Links 11/11/19

Invasive grasses increase fire occurrence and frequency across US ecoregions PNAS

How Tech From Australia Could Prevent California Wildfires and PG&E Blackouts IEEE Spectrum

This is not normal: what’s different about the NSW mega fires Sydney Morning Herald

How Scientists Got Climate Change So Wrong NYT. “Few thought it would arrive so quickly.”

Exploring East Antarctica and Its Role in Climate: A First-Hand Report Weather Underground

Global Warming Is Already Destroying New England’s Fisheries The New Republic (UserFriendly).

Coca-Cola is world’s largest plastic polluter for second year straight NY Post

McKinsey Faces Criminal Inquiry Over Bankruptcy Case Conduct NYT


Bolivia President Evo Morales announces resignation Deutsche Welle

MSM Adamantly Avoids The Word “Coup” In Bolivia Reporting Caitlin Johnstone

The Trump Administration Is Undercutting Democracy in Bolivia The Nation

Bolivia: audios leaked from opposition leaders calling for a coup against Evo Morales EN24. I can’t vouch for these, it seems unlikely to me that Morales supporters are going to be doing a lot of audio work right now. Perhaps we have some Spanish-speaking or, even better, Bolivian readers who can comment?

Local nuance matters. Thread:


The same issues apply with Maduro in Venezuela.

Bolivia’s Almost Impossible Lithium Dream Bloomberg. From 2018, still germane.

Venezuela selling cut-price oil as US sanctions bite FT


Here’s What British Companies Have Been Saying About Brexit Bloomberg

Jeremy Corbyn ‘will put national security at risk’: Spies fear UK could be frozen out of Five Eyes alliance amid claims Labour leader’s close aides will be BANNED from seeing top secret material over hard-Left links Daily Mail. So the “Five Eyes” is a supra-national entity more loyal to itself than to the voters who give each “Eye” legitimacy? Good to know.

Far right makes big gains as Socialists top inconclusive Spanish poll FT


Iran discovers new oil field with over 50 billion barrels AP

Iran starts key step in building second nuclear power plant: TV Reuters


Hong Kong police shoot protester, man set on fire AP

Hong Kong police and paramedics turn on each other at anti-government protest, as relations between emergency services continue to sour South Cinna Morning Post

* * *
Signs of a deal between US and China, and a rethink The Interpreter

Opening up to foreign capital would be a mixed blessing for China FT

Contractors hit as China local government defaults rise FT

Foreigners visiting China are increasingly stumped by its cashless society Boing Boing


Impeachment: the allegations against US President Donald Trump Agence France Presse. Good summary

William Barr is racing to deliver a report that blows up the impeachment inquiry—and everything else Daily Kos. Consider the source, but I don’t see this put together elsewhere.

Trump aides fear John Bolton’s secret notes Axios

Trump Transition

Who will betray Trump? Politico

Nikki Haley claims top aides tried to recruit her to ‘save the country’ by undermining Trump WaPo

The Blob: Still Chasing After Pax Americana Andrew Bacevich, The American Conservative


Sanders, campaigning with AOC, says potential Bloomberg bid shows ‘the arrogance of billionaires’ ABC

New Poll Shows Democratic Candidates Have Been Living in a Fantasy World Jonathon Chait, New York Magazine. From last week, still germane. “[I]n six swing states — Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona — Trump is highly competitive… Almost two-thirds of the people who supported Trump in 2016, and then a Democrat in the 2018 midterms, plan to vote for Trump again in 2020.”

Trump’s Economy Is Working for Minorities Bloomberg

Our Famously Free Press

The Death of the Rude Press The New Republic (UserFriendly).

From symbiont to parasite: the evolution of for-profit science publishing Molecular Biology of the Cell

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Alexa can you see? Amazon’s device could have EYES and even WALK in the future – despite privacy concerns about the gadget recording conversations Daily Mail. “[Amazon devices boss Dave Limp] also announced several new Alexa features he said had been designed to give users more control over their data. It includes the ability to ask Alexa what the assistant heard and a new auto-delete tool which will automatically wipe all a user’s saved audio recordings every three or 18 months.” So it takes three months minimum for Amazon to extract all the value from my data?

Guillotine Watch

The Seattle suburb where Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates both live is running out of money CNBC. From July, still germane.

Harrods Sets $2,500 Minimum Spend to Visit Santa Claus Bloomberg

Armored ICE Vehicle Sparks Panic In Queens During Firearms Bust Gothamist

Class Warfare

All of America’s 607 Billionaires Must Run for President The Intercept

Billionaires fear Warren and Sanders – but they should fear us all Robert Reich, Guardian

A $45,000 Loan for a $27,000 Ride: More Borrowers Are Going Underwater on Car Loans WSJ

Chicago book returns surge 240% after city eliminates fines ABC7

Terms of Service YouTube. “YouTube may terminate your access, or your Google account’s access to all or part of the Service if YouTube believes, in its sole discretion, that provision of the Service to you is no longer commercially viable.” Well, of course. But still.

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.


  1. cnchal

    > Coca-Cola is world’s largest plastic polluter for second year straight NY Post

    Everything would be fine if Coca Cola flowed from your taps. Then everyone could have an ass four feet wide, and be treated for diabetes.

    1. xkeyscored

      And cocaine would be ten times cheaper and more available. They still use coca leaves, with the active ingredients removed, as the basis for the flavouring. With enough coca grown for Coke to flow like tap water, huge amounts of cocaine would no doubt leak into the market.

      1. Procopius

        Oddly, that’s been the result of the War on Drugs. Cocaine is cheaper and easier to get now than it was in 1972, when Nixon announced the program. By the way, has anybody but me ever noticed, you never hear about a bond salesman or investment banker getting busted for possession of cocaine, much less an executive at a tech company?

    2. Eclair

      I amuse myself occasionally by identifying some aspect of modern life that has a large carbon footprint, pollutes air-water, require huge amounts of single-use plastic and is totally unnecessary for human life. In fact, its elimination would probably improve quality of life, life expectancy, health, etc. Watching the lumbering Coke delivery trucks pull up in the supermarket parking lot, sets off this train of thought. Just say NO!

      Of course, my ban would not apply to beer delivery trucks! But local brews are becoming more available and, if one is fortunate, there is a neighborhood shop that offers an assortment for your growler refill.

      1. Wukchumni

        Our local brewery opened a couple years ago, and its been a big hit. Hoisted a couple pints there last night with friends, not too far from a chiminea warming fire.

        When I was of drinking age in many countries-but not here yet, scoring sixers of Milwaukee-made Löwenbräu (back when putting aluminum foil over the top of the bottle cap made it upscale as a selling point) was about as good as it got circa 1979, and little breweries such as ours, were completely unheard of, but a lot more commonplace now.

        Funny how there were about as many beer choices back then, as there are apple choices now, roughly a dozen.

        1. mpalomar

          Brooklyn around 1900 was the biggest municipal brewer in the US. There were also many varietals as saloons were also often brewers.
          The Belge brew some nice suds or did, I haven’t been in a long time.

      2. David B Harrison

        Alcohol causes more misery than any other substance on Earth.It is a major factor in sexual assault,driving accidents,child abuse,suicide,murder,gun violence,accidents of any kind,domestic violence,physical ailments,early death,etc.If people would use it moderately it would not be a problem but in a sick society moderation is nearly unknown.It should not get a free pass.

        1. Robert McGregor

          Yes, alcohol can be a big problem, but it’s big benefits are:

          1) People enjoy it with food and socializing
          2) It likely has some healthful benefits–reduction of stress, and heart attacks, and many long-lived peoples drink daily wine (see the book, “Blue Zones”)

          For other drugs like sugar, heroin, fentanyl–the societal costs overwhelmingly exceed the benefits in personal pleasure.

            1. ambrit

              Yeah, well, over here medicos give seriously pained patients morphine and vegetate them. Enlightened places like Europe give serious cases heroin. It is a H— of a lot more efficient and allows the patient to actually be aware of their surroundings. So, yes, I approve of your sentiment. (This comment purely for medicinal use.)

              1. Procopius

                Yeah, that’s why heroin was developed. The researchers, highly disciplined people, did not get addicted, so they thought it was non-addictive, unlike morphine, which they meant to replace. If somebody is in the late stages of a terminal illness, why should heroin not be used?

          1. xkeyscored

            Reducing the stresses caused by our modern societies might be a better approach than using alcohol to forget them.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            When drinking water was not very safe, wine and beer were drunk.

            Today, it is not safe in a few places in the US, but generally it is not so bad that boiling it would not make it not too riskier than the water that goes into making wine or beer.

            Environmental impact wise, not drinking alcohol will eliminate the energy and materials needed to ferment, package and transport alcohol drinks. And fewer acres for growing wheat, rice, etc. — less forest clearing, as existing fields open up to grow crops for eating instead of imbibing.

      3. Paddlingwithoutboats

        Watching the Stephen Fry show, QI, lately for a humour break, they had a question about how could one reduce their family carbon footprint most. Family pic showed two WASP sort partents, two kids, van/SUV and dog.

        The answer was the dog due to the meat production, feces, et al involved in it being equivilent to the impact of two Range Rovers.

        Kids way more but the question was not structured to put that at the top. Most responses were about the van.

        I comment from a very wealthy, $60k and up SUV, dog and kid saturated area of mostly WASP sorts in Canada. Underscores the insular quality thinking developed.

        No one talks about these issues, carry on, nothing to do, my change won’t matter and I’m getting my due.

        1. JEHR

          Just watched a few Stephen Fry videos. He used to have a podcast but went on to bigger and better things so he could earn a living. I love his humour. We used to get a lot of English radio comedy shows that were very cerebral (for comedy): The Benny Hill Show, The Goon Show, I’m Sorry I’ll Read that Again, Whose Line Is It Anyway? etc. I miss them.

          1. Oregoncharles

            That depends on whether it’s mixed with irremovable toxins, like heavy metals.

            If not, it can be anaerobically digested to produce natural gas and kill bacteria, then spread on fields – carefully, so as not to run off into streams. Circular economy.

            Of course, as presently managed, it’s toxic waste. And why are dangerous poisons in people’s homes, anyway?

            1. redleg

              Heavy metals are much easier to remove than scents, perfumes, hormones, antimicrobials, mental health drugs, PFCs, etc., none of which are removed by conventional wastewater treatment processes.
              The environmental impact of scents/perfumes alone is huge- they act as hormones in local wildlife.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Thanks for the comment.

                Searching around, I see perfumes contain ingredients that impact the person’s hormones. Do perfumes contain hormones? Perhaps you mean something different when you say ‘they act as hormones in local wildlife’ – perhaps you mean they disrupt hormones in wildlife?

                I also find out that chemicals in perfumes can get inside and build up in your body. That’s how they show up in human waste, I assume.

                Each of us humans smells a certain way for a good evolutionary reason, I suppose. And suppressing them, with deodorants, is not natural nor healthy (for the user and the environment). And I suppose lacking the requisite smell to succeed socially, one is free to remedy that deficiency; though, it pays to be careful and to know the ingredients.

                1. Oregoncharles

                  perfumes would end up in bath water, along with anything else you put on yourself. There are also perfumes in, eg, laundry detergent or softener, as well as on the clothes.

                  This is making me glad we mostly don’t use them aside from mint or lemon scent in soap.

    3. xkeyscored

      But instead Coca Cola has a team of dedicated lawyers, scientists, politicians and PR experts. You can’t have a Coke, or be treated for diabetes, without a legal team and a team of lawyers. And the government, who have a stake in their product’s success, has a team of lobbyists too.
      This is the real story, but it isn’t covered in the mainstream media, so people don’t realize how screwed up the world is.

      The above is a continuation of cnchal‘s comment “Everything would be fine if Coca Cola flowed from your taps. Then everyone could have an ass four feet wide, and be treated for diabetes” as generated by an AI, just released:

      Talk to Transformer
      See how a modern neural network completes your text. Type a custom snippet or try one of the examples. Learn more below.
      Follow @AdamDanielKing for more neat neural networks.
      Update Nov 5: The full-sized GPT-2 is finally released! Try it out.

  2. Colonel Smithers

    Thank you, Lambert.

    Further to the discovery of a new oil field in Iran, Khuzestan province, those who covet their neighbour’s goods will be heartened when they look at the map and ethnic composition of the area. The province is near enough client states and monarchies opposed to Iran and Shiites. The province is also diverse, so ideal for destabilisation. It’s a lot easier to facilitate a secession there, if not occupy it like the Syrian oil fields, than march, like “real men”, on Tehran as the neo cons and so called friends of America wished.

    On that somewhat military note, I was at the Cenotaph with family and friends yesterday, real soldiers, not chicken hawks. Boris Johnson seemed the worst for wear and laid his wreath the wrong way round. Can one imagine that Corbyn had done that? The MSM would have made the character assassination of Michael Foot seem like afternoon tea and scones.

    If Labour means business, they should crucify Johnson and the Tories for their shameful neglect of servicemen and women.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      The other noticeable thing about the commemoration was that the four “great offices” of state are all occupied by Brexiteers and er, um, well, like, foreigners, i.e. Sasha Kemal Johnson, Dominic Raab, Sajid Javid and Priti Patel.

      1. Monty

        Thank you Colonel.

        I expect your saw the Beeb’s coverage of the wreath gaffe you mentioned?
        [SPOILER ALERT – they attempted to cover it up.]

        “The BBC has issued an apology for playing an out-of-date clip of Boris Johnson laying a wreath of poppies on BBC Breakfast, citing a “production mistake” as the cause.”

        As a great man once said, “The mistakes all go one way!”.

    2. John A

      Lucky for Boris that the BBC spotted his wreath gaffe and showed footage from him wreath laying in 2016 instead. When sharp eyed viewers pointed out the mistake, the BBC said it was “an accidental selection of the wrong clip, not a conspiracy”. Of course not.

  3. dearieme

    I’m baffled that adults choose to drink such huge quantities of brown sugar-water. Have they never acquired adult palates?

      1. notabanker

        For us OFAC compliant US citizen’s, Diplomatico also works well. With an added bonus of feasting in the irony of it’s brand given it’s Venezuelan origin.

    1. inode_buddha

      As children we were lucky if we had pop a few times a year. As adults we’re doing 58 hour weeks in a town 30 miles away and can buy all the pop we want. Not everybody is a coffee drinker — tastes disgusting, I don’t care what brand.

      1. marieann

        I also hate coffee, my drink of choice is black tea….made properly, so unless I’m in a British restaurant I have water.

              1. ambrit

                Way down yonder in New Orleans it shall be Cafe Au Lait, Beignets, and Blunderbusses! See you at the Dueling Oak at dawn suh!

        1. inode_buddha

          I’ve been known to have hot water with a squirt of lemon in the mornings, good for the system.

          1. JEHR

            I, too, drink a huge glass of warmish water early in the morning (6:15 am) which makes for a great start for the day. I also drink milk with meals and try to avoid all soda pop.

              1. dearieme

                There’s a Morello Cherry kefir with which I have fallen in love. It’s kefir of the drinking sort rather than the “spoonable” sort.

                The first time I had kefir it reminded me of 1960s yoghurt – before yog became sweet muck for children.

      2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        My Dad swore by it for cleaning old coins for his collection – kinda put me off early on.

        1. Wukchumni

          Never heard of that one, and I could write a treatise on ‘better coins through chemistry’.

          Those used most in my arsenal of secret agents in that regard, were acetone & ammonia. When the latter was applied to the right copper coin in a certain state of preservation, a Cent worth of ammonia could add mucho added value, as it greatly improved the look & condition of an aged round metal disc.

          I had a microwave oven that was for numismatics only! You really shouldn’t nuke metal items to enhance their appearance, unless there was money in it.

          1. The Rev Kev

            My late father, who was a builder, use to clean rusty nails by leaving them in a glass of coke overnight.

            1. remmer

              When I was in high school, and working part time at the corner gas station, I saw mechanics use Coke to clean greasy car parts. Sometimes they used it to clean their own hands.

                  1. Andrew Thomas

                    My uncle told me it was great for cleaning chrome bumpers that were used on all cars back then. Shined like new.

            1. Wukchumni

              Microwaving metal of different compositions yields varying results…

              Older U.S. Au coins sometimes get copper spots on the surface, as the alloy composition was 10% copper, and using the right chemicals and 30 seconds on high, and bye-bye ugly look, hello desirability.

        2. JCC

          Kids like to collect stuff. When we were kids there was a short fad collecting old hand-made square nails used to build farm sheds and barns way-back-when. My Father taught me the same trick, drop them in a glass of coke to get rid of the rust. It also had the added benefit of turning his children away from never-ending coca-cola consumption due to the eye-opening “yech” factor.

        3. Parker Dooley

          That was the phosphoric acid in it. Grrreat for your teeth (/s). Don’t know if that is still an ingredient.

      3. petal

        I’m in the I Hate Coffee club, too, guys! Can’t stand the stuff-esp the smell. It’s suffocating and the drinkers assume everyone likes it. It’s funny, on the bus I ride, the biggest people(the 2-seaters) are always drinking big coffees, either hot or iced. I never see them drinking pop. And since the local hospital banned sugared drinks(only the diet with aspartame is allowed to be sold), I am pretty sure the staff has grown larger. But, just my personal observations, so YMMV. Have a good Monday.

        1. Wukchumni

          Everything changed circa 1984 in our consumption of soda, when fast food places installed the help yourself fountains, and who can resist seconds or thirds, or?

        2. a different chris

          >the drinkers assume everyone likes it. I

          Not me!! B/C I hated it until I was 30, then I suddenly went a complete 180 on it. But they say “there’s no accounting for taste” and that’s true, so “I don’t like coffee” is fine but “coffee is terrible, why do you people all drink it?” is just self-centered shise.

          Do agree with the “diet stuff seems to make everybody fatter” observation, for sure. What an idiotic idea whoever started that had. Our medical profession is so dumb.

          1. Procopius

            I certainly agree our medical professionals do not seem to be able to figure out how to lose fat. I wonder if eating only from dawn until noon works. I see very few overweight Buddhist monks. Seriously, it’s a demonstration of the misaligned incentives in medicine. They prefer to not cure a disease, just find a way to mitigate the symptoms — temporarily.

        3. marieann

          “I’m in the I Hate Coffee club, too, guys! Can’t stand the stuff-esp the smell”

          I like the smell…I can’t figure out why, sometimes I walk down the coffee aisles in the store just to smell the coffee.
          Weird that something that pleases my olfactory senses disgusts my taste buds

          1. ptb

            if you like the smell, there’s prob a variation that will be good. maybe try a lighter roast and a drop of whole milk to neutralize the acidity? there’s a sweet spot on that spectrum for me – neither too light nor too dark. Also, lighter roasts let through the flavors in the coffee fruit (a type of wild cherry essentially), and too light and this tastes “raw” which isn’t good either. besides that these are made to intentionally vary quite a bit along fancy coffees, depending on the plant, region, type of drying and pulping process etc… some are nice, some are like ‘why is that flavor there? go away’…

            but first step: most coffee in the US is roasted way too hard to cut through the typically large amounts of sugar, and possibly the taste of the typical paper cup (go ceramic duh).

            it’s definitely an acquired taste tho. to each their own

      4. Massinissa

        I weaned myself off milk and soda as an adult by drinking flavored water instead. Never been into coffee.

        The bad news is that if Aspartame ends up causing cancer or something I’m screwed, but otherwise it should keep my weight down since its 0 calories. I still drink milk sometimes, I just love the taste too much, but I’ve cut down my consumption of it by like 3/4.

        Sometimes I get a soda from a vending machine if I’m desperate for a caffeine fix, but thats only once a week, at most. I’m sure soda is fine, it just… Isn’t fine when people drink multiple cans or bottles of the stuff every day.

        Though I don’t judge. If people want to drink that stuff every day that’s really their business. People should stop health-shaming people IMO.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Smoking ban is more than health shaming. It’s a step beyond shaming.

          And banning meat is being bandies about.

          In some cities, soft drinks of certain size or larger are banned, not just shamed.

    2. T

      One of those for whom there is no better headache killer than the first few fizzy ounces of a canned room tempature diet coke. Not particularly tasty, but as effective as having an off switch for a minor headache.

  4. jeremyharrison

    Can’t wait for the John Bolton Book Tour, during which he’ll appear on The View, and he and Whoopi Goldberg will sing a duet of You Are The Wind Beneath My Wings.

    Then I’ll switch channels to Fox, and watch Barr get interviewed after he starts indicting people – but I won’t get to see him during commercial breaks, as the Hot Chicks on Fox take him backstage for passionate make out sessions.

    All this and football season too!

    1. Robert McGregor

      @jeremy, I love your writing, and how it produces intense visual imagery–almost hallucinogenic! The juxtaposition of John Bolton, William Barr, the Hot Chicks on Fox, and passionate make out sessions backstage, is pure novelty and artistry!

        1. newcatty

          Jeremy, the cherry on top of your delish description of our cherished soap opera dishes on tee vee was the last sentence: “All this and football season too !”

          That’s entertainment [ propaganda, spicy sauce, hallucinogenic mesmerizing, gladiator spectacles, military rah, rah, rah; true life crime drama and infomercials].

    2. bob

      Megan McCain would try to join the singing, but would be so tongue-tied and twisted she would storm off the set. There are too many words in the chorus!

    3. The Rev Kev

      We’ll know when he has been fully redeemed when he gets a hug from Ellen DeGeneres and a lolly from Michelle Obama.

  5. Olga

    This may have been posted, but just in case (on Virginia elections):

    “Dominion Energy, the privately owned utility company, has long cast a shadow across the state, buying favor in both parties as the most generous donor in state history, writing its own lax regulatory rules, and funneling consumer bills into billions of dollars of investor dividends and executive compensation.
    The election results mark a turning point that will likely transform into a brutal legislative fight in 2020 over the future of energy policy, corporate consolidation, and climate change. Virginia Democrats were once just as loyal to the energy giant as Republicans, dutifully passing nine-figure tax breaks year after year for Dominion, alongside other giveaways directly requested by the company’s lobbyists. Dominion lobbyists have crushed attempts to allow consumers to use “net metering,” or the use of rooftop solar power to send electricity back to the grid in exchange for credits, and passed laws specifically crafted to dodge limits on pollution by coal power plants.”

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      “Dominion crushed”

      This might be true in the future, but the Democrats simply have had no Interest in these reforms, specifically these reforms or any kind of effort to achieve these reforms. I’m not sure the Dominion lobbyist even sends out emails with their positions. The default position of Team Blue is to reward GOP interests in hopes of future rewards. A few of the state senators are good and there might three delegates who are good, but the lower house democrats are by and large trash.

      “Crushed” is simply not a word I would use. Relying on the long term implications of the rightward shifts of the national democrats as the solid south declined to carry out right wing agendas without conflict is more accurate.

    2. Another Scott

      Since when is deregulating electricity something that the left advocates? Liberals, yes, but deregulation tends to increase costs for consumers. Look at the groups calling for it. According to the home page of the group (

      “Appalachian Voices | Clean Virginia | Earth Stewardship Alliance | FreedomWorks | Piedmont Environmental Council | R Street Institute | Reason Foundation | Virginia Institute for Public Policy | Virginia Poverty Law Center”

      FreedomWorks? R Street Institute? The Reason Foundation? Why are environmentalists working with extremely right-wing groups like them? Deregulation is also strongly supported by companies like Direct Energy.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Its not deregulation as much as removing the private monopolies monopoly control. For example, Virginia has a number of nutty laws limiting switches to solar.

        -one, Dominion and the other private companies get to decide who actually has access. It is not a simple matter of meeting requirements.
        -two, Dominion et al get to cap the amount of “green” energy supplied to the grid.
        -three, solar customers are limited on what can be sold back to the grid at market rates for fossil fuel generation. Again solar customers need to be “approved” by Dominion, not government inspectors.
        -four, Dominion can sell “green energy” generated by non-Dominion suppliers for above market rates and doesn’t have to split the profits. This isn’t indicated on the bill or contracts put out by Dominion. Yes, its part of statute, but you would have to know its part of statute to find out about it.

        There are more problems. I can’t rattle them off anymore. The limits of the state tax collection system and the size and capabilities of the current Virginia bureaucracy (any state really) put limits on what can be done at the state level in the short term. I would prefer the state to simply take control, but again, I was trying to put together legislation (I tried to get all this stuff passed as a legislative aid in the Virginia House of Delegates; this is still what I had Legislative Services put together for my boss) that might have a reasonable chance of passing or at least shaming enough people into propelling a conversation forward. I was younger and more naïve, but admittedly, this is my baby in many ways.

        Dominon’s lobbying efforts weren’t the problem. It was the fundamental hold of the “Third Way” philosophy over Team Blue and candidate recruitment revolving around non-entities. Which isn’t to suggest Dominion won’t fight, its just they haven’t tried to work very hard yet. Dominion and for-profit monopolies are the worst of the worst.

        1. a different chris

          So break the monopolies with dereg and then try to put it all back together again in the right way? This actually makes sense, these times require both radical thinking and long term goals.

          We only get that kind of thinking for the Middle East – where it won’t work because we have no idea what the frell we are actually doing – sadly.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Well, it made sense. The crisis is here.

            When I did this, my vision was a mix of keeping up with the Jones and coming back for more with evidence of success. At the time, I was also trying to help small home owners associations (I know. I know) and renters (I had less of a plan for this, but my boss thought we should just try the spaghetti to the wall approach and then follow through on what gained traction). I convinced myself that groups like local governments/churches would raise money to put solar panels on things and could be conned into turning part of the future revenue into supporting other non-profit solar set ups.

            I did believe starving the beast was possible through “sensible”, “consumer friendly” reforms. Virginia has a part time legislature with minimal staff for the legislators and unintended consequences from Dillon’s law, so maintaining a force from session to session is very difficult. Dominion seems so obviously evil. Like people who don’t see Joe Biden as an evil doofus who belongs to the 1850’s (no typo), I don’t know.

        2. Another Scott

          Allowing other companies to sell electricity (including solar) to consumers is one of the most commonly accepted definitions of deregulation. For example, here’s the definition according to

          “In regulated markets, the utility holds control over the complete energy vertical. What this means is, from start to finish, from the generation of electricity all the way down to the customer’s meter, the utility owns everything.

          Electricity deregulation takes some of this ownership away from the utility.

          In a deregulated market, the utility controls distribution, maintenance of wires and poles, and invoicing of the consumer for those services. In an electricity deregulated market, companies known as REPs — Retail Electricity Providers — provide the delivery of electricity to the customer (the supply of electricity).”

          If you are advocating allowing companies other than the local utility to sell electricity through the lines, then you are advocating for the deregulation of the electric industry. Dominion is using the typical utility opposition to this as it reduces their rate base for regulated generation (this is also why standby rates kill many cogen projects in its service territory).

    3. Danny

      Dominion soundslike Pacific Gas & Electric in California; A corporate parasite feeding within a political system that has been financially beholden to it for decades, with the added danger of a Mediterranean climate fire season spiced up with poorly maintained power lines, high pressure gas pipes and two nuclear reactors sitting atop an earthquake fault complex, given a new lease on life by our boy wonder Lothario governor.

      California Governor Newsom is being asked to demand an investigation of the plant’s weaknesses. He is resisting, seemingly more interested in maintaining PG&E’s credit rating than assuring the safety of tens of millions of Californians.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Armored ICE Vehicle Sparks Panic In Queens During Firearms Bust”

    With all due respect, if a spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the agents were there as part of a federal investigation into a firearms suspect, should that then not have been a job for the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)? After all, they did promise that they learnt their lesson after Waco and wouldn’t do it again.

    1. Janie

      ICE has authority to operate within 100 miles of the border, which includes the coasts. A big majority of us live within that strip.

      1. inode_buddha

        …. which means pretty much *all* of NYC is in a “Constitution-Free zone”

        No thanks, I think I’ll stay in flyover.

        1. katiebird

          I think ICE also operates around ports — Like something in the Kansas City area. At least that was the explanation we got when ICE surround my next door neighbor’s house (with really scary looking weapons) then after 15 minutes left crashing into my car in the process.

            1. inode_buddha

              Things like this weigh heavily on my choice of where to move to in flyover, around retirement time.

    2. Danny

      Tanks in the street!

      This is what Beto meant when he said “hell yeah, we’re coming for your AR-15.”

      Whatever it takes to prevent ‘gun violence.’

      1. JBird4049

        Actually, the supposed existence of them mad dog dangerous drug kingpins were probably the original justification for military equipment like the M113 armored personnel carriers that some police departments have. I wonder just why any police think that they need one. Oh, and the ban on new equipment has been lifted. Anyways, that armored car(BearCat?) is almost a toy next to an M113 although I believe that the former is not considered “military” while the latter is military. Aside from the dimensions, both are heavy machine gun resistant, blast resistant, have a weapons mount for things like heavy machine guns, and carry around ten passengers, plus crew.

        Also, if it is a firearms bust, which means the ATF, just what on earth is ICE doing there? The ATF can be clownishly incompetent, but ICE seems to be even worse. Perhaps, they thought all the illegals were dangerous heavily armed terrorists and wanted to help? Maybe they though Queens is like Mosul?

  7. David Carl Grimes

    Is Your Employer Stealing From You?
    Millions of workers lose billions in stolen wages every year—nearly as much as all other property theft.

  8. Wukchumni

    …a particularly grisly rattlesnake story

    A Rattle With Death in Yosemite

    When Kyle Dickman set out on a month-long road trip with his wife and infant son last spring, he was fueled by a carefree sense of adventure that had defined his entire life. Then he got bit by a venomous snake in a remote area of Yosemite National Park, and the harrowing event changed everything.

    It took four more days for me to move from a bed to a chair. Two more to stand up. And eight before the doctors released me. By then my platelets had finally stabilized at a level high enough to rule out spontaneous bleeding. In the end, the total bill for the final stop of our monthlong road trip to introduce Bridger to the West was $450,000.

    A seen rattlesnake on our property is a shovel ready rattler, not worth the risk of being bitten.

    1. Christ on a Bike

      Overheard at Big Bend NP in south Texas, a ranger briefing a prospective camper: ‘There have been 13 rattlesnake bites in the last 20 years. All of them were doing things they shouldn’t have been doing.’

      My numbers are not exact, but I’ll never forget that statement.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        we have 4-5 rattlesnake bites every may-june-july.
        i hear them on the scanner(“local news”)
        almost exclusively among the Flower People–the local term for tourists who come for the wildflowers, pull over on the side of the highway, and leap into the knee high flowers to get their picture taken.
        emt buddy says that the anti-venin is strictly rationed(he didn’t know why), and that these “ferriners” usually use up the supply allotted to our county every year.
        I have learned to tolerate all snakes, except for rattlers.(within 300 feet of the house)
        the enormous texas ratsnakes musk is a rattler deterrent(the latter are afeared of the former)….and possums are immune to rattler venom, and feast on the (live born) baby rattlers.
        I encourage both to reside under the house for this reason…in spite of the howls of wife.

        a related and worrisome development: more and more, rattlers no longer rattle…humans have inadvertently bred it out of them(those who rattle get the shovel).
        so keep yer eyes peeled.

        1. JBird4049

          There are always some people who do want their Darwin Award. Oh, look, poisonous snake, let’s check it out!

          My question is why does rattler antivenin $18,000 per vial? Are they doing a Shkreli?

          1. Oregoncharles

            Are you volunteering to collect the venom it’s made from?

            (I agree it shouldn’t be so steep, but I’m suggesting a reason. Not new technology, though.)

    2. JCC

      I had an interesting conversation with a guy who works on the “north range” of the China Lake NavAir Base just last week regarding rattlers.

      The north range is about 40 miles of dirt roads through the Mojave Desert to the nearest hospital and the area has lots and lots of sidewinders. Also, the nearest hospital does not carry anti-venom (very expensive and doesn’t keep long), which means a 40 mile drive in the back of a pickup truck followed by a $40K helicopter trip to L.A.

      He told me that the standard warning to newcomers out there is, “Watch out for snakes. And if you get bit, we will add insult to injury by knocking you out with a 2×4.” Apparently, according to this guy, the procedure slows down the metabolism/blood flow long enough to, maybe, get you to a hospital in time to save your life.

    3. skippy

      As a Kid growing up in AZ, near Uncles Dobson’s Rch [now a golf course], we used to hunt rattle snakes with BB gun and bow and arrow. Normally only a concern around dawn and dusk when at height of movement, rest of day out of the sun so people moving stuff should be wary, cold at night so activity drops, save checking sleeping arrangements outside which might induce them to cuddle up.

      But the same goes for scorpions around pools, in footwear and bags.

      Yet then an old miner in a shack near our property up in Payson had a rock basement filled with rattlers as guard dogs and pest control, had no issues walking right through them, could not say the same for anyone else.

  9. Wukchumni

    You wonder how a private equity firm could mess up our
    National Parks, the difference being there isn’t anything really to sell off in them.

    A concessionaire with operations in Acadia National Park, Mammoth Cave National Park, Death Valley National Park, and several other units of the National Park System has sold a majority interest to a private equity firm.

    Back during the summer Shane Ortega, president of Ortega National Parks, told the Mount Desert Islander news outlet that it wasn’t being purchased by another company. But last week it was announced that Nolan Capital, Inc., had become the company’s majority owner. The announcement, which didn’t cite any financial numbers, said the sale would allow Ortega to continue to expand its operations.

    “We are extraordinarily proud to partner with the Ortega family in this investment,” said Peter Nolan, chairman of Nolan Capital. “ONP has had a long history of service and it is our mission to continue as a responsible steward of our park partner’s assets and resources. We are committed to serving our guests and visitors while respecting the environment and furthering the mission of these great public assets.”

  10. 115kV

    Dominion is getting down to business in South Carolina, too, with the purchase of SCANA (bankrupted by the 1/3 finished Summer nuclear plant units 2 and 3). Quite a sweet deal made with the legislature. Maybe they’ll buy Santee Cooper and have a real monopoly.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Hong Kong leader pledges stiffer measures after violent day”

    The news was all about that police shooting but the other story that only got a two-sentence mention in this article was the guy being set on fire for daring to disagree with the protestors and who had the temerity to say that they were all Chinese after all. I guess that did not fit the narrative that the protesters are peace-loving people who are being forced against their will to commit so many acts of mass destruction. Story at-

    1. Massinissa

      Its only a matter of time until this escalates into armed warfare…

      I’m also afraid that Hong Kong may end up becoming an international incident if it starts becoming progressively more violent on both sides.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The police is still investigating…the guy in black who set the fire did not seem to be with the group the victim was confronting.

      Was the perpetrator an agent provocateur? .

    3. integer

      Happened in Venezuela too:

      Burning Man in Venezuela The Nation

      The other day, anti-government protesters in Venezuela set a man on fire, severely burning nearly 80 percent of his body. The man had brown skin, and government supporters say he was a Chavista, to highlight the racist savagery of their adversaries. The opposition says he was a thief.

      The video of the incident—which shows an anti-government protester throwing accelerant on the man, who then bursts into flames and runs down the street as other protesters, rather than help douse the fire, let him burn—is horrific. It obviously doesn’t fit the narrative of brave, virtuous, democratic activists facing down a tyrannical government.

  12. zagonostra

    >The State of the American Debt Slaves, Q3 2019

    Not sure below was previously posted, excellent charts as always from Wolf Street

    Student-loan balances jumped by 5.1% in the third quarter compared to Q3 last year, or by $80 billion, to a new horrifying record of $1.64 trillion, having skyrocketed by 120% in the 10 years since Q3 2009, according to Federal Reserve data released Thursday afternoon.

  13. inode_buddha

    Re: YouTube release changes, I’m saddened but not surprised. There is tremendous pressure on content creators to “monetize” their channels, as if YouTube wasn’t already making money off the advertisers. And of course YouTube is a private entity which means they can censor as they see fit. I watch a lot of documentaries, DIY shows, nature, and historical interpretation. Much of this content is amazingly high quality compared to the absolute crap on cable TV. But these content creators would never be able to host the videos themselves because the bandwidth costs are astronomical. Even with a paid sub model.

    1. Summer

      “There is tremendous pressure on content creators to “monetize” their channels, as if YouTube wasn’t already making money off the advertisers. And of course YouTube is a private entity which means they can censor as they see fit.”

      The tell about whether channels being taken down over lack of generating profit or censhorship will be easy to see but hard to prove because of course there is the new version of “talk to the hand” dismissiveness: (throw up hand like a stop sign) “talk to the algo.”

    2. Massinissa

      History channels on YT are getting progressively demonetized. Talking about WW2 at all does it, which is bad enough, but even having ‘Afghanistan’ in the title of the video leads to demonetization now. YT apparently thinks history is ‘controversial’ now and is demonetizing much of it. These channels are often forced into peddling patreons or finding shitty video games to sponsor them rather than rely on revenue from YT.

      1. inode_buddha

        Controversy is where they find it. I found it wonderful from the standpoint of an artist, to be able to review 17th century fashion, often with period pieces..

  14. wandering mind

    Some background on the situation in Bolivia. I’ve been visiting Bolivia once or twice a year for about 15 years and get outside of the major cities of La Paz and Santa Cruz when I go.

    Evo Morales was first elected with 53.7% of the vote in 2005, the first candidate to win an absolute majority in 40 years.

    In 2006 there was a Constituent Assembly to form a new constitution. More than half of the elected delegates to this Assembly were from Morales’ party (Movemiento a Socialismo or MAS). Among other things, the new constitution called for terms limits on the President, Vice-President and members of the national congress (two consecutive terms).

    In 2008 there was an attempt at a recall of Morales by conservatives from the Eastern part of the country, which failed. Morales took 67.4% of that vote and was retained in office.

    In 2009 the Constitution was ratified in a referendum with 61.4% in favor.

    In the election of 2009 Morales won 64.2% of the vote.

    In the election of 2014, Morales won 60% of the vote.

    That election should have been the last one for Morales, since it was his second consecutive term under the new constitution.

    However, in February, 2016 Morales and MAS sponsored a referendum which would have allowed him to run for a third term.

    Morales and MAS lost the referendum.

    Thereafter, he appealed to the Supreme Court in Bolivia, which ruled that terms limits violated Morales’ human rights. He used this as a basis to run in 2019.

    In the first round of the election of 2019, on October 20, 2019, Morales won 47.1% of the vote.

    I am ignoring all of the claims about fraud in order to focus on the decline in support for Evo Morales. Between 2014 and 2019 his vote percentage went from 60% to 47.1%. A majority of Bolivians voted against the idea of his running in 2019.

    His mistake, IMHO, was not accepting the results of the referendum and the terms of the constitution. That eroded his support, along with other incidents which you can read about on his Wikipedia page.

    That being said, the opposition to Morales has expanded their protests to include members of his party, generally. Mayors, governors and some senators have been coerced into resigning (17 in 48 hours and counting). The governor of the department of Potosi, for example stated that he was resigning to restore peace to Potosi and out of concern for the safety of his family.

    The house of the mayor of Oruru was burned. She resigned. The house of Morales’ sister was burned. There were burning tires placed outside of the doorstep of the governor of Chiquisaca department. He has since resigned.

    The leaders of both houses of Congress have also resigned, both MAS party members.

    The loss of support for Morales and MAS and the general view that he was not a legitimate candidate is probably responsible for the police mutiny which took place last week and the stance of the military. which refused to move against the opposition. (However, the police have acted to prevent MAS supporters from attacking opposition demonstrators, so they are not neutral, IMO).

    It is sad that Morales refused to give up power. If MAS had chosen an alternate candidate, things might have been different.

    For now, it is unclear what will happen next. The self-appointed leader of the opposition, Luis Fernando Camacho is a right-wing nut job from Santa Cruz, the center of the conservative, racist opposition. He is calling for the arrest and criminal trial of Morales and the Vice-President. This is not vengeance, he says, but “divine justice.” (He also likes to waive the Bible from time to time.)

    There is a power vacuum which needs to be filled. The question is whether there will be free and fair elections to accomplish that. The opposition seems determined to exclude MAS members.

    The fact that there is at least a substantial minority who support MAS would make their exclusion a mistake because they are not going away and may well engage in their own protests and possibly violence if they believe that they have been excluded unfairly.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      “The self-appointed leader of the opposition, Luis Fernando Camacho is a right-wing nut job from Santa Cruz, the center of the conservative, racist opposition. He is calling for the arrest and criminal trial of Morales and the Vice-President. This is not vengeance, he says, but “divine justice.” (He also likes to waive the Bible from time to time.)”

      so in other words, *someone we can work with* even if he’s not a true-blue School of The Americas alum? /s

    2. djrichard

      The loss of support for Morales and MAS and the general view that he was not a legitimate candidate is probably responsible for the police mutiny which took place last week and the stance of the military. which refused to move against the opposition.

      If only those with the general view that he was not a legitimate candidate had a process for winning the election.

      1. wandering mind

        People I talk to there believe that had there been a second round, Evo would have lost.

        But Evo declared himself the outright winner after the first round by a razor thin margin, which ruled out a second round.

        That’s what really intensified the protests, together with allegations of fraud.

        Finally, after three weeks of protests, a police mutiny and the armed forces refusing to come to his aid, he said that he wanted new elections. But it was too late by that time.

          1. Wandering Mind

            The rule to avoid a second round is either winning an absolute majority (50% +1) or the first place finisher’s vote share being 10% greater than the second place finisher.

            Evo’s margin over Carlos Mesa in the first round was 10.57%, i.e. .57% more than he needed to avoid a second round. So yes, razor thin.

            And again, the more important point is that Evo’s vote share dropped from 60% to 47% between 2014 and 2019, which means he lost a lot of support over those five years.

            1. Monty

              He beat the second place candidate by over 10 percent. By our own electoral standards, that’s an historic ass whooping, not a razor thin margin…
              …And yes I do understand your point, he narrowly exceeded the threshold for a run off. However, your original post seemed to imply the election result was close run, when clearly it was not.

              This “60% to 47%” sounds a lot like Democrats whining about the electoral college to me. I have never heard of anyone being expected to constantly increase their majority to earn legitimacy. You just have to win.

        1. Joseph

          And yesterday the Bolivian military “asked” Morales to step down as president, which I would classify as a coup d’etat. Who exactly has assumed leadership in Bolivia since yesterday’s events? It doesn’t say much for Bolivian democracy if the military effectively removes an elected president from office.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            It doesn’t say much for Bolivian American democracy if the military CIA effectively removes an elected president from office.

            Just for a little perspective

            1. jrs

              Amazing that one can spin a coup with the Trump administration’s hands all over it (although Trump himself I don’t know) as a pro-Trump talking point.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                “Pro-Trump talking point”?

                America is in the coup business that’s for sure, the coup cannon also got aimed right back at us this time, that’s all.

                So why not simply present your argument that what I said is not a true statement instead of re-politicizing it.

                And I invite you to go back and read *any* of my NC posts and then decide whether *any* of them are “pro-Trump”. I favor representative democracy, the institutions that support it, and the rule of law. The Schiff/Pelosi rehash of RussiaGate in my view is the opposite of those things.

    3. jef

      The problem as I understand it speaking with friends from there, is that nobody even wanted to try and take up the reins from Evo and continue the good work that he was doing.

      1. wandering mind

        Not sure about at the national level, but there seemed to be some dissent within MAS at the local level in Chiquisaca around the time of the last municipal elections.

        So, it may be a case of the power not being shared. The person who I take Spanish lessons from when I am there felt that there was a hierarchy in place within the party.

    4. zagonostra

      Anya Parampil from Grayzone Al Jazeera

      I sense from Anya’s reporting that that “power vacuum” you refer to was created for a specific purpose.

      While people are focused on impeachment, all across the globe, especially in South America, the empire is busy with it what it does best, subverting gov’ts not to its liking’s. Considering the world’s largest cache of Lithium is located there, I’m sure the fingerprints of the CIA is all over what is happening.

    5. Ignacio

      I have been hearing some of the transcrips that evidently were recorded before the elections and yes, these show clearly opposition plans to invalidate the elections and mobilize citizens and military/policemen as well. Brazil’s Bolsonaro is used as an example on how they could use the evangelic church to promote their “coup”. There is one audio recommending marking the houses of Morales supporters: surrealistic (it seems to be heard with skeptisim by the audience.. It would be interesting to know when and where were those recorded.

      The picture I get is… buff! What a messy situation. Morales gave them the best excuse and I wonder why couldn’t he find a dolphin.

      1. Ignacio

        Is the term “dolphin” used as successor in english? –Lambert if you want some specific help with the audios tell me. These are long and… creepy.

        1. Oregoncharles

          No. “Successor” is best. MLTPB makes sense, too, but it isn’t much used in English.

          It’s very odd that there was no successor available; careless on Morales’ and the party’s part. Grooming a successor is part of the job – a part often neglected.

  15. tegnost

    I got the youtube email a couple of days a go and thought “damn, no more youtube”, but then it’s been quite a while since there was something interesting there, I would at times listen/watch music videos for music lessons, but the search choices were almost always the same, gone are the days when you could search and something new and different would come up, now it’s the same old same old. I got a clue from ew a couple weeks ago I think, he said no more youtube and it’s a good idea to listen to people like ew when it comes to tech and space rocks, at the least. No more youtube for me either, and I don’t expect it to be a big loss. Jimmy Dore needs to find a new outlet. Seems like a biz opportunity, but the behemoths would buy it to stifle competition because a level playing field looks really unfair to a monopolist…

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I will miss youtube. Many fine lectures I benefited from were stuffed in corners of its space. Some American Geophysical Union (AGU) lectures are posted on youtube along with lectures by Phillip Mirowski.

    2. xkeyscored

      I think the letter says they may terminate you (or was it your access?) at any time.
      I would miss Youtube. Videos of interest are often posted there, and I discover them via links on sites like this one. And they’re a lot easier to download than many alternative sites (my internet usually won’t do streaming). That said, I’ve hardly ever gone to Youtube to browse and let The Algorithm lead me where it will, and on the rare occasions when I have, it’s been a musical thread.

      1. a different chris

        > to browse and let The Algorithm lead me where it will,

        Good thing, b/c you would seriously bang your head against the monitor if you had memories of where it *used* to lead. Now I always quickly wind up in the same cul-de-sac. And it hardly matters if it’s house work or hobbies or music.

        Before, it was so interesting.

    3. The Rev Kev

      The quoted terms say: “YouTube may terminate your access, or your Google account’s access to all or part of the Service if YouTube believes, in its sole discretion, that provision of the Service to you is no longer commercially viable.”
      I would imagine that after they unsubscribed a mass of your subscribers like happened with that Canadian guy who did videos on China (he lost 800 of them) in yesterday’s Links and then they demonetized most of your videos, that then you could be terminated as being ‘no longer commercially viable’.
      You are quite right about Jimmy Dore having to look for a new home. I hope that he has backed up all his videos first in case they get deleted as has happened with other channel owners.

        1. inode_buddha

          Wonderhussy is cool, I ran across her channel a while back as a random suggestion, looking thru my usual nature vids

        2. Carolinian

          My brother loves youtube vids put out by a woman who hiked the PCT. I’d say her camera work could use an upgrade.

      1. Big Tap

        Jimmy Dore frequently had been demonitized by You Tube. When he disagrees with the dominant media dogma it occurs.

    4. inode_buddha

      Re: youtube policy changes, I have to say I’m disappointed but not surprised. As if they aren’t making tons of money off the advertisers anyways, maybe it isn’t enough for them. And there is tremendous pressure on content creators to “monetize” their channels. And of course being a private entity they can censor any way they wish.

      I watch mostly documentaries, nature shows, DIY shows, and historical interpretation/art. The quality of these channels makes cable TV look like crap, and I don’t have to bundle 800 channels that I’ll never watch, for $250 a month.

      Unfortunately there are very few options for content creators — hosting your own video is fnatastically expensive due to bandwidth costs. They would have to move to a subscription model.

      Youtube is going to “de-monetize” itself if they go too heavy with this.

      1. a different chris

        >As if they aren’t making tons of money off the advertisers anyways, maybe it isn’t enough for them.

        That’s neoliberalism for you. You can’t just make a profit, you have to
        1) Increase the profit level from where you are getting it (Groaf)
        2) Stop doing things that aren’t making a profit. (RIght-size)

        So, in YouTube’s case, it will even eventually, if it isn’t already, screw the successful.

    5. Kurtismayfield

      I am waiting to see whether on not they delete my channel, which I use to host science demonstrations, student work, and instructional views. It barely is a spec in the YouTube universe, but if they start getting rid of all the small scientific instructional channels then they will lose a lot of teachers using it for links .

  16. dcblogger

    “[I]n six swing states — Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona — Trump is highly competitive… Almost two-thirds of the people who supported Trump in 2016, and then a Democrat in the 2018 midterms, plan to vote for Trump again in 2020.”
    which means 1/3 have turned against Trump, all the Democrats need for victory. But Bernie appears to be betting on turning out people who usually do not vote, Iowa will give us the first test on weather he can make this strategy work.

    1. neo-realist

      Increasing the vote counter massively in those swing states with those who did not vote in 2016 should make the difference for a viable democratic candidate.

      Lawyers on the ground to check the fraud may help too.

      1. hunkerdown

        What fraud? As a private organization, The Party has the prerogative to run sham primaries now and forever, and there’s nothing the people can do about it.

        1. neo-realist

          I’m talking general election, which republicans like to game when necessary, particularly if they have the governor ‘s office and the legislature.

            1. neo-realist

              It’s just that the repub’s have a stronger track record in general elections, at least in recent history – Ohio 2004, Florida 2000.

        2. Oregoncharles

          “The Party has the prerogative to run sham primaries now and forever, and there’s nothing the people can do about it.”
          Not exactly, where the state runs the primary, as in Oregon. The parties can set some of the terms – eg, whether it’s open or not – but the state and counties administer it. Oregon has a “clean” reputation to uphold.

          The Democrat cheating in 2016 wasn’t in the vote counting, that I know of, but in the peripherals – timing of primaries, debates, registrations, and so on. And of course, the parties control the caucuses and conventions, where those apply. There is also a danger of outright fraud where the party controls the SOS office. If Republicans can do it, the Dems can. I would worry about that in some states if it looks like Bernie is doing well.

          And I believe there are a few states where the parties themselves administer the primary.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > The Democrat cheating in 2016 wasn’t in the vote counting, that I know of, but in the peripherals – timing of primaries, debates, registrations, and so on. And of course, the parties control the caucuses and conventions, where those apply. There is also a danger of outright fraud where the party controls the SOS office. If Republicans can do it, the Dems can. I would worry about that in some states if it looks like Bernie is doing well.

            Well explained. I like the term “peripherals.”

      2. a different chris

        I’m never sure how a poll of 1000 people, registered voters or not, is treated as From God (not criticizing the Water Cooler! Lambert is a lot smarter than that) but adding another 20K to the electorate is going to make a huge difference.

        I don’t believe in polls much, but I also don’t have a lot of hope for “expanding the electorate”. It either won’t be successful or it maybe will throw a squeaker one way (or another!).

        Trump won’t be a squeaker. It’s always a referendum on the incumbent, and we’ll just have to see. Sanders is a one-in-a-lifetime pol that could change it, but he won’t ever get the chance.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Is it like a bell-shaped distribution in statistics, that the ‘once in a life time’ campaign is inherently a low probability event?

          Assuming that is the case, or hypothetically speaking, depending on where it is on the curve (thus its slope), a little less of the platform would produce a large increase in probability. Or we could be further out on the same curve, and it would require giving up a lot to make it only a little more likely to succeed.

          1. Matt

            What am I missing?
            I thought that when Sanders refused to put up a fight when it was discovered the primary was stolen from him that his supporters would view him as a fraud. I viewed Sanders as a Fraud when he started towing the line for the establishment democrats and campaigning for Hillary. Sanders’ policies on corruption, war and trade had far more in common with Trump than Hillary. Yet Sanders kept on trying to convince people to vote for Hillary.

            Please let me know what I missing about Sanders for the readers of this website to still think so positively about him. If I were a sanders enthusiast before he sold out and backed Hillary Clinton, I would be more prone to support Tulsi Gabbard this time around.

    2. Neplusultra

      Those two are not mutually exclusive. Bernie appeals to the 1/3 who have turned against Trump as well as voters who usually do not vote.

    3. John k

      If the economy continues as is the incumbent will pick up quite a few that voted Clinton in 2016… witness gates unwilling to say who he would support if a progressive gets the nom.
      Bernie must bring in new swing voters, which I believe he would do. Warren?

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There are 2/3 who still support Trump – does it mean the remaining 1/3 a re against him? Does it say more in the article? Or are the remaining 1/3 undecided? Maybe, it’s a mixture of both???

    5. ewmayer

      “which means 1/3 have turned against Trump” — not at all, your wishful thinking is getting in the way of your analytical faculties. It means 1/3 may be open to alternatives, meaning who gets the D nomination looms large with these swing voters. Another D-establishment-selected neoliberal crook ain’t gonna fly with these folks any more than it did in 2016.

      Also, the 2/3 figure omits that Trump may well attract new voters he didn’t get in 2016, for instance minorities who, despite the continual impeachment-hysterics in DC and the MSM have found themselves doing reasonably well in the “Trump economy”.

    6. Oregoncharles

      A caucus state would be the most difficult for that strategy.

      He’s trying for the nomination of an essentially conservative party.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “The Blob: Still Chasing After Pax Americana”

    Andrew J. Bacevich may be reticent in naming the author of this article but a quick search showed that this author is a wonk presently employed as the Director of the Rafik Hariri Center and Middle East Programs at the Atlantic Council. The Atlantic Council! Why am I not surprised? For better or worse, the rules of the game have changed over the past twenty years and the age of missiles has leveled up the playing field a lot more. In any case, the costs are getting prohibitive as shown in this article by Danny Sjurson-

    1. DJG

      Interesting that Bacevich, who is no conservative, at least as defined these days in the U S of A, is listed as writer at large for The American Conservative. Bacevich must be suffering from the Tom Frank syndrome–no one is willing to publish him.

      The article is a must-read, and as usual, Bacevich cuts through all of the buncombe, patriotic gore, dispatches from the Academy of Foreign Policy of Laputa, and willful ignorance of history. A corrective.

    2. John Wright

      The original Blob article by William F. Wechsler has that “Only partway through a single term in office, President Trump has already far outdone them (Bush, Obama) both in the damage done to U.S. regional interests.”

      I don’t understand how a US policymaker in 2019 can have that Trump has “far outdone” Bush (Iraq) or Obama (Libya) in damage to U.S. regional interests.

      George W. Bush’s Iraq war, with its bipartisan support, huge cost in innocent foreign citizen lives lost (200K) and US military expenditure ( $3 Trillion per Joseph Stiglitz) should have done far more permanent damage to U.S regional interests, and U.S. standing around the world than anything Donald Trump has done.

      Obama’s Libya adventure and Middle East Droning also did tremendous damage to US interests/reputation, eclipsing anything Trump has done.

      One can wonder if Wechsler believes the world has forgiven/forgotten the damage that Bush and Obama did to families and countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

  18. Carolinian


    In writing about the administration, Haley recalls a disagreement she had with Tillerson and Kelly following an Oval Office showdown over her suggestion that the United States should withhold funding for the U.N. agency that supports Palestinians.

    In other words Haley encouraged Trump’s worst impulses such as withdrawing from the Iran accord and defied the Blob when, as in this instance, they happened to be right. She’s definitely 2024 material if Adelson and her other supporters have their way.

  19. Ignacio

    How Scientists Got Climate Change So Wrong NYT. “Few thought it would arrive so quickly.”

    Blame the sciencists? The article is more balanced than the headline but it fails to make a diagnostic on what when wrong in all this process. The article interestingly says that it was a 1993 study about Trumpland, err… Greenland Ice sheets is when the Science community — if there is such– became aware of the sudden change of climate. Then goes to 2002 –9 years it took– to reassess the new consensus. It took long and as far as I can tell, in 2001 (shortly before the terrorist attack, this is why I remember it so well) I attended seminars on climate change and the consensus among metereologists was already there and it was strong. The problem, as it has been said here, migth well be the IPCC itself. The complex bureaucratic structure with so many observers including oil&gas producers, and very importantly, a pannel of economists with their “move on, nothing to see here” models (as we have seen discussed here recently). Between 2001and today we haven’t been short on scientific discoveries that should have raised all eyebrows, but somehow have been downplayed or diverted with other news.

    Something similar has happened with the risk assesment of microplastics in th EU, very much downplayed by a business friendly board.

    1. xkeyscored

      Atmospheric scientists are not necessarily good communicators and influencers. Nor do they understand why their clear warnings have been effectively ignored or sidelined for so long. They tend not to froth at the mouth and flail their arms around shouting at everyone like politicians demanding a new arms factory in their constituency or a lower tax on billionaires. And if they did behave like that, the pro-climate change lobby would pounce on it as proof of their incompetence or something.
      The IPCC has indeed been conservative in its predictions, but these have been dire enough. Imagine if they had emphasised the possibility of rapid and dramatic climate change, and it had turned out less severe.
      This last year or so has seen more scientists taking the plunge and demanding the world treat this as an emergency. Some have participated in Extinction Rebellion events, and 11,000 recently signed an article to that effect. Yet the mainstream news consists mostly of Trump and Brexit; even the reporting I’ve seen on Australia’s wildfires mentions climate change as an afterthought, an interesting alternative angle.

      Still, I reckon a few more years and the most diehard deniers will start to see what’s happening. The question is, will that be too late?

      1. jrs

        “They tend not to froth at the mouth and flail their arms around shouting at everyone like politicians demanding a new arms factory in their constituency or a lower tax on billionaires.”

        blaming the general population for this one is FAR more ridiculous than blaming the scientists (but it may be neither). But the message did not get out, it’s not just that it didn’t get out with drama and feeling in a t.v. sound bite. Yea, that’s entirely irrelevant, when the problem is that it didn’t get out there for the general public at all.

        1. xkeyscored

          I’m not trying to blame the public (I don’t know why you suggest that I am), still less scientists. But the message did get out. It’s been out, and repeated ad nauseam, for decades. I don’t know who’s to blame, but we can’t say we weren’t warned.

      2. Synoia

        The IPCC published projections of Climate Change which were linear extrapolations.

        Linear growth in nature never happen. Growth curves are always “S” shaped, that is a double exponential between the origin and some, generally unknown, top limit.

        The steepness of the curve is generally unknown at the beginning of the growth curve. The most recent climate change history I’ve see, support an extrapolated curve for catastrophe in 7 to 10 years.

        Extrapolations of the slope of the curve are subject to large errors.

        My personal opinion is 70% to 90% of humans on this planet will dies, and because of the overuse of easily exploited resources, any future civilization will struggle to become established.

        The most probably set of humans who could survive are the hunter-gatherers, who possess the skills to survive. This set includes no Billionaires or Millionaires, except as food.

        As for the human race surviving in space, space is a very resource sparse desert. One needs to estimate how much petroleum product (energy) is needed to get a survivable set of humans in orbit. Approximately 1 human, with resources, will take between 10% to 50% of a supertanker’s cargo to achieve low earth orbit.

        1. xkeyscored

          Who says the IPCC’s projections are linear extrapolations? Do you have a link or reference for that? It’s news to me.

          1. Synoia

            I’ve looked at all the graphs that have crossed my path, and they were all straight line. Never was a growth function over time described, nor exponents, nor non linear or positive feedback.

            The factors in these function are difficult to predict.

            1. xkeyscored

              Have a look at this Google image results page for climate change predictions. There’s scarcely a straight line in sight.
              More feedbacks need to be and are being incorporated into the various climate models, though it’s far from easy in some cases and there’s a way to go. But I think the IPCC’s projections are neither linear nor extrapolations. They’re the combined output of several sophisticated and well-tested but imperfect models, which are under continuous refinement and development.

        2. Grebo

          Growth curves are always “S” shaped

          Not always, there are also the ‘overshoot and collapse’ and the ‘wild oscillation’ patterns. So cheer up!

      3. Braden

        Still, I reckon a few more years and the most diehard deniers will start to see what’s happening. The question is, will that be too late?

        Yes. Next question?

      4. wilroncanada

        In 2004, just after I returned to the west coast from Nova Scotia, I went to a meeting whose speaker was Andrew Weaver, the University of Victoria climate scientist, later to become leader of the BC Green Party. He was a member of the IPCC panel. He explained that the panel he was part of presented three scenarios of climate change: a conservative estimate, a moderate estimate, and a radical view. The panel put out three sets of outcomes because some of the contributors (industry and economics, I’m not sure) were strongly opposed to the outcomes forecast by the actual climate scientists.
        The conservative scenarios were for a long time the only ones covered by what little news the whole panel received in most media. Even those were attacked by industry–forestry, oil, auto–and prostitute think tanks like the Fraser Institute. Is anyone really surprised? the radical scenarios have turned out to be conservative as the science has advanced.

    2. Steve H.

      Thank you, the truth goes back even farther. Our capstone course (class ’93) identified ‘global warming’ as the second most important issue, after only ozone depletion. But ozone and acid rain were effectively toxicant issues, and regulating the substance kept the situation sub-acute.

      CO2 more intractable. But we/they knew. Hurricane Andrew in 1992 was just a confirmation bell.

    3. jef

      I have been a AGW activist for over 15 years. I live in a university town and through my business and social activities I have had the opportunity to speak candidly with many scientist involved in climate science in some way.

      Almost universally they end up waving away concern by proclaiming essentially that “the free market /capitalism” will address the issue as it comes up. One person who is a top atmospheric scientist flying all around the world to speak said “well I bought a Prius so I’m doing my part”.

    4. notabanker

      Just about every single one of the 2099 comments roasted, pun intended, the author of the article. AT least until they closed it for comments.

      NYT and WaPo are done. They have killed their credibility with the critical mass.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “This is not normal: what’s different about the NSW mega fires”

    It is going to be bad tomorrow. Lots of use of the words ‘unprecedented’ and ‘catastrophic’. The smoke from the fires was so bad in Queensland that the smoke pollution was worse than in Beijing. If the east coast of Australia was an airliner, it would be a Boeing 737 MAX and you would be hearing the words “Brace! Brace! Brace!” right now.

    1. dearieme

      Mind you, “unprecedented” in the media often means “not in the last couple of decades”. And even then the claim may be inaccurate.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I think that in this case it may be accurate. A Fire Chief was saying that they are having to get rid of the metrics they use for fires that they have been using for decades and inventing new ones.

  21. Frank Little

    If you haven’t seen it, Morales’ statement at a UN Security Council meeting on weapons non-proliferation from September 2018 is worth watching, especially now. The meeting was chaired by Trump, and Morales quite correctly calls out the US for its use of propaganda, economic siege through sanctions, and outright military force both in the Americas and the Middle East. Here’s a sample:

    “each time that the United States invades nations, launches missiles, or finances regime change, it does so behind a propaganda campaign which incessantly repeats the message that it is acting in the cause of justice, freedom, and democracy”

    When Morales was a coca farmer the US trained anti-drug agents to attack people like him and call him all sorts of racist names because he is indigenous. It’s paywalled, but there was a long profile of Morales in the FT last month and I think it’s impossible to read it and come away with anything other than admiration for the guy.

    1. Synoia

      “it is acting in the cause of justice, freedom, and democracy”

      Yes, it’s cause in Syria is the justice, freedom, and democracy of the oil molecules to be sold by billionaires.

    2. Olga

      I was glad to hear of Lula’s release, but the dark forces compensated for it by pushing Evo Morales out. No one came to his rescue.

  22. Dalepues

    Bolivia President Evo Morales resigns

    From the article: ” A two-term limit is in place in Bolivia, which Morales overturned in the courts by arguing that this was a violation of his human rights.”

    This is essentially the reason given for the removal of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras. His faction in the government illegally attempted to alter the constitution so that he could run for reelection.

    This is also how the Ortega-Murillo regime in Nicaragua has maintained power, by stacking the courts with Sandinistas and altering the constitution to allow repeated terms in office.

    Similarly, in Venezuela, Maduro allies (the Bolivarians) stacked the Supreme Tribunal of Justice to block the opposition.

    In all of these countries the courts have been used illegally to keep political power in the hands of one party.

    1. Olga

      They try and do – because the opposition is typically horrendous (check out Bolsonaro or “Lenin” (who’d be turning in his grave, had they not glued him to a pedestal) Moreno; however, EM or MAS should have had a back-up plan (or a successor).

      1. Dalepues

        In Chile the opposition has demanded that that country’s Pinochet era constitution be rewritten but has rejected the attempt by billionaire Pres Piñera to do so without the direct input by citizens. Inequality (possibly the worst in Latin America) and poor public services were the impetus behind the riots.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      So they’re just like the US then? – see Bush v Gore, Citizen’s United.

      In that case I really don’t see why Uncle Sugar has such a problem with those governments….

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s actually very good (especially the part about the Amazon fires. If you’re Morales and not protecting the Amazon forest, you’re not really treating your base very well!

  23. xkeyscored

    Foreigners visiting China are increasingly stumped by its cashless society Boing Boing
    ‘In a bathroom near the Great Wall recently, Catherine De Witte, a Belgian marketing consultant, was getting frustrated. She waved her hands in front of a high-tech toilet-paper dispenser, jammed her fingers into the slot and finally pounded on the machine. She wasn’t amused when she saw the QR code. “You really need the restroom, and the restroom only gives you toilet paper if you can do something strange with your phone,” she fumed.’

    Haven’t these foreign tourists figured out that most of their beloved cash is paper?

    1. Danny

      Better yet, if your social credit score is low, you get one square only. If you are really bad, use your hand.

      The AMT motorcycle guys in China interviewed some business types from the west who told tales of having facial recognition cameras giving them a jaywalking ticket and subtracting the fines automatically from their bank account before they had made it through the door of their hotel.

      Cash is the only thing between you and total dictatorship. And, after watching hapless and dazed techies waving their phones around in front of dead devices in the programed PG&E power cut-off, cash is the only thing between people and starvation.

      “Mommy, I’m hungry!”
      “But, I can’t get my Apple Pay to work!”

      “Miss, would you to come to the back room for a while? I’m sure we can find something to give to your little girl.”

  24. DJG

    I read the article speculating about the copious note-taking John Bolton. So Bolton will be the Linda Tripp in this melodrama? The knockoff Iago in this palace coup? The Procopius writing The Secret History?

    Où sont les neiges d’antan? Those days of Sam Ervin, the skepticism of Judge John Sirica.

    Say what you will (and I have no patience with Nixon “reassessment,” just as I have little patience with reassessments of Brezhnev) but the impeachment process for Nixon was based on what was objectively a crime.

    One of the weaknesses of the case against serial-rapist Bill Clinton was that Linda Tripp entrapped Monica Lewinsky. Tripp was a party operative and a snitch.

    My opinion is moving toward the idea (with its source in Matt Stoller’s critique) that the Democrats don’t want to pass legislation. They want to maintain the stagnation. Trump is a kind of accident, done in by his idea that he is the greatest dealmaker in the world, just as Bill Clinton thought of himself as the great seducer.

    These guys are starting to make Tiberius look like a good emperor.

    1. Carolinian

      The GOP have even worse waiting in the wings–Haley, Pompeo, Pence, Rubio. One these might well bring Bolton back yet again. Some of us fear, not Trump, but an elite class that seems unmoored from any concept of morality outside identity politics. If you signal the approved virtues then all else is on the table. For many at the time Nixon was hated for his handling of the war (and perhaps that was why he was really impeached). Now his war policies might well be applauded by the MSM.

      1. newcatty


        Some of us fear, not Trump, but an elite class that seems unmoored from any concept of morality outside identity politics.

        This is an icredibly important statement. Focusing on Trump is a distraction and not as important as the fact that the unmooring from any concept of morality is at the core of what is so wrong with identity politics and their practioners. It is not politically correct or, in some cases, not reaching across the aisles for bipartisan support, or being “fair and objective” to point out that selfish, arrogant, cold hearted and cruel behaviors are a key to why we live in a country where human health is sacrificed, the natural environment is sacrificed, sound public education is sacrificed, pubic infrastructure is sacrificed, chidren’s well being is sacrificed, young adults’ futures are sacrificed, elders’s dignity of life is sacrificed, and , ultimately morality is sacrificed.

        This reminds me of an annoying and passive aggressive statement often said to me by a person whom I often had to interact with for many years. Almost, invariably, if I stated any opinion or commented against her pov or belief; I was told to “get off my high horse.” As usual, for a bully, she said this in my ear out of hearing from any one else. We all need to get on our high horses…war is not peace , control is not freedom, greed is not good, treachery is not the only choice.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Can I just note the bi-partisan character of your observation:

        “an elite class that seems unmoored from any concept of morality outside identity politics”

        In my view the Dems have more to answer for in this regard, especially if one calculates the distance between their rhetoric and their actions.

        We knew the Cheney Administration was the clear and present danger enemy, because they told us so. To my mind the clearer and presenter danger now is the Dems, who obfuscate and shape-shift so as to appear to be the allies, not the foes, of the 99%.

  25. Wukchumni

    Today, a section of the Generals Highway in Sequoia NP will be named in honor of Captain Charles Young, who was the first black superintendent of a National Park, here in 1903.

    Festivities start @ 10 am, with the dedication going from 11-1 all @ Ash Mountain. This gives us another chance to go on the car prowl for black bears, and the ground is rich with acorns, a bumper harvest. There is so many in places, that its a bit awkward to walk on them. Its prime hibernation fodder for them.

    Of course, doing this on Veterans Day is risking getting in a car jam en route, so better get going.

    1. Wukchumni

      Nice ceremony with around 75 in attendance, and a few really polished speakers…

      Funny moment cam when one of the black speakers said something to the effect of “I’m not sure there’s ever been this many black people in Sequoia NP”. Too true, sadly.

      Took a ride up the Generals Highway and saw a 125 pound cinnamon brown yearling munching on acorns-#5 for the year. I stopped the car right on the road and could’ve watched it for 5 minutes, black bears don’t really care what you’re doing when they’re eating.

  26. Steve H.

    > Billionaires fear Warren and Sanders – but they should fear us all Robert Reich

    The first way is to exploit a monopoly.
    A second way to make a billion is to get insider information unavailable to other investors.
    A third way to make a billion is to buy off politicians.
    The fourth way to make a billion is to extort big investors.
    The fifth way to be a billionaire is to get the money from rich parents or relatives.

    I’m not sure the list is exhaustive, but I appreciate the perspective.

    1. Summer

      Well, there are those trying to turn the corner to trillionnaire, so they must be using the entire bag of tricks plus some.
      To get a dozen trillionnaires…I don’t see it without making more forms of slavery legal and harsher.

  27. xkeyscored

    Mr White Helmets, MI6’s James Le Mesurier, is no more.
    “Le Mesurier, 48, was found dead near his apartment in central Istanbul’s Beyoğlu neighbourhood at around 4.30am. Turkish media reports said he was found with fractures to his head and legs and appeared to have fallen from a balcony.” – The Guardian

    1. Synoia

      Defenestration is a very contagious disease, and can strike with amazing rapidity.

      Especially in South Africa from the 5th or 6th floor of the police building in Johannesburg’s Jon Vorster Square.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Did he fall to his death from the ground floor? Looks like they are cleaning up the loose ends now that the war is mostly over.

    3. Craig H.

      Mayday Rescue said in a statement that Le Mesurier had dedicated his life to helping civilians, especially in Syria. “We ask that James be remembered as what he was: a great leader, a visionary, and a dear colleague and friend,” it said.

      Throwing people off heights is very near the top of list of preferred methods in the CIA murder manual.

      Murder is not morally justifiable. Self-defense may be argued if the victim has knowledge which may destroy the resistance organization if divulged. Assassination of persons responsible for atrocities or reprisals may be regarded as just punishment. Killing a political leader whose burgeoning career is a clear and present danger to the cause of freedom may be held necessary.

      But assassination can seldom be employed with a clear conscience. Persons who are morally squeamish should not attempt it.

  28. cnchal

    > A $45,000 Loan for a $27,000 Ride: More Borrowers Are Going Underwater on Car Loans WSJ

    . . . Consumers, salespeople and lenders are treating cars a lot like houses during the last financial crisis: by piling on debt to such a degree that it often exceeds the car’s value. This phenomenon—referred to as negative equity, or being underwater—can leave car owners trapped.

    Bulllshit by the financial press. When people were refinancing houses, the illusuion was that the house was appreciating. No car appreciates after signing the ownership papers, rare exotic cars sold and bought by the one percent to each other excepted.

    Borrowers are responsible for paying their remaining debt even after they get rid of the vehicle tied to it. When subsequently buying another car, they can roll this old debt into a new loan. The lender that originates the new loan typically pays off the old lender, and the consumer then owes the balance from both cars to the new lender. The transactions are often encouraged by dealerships, which now make more money on arranging financing than on selling cars.

    There you go. The mountain of wobbly debt taken on by car buyers to drive a late model symbol is a personal doom loop. Here is what happens when things go wrong.

    “These aren’t Rolls-Royces,” said David Goldsmith, a lawyer who defends consumers in auto cases. “They’re Ford Escapes.”

    Mr. Schricker would like to get a new car because the Jeep Cherokee started having mechanical problems this year. He recently discovered the vehicle was in an accident before he bought it, a fact he said the dealership didn’t disclose. The dealership, Rotolo Motors, didn’t return requests for comment.

    Mr. Schricker hired a lawyer, who is trying to resolve the issue with the dealership. He estimates that even if he sold the vehicle, he would still owe Ally up to $18,000. Ally said it couldn’t comment.

    Mr. Schricker, who lives in Bethel Park, Pa., said he didn’t intend to cycle through so many vehicles. He replaced one because it had 100,000 miles and another when he went through a divorce, and he changed cars again when his family was expanding.

    Mr. Schricker now has the chore of paying a lawyer on top of owing thousand on pieces of crap that he no longer owns, except for his latest ride.

    I have news for you. At 100,000 miles, a good old used car is nicely broken in, ready for another 200,000 if maintained properly. The sweet spot for car design was two decades ago.

  29. Danny

    A $45,000 Loan for a $27,000 Ride: More Borrowers Are Going Underwater on Car Loan

    High school graduation requirements should require financial literacy classes,
    Instead of “if a train leaves station A at 9:10 and another leaves station B at…”

    Also, everyone of these cited stories involves buying an unreliable pieces of shyt like a Jeep, Dodge or tricked out GMC, instead of a simpler better made vehicle.

    What is stopping people from researching the reliability of used vehicles online or at their local library?

    1. Louis Fyne

      while I agree w/the general tenor of your comments….the reality is that people like new, shiny things.

      And people tend to shop by monthly payment, not monthly payment times loan duration.

      And the state of public education (in my neck of the woods at least) is pathetic—despite high funding, >$15,000 per pupil per year. your mileage may vary and excuse me as I go yell at some kids to get off my lawn.

    2. ptb

      yeah super sad. actually the comments to that article were interesting… some car buyers there report basically being badgered into accepting high rates (4.5% ish), and later finding out that 3% is available even with mediocre credit from credit unions, and under 1% is pretty well universally available to the dealer if they go to bat for you (i.e. you have a job that can be stereotyped to look like it will pay your bills every month for the next 5 years.) on a 72 month loan that’s a good difference.

      not that 0% financing is normal either… but totally a predatory industry.

      also the dealers are consolidating. where i live, one guy bought up every new car dealership in town, and they let you know it.

    3. inode_buddha

      And then there’s guys like me, who signed with no credit history in 20 years. The alternative was walking, which is not gonna work if your job is 30 miles away. Yep, 14% for 6 years on a used S10 pickup. That loan is worth more than my house. Which is the reason why I will *never* go to a dealership nor finance again. Full stop.

  30. smoker

    Re: The Death of the Rude Press

    Disappointed that Vallewag, a Gawker subsidiary, wasn’t mentioned, nor Peter Thiel’s rage about it, comparing it to Al Qaeda.

    Early on, Valleywag was the only online, or hardcopy, Silicon Valley Tech commentary highlighting the ugly megalomania and hubris of those who are now Billionaires and operate with impunity. Even then, as a Silicon Valley resident, I thought Valleywag could have gone much further (but then Gawker’s owner, Denton, was a libertarian just like Thiel).

    Corey Pein mentions both the obsequiousness and censorship of Tech Writers in this New York Magazine excerpt from his book, Live Work Work Work Die: A Journey Into the Savage Heart of Silicon Valley , Like Selling Crack to Children’: A Peek Inside the Silicon Valley Grift Machine – Without rampant, unchecked fraud, I came to realize, the entire digital media business would collapse.

    I’d seen the obsequious behavior of the tech press at the Startup Conference. A panel of experienced reporters and editors dutifully took the stage and told a roomful of founders and investors how to better promote their start-ups. It should have occurred to them that giving such advice was not the job of a journalist. It was the job of a publicist. Out in the hall during a break, I met one of the panelists, a former Wall Street Journal reporter who’d gone on to edit CNET, a large and well-established tech site owned by CBS Interactive. In the course of our conversation, I made a critical remark about Facebook’s manipulation of users’ News Feeds. He responded with the company line, a fine example of the sort of circular reasoning that eliminated the need for moral judgment. “Facebook is a reflection of what you see on the internet,” he said, “so if you don’t like what you see on Facebook, it’s your own damn fault.”

    The whole thing is well worth a read, though he also left out that it was Valleywag Thiel focused on as being a [Al Queda] terrorist organization.

    But when a powerful person in the Valley seriously resented his own press coverage, the offending writers would be made to pay. Never was this made clearer than with Hulk Hogan’s successful privacy lawsuit against Gawker Media in the spring of 2016, infamously bankrolled in secret by the billionaire VC Peter Thiel, who regarded Gawker as a “terrorist” organization. Although the East Coast press saw Thiel’s subterfuge for what it was — an attack on free speech — Valley players and even some in the tech press rallied behind Thiel, believing, as his fellow billionaire VC Vinod Khosla put it, that disfavored “journalists need to be taught lessons.” It worked. After Gawker filed for bankruptcy, a larger corporate media property, Fusion, bought its assets and immediately shut down the flagship site,, for fear of further legal harassment.

    Vinod Khosla is the Billionaire who shut off the access road to the Public Beach adjoining his property, among other things.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Valleywag

      Quite right that should have been mentioned. I also thought that the liberal Democrat decapitation of the blogosphere would have been worth some commentary — the time when Yglesias and Klein et al began to pull away from the rest of us poor schlubs.

  31. lyman alpha blob

    RE: How Tech From Australia Could Prevent California Wildfires and PG&E Blackouts

    Why do they need to go all the way to Australia for some tree pruners and chainsaws? You’d think the local hardware store in CA would have those…

    1. ewmayer

      My thought as well! Maybe we need to go to Oz for non-massively-corrupt utility execs and regulators? But that seems unlikely, as well…

      The math here is really not all that difficult: billions of $ per year, over multiple decades, flowing into – in roughly decreasing order – shareholder dividends, lavish executive compensation and political bribery, rather than into basic system maintenance and ongoing modernization. And the CA realty lobby, whose aim has apparently been “a luxury backwoods glamping retirement home on every fire-indefensible ridgeline” also bears a lot of responsibility.

      1. inode_buddha

        Much like Ma Bell in the 1970’s who had received billions in aid from the Feds for infrastructure maintenance and upgrades. Promptly turned around and used it for everything but. Historical tidbit: did you know there was a line item on your phone bill all the way up through the 80’s to pay for the Spanish-American war?

  32. newcatty

    Whoa…didn’t know Teddy’s brave command of cowboys would have lasted so long in our MIC …in our phone bills?

    1. inode_buddha

      Makes me wonder where all that money went… not a small amount. In the fine print with all the taxes and fees usually on the 2nd page at the bottom.

  33. rd

    RE: suburbs running out of money

    There is a solution for this! You just do a tax foreclosure on anybody who is behind on their property tax payments at all, auction the property, and keep all the proceeds for the community:

    I don’t know if you have posted this one yet, but it is too important to miss. I think we are seeing the desperation of the intense focus on not increasing taxes – they just resort to theft instead.

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