Links 8/15/19

40% of US honeybee colonies disappeared last year. This is what the world would look like without any bees at all. Business Insider (Kevin W) :-(

Woman sues American Airlines, claims emotional support dog was locked in aircraft restroom ABC (J-LS)

Tests confirm increasing levels of algae blooms in Austin NBC (David L)

Plastic particles falling out of sky with snow in Arctic BBC (resilc)

Research Team Engineers a Better Plastic-Degrading Enzyme NREL. David L: “Dated but interesting.”

Cambridge study reverses aging of key brain stem cells in rodents New Atlas (David L)

Scientists Have Created a Vaccine For Cat Allergies, But You Can’t Have It Yet Gizmodo. We already have cats for people with allergies (which BTW is not caused by cat fur or dander but their saliva from washing their fur). They are called the Rex. They do look like space aliens but my impression is that people who have the get over that.

Why Is Lyme Disease So Hard to Understand? The Atlantic (David L)

China?

Huawei Technicians Helped African Governments Spy on Political Opponents Wall Street Journal (Bill B)

Hong Kong crisis: Trump moots ‘personal meeting’ with China’s Xi BBC. Trump also offered to mediate in Kashmir, although he then reversed himself. So this looks like him unable to contain his fantasy of being the world’s top dealmaker. Or in this case, an effort to poke Xi in the eye (it’s insulting to Xi to suggest Xi needs help with what China regards as an internal matter) to salve his ego after having had to back down yet again on his tariff threat threat.

Syraqistan

Security Architecture in the Gulf: Troubled Prospects LobeLog (resilc)

41 Democrats went on an AIPAC-sponsored trip to Israel but you wouldn’t know that from their Twitter accounts Mondoweiss

A Letter to Donald Trump from an Iranian War Veteran LobeLog (resilc)

PHOTOS: Venezuelans march against US embargo in enormous #NoMoreTrump protest Grayzone (UserFriendly)

Ministro Larraín arremete contra proyecto de 40 horas: Asegura que se perderán 250 mil empleos el Desconcierto. Timotheus: “This is emblematic of the great “successful” almost miraculous Chilean economy: the Finance Minister comes out swinging against a legislative proposal for a 40-hour week. “It will destroy jobs!” etc.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The Facial Recognition System Amazon Sells to Cops Can Now Detect ‘Fear’ Vice

The Fashion Line Designed To Trick Surveillance Cameras Gizmodo. I don’t need new clothes but am making an exception for this…But this looks like she’s achieving the reverse of her stated aim by forcing The Borg to get better at surveillance faster. Or is she really looking to get taken out of action in the form of a lucrative consulting contract by one of the bad guys?

Imperial Collapse Watch

Military Spending: Ignoring the $738 Billion Elephant in the Room American Conservative (resilc)

U.S. Worries About Russian and Chinese Influence in Africa Intercept (resilc)

How the British did everything to keep Indians away from the civil services—yet failed Quartz

Trump Transition

How Popular Is Donald Trump? FiveThirtyEight (resilc)

Why the Secret Service spent thousands at a Trump hotel Politico (furzy)

American Taxpayers Forced to Pay For Don Jr.’s Sheep Hunting Vacation to Canada PoliticalFlare (furzy)

Google Workers Demand Company Not Work With Border Agencies Bloomberg

Pelosi refers to McConnell as ‘Moscow Mitch’ The Hill

King incites furor with abortion, rape and incest remarks The Hill

Portland leaders send unified message ahead of Proud Boys rally: Stay home NBC (David L)

We’re All Enemies of the State Counterpunch

2020

Here’s The Net Worth Of Every 2020 Presidential Candidate Forbes (furzy)

Bernie Sanders can beat Trump The Week

Jonathan Weisman’s Judgment Has Been Lapsing for a Long While Now FAIR

The Washington Post’s Well-Documented Bias Against Bernie Sanders Kevin Gosztola, Medium (UserFriendly)

Why Bernie Sanders Is Absolutely Correct About the Washington Post—and Corporate Media Overall Norman Solomon, Common Dreams

Is Tom Steyer Making a Mockery Out of the DNC? New York Magazine (resilc)

Andrew Yang is Playing Hide and Seek With the Left Press Benjamin Studebaker (UserFriendly)

L’affaire Epstein

Autopsy finds broken bones in Jeffrey Epstein’s neck, deepening questions around his death Washington Post. Wowsers. But nice to see some bona fide reporting.

Of course, if one is going to entertain the notion that Epstein was a victim of foul play, one wonders why such a crude method. See below for other approaches. Here the baddies wanted to simulate a drug OD, but a big enough shot of adrenaline will induce a heart attack. Would that get picked up on a toxicology report, though, or alternatively, anything that might work as a knockout drug? I don’t read murder mysteries, so this isn’t my category. But this method does take two people, making it a lot harder to stage, plus everything goes more cleanly in Hollywood than in real life:

French child protection group urges Epstein investigation Reuters

Our Fabulously Free Press

‘Something dark & nefarious’: Google insider leaks docs revealing search engine ‘blacklist’ RT (Kevin W). Slotted here because what actually gets read as news is highly dependent on Google’s search results.

CalPERS faces ‘very serious risk’ in $1.2 billion long-term care case, judge warns Sacramento Bee (Kevin W). We posted on this a month ago. This article obscures the fact that what the judge is calling for is a bailout in the form of a special appropriation by the state to the long-term care plan, which is na ga happen.

Apple, Spotify Discuss Siri Truce, as Antitrust Battle Looms The Verge

WeWork IPO Reveals It Lost $1.9 Billion Last Year, and Is Losing About $5,200 Per Customer CBS

Mr. Market Has a Sad

Trump Is No More Effective Than Powell at Stopping the Stock Bleeding Bloomberg. Glad we have that clear, that the job of government is to prop up equity markets.

Bond yields are tumbling throughout Asia Pacific CNBC

Class Warfare

The Worst Type Of Person You Can Be Current Affairs (UserFriendly). I hope any readers in Louisiana (or regular New Orleans visitors) e-mail the owners of the store and say they are appalled by this behavior and have told everyone they know to boycott the store unless it compensates the musician for the damage they did to him. Also complain on FB and Twitter.

Watch Out Google, YouTubers Are Unionizing Bloomberg

CEO compensation has grown 940% since 1978: Typical worker compensation has risen only 12% during that time Economic Policy Institute (furzy). It’s actually even worse than that since the commonly-cited measure of CEO pay lowballs it. See How the SEC Enabled the Gross Under-Reporing of CEO Pay. It looks as if the EPI used the conventional method for stock option valuation, which means the picture is even worse than they indicate.

Antidote du jour (furzy):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

117 comments

  1. Aaron

    We have a Cornish Rex. Best pet you could ever imagine. Doesn’t look like a space alien. I would say it’s more of an elegant fruit bat cat with a fabulous personality, demeanor.

    Reply
    1. Katy

      I’ve never met a cat I wasn’t allergic to. (Of course, I’ve never met a Cornish Rex.) But I also have animal-induced asthma. I don’t know whether an allergen-free cat would also be asthma-free. :-(

      Reply
  2. toshiro_mifune

    Scientists Have Created a Vaccine For Cat Allergies
    I was under the impression that most people who have cat allergies aren’t actually allergic to cats but to cat food, in particular dry cat food. The cats eat the food and then clean themselves (they are basically covered in cat spit) and tiny food particles are deposited on their fur which cause the allergies. Is this completely wrong? Haven’t had a full cup of coffee yet so I’m basically to lazy to google it.

    Reply
      1. Bugs Bunny

        It’s a protein in cat saliva – the one mentioned in the article: Fel d 1

        So what they are doing is using gene therapy to stop the cat’s production of the protein. A few things popped out from the poorly written and researched article: What’s the role of the protein? Perhaps it helps cats to digest? Is it essential for cats to reproduce? Would this change be passed in the germ line?

        The only thing they mention that’s good for the cats is that their human won’t take them to the HSPA if the cat causes an allergy.

        Reply
  3. Ignacio

    Research Team Engineers a Better Plastic-Degrading Enzyme NREL. David L: “Dated but interesting.”

    This is not enough. The problem here is not the enzymatic activity by itself but the crystalline nature of the substrate that physically leaves very few sites for enzyme attack. The same occurs with cellulose degrading enzymes. Complete cellulose degradation requires previous chemical/physical pretreatments that amongst other things increase cellulose accessibility. PET could be treated with UV but yet this would prove to be a recalcitrant substrate.

    Reply
    1. ewmayer

      Couldn’t one just pretreat by grinding the plastics into powder? Basically do what’s already happening all around us, plastics getting turned into problematic-in-the-wild microplastics, but now do it in bulk in order to permit industrial-scale enzymatic degradation.

      Reply
      1. Ignacio

        That would help but again is not enough. Degrading powdered microchrystalline cellulose is still difficult except when a harsh chemical treatment (acid) is used to solubilize the fibers. Grinding PET may prove costly also.

        Reply
  4. toshiro_mifune

    The Fashion Line Designed To Trick Surveillance Cameras
    This is genuinely interesting as the OCR tech coupled with the database opens the possibility of SQL injection attacks. E.G. Use the xkcd joke about Bobby Tables as the text for one of the plates;

    IF EXISTS(SELECT *
    FROM dbo.Images)
    DROP TABLE dbo.Images

    Link to the xkcd for those who have never seen it before;
    https://www.xkcd.com/327/

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      yeah…so now i’m thinking about painting license plates all over my truck….
      or that weird pattern in the article:
      https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jan/04/anti-surveillance-clothing-facial-recognition-hyperface#img-1

      if it would still work with browns and greens, it wouldn’t be that different from the ordinary redneck camo-truck.

      ,,,of course, it’s not as if my truck shows up on many cameras, anyway(a couple of redlight cameras, 2-3 times a year, in the next county over—none in my county).
      I like the idea of disrupting the rollout of this nonsense…similar to using “anthrax” instead of “yours truly” in emails to all and sundry.

      Reply
      1. JacobiteInTraining

        “…so now i’m thinking about painting license plates all over my truck….”

        Now *that* is an interesting thought.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          lol.
          in the houston Montrose, and in Austin, in general, “Art Cars” have been a thing for decades.
          in my case, i rarely have discretionary income, and the demparty never, ever gets signs and bumperstickers out here in time…so I’ve made my own signs for years(plywood, paint, often just what i have to hand–it’s been a stick to beat the local dems with, too)…it’s similar for my truck.
          during the run up to legalised gay marriage, i painted that pink and purple equal sign flag on my tailgate. i had “impeach” and “i want my Habeas Corpus” written in blood red during the bush darkness.and “Bernie” 2015-present.
          right now, i’ve also got “M4A” and “GND” on the tailgate…which engenders discussion/opportunity to evangelise with the fellas that work at the feedstore.
          my former truck(ran it literally into the ground,lol) had a paint flaw…paint peeled all over it, and was starting to rust…so i painted the rust with whatever paint we had in the paint cabinet(it was a seriously ugly truck, since mom’s an artist and is always repainting her rooms, etc in weird combinations—i consider the ugliness(as well as the dents and other unsightliness from being a working farm truck) to be a sort of anti-theft system)
          my vehicles never have any “resale value” anyway…i use them up…and despise shopping for a replacement, so i put it off as long as possible. then when the baling wire ceases to function, i sell it to the parts yard down the road for scrap(after cannibalising it for whatever i might want)

          Reply
  5. foghorn longhorn

    Re: Brutus
    We have a Large Black (actual breed name) hog that is probably pushing 600 lbs.
    Brutus and her could breed some superhogs.

    Reply
  6. ACF

    could easily substitute “College/University Administrators” and “Tenured professors” (or even, “non-adjunct faculty” for health care administrators. Probably true of “Non-Profit administration” versus “people who deliver the non-profit’s services” too

    Reply
      1. Jesper

        My guess is Information Technology and the managers who manage by Excel demanded to measure everything so that they could optimise. Create a window into the business to see where the waste is..

        Public sector had this:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Public_Management

        Once the bureaucracy was put into place for the optimisation then the bureaucracy took a life of its own, few people want to make themselves redundant and the result is overspending on optimisation.

        Private healthcare provided to public insurance leads to people being hired in the private sector to maximise the bills sent to the insurer which in turns leads to people being hired in insurance to minimise the bills. Who could possibly argue that such a system is suboptimal for the ones ultimately ending up paying the bills? Insurers wanting to own hospitals has some logic to it….

        Reply
        1. Expat2uruguay

          Private healthcare provided to public insurance leads to people being hired in the private sector to maximise the bills sent to the insurer which in turns leads to people being hired in insurance to minimise the bills.

          thanks, that is quite a good explanation of it all

          Reply
        2. Robert McGregor

          “Managed Care” means outfits like Kaiser and other Mega-Providers that are supposed to have “Economies of Scale.” But the dynamics of “Scale” are largely a mystery, and a paradox. It seems you need a big enough organization in order to provide “modern care,” but at the point of delivery from the mega-Hospital—the patient night have been better off with a 1950s style doctor in his 1950s solo practitioner office.

          Reply
          1. Jesper

            Yep. The mega-providers still want to measure everything to assign costs correctly and it kind of makes sense but the end result can be that instead of having two companies fighting over where the cost should be there’ll be two (or more) departments fighting over how the costs should be assigned. For the department heads the fights can be deciding who gets a bonus and it can even be about who’ll keep his/her job…. The cost of scale is complexity and complexity isn’t free.

            Someone mentioned the Keep It Simple S***** (the KISS) and keeping it simple might be best for the patient – the solo practitioners office might well be the best in many cases.

            In my experience then huge/large companies/organisations tend to over-spend on optimisation, spending dollars to save cents. There are times when I get the feeling that what keeps many CEOs and CIOs awake at night is their concern that someone somewhere in their organisation isn’t working at 100% efficiency 100% of the time and therefore they are willing to spend as much as it takes to make sure that the lowest paid are 100% efficient 100% of the time.

            Reply
        3. Procopius

          I vaguely remember a science-fiction short story, likely from the ’50s, which was a satirical archeologist’s report on the ancient ruins of Washington, D.C. “Their economy was similar to a perpetual motion machine. They subsisted by taking in each other’s laundry; hence the name of the city, Washing-done.” Your explanation is entirely understandable to anybody who has read and understood Parkinson’s Law. Sounds right to me.

          Reply
          1. DDC

            David Macauley Hotel of the Mysteries (1979). Macauley is the author of Cathedral and other wonderful books on buildings and other structures. Many copies available online.

            Also: it’s tenure-line professors who are being replaced by adjuncts, not the other way around.

            Reply
      2. Otis B Driftwood

        See the Milken Instittue report from Reinhardt (http://www.milkenreview.org/articles/priced-out)

        As someone who works in healthcare IT, I was expecting to see this offered as a primary culprit. But it isn’t, and I suppose that makes sense since computer-based systems for administering and delivering healthcare are deployed throughout the world. This situation is unique to the US.

        The primary reasons I found are the increasing regulatory burdens placed on doctors and long-term consolidation of smaller practices. And here’s a highlighted quote from the Milken report that shows why the US is unique:

        Doctors and hospitals contract with armies of specialists to help them code their work in a way that extracts the maximum revenue from the rest of society. Private insurers contract with equally adept coding experts to help them fend off “up-coding” by providers of care.

        Healthcare’s version of Spy vs. Spy.

        This needs reform and I’m not qualified to say how that will happen, but I would start by looking at how other countries handle payment for services (like The Netherlands, Australia and Canada, for starters). All these countries, btw, are key players in international standards bodies.

        Oh, and I’d also take a hard look at the system in Taiwan, which Reinhardt helped design in the 1990s.

        I also found this 2017 article published by a large IT vendor, AthenaHealth that has a variety of perspectives:

        https://www.athenahealth.com/insight/expert-forum-rise-and-rise-healthcare-administrator

        Reply
      3. Amfortas the hippie

        i did a lot of research during the obamacare “debate”…and what i gleaned(likely relevant to higher ed, too) is a sort of quiet revolution in the way the rules were written….often long after the legislation was passed…and often in tiny corners, here and there, by nameless bureaucrats…that had far reaching effects.
        why does medicaid suck?
        because the nameless boardmembers gummed it up in very esoteric ways…since they couldn’t prevent the law or program from happening, they messed it up after the fact.
        we ran into a similar phenomenon with wife getting certified to teach spanish/esl…cert is farmed out to corps, which are obscured by paywalls and shell companies…who actually write the rules…all of which has the effect of implementing the ACTUAL(but unstated, and contradictory to the stated purpose of the law) policy—in that case, a faction of Texas PTB wanted fewer spanish/esl teachers, so they could make life harder for immigrants, point to the failure of immigrants to learn english, and if need be due to outcry, have a reason to import spanish teachers from el salvador.
        all this sort of thing is hard to prove…maybe especially in Texas…due to the opacity and complexity of the systems involved.
        just telling the story of wife’s certification nightmare is difficult to do in detail, unless the person i’m telling it to is a teacher, themselves.

        Reply
        1. Inode_buddha

          I think it has a *lot* to do with the state you are living in… up here in western NY (Buffalo area) medicaid was on a par with Blue Cross gold last time I was on it. Best health coverage I’ve ever had. Even medicare recipients wish they could get on it. Drawback is that you need to be certified disabled (on SSD/SSI) or on welfare to get it.

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            yup. texas hates po folks.
            took forever to get “officially declared disabled”, no matter what even their kept doctors said.
            and while i finally got the hip replaced, when i tried for the ankle(ennervated bag of gravel), the medicaid contractor sent me a list of ankle guys: none of them took medicaid,lol.
            so i cold called every ankle specialist in texas(!!)…none of them took medicaid.
            the reason given, confirmed by our family doctor, is the idiocy of the payment and coding system.
            it is as if it was designed to be clunky and unworkable.
            i mean, we can’t allow a government program for poor people to actually function, can we?
            that would just encourage them….and Calvin’s ghost would be displeased.
            Thankfully, wife got medicaid for the bulk of the last year of crazy cancer stuff…but I got kicked off, because she “makes too much money, now”. go figger.
            and the Texas Teacher’s Raise the Lege just did will kick her off, too…beginning in september.
            “best healthcare system in the world” can still be heard, said in all seriousness, in many places i find myself in,lol.
            i loathe republicans, including the vichy dems.

            Reply
      4. hamstak

        These two events are coincidental, but the rapid rise in the early 90s roughly jibes with:

        1) the dissolution of the USSR
        2) Bill Clinton being elected POTUS

        On the one hand, you have the elimination of an alternative model for political-economy (markets, FTW!); on the other, you have perhaps the first overtly neoliberal president.

        There may be no connection, however.

        Reply
      5. Lambert Strether

        > What happened in the 90s to cause this cancerous growth?

        For the universities, complex eligibility requirements, transforming students into consumers (hence a lot of new physical plant, like fancy gyms), and the need to manage a precarious workforce. Also, once they’re in, they start hiring each other. Also, as C. Northcote Parkinson points out, hiring one person is hiring a rival. Hiring two people is hiring two subordinates. Which’d you rather?

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          I don’t see very many people quoting C. Northcote Parkinson, which is strange, because he had more useful insights than all the Chicago School economists.

          Reply
    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      sadly, this is a compelling but misleading graphic and an example of PNHP’s work that veers toward the propaganda side of advocacy. I am sorry to see NC reproduce it.

      my lil grassroots M4A group (health care for all y’all) was looking to include this in our “road show” of slides and doing due diligence it turns out in making that graphic no effort was made to identify those in dual roles, nor was there any information about which side of the ledger such individuals were attributed to. also, if memory serves, they did not break out different categories of staff: docs, nurses, aides, etc.

      Reply
      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        sorry, ran out of editing time. that’s DUE diligence, and the point about staff was that it was unclear whether many non-physicians who were really NOT administrators, such as charge nurses, were dropped in the admin bucket.

        Reply
        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Charge nurses may not be administrators, but they are loaded down with a lot of administrative tasks, as are many other non-administrators.

          Reply
  7. Stadist

    Plastic particles falling out of sky with snow in Arctic BBC.

    This is both interesting and scary.

    How does this change possible energy absorption from the sun light? I know for a fact that most meant to be durable plastics are laced with minute amounts of UV-absorbing substances to prevent the UV light from degrading plastics. Usually these are just substances that can absorb on UV range without degrading themselves, i.e. they are able to turn UV light into thermal energy.

    I believe I don’t need to point out the possible implications of this if plastic matter continues to accumulate on arctic and antarctic regions.
    Maybe I’m being too hasty, I need to look into which UV-Vis ranges different forms of water absorb and how does this exactly compare with common pure plastics. Although in good quality scientific studies the plastics might be ‘analytical grade’ instead of the technical ones with different additives. Many questions, few answers.

    Reply
    1. UserFriendly

      These are microplastics; if you can’t even see the pigmint with your naked eye, I wouldn’t expect the amount of energy absorbed to be significant.

      Reply
      1. Stadist

        Depends on what is considered significant.

        With the climate change apparently the atmospheric CO2 going up from around 250-300 ppm to current level around 440 ppm is causing significant warming. At least there is pretty clear correlation with global warming and atmospheric CO2 levels and this increasing extreme weather events seem to confirm the trend.
        Because this change in CO2 is so small part of total volume of the atmosphere this is commonly used to argue that climate change isn’t driven by CO2 concentrations.

        Same with the microplastics on the snow, even if they would increase energy flow into snow by just a few %-points this could still speed up the melting significantly. Or maybe it has no impact, personally I would like to see this matter studied further.

        Reply
  8. PlutoniumKun

    Re:

    L’affaire Epstein

    On the point of his broken neck bones (I’ve a friend who is a medical forensic scientist, hopefully I’ll be able to talk to him about this some day), I’ve read from a number of sources that faked suicides as portrayed in movies/TV are not possible, because panicked, struggling people will always manage to do some sort of damage to their attacker, or force their attacker to strike them or otherwise leave tell-tale injuries or marks. This applies even if there is a huge strength disparity between attacker and attacked.

    But on Joe Rogans show – Rogan (who is a martial arts expert and black belt), was opining that a powerfully built ju jitsu expert would have had no problem immobilising an untrained man like Epstein and strangling/choking him. From what I’ve seen about Brazilian ju jitsu there are certainly holds that can fully immobilise anyone, even well trained opponents. I’ve seen enough MMA fights to know that in a close clench the judoken/ju jitsu trained person can wrap up even a trained fighter tight enough to put on a secure neck choke – and this is even when the fighters are matched by weight. Whether this will leave tell-tale marks, I don’t know.

    But just to add to yesterdays excellent thread – a key thing I think which was mentioned, but often overlooked, is that in clandestine operations trained operative often don’t try to clean up their tracks – on the contrary, it can be more effective for them to leave such a trail of random evidence that the sheer number of random evidence leads everyone on random goose chases, leaving an often quite simple truth overlooked. Which is another way of saying that even evidence that points to murder, might itself have been planted to deceive.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Hall

      Limited hangouts, misdirection, etc. often work best with some truth involved.

      One thing I keep wondering about is what if Epstein isn’t who we all thought he was? (And I’m talking about more than just a thing for underage girls but the use of such as a honeypot operation against the powerful and influential.) What if his role in all of this was just simply the “face”. He plays the visible role allowing the real operator to better work more discreetly but close by, overlooked in an apparently subservient role. Maxwell perhaps? And neither being self employed but working as state actors.

      The thing I am sure about is that all this time that Epstein was out of play the past odd 10 years or so, the music never stopped. The need for such an operation never went away for the perpetrators, and so it didn’t. They just changed up and continued onward. Much ground has been covered while the spotlight has been on Epstein.

      Reply
      1. Summer

        That’s what I was wondering yesterday.
        Maxwell had the background and social connections and father with dubious background. There was one allegation that Maxwell’s father had been the first to “fund” Epstein.

        Epstein has been jailed twice and is dead. Maxwell knew everything he did and is alive.
        Maxwell seems to be the one being protected.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          Her face is all over the news and she seems to have gone to ground, probably in Europe (Borgerson denies vehemently that she is or was at his house, but then, he would). Not much continuing use as an agent, so she has more than one potential threat to worry about.

          Do intelligence agencies actually protect no-longer useful agents? They could probably hide her OK, even get her face done.

          Reply
    2. Whoamolly

      What might be more important socially and politically is a widespread ‘belief’ that Epstein was murdered.

      Such belief would further de-legitimize the current state.

      I find myself leaning toward the belief it was an assassination, as time passes and the story gets stranger. My first guess was suicide enabled by incompetence. Now not so sure.

      Reply
      1. todde

        The quicker they admit their incompetence, the more likely it was fraud. At least that is what I have found when investigating fraud.

        Reply
          1. mle in detroit

            Re delegitimizing the state, I have wondered, since reading Julie Brown’s series, just what “modeling agency” Melania Knauss worked for when she first arrived in New York.

            Reply
    3. mnm

      These articles are doing their best to deflect from the real players. Ghislaine Maxwell met Epstein after her father died and she came to NYC. She had the connections, but no more money. Her daddy was broke and stole his employee’s pension fund. A good question is how did Epstein meet Maxwell?

      https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1363444/Jeffrey-Epstein-Robert-Maxwells-daughter-Ghislaine-hired-girls-paedophile.html

      Epstein used up his usefulness and was a liability, if the blackmail stuff is true. Before his death Clintons and Maxwell were hardly mentioned by press, other pals were explaining away connections, Trump was really being pushed hard and they were portraying Epstein as a lone, weirdo pervert billionaire
      Someone mentioned Three Days of the Condor and a release of docs if he is murdered, but one of the last lines from the CIA guy to Redford was, “How do you know they will print it.”

      Reply
    4. T

      Still inclear to me if the injuries clearly mean strangled as distinguished from coulda been someone else, coulda been whatever he did to himself on top of old injuries from who knows what – also not a young man with young bones. Trying not to care about this aspect of the mess, tho.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        There was a 9 foot ceiling, and according to a former inmate in that wing, the sheets were too flimsy to use for strangulation, and no place on the ceiling to anchor the sheets,

        In execution by hanging, the prisoner is dropped suddenly in an attempt to break his neck because that’s the more merciful way to kill them. They die way faster.

        If Epstein somehow got a suicide implement, like normal rather than prison issue sheets, it’s still hard to see how a sharp enough shock would have occurred to break a bone, or alternatively, enough force administered long enough. “Multiple” bones were broken, not just one. This sounds more like a shock as opposed to a bone breaking under sustained force. On top of that, Epstein had a trainer/bodyguard (a former MMA champ). If Epstein did any squats with weights, or shoulder exercises with weights builds bone density in the neck bones (squats build bone density overall, shoulder exercises build neck bones due to the secondary loading and the extra effort to stabilize the head).

        Not sayin’ it’s impossible, but seems unlikely given the facts.

        Reply
          1. Oregoncharles

            Careless of them.

            I saw a discussion of cutting off the carotid arteries, rather than the airway; less force, less resistance, quickly unconscious.. Apparently common in self-strangulation. Wouldn’t break the hyoid bone, though.

            An outside forensic expert said it was consistent with the current theory of his death.

            Reply
          2. Yves Smith Post author

            I suggest you provide links, otherwise this falls in the category of Making Shit Up.

            There is one single sources anon story (as in not great sourcing) that claims he hung himself by LEANING into the sheet:

            The source told the New York Post that Epstein, 66, hanged himself with a noose he made out of a bed sheet, tying the sheet to the top bunk of the bed in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Facility.

            The source said that Epstein, who was six feet tall, asphyxiated himself by leaning toward the floor while on his knees.

            https://www.crimeonline.com/2019/08/12/breaking-jeffrey-epstein-hanged-himself-from-bunk-bed-in-jail-cell-source-says/

            Not consistent with broken bones. No shock plus way less body weight at work by virtue of kneeling.

            So one therefore has to take this claim with a fistful of salt.

            Also if you see the picture presented of him in gurney, he looks to already have rigor mortis and his wrists and elbows are at 90 degrees. Normally people are in gurneys with their arms fully extended:

            https://nypost.com/2019/08/10/photos-show-jeffrey-epstein-as-hes-wheeled-into-downtown-hospital/

            Reply
            1. Procopius

              Wikipedia, on hyoid bone fracture. I’m having a hard time finding the articles I looked at yesterday, because I can’t remember their exact titles, but here’s one that seems to be similar: Wikipedia “Suicide by hanging.” I remember a case in Thailand a few years ago where the prisoner was held in a room, not a barred cell, with a regular doorknob on the inside. That’s what he was said to have anchored his ligature to. I believe he was claimed to have tied his socks together to make the ligature. The story was met with a lot of skepticism here, too.

              Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “King incites furor with abortion, rape and incest remarks”

    If we are going to be honest here, we all have our sexual fantasies whether you are male or female or whatever. Having said that, I do wonder what Steve King’s fantasies consist of. Actually I am not sure that I really want to know that.

    Reply
    1. marym

      It’s not an issue of his authoritarian, misogynist personal fantasies. It’s an issue of his efforts as a lawmaker to legitimize authoritarian, misogynist behavior, including the two exceptions for legal abortion occasionally acceptable to other authoritarian misogynists.

      Reply
    2. boz

      They were rather odd ways of trying to make some points to make on a charged topic like abortion.

      There are better ways to point to the issues with the “special cases”.

      Reply
  10. jefemt

    A bit disappointed we didn’t have parity in featuring a diminutive red frog in the antidote as well.

    No need for a photo of a pot of simmering water- implicit.

    My anthropomorphizing immediate thought gazing at those big eyes, an imploration:

    “Help me, please!”

    Reply
  11. fdr-fan

    Why so crude? Because it doesn’t matter. Tyrants who own everything don’t have to be subtle because punishment is physically impossible.

    Opponents of tyranny have to be subtle.

    Reply
  12. Cal2

    About calling the police on someone, depends where you are.

    In San Francisco, a woman was violently assaulted by a ‘homeless’ lunatic at the front door of her condo. The ‘security guard’, receptionist called the police, who showed up 22 minutes later.

    https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/san-francisco-condo-watermark-assault-video-beale-14303495.php

    SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — “The homeless man arrested for attacking a woman outside her apartment building in San Francisco has been released from police custody and now, the victim is asking Gov. Gavin Newsom for help. Some people are also questioning the judge who made the decision to let the alleged attacker go.”

    https://www.kron4.com/news/bay-area/neighbors-on-edge-after-woman-attacked-by-homeless-man-outside-of-sf-condo/

    Reply
  13. The Rev Kev

    “Why the Secret Service spent thousands at a Trump hotel”

    Meh, pocket change this. When George Bush came to Sydney as part of the 2007 APEC summit, they shut down the entire CBD for him and all mobile phones were disabled. They built a 5 kilometer (three mile) fence around inner Sydney and kept people out of there. So how much does it cost to shut down the CBD of a city of four and a half million people? Here is an article on the security for this visit so you can guess how much this all cost-

    https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2007/09/apec-s04.html

    Having said this, it did not stop a group of comedians sneaking into there with their own motorcade along with a guy dressed as Osama bin Laden.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3zKuLgH_l8

    Reply
    1. Cal2

      Chump change.
      “Former President Barack Obama’s family travels cost the U.S. a total of $114 million during his presidency, according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group. President Donald Trump has, so far, cost taxpayers $10 million.” [article dated 11-27-17]
      https://www.newsweek.com/obama-administration-travel-costs-114-million-trump-723883

      “Malia Obama’s Trip to Mexico: $115,500.87 ”

      “https://www.judicialwatch.org/press-releases/judicial-watch-releases-records-detailing-government-funds-expended-on-first-daughter-malia-obamas-spring-break-trip-to-mexico/”

      Israel paying for our senators to take free vacations there is hardly a bargain for we taxpayers as their return on their investment is enormous.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Michele famously took the girls for shoe shopping in Milan on Air Force One, at a cost of +/- $200K per hour.
        But oh, I forgot, it’s different if “she” does it. Our Mellifluous Megalomaniac Melanoderm Marie Antoinette, on her way to greet the fabulous Oprah and the bloodthirsty war cheerleaders lovely ladies of The View.

        Reply
      2. UserFriendly

        The point is that Trump is self dealing his hotels, not how much he is spending. Yes Obama was corrupt, but as usual Trump does the corruption in plane sight.

        Reply
      3. randomworker

        Thats some good propaganda catapultin. Obama for 8 years. Trump for a month at that point. (Jan 2017).

        Trump’s travel to Mar-a-Lago alone probably cost taxpayers more than $64 million

        Thats WaPo in Feb 2019.

        But I get it. Obama bad Trump not bad around here.

        Reply
    2. Monty

      Yes … but Orange Man BAD!!!

      Actually, the more reminders we get about just how repulsive that family is, the better. The cash price is less important that that we are funding his senseless animal cruelty.

      Reply
  14. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Is Tom Steyer Making a Mockery Out of the DNC? New York Magazine (resilc)

    From the comments on this article, I’d put this in the category of “Comments I Wish I Would Have Made:”

    “It’s not fair to blame any one person for making the DNC a mockery, it has been a truly collaborative effort.”

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “working together”…”moving forward”…”making bold moves on the path to….”….crapification…

      been waiting around to take my kid to the doctor, and reading things in margins of articles in links/WC from last few days.
      this appears germane to much of what we discuss, here…not least the zombie dems:

      “fascist groups of one kind or another exist in all modern societies. They move center stage and even into power only on certain occasions when they get the backing of big business. And these occasions arise when three conditions are satisfied: when there is an economic crisis so the system cannot simply go on as before; when the usual liberal establishment is manifestly incapable of resolving the crisis; and when the left is not strong enough to provide an alternative to the people in order to move out of the conjuncture.”
      https://monthlyreview.org/2019/07/01/neoliberal-capitalism-at-a-dead-end/

      and from the margins of the gods and radicals thing yesterday(Rhyd is a fave):https://abeautifulresistance.org/site/2019/7/2/land-is-how-you-live

      about the city hating on the country. I’ve yelled at urban/suburban team blue trolls forever that if they would get serious with the local/regional food supply idea, which checks so many of their boxes anyway, us hill people might not be as scary or recalcitrant. Machine has removed our reason for being by offshoring food production. buying 10,000 mile tomatoes at walmart/whole foods encourages/reinforces that dynamic.

      to wit, another paragraph from the first article i linked:
      “Such a transition will not be easy; it will require promoting domestic peasant agriculture, defending petty production, moving toward cooperative forms of production, and ensuring greater equality in income distribution, all of which need major structural shifts….”

      Reply
      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        I used to be a country hating suburban/urbanite. But now i realize the dam neolibs fooled me with smoke and mirrors. New Orleans is trying to transform itself into a sterile urban center like Denver and Seattle. All these carpet baggers moving in and displacing poor people, mostly black. Their assault on Bourbon St continues and they almost won with that bulls’it Human Trafficking scare a couple years ago. This just in, ‘Strippers hav sex with clients!!!,’ and ‘Cocaine used in Strip Club!’ Trying to turn Nola into a Disney theme park!!

        I posted a Facebook screed about Frenchmen Street Art and Books on my Louisiana Socialist Network page. Boycott, Call, Protest! I wish my DSA had a forward deploying protest group that could be mobilized on a minutes notice!

        Reply
  15. Olga

    Security Architecture in the Gulf: Troubled Prospects LobeLog (resilc)
    It is not clear what is “troubled” about Russia (and China more in the background) trying to propose a security arrangement that would involve all stakeholders in the region – particularly, as the US slowly exits. (Hard to believe, though, that it would really exit one day.) My guess is that without the hegemon stoking tensions in the region, the various countries could actually get along – at least in some crucial areas, such as security.
    There is a curious paragraph: “Perceptions of a reduced US commitment may make the Russian proposal of a multilateral approach more attractive in the short term. However, longer term banking on a continued Russian Chinese alliance could be tricky. The alliance could prove to be opportunistic rather than strategic.”
    Not sure which alliance the author is talking about – R/C or the one being proposed for the ME region. And the last sentence makes little sense. I thought that one develops a strategy to seize an opportunity, so juxtaposing “opportunistic/strategic” is a bit baffling. Unless, of course, it is supposed to convey indirectly that US presence was “strategic” and R/C’s would be opportunistic. Yea, tell that to the Syrians or Iraqis!

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      I don’t know if you really need a military force in this region so much as a coast guard-slash-traffic control here. Warships encourage tensions. Trump wants to set up an international coalition of the willing nations for the Gulf but I think that this is a trap that most nations recognize. If you have such a military force there, you would be only one “incident” away from having this turn from a naval protection detail into a force to blockade Iran with. No thanks. It would be far better if the patrolling ships could only be from countries that had a coastline on the Gulf but Trump would never accept that as that would include Iran. That does set up a quandary that.

      Reply
      1. Olga

        A view from Iran:
        https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/07/30/602231/Russia-Persian-Gulf-Iran

        And this lays out the main points of the plan;
        https://stephenlendman.org/2019/07/russian-foreign-ministry-plan-for-persian-gulf-security-part-ii/

        (Also, G releases Iranian tanker: https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/08/15/603617/Iran-Gibraltar-release-tanker-Grace-1-UK-United-States)

        Too bad wee don’t get links from presstv – there is one now about UK’s farmers marching sheep through London in a protest against no-deal Brexit.

        And have folks noticed what happened in Argentina (with elections)?

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          Wikipedia: “General elections will be held in Argentina on 27 October 2019.”

          Please continue to post appropriate links from presstv; that is one of the functions of comments.

          Reply
  16. WheresOurTeddy

    Krystal Ball used to be inside MSNBC and is now assailing it from the outside. The Hill’s youtube isn’t half bad.

    More media traitors please.

    Reply
    1. UserFriendly

      I have never been one to prefer TV news (mostly because when I start getting mad about how wrong they are there isn’t a way to make them shut up). But I have been enjoying Hill TV’s rising. I may have a quibble or two but even the ‘conservative’ co-host frequently rails against neoliberalism.

      Reply
      1. WheresOurTeddy

        I think that dude is a stealth progressive masquerading as a republican but I’m fine with it since there are 1,000 republicans masquerading as democrats and progressives on all the other channels

        Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Jeez!!!

      Not too big a leap from a candidate who can only handle the job part-time to a prez who can only handle the job part-time. C’mon man, it’s a gig economy now. Work a much or as little as you “want.”

      The guy really is a throwback–to the good ole days when even Alzheimer’s was not disqualifying.

      Here’s hoping dr. jill biden has a good astrologer who can grab the reins while smilin’ joe is “resting.”

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Maybe he can do a Hillary and not do any appearances for months on end until his final run for the Presidency. It almost worked for Hillary because she was being given a free pass by the media. Her going down like a bag of cement and being shoved into that van showed why this limitation of appearances.

      Reply
  17. Ignacio

    RE:Ministro Larraín arremete contra proyecto de 40 horas: Asegura que se perderán 250 mil empleos el Desconcierto. Timotheus: “This is emblematic of the great “successful” almost miraculous Chilean economy: the Finance Minister comes out swinging against a legislative proposal for a 40-hour week. “It will destroy jobs!” etc.”

    Very good commentary from Thimoteus. Sadly, while the article writer is against the position of the finance minister, is also unable to attack the falsehood of Larrain’s argument which is that less weekly working hours results in proportional increase of labour costs. According to the minister a 11% cut in working hours results in 11% increase in labour costs, it follows that 250.000 jobs are lost. This kind of arguments have been debunked so many times here at NC…

    Reply
  18. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. Generals Worry About Rising Russian and Chinese Influence in Africa, Documents Show”

    I am guessing that this article is part of a campaign this. The past two nights on the regular news there was a two part mini-documentary on Russia’s mercenaries – the Wagner Group. It was made by CNN (Yeah, I was shocked as well) but I have also found the second part on ABC Fox Montana which was all about the Russians in Africa. There was all the talk how it was really Putin’s secret army and the first part implied that it was the Wagner group that took over Crimea (it wasn’t. It was Russian elite troops).
    Apparently the Russians should not be in Africa though so far as I know, there is no Russian or Chinese Africa Command. For an African nation, it may be a matter of a choice. You can let a military base be built in your country or you can let the Chinese build some roads, railways or infrastructure instead. Tough choice that. If anybody wants to see the second part of that CNN doco that I was talking about, you can see it here-

    https://www.abcfoxmontana.com/national_news/russian-mercenaries-creep-into-africa/video_e2be0aab-82e4-5e6e-b60e-48aa2b8cf6eb.html

    Reply
    1. Olga

      Yes, starting to look like a concerted campaign – albeit, one that started in 2007 (at least) and will continue for a LONG time. Ru/Chi presence is “troubled” in MENA and Lat. Amer., also in Africa. And, of course, in Asia. The Europeans are ambivalent about China, as is Australia. We should probably just move them to Mars, and let the hegemon rule over all of us without any pesky opposition.

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There was a 1976 Ivorian film, Black and White in Color about outside powers fighting it out in Africa.

      It was a nightmare and will be when the future powers of a multi-polar world do it again there.

      Reply
    1. barefoot charley

      I’m part of a much bigger Woodstock generation, I’m one of 50 million people who was gonna drive there but had a flat tire . . .

      Reply
    2. human

      I couldn’t afford the $21 for the three day event at a time when local concert tickets for B level groups was typically $3 at small venues.

      Didn’t miss it at the time as several friends came back disappointed with the weather not yet recognizing what they had become part of.

      Reply
    3. Robert McGregor

      . . . Your attendance at Woodstock:

      Do you have some good pictures? You could probably make a million selling then to clickbait providers.

      Reply
    4. The Rev Kev

      Best Woodstock cartoon I ever saw was one featuring a bunch of people in front of a “50th Woodstock Anniversary” banner. The guys were wearing tuxedos and the women were wearing gowns while all were sipping Martinis.

      Reply
    1. dk

      It’s possible, even more than a little likely, that both of these can have some elements of objective validity.

      Selectivity of what is valid is itself the more pernicious behavior, regardless of who engages in it.

      My own peculiar and insignificant experience is that Google News feeds me primarily FOX headlines, often as the only sourcing for an item … saves me having to actually go to the FOX sites to get their take, so FOX loses out on my clicks. Naughty Google, cheating FOX like that!

      Then again Google also thinks I’m diabetic as does Amazon, and it’s true that I have diabetic friends for whom I’ve done research and purchased products (to their address not mine… whatever).

      My point here is that impulsive behavioral reaction tends to exaggerate. Drop a morsel of food near and anthill and it looks like the whole colony shows up to check out the small scrap (although it probably only a fraction of total population). Every move we or anyone makes tends to amplify and distort significance and proportion to context, often impacting perceived (or received) meaning. Conservatives and Liberals, Nazis and Peaceniks all do it, then point fingers for further amplification. One might think the entire human species stupid… and frankly there is some evidence towards this, but I think we just tend to be unselfconscious about the proportions of our personal sentiments :)

      Reply
  19. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thanks for pointing to the headline of the Bloomberg article which assumes it is the responsibility of the federal government, including both the president and Fed chairman, to prop up the stock market. I have wondered how much public money has been devoted to this endeavor since St. Ronnie signed an executive order to form the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets in the wake of the October 1987 crash, and how the mandate to do so and associated resource allocations have gradually and quietly been expanded since that fateful day. Given the related allocation of public resources and potential geopolitical implications, it seems to me this policy falls under the purview of Congressional legislation, not a diktat by the executive branch nor under the Federal Reserve’s mandate.
    Gives lie to the fundamental tenet of neoliberalism regarding “markets”, no?

    Reply
    1. Summer

      I can’t find it anywhere now, but there was a message from Obama around 2010 or so (maybe late 2009). It was just him on video telling people to trust enough to invest in the stock market again. It was like one of those Obama for America type campaign messages, but it was after he was elected and he was pleading for people to trust the market.

      I thought it was very strange….

      Reply
    2. Inode_buddha

      But… but… but… I thought markets could regulate themselves??? And don’t we want small government?

      They should let the whole thing friggen collapse, *then* point out this hypocrisy for the self-dealing BS that it is…

      Reply
  20. Camp Lo

    I sympathize with the Iranian veteran’s experience, the rights to not be shot at nor to be compelled to do the shooting is one the most profound rights nations regularly forfeit from its citizens. I sympathize with Iran. But to claim the Iranian state has never initiated any warfare is disingenuous. For instance, Iran has prosecuted war against Azerbaijan. By force of arms, Iran has tried to export its revolution in places like Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and Yemen. Iran currently occupies a portion of Oman’s internationally recognized territory. And rightfully so, Iran recognizes the ideological genesis of needs among all people. And if, as a nation-state, Iran refused to dominate on behalf of its interests, the people would have a right to abolish the government, and replace it. That letter is for domestic and international-neutral consumption in anticipation of open hostilities, which is an ominous sign for everyone.

    Reply
  21. Oregoncharles

    “They are called the Rex. They do look like space aliens “, but they act just like cats. They’re popular in Youtube videos, because the resulting cognitive dissonance is humorous.

    That said: a treatment for the sensitivity would help with OTHER people’s cats. Otherwise, it’s hard even enter a house with cats. just an observation – my brother is quite allergic, even though we had cats as kids. Maybe not young enough.

    Reply
    1. Susan Mulloy

      I agree that a treatment to help those ill-affected by cat dander is a good thing. I work to help companion animals find homes and so wish that people could adopt more cats. Many people who are allergic try and then have to return the animal. And others simply stay away all the time loving cats and wishing they could have a cat buddy or two.

      Reply
  22. KFritz

    Re: google Blacklist

    Yesterday google News did include a link to the Daily Caller, a right wing news/propaganda site listed in today’s link. I saw the news link after 5 pm West Coast time, presumably after the blacklist link appeared on the internet. It was the first time I’d seen a Daily Caller link at google News. I’d already seen execrable, stupid behavior from onlookers during the first moments of the shootout, so I googled the Daily Caller and decided not to consult it after reading the lead section of its Wikipedia article. Read it today, and decided that was correct after Kamala Harris magically appeared in a “news” clip about bad behavior on the street in Philadelphia.

    Did google include a clip from the Daily Caller in response to the blacklist allegation?

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      I would take the info in that article with a teaspoon or so of salt. It’s posted by RT which I tend to find trustworthy, however their source is Project Veritas which is James O’Keefe’s organization. O’Keefe is the guy with a penchant for creatively editing his video scoops and his BS resulted in ACORN being shut down several years ago. Also the details on the whistleblower seems a little sketchy. Is this a current employee of Google? If so, not for long. Also they are named and admit to stealing and publicizing corporate documents while encouraging others to do so. While I might admire the sentiment, it also seems incredibly stupid to risk prison time. Why not just release the info anonymously? Why the need for the self aggrandizement?

      While I an fairly certain Google does any number of nefarious things with its search algo, I am not so sure I would believe Mr. O’Keefe’s version of events without some proof from other sources to back it up.

      Reply
  23. KFritz

    Re: Iranian war veteran and history

    Mr. Ahmadzadeh is presumably correct that Iran hasn’t started a war for 250 years. However in paragraph six, he tries to include 4000 years of Persian history as part of the non-aggression. Iran has a history of empire and conquest to rival any other imperial power–the empire founded by Cyrus the Great, the Sassanians, and Nader Shah’s Sack of Delhi in 1739 come to mind.

    I agree with the theme of the article, but to paint Iran as a perennially peaceful nation is breathtaking intellectual dishonesty, and straight-up propaganda.

    Reply
  24. rjs

    RE: 40% of US honeybee colonies disappeared last year. (winter losses)

    unstated is that all but the weakest colonies can be split early each summer (in May), doubling the number of hives by fall…i took one hive and turned it into seven within two years…

    Reply
  25. Oregoncharles

    Lost & found: ” Jeffrey Epstein’s gal pal Ghislaine Maxwell spotted at In-N-Out Burger in first photos since his death ” In Los Angeles. From the NY Post, FWIW.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *