Links 8/1/19

Paragliding husky is totally chill during his adventure New York Post (furzy)

John Steinbeck: Did Nobel Prize-Winning Novelist Spy for the CIA in Paris? Daily Beast (furzy)

Orange is the new green: How orange peels revived a Costa Rican forest Princeton (Michael SF)

Instead of practicing, this AI mastered chess by reading about it MIT Technology Review (David L)

Researchers Develop Speedy Soft Robot That’s More Robust Than a Cockroach IEEE

Sony Plans to Release a Wearable Air Conditioner Next Year Core77. Resilc: “See, my global warming problem is fixed. USA USA.”

Greenland Is Melting Away Before Our Eyes Rolling Stone (Chuck L)

The Dying Art of Instruction in the Digital Classroom New York Review of Books. Resilc:

The combination of computer use, Internet, and smart phone, I would argue, has changed the cognitive skills required of individuals. Learning is more and more a matter of mastering various arbitrary software procedures that then allow information to be accessed and complex operations to be performed without our needing to understand what is entailed in those operations.


Hong Kong protests: China military breaks silence to warn unrest should not be tolerated Guardian

US accuses Chinese billionaire of evading aluminium tariffs Financial Times

Russian army ordered to tackle massive wildfires BBC (David L)

Olga Misik: How teenage girl reading constitution in front of Putin’s riot police became a symbol of Russian resistance Independent (Kevin W)


Oil Tankers Perform Vanishing Act in Hormuz as Tensions Escalate Bloomberg (furzy)

Iran mocks Pompeo’s offers to visit Politico (Kevin W)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

DNC vs Wikileaks Court Case Ruling WSWS Glenn F: “Hadn’t heard about the case. The ruling may not bode well for the DNC and the extradition of Assange. From the post:

The judge labeled WikiLeaks an “international news organization” and said Assange is a “publisher,” exposing the liars in the corporate press who declare that Assange is not subject to free speech protections.

Facebook is funding brain experiments to create a device that reads your mind MIT Technology Review. Resilc: “What could go wrong?”

Cambridge, Massachusetts Moves To Ban Facial Recognition Gizmodo

Capital One Breach Said To Also Affect Other Major Companies TechCrunch

Everything Cops Say About Amazon’s Ring Is Scripted Or Approved By Ring Gizmodo

Imperial Collapse Watch

Pillars of nuclear arms control are teetering Financial Times (David L)

Stealth wars: China’s J-20 vs. USAF’s F-35 Asia Times . Resilc: “All it has to do is fly and it beats the F35.”

Trump Transition

“Have We No Decency?”: National Cathedral questions Americans’ silence over Trump’s racism Vox (David L)

Bulk of Trump’s U.S. farm aid goes to biggest and wealthiest… Reuters (resilc)

Trump Administration Plans To Allow Imports Of Some Prescription Drugs From Canada NPR. Um, I don’t read this as different than existing rules. The bar is against reimportation. This reads as if the supposed rule change allows importation of drugs similar to US drugs but not made in the US.

Sen. Rand Paul offers to buy “ungrateful” Rep. Ilhan Omar a ticket to Somalia. Slate UserFriendly: It might be my imagination but i5t feels like every time someone has a big ask for Trump he has them go defend his latest dumpster fire to the press and only gives it to them if they do it well.”


Democratic debate: Biden dodges question on deportations under Obama BBC. #2 story on US edition.

This Is the Soul of the Democratic Party New Republic (resilc)

Via e-mail: DFA down on DEM DEBATE: “The real winner of tonight’s debate was Tuesday night’s debate.”

CNN Tried to Derail Sanders and Warren Last Night. It Failed. Truthout (furzy)

Senate Democrats see Warren, Sanders proposals as unfeasible The Hill. So those Dems need to go.

Why Millennial Socialists Aren’t Into Elizabeth Warren Atlantic (resilc)

Kamala Harris’s Phony Medicare for All Plan Jacobin (furzy)

Taibbi in Iowa: Dems Are Repeating GOP’s 2016 Primary-Season Errors Rolling Stone. Resilc: “It is un-Amerikin to learn from history.”

Pro-impeachment ad with Mueller to run during Democratic debates Reuters. EM:

LOL – As soon as I saw the headline I thought to myself, ‘this sounds like a Tom Steyer stunt’. Even after the debacle-for-the-pro-impeachers that was the recent Mueller testimony, the deluded True Believers just can’t help themselves. Perfectly happy to see Steyer waste more of his money on this nonsense, however!

L’affaire Epstein

Jeffrey Epstein, Trump’s Mentor and the Dark Secrets of the Reagan Era MintPress

Jeffrey Epstein Trial Will Have a Million Pages of Evidence, Lawyers Tell Court Daily Beast (furzy)

Police State Watch

Following Another Water Incident, Assemblymen Propose Law Making Disrespecting Police A Felony CBS New York. Resilc: “I love my local stormtrooper.”

Marital infidelity and professional misconduct linked, study shows ScienceDaily and People who cheat on their partners more than twice as likely to engage in workplace misconduct, study claims Independent (Dr. Kevin)

Businesses struggle for survival in US coal country Financial Times

FTC Says ‘You Will Be Disappointed’ if You Choose $125 For Equifax Payout The Verge

Opinion: Central bankers now must cut interest rates to compensate for politicians’ mistakes MarketWatch. By Raghuram G. Rajan, former Governor of the Central Bank of India who gave the famed presentation at the 2005 Jackson Hole conference that concluded that financial “innovation” increased risk. He stood up to being hooted down by everyone in the room, including Larry Summers, who called him a Luddite. So this will get some attention. But as resilc pointed out, “Incentivized mistakes. USA USA.”

The Opioid Crisis Is About More Than Corporate Greed New Republic (resilc)

Lyft is halting its e-bike program in San Francisco after two bikes mysteriously erupted in flames BusinesInsider (David L)

Powell fails to bend yield curve to his will Financial Times

Guillotine Watch

Drugmakers to pay $70 million over deals to keep cheap generics off the market ars technica (Dr. Kevin)

Drugmakers’ Alleged Price-Fixing Pushed a Needed Pill Out of Reach Bloomberg (resilc)

Class Warfare

IBM Fired Up to 100,000 Older Employees to Make Room for Millennials, Lawsuit Alleges Fortune (David L)

IBM Fired as Many as 100,000 in Recent Years, Lawsuit Shows Bloomberg

Antidote du jour (furzy):

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. The Rev Kev

      Nice to see other fans of the Inspector Montalbano series. They are so well-crafted that I had to go out and get the DVDs. Damn! I just checked and found that the latest volume is out now.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Just finished ‘The Boys’ from Amazon Prime starring Dredd aka Karl Urban and a surprise appearance by Simon Pegg. It aint half bad. Chernobyl is pretty gripping if you can stand the Russia baiting, Stranger Things 3 if you can also stand the Russia baiting, and my favorite from last year, ‘Kidding,’ starring Jim Carrey where he plays a Mr Rogers type thats truly deserving of a Best Actor Emmy.

          Currently watching Biggggggg Brotherrrrrr hosted by Julie Chen MOONVES.

          Im a sucker for these reality game shows like BB n Survivor.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            AlphaGo on Netflix, if you can stand the heartbreak of the human race being bested by AI algorithms.

            I think they should control AI like it’s weapons-grade plutonium or biowarfare germs, with test bans, prohibitions, and monitoring.

          1. Lee

            Thanks. I didn’t know that. Just called local library and found they’re connected to both Hoopla and Canopy.

      1. Off The Street

        Each episode is a little movie-length gem, without commercial interruptions. The writing is terrific and the characters are engaging. In addition, you get to see some of La Bella Sicilia and to develop a feel for how people live and eat.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          I once found a page buried in the Italian RAI website from which the entire Montalbano catalogue could be screened, but it was some years back.

      2. John Beech

        Wait until you watch the magic mustache episode. It’s hilarious because it’s growth is radically different in various scenes supposedly encompasing the same investigative day. Not quite sure what that was about but it proved a distraction.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      Yes, but in one episode Camilleri has Catarella solve a big case, demonstrating unexpected tech skills. The Montalbano series is a perfect, gentle introduction to the Sicilian language if you already know some Italian.

    3. Procopius

      Unfortunately, I don’t speak Italian, so I don’t have the faintest idea what’s going on.

      1. dk

        I don’t know about other venues but the has english titles (for just about everything they offer).

        And thank you dearieme, Lee for the tip, and everyone else chiming in, this is a wonderful series!

  1. Bill Smith

    Stealth wars: China’s J-20 vs. USAF’s F-35 Asia Times . Resilc: “All it has to do is fly and it beats the F35.”

    The Israelis say they have used the F-35 in SEAD combat operations. The USAF, the USMC and the RAF have also used it in combat – although not in a location where anyone was trying to shoot at it.

    Sounds like it flies.

    The cost effectiveness is another question.

    1. carycat

      Even the MIC’s own numbers show the F-35’s mission availability numbers are below target in peace time conditions. Anybody who believes that those numbers have not been gamed to make things look better than they are have not worked in any organization where they have to report performance metrics to higher management. These hanger queens may be good for football game fly overs, but counting on them being useful in combat when the other side can put up credible resistance is ignoring the true purpose behind their procurement.

        1. Plenue

          Both are scams that don’t work and regularly self-ignite. I want to say the F-35 because it’s wasted so much more money, but the Tesla has probably managed to kill more people thus far.

    2. Procopius

      The Israelis claimed they used an F-35i, which looks to me like a different designation than the F-35A (Air Force), F-35B(Marine Corps), and F-35C (Navy), which the American forces buy. By the way, rarely mentioned, the U.S. has bought about 250 of the things which must be largely re-built to correct “minor flaws.” The cost will be about as much as what was spent on them already, and meanwhile the U.S. is committed to buying more with uncorrected faults. Part of this is because the specification was not established before the first contracts were let, and some of the hardware required was still in the research stage. Part of it is because the different services demand quite different things, yet they are all supposed to get what they want from a single airplane. We see a similar thing with the $13 billion and counting aircraft carrier, Gerald Ford, whose ammunition elevators don’t work, and whose “digital” catapult (essentially a large rail gun) only works for a few hours before needing to be rebuilt. The ship was accepted two years late, with many faults that were supposed to be fixed by April and are likely not to be fixed for at least two more years, if ever.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “US federal court exposes Democratic Party conspiracy against Assange and WikiLeaks”

    Obviously I am not familiar with US law but does not the fact that a Judge of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York has done this mean that now a precedent of sort has been established? What I mean is, that as a judge this high has recognized WikiLeaks as an “international news organization”, would that not mean that the Federal government has to accept this judgement if they cannot get it reversed in a higher court?

    1. Olga

      There is another article at WSWS on Assange, maybe RK can comment:
      “As many as 30 federal Australian parliamentarians attended a closed-door legal briefing by Jennifer Robinson, a lawyer for Julian Assange, at Canberra’s parliament house yesterday. The MPs included representatives of the conservative parties, Labor and the Greens.”

    2. taunger

      No. That is the lowest level of Federal court, meaning the finding regarding Wikileaks would be merely persuasive in any other court. Very limited in its effect outside that single case.

    3. Todde

      No the federal government can ignore the ruling.

      The court ruling can be used as precedent in other court cases, but that doesn’t mean that it will be followed.

  3. dearieme

    Bulk of Trump’s U.S. farm aid goes to biggest and wealthiest…

    What a dim headline. The bulk of American farm aid surely goes the the usual suspects irrespective of who is President? If so extra aid is likely to act similarly. Subsidies for farmers are, of course, bonkers, but that has nothing much to do with Trump.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        When the government gives out handouts for no work done, it is CREEPING SOCIALISM, and this will be the DEATH of freedom and democracy as the ‘something for nothing’ army takes yet more of MY taxes!!! Commies, the lot of them as they give their subsidies and free money to welfare moms and….and…

        *looks down*

        *shuffles papers with talking points*

        *puts on reading glasses*

        Big Ag? Wait, what? Oh, errm….hang on…

        *takes off reading glasses*

        *calms self*

        Freedom and patriotism is what we need right now, as our Brave Farmers of the Heartland labor long and hard for the Republic. I thank them for their service, and thank Trump for caring enough about the bedrock of our rural communities, and these salt-of-the-earth people that make us what we are!

      1. Big River Bandido

        My grandparents and all previous ancestors were all small farmers. You don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about.

        The destruction of farming has been taking place over a 50 year period in which agricultural policy has been written by Big Ag, passed by legislators bought by Big Ag, and signed by presidents all in the pocket of Big Ag. By laying the problems of family farmers at Trump’s doorstep as though he created them, you trivialize and misstate the issue completely, with desperate, pathetic, #Resistance™-style hysteria.

        1. Carla

          Hasn’t each president promised to help family farms? Has any of them in the last 50 years ever done so?

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It wasn’t built overnight.

            Years ago, I read or heard about chicken farmers having to buy from approved chick and feed suppliers, so their fast food chain buyers knew more or less how much their costs were and were able to dictate how much (meager) money the chicken farmers were allowed make, while taking all the risks of raising them.

            That’s just one example.

            1. Off The Street

              Those chicken farmers are basically indentured servants with very little control over what they do once they sign away with the Big Hens.

              Yet another reason to by locally-sourced, if any more reasons are still necessary!

        2. marym

          I didn’t lay 50 years of history at Trump’s doorstep, and don’t disagree with the history as you’ve described it.

          The particular problem being addressed by this bailout was caused by retaliatory tariffs in response to Trump’s trade war, and its solution was designed in 2018 for this purpose.

          So it has “at least something to do with Trump.”

          I agree that blaming Trump/Republicans for problems that are deeply rooted in policies that span parties and administrations would be trivializing. I was responding to [my interpretation of] a particular comment with a perspective on [what I perceive as] trivializing specific bad acts by burying them in the general historical picture.

          I believe we need to understand the systemic nature of problems resulting from policies that are actively supported by both parties; or that emerge from bargains, trade-offs, loopholes, and weaknesses in those policies, whoever is nominally in power. I try to reflect that in my comments.

          1. Procopius

            Since my grandfather was a farmer (360 acres, which was normal for that part of Iowa at the time) I remember a little bit about what was called the Evernormal Granary. Before the first farm subsidy programs were estalished in the late 1940s farmers were devastated by shifting prices. If soybeans were bringing a good price this year you could bet that millions of farmers would plant soybeans next year and lose their shirts when the price dropped. The programs varied in the ways they tried to stabilize things, but they resulted in making farming less risky, and therefore a target for investment. That’s one reason why there are now so few “small” farmers and why they cannot make a living at it. Now the small farmer does not qualify for supports because his output is too small, so you have people like Devin Nunes getting all the “subsidies.”

  4. Geo

    “Facebook is funding brain experiments to create a device that reads your mind”

    “I talked to the computer at great length and explained my view of the Universe to it,” said Marvin.
    “And what happened?” pressed Ford.
    “It committed suicide,” said Marvin.
    – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

    1. mpalomar

      Arthur Dent: You mean you can see into my mind?
      Marvin: Yes.
      Arthur Dent: Well?
      Marvin: It amazes me how you manage to live in anything that small.

    2. ewmayer

      A wonderful line from the Jonny Lee Miller / Lucy Liu series Elementary about “sharing one’s inmost inanities” comes to mind.

    1. WJ

      Because Warren is torn between her principles and her political ambition. This is why she refused to endorse Sanders in 2016, why her own stance on M4A remains ambiguous in 2020, and why people who are paying attention doubt whether she can be trusted in a pinch. It’s really as simple as that.

      1. pretzelattack

        i liked her performance in the debate, still don’t really trust her. i would like to see her as treasury secretary.

      2. Jeff W

        “torn between her principles and her political ambition”

        Or maybe between her underlying core assumptions and her espoused progressive stances.

        Remember, she was registered as a Republican till 1996 (so she seemingly did not have much of a problem with being a Republican in the Reagan/Bush years) and “loves markets.” She talks about “big, structural changes” but her idea of a big, structural change in education is appointing someone who was a teacher to head the Department of Education. (It’s not clear to me if she still advocates, as she did in 2003, a “shock to the education system”—which brings to mind the economic “shock therapy” of the “Chicago Boys”—via an “all-voucher or all-school choice system,” cited approvingly by the American Enterprise Institute.)

        “For me, what’s key,” Warren says, in talking about the “many different pathways” that would get us to the big, structural change of Medicare-for-All, “is we get everyone to the table on this,” sort of like how, we’ll all recall, Lincoln got abolitionists and slaveowners to the table around the issue of slavery. The process, after all, not the result, is “key.” (Meanwhile, the main items on her campaign site are “End Washington Corruption,” “Rebuild the Middle Class,” “Strengthen Our Democracy,” “Equal Justice Under the Law,” and “A Foreign Policy for All,” so health care, at least as its own topic, doesn’t make it into the top five.) The Warren gambit is to talk big and advocate small.

        I don’t want to attribute duplicitousness to her and certainly political ambition played a role in the timing and the substance of her 2016 endorsement of Hillary Clinton. To me, it’s more like she wants “big, structural change” but that’s achieved mostly through regulating out deviations to the norm (with, say, a Consumer Financial Protection Board), not questioning the norm itself. She is, after all, “capitalist to her bones.” That doesn’t strike me as something Millennial Socialists would really go for.

        1. Jessica

          It seems Warren in her heart of hearts would be happiest with some nice technocratic tinkering, but as she investigates problems and solutions, she finds that much more fundamental change is needed. How would she come down once in office is hard to say, but we do know that the pressure to stay on the oligarch’s reservation would be intense. Warren might well blink. Bernie would spit in their eye.

        2. Carey

          Thanks for this comment, JeffW; I think you’ve got the essence
          of Warren here. Still, she did do a real good job in the debates the other night for those who are unwilling to listen to Sanders, and I’m grateful to her for that.

        3. Odysseus

          Markets are very good at telling you what people with money want from the limited menu they are given. They don’t tell you much about what people without money need, nor do they tell you what items not on the menu would be great to have.

          But there’s a certain “put your money where your mouth is” reality that is necessary. People claim to want a lot of things that they will not in fact ever pay for given the opportunity.

  5. Rod

    Orange is the new green: How orange peels revived a Costa Rican forest Princeton (Michael SF)
    Just a little rethinking and you have the above good news.

    But there is more:
    Look what Breanna Tang and Ella Wang did for their HS Science Fair Project

    you can listen for inspiration and hope but here is the bottom line:
    What is your project?
    Soybean curd residue is the main byproduct from the manufacturing of soybean products such as soy milk and tofu. A few hundred million tons of soybean curd residue are generated annually. This residue is considered a waste material and threatens the environment when dumped into landfills, as it releases methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas.
    Our project explored the potential of utilizing soybean curd residue to enhance soil productivity and crop yields. We found that adding the residue to soil raises nitrogen and potassium levels, significantly increases water holding capacity, and decreases soil permeability. By enhancing soil productivity, our project presents a practical, cost-effective method to improve crop yields and resistance to drought, which has the potential to overcome food crises around the world.

    They they thought something else should be done with A few hundred million tons of soybean curd residue that are generated annually instead of paying to have it dumped in a “landfill”.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Lots of agricultural and other biomass waste can be used beneficially in agriculture, but a key problem is that its simply cheaper and easier to use alternatives, especially when ‘waste’ products can be problematic if the chains of utility are not kept clean.

      For example, years ago I was doing some research on using food and agriculture waste as an alternative to weed clearance for grain crops in the UK. Essentially, glyphosate is now generally used to ‘clear’ a field before planting the next years crop. Instead of this, covering the land with 5cm or so of composted waste could be used to suppress weeds and provide additional organic matter to the soil.

      The main issue was the investment and regulatory issues relating to composting, the need for a guarantee of supply (which ties into raising the money for the initial investment), and the issue of ground contamination if the original material turns out not to be as clean as anticipated. Something that seemed simple at first, turned out to be very problematic and complex.

      It is probably simpler if you have a single ‘source’ of material, such as a huge plant generating curd residue or peel or whatever- this is ideal. But in reality, you would want a greater variety of sources to create a better material – for example, mixing in treated waste from intensive animal farms, human waste products (yes, lots of it is used in agriculture) and domestic green waste. But that all gets very complex very quickly and farmers get nervous about contamination issues. Ironically, using glyphosate is not seen as ‘contamination’.

      The problem really comes down to policy and regulation, not science. Quite simply, authorities need to force farmers and industry and municipal sources to stop landfilling or incinerating organic material, and to provide the initial investment to ensure its all adequately processed (i.e. composted). And it then needs to compel farmers to use it as they are always reluctant to change something that’s worked for them in the past. In other words, its down to political will.

      1. Olga

        I get your point about complexity, but it seems beyond ironic (more like moronic) that the known poison glyphosate is the preferred choice. We’ve become so seduced by convenience that we’d rather poison ourselves with chemicals than invest in some planning for a more natural (and effective) growing cycle.

    2. J7915

      IIRC when the steel industry was banned from dumping their pickling fluid, cleaning solution, AKA sulfiric acid into the environment, they suddenly found buyers, takers? Who purified the acid for re-use.

      Quite often all it takes to recognice that the lasiest solution is not inevitably the cheapest. Especially for the commons.

      1. Lee

        The last study I read (Pimentel et al), admittedly a bit dated, estimated the average rate of return to the farmer was $4 for every $1 spent on pesticides. In a price competitive system, farmers who don’t use them either go broke or cater to higher end niche markets.

        1. Rod

          Lee–Pesticides are a entirely different issue than organic soil conditioning.
          Conflating the two diminishes the fact that better more productive agricultural waste product disposal is very doable-now.
          And PK– don’t you have less bugs growing on healthy plants in really nutritious soil?? I do. Your last paragraph is right on.

          1. Lee

            My bad. I was listening to a news piece on the radio about Roundup as I was reading this thread, and my beady little brain did in fact conflate the two.

    3. JohnnySacks

      Agricultural waste improves soil an thus plant growth. Who could have known? Perhaps the thousand+ year old history of farming? This article should be a face palm ‘Duh!’ for anyone with an inkling about gardening.

      1. Rod

        Dismissive comment considering this:
        According to the National Gardening Association (NGA), 35 percent of households in the US grow food either at home or in a community garden. This means that two million more families are involved in gardening, up 200 percent since 2008. All of these statistics were calculated by a special five-year report by the NGA, Garden to Table: A 5-Year Look at Food Gardening in America. The study tells us that many things have changed over the past five years — which age groups are most likely to garden, the types of food that people are most popular to grow, why people garden, and garden location and size.

        So, maybe 2 out of every 3 Americans may not know this.

    4. Cal2

      Lee, did they figure in the cost of the licensing for the Monsanto seeds that are genetically modified to be doused in the pesticides?

      Why orange peels worked:
      Much of central America is limestone. It’s alkaline. Soils that form under high rainfall are subject to extensive leaching and weathering, and allow acidic cations (H+ and Al3+) to occupy the empty soil exchange sites.

      Orange waste is acidic. It brings the pH of the soil back towards neutral, which is what compost does.

      We used hundreds of pounds of Jamba Juice waste to enrich alkaline desert soil in California. Then we realized that we were probably poisoning the soil with pesticide residues. That’s a reasonable compromise for forest erosion controlling and carbon absorbing forest cover buildup, but not for food production.

      1. Rod

        Thanks for the details on ph.
        The science project used linked found soy curd rich in N contributors amongst other benefits.
        Our state currently limits sludge distributions (past historical practice) to pasture without dairy because of heavy metals and pharmaceuticals.

        Would have been nice to have Extension Agency run a before and after on the Juice residue effects.

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I used to make my own soy milk, and a couple of times, tried to eat the residue.

      There wasnt’ much taste to it

      But I think with a little spicing, we can remove it as waste (by eating it).

      Should we put this under waste watching? I was watching a BBC film on the Vikings, presented by Neil Oliver, and in the segment on Iceland, they showed how those meat eaters had to eat every part of the animal they could.

      Shouldn’t we virtuous vegetarains also try to eat the soybean curd residue?

    6. kareninca

      But that is okara! Which is an ingredient in a lot of Asian foods. I’ve made soy milk from scratch (from soybeans), and then used the okara to make some really amazing mock sausage. Also see Apparently the big problem is that it is full of moisture and thus hard to store well. And it is produced by many small sources, and so hard to gather up to use for a further use.

      It’s really pretty nutritious, so I don’t see why you would use it as fertilizer.
      “Most okara worldwide is used as feed for livestock — especially hogs and dairy cows. Most of the rest is used as a natural fertilizer or compost, which is fairly rich in nitrogen. A small amount is used in cookery.”

      1. ambrit

        Down here near N’Awlins, okra is the main ingredient in gumbo. The word gumbo in Swahili means okra, the plant, or fruit. Okara is a foreign plot to sinify the world, or so I’m told by “true blue Americans.” Just add an ‘a’ and a perfectly good regional cuisine becomes globalized. What’s an old codger to do? Neo-liberal Rule #2?
        Okras a bit of a pain in the a–e to cook with, but worth the effort. (The dreaded slime could lubricate an earthquake out of business.) How about the ‘Yellow Peril” foodstuff, with the added ‘a’?

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Stealth wars: China’s J-20 vs. USAF’s F-35 Asia Times . Resilc: “All it has to do is fly and it beats the F35.”

    A bit deceptive, as it seems pretty clear that China doesn’t see the J-20 as equivalent to the F-35. Its much closer in role to the F-22 or the F-15 Strike Eagle. It seems pretty obvious that its ‘job’ in a conflict with the US would be to keep US air refueling aircraft and AWACs aircraft well away from Chinese territory. In dogfights, China would rely on its J-11 (essentially, a Sukhoi SU-27 rip-off) and other aircraft for shorter range combat – china even has its own F-35 copycat, the J-31. The best way for China to combat the F-35 is to make sure it can’t go anywhere near China, and this is best done by keeping aircraft carriers and refueling aircraft at bay, as the F-35 has a poor combat radius.

    That said, China is well behind in military technology – Russia sells far more advanced weaponry abroad wherever there is a level playing field for purchases – this strongly indicates that foreign buyers don’t like the performance of China’s weapons when looked at up close. They’ve apparently struggled with getting their aero engines working properly, and have recently bought S-35’s from Russia, indicating that they are not succeeding in replacing Russian aircraft and need to keep buying them as a fall-back.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is it a matter of time before Beijing reverse engineer and produce better versions of whatever they buy from Moscow?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        They already did it with the J-11. It is a engineered Su-27, apparently much upgraded. The Russians were furious, but needed the big orders and I think they’ve just accepted this is how it is – they will sell them good weapons, but not necessarily the very best. No doubt the Chinese will do the same with the Su-35s (which are very similar to Su-27’s, but the Russians maybe think that they’ll be a generation ahead anyway.

        The big problem for the Chinese are engines – they’ve struggled to build engines as good as Russian or western ones, so they are still dependent on the Russians selling them high quality units, or end up with aircraft that are just not as good as the originals.

        The fact that their reverse engineered aircraft aren’t quite up to Russian quality is one reason why quite a few people are sceptical than the J-20, or any other aircraft they make from scratch, will be genuine threats. Its likely they are trying to get around this by building highly specialised (rather than multifunctional) aircraft – the J-20 may to be an old style interceptor, made for one role – knocking out US AWACs and refueling tankers.

        1. The Rev Kev

          If they manage to do that, it will be all over red rover as far as any US aerial offenses are concerned. Aircraft like the F-35 have such ‘short legs’ that you would have to bring the carriers much closer to the actual fighting which brings them well within range of carrier-killer missiles. Even if the Chinese lost three J-20s for every F-35 destroyed, that would be a decisive win for the Chinese as spare parts, reliability issues, etc ground whatever F-35s are still left.

  7. Olga

    Olga Misik: How teenage girl reading constitution in front of Putin’s riot police became a symbol of Russian resistance Independent (Kevin W)
    A good lesson in hypocrisy is to search for headlines about Gilets Jaunes in the Independent, not to mention HK protests… You won’t find any mention of Macron’s riot police and no concerns about french constitution. Curious…
    To get some perspective on the sudden eruption of protests – and for a good behind-the-scenes look at how to stage a colour revolution. MoA obliges:

    1. The Rev Kev

      It’s only following an old playbook. Remember the “I am Ukrainian” girl video ( from 2014? I notice that the technique is to interview young, attractive girls when they are against a government but to interview older grannies for those who support the government. It gets old after a while.
      That Russian girl was just simple agitprop and you wonder how an American girl would go reading the US Constitution to a bunch of riot police in say Washington. Maybe it would be something like this-

      As for myself, I am still waiting for Pussy Riot to hold an impromptu concert in the Washington National Cathedral.

      1. Cal2

        Or, the Kuwaiti Ambassador’s little daughter who testified to congress that
        “she saw babies dumped on the floors so that those evil Saddamites, could steal the incubators?”

        Tulsi Gabbard last night: “We were lied to about WMD.”
        Wonder what her support is from active and retired military?

        1. Briny

          She has my full support. I’ve no idea about the rest of my family, all ex-military. We don’t talk.

          1. Procopius

            I think it would depend on the rank of the person questioned. I think enlisted persons would support her, because she wants to reduce the number of wars in which they do the hard work and get blown up, killed or maimed. Officers, especially those of higher rank, probably oppose her, because they get medals and promotions from war, and the higher the rank the less likely they are to be doing hard work or getting blown away. I will never forget the tale of the general who was awarded the bronze star with “V” device (meaning for valor, or being in actual danger) for firing his .45 caliber pistol from his helicopter at 2,000 feet toward a place where enemy soldiers might have been. Wish I could remember his name.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Whatever you do, people will try to use it for their own benefits.

      The sight of her reading their constitution before the riot police and seeing them hold back, is pretty inspiring.

      I believe, or want to believe, she acted on her own, and had nothing to do with any outside forces. If we want to say she was connected, we should offer some solid evidence.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Well there was that time that CNN was at a protest and they were helping organize the protesters and handing out signs if I remember correctly. It was all on video and it was only a few years ago. Did you not notice how ‘photogenic’ that shot was with that girl was? Same with that guy that got murdered on that Moscow Bridge with the walls of the Kremlin in the background. And don’t get me started on the ‘rescues’ of the White Helmets in Syria. If someone is peeing your pocket, don’t believe them if they try telling you that it is only the rain.

    3. Plenue

      Everything is a ‘color revolution’ to MoA. The fact that at least a quarter of a million people were out in the streets protesting means nothing; it’s all fake and they were all paid off. It’s also bemusing to see him justifying police brutality because protestors threw bottles and umbrellas.

      If b wants to side with the cops here and say this was justified, that’s his right. But I won’t be joining him.

      1. Plenue

        Adding that if you look back a few months to the start of the gilets jaunes protests, MoA did not simply side with the police and their brutality there. And he openly admitted some of the protestors were violent:

        While mostly peaceful protest were held in all parts of France the situation in Paris caught the most attention. On Saturday the protesters stormed the Arc de Triomphe. They rearranged the interior, damaged a statue of Marianne, and redecorated the outside.

        When the riot police tried to intervene it came under a hail of cobble stones (vid) and had to retreat. Graffiti left behind by the protesters read: ‘We’ve chopped off heads for less than this’, ‘Topple the Bougeoisie’, ‘May 1968 December 2018’.

        The immediate reason for the protests are an increase of the fuel tax that President Marcron defends as a step to fight climate change. But the fuel tax is only the last drop of a steady stream of price increases for the poor and middle class while their income stagnates. Meanwhile the rich are receiving one tax cut after the other. The fuel price is important for anyone who needs to drive to work. Public transport may work well within the Paris ring-road but most people live beyond the view of the Elysées and do need a car.


        The use of yellow warning vests, gilets jaunes in french, give the protester a smell of an arranged ‘color revolution’. Then again – it is always helpful in demonstrations to distinguish one’s side. These warning vests are mandatory emergency equipment in each car, they are readily available and sell for as little as €0.65.


        On Saturday both sides were violent. But Macron and his police are far from innocent in the escalation. On May 1 Macron’s top security aide Alexandre Benalla was filmed beating up protesters. In July a scandal ensued when Macron attempted to cover up the case. He sees violence as an appropriate way to handle resistance against his polices.

        On Saturday the police even deployed sniper teams on roofs.

        1. Some guy in Beijing

          I take MoA less and less seriously these days. The comments section is increasingly toxic, too

    4. ewmayer

      Note that there was a discussion of MofA’s thesis of HK-protest-as-US-fomented-color-revolution in yesterday’s 2pm Water Cooler. Upshot: not a lot of buy-in hereabouts.

      1. witters

        My trouble with the consensus here is that MoA has been – I keep check – THE most accurate news site I’ve encountered, and of the most important and difficult matters.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          He’s been very good on the Middle East but your comment is a classic example of halo effect, a cognitive bias of wanting to see someone/something as all good or all bad. MoA hasn’t written much about China and his thesis about the recent HK protests is really out of whack with observable facts. It’s not conceivable that the US played much if any role.

          1. witters

            No, not a halo effect. I do not want MoA to be all good or infallible. I am saying that as I keep score, he scores better than anyone else thus far. That fact itself carries a certain epistemic weight.

  8. zagonostra

    >“The real winner of tonight’s debate was Tuesday night’s debate.”

    Having watched the debate, while reading NC live blogging, I couldn’t agree more…

  9. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves.

    It’s not just Greenland.

    At this time of year, whales migrate to Mauritius and the other islands in the archipelago from the Antarctic. Not this year. There have been no observations north of Kerguelen.

    Last month saw day time temperatures well into the 30s C / nearly 100F in what passes for winter. Winter is supposed to be the dry season, but there was flooding in many areas.

    This year, in Buckinghamshire, we have lost half a dozen trees that were over three decades old, plum, apricot and prunus.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Why do you think the trees have died? Those species should be pretty heat tolerant.

      Its a little strange talking about the negative impacts from Ireland right now – we’ve had two very fine summers in a row – last years was very dry and warm, this year has been moist and warm, lots of great weather between the slightly above average rain. Even the farmers aren’t complaining, they’ve had a bumper year. Mind you, there was a flood two days ago in Dublin, a huge rain dump lasting just a few minutes. Very unusual, but not unique.

      1. Oregoncharles

        ” two very fine summers in a row” – in Ireland, isn’t that sort of a bad sign? As in, not normal?

      2. laughingsong

        Himself just went back to Clonsilla (Northwest Dublin) to visit the mammy, and was kicking himself because he didn’t bring any shorts. He said it was warm and didn’t rain at all, not once, not even out in Sligo.

        We left Ireland back in 2010 after 3 summers in a row where it poured so much that farmers were desperate. I remember in 2009 there were maybe two weeks in August that dried out some — we lived out near Skryne/Rathfeigh — and the farmers all went nuts, with floodlights in the fields to work 24/7, and convoys of tractors rumbling down our little boreen at all hours.

  10. jeremyharrison

    Since my girlfriend is a police officer, who routinely is harassed by people in the very neighborhoods where someone has called 911 asking for police assistance, I REALLY don’t appreciate her being referred to as a “storm trooper” – a comment posted next to the article about folks dousing police with water as they try to do the job they’ve been asked to do by the person requesting help.

    She seems to get special harassment since she’s black, so when someone in a predominantly black neighborhood requests assistance, the local guys seem to love to target her with vile comments. So far it’s just been words, thank God.

    But what does anyone do when someone approaches them and starts to throw an unidentified liquid on them? Could be water, might be sulfuric acid – no one has no way of knowing in advance.

    The new fun pastime of people doing this to police isn’t very funny. What should my girlfriend do if someone attempts to douse her with an unknown liquid? Just take it, and hope it’s only water?

    Please, she has enough of a target on her back. I’d respectfully request that comments like referring to her as a storm trooper, which gives justification in some people’s heads to do stuff like this, not be encouraged.

      1. jeremyharrison

        Sorry for any adverse interactions you’ve had with police. Thanks for not generalizing those to ALL police, and appreciating the tough job they have.

        As far as the uniforms, the clothing in that photo isn’t odd – just normal pants and shirts. Wearing helmets and face guards does look…unusual compared to everyday apparel – but those sorta come in handy when one is called upon to deal with an unpredictable crowd that often throws rocks and bottles at you. My girlfriend sends no apologies for looking scary when she wears them to avoid fractured facial bones or concussions. :)

        1. Harry

          Its certainly not yours or your girlfriends fault but I do appreciate the sentiment. The more police officers like your girlfriend and the safer I will feel.

          Protective function is a good thing. And of course you are right about rocks etc. However, part of me thinks the “scary” look is a feature not a bug. Still, I was just offering the other point of view. I can definitely see it from your point of view too.

        2. pretzelattack

          lots of people have had lots of adverse interactions with police, and some have died from those interactions while unarmed. wish fewer police would generalize about the people they deal with as subhuman–why are some homicides classified informally as no human involved?

    1. chuck roast

      Cops…where to start?

      As long as we’re doing anecdotes, I was first abused by cops when I was around 8 years old going down to the corner store with my buds’ to get penny candy. I was just a little innocent and almost peed my pants. But I learned a valuable life lesson…cops would do things to me, not do things for me.

      The residents showering the local cops probably view them as an occupying army who would be perfectly happy to abuse them next. You can sure of one thing those cops don’t live in those neighborhoods.

      If your girlfriend really wants to help people, maybe you should talk to her about being a teacher or a medical provider. It would also improve her mental health.

      1. Darius

        Goodish cops still protect bad cops. The NYPD in particular thinks of itself and acts like an occupying army. I have plenty of sympathy for the cop on the beat but no one stands up to coerced confessions bad convictions routine harassment etc. How about some accountability? There is none. Thus buckets of water.

        1. Some guy in Beijing

          This! Good cops need to band together and demand better from their colleagues. Those of us who have felt boots in the small of our backs — myself included — may need to soften our rhetoric a bit, as well. Good cops need to know they have public support.

    2. urblintz

      Forgive me if this is harsh, but I’d have more concern for your girlfriend if the Blue wall of silence which routinely protects killer cops from prosecution was not so well established as FACT. Would she testify against a corrupt colleague in court if she knew the details of that corruption? Paraphrasing Upton Sinclair, it is difficult for a [cop] to understand something when [his/her] salary depends on not understanding it.

      You ask a good question: “…what does anyone do when someone approaches them and starts to throw an unidentified liquid on them?” And I’d counter, what should Eric Garner have done when a cop used an illegal choke hold which killed him? Indeed, what should any black person do when they see the cops circling?

      I understand your desire to invoke sympathy for your girlfriend and do not impugn your motive for doing so, but you might have more success if, in your comment, you had included at least some awareness of why the antipathy towards police exists. Frankly having water dumped on them as a protest against their numerous crimes is comparable to jaywalking. And whereas I might agree that not all cops should be painted with the same brush, there are very real reasons why they often are and it is up to All police EVERYWHERE to do what’s needed to stop it.

      So, is calling cops “storm troopers” more offensive than cops who kill? Is that really the reason some people might feel justified about confronting them about their routine abuses?

      Here’s my “cop” experience: I was 15 years old in 1971. I had very long hair. I was with friends and my sister, at a Putt-Putt which had one of my favorite pinball machines. The minute I put my quarter in, a cop appeared out of no where to inform me that playing pinball was “gambling” and he arrested me on the spot. I was placed in the squad car as my friends/sister asked what was happening, where he was taking me and could they follow. Without answering he jumped in and sped out of the parking lot, then once on the highway (and seeing that my peeps were in fact trying to follow him) he jumped the median and lost them in the other direction. I was not taken directly to the police station (indeed when I finally arrived my peeps were already there, having asked directions at a convenience store) but driven into a dark and creepy marina where he said the police captain lived on a houseboat. I don’t know what transpired inside the boat but I was then driven to the station and booked for gambling. I was terrified and traumatized. Lucky for me, the judge who ruled on the case was a church friend of my parents and he dismissed the charge completely while reprimanding the cop who arrested me. Two weeks later that same cop was dismissed from the force for physically beating another teenager (who he described as a “hippie”) at an amusement center where the kid had been arrested for “gambling” while playing pool. I suppose it’s a credit to his captain that he was fired but that same captain did nothing to stop the abuse of authority to which I was subjected. Which isn’t to say that my experience can compare in any way with Eric Garner’s but to make my point that the police are mostly responsible for the negative impression they make on the communities they regularly abuse.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        “So, is calling cops “storm troopers” more offensive than cops who kill? Is that really the reason some people might feel justified about confronting them about their routine abuses?”

        That reminds me of the “concentration camp” label being more offensive to conservatives than…THE ACTUAL CAMPS

    3. Todde

      Cops. Some are good. Some are bad.

      They all stick together. ALWAYS.

      Even the good ones.

      Always keep that in.mind when dealing with them

    4. Oh

      “But what does anyone do when someone approaches them and starts to throw an unidentified liquid on them? Could be water, might be sulfuric acid – no one has no way of knowing in advance.”

      Maybe she can use a face shield. Not all cops are bad but the ones that shoot people without any provocation need to be dealt with in a severe manner. After all, their job is to serve the general public, not kill them.

      1. polecat

        No. Their #1 job is to serve both the Bidness Man, and the Politician ! More and more, the public are just lowly plebs to dominate ! Same goes for prosecutors … just ask Kamala ….

    5. WheresOurTeddy

      If you choose to be a low-level enforcer for an oligarchy that doesn’t care if the rank-and-file of their blunt instrument of oppression live or die in service of their never-ending greed, it is difficult for me to muster any sympathy for whatever happens to you. The fact they need to pass additional laws to make themselves a protected class reeks of cowardice.

      You and she might think she’s a good person. You might do good things when she’s not in uniform and be upstanding citizens.

      When she puts on the uniform, she’s a stormtrooper.

    6. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      I think the cops need to be retrained to go after the real criminals, THE RICH. Same with enlisted soldiers. Cops and Soldiers are working class just like the rest of us. But i think ur girlfriend having signed a contract with her Police Dept knew what she was getting into. Same with me signing a contract with the Army in 2011.

    7. ajc

      Please, she has enough of a target on her back.

      She should quit her job because being a police officer in the USA is despicable. I was a machinist who made plastic injection molds and I quit my job because it helps to destroy the environment in profound ways. People like you think respect is deserved when it has to be earned, and cops everywhere have earned the disrespect that comes to them by not policing themselves like they police communities. And frankly, the police as stormtrooper trope is well earned, especially with your kind of plaintive whine which is at the core of police dismissing their consistent and documented abuses of power, from free coffees to shooting fleeing suspects in the back.

      The new fun pastime of people doing this to police isn’t very funny. What should my girlfriend do if someone attempts to douse her with an unknown liquid? Just take it, and hope it’s only water?


      I’d respectfully request that comments like referring to her as a storm trooper, which gives justification in some people’s heads to do stuff like this, not be encouraged.

      I think it is perfectly justifiable, and I encourage people to embarrass the police whenever the opportunity presents itself.

    8. jeremyharrison


      Good to know how the NC commentators really think.

      So, my girlfriend deserves any harassment and abuse anyone wants to give her, being a low level enforcer of the oligarchy and all…. It’s “what she signed up for.”

      Freakin’ Armchair Antifa’s….

      If you ever hear someone breaking into your home, please, never call the cops. Wouldn’t want to contribute to any perception that their services are needed – except by the 0.01%. Maybe give Chomsky a jingle….

      1. EGrise

        If you ever hear someone breaking into your home, please, never call the cops. Wouldn’t want to contribute to any perception that their services are needed

        Yeah, where would I be without some guy showing up an hour later to shrug his shoulders and fill out a report? What ever would I do.

        Source: This happened to me. Next time I’ll shoot the burglars and give the cops some actual work to do.

  11. Harry

    Amazing the difference an “alleged” makes

    The Russian government was clearly “the primary wrongdoer” for hacking into Democratic computers and funneling purloined documents to WikiLeaks to disseminate, found Judge John G. Koeltl

    But the NYT were good enough to include the ruling itself. Strange they misunderstood so much of it.

    1. urblintz

      Are you alleging that Judge Koetl’s assertion of Russia as the “primary wrongdoer” is the same as establishing it as fact?

    2. Camp Lo

      A summary judgment dismissed the RICO [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act] suit against the campaign, Russian agents, and Assange for the following reasons:
      One, Russia is entitled to Sovereign Immunity in that jurisdiction unless the US Gov’t waives that immunity, which the Trump Admin will not do. Two, Assange was not accused of receiving a “contemporaneous transmission” of the stolen material nor participating in the theft itself. Soliciting and publishing the stolen material is protected under the 1st Amendment. Three, the Trump campaign was receiving assistance from different Russians than the Russians who were members of the military responsible for the hack. Four, the campaign material does not qualify as trade secrets. Five, because of the previous four points, the activity in the complaint does not establish a pattern of racketeering.

      So, the Trump admin should be celebrating; they are not technically gangsters. Ura! [Trump settled the other RICO complaint against him right after the election, so Trump is still an alleged racketeer.] However, the defendants could still be held liable in separate suits during a tough re-election campaign. New slogan: Trump. Not a Gambino.

  12. flora

    re: Bulk of Trump’s U.S. farm aid goes to biggest and wealthiest… Reuters

    That is to say, aid goes to the biggest corporate agri-biz farms.

    That’s been true for the past several administrations, not just Trump’s.

    A note from 2011. (Writer didn’t label the system ‘Obama’s farm aid’ when writing about the system. The system was in place before Obama. Labeling the system ‘Trump’s ‘ is disingenuous.)

    Although writer Mark Bittman advocates for reforming the subsidies, not ending them, his scathing assessment of the system in 2011 still stings today:

    “That the current system is a joke is barely arguable: wealthy growers are paid even in good years, and may receive drought aid when there’s no drought. It’s become so bizarre that some homeowners lucky enough to have bought land that once grew rice now have subsidized lawns. Fortunes have been paid to Fortune 500 companies and even gentlemen farmers like David Rockefeller. Thus even House Speaker Boehner calls the bill a ‘slush fund’.”

    1. flora

      Farm Bills are passed every 5 years and this kind of farm bill has been ongoing for a long time.* If the writer is going to name the current bill the ‘Trump’ bill he need to name the last 2 bills the ‘Obama’ bills and the one before those the ‘ W’ bills Giving the lions share of support to the richest agri-biz ‘farms’ has been baked in for years. I’m not a T fan; I’m less a fan of blaming T for everything that’s wrong when it’s systemic and will most likely still be going on after T is out of office. Blaming an individual for a systemic problem suggests the writer thinks we’re a nation of men – not laws. (Yes, perfect straight line for a snark, I know.) The system problems don’t go away just because a single person is out of office.


      1. Cal2

        And in California, it’s no surprise that California’s biggest landowner and Beverly Hills “farmer” is a major Democratic donor, who parasitizes taxpayer funded water and resells it back to municipalities at a profit and whose tentacles reach into foreign policy vis a vis Iran and sanctions.

        “the California pistachio industry is obsessed with maintaining a trade war with Iran, one of the world’s leading producers of the salty treat. Stewart and Lynda Resnick, the couple behind The Wonderful Company, one of California’s largest pistachio farms and producers of Fiji Water, have consistently lobbied for a trade war with Iran.”

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          keep looking left or right for your problems instead of UP, and you’ll always have a windmill to tilt at

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Thanks, Flora.

        Looking at it that way (a broader perspective), I think we can get to the cause (the system, and not one individual) and come up with an effective action plan.

    2. Oregoncharles

      That’s been true for as long as I can remember, so back to the Eisenhower Admin. As someone else with a farming background notes, below (or maybe above – I never know where a comment will wind up in a long thread).

      This has always been a problem with farm aid, and always controversial. Evidently Trump failed to fix it, hardly a surprise.

  13. jfleni

    RE: Facebook is funding brain experiments to create a device that reads your mind MIT.

    If you need any incentive to junk “Butt-book” HERE it is.

  14. Carolinian

    Re Epstein–NYT on his fascination with eugenics.

    At one session at Harvard, Mr. Epstein criticized efforts to reduce starvation and provide health care to the poor because doing so increased the risk of overpopulation, said Mr. Pinker, who was there.[…]

    On multiple occasions starting in the early 2000s, Mr. Epstein told scientists and businessmen about his ambitions to use his New Mexico ranch as a base where women would be inseminated with his sperm and would give birth to his babies, according to two award-winning scientists and an adviser to large companies and wealthy individuals, all of whom Mr. Epstein told about it.[..]

    Mr. Lanier said he talked to a scientist who told him that Mr. Epstein’s goal was to have 20 women at a time impregnated at his 33,000-square-foot Zorro Ranch in a tiny town outside Santa Fe.

    Unclear how many baby Epsteins are running around but the scheme has whiffs of that old Gregory Peck movie, The Boys From Brazil. What is it with sociopaths and eugenics?

    1. Off The Street

      Is Epstein more of a messianic character or an auto-millennarian? Some day there will be case studies about him taught in various colloquia, seminars and other gatherings, perhaps even at Harvard.

      1. Carolinian

        I hope not. He, and his DNA, should be erased from history. Since he’s emblematic of a type we don’t need the individual specimen.

      2. Bugs Bunny

        There are a lot of rich nutjobs like him around. I’ve come across a few of these snake oil salesmen who manage to convince otherwise “normal” C-suite dwellers that they’re the übermenschen and should live forever, they can run giant corporations with a team of 4 people, etc., etc.

        Epstein is the tip of a sick, sick iceberg. If only more of them could be exposed and taken down.

        1. Carolinian

          “The fish rots from the head” and rot is the right word. One doesn’t want to overgeneralize but these fantasies of sexual dominance seem rife among the uppers.

          1. Inode_buddha

            Actually I think its just a case of “dominance” in general. It expresses itself in many ways. This need for dominance is a tell that those who express it are not actually in control of themselves — hence the need to control others. Those who are never satisfied, it will never be “enough” for them. They are trying to satisfy a spiritual need via worldly means. This is the definition of addiction.

            1. Carolinian

              No I think Freud maybe was right; sex plays a big role in everything. Certainly Madison Avenue thinks so.

    2. boz

      Sounds rather Gilead though without the crosses.

      Tip of a sick sick iceberg indeed.

      Really does make you wonder to what end someone like that is allowed to continue operating for so long, especially when they confess these kind of fantasies?

  15. Bobby Gladd

    Mike Magee, MD, in his new book “Code Blue,” notes that “Medical Industrial Complex” lobby spending outpaces that of Defense by a factor of four. Which is really just reflective of the relative money on the table.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Russian army ordered to tackle massive wildfires”

    I heard that Trump offered to help Russia fight those fires in Siberia. I am not sure that that is such a great idea considering his ideas on how to fight the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. Hmmmm. Siberia is 13.1 million km² in size. Anybody got any ideas how many rakes that that would need?

  17. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Kamala Harris’s Phony Medicare for All Plan Jacobin (furzy)

    Can anyone tell me where this imperative of “preserving” american’s ability to “choose ” private medical insurance if they “like” their plan even comes from?

    For decades the cost of insurance has risen far faster than so-called inflation, as have deductibles, copays and other out-of-pocket costs. There are narrow networks and balance billing. A significant percentage of personal bankruptcies result from medical costs incurred by INSURED families, and americans borrowed $88 billion last year to cover the costs of “healthcare.” These are the companies that invented “pre-existing conditions.”

    It is well-known that private insurance pays more for the same procedure than Medicare and certainly more than Medicaid. “Providers” bitch about it endlesslly. Recently, Mayo Clinic was caught saying that it would take a private insurance patient ahead of one with Medicare or Medicaid because of the higher reimbursement.

    Preserving private insurance for those who “like” their plans should be called out for what it is–the preservation of a place at the head of the triage line on behalf of those for whom out-of-pocket costs are no object, because they have more money to spend. We’ve seen how this has worked out in air travel–luxury private terminals and luxury private jets for some, abusive searches and cattle cars for everyone else.

    Don’t fall for the scam. Everyone in the same system is the only hope of keeping it honest.

    1. jefemt

      Amen. Starting with Congress being the victim/beneficiary of ‘our’ system for all US.

      The lack of compassion, the I got mine— I care not one whit whether you get any , is realy disheartening and tiresome.

      ALSO, money to insurance is truly a throwaway. Lok at all the salaries, system, that adds not ONE bit of value to CARE.

      We need to dump insurance, and get on with Care and an efficient reimbursement system.

      The era of the $18.00 tongue depressor MUST end.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        The lack of compassion, the I got mine— I care not one whit whether you get any , is realy disheartening and tiresome.

        You know, I think it’s even worse than that.

        More like, “If everybody gets some, I get less. If some have to go without so I get all I want, tough shit.”

        1. Monty

          It’s worse than that. It’s, “I already have what I want, and i lose nothing if poor (probably brown and ‘icky’) people get something. However, i enjoy feeling superior to them, and would like to retain that exclusivity so as to boost my self-esteem.”

          1. Copeland

            It’s worse than that. It’s: “look how clever and hard working I have been all my life, and all the good decisions I have made, to earn all that I have (every penny!) all while in a system that makes it so difficult for most to get anything at all! I am practically overflowing with merit!

          2. urblintz

            The only consolation I can find in the above is that although they are highly skilled at pretending otherwise, the rich hate each other more than the rest of us. The rest of us do not even show up on their radar. They are too busy trying to be richer than their “friends.”

            As a fortunately successful classical musician for 30 years, I was often the “entertainment” at events hosted by the rich. Early in my career I was on a singing tour in Texas and was approached at the reception (the concert is usually an excuse for the gathering afterwards) by the board chairman of the organization presenting the event. He asked me if I knew who had been the last singer to grace his stage before me. I said “who” and he responded “Luciano” (which he purposely mispronounced as “Lussiano” instead of Luchiano – another gesture at superiority). I thought I’d be clever and responded “Oh, Luciano who?” and without missing a beat he said back “Lussiano, the one who can actually make money doing what you do.”

            I’m sure there are wealthy people who are genuinely decent but honestly, I’ve never met one.

      2. Cal2

        Loved the Montana governor praising his health plan enabling his daughter to be airlifted to Utah. Does everyone in Montana have the same insurance plan you do Governor?

        Interesting technique to harness one’s Spidey Sense and read body language.

        Watch the debate from last night with the sound off.

        Harris is ghoulish.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Does that statement (money to insurance is truly a throwawy) apply to insurance in general, or just health insurance?

        If widely applicable, should we also address auto insurance, life insurance, etc?

        (I don’t know if it is wise, but I have tended to ignore tech product or even appliance insurance – maybe people can comment on that).

    2. Arizona Slim

      Who are these people who actually like their private insurance? I have yet to locate any of them.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I like mine. It’s an indemnity plan, so I can see any doctor in the world. Low premium, low deductible, 20% copay.

        It’s also a policy from 1987. It was a mediocre policy then…….No joke, I will be worse off on Medicare.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Medicare is a lot better than nothing, speaking from experience, but extensively crapified. I think the “Medicare for All” name might have been a mistake, as the “Improved” part tends to be left off.

          However, it’s probably quite a bit cheaper than your 1987 plan.

          And how did you manage to wangle a contract they couldn’t cancel? Someone deserves a lot of credit.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Oh, I agree 100%, but the monthly Medicare costs aren’t bupkis, particularly since you pretty much have to get some type of pharmacy plan and pay those premiums too. And I shudder to think what rack rates are. Advair, an inhaler, cost over $90 a month even with the insurance, and that’s down from $240 a month with insurance. How many old people can pay that?

        2. MichaelSF

          A friend was recently in a freak “act of god” kind of vehicle accident and so far he’s had about $800K in bills come in (he does have insurance through his employer) but with more surgery still to happen.

          Your policy would leave you at least $160K out of pocket with the copay. M4A (with no payments due by the patient)/national health would seem to be an improvement for many, as a sum that large sounds like it would lead to bankruptcy..

    3. Pat

      I realize it is a rhetorical question but that imperative comes from the insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, private hospitals and medical.practices, their major investors, the politicians they have bought and the media they massively advertise in. There are also some business owners who haven’t figured out that insurance probably now or will in the future cost more than paying people a real wage and a chunk of the public who still have somewhat decent employee coverage who have heard for years that Canadians are desperate for American healthcare.

      Unlike the first group, the last group is shrinking rapidly. Hence real Medicare for All single payer free at point of service hasn’t been relegated to “loser don’t mention it status” as it was for decades anytime someone who really wanted to reform our healthcare brought it up.

      Hell we might even get to the “shut up you greedy shill” point by 2020, although the usual subjects could push that back to 2022. But I don’t think they have any longer to pretend and extend.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Jimmy Dore makes the excellent point that the healthcare corporo-fascist shills (Harris, Delaney et alia) shrieking about “impossible, pie-in-the-sky” healthcare proposals are just saying “we can’t possibly have what every other major first-world country has had for decades, after all it’s not like we’re the richest country on Earth or anything…”

    4. festoonic2

      “Choice” is certainly a misnomer if one is forced to select a single terrible option from an array of even worse ones, but it sounds friendlier than There Is No Alternative.

    5. Mo's Bike Shop

      Funny how the hyperinflationists all come out when it’s M4A, but the regular double digit inflation of the status quo doesn’t raise a peep.

  18. Craig H.

    IBM suit.

    This strategy deliberately targeted older workers like the plaintiff, Texas-based Jonathan Langley, 61, who has accused IBM of firing him after more than 24 years because of his age, according to the document. IBM filed a motion to dismiss Langley’s case.

    Didn’t Langley get one of those severance packages with two weeks (or whatever) pay for every year after he signed that piece of paper promising not to sue IBM? I heard of one guy whose package was three days of pay for every year which hardly even makes it worth signing. Every person I know who heard about the three day deal was appalled. If you are trashing employees to save money you obviously want to trash as many expensive employees as possible. They tend to be older. It has nothing to do with disliking old people.

    1. Off The Street

      Pay is only part of the equation. Benefits cost more for older workers. Consultants of various stripes clued in the employers years ago, for example, during that re-engineering binge last millennium. Add in the ideas of Economic Value Added or similar neo-liberalish conceits and you can look into each line item with surgical precision. The operation was a success and who cares if the patient died because he was off the payroll.

      If you can stomach working around some HR types you’ll hear more and more about how their primary function is to protect the employer from the employees. That extends to the bottom line, so incentivized douchebaggery from those friendly, caring folk.

      1. BobW

        Me. I am in my mid-sixties. Got “retired” one day a year ago, out of the blue, right when the health plan was being replaced. They did pay 3 months wages and continued a (very good for these days) health plan for 6 months, provided I signed that li’l piece of “don’t sue us” paper. I signed. Fortunately, had been socking away 25% of gross income in the 401k retirement plan for a little while.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Facebook is funding brain experiments to create a device that reads your mind”

    This sort of stuff is downright creepy. In Dave Eggers’s 2013 novel “The Circle” (filmed with Emma Watson & Tom Hanks), the book ends with the main character looking at a friend in a coma in hospital. She is ‘wondering when the time will come that The Circle will develop enough technology to read people’s thoughts, saying that “the world deserves nothing less and would not wait”.’
    No, sharing is not always caring!

  20. thoughtful person

    Equifax payout: “The agency said this month that it had reached a $700 million agreement with the credit reporting agency over a massive breach of private data in 2017. As part of the settlement, consumers whose data was compromised could request up to $125 or free credit monitoring services. The potential for a quick payout generated major interest, but only $31 million of the settlement was set aside for cash payouts”

    Why only 31million for payouts? Who is collecting the 700 million and where is the remaining 669 million going??

    1. Arizona Slim

      Yet another one of the reasons why I like Naked Capitalism. There are people here who can do math and ask questions.

    2. Pat

      I guess that credit monitoring is really really expensive. /S

      And I am beyond tired that fines really aren’t fines. (And with them being tax deductible.) If they don’t hurt they aren’t good enough. This should have been $125 AND free monitoring no top amount.

      But that’s just me.

    3. Anon

      More to the point: Why was the settlement a measly $700 million? Why not set the cash payout at $125 per person affected and have Equifax bear the full brunt of their ineptitude? If it costs them $1.5 Billion, so what! Maybe they’ll hire better executives.

      But then we all know that the FTC regulators don’t have the general public interests in mind.

  21. Lee

    Sony Plans to Release a Wearable Air Conditioner Next Year Core77. Resilc: “See, my global warming problem is fixed. USA USA.”

    Well and good, but won’t it interfere with the proper functioning of a stillsuit?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is Sony a Japanese corporation or USA one?

      “My global warming problem is fixed. Nippon Nippon!!”

      Of course, USA consumers might buy it. And Russian consumers too, as well as their counterparts in many other nations.

      It seems to be more a universal human problem than just limited to those ‘exceptional’ Americans.

  22. The Rev Kev

    “IBM Fired Up to 100,000 Older Employees to Make Room for Millennials, Lawsuit Alleges”

    Let’s see. Swapping 100,000 employees will lose IBM about 1,000,000 years of experience for every decade that those employees have worked there. Swapping that for enthusiasm on the part of a bunch of newbies. Yep. Seems legit. That should work out for IBM.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I used to go to breakfast with a bunch of fellas who’d worked at IBM’s Tucson division. All retirees, and, oh, were they sharp. Still working in the IT field as consultants.

      As far as I was concerned, IBM lost a lot when those fellas walked out the door.

      1. notabanker

        IBM lost a lot when those fellas walked out the door.

        Not if the only thing they could do was sell IBM.

      2. Lee

        “When an old one dies [or retires] a library burns down.”
        African proverb.

        The next generation is replacing the old ones at our local hardware store where I’ve been going for several decades to find obscure pieces of hardware I did not know existed to keep my old house from falling apart. Fortunately there appears to be some effort given to inter- generational transfer of the voluminous fund of arcane hardware knowledge.

        Thanks again for curing my sciatica.

          1. Lee

            If you are ever in the SF Bay Area the least I can do is buy a nice lunch. I doubt that I’ll be getting to AZ any time soon. I’m trying to stay as far away from the equator as I can.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      IBM sells consulting services. Their clients buy ‘X’ number of bodies in a certain experience category or set of categories, at hourly rates negotiated for each experience category. In some cases the clients are re-selling the consultant hours to another client — like the US government — who pays them for providing desks and directing the work, and IBM collects overheads to pay for employee costs including amounts for management and internal services. US companies are ‘lean-and-mean’ which translates into minimally staffed. Consulting firms like IBM fill in the staff when a big contract is let, and reabsorb that staff when the funding line ends. Many of these big contracts and big projects aren’t really efforts to produce anything except profits. You don’t need any real expertise for that, just ‘X’ bodies with credible resumes for whatever expertise was specified. Consulting employees who perform well but fail to break into management get small incremental raises that gradually lower the profit margin the firm can realize on their billable rates. Eventually they must be let go to boost profitability. There is no age discrimination. It just happens that by the time a consultant reaches a certain number of years with the firm they become an unnecessary cost burden on the experience category packages they can be fitted to.

      1. Joe Accountant

        “There is no age discrimination. ” Right, that’s going to be a great defense. They aren’t too old, they cost too much. Just what does IBM charge per hour is going to look great in the court filings. How many hours to complete the assigned task with the lower per hour employee(s)? It’ll be fun watching the lawyers and jurors work the math.

      2. JBird4049

        It just happens that by the time a consultant reaches a certain number of years with the firm they become an unnecessary cost burden on the experience category packages they can be fitted to.

        Or the more knowledgeable and capable you are, the less profitable you become to exploit. Neoliberalism. A system that has been set up to extract wealth and not to create value.

  23. Louis Fyne

    –The Dying Art of Instruction in the Digital Classroom —

    I love tech and grew up w/computers. But IMO kids (say under 11) should be taught the reading-writing-math fundamentals in the old-fashioned analog ways: phonics, bundles of sticks/beans for counting, etc.

    At the local library you can see the kids turn into literal zombies at the tablet and computer stations. While the software is “educational”, I’m skeptical how turning kids into swiping automatons for 15 minutes benefits them in the long run.

    Now excuse me, I gotta go and yell at some kids who look like they’re going to walk on my lawn

    1. Arizona Slim

      As I’ve mentioned here before, I am learning the Russian language. Here’s the cool thing about phonics: If you learn how to sound out Russian letters, and there are 31 of them, you can say any word in Russian.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The word, Rus, itself, I believe, came from Old Norse, originally meant ‘men who row,’ referring to those Vikings who rowed in their long boats.

        I wonder if Sweden would one day reclaim its historical territories in that area, pockets of land from St Petersberg to Istanbul.

      2. Off The Street

        Back in the day, shortwave radios were useful for language learning, as training the ear and hearing regional accents were both very useful. Now you can probably stream whatever audio and video you may need.

    2. CanCyn

      Agree that some learning needs to be done without digital technology, esp for youngsters. e.g. You can’t operate a calculator properly if you don’t understand the math and are able to recognize a mistaken entry that causes an erroneous answer.
      Also agree with the notion that our devices are highly distracting.
      Otherwise I do not agree that technology is the enemy in the classroom. The real enemy is the rampant ‘credentialism’ that exists in North America (not sure if things are the same in Europe) which has come to mean that you need a degree to get just about any job in the country. That is the cause of the huge numbers of students in higher ed who don’t want to be there and the huge cause of the ennui, apathy and distracted behaviour that profs and teachers are on the receiving end of these days. A lot, if not most, students simply don’t want to be in their classrooms, they’re there because they have to be to get jobs.

  24. The Rev Kev

    Tulsi Gabbard taking down Kamala Harris in that video was just priceless. She took Harris’s past deeds and nailed her to the wall with them and you could see Harris trying to find someplace to look and failing – badly. I am sure that you will excuse the schadenfreude here but what I saw reminded me of the following-

    “Demolition Job”
    noun [singular] British informal demolition job pronunciation in British English
    an occasion when someone or something is criticized severely

    ‘Tulsi did an effective demolition job on her opponent’s past.’

      1. Cal2

        Also, notice that Harris did not deny those accusations.

        New Kamala t-shirt for sale:

        “That Little Cop was Me”

        Watch Harris’ video segments with the sound off if you want to peer into her soul.

    1. WJ

      It’s very odd, isn’t it, that merely stating true things out loud about Kamala Harris’ actual political record is being described as a “demolition” or “devastation” or “smack down” or “execution” of her candidacy. What does this tell us about the place of truth in our political culture?

      1. flora

        The looks (if looks could kill) on Harris’s face during the smack-down was something to see. ‘Kamala: Attorney General Dearest’.

        1. Carolinian

          “No wire coat hangers!”

          Not to be crass but from the pictures Tulsi looked quite glam in that ice cream suit. Perhaps Harris–an attractive woman herself–was stunned by this attack from a more alpha female [ducks (ht Lambert)]

  25. Tvc15

    Agree Rev, and provides another example of how the MSM protects the ruling class and their appointed puppets like Harris. Gabbard only pointed out facts that real journalists should be asking of Harris. I’d still like to see Harris called out for failing to prosecute Mnuchin. Hopefully, we’ll see the MSM follow up on the points Gabbard raised, but I won’t hold my breath.

    1. Cal2

      “I took on the banks! and the for profit colleges!”

      The ones that didn’t bribe you? We know about Mnuchin’s bank.
      How about for profit colleges?

      April 2, 2019
      “Yesterday, the US Supreme Court rejected the [San Francisco based] Academy of Art’s attempts to halt prosecution, letting stand a Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from August that said the $450 million case can go forward because evidence exists that the
      school deployed illegal tactics for enrollment between 2006 and 2010.
      This is the fifth time since 2009 that the for-profit college has tried and failed to get the allegations thrown out of court; the school will now have to settle or go to trial.”

      [In addition to hundreds of city code and housing violations, lawsuits over student deaths etc.]

      When Harris was San Francisco D.A., she did nothing.
      When Harris was California attorney general, she did nothing.

      “Harris has aggressively probed for-profit colleges, she has steered clear of Academy of Art University, a San Francisco-based for-profit that has had red flags about graduation rates raised in its accreditation process. Academy of Art President Elisa Stephens, a wealthy socialite, contributed more than
      $16,000 to Harris’ campaigns for district attorney and attorney general.”

  26. JohnnyGL

    My god, Anderson Cooper is obnoxious. He happily steers the conversation with Tulsi into one about a litmus test of making her criticize Bashar Assad, using Harris’ filthy smear as an excuse to steer the conversation that way. She then goes on to point out how Al Qaeda are all over Idlib and Cooper only hears/sees ‘pro-Assad propaganda’. He is desperate to airbrush Al Qaeda right out of the conversation.

    Excellent stuff from Tulsi on one of the worst lines of questioning I’ve seen.

  27. Matthew G. Saroff

    The Chinese equivalent of the F-35 is not the J-20, it’s the FC-31, which is similar in size and configuration.

    The FC-31 shows just how f%$#ed up the F-35 became by trying to create commonality with a STOVL variant.

  28. ObjectiveFunction

    A little fire in the belly in team D, at last!

    But this debate format is a finger wagging circus (Are You Not Entertained?). IMHO, it comes of having ‘leaders’ who are not regularly forced to debate on the floor, a la Question Period in parliamentary systems.

    I live in fantastical hope that it all eventually erupts into something like this classic Hollywood showdown, with Bernie, Tulsi and Mike Gravel (as Oddball), facing down Trump the Tiger tank commander in the battered town square of our Republic.

    And Donald, all you need to do to have an equal share in that money is to crank that turret around and blow a hole in that door.

    I got your Grand Bargain right here, Wall Street!

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is the film scene meant to convey the idea that ‘only Trump (played by Alberty) can go to Medicare For All?’

    1. John k

      Can’t imagine why welded, fabricated pallets would have lower tariffs than the aluminum itself… are we trying to protect foreign labor from unfair domestic? Shouldn’t there be higher tariffs on fabricated products?

  29. Anthony K Wikrent

    Besides Hockett’s work, I also want to point people to these scholars also working to restore the ideas of classical republicanism to political economy:

    Joseph R. Blasi – Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations
    The Citizen’s Share: Reducing Inequality in the 21st Century

    Jeffrey Sklansky, associate professor of history at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The Soul’s Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820-1920

    Mehrsa Baradaran – University of Georgia School of Law
    The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap

    I discovered these three scholars by watching some of the videos of a conference at Harvard University in which Hockett participated earlier this year:

    Money as a Democratic Medium

    Here are the videos of all the presentations at the Money as a Democratic Medium conference. I highly recommend, at a minimum, watching the presentations from Baradaran, Blasi, and Sklansky. Note they are not always the first speakers, but the entire video is usually worth watching.

    1. Anthony K Wikrent

      RE Jeffrey Epstein, Trump’s Mentor and the Dark Secrets of the Reagan Era MintPress

      Some of the worst memories of my community organizing days in the 1980s involve my trying to convince people that USA’s industrial base was being destroyed by takeovers largely financed with money from organized crime. People just did want to hear the details. They especially did not want to hear that St. Ronnie’s political career had been promoted by the mob. Amazingly, the people most resistant to these facts were the “organized” leftists in CPUSA and SWP. The communists and socialists almost invariably dismissed the details of these organized crime connections, and wanted only to discuss impersonal theoretical forces like “historical materialism” and “capitalist accumulation.” I came to detest talking to them.

      For three decades now, I have occasionally referred to this issue of organized crime taking over the USA industrial economy, and hypothesized that one major effect has never been studied: replacing competent industrial management with the criminal mentality and inclinations of the mob-financed corporate raiders. It was Jon Larson at RealEconomics who about 15 years ago pointed me to Thorstein Veblen’s (The Theory of the Leisure Class) explanation of how “Leisure Class” predatory elites are “barbarians: who gain power through force and fraud: “The traits which characterise the predatory and subsequent stages of culture, and which indicate the types of man best fitted to survive under the régime of status, are (in their primary expression) ferocity, self-seeking, clannishness, and disingenuousness — a free resort to force and fraud.”

      By the way, I have concluded that the only way to counter this descent from industrialization into predatory barbarism is to revive the ideas of classical republicanism with its emphasis on civic virtue, and emphatic focus on promoting the general welfare. This is why I am so excited by Robert Hockett’s work on explaining “a producer’s republic.” Hockett is an economic adviser to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

  30. semiconscious

    a couple notes to resilc:

    Sony Plans to Release a Wearable Air Conditioner Next Year Core77. Resilc: “See, my global warming problem is fixed. USA USA.”

    sony is not an american company

    Following Another Water Incident, Assemblymen Propose Law Making Disrespecting Police A Felony CBS New York. Resilc: “I love my local stormtrooper.”

    having a problem with cops getting randomly doused with water does not equal ‘i love my local stormtrooper’

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The USA is not that exceptional.

      “My global warming problem is now fixed. Humans! Humans!”

      When we make unjustifed victims out of Putin, or the USA, it will only dilute justified criticisms. So, for example, when, OK, if Vladimir did something naughty, people would just brush off…”more RussiaRussiaRussia’ stuff, they would say and dismiss.

  31. kareninca

    The Sony product looks really promising to me – because it also can be used to keep a person warm. “Sony claims it can lower body temperature by 23 degrees Fahrenheit or raise it by 14 degrees.” I have relatives who have trouble affording heating fuel; I’d be happy to buy them one of these. I doubt you need to use the special clothing with it; you can probably just sew a sac onto an existing shirt.

    I’ve actually been looking for something like this for years. Maybe this could make some drafty old houses more tolerable.

    Yes, the battery charge is only two hours. But you could buy several batteries.

  32. Plenue

    >Sen. Rand Paul offers to buy “ungrateful” Rep. Ilhan Omar a ticket to Somalia.

    I love this story. Aside from basically being the same ‘logic’ as this meme the country he’s telling her to return to is frequently cited as an example of extreme libertarianism in action (he claims Somalia doesn’t have capitalism. No, what it largely doesn’t have is working government. By the ‘philosophy’ of the Paul’s, capitalism should be flourishing there). Most the things Paul lists are because of government. The welfare and public education and so on that he thinks she should shut up and be grateful for literally wouldn’t exist if he was in charge.

  33. bruce

    So much to comment on here today, let’s start with Senator Paul offering to buy a ticket for Rep. Omar to fly to Somalia…

    Hey Senator, could you buy me a ticket to fly to Timbuktu? As a metaphor (not quite right there) for a faraway place, it’s fascinated me since childhood, and it’s on my bucket list. I’ve envisioned phoning my friends “Yeah, I just landed in Timbuktu, this nice young fellow here is going to show me a little of the night life and drive me to the best restaurant in town.”

    Timbuktu confession: I once had a divorce client I wasn’t getting along with because if I had gone along with his suggestions, I would have been disciplined and possibly kicked out of the California State Bar. I knew I was going to get fired at our next meeting, and he was overdue on about $1200 he owed me, so…

    I took all the nonessential documents out of his file, the ones that could be copied out of the court file. Put them in a manila envelope, addressed it to…

    Chamber of Commerce
    Timbuktu, Mali

    and mailed it. The next meeting was classic. He fired me. Then he asked “Why is this file so thin?” “It’s because I mailed the rest of it to Mali.” “Who the F*** is Molly?” “Mali is a country in Africa. It’s where Timbuktu is.”

    Does Timbuktu even have a Chamber of Commerce? If not, it should. I’ve been a Chamber member on and off at various times. Some African opened that envelope and learned how we do divorces in California.

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