Links 11/7/19

The World of Medieval Dogdom History Today (Adrien F)

Double joy as two new cubs of endangered Amur tiger registered in the Far East of Russia Siberian Times (guurst)

Computers Evolve a New Path Toward Human Intelligence Quanta Magazine (David L). I don’t know why human intelligence is so esteemed. It just happens to be the one we know best. Dolphins exhibit a lot of bad human behaviors (young males will capture and rape females, dolphin pods will gang up into bigger groups to raid females) but on the whole they are way more altruistic than humans.

Earth Just Experienced Its Hottest-Ever October CBS

Climate change: Vermont’s hotter, wilder weather is already here VTDigger (resilc)

Scientists Study Sea Levels 125,000 Years Ago And It’s a Terrifying Look at Our Future Science Alert (David L)

Are We Reaching Peak Phosphorus? Maybe Popular Mechanics (resilc)

Vaping Causes Lung Damage in Just 3 Days of Use, New Study Says Lundquist Institute


China Embraces Bankruptcy, U.S.-Style, to Cushion a Slowing Economy Wall Street Journal

US-China trade tensions have persisted for centuries Quartz (resilc)

Market teeters on Trump, Xi meeting location, hoping a logistics snag is not sign of bigger issue CNBC


Brexit: on with the charade EUReferendum

Friends and enemies: France is a big loser from Brexit Financial Times

Jeremy Corbyn’s horror show continues: As if losing his deputy Tom Watson wasn’t bad enough, Labour campaign gets hit by FOUR body blows Daily Mail

Delhi struggles to breathe but not even in top 10 polluted Indian cities DIU News (resilc)

Yanis Varoufakis – Capitalism, Democracy and Europe Brave New Europe. A broad-ranging discussion. His take on “neoliberalism” is useful.

Doubts grow over López Obrador’s ‘hugs’ strategy to fight Mexico crime Financial Times

Mormon Family Massacre Stuns Mexico, Laying Bare Government’s Helplessness New York Times. Bill B: “Military force was the only rational option for the United States during WWII. Obrador should ponder that as he stares down an existential threat which aims to swallow everything.”


Winter Is Coming: Castle Black, the Syrian Withdrawal, and the Battle of the Bases LobeLog

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

EXCLUSIVE: This Is How the U.S. Military’s Massive Facial Recognition System Works OneZero (BC)

Former Twitter employees charged with spying for Saudi Arabia by digging into the accounts of kingdom critics Washington Post. BC:

This article highlights my concern that the fact that three letter agencies are spying on every American is daunting and disconcerting enough, but at least those agencies are (supposed to be) bound by the Constitution and law, and have an obligation to be accountable to the People (by way of the Congressional , Executive, and Judicial branches). But private corporations have very little restrictions at all, and no duty, loyalty, or accountability (due to rights of proprietary secrets).

After 9-11, the Intelligence Community IMO made a dreadful decision to transfer the development and execution of “inherently Governmental” spying capabilities to private industry. I believe this decision was a lazy expedient to bypass the obligations under the constitution. Similarly, renditioning of torture and other intelligence driven activities were tactics to allow illegal and unconstitutional activities to occur outside the purview, and by flawed logic considered outside the transparency and accountability duties of the Government.

Once this genie was let out of the bottle, these extremely powerful, dangerous, and often unconscionable capabilities and actions become out of the Goverment’s ability to monitor and control. The private spyingbindustry sector can obtain the power to take over and control the Government (which I believe already has in at least some part). This privatized spying model enables industry to create capabilities even more powerful than those they choose to share, or even make known to, the Government – and they are largely free to sell them to the highest bidder.

I believe a mitigating approach might be to have these spying and privacy invading capabilities treated by the law as “munitions” like encryption technologies already are. They could then be treated like the weapons that they have already proven themselves to be capable of. These capabilities are presently being privately weaponized and move freely around the world at will, and we are coming to learn the horrors than occur with no oversight, accountability, nor control.

Inside the Microsoft team tracking the world’s most dangerous hackers MIT Technology Review (David L)

Trump Transition

How Mike Pence’s Office Meddled in Foreign Aid to Reroute Money to Favored Christian Groups ProPublica. UserFriendy: “Sad but I’d be shocked if putting ‘US aid should go preferentially to Christians’ into USAID’s charter wouldn’t pass Congress with a healthy margin.

Three Facts You Haven’t Heard Much About Are Keys to Better Policy Toward Central America Center For Global Development

Tucson: Voters in liberal US city reject sanctuary city status BBC


Democrats set stage for Watergate-style TV hearings The Hill

Trump-Ukraine scandal: Taylor transcript details direct quid pro quo via irregular channels. Guardian. Get a load of this: “House has released the transcript of US diplomat Bill Taylor’s testimony, which describes the existence of a parallel foreign policy approach to Ukraine.” Has everyone lost their minds? The President sets foreign policy.

Trump rails against House Democrats, impeachment inquiry during campaign rally: ‘It’s all a hoax’ The Hill

Rand Paul blocks Senate resolution backing protection for whistleblowers The Hill

Trump impeachment hearings to go public next week BBC


Democratic Socialists Had a Pretty Good Election Night Vice (UserFriendly)

Tell Amazon: hands off our democracy! The Action Network. Please consider signing.


Joe Biden: An Anti-Endorsement The Nation

U.S. presidential contender Biden calls Warren jab ‘elitism’ Reuters (resilc). Biden’s touchiness smacks of sexism.

Should Democrats Panic About Warren’s Chances Against Trump? New York Magazine. Resilc: “Bernie no where in view in nymagazineistan.”

How Biden Killed Prison Education Atlantic

#Bernieblackout: The Media Isn’t Even Hiding Its Anti-Bernie Bias Anymore Mint Press News (Chuck L)

Jeff Sessions Set to Enter Race for U.S. Senate in Alabama Bloomberg

Pelosi Must Go Current Affairs (UserFriendly)

California asks for court order forcing Facebook to hand over Cambridge Analytica documents The Verge

Rethinking Productivity Project Syndicate (David L)

The Drilling Frenzy Is Over For U.S. Shale OilPrice


Boeing whistleblower raises doubts over 787 oxygen system BBC

Boeing 737 cracks: Ryanair grounds three planes due to cracking between wing and fuselage Guardian (resilc)

The Ministry of Wiki-Truth Consent Factory (UserFriendly). More important than you might think.

Class Warfare

Farm Bankruptcies Rise in Over Half of States 55 Route Fifty (resilc)

When Did Democrats Lose the South? Policy Tensor (UserFriendly). Intriguing, important, and as you will see, a class warfare issue.

Crocker v. Navient Solutions: A small win for student-loan debtors Condemned to DEBT (UserFriendly)

And she’s an awfully old looking for 60:

Antidote du jour (CV):

And a bonus. I have to confess I have a weakness for silly cats:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. QuarterBack

    Re Gates’s opposition to a Wealth Tax, I also agree that a Wealth Tax is a bad path to go down. My concern more about the dependent changes to the philosophical foundation of law.

    The philosophy under Income Tax is conceptually similar to Rent, whereby people participating and benefiting from the rewards and protections of their government should pay rent as their fair share of its costs. But a Wealth Tax requires effectively ending the entire concept of Private Property. It seems like a desirable utopian philosophy that the World’s bounty of natural and man made wealth “belongs to everyone”, but its fatal flaw is solving the hard riddle is who then speaks for everyone? Who determines what is the common good? The history of civilization has demonstrated that we are still VERY far yet from figuring out how to navigate those waters, and until have an answer, it would a disaster. Consider the deeply divided state the U.S. and most of the world is today, and then try to imagine how having all ownership and wealth dictated by whatever powers that be.

    I strongly believe that if I could time travel many thousands of years into the future, I would find a peaceful and bountiful world with a communal system of governance in place, but I would also learn that I just missed the ribbon cutting ceremony on the new order.

  2. Redlife2017

    Re: Watson leaving Labour (Daily Mail – Lol)

    Not exactly a body blow. That guy was the one applying the body blows. He constantly broke NEC (National Executive Committee) rules and caused loads of problems for what seems to be no good reason. The Guardian has a slightly less overheated understanding of the situation.

    The Sun has an interesting article that has gone through multiple headlines (15 hours ago: Labour deputy leader Tom Watson QUITS as MP after false paedo ring shame; 4 hours ago: Disaster for Labour as deputy leader Tom Watson QUITS in wake of Brexit war with Corbyn). The article seems to be more like the 15 hours ago version with a new title. They emphasize the VIPS issues he’s had. And at this point, there isn’t any reason to get miffed over Brexit. He has his 2nd ref, so it’s obviously not that.

    1. larry

      Why should he stay? He has health issues and possibly a new life. And the Corbynites have been trying to hamstring him for a while now. It appears as it he thinks this is a good time to go. And he may be right. He isn’t the only one. The social enviroment for both parties now seems to be toxic. And not just within the parties themselves. For the police to feel that they have to advise female politicians to go around with bodyguards and not go out alone is horrific. (I don’t think I would believe anything the Sun said.)

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Even for the daily mail, that was quite the hit piece on Corbyn –

      Mr Corbyn was also criticised after it emerged he shared a platform with a wife campaigning for her jailed IRA husband to be released, and diplomats said they feared a Labour government would risk national security because our allies would be reluctant to share information with a PM they didn’t trust.

      But the allies love them some Boris, because of his superior intellect, reputation for integrity, and the bang up job he’s been doing? C’mon, man.

    3. Jon Cloke

      Re ‘Jeremy Corbyn’s horror show’ – the *Daily Mail*, Yves? Really? The paper that loved Adolf Hitler and which Wikipedia refuses to cite as a source because it’s so untruthful? Seriously?

      One of the things I love about Naked Capitalism is the eclectic nature of the materials in ‘Links’, but if you’re going to post stuff from the Daily Hate Mail as if it were anything other than toilet paper I’m going to have to re-consider donating to you again…

      1. Lambert Strether

        The Daily Mail is what it is, but they they are all what they are.

        The Daily Mail — besides its technically superior headline style — covered Brexit better than The Times, which consistently published falsehoods. It’s also good, unbelievably, in aggregating and adding value to stories. There are some venues we just don’t use. There are others we evaluate story by story. The Daily Mail is is one such. If you find this unendurable, you have the options of not clicking through, or seeking a more congenial venue. It’s a big Internet!

  3. upstater

    The white failed deer are coming! Loaded with ticks, to eat your garden.

    30 years ago it was very unusual to see ticks. And deer were wary because there were many more hunters (in the unionized places where I worked it was more difficult to get time off in deer season than the middle of summer, acreal blue collar thing).

    1. inode_buddha

      I have vivid memories of being the only guy that showd up for work a few times… the sausage was good tho.

      1. Off The Street

        Some school districts put the first day of deer hunting season on the calendar and had closures that day. They expected that many kids would be out anyway to help fill those freezers with wintertime food.

    2. Phacops

      I’ll definately take that cute cat over the deer. Deer try to kill me every couple of weeks by running in front of my car. But, around me, with all the orchards, doe permits are easy to come by and I thnk they taste better. With only a couple of pounds of venison left I’ll need to stock up.

      For me, the best uses; butterfly steaks (tenderloin), chilis and spaghetti sauces, and meatloaf that I smoke on my Traeger. What’s not to like about lean, free range, antibiotic and hormone free meat?

      I thank the deer for giving their life for my sustenance, something people don’t think about when putting a package of meat in their shopping cart at the supermarket. Up here one seems more connected, even the local butchers bid on livestock at the fairs and proudly display the ribbons over the meat locker, honoring the children for their animal husbandry as well as their animals.

      1. rd

        Many of the ticks are actually growing on the white-footed mouse, not the deer. The cats help control the mice since we have eliminated most of their other predators.

        1. Phacops

          Exactly! To stop this I put permethrin soaked cotton balls into toilet paper tubes and toss them around the property. Mice love the cotton for their nests and it kills the ticks stopping their spread.

  4. Ignacio

    RE: Are We Reaching Peak Phosphorus? Maybe Popular Mechanics (resilc)

    Yes, Phosphorous as fertilizer migth soon become a problem, specially a Geopolitic problem. In Europe there are almost no mineral P resources so there is this worry, apart from environmental costs of P loss in the environment. Recycling as well as avoiding wasteful P abuse are the most mentioned options and there are plans to improve P recycling from sewage, manure, food residues, animal by-products.

    The so-called circular economy.

    1. Ignacio

      The problems identified with P recycling are:
      – More costly compared to mineral P
      – Consumer reluctance for recycled products (particularly from sewage), though there are P-recovery methods that result in product essentially free of heavy metals, chemicals (such as antibiotics) or microplstics.

      1. Wukchumni

        For what its worth dept:

        ‘P’ is the NZ term for meth-short for pseudoephedrine, which has run it’s usual useless course in being quite the scourge.

    2. Wyoming

      Recycling human waste used to be a standard farming practice.

      4 Toilet and
      domestic wastewater are an important source of phosphorus, as
      up to 22% of the world’s consumption of phosphorus could be
      recovered from human urine and feces.5

      Or we could reduce global population…but hey why not just eat crap…its traditional after all. We could have the homeless collect it for us…a jobs program to boot.

      1. Ignacio

        The problem with recycling from urban sewage waters is the presence of heavy metals so you need to employ certificated and somehow expensive methods to avoid disposal and concentrating those in agriculture. Antibiotics is another concern. Best would be to avoid heavy metals entering sewage waters in the first place.

    3. MichaelSF

      What will the military do if there isn’t enough white phosphorus? Will no one think of the munitions? /s

  5. dante

    Maybe someone should send this to Elizabeth….?

    Ex-Medicare Chiefs Love PEU

    Presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama enacted significant healthcare reform in their terms in office.  Bush added the Medicare Prescription Drug benefit known as Medicare Part D.  Bush’s Medicare Chief Tom Scully stepped down after Congress passed Part D.

    Obama enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  His White House Health Reformer Nancy-Ann Deparle was a former Medicare Chief under President Bill Clinton.  For a time Marilyn Tavenner and Andy Slavitt served as Obama’s Medicare head.

    What do these four individuals have in common?  Private equity underwriters (PEU).

    Tom Scully
    – General Partner Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe (WCAS)
    Nancy-Ann Deparle – Partner and co-founder Consonance Capital
    Andy Slavitt – Founding Partner Town Hall Ventures
    Marilyn Tavenner – Board of LifePoint Hospitals, an Apollo Global affiliate, and Board of  Select Medical, a WCAS affiliate The Atlantic reported PPACA passed due to:

    “compromises that led to the ACA, executed by Obama and his then–chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, are what staved off a full-scale medical-industry uprising against the bill.“PPACA was designed by for-profiteers for PEUs.  The greed and leverage boys have had a field day on citizen’s wallets.  Surprise medical billing, thank Blackstone and KKR.

    President Donald J. Trump’s Medicare Chief Seema Verma:

    “blasted “Medicare for All” even as some Democratic presidential candidates continue to propose the idea for healthcare reform. 

    “I’m always very concerned that we’re hearing conversations about more government, more Medicare for All. I think those kinds of things are very scary to me,” she said. “We need to put patients in control of care, not the government.” Patients in control?  The only control I have is paying more and more out of pocket for the same limited care I access every year.

    For that right I become an instrument in an algorithm.
      Humana’s Chief Strategy Officer said the company wants to be a healthcare company with elements of insurance:

    “Part of predictive analytics is getting close to the member. We’re partnering with organizations outside of healthcare where, with the member’s consent, we can identify information they are sharing with us. Proximity is the key to predictive ability,” Having my health insurer emulate the NSA?  That is very scary to me, as is the parade of PEU paid former Medicare Chiefs.

    Healthcare is an absolute Gordian knot and it grows larger every year due to greed.

    Around 45% of Americans said a major health-related expense could potentially lead to bankruptcy, according to a Gallup poll. Health care expenses can break the bank at any age, but they’re especially detrimental to older Americans –- retirees in particular.
    America’s for-profit healthcare landscape is a trail of tears for many seniors who go bankrupt, even with health insurance coverage.

    Two-thirds of people who file for bankruptcy cite medical issues as a key contributor to their financial downfall.

    A new study from academic researchers found that 66.5 percent of all bankruptcies were tied to medical issues —either because of high costs for care or time out of work. An estimated 530,000 families turn to bankruptcy each year because of medical issues and bills, the research found.Scully, Deparle, Slavitt and Tavenner don’t have bankruptcy worries.  They count piles of cash from the very PEU healthcare profits breaking seniors bank accounts.

    Former Medicare Chief Gail Wilensky sold ManorCare to The Carlyle Group as a board member. 
    Eleven years later Carlyle bankrupted the nursing home giant and Mrs. Wilensky had over a decade to grow her nearly $3.4 million in proceeds from ManorCare’s PEU buyout.

    Carlyle just added a huge insurance broker to its PEU family.  The Hilb Group offers health insurance.  Hilb’s website states:

    Like magic, you can increase benefits while reducing total costs. I work for a PEU affiliate and it has only reduced benefits, healthcare and otherwise.  Like evil magic I’ve seen coworkers disappear and service quality harmed.  This year I’ve had the highest out of pocket expenses in my lifetime for healthcare.  My employer states it emphasizes preventive care but I am unable to get a basic vaccination without having to drive several hours.

    PEU greed and the for-profiteers who’ve commandeered the healthcare system are not looking out for my best interest.  They are looking out for theirs.

        1. Geo

          Gates: “But when you say I should pay $100bn, then I’m starting to do a little math over what I have left over.”

          Is that the world’s smallest violin I hear playing? I’m guessing when he’s completed his math he’ll find he still has more left over than he’d need in a thousand lifetimes. But, when most of us do our math we wonder how we’ll make it to the next month. And that’s when things go well!

          1. JEHR

            I just listened to a podcast on Carnegie and how he used his “billions” (in today’s dollars) and how he treated his workers much worse as he got richer. But apparently he believed that the wealthy should give away all their money before they die. He built 3,000 libraries (in Canada Yorkville Library.) Too bad that billionaires cannot see that philanthropy is not the answer to proper distribution of wealth.

            1. Geo

              It’s ego. They think they know better how to utilize it than the people too dumb/lazy to be rich. Ayn Randian heroes in their own mind leading the ungrateful unwashed masses.

            2. Carey

              I can, to some degree, understand where the Few are coming from, WRT money. The couple of times in my
              life when I had a bit of the stuff- not a lot, by almost
              any standard- I felt like I needed more of it. Didn’t like
              that feeling, gave away what I had, and am mostly glad
              I did.

          2. Mike

            The money does not go for his daily lifestyle needs. The bulk is there to protect his class desires. He cannot play with the global elite if he is “supporting” taxes that serve to undermine their perogatives.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Inside the Microsoft team tracking the world’s most dangerous hackers”

    It was an interesting piece until near the end when they had the following-

    In 2016, it was CrowdStrike that first investigated and pointed the finger at Russian activity aiming to interfere with the American election. The US law enforcement and intelligence community later confirmed the company’s findings and eventually, after Robert Mueller’s investigation, indicted Russian hackers and detailed Moscow’s campaign.

    Pure propaganda and I can’t even be bothered dragging out the facts to disprove it as even a jaggoff comedian working from his garage can put together a video proving the whole thing was rubbish.

    1. Randy G

      Rev Kev — Jimmy Dore and his crew are about the only thing keeping me borderline sane. Thoughtful satire aimed at the unhinged greed, political witch hunts, and CIA/MSNBC talking points that we’re all stewing in 24/7 — at minimum it bolsters the camaraderie and provides some much needed laughs.

      Chuckling on the way to the gallows, perhaps, but at least you see some friendly faces….

    2. ambrit

      The Big Lie in action. This is a direct spin off of Joseph Goebbels. He was not shy about studying Bernays, and learned the lessons well.
      I, having a cynical sensibility, reverse the order in the story and put the hackers in the role of Good Guys and Microsoft as Bad Guys. Who did the original code for the Great Firewall of China? You guessed it.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      It always comes back to crowdstrike, a company with a reputation built solely, as near as I can tell, on the fact that the “us law enforcement and intelligence community” believed it once.

      1. Geo

        Seems like the mission statement of al successful companies contracted to work for the blob: “We’ll tell you what you want to hear”

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Dems and “Watergate-style TV hearings”. There’s a very simple way to set this right: merely turn the TV cameras 180 degrees and point them at the accusers instead, then proceed with the hearings. I personally would like to find out when/whether the President of the United States himself authorized or sanctioned the use of DNC funds to fabricate evidence of “Russian collusion” so the FBI and CIA could spy on and then attempt to remove from office the main political rival of his intended successor.

          (Orange Man Bad! But I don’t care if he’s Vlad The Impaler, we can kiss our constitutional republic goodbye if we let spies choose our government).

          1. Lambert Strether

            > Dems and “Watergate-style TV hearings”.

            I lived through the Watergate hearings (news bulletins, newspapers — can you imagine). That was a serious effort that respected institutional structures. This is a French farce by comparison. A French farce with a cast of midgets. (Say what you will about Nixon, he was a political giant, and it took other giants to take him down.)

            1. Carey

              I watched the hearings with my quite savvy working-class
              grandmother, who was a Camelot Democrat. Really glad
              that we got to do that together: the hearings were riveting.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                I got politicized early, watching Oswald get gunned down by Jack Ruby on live TV with my Mom. She of course was crying her eyes out since she grew up in Mass. and JFK was her hero. She read the NYT every day and every day raved about how she was not sending her four boys to the jungles of Vietnam for an illegal and immoral war, no way. We then graduated to watching Watergate on TV, the nation held its breath as Sam Irvin did his institutional best and the Republic was preserved.

                How inverted is this perversion today: the CIA and the media calling all of the shots and the people either numbly nodding along or else asking Who Moved My America?

                1. Carey

                  >How inverted is this perversion today: the CIA and the media calling all of the shots and the people either numbly nodding along or else asking Who Moved My America?

                  Oh I hear you, big time. First the memories are erased, then..

          2. Geo

            Reminds me of this brilliant exchange from the play “A Man For All Seasons”:

            Sir Thomas More: “What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?”

            William Roper: “Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!”

            Sir Thomas More: “Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

  7. Summer

    RE:Varoufakis – Capitalism, Democracy and Europe Brave New Europe.

    “To begin, let me challenge the term “neoliberal.” The use of the term in relation to West-Soviet relations was just a cloak under which to hide libertarian industrial feudalism…”

    He sees the feudal nature of the global order too.
    I call it “techno-feudalism” now.


    1. chuck roast

      Nice to see Yanis keeping up the good fight. He is one of the very few who can make me rethink my well earned prejudices.

    2. Carey

      There’s this from Varoufakis, though:

      He added: “It’s important to keep freedom of movement, we’re internationalists and we do not want to see borders. The idea that foreigners are a problem is a toxic idea and it’s completely wrong. I reject wholeheartedly the argument that no borders serves the interest of capital because migrants compete with the local working class. This is a pathetic argument, it’s wrong, that never happens. Migrants create jobs – in aggregate – they do not take jobs away.”

      I do not agree with him on open borders.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Yes, that is why I didn’t cross post this. Open borders is bad for workers in higher income countries in the absence of international wage/workplace standards. His position is just silly.

        1. Titus

          Varoufakis, he says a lot of things not always the same thing twice. I would hope any NC reader would take him with a cup or two of salt. More poetry then prose.

  8. Dave

    Re: “When did Democrats Lose the South.” This guy’s use of the term “Boasian anti-racism” is either just stupid or tied to an actual racist ideology. Why not call it “identity politics” or “multiculturalism” like everyone else? The only reason to tie this 1990s cultural development specifically to Boas is if he is trying to revive the racial anthropology Boas was rightly fighting against. Which he says he is not doing, but I think he is actually doing. Is this an alt right site?
    As for the argument of this particular post, I have no problem assuming there will be a decade-long lag in Southern voting patterns as people gradually react to Johnson’s embrace of civil rights, and Republicans successfully weaponize it.

    1. bwilli123

      Boasian anti-racism. 28 mentions in the one article of this apparent self-coinage may be flogging the dead horse a little keenly. If you can stomach a few more he answer a reader’s question on the same, at the article’s bottom thusly, “Dear Michael,
      I picked up the term Boasian antiracism from Proctor (2003), “Three Roots of Recency” ( There the context was how Boasian antiracism had structured the debate in paleoanthropology. Brilliant paper. It led to my tentative incursion into the intellectual history of paleoanthropology (…/329660028_Paleoanthropology_…). But the story Proctor tells of Boasian antiracism is wrong. As I discovered, the 1950 UNESCO Statement on Race is a false dawn. Boasian antiracism was marginal until the anti-systemic turn, and in no way hegemonic until the 1990s, if not even later. So that was my discovery of the Recency of Boasian antiracism itself.
      I get a strong sense of I’m right, and everybody else is…

      1. Carey

        >Boasian anti-racism

        Why the Left loses, v. 789: the love of preaching to each other, in hip-to-it style.

    2. Carolinian

      This non anthropologist had to look up the term “Boasian” and I too am not exactly sure what the author is trying to say. But I do think that Democrat attitudes toward the South have some relevance to the current Republican dominance of the South. Ironically making antiracism a doctrine rather than a simple and logical belief can lead to a substitute form of prejudice where an entire region is condemned because some of its members were taught stupid things as children. The truth is that race relations can often be better these days in the South than parts of the North because the true enemy of racism is propinquity. MLK was right that integration is the key and while the South once fought it tooth and nail that fight is largely over. These days Republicans are more likely to use religion as a weapon. Our SC legislature is currently debating whether to pass a “fetal heartbeat” antiabortion bill.

      1. judy2shoes

        “the true enemy of racism is propinquity. MLK was right that integration is the key”

        True, that. I grew up in the Deep South, and we integrated when I was a freshman in high school. It changed my entire perspective, because some of the things I had learned at home did not match up with what I was seeing in school. I doubt that I would have had the courage to be one of the first black students to integrate a white school, but those students taught me more than they will ever know.

  9. diptherio

    Fiscal-monetary policy cooperation seems to be the hip new thing with central bankers…

    Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda stepped into the global debate on the need for governments to do more heavy lifting to support their economies, saying that the ultra-low interest environment created by Japan’s central bank makes fiscal spending more powerful.

    Kuroda said Tuesday that the BOJ wasn’t planning to add to its stimulus in tandem with some form of government spending package, but acknowledged that a policy mix was more effective in stimulating prices and the economy than the central bank acting alone.

    “If fiscal policy becomes more aggressive with interest rates at appropriately low levels and continued easing in place under the current yield curve control policy in an overall policy mix, fiscal policy will be more effective,” Kuroda said at a press conference in Nagoya.

    I mean, better late than never, I suppose…but I’m still not holding my breath for rational macroeconomic policies out of any of the PTB.

  10. Summer

    RE: Rethinking.Productivity

    “Seth Lloyd of the Santa Fe Institute has pointed out, a farmer hedging against bad weather or disease now operates largely in the realm of ideas.
    Whereas in the past, farmers would “insure” against the failure of one type of crop by planting others or raising livestock – that is, through physical diversification – today they do so largely by applying agricultural science, like testing soil and assessing climate conditions, or even by participating in options markets…”

    While farmers of old may not have had the same tools, I doubt working in the realm of ideas is anything new for them.
    What the????

    1. Jesper

      The part I agreed with the most in the article is the final paragraph:

      So perhaps today’s pervasive productivity slowdown should not be blamed solely on an unsupportive macroeconomic environment, let alone on inadequate technological innovation. (Software engineers and biomedical researchers would scoff at the latter notion.) Social and cultural contexts that are fragmented, unequal, or otherwise problematic may also be playing a role..

      The fragmented social context referred to might be about what happens if productivity increases – workers being let go. So workers have limited to no interest in helping management to improve productivity. Managers don’t have much interest in increasing productivity as the more workers they have reporting to them the higher wages they can ask for to themselves. There is really nobody but the owners interested in increasing productivity and if the company/organisation is large enough then the owners might be rather clueless about what will increase productivity. And if so then we’d see lots of money and time spent on management consultants and their interest is not increased productivity – their primary goal is billable hours.

      The only way forward that I see to increase productivity is decrease the number of available hours to sell – longer paid vacations, earlier retirement, paid parental leave etc. But we’re going the opposite direction :(

    2. cnchal

      My ‘what the ????’ moment is this . . . nonsense

      In a recent presentation, Leonard Nakamura of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia offered several examples, including energy-efficient buildings, lane-keep-assist and parking sensors in automobiles, and GPS navigation.

      I knew it. Eclownomists do not know how to drive or figure out productivity. How productive is it when you rip that sensor laden mirror off the door and the dealer tells you it will cost moar to fix than what I paid for my latest car?

      How productive is it to scrap newish cars because the failed sensors cost moar to fix than what the car is worth?

      The Bernays sause is being laid on really thick.

      1. Summer

        Mainstream economists also act like graft and fraud is imaginary and if everybody is lying to each other out of their own self-interest everything will turn up roses.

        1. Hopelb

          No doubt that’s where all of the true “productivity” lies, in graft and fraud, they just can’t openly put it in their spreadsheets.

  11. ptb

    Re: oilprice article, permian frackers getting killed on dismal performance…

    here’s why.
    midland spreads graph:×432.jpg

    Midland represents the Permian. MEH is the Texas gulf coast, i.e. refineries. 6-9 months ago, the pipelines were so full that there was a $15-$20 spread there. That is a huge fraction of the price ($50ish). Drilling had raced way ahead of pipelines and rail capacity too. Now more pipes are built, the spread is gone, and we are set to repeat the cycle.

    There are endless problems with the insane growth rate of unconventional oil, this kind of waste being one of them. (at a $15 differential, they start shipping across Texas by truck.). Texas is running out of old holes in the ground that have room for the toxic waste water (10s of billions of barrels of it a year). The oil grades produced are too light. There is WAY too much gas with nowhere to go that is just burned.

    However, analysts predicting the end of fracking for fundamental production cost/price reasons are still early. It is not a self solving problem, nor one that will go away just with the natural evolution of green technologies.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Was visiting in San Diego about 20 years ago and my host’s Kenmore washer broke while I was doing a load. I called Sears, a man showed up and it was fixed within about 2 hours. Cost me around 50 bucks.

      My host got back to the house and had no idea that anything had gone wrong.

      Those days are over.

      1. BobW

        I worked for JC Penny Product Service, we would jump in a tool and parts filled van several times a day.

        1. divadab

          I still have a working US-made Kenmore washer and dryer set, with lovely avocado color trim, from 1973. It’s needed two repairs in 45 years…..and it does a better job of washing clothes than the 2017 “energy-efficient” low water washer made in an undisclosed location.

      2. richard

        wow, no kidding
        we had a sears just up the street until last year
        it was super convenient, and right next door to a posh-ish supermarket (Central Market, in the Town & Country chain), gave an easy chance to compare if you used both like me
        the sears was used primarily by lower income folks, more poc working there and shopping there
        central market is used primarily by upper middle income, and is much more expensive than going to Albertson’s or Safeway, I’m going to guess about 20-30% more on average for similar or the same items
        I go there because they hire 3or 4x as many cashiers and associated workers, and you can get out 10 minutes quicker
        One big, everyday difference between mid-late stage capitalism (1990) and late stage capitalism (2020) is that difference in an everyday experience like shopping
        nobody gives a s*&^ about your business anymore
        making shopping more pleasant (an bit of work that everyone except the privileged have to do) is no longer a consideration to anyone who has the power to make it better

          1. richard

            not much turnover among their workers, just starting to automate, which I hate
            they are hanging in there, i like them too

  12. zagonostra

    >Bernie Media Blackout.

    This BAR article fits right in with article.

    Corporate media has ruined itself, abandoning every artifice of “objectivity’” crafted over generations to convince the people that corporate journalism can be trusted as an arbiter of truth — a Humpty-Dumpty that can never be put back together again. The half of white America that supports Trump will never believe anything reported on anti-Trump media – a huge and irreparable crisis of legitimacy for the system as a whole….

    The rulers have turned the same machinery against Bernie Sanders. The New York Times and the Washington Post, the premier opinion molders of the corporate press, every day run front-page stories on the Democratic presidential race that either malign Sanders or pretend he doesn’t exist. As Sanders speechwriter David Sirota pointed out , when CNN commissioned a poll that showed Sanders in first place in New Hampshire, the news network put up a graphic that showed him in second place.

    1. divadab

      Thanks for the link. Good article. I think it’s actually a positive thing that people are finally figuring out that the corporate media is a propaganda operation. Trump AND Sanders supporters both.

      Anyway my mantra is “don’t buy their shit”. Anything anywhere in the corporate media is suspect – the NYT, WA Post, msnbc, faux, etc. are none of them reliable sources of information.

    2. Phacops

      So, with Bernie being shoved down the memory hole by our overlords can the two minutes hate be far behind?

  13. The Rev Kev

    “#Bernieblackout: The Media Isn’t Even Hiding Its Anti-Bernie Bias Anymore”

    Reminds me of how people that had become liabilities were edited out of fotos showing Stalin with other people ( But that was nearly a century ago – not the 21st century. Is the main stream media becoming irrelevant more and more because of crap like this? Is that why people are getting their news from online sources more and more?
    You watch though. After Bernie is cheated for a second time out of his run for the Presidency, he will completely disappear from all news till after the November election. He will be what I call ‘Stalinised’.

    1. ambrit

      If, as I suspect, 2016 will be replicated by the DNC, then I fully expect the 2020 election to be the Democrat Party’s ‘Stalingrad.’
      Who will be today’s Von Paulus in relation to Hillary’s “Fuhrer?”
      I am beginning to think in an ultra cynical manner. I now see the election cycle as, the DNC screws Sanders out of the nomination. The ‘brokered’ convention raises Hillary up as the “Unity Candidate” to oppose the ‘Demon Trump'(TM). Hillary loses again to the ‘Forces of Evil” (TM). The Clintonista faction attempts a formal coup against Trump. All H— breaks loose.
      Political Preppers had better stock up on popcorn and camping stoves and fuel with which to pop said popcorn. (One tactic to help your ‘coup’ attempt go over, as shown recently in Venezuela, is to ‘interrupt’ the power supply and other public utilities. The general public is thus mired in navigating the chaotic conditions resulting thereof and are too busy to pay attention to the naked power struggle going on “above” them.)

      1. Plenue

        Your scenario seems plausible, but I think the reality will be much more boring and stupid. Clinton losing again will finally eradicate whatever is left of their power and credibility in politics. It’ll probably snap at least some of the Clinton cultists out of their devotion (others will simply double and triple down on their insufferable fanaticism).

        I think Trump would just trundle along for another four years, ‘opposed’ by endless liberal virtue signaling. If there actually was an attempt at an overt coup it would be farcical, inept and pathetic.

  14. JohnnyGL

    Re: Adam Johnson and perseverance p0rn story.

    One element that is missing is the subtext of the story which is: “you think your life is bad and have the nerve to demand better!?!?!? Look at this lady who’s got it WAAYYY worse than you!!!! Quit complaining and get back to work you fat, lazy SOB!!! If you’re worthy enough, good things will happen to you, too.”

    But, for the most part Johnson’s take is the right one. The story immediately runs away from probing questions like, “how does America let this happen in 2019?!?!?!”

    1. Wukchumni

      The hook line & sinker to the story was that (in theory) she walked 24 miles* a day to & from her job, but if she had to take a bus instead, she’d be another ok Boomer, not so far away from being homeless, as crowd sourcing loves a tale of woe begone with a twist, but not your everyday mundane predicament.

      * That’s around 8-10 hours of walking per day, 5x a week.

  15. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: 60-year-old walks 12 miles….

    I saw this on the nightly “news,” and I don’t know that I believe it.

    I am 67 and not in that bad of shape. I walk 2 miles a day and it takes me around 30 minutes. That’s pushin’ it, and I’m out of breath and drenched by the time I’m finished.

    This situation sounds tailor-made for GoFundMe. She probably could have gotten a Lamborghini out of it.

    She lived 12 miles from work. With all the people who “love and care for her,” no one could go an extra 10 minutes and swing by and pick her up?

    This chain-yanking is tremendously annoying.

    1. Synoia

      Walks 12 miles to work….(3 hours each way, 6 hours total – when does she sleep or eat?)


      Walks 12 miles to and from work? 3 Hours total – possible but where? She would either frees or melt in various seasons.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        i think, on average, early hunting and gathering humans walked about 3 to 10 miles a day.

        So, if that’s what one does for 8 hours or so, it would be about right…maybe a bit on the high side.

      2. vidimi

        I doubt she can average 3 miles in an hour, as even that is a brisk pace with no stopping, but even if it’s 6 miles one way, that would be at least 4 hours of walking each day. It would probably be closer to 9 if it were 12 each way.

  16. Samuel Conner

    I wonder if Gates (and others like him), given the choice between Warren, Trump, and a candidate who embraces MMT, would give MMT a second look.

    1. John k

      The rich fear only inflation. The ultra rich fear it most.
      Logically if mmt boosts growth in a low growth era it would benefit Microsoft and Amazon… but the ultra rich aren’t interested. So either fear of inflation or love of inequality (love of surplus workers/low wages) that prevents their supporting gov spending when participation rate is low. Consider that our crappy infra hurts them, too.

      1. inode_buddha

        A slight correction: they only fear wage inflation. Other kinds either don’t affect them, or actually make money for them.

  17. Summer

    RE: “China Embraces Bankruptcy, U.S.-Style, to Cushion a Slowing Economy”

    Watch for a rise in suicides….

  18. The Rev Kev

    “The World of Medieval Dogdom”

    Cats! That is what was wrong with medieval times. They were too violent because they did not appreciate cats enough. Think about it. You had war dogs but how would you have war cats? You couldn’t. Yeah they had hunting dogs but you try to do the same with cats and you will end up standing below a tree trying to call your cat back down. You wouldn’t bother hunting so you would just say home and leave the animals in the woods in peace.
    Dogs can treat you as their master and soon you think of peasants the same as dogs. Can’t even begin to treat cats the same way as they would not tolerate such nonsense. It might teach those Lords better ways of dealing with their peasants. The ancient Egyptians had the right idea in how they treated their cats and we have since lost our way. Forget a Medieval Dogdom. They should have had a Medieval Catdom!

    1. Wukchumni

      When it came to cats, you ran away like an Egyptian…

      One of the earliest recorded instances of cats being used in war occurred during the battle of Pelusium in 522 BC. Cambyses II, the King of Persia, knew how greatly his Egyptian foes revered cats. In some accounts, he and his soldiers captured several cats and used them as shields in their attack on the city of Pelusium. In other accounts, the Persians simply set cats loose on the battlefield.

      Either way, because it was against Egyptian law to hurt or kill a cat, the Egyptian soldiers couldn’t fight back without risking the accidental death of one of the cats. They did the only thing they could: they surrendered the city to the Persian force.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Did not always work with humans as shields.

        (Against Egpytian law to hurt or kill a cat versus against ‘X nation’s’ law to hurt or kill an enemy human).

        From WIkipedia (so, be careful, though the original source is the Records of the Grand Historian by Sima Qian of the Han dynasty more than 2,000 years ago):

        King Goujian’s army was known for scaring its enemies before battle because its front line consisted of criminals sentenced to death who committed suicide by decapitating themselves.[2] However, in the passage, “越王句踐使死士挑戰,三行,至吳陳,呼而自剄。”, the literal translation of “死士” is “soldiers (who are) willing to die”, not “criminals sentenced to death”. “自剄” means to “commit suicide by cutting one’s throat,” which was a common way to end one’s own life in Ancient China.[3]

        More recently, we had penal military units that would seem to be comparable.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Will it work with cows when fighting against a Hindu army?

          Did any general try it before?

          1. Wukchumni

            Occasionally we come across cattle on the roads here, and find that not so much shouting, but urgently enough saying:

            “Porterhouse” “Sirloin” ‘Filet Mignon’ ‘Ribeye’ or if I have to go to it: ‘Hamburger’

            And they’re out of my way in a jiffy.

    2. Lambert Strether

      > You had war dogs but how would you have war cats?

      That is actually a profound statement and makes me like cats more.

      You can’t have war cats because they might get bored and walk away, and they don’t follow orders. Very attractive trait, lack of servility.

      1. Carey

        >You can’t have war cats because they might get bored and walk away, and they don’t follow orders. Very attractive trait, lack of servility.


        1. Late Introvert

          er, you cat to be kitten me right meow


          good thing no one ever reads NC threads the next day…

  19. Barbara

    I have just come from the front page of the Guardian, NY time 9am.

    There is an article on the left side of the screen with a picture of Trump with his usual ugly expression and a headline about the diplomat(Sondland) who changed his testimony.

    Right next to is a smaller picture and smaller article. The picture is of Greenland and article headline is:

    Ukraine/Crisis was put on ice by Trump staff busy working out how to buy Greenland.

    The juxtaposition says so much about The United States of Absurdity.

    Sorry if this is considered off-topic, but I had to share

    1. ambrit

      The Guardian is also upholding the long and honourable tradition of writing headlines with outrageous puns in them. They obviously have recently been in attendance at a ‘Master Class’ by Stoppard.

      1. Wukchumni

        Unintentional comedy is the best kind.

        I won kudos with a local hamburger joint in L.A. run by a Greek-American family that catered to way too many menu possibilities, by pointing out that FISH MALTS was way too close together on their marquee, along with other highlighted tucker. They laughed and fixed the wordage soon after.

    2. The Historian

      I suggest you look at Greenland on a globe – ignore those Mercator maps that show Greenland almost as big as Africa, though. If the Arctic is going to be the next oil battleground then Greenland is perfectly positioned to be important. It is no surprise to me that Trump would want to gain control of it for his oligarch friends. I don’t think the Battle for Greenland is over yet.

      The National Geographic had a great spread on Greenland and the Arctic in last September’s issue.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I can see it now. The year is 2024 and Trump has just sent US troops into Greenland. He says: “We have secured the resources so that the Chinese won’t. We’re keeping the resources. Let someone else fight over the icy bits. I like resources. We will have some of our great companies go in and develop the resources. We are keeping the resources.”

    1. David J.

      Thanks, an excellent read. I have had lots of respect for Goff ever since his work exposing the Pat Tillman tragedy.

    2. DJG

      Stephen V.: Excellent (or do I find it excellent because I agree with just about all of what he has to say?).


    3. Lost in OR

      Most Excellent!

      “Destabilization is already entrained. And the risks are there, whether we like it or not.”

      Destabilization- potential substitute for “Global Protests”?

    4. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      I am waiting for Buttgig to take his husband along on the campaign trail, the people need to see The Nice Man With His Family. Smiles and waving and the required ritual onstage kisses. Maybe they also have a dog. People can speculate about the living arrangements in The White House, what the new drapes will look like, and how to address his husband (The First Man? The First Partner?). You know, all Ozzie and Harriet, only in this case all Ozzie and Ozzie.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Scientists Study Sea Levels 125,000 Years Ago And It’s a Terrifying Look at Our Future”

    Bit of a worry that. it was saying that sea levels rose 10 meters/32 feet above present levels during Earth’s last warm period 125,000 years ago. So go down to a beach and try to look up at a point about 32 feet into the air and that is what the future seal level could easily be. You might need diving gear to explore those sorts of depths if it got so high. But it gets better. I understand that for every 1 meter rise of sea level, then that water goes inland for 7 meters. So when you work it all out, if sea level rose 32 feet in height, then the sea would reach inland about 230 feet which is quite a long way.

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      Impress your friends! Scare your enemies! Identify where NOT to invest in real estate!


      I initially had some problems converting these weird ‘meters’ into Freedom Units, but once I got beyond that it was fun inundating places. Florida is a real hoot in that regard. Of course, that means Florida Man will of necessity have to migrate North and West, so look out for that….

        1. inode_buddha

          Indeed, knowing the history of the French Revolution, and the reason *why* they invented a new system…

      1. John k

        Great tool. Not just Miami… Eastern seaboard significantly less eastern at 9m, or 30ft rise.
        When? That’s the question. Dc would worry a lot more if before 2050. Nobody worries if 2100.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In the documentary ‘Alexander’s Lost Cities,’ it is said that thousands of years ago, sea levels were higher and it was possible to sail from Greec to the Black Sea, then onward to the Caspian, possibly through the ancient river Phasis, and that Jason and his Argonauts found the Golden Fleece not in today’s Georgia (not the state in the American south), but further east…perhaps in the Trans-Oxus area.

      If that should happen, again, there would be no need for Russia to build the Eurasial Canal

    3. rd

      Sea levels have varied wildly over the past million years:

      It is the hubris of man to think we can lock all of our systems into something requiring it to stay stable within inches while the system has oscillated wildly by hundreds of feet over the past few hundred thousand years.

      The ecosystems do quite well with these sea level changes. Temperature changes associated with the glaciers are more problematic. The big threat is the acidification from absorbed CO2 that can alter the sea in general for the calcareous creatures.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Here in Australia they have a civilization (if modest) that has endured relatively unbroken for 60,000 years. On the coast near Sydney there’s a cave called The Cave of Sighs, and the aboriginals say that when the shoreline is a two day’s walk from The Cave, that’s the bottom of the cycle. Cave is now about a five minute walk from the ocean.

    4. Anon

      The inland penetration of sea level rise varies greatly with topography, as you know. The greatest penetration occurs along coastal rivers and streams as their thalweig follows a very shallow slope (for the most part). Sea level rise will have its most devastating effect during rainstorms, as the rivers and streams will have reduced slope and capacity; lateral flooding will ensue, even during mild rain events.

  21. scarn

    The attacks on LeBaron group women and children in Sonora is horrific, and I don’t mean to minimize that, but most people are probably unaware of that Mormon sub-group’s strange and violent history. Members of a sub-group of the group that was attacked were responsible for a lot of murder and mayhem between 1970 and the last decade. Much of that mayhem was an internal conflict within the group.

    1. ArcadiaMommy

      Yes I have a relative who worked on the southern border from CA to El Paso and he basically says the same things. My father also worked all over southern CA and the southwest in law enforcement and he says the mormon off shoots are very often criminal enterprises as it is difficult to support these large families when you have to live out in the sticks without resorting to crime. Very strange group.

    2. Eclair

      My spouse and I are in Salt Lake City for the week and the local news programs are running this story constantly, because: Mormons. The first time I heard it, I thought, “Oh lordy, white American babies and their blonde mums murdered by Mexicans, Trump will invade Mexico!”

      No mention on the TV news of the group having moved across the border because the polygamous lifestyle espoused by most of them is illegal in the US. They’re white Americans, so they apparently have the ‘right’ to settle in any country they chose. They have dual nationality and, according to one news article, many of the men work in the US. One report mentioned a husband working in the oil fields in North Dakota.

      No group of mums and their children should be murdered …. anywhere in the world. I just wish TV news would feature hours of footage of the bloody and mangled babies and the ‘heroism’ of their older brothers and sisters who walk miles to get help, in Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan. Not to mention, the Black, Mexican and Native American children who are: murdered by stray bullets from police, caged in immigrant detention centers, born from drug and alcohol addicted mums whose culture and livelihood had been wiped out by settler colonialism.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Two years ago, there was a story in Straittimes, France24, the Guardian, etc about bears (over 80 fo them) being shot on Sakhalin Island for ‘being hungry.’ Lacking their traditional food resources, they became ‘aggressive’ and ‘hostile’ and tried to approach humans.

      These were likely giant Ussuri brown bears, some almost as big as the Kodiak bear.

      1. Wukchumni

        If a black bear in Sequoia NP habitually tries to scam people by doing bluff charges in a car campground, or breaks into buildings or a number of other reasons, it’s goodnight boo-boo, you’re going on a dirt nap.

  22. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Trump-Ukraine scandal: Taylor transcript details direct quid pro quo via irregular channels. Guardian.

    You could be forgiven for drawing a different conclusion when cherry-picking different snips from the “testimony:”

    “And this isn’t firsthand. It’s not secondhand. It’s not thirdhand,” Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., said to Taylor. “But if I understand this correctly, you’re telling us that Tim Morrison told you that Ambassador Sondland told him that the president told Ambassador Sondland that Zelensky would have to open an investigation into Biden?”

    “That’s correct,” Taylor admitted.

    “So do you have any other source that the president’s goal in making this request was anything other than The New York Times?” Zeldin asked.

    “I have not talked to the president,” Taylor said. “I have no other information from what the president was thinking.”

    “So, if nobody in the Ukrainian government is aware of a military hold at the time of the Trump-Zelensky call, then, as a matter of law and as a matter of fact, there can be no quid pro quo, based on military aid,” Ratcliffe, a former federal prosecutor, said.

    “I just want to be real clear that, again, as of July 25th, you have no knowledge of a quid pro quo involving military aid.”

    “July 25th is a week after the hold was put on the security assistance,” Taylor testified. “And July 25th, they had a conversation between the two presidents, where it was not discussed.”

    “And to your knowledge, nobody in the Ukrainian government was aware of the hold?” Ratcliffe asked.

    “That is correct,” Taylor responded.

    “Where it was not discussed.” Uh….OK.

    1. Carolinian

      I’ve reached a point where I ignore all Guardian links. You know they are going to be bad.

      ZH can be flaky too but at least it has a variety of views.

      1. Wukchumni

        My divorce from the Daily Mail is final in that they stated irreconcilable differences with my ad blocker. I ask for nothing in the settlement.

        While it isn’t as bad as saying you were a loyal National Enquirer reader, it’s on the down low in terms of information calories, but made up for it in eye candy.

          1. ambrit

            “A” and “the?” Some sort of crypto binary code?
            I’ve heard about the Zeta Reticulans controlling us through subliminals, (see the documentary “They Live” from 1988.) This is a more sophisticated version. Mind control for the elites!

  23. John Beech

    So now the media is going after the Vice President. Gives credence to the notion of Nancy as president if they impeach the Veep immediately after impeaching the Prez. Let this get traction in Fox Nation and the vote will be interesting to say the least. I like Bernie, enough to change voter registration from Republican to Democrat but I’ll be darned if I’ll let Trump and Pence hang for this nonsense.

    1. Wukchumni


      I get your plight, I know other transelectionals that are coming out of the voting closet, for Bernie.

    2. marym

      It would take at least 20 Republican Senators and all the Dems to remove either of them from office. The media know this.

      If they’re raising the highly improbable possibility of Pelosi as President now, with Dems barely competent at even their initial impeachment “inquiry,” it’s because it’s a gold mine for clicks and ratings. Lots of pro-Trump, anti-Pelosi outrage on the right. Lots of daydreaming by Dems and calls to R’s to be faithless electors, along with wailing about the right’s treason and misogyny. Lots of meaningless gotcha questions to Dem primary candidates. A gold mine.

      1. Hepativore

        In the highly unlikely possibility that the financial elites would allow a Sander’s presidency to happen, I think that Sanders should highly prioritize supporting primary challengers to Nancy Pelosi’s position. Her status as High Priestess of the Church of Hillary is going to become an increasingly-large thorn in the side of implementing any of Sander’s ideas if he takes office.

  24. Craig H.

    This article highlights my concern that the fact that three letter agencies are spying on every American is daunting and disconcerting enough, but at least those agencies are (supposed to be) bound by the Constitution and law, and have an obligation to be accountable to the People (by way of the Congressional , Executive, and Judicial branches).

    Keep believing it.

    I don’t know whether to be glad or sad that I could not find link-able the relevant sentence from Ratner’s Star.

  25. Goyo Marquez

    FWIW Per the San Diego Union Tribune

    Customs and Border Patrol agents are writing fake future court dates on court documents to trick Mexico into letting asylum applicants back into Mexico.

    Now who’s involved in illegal immigration? So where are all those people who like to call illegal aliens criminals, because, you know, “I just call things what they are?”

    I guess, where’s the profit in using a country for our own benefit if we have to turn around and take care of its people.

    1. VK

      never thought, it would come to this. I had to explain books to my almost adult proud non-reading kids.
      Just like in that old tv-show max headroom: Books are a mass data storage system based on cellulose…

      1. inode_buddha

        I find books to be extremely valuable when the electricity goes out, and you need to refer to something… have a couple of pickup-truck loads of books, the collection is always growing

    2. djrichard

      Seems like Wikipedia is basically inhabited by editors-cum-ministers. Editors who seem to have an abundant amount of time to wear down dissenting editors who have a different point of view. And ministers in the sense they use whatever artifice of authority they can muster to bully dissenting editors into submission.

      Anyways, I stopped donating to Wikipedia when I saw what the editors-cum-ministers did to Craig Murray.

    1. kiwi

      And now those on the left are trying to resurrect the ERA (equal rights amendment). Yes, I did support it way back when….how could this effort not be a complete waste of time nowadays?

      I no longer think that those on the left are trying to accomplish anything. They just want to cry incessantly.

  26. Summer

    November is open enrollment for health insurance at many workplaces.
    Anybody wearing Bernie gear to the enrollment seminars?

  27. Tomonthebeach

    RATS BEWARE: Vaping Causes Lung Damage in Just 3 Days of Use”

    Rat research also suggests that nicotine causes teen mental retardation. Despite the vaping hysteria in the USA, the rest of the world is happily vaping without epidemic lung disease and fatalities. The UK NHS promotes vaping among tobacco-smoking patients. All meta-analyses conclude that vaping is safer than smoking – including those by the esteemed Cochrane Group. I pointed out a simple counterfact in JAMA-Online earlier this year that many Boomer physicians and health researchers smoked as teens yet still managed to earn doctorates. These reports fail to inform readers that rat brains mature at lightspeed compared to human brains. As such, humans metabolize differently, likely in ways that cause little more than addictive behavior.

    The evidence is in. You should not let your pet rats vape. As far as US teens, 3 things are clear. First, shoddy, unregulated devices have flooded the US market because the USFDA does not regulate their safety. Second, nicotine levels in US eCigrarettes can be 10 times stronger than tobacco cigarettes because the USFDA does not regulate the nicotine gunk in retail eCigs either. Third, US teens have been shown in recent epi studies to be mixing street drugs with their nicotine. What could go wrong?

    1. shtove

      Propylene glycol certainly deserves attention as an e-cig ingredient, but I think the article blew it when they referred to polyethylene glycol, a popular laxative.

      Also, maybe I overlooked this, but I couldn’t find a link to the study. Plus the article seemed a bit cosy with the research facility.

    2. pricklyone

      That thing was a PR release for Lundquist, and didn’t even link to the supposed study.
      Waste of good ink.

    1. Goyo Marquez

      Wait… I thought “disruptive” was a good thing.

      “Hillary Clinton slams Bernie Sanders’ and Elizabeth Warren’s wealth-tax plans as ‘incredibly disruptive’ and ‘unworkable'”

    2. Amfortas the hippie

      so…the poor billionaires will hafta sell a yacht or two?
      the horror….
      I wanted to look in her eyes while she uttered this tripe,
      but the linked video of her presumably saying all this is “unavailable”.
      i’ll prolly vote Green, again, if they make it on the ballot.
      she’s in The Hill, too…sagely imparting…again…that we can’t have healthcare because it might make the rich unhappy

      compare and contrast:

  28. Synoia

    Computers Evolve a New Path Toward Human Intelligence….

    New Path = Try everything and see what happens.

    Yes, but some paths include Death, both on a small and large scale. Death is not a problem for computer programs, as they are easily restarted (because there is a god of computers, the human operator and the power switch).

    I don’t believe testing a system where one of the options is death, or extinction (aka Global Warming), is a viable path.

    Personally I believe Artificial Intelligent is completely dependent on Real Intelligence, and that requires two aspects:

    1. Staying Alive
    2. Avoiding Catastrophe.

    It’s not clear to me that intelligence as we humans practice it is an Evolutionary Advantage. Looking at Civilization and climate change intelligence as practices by Humans does not appear as a permanent Evolutionary advantage.

    It might be that evolution itself is a set of of temporary equlibria, and we flip from one temporary equilibrium to another when a stimulus is applied (large meteor, fossil fuels and climate change, overpopulation, plagues, etc).

    1. Jermey Grimm

      I don’t think the algorithms described in the article and its sources should be characterized “Try everything and see what happens.” While that might apply to learning how to the game “Montezuma’s Revenge” — a dungeons and dragons exploration game mentioned in one of the reference links of this article — it doesn’t fit learning to play a game like StarCraft II where “try everything” must fit into the context of actions taken by another player. Most AI I read about — I am no expert — seemed like an interesting brute force approach to various kinds of pattern recognition, which isn’t what we normally think of as intelligence. On first glance this new approach to AI is working on strategy problems much closer to what I think of as intelligence. I think mastery of StarCraft II and Go present a higher order of difficulty than Chess or Checkers. The approach also appears to provide more insight into how the AI works than the weighting on neural nets feeds. The new approach also has a strong intuitive appeal to my understanding of how humans think and learn.

      If this approach is indeed a new path as claimed … Uber may yet rise up like a Phoenix from its ashes. I doubt they will have success at designing a practical self-driving car but they might inadvertently come up with unintended but valuable results from the AI company they bought.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Somewhat off topic — The flyer for a book referenced at the bottom of the article contained the following observation:

        “Why does modern life revolve around objectives? From how science is funded, to improving how children are educated — and nearly everything in-between — our society has become obsessed with a seductive illusion: that greatness results from doggedly measuring improvement in the relentless pursuit of an ambitious goal. In Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned, Stanley and Lehman begin with a surprising scientific discovery in artificial intelligence that leads ultimately to the conclusion that the objective obsession has gone too far. They make the case that great achievement can’t be bottled up into mechanical metrics; that innovation is not driven by narrowly focused heroic effort; and that we would be wiser (and the outcomes better) if instead we whole-heartedly embraced serendipitous discovery and playful creativity.”

        This encapsulates the feelings many of us have expressed about the mad campaign to manage, plan, and control everything from assembly lines to scientific research or invention — Taylorism unleashed. I believe this madness is part of what C. Wright Mills termed the “Managerial Demiurge” — one of many horrors released from the “jar full of evils” of Neoliberalism, the jar Reagan opened.

    1. inode_buddha

      *shrug* birds of a feather… those who actually know their computer history will know what kind of a sleazeball thief Gates is.

    2. Carey

      You win the internet with that name! I had a good friend who wrote extensively on the
      idea of- no, wait; the actuality of, he’d say- bicycles and Jesus, including a novella
      called ‘Jesus Laughed’. It’s truly great IMO, in its insular and idiosyncratic way.

      RIP Miguel.

  29. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    How Mike Pence’s Office Meddled in Foreign Aid to Reroute Money to Favored Christian Groups ProPublica. UserFriendy: “Sad but I’d be shocked if putting ‘US aid should go preferentially to Christians’ into USAID’s charter wouldn’t pass Congress with a healthy margin.


    I think this starts off when a new president takes the office by swearing on a Bible.

    Only two presidents did not do that.

    When no one spoke up about it, this news today seems a consistent development.

    If we were OK with it then, it’s OK now.

    And who is ‘we?’

    We in the exclusive sense, though ideally in the inclusive sense. But it’s natural people don’t always agree.

    1. Wukchumni

      “In God We Trust” was only added to our paper money in the white heat of the Cold War so as to be 180 degrees away from the atheistic Reds, and we’ve been hiding behind that invisible bulwark ever since, but it’s higher powered now.

  30. smoker

    Re: California asks for court order forcing Facebook to hand over Cambridge Analytica documents

    The Daily Mail has a meatier piece on that court order which also discusses pertinent Facebook files leaked to a British Journalist in February which have now been made public, and a link to his site.

    Becerra’s announcement came hours after a trove of nearly 7,000 pages of confidential internal Facebook documents were leaked to the public – despite the company’s desperate efforts to keep them under wraps.

    The documents, included in sealed California court filings and leaked to a journalist by an anonymous source, revealed Facebook’s apparent attempt to squash potential rivals by cutting off app developer’s access to user data – a change it passed off as a boon for privacy.

    If California Attorneys General Jerry Brown (2007-2011), and Kamala Harris (2011-2017) had done their jobs regarding Facebook’s privacy violations and out and out deceit, perhaps Facebook might have gone the way of MySpace by now.

    It’s so insulting, transparent and blatant that the California’s Blue politicians and the DNCs’ only reason for going after Facebook was revenge for what they felt to be a betrayal. No one minded the massive Obama Election data mining of his supporters acquaintances, sans consent.. They are not concerned at all when it comes to the massive privacy violations on average persons (many who never even used Facebook), and the consequential social engineering engendered for all matters vital to living a bearable life.

    Russia did not create the massive and increasing homelessness and suicide rates in the US.

  31. Oregoncharles

    “Are We Reaching Peak Phosphorus? Maybe”
    There’ve been warnings like this since I started gardening, at least 40 years ago. Soils here in the Willamette Valley supposedly are deficient, but it’s been a long time since I added phosphate in any systematic way. To be clear: it’s in the manure I use occasionally, and I use bone meal, the main organic source, as a deer repellent, so the unfenced garden does get a supply – as you can tell looking at it.

    Nonetheless, growth is pretty lush throughout. That’s more because of the plantings, with an emphasis on deep-rooted legumes, than because of fertilization. Even the Queen Anne’s lace digs deep for nutrients.

    So I suspect the demand for rock phosphate depends more on industrial-style farming than on scarcity. Properly cared-for soils do not seem to be deficient, esp. maybe given a one-time initial application. But I’d welcome other input on that; it may depend on local conditions.

  32. Oregoncharles

    “Biden’s touchiness smacks of sexism. ”
    I”m not convinced of that, but it’s certainly the kind of thing you say when you’ve got nothing.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I’m a connoisseur from having been on the receiving end many times when in positions of some authority of jibes a man never would have gotten. Do you seriously think Biden would have gotten pissy in his response if Bernie or say wonkier Buttigieg had said the same thing? I’ve had quite a few people tell me that Warren too often comes off like nagging wife/mother in law.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I yield to your experience. At the least, he was annoyed because she showed him up. Calling her “elite” was actually an admission that she was winning the implicit argument.

  33. The Rev Kev

    “Boeing whistleblower raises doubts over 787 oxygen system”

    No thought beyond the next financial quarter, is there? Suppose that a few of these oxygen systems failed during an in-flight emergency which led to the deaths or brain-deaths of several passengers. How many people would be confident to board ANY Boeing aircraft ever again? The financial cost would be several magnitudes of order greater than just fixing the damn oxygen systems. It would not matter that Boeing said that they will “learn their lesson” after this catastrophic event as the damage would have been done already.

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