylum seekers, temporary protected status, the diversity lottery, family migration, protections for trafficking victims, birthright citizenship, DACA protections, people trying to earn citizenship through military service, and the details of family separation and detention protocols.

      Reply
      1. Lynne

        Perhaps it does on OK job identifying the difference in numbers, but it does a piss-poor job of describing the reasons for the difference.

        Just one example of which I have personal knowledge: during the Obama administration, some guy from Guatemala who was here illegally (and had been in the US for about 2 months) committed felonies in 3 different counties in our interior state (including trying to kill a deputy and running an elderly couple off the road). The feds flatly REFUSED to deport him, remove him, whatever. Instead, we were bombarded with complaints like a nasty, condescending letter from the Guatemalan consulate “reminding” us that we were required to insure his “constitutional rights.” His complaints included things like: he didn’t like the food everybody at the jail got — he thought he deserved better food than the US citizens in jail; and when he claimed he couldn’t understand the Spanish interpreter, to meet his requirement of finding an interpreter who spoke some obscure mountain dialect, we had to resort to a telephone interpreter rather than paying thousands of dollars to have a family member brought up to speak to him in person (the consulate, of course refused actual help). So this guy hadn’t been in the country long enough to learn Spanish (or so he claimed), let alone English. And he wasn’t the only one. Most of the people here who should have been deported were on their way up from Mexico, not people who had lived here for any length of time. Except, of course, for the South Africans who overstay their visas, and whom everybody seems to refuse to deport. The GWB administration started deporting them, and then lost interest after 9-11.

        So now, we get some condescending Obama bureaucrat claiming that they wouldn’t deport people from the interior because supposedly if someone was there, they must have been there for years and started a family! I can’t imagine a more [family-blog] you example of the Obama crowd’s attitude towards flyover country, nor a better example of why promising to continue that attitude got HRC no place fast.

        Reply
        1. marym

          I’m not optimistic that shifting the discussion from pointing out to Trump critics that “Obama’s policies were also cruel” to an argument that “Obama’s policies weren’t cruel enough” would put us on a better path for our country.

          Reply
          1. Lynne

            I’m not optimistic when people believe elders in their communities, who have contributed to the social fabric for decades, deserve no consideration and dismiss concern for their safety as cruelty. Isn’t that the epitome of neoliberalism? “They’re a couple of old people and they should just go die”?

            Reply
  19. Wukchumni

    Trump axed Iran deal to spite Obama: How the British ambassador called the President’s actions ‘diplomatic vandalism’ fueled by ‘personality reasons’ – as revealed in more explosive cables that have sparked a free speech row while Iran tensions mount Daily Mail
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    On one hand, the President can besmirch anybody in any way he feels (notice how he equated the ‘Squad’ with being ad hoc foreigners, even though everybody knows they’re Americans) but should somebody tell the truth about him, hells bells results.

    Reply
  20. Oregoncharles

    “Plant Researchers Brace for Population Explosion” – this important article hits more than one of my buttons, so sorry beforehand for a long comment; I’ll subdivide it. First, the bad part, from the subtitle:

    “Plant Researchers Brace for Population Explosion

    By 2050, the world will require nearly twice as much food as today. But producing it without consuming any extra resources…”
    We see this meme over and over; I think it’s profoundly irresponsible. Does anyone actually think world population will reach 10 billion? It might be possible to feed that many, if we leave nothing to nature, but food is not the only requirement. The Earth’s life support systems are already collapsing; we simply won’t reach that many, and unless there is a drastic change, we will fail to reach that many in the worst way – doubtless including famine, since it is caused far more often by social failures rather than agricultural. Worse: attempts to provide for so many, or even for the number we have now, make the collapse worse. Yes, agriculture could be done far better, here as elsewhere; it could even be sequestering carbon on a nearly-adequate scale. But that isn’t promoting further population growth, or taking it as inevitable.

    We have positive ways of getting onto the lower, green, diminishing population track that their graph shows – but the article never mentions. The developed countries are already on it; some are already declining. How do we export that track? There was a good discussion of that in comments yesterday – now where was that? One: Jeremy Grimm at https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/07/a-world-without-ice.html#comment-3179756; and – sorry, can’t find it, but the short version is: empowering women and educating girls makes a huge difference. Win-wins aren’t that common.

    NEXT: Have these people never heard of the Law of Diminishing Returns? The very fact that huge gains have been made makes further gains more difficult, especially because the so-called Green Revolution did enormous damage, vastly increasing use of damaging pesticides and fertilizers – the very ones criticized int he article. It also suppressed valuable local varieties and local autarky – local varieties like the nitrogen-fixing corn the last part of the article glorifies (with reason – it’s the one part that’s really good news.)

    FINALLY: Going quickly through the 3 scientists featured: substantially improving photosynthesis strikes me as a very long shot (if it were possible, plants would have done it long ago), and potentially dangerous. Finding solutions to diseases of major staple crops is productive but unlikely to change the big picture. And the winner: breeding back to an old, local variety of corn (can we get some seeds?) to make corn nitrogen fixing and drastically reduce the need for fertilizer. Especially if we take this as a model. It’s certainly a good reason to preserve odd old varieties.

    And about that last one, going out on a limb here: this might be a good case for genetic engineering. It would be doing what could be done with traditional breeding, but potentially much faster. It doesn’t raise the hazards of bringing in genes from completely unrelated genomes. And it would be a genuine improvement, not just an excuse for Monsanto to sell more Roundup.

    Reply
  21. rd

    Apparently, the Republicans are now planning on addressing healthcare over the next year since it is possible that an appeals court could strike down the ACA now that the mandate penalty is $0. https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/452894-republicans-make-u-turn-on-health-care

    Since the Democrats stole the ACA structure from the Republican think tanks and RomneyCare in Massachusetts, a brilliant move by the Republicans would be to sponsor universal healthcare legislation. They could grab Bernie Sanders single-payer structure (leaving him without an issue to run on), or they could use some of the more private sector options used in places like Germany (a lot like the ACA).

    So they could defeat the ACA and then replace it with something like the ACA to be able to say they have now solved healthcare unlike the Democrats. Similar to Trump renegotiating NAFTA and giving it a new name.

    Reply
  22. Oregoncharles

    “Deferring to Trump’s ego over the Kim Darroch leak highlights the weakness of Britain” – yes, I suppose it does. But really, once Darroch’s extremely undiplomatic cables came to light, there was no way he could stay as ambassador. P’ing off the local head of state is no part of a diplomat’s job, unless their country means to start a war.

    He won’t actually be in trouble, because sending back candid information is part of the job. Probably get another, less visible but equivalent post.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      You have this dead wrong. If anything, this is about BoJo. Darroch could have been asked to tender his resignation in the normal course of events when the new PM came in. It wouldn’t be unusual. His term was due to expire in January regardless.

      I suggest you read the remarks by the Foreign Office. They defended Darroch and they and multiple experts said diplomats need to be able to communicate candidly with their principals. It is unheard of for diplomatic cables to be leaked. This is so serious that the UK has launched a criminal investigation.

      Even John Major felt compelled to defend Darroch, and this is despite Darroch not being particularly well liked (Craig Murray said he’s abrasive):

      John Major has warned that Kim Darroch, Britain’s ambassador to the US, has been “thrown to the wolves” over the growing diplomatic row related to leaked confidential cables about president Donald Trump…

      Sir John also said that Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to succeed Theresa May, risked losing the loyalty of the civil service over his failure to defend Sir Kim in a televised leadership debate on Tuesday. “Loyalty is a two-way street,” he said.

      https://www.ft.com/content/33304918-a2ee-11e9-a282-2df48f366f7d

      Reply
      1. dearieme

        Craig Murray said he’s abrasive That’s putting it mildly.

        He also said that he thought Darroch so offensive that he suspected that the leak was just a stabbing by some civil servant whom Darroch had abused too much. Seems plausible to me. The case for the leak being a matter of High Politics is weak: nobody can make a decent case for any particular politician gaining by the leak.

        Reply
      2. Lynne

        The sad thing is that the leaked and published excerpts appear, as one of the links indicated, to be extraordinarily unhelpful and banal repeats of DC conventional wisdom, including the assertion that Russiagate was the real deal. Somehow, I expected more of the British Foreign Office. Is it possible that there were real insights in reports that weren’t leaked, or were the rest not leaked because they were even more banal? But in any case, why would Boris Johnson not just wait it out?

        Reply
  23. Amfortas the hippie

    i saw this in a sidebar for one of the links i’ve had open for a few days until i could get to them.
    https://splinternews.com/the-rise-of-useless-health-insurance-1834137252

    i understand that the MFA “debate” has been relegated to a back burner(for some reason)…but still. when we get back to it at some point, can this part be at the top of the list of things to talk about?
    it puts the cruelty and craziness of the current system in a neat little acorn cap.
    i reckon that even chuck and nancy would have a hard time spinning it into an example of progressive pragmatism, if they were confronted with it on camera.+

    Reply
  24. Chris

    It appears the media has found their story, the liberal torch bearers for 2020 will be Liz Warren and Kamala Harris! All of you sad little men who still think they need to be in the race can exit through the gift shop :/

    Never mind both Liz and Kamala are OK with charter schools, and Netroots Nation allegedly is not. Never mind that Netroots Nation allegedly cares about prosecutorial over reach and wrongful conviction and removing voting rights from minorities. Never mind that there is readily verifiable evidence that Liz Warren promoted herself as a minority to gain career benefits. Or that Kamala is white washing distinctions between ADOS and Caribbean peoples. The progressive left has apparently spoken and these are the two are the desired outcome.

    This is truly outstanding propaganda. The Atlantic has outdone itself.

    Reply
    1. Synoia

      ADOS, American Descendants of Slavery, are extant in the Caribbean.

      The gene pool is probably completely mixed now.

      Acronyms also do not lead to clarity, better to spell it out. Thanks.

      Reply
      1. Dan

        American Descendants of Slavery, are extant in the Caribbean. ??

        Are you talking about Kamala’s father’s 3/4 slave owning Jamaican ancestry?
        How much of Kamala’s wealth comes from slave labor? Is her rich husband going to write a reparations check on her behalf?

        Her father said: ” My roots go back, within my lifetime, to my paternal grandmother Christiana Brown, descendant of Hamilton Brown who is on record as plantation and slave owner and founder of Brown’s Town) and to my maternal Grandmother Miss Iris (née Iris Finnegan, farmer and educator, from Aenon Town and Inverness, ancestry unknown to me). The Harris name comes from my paternal grandfather Joseph Alexander Harris, land-owner [plantations] and agricultural ‘produce’ exporter… who died in 1939 one year after I was born…”

        https://heavy.com/news/2019/06/kamala-harris-ethnicity-jamaican-indian/

        Warren and Harris, no matter how you mix the cocktail, will be defeated by Trump in 2020.

        Reply
    2. Carey

      Sanders not mentioned until the thirteenth of sixteen paragraphs, and then disparagingly, in idPol terms.

      Dems want to lose.

      Reply
      1. Chris

        I think so too.

        And worse, they mean to do harm to all of their constituents on the way down.

        It’s so dispiriting to remember Hillary’s comment about how if we put all the bankers in jail tomorrow, that wouldn’t end racism. You know what though? It would do a lot to help minorities and other citizens in this country. It might even give us hope to see that white collar criminals are held to the law just like the lower class.

        But the DNC and others don’t care about any of that as long as they get paid.

        Reply
    1. pretzelattack

      heh, it made bleacher report. not the first instance of this; one guy had a computer in his shoe iirc.this guy becoming a near elite player in his 50’s after decades as an average grandmaster was a blatant sign of cheating. that just doesn’t happen.

      Reply
  25. nippersdad

    Lacey Clay is really angry.:

    “The group that took the poll shared the results with Axios on the condition that it not be named because the group has to work with all parts of the Party.”

    https://www.axios.com/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-poll-democrats-2020-aeaa3771-f142-4059-b79e-1fed569dfdf9.html

    I had never heard of the guy until the Justice Dems decided to run Cory Bush against him again, and now his name is in blatantly misleading articles everywhere. I wonder how much he and his fellow CBC/New Dem/Blue Dog/child abuse caucus friends had to pay for this poll of their one thousand best contributors.

    Reply
    1. Chris

      That’s a fascinating bit of information. I wonder if they’re really doing market research or mirror research with their sampling.

      Quite frankly, do Dem pollsters know enough about “the people who went for Trump” to actually select a useful sample to poll from? Given that the DNC is so harsh lately with threats of black balling anyone who doesn’t do what they say and work with who they deem as acceptable people…could someone in that position ever do a poll of this type that would make the current leadership look bad? And if they did, would that poll ever see the light of day?

      I just don’t think they DNC would ever let that kind of information be released into the public space.

      Reply
      1. nippersdad

        I could be completely off base about attributing this to Lacey Clay, but if you look at his bio he sounds like a carbon copy of Crowder in the Ocasio-Cortez race.

        I am suddenly seeing his name everywhere, always in articles that are just blatantly skewed/suspiciously sloppy. His Father built a political machine in Missouri and then left it to his son by retiring after anyone else could enter the race. They have a combined total of nearly fifty years occupying that office. HIgh in party leadership with chair of one of the three big committees, but having been given permission to be on others as well.

        This is a favored son, indeed.

        Also, isn’t it almost surreal how closely this poll hews to the propaganda they have been putting out about Sanders, and now all Progressives, for the past three years? It is almost like they wrote out a wish list and it was granted by some fairy godmother.

        And, finally, I see no link to the poll, itself, with the usual descriptions of the questions and how the poll was administered. For example, in a recent Politico article they cite how different the bases are for Warren and Sanders. In that poll they specifically point out that people that had less than a college degree were overwhelmingly Sanders voters, but here they go for Trump.

        This is just very weird.

        Reply
    2. richard

      yeah, the poll results showed 18% having a favorable view of socialism, 69% having a negative view
      “socialism is toxic to these voters” says the unnamed, concern trolling “top democrat”
      sort of giving the game away there, top dem, when you refer to your sample as “these voters”
      they are supposed to represent everyone, why “these voters”?
      if it was a legitimate poll proceedure, and not a ginned up fraud you wouldn’t rhetorically turn your supposedly representative sample into a sub group.
      someone observed yesterday that msm can’t even talk about the weather without lying, so these “poll results” shouldn’t surprise us
      the absolute definition of gaslighting, to my mind

      btw, I’m wondering if it might be helpful and/or stimulating for bloggers and commentariat here at nc to create a guide, or common, working definitions for terms we all seem to want to use:
      “virtue signaling” and “gaslighting” would be two we could start with
      I’d like to hear how others understand these terms

      Reply
        1. richard

          My apologies
          I commented without reading the article carefully enough
          the poll was targeted toward a sub-group
          (white voters with 2 years or less of college)
          and wasn’t meant to be a general sample

          Thanks for the reminder about the importance of question order and wording, which probably had more to do with the discongruent results than sample.
          I do think a lot about who pollsters sample, though. Little anecdote: my favorite baseball writer of all time is bill james, famous for bringing statistical analysis and just plain reason to the study of baseball. I subscribe to his website (for now :))This year, he has been running daily poll results of the dem presidential candidates, who voters favor. He collects the data through his twitter account, everyone who subscribes. From years of experience talking with and reading comments from bill james fans, i can tell you they skew heavily white, male and middle to high income. I could tell you a lot more too, but the point being they are not representative of the usian polity at all.
          So bill presents these results every day, and crunches the numbers and reasons backwards from the drops and rises he sees every day. Castro is hot because…, gillebrand has dropped because….
          (his political reasoning is always middlebrow and conventional, but that’s another discussion)
          Anyway, I thought this method a bit shite, and his results mostly just noise, and said as much in the comments section. His response in part was that people worry too much about sampling and where the data has come from, and he thought it more useful to work through the data first, and see what it tells him. Something like that. Oi.

          Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      “”The Perfect Pronoun: Singular ‘They’.””
      Actually, a good gender-neutral (or gender-unknown) personal pronoun would be quite useful, but “they” is a bad one. It creates needless ambiguity by submerging the distinction between the singular and plural.

      There is precedent: “you,” which used to be the plural. English adopted it to avoid the “thee/thou” distinction. The result is dialectal workarounds like “you-all” – actually a perfectly sensible solution to an own goal.

      While they were making up pronouns, they could have made up a useful one that fills a gap in the language, but no…

      The interesting point of the article is that singular “they” represents a “Great Awakening” – essentially, a high-powered fad. I think it’s important that we NOT treat biological gender as a prison; but talking as if it is seems a very strange way to free people. For most people, it is not, especially since great efforts were made to open up gender roles.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether

        > It creates needless ambiguity by submerging the distinction between the singular and plural.

        I do try to write around “he/she” — that’s my self-perception, at least — because I think the idea that people will discount evidence and arguments presented in a gendered way is a good one. (Just like the Vienna Orchestra rightly puts performers behind a screen during auditions, to give all players an equal shot.) I also try write around the singular/plural issue; and of course some languages do it all with context.

        From the Linker article:

        The emergence and spread of the contrary idea — that “gender is a ubiquitous prison of the mind” — can be traced to a precise point in time: the six months following the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision, which declared same-sex marriage a constitutional right. Almost immediately after that decision was handed down, progressive activists took up the cause of championing transgender rights as the next front in the culture war — and here we are, just four short years later, born free but everywhere in chains.

        Interesting history here, if true; as for so much else, we have the non-profit industrial complex to thank.

        A note on the Farhad Manjoo article:

        I am your stereotypical, cisgender, middle-aged suburban dad.

        The reason this old codger reacts poorly to “cis” is that the sound reminds him of “make a nice sis, bubala” passage from Portnoy’s Complaint (a novel from the 60s published in book form, for those following along at home), where Sophie, the protagonist’s mother, is teaching him to urinate standing up (and there’s a gendered moment for you, which is why I write “him”).

        “Cis” rhymes with “piss,” too, helpfully (at least in that context). One really does wonder why the term was chosen.

        Reply
        1. Plenue

          I’ve just about completely checked out on the LGBT identity politics nonsense. Let the liberals obsess over their pronouns and bathrooms and other 0.6% issues. I’ll be off focusing on things that actually matter.

          Reply
  26. VietnamVet

    The Democrats got it all muddled up trying to placate their donors and hold on to their entitled credentials. Essentially, they are trying to continue the status quo of rising inequality and shorter lifespans while keeping plutocrats’ money flowing into their coffers. What is seldom mentioned is that Donald Trump has driven a huge fissure through the Republicans. Corporate Republicans surrendered to populism. GOP politicians need Donald Trump to get out the vote. Paul Ryan was relegated to Twitter Hell because he didn’t give a damn about the middle-class and they know it. Donald Trump knows how to push European tribal buttons. Corporate Democrats, also, have ceased to support working middle class Americans. But, instead, to keep in the game, Democrats use identity politics. This leads to huge contradictions. A Harvard economist glosses over her Okie roots and claims to be a Cherokee in her climb on top or an East Indian/Jamaican denies her parents ethnicity to go to Howard University after high school in Montreal to get ahead as a black American. A long time ago I shared a Duplex with a Tamil teacher for two years. He was blacker than any African American I knew and spoke better English than I. The color of your skin has nothing to do with your intelligence or culture; only how close to the equator your ancestors lived. Democrats will remain losers until they restore Middle America with jobs, healthcare, public education, and an end to indentured servitude.

    Reply
    1. polecat

      Things is VV, they won’t do anything but lose to the point of irrelvance .. i mean, that’s their current trajectory, is it not. As far as getting paid ?? …. they’ll just latch on, being the festerous ticks that they are, to full-on corperate postions, minus the podium, and gavel … as they rip-away those human exoskeletons of their’s !

      THAT’S when a new party, or parties will form. Whether much, if any, beneficial change happens beyond that is another matter.

      Reply
    2. Lambert Strether

      > an East Indian/Jamaican denies her parents ethnicity to go to Howard University after high school in Montreal to get ahead as a black American.

      I’m amazed Harris went to Westmount High School, one of the oldest English-language schools in Montreal, Westmount being about as bougie and Anglo as it is possible to be in Montreal (average home price this year $1.5 million Canadian, four times the Canadian average). It’s as if Obama went to Sidwell Friends, instead of just his daughters.

      Reply
  27. Lambert Strether

    From “Sanders and Warren voters have astonishingly little in common”:

    In poll after poll, Sanders appeals to lower-income and less-educated people; Warren beats Sanders among those with postgraduate degrees.

    So the people with names on the letterheads for the foreclosure notices and the bills for medical and college debt are for Warren; the people who got the notices and the bills are for Sanders?

    Reply

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