Links 9/11/19

Smithsonian Researchers Triple the Number of Electric Eel Species, Including One With Record-Setting Shock Ability Smithsonian

This heated fake keyboard was designed to fool your cat Boing Boing (resilc). Amen, I trained my cats not to step on keyboards, and they were all very good about it.

What if We Stopped Pretending the Climate Apocalypse Can Be Stopped? New Yorker (David L)

A globalised solar-powered future is wholly unrealistic – and our economy is the reason why The Conversation (furzy)

Japan may have to dump radioactive Fukushima water into the Pacific CNN (Chuck L)

Libraries and Archivists Are Scanning and Uploading Books That Are Secretly in the Public Domain VICE

Three Ways to Fix the Drug Industry’s Rampant Dysfunction Wired (Robert M)


Bolton’s exit raises odds of US-China trade deal Asia Times


UK parliament prorogation video YouTube. Paul R: “12 minutes long but almost like watching an opera, with the Black Rod ritual etc. I had never seen Bercow on video before.”

Most Britons want Brexit referendum respected, poll reveals, as public ‘just wants uncertainty over’ Telegraph. Have to look at questions for bias….

Jeremy Corbyn says Labour would offer ‘a credible Leave option’ in a second referendum. BBC

Liberal Democrats set to back revoking Article 50 to scrap Brexit Independent

Brussels senses Johnson shift on N Ireland-only backstop Financial Times v. DUP hold “positive” meeting with Boris Johnson BBC: “Boris Johnson has confirmed his rejection of a Northern Ireland-only backstop as a solution to the Brexit deadlock, the DUP has said.”

The real cost of cheap US chicken? Chlorination is just the start Guardian (resilc)

MPs look to bring back May’s Brexit deal with vote on referendum Guardian

Boris Johnson: The Brezhnev Years British Politics and Policy at LSE

Retailers call for action as high street store closures soar Guardian (furzy)

New Cold War

U.S. Says Russia Orchestrated Chechen Rebel’s Murder in Germany Wall Street Journal

Argentina, plus ça change… Bruegel


Where we are now in Afghanistan- Editorial Opinion by PL Sic Semper Tyrannis (Kevin W)

Netanyahu vows to annex part of West Bank after Israel election DW

Jamal Khashoggi ‘murder recording transcript’ is published BBC

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Sex lives of app users ‘shared with Facebook’ BBC (Kevin W)

Imperial Collapse Watch

James Mattis’s Bizarre Cult of “Lethality” New Republic. Resilc: “The only thing that is lethal about the DoD is vs our budget and future here in USA USA. Guys in sandals with 47ks always kick our asses….”

Veterans Reach Their Tipping Point Against Our Post-9/11 Wars American Conservative

Trump Transition

Trump ousts Bolton in messy breakup

Pompeo just defeated Bolton in the war to be Trump’s top adviser on foreign policy Business Insider. Kevin W: “Bolton’s actual resignation letter.”

Good Riddance, Bolton American Conservative. Resilc: “Wait until they roll in Liz Chaney or the next winnahhhhhh.”

Trump’s National Security Team Is Now a Wholly Owned Subsidiary of the Defense Industry Mother Jones (resilc)

Trump says Bahamas full of ‘very bad gang members’ as he doubles down on not letting Hurricane Dorian refugees in to US Independent

Trump Prepares ‘Apology Package’ For Disgruntled Farmers OilPrice

Trump Has Figured Out How to Corrupt the Entire Government New York Magazine. Resilc: “I have a friend who is a USAID controller at an overseas mission. He reports a big uptick in contracts to friends, bogus taxi vouchers, bogus business trips that are really personal , etc since Trump rolled into office.”

The Majority of Americans Hate BOTH Parties George Washington

The Tea Party Didn’t Get What It Wanted, but It Did Unleash the Politics of Anger New York Times

Republican pulls off critical win in North Carolina The Hill


NRA Sues San Francisco After Lawmakers Declare It A Terrorist Organization NPR (David L)

Google Hit With Sweeping Demand From States Over Ad Business Bloomberg. Hahaha.

WeWork bonds tumble as fears for IPO grow Financial Times

Uber Makes Further Cuts to Its Staff as Losses Pile Up Bloomberg

Why aggressive monetary easing is pushing on a string Richard Koo, Financial Times

Class Warfare

AI will transform religion with robot priests like this one Vox (Dr. Kevin)

Trucking companies—like Uber and Lyft—say their drivers aren’t employees, worsening inequality and pollution Fast Company

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Anonymous 2


    Scottish Court has ruled Johnson’s prorogation of the UK Parliament to be unlawful . It will go to the Supreme Court next?

    Order popcorn.

  2. jackiebass

    If you have never watched the UK House of Commons you can see coverage of it on BBC World. I find watching them debate interesting. Quite different from our congress. At times it does resemble a Soap Opera. Probably on the BBC World site they have tapes of proceedings to watch.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel



      That dude is undeniably talented.

      Queens Representative looked pissed.

      I want more!!!


      1. Winston Smith

        Exactly. The link fails to stand up as any sort of retort to Climate Change wreaking havoc globally and in the US. “less cooling days in the central cities”.

    1. New Wafer Army

      “Martin Arthur Armstrong is an American self-taught economic forecaster who uses his own computer model based on pi. He was convicted in 1999 of cheating investors out of seven hundred million dollars and hiding fifteen million dollars in assets from regulators.”

      Yup, this is the guy I go to for climate science.

    2. Ignacio

      I like much of the reasoning in this piece -New Yorker article, not the meaningless quarterly note of a manufacturer you link- but it falls short in one aspect. While correctly asserting that figthing inequality is part of climate change action I don’t know why the author stops there and start ranting at the rogue and wasteful life styles of millionaires and billionaires that should be point 1 of any sensible GND plan.

        1. pretzelattack

          he does not have a great understanding of science; he may have a great understanding of how to con people. if people lost several hundred million dollars his methods must not be worth much.

        2. Plenue

          Oh for effs sake. Climate change is literally happening right now. Greenland, the Arctic, Alaska. The Bering Straight is open water. How much more ice has to melt before people like you go “…crap. Maybe the scientists aren’t making this up”? (This is the part where you trot out something about how climate is always changing, or that there’s no proof the warming is human caused).

          This Armstrong idiot, why don’t you drag out former weatherman Anthony Watts while you’re at it?

          1. dearieme

            And not one of you people engaged with “in key Central regions where cooling degree days were down over 30%”. Instead you ranted about the exotic Mr Armstrong. I thought this blog discouraged that sort of ad hom bile.

            1. pretzelattack

              dearie, you’re smart enough to know that no scientist has said that climate change is uniform across the planet. cmon, stop tossing these red herrings out. armstrong thinks his secret computer trading algorithm is a clone of himself. if you use somebody like that as a source you can’t expect people to take you seriously. make whatever argument you want to make, instead of slyly implying an argument, supported by an extremely dubious source.

            2. Plenue

              Because there’s nothing to engage with. Good God, much of the US is just getting over a massive heat wave. I can tell you for a fact everyone in my region who had an air conditioner was running it heavy for at least the last two months.

              That’s ignoring the simple fact that climate is not the same thing as weather. The planet warming globally does not simply mean that every individual place will experience warmer weather. If you don’t grasp that basic concept, than you’re showing you have zero desire to actually learn about the subject.

              As for Armstrong, a convicted felon fringe ‘economic analyst’ is absolutely a target worthy of ad hominems and instant dismissal. As are you if this is the caliber of ‘expert’ you go to for climate information.

    3. rd

      I look at addressing resiliency etc. as three separate categories:

      1. Do something to address things damaging our environment in the absence of climate change (e.g. fertilizer runoff from farms and suburban lawns creating estuary dead zones).

      2. Do something to address impacts of climate change (restore wetlands to accommodate higher elevations of storm surges, don’t build housing within 20 foot of ocean level)

      3. Take steps to prevent greenhouse gas increases or reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

      People don’t need to believe in climate change due to greenhouse gases to address #1. So that is a good test case to see if people can work together at all to mitigate major negative impacts to the environment.In many cases, these are things that people and companies can do in local communities and see measurable change over time. If you can’t make #1 work, how in the world will people be able to address #3?

  3. The Rev Kev

    “This heated fake keyboard was designed to fool your cat”

    All I see is a way to train cats to deliberately jump onto keyboards. I do not know if you can train cats to stay off desks as it is in their nature. They like the high ground. Centuries from now, we will still be faced with the same problem-

    And Tracie H has one good looking cat there.

  4. John Beech

    James Mattis’s Bizarre Cult of “Lethality” New Republic. Resilc: “The only thing that is lethal about the DoD is vs our budget and future here in USA USA. Guys in sandals with 47ks always kick our asses….”

    Said by someone who has never been in the sand box and hasn’t a clue.

        1. shinola

          “Afghanistan: Where empires go to die” / “Afghanistan: The graveyard of empires” (I think there are other versions of this sentiment but the idea is the same).

          Just think – kids that turn 18 tomorrow, 9-12-19, will be able to sign up for the armed forces & be sent off to “Syraqistan” to fight in a continuous series of wars triggered by (or rationalized by) an event that occurred before they were born.

          USA! Is this a great country or what?

          1. BoyDownTheLane

            The biggest example is the one that’s been staring everyone in the face but no one seems to have gotten the point:

            A bunch of rag-tag backwoodsmen shooting rifled muskets defeated Redcoats en masse and ran them ragged all the way back into the sea where they were caught by the French fleet.

            But today we argue about taking away guns.

            1. mpalomar

              Spanish and Dutch as well as French naval forces were allied against the Brits.
              Also I’m not sure of your point regarding guns, however the fog of war – from Wikipedia’s account of the Revolutionary War:

              The total loss of life throughout the conflict is largely unknown. As was typical in wars of the era, diseases such as smallpox claimed more lives than battle.

              Between 1775 and 1782, a smallpox epidemic broke out throughout North America, killing 40 people in Boston alone. Historian Joseph Ellis suggests that Washington’s decision to have his troops inoculated against the disease was one of his most important decisions…

              During the Battle of Monmouth in late June 1778, the temperature exceeded 100°F (37.8°C) and is said to have claimed more (British) lives through heat stroke than through actual combat.

              Between 25,000 and 70,000 American Patriots died during active military service. Of these, approximately 6,800 were killed in battle, while at least 17,000 died from disease…

              Around 171,000 sailors served in the Royal Navy during the war; approximately a quarter of whom had been pressed into service. Around 1,240 were killed in battle, while an estimated 18,500 died from disease (1776–1780). The greatest killer at sea was scurvy…

              Upon the entry of France and Spain into the conflict, the British were forced to severely limit the number of troops and warships that they sent to North America in order to defend other key territories and the British mainland. As a result, King George III abandoned any hope of subduing America militarily while he had a European war to contend with.

    1. New Wafer Army

      John, it is just an unfortunate historical fact that US infantry men are, and always have been, mere mortals. Now, I guess that you think John Wayne was an actual Green Beret but alas… Anyway, here’s a few words from the Good Book that may help you:

      “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I set aside childish ways.”

      Maybe it’s time for you to set aside childish ways? Have a blessed day.

      1. Tim

        I’d flag this email if I could.

        Calling somebody a child, really? When you’re the one that is wrong?

        “The conflict had left 2,400 U.S. service members dead and more than 20,000 wounded; more than 145,000 people in all, including Afghan military, police and civilians, have died, according to a 2018 report from Brown University’s Costs of War Project”

        It sure doesn’t sound like the guys with sandals are kicking our soldier’s (family blog).

        1. Dionysus

          Body Counts and kill ratios were cooked up by Robert McNamara during the Vietnam War to act as metrics of success. Well, it turns out that even if you are getting killed 100 to 1, if your political objectives are being achieved in the war, and the other guys’ objectives are not, then you are the one winning the war. The North Vietnamese forces paid the higher price in lives, but they won control of the country. The Taliban is well along a path to do the same. Until the US figures out that its combat supremacy doesn’t logically result in overall supremacy, this will continue to happen.

        2. Plenue

          Per Clausewitz, victory is the creation of a new political reality. 19 years in Afghanistan, the Taliban still exist, while our Afghan government is still a tottering joke that would collapse the second we pulled out.

          There’s more to war than tactics. You can win literally every single engagement and still lose the war.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I only tally two wins for the mighty U.S. military colussus since WWII: Grenada and Panama.

          2. The Rev Kev

            It used to be said on the Continent about the British that they lost every battle in a war except for one – the last one.

          3. Procopius

            Before you start a war you’re supposed to know what it is you want to make your enemy do. Then you’re supposed to figure out what will force him to agree to do that. In Clausewitz’s day it was thought that “victory” came from destroying the enemy’s army in the field. Capturing an enemy’s capitol city was also good. These objectives no longer apply, but the main point, that you need a clear objective and you need to be able to tell when you’ve achieved that or else shown that you cannot achieve it. This last point is something our military has been unable to do since Korea.

        3. Yves Smith Post author

          Wow, talk about selective vision.

          Beech just attacked a reader on a pure ad hominem basis, and a factually false one to boot. I’m not a fan of personal attacks, but giving someone a dose of what they dished out is borderline acceptable, depending on how done.

          And trying to play moderator is a violation of our site Policies, so you are getting yourself in hot water.

    2. jsn

      John, personally, I don’t doubt that our special forces and front line combat troops are top notch fighters, I’ve known quite a few, several are dear relatives.

      Unfortunately, they’re fighting mostly for BS reasons and frequently motivated by personal issues and ambitions while our self selected enemies tend to be fighting for their ways of life, their families and their civilizations, and like Rev Kev says above, our record against them, long term, speaks for itself.

      As far as the trees go, you’re probably right, as for the forest, I’m with RK on that.

      1. Plenue

        I doubt the actual competence and efficacy of our ‘special’ forces. That raid in Yemen where the SEALs knowingly walked into an ambush, got one of their number killed, and then went of a kill anything that moves rage fueled spree sure was ‘special’.

      2. Summer

        Hey, remember “McNamera’s Morons”?
        Not my term. The Vietnam soldiers came up with that name for about 100,000 low IQ men that were drafted as part of a program.
        Saw a clip on youtube about it. It was a mess. Those troops had a higher death rate. Sad story all around.

    3. Ford Prefect

      The US military is the modern version of the British Army from 1775 to 1983. The British Army kept capturing the American rebels’ “Capital City” and couldn’t figure out why they were still losing the war.

      Meanwhile the French were providing financing and aid to the American rebels to help keep the British occupied away from Europe. That culminated in the Battle of Yorktown where the French Navy blockaded Cornwallis’s army allowing the American ground troops to be victorious.

      Mao’s old adage of “the guerrilla swims in the sea of the people” is the case whenever a foreign army occupies a country and the people are focused on resisting, especially if they can get some outside support. The US military always seems baffled about why they are not perceived as liberators in parts of the world where they historically have supported pretty brutal and corrupt regimes.

      The US intervention in Europe from 1942-1989 was actually a foreign policy aberration where the US was magnanimous in victory, reconstructed Europe, and allowed it to develop as a bulwark against communism.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Mao’s guerrilla warfare…

        That was pure ‘like water.’

        And the Great Helmsman knew you would not have to win every single trade-war engagement.

        It’s OK to ‘lose’ now.

    4. Tim

      It comes across as an offensive statement to hard working, life risking men and women in the military for sure. Calling us losers, because we can’t win against “people in sandals,” is a false trolling statement and not appreciated.

      We lose because you can’t win a guerilla war, not because our military is impotent.

      NC please be a little more careful here, unless you want to turn the place into an echo chamber.

      1. GF

        “We lose because you can’t win a guerilla war, not because our military is impotent.”

        Here’s a thought: Since being forewarned is being forearmed, why not stay out of guerilla wars then??

      2. ewmayer

        Fine – how about “Guys in sandals with AK47s fighting for a cause they actually believe in always kick our asses”?

      3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Tim I really feel for your comment. Of course very fine and very brave people have been called on time and again to satisfy the greed of bankers and arms merchants and the bloodlust of chickenhawk politicians.

        The real fault lies with: us. All of us who let one more day go by without demanding an end. And I don’t mean liking an antiwar tweet, I mean picking up a brick and throwing it.

        Look at what they did to the candidate steadfastly repeating the clarion call to end regime change war. Did we rage, rage against that? I’d suggest the Dem Convention needs to be a repeat of the one in 1968, when people actually gave a f**k about their government murdering innocent people and senselessly squandering our national treasure.

        It’s on us.

      4. The Rev Kev

        ‘you can’t win a guerilla war’

        Well actually you can but it is rare. The British did it in the Boer War and again in the Malayan Emergency but it requires enormous resources and manpower. By contrast, the US and the Coalition had only a fraction of the soldiers required to occupy a country when they went into Iraq giving the Iraqi resistance a lot of breathing room and free access to all those weapons depots which to armed themselves with.

      5. Yves Smith Post author

        I’m sorry but you being offended does not disprove the truth of the remark.

        And the US has not won a war since WWII.

        We’ve repeatedly said the US is taking a huge toll on its soldiers, in life, limb, and psychological trauma, for no good end. So why are you defending these destructive engagements?

  5. bassmule


    “Mr. Trump’s request is extraordinary for several reasons. The United States economy is still growing solidly and consumers are spending strongly, making this an unusual time to push for monetary accommodation, particularly negative rates, a policy that the Fed debated but passed up even in the depths of the Great Recession. It is also typical for countries with comparatively strong economies to pay higher interest rates, not the ‘lowest’ ones.”

    Trump Calls for Fed’s ‘Boneheads’ to Slash Interest Rates Below Zero (NYT)

  6. toshiro_mifune

    AI will transform religion with robot priests like this one

    10 SIN
    20 GOTO HELL

    Sorry… couldn’t resist a BASIC/Futurama joke.

  7. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Trump Has Figured Out How to Corrupt the Entire Government New York Magazine.

    This. Is. Hilarious.

    The norm of bureaucratic professionalism and fairness is a pillar of the political legitimacy and economic strength of the American system, the thing that separates countries like the U.S. from countries like Russia. The decay of that culture is difficult to quantify, but the signs are everywhere. Trump’s stench is slowly seeping into every corner of government.

    It is actually impossible to contemplate how idyllic life in the good ole u.s. of a would be if the only “corruption” was things like drawing on a NOAA map with a magic marker or some people spending the night at a Trump hotel. Has this “intelligencer” ever heard of civil forfeiture or the pentagon or campaign “contributions”?

    It never ceases to amaze that people make a good living writing bizarre junk like this.

    1. JohnnyGL

      I also love the low bar chosen for a comparison, Russia. A country that once challenged us for world supremacy laid low by the finest minds of Harvard.

      Pay no mind to the Chinese who, for all their faults — and corruption is very much among them — still have the audacity to think big and went and built an entire network of high speed trains to traverse their country. And they did it almost entirely in the past decade. China now has the capacity to move hundreds of millions of people from east to west each year (and back again) for the holidays.

      America, on the other hand, did an excellent job, 40-60 years ago, of building a system of roads and highways to get around a similarly large country of 100M people. It turns out to work much less well with 300M+. We haven’t really gotten our heads around the idea that it’s time to re-think and redesign the place.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Additional point….thanks for bringing up Civil Asset Forfeiture (Thanks Biden!), which has grown to the point where the police rob people for more cash than non-police.

      Also, do they read the New Yorker? Because (as Lambert pointed out) Ronan Farrow’s Epstein article had some corruption whoppers hiding in plain sight in his article that contained a couple of neon signs pointing at horrifying, depraved corruption among the most hallowed people and institutions in this country….MIT, Bill Gates, Leon Black (Apollo is a wall street titan).

      The willful blindness is really amazing.

    3. Grant

      “The norm of bureaucratic professionalism and fairness is a pillar of the political legitimacy and economic strength of the American system, the thing that separates countries like the U.S. from countries like Russia. The decay of that culture is difficult to quantify, but the signs are everywhere. Trump’s stench is slowly seeping into every corner of government.”

      It is like they read their text books in grade school on how the government was supposed to work and thereafter were indifferent to reality, to how it actually works, especially in the neoliberal era. Or, they know the score, and want to perpetuate the stuff fed to them as children. On that, they assume their audience is a bunch of rubes. If only they were taught Zinn’s People’s History and were told it was okay to let it sink in…

      1. Plenue

        “It is like they read their text books in grade school on how the government was supposed to work and thereafter were indifferent to reality, to how it actually works”

        Isn’t this basically what a Political Science degree gets you? I constantly see the most asinine and obviously wrong claims from people with Bachelors in PS.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          I had good teachers in Russian, French, Israeli -Palestinian, and African Politics at LSU in the mid to late Aughts. But the classes that treally opened my eyes were Politics of Poverty, in which i learned to separate ‘Cadillac Welfare’ myths from real, hard data, and Political Participation, where we had to actually go to political functions. I went to a Council meeting about cutting Baton Rouge buslines, a Tea Party protest against the ACA, and a Republican Redistricting Committe meeting. Watching the Democrats screw over poor people trying to get home from work on the bus, and Republicans drawing a bunch of squares with ‘B’ for Black on an outline of Louisiana taught me the naked underbelly of American Politics.

          Fast forward 3 years as an enlisted soldier and then 3 months homeless, it was a short leap to Marxism. They never taught it explicitly at LSU, but Marxism just makes the most sense as to what kind of Political System we live in.

          I went looking for real experiences, and i got more than I bargained for.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Contrasting Zinns’ People’s History of the US is A People’s History of the Russian Revolution by Faulkner.

        This is what is said, and this can be debated here, about the book on Amazon:

        Faulkner rejects caricatures of Lenin and the Bolsheviks as authoritarian conspirators or the progenitors of Stalinist dictatorship, and forcefully argues that the Russian Revolution was an explosion of democracy and creativity—and that it was crushed by bloody counter-revolution and replaced with a form of bureaucratic state-capitalism.

        1. SKM

          I heard Richard Wolff argue convincingly something a bit similar (re the russian revolution and what it eventually morphed into and why) in a recent episode of his excellent podcast “economic updates” – well worth a listen

      3. Jeff W

        “…and thereafter were indifferent to reality…”

        Can anyone, given Citizens United or the Gilens and Page study or the rampant gerrymandering that goes on or the blatant rigging of the Democratic primary (with the refreshingly frank assertion by DNC counsel that the DNC “could choose its nominees in a smoke-filled room,” if it so wanted) or the capture of, seemingly, the entire universe of regulatory agencies (as demonstrated by, say, the FCC voting to do away with net neutrality despite tens of millions of public comments against such a move) or the utter indifference to the culpability of the élites (“looking forward, not back” while “standing between [them] and the pitchforks”) or the lobbying revolving door or—well, it’s almost impossible to find anything resembling “bureaucratic professionalism and fairness” on a systemic level, really—or, for that matter, (right here in today’s Links) the fact that a majority of Americans hate both major political parties, again, can anyone make any straightfaced claim about “political legitimacy”? This stuff isn’t new—C. Wright Mill was warning about “the power élite” in the 1950s and, it’s, if anything, truer and more obvious today than it was back then. Apparently, someone like Jonathan Chait can.

  8. Ignacio

    RE: Brussels senses Johnson shift on N Ireland-only backstop Financial Times v. DUP hold “positive” meeting with Boris Johnson BBC: “Boris Johnson has confirmed his rejection of a Northern Ireland-only backstop as a solution to the Brexit deadlock, the DUP has said.”

    I couldn’t read the article but reading to the short BoJo quote shows, again and again, how commited he is to a no deal brexit.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Bojo, of course, says to everyone exactly what that person wants to hear. He is the ultimate coward/people pleaser. So his assurances to the DUP (or anyone else for that matter), are pretty much meaningless.

      I’m pretty sure Ireland/EU are focusing in on an NI only backstop as a bailout for Johnson if he wants a face saving ‘deal’ with the EU. The only question now is whether he truly wants a no-deal (plenty of his ideologues want exactly that), or whether he is aware of the chaos that would follow and knows that if he can get a WA agreement over the line he can portray that as a victory and then go to an election on that basis.

      1. Ignacio

        Looks like his decision will depend on BoJo keeping loyal to his family or to his current associates or “friends”. It would be nice If he could spend more time with the family…

        1. Brian (another one they call)

          I laugh and cry every day watching the debate between the remain and the leave. But it does come down to only one thing, will the vote matter? The answer is no, because there is no democracy in the UK or the EU or the US for that matter. The people simply don’t have a voice any longer. Are the polls wrong that show there is still a majority in favor of leaving now? Seems like it is still 52/48 or greater, and everywhere else in the world that is called a majority.
          The people may think Boris will cut their legs out too, considering what previous PM’s have done. If he does what he says he will do, he is going to become a hero to a majority of the people. It is funny because your system of having no law and only tradition will allow him to do what he thinks is right as PM. I think the remain know this, demonstrated by the mad rush to pass laws against him acting as he is required to do.
          Everybody wants a do over when they don’t vote and don’t like the outcome of those who did.

      2. David

        I think, as I’ve said before, that fear is the greatest driver of Tory Party behaviour since 2015. The choice for Johnson, a natural coward, is whether he’s more scared of the consequences of disappointing the Brexit bitter-enders who want no-deal, or of the consequences of satisfying them. I’m glad I’m not him.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Trump pushing for major crackdown on homeless camps in California, with aides discussing moving residents to government-backed facilities”

    I am racking my brain trying to find a reason why Trump is going so far to try to help a Democratic bastion like California and the only one that comes to mind is that he is trying to show up politicians like Pelosi. He will prove to Californians that he is wiling to get rid of the homeless while the local Democrats do nothing and therefore he deserves their vote next year. Would the voters there care if the homeless were shoved out of sight in some FEMA camp somewhere so long as they were gone from the streets?

    1. MK

      It opens an interesting Pandora’s Jar – Can you force the homeless off public property? Sure, by arresting them for vagrancy. Instead of jail, you then put them in a federal gov’t ‘FEMA” type camp? For how long? Make it voluntary to report? Many homeless have issues that end in that person not wanting to live in a structured environment. What about the private contractors that will necessarily build these camps? Selected by the federal government, not CA, means a lot of those contracts will go to Republican friendly contractors, not democrat friendly ones. Just the tip of the iceberg . . .

      1. Kevin

        How many are on the streets due to the closing of mental health facilities?

        “A study published in the journal Psychiatric Services estimates 3.4 percent of Americans — more than 8 million people — suffer from serious psychological problems.”

      2. Summer

        The administration might mix them up with immigrant detention camps. They’ve “lost track” of how many children? Imagine how many homeless they are going to “lose track” of…

      3. Procopius

        I think that “‘FEMA’ type camp” is better described as “concentration camp.” That was one of the reasons for the concentration camps in Germany in the 1930s, by the way. The Nazis promised to get rid of the Gypsies and homeless and “other undesirables.” How much do people think this would cost? Is it expected to be cost free?

    2. Wukchumni

      Empathy for homeless seems to be draining away in the golden state, there’s scant upside to having a messy neighbor with a net worth of $7 living cheek by jowl next to $700k homes.

      Imagine trying to sell your house/condo in such a setting, and ‘the neighbors’ drop by during an open house, lured in by finger food your realtor brought for the occasion. My guess is they wouldn’t qualify for a loan.

      That said, the concept of moving them en masse against their will, seems a slippery slope, not that there would be much pushback from the public were they to all of the sudden by raptured away into the nether regions. They’d only be replaced by new legions of down & out.

      You wonder what sub-group would be next to go, student-loan dissidents, opioid addicts, ham radio operators, or those with substantial credit card balances?

      1. Summer

        “You wonder what sub-group would be next to go, student-loan dissidents, opioid addicts, ham radio operators, or those with substantial credit card balances?”

        It’s the road to slave labor camps.

      2. ambrit

        Come on now! There is precedent. FDR no less approved of sending all Nisei (Japanese-Americans) to camps for the duration of WW2. They also lost just about everything they owned prior to the war. The ‘homeless’ are one up on the Nisei; they don’t have much if anything to lose from the start. The main focus of this ‘relocation’ program was, where else, California.
        I sense a popular movement to re-institute old fashioned “County Farms,” an American iteration of the English “Workhouses.”
        Some form of communalism may yet arise in America; below the lowest rung of the social ladder.

        1. Wukchumni

          We had CCC camps that was the most popular of FDR’s programs, while Canada had ‘Relief Camps’, which was their way of getting rid of homeless/unemployed men in bigger cities. It didn’t go well.

          During the Great Depression, the federal government sanctioned the creation of a system of unemployment relief camps, where in exchange for room-and-board, single men did physically demanding labour. The government was criticized for establishing the camps rather than addressing the need for reasonable work and wages.

          The camps were controversial. Critics attacked the federal government for choosing to establish the camps instead of creating a program of reasonable work and wages. The most dramatic demonstration of this resentment occurred in April 1935, when 1,500 men from various British Columbia camps went on strike, demanding improved living conditions in the camps as a temporary measure, and also new work programs from Ottawa. After two months’ of public protest and agitation in Vancouver, the strikers then set forth on the On To Ottawa Trek, to bring their demands to Parliament. The strikers failed to convince Bennett’s government to change its camps policy, and they eventually retreated to Regina, where their protest ended in violence during the Regina Riot of 1 July.

        2. dearieme

          FDR no less approved of sending all Nisei (Japanese-Americans) to camps for the duration of WW2

          “approved of”? Didn’t he he instruct it?

          Presumably it meant that the US had more people locked up in concentration camps than fascist Italy had.

          1. ambrit

            Which is absolutely correct.
            I know not who first ‘suggested’ the internment idea. Roosevelt was the ‘decider in chief’ for such things, so, whether he originated the idea or merely approved the program is immaterial. As Truman had engraved on a bit of desk ‘furniture’ that sat on his ‘official’ desk: “The buck stops here.”
            As we constantly need to learn and relearn; the World is not delineated strictly in Black and White.
            If Mussolini had emulated Franco of Spain and stayed neutral in the Second War, he might have gone on to be a tolerated outlier of the Western Consensus after the end of that war.
            As Palmerston remarked: “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they just have permanent interests.”

        3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          And perhaps the USSR’s relocating the Crimean Tatars.

          One argument for that was that the Tatars cooperated with bad people.

          However, at the same time, Stalin was also cooperating with many bad people, capitalists like Churchill and FDR.

    3. Eclair

      “Would the voters there care if the homeless were shoved out of sight in some FEMA camp somewhere so long as they were gone from the streets?”

      Well, Rev, I fear voters, ‘homeowners,’ and businesses would rejoice if the ‘homeless problem’ were solved for them. With the exception of a dedicated core of activists who have been fighting against the municipal ordinances that effectively criminalize being without a place to lay one’s head, most middle class (the upper classes can arrange their lives so as not to have to see the unwashed homeless and their attempts to create a place to sleep) residents of Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco would actually applaud the removal of the inconvenient homeless population. Lots of room to build gulags in the desert, out of sight of the population.

      “The ultimate goal must definitely be the removal of the Jews … (whoops, Homeless) … altogether.” (Adolf Hitler, writing on September 16, 1919.) Has it been one hundred years?

    4. Jesper

      I believe you’re right. He is making the issue more visible and by making it visible then a policy of ‘do nothing while hoping it will go away’ might get to be debated. Maybe doing nothing is the best solution.
      Often people make careers on doing nothing but avoiding tricky issues. Would resolving the problem of having homeless people in California qualify as a tricky issue? If it is not a tricky issue why have Californian leadership not resolved the issue?
      Would it benefit the general population if a tricky issue was debated and different proposals were to be presented and evaluated?

      1. Brian (another one they call)

        some might reply by saying; “At first they came for the immigrants” I was not an immigrant so I didn’t pay attention. “Then they came for the_________ (put in your identity here)

        The US did this again in 2007 when they changed the real estate laws to protect the banks from borrowers that found out no one owned the paper that had the forged claim of ownership to their home. Many of those people are still homeless.
        What happens when critical mass is reached and “we” “you” and “them” are homeless too?

        1. Jesper

          Finally a discussion :)
          At the moment there appears to be only two possible solutions. I doubt that there are only two solutions but since the only proposed solutions to the crisis of homelessness are:
          1. Continue with what is currently being done (which is nothing?)
          2. Move the homeless to (no more details specified, if it is voluntary and what kind of) government backed facilities.

          Surely there must be more than just those two options?
          And even if there only are those two options then why is the assumption that the people in charge would set up concentration camps?

    5. Summer

      He’s also calling for zero interest rates to shower his cronies with cash. They’ll all be fone with the coming inflation. ALL the thieves will be able to ride the storm and the savings of the lower classes.

      If the USA goes zero to negstive interst rates, get ready for 70+ interest rate credit cards. No usuary laws and the banks are going to have to make money some way.
      Credit card interest rates wiuld be were they do it. Those rates go in the opposite of rate cuts and not a damn economic phony talks about it enough.

      And do not talk about what Europe is doing. The USA does not have the same values or programs.

    6. Steve H.

      This is entirely foreseeable. In the city park where we are performing Shakespeare this weekend, we have to warn performers not to step in ‘that’ puddle just backstage. At the other end of the park, about 100 yards away, is the city police station. The children in the play were treated to a shrieking mentally ill person, and we’ve had to call the police more than once in the last couple of years.

      I’ve had a meth lab dumped in my backyard, at least last week it was just a bag of trash. I haven’t had to pick up human feces. Yet.

      Do not think for a moment that the primary emotion of disgust, combined with the science of epidemiology, cannot provide sufficient political base for sequestering people. I suspect the reason it hasn’t happened yet is liability for medical costs of the interns, as happens with convicts. But it just takes one ‘stop resisting’ moment to turn a person into grease for the penal machine.

      1. Craig H.

        The tipping point might be infectious diseases. When I saw that video of the camp in Anaheim my first thought is that looks like a cholera outbreak waiting to happen.

        1. Wukchumni

          Out of William Swain’s company of 67 men of ’49’ers heading west, 5 died of cholera en route. Mostly early in the trip west after they’d been holed up-essentially homeless waiting to go for a month or more as the rivers were too high, a great mass of men with little thought given to sanitation & cleanliness.

          The World Rushed In, by J.S. Holliday.

          The diary of William Swain, combined with other contemporary ’49’er diaries who traveled overland.

        2. FluffytheObeseCat

          They’ve had mini-epidemics of hepatitis A and typhus, but so far not cholera. Possibly a benefit of the dry climate. May change in the wet season coming in the next 1-2 months.

          If Trump manages to force any Californian municipalities to actually attend to the homeless then it’s a win for Californians and the nation. So much so that I can’t care if he steals a little [good] press out of it. Unfortunately, the west coast homeless problem needs long term attention. And the Prince d’Orange du Twitter won’t focus long enough on any one taunt to effect lasting improvements anywhere, much less California.

          In 5-8 days he’ll be making “news” by trash-talking a rap diva for supporting Sanders. Or he’ll finally learn how to pronounce Sagagawea, and will taunt Warren with a new Indian princess moniker. And we won’t hear anything more about the homeless til Christmas.

          1. Off The Street

            California politicians have demonstrated shameless behaviors for so long that they might now only respond to exogenous shocks. One of those shocks could be Trump showing up with the full weight of the Federal apparatus to coerce, er, facilitate progress. Shut off the funding taps, enforce block grant provisions, pursue prosecutions and shame the Devils in Sacramento, LA, SF and elsewhere up and down the Goldenish State.

            Why not try something new given past dysfunctions, corruption and cronyism?

      2. VietnamVet

        The Ronald Regan era closed mental hospitals because they needed government money (taxes) to operate. I was middle aged and didn’t see homeless persons in Seattle or anywhere else until after his election.

        Someone has to pay to move and house the homeless not to mention addiction treatment and healthcare. The real cure is government jobs that pay living wages for the able bodied who can’t get jobs in the private sector and humane care for everyone else. That takes money from either taxes or the MMT fiat dollars now being spent on the Forever Wars.

    7. JohnnyGL

      It’ll provide wonderful ammo for him to point out that dems are hypocrites for moaning and screaming about camps for immigrants….but pretending not to see when he sets up camps for the homeless.

      1. marym

        An interesting test also for those who justify putting immigrants in camps because first we need to take care of “our own” homeless, veterans, etc.

  10. Rod

    Since the 19th century, all-purpose money has obscured the unequal resource flows of colonialism by making them seem reciprocal: money has served as a veil that mystifies exploitation by representing it as fair exchange.

    Despite the pessimistic heading, grappling with Capitalism is grappling with Climate Change and I found his take on “Local Money” unique.

    A globalised solar-powered future is wholly unrealistic – and our economy is the reason why

    1. JCC

      The solution and method offered is interesting even though, my opinion, the only way something like this can happen is radical de-population… which is the most probable outcome anyway.

      1. Wukchumni

        One aspect of radical de-population would be oodles of empty buildings everywhere, similar to Siena in Italy which was hit hard by the Black Plague in 1348. Worth a visit.

        The key difference is those Tuscan buildings were constructed to last a long time, whereas most everything we build is for now, not later.

        Doesn’t take much either for new buildings to dramatically lose value. Used to go to Rosarito Beach in the 80 to 90’s, which was during their hyperinflation period in Mexico.

        The tourist part of RB charged pretty much what the gringos would bear, but the local section of town was more interesting to me, in that there were a number of empty small strip mall retail stores obviously recently constructed in the past few years, and all of them had broken windows, which turns respectable into derelict in a hurry.

      2. vidimi

        the thing with population crashes – and any biology experiment with bacteria in petri dishes can quickly bear this out – is that the crash will overcorrect to well beyond the normal carrying capacity.

        So if the carrying capacity of the planet for humans is around 1B (the long-term average before industrialisation) people, an overcorrection could mean we end up with 0.1B. This would be catastrophic beyond anyone’s imagination.

        The way this would typically play out is the poor people start dying in numbers first, then the wealthy and middle class who depend on the poor for eploitation would die as they would lose access to food and, as the corpses pile up, clean water. Only small pockets in isolated and self-sustaining areas would survive.

    2. Tomonthebeach

      This article offers an interesting take on the economics of technology transition. Unfortunately, Schalit’s article is very 1-handed. On the other hand, by criticizing the limits of technology in GENERATING ELECTRICITY she fails to account for technology that is greatly REDUCING DEMAND.

      Our gizmos are far more energy-efficient. For example, my current OLED 65″ TV sucks about 1/3 the energy of my first big-screen TV. My huge Samsung 4-door refrigerator sucks about 1/2 the energy of the ancient Fridgidare that came with my house 7 years ago. Even my SUV goes 2.5 miles per gallon farther than my 1965 Pontiac Catalina sedan did.

      1. ambrit

        Yes, but be honest. You would rather be seen cruising the ville in that Pontiac Catalina than some cookie cutter SUV.
        Considering how many alternative forms of propulsion are available, with various degrees of eco-friendliness available, I am somewhat amazed at how resilient the internal combustion engine has been.

      2. ewmayer

        “Our gizmos are far more energy-efficient.” — Good point and backed up by stats like this one, but incomplete without factoring in the energy used to *manufacture* said gizmos. Your own words make that point – TVs keep getting more energy-efficient but they also keep getting bigger; your “huge” Samsung 4-door refrigerator. We’ve been offshoring the energy used in manufacturing just as we have the associated supply-chain resource consumption and pollution emissions (as well as the associated paying jobs).

    3. Stadist

      People have been repeating for at least year now that solar is very affordable, yet I see very few plans of widespread adoption. One of the most recent contemporary report from Solar and renewables was the extreme electricity price swings in Texas and Germany, and also reports how German renewable production commonly experiences huge swings in production. The German ‘Energiewende’ currently seems to work only thanks to the more traditional neighbors and common european electricity infrastructure and markets.

      Granted, this article is more concerned with current structures, but personally I’m just hugely pessimistic of Green Tech promises. Right now it looks like the only way to make renewables work in carbon free manner is huge pool of nuclear power to balance out the swings, which basically means that economies probably need at least 50% of weather independent carbon free energy sources. Widespread installation of household batteries to balance out the swings is even more hypothetical than the assumption that most fossil fuel vehicles could be replaced with EVs.

      So what to do as a person, can I live happily on if I stop eating meat and get and EV for myself or just bicycle everywhere? I don’t think that will solve anything, the current economic system with its reward system (work ‘better’, you get to consume more) seems wholly incompatible with solving with climate crisis. If I cooperate in the system I’m enabling others to consume more, even if I withold my own consumption, so in conclusion I shouldn’t cooperate in the current system.

      I ruined my own mood now, you people have a nice day.

      1. Brian (another one they call)

        Good points Stadist; I ruminate long on these issues. I keep coming back to the idea that I had best get some photovoltaic panels to provide electricity if I want any. I don’t have confidence in entities like PG&E because they will all do a run to bankruptcy instead of providing support for their clients at the first sign of trouble. Will I be able to maintain my lavish lifestyle in electric glory? No, but I know we can get by with less. Getting By may be the new normal.
        Without nationalization of the power industries, we subject ourselves to corporate control. In lieu of that, we are on our own. I wonder when corporations will be outlawed for the same reasons that they exist today? I am late for a train that doesn’t come by here any longer.

      2. Olga

        Don’t despair, comrade, help is on the way…
        Seriously, the picture is not as bleak as you paint it. The truth is that transition – any transition – takes time. For electric energy, it is doubly or triply true. For one, new technology must be at a sufficient level of development to be usable. We are there today to start transitioning, while continued innovation must go on. But good technology is not enough. In an electric market (and we are now in the age of ‘markets,’ rather than ‘systems’ as before), everything is inter-connected (any changes must be evaluated comprehensively, and their effects assessed down to miniscule minutia – mainly because of that pesky physics thing ‘supply-must-equal-demand-every-split-second’ and the life-and-death nature of the power provision). There can be an efficient and functional market design, with reasonable rules and proper incentives (Texas today – although not from the perspective of fossil-fuel-plant owners, many of whom had costly loans and needed to make more $$) or not-so-good (California cca 2000).
        Not sure about Germany, but I can tell you that Texas did spectacularly well this summer, even with a very low reserve margin (ok, the weather cooperated a bit). There were a few days, when prices spiked, but it was not because of the solar power. One day (IIRC, it was Aug. 13), wind dropped off more than expected (it’s that intermittency phenomenon – which cannot be avoided with renewable power, but can (and must) be mitigated) and an FF unit tripped. There were also 2-3 other days, when prices spiked – however, AND THIS MUST BE UNDERSTOOD – last spring, TX regulators made administrative changes to the pricing rules that made very high prices more likely, when power shortages occurred. Administrative changes – let that sink in.
        (If you want to follow energy news, Utility Dive is a good, free source.)
        Plus, pushback against renewables is to be expected. Those invested in the status quo do not want change, remember.

        1. Stadist

          I completely believe in the possibility of renewable energy, it’s the temporal aspect I’m having problems with – Even if world went carbon free starting tomorrow the climate would still continue to warm up for long time. Same with EVs of course we can replace every fossil fuel car with EV in next 50-100 years. To really have impact it should have been done already.

          And because everything looks like it needed to be done yesterday I don’t really see much other options than radical reductions in production and consumption. It already looks like the current pace of warming is too fast for various ecosystems to adapt to, biggest of them all the human agriculture. Current industrialized agriculture combined with markets can prevent local famines and production falls quite well, but if most of or whole northern hemisphere should experience harvest failures 2-3 years in a row we are talking about civilizational collapse scenarios already. There aren’t huge food stockpiles stashed away to sustain 6 billion people for 3 years. Of course I don’t know if these widespread harvest failures can happen, I can be wrong and we should all hope I’m wrong.

      3. Hepativore

        As a progressive leftist myself, I also struggle with questions about environmental policy. The problem is that much of what passes for “green” or “sustainable” is either a mixture of wild alarmism on par with what you see in the anti-vaxxer or the young Earth creationist crowds or ridiculous green-washing in the form of solutions that really do not accomplish anything. In any case, these are areas that I am conflicted about:

        -Farming: The large scale production of agriculture is just as damaging if not more so than raising livestock. Yet, for the people that decry large scale agriculture, what can we replace it with to feed the population? To be fair, we might be able to scale it back somewhat as much of the food that is produced is actually thrown away. There does not seem to be a world food shortage, as so much as a logistics problem.

        In regards to “meat” there is also the fact that animals can eat things that most humans cannot and much of the world’s land is useless for anything else besides sheep, cattle or chickens or pigs. Plus, the entire carcass of an animal is “recyclable” as it is converted into various industrial purposes which is not bad for the input of energy that you put into the animal when it was alive. It almost seems like the push for vegetarianism seems to come out of an attempt at virtue-signaling from many people, particularly the identitarian crowd.

        -Energy: I do not see how renewable energy like solar and wind power would ever be able to replace baseload energy production and more often than not they are just a roundabout way of using fossil fuels by way of burning natural gas peak energy demand. Even if you achieved magical 100% efficiency with energy storage from these power sources, renewables are simply not energy dense enough to make a dent in the energy demand of most countries. Also, despite the attempts by many people to portray natural gas as some sort of clean energy, it is still a fossil fuel. Germany tried to rely purely on renewable energy as part of its Christian Democrat/Green Party alliance in its government a few years ago and outlawed nuclear energy. When the country found out that it could not meet demand with solar and wind alone, it started a massive build-out of coal plants fueled by lignite, the dirtiest and most polluting grade of coal. Ironically, they also buy around 30% of their energy from France which relies on nuclear energy for around 80% of its energy needs.

        In regards to nuclear energy, people commonly cite its “cost” as the main issue with having a large-scale nuclear build-out. Much of that cost is caused by the fact that they approval process has been made extremely byzantine and overly complicated since the NRC was created to oversee it in the 1970’s as opposed to the DOE like it was before. There is also the fact that the political hurdles set in place by well-meaning, but misguided anti-nuclear groups stall the construction process and make the estimated cost much higher than it should be.

        There are many different types of nuclear fission reactors, the designs of which have their own pros and cons. There are many types that have been known about for decades that could greatly reduce the volume of spent fuel as well as its half-life. Yet the very same people that point to the disposal of spent fuel as being the reason why they are against nuclear energy often dig in their heels when said solutions are proposed.

        Finally, all things considered, the total volume of spent fuel is actually quite minuscule and easily contained compared to the toxic gases and heavy metals that are released into the air and water as a result of burning coal. As for the “half-life” of nuclear isotopes, the longer the half-life of an isotope, the less radioactive it is. Comparing this with the cadmium, arsenic, lead, and other toxic metals that are found in coal ash and spent batteries. These metals will be just as toxic now as they will be millennia from now.

        -Transportation and residential fossil fuel use: One negative aspect about where many people like myself face is that we live in either rural communities where public transportation is non-existent or so far away from our places of employment that biking to work would be impractical. I think that there should be some sort of push to set up a public transportation system in very rural areas, but I am not sure how it would operate. In any case, another interesting alternative to fossil fuels that shows promise, is using dimethyl ether as a synthetic fuel. You could use the process heat of some reactor types to create it. Also, I really do think that we should look into some sort of district-heating system for urban areas utilizing the waste heat from energy generation.

        Anyway, I guess that my opinions on some things are rather unconventional compared with many of the posters here. This was a rather long post, I admit but I do have some disagreements with some environmental groups on some policies.

      4. Ignacio

        Solar is not so affordable for individual houses because the production and consumptiom profiles are very different so you need expensive batteries if you want 70-90% solar coverage. A 4 kWh battery would do the trick for a house consuming 5000 – 6000 kWh/year. In Spain, and I guess is similar in the US, the return of investment takes shorter time for a small roof-top installation with 30-50% coverage (about 7 years in my calculations) than a larger instalation + battery with 70-90% coverage (12 years). Sharing the installation with other neighbours can be a good idea, specially if there are common installations like elevators, water pumps etc. You have better coverage with less battery capacity. It is quite affordable for condos, with investment returns of about 5 years, but all the neighbours must agree. Another possibility that is not usually considered is a small solar field in a neighbourhood when there is some available space, for instance in parking lots.

        1. rd

          Many states have not set up their utilities to have meters run backwards or buy the electricity. So the cost to store it at your own house instead of putting it out into the grid if you are not using it is much higher.

  11. LaRuse

    I want to read more into the background of the POTUS’s alleged plan to crack down on CA homeless, but if the WaPo isn’t exaggerating, let us be absolutely clear what we are talking about here – this means rounding up homeless people and putting them in government facilities. Legal authority or not, the fact that the Administration is even thinking like this is absolutely a problem. Rounding up immigrants and putting them in facilities first. Next, the homeless. Where does it stop? How much of this stuff can we just shrug off as an unstable administration?
    I am starting to feel like some of my Blue Dog pearl clutching friends, but this report is giving me some serious heebie-jeebies. Can anyone shed some logic/sanity on this topic for me?

    1. Kevin

      Look at the companies profiting off of “People in Cages”.
      They must be salivating over India’s recent move.

    2. marym

      Here’s a twitter thread today with some history and legal issues.

      Rounding people up and incarcerating them – the Trump solution for immigration (including separating, defining as unaccompanied and then disappearing the children), gun violence, and now homeless issues.

      For-profit human supply lines is part of it, but overall it’s part of a very disturbing methodology of power and control.

      This isn’t incoherent. It reflects a clear principle: Only the president and his allies, his supporters, and their anointed are entitled to the rights and protections of the law, and if necessary, immunity from it. The rest of us are entitled only to cruelty, by their whim. This is how the powerful have ever kept the powerless divided and in their place, and enriched themselves in the process.

      — – The cruelty is the point

      1. Kate

        No doubt it is chilling, what Trump contemplates. But I live in the Bay Area and I assure you, the “progressives” only stand by doing nothing, nothing, while homelessness and its attendant squalor metastasize. It infuriates me that Democrats, by their endless inaction, have afforded Trump this opportunity to signal his willingness to take charge. As so often, I blame this liberal game of “fighting for” or “fighting against ” for the quandary that is Donald Trump.

        1. Kevin

          There is a certain level, I believe, at which the rich and ensconced Democrats & Republicans differ little. They share the same abhorrence with letting money go to the general public (us riff-raff) for infrastructure, health care, etc.

          I know certain people cringe at the “both parties are the same” mantra. But at a certain level they are one and the same.

        2. marym

          Agree. On some issues Dems offer an occasional “lesser evil” approach, but not even that for homelessness.

  12. The Rev Kev


    A coupla years ago we saw the protests in Catalonia and I was all for them. But it was pointed out that what was the point of those protests if they did not have an end game in sight. After that I found out that those who pushed those protests in the background were not the patriots that they made themselves to be. Since then, when I see such protest movements, I look to see what their end game is. Those five demands do not seem to demonstrate such an end game.
    But what I am seeing is the use of tactics that guaranteed will antagonize the Chinese central government and make them unwilling to negotiate. There is a violent element that is using molotov cocktails, smashing and burning train stations, etc trying to bring the city to a standstill. A week ago I saw a Hong Kong security have a go at western countries complaining about the tactics of the Hong Kong Police by pointing out that those very same western countries were much more brutal in their police methods. I think that he was talking about France and Spain here. But just imagine if your local police force had to deal with these guys-

    And of course it does not help that some of the protesters are carrying American flags and singing the Star Spangled Banner. And just to underline who the leaders of these protesters align themselves with, the Hong Kong protest figurehead Joshua Wong was seen in Berlin chilling with – wait for it – the head of the White helmets as well as the ex-mayor of Kiev-

    1. Ignacio

      I haven’t devoted time to Honk Kong protesters because I prefer to focus in things that I can understand better. Your comment is fine because it underlines the difficulties for anyone living faraway to understand the dynamics really occuring in the ground. From the very beginning I thougth that something like this had to occur. Also I thougth some kind of “ex-colony classyness” was in part behind the protesters. Do they really expect to remain a different, exceptional and privileged place in PRCh turning their backs to the mainland? No Hongkongers, neither the PRCh should overplay their cards and a deft touch will be needed in both parts. Needless to say It is Hong Kong who has more to loose here.

  13. Olga

    U.S. Says Russia Orchestrated Chechen Rebel’s Murder in Germany Wall Street Journal
    Of course, US would say that. Just like Skripals (where are they, btw?).
    On the other hand, US seems oddly unconcerned about “Jamal Khashoggi ‘murder recording transcript’ is published BBC.”
    Looks like the words ‘hypocrisy’ and ‘opportunism’ have been deleted from official dictionaries.
    (Unpay-walled: – “Witnesses quoted in German media said the killer approached Khangoshvili, aged 40, from behind on a bicycle and shot him twice in the head, then sped off.” Yes, a murder on a bicycle, in the middle of the day, and in front of many onlookers, with the culprit easily caught. Yes, sounds just like those devious russkies!)

  14. flora

    re: Libraries and Archivists Are Scanning and Uploading Books That Are Secretly in the Public Domain – VICE

    Hurray! for librarians. I can imagine some private outfit trying to do this first and then claiming some sort of new copyright on them plus a fee to see or use these books which are currently in the public domain.

    Note: never mess with librarians over 1st Amendment ‘freedom of press’ and ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘privacy’ issues.
    Librarians may look like mild mannered milquetoasts, but don’t let that disguise fool you. ;)

    1. Livius Drusus

      I love libraries and librarians! Libraries are among the last islands of public service today and a great way to learn and be entertained without spending money. I think this is why libraries are always targeted for budget cuts and privatization. Can’t let the proles have too much access to free knowledge!

      1. newcatty

        Flora, uh huh…” dont let that disguise fool you.” A dynamic and brilliant public librarian that, for a while, was our neighbor in a condo complex in a mountain town was in clever disguise. She was in her 30’s and was in excellent physical shape. She hiked and loved to be out almost as much as she loved “her” library. Her brown hair was streaked with shades of red and gold. She wore no make-up on her sun kissed face. She had a lot of tatoos. Never hid them under long sleeved shirts, unless it was winter. She smoked, drank and had a long line of younger men waiting to date her. She hung out at the local pub and dug the live music that drew fans from far and wide. We only lived there for a brief while. It was like living in the apartment complex in “The Tales of the City.”

  15. Frank Little

    RE: What if We Stopped Pretending the Climate Apocalypse Can Be Stopped?

    In 2015 Franzen criticized the Audobon Society because of a report they released projecting dire effects from climate change on North American birds. At the time there was some controversy related to the design of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium, which has large glass windows that birds could not see. Conservation groups (including Audobon) were pushing the teams management to change the glass so it would be visible to birds. Jim Williams, who writes a column about birds for the local Minneapolis paper, used this report to reflect on how this smaller local fight over a few thousand birds could compare to the larger problem of climate change, prompting Franzen’s 2015 article.

    I bring up this only because some of the arguments in this piece were addressed by a response from a VP at the Audobon Society which offers a good rebuttal of this piece as well:

    There is no evidence that a robust climate movement has been or could become the soul-sucking force Franzen claims—one that reduces dollars, projects, mindshare, or whatever other metric of “indifference” to present-day conservation you could conjure. Apart from the fact that his contention defies actual measurement, it runs directly counter to what we’ve experienced here at Audubon since the release of that “dire prophecy” in the first place. Our Birds and Climate Report has energized our membership like nothing we’ve seen before, and has already inspired dozens of examples of real-world, on-the-ground conservation efforts on behalf of birds and their habitats today.

    When Franzen circles back to poor Jim Williams, whom he has misquoted and press-ganged as his unwitting straw man, he writes: “The question is whether everyone who cares about the environment is obliged to make climate the overriding priority.” But as far as I can tell, no one besides Jonathan Franzen is suggesting any such thing.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I am not sure how to assess much of the current debate/discussion about Climate Change. The strategy of denying that the climate is changing appears to be gradually shifting toward the strategies of schemes for Carbon Markets, and slipping toward promotions of geoengineering for fun and profit — much as Phillip Mirowski predicted. The very idea of a 2 degrees Celsius upper limit for avoiding climate that “spins completely out of control” grows more transparent as a politically expedient upper limit leading to profitable notions of a “Carbon Budget”. No matter how many scientists and models the IPCC uses to construct their predictions and pronouncements — the IPCC is a political organization constrained and driven by forces quite separate from Science as I like to believe it may have been practiced in some times past.

      Assume for the moment that the Earth’s climate could be accurately modeled by a simple linear system. Treat the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere act as a set-point for temperature in this model — like Hansen’s notion of the CO2 levels as the setting on the Earth’s thermostat. Over the last half-century Humankind has pushed that CO2 thermostat setting up by a considerable amount. The temperature range we did enjoy will transition to a new level determined by the new setting — the new system set-point. If the climate system is over-damped, the temperature level will smoothly ramp to the new set-point at some rate, although it may over-shoot slightly before settling to the new set-point level. If the climate system is under-damped it will smoothly ramp to the new set-point, overshoot that set-point and ring gradually settling to the new set-point level. Our scientists have estimates for the rate that the climate system will move to the new set-point and estimates of the temperature the new set-point corresponds with. But I doubt Science has much to do with the implicit assumptions the climate system is well-damped and will settle to the new set-point without a large overshoot or a large amount of ringing.

      Take a closer look at the way the 2 degrees C. upper limit is framed within the time region the present to 2100. The time frame introduces further implicit assumptions about estimates of the rate the climate system ramps up to its new set-point — or assumes a ramp-rate and insidiously undermines the implicit assumption that 2 degrees C. really will be the temperature range the climate will settle to. Perhaps the ramp lets the temperature reach or stay below 2 degrees C. by 2100 but what happens after 2100? Can we assume that is calculated into our economics-satisfying Carbon Budget? In fact, the climate system is most definitely NOT nicely linear, and Paleoclimate data suggests it is anything but over-damped and nicely behaved. The climate system like the weather systems is non-linear and chaotic.

      Now consider how our political-economic systems are organized and examine more closely the technology our Civilization is based upon. Energy plays a crucial role. The sources for that energy are finite and Humankind is using them up at a growing rate prodigious by any measure. The goods and services, the technical inventions that give us light, cool and heat our houses, fuel our industrial furnaces, and stoke the ever-burning engines of war, all rely on energy and also rely on the ready availability of numerous mineral resources. Like energy these resources are finite and Humankind is consuming them at prodigious rate.

      A web of support networks maintain the flow of resources to their refinement, manufacture, assembly, and distribution to places where they are used. The GRID distributes electrical power. A world-wide transportation network supports distribution of material goods. Systems of water collection, purification and distribution, coupled with systems of waste disposal under-pin the functioning of our great cities. A large part of our transportation systems rely on coupled networks of roads and bridges, and drainage for avoiding flooding during a storm. All these support networks have been left to decay. Wherever portions of the networks include redundancy, that redundancy is methodically ripped away for “efficiency” and “cost” reduction.

      I conclude we are pretending about quite a lot. What could or should we do after we stop pretending? I am skeptical of the motives and actions of the kinds of Corporate and Government organization Humankind has constructed. I long ago lost faith I had any power to affect their inexorable rush toward oblivion. I am afraid we are left with whatever actions we can take on our own.

  16. sleepy

    Kronotsky Nature Reserve —

    I have seen Alaska videos of mother bears dropping their cubs off next to tourists for that same reason while they go fishing for salmon.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Good Riddance, Bolton”

    I can just see the last conversation between Trump and Yosemite Sam now-

    “John, what should we do with Iran?”

    “Bomb them!”

    “But they can bomb us back. Well, what about North Korea?”

    “Bomb them!”

    “But we would lose all South Korea. What if China gets involved?”

    “Bomb them!”

    “A nuclear power? John, what would all my MAGA supporters ever say?”

    “Bomb them!”

    “Umm, you can go now. I now know what I need to do now.”

    1. rd

      Apparently Trump thinks that Bolton advocating for invading Iraq is a mistake instead of it being Bolton’s greatest single accomplishment.

      Also, Trump seems to believe that Bolton’s comment about the Libya model for North Korea was another mistake instead of a fervently held goal.

      I am still baffled on how Bolton ever got into Trump’s White House to begin with, never mind lasting longer than Scaramucci. Rumsfeld and Cheney under Bush were at least able to couch interventionist policies in bureaucratic semantics. Bolton stood on the front steps of the White House and bellowed it out through a megaphone like a Baptist preacher condemning everyone to hell and damnation if they didn’t follow his path.

      Clearly Trump wasn’t paying attention.

  18. Summer

    Re: “UK parliament prorogation video” YouTube

    “…and in obedience to Her Majesty’s commands…”
    How Medieval…

    But it was more entertaining than the snooze fests often seen taking place in US Congress.

    1. Eclair

      “…. Her Majesty’s commands…”

      Summer, Caitlin Johnstone last week commented that she couldn’t believe the UK still had a queen (soon to be succeeded by a king.)

      The British Royalty are like an exotic mammalian species, rounded up, kept in sumptuous zoological garden-like castles, dressed in splendid colorful and oft-times laughable finery, like preening tropical birds on a mission to attract mates, all at great expense to the State.

      They are trotted out for ceremonial occasions, to pacify the restive populace .. as they open one more senior center or drug rehab facility. They never show up on the occasion of the closing down of a coal mine or manufacturing plant.

      John Bercow, Speaker, bows to Her Majesty’s commands, produced, puppet-like, through the machinations of PM Johnson, calling for politeness and civility as Parliament’s members march off in all docility, to their enforced ‘vacation.’

      One really must admire the ingenuity of such a system of control.

      1. Summer

        “They are trotted out for ceremonial occasions…”
        Here’s the problem: the monarchy is as quiet as they want to be. Their choice is to lay low.
        For now…

        1. Eclair

          Summer, do you think the British monarchy is planning a coup? Their PR machine is working overtime, if the number of news articles on my google feed on the inane doings of the Windsor family is any guide. There are at least five a day … and I never open them … just left swipe. I didn’t even watch the last royal wedding; figured that the Family was working on opening a North American franchise, with Harry and his mixed-race American wife.

      2. JacobiteInTraining

        I wonder if this is the moment we Jacobites have been awaiting all these years since Culloden.

        I mean, no one would suspect, and the element of surprise might play into our hands!

        *insert mad scientist laughter here*

  19. The Rev Kev

    “James Mattis’s Bizarre Cult of “Lethality” ”

    As it turns out, this use of the word “lethality” is one of the things that grind my gears. I have seen the use of this word so many times in anything to do with the US armed forces the past few years that I have come to believe that if the Pentagon buys a box of pencils, that they can justify it by saying there is lethality in the selected pencils as you can use each of them to stab someone to death with. The fact of the matter is that a military is making a huge mistake if they think that they can kill their way to a victory. That is how you got “body counts’. It is not how lethal you are but how effective you are. It was Sun Tzu who said that-

    “For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill. Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”

    I blame this idea as an outgrowth of the concept of warfighting that the Pentagon uses. Soldiers aren’t soldiers anymore but are warriors. Sounds all macho that but I believe that it gives the wrong mentality for troops in a war. But that is just my take.

    1. JacobiteInTraining


      I hate that ‘warfighter’ term as well. Doughboys, GI’s, Grunts — those are mud-covered aching tired humans just trying to survive and get the heck back home to their families…of the Bill Mauldin Wille & Joe variety.

      ‘warfighters’? I dunno man, I picture that and I picture robots and mechs, laying waste to all that surrounds them with cold calculated fury.

      But I suppose that is precisely the point.

  20. Tomonthebeach

    Cult of Lethality [New Republic] I had to chuckle at the naive viewpoint spurred by the reaction to some verbal DOD hype to impress listeners and then using it to tar Mattis (already rather well-tarred). Lethality is an ineffective battle strategy. The author should keep in mind something I was taught early in my military career:

    Kill an adversary and you have reduced the attack force by 1 combatant. Wound an adversary and you have reduced the attack for by 3 combatants – the wounded soldier and the two comrades who have to leave the field to get him to a medic.

    1. ewmayer

      “Wound an adversary and you have reduced the attack force by 3 combatants…” — Or Trump’s tactic vis-a-vis #resist: “Insult an adversary* on Twitter and you have reduced the attack force by 1000 combatants, as your opponents tie themselves into knots in their daily online outrage-fest.”

      * ‘Insult an adversary’ can be alternated with ‘Make a bizarre easily falsifiable claim’, e.g. the “Sharpies over Alabama” hurricane tempest-in-teapot.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Isn’t this scheduled? He still has to go through the motions because they could dissolve it earlier, but its been four years.

      This is about transferring power to a caretaker government because its a parliamentary system.

      1. wilroncanada

        Thanks NotTimothyGeithner for the explanation. You beat me to it. Canada has a fixed limit of four years for a parliament. Most PMs wait until near the end of the four years.

    2. rd

      This is normal. The majority partly can call an election pretty much whenever they want but the maximum duration of a parliament without an election 5 years. It is typical for Canadian governments with a firm majority to call an election at about 4 year interval and dissoluton of parliament is a formal step in the initiation of the election. This is a typical orderly process n Canada.

      The British Parliament dissolution is much more complex as the Parliament itself is in chaos.There really isn’t a majority government right now as Conservatives have left the party. The PM wants to call an election but the rest of parliament doesn’t want it. He dissolved Parliament because he didn’t want them voting for bills that he didn’t want. so he is running a caretaker government but with no end game in sight.

  21. Matthew G. Saroff

    I just wanted to say that after many instances of my cat sitting on my laptop, I finally sat my laptop on my cat.

    Meatball was unamused.

    1. carycat

      maybe you should invest in a copy of PawSense software BitBoost Systems. I first heard of this invention to keep your feline master off your keyboard (so you can concentrate on earning enough for Cat food) when it won the 2000 Ig Nobel prize for computer science.

  22. Olga

    Has this been posted? Matt Stoller on Boeing:

    “The executive team at Boeing is quite skilled – just at generating cash, rather than as engineers. Boeing’s competitive advantage centered on politics, not planes. The corporation is now a political machine with a side business making aerospace and defense products. Boeing’s general counsel, former judge Michael Luttig, is the former boss of the FBI director, Christopher Wray, whose agents are investigating potential criminal activity at the company. Luttig is so well connected in high-level legal circles he served as a groomsman for the supreme court chief justice, John Roberts.”

    1. Ignacio

      From 2011:
      #34 – J. Michael Luttig (Boeing): The former Fourth Circuit judge earned almost $1.8 million in cash — about ten times what he made back when he was a federal judge. That should be enough to pay the mortgage on his fabulous vacation home on Kiawah Island.

      Come on guys, Boeing is simply helping ex-judges with their mortgages! Isn’t it sensible?

  23. bassmule

    A bit of 9/11 history you are not likely to get from any U.S. historian. The book is called “The Levant” by Philip Mansel. First published in the US in 2011 by Yale University Press. Here it is, from a chapter titled “The Dance of Death” about Beirut’s decline into violence from 1975 on:

    The [1982 Israeli] invasion had one unexpected long-term consequence. Like many Arabs, the bin Laden family had often visited Beirut on holiday. Television ensured that they saw the Israeli bombardments of the city. They blamed Israel’s ally, fund-raiser, and weapons-supplier, the United States.

    August 1982 contributed to September 2011.

    Osama bin Laden later claimed, “As I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon, it entered my mind that we should punish the oppressors in kind and that we should destroy towers in America so that they taste some of what we tasted and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children.”

    The bin Laden quote is from an interview in a Beirut newspaper, the Daily Star. It appeared on page 11 of the Nov. 4, 2004 issue.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Last night a new series started on TV here called “The Looming Tower”. Cannot find the link now but the title is based on a Koran text that Bin Laden proclaimed at a wedding a long time ago and it went how death will find you, even if you are in tall towers.

      1. Jeff W

        The Mirror [UK] says as much:

        The title of the series refers to the Twin Towers – and a passage from the Koran quoted by bin Laden at a wedding before 9/11: “Wherever you are, death will find you, even if you are in lofty towers.”

        [link added]

        Actually, the name of the TV series derives from the title of the Lawrence Wright book of the same name and the title of the book refers to the verse in the Koran.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Thanks for that Jeff W. That was the one that I was looking for. Very ominous now when you read it with what he had in mind.

  24. Chauncey Gardiner

    Appreciated Richard Koo’s article about the need for monetary sovereign governments to undertake and fund domestic fiscal spending on public projects and services with a social rate of return above that of the government’s borrowing cost following a collapse in demand for debt after an implosion of massive speculations in financial assets and real estate by private sector borrowers who funded their speculations with historically cheap debt.

    Attractive policy proposal compared to Trump’s repeated calls for negative interest rates that would primarily serve only to prolong and exacerbate already stretched asset price speculations that primarily benefit insiders, Wall Street and a small segment of the population at the expense of savers and community banks who would see further compression in their net interest income.

  25. Tim

    “The Tea Party Didn’t Get What It Wanted, but It Did Unleash the Politics of Anger”

    Same could be said for Occupy Wall Street on the left.

  26. rd

    As in most cases, I think people are over-thinking Trump.

    He is a real estate developer and operator. In his world experience non-existent financing costs are nirvana. With no financing cost and favorable tax rules for depreciation etc., even poor development opportunities can be money makers.

    So it is obvious to extend that logic to everything else in the economy. It doesn’t mean economic weakness in Trumpworld. It means there are no limits to growth. The fact that this has not been proven to be true in the rest of the economy over the decades is just proof that the rest of the economy has historically been wrong. We use the same logic to prove that tax cuts are always beneficial and pay for themselves after all. And that more guns in the hands of people mean that fewer people will die from gun violence, or at least fewer of the “right people”.

      1. Plenue

        The closest you’ll get is that they’ll gradually replace your organic brain with bits of cogitator, until you’re all computer housed in a metal skull (look, that’s just how the Imperium rolls). So now you’re technically immortal, but also a living (?) walking piece of insufferable heresy, but since you’re one of the dudes who actually knows how all this technology stuff works, the Inquisition will let it slide. Eventually you’ll probably just end up getting eaten by the ancient god-alien that totally doesn’t live under the surface of Mars, I have no idea what you’re talking about Mister Inquisitor.

        So you might get to be a kind of immortal, for a while anyway.

  27. ewmayer

    “Trump’s National Security Team Is Now a Wholly Owned Subsidiary of the Defense Industry | Mother Jones (resilc)” — Clearly the folks at the dismal propaganda rag which MoJo has become are missing the mustachioed Bomb Walrus hard. Maybe they could offer him a spot on their masthead, or give him regular op-ed space? The pearl clutching over the NatSec team’s MIC ties strikes me as a “water is wet! Film at 11!” kind of thing. So MoJo is sad to see the guy who tried to start a hot war with Iran go, because that raises concerns about “NatSec-team/MIC coziness”. We are truly living in an MSM/#resist media bizarro world.

  28. Oregoncharles

    A little late to the party; from “The Majority of Americans Hate BOTH Parties”:

    51% of Americans know the primary process is rigged
    More than half of Americans want a third party
    42% of Americans now think of themselves as independents … only 29% identify as Democrats, and 26% as Republicans
    Even the Founding Fathers warned us about the threat from a two-party system

    Truly, it’s time for a third party.”

    Uh-huh. This is not new.

    However, the US HAS a third party – more than one. Oregon actually has 3 MAJOR parties, and about 8 ballot-qualified parties (I haven’t counted lately).

    But people still are petrified by the 2-Party, and will not vote for the options available – even if they mostly agree with them. On the whole, they’d rather not vote at all.

    When will the spell be broken?

    42% is a very solid plurality; if they voted together, they would win by a wide margin.

  29. Savita

    sounds nice, but is going to be challenged the high percentage of critical thinkers who challenge the allegation that Bin Laden had anything to do with the 11/9 incident

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