Links 7/20/19

Naked man visits shops in Bennington Vermont Reformer (resilc)

Historic heat wave is double whammy for climate change The Hill. Ahem, the extent of the heat wave is unusual, but at least in NYC, the top temps aren’t. The high will be 99 on Sat. So? When I came to NYC in 1980, through at least the early 1990s, there would be at least one 2 or more day heat wave when the daily high would be 100 degrees or higher, as much as 103. However, it usually took place near the 4th of July, so the city would get a break by virtue of offices being shut and the residents decamping for the beach. And the city was stinking hot for all of July and August. One reason the officialdom hasn’t taken global warming as seriously as it should is the Northeast has generally benefitted: milder winters and milder summer. For instance, I was never able to wear tights from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but for the last 7+ years there have been days every summer during that period when that was not a “mad dogs and Englishmen” thing to do.

200M across US brace for record heatwave; NYC orders tall buildings to raise temps to avoid another blackout Fox (Kevin W)

American Green Longreads Chuck L)

Solar power from Australia to light up Singapore Asia Times (Kevin W)

Smart Money Said ‘Skip Bitcoin, Bet on Blockchain.’ Not Any More Bloomberg

Chinese Scientists Say They’ve Found a Safer Alternative to CRISPR CRISPR

Cigarette butts hamper plant growth—study PhysOrg (Robert M) :–(

“Climate grief”: Fears about the planet’s future weigh on Americans’ mental health Kaiser Health News (resilc)


Beijing strengthens its hold on South China Sea Asia Times

New Cold War

Legal action between Nord Stream 2 and EU looms – Energy reporters. Fort Russ. Kevin W: ” Ursula von der Leyen has already come out against Nord Stream 2. That was quick.”


British oil tanker seized by Iranian forces in Persian Gulf as another is released NBC

Here’s the heavy US and UK naval firepower ready near Iran if the tanker tensions boil over Business Insider. Kevin W: “Check out the map showing the number of ships in this region on just one day.”

Whistleblowers accuse Standard Chartered of $57bn in Iran deals Financial Times

The network behind state bills ‘countering’ Sharia law and terrorism Center for Public Integrity (furzy)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Drone pilots now authorized to telecommute Duffle Blog (Kevin W)

Google’s sister company creates smart nappies Financial Times. Kill me now.

Swedish people are getting chip implants to replace cash New York Post (furzy)

The catastrophic data leak via browser extensions Dataspii (David L)

Chrome 76 Prevents NYT and Other News Sites From Detecting Incognito Mode ars technica

Emotion-Detection Applications Are Built On Outdated Science, Report Warns EurekaAlert

Israeli security company reportedly has tool that spies on Apple, Google and Facebook cloud data CNBC (Bill B)

Trump Transition

Trump steps up attacks on minority congresswomen The Hill

Ilhan Omar greeted with ‘Welcome home’ chants at Minnesota airport USA Today (furzy)

Angela Merkel: ‘I distance myself’ from Donald Trump’s racist comments DW

Media cried wolf: Calling every Republican a racist lost its bite The Hill (UserFriendly)

George Nader, Witness in Mueller Probe, Hit With New Charges of Sex Trafficking Daily Beast (TF)

3 million gallons of untreated sewage spills into Puget Sound The Hill. UserFriendly: “I sure didn’t notice the lights go out. My computer, with no battery has been on the whole time. Pure speculation, but intermittency of renewables problem?”

Health Care

The 5 Biggest Lies Joe Biden Is Telling About Medicare for All Jacobin (furzy)

Bulletpoint: Bernie Sanders Is Running Ahead Of The Pack On Health Care FiveThirtyEight (furzy)

Health Insurers Make It Easy for Scammers to Steal Millions. Who Pays? You. ProPublica. UserFriendly: “There goes literally the only honest argument against m4a. Capitalism = competitive markets assumption fails again.”

L’affaire Epstein

How Long is Jeffrey Epstein For This World? Ilargi


CNN’s Debate Lottery Is a New Low in Campaign Media Rolling Stone (furzy) “If you cover elections like reality shows, you will get reality stars as leaders.”

How Trump could lose by 5 million votes and still win in 2020 NBC

Hundreds of Pa., N.J. women tout Trump’s presidency, vow to support him in 2020 WhyY (furzy)

Labor fight roils Bernie Sanders campaign, as workers demand the $15 hourly pay the candidate has proposed for employees nationwide – The Washington Post. UserFriendly: “Title should be ‘Bernie implements union and uses collective bargaining mechanism as it was designed, but at least he still hires Narcs.'”

Reading Buttigieg Told Me Everything I Need to Know About the 2020 Presidential Race Nation (furzy). Brutal.

New York Signs Biggest Offshore Wind Project Deal In the Nation Bloomberg

Tech Reporter’s Breaking Stories May Have Cost Him His Job FAIR

Equifax to Pay Around $700 Million to Resolve Data-Breach Probes Wall Street Journal

US STOCKS-Wall St falls as Fed signals smaller rate cut Reuters (furzy)

Fed comes under fire over rate confusion Financial Times

3,271 Pill Bottles, a Town of 2,831: Court Filings Say Corporations Fed Opioid Epidemic New York Times (David L)

Class Warfare

A California Bill Could Destroy Uber’s Unsustainable Business Model Vice

The Exploitation Time Bomb Project Syndicate

Antidote du jour. Chuck C sent this a while back. Be warned, this is how I feel today:

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. No Trump

    Epstein – I believe it is all about getting Trump dirty before the elections.

    The Swedish media is a reliable depictor of the lay of the land for everything international. They rinse the narrative clean from all distractions and complications and present the pure propaganda version: Hussein, Khadaffi, Assad, Putin, Duterte as Hitlers, Iran as terrorists etc.

    All pictures are Trump and Epstein. Not a single picture with or word about Clinton, Blair, Prince Andrew and other pedophiles.

    In general nobody attacked Clinton for his “4 trips” vs “27 entries in the book” statement.

    1. dcblogger

      The is about a heinous criminal that has finally been brought to justice. I suspect that Epstein has arranged things in such a manner that in the event of his sudden death everything would come out and the only possibility of a cover up is his continued existence. We need to know the names of ALL those involved, not just the politicians and celebrities. We need to know the names of the banksters, CEOs, big shot lawyers, everyone.

      1. cuibono

        yep, no way he does not have a fail safe. If he appears to die imo it will be that he has been made to appear to die.
        the chance of the real meat of this seeing the light of day is not large. Cuibono?

            1. Bill Smith

              If he had one, under what conditions would it be released? It looks like it isn’t being in jail.

    2. neo-realist

      The GOP base knows that Trump is a notorious womanizer, with women of various ages, but it doesn’t matter to them. It’s about having a President that hates the blacks, the left, the illegal immigrants, and the push for redistributive economic policies that tax wealthier people and benefit poorer people, just like it does, for the most part.

    3. Dan

      Those passenger logs are signed by the pilot and are serious stuff.
      No pilot will face possible revocation of pilot’s license for life. Bill Clinton was on 27 flights, for “whatever reason.”

      Also, notice how Epstein’s girlfriend, Maxwell, has connections to ocean environmental groups? Never seacoasts, always international waters for cleanup or whatever.

      So, is it illegal to screw a 12 year old in international waters?
      I suggest that oil platforms beyond the national sovereignty of a nation are a likely location for this stuff. Do oil companies and the people that control them ever break the law? People Do.

      1. BoyDownTheLane

        In re: Epstein, readers might search for Hagopin’s A-Z sourcebook exposing the global pedophilia epidemic entitled Pedophilia and Empire: Satan, Sodomy; the Deep State.

        The book can be read for free at or 

        The first twenty-six chapters selling for .99 each on Amazon Kindle remain best sellers in both politics and child advocacy categories.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Jeff Wells at the blog Rigorous Intuition 2.0 has written posts about this sort of thing as well.
          They are scattered over several categories instead of having a category of their own.

    4. David Mills

      Evil thought so forgive me…

      Trump could offer Epstein a pardon in exchange for Epstein burning the other team. Assuming of course that the charges are Federal.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Naked man visits shops in Bennington”

    Gee, what else can you say when a naked man comes into your place of business?
    ‘Umm. What else did you get for Christmas?’

    And when I read that article name “Chinese Scientists Say They’ve Found a Safer Alternative to CRISPR” for a moment I thought that it said “Chinese Scientists Say They’ve Found a Safer Alternative to CalPERS”

        1. Dan

          So, if he was naked, where was he carrying the money to pay for his coffee and what about the car keys?

    1. JCC

      The Bennington story reminds me of a famous story told among the people of Watkins Glen, NY (pop. 2000) during the the influx of 600,000 concert goers for the 1973 Summer Jam Concert at the WG Race Track.

      A naked, except for wearing one shoe, man walked into the local Butcher/Deli Shop.

      The owner, a pretty low key guy, gave him a calm once-over look and said, “Lost a shoe, eh?”. The guy replied, “Nope, found one.”

    2. Wukchumni

      @ one of our favorite haunts-Saline hot springs, you’d feel out of place if you had a stitch of clothing on whilst soaking. I’d guess 8 out of 10 are attired in their own skin, and i’ve always thought that the conversations were made more interesting there, by the idea that you’ve stripped away inhibition, like so many clean slates.

      1. The Rev Kev

        It must have been like that in the Roman baths when people from all the classes, male and female, stripped down to enjoy the waters together. In earlier times in Rome, it must have helped with bonding the different communities.

    3. ewmayer

      The fellow was an NCer, clearly – just out and about, wanting to engage in some naked capitalism!

  3. Sionnach Liath

    Re: ‘Countering Shariah and Terrorism.’ If you take the time to read the publication mentioned in the publication, “Shariah: The Threat to America” you will understand the real threat represented by the growing Muslim presence in the U.S. “…shariah is an immutable, compulsory system that Muslims are obliged to install and the world required to adopt, the failure to do so being deemed a damnable offense against Allah…Shariah is not a private matter…It is impossible, they maintain for alternative legal systems and forms of governments peacefully to coexist with the end-state they seek…” (op.cit. pg 6)

      1. flora

        adding: Yesterdays WC comments had a link to the full Henry Wallace 1944 NYT article. Found myself thinking of you guys and your sponsors when I was reading that article. odd.

        1. Louis Fyne

          That link led to a 2017 op-ed by Wallace’s grandson. The 2017 op-ed hada dead 404 liink which i presume led to the original source material. Still didn’t see a primary source for that 1944 op-ed

          Didn’t pursue it further. Just saying.

            1. flora

              an aside for young historians in the readership:

              The above link is a ‘secondary’ source, a re-posting from the FERI (Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute – FERI) website that seems to no longer exist. If you are interested in the exact primary source you can order a copy of or see the original image of the NYT April 9, 1944, page 7, article here (if you have a subscription):

              Or, you can visit any large uni or public library and ask for the microfiche roll containing that newpaper edition and read it on the microfiche reader and take a copy. Not everything is on the web. Things that are on the web today might not be on the web 10 years from now.

      2. flora

        Trivia: if your name is Gaelic it means something like Grey Fox – if online translations are accurate.

    1. mle in detroit

      Umm, you need to spend some quality time in Dearborn, Michigan. It’s amazing what a couple of generations of exposure to American freedom, multiculturalism, and opportunity can do.

      1. anon in so cal

        Haven’t had enough coffee yet, but Dearborn, Michigan, home of the one of the UAW’s previously most effective and militant union locals, has had many second- and third-generation Arab Americans in the auto industry. A former UAW International president was, as well.

          1. richard

            man ralph… about as good a man as our country can generate imo
            also james abourezk, the anti-imperialist and anti-zionist former senator from south dakota, is of lebanese descent

    2. Phacops

      I have a greater concern over christians who are deranged enough to think that they have the right to force all others to obey the biased and fanciful interpretation of their bibles. There is an American taliban and they are not muslim.

      But, I also am concerned at immigrants coming from exploitive, caveat-emptor, societies having a negative relationship to the natural world and labor. Haven’t seen anybody look at that. This concerns me as much as the god worriers who use faith as an excuse for their depradations.

      1. muzzie boy

        exploitive, caveat-emptor, societies having a negative relationship to the natural world and labor.

        Yes this is most definitely purely a western import and not at all ever an export going back to colonialism. *rolls eyes*

        Never mind that the anglos systematically backed the most reactionary elements of islam for centuries to cement their global power (read secret affairs by mark curtis: Now we’ve got best friends like the saudis who really do behead and torture nonbelievers… And we dont even have time to get into western support of so many bloodthirsty jihadis, most recently in syria. Just let the muzzies suffer the reactionaries empowered by the west and be sure to blame their inherent savagery for it too!

        It’s thankfully being challened more here on nc these days, but give me a ****ing break with the ahistorical racist nonsense.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Yes, your first paragraph is exactly right: Sharia is a non-starter here, but the christian equivalent is very much a threat.

        As far as the second: it’s a legitimate concern, because people do bring their natal culture with them – it’s been an issue with past waves of immigrants. The saving grace is that their children and grandchildren usually become ultra-American, as someone suggested about the Michigan Arabs. For instance, American Catholics generally (except for Pat Buchanan) take a rather Protestant attitude to church authority. Too bad it isn’t reflected in the hierarchy.

          1. flora

            uh, …what?

            1890’s: no Irish or Blacks need apply.

            1960: Irish American descendant is American President.

            2008: African American descendant is American President.

            2016: US Supreme Court has majority Catholic justices.

            Shorter: Inclusion is a social construct.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            One more comment like that and you will be blacklisted. If you jailbreak, your comments will be ripped out. And if you persist, I will rip out every comment you ever made. It’s easy to do.

            I suggest you read our Policies before commenting again.

    3. Dan

      Sionnach, You have nothing to fear, if the cited article is an example of your opponent’s voices.

      The Moronization of American Journalism is more of a threat to Democracy.
      “Advertising used to allow the publication of news–now “news” allows the publication of advertising.”

      This ‘story’ is just an excuse to post online ads and keep the viewing yokels hooked until the end.

      Notice the short paragraphs for the MTV+ generation without reading and comprehension skills?

      5 paragraphs talking about the “bills” themselves.
      12 paragraphs about the groups behind the 10,000 bills over 8 years.
      27 paragraphs about a bill and efforts to get it introduced.
      8 paragraphs about seven million dollars donated by??
      38 paragraphs about Andy’s Law
      10 paragraphs of a sermon and handwringing about attacks on Muslims; bonus personal anecdote! Never answered, where did the money come from?

      Is this crap written by software? An intern? Or someone paid by the word?

    4. ewmayer

      Grossly misunderstanding/mischaracterizing that which one rails against is a classic tell of a demagogue – in this case, the laughable claim of “immutability”. Let’s see how that holds up – Wikipedia:

      Sharia (/ʃəˈriːə/, Arabic: شريعة‎ [ʃaˈriːʕa]), Islamic law or Sharia law is a religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition.[1] It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith. In Arabic, the term sharīʿah refers to God’s immutable divine law and is contrasted with fiqh, which refers to its human scholarly interpretations.[2][3][4] The manner of its application in modern times has been a subject of dispute between Muslim fundamentalists and modernists.[5][1]

      Traditional theory of Islamic jurisprudence recognizes four sources of sharia: the Quran, sunnah (authentic hadith), qiyas (analogical reasoning),[note 1] and ijma (juridical consensus).[7] Different legal schools—of which the most prominent are Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali and Jafari—developed methodologies for deriving sharia rulings from scriptural sources using a process known as ijtihad.[2][3] Traditional jurisprudence (fiqh) distinguishes two principal branches of law, ʿibādāt (rituals) and muʿāmalāt (social relations), which together comprise a wide range of topics.[2][4] Its rulings are concerned with ethical standards as much as with legal norms,[8][9] assigning actions to one of five categories: mandatory, recommended, neutral, abhorred, and prohibited.[2][3][4] Thus, some areas of sharia overlap with the Western notion of law while others correspond more broadly to living life in accordance with God’s will.[3]

      Classical jurisprudence was elaborated by private religious scholars, largely through legal opinions (fatwas) issued by qualified jurists (muftis). It was historically applied in sharia courts by ruler-appointed judges, who dealt mainly with civil disputes and community affairs.[2][4] Sultanic courts, the police and market inspectors administered criminal justice, which was influenced by sharia but not bound by its rules.[10][4] Non-Muslim (dhimmi) communities had legal autonomy to adjudicate their internal affairs.[3] Over the centuries, Sunni muftis were gradually incorporated into state bureaucracies,[11] and fiqh was complemented by various economic, criminal and administrative laws issued by Muslim rulers.[12] The Ottoman civil code of 1869–1876 was the first partial attempt to codify sharia.[13]

      In the modern era, traditional laws in the Muslim world have been widely replaced by statutes inspired by European models.[3][14] Judicial procedures and legal education were likewise brought in line with European practice.[3] While the constitutions of most Muslim-majority states contain references to sharia, its classical rules were largely retained only in personal status (family) laws.[3] Legislators who codified these laws sought to modernize them without abandoning their foundations in traditional jurisprudence.[3][13] The Islamic revival of the late 20th century brought along calls by Islamist movements for full implementation of sharia, including hudud corporal punishments, such as stoning.[3][13] In some cases, this resulted in traditionalist legal reform, while other countries witnessed juridical reinterpretation of sharia advocated by progressive reformers.[3][13][15] Some Muslim-minority countries recognize the use of sharia-based family laws for their Muslim populations.[16][17] Sharia also continues to influence other aspects of private and public life.

      I see human interpretation and legal reforms – some of the demodernization kind, no doubt – at every turn there.

      And in some key aspects of modern life in the West we could use a return to biblical law – Jesus railed against usury, but usury and debt slavery pervade the western neoliberal economic paradigm. My understanding of Islamic finance – the experts will please correct me if I’m wrong – is that it has much stronger protections against that evil.

      1. anonymous

        The virulent hatred from Christians for MLK jr was just as strong for his Gospel praxis as for his race.

  4. Eclair

    RE: Hundreds of PA, NJ women tout Trump’s presidency.

    We are living in Trump country, here in Chautauqua County, NY, and, just on our town’s southern border, is Warren County, PA, home of even more Trumpians.

    When my husband’s cousin, the farmer died (at age 58, overweight, diabetic and burdened with a health insurance policy that only kicked in after an insanely high deductible, thus precluding visits for preventive/maintenance care), his memorial service, in the Methodist church (well, the only church) in his tiny hamlet, was a low-key Republican rally. The minister and two of the speakers talked openly of how great it was that the deceased had been a Republican. The one speaker linked it with our cousin’s final ‘acceptance of Jesus as his personal savior,’ after a lifetime of avoiding church, except for Christmas and Easter. With a remarkable tolerance for gays, immigrants and a woman’s right to abortion. But, they got him at the end, on his deathbed.

    This is an area in which there are no decent jobs, unless you work for the government. Or are a lawyer or physician or dentist (and people’s dentition is terrible; missing teeth or dentures at an early age.) Or, if you’re a young male, you work away from home on the pipelines. As for immigrants and African Americans, they’re here to take our jobs. The racism, if not explicit, is just under the surface and expressed in coded language.

    We are a six hour drive from NYC, even closer to Albany, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, but there is a huge suspicion or ‘big city liberals.’ With cause, in many cases.

  5. Louis Fyne

    Yes, when pundits/people call everyone, everything racist that label doesn’t matter.

    That happened to my (former non-poltical) policeman brother. Often called a racist during arrests, which really bothered hom at first when he just started.

    Now doesn’t give a —–family blog—– and sarcastically embraces it

  6. timbers

    Labor fight roils Bernie Sanders campaign, as workers demand the $15 hourly pay the candidate has proposed for employees nationwide – The Washington Post. UserFriendly: “Title should be ‘Bernie implements union and uses collective bargaining mechanism as it was designed, but at least he still hires Narcs.’”

    Yesterday at the office, a division next to where I work has a super friendly group of folks who talk all day rather loudly as they work. Every topic comes up. One lady in particular has a voice that carries. At times you hear them reading questions about old TV shows, trivia, etc as members of the group jump in to see who can answer the quickest. I enjoy hearing them in background because it’s so not-caproate-politcally-correct, though politics almost never comes up.

    Politics did come yesterday with Loud Voice Lady taking about “Bernie’s not paying $15/her” and “Socialized medicine you’ve to have rocks in your head” and “Just look at Venezuela it’s all screwed up.” and talk of which TV news anchors are bad because they secretly “progressive and Democrat.” I held my tough, but appreciate the open atmosphere.

    This made me think about how best to hit home common sense ideas. I’ve tried the “America saves almost $2 for every $1 it spends on expanding Medicare for all” and most common response is “That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.”

    I call that a victory because I tell myself – right or wrongly – “he’s going to think about that” in the future. He’ll remember what I said.

    Hope Bernie keeps it simple. No expert here, but keeping it simple and to the point and staying away from calling everyone a racist – which seems to be in vogue at the moment in Washington – will just drown out the important message and distract everyone which is what the Establishment wants.

    As an aside, as I walk my dog with some retired people and talk with them, they express “left” views on ending wars and global warming and many are Republican and don’t like being called racist by folks in Washington.

      1. Dan

        “Conniving Neocon News”

        “Collectivized NeoKahn Nudges”

        “Combating Nascent Normalization”

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Yeah, people shouldn’t be made aware of stories before elections. That’s how journalism works. The NYT did the “journalistic” thing when it sat on Shrub’s warrantless wiretapping before the 2004 election because it might affect the election.

      1. notabanker

        I was in my early 20’s when the Berlin Wall came down. Never would I have contemplated that I would see a time where the Russian sponsored media was more trustworthy and accurate than their US counterparts. But here we are. It’s really quite incredible.

        1. Olga

          Yes, although from what we now know (and have known for many years) about Mockingbird and other western efforts to manipulate news, I wonder whether “US counterparts” were ever more credible.

            1. Wukchumni

              The Soviet people knew they were being lied to, which led to them coming up with incredible jokes stating so much.

              Where are similar jokes being told between Americans, about us being lied to?

              We pretend everything still works, and they pretend to pay attention to us.

    1. Off The Street

      That nice kitty was having a leisurely stroll through the woods when a large drop of water landed right on its nose. That was a purr-kill.

    2. Howard Beale IV

      That Himalayan reminds me of my late cat Minuet. Now I’m owned by a 16-year old rescued Persian named Ozzie.

  7. Ed

    “The Exploitation Time Bomb Project Syndicate”

    This is one of the best articles I’ve read on the links here. One point the author makes is that while western governments have been able to maintain high levels of social expenditure, they are increasingly unable to take their wealthy and corporations. The difference is made up with debt and taxing the middle class. Increasingly, middle class income comes from taking on debt too. However, throughout history, failure to tax the barons has been a persistent sign of impending collapse for regimes. Either the central government eventually goes bankrupt, or the barons increasingly ignore it and set up on their own.

  8. Ed

    “Trump steps up attacks on minority congresswomen The Hill”

    This is not new, see for example FDR’s jibes at “Martin, Barton, and Fish”.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Mayor Pete is running for Hollywood in a lousy movie set up to be Oscar bait and then quickly forgotten.

      “Obviously, Mayor Pete was a symbolic representation for Barack Obama, but they didn’t want the movie to be too tied to current events so that it would become dated. Though much like “Cats the Movie Musical or Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie which of course swept all the awards, many people should have stopped and asked, ‘why’?” -future movie critic on the Barack Obama streaming show for Netflix

      1. John

        Mayor Pete; all hat and no cattle?

        Was his “tour” in Afghanistan the real thing or was he checking off the ‘veteran thing’ on his resume´?

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Unless youre an 88M, 13F, 11B (Truck Driver, Field Artillery, Infrantry), youre a FOBBIT aka in the rear with the gear aka never leave the tiny base youre at!

                  1. The Rev Kev

                    Modesty forbids me from saying what it stands for but a quick Google search will show you what it means. It was a very common term in this era and I once heard a story about a patrol out in the boonies in ‘Nam. A guy, who was on point, turned around and said to the rest of the patrol “Hey, what are all you REMFs doing so far back?”

        2. WheresOurTeddy

          guys who do it for love of country and not crass careerist maneuvering totally join the military in their late 20s after working at McKinsey.

        3. Procopius

          My last assignment in the Army before I retired was with a transportation battalion, i.e. trucks. Elsewhere I never heard of an officer driving. Usually a commanding officer’s driver would be a Spec 4. Maybe even a PFC. My gross speculation is that they gave him that job because he was considered a danger to life and limb if he was put in charge of people.

    2. Off The Street

      So much of politics falls into a willing suspension of disbelief or even incredulity. Some alien visitor would look at the individuals and assemblages of dunces and ask what happened to audience critical thinking and perception skills.

          1. WheresOurTeddy

            hey now, let’s not let the religious homeschooler contingent whose highest priority is their children being clones of themselves off the hook

            1. ambrit

              There is also an old Hippy hangeroners homeschooling contingent. I speak from experience.

      1. Wukchumni

        We go over every candidate for political office to make sure they have no readily apparent flaws that would disqualify them for office, and then end up with the most flawed group of individuals imaginable.

        1. ex-PFC Chuck

          We go over every candidate for political office to make sure they have no readily apparent flaws that would disqualify them for office but with hidden skeletons that can be used to keep them in line, and then end up with the most flawed group of individuals imaginable.
          Fixed it for ya.

          1. Dan


            Peter Dale Scott was the first political philosopher to articulate that.
            “No one is allowed to rise very high in politics unless they have an exploitable flaw that can be used to keep them in line.”

            Richard Nixon’s accepting the envelopes of cash for distribution to regional politicians was one such created item.

            The opposite of that was the creation of fake Alabama Air National Guard papers that Dan Rather accepted, hook, line and sinker. These were easily reputable, and allowed W’s chickenhawk draft dodging to be to easily ignored, in spite of evidence that proved it, but no one would look at, after Rather’s fall from grace.

            See Family of Secrets by Russ Baker for details of this and much, much more.

            1. Chris Cosmos

              Thank you. Peter Dale Scott is the creator or at least one of the creator’s of the term “Deep Politics” which is the only politics worth anything.

    3. ewmayer

      Good article, with one example of an “uhhh…” phrasing :)

      Just before seeking a second term as South Bend mayor in 2016, Buttiegieg decided it was high time to come out as a gay man. The reader on the East or West coasts might be amazed that he waited so long. How could he have? Closeted throughout college and graduate school (at Oxford, no less!), through three years as a McKinsey consultant, then as a Navy officer, and finally as a politician and mayor of South Bend for four years? There is a fairy-tale quality to much of his narrative…

  9. nothing but the truth

    the problem with 15$ min wage is
    1. many mom and pop businesses will shut down. Mine probably will. customers just wont take that kind of price raise.
    2. larger companies like McDonalds will go desperately to robots.
    3. Likes of Walmart have already cut down cashiers to one or two lanes. Everyone else is now self scan.

    1. pretzelattack

      mcdonald’s is already going eagerly to robots, and not out of fear of minimum wage hikes . walmart’s self scan machines are often shut down for long periods. minimum wage employees are potential customers, too

      1. nothing but the truth

        mcdonald’s is already going eagerly to robots, and not out of fear of minimum wage hikes .

        do you work at McD head office or what? how do you know their motive?

        walmart’s self scan machines are often shut down for long periods.

        not true at all.

        minimum wage employees are potential customers, too

        Yes. first, a lot of mom & pops will shut down. That will cause a feedback effect.

        Eventually some of them will come back as the price levels rise.

        In the meantime we will all eat cake.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Huh? Did you miss McDonald’s supports raising the minimum wage and has officially stopped fighting increasing it to $15 an hour

      And I hate to tell you but if you can’t pay your workers $15 an hour, you don’t have a real business.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        And plus wasnt there a study showing price increases would average out to Nickel-Quarter range!

      2. WheresOurTeddy

        one recalls an article a few years back that had McDonald’s employees in Denmark making $18-$19 an hour and items costing about $0.15-$0.20 more in comparison to the US.

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        And I hate to tell you but if you can’t pay your workers $15 an hour, you don’t have a real business.

        That really is the point, isn’t it?

        Walmart, McDonalds et al. can easily “afford” to pay their employees the $15 living wage but don’t have to because they can hide behind the skirts of small “business,” the job creators and fabled entrepreneurs who can’t, and loudly proclaim their imminent demise at the slightest suggestion that they should.

        Small business owners whose business models depend on taxpayer support to keep their employees coming to work may want to rethink what will happen when the big corporations see the writing on the wall and switch sides in the living wage debate as McDonalds has done. The PR upside alone is huge and likely worth the price, especially if they actually do intend to automate part of their labor force away.

        But one thing these corporations like even less than paying labor is paying taxes. You know, those things that small business counts on to supplement inadequate wages with services. Those would seem to be one tax or budget cut away from becoming an unreliable existential subsidy. (MMT notwithstanding.)

      4. Monty

        Exactly. Don’t be greedy and exploitative. Just do the tasks yourself, if a paying a living wage means you go bankrupt. No matter how much of a sweet ‘mom and pop’ you think you are, I am sure nobody will miss being an employee, working for peanuts, in your business.

      5. nothing but the truth

        And I hate to tell you but if you can’t pay your workers $15 an hour, you don’t have a real business.

        Thanks for your, uh, empathy. I know i should have bought those single family rentals instead during the crash.

        My business is legally required to keep a certain ratio of employees. Even if i could afford to, I can’t use robots. Its good to know McD supports 15$ an hour while planning to eliminate most 15$ jobs. Makes good press, helps avoid liberal bullies.

        Most of my revenue comes from the govt. They have not raised rates for 2 decades (right). Till now we have managed to survive essentially by cutting down on non-essentials like repairs and re-investment. My customers have no ability or willingness to pay. The business exists basically to serve below poverty line customers (and creates them as well, because just based on the state subsidies, it is impossible to pay much higher than the min wage).

        Almost all the jobs created post GFC have been of this nature. Fast foods, gas stations etc which are the main small businesses are in this category.

        Sorry folks, reports from the trenches are not very positive. I wish it was otherwise.

    3. Aumua

      It may affect some small businesses in that way, but here’s the other side: It brings more money into the community than it takes out through the larger corporate employers like Walmart paying its employees more. They truly CAN afford to pay it, and that is money that would otherwise be whisked away to some corporate headquarters. So people have more scratch locally, and if you have to raise your prices a bit then they’ll still buy your product if you are selling something they want.

      I’d say that self scan is happening regardless, so don’t put the cart before the horse there.

    4. John k

      Your competitors will have to pay the same.
      Customers can’t afford it and will choose to do without whatever you’re selling?
      Not logical – your customers are workers, too. Don’t know what you’re paying now, but the fed min is about 7.50/hr, meaning in some places the lowest paid workers will see their salary double even as only a portion of your costs go up. So your business would logically increase.
      And some business, such as McDonald’s, seem to have done the math, they support it… granted this is a business that does not face foreign competition.
      The concern might be for a business already struggling with foreign competition… which is why tariffs are long overdue, particularly on labor intensive industries.

  10. Swamp Yankee

    1. Yves, I’d just add that, while NYC may not have been brutalized yet, this corner of coastal New England (Plymouth County, MA) is noticeably hotter than it ever was before. It’s not so much points of extremity over 100F, though those do occur more frequently now; it’s more that, and I think this is consistent with what you are saying, that where a summer used to be characterized by 1 or 2 periods over say 82F, now that is the norm. We are really not well equipped up here for extended periods of 88F here.

    I also notice a difference in visits to Maine (above Portland) in the summertime. They still have Canadian high pressure air. There is something about that beautiful Canadian dry air that you can quite literally smell; it’s lovely. We get that very little here now compared to my childhood in the 80s and 90s. More often tropical airs, which are hellish.

    On the other hand, on the whole the climate here seems to be shifting in a maritime (think Ireland, Norway, Scotland) direction. Foggy all year round. Growing seasons are in fact longer, which I’ve taken advantage of with my potatoes and corn.

    Nevertheless, the summer here in MA is now something to be endured rather than enjoyed. Plus sharks in the water! Great!

    2. I lived in Southeast Michigan. Mle in detroit is correct. Muslim are as American as apple pie — or lamb kafta kabob! Enough with this Shariah nonsense. And shall we talk Canon Law, and the existence of an organized conspiracy to commit child-rape that has existed in the heart of American life for decades and decades and decades? Give me a break.

    3. Re: the Naked Man in the lovely town of Bennington: here’s Randy Newman on the subject:

    1. sleepy

      Ahem, the extent of the heat wave is unusual, but at least in NYC, the top temps aren’t. The high will be 99 on Sat. So? When I came to NYC in 1980, through at least the early 1990s, there would be at least one 2 or more day heat wave when the daily high would be 100 degrees or higher, as much as 103.

      I remember walking around lower Manhattan in c. 1987 with my wife and saw a clock/temperature sign that said 103. Even worse, it was pouring down rain and we had just bought a sidewalk vendor umbrella which promptly broke after a couple of blocks. We just laughed and threw the umbrellas away since we were drenched in sweat anyway so the rain didn’t much matter.

      Oh, and the friend we stayed with lived in an un-airconditioned fifth floor walkup on Ave. A!

      1. shtove

        Very similar experience here! Imagine the terror of a pasty, sweaty Irishman seeing what looked like a flying cockroach for the first time and trying to trap it under a wicker bread-basket, only to see it forcing its way out through the gaps. But, in general, Elizabeth St was a pleasant experience, even without air con.

        1. jax

          If we’re talking NYC, summer often is brutal there for the 50 plus years I’ve known about. It’s the heat island effect –

          “The Environmental Protection Agency describes heat islands as urban areas, populated with over a million people, where the average air temperature is 1.8 to 5.4 degrees warmer than surrounding areas (and 22 degrees warmer at night).”

          In 1966 The Loving Spoonful nailed Manhattan –

          Hot town, summer in the city
          Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
          Been down, isn’t it a pity
          Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city
          All around, people looking half-dead
          Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head

    2. Summer

      RE: “US STOCKS-Wall St falls as Fed signals smaller rate cut Reuters” (furzy)

      A good deal of this freaking out over interest rates has a lot to do with people and institutions that borrow to buy stocks and securities.

      The “dark patterns” discussed in smartphones, Vegas (slot machines, etc), video games are all over trading.

      For crying out loud…

      It’s never too late.

  11. Hank Linderman

    Wendell Berry is a national treasure. During my run for Congress in 2018, I was introduced to his writing by a farmer who told me “Wendell is, in my opinion, the greatest Kentuckian who has ever lived. Either Abraham Lincoln or Muhammed Ali would be the second, and I’m not sure which one it would be”.

    I read “What Matters”, it is filled with wisdom regarding our relationship with the land. One bit that sticks is, “Whatever is taken from the earth must be returned to the earth”. Obviously, we have failed that responsibility and that bill is coming due.


    1. Craig H.

      I consider Lincoln a Washingtonian and Ali a cosmopolitan and the greatest Kentuckian with .99999 probability was Daniel Boone. Berry is surely near the top of the list.

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Thanks for this!!!

      My DSA in NOLA is helping a local farmer with her campaign for Louisiana Agricultural Commissioner. Her slogan is Food Farms Cannabis and Climate.

      Geaux Marguerite Green! Ill def ask her if shes heard of Wendell Berry.

    3. WheresOurTeddy

      Berry is indeed a national treasure, but “Kentuckian”, like “Hoosier”, is a granfalloon

  12. Brindle

    re: Sanders and campaign workers..

    Bernie getting very bad coverage here—his staff should have been on top of this months ago. Can guess that during the debate next week that “moderators” will ask Sanders a question about this rather than health care. I know the media deck is stacked against his campaign–that is why there is no room for unforced errors.

    1. Off The Street

      Bernie’s workers are so underpaid that they have to eat their own dog food. :/ lol

      1. pretzelattack

        bernie’s plan of unionizing his workers paying off for them, right? meanwhile enough workers are underpaid across the board to torpedo the clinton campaign and elect that clown trump. :/ lol.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Swedes are getting implants in their hands to replace cash, credit cards”

    Gives a whole new twist to the possibilities of the term “body hack” now, doesn’t it?

  14. Joey

    Re: cigarette butts-
    Ban them! Unlike, say, plastic needle caps, there is no health benefit to the general population incurred offsetting the pollution. People know smoking is a dangerous personal choice, so bring back the tar and immediately ban filtered cigarettes.

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      Nesting birds know to put cigarrette butts around the perimeter of the nest because it kills parasites that would otherwise bother them. But at what cost?

    2. Wukchumni

      Cigarette butts are by far the most common item I pick up when doing road clean up on Hwy 198, the last haul was 187 of them.

      Cars haven’t come with ashtrays for a long time now, probably one of the main reasons for so many of them littering the road.

      1. Howard Beale IV

        When was the last time you saw any car with an actual cigarette lighter (never mind the cigarette lighter jack?)

        1. petal

          My ’98 Volvo has both a lighter and an ash tray. The ash tray smoothly slides out when you push a button-very fancy.

        2. John A

          The cigarette lighter socket can be used to plug in a GPS system in my 15 year old car that is still going strong.

          1. Anon

            That lighter socket can easily be replaced with a USB socket that also gives you the status of your car battery and charges your smartphone (also a GPS device).

      2. Oregoncharles

        Once had a car ashtray catch fire on a cross-country trip – no, it wasn’t me smoking. That was a long time ago.

        I think all our cars have both an ashtray and a cigarette lighter, which I guess says a lot. How do you plug in devices with no lighter?

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Health Care”

    Over the years some of the worst stories and anecdotes I have heard to do with the United States were about health care – or the absence thereof. I am willing to bet that there are plenty of people here on NC that could give chapter and verse of what they and their families have encountered. So maybe it is time to get brutal and start doing some cost-benefit studies on plans offered by some of those candidates. This is how it would work out. A quick study should be able to work out what health care would be like in the United States if everybody had full health coverage and what the real death rate should be. So as each candidate stepped up, such as Biden, he would be asked the following question:

    “Mr. Biden, under your Bidencare, how many Americans would die each and every year because they had no or insufficient cover and how many people would be impoverished due to it?”

    No, I am not kidding nor being facetious. This is what it is really all about. You could do the figures on the present Obamacare and also do projections what it would be like if the United States adopted the health care system of countries like the UK, Germany, Australia, etc. Can you imagine if Sanders came forward and said that the present health care system is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people each and every year? That the costs of all these deaths must surely run into the tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars in costs to the general economy annually? Make the other side defend all those deaths and billions of dollars lost in public. Expose them for who and what they are.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


        Its so weird to me how these candidates dont attack!!!!

        We use strong words and air out grievances so we dont hav to use our fists.

        Americans – and the Workers of the World – are one big family now thanks to the Internet. We should embrace this instead of getting tribal.

        Time to start talking about ALL THE UNCOMFORTABLE STUFF.

        1. Procopius

          I remember in 2010 being baffled by the utter lack of Democrats selling the ACA. They were obsessed by the need to run away from it, which, of course, contributed to people believing it was terrible. I just thought that was one of the big reasons for the success of the Tea Party. I compared it to anti-communism. After the McCarthy/HUAC/John Birch Society years I firmly believe(d) that the anti-communists felt incredibly guilty about the way they exploited people and thought that, if given the slightest chance, the Communists would make people realize that and bring about The Revolution. I see the same mechanism in the New Democrats now.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            This is the exact same thing i experienced as well!!!
            Im like why is Obama meeting with Billy Tauzin from PhRMA?!!!!
            And why does Obama just straightup give away the high ground to Boehner/McConnell???
            Took me a few more years to figure out that Obama was a NeoCon.

    1. shinola

      Not sure how to put a dollar figure on unnecessary deaths, but for the currently living:

      “…a new study from the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst finds that single-payer health care will save the US $5.1 trillion over a decade while drastically cutting working-class Americans’ health spending. It’s the most robust, comprehensive study yet…”

      That’s from a link in the ‘Jacobin’ article linked above under Health Care (The 5 biggest Lies Joe Biden Is Telling…). The article does not mention the costs of unnecessary deaths, so those costs would be in addition to the cost of taking care of the living.

    2. Eduardo

      Sanders plan would add billions dollars of additional cost to the social security system. Who talks about that? Selfish old people (like Sanders!) living long enough to collect social security and collecting it longer is just another way of stealing from the Boot-edge-edge generation.

      Biden, on the other hand, is fine with his generation giving back to the younger generation through pre-mature deaths.


    3. Oh

      Logic doesn’t get anywhere with these clowns who buy off on the corporate propaganda. They’ve been pushing the memes for a long time. It’s time to go on the attack and start with worthless Obamacare. Sanders is afraid to criticize Obamacare and the atrocities of his administration. If Obamacare was so great how come so may people want M4A? Time to stop being nice to the DimRat stooges.

  16. John Beech

    First saw the bonus video on reddit and remember thinking, that cat has style!

    Interesting article on Mayor Pete. Can’t help but reflect on how the author admits to not reading his employer’s books. Meanwhile, the young guy who went to Oxford, joined the reserves and served in the sand box did. My conclusion? Someone who uses words to inflict a paper cut vs. someone who does things, comes off the worse for the comparison and isn’t worthy of carrying the mayor’s bucket of water.

    Me? I’d still rather have Bernie, but if push come to shove and the mayor of South Bend is the candidate, then the young man can’t be faulted for sitting on his hind end and letting life come to him because it seems he’s gone looking for the brass ring. Good on him.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Ok, ill bite. If Mayo Pete comes out against all our Regime Change Wars i might consider voting for him.

      My hesitation is that he reeks of Establishment Status Quo. Id rather him be State schooled, Enlisted, and Avg Worker.

      1. Oh

        Even if he says he’s against wars, for M4A and a host of other progressive policies why you want to believe him? We’ve had enough of these fakers and their lies.

      2. richard

        his background reeks particularly to me of langley, and he hasn’t given a straight answer yet, just posing himself in a variety of donor pleasing positions, hoping one of them will also connect with voters
        they don’t (and never will) because he’s not urgent about anything, he just doesn’t match our time
        no way is my 2 cents

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Trump steps up attacks on ‘Squad'”

    He just can’t help himself, can he? He will gladly send the country into partisan infighting just to better his chances of winning a second term. No “better angels of our nature” with him. I had an idle thought earlier. Can you imagine what it would have been like if Donald Trump had gone back in time to 1860 and gotten himself elected President of the United States? Can you imagine how things would have worked out with him in charge? I have to admit though, it would make a great movie and I would pay to go see it. But in the present day I would have no confidence in Trump if he was ever in the middle of a real national emergency such as a major war or a deadly flu pandemic or a general recession.

    1. Oh

      I wish I had the power to send him back to the cave man days and watch him get eaten by a lion. It would be youtube sensation video!

      1. ambrit

        Sorry, but some of us are regressing to near cave man days even as we type.
        As for Trumps regression; I’d love to be a shadow on that cave’s wall.

  18. Wukchumni

    I couldn’t imagine the Big Heat combined with humidity, quite the double whammy. 103 is oppressive enough in a ‘dry heat’ here.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Yes, I should have said real problem is heat in places where A/C is not widespread. Although I was once in an apt in the summer when A/C failed, and a super high volume fan right on top of me did a better job of keeping me cool at night. But most fans are not that ferocious.

      1. Wukchumni

        In older homes here that have been around for a couple of turns of century or thereabouts, air conditioning came via trees planted all around the premises providing shade. Sometimes it’s hard to make out where the actual house is, the foliage being so thick.

        When i’d go to Burning Man, the most important thing was your shade structure in keeping you sane, as it’s around the century mark every day, and the nearest tree is over in Gerlach, about 10 miles away.

        Will your shady deal survive gale force dust storms, or be ripped to shreds?

        One of those 10 x 10 foot fold-up shade structures they sell for around $79, might last through the first day of a week of intense Sun, and you’ll see them sometimes flying around low to the ground in a punishing episode of wind, all twisted up from the ride.

      2. Janie

        Remember when Mom used to sprinkle the clothes to be ironed? We used to sprinkle the top sheet before turning on the fan and turning in at night.

        1. Janie

          PS. It cools down at night in Oregon, unlike Oklahoma, so we have an industrial size attic fan. The downstairs is daylight basement, so those bedrooms are a good temp all year. The seller’s realtor almost forgot to mention the fan and seemed unclear on the concept.

      3. richard

        no a/c up here in seattle, like most of the city
        just a couple of big ass fans on high when we go over 90, or 70 at night which is the big issue
        so far it’s worked :/
        well, i haven’t died! so it’s worked in that sense :) it doesn’t work so well in keeping you perfectly comfortable

    2. Carolinian

      When I’m in Arizona I can wash a pair of jeans, put them outside and they will be dry in about 20 minutes.

      Here my outside sensor says the humidity is 96 percent and the sun is shining. However in the summer my AZ friend doesn’t go out after 11 am regardless of the humidity. 115 is like stepping into an oven.

    3. BobW

      You will probably have noticed that old buildings had very high ceilings, well over today’s nominal eight feet, so that hot air collected out of the way; sash windows that could be opened either at the top or the bottom, and some doors had transoms that let the hot air out. Animal burrows often take advantage of passive cooling with one opening down low to let cool air in, and one up high to let hot air out.

    4. elissa3

      Reminds me of the part of one summer we spent in our apartment in NYC in 1954. (Every other summer we were lucky enough to spend in the Berkshires at 1,000′). No AC in our apartment, so we (my mother and toddler brother) would crowd into the shower and turn on the cold water. We were pretty happy to decamp up north in August. Now, in high desert New Mexico we’re experiencing our first “heat wavelet”–topping out around 92. At night, we open our windows to get the 60 or upper 50s breeze. A tiny minority have AC here, whereas the internet says 84% of households in the US have it. How many of what I call “artificial cities”–Phoenix, Miami, Houston, etc.–will make it in the coming years?

      1. petal

        Very good question, elissa3. I have a new young roommate straight out of undergrad. Had to explain to her about the close the windows in the morning to keep the heat out, open them at night to let the cool air in concept. She had no idea as she grew up with central air down on LI. This practice seems like a foreign concept to so many younger people I come across, so maybe this is falling in line with the 84% of households have AC stat you mention. We never had AC when I was a kid (in the 80s-early 90s). Heck, my only bedroom window didn’t even open. I have a window AC box in the bedroom now because of my senior dogs, but I hate using it. Prefer a box fan, if anything. Currently 92/heat index 99(northern NH), dewpoint is 69. Ick.

        1. ambrit

          That’s insane! We are having very similar conditions here in the Deep South.
          Although, now that I think on it, the Hitchcock film “Rear Window” was set in the middle of a Northeastern city during a similar heat wave. I agree about the bedroom air conditioner. I never saw the utility of whole house mechanical air conditioning.
          I’ll hazard a guess that mechanical air conditioning is at the mercy of energy costs. The Ancients, ie. anyone before about 1850’s range, relied on passive systems. I don’t remember reading in history class about their extinction from heat related causes.

          1. Jeff W

            …now that I think on it, the Hitchcock film “Rear Window” was set in the middle of a Northeastern city during a similar heat wave…

            The address in the film is referred to as 125 West 9th Street, in Greenwich Village, New York, a street address which doesn’t actually exist—although there is a (one-block-long) West 9th Street whose numbers range only into the 60s.

            The actual building, on which the cinematic building, with the shared courtyard, is based, is located right nearby at 125 Christopher Street.

    5. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Dad almost passed out at work laying tile/coping on a new pool on the Northshore. Its def hotter out there!!

  19. bruce

    Cigarette butts/plant growth: I used to smoke cigarettes. Then I switched to cigarillos, which are pure tobacco with no butts or additives and a healthier alternative to cigarettes. One difference is, cigarillos go out if you don’t smoke them for about sixty seconds, but cigarettes will burn right down to the butt, because the companies that make them don’t want you to have the option of relighting it five minutes later. I thought cigarillos would be more expensive, but since I get them off the internet, it’s actually cheaper.

    Swedes/cash/chips: Does the chip go on the right hand or the forehead? Now you’re allowed to buy and sell! How much money are you willing to pay me to generate a local EMP that would wipe the data on your adversary’s chip? This system better be robust, considering the consequences of failure. What could possibly go wrong? Everything’s up to date in Stockholm City, they’ve gone about as fur as they can go!

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      the filter is a major pollutant, but nicotine is what drives the bird’s pests away and may also be affecting the plants. The entire product is able to cause harm when released in the environment.

  20. edmondo

    ….a company that gave $1M to Trump Inauguration. This is outrageous”

    I apologize for the confusion on my part but we are talking Democrats here. Is Congressman Levin’s outrage directed at Trump for taking a million dollar bribe or is it directed at Dow Chemical because the Dems didn’t get any of that loot?

    1. ewmayer

      Ah, yes, that paragon of virtue Carl Levin, who takes beacoup bucks from “lawyers and law firms”, the for-profit healthcare industry and the Israel lobby.

      And here is Opensecrets on Dow Chemical — Dems get plenty from Dow, though the “Totals” numbers on that page don’t seem to match the 2018/2020-breakdown numbers, so take with a grain of salt.

  21. CoryP

    I mostly just lurk here but seems like in the past three months the troll population has increased. That was what I came here to say… but to offer something for the commentariat,
    Whitney Webb over at MintPress has what looks to be an interesting series on Epstein. Only part 1 of which is up so far

    I’m not qualified to assess her credibility but I thought it was an interesting read and I’ve liked her other stuff.

    1. Stephen V.

      I read it yesterday Cory. Seems like I saw the young lady on twitter say she *read 5 books* for that piece. Indeed she did.
      Quite the history of blackmail putting Epstein in context.

      1. CoryP

        My sarcasm detector must be faulty because this seems like a praiseful comment, yet when you phrase it that way…. I mean, reading 5 books is surely what many of the commenters here do on a good week, and it doesn’t seem all that impressive if one is doing an investigative piece and all the info is coming from books that have gone through the whole publishing process years ago.

        But agreed a good history of blackmail that I for one didn’t know much about at least.

    2. Aumua

      Well the far right is a growing presence here, and although they may seem like they are trolling, they actually believe what they are saying in many cases. They do also like trolling too.

      1. CoryP

        Yeah you’re right. And people are adhering to the rules of etiquette. I think I just noticed it because I’m on night shifts and refreshed this page as soon as it appeared and today it seemed like the majority of first-in commenters.

        I love this place though. What an island of sanity in the world.

      2. flora

        NC isn’t a bubble commentariate, imo. I’m glad to read whatever gets through moderation. Sometimes I agree with the main point. Sometimes I disagree. However, if I can’t offer a rational argument for my disagreement then the fault is on me, and I have to work harder to think through the point with which I disagree and why I disagree. Jeez, that’s work! The MSM doesn’t make me do this! ;)

        1. richard

          i’m a better writer and better thinker than i was 3 years ago (when i started visiting here), and i think nc gets substantial credit for that
          “troll” is always the other person; i think that term is not so useful. Like you say, if a comment gets through moderation, it deserves to be taken at face value, not delegitimized because it triggers you
          (we all get triggered in one way or another, there’s no shame)
          we have a lot in common, we’ve all lived through the same betrayals, the same class war, and we all get lied to about it on the regular – always important to remember

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


            I think i started lurking in 2016 after a commenter posted this website on Balloon-Juice. BJ went all in on the BernieBro smear tactics during #Chairgate in Nevada.

  22. Olga

    3 million gallons of untreated sewage spills into Puget Sound The Hill. UserFriendly: “I sure didn’t notice the lights go out. My computer, with no battery has been on the whole time. Pure speculation, but intermittency of renewables problem?”
    Has UF read the article? Nothing in it refers to renewable power, and so the last sentence in the comment makes no sense. Why insert a dig at renewable power? Renewable power in WA is mostly hydro – used for many years and well established.
    In fact, it looks like high wind caused power outages (just because UF did not notice them does not mean there were no outages). Many flights were cancelled:

  23. Roxan

    Wow! Beautiful cats! If I met that lynx in the woods, would he ponder whether I was too large to eat? Those giant paws are so amazing.

  24. petal

    Received a second Tom Steyer flyer in the mail today(the billionaire guy). 2nd one in as many weeks. Have not received one from any other Dem campaign yet(I am in NH).

  25. GERMO

    Hm, anyone else feel like something is happening with the comments section here? I mean, frequent comments arguing basically reactionary positions/propaganda points? I’ve been reading NC for more than ten years…just sayin’

    1. Wukchumni

      I think we’ve been in the ‘hoarse latitudes’ for so long expecting something major to come about, that everybody is in a hurry up & wait situation. Every pseudo crisis peters out, i.e. Brexit, NK, etc.

      1. ambrit

        Oh, I beg to differ about Brexit. I can see that crisis blowing up big time. The “official” response in Britain to the Brexit crisis has been to continually “kick the can down the road.” They are soon going to run out of road to kick down. Come back this time next year and we’ll see how bad off Britain is.

        1. John A

          Yes, agreed, I was also amused by Ken Clarke abbreviating the longstanding ‘kick the can down the road’, to ‘can kicking’.

    2. ambrit

      The arrival of “serious” pushback against Left and Centre comments and posts is a sign that Naked Capitalism is now firmly in the Big Leagues. You don’t think the Kochs, Petersons, and their Fellow Travelers spend all that money on Radio and TV Ads alone, do you? There is a serious and well funded Conservative, actually that should be Reactionary Hasbara operation on the Internet. The theory of Manufacturing Consent must, by definition, involve all forms of public communication.

      1. flora

        Yep, and we’re entering the pres election season (which never seems to end).
        Expect ‘correct the record’ comments. heh.

        1. ambrit

          Oh my, I had thankfully trained myself to ‘forget’ those. Ah, Presidential Election Season in America. Someone needs to do a statistical study on “self medication” as practiced by the commenteriat as a function of election cycles.

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          *Dusts off Shoulders*

          Time to get to work!

          Everyone Fights. No One Quits.
          -Rico ‘Starship Troopers’

      2. WheresOurTeddy

        there’s a reason they don’t call it “Full Spectrum Dominance except for the internet, which we will allow to be the town square of the 21st century”

        1. ambrit

          Yes to that. A lack of precision in speech is a Politico’s best friend.
          Roughly, to be a competent Politico, one has to, first, be all things to all people, and, second, take all things from all people. Another characteristic of the seasoned Politico is the ability to promise everything and deliver nothing.
          D–n! I’m getting too cynical even for myself today.

            1. ambrit

              Looks over right shoulder. Looks over left shoulder. Asks in a hushed whisper, “What makes you say that?”

    3. Brindle

      I agree somewhat. I do notice there seems to be a cranky-flip, cynical libertarian theme of some comments—not sure if that type is growing–definitely not progressive. Would be boring if all comments aligned with my views.

    4. urblintz

      trolls… I’ve seen some of those names over a dkos, waving their partisan pom-poms, celebrating their willful ignorance…

      1. ambrit

        Thanks for the sightings of Trolls in the Wild.
        This could get to be a sport, like birding. A variant definition of ‘trolling.’

    5. jrs

      No, I mean there has always been the occasional Trump fan or apologist, and sure, defending Trump on anything but the most narrow grounds (even a stopped clock ..) is reactionary. But otherwise, the left is rather diverse and you might just be noticing the diversity.

      1. GERMO

        I don’t think I’m mistaking left-diversity vs reactionary talking points

        for example

        the problem with 15$ min wage is
        1. many mom and pop businesses will shut down. Mine probably will.

        althought I know all too well that people can hold such views and think themselves part of a diverse leftish political trend.

        1. Chris

          I just endured two lectures from semi drunken experts on why Mayor Pete will be the savior of the Democrats and the Nation!

          These people went all in for TDS and think they are well informed about everything. They told me we shouldn’t have any more old white guys in office. So I mentioned Tulsi Gabbard, Julian Castro, Andrew Yang, and reminded him that Bernie is Jewish. I received confused silence for the crowd.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            Even Megan Rapinoe of the USNWT said she liked Bernie BUT HES OLD literally 5 secs after saying she liked Warren whos only 7 yrs younger.

            Weve reached peak identity politics in the Dem Party.

            1. ambrit

              Not quite yet. For me, peak identity politics will come when Hillary Clinton is chosen as the Democrat Parties 2020 Presidential Candidate on a ‘Unity Ticket” during a brokered convention.

  26. flora

    Another golden oldie from Biden’s political career, 1989 vintage:

    In 1989 Biden crafted a bill to ban flag burning after the Supreme Court had previously ruled flag burning a an act of free speech protected by the 1st Amendment.

    “Mr. Tribe said that could be accomplished through a statute like Mr. Biden’s, which would make it a Federal crime, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and a year in prison for someone to deface the flag. The statute would seek to punish only the physical act, not any ideas conveyed by the act.”

    The House version failed and Biden’s Senate version failed, to the regret of Thurmond and Hatch.

    Why did Biden even offer the bill ?

    Oliphant from 1989:

    1. flora

      The above posted without the 4 minute edit option. It should read:

      Another golden oldie from Biden’s political career, 1989 vintage:

      In 1989 Biden crafted a bill to ban flag burning after the Supreme Court had previously ruled flag burning a an act of free speech protected by the 1st Amendment.

      “Mr. Tribe said that could be accomplished through a statute like Mr. Biden’s, which would make it a Federal crime, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and a year in prison for someone to deface the flag. The statute would seek to punish only the physical act, not any ideas conveyed by the act.”

      The House version failed and Biden’s Senate version failed, to the regret of Thurmond and Hatch.

      Why did Biden even offer the bill ?

      Oliphant from 1989:
      Reply ↓

        1. John k

          He, along with blue dogs, are really republican but living in dem states run as dems. And there’s enough of these ‘centrists’ to push the party so far right that fdr wouldn’t recognize it.
          The squad aren’t the only progressives, but they remain heavily outnumbered.

      1. Brindle

        Nice Orwellian ring to it—“The statute would seek to punish only the physical act, not any ideas conveyed by the act.”

  27. Jason Boxman

    The safe deposit box story should be unbelievable, but I guess not these days. My parents had a safe deposit box at a bank that was acquired many times over 25 years, and ultimately became a Wells Fargo I believe. Like in the story, there were several different boxes with the same number. Thankfully nothing ever happened to the contents, but I didn’t realize how easily an employee could take the wrong box based on the number for an eviction or some such and then, oops.

    It was always a challenge to remember which identically numbered box it was. And by the 3rd try, the bank employee usually had adopted a posture of “are you actually allowed to be in here if you don’t know which box is yours?” Well, there are 3 with the name number, what do you expect?

    I’d toyed with the idea of getting one of these boxes for some documents, but it’s quite expensive and it is indeed difficult to find any branches that even have safe deposit boxes outside of downtown Boston. I don’t have a car, so it would be extremely inconvenient to even bother. Knowing what I know now, I guess I’ll take my changes with an apartment fire or flood or robbery. At least my renters insurance covers theft!!

    1. Wukchumni

      Used to go to State of California safe deposit box content auctions of boxes where after 10 years of no activity and they couldn’t locate the owners, they’d keep the cash, and auction off the rest, usually coins & jewelry. In theory, claimants could get the do re mi realized from the sale of securities & auction results, not sure if it happened all that much,

      The auction had around 2,000 lots and was hotly anticipated by mostly wholesale dealers, there being little public activity in terms of buyers.

    2. Expat2uruguay

      I used to store a pile of cash in a microwave in my garage. Just up on the Shelf. I figured the microwave would be protected against fire, but I was probably wrong.

  28. Adrienne

    Re: “Solar power from Australia to light up Singapore”

    “The world’s largest solar farm that could light up Singapore’s glittering shopping malls and office towers will be built on the barren dunes there [Tennant Creek in Australia’s Northern Territory].”

    This quote pretty much sums up the collective delusion that solar power can seamlessly substitute for fossil energy in an advanced technological society. The promoters of such schemes either don’t have the technical knowledge to assess the feasibility of their projects or, more likely, they simply don’t care and are simply trolling for massive subsidies and government-insured capital investment.

    Let’s leave aside for now the wisdom of attempting to power “glittering shopping malls and office towers” with renewable energy. Here’s the thing: there’s “one simple trick!” to assessing whether or not an announcement about a large solar project is sincere, or simply marketing: is there any mention of storage, and if so, is that storage capacity described? I’m not talking about the power rating in watts (e.g., “a combined capacity of 10 gigawatts…”), but the capacity of the storage in watt-hours.

    What’s the difference, and why should we care? Here’s a quick definition:

    “A watt (W) is a unit of power, and power is the rate at which energy is produced or consumed… A watt-hour (Wh) is a unit of energy; it’s a way to measure the amount of work performed or generated.” What is the difference between a watt and a watt-hour?

    This is a crucial distinction, and one that very few articles about renewables address. Solar and wind are, indeed, sources of energy; but it is energy that is diffuse, intermittent, and often unpredictable (well, it gets dark every night… that’s pretty predictable). So any energy system based on solar and wind must provide either firm backup from dispatchable sources such as pumped hydro or gas turbines, OR must provide storage capacity such as from batteries.

    Battery capacity is finite, and thus the amount of energy must be expressed as watt-hours: how long can the battery provide the rated energy? Two hours? Six minutes? Three weeks? This is an importation point for solar energy, especially, as 1) the sun goes down every night; 2) there are seasonal variations in solar intensity, increasing the further one is from the equator; and 3) there are daily fluctuations in solar intensity due to weather. Northern Australia is a good place to minimize the effects of 2) and 3), but 1) is still a problem: there’s roughly 12 hours a day that the solar panels are producing no usable energy.

    Energy storage is expensive, notwithstanding recent advances in battery technology. Energy storage is subject to the unyielding laws of physics, and thus there are no guarantees that battery tech will continue to improve in performance whilst becoming cheaper. It’s disingenuous to claim some sort of inevitable fall in the cost of storage, just as it is disingenuous to talk about solar arrays and fail to state the capacity of battery backup in accurate terms.

    So what does this article say about storage? “It was reported that a huge amount of panels as well as supporting battery storage devices with a combined capacity of 10 gigawatts…” Notice what’s missing?

    Another article on the same project says this: “Known as Sun Cable, it is promised to be the world’s largest solar farm. If developed as planned, a 10-gigawatt-capacity array of panels will be spread across 15,000 hectares and be backed by battery storage to ensure it can supply power around the clock.” Source: Ambitious plan to power Singapore with world’s biggest solar farm … 4,000km away in Australia

    So the SCMP article claims “power around the clock,” yet fails to provide any details about the capacity of the battery storage. 10 GW is a lot of power, and thus the storage necessary to provide 12+ hours of continuous energy via battery backup is….? (Short answer: it’s. a. LOT.)

    1. John k

      Latest wholesale bid for solar plus storage in TX is 0.022/kwhr. I am paying 0.18/kwhr retail in CA. Storage costs are falling fast, more and more wholesale bids now include storage.
      Don’t know what the cost to transmit 2k mi under the sea, does sound heroic… but also encouraging to think similar farms in the us desert could power the country. A 60-mi square (3600 sq mi) of desert would satisfy us consumption.
      Re Singapore… their cost for nat gas is far higher than in us, must be shipped… and solar plus storage now less than new nat gas plants with gas almost free here, I think $2.35/1000 ft3. So that diff would pay for a lot of undersea cable.

    2. heresy101

      I have the same complaint about articles not giving the MW and Mwh breakdown because there is a big difference between demand and energy!

      It is a lot of storage, but as John says that is getting a lot cheaper.

      For California, the load/resource curve has changed a lot in the last ten years. The demand curve used to be bell shaped with the peak (about 43MW at 1400) but has flattened greatly due to the addition of solar without storage. (see prior days). This flattening reflects that solar has already met much, or all, of the air conditioning load.

      In the spring and fall, the demand goes negative because there isn’t enough air conditioning to absorb all the solar. Wholesale prices go negative; making it a lot more lucrative for storage. As more solar gets added to resources, this will occur almost year round and the net daytime load will move towards zero/negative.

      Geothermal, wind, biogas, and large hydro will provide almost half of the baseload and storage will provide the time shifted requirement for the evening. More wind and storage will be required to meet the remaining half of the nightly load.

      Wind is coming on the east coast now –
      Maybe one of the reasons Yves is moving to Florida is to get away from the “intermittency of renewables” because a large portion of Long Island and NYC load will be served by offshore wind. At a 45% capacity factor for the 1.8GW, that is 2% of the electricity used in CA or enough for some 600,000 households.

      As technology improves, Equinor (Norwegian Oil) will bring enough floating wind turbines to potentially provide 100% of the west’s electric needs.

  29. Craig H.

    > Chrome 76 Prevents NYT and Other News Sites From Detecting Incognito Mode

    5 eyes and Mossad and Chinese Intel are still going to know exactly who you are.


    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Gretnas in Jefferson Parish so this is just par for the course.


      There really is a culture of otherizing people down here. Like its just brought up randomly in some sort of bizarre bonding ritual.

      AOC is a congress critter so its disheartening to hear these disparaging remarks. In the Army people would bash Obama and id ask them if they considered this TREASON considering our Oath to Country and Our President aka BOSS?? This is a DEMOCRACY after all…

      1. ambrit

        (Sarcasm Alert)
        Uh, brother, seriously, Gretna is a democracy???? Next you’ll be saying that Westwego is, well, not Westwego.
        I have visited both places and lived to tell the tale. Now, Avondale, just across the Bridge, that was a truly scary place. Bridge City though was pretty cool. A nice little festival is held there.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Isnt it the Gumbo fest???

          used to visit my cousin in Westwego before they moved to the Northshore. They lived next to a side street they lovingly referred to as Crack Alley.

          1. ambrit

            Yep, it is the Gumbo Fest. Inaugurated by none other than Edwin “Fast Eddie” Edwards way back in ’73.
            We do love our food! Phyl was taught cooking by her Acadian Grandmother. I have never recovered from the culture shock. An English Export Model putting hot sauce on his beans and rice? Seriously though, my fully English uncle loved vindaloos. I didn’t fall far from that twisted tree.

      2. Procopius

        In the Army you’re allowed to bash the Commander in Chief all you want. You’re allowed to sneer at the Division Commanding Officer. You’re even allowed to make insulting remarks about your platoon sergeant, although I would not recommend doing it in his hearing. What you are not allowed to do is wear your uniform while making those remarks in a public speech, and that’s not “TREASON.” I’ve been retired so long I don’t even remember which article of the UCMJ it comes under, but for sure Article 134. The last two years have really been bad for wrong understanding of what treason is.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Trackin. Im being hyperbolic about ‘Treason,’ but i had such a hard time adapting to the hate. Looks like my battle buddies were mostly right.

  30. Summer

    RE: “US STOCKS-Wall St falls as Fed signals smaller rate cut Reuters” (furzy)

    A good deal of this freaking out over interest rates has a lot to do with people and institutions that borrow to buy stocks and securities.

    The “dark patterns” discussed in smartphones, Vegas (slot machines, etc), video games are all over trading.

    For crying out loud…

    It’s never too late.

  31. Stupendous Man - Defender of Liberty, Foe of Tyranny

    Last December I grew weary of the “terrified of Sharia Law” memes that continue to circulate. I figured if the terrified could use “canned memes” I could use a “canned response,” so I put one together. Whether it changed any minds is debatable, and unknown, but those terrified canned memes don’t appear in my feeds as often as they used to. Reproduced below, and any that care to may also reproduce at their discretion.


    You guys are scared of something that 1) isn’t happening [No one I’ve asked has provided any examples of courts, any courts, ruling in accordance with Sharia law. That presents a “burden of proof” problem for proponents. Further an absence of evidence is of enough significance that both Federal, and a number of states, rules of evidence have codified rules relating to such absence.], and 2) can’t happen as it is already prohibited by the 1st Amendment, and SCOTUS opinion. Yet in spite of the fact there are already laws, and decisional law, prohibiting that which you’re afraid of but isn’t happening you want there to be even more laws prohibiting that which you’re afraid of but isn’t happening in order to allay your fears about something that is already prohibited, and that isn’t happening? That’s pretty “snowflakey,” don’t you think?

    The case of Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971) established what is referred to as the “Lemon test,” and that in order to be constitutional a law must:

    1 – have a secular purpose
    2 – have a primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion
    3 – not result in excessive governmental entanglement with religion

    A link to the opinion in Lemon is below. It really is a good read, but then I’m a sucker for any opinion that cites to Flast v. Cohen (see page 611). The opinion is also popular in its own right as it has been cited to more than 12,000 times.

    Among the cases citing to Lemon is McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union of Ky., 545 US 844 (2005). There is much discussion on Lemon in the opinion, and I’d recommend it be read as well in order to gain a more thorough understanding of the holding in Lemon. (I’ve always found it humorous that this case [McCreary] developed over the posting of the wrong commandments. Folks that have read, and know, the Bible know that the Ten Commandments are not found in Exodus 20:2-17. The Ten Commandments are found in Exodus 34:14-26, and identified as such in Exodus 34:28.)

    McCreary is found here:

  32. Wukchumni

    We’re down in San Diego for a wedding, and had time to kill, so we went to the horse races @ Del Mar, our first trip to the track in years…

    We were greeted near the entrance by about 30 WASP’y protesters that really got in our faces (with signs that proclaimed such niceties as “You Bet, They Die” and other veiled threats) and right next to them were pro-horse racing advocates also holding signs, almost all Hispanic backstretch workers @ the track. It was very yin & yang if you know what I mean and I think you do.

    Horse racing is clearly dying, as the fields are ridiculously small, in the four races we stayed for, there were 4, 5, 5 & 6 horse races. Now, when I started going to the horse races in the late 70’s, virtually every race had 10 to 12 horses in it.

    Short fields like this are the bane of a horseplayer, we up and left before the 5th race, why torture ourselves with crummy contests, and $13.50 beers?

    1. ambrit

      $13.50 beer???? Down here you can get two six packs of cheap beer for that.
      Beer case prices:
      Having a chance at handicapping the races successfully, from a personal financial perspective, does help with more horses to spread the odds.
      The best strategy I ever heard mentioned regarding obnoxious “protesters” was by a man from New Jersey I worked with.
      “You lean into the annoying b—–d and belt him one in the mouth. Then you lean back. If he doesn’t have the b—s to hit you back you tell him: ‘Okay buddy. Now you can go back to the hall and tell everyone you gave your blood for the cause.'”
      He had a genuine ‘Joisy’ accent.

  33. The Rev Kev

    “American Green”

    You get the same sort of obsession with lawns in the southern hemisphere as well. One guy in that article was of the opinion that “Our habitat preference for short grass and scattered trees seems to be a vestige of that history” and he may be right. Where there is long grass, that is where you find predators like the big cats. One famous hunter even wrote a book called “Death in the Long Grass”. So, if you have your place surrounded by long grass, you just never know what might be in it! /sarc

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