Links 7/9/19

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Snowball the dancing parrot stuns scientists with 14 separate moves to Eighties classic hits Telegraph. Snowball may be more accomplished, but I like this cockatoo for his enthusiasm.

Thousands of dead fish litter Kentucky River after Jim Beam warehouse fire CBS :-(

As NASA Aims For The Moon, An Aging Space Station Faces An Uncertain Future NPR. Kevin W: ” Maybe they can relocate those Hydrogen Fluoride plants here.”

It’s the End of the World as They Know It Mother Jones (UserFriendly)

A Ferocious Heat in Delhi New York Review of Books (Anthony L)

Earth’s Ancient Life Forms Are Awakening After 40,000 Years in Permafrost ScienceAlert (Kevin W). Um, sounds like the plot of a lot of horror movies.

Today’s Deep Learning Is Like Magic – In All The Wrong Ways Forbes (David L)

E-scooters: a transport ‘tsunami’ flooding cities worldwide PhysOrg (UserFriendly). A pox on them. A colleague in Brooklyn’s toddler is a casualty. The child suffered a concussion when an e-scooter knocked him over. And without boring you with details, the child also is showing lasting symptoms as a result, like regular nightmares when he wasn’t subject to them before.

we’re not fixing climate change Freddie deBoer

Why Is Measles Back? Atlantic. Um, someone needs to ask? Resilc: “We’ve run down the path toward public goods are bad and stupid…every person for his/herself….stage 2 of 5 stages toward USSR full on mode.” Moi: “The difference will be that in the USSR, there were hardly any goods in stores. In the US, shelves will be stocked but ordinary people will be able to buy very little.”

The Woman Who Revealed the Missing Link Between Viruses and Cancer Smithsonian (Chuck L)


Hong Kong extradition bill ‘is dead’ says Carrie Lam BBC. !!!!

US barred Hong Kong consul from giving critical speech on protests Financial Times (David L)

US-China tech war and the US intelligence community Asia Times (Kevin W). I don’t find the article claims credible. Can knowledgeable readers comment? For starters, China wouldn’t tolerate it, given its aim of total surveillance…..ex Huawei goods having lots of back doors. But what about non-China-origin products?

US approves $2.2bn Taiwan arms sale despite Chinese ire BBC


Boris Johnson’s “Looking Glass” Brexit New Yorker. This strikes me as far too kind to Johnson and his fellow travelers. If nothing else, the stakes were much lower in the LeCarre book.

’30-plus’ Tory rebels willing to defy whip and block no-deal Brexit Guardian

Brexit widens the UK’s language divide between rich and poor Financial Times

Chris Grayling accused of trying to ‘silence’ road hauliers over no-deal Brexit Telegraph


How Fake News Could Lead to Real War Politico (UserFriendly)

France ramps up efforts to save Iran nuclear deal Financial Times

Iran declares war on the USA’s covert influence in Iraq. Elijah Magnier (Chuck L)

“Pretty Please” – Trump Asked Iran To Allow Him To Bomb It Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

Scott Ritter: US may start a war with Iran ‘by mistake’ to appease the Israel lobby YouTube (furzy). From late May, still germane.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Federal police forced Qantas to hand over the private travel records of an ABC journalist Sydney Morning Herald (Kevin W). Ugh.

From Wat, undated but important background pieces from the Electronic Frontier Foundation: National Security Letters nd National Security Letter Timeline

Serious Security Flaw With Teleconferencing App Could Allow Websites to Hijack Mac Webcams Gizmodo

Imperial Collapse Watch

Obama: Front Man for Washington’s Imperialism Paul Craig Roberts (furzy)

Trump Transition

Trump hits back over UK ambassador’s leaked memos Guardian (UserFriendly). FWIW: Sir Kim Darroch’s diplomatic memos ‘leaked in revenge for alleged failure to promote pro-Brexit Britain’ Telegraph

Trump Couldn’t Ignore the Contradictions of His Foreign Policy Any Longer Atlantic (UserFriendly, Bob K)

Judge rules against Trump on drug pricing disclosures The Hill

Pelosi: Census citizenship question is effort to ‘make America white again’ The Hill

Bill Clinton issues statement on Epstein charges The Hill (UserFriendly)

Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez move to declare climate crisis official emergency Guardian

Making the Revolving Door Great Again: Recent FDA Commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb Joins the Pfizer Board of Directors Health Care Renewal. Substantiation of Warren’s charge of corruption.

Democrats in Disarray

Nancy Pelosi Doesn’t Know Who The Democratic Party Is Anymore HuffPost (UserFriendly)


What Happened to America’s Political Center of Gravity? New York Times. UserFriendly: “lol based on their written platform Sanders just barely pushed the democrats to the left of center in 2016.”

The Trailer: Sanders wants to reshape the electorate. Here’s how his campaign plans to try. Washington Post (UserFriendly)

Tom Steyer 2020 Presidential Run Looks Closer Atlantic. UserFriendly: “Seriously, if you don’t shoot me I’m going to have to do it myself.”

Supreme Court takes fiduciary case for overfunded DB plan Pensions & Investments. DS: “This case could be significant on the issue of standing to sue fiduciaries. Not certain where the court will land.”

The Toxic-Gas Catastrophe Hiding Beneath Your Home New Republic

Class Warfare

From Dan K:

CBO report shows broad benefits from higher minimum wage Economic Policy Institute

A federal court just ordered the pilots who fly your Amazon Prime packages to stop ‘excessively’ calling in sick and refusing to work overtime Business Insider (Kevin W)

Detroit’s Afrofuture Fest drops plan to charge white festivalgoers higher ticket prices Washington Post

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “When E. B. White (cat, not author) was a 10 week old kitten in 2012.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. bob

      That’s violence! according to the rules of reporting – property damage is akin to genocide

  1. Ignacio

    RE: Tom Steyer 2020 Presidential Run Looks Closer Atlantic. UserFriendly: “Seriously, if you don’t shoot me I’m going to have to do it myself.”

    I wouldn’t shoot you even if you pay more than enough UF!!! You bring interesting links and discussion.
    But imagine a campaign between billionaire Trump and Billionaire Steyer. Wouldn’t this be the best example of inverted totalitarianism to date?

    1. Jessica

      No, it would be far too obvious for inverted totalitariaism. Trump vs. Kamala Harris would be far superior. Even better, some non-billionaire version of Trump vs. Kamala Harris.

        1. polecat

          Well, Jessica, you didn’t go quite far enough ….

          totalitariaism -> totalitiaraism = the queen cobra herself !
          Of course, she’s no match for King Keck ! ..

      1. Procopius

        For some reason this caused me to wonder, do the people who call her “Kamala the Kop” (and are there really such people?) think that makes her sound good? Are there people who still think most cops are Officer Friendly? I know most cops are OK people, some (many?) are really good people, and a comparative few are really, really bad (including the entire Chicago Police Department), and they have a really awful, shitty, terrible, no good job to do, but my first reaction is to fear them.

    2. Robert Valiant

      Put the two of them in a Texas cage match with blunt weapons – last man standing is president. I’d pay to watch that.

  2. mega mike

    The Toxic-Gas Catastrophe Hiding Beneath Your Home
    More than 50,000 Americans unwittingly live within 650 feet of natural gas wells, which are poorly regulated and can leak or explode.
    50,000 thats it? Does that number seem very low?

  3. The Rev Kev

    “The Woman Who Revealed the Missing Link Between Viruses and Cancer”

    It is a pity that the Nobel prize cannot be awarded posthumously for surely Sarah Stewart and her research partner Dr. Bernice E. Eddy deserved one for their incredible piece of research. On Stewart’s Wikipedia page I see no mention of prizes or scholarships bearing her name. Pity that.

    Today’s Antidote du jour – does anybody else see the shape of a mouse running down E. B. White’s face in that marking?

        1. Wukchumni

          I thought it was a brilliant move by the Nobel committee, force his hand into being a dove…

          …didn’t work

          1. Roy G

            To be fair, Obama wasn’t in charge of Foreign Policy, and he did give great speeches. /sarcasm

            1. The Rev Kev

              I will always remember the speech that he gave when accepting his Nobel prize. It was a war speech which must have made the Nobel committee feel very uncomfortable and awkward.

          2. WheresOurTeddy

            “No, it didn’t.” – Lybia, Honduras, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq

        2. Olga

          Yes, I think he got it simply for not being shrub. In those terrible times, it somehow seemed sufficient. He did put a pretty face and mellifluous sound on US imperialism, though. Quite an accomplishment – in retrospect, perhaps the best a US prez can do… (if he wants to stay alive, that is).

    1. dearieme

      In 1944, women weren’t yet allowed to enroll as full students in most American medical schools.

      Why was the US so backward on women’s jobs, women’s education and so on? Yet when I was young American men were renowned for being hen-pecked. Maybe I’ve answered my own question.

      1. ambrit

        Yet, women got the vote in America, through the 19th Amendment in 1920, while full suffrage for women took until 1928 in England. Spinning this a bit, women older than 30 with property could vote in 1918 in England. A class based suffrage. Of course, America had it’s ‘Poll Taxes’ and ‘Literacy Requirements;’ another sort of ‘class’ distinction.
        As for ‘henpecked,’ well, I do admit to being somewhat “p—y whipped.” I don’t much like the ‘whipped’ part, but I do like the ‘p—y’ part.

      2. Procopius

        Starting in the early years of the 20th Century, the AMA began a long-term campaign to reduce the number of doctors in order to raise their incomes. One of the ways they did it was to reduce the number of medical schools and limit the number of students they would accept. The Great Depression was a huge setback for them, because people were too broke to pay for a doctor. When I was a kid in the ’40s we never went to a clinic or doctor’s office. If I was sick enough it was still easy to find a doctor who was willing to make a house call for the few dollars he’d get. The AMA is very like a medieval guild and still limits the number of students, although I guess more of that limited number are now women.

  4. Watt4Bob

    All important telecommunications equipment makers cooperate with their national intelligence services, as America’s Cisco did with the National Security Agency.

    They do it because we do it.

    It’s as simple as that.

    The fact that the United States has attempted to suppress Huawei’s market leadership in the absence of any American competitor in this field is one of the oddest occurrences in the history of US foreign policy.

    We, as a nation, decide to abandon manufacturing for ‘services’ and fail to understand that path could lead, figuratively, to washing dishes and cleaning toilets for those who take over the making of things.

    Our billionaire class cannot see the utility in low and slow ROI, they only want to do the exciting stuff that makes them 25% on invested money.

    They don’t understand that after leaving the table, there is no guarantee that the rest of the players will allow you back in, or that your competitive skills won’t erode to the point where you become the ‘pigeon’.

    1. Summer

      “Our billionaire class cannot see the utility in low and slow ROI, they only want to do the exciting stuff that makes them 25% on invested money.”

      I criticize that short term profit thinking as well. But the billionaire class is trying to tell us something that we refuse to hear – and to their profit and our detriment: many of the things people are “busying” themselves with are not actually important.

  5. Wombat

    Yesterday, someone posted this article on the suspicious Election results for Queens DA.

    Summary- Caban was ahead: 33,800 to Katz’s 32,700. 6,000 Paper Ballots remained, About 3,000 were tossed by the Board of Elections for reasons unknown. Of the remaining 3,276 ballots- 2,198 went to Katz and 1,078 went to Caban (3,276 ballots total). Katz pulled ahead.

    We have enough information to conduct a statistical proportion test.

    Null Hypothesis: 3,276 ballots came from the same voting population. (In other words, these ballots that were NOT tossed ARE representative of the voting population that voted nearly 50-50 for Katz-Caban?)

    Some given information

    P=0.50 (the Null proportion- 50% of the counted votes went to Katz)
    p=0.67 (2,198/3,276) – the proportion of paper ballots that went to Katz. The sample proportion.
    n=3,276 (the number of paper ballots counted after the BoE discarded others)

    Let’s do this:
    1) stdev=sqrt(P*(1-P)/n)= 0.5*0.5/3,276)=0.0087

    2) Z = (p-P)/stdev = (0.67-0.50)/0.0087=19.54

    3) A Z-score of 19.54 is 19.54 standard deviations from the true proportion of votes. That is a super-right tail even with a likelihood of nearly 0. A standard Z table only goes to 4.00.

    CONCLUSION: The final paper ballots counted are not representative of the voting population for this race. With a sample size of 3,276 it is extremely unlikely that Katz would have pulled 67% of the votes.

    (By removing nearly 3,000 paper ballots for reasons unknown, the BoE may have furnished a sample that was not representative of the voting population and allowed Katz to win).

    1. Big River Bandido

      Hi Wombat, I submitted that comment on Monday. Thank you for doing the statistical math to support my point. 87% of paper ballots in a 5-way race is not believable. I only know that instinctively; thank you for the proof.

      I’m sure that will make the BOE’s ruling easier. /sn

    1. Chris Cosmos

      It’s only somewhat of a hit piece. I stopped right when it asserted Assad was a vicious dictator who kills his own people with chemical weapons. There is no and has been no proof that he did so. Assad is rough and a Machiavellian like every other leader in any part of the world but he doesn’t shoot himself in the foot. I remember looking at a clip from the pro-war cable channel MSNBC when interviewing Tulsi where one of the gang of half-wits “interviewing” her blustered that he gassed people just because he was a monster that enjoyed watching children die. This evilization of leaders who don’t follow orders from Jerusalem or Washington is typical of American thinking. The world is one big comic book according to the “liberal” mass media with the brave and fearless super-heros/heroines of the fourth Estate keeping guard against evil Russian accented villains whose only interest is in denying us our freedoms. Anyway this stuff is even stupider than the 50s communist hysteria–at least in the case of the USSR you could point to the Gulags and Stalin’s mass killings. Today the “evil” of our revolving cast of enemies are almost entirely imaginary.

      1. Mike

        This leads me to again repeat a mantra that should be common knowledge by now: major media is not just “in bed with” the intelligence agencies regarding the established reactionary practice of “USA, USA”, it is an arm of it, channeling all its fake intelligence and hardly ever backtracking when these are proven to be lies. The formula is now punch anyone to the left of Carter-era Zbigniew Brzezinski.

        Meanwhile, most progressives rely on YouTube, FaceBook, and Twitter as means of broadcast, begging these conduits to not censor or “de-monetize” them, expecting favor from oligarchs. It is not a method promising better dissemination of real news and critical thought. While several attempts at independent networks have been made (i.e., RNN, Intercept) the viewership is low and the models have engaged in some questionable practice (Omidyar vs. WikiLeaks, anyone?).

        Question – can we build anything independent and expect to succeed?

        1. Cal2

          Gabbard is definitely the enemy and threat to the Rhodes Scholar, elite, warmongering class. I found this article to be an interesting general take on “oligarchs”, it lays things out nicely with broad brush strokes that pull together disparate threads of philosophy and values.

          “By the end of the 1990s a new phase of this de-nationalization was unleashed with the unveiling of the Blair doctrine explicitly calling for a “post-Westphalia” world order which unleashed a wave of hellish regime change wars in the Arab World beginning with 9-11, and with a long term intention to target Libya, Syria Iran, and Lebanon while expanding NATO’s hegemony against the potential re-emergence of Russia and China.”

        2. Oregoncharles

          You’re commenting on one of the better examples.

          Caveat: it requires significant personal sacrifice from at least two people – I worry about Yves’ health, for one. People willing to do that are pretty scarce, so it isn’t really a sustainable model. It is a starting point, though. There are a couple of others, like the site Robert Parry started.

          1. Mike


            Precisely my point- few do, so if their ability to reach many is limited (mostly due to big media interference and covert intrusion, and too small thinking on the part of small media), where do we go from there?

            I am especially concerned when growing critical outlets as the Young Turks are subsumed into supporting a false meme just to get $/attention. They are not alone.

        1. Carolinian

          And how evil are the people who have supported the jihadis who took over that “revolution”? Hundreds of thousands are dead and Europe flooded with refugees so we can show Assad we don’t approve of him.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          We know Assad (as with his father before him) is a torturer, because of course, the US and Canada renditioned suspects to his prisons for torture. As previously articles in the New Yorker and Time have pointed out, there is evidence that US officials have been present at some of these ‘interrogations’.

          The question raised above is the specific one about Assad ‘gassing’ his people. I’ve very little doubt Assad is capable of gassing people, but as Gabbard bravely points out, the evidence that he did so is very weak.

          The reality is that while Assad is certainly responsible for a very nasty regime, it is, by the standards of the neighbourhood, just average at worst when it comes to murder, torture and repression.

          1. JohnnyGL

            “I’ve very little doubt Assad is capable of gassing people”

            The pieces Sy Hersh wrote in the LRB indicate that the disposal of chemical weapons as overseen by the UN team (with US personnel) and agreed upon with Russia as a compromise solution was a genuine one.

            The Russians have reasons for wanting Assad’s chemical weapons stockpile destroyed (make sure your proxy stays under tight control), and it may be true that they were old and decayed at that point, anyway.

            The other interesting bit was that the weapons being destroyed didn’t match the samples used at the attack site. That casts doubt on whether Assad used them.

            Re: CNN story

            That CNN link above purports to pitch the ‘origin story’ regarding the Syrian Civil War. That story looks woefully incomplete due to a thorough white-washing away of the role of the Gulf States and the US intel agencies.

            Stephen Gowen did a deep-dive into this awhile back. He’s got all his sources cited.

            The picture he paints is one of a ‘protest’ movement that’s led by muslim-brotherhood activists that seems to have had violent, jihadi elements from the very beginning.

            If others have seen legit critiques of Gowan’s piece, I’d be interested. But to me, right now, this looks like the definitive piece on the ‘origin story’, much better than the CNN story.

            1. CoryP

              Thanks for the link to Gowan. I like his work but don’t remember seeing this. And after seeing the work by SyriaPropagandaMedia and all the flak they’ve gotten, I frankly have no idea what to believe but I have my anti-Western suspicions

          2. John k

            And we too are, by those standards, just average by the standards of that neighborhood.
            But we do it bigger, with more gusto, as exceptional people should.

        3. polecat

          Oh .. right ..

          Because WE NEVER … just ask Gina ‘the Iron Maiden’ Haspel .. she’ll lay all out ! /$

        4. urblintz

          See comment below about US officials being there when Assad tortured “folks” which our very own war pigs had renditioned…

          Then read Sy Hersh on “gassing”

          You sound like you belong at dailykos…

        5. Olga

          ST, you’re sooo behind times. Daraa was prepped, with weapons and all. Just look around the web a bit – you’ll find proof. Start with Salon.

        6. The Rev Kev

          @ Spring Texan. ‘Assad was, and is, a torturer.’ No he is not. He is an ‘enhanced interrogator’. There is a difference you know.

        7. Procopius

          I don’t trust anything CNN has to say in defense of regime change. I consider them as reliable as Fox. Or maybe somewhat less. Certainly Assad had the support of a majority of Syrians, while it appears many of the Al Qaeda and ISIS “fighters” were mercenaries paid very well by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates. By the way, can you explain why we were/are allied with Al Qaeda in Syria? And in Yemen?

      2. divadab

        Yup- the lies get more and more obvious and the proportion of the population that is stupid enough to believe the lie keeps shrinking…..I hope……

      3. jonboinAR

        Evil Assad Gollum-type character to evil Putin Dark Rider-type character: “We hates their freedoms! We hates them!”

    2. Jessica

      Assad probably didn’t gas his own people, but he is a pretty rough character. That said, it is not like Tulsi sent his name to the pope for canonization or nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize. She talked to the guy.
      I think she also pointed out that most of our anti-Assad allies are murderous misogynous jihadists.
      I don’t think that Tulsi as the VP candidate would increase Bernie’s chance of winning the election. She sure would increase his life expectancy if they did win though.

      1. Oregoncharles

        There is now a long tradition of VP’s as impeachment (or at the extreme, assassination) preventatives.

        Starting, to my knowledge, with Dan Quayle, also from Indiana.

    3. mle in detroit

      More of a hit piece than CC thinks, but it did cause me to suspend my interest in her until I know a lot more about the people involved in her campaign who come from the same fake-Hindu, leader-sounds-like-a-charlatan cult in which she grew up.

        1. CoryP

          I would do research as well but if I had to vote blindly I’d take it over a fundamentalist Zionist type evangelical Christian. I think the US has had a couple of those already.

          1. jrs

            yea a cult that cares about peace and the environment is better than the rapture folks fantasizing about the end of the world anytime. But still those aren’t our only choices.

      1. richard

        not me
        if it’s a hit piece, as this clearly was
        (the literate, ny mag kind)
        then why pay it much heed at all
        The writer was poorly informed on syria
        uncritically repeating talking points on assad gas use
        and omitting the usian role in ginning up virtually the entire nightmare
        It was interesting to get some fly on the wall reportage of tulsi’s campaign
        the things that make me like tulsi didn’t change:
        1) she has all the right enemies. i just can’t stress this one enough. if you are pissing off the blob, cable media dolts, standing publically against wasserman-schultz and clinton, that is a meaningful because not many people do.
        2) on policy she has given unequivocal support to med4all, gnd, withdrawing from regime change war (her signature), immediate action on climate change
        3) she takes no corporate cash or bundling – even if this hare krishna fellow still has her ear, I know that eli lilly, kaiser, boeing, etc don’t have her ear. I can accept that.
        One main issue I have with tulsi: I worry that too narrow a focus on “regime change war” leaves the door open for religious and ideological war. I’d like a broader critique of u.s. exceptionalism, and a discussion framed around the international rule of law.

        1. Darthbobber

          Well, it’s not like she’s ever pretended to be a peacenik as such. I think people make a mistake when they take her opposition to a certain kind of war against one variety of enemy as an indicator of pacific inclinations more generally. Though I don’t necessarily see that as a problem.

        2. Carla

          Well, in the “debate,” Tulsi seemed to back-pedal on M4A — she did not raise her hand in support.

        1. Wukchumni

          Hinduism is a wee bit older than the Christian cult, whereas Mormonism is a johnny come lately affair.

          It was the Evangs that didn’t vote for Mitt, not the donkey show.

    4. Geo

      Goes well with the Politico piece on fake news starting wars. The media distain for any even slightly anti-war voices and their efforts to tarnish them (“Tulsi supports dictators!”) is about as clear an example of fake news as I can think of.

    5. Xihuitl

      Heard NPR this morning talking about Tulsi, calling her “isolationist,” rather than anti-war. Wanting to take our troops out of other people’s countries is isolationist? They then turned around and criticized her for meeting with Assad. Is that not contradictory? Her explanation for why it was important for leaders to meet with other leaders was very strong.

  6. Godfree Roberts

    ‘US-China tech war and the US intelligence community Asia Times (Kevin W). I don’t find the article claims credible. Can knowledgeable readers comment? For starters, China wouldn’t tolerate it, given its aim of total surveillance’?

    If you’re referring to the article’s claim that “The US intelligence community’s alarm at Chinese leadership in 5G mobile broadband has less to do with a threat of Chinese eavesdropping than with the likelihood that electronic eavesdropping will become next to impossible, thanks to quantum cryptography,” it is grounded in reality. China has a 5-year lead in quantum cryptography and has operated a 2,000-mile QC network for several years.

    China, btw, has no greater aim of total surveillance than the US or the UK, despite endless accusations of ‘Orwellianism.’ Remember that the PRC is the most trusted government on earth

    1. s.n.

      indeed. thanks for the link. i wasn’t aware of this:

      His old job was eyeballing 10th graders as a teacher at the Dalton school in NYC. Guess who hired him for that job? Donald Barr, Bill Barr’s father. True story. You cant make this stuff up.

    2. Martin Oline

      I like it! This appears to be the endlessly revolving story that celebrities such as Professor Irwin Corey, er, I mean Rachael Mad Cow, are so fond of. Roll out that white board and open a new package of markers, girl! It’s gonna be a late night.

        1. Knative

          I don’t know. My guess is what’s going to come out of those court documents being unsealed is too embarrassing for them to not charge Epstein.

  7. tegnost

    Anecdote, I reside on an island in the pnw and our fed ex comes in on a small plane. They couldn’t care less what amazon “promised”, and I sense a fatigue of sorts. Amazon will push until it breaks, imo. My cohorts in tech think amazon will create their own delivery service, and that the threat of that outcome will keep FedEx, UPS and USPS in line…(aside, what is it about successful dems and people and/or things being “in line”?)

  8. jfleni

    RE: As NASA Aims For The Moon, An Aging Space Station Faces An ture.

    Uncertain Future, Sticks, wire,and junk oxygen tanks and solar cells,
    where is the self rotating station with its own gravity and all important labs, Yuk Yuk, all eaten up by its own bureaucratic nonsense!

    1. Carolinian

      The Space Station is a NASA makework boondoggle from the Reagan administration. The science that comes out of it scarcely merits the huge expense.

      PBS is currently running a multipart series on the moon landing called Chasing the Moon. Last night’s opener was excellent. The show aims to be a comprehensive account and talks about little known aspects such as Kennedy’s subsequent doubts due to the expense and his suggestion of a joint US/Russia landing instead (the Russians weren’t interested–figuring they would be junior partners). The show also doesn’t shy away from discussing the Nazi past of Von Braun and many of the other scientists. One of the things that’s interesting is how obsessed everyone is with national prestige and nationalism in general. Khruschev had no interest in Sputnik until he saw how it upset the Americans. This notion of America as a country that still felt it had something to prove really is, as Lambert says, another country. These days the hegemon doesn’t worry about excuses.

    2. polecat

      That’s what I thinking. If it was good enough for Arthur C. Clark …..
      I mean, with Big Mic having their own version of Black Hole MMT, there’s absolutely no reason why they can’t fire off as many boosters as necessary to build-out a Really Big space Deal ! .. no ??

  9. Wukchumni

    Libra horoscope:

    Go for the gold, Libra. Don’t settle for less. There’s an expansive energy on your side urging you on to prosperity in every aspect of your life. Take control of the situation and act on your emotions. Don’t refrain from doing something because you think it’s going to hurt someone’s feelings. Other people can take care of themselves. You’re responsible for you. Do what’s best for your well-being.

    1. a different chris

      I had an issue about 20 years ago which basically had me doing near no physical exertion for 6 months. My “bad cholesterol” levels were fine, but my “good cholesterol” became non-existent. So of course they gave me statins, because that’s what they do. And I took them, because that’s what I used to do.

      What they – don’t know if my doctors knew or not – didn’t tell me is that some people get really bad leg cramps from them. It took me like 3 years to figure this out myself and stop taking the sh*t. Meanwhile in the passing years they have discovered that statins don’t really “mop up” excess stuff like they thought. In fact, like everything in medicine they have no idea what they really do, except they have a bunch of poor suckers take something that seems to do something in lab rats and look for statistical correlation and then Profit!

      In my case, my current doctor wants me to take them again to “protect the heart”. It took me quite awhile in fact I had to google, to remember why I stopped taking them the first time. Now that I remember, I am going to ask “how can something that negatively affects the biggest muscles in my body possibly be any good for the most important muscle in my body?”

      Will keep you posted.

      1. JohnnySacks

        Because we’re all in a mindset of not having to do anything other than take 2 of these and not only all your problems go away, you’ll never have any problems either. It’s pounded into us non-stop from the TV commercials, they’re even marketing powerful cancer chemo-therapies. I’ve got a mom with liver issues, a dad with kidney issues, and I have to wonder if there’s a connection somewhere with years of pharma prescriptions.
        Not implying you didn’t make the attempt, but why statins? An exercise and diet regimen might be better long term, so why don’t we have a medical system which prescribes and monitors that? Nutritionists and physical coaches instead of pharma, just maybe?

        1. a different chris

          That’s the thing, despite the cramps (everything else otherwise was “back on line”) I retook up my childhood love of bicycling. Rode from Pittsburgh to DC once, rode parts of the C&O several times, rode the coolest trail in the world – the climb from Ohiopyle to the Savage Tunnel and down to Cumberland more times than I can count, rode across New York from Buffalo to Albany, then a few years later went the other way (word to the wise: DON’T! Headwind central..).

          Not sure at what point I stopped with the statins, but boy did that make a difference.

          Hmmm, Columbus to Cincinnati on a patched together network of trails (getting better, shared some parts with Amish buggies), across West Virginia, and more that I will think of at some point. Oh and how can I forget the RAGBRAI. Plus a lot of day trips like the Redbank Trail.

          Of course, these are the events. The training of course is 10x minimum the miles.

          And diet? I was so mad the first time when I was diagnosed with high blood pressure when the doctor smugly handed me a pamphlet about “how salt is bad for you”. Of course we didn’t know that was BS back then, but worse: I pointed out to him that I hadn’t touched a salt shaker since my Sophomore year at college. So try again, dude. Don’t touch sugar much, either. Eat more greens than our horses, methinks. Maybe my BP is a function of my genes just like my height, huh? — it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try to keep it down, it does mean that the familyblogging Medical Industrial Complex really oughta stop treating me like I’m some classic white guy who spends his weekends in front of his 60″ TV chowing down on chips.

          Ok rant over. I really, really HATE the medical profession.

          1. a different chris

            Oh, rant not completely done:

            >An exercise and diet regimen might be better long term

            My *former* doctor, when asked about this exact thing (or more correctly, was told that I had started doing the above litany of excursions) said, and I am not kidding “yes but this pill will attack the problem directly so why not take it?” and then he made a shooting-a-gun motion.

            Jesus. Jesus God.

            1. Martin Oline

              Oh yeah, I feel the same. Back in 1995 my doctor put me on statins. I called the nurses a couple weeks later complaining I was feeling tired and my legs hurt. She said “Stop them right now and come in to see the doctor”.
              Well the good doctor told me I had to MAN UP and fight through that pain. Never went back.

              1. The Rev Kev

                What is wrong with these people? Pain is your body telling you that you have a major problem. Reading the stuff that ‘a different chris’ went through was bizarre enough and it was good that he was smart enough to make his own conclusions about his health care. My own wife went to a doctor about a problem and he told her to cut out the drinking. I can’t even remember which decade it was since she had a drink last as she is virtually a tea-totaller. Did the IQ points required to be a doctor sharply drop and nobody noticed or something?

    2. DorothyT

      Re: Statins and peripheral neuropathy

      Thanks for informing readers about statins and PN. Many drugs list nerve damage as a ‘rare’ side effect. I developed PN 10 years ago while taking Metronidazole (flagyl) for rosacea. It has affected my health (and sleep) tremendously. Reporting it to the FDA or USDA meant that they would merely take note of it and pass along the complaint to the pharma company. This chain of reporting was mandated by regulations lobbied by pharma, of course.

      About statins and ‘side effects’: if you have sciatica, read this study. Of the four friends I passed this information on to, one stopped taking a prescribed statin immediately and his life-affecting sciatica disappeared immediately. The other three were strongly advised (threatened would be a better word) by their cardiologists not to stop their statin. One was told that it would at least protect the surgical wound left by his open heart surgery! Whatever high cholesterol is or means to our normal body functions and heart health is a whole other subject. (That subject might include looking at calcium supplements as associated or causative of arterial blockages rather than cholesterol.)

        1. dearieme

          On statins, cholesterol, diet, and CVD, the chap to read is Kendrick. He’s good, too, on other medical rubbish.

          Doctoring Data: How to sort out medical advice from medical nonsense

      1. marieann

        Thanks for this link and the others. I have sciatica and have had an episode of piriformis syndrome, luckily my cholesterol has always been OK.
        As a former RN I was always “on board” with medications as good treatments, as a senior I question everything my doctor recommends.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Why Is Measles Back?” Re Resilcs comment that “We’ve run down the path toward public goods are bad and stupid…every person for his/herself….stage 2 of 5 stages toward USSR full on mode.

    For those not familiar with this analogy, Resilc would be referring to Dmitry Orlov’s book “The Five Stages of Collapse” which is in its own way a descent into a horror story as you read through that book-

    1. Chris Cosmos

      Orlov has been predicting imminent disaster for well over a decade and it hasn’t happened yet. Human beings are always able to adapt. Having said that he does make good points.

      We are facing disaster but mainly of two kinds: 1) the obvious environmental ongoing and about to get much worse problem with the enrivonment; and 2) the almost complete erosion of morality based on solid ground as opposed to it being a fashion statement–this lack of morality is true for both “conservative” and “progressive” subcultures.

      1. CoryP

        That’s the thing about predicting imminent disaster. You’ll always eventually be right. Especially because “imminent” is relative

        And I like Orlov too. But yeah, point taken.

      2. Wukchumni

        More and more, I think we’re going to witness something along the lines of the Frank Slide, not a gradual descent down from the peak, by any means.

        My mom was born in Bellevue, Ab., not far from the scene of decline…

        The Frank Slide was a rockslide that buried part of the mining town of Frank, Northwest Territories,[nb 1] Canada, at 4:10 a.m. on April 29, 1903. Around 110 million tonnes (121 million US tons) of limestone rock slid down Turtle Mountain. Witnesses reported that the rock had reached up the opposing hills within 100 seconds, obliterating the eastern edge of Frank, the Canadian Pacific Railway line and the coal mine. It was one of the largest landslides in Canadian history and remains the deadliest, as between 70 and 90 of the town’s residents were killed, most of whom remain buried in the rubble. Multiple factors led to the slide: Turtle Mountain’s formation left it in a constant state of instability. Coal mining operations may have weakened the mountain’s internal structure, as did a wet winter and cold snap on the night of the disaster.

        1. Oregoncharles

          There was a huge one in Washington State a year or two ago, that also went completely across the river and took out a good part of the town.

          And then, prehistory, there was the slide that blocked the Columbia River and remained as the Bridge of the Gods for many years. The slip faces where the mountain broke are still very visible, right across from Cascade Locks.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Still fascinated with the Frank Slide; more Wikipedia, about the mountain: ” It has long been unstable; the Blackfoot and Kutenai peoples called it “the mountain that moves” and refused to camp in its vicinity.[7] In the weeks leading up to the disaster, miners occasionally felt rumblings from within the mountain, while the pressure created by the shifting rock sometimes caused the timbers supporting the mine shafts to crack and splinter.[8]” But of course, the white settlers weren’t about to take advice from Indians and camped there anyway.

          An interesting parallel in Albuquerque, NM, where the downtown floods pretty regularly because it’s actually lower than the river. It did this shortly after we first arrived – the rain that caused it wasn’t even that impressive. The Old Town, built by the Spanish, does not, because they took native advice and built on a rise – probably a native settlement. Not so the incoming Anglos.

            1. Oregoncharles

              IIRC (it’s been 40 years), the Old Town is north and a little east of the Anglo downtown. The University is farther east, on Rte. 66/Central. It’s above the flood area, too.

          1. wilroncanada

            The Hope slide occurred on January 9, 1965 east of Hope BC. Fortunately just four were killed, but the largest slide in BC history, at 46 million cubic metres, took out several kilometers of Highway 3, the main route from Vancouver to the southern interior of BC.

  11. Wukchumni

    Why Is Measles Back? Atlantic. Um, someone needs to ask? Resilc: “We’ve run down the path toward public goods are bad and stupid…every person for his/herself….stage 2 of 5 stages toward USSR full on mode.” Moi: “The difference will be that in the USSR, there were hardly any goods in stores. In the US, shelves will be stocked but ordinary people will be able to buy very little.”
    I’d mentioned my Wal*Mart in Visalia had put the tighty whiteys & boxer shorts behind a locked glass case, and last week when I was looking for the battery (AA, AAA, etc) display that used to be in the middle of a large aisle that wasn’t there anymore, and I found an employee and asked what had happened to them, and now they too are behind lock & key.

    The idea that people are stealing such items that it prompted management to do what they did, shows how desperate ordinary Americans are.

    It’s interesting, the late stage Bizarro World parallels between the USA & the USSR, leading to an inevitable downfall.

    Could get messy.

    1. kareninca

      It is true that ordinary Americans are desperate. But that is not why the locked glass. It is because in CA you won’t be arrested if you steal something that costs less than $950. The cops just won’t come. So even though most people still behave normally, there is no consequence for anyone who just wants to come and and fill a bag full of batteries and walk out. (Prosecutors, police and retailers, including California Retailers Association President Bill Dombrowski and CVS Health spokesman Mike DeAngelis, say the problem is organized retail theft rings whose members are well aware of the reduced penalties.)

  12. Ignacio

    RE: Earth’s Ancient Life Forms Are Awakening After 40,000 Years in Permafrost ScienceAlert (Kevin W). Um, sounds like the plot of a lot of horror movies.

    Mosses and worms will multiply above our unburied death bodies.

    1. John Wright

      I have suggested to some that fossil fuels are “dinosaur seeds” in that the dinosaurs went extinct but left buried hydrocarbons that sufficiently evolved earth animals could dig up, burn and then, inadvertently, recreate an environment hostile for themselves but suitable for an eventual “rebirth” of dinosaurs.

      But no one seems to believe dinosaurs were that clever.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      “Mosses and worms will multiply above our unburied death bodies.”

      well, soylent green *is* people…

  13. PlutoniumKun

    Interesting report here that the UAE is starting to withdraw from the port of Hodeidah in Yemen.

    UAE officials refused to go into details of precise troop movements and said some of the withdrawals were tactical, and so could be reversed. Witnesses have said a large-scale drawdown of troops and heavy weaponry is under way in Marib province and the interim capital of Aden as well as Hodeidah.

    Last week, Reuters reported it had been told by three diplomats that Abu Dhabi preferred to have its forces and equipment on hand should tension between the US and Iran escalate further after attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf and Tehran’s suspected downing of a US drone. Those tanker attacks have been ascribed to Iranian surrogates, but no final attribution has been made by the UAE. On Monday the UAE officials said the timing was not linked to those developments.

    This is certainly a blow to the Saudi’s, and seeming confirmation that the Houthi’s can’t be beaten. It also looks like the UAE may be thinking of direct war with Iran.

    1. Oregoncharles

      That would be a motive for Iran to attack those tankers – create enough of an emergency that the Gulf troops in Yemen have to be withdrawn. Very strategic.

  14. bwilli123

    A spiffing tale of how Brexit was ‘spaffed’ away- Irish Times
    …” But the British did not merely not have the answers – they were not allowed to have them. According to one official, “the instruction” to Whitehall from David Cameron’s government “was clear: Don’t do any preparation.” Another official explains: “Our contingency for losing [the referendum] was not losing.”…”When they did lose, May came to power and established the “department for exiting the European Union” under David Davis, described by Chris Patten in a foreword to Cook’s book as “breezy, open, amiable, lazy and incompetent”. Mandarins who had actually worked on European issues were actively excluded on the grounds that they might have “gone native”….

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, that book looks interesting, and some great lines there from O’Toole.

        The stand out factoid there is that the average age of civil servants in the Department for Exiting the EU is 30. Which essentially means that anyone with experience will have nothing to do with it, only those hoping to make a quick name for themselves (or exit to private sector jobs with their ‘expertise’ as the senior civil servant just did) is interested in it. With due respect to Millennials, nobody under 30, no matter how clever, will have the experience or knowledge to deal with the crazy complexities involved.

      2. David

        Unfortunately it’s horribly plausible that Cameron would have forbidden any contingency planning before the referendum, because news of it would have leaked, and undermined his cheerily optimistic predictions. The point about the youth of those involved is depressing but not surprising. A lot of good people left the Civil Service because of the lack of prospects and the squeeze on top jobs. Increasingly the old system of central appointments was replaced by individual competition, and young and inexperienced people could get responsible jobs simply by being the most ambitious and least unacceptable of the candidates. I suspect that happened here – promotion was probably offered as an incentive to get somebody – anybody – to join the Brexit circus.

        1. dearieme

          Unfortunately it’s horribly plausible that Cameron would have forbidden any contingency planning before the referendum

          It’s not even contentious. It’s simply everyone-knows stuff.

    1. DonCoyote

      Posted on Yahoo. Original source appears to be the Independent:

      Re-thinking the special relationship

      If there was a referendum on our relationship with the USA, I would vote Leave without a moment’s hesitation.

      William Barnes

      Donald Trump won’t deal with our ambassador. Why is it that Trump is permitted to attack Sadiq Khan in public but our ambassador can’t tell the truth about Trump in private?

      Steve Hills
      Milton Keynes

  15. PlutoniumKun

    Iran declares war on the USA’s covert influence in Iraq. Elijah Magnier (Chuck L)

    Detailed, but very interesting article. Short version: Iran is identifying US ‘assets’ within the Iraqi military and exposing them to the Iraqis. Its also interesting in that it implies that the recent drone attack in Saudi Arabia may have originated in Iraq. Given their history of being much more effective fighters, pushing Shia militias too far may well have very unfortunate consequences for the US.

    Another takeaway – I’m astonished that it appears that many Iraqi military and civilian leaders were using WhatsApp, assuming it was secure.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Another takeaway – I’m astonished that it appears that many Iraqi military and civilian leaders were using WhatsApp, assuming it was secure.

      That seems to have been a problem for top officials in Brazil, too! Hence Glenn Greenwald’s treasure trove of docs. Now Sergio Moro’s taking a leave from the AG job.

  16. bwilli123

    Re: A ferocious heat in New Delhi

    …”The risk associated with any climate change impact reflects intensity of natural hazard and level of human vulnerability. Previous work has shown that a wet-bulb temperature of 35°C can be considered an upper limit on human survivability.
    On the basis of an ensemble of high-resolution climate change simulations, we project that extremes of wet-bulb temperature in South Asia are likely to approach and, in a few locations, exceed this critical threshold by the late 21st century under the business-as-usual scenario of future greenhouse gas emissions. The most intense hazard from extreme future heat waves is concentrated around densely populated agricultural regions of the Ganges and Indus river basins.”

    Article from
    Original Research Paper at

  17. Tom Stone

    I’m sure glad Bill Clinton cleared up those allegations about his flights on the “Lolita Express”.
    I hope his enemies will let this go, after all if you can’t believe a convicted perjurer, who can you trust?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Well it is a relief that. For a moment I thought that he was going to have a Lewinsky moment and come out with the statement: “I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again. I did not have sexual relations with any underage girl.”

      1. Craig H.

        Did you ever imagine yourself typing the words “Thank goodness Lewinsky was legal.”?

        or, “Thank goodness Starr kept his trap shut about this shit.”?

        It could have been a lot worse! We are sort of like those slaves rowing in the Ben Hur galley where the overseer is berating us to keep rowing if we know what is good for us.

        Did Starr and them even know about Epstein’s parties back then? It was over twenty years ago and maybe it was totally under wraps.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I’m not sure about the details (again this is a fuzzy memory, but I seem to recall Bill was largely serving as a paid wing man as a former President when he couldn’t raise money for his “Foundation”) Bill’s association with Epstein started after he was out of office.

          I thought Epstein was paying for social standing by hiring a former President as a friend. This was before I knew about the “Lolita Express.” A President won’t be able to leave their Secret Service behind, but a former President can. I always felt Bill’s post-Presidency was largely aimless, demonstrating he was something of a loser as President (how relevant is Bill? Even HRC ran on a platform that she was a secret liberal who couldn’t speak out against her husband or at least her supporters claimed this) and set him apart from Carter. To me it was a testament of character. It still is.

          1. anonymous

            Bill Clintons billionaire patrons had originally set him up in a 57 street tower over looking Central Park. There was such a moral outcry from the Tabloids –that a fugitive from the Presidency, such as the Big Dog was at the time, could ever afford such a place– that he changed location to Harlem ( more appropriate for the first Black President.) However, for 15 years in the ground floor of that very expensive office tower was The Blue Dog Cafe, the seediest political dive in NY. I never could afford the blue cheese burger; remembered it when I gave $27 to Sanders.

    2. Martin Oline

      It is a relief. I won’t have to worry about the pilot logs, written by different pilots, which place him on the plane with Epstein twenty-seven times. Epstein is an original bank roller to the Clinton Foundation (where he can really feed your pain), so I guess they were meetings about boot-strapping young women to be the successes they are today. Who are you going to believe? Me, or your lying ears?

      1. Tomonthebeach

        Clinton and Trump have 2 things in common:

        (1) they are congenital liars, and
        (2) they get off on cheating on their spouses.

    3. verifyfirst

      It really depends on what the meaning of “is” is, I think…….

      Utterly hilarious that he says he hasn’t talked to Epstein in 10 years….of course, the time period in question–when Bill rode the “Lolitta Express”( as it has been dubbed), 26 times, sometimes without his security detail–is MORE than 10 years ago……guess he figures we won’t notice that part……

      I sometimes wonder what today’s world would look like if Bill had taken responsibility, resigned and committed the rest of his life to humble penance. He was not alone in setting the current “me first, whatever you can get away with” moral tenor, but he sure did his share.

    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      My memory is hazy, but wasn’t the Epstein narrative that he was a “playboy” who hung around with beautiful “young women” while he palled around with Bill Clinton out there before Epstein was linked to rape of children?

      My gut is this is what I saw it as in 2004ish. I thought there were jokes about Bill having to become the wingman to a billionaire after office before HRC’s coronation path was seen as viable. The Clinton Foundation didn’t raise much money and could only afford offices in Harlem.

      The naïve me assumed Epstein was probably such a troll/shark that he couldn’t attract women due to just having a gross personality and was paying Bill to help him out.

      1. ambrit

        Use the word ‘consul’ in it’s archaic sense and boy, do you have an interesting idea.

  18. Wukchumni

    It’s the End of the World as They Know It Mother Jones

    I find it amusing in that the climate scientists are keenly aware of the bringer of our destruction in a fashion very similar to the climate change that brought on the French Revolution, only nobody knew in Paris that faraway Icelandic volcanoes blowing up real good in 1783-85 was the culprit for a decade of crummy crop yields or worse. And it was worldwide, the effects.

    The Laki eruption and its aftermath caused a drop in global temperatures, as 120 million tons of sulfur dioxide was spewed into the Northern Hemisphere. This caused crop failures in Europe and may have caused droughts in North Africa and India.

    In North America, the winter of 1784 was the longest and one of the coldest on record. It was the longest period of below-zero temperatures in New England, with the largest accumulation of snow in New Jersey, and the longest freezing over of Chesapeake Bay, where Annapolis, Maryland is, then the capital of the United States; the weather delayed Congressmen in coming to Annapolis to vote for the Treaty of Paris, which formally ended the American Revolutionary War. A huge snowstorm hit the South; the Mississippi River froze at New Orleans and there were reports of ice floes in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Grímsvötn is a basaltic volcano which has the highest eruption frequency of all the volcanoes in Iceland and has a southwest-northeast-trending fissure system. The massive climate-impacting Laki fissure eruption of 1783–1784 was a part of the same fissure system. Grímsvötn was erupting at the same time as Laki during 1783, but continued to erupt until 1785.

    1. a different chris

      See, if we do all die I would be much happier if it was done quickly at the hands of impersonal giants with names like Grímsvötn and Laki than because we drive oversized vehicles from one mall to another to buy stupid crap sent from China via bunker-fueled ships.

      But that’s just me, I guess.

    1. Oregoncharles

      That movie is due for a revival.

      Or an American remake. I wonder if that’s even possible? It’s genuinely subversive.

      1. Wukchumni

        I must’ve seen it a few dozen times now, a superbversive piece of work.

        Need it change nationalities in the usual UK-> USA entertainment way?

        I think not.

      2. ambrit

        The American remake would be somewhat different and probably named something like; “P for Patriotism.”

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          would probably just get producer notes from hell until it became a remake of The Purge

    2. Geo

      “You work three jobs? Uniquely American, isn’t it? I mean, that is fantastic that you’re doing that.” – George W. Bush

  19. Alex

    Re Today’s Deep Learning Is Like Magic – In All The Wrong Ways

    For me it’s obvious that the society must have access to the algorithms that make decisions about anything that is more substantial than which ad to show (and progressively more transparency and regulation for things that have a huge influence like the models predicting the recidivism rate). It’s rather frustrating no one is really advocating for it.

  20. Wukchumni

    I’m not sure where the old saying “he/she can drink like a fish” came from, but too many gills can do you in.

    Thousands of dead fish litter Kentucky River after Jim Beam warehouse fire CBS :-(

  21. The Rev Kev

    “What a great country where we have the opportunity to keep working. … We don’t have to retire like generations before us. This is a great blessing! You should embrace it!”

    It should be noted that the guy who said this – Donald Luskin – once wrote a book called “I Am John Galt: Today’s Heroic Innovators Building the World and the Villainous Parasites Destroying It”. His Wikipedia entry at finishes with the lines-

    “He has been singled out for “some of the worst, money losing commentary of the past few years. He has been frequently referred to by Brad DeLong as “the Stupidest Man Alive” for, among other things, his continued support for literal interpretations of the Laffer Curve.”

    1. Monty

      “the Stupidest Man Alive”

      Truly one of the most hotly contested world titles going!

    1. human

      Imperial Collapse Watch

      Obama: Front Man for Washington’s Imperialism Paul Craig Roberts (furzy)

    2. urblintz

      get thee to the Department of Redundancy Department…

      ….heard you the first time

    3. WheresOurTeddy

      would that we all could be so privileged to have such a simplistic binary worldview

      Assad is Hitler because rich people who want to overthrow his government told you so. Start from that premise and work backward and you might not sound like GW Bush’s “with us or against us” nonsense.

      I mean, for chrissake, you linked to a CNN article.

  22. Pelham

    Re America’s political center of gravity: Nice graphics and enlightening. But the article would be more enlightening if it used compared where the two US parties stand in relation to where the people they’re supposed to represent are.

    After all, the people should define where the center is, and on many issues both the Dems (on average and as a whole) and Repubs are to the right of that center.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Yes, a critical point that might explain the low level of “affiliation” with the legacy parties. “Independents,” meaning everyone else, are now over 40%, a very solid plurality.

      At 30% or less, they arent really major parties any more.

    2. UserFriendly

      also keep in mind it’s based off of the official platform, that Bernie had a huge hand in writing in 2016 but really how many democrats in office were going to push that?

  23. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the several links today regarding climate change, the article from Mother Jones about the effects on climate scientists of the failure by federal policy makers to address the problem, and the short piece by Freddie deBoer. His words from the last paragraph of his linked post particularly resonated:

    …”Climate change is unique in its intellectual promiscuity, its indifference to ideology; it will both crush your enemies and your dreams as you like.”

    The proposal by Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Earl Blumenauer in the House, and Bernie Sanders in the Senate to declare this issue a national emergency is a constructive step in my view.

    1. CoryP

      I appreciated the Freddie piece. Sometimes after being bombarded with so much up to date info it gets exhausting and he expresses perfectly what (I agree) I think we all really know.

    2. Wukchumni

      Nature is indifferent to the survival of the human species including Americans.

      Adlai Stevenson

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      If only Climate Chaos were the only problem we face. As for fighting climate change — I think we are past the point where we might fix things. Now is time to minimize the harm, and prepare for the changes to come. However, I am not sure what declaring a national emergency might accomplish other than placing more powers into the hands of the ‘we’ who have demonstrated their intent to maintain their power, wealth, and prerogatives.

      1. CoryP

        Yep. Which is why at the moment people are largely full of encouragement that we have media attention I fall into the bitter wrongkindofgreen family

  24. pretzelattack

    ouch, dentist just told me i need implants to the tune of 20k. insurance covers little, and medicare none. anybody with experience in going to mexico? i hope medicare for all will eventually cover dental.

    1. Monty

      Yes, i had some work done along those lines in Algodones. I had no problems and the work is still good years later. The cost was a tiny fraction of the Stateside quote. The dentist was nice and efficient, but the medical facilities are a lot less plush.

      1. pretzelattack

        thanks to both of you, maybe i will just go for a bridge if the implants have a significant risk of failure.

  25. zagonostra

    Today I see below headlines and wonder if people stop there, how they process information; probably by a process whereby not a DeCaprio plants the “idea” as in the movie Inception, but by the carefully orchestrated propaganda apparatus run by who-knows-who….

    Politico Headline “Minimum wage bill could eliminate 1.3 million jobs, CBO says”

    Economic Policy Institute: “CBO report shows broad benefits from higher minimum wage”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The answer to that SAT-like inference question is, I think, that eliminating 1.3 millon jobs brings broad benefits… to some people/corporations.

      And the correct answer should admit the student to an elite university.

  26. Oregoncharles

    From “How Fake News Could Lead to a Real War:”

    “Thus far, public discussion of deep fakes—and fake news more broadly—has focused on domestic politics and particularly elections. That was inevitable after the Russian interference on President Donald Trump’s behalf in 2016—the dimensions of which were laid out both in the unprecedented joint assessment of the NSA, CIA and FBI in February 2017 and the Mueller report in April 2019.”

    These authors don’t know fake news or “conspiracy theories” when they see them.

    Nonetheless, their point about the level of confusion and uncertainty created by “fake news” makes sense. Hopefully it will create enough uncertainty within the Blob to make them reluctant to start a real war.

    1. ambrit

      Those writers have never read their history. William Randolph Hearst and the Spanish American War is the most prominent example from America’s ‘recent’ history I can think of.
      I see this ‘article’ as part of a slow but steady campaign to assert informal censorship over all ‘news’ seen or read by Americans.

    2. Geo

      My thoughts after reading that piece too. Wonder what their opinion in the Syrian gas attacks that seemed to happen every time the threat of US withdrawal was mentioned by a president? Or the aid trucks in Venezuela? Heck – not to set off a “Truther Tangent” but – even 9/11 is one I highly doubt has been honestly explained yet.

      There’s a reason trust in official explanations are disbelieved by so many. The track record is terrible and the excuse of “bad intel” gets old after a while. Plus, that’s an excuse that only works one way. Highly doubt I’d be allowed that excuse on my tax filings or in a courthouse. Yet, we rarely see accountability for government “errors” that lead to war and destabilization. More often the perpetrators are rewarded which almost makes it seem like the “errors” are a feature and not a bug.

  27. ChrisPacific

    I see no good reason why e-scooter should be treated differently from bicycles in a legal sense. Rules around safety, like wearing a helmet and controls on sharing space with pedestrians, ought to apply to both.

    Part of the problem is that existing laws weren’t designed to anticipate them. Here for example it is illegal under current law to ride them in bike lanes, but legal to ride them on the footpath, which is ridiculous.

    1. MichaelSF

      I’m not a fan of the powered scooters/bikes that get used inappropriately and then left scattered around everywhere here in SF. But “when an e-scooter knocked him over” is blaming the wrong item, it should have been “when an idiot on an e-scooter . . .” unless of course it was an autonomous vehicle. Idiots will get you no matter what device they have to enable them. Even when they are pedestrians you still need to keep a sharp eye on idiots lest they punt you off the sidewalk/knock you down.

  28. Jeff W

    Re: Hong Kong extradition bill ‘is dead’ says Carrie Lam BBC

    “But there are still lingering doubts about the government’s sincerity or worries whether the government will restart the process in the Legislative Council,” Ms Lam told reporters.

    “So I reiterate here, there is no such plan. The bill is dead.”

    The obvious point, so obvious that one cannot help but reflect on Carrie Lam’s disingenuousness, is why, if the bill is so “dead,” hasn’t it been withdrawn? Certainly withdrawing a dead bill, as the protesters are still demanding, would remove any “lingering doubts, given that “dead” is not any legal or legislative status.

  29. sbarrkum

    Sri Lanka has “liminated measles, interrupting transmission of the indigenous virus that causes the killer childhood disease.” says WHO.

    Life expectancy for women was 78.61 years and for men 71.91 years

    Diabetes care is free, including Insulin provided on a weekly basis
    Downside 3-4 hour wait in large town

    Other info 12,470 PPP dollars (2017),
    GDP per capita 4,065.22 USD ‎(2017)

    Not bad for a poor country

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