Links 7/17/19

Hungry elephants fight climate change one mouthful at a time Science Magazine (guurst)

Researchers think they know what’s killing London’s iconic sparrow Science Magazine (David L)

Florida’s Corals Are Dying Off, But It’s Not All Due To Climate Change, Study Says NPR (David L)

Research shows black plastics could create renewable energy PhysOrg (Robert M)

House orders Pentagon to say if it weaponized ticks and released them Roll Call (Chuck L)

The secret Swiss Agent: Puzzling comments reveal new twist to the Lyme disease saga Stanford Medicine (Micael)


WTO rules against US in tariff dispute with China Financial Times. Hoo boy. Predates Trump tariffs.

Trump Says He Could Impose More China Tariffs If He Wants Bloomberg

Chinese and Vietnamese ships in South China Sea stand-off Financial Times

Be very afraid: Japan-Korea history war spirals toward trade war Asia Times (Kevin W)

Trump’s next trade war target: Vietnam Asia Times (resilc)

EU set to probe Amazon’s use of merchants’ data Financial Times

From Politico’s morning European newsletter:

URSULA VON DER LEYEN’S REIGN BEGINS. The Commission president-elect got 383 votes, only nine more than she needed. It’s not a good result, and implies she has her work cut out for her in building a stable majority — and a Commission — for the next five years.

German MEP Satirises EU Corruption YouTube (Clive)


EU expected to reject outright Johnson and Hunt’s backstop plan Guardian. This should not be news.

Dominic Grieve says MPs might not be able to block no-deal Brexit – but they can topple the government iNews

New Cold War

How The News About Italian Far-Right Fighters In Ukraine Got Confused Moon of Alabama. Kevin W: “The MSM seem to have forgotten on which side those extreme rightists and Nazis are fighting on.”


Tehran: Oil tanker broke down in Persian Gulf, towed by Iran forces for repairs RT (Kevin W)

Tension in the Gulf: Not Just Maritime Powder Kegs LobeLog (resilc)

What Right Has Britain to Seize an Iranian Tanker Off Spain? Counterpunch (resilc)

Pompeo’s Nuclear Deal Nonsense American Conservative

UAE scales down military presence in Yemen Middle East Monitor (resilc)

How Russia Uses Israeli-Designed Drones in the Syria War Intercept

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Chelsea Manning’s Fines For Grand Jury Resistance Increase To $1000 Shadowproof (UserFriendly)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Guatemala’s state corruption and the heirs of colonial privilege Al Jazeera. Resilc: “It’s a fine place, when I was there the head of DEA was pistol-whipped by an older Guatemalan over a road rage incident.”

Trump Transition

Green to file articles of impeachment against Trump on Tuesday night The Hill

‘His only tool is racism’: why Trump’s bigoted tirade could be a vote winner Guardian

Donald Trump, the Racist in the White House New Yorker (furzy)

Representatives Omar, Pressley, Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib News Conference C-SPAN (Kevin C)

Don’t Take The Bait Ilargi (Chuck L, Kevin W)

Civil-Rights, Immigration Groups File Lawsuit Challenging New Trump Limits on Asylum Claims Wall Street Journal

Mueller, Dems Scramble as Russiagate Falls Apart Antiwar. (Kevin W)

Forces behind growing political polarization in congress revealed in new model PhysOrg (David L)

Nancy Pelosi Has Lost Control Huffington Post (UserFriendly)


Google’s Search Bias On Trial In Washington NPR (David L)

The cofounder of Palantir just called Google ‘an unpatriotic company.’ Here’s why this alarming new level of rhetoric within tech is really just a deflection Business Insider (David L)

Google nuked tech support ads to kill off scammers. OK. It also blew away legit repair shops. Not OK at all • The Register (Chuck L)

Why Doing Harm Is Profitable Current Affairs (UserFriendly)


FDPIC says Facebook has not contacted about Libra data protections CNBC (Chuck L)

‘Breathtaking arrogance’: senators grill Facebook in combative hearing over Libra currency Guardian (Kevin W). This part is priceless:

Despite Facebook’s repeated claims it will work with regulators, the Swiss group tasked with privacy oversight of Libra said it has not yet been contacted by the company, according to a report on Tuesday from CNBC. A spokesman from the Swiss Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (FDPIC) said the group has been following the project in the public debate

YouTube’s Trampled Foes Plot Antitrust Revenge Bloomberg

Deutsche Bank job cuts are tip of the iceberg for the finance industry The Conversation

Largest U.S. drug companies flooded country with 76 billion opioid pills, DEA data shows Washington Post (furzy)

Elon Musk-backed Neuralink unveils brain-implant technology Financial Times

Class Warfare

Trump’s Tax Law Threatened TurboTax’s Profits. So the Company Started Charging the Disabled, the Unemployed and Students. ProPublica. UserFriendly: “Evil Evil Evil.”

Abigail Disney visited Disneyland undercover. She is ‘livid’ about what she saw CNN. Lambert had this in Water Cooler yesterday, but worth not missing.

Landlords Sue NYC Over New Rent Caps on a Million Apartments Bloomberg

Antidote du jour:

And a bonus from guurst:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. scarn

    Regarding the Automatic Earth article:

    Sure, Trump wants to exploit the division in the Democratic Party over policy. But so does the left of that party. There is no “bait” here for AOC et al. The trap is set by the president for Pelosi and the anti-Trump servants of capital. The democratic socialists on the left edge of the Democrats gain prestige and media driven power from this conflict. In my opinion, that’s not actually in Trump’s interests, and he has made a great error in moving focus on to the left. Neolibs probably can’t beat him, but the Sanders-style left will absolutely crush him, if they gain leverage.

    1. Steve H.

      > And then these girls take the bait to the extent that they call a press conference

      “these girls”

      These Congress members. Ilargi doesn’t seem to recognize the split happened four years ago. Mouldery.

      1. doug

        ‘and then these boys take the bait’ IIlargi has never written…

        If you want to lecture congress members, do a better job….

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      the AOC/Bernie sub-Party terrifies both the GOP/Right, and the Vichy Dems…we know this, here at NC.
      But is that the Narrative “most people” are getting?
      Not from what I’ve seen of MSM…the Left is painted as spoilers….and the Precariousness hasn’t penetrated enough to overcome LOTE and “Pragmatism” and lingering fears that “Socialism” is a Loser.
      as Illargi says, Trump’s role as Apokalypse(gr: “Render of the Veil”) is being wasted, because the Vichy Dems want to hang on to Status Quo.
      The only hope I have is that Pelosi, et alia go too far(yet to be defined) in punching Left, and show themselves…beyond MSM/Mind%uck redemption…as who they really are.
      So what, exactly, is “Too Far”?
      What behaviour by Pelosi, Steny, and the gang will be seen by enough Dem Voters as egregious assholery to finally bust up the Clintonist dogtick?
      I agree that the Vichy Dems are in a quandry….and they are probably aware of their dwindling hold on power. But they are also heavily invested in Maintenance of the Status Quo…indeed, i think a lot of them really believe their own Narrative.
      The ball is definitely in Pelosi’s court.
      What that lot does next will be key.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        after wandering around at the Hill, there’s attempts to sell the whole thing as a “Unifying Moment!” for the Demparty:

        and, apparently, it’s against the rules to call someone “racist”:–“”… As memorialized in Chapter 29, Section 65.6, characterizing an action as racist is not in order,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said on the floor ahead of the vote. ” ( )

        and of course the R’s are all talking about “civility”, whatever that is,lol.
        …and lauding Immigrants as essential to the health of the nation. “Irony” is something one does to a wrinkled shirt.
        So the potential Bridge Too Far by Pelosi and the Gang has been avoided, again.
        Next challenge is what the Dem “leadership” will do with Al Green’s Impeachment filing:

        Steny and a few others are channeling Treebeard, “now, now, don’t be hasty…”…even while basing their entire existence as an alternative to GOP on trump being the worst possible president ever, and an existential threat to the Republic.
        I guess the real question is if the Dem constituency is as tolerant of cognitive dissonance as the GOP electorate is.

        1. Monty

          “I guess the real question is if the Dem constituency is as tolerant of cognitive dissonance as the GOP electorate is.”

          The answer: Quite obviously so.

      2. Georgieboy

        Is it ok in NC-world to find some of the Squad’s stances counter-productive for American citizens?

        The notion of open borders is particularly troubling. Does concern about the negative impact of open borders on working-class and impoverished American citizens make one a Vichy Dem?

        Stated otherwise, where do traditionally Dem-leaning Americans who want to focus on economic injustice fit in, especially with respect to one’s view of the Squad?

        1. voteforno6

          Are they actually advocating open borders? If anything, I think they need to improve their messaging on that point. Calls to abolish ICE and / or decriminalize border crossing aren’t the same thing as open borders, though it’s easy to see how people would get confused by that.

          1. John k

            I’ll say.
            De criminalizing crossings means those crossing are ignored? We’d get a pretty big influx.
            Or picked up and returned to Mexico? It’s a long border. If no wall maybe the entire army moved to the border states? On the plus side maybe no more foreign wars…
            Or a really big wall with watch towers… maybe the army would build it, they’ve got plenty of men and money. Cia could help.
            Related to affordable housing… people here in the cities push back, they know that more housing means more people, and think there’s already too many. We could build affordable housing in the desert but that’s not where people want to live.
            IMO trump has a winning strategy building his wall and making it more difficult to emigrate here, no matter it’s not what the corporate donors want.

            1. marym

              No, decriminalizing, whether you agree with it or not, doesn’t mean those crossings are ignored.

              The United States governs most immigration violations under civil law rather than criminal law…The vast majority of undocumented immigrants arrested, detained and deported from the United States are processed by the civil system. But crossing the border without inspection is also a federal crime…Decriminalizing unauthorized border crossings would basically mean that instead of using both of these systems, we would rely only on the civil system.

              Isn’t this the same thing as open borders?

              No. Congress already pumps more money into civil immigration enforcement than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined. This proposal would not affect the budgets or enforcement efforts of immigration agencies like the Border Patrol or Immigration and Customs and Enforcement.


              1. John k

                I didn’t know there are two different tracks.
                Does the civil track get your info and then release you into the us? I have heard that half of those released don’t appear on their court date, meaning this track let’s into the us the least law abiding of those that apply in this way. I wouldn’t support any track that has that result.

                1. marym

                  For asylum seekers the percentage that show up for their court hearings is very high.
                  Daniel Dale @ddale8 2 Nov 2018

                  “… Justice Department says it was 89% last year, 91% in 2016, 93% in 2015, 94% in 2014”

                  See Figure 25 in the link (automated download) from the tweet

                  There are statistics of a 50% rate for unaccompanied minors. However, note for example in a Supreme Court case:

                  In the majority opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the Department of Homeland Security “almost always serves noncitizens with notices that fail to specify the time, place, or date of initial removal hearings,” and instead state that the time, place and date are “to be determined.”

                  The government acknowledged in a court filing that “almost 100 percent” of “notices to appear omit the time and date of the proceeding over the last three years.”

                  (Link) That link also contains data and link to a study showing a high rates of appearance (86% for families, 81% for non-families).

                  I’ve also seen statistics that appearance rates are very high when a lawyer is assigned to the case. I don’t have a general link but here’s a link to quote from the immigration support group RAICES which probably reflects the role that legal support and follow-up can play (97% for those for whom they paid bond).

                  Here’s another link about people not receiving valid court dates.

                  So, in short, the problem is mis-reported, and is highly manageable with proper resources.

                  1. Lynne

                    You are cherry-picking. Yes, the rate of those who fail to show for asylum seekers Is low. You neglect to say that the failure to appear rate for all cases is over 40%. You also fail to mention that asylum cases are an extremely low proportion of the cases and that denials are increasing as the asylum claims have increased.

                    1. marym

                      Well, yes I was trying to distinguish court appearance rates among categories of people – asylum seekers, families, unaccompanied minors, people with legal support, people who didn’t get valid notification of court dates, would all be part of an assessment of the efficacy of current or proposed policies.

                  2. John k

                    Is there any data regarding those that are apprehended after crossing illegally?
                    And is there no limit to how many can claim asylum? I imagine a large number from Central America alone would like to, granted our interventions, which I strongly oppose, have made things worse.

                2. marym

                  I have a longer reply with multiple links in moderation if you care to check back at a later time.

                3. Procopius

                  The claims I’ve seen were that the great majority of people given appointments of court hearings showed up on time. I think the figure given was north of 95%.

                  1. Lynne

                    See above. It’s more like 51%. The people who tell you that it’s 95% are using the figures for an incredibly small subset of hearings. The fact that they have to play those kinds of games with the numbers should tell you something, and it’s not good for them.

                  2. marym

                    See Figure 25 in the link referenced in my comment @ July 17, 2019 at 8:34 pm above for cases decided in absentia.

                    It’s reasonable, in my opinion, when discussing how to treat people, to try to understand the numbers more granularly, for example, by type of migrant or whether they received a valid court date; and the credibility of the source of the numbers. Interpretations may differ.

          2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            Exactly. My ex-ISO comrade is advocating Open Borders at the ICE vigil this Friday night. Personally i think we should be focusing on stopping Regime Change Wars in Central America. My comrade helped radicalize me so its pleasing to feel that i have a better since of politics.

          3. jrs

            Some Dems (don’t know about the squad but Prez candidates) are making an argument that it almost seems like 1 in 100 would understand or most optimistically 1 in 10, and maybe deliberately so, so as not to offend nor side with the open borders folks.

            But according to a Vox article this might be what they are seeking:

            “At the forefront is a push to make illegal entry and reentry after deportation into the United States a civil offense, not a criminal one — reversing a law that has been on the books for decades but that was rarely enforced until the George W. Bush administration”

            “Migrants who enter the US without papers would still be committing a crime, and they could still be deported. But as Dara Lind explained for Vox earlier this year, making crossing the border without papers a civil offense would have big ramifications, including ending the practice of family separation.”

            If Dems think they can win on subtility and wonkiness, even if it’s a far superior position, I don’t know … At least people *understand* Trump’s positions, horrible as he is.

            1. Lynne

              But that’s really open borders without saying it. You need to add the widely-endorsed statements that only criminals should be deported, which degenerated into only criminals within border states, and then to only felons, and then only violent felons. That’s why a man who famously shot Kate Steinle shouldn’t be deported in the view of ICE critics. If that’s your position, fine, but at least own it instead of implying that the problem is that people aren’t sophisticated enough to understand your cleverness and subtlety.

        2. a different chris

          >Is it ok in NC-world

          WTF? Do you even read this blog? Go find somebody else to sneer at.

            1. John Beech

              As one of the few Republican voters on NC (or so I suspect based on comments), allow me to speak up.

              As I’ve stated more than once, had Senator Sanders been the Dems nominee last time I would have cast a vote for the Dems. That’s y’all’s fault for buying into the whole Hillary thing. This time around AOC is bringing baggage like decriminalizing border crossings and I think that’s a move in the wrong direction. Especially for those who mouth platitudes about the ‘worker’ because these folks move here for work and every job they take is one less for someone already here. Those too blind to grok this don’t understand the reality on the ground.

              Me? I’m in Central Florida and an 877 house project going up across the street from me is being largely built by Latino labor. How do I know? I have ears and can hear the music when I step outside. In years past it would have heard 100% country music. No longer.

              That, and these guys work holidays, Saturdays, until after 5PM, etc. which in my experience, crackers don’t do. How do I know? The houses being built to country music fall silent around 3:30. Anyway, hand-in-hand with the Latino-construction labor influx has led to white guys (and black guys) staying at home. Why? Because they won’t work for the prevailing $10/hr these Latino laborers are accepting.

              Who hires them? The usual suspects (S&P listed builders). As near as I can tell, they now hire almost exclusively Latinos – and the homes get built and folks moving in don’t know, or care. Oh, and I don’t care either because I admire their work ethic. Moreover, I believe they’re just what this country needs – more folks like them.

              Anyway, if the borders were tightened up (against the belief of AOC) all this nonsense about $15 minimum wage would go away. Why? Simple, it’s because wages would go up all by themselves. E.g. supply and demand. FYI, the trades worked for $20/hour 15 years ago when country music predominated construction sites.

              Getting back on topic; AOC and the gang have a role to play in the coming election. More power to them but they’re not convincing me with these tactics. Note; and as an aside, if there are folks who think Sharia is a good fit for America, then I have news, ain’t gonna happen. And it’s not much of a limb to predict we’ll have a civil war before it does. As for whom you pray to? I don’t care. But don’t bring it to work and don’t shove it in my face.

              Meanwhile, the MSM is quite blatant in dissing Senator Sanders – once again. Senator Harris is what Senator Harris is, an ambitious DA. She won’t ever get my vote for many of the reasons HRC didn’t. Nothing against her being female or black, just the fact she’s a blindly ambitious attorney is enough to disqualify her in my eyes. Is what it is.

              Senator Biden? He’s the joke that keeps on giving. I’d love to have him over for dinner in my home (unlike the man for whom I voted for President), but I wouldn’t vote for him. Why not? Simple, it’s because he’s in the pocket of the big money in Delaware and Wall Street.

              Mayor Pete? He’s interesting. Wouldn’t mind seeing him season with Sanders as second fiddle on the ticket. I’d jump ship for them. Won’t happen and I suspect it’ll be Trump/Pence getting my vote next year. Especially if the President starts seeing the polls (and the handwriting on the wall) and adopts (steals) M4A. If that happens then it’s a slam dunk for the GOP in 2020 (in my estimation).

              Who am I? A nobody – but one who votes Republican – but – would consider the right candidate regardless of party affiliation.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Useful comments, thanks. For my part I’m trying to get away from the labels, Repub and Dem, and respond to what I believe to be true. I voted Dem in every election since 1968, up until Obama 2 (voted third party) and 2016 (abstain).

                The percentage of the time I agree with what Tucker Carlson says now exceeds 50% and is rising.

                And it seems very counterintuitive to see Dems playing all Kumbaya with unlimited immigration. I mean after the blood shed by labor over decades to try and protect workers. And before you reply “but it’s not unlimited!” consider that 90% of people who enter as potential refugees disappear and never show up for their hearings.

                It seems like an all-too-public identity crisis for the Dems. One the one hand is the Dem establishment, coasting on what used to be Dem values (which have of course been completely subverted by the donor class). On the other hand are the better angels of our nature in the form of authentic new voices. It’s very difficult for me to see how to reconcile the two so it’s blindingly easy for Trump to simply divide to conquer. A press conference with young women of color, one in a Muslim head covering, saying the president is an illegitimate criminal really does not seem to be the way to go

              2. Copeland

                JB, How refreshing! I don’t know a lot of Republican voters in my everyday life (liberal bubble) but virtually every member of my family (save my wife) vote R, and they would not be caught dead saying any of the things you just said. As far as they are concerned, Trump is Jesus, walks on water, etc., and every Democrat/Social Democrat should be locked up. Thanks.

              3. Todde

                Family blog them all

                Ever wonder why Republicans dint cut the payroll tax? The tax on the job creators?

                Or lower the rate and widen the base for FICA taxes by eliminating the cap?

                You cant get shut up about tax cuts but you dont hear much from them about reducing the #1 tax that puts people out of business.

                Its all about the estate tax, which you cant find a small business that had to be sold from.the estate tax unless youre a Dodger owner.

              4. Jonathan Holland Becnel

                Yeah, my familys from Jefferson/Harahan mainly and theyre all Republican. I bought into the Identity Politics hysteria with Democrats, used to read alot of James Carville which led to, and voted Obama in ’08. I actually protested a Tea Party event on the steps of the Baton Rouge capitol once. Even in my Army career (2011-14) i stuck up for Democrats. Once Bernie 2016 hit and i was sober, my mind was open enough to try new things…I came to the realization that basically my racist family had been right about alot of things. Id been drinking the Liberal Coastal Elites kool aid!

                Never again. Voted Stein in 2016 and will vote the best candidate.

              5. flora

                Thanks. Great comment. The Dem estab goes out of their way to not understand basic Main Street economics and business and discount its importance. By example, they encourage Dem voters to not understand the basic importance of Main Street economics in politics – not the fancy financial engineering junk, just basic supply/demand stuff. It’s like economics is a taboo subject in the Dem estab.

                Very refreshing to read your comment.

        3. Amfortas the hippie

          I’m not for open borders, especially for Capital.

          internal and external labor arbitrage is an evil that needs to be addressed, pronto.
          But if Capital is to be borderless and free, humans should be also…including a supranational regime of Labor Laws and Protections to undo the incentive for labor arbitrage.
          the issue…which is what i think you’re pointing at…is a one sided cosmopolitanism, where the Big Boys and their Immortal Vehicles have escaped the national fences….while us’n’s are still trapped behind them.
          either universalise cosmopolitanism, or limit it.
          …and i don’t remember AOC advocating “open borders”…i think that’s probably a red herring.

        4. False Solace

          Bernie opposes open borders, has called it a Koch Brothers proposal. Because it is.

          No idea about the “squad”, none of them are my member of Congress so I don’t GAF.

          Wailing about “open borders” is 99% a strawman argument created by the Right. Only a very few extreme libertarians and anarchists are in favor. Nobody I know of in politics.

          AOC does support abolishing ICE. That means what it says. The Border Patrol remains as does the border. But the media loves to freak out about nonsense, as usual. August is the silly season in US politics. Just dig a hole for the next six weeks and don’t peek out until September. Nothing worth seeing or hearing until then.

        5. drumlin woodchuckles

          Concealed, unadmitted-to, under-the-table support for open borders is a Vichy Dem position.
          Opposition to open borders could hardly make one a Vichy Dem.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Sanders rejects Open Borderism. But Hillary hastens to remind us that Sanders isn’t even a Democrat.

    3. Carolinian

      I think his column makes perfect sense. Perhaps boosters of the Squad should be asking themselves why the squad is only a squad. AOC thinks she can get on TV a lot and move public opinion to the left and therefore the Dem party to the left but there’s little evidence the Dems care what the public thinks. Just like Trump they do what their backers want and it’s a safe bet that’s not Medicare for all.

      Trump improbably became president because of who the Dems are rather than who the Repubs are. The three year trip down the Russia rabbit hole shows the Dem’s determination not to change.

      1. BigRiver Bandido

        there’s little evidence the Dems care what the public thinks

        That will be to their serious detriment, and to the nation’s betterment. The tighter the Pelosi/Hoyer/Clyburn/Bustos Axis of Corruption grips, the more the voters slip from their fingers. Witness the brilliant job they’ve done just in 6 months of doing nothing since re-gaining the House majority.

        On the flip side, as a politician AOC is a media genius…she’s following the same strategy that McCain and McConnell were doing 20 years ago, ubiquitous in the media and putting her issues constantly in the argument. Do that insistently and eventually you start to make inroads. (Need I mention she’s a much more effective presence than either of those two clowns?) The more she keeps it up, the more likely the result for the left will be what McConnell and McCain did for the Republicans in the 80s.

        1. False Solace

          Call me old-fashioned but I wish she’d focus on issues that are central to her constituents, who vote for her, as opposed to constituents of some other nation. I agree the camps are awful and in desperate need of reform, but this is playing directly into Trump’s hands.

          Trump’s job until the election is to stir up hate against immigrants. He created birtherism, this is his bread and butter. He has nothing else going into the election so he’s going to pound this for the next year and a half. Dear Lord.

          1. False Solace

            Adding that the camps are awful, but at least those are people we’re not actively bombing to death.

            AOC could go protest our foreign wars, which would directly attack Trump in a way he can’t easily refute. Instead she decided to focus on immigration, an issue where much of the public is against her.

            1. Carolinian

              AOC could go protest our foreign wars

              You mean she could be Tulsi? Then she really would be ignored.

              Plus an antiwar stance would be an attack on the entire “blob” and not just Trump. The immigration issue puts all the emphasis on Trump which suits him just fine and the media establishment just fine.

          2. anonymous

            “Call me old-fashioned but I wish she’d focus on issues that are central to her constituents, who vote for her, as opposed to constituents of some other nation”

            2010 census, according to Wikipedia, claims there are 450,000 ethnic Mexicans in NYC. What’s the population of your hometown?

            Trump is from NY too.

            Wish there were a video of AOC speaking in Spanish to mothers and children in those camps

          3. Auntienene

            How do you even know what issues are central to their interests?

            Maybe their interests are the very same economic, civil, social, and racial justice issues that AOC has forced us to look at?

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Recognizing the relative banality of AOC’s (Squad ‘s) positions versus the embrace of radical right wing positions by the Democratic Party at large is an important step to make.

        HRC claimed she and Bernie agreed on 99% of things except she got things done. This has been an insidious part of the narrative. Bernie, the Squad are doing two things:

        -they are painting a divide. They don’t need to say it, but if AOC, a bartender and alum of my mom’s alma mater can say it where have the Rhodes Scholars such as Corey Booker been?
        -political elites are there for celebrity. They want to go to town halls and be thanked for exposing the KGB plant in the White House. They do not want to be asked about their lack of leadership.

        The beauty of the Squad is Team Blue elites have no shame. The Bernie Bro myth was designed to quiet the people who would be most helped by Sanders policies. Remember how HRC was every woman and going to end racism by not pursuing Medicare For All? The point was to prevent people from hearing differences between Sanders and Clinton by hiding behind gender. The Squad removes the Team Blue elites favorite fraudulent social id politicking without having to bother with messaging. In a way, they are the exact opposite of the CBC.

      3. Another Scott

        Why is she getting more press attention than Bernie Sanders, who is actually running for President, and who was hurt by little and negative press attention the last time that he ran? A few days ago, a commenter her speculated that Harris would benefit from the emphasis on identity politics caused by the fight between Trump and The Squad, and it seems like that person might be right.

        I disagree with the assertion that the immigration issue is a left one, as more open immigration is a central issue for liberals and business conservatives as well.

        1. barefoot charley

          I think Bernie and AOC are coordinating better than we’re supposed to see. (pardon my tinfoil, here goes:) AOC was recruited by the Brooklyn Democratic Socialists of America chapter. Her foot-soldiers were party members. She doesn’t highlight this fact, doesn’t even readily allude to it anymore–and I can’t blame her: Lindsay Graham sees and says she’s a commie most likely without knowing any of this. But she and Bernie share a (fractious) party identity deeper and more meaningful than their superficial Democratic one. They are on the same page, and each of them is stronger for not saying so. I just wonder if they’re so naive as to think they can take over the Money Party’s Democratic wing. I can’t believe that. They’re playing a long game in a developing party apparatus, and AOC is young . . . anyway, that’s all the hope I’ve got.

            1. barefoot charley

              Yep, the DinoDemocrats will mumble RussiaRussia to themselves through this denial cycle–er, election cycle. If we’re lucky they’ll schism after whatever Biden they select loses to Trump again. Letting an FDR Democrat win their nomination is inconceivable, imo, though people aren’t dumb enough to buy another Obama flavor instead. I’m ‘disappointed’ the Democrats are dumb enough to peddle nothing else, but of course that’s their job.

          1. JBird4049

            But she and Bernie share a (fractious) party identity deeper and more meaningful than their superficial Democratic one.

            Their positions were commonly held by numerous left-wing Democrats fifty years ago. Heck, by many, or perhaps the majority of the left-wing of the Republican Party then especially on the opposition to “the billionaire class” and “dialing for dollars.”

            Too many people do not know about the deliberate destruction of the American political left-wing, and later the actual liberal center too, leaving the conservative right of center Democrats and insane Republicans.

        2. False Solace

          The media will happily ignore Bernie forever, since he’s talking about class issues and economic issues.

          The media loves to talk about social issues where Americans are divided 50/50. And they love to divide Americans into tiny groups, like recent immigrants vs not. Corporations love cheap labor, plus they get to look like humanitarians. What’s not to like.

      4. John k

        The squad is unique in publicly opposing dem leadership. Quite a few others have supported m4a, and many of these probably serious. If it was just a Gang of Four pelosi wouldn’t be attacking, which imo exposes weakness. They’re moving the dem voters left, getting people talking about new deal ideas that have been forgotten for half a century. And some support from msm… very dangerous to both dem and rep elites, explaining why both are on the attack. Dems now with fear of being primaried…
        Fdr’s and now Bernie’s ‘judge me by my enemies’… Koch, trump, pelosi, all attacking Bernie and the squad… people are noticing.
        If we don’t hang together we will hang separately…
        I expect aoc will endorse Bernie before the ny primary, maybe before NH.

        1. Wukchumni

          Is it a coincidence AOC shares a couple of the same letters as Chairman Mao?

          …I think not

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          and speaking of the Kocks…didn’t i see somewhere that they’ve offered support for beleaguered “Moderate” Dems?
          and seems like i remember that David Kock was making noises about voting for Hillary, back when…because trump was ugly and not a real republican.
          more cognitive dissonance—they’re the worst evils evah…(sotto:except when we need them)
          we’re obviously supposed to fall from the turnip wagon anew each day, all dewey eyed and past-less.

          1. JBird4049

            we’re obviously supposed to fall from the turnip wagon anew each day, all dewey eyed and past-less.

            As it has worked before, why not?

    4. zagonostra

      Below from Black Agenda Report succinctly states what is known by most NC readers but remains at odds with Dem Leadership apologist.

      Trump knows that Pelosi is his friend. She is in no way part of an opposition to his administration. She is the rainmaker for the Democratic Party and the wielder of discipline against progressives. The two tasks are linked, of course. The very wealthy speaker brings in the cash from her equally wealthy friends. They give with the expectation that nothing even vaguely resembling progressive policy will ever see the light of day.

  2. QuarterBack

    Re “Nancy Pelosi Has Lost Control”, and it’s reference to Cyrus Vance, Jr having “aggressively sought leniency” for Jeffery Epstein, the transcript of Epstein’s 2011 bail hearing can be found here:

    By the way, it may only be an interesting coincidence that the Epstein has been twice been served up a prosecution team lead by a descendant of a powerful Executive Branch figure. Cyrus Vance Jr is the son of Jimmy Carter’s Secretary of State, and the new Epstein prosecutor is the daughter of James Comey. It is not that unusual for children of the powerful to follow in their parents career footsteps, but it doesn’t do much to help public confidence when potentially explosive or key decisions continue to end up falling into a shortlist of familiar family names.

    1. BigRiver Bandido

      Except for the bit about coincidence, I completely agree with you. There’s not a single “legacy” candidate that I would ever vote for — whether it be Andrew Cuomo or Rod Blagoevich in high office, Harold Ford, Lacy Clay or Dan Lipinsky in Congress, Deb Mell for the Chicago City Council, or any of the Crowley family’s acolytes in New York City. Most of these (the Congressional and local pols) are particularly loathesome zits of democracy in that they only attained office in the first place by having their seats “gifted” to them. It is particularly heartwarming to watch when such candidates (Ford, Crowley, and Mell, for example) lose their seats and have to go money-grubbing from banks in order to survive.

  3. notabanker

    The last line of the DB article:
    Up against all this, oversized western banks operating in free-market, well-regulated and competitive economies are doomed to fail.

    Because the Chinese…..

      1. Inode_buddha

        It’s the same logic as the Republicans/Conservatives that I know: “If this person/idea isn’t to the right of me, then it must be Socialism.”

        THAT sort of thinking is what got us here, over the last few decades.

    1. Steve H.

      Wow! Three humorous steps lead to a complete realignment of the identity politics argument.

      His history shows strong Arab-American support. Now discussions of The Squad will quickly lead to discussions of apartheid in the Middle East.

      This could be no joke.

      1. Auntienene

        Paterson, NJ, in his district, has a good-sized Arab-American population. It’s good politics for him.

    2. Eclair

      Yech! He only got admitted ’cause they needed a token white male.

      And, rumor is, that he performed some ‘services;’ opinion is divided on whether he offered to wash dishes for AOC or run Omar’s stunning whites through the wash (including ironing!!!) Whatever, it certainly wasn’t his political acumen that won him the promotion. /s

    3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Ugh, so much hate in the comments.

      And everyone should check out Paterson, a film by Jim Jarmusch! Made me tear up! Its about a bus driver – Kylo Ren – who writes poetry. Almost as good as Ghost Dog!

      1. ewmayer

        “Kylo Ren” — Uh, that’s a character in a very different kind of film than Jarmusch’s.

  4. pjay

    Re: ‘House orders Pentagon to say if it weaponized ticks and released them’

    Here’s my long shot bet: the Pentagon will say it didn’t.

    File under “Why People Believe in Pizzagate,” part 2.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        I’ve wondered about the same sort of origin for “Chronic Wasting Disease” in Cervids(deer, elk). it began on the fenced reserve of Ft Collins in Colorado…another Biowar testing place.
        Trying to weaponise Scrapie, prolly.
        I still say Open All the Books, and let heads roll where they must.
        Hypersecrecy is not conducive to Of, By and For the People.

        1. a different chris

          >Hypersecrecy is not conducive to Of, By and For the People.

          And that’s exactly why our betters insist on it.

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Here Here!

          Radical Transparency will make our lives much better. Rip dat fn band aid off already!

  5. fdr-fan

    Of course the EU is rejecting all of Britain’s plans. THAT’S EXACTLY WHY THE PEOPLE WANT OUT. Instead, the idiot government is using the rejection as a reason to stay in.

    In any type of departure, whether it’s a bad job or a bad relationship or a bad addiction, you can’t hope to arrange all the consequences while you’re still inside. It’s physically impossible. You have to get out FIRST, and then deal with the consequences from an outside perspective where you can see more clearly and act more freely.

    1. vlade

      So, by your definition, when a husband wants a divorce, and tells the wife “but I’ll keep the keys to the house, and if I don’t get a new girlfriend (or even if I do) I will sleep with you”, and she says “Hell no”, he’s in a bad relationship, and the wife is just making it worse.


      Do these people actually understand what the hell the UK is asking of the EU and what it means in terms of the EU? That the UK is asking for the advantages of the club but no obligations that come with the membership?

    2. David

      Sorry, but it’s not a case of “arranging all the consequences while you’re still inside.”
      The British government and the EU negotiated and signed a Withdrawal Agreement to which the UK is committed. This agreement, which Johnson and co are seeking to reopen because they don’t like it, only covers the actual process of separation and the immediate consequences. If it falls, there is “no deal” automatically. The WA says nothing about the medium to longer term after the transitional period is over. That is what was supposed to be negotiated now.
      I find it bizarre that even the Grauniad, which is scarcely sympathetic to Brexit, dignifies this kind of nonsense by calling it a “plan.” It’s like me doing my shopping at the local supermarket and then going back a week later with a “plan” that they should refund me for some items, and promise to give me a share of their future profits.

      1. vlade

        I gave up on trying to educate people that WA is not “the deal”. It’s like whipping the sea only more so.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Given the enormous efforts Yves has put in to educate readers here, its truly depressing the way some can’t even grasp the most basic facts around Brexit.

          1. tegnost

            Not only yves but many other commenters have written chapter and verse detailing the debacle so anyone who can’t see simply has not been paying attention. The denial of reality goes back to the greek crisis at least with people claiming that greece should just take the bullet without accepting the consequences of being shot. Thanks to all for the informed commentary

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          No, not. It is a complete misconstruction of what has happened. See the comments above, I’m not going to belabor the issue when readers have already done a fine job.

  6. Carla

    From “Forces behind growing political polarization in congress revealed in new model” —

    “If polarized politicians influence electorates to become more polarized, the authors write, it could create a feedback loop that “might destabilize democracy.” They plan to address this question in future research.”

    Too late.

    1. human

      Entire libraries are devoted to analysis of “democracy.” Democracy; one wo/man, one vote; is inherently unstable, anarchic, and ripe for demagogues.

      “In a democracy, people get the government they deserve,”

      Alexis de Tocqueville 1805 – 1859

      1. kgw

        The painting on the cover of the Penguin edition of William Godwin’s tome, “A Treatise on Political Equality,” is a pyramid of leading to a fire-breathing monster: Democracy. Its title is “The Scum Uppermost.”

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Tension in the Gulf: Not Just Maritime Powder Kegs’

    If Saudi Arabia believes that it can, through its proxies, attack Iranians, Pakistani and Chinese without any blowback then I have news for them and it is all bad. Saudi Arabia may find that all those Houthi missiles and drones could receive “upgrades” leading to more effective and devastating attacks on is oil & water-filtration facilities along with the capital and the airport. A few attacks have already gotten through successfully so they have been warned. I think that their aim though, is to become the regional hegemon in alliance with Israel but is being frustrated with both Qatar and Yemen, for example, with Iran behind them supporting both countries. Trying to pick fights with China and Pakistan does not strike me as a particularly bright idea and is only asking for needless trouble. Watch this space.

    1. Olga

      Watch it, indeed! I’d agree with you, RK, but have a nagging feeling that this is a long-term plan that will not be derailed by a few missiles. Let’s remember, that the other side wins just by stirring up chaos. A low-level insurgency can put quite a crimp in China’s BRI plans, not to mention damage to Iran. And instead of a Shia crescent, we’ll have a crescent of unending chaos and war. Another trouble is that some actors in the area try to play both sides, and so clear-cut alliances might not be easy to maintain. Hard to tell how exactly this will develop, but none of it looks good.

    1. vlade

      I don’t think you can really say whether Japanes or Nazi (or, for the matter, Stalin’s, and also some in Poland, Czechoslovakia and some other liberated countries between May and September 1945, and I’m consciously excluding military operations during the war) atrocities were worse – and would argue it’s wrong to even try.

      But I would strongly agree that there was way less accountability for Japanese (and Soviet and those other) ones, and that’s compared to a relatively low threshold with the Nazi ones.

      The worst thing of that is that with the Germans, until very recently there was a genuine shame in the population for that part of their history (I’ve got a feeling this is starting to go away, slowly, but surely). It just ain’t so for those other countries mentioned (and for those on the nominal winning side, it’s even an attitude of “They started, so they deserved it”).

      1. PlutoniumKun

        There was a very intense shame in Japan after the war – you can see it in post war Japanese films – for example The Human Condition trilogy is searing about it (and it was a huge commercial hit in Japan). But in typical Japanese fashion it was very much wiped out of the memory for most people once the economy got into high growth mode (those films were very much the end of the ‘process’ of self shame). The US cooperated in this as Japan was of course seen as a useful ally – hence the very half hearted pursuit of war criminals.

        Having said that, contrary to myth, there always has been and still continues to be, very open discussion of these things in Japan, it just tends to go under the surface of ‘official’ narrative (i.e. official textbooks). And the far right in Japan is very powerful and very ruthless – it takes courage in Japan to oppose the mainstream view, which is more or less ‘yes, Japan did bad things, but they were exaggerated, and anyway, the nuclear bombs were payback so its all kind of equal’.

        That said, nearly all countries have their hidden histories. The South Koreans did appalling things in Vietnam during the Vietnamese/American War, their soldiers were much more feared than American soldiers by ordinary Vietnamese. I don’t need to say what the US did in Vietnam and the Korean peninsula (not to mention US cooperation in the slaughter of suspected Communists well after the war had started). Nick Turses book is useful on this (and he writes about how ‘comfort women’ wasn’t just a Japanese thing). US atrocities in the Philippines both before and after the war have been well and truly written out of history. And of course there were many British and French atrocities in the dying days of Empire. Even in just the last 70 years or so you could fill several books with accounts of atrocities right across the region committed by many different countries, from Burma and Thailand, Tibet and Pakistan to Indonesia (the Aussies having a major indirect role in the latter). Most are overlooked by all but the most specialist histories.

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          WW2 took 6 years of my Grandfather’s life while drastically changing the rest of it. North Africa, Italy, Burma & on the way home used as a guinea pig for an atomic test. I never met him as he emigrated to Australia a year before I was born, due to having returned to a broken marriage.

          I once asked my Father if he had said much about his experiences & his reply was only twice with the gist of it being that in that hell – especially the jungle, we are all as bad as each other, it’s pure chance whether you survive & the only so called heroes he knew were psychopaths. He also detested war films whether US or Brit, describing them as fantasies with the exception being ” The Long & the short & the Tall “.

          The other was the short tale of how he lost his best friend who insisted on tying his laces as it happened the same way as the Japanese. While on sentry duty he had his throat cut by a Gurkha who approached at a crawl then used his boots for identification.

        2. cuibono

          i can say from first hand experience that this is true. In the 80’s i traveled Japan by foot and hitchhiking and many times was overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers , most of whom had lived through the war. They all wanted to express to me their deep regret for the war and feeling that they were liberated by our troops from the Japanese war machine. Now of course this was a very skewed sample. But the far right is much more skewed in my opinion and not at all representative of the average Japanese.

        3. vlade

          Official narrative matters. A worked example is Germany.

          Western Germany has quickly given up on a full de-nazification, even relatively officially, but at the same time, the official narrative (and accepted by most Germans) was of remorse, even for those born after the war.

          Easter Germany had a different de-nazification (I’ll not go into details), but it’s official message was ‘we not only de-nazified, WG is the sucessor to the Nazi state’, and we have nothing to be ashamed of, so we don’t even discuss it.

          It is, even now, one of the dividing lines between Eastern and Western Germans. Say Western Germans say that the new far-right and neo-Nazi parties are more prevalent/popular in EG because the EG never came to term with the war (I’d very much question both the premise and the reasons, but again, that’s for a very long post. TLDR would be ‘even relative poverty supports extremism’).

          On the ‘hidden histories’. Yep. Well, we’re humans. The problem I see there is the one that I believe was best described by Terry Pratchett in Jingo:

          “It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyone’s fault. If it was us, what did that make Me? After all, I’m one of Us. I must be. I’ve certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. We’re always one of Us. It’s Them that do the bad things.”

          The human race will grow up only when it accepts that there’s no Them and Us (or that Us are Them).

      2. Anonymous2

        I believe it was the case that denazification never took place in East Germany so maybe that is why the far-right seems to have more purchase there than further West?

        1. Olga

          Do we live on the same planet? “Denazification never took place in East Germany” – really? The entire project was to wipe away any sign of Nazidom. It’s best not to spread fake assessments of the past.

          1. Jeotsu

            The book Stasiland points out that post-war there could not be 100% de-Nazi-ification, as that would have stripped out too many people. Especially judges and prosecutors and the like. And many who were thrown in prison for 10-20 years were back out and back into work in the 50’s and 60’s. So while they might no longer be espousing National Socialism, they were also some pretty nasty sorts with power in society.

            1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

              There were many questions asked by the post-war generation in Germany in the sense of ” What did Father do in the war ” which faced a wall of silence. The German artist Anselm Kiefer got into pretty hot water through his questioning artworks. Much of his work IMO is influenced by the devastation of modern German history.

              ” Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow ”


            2. Olga

              Yes could be, but first – it is more applicable to West Germany,* and two, a lot depends on what one means by de-nazification. If it means repudiating Nazi ideas, then Anon comments makes no sense. But if it means that all persons who may have had – even tangentially – something to do with the nazi regime, then yes, that likely would have been more difficult, as too many Germans would be implicated. But to the extent that GDR – just like other socialist countries – turned upside down the previous power structure, the comment is hardly reflective of the reality on the ground.
              * Under the socialist system, many people with no prior experience (mainly because they came from lower classes) were elevated into the halls of power.

                1. Todde

                  All those nazis were heading west for a reason at the end of it all.

                  If i recall 250k germans were interred by the Allies after the war with a majority from east germany bit roughly the same.

                  Cant remember where I read it. I only remember because it seemed so low

          2. Jessica

            The East Germans were far, far more ruthless about denazification.
            In the first days of the Russian occupation, they took out tens of thousands of higher ranking Nazis and just shot them.
            Remember that a large portion of the East German leadership had been in concentration camps. For them, it wasn’t something that had happened to other people.

  8. Off The Street

    The Moon of Alabama story made me think that news and opinion writing should come with some glossary to define terms and with standard footnotes to provide independently-verifiable sources. Wishful thinking, I know, in an era when even scientific studies often can’t be replicated.

    Recall how young readers, maybe even some NC followers, being introduced to Chaucer, for example, might see a page with handy notes about those unfamiliar words or terms from a very different era. Sometimes I feel that reading news or opinions is like getting a glimpse into a current very different era. Is a Pangloss-ary not far behind? (Okay, sorry about that last one.)

    1. Carolinian

      As Clive said yesterday our media narratives are a clockwork a not unlike title sequence for Game of Thrones and always follow a predictable design.

      Perhaps the reporters at BBC and elsewhere are really algos.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      anonymous handwritten margin notes are one of my favorite things about second, third and fourth hand sourcing of books…especially college type books. an unlooked for window into other times and attitudes.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “The cofounder of Palantir just called Google ‘an unpatriotic company.’ Here’s why this alarming new level of rhetoric within tech is really just a deflection”

    That’s strange. I just Googled Peter Thiel and Joe Lonsdale’s names and it showed no results. I really think that this must be a case of butthurt with them both. Maybe they tried to set up a right-wing think tank in Silicon Valley and it flopped. Does being loyal for Thiel mean taking funding from the CIA, DHS, NSA, FBI, CDC, the Marine Corps, the Air Force, Special Operations Command, West Point, etc like he has? Does setting up a company dedicated to spying on Americans in coordination with the CIA and the FBI make for patriotism while complaining how Google does the same in China which is like, another country? Paraphrasing Captain America-

    “This isn’t freedom. We’re holding a camera to every citizen’s face and calling it security.”

    1. notabanker

      Twitter is going crazy with a new face app that changes your face to age 40 years. Welcome to the US face recognition database. Thanks for the email and social media identification, free of charge of course.

  10. PlutoniumKun

    Be very afraid: Japan-Korea history war spirals toward trade war Asia Times

    This looks like it could grow into quite a big thing, although my suspicion is that with the Rugby World Cup and Olympics on the way Abe will want to cool things a little. As the article points out, South Korea generally and for good reason has public opinion on its side. But it does seem unfortunately that Moon overplayed his hand over the comfort women issue – he probably saw this as an easy win politically and didn’t expect the Japanese to react so strongly.

    South Korea also needs to be careful that they don’t open up other cans of worms, most notably the many atrocities committed by their army as ‘allies’ of the US in the Vietnam War. The Vietnamese certainly haven’t forgotten them.

    But the article is good and nuanced. For all the horrors of Japans wartime atrocities, the comfort women issue has been repeatedly weaponised in a way which has helped, not hindered Japans very large far right nationalist element, which of course includes Abe himself.

  11. pnongrata

    RE: Abigail Disney visited Disneyland undercover. She is ‘livid’ about what she saw

    I guess the heiress wants the CEO to get a pay cut so she can earn more dividends.

    1. Carolinian

      She says she’s given away 70 million. Still has plenty apparently.

      The Disney family no longer runs the company so she may not even have stock.

    2. Wukchumni

      I haven’t visited the magic kingdom in about 30 years, but park regularly @ the trailhead parking lot in Mineral King that the Disney Corp owns.

      Took a 9 mile hike to the junction of Franklin Lake & Farewell Gap in search of flora y fauna, and the wildflowers lower down were perking, but needed another week or 2 of rays to really come a cropper, while the real object of our wildflower desire in the higher climes hadn’t awaken yet from only recently not having had snow on top of them, should be something else in say 3 weeks time. The see me-dig me flower of the High Sierra is called a Giant Blazing Star, and it’s petals are yellow and is 5 to 6 inches wide, a real pistil packin’ mama, with say a hundred of them dead center. It was a few weeks away from blooming.

      Had to cross a snowfield 3x, and watched a 6 & 8 point buck eating something on top of the ‘watermelon snow’, giving it the look of a seedless slice of ice cold fruit.

      Upon arriving back @ my ride, the marmot cong hadn’t booby trapped it, or molested the radiator hose in search of an anti-freeze cocktail.

      1. Wukchumni


        Saw my first Rubber Boa in a few years on the trail. They really ought to be called a ‘snarm’ as they look almost like a big worm in appearance. The slowest of all snakes, i’d reckon.

        Characteristics of rubber boas behavior also set them apart from other snakes. Rubber boas are considered one of the most docile of the boa species and are often used to help people overcome their fear of snakes

        1. a different chris

          Why would anybody want to overcome their fear of snakes? Seems like a healthy thing, to me. :)

          1. Wukchumni

            Not sure i’d want to do any serpent handling in a house of dogma, in the adder-rondacks.

          2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            Ive always thought the most terrifying animal on earth is a sea snake.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              when i was 13, me and a buddy were sneaking around the railroad tracks, in camo(rambo, red dawn, etc), and had just shimmeyed on our bellies under a briar patch to spy on the railroad workers, just getting off work(yes, i’ve had a strange life).
              so we’re laying there under the prickly bushes, listening to raucous cussing and hilarity, when i look over at my friend and notice a 6 foot Eastern Diamondback making it’s way into the woods, away from the men. between us, not a foot from us both.
              we froze…couldn’t get up due to the brambles…and waited til long after the trainmen had left, before exploding out of the briar patch and into the open beside the tracks.
              I’ve been terrified of snakes ever since.
              That thing was as big around as i was.
              grandad killed an 8 footer with a hoe.
              with such monsters present in my woods, it’s a miracle none of us ever got bit(or eaten,lol)

              1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

                Never had any encounters in the Metairie suburbs with snakes, but my dad told me one time when he was hunting in the swamps throught waist high water, he saw a Water Moccasin swimming directly at him. He said thank Jove his brother had a snub nose 45 to blast that unholy servant of Set!

    1. Olga

      The costumes are certainly grand, but at the bottom, this describes what was to come:
      “In the vast countryside, however, could be found poverty and political repression. “While we were dancing,” later recalled Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich, brother-in-law of Czar Nicholas, “workers’ strikes were happening in St. Petersburg, and clouds were gathering over the Russian Far East.” The Grand Duke Alexander, called “Sandro,” fled to Crimea with his family after the Russian Revolution; they were rescued by the British battleship HMS Marlborough in 1919.”
      The last hurrah if there ever was one!

      1. Carolinian

        Russian Ark is a great movie if you’ve never seen it–a tour of the Hermitage with historic reconstructions.

  12. Wukchumni

    Libra Horrorscope:

    Confusion over money matters might arise, Libra. You may need to check your records to shed light on past assertions. Don’t worry. All should be well once you ascertain the facts and use dollops of subterfuge in getting your way. You might have made some conflictory statements. Don’t let them get you down. You will want to remember them later, because they might reveal a lot about your current situation. They may also inspire you to not attempt future projects.

  13. XXYY


    Trump’s Iran policy has taken the U.S. backwards for more than a year. The only progress they have made is to make war with Iran more likely. Pompeo’s insistence that the U.S. has made “progress” with its Iran policy is every bit as false as his other claims.

    Larison naively assumes that everyone wants the same thing or has the same measures of success when it comes to Iran.

    The Obama-backed treaty with Iran was problematic for the neocons who want to overthrow the government of Iran for a number of reasons. It took away the favorite talking point that Iran is trying to become a nuclear power. It lightened sanctions and released foreign Iranian assets and reduced suffering in the country, making it harder to talk about the “dictatorship” and making the neocon fantasy of a popular uprising less likely. It was a standing example of something good coming out of the Obama administration. Finally, it was in itself a dangerous example of how diplomacy and mutual cooperation (rather than bombs) can solve problems.

    The agreement also made it much harder to cook up a causus belli with Iran, since they were complying with an international agreement and doing everything asked and expected of them. Once the US reneged on the agreement, it was more likely Iran would also. The supine and subservient US media could then be relied upon to bleat about how Iran can’t be trusted and the only thing they understand is force.

    So obviously it had to go, even if it risks a major military confrontation that would kill millions.

  14. Pelham

    Re Disney: The company points to minimum pay of $15 an hour, but in the areas within commuting distance of these “happiest place on Earth” that’s sub-poverty. In fact, $15 is an unacceptable wage anywhere in the US.

    Wouldn’t the problem be solved simply by instituting an insoluble link between the top and bottom wages in any enterprise — say a thoroughly reasonable ratio of 3-to-1?

    1. a different chris

      Then they will find other ways to overpay the overlords. Or more correctly, the overlords will find another way to overpay themselves.

      Just tax the crap out of any sort of high income. Most top pay scales are not about actual dollar amounts, they are ego-boosters. If you pay what’s-his-name that health insurance CEO 100million but take 90million back in taxes, it wouldn’t matter. Just so he’s the highest paid.

      I used to think that they want their kids and grandkids and greatgrandkids and further down to live a life of luxury without want. But watching their behavior, either directly or their unconcern with the environment, shows me they could give a (family blog) about them. They’re just psychopaths, so like bees you just need to wade in and take their honey.

      PS: not real fair to bees

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


        As the spoiled brats on reddit say these days, ‘YEET THE RICH.’

      2. John k

        Couple high taxes on high income with m4a, plus lower taxes on ss. And take away long term cap gains. Treat all income the same.

    2. jrs

      yes I figure about $20 an hour is needed in SoCal to live in poverty, so yea making $15 and one *might* still be homeless.

  15. JimTan

    “Largest U.S. drug companies flooded country with 76 billion opioid pills, DEA data shows”

    Terrible. 76 billion pills amounts to approximately 39 opiate pills for every man woman and child in the United States over each of the 6 years they mention. And that’s only oxycodone and hydrocodone – it doesn’t include the various types of fentanyl.

  16. UserFriendly

    Mueller, Dems Scramble as Russiagate Falls Apart.

    Unfortunately this is partially bunk. The first bit about the judge, she didn’t rule that there was no evidence, she ruled that Mueller publicly saying that the IRA = the kremlin and that they did try to help Trump win was prejudicial in the case against the IRA (quite obviously so). But him not being able to say that during his testimony should go over well with the democrats. Of course if he actually wanted to explain it, all he would have to do is drop the case against the IRA because it’s never going to trial anyways.

    Almost makes you wonder if he only filed those charges against the IRA so he wouldn’t have to connect the imaginary dotts in public.

  17. Oregoncharles

    “Elon Musk-backed Neuralink unveils brain-implant technology ” – that article is paywalled for me, but it’s been reported elsewhere and this sort of thing has been discussed here.

    Marge Piercy published a novel, “Woman on the Edge of Time,” in which the title character came back from the future specifically to assassinate the researchers on a similar project – which had turned into the obvious nightmare in her time.

    Drastic action, but I honestly don’t see how anyone can justify participating in such research. Well, no, I do know: it’s justified as a benefit to certain kinds of handicapped people. Does that actually balance out against the obvious hazards?

  18. newcatty

    Speaking of art reflecting life, we are watching the HBO (jointly produced BBC production) “Years and Years”. Highly recommend it. One aspect of it is AI implant technology. And, brilliant look at a potential UK society in a near future time…in the context of world events and societies. Great acting , too. Yes, some melodrama regarding relationships, but a good show. Now, available here in USA.

  19. rjs

    re: nutrient imbalance killing corals….remember back in the 70s, when we took all the phosphates out of detergents? we should have left them in…

  20. rd

    It wouldn’t be popular with Republican voters, but ICE raids on construction sites and farms instead of apartment buildings would reduce the undocumented worker jobs. Fines/prison time for repeat offenders employing undocumented workers to remove the incentive to hire them would reduce the number of jobs. Reduce the number of jobs and you reduce the number of undocumented people in the country. It would be way more effective than walls and concentration camps. However, the businessmen and farmers who would lose the workers would be livid. Their labor pool would shrink and their labor costs would rise.

    This is a separate issue from the minimum wage in many areas. Areas with hot labor markets attract the undocumented workers and push wages down there. However, in areas with general economic stagnation and just the federal minimum wage, there is little economic driver to push wages up to a living wage. So I support an increase in the Federal minimum wage to something like $10-12/hr. a full-time job would deliver a minimum of $20k per year. Two people pulling that in can live reasonably comfortably in many areas in fly-over country. Where I live (Upstate NY), a family making $40k/year can actually buy a house if they aren’t carrying student debt and have decent healthcare provided by the employer.

  21. rd

    The Florida coral reef piece is very important. While I support addressing climate change, I am tired of it being the ONLY issue. Much of the resilience of our ecosystems has been taken away by anthropogenic activities that have nothing to do with climate change. The imbalance of nitrogen and phosphorus pretty much everywhere along coastlines is one of those.

    So farm runoff, channelization of rivers, dams holding back sediments from reaching deltas, urban wastewater, loss of forestland to subdivisions and agriculture, paving wetlands, plastic trash in water bodies, etc. are all things that are wreaking havoc on the ecosystems in the absence of climate change. Adding changing precipitation and increasing temperatures to the mix is simply throwing gasoline on a fire that is already burning. So we need to be addressing those issues on a town by town basis at the same time as trying to do big scale carbon reduction.

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