Links 8/12/19

Was E-mail a Mistake? New Yorker

‘It makes me angry’: is this the end for America’s Joshua trees? Guardian (furzy)

Above-normal hurricane season now more likely with El Niño’s end, NOAA says Tampa Bay Times

Shareholders Sue Exxon for Misrepresenting Climate Risks Climate Liability News

Climate change will mean more multiyear snow droughts in the West The Conversation. Bad news for those in the ski biz.

German politicians propose much higher meat tax TreeHugger

Class Warfare

Money-Making Schemes That Ensnare Prisoners and Their Families Marshall Project

College Still Pays Off, but Not for Everyone WSJ

Bankruptcy filings rising across the country and it could get worse NY Post

NYC’s $15 minimum wage hasn’t brought the restaurant apocalypse — it’s helped them thrive Business Insider

Ajit Pai loses another court case as judges overturn 5G deregulation Ars Technica

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Ring Told People to Snitch on Their Neighbors in Exchange for Free Stuff Vice

London’s King’s Cross using facial recognition in security cameras FT

Waste Watch

A man mocked recycling as he dumped a fridge off a cliff. He had to haul it back up and he’s facing trial CNN

What would happen if we cancelled fashion week? Dazed

Australia will ban export of recyclable waste ‘as soon as practicable’, PM vows Guardian

Mexico City joins worldwide movement to ban single-use plastic Mexico News Daily


Death toll from Indian floods reaches 147, thousands evacuated Al Jazeera

Zomato hits another controversy: Hindu, Muslim delivery boys to strike against delivering beef, pork India Today.

Narendra Modi’s new-model India Asia Times. Shashi Tharoor.


Pakistan PM Imran Khan compares RSS to Nazis, claims genocide is likely in Kashmir Scroll

Ground Report: Angry Kashmir Empty on Eid as Restrictions Return to Srinagar The Wire


How Tehran fits into Russia-China strategy Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.

Hong Kong

New phase as protesters and police clash across Hong Kong in guerilla-style battles SCMP

Hong Kong airport cancels all flights following protests FT

Cathay Pacific shares plunge after China warning on protests Agency France Presse

Health Care

Hepatitis A is breaking out across the country in wake of opioid crisis USA Today

Childhood cancer steals 7 million years of life in developing countries (including India) Scroll

The vaccine whisperers: Counselors gently engage new parents before their doubts harden into certainty Stat

Drug shortages forcing hospitals to ration treatments Marketwatch

Ralph Nader: Big Pharma Must Be Stopped TruthDig

737 Max

Southwest, American have lost 5 million seats from troubled 737 Max’s grounding Dallas Morning News

Trump Transition

Trump’s Deficit Economy Project Syndicate. Joseph Stiglitz.

Leaked Draft of Trump Executive Order to ‘Censor the Internet’ Denounced as Dangerous, Unconstitutional Edict Common Dreams

Lobbyists race to cash in on cannabis boom The Hill


New York eased gun law hopeful Supreme Court would drop Second Amendment case — but that hasn’t happened yet WaPo

US gunmakers prove resilient to deadly shootings FT


Some labor unions split with Biden on ‘Medicare for All’ Politico

In Debates, Let’s Raise the Issue of How To Avert Nuclear War Antiwar

Candidates scramble to qualify for third debate as deadline nears The Hill

Bernie Sanders  thanks Iowa in Political Soapbox speech for ‘transforming politics’ Des Moines Register

Tulsi Gabbard’s Road to Damascus American Conservative. Scott Ritter.

L’affaire Epstein

Epstein death anger soars, conspiracy theories swirl Agence France-Presse

Jeffrey Epstein Camp Sent Pathologist Michael Baden to Watch Over His Autopsy Daily Beast

Everyone’s A Conspiracy Theorist, Whether They Know It Or Not Caitlin Johnstone

Epstein’s accusers call her his protector and procurer. Is Ghislaine Maxwell now prosecutors’ target? WaPo

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Olga

    More on China
    “Just as the U.S. had engaged in a Cold War to destroy the Soviet communist model, so Western financial interests set out to destroy this emerging Asian threat. It was defused when Western neoliberal economists persuaded Japan and the Asian Tigers to adopt a free-market system and open their economies and companies to foreign investors. Western speculators then took down the vulnerable countries one by one in the “Asian crisis” of 1997-8. China alone was left as an economic threat to the Western neoliberal model, and it is this existential threat that is the target of the trade and currency wars today.”

    1. Ander Pierce

      Hearing people talk about the Chinese ‘threat’ always leaves me baffled. Threat to whom? Maybe if I was a citizen in an adjacent nation I would feel threatened, and I suppose if I was a western capitalist reliant on neoliberalism for continued profits I could feel threatened as well.

      But as a working class American several thousand miles from China, I’m pretty sure I’d only feel threatened if Chinese missiles, planes, and/or soldiers decided to cross the Pacific in a WW3 type scenario.

      Lmao and since that’s probably never going to happen, why do so many every day Americans give credence to the “Chinese threat”?

      1. Wukchumni

        The real threat would’ve been having to eat Russian food if they’d got the best of us in the cold war, but conversely when it comes to Chinese tucker, i’d be happy if their cuisine became dominant.

        1. Off The Street

          Chinese ex-pats will tell you, as they have me, that food served in China may taste quite different from that of the same name served in the US. I can attest to that based on small samplings around Beijing and Shanghai. Not surprising variety given a country of 1.4B and so much history.

          I had some delicious food and some lousy food across a range of restaurants, hotels and street food stalls. Some of it was beyond disgusting as the smell alone would repel those not so accustomed. Chinese joke about eating everything on four legs except for the table, and anyone growing up hungry would commiserate with that. Overall, I liked the array of fresh vegetables but not the offer of various mystery meats.

          1. Valdo

            Eating in Hong Kong once, it occurred to me that the punishment for being a second grade cook was probably exile, and therefore having your food business abroad. Seemed the only logical explanation for food being so much better there.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Are citizens of adjacent nations feeling threatened?

        Far away, working class Americans can read about one of today’s larticles here on the prospect of American heath care industry being decimated.

        1. Lobsterman

          Yes. India has regular border clashes, and Vietnam and other smaller neighbors have ongoing territorial disputes.

          Not to mention the South China Sea fight, Hong Kong, and the Uighur minority in China’s northwest.

      3. Tyronius

        Because Americans are told to give credence to the Chinese ‘threat’. They’re told to by the very same corporate and oligarchic actors who were happy to loot the rest of Southeast Asia throughout the last 30 years and want to do the same to China, damn the consequences because they won’t be the ones who suffer.

        Such shortsighted and self centered thinking has been and will continue to harm American interests for as long as it’s permitted to continue.

    2. Oh

      AFAIK, I believe Japan was too smart or too protective to open its market to foreign investors to any great degree, They bought much needed technical know how to rebuild their country. They were therefore not a victim of the Asian Crisis but they’re a bunch of greedy capitalists and they got their own during their economic crisis in the ’80s and 90’s. Of course the US would have loved to have Japan open up to US investors!

    3. Ignacio

      Is that “existencial threat” more or less the same feeling that comes when you see a wasp flying around?
      The US knows nothing about “existencial threats” except when applied to others.

    4. Some Guy in Beijing

      What are you talking about? China is very on board with neoliberal order. They just want to have their “rightful” place in it

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Alongside Russia – per Pepe Escobar’s article, titled: How Tehran fits into Russia-China strategy (Asia Times. Pepe Escobar).

        Xi has to be prudent, lest he does all the heavy lifting in that Russia-China strategy.

    1. David

      The problem with this argument is that it takes the form Some X are Y, therefore All X are Y. And if course that’s not true. Conspiracy theories are actually theories of how the world works, and serve as a way of reducing the frightening complexity of existence to something you can understand. Very few CT believers believe in only one theory, and most will swallow every new one that comes out , even if it requires a massive effort to fit it in with all of the others they believe.
      The fact that there have been conspiracies in history does not mean that you find them today. Otherwise you fall into the kind of false logic I’ve often encountered in the Middle East, where educated people – university lecturers, diplomats, will say, Yes of course we know that the Arab Spring was organized by the CIA and the war in Syria was started by the Mossad’ and ISIS was funded by the CIA to remove the last barriers to US control of oil and to become an anti-Iranian militia. When you express polite scepticism, they remind you that there really was an Anglo-French conspiracy to divide up the Levant a century ago, The fact that it happened once means that it happens all the time.
      I posted a long comment on this yesterday which was swallowed by the Moderation Monster and never regurgitated, and I haven’t got the time to do it again. But the main point was that popular culture is now so saturated in conspiracy theory that most people no longer realize that theur frame of reference for thinking about politics is largely drawn from the entertainment industry.

      1. Harold

        It’s complicated to sort things out, but isn’t the answer to give up thinking and join a zen Buddhist monastery a counsel of despair?

      2. flora

        The fact that there have been conspiracies in history does not mean that you find them today.

        Nor does it mean you do not find them today. The difference between theory and fact is establishing known facts the prove or disprove. With the international MSM running away from this story as fast as they can type, it may be hard to finally establish the facts in this case. ;-)

        ‘Where large sums of money are involved, it is advisable to trust no one.’ – Agatha Christie

      3. barefoot charley

        David, I’d suggest your error (and btw I really appreciate your French and European insights) is in conflating the label with what’s labeled. The label ‘conspiracy theory’ itself is weaponized, to inoculate minds against whatever is so labeled. Some theories are nonsense (Republicans are alien reptiles!), some are self-evident (banksters profited after ‘destroying’ their own global finance system). Some require, or defeat, figuring out, or remain controversial for good reason. Which is to say, the label doesn’t actually describe anything.

        The unfortunate truth of conspiracy theories is that the label is the surest lie. The label was created (by the CIA, remember?) to short-circuit thinking about what must not be thunk. It is the label, not every single thing so labeled, that deserves our scorn.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          The unfortunate truth of conspiracy theories is that the label is the surest lie. The label was created (by the CIA, remember?) to short-circuit thinking about what must not be thunk. It is the label, not every single thing so labeled, that deserves our scorn.

          Very well said. Agree completely.

        2. David

          I agree that things can unfairly be labeled ‘conspiracy theories’ and easily dismissed. That said, I do think it’s essential to have your BS detector switched on and working, to discriminate between things that have been hidden or disguised on the one hand and real CT mongering on the other. To take a relatively neutral example, the idea that there was something a bit fishy about the death of Patrice Lumumba in the Congo in 1961 was confirmed with the opening of Belgian and UN files not long ago. That’s very different from the idea that the moon landings were faked. My concern here is that the Epstein story is turning into the second type.
          In the end, one thing that struck me after working in government in different parts of the world and being on the receiving end of all sorts of (loosely defined) conspiracy theories, was how reluctant people were to give them up, and how much effort and ingenuity they put into holding on to them. In the end, conspiracy theories are just so much more exciting and fun than dull, boring reality.

          1. Cripes

            What amazes me is how reluctant most people are to give up unquestioning belief in the absolutely unbelievable propaganda pedalled by the official story mongers of our own government.

            I am equally amazed the same people pejoratively label as conspiracy theorists those who would question the official story itself and whether the evidence even supports it. Those are neither conspiracy nor theorys it is the search for evidence and facts.

            God knows we have every reason to question the evidence-free claims of the chronic liars in government, the banks, the intelligence services and so forth.

        3. Oh

          barefoot charley,
          You’re making a very good point. Originally the Repugs used the label to discredit anyone who came up with a plausible explanation differed from the official account. Soon this extended to many Dimrats and others who simply did not want to think about other possibilities. I usually react angrily to someone who does not want to think through an alternate possibility or explanation but demeans you by calling it a conspiracy theory. These idiots don’t understand that the official explanation is also a theory.

      4. jsn

        Popular culture has been so saturated with false information from ostensibly reliable sources, RussiaRussiaRussia, WMD in Iraq or the Iranian nuclear program being the most glaring recent examples, that people have reasonably grown skeptical of “official narratives.”

        To not be skeptical of “official narratives” originating in a system that clearly hasn’t worked for the majority of people for several generations is to be credulous in the extreme, one could say “idiotic”. To suggest whoever doubts some piece of the narrative will become befuddled by all narratives is to discount the intelligence of a public legitimately growing skeptical of asymmetrical information war being waged against it as part of the largely successful class warfare of the last several generations.

        You will either completely discount Whitney Webbs accounts in the Mint Press of the Epstein saga, or you will have to admit there are powerful, corrupt and malevolent actors who have perpetrated sustained conspiracies now for going on a century.

        Maybe it’s all just a coincidence.

      5. Katniss Everdeen

        But the main point was that popular culture is now so saturated in conspiracy theory that most people no longer realize that theur frame of reference for thinking about politics is largely drawn from the entertainment industry.

        It might help if so many of the “official” narratives didn’t rely so heavily on convenient coincidences, institutional “mistakes” and system failures, state “secrets” that really aren’t, endless round-robins of “It’s not my job” “plausible” deniability and, when all else fails, unconvincing public “outrage” or apology by fuckups who wind up either dumping responsibility on powerless underlings and keeping their jobs or retiring with a generous public pension.

        Not to mention just plain bullshit “explanations” like dumping osama bin laden’s wrapped up body in the middle of the ocean out of respect for muslim burial “traditions” in the middle of the night.

        Then there’s the problem that, as time goes by, many “conspiracy theories” turn out to be a lot more true than TPTB would like you to believe.

        If the authorities want to tamp down this latest so-called conpiracy theory, find, arrest, indict and charge ghislaine maxwell and the rest of the household “help” and make damn sure they all see the inside of a courtroom and everyone knows what they have to say and whom they’re saying it about.

      6. CanCyn

        Read “Everyone’s A Conspiracy Theorist, Whether They Know It Or Not” by Caitlin Johnstone in the L’affaire Epstein category in today’s links. Caitlin is bang on about conspiracy theory.
        I don’t know whether or not Epstein committed suicide but it sure wouldn’t surprise me if he didn’t. Not that we’ll ever know the truth. Prison cameras conveniently not functioning at the crucial time, autopsy inconclusive – come on. How can you not wonder about what is true in this narrative?
        I go along with the “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you” school of life. Be open minded but not gullible, be a critical thinker. These days anyone who is taking the MSM at face value is being more than a little naive.

        1. dcrane

          Even if he did kill himself, it doesn’t eliminate the CTs. If other powerful people wanted him dead, and if the guy looked like he wanted to kill himself (I doubt that we know either way), then all they had to do was arrange to have the guards overlook the strict monitoring.

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          “I go along with the “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you” school of life. ”
          amen to that.
          I’ve bumped into far too many weird things(and people) to discount these things out of hand.(from cooking breakfast in the democratic bldg in austin to smoking a joint with willie nelson to being at the austin federal building the morning mcveigh blew up the one in OK, on and on)
          we’ll never know the full story of much of how the world works…it’s simply too big and complex, for one. but that’s accentuated by the now obvious fact that we’re not privy to a whole lot of actionable, verifiable, information that might help us construct a working model.
          all we can do is keep collecting datapoints as they come, and either adding them to the model, or discarding them…or saving them in the JISO Drawer(jury is still out) until we notice that they fit in a blank space left by other pieces of the great big puzzle.
          I hypothesised a long time ago that the people in charge are psychopaths, using whatever means necessary to maintain and build power…and playing very long and complex games to that end….and that the systems they have built select for psychopathy in otherwise good people.
          nothing i’ve seen since has made me want to throw out that hypothesis.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            My problem is the steady drumbeat of CTs that have played out to be true over time. I think we all draw a line: I do believe we landed on the moon, for example. The U.S. Treasury manipulates stock prices? Five years ago that was pure CT, now we know it’s child’s play for them, they just smash the VIX. The U.S. sponsored the 1953 coup in Iran? Or how about: The U.S. and MI5 sponsored the 1975 coup in Australia? Oswald was the lone gunman? 9/11 (too hideous to contemplate)?

            And it doesn’t help when the organs of power have their own CTs that after much fanfare publicly go from fact to fiction. WMDs. Iraqi babies in incubators. RussiaGate. These erode the boundaries of “fact” and what you can believe from your government. Right now I don’t believe a single damn word they say, in fact my default is to believe the opposite. Not a good portent for the future of civic life in the U.S. or around the globe.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              “…These erode the boundaries of “fact”…”
              Hence, Ontological Crisis.
              Nobody knows what’s real anymore.
              it al hinges on what you believe, and how hard you believe it…like money…or holy crackers.
              so it’s a perfect crisis for Neitszche….we make our own Values, each of us…every one…
              so get busy figgering out what’s important and what’s not.

              (I’ve been drinking beer in the garden, smoking pot with the tomatoes and borage and lavenders,admiring the dragonflies and wasps, speaking to the voles and field mice beneath the pumpkin canopy …for instance…jamming to various and sundry genres of music, spanning around a thousand years)

            2. Plenue

              Oswald was the lone shooter. Sometimes things just happen by themselves, and aren’t part of some elaborate plan. All the evidence is that JFK really was just shot by an angry, delusional lifelong loser who managed a not particularly difficult shot (especially for a trained Marine. And the Carcano was not a bad rifle either). Pretty much (or more like literally) all of the ‘facts’ that JFK conspiracy theories hang on simply aren’t true (Oliver Stone’s awful film played a big role in dispersing incorrect information to the public). To anyone who wants to dispute that, all I can say is go read Vincent Bugliosi’s ridiculously comprehensive 1,600 page doorstopper on the JFK assassination. He systematically goes through every conspiracy theory imaginable, and demolishes them all.

              As for 9/11, my chief problems with the idea of an inside job are twofold. One is that we’re expected to believe that a notoriously inept administration managed to conduct the largest, most elaborate false flag attack in history, and pulled it off so successfully that there hasn’t been a single leak or shred of real evidence in almost twenty years. And two that they did this remarkable feat but somehow forget to actually make their fake attack point at places they wanted to invade (eg Iraq, and in fact having it conspicuously point to a US ally; Saudi Arabia).

              In fact I’m convinced there actually was a coverup involved in 9/11, but that it revolves entirely around the degree of Saudi involvement in the hijacking plan. I basically never see ‘Truthers’ going for this angle. They’re too busy talking about ‘nano-thermite’ and cruise missiles (when they aren’t talking about satellite laser cannons, and no, that isn’t hyperbole). 9/11 conspiracy theorists also spend much of their time parroting things that are simply untrue, like the claim that the tower debris was quickly secreted away and hidden from investigation. No, it was dumped in a Staten Island landfill which investigators spent over a decade sifting through to identify remains. Facts like this aren’t hard to find.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  Yes, the sale of all that steel was done very quickly and some guy had to go around marking which sections of steel that he wanted retain for the investigation before it all got shipped out. It’s not like they could not wait a few months or something. Some of that steel went into new warship named the USS New York by the way-


                2. Plenue

                  Yeah, and? That’s only a quarter of the steel in the twin towers, and less than a twentieth of the total mass of the towers. If that’s supposed to be evidence of a coverup, how very convenient that they knew exactly which bits to extract from the wreckage to secret away.

              1. mpalomar

                From the National Archives; Select Committee on Assassinations in the Assassination of JFK.
                Scientific acoustical evidence establishes a high probability that two gunmen fired at President John F. Kennedy. Other scientific evidence does not preclude the possibility of two gunmen firing at the President. Scientific evidence negates some specific conspiracy allegations.
                The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. The committee is unable to identify the other gunman or the extent of the conspiracy.

                JFK fired Alan Dulles after the Bay of Pigs and was so angered by the CIA’s autonomous black ops in the Congo, France and Indonesia he said he would like to “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds.”

                Somehow Dulles wound up on the Warren commission and was able to misdirect the investigation. Lyndon Johnson was caught on tape bragging about blackmailing Earl Warren to head the JFK assassination investigation. Warren himself wanted no part of the commission but was forced on by LBJ using dirt Hoover had on him, some shenanigans in Mexico.

                Finally Truman’s letter to the Washington Post regarding the CIA in December of 1963.

        3. WestcoastDeplorable

          I’m not even sure it was Epstein who was on the table. Sure hope they had a DNA sample, because it’s possible he’s now in witness protection.

      7. mpalomar

        “But the main point was that popular culture is now so saturated in conspiracy theory that most people no longer realize that theur frame of reference for thinking about politics is largely drawn from the entertainment industry.”

        – We should consider that popular cutlure is part of a conspiracy, the one where people with scads of money divert the attention of the masses with meaningless drivel about superheroes and happy endings so they don’t think too much about how they arrived in their worsening precariat circumstances.

        Another disturbing facet is extensive secrecy. Beyond the confusion sewn by newstaiment, big-bucks media is the security state that now approaches the limits of Kafka’s and Orwell’s nightmares.

        How many different intelligence agencies are entwined in the US governing apparatus? I’ve lost count. I once read a decade ago in the New Yorker or the NYRB, from some reputable source, (which rejiggered search engines are no longer able to find,) that of the published material in any given year the preponderance is classified, secret; that is, more is published stamped secret than all other published public material. Whether the case or not, there is a vast amount of secrecy and it makes operating as a responsible citizen quite impossible.

        Now we have judges sealing court documents and non disclosure deals, the Bush II administration extending the lock on presidential papers. Proliferating conspiracy theories will serve to innoculate the healthy skeptic from ever catching the truth. I now believe there can not be good governance with state secrets. Julia Assange where are you when we need you? Sounds nuts right? Who was the Clinton era lackey caught stuffing documents down his pants in an attempt to smuggle them out of the archives?

        I’ve recently read Talbot’s book “The Devil’s Chessboard” and Russ Baker’s “Bush Family of Secrets” and all I can say at this point is, where were you on November 22, 1963?

    2. Mattski

      I reviewed several books about conspiracy theories for Kirkus some time back. I concluded that–yes, of course people of power conspire, we would be stupid to think otherwise.

      But the standard narrative has a strongly liberal tinge: it’s personalized, features one or several evil miscreants–some group–on which to pin blame. It goes out of its way to avoid the obvious: at the heart of the issue lies the system itself. Identifying the pursuit of profit and the machinery of capitalism as the culprit alleviates us all of the responsibility to change it.* Instead, we seek scapegoats, and never seem to solve the problem.

      I’m all for identifying and prosecuting the worst miscreants, but our system too has a way of highlighting the monstrous character of their misdeeds and obscuring their systemic origins, even suggesting that the system is capable of solving them.

      *Althusser the Marxist, anything but Marxist in his take–even a little Weberian–says that institutions seek to replicate and increase their own power, which is in a limited way true. But the global system that we live under is still the overriding issue. That men (and some women) seek to advance it, sometimes through murderous means, is as close to the heart of the conspiracy as it gets. See Indonesia, etc.

      1. Bazarov

        “Conspiracy Theories” often emphasize the clandestine “read between the lines” nature of events such that a “secret knowledge” is revealed to those who can read the world in this way. It’s a sort of secular gnosticism.

        Such a gnostic approach benefits the ruling class, who absolutely do conspire, having a very strong class consciousness and sense of solidarity (if only the working class could be so disciplined!). The benefit to them is in the way these theories pull people away from the actual conspiracy carried out in broad daylight–no “reading between the lines” needed!

        Take, for example, the “conspiracy” of the rich to cut their taxes to the bone, or the “conspiracy” of the billionaires to buy politicians. Or the “conspiracy” of the neolibs to gather together at big conferences like Bilderberg to TED talk to one another about their dominion. Or the “conspiracy” of NATO to form an aggressive military alliance right up to the borders of Russia to isolate that beleaguered country. Or how about the conspiracy of multinational corporations to undermine sovereign law with insane trade deals like the TPP.

        There’s no need to “theorize” when the conspiracies are out in the open for everyone to see. Hell, “The Project for the New American Century” had a goddamn website! The Trilateral Commission’s report was public! You can read it here:

      2. Mattski

        Agree, Bazarov. . . meant to write our “justice” system in that last paragraph above. In fact, it was after reading about the Trilateral Commission’s efforts on behalf of Jimmy Carter in Le Monde Diplomatique (back when you could still find it on New York news stands), worried about a loss of faith by Americans in the system after Nixon–many of them deciding that a mild liberal interregnum might be worth getting behind–that I concluded something much like what you are saying. People are rightly suspicious, but they still draw their conclusions based on a modicum of information distilled from the MSM, and work from there. . . Chomsky has also noted again and again that the ruling class is confident enough to leave the truth in plain site. When that changes–as with Trump’s memo to censor the internet–we are in deeper trouble still.

  2. The Rev Kev


    Cue the ISIS cadres slipping their leashes in Afghanistan and making their way into Kashmir to start recruiting in 3, 2, 1…

    1. Wukchumni

      A friend was one of the last Americans to travel by bus overland from Kathmandu to Turkey in 1978, and years ago he treated us to a slide show of his trip, and he told us that he and fellow travelers were happily ‘stuck’ on a houseboat in Kashmir for a few weeks, as contretemps between India & Pakistan in regards to the locale are nothing new.

      His Afghanistan photos were interesting, I remember one of a gun ‘swap meet’ somewhere along the Khyber Pass, contrasted by those showcasing the modernity of westernized Iran.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        a kid i used to give guitar lessons to did much the same, circa 1996 or so. hitched from Beirut to Viet Nam. Took him more than a year.
        Learned Arabic and Urdu, and a couple of others before he left, and along the way.
        He came from extraordinary wealth, of course,lol.
        I had to limit my “Grande Tour”, ten years prior, to Dixie.
        although, from a “stories of exotic tribes” standpoint, our stories are not that dissimilar.

  3. s.n.

    interesting and unsubstantiated tidbit from yesterday’s NY Post:

    “…one of late mobster John Gotti Sr.’s top associates …Lewis Kasman… said he heard US Attorney General William Barr personally made a hush-hush trip to the MCC two weeks ago, about the time Epstein was found in his cell with bruises around his neck. ‘When does that happen?” he asked. “The attorney general never visits jails. Something’s not right there’”

    1. prodigalson

      Apparently Epstein’s cellmates were exceptionally heavy sleepers. They fell asleep promptly at lights out and heard and saw nothing while a man got up, prepped his hanging material, got it in place, choked himself (extremely quietly, how considerate to his cellmates!), and then either hung swinging from the wall/ceiling and/or collapsed to the floor. We all know that prison is such a peaceful place that such restful heavy sleep is a legit normal thing.

      1. Mike

        Nail on head, prodigalson! Further, what jail puts an inmate on “suicide watch”, only to remove them later without stating the “change” in either the inmate or their circumstances? Boggles the mind, and leaves that much more to gossip about.

        Which leads me to ponder if this state of gossip and conspiracy-mongering is not the goal of the weak-tea information leaked about this setup. Just as 9-11 and all assassination “stories”, they omit just enough to keep researchers and a few crazies busy for decades. Stories and myths and innuendo pile up until the populace, wishing to return to “normalcy”, turns their back upon any sane or reasonable suggestion that the pieces don’t fit. Further, maybe the buildup of stories and the nasty outcomes creates enough fear that the woke and aware now know what not to do…

        1. Procopius

          There has to be a written order removing him from suicide watch. Who signed it? Oh, it’s already been shredded under our records management protocol? What a shame.

        1. prodigalson

          And as it turns out I read that apparently he had no cellmates at the time of him catching prison flu.

          “here’s your new room Mr. Epstein, you’ll notice the variety of very sturdy ceiling fixtures rated to 300lbs, likewise note the museum display of various sailors knots in a selection of rope categories. Ok, we’ll be off now. Tonight’s poker night so we won’t check in on you till 0730 or so.”

      2. Fíréan

        Where in the official news release is there a statement made to the effect that he hung himself and that there were cell mates in the cell when this incident occured ?

        From the Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs, Attorney General Wiiliam P. Barr issued the following statement : ” I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead this morning from an apparent suicide while in custody. . . ” . Only a part of Barrś staement quoted here by myself.

        Is reported elsewhere that ” a call was placed to first responders at around 06.30 am as MCC staff tried to revive him, said the FD and Bureau of Prisons.”

        Photos of Epstein taken around 07.30 am. show ( him) still clothed in his prison jumpsuit as he’s wheel on a gurney into New Presbyterian-Lower Manhatten Hospital. The images show EMts using breathing apparatus in an attempt to revive ( him) .

        Why would the EMT’s be using breathing apparatus to revive him as they take him on a gurny into hospital an hour after he was ” found dead “?


      3. Oh

        I wonder if the killers strangled him first and then hanged him? The cellmates were either paid to do the act or look away.

    2. jsn

      If you read Whitney Webb’s series at Mint Press, you’ll discover Barr’s father, former OSS and writer of sex-bondage sci-fi, got Epstein his first job: teaching at The Dalton School despite Epstein being a high school drop out.

      The connections go very deep. Reading the series to date, the last installment is due this week, it really looks like the Reagan Revolution was a Mob take over of the US Government.

      If Webb is right, Barr had good reason to strangle Epstein!

      1. Harold

        It’s unlikely that Barr hired Epstein because the hire happened as Barr, hated by the parents, was forced out, during a chaotic time when they were short of teachers. Epstein was a liar crook and conman. He told people that he had gone to Stanford. That’s at least what I gather from the owner of this blog and reading other sources.

      2. Mattski

        But what are we to make of the fact that Trump himself was likely exonerated by the huge cache of docs recently released, and that Florida Governor De Santis (to now slavishly in Trump’s corner) has sought to examine Epstein’s lenient treatment?

        The Barrs notwithstanding, I think that there are a lot more Democrats who might be ensnared than Republicans, and that it’s possible that Trump and co. decided to go for the throat. On first blush this derails them; we may yet see. . .

      3. Harold

        Also, having been in the OSS is not necessarily a sign of being a right winger or evil person. Often it just meant being a college graduate, which was not as common in those days as now. Julia Child and her husband were in the OSS.

        In Donald Barr’s case, however, he was a right winger, at least by the standards of liberal New York, and he clashed with the board and the parents, one of whom called him Captain Queeg. (He also wrote a science fiction book featuring sex slaves, which is food for thought.)

        He went on to the Hackley School, where I think he was a better fit. He said of the students at Hackley: “They are more wholesome here and not as uptight. They do not engage in the abstruse forms of ego display and the radical chic of private‐school kids in Manhattan.”

        1. jsn

          I grew up with a few former OSS people and had relatives in the CIA. I’m aware there are a huge range of personality types and world views represented therein and that there was a great deal of idealism in the early years of both. I assume some idealism continues in today’s CIA and NSA.

          That said, I’ve also read a great many declassified documents that do in fact show that “conspiracy theories” popular around certain events were in fact the result of actual conspiracies at the time. Gossip is often true, it’s just hard to tell when and a healthy skepticism is in order. But then it is equally in order with our corporate information sources.

          The adjacency of all the personalities Whitney Webb documents is, to my mind, probably to a certain extent a simple result of the concentrated nature of the US ruling elite. Never the less, the corruption and interrelations with the Mob, the FBI and the CIA are pretty well documented at this point and make a perfect safe space for blackmail and corruption that goes a long way to explain the current attitude of “the authorities” to journalists and whistle blowers.

      1. urblintz

        Obama successfully nominated Pai for the FCC:

        “He has served in various positions at the FCC since being appointed to the commission by President Barack Obama in May 2012, at the recommendation of Mitch McConnell…

        Pai… serve[d] as Associate General Counsel at Verizon Communications Inc., where he handled competition matters, regulatory issues, and counseling of business units on broadband initiatives.”

      2. urblintz

        I refer you to nippersdad’s comment below: “It really is jarring to see things like that so frequently in the news these days. The new information that Ajit Pai just showed up out of nowhere to become a Trump appointee was a surprise as well…

        The whitewashing of the Obama Administration appears to be an effort to support Biden and a “return to normalcy,” whatever that was, but the cognitive dissonance the effort is producing makes it more obvious than if they had never brought up the subject to begin with.

        It is hard to forget that Trump is just a symptom of an ongoing disease when they insist on reminding us every day.”

        1. Mattski

          I wish I could say that the liberals who surround me in the university community where I live or on FB are getting that message, even if it is quite obvious to some of us. But we live in an age of corporate-cultivated tribalism that is proving extremely hard to dislodge. The ability to think critically is all but dead; people can concentrate on a single (apparent) outrage at a time.

  4. roadrider

    Re: was E-mail a mistake

    Unimpressive. Conflates distributed systems that require real-time synchronization with run-of-the-mill office communications. Yes, he acknowledges this deeper into the article but this invalidates the main premise of the article! Also, gives props to Scrum a hugely discredited approach to managing software projects that is pimped by rip-off consulting firms. The original agile manifesto (agile with a small a) was created by people who had a deep understanding of software development and had something like 60+ words and made sense. Agile with a capital A is a snake-oil business full of charlatans that never pushed two lines of code together in their lives and mutated into a bloated, over-complicated fraud that attempts to Taylorize what is essentially a creative process. Yes, I have experienced both and can base my opinion on personal experience.

    1. Ed

      I’ve made it about half way through the article and am realizing that the entire premise is that the problem with modern office work is that there are not enough meetings. I am finding it hard to take the author seriously.

      1. BobW

        One place I worked, we figured out that if we wanted to take a break we should convince a manager to call a meeting. These were called “engineering round-tables.” Worked every time.

    2. BongBong

      Once upon a time I was an officer in one of those Too Big To Fail banks. My immediate supervisor (an AVP) wanted to have a sit down meeting about a SINGLE (really literally) minor point of contention I was having with another dept. As he was dialing the meeting room scheduler, I pushed the off-hook button, quickly dialed the number of the other decider, and settled it in less than one minute.

      This illustrates another reason for endless meetings – job security for folks past their usefullness date.

      1. hunkerdown

        There is an economic metric called the “dependency ratio”, the ratio of economically “inactive” to economically “active”. In light of Tainter’s The Collapse of Complex Societies thesis that societies collapse due to declining marginal return on investments in complexity, shouldn’t the vast majority of the professional-managerial class be counted as dependents?

    3. LifelongLib

      In my government office, we all had email and phones. Usually we’d start with email so we wouldn’t interrupt each other’s work. If an email exchange was getting out of hand we’d call on the phone and settle it. Had a manager or two who loved meetings but they were largely wastes of time.

  5. salvo

    “German politicians propose much higher meat tax”

    it won’t happen, both the german social democrats and the greens are pathetically opportunistic, both competing to serve as junior partner in conservative government at every level led by the “christ democrats” to continue the neoliberal politics with their destructive outcomes. In any government they would never oppose the interests of the powerful german agro-industrial-complex.

    1. SJ

      hmmm, not sure, there are now actually quite a few politicians in Germany who have grasped that they are about to become extinct if they do nothing. The Greens are on a serious roll while the SPD are in deeeeep Scheiße.
      I do believe we are in for some actual real policy changes in Germany.

      1. Ignacio

        I concur with you. They will do it. Germany doesn’t lose with a tax on bovine meat. France does. They will analyse the different CO2 print of vacune vs porcine meat and act consequently. Germany is a large producer of porcine products.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Southwest, American have lost 5 million seats from troubled 737 Max’s grounding”

    Things are getting so desperate for airlines that they are actually leasing 30-Year-Old 737-200s – a variant that was discontinued way back in 1988 – just to keep routes going. I should mention then that when these jets were discontinued, “Rainman” was playing at the cinemas and we were listening to tracks like “Simply Irresistible” and “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” on our cassette players-

    1. Mike

      Don’t forget “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” (Cyndi Lauper version) that was still getting airplay then – that should be the theme song for the entire government – but change “girls” into “crooks”. The S&L scandal was a biggie then.

    2. Lee

      I don’t know about the older planes you cite, but I know that with some things, older is better. My 20 year old car and 16 year old motorcycle, both digital gewgaw free, keep rolling along. Older hand and machine tools, having already passed the test of time, are treasures to be acquired, if you can find anyone willing to part with them.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Oh, I absolutely agree with you. What I meant to include in my comment was the observation that those old planes were likely of superior construction because of the professional, union workers back then as compared to the underpaid, ex-McDonalds workers that Boeing seems to favour these days with the newer planes.

        1. inode_buddha

          The only thing they make anymore is money. They don’t make planes anymore, just like they don’t make lots of other things In America anymore. Same thing happened to Bethlehem steel when the financiers dominated over the board as opposed to the steel men… It all went to hell in a handbasket

        2. Eclair

          My husband, retired Boeing engineer, although in the launch vehicle area, is a calm flyer, having calculated the probabilities of dying in an air crash vs auto crash.

          However, he dislikes flying on older planes, however well-maintained, because of the increasing probabilities of air-frame metal fatigue as the years go by.

          1. BongBong

            I was also going to mention metal fatigue on older planes. Aluminum, in particular, is very susceptible to both age- and work- hardening (hardening is one of the mechanisms of catastrophic failure in complex mettalic structures)

          2. Anon

            Well, for sure, probability of dying in a car is greater than in a commercial aircraft (pilots aren’t distracted by cell phones, as often), but the 737 MAX needs to be separated from other flying machines in determining mortality probability.

            Drive less, fly less (on a 737 Max) and spend your SS checks well into your 70’s.

        3. Procopius

          I saw an article somewhere that the plant in South Carolina, which they built specifically to get away from unions, has major problems with quality control, while the plant in Renton (unionized) is getting along fine. Wish I would recognize things I should bookmark before I find I didn’t.

        1. BongBong

          that reminds me of an old car I own, but haven’t driven in years … it lies peacefully in a barn on a relative’s farm. It has two separate computer on it … but both are analog computer (no, not just RC networks) ….. and it’s a 1973.

          Bonus points for anyone who can Name That Car!

    3. Fíréan

      Engine parts fell from another Boeing plane today , a Norwegian passenger carrier taking off from Rome airport, Italy. Parts fell onto vehicles, people and residential neighbourhoods.
      A qucik search ought find a more detailed articles.


  7. ex-PFC Chuck

    From “Tulsi Gabbard’s Road to Damascus American Conservative. Scott Ritter:”

    ““The Congresswoman [Gabbard] is the most qualified and prepared candidate to serve as Commander in Chief, which I believe is the most important responsibility of the President,” Senator Mike Gravel, a Democrat who represented Alaska in the Senate from 1969 through 1981, noted in his letter endorsing Tulsi for president.”

    So, of the 535 Congress Critters, most of whom are foaming at the mouth to send people off to war, precisely one of them is an active member of the military reserves who could be called up to serve. It would be equally interesting to know what percentage of the children and grandchildren of those 535 are on active military duty.or members of reserve units.

      1. Wyoming

        Yes, but for every one of your skeptics like Gabbard how many Tom Cottons, Mattis’ and McMasters do you find. The ratio is probably 10 to 1.

        Being a skeptic of US foreign policy and neoliberal war mongering has little to do with the experiences of being a veteran. Nor do they have special insight (or at least if they do most don’t use it). Just like the rest of the citizens some figure it out, some don’t, some have ulterior reasons for what opinion they hold. Just like always. I say this as someone who served for 21 years and is acquainted with hundreds of veterans.

        1. ambrit

          I have the honour of having been called a ‘leftist’ by the Colonel in a thread on his site. The Colonel is an old fashioned Cold Warrior. Fair enough as he is up front about his beliefs. I’ll take that over some slimy chameleon politico any day.

          1. Foy

            I’m with you there, ambrit. I’ve been reading the Colonel a long time and I really like reading his opinions on geopolitical matters and as you say he’s up front on where he stands, I’ve learnt much from him. I have noticed he does seem to be using the term ‘socialist’ at bit more in recent times. I think this also comes from his reading and understanding of the US Constitution which he studied and holds dear.

            I would love him to read Michael Hudson’s …and Forgive Them Their Debts, as the Colonel is Catholic (or any of Hudson’s other books), so he might understand economics better but don’t think that’s going to happen given Hudson’s family history with Trotsky!

  8. Tom Stone

    Something I haven’t seen mentioned in regard to Epstein’s time in the MCC is the fact that he was originally placed with the general population.
    I’ve been doing volunteer work in the local jails for well over a decade and pedophiles are NEVER housed with the general inmate population because they are at such high risk from other inmates.
    Pedophiles are the lowest of the low in jail society and they are housed in units with known snitches and other inmates who are at high risk of being assaulted or murdered if allowed to mingle with the general population.
    It simply isn’t done unless the jail administration wants that inmate dead.
    And that does happen from time to time, jails are not nice places.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      The Daily Beast article has a very interesting last two paragraphs:

      Epstein had been placed with the general population when he first arrived at MCC, only to be transferred to the segregated SHU after being targeted by other prisoners there. Throughout his time at MCC, he consulted frequently with his lawyers, which also served as a way to get time out of his cell.

      Before his first apparent suicide attempt, he had been bunking in the SHU with former Briarcliff, New York, police officer Nicholas Tartaglione, who is awaiting trial for allegedly kidnapping and murdering four people. Tartaglione—who was in the SHU after a phone was found in his previous cell, while Epstein was there for his own protection—has said through his attorney that he helped save Epstein that time, and complained that prison officials were connecting his name to the suicide attempt as punishment for his complaints about the “inhumane conditions at the facility.”

      The SHU is the “Security Housing Unit” – solitary confinement.

      1. ambrit

        Let me get this straight. Solitary confinement cells at the MCC hold two prisoners???!!! What is solitary about that?
        Has anybody stated for the record what he is supposed to have hung himself with? I have read snarky comments about toilet paper ropes. However, even the Stanford graduate students would have a very difficult time constructing something structurally capable out of toilet paper.

    2. cripes

      Tom Stones

      I can assure you that housing sex offenders in “general population” or celled with murder suspects while in “Special Housing Units” in pre-trial facilties such as MCC is, far from being “simply not done” is both policy and practice around the country and at MCC.

      “Special Housing Units” are no guarantee of safety anyway.

      Even being assigned to SHU is avoided by inmates who fear being labelled as snitches or sex offenders on their eventual release to general population, or from attacks by inmates who contrive to be placed in SHU for the purpose of attacking them.

      Pre-trial detention facilities, such as the one Jeffrey Epstein was being held at MCC, routinely hold detainees of all security levels in “general population.” The usual justification here is that all detainees are subject to bail release or post-sentencing transfer without notice to prisons, and resource limitations, etc. White-collar criminals are celled with murder cases, sex offenders with drug offenders and so on.You may think this is not justified, but it is fact.

      Epstein was held in the SHU–Special Housing Unit–with cellmate Nicholas Tartaglione, a former cop charged in 2016 with the deaths of four men stemming from an alleged cocaine drug conspiracy. So they were both special. But certainly not segregated in terms of risk level or offense type.

      Prisons-state and federal-do have a somewhat more elaborate risk assessment protocol called “classification” which is geared more to the institutional need to secure escape risk, gang activity or violence than to the safety of the inmate.

      Increasingly, some prison systems have established sex offender housing programs or separate facilities for sex offenders. The federal Bureau of Prisons says
      “Some sex offenders are designated to facilities where they receive specialized services.” and their policy document is here:

      Please note this passage:
      “a. Population Management. A primary goal of SOMP institutions is to reduce the need to place sexual offenders in protective custody, and to create an institution climate conducive to voluntary participation in treatment. To achieve this goal, SOMP institutions will maintain a significant proportion of sexual offenders in the population.”

      So they are working to put sex offenders in general population.

      In any case, Epstein was in pre-trial detention and none of this applied at Manhattan’s MCC.

      In a culture where we are all video-recorded hundreds of times daily in elevators, transport stations, retail stores, schools, at work, etc., it is incredible that a high profile, high risk celebrity detainee who had been found unresponsive due to an assault or suicide attempt just two weeks ago was left alone, unmonitored by video or guards for many hours until dead. He also had a sufficient supply of shoe laces, belts, cotton sheets and pillowcases to do himself in, if you can believe that.

      It’s also incredible that Epstein, albeit denied bail, has prior experience of incarceration in Florida, massive financial resources, a team of prominent lawyers, and an arguable case that Acosta’s plea agreement barred prosecution on a similar set of facts based on allegations of crimes prior to 2008 which shields him due to double-jeopardy and whatever rationale his Roy Cohn team could cook up. His entire life was an exemplar of the elite mentality that he was above the law and could flout any restrictions on his conduct with impunity, for example, by waging a campaign of character assassination and harrassment against dozens of his teenage victims a decade ago, or paying them off in confidential agreements. Whatever it took.

      Does such a person simply give up in 30 days after a lifetime as a superman?

      1. BongBong

        It’s about time to label believers in The Official Story concerning JE as “Conspiracy Theorists”.

      2. pnongrata

        Does such a person simply give up in 30 days after a lifetime as a superman?

        This. The only way I think he could have turned to suicide is if he was too afraid to have a horrible death at the hands of his associates.
        If I were him, I’d sit tight and watch the Engine do its thing, destroying the victims’ reputations and sending me home after a wrist slap.

        1. Cripes


          Yes, he was neither tried nor convicted nor down to his last appeal before The Supreme Court. I see now he was strategizing daily up to 12 hours with his lawyers, who were also broadcasting assaults on the federal prosecutors the media and politicians. In other words they were in full battle mode. Hardly the picture of a man at the end of his rope. So to speak.

            1. Procopius

              Objection. Assumes fact not in evidence. We don’t really know how much money he had. He supposedly had title to three multi-million dollar properties, held through a shell company. I suspect when they come with the nets and big knives they will find the carcass is empty.

  9. tegnost

    sorry, but not surprised, to see stiglitz go this route….
    “Redistribution from the bottom to the top – the hallmark not only of Trump’s presidency, but also of preceding Republican administrations – reduces aggregate demand, because those at the top spend a smaller fraction of their income than those below. This weakens the economy in a way that cannot be offset even by a massive giveaway to corporations and billionaires. And the enormous Trump fiscal deficits have led to huge trade deficits, far larger than under Obama, as the US has had to import capital to finance the gap between domestic savings and investment.”
    When this statement is combined with the opening passage re a decade of ultra low interest rates via easing…
    “In the new world wrought by US President Donald Trump, where one shock follows another, there is never time to think through fully the implications of the events with which we are bombarded. In late July, the Federal Reserve Board reversed its policy of returning interest rates to more normal levels, after a decade of ultra-low rates in the wake of the Great Recession. Then, the United States had another two mass gun killings in under 24 hours,”
    Not the best stiglitz I’ve ever read, grasping at straws. Redistributing upward through easing was the previous presidents entire game plan.

    1. nippersdad

      It really is jarring to see things like that so frequently in the news these days. The new information that Ajit Pai just showed up out of nowhere to become a Trump appointee was a surprise as well.

      When I read that passage in the Stiglitz article it looked to me to be an implicit admission that Obama was a Republican as well; the implicit admissions by omission are mounting. The whitewashing of the Obama Administration appears to be an effort to support Biden and a “return to normalcy,” whatever that was, but the cognitive dissonance the effort is producing makes it more obvious than if they had never brought up the subject to begin with.

      It is hard to forget that Trump is just a symptom of an ongoing disease when they insist on reminding us every day.

      1. Mike

        nippersdad: The “return to normalcy” is exactly the quieter, less verbally abusive, “civilized” (from a professional class viewpoint) way of dealing with the world. Trump makes brash statements, allows time for the “civilized” response, and shows the mailed fist ASAP. US power has always gained legitimacy because it is mostly hidden and says the proper words to beguile the masses. The refusal to pay lip-service to the niceties and allow the rich to be comfortable when vacationing in their enclaves is just maddening.

      2. urblintz

        “It is hard to forget that Trump is just a symptom of an ongoing disease when they insist on reminding us every day.”


    2. Robert Hahl

      The first statement you quote makes no sense to me all by itself, i.e., “…huge trade deficits, far larger than under Obama, as the US has had to import capital to finance the gap between domestic savings and investment.” Don’t trade deficits mean that we are importing goods without earning the means to pay for them through matching exports, and so they must be paid for somehow, presumably using dollars created for that purpose? Where does importing capital come into it?

      1. Mel

        I imagine (I imagine these things in trying to get my head around finance) that if you can’t sell something in exchange for the money you sent out to buy imports, then you’re obliged to borrow that money back. Where else would it go?

    3. Ignacio

      Stiglitz does a good job explaining why Trump policies won’t deliver the promises he made. Yet I believe that for broader public the same has to be done with simpler and shorter (but resounding) reasoning. That is the job of the AOCs and Sanders of the world.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Australia will ban export of recyclable waste ‘as soon as practicable’, PM vows”

    Of course we will.This is beyond question, and it will be done – at the appropriate juncture, in due course, in the fullness of time….

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I read somewhere that one way forward is for the manufacturers to ‘close the loop,’ by requring them to work out a sustainable end (and a beginning) to these products.

      Similarly, shouldn’t the countries exporting products that will turn into recyclable waste be responsible to import them back (that is, the consumers nations to export them back to the countries of origin)?

      So, for example, if Australia export medical syringes to the US, it will be required to ‘import’ them back (different from export bans).

      1. carycat

        so US farm states will have to import manure in exchange for soy, pork, … exports??? manure is a traditional form of fertilizer.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Soy or pork is not included in any ‘closing the loop’ proposals I have seen.

          Perhaps they should be included, including when we talk about recycable waste bans.

  11. foghorn longhorn

    A multibillion-dollar business that embraces advanced technology and cherishes precision, Major League Baseball would prefer not to need an oozy substance harvested by one family in a secret location along the Delaware River. But for decades it has, and that won’t change anytime soon.
    Pretty cool article, always heard it was Mississippi mud in my youth.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Are you sure you aren’t misremembering the sourcing of the dirt for the infield?

      It was around 15 years ago when the Red Sox replaced the Southern red clay with local dirt. New England was in an uproar. I blame John Henry. It did look terrible. Awful. They should have just put down turf instead of the eye sore he came up.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Never really thought about the source of infield dirt, just assumed it was locally harvested.
        Always heard the home plate umpire was supposed to rub up five dozen balls with the special Mississippi mud before every game.
        The article states it is the equipment guy who is responsible and the mud is from the Delaware River.
        Somebody was feeding me conspiracy theories way back in the 60s. LOL

    2. ewmayer

      Thanks for this – When I lived in Cleveland from ’93-99, my apt. building was right across from the historic Lakeview Cemetery, whose more famous residents include the late President Garfield, John D. Rockefeller and the Indians pitcher Ray Chapman mentioned in the article.

    3. mary jensen

      foghorn longhorn and magic mud,
      Thanks so much for the link to that marvellous article, and note it was written by a woman Emma Baccellieri.
      I do so love baseball and loved playing it as well. I even like listening to it on radio.
      Just a thought: several MLB pitchers, notably Dodger Rich Hill, began complaining of nasty, debilitating blisters on their fingers during the same period, beginning in 2016, that Rawlings began to introduce their mudless experimental baseball prototype. There are plenty of interviews on the Net with MLB pitchers suffering bad, recurring blisters since 2016/2017. Hill thought it was down to the stitching but Baccellieri’s article raises more questions, sheds new light. I write this ‘for what it’s worth’ to anyone who respects and marvels at the men on the MLB mound. What a job.
      Thanks again foghorn longhorn, sincerely, I’d have never found the article without you.

  12. Craig H.

    > Everyone’s A Conspiracy Theorist, Whether They Know It Or Not

    That paragraph where she has the NYTimes, Wall Street Journal, BBC, &c headlines?

    It sure looks like some kind of conspiracy to me!

  13. neighbor7

    Ralph Nader advertising for “an enlightened billionaire” to help fight Big Pharma–we’ve truly lost.

    1. nippersdad

      He wrote a book about ten years ago, *Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us, that was given good reviews by both Cornell West and Rose-Ann DeMoro in which he proposed this idea. I was kind of surprised at them giving it such good reviews at the time; I wasn’t convinced then and am still not.


      If it hasn’t worked yet then it is unlikely to. It is more than a little disappointing that he is still banging this drum in a time when there is a populist movement that would be a far better vehicle for achieving the same end.

      1. prodigalson

        That’s like sheep electing a wolf to save them from other wolves.

        …Or like a chocolate cake being left in my house for “safe keeping.”

      2. Carolinian

        Of course billionaires seem to have a lot more pull these days than populist movements. Nader may be saying we don’t have time to wait for populism to revive.

        It’s a slender reed to be sure.

        1. nippersdad

          That was the premise of the book, and I could see how the disappointments of his 2000 run for the Presidency might have given him the idea to write it a few years later, but now that there is clearly a pent up demand for what he was saying back in 2000 it seems like it might be time for him to abandon that particular exercise in futility. I kind of view billionaires in the same way as I do establishment pols; it takes a lot of…something….to incent them to get where they are. That something doesn’t go away once “the dream objective” has been realized. No one should know that better than Nader.

          Definitely a thin reed to hang one’s hopes on.

          1. urblintz

            Without intending to contradict the naysayers above, with whom I agree on this one, I’ll always give Nadar his due as a most important and often critically effective public figure in my lifetime.

        2. Steve H.

          There are some out there. Most often offspring of the one who made the money.

          “Le secret des grandes fortunes sans cause apparente est un crime oublié, parce qu’il a été proprement fait.”

          There’s a corollary: each wealthy family only needs one excellent manager every three generations or so. The Rothschild family has done well for two and a half centuries, but they’ve had their share of fools as well; likewise the Rockefeller, Kennedy, and a number of other clans.

          If 10% are ruthless, we could say 10% are on the other side of the bell curve. I’ve personally worked with members of the Cook family in our town who are normal people doing good who happen to have wealth. It originally came from an expensive price for an innovative medical device developed by Bill Cook.

          There can be a conversation about high profits for low elasticity items. But to the point, Nader’s call could inspire some outliers.

          1. nippersdad

            I’m picturing that Disney heiress going up against the Koch brothers. Somehow I just don’t think she has the fire in her belly to go toe to toe with the Murdoch’s and Adelson’s of the world. These are some pretty ugly people; the kind that probably taught Weinstein the value of keeping former Mossad agents on the payroll.

            While I have no doubt that they exist, the lack of the very thing that made their fortunes may be what ultimately preserves them.

            1. Steve H.

              I understand your perspective, but Sun Tzu cautioned us to not overestimate our opponents either. Most people want to feel good about themselves. Our commentariat ripped the recent yachty climate conference for their hypocrisy, but the motives were vectored away from villainy.

              While the Disney heiress is lonely right now, psychopathy is still a deviant behavior across socioeconomic groups. As idealism becomes fashionable amongst elites, things can and have changed. A (flawed) case in point is the spread of Christianity, which went from a cult to a dominant ideation when it spread to the wealthy. For all the hypocrisy there, I still think it was an advance from religions demanding blood sacrifices on a regular basis.

              Lest we forget, the Roosevelt’s were not of the common stock. FDR made a difference.

              1. Procopius

                So did Theodore, although he was a lot less sympathetic to urban people than his cousin. We’re very lucky that so many of his acquaintances were progressives.

        3. NotTimothyGeithner

          I thought it was intended as satire. The structural flaw is that billionaire’s even exist. Warren Buffet’s otherwise reasonable pronouncements aren’t supported by the institutions he is intricately linked to.

          Neoliberals and conservatives routinely point to the efforts of the rich “volunteering” and donating. The obvious problem is we have a system waiting around for a saint with billions to do the right thing.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            This. The quote I like is “every billionaire is a policy failure”.

            At the start of the crisis in 2007 in the U.S. there were 267 of them, today there are 607. In case people wonder where all the money went.

      3. Geo

        Reminds me of a joke by the comedian Maria Bamford:

        “When I give advise to young boys and girls I tell them to always reach for the stars – they’re the only people that can save you.”

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Was E-mail a Mistake?”: ‘The mathematics of distributed systems suggests that meetings might be better.’

    The difference between sending emails and attending meetings though, is that when you are sending emails, you are not trying to fight to get oxygen to your brain.

  15. Wukchumni

    I felt Perseidcuted in the wee hours this morning, as all I saw was stationary stars. The claims are that tonight up to 50 meteors an hour will be visible to the naked eye, although i’d settle for a streaker with a long tail going from horizon to horizon.

  16. Amfortas the hippie

    much like tariff wars are a shitty way to back out of globalism for the rich….I’m torn about trump’s executive order regarding free speech online.
    i’m a universalist regarding free speech…and figure the “yelling fire” standard, as well as the prohibition on inciting riots and threatening folks standards are a pretty good “middle ground”.
    I don’t know how much the Right has been censored(I abandoned Faceborg years ago, and all other socmed since then(save for NC)…but i distinctly remember Propornot, et alia…and their almost laser focus on the Left and the Open Eyed/Skeptical.
    since these platforms are the new public square, I think I’d prefer to see them regulated as such…almost like a utility. as in, they can’t discriminate against points of view, save for those tried and true exceptions.
    after all, censorship by Corporation can be worse than censorship by government.
    of course, the application of those exceptions needs a robust discourse to shore up the very idea of Free Speech…but still.
    I get that Moderating fora is a hard slog, and i definitely share a pretty profound distrust of government in these matters with my fellow americans on the Right…and I also get that there’s been a proliferation of Very Large Toes sticking out everywhere underfoot for the last 20+ years…but surely there’s a way past this that doesn’t trample such an important and fundamental Right.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Tulsi Gabbard’s Road to Damascus”

    Everytime Gabbard goes to an interview they hit her over the head with meeting Assad and demanding that she apologize for it but lately she has been taking the fight back to them and shutting them down-

    Thing is, they did not do the same to others like, say, Republican congressmen Robert Aderholt of Alabama, Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania and Frank Wolf of Virginia when they went to visit Assad. Nor did they do it with Democrat Representatives Henry A. Waxman and Tom Lantos of California, Louise M. Slaughter of New York, Nick J. Rahall II of West Virginia and Keith Ellison of Minnesota as well as David L. Hobson, Republican of Ohio. And who was the head of that later delegation? Why it was Nancy Pelosi herself who is obviously a notorious Assad apologist. You can see the photo of her and Assad together in the article below-

    Reminds me of the time that Oprah Winfrey, of all people, shocked her audience by showing a photo of Donald Rumsfeld hugging Saddam Hussein.

  18. Wukchumni

    What would’ve happened if the Walton illionaires had just said something along the lines of:

    Goodnight Johnboy, you’ll have to get your guns & ammo somewhere else other than Wal*Mart, we’re done selling them.

    Would it have had more meaning than Dick’s Sporting Goods doing the same, or just another yeah whatever move in our ongoing cylinderella story saga?

    1. Geo

      Not sure if it was a typo or intentional but I like the label “illionaires” – it is an illness. To be a part of this world where so many struggle and suffer yet to horde so much wealth is a severe form of pathological illness.

  19. Barbara

    I don’t know how many readers have subscriptions to news sources such as the Wall Street Journal, but I don’t, so I have to remember to copy the link to the article (rather than just click on it) and then go to to put the link in so that that archive engine can serve up the page. It doesn’t work for all subscription-only sites but enough to make the trip to the engine worthwhile.

    I’m posting this here in case others have difficulty reading various sites have a place to go for results.

    1. ewmayer

      Just curious, why does your link-text have a .is (Iceland) extension, but the actual underlying URL ends in .fo (Faroe Islands)? I’m always wary of such mismatches, because e.g. in e-mail they are an almost surefire way to identify phish-mails.

  20. Pookah Harvey

    An update from todays Bloomberg on how the class war is faring:

    The numbers are mind-boggling: $70,000 per minute, $4 million per hour, $100 million per day.

    That’s how quickly the fortune of the Waltons, the clan behind Walmart Inc., has been growing since last year’s Bloomberg ranking of the world’s richest families.

    At that rate, their wealth would’ve expanded about $23,000 since you began reading this. A new Walmart associate in the U.S. would’ve made about 6 cents in that time

    Remember this is wealth accumulation which is after taxes for the Waltons. Their employee has yet to pay federal and state taxes on their 6 cents.

    1. Spring Texan

      along the same lines – Scott Burns is a financial columnist who generally doles out investment/savings advice (he’s elderly himself by now). Thought it was very interesting that he chose to do this column .

      If [the rich] continue to gain share at that rate, they’ll have the remaining 22.8% of net worth held by the other 90% in just 12 more surveys, give or take an upheaval or two.

      But don’t be depressed. Look on the positive side. When that moment comes, most people won’t be concerned with mortgages or car payments. College for kids? Fuhgeddaboudit. Retirement savings? What’s that?

      Nope, 90% of Americans simply won’t have to worry about junk like that anymore. Talk about easy living!

      The squeeze is on, and you’re next. It will stay that way until we no longer worship wealth.

    2. Off The Street

      If illionaires told people about their commitments regarding all that wealth, beyond any Giving Pledge or similar dispositions, how many would believe them without verification? After some threshold amount, physical needs seem to be met as one can’t consume that much caviar or whatever, or drive more than one vehicle at a time, for example, although YMMV.

      How much of all that getting is just some Will To Power move, with latent or patent actions aimed at dynastic or subjugation targets?

      I don’t want their stuff. I just want to know about their intentions since those will likely impact me and mine.

      As the English Lord said about the means of his family’s start, “With the battle axe”. Now there are virtual axes and more fluid notions of border or nation.

      1. Inode_buddha

        I actually DO want their stuff — they gained it by the sweat off my back. Who am I? I am Labour, American style.

  21. Wukchumni

    Climate change will mean more multiyear snow droughts in the West The Conversation. Bad news for those in the ski biz.
    2015 was our future, we had a couple chances to go rock skiing in late November-early December 2014 to China Peak-our local resort, but they call it rock skiing for a reason, so we demurred strapping long planks to our feet and then hurling ourselves in a downward arc, and as it turned out that was our only opportunity to go on a couple of season passes in the worst year of the long drought, a shut out.

    This is what the owner of China Peak had to say in regards to 2014-15:

    “This has been what I’m now calling the ‘cruelest’ winter I’ve ever seen, dating back to my first season working for Snow Summit in 1976. By that I mean we have not only dealt with no snow, but also with incredibly marginal snowmaking conditions. To top it off, when we finally did get enough moisture last week to make a big difference, it came in with a snow level of well above 10,000 feet, higher than all but a very few peaks in the state. It was the nail in the coffin, washing away what precious snow we had on the mid mountain, forcing us to close all but the beginner hill for the busiest ski weekend of the year, President’s. In nearly four decades I have never worked for a resort that closed mid winter; now I have.”

  22. Mike

    I know you don’t publish anything without someone subscribing but the snow article is genuinely insane. This winter was one for the history books. I live in a major US resort and February was the second snowiest month EVER. At least one other major resort was still open in August!
    The gap between reality and what people believe is amazing.

    1. ewmayer

      The degree to which agnotologists will deliberately conflate short-term fluctuations with long-term trends is amazing.

    2. Wukchumni

      One bountiful winter doesn’t mean anything, as 98% of the amazing amount of snow that Mammoth received, is now gone.

    1. Mike Satteson

      Thanks for the ID of the bird. Google image search was a big fail on this one, calling it a duck, which it clearly isn’t even to my naive eye. So much for AI, failing even in its flagship domain of image classification.

  23. elissa3

    Interesting take on the Epstein thing from CHS:

    Makes sense to me. To roughly paraphrase Gore Vidal: ‘they don’t all get together in the basement vault of the Chase bank to conspire, because they don’t have to–they think alike and have the same general interest’. Well, at this late stage of putrefaction, there may well be one or two dissident factions who realize that the game may be up sooner rather than later if some of the psychopath/wackos aren’t brought to heel.

  24. cuibono

    Was email a mistake?
    Well speaking as a physician I can absolutely say that the move to asynchronous communication instead of phone calls is largely a disaster. I spend hours every day sorting through hundreds of pages of drivel looking for that one or two lines of useful information, when a simple phone call would have allowed a productive and even life saving bi-directional communication in 1/10 the time.

  25. dearieme

    The best comment I’ve seen on Epstein was in an earlier Naked Capitalism thread. Why did he return to the USA?

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      He was probably convinced by the Globalist Neocon Deep State camp (Clinton, Obama, Soros etc al) that he would do more damage to Trump than Clinton by testifying.

      But he underestimated that the Nationalist Neocon Deep State camp was in ascendancy.

      (This is what happens when they destroy the foundations of public trust and legitimacy. The center cannot hold, blood-dimmed tide, mere anarchy is loosed upon the world).

  26. Ahab

    I am increasingly disturbed by the ongoing deadly hepatitis A outbreak in the US.
    The disease was always considered a relatively mild infection with very rare complications.
    To have hundreds of people now dead from hep A suggests a major change that should be investigated urgently (ah, CDC I’m talking about you…)

    The lackadaisical approach of the Kentucky Health Commissioner, linked in the original article, is truly remarkable – a young physician with NO public health experience and only 2 years of post med school training rejecting aggressive moves by his advisors – what could possibly go wrong?

    Good thing I don’t believe in conspiracies, only coincidences/s

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        FWIW, I do a lot of off-the-grid traveling, and got the Twinrix vaccine against hep A and hep B several years ago.

  27. foghorn longhorn

    Thanks guys!
    This is a great article on the physics and construction of baseballs over the last two decades, unfortunately it is a pay site.
    Fortunately, it is worth every penny, can’t recommend it enough.
    And yes the stitching has changed over the last few years, resulting in the blisters you mentioned and the abundance of homeruns this year.
    Go Rangers (although we are getting drubbed by Toronto presently)

  28. KFritz

    Re: Labor unions for Single-Payer

    The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) has endorsed Single-Payer, with qualifying language about the non-existent prospects for quick adoption. It’s 750,000 strong, and its members make excellent wages.

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