Links 10/18/19

Abandoned by Great White Sharks, Cape Town Is Now Short of Whales, Too Bloomberg

Extraordinary pictures of the most ancient trees on Earth Gizmodo (David L)

Study: California’s big July quakes strain major fault Associated Press (David L)

The US military is trying to read minds MIT Technology Review. Not new. After the USSR fell, a former top Soviet scientist published a book on how the USSR (as well as the US) had spend lots of time and money on parapsychological research (one wonders if the Men Who Stare at Goats was an effort to divert attention from the real effort). The USSR concluded that some people really did have what would informally be called psychic abilities, way above chance, the most likely population to have it was red-headed female peasants, but those talents were too unreliable to use for military purposes.

In this “biorecycling” factory, enzymes perfectly break down plastic so it can be used again Fast Company

Machines Beat Humans on a Reading Test. But Do They Understand? Quanta (David L). The other part, which this article does not address, is how researcher expectations influence human subjects. That is why clinical trials are double blind, placebo controlled. When the computers got to be close to as good as humans, one has to wonder if the researchers, who might have wanted their computers to win, sent negative signals to the human subjects. See the considerable literature on expectancy theory before you pooh pooh this idea.

A Great Example of Better Data Visualization: This Voting Map GIF Core77 (resilc)

The Great Biomass Boondoggle New York Review of Books (resilc)

New study pinpoints the places most at risk on a warming planet Grist. Be sure to check out the map.

New catalyst helps turn carbon dioxide into fuel Stanford News (David L)

Extinction Rebellion protesters dragged from Tube train roof BBC (Kevin W). This is not a way to win hearts and minds: “Many commuters were left scratching their heads this morning, bewildered by an environmental protest that targeted one of the most environmentally-friendly ways to travel.” And in NYC, it’s not hard to imagine the MTA running the trains anyhow and seeing if nature would take its course (there have been Darwin Award candidates who joyride on the top of subway trains).

Eco-Fascism doesn’t exist. Yet. Paganarch. UserFriendly: “Important!”

Hacking Darwin: How the coming genetics revolution will play out New Atlas (David L)

Modern Humans Inherited Even More DNA From Neanderthals And Denisovans Than We Thought Gizmodo (Kevin W)

Inherited Learning? It Happens, but How Is Uncertain Quanta (David L)


China’s GDP growth sinks to new low of 6 per cent Financial Times

A Million People Are Jailed at China’s Gulags. I Managed to Escape. Here’s What Really Goes on Inside Haaretz (Troy). Today’s must read. Indirectly confirmed by this take from an ex-McKinsey colleague a while back:

I’ve been to China often, built a factory there in the early 2000s, and our youngest son recently returned from working there (he’s fluent in Mandarin). Last fall XXXX and I went to Xinjiang, the westernmost province of China, where the silk road enters China. That region and its capital, Kashgar, has gotten lots of recent press because of the oppression of the Uighur minority. It’s worse than most press describe. It’s a police state like the storm troopers of Star Wars. Last fall (after we were there) McK held its annual senior partner meeting in the desert near Kashgar. For that to have been done was, to me, a clear signal to the Chinese government of McK’s tacit approval of their actions there. It was appalling. No other part of China, including Tibet, is even remotely as oppressive.

Brexit. Thin on links here, please see our post instead.

DUP to expand into f**king up other countries Daily Mash. Party leaders should consider applying for jobs in Langley.

Business concern at what deal means for UK-EU relationship Financial Times

Brexit: 40% jump in companies in significant financial distress since referendum, report finds Independent

Fridays for Horsepower: German Motorists Oppose Fridays for Future Der Spiegel (resilc)

Suicide rate among young Americans soars by more than 50% over 10 years MarketWatch


Turkey to suspend Syria offensive ‘to allow Kurdish withdrawal’ BBC

Pence announces ceasefire deal with Turkey C-SPAN

Donald Trump’s bizarre, threatening letter to Erdoğan: ‘Don’t be a fool’ Guardian

Bret Stephens’ American Fantasy Counterpunch (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

How to Stop the Abuse of Location Data New York Times

Imperial Collapse Watch

America sold over $55 billion in weapons in FY19 Defense News (resilc)

Meet Ripsaw M5, Textron’s Unmanned Battle Wagon Military (JTM)

Trump Transition

Never-Before-Seen Trump Tax Documents Show Major Inconsistencies ProPublica. UserFriendly: “ROFL the how they got it is the best part. You think team D might have noticed.”

Update: We Found a “Staggering” 281 Lobbyists Who’ve Worked in the Trump Administration ProPublica (resilc)

Trump’s ‘China Muse’ Has an Imaginary Friend Chronicle of Higher Education (resilc). Hahaha great minds think alike!


Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe The Hill v. Mulvaney Says No Quid Pro Quo Between Ukraine Aid and Investigations Wall Street Journal. Note that was the headline in the e-mail news alert; the apparent original headline Mulvaney Says Holdup of Ukraine Aid Was Tied to Trump’s Demand for DNC Server is up on the site.

Gordon Sondland, Trump envoy and key figure in impeachment probe, faces criticism over $1 million taxpayer-funded home renovation Washington Post

Why the Pundits Got Impeachment Wrong New Republic. Resilc: “Why have Congress, just have a poll on everything then.”

Health Care

We Don’t Need to Raise Taxes to Have ‘Medicare for All’ New York Times (resilc)

Why We Need to Design Health Care Reform That Puts Patients Before Profits UserFriendly


Truth Is A Kremlin Talking Point Caitlin Johnstone (UserFriendly). Here because used heavily to try to discredit Dem candidates.

Democrats Still Can’t Level With Voters About the U.S. Empire Intercept

Mike Bloomberg signals he would run if Biden struggles against Warren CNBC (UserFriendly). One of my Dem insider contacts warned about this over a week ago.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Inside the “Most Incarcerated” Zip Code in the Country New Republic (resilc)

Private Utility Companies Keep Merging and Merging American Prospect

Inside TurboTax’s 20-Year Fight to Stop Americans From Filing Their Taxes for Free ProPublica (UserFriendly)

Saudi Aramco delays planned launch of long-awaited IPO Financial Times (Kevin W). Quelle surprise!

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Defends Free Speech Amid Calls for Tighter Controls Wall Street Journal

When Democrats Used to Indict Plutocrats and Monopolists Matt Stoller. The MSNBC interviewer is just vile. Matt’s response when she made the abjectly false claim that the corporate tax cuts went to R&D wasn’t the best (although it wan’t bad), but it’s hard to swat back lies that are so out there that they’re unexpected. It’s hard to muster it, but the best would have been to start laughing and then shellack her.

Tech Companies Are Destroying Democracy and the Free Press Matt Stoller, New York Times

Class Warfare

Reporters’ Memo: Data Show Trade Had Greater Impact Than Automation on Manufacturing Job Loss Public Citizen

Felicity Huffman’s Release from Prison Set for Oct. 27 People (resilc)

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “Sinbad (chair-back), Sherlock (groomie), and Tinkerbell (groomer).”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. scoff

    How important small proteins will be for medicine is still unknown, but they have already upended several biological assumptions. Geneticist Norbert Hübner of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin and colleagues found dozens of new microproteins in human heart cells. The group traced them to an unexpected source: short sequences within long noncoding RNAs, a variety that was thought not to produce proteins. After identifying 169 long noncoding RNAs that were probably being read by ribosomes, Hübner and his team used a type of mass spectrometry to confirm that more than half of them yielded microproteins in heart cells, a result reported earlier this year in Cell.

    New universe of miniproteins is upending cell biology and genetics

    What we don’t know is far greater than what we do.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      reminds me of physics/cosmology…wherein the smaller, and bigger, we look, the more layers we find.(planke length to lainikea superdupercluster)
      or craig vetner dipping cups of water at random from the gulf of mexico and finding new, unknown organisms in every cup.
      i reckon it’s good to be reminded just how much we don’t know.

      (spelling throughout, -10)

    2. voislav

      It’s a very deep hole that is very poorly understood. Most protein function is controlled not only by its sequence (controlled by RNA/DNA) but also other stuff that is attached to it (sugar, fatty acid, etc). When you look at some of these things, sometimes the sugar will be almost as big as the protein it attached to. And people are only now starting to look at these things and to try to understand what’s going on.

      Just to give and example, one of my colleagues just put out a paper where they looked proteins that are know Alzheimer biomarkers and they found that in patients with higher risk those proteins have more sugars attached to them. So they are thinking it’s not really that the body is producing more of this protein with increased risk, it’s that the existing protein losses function due to attached sugars and body is producing more to compensate. So the preventive treatment they are looking at developing is not to stop the production of protein, because that would compromise body regulation, but to stop attachment of sugar.

    3. Krystyn Walentka

      “What we don’t know is far greater than what we do.”

      My favorite quote that explains this:

      “As the island of our knowledge grows, so do the shores of our ignorance.”

      -Marcelo Gleiser

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Practically speaking, this is a reminder that all the health tips we get should be taken carefully – that however rigorously the scientific method was observed to arrive at a conclusion, it’s temporary (to be replaced by something better in the future), and partial (we don’t have a complete picture yet).

      2. Ed Miller

        A better phrase, from a librarian I once knew:

        “The more you learn, the less you know.” As you learn, the seemingly simple becomes more nuanced and complex.

    4. Synoia

      We cannot measure how much we don’t know.

      We have a difficult time measuring what we do know, because some of what we believe we know is wrong.

      1. MichaelSF

        What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.

        — Samuel Clemens

      1. BoyDownTheLane

        I’m sure I’ll get booed out of the park, but I think it is a case that the more we break things down to understand them (Cartesian approach), the more we find that there is a superior cosmic intelligence at work and play.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Perhaps but the choice is either evidence or the leap of faith. I’m stuck wanting the former.

          But yes I think it is possible that the universe was created in seven days by an all-seeing and all-powerful being.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            There is also Zen, in addtion to Shinto or Animism, when it comes to choices. Specifically the No Mind of Chan (or Zen).

            I ask, what do animals react in the world? Do they ask for evidence, like we do? Do they think in terms of faith-leaping?

            Do they not think (in words) at all, when they mentalize while navigating life?

            1. kgw

              Reflect long, and hard, at the basis of your knowing…Attachments to your favorite cogitations are not a basis.

  2. dearieme

    Extraordinary pictures of the most ancient trees on Earth

    I’m learning a lot from Colin Tudge’s enjoyable The Secret Life of Trees Dear God, botany is complicated. His hand-holding is most helpful.

    For the history of woodland by far the best writer I’ve come across is Oliver Rackham who is especially strong on England and the Mediterranean countries of Europe. His Woodlands is very good; even better, I think, is his The Illustrated History of the Countryside which covers other sorts of land too.

    1. Eudora Welty

      Regarding the studying of mind techniques. I’ve studied A Course in Miracles, and it has a backstory that a middle-aged Jewish atheist psychologist channeled it over about 10 years. There are several books about her & how she had strange vivid dreams as a child, a troubled young -adulthood, and – shortly before the channeling started – she had some psychic experiences. Then, she was told by a friend, “call the number on this piece of paper, a guy might hire you.” And she got a job at Columbia University as an assistant to a research professor, and they developed a platonic but extremely close relationship in which they channeled the material together.

      For years, this sounded great to Course students & I idly believed it, too. But, since then, we’ve learned that the guy was doing contract work for MK-Ultra. Ahh, now the platonic part makes sense! I do believe that the woman who channeled the course was probably too unique to be able to generate scientific truths. But the material is coherent and spiritually meaningful & it relates a philosophy of life that makes sense to me. The whole story just shows me how wide-ranging was the exploration that the government did into mind-control techniques. It’s kind of startling.

        1. pretzelattack

          imo, the only result of staring at a goat for long periods of time will be boredom. “if looks could kill”, but they can’t. somebody made some money off that, but no goats were harmed.

      1. nbtt

        if you go deep into this rabbit hole and take the red pill of buddhism/vedanta, it appears that this reality that we hold so dear is something that happens to us when we wake up. There are three different worlds/dimensions we live in, apparently.

        One dream ends and another begins.

        So it is not worth it to attempt to waste ones life to manipulate this world by “other” means.

  3. dearieme

    the most likely population to have it was red-headed female peasants

    Do we know how many of the Salem “witches” were red-heads?

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      Some perhaps but not likely not all, but as the main areas of the 17th century witchcraft hysteria coincide both in Europe & Salem with rye crops, perhaps all of the ” Double double toil & trouble ” was caused by that early agricultural acid going by the name of ergot..

      1. Mike

        It is also enlightening to look at the property relations of Salem rsidents, and how thos produced “witches” in disputed claims.

        1. pretzelattack

          in those days, accusing someone of being a witch could be as useful as accusing them of being a russian agent is these days.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            In other areas of the world (which is diverse), accusing people of being CIA agents works better.

          2. LifelongLib

            Yes, but it was still a culture that believed in witchcraft and in which some people practiced it. It’s anachronistic to think that people at the time knew it was bs and that all accusations of witchcraft were cynical and self-serving.

            1. pretzelattack

              just like today, when much of the culture believes russians control trump, and much of the media. if somebody lies about that for some kind of personal gain, just as if people lied about witches at that time for personal gain, it is not “anachronistic” to suspect that their accusations were cynical and self serving.

              for a modern example of accusations of witchcraft, we need go no further back than the mcmartin preschool case, where law enforcement and some psychologists pressured kids to invent stories about their teachers flying through the air and sacrificing children to satan, which whipped up a frenzy in the community. was everybody cynical and self serving? no, some were just gullible, but that doesn’t preclude the profit motive of some driving the investigation either.

  4. Steve H.

    > Mike Bloomberg signals he would run if Biden struggles against Warren

    A choice between two New York billionaires for the second election in a row. That’s really going to work.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      If bloomberg is the back-up plan, they might as well trot out the ghost of clinton again.
      Cannot think of a more uninspiring choice.

      1. Christopher Fay

        “ghost of clinton”, the third billionaire. It will be the Thurston Howell III election.

        1. flora

          “No one can pull the wool over my eyes. Cashmere maybe, but wool, never.” — Thurston Howell III

          1. Robert Valiant

            Said in a thick Mid-Atlantic accent. I wish the rich would start using that again; rich sounds so much nicer when it sounds vaguely British.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Bloomberg was a Republican every day of the Bush Administration. He’s not so much a member of Team Blue as a leading member of the #nevertrumpers who will tolerate Team Blue types as long as they are as least as repulsive of the Obama Administration. If Joe Scarborough had better ratings, he would be making similar threats.

        I wonder if any Clintonistas will accuse Bloomberg of giving the election to Trump…

        1. Tom Doak

          That Bloomberg moves back and forth between parties so easily, and no one on either side objects, is the clearest indication that they are just two wings of the Party of Money.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Yes by all means let’s pick a former Republican. Bloomberg, Hilary, Warren.

            We don’t need The Goldwater Girl, the undead from Chappaqua, rising again to declare Tulsi and Jill Stein to be Red spies. (Somebody get her some microfilm hidden in a pumpkin field so she can channel Dick Nixon. The gals from The View can tag along, then retire to brunch and cluck about it).

            We don’t need Angry Library Lady, who true to form dissembles when asked why she was a Republican. Answer: “I wasn’t really thinking about it, I wasn’t really political”. Also: “Would you permit what Hunter Biden did?” Answer: “No. Yes. I don’t know”.

            If we’re going to have right-wing Republican billionaire corporo-fascism then let’s all just vote for Trump. Truth in advertising.

            1. The Rev Kev

              ‘Angry Library Lady, who true to form dissembles when asked why she was a Republican.’ You mean like when Warren was asked about her being an active Republican in the 90s and all she said was ‘Nah!’ in spite of the film footage showing this to be the case. Watch from the 4:45 mark on (some language)-


        2. inode_buddha

          “I wonder if any Clintonistas will accuse Bloomberg of giving the election to Trump…”

          Great catch! I wonder if any of them will accuse Bloomberg of being a Russian plant…

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Who needs Bloomberg when the Dem superdelegates could put Mitt Romney over the top in a locked convention? Mitt and the neoliberal Dems are making goo-goo eyes at each other already. Corey would be the perfect VP match. What a way to pull in the suburban Republican women. And think of the Mormon vote!

      Meanwhile, the Dems are walking into a potentially fatal (and I do mean fatal) trap of their own making. Any NeoCon war criminal who criticizes Trump, even if it’s for failing to start enough wars, is a big hero on DK and MSDNC. And if the NeoCons can get the Dems to bounce Trump, they can get their favorite political party back. Once that happens, nominate a Cotton or Rubio, and we can get a real fascist government instead of a reality TV show.

      1. pretzelattack

        hey how about nominating george bush jr? isn’t it his turn again? especially since he is so close in spirit to centrist dems. and he’s so sweet and funny. i bet he could bring in those moderate republicans!

    3. Robert McGregor

      > Mike Bloomberg signals he would run if Biden struggles against Warren

      He is so cocky and arrogant he thinks he would have any chance with voters! I guess he thinks that because he is really is a billionaire, and has government executive experience, that he’s the man! But he’s the closest thing to our Putin, since 1) Really is a billionaire; 2) Executive Government Experience; 3) Mentally Competent.

      1. ambrit

        The main problem with that formulation is that: Politics is not Business. Even at the top echelons, the required skill sets are different.

      2. pretzelattack

        any evidence putin is a billionaire? or that bloomberg is in the same stratosphere of competence?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          For Putin has done, could it be said that he should be, or deserves to be, a billionaire?

    4. Grant

      He won’t win, of course, but if he does that, he essentially says that he would prefer Trump to Sanders and Warren. His logic is that his run would bleed support from the Democratic candidate. On that, who knows, but it shows as clear as day the centrality of class in politics. They want the class war to continue and for their class to continue to dominate others. The state cannot be allowed to work for working people and democratizing the economy is out of the question. Full stop. If a moderately progressive technocrat like Warren would lead him to that, forget the actual structural changes we need to deal with the environmental crisis. These people scream about the evils of single payer and how it will never happen. Implementing single payer is a walk in the park compared to the changes we need in response to the environmental crisis. Bloomberg and those like him will be an obstacle to it all.

        1. Biph

          All this billionaire whining about Warren has moved me from on the fence about voting for her in the GE to definitely will vote for her in the GE making it 3 dems I would vote for (Sanders and Gabbard being the others).

        2. Amongst the Billionaires

          Interesting in that report on Armstrong to see Warren referred to as Pocahontas.

        3. Wukchumni

          Armstrong has claimed at times to have been ‘behind the curtain’ and I for one believe him.

          That’s the most interesting way to describe being in prison, and isn’t he a fervent climate change denier as an added bonus?

  5. fajensen

    … the most likely population to have it was red-headed female peasants, but those talents were too unreliable to use for military purposes.

    This of course being totally not about a bunch of mostly male scientists local up within an isolated, ‘secret-city’, facility, smelling faintly of mouse pee and phenol circumventing obstacles to devise ways to get much closer to some nubile, presumably easily impressed, read-headed females …. :)

    Having said that, I do have an ability to ‘find places’: We were driving overnight from Denmark to visit a friend in Belgium and I forgot the note with the address and phone number, which we discovered around Duisburg. We can drive back for 8 hours or we could drive to ‘his town’ and maybe work it out from there.

    This we did, only, me being the driver, I sort-of knew where to get off the motorway, how far to go round on the ring road, which road to take out of the town, where to turn right … and we basically ended up down a gravel road right outside of his house! It felt a bit like lucid dreaming, just floating down the roads and – feels like lets turn here, and so on.

    We thought it pretty weird that this stunt worked out and – sadly – I have never managed to ‘get anything’ with lottery numbers, I cannot visualise numbers so I cannot ‘see’ the path to them.

    1. Synoia

      Sense of direction based on vague clues…

      That would be a prime skill for the Hunters in a Hunter gatherer environment.

      I believe we humans did the hunter/gatherer bit for some millennia.

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      runs in mine, too.
      utter weirdness.
      strange that one can get used to it
      (yes,it’s in the redheaded maternal grandma’s line)
      ergo…i’ve always believed in mkultra and the like.
      this is a part of the world, whether we like it or not.
      of course those people would try to weaponise it.

      (it occurs to me to wonder if we didn’t do it because the kgb was doing it…and how much of the latter had to do with rasputin, and the “spiritualist”, mystic—and ultimately shamanist—mileu that he sort of bloomed up out of.(see: mircea eliade’s ‘shamanism’))

  6. dearieme

    Inside TurboTax’s 20-Year Fight to Stop Americans From Filing Their Taxes for Free

    I submit my UK “self assessment” tax returns free online. I am about to try to persuade Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (it’s no longer the Inland Revenue) to spare me even that duty.

    In the past I’ve needed an accountant’s help only with residing and working abroad and its UK tax and pension consequences.

    Even complications such as foreign income while a UK tax resident, property income, IPR royalties, maturing of insurance policies, private pension income, and self-employment income could, I found, be handled by me.

    I can’t say I like doing it – completing forms online makes me anxious – but I can knock off mine and my wife’s submissions in one evening. The typical result is that HMRC owes her £5 and I owe them £4.

  7. Ignacio

    RE: In this “biorecycling” factory, enzymes perfectly break down plastic so it can be used again Fast Company

    In a previous link the degradation of PET was also analysed and this french company was cited. PET, polyethylene terephtalate it is said in the article to be used in the EU to the tune of 1 million tons per year which is a small fraction of the total of about 60 million tons of plastic consumed in the EU. Thus, PET degradation/recycling, if feasible at industrial level –the article doesn’t say much about the economics– still leaves most of the plastics untouched. PET and a few other plastics are sensitive to the attack by cutinases as well as other enzymes, it is somehow recalcitrant substrate but anyway accesible. A more difficult case is PE (polyethilene, high or low density) or PP (polypropilene) which have been shown to be so recalcitrant as to be qualified as no biodegradable (long ago, enzymes that attack these plastics were described and a lot of research has been done to improve them but with no good results). Not to mention PVC but this is rare in single use applications. PET cannot substitute most PE/PP applications.

    Yet the problem is always the same: lots of plastics are single use and end their life anywhere except a recycling facility. The bottomline is that we cannot claim mission accomplished and even if this PET recycling method is generally applied the plastic problem remains basically the same. PET is the low hanging plastic-fruit for this kind of recycling.

  8. Kevin


    This is downstream stuff. Typical of the way America faces challenges. We’d rather build sandbags than fix the hole in the dam upstream.

    Politicians lie. They lie on TV, they lie on radio, they lie to our faces.

    Expecting Facebook to be a guardian of truth is fantasy. How about we go upstream to the hole in the dam and start holding politicians accountable for the truth. Or better yet, reinstitute “true news reporting” without the editorializing that has become the news.

    “When you mix fiction and news, you diminish the distinction between truth and fiction, and you wear down the audience’s own discriminating power to judge.”
    –Bill Moyers

    1. tegnost

      Expecting Facebook to be a guardian of truth is fantasy

      Especially because they are responsible for so many fake accounts, fake people, and dare I say it? Fake news. Unsubscribe (of course even that is a lie, they keep your account active anyway)

      1. The Rev Kev

        Expecting Facebook to be a guardian of truth is like expecting Errol Flynn to be a guardian of virginity.

      2. Mike

        Correct, but it is still necessary to stop giving them more ammunition (i.e., data) to shoot you with. The Zuck’s frustration is with those leaving his platform, and the dire need to fool them back.

    2. Carla

      “Typical of the way America faces challenges. We’d rather build sandbags than fix the hole in the dam upstream.” Very true.

      Prime example: attempting to break up tech — and other — monopolies without first removing the illegitimate, never-intended “personhood rights” of corporations.

      I really, really hope Matt Stoller, among many others, will familiarize themselves with “the hole in the dam upstream” and get behind the efforts of Move to Amend grassroots activists determined to permanently plug that hole with this 28th Constitutional Amendment:

      Please get your Congress critter onboard, urge your Senators to introduce it in the U.S. Senate, and send a donation to They do more and better work with less $$$ than any other grass-roots group in the country!

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Turkey to suspend Syria offensive ‘to allow Kurdish withdrawal'”

    Looking at that map today, I had a thought about Erdogan’s scheme. Right now you have the Kurds in Turkey which Erdogan has been oppressing. Just across the border you have the Syrian Kurds who are no friends of Erdogan either. Could it be that the reason that he wants to seize a zone across the Turkey-Syrian border is that he wants to give Turkey their own security by filling that zone with Syrian refugees. Consider the advantages that Erdogan may be planning on.
    Instead of Turkish and Syrian Kurds sharing a porous border, you would have a band of Syrian Arabs separating them, thus isolating the Turkish Kurds. Turkey is having economic problems and the Turks are resenting the Syrian refugees who compete for jobs so dumping them back into a no-man zone would make him popular at home. Turkey would administer this zone and would eventually seek to annex it to Turkey after a while. Other parts of Turkish occupied Syria they have issued Turkish school books to the Syrian kids and have issued Turkish ID.
    Of course this will not eventuate. The Syrian Army and the Russians are blocking them in and any attack on them would trigger a direct and immediate response by the Russian Aerospace Force. But reporting on all this is in dire need of active brain cells. I was watching the news where it was all about the Turks and the Kurds as if they were the only two people there. No mention of the Syrians (whose country it actually is) or the Russians. At the end of the report the reporter from Ankara said that what can be done as there is no force that can actually separate the two!! But the Kurds will have to go back to Syria. In the link below is a film clip of how the Turks treat their enemies and I can absolutely guarantee you that it is Not Safe For Work so you have been warned-

  10. Steve H.

    Batson linked to an article from SCMP: China slimming down Belt and Road Initiative as new project value plunges in last 18 months, report shows

    : The value of new projects across 61 countries fell 13 per cent to US$126 billion in 2018

    $126B ain’t nothin’. Current IMF loans are around $200B.

    : The principal explanation is that fear of balance of payments and exchange rate weakness has caused rationing of the hard currency used to make investments and finance construction

    Let’s ponder this in light of these quotes from Gen. Qiao Liang’s “One belt, one road.”

    : Right, “one belt, one road” is China’s hedge strategy of turning its back to the US eastward shift: You push in one direction; I go in the opposite direction. Didn’t you pressure me to it? I go west, neither to avoid you nor because I am afraid, but to very cleverly defuse the pressure you gave me on the east.

    : The meaning of RMB internationalization goes far beyond what we say about the RMB: to go out and play a role in the “one belt, one road” policy and so on. It would split the world with the US dollar, and the euro.

    So the purpose of OBOR is not profit, but monetary expansion.

    : Then we could continue to speculate that a free trade-zone in East Asia still would not stop. It could bring in India in the southwest, then move north to integrate the five Central Asian republics, and then go west to integrate the Middle East—so that the entire Asian FTA would have a scale of over 50 trillion US dollars, more than the EU and North America put together. If such a large free-trade zone were to appear, would it be willing to use the euro or the US dollar for clearing its internal trade? Of course not. This means that an Asian dollar might be born.

    If much of the OBOR infrastructure has been laid for transport and safe harbors (like the port at Gwadar), there could be a phase shift occurring.

    : This means that Americans may schedule a war for ten years later. While war may still not happen in a decade, we must be prepared for it. If Chinese do not want a war in the next ten years, we need to put all of our affairs in order, including the preparation of the military and war.

    The article was published in 2015, so this is the halfway point of the timeline.

    I note with interest Turkey’s desire for joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and buying S400’s while still demanding NATO privileges. And the credible threat of unleashing seven figures worth of refugees into Europe.

    One thing Qiao didn’t get was his assumption that the U.S. would be developing more credible weaponry. Instead, it seems the U.S. just kept sliding down the grifthole of the F-35 “Fat Duck” and sending weapons to alQueda to fight Shia. go figure

    1. Craig H.

      > No other part of China, including Tibet, is even remotely as oppressive.

      Unknown and unknowable (unless you are high up in the Chinese police). I have always liked the articles Shawn Zhang posted on medium where he analyzed public available satellite images and labeled them with “this is a new detention camp”, “this is a guard tower”, &c. Here is a story on him from Globe and Mail:

      Last year when I posted a link to one of his articles on medium on the internet within five minutes somebody else posted that he was CIA and his images were photo-shopped lies. This happened multiple times on multiple discussion boards with different ostensible politics. Happened at Naked Capitalism and happened at Unz and happened at reddit. Apparently there are spy-spam-bots monitor this crap.

      1. Craig H.

        (somehow this got posted as a reply to The Rev Kev but it was intended one level over to the left there <—–)

      2. Oh

        I read this piece and I have a hard time why an Israeli paper would worry about oppression half way across the world. Maybe they should look in their own backyard.

        1. Plenue

          That’s literally an Israeli hasbara-style talking-point. “Why are you singling out Israel and Gaza? There are bad things going on in X.” You’re just reversing it.

          I’m amused by the reaction to the article here. Putting aside the article itself, no one other than Craig H. has engaged with the anecdote that Yves provided, presumably from a source she trusts, that confirms the article is essentially accurate.

          Why do I get the feeling that for the disbelievers this connects to Hong Kong? “The Chinese government couldn’t possibly be utter b*stards, because then the protestors might have justified anger and fear. And since it’s ‘obviously’ a fake US color revolution, that can’t be the case.”

    2. anon in so cal

      Relatedly, Hillary Clinton is currently stating that Tulsi Gabbard is being groomed by Russia to be a third party spoiler.

      1. pretzelattack

        i hope you’re being snarky, but i fear you aren’t. oh jesus, you aren’t. it is impossible for me to distinguish parody from reality these days.

          1. pretzelattack

            yes, i know; i was just (unjustifiably) surprised clinton would go that far. i’m never cynical enough.

      2. divadab

        Well according to the Grauniad that’s exactly what lying Hillary said:

        “Hillary Clinton is doubling down on her suggestion that the Russians are “grooming” Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard to launch a third-party White House bid.

        Clinton did not mention Gabbard by name when she said: “I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on someone who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.”

        When asked if the former secretary of state was referring to Gabbard, Clinton’s spokesperson said: “If the nesting doll fits.””

        The lesson Clinton continues to reinforce – NEVER VOTE DEMOCRAT they are slime

        1. Dan

          I posit that Hillary Clinton is herself a deep cover Russian agent.
          She and Bill were recruited by Russian agents when he was a Rhodes Scholar in London.
          Look at the long term economic, political and demographic sabotage for which she/he is responsible:
          The importation of drugs into Mena, Arkansas,
          her votes for Afghanistan, Iraq,
          the disasters she caused in Honduras, flooding America with refugees,
          allowing the sale and control of America’s nuclear weapons uranium to the Russian atomic agency,
          Libya’s regime change,
          Syria, the list goes on and on.

          Talk about the Manicurian Candidate!

          Love how this gutless wonder, who never served in the military, nor did her husband nor their spawn, Chelsea, but who voted to send Americans to die in useless wars, criticizes a woman who showed real pluck, achieved the rank of Major, who and has the guts to call a national charade a charade.

          1. pretzelattack

            mena was reagan’s baby, but bill was there to bless it. those contras made some coin with their help.

        2. jrs

          Hillary could at least stick to facts: Gabbard may be influenced by cult members, there is evidence there being that she continues to associate with them. But Russians not so much …

          Ah well I guess if you get a monomania driven by malignant narcissism, and you are trying to infect half the country with your monomania …

          Plus Tulsi is polling some 3%. How seriously could anyone take that 3rd party threat even if if were real? And they thought Nixon was paranoid ..

          1. pretzelattack

            or they could want to forestall the possibility of vice president gabbard, in a sanders administration. plus, it keeps russiarussiarussia in the public eye.

      3. Oh

        People don’t realize the following:

        Hillary was the spoiler in Benie’s quest for the nomination.
        Gore was the spoiler in Nader’s election in Florida.
        Billy Clinton was the spoiler in Perot’s quest for the Presidency
        The DiRats were spoiler in Jimmy Carter’s re-election
        The DimRats were spoilers in McGovern’s election in 1972

      4. Plenue

        I’d already adopted the position of never suffering a Liberal to mock anyone else as a ‘low information voter’.

        Now I can add never tolerating them tone policing anyone else for lessening the civility of discourse. They’re completely in the gutter now. A serving Major in the US Army is a Russian agent? Gabbard should start filing lawsuits; these are literally slander.

  11. rowlf

    Never-Before-Seen Trump Tax Documents Show Major Inconsistencies

    Shouldn’t all the denizens of Versailles on the Potomac have their tax documents scrutinized like this? Congress staff on up? Like having one’s security status reviewed?

    The outrage for bad behavior among the higher life forms seems selective. In for a penny, in for a few trillion dollars.

    1. divadab

      The article makes great play of Trump keeping “two sets of books”. Any accountant (I’m one) can tell you that every business keeps at least two sets of books and usually three unless they are cash-basis: 1) the daily operating cash books – payables, receivables, payroll, cash, checks, etc.; 2) the annual set of financials for the tax man – which has special rules and is almost never the same as; 3) the monthly/quarterly/annual financials produced according to GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) . As an example of the difference between 2) and 3) , asset depreciation – the IRS permissable rates are frequently higher than GAAP rates – Section 179 permits deducting 100% of the cost in year one of a large vehicle which the GAAP financials may depreciate over ten years. This results in a much lower income for tax purposes than under GAAP.

      Not defending Trump necessarily – but the general hysteria of his critics is really irritating and much of their critique is ignorant and wrong, and frequently fictitious.

  12. Carla

    Guess I should have known from the title, but “Why We Need to Design Health Care Reform That Puts Patients Before Profits” falls pathetically short of the mark in its conclusion:

    “We can and must design the next round of insurance reforms with patients as a priority. With low deductibles that actually facilitate the consumption of care, our health care system can directly benefit the well-being of low- and middle-income people—not just the holders of for-profit hospital stock.”

    After outlining the outrageous results of American healthcare deform so far, author Naomi Zewde concludes that the solution is “low deductibles.”

    Thanks for a nothing-burger, Ms. Zewde. Why don’t you go back to school for a PhD in common sense? Or maybe the Roosevelt Institute just won’t publish the truth: only M4A can heal us now.

    1. anonymous

      I think the headline was too broad for the study. The paper is titled “Did Marketplace Coverage Really Offer Financial Protection?”, it states within that it is of limited scope, and it only looks at whether high-deductible policies are worth purchasing as protection from bankruptcy for those without significant assets, those whose care will be written off if they do not have insurance. It gives a sound reason for so many of the uninsured’s not purchasing plans on the ACA private insurance market, and it shows that the financial benefit actually went to for-profit hospitals. The paper is not about comprehensive health care reform that would put patients first. It is critical of the ACA and of corporations writing rules with “benefits for themselves with marginal, second-order benefits for the population”. When the author recommended “low deductibles that actually facilitate the consumption of care”, she was limiting herself to that which she had shown in her study. Her study could be used to support M4A, as “no deductible” is the ultimate low deductible.

        1. Carey

          Thanks for that clip- Jimmy Dore is absolutely right: Sanders needs a KO punch, and has one available; Biden does have a glass jaw, and Sanders waffles around *every goddam time* Biden says “but how are you going to pay for it????”

  13. Another Scott

    Biomass Boondoggle
    Any large-scale extraction industry is bad for the environment, simply look at a picture of practically any mine. Logging is no different, and when it is done in the way it is in the South for European power plants, it’s especially bad. But if clearcutting forests to burn wood is bad for the environment, then isn’t clearcutting the same forest for a solar farm bad as well?

    The article also doesn’t discuss another source of GHG emissions in the woody biomass industry – methane. During the storage and shipping stages, wood chips can off-gas methane, which is far more potent than CO2. Including this in the calculation should further discourage this type of power plant.

    1. divadab

      Well corporations will maximise their profits from poorly-designed incentives – and shipping pellets to Europe from clear-cut southern forests is certainly gaming the system. A poorly-designed system.

      Logging generates a lot of slash – branches, smaller trees, etc. – and pelletising and harvesting the energy from slash is IMHO better than burning slash piles in place. And burning wood for fuel, when you replant the harvested forest, is carbon neutral. Especially when you harvest selectively, removing weak or unhealthy trees and favoring healthy trees.

      Finally a note re: methane – the methane cycle is short – methane is removed from the atmosphere quickly, in contrast to CO2, which is a long slow cycle and persists for orders of magnitude longer in the atmosphere. So no, methane is NOT “much more potent than CO2”. And in any event the methane produced by transported chips would be produced anyway by the logging slash.

      I really think people need to be more realistic about forests as a renewable resource. Managed properly, a forest can be carbon-negative, when the lumber is sequestered into buildings. And trees have a lifecycle – younger trees sequester much more carbon as they grow faster than “senior citizen” trees.

    2. xkeyscored

      I think the article confuses the technology with the way it’s implemented legally and economically.
      When I first came across this many years ago, the idea was to harvest a forest on a cycle, so that by the time you get back to where you started, it’s regrown. So far as I can see, this would be net zero CO2 emissions (though Another Scott above has a point about methane). Some people still have small forests or copses they use in this way, harvesting a tree or two a year from a stand of a hundred, and using it as fuel, only for log fires rather than electricity generation. You cut and burn a tree, CO2 goes into the air, growing trees convert that CO2 into new wood, repeat. Net zero.
      However, as the article documents, this is not how forest biomass electricity generation has been implemented. Instead, wood from almost any source, including ancient forests, is used, and generous subsidies are given, while by an accounting trick atmospheric CO2 is unaffected or even reduced.
      I’d have felt more sympathetic if this had been made clear. Rather, the article gives the impression that the technology itself is inherently flawed (or fraud), and I found myself thinking “Hang on, that’s not really true” from the first paragraph.

      1. divadab

        Yes. Critique of bad system better stated than in my comment. Tho I have one correction – if most of the harvested forest is used for building materials, the carbon is effectively sequestered – so even if the slash is burned for fuel, the overall effect is carbon-negative, if managed properly.

  14. CletracSteve

    Re. ‘Hacking Darwin’
    A quick summary of Metzl’s presentation is that the confluence of modern information technology and genetic manipulation provides a great opportunity to shape human kind, with a small caution that we are trying, in a few decades, to adapt evolutionary tendencies, to what took several billions of years to accomplish.

    As a biologist, I am appalled at genetic engineering, though realize that, unfortunately, there is no way to stop the invocation of technology to direct life.

    Ignoring topics such as what types of ‘humans’ will be allowed or desired, I have greater concerns. Almost all genetic engineering discussions, including Metzl’s, accepts an underlying assumption in the improvement or optimization of life and/or ‘humans’. Herein lies the fallacy. Evolution does NOT optimize. Engineering optimization removes variability. Variability removes adaptability and resourcefulness. Gene pool variation has been the necessary resource for survival. An optimized organism will die in a changed environment. Optimization means extinction.

    Additionally, showing my atheism here, the marvel of life, our senses, our art and inventiveness, this blog, would not be here without randomness, non-engineered gene mutations and gene combinations. Just try to get an engineer to imagine a Beethoven while having only a plasmodium in front of him. Who specifies these requirements or design path, as a Beethoven is completely unimaginable in the world of plasmodia.

    Carrying this point one step further, death is necessary and something we should embrace, though sadly. Without death, life-forms n+1, n+2 upgrades could never have happened, and we would not be here sharing our opinions on these pages.

    I fear for human kind, as our future may be droids with neither need nor appreciation for beer, Beatles and Beethoven. Viva randomness.

    1. Craig H.

      1. Genes have multiple expressions and the unintended consequences are of overwhelming complexity. The magic gene recipe for high IQ also produces hyper-flatulence for all we know.
      2. Tradeoffs. The traits that make you popular in high school are ultimately counterproductive in the experience of most people I know. An offspring as beautiful as Sharon Tate AND as smart as Einstein AND as strong as O. J. Simpson is impossible.
      3. A government research committee is going to have control and you can bet your house and your retirement fund and Imelda Marcos’ shoe-closet contents their highest priority is going to be compliance. These butt-holes think Agreeableness is a quantifiable phenomenon.

      Brave New World is a planning document.

    2. Phacops

      The problem with current bioengineering is that many of the practitioners, increasingly ignorant in classical genetics, still think in terms of one-gene-one-effect, ignoring pleitropic control and feedback (where a single regulation element controls the expression of multiple genes or cascading effects). Not only that but sometimes what is considered as junk DNA exerts important control in supercoiled DNA where it hinders transcription until supercoiling upstream or downstrean is relaxed by transcription of nearby genes.

      Plus, all you need for a recombination/insertion event is a minimum 10 base pair homology (I have a very old publication about that). That is why, even with supposed high specificity techniques, unwanted DNA of animal, viral, or microbial origin ends up inserted where it shouldn’t be. The claimed specificity just isn’t there; sorta like claiming that self-driving cars are capable of navigating everyday (and poorly maintained) roads.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        That is why, even with supposed high specificity techniques, unwanted DNA of animal, viral, or microbial origin ends up inserted where it shouldn’t be.

        Imagine having to explain to your kids that the gene editing company that Grandpa picked left a little too much sheep in your DNA and that’s why their life is a living hell.

        1. shtove

          “Grandad, is that why I have nightmares about wolves?”
          “No, sonny. There really is a wolf outside your door, but he got mixed up with an elephant and a donkey.”

      2. Old Jake

        I believe it was Lewis Thomas (The Lives of the Cell, The Youngest Science) who wrote that if nature was an architect, a house would have one window and it would be used by every room. This complicates to an unimaginable degree any and every attempt to manipulate the genetics and chemistry of the living organism. A point that seems lost on those current bioengineering practitioners.

    3. Old Jake

      Well put. As illustration, just refer to the first comment today, wherein scoff quotes from a paper that “How important small proteins will be for medicine is still unknown, but they have already upended several biological assumptions.” Think about what we have learned just in the past year or a few about epigenetics.

      Every time I see something written about genetic engineering, genetic modifications and even just meddling in the chemistry or biome of the human organism (or any other one) I cringe at the hubris.

      I particularly appreciate your observation that death is necessary, and why.

    4. boz

      Not wishing to criticise your atheism… there is much we agree on.

      “This is all about ethics. The science is advancing, there’s nothing we can do to stop the science. The question is ethics.”

      Save us from ourselves.

      I have been reading recently about the work of a Polish philosopher (via Dreher at TAC) – Leszek Kołakowsk – who talks of two “core networks”:

      (This is a secondary analysis, not a quote of Kolakowsk. See the link for more details)

      The term “technological core” is potentially misleading. Kołakowski is speaking of something broader than what we usually mean by “technological,” something influenced by Martin Heidegger’s understanding. To Heidegger, and therefore I think to Kołakowski, technology is not the product of science; rather, science is the product of a “technological enframing.” Technology, on this view, is not a set of methods or inventions but a stance toward the world that is instrumental and manipulative, in relatively neutral senses of those words. The technological core is analytical, sequential, and empirical. Another way to put this is to say that what belongs to the technological core is what we find to hand: whatever occupies the lifeworld we share, and is therefore subject to our manipulation and control, and to debates about what it is and what might be done with it. To this core belong instrumental and discursive reason, including all the sciences and most forms of philosophy — everything that reckons with the possible uses of human power to shape ourselves and our environment. The technological core undergirds and produces the phenomena we typically refer to as technological.

      The “mythical core” of civilization, by contrast, describes that aspect of our experience “not revealed by scientific questions and beliefs.” It encompasses the “nonempirical unconditioned reality” of our experience, that which is not amenable to confirmation or disconfirmation. As will become clearer below, the mythical core describes our most fundamental relation to the world. It is our metaphysical background, the elements prior to our manipulation and control. For Kołakowski, the failure to distinguish between the mythical and technological cores leads to a failure to understand many social trends and events.

      The quote is within broader discussion of moral philosophical frameworks (they get into Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind, which I found compelling, but seems to need updating), and isn’t specifically related to genetic engineering.

      The general point is the same though.

      We shouldn’t be doing things just “cos we can”.

      Ethics matter.

    5. xkeyscored

      Don’ t forget that genetic engineering is providing us ways of producing the substances we want from bacteria, fungi and the like, without the toxic chemicals previously used.

    1. John A

      Why storm Gatwick when you can simply moot the idea of seeing drones flying near the runway? Can shut the airport for days doing that.

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      Yep, shutting down mass transit to make an environmental point, that’ll cure the illin’. As if shaming and preventing people from getting to work is a viable organizing strategy…

      ER just re-confirmed its booshwah underpinnings. While it’s heartening to see that the London tube action was opposed by many in the group, the fact that it took place at all shows, at best, their political immaturity.

      Wake me up when there’s an ER action at the Pentagon.

  15. Eduardo

    Re: Machines Beat Humans on a Reading Test. But Do They Understand?

    For example, one task asks whether a sentence is true based on information offered in a preceding sentence. If you can tell that “President Trump landed in Iraq for the start of a seven-day visit” implies that “President Trump is on an overseas visit,” you’ve just passed.

    Guess I wouldn’t pass. It does not imply “President Trump is on an overseas visit”.

    It does imply “President Trump was on an overseas visit”. We don’t have any context about when he was on the overseas visit. What am I reading? When was it written? “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is” (sorry, I couldn’t resist!).

    Maybe just an issue with how this was reported and not the underlying test. But, language is hard.

  16. roxan

    Re: MindTechniques–Look up Project Stargate, Remote Viewing and Joe McMoneagle. This was run by DIA,and actually existed. They worked with the Monroe Institute, in VA, where anyone can take programs in psychic techniques for a steep price. There is also a good documentary called ‘Third Eye Spies’ available on Amazon. There is also a very interesting podcast called ‘Shattered Reality’ run Farusha, the leading psychic in NYC, which features close to a hundred interviews with top psychics and paranormal investigators.

    1. Monty

      It’s fascinating isn’t it. Some of the “hits” are hard to explain, but I never saw anything exactly useful come of it.
      Did you know that a couple of top remote viewers from that program spun a yarn about the Hale-Bopp comet being a spacecraft on the Art Bell show? Their report led directly to the Heaven’s Gate suicide cult tragedy.

      1. roxan

        Hadn’t heard that one! Apparently some of their information was useful, and some of the viewers continue to work, some for the police. In my experience, precognitive information appears when it pleases, usually as a warning of something to avoid–I’m still waiting for the lucky lotto number!

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Trump’s ‘China Muse’ Has an Imaginary Friend”

    At least his best friend is not an invisible, 6 foot 3.5 inch tall rabbit named “Harvey”

  18. Summer

    RE: “Eco-Fascism doesn’t exist. Yet.” Paganarch.

    Indeed…very important and has been on my radar.
    The history of political divisions show very well who the establishment sides with in volatile times.

      1. Carey

        That’s a real good piece from Rob Urie- thanks for the link.
        Just a little taste:

        “..What is seen as a technical problem is, in fact, conceptual. This has been partially recognized with the shift from siloed sciences to environmental ‘systems’ analysis. But holism and systems are variants of the ontology that guides capitalism. They are complex taxonomic objects, but then so are their constituents. The problem is, and always will be, the reciprocal in the world— what isn’t known. Or to go deeper, what may be known in some sense— the feel of the breeze on one’s cheek, the cock of a lover’s arm in sleep, etc. but that isn’t known to be a constituent. Capitalism is the occasional aspect of life that has been put forward as its totality..”

    1. Ranger Rick

      I’ve long used eco-fascism when I mean eco-authoritarianism. Fascism has modern associations that don’t really contribute to the analysis of the philosophy.

      I don’t think we even have a word for the extreme fringes because nobody has been so insane as to commit murder on behalf of the environment (that I am aware of). No, not even the ELF. That is, that a hypothetical Extinction Rebellion as not about preventing human extinction but causing it.

      1. Massinissa

        “I don’t think we even have a word for the extreme fringes because nobody has been so insane as to commit murder on behalf of the environment (that I am aware of).”

        Does the famous serial killer Ted Kacynzki, also known as the Unabomber, count? It was quite a long time ago, but his manifesto was basically that he started bombing people because capitalism was destroying the environment.

        For expediency, let me copy this excerpt of Wikipedia’s article on him:

        “In 1971, Kaczynski moved to a remote cabin without electricity or running water near Lincoln, Montana where he lived as a recluse while learning survival skills in an attempt to become self-sufficient. He witnessed the destruction of the wilderness surrounding his cabin and concluded that living in nature was untenable; he began his bombing campaign in 1978. In 1995, he sent a letter to The New York Times and promised to “desist from terrorism” if The Times or The Washington Post published his essay Industrial Society and Its Future, in which he argued that his bombings were extreme but necessary to attract attention to the erosion of human freedom and dignity by modern technologies that require large-scale organization.”

        Again, this was decades ago, and he only ended up killing 3 people, but it at least shows there is at least some precedent for eco-terrorism

    2. Drake

      The only thing I get out of the piece, besides the obsessive personal invective directed against Greer, is that while the right doesn’t start killing each other until they get into power (and then only to get a better distribution of the booty), the left directs at least 95% of its energy into slaughtering each other over unpassable purity tests right from the start.

      1. inode_buddha

        No, I’ve observed the same behavior among feral Conservatives. Their purity test is “Is the person I’m talking to, to the Right of me? If not then they must be Left wing”

        Logic Fail; critical thinking is *not* their strong suit. Rather they seem to excel at emotionally-driven invective consisting of one-liners and tautologies, cribbed from Fox News, purple-faced and spittle-flecked.

        The behavior can be easily observed in many suburban upper/middle class socially conservative gatherings (e.g. church dinner parties, Boy Scouts, graduation dinners, etc.) The behavior has been repeatable over a decade, so I don’t think the results are a fluke.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Wins the award for the most bizarrely under-reported story. How we are approaching debt currency monetary singularity. The price of money going to its lowest levels in 5,000 years. The very lifeblood driving the world economy is on life support waiting for one kick by the nurse of the power cord to the respirator.

    1. Olga

      Where is Orwell when you need him?
      A few wise words of W:
      “An isolationist United States is destabilizing around the world,” Bush said during the speech in what according to Rogin was a shot at the sitting president. “We are becoming isolationist and that’s dangerous for the sake of peace.”
      In other words, we must attack and destroy countries to have peace.

      1. pretzelattack

        the idiot still thinks he accomplished something with the iraq war. but hey, he’s sweet and funny.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Yes, and he gave Michelle O that piece of candy at McCain’s funeral… a nice touch there…

  19. Jason Boxman

    Intuit is a diseased company.

    Last year tons of people found out that you can’t free file anymore with TurboTax if you can claim a student loan interest deduction. And plenty of grads that can claim the deduction aren’t exactly doing great financially.

    I traded my financial privacy for free filing at a different company, since it’s difficult to actually value your privacy properly. (Probably a mistake, but such is a life.) It’s also possible to file a federal tax return completely free, but you need to be able to do the work mostly yourself. (Free File Fillable Forms offered directly by the IRS.) For state returns, you’re on your own. Massachusetts rescinded their free file option and now you’re stuck with TurboTax or another provider, yay!

    Oh, and as a user of QuickBooks for years, what an awful product.

    1. Dan

      Don’t forget that anyone who uses Gmail to receive their banking statements is handing over their personal financial data to Google/Alphabet/Ad companies.

      Another example, old, but informative:

      “Gmail has 1.2 billion users. Google promised that it will stop scanning the personal data of free users of Gmail for targeted advertising purposes later this year.
      Google apparently has gathered enough personal data to let non-paying users of Gmail enjoy the same privacy level of paying Gmail customers.
      Unfortunately, Google has yet to address the very old security flaw of Gmail. It still favors password recovery through phone verification SMS.”
      If a person loses his smartphone with his mobile Gmail app logged in, he left himself exposed to identity theft.”

  20. Ignacio

    RE: A Million People Are Jailed at China’s Gulags. I Managed to Escape. Here’s What Really Goes on Inside Haaretz (Troy).

    Indeed a must read this must be one of the most shameful political developments currently. I learnt about this from comments from Plutonium Kun and was hoping to see a commentary scrolling here.
    My attention was called when i read this quote from Baranovitch, Haifa University:

    “China has bought the silence of many Muslim countries”

    by means of China’s belt and road initiative I suppose. To my knowledge Kazakhstan was the only country to accept Uighur migrants fleeing from Sinkiang but as this article from The Diplomat states, Kazakhstan turns a blind eye to the problem even when chinese investments in the country follow the scheme of using chinese workforce, employing few locals and seen uncomfortably by many.

    With this imperialistic style, the central Asia part of the silk road initiative must be poised to fail.

    1. Olga

      Haaretz could be performing a much more useful function if it wrote about the millions jailed in the largest open-air prison not that far from its offices. Why go to China?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We sometimes just assume.

          For example, when RT covers US inequality, we assume it also covers Russian inequality. We don’t assume they only cover the former, and ignore the latter. So, presumably, at Haaretz, they have done that.

          1. Wukchumni

            We have oodles of open air prisons in the CVBB, although the inmates spend most of their time on the inside looking out, @ an annual cost to the state of just $64k per convict.

          2. Ignacio

            I haven’t read Haaretz for long but many years ago I used to check it for news about Palestina and it was not as one sided as one migth think. It may have changed to worse with time as many outlets.

            Anyway is Los Angeles Times covering one day after the other the misfortunes of US occupation in Afganistan or migth they loose some time with other questions? Should they be told not to report in HK because Afgan, Irak etc?

            The argument was stupid

  21. katiebird

    I have followed Brexit news here, but this is my first exposure to someone who is actually trying to work through it.

    I buy yarn and knitting supplies from Ysolda a couple of times a year. She operates a small Knitting Studio/Shop in Edinburgh. In this week’s blog post she talks about Brexit challenges for a small business. I’m copying some of her post here just because I think it’s interesting to see how she is dealing with the insecurity (she has another update to this but it is a mailchimp link and I’m not sure how that works):

    With less than two weeks to go, we still don’t know what Brexit will look like, or whether it’s happening at all on October 31st. Like every other small business in the UK we’ve been trying to plan, without having much idea of what we’re planning for. In some ways we’re at a significant advantage, we already work with businesses and have customers based outside of the EU. What we don’t know, and can’t really plan for, is how much the changes to customs will cause significant delays in post to and from the EU, and whether that will have a knock on effect beyond UK-EU mail.

    If a no-deal scenario goes ahead we expect EU customers to have to pay both a customs fee and VAT to receive their packages, and that the consequent processing will mean it takes significantly longer for those to arrive (right now delivery times to the EU can vary a lot but are often within 3-5 days).

    We’re planning to change all of our pricing, to make sure that EU customers aren’t charged double VAT, in the event of a no-deal Brexit. You may also remember all the fuss about VAT-moss a few years ago. It’s a bit complicated but any business (located anywhere in the world) selling digital services, including pdf knitting patterns, to a customer in the EU is liable for VAT at the rate in the customer’s country. Right now we can use the moss system to report and pay all the VAT due to all of those countries via one online portal. After Brexit we’ll still have to do that, but won’t be able to do so via HMRC and will have to register for moss in another country. We can’t yet do that, because no one knows what’s going to happen, and the amount of time in which we have to sort it out is very short. No one has been able to tell me what the situation for UK VAT on digital services will be. In order to make sure that we’re correctly changing prices and reporting systems we may have to take our website offline for a few days, especially as the Brexit day is a Thursday rather than the beginning of a work week.

  22. Ander Pierce

    Am I the only one who feels a healthy amount of skepticism regrading the Xinjiang piece?

    I’m sure there is mass incarceration and widesperado surveillance in the province but this piece read like propaganda.

    Maybe it *is* that horrific in the camps, but there are a lot of imperial reasons for individuals to manufacture testimony about China.

    1. JTee

      I tend to ignore negative articles (esp. in mainstream outlets) having to do with any current, official enemy of the elites: Russia, China, Venezuela, Syria, Sen. Gabbard, Sanders, and so on. This is not due to a belief that those entities do not have any negative attributes, but rather to the plethora of disinformation and propaganda flowing these days. Why soil my beautiful mind with likely garbage?

    2. Olga

      No, you’re not.
      Somehow, I keep having a nagging thought that that if the west did not try to use Uighurs as a potential fifth column, China would not need to be so “oppressive” in the area.
      This is a very old tactic – “damn if you do, damn if you don’t.”
      Don’t watch over the population, and allow it to be manipulated from the outside; OR, do watch, and be labeled a menace to ‘human rights.’
      Win, win for the west, no win under any circumstances for China (or any other offending party).
      Very clever!

      1. Ander Pierce


        Also, something about “at an unnamed location hundreds of Uyghers were forced to watch cops gang rape a woman and those who showed any expression were never heard from again” really tickled my BS detector

      2. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, you wonder what would have happened to those thousands on Uighurs that went to Syria as jihadists to get military training and battle experience. Somebody had a plan to use them after their role in Syria was finished. China would have had their own Chechen Wars complete with the CIA openly arming the insurgents like happened in Chechnya. It would have ended up devastating the Uighurs and their region but hey, anything to get at the Chines, right?

    3. pjay

      Q: “Am I the only one who feels a healthy amount of skepticism regrading the Xinjiang piece?”

      A: No.

    4. Roy G

      While I do think it is pretty bad, I also believe that the Borg are using it as a propaganda tool. I find the semantic labeling interesting: Imo people in the US are much more amenable to the concept of ‘Uighurs’ (oppressed indigenous people) as opposed to ‘Muslims’ (dirty terrorists who hate us for our freedoms). I also wonder what percentage of ISIS are Uighurs, and the extent ISIS has projected into the Uighur consciousness. This is largely a cynical exercise, but then again nothing is too cynical when the USG’s favored foreign policy tool revolves around ‘freedom fighters’ on the payroll.

    5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Imperial reasons relate to motives.

      Proof or evidence is still needed to show manufacturing, while skepticism is always useful, both ways (i.e. towards all sides)

      Timing wise, it should be noted that it has been relatively quiet on the Tibetan front. The question, regarding propaganda, is why not just use Tibet, or in conjuction with the Buddhists there?

    6. Oh

      I’m with you. I stopped reading when I realized that it was a Harratz article. The propoganda probably originated from the ‘States.

        1. Plenue

          No, it isn’t like that. Haaretz does a fair amount of genuine journalism, including being one of the few mainstream Israeli outlets for real criticism of Israeli policies.

  23. Phacops

    Re: The Biomass Boondoggle.

    No surprise there, but it is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to green energy stupidity. Even with photovoltaics the manufacture of silicon metal takes multiple tons of coal to the tonnage of quartz just to run the reduction process, not to mention the energy needed to fabricate mining equipment undertake mining operations and manufacture all materials to the end product. There is no net reduction of carbon there at current lifespans and all one creates are national sacrifice areas for feelgood greenwashing.

    Meanwhile, nobody discusses the necessity of a steady-state, low energy, economy or population reduction, instead, glomming onto green new-deal fantasies like biomass. I consider that the jackpot is unavoidable and will probably see the edges of it before I die. It’ll be interesting, all the moreso because I won’t need to worry about surviving it. Pass the popcorn.

  24. Wukchumni

    Extraordinary pictures of the most ancient trees on Earth Gizmodo

    Had friends over that had never seen Sequoia trees, so we gave them the whirlwind tour this week and it was fun to watch their reaction. The best approach is to walk the Congress Trail from Crescent Meadow to the Sherman Tree in the Giant Forest of Sequoia NP and its a study in itself, as few humans are to be seen in the midst of the 4 mile walk through time, that is until you get close to the Sherman and then the world rushes in, we saw maybe 25 people the first 3 1/2 miles and then about 500 the last 1/2 mile of our traipse. In all likelihood it was the only Sequoia 487 of the sojourners actually walked to go see, all other trees being lesser in the scheme of things, and thus not worthy of visiting.

  25. barrisj

    Luv the Gen. Mattis comment during a speech yesterday when he was asked about Herr Trump’s characterisation of Mattis as “the world’s most overrated general”, he responded, “…I earned my spurs on the battlefield [while Trump] earned his spurs in a letter from a doctor”.

    1. Wukchumni

      Watched the Dallas rally yesterday, and as usual the President was merely ordering followers, but with a difference in that he lamented about our loss of life and lucre in the middle east since the turn of the century, while pontificating about how he built up the military so much, they didn’t have a place to store ammunition.

      …nadir hanging out with zenith

      1. barrisj

        And what has been pointed out enumerable times here, Trump’s so-called concern of “lives wasted” in ME conflicts stops with the US military…all others – tough s**t. He has increased bombing and drone sorties over Afghanistan and Somalia – amongst other “theatres” – over and above those of the Obama era, and despite Congressional votes to the contrary, has poured hundreds of millions in arms for the Saudis in their murderous campaign in Yemen. Spare me the “humanitarian” or “no foreign involvement” nonsense of this man’s conduct to date…I mean, the soldiers he’s (allegedly) removed from Syria, he then turns around and adds another 2000 military to forces already stationed in the failing KSA, already. Not ready as yet to nominate the bugger for next year’s Nobel Peace Prize, thank you very much.

        1. pjay

          My earlier response to your comment below has not appeared, so I apologize for repeating if it eventually does. Few NC readers would disagree with what you say here, and no one mistakes Trump for a “humanitarian.” That is a straw man argument. But the move out of Northern Syria is very significant in its effects. How do we know? Because the entire bipartisan Borg establishment is going insane over it. Talk about fake “humanitarian” concern! For whatever the hell reason, Trump actually did something that could help end one of our wars. That was exactly what the establishment feared. IMO, that is exactly why they have been trying to take him down since before he was elected.

          As for all the other destructive actions of the Trump administration – no argument, especially on Yemen and the Palestinians. But has he been as devastating as Bush or Obama? No way.

          1. anon in so cal

            “How Many Millions Have Been Killed in America’s Post-9/11 Wars? Part 3: Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen”

            “e estimated that about 2.4 million people have been killed as a result of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, while about 1.2 million have been killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a result of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. In the third and final part of this report, I will estimate how many people have been killed as a result of U.S. military and CIA interventions in Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen”


    2. pjay

      So does this mean those of us who did not serve in the military have no right or capacity to question the military decisions of Gen. “Mad Dog” Mattis, or any other military leader, over the years? I guess I’ll just go back and believe what I’m told by the “experts.”

        1. barrisj

          The point is that Mattis early on was one of “Trump’s generals”, and was effusively praised by the Donald until he wasn’t…then he became the target – as many other former appointees – of tweet-trashing. As for “bone-spurs” Trump, I put that into the same category as Dick Cheney’s “I had other priorities” claim for his draft deferments.

  26. Carey

    From St. Clair’s Roaming Charges:

    > DNC chair Tom Perez kicked off the night’s event by saying: “We’ve got to thank our Intelligence Community for speaking truth to power.” (This phrase has long lost any meaning it may have once had and has now transited beyond parody.)

    Glad I missed that part of the festivities.

    1. wilroncanada

      Carey, you misunderstood< or was it misunderestimated? This was a 9/11 reference. What he said was: We've got to thank our intelligence community for sneaking "poof to Tower."

  27. ambrit

    Very interesting.
    Two separate ‘comments’ linking to “a certain site” on the Internet literally disappeared. No “You Are Being Moderated,” or other admonition.
    Question: Do ‘links’ to some sites result in automatic disappearing?
    Just a querry about methodology.

    1. Olga

      Same experience here – links to good articles on Syria from M o A, al-monitor, and Indian Punchline never made it into comments. Too bad

      1. barrisj

        Constantly happening to me as well…actually linked to sources frequently cited here in both the comment sections and the main Links, but the posts never emerged from moderation. Persistence, though, sometimes pays off.

        1. ambrit

          I can live with Moderation, for many reasons, both personal and institutional. That I can understand, accept, and bear, or finesse. Often enough, the enforced delay in expression gives me a more realistic sense of my status here and online in general. (How galling to realize what an irrationally outsized ego I possess, or, possesses me.)
          My earlier pliant was about simple “disappearances.’ No Moderation box appeared this time, twice in a row concerning the same link. Hence, my query about methodology.
          Persistence is indeed the name of the game. As I have learned, sometimes, shutting up is also appropriate.
          I fear that I am prone to the racking up of ‘Troll Points’ as an consequence of my naturally curmudgeonly nature.
          Be of Good Cheer!
          [Addendum: LOL!!! This comment made it into Moderation! The System works!]

          1. barrisj

            With very few exceptions, the moderation encapsulation is most prevalent with “linked” inserts…just a simple reply to a thread rarely places one into Limbo.

    2. Carey

      I had that happen a few times when trying to link to CJ Hopkins’s site.
      Never could make it work.

    3. xkeyscored

      I think it’s effectively random. And what would you rather – comments full to overflowing with incoherent fact-free abuse and invective? Plenty of websites to choose from if that’s your thing!
      (And I often find my comments in moderation too.)

      1. ambrit

        Do I need to get a tetanus shot now?
        I’m curious about the mechanics of the process. I know that there has to be some usage of algorithms to shunt off known spammers etc. I suspect that “key words and phrases” must be in that mix. Then there are the poor overworked moderators themselves. That job must be a speed reading symbol comprehension challenge in and of itself.
        I would imagine that the level of discourse found here, and especially the breadth of lore involved, will select for an abundance of non standard links and opinions. This will magnify the difficulty of site and comment curation.
        Oh well. Step one, remove shoe. Step two, sit down somewhere. Step three, insert foot in mouth.
        (Does the Vet have a shot for ‘Foot in Mouth’ disease?)

  28. Bugs Bunny

    re: How to Stop the Abuse of Location Data – whenever I read the phrase “Now is the time for Congress to act”

    I’m flabbergasted. How in the heck does Congress act when their modus operandi is to react? And when they do in fact react, it’s because some happy go lucky lawyer from the DC lobby army has drafted them some very attractive text that might fit in somewhere in USC XX xx without anyone really noticing. And without anyone really enforcing it.

    I’d like the numbers on who got fined for not getting insurance under the ACA.

    Is this rabbit cynical? No, just despairing.

    1. Carey

      I hear you fully about the despairing, but I think “laugh madly, and remember well” is a better approach. They *want* us to despair.


      1. Procopius

        I read not too many years ago that it’s not what we now call “floppy disks,” the mylar disks in a hard plastic case, it’s 8 inch mylar disks which are no longer manufactured. I first used them in a microcomputer based word processor in 1976.

        1. xkeyscored

          I wonder, all the same, if their computers say “A:\ is not accessible. / The device is not ready. / The disk in drive A is not formatted.” and so on? Ah, the joys of floppy disks!

  29. Frank Little

    RE: Inside the “Most Incarcerated” Zip Code in the Country

    I’ve been working on prison reform in Wisconsin for a couple years and while I recognize the negative feedback loops that stem from over-emphasizing these negative facts, the situation truly is dire. Not only are crimeless revocations a problem, but even getting parole was impossible under Walker and hasn’t changed much after he lost. The experience of one guy I know, Derwin, is sadly quite representative.

    He has been in prison for 21 years and is past his mandatory release date but is unable to get parole. When he objected to repeated racial abuse from other prisoners they kicked him out of the program that he’d need to complete to be released and transferred him to an even more restrictive prison. When I tried to call the head office because the person investigating this retaliation was married to the person who wrote him up for complaining, they told me directly “don’t tell me about this, I won’t do anything.” I later found out that the person I talked to, who was very rude and patronizing, graduated from the same overpriced private college I did a few years after me.

    The prison then violated a court order that would have let him use his release account to pay a filing fee by simply refusing to pay the money, which in turn prevented him from receiving any money from friends and family. When I called to ask why the money wasn’t being sent to the courts, they accused him of forging the court order and started writing him up for his hygiene. The only way to resolve it was to raise funds for the filing fee so that he could start ordering basic necessities.

    Attempts to push for change are met with the usual response: we’d change if only you’d give us more money, even though there are thousands of people just like Derwin who are past their mandatory release date but who cannot get a chance at freedom and every staff parking lots is full of new pickups. Much of this is not unique to Wisconsin of course, but the racial politics of mass incarceration are impossible to miss when so many black people are bused out to rural, mostly white areas where the main employer is the prison.

      1. Frank Little

        While I would understand not wanting to dig deeper, there are a couple in-depth reports produced by various groups in Wisconsin including the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) and the Forum for Understanding Prisons (FFUP) that look into these issues in more depth. The IWOC report goes into the obscene prices for canteen as well as the use of things like pepper spray, while the FFUP report is a thorough debunking of the idea that more money would solve these problems.

        IWOC report from March 2019:

        Forum for Understanding Prisons report titled Staffing, Crowding, and Death in the
        Wisconsin D.O.C:

  30. Oregoncharles

    “A Million People Are Jailed at China’s Gulags.”
    I think in the US those are called “reservations.” What’s going on is classic ethnic imperialism, the replacement of a native population by an expanding one – in this case, Han Chinese. Israel’s occupied territories are another example.

    The juxtaposition with a “Belt and Road” piece is not accidental: Sinkiang is key to westward connections for China. I imagine that explains both the timing and the severity. In fact, other Central Asian countries to its west might be wise to take it as cautionary. Do they really want to cuddle up to China? They had a hard enough time with Russia.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The last time China was active in that part of the world, in a sizeable or significant way, the capital at Chang An (near today’s Xi’an) was frequently ransacked by Sogdian mercenaries.

      An Lushan, the general whose rebellion permantly weakened the TanAn Lushan was said to be ‘of Sogdian and Göktürk origing empire,’ per Wikipedia.

      I suspect a Persian connection (perhaps his parents live in Persia, while not ethnic Persians).

      The reason is that ancient Persia was called Anxi in ancient China. And the way Han last names were bestowed by Empress Wu Zetian on Central Asia involved usually the use of the first sound of their native lands. So, An for those from Anxi, and Shi for those from Samarkand (try to imagine how they would sound similar to Tang Chinese who spoek Middle Chinese, not Mandarin nor Archaic Chinese).

      So, it is not just a case of Central Asian hestitating, but Chinese would be wise to think about the consequences of imperial adventures (from her own history and those of other great powers).

  31. Oregoncharles

    “Eco-Fascism doesn’t exist. Yet.”
    It may be important, but I couldn’t tell because it’s an exercise in not getting to the point, possibly because the author is a lit-tul self involved.

    Eco-authoritarianism is certainly a danger, because the crisis is so urgent and considerable authority will be needed to tell powerful people they can’t do what they want. The current vision is that that authority comes from democratic elections, if we had those. So yeah, serious danger. I’m glad he thinks it isn’ here yet, but that was in the title. Not really interested in his bickering with JMG.

    Sorry to be negative, but I’m actually interested in the topic and it was frustrating.

    I’m so interested that I spent yesterday evening in a community discussion convened by the local Green chapter on the topic of, essentially, “what do we do, locally?” Good turnout for an informal event, several orgs. with their own projects. But no consensus – you sort of hope there’ll be a group “Let’s do THAT!” In truth, we need to do all of it.

    And the evening before that, an interesting discussion with the author of the original Green New Deal, Howie Hawkins, who is running for president – or technically, for the Green nomination. He was presenting an actual BUDGET for the GND; obviously very approximate and aspirational, but more filled out than anyone else’s. He’s aware of some of the materials constraints – he mentioned cement. Here’s a link – sorry it’s a campaign site, but that’s who came up with it:

    1. jrs

      I read it out of interest or mostly because I think we need some form of eco-SOCIALISM, but if not we may get ecofascism, or more likely we may just get increasing suffering under an unsustainable status quo. Whether it is authoritarian or not, I think it will involve hard limits on resource use, so if one wants to call that authoritarian fine .. I don’t much care.

      Funny even a green party candidate for Prez, with no need to pander to ANYONE truthfully, calls for “sustainable economic growth”. No such thing.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I agree. The economy will have to shrink dramatically to fit within the Earth; that’s why distribution will be so important.

        To my mind, the GND at this point is about coping.

  32. Oregoncharles

    “Suicide rate among young Americans soars by more than 50% over 10 years ”

    Great economy you gave us, Pres. Obama. Not that Trump helped.

    High suicide rate, massive homelessness. We’re still in a depression, despite what the official numbers say. The Great Depression lasted 10 years, too; this one’s going for a record.

    1. Summer

      Yes all of that and comparing themselves to ovee-hyped (and ultimately boring) fantasies presented on social media despite all the alleged valuing of “authenticity.”

  33. Oregoncharles

    “Donald Trump’s bizarre, threatening letter to Erdoğan: ‘Don’t be a fool’ ”
    Says the quiet parts out loud. Maybe that’s a good thing. The Turkish advance in fact stopped, for the most part, giving the Syrians and Russians time to move in between. Of course, it’s possible they were taking too many casualties – would we know?

  34. Wukchumni

    Study: California’s big July quakes strain major fault Associated Press
    Luckily nobody really lives near the Garlock fault, maybe 25k people in the cities close by.

  35. Oregoncharles

    Is there any actual reason to think the DNC server is in Ukraine, or did Trump just make that up?

    I seem to have lost track. I know aboutt Crowdstrike, but how would the server have gotten there?

    1. jrs

      He made it up. I mean he might really believe it, but it’s like so many beliefs he clings to that just aren’t so in really obvious ways.

  36. Bill Totten, Japan

    Regarding your story “A Million People Are Jailed at China’s Gulags. I Managed to Escape. Here’s What Really Goes on Inside “, please see this:

    Chinese Embassy Spokesperson’s Remarks on Sayragul Sauytbay’s Preposterous Statements on Swedish Media

    We have noticed that recently Sayragul Sauytbay made some preposterous statements on Sveriges Television (SVT) to again smear and attack China’s measures to fight terrorism, eradicate extremism, and maintain social stability in China’s Xinjiang in accordance with the law. We firmly oppose her statements.

    Sayragul Sauytbay has never worked in any vocational education and training center in Xinjiang, and has never been detained before leaving China. In 2018, Sayragul Sauytbay illegally crossed the border from China to Kazakhstan, and received criminal sentence by Kazakhstan authorities for illegal entry. Her action also violated Chinese laws and constituted the crime of illegally crossing the national border of China. In addition to that, Sayragul Sauytbay is suspected of credit fraud in China with unpaid debts. No government at any level in China has ever “persecuted” her, hence no grounds for her applying for refugee status. It is shameless of her to fabricate numerous lies to slander the Chinese Government in order to make up excuses for applying for refugee status and evade the judicial authorities of China and Kazakhstan.

    Xinjiang has been an inalienable part of the Chinese territory since ancient times. In recent years, it has been under serious threats of ethnic separatism, religious extremism and violent terrorism. The vocational education and training centers have been established in accordance with the law to eradicate extremism. They have played an important role in maintaining and promoting stable development of China’s Xinjiang region. As a result, there has been no terrorist incident in Xinjiang for more than three years. The vocational education and training work in Xinjiang has won the support of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang and positive comments from many countries across the world.

    We urge SVT to abide by journalistic ethics, do reporting in an objective and fair manner, and not provide a platform for anti-China false political propaganda. It is hoped that the Swedish side will not be deceived by lies or act as a protector or safe haven for criminals.

    1. xkeyscored

      The USA has the world’s highest incarceration rate, 655 per 100,000 population in 2016; China (excluding Uighars in “gulags) 118 per 100,000.
      It’s not far from the world’s highest absolute number of prisoners, even including a million Uighars in China. US: 2,121,600 in adult facilities in 2016; China (excluding Uighar “gulags”) 1,649,804 prisoners at mid-2015 (same two sources).

  37. Patrick Reilly

    I liked the Paganarch article, but found the frequent book self-promoting to be quite annoying.

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