Links 10/8/19

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Twenty New Moons Found Orbiting Saturn Carnegie Science. Beating Jupiter by three.

The Dark Side of Light The Atlantic

Everything Is Private Equity Now Bloomberg

High finance is wrecking the economy and the planet—but it won’t reform itself Ann Pettifor, Prospect

Cash and the Economy: Evidence from India’s Demonetization (PDF) Gabriel Chodorow-Reich, Gita Gopinath, Prachi Mishra, and Abhinav Narayanan. “Our analysis rejects money non-neutrality using a large scale natural experiment, something that is yet rare in the vast literature on the effects of monetary policy.”

Cryptodamages: Monetary value estimates of the air pollution and human health impacts of cryptocurrency mining Energy Research & Social Science

Brexit

How Number 10 view the state of the negotiations The Spectator. A note direct from Number 10. Most interesting.

UK to publish no-deal plans as gloom surrounds Brexit talks AP

Brexit negotiations could end this week – Number 10 source RTE

EU slams Boris Johnson’s ‘untried, revocable’ Brexit plan Deutsche Welle

Brexit: confusion EU Referendum

It’s Boris Johnson’s India or Jeremy Corbyn — there is no third way FT

Portugal election result cements modest gains for Europe’s centre-left Guardian

Syraqistan

Iraq is in Revolt Patrick Cockburn, Counterpunch. Never a good sign:

Trump knocks ‘ridiculous Endless Wars’ amid US troop pullout from Syria The Hill

A guide to Donald Trump’s change of policy on Syria FT

Stay Radical or Get Pragmatic? AMLO’s Party Has to Decide Bloomberg

Ecuador’s Petroamazonas suspends operations at three oilfields amid protests Reuters

India

Kashmir conflict: Woes deepen as lockdown stifles economy BBC but India to lift travel advisory on Kashmir two months after crackdown Reuters

Failure of Indian co-operative bank stokes fear of ripple effects FT

New weapons and the new tactics which they make possible: three examples The Saker

China?

Hong Kong riot police storm Ma On Shan mall to make arrest, as multi-district protests, vandalism continue to fizzle Hong Kong Free Press

A battle for the soul of the city: why violence has spiralled in the Hong Kong protests Guardian

Hong Kong’s Lam doesn’t rule out seeking Beijing help to stem unrest Nikkei Asian Review

“National Calamity Hardware”:

Cartoon Girl Goes for $25 Million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Auction Bloomberg. Business as usual…

How Joe Biden Empowered China’s Censorship of the NBA Matt Stoller, BIG

Blitzchung removed from Hearthstone Grandmasters for ‘liberate Hong Kong’ comments PC Gamer

* * *

Chinese Cut Back on Travel Over the Golden Week Holiday Bloomberg

Did China Just Announce the End of U.S. Primacy in the Pacific? Scott Ritter, The American Conservative

Assessing Trump’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, 2 Years In The Diplomat

Plastic waste searches for a new home as Asia shuts its gates Nikkei Asian Review

New Cold War

We’re More at Risk of Nuclear War With Russia Than We Think Politico

Russia Facing the Challenges of Eurasian Regionalization Valdai Discussion Club

Impeachment

House Democrats consider masking identity of whistleblower from Trump’s GOP allies in Congress WaPo. Anonymous sources from the intelligence community for an impeachment inquiry. Shaking my head.

Seeking Ukraine Aid Records, House Subpoenas White House Budget Office and Pentagon NYT

White House to battle impeachment by stalling, attacking AP. Film at 11.

If Mike Pence Becomes President the Neocons Will Stage a Comeback The National Interest

A Missing Professor, a School for Spies and a Quest to Discredit Mueller Probe Bloomberg. “Yeah, remember when that Mifsud dude was interviewed in… Interviewed in….”

Trump Transition

HHS and its union ordered to redo contract negotiations Federal Times. “[A] third-party arbiter ruled that the agency had bargained in bad faith.”

Health Care

The Huge Waste in the U.S. Health System NYT (Re Silc) (original). “A new study, published Monday in JAMA, finds that roughly 20 percent to 25 percent of American health care spending is wasteful. It’s a startling number but not a new finding. What is surprising is how little we know about how to prevent it.”

How Private Equity Makes You Sicker Eileen Appelbaum, The American Prospect

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

The Black Cube Chronicles: The Private Investigators The New Yorker

Class Warfare

How GM Pits Younger Workers Against Older Workers Payday Report

Why Some Americans Won’t Move, Even for a Higher Salary CityLab (Re Silc). From March, still germane. Wait, what? You mean we’re not always talking price?

White Voice n+1. Telemarketing.

But is it science? Aeon

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

219 comments

  1. Henry Moon Pie

    Aeon article re: multiverse discussions–

    Yet history tells us quite unequivocally that science works. It progresses. We know (and we think we understand) more about the nature of the physical world than we did yesterday; we know more than we did a decade, or a century, or a millennium ago. The progress of science is the reason we have smartphones, when the philosophers of Ancient Greece did not.”

    Really? The “progess of science” is the reason we have anthropocentric climate disruption. The “progress of science” is why we have lived under the threat of annihilation from nuclear and biological warfare for 75 years. The “progress of science” is why industrial agriculture is destroying our soil, poisoning our water and killing off our pollinators. Etc. How does having a smartphone compare to those impacts?

    Science and the Enlightenment have brought with them an attitude that humans have the right and the ability to “master” Nature, to bend it to our will and make it give us what we want. The results have been very mixed with the downsides and blowback now rolling in.

    Can science take another, more humble approach that would make it less destructive? Is it possible to acquire knowledge without the attendant hubris? I hope so. The first step is to quit pretending that “science” is something good in and of itself.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      The first step is to quit pretending that “science” is something good in and of itself

      Fair enough but let’s also not pretend that “science” is something bad in and of itself. Science has no agency.

      As some of us have been saying–broken record like–around here the problem is human nature, not science. To take an “ignorance was bliss” stance is not only an impossible water under the bridge proposition, but it also glosses over the fact that ignorance was not bliss, what with rampant diseases, famines and other human miseries. We have an overcrowded world because it seemed like a good thing to keep our children from dying of disease or starvation. And we have disastrous weapons because we can’t seem to tame our competitive, tribal nature. It could be time to focus more of that science on erratic humans.

      Reply
        1. Carolinian

          Or at least smarter and more self aware. The “human nature” problem–which conservatives believe in (with convenient fatalism) and liberals often don’t–is a puzzlement.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Actually, in evolutionary terms, I can see an advantage to a “Dysfunction Function.” Maximizing divergence supplies more ‘varities’ from which to ‘chose’ survivors.
            It’s all good.

            Reply
              1. Procopius

                Can’t remember where I read it, probably Gregory Bateson, but, “The unit of evolution is the species, not the individual.”

                Reply
          2. Robert Valiant

            Or at least smarter and more self aware.

            You might even be able to do that with education — provided, of course, that the capitalists are willing to tolerate less credulous consumers. I also suspect attempts at this might be drowned out by advertising and other forms of marketing.

            Yes — we better get out the gene editor. Human nature is sure a vexing problem.

            Reply
            1. Carolinian

              Editing the next generation isn’t going to do much good when all the people with real power seem to be over 80. We may not last until the next generation.

              Reply
          1. Steve H.

            Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, ten, they’ll swing back to the belief that they can make people…better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave.

            Reply
      1. Krystyn Walentka

        “Science has no agency.”

        I do not know if we can strip agency from “science”. Basically, science is knowledge, and knowledge does not exist outside of human consciousness. And our future knowledge depends on out past knowledge, so that implies some direction, a force of motion. I see technology as a sort of river of human thought, and rivers have agency. So yeah, science has the agency of the whole of humanity.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Is ‘1 + 1 = 2’ valid independent of humans?

          Does the universe exist because we observe? Is it anthropic? Can robots in a world without humans practice science?

          When humans are long gone, and ony Martians are around, can there still be science?

          Reply
        2. Lost in OR

          Does the science advanced by a scientist or science department that was bought and paid for by Monsanto (or the Koch brothers or Phillip Morris or the honorable Epstein or ….) lack agency?

          “But isn’t science in any case about what is right and true?” Down the rabbit hole we go.

          Reply
          1. skippy

            Never understood the propensity to conflate the application of scientific discovery – through engineering – as a means for moral judgment of the prior.

            Science-Mart by Philip Mirowski along with some old Adam Curtis strongly suggests what ever ails us has nothing to do with Royal Science.

            Personally I find the concept of ownership and its paradigm in a confrontational framework [mercenary capitalism] more core to the agency some decry.

            Don’t know what platonic methodology – atomistic individualism within a market place has to do with royal science.

            Reply
            1. Lost in OR

              I’m not sure what all those words and word combinations mean, but I don’t think we’re that far apart.

              In a perfect world, in some ivory tower with independent funding and independent scientists, royal science may exist. It’s a nice concept. In a Science-Mart world, with grant-dependent science and mercenary capitalism, I’m seeing mercenary science. And somehow, I’m feeling like I’m in the crosshairs.

              Science and Technology (aka progress) has become somewhat akin to ads for medicinal cures on tv. The contra indications are as potent as the cure.

              Reply
              1. Lost in OR

                And perhaps we can wrap our rational mind around this. Perhaps, just perhaps, Science does not have all the answers. Or could “progress” require more than the application of science and technology?

                “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Albert Einstein.

                Reply
            2. skippy

              What people do with science is engineering, bemoan the the agency and not the science.

              “Science and Technology (aka progress)”

              I disagree that progress is synonymous with Science and Technology – see above with a side of popular science Bernays sauce for profit.

              Reply
    2. Amfortas the hippie

      frankfurt school folks figured, sadly(if not morosely), that the Enlightenment, and the hubris that seems to accompany it, led to the nazis and stalin…instrumentalism…humans as interchangeable parts, a la eli whitney. From within those ideological frameworks, extermination and hyperconformity seemed perfectly Rational.
      habermas’s answer to his colleagues’ apprehension of the ultimate failure of the Enlightenment was that what we need is “More Enlightenment”.
      I agree with this….the Cartesian subject/object distinction(or Bacon, or…)…separating humans from Nature, as if we could get outside of it…above it…is the root of this problem.
      I also lay considerable blame at the Analytic Tradition’s intolerance of Metaphysics…attempting to quantify everything, and discounting out of hand all that stuff that doesn’t lend itself to quantification(like love…of others, or of Place)(see: Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy)
      we’ve allowed this separate from nature, hyper-rational antihumanism to become the operating system of our now global civilisation…distracted by the latest handy device and the latest spectacle and the artificial divisions pumped out by that tiny coterie who requires our distracted assent.
      none of this is written into the fabric of realty…it’s a choice, even if it doesn’t seem like it most of the time, because the Machine has convinced us that it’s real and inevitable….a dictate from god, or written into the foundations of the universe, like gravity or the strong force.
      the word “Heretic” means “choice maker”….and that’s where our maybe final resistance begins…in choosing not to accept that view as Natural, or foundational, or inevitable.
      real resistance means not taking the bosses word for it, and finding out for yourself….what matters, who your neighbors are, and if there might be a better way to live in this world.

      Reply
      1. Steve H.

        NASA: It turns out that roughly 68% of the universe is dark energy. Dark matter makes up about 27%. The rest – everything on Earth, everything ever observed with all of our instruments, all normal matter – adds up to less than 5% of the universe.

        ‘Fiction’: Jews, Christians, Buddhists, every religion guessed about 5%, except for Doug Forcett.

        Amfortas, the question becomes, how do we behave in a universe where everything we know is within only 5% of what is? Bayesian priors become so limited, and we can’t even guesstimate outcomes in a universe with five dimensions.

        Matthew: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

        Since God is considered to love you, the subject and the object becomes indistinguishable, but just because you love your neighbor don’t mean they love you back.

        Kahnemann: we are statistically punished for rewarding others and rewarded for punishing them.

        But only positive reinforcers can shape behavior, as punishment produces paradoxical results.

        The nearest I get, it becomes an act of will to love, despite being sometimes punished for it. The *should* becomes love, the only agency with a positive outcome in a universe set up to be unknowable and paradoxical.

        I’m working on it, but my vessel seems small in such a vast sea…

        Reply
        1. Lord Koos

          “…how do we behave in a universe where everything we know is within only 5% of what is?”

          With humility?

          Reply
        2. Plenue

          What do this religious gibberish and the emotional state of love have to do with the gravitational pull of undetected matter?

          Reply
        3. Rex

          Amfortas, the question becomes, how do we behave in a universe where everything we know is within only 5% of what is?

          You’re a material speck astride an indifferent rock. You inhabit a miniscule niche within a vast universe and your powers, both of apprehension as well as action, are correspondingly miniscule. Conduct yourself within this minimal scope to maximize the thriving of life while minimizing suffering and everything will be allright.

          Reply
      2. lyman alpha blob

        To your point and that of the Aeon article, I really enjoyed this book by Richard Muller – NOW: The Physics of Time.

        Muller was a climate change denier until he did his own experiments and concluded he had been wrong. His book doesn’t really lend any great new insights into the theory of time – I’ve read others that do a much better job – but he does discuss the limitations of science a good deal and readily admits that there are just some questions that science is not fit to answer.

        He comes across as a very humble scientist – you don’t find many who will admit they are wrong anything.

        Reply
      3. Henry Moon Pie

        “separating humans from Nature, as if we could get outside of it…above it…is the root of this problem.”

        Yes! Or to put it a different way, what if the aim of Science were to understand how humans fit into this world rather than how to master Nature? The former approach is consonant with humility; success in the latter produces hubris.

        Reply
      1. Tim

        Applied Science is Engineering.

        So are we blaming science or engineering? Science is observation, although there is choice in what we bother to observe. Engineering is action and therefore is nothing without human choice.

        Engineering doesn’t happen without money, money doesn’t happen without giving giving doesn’t happen without an expected ROI from the giver, so I chose to blame the givers, not Engineering and not Science.

        Reply
    3. Xquacy

      This is borderline trolling.

      The argument does not concern the moral implications of scientific progress, but the determination of whether science makes claims that really approximate to truth. Ergo does progress of science = greater understanding of nature. The “smartphone” is doing the work of proof of progress. If we really weren’t getting anywhere, how comes we can make this mini talking devices now and 2000 year earlier we couldn’t?

      Admittedly though, the argument is pretty thin skinned. Its a characteristically modern fixation – and mainly technologistic and economistic fixation – to associate progress with, what we might in a Russellian (Bertrand) sort of way call the improvement in the ability to “alter the position of matter.” It is also a kind of easy, quotidian way of remarking on the ability of science to do something that “other methods,” don’t as a kind of comparative power argument. But conceptually, progress in epistemic pursuits is really viewed differently. Here is an example from a philosophically inclined, Nobel winning Physicist that hinges progress on explanations : https://ned.ipac.caltech.edu/level5/Sept06/Weinberg/Weinberg.html

      Reply
      1. @ape

        Let’s put it nakedly — the progress of the “move matter” kind is the ability to fight and win wars better and better. And that’s the problem with the enlightenment — functionally, it’s about winning wars (the “etic” part), even if the covering ideology is peace, love and justice (the “emic” part). Even Marxism boils down to “you gotta have the working class on-side if you’re going to win fights”.

        But there are other kinds of progress besides that.

        Reply
        1. Plenue

          >Even Marxism boils down to “you gotta have the working class on-side if you’re going to win fights”.

          Pretty sure it actually boils down to “we wouldn’t have capitalist-imperialist wars if the working class was in charge”.

          Reply
          1. @ape

            Pretty sure that you’re right that that’s the ideology, but in practice, real practicing politicians who have the real capacity to run countries are Marxists because it should help them beat their opponents and win wars.

            And that’s what we found in practice with real Marxist states, and not theoretical ones.

            So I’m just disagreeing with what your “actually” means. Apply Marx to Marxism.

            Reply
      2. Stadist

        Sure, there has been progress, because the average freedom to act has increased. Meanwhile the same progress seems to have led humanity to unsustainable trajectory. Real success of the species if measured on far longer timescales than normal human lifespan, and current trajectories don’t spell good fortunes for the current civilization that came about through the progress. Also this current progress is literal blink of an eye so far, achieved within last 2000 years, and even most of this progress came about within last 200 years. But human mind seems adept at coming up with purpose and especially justification for itself. Many serious people have already suggested that we need to cut our losses with the climate change and concentrate on mitigation instead of prevention, probably all in the name of the sustaining this apparent progress for a little longer for more select group of people. Is it progress, that those who have most enjoyed this progress are sacrificing many others in the name of the same progress?

        Funnily enough, what many today call progress, many others call major failure because of the climate trajectories. Maybe the progress is inherent and absolute and it’s the human factor that failed the progress. Then again we can make a claim that technology and progress aren’t undeniable absolutes, but are indeed deeply intertwined with the industrial society and civilization of today. The same civilization that created the progress also becomes undone by the progress, threatening even the livelihood of whole species, so isn’t it the progress and civilization together that are destroying themselves and greatly looking to damage the whole biosphere?

        I would say progress is just a poor justification for our own selfish lives and behaviour, with little true and inherent value. We consume and polute because we can, that’s the justification, thanks to the progress. But in [climate] reality we can’t consume and polute the amounts we do, so where is the true and inherent value of the progress? So progress is just an excuse to justify ourselves and our privileges at a great cost to others.

        Sorry, I think this came out far too meandering, but I felt like this was something I needed to write.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          Freedom to act is a useful metric? Wars of choice, drunk driving, pedophilia, letting your dog crap on your neighbor’s lawn? CRSP-R? Drone swarms?

          Reply
        2. Harold

          Whenever ‘The Idea of Progress’ is brought up I always turn to the book by J.B. Bury of that title (1920) which years ago I read at someone’s suggestion. Anyway, I found this prescient quote:

          As time is the very condition of the possibility of Progress, it is obvious that the idea would be valueless if there were any cogent reasons for supposing that the time at the disposal of humanity is likely to reach a limit in the near future. If there were good cause for believing that the earth would be uninhabitable in A.D. 2000 or 2100 the doctrine of Progress would lose its meaning and would automatically disappear.

          https://templeofearth.com/books/theideaofprogress.pdf

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Conflating “progress” and “meaning” IMO. That we have progressed our understanding is hard to argue against: the ability to walk on the moon, split the atom, or communicate with someone on the other side of the planet are just examples.

            With regards to “meaning” however, it is tempting and comforting to hope there is some. Armed with the intellectual tools of The Enlightenment, however, I just can’t seem to locate any that meets the standard of “evidence”. Meantime, entropy increases. And that’s 100% OK with me, dissolution has always been my thing anyway. Firing neurons to construct a comforting narrative about existence and our hallowed place in it just seems like Anthropocene hubris to me.

            Reply
      3. Plenue

        For all the problems we have now, life is better today. Okay, maybe not better than it was fifty years ago, but fifty years ago was better than it was for the entirety of history (and prehistory) before that.

        I have no desire to go back to the way of life of even just two hundred years ago, to say nothing of pre-modern times. We’re already starting to get a glimpse of that kind of world with all the brain-genuises refusing to vaccinate their brats.

        Yes, there is the supreme irony that industrial civilization has set itself on the path to at minimum its own self-destruction. But I can’t believe that our choice is binary: that we can either permanently live in thatch roofed hovels, throwing our crap into the street, or briefly live in comfort before advanced civilization burns itself out.

        We can have science and inquiry, but it needs to not be driven by the desire to turn profit. It needs to be public science, dedicated to the public good, and based on an ethical foundation of ‘first do no harm’ and the precautionary principle*. We can live without (and would probably be better off without) ‘smart’phones driven by the consumer cycle, but computers and the internet are material improvements (we would not be talking here if they didn’t exist).

        Figuring out how things work (or rather, developing models of explanation that fit the available evidence) isn’t bad. But just because we can do something doesn’t automatically mean we should (nor does it automatically mean we shouldn’t; I have no patience for the reactionary “we’re meddling in the affairs of god/nature!” hysteria that tends to crop up over scientific applications). Proceed with caution, trial run experiments lasting decades if need be.

        *some people try to find an ‘objective’ morality based in evolution or other part of nature. I’m not opposed to them trying to do that, but I think any system of ethics is going to be ultimately an arbitrary opinion. We should be honest about that, and make sure it’s a good opinion that benefits the vast majority of people.

        Reply
        1. inode_buddha

          “I think any system of ethics is going to be ultimately an arbitrary opinion. We should be honest about that, and make sure it’s a good opinion that benefits the vast majority of people.”

          I know of many who argue that an opinion that benefits the vast majority of people is not inherently good.

          In particular that would be the Conservatives and Libertarians I know, who say that atomistic hyper-individualism is the way to go, and any attempt at collective action is robbing the individual of their just rewards.

          Reply
            1. inode_buddha

              Well, I care what they think, because they vote, and I’m living with the results of their (failed) ideologies, likely for the rest of my miserable life.

              Reply
    4. Boomka

      I get the feeling that you have redefined science here to mean “any activity that either all of humanity or any individual might have undertaken in the past, present or future”

      As if we didn’t have enough trouble with people redefining socialism, capitalism, democracy, etc to suit their agenda…

      Reply
    5. Summer

      I understand your point, but I didn’t get the impression the article was defending the viewpoint you highlighted, but also engaged in more of a critique of it.

      Reply
    6. Mel

      That, plus the “progress of science” is the reason we know that we have anthropogenic climate disruption. We could have just been ignorantly burning the heck out of the coal and petroleum, and being amazed at how the weather had got so hostile. In that reality we wouldn’t have an AGW problem at all.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        “Progress of Science,” does that include steam engines that in a nice circle let “us” dig more coal to fuel home fires, excavators, steamships, electric generation with its own vicious feedback loops? And what good is knowing that humans did it, and are doing it, if that does not lead to a survival (as opposed to survivalist) based change in the dead-end behavior?

        As my daughter says of so many things, “It’s all good…”

        Reply
    7. xkeyscored

      re Henry Moon Pie – “The “progess of science” is the reason we have anthropocentric climate disruption.

      I beg to disagree. Humans learned how to burn stuff a long time ago. Would you call it science when someone first found that coal burns? Since then, we’ve learned how to burn more of it, but is that science, even if science comes into it here and there?
      Science, however, enables us to understand anthropogenic climate disruption. Without science, we’d be wondering where all the recent extreme weather is coming from, maybe sacrificing children and whoever in an attempt to placate the gods. Science tells us what will happen if we continue with business as usual, and what we can do if we don’t like the trajectory we’ve put ourselves on.
      Equally, is the “progress of science” why industrial agriculture is destroying our soil, or is industrial agriculture the result of class interests using science (and violence) to further their aims? Again, science is – belatedly! – telling us about the importance of soil fungi etc. Will we listen, or degrade what’s left of our soils? More a political and social than a scientific question, I think.

      Reply
    8. anon in so cal

      What about math?

      “Is math racist? New course outlines prompt conversations about identity, race in Seattle classrooms”

      https://www.seattletimes.com/education-lab/new-course-outlines-prompt-conversations-about-identity-race-in-seattle-classrooms-even-in-math/

      “CSU Board of Trustees: Faculty and Students Testify about Proposed Changes to Admissions

      September 25, 2019

      The California State University’s (CSU) Board of Trustees two-day meeting kicked off yesterday with several important issues scheduled for discussion.

      Arguably the most significant matter up for debate on Tuesday was the trustees’ proposal to require incoming applicants, starting in 2026, to take an additional course in quantitative reasoning to qualify for admission to the CSU.

      Prior to the meeting, CFA released a statement opposing the proposed expansion of the quantitative reasoning admissions requirement in its current form….

      Kalani Robinson of CSULA and Tamiel Mckee Bey of SDSU, members of Students for Quality Education, also spoke out against the proposed admissions requirements. Emphasizing what many of the speakers critical of the policy reported, McKee Bey noted, “By adding the quantitative reasoning requirement, the number of students eligible for admission drops from 1 in 3….Recognize that it is not the lack of academic preparation or intelligence that carries a student into higher ed to graduation but the lack of access to systems of higher education and resources that can enhance incoming student experiences.” ”

      https://www.calfac.org/headline/csu-board-trustees-faculty-and-students-testify-about-proposed-changes-admissions?utm_campaign=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=bundle_and_blast

      “Teaching maths perpetuates white privilege, says university professor
      ‘On many levels, mathematics itself operates as Whiteness. Who gets credit for doing and developing mathematics, who is capable in mathematics, and who is seen as part of the mathematical community is generally viewed as White'”

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/teaching-maths-white-privilege-illinois-university-professor-rochelle-gutierrez-a8018521.html

      Separately, the (Ceylon?) Frogmouth antidote photo is wonderful!

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Groan! ‘White’ mathematics? Is that anything like ‘Deutsche Physik’ from the 1930s in Germany? So what should we call this new mathematics then – ‘Woke Maths’? Will it help you design buildings that are capable of standing up by themselves? Thanks for those links anon in so cal. Here is one for Deutsche Physik-

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deutsche_Physik

        Reply
        1. Off The Street

          Just when I thought peak silliness had arrived, what next? Will there ever be an Emperor’s New Clothes moment, or would that be cultural appropriation? Bartender!

          Reply
  2. Martin Oline

    Thank you for the Saker link. A great analysis for anyone who wants to understand the world situation without having to ingest the pap that the MSM serves up everyday. Your work here makes me sorry I emptied my pay pal account for Tulsi. I will have to correct that and donate some cash for your excellent work.

    Reply
    1. pasha

      saker’s article, followed by reading “we’re more at risk of nuclear war…” at politico, really scared me. i’m saving them for rereading; thanks for including them

      Reply
  3. Anonymous 2

    Brexit

    The Spectator article is as you say most interesting, Probably penned by Cummings? The question of course is any of it true or is it all just propaganda? And who is the intended audience: local or EU?

    As David said yesterday we may see some truly bizarre developments in the next three weeks.

    Reply
    1. Mirdif

      Local, always local with this mob. This is just journos repeating whatever they are told by Dom Cummings – another arts graduate thicko in over his head who believes his faeces does not smell. His sort are all over in senior management positions in this country ruining just about everything they touch but because they move in the correct circles are immune from the consequences.

      It’s a wonder some of these fools can tie their shoelaces but here we are.

      Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      It does have the tone of something I imagine Dom might say, and just as delusional. As had been observers here by David and others, London seems to have no clue as to how decision making in the EU actually works. And his reading of Varadkar is entirely wrong (apart from anything else, it’s Simon Coveney who is driving Irish Brexit policy).
      The only thing I can glean from that is that there is at least a faction within the government that is set on carrying out guerrilla war to get a no deal on the 31/10 whatever the consequences.

      Reply
    3. Boomka

      Doesn’t read much like propaganda to me – many on this blog already believed that this was the thought process in the current govt.

      Guardian has a good dissection on British attitudes towards the Irish question here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/04/peace-ireland-brexit-boris-johnson-good-friday-agreement

      They make a point that even when Good Friday Agreement was implemented, many of those who are in the current government were against it and considered it a surrender of territory. Now that violence in NI has not been seen for years, I bet they are keen on destroying GFA and reverse what they see as gradual loss of NI. As this effectively simplifies the backstop discussion into old fashioned territorial dispute, it becomes pretty obvious that the deal between EU and the current government is not possible, unless Ireland says it’s okay to put up land border there, which is has almost zero incentive to do, Benn Act or not.

      If different government was put in power in UK, with different attitude towards GFA and NI territory, then deal could be possible, and I guess that is the chance EU will have to take – grant an extension and hope for an election in UK and favorable election results, even if the odds are not good.

      Reply
    4. PlutoniumKun

      I’ll just add to my comment: whoever wrote it has one thing right about the Irish stance – there has been a lot of behind the scenes work on reviving the Irish Sea backdrop as a ‘Plan B’. But the purpose of this was to give Bojo a face saving fallback option if he decided at the last minute he really wanted a deal, other than Mays. He’d have to ditch the DUP of course but the calculation is that he could get other MPs if it was seen as giving a free break, as the ERG fanatics don’t care about NI.

      But the writer is utterly wrong about the EU/Irish hoping for another referendum, they have no illusions as to what would happen if there was one.

      Reply
      1. Mirdif

        The border will go down the Irish Sea. It’s just the minor matter of keeping the DUP on-side in case their votes are needed in the future. Had May not called an election, the border would have gone down the Irish Sea and the Withdrawal Agreement passed, but once she was beholden to their votes it was the beginning of all this wriggling.

        If some of the rumours on twitter are to believed there will be an extension but only until 30 November. The EU is planning on bringing matters to a head and will use the extra month for legislative purposes for no deal and to create pressure for the withdrawal agreement to be passed. We may yet see the DUP being chucked under the bus with Johnson going back to the Irish Sea border in this case. No deal is highly unlikely to happen. It will be the end of England, let alone the UK.

        Reply
    5. David

      The British system (like most others of course) is ethnocentric, and so it has a history of massively over-interpreting nuances. Thus, a slight divergence of language between two European leaders can be interpreted as a substantial disagreement, and the leader whose tone is ever so slightly less unfriendly is adopted as an ally and a “sensible person”. I’ve seen myself that alleged splits or changes of heart in Europe are based almost entire on wishful thinking. When you are sure you are right, you judge others by how close they are to you, and you invest those you find slightly more amenable with qualities of common sense and rationality, and see them as your allies. The British have been disappointed endlessly as a result.
      As I said, this tendency is very widespread. But in the British case it’s made much worse by an ignorance of what lies behind the idea of Europe in the first place, an unwillingness to engage with most of the non-financial side of the EU, and an almost wilful ignorance of how the system works in practice. All this leaves most British governments in a fantasy land, continually surprised and disappointed by what happens in Brussels, but never learning anything. Instead, consistent disappointments simply reinforce all their prejudices about bloody foreigners. So it may well be the case that the Spectator story genuinely reflects what the British government thinks: but that doesn’t make it any less fantastical.

      Reply
      1. vlade

        Not to mention inability to read/hear what they actually said in their own language (see Merkel’s note about “it can be done in 30 days” which was meant to be ironic, but was interpreted as “yep, it’s so easy”)

        Reply
      2. ChrisPacific

        It does provide a fair amount of detail on their strategy for thwarting the Benn act.

        I’m sure none of our commentators share Number 10’s delusion that the strategy for spinning it as a war between government and Parliament and asking the EU to pick a side will work. The EU will just fall back on the letter of the law, which says that it needs to comply with the constitutional requirements of the country in question, and say: of course we deal with the government and not Parliament, but we do it within the constitutional and legal framework of the countries concerned. There’s an issue there right now that you need to sort out first. Here’s some more time to do it. Get back to us when you have it figured out! Then the UK government can foam and rage and threaten to withhold cooperation (what cooperation?) all it wants. It will make not a ripple on the EU side, and anyone in the UK who isn’t a No Deal Brexit supporter will probably be grateful.

        Reply
    1. VK

      Some species of the asian “Batrachostomus” genus, I’d presume. Their scientific name refers to their frog-like mouths.
      They are distant relatives e.g. to the nighthawks.

      Reply
    2. xkeyscored

      A Google image search tells me “Possible related search: ceylon frogmouth.”
      Which leads me to this, and thence to this on Reddit, which appears to my untrained eye to be the very same image:
      A couple of Ceylon frogmouth
      Batrachostomus moniliger, though ‘muppet’ should definitely be in the name.

      Reply
  4. John A

    Politico and the New Cold War
    ‘Sooner or later, the unsatisfied longing for freedom will produce new leadership in Russia that will advance liberal reforms and seek cordial relations with Washington, just as Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin once did”
    Wow, just wow. It was the fruits of such ‘longing for freedom’ that resulted in the immiseration of the vast majority of the population via the Chicago Boys recipe, that ultimately led to the popularity of Putin. Nobody in Russia with any memory of the 1990s cowboy saloon that was Russia wants a repeat. These so-called Russia experts in the US, live on a completely alien planet.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      and yet, even with my folks…more or less sane, bernie in primary, Herself in general…relating that history gets you labelled a trump supporter or apologist.
      of course, the same thing has happened with the documented record of the clintons, biden, pelosi,obama and on and on and on….and the sudden about face on attitudes about the cia and fbi…
      this ahistoricity and koolaide imbibing is the scariest and most discouraging feature of our current age.
      i think trump is the democrat’s 9-11…a psychological shock that so disoriented them that the Machine was able to move in and take over their minds.

      Reply
      1. Carla

        Oh, I dunno, Amfortas. I think Ralph Nader would agree with me that their minds were taken over quite a long time ago…

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          they went from watching amy goodman every day, and then even criticising obama for bank bailouts and not ending the wars,not prosecuting torture, etc., and…again…being vocal bernie people in their respective very teabilly circles(no small thing)…to TDS, and seeing cia intervention in the domestic political system as necessary and even good.
          they want biden, because bernie is too old,lol.
          i think maddow and the rest of msnbc has a lot to do with it…that lot turned on a dime after bush2 left…and went all in(tm) against trump and for woke centrism.
          too, the abandonment of thinking for themselves in this manner is analogous to my grandmother turning from lifelong new dealism to teabilly moron, because the only channel she could get was the local fox affiliate,lol.(and when this phenomenon was a meme in lib/prog-land, mom would lament the abandonment of thought etc in her mother)
          i guess what bothers me most about my mom is that i got my question authority! bone from her.
          that such strong willed, hard headed antiauthoritarian people can suddenly change their lenses so utterly is a worrisome development.
          maybe this is just how what we used to call “senility” presents, today.
          so, more leafy greens, and avoid aluminum cookware?
          or just maintain a fundamentally distrustful stance towards talking heads and authority figures….

          Reply
    2. JohnnyGL

      Politico and the New Cold War
      ‘Sooner or later, the unsatisfied longing for freedom will produce new leadership in Russia that will advance liberal reforms and seek cordial relations with Washington, just as Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin once did”

      Prof Stephen Cohen has pointed out that Putin has repeatedly tried to ‘seek cordial relations with Washington’. The problem is that Washington won’t settle for anything less than total surrender and even break up of the country, with US multinationals running and looting the place.

      Reply
      1. Olga

        The above interview with Prof. Cohen is very good (and should be required for anyone trying to opine on Russia/Putin). When western audiences read about the latest Putin or Russia ‘transgression,’ they would do well to remember Russia’s original sin (from west’s perspective) – that it is not willing to give up the ways of a sovereign country.
        Everything flows from that one fact… which also means that western reporting is rarely unbiased. Just like cigarettes carry a warning about diseases, so should western reports on Russia carry a warning “we provide fair and accurate reporting, except for that part about us hating Russia because it just won’t let us “develop” its resources,” or something like that.

        Reply
  5. rattlemullet

    House Democrats consider masking identity of whistleblower from Trump’s GOP allies in Congress WaPo. Anonymous sources from the intelligence community for an impeachment inquiry. Shaking my head.

    While you’re shaky your head. How would you handle a witness the protection of the persons family as well as the whistle blowers identity when clearly revealing the identity would place the person and his family and relatives in grave danger from the presidents violent cult of supporters? I assume you would agree the president has a large contingent of well armed potentially violent supporters. They certainly throw death threats around like confetti in a New York parade,

    Reply
    1. Romancing The Loan

      There’s a lot of people Trump’s supporters want to kill, but our spies and secret police generally seem up to the task of stopping them. Why’s this an exception?

      Also if that’s the rationale, then what’s the endgame? Won’t that always be a danger? How do you actually use their evidence if you can’t ever hear from them or know who they are?

      Reply
      1. Anon

        Yeah, those spies and secret police gave blanket protection to those folks in El Paso, Texas.

        At some point the CIA whistleblower may need to be revealed. But federal law protects his identity (and for good reason, given Trumps unmistakable exhortations of violence).

        Look, there is no need for knowing the ID of the whistleblower. Trump’s own account of his “perfect” conversation AND subsequent tweets and comments seen by the nation on national TV justify removing this unstable sociopath from the presidency. Enough is enough!

        Reply
        1. pretzelattack

          wait the spy agencies were tasked with preventing any terrorist attack anywhere by anyone? glad you acknowledge protecting the whistleblower is theater, at least. and i don’t think repeating hearsay as fact is “whistleblowing”.

          Reply
    2. pretzelattack

      this is all theater, and i doubt the identity of the “whistleblower” will remain unknown for long, if it still is. this just looks like another attempt by democrats to inflame the small donors instead of dealing with the issues of corruption within the party itself, or real issues affecting the country.

      Reply
    3. The Rev Kev

      Are you sure that you want to go along with secret witnesses? Playing fast and loose with laws is not a place that you want to head for. Your Founders knew this through bitter experience with the British and if you read the Declaration of Independence, you will see some of their complaints in it. That is why when it came time to write the Constitution, they put a great whack of protections in it for the average citizen. These were men that were versed in the Enlightenment and were well educated as well as having personal experience with what happens when laws are abused.
      You go with secret witnesses and you end up with secret trials and secret verdicts. Before you know it you have the Star Chamber back in operation or worse, the Patriot Act made permanent. This is why the classic idea of Anglo-Saxon law is to meet your accuser in a court of law to challenge their assertions and to be found innocent or guilty by your peers. I would not be worried about your CIA spooks coming to harm. They will simply be issued with a “legend” and they will disappear into another station in another part of the US. Besides, sticky ends happen to people that intentionally kill CIA agents.

      Reply
      1. rattlemullet

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Federal_Witness_Protection_Program

        Been around since 1970.

        Seems as if its codified into law and it seems the judicial system has survived. Also no one answered my question.

        The patriot act was a knee jerk reaction to being attacked by Saudi Arabia. It needs to be done away with it a direct conflict with the constitution. Start Chamber was a movie not reality.A lot of your response is made up not based in any fact.

        Reply
        1. Romancing The Loan

          The Witness Protection Program allows a witness (the identity of whom is certainly known to at least the court and counsel – and it being known to others is why they’re in danger in the first place!) to live under a false identity so they can be protected until they testify. In open court. With everyone knowing their names.

          The idea that the committee charged with deciding whether what this person has to say warrants impeaching the president does not get to know who they are or what their basis of knowledge is is in no way analogous.

          Reply
          1. rattlemullet

            As I understand it the individual is know by others as they reported the compliant in accordance with the IG office was deemed to be credible and urgent and has obtain legal counsel. He known to others it just whether those others are acceptable to you.

            Its federal law so it can certainly be argued to analogous to the current situation. There is not a separate set of laws for those speaking out against potential corrupt government actions.

            Reply
            1. Romancing The Loan

              The people acceptable would be the ones charged with making the ultimate determination of credibility (in this case, as far as I know, the committee).

              Vouching does not mean you can accept the report for its truth through someone else. That is how hearsay works in all areas of federal and state law.

              The witness protection program has about as much to do with this situation as the bankruptcy code – both are federal law and that’s about it.

              It is much more analogous to a protective order concealing the identities of grand jury witnesses from a defendant or even defense counsel – the latter is seriously unusual and either one requires way more than suggesting there might be threats. And either way you have to unveil the dude sometime before you can use what he has.

              Reply
        1. Harrold

          The Left seems to be opting for civil war.”

          Interesting perspectives? Really?

          It seems like Kunstler has been watching too much Hannity and gone off the deep end.

          Reply
          1. Mark Gisleson

            His take is somewhat unique, but whenever he touches on things I know about, he seems to be in command of his facts.

            He certainly had a firm grasp of Russiagate from day one. I’d stopped reading him but when he nailed that fake scandal week after week, I got hooked all over again on his style which is more like Hunter S Thompson’s than anyone else writing about politics these days, Taibbi included.

            Reply
            1. kees_popinga

              By “civil war” he is talking about mass shaming, nazi-punching, college kangaroo courts, and other recent un-progressive behavior. Kunstler is great, his only flaw is that every topic ends with a jeremiad on the inevitable societal collapse.

              Reply
            2. Harrold

              I remember when he was postulating the end of the United States during the run up to Y2K. I believe he built a bunker and supplied it with food and ammo to last out 20 years.

              I wonder if he is still eating those MREs??

              Reply
    4. Acacia

      These people are not whistleblowers. They are spooks.

      See Matt Taibbi‘s article on this matter, posted here on NC.

      Reply
    5. Katniss Everdeen

      Have you lost your friggin’ mind????

      “Impeaching” the constitutionally elected president based on “evidence” that would not be acceptable in traffic court, presented by an unknown person, from an unknown location questioned by unknown partisans and saying things that must remain unknown.

      Did you read the article? They want to keep the identity secret from republican members of the committee.

      The guy is supposedly a cia agent fer’ chrissakes. Stop wailing and gnashing your teeth. The “whistleblower,” if there even is one, doesn’t need “protection” from some guy in Idaho with a shotgun.

      What a crock of snowflake shit.

      Reply
        1. Ancient1

          “Thanks, you. Spot on.”

          Except for the “gutter” language used. I object to that. Keep comments civil, please.

          Reply
      1. Anon

        See my earlier comment.

        Nobody needs the testimony of the WB. Trump has provided reason to investigate his actions in office through his own characterization of the phone conversation, his own public exhortation to China, his unhinged statements to the Press and others, and documented comfort with obstruction.

        Impeachment is not a criminal court; it’s an avenue of redress given to Congress. Let it play out.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          What does a leader do when his own law enforcement agencies absolutely refuses to go after criminal behaviour on the part of a government employee dealing with a foreign country? Even when that government employee boasts about it on video about what he did knowing that the law will not hold him to account? Maybe a leader might ask those foreign countries to investigate what happened on their ends to get something going.

          Reply
      1. ambrit

        Trump could steal another Twain line; “The rumours of my impeachment are greatly exaggerated.”
        At this state of play, I consider the impeach Trump saga to be primarily a fund raising exercise by the Democrat Party elite.

        Reply
    6. Chris Smith

      Snowden is in exile, Manning is in jail, and both Kiriakou and Sterling went to prison. (Where was Human Crapweasel Adam Schiff, patron saint of whistleblowers, eh?). Give me a break.

      Reply
  6. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Impeachment

    One thing I haven’t seen any of the pieces on impeachment mention, pro or con, is that the current president of the Ukraine who Trump supposedly conspired with or intimidated or whatever, is a [family blog]ing comedian who played the president on the TeeVee prior to getting elected. And IIRC the guy he beat was the US hand picked toadie who the Ukrainians evidently were not particularly enamored with.

    Just another example of the absolute disgust people all over the planet have with the ruling class these days. You’d think that might give the story some important context.

    Reply
    1. sleepy

      Yes, and I believe as well that he was elected on a “peace with Russia” platform. Can’t have that sort of thing making the rounds. Next thing you know Ukraine might even spurn a Nato invite.

      Reply
    1. jefemt

      Antidote—- right out of Jim Henson’s repertoire…

      Apropos of nothing, a Headline caught my eye: Accuweather’s winter forecast. Accuweather?

      No more National Weather Service? Trump is privatizing it… Santorum (noun or verb?)

      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-06-14/trump-s-pick-to-lead-weather-agency-spent-30-years-fighting-it

      Privatize, monetize. Socialize costs, privatize profits.

      I for one am absolutely livid about the trend— the ‘collective we’ funded and built these services for the use and benefit of all. Where does Accuweather get its baseline data? CRIMINY

      So, the news service purposefully or unwittingly aided and abetted, normalized the notion that weather info stems from Accuweather, not the National Weather Service.

      Ask a Farmer where they get their weather…

      Next Up to privatize– National Parks? Trump Grand Teton Resorts ™ ?

      Sheeesh!

      Reply
  7. Wukchumni

    Cartoon Girl Goes for $25 Million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Auction Bloomberg.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    If face masks in HK were made with her pissed off image on the kissers of protesters, the imagery would be about perfect, no?

    Reply
  8. Jim A.

    A modest proposal for the UAW. Why not mandate that “temporary” workers get HIGHER pay? It certainly seems reasonable that they should be compensated for the uncertainty of their positions.. That would also preserve the flexibility the GM says it needs, but incentivize GM to make as many temporary workers permanent as they felt that they could.

    Reply
  9. @ape

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/08/boris-johnson-ready-to-give-up-on-brexit-deal

    “Merkel said that if Germany wanted to leave the EU they could do it no problem but the UK cannot leave without leaving Northern Ireland behind in a customs union and in full alignment for ever.

    “She said Ireland is the government’s special problem and Ireland must at least have a veto on NI leaving. Merkel said the PM should tell Northern Ireland it must stay in full alignment for ever but that even this would not eliminate customs issues,” the source said.

    “It was a very useful clarifying moment in all sorts of ways. If this represents a new established position then it means a deal is essentially impossible not just now but ever. It also made clear that they are willing to torpedo the Good Friday agreement.”

    So, finally the diplomatic speak is over. The real problem isn’t “economic”, it’s a real political problem of the definition of Ireland and the definition of the UK.

    I see why they thought that “speaking diplomatic” was a solution — but it’s really not when there are real, inherent contradictions. The GFA was an agreement to end the contradiction but not announce it — the UK was “secretly” giving up it’s sole sovereignty of NI to a joint sovereignty with Ireland. Now, they wanted to “secretly” reclaim sovereignty while pretending there wasn’t a constitutional change of status.

    You can “secretly” (ambiguously, diplomatically) give up control, but you can’t do the reverse. The EU hope was baseless if in fact the UK had decided to re-create this contradiction, and apparently they have. Take back control, indeed.

    Reply
  10. Summer

    RE: “Why Some Americans Won’t Move, Even for a Higher Salary CityLab (Re Silc). From March, still germane. Wait, what? You mean we’re not always talking price?

    They find out their BS formulas for homo economicus are more BS than ever imagined, but because of brain dead dogma will only have the mental capacity for “more studies” rather than change.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Years ago there was a “Cracked” article that actually talked about this subject and poor people and made much more sense. It comes down to what we might call a network. Your car breaks down, you might have a buddy that can get it running again and let you pay off the bill. Need a baby-sitter while you have a work shift? You might have an arrangement with your neighbour here. Run out of money before your next pay? There are relatives that might help you out with money, food, etc. If you are rich and you move and have one of these problems, you just throw money at the problem until it goes away. But when you are poor, where do you go?

      Reply
      1. Summer

        If you’re talking about the “Cracked” that was similar to MAD magazine, that’s a blast from the past that makes me smile.

        Reply
      2. David B Harrison

        As I have stated before,being with other people,helping other people,and physical activity are the most important factors to bring about happiness.Materialism gets in the way of realizing happiness.

        Reply
      3. Wyoming

        This is very accurate.

        As I wander around on patrol several days a week in my community I see about 3-4 broke down cars along the road per shift. One of my jobs is making sure they don’t sit along side the road for long and that the folks dealing with fixing them or hauling them off are not run over by the speeding traffic. These vehicles are dealt with in 3 ways. The two primary ones are that the generally older (and clearly more affluent) group all have AAA or one of the alternatives who they immediately call on their smart phone and have them come fix it (be it battery, change the flat, or tow away if seriously broke). The other group is the working class and they deal with this issue as RK indicated. Their friends soon show up with a pickup or two and boxes of tools and go about fixing the vehicle. They often perform significant repairs on site. And they sometimes get out their straps and go to tow the vehicles off to some location where they can fix it (I have to get involved in this as this is inherently dangerous with the heavy traffic). Most of the time I use my vehicle to protect them and sometimes I jump in and help with the repairs (I change quite a few tires and occasionally drive to the autoparts store and get the part needed to fix the problem). Solitary women with broke down cars are never left alone along the road. I carry a case of water for those who often seem to forget in this country (AZ) you should never drive around without extra on board. Thus just what RK described – a community effort. The last way of dealing with such problems are they just abandon the vehicle and the taxpayers foot the bill for towing it away ( but this is fairly rare). The above is probably not the common response in LA or NY for instance.

        Reply
      4. jrs

        It’s probably more than that. Those higher salaries may not be available to THEM (poorer people told to move for better jobs). The highly credentialed think because they can move for a higher salary that everyone can, but it’s not how it works. Big cities are becoming pretty unequal, they don’t work for those that aren’t “highly skilled”.

        See this Fed report:
        https://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2019/10/some-places-are-much-more-unequal-than-others.html

        Those who aren’t “highly skilled” shouldn’t move to them for work generally. But many poor people ALREADY live in big cities and it’s where they are from anyway? Yes, of course. Then it’s a fight for basic protections like affordable housing etc., because otherwise they are going to be driven out of their hometowns.

        I really think the argument “move to a big city that’s where the pay and jobs are” is different than the argument “search the whole country for jobs if you can’t find one, move anywhere for one”. The latter can make some sense just because it will obviously increase the sheer number of jobs one is a fit for, but with the caveat that many companies only hire local-ish anyway, and that you have to be willing to move anywhere and that’s no life.

        Reply
        1. wilroncanada

          The other factor for working-class folks is a spouse or partner who has a job, but not one which can support a family. So, then there is a negotiation: do we split up because I can get a half-assed job over there, but we will be in the same situation, with two households to finance with two half-assed jobs; or, can the spouse or partner also get a job in that other place? Do we take the chance, or do we stay her where we have at least built up the supports mentioned above? The precariat’s choice.
          Of course, those with wealth can’t possibly understand that, can they? Their solution is— move for the money.

          Reply
    2. rd

      Its not just income that is dramatically different from place to place, but housing prices and commute times as well. If you are in the bottom 75%, then you are unlikely to get paid much more when you go to a new city but your costs may be substantially higher while you have also lost your family support systems. Not a good deal. This is why there has been the big push for $15/hr as a minimum wage – BTW where I live, two people making $15/hr would make more than the median household income and they could afford probably 80-90% of the housing in our area – its actually difficult to find a house for more than $400k on a house in our area. Most people need a car, but it is also difficult to have a commute longer than 30 minutes – you would have to go from one corner of the county to another to have a much longer commute.

      On top of that, you have job insecurity that probably won’t be much better in another city, especially in a downturn. Workers are still fungible, disposable tools of production.

      Basically, the country hasn’t given most people a reason to move around a lot this century which is different from the previous century. I can see the corporate chieftains and the politicians getting frustrated that the proletariat isn’t falling in line with what they perceive as optimum efficiency.

      Reply
      1. Massinissa

        “I can see the corporate chieftains and the politicians getting frustrated that the proletariat isn’t falling in line with what they perceive as optimum efficiency”

        Clearly they just need to whip the proles to work harder

        Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “New weapons and the new tactics which they make possible: three examples”

    Read this the other day and had a think about it. The key with Russian weaponry seems to be that they are effective as well as being cost-efficient. By not having a gazillion rubles to spend, they have sought to get value for money. As an example – in Syria the US drops guided bombs and by that I mean that each bomb has a package to guide that bomb precisely to their target. I believe that each package costs about $20,000 (?) but of course when it hits its target it is destroyed. The Russians have a great deal of regular bombs but had a need of precision guided bombs. Solution? The aircraft itself was modified so that after an onboard computer has made its calculations, it drops its bombs at a point where it will precisely hit its target.
    The US spends fantastic amounts on its weaponry which would not be so bad if they were effective. But we have all read about US industry’s offerings such as the F-35 fighter, the Zumwalt-class destroyer, the new Boeing Air Force fuel tanker, the Ford-class aircraft carrier, the Littoral combat ship classes, etc. If an actual war broke out with a peer or a near peer enemy, you would see some disastrous results and casualties that have not been experienced since Vietnam. I think that this is why the Pentagon is having its nuclear weapons upgrade. At present you cannot use them without triggering WW3 but by having ‘flexible’ nuclear weapons, the hope is that they can use them in case the US military experiences some epic disasters without triggering WW3.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      The problem with your last case, WW-3???, is that there is a core coterie of neo-cons within the American Government and armed forces who have drunk a flavour of Kool Aid named “We Can Win Atomic War!” No kidding, there are people who seriously believe that, and in positions of influence. Unfortunately, as with all theories, it is disprovable, but you’d have to blow up a big part of the world to find out.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Agreed ambrit. There were the original neocons back in Reagan’s first term who talked about how the world could survive a “limited nuclear war”. I personally believe that what put paid to this idea was the 1980 discovery of the reason for extinction of the dinosaurs through asteroid impact followed by a nuclear winter by the work of Luis and Walter Alvarez.
        It did not take long to realize that a nuclear war would also trigger a life-ending nuclear winter and it was only four years later a book came out exploring this idea called “The Cold and the Dark: The World after Nuclear War” by Paul R. Ehrlich, Carl Sagan, and Donald Kennedy. It is grim reading and I think that this killed off the limited nuclear war idea.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          You should read up on the Empire’s strategy documents. For our rulers and their “military advisers,” limited nuclear war, tactical use of nuclear weapons, “dial-a-yield” nuclear weapons so the Battlespace Manager can “make the punishment fit the crime of resisting the Empire,” all that and more are still very much a part of the repertoire of the monsters who hold the keys to that path to extinction (there are many more paths, and keys, of course). https://cgsr.llnl.gov/content/assets/docs/CGSR_LP4-FINAL.pdf

          The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists catalogs all the other ‘anthropogenic’ Death Star technologies and applications (biological, autonomous weapons, nanotechnology, geoengineering, cyberfunnies, all that stuff) which is why the Doomsday Clock is always set at something between 5 and 2 minutes to midnight.

          This stuff is only “unthinkable” for us mopes, at least those of us who have not swallowed the whole neocon Imperial mindset that is… See, for now possible future scenario, and just for fun because nothing like this could EVER happen, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beneath_the_Planet_of_the_Apes

          Reply
          1. xkeyscored

            Exactly. The idea of winning a nuclear war is far from dead.
            And it wouldn’t need to be an all out nuclear war between the USA and one of its many enemies to bring on a ‘minor’ (two year) nuclear winter. India and Pakistan have enough nuclear weapons to do it.
            Rapidly expanding nuclear arsenals in Pakistan and India portend regional and global catastrophe.
            “Smoke from burning cities would release 16 to 36 teragrams of black carbon into the atmosphere, blocking out sunlight, cooling the global surface by 2-5°Celcius, reducing precipitation by 15 to 30%, and diminishing the rate at which plants store energy as biomass (net primary productivity) by 15 to 30% on land and by 5 to 15% in oceans. Together, these calamites would threaten mass starvation.”

            Despite this, nuclear weapons are proliferating, as well as being ‘improved.’

            Reply
          2. pretzelattack

            there was a book about this; “with enough shovels”. basically the solution to surviving nuclear war was digging holes and putting 3 feet of dirt on top, you’re good to go after the radiation dies down. no more existential threat to life on earth!

            Reply
            1. JTMcPhee

              I took that prescription to be a suggestion by the Elite who would “survive” in those special deep bunkers that us mopes should dig our own graves and inter ourselves in advance. To spare the sensibilities of the people who would emerge “victorious” from those bunkers. Don’t forget that bit about using “doors” as the roof of your dugout — I spent a year next to various kinds of improvised artillery shelters in Vietnam, and a couple of doors (if available) would never support the dirt.

              Here’s Amazon on “With Enough Shovels:”

              If there are enough shovels to go around, everybody’s going to make it.”” Scheer, a Los Angeles Times reporter and former Ramparts editor, got that assessment of American civil defense capabilities from T. K. Jones, current Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Strategic and Theater Nuclear Forces, and a former Boeing manager. What “”T.K.”” meant was that, with a shovel, anyone can dig a fallout shelter–a simple hole in the ground with a door over the top and three feet of earth on top of that. “”It’s the dirt that does it,”” he said. The fact that this quack is a government official has Scheer upset. He was also upset by presidential-candidate George Bush’s claim, in an interview that received national attention, that nuclear war was “”winnable.”” https://www.amazon.com/Enough-Shovels-Reagan-Bush-Nuclear/dp/0394414829

              Anyone remember this cartoon from the Vietnam era?
              https://pictures.abebooks.com/CWORLD/8770392965.jpg

              Effing stupid humans…

              Reply
              1. RMO

                “Effing stupid humans…”

                Actually, stuff like this makes me think that maybe we really are mutated descendants of Pak breeders.

                I guess I have to be realistic and accept that some humans really can be unhinged and vicious enough to seriously push for global nuclear war in the deranged belief that it would be worth it and could alter the political and economic arrangements of the day in ways they think favor them.

                Reply
                  1. RMO

                    A great movie. It was an enormous relief to discover it as a 13 year old in the 80’s – I released a whole lot of tension I wasn’t even fully conscious I was carrying over the possibility (frequently said to be a high probability) that neither I nor any of the kids I knew would get to grow up because we would be dead in a global thermonuclear war before that could happen. If I had known how close we came many times to just that I likely would have gone catatonic.

                    Many years later in the current millennium my soaring club had a display at the Abbotsford Airshow. Our Jantar glider was under the wing of a B-52 and we mad friends with the BUFF’s crew chief (a funny and crotchety guy who had some acerbic and funny things to say about the B-1b’s that were also at the show and their maintenance hour to flight hour ratios) and he invited us on board two at a time for a guided tour. It was spooky in there, knowing that we were standing in what could have been front row center for the end of the world. It also felt so familiar because the Dr.Strangelove sets were spot on accurate. Every one of us who had seen the film couldn’t help but have flashbacks to scenes like the survival kit check out and the bomb ride.

                    Reply
            2. The Rev Kev

              There used to be a Civil Defense film clip from the 1950s on YouTube called Stay and Fight – Don’t Take to the Hills and it was insane. Can’t find it now but the idea was that if you were trying to escape atomic weapons by escaping the cities with your family, that you were guilty of desertion and that it was your job to stay in the cities and fight the atomic weapons, I kid you not. It goes for only several minutes and is two guy talking – media guys! – and one of them ask the viewer at the end if you “have the guts to stay” at the end of the clip.

              Reply
              1. Massinissa

                It almost sounds like a way to get even more gullible proles killed so they wouldn’t fight with the rich over the pieces of the country left behind

                Reply
        2. dearieme

          What stopped it was Reagan, who thought that nuclear weapons, and in particular the idea of using them to threaten “mutually assured destruction”, were vile. That’s why he wanted treaties with the USSR, that’s why he wanted to end the Cold War.

          Reply
          1. pretzelattack

            oh so that’s why he torpedoed the existing agreements, hyped up the arms race, and increased tensions with russia. the “with enough shovels” brigade was all over his administration.

            Reply
          2. Massinissa

            He came to that conclusion about halfway through his administration. He didn’t think that until at least ’83 or ’84.

            Reply
    2. jef

      You, and most folks for that matter, mistakenly analyse the war machine as if their goal is to win.

      The purpose of the MIC is to make money and at that they are wildly successful and it permeates the entire economy. Winning!

      Reply
    3. Craig H.

      The shipping container missile system with nuclear warheads got my attention.

      Is there such a thing as an artillery-shotgun-shell? Perhaps this is the sort of weapon needed to defend against the Drone Swarms?

      How bad do you have to be at math to think a million dollar missile offers protection against a thousand dollar drone?

      Reply
    4. LifelongLib

      Unlike the U.S., Russia has a history of having to fight wars on or near its own territory. That gives it quite a different perspective from ours of what is militarily important…

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        US wars are mostly imperial exercises of aggression. And the MIC is a gigantic bureaucracy — just dip into the plethora of directives and operational plans and procurement documentation, or my favorite example that puts so much of the idiocy in one place, the “DoD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms.” Look here, dip into any heading, and read up on how our Great War Fighting Machine thinks:

        https://www.jcs.mil/Portals/36/Documents/Doctrine/pubs/dictionary.pdf

        I’ve noted before that even though the word “war” is used hundreds of times in the document, standalone and compound form, nowhere is it defined. Nor the associated terms, that one might think essential, “victory” and “success.”

        From the preface to the document:

        1. Scope

        As directed in Joint Publication (JP) 1, Doctrine for the Armed Forces of the United States, the DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (DOD Dictionary) sets forth standard US military and associated terminology to encompass the joint activity of the Armed Forces of the United States. These military and associated terms, together with their definitions, constitute approved Department of Defense (DOD) terminology for general use by all DOD components.
        2. Purpose
        This publication supplements standard English-language dictionaries and standardizes military and associated terminology to improve communication and mutual understanding within DOD with other US Government departments and agencies and among the United States and its allies.
        .

        Note the repetitive use of that word “joint,” which is wallpaper over the persistent interservice frictions, rivalries and competition for resources and protection of turf and “tradition.” Note also the intent to “standardize” not only the Mil-babble of the “\US imperial services but “all other US Government departments and agencies and among the United States and its allies.” No small ambition — as is known by folks posting here, he who controls the definitions of terms controls the contest.

        I particularly like the definition of “insurgency:” INSURGENCY — The organized use of subversion and violence to seize, nullify, or challenge political control of a region. Insurgency can also refer to the group itself. (JP 3-24). A plain reading of that one would hold that all the external activities of the Imperium are in fact insurgency, as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Venezuela… I’d note that the definition had changed substantially over time as the GWOT has gone on and on, in an effort to make it a little harder to point to the hypocrisy inherent in that giant wealth transfer operation.

        Bottom line for me, given the steady “progress” in the Arms Race (see infra today) and the exponentially increasing set of interlocking and interacting vulnerabilities all those warfighters and weapons developers and financialists and SilVal creeps are loading onto us, is “The only way to win is not to play the game.” But of course that ain’t going to happen…

        Reply
  12. Carla

    Every day I come to Naked Capitalism and read very depressing sh*t. But “How Private Equity Makes You Sicker” is perhaps one of the most dispiriting things I have ever scanned. I couldn’t actually read it carefully, because it made me too nauseated.

    And don’t forget: because Private Equity firms are people, they have constitutional rights! They use those ill-gotten, never-intended rights to plunder our country, preying on the most vulnerable among us.

    I woke up healthy this morning and Private Equity made me SICK.

    Reply
  13. Craig H.

    How Joe Biden Empowered China’s Censorship of the NBA

    It’s not obvious how the Chinese could learn how to replace the NBA or international soccer, which is also quite popular in China. China is investing in youth sports, but my guess is that it won’t replace foreign sports starts with its own stars, because there’s no real strategic need to do so. The CCP will simply impose conditions on global sports, ensuring that, like with Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok, sports becomes a zone where politics are not allowed. It is increasingly doing that in Hollywood, as the U.S. government noted in 2015.

    Wow. First I did not get far enough of the article to find out how Biden comes in nor do I care. But James Harden kowtowing to the Chinese? That is hilarious. This is a man who has bodyguards shove people out of his way in Houston strip clubs for fun. He must be raking in some serious dough from the Chinese. I like the writer’s implied image of the the committee of guys in Shanghai trying to figure out how to push ping pong superstars on the Chinese consumers. There is a Saturday Night Live skit in there some where.

    Silver reports Yao Ming is hot.

    Yao, who is yet to comment publicly on the controversy, enjoys a stature in China matching his massive 7-foot 5-inch (2.28 metre) height.

    Yahoo says Yao Ming hasn’t said anything about the controversy over Morey’s tweet.

    This is the funniest story of the week for sure and maybe for the year. What in the hell is Morey on twitter for?

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I once watched a documentary about early humans, I remember it was an important point to scientists in Beijing that ,modern Chinese descented from Peking Man (or Beijing Man), that they subscribed to one of the contending hypotheses, that modern people in various places of the world evolved independently, and not from out of Africa recently (geological time-wise).

      Personally, that is not convincing.

      In any case, that the Chinese culture and people are unique with indigenous ideas is important to those in Zhongnanhai. And in the Sixties, it was whether Marxism was another foreign import, or Mao’s revolution with farmers, but not so much the industrial workers, was a uniquely Chinese invention. It was around the same time that they kicked the Russians out.

      In that sense, Cuju should be emphasized. The sport was first played in ancient China. When it is popular again, and played by people all over the world, it would a sure sign of the Chinese Century.

      Reply
      1. xkeyscored

        The idea that modern humans came out of Africa, spread worldwide, and replaced the Neanderthals is fast falling apart. It was a highly Eurocentric idea, based on a few very incomplete fossils. The picture nowadays gets more complex with each new discovery, and the idea that the Chinese descended from ‘Beijing Man’, while it may be wrong, seems no more preposterous than the idea (which I was taught in school years ago) that modern humans refrained from sex with neanderthals.

        Reply
        1. Plenue

          As far as I know it isn’t falling apart, fast or otherwise. It’s just been modified to include some interbreeding (at least in Europe) with Neanderthal.

          Reply
          1. xkeyscored

            Agreed. A tad hyperbolic on my part.
            But the simple, linear progression from apes to modern humans I was taught fifty years ago is being replaced by something much more complex – and don’t forget interbreeding with Denosivans, not to mention yet to be discovered (sub)species.

            Reply
          2. The Rev Kev

            You start off trying to understand human evolution and interbreeding between different human species and you end up with the realization that it is all an updated version of Who’s Zoomin’ Who.

            Reply
        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          In China, there are some Neaderthals genes (a few percentage points, but lower, in generally, than those found in Europe).

          Perahps more Neanderthal sites will be discovered in the future (not sure how many so far).

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            European and American scientists came up with it, basing it on finds of prehistoric upright bipedal skeletons and some tools. The strongest argument for the ‘Out of Africa’ theory is in the distribution of human genes.
            I’ve mentioned it before, but Oppenheimer’s “Out of Eden” tells the story as it is understood so far.

            Reply
          2. xkeyscored

            I meant the old out-of-africa story from my school days – we (~ modern europeans) came and spread around the world and neanderthals simply faded away and don’t raise awkward questions

            Reply
    2. Yassine

      I’m not sure it’s a funny story but it sure is an interesting one. The swiftness and the severity and the Chinese response is remarkable to me and could be announcing a shift in its international PR policy. In less than 48 hours, they reneged on endorsement deals, cancelled CCTV broadcast of preseason games, pulled Rockets games from their streaming service, and coordinated very aggressive declarations by the Nets new Chinese owner, the Chinese Basketball association, the consulate in Houston and CCTV all but calling for Morey to be fired for the relatively minor offense of tweeting in support of HK protests, deleting the tweet and then apologizing profusely.

      Reply
      1. Craig H.

        Are you a Rockets fan?

        Harden is the greatest all time Rocket after Olajuwon and it isn’t close. Before Harden the Rockets had no chance at another title and now they do. Then there was the year he showed up out of shape after spending the entire summer chasing Chloe Kardashian’s booty. There was an analytics piece on espn a few weeks ago where the most valuable offensive play in the league by far is James Harden flopping for three free throws behind the arc. If you don’t love hating Harden you are missing out.

        It’s a pity the NBA has no kaepernick.

        Reply
        1. Yassine

          Pacers fan here !

          I get why people love hating Harden (the flopping, the free throws, the travelling violations, the boring isos etc.) but, the way I see it, the amount of work he has put in to elevate his game to stratospheric levels should at least earn him the respect -if not the love- of most genuine nba fans.

          As for the original topic, I don’t think it has anything to do with what happens on the court and I see it more as a very telling anecdote on the level of agressiveness towards its critics that China is now prepared to display, irrespective of the critics’ fame.

          Reply
  14. Summer

    RE: “If Mike Pence Becomes President the Neocons Will Stage a Comeback” The National Interest

    Because they are the kissing cousins of neoliberals that won’t go away.

    Reply
    1. Massinissa

      I mean, Neoconservatism is a foreign policy doctrine, and Neoliberalism is an economic doctrine, so the overlap is *incredibly* common. They are all but designed to go together and have few, if any, contradictions.

      Reply
  15. Ford Prefect

    While I think that Trump is a chaotic raging bull in a china shop on foreign policy, I will point out relative to the piece below that the vaunted elaborate systems put in place during the Cold War still allowed the US to get into monumental blunders like Vietnam and Iraq with no way out until somebody finally pulled the plugs after destabilizing regions, creating waves of refugees, 10s of thousands of American dead and millions of veterans with PTSD. Carefully vetted usually means that there are too many fingerprints to pin the blame on one person which is the fundamental goal of bureaucratic systems. At least it will be clear (to everyone but Trump) who will be responsible for the good or bad from these decisions.

    “Mr. Trump’s sudden abandonment of the Kurds was another example of the independent, parallel foreign policy he has run from the White House, which has largely abandoned the elaborate systems created since President Harry Truman’s day to think ahead about the potential costs and benefits of presidential decisions. That system is badly broken today. Mr. Trump is so suspicious of the professional staff — many drawn from the State Department and the C.I.A. — and so dismissive of the “deep state” foreign policy establishment, that he usually announces decisions first, and forces the staff to deal with them later.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/07/world/middleeast/trump-syria-turkey.html

    Reply
    1. RMO

      “Mr. Trump’s sudden abandonment of the Kurds” Yeah, no previous U.S. administration has EVER done that to the Kurds before! It’s underrepresented! /s

      Reply
  16. ThomG

    re: Ukraine impeachment ordeal. This in reply to the Taibbi piece in RS shared yesterday seems correct.

    https://theweek.com/articles/870071/what-ridiculous-attacks-ukraine-whistleblower-wrong

    “At any rate, sometimes things are more complicated than “CIA Good” or “CIA Bad.” It is perfectly possible to believe that the CIA is a monstrous, dysfunctional organization that should be shuttered immediately, as I have argued, and still think that the Ukraine story is an extremely alarming abuse of power. The reason — as is apparently necessary to spell out — is that it is bad for a president to use his vast executive power to gin up politically-motivated investigations. That is near the top of the list of Budding Dictatorship Warning Signs, and it’s very similar to how the fascist Jair Bolsonaro became president of Brazil. Conversely, just because a CIA officer might be fine with the agency’s history of overthrowing democratic governments, war crimes, torture, and so on, does not mean they are wrong to try to stop Trump from bullying foreign states into investigating whoever happens to win the Democratic primary. (Trump reportedly brought up Elizabeth Warren in a call with China’s President Xi Jinping in June.)”

    Reply
      1. Olga

        Wow – propaganda made ever so subtle. It would take half a day to clarify the many ways in which that above comment from ‘the week’ is wrong and deceptive. Makes my stomach turn… but I can see how it works for some.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I agree with the OP:

          it is bad for a president to use his vast executive power to gin up politically-motivated investigations

          So let’s apply the standard. What did the president know and when did he know it? I’m talking about Obama; his Secretary of State’s presidential campaign; the Democratic Party; The Steele Dossier; the FISA Court; and the subsequent spying on Trump by the CIA and FBI.

          Answers please.

          Reply
    1. Romancing The Loan

      Certainly sounds reasonable. The problem I see is that Obama seems to have already done the same thing re: Trump in 2016 (using the Steele Report to get a FISA warrant on Carter Page), so it’s going to be a hell of a needle thread to argue that one was proper and one wasn’t.

      Reply
    2. Plenue

      Except Biden’s corruption very much deserves to be investigated. And we have a treaty with Ukraine requiring cooperation with criminal investigations. I genuinely don’t see anything Trump did as illegal. Clumsy as hell, yes, but not illegal.

      And actually yes, it is as simple as “CIA Bad”. Even if we accept that Trump has done something wrong, what the CIA did was also unacceptable. There was no ‘whistleblower’; there was a CIA spy sent into the White House to find and leak something damaging. However someone wants to define ‘Deep State’, this episode is a clear case of it working to subvert an elected civil administration*.

      *also, doesn’t this whole thing kind of invalidate the establishment Dem mockery and dismissal of ‘deep state conspiracy theories’? Because they’re blatantly cheering the CIA now, more than they already were.

      Reply
  17. dearieme

    Trump knocks ‘ridiculous Endless Wars’ amid US troop pullout from Syria

    This makes me wonder whether Trump suspects that this second coup against him might succeed so that he’d better grasp the nettle and stop these foolish and reckless wars while he still has the power to do so.

    P.S. On the subject of US presidential matters, it seems that Elizabeth Warren has been caught lying again.

    Minutes of an April 21, 1971, Riverdale Board of Education meeting obtained by the Washington Free Beacon show that the board voted unanimously on a motion to extend Warren a “2nd year” contract for a two-days-per-week teaching job. That job is similar to the one she held the previous year, her first year of teaching. Minutes from a board meeting held two months later, on June 16, 1971, indicate that Warren’s resignation was “accepted with regret.”

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Trump knocks ‘ridiculous Endless Wars’…….

      Something’s wrong with that headline that I can’t quite put my finger on.

      Is it supposed to be derogatory? I mean, what’s NOT to “knock?”

      Reply
      1. barrisj

        I admire Trump’s Syria instincts re: “endless wars”, but what does one make of this tweet:

        As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate, if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!). They must, with Europe and others, watch over…

        Again, more material for Clinical Pathology graduate theses here.

        Reply
        1. Aumua

          Yeah see that’s the thing about Trump. He might say something sensible here and there, but it’s probably going to be followed up by something you really can’t get behind when all is said and done.

          Reply
        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We are a long way from the days of Claudius who had to act like a fool so the Praetorian Guard could sleep peacefully at night.

          Does Trump not know that?

          Reply
      2. barrisj

        Nobody has yet to explain upon what authority are the US military installed in Syria ab initio, certainly not deriving from the legal government of a sovereign state. Doesn’t stop the Borg from demanding of Trump to leave them there, ostensibly to — kaff-kaff — “protect their Kurdish allies”.

        Reply
    2. marym

      Re: Syria:
      So far he’s not pulling any troops out, he’s moving them out of the way of an attack on the Kurds by Turkey, as even the linked Hill post indicates:

      …he decided to pull back American troops from northern Syria amid an impending Turkish military operation there.

      More links here.

      Does war waged by US arms customers count against the US tally of ridiculous and endless?

      Re: Fired for being pregnant in NJ

      The polite language of the meeting notes hides the reality faced by New Jersey’s female teachers in the early 1970s. School boards routinely required women to resign when their pregnancies became obvious.

      More on women being fired for being pregnant in US history in NJ and elsewhere here and here

      Reply
      1. dearieme

        But Mrs Warren has already admitted that she wasn’t fired for being pregnant. She offered a different explanation namely that she didn’t have the right credentials. Now we find that that was a lie too and that she simply wasn’t fired at all.

        This is hardly Clinton-level lying but it always worries me when people are so happy to lie about trivial matters.

        I can remember watching Gordon Brown, then the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, lying about something important in a TV interview. He was evidently deeply unhappy and dismayed at doing so. That comforted me; he clearly didn’t lie as a matter of course. It’s not that he was an honest man – he was a politician after all – but at least he wasn’t a habitual liar. The Clintons lie as second nature – so does Toni Blair. Does Mrs Warren?

        Reply
        1. marym

          Based on the quote from the 2007 interview she didn’t have credentials for a permanent position,but she did have a job with an “emergency” certificate. Whether she talked about it in the interview or not, women in the US did lose their jobs when they married or got pregnant, and, it seems, from the tweets, it may have been “automatic” in NJ.

          Reply
    3. John k

      Trump is very political, and he is shrewdly focused on the Midwest swing states. Does trump give a rats ass about ME wars? Probably not, consider he’s ok with Yemen.
      But that’s not a war with us boots on the ground that sends the boots back in body bags, as does Afghanistan and Syria. And where do the bags go? Not the coastal strips, but flyover country. Where 2016 was, and 2020 will be, decided. Flyover doesn’t mind serving, but doesn’t like no reason wars that kill their sons and daughters. Or leaves them physically and mentally impaired.
      He knows he could offer m4a and get re elected, but for various reasons doesn’t want to alienate pharma and insurance. Meanwhile he’s pissed at deep.
      Contrast with dems lack of interest in any of flyover concerns. Well, beyond joe’s ‘I’m one of you’.

      Reply
  18. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: How Joe Biden Empowered China’s Censorship of the NBA Matt Stoller, BIG

    Had no idea why Matt Stoller would be writing about the nba until this morning, when I saw the pencil neck nba “commissioner” groveling on cable. Turns out this could cost them $4 billion according to andrew ross sorkin. Boo hoo.

    So much for american “values.” For those NC commenters who have been wondering why the u.s. has not come out in strong support of the HK protesters, you’ll find your answer in this piece. Unsurprisingly, uncle joe’s fingerprints are all over it.

    “I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks…….”

    (Yikes! Get a thesaurus, joe. Once is bad enough. Twice is just too much.)

    Back to the article:

    The raw exercise of power to censor a random Houston Rockets basketball executive has made millions of people take notice. Everyone knows, the Chinese government isn’t content to control its own nation, it must have all bow down to its power and authority.

    Sounds like someone else I know.

    My advice is to stock up early on all those cheap chinese goodies for under the Christmas tree. Some random twitterer might get Santa’s elves furloughed this year, and and all the poor american christians will get to celebrate is that lousy “Peace on Earth” stuff.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sounds like someone else I know.

      —-

      For the little people, it’s not so much a problem bowing down to one Alpha Male.

      It’s not too difficult getting used to it.

      The problem comes when one Alpha tries to replace another, and they take turn seizing control of your village, with their army groups and political officers.

      You bow down today, and tomorrow you could be accused of being too friendly with the bad guy, with your entire village relocated to some remote heartland nowhere.

      The lttle people do (if not better) no worse with a some stability.

      Reply
  19. ptb

    Interesting poll from Susquehanna Polling & Research Inc., for the critical state of PA

    52% of PA dem primary RV voters undecided. (!)

    51% of all RV voters (47% D, 40% R, 10% I) support impeach investigation, 46% think it is a stunt. (this suggests the swing voters still aren’t on board in the state)

    (via 538… https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/polls/)

    Reply
      1. Biph

        registered voters.
        What does the 47% D, 40% R and 10% I mean, I’m guessing the D and R includes independents who lean towards one party otherwise that “I” percentage is way to low. If correct and even a slight majority of people support impeachment that’s very bad news for Trump’s re-election. I could see a small percentage of people not supporting impeachment, but still intending to vote for Trump’s opponent it’s hard to see anyone supporting impeachment and intending to vote for Trump.

        Reply
        1. ptb

          re: 10% “I”… I think it means the party they registered with in PA. If they want to vote in a primary, they can’t register as independent, that’s a strong incentive to pick a party.

          But this is a measure of trump support in PA.

          The wording did give a pretty stark framing for the “oppose” option, btw — namely that the respondent thinks the investigation is a “political stunt”, which actually got 46%.

          Biden does not seem much loved in his home state either

          Reply
          1. Biph

            I’d say that’s bad wording as one can both see it as a political stunt and support the impeachment inquiry. I view any move to impeachment in the House as little more than a political stunt no matter the veracity of the charges because there is no way 67 senators will vote to convict.

            Reply
            1. Mike Avelli

              No way? The dems would all mindlessly vote to convict. And how many Senate repubs do you think there are who *don’t* strongly prefer a President Pence to a President Trump?

              Reply
              1. pretzelattack

                i don’t think all the dems would, depends on the politics of their individual states. the republicans, unlike the democrats, seem invested in winning elections, but whether pence would give them a better chance than trump is debatable.

                Reply
              2. Big River Bandido

                Joe Manchin will never vote to convict. I bet there are as many as 10 other Senate Democrats who would do the same…particularly those from contested states.

                Consider that the Sanders M4A Senate bill has far fewer Democrat co-sponsors than there are Democrats in the Senate.

                The idea of getting 67 votes for impeachment is just laughable.

                Reply
              3. NotTimothyGeithner

                None. They prefer Pence in private, and Mittens might fantasize about replacing Trump as the 2020 nominee, but no Republican will vote to convict. The Conservative Id despises Team Blue types.

                There is only so much room for #nevertrumpers at MSNBC before its all GOP network again.

                Reply
              4. notabanker

                This is absurd. The House Democrats will not even vote to impeach. There is no “impeachment”. Pelosi cannot get the votes in the House. There is an “impeachment inquiry” which means absolutely nothing according to the US Constitution. And the Republican controlled Senate is going to get a 2/3rd’s majority conviction?

                Reply
  20. Portlander

    RE: Brexit
    From Euro-Intelligence (via Mish Shedlock):

    One possible action for the EU to take is to offer a long extension, say two or three years, which the present parliament might accept if confronted with the alternative of a no-deal Brexit on October 31. A long extension would give time for a second referendum. This is the scenario we fear the most because it would be construed by Brexiters as an outright hostile act. If such a decision were followed by an election, and a pro-Brexit majority in the House of Commons resulted, we would expect the UK to declare a unilateral withdrawal from the EU bypassing Article 50. That would be the Iron Curtain version of a no-deal Brexit.

    Any comments on this possibility and how it might affect U.K. political dynamics?

    Reply
  21. xkeyscored

    But is it science? Aeon
    I’ve worked with neuroscientists at Oxford University (as a lab technician, not a researcher), and the search for answers to questions like “What and where is consciousness?” was among their major motivations, even if it didn’t appear in their papers and grant applications.
    This article seems to say that the multiverse is an untestable hypothesis, and therefore not science.
    I’d say it’s of great interest to many scientists, and – who knows – if developed and followed through, may lead to testable hypotheses. If scientists do it, and it may lead to what we’d all agree is science, is it perhaps science?
    “There will be well-testable theories, hardly testable theories, and non-testable theories. Those which are non-testable are of no interest to empirical scientists. They may be described as metaphysical.”
    But earlier in the same article:
    “It turns out to be impossible even to formulate a scientific theory without metaphysics, without first assuming some things we can’t actually prove.”

    What’s more, there’s some appalling straw-manning going on:
    “Instead of ‘the multiverse exists’ and ‘it might be true’, is it really so difficult to say something like ‘the multiverse has some philosophical attractions, but it is highly speculative and controversial, and there is no evidence for it’?”
    There may be a few who simply claim ‘the multiverse exists,’ but most scientists I read or read about, including most multiverse fans, are very well aware of its speculative, controversial, and possibly untestable aspects.

    Reply
  22. ewmayer

    The Huge Waste in the U.S. Health System NYT (Re Silc) — they needed a high-powered study to tell them this? Plus, the resulting waste-estimate numbers are clearly at least a factor 2 too low. The math here is simple: The U.S. spends roughly 2x as much per capita on health ‘care’ (insurance racketeering + actual care) as the next-lowest First World country in this ranking — which, last time I checked, was Switzerland, though the precise nation is not crucial — for outcomes which are overall no better and in many major areas significantly worse. It follows that at *least* 50% of U.S. healthcare spending is waste, and that assumes that the #2-spending nation is 100% efficient in healthcare spending.

    Reply
    1. xkeyscored

      You’re assuming health is the intended outcome.
      Perhaps health is an unintended by-product of the so called health care system.

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Possible sources of waste:

      1. frontline health care providers
      2. the administrative staff
      3. insurance
      4. government
      5. patients themselves
      6. medical equipment suppliers
      7. pharmaceutical companies
      etc.

      I hope they don’t excessively blame the patients for part of the waste, beyond what can be demonstrated to be wasteful.

      “You’re seeing the doctor too often.”

      Reply
    3. Massinissa

      I have a problem with it being framed as ‘waste’. ‘Waste’ makes it sounds like an accident. This ‘waste’ is all going into the profits of corporations, deliberately. Calling it ‘waste’ is just a way to deny agency to the health and insurance industries.

      Reply
  23. Tomonthebeach

    Why people won’t move.

    This article by Richard Florida demonstrates two things. First, many economists do not read much psychology. Second, many economists do not look at their own behavior.

    Back in 1985, my colleague, emeritus MIT psychologist Ed Schein, published a book entitled “Career Anchors” which expanded on his previous research into this topic. Basically, Ed posited that people sink roots in the community. This relocation might mean leaving friends, changing kids’ high schools, resigning from the city council or the PTA or being decon at the church – and – avoiding the risk of failure. You would think that economists might divine this from their own thoughts and actions.

    The one valid economical point Florida made was that people offered a higher salary, might have to move to a city with higher costs of living – thus salary alone is a zero-sum motive.

    Reply
  24. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thanks for the link to “Cash and the Economy” – conclusions on India’s 2016 “demonetization”, which was unexpectedly imposed by Modi’s government and made 86% of that nation’s currency in circulation illegal tender overnight.

    The analysis provided statistical evidence of an effect of cash money on output, concluding that the policy led to a contraction in aggregate employment and output due to the cash shortage of at least 2 percent and of bank credit of 2 percent in 2016-Q4 relative to their counterfactual paths, although the effects dissipated over time. In India, perhaps in part because of the disproportionate role of the cash-intensive informal economy in that nation’s economic activity, “Cash matters”.

    So why the “War on Cash”? Is it because Cash both enables privacy and enables its holders to avoid government regulations and to potentially mitigate the worst effects of NIRP and financial technology?

    Reply
  25. Grebo

    The Indian demonetisation paper has an unfortunate typo in the abstract, which made me blink.

    Abstract quoted above says “Our analysis rejects money non-neutrality…”

    The body of the article says the opposite:

    We have two main findings. First, we reject money neutrality by providing well-identified, statistically strong evidence of an effect of money on output in the cross-section of Indian districts. Second, we shed light on why cash matters.

    Reply

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