Links 12/20/19

Horse racing anti-doping bill attains majority support in U.S. House of Representatives Louisville Courier-Journal

Global Warming Is Already Destroying New England’s Fisheries New Republic. Gulf of Maine :-(

Australia Experiences Hottest Day on Record: Meteorologists Daily Beast (resilc)

‘The monster’: a short history of Australia’s biggest forest fire Sydney Morning Herald (Chuck L)

Sydney smoke chokes tourism MacroBusiness

Amsterdam’s ghost airport is grounded by a climate-development clash Bloomberg

IBM announces battery technology breakthrough TechRepublic (Chuck L)

Biosphere Collapse? Counterpunch. Bill B:

Hunziker throws a bucket of cold water on the conceited belief that everything hinges on the 2020 Presidential election. China (and India) will be the game changers, not the United States. And, as Hunziker shows, those countries have already set things in motion on behalf of economic growth.

While one might hope that somehow the human race miraculously stays below a 2 degree Paris Accord limit, as Violet Crawley observed: “Hope is a tease, designed to prevent us accepting reality.” The window for staving off what’s coming down the pike closed years ago. The sooner we grow up and accept this the better.

The author neglected to include sources, so I hunted them down. Vital and illuminating.

Point #1-The Banks Have Already Decided) “33 global banks have provided $1.9 trillion to fossil fuel companies since the adoption of the Paris climate accord at the end of 2015”

Report Finds Global Banks Poured $1.9 Trillion into Fossil Fuel Financing Since the Paris Agreement was Adopted, with Financing on the Rise Each Year

Point #2-China) “The researchers say that through 2018 and up to June 2019… China added 43GW, enough to power around 31 million homes. The authors say that right now the amount of coal power under construction or under suspension and likely to be revived is about 147.7GW, an amount that is almost the same as the entire coal generating capacity of the European Union (150GW). ”

Point #3-India)”India’s coal-fired power generation capacity is expected to rise by 22.4% in three years… Electricity demand in the country rose 36% in the seven years to April 2019 while coal-fired generation capacity during the period grew by 74% to 194.44 GW”

Point #4)”Governments are planning to produce about 50% more fossil fuels IN 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 2°C”

AI Is Biased. Here’s How Scientists Are Trying to Fix It Wired (David L)

Soil From a Northern Ireland Graveyard May Lead Scientists to a Powerful New Antibiotic Smithsonian (David L)


The Daily Fix: India has a loud message for Modi-Shah – we won’t let you turn us into a Hindu nation The Scroll (J-LS)

Gandhi Biographer Arrested as Protests Over Citizenship Law Sweep India New York Times (John C)


Britain’s Labour Party Faces an Existential Crisis Bloomberg (furzy)

Freedom Rider: Propaganda and the Defeat of Jeremy Corbyn Black Agenda Report (resilc)

Reuters Shields OAS Over False Claims That Sparked Bolivia Coup FAIR (UserFriendly)

New Cold War

Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference President of Russia. JTM:

Maybe not supposed to link in anything from, but read through this press conference by that Putin guy and ask whether any, and I mean any, of the people who rule us via the still slightly velvet glove have a snippet of the gravitas and understanding of this guy. Or Lavrov. “Our” rulers are taking us down with their sinking capital ship…”


Israeli spyware allegedly used to target Pakistani officials’ phones Guardian (Bill B)

Talk With Iran Now. Time Is Fleeting. New York Times (David L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Apple, Amazon, and Google just announced a major partnership Business Insider (Kevin W). Why isn’t this an antitrust violation?

In case you missed this New York Times series: Your Apps Know Where You Were Last Night, and They’re Not Keeping It Secret. The latest installment opens up a new big chapter with a whistleblower-provided (and large) dataset: Twelve Million Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy. Importantly, it shows that if you have a smartphone, your location data is not and can never be anonymized. It’s easy to figure out who you are and where you’ve been. (This also reveals how pretty much no one with a smartphone takes protective measures like using a Faraday bag a lot of the time, havig a burner smart phone and using it a lot to confuse things, or other “mess with them” strategies). However, I don’t know why this comes as a surprise.

Trump Transition

Widow, Republicans and Democrats blast Trump for crass Dingell ‘hell’ comment NBC

Under Trump, the US Has Become a Leading Source of Global Instability Defense One (resilc)

The Horowitz Report: Five Questions We Still Need Answered Rolling Stone (UserFriendly)

Trump Is Forever Atlantic (resilc)

Senate sends $1.4 trillion spending package to Trump The Hill

SALT tax repealed by House Democrats Washington Post. UserFriendly: “Compare this to the min wage fight.”

Iowa man sentenced to 16 years for after setting Pride flag on fire The Hill. UserFriendly: “Well, as a gay man, I personally feel much less safe knowing I live in a country where lighting a flag on fire gets you 16 years.”

Nurses defend Ohio doctor accused of murdering 25 patients in lawsuit against hospital NBC (furzy)

Surveillance footage outside of Jeffrey Epstein’s cell during suicide attempt is missing New York Post. Chuck L: “I’m shocked. Shocked!”


Trump Should Be Removed from Office Christianity Today. RR reminds us that Christianity Today was founded by Billy Graham.

Don’t Withhold the Articles of Impeachment New Republic. Similar to out hot take, with more detail.

Trump’s impeachment may be just another battle in the US’s civil war Guardian (resilc)

Trump Suggests Adam Schiff Be Subject to Guatemalan Justice New York Magazine (resilc)

2020. Admittedly, at a odd hour, but #StandWithTulsi is top trending on Twitter now. #winecave also trending.

For debate one-stop shopping, in addition to Lambert’s open thread, see Nate’s Liver (Stromcrow)

Full PBS NewsHour/POLITICO Democratic Debate PBS

Pete Buttigieg Is No Foreign-Policy Maverick New Republic (resilc). As confirmed by the debate.

PG&E, SoCal Edison and SDG&E can’t raise profit margins Los Angeles Times (JTM)


Photo of 100 partially built Boeing 737 Max shows why production halted Business Insider (resilc)

Airplanes and Accounting Games: The Coming Boeing Collapse? Matt Stoller (JTM)

Travis Kalanick on course to sell out of Uber Financial Times

Cool It, Krugman: The self-sabotaging rage of the New York Times columnist Atlantic (David L)

Climate change threatens billions in CalPERS pension fund Los Angeles Times (David L)

The thing that flashed recession signal is moving in opposite direction CNBC (furzy)

The field was rigid and closed until Mark Thoma’s Economist’s View opened the debate to all comers Angry Bear. I owe a debt to Mark Thoma. When I started blogging and was getting 150 page views a day, I e-mailed Thoma with some of my posts. Not only did he link to them, but he was encouraging, saying when he started out, he got as many page view in a day that he later got in an hour.

Class Warfare

Citing Trump Administration Inaction, Sanders and Omar Pursue Oversight Effort on Amazon Workplace Abuse Text of letter.

AI Will Transform The Field Of Law Forbes (David L)

Delta flight attendants say uniforms are making them sick Business Insider. I noticed the new uniforms over a year ago. Very purple.

PayPal, Western Union Named & Shamed for Overcharging the Most on Money Transfers to Mexico Wolf Street (EM)

Why big business can count on courts to keep its deadly secrets Reuters

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

And a bonus (guurst):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Wukchumni

    Horse racing anti-doping bill attains majority support in U.S. House of Representatives Louisville Courier-Journal
    We were @ Del Mar one day during the summer, and looking through the program which lists the entrants of each race not only there, but in 3 or 4 other racetracks in the USA (satellite off-track betting) every last horse was on Lasix, with no exceptions.

    Going from all of the thoroughbreds being doped up-to none, would be interesting.

    Is Lasix used much outside of the states?

    1. chuckster

      I know that when I voted for my corporatist Dem to be elected to her House seat in 2018 I was hoping that the first issue that she tackled would be horse doping, which is far more important than any opiate epidemic that is infecting our Congressional district.

      Way to go Dems! Always “fighting” for the big issues that impact the working class voters. They deserve to lose every seat they picked up last year.

      1. JBird4049

        Now, now, we must maintain a sense of perspective here. The problems of these expensive suffering thoroughbreds might be least as financially important as these those disposable suffering people.

    2. Tinky

      When Lasix was initially used in the American racing industry, decades ago, it was ostensibly to control EIPH (Exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage), which has been a weakness in Thoroughbreds for as long as they have been racing (>200 years). But trainers quickly discovered the PED effects of the drug, which are primarily related to rapid (water) weight loss. It didn’t take long for the proverbial tail to start wagging the dog, and Lasix began to be used promiscuously.

      To be clear, it is not anything like real “doping”, as PEDs such as EPO are far more effective. But, primarily as a result of the national attention drawn to the sport due to a cluster of deaths at Santa Anita early in the year, there is pressure to reform the use (abuse, frankly) of Lasix. Note that those deaths were not related to Lasix.

      Lasix is not allowed to be used on, or close to race days in any other major racing countries. The U.S. (surprise, surprise) has long been out of step with the much more conservative approach to drug (i.e. “medication”) use found in Europe, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan.

      The fact of the matter is that only a very small percentage of racehorses require Lasix to perform safely, but those that do should neither be racing nor breeding. There is strong opposition to reform from trainers, in large part because all but the oldest of them have never experienced their craft without the Lasix crutch, and are frightened of the unknown.

      More detail on request.

    3. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, W.

      With regard to Lasix outside the US, no.

      European racing enthusiasts dismiss D Wayne Lukas as the “chemist”.

      If you ever visit this side of the pond, it would be great to meet you at the races, either side of the Channel or Irish Sea.

      1. Tinky

        That’s amusing, given that Lukas (who does deserve plenty of criticism) hasn’t been relevant for decades, and was never a cutting-edge cheater like some of the big names that replaced him. Steroids (which were legal at the time)? Sure. Blood-doping? Doubtful.

      2. Wukchumni

        Thanks Colonel,

        I’d certainly enjoy hanging out @ your ‘oval offices’ across the pond, guess i’ve been to the races in around a dozen different countries~

        An article from 1986:

        MOSCOW — I am a rube with a ruble.

        Taking a Sunday afternoon off from the Goodwill Games, several American sportswriters, following natural instincts, have found a race track, the Hippodrome, about three miles from the Kremlin.

        We are standing in line to put our bets down, which tells you all you need to know about American sportswriters. Four or five thousand miles from home, unable to read a word of the program and knowing nothing about the horses or the jockeys except their names, we are still willing, eager even, to push our rubles through the window.

  2. zagonostra

    >Dem “Debates”

    The clear winner in last night’s debate was Tulsi. Another disappointing display of controlling discourse to steer clear of real issues. Anytime a real exchange took place we had two non-contenders interjecting call for harmony…disgusting.

    I used to watch The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour every night when I was a younger man, and now I know why I don’t go there for news anymore.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Not surprised about this. Reading the comments on the debate I noticed that there were fewer controversial statements mentioned than the last debate. As for Tulsi, not surprised either that she once again got respect with #StandWithTulsi as a top trender on Twitter. Here is a statement that she made about her stand-

      Talk about your profiles in courage.

      1. polecat

        Sanders … are you listening ?? Are you (and your creww) watching ??? The time is now to coalesce with Gabbard, for the makings of a winning team !

        1. WJ

          Jimmy Dore had an epic rant yesterday or the day before on this issue. I highly recommend it.

          I really wish Sanders would show more independence from DNC talking points on Russia, Trump, etc. and that he would be more willing to state plainly the reason *why* he is the only Democratic candidate supporting Medicare For All.

          And *why* he is the only candidate to vote against Trump’s defense bill,

          and *why* he is the only candidate who dares mention Palestinians during nationalized debates.

          He would be better served, in my opinion, by more aggressively differentiating himself from the *entirely corrupt political system* represented by BOTH parties, rather than playing along with the fiction that his Democratic colleagues are *in any way* superior to the Republicans on anything having to do with political economy and military adventurism.

          If he were willing to be a bit more like Tulsi, he would no longer be ignored by the corporate media but, as was the case in 2016, would instead be overtly attacked by them. But people who have been paying attention since 2015 should recognize that this would only *increase* his popularity among most of the electorate, and would further have the advantage of cutting off at the knees Trump’s most important advantage over every Democratic candidate excepting Tulsi, namely, the plausibility of his claim that *they* represent the elite and corrupt status quo, and that *he* represents a threat to that status quo.

          1. zagonostra

            I saw that rant by Jimmy, it was classic. I think it was on his live stream so I’m not sure there is a link to share.

            Trump won because of his putative anti-establishment stance. The more Bernie cleaves to the DemParty the farther he moves from where the country’s sentiment lies.

            Interesting comment on the motive behind Pelosi’s timing, certainly wouldn’t put it by the Dems to be plotting against Sanders.

            [Tulsi on Jimmy Dore on her vote]

          2. The Rev Kev

            What is going on with Tulsi’s stand? Seriously! So after this, we have Meghan McCain of all people defending Tulsi-


            And at the same time, we have AOC attacking Tulsi-


            But then “socialist” AOC apparently supported Trump’s attack on Venezuela, fund-raised for Julian Castro, followed Tulsi’s primary challenger, re-tweeted Kamala and praised Hilary’s leadership in healthcare.

            1. jrs

              Of all people makes me say she is making an appeal to the right (and appealing to it, at least some – and this is actually very mainstream right that is being appealed to when you win Meghan McCain). What’s she is ultimately after I don’t know. Can she be trusted to drive in the left lane?

        2. WJ


          Let me just say that if Senator Sanders does not forecefully and unequivocally denounce the impeachment charade Pelosi has effectively forced upon him, then he has no chance in hell of winning the Democratic nomination, much less the general election.

          More and more, I am thinking that the real aim of impeaching Trump is to weaken Sanders *directly* by forcing him to vote in the Senate trial–on the assumption that Sanders will in the end play nice with the Dems and cast the vote they will demand that he cast.

          The delay in sending the impeachment to the Senate makes sense under this view, as sending it too early would risk minimizing the effect of the trial on the Democratic primaries. If Sanders votes for the removal of Trump, he gains nothing in the primary but will be f*cked in the general, if he votes nay, this will be used as a pretext to f*ck him over at the convention.

          Everybody with a brain can see this: The *more* Sanders falls in with DNC talking points about Trump and Russia, the *less* he is able to distinguish himself from the venal prostitute clowns he is running against, and the *weaker* he becomes as a candidate at both the level of the primary and the general election.

          1. pjay

            Thanks for these comments. Well said. However, I’m sure you realize the fury with which the Establishment would respond to such moves. That only helped Trump, but I think Bernie might be more vulnerable to such attacks, especially in the primaries, and especially in certain coastal states.

            The other thing is, while I am certain of Bernie’s support for M4A and other social democratic domestic policies, I am not at all certain that he sees draining the *real* foreign policy swamp to be as crucial as some of his supporters. I’m not talking about the John Bolton or Elliot Abrams types here; rather, I refer to the miserable swamp creatures of the “Resistance” that have been so prominent in the media lately. They are the ones behind the impeachment; would Bernie call them out?

          2. jrs

            So he votes for impeachment. Who cares? It will lose him exactly zero points with me. Trump is a sack of @#$#. And I don’t think the people that are in Sander’s younger passionate base have much use for Trump at all, but I don’t know about the general. But mostly Sanders must not get distracted from campaigning, that is all. Eyes on the prize.

            Tulsi probably made herself a real liability for VP with that vote (not that she was that strong a contender before but …). Sanders is not a stupid man.

            1. pjay

              I don’t doubt Tulsi “made herself a real liability” with that vote. But that is the problem. With *whom* did that make her a liability? To me, her position on impeachment was one of the very few that had any integrity. But many potential Democratic voters see it differently. That’s not the only reason I have so little faith in electoral politics, but it’s an important one.

              I also agree Tulsi has no chance of being a VP candidate — for the same reason.

            2. jrs

              I mean many Biden voters, Warren voters, will vote for Sanders if he was the nominee, they don’t really prefer Trump. But maybe not with Tulsi on the ticket as it’s bound to be a deal breaker for many. Buttigieg voters, well at this point I think half of those are registered Republicans.

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                I’m so interested to hear why you think Tulsi would be a “dealbreaker”.

                Precisely one (1) Congressperson voted the interests of the country. Tulsi. The rest voted the political interests of their party or themselves.

                If that makes one a liability these days then we truly are sunk.

                1. jrs

                  Mostly because it’s very partisan and losing Dem party voters *in the general* to try to gain some people on the right is likely to lose more people than it wins.

                2. Yves Smith Post author

                  I see no reason for Sanders to pick Tulsi. Seriously. He has way better options. He needs someone who will pull in votes in battleground states. Tulsi from Hawaii won’t do that. He needs to pick someone markedly younger, either female or of color, from the Midwest. Tammy Baldwin would be WAY better in filling out the ticket, even before getting to the fact that she is gay.

                  Tulsi also has her very troubling support on Modi, and says very little about the issues that Sanders is campaigning on. She’s pretty close to a one-trick pony.

            3. deplorado

              Tulsi does not support M4A.
              That seals it for me.
              Her latest moves (including the selfie video, which to me ended on a false note) smack of a tactical and desperate attempt to grab an opportunity to stand out. I don’t see what she has beyond building a maverick brand on foreign policy, and yes some photogenic packaging and good delivery of pot shots. I cannot reliably detect any principled motivation with her unlike Sanders.

              I’m not the most informed primary follower and I’d like her supporters to make a clear case rebutting perceptions like mine.

                1. deplorado

                  Not sure I understand your question — I do not know why, but if you mean “what makes you think she doesn’t”, it was established as a fact recently in her public communication, and there was a mention about it on this blog in the last weeks (no time to find reference at the moment).

              1. jonginsf

                She has stated that her plan would use Medicare as a “base,” leaving “room for private insurers,” and expressed admiration of the Australian healthcare system.

          3. drumlin woodchuckles

            When the Senate votes on ” acquit or convict-and-remove”, Senator Sanders could vote “Present”, just like Tulsi did.

            If Senate rules prevent him from voting “present”, he could just “abstain”.

      2. Aumua

        Holy moly. Sanders / Gabbard will mop the floor with Trump. If only such a thing would be allowed to happen.

      3. JTMcPhee

        I’d say Gabbard’s spiel was certainly well staged. Sorry if my hyper cynical mind intrudes here, but “claiming the center?” “Bipartisanship?” Not taking a stand is taking a stand? If the impeachment articles do not in her mind rise to high crimes and misdemeanors, she ought in good conscience say that out loud, and the reasons why. And also since she thinks impeachment seems to be warranted, what acts or omissions by Trump are acceptable grounds for impeaching him and kicking him out of office.

        She does need some coaching on how to stand, and increase her vocabulary of hand motions, facial expressions, and body language. Reminds me too much of when, as a budding associate in a big and getting bigger law firm where you were supposed to “eat what you caught,” the partners brought in a “public presenting coach” to teach us all that stuff. In front of cameras, to record our “progress” in public dissimulation, she positioned us like mannequins and corrected our voice and motion “flaws” and helped us put on the kind of show that let us more successfully puff up our accomplishments and services. Also recollects the masterful performance put on by another military officer, Colonel Oliver North, as he so poignantly and effectively dodged, weaved and deflected his way through days of soft-pitch questioning on the Iran-Contra thing, all and teary-eyed and I-love-my-country earnest. He played that out after dodging a demand for his testimony for six or so months, while the news cycle moved on and he got weeks of that kind of dramatics-coaching prep.

        Not that what I think counts much. But I personally, just for me, am going to reserve judgment on whether this major in the imperial army of “the country she loves” is likely to successfully and consistently push and bring about the policies that might give all us suckers an even break, in the realm of concrete material benefits. That performance that got such rave,, “Obamanaut-quality” reviews from the commenters, misty-eyed with hopeful pride that they might have found a woman on a white horse to follow, left me a bit Obamaqueasy…

        Though I’D likely vote for her as VP, as the seemingly least bad of a bunch of bad choices…

        1. jrs

          I’m not sure what she’s after, seems to be going after the right (not the status quo center many other candidates with better chances may chase, but the right).

          It would explain the backpedaling on M4A and the impeachment vote. She kept trying to run only on foreign policy when it was clear people wanted more. Then declines the debate after some gave her money for the sole reason of getting her on stage to bring up points (but she didn’t qualify either of course).

          Hillary could be right (maybe like a stopped cookoo clock twice a day, but we’ll see). Or she might just want a gig on Fox news. Yang wants a media gig bad it seems to me, but he wouldn’t do Fox. Maybe it’s just rank desperation and panic from Tulsi.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Since the Sanderhaters have more money overall than the Sanderbackers, the Sanderhaters will be able to pay Luntz more for research than the Sanderbackers would be able to pay.

          So since the Sanderhaters can and will pay Luntz more for his research than the Sanderbackers could ever afford to pay, ” for whomever pays him” is just another way of saying “using his research against Sanders.”

          So I second your agreement with Otis B Driftwood’s statement that “You can bet he’ll be using his research against Sanders”.

    2. Carolinian

      I only caught the part where Council on Foreign Relations gal Judy directed her HK question to CFL guy Pete. This motivated me to Stand With Tulsi and turn it off.

      Biden looked like he was up past his bedtime.

      1. curlydan

        Nice! Thank you for sharing this. It took a few years for me to get to the points and inanity that Cockburn shows. I’m still aghast when I go to my parents’ house, and they’re still watching it!

  3. salvo

    Biosphere Collapse?

    “Right now all three major greenhouse gas concentrations, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are accelerating. It means we are on a trend for total planetary catastrophe. We are on a trend for biosphere collapse. Carbon dioxide is on a rate exceeding anything over the past millions of years. We are at 412 ppm. To put that into context, we have an ice core that goes back 2.2 million years. The highest CO2 over that period is 300 ppm. …. It’s basically the end for humanity. We’re looking at biosphere collapse. The richness of life is being destroyed by deforestation and by catastrophic climate change. Africa is in severe drought. Chile is in a mega drought. Australia is in a drought expected to become a mega drought within the next two years.”

    it’s most depressing, since it seems most people don’t seem to be even interested in this

    1. PlutoniumKun

      In my anecdotal experience, people have gone from ‘oh, is it really such a big deal’? to ‘oh, its terrible, but there seems nothing can be done about it’. A friend who is looking to buy property recently casually asked me about what I thought the minimum height over sea level or nearby rivers she should use as a baseline.

      1. Winston Smith

        I was sitting around with some friends over a dinner copiously awash with wine after a lovely hike in the White Mountains earlier this month and was astounded at the lack of awareness/false optimism as to what awaits us…someone even had the temerity to suggest that “technology will save us”. More wine please.

        1. polecat

          It’s ‘Bottlenecks for All’ …

          Perhaps now is the time to practice learn how to dive through one, or several.

      2. jrs

        YES 1000 times yes. I understand this reaction mind you, the odds are long, things ARE looking incredibly bleak, and the optimist may appear a fool, the nihilist a sage. But so what, the world is worth one’s pride!

        I’m with Chris Hedges 100% on philosophy of life (if not necessarily on practical politics). The answer to long odds is to fight anyway, because it is the ONLY thing to do. There is nothing else.

        1. Trent

          Who is fighting? I don’t see anyone fighting. I saw some women embarrass themselves after trump was elected walking around DC with strange pink hats. Is IDPOL considered fighting? Fighting amongst ourselves maybe, but until somebody holds the people at the top accountable in any way shape or form, I don’t see any fighting.

          1. jrs

            Well Extinction Rebellion is blocking roads and getting arrested, the DSA is backing and trying to get eco-socialists elected, activists in all environmental groups try to get their respective city hall/utilities to switch to green power and develop zero waste plans. I have no idea what the Sunrise movement is really doing but they are out there, the Fridays for a Future kids protest on Fridays (I am not at all convinced protest is a useful tactic though. However, I completely respect all groups as having sincere people who want to change things, just tactics not always so much so …). None of it in total is big enough yet.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I’ll just say that if what we have right now, today, in Australia hits the Northern Hemisphere next summer people will have their eyes opened bigtime.

              We’ve gone from “yeah, warming looks like a problem doesn’t it” to “holy sh*t I can’t breathe”.

          2. JBird4049

            Is IDPOL considered fighting?

            Exactly, IdPol is a blasted distraction. The more the reformers, any reformers from the left or the right, never mind a (gasp!) socialist get more influence or the more the climate goes up in flames, the more these lovely distractions are needed.

          3. JTMcPhee

            I’m wondering if there might be some tech person who wants to take things into their own technical hands.

            Like a person i used to work with at the US EPA. Had several doctorates, working in the biological sciences and toxicology. Speaking of wine, after more than a few at a get-together of EPA staff working on a common enforcement-related project, said technical person opined that humanity was in fact a plague species. And that the best thing that could be done was to use the growing knowledge of genetic manipulation to gin up a virus that was 100% fatal to humans, robust enough to survive pretty well outside the host in normal conditions, and could be transmitted by air, water, sexual congress, minimal physical contact, with an incubation time of weeks to months to give a chance to spread once it was turned loose in the wild.

            This person did have the technical chops to probably build that virus using tools that existed back in the 80’s. The task has gotten a lot easier since then.

            I don’t doubt that in this age of CRSP-R and related gene-fiddling material, something like that has already been done up by both private and government interests. Some snotty European, I think Italian, apparently has decoded the 1918 influenza virus, and whipped up a batch. Other arrogant ‘scientists” have deliberately bred pathogens that are built to be unrecognizable by the human body’s immune system, “because that’s really, you know, cool!”

            I think it’s more likely that the US imperial types are the government that’s working on something of the same sort, looking for hegemony, or maybe just to kill off a huge majority of the human population to make it worth coming out of their bunkers to enjoy a refreshed Gaia, just for them. I recall a WSJ article in the ‘60s To the effect that a Soviet top-drawer bioscientist was given a whole beg lab and a bunch of PhDs to work on developing a strain of E. coli containing the coding for the mechanism that builds cobra venom, to be turned loose in the West, so that finally the Marxist -Leninist doctrine that capitalism would destroy itself from within could be made manifest.

            And the Bill Gateses and “Sir” Richard Bransons and other billionaires, freed from any moral or physical constraints, are working on “fixing” global heating by “geoengineering” via stuff like spewing volcano-like sulfate aerosols or other materials into the stratosphere. The more evil part of the US government has sought control of weather and climate for hegemoniacal reasons.

            There’s lots more global weaponization of tech to choose from too, like STUXNET and so many more.

            The inkling is there — now it is just a matter of figuring out the refinements of “tech” to “git ‘er done.”

            Yeah, just plots for page-turner Clancy novels, but when have humans ever stepped away from and effectively barred recourse to ANY potential mortal technology? We collectively, subject to the impacts of our own pleasure principles and a century or two of Bernaysian preparation, can’t even do the simple things, like banning single-use plastics.

    2. Wukchumni

      Barrow, Alaska registered the aforementioned massive bursts of methane into the atmosphere, starting in August of this year. “We’ve never seen anything like it! And, it has stayed at elevated levels to the present week. Looking at the 2.2 million year ice core, the maximum methane concentration ever was 800 ppb. In Barrow, Alaska it is 2,050 ppb and staying there. It’s been up there for 4 months.”

      The situation is so eerily similar to what brought on the French Revolution, except that their saga was kind of a one shot deal via volcano. Nobody in Paris knew that Laki had blown up real good in 1783-84, as harvests declined to the point where bread cost 1.5x a French person’s average daily salary.

      Let them heat more cake (briquettes)

    3. Titus

      Having direct access to the satellite and each stations collecting gases in atmosphere, world wide average is now 420ppm. In most of the United States and Europe currently we are at 437ppm.. In some places it is as high as 493ppm.

      1. Steve H.

        In the video embedded in the article, Dr. Peter Carter indicates that COP was off the rails by 1995. I got my Environmental Science degree in 1993, and was completely sandbagged by Clinton’s environmental stance.

        Titus, the numbers you quote are horrific. An asymptotic year. As in the interview, from catastrophic to cataclysmic.

        It is an irony of geologic time-scale, that Homo sapiens, with immense power of prediction, is showing itself no more capable of altering trajectory than the single cell critters that caused the Great Oxygenation Event.

        1. Steve H.

          Titus, am I right, we’re not even to what is supposed to be the date for the mean level on the Keeling Curve? I tend to run oversensitive to variation, and right now the numbers aren’t out of normal bounds. But the slope seems crazy steep to me.

        2. jrs

          This is right, looking how far back mentions of climate change go in the New Yorker, there was an article, Bill Clinton sabotaged the climate talks then.

    4. Phacops

      Well, it’s humans as an agent of geologic change, impacting the chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans leading to another mass extinction. Previously that had been the work of flood basalts, the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province, the Siberian Traps, the Deccan traps and like processes.

      Seeing no population control and the fantasy that renewables will merely replace fossil fuels as our lives continue unimpeded, I am of the mind to embrace geologic change to allow the current ELE to eliminate the human population.

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      This summary of the state of the climate and state of our state responses diminishes all the rest of the ‘news’ to noise — meaningless static. I am becoming transfixed, bound by despair and a certain knowledge I have neither time, nor knowledge, nor vigor, nor means to do more than a very small part of what must be done to preserve even a small part of our technology and our science. If Humankind persists after the collapse of our Society I am afraid so much will be lost — perhaps forever.

      1. jrs

        And Sander’s wanted to emphasize climate in the debate, and they tried to ENTRAP him on race instead (how much did the Kochs pay PBS for that one?) But their old tricks are working less and less.

        Greta would have some words for them: HOW DARE YOU

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I will vote for Bernie Sanders — no matter the outcome of the primaries. When he is elected I hope he will build a government of young, new leaders for a better future. I hope he will take some lessons from Wilson’s takeover of the Democratic Party. Though I hold Wilson in very low regard for what he accomplished Howard Zinn describes how he seized control of the Democratic Party and crafted the committee structures he needed to pass the legislation he wanted passed. [ref. The South and National Politics, his critique of Civil Rights Legislation and a critique of the Kennedy Administration — where he describes how one Senator studied the Senate archives to learn how Wilson used his position as President and presumptive leader of the Democratic Party to restructure the membership of the Senate Committees to enable his legislative agenda to proceed.]

          1. polecat

            It wasn’t Wilson, it was Madison Ave. e.i. the “Bernaysians” (the Silicon Valleyans of their day …), who took over .. well, Everything ! including the Democrats … THAT’s when the nobby Club that you, I, we ain’t in .. started to really get into swing !
            The only thing Wilson has going for him, was his entitled sense of high-tone morality.

            1. Jeremy Grimm

              Wilson used his power as President to change the membership and chairmanship of key committees in the Senate that would have stopped legislation he wanted to pass. Bernie Sanders could as President do something similar if he were given a Democratically controlled Senate with foot-dragging Democratic Senators burying his agenda in committee. Howard Zinn asserted that how Wilson did this is documented in the Senate Archives and one Senator — whose name I cannot recall — dug the information out and if I remember Zinn’s speech correctly, pushed this information at Kennedy who Zinn and this Senator felt was less than actively pushing his Civil Rights legislation.

      2. Isotope_C14

        Look on the bright side Jeremy,

        Voyager 1 & 2 will out-survive humanity.

        I’m looking forward to our end. I’m ready for the collapse. I’m tired of living on a planet with so many stupid, sociopathic, narcissistic, and psychopathic people. It’s a daily fight to force myself to continue living. Once the famines start, I’m out.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I wouldn’t be so concerned with what The Panopticon shows us at every turn, yes, stupid sociopathic psychopathy. Rail against it, despise it, but don’t internalize it.

          Concentrate on love, beauty, art, poetry, and Nature. The history of humanity has had many dips but these endure

          1. Wukchumni

            Hear, here.

            Find something captivating to do, hopefully that doesn’t involve money in any capacity.

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          I have to quibble with you a little insofar as I read an undercurrent in your comment [perhaps an artifact of my misunderstanding?]. While there are “many stupid, sociopathic, narcissistic, and psychopathic people” I believe they are a relatively small part of Humankind. And unfortunately, they seem to populate much of our Elite and Elite wannabes. The vast majority of people are kind, curious, intelligent, sensitive, generous … and caring. When the famines come — don’t check out — share and help. Take up some part of our knowledge or technology, or of the arts and make it your own. Do what you can to share it and save it for the future. No one person can know or save all that we have of value to those who follow us — for our children, their children … . Science is so close to great advances in many fields and might have made those advances before much of Science was made a blind thrall of Neoliberalism.

          I believe Humankind too quickly appeared and prospered without passing through the harsh filter of evolution. Our tragedy is that we seem unable to use our capacities to repair our flaws without facing the death and suffering waiting in evolution’s toolkit. We could have so easily avoided that. I like to believe some remnant of Humankind will persist after the collapse. I worry that we will leave them with little of what we have achieved and condemn them to a short primitive life.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        There may be groups of techno-limbo hobbyists out there who are recreationally preserving technological knowledge and skills from past eras. There are people writing about such things at places like Low Tech Magazine and No Tech Magazine. There are the Primitivist Hobbyists. Etc.

        Obviously, people will do the best preservation work on the sciences and technologies they love the most. So people should work on saving what they love. In the end , Darwin will decide what gets saved.

        Suburban yard-owners might work on saving all possible working knowledge of tiny-scale gardening and plant breeding/ seed-tuber-corm-rhizome-bulb saving and maintaining.

    1. WJ

      The Epstein footage must have accidentally been dropped behind the same couch where the footage from the Murrah Building’s surveillance cameras was also lost.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      “First suicide”

      The suspicion is he was strangled by a cellamate, who was a very seasoned felon. If he did it, he would know well to attack at the point between rounds (which IIRC are 30 mins apart at night….recall then Epstein was not on a special watch, so it may have been longer) when there was least likelihood of a guard being within earshot.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    IBM announces battery technology breakthrough TechRepublic (Chuck L)

    As always in these reports, not enough information to know if its a genuine breakthrough. The only hint is that IBM say its made from three materials that can be extracted from seawater, which probably means its a magnesium battery with vanadium and/or boron based anodes/cathodes or something similar. Magnesium of course has the same flammability issue of lithium.

    1. xkeyscored

      From the IBM blog on which the article is based, it appears it’s a lithium battery.
      Discovered in IBM Research’s Battery Lab, this design uses a cobalt and nickel-free cathode material, as well as a safe liquid electrolyte with a high flash point. This unique combination of the cathode and electrolyte demonstrated an ability to suppress lithium metal dendrites during charging, thereby reducing flammability, which is widely considered a significant drawback for the use of lithium metal as an anode material.
      Free of Heavy Metals, New Battery Design Could Alleviate Environmental Concerns

    2. Ignacio

      Following the same reasoning I concluded it must be a sodium ion battery since sodium is ten times more abundant than magnesium in sea water. Promising breakthroughs have been announced with Na-ion batteries were the problem is (or was) degradation of the electrodes but this is being solved with organic materials in solid state..

      The development of batteries is probably one of the most dynamic research sectors these days and I feel confident that future batteries will not resemble very much current Li-ion batteries.

      1. jefemt

        I sent the author a request that he follow up with IBM asking whether they would be pulling microplastics out of the seawater at the same time they ‘mine’ for the trace minerals…

        1. Ignacio

          I would suggest first go to McDonalds, BK, Amazon, Coca-Cola, Pepsi… a long list who already are responsible for a lot of single use plastic.

      2. xkeyscored

        it must be a sodium ion battery since sodium is ten times more abundant than magnesium in sea water
        The article, and the IBM blog, states that the materials can be extracted from seawater. That doesn’t mean that’s where they would extract them if and when production is scaled up.
        “The materials for this battery are able to be extracted from seawater, laying the groundwork for less invasive sourcing techniques than current material mining methods.”

  5. Carla

    “Why big business can count on courts to keep its deadly secrets”

    This article provides more compelling evidence for why we must get HJR-48 passed as the 28th Amendment:

    HJR=48 now has a total of 67 co-sponsors in the U.S. House — if your Congress critter is not on the list, call, write or visit to secure their co-sponsorship. Companion legislation will be introduced in the U.S. Senate in 2020.

  6. hunkerdown

    Project Connected Home over IP… Business Insider just wrote a crap headline. It’s just a few tech giants getting together to create a royalty-free standard transport for data to and from smrt-home devices in the time-honored spirit of self-regulation. Project CHIP doesn’t strike me as much different in form from Compaq, Intel, and Microsoft getting together to create USB, or in intent from the high-voltage electrical systems industry getting together to create the Mr. Ouch warning sign.

  7. QuarterBack

    Re withholding the Articles of Impeachment: Is it just me, or does this move give off a Double Secret Probation vibe?

    Marx really nailed it about history repeating itself.

  8. PlutoniumKun

    Airplanes and Accounting Games: The Coming Boeing Collapse? Matt Stoller

    Interesting as always from Matt Stoller.

    Boeing also said on its conference call some customers have stopped making advanced payments. That was a new revelation. Essentially, customers put down deposits when buying a jet. As the delivery date approaches, customer payments come due. Don’t forget, the current backlog of MAX orders stretches out years. Of course, the vast majority of cash comes in when the plane is finished, but suspension of payments is another—albeit small—cash headwind and one that could indicate strain with customers.

    This looks to me like their key weakness. I commented a few days ago about my experiences in an engineering company when an enforced 6 month break which led to mass redundancies ended up significantly increasing long term costs. Former employees had to be rehired as consultants on multiples of their past hourly wages. Suppliers went bust or took on other contracts, meaning new suppliers had to be found at often far higher costs.

    You don’t need to be a financial expert to see that if your main product line faces significant cost increases at the same time as the purchasers feel they are in a position to drive down what they pay per unit, and also refuse to make early payments without proof of delivery, then at some stage those two curves are going to meet and you are going to hit a serious cash crunch. It might be some years away, but it will happen.

    1. tegnost

      The coming government bailout of this huge malevolent corpus known as boeing in an election year should be really popular /s
      Stoller does a really good job in this one, as per usual

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Seattle-Boeing did not begin life as a malevolent corpus. It began as a good company making good planes. Merging it with McConDoug is apparently what put New Boeing on the road to Malevolent Corpusville.

        In a beautiful dream world, nothing would be done till Sanders became President. Then the Sanders Administration could orchestrate the kind of cramdown for Boeing that the Obama Administration orchestrated for GM.

        There could be a ” Good Boeing” and a “Bad Boeing”. Those Seattle-based managers/workers/physical assets and their descendants and proteges could be put into “Good Boeing” and lent money to try surviving with. Everything and everyone connected to McDonDoug and the Chicago Headquarters and the So Car non-Union facilities and etc. could be put into “Bad Boeing” . . . and then be very carefully fired or exterminated in detail till not even smoking craters were left. No trace of “Bad Boeing” could be left alive to re-infect “Good Boeing”.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Boeing built good airplanes that burned huge amounts of petroleum taking people and bombs on long trips through the stratosphere. And has been corrupting the government stuff for pretty much as long as warplanes and transport have been a thing. They had pretty good engineers, yes, give them that, but as long as they have been a BigCorp, even before the mega merger stuff, there have been problems.

          I’m betting there were MBAs with a lot of clout at BoeinG before the current crop moved in, and lobbyists and ‘engineers” invested in regulatory capture and deferral of regulatory action and concealment of you, know, conditions dangerous to passenger safety and laying off the blame on feckless pilots…

    2. Carolinian

      From Stoller

      The right policy path is to break up the corporation into a civilian and military division, or potentially find a way to create multiple competitors. With a new leadership team in place and a competitive aerospace industry, Boeing could fix the 737 Max and begin planning great aircraft again.

      Perhaps one reason Boeing was once great and is now not so great is lack of competition. There have been articles here about aerospace consolidation during the Clinton years and while Boeing gets plenty of competition internationally from Airbus they’ve were still able to dominate the huge domestic market. Could be their management is so slack because they now see themselves as too big to fail. Sounds like that assumption is about to be tested. TBTF banks can sweep their misdeeds under a protective government regulator rug. Crashing airplanes make unavoidable headlines.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I could never understand the short-sightedness involved in allowing US aerospace to contract so much. A merger of the civilian airline sections of McD-D and Lockheed could have produced a viable alternative. The US is big enough for at least two civilian airline builders (even Russia has more than one). And pretty much the same has happened with military procurement.

        1. Massinissa

          Neoliberals keep claiming that monopolies benefit overall efficiency due to economies of scale.

          How they’re they’re able to say ‘market competition good’ out one side of their mouths and ‘corporate consolidation good’ out the other side without anyone realizing the scam always confounds me.

    3. Phacops

      And true to their decline in engineering skill and production quality the Boeing Starliner failed upon its first launch.

    4. WJ

      Sanders should propose that the federal government bail-out Boeing,

      demand the resignation of every executive and member of the board on threat of federal prosecution for fraud,

      require that 90% of the parts of every airplane be manufactured in the US in unionized workplaces,

      revert full responsibility for safety and quality control testing to the FAA (which would also be reconstituted under the plan),

      disallow all stock buybacks of the company in perpetuity,

      and empower engineers to undertake the design and production of an entirely new aircraft in place of the 737 MAX.

      1. inode_buddha

        Why just Boeing? I would argue, and indeed have argued for decades, that this should happen to the entire Fortune500. You know, so that maybe we could start having a civilized country and be great again.

        Of course, I also argue that capital should be permanently harmonized with labor, the SS tax cap lifted, the military converted into defensive only, and M4A.

          1. foghorn longhorn

            I’d settle for RE-nationalizing phone and cable and electrical

            There fixed it for you.
            Thank Messrs reagan and clinton for there largesse in destroying regulatory oversight.

            Further, thank nixon for destroying affordable healthcare for the parasitic system we enjoy today.

          2. HotFlash

            Perhaps nationalized internet too, similar to the post office?

            And I would like to see for-profit companies taxed more fairly — based on the business they do in-country? or use of infrastructure such as roads, courts, and schools? maybe the pollution of air, water, and soil they cause? how about the number of their employees that have to rely on foodstamps?

            And I would like non-profits to have a cap on executive pay and on the $$ spent on ‘consultants’ and other costly out-sourcing that is a cover for inflating costs to reach non-profit status.

            PS I don’t want chocolate milk, ‘coz I don’t like it, and I don’t want a pony, I have no room to keep one or any interest, truth be told. Medicare for all would be nice and a Green New Deal.

            I think I’ll go phone-bank for Bernie.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If Boeing were to face bankruptcy, Boeing would be too weak to repel and resist such efforts.
          Whereas “successful” companies would be harder to forcibly correct in that manner.

          If one can only begin “somewhere first” instead of “everywhere at once”, Boeing might well present an opportunity to begin “somewhere first” with.

          1. inode_buddha

            I understand what you mean, but I’m feeling vindictive: If they could shove the ACA on the entire working class at once, then the entire list above can be done at once. If they could bail out all the TBTF’s all at once, then the entire list above can be done at once.

            You know how they always say, “If you don’t like it, you can leave”? Yeah, well it will be nice to turn that around. Somebody else will take their place. We really don’t need the kind of McJawbs that are on offer nowdays.

      2. JP

        Maybe a big nail requires a big hammer but it’s just going to split the wood. There are real problems when the solution is the French revolution. Citizens United is a way bigger problem then corrupt intent at Boeing, as is revolving door regulation. Both are about money in politics. Go to your local Chamber of Commerce meeting or (same thing) Rotary/Kiwanis. These are the people that elect local government from which is drawn state govt. and so on. They are business networking organizations. They have a lot more pull then party organizations who tend to be fund raisers.. These people are all in business or want to be. The primary aim of business is to exploit a position and profit from it. It is also the primary motivation of politics.

        Until you are in a position to redefine the motivators of, what is considered, success in our society, the revolution you seek will not occur. But remember Marxism failed because it requires a mind set that is largely incompatible with human motivations and probably more prone to corruption because of the top down structure necessary to implement it.

        We need a new social paradigm but society is an evolutionary process and evolution moves very slowly unless goosed by an intersective event. Climate change anyone? But what will that social evolution look like?

        1. WJ

          “Marxism failed because it requires a mind set that is largely incompatible with human motivations”

          Marxists think that most normal human beings are motivated by the value, agency, and satisfaction they experience in their work. The notion that human beings are naturally and primarily motivated by the profit impulse–by pleonexia, avarice, greed–is ridiculous. Prior to capitalism, nobody ever regarded such a motivation as anything other than a socially aberrant vice.

          Also, to say that Marxism “failed” because state communism failed is like saying Christianity failed because of the Borgia popes. There are serious critiques to be made of both Marxism and Christianity, of course, but this is not one of them.

          1. jrs

            There is genuine nostalgia for the Soviet Union among those who lived in it (no not under Stalin, very few of those would be alive). So clearly it suited some humans nature much more than what replaced it.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          The American Indians had all kinds of social paradigms which worked quite will. Some Indian Nations still remember enough of their old legacy social paradigms that they could perhaps assist us all in adopting those Indian social paradigms and rolling them out from Coast to Coast and Border to Border.

    1. vlade

      And this is the start of Australian summer. I do wonder where the climate denialist voters for Aussie right will go now? That said, it’s likely that the refugees (assuming they learn about it) may stop coming. And give it a generation, and the Aussies themselves may be refugees..

      1. xkeyscored

        the Aussies themselves may be refugees
        And we’ll see what lessons countries such as Indonesia have learned from Australia about dealing with refugees.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Are you kidding? Will anybody be still living in the equatorial belt in a century from now? I favour taking a page from the Hobbits and having underground homes. Some hot areas in Australia already do that. Anyway, the way I figure it, Aussie skins will be as black as Aboriginal skins in a few tens of thousand of years through evolutionary pressure alone

          1. polecat

            What’s that ol’ sayin : “what’s old will become new again”

            Maybe some enterprising soul can regen-engineer those antipodal beasts of yester-eon … only this next time, the neo-aboriginals would wisely not hunt them to extinction, as in milleniums past. Gotta wonder if said fauna had had any mitigating impact on the flora currently causing these atrocious fire events.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              The Aborigines themselves mitigated all that by their 60,000-year-old system of slow-rolling phased-controlled burns of the landscape one part at a time.

            2. norm de plume

              I think the beasts behind these fire events are more likely to be the ones our Western culture introduced 200 years ago – sheep and cattle primarily – whose hooves have destroyed the soft loamy soil the pioneers found everywhere as they explored and appropriated. It has all run off leaving bare ground upon which the falling leaves gather to fuel the next conflagration.

              As drumlin says, the Aboriginals had a fire-stick burning regime, crafted over millennia into a rules-based activity passed on through elders to guide each generation’s stewardship of the land. The park-like conditions found by the early settlers was often remarked upon by ‘pioneers’ who busied themselves setting up the structures which would destroy the conditions they found so pleasant and propitious.

              “The country is sick. It’s in pain. It’s thirsty.”

              This book is one of the best sellers in Australia of the last 5 years. A kid’s version has been produced, along with a dance piece by Bangarra, and a TV series on the ABC is in pre-production. It has been attacked by the usual suspects and it’s not perfect, but it is hugely important: not just for what it says but for the fact that it appears to have revealed a preparedness, even a hunger in much of the white overclass to accept that we have buggered up the perfection we stole, and need the people we stole it from to help us get it back again.

              What’s old should become new again, but we don’t need ‘neo-Aboriginals’ to guide us; existing Aboriginals (or part Aboriginals like the author Bruce Pascoe) are on hand and happy to help…

              1. HotFlash

                we have buggered up the perfection we stole

                We did that here in Canada as well. But my friend Brian, who is a First Nations person, told me only last week, “They say the white man stole our land. That is not true. The Land belongs to itself, and we belong to it. That is still true.”

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Perhaps those climate change activists could work on abolishing Free Trade and restoring Militant Belligerent Protectionism all over the world. Perhaps they could especially work on making China so poor that China could no longer afford to buy any coal from Australia or anywhere else.

        That would be productive, in its own way.

  9. Lee

    Poked around on Google so what I found must be true.

    A majority of thoroughbreds are congenitally predisposed to bleeding in the lungs.

    Lasix, also known as furosemide and described as an anti-bleeding medication, is used by veterinarians in horse racing to prevent respiratory bleeding in horses running at high speed. Blood entering the lungs during high physical activity can cause a pulmonary hemorrhage and result in death.

    Based on this, I would assume a lot fewer horses will be fit to race or more of them will drop dead drowning in their own blood.

    1. Yves Smith Post author


      Please tell me how many historical instances there have been of horses dropping dead of drowning in their own blood during races. And they don’t train harder than what they do in a race. Go look at the training of Secretariat, who due to having an unusually efficient heart, trained way harder than other horses. His training consisted of single hard sprint a day, shorter distances than a race distance, maybe 2X a week.

      Lasix is a performance enhancer, big time:

      “The reason I put [Effinex] on Lasix is that I had to in order to compete,” he told Finley. “He won an allowance and a maiden race without it and at that lower level he would have been fine without it. But once we got to the graded stakes level we were at a huge disadvantage, maybe by 12-15 lengths, not being on it. Lasix is a stone cold performance-enhancer. It was horrible that I had to do this. It tortures me.”…

      A survey conducted by Bill Heller, author of “Run Baby Run – What Every Owner, Breeder and Handicapper Should Know About Lasix in Racehorses,” revealed that 92 percent of horses that raced in North America in 2001 were on Lasix.

      Gee, why does it torture him if Lasix supposedly has a positive medical use?

      Because it is strongly implicated in bone breaks in racing. Notice how many elite horses have had to be put down in the last few years due to shattering their legs in a race? This never used to happen at this frequency historically.

      Lasix looks to be way overhyped even for its intended use and appears to make a lot of horses bleed who were not bleeders. From the same linked article:

      Before I attempt to answer that question, it might be helpful to ask another: Does Lasix do what it is supposed to do and stop bleeding in racehorses?

      The opinions are mixed. There doesn’t seem to be much doubt that Lasix does, in fact, reduce the severity of bleeding, but whether it stops bleeding altogether is open to debate. In his book, Heller points to a 1990 study commissioned by the Jockey Club showing that 32 of 52 known bleeders still bled while racing with Lasix, while 62 of 235 horses not considered to be bleeders also bled while on the drug.

      Lasix is a diuretic, and it has been implicated in bone breaks. Admittedly the data only shows a correlation, but the idea that regular use of a diuretic could weaken bones is logical. It is also called Salix. Note that three year old horses are not mature:

      Salix or furosemide is a loop diuretic, the most common and most powerful class of diuretics available.

      Loop diuretics act rapidly upon the kidneys by blocking the normal electrolyte re-absorption mechanisms causing large volumes of urine to be excreted along with a host of electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and magnesium.

      Add this to the fact that horse sweat is hypertonic meaning that it contains more mineral salts or electrolytes than water, unlike humans who lose more water than salts (isotonic – same concentration of electrolytes as the blood).

      The use of Salix exacerbates the already-depleted stores of calcium and other salts lost through sweating that occurs during training or on race day and taxes the horse even further.

      Despite the fact there are myriad side effects of excessive electrolyte loss the primary focus here will be the potentially deleterious effects of chronic furosemide administration on calcium loss and the skeletal soundness of the physically immature racehorse.

      Compromising bone development certainly can only lead to ruin in the young racehorse whose skeletal system dynamically changes over time with the conversion process to maturity taking a minimum of 5 ½ years depending on the size and sex of the horse.

      Until then bone is in a continuous state of turnover and remodeling. Also take into consideration that many racehorses begin their careers as early as 18 months of age when they are extremely vulnerable to injury as a result of bone mineralization lagging behind growth in height and weight.

      There’s a lot more in this article…..and lots of others that make similar points.

      1. Lee

        Thank you for the additional and more comprehensive take on Lasix and its effects of race horses,. So, Lasix contributes more to broken legs than it does to fatal pulmonary hemorrhage in race horses. Alas, for the poor horse, dead is dead. It would seem from what you posted there are a variety of bad practices contributing to race horse fatalities and that merely banning Lasix is to address but one of several factors.

        1. Tinky

          That is false. I have long experience in the industry, and there have yet to be any serious studies connecting Lasix with fractures.

            1. Tinky

              The short answer is: decades of breeding to sell, rather than to race; year-round racing (horses used to be given breaks, and minor issues would resolve naturally; the use of medications to mask developing (or mature) physical issues; dirt racing surfaces that have not been well maintained.

            2. Tinky

              Further, relevant (and recent) information that casts doubt on the dubious claim that Lasix use in horses is associated with fractures:

              Furosemide (aka Lasix) has long been a controversial race day drug in U.S. racehorses—not only for its potential performance-enhancing effects but also because studies have shown that it can alter horses’ calcium balance, a mineral that’s important for bone strength and muscle contraction.

              “We usually use this term (balance) to refer to intake minus excretion,” said Abby Pritchard, a PhD candidate in Michigan State University’s Department of Animal Science, in East Lansing. “Essentially, we want this to be zero so we know that the horse’s requirements are being met without wasting or creating imbalances with other minerals.”

              So Pritchard measured how long it takes a horse’s calcium balance to return to baseline after furosemide administration. She shared her results at the 2019 Equine Science Society Symposium, held June 3-6 in Asheville, North Carolina.

              Based on her results Pritchard found:

              No difference in horses’ fecal output or fecal calcium levels;
              Treated horses urinated more than twice as much as control horses on Day 1, then the frequency dropped back to normal;
              Treated horses’ urine calcium levels were twice as high as controls on Day 1, but they returned to normal by Day 3; and
              Any negative effects of furosemide on calcium balance were almost gone by Day 3 and disappeared completely by Day 5, making them no different than controls.
              “Most of the calcium balance effects seen are driven by urine output and calcium loss on Day 1,” said Pritchard.

              These findings—that calcium levels return to baseline within five days—suggest that weekly furosemide administration in racehorses doesn’t lead to long-term calcium losses that might contribute to skeletal injuries, she said.


              1. Yves Smith Post author

                Huh? “Returns to baseline in five days” when the supplement is administered weekly? And this is supposed to be reassuring?

                That means its NOT at baseline levels for more than half the time, and were at meaningfully lower than normal for 2 days out of seven, or 29% of the time.

                In addition, this hardly addressed the point that regularly lowering the level of blood calcium in horses that are not mature and are still developing (and that includes their bones) won’t interfere with bone development/microfracture repair.

                1. Tinky

                  Yes, Yves, it is hardly a definitive study, and also relies on a tiny sample. I didn’t post it in order to “reassure” readers that Lasix use in racehorses has no negative side effects, but rather to help illustrate that the question of whether there is a meaningful connection between its use and fractures is muddy at best.

                  As I have suggested elsewhere, the notion that there is a direct connection would be far more persuasive if there were not a number of other well established variables that do contribute to the problem. Namely, breeding to sell, rather than to race, which began in earnest at precisely the time that American thoroughbreds began to lose durability. The use of medications, some ultimately promiscuous, also accelerated in the ’70s and ’80s. Big Money and year-round racing have had deleterious effects, and it is known that fractures occur at a much higher rate on dirt surfaces, as opposed to synthetic or grass.

                  So, what can be said unequivocally is that the degradation of soundness in American racehorses over the past half-century is multi-factorial. I, and many others, would love to see serious studies done on the long-term use of Lasix, and am open to the possibility (if not probability) that regular use does result in some type of deleterious effects. But when it comes to fractures, no trainers, veterinarians, or researchers who I am aware of would argue that Lasix is even remotely relevant. Are they all missing the boat? I rather doubt it.

                  Thanks for letting me express my two cents.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            This is disingenuous. First, 92% of all racehorses were on Lasix in 2001. It’s probably 100% now. You aren’t going to find anyone willing to compromise their very pricey investment to serve as a control in a study. The horse would need to be stressed like a racehorse, which includes being able to run at those speeds to be able to achieve the right loading (stressing bones increases bone density, so the subjects and controls would need to be subject to the same conditions ex Lasix).

            Second, there IS a correlation between Lasix use and a higher incidence of bone breaks.

            Third, there is a very plausible chemical effect of Lasix that would weaken bones. For instance:

            Depletion of sodium, calcium, chloride and magnesium has been shown to have detrimentaleffects in both humans and horses, especially with regard to calcium depletion. Ameta-analysis of the literature available suggeststhat Furosemide may have a detrimental effect on bone development and remodeling in the human and the horse. Further, in horses administered frequent doses of Furosemide, a negative balance of calcium ensuescausing bone resorption and a weakening of bone to occur, thus putting horses at increased risk of fracture.Additionalresearch is required to confirm this hypothesis, but if true, this holds important ramifications for the use of Furosemide in human medicine, forpopulations at increased risk for fracture and in race horses.


            Fourth, furosemide (Lasix) HAS been found to increase fracture risk in children. Two and three year old horses, the most popular ages for racing, are not mature.


            1. Tinky

              I am well aware of what a high percentage of horses race on Lasix, and that there have not been studies done on the long-term effects. And I agree that there is pressure not to fund such studies. But the fact is that you are drawing conclusions based on studies done on humans, which is dubious at best.

              Here is the (equine-related) conclusion from the paper that you excerpted above:

              As of this writing, there have been no studies investigating the potential role of Furosemide in fracture risk in race horses, nor have studies been undertaken to research the long- term effects of Furosemide in the horse. Furosemide is a diuretic whose natriuretic properties affect the balance of electrolyte and mineral excretion in the urine. A single dose of Furosemide was found to negatively affect the balance of urinary calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium and chloride for 24 hours post administration in animal models. While the sodium imbalance was corrected within the same time-span, Pagan et al found that a single dose of Furosemide caused an imbalance of calcium, chloride and magnesium ions that was still decreased 72 hours after treatment (Pagan, et al., 2014). Thus, further research is required to understand the nature of Furosemide on bone development and remodeling in the horse.

              What doesn’t appear there is what every professional in the industry knows, namely that horses are typically given electrolytes after having performed on Lasix, precisely to address the related imbalances mentioned in the excerpt.

              For context, again, I am a “high-profile” critic of promiscuous Lasix use in racehorses, and have been arguing publicly for years that it should be banned. But I find it to be particularly unhelpful when dubious claims are made on either side of the argument.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Huh? It’s a very powerful diuretic. People subject to high temperatures generally take salt to avoid excessive sweating since dehydration is dangerous. To be crass, you pee the water out, which is completely unhelpful for cooling.

            1. newcatty

              Yves, thank you for the information regarding the effects of the use of Lasix as “medication” on racehorses. In some other universe, or in the future in this one we now inhabit on planet Earth, there will be people who look at how we cared for, and treated, animals on the planet. To keep on track about racehorses…It appears that these amazing animals are seen as expendable in the “industry”. Run them, often, until they break…quite literally. There are more to fill in the gaps. It is the same in greyhound dog racing. To be crude and vulgar…there are still cock fights, dog fights, bull fights, puppy and kitten mills, trophy “hunting”, “sport hunting”, poisoning or cruelly trapping wolves and other “predators” to “protect cattle and sheep” on ranch lands, killing of wild animals for body parts to be sold. I will not get into horrible factory farms, disingenuous labeling of animals raised in “cage free” conditions that are not ( oh that laying hen is allowed to bathe in the sun on her “porch”). This is absolutely not a rant to promote vegetarian eating by people. It is a call to humane treatment of the animals we use as food.

              So racing animals for people’s pleasure is really different, though? It is legal. It is civilized and fun. Rightly, there are tears shed for the poached elephant for their tusks, the polar bears hungry as their habitats are shrinking or disappearing, whales dying or not having young on our coasts, song birds now being silenced ( We were warned by Rachel Carson).

  10. Wukchumni

    Iowa man sentenced to 16 years for after setting Pride flag on fire The Hill.
    We’ve gone from when I was a kid and Paul Lynde was the token public homosexual with all others exhibiting any signs to be shunned, and Flip Wilson would do drag as Geraldine and that was it, to the point yesterday, when Warren vowed that as president she would read the names of transgender victims of violence (the other 15,000+ murders per year in the USA must be chopped liver, no?) in the White House rose garden every year.

    Extremes on both ends, what a wacky time to be alive.

    1. xkeyscored

      It appears the exact crime would be committed by burning an Israeli or US flag, if that were considered a hate crime.
      “Adolfo Martinez, 30, was convicted of a hate crime, third-degree harassment and reckless use of fire”

  11. PlutoniumKun

    Freedom Rider: Propaganda and the Defeat of Jeremy Corbyn Black Agenda Report

    Corbyn provides us with a cautionary tale. Sanders will be cheated out of the Democratic Party nomination not just because super delegates will vote against him. The media either disappear him with the “Bernie blackout” or give access only to his detractors. Over and over again Americans are told that they can’t have free college or health care or anything else they need and want. Eventually even supporters will question their decisions out of fear of seeing another Donald Trump election. If they are told often enough that what they want is impossible or bad for the Democrats they will reject it.

    One difference I think is that while the attacks on Corbyn were highly personalised, the attacks on Sanders have been mostly on his supporters (the Bernie Bros, and the supposed violence against HRC supporters). I think most opponents have wisely decided that direct attacks on Sanders are unlikely to succeed. The fact they’ve laughably decided to use the anti-Semite smear on a descendent of holocaust survivors says everything.

    But it does show that the entire campaign needs to be hyper vigilant about agent provocateurs or just genuine supporters who may do stupid things. The flip side of this of course is getting too paranoid, as per the stupid backtracking over endorsing Cenk Uygur.

    Sadly, the Trump/Bojo strategy of throwing around so much mud nobody can see who is clean anymore isn’t really available to Progressives.

      1. norm de plume

        Having seen off the 5 stages of grief in relation to Corbyn, I am now, like the signatories, on to the 6th: gratitude, to accompany the respect that was always there. His lack of political nous and a killer instinct cruelled him, but even Bismarck, Metternich or Talleyrand would have struggled with the hand he was dealt.

        And if he had possessed those qualities, perhaps he would not inspire the sort of fellow-feeling this letter displays. I think he is seen as a mild-mannered, naturally reticent bloke – maybe reminding many of us of people we know and love, even ourselves – who at least had the backbone to enter the bear pit. After early promise, he was mauled by the bear as expected. He made errors, but in the end a well fed bear will beat an ascetic wraith with few friends among the crowd or the officials. But he had a go and remained unsullied by the experience. We can wish he had more vigour, but he is what he is and will stay that way, and there is something reassuring and admirable about that.

        Reading about Corbyn this last week has several times put me in mind of this Yeats poem:

        Now all the truth is out,
        Be secret and take defeat
        From any brazen throat,
        For how can you compete,
        Being honor bred, with one
        Who were it proved he lies
        Were neither shamed in his own
        Nor in his neighbors’ eyes;
        Bred to a harder thing
        Than Triumph, turn away
        And like a laughing string
        Whereon mad fingers play
        Amid a place of stone,
        Be secret and exult,
        Because of all things known
        That is most difficult.

  12. epynonymous

    Only watched the first hour of the debate (the Republicans got antsy), but not having a person of color other than Yang in the debates was the most enlightened thing the Democrats have done in I don’t know how long.

    Of course, it was by accident, but maybe that just happened.

    Boy did they turn the race card against Bernie hard and fast, and have a moderator of color (nobody I know) to address the issue. I’ll even be real and say that Bernie’s talking points on color were the same as Yang’s but not as well considered.

    Long story short, Warren doesn’t sit well with Republicans after long exposure, and Buttigeg comes out of Harvard at the exact same moment. Check and mate.

    Hopefully California will wake up and reject Harris at even the county level. Billionare philanthropist my foot. Oh, and where are the Biden ads?

    Happy Holidays!

    1. Lee

      At present, the “looks like me” brand of politics seems more a concern of MSM pundits than it is for non-white voters.

      White Democrats Are Leading the Primary Because Nonwhite Voters Support Them

      Judging by recent national polls, if only African-Americans were allowed to vote in the Democratic primary, the top three contenders would be Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren — the same three candidates preferred by the Democratic electorate as a whole.

    2. Massinissa

      “Hopefully California will wake up and reject Harris at even the county level. ”

      She’s no longer in the primary race, or are you referring to something else?

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Trump Suggests Adam Schiff Be Subject to Guatemalan Justice”

    Oh well, it could have been worse. At least Trump didn’t suggest that someone give Schiff a Colombian necktie.

    1. xkeyscored

      Effectively the same thing?
      “When asked to clarify, Trump only said: “Guatemala is terrific. Guatemala has been terrific.” It’s unclear if the president could have been referring to the Guatemalan death squads active during the country’s long civil war, or …”
      The CIA-run death squads were certainly what came to my mind when I saw this.

      1. marym

        Maybe “terrific” to Trump refers to furthering his own agenda.

        CBS News 7/27/2019

        For months, the Trump administration had been pressuring the Guatemalan government to help curb the surge of Central American families heading toward the U.S.-Mexico border. President Trump had threatened to impose tariffs on Guatemalan goods, a tax on money Guatemalan immigrants in the U.S. send to family members back home and a travel ban for the entire country.

        CBS News 11/22/2019

        The Trump administration on Thursday began deporting migrants who sought refuge in the U.S. to Guatemala, the first step in the implementation of a controversial agreement with the Guatemalan government aimed at requiring asylum-seekers from other countries to request protection in the Central American nation.

        US New and World Report 12/18/2019

        ASYLUM-SEEKERS convicted of drug possession or having a fake ID will not be eligible for asylum in the U.S. under a controversial new rule proposed Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.

        Current law already bars immigrants convicted of “particularly serious” crimes like murder, rape or drug trafficking from asylum protections in the U.S., but the proposed rule seeks to expand the group of crimes that deem an immigrant ineligible for asylum to include less serious convictions, including for certain misdemeanors. It outlines seven new categories of offenses that would render an immigrant ineligible for asylum.

        1. Danny

          PayPal, Western Union Named & Shamed for Overcharging the Most on Money Transfers to Mexico

          Wow, so Americans are supposed to be concerned about overcharge fees on the $36 Billion being sent into Mexican economy as remittances? Notice all the praise about the great effects of that being spent in Mexico and how it benefits local communities there?

          The local multiplier effect states that same $36 billion spent locally in the United States would circulate approximately EIGHT times.

          Taking that 8X multiplier into account, how would sending $148 Billion out of our local communities, before it gets a chance to be spent, taxed and recirculates, affect American towns and cities?

          148 Billion X 8 is 1,184 TRILLION
          No wonder there are “food deserts” in so many communities. The money that could be spent and make stores more likely to locate there, is sent out of the country. Cue the breast beaters wailing about poverty in immigrant communities in 3,2,1….Poor working Americans? They don’t count, except on election day, as long as they vote for the DNC annointee.

          1,184 TRILLION, isn’t that like 1/20th of the entire U.S. economy? I’m surprised no economist has ever mentioned this as part of a declining sales tax base, scarcity of capital and poverty in the U.S. Yes, the Pentagon is worse, but that’s in addition to this.

          1. The guy who calls people "pal"

            Pal the money goes back to Mexico because that’s where the worker’s parents and grandparents and kids are, and if the worker tried to bring those parents and grandparents and kids here, they’d be in legal limbo for years or, more recently, in a concentration camp. It’s not going to Mexico because the worker is failing to buying food in America.

          2. HotFlash

            Just curious, how much did NAFTA take out of Mexico? Lessee, arable land now used for producing green peppers, raspberries, and other luxury out-of season produce for well-fed gringos instead of corn for Mexicans? Low wages for Mexican workers in automobile plants and other factories while US workers lost their good-paying jobs? Even their bad-paying jobs?

            And don’t forget the profits that PayPal and WU are making.

            It’s like Canadians complaining about the CO2 emitted by countries we sell our tar-sands oil to.

      2. T

        Postives, such as terrific, tremendous, beautiful are there for tone and attitude. Like “corruption” for Warren.

        What are they ever even talking about?

      3. JBird4049

        I’m sure the survivors and their descendants of the Mayan genocide would agree. /s

        Last I checked, things are better. If it’s only in comparison to the previous 1960-1996 civil war with its ethnic cleanings.

  14. John Beech

    Iowa man sentenced to 16 years for after setting Pride flag on fire The Hill.

    The celebrated French author Victor Hugo wrote Les Misérables and perhaps this sounds familiar . . . the peasant Jean Valjean, just released from 19 years’ imprisonment in the Bagne of Toulon—five for stealing bread for his starving sister and her family and fourteen more for numerous escape attempts . . . because burning a stolen gay pride flag is free speech and sounds like a penny ante crime to me. One more deserving of ‘maybe’ 1 day in jail to make the point you should steal a gay pride flag. Good grief, didn’t Iowans learn anything in HS literature?

    1. Grumpy Engineer

      You’re not allowed to steal other people’s property as part of free speech. Nor are you allowed to arbitrarily burn things if there are fire controls in place (to reduce the risk of large fires or to manage air pollution levels). Now if he’d bought his own gay pride flag and burned it in a safe manner…

      But still though, you’re right. This is penny ante crime. Maybe worthy of a couple of days in jail. Perhaps to be extended to a week because of the “hate crime” aspect. But 16 YEARS?!? Good grief. There are people who committed real crimes (like forcible rape or murder) who did less time than that.

      Prosecutors in Iowa are punishing thoughtcrime. Harshly.

      1. Ignacio

        I think this is an example of using law enforcement to send messages to everybody. The sentence says: Beware! we know there is growing discontent, this is how we are going to deal with it.

        1. H. John Relton

          The only thing the sentence says is if you’ve already been declared a habitual offender for setting fires, it’s less than wise to threaten to burn down a strip club, and then start a fire.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        How is this not cruel and unusual punishment?

        The judge who issued the sentence ought to be embarrassed. S/he should also not be at all surprised if Trump gets re-elected because this is the epitome of the idpol nonsense that seems to be all the mainstream Demorcat party has to offer.

        1. H. John Relton

          The judge applied the mandatory 15 year sentence for being a habitual offender – which is associated with previous reckless use of fire crimes. The hate crime added 2 years and will be served concurrently. He eligible for parole in 3 years.

      3. H. John Relton

        Sometimes very short newspaper articles just can’t provide all the facts; but a quick use of google and reading a few Iowa newspapers provided me with this:

        He was convicted by a jury of a hate crime, third degree harassment and of being a habitual offender – which is associated with previous reckless use of fire crimes. He likes torching things.

        He was tossed out of the Dangerous Curves “gentleman’s club” for making threats and being disorderly. By the time the police arrived he was gone.

        Later that night he returned to the club and told an employee that he wanted to burn a pride flag, and he was going to burn down the club. He left the club but returned with the flag and using lighter fluid burned it in the street.

        He was sentenced to 15 years for being a habitual offender and two years for the hate crime, to be served concurrently

        He will be eligible for parole in 3 years.

        Prior to his final sentencing he gave an impact statement that he would never stop, and “was living by God’s laws.”

        On the hate crime the prosecutor, Jessica Reynolds, said “The hard reality is there are people who target individuals and commit crimes against individuals because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, and when that happens it’s so important that as a society we stand up and people have severe consequences for their actions.”

        To be clear he did not get a single extra day in jail because it was a pride flag. The sentences are concurrent. He likes torching things.

        I wonder what responses to this article would have been if he had a hobby of burning crosses on the front lawns of black people?

        1. JBird4049

          I wonder what responses to this article would have been if he had a hobby of burning crosses on the front lawns of black people?

          I do not think so, but even there a sixteen year sentence might a bit excessive.

          1. H. John Relton

            A mandatory sentence of 15 years set by Iowa law for habitual offenders. The judge had no discretionary choice.
            He had previously, for other fire related offences, been declared a habitual offender. He is eligible for parole in 3 years.
            I detest mandatory minimum sentences. I’m Canadian. I trust judges.
            The point I wanted to make is that the length of his sentence had nothing to do with his burning a pride flag, or any other flag. It did not add a single day to it.

    2. Late Introvert

      Thanks John Beach, for hipping us Iowans to HS literature. If only we had known. And just like in your state, all the people here take full responsibility for any court decision we have no control over.

      2 prior felonies, and unrepentant. Stole it from a church. Maybe 30-60 days would be better than the outrageous one or the slap on the wrist?

  15. John Beech

    Photo of 100 partially built Boeing 737 Max shows why production halted Business Insider (resilc)

    How wonderful for America! Let’s take the national champion out behind the woodshed and apply a beat down. We’ll use unelected bureaucrats striving to show their chops after embarrassingly showing their axx b being lax in oversight.

    After all, due to inflexible FAA-rules, Boeing was painted into a corner. E.g. in their attempt to give the airlines exactly what they asked for, an airplane which didn’t need a new type rating, they resorted to a band aid. And the FAA approved it.

    What ‘did’ Boeing do really wrongly? Well, acting like a freaking car salesman by making the second AoA sensor an option instead of standard – a couple thousand bucks worth of hardware on a multi tens of million dollar product doesn’t exactly strike me as seeing the big picture. Anyway, someone’s hind end ‘should’ be in the sling for that boneheaded move. but things happen and we learn from it so it’s past time to move on. Continuing to penalize that company with this bureaucratic foot dragging is only hurting the interests of America (and to the benefit, primarily, of the Europeans and their champion, Airbus).

    I’m a private pilot and I’d take a MAX flight this instant with a pilot trained on the system. Coupled with adding the additional sensor and a few lines of code, this is a training issue. Let’s get moving!

    1. Wukchumni

      Welcome aboard Hackneyed Airlines where we exclusively use the 737 Max, and if you get thirsty please ask your flight attendant for a flagon of Flint water en route. We know you had a choice of carriers and thanks for flying with us.

    2. tegnost

      What ‘did’ Boeing do really wrongly?

      They became a shell game finance company focused more on crushing workers than building planes and arbitraging localities against each other for massive tax breaks.

      In a free market they would go under just like goldman should have gone under. Really a laugh to read the list of their board of directors. Think of the bailout money those scoundrels have burned through, and they will expect another one here. I was at the everett bus station on a commute a few weeks ago and train went by with ten max (nfw for me, you can have all the confidence in them that you want, but I’ll note that trained pilots think it’s not safe) fuselages, each costing 1-1,8 billion, 2-3 billion if you want an engine on it. The wiki notes that 387 maxes have benn delivered, 400 have gone into mothballs, and over 5,000 orders, each of which probably has a deposit on it. What happens if they want the money back? Bailout.
      I’ll add your notion that one persons ass should be in a sling assumes that it was just one person, when it seems to be a malevolent corporate culture that made it happen and the blame spreads far and wide

      They should have stuck to building planes

    3. xkeyscored

      Poor Boeing, painted into a corner by FAA rules and what it thought its customers wanted?
      To the best of my knowledge, the MAX has always had two AoA sensors, but they decided to only use the output from one as input to the MCAS system, despite the known issues with these sensors.
      The reason for relying on one sensor is less clear, but the only explanation I’ve seen that makes much sense is that using two sensors – redundancy – would have flagged the system as a critical system, slowing the certification procedure.

      1. Johan Telstad

        Exactly! It would have categorized the system as flight critical, and would have required additional pilot training.

    4. Mr. Plissken

      My late father used to work for Boeing. One of his jobs was to write regulations for the FAA. People talk about Boeing and the FAA as if they are different entities. Please stop. They’re one and the same; maybe conjoined twins at the least. We should all start referring to them as BFAA.

    5. cgregory

      The FAA handed over to Boeing the inspection work. Boeing’s real problem was that the military contractors who ran McDonnell-Douglas took over the company when Boeing bought it. The culture changed from engineers designing planes to aeronautical ignoramuses cutting every corner they could in the name of profit.

      Enjoy your ride; the pilots won’t.

      1. RMO

        I’m a private pilot too. And trained as an Aviation Maintenance Engineer Category M. And many of the pilots I fly with in my club are airline or ex-airline pilots. I wouldn’t get on a 737MAX in it’s current state even if the people up front both had all the training and the combined skills of Bob Hoover and Eric Brown.

    6. Tim

      What Boeing did wrong was avoiding the type cert by using the mental powered afforded by ‘it’s impossible to understand something that your job depends on you not understanding” to not understand that pilots wouldn’t be able to respond to errant MCAS without training in the same manner that they could not have properly responded to the modified flight characteristics of the MAX without MCAS.

      Too many double negatives there. Boeing should have just trained the pilots and scrapped MCAS altogether, either way it is a training issue, and I find it bizarre you as a pilot are giving them a pass over it.

      People up and down the food chain were paid to be stupid. They made their corporate bed and they can lie in it. After it’s in receivership under the US government we can readjust their priorities and keep it as a national champion.

    7. bob

      “exactly what they asked for, an airplane which didn’t need a new type rating, they resorted to a band aid. And the FAA approved it.”

      This is going to get a building permit and telling the building department to design the building for you, so its legal.

      That’s not how it works. The building contractor, boeing, should know that.

    8. Johan Telstad

      The second AoA sensor is not an option, it just wasn’t being utilized by the flight computers. The reason for this was almost certainly time constraints and not a question of cost.
      That is, both flight computers would have to be reprogrammed and then tested again, which would have set the program back probably six months and already certified work would have to be redone. In addition, the puny processors (x286 @25MHz) have most likely been squeezed to within an inch of their lives already by the existing code. Just my 2 cents.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Trump’s impeachment may be just another battle in the US’s civil war”
    ‘After Donald Trump’s inaugural address, George W Bush turned to Hillary Clinton and said, “Well, that was some weird shit,” ‘

    I haven’t read the book by Michael Moore for years but I seem to recall that in it, George W Bush’s inauguration was weird in its own ways. I believe that up till then that Presidents would walk that route to be sworn in but Bush insisted being driven through there in a bullet-proof vehicle. And that what must have been his greatest day for him, he went mental about what was on the license plates and stopped everything while his detail ran around getting substitute license plates. That minor detail overrode everything for him, including being sworn in as President of the United States.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Something something Carter and Reagan. Much of the pomp and circumstances that the DC pundit class swears is eternal started under those two. Carter started this tradition.

      Shrub didn’t because of protesters. For whatever reason (probably Team Blue not wanting to acknowledge how they let W steal the election), the Democrats didn’t run with this.

    2. Tim

      I recall Trump’s inaugural address to be quite offensive to the establishment, going on and on how the little people in the country were to be forgotten no longer. It was definite seat squirming material for the superseded sitting behind Trump while he was speaking.

  17. David

    Apple, Amazon, and Google just announced a major partnership Business Insider (Kevin W). Why isn’t this an antitrust violation?

    if you read the story, the key word is “standard.” Effectively, they are agreeing to make their voice-activated equipment compatible with each other’s. It’s not a technology I’m interested in , but the technical press has generally said this is a good thing as it enables equipment from one manufacturer to function with another. It’s analogous to standardisation on wifi protocols, or the move to USB.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Israeli spyware allegedly used to target Pakistani officials’ phones”

    Not surprised that this is happening. Turkey is pushing into the Mediterranean and trying to claim a huge chunk of it to itself in the same way that the Chinese are in the South China Seas. But recently they have had ships from the Pakistan Navy join them in their operations and Pakistan is a long way from the Mediterranean. As two Turkish Navy ships confronted an Israeli research ship in Cypriot waters a few days ago, this must be making Israel wary of Pakistani intentions in case of a dust up, hence the extra spying-

    1. JTMcPhee

      Great justification. I’d be concerned about the Israeli fleet of quiet U-boats, built by Theissen-Krupp, the same company that built the Third Reich’s, paid for as guilt money by the German government, and armed with dozens of submerged-launchable long range cruise missiles carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads.

      Interesting that for all the strategic importance of the information, no one seems to know the exact character and capabilities of Israel’s nuclear arsenal. Don’t their people use cell phones that can be hacked?

        1. polecat

          Plus they’re chummin with the likes of the new-n-‘improved’ Jeffery E. ….. all the while, laughting their a$$e$ off at Barr’s feeble ‘no-conspiracy’ cover story, dipersed for plebian’s supposed consumption …

          1. pretzelattack

            a dead jeffrey epstein is in some respects an improvement, but i wish he had had the chance to snitch.

  19. Another Scott

    Re: Global Warming and New England Fisheries

    The article is very good, especially in regards to the impact on lobsters, but the problem is that it ignores the other negative impacts of human activities, especially as it relates to overfishing. Cod populations collapsed in 1993 due to overfishing beginning in the 1950s. The collapse devastated Atlantic Canada, in particular Newfoundland, and the fisheries and communities have never recovered.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      The ironic thing here is that the lobster fishery is (was) probably one of the most sustainable fisheries around. The fishermen policed themselves and if they caught a breeding female with a cluster of eggs under the tail, they would throw her back after cutting a notch in the tail so anyone else who caught the same lobster would know it was a breeder even if eggs weren’t present at the time. Each female can produce many thousands of eggs per year so as long as you keep these around, the population stays stable. You do not want to be caught by another lobsterman trying to keep a breeder if you value you health and/or life.

      Now it seems all those conservation efforts went for naught.

  20. Pat

    So while the Democrats were busy impeaching Trump and passing massive spending bills that don’t fund much of Americans’ priorities and approving Judges that their voters despise to lifelong sinecures they also played another not so obtuse act of kabuki to keep big donors happy. You know some of those donors also opposed to Medicare For All or any actions to actually make healthcare, not insurance, affordable. A BIPARTISAN plan to curtail surprise billing got derailed at the last minute by a Democrat who was certainly in a position to know that was exactly what he was doing. (I like Buzzfeed also throwing Schumer into the mix accurately I would bet.)
    Democratic Leadership Showed this Week That It Can’t Be Trusted With Healthcare Reform” from Slate
    Buzzfeed’s take

    The New York Times version blamed doctors not the Private Equity groups, and the Hill bought the cover and made it a turf war.

    And if I haven’t made it clear, I don’t think turf war fits. If the chairman of the House Ways and Means doesn’t understand that waiting until multiple groups have agreed to a version and a vote is imminent to throw a different ‘solution’ into the mix will kill the measure who would?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      From your Slate link:

      Neal [D, MA] could not have scuttled this legislation without permission from other senior Democrats, such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But nonetheless, it’s hard not to see this as a powerful Democrat, who will have a say over any major health care legislation his party puts forward, carrying water for his donors at the expense of patients. How can progressives trust a politician like that when it comes time for bigger health care reform? And how can they trust party leaders that let him get away with it?

      The morning after the house “impeached the president,” pelosi held a news conference during which she refused to discuss the “impeachment.” She preferred to highlight all of the “accomplishments” of the dem controlled house–245 bills or 400 bills or something like that–that were “sitting on mitch mcconnell’s desk.”

      Although I didn’t hear the whole thing, I’m pretty sure she didn’t “highlight” this particular “accomplishment.” What a worthless, two-faced, duplicitous POS she is.

      1. hunkerdown

        To the managerial caste, pushing paper = productivity. This is why these superpredators need to be brought to heel.

      2. polecat

        Let me guess .. 245-400 bills, with the furtherance in mind of congressional “only” approved Wallstreet insider trading, grifting, raking …. right ? All other priorities recinded ! .. just like the acid-for-blood motherf#ckers that they are.

    2. Shonde

      If the photo of Chairman Neal in the Slate article is related to the surprise billing bill, maybe the two congress members standing behind him have something to do with this last minute effort to kill possible legislation.
      One of those people in back of Neal is Congressman Dean Phillips (Phillips alcohol fortune) from Minnesota. Another with only half the face showing may be, and I can’t be sure, Congresswomen Angie Craig, former head of Human Resources for St. Jude Medical in Minnesota. Neither is a member of the Ways and Means Committee per Why are these two pictured with Neal? Phillips district includes major health insurers. If the person shown is Craig, she was an executive with St. Jude Medical. Were these two first term Minnesotans the major influence for Neal’s proposal?

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Under Trump, the US Has Become a Leading Source of Global Instability”

    Under Trump. Just Trump. Well I am sure that Pepe Escobar might have a few words to say about that idea. He even wrote a book about it called “Empire of Chaos”. But I am sure that other countries might be able to give their own insights into pre-Trump times. Countries like Iraq, Syria, Haiti, Libya, Russia, Panama, Ukraine, etc.

    1. Carolinian

      Not that Trump is helping with his Iran nonsense, one sided approach to Israel etc. But it didn’t start with him.

  22. Samuel Conner

    RE: “PayPal, Western Union Named & Shamed for Overcharging the Most on Money Transfers to Mexico”

    This will sound like an advert but is meant to simply be informative. When I looked at this a while ago, a service called “TransferWise” appeared to be very reasonable, with an acceptable per-transaction fee and actual market exchange rate quotes. For people who are banked, it may be the lowest cost option for ordinary pay-check scale international transfers.

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      Interesting that Santander is mentioned as I have used them 3 times this year to transfer cash from NI to ROI & each time it cost me £15.00, which was the same whether the amount was 14k or 350 quid. I was saved a tenner on a 4th amount by a kindly teller in the bank who sent me around the corner to Western Union. To be honest I did not compare what either were offering in exchange rates, but I could not help but notice that WU was crammed full of immigrant workers.

      I received 2 payments going the other way which balanced sterling’s post-Brexit losses but going back to a few days after the Brexit referendum result when receiving a final payment transfer I lost about 2K, which would have come in extremely useful in the storm I later found myself in. Now i have fingers crossed for another relatively large & now overdue payment, which might just balance the previous 2K lost. In some trepidation I half expected it to arrive the day Bojo won & the pound soared – now sliding down again which suits me rather selfishly just fine.

  23. Wukchumni

    Trump Should Be Removed from Office Christianity Today
    I know nothing in regards to CT, but what a clever tack while all of the other evangs have fallen into lockstep, they’ll emerge from the wreckage of this Presidency with the courage of their convictions wholly intact.

  24. Wukchumni

    Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference President of Russia
    3 1/2 hours of taking and answering queries while often deploying humor. It’s like a whet dream of what a leader should do.

    Often last night the candidates were given a minute to get the lead out, and what can you really do in 60 seconds flat?

      1. SKM

        me too (every year on RT live), agree. amazing! It`s also amusing to read how our media report these press conferences – the distortion of what he actually said is always breathtaking! They have no shame, only the conviction that only an infinitessimal number of us will have listened to any of the original…

    1. James O'Keefe

      Meh. Putin’s answers feel rehearsed. I doubt he has statistics on the “average age of machinery and equipment in the processing industry” in Russia off the top of his head.

      His “It is very difficult, if not impossible, to work out exactly how humankind affects climate change”, but we will do something about it because Russia is warming faster than the global average, looks like a dodge to me. Better than Trump, but not exactly sterling leadership.

    2. John k

      I read the transcript. His grasp of rhe various issues concerns affecting his country is incredible. You can see why he’s our enemy number one, he’s too competent. Plus his apparent concern for improving Russian lives reflects badly on our own leaders… though he doesn’t seem to know much about mmt.
      Disappointed there wasn’t a discussion of Syria and Iran. His discussion of us sanctions on his country was quite civil.

  25. Summer

    Re: “Apple, Amazon, and Google just announced a major partnership” Business Insider (Kevin W). Why isn’t this an antitrust violation?

    “Today there is no widely adopted open standard for smart home which is built upon IP and yet IP is the protocol of the internet and is the most common network layer used in our homes and offices,” the group said, adding that “many Smart Home devices use proprietary protocols today, requiring them to be tethered to a home network using dedicated proxies and translators.”

    Wouldn’t they have to come up with an open standards/non-proprietary protocols as one of the ways to avoid antitrust?

    That asked, I try my BESTEST to stay away from smart speakers (which can be used as microphones too). Enough trouble remembering to leave my cell phone in another room or at home as much as possible.

  26. Summer

    RE: “The latest installment opens up a new big chapter with a whistleblower-provided (and large) dataset: Twelve Million Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy. Importantly, it shows that if you have a smartphone, your location data is not and can never be anonymized.”

    If you go through your phone and turn off location access, including all location access on apps, turn off your phone overnight, then turn it back on in the morning, the first thing you see is the “location” icon quickly activating then flashing off. It’s that little bit of extra…more than the cell service bar showing that you have access to a network.
    When you have all the “location” accesses that you can see on the phone turned off, another thing you will catch is the bluetooth mysteriously coming on and occasionally even the location access.

  27. Summer

    RE: “Surveillance footage outside of Jeffrey Epstein’s cell during suicide attempt is missing New York Post. Chuck L: “I’m shocked. Shocked!”

    Each revelation lets you know how high up the scum rises.
    It just screams: The biggest names attached to Epstein are as degenerate as they make ’em…

    1. Fíréan

      Many “big names” are attached to Epstein for his financial services and expertize, which might be just as embarassing to the clientele should the public become aware and enlightened in that respect . The one aspect of associations receives more media coverage in order to distract and disinform from the other ( totally obliterate from public scrutiny ).

  28. anon in so cal

    Putin’s Press Conference:

    If *only* the U.S. had a leader with Putin’s intelligence, grasp of history, insight, and wisdom!

    Instead, U.S. NeoCons continue the bipartisan attempt to increase risk of war with Russia, whether it’s Ted Cruz’s new sanctions to block Nordstream2 or CIA Democrats insane impeachment rhetoric.

    “Provoking a War with Russia?
    by Larry C Johnson

    “The anti-Russian insanity that dominates the politics of America is dangerous, stupid and detached from facts. Two news items from Wednesday (December 18th) should scare the hell out of you.
    The first concerns Russia’s Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, which is nearing completion and will deliver gas to Europe…..”

    1. pjay

      Thanks for this. A depressingly familiar story. Just what we need — another “liberal” media outlet to protect us from the Rooskies.

      On the other hand, I did get a lot of laughs from this edition of Roaming Charges. St. Clair and Counterpunch have published a lot of irritating crap lately. But I have to admit he has a way with the one-liners — especially when I agree with him.

  29. CoryP

    The expansion of the Counterpunch/Hunziker article is located below a Wired link about AI which seems to be a formatting error unless the AI link is surprisingly broad.

  30. Krytsyn Walentka

    RE: “Your apps know where you were last night, and they’re not keeping it secret” and “Twelve Million Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy”

    I do not know why people are not more disturbed by this stuff, the creeping fascism. I see it in myself, always on the edge of just giving in to the surveillance state and opting for the cheapness, convince, and slickness of the Google ecosystem.

    I live in poverty (soon to be living in a van again) and not having a smartphone makes life just that much more difficult (I am hoping to de-condition myself from being so dependent on the smartphone but this is where I am right now). I do not pay much for my data, only about $40 a month, but this tracking stuff was disturbing enough that I had to figure a way out of it. So here it is:

    Apple products were out because it is not much better than android and Apple traps you in their ecosystem with dark patterns that is almost as bad as the surveillance. So I got…

    1 – Stand Alone GPS ($100)
    2 – Thinkpad Laptop running Debian 10 ($70)
    3 – Moto G7 with LineageOS installed ($200)
    4 – Flip Phone I can easily swap my SIM card into for extra privacy ($30)
    5 – Paid Email Service
    6 – Possibly in the future a Kobo E-Reader

    So for $400 I am set up, de-googled, and protected from the majority of tracking.

    I am going to start blogging soon about all this and other things just to share how it is done. I found my biggest obstacle was having to search wide and far to put it all together so figured I would get it all in one place.

    If I was not living in a van I would ditch the smartphone altogether.

    1. HotFlash

      Thank you for this, I will be watching for your blog. I am so, so tired of being tracked everywhere. “Do you have Air Miles? Do you have a Points card?” It is one thing to be dragged, it is quite another to put your own head into the leash.

  31. EGrise

    Re: Photo of 100 partially built Boeing 737 Max shows why production halted Business Insider (resilc)

    Is no one going to mention that those planes look like hotdogs on a roller grill, like the ones at a convenience store?

    No? Just me?

    I’ll show myself out.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Supersized Oscar Meyer Weinermobiles? Plus they’d be great for delivering windmill turbine blades.

  32. Danny

    “AI Will Transform The Field Of Law

    Might make useful reading for a middle school student…

    How much brainless B.S. can this guy blow before finally getting somewhat near the premise?

    “Exciting progress” –please fetch the barf bucket.

    The author of this P.R. release is a venture capital partner who undoubtedly has invested in A.I.

    This article should be definitely be labeled “Financial Advertisement.”

    Why is it that more and more stuff like this appears online? Just more space to post online ads amidst the endless text, with whatever point they make, maybe somewhere at the end? Good writers, like in Business Insider, puts in bullet points at the beginning.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Thanks for saying what I wanted to. When I saw the byline my thought was “talking his book”. But I’ve been sucked in by Forbes running some decent journalism as of late.

      By the by, your faithful rabbit works on some AI stuff. Anyone who tells you that it can negotiate a contract is nuts – or a salesperson. Usually a man, for what it’s worth. Women in my firm tend to laugh at this stuff.

      What AI can presently do is recognize and parse text passages and postulate emotional states in them. I’ve seen that done and it’s eerie. It’s OK with identification of photos and videos but still a lot of errors and false positives that require human review. It’s really more statistics than “intelligence”.

      Legal work is decades away, if at all. I think AI is a lot like research on quantum physics. Minor steps forward take a long time. Getting over inherent bias is the present workstream.

      1. inode_buddha

        Wouldn’t that fall under expert systems anyway, and not strictly AI? Deep Blue comes to mind (think grandmaster chess) , and IBM has long been rumored to have legal expert systems in place in-house. The main advantage seems to be memory and the ability to make links. Just curious.

        Disclaimer: I was one of the original participants at Groklaw re: SCO vs IBM.

        1. Bugs Bunny

          No expert systems legal at IBM. They’d like you to think so. Closest they get is contract templates.

      1. newcatty

        Yes, especially their expressive faces. To state the ole obvious line: Don’t insult camels with any reference to being designed by Congress ( hey, I for one am not including Bernie or Tulsi in that observation).

        1. The Rev Kev

          You could slip it into the background of an alien planet in Star Wars and it would fit right in. I wonder what other animals are out there that we do not usually see like this one?

  33. Susan the Other

    Fr. McGill’s curative clay was a very interesting report. Raising the question, why don’t our laboratories use the power of evolution to counter superbugs? After this find of Streptomyces and how ubiquitous it is, and how fragile and diverse, it only makes sense that we analyze the superbugs to see where they are sluggish and slow to evolve and hit them with an adaptable, though fragile, counter-bacteria. How can legend do anything but reflect on something that actually happened? Why does everyone always pretend that they know better? Unless it’s just for commercial gain? Say, like the movie series Star Wars. The proof is in the dirt. Not the animatronics.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      There’s an old line of research from the Soviet Union that was restarted about a decade ago in bacteriophages. Most of the papers were in Georgian. These phages are viruses that exclusively attack microbes like staphylococcus, yersinia pestis, etc. Fascinating.

    2. ewmayer

      “why don’t our laboratories use the power of evolution to counter superbugs?” — Because “our laboratories” already know full well the #1 way to counter superbugs – stop the rampant over-and-mis-use of antibiotics – but that would be bad for sales by the Big Pharma corps housing and funding the very same “our laboratories”.

      1. polecat

        Now, now .. let’s not forget the wonders of anti-bacterial soap ………

        Brought to you by those smart guilt-tripping folk at BIG Chemical …

        “What!! Your using just regular handsoap – What’s Wrong With You ! Here, try this flammable goo instead ….”

  34. Oregoncharles

    “Hunziker throws a bucket of cold water…” should be under “Biosphere Collapse,” not the link about AI. I was confused for a while there.

  35. The Rev Kev

    “Delta flight attendants say their uniforms are making them lose their hair, break out in hives, and cough uncontrollably”

    This is getting to be an annual story this. Different airlines but the same story of staff being poisoned by toxic materials in new uniforms issued. I suppose that if you had to put this under a category, it would be called ‘Can’t They Do Anything Right?’ It’s not that hard and if need be, they could re-adopt the uniforms of a decade ago and the problem would be fixed.

    1. Oregoncharles

      If anyone would be willing/able to MAKE the “uniforms of yesteryear.” We mostly dress from the thrift stores, but that won’t work for uniforms!

  36. VietnamVet

    Boeing’s Starliner Spacecraft and the 737 Max flight control software failures should never have happened in passenger carrying vehicles. Redundancy and safety double checks were dumped to cut costs. Clearly deregulation and monopoly based neoliberalism is unsafe. Yet both political parties support it. The Impeachment of Donald Trump and Mike Pence and President Nancy Pelosi for a year does not solve any of these problems. It is like Australia’s wildfire smoke filled air. There is no political/economic fix on the horizon.

  37. John k

    Emerson poll looks like
    32 biden
    25 sanders
    12 warren
    6 Buttigieg

    And Biden looks to do poorly in early primaries
    I liked warrens personnel choices… clearly Bernie’s strongest veep.

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