Links 10/16/19

Yves here. Apologies for not being back to normal programming. I am now dealing with a family mess (not health related, but there is some serious bad shit going on and it will take a bit of effort to get things under control).

U.S. Procurement Won the Civil War, Today It Would Lose A War to China Matt Stoller. His book Goliath is out!

Lithium will fuel the clean energy boom. This company may have a breakthrough

To save climate, tax carbon at $75 per ton: IMF PhysOrg

Family of six living in isolation found on Dutch farm DW. Crazier than the headline.

Testosterone Significantly Boosts Women’s Athletic Performance, Study Shows Guardian. Duh.

How Magic Mushrooms Can Help Smokers Kick The Habit NPR (David L)


Chaos as Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam tries to give ‘state of the union’ BBC

China threatens countermeasures in response to US bill supporting Hong Kong protesters CNBC

Doubts Persist Over China’s Commitment to U.S. Farm Purchases Wall Street Journal

Brexit. Still no deal as of my turning in (5:45 AM EDT)

Boris Johnson ‘on brink of Brexit deal’ after border concessions and Barnier sets Johnson a midnight deadline for Brexit concessions Guardian. Even if there is an agreement on general terms, France and Germany seem to be balking (as they should!) about not having a full text to approve.

UK and EU remain locked in race to broker Brexit deal Financial Times. This still seems the best short take: “Mr Barnier on Tuesday morning said a deal in the coming hours would be ‘very, very difficult but possible’”.

Brexit: a Mad Hatter’s tea party Richard North. From earlier in the day, but a careful reading of the news. Various EU official’s quotes, when you understand what they signify, pour cold water on the idea of a deal being agreed at this EU Council meeting. No national leader will sign off (save maybe Varadkar) without a full text and no way are they there. In fact, some comments suggest that the two sides really aren’t necessarily that close either, just that the UK has shown more movement.

Bad Faith Negotiation Craig Murray. Important.

Ireland’s ‘diplomatic tour de force’ praised as Macron prepares for summit Irish Times

Fresh warning over post-Brexit US-UK trade deal RTE. PlutoniumKun: “I would interpret this as the Irish tightening the noose at an delicate moment.”

Have UK voters changed their minds on Brexit? BBC

Riot police blast firefighters with water cannons during Paris protests RT (Kevin W). About #FranceBurning

New Cold War



Who, and What, Identifies a Threat? LobeLog (resilc). Key section:

The laziness is displayed today in the current furor over Syria, amid much hand-wringing about winners and losers, allies being betrayed, and foes filling vacuums. Turks, Arabs, and Kurds, as well as Persians and sometimes Russians, have been contesting each other in that part of the world for centuries. There was a time in U.S. history when that contest was not seen as affecting the security and well-being of the American people. Sound policy requires questioning exactly how it affects the security and well-being of the American people today.

Trump Talks To Putin. But How? Ilargi. Quite a contrarian reading.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Without encryption we will lose all privacy. This is our new battleground Edward Snowden Guardian (furzy)

Ask Slashdot: What Should I Do About My Landlord Forcing Smart Things Into My Home? Slashdot

Colleges are tracking applicants’ browser history, according to new report Mic (David L)

Google’s Auto-Delete Tools Are Practically Worthless For Privacy Fast Company

What if it was your son?’ What parents of British motorcyclist Harry Dunn, 19, who was killed by US diplomat’s wife, said to Trump as they left White House after refusing his SURPRISE offer to meet their son’s killer waiting in a room next door Daily Mail Kevin W: “What the fuck is wrong with Trump? Did he really think that this was a good idea?” Moi: Here because the killer is merely the wife of a NSA staffer, yet is being given diplomatic immunity.

Trump Transition

Trump’s top trade advisor Peter Navarro’s books frequently cite a made-up scholar named ‘Ron Vara’ who appears to be his alter ego Business Insider (Kevin W). How cute. Navarro has an imaginary friend!


Pelosi says no House vote on impeachment inquiry The Hill. She doesn’t have the votes. The party would not be canvassing otherwise. And they can drag out the inquiry only so long, as much as it is fun keeping Trump on the ropes. From a Journal story:

Democratic leadership has been asking members in battleground districts what they think about taking a House floor vote to start an impeachment inquiry, aides said, and there was initial confusion Tuesday evening over whether leaders had decided to take that step.

Many lawmakers walked into a Democratic caucus meeting thinking Mrs. Pelosi would announce a vote, a Democratic lawmaker said, after becoming aware that leadership was gauging support among Democrats.

In the end, Mrs. Pelosi said there was no requirement for a vote at this point, and it was unclear how many Democrats actually supported the idea.

Citing “unconstitutional” impeachment inquiry, Rudy Giuliani says he won’t comply with subpoena Salon. Pence too.

Exclusive: Trump lawyer Giuliani was paid $500,000 to consult on indicted associate’s firm Reuters (furzy)

Attention turns to Bolton after former aide told impeachment probe he fought Giuliani’s shadow operation in Ukraine Inquirer

Health Care

Poll on Medicare for All YouGov. Headline support: 51% v. 38%. From July but worth citing.

For-Profit Hospital Industry Leads Fight Against Medicare for All Intercept (furzy)


Dan K comments:

Things we can speculate:
– Sanders’ supporters donate more than Biden’s.
– Polling reflects a different segment than donors.
– Polling indicates preference more than commitment.

Pollsters often use a “Likely Voter” screen which a) is very conservatively Bayesian (tends to exclude new/shifted registrants) and b) skews towards establishment/wealth. Whether they mean “likely Dem Primary voters” or “likey General Election voters” is not often clear, but in the polls the app examines it’s usually likely Dem Primary voters, which again skews pretty hard to the Dem right (includes the old Reagan Democrats), voters with long-established residences, i.e. financially stable, implicitly more center than left.

Takeaways from the October Democratic debate Washington Post

Joe Biden Stumbles, Shouts Down Warren at Democratic Debate Intercept (resilc)

Ocasio-Cortez to endorse Sanders for president The Hill

DC’s Atlantic Council Raked in Funding from Hunter Biden’s Corruption-Stained Ukrainian Employer While Courting His VP Father Consortium News (Kevin W)

The More Joe Biden Stumbles, the More Corporate Democrats Freak Out Counterpunch

California Burning

Did Pleasant Hill quake trigger fuel tank explosion in Crockett? It’s one possibility San Francisco Chronicle

Drug Distributors Are in Talks to Pay $18 Billion to Settle Opioid Litigation Wall Street Journal

SpaceX just filed a request to run 30,000 more Starlink satellites in orbit MIT Technology Review (David L)

Pictures Raise Specter of Fake Evidence in 737 Max Crash Probe Bloomberg

Southwest pilots expect longer 737 Max return to service FlightGlobal (Carey)

In New Headache, WeWork Says It Found Cancer-Causing Chemical in Its Phone Booths Reuters

SoftBank is in talks with JP Morgan on WeWork bailout as cash expected to dry up by mid-November CNBC

Presented without comment FT Alphaville. Vlade: “Since I know how much you like Holmes/Theranos…”

Class Warfare

The Crackdown On Illegal Immigration Is Hurting Oil Drillers OilPrice

Elite M.B.A. Programs Report Steep Drop in Applications Wall Street Journal

Antidote du jour (Cliff V):

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. FreeMarketApologist

    File under Class Warfare, Privileged Millennials folder:

    The Millennial Urban Lifestyle Is About to Get More Expensive

    “If you wake up on a Casper mattress, work out with a Peloton before breakfast, Uber to your desk at a WeWork, order DoorDash for lunch, take a Lyft home, and get dinner through Postmates, you’ve interacted with seven companies that will collectively lose nearly $14 billion this year.”…

    “The theme of consumer tech has shifted from magic to margins. Venture capitalists and start-up founders alike have re-embraced an old mantra: Profits matter.

    And higher profits can only mean one thing: Urban lifestyles are about to get more expensive.”

    1. Larry

      Or maybe the urbanites will rediscover public transit, shop for groceries/pick up take out, and still work in an office space sublet from a REIT. In that scenario life will get cheaper and better, principally with less illegal taxis clogging the streets.

      1. Alex morfesis

        You are mistaken….we have always been at war with eastAsians….they have just refused to accept the concept….and we will always be at war with….

      2. Dr Mike

        It’s hard to fault people for taking advantage of deeply subsidized services. If I was told that a billionaire wanted to pay half my cab ride, it seems foolish not to. To say “when the costs of these go up, millennials will be hurting” misses the fact that we use these services specifically because they are so cheap. When they’re no longer being offered below cost, people will shift

        1. lyman alpha blob

          It may seem foolish not to if one only knows half the story.

          But if one is told the billionaire is subsidizing their ride and the result will be increased pollution and traffic congestion, hampering public transportation for the many who rely on it, throwing lots of cabbies who played by the rules out of their jobs, and oh by the way the driver giving you the subsidized ride is working for essentially slave wages, and that said billionaire is going to use those ill gotten gains to influence public policy for he and his rich friends, well then anyone still allowing a billionaire to pay half their ride looks like a real jerk.

          Take the damn bus.

          1. Fiery Hunt

            Right on, Bob!

            I’m constantly asking when did we trade in our moral compass for cheap exploitation?

      3. jrs

        Let’s get real about Uber and Lyft and the relation they can have to public transit shall we? These things are literally things that can make public transportation WORK.

        Let’s say you are determined to take public transit, but what about the last leg of the commute that it might not cover? What about if you miss a bus? Well the next one doesn’t come for an hour. But you have an actual appointment to keep .. This is why having a backup plan of Uber and Lyft can make public transit, which is lacking, viable. So you take busses most of the time, but otherwise you have a backup. But wouldn’t it be nice if public transit was much better? Of course. Only it’s not, and if you want people to take it, it helps not to leave them entirely stranded. Whether it helps public transit or not in the end, maybe not, but it presently makes it more viable for people that aren’t the desperately poor, that have jobs etc.. Even though of course most people still default to individual vehicles as it’s the fastest way between point A and B.

        Now the companies being bankrupt , yea, I’m not saying their business model works (but I could see it getting a govt bailout as it is becoming almost a public service), I’m focusing on the consumer, not the business,

        1. inode_buddha

          What if your day job requires carrying 80 kg of tools both ways daily, and 2x a month you also have to carry ~8 bags of groceries. 30 miles each way.

          Real world, people. NOT some Democrat professional-class urban utopia fantasy.

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          I take the bus whenever i have work and walk everywhere else, including to Chipotle after i finish reading the comments :)

          1. jrs

            Spend a couple hours a day commuting I take it. Because I’ve never seen a public transit route that didn’t take twice as long as driving .. in traffic.

            1. ambrit

              In defense of JHC; when I lived in New Orleans, the public transit system was very efficient. The streetcar lines were and probably still are the backbone of the inner rings of that metropolitan area. Put streetcar lines back in most American cities and watch the social changes flow.

        3. GERMO

          Uber’s plan is exactly this — to get existing mass transit agencies dependent on Uber for that “last mile” so that those agencies need not expand to cover growing needs, Not expanding equals shrinking. The propaganda is successful when it gets people to focus, as you’ve done, on the consumer end of it. But taking over mass transit agencies is Uber’s stated goal toward profitability (and then, robots).

          Transit agencies’ executives are all too willing to cut their own throats in this effort — they’re idiots, terrified of missing out on some bright techno future Silicon Valley has brainwashed them with. Uber will become profitable when they replace mass transit. The investors are banking on that.

            1. lyman alpha blob

              That isn’t happening in my area. Bus ridership has gone up dramatically in recent years which I know from repeated personal experience. Not only that, I get to work just about as quick by bus as by driving, and I get to do some reading on the way rather than getting frustrated in traffic.

              uber and lyft are not your friends. Can’t walk the last few blocks, call a legal cab on your device or flag one down. It really isn’t that hard.

        4. ewmayer

          “Let’s say you are determined to take public transit, but what about the last leg of the commute that it might not cover?” — I thought that’s what the Bird E-scooter was for. “Some removal of flaming homeless-person fecal matter may be required before use.”

          1. HotFlash

            Here in Toronto, lots of people take public transit and make up the first/last bits, or even an intermediate connection, with Bikeshare. Bikeshare is (now) owned by the Toronto Parking Authority, which is wholly owned by the City of Toronto, but it has an, um, interesting history, at least for those of us who find the fates and fortunes of PPE’s interesting.

            I see people getting on the streetcar or subway with their helmets. I have seen them getting off the GO Train with their bike helmets. Bikeshare also means you don’t have to worry about getting *your own precious* bike stolen if your workplace doesn’t have secure bike parking. Bonus! You can take public transit to work on rainy mornings, and Bikeshare home when it clears in the evening. And yes, people with smartphones, there is indeed an app for this.

            Me, I am a year-round, all -weather cyclist. *Unless* we need to carry product or gear (two of us, plus w/tools and stuff abt 60 lb, “product” up to 200 lbs and in need of temperature and humidity protection) long distances, when we Autoshare. Seriously, how many car-ish thingies does each person need? Mostly all those cars seem to sit parked — on the street, at home, at work, in parking structures and lots at the grocery store or mall — taking up space that could (ahem) be growing food.

            I acknowledge that 30 miles with 8 bags of groceries is a bit of a stretch, but as Winston Churchill (almost) observed, “We shape our buildings infrastructure and afterwards, our buildings infrastructure shape(s) us”.

            1. inode_buddha

              Well, I’m in Niagara Falls and most of my work is in Bufflao, doing heavy industrial maintenance and consulting. Best compromise for me is a small 4-cyl pickup. Because 60 kilos of tools daily, to and fro a job site that may be up to 30 miles (50kms) each way, and up to 8 bags of groceries 2x a month.

              No, moving is NOT going to happen. Because I have no desire to live in an urban shithole breathing fumes from a chemical plant and paying 250 a month more for my rent.

        5. drumlin woodchuckles

          Wouldn’t a legitimate cab perform that ” last quarter mile” function as well as a Uber or a Lyft?
          Better, actually, because a cab and driver has to be insured, maintained up to a certain safety level, etc. whereas the UberLyfters don’t do any of that? ( Which may be serial lawbreaking on their part to be sure, but still . . .the UberLyfters don’t do any of that).

  2. diptherio

    Here’s the Real Clear Markets piece about Holmes. It’s frickin’ crazy-pants. Theranos was simply misunderstood and not given a fair chance to succeed, because entrepreneurs are different than you and me, and Elizabeth Holmes is the modern equivalent of the Wright Brothers. Also, Michael Milken is a “hero of capitalism.” Got all that?

    1. Titus

      Sure, what doesn’t it matter if a few thousand blood tests are false positive, or negative or not done at? So, what if a few hundred people die – it’s all progress and it’s all good. Do I have that right?

    2. T

      Been afraid to look. Had a blood draw yesterday and thought of all the zillions of dollars and hours that might have been spent of more efficient and broad testing without the idiotic fetish for avoiding needles.

      How much is that class wasting, I wonder.

      1. vlade

        I’m told he lives in the came condo as Holmes’s parents. And in his “about me” bit he has “writes opinion pieces for clients”.

        I.e. gun for hire.

        Aparently, this was also in Forbes who took the piece down pretty quickly.

    3. Chris S

      Stealing this from a buddy of mine who sent it via text after reading the Real Clear Markets piece: “I live in the same building as Ted Bundy’s parents and met Ted Bundy several times, so I’m sure you may think I have some bias…but let me tell you why he was really onto something”

    4. Craig H.

      For other reasons I looked up Shalizi’s review of Wolfram’s New Kind of Science yesterday with its beautiful subtitle:

      A rare blend of monster raving egomania and utter batshit insanity

      There are a few topics that 140 characters can finish off.

    5. Paradan

      So I have a MLT background, no longer work in a lab.

      You can not do most blood tests from a finger stick. Period. Most blood tests measure a concentration of something in your blood. When you do a finger stick you dilute the sample with a random amount of interstitial fluid(cell juice). The glucose tests are pretty inaccurate but its close enough for home use.
      I can’t believe that no one at Theranos ever brought this up. How the frick did it get past the FDA, etc.

        1. Procopius

          In July 2011, Holmes was introduced to former U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz, who joined the Theranos board of directors that month.[108] Over the next three years, Shultz helped to introduce almost all the outside directors on the “all-star board,” which included William Perry (former U.S. Secretary of Defense), Henry Kissinger (former U.S. Secretary of State), Sam Nunn (former U.S. Senator), Bill Frist (former U.S. Senator and heart-transplant surgeon), Gary Roughead (Admiral, USN, retired), James Mattis (General, USMC), Richard Kovacevich (former Wells Fargo Chairman and CEO) and Riley Bechtel (chairman of the board and former CEO at Bechtel Group).[108][109][110] The board was criticized for consisting “mainly of directors with diplomatic or military backgrounds.”[24]
          — Wikipedia, Theranos

          You’ll never get a star-studded board of directors like hers, either.

  3. s.n.


    One article from 2000, published in London’s Sunday Times, states that “for all her high-profile appearances on Manhattan’s A-List merry-go-round, she [Maxwell] is secretive to the point of paranoia and her business affairs are deeply mysterious.” It goes on to say that Maxwell “has been building a business empire as opaque as father’s” — referencing Robert Maxwell’s business empire, which included multiple front companies for Israeli intelligence — and adds that “her office in Manhattan refuses to confirm even the nature or the name of her business.”


    quote of the day (yesterday) via Ilargi Meijer’s valuable blog Automatic Earth:
    When small men begin to cast big shadows, it means that the sun is about to set
    – Lin Yutang

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Lin Yutang had a collection of short Chinese stories, one of which was about Ye Xian, an early (if not the earliest) version of the well-known Cinderella tale.

      The Chinese story dates to the Tang dynasty (which lasted from about 7th century to the 10th century).

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Don’t I remember AG Barr visiting that prison-jail holding center with Epstein in it a couple days after the first attempt to kill Epstein? Why did Barr visit that place?

      My purely suspicion-based hypothesis is that Barr went there to quietly condemn all the relevant people working in that facility for failing to kill Epstein the first time, and then warned them that they had better get it right the next time.

      And they did.

      And the FSM ( Fake Stream Media) is hardly talking about it at all.

  4. Jessica

    Crude translation of the text accompanying the photo of the leopard:
    New data on the conservation of the wild population of the Far Eastern leopard – in an interview with RIA Novosti with Viktor Bardyuk, director of the FSBI “Land of the Leopard” named after N.N. Vorontsova

    1. Olga

      It is about one leopard with a damaged paw, who will likely have to have an operation (do we fly him to Moscow or do we fly the surgeon here? is the question now). The interview is also about Russian/Chinese cooperation in saving the big cats in Siberia – and even N Korean – and about the discovery of other unusual animals in a national park, such as a water deer, not previously seen in the region. They talk about leopards kittens being born, including to a mom called Pamela Anderson. VVP signed an order to have presentations on the saving of tigers at the 2022 Vladivostok conference, and leopards may be added to the agenda. S Korea is trying to persuade N Korean to join the effort.
      Amazing what countries can do when endless war is not their raison d’etre.
      VVP is known for his serious efforts to save the big cat population in Siberia.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In the Hengduan Mountains, known as the mother of gardens, American and Chinese are working together to find the first flower.

        Archifructus is one such candidate.

        Hopefully, nations can always cooperate, though, sometimes Friendship bridges become not so friendly (which happened to the one between Dongxing and Mon Cai at one time in the 70s).

  5. The Rev Kev

    For those not familiar with this revolutionary battle between the Monitor and the Merrimack, here is a historical recreation-

    The example given here of procurement was from the American Civil war but there is a more recent example of this flexibility at work. Back in the early days of WW2 the British approached North American Aviation to build Curtis P-40 fighters. NAA came back and said that they could build a more modern fighter in 100 days and the Brits agreed. About 102 days later the basic plane was rolled out.
    It was so-so as a fighter so it was mostly used for reconnaisance and dive bombing. Engineers then junked the American Allison engine in this plane and put in a British Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. And this plane became the P-51 Mustang which more than any other plane gave the Allies aerial superiority over Europe. This plane went on to destroy nearly 5,000 enemy aircraft in WW2 and here is a short film clip showing this beautiful, old warbird-

    1. JTMcPhee

      Or the good old days of sneaking up on a FW-190 and squirting a couple of hundred rounds of .50-cal up the plane and pilot’s backside, as said pilot valiantly tried to shoot 20 mm cannon rounds into B-17s and Lancasters and B-24s whose crews were trying valiantly to drop thousands of tons of bombs and incendiaries on fellow Germans, or French or Dutch or Belgian or Italian civilians who happened to be too close to “militarily significant targets.“

      Because, ignore the reasons modern political economies spun up WW II, it was “The Good War.”

      Amazing how we moderns still carry a warm place in our hearts (even those of us who were not even a gleam in our old man’s eye when the killing fields were blossoming) for “warbirds.” Brits have the Spitfire, which was less way important than the Hurricane in the Battle of Britain, but has those sexy elliptical flying surfaces and that slick cowl and spinner…What ever happened to that British engineering skill that built the Rolls Merlin (which nonetheless had a carburetor rather than the direct fuel injection of the German planes and thus could not fly inverted or in negative G maneuvers for long, or the engine would quit — though a little part added by a FEMALE British engineer considerably moderated that feature.)

      Because the air war was such a chivalrous thing, waves of bombers run like a train system, part of the triumph of the Americans Allies Forces of Good (historically excluding Russia and ignoring Good Atrocities) over the Great Evil of Our Time, the one aided and abetted by “American” and “British” fascists and corporations in another round of Modern Empire…

      Round and round and round it goes. I fly radio controlled model aircraft for fun, and I too love the “warbird” models, though most of them have a tendency to nose over when taxiing, or sustain “tip stalls” that spin them into the ground if yo get too slow on landing — much like the originals, killing their pilots…

      Now we got the F-35, and stuff…

      1. The Rev Kev

        I actually get what you say and the air war over Europe was brutal stuff both in the air and those under the bombs on the ground. The Eight Air Force alone suffered nearly 50,000 dead and wounded. Putting that harsh reality aside, some of those old planes looked like pieces of sculpture when you see them. Someone was talking here the other day about Clark Gable and his customized 1930s Duesenberg as it as a thing of beauty like those old planes.
        I am reminded of a short story line by Richard Bach where he ends up in an alternate reality and discovers to his horror he was in a fighter plane engaged in combat. But then he discovers that it is all a war game which have replaced real wars. Electronic sensors record wins and losses and the same is true with soldiers, tanks, etc on the ground and people follow their favourite “combat” teams. Now something like that I could get behind with those older warbirds.

      2. vlade

        Because, they are, after all, pretty damn cool machines.

        As for your contemtp on the WW2 – well, as someone who would not even be born if Nazis won because my both grandfathers were targeted by the Nazis on principle (one in concentration camp, the other would not ever even get that far if Gestapo got its hands on him), WW2 was as good a war as they ever get.

        Or would you seriously prefer that Nazis run their Empire across most of the Europe after practically exterminating not only Jews but all “racially inferior”people? And Japanes applied the same in “Asian Co-prosperity Sphere” and Italy in Africa?

        I’ve talked to a lot of non-wester-allies people who fought in WW2. Most of them didn’t want to talk about the war at all, and those that did talked only about what they considered “good” bits. But all of them agreed it was worth it, in the end. Or rather that the alternative of not fighting was just too catastrophic.

        I can understand how Americans can have a different view, but assuming that the American view (be it the official one “US all the way” or the alternate one like you present above) is the only valid one, is, well, again the American exceptionalism.

        Being able to give some agency and interests to non-American people even if it doesn’t chime with your inner instincts may be worth it.

        1. JTMcPhee

          No contempt on WW II, whatever you mean by that. My point is that the human population seems incapable of building anything other than the “interests” and institutions that lead to what Barbara Tuchman named “The March of Folly.” The war was inevitable, as were (obviously) all the horrors of the Nazis (and the Allies too, of course. Do you really think I would prefer that the Third Reich won the war? Hard to see where you get that in what I wrote.

          I would not have been born if not for WW II — I am one of the first Boomers out of the womb. Not as compelling as your history. To show that the folly continues, I offer my own enlistment in the US Army in 1966, to go fight “commies” half way around the world so they would not “take over our country” and all that. Dominoes wold fall, but for…

          War is stupid, and inevitable. It’s telling to me that the War Department does not even bother, in its own Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, to define the term “war.” Because everybody knows what it means, right? And it all depends on what “side” you end up on, whether it was a “good war” or not. The winners write the history.

        2. a different chris

          I don’t think he’s saying Nazis “across most of Europe” would be fine. I think he’s saying that without the economic mishaps the Nazis would have never gotten power, sparing the agony of you family that you describe.

        3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Forces of Good…another perspective.

          To the Soviets, they were on the Good side, only reluctantly accepting war supplies from the capitalist ‘rogue’ country that was America. And if the USSR ignored their ‘Good Atrocities,’ it would be understandable, a very human thing to do.

          That complements our perspective.

      3. JacobiteInTraining

        “…or French or Dutch or Belgian or Italian civilians who happened to be too close to “militarily significant targets…”

        Had an old uncle, well…really just friend of the family who got that honorary uncle title, who was drunk most of the time I was around him at family gatherings and around his old house in the swamps. Not a mean drunk, just a ‘comfortably numb’ kinda thing. Wonderful old man, taught me how to mend a net, use an outboard, gave me vintage souvenirs of his WWII days in the US Army, Infantry, 99th Division.

        He wouldn’t talk too awfully much about it but in one duck hunting session where he polished off a lot more whiskey then usual he told me about one episode where he and a buddy chucked grenades into a basement to clear any lurking German troops out and when they went in….found only dead and shredded civilians, including kids. Never asked him much about his experiences after that.

        Died of a failing liver in the mid-80’s….got himself killed in the war despite living through it.

        War is Hell, but the profits are great…..

      4. John Beech

        And I fly RC as well. Just picked up a NIB 1/5 scale TopFlite Zero today. It’ll go well with a similar scale F-4U and P-51D. Note, I qualify as ‘not even a gleam’ being barely into my 6th decade. But while I don’t glorify war, as an engineer I do worship at the altar of ‘form follows function’ and those are damned beautiful aircraft. Anyway, check out what I do professionally at since you’re a fellow RC modeler.

        1. JTMcPhee

          John, you are way beyond me in the hobby. I started RC flying when the receivers and transmitters used tubes rather than transistors, and the batteries were 67.5 volts for the aircraft and 135 for the transmitters. Really free-flight, inherently stable planes with a little rubber band powered device that flipped the rudder left and right. Got up to inductive-kick proportional control that added elevator and a sort of throttle control, then early proportional like Airtronics. Lots of scratch-building of all sorts. Then a long pause until fairly recently, when I come back to the hobby to find the plethora of puzzling technology. My surviving hanger includes a 1100mm T-28, a gorgeous Dynam Tiger Moth, and a Spitfire. And a growing set of UMX little bitty planes that can be flown around the neighborhood.

          The recent attacks on the Saudi oil refineries likely used tech RC gear that can be bought easily and internationally, or at least more advanced guidances based on those. If you fly helos and maybe drones, you know what is available in GPS guidance and other “dual-use” stuff.

          I remember a sci-fi story from the 60s, a kind of Ruby Ridge scenario where a tech whiz had developed a true force field, which the MIC wanted to seize. They laid siege to his house, but he used RC model planes to fly out what he called “wink bombs,” micro force fields enclosing a tiny bit of radium from a watch dial that built criticality by containing all released neutrons and compressing them, then releasing all the energy as a pretty big boom when the force field collapsed on command. Sent the troops scurrying. And then you have the Jihadis, who went to and other etailers and bought larger RC planes with GPS guidance and loaded them with explosives and flew them at the Imperial forces which had been using their own drones, of course, to kill Jihadis. The GIs were indignant that the “hajjis” had dared to fight back, semi-asymmetrically — don’t they understand that it is their role to be killed, without recourse?

          I wonder — do you think the A-10 and F-35 and B-2 etc are damned beautiful aircraft? My Vietnam experience, and the political awakening that followed, has soured me to the point that it is darn hard to accept the “beauty” of machines that deal death, almost always on missions that fly in the face of what I think of as decency and right conduct. Arc Light and all that. A Huey crew chief-door gunner I knew, a tall, lanky guy from Iowa and a farmer, related being ordered by his pilot to shoot water buffalo. He refused, asking how does destroying what is analogous to his John Deer tractor at home contribute to winning the hearts and minds and all that.

    2. Synoia

      My Father, in Palestine from 1942 to 1948, and the Middle East until 1952, and Nigeria from 1953 to 1964, had views which today are completely Politically Incorrect.

      There frequent conversations, to which us children were spectators, to the Ergun, Haganar and Stern Gang, with an additional serving of Baathists and Arab Socialism, and a topping of “There will be a Civil war in Nigeria between Ebo and Youraba after independence” (aka the Biafran War).

      Politics in last 20 years, after 9/11, have been like echos of these discussions in our childhood. It’s quite amazing that while the players have changed, most of the issues have remained, or continued, and further reading confirms they have very deep historical roots.

    3. skippy

      Quibble …

      The P-51 got the sexy marketing PR treatment whilst the work horse that was the P-47 was ignored.

      Same can be said of the Hawker variants Typhoon -Tempest et al vs Spitfire.

      Then some wonder how we ended up with the F-22/35 debacle, yes sexy was a term used to describe the F-22 in the procurement process – it sells baby ….

      1. The Rev Kev

        The P-47 was a great plane ( that was built like a tank. It’s modern namesake – the A-10 Thunderbolt – seems to share some of the same characteristics of it. Air forces seem to work best when they have a pair of different fighters in their stable – the Mustang & the Jug, the Spitfire & the Hurricane. But as you point out there is now the F-22/35 debacle and the F-35 at least is a dog.

        1. JTMcPhee

          And in future warfare, none of the ‘fighter aircraft’ or bombers will even have human pilots aboard. If there are even such weapons systems involved at all. Not that pilots do much “dogfighting” these days – ideally they spot the “enemy” with radar (on board or AWACS or some ground-based thing), then shoot off a missile or two and scoot out of retaliatory range.

          As someone pointed out, the next big war after the one that’s coming will be fought with clubs and rocks…

          1. Procopius

            As someone pointed out, the next big war after the one that’s coming will be fought with clubs and rocks…

            I think that was Albert Einstein. “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

  6. John A

    Re the Harry Dunn fatal traffic accident. The whole affair stinks to high heaven. If, it was a straightforward and tragic lapse of concentration, ie the woman behind the wheel forgot to drive on the left in England, (and I know from experience that it is easily done when pulling out into an empty road with no traffic in a right hand drive country, to drive on the ‘wrong’ side without thinking), why the haste to fly her back to the US on a private plane? She would probably have got a fine, points on a licence and maybe even a driving ban, but a custodial sentence would be unlikely, and even then, probably suspended. Instead of fessing up, blaming lack of concentration, apparently her 10 year old son was in the car with her, and could easily have distracted her, the PTB concocted a ludicrous ‘diplomatic immunity’ defence when neither she, not her husband are apparently diplomats. Now Trump inviting her to the White House to play some kind of peek-a-boo with the grieving and outraged parents compounds the utter insentitivity of the entire affair. No wonder ‘conspiracy theories’ and ‘fake news’ can gain traction so easily these days. Ie was she driving, what is her real job, was someone else involved. Who knows?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Now if it had been Obama and not Trump, I am sure that the woman and the family could have sat down together at a table in a courtyard near the White House Rose Garden to talk over a beer or two in a “Beer Summit”.

    2. rtah100

      Her husband is a CIA employee spying on US citizens behind a GCHQ facade (the RAF designation of the base is a polite fiction, it is a US base on British soil and is some sort of signals establishment).

      This is the fact everybody is bending over backward not to mention.

      If it is not this, it must be even more juicy. Perhaps the husband is spying on USG for the CIA, even on Trump…?

      1. Harry

        I thought NSA. But yes, the issue is attracting the wrong sort of attention to spying arrangements designed to get around domestic laws.

        1. JTMcPhee

          I can’t find the comment, but some former spook recently noted that yes, the person in question definitely was NOT covered by diplomatic immunity. The NSA and other such agencies and the Imperial military operate a kind of “Exchange Student program” where one nation’s agency lends people to the other. These people, and US GIs who engage in theft, rape and murder in another country, are protected against civil and criminal liability under the laws of the host country by a series of “gentlemen’s agreements,” including things like the Status of Forces Agreement in Iraq that failing the Iraqi government’s ratification of waiving prosecution of US “coalition” forces for crimes under Iraqi law, led to a big old temporary withdrawal in the past.

          Kind of like immunizing cancer cells against action by the body’s immune system…

          1. Oregoncharles

            That was David. Apparently he has an interesting background.

            However, he was talking mostly about the executive-level agreements that often shield such people. And it does seem likely that she was swept out of the country o hide her husband’s real job.

            Trump seems not to have gotten thatt message.

          2. rtah100

            There is a Visiting Forces Act that covers the (US) military in the UK. There are the Acts incorporating the Vienna Convention on diplomatic status into UK law. There is *nothing* covering GCHQ (because it is secret). So the decision to allow her to abscond and all the subsequent claims of immunity are perversion of justice, malfeasance in public office etc. I do hope the Dunns hoist the Establishment on its own petard here….

          3. Yves Smith Post author

            Long post on the bit re not having diplomatic immunity, with gory detail and links, by Craig Murray at his blog. We linked to that yesterday. David quibbled. Murray said their might be a MoU that covered more people including spooks like this guy who spied on Brits. David seemed to regard that as less unreasonable that Murray did.

    3. ewmayer

      “why the haste to fly her back to the US on a private plane?” — Because of the arrogance of power, that’s why. And the ongoing soft-coup in the U.S. confirms that the metastatic cancer of the surveillance-industrial complex is the worst of the worst in terms of unbridled above-the-lawness.

  7. Ignim Brites

    “Pelosi say no House on impeachment inquiry.”
    “She doesn’t have the votes.”

    She doesn’t want the votes. Pelosi wants Schiff to have his Star Chamber present articles of impeachment to the Democratic caucus and see how many more than 4 would be willing to vote on the House floor for them. She is acting like a real mother dealing with her obstreperous children although with considerably more schadenfreude. In the annals of political cynicism this will go down as one of the great moves.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I don’t know whether she has the votes or not, but I’m sure you’re right about her not wanting them.

      Any vote would surely come down along strict party lines, cementing the fact that this “impeachment” is a desperate partisan exercise in not only the relentless jihad to negate the results of an election that happened 3 years ago, but to influence the one coming next year.

      I’m convinced the democrats know that the neoliberal candidate that they are determined to nominate–whoever that is–cannot beat Trump electorally, so they want to remove him or at least cripple him, while blaming republicans for not removing him.

      When this impeachment “inquiry” initially came up, it was reported that formalizing it with a vote would secure certain rights of questioning and witness selection for the minority party. In fact, schiff kicked a repub representative, Matt Gaetz, out of one of his closed door sessions the other day.

      All of this secrecy is essential to the all important “narrative control.” All of this Rudy Giuliani and the nefarious-sounding “shadow diplomacy” is being spun as a result of secret witness “testimony.” Who knows if any of it is true as characterized.

      According to msnbs, pelosi is spinning the refusal to hold a vote as a demonstration of congressional aka the “people’s” power, in refusing to “capitulate” to illegitimate White House demands. “Power” being wielded on behalf of “people” who must be kept completely in the dark by those who purport to “represent” them, and whose choices those “representatives” refuse to honor.

    2. Synoia

      Pelosi’s behavior also pushes real reforms into the background, crowding out reforms such as Medicare for All or the Green New Deal.

      How convenient.

      Personally I don’t believe that is a unintended consequence.

  8. Ignim Brites

    “The Crackdown on Illegal Immigation is Hurting Oil Drillers”.

    Seems like there would be plenty of underemployed black men in Dallas, Houston and New Orleans to fill the labor needs. Maybe a visit from the DOJ Civil Rights division would motivate them to hold a few job fairs and pay for relocation.

    1. JBird4049

      Hiring people who still actually have rights, even now in this corrupted, benighted, and sadistic time, and having to pay them something akin to a decent wage?

      Why these American proles might get uppity and demand that the pathetic safety rules be enforced and that they be paid in full and on time as well.

      My God, talk about the humiliation, the embarrassment, the loss of profits! (Clasp chest in apparent heart attack)

      1. Synapsid


        Average salary for a roustabout working onshore in Texas this year was $16.09/hour.

        Roustabout is about the bottom level of employment in the oil patch.

        1. JBird4049

          I don’t know anything about wages for Texas. In the San Francisco Bay Area, breathing gets you $15.00 per hour. Not that it is adequate as a one bedroom hole is around $1800 per month.

          1. inode_buddha

            Sometimes its not the absolute amount that bothers me so much as the attitude that we should be grateful that we get anything at all.

            That attitude is one big reason why I am currently in the process of abandoning a 30 year career+education. Too bad about that skills shortage.

  9. zagonostra

    Dem/Dumb “Debates”

    This was the first debate that I couldn’t make it all the way to the end. I kept switching to Matt Taibbi and Kathy Halper’s live streaming on a secondary window just to get 5/6’th of the way through. If I didn’t have to work today, I’d have a vicious hangover…also switched to a third window to read NC’s live comments.

    Tulsi should have boycotted, Biden is in serious cognitive decline, Warren dissembles, Pete is a Republican Alfred E. Neuman, the rest are just fillers used to deflect from Sanders and protect/shield Biden…

    Worst debate so far…glad to see Sander’s looking healthy…and he did have one good retort that in that format of 12 interviewees before the almighty Media got quickly submerged…

    1. inode_buddha

      I quit drinking altogether back during the bailouts… that’s why I don’t watch the debates.

      1. Arizona Slim

        To think that, yesterday evening, I was at a bar and the debates weren’t on. Methinks that the gathering I was attending would have devolved into a drinking game.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Family of six living in isolation found on Dutch farm”

    Such a tragedy. Think of all the things that this family has missed out on in the past nine years – Cold War 2.0, the Game of Thrones series, war in the Ukraine and Syria, Donald Trump becoming President of the US, Russiagate, the Internet of Things, Occupy Wall Street, the first Jesuit Pope gets elected, the rise of mobile apps, the Harry Potter films end, etc. It’s been a wild ride and they missed it all-

    1. The Historian

      “It’s been a wild ride and they missed it all-”

      I wish I’d missed it all – not much in your list to be excited about – it’s mostly melodrama that I could have definitely lived without, although I’m sure I would not have wanted to go to their extremes.

    2. Fíréan

      The young man, the eldest son who went to the local pub to get help for his sick father, has a social media presence and a linkedin page. He managed facebook accounts for the Austrian, the official tenant of the property, who kept them hostage.

      Dutch police don’t give out too much information to the media initially for the privacy of all concerned and until they are sure of the details. Alas , though as good as this policy is and i agree with it, the media meanwhile jump to all the assumptions, especially international media ( as do their readers).

    3. Oregoncharles

      I was struck by the aerial (drone?) photo of the place. It’s very intensively cultivated, rather permacultural. OTOH, there are also a lot of blue tarps, a sign that someone isn’t quite keeping up – or at least that they’re overflowing the structures. A lot of labor went into the garden, and the adjoining pasture looks pretty good too.

  11. Tom Stone

    Biden needs to make a bold move to revitalize his campaign, and I have a suggestion that may strike some as unlikely, but think it through.
    If Joe announced his choice for VP and it was a woman with extensive foreign policy experience, tough minded and from a background that inspires trust from the target demographic of Republican soccer Mom’s without scaring off the big donors essential to maintain the status quo…it would be a winner.
    And if he reached across the aisle to do it, it would reinforce his claim that he can work with the opposition party to get things done.
    Gina Haspel.
    77% of Clinton voters place a great deal of trust in the CIA.
    Think it through.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      I’m sure nobody would be put off by the massive arrogance of a man with less that 1/3 of the electorate of his own party supporting him picking a presumptive VP candidate months before the first primary

    2. Rod

      Bipartisanship is a good thing, right?

      DC’s Atlantic Council Raked in Funding from Hunter Biden’s Corruption-Stained Ukrainian Employer While Courting His VP Father Consortium News (Kevin W)

      –reads like a ‘How To’ manual to the millions.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      This was suggested a few months ago although the choice was supposed to be Stacy Abrams. (She supposedly said she didn’t want the job.)

      A woman, but black instead of republican. No real foreign policy experience, but soccer mom approved. This was supposed to demonstrate his definitive commitment to racial minorities, a commitment he has been claiming for the last 40 years without ever delivering.

      Oh, wait…..30 years ago he did deliver clarence thomas to the supreme court, a gift that keeps on giving, but he had to humiliate a black woman to do it, so I guess that was a wash.

      Never mind.

    4. Roy G

      Too on the nose, imo (but great snark!). The mainstream (and almost as scary) choice would be Susan Rice.

    5. ambrit

      Let him reach all the way across the ocean and first naturalize and then chose Ilona Staller, the Italian ex-porniste who has political experience from serving in the Italian Parliament. Plus, for the East coast elites, she was married to Jeff Koons!
      Somehow, I get the feeling that she will be quite up to the task of dealing with Joe’s ‘behaviour problems.’
      Read, don’t just look at the pictures:

  12. JTMcPhee

    Anybody else getting hijacked while using NC? I’ve been hit numerous times by “Virus Detected on your Computer!” in various formats, kicks me out of NC. This is on an iPad with up to date Apple iOS. Has not happened with other sites.

    1. Titus

      No, my IPad is working fine. Everything current. I do use a vpn & agents to block things I don’t like.

    2. danpaco

      Happens to me all the time. Mac OS High Sierra, safari in private browsing mode. I clear the cache and its stable for a few hours.

    3. neighbor7

      MacOS Sierra 10.12.6–
      Seemingly only on NC I get:

      Virus detected and

      Adobe Flash Player may need update.
      On the latter the “not now” button doesn’t work. Instructions to delete this message tell me to go to System Preferences, click on Flash Player icon–which doesn’t exist.

      I back out and start again, seems to disappear till next time.

      Thanks, everyone, for debate commentary!

    4. HotFlash

      Firefox on Linux Mint here, whole computer seizes up lately and I have to crash out via off switch. Very rare on LInux, IME. Mostly while at NC, but sometimes on other sites with lots of ads, eg recipe sites, how-tos.

      1. urblintz

        using a Brave browser on a laptop (and giving what I can to NC to compensate for the blocked ads) I have managed to elude all manner of web detritus. I’m not buying into (or participating in) the “get paid with tokens” part of Brave’s initiative but I sure notice the clean browsing experience it provides. I choose to clear my cache after each use but that’s a minor hindrance.

      2. Lord Koos

        I’m using Linux Mint with Firefox also, thru a VPN, and never have any problems with this site.

    5. Arizona Slim

      I used to get a lot of that gar-bazh on my old Motorola phone. Last December, I retired it and now use a Samsung. I’m not entirely happy with my new phone, but it appears to have an anti-popup spam thingie, which I really like.

    6. inode_buddha

      No, but NC is difficult for me to use on my iPad because sometimes the rotating ad banners cause Safari to dump and restart. 5-yr old device, FWIW.

        1. Lord Koos

          I have tried a few VPNs, and can recommend — the software is easy to set up and use, the support is pretty good and it’s a really good deal at $39 a years.

    7. Lee Too

      Yes, absolutely. On my iMac. Yesterday I downloaded DtectX and ran that along with Malwarebytes, then rebooted. I picked up the tip from a Mac user forum, and it seems to have helped.

      1. neutron

        This comes from some sort of advertising. I see it from time to time all over the place. Just close the window ASAP and start over.

    8. Mark Gisleson

      No problems but I mostly read NC on desktop Mac running El Capitan. iPad up to date but no pop ups however that’s on Firefox which recently updated and is suppressing pop-ups.

  13. dearieme

    Joe Biden Stumbles

    What a let down! I assumed he had literally stumbled, à la Hellary, perhaps then being slung into a van like a sack of tatties. Instead he’s just being pre-senile again.

    What a field – the old daftie, the dodgy ticker, the Law Squaw, … and looming over it all, the threat of the return of La Clinton. And all of this nonsense while Tulsi Gabbard is available. Bonkers!

    1. flora

      I think at this point in the cycle the Dem estab has to keep Biden in the race; if he exits now (or they retire him) then what excuse do they have to keep the ‘who are they?’ candidates on the stage? Keeping the stage packed with candidates dilutes focus away from whatever the Dem estab wants it diluted away from, imo. (Also creates more donation opportunities for the party. Unwitting bundlers?)

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        And, if they can keep him semi-lucid long enough, it sets the stage for a brokered convention, as Biden opts to spend more time with his family at the last minute, due to a painfully obvious declining mental condition and Hunter’s Ukrainian deal (which will be the elephant in the room.) Then, Hillary parachutes in to reclaim her rightful place at the top of the ticket! Democrats lose again, this time to a greater margin and no one outside the Clinton Camp is surprised.

        (Edit: sorry for the massive runons. My English teachers would be embarrassed.)

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Elements of the Dem establishment wanted Biden in the race, but I don’t think he is universally well regarded. Trying to drive Biden out would raise questions about the recent (last 30 years) behavior of Team Blue. Why did Obama make him his running mate? After all, Biden was an old, out of touch white man in his 20’s.

        They want Biden’s donors, so they don’t want to trash him or raise questions about Obama’s appointees. They don’t care about the small donors because small donors aren’t going to give out what amounts to patronage jobs.

        Like with Shrub who was able to unite various elements of the GOP coalition (Blue bloods, Khristians, libertarians), Hillary nostalgia and tokenism (and Obama before her) papered over divides that weren’t dealt with.

        1. inode_buddha

          “They don’t care about the small donors because small donors aren’t going to give out what amounts to patronage jobs.”

          I don’t get what is is with these people, can’t they learn how to go and get a job like everyone else does?

          1. hunkerdown

            They literally have no talent other than to manipulate symbols and people. The physical world is for their inferiors. The world of fancy-free hyperreal isolation from things that can’t be imagined out of their way is theirs by divine right. They are Managers and they are not like those people.

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              All these jobs require work. Cocktail parties and being up to date on the latest David Brooks column (which can probably be guessed) are the work they are highly compensated for.

              I know a couple of the Biden team members. Neither is particularly talented, and one is exceptionally stupid. I don’t mean out of touch. I mean stupid.

                1. NotTimothyGeithner

                  I’m not making a joke. This particular person is stupid. I know I’ve made fun of Clinton people, but they are often out of touch or too greedy to see straight. This person I’m referring to is simply dumb as incapable of grasping simple concepts. My phone exploded when the Biden team was announced, and it was nothing about what a dumbF this person was.

                  1. inode_buddha

                    I realize you’re not joking, I was being totally serious in my reply. I’ve never seen that stupidity is a barrier — bosses often love it because they get to manipulate in ways that are questionable re Labor Laws.

          2. Plenue

            The central function of the Democratic Party is to provide employment for professional technocratic types, particularly Ezra Klein/Matthew Yglesias types who would be working at a gas station otherwise.

    2. Dalepues

      The Law Squaw. Funny. I missed the debate last night but watched a short clip of the highlights this morning. I had expected to see at least one of the contestants mention Warren’s mendacity. Perhaps it was mentioned but didn’t show up on the video I saw.

  14. The Rev Kev


    Pretty bad this and the family of the woman that died has also been left out in the dark. Several months ago Charlie Rowley, the guy that survived (along with his brother), went to London to meet the Russian ambassador there looking for information as the British authorities were telling him zip-

    If anybody is interested, here is a link to the report that the Russian ambassador gave the two brothers whose image you can see in that article-

      1. John A

        The British anti-Russia/Putin broadsheet in chief, The Guardian, was apoplectic a couple of weeks ago on learning that Trump had apparently expressed doubts to Teresa May about the British storyline on the Skripals. But then again, the G has still not withdrawn its claim that Manaford visited Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

      2. wilroncanada

        In the Skripal case, as to when the inquiry which MUST be held,will ever be held, the late Johnny Mathis had the answer years ago: The 12th of Never.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Colleges are tracking applicants’ browser history, according to new report”

    There is one possible solution to this and it is to use a Tails disc. Here is how it works. You put a Tails DVD into your DVD drive and reboot your computer. Your computer will load the Linux operating system on that DVD and you are right to go. You go to the college website and any stuff that you want to save, you save to a USB stick on your computer. When you are finished you shut down, take the DVD out of your drive, and then reboot into your regular operating system. Of course that college may not like you doing this as there is nothing there to mine so they may reject you so you have to think this one out. Not a solution for a lot of people but there it is-

    1. hunkerdown

      Their concern is not prospective surveillance. Their concern is the possibility of admissions departments using the browsing and buying habits of a visitor and their household, as routinely collected and distilled by the likes of Google, Adobe, Facebook, and other fine purveyors of web surveillance, as factors in the admissions process, effectively serving as thin proxies for wealth and class. It only takes one visit while signed in, which an applicant may already have made.

    2. ChrisPacific

      I visited one of the sites in question (U of Pittsburgh). The tracker appeared to be from Capture Higher Ed, so I checked their site to see what they were about (after blocking the tracker with Privacy Badger).

      Most of their pitch is around using Google and Facebook style targeted marketing to expand reach and maximize traffic and enrollments. They do talk about using predictive analytics to forecast who is most likely to apply and enrol. Technically there is no reason why they couldn’t extend that to ask who is most likely to pay bills on time, donate to the university after graduating, provide leads for other donors, and so on. I can practically guarantee that they’ve had questions about that, but I don’t see it anywhere in their product marketing. I’m guessing it’s a no-paper-trail conversation with the sales reps, like off-label prescription in drug marketing. Their privacy policy is appalling and practically nonexistent (and at least one of the universities in question simply references it from their own without elaboration).

      Overall they seem to be targeted mostly to colleges who are struggling to get enough applications – if you wanted an example of the commercialization of higher ed, this is a pretty good one. For comparison I checked Harvard and Yale, who presumably rely on reputation and have no need for marketing campaigns to attract applicants. Both had only the usual Facebook/Google trackers. )Harvard had something called Trumba which seems to be a calendaring app, while Yale had New Relic, which is an analytics provider but seems to be focused around site optimization and technical stuff). I would expect both to be at the head of the pack when it came to class barriers and hoovering up donations from the wealthy, so it seems likely that it’s not really being used that way – yet.

  16. JTMcPhee

    “Who, and What, Identifies As A Threat?” Short article, useful diagnosis, but very little on how one might go about identifying “US interests.” Hating on Russia has become a “US interest” in a lot of minds because, well, Cold Warriors and Worriers, decades of Mockingbird, ambitions of pols and general officers and colonels and corporate types. And i defy anyone to state succinctly what criteria, in the real world we live in, can be said to define “US interests,” and most especially what “the American Public” wants (let alone needs) from the “superb [sic] military” and the raggedy remains of “foreign policy establishment.”

    The author says, “ Sound policy requires questioning exactly how it [purported threat] affects the security and well-being of the American people today.” Just exactly which part of the Empire is qualified or authorized to measure and weigh “the well-being of the American people? Let alone what serves their “security?” And where, in all the enormous pile of documentation, does the military and the policy pushers and deciders come to equate well-being with “national interests?” Seems to me that parochial interests take part in a scrum that moves the ball of violence and corruption in random directions. Yet it’s presumed that there is supposed to be some kind of order in all this, that given better analysis would yield up “sound policy.”

    Fortunately for those of us alive now, too bad for coming generations and all the collateral damagees out there In enemy territory (those nine divisions the Imperial military has divided the planet up into, with lots of career opportunities for military and its providers, and here at home, there’s still a fair amount of unexhausted resilience in the machinery. But there’s ever more sand in the gears.

    “Opening the Arctic for Imperial exploitation” in a showdown with other Interested Parties, is a current policy thrust, which will presumably let the looting and carbo-combustion economy that we all love keep on truckin’. Who’s going to say that is bad policy, as against the presumed long-term interests of the mix of Americans in survival of habitability of the planet? Just one example.

    And of course when will global imperatives ever trump the “interests” that the policy makers, de facto and de jure, push for their own selfish reasons?

  17. Synoia

    Lithium from the Salton Sea….

    They has better hope to move quickly, because the Salton sea is 300 ft below sea level, and the only thing holding back the sea (from the Gulf of California) is Mexicali.

    At very high tides the Sea almost reached the US border.

    It is a race between sea level rise and their timeline for Lithium extraction.

    1. smoker

      Well, there’s always Afghanistan; as the Pentagon has most likely known since the Soviet Union was there.

      $1 Trillion Motherlode of Lithium and Gold Discovered in Afghanistan:

      Background to Discovery
      In 2004, American geologists, sent to Afghanistan as part of a broader reconstruction effort, stumbled across an intriguing series of old charts and data at the library of the Afghan Geological Survey in Kabul that hinted at major mineral deposits in the country. They soon learned that the data had been collected by Soviet mining experts during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, but cast aside when the Soviets withdrew in 1989.

      During the chaos of the 1990s, when Afghanistan was mired in civil war and later ruled by the Taliban, a small group of Afghan geologists protected the charts by taking them home, and returned them to the Geological Survey’s library only after the American invasion and the ouster of the Taliban in 2001.

      Armed with the old Russian charts, the United States Geological Survey began a series of aerial surveys of Afghanistan’s mineral resources in 2006, using advanced gravity and magnetic measuring equipment attached to an old Navy Orion P-3 aircraft that flew over about 70 percent of the country.

      The data from those flights was so promising that in 2007, the geologists returned for an even more sophisticated study, using an old British bomber equipped with instruments that offered a three-dimensional profile of mineral deposits below the earth’s surface. It was the most comprehensive geologic survey of Afghanistan ever conducted.

      The handful of American geologists who pored over the new data said the results were astonishing but the results gathered dust for two more years, ignored by officials in both the American and Afghan governments. ….

      Given the spying on the Soviet Union that’s gone on forever, it’s questionable as to whether the Pentagon wasn’t aware of the Soviet mining experts conclusions well before the article suggests. Also, I find that dust collection reference I boldfaced, totally unbelievable.

    2. coboarts

      I want to see a major canal dug connecting the Salton Sea with the Gulf of California. I also want to see passive solar desalination installed all along the banks.

      1. polecat

        If you were to wait .. on a long enough time scale, Mother Nature … through the wonderful process of geophysics … would do the job, pulling open that rift-zone zipper !
        But unfortunately, we’d all be too dead to care.

        By that time, the more higher evolved Mollusks would have probably found a better use for that lithium …

  18. Synoia

    NEWS: Joe Biden has $8.98 million cash on hand..

    Nice retirement bundle you have there Joe. Best not to spend it on a Campaign.

    1. John k

      Good point. Wonder what hunter thinks… and the other heirs…
      Maybe cut back on spending, boost fund raising for a bit…

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I thought I ran across a trial baloon about Michelle Obama polling first in one of the New England states.

      In baseball speak, she would be one of the D party’s top 2 prospects, along with Hillary.

          1. pretzelattack

            oh crap she is. i’m pretty sure lil cthulhu is qualified by virtue of being millenia old, i’d really like to see that vice presidential debate, though. moderator “no little cthulhu you can’t eat your opponent. no i said! bad abomination! bad, bad abomination!!”

            1. ambrit

              I can just see the invitations to the Hollywoodland campaign fundraiser: “When The Stars Are Right, Cthulhu Rises!”
              Oh, and Cthulhu’s campaign minions tell me that the Second In Command is now to be referred to as the “President of Vice.”

  19. Synoia

    SpaceX just filed a request to run 30,000 more Starlink satellites in orbit…

    Dear Mr Musk

    Please amend your request with an end-of-life cleanup plan for your satellite cloud.


    Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency

    1. xkeyscored

      Dear EPA

      Surprised to hear from you. Thought you’d been banned from stifling private enterprise with regulations.

      Anyway, no need to worry, they’ll probably just fall down when they’ve had it. Or other stuff can just steer round ours.


      Musk, Elon

    2. JTMcPhee

      Can’t find a link, but I heard that Musk plans another endeavor to get paid to collect space debris. Like the start of one of the James Bond movies, the clamshell nose opening to swallow the offending satellite or piece of junk hardware or some discarded fish and chips wrapper…

      Here’s what earth’s space looks like, from a couple of hundred thousand miles away: That’s over 500,000 tracked items (there’s more) so another 30,000 is No Big Deal.

  20. Summer

    Re: Bad Faith Negotiation….C Murray

    “But when I look at Johnson, Raab and Cummings, I am really not so sure at all. It is possible that Johnson will succeed in the apparently insurmountable challenge of securing a deal all parties can agree, by the simple strategy of promising some parties he has no intention of honouring it.”

    Politicians carrying the water for other unnamed, powerful entities. That’s the way it usually works all over the world. Would said entities put all their eggs in the Johnson basket?

    1. Ignacio

      I think that EU negotiators must be well aware of this but they still put on an educated smile and go on with negotiations as if they were treating with V.S.P. I wouldn’t hold high expectations…

      1. Summer

        Do you think it is out of the realm of possibilty that some eggs may have been put some EU negotiators’ basket(s)?
        Stakes are that high…

      2. John k

        Markell getting lots of squeaks from autos, already in recession. France similarly conflicted and distracted by demos. Spain tourism already badly hit pre Brexit, will push them into recession, too.
        So maybe negotiators are more receptive to a deal than in the past.
        Their biggest question is, can bojo deliver parliament?

        1. Ignacio

          I believe they are ALWAYS receptive to negotiations no matter the economical situation and will always prefer brexit with a deal. Anyway it is too late to procedurally come up with something to be signed before brexit day except a letter of intent.

  21. Summer

    RE: “Who and What Identifies a Threat”
    “This type of circular reasoning has become typical in discussions of U.S. force deployments, especially in the Middle East. The main dangers from state or nonstate adversaries of the United States are attacks on the U.S. military itself. U.S. forces get deployed to a region to protect U.S. forces already in the region. The situation is an excellent example of a self-licking ice cream cone.”

    Allow me: It’s akin to sending in hostages.

  22. Wyoming

    Interesting little anecdote from my morning walk with the neighbor regrading the state of health care.

    He and his wife are in their late 70’s and having some health issues they have been seeing quite a few doctors both here where we live in AZ as well as down in the Valley (Phoenix and environs). Now this is a couple which is quite well off (as in well above 8 figures, owns 5 houses, etc). They have great health insurance by any normal standard. So the wife has an ulcer in the colon which is slowly destroying her health – as in you can see if they do not fix this it will eventually result in death.

    She has been examined and tested up the yahzoo and her doctors cannot determine a cause. They say all of her tests are normal, etc. So she is trying to get another full set of exams and tests by another set of doctors – the full 2nd opinion we are all told is the smart thing to do. Well no dice.

    They have contacted a number of specialists for her type of problem down in the Valley (which is medical central for varieties of specialists and specialized hospitals) and every one to date has refused to see her when they find out she is seeking 2nd opinions on what might be wrong with her. And I note once again they can pay out of pocket full cost without even noticing the money was spent.

    So wtf is going on here?

    1. Arizona Slim

      I’m going to take a wild and crazy guess: Jealousy on the part of the doctors who don’t care for that second opinion seeking thing.

      And I’m going to venture even further out on a limb and suggest that the problem MAY be psychosomatic in origin. Happened to me.

      Matter of fact, at this time in 2018, I could barely stand and walk. And sitting down was out of the question. My back and leg pain was that bad.

      I made the rounds — urgent care, medical clinic, massage, acupuncture, and physical therapy. Nothing seemed to help.

      Then came this past January. One of the three massage therapists suggested the late John Sarno’s book, Healing Back Pain.

      I checked that book out of the library on Monday, February 11. Sarno’s thesis: A lot of back pain is psychological in origin. Sarno was a medical doctor who also was a professor at New York University. He came to the aforementioned conclusion after seeing so many patients who weren’t getting better.

      Once they started dealing with their psychological issues, boom. They recovered. Some of them did so quickly. But most did so slowly. Count me in the “slowly” column.

      Dr. Sarno died in 2013, and his work is being continued by Howard Schubiner, a medical doctor who practices in southeast Michigan. I have a copy of his book, Unlearn Your Pain, and I highly recommend the recovery program that is presented in it.

    2. kareninca

      So if they’re so rich why don’t they move to NYC? And get a new GP? And then get sent on by the new GP to specialists who will have tests done? Maybe it would even lead to a real diagnosis. That’s what I would do if I were rich. I am really leery of West Coast medicine. The doctors I’ve interacted with in the NYC and New England area have been way better than the ones I’ve encountered in Silicon Valley (with some exceptions). I guess I should feel resentment for your neighbors’ wealth, but I can’t work up the feeling; I hope that they do try the East Coast.

      I thought doctors hated second guessing other doctors. It’s seen as bad manners. I saw this all the time last year when a relative was dying. So their experience does not surprise me.

    3. Oregoncharles

      A conspiracy among the local medical community?

      They should go somewhere else altogether for that 2nd workup.

      Ulcers are typically caused by an infection. Has she ttried antibiotics?

    4. Wyoming

      I sent in a reply a few hours a go which never appeared. So here is something again. In response to the responses.

      The wtf I put down was from them. They are confused and frightened. This is not psychosomatic. She is slowly dying. Exhausted, constant infections, bleeding, constant diarrhea.

      This is occurring when they try and get exams and tests for 2nd opinions. Not sure what is meant by the West Coast medical comment as we don’t live on the West Coast. This is AZ and Phoenix in particular. Phoenix has some of the nations best medical facilities and top of the line doctors in every specialty. This ain’t the backwoods.

      She has been receiving various treatments and seeing doctors and specialists. I did not ask specifically what her medicines were or all the treatments (and I am not a doctor so what would be the point).

      But in their seeking 2nd opinions they are being turned away. I mention they can easily pay for anything out of pocket only to point out that they are not being turned down for money/insurance reasons. She is late 70’s.

      My wife and I have speculated that maybe it is an informal agreement between doctors now to not do this if possible so that they can protect each other from malpractice lawsuits. But that is just a guess.

      It sure seems strange.

      1. kareninca

        I’m from New England so I still think of AZ as West Coast. I have read that medical care in your region is terrible; I’ve come upon lots of anecdotes. I know it’s supposedly good but I’ve still come upon the anecdotes. This is one more. I’ve noticed that people almost always seem to think the medical care in their own region is stellar, no matter what the reality. People assure one another that medical care in Silicon Valley (where I am) is great, but it isn’t; many of the doctors are transient and here for the lifestyle and climate and they don’t create an effective treatment culture in the local hospitals.

        Your neighbor needs to go somewhere else in the country “on vacation” and then go to the emergency room and take it from there.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          The ER is a great idea. At a good teaching hospital. Boston Mass Gen, NYC Sloan Kettering is the best for cancer if that is her worry. Mount Sinai also very good but more general high caliber.

          1. Wyoming

            Well thank you for the input. I’ll query them some more (within the limits of politeness) about what facilities and doctors they have seen. I would like to see a good outcome here, but among us old folks there is always a declining probability of such things.

            I did take the time to look up a list of the best hospitals and specialized medical centers in the Valley and my point about quality here I think stands. Our Mayo Clinic is rated the 11th best hospital in the US. We have cancer centers with high national rankings as well as highly rated teaching hospitals. That being said I don’t know where they have gone – they are down there today for more tests.

            She has been told she does not have cancer. In fact she has been told they can find nothing wrong with her – meaning they can’t find a ’cause’ for her issues. The issues are real obviously.

          2. inode_buddha

            Buffalo General is right next door to Roswell Park cancer center, I can highly recommend them from both personal and family experience. Roswell does a lot of the breakthrough computational genetic stuff, and everything in the area is associated with the UB (SUNY) school of medicine.

        2. Oregoncharles

          My parents swore by the Mayo Clinic – though it’s now so huge the quality might not be as good.

  23. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: DC’s Atlantic Council Raked in Funding from Hunter Biden’s Corruption-Stained Ukrainian Employer While Courting His VP Father Consortium News (Kevin W)

    A must read for an evidence-based discussion of what this whole Ukraine issue is actually about, or if you’d just like a refresher on what REAL “reporting” and REAL “news” looks like. You’ll never see this in the nyt or wapo, but, interestingly enough, it was published on Zero Hedge.

    Of particular interest is the information on kurt volker, who recently quit as some sort of u.s. envoy to Ukraine. His secret “testimony” a few days ago seems to have unleashed the most recent torrent of accusations against Trump wrt Ukraine, and he is apparently back, mysteriously, today.

    This atlantic council “think tank” seems to be one of the most powerful and insidious elements of the deep state that you’ve barely ever heard of. It appears that it’s a lot more than simply a collection of anti-Russia “fellows” and “scholars.” And it seems to have flourished during the obama years–what a surprise. Its connections to crowdstrike, considering the way that “corporation” has inserted itself into american politics/elections, look pretty nefarious under the circumstances. What a coincidence that crowdstrike somehow became “authoritatively” involved not only in the clinton email scandal but MH-17, fingering Russia both times.

    And what the hell is the “u.s. state department” doing “contributing” to the atlantic council????

    I’m beginning to think that this current Ukraine brouhaha has more to do with Trump’s mention of crowdstrike than the so-called “quid pro quo” that’s only evident if you rewrite what Trump actually said.

    P.S. I can see why we haven’t seen any pictures of Zlochevsky, the owner of Burisma now living the high life in Monaco, until now. He looks like he’s straight out of central casting for a corrupt, eastern european oligarch/mafia boss.

    1. Harold

      I thought I remember reading somewhere that Zlochevsky was a more presentable cover for Kolomoisky, whose partner he was, is that true? Both are based in Cyprus, no?

  24. Dan

    “Testosterone Significantly Boosts Women’s Athletic Performance..”
    Especially when they are born male…

    So glad that transgender bathrooms are an important part of the Democrat’s platform, instead of other less important things.

    1. smoker

      Now, now Dan. Don’t give up hope. Look at Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom! Presidential Striver Newsom has just addressed the first and foremost of multitudes of California’s about to be homeless, homeless and RV dwelling parents foremost concerns, rearranging the times they get their children to, and from, school.

      California Dreamin’! Nation’s most populous state becomes first in the US to push back school start times – with high schools banned from ringing first bells BEFORE 8.30AM

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That favors those commuters who drive before 8:30 AM – few cars from parents and students driving to school – and adds to traffic after that, so that those on the road currently at or after that time would now have to get up earlier to avoid the addtional post-8:30 traffic.

        And we might see more sleep deprived adult (except those dropping off their kids) drivers (but fewer such kids).

  25. Shonde

    “…And you wonder why we can’t win any wars. California just lost $1 Billion in the (intentional) blackout because no retail shops have shoeboxes to take money in, and no remaining land-phones to do business over. ”

    That’s the last sentence of the Automatic Earth link re Trump Talks to Putin.

    Having been a San Diego County resident at the time of the 2011 blackout with a vivid memory of the blackout effects, I have often wondered why maintenance and continued use of landline infrastructure has not been declared a national strategic maintenance priority. My landline worked during the blackout in 2011 and with a handicapped spouse that was very important to me. My fully charged cell phone did not work since the cell towers primarily had no backup power. Why aren’t we talking about maintaining tech that not only sips energy but is also resilient? We need backup planning for catastrophic events or even a future where electricity might not be as widely available and inexpensive.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Double +.

      I went to dinner in a Greek restaurant a couple of weeks ago. At a kitty-corner table, a lower level Big Wig was holding forth for his attractive young blond dinner companion. I overheard him bragging about how Verizon, his employer, had ripped out all the landlines they could reach, and were well on the way to shoving “5G” technology down the throats of an enthusiastic or at least unresistant populace. And he, of course, in his telling was an integral and indispensable part of that Grand Plan.

      My wife and I both have health issues, and we live in Hurricane Alley in Florida. working phones are important to us. iPhones are what we got. My house still has jack points and hangers for old Ma Bell hardware, and if I pay my ISP “provider” extra, the house wires for the old phones can be connected up to the router so they sort of function like a landline used to. At least as long as the cell towers and “internet infrastructure” get a steady diet of clean utility power.

      More evidence for the “effing stupid humans” hypothesis.

  26. Tomonthebeach

    Lithium, oh! Lithium, say have you met Lithium? (Marx – Groucho)

    Lithium is the single element that can potentially halt transitioning to cleaner fuel. Lithium is NOT in abundance, so it has become the new platinum – for awhile – offering big profits. Meanwhile, there are other battery technologies under development in places like MIT that are not dependent on scarce metals in foreign countries or costly, but likely short-lived, thermal magic.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Very interesting. FWIW, aluminum is chemically close to lithium. Uses graphite as well as aluminum electrodes; graphite sequesters carbon – albeit on a small scale, here.

        Important general consideration: the big advantage of lithium batteries is that they’re light and compact. That matters a lot for phones and cars, very little for grid or household storage – or even trains (which can be supplied from overhead wires). So bulkier, cheaper versions like this one or even hydrogen will be preferred for stationary uses.

        Even more general: there won’t be any one solution. There will be a mosaic of different ones, from conservation to compact batteries and bio-sequestration. To say nothing of getting by with less: last I heard, Europe uses about half the energy per capita than the US. Of course, their standard of living is just terrible ;)

        So we mustn’t pretend that any one technology will solve our problems (if they get solved); but by the same token, even relatively small fixes are worth pursuing. It will take a lot of them. And given the likelihood of collapse, low-tech solutions are worth more than high-tech ones.

      2. neutron

        Good idea. Here is another:

        Lithium batteries are great for cars and bicycles where weight is a premium. For stationary uses like home solar backup or grid load management other battery technologies using much more common elements are available.

  27. Dan

    Shonde, well said. Landlines work in blackouts. We had the only working phone on our street, and became immensely popular with our neighbors who were helpless and came around suddenly all neighborly like when they saw our emergency lights.
    “To save climate, tax carbon at $75 per ton”
    So gasoline goes up 5%-15% in “most countries”, probably a lot more in the U.S.
    Heating and cooling, commuting, the cost of food, it all goes up across the board.
    The elite can pay, no problem.

    And just who gets the $75?
    If the $75 went into improved and free public transit, buying solar panels for hot water and electricity generation, was returned equally to those that paid it, then it might be have a higher rate of acceptance.

    Allow me to speak for a hypothetical American population:
    Does Wall Street get a handling fee? F* that!
    Does it go to pay interest to money lenders? F*that!
    Does it go into general funds of states that then buy more votes with welfare for “undocumented migrants” like California, F* that!
    Does the money go to some international body? F* that!

    Look at the violent Yellow Vest reaction to bogus green taxes from the French working class. Imagine the AR-15s that would come out in America were a similar thing foisted on Americans.

    Want to help re-elect Trump? Start talking about a carbon tax before the election.

    1. Oregoncharles

      That’s why it’s usually linked to a redistribution fund, paid to everyone equally. The effect is to redistribute money from those who use a lot of fossil energy to those who use little – and motivate everyone to use less.

    2. amilcare barca

      Any tax on emissions will be mercilessly gamed by the rich and increase the burdens on the poor. The only way to tax carbon is to levy the tax on extraction and direct or indirect import, and distribute the total revenue equally per capita so as to overcompensate the poor for the higher energy cost while placing the burden where it belongs–on the luxury energy consumption of the rich.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        And THAT is what the Hansen Plan proposes . . . that the would-be seller of any fossil fuel pay a fee for every unit of fossil carbon to be sold beFORE being perMITTed to sell it. And that the would-be seller then be free to add the fee the would-be seller had to pay right back into the price of first-sale.
        The whole point is to MAKE that cost of carbon follow the product down every step of the sell-buy-sell-buy-sell-buy-use chain, to make EVERY step feel the pain.

        And the money would be paid to the re-dividend re-distribution authority, which would divide up all the carbon-sale-permission fee-money into exactly equal bits and return one exactly same-sized bit to every Legal Resident of the United States. NONE of it would go to game-able boondoggle-opportunities like ” mass transit investment”. NONE of it would go to “balance the budget”. NONE of it would go to “save Social Security.” NONE of it would go to pay for Medicare For All.
        ALL of it would go STRICTLY and ONLY to dividend repayments to every Legal US Resident.

        The point of the Fee is to price-exterminate the fossil fuel industry over time. The point of the Dividend is to allow the middles and the poors to survive in the meantime, and to buy more fossil-free goods and services ( if any such exist) rather than less fossil-tainted goods and services with the same money.

  28. Anon

    RE: College Applicants web browsing history

    That is only the beginning. Even though FERPA (DDGo it.) protects student communications my local community college forces students to use Google apps, including GMail and Chrome and ChromeBook access terminals on campus. Opting out of GMail is a tedious process that few incoming students understand. The college IT administrator tells me (with a straight face) that they use Google Enterprise and that no skimming/scanning of content is occurring. He obviously hasn’t learned that “Do no Evil” has morphed into “See No Evil”.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The “dark money” is useful for drowning in ad buys and noise. Much of the actual work still has to be done by field organizations. $8 million cash on hand for a candidate who mostly seems to enjoy yelling at kids is done.

      Hillary for example cleaned house in nursing homes in 2016 and very well in 2008, but she was able to do that because her people went into homes and signed everyone up. The dark money can be coordinated, but its not paying for the kind of registration they need to sign everyone up.

    1. xkeyscored

      I found a link to what looks like the same article:
      Brief summary: maybe mechanics working for Lion Air didn’t do what they said they had done or what they were supposed to do.

      “Installation test and heater system test result good,” said an entry in the plane’s maintenance log included in the report. The mechanic also told a pilot about to fly the plane that the sensor “had been tested accordingly,” the report said.
      However, data in the report suggest the calibration wasn’t done properly or at all, said John Goglia, a former airline mechanic who formerly served on the NTSB.
      Such processes are routine and relatively simple, Goglia said. The procedure is designed as a fail-safe to ensure that a mechanic can quickly determine whether a newly installed sensor isn’t working.
      “They were given an unairworthy airplane because the maintenance was incomplete and didn’t correct the problem,” he said.

      1. JBird4049

        The mechanics were depending on, and trusting that, the 737 Max was as dependable as the previous models, while Boeing was depending on all mechanics everywhere would follow all the procedures all the time. A fine example of cutting away redundancy until people die and the lawyers notice.

  29. Oregoncharles “Brexit: What can the UK learn from Norway’s EU border?”

    From the sidebar to the Carrie Lam speech (interesting activism, there). A series of videos. The Norse customs officer doesn’t think Ireland/UK are going to get by without some border infrastructure. OTOH, the video shows completely unmanned, barely marked border crossings – with video surveillance.

    All very civil and Scandinavian.

    1. John A

      Any tradespersons crossing between Sweden and Norway with any spare parts and equipment etc., (for possible repair/service/maintenance jobs), have to cross the border at a manned customs point. This can entail a huge detour. Plus, in the case where the magnitude of the job is unknown, there are all sorts of issues about how many spare parts you can take, whether VAT is chargeable in Norway or Sweden, where the income tax is to be declared etc etc. Very bureaucratic. Plus, Scandinavians in general are extremely law abiding. They wait for the ‘green man’ at crossings every at 3 am in -20 degrees with no traffic on the roads and strictly abide by ‘keep off the grass’ type of signs, whereas in Britain, such attitudes are far less prevalent. So I cannot imagine people treating any Irish border between the north and the south as anything other than a system to game to your best advantage.

  30. ChrisPacific

    Brexit, re: the BBC referendum article – I read it. Betteridge’s Law applies here. The electorate is still polarized, no majority exists for one single option, few people have changed their mind. Technically there is a small margin for Remain, but only if you include people who didn’t vote in the first referendum and may not vote in a second one. In short, nobody knows how a second referendum would turn out, and it could very easily depend on factors like campaigning, voter turnout, current events etc.

    As Clive has pointed out, to truly put the question to bed a substantial majority (65%+) would be required one way or the other, and there is no sign of that. It seems a safe bet to say that a second referendum would solve nothing.

    1. Fíréan

      Some of us Brits, long time resident in mainland Europe, who didn’t receive a vote in the first ” brexit” referendum, would be very grateful to have the opportunity to express ourselves on this matter through a 2nd referendum.

      We seem not to have any representative negotiating for us and how we may remain ( please inform me if is otherwise ).

    2. vlade

      I suggest we split the UK into “THE ONLY ONE AND PROPER KINGDOM OF ENGLAND, WHERE JOHNY FOREIGNER KNOWS HIS PLACE!” and “the utopia of the nations and/or neolib evil empire part of country formerly known as the UK but now beneficently ruled from Brussells” and partition it by the vote (giving anyone who wants to move the right to do so).

  31. Plenue

    It’s really looking like the US is genuinely leaving Syria (other than the pocket around Al-Tanf). We just blew up one of our bases outside Kobane, leaving nothing behind for the Syrians and Russians.

    Meanwhile the Syrian army, accompanied by Russian military police, is making beelines through the desert all over the map to key border locations.

    I’ve seen some commentators, M.K. Bhadrakumar in particular, say that this whole thing was worked out ahead of time by the Turks, Syrians, and Russians, and it’s really looking like that may be the case. Seems to me that that would make the Kurds a wildcard though; the SAA and Russians couldn’t move to block the Turks if the Kurds played stubborn and didn’t agree. Maybe they put out feelers to the Kurds beforehand?

    Though the SDF/SAA are engaged in fighting against the Turkish militias in some areas. Not sure what to make of that. Maybe the gangs are just undisciplined and Turkey doesn’t have full control of them?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thought that I might ad some more stuff about what is happening. Josh Rogin of the WaPo complains that this is the end of the 5 year project to occupy “Syria’s richest oil and agricultural resources”. Some of the Turkish militants tried to get too close to US troops so F-15 fighter jets and Apache helicopter gunships were sent overhead to tell them to not even think about it.
      The first clashes have been reported between the Turkish-backed militants and Syrian Army-backed SDF troops near the town of ‘Ayn ‘Issa. A Turkish F-16 was attempting to bomb the headquarters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Manbij when the Russian Aerospace Force deployed its Su-35 jets to intercept the warplane.
      The Turks want Manbij – a Syrian Arab city – but the Syrian Army and Russian are patrolling in front of this city ( which means any attack would bring down the Russian Aerospace Forces on top of their heads.
      Of course what is interesting news is Syrian and Russian reporters walking through abandoned American bases. Here is an RT link that has a couple of videos on it and from what I can see, that is millions of dollars of gear that has been abandoned. Looks like they bugged out with only their weapons and personal gear-

    2. wilroncanada

      Leaving Syria by blowing up things:
      …leaving nothing behind for the Syrians and Russians…except the poisoned ground…except the poisoned water…except the poisoned inhabitants.
      No SUPERFUND here.
      Oh well; par for the course.

  32. ewmayer

    “Trump’s top trade advisor Peter Navarro’s books frequently cite a made-up scholar named ‘Ron Vara’ who appears to be his alter ego Business Insider (Kevin W). How cute. Navarro has an imaginary friend!” — Pretty obvious alter-ego-ing there: ‘Ron Vara’ and anagram of ‘Navarro’. I’m reminded of the Monty Python North Minehead By-Election sketch in which “Mr. Hilter” introduces his colleagues “Heinrich Bimmler” (a ‘simple lad from Peterborough’) and “Ron Vibbentrop”.

    Anyhow, is Navarro’s imaginary pal any odder than that imaginary character so frequently invoked by mainstream economists, the mythical “rational consumer”?

  33. JBird4049

    Just a rant here from a poli-sci and history buff so do not take this as anything like the last word. It is also motivated by fear, which will be obvious at the conclusion:

    Oh good grief, (bangs head on keyboard) on Guiliani saying, and doing, “I will not participate in an illegitimate, unconstitutional and baseless ‘impeachment inquiry,’” and Pence as well, is itself unconstitutional. It has been settled law for two centuries. Congress effectively has unlimited subpoena powers on anyone at anytime for any reason and there is no privileged exclusion or bar to it. Aside from internal congressional opposition. The Supreme Court effectively has no say on it. The only possible, maybe, perhaps kinda exception is an exception for President, which basically can be reduced to needed some confidentiality to negotiate with foreign powers, perhaps military secrets, or some such, but can be described as” I don’t wanna! And you can’t make me!”

    However, and this is what worries me, we seem to be having a quiet Constitutional crisis.

    Leaving aside that the House use to have a prison cells for the recalcitrant, that the Congressional Sargent at Arms could, and did a very few times go out and arrest the person, the usual procedure is to order the Executive Branch to arrest the person and depending on Congress either punish the person under the law or use another punishment as voted on.

    As I seen it, if Congress and the Presidency were actually functioning institutions, it would be almost routine. The subpoena would be issued, refused by the witness, there would be an arrest, then the legal punishment legislated decades ago. Rinse and repeat. If the Executive refused, well, Congress could order the Sargent-at-Arms and his minions to do the arrest and stick the person somewhere. A bit cumbersome but still doable.

    Congress is not functional, the Sargent-at-Arms is probably more pro forma than real, there are no Congressional jail cells anymore, and the current House membership, especially the leadership is a gutless. The institution is merely considered a check cashing sinecure rather than the head of the legislative branch of the Federal government. The one third of the government that is suppose to run the country and add as a check on the other two branches. That is how the government is check up, like a tripod, with any two branches keeping the third under control and the legislative branch, under the Congress, as the first among equals as it suppose to more directly and consistently the American people.

    I think that Madame Speaker Pelosi’s first instinct is just to make a bunch of loud harrumph noises who will use the steaming load of bullshit, or more accurately, lies hitting the fan to obscure her and Congress’ fecklessness, which just means another slice of congressional authority gets eaten; however, what might be worse, if she actually shows a spine, she would need the rest, or at least a majority of the House to pass a vote on the contempt of congress or at least order the documents and/or witness be taken and sent by then Trump’s branch, and does anyone think President Trump would do, or the House could do it with its own personnel. The Sargent-at-Arms and his people battling it out with the Secret Service perhaps? I suppose Congress could raise, fund, and equip its own forces or cut off funding to the executive branch, or at least the White House, as it actually does have the power of the purse, or maybe, actually impeach President Trump.

    Yeah, I don’t think so either.

    Since Congress effectively cannot enforce its subpoenas trying to force the issue will just expose the Potemkin Congress meaning the Presidency will gain even more power, or if I am wrong and Congress still somehow functions this will be a direct, even physical, confrontation with two, or ultimately all three branches using true power politics, perhaps up to the level of the gun. Maybe President Trump will see sweet reason, or the leadership working under him will. If not, then we will seen just where the loyalties of the employees, including all the many contract workers, comprising the fourteen agencies Homeland Security are as well as the CIA, FBI, NSA and the various branches of the military.

    I do not believe that I am being hyperbolic, nor do I think that this is what anyone in the government is planning for some dark, nefarious reason. Rather, I think that most of the government’s leadership is not thinking ahead, much like the insane obsession with quarterly profits in most large American businesses today, which is worse in someways. It is the part of the same processes that got as got us the Republic of the United States as well as the First French Republic created in the first place.

    The various leaders kept making decisions, that in the short run were reasonable, but then the long run consequences happened. Neither starts of the revolutions at Lexington Green and Concord Bridge, or the Tennis Courts at Versailles were planned by anyone really. They just… happened.

    Yes, I know that this is extreme, but really, is it?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The only defense Pence and Giuliani might have (and I doubt this is the case because you would think their statements would have hammered this issue) is whether those “subpoenas” are actual subpoenas. The “impeachment inquiry” can’t issue them unless there is a House vote, a budget (impeachments have budgets!) and other formalities. But all the six committees investigating Trump have subpoena powers.

      The reason to raise this issue is that the press earlier took Dem messaging hook, line, and sinker in treating some recent demands for records that the Dems called subpoenas that weren’t. They were nastygrams but not subpoenas. This round may be the real deal, but given the history, it’s worth keeping in the back of your head.

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