Links 8/13/19

World’s biggest frogs are so strong they move heavy rocks to build their own ponds CNN (furzy)

Bear breaks into house and smashes wall to leave BBC

Colombia confirms that dreaded fungus has hit its banana plantations Science Magazine (Kevin W)

Navy ditches touchscreens for knobs and dials after fatal crash TechCrunch (Kevin W)

Study Blames Rise In Teens Who Need Glasses On Excessive Screen Time StudyFinds

Superbug is evolving to thrive in hospitals and guts of people with sugary diets, scientists warn Telegraph (David L)

Ebola Is Now Curable Wired


Hong Kong airport resumes flights after protest prompts closure Financial Times

UserFriendly: Neera and Beto giving the CCP an excuse to break necks in HK.”:


Locked up and shut down: How India has silenced opposition to its crackdown in Kashmir Washington Post

India, China voice differences over Kashmir but decide to rebuild bridges The Hindu. Not hard to see what that means.

No mediation offer on Kashmir, Trump has clarified: Top Indian diplomat India Today


Majority of Britons support ‘Brexit by any means’ – poll Reuters. Would love to see how that poll was structured to produce that result.

The August serious season before the September crisis Chris Grey. From last week, still germane.

Governing as a permanent form of campaigning: why the civil service is in mortal danger LSE – British Policy and Politics

The Brexit Question. Jonathan Pie, YouTube (Kevin W)

National Grid ‘had three blackout near-misses in three months’ Guardian

New Cold War

Russia Skyfall Nuclear-Powered Cruise Missile Is Tested Popular Mechanics

Russia Says Small Nuclear Reactor Blew Up in Deadly Accident The Drive (Kevin W)


Abu Dhabi Can’t Afford to Keep Iran Out of Dubai LobeLog (resilc)

Saudi-led coalition calls for immediate Aden ceasefire: Reports Al Jazeera (resilc)

Distorting the Definition of Antisemitism to Shield Israel from All Criticism LobeLog (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

If You Lose Your iPhone, You Can’t Pay Your Apple Card Bill On The Web BuzzFeed (Kevin W)

Ring Told People To Snitch On Their Neighbors In Exchange For Free Stuff Vice

Trump Transition

Trump Called Baltimore “Vermin Infested” While the Federal Government Fails to Clean Up Rodents in Subsidized Housing ProPublica (resilc)

Trump officials to deny green cards to those who use Medicaid or food stamps – Guardian

Guatemala elects hardline president who opposes Trump immigration deal Guardian (resilc)

Alejandro Giammattei, a Conservative, Wins Guatemala’s Presidency New York Times. Resilc: “I’ve only visited 40 countries, but it was the worst overall in bad everything and zero hope.”

Trump’s Horrific Photo with El Paso Victim Paul Anchondo New York Magazine (resilc)

‘Using the Lord’s name in vain’: Evangelicals chafe at Trump’s blasphemy Politico (resilc)

What P. T. Barnum Understood About America New Yorker (resilc)


Democrats Should Just Stick to What’s Popular Atlantic (resilc)

Can a Conservative Sell America on Elizabeth Warren’s Economic Plan? Washington Monthly (resilc)

Elizabeth Warren Is the Teacher All the Students Hope to Get in the Fall Esquire (resilc)

Bernie Sanders ‘Acing the Electability Test’ as Another Poll Shows Senator Crushing Trump in General Common Dreams (furzy)

Maj. Tulsi Gabbard receives surprise deployment orders to Antarctica Duffle Blog (Kevin W)

Tulsi Gabbard’s Road to Damascus American Conservative

Climate Could Be an Electoral Time Bomb, Republican Strategists Fear New York Times (UserFriendly)

Texas, a Republican powerhouse, could shift to Democrats as demographics change Guardian (resilc)

Shades of Flint in N.J. as Water Filters Fail to Trap Lead

NC restaurant runs out of food after patrons show support over racist letter Charlotte News & Observer (resilc)

L’affaire Epstein

Barr criticizes prison’s ‘serious irregularities’ after Epstein death The Hill

Jeffrey Epstein’s Uniquely American Death Shadowproof (UserFriendly)

Brick & Mortar Meltdown’s Ugly Week in Record-Ugly Year Wolf Street (EM)

Jobs, the Environment, and a Planet in Crisis Consortiumnews (UserFriendly)

U.S. Long-Bond Yield Nears All-Time Low as Global Anxiety Grows Bloomberg

Uber’s stock just hit a record low after last week’s disastrous earnings report Business Insider

Uber Imposes Engineer Hiring Freeze as Losses Mount Yahoo

Class Warfare

US should drop concerns around state planning Financial Times (Vikas S). Editorial. Subhead: “The need to transition to a worker-led economy is increasingly clear.” Keep in mind that the FT, once the crisis was comfortably past, has been a vigilant promoter of neoliberal orthodoxy.

Book Review: Secular Cycles Slate Star Codex (UserFriendly)

American Exceptionalism = Mass Murder Black Agenda Report

Airbnb host offers $4,600 mock interviews for a job at Amazon Business Insider (resilc)

Antidote du jour (furzy):

And a bonus (guurst):

And another:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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      1. Olga

        Thanks for the link (I was beginning to blame my computer!).
        Yet another example of how more technology – or more complex technology – does not equal real improvement! When will people finally learn this lesson?
        (This one “only” cost 10 lives. Next time, it could be more. Not to mention if there were a real battle on the horizon.)

        1. NoOneInParticular

          I hope someone at NASA sees this. All the renderings of new crew capsules I’ve seen incorporate touch screen controls.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Maybe the US Navy is going about this all wrong. You have a bunch of kids driving these boats, right? A bunch of Millennials in fact. So OK – give them what they are familiar with-


            They would be s*** hot on those things I bet with a bit of practice. Not so impossible this. I note too that the latest generation Russian tank – the T-14 Armata – is using a controller based on Sony’s Playstation gamepad instead of a traditional steering wheel.

            1. Just An Observer

              Touchscreens are the wrong interface for this task. For example, when driving a car you learn to use controls by their feel and location, their various affordances. You lose all of this with a touch screen. You have to take your eye from the road (or your task) to touch in the right part of the screen, and you have to continue to gaze at the screen to see if it did what you needed as there is often only on-screen feedback.

              The huge Tesla screen for controls is awful.

              No amount of training can substitute for the natural spatial and muscle memory we all have.

              Former engineer

        2. Dan

          Everything on a screen, one reason that new cars are not selling well, besides prices and poverty of potential buyers.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        From the link:

        “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should,” a Navy official said of the outgoing technology.

        To which I say Halle [familyblogging] luiah!! That is the first time I’ve actually seen that phrase in print regarding our inexplicable tech fetish which is overgrowing common sense like kudzu.

  1. UserFriendly

    Hey guys, donate now and you can have pizza with Alvin the Chipmunk! I mean Mayor Pete…

    ***Do make sure any time you see a terrible politician advertising on Twitter you click the link so they have to pay twitter. I’ve cost Biden, Pete, and the DCC at least $50 each by now.

    ** There is a way to enter to win without paying….. I would love to give him a piece of my mind, even if he does spam me.

        1. Eclair

          Second that. I had been checking in on them from time to time, but in the last couple of months, have made it at least a weekly thing. There is always an article or a snippet that knocks my world view about.

        2. pjay

          Start with the article posted above on ‘American Exceptionalism.’ Now *that’s* how you critique white supremacism.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            Its a good article, but nowhere do they mention 1 Race is Made Up Pseudo science and 2 Neoliberalism causes resentment.

            More Identity Politics garbage that frames the fight as ‘European Settlers vs Slaves/Indigenous people.’

            Mohammed Ali-


            1. davidgmillsatty

              Regarding race as Pseudo Science




              We find that biologist and social constructionists talk past one another and never venture beyond the comfort of their own positions. Genetic studies using very few chromosomal loci find that genetic polymorphisms divide human populations into clusters with almost 100 percent accuracy and that they correspond to the traditional anthropological categories.


              There is much to gain by recognizing that these categories differ genetically, and that we can dispense with the term race in favor of some other term such as population or ethnic group and nothing would be lost except a word.


              i.e. Genetics says that race is quite real and not pseudo construct. Time to get current with genetics and drop the social science bullshit.

              1. @pe

                That article is truly horrible.

                The conclusions they find don’t follow from the article — because the article is just a sloppy opinion piece. In fact, it’s tendentious about the issue of clines — they cover the literature showing that in fact they don’t get “100%” clustering over many loci, but instead find a continuity at the boundaries between groups. But then they just dismiss it because if race is defined as bounded groups, then it’s obviously nonsense, so thus it can’t be, but on the other hand it is (with the 100% clustering mutterings).

                Racist drivel, at the end. What can we expect from “criminologists” discussing biology? I’d rather read the journal of postmodernist philosophical ramblings.

              2. Oregoncharles

                Race is a social construct *in the US* – where very few of us came from originally, and even those are pretty mixed by now.

                OTOH: “race” is an old word for “subspecies” (still used that way sometimes – eg, gardeners talk about “landraces” of cultivated plants). The functional definition of “subspecies” is: visually distinguishable regional populations. Very inexact, but useful. And in fact, the traditional “races” are just that. There are considerably more than 3, and huge populations, like India, represent transition zones. People are highly mobile, even pre-civilization, so there are few clear dividing lines. However, there are non-visible traits, like blood types, that correspond with geographic populations, and considerable local adaptation.

                However, “race” has acquired so much baggage that it isn’t really a useful word any more.

              3. Lambert Strether

                One author (Anthony Walsh) is a criminologist, and the other (Ilhong Yun) is (in Korea) from Department of Police Administration. I would want to know more about their methodology and sourcing, but the article is paywalled.

                1. @pe

                  There is no method. It’s just a review of standard material, reaching back to the Lewontin issues and to Ernst Meyer. So the citations are standard enough — but a citation list + an opinion piece isn’t even a good review.

                  It wouldn’t be publishable in a hard science field, and it lacks the analytical chops to be considered good soft science material.

                  It’s trivially true that there are correlated allele distribution functions for humans. It’s also true that they are cline-distributed without sharp cut-offs, and that the clines for different alleles have different poles. They affirm the former, miss the latter, and then spend the rest of the article arguing over the semantics of race.

                  Tiresome — people fall in a multidimensional distribution of features that doesn’t fit the traditional race concept without collapsing most of the dimensions onto the “race projection”.

                  There’s no popular “common sense” term for such distributions yet, because it hasn’t been part of the culture until recently.

                  Race != population genetics vector field.

                  1. davidgmillsatty

                    So is the new slur going to be that people who don’t fit your world view will called populationists or ethnicists or racists? Make up your mind.

                    I think that is the point here. You just called their analysis racist.

                    You can’t have it both ways.

                    1. davidgmillsatty

                      A couple more more points while I am at it. If you are right and there are no races, then from a legal standpoint, there is no rationale whatsoever for anti-discrimination laws based on race or outward appearance.

                      And there is no reason when you go to the doctor to fill out a form answering questions regarding race and there is no need for medical laboratories to have different lab values for race.

            2. Procopius

              I recall the statement from Mohammed Ali as, “Ain’t no Viet Cong ever call me n*****r.” I think I was stationed at Pleiku at the time, and it sure made sense to me.

  2. Olga

    National Grid ‘had three blackout near-misses in three months’ Guardian
    Could it be that the fall in frequency – which can happen as a result of a loss of generation (e.g., when a unit trips unexpectedly) – was not addressed fast enough by UK’s grid operator because it does not have an appropriate set of Ancillary Services? That seems to be the (unstated) implication of this article. As the grid changes – with the addition of renewable resources – AS must also change in response to new types of technology/resource characteristics. This would be common sense and – in theory – could be done relatively easily. One would think… but no, it is not easy. Ancillary Services are yet another source of revenues for generation owners, and changing or giving up that stream of money must be resisted at all costs. Even when the grid operator says it could affect reliability.
    One more reason to do a thorough and extensive investigation into what really happened in the UK. ((With more renewables, procuring sufficient amounts of appropriate AS – for example, Fast Responding Frequency Reserve – by a grid operator will be crucial. And energy storage/batteries are well suited to this function because they can respond within seconds.)

    1. fajensen

      I could also be (or maybe this the same thing that you are saying) that there has been serious underinvestment in the electrical grid in order to extract as much as possible and now there is no longer sufficient grid capacity to reroute power if something drops out?

      Of course the authoritarians currently running (and ruining) the UK (and Brexit) blames “Green Energy” for any failures, partly because nothing that goes wrong is something they are responsible for – despite being in power and all their cronies sitting in unelected quangos responsible for “running things” – and partly because they need to be sucking up to Donald Trump at all times for “their deal”.

    1. sinbad66

      “resilc” is “Re Silc,” a reader who contributes links (and so gets a credit in the form of their handle).

      thanks, Lambert!

  3. Zagonostra

    -Atlantic article

    ‘It’s therefore a matter of the greatest moral urgency to make sure that somebody—anybody—stops Trump from winning a second term in office.’

    No it is of the greatest moral urgency to stop power from being used to serve power instead of serving the common weal.

    1. Carla

      “No it is of the greatest moral urgency to stop power from being used to serve power instead of serving the common weal.”

      Tell it to the hoards of “Democrats” running for president. Only two or three already know, and I think we can all figure out which ones those are.

      1. a different chris

        And to further kick this stupid article:

        >they are not nearly as opposed to capitalism as some Democrats like to claim.

        “some” Democrats… there’s that “some” again. Really handy when you can’t actually defend your thesis but have a deadline to meet.

      2. polecat

        Most, as you imply, are driving the Exceptional Jalopy into the ditch of History, having, in their commonality, achieved THEIR part in breaking all the ‘weal’ welds …

    2. Katniss Everdeen


      The longer this “campaign” goes on, the vagueness of such criteria–essentially alive and not named Trump–would seem to be the only way to drag a candidate named biden over the finish line.

        1. Jessica

          A handoff to Hillary would be believed about as much as the Epstein suicide and would be the best possible scenario from Trump’s perspective.

          1. ambrit

            Once you make the shift in thinking from, Hillary wants to be President soooooo bad, to Hillary wants to preserve her elite status, and the emoluments that appertain thereof, for as long as she can, it all begins to make sense.

    3. flora

      ‘It’s therefore a matter of the greatest moral urgency to make sure that somebody—anybody—stops Trump from winning a second term in office.’

      I’ve been hearing that dog whistle from Dems since the election. Back then it was in near whispers. Now they’re out in the open. (If the Dem party would run on policies the voters want, and run a candidate that could win on those policies, there wouldn’t be any problem beating Trump in the election. imo.)

      1. Procopius

        But … but … but … That would mean letting a leftist win. Cannot be allowed. They might not hire our consultants.

    4. Jeff W

      If it’s “a matter of the greatest moral urgency to make sure that somebody—anybody—stops Trump from winning a second term in office,’ heck, I’d go with the guy who has beaten Trump in 15 straight polls by a greater margin than anyone else; who has enormous grassroots support, as shown by, in the latest count, his 850,000 individual donors (roughly double the next highest candidate) all over the country; and whose policies, whether they’re called “socialist” or not, are broadly popular with the US public, “even” Trump voters (“even” in quotes because it’s not that surprising—Trump ran an anti-neoliberal, populist campaign). But that might ruffle up the big donors a bit and short-circuit the drama of the horse race so better not.

    5. Hopelb

      This article is enraging, but provides a very clear view of how the establishment Dem think about the plebs, and their strategy to get us to fall in line. Here are some illuminating excerpts;

      A full 70 percent approve of a public option, which would allow all Americans to buy into Medicare. This would give universal or near-universal health coverage to Americans, and amount to a massive wealth transfer from rich to poor.
      These findings have emboldened progressives in the party to claim that they won’t have to pay an electoral price for embracing policies—or labels—that would have seemed unthinkable just 10 years ago.

      Seductive as these arguments may seem, they fly in the face of compelling evidence about the kind of radicalism that American voters are—and, just as importantly, are not—willing to countenance. ”

      “…voters don’t pick their preferred candidates on the basis of their specific policy proposals; rather, they ask themselves which candidates seem to advocate for their interests, and then embrace whatever policies they favor. As a result, political elites play a large role in shaping the policy preferences of ordinary voters.But public opinion is not infinitely malleable. Indeed, political scientists have also found that most voters are highly loss-averse and deeply sensitive to perceived threats to their material standing. So while they may have only vague opinions on issues that are abstract and feel distant from their daily lives, they are also likely to react strongly when they fear that they may lose a concrete benefit to which they have long been accustomed. This makes it all the more concerning that leading Democratic contenders, including Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and (at various instances) Senator Kamala Harris, have endorsed abolishing private health insurance.”

      “Most Americans are strenuously opposed to socialism, and instinctively distrust candidates who make breathless promises of political revolution. But they are also deeply dissatisfied with parts of the economic system, and convinced that the people who call the shots—on Wall Street and in Washington—are exploiting that system to serve themselves. As a result, they are simultaneously open to progressive reforms that would help to transform the American economy and deeply protective of the benefits they now enjoy, including their employer-sponsored health insurance.”

      “...and a narrative that emphasizes the virtues of free enterprise while attacking crony capitalism.

      By sticking to progressive policies that are actually capable of winning broad support, Democrats will maximize their chances of defeating Trump and redressing some of the deepest injustices in the country. In 2020, progressives really can have their cake and eat it too—but only if they pay American voters the basic respect of listening to their actual views.”

      Looks like Mounk reads NC!( And then twists everthing to fit the Est Dem’s goals.)

      1. jrs

        If you are loss adverse you favor a social safety net and all such programs imply. It’s common sense, heck it’s almost tautology.

        If not 1) you are quite privileged or 2) you haven’t given it much thought. And I’d bet on #2 dominating, because not many people are that privileged, although some may imagine they are.

        1. ambrit

          Many want to believe that they are “privileged” and belong among the “elites” and are thus prone to cognitive dissonance. I would place most of the 10% enabling class in that category.
          Keeping up with the Jonses has almost always been a social motivating force in America at the least. Most advertising plays off of that willfully obscured factor in the social dynamic. Politics, as presently practiced, is just another form of advertising. I think that this was Trump’s ‘eureka’ moment; when he consciously figured the advertising angle out. I consider the fact of a Trump Administration being in power to be an affirmation of this doctrine.

      2. Tim

        Did they really say that private health insurance is considered a concrete benefit voters are scared to lose?

        What in the world? There is projection, there is presumption, but at some point it’s just a lie.

    6. jrs

      I agree 100%, it is a moral urgency to stop Trump. But I also think it’s a matter of moral urgency to try with all one can to go a great deal further than that, because real social change is also a matter of moral urgency.

      Other than that I’m not sure which ACTUAL programs wouldn’t be popular. Open borders? Alright, that might not be popular. But the policy being attacked is actually the single most popular policy one could possibly push (M4A). And other than that undefined “socialism” is a bad policy, well some may use the term, but that’s not a policy at all.

      1. ambrit

        I must disagree about the “socialism” angle here. The “undefined socialism” of which you speak is a clear divergence from Neo-liberal Capitalism, or even Capitalism in general. It demands a different philosophy of governance. It really is ‘revolutionary’ in that word’s original sense.

        1. Some Guy in Beijing

          Everyone knows that’s what we need but too many people stand to “lose out”.

          It’s so demoralizing. How do I plan the second half of my life knowing all the lines trend toward dystopian hellscape?

    7. Lambert Strether

      > moral urgency

      “So many vows… they make you swear and swear. Defend the king. Obey the king. Keep his secrets. Do his bidding. Your life for his. But obey your father. Love your sister. Protect the innocent. Defend the weak. Respect the gods. Obey the laws. It’s too much. No matter what you do, you’re forsaking one vow or the other.” –Jaime Lannister, Clash of Kings

      I’d be a lot more willing to grant standing to the liberal Democrat nomenklatura for calls for “moral urgency” if (a) they weren’t so good at fomenting, and then forgetting, moral panics and (b) they showed in their practice that they consistently adhered to any moral principles at all.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Jeffrey Epstein’s Uniquely American Death In Jail”

    The results of the official autopsy are in and here they are. They report that Epstein strangled himself to death. It was stated that he bravely tried to fight himself off but was eventually unable resist himself in the end and finally succumbed to his brutal assault. There were reports that he tried a jail break last week by taking himself hostage but these are unconfirmed.
    The comedian Jimmy Dore is regretting his death as he lined up a joke how Clinton put out a tweet offering condolences over his suicide for the following Tuesday.
    I have no idea why actor George Takei would say something like “This sounds like something that would happen in Russia, no?” but I am guessing that actor Walter Koenig would be seriously unimpressed. There must be something in the water in Hollywood that lets people like Takei and Morgan Freeman drink the kool-aid and believe anything that the deep state tells them.

    1. DonCoyote

      In The Shadow of the Torturer, Gene Wolfe (who died earlier this year) wrote about the revolutionary, a device which would produce something like you’re describing:

      “How long before I die?”

      “A month, perhaps. The thing in you that hates you will weaken as you weaken. The revolutionary brought it to life, but its energy is your energy, and in the end you will die together.”

      So…very black ops CIA devices (or psychics) killed Epstein? Sure, why not–throw it on the pile of conspiracy theories.

      1. Lambert Strether

        I’ve twice tried to read Gene Wolfe, but I just can’t, which is too bad, because he’s an excellent writer. The Fifth Head of Cerberus is just too creepy for me, and I got lost in Book of the New Sun when it went all picaresque on me. Both books make me think of very, very, very bad dreams.

        1. dearieme

          He’d been found guilty of child molesting, hadn’t he?

          Though, on second thoughts, I feel that “child molesting” misrepresents what he did. A better term is needed for adults who use women (or men) who are past puberty but below the age of consent. Or is there a good existing term?

          1. Chef

            Ephebophile is one with an interest in post- pubescence.

            Though, based on reports, Epstein had an attraction for underdeveloped teens which would indicate hebeohilia.

    2. Summer

      “There must be something in the water in Hollywood that lets people like Takei and Morgan Freeman drink the kool-aid and believe anything that the deep state tells them.”

      I would think professional actors would make good intelligence agents.

    3. DK

      “There must be something in the water in Hollywood that lets people like Takei and Morgan Freeman drink the kool-aid and believe anything that the deep state tells them.”

      They’ve worked for the same team since about WWII.

      Just an aside, I pretty much see entertainment in politics everywhere I look anymore. The Obama administration was regularly conflated by liberals with The West Wing, I think because they had the same delusional writers (or at least indistinguishable ones). The 2016 election was basically a remake of Caddyshack, Hillary has always reminded me more than a little of Tracy Flick, and the Trump presidency seems to be developing along Scarface lines. When he leaves office I hope he does the “say goodnight to the bad man” speech, all profanity included. That would be priceless.

      1. Summer

        When he leaves office I hope he does the “say goodnight to the bad man” speech, all profanity included. That would be priceless.”

        As long as he doesn’t do the shorter speech: “Say hello to my little friend.”

        1. DK

          There’d be no money in it. He’ll be moving on to ghostwritten books, new TV shows, and any other imaginable way he can skim a buck. Just like a standard politician, only more so.

          I never used to really like Michelle Pfeiffer’s performance in Scarface, but now every time I see Melania I think she (Pfeiffer) pretty much nailed it. Almost the same exact expressions.

      2. richard

        I never made hillary as a tracy flick operation before, but yes, she is
        obama=west wing 100% in the liberal imagination, and what’s more, they very much want their delusion back!

  5. Steve H.

    > Book Review: Secular Cycles

    This is a decent and fair review. There are a couple of points/questions I can answer.

    : “(this part confused me a little. Shouldn’t number of good positions scale with population?”

    Alexander pretty much answers this himself, but a current case or two may be clearer. The US only has one president, and the number of senators is limited. These are elite positions which do not scale with population, and are sought after because of the greater power that they have. At the aspirant level, it’s been years since there were too many lawyers being generated for available needs. Two decades ago I took an IU Law School class on mediation, which was being presented as an alternative income source in a competitive industry. And I’ve read of law schools increasingly hiring their graduates to boost placement rates.

    > “First, they get some freedom in the civilizations they use as case studies.” And “One could make a more hostile analysis. Is it really fair to lump the Western Jin and Eastern Jin conveniently together, but separate the Western Han and Eastern Han conveniently apart?”

    It’s a fair point, and needs explaining. Turchin was originally an ecologist, not a historian. From that perspective, named periods are an overlay on the underlying conditions. The criticism in the review and its comments appear to be from a historian’s perspective, focusing on the names more than the conditions.

    For the authors, the search for high quality data is a primary driver. That data is unevenly distributed. For example, archaeological data is more objective than historical accounts, which are biased and exaggerate or discount according to the needs of the writer.

    An exemplar of the issue can be seen in defining the anthropocene. The presence of nuclear fission products in geological strata will provide an accurate data point for future generations to within a year. But the climate effects of humans goes back farther than this, some say the industrial age and burning fossil fuels, some say thousands of years of geoforming by civilizations.

    My understanding is that the authors were starting with accurate data, and that the current work on the Sheshat Databank is seeking to expand the quantity of data. The search for surrogates adds another layer to the issue. For myself, in tracking social instability in current conditions, I’ve been focusing on mass killings, which is hard data (death isn’t fuzzy), and can be well tracked. In the US, we’re over one every couple of days. New Zealand has been sparcer, and it’s easier to track both the rate and the large jump with the Christchurch shooting.

    1. Craig H.

      I can write a lot shorter review of Secular Cycles:

      Spengler and Toynbee at least used interesting source material even if their theses were equally ridiculous. If you are interested in this stuff read them first.

      1. Steve H.

        Both of them tend toward a ‘golden age’ bias, with Spengler being the source for ‘declinism’ and Toynbee directing polemics against Taggert and earlier attempts at factual analysis, rather than interesting accounts. If a good read is what your looking for, Braudel is engaging and not so bound by previous authors.

        It’s not surprising the current state of analysis isn’t well-developed. Physics and chemistry have had millennia to develop testable theories. You have to start somewhere.

        There’s a cognitive effect to testable theories as well. Declinism doesn’t offer room for hope or agency. Many people, here and in personal contacts, have become increasingly bitter and angry about the mass murders becoming more prevalent. They seem to become more susceptible to being divided into political tranches (‘more guns / ‘less guns’). Taking symptoms as causes.

        With Turchin’s work, we have testable criteria in a short period of time. His models say social instability goes asymptotic before the next presidential inauguration. If there are increasing mass killings, it confirms the model, if there are less it disconfirms it. Testable in a relevant timeframe. A reset is also predicted in the model (this from “Ages of Discord”). There’s hope there.

        This doesn’t mean he’s right. It means within two years, we’ll know if he’s right. That’s worth something.

        1. DK

          “If there are increasing mass killings, it confirms the model, if there are less it disconfirms it.”

          If there are more, it supports the model; it doesn’t confirm it. There are other potential explanations for why mass killings would rise. My own favorite is that anyone who shoots up a crowd of people gets days worth of airtime on every news channel. The media have pretty much fully given themselves over to spectacle and outrage, since that is what sells. It’s why Trump is president.

          I used to wonder how the 2016 election came down to two of the most hated people in America. It seemed extraordinary to me. Now I realize that that will probably be the norm going forward.

          The ArchDruid (John Michael Greer) has been discussing Spengler and Toynbee recently, to the point where I was looking into reading one or both. This is an interesting discussion.

          1. Steve H.

            I agree about confirm v support, not mad.

            2016 election came down to two New York billionaires. That’s “intraelite competition.”

            I read Greer as well, his insights can be brilliant. It’s fair to say he’s a declinist (“collapse now, before the rush”), so his view on technology is far from UserFriendly, who is credited with bringing this link to NC. For example, peak oil didn’t work out the way he thought it would. But he’s one of only a half-dozen bloggers that I take the time to read regularly.

            (ps: seeking sleep after watching ‘Under the Skin’ the other night, went to “Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift” last night for stupid fun. “DK” stands for “Drift King.” just sayin…)

        2. Lambert Strether

          > Braudel is engaging and not so bound by previous authors.

          Braudel is a scholar, unlike Spengler. And I really prefer Braudel’s focus on the material to Toynbee.

          > With Turchin’s work, we have testable criteria in a short period of time. His models say social instability goes asymptotic before the next presidential inauguration. If there are increasing mass killings, it confirms the model,

          Perhaps not “confirms,” but “supports” (which I now see others have spotted; the NC commentariat is the best commentariat).

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I recall an article (which I believe predated #metoo, but I’m not positive) contrasting the Silicon Valley and San Francisco tech environs despite their similar size. There were no almost no “reported” incidents of sexual harassment in Silicon Valley whereas San Francisco had maybe less than what might be expected. Anonymously, workers in Silicon Valley described awful work environments, but the San Francisco employees mostly complained about rent prices and commuting, not the work environments themselves in the sense of sexual harassment.

        One, takeaway is Silicon Valley exists purely as Silicon Valley. Its devoid of other non-tech companies and a harassed employee can’t take lunch at a lawyer’s office.

        Combined with the federales not being in Silicon Valley doing the oversight that they do in other industries, the kind of corruption and ethics seen in shows such as Mad Men can still thrive in Silicon Valley. Hollywood has a similar construct. The predators and “those who go along with the crowd” know they won’t face retaliation for bad behavior or mirroring bad behavior of higher ups. Legislators make their own rules too.

        As far as attorneys go, its good to know at least one, and if you don’t know one, you can be lost. Even being aware of where one can go is better than not knowing anything. This is a problem with Silicon Valley. Who is going to set up shop in Silicon Valley? You can’t fight the system on feel good vibes. Legal work does cost money.

      2. Lambert Strether

        Does anyone know if there’s any overlap between p3do/sex scandals in the UK (say, Jimmy Savile) and Epstein’s rolodex? (This is the sort of question I would have expected our famously free press to have asked and anwered.)

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I’ve not seen if anyone looked at it, but Savile was something of a lone wolf I think. There certainly was a nexus of abusers in the entertainment industry in the UK from the 1960’s to 1990’s or so, but I’ve not seen any serious allegations that it went wider. It has to be said that the whole issue of paedophile networks in the UK has been thrown into confusion by many of the allegations now having been proven to be false.

          However, with the Prince Andrew connection, this obviously raises questions about British Intelligence, who have been widely rumoured to have used knowledge of these networks for influence, most notoriously in the Kincora Boys Home scandal, but there have been many claims that they were aware of various senior UK politicians having ‘weaknesses’ that could be exploited. The horrendous Marc Dutroux case in Belgium is one that has widely been suspected to have had intelligence, broader network links.

    1. Jesper

      How common might it be that the client of a lawyer is the only one receiving a sentence and everybody else possibly involved gets a free pass?
      if i had been such a client then I’d either be an extremely good person or I’d be extremely angry person who’d fire my lawyer and get someone who’d put my interests ahead of the interests of my possible co-conspirators. Was Epstein such a nice guy that he took the fall for everybody else?
      & who is now paying this lawyer to try to defend the deal? Is the defense being done for free for the possible co-conspirators?

    2. WJ

      Also this from NY Daily News:

      They raid his island today?! In any case, if you suspected that Epstein’s “suicide” was going to be used to cover up crimes of the elites, you are thinking the wrong thing, as the stenographer below helpfully suggests….

      “The raid was a stark reminder that the federal criminal investigation of Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking is far from over, despite his shocking Saturday death by apparent suicide in federal custody.”

        1. pjay

          Yes. And this:

          “One of Epstein’s guards at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on the night he died was reportedly not a regular corrections officer.”


      1. Donna

        So as long as people are paying attention, those in charge will continue to act out an interest in pursuing others involved. I think once attention is diverted, this will all be swept under the rug. It won’t be long before the whole sordid story slips from our collective consciousness. I want to believe that most human beings are programmed to work for the collective good. But those aberrant individuals who only work for themselves and their offspring are horrid and frightening and powerful.

            1. ambrit

              I didn’t realize that Hemingway was a muckraking journalist. His take on the Epstein death would probably be titled something like, “Death in the Overnight.”

      2. flora

        They arrested him a month ago on Federal sex trafficking charges and are only now, a month later, sending the FBI to search his island for evidence? What? ( A regular person arrested for that kind of charge would have all their computer equipment – at the minimum – confiscated immediately.)

        Did the FBI let CrowdStrike investigate first? /s

        1. WJ

          If it is theater, it is terribly blatant and not very convincing theater. But it only has to convince the corporate press, who then manage the narrative on their own. If there existed in the US even *one* mainstream and independent media outlet all sorts of questions would be raised that are tactfully left unasked by today’s CIA stenographers.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            If you can’t trust the organization in charge of the Anthrax investigation and the rest of the FBI’s greatest hits, who can you trust?

        2. Katniss Everdeen

          And what about his Zorro Ranch in New Mexico? ( Maybe bill richardson is taking care of that for them.)

          Or his Palm Beach residence.

          Or his apartment in Paris.

          My guess is they’ll slow walk this until they can replace the whole damn sordid story with “outrage” at labor shortages and “irregularities” at MCC, which is run by the department of prisons, which is controlled by the department of justice, which is run by attorney general Bill Barr, who was appointed by Donald Trump, who said epstein was a nice guy in 2002, which means his death is Trump’s fault, which means he had something on Trump, which means Trump and Barr are trying to cover all this up.

          PS. MCC seems to have been functional enough to keep El Chapo Guzman alive long enough (over 2 years) to stand trial and be transferred to his final destination. Ditto for Paul Manafort as well as a number of other high “value” inmates.

          The world’s most notorious drug kingpin has a new home, a place were he cannot escape or do business, a dreaded stronghold in lower Manhattan sometimes called the Guantanamo of New York.

        3. dearieme

          When I saw this story and saw pictures of the FBI men dashing around on golf buggies I just laughed. Who do they think they are kidding? They really do hold a low opinion of the population, don’t they?

          1. cuibono

            what is the saying? no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the american public?

        4. Harrold

          Perhaps they tried, but were unable to get a search warrant. Now that Epstein is dead, there is no one to contest a search of his island by the FBI.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Oh I am so heartened to hear that our incorruptible intelligence agencies obey to the letter the many laws designed to prevent our nation from becoming a dystopian surveillance gulag and police state.

            1. polecat

              Just like they did at Ruby Ridge & Waco…
              .. as well as “helping/encouraging” all the various patsies they set-up in their supposed terror invests.

              Upstanding ! /s

        5. Procopius

          They did search his New York apartment immediately after his arrest, IIRC, and said they found hundreds of tapes and thousands of photographs. I wonder what will happen to those. “Tapes? What tapes?”

      3. apber

        A little late to storm Pedo Island, dontcha think? Two weeks for the bad guys to remove all evidence and scrub it clean. As soon as they found kiddie porn at the NY mansion, any judge would have granted a warrant to serve upon all of Epstein’s properties, including those in New Mexico and France.

        1. Conrad

          American law enforcement agencies don’t have the authority to induct worldwide searches quite yet.

          That and Ghislaine needed to be given time to set things in order.

      4. Cuibono

        A stark reminder! ROFL!
        Whatever they found will never see the light of day. As safe a bet as those who predicted correctly that he would not leave prison alive.

  6. Frank Little

    RE: Climate Could Be an Electoral Time Bomb, Republican Strategists Fear

    Trey Bagley, 25, readily acknowledged climate science. But Mr. Bagley, a sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserves wearing a “Trump 2020, Make Liberals Cry Again” shirt said that did not make him a Democrat.

    “I completely agree that we’re offending the climate,” Mr. Bagley said. “But the solutions that are being introduced to fix it are going to drive us back into the Dark Ages.”

    This article makes it seem like there’s no conservative policy for climate change but it’s right there on this guy’s shirt: own the libs! Offend the climate! Are you triggered, Arctic permafrost?

    1. jrs

      The conservative policy was articulated by Andrew Yang: climate change problems? Here’s 1000 dollars: your on your own now! And good luck!!!

      $1000 a month by itself would not be entirely bad, but as climate change policy …. no, really, noone can top that for peak neoliberalism.

      1. WJ

        I see the $1,000 working if it were understood as a dividend of sorts and did not affect existing welfare benefits and social security. The money would be meaningless to high-income and high-wealth individuals but would enable families and others to live their same lifestyle without incurring debt. So any slightly inflationary effect of the monthly disbursement (if we care about that) would be offset (for us regular dudes and dudettes) by a lower debt ratio.

        But who are the BIG losers in a slightly inflationary and less indebted economy? The owners and financiers of debt of course! The Banks!

        So this makes me very skeptical of the feasibility of a Yang style plan. If it went through, it would go through in a way that screwed the people over to save the debt profiteers or Chase and Wells Fargo.

    1. dearieme

      Disgraceful behaviour. If I’d been the judge I’d have said that the chap had already been locked up for years in the embassy, which was punishment enough for jumping bail, and that the Swedish rape case at best involved one of those silly PC non-crimes, and at worst was merely fraudulent. I’d have let the fellow walk free.

  7. toshiro_mifune

    L’affaire Epstein

    Just a casual reading on Epstein and his 1st level connections to various “known entities” within the conspiratorial world, i.e. the Tri-Lateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, the US intelligence community, the Mossad, the Rothschilds, and he’s veritable gold mine for conspiracy theorists looking to tie him in to almost anything they want. I honestly had to stop reading after about an hour as it was just too much and I knew I would turn up some sort of Templar or Rosicrucian link without much effort.
    I’ve spent a lot of time following and reading various theories purely as entertainment; the amount of creativity and effort behind some of them is really interesting. Epstein take the cake though, there’s a good 2-3 generations worth of theories that can come from him.

    1. dearieme

      There’s a lack of ties to the Pope so it’s not the perfect conspiracy environment. Or should I say that there’s a suspicious lack of ties to the Pope, nudge, nudge, wink, wink?

      Talking of the Pope, how about ties to the mob? Does that get a mention?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Sometime you should read about the Jesuits and their/Rome’s connection to Lincoln’s assasination

        1. Toshiro_Mifune

          Oh dear. I’ve avoided conspiracy theory stuff for a few years now… basically since Dan Brown took all the fun out of the Templars. Jesuits and Lincoln though, that might be hard to resist.

      1. Lambert Strether

        The number of good positions does not scale with population, as the Turchin discussion above urges.

        Honestly, he’s organizing conferences with scientists and then, in the middle of meetings and presentations, young women, plural, come in to massage his back. What on earth were the scientists thinking? Funding, I know.

  8. wsa

    ‘Using the Lord’s name in vain’: Jeff Sharlet’s books on The Family (recently made into a 5 part documentary series on Netflix) explain wonderfully why Trump’s vulgarity isn’t going to be a fatal hit against him in most Evangelical circles, I think, even outside The Family.

    1. pjay

      Sharlet’s books are good. But based on the Rolling Stone review posted in Saturday’s links, and the informative comments by reader Urblintz, I think the Netflix documentary might be flawed. Just a heads up.

      1. wsa

        Oh, there are flaws. The documentary looks at role of the Family (via US politicians) in provoking various kinds of regressive laws across the world and involves a visit to Eastern Europe. Some time was spent on the Maria Butina case, which invited them to veer perilously close to full-on Russiagate idiocy. They didn’t go all-in.

  9. Summer

    RE: Bear Breaks Into Home Escapes By Smashing Wall

    “Colorado Parks and Wildlife reported that bears broke into more than 35 vehicles and nine houses in the Estes Park area in the 10 days before 3 August.”

    After also watching the video of the bear attempting to steal a dumpster from behind a weed shop, I am fairly sure the bears have a burglary ring.
    The bears act and make plans.

    1. Wukchumni

      There was a place called ‘Bear Hill’ in the main part of Sequoia NP in the Giant Forest where the bruins were fed daily, and 4 grandstands were set up with space in between them to allow them to saunter in for a meal, and it worked great, the restaurant got rid of leftover food from diners plates and the tourists were afforded a no doubt about it chance to see them, and this went on from around 1910 to 1940, when the practice was finally stopped.

      To this day, if you leave any food out there in nearby Lodgepole campground, bears will be on it like flies on scat, despite it being 80 years since they stopped feeding them…

      Conversely about 20 miles away as the crow flies, in Mineral King they were never fed, as their diet is the usual fare of grubs and whatever else they can scare up. I can’t think of any bear break ins that have happened there, it’s more the marmots’ turf.

      1. Carolinian

        Famously during the same time period Yellowstone fed bears at the park dump and let tourists watch.

  10. pjay

    ‘What P. T. Barnum Understood About America’ – New Yorker

    From the article:

    “Barnum became one of the most celebrated men in America not despite his bigotry and duplicity, his flimflamming and self-dealing, but because of them. He didn’t so much fool the public as indulge it.”

    I have the gift of prophecy. I looked at this title, looked at where it was published, and predicted that the theme would be “there is a deplorable born every minute.” And I was right! Perhaps I should get an act together.

    1. Robert Hahl

      According to the article, in today’s money Barnum made tens of millions in Europe, then lost it back home, and made another fortune in Europe. Americans were not the only ones who liked what he was selling.

  11. Oh

    Today’s antidotes were all excellent, especially the one with elephant putting trash into the trash can. Thanks!

  12. The Rev Kev

    “What a Protest in Hong Kong Looks Like When Pro-Democracy Marchers Lose Their Fear of the Police”

    Very well put together video that with professional standards on it. Very professional. In fact, I tried an experiment with it. I located a YouTube page with the Hell March (—g-f_I2yQ) music in it – ironically set to a Chinese military parade – on another tab. So I started the music on it, went back to that Protest video on the first tab and started it but killed the sound on it. Thus you had the protest video playing with the Hell March music playing. Still works as a video.

    Meanwhile, some of the protestors are doing themselves no favours with stunts like this-

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Saw an interview with the guy pictured in the article on MSNBS yesterday. He essentially said that while he knew things would be tough for those who’d lost their jobs, he needed one.

      Another interview asked a young white guy “why” he was applying for a job at the plant. He said he was working “fast food” for minimum wage and needed a better job. (Guess it never occurred to him that he could learn to code.)

      It would certainly be a “shame” if it turned out that this idea of “jobs americans won’t do” turned out to be a load of phoney baloney.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      I think its less that Trump would gain support and more that he would reinforce a narrative of Team Blue using ID politics in a cynical fashion. The GOP is pretty heinous, and I’m largely convinced the huge 2012 black turnout wasn’t an embrace of Obama as much as it was a reaction to the brazen efforts of the GOP to block minorities from voting. The GOP has become slightly less publicly egregious and managed to get away with their vote blocking efforts. Admittedly, “OMG Russia” ate up a good deal of energy that should have addressed this situation.

      Obama’s taking it personally announcement towards African Americans in 2014 didn’t energize the black vote, but I don’t see the current GOP gaining votes.

      Like the fraudulent “immigration reform of 2006” (a proposed slave labor act that had bipartisan support), GOP efforts at out reach to various voting blocs have been so toxic I doubt anyone can gain going forward. Its still a Southern/libertarian rump party that has been allowed to exist because of the dismantling of the Democratic Party by Obama and then handed over to the Clintons who destroyed 50 years of a Democratic Congress on their first day on the job in their first go round.

    3. Dan

      JohnnyGL, apropos of that,
      “…a new NBER study suggests that immigration has more far-reaching consequences than merely depressing wages and lowering employment rates of low-skilled African-American males: its effects also appear to push some would-be workers into crime and, later, into prison…The 1980-2000 immigrant influx, therefore, generally ‘explains’ about 20 to 60 percent of the decline in wages, 25 percent of the decline in employment, and about 10 percent of the rise in incarceration rates among blacks with a high school education or less.”

      …their analysis finds that a 10 percent rise in immigrants in a particular skill group significantly trimmed the wages of black and white men alike. For African-Americans, the decline was 3.6 percent. For whites, it was actually slightly higher: 3.8 percent. Beyond that, however, the black-white experience differed markedly, especially for low-skilled workers. Take employment rates: from 1960 to 2000, black high school dropouts saw their employment rates drop 33 percentage points — from 88.6 percent to 55.7 percent — the authors found in their analysis of census data from 1960 to 2000. The decrease for white high school dropouts was only roughly half that — from 94.1 percent to 76.0 percent.”

      1. apber

        In 1995, laying drywall was paid $15-20 per sheet of 8X12. By 2001, there were very few US drywall installers left in construction; the workers had become all Mexican and Central Americans working for between $3-5 per sheet. Few of them were legal, as they all would scatter when the green Border Patrol jeeps arrived.

      2. notabanker

        So now immigrants are responsible for black men going to jail?

        How is this guy allowed to continue to post this rubbish?

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You are out of line. Did you miss Dan is quoting a study? You need to look at the study methods if you are going to challenge the findings.

          Dan is out over his skis more than occasionally, but acting as if you have the right to say who posts here or not is a fast track to you getting blacklisted.

      1. inode_buddha

        They can make a case for retaliation, and end up owning the plant. That’s illegal as hell under the labor law.

    4. Louis Fyne

      Democrats are insane for making generous migration policies the hill to die on for 2020. And the US will never get a European-style social welfare net as long as the American migration system is broken.

      By very definition, a government has to discriminate (citizen v. non-citizen) to have Medicare4All, safety net, free education, etc.

      your mileage may vary and agree to disagree cuz presumably this sentiment is to the right of many here.

      1. dearieme

        You are spot on. Open borders plus M4A means that the US would be offering to pay for the medical treatment of, potentially, billions of people.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        A real conundrum, Dems will sacrifice the general as a result of wokedom in the primary.

        No, unlimited borders are not good for Labor, they’re good for Capital.

  13. sultanoslack

    In regards to the Navy article, it blows me away that engineers, which I am one (civil engineer), are obsessed with the bright and shiny and have completely thrown KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid, right out the window. This goes right into the heart of crapification.

    I think a pair of throttles beats a touch screen every day of the week. The TechCrunch article says the fleet has been begging for throttles back. Amen.

    1. CanCyn

      Small potatoes compared to airplane controls with lives dependent on them but here is my story. I have a touch screen in my car – dials the phone, plays the radio and music from a phone or iPod, etc. When I first get in the car when it is very cold outside or very hot it just plain does not work. At random other times it also just stops responding or will kind of respond when pressed very hard. For a while I was calling it my “press as hard as you can screen” Got some laughs at the Subaru (car is a 2013 Imprezza) dealership with that one. Subaru more or less refuses to acknowledge the problem The odd forum talks about some kind of re-boot but of course you lose your phone connection and contacts and have to do all that from scratch – all with no guarantee that it will work.
      First world problem I know, but give me buttons and knobs any day.

      1. Carolinian

        So you aren’t supposed to have a TV where the driver can see it but these car controls require you to study and touch a TV. That’s crazy and even more so than the ship touchscreen.

        Buttons and knobs please. You can operate them by touch

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          It can never be said enough–A solution in search of a problem.

          Fun to speculate on the next “innovation.” Maybe a new and improved touchscreen with little braille bumps so you don’t have to look at it.

          Or a specialized electronic finger cot that “guarantees” connectivity, reads the little braille bumps and projects the screen on a pair of specialized glasses worn by the operator.

          Anything but what’s already been proven to work.

        2. Aumua

          How about a touch screen, in the shape of a knob… and when your fingers grasp the touch screen around the sides and make a turning motion, then the touch sensitive surface picks that up and digitally transmits the control instruction up or down depending on how you ‘turn’ the knob. And also the touch screen gives some kind of haptic feedback to make your fingers feel like they are actually turning a real knob.

          I think I’m on to something big here.

      1. adrena

        In The Netherlands the design of the majority of toilets is completely screwed up – way too high. As a result, one cannot use sufficient abdominal pressure unless you are a tall male.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Saudi-led coalition calls for immediate Aden ceasefire: Reports”

    Let’s see. The coalition calls for an immediate ceasefire in Aden and also called on all military groups to immediately return to their positions and retreat from areas that have been seized over the past few days. I am going to nominate this as unintentionally hilarious. The Saudis got their clocks cleaned the past few days and I even heard that they were using their special forces to try to stop Aden falling without success. And now they want a do-over with everybody going back to their original places? Yeah, that is really going to happen. Aden always was a tough place. The British use to control it but when they left back in 1967 they had to basically shoot their way out of the place.

    1. polecat

      And we’re (the U.$.) going to give them nuclear weapons technology ??!!
      What could possibly go wrong !

  15. McKillop

    A fellow I know who has a camp (cottage) up near Blind River claims that once a bear discovers the food source within the camp that only killing the bear will resove the problem. Rather extreme.
    Another fellow had trouble with his camp because human visitors used a chainsaw to cut through the walls of his padlocked escape from the dangers of city living.
    We’ve had bears in our yard in the city where we live which is, to be precise, back of the beyond in the middle of nowhere. Banging on pot lids usually send the bears scurrying away.
    From what I know about burglars they are usually gone before pot lids or police can do much of anything.

  16. Philip

    RE: Alejandro Giammattei, a Conservative, Wins Guatemala’s Presidency New York Times. Resilc: “I’ve only visited 40 countries, but it was the worst overall in bad everything and zero hope.”

    When The Mountains Tremble
    Filmed in 1982 at the height of the Guatemalan Army’s repression against the Mayan indigenous people, has become a classic political documentary. It describes the struggle of the largely Indian peasantry against a heritage of state and foreign oppression. Centered on the experiences of Rigoberta Menchú, who later became a Nobel Peace laureate, the overall effect of the film is exhilarating. With clarity and energy it conveys the birth of a national and political awareness.

    Saint Ronnie (RayGun) and his sidekick Elliot Abrams in the 80’s, but goes much further back – United Fruit Co. and their henchmen, the Dulles bros. in the 50’s, and before that… Any wonder there is zero hope?

  17. divadab

    Re: New Green Card rules

    Seems sensible – why should we welcome immigrants who will be a charge on society? Ask anyone who immigrated as a DP (displaced person from post-ww2 ethnic cleansing) how much assistance they got when they got off the boat. As much as they expected – none. They expected to work hard in their new country and they did. They were contributors who made society better. They would have been embarrassed to take welfare.

    1. McKillop

      From what I remember there were more job opportunities and some relief that the displaced persons had escaped from their situations with their lives. Many were sponsored by future employers provided that work at low wages was completed as contracted, many came from backgrounds in which they were employed in industrial labours or had hope of either steady work or advancement after they or their children had learned English or been educated in regular public schools.
      Nor were there many offers of any help instead of jobs or church charities.
      You are talking about the postwar fifties, are you not?
      Yet there were still many comments against the “damned d.p’s” sticking together and taking jobs from “us’ and changing our way of schooling and recreation and not even speaking English in the public parks being invaded.
      Further, the people who came from one country weren’t fond of those from other countries with whom historical grudges and slights were current.
      Good times? Yeh, superficially, perhaps. Or relatively.

      1. divadab

        Yes well I have family members who were DP’s and they had a very rough time, yes they were discriminated against, even losing their job when a local showed up needing work but they got right up and kept going sans welfare which they wouldn’t have applied for even if it was available which it was not.

    2. marym

      I’m starting to look into the history of public assistance to non-citizens through the years. Here are 2 links indicating that restrictions for non-citizens became more prevalent in the later 20th century.

      Regarding the second link, I did come across references to the work programs (WPA, CCC) not being available to non-citizens (and also discriminated against non-white citizens).

      On the one hand, those who support welfare benefits for non-citizens point out that at the time of the 1996 reforms, legal non-citizens enjoyed access to a wide range of welfare benefits. This access was based on the principle that non-citizens come to America to participate in the full range of American social, economic, and political life and that, with modest exceptions, they should be treated like other Americans. The children of non-citizens, the vast majority of whom are American citizens, are especially deserving of the safety net provided by welfare programs. Supporters believe that to deny non-citizens and their children welfare benefits is to leave them outside the protective sphere of social welfare guaranteed to the disabled and destitute by federal and state government policy. Moreover, like other Americans, non-citizens pay taxes, and unlike non-citizens in many other countries, can be drafted in time of war. (PDF)

      When the modern welfare state was established in 1935, there were no federal laws barring non-citizens, even unauthorized immigrants, from social assistance. States were free to enact their own alienage-based restrictions on jointly funded programs, but in 1970 only Texas required Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and Medicaid recipients to be U.S. citizens. Arizona and eight other states barred non-citizens from some of their other welfare programs, but the vast majority of states did not ask applicants about their legal status. And welfare officials interpreted federal law to prohibit cooperation between welfare and immigration officials. All of this changed during the Nixon administration…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Perhaps, one day, American citizens will live in countries of which that we are not citizens.

        We become non-citizens.

        Maybe even today, for some Americans, this is reality.

        Can or will we ask for, or get, the same compassionate, or not-compassioante, treatment?

      2. foghorn longhorn

        “On the one hand, those who support welfare benefits for non-citizens point out that at the time of the 1996 reforms, legal non-citizens enjoyed access to a wide range of welfare benefits. This access was based on the principle that non-citizens come to America to participate in the full range of American social, economic, and political life and that, with modest exceptions, they should be treated like other Americans.”

        Wish I weren’t getting so old that it was impossible to remember who ruled in 96.
        It MUST have been some evil repug, who detest all the poors, eh?

  18. Wukchumni

    Evangs give me the chills, obsessing over a figment of their imagination’s name being spoken in public in a non reverent fashion by glorious leader, and yet they’re ok with real things going down that are utterly despicable.

    1. Procopius

      “God” isn’t even His name. His name is YHWH, because Hebrew, like Arabic, normally does not write vowels. It’s usually rendered as Yahweh by people who don’t respect the rule not to say it. Used to be Jehovah, because for some reason the ‘J’ is supposed to be pronounced like ‘Y’. The Arabic word for “god” is “lah,” and “al” means “the,” and since there can only be one, “al lah” means “the god,” because they, too, believe His name should not be spoken. Nobody really seems to know what “in vain” means in the Commandment, so they just interpreted the rule as never speaking the name. Bunch of ignorant prigs.

  19. Oh

    There always have been rules where you agree not to become a public ward before you immigrate. Trump is just trying to pretend that he’s come up with something new.
    American immigration policy has always been aimed at procuring cheap labor for corporations and to steal exceptional scientists from other countries. The immigrants do prosper here because they make a lot more money here than in their former country (albeit at a lower salary vis a vis their American counterparts) and they do hard.

  20. kareninca

    On the screen time and the excess sugar articles: here is an anecdote. My vision recently became horrible; really blurry, especially in the last month or so. Yes, I’m 55 y.o.; I use reading glasses. But this was ridiculous; I had to put on two pairs of reading glasses, one on top of another. I called my optometrist, whom I’m to see anyway in a couple of weeks, and he told me not to worry, that it was just my age-related nearsightedness getting worse. But I knew it wasn’t (doctors are often morons).

    I figured out that the problem corresponded to eating fruit. But this made no sense. I have a home blood sugar monitor, and my blood glucose level does not go up unduly after eating fruit.

    So I posted on a diabetes website. And, someone out there knew the answer. Sorbitol. Cherries and nectarines are in season. I’ve been eating a lot of them. They are really high in sorbitol. Which is horrible for your eyes. It just sits there; it takes forever for your body to get rid of it. And maybe I’m extra sensitive. So it’s been 36 hours since I’ve eaten high sorbitol fruit, and my vision is back to middle aged person vision, which at this point seems wonderful.

  21. JohnnyGL

    Anyone else enjoying the Wapoo vs. Bernie spat?

    Can someone please explain to the willfully ignorant Margaret Sullivan that Bezos’ intervention was made at the hiring decision?

    If Bezos had to do things as ham-handedly as hosting weekly conference calls to discuss which stories should be covered and which shouldn’t and how the coverage should be shaped, then it would basically tell us that Bezos is an incompetent hiring manager and/or an idiotic micro-manager.

    Since you don’t often become the richest man in the galaxy by being an idiot, it’s safe to suggest he’s not an idiot.

    1. ewmayer

      Nice legerdemain there by the author – attempting to draw our focus to the geologic-time brevity of the industrial age, and to conclude form that that the long-term impacts will be similarly vanishingly small: “Very little of our handiwork will survive the obliteration of the ages.”

      Newsflash: the Chicxulub impact event, including the subsequent tsunamis rippling around the globe, lasted on the order of a mere day. Did earth recover? Yes. But the impact changed things forever, including allowing a species of small shrew-like burrowing mammals to evolve to fill the ecological niches vacated by the demise of the dinosaurs, one of which evolutionary branches led to us, who are now busily causing the next global mass extinction event.

      So while whatever intelligent species – if any – eventually evolves out of the devastation we leave behind as our legacy may not decide to classify our current era with a geologic-epochal designation, rest assured that will not mitigate our destructive legacy. Does what the Atlantic author’s disingenous spiel boils down to, “It should really be the Anthropocene mass extinction event” make you fell better? To quote from the scene at Elvis’ Graceland-mansion gravesite in This Is Spinal Tap, “Yeah, it really puts things in persepctive … too much f***ing perspective.”

  22. Aron Blue

    re: fake interview for Amazon

    I’m just ashamed of my fellow countryfolk. I really am. What a bunch of brown-nosers we’ve become. I don’t why Amazon gets my goat more than any of the other giant multi-billion dollar industries choking the last breath out of the system, but I sure hope I live long enough to see that whole entity go down.

    Just another day in Mordor.

  23. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Are all national Exceptionalisms the same?

    American Exceptionalism = Mass Murder Black Agenda Report

    Is it Exceptionalism = Mass Murder, or is it Only American Exceptionalism = Mass Murder?

    Can we say, German Exceptionalism = Mass Murder?

    Or Turkish Exceptionalism = Masss Murder?

    What about Chinese Exceptionalism?

    And since we are reading more and more about the coming, or already here, Russia-China strategy, we can also ask if Russian Exceptionalism = Mass Murder? Or is some national exceptionalism more special, more exceptional, such that native populations are not murdered?

    Also, what about Japanese Exceptionalism?

    Or Hindu Exceptionalism?

    The list goes on and on, as long as nations are run by humans.

    1. ewmayer

      Perhaps comparing how much of each nation’s exceptionalism is designated for export will help … and there’s also the “before you go out and try to fix the rest of the world, try putting your own house in order” aspect.

      But getting back to the export issue, I know you love throwing out vague “other guys bad, too” conversational chaff, but some homework for you, since you yourself asked the “more special” question:

      Homework Problem: For each country you name, tally up the estimated body count caused in other nations since WW2 by said country, and use the resulting totals to produce a rank ordering of mass-murder exceptionalism.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I’ve said before that the best option is for us (the US) to progress, reform and get better, by electing progressive politicians.

        So, I believe we agree.

    2. steelyman

      I think you’re confusing exceptionalism with nationalism and/or chauvinism. Most countries experience some form of the latter. It’s only the USA that prides itself on projecting the former, often at the point of a gun.

  24. drumlin woodchuckles

    That “Climate could be an electoral time bomb, Republican strategists fear” article mentioned a new-ish group called American Conservation Coalition which is seeking a way to make climate concerns tolerable to Conservatives and expressible in Conservative language and thought-patterns.

    Someone on The Right must feel pretty threatened by that, because they have already brought out an article seeking to “left-jacket” the American Conservation Coalition. And here it is.

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