Links 11/4/19

Australia win the inaugural ‘Ashes’ of jousting against England Agence France-Presse

Prince Charles is hit by a major counterfeit art scandal: Royal sends back £105m Monet, Picasso and Dali paintings lent by bankrupt businessman James Stunt as an American forger claims HE painted them Mail on Sunday

Change at MoMA London Review of Books

Meet Erika the Red: Viking women were warriors too, say scientists Guardian

Rattlesnakes have had a busy year. Same for the people who catch them for a living LA Times

An underground world of Soviet opulence BBC

Breeders’ Cup Set To Run Today Amidst Cloud Of 36 Horse Deaths Over The Past Year The Political Animal

New Cold War

Maria Butina: The “60 Minutes” interview CBS. chuck roast: “not to be confused with kim philby.”

Why are birds and seals starving in a Bering Sea full of fish? Seattle Times

The Companies That Invest in the Earth’s Destruction Must Be Held Accountable Motherboard

Waste Watch


Waste plastic can find a useful new life Climate News Network (JZ)

Argentina could become ‘sacrificial country’ for plastic waste, say activists Guardian

Shrink thinking TLS. Niall Ferguson reviews Jared Diamond’s Upheaval.

Boeing 737 MAX

Axe the Max: Buffeting Boeing CEO’s Rope-a-Dope in Congress Counterpunch. Ralph Nader.

One year after Lion Air crash, what’s the MAX’s future in Asia Leeham News

Before 737 MAX Returns to Service, Airlines Plan to Show It Is Safe WSJ

California Burning

Over 1,500 California fires in the last 6 years — including the deadliest ever — were caused by one company: PG&E. Here’s what it could have done, but didn’t. Business Insider

California is on track to miss its climate targets—by a century MIT Technology Review

Wildfire chasers are the new tornado chasers Ars Technica

Health Care

End-of-Life Care Laws Were Supposed to Help New Yorkers. They Don’t Always Work. ProPublica

Rise in religious vaccine exemptions suggests some parents are making false claims, study suggests Stat


Brexit: Jeremy Corbyn warns shadow cabinet dissenters to fall in line Guardian

Brexit: the big sleep?

Class Warfare

LEARNING CURVES Chicago Teachers Win Big After Strike Capital & Main

The numbers that help explain why protests are rocking countries around the world WaPo

Hunger moves to the suburbs San Francisco Chronicle

The Incredible Shrinking Overton Window Caitlin Johnstone

Does CalPERS Represent Beneficiaries, or an Incompetent Staff? CityWatch

AOC tweets her support for anti-police protests rocking Brooklyn NY Post. The NY Post is certainly no fan of AOC. But see the last sentence – which reminded me of Ken Livingstone’s Fares Fair policy for London.

What’s on the ballot across the country on Tuesday The Hill


Billionaires Only? Warren Errs in Saying Whom Her Health Plan Would Tax NYT

What Happened To Kamala Harris? Forbes

Georgia to purge over 300,000 voters from rolls ahead of 2020 election Independent

Warren, Buttigieg make gains in new national poll The Hill

As Warren Gains in Race, Wall Street Sounds the Alarm NYT


Why India may not achieve its 2022 clean energy target Economic Times

Eat carrots, perform yagnas: What top ministers said on a day air pollution peaked in North India Scroll

As Delhi Declares Emergency Over Air Quality, a Look at What Needs to Be Done The Wire

RCEP explainer: Why Modi government is wary of joining the world’s largest trading bloc Scroll


Three people in critical condition as protests rock ‘heavy-hearted’ Hong Kong Reuters


Thousands gather on Beirut’s streets for anti-government protest Al Jazeera

Russia Isn’t Getting the Recognition It Deserves on Syria Truthdig. Scott Ritter.

AP Analysis: Iran, US still captive to 1979 hostage crisis AP

Trump Transition

Trump threatens to end federal aid to California in tweets slamming Gov. Gavin Newsom Politico

Why Obama got a Nobel Peace Prize for nothing — and Trump never will for anything NY Post

Antidote du jour. TH: “In case a black golden-eyed, worm-eating bird was a little creepy (that last picture I sent of this guy), even for Halloween season, here’s another shot of one of the Ken Malloy Regional Harbor Park’s star Great-tail Grackles, sans worm (‘love the iridescent looking indigo when the sun hits those wings).”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “Does CalPERS Represent Beneficiaries, or an Incompetent Staff?”

    Well after 163 posted articles on NC, I think that question has been well and truly settled by now. The article is a nice refreshing overview of recent CalPERS history and it is nice to see that he links to a coupla NC articles as well. Of course you would never see an article like this in the Sacramento Bee but that is a whole other story.

    1. Pat

      Sometimes I am very slow. Finally got what this reminds me of, the Congress of the United States. CalPERS is the smaller more intimate version.

    2. dearieme

      If CALPERS is like any other bureaucracy that is old enough to have outlived its founders then of course the answer is “yes”. It’s practically a social invariant.

    1. inode_buddha

      Reading the NY Times is a class marker. It’s high-end bird cage liner. Us plebes make doo with the free classifieds.

      1. Acacia

        Good one. Worth deploying next time somebody attempts upsmanship by informing me how frequently they read the NYT.

          1. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you.

            The same happens in the Mother Country.

            Last week, Johnson visited Addenbrook hospital in Cambridge without warning. He was taken to task by staff, patients and their loved ones visiting not just because of the pitiful state of the NHS, but also the disruptive publicity stunt. This visit was not reported by much, if not most, of the media.

            Corbyn has addressed many town centre rallies in the past week, sometimes three a day and from a person the MSM thinks is doddering. No coverage, either.

            Just as Mayor Pete is being promoted in the MSM, we have the same with the Liberal leader Jo Swinson. Fortunately and surprisingly, she was ambushed on Sky News yesterday morning. Swinson probably expected a long hop (for dispatch to the boundary) from the former lobbyist and Tory turned news and current affairs presenter.

    2. Ignacio

      No coverage is the most important disinformation tool in hands of mass media. Another example is selective poll-picking in favour of the editorial line as it occurs today.

    3. JBird4049

      Reading AOC’s Twitter feed on the riot is disturbing. Too many people were saying that it was so cheap and what about their iPhones, Starbucks coffee, and cigarettes(!) they must be packing as they so willfully and greedily evade the fares. Both clueless about being poor and ascribing characteristics to people they have never seen who they think must be lazy and/or losers.

      The idea that people would risk confrontations with a police department known for being occasionally violent over something of real importance instead of pocket change is just inconceivable to some.

    1. Ramon

      Out of interest.
      If all plastic waste was buried it would be going back where it came from (sort of) and be a form of carbon capture.
      Answers please.

      1. tegnost

        It’s good to think of plastic as the byproduct of oil refining, a waste product, so burying it is just burying garbage, you can’t make it back into oil and pump it into the ground and start the cycle again. Plastic also degrades and releases parts of itself in not so earth friendly ways…so no, you can’t capture carbon that way

        1. Ramon

          Thank for the answer. I wasn’t suggesting turning it back into oil, every operation obviously uses more energy. I had assumed that as it doesn’t biodegrade it would be safe underground. There are seldom easy answers.

          I do like the Indian Guy who has developed a safe method of blending plastic with asphalt to make a longer lasting road surfacing material.

    2. Wukchumni

      I don’t frequent corporate fast food restaurants that much, but when I do, i’ve noticed most of them have done away with the recycle bin that used to be there.

      1. Oregoncharles

        typically, very little of their packaging is recyclable – and of course China’s refusal of our trash made the percentage even smaller.

        If it’s paper, it could probably be composted, esp. with food remnants added in – that’s done municipally here, combined with yard waste. Very useful stuff, and so far very little contamination, though they struggle to get all the plastic out.

  2. Pat

    There are more problems at Santa Anita then just the problems with racing outlined in the article. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is great that there is this increased interest in the care and treatment of these beautiful animals. But why is it so bad at that track?

    There was a huge effort to have a problem free Breeders Cup that included massive Vet teams checking and testing the horses not just day of, but in the week leading up to the races. Horses were scratched at the merest indication of a problem including a favorite day of their race. Twelve races went off with no problems. Race thirteen had a horse that was one of the two leaders up until the final turn, suddenly pulled up with a catastrophic injury. Mongolian Groom was euthanized several hours later. The track with the deadliest record saw the number go up to 38.

    1. Wukchumni

      Its an interesting turn of events in that the sport of kings is falling apart along with the hobby of kings.

      The latter has only been around since about 2,600 years ago when the Lydians came up with something to collect, a johnny come lately compared to 4,500 years for horse racing.

      Very few young adults have ever rode a horse and how many young misses long for a pony these days?

      Coins are an odd anachronism which long ago lost meaning when precious metal content went away and all were made out of junk metal instead. The main use nowadays seems to be in money laundering, er, a coin operated washer-dryer that is.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Dollar coins are good for paying the smaller highway tolls or giving a decent handout to one of the many homeless living along our cities’ streets — without the risks of fishing out your wallet. Coin-op laundering is becoming a heavy proposition in the big cities as the price of washing and drying moves toward ever greater denominations of folding money. Dollar coins — along with other folding currency — may be nice to have when there is a power outage.

        The thing I miss most about coins is the quality of the designs and stamping. The Sacagawea dollar has a decent design but the stamping and heft of the coins remind me of Chuckie Cheese tokens. The new quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies are poorly stamped, insubstantial, and with the possible exception of the Connecticutt quarter, uniformly ugly. Today’s coins don’t even jingle when you shake them in your pocket, or ring when they fall on a counter — they clink and click like a pocket full of nasty beetles.

        1. Wukchumni

          Coins are a good judge of how a society that uses them is faring. The Ancient Greek city states came up with a plethora of beautifully designed coins and the Roman Empire mostly copied them in inferior efforts compared to the majesty of say something like these from the 4th & 5th century BC

          By the Dark Ages, coins had turned into largely roundish metal lumps with the most basic design imaginable, the artistry was gone.

          Look at our paper money, it’s a joke that we pass between each other.

          Here’s what paper money looked like in 1896-the Educational Series, and yes there is a bit of nakedness going on with a proto-Janet Jackson on the $5 banknote.

        2. Off The Street

          Coin-op laundries used to be good for some off-the-books profits. Taxing authorities caught on and started monitoring water usage in particular to see what estimated revenue was, then compared that to reported revenue.

          You could hear the coins clinking when the laundromat owner visited to collect some beer money and then waddle out with bags of quarters. His large dog helped keep the too-keenly interested at a distance while he got into the van.

          The upscale version was the guy in the casino counting room that would shoo everyone out while he ‘updated the codes’ or otherwise euphemized some banded stacks of Benjamins into his multi-pocket coat. They weighted the slot take by the bucket.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, both.

        As a horseracing enthusiast, I have been shocked by what is happening in the US, especially Santa Anita. Is the dirt and use of Lasix lulling connections into a false sense of security / welfare?

        I see that the Victoria Racing Club is taking no chances for the Melbourne Cup and scratched British raider Marmelo, although that is going to appeal.

        1. Wukchumni

          They’ve been racing almost exclusively on dirt (85% of all races) and using Lasix for say 40 years in the USA, so why does it suddenly become an issue now?

          For whatever reason, it costs basically the same to board and train the worst thoroughbred as it does for the best horse, and its not uncommon to see 5 & 6 horse fields in races these days, as nobody wants to own or train a $12,000 claimer, so as a result, the available steeds tend to be raced more, which is probably the bigger issue in horses breaking down so often as of late.

          1. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you.

            I was wondering about horses racing more and if the use of Lasix was more prevalent to enable that.

            Is dirt as high as 85%? I don’t follow US races that much apart from the classics, Breeders Cup and some grade 1s.

            This production line approach in the US was warned about a generation ago. France’s Andre Fabre has interesting views on the subject.

            In case you’re wondering, Keeneland, Fair Grounds and Saratoga are my favourite tracks in the US.

            1. Wukchumni

              I first went to Santa Anita about 45 years ago and was hooked on horseplay.

              Racing on the dirt is commonplace all over the USA, i’m not aware of any other horse racing in the world that uses that surface as much, but as I mentioned, its always been that way.

              Set near the foothills of the San Gabriel mountain range, the most majestic of all west coast tracks (Sorry Del Mar, your main attribute is being near the ocean, as a racetrack it leaves a lot to be desired) and worth a huge bundle as residential real estate, if all of the sudden there wasn’t a racetrack there anymore. There’s perhaps 25,000 parking spots in the expansive parking lot that pretty much never gets used. (last time I went, i’d guess there were about 1,200 people in attendance)

              Arcadia where Santa Anita sits is sometimes referred to as ‘Arcasia’ as it’s quite a popular place for well heeled Chinese to buy homes.

              1. Colonel Smithers

                Thank you.

                Me, too, almost as long as you. I first set foot at the races, historic Champ de Mars, in September 1972.

                If ever you visit the UK, France or Mauritius, I would be delighted to attend the races with you.

                Ambrit, too, another horse racing fan.

                1. Wukchumni

                  Thanks, i’ve always enjoyed going to the races overseas, I remember in Aussie you could bet on the paramutual window or with one of a dozen bookies on course, what fun!

                2. ambrit

                  Thank you Colonel. You are a true gentleman.
                  Adding to Wukchumni’s mention of Del Mar, I remember when a school mate had a job as a ‘handler’ at the Dog Races on Miami Beach. The course was right on the beach at the far southern end of Miami Beach. A truly wonderful site since the spectators faced the ocean. I remember going there, underage of course, and seeing the races while a thunderstorm passed by just offshore. The lightening and thunder seemed to augment the mood of the spectators.
                  That was where I learned how one goes about “fixing” a dog race.
                  First, one bribes the ‘handler’ of the favourite dog. Then one bets the farm on the number two dog. The handler places the dog in the chute, with one hand on the poor dog’s collar, and the other hand cupping the doggies’ behind. Lead and push at the same time. The dogs are muzzled, to prevent fighting among the pack, it is assumed. The muzzling also serves the purpose of protecting the ‘bent’ handler when he strongly squeezes the favourite dogs testicles. If the favourite is a female, well, use your imagination. The idea is to inconspicuously but temporarily “lame” the dog.
                  The regular punters line the rail by the chutes. When there is a sudden yelp of pained surprise from the chutes, the regulars high tail it up to the betting windows to lay heavy bets on the number two doggie. I have made some ready that way. I do feel sorry for the dog who is thusaways knobbled. I certainly would not want that to happen to me!
                  Anyway, if I ever work my passage across the pond on a tramp containerized cargo vessel, I’ll avail myself of your hospitality.
                  As I mentioned once before, I do remember the kiddies races, actually training races, held on Sunday mornings at the old Hialeah racetrack. No money changed ownership for those races, but the free publicity!

                  1. Wukchumni

                    Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.

                    William Claude Dukenfield

            2. anon in so cal

              Why are the horses dying? Profits, performance-enhancing drugs, maltreatment, inappropriate pressure on trainers, etc…..

              “After Santa Anita returned to its traditional mix of sand and dirt, catastrophic injury rates were not out of line with those elsewhere. This season, though, the company courted danger by consistently running races, often regardless of conditions, during one of Southern California’s wettest and coldest winters in decades…..

              Mr. Moore, 69, was a renowned track man. He often was criticized for being overly cautious when he would close a track in anticipation of weather that might damage the uniformity of its surface, which is essential for horse safety. Unswayed by complaints or pleas, he stood his ground.

              Mr. Moore retired from Santa Anita in December, in part because he sensed the Stronach Group was encroaching on the standards he had set for the track and was worried about potential budget cuts, according to a former Stronach Group executive, who was granted anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the company, and another person who was close with Mr. Moore….

              Industry veterans said maintenance of the track slipped after he left.

              Santa Anita ran 111 races on its main track when the surface was listed as either “muddy,” “sloppy” or “off,” compared with only 18 during the same period the previous winter, according to industry records.

              Sixty-two of those races were run when the track was sealed, meaning heavy sleds had compressed the surface to prevent moisture from seeping into the lower levels, creating a harder surface. That can mean difficult footing for fragile 1,100-pound horses with ankles as slim as Coke bottles….”


    2. The Rev Kev

      Here in Australia a big story broke a fortnight ago about what happened to those horses that proved not that successful in the racing industry. I would imagine that the same would be true for the US horse racing industry as well-

      Tomorrow is Australia’s biggest race – the Melbourne Sup – and already there are protesters making their mark on this event for the first time. Below is a link to the original story on ABC Australia-

    3. Synoia

      Q Why do horses run?
      A To escape predictors.

      They run to escape death.

      A horse that falls protects the remainder of the herd.

      Why is Santa Anita so deadly, that is horses break their legs? If anyone knew, the problem would be fixed. I note that in the UK, a country of continual rain, and much horse racing, does not appear to have this problem, and Santa Anita is in an area of little or no rain.

      I’d suspect the subsoil, not the surface soil, which in Santa Anita is a fine grained soil, with little organic content, that is no give and easily compacted.

        1. newcatty

          I invite all horse racing enthusiasts to try to objectively think about what is being asked of an amazing animal, like a horse, to be bred, groomed and conditioned to run at their top speed… again and again. I am not convinced this is humane or in any way compassionate treatment of racing horses. I do not buy that the winning horses feel “pride” or pleasure in the win. I do know that horses do feel a bond with humans who care for them and establish a kind and responsible relationship. Please support any argument about any cruel manipulation of horses to perform for human’s pleasures?

          BTW…not relating to horse racing, but dog racing. Something happened to me the other day that was really weird and a surprise. My husband and I were walking into a major pet supply store to buy some cat litter. We went directly by a group of people and their dogs…all Greyhounds. I smiled at the dogs and asked a woman holding a dog’s leash if the dogs were up for adoption. She said no; these dogs are ours. But, more dogs will soon be available for adoption. Oh…I pet one on her nose and she nuzzled my hand. I said, quietly, that is was wonderful they give the dogs a home. Then I said: Wouldn’t it be great to outlaw all dog racing? There was silence and the woman I had talked to seemed to give me a half smile and look of agreement. A woman seated at the table in the back of the group heard my soft spoken comment. She yelled ( no exaggeration): Oh! We have an antiracer here! I just said, Well it’s is my opinion. She retaliated with an intense tirade that I was dead wrong, That the dogs loved it! I just walked into the store. On way out I skirted the group to get to my car. She yelled after me. Why do you think they are so nice? I just shook my head and kept walking. She yelled: Well? I turned and said, as I said before it is my opinion. She cackled: Well I am their vet. I am the expert here!

          I ducked into our car. I felt saddened snd deflated.

          1. ambrit

            Dad had a whippet when I was a tiddler. A smaller version of Greyhound, those little rascals will bound off from sitting to a dead run with no discernible intermediate step. Don’t utter the dreaded word with which dog owners have invoked the powers of canine speed over the millennia: “Rabbit!” It’s all over but the running after them then.
            Greyhounds are known for being very protective of members of the owners’ family. Excellent babysitters.
            Don’t feel too bad about your run in with the dog racing “True Believer” set. There seems to be a “Save The XXXX’s” group for everything now. The tension thus developed must serve some deep seated psychological need.
            On a tangental note; I have dealt with Thoroughbred horses once for a while. One of my odd jobs was on a layup farm, where over stressed horses are sent to regain their form. Racing horses can be a temperamental lot. Being so big, they are, I attest from painful experience, dangerous. One horse used to try and corner the human whenever said human entered the stall and bite.
            Nature is an endless adventure.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Trump threatens to end federal aid to California in tweets slamming Gov. Gavin Newsom”

    Trump tweeted the following-

    Also, open up the ridiculously closed water lanes coming down from the North. Don’t pour it out into the Pacific Ocean.

    Can anybody explain what that tweet was all about? What was he talking about?

    1. Wukchumni

      Also, open up the ridiculously closed water lanes coming down from the North. Don’t pour it out into the Pacific Ocean.

      I’d like to think that the President is talking about the Eel River in the far north of the state which flows into the Pacific Ocean, because well known ecologist Ronald Reagan put the kibosh to a proposed dam there in the 60’s…

      “In 1967, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed to build an enormous dam just above the confluence of the Eel River and the Middle Fork Eel River at Dos Rios. The Dos Rios Dam would have been 730 feet (220 m) tall, creating a reservoir that covered 110,000 acres (450 km2) of land (including Round Valley, the Middle Fork Eel River watershed’s primary agricultural area and also the location of the town of Covelo, plus the Round Valley Indian Reservation). If built, this dam would have diverted most of the flow of the river into the Central Valley for irrigation purposes. The project was defeated by outcry from local residents and the intervention of then-California governor Ronald Reagan. Reagan remarked, “Enough treaties had already been broken with the Indians”.”

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        15-20 years ago I read a book about the long-time California Republican who spearheaded the opposition and was instrumental in convincing Reagan to kill the project. Sadly I don’t remember either the title or author of the book, nor the name of the activist.

        1. barefoot charley

          He was Richard Wilson, who went on to become reform chair of the California Forestry Commission. The book (still well worth reading) is “The River Stops Here,” by Ted Simon.

          Wuk, as an Eel River denizen I appreciate your mention but I think good clues are in the links just above, suggesting that Trump’s deploring the wasted water just dumped into San Francisco Bay for the benefit of “the fish.” Without the EPA we’d have more water for watering almonds for China and rich farmers for Republicans (and of course no more “fish”).

          1. Wukchumni

            Just writing Ronald Reagan-Ecologist tickled my funny bone, not that he ever gave the natural world any thought in the scheme of things.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Would that we had some Republicans today like Reagan and Nixon, who established the EPA.

              And wish they would run as Dems, to the left of the likes of Buttgig.

    2. T

      He has vague notions about California draining the Colorado River?

      Weird beef with someone running the Trump golf course in LA?

      Misunderstanding of how to complain about attacks on “our precious bodily fluids”?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Purity of Essence.

        But who is Mandrake? Maybe BoJo?

        (“You said Feed Me, Donald, and I fed you”)

        1. ambrit

          In the film, Mandrake is one of the very few sane people encountered. That severely limits the possibilities.

    3. The Rev Kev

      @ Wukchumni & T – Thanks for that. The whole tweet sounded obscure and I couldn’t nut out what he was talking about.

    4. B1whois

      It sounds to me like he’s referring to fish flows. These are releases of cold water during critical periods of fish spawning that allow the fish to swim in from the ocean to the freshwater areas where they spawn. so this requires fresh water “pouring out into the ocean”.

      This is a sore spot as the Trump Administration has been trying to increase flows for Farmers by targeting the fish flows.

      This appears to be very much a live issue.

    5. marym

      He said the same last year. There were various attempts to figure out what he was talking about then, if you wanted to do a search. The first link below is to one that touches on a few possibilities. I’m not knowledgeable about actual California water issues, so it’s just as a sample, though the suggestion that he was blaming environmentalists for the drought rather than climate change seems Trumpian, and he did recently announce a plan to divert water (second link).

    6. A Farmer

      I’m guessing that refers to when the state limits diversion of water from the Sacramento River delta to protect endangered fish, but it is hard to tell with his word salad.

      1. Wukchumni

        The flushing out of freshwater to the Pacific is used to stop seawater from entering the Delta. If we sent said freshwater instead to Tweet’ldoo & Tweet’ldumb’s Ag constituency, Devin & Kevin would probably perform somersaults on cue, although the other 40 million freshwater users in the state might get a bit miffed if you were to add salt to their water, that is unless all they’re doing is cooking pasta.

        1. JBird4049

          Good lord, just as I might not fully understand why micro-tremors might be a big deal in Great Britain, I can understand, not that I want to in his case mind you, why some might not get the water situation in California. Of course, his loyal staff might be selectively feeding him information. Complaints like this would make the water barons happy and I assume that the California families that controls much of the water are very conservative Republicans.

          80%, of our current water usage is in agriculture, done often wastefully, both by the kinds of irrigation and even more by the crops grown, like the flipping almond trees. If the very powerful agriculture industry had its way, all of the water sources in California would be diverted to farming, preferable to highly profitable crops like almonds. If you do not want otters, wildlife, salmon, or most of the forty million people here, why yes, divert the remaining current 20% of water used to agriculture and then drain the rest of Northern California of its water for residential use. Mind you most of California except for parts of the Rockies would become a desert, but almonds would do just great.

          That is until the next drought as much of the water in wet years has to be saved for the dry years, which is what too many ignoramuses complain about. All that wasteful storage of the water in the reservoirs. The West, especially the Southwest, is not like the South or the East Coast. You can floods one year and absolutely no rain the next. That’s normal.

        2. Anthony G Stegman

          Diane Feinstein has been instrumental in weakening laws protecting the SF Bay & Delta. The Resnicks (Stewart & Linda) – billionaire almond and pomegranate moguls – are major donors to Feinstein. Be as wary of Democrats as Republicans in California. Both will sell out the environment for a fistful of dollars. Just recently, the Democratic governor Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would increase protections from Trumpian water grabs. Newsom too takes money from the Resnicks.

    7. jrs

      Note also he what he doesn’t say, the dog that doesn’t bark. No mention by Trump of PG&E, where there might be actual weakness to attack in CA government (Newsom hasn’t been in there long though – not a fan, just being fair here. But others have). It might not fit the agenda (which is militantly anti-environmental, but certainly NOT anti corrupt capitalism). So instead just the same old @#$# from Trump, sweeping the forest floors and so on. Blah, blah, blah says senile old man with dementia bloviating.

        1. Wukchumni

          The claim is that Russian dressing goes best with word salad, and don’t forget to add fresh croutons!

  4. Bugs Bunny

    :Maria Butina: The “60 Minutes” interview” is must watch. I’m at a loss for words.

    I finally know what “Palace of Swords Reversed” means.

    1. John A

      Not yet watched it, but as it was filmed when she was still in prison in the US, she must surely have been very cautious in what she said, fearing further ‘punishment’. I read a short piece about her arrival in Moscow and made some telling coments about how women in general are treated in US prisons, not just her.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      I watched the interview last night and waited, in vain, for some mention of Patrick Byrne, former (?) ceo of who had a romantic relationship with Butina. Byrne also claims to have been enlisted by peter strzok to be her “handler.”

      One view could be that this was a pre-emptive hit piece on Butina in advance of the Durham report.

      Sundance at The Conservative Treehouse fleshes out the story very differently from last night’s interview. A snippet:

      From the operational description of Mr. Patrick Byrne it would appear Ms. Butina was used by the FBI to “dirty-up” political targets, opening them up for surveillance.

      The FBI/NSA database can be used in real time, or in historic mapping, to monitor people simply by entering their cell phone number and filtering the geolocation. Additionally, texts, call logs, emails, personal data and sensitive electronic communication can all be reviewed by FBI officials using this database.

      What Patrick Byrne ended up describing as “political espionage” was an illicit and intentional use of an FBI counterintelligence operation to monitor the political campaign of the opposing party.

      Maria Butina likely did have sketchy intentions from a U.S. strategic interest perspective; and monitoring her was perhaps justifiable. However, specifically directing Butina on where to go and who to meet is another kettle-o-fish entirely.

      That aspect is likely why Mueller, Weissmann and the corrupt small group within the DOJ and FBI, originally locked away Maria Butina in strict isolation and solitary confinement.

      The gist is that Butina was used as a FISA “virus,” to legitimize fbi domestic campaign surveillance.

      And in one of those crazy “coincidences” that happen only in d.c., an sec investigation of was opened in February, 2018 by none other than peter strzok’s actual wife, melissa hodgman.

      The article is well worth a read.

      1. Rhondda

        Thanks for this comment, Katniss. I agree that the Butina piece seems to be a pre-emptive hit in advance of Durham’s broken arm. It’s all astonishing. But your last paragraph is even more interesting to me: I had not known this about Strzok’s wife.

        Back when the first smoking edges of the work of Brennan’s Trump Task Force (per Larry Johnson) started to be visible, I spent a couple days doing some basic ‘mapping the network’ internet research on the various departments and persons involved. I was blown away by how many of the co-conspirators were leveraging a spouse relationship in some way or were married to someone ‘very interesting’ — not least, of course, being Bruce and Nellie Ohr. It’s been a couple years now but if I recall, I mapped over a dozen such relationships of note. I should unearth those documents and add this info re Hodgman.

        I hasten to add: Sundance’s term “FISA virus” is double plus super good hashtag/meme just waiting to happen. Memorable. Has a ring.

          1. Rhondda

            Wow. Sidney Powell’s sur-surreply is an evening’s entertainment! Readable, sardonic and fun. She’s a pistol!

      2. Bugs Bunny

        That article connects all the dots – Maria Butina doesn’t know how lucky she is to be back in Russia.

        Thanks Ms Everdeen.

    3. Krystyn Walentka

      100 days of solitary confinement? I have no words. They were trying to break her. All the countries, run by psychopaths.

      1. Eclair

        “I have no words.” My reaction also, Krystyn. My husband was watching ’60 Minutes’ last night, as usual, and I heard some of the interview. I was appalled. Actually, my “no words,” came after shouting at the TV and my poor husband, something like, ‘how can you watch this propaganda!’ And, “solitary confinement” is a form of torture!” But, knowing what the Federal prison system did to my Catholic Worker friend, I believe it has turned into a system for humiliating, dehumanizing and erasing its supposed enemies.

      2. J.Fever

        Really depends on the prison. I didn’t read the article yet, if she was in a federal system it wouldn’t have been that bad.
        General population is horrible, and dangerous. Personally I would rather be in solitary confinement if it was not like Super Max.
        You still get access to the reading rack, your food brought to your room, your own toilet.
        Taking a crap in prison is a pretty big ordeal.

    1. John A

      I can give a quick unpacking of the Guardian. Bernie doesn’t exist. Hillary is a goddess whose rightful crown was stolen. Tulsi, who she?. Russia interferes with every democratic country. Putin is a tyrrant and the richest and most corrupt man in the world.
      The Guardian has relentlessly and mercilessly hounded and belittled Corbyn ever since the day he became leader of labour. Now when it is too late to effect a coup to overthrow him, throws up its hands in despair that Corbyn is so ‘unelectable’.
      The Guardian is as bad as the NYT.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Did the Guardian sit on the Bush wireless warrant tapping article for fear of influencing the 2004 election? The NYT established itself as nothing more than right wing propaganda pedaled behind the occasional article on fashion in Milan.

      2. Grant

        That article is a bit absurd. How exactly do you bring together two groups of people that have radically different world views, different class interests and how do you bring them together when their ideologies and class interests directly conflict with one another? Is this not what every Democrat in the modern era has done? Talk left, throw out some moderately progressive policies and communicate behind the scenes with donors, Democratic Party higher ups, the think tank crowd to give them the real deal? Remember Obama pretending to be on the left, talking about re-doing NAFTA and then, behind the scenes, telling Canadian elites that it was all campaign talk? How about the comments by some large donors about Warren being more “reasonable” behind closed doors? And why should people look past the fact that in the 80’s and 90’s she was a right wing Republican, all the way through the Reagan years? Dark time in the country’s history. She left in her late 40’s, and switched to a Democratic Party that was, at the time, far from progressive. She made a lot of money and got a lot of support by pushing for policies and interests that have massively harmed working people, poor people, immigrants and communities of color. She begged Clinton to run last time, was in a group of politicians that wrote a public letter asking her to run. Was she unaware of Clinton’s record and her obvious corruption? Clearly not, her own interviews show that she was aware of what Clinton did and stood for. Would someone that is little different than Bernie give a “spirited defense” of Manchin (as she did with TYT) and would she until recently talk about taking money from large donors in the general election? She still will do so for her party, and everyone knows a lot of that loot would come right back to her. How many times have people seen someone come along and come up with ideas and plans, but then give tons of signs that they weren’t going to push through any large structural changes?

        Fact is, if any actual structural changes happen, they will require her to have a radical inclination she lacks, it would require her to challenge interests she clearly won’t (the very interests she has been cozying up to, until a few months ago taking money from) and it would require her (given our societal and economic problems) to break with capitalism in ways she has said herself she is not in favor of doing.

        On a more superficial note, I find her way of communicating to not be very authentic. She comes across, when she talks, as if she is acting. The inflection in her voice doesn’t come across like she is actually passionate, it is what a politician does to appear to be passionate. Are working people in the Midwest going to be drawn to her, is her elitist background not going to make that even more difficult? Will her lies about her past not be a major issue?

        Either you take on those in power or you don’t. There is no bridging the gap between wealthy and powerful interests that have benefited from what the state has done and those that have been harmed by what the state has done (most of the country) in recent decades. Thinking it can be done, given our societal problems, is delusional. The media can even see the radical differences between her and Bernie, that is why they are all in on her. The Democrats don’t have a good record in picking people those outside their party find attractive, and I expect that to continue for some time. I hope she can beat Trump, but I think that she is more likely to lose to him than Bernie.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I try not to be so cynical, really I do.

          Another commenter called her “the uppity squaw”. Ouch. She does have serous believability issues on many fronts. One thing you can say about The Donald: he’s authentic. To me, she is not.

          Even if things are sh*tty and getting sh*ttier you don’t really want an Angry Librarian hectoring you about it.

          Then there’s the residual American Dream subtext. This runs deep. People think “if only I could catch a break or two, I could be a billionaire too”. So Liz’s so-called plan to skewer the billionaire class reads like an attack on America itself. And Me, not We rules the day.

          So it’s a long distance to travel. 1. Do I want to hear that virago voice for the next 4 years? Maybe. 2. Do I believe she will do what she says? Maybe. 3. Can she do what she says? Maybe. 4. If she does do it, would my billionaire fantasy bubbles get burst? Yes.

      3. lyman alpha blob

        They do seem to be trying to pretend Sanders isn’t there at all. From several paragraphs into the NYT link above ‘As Warren Gains in Race, Wall Street Sounds the Alarm’ –

        Interviews with more than two dozen hedge-fund managers, private-equity and bank officials, analysts and lobbyists made clear that Ms. Warren has stirred more alarm than any other Democratic candidate. (Senator Bernie Sanders, who describes himself as a socialist, is also feared, but is considered less likely to capture the nomination.)

        That’s funny because he’s neck and neck with Warren in most polls I’m seeing. Considered less likely by whom exactly, NYT, and why would this unknown entity consider things that way?!?!?

    2. Winston Smith

      First let’s be clear, what is considered the “center” of the US political spectrum is strongly skewed to the right relative to all the other democracies in the west. The election is a year out to the day…and a hundred days to the primaries. Surprisingly, I don’t hear anything about Sanders’ heart attack being a liability if he were to win the nomination. As for Warren, her image is that of a kick ass educated woman from the northeast…how will that play with the voters that democrats need to beat Trump?

      There is also the “false notion” that Trump is unpopular. His electoral college positioning is still strong according to a set of new surveys from The New York Times Upshot and Siena College (published today). Much to talk about and I personally don’t follow it closely enough to be authoritative on this subject.

      1. Lee

        Hmm, according to the survey, Sanders does considerably better than Warren, and almost as well as Biden. As one might expect, Sanders rates no mention in the headline.

        Given that our presidential elections are being decided by a few key counties and states, those polls would be the ones to watch, and Sanders strikes me as the Dem candidate most likely to flip those voters who previously voted for Obama and then Trump. An interesting group that I wish I knew more about.

        1. Matt

          I am a person who voted for Obama, and then switched to Trump on 2016.

          I had the opportunity to meet McCain before the election when I was valeting his car at fundraiser in the wealthiest part of Houston. He was not all there. He appeared confused and had a young lady helping him find the entrance to the fundraiser which was a grand stair case right in front of his car. I watched the debates and did not get any more comfort in McCain’s mental acuteness.
          I liked the idea of Obama talking about NAFTA being a problem, and him saying that he wanted to promote civil discourse with our allies and our enemies. I liked how he wanted to shut down Guantanamo too.
          What made me switch to Trump was I was disappointed that Obama didn’t even try to keep many of his campaign promises. Not only did he not fix NAFTA, but he tried to pass a NAFTA on steroids with the TPP.
          Trump came out as a giant middle finger to the political establishment of both parties. Spoke truth about how terrible these trade deals were for the American workers. He also was against the foreign wars and regime change.
          Hillary Clinton would have not only kept us in the foreign entanglements, but probably would have expanded them. She would have done nothing to fix the trade deals either. Additionally, you could not believe a word she said about what she wanted to do because her policies were developed by polling focus groups. She didn’t believe in the policies she ran on, she thought telling people she believed in those policies was the best way to get elected.
          I don’t agree with every decision Trump has made since being president, but in no way do I regret my vote. The most surprising thing to me that I don’t see more people on the left supporting him over establishment democrats.
          Is there really anyone here that would vote for Biden over Trump? Trump is way more like Bernie than Biden is.

          1. Lee

            Is there really anyone here that would vote for Biden over Trump? Trump is way more like Bernie than Biden is.

            Thank you for your response.

            I doubt that few if any who frequent this site would vote for Biden. I completely agree with your statement about Bernie and Trump except that. unlike Trump, Sanders would strengthen the social safety net, and forcefully address economic inequality.

    3. scarn

      If I may be quick about it:

      The author argues that Warren champions social democratic policies but remains acceptable to the conservative party establishment. Because of these traits, she is the best candidate to combat Trump. Why is this argument wrong? First, Warren does not champion social democratic policies. She makes noises about championing them, and she gives speeches saying she would have the intention to try to champion them. But saying one intends to do a thing is not the same as doing a thing. In this, she reminds me of Obama’s first campaign, but with more open dishonesty. Second, she is not particularly acceptable to the party establishment’s money people. Academics like Mudde like her a lot. Wall street? Not so much. So neither of Mudde’s ideas about Warren are correct. But third, Warren is a personally incompetent politician. She is a poor speaker, a poor debater, and she is afloat on a raft of rather silly lies about her past. Trump, who is a masterful politician, would absolutely sink her if they were matched up.

      1. Tim

        I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Warren is the real Obama 2.0, Biden is just a poser.

        BTW from everything I read on message boards, the right hate Warren. They hate Bernie’s policies but they don’t hate Bernie. If you can tolerate Trump you won’t vote for Liz. Not sure what the connection is there, but it is very real.

        If Warren wins the nomination it’s a near certainty Trump gets re-elected.

          1. Yves Smith

            Not necessarily. Voting against neoliberalism means voting for the non-center right or left. If you don’t find the right non-neoliberal candidate acceptable or see him as having sold out on his promises, the left non-neoliberal is a better alternative than the fake left neoliberal.

    4. Katniss Everdeen

      Enter Elizabeth Warren, who is able to offer a new leftwing message without dividing the establishment and base.

      This often-repeated characterization of warren’s “position” is just plain stupid, impossible b.s.

      The chaos that afflicts the dem party currently is precisely because there is no HONEST “message” that straddles the divide between the “establishment” and the “base,” and the electorate is fed up with pretending that there is.

      barack obama was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s getting easier and easier to tell who’s pissing on our leg and telling us it’s raining.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Along with internet 2.0. I read the article in Harper’s by Adolph Reed warning about a smooth talking state senator from Illinois (who could only be Barack Obama), but sharing it and the audience willing to read it was radically different. MSNBC had not even tried to be a “liberal leaning” network until a couple of years after Olbermann’s still very awesome Katrina take down of Shrub.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “What Happened To Kamala Harris?”

    Pretty sad effort on the part of Forbes explaining what happened to her. It tap dances around all sorts of reasons why she has flamed out and ended up saying that America wasn’t ready for her due to her race and gender. Yeah, America was not yet ready for a coloured, female, younger version of a centralist Hillary Clinton. Because that idea worked out so well in 2016.
    What actually happened was that another coloured woman challenged her on her record and what she was all about in the Debates to which she had no defense or answer. Yeah, this used to be the media’s job once upon a time but they are not in that business anymore. I won’t say who it was that shanked her chances of being President but let us just say that her name was “T. Gabbard” No! No! Wait! That is too easy to guess. Call her “Tulsi G.” then.

    1. Off The Street

      Many Californians, myself included, find that Harris is long on attitude and short on substance. She blusters and expects attention without really demonstrating why it should be earned.

      1. dearieme

        Cheer up: If Hillary enters the contest it will mean that Harris won’t be the most unpleasant woman in it.

      2. Barbara

        The only thing that Kamala Harris said that was convincing was when she told Trump and his administration to save everything, every piece of paper for the impeachment inquiry. There was Kamala in all her presecutorial glory, just itching to put Trump and company in jail, not just impeach him.

        If she’d just admit this to herself and if she could be a faithful team member (i.e, follow orders) – something I doubt, she might make a good attorney general.

        1. Wukchumni

          I watched Harris ‘grilling’ Kavanaugh, by asking him the same question like a dozen times. It did not inspire confidence in her legal ability.

          1. ambrit

            Of course, such repetitive questioning is standard methodology for an interrogation. So, the Harris ‘security’ policy is right there, hiding in plain sight.

          2. ivoteno

            i’m fairly confident if she were trying to jail one of the poors, her “legal ability” would have been on full display. no need to ask two questions when you can get twelve takes for the one soundbite the networks need.

    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      While I’ll agree the article misses the big point, that America doesn’t want warmed over Hillary Clinton, the article is pretty clear on race and gender not being a factor. For instance: “A more likely culprit than America not being ready for a President Kamala Harris: Sen. Kamala Harris not being ready for the presidential spotlight.” and “Whatever momentum Harris had coming out of the initial June debate was soon squandered by her own ineptitude. And that has nothing to do race and/or gender.” They make the point that all she has to offer is being a woman of color and that alone doesn’t have the “novelty”, as they put it, that it once had, not that America is too racist and/or misogynistic to vote for her.

      Aside from not giving Harris’s record as much weight as I feel it deserves, which is not a minor slight, this was a better article than I expected from Forbes.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The elites in both parties don’t want to admit how HRC was perceived versus the reality. HRC, the co-President and victim of the GOP outrage machine, was Hillary to many voters, not the act Hillary presented. When they tried to redo Hillary’s schtick with Harris or anyone, it falls flat because those characters have never done anything as cool as being the “co-president” or have been public enemy number of the GOP print industry.

  6. Bill Carson

    I’m trying to decide what SNL’s skewering of Warren means. Does the solo cold-opening treatment mean she is their new favorite? Is mockery their highest form of flattery, or is it just mockery?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Isn’t SNL the program for people who remember the original show, wonder why SNL doesn’t bring back muppets (yep, the Not Ready for Primetime Players were a small part of the show), and essentially grew up to be worst versions of the people who once lamented SNL? The point is to create the idea these people are “cool” for recognizing the person the kids are talking about as told to them by msm pundits without angering up the blood.

      Any humor or random points that might be made are purely coincidental. I did see the “Grouch” parody of “Joker.” Its worth it.

      1. Wukchumni

        We watch SNL a few times a year, and wonder what the hell happened to comedy as we often grimace at the awful fare offered.

        I’d mentioned the other day of going to high school from 1977 to 1980, and I had a hard time staying awake to watch the whole show, and sometimes had to bullshit my way through the regurgitation of skits on Monday. SNL was truly the only game in town @ the time, back when tv ruled.

        1. Carolinian

          In your day the show was young and hungry (and funny). Perhaps standards go down when you know you will never be canceled.

          But I rarely watch it anymore either.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            A touch screen ruined a comment, but I think this boils down to are the writers and creators of these shows are Lisa Simpsons or Martin Princes, the quintessential child after a gold star and adult in authority in approval, a Pete Buttigieg for people who don’t base their world view on an animated show. I would even argue Chris Arnade’s recent developments are indicative of him turning from a Martin Prince to a Lisa Simpsons.

            On resumes, both went to Harvard or some Ivy, but Al Gore’s daughter wrote on the soulless Futurama 2.0 and Conan O’Brien, another Irish kid from the Boston area, wrote Marge vs the Monorail (let that sink in, the best episode is a Marge episode.). What does Al Gore’s daughter have in common with the Futurama characters? You can see Conan in Bart and Lisa.

        2. chuck roast

          I get it.
          But I had to stay awake because the real comedy program came on way late, after SNL…Second City TV…now that was true comedy genuis.

          1. Wukchumni

            SCTV was fabulous, but didn’t air in these United States until 1981, just around the time SNL was losing it’s appeal to me.

    2. Carolinian

      They mocked Sanders in 2016. To the extent that the show has a political view it seems to be within the orbit of upper class New Yorkers like Lorne Michaels.

  7. Wukchumni

    Prince Charles is hit by a major counterfeit art scandal: Royal sends back £105m Monet, Picasso and Dali paintings lent by bankrupt businessman James Stunt as an American forger claims HE painted them Mail on Sunday
    In a spot of good news, all of the Prince’s paintings of sad clowns rendered on canvas by Red Skelton, were deemed authentic.

    1. ambrit

      Dali made “counterfeiting” his work a cottage industry, overseen by him, at the end of his life. A lot of those “genuine” Dalis on the market are all ‘phaque’ except for the signature.
      Picasso collecting has a sub-set of paintings that were determined to be fakes by Picasso himself. People would send putative Picasso canvases to him for authentication. If a fake, he would scrawl ‘Faux’ across the canvas. Those works are collectible themselves.
      Monet is, well, Monet. (You could play “Where’s Waldo” in some of Monet’s later landscapes.)

      1. Wukchumni

        Most paintings can be faked, but faking the provenance is a much harder task, not that you couldn’t come up a storied history of damn near anything in a frame, with the help of this contraption.

      2. Lee

        This PBS program Secrets of the Dead episode Galileo’s Moon is of interest in this regard. It also discusses the conundrum for collectors and experts when forgeries are as skillfully and convincingly executed as the originals, which is great because IMHO all these masterpieces should be in the public domain instead of hanging on some a$$holes private wall.

        1. Wukchumni

          There are very few signalling devices for the richest men on the planet, owning Paul Newman’s $18 million Rolex is one way to say you’ve made it, and please take notice of me, whereas a 30 carat pinkie diamond ring would merely look idiotic.

          Buying a painting in the triple figures shows you’re in their league.

        2. LifelongLib

          Historically, weren’t almost all paintings commissioned by or sold to private collectors before being purchased by museums (a relatively recent institution)? Besides, that probably filtered out a lot of junk — not all art fanciers with tons of money had good taste…

    2. PhilK

      In defense of Red Skelton, he’ll alway be a hero to me, if only for this one quote:

      “The clown is a warrior against gloom.”

      I can’t find it written down on the web, and I seem to remember him saying it, probably on The Red Skelton show forty or fifty years ago, but don’t have time to listen to any of them tonight — maybe someone else knows about it.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Buffeting Boeing CEO’s Rope-a-Dope in Congress”

    The story mentions ‘what Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger called, the reduction of the “aircraft’s natural aerodynamic stability in certain conditions.” I think that Sully was being polite here. What he meant by ‘certain conditions’ is when that plane is taking off which is kind of a big thing.

  9. tegnost

    This used to be the working class freeway, back route to the airport, and alternative to i-5. Who wants to bet that amazon and uber will pay the toll so their drivers can have an unfair advantage? I get a gigantic kick (now that I rarely if ever even visit seattle) out of he hand wringing re what will drivers do now? they ruined the best road in seattle so kemper freeman and his developer buddies can have waterfront access. Nobody could possibly know what kind of an impact this economic choice will have on the future…/s…but somehow it always gets easier for the rich and corporations, just natural I guess…

    1. Bill Carson

      Another form of neoliberalism—privatizing or charging for public infrastructure. Or, as I like to call it, “Building private roads for rich people using public funds.”

    2. neo-realist

      I’m not one to defend rich developers in the puget smug, but the old viaduct would fall like a house of cards in an 8 or a 9 earthquake, and maybe in the absence of an earthquake, t would collapse from nothing more than old age. A pricey rebuild that needed tolls to pay for it.

      The bigger crime in these parts is that they dragged their feet for decades on building light rail to give people an alternative to sitting in their cars in I-5 traffic.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        The line they did build works well though! I was also quite pleased with the bus system. Never once needed uber in a 2 week visit.

    3. Lord Koos

      The Hwy 99 viaduct was a disaster waiting to happen, it did need to come down.
      I am more bothered by the 15 miles of “Lexus lanes” that were created on I-405 through the Seattle suburb of Bellevue. Not one, but two toll lanes are now reserved for rush hour drivers that can afford the tolls, and the cost is not trivial if you have to commute through there every day. So, the working-class serfs who can’t afford the tolls now get squeezed from 4 or 5 lanes down to two or three lanes at rush hour, meaning they must allow even more time for their commute, which was terrible even back when all lanes were free.

      The whole thing is blatantly undemocratic, I’m guessing some of the wealthy and powerful software moguls who live in the Bellevue area were the impetus behind it. (The greater Seattle area is home to T-Mobile, Boeing, Starbucks, F5 Networks, Qumulo, Redfin, Extrahop Networks, Socrata and Avvo among others.)

      1. tegnost

        sure, it had to be rebuilt or fixed, but it did not need to be a toll road, or an expensive tunnel. As you know there were two main north south thoroughfares, now there’s one unless you’ve got the money. So now it’s tolls on 520, tolls on 405, and tolls on 99 in a city where many of the richest people on the planet live. But don’t you dare raise taxes on them. Make the mopes pay so it’s easier on the wealthy, just like the individual mandate in o care.

    4. upstater

      In the 1970s Seattle had been allocated billions in Federal funding to build a heavy rail (i.e. subway) when Senator Manguson chaired the Senate Transportation Committee. There was a nominal local contribution required which was turned down. The money went to Atlanta to build MARTA.

      Think of how different Seattle would have developed.

      Needless to say both Seattle and Atlanta and the US have utterly failed in all aspects of urban mass transportation.

    1. Synoia

      It would be interesting to know the degree of violence in Viking raids, ranging from ” just dropping in for a pint and chatting up some women” to we “will kill all of you and take away your meager possessions and your nubile wenches”.

      I’m from a part of England where the Vikings, and others (the Danes) came ashore frequently. Looking at the gene pool, they did a lot more than slaughter.

      I’m blond. I suspect my gene pool has some Norse blood in there somewhere – but I’m making no claim of ancestry.

      1. Wukchumni

        I think most to the right of right in our country, associate Scandinavian ‘socialism’ with the Vikings. (not the Minnesota variant)

      2. Phacops

        Didn’t Vikings also support trading centers? I seem to recall that York was a Viking trade center after the Roman garrison left.

        Never visited York, but when I visited England I noticed that you can’t swing a cat without hitting history.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          So was Dublin or some Irish city, a Viking trade center, where, among others, human slaves were traded, from there to as far as Constantinople.

          And if parts of England, any place name ending with -by, Bixby for example, is likely a former Viking community.

      3. Oregoncharles

        Synoia, I think your claim of ancestry would be safe. The Vikings not only “came ashore” in northeastern England, they settled there and created a colony called the “Danelaw.” The same is true of NE Ireland; the old cities there were settled by the Vikings as trading posts. At the end of the Viking era, England, Denmark, and Norway were all one kingdom. It’s fun to speculate about the course of history if that had held up, but it included too much water, even for the Vikings. They did similarly in Russia, founding Kiev in particular and a sizeable kingdom around it.

        Apparently they were opportunistic, trading when it was advantageous and raiding when they could. There’ve been other, similar cultures, like the Bougis of Indonesia (the original “boogeymen”) or the NW Coast Indians in N. America. The Vikings cast an especially long shadow, “settling on the streets of Constantinople feuds that started in Belfast.”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Many Viking artefacts have been discovered in what is St Petersberg today.

          And I believe ancient silk (perhaps Chiense) was found in the more traditional Viking heartland (Sweden/Norway/Denmark).

          And Danelaw divided England into two, north and south, which, fellow commenters from the UK can affirm, or contest, persist till today (or did until recently).

      4. Janie

        Nigel Trantner wrote many historical novels set in Scotland, ranging through the centuries. Good light reading.

      5. LifelongLib

        My understanding is there were peaceful Norse traders as well as Vikings. Don’t know why they chose to be one or the other. I feel a bit sorry for the nice guys who came to visit after the Vikings dropped in, probably wrecked their whole business…

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The Vikings like many other “raiding” societies followed an age of bounty and then return to normalcy. The extra population had to go somewhere. Except for the presence in English history and subsequently American history (the U.S. is a successor state), the Vikings are no more special other than kind of being the last group to pillage around Europe except for that Irish band led by a Norman (even then its basically all the same) who wound up in Southern Italy.

          The lack of proper organization made them more trouble than they could have been if they ran into a more proper state. Like anyone else, they are just people.

      6. marieann

        My husband and I are originally from Scotland. A couple of years ago he developed a twisted finger…unfortunately to middle finger of his right hand is solidly bent at the knuckle. He went to see a specialist, the doc took one look and said ” the Viking disease” apparently that is what it is….google has all the answers. He declined surgery.
        It turned out that both my brothers have the same thing

        1. wilroncanada

          The medical name is Dupuytrens, named after a french doctor..
          My wife had it in her left hand. It was suggested she wear a very tight suede? glove on that hand at night. The glove provided a lot of relief, and allowed her to regain movement without pain.

    2. wilroncanada

      In 1994, Joan Clark, a writer from Newfoundland, published Eiriksdottir, a novel about the Vikings. She did readings from the book to promote it throughout the Canadian Maritimes. I attended a reading in Wolfville, NS.

    3. Plenue

      That show is entertaining (it’s clearly trying to be Game of Thrones-y, but is hampered by the basic cable restrictions), but it’s a train-wreck in terms of historical accuracy. It portrays women as being a sizable portion of the raiding parties, sometimes a full half, but the evidence for this is basically nonexistent. It seems to be a very generous, frankly unwarranted extrapolation from a single study of fourteen burial mounds in eastern England, where six of the skeletons were female. Viking warrior women existed, but there’s no reason to think there were massive numbers of them. There’s certainly no evidence of large numbers (or any, really) of them in the written historical record, and Sagas treat shield-maidens as unique, not common.

    1. Carolinian

      Elsewhere today: what is the “deep state”?

      Given the revolving door between government employees and private industry and the media perhaps the so called deep state should be considered corporate power and, yes, that inverted totalitarianism you linked. It’s too large a topic for glib generalizations, but whatever our State Dept and IC bureaucracies are about it doesn’t seem to be the interests of the broader public or the Constitution.

      1. Off The Street

        What they are doing could be described as Public Equity. Like Private Equity for the more civic-minded (/s), or at least civic-connected, and the real public gives up their equity.

      2. heresy101

        Actually, it is not Diablo Canyon but “Fukushima East” when the earthquake faults (San Andreas or San Gregorio) in San Luis Obispo shift.

        The tsunami will wash all the radiation out into the ocean, so the fission plant isn’t a danger. /s

        1. Wukchumni

          I wouldn’t want to live anywhere near the ‘Grand Tetons’ that were shut down in great haste @ San Onofre, but most of Orange County is cool with it, apparently.

          1. newcatty

            Well, Wukchumni, my close connections to Orange County, told my husband and I, the first time we traveled with them past the San Onofre plant, that it is called :” Dolly Parton “. Aside from the obvious sexist inuendo: it is a fit. My OC people don’t like how it’s been left either, but there are people who may want to pick up and move the he’ll out of Dolly’s shadows, but timing is often: everything.[

      1. ivoteno

        seems to me it summarizes things from fifteen years ago pretty well and tries to put the lions share of the blame on trump somehow… though it does make me think some “un-elected officials,” not to mention a few “elected” ones, may just be thrown under the bus to satisfy the angry masses and try to keep business as usual humming along…

  10. Grumpy Engineer

    MIT Technology Review: “California is on track to miss its climate targets—by a century

    Hmph. The article doesn’t even mention what will happen to California’s CO2 emissions when they shut Diablo Canyon down. I suspect the California’s rate of CO2 emissions “progress” will turn negative on that date, as that one station provides 9% of California’s electricity with nearly zero emissions.

  11. Phacops

    Re: Boeing CEOs Rope A Dope

    For the grandstanding by the house and senate committees, isn’t all this just about messaging with absolutely no intent to do anything? Voters are so gullible about messaging that panders to their confirmation bias that they don’t pay attention to effective action.

    Perhaps the end product of the regulatory capture, of the FAA and other agencies, is to drive us to the bottom as a caveat-emptor society. Agencies like the FAA or the FDA, starved for funding, seem to play the game desired by those they are regulating, providing certifications to an industry timetable rather than taking time for proper review, in-house, at a pace that funding allows and with the proper commitment of resources for comprehensive monitoring.

    I can only speak to what I’ve seen with the FDA where resources for proper regulatory activity in China and India are so lacking that it can only respond to adulterated drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredient (drug formulation precurser) well after Americans are harmed. And even then drugs already in circulation are rarely recalled even when quality testing by Indian manufacturers was falsified.

    I keep on thinking that 100% inspection of all imports would be a nice thing and we wouldn’t even need tariffs to throttle goods coming in from unregulated and abusive trade.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I can only speak to what I’ve seen with the FDA where resources for proper regulatory activity in China and India are so lacking…….

      Leads me to a book recommendation: Bottle of Lies The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom by Katherine Eban.

      Alternate title: Solving the Problem of Excessively High Drug Prices by Pretending Foreign-Made Shit Drugs for Those Who Can’t Afford Brand Names Will Actually Do Them No Harm: A How-To Manual

      Pretty scary stuff.

      1. Lord Koos

        At my local community clinic they mostly dispense generics as most patients can’t afford the brand name drugs. The workers there have mentioned to me that quite a few people have had problems with the generics, as the formulations include not only the drug itself, but different compounds of binders etc compared to the brand names, and some find they are allergic to or cannot tolerate these substituted ingredients. Of course these alternate ingredients are not required to be listed on the label so it’s a crap shoot.

        1. Phacops

          In reality a generic manufacturer selling a drug under an ANDA (abbreviated new drug application) must follow the originator’s formulation. However, I have seen where the stereochemistry of the drug substance may differ between suppliers. This may explain the differences in bioavailibility of formulations, especially for psychoactive drugs.

          I helped a friend initiate a regulatory complaint when a pharmacy substituted a generic from India that had no effect. There is a form on the FDA’s website that you can use.

      2. Phacops

        As a contract formulation-fill operation for other manufacturers, a company I had worked for was embroiled in the Heparin Sulfate scandal. As a contractor the operations we used were beyond reproach for the quality attributes we could control, however drug substance was provided by the manufacturer under their certificate of analysis and only strength (for formulation and fill uniformity) and identity were verified.

        The supplier to that company in the US was a chinese firm. After securing approval by the FDA, the chinese firm closed their potemkin facility and shopped out heparin to mom and pop pig farms in the countryside. Guidance allows companies to accept material on the cert of analysis along with testing only for identity and strength (and still allows this) subsequent to three lots of material passing full acceptance testing. The chinese gamed this, deliberately adulterating the product with over-sulfated chondroitin which tested OK for identity and strength. 81 people died and many more were injured.

        The FDA said that they do not have the funds nor bear the responsibility to inspect foreign firms on a regular basis who supply the US market with active pharmaceutical ingredient.

  12. Kurt Sperry

    Annoying new pop-up that follows the viewer down the page as one scrolls, text as follows:

    One Quick Question x
    Which of the following statements do you associate with Vanguard?
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  13. Craig H.

    > Rattlesnakes have had a busy year. Same for the people who catch them for a living

    This is a really great article.

    This one is even better:

    It did not look to me like it was a rattler though. I think the more experienced guys are using a less lethal grade of adder / viper because the guy just looked a little stunned and nauseated.

    The strike is at the 46 second mark in this video if you are in a hurry:

    1. Wukchumni

      I’ve seen Gopher snakes, King snakes & California striped racers, but not a single Rattlesnake this year yet. Good thing for the latter slithery one though, for if I see em’ on my property, there’s a shovel-ready job awaiting them.

    2. ambrit

      My favourite snake handling story is about the Fundamentalist woman convicted of murder. She switched the usual gang of well fed and torpid serpents for the box her husband was going to pick the snake out of with some very hungry snakes. Hungry rattlesnakes do their thing with a vengeance, which starts out with biting the prey to immobilize it.
      There is also a fake H L Mencken essay from way back making fun of snake handling. Google is so f—-d up nowadays I couldn’t find it in five minutes of searching. I do remember reading it, and laughing at the section about ‘pacifying’ the serpents by rapping their heads on the table top just before services began.

      1. James Graham

        I have no claims to fame or even minor league distinction but I think it’s safe to say that I’m the only person on this thread who actually attended a snake-handling church service. It was in Jolo, West Virginia and the snakes were copperheads, not rattlers.

        The male greeter at the church had a couple of fingers missing.

        1. Craig H.

          Thank you.

          That region is historical. ~ 10 mi. from Matewan and ~ 15 mi. from Hatfield, KY.

          Your video is much better than mine, if not quite as exciting.

    3. ewmayer

      “I think the more experienced guys are using a less lethal grade of adder” — Silly old Sillycon Valley chipmaker joke: So after 40 daya and 40 nights at sea, the Ark comes to rest on a mountainside and Noah & Co. open the doors to let the animals out, Noah exhorting them to “go forth and multiply”. To which a pair of the snakes turn around and reply – these are talking snakes, obviously – “we can’t … we’re adders.”

    1. Yves Smith

      The Swiss don’t mess around. Saying bad things about banks gets you landed in prison. No joke, a friend who is a top international tax expert won’t lecture in Switzerland for that reason. They’ll toss miscreant Uber managers in the slammer.

  14. Krystyn Walentka

    Re: Shrink thinking,

    Oh Jared Diamond becomes the next guru to save us from ourselves! The Buddha failed, Jesus failed, Steve Jobs failed, but Diamond? He will succeed!

    The only thing we need to be saved form is our saviors. The world was perfect, we did not need to change a thing.

    1. Wukchumni

      I would consider being dissed by Niall, an endorsement.

      I read Upheaval (along with all of Jared Diamond’s other books-The Third Chimpanzee is probably my favorite) and I enjoy his nuanced way of thinking. I’ve noticed that hard right political types tend to be his largest base of detractors, wonder why he terrifies them so?

      1. Lee

        A couple of reasons come immediately to mind: he attributes the relative technical advancement of some societies over others to accidents of geography and history as opposed to race or culture based notions of the inherent superiority of groups and individuals; he supports the notion of resource based constraints on perpetual growth.

        1. Plenue

          In this case the two people are both wrong. Ferguson is a fake historian, while Diamond is merely a crappy one who has to mangle all nuance and the facts on the ground to hammer things into fitting his thesis.

    2. skippy

      Recently caught a bit of Diamond on the Historyless channel, whilst he was sharing his views on the demise of nations he went into full blown Monetarist mode about inflation. That’s right, soon as a country debased it currency collapse was imminent.

      On the other hand Classical Conservatives have always preached that all mankind’s [tm] dramas are natural [tm] and just need better management, hence environmental concerns suck the oxygen out of their arguments. Very much in the vein of decades ago debate about central – south American societies previous theory’s about collapse, until a hobbyist historian made the environmental connection. The fallout of that was sort of a collapse in of itself.

      Seems a lot of it revolves around shaping narratives and desperate measures to secure rights to utilizing watery terms of reference – too define the accepted framework for debate. Having the environment make a mockery of your world view is to be avoided at all “costs”.

      1. Lee

        As much as I admire and agree with much that Diamond writes and says, I saw a recent interview in which he seemed rather woefully behind the curve on contemporary political economy. For example, he seemed to have bought the conventional neocon interpretation on the 1973 Chilean coup—something to the effect that the Chilean people would not tolerate socialism, without reference to U.S. skulduggery.

        1. witters

          Jared Diamond starts off usefully, then ends up useless: See “Collapse” for instance, which ends with a paean (Ch. 15, “Big Business and the Environment”) to the corporate ethics and the “impressive” commitment to social responsibility of multinational extractive industries.

          And he himself is like those extractors (for whom he has proudly, and remuneratively, “advised”) when it comes to exploiting the raw material: See here, for instance:

  15. Jeremy Grimm

    My Half-dream of Economic Epiphany:
    As I lay between sleep and dream my mind made leap into twilight skies
    of P&G moon and mysterious constellations
    Suddenly I grasped rationale unifying Daylight Savings
    with the all-knowing Neoliberal Market.
    As I drifted tween wake and sleep the equations slithered into place with the key:
    “Time is money.”
    The growth of profits is a universal constant, a law inviolable.
    Human time dilates or contracts to fit this invariant.

    I had a vision of two clocks,
    one to mark the end of work — falling back
    one to mark the start of work — springing forward
    Each clock measures Time with different hours maintaining the invariant.
    Such balanced beauty can only be explained as a work of god’s design
    A god who does not play with dice and leaves nothing to the whims of chance.

    But when I woke I saw a new problem.
    The economic universe grows distributing production and process ever more distant.
    Only postulate of dark energy can explain the drive behind this expansion.
    How long can the ‘rubber’ hold
    before dark energy drives the Market to explode?
    All the gods ignore our whimpers, shouts, and screams.
    Human Time will end with a bang. ipso facto — Q.E.D.
    So says the logic of the dismal science.

    1. Wukchumni

      Embrace something that doesn’t involve money in any capacity, for me its the natural world, which is pretty much fully honest and on the up and up, especially so with the object of my desire, Sequoia trees.

    1. Wukchumni


      Crescent Meadow (John Muir called it ‘The Gem of the Sierra”) in Sequoia NP goes unused virtually everyday, when it could easily be transformed into an open air swap meet on weekends, and then if that goes well, all week.

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        There are plans afoot to widen and completely repave the Mineral King Road. If Trump has his way Mineral King will be heavily commercialized; perhaps with the Disney Co. invited back. Enjoy this beautiful and presently remote area while you can. Mineral King Lodge anyone?

        1. Wukchumni

          MK road will be repaved and only widened in spots that allow it-which isn’t much, but the concern with my driveway (over 20 miles long!) is that people will drive too fast with a new road surface (almost bought it last week when a Fiat 500 came around a corner in my lane, must’ve missed the car by 6 inches) and cause much mayhem. Not to mention the slowdown that comes with repaving, which will go on all summer in 2022.

      1. Wukchumni

        We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources. But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have still further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields and obstructing navigation.

        Teddy Roosevelt

    2. Janie

      We spent a lot of weeks in Corps of Engineers campgrounds during our peripatetic years. The best were run by the Corps; the privatized ones ranged from mediocre to poor.

    3. Carolinian

      Crandall and the advisory committee were somewhat surprised by the backlash, especially from groups representing retirees and the elderly.

      “If we’d known there’d be a big pushback to proposed blackouts on senior discounts, we might have dropped that off the list,” Crandall said. “All we’re saying is that it may not make sense on peak days like July 4 weekend to let seniors compete with a family with kids for a campsite.”

      That doesn’t even make any sense. They aren’t preventing the seniors from competing with the family with kids but preventing them from paying half price. These people are maroons.

      Fortunately their stupidity has led to the inclusion of a provision that may quash the whole thing. The National Parks do not need changes to make them more “popular.” They are already overwhelmingly popular including with foreign tourists who may make up half the clientele.

      1. Wukchumni

        English was definitely a second language a few weeks ago when friends from San Diego & Florida came to see Sequoia & Kings Canyon NP. I’d guess only 30-40% spoke the local lingua franca that we came across.

        Used to be dead easy to figure out the nationality based on what clothing they’re wearing, but everybody wears the same stuff pretty much nowadays.

  16. ewmayer

    “Why Obama got a Nobel Peace Prize for nothing — and Trump never will for anything | NY Post” — What, no mention of that towering icon of liberal internationalism, 1973 awardee Henry Kissinger?

    Paste Magazine offers its list of the 9 Worst Nobel Peace Prize Winners Ever … so perhaps Kissinger was a kind of anniversary special award to mark 25 years since 1948, which was the year the oh-so-wise-and-liberal Nobel PP committee failed to so recognize Mahatma Gandhi in the year of his death. Apparently his anti-capitalist-and-colonialist crusading marked him as too nationalistic, hence insufficiently liberal-internationalist. From that perspective, his snubbing is perfectly understandable.

  17. John Beech

    The Companies That Invest in the Earth’s Destruction Must Be Held Accountable Motherboard

    This is just about the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard of. How about the people who drive and ride vehicles with IC engines, and heat their homes with oil and natural gas, plus coal must pay. Good grief!

  18. Chauncey Gardiner

    As someone who as a young man fished commercially for salmon on Bristol Bay of the Bering Sea many years ago, today’s post by Hal Bernton from The Seattle Times about the loss of so many birds and marine mammals breaks my heart. This must be reversed.

  19. rjs

    in “The Companies That Invest in the Earth’s Destruction Must Be Held Accountable”, the author seems to be conflating companies like BlackRock who own stock in fossil fuel companies with those who actually provide new financing, such as the World Bank…

    even following the links, it’s not clear to me whether BlackRock actually provides new capital for coal plants or not…if it’s just a passive shareholder, they could sell all their stock and it wouldn’t reduce carbon emissions by one molecule…

  20. smoker

    Re: Hunger moves to the suburbs San Francisco Chronicle

    Odd piece in that the San Francsico Chronicle’s Food Editor author mentioned San Mateo County food scarcity, but not it’s neighboring suburbs in Santa Clara County – which has a far higher population of homeless than San Mateo County (an historically wealthy county) – given that in San Jose alone (Santa Clara County), the Point in Time Biannual Homeless Count for 2019, had exploded by 41 percent.

    Less than a year ago though, the same Food Editor author (who provides her exotic recipes, and details on the crab season) did mention Santa Clara County (but highlighted the children only, as if their now impoverished non technocrat, Silicon Valley parents and grandparents have dropped the ball on them and are eating all the food), in a November 18th piece titled How families slip through .

    The populations most impacted by hunger are also the most vulnerable members of society: the Bay Area’s children and senior citizens. Even in Silicon Valley, one in three children — about 200,000 — are food insecure, according to Second Harvest Food Bank, which services Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

    I always find myself wondering, regarding the historic San Jose and San Francisco Bay Area Local newspapers, whether journalists are pressured by their editors, who are possibly pressured by shameless politician and powerful business group friends not to highlight Silicon Valley – which is historically centered in SANTA CLARA COUNTY – as a cesspool of inhumanity and cruelty for thousands who’ve lived here – many born here – for decades, but can no longer afford to.

    ‘Alas,’ it is that most sickening time of year in the California Bay Area when so many shameless entities – including NonProfits with CEOS, etcetra, who take home an obscene amount of pay – will be writing Op-eds about the exponentially increasing impoverished, as if they even cared. they clearly couldn’t be bothered to remember and follow up on what they wrote less than a year ago.

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