Links 8/26/19

Barcelona police spare bathers’ blushes with clothing ‘robbery kits’ Guardian

Scientist says ‘one theory’ about the Loch Ness monster is plausible The Scotsman (chuck l)

Massive pumice ‘raft’ spotted in the Pacific could help replenish Great Barrier Reef Guardian (David L)

There were no guidelines for fecal transplants. Then, a patient died. (furzy)

The Taliban don’t have video games. So why are they so violent, US wonders Duffleblog (The Rev Kev)

There Is Nary a Pest as Hated as Mesquite in the Desert Flatland of Kutch The Wire


Kamala Harris Has Nothing to Offer Progressives TruthDig (furzy)

Former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh announces challenge against President Donald Trump for 2020 Republican nomination Chicago Tribune

Gabbard Victimized by DNC’s Dubious Debate Criteria Real Clear Politics (chuck l)

Sanders’ Climate Plan Includes Holding the Fossil Fuel Industry Accountable Climate Liability News

How Joe Biden’s privatization plans helped doom Latin America and fuel the migration crisis The Unbalanced Evolution of Homo Sapiens (furzy)

Bernie Sanders Touts ‘Campaign of Energy and Excitement’ as Evidence He’s the Candidate to Take Down Trump Common Dreams. Watch the short embedded video, Sanders appears on CNN’s State of the Union.

Democrats in Disarray

Senate battleground Dems shun ‘Medicare for All’ Politico

George Washington owned slaves and ordered Indians killed. Will a mural of that history be hidden? WaPo

Health Care

The $6 Million Drug Claim NYT

The year-long rash of supply chain attacks against open source is getting worse  Ars Technica (chuck l)

Free speech v free enterprise? Lawsuit over big tech censorship strikes at core of American values RT (The Rev Kev)

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian: ‘We need more conversations’ FT

Class Warfare

How the Unchecked Power of Judges Is Hurting Poor Texans Texas Monthly

State Tax Breaks Rewarded Companies Connected to One Powerful Man. The Governor Just Killed Them — for Now. ProPublica

Hasbro’s ‘Monopoly: Socialism’ Melts The Internet Daily Wire (Dr. Kevin)

California Governor Promises More Changes to “Biased, Random” Justice System Marshall Project

Federal scientists warned of coming opioid crisis in 2006 Politico

Remembering the Diggers Jacobin

Waste Watch

The tiny nation waging war on plastic BBC

Toymaker Hasbro says it will phase out plastic packaging TreeHugger

A New Generation of Students Is Teaching Us How to Reduce E-Waste Motherboard

Hong Kong

Chinese Agencies ‘Crack Telegram’: A Timely Warning For End-To-End Encryption Forbes (David L)

Hong Kong Protests Force Companies to Choose: Their Employees or China WSJ

Police officer fires gun, water cannon used for first time on protesters in Hong Kong SCMP


India’s downturn evokes shock, doubts Asia Times

It’s not just Brazil’s Amazon rainforest that’s ablaze – Bolivian fires are threatening people and wildlife The Conversation


Trump officials voice anger at G7 focus on ‘niche’ issues such as climate change Guardian (The Rev Kev)

Iran’s Zarif holds surprise talks with Macron at G7 summit Al Jazeera

Trump caught off guard as Iran’s Zarif visits G7 summit town Reuters

‘The U.S. Has To Get a Sense of Iran’s Security Interests’ Der Spiegel. From the beginning of the month; still germane.

Is war with Iran on the horizon? Qantara

Trump Transition

Trump suggests ‘nuking hurricanes’ to stop them hitting America – report Guardian (The Rev Kev)

Trump sparks confusion before doubling down on China tariffs AFP

Business Groups Warn of Peril as Trump’s Trade War Spirals NYT

The battle for the soul of the Space Force The Hill (The Rev Kev)


Trump promises ‘very big trade deal’ with Britain post-Brexit The Hill

Britain can ‘easily cope’ with no-deal Brexit, claims Boris Johnson Guardian

Brexit: lost to the real world

The great university con: how the British degree lost its value New Statesman

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Amfortas the hippie

    regarding mesquite:
    while i certainly advise against introducing mesquite anywhere at all that it doesn’t already grow, I rather like it.
    ten-ply tires on the truck, and that green “monkeysnot” in bike tires, etc solves one of the problems adequately.
    and it’s a very useful plant….since you can’t get rid of it anyway, even with extraordinary measures. ranchers out here have been waging war on it for 100+ years…bulldozers with special attachments to pull up the deep roots…even spraying diesel on them(!!).(both incredibly destructive in their own rights)
    but it always comes back.
    keeping goats serves well enough to check it’s spread, but eternal surveillance…and a ready hoe always to hand…is also required.(deer, cows and sheep will eat the leaves and pods, too…especially in dry periods)
    it lends itself readily to coppicing for firewood…cut it off at six inches above the ground, and wait 15 or so years, and do it again.
    the pods make an excellent flour, with complex sugars that are supposedly good for type 2 diabetes. and no gluten, for what it’s worth.I make pancakes with mesquite flour mixed with buckwheat flour. sweet and nutty.
    and soaking the pods yields an interesting “wine”…or a marinade for bbq’ed meat…or for just injecting it into the meat, if there’s no time to marinate it.
    it’s also a trap crop for these damned grasshoppers…mine are loaded with them, way up high…which makes it easier to spray, without contaminating one’s garden.(i go as far as pyrethrum, no further, and only for the hoppers in their millions)
    the fallen leaves are nitrogen rich and make a good addition to compost…and the larger thorns(some trees have 4” spikes) make good darts for a blowgun.
    mesquite is not native to the texas hill country, strictly speaking…it came with Spanish cattle from south texas, long ago…but so long as it’s here, may as well put it to good use.
    but again, if it ain’t already there…avoid planting it at all costs.

    1. Stephen V.

      Thank you Anfortas. You’ve stirred my animal brain to memories of the smell of burning mesquite. Although truth be told it could be piñon. …

    2. Arizona Slim

      I have a big mesquite in my front yard. And its pods can be ground into flour. Want a batch of mesquite cookies? Come to my place!

  2. John A

    Re Brexit, lost to the real world, Richard North writes:
    When the history of Brexit comes to be told, it should include a strong comment on the failure of the media, from its own resources, to research, analyse and report on the predictable consequences of a no-deal Brexit.

    The media have been failing to research, analyse and report on all sorts of issues in recent years. From the suicide of Epstein, the Maiden coup in Ukraine, the downing of the MH17, the Skripal poisoning, the Steele Report, the gas attacks in Syria, to name just a few. The media simply sing from the powers that be songsheet with no analysis or research and reporting on any of the blatant disconnects that stare you in the face as soon as you think twice about the narrative being peddled. Every one questioning anything is simply herded into the ‘conspiracy theorist’ asylum and told, move on, nothing to see here.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      That is true, but I think the case of Brexit is particularly egregious as it is an entirely ‘known’ issue – it is entirely a matter of basic politics and technical knowledge of trade. The information is out there, the media just chose to ignore it, either because they are pro Brexit, or they are scared of being seen as scare-mongering.

      What it has shown very clearly is that much of the media is made up of people who’s qualification for their job is certainly not having any ability of deep analysis or technical knowledge. As Noam Chomsky has demonstrated in the past, an ignorance of how things work is in fact a requirement for success in the media.

      1. Synoia

        Boris Johnson is or was a well paid journalist. His expertise and qualifications are well known.

        Thus he serves as a shining example of joutnalistic skill to us all.

      2. Craig H.

        Who are the media powers? Do they want Brexit?

        All I know is Murdoch and he wants it but is he in the middle of the pack here?

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Murdoch is very anti EU, allegedly because he doesn’t like the competition laws (stops him getting his monopolies).

          Most of the right wing press in the UK (i.e. most of it) is very anti-EU. Most of them are owned by rich people with all their money in off-shore islands. Whether for them its ideological or whether they see money in Brexit, I’ll leave to others, I don’t really know.

      3. The Rev Kev

        I think that an answer about the people in the media is found in today’s link “The great university con: how the British degree lost its value” as it is uni graduates who are dominating the media right now.

    2. Odysseus

      When the history of Brexit comes to be told, it should include a strong comment on the failure of the media, from its own resources, to research, analyse and report on the predictable consequences of a no-deal Brexit.


    3. David

      I think North’s point was the media have failed to understand Brexit and to get even the most basic facts right. Irrespective of your views, some common media tropes (like referring to the Withdrawal Agreement as a “deal”) are surely just unforgivable. Unfortunately, the same tends to be true of any subject of reasonable complexity. I’m not sure if the problem is worse than it used to be: in my experience, the media have always been pretty rubbish at reporting things I actually know about, unless somebody has been spoon-feeding them.
      It does make you wonder though: I was reminded of the so-called Gell-Mann amnesia effect, where specialists who distrust media coverage in their own area nonetheless implicitly assume that in other areas the media is to be trusted. If this is the standard of the media on Brexit, how reliable do we think they might be on, say, Kashmir or Global Warming?
      Incidentally, I don’t think that reflexive distrust of official explanations is a good strategy either. A journalist who tried to argue that Brexit was a conspiracy cooked up between Putin and the Trilateral Commission, for example, would be just as bad.

  3. Paul Jonker-Hoffrén

    Re: It’s not just Brazil’s Amazon rainforest that’s ablaze

    And in fact, large parts of Siberia too (really large parts!). There was a long story on this in a Dutch newspaper (, paywall). Takeaway: far too little resources to control the fires, because after the Soviet Union, the flying fire brigades were stripped of monetary resources and have miserably low salaries.

    1. Summer

      “Takeaway: far too little resources to control the fires…”
      Which ones , if any, like the USA, have resorted to using the slave labor of prisoners to fight fires?
      Race to the bottom of “competiveness”? Can’t compete without total exploitation…


        I believe US prisoners volunteer to fight wild fires.

        I’d prefer that to staying in a cell.

        1. witters

          “I’d prefer that to staying in a cell.” And lets face it, if you want that ‘choice’ the USA is the place to be.

      2. Wukchumni

        The thought is that our marvelous multi-purpose F-35 can also act in a water drop capacity, with as much as several gallons worth every 10 minutes, as the pilot replenishes it with nervous flop sweat en route to the next target to quench.

  4. Wukchumni

    In Socialist Monopoly, is there outcry among the players that unoccupied properties go wanting, as the burgeoning homeless population inhabiting the game has no place to go, and could easily fill Marvin Gardens or Ventnor Avenue?

    I tell you how bad it’s getting, there is a tent city in the middle of the board, and squalor is getting out of hand, not to mention a series of copper thefts from the Water Works that has played havoc with many property owners not being able to get any, lowering their values.

    1. Mattski

      My old grade school in Flint, Michigan is now surrounded by barbed wire, and derelict. A piece I found online said that the metal had been stripped out of it. When we were in Grenada some while ago thieves were stealing street signs for the illicit trade in metals to China; I figured it was a matter of time before that happened here. It’s been a matter of a very short time.

      1. Wukchumni

        Its even worse than you know, we were playing when somebody made off with the hat & shoe, which no doubt made their way into the illicit metals trade.

      2. GF

        Flint has more pressing issues than scrappers stealing metal from derelict buildings:

        Hoisted from the article: “(Sewage discharges are) actually ‘cleaner’ than the river water, so it’s impact on the river is positive, if anything,” Robert Case, Flint’s water pollution control division manager, said in an email…”.
        Well that’s good to know. I wonder if sewage absorbs lead too?

      3. Procopius

        This is not really a new development. My memory is a poor device, but I recall stories about vacant houses being stripped of their copper pipes at least forty years ago. You know, that’s why coins no longer contain any silver (which was the real standard basis for currency for many centuries, and did not slow inflation). Quarters and half dollars were being melted down and the ingots were shipped, IIRC, to Mexico, because the raw silver had a higher market price than the face value of the coin. Unprecedented. Historically, it was always the other way around.

  5. zagonostra


    “For Democrats, all roads lead to Medicare for All and the elimination of the employer-based coverage,” said Jesse Hunt, a spokesperson for the NRSC. “Senate Democrats will not be able to escape the socialist agenda being promised by their party’s presidential candidates no matter how hard they try to obfuscate their true objective.”

    That’s why we need an unapologetic, in-your-face, aggressive push that takes no bullsh&t and goes for their (NRSC and Republican opposition’s) political throat.

    We don’t want mealy- mouth, milquetoast half-step measures served up by the likes of Kamala, Warren and the rest. We need a Bernie or a third party movement that drives a stake into the heart of the Healthcare Insurance/pharmaceutical abomination that is responsible for untold number of deaths and people living physical and financial despair.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Is war with Iran on the horizon?”

    Not with Israel it isn’t. Iran can shoot back with their own missiles. The thing is, Netanyahu has that do-over election in about three weeks and if he does not get re-elected, there is a good chance that he will end up in prison on corruption charges right alongside his wife. So he does what is popular with a right-leaning Israeli electorate – bombing and attacking Arabs. That is why he attacked Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. To get voters on his side. In the short term it may get him those votes that he needs to win that election but by doing so he is building up long term trouble for Israel. A reaction will come – even if they wait until the election is over to do it – but it will come.

    1. jefemt

      I’m thinking Bennie boy and his wife will end up in Martha’s Vineyard , not prison….

      As to war, we can’t get enough of it. Whether its Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, afghanipakiraqistan, Vez u huela….
      War is the universal age-old ‘solution’ to the power-structures we have tried so far….

      1. GF

        “I’m thinking Bennie boy and his wife will end up in Martha’s Vineyard , not prison…. ”

        I hear Obama’s new summer house has a palatial sized basement apartment that can double as a bomb shelter in an emergency.

        1. Procopius

          More likely as a fall-out shelter. That was one of the stupider ideas of the Cold War. I’m pretty sure an actual bomb shelter in a house that expensive would have to be much further underground.

          1. Wukchumni

            A late 50’s fallout shelter/basement might be perfect for one of those 116 degree days back east with 95% humidity…

            It’s essentially a cave, and as long as its ventilated, an ideal place to ride out the high heat coming our way~

  7. petal

    An update on the Love Me I’m a Liberal House that I pass every day: A new sign has been added! “Amy for America” (Klobuchar) now joins the “Kamala for the People” sign, the Liz Warren sign, the BLM sign, and the “We Believe” yard sign. Good stuff.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Maybe some people should put up yard signs bearing the legend – “This Space for Hire”.

    2. jefemt

      No love there for Bernie, Tulsi? No Mike Gravel? I shudder to contemplate the inevitable Trump 2020 second term.

      Time-capsule bets?

      1. petal

        Well, not in that yard! I should make a prediction about which sign they will next add to their collection. It is highly amusing.
        There is one Tulsi sign in my apartment complex. Other than that, not much going on sign-wise in my town other than the LMIAL House. Very quiet.
        Slim, not yet-but stay tuned! Maybe it will appear there one of these days. They have plenty of front yard left for more!

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          A homemade Joe Walsh, American Patriot, sign?

          I mean the #resistance class is fired up already. He’s apologized for his unfortunate remarks he made in the last week, month, year, decade, half century.

      2. Procopius

        If Bernie or Senator Professor Warren are not the candidate, I will probably write in Mike Gravel. I just like the guy, maybe because he’s a couple of years older than me and still acting like he’s having fun. I’ll vote for him in a New York second if he’s the candidate.

      1. Drake

        Yes, ‘el odio no tiene hogar aqui’ signs are a common feature of upscale Boston metro neighborhoods. Of course, ‘los inmigrantes y los hispano-hablantes también no tienen hogar allí’. Not in the neighborhoods I’m thinking of.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Yes, they’re also a favored virtue signal in the Valhalla/Liberalandia of Rhinebeck, NY, the Upper East Side of the Hudson Valley.

          Of course, the signs notably say nothing about labor rights and living wages… funny, that.

          1. Drake

            I know it well. I moved to Boston metro from the Hudson Valley many years ago. Been to Upstate Films many times.

    3. Chris Smith

      I saw a handmade “Tulsi 2020” in a yard while driving through Odessa, NY. (Odessa, NY makes Odessa, TX look flaming lefty by comparison.)

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        that’s horrible to contemplate…since i’ve been to midland/odessa.
        the meteor carter is all they have going for them…although i understand that local public sentiment has recently turned somewhat against oil and gas,lol.(driven up rent, crime, and everything else)…excepting the local ptb, of course.
        still, it’s like it’s stuck in 1954

      2. sleepy

        The only political signs I’ve seen here in semi-rural Iowa are two Tulsi Gabbard billboards. For all the national coverage of the Iowa caucuses I haven’t met a single Iowan outside my family that has mentioned anything at all about the presidential race. My 10 and 7 yo grandkids smack Trump around daily but that’s it.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          my tailgate is perennial.
          aside from that, i’ve seen one trump 2020(on a large shiny black dually, with rolling coal tailpipes.
          a handful of half-scraped off trump 2016 stickers.
          and no yardsigns, save for those from 2016 hidden by weeds in front of houses that are either now abandoned or whose owners have died.(read into that what you will)

          in the last 3 or so years, I’ve had all of 4 people attempt…also halfheartedly…to assure me that trump will fix it…when idle conversation strays into the politico-economic….as if they are trying to convince themselves more than me…like an affirmation, or something.(“it will be alrightitwillbealrightitwillbealright…”)
          practically everyone else that i bump in to out here seems to be studiously avoiding mentioning him…which gels with my observations right after the 2016 election that many gop’ers around here were/are embarrassed.(cruz was the fave in the primary…and the Libertarians did better than they ever have in the general)
          for my little rural texas county, the augurs/entrails are pessimistic for the gop.
          of course, anecdote,lol…and i don’t get out much more than 2 trips to town per week, and even that’s limited to the feedstore, the beer store/gas station and a couple of other places…and i generally avoid the hard core of the local gop party apparatus(they don’t talk to me, either)
          still…it’s a lot different from 4 years ago.

        2. jonboinAR

          Here in southern Arkansas, since 2016 I’ve never seen any presidential-race signs but Trump’s. There have been plenty of those.

    4. ambrit

      I’m thinking of running up a “Hillary fur Furher” sign and seeing if anyone gets the reference. (Plus a moody three quarter profile soft focus shot of Her Highness for background.)
      Trump would make hay with instituting a “Two Minutes Hate” segment to his election year rallies.

      1. newcatty

        We have made it an informal social/political project to notice car bumper stickers in our northern AZ town. To put it succinctly, we live in a town “known for” being a real conservative and Republican town. There are some people who are not. Mostly, we see stickers or small signs in rear windows that declare slogans like ” I am a deplorable and proud of it”. Or just, “MAGA”. Or old Trump Pence stickers. Or lots of American flags with veteran’s ID stickers. Well, at the three main “natural food ” grocery stores we saw some vehicles with Bernie stickers! Then we noticed the signs like “Practice random acts of kindness ” slogans or “Love your Mother( with a picture of earth from space)”. Its gonna be interesting…

        1. ambrit

          Good catch. It would be the height of irony if the “true progressives” turned out to be today’s ‘silent majority.’

    5. Beniamino

      Some mental patient a couple blocks from me (beautiful Worcester, MA) still has a “Clinton Kaine 2016” sign in their front yard, along with its inevitable virtue-signalling corollary, a “Hate Has No Home Here” sign, as well as a couple of local candidate endorsements thrown in for good measure. No 2020 presidential endorsements for the time being.

    6. Carey

      Quite a few “We Believe” and the like signs in my Region, too. We’re pretty damn woke.
      Don’t forget the Prius™!

    7. Still Above Water

      I’m trying to figure out how I may edit any Harris signs that show up in my neighborhood to be more truthful. Which do you prefer:

      “Kamala for Jailing the People”, or

      “Kamala for Putting People in Prison”?

  8. Olga

    Interesting view from Asia Times
    “On July 7 I revealed in this publication that the new 5G systems would embed quantum cryptography, preventing US intelligence agencies from eavesdropping on the world’s communications and destroying a key American advantage. That is why the intelligence community prevailed on the Trump administration to derail Huawei’s 5G rollout at all costs.”
    Puts things in perspective…

    1. notabanker

      Great link, thanks. Agree with the overarching premise to this, the US is picking a fight it cannot win. Makes me wonder if China is the boogeyman for the collapse of neoliberalism.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Thanks Olga. That page would go a long way explaining the opposition that the five eyes head spooks have to the 5G rollout. It threatens their budgets if they cannot spy on all communications that we muppets use.

    3. Synoia

      The phone companies can still report called and calling parties, call metadata,ans tap phone calls.

      Apps can still access all the content of phones.

      This potential 5g quantium encryption security is little better than a fig leaf.

      1. Olga

        Never miss an opportunity to learn something new. This from QC for Dummies:

        “Cryptography is the process of encrypting data, or converting plain text into scrambled text so that only someone who has the right “key” can read it. Quantum cryptography, by extension, simply uses the principles of quantum mechanics to encrypt data and transmit it in a way that cannot be hacked. While the definition sounds simple, the complexity lies in the principles of quantum mechanics behind quantum cryptography, such as:

        The particles that make up the universe are inherently uncertain and can simultaneously exist in more than one place or more than one state of being.
        Photons are generated randomly in one of two quantum states.
        You can’t measure a quantum property without changing or disturbing it.
        You can clone some quantum properties of a particle, but not the whole particle.

        All these principles play a role in how quantum cryptography works.”

        Maybe you have knowledge that allows to judge it a “fig leaf,” and maybe you can share it, so that we may better assess whether this is true:
        “Quantum cryptography, on the other hand, uses the principles of quantum mechanics to send secure messages, and unlike mathematical encryption, is truly un-hackable.”

        1. Acacia

          As I understand it, the typical scenario is this: Alice wants to communicate securely with Bob, so they agree on an encryption algorithm and key. This works, and it is used to secure most communication on the Internet (e.g., https). It works… unless the algorithm can be cracked (via secret NSA supercomputers that Binney and Snowden murmur about), or the key can be identified. One way of identifying the key is via the so-called man-in-the-middle attack. E.g., Eve pretends to be Bob, listens to the communication from Alice, and forwards all messages between Alice and Bob. Eve then gains knowledge of the encryption method, and how to decrypt the communication.

          What QC does is use quantum indeterminacy to eliminate the possibility of a man in the middle attack, because any eavesdropping on the communication disturbs/changes its quantum state. However, I gather that in order for this to work, there needs to be a communication channel that can convey quantum state (e.g., the polarization of photons), such as an optical fibre. I’m unclear on how this would work for a cellphone network, except as a way to generate secure keys.

          I think @Synoia’s point is slightly different: phones run an OS and that OS can have backdoors or be hacked in various ways to can access to content stored on the phone. In that scenario, it’s not necessary to actually crack an algorithm or try to intercept a key, because the OS is used to gain access to the content before it passes through the encryption channel.

          If the phone OS has been backdoor’d or otherwise compromised, it doesn’t matter if the communication network uses the most badass state-of-the-art QC — the hack is to simply go around all of that.

          1. Synoia

            I forgot to mention the app on the phones copying the phone book calling metadata, and, if required, the conversation in full, as practiced by Microsoft, Google and Facebook.

            Any encryption system is completely compromised if one can copy the date before the encryption engine.

        2. Synoia

          Maybe you have knowledge that allows to judge it a “fig leaf

          I do.

          1. The signalling information, phone number, must be usable by the carrier. The carrier knows the calling party id and the called party phone number.
          Thus you call metadata, and your associates, family and friends, are known by the carrier.

          2. If quantum encryption is used for message data the quanta, the photons, must be unchanged end to end. On a cell cell connection there are multiple sets of photons, the radio waves from phone to tower, the electrons or photons from tower across the multi hop network, where each hop has separate discrete electron or photons, where no quantum characteristic is copied from hop to hop.

          3. There is an absolute retirement for the telecom carrier to be able to tap, copy, phone calls for law enforcement purposes (CALEA) in the US. No network is implemented without this feature.

          What is my expertise:
          Working with encryption since 1976.
          Consulting with Banks in Europe.
          Consulted to major Telecom equipment companies.
          Consulted with major Telecom companies.

          1. ambrit

            So, I should assume that everything is ‘captured’ recorded and analyzed.
            1984 is already here. Burke’s Digital Panopticon.

          2. vlade

            Your point 2 is why the “quantum cryptology” is now mostly really “quantum key distribution” for various encoding options – at least I’m not aware of any real commercial _real_ QC implementation.

            And QKD is expensive when you have tons of users, because it’s really P2P technology, so it grows exponentially.

            Regardless of that, your fig leaf bit is entirely correct. Any system is as strong as its weakest part, and usually, the user is the weakest part (people still install all sorts of apps..). Any strenght of cryptography, which by definition starts a few steps removed from the user, and ends with a few steps removed from the user, will be always a fig leaf.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That technology should make all those nations that monitor their citizens uneasy.

      And it also makes those nations that claim to be comfortable with phones not evesdroppable suspicious.

  9. Off The Street

    The Great Uni Con presents, as a disease, in novel ways. The graph showing literacy and numeracy achievement at the 4 and 5 level compared to spending per student might be viewed as a warning indicator. It would be interesting to include more universities in that data set, including the rest of the Anglo-Saxon world. In the meantime, Finland, Belgium and The Netherlands seem to have lessons to share with others.

    The US version of that Great Uni Con has its own baleful aspects including student debt. Young people contemplating tertiary education will now face more consultants to help them continue to decipher and game whatever passes for a system at each level of the collegiate world. That is, until more start balking at the deceptions, manipulation and dilution of perceived degree value.

    1. Cynthia

      The “ great university con” applies to most jobs, but with a few exceptions, one being nursing. You can get an advanced degree in nursing, with the hospital even paying for it, and easily land yourself a job in nursing management or nursing education. Thus, it’s good news for nurses that work in management and education, but it’s pretty much bad news for everybody else, especially for patients trying to recover from an illness in the hospital.

      That’s because most of these hospital jobs in either nursing management and nursing education don’t amount to anything when it comes to managing or educating nurses who are doing “direct care” work at the bedside. Thus, they are doing nothing to improve patient care. If anything, these jobs are causing patient care to deteriorate even further.

      This, from what I gather, is due to budget shifting. Stating the obvious, the more you budget for nurse managers and educators, the less there is to budget for bedside nurses.

      Therefore, the victims of the “great university con” aren’t the nurses with newly minted university degrees, but instead are the nurses left behind to care for patients. Thanks to the “great university con,” their patient workload has increased to the point that patients aren’t getting the care they need and deserve, making them, the patients, the biggest victim of this “ university-driven “ con job!

        1. Cynthia

          Doctors aren’t as negatively affected by the “great university con” job as bedside nurses are — unless, of course, when a big headed, know-it-all, busy body nurse manage or nurse educator tries to tell a doctor how to practice medicine or how to run a department when it’s clearly wrongheaded or not in the best interest of the patient.

          Regarding the issue of NPs, that’s a whole other ball of wax. At least NPs are on the front lines doing direct patient care work. In other words, they aren’t adding to the bloated overhead cost problem like nurse managers and educators are. And I seriously doubt that NPs will be replacing doctors anytime soon. They may replace them at the primary care level, but that’s about it. NPs simply don’t have the knowledge base to diagnose and treat patients who are very difficult to diagnose and treat, much less have the skill sets to perform complex surgeries. The public won’t stand for NPs doing such things. That’s why you’ll see more and more doctors moving into more specialized area of medicine, leaving most of “general practice” work for the NPs.

          1. newcatty

            Thank you, Cynthia for that information. Also, the “great university con ” is alive and is now a feature in all “credentialed” teacher education colleges at all institutions of higher education. Most teachers have a bachelor of science degree in elementary or high school education. There are , of course, individuals who have degrees in a content area, such as math, science, English, foreign languages or the social sciences. Many of the post-degree certification programs are including master’s degrees in “education”. Once a person is teaching for awhile with only the BS degree, the path to moar pay or a new job in “curriculum development ” in the district administration level is to get the master’s or, the plum credential: a PhD. One of the majors for a master’s degree is “Education Leadership”. You can’t make that up. Here you have the front line educators spending time and financial resources on playing the university con game. Instead of supporting teachers with better pay, at the beginning of their careers and with manageable classroom sizes, healthy and safe physical school infrastructures ( for many of our public schools), adequate teaching materials, excellent text books and creative enrichment sources; the university con games go on…The administration jobs, compared to teacher salaries are just like the other monetized institutions, the one’s (like the bedside nurses) where the “administration” jobs are grossly overpaid and it’s a club and mere plebs are not in it. The obvious administration heads, like principals, are another story. Mostly, from what I have heard, it really depends on the person being competent and not a jerk…Also just how far gone is an individual school. Add the abandonment of many public school fundings. Charters and school vouchers…maybe that kid in the news story that is holding her breath will win the charter school lottery. Oh, s***, she didnt…We watch her cry with disappointment. Pan over to a winner! Watch his mom cry tears of joy.

            1. Left in Wisconsin

              One clarification: the higher ed degree of choice for “educators” is the Ed.D, not the Ph.D. Ph.D programs have their problems but one can obtain an Ed.D (and the right to be addressed as “doctor”) shockingly easily.

              1. polecat

                Back when polecat HAD health insurance, he had an appointment with his primary phys. When the appt. was completed, polecat thanked the physician .. by indvertently uttering Ms. [Insert Physician’ last name here] INSTEAD of ‘Doctor’ ….then realizing the extreme error of my ways, tried to recoup with the proper title. It was an honest oversight on my part, meaning no slight what-so-ever .. but oh man ! There was an immediate gasp !! in unison, by all the nurses in the office, then complete silence – you could hear a pin drop .. a mile away. As for the phyician in question .. she didn’t say a word about, but I felt that from then on, the ‘patient/physician’ relationship curdling from then on.

                “Sigh” …. sometimes credentials can really gum-up the works.

                1. ambrit

                  An example of the ‘ego’ invested in credentials.
                  You have my sympathy. The last good doctor I had dealings with retired three years ago. The remaining bunch are basically greedy s—s.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      “He stated it was no longer 1986 and that we [could not] mark like we did in the past. We must, he said, look harder for excellence….”

      It would seem that when the history of the 21st century is finally written, it will be be labelled the era of “looking harder” for things–happiness, security, peace, achievement, “excellence”–that in the past had been unambiguously defined and readily apparent.

      1. Skip Intro

        Also looking harder for clean water, air, food, frozen permafrost, habitable tropical countries, keystone species, and glaciers

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If it enlightens students, then, the more the merrier.

      If college education simply grants credentials for graduates to seek work, it’s not necessarily the more the merrier.

    4. JEHR

      Re: The great university con: how the British degree lost its value

      Unfortunately, the graph accompanying the article that shows “the proportion of graduates at levels 4 and 5 in literacy and numeracy” does not include Canada although it does include Estonia.

      I entered first-year university in 1958 in a two-year education program in the province of BC; finished a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature in 1974 in Ontario and completed a Masters in Adult Education in 1994 in NB.

      I believe that acceptance to University in 1958 depended on marks (I had an 85% average in all high school courses.) I used my University courses results to apply for the Bachelor’s program and was accepted. I completed my Masters as a part-time student while I was teaching adults in Business College.

      The interesting thing I noticed about my education was that throughout I maintained about the same average as in high school. One of my essays in university English Literature was stolen and is probably still floating around for plagiarists to use. I did notice that almost all the students in my Master’s course passed with high marks as long as they attended classes. Another trend was the increasing use of multiple choice questionnaires for determining marks instead of writing essays.

      The most difficult thing (and the most useful one) I learned was how to write a one-page essay on a book or on any other work of literature. It made me think well and truly.

      As a result, I learned how to learn and used my research skills (including at NC) to become knowledgeable about how finance screwed the world in 2007-8.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “George Washington owned slaves and ordered Indians killed. Will a mural of that history be hidden?”

    Just had a wicked thought. Imagine it is a thousand years in the future and archaeologist are excavating the buried ruins of George Washington High School with the reason being that this school bears the name of the Holy One – St. George of the Holy Mount Vernon. Discoverer of America. Conqueror of the British. Founder of the First American Nation. These priests-archaeologist are excavating one series of walls when rotten wood panels crumple with age revealing this long hidden mural. Imagine their surprise!

  11. Tomonthebeach

    Nuke that hurricane! Or maybe just nuke global warming?

    G6 out of G7 countries view climate change as a serious threat to the world economy. Globally, every country has been looking for a way to kick the climate change can down the road. The notion that nuking a tropical storm might stop its devastation has been dismissed more with puffery than empirical fact. To paraphrase; “Oh, we ran the numbers and it would take a bazillion megaton nuke to stop a single storm.” Trying to blow up storms sounds like something right out of the Donald Trump schoolyard playbook. Certainly, storm chasing with ICBMs would be reckless regardless of any further research.

    However, there has been little debate since the 1980s that increasing the amount of dust in the upper atmosphere would reflect away sun heat and cool the planet. Such “Nuclear Winter” prophecies were based on at least some calculations from our own past nuclear bomb tests as well as volcanoes and wartime firebombings. Now if we could only get over our collective fear of nukes and did some research we might discover that our weapons of mass destruction might have the potential to be mankind’s salvation rather than the threat to our demise.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “on the beach” is entirely appropriate,lol.
      wife and i were discussing this just yesterday…that a “limited nuclear exchange” might look like a plan to some functionary chained to a desk in Darth Cheney’s dungeon.
      cool the planet with a quickness, and cull the herd, to boot.
      and think of all the no-bids for dyncorp, etc for “mitigation” and eventual rebuilding.
      even a growth opportunity for all those “radiation is good for you” nutters in idaho.

      1. Wukchumni

        Household rules I grew up with:

        1.) Don’t swim until 30 minutes after you’ve eaten

        2.) Don’t get too close to the color tv, the radiation will get you.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Markovitz still manages to genuflect to his true masters at the very end :

      History does present one clear-cut case of an orderly recovery from concentrated inequality: In the 1920s and ’30s, the U.S. answered the Great Depression by adopting the New Deal framework that would eventually build the mid-century middle class. Crucially, government redistribution was not the primary engine of this process.

      1. flora

        I agree. However, it’s interesting to me that the very ideas are being raised in the meritocracy’s ‘winner’s’ circle. I think the longevity of the Sanders’ campaign critique of the current economic setup – from 2015 until now – is having a larger effect than the MSM let’s on.

      2. barefoot charley

        Progressive taxation (up to 94 percent) wasn’t government redistribution–who knew? I guess that means we can do it again! In the olden days they even taxed corporations.

  12. Wukchumni

    It was remarkable in a big snow year that there haven’t been any fatalities by drowning, the most common way to remove yourself from the gene pool accidentally around these parts and in Sequoia NP. To have swam the stretch we did yesterday a month ago would’ve been deadly, the 4 of us would have got swept away by the current into rocks not going anywhere soon, battered & bruised looking for a way out, with each boulder underfoot as slippery as a telemarketers spiel on the telephone-allowing no purchase, yikes.

    But that was last month, and time was ripe for another 3 mile stretch of ‘swiking’ as you’re swimming about half the time, and looking to avoid obstacles such as pesky 6 foot waterfalls or whatnot you can’t swim by hiking over boulder fields small and large (think of a used car lot, with hundreds of car sized boulders and maybe a dozen the size of SUV’s and a few the size of an RV), whatever the terrain calls for, the smaller fields recently under water, the ground still a tinge muddy, the slippery mostly gone, although each boulder can turn on you, so its included in the hyper vigil required, and did I mention rattlesnakes, well, we didn’t see any this go round, but slither happens.

    It has the feel of the movie The Swimmer with Burt Lancaster, as you’re going by people’s backyard swimming holes on the Kaweah, with maybe a dozen large pools say 5x as large as a swimming pool, along the way, the minimum amount of water needed to float (we wear drybag daypacks that give you a lot of buoyancy in the water) is around 2 feet, otherwise you have to walk on the slipperies underfoot with not enough water to break your fall, as a biff is gonna happen, or your tailbone is gonna hit something that leaves a smarting, if you’d only seen that slightly submerged rock earlier.

    6 1/2 hours to go 3 miles…

    1. ewmayer

      The Swimmer is a great, quirky, underappreciated Burt Lancaster movie … it’s rather like a movie-length Twilight Zone episode.

      1. Wukchumni

        Burt Lancaster was my favorite old school actor of his era.

        The Swimmer is an interesting turn of events, hey who wants to go for a dip?

      2. eg

        It serves as a byword for cinematic ridiculousness in my household, my brothers and I having stumbled upon it in our early teens when we were hopelessly incapable of understanding it. Our literal minded parents were no help (an engineer and a nurse) through no fault of their own.

  13. Summer

    RE:Toymaker Hasbro says it will phase out plastic packaging…. TreeHugger

    They want to be environmentally friendly and family friendly. Oh, what to do about the incidental purchase of Death Row Records? (Ha!)

    1. Drake

      And Monopoly the Socialism edition, the fun board game for kids of all ages who need to learn why nothing but capitalism works?

    2. Acacia

      The standard-issue Monopoly game is fairly good at conveying the horribleness of rentier capitalism. One player generally ends up gloating over ownership of all the choice properties, a utility, or a couple of railroads, while all the others are reduced to a miserable poverty. You don’t lose outright; rather, you get loserdom hammered home.

      A “Monopoly: Neoliberal Edition” would be interesting, but maybe that’s too bleeding edge for Hasbro.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Except that every time a player passes GO!, he or she gets his or her own $200, instead of giving it to the banker who then lends it back to the player at interest.

        Oh, and the Top Hat doesn’t always win. Sometimes the Dog does.

      2. Larry Taylor

        I haven’t played Monopoly in maybe 50 years now but I remember being amused in my misspent youth that it was the only game where one of the unofficial rules was to cheat as much as you could get away with!

  14. BobW

    How will self-driving vehicles handle so-called 3-D crosswalks? They can’t be ignored because they just might be real blocks of concrete in the road. This is another thing humans can easily handle that just might present real problems for an AI.

    3-D Crosswalk Design

      1. a different chris

        Yes. Oddly enough, this is one case where humans can’t handle it (see article, it’s a disaster) but the oblivious Artificial Incompetence inputs should be just fine.

    1. Acacia

      I’m waiting for kids to make sport of jamming that radar and laughing as autonomous cars crash into concrete barriers.

      Is it just a vestige of adolescent me or is there something about the John Lasseter-esque cuteness of Google’s WayMo car that evokes a visceral “that one deserves to die!” reaction? ;)

  15. Jeff W

    Politico has this piece “‘The rock star’ vs. ‘The rock’: Warren and Biden hurtle toward collision.”

    There’s so much going on here, starting from the characterization of schoolmarmish Elizabeth Warren as a “rock star” and frail Joe Biden as “the rock” (both coming from former New Hampshire state House candidate John Streeter).

    “Warren roused her supporters with calls for ‘big, structural change,’ and the crowd roared with chants of ‘Two cents! Two cents'”—does a “wealth tax” that leaves intact a system where you can amass enormous quantities of wealth in the first place even count as ‘big, structural change”?—while Joe Biden’s campaign “has grown weary about reporters and critics …using crowd size as a metric to judge him,” presumably because, well, it’s not a very favorable one for the candidate. Biden “presided over” what the article called “a series of intimate, subdued events.”

    Biden “overtly remind[s] voters that polls consistently show him as the party’s best general election candidate,” if we ignore the 15 straight polls that show Bernie Sanders trouncing President Trump, and at a wider margin with independents than Biden. Biden’s possible cognitive decline, indicated by flubs and meandering, is characterized as a divergence in “style” with Warren, in contrast, remaining “resolutely on message.”

    Sanders, who doesn’t fit neatly into the “rock” or “rock star” categories, apparently, is wafted away—the Biden campaign views him as not “having as much room to grow as Warren,” admittedly a problem when you’re leading, as Sanders is, in the polls—he’s at 21% in New Hampshire with rock Biden at 15% and rock star Warren at 12% (12 percent! 12 percent!).

  16. Barbara

    About the China tariffs, I predict a cartoon:

    Trump is tweeting: “I hereby order American companies to find . . .”

    Ivanka comes up behind him: “But Daddy, my business . . .”

    Trump tweets: “The Chinese want to talk. I will enter talks with them. . .”

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Gabbard Victimized by DNC’s Dubious Debate Criteria”

    I can see why they want to keep her away from the other Presidential hopefuls. The last time Gabbard she was on stage with them, she shanked that darling of the west coast Kamala Harris over her record. They are probably worried that she might do the same to another favoured one like Mayor Pete or even Biden himself.

    1. polecat

      So, if many million see this DNC skullduggery for what it is – upfront, and wide-openly malicious – as perhaps many, but fewer, did in ’16 .. who’s to say that the LSM, the pundantry, and the pollsters aren’t all irrelevant .. and that Sanders will win by an avalanche ?

    2. Brian (another one they call)

      Ah, the DNC. Their motto (in secret handshake terms) “Doing everything we can to create independent voters”
      Let us face the reality of the DNC. It is a crime family where pay to play is the name of the game.
      I keep wondering why most Americans are now ‘independent’ voters. Then I consider the choices we have been offered by the machines. They might just as well have a robot as the nominee. And so they will.

    3. Drake

      “She is currently in Indonesia on a two-week National Guard training mission, therefore missing a crucial juncture of the campaign.”

      Now they’re shanking her while she’s on active-duty. That’s a great look.

    4. Cal2

      To hell with the Kamaleon. Getting militant about Gabbard, who we knew could never win, but at least would be in the debates. She’s obviously scared the ‘democrats shytless and they will do anything to keep her off that stage.

      If Bernie doesn’t get the nomination, maybe he should run as an independent with Gabbard as his vice-president. I’d vote for that. So would enough ‘democrats and swing Trump voters to possibly elect them in the general election.

      Barring that, we might as well elect Trump again, which would be the best thing to resurrect the real Democratic Party. If one can’t stand to do that, write in Bernie and Tulsi.

      1. polecat

        I was reading an article in the ‘Zhedge’ yesterday (yes, I know ..) regarding Gabbard being screwed via the DNC’s rather blatant debate-goalpost .. uh .. ‘malleability’ … and it appeared to mine eyes that comments were greater than 5 – 1 Positive where she was concerned. So, I do think it is possible that there could be a fair amount of cross-over from the other side of the political aisle. Think of a multitude of plebian lightbulbs flickering on to that ‘Yreka’ moment when they finally get it that they’ve been had, by the lies, obfuscation, and outright skullduggery that oozes from the elite, from Both legacy parties !

    5. Carey

      My impression, which might be wrong, is that it’s her obvious humanity that truly frightens the DNC.

      “Can’t have that!”

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Ding ding ding we have a winner.

        As a rule I like to imagine the best in humanity. Recent events have shaken that: the elite really are an embodiment of evil in this world. Tulsi is genuine and good and real: so of course poses an existential threat to the entire cohort that just applies a veneer of fakeness to shroud the bile and putrefaction and corruption beneath

    1. Olga

      A surprisingly level-headed article.
      A war on Iran would affect Europe so much more than the US (unless Iranians go all out and attack all those 40+ bases on the map). And talk about refugees…

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Israel was at one time, surrounded by armies all around.

      Their response was to try to get along.

      Some of the armies surrounding Iran are there due to divisions within the main religion of that regions, and that situation has been around for a long time.

      1. Olga

        ‘Their response was to try to get along.”
        May I ask what planet you live on?
        Please name one example, when I. tried to get along with its neighbours.
        And no, it ain’t the agreement with Sadat…

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Yes, their situation with Egypt is not as bad as it was decades ago.

          And they should continue to try to get along.

          1. Olga

            They just sent drones to Lebanon, killed soldiers in Syria, and bombed sites in Iraq – and that’s just in the last few days. Ok, we can call it ‘getting along.’ I shudder to think what ‘not getting along’ would look like.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          It is so long ago as to be forgotten, but the PLO leadership and the Israel leadership held secret talks leading to the Oslo Accords. These were a serious effort on the part of Prime Minister Rabin and the Israel government he led to begin the process of getting along.

          Left wing intellectuals like to say it was all a cynical fraud from the start. Maybe it was. But Netanyahu and Likud thought it was serious. Netanyahu and Likud were concerned enough that Rabin and the Rabinists were serious about getting along that Netanyahu and the Likudists engineered the assassination of Rabin behind a screen of allegedly-plausible deniability. A young person named Yigal Amir was to be their disposable Oswald.

          Canadian blogger Jeff Wells wrote a post about that at his blog Rigorous Intuition, called The Violent Bear It Away. Here is the link.

          And it worked. The “let’s get along-ists” will never be a majority again. Even their once-having-existed is forgotten.

      2. The Rev Kev

        ‘Their response was to try to get along.’

        By up-arming with several hundred tactical nuclear missiles. And now they have submarines that can carry them as well so do not be surprised if there is a nuclear-armed Israeli submarine off the American coastline somewhere.

      3. kgw

        Zionistas see getting their way, they do not envision getting along. That is something only schlimazels do…

  18. Summer

    China’s hesitancy to fully open their markets to the West has kept the alleged middle classes of the West on life support. Not with “cheap” goods, but kept them begrudgingly paid while corps salivate over the billions of Chinese consumers they want more in their grasp.

    1. Grant

      I am frankly growing really tired of the Warren propaganda. It is the definition of manufacturing consent, and it is coming from interests that would oppose her entirely if they thought she was as serious as Bernie about taking on powerful private interests that own the media and most politicians.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Warren thought the post-GFC settlements by big banks were unfair. They ripped off billions but were only fined millions and with no restitutions whatsoever.

        So what did she do? She wrote a letter to the A.G.

        Yeah, that’ll work.

        Sorry folks we cannot simply try and play fair with the monstrous forces the 1% use against us, the 99%. Warren – a former Republican fer chrissakes – cannot and will not technocrat her way to anything meaningful.

        So it’s either Bernie: a clarion call to wholesale change in the power structures; or Tulsi: a laser-guided rationality missile to take down The War Machine.

    2. Carey

      Heh. Expect to see much, much more of this.

      Anybody but Sanders, and the easily neutralized Warren is a near perfect faux-change Presidential candidate. I don’t think she’s really evil (though some her advisers™ are),
      just politically autistic.


  19. Summer

    It’s amazing to watch. Their grovelling servants in DC will do whatever is necessary to relieve supply chain disruption, but for all of their love of “dispruption” as a corporate meme, when it visits them, big babies are revealed.
    When “disruption” is visited on the poplulations, they’re told to suck it up and that their previous lives were worth nothing.

  20. kiwi

    I am somewhat mystified by the article about how Joe Biden’s privatization plan “doomed” Latin America and fueled migration.

    The article cites a $300 million movement of funds from public health to a privatization scheme in Honduras. According to wiki, Honduras’ economy is 22.68 billion. That is a big whopping 1% of the economy. Are my maths correct?

    What am I missing here? I don’t agree with privatization, but the 300 million, which sounds oh so huge, should be put into context.

    This reminds me of how people wail over how emigration from Honduras, ES, and Nic is caused by “horrific” conditions in those countries (I use horrific because it seems to be the favorite word of the year). The emigration numbers need to be placed into context as it amounts to less than 5% of the population of those countries (unless my maths are wrong).

    1. Brian (another one they call)

      one of the aspects that isn’t likely discussed is that the 300 million is only what is claimed. No one gets 300 million unless they can provide profits far in excess of the original sum. It would have never been lent if it wasn’t a boondoggle. Joe made big money off of Ukraine by installing one of his sperm to skim off the profits of an energy company.
      Good ole Uncle Joe. Stalin. Thankfully, Biden is senile or drunk now. Either way, he can’t put two words together and disappears in the afternoon. How do they jack him up for a debate so late in the day?

    2. Olga

      I am pretty sure the $300 mil was not the main point. This was:

      “When Hondurans go to hospitals, they will be told they need to go to a private company, and through the deductions in their jobs they will have to pay a lot out of pocket,” Spring said. “Through the old universal system you would be covered no matter what you had, from a broken arm to cancer. No more.”

      Plus the fact that the Obama-(lack of)-care cheerleader Biden promotes US-style privatisation of vital public services in one of the purest countries in the Americas. Way to go, Joe! Plus the fact that the $300 mil were siphoned off into the private hands, fueling corruption. Time to re-read the article?

      1. kiwi

        As I said before, 300 million is about 1% of the entire GDP of the country. It hardly supports the claim in the title:

        How Joe Biden’s privatization plans helped doom Latin America and fuel the migration crisis.

        The title is inflammatory without providing the substance to support it, save one example that is no more than a drop in an ocean.

      1. Carey


        “Mmm, what shall we do today, family? I know, let’s travel thousands of miles,
        to a place we’ve never been, with minimal social services, to an uncertain
        outcome! Yeah, lets do it.”


      2. kiwi

        Of course 5% is a big, big number – to people who are innumerate.

        But 95% of the population are remaining, despite the “horrific” conditions in their homeland.

        95% is much, much bigger than 5%.

  21. Craig H.

    > Remembering the Diggers

    A fine article. The writer cites Christopher Hill who wrote a book that I greatly enjoyed.

    Best snip in the article is the quote from Winstanley.

    In language that harkens towards Marx, Winstanley directly attacked enclosure, writing that “owning property was brought into creation by your ancestors by the sword; which first did murder their fellow creatures … and plunder or steal way their land, and left this land successively to you … though you did not kill or thieve, yet you hold that cursed thing in your hand by the power of the sword” – as pithy an explanation of the capitalist state’s power and violence as has ever been written.

    When I took American history in high school the textbook started with Jamestown and ended with Sputnik and the kickoff of the space race and our teacher told us on the first day of class that there wouldn’t be anything on his tests before 1776 or after 1945. History before 1776 isn’t American history and there isn’t any history at all when the people writing it have a vested interest in the presentation was his attitude. So we had no notion these Diggers, Levelers, Muggletonians, &c. ever existed. There were a few paragraphs in our book about the Brook Farm and the other 19 c. American utopia attempts but I don’t recall any class time devoted to that stuff.

    1. Cal2

      Re the Diggers.
      Around San Francisco, most of the burned out Hippies that are still alive, are all for abolishing property. That’s because they weren’t smart enough, or didn’t have the foresight or were too lazy to buy any when it was possible. Lots of eagle feathers stuck in hats, bad teeth, old cars, if at all, plenty of Obama stickers and a grievance against society that let down their future, in spite of their attitude. They all rage against Trump, as though it were his fault that they are living in cars or under bridges.

      Some of course, transformed into slick stockbrokers and landlords, or because of family connections, became movie stars and narrators in films, i.e. Peter Coyote, so it’s hard to define them.

      Meanwhile, the scrimping and saving and delayed savers, mostly ethnic Irish, Italian and Chinese, now are the landlords and are sitting pretty.

      1. Craig H.

        The 1960’s Diggers didn’t read history too close and they really should have been called Dumpster Divers.

      2. Ember Brody

        “they weren’t smart enough, or didn’t have the foresight or were too lazy”

        You’re projecting again. You have no way to know what cards life dealt the people you constantly hate on. I really do wish you end up homeless and sick for a little while. (But just a little while; I’m not as sick-minded as you.)

      3. Left in Wisconsin

        Also, fallacy of composition problem: unless the housing stock grew with more potential buyers – by no means a sure thing – it would just be different buyers “winning” the CA housing lottery, but the same overall number of winners and losers.

    2. The Rev Kev

      No history taught before 1776? Some of the most fascinating American history was before that year.

  22. Musicismath

    Occasionally there is still some good reporting in the Guardian. This one extrapolates from the crisis facing League One football team Bury FC to a wider discussion of the house of cards, debt-fuelled speculative economy Britain has devolved into:

    Bury’s council leader, David Jones, told the Guardian last week that losing the club would be a “nail in the coffin” for the town. Since David Cameron and Nick Clegg formed their coalition government in 2010, the council has suffered cuts of £85m, 61% of its annual budget, he said. Boris Johnson is now presenting a no-deal Brexit as easy to cope with, when the government’s own assessment is that the north-west’s already patchy and unequal economy will suffer a -12% hit.

    That is the broader context of the Bury collapse and its defining image: the former director Joy Hart, chaining herself to a drainpipe outside the club’s closed offices, pleading for salvation.

    David Conn, Bury’s demise is a grim warning that small-town Britain is being left behind, Guardian (26 August 2019).

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, David Conn is an excellent reporter. Bury of course isn’t the first historic old club used as a cash cow by dodgy businesspeople – Blackpool was nearly destroyed in the same game. Even Manchester United is a slightly more sophisticated version of the same thing. MU made the mistake of not having debts, that made them an easy takeover target for a leveraged buyout.

  23. Oregoncharles

    Another for “2020”: “Cardi B might be one of Bernie’s most powerful 2020 allies. Seriously.”

    Remarkably, not just clickbait. A noteworth line: “Sanders and Cardi B share a love of FDR, whom Sanders has repeatedly tried to tie himself to during his campaign.” Back to the future. I thought about this during the anti-globalization protests: we were really conservatives, trying to conserve a protective regulatory regime that was under attack.

    A further consideration: that was precisely the type of liberalism the New Left were contemptuous of. Looks better in the rear-view mirror.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Cardi B like Killer Mike in the last go round (he’s still a strong proponent but its expected of him; before 2015 he was just a random rapper; maybe some of you knew but now everyone knows when he speaks its time listen) is someone who gives a credible voice to people who don’t read Time Magazine weekly or watch Mornin’ Joe and wonder what happened to Tucker Carlson and clap. Instead she is clearly thinking about the shared reality not the propagandized reality, not a common activity.

      Cardi B is a celebrity who isn’t repeating bumper sticker liberalism and putting the message into her own context. Having read what she said a couple of weeks ago, Cardi B described the way things are, had seemed to her, and how they need to be changed to get to where things were promised by society/ the American dream. Politically, her one flaw is she is asking people to “think” about the world around them which the Team Blue types hate.

      Compare this to Bette Midler (Atrios is up on everything)’s celebration of Joe Walsh primarying Trump as a patriot entering the race instead of someone angling for a job on cable news in a post-Trump world or as the voice of the anti-Trump #resistance (because those people will buy anything as long as they don’t have to think and act).

  24. Grant

    “Republican strategists are already working relentlessly to tie vulnerable Democratic incumbents to ‘Medicare for All.'”

    The Democratic consultant class and the corporate interests that fund these hack politicians really get in a panic. Wait, what are you doing? We have a problem and you are proposing an actual solution that would save the country trillions, most people thousands, no more bankruptcies and job lock because of healthcare? Are you nuts? Offer them an inferior policy, pretend it is not a clear issue of corruption, ideological rigidity and a total lack of moral leadership and call it a day. My god, you people and all your do goodery. Grow up and get rich off of your access to power. We are the Democratic Party, we don’t offer solutions, we don’t propose alternatives and we don’t have any ideological or policy coherence. We’re a worthless blob that just has to prove that the other major party is worse.

  25. anon in so cal


    “How the mainstream media reported an August 8 accident at a top-secret missile test facility in northern Russia should serve as a cautionary tale regarding the dangers of rushed judgments via institutional bias….

    …In the days following the initial report of the accident, the media exploded with speculation over both the nature of the device being tested at the Nenoksa State Central Marine Test Site and the Russian government’s muted response. Typical of the hysteria was the analysis of Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program for the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and editor of the blog “Arms Control Wonk.”…

    …They’re all wrong. Here’s the real story of what actually happened at Nenoksa:….

    …The reality of what happened at Nenoksa is tragic. Seven men lost their lives and scores of others were injured. But there was no explosion of a “nuclear cruise missile,” and it wasn’t the second coming of Chernobyl. America’s intelligence community and the so-called experts got it wrong — again. The root cause of their error is their institutional bias against Russia, which leads them to view that country in the worst possible light, regardless of the facts.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “…Russian government’s muted response.’

      It’s probably the nature of governments to be silent initially. Maybe some governments open up sooner than others. Maybe other governments were informed that Moscow was trying to gather more information, and they remained silent as well.

  26. Geo

    Re: Space Force

    Interestingly, a space force was promoted in the Project For a New American Century (PNAC):
    “CONTROL THE NEW ‘INTERNATIONAL COMMONS’ OF SPACE AND ‘CYBERSPACE,’ and pave the way for the creation of a new military service – U.S. Space Forces – with the mission of space control.”

    Based on that group’s record on big ideas and their impact Space Force will be a success!

  27. ewmayer

    Former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh announces challenge against President Donald Trump for 2020 Republican nomination | Chicago Tribune — That campaign theme song writes itself:

    I go to fundraisers, sometimes until four
    It’s hard to leave when you can’t find the door
    It’s tough to handle this fortune and fame
    Everybody’s so different, I haven’t changed

    They say I’m lazy but it takes all my time
    (Everybody say oh, yeah) (Oh, yeah)
    I keep on going, guess I’ll never know why
    Life’s been good to me so far
    Yeah, yeah, yeah

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Add in a little Rocky Mountain High and it’s perfect.

      Spent the last years Rocky Mountain way
      Couldn’t get much higher…


  28. ewmayer

    Business Groups Warn of Peril as Trump’s Trade War Spirals | NYT — Hmm, NYT seems to be working from a script:

    [Sir Galahad the Chaste is being seduced by an entire castle full of young women]
    Sir Lancelot: We were in the nick of time. You were in great peril.
    Sir Galahad: I don’t think I was.
    Sir Lancelot: Yes, you were. You were in terrible peril.
    Sir Galahad: Look, let me go back in there and face the peril.
    Sir Lancelot: No, it’s too perilous.

  29. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    Bernie and fossil fuel companies:

    Just point out:

    The Federal Government gifts more to fossil fuel companies (>$500B per year) than they do to education

  30. Rx

    My girlfriend came down with a bad case of C.diff with scary diarrhea. We got an old blender from a thrift shop and an enema bag. I donated the turds and blended them smooth with a little sterile water and a pinch of salt. Up her butt as she laid on the floor for an hour. We did that for five days and happy to report she shits nice turds now. We did it for $20 which is a lot cheaper especially when we would have had to pay for doc visits and their $1600+ .?

  31. barrisj

    Don’t know if this has been noted, but Nathan Robinson really gives it to the Obamas’ “American Factory”…the production values faithfully reflect Obama’s own view on “what can be done” that avoids pissing anybody off, and looks at “both sides” of “the issues”.

    If you want to know what was wrong with Barack Obama’s presidency, watch the new documentary American Factory, now available for streaming on Netflix. It’s the first film from Barack and Michelle Obama’s new production company, Higher Ground. American Factory tells the story of a former GM plant in Dayton, Ohio, which closed in 2008 and reopened several years later as a division of the Chinese Fuyao Glass company. The documentary follows the Dayton residents who get jobs at the Chinese company, and the Chinese managers and owners who come to the United States to oversee the new plant.
    Barack Obama’s post-presidency has starkly revealed his real convictions and loyalties. It was just about possible, while Obama was president, to maintain that while he was a left progressive at heart, he was constrained by Political Reality, which explained his disappointing failure to deliver real material gains for working people. But once you’ve stopped being president, you can do absolutely anything in the world, and how you choose to use that power reveals a lot about your character. Barack Obama has revealed himself to be a person who has no interest in challenging the status or fundamental assumptions of the global super-rich. He spends his time hanging out with Richard Branson and Bono. His latest purchase is a mega-mansion on Martha’s Vineyard. He has actively fought against a community benefits agreement for his Chicago presidential library, making it clear Which Side He’s On. In fact, it was somewhat telling that Obama decided that his first post-presidential venture would be a Netflix partnership rather than, say, something like Habitat for Humanity. Obama still does not comprehend the existence of a class struggle, even though the Obamas’ new documentary literally displays it for all to see. As Zeeshan Aleem concluded at VICE, American Factory is both an excellent film and a perfect illustration of how Obama and Obama-ism are utterly out of touch with political reality.

    And Sleepy Joe on deck, to bring us Obama’s third term.

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