Links 11/20/19

Feral Horses Helping Restore Butterfly Habitat Ecowatch (Glenn F)

Global heating supercharging Indian Ocean climate system Guardian (resilc)

People Are Having Sex With 3D Avatars of Their Exes and Celebrities Vice

Can pro-vaccine bills save us from ourselves? Popular Science (resilc)

Pointless work meetings ‘really a form of therapy’ BBC (Chuck L). Well, if you consider feeling that you need a lobotomy to get through the meeting a form of therapy.

Brain wave study explains why a DMT trip is like entering an alternate reality Inverse (David L). n=13, so big red flag re tiny sample size. However, sounds like DMT is superior to LSD by virtue of the “trip” being short, as opposed to the typical 24 hours with LSD.

Bonkers pricing of “free” flu shots shows what’s wrong with US healthcare ars technica (Chuck L)


Senator Introduces Bill That Would Block US Companies From Storing Data In China The Hill. Josh Hawley strikes again.

U.S. Senate passes HK rights bill backing protesters, angers Beijing Reuters (furzy)

Former U.K. Consulate Employee Says Chinese Secret Police Tortured Him Wall Street Journal. The Journal broke this story. Ugly. Very detailed account of torture and psychological abuse. They reduced him to considering suicide after about two weeks of detention. Key section: “… he also was questioned repeatedly about the role his interrogators presumed Britain was playing in fomenting the unrest.

U.S. breaks off defense cost talks, as South Korea balks at $5 billion demand Reuters


The Daily Mail guide to Corbyn’s Communist Britain Daily Mash

Voters say Boris Johnson edged live ITV debate with Jeremy Corbyn by 51% to 49% Sun

Election 2019: Latest poll shows narrowing of Tory lead Times. Note before the debate.

Bolivia Coup

Opinion: The OAS lied to the public about the Bolivian election and coup MarketWatch (Dan K).First sentence: “Facts show nothing suspicious about the re-election of Evo Morales.”

Unpacking Media Propaganda About Bolivia’s Election FAIR

En Bolivia matan al perro de Evo Morales (UserFriendly)

New Cold War

Russian Hacking 2.0 Could Employ a Whole New Bag of Digital Dirty Tricks Vanity Fair (resilc)

Pelosi doubles down on anti-Russia politics of impeachment inquiry WSWS


EU disagrees with US over legality of Israeli settlements Middle East Online

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Sweden drops rape investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange NBC (furzy)

Sweden Ignores UN Torture Rapporteur’s Concerns With Assange Investigation Shadowproof (UserFriendly)

Senators Ask Zuckerberg To Explain Why Facebook Still Tracks Users’ Location Even When They Have Asked it Not To CNBC

Cops Put GPS Tracker On Man’s Car, Charge Him With Theft For Removing It ars technica

Ransomware Bites 400 Veterinary Hospitals Krebs on Security (BC)

Imperial Collapse Watch

The End of the American International Order: What Comes Next? Time

Democrats Should Debate Arms Policy, Not Just Impeachment Defense One

Trump Transition

Trump Enforces Omertà With Latest Round of Pardons New Republic

Mike Pompeo Looks to Resign From State to Run for Senate Seat: Sources Time. UserFriendly: “Rats are jumping ship.”

FCC Chairman Wants Public Auction To Repurpose Satellite Bands For 5G engadget


In Impeachment Hearing, Volker And Morrison Shed Light On Giuliani’s Role NPR

These Key Witnesses Won’t Appear At The Impeachment Hearings HuffPost

The Spectacular Failure of the Trump Wranglers New Yorker

Impeachment hearings: America’s epistemic crisis has arrived – Vox. Lambert: “Sort of amazing the guy passes over the collapse of RussiaGate, given that would show how all the epistemic issues he identifies in Republicans apply to liberal Democrats as well.”

Media and Democrats agree: The impeachment witnesses have ‘impeccable’ credentials Washington Examiner

Two federal prison officers charged with falsifying records in connection with Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide USA Today

2020. Mirabile dictu, I am told Bernie Sanders was on NBC Nightly News discussing opioid addiction. An even-handed treatment right before a Dem debate? What next?

Progressives Are Suddenly Really Mad at Elizabeth Warren Vice (resilc). The dogs aren’t eating the “two bill” M4A dogfood.

Could Bernie Sanders Win This Thing After All? New York Magazine

The Problem With Pete Buttigieg’s “Douglass Plan” for Black America The Intercept

If You Care About Medicare for All or a Green New Deal, Here’s the Senate Primary That Matters The Intercept (Charles)

DTE and Consumers Energy are broken and dangerous. Is it time for publicly owned utilities? Metro Times (julsseta). More Metro Times: Project Censored’s Top 10 stories the mainstream media missed in 2019

Trump Administration Declares Open Season on Consumers for Subprime Lenders Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

Hope Is Bullshit Ian Welsh

Negative interest rates threaten to choke bank IT systems ITNews

Against Economics David Graeber, New York Review of Books (resilc)

‘Their house is on fire’: the pension crisis sweeping the world Financial Times

Class Warfare

How a Gig Worker Revolt Begins New York Times (Paul R)


The Three Personalities of America Atlantic

UserFriendly: Help me!

Moi: Moar demonization of the deplorables. A psychologist once clued me in that virtually no instruments used in psychological assessment are well validated. One has to think this one was made up and even worse than the ones widely used in the profession.

Political scientist and expert on elections Tom Ferguson: Some of the problem is the name. “Neuroticism” is pretty obvious nonsense. On the other hand, there are lots of reasons why people in “left out” areas would score higher on anxiety or perhaps depression. The thing is a stupid construct with prejudicial implications.

Why Are ‘Liberal Democrats’ Leading the Constitutional Campaign Against the Wealth Tax? American Prospect (resilc)

Antidote du jour. Paul H sends photos of Canadian mammals: “A yellow-pine chipmunk, Eutamias amoenus

And a bonus (John Siman). Does this mean cats could pass the mirror test and they’ve been messing with researchers all these years?

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Wukchumni

    As luck would have it, the areas no longer considered ‘wilderness’ and worthy of protection are where the new proposed fracking zones are…

    As part of the planning process, the Forest Service is required to evaluate wilderness quality lands and rivers eligible for inclusion into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Although the agency smartly identified approximately 340 miles of eligible rivers in Sequoia National Forest it proposed only 35 miles in Sierra National Forest—well below the 640 miles it identified in its 2016 environmental analysis as warranting that designation. Moreover, for both forests, the agency largely ignored its own scientists, who identified 800,000 acres of wilderness-quality lands; the Forest Service recommends protecting only 4,900 acres in Sequoia National Forest and none in Sierra National Forest. We urge the Forest Service to recommend more wilderness lands and identify more rivers as eligible.

      1. Wukchumni

        Before the MIC was invented on December 8, 1941, the gambit to get the money was road building, and a good many of the access roads to the High Octane Sierra date from that era, and are in no way shape or form, able to bear the weight of something wicked this way comes, it’d take years, but if you rebuild it, they will come.

        1. Carolinian

          Yes Monkeywrenching will get you a hefty sentence these days as and “ecoterrorist.”

          Of course if your protest is aimed at private takeover of an Oregon wildlife preserve then the jury will let you off.

          Abbey’s book inspired a generation of tree spikers but 9/11 gave the Bushies and excuse to label anyone they didn’t like a terrorist.

          1. Wukchumni

            Did you hear about the supremacist terroirist group who ripped out Cab Sav vines in Napa and replaced them with White Zinfandel vines from Lodi?

            1. ambrit

              Wow! I never give credence to rumours I hear “through the grape vine,” but I’ll have to believe this formulation of the Grand Cru Crew.

        2. Danny

          “I will always associate Abbey with two of his most pointed observations. Both had to do with the threat that population growth presented to the natural world. One became connected to a 2004 effort to push the Sierra Club to advocate for immigration limits along with birth control in order to stabilize the U.S. population.”

          “One of the leaders of that effort was Sierra Club board member Ben Zuckerman, a renowned UCLA astronomer and physicist. Zuckerman, whom I met five years ago when he joined a CIS trip to the Texas borderlands near Big Bend National Park, is a passionate environmentalist who has been known to eschew air travel in order to reduce his carbon footprint. As the 2004 campaign unfolded at the club, Zuckerman quoted Abbey’s commentary that “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.

          “That invocation of Abbey’s concerns drew the outraged, chest-thumping attention of Mark Potok, a member of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s thought-crime unit-”

          1. Wukchumni

            Abbey died in the late 80’s, and was most definitely not a Sierra Club sort of fellow, so lets not put a bunch of mostly somebody else’s words in his mouth 15 years after.

          2. Carolinian

            Abbey didn’t mind offending people. He didn’t think much of Mexicans–or Mormons. But in a less politically correct age he was an environmental hero.

            1. Danny

              The guy was a gun nut!

              “Our Hispanic neighbors are groping toward this discovery. If we truly wish to help them we must stop meddling in their domestic troubles and permit them to carry out the social, political, and moral revolution which is both necessary and inevitable.
              Or if we must meddle, as we have always done, let us meddle for a change in a constructive way. Stop every campesino at our southern border, give him a handgun, a good rifle, and a case of ammunition, and send him home. He will know what to do with our gifts and good wishes. The people know who their enemies are.”

              “If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government –and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws.”

  2. zagonostra

    >Warren – faux progressive

    I hope Tulsi challenges Warren head-on on foreign policy on the debate stage.

    After praising the US government’s sanctions on Venezuela, which violate international law and have led to the preventable deaths of tens of thousands of civilians, Warren went on whitewash the far-right military coup in Bolivia, where the Trump administration has helped put racist Christian extremists and actual fascists in power.

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      On just about any issue that doesn’t involve banking or economic issues, Sen. Warren seems unsure of herself and equivocal. She may suffer in the debate, but I would much rather see Buttigieg’s transparent opportunism exposed.

    2. Mike

      Posted on this yesterday from Caucus 99 website. Now Sanders does not have to separate himself from Warren- she has done the dirty work. The question is how Sanders will withstand the pressure to conform to Party Position (i.e., prone)- he has already shown he will bend to serve the “sick and tired of hearing about…” email question and Russiagate.

      Waiting to hear from him about amending those positions so he can do a stand-up routine across the board.

    3. Pavel

      Tulsi tried in the last debate but CNN — just by coincidence, of course — chose the minute after she posed her question to Warren to cut away for a commercial.

      Is that considered proper debate-hosting etiquette, to allow a question but not a response? The answer from CNN: “Do you think we give a ****?”

      We’ll see how much time Gabbard gets tonight. Not as much as flavour-of-the-month Mayo Pete or Amy K or Kamala “I’m a top-tier candidate!” Harris, I suspect.

    4. ptb

      Re: Warren
      While Bernie is clearly better both as a primary candidate and as a general election candidate, I would not want to see Warren knocked down below the 15% per-state threshold, from a DNC strategy point of view. In other words, I would rather have the possibility of a Warren nomination than the possibility of a Biden nomination.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Isn’t the “Preserving the least bad choice” analysis the one that got things the way they are? Along with TINA and stuff…

        1. ptb

          yes, and I am not suggesting that anyone vote for Warren over Sanders. there’s no scenario where that makes sense to me.

          But in terms of interacting with more “moderate” Dems who for whatever reason find Warren palatable, I would much rather they stayed with her, than go to Buttigieg – specifically because (1) Butti at 15% rather than 10% creates a coalition for Biden, and (2) Warren at 10% rather than 15% leaves little potential for coalition building for Sanders.

          In other words this isn’t looking like 2016. That was a 2 way race.

          That said it’s important to hold Warren’s feet to the fire immediately regarding watering down of her position on M4A / eliminating profiteering in health care.

  3. Steve H.

    > Project Censored’s Top 10 stories the mainstream media missed in 2019

    Primary Source.

    #24 Class Explains Millenials Stunted Economic Lives

    Okay, while age silos have been used to generate intergenerational conflict, it’s worth noting that life tables in which age cohorts are differentiated give really valuable information, second only to (change in population = births – deaths) in ecologic studies.

    1. Danny

      If #Nature gets the rights of a human being, as it should, then the use of deadly force in defense of and to save nature should be as justified as it is in defending a human.

      From a legal standpoint, what’s the difference say, between using deadly force against a lunatic that’s attacking a woman with a baby in her arms in a Walmart parking lot, and using similar deadly force against a major chemical polluter of a river that’s killing that same mother with cancer, or poisoning her baby in utero?

      If you have the right to use deadly force to repel someone breaking into your house who is going to hurt you, then why not the right of the use deadly force to repel someone who is breaking into an ecosystem, your “house”, who is going to hurt you?

      Devil’s advocate corporate lawyer at work: “The corporations goal, and obligation to their stockholders, was profit, not to hurt people.” Using that precept, ‘the home invader’s goal was profit, not to hurt people. His actions in breaking in should be excused. Charge the homeowner with domestic terrorism and murder.”

  4. Redlife2017

    Re: Voters say Boris Johnson edged live ITV debate with Jeremy Corbyn by 51% to 49% Sun
    The Sun…so one’s mileage may very as to the source. But considering that is in a Tory organ and its 51 /49, I think Boris needs to rethink his strategy of not putting his manifesto out for a few more weeks. I’ve already convinced several people to look at the policies and think about it. People I never thought would give Labour even a second look know that we need to change course. Soooo…this is going to get interesting.

    I am off campaigning in a marginal for the next 4 weeks and the one thing I can say – everything (and then some) is being thrown at this. Thousands are taking one to two weeks off work to be able to dedicate time to the campaign (including myself). British politics is VERY DIY and VERY door-to-door, so GOTV and postal votes are going to be key. Election night is going to have some very weird stuff happening. Everything is really to play for in every constituency. National polls are not very helpful to predict. But I have no fricken’ clue how this is really going to play out. Could be a blow-out either way or a hung parliament. Lots of people are going to stare at the voting paper and make their decision there…

    Dr Thompson is my guide:
    “…and George McGovern, the only candidate in either party worth voting for, is hung in a frustrated limbo created mainly by the gross cynicism of the Washington Press Corps. “He’d be a fine President,” they say, “but of course he can’t possibly win.” Why not? Well…the wizards haven’t bothered to explain that, but their reasoning appears to be rooted in the hazy idea that the people who could make McGovern President – that huge & confused coalition of students, freaks, blacks, anti-war activists & dazed dropouts – won’t even bother to register much less drag themselves to the polls on election day.”
    ― Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72

    “Liberalism itself has failed, and for a pretty good reason. It has been too often compromised by the people who represented it.”
    ― Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      I find it absolutely amazing that everyone in the U.K. is not terrified of the US healthcare ghouls getting their greedy fists on the NHS. That alone ought to result in a landslide win for Labour. Good luck.

        1. Monty

          i meet people like that out here in the US too, especially the elderly. Brainwashing success! I have endured the US system for 20 years, and that of the UK when i was younger. I would rather have the UK system. No contest.

          1. Sol

            Indeed. It seems that’s how propaganda and persuasion work most efficiently: by telling people what they already wanted to hear.

            “We’re the good guys.”

            “You deserve the best.”

            “That other guy is such a so-and-so.”

            Someone told me the other day that America had the best healthcare in the world. Show of hands, everyone who thinks studies and statistics had any effect on this position. Lol.

            People want to see a thing. Tell them a story, give them any excuse to see the thing, and their brains will do the rest.

            Sucks for us, because the only strategy I’ve found to short circuit this cycle is high personal regard. The propagandized person must hold the dissenter in a high enough regard – must love them enough – that they can hear wrongthink and try to figure out how this person can say that thing without being crazy.


          2. jsn

            Yes, I made the mistake of getting into this subject with my 94 year old step father. He’s essentially been on Medicare since I’ve been in the work force, give or take a few years.

            He thinks I’m making up or greatly exagerating costs and can’t be persuaded that what is good for him would be good for everyone. I suppose he might prefer that I die, but he has kids too (living on NASA pension and benefits).

            And how would we pay for the wars if we paid for this anyhow?

        2. Danny

          Is there some reason that we can’t use Farcebook and other social media to spread American Medical Horror stories abroad, via activist groups in these countries?

          i.e. “Like privatized British Rail? You’ll love Privatized British Healthcare!”

    2. Watt4Bob

      I recall HST saying;

      “If Dead-Heads voted, we wouldn’t have ‘W’ in the White House.”

      To me, it was a startling revelation about the nature of our political ‘problems’.

    3. Frenchguy

      All the commentators yesterday seemed to agree that it was a draw. But aren’t they just afraid to pick a side ?

      Johnson had one line “get Brexit done” and it was irksome to hear him say it about absolutely every subject. He seemed rather rude and over excited. Corbyn wasn’t always brilliant but was more composed, more thoughtful in his answers and just plain nicer. I actually am not a big fan of his political positions but if I were English I would choose Corbyn over Johnson, at least Corbyn seems like someone who will think before acting and can be persuaded by arguments…

      I’m curious though, what did British readers made of this debate ? Is Corbyn really in that deep a hole ?

      1. vlade

        I think the reactions to various parts of the debate were probably pretty good.

        That is, people laughing at Corbyn’s “my stance on Brexit is clear” and Johnson’s “Trust in politics matters”.

        It matters not if Corbyn or Labour think they stance on Brexit is clear. Voters clearly don’t think so – and Brexit, for better or worse, is an issue they do want to be dealt with. Labour tried, for the last three years, to wish Brexit away so that it could concentrate on “things that matter”. Well, for majority of the UK, Brexit is “the issue that matters”, regardless of what Labour thinks.

        The interesting bit is that most of the voters don’t trust Johnson, but Tory voters aren’t bothered by consistency, that hobgoblin of a small mind, and at the same mistrust Johnson and believe he will deliver what he promises to.

        Labour has been on 28% +/- polling error for the last two months. The debate didn’t change that IMO, although it likely shown to some people that Corbyn is not (at least not entirely) the bogeyman he’s often presented as. At the same time, he didn’t push for a lots of openings that Johnson gave him, but TBH, that’s more of the same we had for the last three years.

        Calling the elections now is IMO impossible, because even with 40+% for Tories vs 30% for Labour, what matters are the marginals – and IMO there’s more of them than either party thinks.

        I’d right now still say hung parliament most likely with Tories the largest party, but an outright Tory majority is not outisde the possible realm. I do think that Labour outright majority is, short of any major developments between now and Dec 12, very very unlikely.

        1. Mike

          The take on Corbyn has been pretty accurate, mainly because the party he leads is divided, and he has waffled in his responses to Brexit and which part of Labour he wants to cajole. Among the opportunists, principles get shoved to the exit when challenged by plebiscites and polls that go against them. Rule by popular opinion, especially when that opinion is ill served and badly informed, almost requires a back-to-school approach that says educate,educate, educate – even when elections may be lost. It means staying with principle and the class you avow is your interest even when they temporarily come out against you. Temporary loss becomes permanent after principle fails. Class betrayal becomes the new rule. Corbyn becomes Blair.

          Social Democrats like Corbyn have done a lousy job of understanding that. The state of Social Democracy in Europe is an obvious outcome.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          I didn’t see the debate, but I think its vital that Corbyn gets as much exposure as he can – people seem to respond well to seeing him talk, rather than being defined by the media. But as you say, Labour seem stuck on that consistent sub-30% figure, its hard to see that changing over the course of a campaign. I think the Tories have both more to gain, and more to lose, during the course of the campaign. People will either tire of the Johnson persona, or they’ll decide to go with the devil they know.

    4. David

      The figure to keep an eye on is the absolute level of Tory support (together with its local distribution) rather than the gap between the Tories and Labour. The lower that figure is, the bigger the mess the Tories are in, and the higher the chance of a hung parliament, irrespective of the level of support for Labour. I continue to think that this would be a good election for Labour to lose (although not by that much) since a Tory government without an overall majority will destroy itself quite quickly.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think that’s very true – the distribution of Tory voters is generally wider than Labours (i.e. Labour heartlands are very deep red), so a decrease in their overall vote is more dangerous for them. From my outsiders perspective, there seems to be a lot of disengagement in the UK about the election and I think this spells bad news for the Conservatives, this sort of election tends to go against the incumbents. But at the same time, Labour under Corbyn seem to have hit a ceiling they just can’t break through.

        I thought the same as you about the last election, that the best possible outcome for Labour was a hung parliament with the Tories left with the baby. That came about, but somehow the Conservatives haven’t quite fallen apart yet. I think that a hung parliament this time could be very bad for Labour as it could also bring out their own internal splits as a weakened Corbyn might face a strong challenge just at the wrong time. I do think that strategically the left in Labour should be thinking about a succession, but its hard to think of any immediate names of someone strong on policy who would also be good electorally.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “‘They Can’t Stop Us:’ People Are Having Sex With 3D Avatars of Their Exes and Celebrities”

    After reading the people talking about what they are doing and why they are doing it, I think that I can understand why their partners are now Exes.

    1. Geo

      Years ago I found out my ex had created an avatar of me in “Second Life” that her character was dating. Was weird to think about. But, definitely illustrated why she was an ex. :)

    2. CoryP

      If the gender skew is as bad as they say I guess I should do some community service and fill out their male avatar roster lol

  6. Ignacio

    RE: En Bolivia matan al perro de Evo Morales (UserFriendly)

    They killed the dog, then let a tank pass over the body and the images were circulated through social networks according to the mexican outlet.

    1. Joe Well

      Now, calm down, Elizabeth Warren has faith these people will institute democratic elections within a reasonable lifetime, and who are you to question a Harvard professor with a plan for everything? Also stop denying Bolivians’ agency. s/

    2. Bugs Bunny

      People who kill an innocent animal will find themselves in an everlasting Purgatory. The depravity is sickening.

      1. Massinissa

        But havn’t you heard? These people are bringing the bible back into government! Clearly they had to get rid of Pachamama (by gunpoint) to save the souls of all of Evo Morales’ supporters, even without their consent!


  7. Ignacio

    RE: Opinion: The OAS lied to the public about the Bolivian election and coup MarketWatch (Dan K).First sentence: “Facts show nothing suspicious about the re-election of Evo Morales.”

    In Spains occurs something similar. As counting goes on, it tends to favour the conservative party probably because the latter colleges to be counted is where it gets more support (rural areas). I have observed this many times.

    1. Danny

      America needs the equivalent of a Vox Party.

      It’s not the Republicans, and it’s certainly not the Democrats, even though both pretend to be such.

      1. Massinissa

        Er…. Wait, why does America need a far right ultranationalist party? I’m confused.

        I would prefer an American Podemos…

        1. Sol

          I can’t imagine anyone here advocating for a far-right ultranationalist party, although admittedly I don’t know everyone yet. I took Danny to mean a Vox Populi, or voice of the people. Now I am confused too.

          1. Massinissa

            Well I assumed Danny meant the Vox party from Spain since Ignacio mentioned Spain, but maybe you’re right and he meant ‘vox populi’. In fact, in retrospect that would make more sense considering his second sentence. In that case it was my mistake.

            1. Sol

              No worries, after our consciousness is downloaded to Amazon’s cloud for the greater glory of our technocrat overlords, I’m sure it’ll be way easier to understand what everyone’s thinking. [ha] I didn’t know Spain had a Vox party. Learn something new every day.

  8. Amfortas the hippie

    re: the Atlantic’s latest issue of psychobabble:
    anything at all to avoid looking at the microeconomics of a given place as an explanation for trump and/or failing to support Herself…or any number of other societal ills and dysfunction.
    satisfied, contented people with the lower half of maslow’s pyramid more or less taken care of do not generally go on shooting rampages or feel like they need to don bedsheets and terrorise pigmented people…or go out into the yard one day and shoot themselves…or self medicate to excess(happy people don’t huff gasoline)

    that said, there ARE regional differences in people….the quality of the rednecks where i have lived for 25 years is a whole lot better than the rednecks i grew up with in East Texas. and further into west texas, the differences are evident to even a casual observer in whatever greasy spoon serves as the town hall.
    with mobility, such as it is, this geographical distinctiveness is changing, of course.
    and,the little towns within 70 miles of me who have corporate franchises have a much more “neurotic” character than the few who have shunned such outside incursions. my sense is that this phenomenon is likely due to the influence such franchises(walmart to sonic to dollar general) have on wages and the boss/employee relationship of the given community.
    making certain such places have adequate broadband won’t fix the problems.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Been meaning to ask, Amfortas. Have you any idea how Roosevelt and his New Deal are regarded by your neighbours after all this time? I know that he did a lot for rural areas but you have indicated that they vote Republican. Or does that all depend on which part of Texas you are talking about?

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        it’s mentioned in passing, by the older set(boomers and older)(because it’s not taught in skool)
        Ive heard positive reference to new deal and lbj many times…usually in a pasture, or a corner of the feedstore.
        crop subsidies and other support used to be a big deal around here, and the late clinton farm bill shot this county and region into an immediate depression that we haven’t really recovered from.
        outside of the gop true believer cult(a minority of well off mean people), the initial reason for abandoning dems, and hating on the clintons, is the end of the peanut subsidy. that gave an opening for the rush limburgs etc to insert their mindf&ck.
        all of them are lost to the demparty as currently configured…and even a bernie demparty will be a hard sell, due to that wall to wall pavlovian mindf&ck. I manage to elicit probernie sentiment and even overt pining for fdr only when the subject is separated from the herd’s reinforcements and in a sufficiently relaxed state(chemical or otherwise). given those conditions, i reckon that such sentiment has the potential to be widespread…but people aren’t getting the info needed to arrive there, and instead are being further befuddled by the nonsense factory.
        further, regarding the herd’s self-reenforcement mechanisms, it is as if people need permission to step outside of the rote approved narrative….I try hard in these encounters to explicitly give that permission…”it’s ok…mine is not to judge…etc”. socratic method…asking questions without yes/no answers…helps a lot in this regard.

        so the rub: if the effort was undertaken, support for a new new deal could easily blossom into a movement out here.
        i just can’t do it all by myself.
        nobody is talking to these people besides the occasional hateful free market lunatic.
        to their credit, the bernie texas campaign texts me every once in a while to see how my evangelism is going,lol…that’s a definite first.
        but a tiny place like this doesn’t give much bang for the buck.

        1. inode_buddha

          Much like the farmers up here, they spent decades railing against “socialism” and faithfully voting a straight GOP ticket, all the while collecting those crop subsidies and tax free diesel fuel below cost. The moment that changed, they all went out of business. Most of the corn and vegetable fields around here are now grossly overpriced town homes and condos, and subdivisions.

          1. Wukchumni

            Here where you see evang mini-mega-maga junior Osteen churches in a city of 136k, the Devin & Kevin team of Tweet’ledo & Tweet’ldumb hold sway nicely.

            In the last election both won back their seats easy-peasy when the rest of the statewide pachyderm party was sent packing.

    2. Olga

      ATH, which are the towns that have “shunned such outside incursions”?
      Seems to me all in the area have buckled under…

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        my town rejected the walmart overtures 20+ years ago, so they invaded the town up the road.
        i can think of ten or more others within a days ride who did the same…to varying degrees of success(Ie: my town/county hasn’t suffered doldrums to the extent of some of the other non-franchised towns…but their doldrums were prolly gonna happen anyway. due to mohair subsidy going away, or happening to be on a transport route for dope into the interior(cartel presence(!)))
        and if you compare the doldrumness(lol) of invaded and noninvaded,the biggest noticeable difference is the vibrancy of the town squares. non-invaded is marginally more vibrant/occupied.
        only corporate presence where i live is a Dairy Queen(30+ years) and a Dollar Store(12 years or so). everything else is locally owned(although the home health/clinic is owned by a spanish conglomerate(who also owns all healthcare between here and abilene) and the recently bought up propane companies, now owned by an anonymous and mysterious corpse (who also acquired all of the propane business for at least an hundred miles to my west)….both of these absentee immortal fictions maintain the facade of both local ownership and local competition: ie: 2 home health companies, run by the same women who have always run them, but owned by the same parent corpse)

  9. Geo

    Senators Ask Zuckerberg To Explain Why Facebook Still Tracks Users’ Location Even When They Have Asked it Not To

    Zuckerberg: “Because what are you gonna do about it?”

    Senators: “…”

    Zuckerberg: “Yeah, that’s why.”

    1. Clive

      I deleted my Facebook account at least six months ago. Deleted, as in, clicked on the option in the App which said it would delete my account and remove my data.

      A couple of weeks ago, I visited a website — one of those with the dreaded “Log In With Facebook” features — and there, lo and behold, was a picture of me (from my former, or so I thought former) Facebook account and my Facebook user name smiling back at me (I might have been grimacing) asking me to enter my Facebook password.

      So much for the Right to be Forgotten (an EU Directive which Facebook should be adhering to in the EU). Facebook clearly do not implement this legal requirement. I could complain to the U.K. Information Commission (my only recourse) but I am not going to waste my time because they’ll probably rule that I am to blame, somehow, and even if not, the penalty will be trivial, like the slap on the wrist fine for Facebook as a result of the Cambridge Analytica scandal — if Zuckerberg only had to shake out the bottom of his jacket pocket to find £500k for that, I’m probably only worth about 20p.

      1. The Historian

        I’ve been saying that for years but most people just won’t believe me when I tell them that no, Facebook DID NOT delete their account even if Facebook says otherwise. Maybe they will believe you. Once you sign up for Facebook or similar free services, you are theirs – for as long as they want you.

        1. jefemt

          Ditto Link’din or whatever it is called…

          That was my first and last mius-adventure with any social media, years ago.

          If it’s FREE, you are the product. Monetize it!

      2. Pavel

        I never had a Facebook account and was never remotely tempted to do so. I modified my Macbook’s DNS configuration to block any * content (includes Instagram and others) so they don’t appear in my browser or elsewhere. I don’t feel I’m missing a thing. (^_^)

        Thankfully I never installed the app on my various iPhones as I gather the data collection there is much more insidious and ubiquitous.

        Of all the Big Tech barons, Zuckerberg has to be the most evil and duplicitous. Though Bezos gives him a run for his money.

        1. Danny

          “I modified my Macbook’s DNS configuration to block any * content..”

          HOW do you do that? Please give details that a non-techie can carry out.

          1. Monty

            If you dont want to get your hands dirty, firefox and the ublock origin add on will do it quite easily in your browser. Also “little snitch” firewall is capable of doing it system wide.

          2. Pavel

            Hi Danny
            Took me a moment of searching to remember what I did. I hope Yves and the NC comments moderators will permit the following!

            [UPDATE: On posting a list of FB servers I got the following: “Sorry, you have been blocked. You are unable to access”… not really surprised! Perhaps try the link below…]

            This post (among many others) has the instructions in detail, though its blacklist is shorter than the one I used:

            Going Nuclear: How to Block Facebook Completely From Your Mac [Update]

            Good luck!

        2. Monty

          Imagine how evil the Tech Barons you’ve never, or barely heard of are. Shalev Hulio and the NSO group are, to my mind, pure evil without any of the ‘keeping in touch with friends’ or ‘delivering stuff conveniently’ that FB or Amazon do. I expect there are many thousands of similar operations ongoing too, especially in North Virginia and Tel Aviv.

          1. xkeyscored

            Yes. I often wonder why people get so worked up about Facebook, Google and the like, when we know Five Eyes and so on are hoovering up everything about everyone for a lot worse reasons than selling us crap.

    2. inode_buddha

      I view Zuckerberg as a proxy for corporate America in this regard. Small, local business doesn’t have this kind of hubris in my experience, only big business. My experience is the attitude boils down to such things as “Because what are you going to do about it?”, “You can’t make me”, “It isn’t illegal”,”Better to ask forgiveness than permission”

      When confronted on these attitudes, the excuse is always a lack of agency, “Because competition”.

      In all of this, do you see any signs of maturity, or of being in control of oneself?

      IMHO those types of attitudes are the root cause of why our society is falling apart, starting with the kind of economic pressure that requires both parents to work, and splinters families.

      1. .Tom

        It goes way beyond “Because what are you going to do about it?”, “You can’t make me”, “It isn’t illegal”,”Better to ask forgiveness than permission”. Big corporations can manage big complex things that small business and individuals simply cannot. For example, they manage government. They write the laws and regulations they want through their lobbyists. And by influencing elections (6.5 billion dollars spent in 2016). You and I and the family that runs the dry cleaners don’t have these capabilities.

        The profit motive is orthogonal to maturity, or of being in control of oneself. Decency isn’t something corporations do. And the corporate environment naturally selects management and executives who can be relied upon to prioritize the interests of the corporation over any others, e.g. yours or mine, or society’s, or their clients’.

        I’m not sure about society falling apart. Hasn’t modern capitalism been causing that for, what, a couple of centuries? There’s something weirdly stable about capitalism’s instability, always close to crisis and collapse, except when actually in crisis or collapse, and causing suffering and social and environmental degradation.

      2. Bugs Bunny

        The Silicon Valley set has a pat answer to these questions, something like “we learned about this from some independent developers working on a platform application and we acted to resolve the issue immediately. We’re notifying anyone affected by it and will take remedial action to assure that their data is secure. We are also cooperating with regulatory authorities and will make sure it never happens again”

        There. Done and dusted. Next?

        There is no longer rule of law. That ship sailed long ago.

  10. Carolinian

    Re Grayzone on Warren

    Warren chimed in: “Start with the fact that Maduro is obviously a dictator; he’s terrible; he’s stolen this election; it’s a nightmare for the people of Venezuela.”

    The interview was back in February when the failure of Trump’s Venezuela gambit was less obvious. Didn’t Sanders say much the same thing at the time? The truth is that all the leading Dems are weak on foreign policy even as FP is the area where any new president would have the most power. The impeachment hearings themselves are being conducted on the basis that Russia is some kind of existential threat and Trump is a traitor for not standing up to it. This is more or less what Pelosi said on Face the Nation.

    1. divadab

      Stop making excuses for Warren. She’s a NeoCon on foreign policy. Hillary MarkII, but a more saleable line of patter, and less obvious corruption.

      Her refusal to endorse Sanders in 2016 was a tell.

      1. Carolinian

        So Sanders didn’t say the same as Warren about Maduro? Stop making excuses for him.

        And I’m hardly a Warren supporter. When our primary rolls around I will vote for Tulsi.

      2. Another Scott

        I don’t think she’s a neocon, only someone who hasn’t paid much attention to foreign policy. As a result, Warren listens to the “experts” on the issues, who all happen to be coastal, ivy league-educated neocons or interventionists. The end result is that she ends up with similar positions to many neocons. It’s why I’m so concerned with her, but she’s not an ideologue like Clinton. I don’t think Warren would make a statement like Clinton did after the death of Gaddafi.

  11. Wukchumni

    First rain in 170 days, and everything that makes a living out of the ground unleashed pent up olfactory odors pleasing to the nostrils.

    1. Arizona Slim

      And thanks for sharing it with Arizona. Nearly .40″ in the gauge since 1pm yesterday. More is on the way.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I am reminded of this Basho haiku:

      hatsu shigure saru mo komino o hoshige nari[17]


      the first cold shower
      even the monkey seems to want
      a little coat of straw

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Pointless work meetings ‘really a form of therapy'”

    In further news, academics from the University of Malmo in Sweden also say that employees made to perform the Pete Buttigieg dance makes for improved morale.

  13. Craig H.

    > Pointless work meetings ‘really a form of therapy’

    I like how the photo has a person sitting in a meeting looking at their phone. I realize this is a stupid question but if you are looking at your phone are you really at the meeting?

  14. Samuel Conner

    House Budget hearings on debt

    Womack leads off with the “family budget” fallacy.

    I would make popcorn if I had a popper.

    Recently read that the Fed is purchasing short-term treasuries from the primary dealers the same day they are delivered to the dealers who have bid on them. Direct monetization under a very thin veil of “secondary market”. MMT is here to stay, IMO.

    1. Samuel Conner

      Wray brings up the sectoral balances; multidecade plot. Checkmate, IMO. But the idiot hawks will refuse to understand.

      1. hunkerdown

        I really wish we could retire the old “understand” trope. Sociopaths understand just fine. But that’s not what they’re being paid to sell. What they’re being paid to sell is “I’m sorry you have to miss dinner again but mommy has to feed her habit”. These are willing actors (in every sense of the term) and the onus is on them to prove otherwise.

    2. Wukchumni

      Tip on how to obtain amazing rates of inflationary pressure, receiving a typical 800% return:

      Pour a bit of olive oil in a pot followed by popcorn kernels and ideally you want a clear lid on top so as see how your investment is doing, cook over an open flame & add sea salt to assets.

    3. Samuel Conner

      Taylor’s opening statement relies on CBO forecasts. IIRC, CBO does not employ stock-flow consistent models. IOW, their forecasts don’t respect the sectoral balance identity and so cannot correspond to what can actually happen in the future.

      But Taylor thinks the implications of CBO analyses are robust.

    4. Samuel Conner

      Hearings winding down. Not impressed by the questions coming from either side of the aisle, though the Rs were noticeably more bone-headed.

      I wonder what prospect there might be for a mandate that the CBO employ stock-flow consistency in its modelling. CBO forecasts seem to be a staple of deficit scolds.

    1. diptherio

      Yes, 24 hours is a bit long for the lysergic…more like 8 in my limited experience, although as with all these things YMMV.

      DMT is very short acting when smoked. When injested orally as part of an ayhuasca brew, the effects can last several hours, so I’m told.

      Back in the early days of the net, you could buy 99.9% pure N,N-DMT and 5-MeO-DMT on-line from “research chemical” companies. I did some research a couple times…but with the 5-MeO variety. Like being strapped to a rocket and fired into the heart of the sun…but in a good way…baseline to baseline in about 6 minutes, though the trip itself is something that’s stuck with me through the intervening decades.

      One thing I noticed, a few days after the research was completed, was that for some reason the concept of death no longer frightened me. It still really doesn’t, honestly. When I heard that some psychologists were using magic mushrooms with terminal patients to help them deal with their impending bodily demise, I was not at all surprised (psilocin and DMT are closely related).

      1. Krystyn Walentka

        The serotonergic action of these drugs are clear, so what is the trip but just to experience the life of someone with a mood disorder? I can tell you my mental experiences have stayed with me but unlike you it is not a vacation. I can’t always come back after a day or a month or a year.

        I have been one with the universe but unlike you I cannot brag about it because for some reason for me it is only a mental disorder and I should be locked up. And no one cares to hear about my experiences having lived in that state for years but will swallow a whole book on the subject from someone who just vacations in the unity.

        I have a “mental illness” but they are “Psychonauts”. Whatever.

        DMT works in a good way only because you can do it on a Saturday and be back to work on Monday. Next time try taking it while you are a cashier at a grocery store and tell me how cool of an experience it is when they fire you because the love you had for people made you keep giving groceries away for free.

            1. Oregoncharles

              Not necessarily a joke. The anthropologists’ theory is that shamanism is a socially useful niche for people who are – let’s say – differently conscious. Could easily be inherited, esp. if body chemistry is unusual, as you’ve talked about.

              You’ve obviously given this a lot of thought; have you explored working with actual shamans? Here, that would mean Native American, usually – Polish shamans might be hard to find. There might be a niche waiting for you. At least you’d have something to call yourself!

            2. ambrit

              Funny that you say that. One of my mother’s grandmothers was Polish from near Gdynia. Since her husband, my great-grandfather was a seaman, that fits. She was under five foot tall, dark haired and reputed to have the ‘Second Sight.’ The family story is that she was of the people who lived there before the Slavs and Teutons came there. (My mother says that she dreamed of this woman constantly before I was born. Transmigration anyone?)

        1. Sol

          Mental illness seems to be the only disease theory in which we evaluate symptoms based on how they make the people around us feel.

        2. diptherio

          I’ve had my own experiences with the dark side of mental health, so you have my sympathy, and my empathy. You are quite correct that existing in a state of unity is not something that is rewarded in our culture. You can’t very well play your part as a cog in a horrendous machine when you’re viscerally aware that we are all part of one mysterious whole…an experience which can also be incredibly confusing and scary, tbh. If we had been born in India or Nepal, Krystyn, I get the feeling we would both likely be wearing robes and living at temples and ashrams. Some cultures, anyway, still value those for whom unity is the overriding reality.

          The poison path, as we call it, is certainly not for everyone (not even myself, I determined), and as ambrit points out, the lack of guides available to people drawn to that path is a major hindrance to their beneficial use. The Native American Church is, I would guess, the only pretty sure-fire place to find the real deal, shaman-wise, but they don’t generally make themselves available to non-tribal people, as far as I know. Although, recently it seems like auyhausceros from Latin America have been making the rounds in the states, so perhaps the guide situation will improve.

      2. ambrit

        I remember using Psilocybin, in mushroom form, back in my misspent youth. Yes, those were “happy” trips. The feeling of approaching “true bliss” is a ‘feeling’ that I have not forgotten either. I can see the use that this form of “therapy” would have for terminal patients. (Dosage would be important.)
        Never tried DMT. As with my comments on this subject from the past, finding proper and competent ‘shamans’ to help guide one through the experience would be crucial. Which leads me to the question; “Where are the Shamans for this Era?”

        1. Monty

          “Where are the Shamans for this Era?”
          There are legal shamanic retreats (for a fee) in Jamaica, Peru, Costa Rica, South Africa, Portugal, Spain, Holland etc.

          1. ambrit

            I caught that caveat Monty. The formulation “for a fee” should disqualify anyone from acting as a shaman. Putting the economic component up front negates any ‘mystic’ component to the process. A ‘donation’ given voluntarily afterwards is fine. But to require payment beforehand is suspect.

        2. Amfortas the hippie

          during my wild years, living in the van across the south, we did a lot of hallucinogens…shrooms, mostly, because you could readily identify a non-big rancher rancher(mom and pop version) who didn’t overly medicate their cows, and obtain bags of them for free(or for fence repair, as the case may be)
          but i also knew a guy in the chemistry department at my old college who funded his never ending university trip by making lsd in various forms.
          so acid by the sheet,lol…handing it out for gas money or for free throughout dixie.
          once, my chemistry friend experimented with dmt(at least that’s what he said it was), and i tried a sugar cube of it.
          strapped to a rocket, indeed!
          about 5 hours of being….somewhere else.
          or somewhen…somewho…no boundaries…I AM,lol.
          the most profound experience of my life.
          i’d argue that 30 years later that one experience still has a baseline effect on how i roll through the world.
          i didn’t meet the machine elves, or any of the other entities folks talk about…and when i learned about those, i was sort of sad that they hadn’t visited.
          but it doesn’t matter, really.

  15. Wukchumni

    A friend of a friend is an olive gleaner, knows where all the trees are, and has agreements with the owners for him to pick them. If left to their own device, olives are an icky mess on the ground,

    The locale yesterday for the united farm workers (that would be 3 of us) was a local guy who planted 50 trees along his driveway as a screen, 25 years ago. You’d never know he was there, quite effective. You want to pick green olives or just a tinge purple, was the plan. We picked 10 gallons, and then took them back to a sorting table (in this case a ping pong table bordered by 2×4’s lest any escape) where we rejected on account of being too small or too ripe.

    Then comes the interesting part, I cannot tell a lye, and you wonder who ever came up with the concept of soaking olives in poison in order to make them palatable?

    They soak in lye for around 12 hours, and you check them once an hour after, until they look a certain way, is how its supposed to go down.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I made some black olives using olives from my grandpa’s tree using a recipe from Lindsey Olives. After the lye treatment i remember it took a week or two of rinsing the olives and mixing up more brine. The olives were the best ever! Hugh and rich in oil.

      The story of the California olive industry is interesting. I recall they could never work out how to properly clarify the oil they made so they were never competitive with Italian olive oil.

      1. Wukchumni

        Olive orchards are starting to disappear from the landscape in Tulare County.

        That’s because the country’s largest canner of table olives is cancelling grower contracts.

        Growers started receiving letters at the start of the month. It reads, “Bell-Carter is terminating the contract we have with you. The termination is effective immediately.”

        John Werner, who grows olives in the Seville area has been a Bell-Carter growers since 2010.

        “They’re replacing the California olive grower with imported olives from a Spanish co-op called Dcoop.”

        Last August the Spanish cooperative Dcoop bought a 20-percent state in Bell-Carter. Werner says a current 37.5 percent tariff prevents foreign olive companies

        from bringing black canned olives into the U.S.

        “In that tariff there’s a loophole that allows them to import an unfinished or uncured olive, because it’s not a black cured olive. In that then Bell-Carter doesn’t need us”.
        A good many olive orchards have been ripped out here, replaced by almond trees, usually.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Your news about the olive trees saddens me. It recalls a drive I made many years ago through what had been orange groves when I was a teen but now holds a tract of cheaply built expensive houses.

    2. Eclair

      When we lived in southern California, I found an unused olive tree in the neighborhood and picked a bunch. I looked up various curing recipes and decided not to use lye, mainly because I loathe the American canned black olives. I used a salt curing method. Months later, after distributing the results to family members (some of whom accused me of attempted murder), I decided that it probably took a couple of generations, plus long apprenticeships, to be able to cure an olive successfully. Oh, and the correct varietals.

      For a couple of years, I ordered gallons of olive oil from Chaffin Farm in Oroville. Both their early and late harvest pressings were delicious. But they seem to have given up on pressing, although they still offer fresh olives. Their prices were much higher than the imported (as in long supply chain) olive oil sold at Costco, etc. As for growers replacing olive trees (sigh) with almond trees, in spite of the latter using quite bit more water, I blame the drinkers of almond ‘milk.’ (Ok, I have to blame someone.)

      1. Arizona Slim

        Count me as someone who’s been having a lot of second thoughts about drinking almond milk. For the reason that Eclair stated in the penultimate sentence.

        I recently tried oat milk, and I found it quite pleasant. Don’t know how much water is involved in its production. Anyone have any info?

        1. Oregoncharles

          Obviously, any “milk” is mostly water.

          In general, grains are grown without (much) irrigation, the big water use.

      2. Wukchumni

        Drink all the almond milk you want, that isn’t where the demand for almonds is coming from in the 125 to 250 million trees planted in the state, it’s Asia.

        Been watching a decent sized pistachio orchard planted 7 years ago on Hwy 198, and its still 3-4 years away from hitting paydirt as far as a commercial harvest goes.

        Such an interesting business venture, a nut annuity.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Lye…poison…make palatable.

      In Yucatan, raw chaya leaves are toxic. Once cooked, chaya is a superfood.

      Further east, in Jamaica, the national dish is ackee with codfish. Unripe ackee is poisonous. It’s like that quote, love takes time.

    4. urblintz

      I had a quintessential “Spanish” experience 2 years ago when visiting my sister in Andalucia (near Frigiliana). Her neighbor and best friend had about 50 olive trees and I got to help pick them.

      A large netting was first placed under the trees, tight to the trunk. Most were on a slope of varying degree from ok to impossible and the slippery netting made it very tricky. Then using small hand rakes we essentially scraped the olives onto the netting. When the tree was fully harvested we’d pull up slowly on certain edges of the net, creating a funnel and rolling the olives into huge canvas bags for carting the bounty to the local and very authentic press. Gathering the olives took 2 full days… the remarkable oil, pressed into liter bottles, took about 4 hours.

      Never tasted olive oil like that before or since.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        eventually, the winters here will be mild enough for olives…our dirt is very similar to the northern coast of the mediterranean.
        I’ve tried growing them, but then we get a hard, weeklong freeze and it kills them to the crown.
        when i first started this experiment, you could only obtain california trees/saplings/whips…all geared towards their climate.
        none of those are cold tolerant.
        but with the newfangled intertube machine, i learned that there are cold tolerant varieties that could handle our occasional hard winter with enough hay and perhaps a bonfire in the grove.
        but importing them was prohibitive…aphis(which i like, they generally do good work and are underappreciated) required not a speck of dirt on the rootstock, and to be quarantined in their NY warehouse for like 3 months…unlikely to be in good shape once they got to me.
        now, 25 years later, a guy in Wimberly Texas has gone to all that trouble, and has a large olive operation which includes selling potted trees. (he gets the same wiinters, but his microclimate is mitigated by the Highland Lakes, and he told me he has a large set of hills just to his north…whereas we are pretty open all the way to canada, here)
        I just learned about him last year, and hope to make the excursion this spring.
        i’d love to have a producing olive grove.

  16. .Tom

    > Two federal prison officers charged with falsifying records in connection with Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide

    The BBC World Service News report ended saying “Video surveillance showed that no one had entered the special unit all night, an important detail that negates some of the conspiracy theories that have claimed the billionaire was murdered.”

    BBC News have consistently described alternatives to the suicide narrative as conspiracy theories in news reports, not opinion pieces or reporter/expert commentary.

    Calling something a conspiracy theory is basically a slur and dismissive categorical judgement. So it’s really striking and it stands out when used like this in news. It amounts to reporting that it is idiocy to have any doubt about the manner and circumstances of Epstein’s death.

    It seems somehow relevant to the affair that the BBC feels the need to consistently include this judgement in its news reports on anything pertaining to the matter.

    1. David

      Well, a theory that Epstein was murdered presupposes a conspiracy of some kind by definition, not least because no evidence has yet turned up to support it, so it remains a theory, or more properly a hypothesis. I don’t see how the term can be avoided.

      1. ambrit

        In modern parlance, the phrase “Conspiracy Theory” is a pejorative. So, BBC’s use of the term is a clear value judgement on the idea, and those supporting said idea.
        I suspect that The Palace has been active in this issue to protect the Prince’s reputation. It is one thing to pal around with a toothsome lass like Koo Stark. It is quite another to gambol with a Lolita.

        1. David

          What would it be acceptable, then, to call a theory that Epstein was murdered as a result of a conspiracy?

          1. .Tom

            What you wrote is one example. There are ample ways to talk about possible conspiracy that avoid the pejorative slur. “Allegations of a conspiracy that…”, “accusations that foo conspired with bar to baz.”

            In the specific case, the putative conspiracy is irrelevant to the new developments being reported so, for example, “Video surveillance showed that no one had entered the special unit all night, a detail important in the question of whether the billionaire’s death was suicide or murder,” would do the job. But if it’s really needed, “…, a detail important in the question of whether the billionaire’s death was suicide or the result of a murder conspiracy.”

      2. John k

        No evidence…
        The broken bones are solid evidence. Plus most suicide hangings include the subject falling from a significant distance that don’t break larger bones, whereas in this case such a fall is not possible.
        And buckets of motive, maybe by those with means such as cia, bearing mind he was said to be an intelligence asset as explanation for ridiculous sentence…

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Check the web sometime for the goings-on with the contents of Anthony Weiner’s laptop, especially the folder they found called “Insurance”. Epstein features prominently, and it was all hands on deck to contain the fallout. Bi-partisan fun, with your guardians of the law and the public weal covering up child molestation and worse.

      3. .Tom

        The literal interpretation of “conspiracy theory” is clear as is the fact that, in today’s usage, it carries the same meaning as “crackpot theory.”

        I honestly believe that with a little effort you could find ways to rewrite the BBC’s report that avoid the term.

        1. Oregoncharles

          But they wouldn’t convey prejudgement, which was the intent – as it always is with “conspiracy theory.” They’re now pretty open that it really means “theory we don’t like.”

          For one thing, conspiracies are neither unlikely nor uncommon.

      4. xkeyscored

        It’s not only modern usage that equates conspiracy theory with crackpot theory. (Sorry about the ugly line breaks.)
        “While the OED is generally considered to be a standard reference work, you can actually push the date back even farther using a more recently
        developed tool, Google Books. Conspiracy theory is by far the older term. In May 1890, a
        theosophical journal called The Path dismissed the 1885 exposure of Helena Blavatsky by the Society for Psychical Research, in which it was discovered that Blavatsky relied on an elaborate
        system of informants for her “psychic” insights, as a “conspiracy theory.” In 1881, the phrase appears in
        Rhodes’ Journal of Banking: “As evidence of a conspiracy this showing is pitiful, and in any view, the charge is ridiculous, as no conspiracy theory is needed to account for the
        facts.” It seems that finance has always been dogged by conspiracy theories.”

      5. Yves Smith Post author

        The independent coroner has said it was extremely unlikely that Epstein committed suicide, based on his bone breaks. This was based on their nature alone, without consideration of evidence at the site. I can’t track down the source (thanks Google!) but another account had said that Epstein had set out his toiletries tidily on the top bunk, and they were still tidy when his body was found. That would mean he could not have somehow jumped from the top bunk to have gotten ballistic force on his neck; anything ballistic would have shaken the stuff on the top bunk and knocked some things over. It is impossible to have sustained those breaks just by leaning into a noose, the only scenario remaining.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      The very first reaction I had when learning of Epstein dying was “no one screws with the Windsors”.

      But when I see what a buffoon Andrew was in the interview, I wonder why MI6 made the effort. Probably something to do with Assange.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        Just to be clear – I was referring to the Wikileaks reporting on Andrew’s “work” in trade promotion. Epstein was involved with Andrew at that time. In a real world the FBI would be on this.

    3. The Rev Kev

      There was an article about a retired CIA spook here about a coupla months ago and he was talking about some of what was in his dirty tricks bags. Some of them were chemicals that would be given through food (which explains why when Putin travels, he takes his own food) or on contact with a piece of paper for example.
      The fact that both guards went to sleep does make me wonder if they had both been exposed to something. Maybe their sign-on sheet or something. At their trial, perhaps they could say that they did check on Epstein that night – but unfortunately both cameras that would have shown that were not working then.

  17. epynonymous

    Was flipping through my copy of “The Best Democracy Money can Buy” and he had a section on the 2000 Bolivian coup. Water price hikes were cited as a cause, and the quecha minority noted as a big part of the ‘opposition.’

    The author, Greg Palast, did something on youtube on the subject 4 days ago, but oddly, I found his book listed in full right here…

    1. ambrit

      The Missouri river plain is still having flooding problems, this late in the year. There is also the issue of groundwater contamination as a result of all the large containers of agricultural chemicals spilled into the environment in concentrated form by the floods. think; herbicides, artificial fertilizers, diesel fuel, etc. American grain and cereal production for next year could be way lower than “projected.”

    2. Oregoncharles

      Very late winter here; it’s rained enough to get the soil wet, but now it’s sunny and dry for the foreseeable future, again. I’m not worried, yet, as the late rains are the most important for us (west side of the Willamette), but if we depended on snowpack I would be.

  18. Danny

    The Middle of Nowhere article:

    That place is a firetrap. Are there no fire inspector services in Roundup, Montana?
    The state labor commission should be called.

    Those women are risking their lives in the situations shown there.
    e.g. small room with huge piles of paper, rolls of plastic bubble wrap etc.

  19. Stadist

    Cops Put GPS Tracker On Man’s Car, Charge Him With Theft For Removing It ars technica

    Dystopian Catch-22:

    You can be charged with theft if you remove the tracker and you can be charged with theft if you don’t remove the tracker (and instead ‘escape’, drive away, with the tracker in your vehicle.) What do you do?

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      remove tracker and disable it, then put disabled tracker back on car.
      or…better…remove tracker and install it on a cop car.
      “jess returning y’all’s property officer”

      1. inode_buddha

        I usually have oxy-acetylene torch on the truck. Find device, leave it in place. Put a 6,000 deg. F hole in it.

        1. ambrit

          One fellow I knew on a job was under the ‘protective watch’ of the coppers. Whenever one of the crews would send a truck around to the supply houses, he would put the bug on the supply truck. Then retrieve it at the end of the day and carry it home. A few of us were in on the jape. Those coppers must have had some very confused ideas about his travel patterns.
          My favourite bit of Orwellian policing is the ruling somewhere that as long as an automobile is not enclosed and locked up, even if it is on a house’s driveway, the police can legally put a tracking device on it surreptitiously. So much for a Citizen’s house being their castle.

    2. The Rev Kev

      The GPS Tracker had no ID on it to indicate whether it was a police or private tracker. Supposing he put the whole tracker into a Faraday bag, would they have tried to charge him then with obstructing police in the execution of their duties? What if he had tried to turn it into his local police station as an illegal device and made a criminal complaint?

      1. ambrit

        Better yet, tried to reverse engineer it.
        Did the cops show the man their warrant to surveil him? If no warrant, no standing to charge him.

  20. Oregoncharles

    “U.S. breaks off defense cost talks, as South Korea balks at $5 billion demand”
    Is Trump being unexpectedly clever here? Like Europe, S. Korea is now very well off; there is no good reason for the US to be paying for its defense, except to exercise control. So in a way, the demand makes sense. But the likeliest effect is that the US, if it insists on such a huge number, will lose its presence in S. Korea – and the Koreas will move toward resolution, if not unification. (Incidentally, the result would be a nuclear state, terrifying to Japan.)

    Is that what Trump actually wants?

    1. polecat

      NOooo …… he – wouldn’t – dare !

      The bull is at it again, this time doing slow-mo havoc in the China .. er .. Koreashoppe.

  21. Amfortas the hippie

    the intelligencer thing on bernie actually having a chance:
    this:”…Right now I feel like loosely attached indie voters might be more attracted to Sanders, but I’m not sure what will happen to that if he were to actually be in a general election with Trump. I can imagine diminished enthusiasm with bundlers and donors being a problem — it kind of depends on how strongly the Establishment would rally to him if he were to win.”

    they all live in a pocket universe, where lack of bundler enthusiasm is a bad thing.

  22. newcatty

    Feral horses are helping to restore butterflies habitat…How lovely to have a positive and uplifting story about horses and butterflies. It’s restorative for our minds and hearts to hear such narratives in the world. Thanks Glenn for pointing it out to us.

    Rain… hey, AZ Slim…We are enjoying cool, foggy, rainy day here in the North land too. And more to come! Here comes the rain…its so welcome, welcome, welcome.

  23. Tomonthebeach

    “virtually no instruments used in psychological assessment are well validated”

    Only partly correct. Renfrow et al.’s research did not use psychiatric diagnostic tools. Big-5 personality is based on hundreds, if not thousands, or studies using gobs (nontechnical quantity) of different self-report tools used by various researchers for over a century. As those items and traits were factor analyzed (ya know with computers n stuff) about 5-7 traits kept bubbling up (items that intercorrelated with each other but not with what’s left). In the end, 5 traits always emerged. None of the 5 are pathological. They are all part of the normal personality complex in each individual human. For example, being highly neurotic does not necessarily mean you are mentally ill – just odd or even interesting (like your vegan aunt, Marsha – the one with the shaved head and nose piercings who always wears sandals even in winter).

    It has only been recently that mental health researchers have begun to try linking Big-5 to psychopathology (aka psycho, crazy, nuts) which means that one is behaving oddly enough that it interferes with adult role responsibilities, employment, or even public safety/suicidality. That work is far from well-validated from a Big-5 perspective.

    One last point to consider since it was raised, is genotype vs phenotype. One way to think about traits is that genotype is the source of our temperament whereas phenotype is how one’s social-emotional environment influences how we express the temperament. that we inherited through our genes.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “Mike Pompeo Is Searching for a Safe Exit From State Ahead of Senate Run, GOP Sources Say”:
    ‘he plans to resign from the Trump Administration to run for the U.S. Senate from Kansas in next year’s elections.’

    I take it then that Kansas uses computer voting for their elections.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thanks for that, flora. So I guess that we can expect Senator Mike Pompeo to take his seat where he cannot be fired by Trump but can look forward to years in the Senate spreading his influence. He must be John McCain’s replacement then.

  25. Implementor

    RE: En Bolivia matan al perro de Evo Morales (UserFriendly)

    So much outrage and disgust over the killing of this one innocent animal…then everyone goes home and eats chicken wings, or BBQ, or beef stir fry, or worse, sea-life.

    Virtually everyone kills innocent (and heavily abused/cruelly-raised) animals every single day without a lick of thought or concern. The cognitive dissonance or outright hypocrisy is mind-boggling.

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