Links 10/11/19

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The men fighting Florida’s python epidemic 1843 (Steve C)

China grew a plant on the moon — it sprouted two leaves, data indicates Big Think. This is what Lambert calls “web evidence”.

MIT Confirms a Bridge Leonardo da Vinci Designed 500 Years Ago Was an Ancient Engineering Marvel Gizmodo (Kevin W)

The Navy’s Patent for a Compact Nuclear Fusion Reactor Is Wild Popular Mechanics (David L)

Electric cars could be just another ecological disaster Asia Times (resilc)

To Prevent Climate Catastrophe We Must Learn Cooperation and Solidarity Current Affairs (UserFriendly)

The big polluters’ masterstroke was to blame the climate crisis on you and me Guardian (David L)

Scientists are decoding the genetic mechanisms of aging PhysOrg (David L)


Apple has a lot to lose if it crosses China’s party bosses Associated Press


India’s solar and wind boom is fizzling MIT Technology Review (David L)

Farmers Protest Against Free-Trade Pact, Burn Piyush Goyal’s Effigy The Wire (J-LS)

Former US president Barack Obama and wife Michelle in Singapore for public talks in December Strait Times. Grifters gotta grift. And I don’t say that lightly. Clinton made it respectable for Presidents to monetize the office after they left, which creates monster incentives to do official favors and cash in on them later, when Presidents already get a handsome pension. But Obamas way classier than Clintons, they do it in ways not obvious to most people in the US.


Tommie Gorman: ‘Leo has now entered the casino’ RTE. On Varadkar and Johnson signaling that suddenly, progress is being made. From PlutoniumKun:

Some surprisingly upbeat noises coming from the Irish side following the meeting with BoJo. O’Gorman is a reputable journalist, he seems to think something genuinely new happened. it might be that they feel they have come up with a variation of the Irish Sea border that could keep the DUP onside.

But my guess is that Varadkar has fallen for BoJos usual game of telling everyone what they want to hear. I wonder if Cummings is working in the background to undermine any possibility of a deal concocted by Bojo one way or another.

Boris Johnson cannot get a majority unless he delivers Brexit on October 31st, latest polling suggests Telegraph. In case you had any doubts about his incentives.


Iran Oil Tanker Hit by Missiles Off Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Coast Bloomberg. Hoo boy.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The biggest lie tech people tell themselves — and the rest of us Vox (Dan K). Today’s must read.

Florida is scooping up huge amounts of data on schoolchildren, including security camera footage and discipline records, and researchers are worried CNBC (Kevin W)

Planting Tiny Spy Chips in Hardware Can Cost as Little as $200 Wired (David L)

Political Campaigns Know Where You’ve Been. They’re Tracking Your Phone. Wall Street Journal

Trump Transition

Trump distances himself from indicted Giuliani associates The Hill

We have no idea who is paying Rudy Giuliani Washington Post (resilc)

Trump Lashes Out at Fox News Poll as Barr Meets With Murdoch New York Times (resilc)

President Trump is at war with the rule of law. This won’t end well Rebecca Solnit, Guardian

Lindsey Graham dishes on Trump in hoax calls with Russians Politico (resilc)

Trump struggles to win back Iowa farmers with new ethanol plan The Hill


Trump’s EU Envoy Subpoenaed to Appear Before House Committee Bloomberg

Joe Biden worked with whistleblower when he was vice president, officials reveal Washington Examiner (Steve H)

Ukraine president: ‘No blackmail’ in conversation with Trump Associated Press (furzy)

Democrats Face an Impeachment Conundrum in Trump Country Vanity Fair

Democrats Must Admit Joe Biden’s Family Profits Off Him Intercept (resilc)

Health Care

Did Marketplace Coverage Really Offer Financial Protection? Roosevelt Institute (UserFriendly)


Still little evidence that Warren is taking voters from Sanders Carl Beijer (UserFriendly)

Could Facebook Actually Nuke Elizabeth Warren’s Campaign? New York Times (David L)

Why Warren—And Trump—Could Make 2020 the Year of the Woman Vanity Fair (resilc)

Gabbard Threatens to Boycott Debate, Alleges DNC ‘Rigging Election Again’ National Review (furzy)

California Burning

It’s Lights Out in California to Deal With Climate Risks Scientific American

AT&T, Verizon Race to Shore Up Service Threatened by PG&E Outage Bloomberg (David L)

California’s High Gasoline Prices Are No Accident Forbes (David L)

SUPREME COURT OF NEW YORK STOPS PACIFICA’S ATTACK ON WBAI Pacifica In Exile (Adam R). Just so you know, confusingly, “Supreme Court” in New York is actually the lowest level of trial court in the state.

Bankrupt U.S. Coal Producer Closes Four Mines After Prices Slump Bloomberg (furzy)

Better data on modern finance reveals uncomfortable truths Gillian Tett, Financial Times (David L). As Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff showed in their work on 800 years of financial crises, high levels of international capital flows are strongly correlated with large and frequent financial crises.

Class Warfare

No More Half-Measures on Corporate Taxes Joseph E. Stiglitz, Project Syndicate (UserFriendly)

Neoliberalism Is the True Villain of ‘Joker’ TruthDig (John Z)

The Radical Guidebook Embraced by Google Workers and Uber Drivers New York Times (resilc)

“We can unlearn hate”: Steven Spielberg and Alex Gibney talk new docuseries CBS (James D)

Why the upper-middle class would benefit from socialism The Week (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour (furzy):

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. taunger

    For all the cynical takes on Greta, pls recognize that Fatboy Slim remix is some powerful movements building stuff. Exposing so many to the message in an emotionally charged manner will do something even door knocking can’t – form a positive emotional association with the call to radical action.

    1. notabanker

      Yeah, well it’s exactly what the “radical action” part will be that is of concern. It’s all fun and games marching in the street now. When the ‘woke’ realize the population is too large to support without fossil fuels, what then?

        1. jrs

          I know really, if that is indeed the case realizing it or not will make no difference either way, other than more people will do what many millenials already are and not have kids, maybe. And how can that be anything but a positive development in that case?

        2. Titus

          AD Chris, it is not going to work that way, if the future is the Long Fade Away, rather than collapse as the science indicates. The book “The Human Tide: How Population Shaped the Modern World”, lays out the case for what was happened, is happening, and will likely happen. Long story short, global population is hitting peak about now, and given climate science, which is science, human population by 2100 is likely to in the range of 1.5 – 2.0 Billion. Simply because life expectancy will decrease from the 80s to the 50s, the birthrate will collapse, and infant morality will increase significantly. Right now the numbers are approximately 100 million new births and 50 million new deaths a year. But, as part of a trend these numbers are slowing. The books states that it wouldn’t be all that hard for deaths to increase to over 200 million a year and births to a less then 2.1 replacement rate. Depopulation occurs pretty quickly. Consider Soviet Union peak: 288 million, Russia 144 million (adjusted for reorganization), and falling. Consider 1950 2.2 billion to 7.7 Billion in 2019. @1.5C° things are hard. @2.0C° things are brutal. No country for kids or old men.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Sorry, this timetable is all wrong.

            Scarcity of potable water starts at 2050.

            We are seeing a combination of sea level rises and bigger storms now that will lead to mass migrations way before them, and even more wars over resources.

            Our modern systems are very fragile. Watch what happens when electricity becomes even less reliable and scarcity of materials and wars lead to fractured supply chains. How long do you think anything resembling civilization lasts when chips aren’t in reliable supply.

            And I’m not even factoring in the odds of a collapse of bees. If that happens, you see starvation and massive reduction in human and animal populations is less than a decade.

            1. Aumua

              With all due respect, no one knows the future. A lot can happen between now and 2050, even completely unforeseen things. That said… things are not looking good.

      1. Robert Valiant

        What then? The poors will slowly (or quickly) die off and the hard working capitalists will have robot butlers and self driving electric cars. Duh.

      2. xkeyscored

        What then?
        You sound like you’ve already realised it, so what about right here, right now?
        Besides, who says at least some of the climate strikers and extinction rebellionists haven’t realised it?

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


        On the moon, now that it’s possible to grow two-leaf vegetables?

        “Vegans for Lunar Living.”

    2. Monty

      When I called the UN and asked if my 11 year old son could come and give a speech to the delegates about some issues he finds upsetting, there didn’t seem to be a clear path to make it happen.

  2. Off The Street

    Fires in LA area kicked up overnight and high winds today will push them and a lot of smoke. We’re downwind and not in immediate path of any flames but breathing smoky air and likely to evacuate somewhere tbd.

  3. flora

    re: impeachment and Biden

    From Ukraine InterFax news agency-

    KYIV. Oct 9, 2019 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden received $900,000 for lobbying activities from Burisma Group, Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada member Andriy Derkach said citing investigation materials.

    Derkach publicized documents which, as he said, “describe the mechanism of getting money by Biden Sr.” at a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine’s press center in Kyiv on Wednesday.

    “This was the transfer of Burisma Group’s funds for lobbying activities, as investigators believe, personally to Joe Biden through a lobbying company. Funds in the amount of $900,000 were transferred to the U.S.-based company Rosemont Seneca Partners, which according to open sources, in particular, the New York Times, is affiliated with Biden. The payment reference was payment for consultative services,” Derkach said.

      1. Winston Smith

        Can you comment further on this link? It is an hour long video with comments turned off. What is the context? Apart from featuring Biden on the subject of “standing up to the Kremlin”

        1. Wyoming

          Will this help?

          This link from the Council for Foreign Relations site has the video and text for the meeting if that will help. The meeting was to advertise/promote the Jan/Feb issue.

          Additionally they state that a specific part of the meeting is

          …Sitting to the vice president’s right is Michael Carpenter—your left—he’s going to be our—is the senior director at the Penn Biden Center, and he’s the former DAS—secretary—deputy secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, and the two of them are co-authors of the recent article in this same issue: “How to Stand Up to the Kremlin: Defending Democracy Against Its Enemies.”

          Let me just say that their piece addresses many of the same issues as a just-published special report by our own Bob Blackwill and Phil Gordon on how to respond to Russia’s intervention in the 2016 presidential election, and more broadly how to respond to the geopolitical challenge that Russia poses to the U.S. interests around the world…..

          And in the video/text one finds Biden ‘bragging’ about how he manipulated/forced the Ukrainians to fire the prosecutor by threatening to withhold a billion in loan guarantees.

          I’m all in for impeaching Trump. I’m also in the #neverbiden camp.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            So you think the Republican Senate will vote to impeach Trump?

            And remind me what impeachment would do, aside from letting the NPR tote bag crowd chortle a little and feel all fuzzy for a minute? And I guess you’d prefer President Pence?

            OK OK I get it. We need to impeach so that future presidents cannot have private conversations and make deals with foreign leaders. So that intelligence agents can gain the place as the only “legitimate” whistleblowers. So Dems learn what to think from the nice CIA man on CNN. And we need to enshrine impeachment, not superior policy, as the route for any losing party to overturn the results of an election.

            I’m for impeachment for another reason: so the hapless plebes can understand once and for all that the Democratic Party has absolutely no interest in doing anything that will actually make their lives better.

            I think it plays out like this: instead of being defeated by superior Dem candidates, superior Dem policies, superior organization, and superior voter mobilization, in the ultimate irony Trump defeats himself. He just can’t quite control his own Tweeting arrogance and hubris. It’s the ultimate win for Trump: he gets to leave the White House, head held high in defiance, with the fiscal situation in an absolute shambles, with the environmental situation in an absolute shambles, with the foreign policy situation in an absolute shambles. He’s Samson, pulling down the temple around him, all while thumbing his nose at Hilary Delilah with Tweetstorms.

            1. Titus

              Well, as the Colonel would say, thank you Hal. I read your remarks twice, and will I understand the emotion, I don’t think you get it at all. There are outcomes and then there are outcomes. You really think trump wants to one of those presidents that was impeached? As opposed to the greatest? One outcome for the party the last two presidents impeached was the loss of over 1000 state legislators. I’ll take that. While I like and even monthly support Matt Taibbi, he’s not right about everything. He may even have the details right, but not the meaning. As to Thomas Moore, I think Henry Rex 8th was a serial killer, but Moore was a chip off that ole block, and his loss was no loss at all. As to US history I’m having a hard time understanding why right now is any different then back then. Sure different methods, but same motives, & same outcomes. Somebody always wins and somebody always gets the boot.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                And thank you, Titus. Points taken. But I’m not sure you can draw a straight line between Bubba’s impeachment and the loss of 1,000 seats.

                And I think Trump would wear impeachment as a badge of honor.

                And my primary objection to impeachment is what Dems should be doing instead. The “national security” hymnal they trotted out and sang from for a few days was a howler. The legal and Constitutional issues are fuzzy grey zones at best. This lays bare the real rationale: because politics.

                There’s a moveable feast of reasons and ways and means to oppose Trump, but they’ve chosen only to pursue the way best designed to polarize, distract, divide, and bore people even further. Some feelgood Kabuki for one side, nose-thumbing at the other, and absolutely zero real-world impact on peoples’ lives in the drain-circling late stages of an Empire based on war and theft.

    1. pjay

      I’m sure there are enough layers of plausible deniability to allow intrepid reporters at the NY Times or the New Yorker to “thoroughly discredit” this story very soon. Rudi’s pals, on the other hand…

    2. Olga

      Could there be some devious minds in the blob that would like to take down both DT and JB? Two birds with one stone…? Who knows? You’re inspiring me to brush up on my Ukr. and peruse some of the local press.

      1. jrs

        Dem candidates largely aren’t going to go there anyway. Who would, Harris and her doomed career?

        But much of what is being repeated is lies, the rest is just getting positions one otherwise wouldn’t get because you are the son of Biden and well … yea that happens.

          1. Harrold

            It will depend on what her guru Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa AKA Chris Butler tells her.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              By all means, let’s impugn the belief system of the *only* candidate talking about peace.

              We’ll ignore the myths about burning bushes and heavenly hosts and immaculate births and heavenly afterlife that the other candidates subscribe to. Let’s particularly ignore the myths believed by a certain resurgent Republican from Utah whose belief system includes everyone getting their own private planet after death. And please do not mention the belief system of the current Vice President and Secretary of State, who believe certain chosen few will rise up in the clouds to meet The Lord in the air after the globe is consumed in a holy conflagration.

              WTF do I care if Tulsi has a guru. He’s obviously giving her good advice: stop wasting all of our money killing people.

              1. jrs

                It’s problematic. But yes if I had the choice I’d rather someone in a cult that cares about the environment and peace, than Mike Pence and the rapture evangelicals. But many of the Dems are neither evangelicals nor cult members.

            2. Aumua

              Fun fact: I was briefly a devotee of the Jagad Guru in the 90’s. I stayed on a commune in Hawaii. They were quite a cultish sect of Hari Krishnas who used fear and shaming tactics to keep people tied to their movement. The Science of Identity was the name of his supposed system of liberation.

    3. Geo

      It’s kind of shocking that this is the issue the Dems decided to make the impeachment case about. We all expect them to trip over their own feet but this time it looks like they tripped up and tackled Biden on the way down. Either their incompetence is truly limitless, or they are trying to destroy Biden too.

      Once again, the cries about Bernie not being a real Democrat appear to be his best quality. At this point, anyone who has achieved a leadership role in the Dem Party should be immediately disqualified simply for their incompetence if not their bad policies.

      1. ptb

        hey that would be the best thing the DNC has ever done.
        And with Trump impeached there’s no further need for a pro-war/pro-bank/pro-incarceration/longtime-anti-abortion/longtime-dogwhistle-segregationist like Biden, so no reason not to say goodbye to both

        1. Geo

          The problem is that the impeachment is going to fail and Trump will rise from it stronger than before because, once again, he’ll have proof the “deep state” and Dems are trying to stage a coup.

          The entire Dem leadership from Pelosi to Schiff to Schumerto Biden… and the Dem-state media like MSNBC need to be disbanded for how ineptly they’ve bungled this whole “resistance” charade. They, like the RNC in 2016, have failed every step of the way and only made Trump and his base stronger, angrier, and more dangerous. Everything they’ve tried to attack him with has not only flopped but exposed their own corruption just as much.

          I’m happy to see Biden get taken down but horrified by how much they’re given credibility to the right wing victim complex. And, Trump is open about his corruption so the accusations don’t hurt him with his base. They believe he’s their anointed “anti-hero” – the guy who does dirty deeds for a righteous cause. The Dems act holier than thou while hiding their corruption which makes them look like the villain in the narratives they’re trying to weave (they’d fail screenwriting 101).

          Once again, Bernie is the only good Democrat because he’s not a Democrat. Anyone who has sold their soul to that party is corrupted simply by having won the favor of the leadership. I enjoy seeing the new crop trying to challenge them from the inside but prefer Sanders approach of trying to cut off the head by campaigning against the party infrastructure.

          1. Oregoncharles


            Too bad Bernie isn’t willing to carry “not a Democrat” a bit further. It’s time to pull down the temple.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I wonder if some Democrats are wondering if Sanders should go take over the R party, instead (or, much more work, at the same time).

            “Sanders would be the only good Republican, should he try that.”

            1. Procopius

              ??? I don’t see how Democratic Socialism is going to fit into the Republican Party. While Richard Nixon was our last progressive President, even Rockefeller Republicans would never accept Bernie. Or did you forget your /end sarcasm tag? Of course there are a lot of Democrats who would fit into the Taft Republican Party. They call themselves Blue Dogs and New Democrats and Third Way.

          3. Glen Osterhout

            Here’s my theory: Trump never really expected to get elected in the first place. I doubt he is enjoying himself much lately, so why would he even want a second term? I think he wants to get out of it somehow, but without hurting his image with his followers. Resigning or saying he won’t seek a second term makes him a “quitter”. More likely he will start doing things that will be popular with his followers but will erode support with Republicans in the Senate, resulting in his actually getting forced out of office (pulling US troops out of Syria might be a good start). He will then denounce his impeachment as an illegitimate coup, and be even more popular as a result. I’d rather not speculate what could happen next.

            1. kiwi

              pffft. Trump is having the time of his life. Just watch one of his rallies. He revels in the fight and competition.

          4. neo-realist

            Bernie is a Democratic politician in substance in that he is a New Deal Democrat that wants invest in health care, infrastructure creation that spawns employment, and education, unlike the corporate donor sucking austerians of the present day democratic party.

    4. Oregoncharles

      My problem with this whole issue is that it’s utterly entangled with the Russian vs. Ukrainian dispute. I see no reason to think much of anyone is telling the truth, so I see no dispositive way to figure out what really happened.

      It doesn’t look good for EITHER Trump OR Biden, so I don’t understand why the Dems are so set on featuring it.

  4. Winston Smith

    Greenwald on “liberals trusting the CIA”. Liberals don’t really “trust” the CIA. They probably perceive it as a powerful force that can oppose Trump. Whatever conclusion you draw from that can be influenced by many factors-including one’s own bias.

    1. taunger

      My MSNBC watching parents trust the CIA now, which I find an incredibly disturbing situation. And I mean trust, I’ve had longish conversations about it with them. I know the plural of anecdote is not data, but the sweeping manner you dismiss the assertion is in some cases unfounded.

      1. Fraibert

        Another data point: I find a similar situation (both MSNBC watching and willingness to accept the intelligence community as a good faith actor) in my mother.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          me too with my mom.
          after post911, bush darkness epiphany that the police state is real, that the deep state is real, and that corporate america(including corpmedia) is not our friend.
          enter odiousman, and all that’s out the window.
          Rachel sez the cia, et alia are our friends.
          disturbing, discouraging and depressing.
          i’m suspected of being a trumpian,lol.

          1. taunger

            I am accused of being paranoid, although some pushback noting this is a pattern, using prior foreign war instigation, did receive a bit of acknowledgement.

          1. teacup

            My understanding is the CIA is used as mercenaries of large corporations for natural resource appropriation (rent-seeking) and thus its ‘public relations’ tentacles in politics to convince the public sphere.

              1. teacup

                Sure – nowhere near to the same extent tho. How many CIA sponsored coups have there been? Putin’s dissertation was on natural resources, keeping things state run – the US hates that…

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        What issues do they “trust” the cia on? Torture? Rendition? Propaganda? What do they think the cia does?

        By “law,” the cia is not supposed to operate domestically. They are “supposed to” interfere, covertly, in foreign governmental affairs, which can then be sold to gullible americans as the “inevitable” course of events, requiring some sort of american intervention or assistance.

        john brennan’s public, vicious vendetta against Trump has turned that whole thing on its head. He’s leveraging an “intelligence” pedigree into a domestic “legitimacy” that, theoretically, he shouldn’t even have.

        Do you think your parents could pick gina haspel out of a lineup?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


          It depends on how old they are. I was watching an episode ‘Leave It To Beaver,’ where Judy Hensler whistleblew to the teacher that the Beaver was not looking at the flag while pledging the allegiance, and thus, not patriotic.

          If the parents are of that generation (60 years ago, when they were, say around the age of 10), they can be expected to be patriotic.

        2. Jack D

          “What issues do they “trust” the cia on?”

          Sedition against the president? Looks like they’re doing a pretty good job keeping him from doing his job.

        3. Procopius

          By “law,” the cia is not supposed to operate domestically.

          I know for sure that was true of its original “charter.” I don’t know how to construct a search key to find out whether the Patriot Act (thanks creepy Joe) changed that. IANAL, but I would say that John Brennan, in addition to burning at least one asset in the Russian government, violated the original prohibition. I’ve become very disenchanted with Rachel.

    2. The Rev Kev

      What an age we live in. George Bush is an old sweety, Obama is a saint, the CIA are Guardians of the Republic, and the groups that most trust the CIA are liberals, Democrats & Clinton voters. I would venture to say that if you trust the CIA, that if you call yourself a liberal you are not really liberal in your beliefs; that if you are a Democrat, you do not really believe in democracy; and if you are a Clinton voter, you are still suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.

      1. .Tom

        I think that’s partly because facing the truth, that your institutions are corrupt, your democracy is gone and your planet is next, is too terrifying. The yearning for the old “normal” is because it did a better job hiding it.

      2. dearieme

        Has any President attempted to rein in the CIA? I’ve seen JFK sentimentalists claim that he was planning to do it but there seems to be no evidence for the claim. His actions don’t suggest to me that he intended anything of the sort. He blamed a few CIA bigwigs for the Bay of Pigs, fired them, and pretty much left matters there.

        A foreigner might think that 9/11 should have prompted some sweeping reform of the FBI and CIA but it didn’t seem to. Why not?

        1. Pat

          Because the old school Bush ties would never allow that. Remember GHWB was head of the CIA. They also needed them to gin up evidence to support the Iraq invasion. For years I have thought that the massive failure re 9/11 was not only the excuse Cheney and friends needed for the public, but was also the bully stick they needed to keep both diplomats and spooks opposed in line. Even then a few went off the reservation to point out it was a very very bad idea.

              1. RWood

                I’d thnick that there are some stories Mr. President has been told that allow him to arm-twist a few in deals or wrestling.

        2. xkeyscored

          “President Kennedy, as the enormity of the Bay of Pigs disaster came home to him, said to one of the highest officials of his Administration that he “wanted to splinter the C.I.A. in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.”
          So did Kennedy say it? Possibly. The only attribution we have is an anonymous source from the Kennedy administration by a New York Times reporter three years after Kennedy was assassinated. I’ve found no record that pre-dates 1966. It’s not exactly like he said it in a public speech or even to a reporter directly.”

        3. Olga

          I recommend JFK and the Unspeakable, Why he was killed and why it matters. You may find an answer there.

      3. Olga

        Yeah, that trump derangement syndrome is some powerful force… accomplishing previously unthinkable stuff. Wonder where this will take USA, USA?

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Sad comment. Maybe if they were chanting “CFR! CFR! CFR! ” it would be better? Or “CIA! CIA! CIA!”? Or maybe “SOROS! SOROS! SOROS! ” ?

            That citizens would want to feel pride in the nation they inhabit does not seem like a mortal sin to me. But it’s flavored with a subtext of approval for how the nation and its leader currently operate in the world, which of course is lamentable.

            1. JBird4049

              Worse, I think is to try to link the hundred year old patriotic chant to fascistic jingoism. Not that the United States has not been polluted by that.

              Getting off the topic somewhat, along with neoliberal supporters of our current American regime claiming that the patriotic Stasi are friends we can trust, (revealed next! Augusto Pinochet was a true patriot and President Allende was actually a traitorous socialist) there has been a decades long effort to make it embarrassing to be a patriotic American, or to tie it to something like white nationalism like the “white” working class, or finally to Republican and MAGA Trumpsters.

              Flipping that around, authoritarian jackasses like President Trump, actual white supremacists/nationalists, and the growing fascistic right can claim being patriotic or even just an American can only be them and nobody on the left. Which can mean everyone else is a traitor.

                  1. JBird4049

                    A burger?? Well, I agree that Trump is an authoritarian race monger.

                    I hope no really believes that there are true differences between the parties right now, and if anyone thinks I got some love for the Orange Duce, the now absolutely batty Republican Party, and White Nationalist supporters or Pelosi the Embalmed, the Democratic Clintonista Apparatchiks, and the now conservative Democratic Party, I don’t.

                    Would one want to die by cyanide or a bullet? Is there a difference? You’re still dead.

            2. xkeyscored

              It’s exactly the subtext of approval for how the nation and its leader currently operate in the world that scares me. Or, as commenters note, the context of authoritarian jackasses like race monger President Trump, the background of actual white supremacists/nationalists, and the growing fascistic right.

          2. The Rev Kev

            I have to admit that the first time I heard that chant on YouTube during a gridiron football game, I immediately thought of those old Berlin rallies with chants of Sieg Heil. I even saved that old video clip as it made such an impression.

      4. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        I chanced on this video shared by Renegade Economist yesterday while catching up on the simmering family Brexit civil war, what my Grandchildren are up to etc on FB, It is some woman named Ellen attempting to explain why she is a big Buddy of GW & I believe totally failing in doing so – although the apparently demented & just loving it audience who appear to me at least to have been bussed in from a lunatic asylum.

      1. Geo

        If this is their reasoning it only makes them look dumber. When has that strategy ever turned out well? The Kurds trusted the CIA. How’s that working out for them?

        1. pasha

          don’t blame the kurdish people, they had no choice. surrounded by antagonists, they have always had to take whatever support offered. the sykes-picot treaty sentenced them to a century wandering in the wilderness

        2. Procopius

          Well, the proverb is Arabic. From the little I know of their culture I think it is wrong to take it at face value. I would speculate that an alternate translation would be, “The enemy of my enemy is my ally.” I believe Arabs generally take friendship very seriously and do not use the word the way Americans do to refer to anyone who is not at this moment actively harming our interests. I really don’t think the Kurds were not expecting eventual abandonment, especially in Syria. How many Americans remember how we abandoned the South Vietnamese who had loyally served us?

    3. Carolinian

      So they have so little integrity that they are willing to employ any lie or strange bedfellow to rid themselves of the man they hate? That doesn’t say much for “liberals” if you are correct.

      But at the very beginning of the Trump presidency the NYT announced that new journalistic rules were in effect and they have been. Therefore you may be correct or perhaps those Timesmen and women aren’t really liberals.

      1. Polar Donkey

        Remember 3 years ago when everyone still knew the CIA was bad. Good times.
        Other polling data shows the Roman Praetorian Guard is up to 54% with the Stasi trailing at 47%.

      1. Oregoncharles

        True but maddening, because that “ideal” revolution he’s talking about isn’t happening and CANNOT happen with the Dems in charge. So what approach is he advocating?

        There are times when “whatabout” is appropriate; eg, when discussing how we got here (maybe it’s too late for that), and, even more, when discussing just what to do about it. Because his diatribe leads directly to supporting the Dems – half of the problem – as the lesser evil, an approach that only leads to more evil. As we’ve learned by now.

        And I don’t even know what he IS proposing, because I got disgusted and quit reading before he got to it. Which is a frequent problem with Street. Unfortunately, writing for Counterpunch has made him pretty hyperbolic.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I don’t agree. Trump has executed a hostile takeover of the Republican party. That is what Sanders’ revolution talk is about. If enough voters show they are really serious about wanting something, that makes an enormous difference. Most people don’t do the work to make their political views known.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            I don’t know. trump has consistently felt like an accidental politician from the get-go…he caught the car, and is just muddling through, with neither the stones or the mental capacity to do the job in any coherent manner. it’s ad hoc, the next action determined by whim, or whomever whispered in his ear last.
            it’s a vanity project(possibly encouraged by bill clinton to make Herself look good(as plausible as anything else)).
            Trump’s only anomalous because of his lack of filters…and that caught the car accidental-ness. nothing he’s done or said is all that different from the what numerous repubs of the last 30 years,plus, have done, said, or been caught wishing for…on TV and in beerjoints and church socials across Texas.(and a lot of it gels perfectly with the unstated de facto agenda of the vichy dems)
            trump chewed up the dog whistle and added a bunch of economic nationalism language that just happened to be what many folks were hungering for. this felt like a middle finger to the Bosses, so he won…much to his surprise.
            He ain’t Sauron.(Sauron wants him gone, in fact)

            Street, on the other hand, has pretty consistently run over the line into LOTE…the Saruman Option..”we must join him, Gandalf…we must join the Dark Lord”.
            as far back as 2011, i was yelling at democrats in socmed and real life that we should take note of how the tea party had taken over the gop…and learn from it in endeavoring to take over our own party.
            almost to a person, even back then, this was seen as abandoning black people, gays and womyn(somehow,lol)
            extending that backwards to how the Reagan Revolution happened…with the think tanks, and especially with the ground game and viggurie’s(sp?) mailing lists…ginning up a farm team in the hinterlands…again, “but we cannot abandon IdPol!”.
            finally, as you say, Bernie is doing just that…but without the joseph coors and mellon scaifes bankrolling the effort.

            I’m of the opinion that both parties need to go…just take them into the desert and leave them there.
            neither are interested in the people of this country…and they only manage to keep on because of fear…peddled and shouted from every orifice of the Machine.
            i had hoped that Bernie would go third party…and maybe he will this time around, when Herself descends from the heavens at the convention to save the day.
            it’s how the original GOP was born, after all…and i think it’s exactly what we need today…if such a People’s Party pushes the Machine to abandon the electoral theater and spectacle(what i expect), then at least we’ll be able to see where we’re at, and pretending that everything’s fine, but for trump, will be over.
            I’m weary of the gaslighting.

        2. Oregoncharles

          I decided I really ought to find out where he goes with it. His conclusion is not commensurate with his beginning. It’s actually pretty anodyne.

          I’m not convinced he’s advocating anything, since he sees a “socialist revolution” as an impossible dream. Doesn’t give me anything usable for retail politics, which is what I’m looking for.

          The Repubs failed to stop Trump’s hostile takeover, but the Dems succeeded in stopping Sanders. Suggests that the Dems are LESS democratic of the two – or that the Democratic Party is simply the wrong vehicle. I wrote about the Dem electorate under the Watercooler; the gist is that they’re a remnant, those who can stand a right-wing party. He can’t win the nomination unless he fundamentally reshapes the party – conceivable, but something
          they’re defended against.

          Of course, all that reflects my priors; I fled the D team in disgust 20 years ago.

      2. Cripes

        Paul streets list of impeachable offenses is fairly weak tea, considering George Bush and Barack Obama’s criminal Wars. And the proposition that we will benefit from an intelligence agency coup against the vulgar Trump who has gone off the reservation that will benefit the left or democracy in any way is a unsupportable.
        Trump, is a comic book version of a right-wing populist that we’ve seen many times around the world in recent history. His main weapons are rallies of his core supporters and Twitter tirades. He lacks access to mobilize support from the media, law enforcement and intelligence Services to launch full-scale suppression like the one Obama did against Occupy. He is almost as ineffective as president as he is offensive in every word he utters, and that may be a good thing, considering Pence and what may follow deposing Trump.

        The last thing I would want to see is an emboldened deep state, spook Administration backed by fanatic Clinton revanchists and witless liberals hordes hanging on Rachel Maddows every war mongering word.

        I don’t doubt for one minute there is a genuine right populist revolt against Elite control of government, as deluded and inchoate it as it is, in the trump voters.

        Much more interested in mobilising an election movement to place a Bernie Sanders against Trump in 2020.

        Sadly, any support given by the left to impeach and remove Trump will redound to the benefit of the Clinton Obama wing of the Democratic Party, likely crushing the progressive chance at seizing the convention.

        It’s a hell of a situation. A conundrum.

    4. pretzelattack

      if they believe the russiagate nonsense, they are trusting the cia and noted war criminal/liar mueller. there is no good evidence. so my conclusion is they trust somebody who is telling them what they already want to hear, and it’s a bizarre about face on the well based skepticism toward the cia.

    5. judy2shoes

      The liberals I know do trust the CIA, especially the CIA candidates who ran in the last election as democrats. In one conversation I had with a liberal democrat, I mentioned how uncomfortable I was with all the spooks running for Congress as democrats. Her reply was that they were democrats and so I need not worry. She also said we were lucky to have Nancy Pelosi on our side. Well, all this happened at a group birthday party, and I have decided not to attend again.

    1. Jesper

      Looking at the title of the clip, Funny Animal, then it seems that the clip is supposed to be funny. To me it is about as funny as someone pushing and poking a committed pacifist while hoping for a reaction. If the clip had ended with someone spraying that cat with water and then the cat running off then I might have seen something funny.

          1. paintedjaguar

            Orange kitty might feel moved to show someone how cute his butt looks today and that ridiculous canine would be blocking the view.

  5. David

    The thing that most worried me in the RTE story was the suggestion that most of the discussion between Johnson and Varadkar was in private – tête à tête as diplomats say – without advisers present. This is always risky even with principals who are capable and well-briefed. In Johnson’s case, and given his famous (non) grasp of detail, then even without assuming any duplicity, he might have said almost anything, and believed that he heard almost anything. It will be interesting to see if the British and the Irish gave the EU the same read-out of the discussions.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      That surprised me too, especially as neither are known for their grasp of the technicalities. I wonder if they were discussing the politics of a compromise Plan B that’s been worked on behind the scenes. I’ve heard rumors about one.

      The problem is that there simply isn’t time for Bojo to get a Parliamentary majority If he comes back with something quite radical. Hes burned some many bridges there are very few stray votes he can pick up to get over the line even if he keeps the ERG and DUP on board.

      1. David

        Yes, that would be a slightly more comforting interpretation, but, as you say, it’s not clear how such a Plan B could be got through Parliament in its current state, unless it’s very minimalist. The first reports about “tunnel negotiations” suggest there’s a lot of detail to be worked through, and I’d be concerned that the two leaders spent their time assuring each other that, yes, this was all politically feasible, without understanding that detail.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          As Richard North has stressed, the sherpas need to get documents by Monday. That means treaty language. Translated too.

          So no way does this get done enough to be voted on by the EU Council meeting.

          The most that could happen if there is maybe a deal is a later EU Council meeting.

          But then there is unlikely to be enough time even with that to get it through Parliament charitably assuming Parliament will go along.

          An extension is seen as toxic to Boris, particularly if it winds up being for a deal that gets voted down.

          So I think odds are high he sabotages it somehow if/when the timing limits occur to him, if it does not die on its own.

          1. Ahimsa

            Also the small matter of the
            current extension explicity ruling out any reopening of the already negotiated withdrawal agreement. See Richard North today.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            I wonder if he’s trying to set some sort of trap to claim that he was betrayed by Varadkar as the EU at the last minute. Maybe he’ll announce concessions way beyond those actually agreed, when Varadkar/Barnier object he’ll claim they are the ones backtracking.

            A key consideration is the recent polls. Things are looking very good for the Tories if they can force a quick election immediately after a no-deal if they have someone they can blame.

            I don’t know what’s more depressing, the human damage this will cause or the fact that millions will vote for these people.

            1. David

              I’m trying to work through the various permutations, which is complicated by the possibility that the two sides have different understandings of what they are doing and why. I think there are three basic possibilities, the first two of which are not necessarily exclusive of each other.
              The first, as PK says, is that Johnson is trying to set a trap for the EU. But whilst that is certainly possible, seems to me to require skills and patience that he hasn’t got if it’s to be done successfully, and I’m sure the 27 will have seen this coming. In any event, it would put him in the position of having to ask for an extension and all that goes with it.
              The second, not necessarily an alternative is that the EU are playing Johnson, precisely to stop him claiming that they are responsible for the lack of agreement. The idea would be to run out the clock and force him to ask for an extension, which they would grant on their terms.
              The third, which is pure speculation, is that some kind of a political deal was done between Johnson and Varadkar, the latter also speaking for Barnier, by which the EC on 17 October will agree that a lot of progress has been made and preemptively offer an extension to enable the negotiations to conclude. This means Johnson does not technically have to ask for an extension and does not need to send the letter. This gets round the timetable problem identified by Richard North, who is, though, wrong about the Council Conclusions: the latter are binding, certainly, but they are political decisions taken by political leaders and not law, in the sense that they would have to be repealed. They are valid until the next set of Conclusions, and there are ways of fudging apparent contradictions. Likewise, the EU has effectively agreed to reopen the WA anyway, though technically it’s only the NI Protocol.
              It’s as clear as mud, not least because the different parties (and even different factions with the UK government) may have different ideas about what’s going on.

              1. PlutoniumKun

                I haven’t been able to follow the news in detail, but on a quick run through it looks like it could be your number 3. By the looks of it, London has cracked on the NI issue and has conceded the need to switch the customs border to NI. If that’s the case, I’m sure the EU will focus on tying this down while granting him some superficial face saving concessions. Looking at RTÉ, the DUP are objecting without actually saying they will vote ‘no’.

              2. Yves Smith Post author

                While your #3 is entirely plausible, it’s still no good for Johnson. He promised up and down to exit by Oct 31. Farage will eat into his #s big time.

                And this also assumes per above that Parliament would vote through this deal. No way does the opposition want to make Johnson the hero that delivered Brexit.

                So as indicated, #3 leads to a deal that gets voted down post Oct 31, the worst possible scenario for Johnson. Labour whips for MPs in Remain districts to vote no, and for ones in Leave districts to abstain, for instance.

                The only way the EU might prevent that is if the EU offers a very short extension, like a month, to tie Parliament’s hands. But they managed to move in mere days when they were about to be prorogued.

                But if Johnson recognizes the play is #3, I think he sabotages it. He has to know he doesn’t have the #s in Parliament.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Why would he worry about tthe DUP when he doesn’t have a majority anyway? Seems to me that shooting himself in the foot was pretty freeing.

      A sea border is inevitable, was all along.

      But then, I don’t understand British politics. Does anyone?

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I assume the thinking is that a cobbled together coalition could get it over the line even without the DUP. It may even be that Corbyn would calculate that going into an election with an exit done and dusted would be a benefit electorally as it would take the wind out of the LibDems sails and allow him to focus on his strong points.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I don’t think so. Boris delivering Brexit makes him a hero. He goes down in history. His #s will go to the moon, relative to where they are now and relative to where they ought to be for a charlatan like him.

  6. Wukchumni

    President Trump is at war with the rule of law. This won’t end well Rebecca Solnit, Guardian
    Watched the President in Minnesota last night, @ the numbing herd rally, and the whole thing seemed more of a running vendetta, mixed with a meet and greet roast from the chief executive to a lucky few on hand, slathered with superlatives.

    …I felt violated by the vitriol

    I’ve made mention of the similarities of then & now in the diary I Will Bear Witness 1933-41 by Victor Klemperer, with the key point being that the 3rd Reich would lie if telling the truth was easier, it was inherent in them. They also didn’t give a fig for rules, breaking them as they went, making up new ones in their stead.

    I’m just beginning 1939 presently and the realization hits Victor that he has to get out of Germany asap if not sooner, but alas too late to elope with another country.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      Rule of law, in the USofA?
      Surely you jest.

      Dang, forgot how big the ears are on those scrawny azz jack rabbits.

      1. Eclair

        Foghorn, I felt a strange fellowship with that jack rabbit this morning; small mammal, with no built-in defense mechanisms, relying for survival on the ability of those enormous ears to capture and identify sounds of approaching predators, and hoping those legs still have enough muscle in them to make it to the safety of the burrow.

        1. taunger

          Or, relying on the exquisite adaptation of large ears with significant blood flow for cooling, yet hopelessly doomed as the environment changes faster than the hare can adapt.

          1. Oregoncharles

            Hares can move – very, very fast. We’ve seen our dog (RIP), who could do 30 mph, try to catch one. She failed.

            As the world warms, they’ll show up in Oregon any day now. It’s the things that CAN’T move we have to worry about.

    2. Quentin

      Yes, Victor Klemperer lets us feel how the Nazi’s steadily and methodically reduced the legal possibilities of a ‘true German’ woman to protect her Jewish husband, as the next-door neighbour maliciously encroached on their property, square meter by square meter, until he ended up occupying the house itself when the couple had to relocate to a place designated for Jews in the middle of Dresden. They barely escaped the concentration camp, though, only to witness the firebombing of Dresden in all its hellish horror. His account is as if related in realtime, at least that’s how I experienced it. The third volume seems to be about his life as a dedicated East German, so I skipped it.

      The predations of the neighbour are nicely illuminate the land and asset grabbing activities of some individuals and countries today.

  7. JohnnyGL

    Re: upper-middle class and socialism

    I sometimes wonder if sanders is relying too much on promising people that the numbers will net out positive for people (taxes will only go up 1/2 as much as ins premiums drop).

    Perhaps the stronger argument is “your employer has too much power in your life, medicare for all will reduce their control over your life.”

    He could go on to argue, ‘even if you save $1m for retirement, it’s still not enough because if you get cancer or need a major operation, you can STILL go bankrupt. There is NO individual solution to the power of the health care industry. Only goverment can restrain their power.’

    I think that intuitive sense of insecurity might be more persuasive to people than trying to net out cash flows on premiums, deductibles, etc.

    He can point to GM (who cancelled health ins for striking workers) and say, ‘look what these guys can do to workers when they want to be nasty to people!!!

    1. Merf56

      I think you hit the nail on the head with this approach. I have used a version of it with a relative who basically had an epiphany afterwards. He had never looked at that way… let’s hope progressives all take this approach to selling single payer…

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I’m not sure we should try to “sell” Socialism.

        I think we should point out that we already HAVE it. Just not the kind for you and me.

        We have socialism for Wall St, Big Pharma, Big MIC, Big Prison etc etc etc. The kind where the state gives them piles of free money.

        One chart: that compares the outright federal subsidies for the biggest fossil fuel companies on the planet with total federal spending on education. Education gets less.

        So we champion: capitalism. For them.

    2. Fraibert

      I think you may be right.

      Advocating issues as family economy is unlikely to garner much interest. Insecurity is much more relatable.

      Anyways, I believe that citizens are skeptical of numeric promises due to the unstated assumptions necessary to make clean headline numbers. Moreover, if your numbers are wrong and say it ends up costing 5% more in taxes, voters are going to have an issue with the one who made the promise.

      1. Fraibert

        (Basically what I am saying in the last point is if you promise in precise numbers, and. 5% is quite precise, don’t be surprised if you are held stringently to them.)

    3. JohnnyGL

      You could easily imagine a short commercial set up to look like a drug ad or a wealth mgt firm’s commercial.

      “You just celebrated your 55th birthday. You’ve spent decades doing everything right. You’ve worked hard and saved diligently and now you’ve got a $1m in your portfolio.

      You’ve been planning to retire for a long time now, but you’ve just been diagnosed with cancer. Luckily, they caught it early and you should be fine in 6 months. But, your retirement dreams are dead because you need the insurance for at least 10 years until you’re eligible for Medicare.”

      “Medicare for All means you have the freedom to retire just like you’ve always dreamed. No premiums, no deductibles, no bills. Never.”

      Medicare for All = FREEDOM!!!

      1. Otis B Driftwood

        This happens. My neighbor, who is now 70 years old, continues to work because he needs the company provided health insurance to care for his wife, who is 60 years old and has been in treatment for cancer for several years.

    4. The Rev Kev

      Maybe a simpler message is required. Sanders should say something simple like: “Under my plan, when you go to bed tonight, you will not have to wonder if you and your family are going to be in debt and living in your car a year from now because of a huge medical bill.”

      1. Pat

        Unfortunately a fair number of the people needing to be convinced still believe in Obama. You know the guy who swore to them that the ACA would end Medical bankruptcy. They’ve done everything right and don’t have to worry.

        Denial runs deep.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          and that denial is very practiced…and practical, even.
          whenever my brother comes up(some sort of middle upper sales guy at a giant software outfit…my model subject for “did everything right” suburbanite), and i’m allowed to hold forth regarding the state of the world at the levels above D vs R(usually after the morning joint), the fear in his eyes leaps out at you….he knows, but doesn’t want to know.
          sunk costs(college, house, etc), and the enormity of the problems, are just too much.

      2. JohnnyGL

        What you wrote above is good….but it’s also something any democrat would say.

        Matt Stoller likes to point out democrats can’t see raw power being exercised.

        I think it would be productive for sanders to point out the power of employer-provided insurance. My employer chose give me crappy insurance coverage in 2007, made it crappier in 2009. Just recently they made it better in the past year or two because employees were complaining, job market is decent, etc.

        There’s nothing stopping them from making it crappy again if they so choose. That’s power.

    5. Eclair

      Yesterday, I was on a shopping spree in Warren County, in the economically depressed north west corner of Pennsylvania. With my Amish friend, we were hitting all the secondhand stores. In Good Will, I wasn’t paying attention to the radio station that was playing over the speakers, but then, “Medicare for all” caught my ears. It was an anti-universal health care system ad, begging people to let their congressional representative know they were against, ‘creeping socialism,’ and ‘government-run health systems.’ I would bet that all the shoppers were either: on Medicare (me), on Medicaid (the young woman clerk with three children?), or had no health insurance (my Amish friend … but she has ‘social insurance.’). The voice ranted on about sky-high taxes, corporations leaving the country (because of … what … not having to pay the cost of their employees health insurance? And, do the residents, so many of whom are obese, drug-addicted and prone to early death, of Warren County not realize that the corporations have already left?), the stifling of ‘innovation’ that makes the American health care system the best in the world. I felt I was in an Alternate Universe. But it was a good, if icy cold, corrective to hanging out at NC every day.

      A brief internet search gave me information on One Nation, a group spending $4 million to campaign against Medicare for All.

    6. rd

      Socialized healthcare means that you can stay alive without having a big company employer.

      Some of the benefits where you don’t have to be stressed over healthcare coverage:

      You can retire early
      You can start a small business
      You can go back to university for a degree beyond the age of 26
      Your employer can give you raises instead of sending more money to the insurance company.
      You can get laid off and just look for any job
      You can take a sabbatical from your job

      I don’t think Americans have any appreciation of how limiting the US healthcare system is.for how they can live their lives. I don’t think business fully appreciates how much it hits their bottom line by increasing costs and decreasing revenue.

      1. Monty

        That’s because a great many of them are spiteful, brainwashed morons.

        “If everybody gets free healthcare, that will include many stinky poors (including those with brown skin and a poor grasp of English). They are just lazy bums who don’t want to work. They ate and smoke themselves to ill health, so serves them right. I am healthy and work 9 till 5, there is no way I am paying for anyone else’s healthcare.”

          1. polecat

            Tis’ the $apien way, after all ….

            I really need to stop by the Neolithic thrift-store and seer if I can find me some of those oldivi stone-washed Neanderthal genes*.

            *just in case some Crispr op. decies to reintroduce the Mammoth, or Cynodont.

    7. Geo

      Totally agree and have seen Sanders starting to talk more on those points recently.

      But, curious why he needs to. I’ve been bless with good health most my life (knock on wood) and yet have witnessed the impact of medical debt on many others around me over the years. Are most people really that clueless about cause and effect? Are most really that dimwitted to realize they’re being held hostage by insurance and used as pawns by pharma?

      It’s like they’re gazelles in the wild that have just accepted they’re on this earth to be eaten by lions and that’s the natural order of things… no use in trying to change it. Then, when someone says maybe they shouldn’t be eaten they say, “But what about the lions?”

    8. pasha

      this!! once we have families to care for, employer-supplied healthcare binds us to our jobs, we cannot even think of looking elsewhere

      1. JBird4049

        Sorry, I’m too tired to shorten or transcribe. The reason given for expanding the security is:

        Florida schools are now required to collect, store and crunch data on students in the name of predicting a school shooting.

        And the data that they collect is just about everything:

        The law requires Florida school districts to store huge amounts of data in one database, including thousands of hours of video footage, grade cards, student disciplinary records and teacher memos. It also includes information on children collected through “social media monitoring, local law enforcement agencies, the Florida Department of Children and Families, Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Baker Act admissions, and the School Environmental Safety Incident Reporting System, which aggregates data on crime, violence, and disruptive behaviors,” researchers wrote.

        How nicely Orwellian. This is like the security theater that TSA plays at the airport. 9/11 was shocking because it was the first, or nearly so, in the previous eighty years of passenger aviation, which was fixed by improving the cockpit door and changing the crew’s and passengers’ instructions for dealing with any hijacker’s orders. Those two things would have prevented 9/11 But no, the whole scanning everything, “random” searches, the changing list of what’s banned or not, all just a waste of everything.

        So, like with the children we get ostensibly get more safety, in exchange for our freedom and privacy, and lose both. And always the chant of fear, fear everything!

  8. Amfortas the hippie

    from the sidebar of one of yesterday’s links:

    “Wanting to feel more real, I think Loy would agree, is not the problem. Rather, it’s the illusion of “making” this be so—securing it on our terms and giving it the bottom-line sheen of goods and services. We are just so good at making things. Why not the self? Why not the world? Why not the fundamental truth of both, wrought in the self’s aspirational image? It’s almost irresistible. But making assumes, among other things, an outcome-based calculus and narrowly utilitarian means. What if the real conditions of reality exceeded the reach of human production, and the real life of purpose could not be contained on a grid? What if the inconclusive, ever-unfolding scope of meaning sounded in our ears or flashed its own faint figure beyond the territory of self-imaging? What then would become of desire?”

    my inner Nietzsche vibrates in sympathy.
    re: creating meaning in a meaningless world.
    there’s an app for that, apparently.
    and an whole industry devoted to it.

    i am only exposed to TV in passing…cooking at mom’s, or from the next room.— in my bedroom/lair, it’s just streaming what i want.(and we’re situated in such a way that radio is impossible, save for the 2 country stations)
    but, in order to view Star Trek Discovery, to see for myself the debasing of Roddenberry(and in preparation for Picard), I signed up for cbs all access.
    and saved $4 a month by allowing “limited ads”.
    a periodic repetition of a handful of annoying productions, selling things I’d never even consider using for free, let alone paying for.
    the saccharine, pastel quality of the world these ads take place in doesn’t appeal to me at all…but it must to some cohort the creators of them have presumably identified.
    Thank Dog there’s a Mute feature.

    1. xkeyscored

      But making assumes, among other things, an outcome-based calculus and narrowly utilitarian means.
      What about sculptors, musicians, children at play, …?
      And have a look at Katy Perry’s Chained to the Rhythm, if you haven’t seen it. I think you’ll like it, or at least its ideas. It hardly answers your implied question, but it poses it nicely.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i’ve had a pretty low opinion of the formulaic, disneyfied corps(e) music since at least the 5th year of MTV….but am occasionally surprised.
        and that offering is rather subtle,lol
        (hafta pay attention to what’s going on behind her)
        flammable water was a nice touch, and row houses tossed into oblivion…
        related, my folks took all the grandkids to seaworld in 04(coincided with the gop convention, which contains a longer ,sordid, hunter thompson-esque tale(ie: the reptile bar)).
        I felt like a cow in the maze of pens at the auction barn…shuffling here and there, the better to harvest what’s in our pockets.
        cheapest food they could find, marked up 1000% because they could,lol….and the cheapest “toys” china had to offer, also marked up to the stratosphere, and seemingly designed to expertly push buttons in the average 4 year old’s mind, and cause a pavlovian yammering desire….
        a universal stickiness…and renta cops who were geared up like a cia wet team lurking in the bushes.
        and that was 04.
        I’m sure it’s worse, now, if more hidden.
        and here i thought the 80’s were the nadir,lol
        there’s a reason i prefer to just stay on the farm, and only venture as far as the next town over.

        1. xkeyscored

          Glad you enjoyed it.
          Speaking of your trip to seaworld, are you familiar with Dismaland?
          “Dismaland was a temporary art project organised by street artist Banksy, constructed in the seaside resort town of Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, England.” – Wikipedia
          Official video
          Official photo gallery

        2. JBird4049

          Clear Channel, or to use its latest name iHeartMedia, has Borg like consumed something like 1/3 of the music stations; in order to say on cost, it used its “efficencies” of streaming the formulaic corpse music appealing, or at least inoffensive, to as many as possible, to over many stations at once, while using having a full crew at only one, and a DJ in the local station, sometimes using local words, accents, phrases, to fool locals into thinking that they actually have a real local station.

          Since many, maybe almost all?, radio stations are now part of a network, one can no longer identify where you are by listening to the radio anymore, but you do get the same unending bland wall of music wherever you are. Which is why light rock or pop, and Country and Western music sound so much a like to day. Going back to the sheer variety of musical genres of the past might actually require paying people and DJs with actual knowledge and love of music to run individual stations.

          On a side note, I think one of the reasons classical music (and lumping over a thousand years of music into one genre is silly) is not doing so well, despite new compositions and a still large audience is because the symphony, and the trio, and even classical piano, is because that requires paying the musicians and not charging ungodly ticket prices. I have noticed that many companies want to pay ever less to professional players, while charging the audience one percenter prices. It is rather like baseball. It use to be cheap, or at least affordable to go to a game, now you have to go to the nosebleed section. And people wonder why certain things are becoming less affordable.

  9. toshiro_mifune

    The biggest lie tech people tell themselves …

    IDK. This article seems to lack any historical perspective from within the tech community. it wouldn’t be hard to go through back issues of 2600, archives of slashdot, usenet and various IRC channels to see most of the media is just catching up to what a lot of the tech community was warning about 20+ years ago.
    That part tech of community, and thus a large number of technologists, has always been deeply wary of the uses tech has been put to. When the article says technologists it might be better to substitute Sales, Marketing and C level execs as they’re the ones usually making the end decisions to include “Smart” features on devices that decidedly don’t need them (almost always for the purposes of data collection with the idea of selling that data on at some future point).

    1. Watt4Bob

      I read a linked thread on Hacker News with people involved with app development, the commenters told of their various experiences many of which followed the same story line;

      “We worked real hard to create such and such app, only to find after months of living like sardines in a can and eating ramen noodles, and going broke, that our app didn’t sell, we didn’t make any money so we opted in the end to add data collection, and make our app ‘free’ in an effort to at least bring in a little income by selling user data.”

      As far as I can see, all mobile apps are spyware, some have the benefit of some sort of basic, useful function, by at heart their purpose is data collection.

      One thing missed by the folks who think tech is such a attractive field, is the fact that in the early days, people ended up learning tech to allow them to follow their passion, tech enabled them to make progress on something they were wildly enthusiastic about.

      In my case it was music and video production, years of following digital audio production techniques, software and hardware evolution prepared me to be able help business people get things done when PCs invaded the business environment.

      I had never thought that my interest in digital audio/video production would make money, I just knew for certain that it would make music production less painful, more accessible, and affordable.

      The fact that it prepared me for what became a twenty-five year career that paid for my house and family came as a complete surprise.

      Now days, people are attracted to tech because they think they might be able to make a lot of money, or maybe any money.

      I can’t understand anyone expecting success in the tech world with no other motivation than making money.

      If that’s your focus, why not go into sales and sell computers instead of wasting time becoming a mediocre, and ultimately unemployable programmer, failed entrepreneur, or gig worker.

      1. cnchal

        Good comment. If money is the sole reason for doing something, it is bound to be done badly.

        Thanks for the hacker link. As someone that wonders what the hell is going on in tech land, it’s an eye opener, and it is interesting to discover that AWS craps the bed, when I was led to believe they are the best of the best.

        From this link.

        A Quick Rundown

        Elasticsearch stores data in various indexes you explicitly create or that can be automatically created as soon as you ship it some data. The records in each index are split across a definable number of shards, which are then balanced across the nodes in your cluster (as evenly as possible if your shard count is not divisible by the number of nodes.) There are two main types of shards in Elasticsearch; primary shards and replica shards. Replica shards provide resiliency in case of a failed node, and users can specify a different number of replica shards for each index as well.
        – – – – – –
        Amazon Elasticsearch Operation

        As has happened before, Amazon took the open-source side of Elasticsearch, did a hard fork, and has been selling it as a hosted service, slowly implementing their own versions of features that have been available in one form or fashion in mainline Elasticsearch for years.

        Amazon’s implementation is missing a lot of things like RBAC and auditing, which is particularly problematic in our environment because we are ingesting log data from different teams and would prefer to be able to segment them from one another; currently, anyone with access to Elasticsearch has full privileges to everything and can accidentally delete other people’s data, change how it’s replicated across nodes, and cause data ingestion to stop completely by adding a bad index template.

        This is frustrating, but it’s not the big issue with their service. Shard rebalancing, a central concept to Elasticsearch working as well as it does, does not work on AWS’s implementation, and that negates basically everything good about Elasticsearch.
        – – – – – –

        And it gets worse. On Amazon, if a single node in your Elasticsearch cluster runs out of space, the entire cluster stops ingesting data, full stop. Amazon’s solution to this is to have users go through a nightmare process of periodically changing the shard counts in their index templates and then reindexing their existing data into new indices, deleting the previous indices, and then reindexing the data again to the previous index name if necessary. This should be wholly unnecessary, is computationally expensive, and requires that a raw copy of the ingested data be stored along with the parsed record because the raw copy will need to be parsed again to be reindexed. Of course, this also doubles the storage required for “normal” operation on AWS.
        – – – – –
        Oops! I didn’t reindex the entire cluster as often as I should have and a node filled up! What do I do?
        – – – – –
        Amazon’s solution to this is a blue-green deployment. They spin up an entire new cluster, copy the entire contents of the previous cluster into the new one, and then switch over and destroy the old cluster.

        These resizing jobs can take days with large clusters – as you can imagine, duplicating trillions of records can take some time. It also puts an insane load on the previous cluster (which is likely already over capacity in some ways if you’ve ended up here) and can actually cause the cluster to fall over. I’ve gone through several of these operations on 30+ node clusters in AWS, and only one time have I seen it complete successfully on its own.

        So, you tried to resize your cluster and the job is broken. What now?
        – – – – – – –
        Interacting With Amazon

        So your cluster resize job broke (on a service you probably chose so you wouldn’t have to deal with this stuff in the first place), so you open a top severity ticket with AWS support. Invariably, they’ll complain about your shard count or sizing and will helpfully add a link to the same shard sizing guidelines you’ve read 500 times by now. And then you wait for them to fix it. And wait. And wait. The last time I tried to resize a cluster and it locked up, causing a major production outage, it took SEVEN DAYS for them to get everything back online. They got the cluster itself online within a couple of days, but when things broke, apparently the nodes running Kibana lost connectivity to the main cluster. AWS support then spent the next four days trying things and then asking me if Kibana was working. They couldn’t even tell if they’d fixed the problem and had to have me verify whether they had restored connectivity between their own systems. I’ve since given up on doing anything but deleting data if a node manages to fill up.

        Our spend with AWS as an organization is massive. This allows us the opportunity to periodically meet with their SMEs in various areas and discuss implementation strategies and get into the weeds about a lot of technical stuff. We set up a meeting with one of their Elasticsearch SMEs, during which time I spent the bulk of the meeting explaining Elasticsearch fundamentals and describing the… quirks… of their product. The gentleman was wholly blindsided that the whole thing falls over if a node fills up. If the SME they sent doesn’t know the fundamentals of how their product works, no wonder it takes their support team seven days to bring back a production cluster.

        So, am I wrong in thinking that when I see images of coder office space with people pecking at keyboards, a ton of money is getting paid for what is essentially useless data manipulation to try and sell someone some garbage they don’t need or want? On top of it, so much power is wasted in this activity of storing, manipulating, retrieving and displaying data. Is this what software “engineering” is? If so, it’s a frigging wasteland.

        Then we have government grossly overpaying for AWS to give a hidden subsidy to Bezos so that shipping and warehousing can run at a loss, destroying everything else, including hapless people and dogs being run over by crazily driven white vans, while sending fake goods and having a 30% return rate.

        On top of that, Mr Market thinks this garbage barge is worth hundreds of billions. WTF?

        1. Watt4Bob

          Is this what software “engineering” is? If so, it’s a frigging wasteland.

          In a word, yes.

          You see what I see.

          Now think about the experience in store for armies of coding ‘Boot-Camp‘ graduates led by H1B visa holders populating your wasteland.

    2. T

      “. Every time the facial recognition system decides that you look bored, distracted, or tuned out, it makes a note. And after each lecture, it only asks you about content from those moments.”

      The system punishes viewers for being bored. It doesn’t guide the presenters to improve. There’s a clue.

      1. cnchal

        The system is idiotic. People were paid big money to come up with it.

        Look bored for the stuff you know, and bewildered for the stuff you don’t, and the game is on.

    3. Craig H.

      That article has thought provoking bits but I don’t know if they have the biggest lies or if everybody in the tech industries believe them. This part is good:

      Everybody is doing this,” he told me. It’s really early and shocking, but we cannot go against natural laws of evolution

      Everybody isn’t doing it and if they were it would not be any sort of justification and furthermore evolution is neither an inviolable law nor a proven fact.

      I like how they think they have an algorithm that can read my face and know whether I am bored or engaged. Their algorithms do not know me at all. As in, they are clueless in regard to things that are obvious to an average eight-year-old.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “It’s Lights Out in California to Deal With Climate Risks”

    I think that Scientific American has the title wrong. It should be “It’s Lights Out in California to Deal With Lawsuit Risks”. What any industrial society should be able to deliver are the basics – water, sewerage, lights, communications and of course electricity. If you have an industrial society that is deliberately cutting any of these services due to non-operational reasons then you know that that society has some major problems. And California is not just some regular State. At $2.7 trillion it is the 5th biggest economy in the world. Well, up to now that is. If cutting power becomes habitual, some businesses will probably relocate to another State where the idea of assured electricity supplies is not such a novelty.

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      You look at a lot of the quality buildings, infrastructure, and products created in past years – in particular during earlier ‘gilded ages’ and see that it was just that….quality, built to last. Even those eras oligarchs and corporations (while they may not have wanted their workers to be too many steps above serf status) …nevertheless had some pride in the underlying basics and sturdiness of the stuff they built.

      Mostly, I would imagine, because they realized that it was common-sense that you just can’t skimp on those basics and still have the industrialized society that drove their profits in the first place.

      Our oligarchs and corporations have no such qualms….all the more reason to realize that they have already decided all the rest of us are completely expendable. A line item that will be zeroed out soon. The ‘glitch’ corrected. The problem resolved.

      1. Doug SJ

        Some large percentage of California’s power grid is 100+years old. It was built to last apparently. They just paid out the maintenance and replacement budget as dividends. Same story as my old beloved dc metro.

    2. Whoamolly

      Re California lights out

      Sitting in dark typing, here.

      Drove (foolishly) to Santa Rosa yesterday to try to buy a backup battery for medical gadget. Every charger, LI battery, D cell battery and UPS within miles is sold out.

      Half of city (including traffic lights) without power. No Wi-fi anywhere. Verizon cell still online for text and email and light web browsing.

      We found a gas station that was still operating. Guy in front of me was filling plastic gas cans and putting them in back of an SUV. Children sitting in seats next to cans.

      Lights out having much bigger psychological effect than fires last year. People saw fires as a disaster and pulled together. Outage seen as incompetence and corruption. I predict Gov Newsom’s political career is over. All his opponent needs to say is “I will keep the lights on.”

      We are fine. Have water, coffee, food, wood stove, gas stove, LED camp lanterns and books to read. Safeway stores in our small town and Santa Rosa are all open. PGE seems to have figured out how to turn on power only to smallish shopping malls.Surrounding houses are dark.

      My cell phone backup battery is just about flat. PGE claims our power will be restored tonight at 11pm.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        that reads like a trip to a back water interior mexican town, circa 1984.
        turn off the genny at 9pm.
        makes my prophet’s beard itch, too…acclimating us to lower standard of living.
        i know nothing, really, about california, save from documentaries about Ken Kesey and the like…I wonder if the high falutin neighborhoods are experiencing the same post-hurricane-like deprivation?
        or is it just for the little people?

        1. JBird4049

          Some high falutin places in Marin County like Mill Valley, parts of San Rafael and a small part of Sausalito were hit. Admittedly, those areas are very hilly especially as you get closer to Mt. Tamalpais, but there was like no wind and the temperatures were 50s-60s. But I think that the Tech Lords and their friends were not bothered at all. Emergency my foot.

      2. notabanker

        Maybe there will be some new “woke” to the likes of Pelosi, Feinstein and Schiff playing impeachment while the lights are out. And let’s not forget I was the prosecutor who didn’t prosecute and now am running for President please vote for me instead of the old white guy with the bad ticker whaddaya mean you can’t see me on the TV?

      3. polecat

        So, Kalifonia has unwittingly been bestowed the title of “Venezuela de al Norte” ..

        Sanctuary indeed …. from reason !

      4. ewmayer

        Man, that sucks – I’m in Novato, we were fortunate enough to have no outages yet.

        Tip: If you have a laptop with battery power remaining, you can plug your phone into the USB port oft hat and get a charge, though it may be a slow process. And you can extend your laptop’s battery-remaining by only enbling WiFi in short burts, to check e-mail (composing you can do offline) and load a couple web pages, then turn it back off.

      5. The Rev Kev

        After reading your report, all I can do is to shake my head. At least you are on top of things.

      6. smoker

        I predict Gov Newsom’s political career is over. All his opponent needs to say is “I will keep the lights on.”

        I’d like to think chameleon, Presidential Striver Gavin Newsom’s political career is over, but then again this is Pay to Play California, where he was insanely able to become Governor in the first place. I constantly read of his ugly behavior when he was Mayor of San Francisco (like: ditching to Hawaii for a vacation during that Cosco Busan major oil spill in the San Francisco Bay incident; the affair he had with his best friend/campaign manager’s wife; Sergey Brin and Larry Page (Google Founders) ferrying Newsom’s wedding guests to Montana on their private jet …). And, if I recollect correctly when Bill Clinton (who Gavin seems to have learned a great deal from) was stumping for Mayor Gavin as CA Governor, they both talked about introducing unpaid Corporate internship as an unemployment insurance requirement.

        If it is over for Gavin though, our master of identitarian politics can always fall back on his obscenely wealthy and powerful friends and fellow conniving politicians, along with his multimillion-dollar PlumpJack™ label Gavin Newsom is annoyed blackouts hurt his wineries. Is that an ethics issue?

        “I’ve got a bunch of businesses that are impacted,” Newsom said during a bill-signing ceremony in San Diego on Wednesday when he was asked why he said Californians should be “outraged” by the wave of blackouts.

        So hideously disconnected from the ever increasing impoverished in California it’s unbelievable that he’s not called out every day on it.

        Meanwhile, in Southern California Aliso Canyon residents who were criminally abused by Gavin’s also hideously disconnected from the populace predecessor, Jerry Brown (along with his sister Kathleen) faced yet another disaster today:

        The Saddleridge fire was burning close to the Aliso Canyon gas facility, which was the site of the largest release of methane in U.S. history.

        Flames were approaching the Porter Ranch facility, which has been shut down and evacuated. Firefighters were on the scene for protection.

        The Saddleridge fire made a rapid advance from Sylmar to Porter Ranch, outrunning firefighters and emergency officials.

        #SaddleRidgeFire is now less than a football field away from the entrance of the Aliso Canyon natural gas facility. @FOXLA

        — Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) October 11, 2019

        1. JBird4049

          Do not worry about Newsom. He’s got the money and connections to survive just fine. Heck, PG&E’s shenanigans started in his grandparents time. So he could roast PG&E, by privatizing it, start work to fix it, and sending the crooks to prison. If PG&E does anymore nonsense, Californians will probably start demanding it.

    3. Glen

      The PG&E debacle is an entirely man made disaster caused by the company C suite types deciding to quit doing required maintenance for profit. What other power company in CA has killed so many people in the same fashion?

      Does it pay? I hear the CEO may get $117 M this year. So yes, wrecking 30% of CA’s power grid DOES pay.

      Frankly, the Chinese government solution of jailing or killing company CEOs begins to look like an entirely appropriate way to handle this type of behavior.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        117 million a year
        So that lucky man is dragging home appropriately 2.5 million per week or 500k per day. Even if he is putting in 10 hrs a day, thats 50k per hour.
        And they can’t afford to trim effing trees…

    4. inode_buddha

      I can dream, that Haas Automation would relocate to Buffalo, plenty of hydro power here and a 200-year history of heavy manufacture. Combined with being a hub for every major form of transport, since before the Civil War (geographic advantage)

  11. notabanker

    Thanks for the biggest lie tech people tell themselves link. Great piece. I’m waiting for it’s companion piece, the biggest truth tech people will not admit: there is no social crisis despicable enough to forgo profits on. School shootings, no problem. Cameras, software. But it doesn’t actually prevent school shootings you say? How can you be against the natural evolution of things?

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      I guess that what they call evolution is just a version of the Neoliberals all knowing & omnipotent God the Market, which also IMO does not actually exist. I also suppose that if consumers were indeed rational actors they would not be buying or accepting all of that crap, never mind voting for another version of it.

      Useful idiot choice theory ?

      1. xkeyscored

        IMO the Market God both does not exist and exists at the same time.
        Doesn’t: it’s more or less the sum of our human choices and actions, not something somehow independent of us.
        Does: unless you live off-grid, or as a subsistence farming family, The Market decides your life chances and opportunities. It’s an instrument of class warfare, if you like, as deadly as prisons and poverty.

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          Yes I agree, but as I understand it the Chicago School state that the market is an ” Invisible Hand ” being an all knowing entity that if left to it’s own devices or market forces will result in everything being just dandy – avoiding the road to serfdom type of thing. As far as I can tell the so called free market has never been so manipulated by a very large visible hand that is no longer effectively restrained through government regulation. I agree it is the sum of our human choices but those choices are defined by those who run the show & for an increasing number of people the choices are becoming ever more limited as we appear to be heading down a road to something like the serfdom which Hayak stated that the above would avoid.

          I’m not stating that the market does not exist, just that it is not invisible & is being driven among other things as you wrote as an engine of class warfare, while it appears that the official definition of rational choice is that we should all build as large a stash of stuff as we possibly can while very possible making the planet unfit for life.

          1. xkeyscored

            The same Chicago school who thought the 9/11 coup in Chile would result in everything being just dandy. The very large visible hand of the Market God in action.

    2. anon y'mouse

      i thought it left out the actually biggest lies that i have seen tech people tell themselves (grew up near SlyCon valley):

      some variant of “we are doing the Lord’s work”–admittedly related to the beliefs outlined in the post.

      “we are the smartest guys in the room (world)”

      “isn’t this COOL!!”

  12. John A

    “China grew a plant on the moon — it sprouted two leaves, data indicates”

    Sounds like the set for a production of ‘Waiting for Godot’.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Political Campaigns Know Where You’ve Been. They’re Tracking Your Phone.”

    OK then. If you are the sort of person that likes to attend political rallies, you have been warned. Before you go to the rally, it may be an idea to take a burner mobile instead of your regular mobile.
    But I will leave it to an expert on phone security to give you his tips on mobile security. Ladies and Gentlemen, here is Senator Lindsey Graham-

    1. jefemt

      Ever think of turning it off and leaving it at home?

      As a super-virtuous hold-out owner of a low tech flip phone, I am persistently amused at watching my Borg-in-training co-tax mules throughout our land consult their mobile gizmo every 15 seconds for validation. A bit annoying when they are driving, but its the new normal we will never change– screens are as -or more -addictive than opiates or nicotine.

      As they coach in hockey heading into a corner- head on a swivel!

        1. xkeyscored

          Looks like you’re right, depending what you mean by ‘off’.
          Can You Track Phones When They are Turned Off? Apparently, NSA Can!
          “According to a report from Washington Post, NSA is capable of tracking cell phones even when they are turned off. And this isn’t anything new. As per the report, NSA has been using this technique, dubbed “The Find”, ever since September 2004. This technique was used in Iraq, and it helped identify “thousands of new targets, including members of a burgeoning al-Qaeda-sponsored insurgency in Iraq,” according to a special operation officer who was interviewed by Post.”
          (for ‘off’, see Lindsey Graham.)

            1. fajensen

              The phone is tracked by the network even without the SIM card, because one can call 112. Better to take out the battery and place the parts in an RF-tight container. Assembly away from where ones life is and never use another “tag” like a credit card next to it ;).

              The phone ID has two parts, there is the ISIN code, build into the phone, which identifies the phone to the network and there is the SIM card which is the “subscriber identity module” that identifies the owner of the subscription. The ISIN code is permanent and globally unique (except sometimes some Chinese clones didn’t bother with the registration process and made up their own ISIN).

          1. Lord Koos

            I’m pretty sure that NSA tracking of a turned-off cellphone could be easily defeated by keeping your phone in a little Faraday cage, ie wrapping it in tinfoil etc.

            1. Amfortas the hippie


              i keep a metal coffee can in my truck for paranoia-inducing trips(ie: obtaining weed)
              boys and i tested it(science project!), and even without the plastic lid, the phone won’t receive calls while it’s in the can.
              if your truly paranoid, fashion a metal lid.

              with my eldest, at issue was his peers, at parties, snapchatting their MIP behaviour to the web(and the cops, coaches, etc)…because snapchatting their every move is just how they roll.
              when we host, we not only confiscate keys, but phones…and put them in an old microwave in my shop(grounded. faraday cage. keep a wind up shortwave or two and a few shake lights in there, just in case someone pushes the nuke button).

              (this is becoming the norm among the parents of his peers…and we communicate and compare notes…having abandoned the fantasy that if we tell them not to, they won’t get beer anyway…better to have them here, where i can materialise out of the shadows at any moment,lol.
              much different from how my folks tried(and failed) to raise me.
              …and a surprising result—I’m invited to share their fire and actually talk to these kids, pepper them with questions regarding meaning of life, art, etc etc…again, something my folks never had with my generation)

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Flip phones generally do not have GPS. Only a phone with GPS can track your location.

        I have written regularly on how tracking via triangulation operates only with respect to calls you are making unless someone got a warrant on you, and even then, the location placement is too imprecise to be used in court as evidence.

        Of course, you could put your phone in a Faraday bag too.

        1. xkeyscored

          unless someone got a warrant on you
          I’d imagine the NSA are tracking you, Yves, warrant or no warrant, and quite likely all or many NC readers and commenters (extremists and all that). I know they’re tracking me: The NSA Is Targeting Users of Privacy Services, Leaked Code Shows – just visiting the Tor or Tails websites gets you ‘xkeyscored’.

          the location placement is too imprecise to be used in court as evidence
          Not so sure about that either. It depends on which country you’re in for a start, and this from Quora leads me to believe it is used in evidence in the US unless challenged:
          How does cell tower triangulation work?
          “Cell tower locating evidence often goes unchallenged by the defense.”

          As for accuracy, Wikipedia has this:
          Advanced systems determine the sector in which the mobile phone is located and roughly estimate also the distance to the base station. Further approximation can be done by interpolating signals between adjacent antenna towers. Qualified services may achieve a precision of down to 50 meters in urban areas where mobile traffic and density of antenna towers (base stations) is sufficiently high

          Any techies out there to clarify?

    2. Lee

      I saw this on TV, so it must be true. Police in Belgium IIRC, make a case based on the consistent proximity of a burner phone with a registered phone belonging to their suspect. So, if you really want to be careful, don’t fire up your burner phone anywhere but well away from your registered phone, your workplace, home etc. Be careful out there, people.

    3. Eureka Springs

      I’ve long been amazed with so many people, entities, bots, whatever, knowing when people are not home that burglaries (among other things) haven’t skyrocketed.

  14. JeffC

    That Navy “dynamic fusor” in the patent…

    I haven’t looked over the patent and so am going solely by the Popular Mechanics summary, but what I see there is pretty funny. They talk about putting one in a car but also mention a Terawatt power output. A Terawatt is about 1.34 billion horsepower and implies a 0 to 60 time, if you can come up with the tires for this, of less than one microsecond. Elon Musk, are you listening???

    1. jefemt

      Fusion has been a few years out since forever…

      When I look at videos of the Challenger, or a Tesla self-immolating, I can’t help but be a bit cynical about humans creating containable suns.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      I think everything in that article needs to be taken with a very large grain of salt. Apart from anything else, if there was even a tiny chance it was workable, it would be kept a very firm secret, no way would it be allowed near the patent office.

      1. Jeotsu

        Its presence in the patent office is a maskirovka for something else. What else? That is the interesting question!

    3. The Historian

      A car that goes from 0 to 60 mph in a microsecond? G-forces anyone? Can’t have people in that car – they’d end up as stains on the seat covers – so what value would those cars be to us? I must have missed that part.

  15. Justhadanightmare

    I’m very skeptical about that compact nuclear fusion reactor. I read similar stories several times about similar miracle compact nuclear fusion reactors over the past 15 years and nothing has materialized.

    1. John k

      Around 1960 I read an article saying fusion was about 30 years away. Free power in 1990!
      IMO not until the 12th of never.
      And free solar will get here long before that.

      More interesting question… can .02/kwhr solar split water to generate h2 and produce gasoline/ jet fuel at $4/gallon?

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i saw a solar “still”-like apparatus at a hippie commune some 30 years ago that did just that—split water into O2 and H, and somehow bled off the hydrogen into an old propane tank.
        scared the hell out of me at the time(Hindenburg) and i was nowhere near savvy enough at the time to know how it worked(prolly electrolysis), or what they did with it.
        resident engineer/chemist there was a hoot…living in a school bus, with a giant open air pole barn for a lab/shop. made lsd in his spare time to fund his playtime with explosive gases/alternative energy.
        cooked up a lot of beer, too.
        that’s where i got the idea for running speakers all through the trees.

  16. fajensen

    The Navy’s Patent for a Compact Nuclear Fusion Reactor Is Wild Popular Mechanics (David L)

    On can patent anything. Maybe I’ll run some numbers on this to mock it better, but, it isn’t a good start when the patent is confused about chemical and nuclear reactions and assumptions are made about keeping a charged surface charged inside a plasma which is highly conductive.

    Electrical charges don’t just stay stuck on top of a conducting surface, they get pulled around by he electrical and magnetic forces (unless the surface is an insulator, in which case it is hard to charge or maybe an electret which is not going to like plasma temperatures right near by).

    There seems to be some physics involved that nobody else uses.

    I hope the Navy paid a metric ton of money for this and all that money went into some really good partying!

  17. Wukchumni

    Exhibitionists on Flagler Street
    Wrapped around her torso
    Cold blooded desire wore so
    In an impromptu meet & greet

    Burma Slave

    1. a different chris

      Yeah — but if a drug dealer hits a kid on a bicycle on the way to a rigged exchange, does the cop that sees it let him go because otherwise you won’t get the bust? Even if his very report will show that it was the kid’s fault and the drug dealer will get off?

      Sometimes I wonder if, after getting what they wanted out of him, the Rethugs started whispering in Trump’s ear to get him to do impeachable things in order to get rid of him.

      In any case, It’s not *about* a restoration, it is being *used* by the people who want restored to pave a path. That’s not the same thing. These people will use any tool at hand, get used to it if you haven’t already. In fact, we see what they are doing for once which is a nice change, I think. Wish things were so transparent at work.

  18. Burritonomics

    Re: Did Marketplace Coverage Really Offer Financial Protection?

    I’m glad they came to the same conclusion I did. For my wife and me, ACA plans are a guaranteed ticket to bankruptcy. Exorbitant premiums and deductibles that would render us unable to pay the rent, much less actually pay for anything. But if we don’t have a catastrophic illness before we find employer subsidized health care, we may emerge with our finances intact. Whatta world we live in.

      1. urblintz

        me 3… gave up my ACA and if my health holds for 1 1/2 years I’ll have saved a significant amount of money that will not be going to the CEO of Blue Cross/Blue Shield, rather to Yves and Naked Capitalism (at least some of it)!!!

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Former US president Barack Obama and wife Michelle in Singapore for public talks in December”

    To steal a quote from Lambert to do with the Clintons-

    Two grifters,
    off to see the world…

  20. dcblogger

    Clinton made it respectable for Presidents to monetize the office after they left,
    no, that was Gerald Ford who was on the Board of Directors of every corporation that would have him. Reagan was criticized for accepting big speaking fees, but was too sick to keep it up. By the time Clinton retired it was accepted that Presidents would sell out. Carter is an outlier.

    1. Big River Bandido

      There are other exceptions, but it’s fair to say that most if not all presidents have been either 1) independently wealthy (Washington, Jefferson, Madison, the two Roosevelts, Kennedy, Reagan, the Bushes) or 2) creatures of political machines (all Republicans up through Ford and all Democrats since Truman). The first group never had any need to cash in. Those in the latter group were mostly taken care of by their machines’ internal welfare systems, which resemble the patronage network that has sustained the bipartisan, right-wing lobbying and “think tank” complex for the last 50 years. Truman and Carter were probably outliers in their expression of disdain for that system, and their public willingness to forgo the lifestyles of the rich and famous in favor of simpler values.

  21. Big River Bandido

    Fellow members of the commentariat:

    Sometime in the last 3-4 weeks, Yves wrote a very short, lovely riff about her college rhetoric courses and the graduate students who painstakingly edited her work, essentially teaching her how to do it herself. She praised this process as critical to the budding writer’s growth. I want to use this quote in my teaching, as the notion applies perfectly to music composition, but for the life of me I can’t find it anywhere. I confess to bearing the curse of being able to absorb and remember concepts and details…but forget *where I read them*, thus I cannot even remember if Yves posted this in a comment, or link, or separate post. I searched here, Duck Duck Go, and the Big Evil Crapified Search Engine but yours truly has also always been hapless at choosing search terms.

    Surely, though, I wasn’t hallucinating when I read this? Can anyone point me to this quote on the site? If you do, I promise to cite where I read it!

    1. deplorado

      I remember something like that — but are you sure it was Yves? I have the vague feeling like it was by somebody else, less NC frequent contributor. I could be wrong or we both could be :)
      I’d love to see it again too though, I hope someone helps.

  22. Summer

    Re: Lies Tech Tells Themselves and Us
    “What I try to focus on is not to try to stop the march of technological progress,” Yuval Noah Harari, a historian and the author of Sapiens, told Time magazine. “Instead, I try to run faster.”

    That’s not a “Sapien” or human being described – that’s a hamspter on a wheel.

    It’s more natural to defend oneself when being attacked. And that is what is happening…an attack on your life itself.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Planting Tiny Spy Chips in Hardware Can Cost as Little as $200”

    Hardly a new idea this. A coupla years ago it was found that the CIA were intercepting computers that people had purchased online and rigged them with bugs in the hardware side themselves. One women, who worked on the Tor privacy browser, noted that the laptop that she had received in the mail had made three stop-overs in Virginia before being delivered to her. The proof was in the delivery documentation which noted the delivery route of that laptop and she was depressed to note that they were not even bother hiding what they were doing.

    1. xkeyscored

      And they have the brass front to say Huawei might be able to spy on us.

      See also Glenn Greenwald: how the NSA tampers with US-made internet routers
      ” The NSA has been covertly implanting interception tools in US servers heading overseas – even though the US government has warned against using Chinese technology for the same reasons, says Glenn Greenwald, in an extract from his new book about the Snowden affair, No Place to Hide”

      or Snowden: The NSA planted backdoors in Cisco products

  24. Summer

    Re: Why the upper middle class would benefit from socialism

    You mean they would benefit from more socialism than they already enjoy. The establishment already subsidizes the upper middle class to a great extent. Who do all the tax breaks, housing subsidies, and business subsidies already benefit?

  25. Summer

    Re: Joker article …Truthdig
    “That Todd Phillips has smuggled this deeply scornful view of the established order into a comic book movie underwritten by a major corporation is what makes “Joker” so subversive.”

    The problems some reviewers had with movie’s narrative pace is a result of this “smuggling” aspect. It is reminiscent of movies in the Hollywood Hayes Code Age where references to sex had to be disguised. That’s how creatives in the mainstream have to tread around the corporate worship mindset of today.

    1. Krystyn Walentka

      I can’t wait to see the movie. I knew what it was about just from the trailer. As someone with a Mental Illness and finding it harder and harder to find healthcare and social acceptance, I identified immediately with him.

      The shot of him walking in a hallway buttoning his shirt and suddenly breaking out in laughter and just as quickly stopping is the most visual depiction I have ever seen of the uncontrollable nature of mood in mental illness. No one understands it unless they have been through it. I hope it helps people understand more.

    2. Geo

      I’m curious to see it. Seems the film is like a Rorschach test for reviewers to project their own sociopolitical views into. Reminds me of The Hunger Games and how lefties saw Occupy in it and righties saw the Tea Party. Similarly, read Joke reviews on conservative media and they see it as an indictment on Antifa and SJWs. Left media on mentally ill Trump supporters.

      That’s the problem with movies that portray revolution while not wanting to take a position and alienate some of their audience. They sell the outrage but let viewers make up their own villains to be angry at.

      That said, I haven’t seen it. So, can’t judge this one. Just seen too many studio films that sell dystopian dispair and insurgent revolution while neutering the real world cause and effect of these issues.

  26. russell1200

    On “The Navy’s Patent for a Compact Nuclear Fusion Reactor Is Wild Popular Mechanics

    I was, oddly enough, reading about potential advances in nuke power/submarine propulsion technology.

    A lot of it is beyond my understanding, but it is fairly clear that it is a pretty big deal. The nuke boats are reaching the limits of the (very good) technology, and the conventional designs are starting to push closer into the lower limits of what the nuke boats can do. So they have a big incentive to do the research.

    If you own the technology, there are a fair number of folks who would be calling at your door.

  27. JohnnyGL

    “Did Marketplace Coverage Really Offer Financial Protection? Roosevelt Institute (UserFriendly)”

    — Yes, it did. For hospitals, not people. It protects hospitals from patients who can’t pay for care. That’s what it was designed to do. If it provides a bit of middle class wealth protection, that’s just a pleasant side effect.

    Dave Dayen often points out, correctly, that hospitals are the big driver of the structural problems in American health care, often with private equity pulling the strings. Health ins companies are just parasitic, free-riding distractions. The core of the problem in health care is COST.

    1. Monty

      I always see requests for charitable donations from Phoenix Children’s Hospital at local checkouts. I wonder how charitable the hospital administration would be if i tried to use their services for my children without being able to afford to pay?

  28. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Iran Oil Tanker Hit by Missiles …” — This link is the most troubling of all today’s links. There was too little information in the report to assess its meaning beyond the clear threat by someone to shut down the flow of oil. Oil tankers in the channels of the Red Sea and Persian Sea are like ducks in a barrel and missile technology is within the capability of many of the players in that region — and not all of those players would be hurt if the oil did not flow. Someone could jam a large wooden shoe into the world’s economies.

    1. xkeyscored

      From BBC about an hour ago:
      “This story is as clear as mud. It seemed to change. Two different ships have been named – the Sinopa and the Sabiti. We had reports of missiles striking the tanker and then an accusation briefly levelled against Saudi Arabia for committing what was described as an “act of terrorism”. That claim seems to have been dropped quite quickly.
      And crucially there is no independent evidence at all that the vessel was struck. Pictures were released later in the morning showing nothing untoward. And most crucially both tankers are currently steaming at full speed in their different directions so there is no evidence that either vessel has been impaired in any way. …
      Michelle Bockmann, an analyst at shipping newspaper Lloyds List, told the BBC that the tanker – whichever one it was – was “probably” carrying oil to Syria.”

      Gulf of Tonkin?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        So muddy it could be Pearl Harbor, or Gulf of Tonkin, at this stage.

        “It seems to change” – maybe it will change again.

  29. marym

    Politico 10/11/2019 Trump sending 2,000 more troops to Saudi Arabia

    The deployment is meant to “assure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia,” a spokesman said, following attacks on the kingdom’s oil infrastructure last month.

    The Pentagon is sending about 2,000 more troops to Saudi Arabia, including squadrons of fighter jets and air defense missile batteries, Defense Department officials said Friday.

    CNN 10/10/2019 Fact check: Trump falsely claims ‘we have no soldiers in Syria’

    The US still has about 1,000 soldiers in Syria, military officials have told CNN and other news outlets, and the troops Trump removed from the area of the Turkish incursion offensive were not removed from the country.

    Jonathan Hoffman, chief Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement on Tuesday [10/08/2019]: “We have made no changes to our force presence in Syria at this time.” Less than an hour after Trump made his Thursday claim that there are “no soldiers in Syria,” a senior State Department official told reporters that the US military mission in Syria is ongoing.

    Taken along with other deployments of fighters, bombers, and air defense troops during the spring and summer, the U.S. military has boosted its troop presence in the Middle East “by approximately 14,000” since May, Hoffman added.

  30. anon in so cal

    Flashback Friday:

    “The U.S. troops in Syria are allied with the Kurdish YPG. The YPG is the Syrian branch of the internationally designated Kurdish terrorist organization PKK. Only about 2-5% of the Syrian population are of Kurdish-Syrian descent. Under U.S. command they now control more than 20% of Syrian state territory and some 40% of its hydrocarbon reserves. This is thievery on a grand scale.

    To disguise its cooperation with the Kurdish terrorists, the U.S. renamed the group into the “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF). Some Arab fighters from east Syrian tribes were added to it. These are mostly former foot-soldiers of ISIS who changed sides when the U.S. offered better pay. Other fighters were pressed into service. The people of the Syrian-Arab city Manbij, which is occupied by the YPG and U.S. forces, protested when the YPG started to violently conscript its youth.

    New troops were added to the SDF during the last days when ISIS fighters escaped from the onslaught of Syrian and Iraq forces in Abu Kamal (aka Albu Kamal aka Bukamal). They fled northwards towards YPG/U.S. held areas. Like other ISIS fighters the U.S. helped to escape their deserved punishment these forces will be relabeled and reused.”

    Separately, Turkey’s bombing has resulted in the release of 5 ISIS militants from a Syria prison.

        1. Geo

          Seriously. What is happening to them is tragic, and I don’t want to be glib about it, but what did they expect to happen?

          Same goes for those who said we needed to stay in Syria to protect them. Got called an Assad supporter numerous times over the years for trying to point out we aren’t there to protect Kurds – that’s an old lie – and yet it’s a lie that keeps working on the masses.

          I’m an art school dropout and kind of an idiot, but I can figure this stuff out. How is it so hard for others to do so? I guess it’s my general distrust of authority and experience working in film/tv that makes it easier for me to question media narratives. But, still, this stuff ain’t some complex conspiracy. It’s brazen and in our faces.

  31. Roger Boyd

    The Asia Times story on Electric Vehicles is complete rubbish, as due to the efficiency of the electric engine (much more than an internal combustion engine) EV’s produce less CO2 at any level below 80% coal in the electricity supply. Taking into account the natural gas methane emissions, natural gas is as bad as coal. So even if the electricity grid was 75% coal and gas, there is a benefit to the climate.

    China is under 60% coal mix. Singapore (which only has a few million people) is a special case as its electricity supply is 95% natural gas.

      1. xkeyscored

        An EV is a battery, on wheels. There are serious suggestions (maybe pilot schemes?), to charge them up during the day, when the sun is shining and solar is working, then link them to the grid at night to make up the shortfall.

    1. heresy101

      Here is a good description of how EVs work, how they are made, and their potential impact.

      EVs are more efficient and require many less parts than ICE cars. Some have speculated that part of the reason that the GM strike is dragging on is because of the EV changes/new factories/new parts that are coming on line over the next 10 years. EVs don’t need transmissions, radiators, drive shafts, engine blocks with all their parts, etc, etc and this is bound to impact auto production, especially if 50% of new cars are EVs in 10 years!

      Charging of cars isn’t a problem if you get rid of greed – Die! PG&E Die!

  32. Oregoncharles

    “Iran Oil Tanker Hit by Missiles Off Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Coast”
    Latest, at same link, is that Iran has now walked back the claim that they were Saudi missiles. So whose?

    A thought: a major oil spill in that location would foul Saudi shores. Don’t know if they would worry about that.

  33. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for the link to Gillian Tett’s article in the Financial Times about the interconnected activities between large shadow banks and deposit-taking banks, particularly in opaque offshore financial centers like the Cayman Islands. When coupled with the Fed’s reduction of bank liquidity and capital requirements this week, together with tens of billions in what are essentially new loans to undisclosed entities through repos at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, citizens are entitled to answers about what is going on? The economic and social damage to Americans from the financial collapse 11 years ago has been enormous. We must not have a repetition of the economic and social trauma that we have endured stemming from that event for the financial benefit of a few.

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