Links 11/30/19

Inside Dubai’s $10 million camel hospital CNN

Study Reveals Music’s Universal Patterns Across Societies Worldwide Reuters

Is virtue signalling a perversion of morality? Aeon (Dr. Kevin)

Queen’s Brian May Joins ESA’s Comet Interceptor Group, and That’s Dr. Brian May Interesting Engineering (Chuck L)

The First Narco Submarine Ever Seized Off A European Coast Is A Monster The Drive (guurst)

What is an atmospheric river and why should Southern Californians keep their umbrellas handy? Los Angeles Times (David L)

Banana agri-waste converted into biodegradable, recyclable plastic New Atlas (David L)

Is Net Zero Emissions an Impossible Goal? Nautilus (Anthony L)

Climate change ‘tipping points’ too close for comfort PhysOrg (guurst)

Chicago Takes a Beating as Lake Levels Surge Scientific American (David L)

Countries are burning from Siberia to Australia: the age of fire is the bleakest warning yet Guardian (David L)

Tainted Data Can Teach Algorithms the Wrong Lessons Wired (David L)

How Peru’s potato museum could stave off world food crisis Guardian (resilc)

Discovery of Elusive Tendon Stem Cells in Mice ‘Could Be a Game-Changer’ For Healing Science Alert (David L)

China?

China threatens to take ‘strong counter-measures’ against US after Hong Kong bill signings CNBC

Brexit

A coward and a bully’: Tories threaten Channel 4 after Boris Johnson replaced with melting ice sculpture0 Independent (UserFriendly)

Private companies have won £15BILLION of NHS contracts since 2015, research reveals amid political row over ‘health service for sale’ Daily Mail

London Bridge: Attacker had been convicted of terror offence BBC

Britain’s chief rabbi is helping to stoke anti-semitism CounterPunch (Ven B)

Prince Andrew’s ex mulling bombshell tell-all book detailing Epstein debauchery New York Post (Chuck L)

German car industry reels as Daimler cuts 10,000 jobs Financial Times

Bolivia Coup

Argentinian researchers barred from Bolivia: Morales AA

Syraqistan

Trump, who supports War Crimes, is losing War, and Wants to quit Afghanistan, Gaslights Troops in Kabul Juan Cole (resilc)

Iraq PM resignation would only be ‘first step’, protesters say Aljazeera

After Al-Baghdadi’s Death, Media Failed to Ask Where ‘War on Terror’ Is Going LobeLog (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

SMS Replacement is Exposing Users To Text, Call Interception Thanks To Sloppy Telecos Motherboard

ICANN RACES TOWARDS REGULATORY CAPTURE: THE GREAT .ORG HEIST Sam Klein

Sale of .org domain to private equity firm sparks battle over internet freedom Financial Times

Facebook Adds Disclaimer to Post That Singapore Deems False Bloomberg

Health Care

Drugmakers slash prices in China to get on reimbursement list Reuters (Troy P)

Ohio bill orders doctors to ‘reimplant ectopic pregnancy’ or face ‘abortion murder’ charges Guardian (resilc). JTM: “Where does it end? What kind of people are these, anyway?”

Impeachment

Five questions looming over impeachment The Hill

Multiple Women Recall Sexual Misconduct and Retaliation by Gordon Sondland ProPublica (UserFriendly)

2020

How money laundering is poisoning American democracy Financial Times. Dan K:

“America’s bright red line” is a bit much; Western cold-war tactics leveraged existing financial back-channels and developed new ones. And the piece fails to mention the dark money pools at the center of US political tactics. That’s money laundering, with several types of political leverage as the output. Article like this attempt to spin the narratives before it goes mainstream and get ahead of a looming issue. But it’s a tacit admission that at this point, the active patterns are becoming awkwardly obvious.

Clarence Thomas blasts his Biden-led confirmation hearings: ‘The idea was to get rid of me’ The Hill

How Kamala Harris’s Campaign Unraveled New York Times (UserFriendly)

Medicare for All isn’t tanking Warren Carl Beijer

Tulsi Gabbard: Wake Up and Smell Our $6.4 Trillion Wars American Conservative (resilc)

He defended the Confederate flag and insulted immigrants. Now he’s an SC judge. Post and Courier (Chris)

Our Famously Free Press

The New York Times’ Long History of Endorsing US-Backed Coups Mint Press

An interview with historian Gordon Wood on the New York Times’ 1619 Project WSWS (guurst). Important.

Bipolar Economics Project Syndicate (David L). More criticism of the latest “Nobel” prize winners.

Morgan Stanley Ousts FX Traders as It Probes Concealed Loss Bloomberg. Vlade:

Incompetents. 15 years ago FX option traders at National Australia Bank defrauded it of >$300m https://www.smh.com.au/business/heads-roll-at-nab-over-foreign-exchange-scandal-20040312-gdiizf.html

To properly defraud a bank, you have to involve someone with knowledge of the middle/back office systems, there are always hols you can use.

Walmart Dodged US Tax on $2 Billion by Routing Cash Through Multiple Countries, Whistleblower Says Quartz

Manhattan Attorney Announces Arrest Of United States Citizen, Who Works For Ethereum, For Assisting North Korea In Evading Sanctions Department of Justice. Repeat after me: cryptocurrencies = prosecution futures.

Class Warfare

This Doctors Group Is Owned by a Private Equity Firm and Repeatedly Sued the Poor Until We Called Them ProPublica (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour (CV):

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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255 comments

  1. avoidhotdogs

    Music is universal. I’m kinda surprised it took this long to do this kind of study. It’s been known for a long time that certain frequencies are “intrinsically appealing” to humans. You go up an octave, the number of Hertz doubles. You go up a perfect fifth, the multiplier is 1.5. The “attractive” numbers (to humans) used in the typical simple bubble-gum pop song define chords I, IV and V.

    Pythagoras tuned everything in 5ths since 1.5 was easy to do. But the trouble is the math doesn’t work once you change key (modulate). That’s why JS Bach’s tuning system (an empirical approximation to the theoretical system of equal temperament – a system based on powers of one twelfth so every semitone difference is exactly the same multiplier) was a revelation. You can play in any key. But NO key is “perfect”. They’re all wrong, just “different degrees of acceptably wrong”.

    If you tune to a different type of temperament you can produce a subtly different sound (e.g. “Eastern” to use an out-of-date term) and more accurately represent what different ancient cultures did (since they couldn’t do equal temperament and tuned using something else, like the Greeks under Pythagoras). But it is well known that for some reason we all “like” certain multipliers (2, 1.5, etc). One of those human quirks.

    Reply
    1. dearieme

      Music is universal.

      I was lunching once with some academics when someone said that. “No” said another “there are two tribes in New Guinea who have no music at all, not even song.”

      I dare say he was just challenging the evidence-free repeating of a cliche but I suppose he might have meant it.
      I once had a friend from PNG; maybe I should have asked him.

      Reply
    2. Mike

      If you restrict yourself to analysis of musical melody structure, universal rules do come into play, although you must take a wide and high view of it to see those universals. Where the variety and playfulness of music comes in is the stanza repetition, rhythm, and meter – here the world goes off the rails and presents many interpretations, with some parallels between dance vs. non-dance forms, and purposeful tunes restricted to certain work and daily routines. Lullabies, i.e., certainly calm rather than agitate, so are regular, repetitive, and measured.

      And, to nitpick, not all cultures tend to speed up the dance melodies, as the article states- in Macedonia some dance forms were slower than ballads, at least up until recently, where Western musical influence has held sway. I’m sure other examples can be found. To me, the article was way too general to present the details necessary, and the actual research is more important to a critic or supporter.

      Reply
      1. avoidhotdogs

        Oh I agree with everything you said……and the article indeed was “something needed” but hardly comprehensive. As a former academic (but not in music – music has been my main pastime – I’m a violinist and pianist) I am generally sceptical about how the media presents the results of research :-)

        This was (as you say) way too general…… there is so much more to report on and investigate.

        Reply
      2. Amfortas the hippie

        I played trumpet, then baritone, trombone and tuba in jr high and high school(to get out of pe,lol)
        along the way, i taught myself guitar, and became something of a regional legend in the beerjoint blues rock scene in east texas.
        even studied formally in college.
        so i’ve always been a music nut…and dig all manner of international folk/indigenous music.
        there are similarities between “lullabyes” or ” ritual music” or whatever across cultures.
        but what i found the coolest, and hardest to get my noggin around, is the different scales used in various places.
        we in the west take for granted a 12 note diatonic scale…but when you jam on the porch with a musician from bangladesh or india, and try to think in a 21 note scale, or whatever(been a million years), it’s pretty striking both how arbitrary our 12 note fixation is, and how hard it is to break out of it.
        there’s some correlation with the half tones, glissando and whatnot found in blues and jazz, but it feels strange, nevertheless.

        Reply
        1. avoidhotdogs

          Well said. Technically G sharp is a DIFFERENT note from A flat. But due to the limitations of our fingers (10 of them), a keyboard instrument sets them equal and uses the 12 note diatonic scale with equal temperament. We could be MUCH more flexible. Indeed it has been noted that orchestras with only/predominantly strings play just temperament so the intervals are “correct” and not the approximations in equal temperament. For example “Nimrod” from Elgar Enigma Variations is partly so wonderful because us string instrument people tend to revert to just temperament. Add a piano and we’d be up the creek as we’d have to use equal temperament.

          If you want to see what orchestral equal temperament can do in terms of fooling your ears, listen to Beethoven’s 6th (Pastoral). It’s in F major but the first phrase ends on a C major chord. Cut all of the first phrase except that chord. Get the Key of C major into your head. Listen to that C major chord out of context. It sounds GROSSLY out of tune. By ANY orchestra in ANY recording. That’s because your brain has the just temperament of C in mind…and the equal temperament C chord deviates significantly from this. If you’re “thinking” F major (as the entire phrase makes you do) then it sounds fine. If you listen out of context it is AWFUL! Mind games in sound……!

          Reply
          1. JP

            a tin whistle only has 6 holes so is just made to play a specific key. Anything not in that scale is achieved with a partially covered hole called an accidental. If you get good at accidentals you can play anything. I call it a greasy sound. It is what I especially like about the Irish pipes.

            Reply
        2. Summer

          I jammed with a guy playing an electric sitar and I couldn’t get the vibe right until I plugged in to a harmonizer pedal and experimented with the settings.

          Reply
          1. RMO

            I studied sitar for several years. My teacher lived in India for quite a while when he was studying North Indian Classical music. He said that when he came back to Canada listening to even-tempered music on the radio, in stores etc. drove him nuts for months until he got used to it again (he had perfect pitch so it would be very noticeable to him). I remember when I played a show with an improvisational group (piano, tenor sax, flute, guitar, Dahu, vocals) I told them “If you want the music to resolve, go to a D.” On my instrument, with the string arrangement I was being taught it sounded best with D as the tonic. The frets can be slid around to either even-tempered or just intonation on the playing string but for the open string, drone strings and sympathetics D was the tonic.

            I seem to have odd ears in that I find parallel perfect fourths extremely appealing.

            Reply
    3. urblintz

      good comment… just a point of clarification – Bach (who in my professional opinion is the most important composer of western music) did not invent equal temperament but was a proponent of it for sure, as exemplified in his masterful “Das Wohltemperierte Klavier” (The Well-Tempered Clavier).

      Reply
      1. avoidhotdogs

        Thanks. Yeah I think my wording created confusion. I knew he never invented it – he didn’t have the maths. That’s why I wrote he got it “empirically” – he used piano tuner techniques based on higher note co-variances to empirically tune his keyboard instruments. The Well-Tempered Clavier was his demonstration that this method “worked” for all keys.

        If he’d had a computer to hand he could have tuned his instruments to “perfect” equal temperament, to several decimal places correctness in the Hz per note. But his “empirical tricks” (used by piano tuners to this day) served him well.

        Reply
      1. avoidhotdogs

        Interesting article, thanks. But it says nothing about my central point – that people like “round numbers” in terms of note difference.

        This article is basically saying that the tribe have mentally perceived an octave as 4 not 2; other notes 3 not 1.5, etc. They have transposed up/down an octave, preserving the multiples. My point remains unchallenged by that paper (though it certainly is interesting about “learnt” pitches – perfect pitch is almost certainly something learnt by exposure to equal temperament – you recognise that 1.332 under equal temperament is not 1.333333333333 and know the note accordingly).

        Reply
    4. hspchd

      Bach would have been totally uninterested in a perfect (12th comma meantone) equal temperament. Equal temperament (ET) creates very ‘sharp’ thirds. Pure thirds (non-beating) were preferred by composers of the ‘Baroque’ era.

      Tuning to beating patterns relies on counting the frequency of the combination of harmonics of two tones. When I was a kid, two of us would hum or sing the same note and slowly drift apart in pitch. A slow beating would increase as we moved further apart and would decrease as we reached the next pure interval. We could actually feel this, physically.

      Equal tempered thirds are unpleasant on a harpsichord. I have often demonstrated this to pianists and string players. The string players always prefer the pure thirds, pianists say pure thirds sound unpleasantly flat. On a harpsichord, the higher harmonics are relatively stronger (lower string tension, softer metals). Fifths in ET are 12th comma flat (the comma is the the pitch difference between ascending by octaves (ET) or by pure fifths (Pythagorean). When you complete the ‘circle of fifths’ (pure) you are higher in pitch. Many baroque temperaments have 1/4 comma flat fifths. A 1/4 comma meantone temperament will give you (mostly) pure thirds and one horrendously sharp fifth – the ‘wolf’. The ‘wolf’ was sometimes written in to a piece for its shock value.

      Brad Lehman interprets the ‘squiggle’ published at the top the the WTC score as instructions on Bach’s temperament for the preludes and fugues. An nice demonstration of this is this video.

      Reply
      1. avoidhotdogs

        OK fair enough we can get into the nitty gritty – Bach WAS interested in equal temperament (empirically anyway) as a starting point…but as is well known this is done in the “mid range” only with some tiny adjustments (like the thirds – Pythagorean tuning was infamous for not caring about 3rds). The larger deviations from equal temperament are done in low and high octaves via “stretching”. I glossed over that in the interests of not getting put into moderation for ages, my bad.

        The subsequent points I made about orchestras remain valid. What stringed instruments can and DO do (because of the absence of frets) when playing in different compositions of orchestras remain valid. Plus we seem to have gone down the rabbit-hole of temperament when my original point was simply that humans like the ratios that are, in fact, impossible to achieve on a keyboard. That is my fundamental point. No matter what a tuner does, you can’t square a circle. Compromises are made because mathematically it is impossible to get the perfect ratios in all keys in an octave, let alone the whole keyboard. That’s really all I wanted to say.

        Reply
        1. boz

          I’ve been a life long musician, and like Amfortas play a range of instruments across different families, but I had never learned about the temperaments (who knew that Pythagoras was a musician as well as a mathematician?!).

          This is hands down one of my favourite NC threads. Woohoo!

          Edit – oh, and a philosopher too, obviously.

          Reply
          1. avoidhotdogs

            Many thanks, glad you liked it. When we got into tuning techniques I did oversimplify and that’s my fault – but I have experienced too many long comments being disappeared by skynet or held in moderation. I thought it better to give the “basics” of temperament rather than bombard people with the technical directions Bach gave in his pieces to “tweak” equal temperament. Wikipedia and YouTube give lots of cool illustrations these days.

            Too often I post heavy duty stats and kill threads :-)

            Reply
  2. skippy

    Ref: Is virtue signalling a perversion of morality? Aeon

    Is this a trick question, so on one hand conservatives are the original virtue signalling group and simultaneously claim ownership [tm] to morality.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Takes one to know one? From the article

      Religious signalling is already moral signalling. It is hardly surprising that, as societies secularise, more secular moral claims come to play the same role. Virtue signalling is supposed to be signalling to the ingroup: it shows that we are, by their lights, ‘respectable’ (in Tosi and Warmke’s word). That’s not a perversion of the function of morality; it is moral discourse playing one of its central roles.

      The author seems to think that “signalling”–as in being member of a religion–is “costly” because you have to demonstrate your sincerity by fasting, tithing etc. Clearly this academic never read Elmer Gantry or had experience of Jim and Tammy Baker.

      The meaning of “virtue signalling” isn’t mysterious. It’s another way of calling out hypocrisy. And yes the Republicans have been guilty of it–prating about “values” in the ’80s when their values (i.e. greed) were the problem. And also it goes for the Dems today who talk about “responsibility to protect” while often doing the opposite.

      Reply
    2. Stadist

      Well that article reaches the conclusion that virtue signalling is good thing. I disagree, the writer probably wants to justify his own virtue signalling

      The article cites a questionary about virtue signalling: “What would you do in situation X” [This isn’t direct quote, this is my own hypothetical example of the question]. Referring to Daniel Kahneman, most people excessively use their fast system 1 in many situations while in questionaries people engage more of their slow and analytical system 2. In short, people don’t always and often enough behave how they say they would behave, and virtue signalling is just one more example of this. I thought the problem between ‘would have’ and real actions was understood in studies already?

      Talk is cheap, and being this cynical, even someone opening his mouth to speak betrays a motive.

      Reply
      1. richard

        “Talk is cheap, and being this cynical, even someone opening his mouth to speak betrays a motive”
        I couldn’t agree more. The author seems to valorize “moral discourse” as something humans need to do to solve problems, and I’d rather go in a completely different direction and suggest that components of it might be getting in our way. This is why I want to promote the Everybody Cut The Valedictories And Just STFU And Do Things Party.
        membership can be picked up at any time by simply declaring you are a member
        membership can exist alongside any other existing party
        members agree to two principles:
        in politics, actions matter 1,000,000 times more than words
        and the more we all focus on actions of political figures in the better off we shall all collectively be
        (this with the short proviso that sometimes words can constitute an action in politics, like consistently supporting a course of action- members of the ECTVAJSTFUADTP know how to be reasonable with things)
        members pledge to state clearly, in shorter, declarative sentences
        policies and programs they support or oppose
        then to mostly stfu
        members pledge to refrain from analogies that cast themselves in a favorable historical light
        members pledge not to invoke dead figures and imbue them with a saintly glow
        members pledge to never invoke glob, or any deity, in purely secular matters
        members pledge not to scapegoat figures, to pile on to receive group brownie points for hating the right guy (no emmanuel goldsteining)
        wow, that’s a lot of pledges, maybe we could trim the analogies pledge
        that would be hard for me to do, because i like casting myself in a favorable historical light

        Reply
    3. Vegetius

      In the parlance of our times, the term ‘virtue signaling’ came out of Gamergate and the Alt Right years ago, entered the consciousness of millions of young people, and then moved on.

      Reply
    4. Geof

      The article argues that “virtue signalling is supposed to be signalling to the ingroup: it shows that we are, by their lights, ‘respectable’ . . . That’s not a perversion of the function of morality; it is moral discourse playing one of its central roles.”

      I find this to be a peculiar definition of morality. It may even be a bit of sleight-of-hand: moral discourse is not necessarily moral (cue puritans). That demonstrating in-group membership is useful and productive doesn’t make it good. On the contrary, according to a recent Scientific American article, stronger in-group loyalty corresponds with “weaker trust and fairness with strangers.” That can be good; it can also be immoral: a pattern of loyalty to the in-group but suspicion of the out-group is characteristic of racism and other forms of bigotry.

      The question is, what’s the in-group? Is it decent people who abhor racism, sexism, and so forth? If so, maybe that’s for the better. You’re right that for many years conservatives (the “moral majority”) were the strongest virtue signallers. Today the term usually refers to advocates of so-called social justice. Empirical research has found that they tend to be white and educated.

      Here’s Musa al-Gharbi: “the whites who are most likely to condemn ideological racism (people saying, thinking, feeling the ‘wrong’ things about minorities) also happen to be the ones who benefit the most from what sociologists describe as systemic or institutionalized racism.” Moreover, “when whites explicitly denounce racism, or affirm their commitment to racial equality, they often grow more likely to act in ways that favor other whites – yet simultaneously grow more confident that their actions were not racially-motivated.”

      As for the article’s claim that virtue signallers are sincere (or believe that they are), that may make their individua behaviour understandable, but it does not justify the phenomenon. Of course if you express a strong moral position you are likely to believe that you mean it, and to be consistent (as the article says) in expressing it. That doesn’t mean you really walk the walk. One can feel sincere yet act hypocritically.

      Finally, I like the suggestion (though forget the source) that “virtue signalling” is the wrong term: it should be “status signalling,” because the primary function it performs is to establish membership in a high-status in-group.

      Reply
    5. David

      I am too a bit confused by the author’s conclusions regarding “virtue signaling.” And perhaps I am missing the central issue addressed by the essay.

      Virtue signaling represents an absence of analysis (and hard work to achieve the virtue one signals as important) from my experience. Talk is cheap – and canceling another for holding a more nuanced view of an issue can be counterproductive, if one is canceling a view that might enhance the legitimacy of an idea of virtue. In the marketplace of ideas even negative, uneducated views serve a legitimate purpose. Virtue signaling cancels discussion of those unpopular views and drives those holding these views into a seething undercurrent more difficult to uncover. I am not sure that is moral or productive. And as a tool of neoliberalism, it can be quite effective in canceling any view challenging the orthodoxy of that anemic belief system. (virtue signal, I know).

      But I am open to any correction because the issue is quite difficult for me to fully comprehend. And perhaps I am merely virtue signaling.

      Reply
      1. skippy

        I’ve watched as it has morphed from civil discourse founded on evidence to quasi religious X arguments from the conservative side only to have its protagonists resort to the same methodology in seeking … cough … marketshare.

        Seems correlated to the dominate framework something or the other …

        Reply
        1. David

          It is certainly interesting. Does it morph into hypocrisy when the virtue signaler states a valid virtue, then acts contrary to virtue? For instance, signaling protection of the environment and flying in a personal jet is rank hypocrisy. The virtue signaling becomes mere lip service to the ideal. The virtue signaled remains important, but the hypocrisy lowers the value of the speaker. Are actions in furtherance of the virtue important? Perhaps not, but it may some to question the sincerity of the speaker.

          Reply
      2. witters

        I think Levy is making a lot of phatic communication (basically, saying “it is raining” to a companion when it is raining). No new information, but done to ensure the other is ‘on the same wavelength.’

        Reply
    6. dk

      Yes. Also, codified moralities become distorted by transmission effects (misunderstanding, misinterpretation for advantage, changing contexts and circumstances, etc.). Legacy materials require continuous review and maintenance; their implicit content is more important than their form.

      Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Perhaps Indonesia might export their toxic food products back to the U.S. in a tit-for-tat. If they did, I wonder whether the FDA would ever notice.

      Reply
        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Sorry — that seems a little optimistic to me. Even without the brown envelopes which I’m sure there would be — I tend to doubt the FDA would notice … much of anything.

          Reply
  3. Steve H.

    > An interview with historian Gordon Wood on the New York Times’ 1619 Project

    Fascinating. Was it not until Manning in the 1790’s that anyone stuck up for manual laborers as being virtuous? It’s a tight distinction from the peasants being told that work was virtuous, in a duty/karma sense. Thought provoking.

    “One of the big lessons of history is to realize how the past doesn’t know its future.”

    Reply
    1. Alex

      There certainly were predecessors, most obviously Protestant (and specifically Calvinist) attitude to work and even earlier than that, medieval artisans’ guilds.

      Many authors of renaissance and later utopias like Thomas More and Campanella consider (at least some kinds of) manual labour virtuous.

      Reply
      1. Off The Street

        This modern, hyper-connected era makes us reliant on software. I don’t feel one bit virtuous when having to do any laboring over, let alone finding, a manual.

        Reply
        1. richard

          +1
          in that situation i actually would feel as if tiny devils were poking me in the eyeballs
          which is actually glob telling you to stop doing something
          opposite of virtuous

          Reply
        1. Alex

          Yeah but there are many ways to interpret it and many other denominations (like Eastern Orthodox) never emphasised the virtue of toil in this vale of tears to the same extent

          Reply
      2. Procopius

        The medieval artisans’ guilds ended up allowing “masters” to treat their apprentices and even journeymen as badly as the Dickensian factory owners in the early 19th Century treated their workers. Henri Pirenne describes the often violent uprisings of apprentices in his Economic History of Medieval Europe. They were pretty much constant, so the conflict between labor and management goes back much further than we usually consider.

        Reply
    2. Carolinian

      Agreed that this is a great interview and thanks for the link. His assertion

      It’s Lincoln who rescues the eighteenth-century founders for us. From the Civil War on, the “founders” become the ones we celebrate today, the revolutionary leaders. Lincoln makes Jefferson the great hero of America. “All honor to Jefferson,” he says. Only because of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson didn’t have anything to do with the Constitution, and so Lincoln makes the Declaration the most important document in American history, which I think is true.

      hit’s home. Of course Jefferson didn’t practice what he preached and Wood skates over the importance–some would say–of slaves as sexual chattel and therefore the ultimate #me too victims. But those world shaking ideas of liberty and equality surely were the keys to a better society. The current urge to debunk the founders could be because their ideas, and most especially the idea of “freedom,” are found threatening.

      Reply
      1. Helvetius

        “When the Declaration says that all men are created equal, that is no myth”
        This from a professedly Marxist (even “Trotskyist”) site.
        For these people the belief that living beings did not evolve but were “created” is no myth!
        Neither for them is the belief that this “Creator” “endowed” humans (but no other creatures) with “inalienable rights” a myth.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          If it makes you feel better Jefferson was a deist and barely that. I’d say the key word is “equal” and not “Creator.” Rhetorical language shouldn’t always be taken too literally.

          As for WSWS, they are opposed to identity politics which is probably why the article wound up there. The current trend, as exemplified by that NYT piece, is to say “Founder man bad” while ignoring their ideas. That equality thing isn’t in vogue among the elites.

          Reply
    3. Another Scott

      The interview with James McPherson was also very interesting and perhaps more damning of the NYT. The highlight for me:

      Q. You mentioned that you were totally surprised when you found Project 1619 in your Sunday paper. You are one of the leading historians of the Civil War and slavery. And the Times did not approach you?
      A. No, they didn’t, no.
      Q. We’ve spoken to a lot of historians, leading scholars in the fields of slavery, the Civil War, the American Revolution, and we’re finding that none of them were approached. Although the Times doesn’t list its sources, what do you think, in terms of scholarship, this 1619 Project is basing itself on?
      A. I don’t really know. One of the people they approached is Kevin Kruse, who wrote about Atlanta. He’s a colleague, a professor here at Princeton. He doesn’t quite fit the mold of the other writers. But I don’t know who advised them, and what motivated them to choose the people they did choose.”

      From these interviews, it seems like the 1619 Project is just another attempt at mythmaking, only with a different agenda.

      Full interview: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/11/14/mcph-n14.html

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        ‘ it seems like the 1619 Project is just another attempt at mythmaking, only with a different agenda.’

        They picked the right venue then with the New York Times. Instead off publishing the news, a reporter told of how on the upper floors there, they choose a ‘narrative’ of events and then stories are selected (or dropped) and then modified to suit this narrative. I guess that the 1619 Project is just another ‘narrative’ that they are backing.
        But when you get down to it, if this is going to be pushed in schools as history, then why is it being lead by a reporter with her own axes to grind instead of qualified historians who actually have to pay attention to what are amusingly called ‘the facts’. In short, you should be able to prove that your own version of history actually happened. Otherwise the next claim that will be pushed by the New York Times is that Word War Two was fought to solidify white power.

        Reply
        1. Off The Street

          Fourth Estate hidden agendas and treatment of truth as fluid continue to erode what remains of credibility in the newspaper business. Old time journalists must shake their heads at the decline of what was once a legitimate free press. Now you can’t even believe the ads for bread or circuses.

          Reply
        2. VietnamVet

          The problem with the NY Times is that biased history and stenography are used to facilitate the flow of money to their owners, the Sulzberger family (13%) and Carlos Slim (17%).

          Humans evolved in hierarchical tribes with age, strength and sexual dimorphism. Fairness and facial identification helped tribes survive and are inherited traits. The USA is regressing into princely fiefdoms, technocrat overseers, and serfs. The Party of the People died. The Barons will do anything, lie and cheat, to quell the upcoming peasant revolt. This includes reintroducing old-time religion and myths as an opiate along with the real stuff.

          Reply
    4. Jeremy Grimm

      I believe the ‘classic’ source for such speculations is Richard Henry Tawney’s “Religion and the Rise of Capitalism”.

      I am especially exercised by the cult of ‘abundant’ life whose presentation to me felt little short of apocryphal.

      Reply
    5. teacup

      There is a book by Thomas D. Curtis titled ‘Riches, Real Estate and Resistance – How Land Speculation, Debt and Trade Monopolies Led to the American Revolution’.

      Reply
  4. Livius Drusus

    Re: Is virtue signalling a perversion of morality?

    I think part of the problem with virtue signalling is that it is usually done without any cost to the person doing the signalling. Since the author brought up religious virtue signalling, I think this is why people respect martyrs like the Christians killed by the Roman Empire or the priests and nuns killed by Latin American death squads during the Cold War or the people (often religious) who marched for Civil Rights in the 1960s and risked being beaten up or killed by police or Klan members. There were great costs and little benefits to the people engaging in virtue signalling in those instances therefore people saw them as brave and authentic.

    Today being against racism, homophobia and sexism is not seen as costly. In fact, the opposite is true at least in most of the West. A person could lose social esteem and even their career if they are outed as being racist, homophobic or sexist. Many people on the left don’t seem to recognize that they have largely won the culture war against social conservatives, something that even social conservatives like Rod Dreher recognize to be true.

    That is not to say that there are no racists, homophobes, sexists or other people with retrograde social views, it is just that their views are now marginal. To the extent that such retrograde views exist they are diseases of the current social system and our society tries to eliminate them or at least keep such views underground through a system of social punishment for transgressors. Most corporations, for example, are at least publicly committed to social liberalism.

    Even the Republican Party tries to reach out to minorities. One of the reasons why there is so much hatred directed against Trump is because he doesn’t play the role of the “normal” Republican and publicly espoused some retrograde views. But even Trump never completely denounced prevailing social morality as he has always denied being racist, for example, and engages in minority outreach even if it is just for political purposes.

    People resent modern liberal virtue signalers because to a large extent they have filled the role that the Religious Right used to fill. I am old enough to remember when comedians would get their edgy credibility by attacking people like Jerry Falwell. Conservatives were usually the ones demanding that shows like Married… with Children be cancelled because they were considered to be too raunchy. Now that the United States is a much more secular society the arbiters of morality are mostly social liberals and so people resent them because they are seen as our informal morality police and the guardians of the status quo.

    Note that I am not trying to endorse racism, homophobia or sexism, I am just trying to give what I think is the best explanation as to why people dislike virtue signaling. If we were discussing this issue in the 1980s I would be writing about how people resent the Religious Right. But the truth is that the social conservatives have lost the culture war and the Religious Right is probably in terminal decline. Trump is probably their last chance to pack the courts with socially conservative judges but I suspects that in 25 years the Religious Right won’t exist as a major political force. Religion will still exist but most religious people will not look to religion for political guidance and many culture war issues will no longer be relevant.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I had understood virtue signalling to be a display of one’s superior morality with zero cost ( no money, no time, no effort) to the one who is displaying that superior morality.

      If I sign a petition about how other people should save energy, that is virtue signalling.
      If I reduce my own energy consumption, I am virtue practicing.
      If I brag about my own energy consumption reduction, I am virtue horn-tooting.

      Reply
  5. Gary

    > An interview with historian Gordon Wood on the New York Times’ 1619 Project

    Really? Gordon Wood? Newt Gingrich’s favorite historian. Not worth your time.

    Reply
    1. chuck roast

      I am currently into Slavery’s Capitalism edited by Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman. This is a follow-up to Empire of Cotton by Beckert. Revisionist history of the first order. These two books document the first industrial revolution as a product of the spread of the first global commodity…cotton. And the total interdependence of the institution of slavery in the development of American, and expansion of what could be called incipient hyper-capitalism.

      The prosperity of the bankers, manufacturers and tradesmen of the north was profoundly and intimately entwined with the human bondage of the south. Northerners held the mortgages on, made the hoes and garments for, transferred, shipped and added value to the southern slave’s hand-picked product. Without northern owned bottoms shipping baled cotton to Liverpool, the economies of England and the US would have literally ground to a halt. The best line in the book is Charles Sumner describing slavery and capitalism as an alliance between “the lords of the lash and the lords of the loom.”

      Required reading.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        The English recouped a scintilla on their investment in the CSA in 1987, as the south did rise again @ a little over a Cent on the Dollar..

        LONDON — A collection of ‘worthless’ Confederate bonds from the Civil War were sold at auction Tuesday to an American coin dealer for $623,000, Sotheby’s auction house announced.

        The winning bid for the 75,000 bond certificates was received by California coin dealer John Saunders, who bought them with Heritage Rare Coins of Dallas, a spokeswoman for Sotheby’s said.

        No other details were known about the buyers.

        Saunders’ bid was nearly twice the $354,000 Sotheby’s expected to receive.

        ‘He said they are going to promote them in America,’ the spokeswoman said.

        The certificates — once worth about $60 million — were originally issued to British and European sympathizers who loaned cash to the Confederate cause in the American Civil War. They became worthless when the Confederacy lost in 1865 and the U.S. government refused to honor the South’s debts.

        https://www.upi.com/Archives/1987/11/24/Confederate-bonds-sold-for-623000/5872564728400/

        Reply
      2. xkeyscored

        Another slightly related:
        Lincoln’s great debt to Manchester – https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/from-the-archive-blog/2013/feb/04/lincoln-oscars-manchester-cotton-abraham
        Whilst the British government loosely supported Lincoln, many mill and shipping companies wanted the Royal Navy to smash the blockade, allowing the precious cotton back into Europe. In Liverpool, a city made wealthy by cotton imports, it was said that there were more Confederate flags flying along the banks of the Mersey than in Virginia.
        With the ‘cotton famine’ now taking a firm grip even the Manchester Guardian instructed the mill hands that they were better off dropping their support for the embargo. However, at a noisy meeting at the Manchester Free Trade Hall in 1862, in a historic show of solidarity against slavery, the workers agreed to keep supporting Lincoln’s embargo.

        Reply
      3. Late Introvert

        I was rather shocked to learn that NYC sided with the South in the Civil War, and for this very reason. They knew the source of their wealth quite well.

        Reply
      4. Lambert Strether

        I’ve read several of these books, and they are useful correctives.

        Nevertheless, the abolitionists did foment the Republican Party, the North did destroy the Slave Power, Lincoln did do the Emanicaption Proclaimation, billions of dollars invested in slaves was destroyed, and slavery was ended by Constitutional Amendment.

        The reaction in the former Confederacy — I’ve called it the world’s first fascist regime — was horrible, and Reconstruction would have gone better if we’d hanged a good many Confederates and if the dying slave power hadn’t whacked Lincoln.

        That doesn’t diminish the amazing accomplishments of “the North,” which projects like the 1619 project seem concerned to diminish.

        Reply
    2. Steve H.

      Hmm. As an artist, I’ve no influence over who likes my work; as a writer, I can’t help who cherrypicks my words; as a politician, I can’t control who acts on my behalf, if I have no opportunity to consent. It’s acausal. There may be correlation, so it’s worth a second look, but it can be functionally an ad-hom by appeal to authority.

      To your point, perhaps Wood is doing this in another piece, where he states:

      “In all their subsequent compromises over slavery, white Americans, both Northerners and Southerners, displayed what Ta-Nehisi Coates today calls a “craven willingness to bargain on the backs of black people.””

      Coates is an interpretive intersectionalist, which my quick glance says Wood was caustically against. Is he using a foe’s argument to make his case? Coates conditionally endorsed Wood…

      Neither of the two is Howard Zinn, whose books I buy to give away. I found Wood’s consideration of the implications of “all men are created equal” to be thought provoking. It got me reflecting, about the problem with Obama, that he was elitist, he believed that he was greater than most men, if not all. Best camo ever, he just let people project all over him while he croaked out “Hope!”

      I cannot find the very persuasive article, that after the New Orleans banks refused to continue loaning to the plantations during a cotton glut, Wall Street bankers stepped in, and the war was the method of collecting on the collateral. That coincides with what appears to be one case Wood is making, that emancipation is an insufficient argument to be the primary driver of a terrible war. [Edit: In the comment above, I think chuck roast has given me the lead.]

      This is in light of the links about Silent Sam. My direct experience of him was from some deeply deep contemplation of him in high school, and I regarded him as a guardian of a peaceful place. I had no idea of what was said at his dedication. I have had to calm my emotions in the face of historical facts.

      I’ll assert Wood convincingly makes his case against the 1619 project, and apparently the World Wide Socialist Web agrees. I do not believe Gingrich is a member. I have also never found an NC link to be not worth my time. It may be meat for the critical thinking grill, but never not worth my time.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether

        > the war was the method of collecting on the collateral.

        Since the war ended up devaluing all the collateral entirely — indeed, might have been predicted to do so, given the strength of the abolitionist faction in the Republican Department — it looks to me like the whoever did the bank’s risk auditing had their work cut out for them after the war.*

        In other words, I don’t think much of that theory, which seems to me to be cynicism masquerading as wisdom, a feature of contemporary popular discourse on slavery. The concept that the New Deal was a racist scam of no benefit to black people whatever is a similar talking point. The effect of that, regardless of the intent, is to assault to concept of universal concrete material benefits.

        Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i liked it when he carried a bucket around the capitol that time, too.
        and have long thought he might be interesting around a campfire with a keg of shiner.
        but i wouldn’t put him in charge of anything more important than dish duty…and that with ample supervision.

        Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        I don’t think that i’ve read Wood’s books(so many books, so little time)
        but this interview, and a few articles i found, lead me to believe i like him.
        this from the int:” One of the big lessons of history is to realize how the past doesn’t know its future. We know how the story turned out, and we somehow assume they should know what we know, but they don’t, of course. ” …is essential to the study of history, and contains prolly my main bone of contention with those people who would discard Jefferson, Gandhi and even MLK because they wouldn’t live up to the Woke standards of today’s irritable busybodies.
        as for Newt…lol…i agree with him on very little…and he was essential to the clintonian selling of the demparty to the oligarchs…but i still wouldn’t shoot him on sight.///or necessarily run him over if he tottered out in front of my truck.
        (unlike a number of others in similar positions—one must have standards)
        his presence at my campfire is similar to my open invitation to max boot…i loathe that guy…but he’d be interesting to argue with in such a setting.

        Reply
  6. The Rev Kev

    “How money laundering is poisoning American democracy”

    The author, Edward Luce, writes: “America’s military firepower poses no realistic danger to the likes of Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president. His visceral reaction to the 2010 Panama papers showed how deeply he fears the financial glare.”

    He must be talking about a different set of Panama Papers. The one I remember came out with a large picture of Putin over the story but forgot to mention that his name was nowhere to be found in the papers themselves. As an oddity, I found that Lucas in a former life was the speechwriter for the US Treasury Secretary, Lawrence H. Summers, in the Clinton administration. Maybe that helps explains why he finds Warren such an attractive Presidential candidate – as she has an idea how things really go down finance-wise though whether she would actually do anything about it is doubtful.

    Reply
    1. John A

      Edward Luce is a member of the fanatical anti-Putin gang. You can safely ignore what he writes. At the time of the Panama Papers scoop, the Guardian ran a hysterical story by Harding about Putin’s billions hidden away. Except he was not mentioned at all, unlike then Brit PM Cameron’s father, for example.
      In today’s Guardian Harding reviews a new book ‘Crime in Progress review – the secret history of the Trump-Russia investigation’ in which Harding claims the Steele report is more or less totally accurate, Russia hacked the Clinton server, Russian hit men poisoned Skripal, and basically the US media are all to blame for failing to expose the Trump-Putin partnership of crime. It’s laugh out loud stuff. Aaron Mate totally exposed Harding for the fraud he is, when interviewing Harding and asking what evidence there was for all his claims, Harding finally admitted there was no evidence as such and that he was a ‘storyteller’ and unplugged the connection.

      Reply
      1. Ignacio

        Oh, come on! Don’t tell me russian assets aren’t to be blamed for unrest in France or Catalonia. Unbelievable. Unlebilevale. Lenublaveli. Hum, wehre are my dyxlesia pills?

        Reply
    2. Off The Street

      Given that Summer’s connection, one wonders whether there was any post-Russian debacle and Harvard President defenestration remorse driving the animus.

      Reply
    3. xkeyscored

      I was so gobsmacked by the previous sentence I didn’t notice the Panama Papers bit.
      “America’s military firepower poses no realistic danger to the likes of Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president.”
      What planet is this writer from or on? US military firepower, like Russia’s, is an imminent danger to the entire world, and Putin’s Russia is a likely first target for a nuclear attack if and when the president of the USA, in his or her great and unmatched wisdom, decides to launch one. Which could be any time; technical glitches have nearly led to this before. Maybe it’s already happened and you’ve only got minutes left (if you’re lucky, you’ll never know it’s happened).

      I found the first sentence equally amazing.
      “After winning the cold war, the US sought to export the rule of law to other countries.”
      Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen … – they export the rule of war, at the same time as ripping up or ignoring international law.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Yes, why does one think Ukraine matters to Russia? The US (well, NATO) has put missiles in former Warsaw Pact states, contrary to promises by James Baker and Bush the Senior, with the then Soviets took as binding.

        My understanding is those conventional missiles can have nuclear warheads swapped in in a matter of hours.

        That’s for starters.

        Reply
        1. dearieme

          If they are ballistic missiles conventional warheads are pretty pointless. On the other hand, how much does it matter? Russia could be utterly destroyed by ballistic missiles launched from elsewhere anyway. How often can a man die?

          It’s worth reading about the taped conversations of JFK and his advisers, agreeing that the Soviet missiles in Cuba made no strategic difference (which, naturally, they lied about to the American public).
          https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/01/the-real-cuban-missile-crisis/309190/?single_page=true

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            It comes down to reaction times. If a missile is launched from the continental United States, the Russians have time to figure out if it is a real attack or a glitch. If real, they will send their counter-strike. If nuclear missiles are launched from Russia’s borders, then there is hardly any time left for decision-making and so they would launch too. Having nuclear missiles on Russia’s borders is a quixotic idea to take out all of Russia’s targets so there is no counter strike. It’s like having a gun at a guy’s head and daring him to draw but forgetting the knife to the shooter’s gut.

            Reply
            1. dearieme

              And yet JFK and his Best and Brightest disagreed with your analysis. At the same time the B&B seemed to realise that bunging US first strike missiles in Turkey had been a foolish provocation. I don’t have an explanation for their inconsistency. JFK seemed to resolve it by helpfully forgetting his own blunder in installing those missiles.

              (P.S. I use B&B with its original sarcastic intent.)

              Reply
              1. The Rev Kev

                With Kennedy, he inherited the installing of missiles in Turkey as well as the Bay of Pigs invasion. Maybe being the first Catholic President for the United States left him feeling too new to the job when he entered it. And the Best and Brightest could be total idiots at times.
                One of their number, Robert McNamara, was pushing Kennedy for a full invasion of Cuba during the Missile Crisis. Decades later in the 90s at a dinner, he was talking to a Russian guy who turned out to be in charge of Russian forces in Cuba at the time. McNamara nearly fell out of his chair when the Russian mentioned that at the time he had several dozen tactical nuclear missiles with full authority to use them in case of an American invasion.
                Not every day that you realize that you might have helped be responsible for the deaths of billions of people. Best and brightest. Haruumphh!

                Reply
                1. dearieme

                  With Kennedy, he inherited the installing of missiles in Turkey as well as the Bay of Pigs invasion.

                  That’s feeble excuse-making. The religious excuse is even feebler.

                  He was Prez, they were his decisions and they were bad.

                  Reply
                2. Procopius

                  I believe McNamara has apologized for his blindness to reality in Vietnam. Bernard Fall, in Street Without Joy, expressed the key insight. It doesn’t matter if you have three times as many soldiers as your enemy, if your enemy’s soldier is willing to die for his cause, and your three are not. Gaining freedom from the imperialist oppressors was a vital national interest of the Vietnamese, north and south, while imposing our puppet government was never a vital national interest of the United States.

                  Reply
  7. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Bloomberg: Regressive taxes are “good” in this case

    ” ‘WE’ want the poor to live longer so that they can get an education and enjoy life…..”

    The answer, according to bloomberg, is not better schools or a higher minimum wage, but regressive soda taxes that “impact” the poor more because they have less money. lagarde applauds the simple genius of the idea after she “clarifies” it.

    The stampede to the ballot box for this guy is going to be epic. Bernie’s finished.

    Reply
    1. WheresOurTeddy

      you know they all aspire to it, for all powerful people are only made temporarily content by more and more power, but few oligarchs openly show their desire to actually be Big Brother

      Congrats Mike for taking the mask off. You make Bernie’s case almost as well as he does, just by existing in your information silo while continuing to talk like you understand anyone or anything but your selfish motivations.

      Reply
      1. dearieme

        I’ve always thought Trump an oaf (though obviously preferable to Hellary); is Bloomberg an even more offensive oaf?

        Reply
        1. Pat

          One is a snake oil salesman who knows he is bull shitting most of the time.

          The other is a narcissist with a major superiority complex who disdains people out of his class, his gender and his race. He doesn’t feel the need to sell people his ideas because they should just know he knows best. They aren’t good enough to have a better idea.

          Reply
    2. cnchal

      > ” ‘WE’ want the poor to live longer so that they can . . .

      be exploited even moar!

      The longer a poor person lives, the moar tax extracted, the less tax I pay. – Mike Wiseass

      Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Squirrel put a leash on Lizard and taught Lizard to heel and rollover. But this is a burden on Squirrel because Lizard will only do tricks in return for grubs or crickets, and these are foods the squirrel also enjoys. And all attempts to teach Lizard to chitter warnings when squirrel-danger approaches met with failure — which was unfortunate for Squirrel and Lizard. Squirrel met mortal danger badly and all traces of Squirrel save a bit of tail vanished. Lizard was left leashed to a knob in Squirrel’s tree burrow. Emaciated with hunger and thirst, Lizard holds one last hope — that some worm will search for adventure outside its acorn home.

      Besides, I thought the antidote was a salamander. Probably a survivor of one of the many fires scourging our planet. [I believe he may be short a pair of legs for that though.]

      Reply
        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Perhaps a picture book for kids? But what moral does this story bring? If you could suggest a moral I might be able to make make some pictures and text for a picture book. Without a moral — perhaps a book of scary stories with pictures for kids?

          Reply
          1. polecat

            ‘Mommy was a salamander’ .. ??

            Oh, wait a minute Rocky .. she’s RED !!
            …. those damned russian amphibians …

            Reply
        1. Jeremy Grimm

          But would they share a common madness? Moose meet spongiform encephalopathy but what of squirrels? Squirrel madness would be purely existential.

          Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “Prince Andrew’s ex mulling bombshell tell-all book detailing Epstein debauchery”

    Prince Andrew, who a long time ago had the nickname of “Randy Andy”, has denied these latest accusations and will vigorously defend himself in a court of law if these stories are brought up but will refrain from attacking Lady Victoria Hervey herself directly due to her impending, tragic suicide next Tuesday.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      This reminds me of the National Lampoon News headline . . . ” Salvador Allende shoots self in head 47 times, pausing only twice to reload.”

      Reply
      1. Jeremy Grimm

        What handgun did he use? I want one. That’s 10+ rounds per clip. Why do take suicide as an exit when you have a weapon like that? Why not take a few non-believers with you?

        Reply
  9. duffolonious

    Re: NHS and private contracts – one contract that is interesting is Code42 out of Minnesota doing all of the backups for the NHS, they are even building datacenters in the UK to handle this. All brought on by the randsomware outage from a few years back.

    Reply
  10. NotTimothyGeithner

    I’m not sure Harris’ campaign unraveled as much as it was an illusion.

    The Obama hears reduced the patience for candidates who aren’t ready to roll. Being an aspirational candidate won’t do much especially with Biden sucking up the Boomer vote (if not age, the spirit of the Boomers).

    A great deal HRC got away with won’t work for candidates who aren’t Hillary. They didn’t work for HRC either, but her nostalgia appeal papered over the campaign weaknesses.

    Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “London Bridge: Attacker had been convicted of terror offence”

    The police must have been on a shoot-to-kill order as by the time they turned up, the guy had been disarmed and a group of men had him down on the ground. As soon as they got clear of him then he was shot dead. Of course the British media covered themselves with glory in reporting this story. Well, except for the “Telegraph” that is, who had a foto of the guy that took the attacker’s bloodied knife away from him on the front page with a headline that suggested that he was the attacker-

    https://www.rt.com/uk/474732-telegraph-front-page-london-bridge/

    Reply
    1. David

      There is no such thing as a shot to kill order, and it would be illegal to give one if there were. Under virtually all legal jurisdictions the police have the same rights as any other citizen, ie to use force including lethal force, to protect their lives or the lives of those near them. This was someone who had already knifed two people to death and wounded others, and was wearing a facsimile explosive vest. He wasn’t showing many signs of surrendering, either. Talk to anyone who’s been involved in, or trained for, such situations, and they’ll tell you that the only safe thing to do is to put them out of the way as soon as possible. Shooting people in the arm or the leg only happens in films.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        You may have a point but do you remember the Iranian Embassy siege back in 1980? Those SAS troopers definitely had shoot-to-kill orders and it was only because the Iranian hostages tried to protect one of the hostage-takers that he ended up surviving the assault. I think Maggie gave that shoot-to-kill order herself.
        If you want a more recent example, there was Jean Charles de Menezes who the London Metropolitan police shot seven bullets into his head back in 2005 because they wrongly identified him as a terrorist when all he was was just a Brazilian worker. The cameras in that carriage mysteriously failed that day-

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

        Sorry but there definitely is a thing such as a shoot-to-kill order that can be made in the UK and it has happened and I suspect the same has happened here.

        Reply
        1. David

          I’m never sure what people mean by “shoot to kill” – you don’t normally ask the military or the police to “shoot to inconvenience” – but if it means anything it must mean an order to kill someone irrespective of their behaviour or whether they try to surrender. If such a doctrine exists in the UK then it must be exceptionally well hidden because in decades of involvement with issues like this I never heard mention of it. (Needless to say, any Attorney General would have freaked out at the very idea.) The point is that all of us, in our respective countries have the right (and in some countries the duty) to use force to protect our lives and the lives of those around us. This can be lethal force if we have a well-founded fear that our lives or the lives of others are in danger. In this case, the killer was wearing a dummy explosive vest (I’m not sure I could tell the difference) and could have had any number of weapons still on him. The only option was to shoot him. I don’t know whether you’ve spent much time in countries where suicide bombers have struck (that includes some in Europe actually, on reflection) but I suspect you might feel less generous if you had.
          I remember both the episodes you mention. In the first (involving the military, not the police) , the priority was getting the hostages out. Accounts of that episode were very confused, but, yes, it’s possible that one or more of the hostage takers could have convinced the assault team that he had genuinely surrendered, had there been time for a civilised discussion. I knew people who were around that day, and Thatcher gave no such order: indeed it would have been a criminal act for her to do so, and the military would have been legally obliged to refuse. She would have been slapped down by the AG of the day if she’d tried. The Menezes affair was a disastrous intelligence failure by the police, but he was shot not because he was thought to be a “terrorist” but because he was carrying a backpack thought to contains explosives, ready for another underground bombing. This was completely wrong as it turned out, but there’s no doubt the police were convinced that they had saved many lives by intervening. Interestingly, it wasn’t just the police: a member of the public in the train compartment later claimed to have seen electrical wires trailing from the backpack, though in fact there were none. London was pretty tense that day.

          Reply
          1. RZ

            Having interviewed to some of the soldiers who entered the embassy none of the terrorists were intended to survive.

            Other incidents were also recounted were the same results were obtained.

            Reply
          2. The Rev Kev

            @ David. I happen to have a very high regard for your comments but I do not think here that it aligns with recorded facts on Menezes. That Wikipedia page mentions that the Met’s commissioner Sir Ian Blair went on TV to defend the “shoot to kill policy”. Menezes, in fact, was not carrying a bag (so no “wires”) nor did he have a bulky jacket on. He only had a denim jacket on. Look, I was in London after the bombings and I know that people’s nerves were frayed. But you have to accept the fact that the police lied their faces off over this whole affair. Evidence was deleted as mentioned in that Wikipedia article and the railway car footage went the same was as that of the camera’s outside Epstein’s cell. At best the Mets were prepared to say “Oops!” as an apology.
            Police say he ran into the tube station and jumped the barrier when footage showed he casually walked in and stopped to pick up a paper. He was Brazilian which meant that he looked “Arabic” as he had “Mongolian eyes” whatever the hell that meant. It was a total clusterf*** on the part of the police so they covered it up. If you do not believe that police do this sort of stuff, do you remember the 1989 Hillsborough disaster which led to 96 people dying because of police actions? The police spent decades feeding bs stories to the press to make it look like it was the football supporter’s fault. It took nearly thirty years for the families to get the truth out of the police what happened and they have never forgotten up there what was done to them.
            Having studied a fair bit of British history I can see how it is not necessary to give direct verbal orders with documentation to back such orders up but that “understandings” are made and subtle nods are acknowledged. God, even Monty Python mocked this with it’s whole “a nod is as good as a wink” routine. Every country is similar this way but unless you are willing to have the police kept on a tight leash, then that gives free reign to the worse elements of any police force.

            Reply
          3. Lambert Strether

            > he was shot not because he was thought to be a “terrorist” but because he was carrying a backpack thought to contains explosives, ready for another underground bombing. This was completely wrong as it turned out, but there’s no doubt the police were convinced that they had saved many lives by intervening.

            Same deal here; backpack = jacket.

            Reply
          1. Ignacio

            Though there may not be a kill order in place for terrorists there is almost certainly a culture of first shoot and ask questions later in anti-terror forces. Not unique to the UK, I believe. In the US this seem to go beyond terrorism. Regarding terrorists or suspect terrorists nobody asks for shooting details: just occured. The standard reporting skips the non convenient questions so no need to worry about consequences.

            Reply
          2. paul

            And remember the the current chief ‘commissioner’ of the met was the ‘gold commander’ when an entirely innocent electrician, Jean Charles de Menezes’ was murdered.

            One,of many, curious things was that a man who had been subdued quite successfully was then shot to death, rather than arrested.

            Reply
            1. paul

              ..and here we go (again):

              PM pledges to rip up human rights laws after London Bridge attack

              one unsavoury chicken nugget:

              ‘We must reform human rights laws to shift the balance in favour of our security and intelligence services… our laws are constrained, for example, by the “right to private life” which limits surveillance of terrorists, and recent court cases have placed unacceptable limits on our intelligence services.’

              just one more:

              Tory aides are scarred by the memory of the 2017 London Bridge terror attack, which led to the suspension of the Election campaign – and gave Mr Corbyn the chance to close the gap on Theresa May.

              For non UK readers, stay away from the London bridge area during elections.

              Reply
              1. paul

                For context:

                The unenelected prime minister will appear on the colour television in the next four hours and be given full reign to bloviate about ‘terrorism’ rather than his own,and his government’s, internal evil.

                Reply
          3. Lambert Strether

            I don’t see why the IRA and the Iranian embassy cases are precedents for the London Bridge case. Different institutions, no doubt different legal regiments, different actors, different circumstances.

            It’s like saying Eric Garner’s murder and Anwar al-Awlaki’s murder are comparable. They aren’t.

            Reply
            1. David

              Indeed, the first two were planned military operations which took place respectively forty years and thirty-odd years ago. Yesterday’s was an on the spot reaction by a group of policemen who thought they were confronting a suicide bomber. In the Gibraltar case the intelligence was catastrophically wrong: it was thought (and announced by the government) that the car was carrying the bomb intended for detonation and the IRA members were armed, neither of which was true. Yesterday there was no intelligence as such (nor could there have been). Apart from the fact that the three incidents involved people being shot, yesterday’s has nothing in common with the other two.

              Reply
        2. Oregoncharles

          He was already subdued and disarmed. All they had to do was cuff him. Shooting him was at least 2nd degree murder, 1st if they had orders to that effect.

          Not that anyone feels too sorry for him, but letting the police get away with murder is bad policy.

          Reply
    2. dearieme

      You only know with hindsight whether you’ve disarmed someone. All you know at the time is that you’ve taken one weapon from him. (On that I can speak with authority: but then maybe you too have disarmed a violent man?)

      Anyway when a criminal is wearing an explosive device I’d bloody well hope you shoot to kill: we don’t live in a Western movie where you can shoot weapons out of people’s hands – or in this case, presumably, shoot to remove his belt.

      Reply
      1. Carla

        Honest question: isn’t there a good chance that shooting someone wearing an actual explosive device (and not a fake one as in this case) could make the device explode? If so, I wonder how far the area was cleared…

        Reply
        1. Vegetius

          >isn’t there a good chance

          No, not really.

          Of course, had Lord Leveson not ‘revised’ this murderer’s sentence, the chance in this instance would have been zero. But this sort of thing is just part and parcel of living in may parts of England.

          Reply
          1. paul

            Not really?

            How would they judge in those moments after they shooed away the subduers?

            Of course, this ‘sort of thing’ is not part and parcel, otherwise it would hardly have made the news.

            It would have been ignored like the excess deaths attributed to public policy.

            Grenfell’s death toll was definitely part of that parcel, but we don’t all go mad and start shouting about manslaughter, let alone murder.

            Reply
              1. paul

                Many people do.

                But the all imporant few do not.

                I cite Gavin Barwell

                As long predicted, Tory politician Gavin Barwell, having lost his Croydon Central seat in 2017 and having been made redundant as the Prime Minister’s chief of staff in 2019, is now to be sent to the House of Lords.

                Theresa May’s chief of staff allegedly had seven warning letters on the need to review fire safety rules in the months before the Grenfell horror.

                Gavin Barwell was contacted by MPs who scrutinise fire safety rules from September 2016 to May 2017, while he was a housing minister.

                The last letter arrived 26 days before the inferno and they all warned of the risk of a catastrophic fire, calling for a promised review of building regulations and fire safety to be carried out, according to a probe by Inside Housing.

                But it is claimed Mr Barwell sent just three short replies.

                A total of 21 letters were said to have been sent to ministers, including Mr Barwell, from 2014 to 2017. One minister cited the Government’s desire to “reduce the burden of red tape” in his refusal to act.

                Reply
        2. dearieme

          In Hollywood films a single bullet can cause a bomb to go off, a car to burst into flames, and so on.

          In real life I suspect the answer to your device question might be “it depends on the device and in particular on the explosive used”. And, I guess, they try to shoot the chap in the head rather than in his belt or vest.

          Anyway, if he’s about to cause the device to explode what harm at hitting it with your bullet?

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            neighbor guy in east texas, 40 years ago, put ammonium nitrate fertiliser and diesel in baby food jars and put them in the arms of stumps…then shot them with a rifle.
            very impressive show for 10 year old me,lol.(i was one of neighborhood kids hired for a pittance to gather up the bits)
            but i am given to understand that things like c-4 aren’t like this.
            so yeah, depends.

            Reply
          2. paul

            In that case,what is to lost by waiting to see if he is bluffing?
            Especially as he had not activated his ingenious device,knocked up while on income support and official scrutiny, and being subdued by civic minded citizens.
            You can definitely kill a ‘chap’ without a bomb vest without any harm.

            Reply
            1. bob

              If its real explosive it could be very dangerous. At least in movies the vests are filled with nails and ball bearings – Shrapnel being propelled at very high speed at the people near it. Even the idiots in boston used this theory, which resulted in lots of lost limbs and wounded people. And that wasn’t even technically explosive.

              Reply
          3. bob

            What about the “dead man’s switch”? A switch that is held closed until the man holding it is dead, then the switch opens and boom

            Pretending cops can do anything better than hit what they are aiming at 50% of the time is a stretch.

            They got lucky.

            Reply
      2. paul

        If he is so crafty as to have fashioned a dead man’s handle, taping his hands would have been a far wiser course of action, except in an election period.

        Reply
        1. richard

          was just watching the documentary Dead Man’s Line last night
          about a 1977 standoff between police and a man with a hostage in a sort of harness with a shotgun and dead man’s device on the trigger
          brutally effective would describe it

          Reply
            1. richard

              My point was that a dead man’s trigger is a brutally effective way to keep the police from shooting you
              i wasn’t meaning to advocate the police murder of a disarmed man if that’s what you took from my comment

              Reply
        2. dearieme

          Are you seriously suggesting that a man pursued by several people, knocked to the ground, kicked and pummelled, and with one knife taken from him, might through all of this have clung to a dead man’s switch? That’s not the way to bet. But I will bet that that’s not the bet that the policemen’s training encourages them to place.

          Reply
          1. paul

            Are you seriously suggesting that a man pursued by several people, knocked to the ground, kicked and pummelled, and with one knife taken from him, might through all of this have clung to a dead man’s switch?

            You forgot to mention his having killed two people already.

            Having already violated his release conditions, why had he not used his suicide clothing?

            Why was he outside, rather than in the populated space he had departed, where the effects of such an apparatus would be far more devastating?

            Reply
      3. Yves Smith Post author

        I took a course from the guy who developed the hand-to-hand combat training for the Navy SEALS. He continued to refine his techniques after he left the Navy (he and his fellow trainers are big on studying tapes of prison fights, for instance).

        Their philosophy is that you don’t focus on the weapon, you focus on the person and disable them by hitting two vulnerable points in succession (like the balls, the solar plexus, kidneys, etc). That includes stomping on wrists and ankles and gouging out eyes.

        If you hit two vulnerable points (and the human body has 170), you shut down their central nervous system. Normal people are supposed to run away. I suppose a pro would then break a wrist or ankle to be sure and hog tie them (or worse…..).

        I’ve heard an FBI officer comment on her (yes her) training, and she said they were trained to be over-reliant on guns. So the shooting really isn’t a surprise. Emergency situation, people killed, police amped up on adrenaline….not the scenario for caution. You fall back on your training.

        Reply
      4. Oregoncharles

        Has no one heard of a “dead man switch,” which goes off when released? One of these days shooting a terrorist is going to cause an explosion.

        In this case, he’d just been surrounded by civilians; if he’d had a backup weapon, or explosives, he would have used them then. Sorry – still murder.

        Police should be held to a higher standard, not lower. The US is now an exemplar of what happens when they’re given impunity.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Come on. Are you omniscient?

          I have to tell you, if you want to argue the police were excessive, you are discrediting the left. Cases like Eric Garner and that poor woman who was shot after a neighbor saw her lights on at 2:30 AM on a Saturday and a door ajar are clear cases of police being out of hand. There are so many I don’t even want to start.

          The perp had not surrendered. Period. Two people dead and others wounded.

          In the little course I took from the ex-Navy SEAL, I was taught how to escape from various ways of being pinned.

          And I suggest you look at this video. A naked man could not be subdued by three cops even though he was repeatedly tasered. He was able to run away:

          https://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-9016/Rampaging-naked-man-escapes-police-officers-ninja-moves-tasered.html

          He was run down and tackled by people in the crowd. The police finally got their man.

          Reply
          1. paul

            I have hated the phrase ‘come on’ since I last heard it used by niall ferguson justifying the iraq invasion in a technically well produced but fraudulent documentary on mainstream uk colour television.

            Come on to what?

            The ‘perp’, who was already a person of interest, had killed two people with a knife,not a suicide bomb, and yet was immobilised by members of the public, and then executed, rather than facing normal justice.

            Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              The problem is not this guy’s death, which is no real loss, but losing any potential intelligence value. Was he in contact with any other people over the past few weeks? Did they contact him? But because he is dead, we may never know the answers to those questions.

              Reply
                1. The Rev Kev

                  This guy looked kind of dozy. Sort of like some Russian cops just came across recently with this guy-

                  https://www.rt.com/russia/474745-birch-tree-knife-police/

                  I saw a film clip of the shooting and it showed a cop pull back a guy that was holding him down and as soon as he was clear, the other cop shot him point blank.
                  If only there was a pistol-like device that police could be issued with that would shoot a person with thousands of volts of electricity to immobilize them. That would be handy that.

                  Reply
            2. Yves Smith Post author

              I looked at the video. One person had apparently grabbed his knife and was running away. One civilian was on top of the perp but they were struggling, and as I said, I’ve been trained to get out of being pinned, and this wasn’t even that.

              There was no way to know if the guy had another knife, say, one in his waistband.

              There were two cops. One pulled the guy off. Per this BBC video from an eyewitness who said she was in a bus as close as the police were, she said there were two pops, the guy pulled up his shirt and as a result she could see his vest, and the police pulled back. I infer they shot him dead then.

              This says the first two shots didn’t kill him right away (so we don’t know if he would have in the end died from them or not) and then he did something that could have been interpreted as threatening (he could also have been pulling up his shirt to reach for another knife, or to try to see or feel where he had been hit, assuming he was hit. Note that when police shoot, only 10-15% of the bullets hit their target. They are so jacked up on adrenaline that they almost never take the time to aim carefully).

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mtskm5J7ztM

              You can kill people with your bare hands. I was taught how in a mere two and a half day course. And they taught people on the assumption you were smaller, slower, weaker. If you are or have by training been disinhibited about hurting others, you can inflict quite a lot of trauma on a human body.

              Reply
              1. paul

                My goodness!, why would anyone want to learn,let alone be taught that?

                Haven’t been in a fight since I was in school, if I had that insight, the graveyards would be fuller.

                Reply
                1. The Rev Kev

                  Why learn how to do that when you can simply carry around a narwhal tusk? That guy’s mistake was to bring a knife to a narwhal tusk fight.

                  Reply
                  1. paul

                    they should be a part of public healthcare.

                    A dying species will be remembered in battle.

                    People without access to giant narwhal boned ,as usual, will perish

                    Reply
                2. Yves Smith Post author

                  I’m exaggerating a bit for effect, since that was not the intent of the course but the trainers were very clear it could be an outcome. The bigger point is that the techniques I was taught, only slightly redirected, could be used to kill people.

                  The course is a sort of self defense course, except the point is that self defense does not work. If someone really wants to hurt you, you have to render them incapable of hurting you first. They used an example of a woman, an athletic, experienced hiker, who was killed in her cabin. The forensic evidence showed she fought the guy off for 45 minutes. Had she been willing to hurt him, she would be alive.

                  If you hit two vulnerable points of the human body in succession, you will shut down their central nervous system. You can run away after you’ve incapacitated them.

                  They don’t encourage you to kill people but if you are hurting someone, you can kill wind up killing them, particularly if you wind up bouncing their head on concrete. In fact, they lecture the guys like crazy to avoid social fights, just walk out, and they tell guys to hand over their stuff in a theft. They actively discourage fighting unless the other person is out to hurt you. For men, as long as the other person is talking, it’s still a social fight. They go silent if/when they mean business. For women, it’s a lot clearer when a threat is real.

                  You are trained to hit the vulnerable point that presents itself. That can include hitting kidneys and the larynx, which can permanently damage them, as well as “merely” breaking wrists, ankles, and knees.

                  Oh, and we sparred with different weapons. A bludgeon is way better than a knife.

                  Reply
                  1. paul

                    That is good sense for men and women kind.

                    But the human kind,in my worthless position, we should look to each other as a resource, rather than a drain, or worse, a threat.

                    Reply
                  2. paul

                    I’m not trying to be glib either,

                    Someone I knew got glassed at about 18 years of age.
                    It came out of nowhere,just the usual going over the edge.
                    Took her 10 years and a lot of NHS plastic surgery to look as good as new.

                    However it took all those years away from her.

                    I do not believe you can ever be prepared for that situation, you can only avoid it.

                    Reply
                  3. Susan the Other

                    thanks Yves, really good tips; I was always told to just go for the eyes with straight fingers, wrist and elbow, and shove your arm with your shoulder and back muscles, aiming straight for the back of the skull. Yuk.

                    Reply
        2. xkeyscored

          If cops had to be 100% certain that a suicide vest was real before shooting, police recruitment might drop off a bit.

          Reply
    3. Ignacio

      The guy with the knife in the picture was heard speaking catalonian that might explain why the Torygraph got confused. Probably acting by russian mandate given the extent of Russia meddling in Catalonia, they thought.

      Reply
      1. dearieme

        I don’t think the Tel got confused, it’s just that people are ever ready to take offence at the least thing. The mildest act of incompetence can generate outrage, real or spurious.

        Reply
      2. dearieme

        The guy with the knife in the picture is now reported to have been a member of the British Transport Police who was not on duty at the time and therefore not in uniform. Whether he speaks Catalan I have no idea. Doubtless more facts will emerge and early misapprehensions will be cleared up.

        There will be a few loose ends: there always are in affairs involving humans, especially humans under stress.

        Still, I think we can be pretty confident that there won’t be a public inquiry into the Appeal Court judgement that led to the terrorist eventually being released to have another go. Judges tell us what to do, we don’t tell judges.

        Reply
  12. Craig H.

    > The New York Times’ Long History of Endorsing US-Backed Coups

    Nice story. The part I liked best was the picture of the paper the day the CIA toppled Mossadegh. That was the big story on the top right. The second story was the Soviet Union H bomb test. Three columns for the British Petroleum project and only one for Armageddon.

    Reply
    1. Yasha

      It’s not a reliable measure of dual-threat talent, but there’s always the Erdős–Bacon number, which combines separation both from Kevin Bacon in one’s film appearances and from mathematician Paul Erdős in one’s academic paper co-authoring.

      (The Erdős-Bacon-Sabbath number, which also includes the degree of separation from the band Black Sabbath, appears to have looser requirements for determining connections.)

      Reply
    2. paul

      Let us never for get jeff ‘skunk’ baxter

      from the wikiswamp:

      Jeffrey Allen “Skunk” Baxter (born December 13, 1948) is an American guitarist, known for his stints in the rock bands Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers during the 1970s and Spirit in the 1980s. More recently, he has worked as a defense consultant and chaired a Congressional Advisory Board on missile defense

      More here

      Reply
  13. dearieme

    The New York Times’ Long History of Endorsing US-Backed Coups

    That’s pretty mild – surely in its glory days the US press promoted various coups and wars? Remember the Maine!

    Reply
  14. The Historian

    Re: The Mark Lamont Hill tweet:

    This must be the new meme that the 1% are creating and passing along among themselves – I’ve seen it elsewhere in my internet travels, like here:

    https://www.theroot.com/mo-money-mo-problems-life-expectancy-rates-in-the-us-1840068785

    They are just so kind-hearted that they need to protect the poor from having too much money, don’t you know? I guess this is to replace their old meme of saying people are just envious of them.

    Reply
  15. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Ohio bill orders doctors to ‘reimplant ectopic pregnancy’ or face ‘abortion murder’ charges Guardian

    It also appears to punish doctors, women and children as young as 13 with “abortion murder” if they “perform or have an abortion”. This crime is punishable by life in prison. Another new crime, “aggravated abortion murder”, is punishable by death, according to the bill.

    I hope there will be cameras in the courtroom when the first 13-year-old goes on trial for “aggravated abortion murder” and is forced to beg for her life. If that doesn’t end this neanderthal jihad once and for all, the gloves really need to come off.

    Reply
    1. boz

      That law is bizarre.

      Doctors are asserting that the mandated process just does not exist.

      And in any case, ectopic pregnancies are not viable – as far as I understand them as a layman – they kill the mother if not removed.

      What a needless horror show.

      Reply
      1. xkeyscored

        Bizarre to you and me, but these idiots dismiss science as the devil’s work. They don’t care if ectopic pregnancies are viable; the aim is political.

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          Nobody is dismissing anything. Oh, heck no. It is more vile than that. An insidious, corrupting, hate creating, stupidity inducing form of legislative propaganda.

          This legislation for supposed lives of children has nothing to do with being pro-life at all. This whacked “pro-life” legislation is even more whacked than some of the “gun control” legislation that is proposed as red meat for the loyal party fanatics. I would guess that many politicians do not particular care about these issues for the only issue for them is getting reelected.

          I link those supporting gun control with those being pro-life because guns usually serves the same function for the Democratic Party as abortion does with the Republican Party; get them emotions hot, get them stupid, and get them donations and votes for your reelection.

          Those child murdering abortionists (or the child murdering gun nuts) are a horrible evil that must be destroyed! Vote for me the children.

          This is the greatest sin of our current political system; take what people’s hopes, dreams, beliefs, their very lives, or to get metaphysical here, their souls, into excrement, fertilizer for the advancement of the careers of politicians, for the cushy sinecures of corrupt officials, the increasing wealth of the already obscenely wealthy, and the whole parasitic neoliberal political economy.

          Reply
          1. cgregory

            The so-called “pro-life” bunch are a dysfunctional self-help group. Their proven inability to care human life (actually, they only care one end of a whole spectrum of life) stems from their near-paralysis stemming from the knowledge of what their own death means. (see Ernest Becker’s “Denial of Death”).

            Becker postulates that one known means of immortality is to be remembered as a hero. This is why we remember people like Davy Crockett at the Alamo, Horatio at the bridge, etc.

            If you look at how so-called “pro-lifers” behave in comparison to what they actually do for needy children, you can see that they are engaged in an allegorical battle: the fetus is the victim, abortion is Death, and they are God. By “rescuing” the fetus, they can reassure themselves that their God will grant them eternal life. But since they are emotionally crippled, they can do nothing for real children which might threaten their own well-being, autonomy or resources. So, they have to re-fashion society’s definition of heroism to be considered heroes.

            They are, in effect, engaging in a massive PR campaign to be heroes on the cheap. Ohio has taken the bait, hook, line and sinker.

            Reply
          2. polecat

            Yes indeed. Sincerity rarely figures into the poliTICKs of today.

            It’s seems as though it be the poli-psychos who rule the fetid roost …

            Reply
    2. Daryl

      To answer the question posed in the comment:

      > Where does it end?

      Roughly when women here have the same rights as they do in Saudi Arabia. Maybe without the part where they’re allowed to drive cars.

      Reply
  16. XXYY

    Re. “Tainted Data Can Teach Algorithms the Wrong Lessons”

    To make matters worse, some companies outsource the training of their AI systems, a practice known as machine learning as a service. This makes it far harder to guarantee that an algorithm has been developed securely [or competently]. And some algorithms are developed by building on another “pretrained” one. Researchers at the University of Chicago recently showed how one compromised AI model might affect many others in this way.

    So this is effectively buying a black box that came out of another black box. Even with good intentions on all sides, there is no way for anyone to have the slightest idea of what the delivered system will do. This is the exact opposite of engineering, where the goal is to have extreme understanding and control of the manufactured product.

    This critical and inescapable aspect of the AI frenzy seems to be escaping everybody in the field.

    Reply
    1. Sol

      GIGO.

      I find it astonishing that, as the computer era ages, people who ostensibly know more about computers seem to revert to thinking of them as magic boxes. The infallible magic box said so, therefore it must be true!

      The machine does what we tell it to.

      Let me track down a project from California, where there was an attempt to engineer an algorithm for DCFS that would tell them in advance which families and children were in greater danger of abuse. IIRC, after much work, it was noted that the algorithm was about as accurate as throwing darts at a map. The ‘markers for abuse’ being analysed by the algorithm were proxies for poverty.

      Interestingly, though the computer couldn’t accurately predict which families would suffer under abuse, it was rather good at predicting which families would have their children taken once caseworker bias was factored in.

      Reply
      1. Sol

        And here we go. At least in part.

        …the system can only model outcomes based on the data it collects…. A quarter of the variables that the AFST uses to predict abuse and neglect are direct measures of poverty: they track use of means-tested programs such as TANF, Supplemental Security Income, SNAP, and county medical assistance. Another quarter measure interaction with juvenile probation and CYF itself, systems that are disproportionately focused on poor and working-class communities, especially communities of color. Though it has been billed as a crystal ball for predicting child harm, in reality the AFST mostly just reports how many public resources families have consumed.

        Because the model confuses parenting while poor with poor parenting, the AFST views parents who reach out to public programs as risks to their children.

        Reply
  17. Ignacio

    RE: Ohio bill orders doctors to ‘reimplant ectopic pregnancy’ or face ‘abortion murder’ charges Guardian (resilc). JTM: “Where does it end? What kind of people are these, anyway?”

    This is a medieval nigthmare.

    Reply
    1. smoker

      Criminal, barbaric, and evil; made even more so by the high potential for physical agony a woman would incur with an ectopic pregnancy alone – which usually occurs in the very narrow fallopian tubes – (especially in these times of utterly unaffordable healthcare, and medical appointments which take months to attain, for millions):

      Emergency symptoms

      If the fertilized egg continues to grow in the fallopian tube, it can cause the tube to rupture. Heavy bleeding inside the abdomen is likely. Symptoms of this life-threatening event include extreme lightheadedness, fainting, severe abdominal pain and shock.

      When to see a doctor

      Seek emergency medical help if you have any signs or symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy, including:

      ● Severe abdominal or pelvic pain during pregnancy
      ● Abnormal vaginal bleeding
      ● Extreme lightheadedness or fainting
      ● Other concerning symptoms, especially if you have risk factors for an ectopic pregnancy

      .

      The fact that a woman sponsored it, and some women co-sponsored it, is very disturbing. All of the legislative supporters of Ohio House Bill 413 should be removed from office and perp walked for their blatant misogyny and attempted enforcement of physical, psychological – and most likely financial – harm.

      Primary Sponsors

      Candice R. Keller
      District 53

      Ron Hood
      District 78

      Cosponsors

      REPRESENTATIVES
      Niraj J. Antani
      John Becker
      Tom Brinkman
      Jon Cross
      Bill Dean
      Timothy Ginter
      Kris Jordan
      Darrell Kick
      Susan Manchester
      Riordan T. McClain
      Derek Merrin
      Phil Plummer
      Jena Powell
      Tracy Richardson
      Craig S. Riedel
      Mark J. Romanchuk
      Todd Smith
      A. Nino Vitale
      Paul Zeltwanger

      Reply
      1. smoker

        And, in an ideal world, after they’re removed from office, they would be confined and restricted from harming others, for their attempted crimes against humanity.

        Reply
    2. xkeyscored

      I thought I had a pretty cynical outlook and dark sense of humour, but this is way beyond anything I might have dreamed up as a satirical take on these monsters.

      Reply
      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Expand your horizons [I suspect you already have.]. We live in an age of monsters — as you have many times pointed out with your past comments.

        Reply
    3. Chris

      Looks like the text in question starts around page 163 of the law as submitted.

      It seems as if the bulk of the bill has to do with basics of classification of felonies and procedural details. There seems to be a lot about protecting women too. I can see why some women representatives would back it or not know about the pregnancy related text. And to get the reading they’re telling you about you have to look at the text pretty cloesly.

      This wouldn’t be the first time someone had slipped in an interpretation without other people knowing about it. Or someone wrote a bill with out understanding what the implications were.

      Reply
      1. marym

        They tried to do this back in May and there was the same response from medical professionals and ordinary sane people. They know what they’re doing.

        The anti-abortion movement continues regressing ever further into sadistic and violent control over women.
        From the Guardian post:

        In addition to ordering doctors to do the impossible or face criminal charges, House Bill 413 bans abortion outright and defines a fertilized egg as an “unborn child”.

        It also appears to punish doctors, women and children as young as 13 with “abortion murder” if they “perform or have an abortion”. This crime is punishable by life in prison. Another new crime, “aggravated abortion murder”, is punishable by death, according to the bill.

        Reply
        1. xkeyscored

          They know what they’re doing… regressing ever further into sadistic and violent control over women.
          My thoughts exactly. They see women’s role as converting sperm into offspring. Ectopic pregnancies deviate from this, so the women must be tortured as a lesson to others. Doctors who fail to perform this torture (‘implantation’ of the e.p.) must be punished.
          Medieval, as a previous commenter noted.

          Reply
  18. John Zelnicker

    “Countries are burning from Siberia to Australia: the age of fire is the bleakest warning yet Guardian (David L)”

    “God gave Noah the rainbow sign/no more water the fire next time.” – James Baldwin.

    Reply
  19. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: Peru’s potato museum — This link raises a few issues:
    I have my web-browser set to block advertising and cookies and whatever other ‘stuff’ crosses to-and-fro with the web-content. Guardian seems to be starting to demand that I open my browser to their ‘stuff’ or look at content through a screen. I can understand the motivations for the Guardian’s action, and that of many other websites offering content. But sympathy does not protect my browser, and sometimes my system from crashing due to whatever ‘stuff’ comes with content through a wide-open browser window. This trend, together with the increasingly urgent requests for contributions suggests the number of content providers may begin to collapse as costs go up and their incomes fall behind.

    I visited the Crop Trust and International Potato Centre websites. Both of them use an almost identical web-style and exude slick ‘glossiness’. Their web-style is also very similar to that of several of the ‘Green’ sites — and similar to websites of the Atlas Network. I am unsure whether this just reflects a momentary fashion or evidence for a common origin. I hope I am just being paranoid. I looked at a small sampling of the ‘partners’ of the Atlas Network and noticed that many/most appeared to reside on .org websites — which is interesting in light of the recent purchase of that domain by a ‘private equity’ firm. [For what its worth — both the Crop Trust website and International Potato Centre websites are in the .org domain.]

    Ignoring these concerns, this link and the many connected links left me with the impression that Humankind is doing relatively little to protect the plant knowledge our populations rely upon for their food. The images of the Svalbard Seed bank congealed my feeling that one of the great and vital legacies assembled by our ancestors hangs by a few slender threads in a few locations instead of resting upon the substantial network of support such a vital legacy deserves.

    Reply
    1. xkeyscored

      Humankind has been doing a great deal to exterminate the plant knowledge our populations rely upon for their food. A few crops cover much of the world’s agricultural land, and their genetic, let alone species, diversity is often minimal. Most bananas are essentially one clone, and our wheat, potatoes, corn etc aren’t much better.
      For a ray of hope, here’s a google image search for corn in an andean market. Much more healthy and nutritious overall, I heard on some sciencey podcast only yesterday, than mass produced supermarket stuff.

      Reply
        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Of course — but better question — which varieties will grow best in the sequence of climates in the Midwest — and elsewhere — likely for the future and far future. Corn like potatoes or apples, and other plants [my ignorance shows here] has many varieties and rich variation in taste, texture, best uses, and climate adaptations.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            Its hot as hades in our 100 days of 100 degrees summer & fall. Apples are the last fruit tree to get going, fruiting starts just as the heat sets in, and some varieties can’t take it, while others thrive on mucho caliente.

            Sierra Beauty & Sundowner are perfect late harvest (mid-Nov) apples that like it hot, and there’s always a few casualties here among other varieties, and i’ll be replacing them with these 2 types, as I go. They ought to thrive on climate change.

            Both apples have excellent storage qualities, up to 3 months @ room temp.

            Reply
          2. dearieme

            Of course

            Really? It’s not remotely axiomatic that a variety of corn that thrives in the Andes would grow in the midwest. There’s quite a literature on the evolution of corn in response to selective breeding in pre-Columbian America. It was first domesticated in southern Mexico; when the European colonists arrived in New England it was cultivated there – but it was, of course, a quite different variety.

            Reply
          3. xkeyscored

            which varieties will grow best in the sequence of climates
            I think the whole point is to stop growing single varieties. I’ve seen traditional Andean cornfields, and they were a splatter of all the colours in those images. Presumably, as well as providing a balanced range of nutrients, micronutrients, and so on, something will be harvestable whether there’s droughts, heatwaves, storms, floods, early or late frosts, etc etc. Plus the bugs and pests find some unpalatable. (Though some strains might not work in the midwest.)

            Reply
            1. Jeremy Grimm

              I like your answer best. Many varieties at once assures some harvest even if conditions change during the growing seasons. Many varieties assures preservation of more genes.

              Reply
              1. Oregoncharles

                Growing them together would blend and submerge all the varieties. Andean farmers must have had ways to maintain pollen separation.

                Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      If the work that Crop Trust and International Potato Center are doing is good valuable work, then their having slick glossy websites is better than their having abrasive ugly websites.

      Or am I being asked to believe that having a slick glossy website is evidence of the group behind the website being somehow dishonest and little work of little value?

      Reply
      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I suggested the possible connection between the Crop Trust website and the Neoliberal Atlas Network. I am not sure there is a connection but I do think it is possible. I am wary of good works done to serve causes other than the common good. I also object to the slick glossy websites on purely aesthetic concerns of webdesign and content presentation. I dislike websites that make their presentation more important than their content. I dislike waiting for ‘cool’ graphics and imagery, and videos to settle in. I especially dislike resources which consist of image heavy and content light ‘brochures’. I would contrast slick-glossy with bandwidth friendly content-rich — as opposed to your “abrasive ugly” which has no excuse on the web or anywhere else.

        So — I am asking that you regard these slick glossy — and content weak — websites with caution and some skepticism, especially if you are allocating your possibly scarce [at least mine are scarce as are my means] funds for contributions to their cause. They may already have a rich source of funds.

        Reply
        1. xkeyscored

          slick glossy websites … presentation more important than their content … waiting for ‘cool’ graphics and imagery, and videos … image heavy and content light ‘brochures’
          My thoughts exactly, though I’m not sure about any neoliberal conspiracy – probably just copying each other’s style, thinking it appropriate to today’s average 0.3 second attention span.
          bandwidth friendly content-rich – now that’s Naked Capitalism, and I often have enough trouble loading that (“cannot be reached – try again later”)!

          Reply
  20. Summer

    Re: Prince Andrew’s Ex and book
    “Prince Andrew’s socialite ex is considering penning an explosive tell-all book — including details of a dinner party with Jeffrey Epstein attended by both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, it was claimed Thursday.

    Lady Victoria Hervey, 43, has already been doing interviews discussing her brief fling with the Duke of York and how it threw her into the heart of Epstein’s depraved world.”

    Does anyone else think Miss Lady probably should be saying she has written a book and has made many copies in safe places?

    Reply
      1. Danny

        That’s because even the hideous Hillary Clinton had so much more on the ball than Harris.

        Image Monica Lewinsky going to law school and then eventually running for president…
        That’s the arc of Kamala’s career, starting at the local level where she lodged after growing up in Canada.

        Fate comes to bury Kamala, not praise her.

        Reply
  21. Summer

    RE: Gordon Woods on 1619

    We will see…
    Next global economic crises let’s see if the trend of fewer recovering from each successive crisis continues with all this “progress” that has been made.

    Reply
  22. xkeyscored

    “Tulsi Gabbard: Wake Up and Smell Our $6.4 Trillion Wars” American Conservative
    “where is Tulsi distinguishing herself when it really matters?” The answer is that foreign policy “really matters.”
    For anyone not blessed with membership of the USA, this is obvious.

    Reply
  23. Wukchumni

    What is an atmospheric river and why should Southern Californians keep their umbrellas handy? Los Angeles Times
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    A series of 4 AR’s starting in early December in 1861 and it raining all the time otherwise, was the cause of the Great Flood of 1862 which turned the Central Valley into a lake and much misery for waterlogged human beans, and the anguish went all the way up to Oregon.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Flood_of_1862

    We’ll have 6-10 feet of snow in the higher climes of the Sierra Nevada after the week+ of storms runs its course, and December will have just gotten going.

    Reply
    1. Danny

      But, the taxpayer funded water allocation “rights” to billionaire farmers are not being cancelled. They have subdivisions to build and provide water to, once the first segment of High Speed Rail is built in the middle of nowhere between their holdings in the Central Valley.

      Reply
  24. kareninca

    On virtue signaling. I am going buggy trying to figure out what to cook for 20 people for an evening at a homeless shelter. My church is hosting the shelter for a month, and we take turns making dinner. On a typical Sunday about 60 people attend church. About half of them are ancient or ill. Maybe half of the remainder are men who can’t face doing this (they do other things). So there are not a lot of cooks. So it is one person doing the whole meal for 20 each night. I cook, but 20????

    There is apparently a lot of waste, since people have to show up at 8 p.m. and not everyone wants to eat dinner so late. My friend who is homeless doesn’t. She won’t stay at this rotating shelter since the last time she did her wallet was stolen. Instead she is secretly sleeping where I volunteer.

    Due to the waste, we are told to make something we will eat at home if there is stuff left. But my husband is vegan. I can’t eat many carbs (bad blood sugar). And from what I read and have been told by my friend, almost no-one wants vegetarian food. When I told her some of the ideas I had for vegetarian entrees, she politely demurred. I asked my friend what homeless shelter dinners had been good, and she kept talking about one guy who brought fresh salmon and another who brought a big ham. I am bringing neither; sorry. It would cost too much, and anyway I can’t cook meat at home; it would upset my husband and my dog.

    Also, someone at the church suggested that we look into getting “Facebook food.” That is, food left over from Facebook meals. I thought my head was going to explode. I managed not to ask if we were also going to solicit used toilet paper from Palantir for the homeless people to wipe with, and maybe some of Peter Thiel’s dandruff – hey, that could be serviceable as body powder. Instead I sent out a copy of the Amnesty report about FB/Google. Also someone else said that engineers are not “clean eaters”; that she had seen how food at an (unnamed) tech company had been handled before being passed on to charities and she would not have eaten it. It would take one food poisoning to shut us down.

    So, I did email my committee that I would rather eat oatmeal made by someone that cared for me than the most lavish scraps from the tables of the rich. But that I did know that someone who didn’t have shelter might prefer the lavish scraps. The problem with the Golden Rule is that tastes differ. So, I am not going to cook. I am going to go to Safeway and buy a couple of giganto trays of lasagna like substances that contain meat. My friend said that that is actually tasty stuff. What I will do with the leftovers I have no idea. Maybe offer them to some Facebook employees.

    Reply
    1. Sol

      Are there facilities to cook where you will be serving? The oatmeal is actually a legit start, put cream/brown sugar/cinnamon out on the tables, fresh fruit, biscuits and jam. Then maybe you could bake sausage patties in the oven and make country gravy. For 20 people, two big cookie sheets ought to do it, and gravy cooks up in a few minutes even when you’re making it by the gallon.

      Or even just the country gravy. Skip the sausage.

      Breakfast-for-supper might be an idea, is what I’m saying. It’s often vegetarian yet recognizable to American palates as good eats. Pancakes and fried potatoes. Hash browns loaded with browned onions, gravy and chives. Cheese sauce on toast with an egg. Offer fruit, jam and butter, a couple known breakfast meatless entrees, and maybe people won’t even notice it’s vegetarian.

      Otherwise… maybe Asian or Italian food? They can accomplish a lot with little meat. Spaghetti carbonara and garlic bread. Stuffed manicotti. Ramen – the real noodle bowls that are mostly an amazing broth with noodles and a few chopped vegetables. Stir-fry, fried rice, egg drop soup.

      It sounds frustrating, Karen. Hope it works out.

      Reply
      1. kareninca

        No, there is no kitchen. There will be a refrigerator and a microwave.

        This evening I had a great idea about making a beef sausage stew. Since I am willing to use beef; it is the most humane of the meats by far. And if it were in sausage form I wouldn’t have to cook it for hours like I would chuck (thereby tormenting my dog, who has food allergies and couldn’t eat any)(and annoying my vegan husband). So I went to where I volunteer, and asked my homeless friend; I told her of my great idea. But she did not seem to think it would be truly tasty (although she was polite). She really thinks the Safeway frozen stuff would be better. Also it turned out that I couldn’t find any pure beef sausages other than hot dogs (they all had some pork or chicken in them).

        So yes, I’ll bring Italian food. I am going to go to Safeway and get three big frozen family-entree packs. One eggplant parmesan, one mac and cheese, and one meat lasagne (assuming it is beef). It is manufactured food, which I am not happy about. Plus salad stuff and dessert. Twenty people is just a lot of people.

        Reply
        1. Sol

          Yeah, there really isn’t a cheap and easy way to feed twenty. Your Safeway plan ought to handle it well this time. For the next time, what if you used someone else’s kitchen? Maybe you can strike a deal with a member of your church that you’ll do the cooking over at their house. It could be something crockpot-able that they won’t even have to stir – they just have to deal with the aroma. You could set up a big pot of something and swing by a couple times to check on it.

          Thank you for doing the feed, and trying so hard to make it something GOOD despite logistics problems.

          Reply
    2. Oregoncharles

      We cooked posole (pork/chicken & hominy stew, with raw additions) in like circumstance. There wasn’t any left. It’s easy to cook in quantity – or any stew. We found it in the Sunset Mexican cookbook – or online, of course. You can simplify it quite a bit, but the cheese and salad items to add on top are important.

      There isn’t a kitchen at the church? I grasp the problem with cooking meat at home. Or Vegetarian sausage might be an option.

      Reply
      1. kareninca

        I can’t cook meat stew at home. It would upset my dog (who can’t eat meat; she has IBD and is on a special diet which fortunately she loves) and my husband would be appalled.

        Even if I could cook meat at home, I will not cook pork. Pigs are very intelligent and sensitive creatures and suffer terribly in the factory farms they are raised in. I am totally aware that they taste good; that is not the issue. If I were willing to cook them, it would all be very easy. I guess I wasn’t clear that I have ethical constraints as well as logistical constraints.

        From what I read online, vegetarian food is not popular with people who are stuck eating at homeless shelters. I’m trying to take that into account, while restricting my option to beef (which is a much more humane option). There is a kitchen in a distant part of the church which we cannot use; I will have to do any cooking at home.

        Reply
  25. CarlH

    Toady in the NYT I learned that Kamala Harris was the victim of a series of biblical disasters and Shakespearean double crossing and infighting that ultimately doomed her glorious campaign for TRUTH, justice, and blah, blah, blah. All along I thought she was the victim of her own horrible, cruel record and oh so obvious to the naked eye ladder climbing ethos? She is a horrible human being, thus a horrible candidate. That the article only breezily mentioned in passing, and at it’s conclusion no less, the total and complete destruction of her as a person and as a candidate by Tulsi in the debate says it all.

    Reply
  26. Pat

    I’m sure if the Ohio legislators were to comment on their bill, they would say that in this day and age there is no reason for the sacred zygote to die, not when God’s failure could be corrected and the egg implanted in the uterus NOT the fallopian tube. There is no reason for an ectopic pregnancy to result in the death of the important person in all this the unborn mass of cell.

    There are lots of reasons for this barbric bill to be ridiculed and reviled. But the big one is that most of their reasons are religious. It isn’t for us to second guess God, he wants you pregnant you stay pregnant. That God could F*ck up and allow a pregnancy that would never come to term AND possibly render the baby carrier (aka woman) unable to have children in the future, well we do get to second guess that.

    Just for the record women can hate women as well. Misogyny is not limited to men. And yes these misogynist, sadistic, hypocritical religious asses should be locked away from emotionally aware humans, and in circumstances where they might have to learn a little humility and perhaps even develop some empathy.

    But unfortunately that too would be barbaric, perhaps just lock them on an island together with the rest of the psychopaths we seem to have in positions of power these days. What happens then is well up to them.

    Reply
    1. flora

      They’re bullies hiding behind God’s skirt to claim a moral authority they give themselves. They claim to speak for God when it comes to womens’ health. They’re just bullies.

      Reply
  27. kareninca

    So music has universal patterns worldwide. What does that mean about those of us who can’t bear music? If I never heard another piece of music that would be fine with me. The words of songs can be wondrous but the music itself – ugh. I was greatly relieved to find one other human who felt that way – Nabokov. No, I don’t like chocolate either; yuck.

    Reply
    1. Basil Pesto

      I’m not sure that he reviled it, just that, owing to his tone-deafness, he didn’t really understand it. I might be misremembering though. Nevertheless, this casts the depiction of music in some of his works in an interesting light.

      Reply
  28. L_44_E

    Chicago beach problem is due to very strong winds. The author, David, needs to do a bit more work before publishing trash.
    1) Great Lakes water levels are controlled by US army corp of Engineers with consultation with the joint commission with Canada.
    2) When the steel mills on the southern shore of Lake Michigan are producing at a high rate, the Lake Michigan / Lake Huron level goes up to allow the 1,000 foot long Ore boats more draft to deliver more tons of taconite per trip. Lake Erie also.
    3) The Illinois river is one of the great lakes drains and there is a river from Georgian Bay going to Lake Ontario that has hydro electric production as Niagra has.

    Throwing every weather and man made event in ‘global warming’ does not warm my heart. I deplore the BS.

    Reply
  29. anon in so cal

    Humans:

    “Slaughter of the songbirds: the fight against France’s ‘barbaric’ glue traps

    in the heart of Provence, and somewhere behind the tall black pine trees a rousing dawn chorus begins. We are crouching out of sight among the rosemary bushes and wild asparagus listening to the melodic musical phrases of song thrushes and blackbirds.

    This is Marcel Pagnol country, rich in flora and fauna and of exceptional natural beauty; but there is no sign of the singing birds anywhere in the rustling foliage, trees or sky.
    Yves Verilhac, of France’s Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO), knows why. “The singing you can hear is from caged thrushes and blackbirds who are appellants (callers). They’re caught and kept in the dark for months so when they’re taken out into daylight they sing their hearts out and attract other birds.”

    He points above the treetops where clusters of sticks attached to vertical poles glisten in the nascent sunlight. “Those are verguettes: sticks covered in glue. The callers call, other birds come, land on a verguette, and they’re stuck. The more they struggle to get away, the more they become stuck.”
    The trilling Provençal songbirds are unwitting decoys to lure more birds into a death trap, he says. Once enticed, the birds are either blasted out of the sky by hunters hidden in camouflaged cabins, or find themselves stuck on the sticks.

    “We’ve concrete evidence that sometimes the bird is struggling for 20–30 minutes. To remove them from the sticks, they spray them with petrol or acetone, which is toxic, and if it’s not a species they’re allowed to trap they often throw the bird away like a stone,” Verilhac says.

    The LPO claims French hunters kill an estimated 17 million birds every year – more than any other country – from 64 species. Of these birds, many of which are migratory, 20 are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list of endangered species…”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/30/slaughter-of-the-songbirds-the-fight-against-frances-barbaric-glue-traps-aoe

    Reply
  30. richard

    j.dore is pretty good here with his panel
    reviewing the testimony of the delightfully eccentric ambassadors
    and reflecting on why certain parts of that testimony
    were withheld from viewers
    my takeaway:
    there is absolutely no daylight between the dem party and msnbc
    and the barest sliver between the party and our kgb
    my 2nd takeaway, warning flare bright:
    they are doing it on purpose
    so that any dem who runs will be saddled wih this nonsense on purpose
    to hobble any social democratic tendencies and force the narrative in a right wing and reactionary direction because that will beat trump because underwear=profit
    the whole idea is crazypants as lambert has said
    but i know it is happening and i’m seeing it happen and so are you and we’re not crazy
    hang in there, keep slugging

    Reply
  31. Oregoncharles

    “Britain’s Chief Rabbi is Helping to Stoke antisemitism”

    Good article, but it overlooks a further argument: the claim that criticizing Israel’s apartheid is anti-semitic is itself implicitly anti-semitic. It assumes that ALL Jews are responsible for Israel’s barbarism – that’s one reason they insist on calling themselves “the Jewish state,” to spread the blame. The other possible basis would be that Israel is utterly blameless, so that anti-semitism would be the only reason for criticism. But that is blatantly untrue, as endless UN actions indicate.

    The result is that they’re fostering real anti-semitism, notably in Europe and, of course, the Muslim countries. That is in Israel’s interest: they need Jewish immigrants, so it’s better for them if Jews elsewhere feel unsafe. (In reality, Israel is a thoroughly dangerous place, and suffers a lot of emigration.) If I can figure this out, I think Israeli policymakers can, too.

    I was extremely disappointed with Corbyn’s half-assed response to the “anti-semitism” accusations. He should have called it out as Israeli, and right-wing propaganda; instead he wishy-washed. Not good leadership – and it affects Palestinian rights campaigners (like my wife and my party) all over the world.

    Reply
    1. norm de plume

      I was disappointed too. He could have turned it into a plus if he had met it head on and forgot about playing nice for once. As I said on another thread:

      Corbyn ought to use the extreme nature of this attack to encourage a public split of Jewish opinion. Surely there cannot be a majority of British Jews who believe this trumped up and carefully orchestrated BS (even worse than Russiagate). Surely there cannot be majority of British Jews who agree with this nakedly right-wing position, which ultimately benefits a continuation of the neoliberal US-led ascendancy. The Rabbis comments don’t appear to have too much to do with what is good for Britain generally, and seem, given the spurious and implausible nature of the claims, rather self (or group) centred.

      It just seems there are obvious and potentially upside avenues for righteous counter-attack, but perhaps ‘advisers’ and ‘pollsters’ have warned of the possible blowback from poking that particular part of the nation’s political and social anatomy.

      What would be great – Bernie taking a break from campaigning and flying in to London to give a series of doorstops and speeches denouncing the Rabbi and his charges in that Brooklyn bark of his, and calling for British Jews to rise up against the cabal of extremists who have hijacked their representation in the UK. Pics of him beaming as he hugs his ‘political soul mate’ Corbyn, who might perhaps manage one of his wan smiles.

      Reply
      1. xkeyscored

        Various groups of British Jews have publicly sided with Corbyn. For some reason(!) they don’t get much mainstream media coverage.

        Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        It’s dangerous because it’s surrounded by enemies, enemies created by the Israelis’ own behavior. In the past, muslim countries were far safer than Christian ones for Jews; that ended with the creation of Israel by mass ethnic cleansing.

        The link you give has does not give emigration, only the net. I was referring to something I’d seen previously, but can’t link. Wikipedia, on “yerida”: “According to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, a little over 500,000 Israelis emigrated between 1990 and 2014, of whom about 230,000 eventually returned to Israel.” It also says that isn’t especially high, compared to other countries with high immigration.

        Another factor is that Palestinians have a higher birth rate, probably because of their religion. That isn’t a good thing from a global perspective, but it means they would eventually dominate without Jewish immigration.

        So I exaggerated the emigration rate, but that doesn’t change Israel’s interest in promoting immigration.

        Reply
  32. Kurt Sperry

    What appears to be honest citizen reporting on the protests in Iraq. Reddit thread:

    http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/e405gw/such_a_powerful_picture_iraqi_protestors_take/

    I’ll try to tell you in short. In the beginning of the past month, a small group of Iraqi female students went protesting for a better education system and shit. In Basra of course. The police handled it greatly and professionally, by fucking assaulting the students The tribal leaders basically went out and said that they won’t let any sly dog touch “our sisters and daughters in Basra” (btw nasiriyans are known to be extremely jealous) But then they were met with water cannons. Before the tribal leaders in Nasiriya threat the government with their weapons (yes, tribes are heavily armed) the tribal leaders in Najaf also started protesting So then it became a large protest, then Amara, Basra, Koot/Wassut, and other big and small cities and whole provinces started protesting Soon Teenagers and Millennials led the protests for 2 weeks. Because if they let the Tribal leaders lead the protests, it would be a blood bath since the tribes are heavily armed and they hate the government, Iran, Kuwait, America, and almost every neighboring country. (They’ll cause a civil war in the whole region) So the internet was cut for 2 weeks. Hundreds of protesters died and thousands injured. Then at the next Friday, a big Multi Million protest was organized across the country After that Friday, the dead body count restarted. To this day, it reached 200 people. And 8000 injured.There is no article on earth documenting this. But in the last few days something…really phenomenal happened Almost 30 million people in Iraq have participated and are participating in the protests…But that’s not it The Iraqi men and women from all the ages, religions, sects, races, have participated in the protests, Standing side by side, after 16 years of division.

    Reply
  33. meeps

    > Ohio bill orders doctors to ‘reimplant ectopic pregnancy’ or face ‘abortion murder’ charges

    What this bill requires of physicians is for them to become performers of miracles. I’m not a constitutional scholar, but I know that praying for miracles is a right protected by the First Amendment. For Congress to pass a law requiring a doctor to perform services in the commissioning of a miracle, however, could violate the Establishment Clause, no? In any case, I’d bet that HB413 will be used to challenge the Ninth, where battles to overturn Roe v Wade (and others) are fought. That’s what this bill is about.

    The religious right is becoming practiced at sponsoring bills which disguise their perverse need to control and abuse women in requirements ostensibly created to “protect” their health and safety. This is a distortion of their intent. Carrying a child to term and delivering it is more dangerous to a woman’s health than not, especially an ectopic pregnancy.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      in between our two boys, wife had an ectopic.
      felt bad. bled. our doctor came and opened his office on a sunday to take a look, and 30 minutes later she was prepping for surgery.
      Texas considered it, by law, an “abortion”…but “emergency medicaid” covered it, because she was “pregnant”.
      it was an emergency, and could have easily killed her.
      those people in ohio government shouldn’t be anywhere near the levers of power.
      and can only win…since the true believers are a rather tiny minority…by obfuscation, bullying and assholery…met with cowardice and own-goals on the other side.
      when the anti-abortion, foetii uber alles crowd starts advocating strenuously for WIC and abundant resources for already born children, as well as handing out condoms and other birth control…then they might deserve a seat at the table.
      until then, with their insane insistence that contraception is really abortion by other means, and denial of any help to those who make it past the labia…a pox on them and all their works.
      and remember, just prior to paul weyrich, et al ginning abortion up as an issue, even the SBC thought such matters were none of their business.
      it’s a very successful mindf&ck, that was used to create the Religious Right from whole cloth….to provide the counterinsurgency of capital a standing army to undo the New Deal.

      Reply
      1. meeps

        Thanks, Amfortas. I’m happy your wife got proper treatment in a timely fashion. I’m of the same mind with all the rest.

        Reply
      1. meeps

        >Perhaps the bill should be amended to have doctor pray for the ectopic pregnancy reimplantion.

        Evangelicals believe in the efficacy of prayer, correct?

        Yes, this would be more consistent with their belief. That’s important because it confronts the hypocrisies inherent in the Evangelical position. They’re comfortable with using medical science and physicians as tools of convenience to deny other women reproductive services. When it comes to the vaccination of their children, they want exemptions from the law. They should not be allowed to have it both ways.

        Reply
    2. xkeyscored

      What this bill requires of physicians is for them to punish women who fail in their duties as mothers, or face the consequences. They probably see ectopic pregnancies as proof of communion with the Devil (no joke – I expect they hear about it on Sundays). The sheer pointlessness of uterine ‘implantation’ is the whole point. Body shaming taken to a whole new extreme and fanatical level. Not quite The Handmaid’s Tale, but that’s thirty-year-old fiction written by someone with a less barbaric imagination.

      Reply
  34. Lambert Strether

    The interview with Gordon Wood on the 1619 Project is very good; Wood seems to be to identity politics as Stephen Cohen is to RussiaGate.

    If your school district wants to include it in a curriculum, consider opposing it. The “authority” of the New York Times should be non-existent at this point in any case:

    Q. One of the ironies of this Project 1619 is that they are saying the same things about the Declaration of Independence as the fire-eating proponents of slavery said—that it’s a fraud. Meanwhile, abolitionists like Frederick Douglass upheld it and said we’re going to make this “all men are created equal” real.

    A. That points up the problem with the whole project. It’s too bad that it’s going out into the schools with the authority of the New York Times behind it. That’s sad because it will color the views of all these youngsters who will receive the message of the 1619 Project.

    What I wish Wood would do is recommend an alternative curriculum; you can’t beat something with notihing.

    Reply
    1. xkeyscored

      Meanwhile, abolitionists like Frederick Douglass upheld it and said we’re going to make this “all men are created equal” real.
      I heard an extremely inspiring interview on BBC Hardtalk with Wendell Pierce, a black actor from the US. He makes much the same point, among others, very eloquently. Also, why New Orleans isn’t getting rebuilt – a proposed new cruise ship terminal will make the land, minus inhabitants, worth a fortune. One of Hardtalk’s best this year.
      https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csy947 (stream or download)

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