Links 10/23/19

Washington’s Blog: October 31st Is Our Last Day. :-(

Robotic ‘Mayflower’ to cross the Atlantic on 400th anniversary of Pilgrims’ journey NBC (furzy). Help me. The original got off to a late start and landed in Plymouth Bay as opposed to Virginia just before the winter. Half the people died. Will half the robots die?

Analysis: Renewables could match coal power within 5 years, IEA reveals Carbon Brief. UserFriendly: “Not even half of new demand.”

Sorry—organic farming is actually worse for climate change MIT Technology Review (David L)

How Kashmiris are adapting to everyday life without the internet Quartz

A Face-Scanning Algorithm Increasingly Decides Whether You Deserve the Job Washington Post

Recent Increases in Air Pollution: Evidence and Implications for Mortality NBER (resilc)


Beijing draws up plan to replace Carrie Lam as Hong Kong chief Financial Times. FT appears to have broken this story.

How China Can Install Another Loyalist in Hong Kong: QuickTake Bloomberg

China doubles infrastructure approvals to stave off economic slowdown South China Morning Post


What happens next in the Brexit saga? Financial Times. Terrible reporting. See Richard North below (we were also on to the same issue, the need for European Parliament approval). Juncker and Verhofstadt both confirmed that the European Parliament won’t consider the Withdrawal Agreement until the UK has approved it. And given that Parliament’s calendar, that means Nov 13-14 at the earliest.

Brexit: an artificial crisis Richard North

The government’s timetable is designed to frustrate Brexit scrutiny Institute for Government

New Cold War

America Sponsors Far-Right Holocaust Revisionist Exhibit in Kiev, Part I Yasha Levine


Erdogan, Putin to meet as truce in northeast Syria set to expire Al Jazeera

Trump’s Plunder Doctrine Comes to Syria American Conservative (resilc)

PJC = Private Jihadi Contractor LobeLog. Resilc flagged this section:

There is perhaps some irony here as Blackwater founder Eric Prince has positioned himself as key to Beijing’s effort to secure the Belt and Road initiative via his Hong Kong-registered private military company, Frontier Services Group.

Iran’s $280 Billion Sanction Skirting Scheme OilPrice. Clickbait headline but interesting piece.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Facebook To Face $35 Billion Class-Action Lawsuit Over Misuse of Facial Recognition Data FirstPost

Under digital surveillance: how American schools spy on millions of kids Guardian

Japanese Hotel Chain Sorry That Hackers May Have Watched Guests Through Bedside Robots The Register

Stuart Russell on losing control of AI Financial Times (David L)

Assange in Court Craig Murray. Important as well as deeply troubling.

Only Cowards And Sadists Support The Persecution Of Assange Caitlin Johnstone

Imperial Collapse Watch

Despite Vow to End ‘Endless Wars,’ Here’s Where About 200,000 Troops Remain New York Times. Resilc: “Big cost, negative ROI.”

Trump and the Retreat of the American Empire CounterPunch

US foreign policy is now based on “virtual facts.” Sic Semper Tyrannis (resilc)

Trump Transition

Diplomat Says Trump Tied Ukraine Aid to Probes Into Biden, Alleged Election Interference Wall Street Journal

How Donald Trump Turned to a Comics Titan to Shape the VA ProPublica (UserFriendly)


Trump Tied Ukraine Aid Directly to Probing Biden, Envoy Says Bloomberg

Read Bill Taylor’s Opening Statement for Impeachment Inquiry Time (furzy)

How Democrats Became the Party of Monopoly and Corruption Matt Stoller, Vice (Pat)


Could Betsy DeVos Cost Trump the Election? New Republic

AOC’s Endorsement Rally Revealed a Committed Sanders Movement American Prospect (resilc)

Warren Wants to Rein in Charters, End Vouchers for Private Schools Intercept

Who Democrats In Early-Primary States Don’t Want To See Nominated FiveThirtyEight. Resilc: “Wake me up when mayor Pete draws 26k anywhere.”

Hillary Clinton’s attacks on Tulsi Gabbard are embarrassing and paranoid Guardian (UserFriendly)

‘Hillary Unplugged’: Democrats Cheer As Gabbard Is Called Russian Asset Shadowproof (UserFriendly)

San Jose to propose turning PG&E into giant customer-owned utility WSJ Reuters (EM)

Lawmaker Slams Zuckerberg’s Revisionist Facebook History: Nowhere ‘Near The Truth’ HuffPost

The Opioid Settlement Will Fund Desperate Counties—But Could Come at a Steep Cost Mother Jones (resilc)

Boeing Max Design Faulted in Lion Air Crash, Indonesia Says Bloomberg

US Senators Want Social Media Users To Be Able To Take Their Data With Them Reuters

SoftBank takes 80% ownership of WeWork, announces $5 billion in new financing package CNBC

How moved into the business of U.S. elections Reuters

Class Warfare

If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich? Turns out it’s just chance. MIT Technology Review. We’ve been saying that for some time…

TOWARDS A DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST FOREIGN POLICY Current Affairs. UserFriendly: “It’s a start, but I wonder if it wouldn’t ramp up R2P sentiment by accident.”

How a major U.S. farm lender left a trail of defaults, lawsuits Reuters (resilc)

The End Of College Is Coming Forbes (David L)

American Farming Runs on Exploitation New Republic

Facebook Pledges $1 Billion for California Housing New York Times. We saw this movie in the mortgage settlement. “Grants, loans and land” = funny money.

Some Good News for North Coast Wiyot Tribe North Coast Journal. Glenn F:

The Wiyot Tribe’s acquisition of Indian Island: It’s a move without precedent across the nation, according to numerous experts consulted for this story, all of whom said that while there have been instances of the federal government, nonprofits and private entities returning land to tribes, Eureka appears to be the first local municipality to have ever taken such a step.

Antidote du jour (Cliff V):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. dearieme

    If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich? Turns out it’s just chance.

    What a stupid thing to say.

    I’m not rich principally because I wanted to do work I’d find interesting and that turned out, as I expected, not to be lucrative. I suppose you could abuse the language to say that it was just a matter of luck that that was my taste but play that game and you can “prove” anything.

    If what they really meant was “getting rich is partly a matter of luck” I’d say “of course”.

    If what they really meant was “getting rich is mainly a matter of luck” I’d say “could well be”.

    If what they really meant was “people who get rich claim that luck had nothing to do with it and they are plain wrong” I’d say “of course; the powers of self-congratulation of the rich are often enormous”. And not just the rich, mind.

    1. Wukchumni

      Nobody I know who is so smart in regards to nature in the back of beyond, has ever made a killing, aside from thwacking slow mossies poised on your arm occasionally. They tend to be rich in the respect they’ve earned vis a vis things they’ve learned, and that is good enough. In their workplace, money won’t buy you anything, as nothing is for sale. Although in money’s defense, a Nickel comes in handy when opening a bear canister.

    2. Monty

      If you had been lucky, you could have had a filthy rich family who filled your coffers with cash, regardless of what kind of work (if any) you found interesting.

      1. dearieme

        Ah, married money you mean? Instead I married a pearl beyond price. If she’d been rich too I wouldn’t have minded. But then might she have been spoiled?

        1. Monty

          That too. i meant your parents, extended family and their social network. The lottery of birth.

          Your parents provide the location, finance, upbringing and genetic material that you don’t have to do a moment’s hard work to receive. You get what you get, and it is 100% pure chance.

          1. Off The Street

            Choose your parents wisely, even if their generation had dental problems that you’ll inherit and will need to try to alleviate! Perhaps they gave you a boost with early fluoride in the water, so you got a partial benefit to bridge the gap.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Factors to success in life:

            1. Being smart (luck and hard work)
            2. Hard work (presumably covered in the article) in general; specific cases, see below
            3 Luck in general (commented here), lucky breaks; other kinds of luck, see below
            4. Ability to connect with others (hard work and luck)
            5. Ability to impress, such as speaking like a messiah in a stadium (hard work and luck)
            6. Tall and handsome, or tall and pretty (luck, mostly, plus plastic surgery)
            7. The will to be ruthless – hard work, I suppose (work in a negative sense)
            8. Marry well (luck and hard work)
            9. DNA/parents (luck)

            Plus other factors I can’t think of at this time.

    3. The Historian

      I find these articles troubling because they seem to say that the only suitable goal for Americans is to get rich as though a person’s value as a human is dependent on how much loot they can garner.

    4. jrs

      I’d like to do interesting work, but I’ve never been that lucky.

      Love the work your with, but like many jobs it’s not easy to love, and of course it goes without saying one has very little say in it, one is a worker not an owner or even a manager.

      signed – just another global citizen of alienation.

    5. Kilgore Trout

      My sense of the right-wing/Libertarian stance–which is a subtext of the American Dream–is that the rich are fully deserving of their riches, and that by virtue of being rich, have proved themselves both more intelligent and harder working than hoi polloi.

    6. skippy

      They don’t call it the birth lotto for nothing and I’m not talking about family, entire age cohorts.

    7. mpalomar

      I’m not rich principally because I wanted to do work I’d find interesting and that turned out, as I expected, not to be lucrative. I suppose you could abuse the language to say that it was just a matter of luck that that was my taste but play that game and you can “prove” anything.
      Is it stupid because it’s baldly stating the obvious or you just disagree? Agency, of course, has always been a major point of departure in philosophy and religion.

      Do you think that luck played a significant outcome in your present financial situation or was the outcome mostly your choice?

      Discounting agency does come as a revelation to some. Interesting that, “The team studied three models, in which research funding is distributed equally to all scientists; distributed randomly to a subset of scientists; or given preferentially to those who have been most successful in the past. Which of these is the best strategy?”

      “The strategy that delivers the best returns, it turns out, is to divide the funding equally among all researchers. And the second- and third-best strategies involve distributing it at random to 10 or 20 percent of scientists.”

      I always thought funding in the arts should be random.

  2. Henry Moon Pie

    Organic farming and carbon–

    While the author’s goal with this article is unclear to me, the post does point out what is the most salient issue of all as far as I’m concerned: we’ll need twice as much food by 2050 but our current industrial agriculture is destroying topsoil and polluting water at a rate that has us careening toward a number of environmental and agricultural catastrophes. If we’re going to move toward more sustainable agriculture while trying to rapidly increase production, all in the face of frequently unfriendly weather because of climate change, it will take many, many more people involved in growing food than we have currently. It would basically be an “all hands on deck” kind of situation.

    If you think the world needs a uniting challenge, growing enough food to feed people until we can bring population down is more humane than some billionaires going to Mars. It can also bring a lot of people back into touch with the Earth on a daily basis.

    1. Stephen V.

      We’ve done quite a job of substituting Capital (lots if clever tech and highly paid food scientists in the big chicken realm, e.g.) for Labor making food absurdly cheap–not to mention the externalized costs.
      Now we have to flip the script. Those who are lucky enough to own Land need to pay younger farmers for enhancing “their” asset instead of collecting rents and mortgages. For starters.

      1. Procopius

        Back in the ’30s, the New Deal Department of Agriculture encouraged farmers to plant trees as windbreaks. This measure helped end the dust storms that were such a feature of the great plains at that time. Most important, of course, was that the drought ended, but the trees did help. A lot. Since Clinton encouraged the massive growth of huge agribusinesses, many of those trees have been cut down to allow larger fields.

    2. DJG

      Heny Moon Pie: Organic farming worse for climate disruption. I’m skeptical, particularly because the last paragraph goes into development of new hybrid crops and various meat substitute.

      Several commenters here work in agriculture and related trades. I’d be interested in what they think of those dire figures about yield. Go organic and yields drop 33 percent? Not as far as I can determine.

      The article has a strong whiff not of the barnyard, which would be helpful, but of the ever-helpful Internet mode, Let’s Gum This to Death So That Nothing Changes (because there’s always someone out there to give the latest anti-vax, anti-organic, pro-pesticide, anti-science, anti-smallholder, pro-growing-meat-in-a-petri-dish, pro-GMO viewpoint…)

      1. Wukchumni

        Met my first avowed anti-vaxer the other day, none of her 4 kids has had tiplomatic immunity via a needle.

      2. taunger

        Crop rotation alone would get you over 20+% loss yield compared to an industrial farm with no rotation.

        The problem with the article is well summarized in Henry’s comment – it is not the nature of agriculture that is the problem, it is our society’s relationship with agriculture. Loss of yield could be well compensated for by a good ag policy (less cattle feed, more high quality calories like pulses), but, well …

        1. Brian (another one they call)

          Sorry—organic farming is actually worse for climate change;……. Much like power use and efficient transport it is simply a necessary reality. If you want to eat something not poisoned intentionally, you go organic. If you don’t have enough electricity you adapt to what you have. If your water isn’t up to standards, get the filters necessary to make it work. These are critical aspects of basic long term survival. Something our government would have us believe is baaad.
          Things change. If we don’t embrace the change, we fail.

      3. Dan


        Not mentioned in the original MIT article is nutrient density.
        “organic ends up requiring a lot more land to produce the same amount of food.”

        A pound of conventional produce, watered with say fracking wastewater, dosed with pesticides, blasted with weedkillers, grown in sterile soil that has had whatever nutrients in it washed out and replaced with industrial fertilizers, is not going to contain as many minerals, nutrients and enzymes as a pound of organic produce, and, will the conventional will contain more water.

        Minerals, enzymes and nutrients make food taste better. Therefore organic food more satisfies not only the taste buds, but the body’s needs. People eat less of it, versus conventional food, which they eat and eat, until their body feels satisfied, thus delivering lots of extra empty calories, plus carcinogens, antibiotics and other stimulants destining them to the Medico-Pharmaceutical Moloch.

        An organic apple is usually ugly, tight, dense and delicious, having been dry farmed.
        A conventional apple is usually pretty, loose and often tasteless having been irrigated before harvest to pump up weight.

        So the specious “same amount of food” is B.S.

        The San Francisco Chronicle is an ad ridden, intern staffed ghost of a once great newspaper. His writing there is a symptom of mediocrity, not a credential. I suspect this guy is a corporate shill. Who funds MIT?

          1. lyman alpha blob

            Here’s one –


            A landmark study on the topic by Donald Davis and his team of researchers from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry was published in December 2004 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. They studied U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits, finding “reliable declines” in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past half century. Davis and his colleagues chalk up this declining nutritional content to the preponderance of agricultural practices designed to improve traits (size, growth rate, pest resistance) other than nutrition.

        1. Titus

          Stories I could tell, as to funding mostly US DoD, then everyone’s else’s DoD. All outlined in Dr. Seuss’s ‘The Sneetches‘. Now as a 3x graduate of the place some would say in spite of them, it was never a fountain head of progressive or even reflective thought. That was for down the next ‘T’ stop at Harvard. Harvard encouraged at least didn’t discourage ‘free’ thinking. I know I took a few courses there. Look it’s was founded by U.K. money to get the mines and the railroads built, but first to win the Civil War (wasn’t like the money could have been pulled). Why anyone who really didn’t want to be a engineer would go there is a mystery to me. I went on a bet & I was a Jesuit priest & had a PhD. I hated every second of every day. But I needed to know what they knew. Or didn’t know.

    3. Lost in OR

      MIT Technology Review… now venturing into organic ag. This takes me back to a recent NC discussion about science and agency. I’d like to know who is sponsoring this MIT program. Epstein? Monsanto?

      During an eclipse party last summer, I recall a liberal college teacher proclaiming that “she believes in science”.
      “All science?” I asked.
      “Yes”, she said, “all science”.
      As her reality narrative has not yet recovered from the blindside endured in the 2016 election, I left it at that.

      1. Oh

        Pretty soon you’ll see an article that will tout “growing crops on the internet”.
        MIT Tech Review is so full of it.

      2. jef

        I know you were being facetious with your response to her, at least I hope so but IMO this is the biggest stumbling block humanity faces in doing anything about the converging catastrophes.

        I can’t tell you how often I say to people “climate change is not a belief system. You either understand the basic science or you don’t”.

        1. Lost in OR

          Sorry, but I’m not being facetious. And yes, climate cshange is an existential threat.

          But the selling of science has become the science of selling. Can you not be at least somewhat cynical about some “scientific” claims?

          I’m not convinced that our survival is dependent on more science, technology, logic, or reason. This article illustrates the hubris of the religion we call science in believing that all that matters can be measured and needs more science to be properly understood.

          Exxon made a logical and rational decision on how to use their climate science many decades ago. Al Gore wrote the book on climate change, do you recall the progress made during his tenure as VP on that issue? Our failure to act is not a science issue. We need to get past this religion we call science.

          1. jef

            I am in no way saying “more” science is the solution. I am saying that more understanding of basic science, universal understanding of absolute physical effects and limits that are written in stone.

            And you just proved my point with the rest of your comment. Exxon chose not to “believe” the science and everyone thought they needed to choose a side and decide if they “believed” the science behind Al Gore’s presentation. Science is fundamentally NOT religion.

          2. pretzelattack

            our failure to act has nothing to do with science, it has everything to do with politics. i don’t see how exxon’s decision to adopt a propaganda campaign against science after their own scientists told them fossil fuels cause climate change is a logical and rational decision from any perspective save that of short term economic gain, and it support science being a religion. there’s been some corruption or incompetence in areas like medical research, but i don’t see why you bring in climate science.

      3. neighbor7

        Once upon a time I reviewed architecture and land-use books for Technology Review. Much of it even then was “house organ” stuff, but it did pretend to be a magazine. Now the first sentence of their mission statement is: “We’re an innovative, digitally oriented global media company whose reach is rapidly expanding” Where have I heard that before?

        1. Off The Street

          Eagerly awaiting their updated mission statement referencing disrupters and a few more buzzwords!

    4. Barbara

      One possibility is encouraging people to grow as much food of their own as they can. With changes in home gardening, people of all ages can participate. When you consider how much grass is wasting land that could be used for food, it’s a reasonable suggestion.

      Some years back, I started with Square Foot Gardening. While I found it a little too crowded for my liking, the education that I got from the people who have led this trend gave me a lot of confidence.

      I now have 6 raised beds in my side/back yard. Four of them are 22″ high and two are 30″ high. I started years ago closer to the ground, but I have bad knees and a bad back, so I built the higher beds so I could continue gardening. I can stand comfortably at the 30″ beds and I sit on a gardening utility bench for the 22″ beds. I would have had all the beds at 30″, but my landscaper, who actually built the structures, thought it was too high for me and wouldn’t build the others higher.

      What to grow to have a productive compact home garden. This is my choice: tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, beets, turnips, eggplant,herbs, lettuce (if you’re good at it, I am not). The thing about this selection is yield/space/time. The tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini, and eggplant keep producing all summer with one planting after the frost date. The other vegetables can be harvested and replanted a couple of times. For a family of three, this is a lot of produce. And its better than store bought. Half the flavor of vegetables is gone before it hits the stores. I’ve been eating cucumbers all my life and I never knew what one really tasted like until I grew my own. And while you might think that this is the psychological conditioning rationalizing the result, the confirmation comes when someone who doesn’t garden tastes the cucumber and said, “I’ve never tasted cucumbers like this.”

      Things not worth it to bother with: corn, melons, winter squash. I leave those to the professional farmers. They take up too much space.

      Now, if all the home owners in my upper-middle class neighborhood converted 1/4 of their grass coverage to growing vegetables, why the whole town would be a little farm.

        1. SKM

          thank you so much for that link, I live in Cumbria and a while ago I heard that a small town/village in Lancashire had decided to grow food instead of sterile flowers and trees everywhere possible but was unable to discover where that was. I`ve been going crazy with the way even small towns NEEDLESSLY abuse the environment and don`t use it for public good. We have workers constantly mowing spaces sown with GRASS with very noisy heavy mowers that spew out diesel fumes The folly of this beggars belief – I don`t need to list here the number of things needlessly wrong with that. Then the public transport has just invested in a new fleet of diesel-powered double decker buses to take us round the Lake District!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There are trees that could be bearing fruit, cultivated flowers that no insects can frequent. It`s sheer folly `cos it would be so easy to change. OK, I`m pretty pissed off re all this but I am going to try and get the ear of some town councilor or see what the greens are up to locally as soon as I can. PS, team, I still haven`t been able to contribute, my card is still being refused

        2. Barbara

          That is indeed a great video. Rather than saying that fits in with my thinking, I have to say that my thinking fits in with theirs because mine doesn’t go that far. The community I live in is Republican turned Democrat/Neoliberal. Even suggesting people turn 1/4 of their lawn to food production is radical. It’s not just giving up a part of the lawn, it’s – what me, do work?

      1. a different chris

        Keep trying with the lettuce. I have literally no idea what I changed but over the years I went from poor yield from pre-sprouted plants, to getting the pre-sprouted to grow well, to being able to just chuck some seeds around and wind up with more than we can eat before it bolts.

        Moving a couple feet over in the garden can make a surprising difference, I do know that. Again, accidentally. But that isn’t true of my lettuce, which has always been in the same place.

        Shrug. A mystery, but a happy one. Maybe you just have to show Mother Nature that you care.

      2. Jessica

        Yes, winter squash take up a lot of space, but you can let their vines grow well outside your bed. (They will anyway if you grow them). And they are just so much fun to watch, so vigorous.

      3. Susan the Other

        30″ raised beds is a great idea, thanks. and to solve the problem of corn, squash, melons and even grain it could be organized by neighborhoods and/or towns.

    5. Wyoming

      Former owner/operator of an organic farm here.

      As usual there are a lot of nuances to figuring such a thing out. Among them how are the external costs measured between organic and non-organic and are they assigning them logically – or similar to how the fossil fuel industry does.

      There is a qui bono issue of who gains from this research answer here as well. And what is the answer to that?

      This is not a new possible conclusion in the MIT paper as it has been put forward before. For instance:

      Recent headlines have purported that organic farming is worse for the climate than conventional farming. This claim is based on a scientific study recently published in the journal Nature, titled “Assessing the Efficiency of Changes in Land Use for Mitigating Climate Change” (Timothy D. Searchinger, Stefan Wirsenius, Tim Beringer & Patrice Dumas).

      The study introduced a new method for calculating greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production that includes the opportunity cost of land converted from natural habitat to farmland.

      We commend the study authors for working to bring a greater level of precision to measuring greenhouse gas emissions from anthropogenic activities. The science in the paper is sound, and the study was intended to present a new model using existing data and not intended to demonize organic agriculture. However, we can’t derive the conclusion that organic is worse for the environment from its findings.

      Key Issues
      The study compares organic and conventional production systems growing two crops (winter wheat and peas) in Sweden. The comparison is derived from yield and input data reported by the Swedish Board of Agriculture from 2013-2015. It is impossible and irresponsible to extrapolate a global phenomenon based on two crops grown in a single country over just three years.

      The study presents a graph that shows greater carbon sequestration benefits in conventional versus organic systems. However, the high degree of variation in the data used (as indicated by large error bars on the graph) suggests that differences between organic and conventional systems may not be statistically significant. More data should be included and analyzed before conclusions are drawn. The study duration is also too short to measure long-term effects.

      A big factor in thinking about the difference between organic and non-organic farming is that the common impression of an organic farmer is some 20-40 year old couple (sort of hippie like) who are running a small organic farm of a handful of acres in New England and selling at farmers markets. This was me.

      But that is not organic farming really. Organic farming when looked at from the macro national level (speaking of the US here) looks exactly like a non-organic farm. By this I mean that the vast amount of organic production is supported by vast acreages, the same set of multi-million dollar equipment, huge infrastructure, vast diesel consumption, cheap farm labor from south of the border, and industrial supply chains. There are organic vegetable farming operations in the US which are managing 20,000 acres, dairy’s with 10,000 cows, and so on.

      The varieties of organic operations would result in wildly different numbers when calculating yields and would need to be compared on an apples to apples formula with the various kinds of non-organic operations.

      Another note which is flat wrong in the MIT article. Organic farmers use LOTS of pesticides and such to control bugs, molds, fungi. They are certified organic because they use ‘natural’ pesticides and such. These are also very toxic (that is the point after all) but they occur naturally in nature so they are considered to be ‘organic’. Another common practice is that an non-organic farm will carve out a large plot in the middle of its acreage and convert it to an organic operation (with suitable offsets between the organic and non-organic areas and 3 years of not using synthetic chems). Thus they create an ‘island’ which is surrounded by highly effective synthetic pesticides which dramatically reduce the pest load on the organic land – and thus it requires less use of the ‘organic’ pesticides which are more expensive. How do we account for the ‘costs’ and ‘yields’ in this common situation?

    6. JohnM

      As someone who ‘retired’ to farming 10 years ago, I shake my head when I see these sort of comparisons since ‘farming’ consists of so many enterprises. A rancher (grazing livestock on forage) and a row cropper (raising commodity grain or pulses like corn, soybean, wheat,etc), and a market gardener (growing fruit and veg) all call themselves farmers but their ability to grow a product and the impact on yield with organic methods vary widely. To make a blanket statement that organic methods are climate change negative is painting with a really broad brush.

      I don’t have the time to go through all the problems I see with the comparison but will address one described in the linked Nature article. Conventional ag gets high yield due to higher fertilizer inputs. OK, but is this a reason to continue conventional production? Not if you’re a fisherman in the gulf of mexico and the fishery has been negatively impacted by ag-related nutrient pollution from the mississipi river just so someone can make a buck producing excess corn to feed ethanol plants.

      Although it’s behind a paywall, I strongly recommend bill mckibben’s article in harpers ‘the cuba diet’, a fascinating discussion of how cuba fared when the soviet union collapsed and it reverted from industrial production of commodity ag products to organic production of real food to feed itself.

    7. Copeland

      Organic farming/gardening + pastured animals integrated with growing things + use of humanure, or simply human urine + composting + the four horsemen, and everything will be just fine…for the survivors.

  3. dearieme

    out-of-touch elitist comments … truly bizarre … Paranoia
    a corrupting and duplicitous form of politics
    pro-war, pro-Wall Street, self-enriching, inept, … and contemptuous of ordinary people.

    I think that Hillary may have lost the Guardian. No doubt it will come round if she gets the nomination though.

    1. Clive

      The sub-headline “…in her post political career

      Ooh, I love a good cat fight. When you’ve lost the US Guardian…

      But of course, I’ll believe this Damascene conversion is real when it consistently calls out Harris, bits and pieces of Warren and Buttigieg. And as you say, also refuses to welcome Clinton back into the fold if she, like the work of some sort of reverse political Rumpelstiltskin having spun gold back into crap, becomes the “unity” candidate in a brokered convention.

        1. Alex Cox

          The Guardian will do what it is told to by its masters in the “intelligence community.” As long as the nominee isn’t Sanders, The Guardian will support them. But doesn’t such partisanship constitute interference in the US election process? And shouldn’t the paper (and more importantly its website) register as a foreign agent?

          (Thank you for the link to Craig Murray’s piece about Julian Assange. It is an extraordinary and deeply troubling piece of reporting.)

    2. Donald

      That was Nathan Robinson, the editor of Current Affairs. I don’t read the Guardian regularly, but from secondhand info I get the impression he isn’t typical.

      1. DJG

        Donald: Yep, the Guardian won’t publish Thomas Frank anymore, so they are toying with Nathan Robinson, whom they will dump soon. In fact, when I read the article yesterday, I got a strong feeling that it will be his last at the Guardian.

          1. Kurt Sperry

            That’s exactly why they dropped him no doubt, for truth-telling. Truths that contradict the “narrative” are far worse to utter in their eyes than even baldfaced lies.

    3. Oh

      In their zeal to please their DimRat loyalists, I noticed that The Guardian went out of it’s way to diss Tulsi even while saying she’s a better choice than Amy. (as though Amy is some kind of a gold standard).

      1. jrs

        I don’t know why it’s attributed to “The Guardian” and not the writer who wrote it. True they did publish it.

        That’s just straw manning about a better choice than Amy, since they also contrasted by saying she’d be a better choice than Buttigieg and Biden (who actually both have a real chance at the nomination). The unmentioned leading candidates are where the authors cards undoubtedly lie (and yea Sander’s past is less questionable than Gabbard’s), but it would be too obvious.

    1. Clive

      It’s not his pet EEA/Efta unicorn so, therefore, forever and irrevocably irredeemable. No use trying to talk any sense into him, he’s not put his listening ears on and seemingly never will.

      1. barefoot charley

        May had ‘negotiated’ that all Britain would stay in the EU customs union until . . . whatever. Boris’s version reduces the EU’s regulatory turf to Northern Ireland. Isn’t this a meaningful change, in the direction of empowering neo-Pirate Isle England to milk those continental bureaucratized marks? (Don’t tell anyone, but) it looks to me like Boris is kinda trending toward accomplishing what his evil sponsors set him up to do. Am I missing something?

      2. Redlife2017

        Ha ha ha!! Yes, that is very true of him. That and he thinks that Corbyn will send people into gulags. EEA/Efta will never happen or at least not in the way he ever could envisage. Norway has already said no…

        But to be fair to the man – he got royally [family blog]ed by Dominic Cummings in the run-up to the Brexit vote in 2016. He hates Cummings and Johnson, which does give an odd sense of balance to what could possibly be right-wing nonsense.

  4. russell1200

    But the wealthiest individuals are not the most talented (although they must have a certain level of talent).

    That is the key sentence to my mind.

    It isn’t completely random, it is only random once the necessary criteria are met.

    As an example, studies often show that “coaching” makes very little difference to the success/failure of a basketball team visa vi player talent. But that is because very very few NBA coaches are bad at their job. They almost always were very successful somewhere else before they got their job.

    There are also certain endeavors where even small skill levels make a huge difference. These seem to be activities that involve a lot of repetition and are particularly true of environments that are directly competitive. So the before mentioned NBA players, and fighter aircraft pilots tend to have results beyond even the 80/20 Pareto distribution. Where as an electrician or a CEO (where competition is either indirect or more political in nature) the results would not be as heavily weighted. In the case of the CEO, it their key decisions are likely very infrequent so the skill to success ration probably does get very close to random once the threshold of basic competence is met.

    So yes there are problems, but you still aren’t going to get people buying into wealth is random because everyone knows there are do-nothing slackers who don’t meet the minimum criteria (see first sentence above) and humans are by design sensitive to the freeloader issue.

    1. vlade

      The experiment ignores the social network/capital, which can (and does) skew the result further yet from pure luck.

      The number of do-nothing slackers who got promoted to top echelons for due to politics/connection is way more than could be explained by either skill or luck.

      Also note that in a number of cases (where the event is not easily repeatable), it’s incredibly hard to distinguish between skill and luck.

      And that doesn’t cover just obvious stuff like investing. For example, one of the founders of abstract art, Kupka painted a number of items which technically do not look extremely challenging. But I know (having seen a number of his paintings across his career) that he was an extraordinarily good painter in the technical sense.

      But you get other artists who are not really skilled much – but got lucky with some painting/instalation.

    2. Penny Ant

      For me the key point isn’t about the presence or lack of skill; it’s that while Bill Gates is smart-he isn’t billions of times smarter than everyone else. Yet he is billions of times richer than us. The luck isn’t that he succeeded it’s that his compensation rate for success was unusually high. I’ll go out on a limb and say that there are plenty of people in the world who are much smarter in every way and yet will never achieve that level of success. That’s the luck factor.

  5. zagonostra

    Craig Murry: Assange.

    Everybody in that court yesterday saw that one of the greatest journalists and most important dissidents of our times is being tortured to death by the state, before our eyes. To see my friend, the most articulate man, the fastest thinker, I have ever known, reduced to that shambling and incoherent wreck, was unbearable.

    It seems so trite to be focused on all the turns and weaving of the headlines when the basis for the possibility of a democratic government, a corporate-free press, is being tortured, along with the flesh and blood of he who dares to uphold that basis.

    And, yet what do the headlines shout out about this evisceration? Where is the outrage from those we place our hopes on, Bernie for instance. As far as I can recall, the only one who has said anything on pardoning Assange and other defenders of people’s right to know what their government is doing, is Tulsi.

    Like the Epstein affair,WTC7, and other information that would call for a radical re-thinking and reorientation, it is swept away by the “next thing” and soon forgotten. That is the function of a CNN, MSNBC, FOX, and other purveyors of propaganda.

    1. JBird4049

      Nah, after proving their superiority over us humans, they will become our new, benevolent overlords.

      I just hope that they don’t need any batteries Matrix style.

  6. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Yves.

    Further to your link about Trudeau, yesterday morning, the BBC World Service reported that that “although Trudeau did not win a majority of seats, he has the moral authority (sic) of having won most votes”.

    Taxpayer funded Auntie is on a roll this month. Last week, it stated that malaria is a virus and, a fortnight ago, stated that Islam is 3000 years old. If readers want to learn and get value for money, please head straight to the tip jar. There’s no need to pay for the BBC and its neoliberal and neocon propaganda.

    1. The Rev Kev

      They wrote that? That Islam is 3,000 years old? Seriously? I guess that Aunty’s computer has spell-check on their computers but they have not yet worked out how to install fact-check on them. Maybe they should take the reporter that wrote that and assign them and their expertise to the Middle-East desk. They wouldn’t be able to do much harm there.

    2. Winston Smith

      “Moral authority”!!!??? Not really BBC-see SNC Lavalin amongst other things. Canadian federal elections tend to be governed by a simple three digit number-905, the area code that serves the area surrounding Toronto. Scheer did not make inroads there and according to a veteran journalist gave the worst french language debate performance of any candidate in memory-nothing to do with language skills BTW. The country is fractured regionally and a lot of political skill will have to be brought to bear on touchy issues. This should be a stable minority for the simple reason that the small parties do not want one-they are broke and wield some influence in the present circumstances, particularly the NDP. The Bloc is happy to consolidate its spectacular showing.

      1. JEHR

        As a Canadian, I see the election results as reflecting exactly what the electorate thought of its leaders and their policies: neither Scheer nor Trudeau deserves to have a majority-moral or otherwise; the NDP is more heart-warming and needs a chance to implement its policies; the Green Party struggles along graciously; the BQ is there so that Quebec will be happy to act like a nation unto itself except when the equalization payments are distributed; the PPC is too fringe for the time being. Such is the political landscape of Canada and what we need most is a Humble Prime Minister!

        1. eg

          In my experience, minority parliaments have generally yielded good governance in Canada. While I am not terribly confident that Trudeau’s skill set is a good match for the challenge of governing a federation of regions as currently divided, I certainly hold out hope that the Liberal caucus and some of their colleagues in the other small parties possess the necessary good will and sense to keep the thing afloat at least for a couple of years.

          Certainly I am not interested in a repeat of the especially vapid campaign we just “enjoyed” anytime soon …

          1. RMO

            The level of “ehhh… whatever” lack of enthusiasm around this election was its distinguishing characteristic to me. Almost no one seemed to talk much about it in my experience and everyone I know was just glad that our elections are fairly quick. I have no idea how U.S. citizens can stand the seemingly eternal campaign season there now.

            1. inode_buddha

              ” I have no idea how U.S. citizens can stand the seemingly eternal campaign season there now.”

              The same way we withstand the incessant advertising and commercialisation of life itself. We mentally tune it out or, in many cases, drugs.

    3. Clive

      I cancelled the Direct Debit for my Licence Fee. I’m going to delight in making them chase me for payment. The usual cost for this sort of thing is about £1-2 per letter and there’s higher costs if they start enforcement. I’ll pay up eventually, but not until, hopefully, it’s cost them more to get their money out of me than the money they’ll eventually obtain.

      1. inode_buddha

        Here in the USA, I simply tossed out the TV altogether, keeping only the internet connection. After all, why would I pay someone to lie to me when I can get that for free?

    4. vlade

      The BBC that these days stands for “all opinions are made equal, and thus deserve the same amount of air”?

      It still has come world-class cameramans and technical people, but as far as its reporting goes, or the ability to actually distinguish between an opinion and established fact, you’re better off with your local gossiper.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Vlade.

        Funnily enough, if you watch the trailer for its weekly Brexit podcast, out on Thursday evenings, you will hear Katya Adler say that “we are pretty good at getting the insider gossip”. So, not fact and insight, but court gossip and showing off how well connected they are.

        It’s striking that throughout the Brexit coverage how rare experts, not credentialed and / or well connected types, have been on. I can’t remember when Lord Kerr, author of A50 and former UK ambassador to the EU, or Jonathan Faull, former commission director-general, or Jean-Claude Piris, former head of the EU legal service, to name just three at the top of my head, have been on.

    5. dearieme

      stated that Islam is 3000 years old

      Even if you took the view that Islam is a heresy of Judaism you’d have trouble getting it up to 3,000 years old.

      I’m assuming that something unambiguously recognisable as Judaism emerged after the Babylonian exile. Is that about right? The Holy Book of Wiki thinks so: “It evolved from ancient Israelite religions around 500 BCE”.

        1. Plenue

          It’s a heresy of both. It acknowledges Jesus as a prophet. For the Judaism part it basically claims to be the ‘real’ Judaism, the religion of Abraham. Judaism as practised by Jews is viewed as a corruption of the original, true religion.

      1. Plenue

        Judaism seems to have emerged in stages, the first significant one being reforms under King Josiah in the 7th century BC, when he ‘discovered’ an early version of Leviticus.

        After the Babylonian Exile (where the Hebrews stole things like the Deluge Myth and made up the Tower of Babel), the Persians let them return with new ideas of monotheism.

        All this was restricted to the elite, mind. The archaeological evidence shows that most people continued to follow the Canaanite folk religions well into the late BC’s.

        1. dearieme

          All this was restricted to the elite, mind. … most people continued to follow the Canaanite folk religions well into the late BC’s.

          I suppose Putinophobia is restricted to the elite while the deplorables follow Trump into the late BCs, where BC = before collapse.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Lawmaker Slams Zuckerberg’s Revisionist Facebook History: Nowhere ‘Near The Truth’”

    I have to confess that I actually like Mark Zuckerburg. No, really. Just take a look at the video of him talking at the top of this article. When you look at it, he is like a real live boy. It is amazing the good work that they are doing with animatronics these days. So lifelike.

      1. Lambert Strether

        I’m not the only one who’s noticed the problems the studio has with integrating “Zuck’s” human fair follicles with “his” artificial skin. The issue shows up at his hairline, as it would.

  8. Colonel Smithers

    Further to Yves’ link to the Softbank takeover of WeWork, thank goodness two of its leading lights, Rajiv Misra and Colin Fan no longer work here. We have enough problems with the scoundrels left from the Ackermann and Anshu Jain eras. This morning, the head of trade finance said that they had no credit limits.

        1. vlade

          A comment from FTA says it really all:
          “Just goes to show that you can fool Son of the people all of the time. “

    1. Clive

      Do they ever book WeWork venues for meetings, training etc. where you are? My shower use them all the time. I groan, sometimes internally, but often out loud, when an invite appears in my inbox with a Location set to “WeWork Offices, Trendy but Inconvenient Road, London, SE1 CRP” or somewhere like that.

      I know then that, not only will I be bored to tears with whatever the meeting / alleged training / other complete waste of my valuable time is about, but I’ll also have to endure naff decoration, stale pastries, weak and cheap coffee, braying and annoying meeja types infesting the place, blank-eye’d sallow gig economy refugees who look like they’ve had a visit from the Death Eaters and uncomfortable chairs.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Clive.

        Please don’t give my shower, especially the COO Frank the Tank and Moltke military clan CFO, any ideas. Also, our new building is going up opposite the Globe pub and Moorgate, so we certainly don’t want to visit SE1 etc.

      2. Redlife2017

        The 3 I know of aren’t too bad for location (one near Old Street station, one near Liverpool Street station, and one near Bank station at 1 Poultry). However! The rest is so very true. I once gave a speech (to about 15 people) at the WeWork at 1 Poultry. Good lord. They stack people on top of each other – the “offices” have walls of glass and seem more like pods to stack people in. Even with all that glass it felt like a maze with terrible lighting. The IT is also awful – it’s centralised in the US, so you can’t actually get an IT dude/dudette in the office to help out if you’re having connection issues (which we did).

        The only thing that seems to have the hold on the youngins is the free booze. LOTS of free booze.

        I will also mention that I’ve been in other non-WeWork shared workspaces and they are often very nice. Better lighting, more comfortable feeling. Like a workplace you are not being stacked and packed into.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Recovering coworking space “member” here. I put the word “member” in quotes because I actually was a tenant. Nothing more, nothing less.

          The space I was in had those glass offices. For a few weeks, I was thinking of upgrading from a desk to one of those offices, but then I changed my mind. I had to ask myself, “Slim, do you REALLY want to work in a fishbowl?”

          Of course, the answer was no.

          Well, earlier this year, my fellow “members” and I got word that our space was going out of business, and we were being evicted.

          Not that there weren’t warning signs. Like an ever-increasing vacancy rate. A lack of managerial interest in doing anything about this problem. And then, the kicker: This past February, all three of the staff quit.

          They all left to take other jobs, and, yes, one of them went to WeWork in San Francisco. I first thought that she was going to the Bay Area to orchestrate a WeWork buyout of the Tucson space, but no. She was getting out while the getting was good.

          Earlier this month, I was included on a LinkedIn group message from her. She was saying how much she missed us, her Tucson coworking peeps. I couldn’t help thinking that she was getting back in touch because her WeWork job might be going away.

          My point: The coworking business is NOT an easy business to succeed in. You have to deal with constant “member” turnover. If you don’t tend to that, your vacancy rate climbs to the point where your venture is no longer viable.

          1. Dr. John Carpenter

            I just left a place that started a co-working space for whatever reason. The person whose baby it was solved the member issue via nepotism. When I left, almost every occupied space was either related to this person by blood, marriage or a friend. But I’m not sure that’s a viable long term strategy, especially considering this was out in the sticks and if/when those people leave, I have no idea who they think is going to replace them.

          2. Trent

            “one of them went to WeWork in San Francisco. I first thought that she was going to the Bay Area to orchestrate a WeWork buyout of the Tucson space, but no. She was getting out while the getting was good.”

            Funny I think I remember you mentioning this person months back, stating that you tried to warn her but she blew you off. Am I correct in that this is the same person?

            1. Arizona Slim

              Yes, Trent. It was indeed the same person. I tried to warn her about WeWork, and she blew me off.

        2. Biologist

          A friend’s architecture firm is getting kicked out of their office building in Whitecross street, near Old Street, because WeWork is going to rent the whole building. Presumably, they pay higher rent. Sad, good firms being priced out by this soon-to-be car crash.

    2. inode_buddha

      Is there any talk of MMT, given that there is no credit limit? Any questioning where the money comes from?

      1. Bugs Bunny

        Softbank owns the Japanese telecom market with NTT Docomo. It’s, as they say, a license to print money.

        1. inode_buddha

          Isn’t NTT the Japanese TV company? I remember when they funded the restoration of the Sistine Chapel; they held exclusive copyrights to it for 20 years, dealing one hell of a blow to art education back in the 80’s.

  9. flora

    re: How a major U.S. farm lender left a trail of defaults, lawsuits – Reuters

    When Kruger offered to supply receipts of sold grain and other standard documentation, his loan officer told him not to bother. “‘Don’t worry. We’ll make the numbers work’,” Kruger, 67, recalled the officer saying.

    Sounds so much like the subprime mortgage lenders’ practice resulting in thousands of foreclosures. Everywhere the play is the same: load too much debt onto a business or household then foreclose and take the property or business – debt as a weapon.

    an aside: small locally owned community banks would not overload a borrower with debt. Small banks prosper when their customers prosper. Is that why, during the Clinton administration, a big push was made to get rid of the number of nationally chartered community banks by pushing them to sell out to bigger banks? (And yes, small nationally chartered (as opposed to state chartered) banks were pushed very hard by bank regulators to sell out to larger national banks in an effort to consolidate banking. )

    Monopoly in banking leads to bad practices. I could tell tales of the big banks’ abuse of small businessmen after their old, local banking option was bought out and eliminated.

    1. flora

      Michael and Byron Robinson borrowed $2.5 million in an agricultural loan and another $2.5 million on a line of credit in 2013 through their Indiana businesses, court records show. The bank sued the Robinsons in federal court as part of its foreclosure process in 2016 and later sold the farmland at auction. The property brought far less than the value the bank had estimated the properties were worth to justify the original loans, said their bankruptcy attorney, Maurice Doll.

      And who bought the farmland, I wonder? Big Ag? Further consolidating its monopoly power ?

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Democrats Cheer ‘Hillary Unplugged’ After Clinton Labels Gabbard A Russian Asset”

    So I was thinking about this story when I began to wonder if Hillary’s attack on Gabbard was a job application. Consider. The costs of this attack for her have been high and you have had such diverse media like CNN and Fox News standing by Gabbard in her defence. Jimmy Dore did a video on this aspect-

    So the Clintons have been drifting off to irrelevancy the past few years and they cannot fill venues where they are booked. Few want to listen to them anymore. So, could Hillary’s attack be a message to the political establishment that she can still be useful to them? That there is still a role that she can fulfill?

    1. xkeyscored

      The title sort of implies all Democrats share Clinton’s professed views, and no exceptions are mentioned in the article other than “When Sanders came to Gabbard’s defense, he [Adam Parkhomenko, founder of the Ready For Hillary super PAC] viscerally reacted, “F*** Bernie. I’d forgotten how much I despise that asshole. Thanks for the reminder.”
      I believe many other Democrats and ‘liberal pundits’ have come to Gabbard’s defence.

      1. mnm

        He gets to say that on that on Twit-verse, but I twit back Tulsi’s attackers and mention Israel & AIPAC and get thrown out of the Twit-space. I am sure my acct is being labeled as a Russian bot backing Tulsi cause I didn’t give my phone # (which they would probably sell). Twit-space & Facebook just controlled garbage like MSM.

  11. David

    The fact that the author of the Current Affairs article on Foreign Policy is a sociologist rather than a foreign policy expert perhaps explains why the article is largely about domestic political issues and moving power from one part of the political system to another.
    I find it hard to see how any representative democracy could give some kind of role to ‘the citizens’ in foreign policy beyond voting for a President (in the US case) and parliamentary representatives. What are you going to do ? Have referenda on FP issues all the time.? I suspect that this another attempt to smuggle in a new controlling but unelected group of right-thinking people, who will claim to speak on behalf of ‘the citizen ‘ in a way that elected politicians can’t. This is the way things work in many of the world’s poorer countries, where western-funded ‘civil society’ groups promoting neoliberal thinking often have more power than elected governments.
    In any case, all this ignores the obvious point that foreign policy is first about the protection and promotion of national interests. The difference is that a socialist FP would do this on behalf of all of the people, not just the elites. But I suppose it’s easier to forget that when you have the kind of job that can’t be outsourced to China.

    1. Mike

      Sigh… First, no need for “referenda” on each particular item of foreign policy IF you have a constitutional basis of principles guiding each decision a nation makes. That is where a citizen comes in- at the basis and foundation of guiding principles. So I take this particular statement as some weakness in the sociologists view of such a policy. It throws a false kink into the works. You are right that this would sneak bureaucrats into the system by the back door of its failure, which professional types in the US would love.

      Second, a socialist FP would NOT make foreign policy on behalf of “all the people”, if all the people included corporate owners and leaders of religious institutions. Socialists make policy to reflect the needs and will of the working class and its supporters among what Americans call the “lower middle class” (those working 9-to-5 without power in their organization, and individual owners of stores and services not chained or beyond the local community – so basically working class). This has been the bailiwick of socialist policy since it was originally dreamed up. Elimination of elite preference and power would also eliminate those people from representation as elites.

      Seems we have lost the definition of socialism, allowing the practices of Social Democrats in Europe to flavor our interpretation of it instead of principles it once held. The last seemingly “socialist” government in Europe was the UK Labour government of Atlee that occurred after Churchill, which nationalized parts of the economy still being overturned today by years of effort. And, even there, it was not totally socialist (his and Bevins fight against the Soviets made his foreign policy pro-US and ipso-facto right wing), thus able to be undercut by its isolation from other movements in Europe and the rest of the globe. Can’t do this alone, facing the US and other capitalist nations who obviously will fight it tooth and nail, a situation we often do not explore for partial explanations of failures of socialist policies anywhere. The rank opportunism of socialist leaders explains the rest.

    1. Tomonthebeach

      Exactly right. The bankrupt US Sanctions strategy has worn on for so long, that most the world has had time to build an effective financial underground. Many countries now crave a new international currency and equities markets to disable US economic leverage. Articles appear weekly now that discuss challenges to the dollar and schemes to undermine US economic meddling. I am willing to speculate that Trump’s tariff wars have accelerated efforts to sabotage US sanctions. It is hard not to anticipate that countries like Iran and Venezuela would create back channels to remove the US’s economic jackboot from their financial throats.

  12. sinbad66

    AOC’s Endorsement Rally Revealed a Committed Sanders Movement
    This line struck me: Contrary to popular belief, Sanders and his campaign is far from its deathbed—and, in fact, appears to be building a strong broad-based coalition of American voters.
    I don’t watch CNN or MSDNC; so for a news article to say this tells me that the Mighty Wurlitzer (TM) is stronger than I thought. I guess that’s what I get for reading this fine blog and listening to Jimmy Dore…..

    1. inode_buddha

      I hope and dream that Sanders can stun the Mighty Wurlitzer into silence with a win by overwhelming numbers that are so large they cannot be manipulated away without doing so in broad daylight with a straight face.

    2. Chris

      MSM underestimates the power of Sanders’ ground game, as well as his supporters’ enthusiasm. I don’t think the polls accurately reflect either.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Agreed. I don’t believe the “polls” at all. Is there anything easier to game than a poll?

        With any candidate other than Bernie, fundraising is considered a critical measure of support. When Bernie is the top fundraiser, the “polls” define the narrative.

        This is deliberate. The dnc must know on some level that they’ll never get away with rigging the primaries against Bernie the way they did the last time. Pretending that he’s “behind” in the “polls” is the perfect excuse to deny him the nomination this time. Pretending he and warren are interchangeable further obscures the reality.

        I don’t think this new strategy is going to work any better than the old one did.

      2. inode_buddha

        (re-posting in the correct spot — the comment I was replying to originally has disappeared)

        I think his ground game will stand him in good stead. No sucking up to the DNC this time. Is there some way he can run in the General regardless of what the DNC does?

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I plan to keep a copy of the primary ballot. That way I can write-in the name of my candidate — Bernie — in the same form that it appears on the primary ballot. I trust that neither of the two main parties will allow any candidate to run in the general election who shows any sign of acting in the best interests of the American people.

    4. Old Jake

      The true value of Sanders’ efforts is not in his ending up as POTUS, it is in the marked shift in the Overton window, the terms of the debate and the exposure to all of the socialist presence in the US, he has forced. He reminded us all of its presence, finding and fanning the embers until the flame appeared to all.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        He’s partly responsible for the biggest political star in the country getting elected. He’s the inspiration for an entire new movement on the Left. If that’s not enough, next year we’ll see. Next year could be a year of surprises.

      2. Lambert Strether

        > in the marked shift in the Overton window,

        I think the enduring value, which we have yet to see, will be enduring institutions. More impactful than OR, one would hope. We have yet to see how support for Sanders The Candidate translates into support for Sanders The Idea, as it were.

      3. Big River Bandido

        Perhaps. But none of that means much without power.

        I am very hopeful about what a President Sanders could do for the country. But if he has the nomination stolen from him again, I’ll be writing off the Democrat Party for good.

  13. Ignacio

    Analysis: Renewables could match coal power within 5 years, IEA reveals Carbon Brief. UserFriendly: “Not even half of new demand.”

    It is worth noting that the IEA aknowledges it has systematically underestimated the growth of renewables. The IEA has noticed the potential of solar PV in commercial/administrative/office buildings and now says that distributed PV takes centre stage.

    Another question is new demand. 2018 surprised by the relatively hot pace of demand growth. I don’t think it will be maintained.

  14. xkeyscored

    US foreign policy is now based on “virtual facts.” Sic Semper Tyrannis

    I don’t like the final paragraph at all. Trump is the reason the USA allies itself with the KSA? Obama decided to back the Saudi-led war on Yemen, assisting with the blockade and bombing, and of course selling weapons galore. I remember Bush schmoozing with Saudis, even helping Osama bin Laden’s family to escape the USA in the aftermath of 9/11, when US civilian flights were grounded. And this alliance goes much further back than Bush, junior or senior. Trump is merely its latest front man; none of them know the difference between a soul and a balance sheet. The paragraph in question:
    Saudi Arabia is a deeply friendly state and ally of the US. How mad an idea is this! This theocratic, absolute monarchy is a friend of the US? How insane an idea! Trump has a balance sheet where a soul should be and that is the basis for the belief that MBS and/or his “country” are our friends. pl

    1. Foy

      Retired Colonel Lang does understand that Bush and Obama and co schmoozed with the Saudi’s and that it goes way back and that Trump is just the latest in a long line. He’s been writing for a long time and has said that elsewhere. He was one of the very few to stand up and say that the Iraq war was going to be a big a mistake and would in end failure and was highly critical of some Saudi’s getting flown out in the days after 9/11.

      He lived and worked in the Middle East for 20+ years, lived in Yemen for a while. And he was the Army’s first Professor of Arabic, I think he understands the history pretty well. If you read his writings he is against the impeachment of Trump. I think he is saying what he said because Trump visited Saudi very early on and made a song and dance about it, and still continues to. But he thinks Trump has done well not to get sucked into the rest of The Borg’s plans and objectives.

      1. xkeyscored

        Thank you. I didn’t know all that about Lang. I was going by this sentence:
        Trump has a balance sheet where a soul should be and that is the basis for the belief that MBS and/or his “country” are our friends.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > Trump has a balance sheet where a soul should be

          If true, that may be exactly why he seems to have problems with doing The Blob’s bidding without question, because at least for the countries and peoples involved, the balance sheet has been decidedly negative.

  15. Wukchumni

    American Farming Runs on Exploitation New Republic
    A farmer friend of a cabin owner was telling me of the great dread by fellow farmers of the pending groundwater legislation due to start next year in the state after having been passed as law in the depth of the drought (crisis = opportunity) and as 40-50% of the tree crops are irrigated with well water, he thinks there will be a giant shakeout along the lines of how avocados went from being grown north of San Diego, and then their water got taken away, and just like that, nearly all the industry went to Mexico.

    A funny thing happened after the new groundwater law was passed, like so many woody weeds, new orchards appeared all over the place in the Central Valley, with the thinking at the time being by farmers, that if they had mature trees in the ground when monitoring of groundwater took effect, why, they’d be grandfathered into the new aqua aegis.

    The Great Thirst: Californians and Water-A History by Norris Hundley, Jr., is a good read on how H20 rules the state of things here.

    1. flora

      Ground water, for all intents and purposes within a human lifetime, is an unrenewable resource. It can take centuries or millennia to replenish huge water drawdowns by cities or by irrigation pumping.

      The greatest source of fresh water in the western great plains are the Dakota and the Ogallala Aquifers. There is relatively little reliable surface water.

      Some Great Plains states have been regulating ground water pumping limits for decades in order to maintain agriculture and water for its cities into the future. Not everyone is happy about the need to conserve the aquifers, but I think most people, even conservative legislators, understand the equation. If you pump it all out you foreclose the future of Great Plains agriculture and towns and cities.

      1. Wukchumni

        In just 1 crop alone, there are between 125 to 250 million almond trees (it depends on spacing in orchards) in production here in the Cali* ag cartel, almost all for export.

        * could be the first time a Californian ever called it that

  16. Hepativore

    The problem with the prediction about the “end of college” by the Forbes artcle is that it assumes that employers will recognize online degrees as being legitimate. If they are valued at all by employers, they will probably be seen as a distant second best. Also, I do not see how you would be able to put laboratory classes online

    1. scarn

      Look, we’re barely in the first inning of disrupting education. Who knows, maybe in a few years the likes of Google and Amazon will open up their own colleges. You’ll get trained by Google for free. And when you finish, Google will charge companies to recruit you.

      This fantasy gets the author all jolly, but simply having the state fund higher ed for free is socialist anathema. People like this who embrace dystopia really weird me out.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > we’re barely in the first inning of disrupting education

        Could it be — hear me out, please — that is just another crazed Silicon Valley grift, of use to nobody but the Founders, if they can get out in time?

    2. Phacops

      Laboratory classes online. Exactly. Next up . . . . online courses for skilled tool and die machinists.

      1. inode_buddha

        Just saying, as a skilled tool machinist, welder, and millwright: Not gonna happen.

        I think at least 5 years of hands-on (8 hrs per day) combined with at least 2 hrs of theory per day,
        and self-study/homework weekly is the way to go.

        At least, that’s how I learned. It is impossible for the “virtual” world to deal with e the actual physical one.
        BTW I’m well into my 50’s and *still* learning, albeit at a slower rate…. covered a lot of territory already.

    3. Arizona Slim

      Lab classes online? Not going to work. Likewise, the machining and welding classes that are also noted on this comment thread.

      However, Yours Truly recently checked out an introductory Russian class at the University of Arizona. And I decided against it. Cost was the reason.

      In order to enroll, I would have needed to apply for admission as a non-degree student. The application was $45. Then there was the actual tuition for the course. It’s something like $750 per credit at the UA, or roughly $2,250 for a three-credit class. And don’t get me started on the add-on fees.

      I’m going to continue with my study of Russian, but I plan to do so online. In addition to finding Russian native speakers who offer very reasonably priced courses, I can find plenty of people to practice with. Including people who live right here in Tucson, Arizona.

      1. Off The Street

        Internet radio, streaming video and other tools are very helpful supplements for a language learner. Exposure to different accents and speech cadences can invigorate when not frustrating, and you hear how people live elsewhere so a vicarious travel benefit, too.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Any Russian Orthodox churches near you? Not sure if they are similar to the Greeks, but Greek Orthodox churches often have Greek school to teach the mother tongue. I took modern Greek classes at one – don’t remember the cost but then again if I don’t remember it, it couldn’t have been very much.

  17. Merf56

    Re: Organic farming worse for climate
    Yes it requires more land but.. the move towards organic farming is also predicated on the elimination of so much processed foods requiring vast swaths of corn, wheat and soy. Also the reduction of raising animals for their flesh.
    What the move to organic farming is based on is people eating better food produced closer to home. My spouse grew up in a farming area. A close friend of theirs, upon taking over his father’s Immense corn and soy based farm they immediately began converting it to a multi crop and eventually certified organic farm. Where once there were acres upon acres of grains meant for either animals or food processors there are now fruit trees, berry plots, all manner of vegetables being grown on it. It was a long process to make the change but the farm is supporting them and his two grown children and their families and supporting them well. And the demand for their fruits and vegetables is so strong several other farms in the area began to convert to this model also. I call it old fashion truck farming but on a large scale.
    Instead of subsidies to grow soy et al we ought to be subsidizing the conversion to healthy farming of fruits and vegetables. This can be done in all but the coldest or driest parts of the country. The fat and unhealthy will lose some weight due to lack of processed foods being available, the poor will have their nutrition and therefore health vastly improved. We will save and restore our depleted soils, stop erosion into rivers, stop widespread issues due to monoculture crop failures from pests, greenhouse gas and water pollution decreased due to elimination of large scale meat raising, and so much more..
    So ok more land is needed for organic farming.. more will be available if we do as I just detailed. I know it works because I have seen it first hand…
    BTW, my 50 x75 organic veggie and berry plot and some fruit trees on my suburban Philadelphia tract house single acre feeds myself and spouse as well as both my adult kids and their families with plenty left over to give to other family and friends throughout the season.
    We buy almost nothing at the grocery or farm market except some sweet corn as I do not grow it. We freeze and can the excess that takes us through the winter until the garden starts producing again which is early because we are employing a little greenhouse tenting we learned through our state extension (Penn State). In fact it anyone wants carrots we are still pulling plenty of beauties.
    These types of articles poo pooing real workable solutions by keying on a single misrepresented point really tick me off … ditto for the article dissing renewables…

    1. jefemt

      The two articles cited that tick you off— that is a feature, not a bug.

      Your comment is a good antidote. One thought that struck me reading the MIT-based drivel (beyond the depth of my smoldering irritation) was just the notion you mention of backyard farming.

      Those 1/20th acre home gardens, along with sharing, putting food by, could readily account for the additional acreage ‘demand’ cited in the article, foodstuffs itself, PLUS add resiliency, sharing, cooperation, community, and make meaningful inroads ‘against’ indu-ag and the whole oil-based food system.

      My wizard permaculture pal mentioned to me he heard we are literally eating a credit-card sized equivalent of plastic a week. (USA Today)

      I mentioned this purported plastiphage fact to a pal who grew up on a dairy farm in PA.
      He was excited! Being a yankee farmer tinkerer, he was sure that he could eat a bag of chips, mold his poop, and generate fake chipped credit cards to insert at the gas pump to get free fuel.

      I hang with some amazing folks!

    2. Shonde

      Merf56, start calling your home garden a Climate Change Victory Garden. Imagine if the extension services began once again teaching home canning and gardening with funding for local services as a part of any GND.

    3. Mattski

      I think that the article simply needs to be qualified as saying, “INDUSTRIAL organic farming that would keep the consumer model and corporate ownership in place.” Yes, then they are PARTLY right if we only look at land, confining ourselves–as is necessary in such a study–to a handful of decontextualized variables. . .

      But your response–and the response of the local agriculture movement as espoused by La Via Campesina (world’s biggest social movement ignored almost universally by all media)–involves people growing around their houses, in tiny plots that get critical nutrition into the mouths of local children. It involves almost none of the inputs described as necessary in the MIT piece and others like it (let alone the complete reconfiguring of our actual diet), but–when animals are involved–the application of waste in a LOCAL closed-loop cycle in which an enormous amount of factory-produced inputs, and electricity next are used much more sparingly and less wastefully.

      Yes, we have to feed people en masse, too. And new models are being developed by the likes of Miguel Altieri and others. But it’s mass consumerism itself that is unsustainable; almost all of the “solutions” that the liberal middle class seizes on and circulates giddily on FB and elsewhere [are desperate to] ignore this fact.

    4. Arizona Slim

      Merf56, I’m a former resident of suburban Philadelphia.

      I spent a good chunk of this summer in the old neighborhood, and I was disappointed to find that gardening has all but disappeared. Oh, the people sure had lawns — and they paid people to maintain them — but where were the fruits and vegetables being grown?

      I’m glad you’re setting a different example in your area.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      We have a large scale problem, there is too much CO2 in the atmosphere — now, this minute — and ‘we’ continue adding CO2 to the atmosphere at a staggering rate that shows little sign of tapering off. Of all the things that add CO2 to the atmosphere just where does agriculture fit in? Is it the big dog in this CO2 problem? If it isn’t a big dog why waste energy arguing over an article of dubious validity making comparisons that amount to little difference — like fleas on a big dog … or a little dog.

  18. Tom Stone

    I am eternally grateful to see Hillary back in fine form and being supported so vocally by the “adults ” in the Democratic party.
    You can’t spell Rasputin without Putin!
    My God, the tentacles of this evil genius have penetrated to the roots of our political system.

    America is sick, and it’s almost too late to cut out this cancer and save the American way of life.

    Hillary for America!

    This is going to be fun

  19. Anthony K Wikrent

    A Face-Scanning Algorithm Increasingly Decides Whether You Deserve the Job -Washington Post

    I wonder how financial firms jigger the software when trying to find sociopaths to hire as traders…. (Harvard Business Review, Psychopaths on Wall Street)

  20. DJG


    La Stampa is reporting that the head of the Maronite Catholics, the largest Christian denomination, is calling for a meeting of the patriarchs and leading bishops of all denominations. The leading bishop of the Greek Orthodox Church in Lebanon has come out in favor of the demonstrations. So this is intriguing.

    Yet Al-Jazeera is reporting that many of the demonstrators are insisting on a secular state, which means that Lebanon wouldn’t divvy up offices by denomination.

    So the sudden conclave isn’t completely about preaching revolution, I’d propose.

    And Lebanon as a secular state. Now that puts a dent into the slogan The Only Democracy in the Middle East, doesn’t it?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Hong Kong protesters can be violent. Lebanese protesters can be cool. A mother and her toddler were driving through the protesters when the child started to get scared. When the mother told the protesters this, the protesters started to sing the Baby Shark song to the toddler to sooth it-

    2. David

      Lebanon is a secular state, but it’s also a confessional state, and the two aren’t really in conflict (sic). The current system of confessional attribution of posts dates from the 1991 Ta’ef accords, which brought an end to the Civil War. It’s brought the country a certain stability, but not only is it deeply inefficient, it makes the construction of a government agonizingly difficult, as all the major communities have to be represented. But until the fundamental confessional dynamic of Lebanese society changes, it’s hard to see things getting better.

  21. Frank Little

    Re: Assange in Court

    Perhaps fitting that Americans are dictating this legal charade considering the appalling conditions in which Assange is being held are common throughout US prisons. This is not to diminish the political nature of what is being done to Assange because of his exposure of US atrocities, but the conditions Craig Murray describes are very common in many federal and state prisons, particularly if they are maximum security, even if the person is not what most would consider a political prisoner. Just today activists are delivering a request to the UN on behalf of prisoners in South Carolina asking them to intervene on human rights abuses:

    Prisoners at these level-3 prisons have been kept on permanent lockdown for over two years, confined to 9×11 two-man cells between 20 to 24 hours a day without access to any rehabilitative or vocational programming or movement around the compound of any sort. Prisoners also report a multitude of abuses such as withholding water, 24 hour solitary confinement without cause, mold, contaminated water, spoiled food, filthy air rushing in all day, no chairs, no tables, no radios, no television, no access to legal work, and no access to showers. Further, South Carolina Department of Corrections decided to cover all the tiny windows in the cells with metal plates so that no natural light or fresh air can come in. Thousands of people are existing in this manner, enclosed in a tiny space with another person and no materials or communication or anything else to pass the time.

    Unsurprisingly the call for a national prison strike in 2018 originated in South Carolina.

  22. Wukchumni

    There had been 1 non Rx pot shoppe in the Central Valley in Woodlake, from north of L.A. to Madeira, as other conservative cities in the area were hesitant to go full reefer madness, that is until they saw what kind of tax jack it was putting into their coffers.

    3 more 420 stores are on the verge of opening in Farmersville, as they’ve seen the light.

    1. Lord Koos

      Some of the nearby conservative counties followed the same path. The city of Yakima did not allow any pot shops, until after a few years of watching a small neighboring municipality, Union Gap, raking in the $$$ from the only weed store in the county. It’s the USA, money uber alles.

  23. Wukchumni

    …what if the Pilgrims landed on South Beach in Miami instead?

    Do we emerge more as a sleepy Central American country?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The Spanish would have curb stomped the Pilgrims in that case, and we get a weird French-Indian confederation that probably becomes more abusive over time. The English colonies are way too dependent on the slave-debt-plantation relationship to ever consider breaking away.

      Assuming English immigration to New England and the rest of the Northeast doesn’t take off.

    2. inode_buddha

      Nope. Recall the the Dutch and Spanish were not in particularly good terms at the time. My northern Dutch ancestors came here in 1600 specifically because of the 80-Years War.

  24. Craig H.

    > Washington’s Blog: October 31st Is Our Last Day. :(

    1. I agree this is a sad announcement.
    2. My worst fear was the fellow had health and death diagnoses which meant it was all over for him but it turns out that the google algorithms have squeezed his ad revenue to nothing and he can’t afford to pay the hosting bill which is kind of a relief.

    On a somewhat related note antiwar dot com is still ongoing and I saw this:

    The FBI vs.
    Secret documents reveal government spy-and-smear campaign
    by Justin Raimondo Posted on September 16, 2019


  25. Dan

    Yasha Levine should stick to his excellent reporting on California water systems and corporate agriculture. We sent him $100 to fund “Pistachio Wars”

    His reporting on a narrowly sliced period in the Ukraine reminds me of the 1970s discussion of the barbarism of the Iranian revolutionary students with no mention of the Shah and the U.S. role in the coup that placed him there.

    He completely ignores the horrors of the Bolshevik takeover of the Ukraine in the1920s that led to the blowback and enthusiastic enrollment of Ukrainians to overthrow Communism in the service of the Nazis. Wonder why that was?

    A more nuanced, less hysterical and contemporary analysis is here:

  26. cripes

    Before people start saying “Epstein who?” I just want to ask how Bill Barr’s prosecution of Jeffrey’s co-conspirators.

    In his words, “”Speaking at the Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police’s 64th National Biennial Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, Barr said: “This case will continue on, against anyone who was complicit with Epstein. Any co-conspirators should not rest easy. The victims deserve justice, and they will get it.””

    Bill? Bill?

    1. Arizona Slim

      From your keyboard to God’s eyes. (Pretty please? With a cherry on top and extra ice cream on the side?)

    2. John k

      Seems it’s in trumps interest to pursue this, both to get bill and to distract. But if Jeff really was a cia asset, there will be big resistance.
      What’s ghislaine up to these days besides burgers at in n out? (A very good affordable double burger but cardboard fries… found mostly in the wilds of Ca.)

      1. Lord Koos

        Both CIA and Mossad were running Epstein, from what I’ve read. Anyone want to take odds that the details of this will never see the light of day?

  27. inode_buddha

    In which case he should turn Independent… considering that the majority of voters self-identify as independent anyways. I think his ground game will stand him in good stead. No sucking up to the DNC this time.

    EDIT whoops, posted in the wrong spot re: Sanders

  28. Mark Marshall

    Sorry—MITmisleads again. Temple’s article implies that organic meat production is one of the major inputs to increased greenhouse gases when the study he cites clearly states no assessment of meat or dairy was carried out. The article does not mention new farming practices such as utilizing forests and understory growth for beneficial insects and forage rather than eliminating these existing sources of carbon sequestration. It ignores the tremendous increase in the number of small local farms while assuming that megafarming with all of its negative inputs is the only alternative for feeding our communities. There is no discussion of tarping, direct seeding, no-till and other innovations that are proving to be effective agricultural alternatives to the destructive practices this article promotes. The glaring issue of food waste in the current system of supplying nutrition for humans and animals is not addressed. A significant portion of food produced on factory farms is discarded for cosmetic reasons as trimmings or blemished product not to mention the waste from grocery chains and restaurants. Ongoing efforts to repurpose such byproducts for human consumption and animal feed should be considered in any assessment of organic farming and it’s effects on climate change.

  29. Lord Koos

    Regarding the organic farming piece – it seems the author ignores the environmental costs of conventional farming, such as fertilizer runoff, dangerous chemicals in the food, soil, air, and water, damage to pollinators, etc. There is also a lot of wasted land in the US that could be converted into farmland.

  30. metannoya

    Resilc: “Wake me up when mayor Pete draws 26k anywhere.”

    Crowd size could be a criteria for late entries into each state’s primary. To be (embarrassingly) prohibitive the bar wouldn’t need to be high either. It’s only fair. (Sanders never had his own TV show or media company.)

  31. smoker

    Re: A Face-Scanning Algorithm Increasingly Decides Whether You Deserve the Job

    Horrifying, particularly given such already exploding suicide rates across the country which cannot at all be explained away as inherent Mental Illnesses™.

    No small wonder Congress has such a dismal approval rating. Where have US Legislators been for two decades – particular Silicon Valley’s Representatives – even Illinois has some legal protections (as seen in the Facebook to face $35 billion class-action lawsuit over misuse of facial recognition data link) against the increasingly inhuman Technocracy sucking the soul and anything of value out of the populace at large.

    Re HireVue’s chief industrial-organizational psychologist:

    Nathan Mondragon, HireVue’s chief industrial-organizational psychologist, told The Post the standard 30-minute HireVue assessment includes half a dozen questions but can yield up to 500,000 data points, all of which become ingredients in the person’s calculated score.

    Who would trust a psychologist with their well being whose user name is Dragon Insights?

    Then there’s this gem – among quite a few others on her twitter page – from their anti-bias™, Los Angeles based PR Director.

    And here’s the punch line, of the article:

    The company said last month that the private-equity giant Carlyle Group would become its new majority investor, providing an undisclosed sum from an $18.5 billion fund. Patrick McCarter, a managing director at the investment firm — which uses HireVue’s video interviews internally and said it “will look to deploy AI-driven candidate assessments over time” — said the money would help the company expand to more employers and more specialized job openings, both in the United States and around the world.

    So which of the Tech Oligarchy is Carlyle preparing to set up a sale to. It would match well with Bezos’ CIA coup, as the enormous Camp Williams, Utah NSA complex looks to be about ten minutes drive, or less, from HireVue headquarters in South Jordan, Utah.

    1. smoker


      Who would trust a psychologist with their well being whose user name is Dragon Insights?

      I should have added (but was trying to keep the length down):

      especially when it is a shortened version of that psychologist’s own surname. I mean why not Mondragon’s insights, Nathan’s Insights, etcetera?

      So what would happen if one submitted an interview on that software which ‘Dragon’ currently oversees the algorithms of:and noted that they considered themselves a Dragon, unless they were applying for a highly predatory position?

    2. smoker


      Who would trust a psychologist with their well being whose user name is Dragon Insights?

      I should have added (but was trying to keep the length down):

      especially when it is a shortened version of that psychologist’s own surname. I mean why not Mondragon’s insights, Nathan’s Insights, etcetera?

      So what would happen if one submitted an interview on that software which ‘Dragon’ currently oversees the algorithms of:and noted that they considered themselves a Dragon, unless they were applying for a highly predatory position?

  32. nooneespecial

    RE: LobeLog

    The Blackwater Prince may be hedging bets like a seasoned roulette player vis-a-vis promoting his band of do-gooders who will serve anyone willing to pay the bills.

    From an op-ed by Prince in Asia Times: (

    The United States has a serious problem…Despite thousands of coalition deaths, untold civilian casualties, and trillions of dollars in defense spending, the Terror Axis of the Taliban, al-Qaeda and ISIS control more Afghan territory than any time since September 11, 2001…

    The problem is clearly not money or troop levels. The US defense budget accounts for 36% of the world’s defense spending – greater than the next seven largest national defense budgets combined – and supports a network of more than 400 military bases across the globe…

    America must return to what works against asymmetric, clever enemies. We must get back to small, innovative and unconventional solutions to these problems. We cannot afford abandonment or the continuous failures that we have endured over the last 18+ years. Abandonment of Afghanistan is utter foolishness, just like current state wastage of American blood and treasure.

    bold added here.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I linked to a similar Prince piece yesterday. Important for people to learn who actually controls how many troops, where they are, and what they’re doing. It’s the Pentagon, not the president.

  33. Roy G

    Regarding Hillary and the DNC, when she made her ‘grooming’ slur towards Tulsi, I sensed once again the fine art of Projection that the Corporate Dems have long mastered; Instead of Russia, however, it is the field of Presidential candidates who are groomed to appeal to the Donor Class. Imo, this is why we seeing so many lackluster candidates, such as Kamala Harris, Mayor Pete, etc. who can’t pander fast enough while remaining relevant to the ostensible task at hand.

    If Hillary does give in to her raging hubris, it will truly be a holocaust for the Democratic Party. It’s a foregone conclusion that the results will be the same or worse as 2016, as will the Pyrrhic victory of sneering down at all the Bernie Bros and whomever else doesn’t bend to the diktats of the Party. Of course, the other victory will be the one the Dems have been savoring for 30 years, raking in the dough while pretending to oppose the Republican agenda.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > If Hillary does give in to her raging hubris, it will truly be a holocaust for the Democratic Party. I

      You say “holocaust for the Democratic Party” like that’s a bad thing.

  34. ChrisPacific

    That Brexit vote graphic is very interesting and makes a few points that didn’t come across clearly in the reporting (surprise!)

    The ONLY reason Boris won the vote was due to support from suspended MPs and some Labour MPs who voted with the government. DUP voted unanimously against (so portraying them as the stumbling block for the failure of the later vote on fast tracking only captures part of the truth).

    It’s hard to give him good odds of success in a detailed process (even if he was willing to go there, which it seems he isn’t). He would be relying on consistent support from a group of MPs that he recently sacked from the party, along with a splinter group of Labour MPs who would ultimately have to hand the government a major victory by voting it through.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > The ONLY reason Boris won the vote was due to support from suspended MPs and some Labour MPs who voted with the government

      No party discipline from Corbyn. Such a disappointment, as the ill effects of Blairism on the body politic persist.

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