Links 8/16/19

Scientists say monster penguin once swam New Zealand oceans Associated Press (UserFriendly)

Washington Wheat Farmers Could Be Toast If Dams Are Removed To Help Hungry Orcas NPR (David L)

Unexploded Second World War bomb found in Kremlin The Hindu (J-LS)

How to Listen to the Original Woodstock Festival LifeHacker (UserFriendly)

Chemists Make First-Ever Ring of Pure Carbon Nature

Fracking boom tied to methane spike in Earth’s atmosphere National Geographic (David L). This issue has been discussed at length at NC, particularly in posts from DownWithTyranny by Gaius Publius.

China?

Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers in US to discuss city’s crisis with politicians and business leaders South China Morning Post. UserFriendly: “Hello CCP, please violently kill protesters that we are pretending to stand for.

China masses troops in stadium near Hong Kong Financial Times

Trump Says He Plans to Talk ‘Very Soon’ With China’s Xi on Trade Bloomberg

North Korea

North Korea snubs peace talks with South Korea over war drills BBC

Kashmir

UNSC to Discuss Kashmir Move on Friday, India Plays it Down The Wire (J-LS)

India Shut Down Kashmir’s Internet Access New York Times

Brexit

Brexit: Lib Dem leader claims Ken Clarke and Harriet Harman are willing to lead caretaker government Telegraph. From the live blog. NC readers are the best! They settled on Ken Clarke as the best hope for a “government of national unity”.

Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit could lead British lambs to slaughter Washington Post. As we indicated, but great headline.

Syraqistan

Blaming Each Other for Backing Terrorism Consortiumnews (UserFriendly)

What’s Happening in Kashmir Looks a Lot Like Israel’s Rule Over Palestine LobeLog (resilc)

Gibraltar Supreme Court says Iranian tanker is free to sail Al Jazeera (furzy). After this: U.S. Tries to Seize Iranian Oil Tanker Held in Gibraltar Wall Street Journal

Gibraltar defies US, releasing Iranian oil tanker Asia Times (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The world’s most-surveilled cities Comparitech (resilc)

‘Black Communities Are Already Living in a Tech Dystopia’ FAIR (UserFriendly)

Trump Transition

Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move The Hill

But at 6:15 AM EDT: Israel approves Tlaib request to visit grandmother in West Bank The Hill

Trump launches maniacal tweetstorm after devastating Fox News poll shows his numbers near all-time worst Alternet (furzy). He might start by not attacking young female Congresscritters.

Rebecca Gordon, How the U.S. Created the Central American Immigration Crisis TomDispatch

Trump lost $34 billion in corporate revenue by cutting IRS budget by $13 billion: study Raw Story (furzy). That’s a feature, not a bug.

VIDEO: Car Speeds Into Crowd Of ICE Protesters Outside Detention Facility NPR (David L). Shades of Charlottesville, except nobody died.

Health Care

The ‘dark side’ of Finland’s famous free health care CNN (furzy). This piece is desperate. Providing decent care in rural areas is a problem all over the world.

2020

Here’s the Evidence Corporate Media Say Is Missing of WaPo Bias Against Sanders FAIR (UserFriendly). A great piece with a kludgey title. Circulate widely.

Former MSNBC Reporter Spills Details On Pro-Establishment Bias In Media Caitlin Johnstone (UserFriendly)

Calling Out Corporate Control of US Media, Sanders Campaign Launches ‘Bern Notice’ Newsletter Common Dreams (J-LS). Link here.

Biden Decried Bain in ’12, But Has Taken Execs’ Donations in ’19 RealClearPolitics

Elizabeth Warren Sells Populism to Professionals New Yorker (resilc)

How Third-Party Votes Sunk Clinton, What They Mean for Trump Inside Elections (UserFriendly)

Harris’ Silence on Diverted Funds Rankles Housing Advocates RealClearPolitics

2020 Property Tax Battle in California Could Be Epic New York Magazine (UserFriendly)

L’affaire Epstein. A wee vignette that illustrates the caliber and objectivity of mainstream reporting. Yesterday, we linked to a Washington Post story on the Epstein autopsy results. The very first paragraph said he had multiple bones broken in his neck, and focused on the one broken bone that experts found more consistent with strangulation than hanging. The article pointed out that studies on suicides by hanging had mixed results. A 2010 study of 20 men in Thailand found that 25% had broken this bone in their suicide by hanging, but a later study of 264 Indian men found only 6% broke this bone when they hung themselves.

I happened to be within earshot of NBC evening news last night. First story is on how a Nascar driver and his family escaped when his private plane caught on fire after running off the runway. So this with Epstein as the next piece strongly indicates that TV networks regard stories about the rich and famous as more important than ones about issue that affect ordinary people.

NBC discussed only a bone break, not multiple broken bones, and said that bone was broken 30% of the time in strangulations and 25% in suicides. Move along, nothing to see here…

Jeffrey Epstein’s Bodyguard on His Former Boss’s Lifestyle, Cruelty, Suicide New York Magazine (Kurt Sperry)

Jeffrey Epstein’s gal pal Ghislaine Maxwell spotted at In-N-Out Burger in first photos since his death New York Post

Bankruptcy, sudden death, huge fortunes made and lost – the shattering legacy of all the children in thrall to their monstrous father Robert Maxwell, as his ‘favourite’ daughter Ghislaine hides out amid Jeffrey Epstein scandal Daily Mail

Jeffrey Epstein Spent Time Alone With Young Woman In Prison’s Attorney Room Forbes

Chase Koch Turns Family’s Industrial Giant to Tech VC Future Bloomberg

Corn Industry Battered By Shocking Ethanol Decision OilPrice. We’ve pointed out that biofuels generally are a bad idea because the total environmental cost makes it inefficient. The only exception is cane grown in Brazil.

There’s a Global Gust in the Offshore Wind Energy Market | 2019-07-24 | Engineering News-Record (resilc)

The Modern Money Movement with Andrés Bernal MROnline (UserFriendly). Podcast interview of Maxximilian Seijo, Scott Ferguson, and William Saas with a transcript.

How YouTube Came to Promote Fascism Matt Stoller

GE Plunges Most in 11 Years as Madoff Accuser Slams Accounting Bloomberg. Insurance expert and regular short seller John Hempton says Markopolos is all wet. Via e-mail: “The Markopolos report is so consistently wrong/insane it makes me sympathetic to the SEC not taking him seriously on Madoff.”

Guillotine Watch

Everest climbers set to face new rules The Hindu (J-LS)

Class Warfare

Game over: Middle-class and poor kids are ditching youth sports CBS (J-LS)

Amazon Uses a Twitter Army of Employees to Fight Criticism of Warehouses New York Times (David L). Lambert featured his yesterday. I think not just Twitter. We had a not-plausible depiction of how great it was working in the warehouse show up in comments. Maybe that person was having a slow day on Twitter.

Antidote du jour. Kije: “Father and son portrait.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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170 comments

    1. PlutoniumKun

      That was surprisingly maladroit by the management. It shows just how ruthless Beijing can be – every HK company will have taken notice. Once you are within the system, no dissenting voice is permitted.

      Reply
      1. Tom

        It also shows that the concept of an HK company is not very realistic when regulatory oversight and enforcement is provided by the Chinese government.

        Reply
    2. anon in so cal

      If memory serves me correctly, Rupert was despised by many CX pilots. Several years of pilots’ contract compliance apparently had no effect on Rupert’s draconian tactics concerning rostering, etc.

      Reply
  1. Lee

    Guillotine Watch

    Everest climbers set to face new rules The Hindu (J-LS

    They are making it more expensive so that only rich people can afford to march themselves into thin air, which at first blush seems like a capital idea. But, as it now stands, only rich people can presently afford the trek anyway, so limiting their numbers through permitting means fewer of them will be allowed risk their lives and their brain cells for the ultimate selfie, which is unfortunate. Perhaps government should stay out of this one and let markets decide.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      The correct model for Everest is the fully workable one adopted by Bhutan – quite simply, ban mountaineering on the high peaks. Everest climbing doesn’t just kill a lot of stupid tourists, it is very damaging to the local culture because it creates an ‘elite’ of local guides who are then under huge pressure to take risks in order to generate money for their extended families.

      Instead, focus tourism on trekking in rural areas with a focus on local homestays so that the maximum amount possible of tourist expenditure ends up in local peoples pockets. In Bhutan anyone able bodied can be a guide with sufficient training and the rules insist on locals only providing all services. It is far more equitable.

      Reply
      1. Eclair

        Trekking and homestays is a more sustainable model. This compulsion to conquer the high peaks is so Western/capitalist. Nature is there to be conquered, exploited, monetized. The sensible local people quietly venerated the peaks from ground level, regarding them as sacred. No need to toil for centuries, building piles of stone that attempted to pierce the clouds; the mountains were there.

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          I have lived in poor rural areas of Thailand, and the culture is different enough from Bangkok that in effect I was living among an exotic tribe (got used to it pretty quickly, though). I don’t understand why tourist spend lots of money to do it. I was in the Army, too, so I don’t understand why people like camping, either. Guess I’m just a deviant.

          Reply
      2. Tomonthebeach

        Mt Everest climbing is all about proving personal exceptionalism. Surely there must be a more ecologically sound method than scaling Everest or Denali for reassuring rich people that they too are persons of value.

        Reply
    2. Carolinian

      Did you read the story? It says they are insisting that applicants show a history of having climbed another major peak and that the guide companies also must meet new rules.

      Under the measures, would-be climbers would have to prove that they have scaled another major peak, and tourism companies would be required to have at least three years’ experience organizing high-altitude expeditions before they can lead climbers on Everest, Nepal’s Tourism Ministry said.

      To discourage cost-cutting that can put climbers’ lives at risk, the Ministry also said that clients of expedition companies would have to prove, before setting out, that they had paid at least $35,000 for the expedition. (A typical total price tag easily surpasses $50,000.)

      In other words the payment guarantee is also designed to weed out frivolous attempts.

      Reply
      1. ewmayer

        Please, the new rules are as much a joke as bank “stress tests” in our modern world of overleveraged finance. The Hindu article is shite, as it gives no specifics re. the rule changes – here’s the key one:

        “Permit will depend on climbers having ascended at least one 6,500-metre Nepalese peak.”

        Note, “ascended” can mean many things – under your steam, using your own skills, or led by the hand via guides? The new rule doesn’t distinguish.

        Next, 6,500m, a mere 21,000 ft, is just a smidge higher than Denali/McKinley in Alaska, and that one is “much tougher than its elevation” by virtue of its far northern latitude and correspondingly colder temperatures. 21,000 feet in the Himalayas is a *joke*, there are mountain passes with *roads* nearly that high (Dungri la pass or Mana Pass is the highest motorable pass with an elevation of 5,608 m, 18,399 ft).

        Bottom line – If you haven’t climbed at least one other 8,000m (26,000 ft) peak, which takes you just a little way into the death zone, using your own skills, you have absolutely no business on Everest. I would further require said 8,000m standard to be done sans supplemental O2, and ban same on Everest. That would winnow the pool of eligibles down right quick. But for both the Nepali givernment and the Everest tourism industry, it’s all about the Benjamins, baby!

        Reply
    3. Whoamolly

      How about these rules?

      – No oxygen permitted.
      – Leave nothing but footprints.
      – No hired help in the death zone. Climbers go alone.
      – Million dollar ‘death bond’ must be posted before climbing. Money used to pay for retrieval of deceased climbers remains and any gear they hauled up the mountain.

      Might limit the climbers to a tiny group of fanatical, young, fit, experienced people, and would keep the summit clean.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        As it happens I just read a book about Hillary and Tenzing’s climb. For the first decade or so Nepal only allowed one attempt per year and usually national teams. At this point there’s surely nothing to be proven by climbing the mountain at all so if a poor country wants to get money and employment out of it I say have at it. For some of these rich egomaniacs Darwin award may apply.

        Reply
      2. Craig H.

        Your rules limit the climbers to the null set {∅}.

        I wonder how many people who fly to Nepal for this outdoor experience live within a short drive of wild parkland they never visit. My local wild parkland is mostly totally empty if I go early in the morning.

        Reply
        1. Carey

          “..My local wild parkland is mostly totally empty if I go early in the morning.”

          Not enough complication and expense involved. Boring.

          /s

          Reply
  2. PlutoniumKun

    There’s a Global Gust in the Offshore Wind Energy Market | 2019-07-24 | Engineering News-Record (resilc)

    Its hard to exaggerate the importance of the speed new technology is changing wind energy. The latest generation of super large turbines – 100 metre plus blades – are significantly reducing costs for both an and off-shore. And they are opening up areas not currently considered suitable for wind (such as lowlying plains, as opposed to upland ridges). The significance of very large turbines is that they catch ‘high’ winds that are much more consistent than ground level winds, so they can have annualised outputs of more than 50% of their maximum capacity (normally they range around 20-30%). Match this with local short term storage facilities (which are rapidly becoming standard on windfarms, even without subsidy), and it is making many formerly unlikely projects financially viable without subsidy.

    Five countries, led by the U.K., account for 75% of global capacity, RenewableUK says. “Although offshore wind started in Scandinavia, the U.K. is where … it was driven forward,” says Palmer. Britain’s 9% increase to 38.4 GW in projects at various stages is followed by Germany with 16.5 GW and the U.S. with 15.7 GW—a leap that surprised some industry observers.

    Philippe Kavafyan, CEO of turbine maker MHI Vestas Offshore Wind A/S, a joint venture of Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, told Standard & Poor’s that in the last 12 to 15 months, the U.S. “went from a potential market into the first large-scale commercial project … and we’re already talking about 20 GW.”

    Oddly enough, the Tories are probably to thank for this. They banned on-shore wind farms to appease rural Tories who didn’t like their nice views spoiled, and this forced the industry to invest more in off-shore. With North Sea oil drawing down there is a very large skill base in Scotland in particular that has allowed them develop new techniques for safely constructed and maintaining deep water turbines.

    Reply
      1. Synoia

        It depends on how the Scottish/England boder is created. A border has to be perpendicular to the last point on Land. In the case of the Scottish/English border one version of the border can be drawn due north, and that relieves Scotland of most of the burden (/s) of having much of the North Sea as its territorial waters.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          Culloden, all over again.

          Seriously – that kind of border issue often leads to war, or long-term hostility. Let’s hope not.

          Reply
    1. Ignacio

      Yes. Also the probability of wind speeds above the threshold needed to start functioning is higher for those large and tall turbines reducing intermitence. According to my own calculations the payback period has shortened to less than 10 years (I am not sure if i get maintenance costs correctly).

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its no wonder so much money is going into the latest generation if that’s the sort of payback they can get. I’ve often suspected that public costs are overstated so they can continue to argue for subsidies and public support.

        Reply
    2. Amfortas the hippie

      “…They banned on-shore wind farms to appease rural Tories who didn’t like their nice views spoiled…”
      here, in the texas hill country, there was an effort to install a bunch of thos….and an astroturf movement sprung up out of nowhere:”save our heritage”.
      it was obviously a Big Oil Op,lol.
      so the county to the north got the windfarm.
      I had occasion to go and stand underneath one on a rather windy day…the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh was very calming, i thought…not annoying at all.
      and i think they’re much prettier than…say…pasadena, texas, or deer park, or texas city, or freeport, or…
      lol.
      local antiwinders would say, “but i don’t want it in my back yard”…and i’d say, ” those big ugly exploding refineries that fuel your 3/4 ton dually(carrying one person, no less) are in somebody’s backyard, too…which is worse?”

      Reply
    3. Briny

      I still wonder about downstream effects, but given that few are reducing their energy consumption (I certainly have, bills!), there seems little choice.

      Reply
    1. moss

      The very worthwhile Hempton strictures are detailed in two posts on his blog brontecapital on blogspot. I’ll put the link in the following post as it’s almost always that my comments get eaten by the moderation monster and never ultimately reappear

      Reply
  3. The Rev Kev

    “Jeffrey Epstein Spent Time Alone With Young Woman In Prison’s Attorney Room”

    In spite of the headline’s suggestion, it may have been that Epstein had realized by then that he was most at danger when he was alone in that cell of his. Not sure why he had that impression though. Well, except for having his neck broken in several places that is.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      Well, there goes the death by self-inflicted carotid artery compression theory ( à la Robin Williams), which I put forth when it was previously reported that the materials available to Epstein were not strong enough to support his weight.

      Reply
    2. bob

      Broken bones? What is the difference in broken bones between stepping off a chair, versus strangulation off the side of a bed post? Just asking?

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        1. There’s no bed chair and I’ve taken fall like that and not broken anything, and women are supposedly more prone to bone breaks.

        2. No one has said how he strangled himself but it sure wasn’t from the ceiling, which could mean a drop of his body. He had to have leaned into a noose secured lower in his room. One source claimed he kneeled. Pray tell how do you break bones leaning into a rope with less than you full body weight?

        Reply
  4. Isotope_C14

    “Jeffrey Epstein’s gal pal Ghislaine Maxwell spotted at In-N-Out Burger in first photos since his death New York Post”

    I wonder if she was “spotted” at an “IN” and “OUT” burger, rather than a Wendy’s for a reason?

    Perhaps there should be some DNA testing of the corpse they claim is Epstein.

    Reply
    1. Art

      Ghislaine and the Post are also plugging some book about the CIA with a link to amazon right in the article. How thoughtful. I guess Epstein was a “hero” of the intelligence services. Who knew?

      Reply
      1. dearieme

        Perhaps Ms Maxwell was telling the CIA that she knows a thing or two: with the implication, perhaps, that if they suicide her it’ll all come out.

        Reply
    2. Off The Street

      Maybe she wanted a burger protein-style *, accompanied by animal fries **. Tabloids could spin that into some wink-wink, nudge nudge, know what I mean story.

      * lettuce wrap instead of a bun
      ** fries including goopy cheesy grilled-oniony sauce, see link below

      In-N-Out is famous for a simple menu that has spawned many secret-menu options and a separate lingo as part of their chain ecosystem.

      Reply
      1. Briny

        And thank you for that link. Rare that I get there, but did wonder what some of the odd items being served were!

        Reply
  5. PlutoniumKun

    The ‘dark side’ of Finland’s famous free health care CNN (furzy).

    Its actually quite a funny read – the article is moderately fair, its the headline that desperately tries to twist the tone of the piece. You can almost see the editors frantically trying to work out how to turn the story into a negative.

    Finland has a very extreme population structure – it in terms of raw data one of the most unpopulated countries in the world, but in reality nearly everyone lives in one of a handful of large cities and towns, with a general wide scattering of rural dwellers (many of whom are minorities such as ethnic Swedes or Sami) over the vast expanse of lakes and forest that makes up most of the country. Inevitably, there is political squabbling between the needs of the small (but highly politically influential) rural population and Helsinki.

    But even the Finns don’t grumble too much about their health system, which shows how good it is as every Finn I’ve ever met really enjoys complaining about pretty much everything.

    Reply
    1. Stadist

      But even the Finns don’t grumble too much about their health system, which shows how good it is as every Finn I’ve ever met really enjoys complaining about pretty much everything.

      I can heartily recommend complaining to everyone, maybe this way people would actually end up having things better in other places also. And for the record, grumbling about health system is probably the most common thing to do in family gatherings.

      Reply
      1. dearieme

        I shared a room with a Finn for a couple of months in a university long vacation.

        He didn’t complain. Or maybe he complained in Finnish, Swedish, German, or Russian; he didn’t complain in English.

        Reply
    2. Polar Socialist

      Apologies for picking nits, but ethnic Swedes are about 0.01% of population and live in big cities. Swedish speaking population is around 5% and is concentrated on the west coast and in the big cities. Most of Sami live nowadays in, believe it or not, big cities. The rural population in Finland is for all practical purposes Finnish.

      There really are no squabbles between the needs of rural population and city dwellers who mostly pay for those needs — Finns believe in equality and actually want everybody to have access to health care (and other services). The problems in rural areas are mainly due to the austerity politics of the past right-wing(ish) governments. The historically poor performance of the agrarian Center Party in last election was mainly because of people in their strong areas being fed up with stripping of services.

      The Center Party does have political influence above it’s weight because the constituencies are designed to favor more sparsely populated areas. Most people are OK with that since most people in Finland have strong ties to the rural areas and usually spend part of the summer ‘back home’. They don’t mind paying hefty taxes to keep the rural areas ‘alive’.

      Reply
  6. Ember Brody

    Re: Jeffrey Epstein Spent Time Alone With Young Woman In Prison’s Attorney Room Forbes

    This reminds me of the incident in which a Brazilian cartel boss murdered a teenage girl in his private prison cell. I have always maintained that American decline would see it become the Brazil of North America. I thought it would take a generation or two but I now think another decade should do it. It has already arrived in the rust belt. Bernie will not be elected. There will be no M4A, no “free” education, no green new deal. The only hope is for the US to break up.

    Reply
    1. gsinbe

      Thanks for that link by Alastair Crooke- very well-written and wide ranging. One of today’s “must read”‘s. Here’s a quote I liked …”this ‘Art of the Deal’ approach lacks any means to metamorphose this US maximum ‘pressure’ into any meaningful political or strategic diplomatic path. It has attenuated down to ‘capitulate’, or we can make the pain worse.”

      Reply
    2. Robert Valiant

      Great read.

      My question: when the Chinese supply lines are broken for good, will U.S.A., choose to forgo the consumer goods it has frantically consumed over the past several decades, or will the response be an effort to reconstitute consumer goods production within the country? Who will be able to afford consumer goods made by domestic labor wildly higher in cost than Chinese labor? Is there a way to radically reduce the cost of domestic labor? Maybe employ prison labor? Maybe make social safety net services contingent on working in domestic production for Chinese level wages?

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Of the reasons that Americans can not afford American made products is that manufacturing, which paid well and supported workers in other industries, were sent overseas.

        No job, no income. No (or low) income means only cheap crap is affordable.

        Why are clothes and hardware from the 70s, or maybe the early 80s, and before are better quality than stuff sold today? Stuff people could afford then and lasted much longer than stuff today.

        People need to be paid enough to buy what they are making. Just ask Ford, of Ford Motors and the Model T. He raise their pay enough so that they could buy the very cars they were making. Which made the owners of competing firms and investors in Ford itself angry. Ford was thinking ahead but the owners and investors were thinking now. Rather like the current bunch of Elites. The process of increasing workers’ pay happened over multiple generations, perhaps five or six, but their impoverishment took but maybe two generations.

        Reply
      2. Inode_buddha

        Actually a large chunk of whatever is left of our industrial base will be destroyed by supply line glitches. Try buying industrial tooling in the US… I can count those suppliers on my hands, and I’ve been in the biz for 3 decades. You know, it was that giant sucking sound…. Once what is left of the industrial base goes, everything else will follow and the USA will become an 18th century agrarian economy.

        Reply
      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        When Americans were paid American wages to make things in America, they could afford the American prices charged for the things which other Americans also made in America.

        Americans kept eachother employed at a decent level of living.

        Since it took several decades for the Free Traders to destroy that American society, it would take several decades for America to regrow that society at a lower level than before because of fewer resources and no more margin of pollutability left. And it could only happen in a context of Extreme Protectionism and Zero Forcey-Free-Trade.

        Reply
  7. PlutoniumKun

    The world’s most-surveilled cities Comparitech (resilc)

    Most in China, unsurprisingly. The artist Ai Weiwei amusingly made a series of sculptures of CCTV cameras and put them around his studio when he was under house arrest in Beijing – ‘Never Sorry’, the documentary about him shows just how perplexed the unfortunate police officers assigned to harass him were his subversion. Other Chinese artists such as Xu Bing also use it in thinly disguised commentary on the ubiquity of surveillance.

    Sometimes art is the only defense against encroaching authoritarianism – sadly most western artists seem more interested in the money now.

    Reply
  8. Corbin Dallas

    Re: “VIDEO: Car Speeds Into Crowd Of ICE Protesters Outside Detention Facility” – what a totally anodyne headline, devoid of any kind of agency (the car surely didn’t drive itself; this is like how the media absolves drivers of running over cyclists and pedestrians by ascribing it to the car).

    It was specifically an ICE agent with white supremacist background (naturally) and a history of complaints against him, who did this with intent to kill protestors. Rhode Island police stood by laughing while their colleague did this.

    More information here: https://twitter.com/SamEilertsen/status/1161851382003052546

    Reply
    1. DJG

      Corbin Dallas: Rightwing violence is violence that the population deserves. Rightwing violence is cleansing. It deals with the diseases of the populace–especially against people who can’t get with the “right to work” program. Rightwing violence is the hierarchy asserting itself. Rightwing violence is always justified.

      See Guardian article:
      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/15/far-right-violence-fbi-terrorism-hate-crime

      Ahhh, yes, the FBI and the famed “intelligence community” just cannot do anything about rightwing violence. How curious. Curiouser and curiouser.

      Reply
    2. Monty

      “VIDEO: Car comes to a complete stop, honks horn, then slowly moves forward as Crowd Of ICE Protesters Outside Detention Facility move out of the way”

      Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

      Reply
        1. Oh

          The major part of the US population is unaware/uncaring of the transformation of the US into a police state, Internet snooping (FB, Google, ISPs), license plate readers, CCTVs, stop light cameras, selling of your driver’s license, credit, auto ownership, facial recognition by police and retail outlet and more. So disgusting!

          Reply
      1. davidgmillsatty

        We have knife violence as well. Four times as many people are killed by knives as by assault weapons.

        Reply
  9. Stadist

    The ‘dark side’ of Finland’s famous free health care

    Of course there is the problem of increasing costs as the population grows older, the share of retired people increasing now and coming years. However that can be handled easy. There are large population movements inside the country with the end result being that large majority of working age people are packing into few cities. The real problem is healthcare service providing is the responsibility of the municipalities, but the large majority municipalities see decreasing populations while the relative amount of retired people is increasing. Biggest city-municipalities collecting the working age populations are in most cases swimming in tax money surpluses with perfectly functioning healthcare systems while the rural municipalities wither. And of course the big cities adamantly fight against the increase in transfer payments to poorer municipalities.
    There is nothing unexpected or unsolvable here, the earlier historical spread of population and local population structures are being undone and to balance this out there needs to be reorganization in how tax transfers work because the old system currently is choking the municipalities who are losing their tax paying populations.
    However now we have political gridlock with this and I’m actually not certain what the new current government is planning to do about it. Previous government tried to force regions to become the healthcare providers combined with increased privatization of the healthcare but this failed for various reasons, one being the fact that current regional administrations are small and weak.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Stoller seems to imply that it was Youtube alone that made Bolsonaro president without talking about Car Wash, possible CIA machinations or the oligarch owned media in Brazil itself. It’s a little confusing just what his case is. Are they a menace because they can censor or because they don’t?

      Of course if he is merely saying that a private company shouldn’t be entrusted with this much power many would agree. To my mind talk about censoring bad speech muddies the water.

      Reply
  10. mpalomar

    Interesting metaphorical buffet, G Maxwell sighted at In N Out Burger reading, “The Book of Honor: The Secret Lives and Deaths of CIA Operatives.”

    Reply
    1. Bugs Bunny

      The “real” news truly has become as strange as the Onion. Even the photo in that article has an Onion aesthetic to it. And the book. She’s actually reading that book in an In n Out?

      The juxtaposition is just priceless.

      Reply
        1. Bugs Bunny

          Yes it does look photoshopped – that’s what I meant by Onion aesthetic I guess. The other photo looks real, however.

          …and now I notice the description under the 1st shot:

          “Ghislaine Maxwell pictured at In-N-Out burger in Los Angeles.”

          you can’t make this stuff up.

          Reply
      1. Mike

        I’m not entirely convinced ANY of these Ghislaine’s are her. London, Massachusetts, L.A. – she got $15 million from her sale of the condo in NYC, so who needs credit cards or In-N-out burger joints? The offshore banks have enough for her to live on and cook with (aren’t we sure she has a cooking staff?) without public viewing for at least a few more years. Knowing how “wanted” she is, why be open to discovery when silence and invisibility served so well up until now?

        Anyhow, with the right makeup artist and hair stylist, many women could pass for her, which, IMNSHO, she takes advantage of without my input.

        Reply
        1. Stormcrow

          I’m not entirely convinced ANY of these Ghislaine’s are her.

          If she is Mossad, she would have body doubles.

          Reply
        2. Cal2

          Guess the DHS, passport control, FBI, CIA, NSA, Apple Pay, Visa, Master Card, all of whose records law enforcement gets real time access to, MI-5, MI-6 and all the nosy reporters in the world can’t find her.

          Reply
      2. polecat

        They’re just f#cking with us now … with this deep state ‘Where’s Waldo’ .. er .. Ghislaine game, now that Jeffery is off the board !

        Reply
    2. Dr. Roberts

      Clearly a staged photoshoot to convey her message. The other person whose phone is on the table is probably the photographer. The book about dead CIA heroes is a big message saying: “I did it for the CIA, I’m a hero like them, it just wouldn’t be patriotic to come after me, now would it?”

      Reply
  11. toshiro_mifune

    L’affaire Epstein;

    From the unsealed docs….
    Ms. Sjoberg witnessed included a sexual act: Prince Andrew using a puppet to touch Ms. Giuffre’s breast

    Of course… of course the royals are exactly the sort of weak chinned, kink obsessed oddballs Black Adder or Python parodied them as. Of course.
    What am I now supposed to do with this knowledge? Honestly, this whole thing. What does god* want from me with this?

    https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Giuffre-unseal.pdf

    * Im an atheist but its convenient to have someone to blame when things get weirder than even the stoner 17 year old version of yourself thought.

    Reply
    1. Bugs Bunny

      Your comment deserves a reply – thanks for posting it. The link is really interesting for lawyers and laypersons as well. My view:

      1) this contains all the lurid details that the media has given in dribs and drabs so there’s that

      2) this is a very, very well drafted response to a demand for summary judgment by Maxwell’s lawyers

      3) Maxwell is going to lose the defamation case

      Reply
    2. JBird4049

      I am a deist myself, but I would not blame God for what these Epstein and company did. They had the education, talent, and money to have a comfortable, useful, even exciting and fun life, but they chose to become child rapists, to pimp children, become blackmailers, and be spies because the “sex” and the money was good. I don’t know what He might say, but I have not heard of any major religion being cool with that.

      If someone like Maxwell, Prince Andrew or Bill Clinton gets burned by all this, well I will just bring the popcorn and beer.

      Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “Unexploded Second World War bomb found in Kremlin”

    Ironically they found the bomb on the same day that Russia marks Archeologists’ Day so all the journalist that were invited to the Kremlin to celebrate it had to be evacuated. It was just luck that they found this bomb during soil reinforcement at the Taynitsky Garden area according to RT. Like in Europe, it is not unusual to find WW1 and WW2 munitions and bombs and just earlier this week they found three buried shells at a railway-car repair plant in Moscow. They do a lot of archaeological work in the Kremlin as the place goes back nine centuries so I would guess that they have to be on the constant lookout for stuff like this.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      I’m really surprised that with all the security over the years in the Kremlin they managed to overlook something so large buried in a garden.

      German bombers usually dropped HE bombs in ‘sticks’, so there would be a distinct straight line pattern of blasts. One of my first jobs in the West Midlands in the UK was to run a ruler over historic bomb lines on maps of the urban area. When you found a ‘gap’ in a line, there was a good chance that this was the location for an unexploded bomb. This is pretty useful information when you are sending in drilling augers….

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Indeed, some of it is even dangerous today. IIRC, An American collector/historian was killed about twenty years ago at his home because an old Civil War torpedo (mine) exploded when he was examining it. It caused a mild ruckus because he was an experienced researcher and the torpedo was over a hundred and thirty-five years old. Most of the stuff made then was not that well protected from erosion and whatever else. Almost anything found from then today is harmless. As far as they could tell, since the torpedo had been carefully waterproofed, then lost, got buried which further protected it, when found over a century later, it was still functioning.

        And people sometimes wonder why the authorities freak when the much better made and lethal bombs from the 20th Century shows up.

        Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      WWII bomb in Kremlin.

      Different countries fought differently in WWII.

      The French did not make a stand in Paris.

      China tried to defend Shanghai, then Nanjing, before relocating to Chongqing. There were casualites, civil and military, in the first two battles, and massacre afterwards in the case of the second.

      Stalin, I read, at one time, was ready to evacuate himself from Moscow (some parts of the government having already moved further back). But decided to make a stand. The same in Leningrad and Stalingrad.

      The USSR persisted and won. As did China, who chose to relocated, and was also a victor.

      Had the ROC decided to let the Japanse besiege them in Shanghai*, likely, the casualities would have been even higher than one million (plus or minus) in each of the 3 Russian cities.

      When we compare WW2 casualties, do we take this into consideration? Do we not compare at all, because they weren’t directly comparable?

      *For historical comparison of Chinese resistance, the famous Siege of (Southern Song dynasty’s fortress city of) Xiangyang by the Mongols lasted 7 years, and ended with the introduction of trebuchet. With its fall, the S. Song dynasty was wide open to the Kublai Khan and soon conquered.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think its an interesting point that the casualty rates can vary according to specific circumstances of the war. The Eastern Front was a particular meat grinder of soldiers and military for all sorts of reasons, but a primary one as you suggest was a refusal from both sides to surrender land easily.

        Despite its vicious nature and the length and extent (years longer than in Europe), the overall death rate in China (as a percentage of population) was significantly less than in many other fields of war (although total deaths was enormous). It was far worse in Poland, parts of the Soviet Union and the Balkans/Greece, or in other parts of Asia such as French Indochine. But the war in China was of a very different nature I think than the grim fight to the death in eastern Europe – it was more a set of overlapping civil wars with the Japanese adding a particularly toxic element.

        It is amazing how little is known in the West about the war in China, despite its huge scale. Everyone knows what D-Day was, military nerds know Operation Bagration was even bigger and more important, but few have heard of Ichi-Go, which was an even bigger offensive than both, and fought at the same time. And incidentally, the Chinese Army at the time was far better than is often portrayed. There was a view that they were corrupt and useless and would have been destroyed easily if it wasn’t for the US lending them Stillwell and Chinault as generals. In fact, Stillwell was completely incompetent and Chinault wasn’t much better. Both wouldn’t have lasted long on the western front, they’d have been quickly fired. But because nobody really cared about the Chinese war they were allowed to boost their profiles in the media, and their aura lasted for decades before scholars really dug into the Chinese records. While the Chinese army was corrupt and often poorly equipped, it fought bravely. Mao probably only won because of Ichi-Go, which devastated the heartlands of China and the Chinese army, while leaving the Communists largely untouched.

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          . It was far worse in Poland, parts of the Soviet Union and the Balkans/Greece, or in other parts of Asia such as French Indochine.

          Poland and much of Eastern Europe especially the Ukraine were more like campaigns of extermination rather than war. Both the Nazis and the Soviets deliberately targeted the educated classes especially professors and politicians which included a large chunk of the bureaucracy running the governments of Poland and Ukraine.

          That was why the Holocaust happened so quickly. Most people are not supportive of genocide especially of eleven million people and normally the bureaucracy already in place would have been used, but the individual bureaucrats would have walked the process slowly. Following all the procedures strictly. But the educated class was dead. No local bureaucracy to help and hinder the process. If you look at various Western European countries, the local government’s bureaucracy was used, but they were strangely inefficient at times. That does not mean that they did not do the work. It only means that the work was done very thoroughly and with the occasional oops before the sweeps were started.

          So most of the extermination camps and the most thorough ethnic cleansing was done in the deathlands between Russia and Germany where the governments had already been destroyed especially in eastern Poland and western Ukraine.

          Reply
    3. ewmayer

      The woods around my hometown in Austria are riddled with WW2 bomb craters – these courtesy of the Allies – slowly getting filled in over the decades with leaf litter. One time during one of summer visits there ~30 years ago I was returning home from a long hike in the deeper, off-the-beaten-path parts of same, happened across a tiny trickle of water across the faint trail I was following. Followed water back into some dense shrubs, found a little spring with a finned rusty metal canister next to it – a small (perhaps 18″ long, 6″ dia) exploded WW2 bomb whose detonation had apparently opened a fissure in the porous limestone beneath the soil and created said spring. Was able to pull the bomb out by the fins, rinsed the mud which had filled in the body cavity (it basically blew out through one side of the cylinder, gaping fissure there but rest of canister mostly intact) out in the nearby river the springwater flowed into, took it home as a souvenir. Got a lot of interested “Sie haben eine Bombe gefunden!” comments from fellow Wanderer on the rest of the way home. Like I said, woods are full of craters but none of the local relations had ever known anyone who had found a bomb, exploded or not, as a result of all the postwar cleanup and ordnance-search efforts. But there are still some to be found here and there – and the Kremlin is a big place.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Thats really interesting – the only place I’ve seen much in the way of cratering is in Laos and northern Vietnam, which was of course blasted to pulp multiple times. It literally changed the landscape in parts. In Laos you can still see the aluminium containers for cluster bombs and external fuel tanks used by the locals as canoes or construction materials. The cluster bomblets themselves still regularly kill people.

        Reply
  13. Mike

    Re: “How Third Party Votes Sunk Clinton…”

    Quote: “…millions of voters opted to waste their votes by supporting third-party candidates who had no hope of winning.” Love the term “waste” – didn’t millions of voters waste their vote on Trump, who supposedly had no chance of winning? It’s as if thought of a different way of doing things was only channeled into two, and only two, paths — and only one is “real” by virtue of winning. Philosophically interesting, psychologically menacing.

    Now, if only those “deplorables” voting thus were to increase in numbers…

    Reply
    1. JohnnyGL

      They’d better bend the knee to my will as a regular ‘vote-waster’ who opts for 3rd parties. I can sink your crappy candidates. I’ve done it before, and I swear to god, I’ll do it again if you don’t bend the knee!!!!

      Reply
      1. John k

        First principle was never to win. It was to keep the progressive from winning.
        Hillary won when she won the nom. Warren was briefly considered for veep, recognizing it would boost Hillary vote, nixed because it would let an anti banker a heartbeat away from power…
        R3 was already in the works before trump won, intended to boost Cold War spending and mic profits. Covering up incompetent campaign was a twofer.

        Reply
    2. a different chris

      >Love the term “waste”

      For sure. How did I “waste” my vote when with it, I indicated not only that I didn’t like either of them but where my wants were? If you don’t vote then you waste your vote ok, but if you show up and pull a lever/write in a name that isn’t Snoopy I think that is your civic duty in total. Not to pull it for somebody you simply don’t want because the other alternative is even worse.

      If I voted for Clinton (or Trump) then there is no reason that Hillary (or The Donald) should think that I don’t support their positions. But I don’t support either of them on much of anything. So at least I am communicating why, in a limited way but better than nothing.

      Shorter me: not voting is bad but Third Party voting is not only not bad but quite vital to the process, even in first past the post.

      Reply
    3. Oh

      The word wast was the first thing that caught my eye. Methinks that any time you vote for someone you don’t agree with is a waste of vote, e.g. Hillary, Trump, Obama, Bill Clinton, Gore, Bush, Bush the not so lesser, RayGun.

      Reply
    4. Carey

      What could “..waste their votes..” even mean, other than the phrase being an obfuscation?

      I expect to “waste my vote” in the 2020 primary and general elections,
      after the nomination is denied to Sanders by the corporatists.
      Meanwhile, there’s plenty of organizing to do..

      Reply
  14. Redlife2017

    Brexit: Jo Swinson says must be somebody else to lead caretaker government…

    As the readership here at NC knows, Brexit news moves fast (from 2 hours ago) – Brexit: Lib Dems ‘don’t have objection in principle’ to Corbyn as interim PM to stop no-deal

    The Liberal Democrats have no objection in principle to supporting Jeremy Corbyn as an interim prime minister, party sources have said.

    Jo Swinson’s opposition to the Labour leader heading up a government of national unity is purely “pragmatic”, they insisted, amid a backlash over her rejection of the idea.

    Whilst I know I will get pushback on this, some of the readership here really go over the top in their negative feelings around Corbyn. And I do think the analysis thereby does suffer when his actions are in the frame. Case in point: This morning, the MSM here was united in kicking Jo Swinson for being so obtuse over her objection to the Labour caretaker government. And now she’s walking it back. Of course Tory’s hate Corbyn, but they will just need to hold their nose as literally the only thing he’s going to do is extend article 50 and call a GE. He’s the Leader of the Opposition, for the gods’ sake. He’s doing his job, which is something many people here have castigated him about not doing again and again. I get the “damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t” feeling on some of the commentary here.

    Reply
    1. Bugs Bunny

      I believe much of the negative feeling about Corbyn, at least here, is that he has not used this enormous opportunity to make Labour appear as the obvious solution to the country’s problems and push the entire responsibility for the Brexit mess onto the Tories. Moreover he should have been able to squelch the entire “anti-semitism” narrative at the outset.

      I speak for myself only, of course.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        I thought his response to the “anti-Semitism” charges was bizarrely weak and half-assed. You don’t apologize when you’ve done nothing wrong; you attack. He let down the side, both his own and the Palestinian rights movement.

        Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      Well, I think he’s playing the GNU thing right – he is making it clear that there can only be one leader of a GNU and thats the Leader of the Opposition. He has successfully pushed the LibDems into a corner on that and I think Swinson will have to concede, and this puts Corbyn in a much stronger position politically.

      As with Bugs, I’m critical of Corbyn, I don’t see how you can be anything but critical of a leader who had possibly the most incompetent PM ever as opposition and still could could not get ahead in the polls. Yes, I know the media is totally against him, but to me he’s never crafted a real opposition strategy. Brexit was a gigantic own goal by the Tories yet Corbyn has not been capable of exploiting it. The fact that the LibDems are back from the dead by exploiting it successfully shows how it can be done (likewise, the SNP are reversing their apparent decline). I am though inclined to blame his advisors more than Corbyn personally, who I like and respect a lot. I’m just deeply frustrated at his political failures.

      Reply
    3. vlade

      Tories (Grieve and others) are now openly saying they will not vote for Corbyn, even to stop no-deal brexit.

      Since NU would need about 10+ of them (because there’s no chance in hell that people like Frank Field will vote for Corbyn), then I still see his chances as vanishingly small. And thus the opposition squanders their chances – and LD (assuming they will bend and support Corbyn, which IMO would be in their interest) will get a GE argument saying “see, we had a chance, we put country over party, but Corbyn failed to do so.”. Ain’t gonna get many remainer voters for Labour.

      IMO, strategically, the value of being statesmanlike (being seen putting country before party and self) has higher value than 6-8 weeks in government but giving your election opponents arguments.

      On his leadeshisp – I’m with PK and Bugs. If I compare the ruthlessness of Tory revolutionaries with would-be-Labour ones, it’s just mindbogling. Johnson even (most likely via Cummings) shows some strategic thinking too (in terms of election-winning strategy, not country-saving one).

      Reply
  15. Pat

    Surprise, the conclusion of the article about third party voters in 2016 concludes with the “opportunity” the Democratic nominee has to appeal to the Republican voters who couldn’t and probably won’t vote for Trump. The two biggest examples they use of the increase in third party votes were Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. they ignore the Clinton campaign’s incompetent and entitled choice to limit or ignore campaigning in those states. Yes there were many more third party voters.
    Yes both candidates were disliked.

    So once again the big answer is the need for the Democratic nominee to appeal to the Republicans who didn’t vote for Trump (Democrats having supposedly learned their lessons…)

    On the other hand, Democrats have the rare opportunity next year to woo progressives, Republicans and swing voters who threw their votes away by supporting third-party nominees.
    Progressives now see the damage Trump has done, and Republicans who rejected Trump in 2016 have had their worst fears about him confirmed.
    But if Democrats select a nominee who is again unpalatable to many voters, as Clinton was, that could send anti-Trump Republicans and swing voters back to third parties again in 2020.
    While it is completely true that the Democrats “waste” large numbers of popular votes in California and New York, that’s not why Clinton lost in 2016.
    She failed to mobilize anti-Trump voters, too many of whom decided that they couldn’t support either major-party nominee. Winning those voters who defected from the two major parties would be an important step for either side.

    This all sounds good until you remember that almost the entire Clinton campaign was about appealing to moderate Republican voters who couldn’t or wouldn’t vote for Trump. AND that more people stayed home and didn’t vote than voted for third parties. Funny how appealing to the small percentage of disgruntled Republicans who voted libertarian is once again more important than supporting and running on policies that would make the lives better for the Democrats who couldn’t or wouldn’t vote for Clinton AND Obama And Kerry… You know the ones who increasingly see no reason to even go to the polls.

    Reply
    1. urblintz

      “For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin.”

      Chuck Schumer

      Reply
    2. jrs

      ok but it’s not really what it says, it’s not that conclusive, it just says “don’t pick an unpopular nominee”, ok Hillary was particularly bad and had more baggage than almost anyone, but in reality, EVERY nominee is going to be unpopular with *someone*. Many Dems will still vote against Trump. If I had to guess who was that bad though as to leave and extremely indifferent electorate: Biden, because he’s not even all there half the time, so Donald the personality disordered, or Biden the mentally deteriorating ..

      It says win the Republicans who hate Trump and/or win progressives, but I don’t’ think there is any conceivable way of doing both, because what they want is completely opposite policy. And there aren’t many anti-Trump Republicans still left in the Republican party, and those who are are many of them still “never Dem” and Dems can’t win that.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        “win the Republicans who hate Trump and/or win progressives” – false alternative. BOTH Reps and Dems are under 30%. “Independents,” meaning everyone else, are over 40%. They aren’t a bloc – they’re all over the place, and probably quite a few don’t vote (90 million, per below). But they aren’t Republicans and aren’t necessarily progressives, either.

        Bernie probably has the best shot at winning them, because he IS an independent – except he’s running with the Dem Party albatross around his neck.

        IMHO, the key Trump vote was the middle finger vote. But next year he’s an incumbent, rather than a gesture of defiance. Who can get the middle finger vote?

        Reply
    3. Pookah Harvey

      Clinton voters: 66 million
      Trump voters: 63 million
      3rd Party voters: 6 million
      Voters who didn’t see anything worth voting for: 90 million
      Gee, I wonder which group Democrats should go after?

      Reply
  16. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Here’s the Evidence Corporate Media Say Is Missing of WaPo Bias Against Sanders FAIR (UserFriendly). A great piece with a kludgey title. Circulate widely.

    “Kludgey.” I’ll say.

    Post factcheckers returned to defend their owner against the charge that he is extremely wealthy after Sanders pointed out in a Democratic debate (6/27/19) that “three people in this country own more wealth than the bottom half of America.” “The numbers add up,” the Post fact squad (6/28/19) acknowledged, but it’s “apples to oranges”:

    People in the bottom half have essentially no wealth, as debts cancel out whatever assets they might have. So the comparison is not especially meaningful.

    Wow. Just wondering, what’s the “apple” here and what’s the “orange?”

    Anyone who thinks that “journalism” couldn’t go any lower than Russiagate derangement will most likely be proven wrong in a Bernie presidency. A made up “threat” is one thing, a REAL one is a horse of a very different color.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      We need fact checkers checking the fact checkers. As seen with Snopes these “experts” can be very dodgy and another form of propaganda.

      The free and open internet is the best fact checker (go NC).

      Reply
  17. DonCoyote

    re: How Third-Party Votes sunk Clinton, what it means for Trump

    Lumps all 3rd party votes together, although correctly points out that Johnson the Libertarian got 3x the number of votes as Stein. I don’t think Johnson drew a significant number of disaffected Dem voters.

    I’m also not sure you how you get from

    She failed to mobilize anti-Trump voters, too many of whom decided that they couldn’t support either major-party nominee. Winning those voters who defected from the two major parties would be an important step for either side

    So what was she supposed to do to “mobilize anti-Trump voters” to vote for her? Bump off Johnson? Erase her record (she tried, on the TPP and other things)? So I still don’t see how he gets back rationally to the headline. Of course, any piece that uses the phrase “wasted their vote” multiple times for third party voters has already set the bar pretty low.

    Better headline: DNC & Superdelegates sunk the Democrats in 2016 by choosing a candidate who could not mobilize anti-Trump voters.

    Reply
    1. Ptb

      Exactly. Blaming 3rd party voters is not convincing as an explanation for 2016, except in the broader sense that Trump 2016 won on his outsider image. (Trump 2020 is more like a Bush or Reagan re-election. He is the face of the GOP now.)

      Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      “OMG Russia” has run its course, and now the Clintonistas are just turning to their greatest hits. They’ll probably start whining about Nader in 3,2,1…NADER!!!!

      Reply
      1. Carey

        I’m confident that OMG Russia will be back soon, likely just
        before the next corporate-sponsored mcDebates.
        They’re just taking a summer / Hamptons break.

        Reply
  18. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: But at 6:15 AM EDT: Israel approves Tlaib request to visit grandmother in West Bank The Hill

    But at 9:25 AM EDT: Tlaib says she’s “no longer interested” in making the trip and that she’s been subjected to the same “racist” treatment as the other Palestinians.

    According to MSNBS.

    Well played, congresswoman.

    netanyahoo appears to have really stepped on his dork this time.

    Reply
    1. nippersmom

      The report I saw on the approval for Tlaib to visit her grandmother described it as being offered as a “humanitarian” gesture, and subject to several restrictions on where Tlaib could go, who she could meet with, etc.

      Glad to see she turned down Netanyahu’s “generous” offer.

      Reply
  19. The Rev Kev

    “Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers in US to discuss city’s crisis with politicians and business leaders”

    So Congress is thinking about passing a ‘Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act’ next month to ‘tighten Washington’s watch over the city.’ Whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation in Hong Kong, it is still actually a part of China and there is nothing that can be done about that. It will ultimately be up to them to make the best deal that they can with the mainland on the best terms that they can get. In any case, it should be the UK taking up Hong Kong’s cause as the place was once a British Crown Colony.
    More to the point now – and playing devil’s advocate as usual – what if China’s National People’s Congress starts passing bills like the ‘Detroit Human Rights and Clean Drinking Water Act’ or the ‘Chicago Human Rights and Policing Act’ and insists that it has the right to watch over these cities? I bet that that would go down like a lead balloon. If they are trying to unnecessarily antagonize China, then they are going about it in the right way. Note though, I did not say the smart way.

    Reply
  20. Katniss Everdeen

    Now THIS is what I call disruption–in a system actually begging to be disrupted.

    To Save Money, American Patients And Surgeons Meet In Cancun
    —–
    The hospital costs of the American medical system are so high that it made financial sense for both a highly trained orthopedist from Milwaukee and a patient from Mississippi to leave the country and meet at an upscale private Mexican hospital for the surgery.

    Ferguson gets her health coverage through her husband’s employer, Ashley Furniture Industries. The cost to Ashley was less than half of what a knee replacement in the United States would have been. That’s why its employees and dependents who use this option have no out-of-pocket copayments or deductibles for the procedure; in fact, they receive a $5,000 payment from the company, and all their travel costs are covered.

    https://khn.org/news/to-save-money-american-patients-and-surgeons-meet-in-cancun/

    Reply
  21. T

    Did I not read closely? Saw no mention of the voters who deliberately did not cast a presidential vote, while voting for sentators and local positions and even drainage commissioner. Most estimates out it over a million and Michael Moore suggests ignoring those voters cost the dems Michigan.

    Reply
    1. Isotope_C14

      Michigan voters were ignored in the primary.

      Clinton didn’t have a change at the electoral college. Neither does Biden.

      But Schumer and the other “dollar-dems” will for sure, this time, get 2 republican voters in the suburbs for every lost blue-collar rural voter. And you can repeat this in Ohio, Pennsylvania…

      Sign up to get Joe Rogan to host the debates:

      https://www.change.org/p/commission-on-presidential-debates-get-joe-rogan-to-moderate-the-2020-presidential-election?signed=true

      Now this would make the debates interesting. Everyone on the Joe Rogan Experience.

      Reply
  22. The Rev Kev

    “Gibraltar defies US, releasing Iranian oil tanker”

    I wondered what would happen if Bolton ordered that that ship be seized by a US Navy ship, especially since they wanted that ship turned over to them in Gibraltar. But what happens then? What do they do with it? It cannot just stand out to sea forever and so would need to be taken to some port. But seizing that ship would be so blatantly illegal, which country would want to accept it in one of their ports and so be an accessory to what amounts to piracy? Is there a country bordering the Mediterranean that would welcome getting into what could be potentially be a legal fight with Iran that could extend for months if not years? Especially if it went to an international court which would find them guilty for taking part in this act. And if the crew refuses to cooperate and tells any boarding party that as they seized it, they can sail it now, what then? This could have all the makings of another Yinhe Incident this.

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      That is because for too many police respect equals worship and obedience by the general public. Any criticism equals dangerous threats.

      Reply
  23. Watt4Bob

    While it is completely true that the Democrats “waste” large numbers of popular votes in California and New York, that’s not why Clinton lost in 2016.

    She failed to mobilize anti-Trump voters, too many of whom decided that they couldn’t support either major-party nominee. Winning those voters who defected from the two major parties would be an important step for either side.

    And right now, only the Democrats are in a position to take advantage of that, which is not good news for Trump, not only in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, but also nationally.

    The author seems to think the nation’s problems are rooted in dumb voters, I’d say the nation’s problems are rooted in corrupt-bought-off politicians.

    Americans are not waiting for the likes of Hillary and Trump to mobilize us, we’re looking for a chance be done with their ilk.

    Reply
    1. Watt4Bob

      Addendum;

      However long it takes, the people spoken of as “Trump’s base” are going to figure out that he hasn’t provided their lives any material benefits. That guy that Trump is always being compared to, put a lot of people back to work almost immediately after coming to power, thus cementing his standing with the factory workers.

      Trump has simply continued the looting, admittedly to a much more crass sound track, but he’s really leaving to neglect, the ones whose fortunes he promised to revive.

      So, yes, I am assuming, and everybody knows that Hillary is toast, so anyone still waiting for her is crazy, but Trump has likely already done what he had to do, (start a trade war) to ensure his own yellow toastyness.

      But that’s not a satisfying thought, followed by thinking about choosing between Biden and Trump, next time.

      It seems to be an unstoppable trend, that with every election cycle, we like the choices that aren’t really choices, less and less.

      Bernie or bust!

      Reply
  24. Louis Fyne

    The fracking boom is the unintended consequence of more wind turbines and solar. as you need something (natural gas) to fill the gaps when it’s dark or wind drops. so it’s 2 steps forward 1.5 steps backwards.

    for the foreseeable future, one needs a portfolio of wind, solar, fission, and (less) natural gas. just saying. and agree to disagree as fission triggers many.

    Reply
    1. Watt4Bob

      The fracking boom is the unintended consequence of more wind turbines and solar.

      Jesus wept…

      If you’ve been paying attention at all, you’d know that the ‘fracking boom‘ is a big finance scam and an ecological catastrophe featuring polluted water, an explosion of useless plastic manufacture and an unprecedented greenhouse gas spike to boot.

      One thing the fracking boom is not, is a an unintended consequence of more wind turbines and solar.

      It’s also against NC policies to just make stuff up.

      Reply
    2. a different chris

      The problem is, and it’s got nothing to do with eco-nazis (when was the last US election they won?), is that you can have a nat-gas plant up and running and cashing checks before the ink is even dry on the first round of nuke blueprints.

      This means your problem isn’t the left, it’s the right.

      The thing is a nuke plant very clearly has environmental issues – aka 10000 year storage – of it’s own. This puts you in the fight on that field against nat gas plants whether you want to or not. Aka “which is worse”. And what really sucks is nobody denies that radioactive waste requires some serious care, but plenty of people including the guy in the White House deny that CO2 is even a problem.

      It’s a battle you can’t win, as your defenders (environmentalists) are split and the guys that don’t care have a different horse to bet on.

      Reply
    3. John k

      Gas replacing coal came before renewables plus storage cheaper than gas, which is where we are now.
      Won’t be long before existing fission begins to shut down because too expensive.
      It’s predicted no ic cars made after 2027… I’ll guess 2030. Gas stations rare by 2040.
      Granted India and China still building coal plants… odd, that.
      And odd us still fighting foreign wars over oil.

      Reply
      1. Roger Boyd

        The scale of our electricity usage is enormous, and the scale of battery storage being planned for implementation over the next few years is tiny compared to that (according to the industry body for battery producers). We have had the “feel happy” renewables headlines for over a decade now. We need to get realistic about what is actually achievable in a given timeframe given all the considerations (including outstanding non-depreciated asset values of current fossil fuel assets).

        There may be no ICE cars produced after 2027, but it will take a decade and more to replace all the ICE vehicles after that. Many will still be powered by coal-fuelled electricity, although that is still less emissions than ICE cars at a coal share of anything below 80%.

        Reply
  25. Gary

    re: The only exception is cane grown in Brazil.

    We have several states where sugar cane can or used to be grown commercially. Florida and Louisiana for instance. Both are broke-ass southern states. Too bad there is no Cane Lobby…

    Reply
    1. Another Rev

      After two years here, I can’t say Florida is broke. Cheap, yes, as with education, but money appears when the right people want it. There seems to be no end, for example, to the asphalt to be spread for new or widened highways. Sugar cane is an interesting idea, though, especially with orange acreage shrinking due to disease. I’ve read about growers switching to bamboo and replacement fruits (blueberries!) but not cane yet.

      Reply
  26. anon in so cal

    California Prop 13 2020 ballot initiative:

    There have been ongoing attempts to roll back Prop 13. On the June 2019 Los Angeles ballot, unsuccessful Measure EE sought to impose a .16 per square foot “parcel tax” on homeowners’ lots, in order to raise funds to construct more public schools.

    (in 2016, voters approved Prop 51, a $9 Billion construction bond, of which $7 billion was earmarked for public schools.

    Prop 51 passed despite voters’ recollection that, in 2013, the Los Angeles Unified School District used $1.3 Billion of school construction bond funds to give each of its 600,000 students an iPad. The district superintendent, John Deasy, was forced to resign for fraud-related reasons.

    Interestingly, then California D.A. Kamala Harris declined to prosecute?

    https://www.latimes.com/local/education/la-me-lausd-ipads-20141203-story.html
    https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-a-me-edu-no-charges-ipad-probe-20170221-story.html

    https://www.latimes.com/opinion/readersreact/la-ol-le-measure-ee-defeated-ipads-lausd-bonds-20190608-story.html

    https://edsource.org/2019/california-plans-for-school-construction-bonds-sparks-debate-for-reform/610965)

    Is elimination of Prop 13 protections for commercial property the slippery slope toward a complete rollback of Prop 13?

    Would that dovetail with the goal of eliminating R-1 zoning in Los Angeles?

    Would this mean that, ultimately, only the very wealthy and the nearly indigent will be able to afford single family homes in California?

    (of course, none of these struggles matter on some level, because rising temperatures will eventually render huge swathes of the state uninhabitable.)

    Reply
    1. John k

      13 proposal might pass.
      Cold Alaska current means coastal Ca, where people live, never gets anything like Az is now.
      Issue is water, much now wasted on low value export crops like rice and alfalfa. And cheap solar means we can desalinate.
      I’d worry about Az, NM, tx, etc.

      Reply
      1. Carey

        “..Cold Alaska current means coastal Ca, where people live, never gets anything like Az is now..”

        Maybe, but living six or so miles from Diablo Canyon, I can say
        that we had some violent weather last autumn that I’ve never
        seen before in my life. Truly frightening, whether near a nuke
        or not.

        Reply
    2. jrs

      Prop 13 protections for commercial property should be removed. R-1 zoning should be removed (it doesn’t mean that anything should go in those places it is, there should be a limit to the size of multi-housing family that can be built, not skyscrapers, but multi-family. In line with like Minneapolis is doing).

      Or see more and more people driven to homelessness. Recently spotted a family of four, two kids, a toddler included living under a bridge. ENOUGH!!! And no more do we buy the lies that all the homeless are mentally ill or drug addicts, sure that exists, noone denies that that exists, but people are being driven to homelessness by housing costs as well.

      It’s not like single family housing isn’t often A LIE anyway. We know that many places 20 people are crammed into a “single family house”, there’s whole areas consisting of nothing but this, and then many places it seems like more and more are living in garages etc. because the housing hasn’t increased any and yet lo and behold there are suddenly twice as many cars parked nearby, that’s not likely due to any increase in the number of cars people own. The 20 crammed in a house, I guess that’s creative use of existing housing stock, but it’s not the myth of the single family house. Living in a garage is just unsafe.

      I fear if things continue only the very wealth will be able to *rent* even. No it is not ok for every urban area in California or the U.S. being turned into San Francisco, nothing but a hang out of the rich, when once there was diversity of incomes. Where once there was life itself.

      Climate change I don’t know, I mean yes it’s a the huge issue everywhere, and how many places will be inhabitable and where is hard to say since much of the country is being hit by one climate crisis after another (whether it’s fires or flooding or hurricanes). Yes there are resource limits as well and in CA they are huge.

      Reply
    3. Monty

      Article states, “As noted above, corporate types will offer a slippery-slope claim that once the taxman has feasted on commercial property taxes, homeowners will inevitably be next.”.

      You say, “Is elimination of Prop 13 protections for commercial property the slippery slope toward a complete rollback of Prop 13?”

      I am not sure I would like it, if I found out I was acting like a ‘corporate type’. I am fairly sure it isn’t meant as a compliment!

      Reply
    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Good questions.

      It would be more expensive for both renters and homeowners, without Prop. 13 when it comes to residential properites. The landlords likely would make the renters pay for any increases, unlike the
      situation with tariffs, where an article yesterday (or today) showed otherwise.

      Reply
  27. elissa3

    Thanks so much for the “listen to Woodstock” link. Will have it on sporadically the next couple of days.

    Reply
  28. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thanks for the NPR article concerning removal of dams on Washington’s Snake River in an effort to restore salmon runs, I have relatives who are wheat farmers and would be adversely affected economically by removal of these dams absent development of economically viable alternatives to the use of river barges for transporting crops to Pacific coastal ports for onward export on to Asian markets.

    I am also old enough to have witnessed and recall the tremendous salmon runs in the Columbia River and its tributaries upon which the Orcas rely, but that no longer exist. The Orcas are rightfully accorded a spiritual dimension by many people where I live on the coast. Their troubles deeply sadden me and many others.

    https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/orcas-circle-ferry-transporting-tribal-artifacts-to-bainbridge-island/

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      I’ve been through the locks on those dams. Many of the Columbia system dams were built with no thought to the salmon. It’s a compromise, but wouldn’t improved or added fish ladders help with the problem? Barge transport is very efficient, so giving it up is not ideal.

      The worst barrier is Grand Coulee, above the confluence with the Snake. Getting fish around it would open up half the river and conceivably double salmon production.

      However: the only new factor here is the orcas. Maintaining the once enormous salmon runs is a complex and perpetually contentious problem. They are not very compatible with modern life.

      Reply
      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        Appreciate your comment, Oregoncharles. Yes, there are many other dams both upstream and downstream from the particular dams on the Snake River being considered for demolition, as well as many dams on the Columbia River both downstream and upstream from its confluence with the Snake River. It is unclear from the article why these particular dams have been specifically targeted for removal, but the adverse effect on fisheries of many other dams is being ignored. Would need to consult with fisheries biologists about the Whys.

        Besides the fisheries concerns, there are a number of other constituencies that would also be affected by the decision, including large municipalities and others who rely on hydroelectric power from the dams, farms that require river water for irrigation, etc. The reservoir behind Grand Coulee dam provides irrigation water for the entire Columbia Basin, a major agricultural production area, for example.

        It is noteworthy there were once small spur and regional rail lines that served many area farms now using the river transport system which have been abandoned due to their inability to compete with lower cost transport. Presumably such rail service could be restored given the requisite will and the availability of capital to do so.

        Far from an expert on this issue, but think logging, environmental pollution from urban development, overfishing, and other factors have also played roles in the orcas diminishing food sources.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          Your last sentence is the big picture – as I said, modern life. Those dams on the Snake have been targeted by fisheries advocates for decades, possibly because it would be very difficult to get fish around them – hence the trucks. Fish ladders are easier said than done. Need quite a bit of space, for one.

          As I said, this is a long-running complex dispute.

          Reply
  29. Summer

    “Game over: Middle-class and poor kids are ditching youth sports CBS (J-LS)”

    If the assorted fees hadn’t caught up to them, rising health care costs would have.

    Reply
    1. Anon

      The article should be more specific. It is organized youth sports that are losing participation. Team sports are not attractive to all youth, some (many?) prefer self-directed activities like skateboarding, or rock climbing. Parks & Recreation programs notice a distinct drop-off in all sports participation at the age of 13 (puberty?). It then returns with co-ed participation in unskilled activity like kick-ball, and casual volleyball in their mid- to late twenty’s with workplace groups; some take up fitness/endurance activity like running, swimming, tri-athalon, etc. Participation drops again when these people have children (only to restart the cycle of participation).

      Participation in sport should not necessarily be “competitive” to be valued. Most kids see pretty early where they stand on the competitive team skill-scale and would much prefer to have “fun” with their friends, or challenge themselves in an “individual” skill sport.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I hate to tell you, but my observation both from when I was in school and through my friends and relatives who have kids is that the overwhelming majority of sports activity among children is team sports. You are advocating on behalf of a pronounced minority.

        Reply
  30. Oregoncharles

    “Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move ”

    And does the BDS movement a huge favor – as an email from the movement pointed out.

    Reply
  31. ewmayer

    “Trump lost $34 billion in corporate revenue by cutting IRS budget by $13 billion: study Raw Story (furzy). That’s a feature, not a bug.”

    But Yves, contrast with your introductory comment to Wolf Richter’s “Inflation Data Shows Tariffs Are Not a Tax on Consumers but on Foreign & US Corporations” cross-post article yesterday, where Wolf writes:

    …these tariffs bring in big revenues to the US government, having doubled from prior years to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of over $70 billion, and the government sure needs that moolah.

    You commented MMT-ifically: “Wolf is unduly fond of the notion that tariffs generate Federal revenue. I hope he someday gets the memo that a sovereign currency issuer does not need to tax in order to spend.”

    So who cares about the $34 billion in lost corporate-tax revenue? Why should we tax corporations at all? For that matter, why should there be federal income taxes on individuals? Either the $34 billion do matter in some sense, in which case the tariffs bringing in a similar sum also matter, or they don’t. Which is it?

    Reply
    1. Foy

      Yves posted this the other day on why taxes for revenue are obsolete. It’s an article written in 1946 by the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Beardesly Ruml

      https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/07/taxes-for-revenue-are-obsolete.html

      A spread and mix of taxes are necessary for a variety of reasons, to control inflation, to drive incentives and behaviour, to give value to the currency (people have to obtain it to pay taxes), to redistribute wealth that gets increasingly concentrated through private debt increasing faster than GDP growth, and reduce inequality etc.

      I’m guessing Yves (and I don’t want to put words in her mouth) said that it was a feature not a bug in that the Republicans who believe that taxes in order to spend are a requirement saw the IRS cut as a way to do it without it being as obvious as through mandated corporate tax cuts and if it gives a bigger deficit, well hey, there’s our excuse to cut spending (of course no military spending cuts though). 2 birds, one stone…

      And Marriner Eccles in 1933, the Chairman who the Federal Reserve Building is named after also said similar interesting things:

      http://londonbanker.blogspot.com/2011/09/testimony-of-marriner-eccles-to.html
      “I repeat there is plenty of money today to bring about a restoration of prices, but the chief trouble is that it is in the wrong place”

      Reply
  32. Jack Parsons

    About Kashmir: China cut off Xinjiang’s internet for several months when starting their, uh… grand project. This is a precedent.

    Reply
  33. Jon Cloke

    Re “The ‘dark side’ of Finland’s famous free health care” – Really? The wealthiest country in the world that chooses to let 22,000 Americans a year die to help HMOs and Big Pharma make super-profits, is having a go at the quality of free care Finland provides, just to have a go at Bernie?

    CNN, you musta fell and bumped yor head…

    Reply

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