Links 9/30/19

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Komodo Dragons Are So Badass They Have ‘Chain Mail’ Embedded in Their Skin Science Alert

Before 737 MAX, Boeing’s Flight-Control System Included Key Safeguards WSJ. The lead: “Boeing Co. engineers working on a flight-control system for the 737 MAX omitted key safeguards that had been included in an earlier version of the same system used on a military tanker jet, people familiar with the matter said.” Hoo boy.

Facebook says Libra is out of its control. But Libra’s overseers are a web of Silicon Valley insiders CNN

The Puzzling Lure of Financial Globalization Arvind Subramanian, Dani Rodrik, Prohect Syndicate

Citing climate risk, investors bet against mortgage market Reuters. Including in Florida?

Insurers deploy AI against California’s wildfire crisis Axios (dk). dk writes:

Another wild abuse of the term AI, this is image analysis, and training networks to do it takes years and subsequent cycles of verification and further training, which it appears is being incorporated into the marketing of coverage products. To the extent that insurance as a for-profit business is a gamble, here the risk for new assessment methods and thechnologies is being pushed to the customers.

Directly targeting the vulnerable with higher rates, how can this be called insurance (a risk pool), it’s extortion facilitated and protected by regulation. The insur]ance industry and been such a scourge for decades, only now that the economy tightens beyond tollerance is the fiction being examined.


When you’ve lost Rupert Murdoch:

(Click the image for the full front page.)

LISTEN UP BOJO Boris Johnson’s allies accused him of shutting them out to listen to Leave guru Dominic Cummings and girlfriend Carrie Symonds The Sun

DUP delivers blow to Johnson plan for Brexit backstop FT

Interview: Mario Draghi declares victory in battle over the euro FT


Yemen’s Houthi rebels release Saudi attack video Al Jazeera and Yemen: Houthi rebels claim capture of ‘thousands’ of Saudi troops Deutsche Welle

Saudi Arabia: King Salman’s bodyguard shot dead in ‘personal dispute’ with friend, reports say Independent. Oh.

Fire at Saudi high-speed train station injures at least five Reuters

The Military Officials Who Knew Saudi Arabia Would Fail The American Conservative

Mohammad bin Salman denies ordering Khashoggi murder, but says he takes responsibility for it CBS and The secret tapes of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder BBC

Arabic Press Review: Egyptians rush to hoard food over protest fears Middle East Eye

Lula Interview: PT’s mistakes and US role in the Coup BrasilWire

Haiti: Police use tear gas, live ammunition on protesters Al Jazeera

What is really behind the crisis in Haiti? Al Jazeera

Why an “Uber for tailors” is gaining ground in Lagos The Economist


No trade deal, no Kashmir win, no investment but BJP celebrating Modi return from US The Print


Hong Kong Is Winning the Global Public-Opinion War With Beijing The Atlantic

The lawyers, doctors and artists behind the Hong Kong protests FT. Yes, but did the FT ask to see their National Endowment for the Humanities membership cards?

* * *

Use the Force on China? There’s Just One Problem John Authers, Bloomberg

Gaming China’s Total Surveillance State William Blunden, The American Conservative

Taiwan greets China’s massive 70th anniversary celebrations with a collective shrug Japan Times

New Cold War

Strongman Putin faces new internal threat: savvy, middle-class New Russians Business Day

The cost of carbon in Russia, braced to implement the Paris Accord BNE Intellinews

Russia’s bid to ditch the US dollar is slowly working, but obstacles remain CNBC

Trump Transition

Uptick of Canadians hit with 5-year bans at U.S. borders called a ‘troubling trend’ CBC

Acting DNI Shows Why Generals and Admirals Should Not Become Top Civilians Defense One (Re Silc).


Dem leaders plot impeachment messaging war with Trump Politico. Everything’s gonna be fine.

Democrats are now eying Trump’s phone calls with Putin Vox

One Easy-to-Draw Line on Impeachment: Inauguration Day Cass Sunstein, Bloomberg. With a single exception — wait for it — RussiaRussiaRussia.

California to play an outsize role in impeachment inquiry of Trump Los Angeles Times. Good thing they moved the primary up.

The Mistake the Democratic Leadership Can’t Stop Making Splinter

The Left Needs to Seize Impeachment From Centrist Elites The Nation. “Trump is a great gift and opportunity for the left precisely because he illustrates the decadence and corruption of the imperial presidency much more clearly than earlier and more sober presidents.” Yes, Trump says the quiet part out loud.

GOP Leadership Memo Suggests Senate Cannot Block Trial If House Votes To Impeach Trump HuffPo

* * *

The gas tycoon and the vice president’s son: The story of Hunter Biden’s foray into Ukraine WaPo

The U.S. tried to fix Ukraine’s government. We exported our corruption, instead. Paul Musgrave, WaPo

Trump Call Fallout Risks Stalling Momentum Toward Ukraine Peace Bloomberg. Like that’s a bad thing.

More than 300 former officials call Trump’s actions concerning Ukraine ‘profound national security concern’ WaPo. From the people who brought you Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Syria… Maidan…

The Strange Career of ‘National Security’ The Atlantic

First as Tragedy, Then as Fascism The Baffler

Class Warfare

A closer look at infant mortality in two of the most impoverished U.S. regions WaPo. Everything’s going according to plan.

The Rules of the Diversity and Inclusion Racket The Riveter. There are 50.

Book Review: The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality by Katharina Pistor LSE Review of Books

Never sit next to a crying baby on a flight again! Airline will tell you where young children will be sitting when you book your seats so you can enjoy a peaceful journey Daily Mail

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. Donald

    The Nation piece on impeachment is insightful and naive at the same time. Yes, in theory it should be about Trump’s worst crimes and not just the Ukraine phone call. But it isn’t going to be about his worst crimes because Democrats have committed those too. I think that Yemen is one of his worst crimes, maybe the worst, and that started with Obama. Samantha Power, widely treated as a secular saint by the centrist liberal crowd, is implicated in that one.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      To me, the impeachment rebrand is more about appeasing the TDS crowd. Pelosi and friends promised Saint Mueller among others would do the work for them, and accusations of treason are a big deal. I think Pelosi believed she could simply send the brunch crowd back to brunch when she became Speaker once they had served the purpose of defending Team Blue elites against the left. Pelosi has still left Adam Schiff in charge, so I’m wouldn’t call this a serious effort.

      1. Dan

        Tedious, just tedious.

        Either nominate Bernie and stomp Trump, or get out of the way, collect your big Democratic donors checks, and let him win again.

    2. Anon in so cal

      IMHO, Moon of Alabama nailed the rationale behind Ukraine-gate: the CIA does not want inquiries into its role in the Maidan putsch in Ukraine, and talk of rapprochement with Russia must be stifled.

      President Elizabeth Warren will resume the approved stance 0per her reply to question four of the CFR interview.

    3. jrs

      There’s not going to be any agreement on his worst crimes though unless they are actual crimes. So Dems are right to take that route.

      Trump’s policy, yes it’s terrible, but some Republicans clearly love it. Foreign wars aren’t so much things that many people support particularly, as things they are mostly extremely indifferent to.

  2. fdr-fan

    Everyone is getting weeweed up about the infinitesimal details of “impeachment”.

    The only thing that matters about impeachment is that it doesn’t matter. You won’t get Hillary, you’ll get Pence. Trump can still run for election in 2020 because he still hasn’t served two full terms.

    Like everything else in US and UK, it’s sound and fury signifying nothing.

    1. Tom Stone

      This is not “Sound and Fury, signifying nothing”, when so many people are full of rage and fear to the point that they are calling for a military coup it’s an extremely volatile situation.
      We are not far from a civil war.
      And yes it’s insane, that is my point.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I share your concern. If you gaslight enough people for long enough, you’ll get a lot of crazy people, and that’s what we have now. I saw Blumenthal (D Conn) briefly on the TV, and he made some remark effectively wishing for physical harm to Trump. He had a vicious look on his face, apparently consumed by hatred. WTF? If these people aren’t acting and putting on a show to distract us, if they really hate each other at the top level as much as they’ve made their followers hate each other, this may make ’68 look like a halcyon year.

      2. Goyo Marquez

        Most of my “friends” on Facebook are Trump supporters, a lot of them, particularly fellow evangelical Christians, fellow pastors and ministers, have Trump derangement syndrome but in the opposite direction.

        It’s not unusual to hear people referring to Trump as God’s anointed, or to hear people talking about, “touch not God’s anointed.”

        Recently listened to the Revolutions podcast episodes about the anarchist Bakunin and his disagreements with Marx about how to deal with the peasants. Marx was all for using force against the peasants because they supported the church, the king, and the military. Bakunin pointed out that, that would make the revolution no different than any tyranny and suggested you had to convince the peasants to abandon their loyalty to the church, not force it upon them.

        It seemed to me like a description of the current struggles between liberals and right wing populists. The front row kids want to impose “the truth“ religious, moral, economic, scientific, on the back row kids without having to go through trouble of convincing them. The back row kids are pretty sure that if it comes to a fight they can whip up pretty good on the front row kids and are confident the military will be on their side, particularly since the front row kids rarely serve in the military and openly disdain those who do.

        1. prodigalson

          I and my wife visited and left a church over this. Evangelicals have crossed WAY over the line of “rendering to Caesar” to worshipping him, specifically when republican presidents are in office. These same churches seem blind to why their attendance numbers are dropping in spite of their overt politicization and casting “turn the other cheek” away.

          We’re supposed to be exiles in this life, united by faith, and doing good works to others while we’re passing through. These militant evangelical’s have gone full crusader mode though, and seem more than happy to kill anyone who so much as give them side-eye in the name of flag and country. (was it like this during the Reagan years too?)

          Pompeo and Bolton are poster children for this perverse mentality.

          1. Adam Eran

            Sorry, this is not new. About a decade ago a local congregation paid the national denomination about $1.2 million for their church building just so they could keep out the icky gays. My parents (now deceased) left the church over this kind of thing.

          2. Tom Bradford

            “These same churches seem blind to why their attendance numbers are dropping..”

            If that’s true there is hope

    2. Clive

      A very good point there about the UK/US overlap. We’re getting collectively deafened, but there’s nothing of any merit to be heard in any of it.

      And every single one of the US pseudo-left messaging and power plays is being played out, but without the same level of thought and organisation, in the UK. Some of the scripts are identical to those invoked in the Trump Derangement Syndrome of 2016. And some talking points and grids are being tested out on UK audiences, then let loose on US ones after, I suppose, the kinks have been ironed out. And on the right, from what I can tell, there seems to be some plutocrat-on-plutocrat bust up. Like a George Soros / Koch Foundation professional wrestling bout.

      The only purpose I can fathom out is, the mainstream media has lost the attention of its audiences and its credibility (we can all now get any opinions and, to a degree, direct information from anywhere we choose to look for it) and the mainstream channels (TV, print) are devoid of purpose and, more importantly, income. The only response they seem to have it to turn it up to outrage volume level 11.

      Even my mother-in-law, who is about as credible as they come, said to me this weekend, after watching the “news” on BBC “it’s all lies, isn’t it?”. And when I caught her sneaking a peek at the Daily Mail and asked what was going on in the world, she replied, perceptively, that she’d need to read a lot of other sites to find out as what she had in front of her wasn’t going to tell her it. When you’ve lost my mother-in-law…

      1. lordkoos

        This may be the trend as you say, but I know personally so many nice people with good intentions who remain in thrall to the propaganda dispensed by the corporate media. Millions are still believing the information they get from MSNBC, CNN, and the like.

        1. What?No!

          It’s been difficult watching family; not so much go to the dark side, more like remain on the dark side. For one reason or another… brother is autistic so it’s a black & white world for him (good guys vs bad guys). Mother living alone has CNN blaring all day every day as she putters — I think it makes her feel connected to the world. Father cold warrior so everything is The Great Game, but frozen in time & space from decades ago (where the devious Putin + RussiaRussiaRussia are pulling all the strings and crashing Brexit). The in-laws, very British, very proper: all conversations circle back to the character of a man like Trump. Sister been doin it fo hersef!… so of course everyone else can. Step-mom is pro-Israel shall we say. And none of them — boiling frogs all — hear the non-sequitors, the poor quality lies; the ASSERTIONS!/(the “retractions”), they don’t cui bono anything except when it confirms the confirmation bias. Maybe part of it is just another angle on how being quite specialized cogs in our western societies we don’t have time to relearn the news sources we grew up with. But it’s very deep and very broad.

    3. flora

      I think it’s a direct admission by the Dem estab that they have no intention of running a winning election campaign against Trump. A winning campaign would be so easy – M4A, raise the minimum wage, regulate the financial sector to stop abuses. They’d win in a walk, but first they’d have to get rid of the current neolib, Clintonist, 3rd Way Dem estab. The current Dem estab leaders won’t get rid of the leaders who’ve orchestrated massive losses in Dem held seats at all levels. They won’t run on a winning platform with winning policies. The only goal, imo, is to keep more progressive Dem candidates and policies from winning. So…

      They resort to this non-election tactic. imo.

      Pelosi say the American people are more in favor of impeachment than before. No, they aren’t, the numbers haven’t changed.

      Latest Quinnipiac poll:

      While more than half of voters disapprove of his job performance, only 37 percent of voters say that President Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 57 percent say no, he should not be impeached.

      1. samhill

        I think it’s a direct admission by the Dem estab that they have no intention of running a winning election

        Oh, they want to win they just want it handed to them like in HRC’s election. Just running feeble methuselah Biden shows they have no intention whatsoever of motivating the same youth, labor, and apathetic crowd that got Bill Clinton and Obama elected to their first terms. Clinton had a lot of appeal to young people (MTV, saxophone) including me back then, LOL, and Obama sure surged big. Those campaigns focused on expanding voter turn out and is the proven winning strategy for the Dems in the last 40 years. That they clearly chose not to leads me to think they are going for a very narrow targeted swing voter strategy. HRC won the popular vote by ~3 million IIRC, they must be figuring they still got that, they just need to cull a handful of disillusioned centrist suburban Trump voters and it’s theirs. Who goes into the World Series with a bunting strategy? Robby Mook might be gone but his fabulous machine seems to still be in control.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Clinton had a lot of appeal to young people

          Did he? Ross Perot won 22% of 18 to 24 year old, and Bill’s best age group was 65+ and over.

          The turnout was high in 1992 among young voters, but how much is that due to states that might have come into play? It plummeted more than 12 points in 1996 despite Bill running against a literal corpse. Obama and Bill had different turnouts,

          I’m not sure Bill’s campaign focused on voter turnout in either election. Bill is big on persuasion and selling out on a few issues to win corporate backing and using fear of the GOP (a legitimate concern) to hold together Team Blue. But the 3rd Ways whole schtick wasn’t increasing turnout but going for that 2 for 1 strategy of winning GOP votes by sacrificing on certain issues such as guns or abortion.

          Despite Bill’s best people, HRC saw both her primary opponents crush her among voters 30 and under in 2008 and then 38 and under in 2016.

          I would suggest Bill’s act made people who accepted the realities of voting for him feel better about it and not much more.

          1. samhill

            I would suggest Bill’s act made people who accepted the realities of voting for him feel better about it and not much more.

            hmm, maybe. Maybe bit revisionist on your part, Democratic party still meant something then, the bad came with Clinton’s presidency not his campaign. Clinton and the Democrats were still clean back then, or clean in terms of values, as true progressives. Clinton was going to be the switch from the tired post WW2 leaders to the post Vietnam leaders. The stink came later once the gold box with red ribbon was opened and we found the festering turd inside. In 1992 I knew nothing of the dark neoliberal plans for remaking the economy and culture. I and an awful lot of progressive, Democratic 20 something friends thought Clinton was the resurgence of the FDR/LBJ left out to vanquish the Reagan right. I supported Perot, and I was a Jesse Jackson guy, and John Anderson, and Nader, I always latch onto underdogs, but more serious labor and party friends brought me around to the importance of supporting Clinton, made me feel like crap for flirting with billionaire boss Perot. Po’ boy Clinton was going to be the one that put an end to and undo the Reagan damage, restore the New Deal and Great Society – restrenghten unions and labor and rebuild the party (so hard to believe now). No damn idea Reagan/Clinton were on the same team and we were getting the double team, the good cop bad cop work over (to be repeated with Bush/Obama). I caught on somewhat, I could not have cared less over his impeachment except for the exaggerated use of it, didn’t buy Al Gore for a single minute, but admit, I fell for Obama again. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. I learned about neoliberalism since then and the 2008 bank corruption crash and reading NC and the affiliated. Now just wonder how Bernie’s gonna shaft me!

            1. inode_buddha

              Clinton never fooled me. Cattle futures told me all I needed to know. OTOH, Reagan actually *did* fool me — the first time.

            2. NotTimothyGeithner

              Bill was pretty blunt about running as a “New Democrat.” Third Way language was rampant in his campaign. Admittedly, he looked like Trotsky next to Moonbeam and Tsongas, but its such a low bar.

              The Democratic Party might have meant more, hence why he did so well among seniors in 1992. As far as a young candidate, Clinton’s Democratic Party led to collapsing youth vote until Clinton’s hacks were ousted from the DNC.

              1. JBird4049

                Like with samhill, I have a different memory. IIRC Jerry Brown and Paul Tsongas were both to the left of Republican wannabe Bill Clinton. Clinton was also the far more charismatic candidates especially with Tsongas. I do not think most people realized just how truly conservative Clinton’s “New Democrats” and the DNC were going to be as he was apparently a Neoliberal stealth candidate. Too many Americans still thought of both parties as they had been in the 70s.

                I certainly did not see the campaign to purge the last of the leftists from the Democrats Party or the remaining moderates or anyone not a neoconservative supporter of big business and war. Once the DNC took over the Democratic leadership and the verbal bomb thrower Newt Gingrich got into power and radicalized the Republican leadership the old guard was pushed out of the leadership and later from office.

                From my limited know of British politics politicians like Tony Blair functioned the same way with the Labor Party and “New Labor” as Clinton. In both cases, it was a bait-and-switch camouflaged was a campaign of lies and sweet talking done by charismatic grifters. Preachers selling their version of the neoliberal prosperity gospel only backed by the massive amount of propaganda paid for by extremely wealthy people and businesses.

                1. NotTimothyGeithner

                  Only in rhetoric or people’s emotions. Moonbeam was running on flat taxes, he worked on his proposal with Laffer, and abolishing the department of education. Rick Perry picked up that torch.

                  Tsongas. He was a balanced budget nutter, though I guess this is a bit redundant. Mittens voted for the guy, so he might present a Eastern sensibility. There was plenty of reason not to trust Bill, but these two…yeesh.

                  In the case of Blair, his rise was due to the death of John Smith, who died with Labour polling 23 points ahead.

            3. Oregoncharles

              1) Full disclosure: I actually campaigned, in a very small way, for Bill in 1992.
              2) Reality: Clinton, Gore, and some others founded the DLC, with the avowed intention of stealing the Republican funders, BEFORE 1992.

              Once Bill had been in office for a while, I concluded he was a Republican (NAFTA, botched health care program, etc.) and joined the Green Party.

      2. lordkoos

        It is terribly obvious that the Democratic party establishment fear a potential president Sanders far more than they do president Trump.

        1. RMO

          That’s why I think that if a miracle happens and somehow Sanders gets the nomination, it won’t be Trump and the GOP he has to beat – it will be the Dem establishment and the mainstream media that will fight him tooth and nail.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It seems elite college admissions officers are more powerful, in America, than billionaires.

      That doesn’t seem intuitive. Presumably, billionaires can just buy their own elite colleges, but that doesn’t seem to be the case…not many sellers.

  3. timber

    Well, on the same line of what you just wrote, I’ll do a Trump and “say the quite part out loud”…

    The reason Pelosi took impeachment off the table for GWB is because he started a really bid profitable war and she know a future Dem President would probably do similar.

    The reason Pelosi put impeachment on the table for Trump is because he hasn’t started any major wars (yet) and doesn’t fit in with the whole WMD in Iraq/RussiaRussiaRussia cabal and imperialist agenda crowd. He may end up doing what they want, but he’s just not one of THEM.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Pelosi has been in the Gang of Eight all these years and has admitted to being aware of enhanced interrogation techniques. On the FP side, there probably isn’t much to impeach Shrub on that Pelosi was complicit or sat on.

      1. inode_buddha

        Somewhat OT, but I’ve been wondering, is there a way to search past comments on NC regarding Pelosi (or any other subject)? A few weeks ago, somebody posted a very hard-hitting comment outlining corruption with her husbands business dealings, and I’ve no way to retrieve it. I’ve decided to start a “corruption file” which documents corruption …. The comments on NC would be a prime source. Not to be published, but rather to be used in debate.

        1. Jules Dickson

          Unfortunately, our site’s Search function applies only to posts and not to comments. But, you might have more luck using general search engines and limiting the search to the Naked Capitalism site. To quote Lambert, “Search engines will find comments as reliably as they will will find anything else.” So if there are specific topics on Pelosi (or any other subjects), try this advice from Lifewire: The example used was for Google, but the technique should work with other search engines

          1. inode_buddha

            Thanks for the tip! I knew about using the “site” operative but was reluctant to use it on NC, particularly given their policy, and since the comment I was looking for is probably buried in an old “Links” thread.

      2. Pavel

        Jimmy Dore has made this point repeatedly and scathingly in his videos. Pelosi “took impeachment off the table” for GWB because she knew all about the illegal torture programs. She couldn’t run the legal risk of having her role made public.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          This is the best case scenario. Chirac’s reports of Shrub’s Gog and Magog routine, Blair’s “bloodening” remarks, and even Brezezinki-esque arguments are all out there.

          It even might be an argument for boosting defense spending because Shrub said “wars are good for the economy.”

          Given the batty stuff being said by Blair and reported by Chirac, I see no reason to believe a thug like Shrub was hiding from Pelosi. One of the politically smart things Shrub did (At least compared to Obama) was buy Democratic votes with defense pork. Its why federal spending has gone to certain corridors in blue areas.

          But he gave MIchelle a cough drop

          1. NotTimothyGeithner


            This is the kind of thing HRC is a member of. What was the argument for war that Shrub was making? Rummy’s was obvious reelection through blowing up stuff for the 630 news as he seemed to be aware that Shrub wasn’t elected and was only close because of the usual Team Blue effort.

            Obviously, certain Dems didn’t want to oppose what they assumed would be a glorious victory because 41 did so well in the 1992 election…

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Uptick of Canadians hit with 5-year bans at U.S. borders called a ‘troubling trend’ ”

    I fully support this measure this. If you keep the Canadian-US border too easy to cross, the US side will be swamped with Canadians fleeing their socialistic system and coming over to get themselves some of that good old American health care and cheap medicines, eh?

    1. Carolinian

      You’d be surprised at the number of Canadians in Phoenix, AZ. Since they come to escape the winters they are called “snowbirds.”

      1. bronco

        they spread their tiny wings and flew awayyyyyyyyyyy, to the city in the middle of a broiling desert with no water

        1. Monty

          Just because they managed to arrange a sensible health system, that didn’t automatically give them all good taste in vacations!

          1. Carolinian

            Ever been to Arizona? The desert is beautiful and the winters mild. You don’t want to be there in the summer if you can help it. Many locals flee to the mountains.

        2. Wyoming

          Hah! We have at least 200,000 swimming pools …er.. private water storage systems in the Phoenix area.

          Of course many of them are sort of green but that is part of the Deal.

      2. ambrit

        Don’t laugh too loud. I experienced the “snowbird” migration in the Tampa St. Pete region back in the ’80s. These ‘snowbirds’ were skilled tradesmen who had been laid off for the winter from jobs up north. they would collect their unemployment cheques somehow and work down in Florida for lower than the local wages. The companies ate it up. Locals, I being one at the time, (long story) were let go for the wintertime and the ‘snowbirds’ took our place. In spring, when the ‘snowbirds’ went back north to their much better paying jobs, the locals were offered their old jobs back, but usually for les than they had been making the year before. That was one big reason I said, “F—this!” and moved the family back to Louisiana.

        1. Steve H.

          I was also snared by Florida’s seasonal migration of capital and labor.

          As for land, my view on Miami real estate was perhaps skewed by my experience, now that the bubbles are rising from the sewers. A bit salty on that, I am.

        2. CanCyn

          Interesting! I only know the snowbird term as applying to retirees (an of course the song). My family is Canadian. My brother was laid off from a job a few years ago. He and his wife had already paid for a vacation in FLA so they decided to go. Before they left, my brother signed up for unemployment insurance. There is box in the reporting system that asks you if you’re available for work, he inadvertently ticked the ‘yes’ box for the time they were in Florida. Somehow, they knew that he’d been in the US and he was almost charged with fraud – took a lot of explaining to get them to understand that it wasn’t deliberate.
          I’m guessing things were more loose back in the 80s, otherwise I don’t see how those guys could have been in Florida (working or not) and collecting their Canadian unemployment ‘pay’.
          I am sorry that happened to you Ambrit.
          These days, there are no construction stoppages for construction work in Canada in winter, road work happens all year.

          1. ambrit

            How the ‘snowbirds’ collected their cheques must have been some dodge or another.
            I have ‘worked’ in sub-freezing temperatures only twice, of a few weeks duration, in my life. Physically handling the materials was the hard part. Layers of gloves and lots of hot coffee were required. I would not do it again, if I were young again, for love nor money. It is seriously physically demanding. You are doing hard work and fighting off the effects of cold at the same time. The worst bit for me was sweating in my layers of clothing and then sitting around at lunchtime or driving back to the shack with wet tee shirt and shirt on. I think I caught a bad cold the second go around.
            As for ‘loose’ conditions back in the ’80s. A friend of my Dad had a construction company. He had decent amounts of cash hanging around sometimes. To ‘maximize his return’ for this cash, he would fly up to Toronto and invest the funds in Canadian bank certificates and such. All illegal as h—, but a regular thing for those ‘in funds’ in Florida back then.

            1. inode_buddha

              Dunno, I do OK in sub-freezing (I live on the border with Canada). Started out doing farm work in -20. Now 53 yrs old and still subject to the elements on the job. You do learn how to eat, dress, and move about. I’ve slowed down a bit and my knees don’t always like it.

              1. ambrit

                I wonder if the body’s reaction to the cold has anything to do with the humidity? (Is humidity even a factor in freezing weather?? Inquiring minds want to know.)
                As the old Southern joke puts it: “Well, it’s a dry heat!”

                  1. ambrit

                    Yes. It’s fascinating how the circumstances of evaporation, condensation, and in between are such a wide ranging field.
                    Ninety degree weather here, after a rain or storm is called by many ‘fricasseeing weather.’

          2. JEHRr]

            In my province, the construction work takes place from early spring to late fall until the snow flies. Not much construction gets done in our winter. Where did you get your information, CanCyn.

      1. Wukchumni

        We were tailgaiting @ the Ralph once upon a time, hanging out with a group of Canadians who’d made the road trip from Toronto, and there were about a dozen of them and I asked why they were @ an NFL game, and almost in unison they all shouted “Canadian football sucks!”

        1. eg

          That’s a very Toronto-centric response. The CFL is beloved out West (especially in Saskatchewan) and is a good draw in Hamilton. Toronto generally ignores the CFL as too small-town

    2. lordkoos

      Not to mention all the Canadian climate refugees that will be heading south to cooler temperatures. /sarc

        1. Wyoming

          Yup. But when it gets to that stage we will be ‘forced’ to annex them and then the immigration issue will go away – perhaps.

          1. Synapsid


            Forced to annex Canada? No no–a Texan colleague of mine put it correctly: We would be forced to import democracy.

          2. Wukchumni

            There will have to be a few changes made when the annexation comes along due to pc measures, such as Manitoba, will henceforth be Personitoba.

  5. jefemt

    “…. insurance is the fiction being examined.”

    Than goodness ‘they’ are not taking that scrutiny to Health Insurance!

    Yell F I R E !

    My cynical self says that the “I” in F I R E is a solid, unthreatened leg of that three-legged stool, the bedrock of capitalism. So, it will get the backing, support, laws, regulations, bail-outs it needs whenever it needs.

    Stool, indeed.

    1. CloverBee

      As a wildfire survivor, I fail to understand why this is a bad thing. Insurance currently gives us a discount because we have mitigated the property and have significant defensible space. Local regulators have stated that it is better to have insurance enforce mitigation than laws and zoning so neighbors cannot weaponize it against each other. Let the free market work, they say!

      While I see those claims as dubious, I think insurance can actually respond faster than laws in getting people to take care of the land they own. Before our fire, many neighbors refused to mitigate at all because they “like the trees”. Attaching significant monetary costs to not mitigating benefits the entire ecosystem.

      1. inode_buddha

        LOL I think you guys are talking past each other… F I R E being an acronym for “finance, insurance, and real estate” sector. As in, sector of the economy. I think you guys are on about two different subjects and got all mixed up.

      2. Wukchumni

        We keep waiting for the other shoe to drop on our insurance coverage on our abodes, and probably our strongest point is that we’re covered by 2 different insurance companies, slitting our risks in half.

        It’ll be nearly a decade since i’ve been clearing the land of dead wood & the like, with only a couple acres to go and it’d be kismet if were we to get the axe, and had our forestress of defensible space in place.

  6. GramSci

    The advantage of taking a “closer look at infant mortality” is apparently that the study (WaPo? – – there’s no link to the underlying study) can ignore the forest for the trees: the only mention of race is a geographical consideration – – that black mortality is the same in the Delta and in Appalachia. (NC readers are well aware that black infant mortality in the US is 2x the white rate.)

  7. Steve H.

    > First as Tragedy, Then as Fascism

    Whew. Worth reading, with a lot of salt. There are so many angles here, it’s helpful to provide specifics of the orientation of discussion.

    A. Dunning-Kruger effect:

    Here are three examples of great thinkers who aimed at the reefs; including their big idea, and fallacious hubris:
    1. Richard Dawkins popularized two great ideas (‘The Selfish Gene’ and ‘The Extended Phenotype’), but went off the rails shouting about unprovables, ie atheism.
    2. Richard Herrnstein gave a fundamental law of cross-species behavior (‘The Matching Law’), but tarbabied himself to racial distinctions (‘The Bell Curve’), by ignoring that within-group variance is higher than across-group variance.
    3. Garrett Harden communicated the perverse incentives of inequality in a limited environment, but also put himself into the divisive politics of race.

    In all these case, the gifts they gave became tainted by their expressed opinion outside the area of expertise. In Harden’s case, the linked article notes “Hardin argues that the competitive exclusion principle cannot be “subject to proof or disproof by facts, ordinarily understood.”” Except that David Tilman provided an expanded framework in 1982 which exposed Hardin’s hubris.

    Virtually ignored (perhaps deliberately) is the discussion of inequality. China’s population restrictions are discussed, but not that, in 1979, Deng stated a goal of quadrupling GDP per capita by the end of the century. That has been close to achieved, but so has the vast increase in the GINI coefficient. How many kids Bezos or Epstein has does not matter, it’s the tremendous concentration of wealth that undercuts any political-economic solutions.

    This point, hidden within the article, only lightly touched further at the end, is the point which is more deeply touched on in the review of “The Code of Capital.” This quote more directly touches on the root of unequal suffering than all the multilateral identitarian howling:

    “Carbon intensive industries, and not poor populations, are the primary culprit of the climate crisis.”

    1. Carolinian

      But there’s more to environmentalism than just carbon. AGW may be easier to solve than the species loss and wilderness loss brought on by an ever more crowded world. And until AGW is solved, population increase is a definite factor. This is why the Sierra Club once cited immigration as an environmental problem but then dropped it when rightwing groups tried to muscle in and it became a political issue. Here’s an article summarizing that debate.

      1. Steve H.

        I don’t disagree, the Baffler article is written by a Sierra Club employee, and he links to an article that directly supports your point.

        What is touched on within the article is a point Hardin makes, which is that the population increase is supported by Green Revolution agriculture, which is fossil fuel supported along its entire supply chain. Remove the pesticides, fertilizers, and global transport, and population crashes in multiple environments, in particular arid (like California) and urban (where population growth is centered).

    2. Susan the other`

      Katharine Pistor’s The Code of Capital – How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality. LSE. Not surprisingly this review focused on the difficulties of creating global capital that is consistent in spite of the various sovereign codes which do not actually agree because some are civil code and some are common code. Common code being the most flexible for wealth creation; civil code best for social justice. The premise that capital is an asset that is upheld by the legal code. Created by the legal code to be and perpetuate wealth for the owners. That’s a very accurate description of the possibilities of defining, or redefining, what is an asset. I think we are on the verge of defining the environment to be an asset and creating code that specifies the protection of the environment to create wealth. In many ways this is a direct relationship (say oceans and fishing); others not so apparent. But the question of global capital which the LSE, naturally, wants to examine is one that will lead to (imo) the conclusion that global assets, global wealth, must be universally owned.

  8. The Rev Kev


    Apparently the US military has refuse to release any radar records that would show the missile tracks that hit that Saudi oil installation not long ago and from which direction that they came from. There was an initial release of a radar map showing those missile tracks and from which direction they originated but it was quickly withdrawn when it was found that somebody had use a Sharpie to add them into that map.

    Great looking wolves there at play in today’s Antidote du Jour. I have seen films of them at play and they are just like big dogs playing games with each other.

    1. timidvole

      wolves playing — I thought the one on the right was doing their “spring up into the air and pounce on prey hiding in the snow” routine.

  9. DJG

    Thanks for the coverage of Brazil, which is a black hole for information in the U S of A. (I am reminded of the “Latin American” anthology I received not so long ago that included any number of middling Spanish-speaking writers and confined its coverage of Brazilian literature to a book review–that’s “coverage” of Brazil, which has produced Clarice Lispector and Joaquim Maria Machado di Asis.)

    A pertinent quote from the interview with Lula above (by the estimable Pepe Escobar), a quote filled with Brazilian cordiality and more than a touch of saudades:

    At one point, Escobar asks Lula if he thinks that Obama “stabbed him in the back”, through NSA spying and it’s role in the corrupt and politically biased Lava Jato investigation. Lula responds that he does not think it was Obama’s fault. “Have you ever bought something when you were traveling abroad and, when you return home, nobody in your family can figure out how to put it together? This is what happened to Obama. He was very young and inexperienced.”

    1. Carolinian

      My brother is constantly complaining about Win 10 and Microsoft’s adoption of a “Windows as a service” business model. At the same time they have made Windows practically free for home users, thereby almost if not quite following the lead of Google and others.

      I use Linux–which really is free–but still have Windows on an older computer. It’s not Windows 10.

      1. Carla

        I use Linux as well, and the transition was surprisingly easy, though I admit my in-house tech support installed Linux, gave me tips, and answered my (relatively few) questions. We stopped with Windows 7.

        We also use Firefox and Startpage instead of, say, Chrome and Google. (And we boycott Amazon. No Prime membership in this household).

      1. inode_buddha

        I can highly recommend Apache OpenOffice as a substitute — I’ve had no problems at all, interacting with MS Office users. I stopped using Windows back in1998, started using linux and now using FreeBSD.

      2. Alternate Delegate

        LibreOffice gets distributed with Ubuntu linux and works fine for opening those annoying docx and xlsx files you get sent at the office. And you can install LibreOffice on your legacy Windows machine as well, so you can use odt (which is better than docx) at the office as well.

        1. lordkoos

          +1 on this. I was pleased to find that LibreOffice came pre-installed with Linux Mint and seems to open MS Office documents without a hitch.

          The latest Windows 10 build (1903) was horrible, the last straw for me. I’ve been happily using Linux Mint for the last few weeks and love it. My laptop is also faster with less intensive CPU usage as Linux uses fewer resources that Windows. It is easy to install Linux as a separate OS dual-booting with Windows so you can try it out. Or you can even run it from a USB stick to see if you like it first.

          1. Tom Bradford

            This was my route from Windows to Mint and I’ve never looked back.

            Still have to keep Windows on my games PC tho’ as many of my favourite games are Windows only, and the Linux drivers for the graphics cards aren’t as good as the Windows ones.

    2. Crestwing

      You can still make a local account on Windows 10, even in the 1903 update, but Microsoft hides it from you.

      When you are setting up a new computer, select “I do not have the Internet” option on the lower left of the screen. If you connect to the Internet, you will lose the ability to create a local account.

      Microsoft, not playing fair, will warn you of all the things you are losing by not connecting to the Internet. Do not take the bait. Do not connect to the Internet until after you have completed the local account set up.

      1. notabanker

        Thanks for firmly convincing me that the new machine I’m building will have linux. Seriously, much appreciated.

    3. BobW

      I used Linux Mint for years, because I did not like the Ubuntu UI. (Stuck with Ubuntu version 10.04 way past its use by date, which was the last version with their old UI.) Just this year I switched one laptop to Ubuntu 18.04, because it loads remarkably faster than Mint, and got used to the UI enough so that this is the one I use most of the time now. I haven’t used Office except for work, since before retiring that was what was on the MacBook Pros my employer provided to full-timers.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Taiwan greets China’s massive 70th anniversary celebrations with a collective shrug”

    Bit off topic here but I have to mention something that occurred to me the other night and this article reminded me of it. So China has about $1.1 trillion in US Treasuries right? And right now there is a trade war between China and the US. Now there is a mob called the American Bondholders Foundation who owns about 20,000 bonds issued by pre-1949 China and I suspect that some of it dates back to Imperial China. The ABF are demanding that China pays them the $750 million on the full value and interest owing on those old bonds and have lobbied Trump to back them up. Here is a link to that story-

    So of course some of the China hawks are demanding that the Chinese-owned US Treasuries be seized/stolen to pay off these old debts. Now forgetting the effect on US Treasuries if this would ever happen, properly speaking the Chinese government that fled to Taiwan is the one that issued these bonds so would it not be up to Taiwan to be responsible for those hokey old debts?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps refinancing is possible for Taiwan.

      She can borrow against her claim on Vladisvotok, or oil rights in South China Sea, to pay off those $750 million, if those bondholders would recognize Taibei’ sovereignty over China, historical (bonds) or present (territories).

  11. dearieme

    “Acting DNI Shows Why Generals and Admirals Should Not Become Top Civilians”

    Oh I don’t know; Eisenhower did pretty well. And Washington.

    On the other hand there’s the yarn about Wellington when he had just become Prime Minister. Allegedly he said of his cabinet colleagues “I called ’em together and gave ’em their orders and, do you know, they expected to stay to discuss them.”

    1. rd

      Washington and Eisenhower are the exceptions that prove the rule. Both of them served in top dog positions where much of their role was to work the civilian politics and international relations side of war instead of executing the military strategies and tactics. Most of those details were left to their subordinates. George Marshall is another who was in a similar role and made major contributions in “civilian” roles. Washington was also a successful businessman, essentially a polymath of military, politics, and business.

      US Grant was also a General of Armies who had independently developed his own strategies at the highest levels in the Mississippi and Peninsula campaigns. He was generally a good president but he hadn’t gotten engaged enough in the civilian politics during the Civil War to understand how venal many politicians are, so his Administration ended up with major scandals.

      1. Tomonthebeach

        Actually, Admirals like Maguire are the exception; not the rule. That article got pasted with umbrage today from people like me as it was as patently biased as it was uninformed. While such stereotypes have been around for decades, that does not make them correct. Having participated in officer promotion boards, the vast majority of flags up for a 3rd or 4th star have had 3 DC tours, and oodles of leadership training and experience – often in combat roles. All those jobs demand a strategic viewpoint – especially when politics ads dimensions with the Beltway. After Nam and a PhD, I spent the rest of my 32 year Navy career in DC working closely with and for Admirals and Generals. The civilian sector should see such leadership skill in evidence. Cynically, keep in mind that CEOs rarely have to lead anybody into combat. We would never see Trump or Musk or Giuliani stumble like Maguire, right?

  12. JTMcPhee

    “Al-shabaab militants attack US military base near Mogadishu
    The Islamist group also detonated a car bomb targeting an EU military convoy on Monday in the Somalian capital,”

    US troops doing “training,” at one of the 806 or so “bases” and “installations” and “outposts” and “lily pads” of imperial overreach, and taking casualties to thereupon justify vengeance by bombing and droning and such. “Terraists,” ya know, got to be crushed everywhere! Only white privileged suburbanites get to tell thugs to “Get off my lawn!”

    Ho hum, just another day out in the borderlands of the Empire….

    The only way to win is not to play the game?

  13. notabanktoadie

    re Decades of neoliberalism, neocolonialism and now climate injustice have pushed Haiti to the brink. from What is really behind the crisis in Haiti?

    One consequence of limiting the domestic use* of fiat to depository institutions is the so-called “natural interest rate” is ZERO percent (except during financial crisis).

    So we get a two-fer from government privilege for the banks? I.e., not only can the domestic population be oppressed in a variety of ways but foreign countries can be driven into debt with the fiat the domestic population can’t use?

    *except for mere coins and paper bills.

  14. Craig H.

    > LISTEN UP BOJO Boris Johnson’s allies accused him of shutting them out to listen to Leave guru Dominic Cummings and girlfriend Carrie Symonds

    The absolute weirdest stuff you can possibly imagine (and even weirder) can be found on the internet about Cummings. He maybe makes Steve Bannon look like Bill Moyers or Pat Buchanan.
    Cummings Monster or guru? What Dominic Cummings’ blog tells us about him
    This one is from the Guardian. They compare him to Rasputin.

    Dominic Cummings: how the Brexit referendum was won
    This is from Less Wrong in January 2017. For an eon all politics was taboo on Less Wrong but some time after I stopped reading it they tossed that I guess.

  15. Carey

    Caitlin Johnstone- ‘CIA, Climate And Conspiracy: More Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix’:

    ‘..May 2019: Progressives get to choose between Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard and Marianne Williamson.
    September 2019: Progressives get to choose between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
    May 2020: Progressives get to choose between Elizabeth Warren and fuck you.”

  16. Larster

    Re Canadian snowbirds in Az.

    They have charter flights during the winter so that Canadians can get medical procedures done under their health program. Seems that they are smart enough to not pay the rack rate in AZ.

  17. jrs

    Los Angeles county has changed it’s voting from a hand-marked machine counted ballot to a touch screen ballot (so that it is now entirely and not just partially automated). Why this change now, and ONLY NOW that California’s presidential primary actually matters (it is usually too late to be a factor).

    Because we actually have the potential to lead the political revolution not just nationally but locally? I think that’s possible, not because it’s the most political place, it’s not, it’s largely apolitical here in So-cal. But because voters are already deep blue, it doesn’t take that much to convince them Dem politics aren’t ENOUGH, they don’t need to first be won away from the right, since they aren’t on the right, they only need to be won from the centrists Dems.

    BTW although I can’t say if it’s the majority, I think Sander’s support is actually VERY THICK in L.A. county, far more than is being picked up.

    I did mock voting and there was a cultish factor to the mock voting place, where you were asked what you thought and if you so much as expressed the mildest of disagreement with the change as in preferred the old way better, you were strongly pressured to agree the new way was better. Serious group think.

    1. Dan

      Watched a great video on Youtube about Bernie’s first L.A. County disenfranchisement through deliberate misinstructions given to county registrars of voters, and cheating the voters.


      May 16, 2016 “Hillary Clinton’s supporters will be holding a fundraiser in Riverside on Saturday, May 21 featuring California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.”

      Same crook is once again in charge of all ballot counters in California.

      Talk about nerve:
      “California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (says) he’s prepared to “push back” hard if the president-elect, who has never withdrawn his unfounded claim of widespread voting fraud in California, takes actions “harmful” to state voters.”
      Padilla got reelected by the state’s Democratic voters, and once again controls how votes are counted. He’ll probably do to Bernie again.

      1. inode_buddha

        This needs to be spread far and wide in Calif. I’m pretty sure the behavior constitutes a dereliction of duty or breaking an oath of office or something. Unfortunately I’m not in Calif. but I should spread this somehow anyway.

      1. Wyoming

        This is true of a large percentage of the locals here in AZ. The ‘I won’t live long enough to worry about that.’ is a common response to a host of current topics in the community I live in. It is not to welcome when I then ask them ‘What about your grandchildren?’

        It is certain that the community I live in is going to have serious water issues in about 20 years. But this has no impact on approving more development what-so-ever. I have an outside chance of living that long but a good third of the population will likely be long gone by then. It will be like Dune and we will be drinking our recycled piss – yummy.

        1. neo-realist

          That the rigid ideological box of the oldsters be shaken by the thought of ……..grandkids! How shocking that they get upset at being questioned about the impact of their choices on the young:).

          1. JTMcPhee

            A lot of”oldsters” do care very much about the effect their past and present choices (if lockstep neoliberal Bernaysian consumerism offers much choices) have and will have on coming generations, however many there may be as or species runs its course. A lot of that “development” in AZ and FL is being done by and for “youngsters” who vote their preferences (see e.g. housing prices in youngie places like SilValley and San Francisco and Seattle. I’m 73 and I care very much, so do most of the many people I interact with in my age set. And some of us are even participating politically to do something about it. Including, we hope, crushing the “boxes” that the divide-and conquer folks among the Rich are spending so lavishly to force us all into.

            Does dissing an age set constitute “ad hominem?” It sure ain’t smart politicking for anyone hoping to bring “better” to all of us, but it sure is smart politics for the Rich and their remoras.

        2. Wukchumni

          It will be like Dune and we will be drinking our recycled piss – yummy.

          Can’t you already experience toilet to tap in a number of American cities?

            1. JTMcPhee

              And statistics tell us we are breathing oxygen and nitrogen molecules that have passed through the lungs of Gandhi and Hitler, Genghis Khan and (pick your favorite saint) as well as drinking in and incorporating into our cells molecules of H2O that have passed through the kidneys of billions of other humans and animals. Yep, that is how nature works.

              Where I live (FL,) there’s been talk of “reclaiming” pisswater for drinking purposes. Idiot people oppose, on the grounds of “EEEEWW!” Ignorance of the hydrologic cycle is no excuse. Too bad we Americans are almost all grossed out by compost toilets too, or using alternatives to Reaally Cool Grossly Expensive secondary and tertiary industrial-style wastewater treatment like marshes and stuff,, though of course these are location-specific. There is a lot of use of the poop processed in WWTPs in the form of “humanure,”

              We could have done so much better…

    1. rd

      They don’t necessarily move. Many go back to Canada in the spring and just go down to the southern US for the depths of winter. They stay under the 6 month limit and maintain Canadian residency and healthcare.

    1. xkeyscored

      It’d be interesting to have the opinions of people with military experience here. Does the action in these videos look realistic and plausible? Has it been staged? Would those tactics work in that terrain? Etc etc?

      1. Foy

        Highly recommend the Retired Colonel Pat Lang’s Sic Semper Tryannis blog mentioned by GF above for military geopolitical strategy/tactics/insights especially in Middle East/Ukraine, a number of ex-vets comment on the posts there that give valuable insights as well, the comments are often very good. He worked and lived in the Middle East for 20+ years, is a Professor of Arabic, amongst host of other skills and experience. He said the Iraq war would be a mistake and that there weren’t weapons of mass destruction there beforehand. Anyone who stood up back then has earned credibiltiy in my book. He has said for a long time that the Saudi Military is the laziest in the world, so what happened with the Hothi doesn’t surprise me. Colonel said he lived in the Houthi area for a while and that the Houthi’s are tough.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I saw the Houthi press briefing with the longer versions of the films clips we saw online and it is obvious that it was a major victory. However, on Aussie TV last night there was much use of the word “alleged” this and “alleged” that in describing Houthis claims. There must be a severe case of butthurt going on in some political quarters. Most of those captured soldiers were dressed in civies and looked like they were rounded up unemployed people which was not far from the truth-

      I had this vision of Mohamed bin Salman being seen wandering the halls of his palace, rendering his robes and shouting “Yemen! Yemen! Give Me Back My Brigades!”

  18. Wukchumni

    If we get a religious civil war as promulgated by the President, what color uniforms will various dogmas be sporting on the field of battle…

    Will the regular U.S. Armed Forces align themselves with the evangs, and sport IXOYE fish stickers on their shirt sleeves, just below small old glory patches?

    1. ambrit

      In that case, we all know what a Red State believes in. De Debbil that is. Not De Debbil you fear.
      Seriously now, I fear the rise of Goog and Magoog. They are the gatekeepers to the Temple after all.

      1. Wukchumni

        It’d be downright estranged, being caught behind enemy lines here in the red bastion of the state, where fruits & nuts of all sorts, dominate.

          1. Wukchumni

            You occasionally see corn pops here and there to be fed to the bessies as fodder for making milk powder to be sent to China, but i’d guess our neck of the woods is about 95% food forest.

      2. skippy

        And here I thought there was no 4th Jerusalem on offer, albeit the fracas about the 3rd one might still be in play ….

        Now wouldn’t it be fun if some of the Trump stuff correlates to his past Moscow beauty pageant / Oligarchical footsie antics …

        1. ambrit

          Well, you know how it is. One book for the faithful and one for the gentiles. After a while, meld them together and call it divinely inspired.
          As for Trump and Margarita…. watch out for those broomstick riding nomenklaturae.

          1. skippy

            Moscow is the third, see crazy Emperors letters about do or die trying, we see the underpinnings on the forth gaining steam from the land of light thanks to Bush Jr years.

            Yet with Trump I think is just business … and brand …

            1. ambrit

              As it is set down in the Book:
              “And lo! There was a cacodaemoneal skirling of bagpipes, and the Third Deal was opened! And within, in letters of fire was the Unholy Name! that Name which strikes fear in the hearts of the Initiated, Publius Donaldus, Vice Regent of the Properties Infernal.”
              “And then I heard an unholy choir chanting in praise of the evil ones; ‘Neo, Neo, Neo, all is Neo,’ while all about endlessly whirling dervishes navigated a seamlessly shattering synchrony of mutually maleficent mutilations.”
              The rest is a mind corrupting blur.
              If I must visit the Infernal Regions, I would like for Howard Philips Lovecraft to be my cicerone.
              Now that I meditate upon it, the concept of a Fourth Temple is truly Infernal, but well within the reach of the present crop of Politicos. My vote as to the location of the Fourth Temple would be the National Mall.

              1. ambrit

                Musings on methods. The Fourth Temple could be designed and built through a DoD grant managed by DARPA run by the Booz Allen Hamilton Abiff Corporation. Then, when sea level rise has swamped The Swamp, the submerged Temple could be reused for the worship of the Dread Lord Cthulhu. Esoteric Ecumenism is a particularly American Tradition after all.
                Anyway, I’m going to keep ascribing those sounds I hear that no one else seems able to apprehend to tinnitus.

  19. verifyfirst

    Re: potential mis-pricing of mortgage risk due to climate change: a recent study says big banks are moving these loans to Fannie and Freddie. I don’t know if that is correct, since TBTF have no particular incentive to avoid risk of any sort, but fyi

    Published on
    Friday, September 27, 2019
    byCommon Dreams
    As Climate Crisis Threatens to Put More Homes ‘Literally Underwater,’ Study Warns Big Banks Offloading Risky Mortgages Onto Taxpayers

    1. JTMcPhee

      The Marines are all about the chain of command. The Prez is at the top of it. They risk their lives all over the planet to protect the rights of American/supranational corporations and billionaires and banisters to loot freely, and assist in propping up regimes that buy US military toys and overthrowing governments that don’t play footsie nicely with the likes of Lockheed (We Know Who We Are Working For” Martin. Because the Prez and those demonstrably corrupt generals and admirals and the rest tell them that is their “mission.”

      They do take the Soldiers (and slightly different Officers Oath,) by which they pledge as follows:


      “I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

      (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

      Officers a little different:

      “I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.”

      None of that stuff about the President.

      In theory, our Troops are supposed to obey only ‘lawful orders’ and are obligated to DISobey ‘unlawful orders.’ Cops complain about how difficult it is to abide by all the judicially declared restraints and compulsions the Constitution supposedly levies on them. How much more difficult for the Troops to try to figure out what is a lawful order,’ and the primers given to them would make legal scholars scratch their heads, let alone the current crop of Troops::

      How times change…

    1. Oregoncharles

      Because, for the most part, they are spokespeople for the merchant class, aka the plutocrats. The environmental economist Herman Daly said years ago that that commitment goes back to the beginning. Early economists chose sides in the power struggle between the burgeoning merchant class vs. the landowners. They picked the winning side. But that’s one reason most economics is so bad, to the point of dimwitted, on resource restraints.

    2. ewmayer

      Yes, it would be merely laughable if the dismal ‘science’ were not also the one most important to people’s lives and the fate of planet earth, by way of the elite policy choices which it influences.

      There’s one of those Demotivators posters which nails it: “Economics: The science of explaining tomorrow why the predictions you made yesterday didn’t come true today.”

  20. doug

    I hope we learn a big more about the king’s bodyguard. Sounds as if there could be a bit more to the story; and more to come.

  21. Eudora Welty

    I attended a meet-and-greet with Amy Klobuchar in Seattle earlier today. It was in a coffee shop in an upscale neighborhood with few parking opportunities at 9am on the Monday of Rosh Hashanah. (I got there at 6:30am to secure good parking and a spot in line – I was one of only 2 for about 90 mnutes.) The fire-safety capacity is 70 (according to the owner). The Klobuchar crew planned for 70, but I was told by a campaign staffer that there were 400 RSVPs on Facebook, so loudspeakers were being installed for a second room for overflow.

    The best part of the event was chatting with other attendees. Consensus seemed to be that Warren is the best candidate, but the main objective is to defeat Trump.

    The room was packed: I’d say 300 people, mostly older white women. Enthusiasm. Klobuchar said voters want someone they can relate to in the White House, and her spiel was about how Minnesota is so much like Washington State. She spoke briefly about climate matters and praised Inslee. I didn’t hear a word about health care, but she did mention the well-known stat about income inequality being highest since the 1920s or whatever. She spoke without notes for at least 20 minutes.

    She told us she’s never lost an election, but I think Tim Kaine said that, too, and I didn’t feel that that inspired any confidence in me, anyway. During her talk, she made a cute joke about her campaign slogan while running for student body in high school: “All the way with Amy K.”

    My super-early arrival afforded me a seat in front. It seemed that people don’t want handshakes anymore, or autographs, just selfies. With the packed room, she got a little tense. She did speak to and listen to the woman who got a selfie right before me, but – as I got my turn – she just said “uh huh” pre-emptively when I tried to tell her that her father was a big influence on my career choice, clearly not listening, and we snapped the selfie. Maybe it was something about me. I know she was facing an hour of selfie-taking, and I myself would have been thinking about strategy at that moment.

    I still see her as taking this opportunity to run as a way to gain experience and self-promote for a post-Senate career. But people around me said: this election cycle is so chaotic that she could break out.

    I still haven’t looked at the selfie.

  22. sid

    In response to dk’s comment on building an AI model: “Another wild abuse of the term AI, this is image analysis, and training networks to do it takes years and subsequent cycles of verification and further training, which it appears is being incorporated into the marketing of coverage products.”.

    The team I work with has developed evolutionary techniques to generate neural network models. They have shown multiple instances where the evolutionary process generates a more accurate model than hand-tuned. It only takes 1-3 months to generate a model. (The longer times are for models that analyze images.) This is much less than the years it takes to build a hand tuned model.

  23. ewmayer

    Re. “When you’ve lost Rupert Murdoch” — That Sunday Times front page has a typo: the black advert-box at bottom right clearly should read ‘Scandals’, not ‘Sandals’.

  24. Oregoncharles

    “More than 300 former officials call Trump’s actions concerning Ukraine ‘profound national security concern’ WaPo. From the people who brought you Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Syria… Maidan…”
    Technically, that’s an ad hominem (“the people who…”); but I think it’s legitimate, because it invokes their record. It’s like the legal principle that once a witness is caught lying, all their testimony has to be discounted. In this case, not only are they liars, they have a record of malign conduct, so everything they say has to be discounted.

    That said, yes, our entanglement in Ukraine is indeed a “profound national security concern.” But maybe not in the way they mean it.

  25. xkeyscored

    The Military Officials Who Knew Saudi Arabia Would Fail

    A few observations.
    “Frankly, they cannot begin to manage this,” he told me soon after the Saudi intervention. “They have all the toys, but few people who know how to manage them.”
    I know someone who was involved with helping Qatar not with weapons but with its universities. It appears they have the most wonderful science labs imaginable, on a par with the world’s finest, brimming with the very latest most expensive cutting-edge hi-tech gadgets and gizmos, and none of it gets used. Basically, nobody knows how.

    “This history provides context for the September 14 missile and drone strikes on a major oil processing facility inside Saudi Arabia. The U.S. intelligence community has since concluded that the attack, launched from western Iran, accounted for nearly 20 strikes that destroyed four oil tanks and disabled sophisticated oil pumping equipment.”
    launched from western Iran: totally unproven and no evidence presented (see The Rev Kev 9:03pm).
    And a completely preposterous idea. The Persian Gulf area was surely under some serious satellite, plane, drone, radar and communications surveillance at the time. Iran could not have been certain none of its drones/missiles would be detected, even videoed and tracked from base to target. ‘Hard’ proof that the attack came from Iran would probably have led to massive and immediate retaliation. A suicidally risky move for Iran to have made – they’re not at war with KSA or USA. (But for KSA to admit the attack was launched from Yemen would invite the world to say “So? What do you expect?” So Iran it was.)

    According to this official, the U.S. and Iran have been engaged in “a kind of low intensity proxy war” in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon … By one count, the tit-for-tat conflict … has included the bombing of oil tankers, drone strikes on key ports, missile strikes on Riyadh, cross border operations targeting Saudi soldiers, and a drone offensive on the Golan Heights.
    Lots of supposedly Iranian evildoing. What was that about tit-for-tat?

    Iran’s decision to upgrade and expand its support for Iranian proxies in the region … sparked the scrambling of Israeli jets to bomb suspected Iranian bases in Syria, Lebanon, and (most recently) Iraq.
    Ah ha! The tit-for-tat. (And Israel’s been bombing Syria regularly for two years.)

    Anyway, now I get it. The US and UK flood Saudi Arabia with billions of dollars worth of weapons. Saudi blockades and bombs Yemen, using famine and cholera as weapons. In retaliation, Israel bombs Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. In response, Iran attacks Saudi oil facilities. And we won’t even mention the massive capture of coalition soldiers and equipment at the weekend. ‘Hasn’t been proven yet’ (ha! just wait), unlike Iran’s obvious guilt and evil intent. But if it did happen, we can be sure it was Iran.
    And the Yemenis haven’t done anything. Well, they must have done something, or our Saudi coalition partners wouldn’t be bombing and starving them, but nothing really. Not lately anyway. Especially not attack Saudi Arabia. Bite the hand that bombs them? Whyever would they?

    but finally, here, right at the very end, something I can believe:
    Left unsaid, but implied in this assessment, is what the official was careful not to say: that despite all of America’s saber rattling and Mike Pompeo’s bluster, the U.S. is playing an increasingly weak military hand—and it’s only getting weaker.

    1. VietnamVet

      AMOCO’s cctv videos of the Houthis UAV attack are damning. Without close in radar and pinpoint rapid-fire low-level air defenses, everything in the Persian Gulf is vulnerable. Air Force Generals shift their Middle East command center from Qatar to South Carolina. Clearly, the enlistees and mercenaries remaining there are expendable, if the American sanctions and blockade of Iran go south. An oil embargo got Japan to attack Pearl Harbor getting the USA into WWII. WWIII, too?

    2. xkeyscored

      See here for a thorough, excellent and sober analysis of the current KSA/USA/Yemen situation.
      With the Houthis enjoying a high level of leverage, through a combination of missile capabilities, the holding of many prisoners of war, and saboteurs spread throughout Saudi Arabia (apropos, a strange fire occurred in Jeddah on Sunday at the Al-Haramain railway station), it may be time for Riyadh to accept the tragic consequences of this useless war and sit down at the negotiating table with Ansarullah.
      Washington and Tel Aviv will try in every way to prevent such negotiations. But if Mohammed bin Salman and his family wish to save their kingdom, it is better to start talking to the Houthis immediately. Otherwise it is only a matter of time before another attack by Ansarullah leads to the complete collapse and ruin of the House of Saud and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I don’t know how reliable your linked source is – but it is clear that something very big happened there. One thing that struck me looking at the vids is that the road surface was perfectly maintained with no potholes – this strongly suggests that the ambush was in Saudi Arabia, not Yemen. Even if the Houthi’s have exaggerated the extent of their success, that is devastating for MBS, and key evidence that the Saudi’s are now not just losing in Yemen, they are on the defence in their own country.

        1. xkeyscored

          I don’t know how reliable the source (Federico Pieraccini) is either, but it sounds a damned sight more convincing than the official narrative that nothing happened (implied by the almost total lack of MSM reporting), or, as I expect to hear soon, something did happen but it was obviously Iran, not those incapable ignorant stupid drug-addled skirt-wearing Yemeni tribesmen.

  26. Wukchumni

    I believe Miami is on the cutting edge of the solution to homeless camping with their proven a salt efforts flooding the streets. Would it work out west though?

  27. The Rev Kev

    “Saltwater bubbling up from Biscayne Bay onto Miami’s streets.”

    Now here is an interesting question. Southern Florida sits on limestone which is porous. That seawater has traveled through that limestone to appear in the middle of that city and it does elsewhere. So here is the question. If some parts of Florid built seawalls to keep the seas out, will that serve to keep all the sea water behind the walls in and stopping it flowing out to sea?

    1. skippy

      Florida is a bunch of interlinked sink holes, every time a hurricane inundates a wide swath with saltwater its like a catalyst. So per your view there is no keeping it out, additionally it will effect fresh water sources.

    2. Another Rev

      Not necessarily in this case. Storm sewers in coastal Florida are often connect directly into waterways and during an extreme “king” high tide will back up on land. I live on the Gulf side and saw it happen here last week for that reason, though not so dramatically.

  28. The Rev Kev

    “California to play an outsize role in impeachment inquiry of Trump ”

    I bet that that that idea floated recently of swapping Hong Kong for California isn’t looking so bad for Trump now.

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