Links 9/29/19

Spiders Can Fly Hundreds of Miles Using Electricity The Atlantic. From 2018, but so amazing I have to run it.

Fungus-Farming Ants Might Hold the Secret to Fighting Drug-Resistant Microbes Discover

In a New Study on Bird Loss, Some Scientists Say Subtlety Is Lost, Too Undark

Tesla Labor Practices and Musk Tweet Broke the Law, Judge Rules Bloomberg

It’s Kids vs. the World in a Landmark Climate Complaint Gizmodo

Could Massive Storm Surge Barriers End the Hudson River’s Revival? Yale Environment 360

Economist Stiglitz sees ‘significant slowdown’, not crisis RTE


Tory conference: Five things to look out for in Manchester BBC

Johnson’s obscene behaviour this week confirms the arrival of Trumpian Britain Prospect. “The old Conservative Party, for all its faults, has withered and died.” I’m not from the UK, but this reminds me of (the delusional and pathetic) liberal Democrat nostalgia for Reagan. Surely Johnson is Thatcher with her civilizational veneer, such as it was, stripped away?

U.S. Congress demands answers on DOJ and Lava Jato BrasilWire. Thanks, Obama!


Saudi Arabia accepts cease fire in Yemen Sic Semper Tyrannis

Dubai’s Desperate Realtors Told Not to Hound Clients at Showcase Bloomberg

Man with a plan to make Indonesia more Islamic Asia Times

Man-Made Rain Helps Lower Indonesia’s Hotspots by 90%: Ministry Bloomberg


‘Why is the climate changing like this?’ People’s Archive of Rural India


Clashes as Hong Kong marks five years since ‘Umbrella’ protests Agence France Presse

Occupy Central was catalyst for the collapse of rule of law in Hong Kong, Chinese state media says South China Morning Post. Remarkably, or not, SCMP treats the fact of a Xinhua press release as a story in itself.

Hong Kong protests: plan mulled to partially cancel district council elections if polling stations targeted, as Joshua Wong announces candidacy South China Morning Post

Beijing’s predicament: How will the Communist Party solve its ‘Hong Kong problem’? Hong Kong Free Press

* * *

U.S., China Move Toward October Trade Talks LawFare

Trump Transition

When Donald met Scott: a reporter’s view of Trump and his White House wonderland Guardian

State Dept. intensifies email probe of Hillary Clinton’s former aides WaPo


Trump Team Bets Impeachment Will Backfire on Democrats WSJ. From earlier in the week, still germane. Despite the rapid development of UkraineGate (unlike the more slowly moving RussiaGate), “both sides” have had the opportunity to plan their moves since at least August 12, when the “whistleblower” complaint was filed. So, in a sense, we are still in opening phase of the chess game, where each player is deploying known, pre-planned gambits.

The Integrity of the Trump Impeachment Inquiry The New Yorker. “The complaint, filed on August 12th, by a person whom the Times has described as an intelligence officer….” The political ménage à trois — dare I say*, “open marriage”? — between (factions of) the press, the Democrats, and the intelligence commumnity, evident to the discerning since at least late 2016, is now normalized. NOTE * Usually, I deprecate sexual metaphors for political relationships, because I don’t think the power structures are isomorphic. But here I refer to the polymorphous mingling of Constitutional functions once held at arms length by the separation of powers, as designed by the Framers.

Amodei denies he was first House Republican to back impeachment inquiry WaPo

What The First Few Post-Ukraine Polls Say About Impeachment FiveThirtyEight

Washington is again captivated by an anonymous source. It’s different now WaPo [nods vigorously].

A Phone Conversation Between Dread Lord Nyarlathotep and a Minor Shoggoth Regarding Investigating Rival Great Old One, Hastur McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

White House accused of restricting access to Putin transcripts FT

American diplomat Joseph Wilson, who challenged reasoning for Iraq war, dies at age 69 CNN. Deceptive headline. Wilson didn’t “challenge” “reasoning,” or write a memo. He proved that one of the Bush administration’s ever-shifting rationales for war — evidence that Niger supplied Iraq with yellowcake uranium — was outright false.

MSM Defends CIA’s “Whistleblower”, Ignores Actual Whistleblowers Caitlin Johnstone, Medium

Julian Assange ‘subjected to every kind of torment’ in Belmarsh prison as he awaits extradition Independent

Spanish security company spied on Julian Assange in London for the United States El Pais

Snowden in the Labyrinth NYRB

Health Care

The Fetishization of Employer-Provided Health Care The New Republic


Is Impeachment the End of the Road for Most of the 2020 Field? New York Magazine

Cosmo Asks Bernie Sanders the Questions Young Women Want Answered Cosmopolitan

Let’s do the time warp again:

The pundit, Emily Tisch Sussman, is a billionaire heiress, Democratic strategist, and was formerly employed by CAP as Vice President of Campaigns. Cory Booker officiated at her wedding ceremony.

‘Look at his record’: Buttigieg faces new criticism from his city’s black leaders Guardian

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Making of Neoliberal Globalization: Norm Substitution and the Politics of Clandestine Institutional Change (PDF) Alexander E. Kentikelenis, Sarah Babb American Journal of Sociology

The Return of the Condottieri? How Military Drones are Changing the World Cassandra’s Legacy

Class Warfare

Now’s the time to spread the wealth, says Thomas Piketty FT

Minimum Wages and the Distribution of Family Incomes Arindrajit Dube, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. From the abstract: “There is robust evidence that higher minimum wages increase family incomes at the bottom of the distribution.” Who knew?

‘The co-working adventure has had its ups and downs’ FT. Very funny, but under the rubric of “Meet the work tribes,” plural, as opposed to “the precariat,” singular. Which the content makes quite clear.

Teaching 6-Year-Olds About Privilege and Power (podcast) NPR

5G wireless technology comes with big promises, but city of Portland has big concerns KATU (Furzy Mouse). From March, still germane. “‘The federal government has made something of a land grab against local infrastructure, like telephone poles, where these wireless nodes will be connected,’ said Mayor Ted Wheeler.”

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. jeremyharrison

    Yeah, careful with those sexual metaphors for the interplay of Intelligence, Democrats, and the Media.

    You’ll create mental images of an intertwined John Brennan, Nancy Pelosi, and Joe Scarborough, and there is no bleach strong enough to clean that out of your brain.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Is that a kind of tree-way sickle-jork among octopuses chanting ” sixtynine . . . sixtynine . . . sixtynine . .” “

  2. Clive

    At least with all the impeachment blather, CNN can go back to being unimpeachably insufferable. I’m watching it now as I wait for a pot to come to the boil (and displacement activity because I’ve spilt a load of peas on the stovetop and am trying to find other useful things to do rather than trying to pick them up). It’s acting like it’s a combination of the cat that got the cream and, as we say here, the dog’s bollocks.

    CNN is still building itself up, though, as there’s only two talking heads providing what, as the caption assures me is going on, is supposed to be analysis. I’ll know when it’s almost over when CNN reaches “peak talking head count” (which is usually five of them, round the table).

      1. Clive

        No, me neither. I then doubled down with a full dose of Washington Journal on CSPAN, just to keep up to date with what the Blob is thinking about right now.

        Honestly, if this is the price you have to pay to consider yourself informed of current affairs, I’m beginning to wonder if I’d prefer to stay ignorant.

        1. inode_buddha

          I got rid of my TV altogether about 5 years ago, and I’ve never had a newspaper sub. My reasoning is, “Why would I pay someone to lie to me when I can get that for free? Besides, I don’t want to encourage them, hence do not buy the product.”

        2. notabanker

          I’ve conducted a similar experiment in the last two weeks listening to National Propaganda Radio during drive time. They even featured bonus NYT exposé material, what a treat. I learned the reason We Work is a bad investment was because of their CEO, not business model. Banks are expanding sub-prime credit, but it’s different this time because, wait for it, financial innovation. And Trump bad, Biden not so much.

          1. pretzelattack

            oh, financial innovation. i’m glad somebody is listening and reading to their horsecrap, you should know your enemy, but it never changes much.

          2. Harry

            I am going to have to abandon NPR as well. My wife is sick of me coming home and ranting about what I listened to.

            I am starting to develop a new idea regarding why the Roman Empire fell. I had believed that news simply didn’t travel in those days. Now I think it traveled just fine, but “well informed” minds simply didn’t believe the Barbarians were a threat or were able to ride horses or fight with metal weapons.

            1. Drake

              The real problem was that the barbarians levied lower taxes than the empire and provided better protection. This didn’t directly cause the barbarian eruption, but it made many of those overrun quite hostile to being reacquired by the empire. Not the 1% of those days, of course, who owned (and lost) everything— just everyone else.

            2. jessica

              Can’t tell if you meant this half-joking, but you are quite close to the truth.
              There had been a time when the barbarians were no match at all for the Romans. They were organized in units orders of magnitude smaller than the Romans, their populations were low and sparse, and their technology was backward in the extreme. The Roman Empire stopped more or less at the boundary between the Gauls and the Germans because the Germans of those days were not advanced enough to bother conquering. The spoils wouldn’t have covered the expenses.
              Fast forward to the mid-300s A.D./C.E. and the Germans are better organized and have much better technology. During the hundreds of years of being hounded by the Romans, they learned.
              However, “well-informed” Roman minds never fully grasped this. (Neither did later historians grasp the importance of the changes in the barbarians until recently.) Also, for Romans, “barbarian” meant something not too different from the N-word when that was used with the most vicious intent. Remember that watching barbarians get slaughtered was considered high entertainment. This crippled the ability of the well-informed to recognize that things had changed or to deal with it if somewhere hidden in their hearts, they did see the truth.

          1. ambrit

            When Jim Henson was still alive, Sesame Street was probably the funniest program on television.
            Then the CTW got all credentialed and ruined the program.

    1. anon in so cal

      The foxes in the antidote are wonderful!

      Re: Impeachment:

      “….It is not on the basis of any democratic issue that the Democrats have opposed Trump, however. Rather, they speak for powerful sections of the military and intelligence apparatus that have lost confidence in the ability of the Trump administration to carry out the foreign policy agenda of the ruling class.

      The scandal over the Ukraine call has been instigated by the intelligence agencies. It was a CIA agent in the White House who prepared the report that is the basis of the inquiry. It was the decision by a group of Democrats drawn from the military and intelligence agencies that led Pelosi and Schiff, both with longstanding ties to these same agencies, to shift from their previous opposition to impeachment….

      ….Some senior Democrats, the Post reported, “are even arguing that other committees should forego potentially explosive hearings that could distract from the intelligence panel’s work.” There will be “very few hearings, if any,” according to a senior Democratic Party aide, with most of the investigation taking place in “closed-door interviews.”

      ….The principal fear of the Democratic Party is that the conflict within the ruling elite, circumscribed within a narrow framework, will stir up the already volatile social and political situation in the country…..

      ….The warring factions in Washington express in different forms the terminal crisis of American democracy. The cesspool of reaction is the product of unending war, the criminalization of foreign policy and the extreme growth of social inequality. Trump himself is not the cause, but rather a symptom of the disorientation and desperation of the ruling class in the face of a series of geopolitical, economic and social crises for which it has no solution.

      The immediate backdrop for the eruption of the impeachment crisis is a series of geopolitical debacles for US imperialism. The CIA-backed regime-change operation in Syria has failed.”

      1. Carey

        “..The principal fear of the Democratic Party is that the conflict within the ruling elite, circumscribed within a narrow framework, will stir up the already volatile social and political situation in the country..”

        Is that the Democrat Party’s “fear”, or one of their goals? Looking like the latter, to me.

    2. Lee

      I go to Daily Kos on occasion to get my fair share of abuse whenever I post comments that, depending on news of the day, add accelerant to the hair on fire hysteria or harsh the hive mind high.

      1. Clive

        Oh. My. Gosh. I never knew it existed. Or, I’d heard the name, but never looked at it. Blimey, have I led a sheltered life, or what? Is it real, or are y’all joshing with me and it’s all just an Onion-like parody? Actually, I’ve made up my mind, it is a parody. I mean, just going down the posts, there’s — and I’m reading this directly, as I type — “Democrats answer their call to duty, leaving Republicans shell-shocked” right next to “Physicists suggest that our Solar System may host multiple black holes left over from the Big Bang“. How on Earth can any sane individual possibly process that juxtaposition?

        On the preceding page, there’s “Record number of voters have zero interest in having a beer with Trump”. I bet that last one is a little peach.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Dkos in the 2007 era was in a tiff between Obama and Clinton supporters, and without the respective preferred candidate, the place could have been RedState but less polite.

          1. foghorn longhorn

            Right on cue.
            While watching bills/pats, there was a commercial advertising both hill and chelsea on the late night show next week.
            Get out the popcorn folks, it’s on like donkey kong.

          2. Clive

            Now you are trying to poke fun at poor old Clive’s expense. That one simply has to be satire. At least, I’m fairly sure it is!

            Perhaps we should have a semi-regular feature here on Naked Capitalism: Real or Humorous? — Readers Decide!

            In the competition, a blog or other newsey site gets listed and the object of the game is to accurately call whether it is supposed to be taken seriously or is a parody.

            I have to say at this point, no disrespect to my good compadres across the pond, but anything you can do, we can do better — and British sarcasm and snarking is world-beating.

            So, the first contestant I’ll offer is here:


            And now it’s over to you! A genuine serious outlet — or mischievous comedy? Answers below… if anyone wishes.

            1. bassmule

              “What a different world we’d be living in if this legitimate President had been able to assume her rightful office and build on Obama’s legacy.”

              Getting a sniff of Monarchist here.

            2. ChrisPacific

              Wow. I’m going to guess that’s serious, on the grounds that I find it more frightening than funny. I think if there had been a consumer review page for weapons and other paramilitary hardware then it might have tipped the balance to satire. As it is, I expect that’s in the subscriber-only newsletter with the vetted mailing list. Hopefully they do a better job with mailing list security than they do with certificate management.

            3. ambrit

              It’s Unionist and uses “Liberal Elite” a lot. I’m going with genuine because it mirrors (no pun intended, really) the Far Right “news” outlets over here. It fulfills the definition parameters of “camp.” It’s so bad it’s good.
              (No, I did not peek.)

            4. inode_buddha

              Sadly, no — these people at DailyKos and BaloonJuice actually do believe this stuff… read the comments and weep. Bitterly, for the sake of humanity.

            5. Carey

              “..and British sarcasm and snarking is world-beating.”

              You got that right! I like “newsey”, too.

              s/ dumamerican

          3. David Carl Grimes

            I tried watching it but couldn’t last beyond the first ten seconds. How many books have those two written?

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Back in ’09 I read alot of james ‘Ragin Cajun’ Carville while at LSU. He recommended Daily Kos.

          I stopped visiting in 2016 during #Chairgate.

          Now im a Marxist. Thx, DK!

  3. Steve H.

    > Spiders Can Fly Hundreds of Miles Using Electricity The Atlantic.

    They are literally firing lightning bolts out they *ss. Prove me wrong.

    1. ewmayer

      Time to dust off a classic of the form:

      There once was a man from Madras,
      Whose balls were made of pure brass.
      When jangled together,
      They played Stormy Weather,
      And lightning shot out of his ass.

    2. susan the other`

      maybe that’s why spiders are shaped like the magnetic field… and maybe this solves a mystery for me – i have a downstairs bathtub nobody uses except the spiders; there are lots of them, so i put down a sticky-trap and caught about 15 or 20 of them, but here’s the weird thing: I went back down about a month later and the only thing left on the sticky trap was spider feet. Really. I thought some very clever, teflon footed cricket had eaten them all. but now i’m thinking the spiders somehow levitated. i wonder if they can shed their feet at will.

  4. bronco

    saw a link somewhere late last night that the whistleblower was Shawn Henry , we are in the actual twilight zone if so.

    President of crowdstrike and TV hack , if this is true this is going to cement Trump’s second term

    1. Winston Smith

      Really? Well Natasha Bertrand reports that 4chan states that the the whistleblower is a “non-white” official.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      If there even IS an actual “whistleblower.” Sounds to me like this “complaint” was written by a deep state grievance committee. They’ll probably have to draw straws if it ever becomes necessary to put a single face on it, but schiff seems prepared to prevent that ever happening. The mean old Orange Man said something about executing traitors, which triggered schiff’s R2P by conveniently keeping the details of this assault on the Constitution behind closed doors.

      Coincidentally, I just finished reading Sibel Edmonds’ Classified Woman. I’d like to state unequivocally that Edmonds has more balls in her little finger than you could find in all of the “intelligence” community combined. Ditto for Chelsea Manning.

      1. Honest Abe

        Well when first hand knowledge isn’t required all you need is a retirement ready proxy willing to accept the offerings for 17 odd “go fund me” pages by Ms. Ford along with some high powered pro-bono legal team.

  5. Quentin

    Katherine Murphy’s article observing the Australian Prime Ministers’ visit to Washington (i.e. mandatory obeisance ritual of a vassal ruler) could hardly ring more brilliantly. She makes Maureen Dowd seem vulgar.

  6. larry

    Johnson is Worse than Thatcher. Johnson and his pal, Cummings, are prepared to do many more awful things than Thatcher ever thought of. But, perhaps, these are just different times.

    On the judgement of the UK Supreme Court, one should consult David Allen Green’s blog post, “That was the constitutional week that was”. I, for one, heaved an enormous sigh of relief when listening to the president of the court provide the unanimous judgement. That it is limited does not make it any less momentous.

    Did anyone notice Lady Hale’s brooch? From what I understand in what I have read, it was deliberate. Black Widow, anyone?

    1. Samuel Conner

      The resolution of the image on my screen was not good, but I saw only two reasonable possibilities, a pine cone topped with a spray of needles, or a honking big spider.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, I think Bojo is worse than Thatcher. Thatcher was a class warrior for the aspiring lower middle classes, she hated the working classes and upper classes equally. She would have loathed Bojo (although she did have a weakness for glib, slightly posh men). But Thatcher worked within the system – she never dared tamper with the NHS or other jewels of the state’s crown. But she undoubtedly led the way for the takeover of the Tories by the glibertarian car-dealer class. As has been observed before, the older style Tories at least had a certain amount of Toffs with some sense of noblesse oblige and culture to mitigate their worst instincts. They are now pretty much an extinct species, the last fragments having been expelled in the last month.

      Bojo is a much more dangerous character. I think he will literally do anything for power. And he is surrounded by a host of classic radical libertarian types along with disaster capitalists. They have nothing but contempt for all governmental systems and would glory in bringing it all crashing down, and they probably will benefit from it. As has been observed here many times before, the British constitution depends to a large degree on gentlemen agreements – and these are not gentlemen. I suspect that the Supreme Court is ahead of the game in realising that a set of legal norms needs to be established very rapidly, or the system will break down entirely. If the judges don’t step into the gap, then the alternatives are much worse.

      I did wonder about that brooch – apparently she has a thing for large invertebrate brooches. Given the way the judgement was written, its hard not to imagine that she didn’t realise that there would be a public focus on her, and her choice of jewellery. Perhaps choosing what may be a black widow just suggests a rather subtle sense of humour.

      1. xkeyscored

        – they probably will benefit from it
        From The Canary:
        Writing in The Times, [former Chancellor] Mr Hammond – one of 21 Tory MPs to have the whip withdrawn after rebelling over Brexit – said he was voicing concerns shared by the Prime Minister’s sister, Rachel Johnson. “Boris Johnson asserts, ever more boldly, that we will leave the EU on October 31, ‘with or without a deal’,” he wrote. “But as his sister has reminded us, he is backed by speculators who have bet billions on a hard Brexit – and there is only one outcome that works for them: a crash-out no-deal Brexit that sends the currency tumbling and inflation soaring. So they, at least, will be reassured to see no evidence at all that his Government has seriously pursued a deliverable deal; still less that it has been pursuing a deal that could get us out by October 31.”

        1. Summer

          Oh, so they finally, for a moment, took a look behind the distracting rodeo clown and are trying to get to the root of it?

        2. Summer

          But here’s the thing: don’t you think plenty of other oligarchs in the EU wouldn’t mind an island off the continent free of EU banking regulations?

          1. ambrit

            Those oligarchs already have the Channel Islands, the Cayman Islands, and Long John Silver’s ‘Treasure Isle.’

      2. Carey

        Boris Johnson seems potentially worse than Mrs. Thatcher,
        but he and his cohorts haven’t succeeded in destroying
        anything, yet. If his Few can get no-deal through, then..

        Carefully watching from late-stage USA USA.

      1. Barmitt O'Bamney

        If you support Bernie Sanders over Liz Warren, you’re anti-Cherokee! (If no one has said it yet, I’m sure it’s coming soon).

        1. Jeff W

          I dunno—this Emily Tisch Sussman’s dad could be some hedge fund manager hiding billions offshore with a unfortunately named yacht and her mom could be the heir to a $1.1 billion real estate fortune, all of which might address why MSNBC thinks her opinion is worth listening to, but none of that goes to the patently idiotic substance of her comment: obviously, one can prefer Sanders over Warren on the basis of his policies and his longstanding commitment to them.

          The underlying message here doesn’t have to do with the sexism of Sanders supporters, it has to do with framing Warren as the equivalent of Sanders—or, really, saying that there’s no real reason (other than, say, sexism) to prefer Sanders over Warren. The press hasn’t helped matters with stories answering the question “Well, just how different are they?” the implicit frame being, well, not very.

          Jimmy Dore—and, to some extent, the left press—is dropping the ball here. Sure, it’s easy to make the case that Tisch Sussman, for a myriad of reasons, is going to make some ludicrous claim against Sanders or his supporters, but it’s better to make the case, especially given her rising poll numbers, as to why, quite clearly, Warren is nowhere close to Sanders.

    1. Roy G

      Yawn.. already heard that hectoring back in 2015. Sure seems like the Dem Establishment is out of new ideas and has to keep on flogging the same shopworn strategery.

  7. Steve H.

    > Snowden in the Labyrinth NYRB

    A really good set of links today, and this one in particular fulfilling the critical function, examination beyond summation.

    A through-line of an inversion of subject and object. “Or, in another of Snowden’s koans, “Your possessions would possess you.”” Not just the fridge, treating the owner as an object of inquiry, sending data upline to its true masters. But that Snowden became “a ghost in his own tale” at the point he went to Greenwald. That, in some way, his own agency ended.

    For Snowden, the change from internet anonymity to “Deletion has never existed” is central to his shift. That seems like an understanding that the mechanism for change into what Kentikelenis and Babb describe as “critics of change are deceived into coalescing to something they oppose” was baked in from the beginning. “…the fundamental shifts envisaged by the Baker Plan started materializing within a year of its announcement. Because this change was clandestine, it preserved the fund’s legitimacy as a neutral, technocratic organization, without generating either popular protests in high-income countries or controversies in the international press.”

    To this, Cassandra’s Legacy notes “So, technological progress is often little more than a trick to pay the salary of scientists. But it is also true that, sometimes, it does change the world. It is just that it doesn’t work the way people expect it to.” And: “At Blockbuster, they couldn’t have missed that their technology was obsolete but they refused to believe that the change could be so rapid. And they were wiped out of the market.” It sure looks like the Houthi attacks have altered the world in a way long envisioned by military 5G theorists. But they thought that aggressors indistinguishable from the pack were the end-game; only some, like Robb, could see that distributed machinery could turn the ROI of technological dominance to negative rates.

    “The majority of my students find little nourishment in the placid assumptions underlying contemporary realism. They crave acknowledgment, not that the world has changed, or is changing, but that the world is change.”

    1. Wukchumni

      And then, what if killer drones become so cheap that everyone can afford them? It is a concept that goes under the name of “slaughterbots,” minimalistic drones that have only one purpose: identifying a victim and killing him or her. Which is, after all, the same job that guns do (drones don’t kill people, people kill people, using drones). So, will we see killer drones becoming as diffuse as guns among suburbanites in the US? Maybe an amendment to the US constitution involving the right to bear drones? Who knows?

      Here we are worried about unstable humans with a maximum of 2 guns in their shaky hands, when the real terror is upstairs on a very stable shooting platform, with a calm human @ the controls.

      1. John k

        Doesn’t have to identify victim. Imagine drone released from an apt window near Times Square at midnight dec 31.
        What we need to make us safe are more ME wars.

      2. Carey

        Seems like a good time to again mention Shirley Jackson’s short story ‘The Lottery’.
        We’re there, boys and girls!

        1. JBird4049

          That’s some darkness there. After reading it, I remember hearing of one reader writing that after reading it while in the tub, he felt like just slipping under the water and just ending it all.

          I guess one could think of the many created economic dead zones in the United States as the winners of a lottery. The American Lottery. “Hey, we need some more prosperity. What community gets to die next?”

          1. The Rev Kev

            When you think about it, the “Hunger Games” had a similar premise – a sacrificial pawn. If the whole idea had the intention of ensuring a good harvest in that book, it may have been better to adopt a medieval practice where a couple would be selected to fornicate in the fields to encourage the fertility of the farm lands. Just sayin’.

      3. JTMcPhee

        Slaughterbots are already a thing, this YouTube is fiction, but the devices are not:

        Everything that is sick and wrong about AI coupled to drone technology and the destructive aims “customers” is right front and center in this WaPo article:

        As to biological terrors: What happens as the distributed knowledge of the human genome spreads, and as CRSP-R consoles become as ubiquitous as Xboxes? For some reason, some smart people are worried about putting the sharp scissors of CRISPR gene editing tools into infantile or inimical hands:

        Already we have “Scientists” who decided on their own that it would be fun and challenging to resurrect the 1917 influenza plague virus. And did it. Others doing all kinds of fun things with all the essentially unregulated genetic manipulation techniques. A few years ago, we mopes could read about Secret Service people trying to vacuum up all the dropped hairs and skin cells of High Value Targets so Enemy Agents could not collect DNA samples of the President and other high functionaries, to protect against bacterial or viral or prion bioweapons specifically targeted to kill just the Very Important Person.

        You add that to a CIA that fielded people who tried to assassinate Castro with bioweapons, or at least poison or infect him to make his beard fall out an render him a laughingstock, and a US government that has conducted biological and chemical warfare attacks on Americans, and excused from trial as war criminals and brought to the US and then employed Japanese and Nazi scientists who conducted germ warfare and other abominations in WW II.

        And at the small end of the scale, we got young anomic people who develop their hacking skills and damage those computer nets we all are so dependent on, but other mostly young folks who drop cinder blocks from freeway overpasses onto the cars zipping by, or put logs on railroad tracks, little deadly stunts like that, for a thrill. Interesting behaviors we humans are so capable of, no? And vulnerable to?

        With facial recognition software and the cheap availability of mini-drones with half-hour or more flight times and the well-demonstrated ability to operate autonomously and in concert as a swarm, we got all kinds of vulnerability being injected into the mainstream. And the military hegemonists, and a few billionaires have fielded these and other kinds of horrors, and pursue control of weather and climate,, and so much else, all as part of “full spectrum dominance.” The interesting thing about a lot of these weapons is that there is no “calm human @ the controls.”

        No wonder Elon Musk wants to go to Mars…

        1. Oregoncharles

          ” For some reason, some smart people are worried about putting the sharp scissors of CRISPR gene editing tools into infantile or inimical hands:”

          Again, Frank Herbert’s “The White Plague.” 40 years ago? 50?

  8. Summer

    RE: Arindrajit Dube, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. From the abstract: “There is robust evidence that higher minimum wages increase family incomes at the bottom of the distribution.” Who knew?

    “Who knew?” is some very diplomatic sarcasm.
    I’d have to file these studies under “Jerk Around”. Designed to produce more studies, thus sloving zero problems and kicking the can down the road. The idea is to continue the churn uninterrupted while the issue is “studied.”
    It’s one of the “9 circles of hell of neoliberalism and technocracy.”

  9. xkeyscored

    Saudi Arabia accepts cease fire in Yemen Sic – Semper Tyrannis
    Seems a bit out of date.
    First, the Saudis offered a partial ceasefire in four provinces, which the Houthi either haven’t accepted or are divided about, it’s hard to figure out which. He [Member of the Supreme Political Committe, Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi ] explained the leaks in some US newspapers about an agreement with Saudi Arabia to stop the bombing of four areas remain leaks, no official announcement is behind them. He stressed that “Yemen will only accept a comprehensive stop of the aggression and the complete lifting of siege.”
    Second, and leading me to think they haven’t accepted a ceasefire, the Houthis are claiming a major victory involving thousands of Saudi/coalition prisoners – Armed Forces spokesman, Brigadier-General Yahya Sere’e, said on Saturday that at 3 pm on Tuesday there will be a very important press conference in which he will reveal the details of the Victory from Allah military operation. He confirmed that the conference will contain scenes of thousands of prisoners and dead soldiers, including Saudis, in addition to scenes to hundreds of seized armored vehicles and other important details.
    If this turns out to be true, how will it be spun as all being Iran this time?

    1. The Rev Kev

      That Houthi victory sounds very significant.They are claiming that they have taken out three brigades which is quite a remarkable achievement and will leave a big hole in the Coalition’s table of organization. By the sounds of it, most of that force were mercenaries from Yemen and other nationalities with Saudi officers who have now been captured. The Houthies say that they are moving the prisoners for their own protection – against the Saudis. It was only a few weeks ago that the Coalition bombed a prison and killed scores of their own prisoners remember. There is a film clip on the following page which shows a helluva large convoy that has now been captured by the Houthi and all it’s equipment-

      For some reason I keep on thinking of Colonel Hicks and the 1883 Battle of Shaykan-

      1. xkeyscored

        Thanks, though it took me ages to find the link to the film clip in that sea of twitterlinks. Reminds me of the 1988 movie The Beast of War, in which a Soviet tank meets its match in Afghanistan.
        If this is generally true, it’s more than a hole in the coalition’s table of organization. It’s their morale, their military credibility, and maybe their beloved Mohammed bone Sawman (even the whole royal gang) down the drain.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Looks like the Houthi had plenty of broken ground to take shelter behind and which overlooked that road. Perfect cover. The loss of such a large force might mean that the Coalition has even less troops to guard the Saudi-Yemen border from infiltration. If the Houthi start emailing MbS aerial images of his palace, then that might encourage him to finish the war by declaring victory and leaving.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I’ve always believed the war served MBS to keep less loyal elements away from Riyadh and more importantly himself, given both the obvious anachronism of the Plantation and the divide within the clan, those who aren’t as keen on the big spending without being out and out religious kooks (relatively speaking). I’m not sure he wants to have a public defeat and the play soldiers come home.

            Maybe the U.S. soldiers being deployed to the Plantation aren’t there to defend against Iran (after all, the air defense doesn’t work) but against a storming of the palace.

            1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

              I once worked with a veteran of the 1960’s crisis in Yemen who was a para as a part of a company that were sent all over the place as a swift reaction force as the sunset set on the British empire. His opinion on Yemen was that it was hell on earth & like Afghanistan in the sense of don’t even go there. It also reminded him of ” The Life of Brian ” as there were 2 rival insurgent groups who were likely only defeated as they killed many more of each other than the Brits did.

              He still had occasional nightmares about an incident that happened to him there which I won’t recount here.

            2. WobblyTelomeres

              I think that you are giving a lot of people a lot more credit (for coherent, rational, intelligent, forward-looking, thought) than they have ever displayed.

            3. xkeyscored

              – Maybe the U.S. soldiers … aren’t there to defend against Iran … but against a storming of the palace.
              We’ll see how that pans out. 200 soldiers outnumbered 100,000 to 1, and nobody wants them there. Even the royals only pay them to defend them and go away ASAP. And of course the oil facilities could be attacked again …

              1. xkeyscored

                Maybe they’re there to prepare the evacuation of the royal gang and their loot to a friendly country – UK? Ukraine? The Chagos Islands (basic but not too far from home)?

                1. NotTimothyGeithner

                  The threat to MBS would be closer to a few dozen or few hundred called out to “defend the royal palace” from insurgents while safer Sauds from the Fahd side of the family grab key facilities. I think it would be tolerable to the West. The more openly egregious Saudis gallivanting about the globe aren’t helping with PR for Western politicians. If it gets to a situation of 100,000, the game is up. There are only 5,000 Saudi male clan members who are invested in the immediate survival of the regime who are of fighting age. The rest are too young, too old, or would try to bug out first.

              2. Massinissa

                200 soldiers would be all it would take to hold off the mob while a helicopter spirits MBS to who-knows-where.

                1. xkeyscored

                  The more I think about it, the less I can see any other reason for them being there. Except of course for show.

      2. Craig H.

        In Stephen Dorril’s MI6

        he has a good bit on Yemen;

        1. they know how to fight;
        2. he said something like one MI5 agent was killed on duty since 1945; it was in Yemen;
        3. several paragraphs on parading decapitated heads on pikes.

        Don’t remember if the MI5 casualty got paraded but several British soldiers did.

        I wonder if the participants today are related to the participants back in the ’60’s.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Like the Afghans, they’ve been fighting on and off for decades – each other and foreigners. You learn a lot doing that. Experienced warriors will, one on one, beat inexperienced ones every time.

          Plus – this is something that was overlooked by many – the Houthi’s included much of the original army – this means a lot of well trained officers and engineers. The mix of a determined and motivated tribal base with local knowledge with ex professional soldiers is always going to be very formidable.

          1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            I just read through the wiki page on Yemen & it has had basically constant warfare & a few conquerors all of whom were thrown out & during the Ottoman period the post of governor was seen as the very worst possible posting.

            Ironically the main Shi’a group of the Zaydi from the Highlands have much more in common in their reading of the Koran with the Sunni, than they do to the Iranian Shi’a version.

            Strangely enough I was there twice very briefly about the time of the Aden emergency, possibly for re-fueling while flying both ways between Nairobi & the UK for 16 hours in a Douglass Dakota. Sadly I cannot remember any of it as I would have only been 6 years old on the return journey.

            1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

              Trivia – Yemen was once the only source of coffee, of which seeds were stolen by Westerners & taken to the Americas.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                High altitude Yemeni goat herders noticed that their goats got frisky after browsing on a certain bush.

                I thank them for that discovery every morning.

            2. xkeyscored

              The Wiki page doesn’t have much to say about the Queens of Yemen, two of whom, Asma and Arwa, seem to have managed to avoid constant warfare and instead successfully promoted Yemeni culture, trade and prosperity.
              (The third queen was the Queen of Sheba, who may or may not have been Yemeni.)

      3. PlutoniumKun

        It is quite remarkable – even MoA thought the Houthi were doomed last year as the noose closed in. I wonder what changed so quickly on the ground. I assume it was the UAE withdrawal, but nobody has really explained this well, unless the UAE suddenly realised that a drone in the middle of Dubai or Abu Dhabi airport would cripple their economy instantaneously. Perhaps the Houthi gave them a demonstration which we haven’t heard much about. A drone in one of the Emirs gardens perhaps.

        If things are reversing fast, then the Saudi army will collapse quickly – no mercenary has any interest in ending up dead or in prison if he has no chance of loot. And the Saudi footsoldiers, such as they exist, are poor quality. The officers will decide that their London homes will be lovely for a family Christmas.

        1. Plenue

          I was going to say basically the same thing about mercenaries. As far as I can tell the Saudi military mostly just bombs things from the air. The bulk of the ground fighting is done by hired guns. If a thousand of them just got butchered all at once, it’s going to be that much harder to recruit more. Mercs will risk death for pay, but they aren’t going to march into certain death for any amount of money.

      4. The Rev Kev

        Good links at Sic Semper Tyrannis on this. Looks like the Saudi officers did a runner so their troops surrendered. The Houthis are already having to protect their prisoners from Saudi airstrikes-

        And here is a 24:45 min film on this battle-

        This battle may end up one for the history books for its strategic significance.

        1. xkeyscored

          This battle may end up one for the history books for its strategic significance.
          I’m damned certain it will, along with last week’s hit on the oil facilities.
          The Tet Offensive in Vietnam fifty years ago made the history books, and Indochina didn’t have masses of oil and money and a pivotal role in the world’s economy. Just some inane babble about dominoes.
          Looks to me like the end for MbS, and probably for the House of Saud, with profound consequences for the region and the US and its few remaining allies.
          King’s (ex?)-bodyguard dead in shootout, Jeddah high speed rail station burning, Saudi king’s palace in Jeddah and royal court in Riyadh on lockdown, Saudi armed farces running scared and their mercenaries probably losing any will to fight, …
          I expect some dramatic developments in the next few hours and days.

      5. Conrad

        I hadn’t heard if the Battle of Shaykan. I was amazed to see one if the war correspondents who did there, Frank Vizetelly was the brother of Henry Vizetelly, Emile Zola’s English translator, who was fined and imprisoned for obscene libel for publishing some of Zola’s novels.

        Anyone interested in a thorough portrait of a decaying liberal empire should read Zola’s Rougon Macquart novels. They examine the seedy side of the Second Empire from top to bottom, and from start to finish. The corruption, decadence and greed Zola so meticulously describes are all to familiar to present day readers. Henry’s translations are a little archaic but perfectly readable. It was kind of surprising to find his brother died in the Sudan but such is synchronicity I guess.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      how will it be spun as all being Iran this time?

      Remember official enemies of right wing regimes (the U.S. has been one since 1981, just American style) face enemies who are simultaneously everywhere, responsible for rain on wedding days and ready to fold at the merest whisper of an American Warrior!, who will definitely wind up not receiving medical care but will get a small discount if he had disposable income.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Slowly people may figure out that the U.S. has one abiding and perennial enemy: peace.

        Ever-shifting casts of characters and ideologies and rationales are required to keep it from ever breaking out. The rest is just manufacturing consent…and in recent years they seem to be skipping even that bit.

    3. ambrit

      This battle seems to have occurred on the Saudi Arabia / Yemen border. The area has been claimed by the Yemenis as theirs in the past. I can see Yemen annexing this region from Saudi Arabia. The northern border of Yemen is not too far from Mecca. A Yemeni advance in that direction would seriously upset the Saudi Royals position and status.

      1. Larry Taylor

        > The northern border of Yemen is not too far from Mecca.
        > A Yemeni advance in that direction …

        Erm, actually it’s something like 500 miles, along a mountain range pretty much all the way. Or are you perhaps thinking of a seaborne assault by the Houthi marines?

        1. ambrit

          Well, the Houthi are a mountain people. Still, you have pointed out an obstacle to the plan.
          Since the House of Saud contracts out it’s fighting in Yemen to, supposedly, Africans, why can’t the Houthi contract out the seaborne assault to Somali Pirates? /s

  10. T

    “The bureau did not accuse her of breaking the law, but she blamed the FBI’s unusual public handling of the matter as a major factor in her loss in the 2016 election.” All these years later, and we still have the “emails” gloss.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        When you go to Krispy Kreme they put a bunch of glossy goo on the top of the donut to distract you from the dry, starchy, boring, and otherwise inedible mass beneath

    1. flora

      From the article:

      But what is the intent of the CIA in organizing the clearly abnormal whistleblower complaint?

      Here we have to look at the second request Trump made to Zelensky. He wants to know more about Russiagate. During that operation, which was directed by Obama’s spy chief John Brennan, the ‘former’ MI6 agent Christopher Steele created a fake dossier of alleged collusion between Trump and the Kremlin. The dossier was used to justify FBI spying on the Trump campaign. It is quite possible that some of Steele’s ‘Russian’ sources were actually from the Ukraine.

      And an interesting question from another site:

      “Does it bother anyone else that our elected officials live in a panopticon run by our intelligence agencies?”

    2. Portlander

      The MOA article contained this tidbit: that the form for whistleblowers to use was changed on August 19, just in time to enable this complaint to be treated as legitimate (prior form required First Hand observations only). What’s up with that?

  11. Summer

    RE: “The Making of Neoliberal Globalization: Norm Substitution and the Politics of Clandestine Institutional Change (PDF) Alexander E. Kentikelenis, Sarah Babb American Journal of Sociology…”

    What if all the critics of the post-WWII order, as it was being created, weren’t all thrown in the same bag to be discarded? In other words, I’ll bet there were people who raised concerns that exactly what has happened could happen with the creators and structure of those institutions.

  12. das monde

    “…we are still in opening phase of the chess game, where each player is deploying known, pre-planned gambits” (On “Trump Team Bets Impeachment Will Backfire on Democrats” WSJ):

    Trump appears to be good in dirty chess, like Yu Yangyi (hypothetically) in a must-win game: give up 2 pawns by move 10, and then rely on your prior analysis and predictable failings (like timidity for “safety”) from the opponent: him missing a killer move or two, and underestimating disparity in activity.

    1. Geo

      I love the idea of Dems playing chess with Trump. Pelosi sets out the pieces on the board while Schiff plans the attack strategy, cautiously he moves the first piece and smiles knowingly back at Pelosi as if to say, “we got him this time.” Donald walks up to the table, looks at all the pieces, then pushes the table over and dumps out his soda on the scattering pieces rolling around the floor by Schiff’s feet soaking his loafers in sticky corn syrup. Then Trump goes back to his room to watch Hannity leaving Pelosi and her team to pick up the pieces and reset the table and for another round of chess with the president tomorrow.

      1. RWood

        WWWF rules!

        Many boards in play and many messages!

        Scalia, Rehnquist, Powell communing with adepts in the Nationalist Party.

        Dems trust AI.

      2. urblintz

        I have no problem with the above characterization of Trump as a dangerous buffoon so the following is not corrective, rather additive… Vladimir Putin apparently once said that Obama approach to diplomacy was like a rooster playing chess… thathe struts around knocking the pieces everywhere, then [family blog]…its on the board, flies away and calls it victory.

        1. Carey

          Thanks for this comment. Mister Pompeo has done
          similarly of late, saying it’s important that USA USA conduct its foreign policy “with a swagger”.

          how much longer

          1. xkeyscored

            Doesn’t have much else left to conduct its foreign policy with. And its swagger is that of a failed bully with a bloodied nose pretending to be unconcerned about no longer being taken seriously.

    1. quiet guy

      All they have to do is leave a message identifying themselves. Lots of people would be happy to take part in a survey.

      Apple’s new feature may magnify this problem a bit, but most people already refuse to answer the phone from identified contacts. If the caller is not in your contact list then let it go to voice mail. If they don’t leave a message it wasn’t important.

  13. WheresOurTeddy

    RE: MSNBC pundit says if you support Bernie Sanders over Elizabeth Warren it’s “showing your sexism.”

    And if you support Warren over Sanders, you’re an anti-semitic ageist misandrist top-down class criminal who deserves a 1789 ending in the public square.


  14. The Rev Kev

    “Snowden in the Labyrinth”

    I find XKEYSCORE such a boring name for a program that can get anybody at a computer a complete view of your whole life. They should have been more imaginative and named it the “Danno”. Back in the 60s there was a show called “Hawaii Five-O”. Detctive Captain Steve McGarrett would turn to his assistant “Danno” Williams and say: “Get me the book on him” meaning get me all the information on this guy’s life. Well now it can be done in a few key presses so at the very least the name should be a verb on the part of our spooks as in “Danno him!”

    1. Jamie

      Except that the phrase in the show was “Book him, Danno.” Which meant not to get information on him, but rather, to process him for arrest and criminal charge, as in “Book him, Danno. Murder One.” when it was a first degree murder case. But I agree with you that XKEYSCORE is a bit underwhelming for such an Orwellian nightmare of a program.

    2. Pavel

      More famously I think, McGarrett would bark out “Book him, Danno” at the end of the episode. Not sure they repeated that tradition in the recent remake.

    3. pricklyone

      And I think it was the ’70s decade, as well.
      Book ’em Danno is the phrase, meaning charge them with a crime…

    1. xkeyscored

      Paywalled, but this appears to be much the same story.

      Boeing’s (NYSE:BA) expected fix for the grounded 737 MAX will make its flight control system more like an earlier version of the same system used on a military tanker jet, WSJ reports.
      Boeing engineers who created the MCAS system for the military plane more than a decade ago designed the system to rely on inputs from multiple sensors and with limited power to move the tanker’s nose, which was intended as a deliberate check against the system acting erroneously or causing a pilot to lose control.
      According to the report, the MAX’s version of MCAS relied on input from just one of the plane’s two sensors that measure the angle of the plane’s nose, which also proved tougher for pilots to override.
      Now, Boeing’s expected fix for the 737 MAX reportedly will make its MCAS more like the one used in the tanker.

      I read somewhere that the Max only used one sensor because using two would have flagged the MCAS as a critical system, instead of a minor update, requiring a lengthier certification process – despite knowing how unreliable these angle of attack sensors can be. But proving intent isn’t always easy.

      1. bstamerjon

        I sought a least common denominator from several sources for what changed with the Max.
        The 737 NG iteration of MCAS had the functions of automated trim control powered by the autopilot breaker and powered manual trim control from another.
        737 max powered both the MCAS function and the powered manual trim control from the same breaker, thereby necessitating hand powered trim control (trim wheel) operation if (when) MCAS failed. Which has issues at high speeds, necessitating the “roller coaster” manuever, which seems problematic at low altitudes.

        Boeing based their design not on what can go wrong but on what can we do to fool the regulators so we don’t have to do expensive recertification and retraining.

        1. xkeyscored

          – the “roller coaster” manuever, which seems problematic at low altitudes
          I watched a Youtube video of two experienced pilots doing it in a simulator, after putting their ‘plane’ in the same situation as the two crashed Maxes.
          They pulled it off, but lost 7000 feet. The Indonesian one never made it to 5000. (Not sure I remember the numbers correctly, but that was the idea.) Problematic to put it mildly.

  15. Carolinian

    Re The New Yorker–a sampler from Steve Coll’s ode to “integrity.”

    Ukraine is enmeshed in a low-grade but persistent war with Russia, which began in February, 2014, after a popular revolution in Kiev that ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, a corrupt ally of Moscow. He fled to Russia, and Vladimir Putin ordered Russian forces to invade Ukraine. They seized Crimea, which Russia then annexed. Putin’s motive was the reassertion of Russian power; the United States and Europe, stunned by his audacity, imposed sanctions and tried to shore up the post-revolutionary government in Kiev. In search of accountability, the new Ukrainian regime opened corruption investigations into the previous political order.

    For sure he has the “narrative” down pat and claims any deviations are mere conspiracy theories. If this article is any guide then it’s clear that we are moving from a framework of constructed fiction to a full bore drive to restore “normalcy” by any means possible including impeachment. Since the ends will justify the moral means then mere facts may not matter.

    Coll is former head of the Google connected New America Foundation and his successor, Anne Marie Slaughter, is a Hillary protege and a big booster of the Libya intervention and R2P. One has to suspect that all this has less to do with Trump’s vulgarity and probable bigotry than his apostasy on the imperial project. But whatever it’s about it’s probably not about “integrity.”

    1. xkeyscored

      Maybe it’s all about the integrity of the US Empire.
      From the OED:
      integrity 1 The condition of having no part or element taken away or wanting; undivided or unbroken state; material wholeness, completeness, entirety. 1868 G. Duff Pol. Surv. 44 To work for the integrity of the Ottoman Empire, and at the same time to promote its dismemberment, is to stultify one’s-self.
      It does list a meaning 3, but note the Obs.!
      3 In moral sense. †a.3.a Unimpaired moral state; freedom from moral corruption; innocence, sinlessness. Obs.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      He managed to skip the “audacity” of the Crimeans, who are majority ethnic Russians, in taking a democratic vote to rejoin Russia, largely due to the persecution to which they were subjected by the Kiev regime the u.s. selected for them.

      But gotta admit, the “narrative” is far more persuasive with that part left out.

      1. Jaded

        Ah, yes, the democratic vote offering only the choice between succeeding from Ukraine and being annexed by Russia. Literally. And which even then suffered a lack of credible outside observers and had non-trivial reports of irregularities and malfeasance.

        But gotta admit, the “narrative” is far more persuasive with that part left out.

        The enemy of your enemy is very frequently also your enemy, particularly when they’re both state actors. The ruling classes around the world have more in common with each other than with their subjects, even when they’re jockeying amongst themselves for power.

        1. Carolinian

          The March 16 referendum’s available choices did not include keeping the status quo of Crimea and Sevastopol as they were at the moment the referendum was held. The 1992 constitution accords greater powers to the Crimean parliament including full sovereign powers to establish relations with other states; therefore, many Western and Ukrainian commentators argued that both provided referendum choices would result in de facto separation from Ukraine.

          So your contention is that given the choice Crimea would have elected to stay with Ukraine (the omitted status quo rather than full independence option)? But isn’t

          full sovereign powers to establish relations with other states

          saying that they could rejoin Ukraine if so desired. I believe this nitpicky argument is just playing with words. As for the supposed illegitimacy of the 80 percent turnout and 96 percent vote–evidence?

          1. Jaded

            You’re currently arguing that Brexit isn’t Brexit because the UK could choose to rejoin the EU after leaving it, yet you have the chutzpah to talk about “nitpicky argument[s] … playing with words”?

            Criticisms of the Crimean referendum under Russian paramilitary occupation is trivial to find. I’d suggest you try going slightly further afield than Wikipedia, but since you obviously haven’t even read all of the article you linked, you should probably start there in the “observers” and “allegations of fraud” sections.

            Russia is at best an authoritarian oligarchy. Their opposition to western capitalist oligarchs is not benevolant. They’re not trying to help anyone but themselves, and blindly parroting their propaganda simply because you dislike its targets is irresponsible.

            1. Carolinian

              You’re currently arguing that Brexit isn’t Brexit because the UK could choose to rejoin the EU after leaving it, yet you have the chutzpah to talk about “nitpicky argument[s] … playing with words”?

              Haven’t a clue what you are talking about. I never comment on Brexit.

              And you are the one making the argument. Please provide your own evidence since it’s such a trivial task. Plus, yes, Wikipedia and Jimmy Wales have a well known neolib bias. Indeed they seem to agree with you. I’m merely offering them up as a usually reliable source for facts and figures.

              Finally you seem to be new here and unaware that NC covered the Ukrainian coup (even the NYT eventually admitted it was a coup) at length and so the discussions which take place do not have to depend on lazy moral judgments about who is “benevolent” and who isn’t. What happens in that part of the world is really none of our business, and if we had followed that path then Crimea would, somewhat ironically, still be part of Ukraine.

            2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I don’t think anyone on this site is under the misapprehension that Putin is a saint. Shall we contrast however how he operates to influence the political situation in a neighboring country with America’s methods in that regard? If you wish to do so, here are a few country names to research: Iran; Honduras; Iraq; Vietnam; Afghanistan; Egypt; Syria; Cuba; Libya; Venezuela; Turkey. Please report back with your findings.

              I think you will find that the transition in Crimea, both in method and in outcome, compares quite favorably.

            3. Katniss Everdeen

              Their opposition to western capitalist oligarchs is not benevolant.[sic]

              Benevolent???? WTF????

              “Western capitalist oligarchs,” welcomed by a perpetually inebriated yeltsin and aided and abetted by (mercifully disgraced) oligarch-in-training bill clinton decimated Russian society in the 90’s. l couldn’t swear to it, but I think the term “deaths of despair” was coined as a result.

              Putin owes his position to his cleaning out the putrid rat’s nest that “western capitalist oligarchs” set to festering.

              As for an “authoritarian oligarchy,” check your own backyard, assuming you are american, before you start calling the kettle black.

            4. Yves Smith

              Lordie. As if the US isn’t trying to help only themselves? That is what countries are supposed to do, or did you miss that part in civics, that nation-states in theory are intended to operate for the benefit of their citizens and the abuse is serving only a subset of them? Since when are nations charities?

              And your “Russian paramilitary occupation” is Making Shit Up, which is against our written site Policies. Russia already had a base in Crimea and there’s no evidence that the troops stationed there did anything untoward, let alone threatening.

      2. Carolinian

        The dude is “dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.” The Columbia Journalism Review has some sort of hookup with the NYT and frequently defends them. FAIR is much better.

        At any rate the article is a missive from deep in the heart of the establishment.

  16. Krytstyn Walentka

    RE: “5G wireless technology comes with big promises, but city of Portland has big concerns”

    I do not know if the Feds obsession about 5G is from Big Telecom money or a creepier scenario, like surveillance or behavior control, or a mixture of both, but it sure is odd.

    Also, Dr. Martin Pall, (Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences at Washington State University) who has collated studies that show how EMFs may have a non thermal health effects on human biology, lives in Portland and is a staunch ant-EMF advocate.

    I suggest anyone who is interested in this look at his presentations on YouTube. It was because of his work I was able to find ways to mitigate my sensitivity to EMFs. He also presents to city halls a lot speaking against 5G roll out before there is any testing.

    It would strike me that after the Vaping deaths local governments would be more keen to practice caution first, but that’s what money does I guess.

    1. Carolinian

      As I mentioned here yesterday, even my small town has an anti-5g movement afoot. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the health concerns which would be most relevant locally.

      Critics of 5G say that these millimeter wave frequencies used by 5G have not been extensively tested on the general public; most experts believe that more scientific research is needed,even as millimeter wave technology has been used in technology such as radar for many decades.United States Senator Richard Blumenthal in 2018 said “I know of no reliable studies — classified or otherwise that have been done about 5G technology. There may have been studies by the military but so far as I know they failed to meet the specifications that are required in terms of the numbers of animals or other ways of measuring that would be required.”

      Of course 5g is different from radar as there would be transmitters “every few hundred meters” in coverage areas.

  17. petal

    Lord Dartmouth visits his namesake college in Hanover to talk Brexit
    “Legge, a champion of withdrawing from the trade block, marshaled data during Tuesday’s lecture in Filene Auditorium that he said illustrated how membership in the 28-nation European Parliament forfeits the UK’s economic sovereignty and suborns it to lesser economic powers.

    “It’s become more and more of a state,” Legge said of the 751-seat body based in Brussels. “It has a flag, a supreme court, an anthem, and it would even like to have an army. That is a very different form of common market that the people voted for.”

    “We give away very significant power to the EU and the commissioners,” Legge told the audience, relating that the UK has “less autonomy” in relation to Brussels than “the state of New Hampshire has to the federal government in the United States.””

    1. Bugs Bunny

      It’s all true.

      You could even remove the word “economic” and it would remain true.

      Sovereignty has been effectively ceded. Member States are various brand names and their governments need to “compete” and “reform” (rince and repeat)

    2. Oregoncharles

      One difference is that it is allowed to secede. Apparently Lord Dartmouth is supporting that.

      And Britain also retains its own currency. The Euro was specifically, intentionally designed to rule out MMT.

      1. Yves Smith

        I need to contest your last comment. It is the policies of the Eurozone that rule out MMT. There is nada in the structure of the Euro that would prevent net fiscal spending at the Eurozone level. Yanis Varoufakis and Jamie Galbraith, in their Modest Proposal, described one way to achieve that end but Germany nixed the idea.

  18. pricklyone

    Change “Vaping deaths” to “Black-market Drug Deaths”, and that sentence might have more validity.
    I could call them marijuana deaths and tar all MJ users with the same brush, as vapers have been, but that would be wrong…correct?

  19. DJG

    Guess who was secretary of state when the U S of A was mindlessly, needless, maliciously undermining the government of Brazil.

    What about her e-mails? I’m detecting more than yoga.

    The idea that the US was involved in undermining what turned out to be a moderately reformist government by the Worker’s Party is even more repulsive than the usual business as usual. But Brazil is a black hole for information in the USA. No one in the US knows much about Brazil, and no one cares.

    The story posted is truly only a stub. Any hint of U.S. involvement is one more scandal. Heck, imagine the telephone calls…

    1. Science Officer Smirnoff

      No one in the US knows much about Brazil, and no one cares.

      Americans in and out of the country, Chomsky and Greenwald, have soaked up a lot of Brazilian publicity, eh?

      (Find The Intercept )

  20. Tom Stone

    I had my first encounter with full blown Trump Derangement Syndrome the other day and it left me shaken.
    I have spent the last 15 months or so dealing with health issues and haven’t been by my favorite purveyor of caffeine in some months.
    It was nice to have the time to enjoy a well prepared Yerba Mate’ and I was standing near a small group of people with whom I am somewhat acquainted, listening to their conversation.
    These are college educated homeowners who self identify as Liberals or Leftists and they were discussing Impeachment.
    They all explicitly agreed that if Impeachment stalled that a Military Coup would be the justified and one of them said that the Military should act now ( I wonder how well they would have done in Pinochet’s Chile?).
    They were convinced that the Republican Party had been taken over by Russia with the connivance of the National Rifle Association and that the only reason HRC had been denied the Presidency was Russian interference in the 2016 election, after all she won the popular vote.
    I casually wandered off and finished my drink, these people were so full of fear and rage that I had no inclination at all to engage with them verbally or otherwise.

    We are more than a year away from the Election and it’s just going to get worse.
    The MSM’s efforts to promote this kind of hysteria is reckless in the extreme, it’s about as safe as playing catch with a stick of sweating dynamite.

    1. flora

      I’ve seen the same. I wonder how many have thought through and believe what they say; I wonder how many are rationally skeptical of the MSM stories but agree with the mob as a virtue signal, to avoid being attacked by the mob’s near witch hunt hysteria toward anyone who questions the official MSM stories.

      I know several people including college grad liberals who are rationally skeptical of the MSM stories, but won’t say so openly in “true-believer” company for fear of the hysterical attack rational questioning too often sets off. They’ve been on the receiving end of true-believer bullying meltdowns before. So they nod, smile, and move away.

      1. flora

        adding: not sure the mob thinks, maybe it only feels, and all the extreme talk gives it a short-term emotional high which is enjoyable… until it wears off. ….

      2. rowlf

        My observation is that many do not want to think it through themselves. What happens if we are the bad guys? You can see the fear in their eyes when you suggest a version of the world that is different than what they want to believe. They sense there is a problem but there are no comfortable answers. The pieces of the picture are not fitting together.

        I often interact with technical people from Europe and have to caution them on our political atmosphere in the US. When I am overseas politics is a pleasant educational discussion instead of the stateside “Slaughter the heretics!” binary nonsense. The sports style of political coverage in the US totally puzzles them.

        1. Carey

          Thank for this comment. My impression is that there could hardly be a less informed and politically astute professional class than USA USA’s.

        2. flora

          Now that you mention the sports style political coverage in the US; a lot of the over-the-top political comments I hear sound like something a sports team’s most rabid fans say about the rival team, especially if the game is for the national championship.

        3. xkeyscored

          Equally, the military style of US sports is something seldom seen elsewhere. Dress them in black and the NFL’d look like riot cops on the rampage, complete with tactical air support.

    2. Carey

      TS, you should see the guy’s TDS installation (correct word) in the front of his house on the next street over from me. The city paving crew had to actually come out and slurry-seal what he’d done on the street (!), but the rest is still there (Central Cal Coast).

    3. Chris

      Academia and the current political environment have a lot in common. You ever hear the old joke that the fights in academia are so vicious because the rewards are so small? Many of the credentialed class are fighting for their livelihoods here. They just want their lower six figure salaries and the same feeling of superiority they had in 2012. That’s all…

  21. Wukchumni

    …and on the other side of TDS

    One of the cabin owners here in our community has thousands of acres of orange & walnut trees down in the Central Valley, and we got to talking and I asked him how things were faring, and he told me that tariffs were killing him-walnuts in particular, along with every other grower in the CVBB, and he most certainly didn’t vote for the leader of our country, and is upset at his business being using as a fulcrum to upset the food cart as it were, and then he told me something interesting, he felt he’s pretty much a lone wolf among farmers he knows, all of which are still with the program.

    He mentioned that if they were on the Titanic and it was going down, they’d proclaim that 1/3rd of it was still above water, why worry?

    1. Carolinian

      Pistachio growers can’t be far behind, tariff woe wise? Perhaps Calif water users should be thanking the Orange one.

      1. Monty

        ” the other side of TDS”

        Elderly in-laws are energized, overjoyed that someone “who loves the country” is finally in charge after “decades of treachery”. Haven’t seen them this hopped up since 9/11 and Gulf War II. I fear all this adrenaline can’t be good for their tickers.

      2. John k

        One gallon per almond. Exporting our water with rice, alfalfa and nuts.
        If they paid a tenth what urbanites do per gallon it would stop.

  22. rd

    Re: Fetishization of Employer-Provided Healthcare

    I am still baffled by small and big business being completely MIA in the health care funding debate. This is a substantial cost on their books and is complex to navigate to boot.Offloading the primary insurance costs while also reducing them (the rest of the world has been able to do it, why can’t the cost-cutting US?) would simplify their business and likely improve their profits.

    1. Monty

      If employees didn’t need to work to get health insurance, would they be inclined to work in the kind of miserable hellholes that corporate America thrusts upon them? Many people only stick around in dead end jobs because if they don’t, they might end up dead through lack of coverage.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        This is the only explanation I can see that adds up. Any sane employer would be more than happy to hand off the burden of providing health care for the employees to a universal national plan.

    2. inode_buddha

      It doesn’t surprise me at all. The clue is the personal politics of the executives and board members. *Every* employer I’ve ever had, both small and large (>$100 mil payroll) tends to extremely Conservative. They abhor government, full stop. This means they will not support M4A because it is an expansion of government, probably more taxes, probably more regulations, etc etc.

    3. LifelongLib

      The small business owners I’ve talked to about this are so convinced government can’t do anything right that they think national health care would cost them more in taxes than they pay now for insurance.

  23. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: ‘Why is the climate changing like this?’ — I was not sure what to make of the linked article. I like coffee but problems with the coffee crop and a change from an “air-conditioned” climate to a climate with droughts hardly seemed like the most serious climate change in India. Judging from the image showing Vadakil, George inside his house, I get the impression he is relatively well-off. That does not undermine his observations about the way the climate has changed in Wayanad — but the changes noted and the impacts on small farmers like Vadakil seem small compared with the kinds of impact climate change is having on other parts of India and the farmers in those other areas.

    However, the website that carried this article has an interesting collection of document links on its Library webpage. I believe it contains a good view of climate change from an Indian perspective. I grabbed a couple of children’s book pdfs there: “Bulli and the Tiger” and “Biju Spins Some Magic”. I have not read these books yet but their illustrations were quite wonderful.

  24. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “…Massive Storm Surge Barriers …” — I am considering a move to Upstate New York and little ideas like these $118+billion storm surge barriers to protect NYC and locale give me pause even if good ole Uncle Sam will pick up 65% of the cost. How much could boondoggles like this bleed Upstate coffers? And once the money is committed — how long are these storm surge barriers expected to protect NYC and locale? I believe the predicted 1 meter sea level rise by 2100 is wildly optimistic. I also suspect storms and their surges will grow much stronger as we approach 2100.

    The link spends a lot of print space and concern on the potential environmental impacts of the proposed barrier. Our Elite have very big $$$$$$$ committed in NYC. I doubt they will lose too much sleep over the fate of the American eel. By the same token I doubt they will lose sleep over any hardships they put on Upstate New York. They have everything to gain from an even bigger commitment of $$$$$$$ to NYC. The storm surge barriers may have some benefit for the next decade or two but not very much longer term than that I believe NYC is just too close to the current sea level. The article describes the dunes in the Netherlands but the area around NYC seems more like the situation in Venice or Amsterdam. Can you imagine 500 foot sand dunes covering battery park, the coast of New Jersey in Hoboken, or the beach areas along the coast of Long Island?

    1. inode_buddha

      I can easily imagine Wall St. looking like a canal in Venice, complete with tourists and fish markets. It would be doing most of us a favor were that to happen.

  25. dcblogger

    attention NC community, what is the best book on the California Energy Crisis? Someone here must have some suggestions.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Which California Energy Crisis? Copying from a Wikipedia entry — “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is a 2005 American documentary film based on the best-selling 2003 book of the same name by Fortune reporters Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, a study of one of the largest business scandals in American history.” If you are asking about the most recent “problems” with PSG&E and the fires — I am not sure what book(s) to suggest. I found some value from reading “The GRID — The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future” by Gretchen Bakke. It is not specific to California and it may not be the best book available, but it does describe the kind of problems which lead to the gutting of California PSG&E. I believe if you read “The GRID” and then take a look at the ‘‘Energy Policy Act of 2005’’ especially around “TITLE XII—ELECTRICITY”, particularly around “Sec. 1231. Open nondiscriminatory access”. I have not read this entire lengthy bill and should. It’s like an omnibus collection of tax code changes in the sense that you can almost feel the hidden hands which left their finger prints on the bill as they assured their interests were served. I am convinced the utility companies were in a coma while this bill was drafted or their ‘umpf’ was less than the ‘umpf’ of other players interested in profiting from energy.

  26. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “… Bird Loss …” — I tend to regard the scientists who claimed concern about a loss of subtlety and questioned “whether the data actually pointed to an impending bird apocalypse” and suggested bird losses as reported the were “… eclipsing important uncertainties, and perhaps even delivering an incomplete message to the public …” and asserted “…it hurts the credibility of scientists” … I tend to regard those scientists as not a lot different than the Climate Chaos naysayers. I like to believe the public is a little more sophisticated than that. With all the hyperbole around I like to believe most of the public are smart enough to take claims of “apocalypse” with a grain of salt. One thing I am certain of is that the reported losses in bird populations would never have made it into the MSM without some amount of hyperbole. As for judging the validity of the claims I think most of us have noticed a decline in bird populations very much similar to the decline now quite noticeable in the insect populations.

    The complaint I would make about the greater part of scientific literature — even that in journals such as Science and Nature — is that the scientists seem afraid to plainly state what they were studying and why, what they have discovered, and why and how is that important within their specialty as well as within science at large. I would complain the science community is cowed and afraid to speak plainly.

    1. xkeyscored

      I don’t think the science community is cowed and afraid to speak plainly. They just don’t understand why nothing changes when they warn the world of what it’s doing and where it’s heading. James Hansen addressed the US Senate back in 1988 and ‘testified that “Global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and observed warming…It is already happening now” and “The greenhouse effect has been detected and it is changing our climate now…We already reached the point where the greenhouse effect is important.” Hansen said that NASA was 99% confident that the warming was caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and not a random fluctuation.’ (Wikipedia)
      He probably thought he couldn’t have been clearer. The Senate probably thought it couldn’t be all that serious if he wasn’t frothing at the mouth, ranting and raging like they would be if Raytheon wasn’t building bombs in their state. Plus, with most of them having backgrounds in law and business, they imagine it can all be negotiated down to some compromise like most issues they deal with.
      Things are changing, though. Nature Briefing recently did a week’s blitz on climate change, the seventh mass extinction, and so on, openly expressing support for the school climate strikers (because they’re being heard rather than because the Green New Deal is the only way forward), with climate scientists writing personal accounts of how they cope with the despair they often feel and still carry on, and others writing about ways, scientific or not, of having an impact instead of being politely listened to and then ignored, etc etc.
      (Another problem is, of course, that if one scientist makes a slight exaggeration for effect, all the deniers are onto it like a ton of bricks – “that just proves it’s all rubbish.”)
      Scientists have done, and still are, doing their bit. Without them, we’d just be wondering where all the recent extreme weather is coming from and whether we can do anything about it. Don’t blame them if our societies are too idiotic to listen to anything unsettling!

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        If you read Science Magazine you might have noticed many of the articles come as pairs. There is a brief [~1 page] description written by one of the magazine’s staff for each of the main papers in that week’s publication that makes an effort to plainly state what the researchers were studying and why, what they have discovered, and why and how it is important within their specialty as well as within science at large. Neither the abstracts, introductory sections nor conclusions of many of the research papers come close to making the magazine staff writers’ briefs redundant. James Hansen has indeed been valiant in his efforts but I don’t believe his courage is commonplace in the scientific community.

        I’m not sure we read the same link. As I read the article at this link several scientists were faulting the team at Cornell for dramatizing their announcement about the declines in the bird populations. These scientists were also faulting that team for not going into details breaking down the bird populations by native vs alien species and for not giving consideration to the possible over estimations made in past measures of certain bird populations. The Cornell team responded that while they were aware of and considered these details they were concerned by what they discovered and felt justified in making their announcement such that it would be widely publicized. [If you recall, Hansen et. al made their 2016 paper available on the web before it had been formally reviewed because the team was alarmed by what they discovered and felt it important to make their results more immediately known than the 9 -12 month review process allows for.]

        My comment likens the scientists quibbling about the announcement of the decline in bird populations to the climate deniers. I also suggest the public is quite capable of dealing with the hyperbole the MSM uses to dress up the news, disagreeing with the bird population denialist’s contention that any hyperbole makes the public distrust scientists. As for the denialist’s complaint that details were lost in the news releases — I suspect the Cornell Team published a research paper that probably considered those details in its introductory section and perhaps in its methods section. I remain convinced too many scientists are afraid to speak out or even speak plainly, not savoring public controversy — and not just about Climate Chaos. While I share your regard for scientists and science, I remain unhappy with much of the jargon, deliberate obfuscation, and just plain bad writing in the scientific literature.

  27. Wukchumni

    Going on a hike next week to meet some Mineral King locals from a couple hundred million years ago, this is what a friend sent me regarding our trek:

    They are late Triassic marine fossils (227 to 208.5 million years old), and the organisms were alive when the world harbored some really scary-looking flying pterosaurs. Look up the Norian age online to get a sense of what it would have been like to be alive then. Our organisms were probably from the outer continental shelf, and we may find the fossils of brachiopods and bivalves, including Alectryonia, Minetrigonia, and Septocardia.

  28. Katy

    Teaching 6-Year-Olds About Privilege and Power (podcast) NPR

    UGH. I stopped listening to NPR after 2016, but I held my nose and listened to this podcast because I just started graduate school, and I’m in the thick of “privilege and power” discussions right now.

    The title of the podcast is wrong—they’re teaching the kids identity politics, not privilege and power. One of the lessons the children learned was essentially, “Tennessee is bad because it has two male senators.” Another lesson was that having an equally distributed number of people of different races in a group of people is inherently good.

    Framing every lesson in terms of race and gender makes you view everything through this lens. I think that these educators haven’t really thought about what they are ultimately trying to accomplish, and whether teaching this way will accomplish that goal, or whether it will, perversely, undermine that goal.

    I see this as a fad that is as harmful as “participation trophies” were back in the day. It’s not going to turn out how they think it will.

    1. Carey

      I think they *have* thought about it. Slicing-and-dicing the citizenry is working quite well for the few;
      why not double down on it?

      1. Dan

        An example from todays N.C.:

        “The pundit, Emily Tisch Sussman, is a billionaire heiress, Democratic strategist, and was formerly employed by CAP as Vice President of Campaigns…”

        Search her name to see just just how well it is working out.

    2. Rod

      yes, after listening to the initial story I thought–“So, this is what NPR wants me to think about how Power and Privilege get identified.”
      MindShift Podcasts hooked up with ‘the Private School’ for the story on helping 6 year olds identify Privilege and Power. NPR associates doing narration should familiarize themselves with the term Irony.
      There was no field trip to the mirror mentioned.
      Didn’t someone important once say look at yourself before looking at others?

    3. Massinissa

      I honestly don’t understand peoples whinging about participation trophies.

      This is incomparably more harmful than that either way. Its not as if participation trophies ever credibly had the threat of skewing the perspective of an entire generation the way this tripe does.

      Also, ‘Mindshift’ sort of sounds like a PC friendly alternative to ‘Brainwash’.

  29. Wukchumni

    California farmers face ‘catastrophic’ water restrictions. Can they adapt to survive?

    It was 2015 and, as far as John Konda knew, farming still had a viable future in the San Joaquin Valley.

    So he expanded.

    The Tulare County grower planted 75 acres of pistachios, adding to a farm he’s owned since 2003. Two years later, in order to augment his water supply, he drilled two new groundwater wells.

    Now he wonders whether the investments, totaling more than $1.5 million, will turn out to be a costly mistake.

    Stoking his anxiety is California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA. Starting next January, the law will require farmers to gradually rein in the amount of groundwater they can pump from their wells.

    It could devastate the economy of the entire San Joaquin Valley.

    In a region where agriculture is king — and the ability to extract the water beneath one’s soil has been practically a birthright — a difficult reckoning is coming. Farmers will have to start throttling back their pumps, dramatically altering how they cultivate one of the world’s most fertile valleys. Some land probably won’t survive as farms at all.

    1. Aron Blue

      Stone fruit orchards and wheat are the future of California, or they could be. The sooner California agriculture adapts to less water, the better off we will be as a state.

  30. Rod

    watched the Yemini press conference–did not understand anything said but understood the video completely–that was a very choreographed and capable valley corridor ambush from the initial targeting of the hilltop OP to the killing noose that stopped the convoy to the plugging of the retreat line to the small arms killing zone.
    I was surprised there were no eyes in the sky which says to me the convoy thought it was secure to pass the OP–yet at one point several platoon sized units emerge from the OPs viewshed–like black ants– to advance further toward the road.
    The appearance of at least one fighter jet and its bombing of the convoy stuck out–lots of concussion and dispersing its target almost to the videographer–then out without a flyback to record.
    At the end I quick counted over 230 ‘prisoners’ making their way up the high ground and compound situated there
    The haul of small arms and ammunition displayed was stunning–but miniscule compared to the functioning APCs, MRAPS, and HiLux recovered worth millions of dollars.
    yes, I believe that was a Battalion that got devastated

  31. petal

    Hi all. I got in and found a spot to sit and write. Took photos and a short video. However, I am very exhausted and my head is swimming, so I am going to wait until tomorrow to write things up so it’s on a clear head and a night’s sleep so you get a good product. I’m really sorry. Barely functioning at this point.

  32. cm

    Equifax’s sham settlement — since the US govt is so gutless as to actually enforce a criminal penalty on Equifax, we (as lowly consumers) face the following mandate:

    If you select this option, you will be sent instructions and an activation code after the settlement is final to your email address or home address. You won’t be “upsold” any services by enrolling or otherwise asked to submit any payment for these services now or in the future.

    Would you like to signup for Equifax’s free, one­-bureau credit monitoring service for up to 6 more years after the initial, three-­bureau credit monitoring services expire?

    where we get “upsold” into yet another 6 years of for-profit “montoring” ????? WTH is Warren on this?

    This comes from
    and is a complete disgrace. Is there *ANY* person of power in Congress who pretends to advocate for the common person?

    1. Jen

      And of course if you choose the cash settlement they ask you to provide proof of credit monitoring. These family bloggers aren’t going to end up paying a dime.

      My employer is required by state law to notify employees of all changes to their compensation. They’ve been doing this by electronic notification for the last few years and this year when I logged in to their new system it was branded with none other than…Equifax. The removed it right quick, but apparently this is a new “service” Equifax provides.

  33. Tom Bradford

    Re “Johnson’s obscene behaviour this week confirms the arrival of Trumpian Britain”

    I left the UK for good in 1990, sickened and disgusted by what Thatcher had done to the land of my birth. Nothing since has tempted me fold my tent and return, but at least until the elevation of Johnson I could look back with no more than a fond sadness. With no stake in the shambles of Brexit I had watched on with sorrow and bemusement over the years, confident that, at the bitter end, common-sense, compromise and sheer bloody-minded self-preservation would triumph and lead to at least a sensible outcome whatever it was.

    Now I am grateful I am out of it. While a remainer I could have lived with a sensible Brexit – one that tried as far as possible to reconcile the conflict between the two sides, however it eventually went. But that isn’t what’s happening and I am appalled.

    To those Brits who pride themselves that Britain stood alone against Fascism and worse in 1939 – risking its very existence in a fight for the free world – I have always suggested that had the UK experienced what Germany did in the 20’s and 30’s a rise of a despot of its own would have been entirely possible.

    To see it actually happening is a nightmare, even from half a world away.

    1. xkeyscored

      Ditto, more or less. I’m in a very similar situation – I left in ’95, and haven’t been back since.
      I’m none too sure about “Britain stood alone against Fascism and worse in 1939 – risking its very existence in a fight for the free world.” I thought Britain entered the war because of treaty obligations and stuff, while many had no problem with fascism per se, at least not until later when its full horrors became known.
      I sometimes think of returning to help stave off what you refer to as the arrival of Trumpian Britain, which I’d characterise more as the rise of 21st century corporate neoliberal fascism (though Trumpian Britain is less of a mouthful). But one more voice in the shouting match? And if it comes to a shooting match, I’ve never learned how.
      A nightmare, as you say.

  34. cm

    Hmm, I just donated to Gabbard w/ no issues. However, when I donate to Sanders I’m required to supply an e-mail??? There’s no way to exit the dialogue:

    Just choose a password. Your payment method will be securely saved by ActBlue so you can make single-click donations, plus, you’ll get access to your entire contribution history!

    Also, while writing this comment and pondering the ramifications, I just got a text (from Sanders campaign) thanking me for my contribution before I had submitted the e-mail! Sounds like this may be some sort of scam where DNC gets contact info?

    1. Carey

      ActBlue gives me the creeps. Here’s an address to send a check, which is what I’ll do next time:

      Bernie 2020
      PO Box 391
      Burlington, VT 05402

  35. VietnamVet

    The loss of democracy, superseded by corporate rule, has unanchored the Elite. Decisions are made solely for short term profits not long-term risks. The House of Saud cannot survive the revolution in warfare (UAV attacks on their oil infrastructure), the loss of three brigades and killing of the King’s bodyguard. More Persian Gulf upheavals are assured. A depression will result from more oil supply cutoffs. Donald Trump’s tariff wars and Boris Johnson’s no deal Brexit are injecting chaos to the West. Impeachment will increase it. Conducted behind closed doors, like the MH-17 shoot down or DNC e-mail hack, the public will not be given facts but propaganda. If an elected populist President and Vice President are removed for an unelected, Nancy Pelosi, globalist Presidency, civil strife is assured. Ending the forever wars, conservation, and restoring democracy is the only way out.

  36. xkeyscored

    Saudi Arabia accepts cease fire in Yemen – Sic Semper Tyrannis
    – If this turns out to be true, how will it be spun as all being Iran this time?
    To answer my own question a bit.
    The BBC World Service TV news just had the nearly-a-week-old CBS interview with bone Sawman (guess you’ve seen that, it’s on several US channels too) as its number one item. Not a peep about this latest Houthi thing.
    Debkafile’s really showing off its advanced capacity for cognitive dissonance:
    the Houthi raid was clearly the continuation of Iran’s Sept. 14 missile-cum-drone strike on its oil infrastructure. In some respects, it holds an even greater threat to the kingdom’s national security, since it raises questions about Saudi Arabia’s capacity to suffer two major strategic blows from Iran in the space of a fortnight.
    I guess this is a preview of the spin we’re gonna see. Kinda quantum, spin this way and that way and neither way and both ways simultaneously. Till it all collapses.

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