Links 7/26/19

Bear Tries To Steal Entire Dumpster From Marijuana Dispensary CBS Denver. Legend.

Giant ticks which hunt their prey confirmed in the Netherlands Dutch News

Songbirds are being snatched from Miami’s forests National Geographic

It’s So Hot That Pigs Are Getting Skinnier, Boosting U.S. Prices Bloomberg

Don’t let vegetarian environmentalists shame you for eating meat. Science is on your side. USA Today

Strange Forest ‘Superorganism’ Is Keeping This Vampire Tree Alive Live Science (original). Fascinating story, but if the only way our culture can frame a “communal physiology” is vampirism MR SUBLIMINAL Thank you, rentiers! we’re in worse trouble than I thought.

In Roundup case, U.S. judge cuts $2 billion verdict against Bayer to $86 million Reuters

Why Tesla’s best hope may lie in robotaxis FT. “Mr Musk has promised Tesla’s cars will have full autonomous capabilities by the end of this year, and that the company will be in a position to launch a driverless taxi service in the second half of 2020.” Tick, tick, tick…

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico governor to resign, protesters warn successor: ‘You’re next!’ Reuters

Puerto Rican Artists Ricky Martin, Pur & Bad Bunny Are Agents of Change Calling for Governor’s Resignation Billboard. Before Rossello’s resignation, still germane.

In Puerto Rico, taking it to the streets takes down a leader. Why can’t that happen here? Will Bunch, Inquirer. “[T]he conversation is heating up in the places where they happen in 2019 — on social media and among a resilient network of resisters.” Oy.


Brexit: Pelosi warns UK not to jeopardise Belfast Agreement Irish Times

Boris Johnson denies planning to sell the NHS in Brexit trade deal with Trump Business Insider

German manufacturing reports industry ‘in freefall’ FT

Peace in Ukraine? Stephen Cohen, The Nation

Spain’s options after Sánchez fails to form government FT

Confronting monetary imperialism in Francophone Africa Africa is a Country


‘Let the police do their job’: Hong Kong stock exchange chief cautions against military intervention South China Morning Post

No external forces allowed to disrupt Hong Kong: spokesperson Xinhua

Patriotic Chinese Triads and Secret Societies: From the Imperial Dynasties, to Nationalism, and Communism Journal of Asian Affairs

Wilting bauhinias and widemouthed tigers: The evolution of Hong Kong’s protest posters Hong Kong Free Press

Hong Kong’s Despair Runs Deeper Than Protests Bloomberg

* * *

China Defense White Papers—1995-2019—Download Complete Set + Read Highlights Here Andrew S. Erickson (for example).

Tibet: What Is Happening There Now? Supchina

Sri Lankans demand UK take back rotting waste BBC


The Myth Of Robert Mueller, Exploded Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone. “This is just the latest disaster. They hyped Robert Mueller for two years as an all-conquering hero, only to have him show up under oath like a man wandering in traffic. Incredible. The losses continue.”

Mueller didn’t fail. The country did. Jennifer Rubin, WaPo. I remember liberal Democrats lamenting that Obama was just too good for us; I didn’t expect to see the equivalent from a Jennifer Rubin.

Scope of Russian Election Hacking Remains Unclear Foreign Policy. The deck: “Volume one of a long-awaited Senate report on Kremlin targeting of election systems finds all 50 states may have been targeted.” Holy moley. After three years of hysteria and the collective output of a gaggle of IT grifters and bent intel community talking heads the best minds in the national security community [snort], “may have” is the best we can do? Froomkin: “If they make public persuasive evidence that ‘Russian cyberactors were in a position to delete or change voter data’ then it’s a big deal. If it’s just more phishing on office networks, it isn’t.”

Trump Transition

No shower for 23 days: U.S. citizen says conditions were so bad that he almost self-deported Dallas News

AG Barr orders reinstatement of the federal death penalty NBC

The CIA Wants To Make It Easier To Jail Journalists And No One In Congress Is Stopping It From Happening TechDirt

16 Marines arrested at Camp Pendleton suspected of human smuggling, drug crimes Stars and Stripes

Trump Stands Next to Photoshopped Presidential Seal That Reads ’45 is a Puppet’ in Spanish Gizmodo and Meet the man who created the fake presidential seal — a former Republican fed up with Trump WaPo I like the eagle holding golf clubs in its claws. OTOH, is this really the best the Never Trumpers can do?

L’affaire Epstein

Jeffrey Epstein Visited Clinton White House Multiple Times in Early ’90s Daily Beast

How Jeffrey Epstein Used the Billionaire Behind Victoria’s Secret for Wealth and Women NYT

Here’s exactly how Jeffrey Epstein spent $30 million Miami Herald

Democrats in Disarray

House Republicans score fourth major procedural win with motion to recommit The Hill

Pelosi shuts Jerry Nadler down when he asks for permission to draft impeachment articles after Mueller hearings Daily Mail


One donor is backing 14 candidates. Why big-dollar Democrats aren’t picking sides for 2020 McClatchy. They may not be giving to just one candidate, but there’s just one candidate they’re not giving to. So how many sides are there, really?

Everyone Claims They’re Worried About Global Finance. But Only One Side Has a Plan. NYT

Louisiana governor declares state emergency after local ransomware outbreak ZD Net

Big Brother Is Watching You

Amazon requires police departments to advertise Ring home security products to residents in return for free Ring cameras Business Insider. Where does Bezos think we live? Xinjiang?

Class Warfare

The Firm Exemption and the Hierarchy of Finance in the Gig Economy (PDF) C Paul and Nathan Tankus, SSRN

Viewpoint: As Big Three Negotiations Open, Which Way Forward for the Auto Workers? Labor Notes

New York Doubles Down on Tracking Empty Storefront Problem Bloomberg. Last time I was there, empty stores on every block, everywhere on the East Side.

John Maynard Keynes, “National Self-Sufficiency,” 1933 Marginal Revolution

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. WheresOurTeddy

    “One donor is backing 14 candidates. Why big-dollar Democrats aren’t picking sides for 2020 McClatchy. They may not be giving to just one candidate, but there’s just one candidate they’re not giving to. So how many sides are there, really?”

    Where is the website on whether I can wager on the democratic convention being a brokered one? I almost don’t care what the odds are…

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Don’t let vegetarian environmentalists shame you for eating meat. Science is on your side. USA Today

    Ah, Bjorn Lomberg. I hate to ad hominem, but if there is someone who should never, ever be read, let alone believed, its Lomberg. But arguments like this are… well, just pathetic.

    This still overstates the effect, because it ignores the well-established “rebound effect.” Vegetarian diets are slightly cheaper, and saved money will likely be spent on other goods and services that cause extra greenhouse gas emissions. In the U.S., vegetarians save at least $750 on their food budgets every year. That extra spending will cause more carbon dioxide emissions, cancelling about half the saved carbon emissions from going vegetarian.

      1. Monty

        Yeah… I’m going to need you to go ahead and come in on Saturday and Sunday to eat some pink slime… You need to play catch-up. Thanks!

    1. Robert Valiant

      What else can one expect from a green-growth capitalist? We’ll have to grow our way out of climate change and encouraging people not to eat animals is deflationary.

    2. Lee

      One thing I often wonder about is what happens to all the livestock if we stop eating them. Do we just let them go feral or kill them all and have one last meat feast? No doubt a lot of these domesticated species cannot make it on their own and would cause all sorts of environmental problems on their way to extinction if allowed to wander at liberty in the wider world.

        1. witters

          No it would not be, domestication is co-evolution. (And I fail to see how vegetarianism with industrial monocultural cropping etc. is any advance at all. Each field is a manure free ecodesert.)

      1. Wukchumni

        Since the peak in 1975, the rapture, or ‘bovine intervention’ has mysteriously done away with 2/3rds of the cattle in these United States, the rest remaining are obviously heathens.

        1. newcatty

          We just saw a news segment about Rotterdam. It was about its “eclectic and innovative and diverse” architecture. It just barely touched on its place as an industrial and port city. The last story centers on woman showing off the innovative “floating farm”. At first blush I was expecting a farm with plants grown for food production. Uh, no. It is a floating farm for cows. Showed cows munching on what looked like hay. Inquiring minds want to know what do they do about the cow poo? That wasn’t discussed.

      2. LifelongLib

        I recall a post here about a mass slaughter of horses in the 1920s after cars became popular. Same type of thing would probably happen if we no longer wanted livestock…

        1. Procopius

          Seems to me there was a time when horse steaks were common. Think it must have been about that time. Supposedly hard to tell from beef.

          1. Bugs Bunny

            There’s a big difference in taste between horse and beef. Horse seems to have a rounder, fattier flavor, less mineral tones.

            There are restaurants that specialize in it. I’ve been to some in Belgium and Switzerland. I’ve also been tempted by horsemeat sashimi in Japan but never tried it.

            1. Lee

              For a wabbit, you seem to know an awful lot about how meat tastes. Is Elmer Fudd just trying to defend himself?

    3. Pelham

      Agreed about Lomborg.

      But eating grazing animals may not be such a bad idea. Two-thirds of the Earth’s land surface is suited only for desert or grassland. And grazing animals are the only way to turn grass into food. For that matter, they’re the only way to generate or regenerate topsoil (in anything shorter than geologic time) that, in time, may even be able to support food crops.

      Generally speaking, I’m skeptical of any prescription for individually twisting oneself into meritorious knots trying to save the environment. The problem demands a radical, collective focus on the giant private malefactors and their corrupt enablers in government. While we debate veganism, they’re spending billions globally on things like fracking, coal power plants projected to operate for 30 years or more and LNG terminals along the Gulf Coast designed to function till the end of the century. They’re that certain of their future and their grip on power and pay little heed to those of us concerned about climate change.

      That’s telling, and I’m sure they welcome our absorbed attention to properly sorting our recycling and watching our diets while cycling to work wearing silly plastic helmets. Somehow, we just don’t inspire fear.

      1. richard

        “The problem demands a radical, collective focus on the giant private malefactors and their corrupt enablers in government”
        first things first
        i am all for introspection and we must yes we must adapt to increasingly hostile climate conditions.
        So here’s our first adaptation: we point a finger straight at global capitalism and say “you are responsible for this. All of it.” Or, if we want to begin the introspection, perhaps “we are responsible for this, for allowing your extractive race to the bottom nightmare to prevail, for letting you gaslight us about the absence of alternatives. no more.”

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        For that reason, on that environmental basis (not geopolitical or monetary) I thought there would be separate opposition to Russian natural gas pipeline to Europe, or other import/export ideas.

      3. juliania

        “…they’re spending billions globally on things like fracking, coal power plants projected to operate for 30 years or more and LNG terminals along the Gulf Coast designed to function till the end of the century….”

        Don’t forget bombs. Military Industrial Complex. Oh but we need a vegetarian military, I guess. That would solve it.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is he aruging along the same line as the criticism that Universal Basic Income would just let the rentiers extract more – that is, money saved from going vegetarian will let carbon emission enablers (marketing services and products) extract more?

    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      Thinking people will more and more regard Bjorn Lomborg as the kiss of death to any concept he attaches his sordid little name to.

      His ill-hidden thrust here is that “individuals should not bother doing anything because individuals cannot achieve anything anyway”. Not even tens or hundreds of millions of individuals acting on common knowledge and a common vision.

      He also says nothing, because he knows nothing, of carbon-capture beef . . . beef on pasture and range . . . beef integrated into high-intelligence management systems such as what Gabe Brown runs in North Dakota or what Gary Zimmer runs in Wisconsin or what Mark Shephard runs in Wisconsin or etc. etc.

      Tens of millions of people paying the high prices involved for eating carbon-capture beef would support tens of thousands of farmers running carbon capture beef operations on hundreds of millions of acres of land, thereby sucking down millions and then billions of tons of carbon from the air above that land and bio-storing it in the soil which makes up that land. But Lomborg knows nothing about that. And if he did, he would say “don’t bother” because “the individual can’t have any effect” so the individual “should not bother trying”.

      Bjorn’s shtick is telling a big lie with cherry-picked little facts. He is a wet-blanket troll.

  3. PlutoniumKun

    John Maynard Keynes, “National Self-Sufficiency,” 1933 Marginal Revolution

    Absolutely fascinating, I hadn’t seen that Keynes quote before:

    But over an increasingly wide range of industrial products, and perhaps of agricultural products also, I have become doubtful whether the economic loss of national self-sufficiency is great enough to outweigh the other advantages of gradually bringing the product and the consumer within the ambit of the same national, economic, and financial organization. Experience accumulates to prove that most modem processes of mass production can be performed in most countries and climates with almost equal efficiency.

    Keynes has consistently been proven right in nearly all his writings. Back in the 1980’s when I was studying Economics his works were already being quietly shuffled away, like an embarrassing relative at a polite party. If all economics has stopped around 1950 and instead everyone just read Keynes we’d still know more about how the world economy works than we do from pretty much all the output since then of the major economics departments in Universities worldwide (certainly in the English speaking world).

      1. Procopius

        Do you suppose it might happen that if you impose sanctions on a country for forty years they might become pretty self-sufficient? [cough] Iran [cough].

    1. Anonymous2

      I am a great fan of Keynes, but feel the need to point out that he went through at least four different schools of thought – free markets, state intervention during his lifetime. Skidelsky is very revealing on this.

      Whether self-sufficiency is a good idea must surely depend on the circumstances of the country?

      For example, the problem with national self-sufficiency now for the UK, to cite a case in the news and dear to both of us, is that it cannot grow the food necessary to support its current population unless they all happily go vegan. Otherwise some 20-25 million Britons would need to find another country to live.

        1. Off The Street

          A variation on the old linear programming example diet (cheap, calories accounted for, other conditions met), without the charm or liver. There is an element of rigidity in the vegan position that put many off their feed.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Is the UK’s inability to raise the food it needs innate to its soil and peoples — or a consequence of ‘free-trade’ destroying UK agriculture? Did the enclosure movement and past consolidation of land use for raising sheep help matters?

      2. mpalomar

        I read the passages from Keynes as advocating for self sufficiency where applicable.
        – “A considerable degree of international specialization is necessary in a rational world in all cases where it is dictated by wide differences of climate, natural resources… “

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Follow the link to the full essay back to its Home — Vinnie’s homepage[]. The documents section, where the Keynes link resided, is a treasure trove of historical documents collected and organized for study and supported by an internal search engine [which I haven’t tried out yet]. The page on American Foreign Policy Hiroshima is extensive. I haven’t poked through other areas yet but expect similarly comprehensive collections of documents.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I too am a great admirer of Keynes. He has proven right more often than not. And whether his reasoning is correct — which it has been with relative consistency — his clear, elegant prose makes a mockery of many of the math-heavy, jargon-dense, and obtuse writings of present day economics.

        1. Procopius

          I am not an economist, so I haven’t read much of economists’ writing, but another who could write clearly was Joan Robinson. Must be something about the English education system of the 1920s. Lots of rote learning and memorizing facts and writing. Or so I’ve been told.

    3. chuck roast

      This from Alexander Cockburn circa 1970’s…

      “A perfectly preserved Keynesian has been unearthed by archaeologists investigating the sudden onset of the age of monetarism in the 1960s. The Keynesian was unearthed by excavators from the quadrangle of Kings College, Cambridge, where he had apparently been engaged in digging a hole. The body is in an excellent state of preservation, clad in corduroy trousers and tweed coat. The stomach contains freshly chewed cucumber sandwiches and cinnamon toast.”

      “Archaeologists speculate that diagrams found on the Keynesian, referring to LM and IS, will shed new light on early Keynesian thought. A copy of the New Statesman, also found on the corpse, dates the sudden death of the Keynesian to the time of the British devaluation of the sterling in 1967. It is believed that the Keynesian, fearing the onset of glacial monetarism, may have fled Whitehall to his old pastures in Kings. But other experts, noting the placid expression on the face of the Keynesian, believe that the catastrophe took him entirely unawares.”

      “A portion of the Keynesian’s thigh was flown at once to a banquet held at the Chicago School. ‘Tasty and surprisingly fresh,’ was the common verdict, though some found the meat ‘too fatty’.”

      1. deplorado


        Could you treat us to a link to the full work? Alexander Cockburn was amazing.. this is from the 1970’s…astonishing.

        PS. Found that it might be from
        “Corruptions of Empire: Life Studies & the Reagan Era” By Alexander Cockburn

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well, there you are. No Forcey-Free-Trade for John Maynard Keynes, then.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    Tibet: What Is Happening There Now? Supchina

    That’s a pretty fair overview, if perhaps a little too kind to successive Chinese governments. I travelled a little in Tibet just before things shut down before the 2008 Olympics and it was a deeply sad and depressing experience. Even in front of tourists soldiers didn’t hesitate to abuse and bully Tibetan herders coming to Lhasa, and spies were everywhere (I rapidly tired of Tibetans with excellent English trying to engage me in conversation about the Dalai Llama). The contrast between Tibetans in Tibet and the open and free Tibetan villages in India made it all to obvious what had been lost.

    1. LuRenJia

      1. Could you elaborate further about how the soldiers abuse and bully the Tibetan herders? Your statement looks like it happens often.
      2. If you don’t mind, could you share a few tips about how to spot a spy?
      3. It looks like you have been to Tibetan villages in India. I wonder what the causality as to the current situation in Tibet?! If there are no external factors, would it be different?

      1. JBird4049

        I’m sure that there are plenty of native Tibetans who have learned to speak excellent English while living on the Tibetan Plateau. Also the misspelling of Dalai Lama with Dalai Llama is very suspect. I would never typed Salvador Dalai instead of Salvador Dali myself.

        Could PK be some astroturfing plant? Like those Russians on Faceborg?


        1. Briny

          Or could be spellchucker run amok. I’ve seen worse attempts by my various programs here. Add to dictionary gets a lot of use here, as with spellchucker above.

  5. UserFriendly

    Senate Intel finds ‘extensive’ Russian election interference going back to 2014 (The Hill)

    I’m reading it now I’ll reply in a bit with my take.

    1. Mike

      Well, without reading the complete “tale”, I’m sure of two things at least:

      1) The physical and digital difficulty of such an operation demands this detailed report be extremely detailed, showing how any nation could access all 50 states’ election processes, as disjointed and non-internet connected as they are, with any level of success (discounting Repug/Thugcrat election engineering domestically).

      2) It has been 3 years of this story making the rounds – some intelligence “evidence” could be “produced” a la Hollywood’s “Wag the Dog” by now, so VIPS and other investigators will be on their toes checking this evidence (good luck to their replies getting any coverage whatsoever outside the critical grouplets).

      1. a different chris

        You forgot number 3:

        3) And if they did manage to access and thus understand all 50 states election “processes”… for god’s sake can they please give us a few pointers on how to fix them? They can spy all they want if we just get some clarity on our side….

      2. Cal2

        BFDeal, “The Russians,” private actors in the new Capitalized Russia, gasp!!, bought Facebook ads? The Horror!

        Isn’t that supposed to be the basis for our entire new economy?

        PBHMCIP is the solution to all attempts at election meddling.

        “Paper Ballots, Hand Marked, Counted in Public”

        Unless, of course, voters are disenfranchised, as were the potential Bernie voters, screwed by a member of the Hillary for President Committee, who just happened to be California Secretary of State, controlling the election.

        Watch the video; “Uncounted” on Youtube for a nice expose of that.

        1. Mike

          In humble response, I have been quite skeptical of Dem primaries since the late 1990s. Worked with several people surveying election tampering at that time, with the 2000 Bush/Gore debacle as icing on the cake.

          The response of digital voting machines was a prepared answer to what what had been bald attempts at vote suppression ever since the Founding Fathers went back to their respective plantations after “the Rev”. Republican-backed and activist election firms (Diebold, ES&S) were put in position to steal votes and… the Dems did nothing.

          In Florida, Ohio, New York, and California, I believe the Dems put in place what the Repugs had already perfected. Why, of course, to both to steal Bernie votes, especially during Super Tuesday (which should be studied for vote tampering, as those votes were the most lopsided for Hillary), and to see how the process would work for the general. One of the reasons HC did not campaign very hard!

  6. Eduardo

    Don’t let vegetarian environmentalists shame you for eating meat. Science is on your side. USA Today by Bjorn Lomborg.

    Dr Lomborg is the world’s most active ‘lukewarmer’. He does not deny the physics of the greenhouse effect, but instead cherry-picks information to deny that the risks of climate change are large enough to justify strong and urgent action. …

    Dr Lomborg now has a long track record of being an unreliable and inaccurate source of information about climate change. He devotes most of his writing efforts to churning out polemics for the opinion columns of newspapers which fail to fact-check his false claims.

    Bjorn Lomborg’s lukewarmer misinformation about climate change and poverty
    (and this article points out a number of his false claims in a different article).

    1. CanCyn

      Most of the vegetarians and vegans I know eat a lot of highly processed and imported food. Bagged baby carrots & salads, etc. A lot of them shop online or at Walmart and other big box places that import food and goods from all over the world.
      Even though I eat meat, I’d guess that my carbon footprint is smaller than some of my vegetarian/vegan friends. I get my meat, chicken, eggs & fish from a local butcher who provides locally raised and slaughtered meats & foods and wild caught fish. If I have to choose between local produce and imported organic produce, I choose local every time. I try not to buy stuff from China or shop online, not perfect but I try to prioritize a local business when possible.
      In other words, it really isn’t simple enough to compare vegetarians vs. meat eaters – many other factors aside from what you eat goes into your carbon footprint. The article hints at that saying that food costs saved by vegetarians are spent consuming other goods.
      I would like someone to figure out the carbon footprints of a number of diets & consumer lifestyles:
      – Vegetarian/vegans who eat processed food, take out, and shop online, buy imported, big box, travel a lot, etc.
      – Vegetarian/vegans who shop more locally, eat little processed food, travel little, etc.
      – Meat eaters who eat processed food, take out, and shop online, buy imported, big box, travel a lot ,etc.
      – Meat eaters who eat locally, cook mostly from scratch, shop locally, travel little, etc.

      How much difference does it all really make??

      And regardless of one diet/lifestyle really being better than another, I think airlines, oil & gas, cement producers, big ag and international shipping of all cheap crap all combine to cause much more of the problem than we individual humans do.

      1. Mike

        All well and good, if farmland nearby is plentiful enough to give you a choice and price point, you then get a comparative advantage. In large (what I call UrbSplurge) metro areas of vase extent and huge population (Mexico City, Hong Kong, Delhi), arable land within 50 miles of the center is being eaten by real estate development, so the carbon footprint of trucked veggies and meats is heavier.

        Urban farming (an actual movement in Philadelphia and some other cities with large tracts of abandoned land and cleared slums) has brought forth a mini-reform of sorts, but to be a sustainable source must have capital-intensive investment in greenhouses and rooftop soil development. Who will control that development in this political/economic environment?

      2. JP

        I’m thinking an all pet diet would have a very small net carbon footprint. Start with your own and work towards the neighbors. I’m pretty sure pets are in infinite supply and are continually being rescued. Once you get the hair off they can go right on the barbecue and the supply couldn’t be more local. It would be pretty much like population reduction and do the world good. It would not be as effective as eating children and old people (which I am all for) but it is a good place to start.

        1. Oh

          As long his source is local, Cancyn will be happy. Maybe he can go to Walmart and get the special pet sauces for additional taste.

    2. jrs

      might be right on the practicality though, and moderation might make more sense, but Americans DO NOT DO MODERATION, ever, and so …

      Never mind a message of eat less meat especially red meat, we either all need to be vegan 100% or keto (not for the planet, noone pretends that, but because carbs are killing us doncha know!!!), depending on what the internet says today.

      1. marieann

        Moderation is definitely the key. Just like Grandma said all those years ago.

        Most folk eat way too much meat and and not nearly enough vegetables and fruit. I am a meat eater though I no longer eat beef. For my age and size I only need about 4 ounces of protein a day. *That could be an egg, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and a slice of chicken. Cheap, easy and healthy ….and good for the planet.
        Note* no ultra processed foods and all homemade.

      2. richard

        i was thinking the other day of this very common boomer and gen x pattern of thought
        (haven’t noticed it so much with millenials and z)

        1)I just can’t live with myself if I don’t personally and individually do something about it.
        2)Please tell me what to do.

      3. Summer

        That made me chuckle.

        Because if they don’t like this study, there will be another one saying the opposite tomorrow – especially any study that has to do with diet or health.

        1. Potato Guy

          Speaking of chuckles-at first I thought that you guys were serious about the meat/vegan discussion.

          Anyway my steers are fat and my freezer is full. So is my canning closet. My guests seem to prefer meat over kale.

          Never fear though. The steers and deer are vegan.

  7. John

    Would it not make more sense for the Democrats to stop trying to re-adjudicate the 2016 election while endlessly kvetching about foreign interference and focus on nominating a strong candidate and presenting a clear message to challenge Trump? I certainly think so, but then the Democrats would have to act like a distinct party and not the left-ish wing of the one big party that has been in power for at least the last forty years.

    Mueller gave a very convincing impression of Mueller while refusing to carry water any faction.

    1. Summer

      Sounded like the only thing usuable he gave them was “look out for Russia in 2020″…

      The dumb suckers are going to run with that because they want to put any criticism of their lame circus under “Russian influence.”

      Mueller was still down with that part of their program…not surprising for the FBI.

    2. flora

      with apologies to T.S.Eliot:

      The Hollow Congressmen
      This is the way the kayfabe ends
      This is the way the kayfabe ends
      This is the way the kayfabe ends
      Not with a bang but a whimper.

      1. ambrit

        Double aologies flora. I adjust that last line to read,
        Not with a binge but a whinge.

    3. jrs

      yes especially as even if impeachment was on the table (and it should be if Dems think it would help defeat Trump electorally), Trump is not going anywhere until 2020, it won’t get past the Senate.

      I mean Trump is corrupt, there is no doubt about that part, there is enough there although much of it is not about Russia, but it won’t get rid of him.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Hillary was wronged twice, in 2016, the year of The Trauma.

      First, by Sanders, and then, by Trump – this is factual to Hillary’s supporters (not too many of them are here, though).

      Now, that anger has been expressed, constantly, against Trump, and to some extent, it has helped with the healing process.

      Against Sanders, not so explicitly, except among the leading Hiillary supporters, in the form of active involvements in everything leading up the 2020 primaries and caucuses. They are not the kind to be passive. The silence majority of Hillary supporters, though, are not so verbal, and thus, in a way, that anger against Sanders can be thought of as being repressed (compared with, say, Russiagate, impeachment, etc), though upon hearing a remark like ‘He makes my skin crawl,’ they will remember The Trauma and that particular wrong, by Sanders, against Hillary.

      1. Potato Guy

        Odd that.

        In my neck of the woods we expect the Clinton regime to fall hard off their foundation with the Epstein disease.

        And Trump is the best president ever.

        Viva la revolution. Or something like that.

        If someone would just fire the first shot already. Can hardly wait, ya know.

    5. Procopius

      The Democrats are the right-of-center wing. The Republicans are the far right wing. There is no left wing. There are a few Democrats and many more Independents who are left-of-center, and they are trying to move the Democrats left a little bit, but without success so far, and being bitterly resisted.

  8. John

    Pelosi shuts down Nadler on impeachment.

    I have no doubt that Trump has committed impeachable offenses. I have no doubt that the Democrats would have difficulty mustering a majority in the House to send articles to the Senate for trial and 2/3rds for conviction in the Senate would be impossible if by some miracle they did so.

    Impeachment is hard and it is supposed to be. Nixon would have been convicted and removed had he not resigned. Clinton was impeached by one party and the effort failed in the Senate. Read your history folks… and get busy on the 2020 election.

    1. edmondo

      They did the same thing in Wisconsin, trying to recall Scott Walker. All they managed to do was make him stronger and re-elect him when the recall failed. Deja vu all over again.

    2. Big River Bandido

      I think Pelosi and the MILO DINO caucus of so-called “Democrats” have nuked their chances of maintaining the majority next fall. Even if their overall “strategery” of governing from the right had been politically sound (and it never had a chance), they made way too many unforced [familyblog]ups. The minimum wage bill is a perfect example — With their “Mach Shau” of promising quick action (“100 hours”), then taking six months to hammer out a joke of a bill that will take 6 years to raise the wage, by which time inflation will have whittled away all the increase. That kind of politics won’t win back a single working class vote from 2016.

      Good riddance to the “Democrats”. Truly, I don’t care what happens to them next year.

      1. richard

        russiagate alone will cost the dems, what ….? I mean, this is conjecture, but probably the election unless they get lucky. All trump has to do is point to NO EVIDENCE and how ridiculous the whole thing is, and how for 2 years this was the consuming interest of all his opponents (“I’m guilty of a million f*&^ing crimes! You have me on emoluments! You have me on bribery/conflict of interest issues with the saudis and israeli gov’ts! Jesus, I even used to brag about working with the mob! Why did you chowderheads make this s&^% up!”) and dems are forced by msm pressure to respond and defend, even sanders
        (although I hope his people are already devising a number of ways to change the goddamn subject when that happens)
        there is no good outcome for russiagate seen as a contest between dems and trump; there is no way it doesn’t end up netting trump more votes.

        1. Potato Guy

          The reason the Dems went russiagate is because they are guilty of it.

          The best defense is a good offense.

          We know who the criminals are.

          1. richard

            projecting crimes and guilt onto The Other is kind of “our thing” here in the u.s.
            Nobody does it more, nobody does it bigger, nobody does it with a more zombielike immunity to irony. Hooray us.

      2. edmondo

        You mean that Bernie should have gone Third Party way back when and by now we might even have a half-decent bench? But who would have sheepdogged all those voters by telling them TINA?

      3. Cal2

        Bernie and Tulsi together, their last chance.
        I suspect the Corporate MIC ‘democrats would rather lose to Trump, again, than win with Bernie.

        Watching the ‘democrats is like observing someone with throat cancer stick a lit cigarette into their tracheotomy hole. Sad and pathetic. Close the door on them and turn out the lights.

        1. Monty

          Nancy Pelosi’s brokerage statement would beg to differ with you, when it comes to quantifying the success of her tenure.

        2. Procopius

          I suspect the Corporate MIC ‘democrats would rather lose to Trump, again, than win with Bernie.

          See, you’re framing it wrong. They wouldn’t win with Bernie, because he’s the antithesis of their worldview. If Bernie wins, they lose. If Trump wins, they still have control of the party.

        3. Parker Dooley

          Smoking via tracheostomy. I’ve seen that, but it was COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pelosi Disease).

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Impeachable offenses.

      Determined politicians can always try to find them on any president…even Obama, Bush Jr., Clinton, Reagan, or even Carter, I suppose, if they wanted.

      1. Hepativore

        Hell, I would not put it past Pelosi to try and impeach Sanders in the odd chance that he is elected president. The neoliberal Democrats would probably make something up about Sanders being a Russian stooge and the Republicans would gleefully join in the fray to impeach an avowed “socialist” like Bernie Sanders. Either way, there is not a chance that the elites and their corporate donors are ever going to tolerate Sanders in office or even let him finish his term.

  9. VK

    re Strange Forest:
    Two things came to mind while reading that astonishingly shallow article: “The Poison Tree” by William Blake, and a wonderfully made, detailed film about the ecological role of fig trees in the african steppe.
    I highly recommend “The Queen of Trees” by Deeble & Stone:

    1. Wukchumni

      Kauri trees are similar to our coastal redwoods, in that they make for great lumber and similar to the redwoods, 95% of them have been cut down. The remaining 5% is in peril.

      Ten tracks in the Bay of Islands will close permanently in an effort to stop the spread of kauri dieback disease.

      The Department of Conservation announced on Tuesday the tracks, spread across three forests, would close permanently this week.

      Seven tracks in the Puketi Forest would close, along with two in the Russell-Ngaiotonga Forest and one in the Omahuta Forest.

      Kauri dieback is a disease caused by a microscopic fungus-like organism, called Phytophthora agathidicida.

      It spreads microscopic spores through soil which attach themselves onto kauri roots and leach nutrients from the trees so they starve to death. There is no known cure for dieback and it can kill kauri of all ages.

  10. toshiro_mifune

    The Myth Of Robert Mueller, Exploded
    Just offering this up as a thought…. While I don’t doubt Mueller’s performance could be honest and he’s just a befuddled old guy; what’s the chance that it was known he would appear to be a befuddled old guy under testimony so someone could claim the entire investigation should be re-done due to Mueller’s obvious incompetence ?

    1. TroyIA

      That thought crossed my mind as well but my conspiracy theory is that partisan elements in the intelligence community worked with British counterparts to tip the scales in Hillary Clinton’s favor. In order to keep that from being exposed Robert Mueller was brought in as a figurehead to give legitimacy to the Russian collusion nonsense.

      To me the media narrative from November 2016 to May 2018 seemed like a phys-op. It seemed as if every day a new story about Russian collusion was breathlessly reported as being more damning than the day before. It felt like we were being purposely led in a direction and the pressure on the president was being ratcheted tighter and tighter.

      And then the president tweeted about Stephan Halper and how the FBI infiltrated his campaign and how we should look into it. I remember this so well because it was as if a pressure relief valve was opened and the whole media narrative began to change. It was almost as if the whole phys-op was abandoned and all anonymous leaks with juicy details were no longer revealed. Could all be a coincidence but I’ve seen enough to know that we don’t have “news” we have a daily agenda.

    2. dearieme

      What are the chances that Mueller was acting, in hopes of not being arrested and charged?

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the case early on, and given Mueller’s actual record, I can’t imagine how anyone rationale could ever claim Mueller could be counted on to do not do the worst thing imaginable.

      My guess is few of the people behind the Mueller selection expected the beautification campaign to exceed the Saint McCain funeral celebrations. My suspicion is there was a belief the “missed brunch” crowd was in on the scam and not deranged believers. Pelosi and the gang promised a show trial for a traitor and can’t grasp why they aren’t being praised for their waffling on impeachment. I suspect a good deal of their former brown nosers will be less than enthusiastic at Summer time town halls.

    4. Chris Cosmos

      Mueller was hyped by the controlled media as this fictional character which it often does. The usual celebrities echo the Narrative and there you have it. Those of us who knew Mueller and know who Coleen Rowley and understand how the system works weren’t fooled. This was a con from the beginning.

    5. mpalomar

      Also possible that anyone trying to keep the players straight in this deep state coup would be a bit befuddled; it’s tough trying to appease all the interested parties. Then again maybe he’s the go to guy when the waters need some muddying. Mueller was drafted to finesse the BCCI probe during the Reagan Bush years.
      “The U.S. Senate later found that the probe had been unaccountably “botched” – witnesses went missing, CIA records got “lost,” all sorts of bad luck. Most of the big BCCI players went unpunished or got off with wrist-slap fines and sanctions.”

  11. zagonostra

    >Matt Taibbi – Mueller Testimony

    As usual, Taibbi has a way of succinctly and accurately summarizing my sentiments as well, as I would imagine, the readers of NC.

    Start with the obvious. As political theater, the Democrats’ decision to put former Special Counsel Robert Mueller under oath was a catastrophe…

    The main result of Wednesday’s hearing was to lift the lid on a two-year media myth…

    It was universally assumed Mueller was keeping quiet because he was a master poker player, refusing to show the aces up his sleeve. His probe would be remembered for its “close-to-the-vest style.” This became central to the mythology of Mueller, that his cabbage-like silence implied strength.

    Democrats have repeatedly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in one improbable face-plant after another. This is just the latest disaster. They hyped Robert Mueller for two years as an all-conquering hero, only to have him show up under oath like a man wandering in traffic. Incredible. The losses continue.

    1. Jessica

      “This became central to the mythology of Mueller, that his cabbage-like silence implied strength.”
      Cabbage-like silence. God bless Matt Taibbi

    2. Monty

      “The losses continue.” unless you are actually trying to prevent a left wing government getting elected in 2020! (from your corporate sponsored and safely gerrymandered ivory tower)

      1. Carey

        There you go. Seems to me that our corporatist friends first unrelentingly built up
        and then purposefully crushed their own Narrative™.

        can’t imagine why

        1. Briny

          They’ve already maximized their return from this bit of political theater maintaining the gridlock in Washington. After all, once they got their tax cut, they sure don’t want any other changes coming out of there. Now to the next bit of political theater. Epstein or the election, probably both.

          1. Procopius

            Epstein. The election is still more than a year away. It’ll keep going like white noise in the background, but that’s all it is.

    1. flora

      adding: suspending her account for 6 straight hours right after a debate isn’t “briefly”.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      “…… infringed on her free speech”

      Given that the metrics determining “debate” participation–money raised, email addresses and poll standings–are massively internet enabled, I’d be inclined to call google’s infraction “election interference.” But maybe only “Russians” can be guilty of that.

      As an aside, “Schmidt” doesn’t sound Russian but I suppose Eric could be a descendant of those East Berlin Schmidts. “Brin,” on the other hand, seems to be just begging for an “–schenko” on the end, and his first name is Sergey. And, according to Wikipedia, his middle name is Mikhaylovich!! AND he was born in Moscow!!

      Better call crowdstrike.

      1. polecat

        Better yet, call for strikes .. of the entire Googleplex, sans crowds .. from orbit, just to be sure.

    3. dearieme

      If in 2012 Sanders had had the backbone to charge la Clinton with cheating him, and had refused to invite his followers to vote for her, then maybe this sort of misbehaviour would have been less likely this time.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        2012? Really?

        By the way, what kind of woodpecker is it that you had in your garden?

      1. flora

        Well, one of Google’s owner/founders is named Sergey… he’s Russian born… born in Moscow! no less… all the dots connect! /s

    4. Romancing The Loan

      Her ultimate suspicions might well be on target but the complaint is written very badly – wrong laws (trademark?!), poorly invoked (they don’t justify claiming Google was acting as an agent of the government), and evinces a poor understanding of who they’re suing by confusing different divisions of the company – I think it will get swiftly dismissed.

      It sounds like what likely happened to Gabbard is that google adwords accounts assume a certain level of traffic (because you’re paying per click) and, when interest in her shot up abruptly after the Dem debate, this hit an automatic cut-off that disabled her account on suspicion of fraud until a human someone six hours later realized it was a mistake. Is this a huge problem for candidates, does this amount to Google having way too much thumb on the scale even if they don’t do it for explicitly nefarious reasons (betcha Biden’s ad account has something on it making sure this doesn’t happen, even if it won’t), and can’t we not even be sure that particular candidates aren’t being targeted for political reasons? Absolutely. Will this lawsuit work to address these issues? Sadly, almost certainly not.

  12. witters

    “In late September of 1993, Bill and Hillary Clinton hosted a reception for supporters who had contributed to recent White House renovations. The nearly $400,000 overhaul—which included new gold draperies and a 13-color woven rug for the Oval Office—was funded entirely by donations to the White House Historical Association, a private organization that helps preserve and promote the White House as a historical monument.”

    It is all here.

    1. Off The Street

      There are so many indications of Clinton interactions with Epstein already known. As more details emerge about those cozy relationships and Lolita Express trips, that early 1990s period will be researched more thoroughly, at least as long as some key perps are still alive. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving group. The harsh light of day shining on their misdeeds will disinfect quite a lot of DC. My heart breaks for those children victimized.

      1. WJ

        “The harsh light of day shining on their misdeeds…”

        Do you think this will really happen?! I am almost 100% confident it will not.

      2. Big River Bandido

        I am not so sanguine as you are about the potential for legal redress. This will be swept under the rug at all costs. Too many people of too much importance are involved, and the system has no choice but to protect them.

          1. Wukchumni

            We go apeshit over an exposed mammary during a Super Bowl halftime show, but can’t conjure up any indignation over a pedophile ring @ the highest levels of government.

            You wonder what it would take to wake us up?

            1. ambrit

              Ah, but the crowd liked it, sort of, it having been done to death before. The Guardians of the Ublic Morality went aest over it. It degraded worker efficiency or some such. The edofile ring at the mile high club did nothing to reduce returns on investment, so, eh.
              Cynical (question mark]
              You bet it is! And it has become the New Normal. That New Normal has rile effects on the society. The fish rots from the head.
              Enjoy the hike! If you see bright flashes to your South and West, dont worry. Youre already ready.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            Unless the System assassinates Epstein first and makes it look like a suicide or an accident or a mugging-gone-wrong or a plain old prison murder.

        1. newcatty

          Under that 13- color woven rug. Hope that doesn’t happen. But, what are the odds of that cesspool of “important peoples” evil deeds coming to any kind of just consequences? Epstein can be thrown under the Lolita Express. Yes, heart breaking for those children and all victimized children.

        2. Off The Street

          It could be as simple as one person flipping under questioning. That could start quite a parade of perp walks, and there are thousands of sealed indictments in courts across the country. A few in the Epstein area wouldn’t be a stretch, along with the usual financial, corruption or other indictments. No honor among thieves or pedos.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Justice and accountability are very real for the 99% but the 1% Davos Uber-Menschen are inviolate and untouchable. My bet is that Epstein and a few low level lackeys get some consequences but that’s it. Underage cannibalism might move the needle for the Uber-Menschen but I doubt underage rape will.

  13. prodigalson

    not the onion. The military times published an article to lower the enlistment age to 16. The author is an IT grifter who’s also “Advising the recruiting commands” for some reason.

    ZH has a similar link and also to a twitter page where the army is being roasted even more heavily than with the recent “how has the army made you the man you are” fiasco from a few months/weeks ago.

    Good to see that child soldiers are still a bridge to far for the citizenry.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “16 Marines arrested at Camp Pendleton suspected of human smuggling, drug crimes”

    With all due regard, these were just a bunch of low-level Marines that did all this. A bigger story is how SEAL Team 7, which was deployed in Iraq, was ordered home early because the commander lost confidence in his team. The story is that they were ordered out of the field for abusing alcohol which does not sound likely. These were deployed soldiers after all. Another story that came out is that there are charges of sexual assault by members of this team which sounds more likely. Remember that this is an entire SEAL Team who are supposed to be the best of the best of the best. Twenty years of deployment by all these special forces seem to be having an effect on standards I would guess-

    1. prodigalson

      The SF units need to be shut down en masse. Creating these “elite” cadres is just asking for exactly these kind of problems. Combine weird cultural adulation, with a secretive close-knit social structure, with a “above the rules” mindset, and almost 20 years of continuous warfare “hidden” from the public’s view as to what’s actually happening, and it’s not surprising at all that these guys are going Colonel Kurtz, and likely have been this way for quite a while now.

      I’ve always wondered if you could heat map areas with lots of unexplained disappearances against areas with former SF unit veterans living in the population what those results would look like.

      I’m skeptical the ones who get a taste for killing ever stop.

      1. WJ

        Before the SEALS were made the trigger-happy pin-up nudes of the Global War on Terror, they really did represent some of the best and smartest soldiers in the world.

        Since 2001, they have devolved to become self-entitled and drug-addled murderers with no accountability and zero sense of personal honor.

  15. Alex

    The interview on the CFA franc lacks some basic data: have the countries similar to CFA-franc-zone ones that adopted their own currencies fared better over the last 50 years?

    1. Alex morfesis

      French treasury controlled and managed CFA is “not” a parallel currency inside the EU financial structure….oh wait….

      but if they properly renamed it the FAC (french alternative currency) one might have to adjust ones dial and put ones fingers in ears not to deal with that reality…

      He (or she) who controls the currency makes the rules and gets to distribute the capital and reduce and subject the weaker….

      Arguing a thug only left someone with a bloody nose instead of putting them in the hospital is the road back to implied big daddyism…

      “The proper nation must help these poor lost souls”…

      great training for future darkness…

      Since Jens Weidmann was interning with the French Central Bank in Rwanda around the time of the hundred days, that might explain his “love and compassion” for carbon based life forms from southern europe….

      1. Alex

        yeah but looking at this graph comparing Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Ghana!ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=ny_gdp_pcap_cd&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&idim=country:GHA:SEN:CIV:NGA&ifdim=region&tstart=-297741600000&tend=1248555600000&hl=en_US&dl=en&ind=false it seems that the root of the problem is not the CFA franc and thus getting rid of it won’t help much

    2. Wukchumni

      Africa has been a fiat graveyard of local currencies the last 30 years, with hyperinflation & currency revaluations all over the place.

      Here’s a typical sob story, from Ghana.

      Decades of high inflation devalued the new cedi, so that in 2007 the largest of the “new cedi” banknotes, the 20,000 note, had a value of about US$2. The new cedi was gradually phased out in 2007 in favor of the “Ghana cedi” at an exchange rate of 1:10,000. By removing four digits, the Ghana cedi became the highest-denominated currency unit issued in Africa. It has since lost about 80% of its value.

        1. Wukchumni

          How would it go over in these United States if our government announced that you could have 1 Great American Dollar for $10,000 worth of your FRN’s, as similar to what went down in Ghana?

          Oh, and that lone greenback has since drifted down to being worth 19 Cents…

  16. Amfortas the hippie

    ESL Teacher Wife says that ” titere”–denotatively, “puppet”— is connotatively “dumbass” ….or less PC, “retarded”.

    apparently none of the reporters covering this consulted with a spanish speaker.
    Wife’s kids are atwitter about it, being uniformly anti-trump.
    it’s a nice little gift to the people we know who’ve been hiding from La Migra these last couple of weeks.

    1. ambrit

      Yeah about Les Immigres. A hand book for job managers on one job I worked on had; Im not from immigration, as the first thing to know how to say to the workers.
      I saw it with my own beady little eyes.

    1. doug

      and no one has mentioned how these robo taxis stay clean…
      That never comes up..
      I figure the idea is an insider joke with the BOD.

      1. newcatty

        Oh, you didn’t know? Self driving taxis are designed to be self cleaning. If a guy comes up to one with a rag and window cleaner , and doesn’t notice there is no human driver, the taxi is programmed to snarl, and robot arms pop out to menacingly wave in front of the bullet proof windshield.

        1. Duck1

          Prolly have floor drains and a robot with a pressure washer. All hard plastic interior, natch.

          1. RMO

            In the unlikely event that the technology arrives that makes the robotaxi a reality keeping them clean will likely be taken care of thus: the interior will be under video surveillance constantly, anyone allowed to call a robotaxi and climb on board will have to have an account that gives pretty much all their personal details to the company along with the ability to charge damage and cleaning fees at an outrageously profitable rate when an AI scanning the video footage determines that they have made a mess. If there’s not enough money in your account to cover the charges I figure the result is a ruined credit score and a blacklisting from the robotaxi company – or companies if it somehow doesn’t turn out to be a monopoly.

  17. Vic Gross

    The Myth Of Robert Mueller, Exploded

    I don’t think it’s entirely wrong to think of what Robert Mueller did as akin to a consulting engagement. Hired by senior management, he was given essentially unlimited time and budget to research and assess a complex situation, then deliver a report and recommendations.

    With that frame, what consultant would drop a densely-written 448-page report on the client’s desk and refuse to summarize it, clarify it or expand on it? What consultant would get paid if she kept repeating “the report speaks for itself” while walking out the door?

    This need to explain and clarify the report is particularly acute in this case. When the report was initially released, I watched America’s top legal experts and pundits struggle for nearly a week to come to something of a consensus on what the report meant. That key passages in the report are wrapped in double negatives and driven by largely unexplained assumptions makes clarification by the author even more critical. I understand that there are some restrictions on what Mueller can say, but responding to the question “what did you mean by this sentence?” written in a public document can’t be off limits.

    My most charitable interpretation of what Mueller did is that, much like Comey, he was so concerned with “being fair” that he created a giant mess in the process. Knowing he couldn’t indict a sitting President, he apparently decided out of fairness it would therefore be wrong to accuse a sitting President of anything, but despite this, fills the second volume of his report with extreme detail and documentation on a whole series of likely illegal acts by the sitting President. Was this cleverness or cluelessness? Mueller won’t say. And in exchange for tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, we’re presented with a trail of breadcrumbs and riddles wrapped in enigmas.

    I think taxpayers deserve better.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      True/False: Donald Trump is a Muslim teenager with emotional problems such as social isolation.

      The correct answer is false.

      Given this, why would anyone expect Bob Mueller to catch Donald Trump?

      Like with Epstein, it really it isn’t about the people who committed crimes but the people who heard more than rumors. Everyone behind the Mueller appointment caused this problem. Mueller’s record is at best of one of gross incompetence, and he is a war criminal as part of that cabal that lied about WMD’s. He should have been sent to the Hague years ago.

    2. barefoot charley

      He wasn’t there to answer questions, or he could have been asked ones like:

      –Why didn’t you interview Assange, who leaked the leak, to ask him where it came from?

      –Why didn’t you interview the Democratic Party shop that charged Russia with hacking without even examining the hacked servers, or considering the download speeds that made hacking impossible?

      –What do you make of the judicial finding that the Russian clickbait shop you accuse of the only actual espionage had no ties to state security?

      A doddering dunderhead was the right man for this job (though the optics on his fellow dodderers Joe and Bernie aren’t encouraging). A glorified national security assessment (ie string of lies and related process ‘crimes’) signed off by a sleepyhead goes to its final drawer.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Does Bernie dodder? Could you provide links to videos showing Bernie doddering?

  18. rd

    Re: Ransomware

    It costs money to upgrade computer systems and keep them up to date. Similar to any infrastructure, the initial capital expense is really just a down payment. The success relies on ongoing maintenance and upkeep. Politicians are loathe to fund it, but they do jump on fads to install bright shiny new things that are then doomed to fail due to lack of upkeep.

    I still haven’t seen a reason to install internet connected anything other than a WiFi router, PC, and DVD player (for Netflix) in my house. Why would I want somebody in Russia or Nigeria to be able to control my thermostat when it is -20 outside? I am concerned enough that they might be able to shutdown the gas feed at that time by hacking the utility company. They don’t need more entry points to screw up my life.

    1. edmondo

      Unless the goal is to take away the ability of those local governments to actually enroll voters? After all, wouldn’t it be more economical and safe to have the federal government in charge of that function? Especially a Republican “Voter Czar”, who could “clean up” those voting rolls before every election. What could go wrong?

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      In the midst “OMG Russia”, I wonder where the #resistance is on the issue?

    3. Off The Street

      Oh, McConnell’s a confidant all right, just not for the municipalities or states.

  19. Craig H.

    > Bear Tries To Steal Entire Dumpster From Marijuana Dispensary

    cocaine bear

    I’m sure 98% of you all have seen this but for the few that have not this is a must read.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I hadn’t seen this story about cocaine bear. Very funny story! [except for the several deaths the episode includes]

    2. Wukchumni

      I heard a tale from a friend who lost not only his food to a bear, but also some quite potent toadstools.

      He never saw the bruin that did the deed, but imagined it was tripping balls somewhere.

    3. Aron Blue

      Thank you so much for bringing this into my life. All I can think is, was it worth it, cocaine bear? Was it worth it?

    4. CoryP

      This was very amusing. I was expecting the “I [familyblog] love cocaine” bear-in-snow meme.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Confronting monetary imperialism in Francophone Africa”

    This is a very interesting article but there seems to be a very big hole in his interview. That is what happens if you try to leave the French currency zone. Libya tried and that is why it was destroyed. One of the most advanced countries in Africa was thus turned into a Jihadist hell-hole with open slave markets so that France could thump any attempt to escape their control. Gaddaffi had accumulated about 143 tons of gold and a similar amount in silver so that he could establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar. So France helped organize through NATO a major smash-and-grab of all this gold and silver and make sure that there was never a challenge to it’s currency again. This all came out in Hillary’s emails-

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Reverend.

      In addition, Libyan investments in Italian and other banks are not generating a return and off shore oil and gas operators are shipping more than is declared to what passes for the Libyan state.

  21. PeakBS

    Center for Auto Safety and Consumer Watchdog Renew Their Call for the FTC and State Attorneys General
    to Investigate Tesla for Deceptive Practices After Another Autopilot-Related Death

    The Center For Auto Safety Link

    After the horrific Facebook settlement – it seems “we the people” need to police even our own public roads against Silicon Valley hubris.

  22. DJG

    Antidote du jour: Otter Steve.

    Otterly charming. And the comments are funny and supportive of his great achievement.

    At least someone, that is, Otter Steve, has a sense of purpose these days. I notice, too, that the Otter People are not blaming the Russians for anything. That’s refreshing.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Peace in Ukraine?”

    Going to be hard as a lot of those Ukrainian ultra-nationalists are very heavily armed. On the other hand, the regular Ukrainian army are not fans of these formations and firefights have broken out between the regular army and those nationalists. Washington supports the later which was what led them to vote against a UN motion to condemn the glorification of Nazism as these formations are rife with out and out Nazis. The other two countries to also vote against this motion were the Ukraine and tiny Palau by the way. As the Ukraine has just seized a Russian oil tanker I am guessing that there are a lot of people that want to keep the tensions and fighting going. The fact that the ten Russian crewmen have been sent home is a good sign though.

  24. Raymond Robitaille

    “Don’t let vegetarian environmentalists shame you for eating meat. Science is on your side.” This a really poor and superficial article. There are several very important aspects of meat eating that are simply overlooked in this article, including 1. How meat is produced and 2. The limits to how much meat can be produced.
    1. Industrial meat production is poisoning the environment and destroying massive tracts of natural habitats. We have to end industrial agriculture. Farming should be practiced at a small scale without using petrochemicals that poison the soil. Agroecology, permaculture and regenerative farming are all examples of what should become standard farming systems. In addition, there should only be short, or far shorter, circuits between food production and food consumption. For example, European farmers buy South American grain for their animals. This needs to end eventually. Of course, this cannot be done instantly. A transition is required.
    2. No matter what is done, there will always be meat and meat consumption one way or another. But all meat should be healthy. For example, cows raised on grasses instead of grains. And no animals raised on antibiotics or other pharmeceuticals. The amount of meat that can be produced this way will be lower than currently and this means less meat consumption per person. A good model to follow is the South East Asian diet in which meals include only an ounce or so of meat. In addition, that is a healthier diet.

    1. anon in so cal

      Probably if more people were made aware of what is involved in capitalist agriculture aka factory farms, they would voluntarily stop eating meat.

      Glenn Greenwald is great on this issue, as are many others with prominent platforms on social media.

      “I was going to make this exact point after spending a full day at a pig farm outside London last week. Nobody should be forced to change their diet. But if you’re going to support an industry that tortures & mass slaughters animals, at least inform yourself about who they are.”

      “The FBI’s Hunt for Two Missing Piglets Reveals the Federal Cover-Up of Barbaric Factory Farms

      …This single Smithfield Foods farm breeds and then slaughters more than 1 million pigs each year. One of the odd aspects of animal mistreatment in the U.S. is that species regarded as more intelligent and emotionally complex — dogs, dolphins, cats, primates — generally receive more public concern and more legal protection. Yet pigs – among the planet’s most intelligent, social, and emotionally complicated species, capable of great joy, play, love, connection, suffering and pain, at least on a par with dogs — receive almost no protections, and are subject to savage systematic abuse by U.S. factory farms.

      At Smithfield, like most industrial pig farms, the abuse and torture primarily comes not from rogue employees violating company procedures. Instead, the cruelty is inherent in the procedures themselves. One of the most heinous industry-wide practices is one that DxE activists encountered in abundance at Circle Four: gestational crating.

      Where that technique is used, pigs are placed in a crate made of iron bars that is the exact length and width of their bodies, so they can do nothing for their entire lives but stand on a concrete floor, never turn around, never see any outdoors, never even see their tails, never move more than an inch. ”

      It’s not just the gestational crates and associated cruelty. It’s poking the animals’ eyes as they’re dragged to slaughter, shipping them in giant, multi-level big rigs in scorching heat, etc……

      (sorry to be a broken record)

      1. Monty

        Because people don’t like peach fuzz on their pork, American slaughter houses submerge the pigs in scalding hot water whilst they are still alive. the shock and pain cause their hair to fall out before the slaughter proper begins.

      2. witters

        You know, your greenhouses for the vegies are not so good: From Low Tech Mag:

        “The modern glass greenhouse, often located in temperate climates where winters can be cold, requires massive inputs of energy, mainly for heating but also for artificial lighting and humidity control.
        According to the FAO, crops grown in heated greenhouses have energy intensity demands around 10 to 20 times those of the same crops grown in open fields. A heated greenhouse requires around 40 megajoule of energy to grow one kilogram of fresh produce, such as tomatoes and peppers. [source – page 15] This makes greenhouse-grown crops as energy-intensive as pork meat (40-45 MJ/kg in the USA).”

        None of my vegetarian friends consider this relevant!

  25. Summer

    Re: New York / Empty Storefront tracking

    “Int. 1472-B, one of five bills focused on small businesses that was passed by the city council this week, requires the department of finance to collect from owners details about which properties are vacant, lease lengths, upcoming expirations, store sizes and rental rates. It also mandates a public online database of the information.”

    Wow. Shocking to read a city doesn’t already track suck a thing. I’d assumed this kind of thing would be basic city governance. Is it the same way in other cities? And if the same serious lack of property data affects the commercial area, I wonder about the thoroughness or seriousness of cities’ data about residential properties. Puts a whole new spin on the causes of homelessness.

    1. Lee Christmas

      I used to work for restaurant that contracted with a catering company that specialized in bringing in different restaurants into various office spaces; a different restaurant every day, sometimes multiple in an open setting. The workers paid for their own lunches, the company took a cut of our sales. Sometimes we would set up in an office break room where companies, workers thrilled that they could have a different restaurant set up a buffet every day! Of course, not leaving the office to get food while still having to pay for it yourself is a win-win for the bosses.

      But more often than not, instead setting up in an individual office, we would take an empty suite, building lobby, vacant ground floor restaurant (why do they build restaurant space in the ground floor of an office building?), or sometimes an empty floor in a large building, and set up the buffet there while people trickled in to see what was offered for the day. While many locations were regularly visited, every week there would be a new building to visit with a vacant suite or floor to set up.

      After a while, I began noticing all the “For Lease” signs that are hung outside commercial real estate, and coupled with the actual visits to many of these buildings, I was shocked to see just how much vacant office space there is in the city!

      I’m in Los Angeles, where empty retail spaces are easy to spot from the street, especially in “hot” areas. But it’s interesting to note that there’s also no dearth of office space. Nissan and Toyota have both left the area, leaving empty offices that held thousands of employees. Nestle has left. There are also are several companies that are building new offices within the city, to move their operations eventually. What happens to all the old, unused space?

      In CA there’s much discussion about making it easier for new development, but it seems that there’s already quite a bit unused/misused.

      Why not put put 1,200 homeless people in a retro-fitted Toyota headquarters?

  26. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Amazon requires police departments to advertise Ring home security products to residents in return for free Ring cameras Business Insider.

    It will need to be left to those more erudite than I to explain why “free” healthcare and “free” college represent existential, socialist threats to our sacred democratic way of life, and a “free” neighborhood surveillance device that allows police to sidestep the usual warrants required for obtaining security footage (and spies on your neighbors) does not.

    Because I just can’t wrap my feeble, non-ivy-league brain around that shit.

  27. Summer

    RE: The Myth of Mueller Exploded

    “At times Mueller appeared to be merely non-answering questions. In other cases he seemed genuinely confused, unable to remember names, dates, and events, or follow the logical thread of questions.”

    Did he even read or write the report? Or just sign it?

    1. Katniss Everdeen



      Tl;dr stands for “too long; didn’t read.” While the internet acronym can criticize a piece of writing as overly long, it often is used to give a helpful, witty, or snarky summary of a much longer story or complicated phenomenon. Related words: cool story, bro.

      It’s 448 pages, “bro”!

  28. Softie

    I visted Tibet three times so far, in 1979, 2000, and 2018. I picked up the Tibetan language for my travel. I’ve traveled extensively on a bicyle in Tibet. Most of my travel was in the remote regions, and I stayed in so many tiny villages. Also I solo traversed the immense Chang Tang wilderness.

    From my own personal observations, the Tibetans are much better off today than they were 40 years ago. As for the political freedom, just like in any other parts of China, there is none. As for the religious freedom, they can openly worship today without any issues. And I found that the more developed an area is, the more secular it has become, and vise versa. As for the economic freedom, they have much more than what they used to have decades ago.

    The article states “A complicated history in short: Tibet was first incorporated into China as a protectorate in 1903 during the Qing dynasty”, which I find it’s misleading and false.

    However, Wikipedia states the following,

    Tibet under Qing rule refers to the Qing dynasty’s rule over Tibet from 1720 to 1912. During the Qing rule of Tibet, the region was structurally, militarily and administratively controlled by the Qing dynasty established by the Manchus in China. In the history of Tibet, Qing administrative rule was established after a Qing army defeated the Dzungars who occupied Tibet in 1720, and lasted until the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1912, although the region retained a degree of political autonomy under the Dalai Lamas. The Qing emperors appointed imperial residents known as the Ambans to Tibet, who commanded over 2,000 troops stationed in Lhasa and reported to the Lifan Yuan, a Qing government agency that oversaw the empire’s frontier regions

    1. softie

      If you want to know more about why the Tibetans refused to declare independence along with the Mongolians when Qing collapsed in 1911. Robert Easton wrote a fascinating book titled China Caravans: An American Adventurer in Old China. Easton was a sales manager of the British American Tobacco Company, and he brokered the diplomatic liasons between Tibet and Mongolia during the time when the Chinese government tried to crush the Mongolians’ independence. And Mongolia desperately needed help from Tibet since they shared the same religion beliefs. According to his account, Lhasa wasn’t the spiritual center of Tibet and the Dalai Lama wasn’t the spitutal leader at the time. Lhasa was the political center and the Dalai Lama was more political than spiritual. But all important matters were actually decided at Kumbum Monastery, which was the spiritual center at the time and it’s about 1000 miles away from Lhasa.

  29. Summer

    RE: “Mr Musk has promised Tesla’s cars will have full autonomous capabilities by the end of this year, and that the company will be in a position to launch a driverless taxi service in the second half of 2020.” Tick, tick, tick…

    I want to pre-order this cab ride. Where do I sign up. (Snickering)

    1. Monty

      I thought he could be talking about giving owners better integration with products like Like air b&b for cars. You can rent your car to strangers. Lots of Tesla owners are on there, making well over their monthly payments by renting the car out when they aren’t using it. The car’s systems could be made aware when they are in “rental mode” and ensure the borrower sticks to speed limits and stays within mileage allowances.

  30. Summer

    Re: Boris Johnson /NHS/ Brexit / Trump

    Now that someone across the Atlantic has finally woken up and thrown it out there first.. I’ve suspected a role in Brexit is being played by certain players in the USA.

    Not surprised one bit that this is being raised as a concern.

    1. Summer

      Imagine a near future scenario…Extinction Rebellion does another mass action in London. Confrontation with authorities leave many injured. They go to hospitals and clinics and are confronted with major bills.
      They really get a look at their extinction….

  31. Wukchumni

    Chaining, the practice of using heavy chains stretched between tractors or bulldozers to rip out vegetation, would be allowed in parts of Bears Ears National Monument under the Trump administration’s proposed management plan. The plan, which also would allow new roads and utility lines to cross the landscape in southeastern Utah, drew immediate condemnation Friday from environmental and tribal groups, who are hoping their legal moves to reverse President Trump’s redrawing of the monument’s boundaries will prevent the plan from taking effect.

  32. Wukchumni

    Trump Stands Next to Photoshopped Presidential Seal That Reads ’45 is a Puppet’ in Spanish Gizmodo
    It’s good to see that a merry prankster’s political missive got an airing out, and we need more mirth and less Mueller, going forward.

    1. Carey

      I too am noticing a difference between the ‘Squad’s words and their actions.


    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The answer could depend on whether one assumes she is good, or bad.

      The third option is to assume nothing, and be skeptical of everything. In that case, AOC has to prove she is not on the wrong side, if we want to trust her, or any person.

      If we don’t care to trust her, or not, then, the default skepticism is to not ask her to prove anything, but to just let events unfold.

    3. Summer

      You too would be influenced by the company you keep…even more so when you are young.

    1. Off The Street

      Capicola, that gateway meat that introduced me to, read hooked me on, tastier Italian cold cuts beyond, ahem, baloney and what was sold as salami. Real bologna and salume would come later, after prosciutto. Those were the days, yum. Hoagie, grinder, torpedo, a sandwich by any other name would taste as delicioso!

  33. juliania

    And had accepted Jill Stein’s offer to join her campaign…just putting that out there.

    1. juliania

      This was in response (I clicked reply under the comment) to dearieme at 9:50 above who had commented:

      “If in 2012 Sanders had had the backbone to charge la Clinton with cheating him, and had refused to invite his followers to vote for her, then maybe this sort of misbehaviour would have been less likely this time.”

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