Links 10/7/19

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Remembering Jessye Norman, Voice of a World-Weary Angel American Conservative

Six elephants die trying to save each other at Thai waterfall BBC

AP hyphen outrage continues with guidance update Columbia Journalism Review

Pope Opens Debate on Celibacy Requirement for Catholic Priests WSJ

Turning Over VAN Magazine

Prejudiced and unaware of it: Evidence for the Dunning-Kruger model in the domains of racism and sexism Science Direct (Dr. Kevin)

A Philosopher’s Definitive (And Slightly Maddening) Case Against Replay Review Deadspin

Scavenger of eternal truths TLS

Class Warfare

Reaganism Must Be Defeated Once and for All TruthDig

The Teacher-Shortage Crisis Is Upon Us Jacobin

The rise of the financial machines Economist (UserFriendly)

FATF Arm Finds ‘Critical Gaps’ in Pakistan’s Actions Against Terror Groups The Wire

PayPal has backed out of Facebook’s digital currency project MIT Technology Review

Net neutrality is alive and well after this week’s crushing court defeat Quartz (The Rev Kev)

North Korea

North Korea-US talks derailed in Sweden Asia Times (The Rev Kev)

German authorities say Mercedes may have manipulated emissions readings on hundreds of thousands of vans Business Insider (David L)

Senators Frustrated by Amazon’s “Evasive” Response to Questions on Driver Safety ProPublica

Who’s liable for a Tesla Summon fender bender? Lawyers weigh in Autoblog (The Rev Kev)


White House: Turkey to begin military operation in Northern Syria Al Jazeera


In search of the Wuhan spirit The Hindu

For Gandhi, nationalism was based on understanding what was required for people to be free Indian Express

India, US close to trade deal Times of India

Rain check: How the monsoons went from 33% deficient to 10% higher than normal, all in three months Scroll

Hindutva Forces in Bengal Target Puja Pandal for Celebrating Communal Harmony The Wire

Michael Moore UserFriendly: “now I really want to see it.”


Iranian oil exports hinge on US-China trade talks Asia Times (The Rev Kev)

How The Trade War Crushed A Growing Chinese Market For U.S. Cranberries NPR The Rev Kev

China Narrows Scope for Trade Deal With U.S. Ahead of Talks Bloomberg (The Rev Kev)

Hong Kong protests: tens of thousands defy mask ban as mobs go on rampage against mainland China-linked businesses and MTR SCMP


Thousands rally in Kiev to protest autonomy plan for eastern Ukraine Reuters


Haitian protesters are holding up a giant Bernie Sanders tweet about their human rights as police repress their demonstrations against corruption Reddit. UserFriendly: “As usual Bernie is the only one to stick his neck out on something like this.”

Biden Reassures Top Donors He’s Ready to Battle Donald Trump BloombergQuint


A Century of Cars Driving the Fourth Amendment The New Rambler

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Legacy Systems Held DHS’ Biometrics Programs Back. Not Anymore. Nextgov

Biased AI, let’s face it Economic Times

University emails reveal breadth of FBI campaign against researchers’ ‘wholesale theft’ of trade secrets for China SCMP

Counter-terror police running secret Prevent database Guardian

Decades-Old Code Is Putting Millions of Critical Devices at Risk Wire (David L)

Waste Watch

Recycling rates improve when people know what items will become TreeHugger

SEC green light prompts rush into marijuana ETFs FT


The ‘Whistleblower’ Probably Isn’t Rolling Stone (UserFriendly) Matt Taibbi.

Trump Transition

Trump Orders Cut to National Security Staff After Whistle-Blower BNN Bloomberg

Trump’s bad Nixon imitation may cost him the presidency The Conversation. Probably not.

Merging ‘Loyalty to the Oil Industry’ and ‘Grudge Against California,’ Trump Opens 725,000 Acres to Fossil Fuel Drilling Common Dreams

Colin Powell: The Republican Party Needs To ‘Get a Grip’ and Stand Up to Trump Time (David L)

Antidote du Jour TH: A couple of Lesser Goldfinch on sage:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Stephen V.

    The usual excellent piece by Taibbi. To his list of whustleblowers I would add one John Mark Dougan, now residing in Moscow. He has ties to both the Epstein investigation in Palm Beach and Seth Rich. Can’t make this stuff up.

  2. ACF

    Re: “Prejudiced and unaware of it: Evidence for the Dunning-Kruger model in the domains of racism and sexism” This line from the abstract: “diversity training did not affect participants’ overestimation of their egalitarianism.” is not surprising. Prejudice is not shallow in consciousness, is not easily re-shaped. All the more so when people are invested in denying its existence; denial’s a layer added to the prejudice. Why would a “training” meaningfully raise such a consciousness.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If the diversity trainers depend on the steady need for steady training to keep their steady jobs steady, it is in their interest to declare diversity never successfully trained for. That way they can keep getting paid to keep training for it.

  3. Wukchumni

    German authorities say Mercedes may have manipulated emissions readings on hundreds of thousands of vans Business Insider

    Collectibles are interesting, in that mundane to slightly better stuff is completely in the dumpster, although the cream de la cream has mostly held up, as its more of an ego thing, one illionaire against another for some ne plus ultrautomobile @ auction, where by definition there is only one winner holding up a bidding paddle to the end, everybody else is a loser.

    A funny aside: a good many of the most valuable cars are manual transmission, for which 95% of young adults have no idea how to drive.

    The top end of collectibles are the one to watch, as they’ve defied gravity by going up so very much in value and have largely remained in the stratosphere thanks to the staying power of see me-dig me types supporting various markets.

      1. Wukchumni

        Yes, it looks like a fate oilcompli, as we’re surrounded by seas of red in the proposed fracking areas to be opened up on the map, with a bunch of it being in the Golden Trout Wilderness, which would necessitate a major roadwork effort to allow heavy machinery into the back of beyond, and that would take a long time to get it up to speed.

        The more localized sites could be set up in a jiffy, though.

        It’d be a weird 1-2 punch, short-term vacation rentals strip mine the community of cohesion, while we await the chance to possibly light our well water from the tap on fire, whee!

        1. Wukchumni


          Its deer hunting season in the Golden Trout Wilderness, and initially it’s only bow & arrow, and then black powder rifles, followed by modern rifles.

          A friend related the shock of seeing somebody with a rifle on their backpack last week in passing on the Farewell Gap trail, and to get to the GTW requires a 6 1/2 mile hike with 3,000 feet of altitude gain through the National Park (think of it as ‘Animal Switzerland’ i.e. neutral ground) and then another 3 miles and 1,000 feet of elevation loss to get to the hunting grounds.

          If you bag a buck or doe, you have to carve it up on site and keep the choice bits, and perhaps your backpack et al now weighs 75 pounds and you have to schlep it 9 miles back to the car in Mineral King…


          I like to sneak up on my prey, going serpentine through the aislderness, snaking through the snacks en route to the counter where I ask for a pound of pastrami, please.

          1. Lord Koos

            My hunting involves berries and mushrooms only… I suppose that’s more foraging than hunting though.

    1. inode_buddha

      I’ve long had a soft spot for Clark Gable’s 1935 Duesenberg. Not gonna happen unless I win a huge lotto, and maybe not even then. As someone who has made a life out of dealing with machinery, that thing is absolutely a piece of art.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “A Philosopher’s Definitive (And Slightly Maddening) Case Against Replay Review”

    I thought perhaps that they should be using scientific principles to adjudicate replay review. The could use Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle but I am not sure that it would work. I wonder if the Observer effect would help?

    1. Craig H.

      He starts with the NFL catch rule which is a violation of a golden rule of hermeneutics.

      You always start with the clear and proceed to the obscure.
      You never begin with the obscure and argue the clear.

      1. Money Ball

        Another reason is that sport is a human activity and as humans we are fallible. A part of the thrill. Sometimes Messi delivers, sometimes not.
        This replay review is just a symptom of how neoliberalized sport has become – it is all about the money.

          1. Money Ball

            Indeed! I expect him to score as soon as he thinks about the ball. But according to stats it doesn’t happen.

    2. ewmayer

      From the article: “here is no sensible way to use video review when it’s being used to adjudicate rules with vagueness.” — I disagree with this, and note the article fails to mention a huge and fundamentally important realm which suffers under exactly the same problem, namely the law. Said vagueness in law leads to things like the “reasonable person” standard, and the inherent fallibility of such systems is why appellate procedures exist. So my take on replay review in sports is that their aim should be to correct the *obvious* mis-calls, and – again acknowledging the subjectivity of many such, by “obvious” I mean “based on the consensus of the officiating crew upon viewing the replay”. Examples include cases where there the referees’ view of the play in question is blocked by the players but there are one or more replay angles which reveal the details, or blatant mis-calls by a single official (typically the one nearest the play in question), often as a result of said official’s attention having been occupied by some other aspect of the play – we humans being able to focus our attention on just one thing at a time is a fundamental limitation which replay can greatly alleviate. I find my main annoyance with replay review is when the refs stray beyond their remit: for instance, the ‘legal standard’ for overturning an on-field call is that there must be clear and unambiguous evidence on replay of the call having been incorrect. In one of yesterday’s NFL games there was a pass which the intended receiver attempted to catch just off the turf by slipping his hands under the ball. Instead the ball deflected off his hands upward and was intercepted by a defender. Call on the field was an interception. Replay showed that the ball’s trajectory *might’ve* been influenced by the turf (a good example of “using physics” – the ball brushing the grass is not enough here, the ground must visibly influence the trajectory), but it was far from clear. So the call should’ve stood, but the chief of the officiating crew decided he saw something obvious and overturned, result was incomplete pass. Not sure how to address that – maybe again use the law as a guide, and make the review more like that, by having ‘a jury’ of several refs review the play and take a vote. On-field that is problematic due to the need for multiple review screens, but I mean, fans in the stands are watching the replays on their tablets, so how hard can it be?

      As a sports fan, I hate it when the outcome of a contest is decided by a clearly bad referee call. Replay can also help guard against corrupt referees.

  5. flora

    re: Whistleblower probably Isn’t – Taibbi

    Don’t worry. If this ‘whistleblower’ fails they’ve got another one lined up. (And probably another one if the second doesn’t work out.)

    re: Colin Powell

    To bad Powell couldn’t ‘get a grip’ 16 years ago. I’m supposed to listen to him now?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Did you notice the company he kept with at that lecture? Madeline Albright? And Fareed Zakaria? A bit rich him complaining too about a bodged-up hurricane weather map after his performance at the UN as you pointed out. Total integrity fail that day.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            My opinion is Colin was a stellar soldier with a stellar career until he succumbed to stupidity or fecklessness or just moral turpitude at a key moment. In other words a very good example of a very smart and successful black man who made a bad decision right at the end.

            Contrast that with the man Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden says was “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a good-looking guy”.

            Saint O is moral turpitude from start to finish, failed upwards by being a complete lickspittle to powerful interests. Pretended the world, while implementing Bush’s third term.

            So I do still wish Colin well. For Barack I wish a docket at The Hague followed by a very stylish one-piece orange jumpsuit.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      RE: Second “whistleblower”

      With the “transcript” of the phone call released, what, exactly, does “firsthand knowledge” actually add to the discussion? We already know the “whistleblower” collected anonymous grievances and organized them into a “complaint.” I’m getting the impression that there is some frustration in the msnbs crowd, that this latest offense is not being taken as seriously as they intended and could use a little juice. Lots of fireworks over the weekend at repub’s refusal to answer when-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife type questions.

      Asked to comment this morning, Andy Card said that there’s a lot of hyperbole goin’ around, and he hated to see “people” calling molehills mountains.

      RE: colin powell

      “In my time, in her time [?], one of us would have gone to the President and said, ‘you screwed up.’ So we’ve got to fix it, and we’ll put out a correction. You know what happened this time? They ordered the Commerce Department to go out and back up whatever the President has said,” Powell said.

      Good thing for powell that the “press” was represented by zakaria–a half-awake high school paper reporter might have called him on this. Who in the world was the audience for this “lecture”–non-English speakers and wapo interns?

    3. Lambert Strether

      > To bad Powell couldn’t ‘get a grip’ 16 years ago. I’m supposed to listen to him now?

      Remember him holding up the vial of white powder at the UN, another WMD story that turned out to be fake?

      And yet there they all still are, doing the talking head thing, cashing in, and being treated with deference.

  6. Dan

    A Century of Cars….

    If one lives in their car or van, do the constitutional rights of a homeowner cover the vehicle?
    Or, do motor vehicle laws?

    Assume the vehicle is parked on private property in one scenario,
    parked on public street in second,
    and being driven in the last.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      in texas, and east all the way to the florida panhandle, i can definitively say “ummm…no.”
      I tried that defense on many occasions , both during my Wild Yeras(living in a vw van across Dixie) as well as when i was homeless in Austin for almost a year.
      the legal reasoning appears to be “whatever works for the cop”>
      of course, none of my interactions ended up in court…and few ended up with even a ticket(mostly, it was more about harassment…sundown “laws” are equal opportunity, in practice…in spite of my “white privilege”)…so i never got to test that defense for real.
      I am not sanguine about the chances, given this was late 80’s- early 90’s.
      (not like i could afford to challenge it anyway…aclu wasn’t interested, fer sure,lol)
      and, per the other driving article, regarding cars and fourth amendment…this : “If Everyman experienced police discretion while behind the wheel today in the same ways that people of color do, Seo suspects the Court’s interpretation of the Fourth Amendment might change. ”
      “Everyman”, in this article, means “white”.
      I’ve always thought that…that if ordinary people experienced cops the way i had….let alone the way black people have…things would change right quick.
      instead, at least in the thoroughly IdPoliticized socmed that even thinks about the cop problem, insistence on prima facie “white privilege” trumps the lived experience of likely millions of poor and/or weird white folks.
      I’ve found it in my heart to forgive the redneck subspecies(i am after all, one of them…just with a lot more weirdness)…but it is unlikely that i will ever forgive the cop subspecies.
      I’ve been cordial with a few deputies, and even a couple of sheriffs, out here, but i do not trust them, and get real nervous around uniformed people.
      guns to the head and night sticks will do that, i guess.
      everyone having a tv studio in their pocket has the potential to change all this, perhaps…in spite of the continuing coplove coming out of the idiot box(every other show seems to be cop/fbi/seals/ or other first responder with heavy weaponry-related)

      1. inode_buddha

        “idiot box” I like that, lol gonna hang on to that one cuz it’s *so* true… what I find interesting in your experience, is that we both have had the same life experiences, and appear to be about the same age.

        1. xkeyscored

          idiot box
          All my generation in the UK knew and used that phrase as teenagers, and I think I’m more or less the same age as you and Amfortas.

          1. Procopius

            I don’t remember that we actually discussed it, but my vague and unreliable memory is that we (the “silent generation”) called it “the boob tube.” I remember liking Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. Really funny, not like SNL. Kukla, Fran, and Ollie was as intellectually stimulating as anything else. I thought Newton Minow calling it a “vast wasteland” was precious.

        2. xkeyscored

          The television, and in all it’s glory of propaganda and dumbing a society down. It is the ultimate weapon of mass distraction and can make anyone and any person hate anybody.
          The term is often used by people that can see that the TV makes others stupid who believe anything and everything they see on TV as a fact even if it’s fiction.
          Term is also used to define people who waste their time all day flipping channels and watching junk instead of doing something useful with their lives.

          Plenty of other wryly sarky definitions there!

          1. anon in so cal

            Herbert Marcuse referred to the TV as an instrument of “passive totalitarianism.”

            (in _One Dimensional Man_)

          2. David B Harrison

            TV is like anything else you have to make choices about.You can find wisdom or idiocy in any medium.It’s your choice what you consume from that medium.If you are a critical thinker you can find wisdom everywhere.I have found profundity in the most unlikely of places.Truth is truth no matter the source.

          1. Oregoncharles

            An SF author (whose name., sadly, I can’t recall right now) called it the “Glass Teat.”

            And I wonder about that brain activity, since I consciously use it as an occasional narcotic.

          1. Copeland

            When I was a kid my mother used to discover dad and us kids watching TV and yell at us to get away from that boob tube and go outside. These days, nearing 80, doing great (two new Medicare knees!) and she’s a 24-7 Fox News freak.

        3. Amfortas the hippie

          lol. just passed the half-century mark.
          i’ve never met anyone from my generation who’s managed to accidentally cram as much crazy experience into a couple of decades as i have…although i’m sure y’all are out there.
          had a few boomer “mentors” who approached this level of weirdness, back in their day,in the 60’s-70’s…but not GenX.
          of course, there’s much fewer of us….
          literally everyone i grew up with have had rather boring, conventional lives.
          (or died…not a few from overdose or other drug related causes)

          Amor Fati, and all….
          “if the Fool would persist in his folly, he would become wise”-Blake, Proverbs of Hell

          1. inode_buddha

            Well, you just met one :D (52 yrs now… was on the streets, in the car for a while, then I got in with bikers of the “easy rider” style out west, etc etc)… long story of personal storms, upheaval and growth

            1. xkeyscored

              More or less ditto, with variations.
              62 now, thinking this fool may not persist much longer. Is that wisdom?

        4. xkeyscored

          And from the OED:

             1959 P. Bull I know Face xi. 193 The rationing period, when my very existence depended on the magic idiot-box.    1965 Lancet 2 Jan. 46/2 Often they may be found, in semi-hypnotic state, watching the ‘idiot box’ with its endless stream of images and fullness of sound, all signifying nothing.    1972 P. Flower Cobweb ii. 72, I thought you spent all your time with the idiot box.    1973 Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. CCXI. 282 We assume that the modern general purpose computer is an idiot-box capable of performing only the simplest of routines.

      2. Metal Dude

        LIstening to a cop on the stand, under oath, lie without hesitation or remorse, did it for me. As a witness present at the encounter I knew what he said and knew he was lying. As an 18 year old kid that just wasn’t supposed to happen. Life lesson learned that day.

        I was a long haired musician and the prejudice was quite palpable, from all sides, the law, when applying for jobs (couldn’t work at a gas station, hair would get caught in the engine, never asked if women could work there) or college faculty who apparently felt the need to judge based on hair length first.

        Yeah some white boys know about prejudice.

        1. Titus

          My grandfather was an elected Sheriff in Massachusetts, and THAT, did if for me. Not saying others couldn’t do this as well, but as Sheriff he was not be argued with: put my mother in mental institution, cause she wouldn’t obey. My dad in jail for 2 year for fun. And us grandkids in a version of hell known as the ‘Foster Care System’. You should hear what he did to those he didn’t like.

      3. Eclair

        Yes, Amfortas, al those cop procedural series, shows about rogue cops dealing out ‘rough justice,’ the whole CIS series, years of shows about sex crimes units …. argh! Have we been brainwashed? First to believe that our country is filled with criminals and sexual predators, and second, to believe that the police /FBI’s mission is to protect us and bring them to ‘justice.’

        Well, our country has its share of criminals and sexual predators, but they wear three piece bespoke suits and handmade Italian loafers and fly in their own private jets. And the cops do bupkis to protect us against their predations.

        Oh, and don’t get me started about all the medical/doctor/ER series. More propaganda trying to convince us that our medical system is ‘the best in the world.’

        1. Jeotsu

          CSI, 24, etc, etc…

          I’ve come to refer to the whole genre as “fascism porn”. It’s been a very effective method to indoctrinate the populace into feeling reliant on the near-Godlike-powers of the security state, while simultaneously instilling a sense of fear and helplessness at our danger-filled world.

          Trust the police. Trust the military. They don’t need to obey the rules, because the rules were just put there to hinder true Justice by stupid politicians. Only the armed big-daddy figures can protect us.

          What a beautiful act of indoctrination and propaganda. Amazing.

          1. Adam Eran

            …oh yes, and how many crimes do these infallible constables actually solve (in reality, not on TV)… Answer (from a Republican Senator): 19%. The Senator used that figure to advocate for even more incarceration. One cannot make these things up.

      4. marieann

        “that if ordinary people experienced cops the way i had”

        I am in Canada where our cops are a little milder but I am the mother of 2 sons one whom was a little wild. The experience I had with the cops was not positive and I believe we came out on top because I was white, and suburban Mom who was also RN. The nerdy good son was also stopped by the cops once with a bunch of nerdy friends….they “looked” at the cop ???.

        My husband was stopped a couple of years ago while out for his morning walk and wearing a hoodie…granted it was early morning. My husband gave the cop what for and they parted on a first name basis……again he was the “right” colour.

        My wild son ended up in ER once, he was walking home from a bar and was beaten up…..the ER staff also had there own set of discriminations about a drunk in a fight. When I walked in and they recognized me it was all roses and lolipops.

        I always told my sons never argue with the cops……unless you’re an old geezer with a quick tongue

        1. JBird4049

          In some states, being an old geezer gives one no protection. It is easy to find stories of seniors getting rough treatment for usually very dubious reasons. It seems to be more and more necessary to have the trifecta of white, male, and very well off. I do not think that our portable idiot boxes are the only reason that we are seeing more examples of police misconduct.

    2. Carolinian

      There’s a well known book called How to Live In a Car, Van or RV that has some interesting tips (not that I’m planning on it). He says the main thing is to keep a low profile and a van is best for this, especially if you paint a fake handyman or service company logo on the side. A ladder rack on the top helps with this disguise and can serve as a mount for the solar panels.

      Shorter answer: no your vehicle doesn’t have homeowner rights except perhaps in Britain. See the Maggie Smith movie The Lady in the Van.

      1. Wukchumni

        I knew a fellow (now deceased) that lived in a van next to his gold mine, about 10 miles from Columbia, Ca.

        Ah ha!

        I see its for sale again, $300k and own your own hard rock gold mine, the Mountain Lily, which was a productive mine from the 1890’s until 1942, when FDR closed all gold mines down. You get almost 26 acres of very uphill real estate in the bargain. It has a creek that runs through the property, its best asset, methinks.

        1. Norge

          Most of those old mines are sources of serious soil and groundwater contamination. Buy the mine and you may be buying liability for a major superfund cleanup.

          1. Wukchumni

            The one time I went, the mine was full of water to a certain level and required what looked like to me, at least many millions to get going again for it would require constant pumping and about $500k just to make the road approachable with heavy equipment, as in it was never going to happen.

            Saying you own a gold mine is a vastly larger claim that will impress many, than say owning a corner lot on an intersection that was formerly a gas station, with single wall tanks that leaked out, and needs a million worth of remediation to clean it up, ha!

      2. anon in so cal

        Yes, but in some municipalities and neighborhoods, overnight parking of commercial vehicles is prohibited, at least in the greater Los Angeles area.

    3. Wyoming

      I will try and help here, but this is complicated and there are lots of variations and ‘exceptions’.. btw I work for my local police department as a volunteer officer in AZ.

      Basic answer is no the rights are not the same. First a car is ‘personal’ property and not ‘real’ property (like a fixed house) so this is a big legal difference and it means that there are lots less protections for a vehicle than a house. The courts have laid down a variety of rules about searching vehicles. Most important is that if the officer has ‘probable cause’ that a crime may have been committed they can search without a warrant. So this is not at all like your house.

      There is a big difference between an RV (recreational vehicle) and a car. “Moblie homes” are houses by law if they have full facilities (bathroom, kitchen, sleeping facilities). So in this case the answer can be yes they are homes.

      You can live out of your rv or car on private property as long as you have the permission of the owner. Wallmart is famous for this as they allow such at most but not all of their locations. Our Wallmart parking lots have lots of rv’s and cars with people sleeping in them every morning and, to a certain amount, all day. But the second Wallmart says to move along (and they do do this) you have to leave or you are trespassing.

      If you are parked along a street in a car you are in your car not your home. IF you are parked in your RV along a public street you are in your home with some exceptions – most locals have time limits like 72 hours before you have to move and some cities have additional restrictions (not sure how constitutionally legal those are but you would have to go to court to find out). And, of course, if the car is being driven you are driving your car (or RV – it does not mater) and you are not in your home.

      As to rights to protect yourself when living in a car or rv as opposed to a house I don’t think there is much difference legally. It would get more complicated in practice if we are talking about someone trying to crawl into your car when you were sleeping in it I suppose, but you have the right to protect yourself.

      1. Carolinian

        The book I mentioned said that Walmart is often not the best choice because it’s the first place the police go to harass the homeless. Of course Walton, an RV fan himself, really only intended to extend his invitation to fellow RV-ers. As you probably know Los Angeles is now setting up guarded homeless parking lots but apparently the complicated rules are making it a slow rollout.

        1. Wyoming

          Well I can’t answer for what the police are doing elsewhere, but they do not do that here.

          Every morning when I start patrol I cruise by all the places where the homeless congregate for the night and see if things are all right (I give people water all the time). I know of no one in our town/city who go out of the way to bother them in any way. Now if Wallmart calls us up and asks us to get someone to leave (this means that they have told them to leave and were ignored) then we have to point out to them they will be charged with trespassing if they refuse to leave. When this situation occurs Wallmart normally is annoyed and the person/s are put on a list that they are not allowed to come there again. But it is all very civil in general.

          No one here has any big issue with the homeless. People understand the situation and it was much worse after the great recession than it is now. There are a fair number of them begging at various intersections every day and I see folks giving them stuff all the time (and it is a given that giving money there is a good chance it goes to drink or drugs of course).

          Last week I was about 5 miles out of town (I overlap patrol routes with State Police/Sheriff officers as they are very thin on officers so we pick up some slack for them) and there was what looked like an old lady with a cane limping up the road towards town. I wheel around to see what the situation is and if she is all right. Turns out she was living in her car down the road and it was broke and she was trying to walk to town. She was limping not because she was hurt but because she needed a new hip and could not afford one. Long story made short her phone had been turned off because the bank had not done the auto payment. Some overdraft issue and penalty. She was basically broke and had no one to get her to town. She said if she could make it to her next social security check she would be ok. I’m looking at her and thinking there is no way she can walk that 5 miles and then walk back. But she is trying. So I give her a lift (which I am not allowed to do btw). She looked so relieved. She almost could not get in the truck by herself. When we get to her bank and I help her out she thanks me and start to walk off. Never asked for anything. So I stop her and give her $40. She starts crying. Yeah I know that I might have been a chump and she was going to immediately get some alcohol or drugs. But maybe not as well. Best thing I did all day (I hope). The world is a tough place all around.

          1. Carolinian

            Well good on you and good on Walmart too. I think their RV policy is good PR. I’m sure those who own one–not me–appreciate being able to crash overnight without checking into an expensive RV campground.

          2. Eclair

            Wyoming, you are a mensch. Your story is heartbreaking. As for giving money, I routinely give, usually to women (being one, I can imagine myself in their place.) If they use it to buy whiskey, so what. Who am I to begrudge them a bit of relief from their situation.

    4. Krystyn Walentka

      The courts do not consider a vehicle a “home” in cases of search and seizure since they can easily be relocated if the police have to wait for a warrant. This is even the case for larger RV’s. A case that set this precedent was tried in California I think.

      It is easy for people to say keep a low profile in a van but many of us have mental illness that we cannot control. But it is pretty easy to not get hassled if you are stable enough, it just takes work. I managed fine in my van for two months, not bothered by anyone, cops or people, but I just had to sell it because it needed repairs I could not afford. Luckily I sold it for more that I bought it for and I found housing for the next three months for free thanks to a great housing program in Washington State that paid for first, last and deposit. Socialism! As a result I am feeling a bit better as well.

      I will be back living in a van however, since I never felt better than when I lived in it.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Never felt freer than when living on 16 Ave benches in Denver. The Summer of Weed Legalization in 2014. Gutter Punks, OGs, Juggaloes/lettes, Veterans, etc. All living in peace and harmony. Decided to come back to Nola cuz my street friends started using heroin and ODing.

  7. Carolinian

    Kudos to Taibbi for saying things plain, as always.

    I have a lot of qualms about impeachment/“Ukrainegate,” beginning with this headline premise of the lone, conscience-stricken defender of democracy arrayed against the mighty Trump. I don’t see it. Donald Trump is a jackass who got elected basically by accident, campaigning against a political establishment too blind to its own unpopularity to see what was coming

    Taibbi used to defend his fellow “journalists” but no more. Big time media have always been subject to the whims of their owners but perhaps what’s new is that reporters–once so low on the totem pole–now get to be TV stars and big shots and share cocktail weenies with the elite. The class bias of the news business foot soldiers has changed. It’s enough to make even a blowhard like Trump look like David versus Goliath. Popularity wise they may be his biggest asset.

  8. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, J-LS, especially for the links to Biden.

    I don’t know if you are still in Brexitannia, but if you are or can access the UK MSM overseas, it’s interesting to see how invested the UK MSM is into Ukrainegate. Every BBC report and many Guardian and Channel 4 reports emphasise “unfounded allegations”, immediately casting doubt on what Trump has to say. Yesterday’s Meet The Press interview with Brennan is quoted as if gospel truth. Apparently, now the CIA are like Jedi Knights.

    Those of us trying to figure a way out from Brexitannia are at a loss why the UK MSM reports more from the US, Ukraine and China than home.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Glad you enjoyed them. I’m writing this from a pub near Chancery Lane, where I’m grabbing a late lunch, en route from one meeting to a pre-theatre dinner. Eating a decent steak pie and drinking a pint of cider. May extend my visit for a week – just too many people to see, things to do.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, JL-S.

        Have fun.

        If that pub is Wetherspoon, you may bump into Tim Martin, the founding shareholder and leading Brexiteer. He eats his own lunch there.

        If you do extend and have time, it would be great to meet in the City or central London. I work opposite Tower 42, so between Bank and Liverpool Street.

        1. wilroncanada

          Thanks for the clarification, Colonel. I almost read your post as: “He eats his own kids there.”

    2. Carolinian

      All politics are global? Tip O’Neill’s dictum has been turned on its head.

      I caught the US/Brit doucudrama Brexit on DVD. Cumberbatch as Cummings says that Clinton’s 1992 presidential run was the ideal campaign. So perhaps we can blame it all on Bill who showed the global elites the Third Way. Message manipulation is a big part of this. They need to regain control of the “narrative.”

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you and well said, Carolinian.

        It helps that, especially since the Rhodes scholars took over the US under Clinton, the elites on either side of the pond fraternise much more. They are now joined by wannabes from the continent. This takes place in London and in the provinces, especially in the Thames valley around Oxford.

        The great thing about the NC community, as I e-mailed Yves yesterday, is that a cross border community is emerging thanks to this, and other blogs, and may yet enable us to fight back.

        With regard to Cumberbatch, he’s the scion of Barbadian sugar planters. His family name is carried by many descendants of former slaves. It’s the same with the Lascelles / Harewood and families.

        With regard to South Carolina, which I know well and love, especially the Low Country food, the Drayton family who own Magnolia come from my home county of Buckinghamshire and neighbouring Northamptonshire. Some of the villages carry their names.

        1. Carolinian

          My little textile town (former) has a Drayton Mills textile factory that was owned by Roger Milliken. It is now a luxury apartment complex. A just build Drayton Mills primary school met with some controversy at the naming because Drayton, the mill namesake, was a slave owner.

          Milliken like most of the textile tycoons came from up North rather than England. The poor and desperate post Civil War South was the original outsourcing destination.

        2. skippy

          “Rhodes scholars” – always brings the egg pods in the movie ‘Alien’ to mind, initial criteria must be malleable.

          Another triumph of squillinair philanthropy.

          1. Carolinian

            Rachel Maddow is a Rhodes scholar. Also Kris Kristofferson. Some have the notion that Rhodes set up his scholarship to teach yanks how to carry on the Empire. This may only work for one of the above examples.

            1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              Whats Kristoffersons Politics?

              Huge fan of his work as Whistler in Blade!
              Also, i had no idea about his Country Music God status as recently revealed in Ken Burns new epic doc, ‘Country Music.’ Girl from the North, Sunday Morning…

                1. Carolinian

                  Also a famous box office disaster that went over budget because Cimino would only shoot at “magic hour” (sunrise and sunset) among other things. Terence Malick loves him some magic hour as well.

                  Kristofferson has been in tons of movies. He doesn’t seem all that political.

            2. skippy

              I commented back in the day on NC when our PM Tone was – pastor of the land – about Rhodes philanthropy. He defiantly had a plan to indoctrinate and disseminate it through scholarships, albeit results do vary.

              Think one would need to look at the graduates and then square that with historical events. Yet its not controversial considering tertiary education and research once funding under a for profit model was instituted E.g. everyone is doing it for various reasons.

              For some reason the old Starving Marvin episode of South Park comes to mind, spaceship thingy …

      2. Oregoncharles

        @Carolinian: ” Clinton’s 1992 presidential run was the ideal campaign” – because Perot accidentally (I think) handed the election to 3rd Way Willy? I think that line was intended to subtly discredit the Cummings character.

        1. Titus

          No accident, Busch was getting in the way of Ross building an airport he wanted. Busch told Ross to go to hell, ah, may he Rest In Peace, but Ross was not one to pick a fight with. Stories I could tell.

        2. Carolinian

          Perot, true. Still Clinton did out poll an incumbent president.

          I thought Brexit was pretty good but doubtless British commenters would have a more informed opinion. The show seemed to be trying to stay neutral and simply show what happened although the Farage and MP portrayals verge toward caricature (deserved?).

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I feel I am looking through a glass darkly. I see Brennan, the former Head Spook of the CIA, out there in the open on national TV news, pouring out his disdain for our Republic, putting it on plain display for all to see and hear. And the not-so-bright soi disant “Left”, instead of forming ranks to fight back, instead of calling out him and his entire agency for their decades of terror and assassinations and coups and skullduggery, treats his lies as gospel and cheers him on.


        Said spook, on live TV, eviscerates the very basis of our legal system since The Magna Carta, saying “People are innocent until alleged to be involved in some sort of criminal activity”. This of course is a complete howler. But sadly, inexplicably, mysteriously, said defenders of the public weal, said purveyors of the national conscience and sacred sentinels of the Fourth Estate, building on generations of rights to know and to be free of tyranny, won with blood…simply nod and agree?

        Every day I try to avoid the conclusion “we are so screwed” and every day I seem to come up short. The best lack all conviction and the worst are full of a passionate intensity.

        1. JBird4049

          IIRC, the the presumption of innocence was part of the Roman Empire, but the eight centuries old Magna Carta is good enough. I had to check to see if Brennan actually said roughly that people are innocent until they are accused of committing a crime. And he did, which means any police officer could put anyone in jail or prison. Maybe he was misspeaking? It is one of the most important parts of our criminal law.

  9. xkeyscored

    Iranian oil exports hinge on US-China trade talks Asia Times (The Rev Kev)

    This article is very relevant here: The promise of Chinese investment brings Iran in from the cold
    It all sounds a bit unconfirmed – “Details have not yet been revealed but an Iranian source, most probably with permission to leak, has spoken exclusively to Petroleum Economist confirming highly favourable terms for Chinese companies with first refusal on oil and gas projects and ample opportunities to become involved with any and all petrochemical projects in Iran.” – but highly plausible nonetheless.
    “According to Petroleum Economist, and the related Iranian reporting, the central pillar of the new deal is that China will invest $280 billion developing Iran’s oil, gas and petrochemicals sectors. That Iran’s state-run Press TV published cited the same story, lends credibility to the initial report.
    Another $120 billion will go into upgrading Iran’s transport and manufacturing infrastructure, bringing it more in line with Chinese specifications and operations.”
    Oh, and “up to 5,000 Chinese security personnel on the ground in Iran to protect Chinese projects.” (May conflict with Iran’s constitution, but we’ll see if and how they get round that.)

    A bit more:
    “Firstly, it allows Iran to expedite increases in oil and gas production from three of its key fields, notably the giant South Pars gas field.
    Secondly, China has reportedly agreed to continue to import Iran’s oil and pay in “soft” currencies, including those of African and Central Asian states to avoid dollars.
    Third, it will improve Iran’s diplomatic standing, enable it to benefit from the backing of two of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, namely Russia and China.”

    Sounds to me like the US negotiating position is getting weaker by the minute.

    1. The Rev Kev

      “up to 5,000 Chinese security personnel on the ground in Iran to protect Chinese projects.” (May conflict with Iran’s constitution…)

      Had to look that one up though I had heard of it before. The Russians had to get special permission to use an Iranian air base when they were destroying ISIS-

      Article 146 [No Foreign Military Bases]
      “…[F]oreign military bases in Iran, even for peaceful purposes, is forbidden.”

      But I am sure that a way can be found around it. Those 5,000 Chinese could be ‘contractors’ and not officially ‘troops. They might share a base with Iranian troops and would not have their own base – only barracks. Perhaps by coincidence, heavy Chinese equipment might be stored at those same bases. Who can tell? Lots of funny things happen in that part of the world. And if Trump complains, well, what is Chinese for “Tell it to the marines.”

      1. xkeyscored

        Troops or contractors, bases or barracks – if this story is true, the Chinese are in it for the long haul, and aren’t about to let the US bring down Iran.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Good luck to those 5,000.

        The last time Chinese soldiers went to Central Asia was during the Tang Dynasty, and instead of ‘Tell it to the Marines,’ the reminder has, since then, been ‘Remember Talas.’

        How will conservative Iranians* react to pork eating (Xiaolongbao, for a delicious example) foreign soliders on their sacred soil? Will female Chinese soldiers cover their heads?

        *For example, Mr. Big Mouth (See Our Man In Tehran, with the reporter Erdbrink).

      3. rd

        I think they are just advisers and not running a military base. There is no way any of these parties would run afoul of the Iranian constitution.

    2. Synapsid


      China National Petroleum Corporation has just pulled out of the South Pars field.

      1. xkeyscored

        Which kind of confirms they were in it.
        Maybe in, maybe out, maybe negotiating chips with USA etc. imo.

    3. Synapsid


      The article at Petroleum Economist is by Simon Watkins. A few weeks ago I read an article at Oil Price by Watkins but on Russia and Iran. The two read almost like the same article, right down to 5000 Russian troops in Iran.

  10. urblintz

    I had the great privilege of singing on stage at the MET with Jessye Norman. I was a new plebe in the Met’s “Young Artists Apprenticeship Program” in the late ’80’s and was singing “Harlekin” in the second cast of Strauss’ Ariadne au Naxos.” I was not scheduled to sing with first cast, which included Norman, Troyianos, King, Battle and Upshaw, but when the fist cast baritone became indisposed, well, there I was… on stage with all these stars with whom I’d never rehearsed and hadn’t really even met. When I sang my little aria (actually a little song “kleines lied”) I was hovering over Jessye as she was spawled on her “wüste insel” and praying that I didn’t screw up (it was, in fact, only the 3rd time I’d ever sung opera on stage with orchestra and doing so at the Met was… uh… intimidating). I made it through the night and was feeling so relieved at the curtain call… then, as we left the stage, I stepped on the long trail of her Ariadne costume and she did one of those nick moves and I thought I’d strangled her…. mortified, my only words to her were “omg I am so sorry what Have I done?” She smiled at me and said, ‘Don’t worry darling, you sang beautifully and can step on my train anytime you want!” True story that. Needless to say, sometimes I can’t even believe it happened…

    and btw – I went on to have a long and unimportant singing career.

    That she, indeed, retired before the age woe set in (said MET “Aridane” was, I believe, her last) might be her strongest career move because you can bet there were venues willling to pay her millions to sing poorly had she not had the self awareness that it was time to retire!

    1. Eclair

      What a lovely memory, urblintz! Thank you for sharing. I am completely unmusical, but I have such great admiration (and deep-seated envy) for musicians and singers who perform mostly out of love for what they do, and not from deep-seated desired to make money or to achieve world-wide fame.

    2. Stillfeelinthebern

      Thanks for sharing this story. She was a great performer. Nice to hear she had a sense of humor.

    3. ewmayer

      Thanks for sharing that, urblintz – I had the privilege of hearing Jessye sing at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor back in the late 80s, when I was in grad. school at U. Michigan, and also fondly recall her in the lavish NYMet production of The Ring cycle which aired on PBS around the same time.

      I always wondered whether she was the inspiration for the soprano in the French cult film Diva, and checking the IMDB trivia page for the film just now, see that it echoes my surmise:

      “The titular character was allegedly inspired by famous opera diva Jessye Norman.”

      1. urblintz

        Yes, Jessye N and U of M have a very special relationship (my partner got his PhD there in music and it sounds as if we were in Ann Arbor around the same time)!

        And yes it’s generally known that Diva was inspired by her. I was lucky enough to know both Jessye and W F Wiggins who starred in the movie! Two great singers!

  11. dearieme

    “As usual Bernie is the only one to stick his neck out on something like this.”

    I would prefer it if the US didn’t stick its nose into the affairs of foreign countries. If there is no vital American interest, keep out.

    Colin Powell: The Republican Party Needs To ‘Get a Grip’ and Stand Up to Trump

    Ah, sage counsel from the chap who told a pack of lies to the UN in support of the Iraqattack. Fool or knave, or a bit of each? An iconic example of when the US should have minded its own business.

    1. Darius

      The US government is the primary force propping up the unjust order in Haiti. That and the Clinton Foundation.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “US troops start pullout in Syria as Turkey prepares operation”

    So Trump went on a twitter spree with this announcement. And people like Lindsey Graham and Brett McGurk have gone ballistic at the news –

    I do wonder about something though. For the past week or more Trump has been under attack over Ukrainegate with shouts of impeachment and how we must always believe CIA spook’s secret testimony. The media are doing their bit and braying for his blood, the democrats are hyping it up and I am not so sure that republicans are really going to bat for him.
    So what if this is Trump’s way of saying that if you are going to try to (familyblog) me over politically, then I will (familyblog) up something that you want. Remember militarily occupying Syria is something both parties want as they are both, as Justin Raimondo would have put it, are part of the War party. Trump is still President so he still has the power to pull troops from wherever he wants as he is in line of command as Commander-in-Chief.
    Who knows how this will play out. Syria may tell Turkey that they can attack the Kurds so long as they let the Syrians take back Idlib. It is not like the Kurds aren’t trying to take over big chunks of Arab Syria for themselves – oh, wait! I would expect to see lot of frantic negotiations going on in Washington now as both parties try and reverse this decision to pull US troops out of parts of Syria. Maybe Trump will make a deal that he will do so if Ukrainegate is killed.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      I doubt Trump can deal with Team Blue elites at this time. Elected Democrats promised the #missedbrunch crowd that Mueller, faithless electors, the emoluments clause, Rachel Maddow channeling Jed Bartlett, and so forth would restore their status as brilliant prognosticators of elections. They made a transactional promise of vote for us and we’ll hold Trump accountable. Pelosi and friends were restored. I think they are under pressure now.

      Pelosi tried to dismiss everyone as unserious, but she doesn’t have a shiny bauble of 2008 to offer up again (Keep the Powder Dry Reid might be gone, but he wasn’t the only one making this promise.). Given the votes to give Trump even more money by certain Democrats, I suspect the #resistance crowd might not be as loyal to Team Blue as they’ve been or would have if Team Blue engaged in more ceremonial opposition instead of voting to give Trump what he wants.

      1. xkeyscored

        SDF spokesman says they’ll send all troops to the front line, which could allow ISIS to regroup in their absence.

        Business Insider:
        “Turkey’s unprovoked attack on our areas will have a negative impact on our fight against ISIS and the stability and peace we have created in the region in the recent years.”

        (Can’t help wondering if the Saudis/Israelis didn’t suggest this withdrawal to Trump, hoping for precisely such an outcome.)

        1. Procopius

          I believe the remnants of ISIS are encamped about 25 km from the remaining US troops there, which prevented the SAA and Russians from attacking them (25 km is too close to our troops and will provoke retaliatory air attack). I’m not clear on the current deployment. I know the SAA are conducting mopping up operations in Idleb Governate, which is more Hayat Tahrir al Shams (al Qaeda), so they may not have troops available right now, but I’m confident they are not going to allow ISIS to regroup. They’ve spent too much blood for that. I’m sure their troops will be moving into al Tanf as our people leave.

          1. xkeyscored

            I believe some of the remnants of ISIS are encamped near al Tanf, if that’s where you meant by ‘there’. Others are scattered across Syria and Iraq, blending in.
            I don’t believe Trump is withdrawing fom al Tanf.
            The SAA won’t allow ISIS to regroup, but both ISIS and al Qaeda have a history of successful mass jail breaks. Further instability will facilitate these.
            And I do not subscribe to this notion that ISIS are the bad guys, while al Qaeda are OK, if not exactly good guys. Al Baghdadi, ISIS’ leader, asked three times if his gang could join al Qaeda. They’re not that different, even if they are at each others’ throats half the time.

    2. wilroncanada

      The Rev Kev
      I’m sure they will still have enough contractors/mercenaries in place to keep the faith. It will just cost more. But the military and its off-shoots are MMT.

    3. Oregoncharles

      The Syrian Kurds are the only left-wing, feminist force in the Middle East. To see them betrayed, yet again, is infernally sad. It’s also an example of Turkish imperialism, which should not be encouraged.

      However, they are also a very effective fighting force. Much may depend on what technology tthe US has supplied them with. They weren’t very effective against the Turkish army in the west.

      1. The Rev Kev

        May get problematic for the Kurds. They fight best in mountainous territory but the region that they will be defending is mostly flat which lets the Turks use their armour and their air more effectively. Is not the first time that the US has sold them down the river and they should have been talking to Damascus to be prepared. They could have gotten a far better deal under Damascus than trying to survive as the meat in the geopolitical sandwich-

    4. Synapsid

      Rev Kev,

      I dunno about Arab Syria. The Kurds were there long before the Arabs. Kurdish is an Iranian language, and Iranian languages spread into the region before 3000 years ago.

      1. The Rev Kev

        @Synapsid. Hi, I wasn’t talking about the north but the areas down south on the eastern bank of the Euphrates river where a lot of Syria’s oil fields are and farmlands are. The Kurds having been drafting the local Arab Syrians into their army which has made for a lot of unhappy campers and they have been trying to move their people into these areas.
        Not a coincidence about the Kurds trying to seize this land as Washington is behind it which is why the Pentagon support with those occupation troops. Some time ago I linked to a RAND Plan to militarily occupy this region as well as a demilitarized zone on both sides of the Euphrates River so that the US could pump Syria’s oil fields dry and transport them out this way. What is happening now is a second rate attempted version of this plan so no big surprise as it is really about an attempted heist of Syria’s oil.

        1. Synapsid

          Rev Kev,


          I wonder why. Syria’s never been a major producer of oil. Before the wars production averaged around 380 000 barrels a day. The US uses around 20 000 000 b/d.

          1. xkeyscored

            I wonder if it’s about oil, or about balkanising Syria and denying Iran a land bridge to the Mediterranean.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Very much the later I would say. If so, mission fail. Iraq is opening up its border with Syria which clears a land bridge between Iran and the Mediterranean. Trade will also open up between all these countries involved which should help them all.

    5. VietnamVet

      The neo-lib-con’s regime change campaign has blown up. Using ethnic conflicts to make a profit doesn’t work with ineffective weapons. Especially if the opponent’s alternatives do work. Saudi Arabia has ceased to be the petroleum market reserve. It can be taken out and will be again. The Likud Party is in limbo in Israel. The US/Israel/Saudi alliance is dead.

      The only way to avoid a recession at best or even a global economic crash is peace. Donald Trump is facing the unending impeachment hearings until the next election which he must win to avoid a New York indictment. He is free to do what he must; withdraw troops and end the Iraq and Syrian occupations and make a deal with Iran.

      Democrats have become the Elite Forever War Party. If the President does what is in the best interests of Americans and end the overseas wars, he will be re-elected. A civil war will start if he is removed to continue the Empire Wars.

  13. xkeyscored

    China Narrows Scope for Trade Deal With U.S. Ahead of Talks Bloomberg (The Rev Kev)
    “won’t include commitments on reforming Chinese industrial policy or the government subsidies that have been the target of longstanding U.S. complaints, one of the people said.”
    The only reason I can imagine for China even considering these commitments would be US sanctions, tariffs and so on. China’s industrial policy appears so far to have been an outstanding success when compared to the USA’s. To take one example, they invested heavily in solar cell technology years ago. Now, the price is competitive with fossil fuel electricity, and China is a world leader in this technology.
    Why would they want to change? (And see my comment above, re “Iranian oil exports hinge on US-China trade talks”, for why they might be feeling confident about not complying with US demands.)

    1. The Rev Kev

      Yves has pointed out that at present the US does not have an industrial policy so perhaps a deal can be made where the Chinese sells Trump their own. That could work that.

      1. Monty

        The problem is, once he’s finished with that Industrial Policy, he will probably fancy another one right afterwards.

      2. xkeyscored

        And Trump could cleverly impose punitive tariffs on it, since it’d be an import from China, forcing the US to pay twice for something that isn’t copyrighted, but no doubt should be.

      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It was a different age, but when it was necessary, the industrial policy of Chinse was to ban export of silk worms.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Or tea seeds or plants.

          The West spent vast sums on it without really knowing what it was.

  14. Wukchumni

    Never made it to the couple hundred million year old fossil bed, it can wait.

    Instead, we were treated to a running commentary on all the mining activity that went on in the 1870’s for about a decade, as we were traipsing by, and its a trail i’ve walked many times, and yet I never knew what went down, where and why?

    The miners would follow promising outcrops of rocks above ground and use pick ax or black powder to find a promising vein to exploit, and the mining history expert being a geologist certainly helped us understand. She showed us visible tiny silver deposits on the outside of rocks, and of course the miners would’ve seen this too, only urging them on.

    Most of the mining hardly made a dent in the surface, but a number of them went as far as 600-900 feet, and almost all have been closed off by filling them in by the NPS, so you’d never know at a casual glance that anything occurred.

    It was all for naught the rush in Mineral King, as yes Virginia there was silver there, but it was what was termed ‘rebellious ore’ in that it couldn’t be separated from lead in the refining process, as in useless.

    An interesting article on the lay of the land:

    Magmatic lulls in the Sierra Nevada captured in zircon from rhyolite of the Mineral King pendant, California

  15. xkeyscored

    AP hyphen outrage continues with guidance update Columbia Journalism Review
    The changes “made us question our faith. Institutions and rules are crumbling everywhere we look, and now, this too succumbs to anarchy? The AP Stylebook represents not just a set of laws about right and wrong, but the idea that something, anything, can be trustworthy and endure.”
    If only I’d known before! Fight-ing neo-Liberalism, institution-dismantling, avoiding nuclear-winter- and climate-Change-related dooms-day-scenarios; – all a matter of punc-

    1. Mark Gisleson

      A maddening debate as those in charge of it keep missing the most obvious criteria: WHO ARE YOU WRITING FOR? If you write for experts in the field, hyphens are probably not critical. Writing for a general audience, they’re much more important.

      Every marketing pro knows this. I always find it strange that journalists never think in terms of who they are writing for. (Or, more likely, they write for their editors and publisher, not their readers)

    2. rd

      Punctuation is important. A comma is the reason that the first four words of the Second Amendment can be made irrelevant.

    1. dearieme

      But the fellow who shot his SIL was in his own back garden, wasn’t he? Whereas the murderous cop had invaded someone else’s apartment.

      By the way, what’s all this about a key witness being murdered? A Jack Ruby moment?

      1. pasha

        and the other key prosecution witness has been forced out of her pharmacy job because of all the trolling the employer received, made her “too controversial”

  16. s.n.

    An Actual Conspiracy Kept Jeffrey Epstein’s Accomplices out of Prison
    With four little words, the government granted immunity to Epstein’s co-conspirators. Why?

    But not limited to: It was just a four-word phrase, a bit of plain contractual verbiage, but even now, more than a decade later, Spencer Kuvin has a hard time expressing just how bizarre it was. “It’s incredibly odd language,” said Kuvin, an attorney in Florida. “I’ve never seen it before in a non-prosecution agreement.” Kuvin and I were talking about the infamous and inexplicable 2007 plea deal offered by then–US Attorney Alexander Acosta, last seen slinking out of the Labor Department’s back door. Kuvin had represented three of Epstein’s victims at the time of the agreement, and Kuvin is still exercised about the deal, in particular its brief immunity clause that continues to protect Epstein’s co-conspirators….

  17. Livius Drusus

    Re: Reaganism Must Be Defeated Once and for All

    I think Reaganism is already declining. Trump and other right-wing populists represent a different kind of politics, one rooted in the division between declining peripheries and cosmopolitan but highly unequal urban cores. Reagan’s brand of conservatism combined religious conservatism, economic neoliberalism and a muscular foreign policy abroad. This was called “Fusionism” because it combined a number of conservative ideologies that did not always agree with each other but were fused into a kind of political dog’s breakfast in order to create an electoral coalition for the GOP. Fusionism is not as popular with the Republican base as it once was.

    The Republican base is becoming increasingly working-class in character. These voters are less likely to support neoliberalism, they care less about culture war issues like abortion and LGBT rights (Trump’s core Christian voters were actually less likely to regularly attend church services and generally were not strongly attached to institutional Christianity) and some of them are skeptical about foreign adventurism.

    Trumpism is probably the future of the political right, not Reaganism. The future right will probably put less emphasis on traditional culture war issues and will practice some form of protectionism in alliance with domestic producers while maintaining a generally anti-union labor policy in order to keep labor costs low for domestic producers. The Trumpian right will claim to protect the national working-class against foreign competition abroad and the cosmopolitan left at home.

    On the identity front, Trump currently represents the white working-class but in the future a new form of Trumpism might expand to include more Hispanics and others who might eventually merge into the white majority as older groups like the Irish, Italians and Poles once did. African-Americans will probably remain the great American “other” due to the legacy of slavery. This is why people should be skeptical of claims that the Republican Party is doomed because of demographics. People forget that the “white” category can expand to include many people who are not currently considered part of the white majority. It has in the past and could easily do so again.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      i can definitely see the teaparty going that way.
      but where does the “establishment” gop fit in? the long term corporate watercarriers?
      the only repubs i know who still care what the gop elite think are wealthy(+-) older people heavily invested in the grand old party. most others(including repub leaning, near-apoliticals) despise the mitches and boehnerts and paul ryans of the world almost as much as they hate chuck and nancy.
      this is both way out here(where i have a better, more comprehensive view through the microscope), and in san antone(where my scrutiny is necessarily more happenstance)
      i think the hostility to the elite/aristocracy/10% is more widespread than maybe the punditry want to acknowledge, lest they give it more concrete form.

      1. Livius Drusus

        I think the establishment/country club Republicans will still exist they will just have to give concessions to the working-class base. I think this is already happening. A lot of Republicans probably disagree with Trump on trade and immigration but they are willing to put up with his policies in exchange for things like pro-corporate, anti-union judicial appointments.

        I agree that most people dislike the elite. American institutions in general are not highly regarded. I think the military is the only institution that consistently gets positive ratings from the public. What a lot of people miss when they talk about political polarization is that many people are essentially voting for a “least bad” option. So if somebody decides that the Republicans are the lesser of two evils and votes accordingly it looks like they are consistent partisans even if they disagree with the Republicans on a number of issues. The same is true for the Democrats.

        Most people are not heavily engaged in politics to begin with so I think that is why many people don’t seem to care about what the party leaders think. There is a large mass of independent or even apolitical people out there and I think partisans generally tend to overestimate how political the average person is because they themselves are heavy into politics. I basically agree with Morris Fiorina on the partisanship issue.

        1. Oregoncharles

          “Independents” (neither Dem nor Rep) are 44%, a very solid plurality. However, most of them do not yet vote that way, convinced by the “2-Party System,” “Lesser-Evil” propaganda. I really wonder what will break tthe spell – but I think (hope) something will.

    2. urblintz

      There is some good history in Hartmann’s essay but, as usual, his partisanship requires him to forego entirely any mention of the Democrats and in one measure his history is seriously wrong. Whatever good Jimmy Carter did as president (and decidedly moreso after) he was the fist neo-liberal POTUS and the first too break the unions, before Reagan. Also note that Hartmann stops at Reagan and Thatcher and says “that’s why we’re where we’re at” eliding completely the fact that Bill Clinton took Reaganism, repackaged it for love-me-I’m-a-liberal types (as defined by Phil Ochs) and called it the third way, which became Rubinomics. Like Reaganism, it trickled on not down.

      …and don’t get me started on Obama’s once-in-a-lifetime missed opportunity to bring some justice to the crime and “concrete material benefits” to the people.

      But according to Hartmann neo-liberalism is a GOP affair. I guess he doesn’t know it was Reagan who first brought Larry Summers into the White House.

    3. skippy

      I think political parties are secondary to the advent of the – economic school of dominance – during the said period, gravity well that draws both parties to the same spot – insipid funding Möbius strip aside.

      Its what the numerators underpinnings command.

      Lastly before I set off to another Qld’er project … what might be quite granular in scholastic settings is far more random in the field.

    4. ObjectiveFunction

      Great comment, and nicely written, cheers.

      This erstwhile Young Reaganite would note that most of the appeal of Saint Ron to the younger bourgeoisie was a simple ‘rolleyes’ reaction to the post-Vietnam malaise / Amerika-is-a-whorehouse wailing and nagging by our hypocritical elites, aka “limousine liberals”. Plus ca change.

      And let’s face it, the New Deal consensus was visibly fraying, for reasons we didn’t truly grasp at the time. But the Kennedy era advocates for Big Gov had lost credibility across the board. Meanwhile, our young left friends were frothing away over faraway concerns like nuclear freeze, apartheid and El Salvador that simply weren’t going to get much play in Peoria.

      But really, little more thought went into it than us deciding Sergeant Slaughter was one of the WWF good guys. Ron was cool simply because the whiny-know-it-all libs hated him and he plain out refused to kowtow to their hysterics (sound familiar?). He was Dad, gently reminding Mom to get a grip (and fetch him another turkey pot pie).

      Meanwhile, the Repubs (and Thatcherites) got busy dismantling the social contract that white flight, on demand consumption and car culture hadn’t already eaten away, clearing the way for union busting, rightsizing and that giant sucking sound of Globalization Inc.

  18. Krystyn Walentka

    RE “Scavenger of eternal truths”;

    My mother (a Born Again Christian who had Bipolar Disorder) wrote to Norman Mailer after she read “The Big Empty”, criticizing some of the essays. He was so impressed by her take on that they became pen pals. He eventually sent her the manuscript of “On God” for her to review, which she did and wrote copious notes in the margins and sent it back to him.

    She said he was a troubled man.

    I think he had Bipolar Disorder.

  19. Oguk

    Not really about autonomous vehicles, but vehicles in general: Cars Are Death Machines. Self-Driving Tech Won’t Change That. NYT
    “Among the safety measures proposed by car companies are encouraging pedestrians and bicyclists to use R.F.I.D. tags, which emit signals that cars can detect. This means it’s becoming the pedestrian’s responsibility to avoid getting hit. But if keeping people safe means putting the responsibility on them (or worse, criminalizing walking and biking), we need to think twice about the technology we’re developing.”

    1. ambrit

      Oh my. A Trojan Horse if I ever saw one. Those RFD chips will locate you for anyone with access to the monitoring network. Another layer in the Electronic Panopticon. This layer being literally “up close and personal.”

  20. Summer

    And away we go again….


    “On the lower end of the income scale, for instance, there’s a Sheboygan, Wis., family of four, including two toddlers. The parents earn $4,000 a month after taxes from both a part-time retail job and a line cook gig, neither of which offers paid time off or health insurance. ..”

    $4,000 Net from a part time retail job and line cook job????

    There’s more that doesn’t add up in these sample “budgets”…but really???
    “But they’ve got more left over at the end of the month than the San Francisco couple with an infant daughter who earn more than twice as much. Amanda Rodriguez and David Allen take home $9,675 a month….”

    Something seems really off about what economists or surveyors think Americans on the lower income scale are being paid…

    1. ambrit

      Agreed. I would have jumped for joy to bring home a grand a week. We could have lived quite well on that. Plus, this is after taxes! I never made that before taxes!
      This sort of economic “explanatory” exercise seems to fall into the “first, assume a can opener” category.
      Of interest, as the other post this morning mentioned, is the lack of granularity in ‘moderne’ economic ‘explanations.’ Different regions have different costs of living. Here Down South, air conditioning is a major cost, but can be done without if needed. Up North, I would think that the cost of heating during the winter can not be done without. (Northrons correct me here if I stray too far off the beaten path.) So, where you live makes a difference in the cost of living. Is a grand a week the “Big Time” up in Wisconsin, or is it bottom of the barrel?

      1. Jen

        Heating can be done without up North as long as you as you’re also willing to do without indoor plumbing. Frozen pipes are no fun, and even less so if they burst. Of course you might not realize that you have a burst pipe until it thaws out.

      2. inode_buddha

        Can’t say for Wisconsin, but a Grand a week is doing OK in Buffalo. Not working class, that’s for sure, grand a week is more like lower/middle class around here.

        The point about heat in the winter very much applies here: February is often -20, and the heat bill for the month can be 2x the rent or house payment.

        I would be thrilled to take a grand a week, it would be life-changing.

    2. bob

      All but the WI family, if they exist, send a lot of their budget to savings, be it 401k or other. That’s not a “cost”.

      They always hide similar things, and then assume the lessors don’t need stuff like that. Life insurance? Retirement? No way!

      It’s just so hard to make it on 350k, and private school

    3. Mark Gisleson

      So glad to know that in the dozen years since I stopped writing resumes (and since leaving Wisconsin three years ago) pay has radically improved for retail clerks and line cooks who usually only make minimum wage ($7.25 an hour in Wisconsin or $145/week GROSS for half-time ($7540/year)).

      Let them lie. These are the very lies that will rise up and bite them on the ass next year when votes start to be counted. Average people know better, only the overpaid suits buy into this BS.

  21. Romancing The Loan

    An interesting piece in (why??) Town and Country magazine on how some of the 1%ers kids have their fingers in the wind. They say they don’t think revolution would have a hope in hell, but I think a definite fear of populist violence underpinning their (probably quite sincere) guilt and desire to help comes through.

    Meet the Rich Kids Who Want to Give Away All Their Money

  22. Jason Boxman

    Reading the Taibbi article, it’s worth noting the subtext that, if you mess with the national security state, it will destroy you personally. So in this country, we don’t exactly assassinate political and moral dissenters, but we inflict the next best thing: financial ruin and social isolation. (And I remember watching The Insider, and it’s quite clear that using the legal system, corporate whistler blowers are dealt with similarly in the court system.)

    Conformity. TINA.

    1. dearieme

      Until I witnessed the attempted FBI coup that is Russiagate I had taken Watergate at face value. Now I suspect it could have been an FBI coup against Nixon. And I wonder whether the people who think JFK’s assassination was a CIA coup are quite as mad as I had assumed them to be.

      Recently I saw someone argue that the orchestrated bad press that Jimmy Carter got was similarly a product of the Swamp, hoping to limit him to one term.

      Anyway, what’s the betting on Ukrainegate succeeding? Will the CIA succeed where the FBI failed? It’s so exciting!

      1. Romancing The Loan

        Family of Secrets by Russ Baker is a fascinating, if rambling, read on the FBI coup against Nixon theory.

        Ukrainegate may succeed in getting Trump such a lead in the polls that the Intelligence Community decides to shoot him. They would be smartest to wait to do so, imo, after he has already been sworn in for a second term.

  23. Summer
    Shares of General Electric Co. GE, +0.06% surged 2.6% in premarket trading Monday, after the industrial conglomerate said it was freezing the U.S. pension plan for about 20,000 employees with salaried benefits, and supplementary pension benefits for 700 employees. GE said there would be no change for retirees already collecting pension benefits; the pension plan has been closed to new entrants since 2012.

    See the corps are taking this seriously:


  24. Summer

    RE: Michael Moore UserFriendly: “now I really want to see it.”

    Some of the more “hair on fire” reviews did misrepresent it.

    Saw it this weekend. Heard a young, black girl (late teens, early twenties) saying she wanted a Joker tatoo.

  25. David Carl Grimes

    What is socially acceptable corruption? When your side does it.

    “Hunter Biden’s Perfectly Legal, Socially Acceptable Corruption”
    Donald Trump committed an impeachable offense, but prominent Americans also shouldn’t be leveraging their names for payoffs from shady clients abroad.

    1. Jesper

      It is quite funny to see the defense of the perceived corruption:
      We didn’t make it illegal to do what was done and to this day continues to be done so please ignore the actions as we decided that what we do shouldn’t be illegal and only illegal actions are to be cared about. And vote for us as our morals are the best (that money can buy)!

  26. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Haitian protests

    I read the news pretty closely and hadn;’t heard anything about this at all until seeing it on Lee Camp’s Redacted Tonight show recently- clearly if citizens are trying to protest their US-backed government, the US media pretends it isn’t happening.

    Thank you for covering it too.

    Bernie or Bust.

  27. Oregoncharles

    Thank you for “Turning Over.” I listen to music but don’t play, so this insight into the esoterica of the field, and the personal dynamics, was especially enjoyable. It answers a question I hadn’t thought to ask. It’s also a good example of the value of having a third person doing Links; I don’t think either Yves or Lambert would come up with this one – at least, I haven’t seen its like before. It’s a sort of written Antidote.

    1. notabanktoadie

      If National security jobs are not secure then what jobs are?

      Hence the need for an income that is an inherent right of citizenship such as a Citizen’s Dividend to replace all fiat creation beyond that created by deficit spending.

      Also the need for anti-rentier legislation such as a new Homestead Act (“Vote yourself a farm!”, which you’ve mentioned before, Lambert) to give LAND, not a pitiful guaranteed (?) job to every citizen who is lacking.

      1. tegnost

        Basic income such as the citizens dividend are socialism for landlords. I wonder if one in america could go through the day without interacting with someone who is working. When I need materials I get them from a group of people who are working, from the order to the delivery. When I go out to eat I order from someone who is working. The idea that work is pitiful is in itself a pitiful expression of the state of the community. An example of what I consider pitiful…Working for the post office is not a pitiful job, reasonable hours and benefits, at least those that have not been eviscerated yet. Delivering for Amazon is pitiful, low wage precarious work and all you’re doing is making bezos richer.

        1. notabanktoadie

          Basic income such as the citizens dividend … tegnost

          A Citizen’s Dividend (CD) is not a Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) nor a Universal Basic Income (UBI) but simply the replacement of all fiat creation for private interests such as for the banks and for the rich with equal fiat distributions to all citizens. Its explicit purpose is to counter price deflation and thus a CD is non-inflationary by nature.

          … are socialism for landlords. ibid

          Which is why we need a new Homestead Act and/or other anti-rentier legislation so that all citizens may OWN a place to live and not have to pay rent.

          The idea that work is pitiful is in itself a pitiful expression of the state of the community. ibid

          Please don’t put words in my mouth. I said “a pitiful guaranteed (?) job” and indeed a JG is pitiful compared to reform that would change monetary policy from a focus on the welfare of depository institutions to a focus on the welfare of citizens AND compared to a new Homestead Act whereby all citizens might own land to live and work on.

  28. Oregoncharles

    “Decades-Old Code Is Putting Millions of Critical Devices at Risk”
    Including critical medical equipment.

    Shades of the Y2K bug – which was a real bug that cost probably billions to fix – or jury-rig.

    The back story of this one is alarming. How much of that went on, with companies being acquired & their software orphaned?

  29. KFritz

    Memo to Colin Powell

    General, sir, you needed to get a grip and refuse to pimp for the Cheney-Bush presidency in front of the press and at the United Nations.

    It would also be a good idea to study history and to note that no Republican president since 1968 has been eleccted without the support of the Lunatic Right, which includes many who don’t consider you a “real American,” on account of your skin color.

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