Links 12/22/19

Scientists discover fish that can use their fins as FEET 3,000-feet below the surface of the ocean in the Gulf of Mexico Daily Mail

Next Bank of England governor looks to ease rules after Brexit Politico

Bank of England audio leak followed loss of key cybersecurity staff Guardian (KW).

Credit Suisse probed by Finma over spying FT

Mastercard On Overcoming AI’s Bias Problem PYMNTS

Artificial intelligence and machine learning can be the backbones of a drug launch playbook STAT

New York City couldn’t pry open its own black box algorithms. So now what? Recode

After federal study finds racial bias in facial recognition tech, advocates renew calls for ban ABC

Roasted Australia: Hottest Days on Record for the Continent Weather Underground

Nation which expected nothing still somehow let down The Chaser


Three New Year’s Wishes for Britain and the EU Michel Barnier, Project Syndicate and Brexit: Barnier’s wish list EU Referendum

Another humiliation for Jeremy Corbyn: Six Labour MPs defy their leader to vote for Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal as dozens more abstain Daily Mail

Labour’s Brexit position set MPs up to fail, says Lisa Nandy Guardian

Exclusive: The Brits who won’t Brexit Reuters

Will a united front against the far-right transform French politics? Middle East Eye

No Christmas Mass at Notre-Dame for first time in two centuries Agence France Presse


The 12 Strongest Arguments That Douma Was A False Flag Caitlin Johnstone

Violence Is a Dangerous Route for Protesters Foreign Policy


HK$70mn protest fund frozen over ‘money laundering’ RTHK

* * *

Xinjiang security crackdown sparks Han Chinese exodus FT

China flight systems jammed by pig farm’s African swine fever defences South China Morning Post. Follow up to this story.

Patterns of GPS Spoofing at Chinese Ports The Maritime Executive

The confused and uneven response to Chinese party-state influence: A symptom of corporate influence and capitalisation – Part One: Theory The Asia Dialogue. Part Two

In the footsteps of Xuanzang in Kyrgyzstan Pepe Escobar, Asia Times (KW). Part two. A travelogue.


Trump’s Impeachment, Ukraine, and War With Russia Yasha Levine. It’s almost as if the entire impeachment process was orchestrated by warmongering loons.

Uncertainty hangs over Trump impeachment trial The Hill

Officials Discussed Hold on Ukraine Aid After Trump Spoke With Country’s Leader NYT. Email from a FOIA request and not anonymous sources familiar with the matter, amazingly enough.


Sixth Democratic Debate Hits Ratings Low for 2020 Cycle Hollywood Reporter

Trump adviser: Expect more aggressive poll watching in 2020 AP

Sanders rolls out over 300 California endorsements The Hill

Why Biden’s Retro Inner Circle Is Succeeding So Far Politico

Pete Buttigieg’s Campaign Says This Wikipedia User Is Not Pete. So Who Is It? Slate (JH). Odd.

Wine caves (Bob):

Bob comments: “Most wine comes out of places that look like oil refineries. The ‘vineyards’ are for branding only. Props. You know how you can tell that a wine cellar isn’t used for wine? Because there is room for 50+ people to sit down and have dinner in it.”


Of course, there’s also the idea that when the billionaire class reflects the demographic characteristics of society as a whole, social justice will have been achieved.

California population growth slowest since 1900 as residents leave, immigration decelerates Los Angeles Times

Health Care

The ACA is now embedded in U.S. health care — and its legality is still in question NPR (KC).

Boeing 737

Boeing’s Push to Make Training Profitable May Have Left 737 Max Pilots Unprepared Bloomberg. Very good.”By the time the Max entered development, Boeing was pushing hard to turn the unglamorous but all-important business of customer training into a profit center of its own.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

Chained to Globalization Foreign Affairs. Important; not pay-walled.

The Real Lesson of Afghanistan Is That Regime Change Does Not Work Counterpunch. For some definition of “work.”

Class Warfare

Top 1%: Wages up 158% since 1979 Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture

Premature mortality attributable to socioeconomic inequality in England between 2003 and 2018: an observational study The Lancet. “35·6% (95% CI 35·3–35·9) of premature deaths were attributable to socioeconomic inequality, equating to 877, 082 deaths, or one every 10 min.” Everything’s going according to plan!

Greg Abbott’s ‘Indefinite,’ Imperfect Homeless Camp Texas Observer

An interview with political scientist Adolph Reed, Jr. on the New York Times’ 1619 Project WSWS

Peter Hotez vs. Measles and the Anti-Vaccination Movement Texas Monthly

How anti-vaxxers get around Instagram’s new hashtag controls The Rapplers

An Expert Called Lindy Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Incerto. From 2017, still germane.

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Henry Moon Pie

    Chained to globalization–

    You mean the Friedman Gospel that the People That Matter can go about the important business of making as much money as possible while the Invisible Hand makes sure it all works out for the best for everybody (Praise be to the Invisible Hand!), you mean that gospel isn’t true?

    Less faith-based observers predicted most of this some time ago and were ridiculed by the likes of Friedman. And the piling up of evidence that globalization sucks in a myriad of ways will do nothing to change his message. He’s like the Doomsday Prophet whose date for the end comes and nothing happens. “Six more months…” Well past the time that refrain has worn thin, he’ll write a piece that explains how it’s all our fault that his neoliberal utopia hasn’t arrived yet.

    1. GramSci

      Chained to Globalization – – a cri de coeur: “Finally, governments need to learn to talk to one another in new ways.” Yet no use for neither the word “climate” nor “warming”.

      1. tegnost

        I thought that article contained an unusual number of references to things regulators “should do” considering that in the US what regulators should do is nothing…

        1. flora

          The neoliberal economic philosophy demands govts never interfere in ‘the market’ except to strengthen the market, even to improve its citizens economic lives, safety and well being. The govt must instead reorder society to further the market and its profits in all things, even areas formerly controlled by govt. (see public/private agreements) Govt should only exist within ‘the market’, subordinate to ‘the market’.

          Govt regulations are forbidden if they interfere with the market making a profit, even regulations to shut down financial and corporate abuses. Govt regulation would be an unwarranted intrusion into the space “naturally” controlled by the infallible market.

          (Neoliberal economists believe this stuff. )

          1. flora

            adding: after 40 years of this we now have what I’d describe as economic tyranny of the market. I keep hoping our politicians will wake up and realize the market is subordinate to democratic govt.

          2. Cat Burglar

            As the article in today’s links, from The Asia Dialogue, shows, security elites now understand that globalization has also meant globalizing the revolving-door and political influence markets! Now China has domestic political pull here, just like the domestic powers. The Foreign Policy article authors are worried.

          1. flora

            an aside: the neolib idea that strong govts lead to tyranny discounts the the fact that a strong democratic political system is a check on tyranny. In the past 40 years the US has bit-by-bit traded a strong democratic political system (how many of our politicians now pay any attention to their not-rich citizens issues?) for a system of growing market tyranny, imo.

      2. mpalomar

        Yes, how do you entertain policy tweaking without mention of the 1000 pound monkey in the works?

        And not only Anthropogenic Global Warming but failure to spell out neoliberal entanglement of government and too big to fail global corporate conglomerates, making the call for regulation just whistling in the wind.

        Yup, if we can just rearrange those damn deck chairs everything’s going to be fine. Reminds of the Buffalo Springfield’s Something Happening Here.

          1. JBird4049

            And just like then, it’s still not clear except that at then, while we might’ve still on been on a possible eve of destruction, it was still was possibly hopeful, but now the people who were listening to these songs seem determine to forget it all; let’s burn the world down for the glorious best of all possible worlds, this neoliberal heaven. I just wonder what they envision hell as?

    2. DWD

      Atrios is actually credited with the invention of the “Friedman Unit.*”

      One Friedman Unit = Six Months

      As for the article? Typical unimaginative clap trap.

      The simplest question is always Why?

      Why are our systems this way? Because it makes some people rich who have achieved dominance by having laws, rules, and the rest changed, even written, to give the right people the advantage.

      It really makes little sense to send raw materials across a large ocean to produce goods that then have to be taken across the same large ocean to be utilized.

      All of these things we see are the result of policies.

      Change the policies, change the outcome.


    3. Summer

      It talked about anything but why “chained to globalization” (NOTHING NEW AT ALL AND PROMINENT SINCED THE FIRST LONG VOYAGE SHIPS APPEARED) has to mean f’in “chained to runaway inequality” all over the world.

      It does anything but explain exactly why “chained to globalization” means CEOs making 5,000,000 times the salary of an employee.

      It does anything but explain why “globalization” must equal corporate monopolies. For instance it says:
      “Then, in the first decade of this century, cloud computing began to centralize key functions of the Internet in systems maintained by a few large firms, such as Amazon and Microsoft…”
      Note the lack of agency: “Cloud computing began to centralize key functions of the Internet systems…”
      Okay, Virginia, “some system” decided to centralize key functions that everyone was so helpless to stop. Riiiiiiiggghhtt. Reality: Whoever benefited the most financially decided to centralize key functions. There are specific people with names that made these decisions for the benefit of specific people with names.

      “To avoid such problems, policymakers need to understand not just how the world’s networks function but also how each of them connects to the others…”
      Why don’t the policy makers just ask the corporate lobbyists that are camped out at their doorstep with prepared “policy” in hand???

      “And whereas the tacit rules of the Cold War were developed mostly by politicians, military leaders, and nuclear physicists, their twenty-first-century equivalents will necessarily involve the participation of a broader and more quarrelsome set of communities, including not just state officials but also businesses and nongovernmental organizations.”
      I have a bridge somewhere to sell you if you buy what’s implied here: that cold war politicians, military leaders and scientists did not intersect with businessess and nongovernmental agencies. IG Farben, Sullivan and Cromwell, etc had no say in the tacit rules of the Cold War? That was left to politicians studying facts and figures, consulting with their electorate, and making informed decisions bases on providing for their general welfare?? Ha!
      So exactly what is meant by a “more quarrelsome set of communites” in the 21st Century? I guess it’s so “quarrelsome” that colonialism and imperialism still get fought against.

      I could go on, but the kiddies can only hope the powers that be can figure out a solution to WWI after over 100 years.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      I read this link as an extended paean to globalization and TINA sung in a minor key to hide its intent. After all — it is given — “globalization as a natural extension of market freedoms” is axiom. It is given “governments will find it impossible to re-create the separate national economies that prevailed before the advent of globalization” and attempts to do so “would overturn entire industries and vastly increase prices for ordinary people” and would “set off massive resistance and economic chaos.”

      “Globalization, in short, has proved to be not a force for liberation but a new source of vulnerability, competition, and control; networks have proved to be less paths to freedom than new sets of chains.”

      The link concludes with a long list of ‘shoulds’ that sound to me like a Corporate wish list of government actions to remove some of the trade frictions that state concerns about vulnerability and state efforts toward competition, and control create in the smooth flow of profits.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          “Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.”-from Thucydides, what the athenians said to the melians…an early example of “realism”(ie: might makes right)

          but these folks can’t just come out with it, but must prate on about the Great God Moloch, whom they serve, and His inscrutable capriciousness.
          this is prolly the main reason i abstain from news on tv…all the pious prattling about “our democracy”(looks heavenward) and such…just makes me ill.
          all of it….including my inability to legally sell an egg…is a choice, made by powerful cabals of humans…who can, in the end, bleed just as easily as I.

      1. Cat Burglar

        You can look at the article as an elite call for negotiation between the national security and financial factions to iron out some unexpected management issues.

        I read articles like this the way I read an avalanche forecast before a ski tour: a way to evaluate a pitiless amoral hazard.

    5. Katniss Everdeen

      For its part, the United States needs to recognize that its attempts to weaponize the world’s financial and information networks threaten others and moderate its behavior accordingly. Restraint will not just encourage stability; it will also serve the country’s own narrow interests.
      The United States must also avoid overreacting to other countries’ efforts to make themselves less vulnerable to chained globalization: China’s investments in its semiconductor sector, Russia’s development of alternatives to global financial networks, EU members’ efforts to insulate their firms from U.S. overreach.

      “Moderate its behavior.” “Restraint.” “Encourage stability.” “Avoid overreacting.” As if any of these words are even in the american lexicon, let alone “policy” possibilities. Just read the Yasha Levine link to see the lengths to which TPTB will go to avoid doing anything of the sort.

      If the word cooperation isn’t the opposite of hegemony, it should be, so whatever the “existential dangers” of chained globalization are, we’d all best be prepared for them.

    6. Cat Burglar

      Things must be getting a little rough for Foreign Policy to publish explicit mention that globalization is controlled through nodal points like SWIFT and internet and other communications systems.

      The basic idea is to convene a dialog between elite stakeholder groups to reach agreement over investment control by the national security apparat, the creation of an economy and infrastructure resistant to attack, and an agreement in US policy circles to use nodal points (like SWIFT) only in extraordinary cases. Pretty ambitious.

      You can see Trump’s political value: his tone-deaf foreign policy overreaches have the elite worried that he is going to expose the whole racket beyond use. The authors advocate restraint to keep the cover on things, but my guess is that only the US general public is still in the dark about our control of the net or SWIFT.

      Goodies will be handed out to groups that come to the table: more jobs in an expanded economic security bureaucracy, more NGO jobs, some work building that new redundant infrastructure, plenty of tech positions, and whatever the FIRE sector will require in return for security regulation of transactions. The article does not contemplate how the general public will be need to be suckered into it, but “fighting them in Ukraine instead of here” suggests what we have coming.

      Really a useful article. Joe Biden take note!

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Roasted Australia: Hottest Days on Record for the Continent”

    The first image on this page was captioned ‘A bushfire burns behind a property in Balmoral’. Just an update. That town is gone now as nearly all of it burned down. One guy, an artist, only survived by taking shelter in a home made kiln-

    That image too of those two German girls in Sydney with all the smoke is how it looks like around here the past few days. I hate the smell of smoke in the morning. It smells like climate change. Meanwhile Prime Minister Scott Morrison is back in Oz after pulling the pin on his overseas holiday with a sort of a ‘mistakes were made’ apology and such gems as “I am comforted by the fact that Australians would like me to be here simply so I can be here alongside them as they go through this terrible time.”

    But he also said that there will be no change regards his government’s climate change policy and has doubted any link to these unprecedented temperatures & fires with climate change. So, nothing will change with him. In response, former political reporter Laurie Oakes was saying on Twitter that “He might as well rack off back to Hawaii then.”

    1. anon in so cal

      Along with the infernal heat and winds, there’s the massive drought and water rationing. In some remote areas, people apparently rely on sporadic / weekly water delivery trucks for drinking water.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Good links those. And that is exactly neoliberalism with the natural forces of the market at work with government action pushed out of the picture.

    2. John Wright

      The picture attached to your link seems to show the way a wooden framed house in a wildfire can burn, from the inside out.

      That matches my experience in the October 2017 Northern California wildfire that consumed my home.

      The posited mechanism is that burning embers blow into the attic and then the hot dry wind starts the inside of the house burning.

      On a neighbor’s Sonoma County, CA house, it was as if someone had turned on a very bright light INSIDE the attic that was visible through the attic vents.

      Then the house started visibly burning.

      From my limited reading of the 2008 Australian building code changes, arising from the Victoria bushfires, it is now required that attic vents be covered with a metal mesh with a maximum hole size of 2mm.

      I wonder if the Australian home in the picture had been recently hardened with better attic vents/windows?

      I recently spoke with a recent victim of the 2019 Kincaid fire in Sonoma County, CA who suffered damage to her vineyard, while her house survived.

      She believed her house was fire resistant because it had a tile roof and cement stucco covered wooden walls.

      She seemed unaware that many similar homes burned down in 2017, but from the inside-out.

      Have there been any reports on the effectiveness of the new Australian residential bush-fire resistant building codes?

      1. Jessica

        @John Wright,
        I suspect that reports on the effectiveness of new building codes will be much harder to find.
        So often news contains only the information needed to generate some kind of emotional reaction but lacks the information needed to actually do something useful in response.

        1. John Wright

          From reports here in CA, the survival rate of wooden homes built to the pre-2008 code is around 20% (for homes in the wildfires’ path) while about 50% for similarly exposed homes built to the later 2008 code.

          The new CA building code does, apparently make a difference, but an approximate 50% fail rate for homes built to the new code is high.


          “In the Ventura foothills, four of the nine homes on Andorra Lane burned down in the Thomas Fire. Almost no one expected it. After all, the homes were brand new. They were surrounded by dozens of other homes. And most importantly, they met the state’s building codes for areas at heightened risk of wildfires.”

          There may be quite a bit of re-assessment of residential building practices in CA and Australia, but it may take some time and some serious “financial” prodding by the fire insurance companies.

          1. Anon

            Search the LATimes online. They have done extensive reporting on this type of fire protection data. There are many ways a house adjacent to other houses can burn down. Attributing cause and effect isn’t as easy as looking at building codes.

            The Times analysis found that interior attic fire was “more likely” to be a cause of structure fire than heat penetrating windows and causing interior curtains/furniture to ignite. The least effective exterior defensible space was 30′-100′ feet from the structure. The most effective exterior defensible space was 5′-25′ from a house. Unfortunately, many houses in fire prone areas are built near one another, within that 25′ effective zone.

    3. skippy

      Gotta love the – ***great anxiety he was gone*** – trope, the dear leader is not here to guide us and hold us to his bosom … he conceded ….


    4. norm de plume

      Leadership Australian-style. A week long course.
      Background is – spend years denying increasingly solid evidence of climate related fire/heat/drought dangers, double down by comically caressing a piece of coal in parliament to dramatise hilarious Greenie concerns, find self on back foot as worst fire season in history commences… so you:

      1 go on a family holiday to Hawaii without telling anyone
      2 have your lackeys at home pretend you’re not away, then that you are but they’re unsure where and its none of your business anyway, then sheepishly admit that alright then, you are in Hawaii but will back asap
      3 show up 40 hours later, pretending to be contrite (but tempering this partly because really you couldn’t give two shits and also because you are afraid your nose might grow on national television)
      4 throughout the week move in concert with your deputy to be strictly on-message: first – ‘the fires aren’t related to CC, that’s a greenie myth, come off it’, to ‘the jury is still out on a link’ to ‘ok, well perhaps there might be a connection, we don’t know’ to ‘OK OK, there is a link… but we’re not going to change our policies anyway’!!

      The only reason to wish ScoMo continued good health is the fact that his deputy is even worse. We would be swapping a foolish knave for a knavish fool. McCormack reminds me Bertie Russell’s remarks on Xenophon:

      ‘There has been a tendency to think that everything Xenophon says must be true, because he had not the wits to think of anything untrue. This is a very invalid line of argument. A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says is never accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something that he can understand’

  3. Corbin Dallas

    A note to the NYC algorithm article: “progressive” mayor de Blasio hired the former spokeswoman for the NYPD to be the algorithm chief – and decided to avoid investigating the algorithms the NYPD is using, thereby nullifying a lot of the power of this law. This is another in the long line of capitulation of self styled police reformers when push comes to shove.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, trying to weaponise raw data on ethnic representation can be a nasty double edged sword. Cornel West has written very interesting things about how ethnic groups over time become ‘white’ (‘white’ being originally only anglo-salon-American white) – first the Irish and Italians, then the Jews, and increasingly its occurring with South and East Asians and Hispanics (the latter when it suits whoever is making the argument). As always, its African Americans and Native Americans who get left out among the ‘others’, which is ironic given that they’ve both been in the US longer than most ethnic groups.

      But it will be interesting to see how liberal American tries to address Sanders Jewishness while they do their best to keep him from power.

      1. Kasia

        The 1790 Naturalization Act states that only “free whites of good character” can become naturalized American citizens. So an easy test on which groups were considered white is to see who got naturalized. There is not one case on record of any Irish or Italians ever being challenged on their whiteness although there was a case where a Finnish person was. There was of course widespread anti-Irish and anti-Italian sentiment. On the other hand although almost always naturalized, Jews were occasionally challenged about being white and even today many will claim not to be white. Hispanics were generally considered white for most of US history until Richard Nixon decided they were not and were instead eligible for affirmative action and preferential government contracts. For Arabs it was mixed. What’s interesting is that in recent years there has been a “flight from white” particularly for people from North Africa or the Middle East who presumably want preferential access to government contracts.

        If Sanders gets the nomination Liberals will give him the Corbyn treatment and despite his ethnicity, Sanders will be smeared as an anti-Semite. Yes, there have already been a few articles attempting this line of gaslighting.

        1. divadab

          Roseann Barr “I don’t self-identify as white”. I have to agree with her – “White” is a useless catch-all, with no tribal or national validity. Roseann self-identifies as “a jewish woman”; I self-identify as an “anglo-celtic lapsed protestant”.

          Racism is baked in the the US of A – it’s in the legal regime, masquerading as anti-discrimination measures. This manichean approach is simply brain-dead and self-perpetuating, a legacy of slavery patterns. NO improvement will happen until we have no more institutionalised racism.

          Anyway it’s a taboo subject, mostly. Try to get a liberal to explain why they won’t live in South San Francisco – it’s remarkable the contortion s they go to to avoid admitting they don’t want to live in a poor african-american area. But they still won’t live there or even go there. They won;t live on the Mexican side of town either, but won’t explain why honestly, either.

          1. human

            “Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

            1. divadab

              Well, yes. But we are tribal beings and are most comfortable within our own tribe, particularly and especially when raising children.

          2. Katniss Everdeen

            “White” is a useless catch-all, with no tribal or national validity.

            Comes in pretty handy when leveling a charge of “racism” though. As a matter of fact, there’s no “racism” without a universally guilty group to be different from.

            And the fluidity with which “white” is defined (Roseann Barr “I don’t self-identify as white”) provides infinite possibilities for claims of prejudiced “mistreatment.”

          3. Kasia

            Jews are in a sort of quantum superposition between white and not white, depending on which position benefits them at any given time. For example in discussion of over-representation, Jews have an interest in being considered white so that they will be limited to their 2.2% population numbers. On Identity Politics, they have an advantage in being non-white since Identity Politics is forbidden to whites.

            There are many, many reason liberals (and anyone else) would not want to live in South San Francisco but demographics is not one of them since there are very few blacks who live there. Liberals will most certainly move to the Mission (the Mexican side of town) so much so that there is a large anti-gentrification movement in the Mission.

            1. divadab

              Ok I was not specific enough – I had a specific neighborhood and a specific conversation with a specific liberal author and the neighborhood was near Candlestick.

              My general point stands – SF being a generally-gentrified city it’s not really the best example – go to Fresno or Bakersfield and see how many bourgeois want to live on the Mexican side of town.

              1. Kasia

                Okay, you meant Bayview–Hunters Point and yes, no liberal would want to live there for many reasons and demographics would certainly be one of them.

              2. Jeff W

                “…would not want to live in South San Francisco…the neighborhood was near Candlestick.”

                Huh? South San Francisco doesn’t even border the neighborhood near Candlestick. And it’s not “a poor african-american area”—the demographics are, according to the city’s web site, “37.9% Asian, 33.9% Hispanic, and 20.2% White” (leaving 8% unaccounted for) and the median household income is $85,076. (I’ve lived in South San Francisco for over 20 years, and although there are reasons not to want to live here, I’d rather not see it mischaracterized.)

        2. PlutoniumKun

          Under the 1790 Act Asians were considered ‘white’ too under the definition (it was changed later in the face of potential mass Chinese immigration) so thats completely irrelevant to any assessment of the place of non-AngloSaxon immigrants to the US. The definition within the Act was exclusionary as opposed to inclusionary, hence many ‘accidentally’ qualified. In any event, even the most superficial reading of US labor history shows plenty of examples of the application of racial typology that specifically identified Jews, Irish, Italians, Slavs, etc., as being ‘othered’ with regard to native born anglo saxon/north Europeans. Of course, it was often hidden within the general anti-catholicism of the nativist movement of the mid 19th Century.

        3. Yves Smith

          Plenty of sources contradict your benchmark. For instance, many employers in the 19th and early 20th century had “Irish need not apply” signs or more ugly variants. And naturalization didn’t become a thing until business made it so to fight anti-immigrant sentiment early in the 20th century. See:

          On Irish, Italians, and other Europeans ethnicities like Slavs not being considered white:

          White immigrants weren’t always considered white — and acceptable

          How the Irish Became White

          When the Irish Weren’t White

          Where the Irish are not quite `white’ white

          When Irish Immigrants Weren’t Considered ‘White’

          One of my middle aged Jewish friends even remarked, “When did Jews become white?????” regarding the way Jewish men are now presumed to enjoy white privilege.

          1. Kasia

            These arguments are circular and basically break down to:

            Whites are privileged and not oppressed.

            Irish, Italians, etc were not privileged and were oppressed.

            Therefore Irish, Italians, were not white.

            Which of course means the original premise can never be challenged because whenever it is found that whites are not privileged then that just means these whites are not white. Nice! Social science is so easy!

            Evidence for Irish, Italians, etc not being white would also include prosecutions for breaking miscegenation laws when they married those whites supposedly considered white. But there is not one case anywhere in the US of a man of Irish decent being arrested for breaking the race mixing laws by marrying a white, white woman.

            1. Yves Smith

              Your tone is out of line. And are you incapable of understanding logic? “Not A” is not B. “Not white” is not black.

              Did you bother reading the links? Either you didn’t or are misrepresenting them. Either is evidence of bad faith argumentation.

              For instance, from the very first article:

              Economist Robert F. Forester wrote in 1924, “in a country where the distinction between white man and black is intended as a distinction of value … it is no compliment to the Italian to deny him his whiteness, but that actually happens with considerable frequency.”

              Greeks, for example, fretted about being mistaken for Puerto Ricans, mulattoes or Mexicans. J.D. Ross, an Alabama politician, dubbed himself the “white man’s candidate” and campaigned on Greek disenfranchisement. In Utah, Greek and Italian copper miners were classified as “nonwhite.” White workers in Steelton, Pennsylvania, refused to take “hunky jobs” — jobs traditionally held by Hungarians — even during the poor economy of 1908, preferring unemployment.


              And from the last article, which is the most obvious in disproving your thesis:

              Not only were Irish immigrants viewed as interlopers by many white Americans (an irony, considering the historical treatment of Native Americans), but these immigrants were Catholics in a primarily Protestant land. It was a religious difference that widened the divide, as did the fact that many Irish immigrants didn’t speak English. As strange as may it may sound today, Irish immigrants were not considered “white” and were sometimes referred to “negroes turned inside out.”


              This is not about oppression. This is about not being considered to be white and oppression happening in parallel. Southern Europeans (Greek, Italians) were not considered white. Nor were Slavs.

              Irish were an edge case due to being

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        I think the defenders of “Mother” have so internalized the “Woke” versus Bernie Bro myth they can’t function outside of this. They’ll just say the craziest stuff and then follow it up with defending a couple of segregationists.

      3. Vegetius

        While they may or may not have been considered “equal” by other Europeans, the Irish were never considered nonwhite.

        An Irish Catholic signed the Declaration of Independence and millions emigrated to the US under the 1790 Immigration Act, which restricted immigration to free whites.

        West (and Ignatiev, from whom he got the nonwhite Irish bit from) is simply engaging in Marxist retconning. That is to say lying.
        Although I will allow that West himself might not understand this.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Aren’t you engaged in selective data? By your reasoning, Jews are responsible for the Confederacy and white power movements because of the role Jews in the South played in the Confederacy.

          History isn’t a slope of gradual improvement. Going back and forth on rights happens all the time.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          Millions did not immigrate under the 1790 Act, that had been superseded several times before mass catholic Irish immigration in the mid 19th Century. The later Acts refined the definition of ‘whiteness’, but there were many 19th Century attempts to amend it to keep catholics out of the US (always a code of course for the Irish, Italians, Poles, etc.)

      1. tangfwa

        “In colonial Virginia, breezy English dreams of liberation and easy fortune gave way to a fevered American reality of disease, exploitation, and death. Seventeenth-century Virginia was conflict-riven with rich against poor, freeman against servant and slave, white against black and red. Groping through all this chaos produced a solution to these problems—broad-based white freedom linked tightly with total bondage for blacks. This made Virginia’s soil fertile for republicanism because the Old Dominion had solved one of republicanism’s greatest theoretical problems—how to prevent the poor of the society from degrading a virtuous republic with their slothful indulgence. In a society where this looming threat was perpetually excluded from the body public, the republic could be preserved in perpetuity. Race closed the circle by creating a clear visual mark between citizen and slave.” (Rogers on Morgan)

        Morgan: “The English had come to view their poor almost as an alien race, with inbred traits of character that justified plans for their enslavement or incarceration in workhouses. Almost but not quite. It required continual denunciations from a battery of philosophers and reformers; it even required special badges, to proclaim the differentness of the poor to the undiscerning, who might otherwise mistake them for ordinary men. In Virginia neither badges nor philosophers were needed. It was not necessary to pretend or to prove that the enslaved were a different race, because they were. Anyone could tell black from white, even if black was actually brown or red. And as the number of poor white Virginians diminished, the viscous traits of character attributed by Englishmen to their poor could in Virginia increasingly appear to be exclusive heritage of blacks.“

        People of all colors lived worked and played together in the early colonies, but the owners needed a wedge to control the workers, who outnumbered them. Laws had to be made against intermarrying and other free interactions among “races.”

        1. JBird4049

          IIRC, the passing of laws, as well as general campaigns, to limit social interaction between blacks, whites, natives, and even different fricking religious denominations was a thing in all the colonies with the city of New York, the states of Virginia, and the Carolinas being particularly intense race wise. There were attempts by the lower classes at broad alliances which were successfully smashed.

          It is both interesting and depressing to see how the original slaves in the American Colonies were really, mostly indentured servants with all races being umm…eligible for the status of being temporary property with some rights to eventual abolishment of indentured servitude but the creation of a permanent class of chattel slaves identified by their race. Very depressing.

          Also, the idea of a separate white race is historically recent, with the socially acceptable candidates being white, European, and protestant in the United States. If anyone thinks that the Irish were truly considered either white or civilized, they should read some of the writings of the times by the English, or later the British, as well as the Americans, especially of the educated upper classes. It will make your hair stand seeing Irish being described in the same loving tones used for blacks and those “Indians, the savages” in the United States and in the Carribean as well. The United States is still racist in many ways, but it was a horribly racist country in the 19th century and into the 20th.

          To end this lecture, I find the whole “white privilege” shtick as well as racism Identity Politics being used in general by the Neoliberal Regime rhyming really, really well with the British and American Liberal/Libertarian ethos of the Victorian and early 20th century; it was used in justifying everything from the Irish and Indian famines during which food was either being exported or sequester in warehouses, the Victorian slums of London, and New York, the European colonization of the planet, slavery, union busting, or eugenics, which was a British creation and an American obsession, with the Germans only really into it forty years late. You can pick up speeches that sound just like the neoliberal justifications of today’s practices.

          Only the most brutal words of the 19th century are omitted today, like it might be better for the surplus population to just die from famine. However, if you want to get more historical, I can always point to the whole idea of the white trash, the “waste people” being used to die as manure or fertilizer in the 17th century.

          So when Lambert says that the overclass’ plan is just having the excess underclass to “just die” he really is being true. It is just that the rulers and their courtiers are not still gauche to actually say that anymore.

          No, when I here the words of people nattering on about white privilege, I hear the words of website Stormfront, or bizarre words of Senator John C. Calhoun, that passionate defender of slavery, who posited it as a “positive good.”

          It just does not end, this use of blood to posit as real, the inherited inferiority, superior, guilt, and even innocence of a whole group of people or even of an individual and to blame the victims for their victimization; there really are people who are unhappy that lynchings (mostly) stopped, that the Holocaust being stopped was unfortunate; and yet we have people using IdPol, and the charges of White Privilege, and antisemitism for purpose of maintaining political power, thereby cheapening the charges and the fight against bigotry when it is needed. I cannot forget, nor forgive, that.

  4. KLG

    Great picture of the walking fish. The developmental/embryological origins of pectoral and pelvic fins (paired fins) in bony fish are basically the same as those of arms and legs. Evolution rocks! And on this Sunday before Christmas, my brain will not “go there” on politics.

    1. The Rev Kev

      There must be something in the water in Mexico. The Axolotl, also known as the Mexican walking fish, also has its home there. What advantage there would be to have a fish stand on the bottom eludes me but it must be rugged down there and the forces crushing. Using an online calculator at I found that at 3,000 feet, the pressure would be about 1,350 pounds per square inch. Yikes!

      1. ewmayer

        Pressure is meaningless for a deep-dwelling creature because their bodies are made mostly of the same water, i.e. the water in their bodies pushes back with the same pressure … it’s pressure *differentials* and trappe gases (e.g. humans diving) which kill.

        And it makes perfect sense that pinniped features would manifest at depth, because buoyancy means said fins don’t need to support the animal’s body weight, merely propel it in whichever direction it wants to go.

        [Cue The Far Side strip illustrating how fish moved onto land – bunch of fish wearing baseball caps and wielding a baseball bat gazing longingly on their ball, which has been hit onto and gotten stranded on land.]

  5. Louis Fyne

    –Sixth Democratic Debate Hits Ratings Low for 2020 Cycle Hollywood Reporter—

    there are just too many family-blog debates and they started way too early. the median swing voter and on-the-fence Democratic primary voter is already burnt out on politics in my opinion.

    And who decided to schedule a debate the weekend before Christmas?

    what happened to the primaries winnowing the field? (lol, I genuinely forgot about the DNC apparatchiks….of course this is a feature, not a bug)

    1. The Rev Kev

      If they wanted ratings, then they should have invited Tulsi Gabbard on for the debates. First time around she sank Kamala’s Presidential campaign and the second time she hulled Mayor Pete’s campaign run. If she had gone on the other day, she might have taken on Warren or may have even gone after the big dog in the race – good old Joe.

      1. richard

        I would have been more likely to watch if she’d participated
        she’s not my favored candidate, but she’s the only one with a mean left hook
        sanders could definitely take a lesson in aggression

        1. chuckster

          sanders could definitely take a lesson in aggression

          You don’t “play to win” if you don’t want to win. Besides, Sanders has set a whole day aside in late July so he can spend the entire day endorsing Joe Biden, “his friend”. Watch what they do, not what they say.

          1. katiebird

            Do you have a link for this? It sounds like bs to me. Unless it is a sad joke about his endorsement of Hillary in 2016?

          2. richard

            I’m not quite that cynical about Bernie yet. Yet. I still think he maybe actually wants to win. How he plays impeachment will be a big tell. So far though, he hasn’t distanced himself adequately from those losers on purpose.
            And anyway, doesn’t “watch what they do, not what they say” usually work to Bernie’s credit? Doesn’t he get a little in his account for past works?

          3. inode_buddha

            I have seen what they do, as opposed to what they say. That is why I know that Joe Biden is not his friend.

            Also I’m not aware that anyone made Sanders forswear to uphold the nominee this time around. You may not like it but Sanders kept his word last time around. That is more than anyone else in the Establishment has done. How many people would be following him today if he hadn’t kept his word back then?

            1. divadab

              Yes, this. Sanders may yet run as Green or Independent this time around. Especially if they cheat him out of the nomination again.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Wine caves are interesting things – most winemakers just use what’s available. In the Lebanon, several major vineyards used Roman underground cemeteries as excellent for maturing wine, as well as protecting them from stray shells during the civil war. Natural caves were often used for cheese in France and Spain, as they would add interesting bacteria to the mix. Beer used to require caves too – the Irish countryside is dotted with soutterains – small cut-and cover tunnels invariably found within old farm sites – it used to be thought they were for defence (although a moments thought would show that they would be pretty useless for this as you’d be a sitting duck inside one), now they think they were ideal for making iron age beer and mead. More recently in border areas they made new ones for storing AK-47’s and Semtex and smuggled goods. Maybe they’ll come back into fashion post Brexit.

    But as those comments show, wine caves should be full of wine – there should be no room for hosting dozens of people. That sort of cave is solely for show and making money from public events.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I worked several times in a German vineyard on the Mosel and they had their own wine cellar which was actually a working one. It was cool and a bit dank so you could never hold events in it and to do so would be a bit crowded and uncomfortable for people trying to dine. Events were held in the house above.
      I would guess that a lot of these “wine caves” are actually artificial constructs and are a side business for those vineyards. Besides, with the one that I saw, when there were floods the cellar flooded as well and the people there showed me pictures of barrels floating in the flooded cellar.

      1. barefoot charley

        Most California geology makes actual caves a la francaise impossible–plate tectonics smashing Pacific islands into the mainland crunched solid rock into subterranean rubble below the uprising granite of the high Sierras. Ergo, every wine cave you visit in Napa is a cement imposture (that admittedly still takes advantage of earth’s stable temperature of 55 degrees.) Those are cement-walled dugouts, not caves (which is the word for ‘cellars’ in French. Gee, why don’t we call them cellars anymore?)

        1. anon y'mouse

          exactly. as a native, anyone who had an actual below-ground basement that their house was built over was as exotic as a live dodo.

          growing up, i only knew one family that did so and the place had been built in the 1910s, as a large, upper middle class house in an enclave of similar. not quite “a butler’s pantry” house but close. of the era that indoor plumbing was being built into the home on the second floor and not as an outbuilding that later got connected, anyway.

          commercial/apts don’t count. they often have some kind of semi-below-ground area for cars, storage, boilers, etc.

        2. Harold

          Wine cellars used to be the term used — a place for storing wine at an even temperature (55 degrees). Maybe “cave” is meant to evoke the popular expression “man cave” — a phrase said to date from 1992 (wikipedia) designating a special retreat where people could indulge their peculiarities either alone or with like-minded peers.

          1. JP

            When the French say cave it means cellar. Most houses in France have one. That’s where they keep their cheese, their wine, potatoes, onions. My house in California has a cave. it is 10 x 11 and 7 feet tall, concrete with a dirt floor. All French caves have a dirt floor to maintain humidity. There is no place to sit and the temperature never gets over 70 degrees. Pretty practical and energy eff.

            A Napa “wine cave” is supposed to look like a French cave with a vaulted roof. It serves as a sales room for winery product. If you have a Napa winery style wine cave in your house it means you have way more money then you need or really entertain a lot.

            1. bassmule

              Thank you. Now I understand: Americans see “cave” and think “man cave” or bats, or Neanderthals, or anything other than what they are–cellars. Forgive my confusion. After several decades in the wine business it never occurred to me that there was this alternate set of associations. The dangers of homonyms!

      2. rtah100

        I think in Europe we have some genuine caves, which are used in wine-making and can also be used for entertainment. My colleague just came back from a family wedding in Spain at a sherry house, where the solera vats are kept in buildings above ground to mature in the sun’s heat. The space between the vats was big enough for a sit-down meal for 150+ guests. I also think some of the champagne houses may have “decanted” some of the wine from the caves in favour of space for events (rather cold and damp ones!) but the working bits of the cave are still genuine.

    2. bob

      More than anything else Wine is a fetish. The lifestyle is an aesthetic. It is sold so well!

      Listening to the burghers lecture us plebes on How Wine is Made® is them proving how much their ego’s were fluffed that weekend they spent in Wine Country® with Pierre.

      They might have even had a little too much to drink! Oh my!

    3. Joe Well

      The California wine “caves” remind me of the artificial grottos created at many Catholic sites here in the US (usually representing something like the visitation by Notre Dame de Lourdes). In other words, props for a kind of tourism to support a particular worldview.

      1. barefoot charley

        Yes! which reminds me of the Tijuana cathedral’s altar, a paper mache, larger than life mock-up of the Virgin of Guadalupe in her holy grotto, which rockwall wobbles in a breeze. Tourism is forever.

    4. JimTan

      Wine caves nowadays are multi million dollar luxury additions to a winery that are built by specialty contractors who use giant drilling machines. I think you’re right in that their contemporary purpose is for show and to make money from public events. The main reason California governor Gavin Newsom is defending wine caves is because he’s a founder of Napa’s PlumpJack Group with money from the Getty oil family ( his father was a longtime Getty family advisor ). PlumpJack Group includes PlumpJack Estate Winery, CADE Estate Winery, Odette Estate Winery, and 13th Vineyard.

  7. TroyIA

    Interesting article from Propublica Doctors Prescribe More of a Drug If They Receive Money from a Pharma Company Tied to It

    We studied the 50 most-prescribed brand-name drugs in Medicare for which drugmakers had made payments to doctors in 2016. The drugs include treatments for diabetes, asthma, high cholesterol, hypertension, glaucoma and more. Among our findings:

    Of those 50 drugs, 38 cost more than $1,000 per year.

    For 32, at least 10% of doctors prescribing the drug received payments tied to the drug from the company that made it.

    For 46 of the drugs in 2016, doctors who received payments for the drug prescribed more of it compared with doctors who did not.

    On average, doctors who received payments prescribed 58% more of that drug than doctors who did not.

    . . .

    Experts are skeptical that interactions between companies and doctors benefit patients. “If there really were innovations and real benefits that were accruing to patients for a new treatment, it shouldn’t take so much spending by the company to get the word out,” said Stacie B. Dusetzina, associate professor of health policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, who advised ProPublica on the design of its analysis. “I wonder if promotion is really to try to push products that have a much less substantial benefit because they’re not gaining the market share naturally.”

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Greg Abbott’s ‘Indefinite,’ Imperfect Homeless Camp”

    ‘Abbottville was only supposed to last for a couple months. The governor’s idea was to open a temporary camp until a chamber of commerce-led coalition, ATX Helps, could build a 300-person mega-tent shelter close to downtown.’

    Abbott should have taken a page out of the Pentagon’s playbook and simply labelled it an ‘enduring camp’. There – problem solved!

  9. Alex morfesis

    AI is truly artificial ignorance….
    Netflix has how many movies and tv shows mister in charge apparently of AI ??

    Do the IR people vet any of the nonsence burped out by these hammer salesmen ?

    Millions of movies and tv shows on Netflix ?
    If ted sarandos had that many options Netflix would not be worrying about the mouse or baysauce/$kam-iz-on.

    No one overwhelmed by less than ten thousand choices on Netflix should be anywhere near a dog walking service let alone “running” AI for a giant financial firm.

    Wrecknologists in charge of co-ding explains why we are all still playing with juiced up win95.

    AI can join self crashing cars in the dustbins of stock option hype

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I thought that line about the millions of Netflix shows was a little dubious. My experience has been that Netflix recommends the same programs over and over again, just under different categories. Then if I go searching for a specific program I might want to watch, I’m quite often presented with a list of other programs “like” the one I wanted instead of the real thing.

      According to the AI everything on the entire platform is over a 65% match to my preferences. There is nothing at all which is just not a good match. Not sure where Netflix got the idea that what I preferred were low quality, low budget, stock plot, stock character, sorry excuses for a knock off of something halfway decent. I subscribed a few months ago when I cut the cord, and the only thing keeping my from cutting this too is the wailing and gnashing of teeth I can expect from my spawn who has become hooked on some truly godawful soap opera type things designed for tweens with an abundance of new hormones coursing through their bodies. Still trying to figure out if the AI does work on children to some extent, or if children are just not very discriminating yet. Remembering that I would watch just about anything that came on the 3 channels we were able to get when I was about 10, and then watch the reruns until I had the show memorized, my guess is it’s the latter.

      AI = agnotological incompetence.

      1. The Historian

        Sounds like my experience with Netflix. If I watch a documentary about science, Netflix just knows I am dying to watch videos about alien visitations or Sasquatch.

        So far it hasn’t once recommended something I would want to watch. And I loved those percentages too!

        1. Eclair

          A couple of years ago, I fell asleep while watching Netflix on my laptop. Apparently, my hands landed on the keyboard, ‘switched channels’ and almost the entire 90 minutes of “Nurses Who Kill” played before I woke up. My recommended films for the next few months were terrific!
          I, too, have ditched Netflix.

      2. Titus

        Maybe Netflix got some weird data on me, but my recommendations are always in the 90s. When I’m searching about, Netflix and land on something other than my normal fare, I’ve got not-recommendations of 23% and 11% percent. One reason Netflix was successful in its days of dvds and blue rays only was of the recommendation list it would create for you. Or other people could share theirs. I suppose you could use a lot of AI now, but seems to be overkill to me. All in all I’m pretty satisfied with Netflix. Not so much other streaming services. Can’t wait for Att to screw up hbo.

        1. Eclair

          Thanks for the link, Robert. Looks interesting!

          I have been watching MHz Choice, but the fare is limited to mostly crime/detective foreign TV series.

          1. Jokerstein

            If you’re happy with BitTorrent, take a look at – it has provided me with thousands of hours of quality viewing over a decade now. Its specializes in older/art-house/non-mainstream content. Ratio requirements are very low.

            Getting an invite isn’t beyond the ingenuity of most people.

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          I signed up for the Ovid emails but I really prefer DVDs over streaming. I will not WILL NOT connect my tv to an Internet line. Netflix is getting more and more iffy for DVDs. Is there a good DVD service? I like to watch a movie multiple times and watch the director’s and if possible the screen writer’s commentaries.

    2. Summer

      “Millions of movies and tv shows on Netflix ?
      If ted sarandos had that many options Netflix would not be worrying about the mouse or baysauce/$kam-iz-on.”

      Was he using hyperbole with the “millions of movies and tv shows on Netflix” comment?

      Just the same, the movie offerings, in particular, often remind me of the “straight to video” (not cutting the mustard for theatrical release) offerrings back in the days of Blockbuster Video and other assorted video stores.

      1. Art

        Yeah, it’s nonsense. According to CNN, Netflix streaming only has about 6,000 titles available at any given time. And, Netflix’s dvd and bluray by mail service, has about 100,000 titles on offer, though many of these are unavailable, despite being listed, so about 106,000 titles or less. I’ve seen a statistic that says the total number of movies created in the whole of human history is something like 500,000. I don’t know how many tv shows exist but clearly “millions” has no basis in reality.

    1. Yves Smith

      Are you kidding? Pulitzers go only to MSM journalists. ProPublica is full of former MSM types and gets lots of foundation $, so it is tony enough to be the exception that proves the rule.

      Plus she isn’t American. The Pulitzer is a US award.

  10. anon in so cal

    California population growth needs to decline. Every last bit of open space is under attack, throughout the state. Los Angeles roads, streets, freeways are gridlocked a good part of the day.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      I hope you’re not writing this while driving?

      I haven’t been there for about 2 years but was planning to move there and sort of gave up because I couldn’t find a place to live that was even close to the same quality as central Paris for my money. I wasn’t being extravagant either.

      I’m not a bourgeois bunny but would have liked to get the heck outta here to somewhere year round warm and sunny.

    2. Liberal Mole

      Good news to me. Grew up in the Bay Area, was able to move back last year, but chose a place on the central coast instead, which is quiet, without crowds or traffic, and beautiful. I often return to the Bay Area, my relatives are still clustered there, and the highways are jammed up just like NYC and the parking is a chore. The homeless are depressing and we need public housing for those already here.

        1. Danny

          Why not? Friends got tired of renting on Ocean Avenue and in spite of nearby BART or streetcar to jobs downtown, they found a place on Lincoln Boulevard in San Rafael that is cheaper, bigger, cleaner, sunnier and safer then the city. The bus commute is ten minutes longer, well worth it.

          1. katiebird

            Really? With sale prices so high on houses, I just assumed it was out of my range. I’ll look closer next time I visit.

    3. Summer

      They are building new apartment complexes all over Hollywood with exorbiant rents.
      I’m wondering where the businesses are located that are going to be paying people the salaries to fill them ALL and probably quite a few businesses are wondering the same thing….

  11. lyman alpha blob

    RE: AI bias

    It’s becoming glaringly obvious that AI does not work as intended, but only after it’s been rolled out widely for any number of uses without asking the public at large if it was OK. But according to recent articles at NC, computer scientists are going to “fix” the bias in AI caused by computer scientists. Where these computer scientists lacking all bias will come from is left unsaid. I guess they must live with Plato’s philosopher kings.

    All I want for Xmas is some corporate regulation. Someone needs to take the toys away from the bad children like Bezos and Zuckerberg who have proven they cannot behave.

    1. Polar Socialist

      It really a simple concept – if you feed data with bias to AI, it will learn bias. AI is actually extremely good at revealing biases hidden (or not proven) until data is run trough the learning process.

      So, it’s wrong to say to bias is “caused” by computer scientists, they have to work with the data they’re provided with. It’s also equally wrong to say they can “fix” the AI, because they can’t. That’s the whole point and benefit of AI – nobody really knows what’s happening inside the “neural” network, that’s why the need (for sinfully energy inefficient) parameter optimization runs when trying to improve the network.

      You have to fix the data, and you should aim to fixing the world that the data reflects.

      Caveat: I’m getting paid to remove biases from data for AI consumption.

      1. a different chris

        How do you even define a “bias”?

        If you know what the correct answers are and the answers the AI gives show some drift that you can confidently identify as a bias — well the immediate question is that if you know what the correct answers are then why did you even build an AI tool, one which will for sure occasionally give you wrong answers?

        And if you don’t know what all the correct answers are, you simply can’t say the answers it gives you show a bias.

      2. mpalomar

        “If you feed data with bias to AI, it will learn bias. .. So, it’s wrong to say to bias is “caused” by computer scientists, they have to work with the data they’re provided with…You have to fix the data, and you should aim to fixing the world that the data reflects.”

        So the data is ‘provided’ or mined by ‘neutral’ computer scientists without bias and then entered to parse and exploit data for profit in accord with the directives of grifting management?
        Chicken and egg stuff? Or something else?

      3. lyman alpha blob

        Thank you for the clarification – I was a little sloppy there with regards to cause.

        I may be wrong but I believe that your pursuit will inevitably fail, at least in regards to applying AI to the human sphere. It will fail for the same reason neoclassical economics fails – human beings are not rational actors and their every whim can’t be reduced to ones and zeros.

        And the fact is, as you and an article linked to today mention, nobody really knows what’s happening inside the black box. That should be a reason IMNSHO to stop using AI, not spend squillions of dollars trying to make it better. Especially as the main driver for AI is corporate profits, not bettering anyone’s life. To me, the fact the a “smart” fridge can save me time by ordering groceries for me and have them delivered to my doorstep would be an indicator that my life has become too busy and I need to slow down, not that I need to let machines take control.

        I can’t wait until this fetish with big data is over. The bigger the dataset, the more apt it is to be corrupted in some way. And I do believe that when dealing with the human sphere, even with perfect data you still need human beings to interpret it properly – machines alone just can’t do it.

        I’ll throw out one example from the last few years with the caveat that as a NE sports fan I am clearly biased against the original conclusion and I don’t know that it necessarily involves AI per se, but it’s the kind of thing AI would be tasked with. Anyway, a few years ago Tom Brady was suspended for four games for allegedly taking the air out of footballs before a game. Someone at the time ran a statistical analysis and claimed the data clearly showed that the Patriots must be cheating because the data showed that not only did the Patriots fumble less than any other team, but players on the Patriots fumbled much less than they did when playing for other teams before or after their tenure with the Pats. If all you had to look at were the raw numbers and analysis, you would be correct to infer that either there was an extraordinary coincidence at work, or the Patriots were taking some liberties that other teams were not. But then there’s the human factor. The coach Bill Belichick (who some may argue is actually a robot, although a hilarious one!) is pretty well known for benching or cutting players who cough up the ball. He simply does not let players on the field who have shown a propensity for fumbling. That coaching style is hard to quantify, does not show up in the raw data, and is something that AI would not pick up on on its own.

        I do think AI could be useful dealing with physics, etc but it should be left out of the human realm. I definitely do not want it deciding whose life the car I’m riding in should save, for example. This notion that computers can somehow eliminate accidents and chance is really far fetched if you ask me.

        Anyway, I would be interested to learn what’s involved in trying to remove these biases, because you know way more about the technical details than me and as I said earlier, I may be very wrong here.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          the black box feature worries me, but the bias problem should negate any application beyond gee whiz.
          it IS a chicken and egg problem, and while i have sometimes thought it might be neat to get high and watch the cat with a roomba, i’m definitely on the side of the Butlerians, here.
          hire people to do all this stuff.
          and pay them well, since we’re obviously not headed towards star trek or the jetsons with the current lot in charge.
          “Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind.”

          and my uppermiddle class dad asked what we needed for xmas.
          I said, the Means of Production,dammit

    2. pyrrhones

      “All I want for Xmas is some corporate regulation. Someone needs to take the toys away from the bad children like Bezos and Zuckerberg”
      And who do you think is going to regulate the regulators?

      1. lyman alpha blob

        I humbly volunteer.

        All kidding aside, some, any regulation of these tech platforms would be better than what we have now. Edward Snowden in his interview with Joe Rogan a few months ago IIRC laid out how these platforms could operate if only there was the political will to do so. Tech as panopticon is not a given.

      2. tegnost

        The regulators are representatives of the public, and if the public wants different regulations, then the public can regulate the regulators. Far superior to the current situation where corporations regulate the regulators, often at a cost to the public in whose interests the regulations are enacted.

  12. anon in so cal

    Yasha Levine on Ukraine:

    So the US is continuing to implement the Brzezinski agenda of massive aggression toward Russia.

    “Brzezinski continued to vocally advocate for policies designed to cripple Russia, including the expansion of NATO into eastern Europe.

    He was a strong supporter of the 2014 coup against the legitimate Ukrainian government and more recently said that the Russian Federation would break up. Furthermore, he said that the US must help those wanting to break it up, irrespective of who they are.”

    (not sure if we can link to the Duran)

    1. pjay

      I respectfully ask all those who still support the impeachment effort to read Levine’s article if you want to know why others of us see it as so despicable. Levine nails what this impeachment show is *really* about.

      Also — that picture of Schiff is worth a thousand words.

      1. Eclair

        And worth reading for a completely new take on Putin. “And before you know it, Putin is going to be personally at your doorstep, terrorizing you and your family and stealing your Amazon packages.”

        Putin the Porch Pirate! Appearing nightly on your local evening news hour.

    2. Harold

      I may be wrong but I had the impression that Brzezinski, as an old-time foreign policy realist. actually opposed the Neocon plan to expand NATO by admitting Ukraine, at least at first. Kissinger, too. They initially favored leaving it as a “buffer state”. I’ll try to look this up. At one time I was keeping track.

        1. Harold

          Here it is:

          Kissinger, another old-style “realist” agreed with this position but was subject to a lot of pushback and stopped talking about it.

          The “realists” accepted that sovereign countries had legitimate interests that included security. The PNACs seem to think that only the hegemon (the USA) has legitimate interests and the others must bend to its will. The PNACs (aka Neocons) are in full control of the borg nowadays it appears.

          1. anon in so cal

            Thank you. I cannot get past the Bloomberg paywall but another article concurs that Brzesinski recommended the Finlandization of Ukraine. He was seemingly also advocating the position that Russia must have zero access to Crimea, lest it qualify as Eurasian.

            1. Harold

              Yes, I noticed that too, this time. Both he and Kissinger qualified their remarks with “unless Putin does something stupid”, which left them an out. Nevertheless there was for a time this apparent split between the “realists” and PNACist interventionists.

    3. John

      I must be stupid,or naive or both, but I cannot for the life of me understand the thinking, the motives, or the goals of the Russia-is-now-and-forever-will-be-our-enemy crowd. I suppose money and power must be mixed in there somewhere, but to me they just seemed out of touch and a bit crazed and I am going to be really ticked off if they get the USA into a war with Russia because I think we would get our head and other body parts handed to us. Have they not read Andrei Martyanov or does nothing matter but their delusions?

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        Well…Siberia is full of resources…and habit, from an hundred years of elite indoctrination(smoking their stash)
        but most of all, the maintenance of Power, for which they need an East Asia to wave around while they shout at us.
        the Cold War is a fond memory for some, because it was easy to keep us’n’s in line.
        when the coach who taught “government” in high school called me a Communist in class, i was quick with a witty rejoinder(which i can’t remember), but the hair on my neck went stiff.
        it was very effective…and that was 1986.

        and riffing off the netflix discussion above…have you noticed how many 80’s shows and movies…and new versions of 80’s shows(jack ryan,”Traitors”(unwatchable bilge) etc) are all over the place?

      2. The Rev Kev

        A few years ago a Russian diplomat told of how western diplomats complained to him that Russia is “too big”. There would be a lot of oil companies that would love to split Siberia from Russia and get all that oil and gas for themselves along with the adjacent Arctic fields. Ahhh, all those lovely trillions of dollars.

      3. Ignim Brites

        The goal is to provoke Russia into using tactical nukes against “western” forces. This will not only justify an all out regime change effort against Putin but also legitimize the use of tactical nukes agsinst Iran. Therefore, the peace president of Ukraine has got to go and, amusingly, he is rendered toxic by his “support” for Trump.

    4. The Rev Kev

      ‘the US must help those wanting to break it up, irrespective of who they are’

      It’s thinking like that that led to the creation of al-Qaeda which resulted in 9/11 and the Forever Wars.

  13. Louis Fyne

    “Trump praises Gabbard” [over her present vote] is trending on my Bing homepage. Can’t if this is an actual trend or if an intern at Bing is astroturfing an editorial statement.

    In my opinion, Gabbard is one of the few who can knock out Trump.

    if you want to be cynical/machiavellian like me…it’s conceivable that Trump is praising Gabbard as a form of 4-D chess because reflectively the Dem. anti-Trumpers will keep attacking Gabbard and keep her muted in 2020.

    Alas, I can’t prove the idea that Trump plays 4-D chess. Others can just say he’s a lucky blowhard.

    1. anon in so cal

      Tulsi Gabbard has been unmercifully taunted on Twitter for her impeachment position, by both centrist Dems and progressives. She opted not to participate in the last Dem debate, and it’s entirely possible some of the other candidates might have collectively ganged up on her over her impeachment stance in order to score points.

  14. XXYY

    Of course, there’s also the idea that when the billionaire class reflects the demographic characteristics of society as a whole, social justice will have been achieved.

    This is a pervasive and largely unquestioned idea in the identity politics and grievance studies fields: The people who wield the power in US society today are mostly older white males. If we can make this group more “diverse”, things will magically become better for the population at large. Underlying this are the ideas that (a) older white males are uniquely ageist, racist and sexist compared to other demographics, and (b) that institutional filtering and selection processes play no significant role in determining which individuals actually rise to power.

    This is a very deficient analysis, though seems to be mostly accepted without question. We are starting to see the problems with it as more non-white-males ascend to positions of power; to no one’s surprise, they seem to have about the same incidence of corruption, retrograde ideologies, careerism, greed, and contempt for their own underlings and the wider population.

    The obvious solution is to reform our institutions and equalize power so better individuals (of any demographic) ascend to power.

    1. ObjectiveFunction

      I very much liked the interview with Reed; amazed he hasn’t been hounded out of Penn by the IdPol mob yet.

      “part of their mission is to make the ruling class look like the photo of America.”

      That right there explains the entire Obama presidency, and why he never felt much need to do anything unprecedented for the black community.

      Do? He was not there to Do, but to Be America’s first black President. He was the Change we had been waiting for, the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, showing America that it’s ok to have a guy with a different skin tone as your boss. It was meet and fitting for him to receive the Nobel and all the other accolades; his mere presence was a gift of healing. What the heck more could you possibly ask?

      Bless the silver tongued one, and his water; Bless the coming and going of Him. May His passage cleanse the world. May He keep the world for His people.

  15. Summer
    “With rail strikes continuing into their third week and travellers scrambling to get to home for the holidays, Macron, who turned 42 this weekend, made the symbolic move to become the first president in more than 50 years to give up the automatic pension of more than €6,000 a month that all French leaders receive after leaving office, regardless of age or wealth.”

    No wonder they were ready to burn France down. Officials telling these workers to work to near death with pension cuts and they see: “€6,000 a month that all French leaders receive after leaving office, regardless of age or wealth.”

    1. Summer

      The last paragraph:
      “Macron used his west Africa trip to focus instead on foreign policy and France-Africa relations. He said “colonialism was a grave mistake” and called for “turning the page on the past”.

      So this means other countries waiting for Africa to tell them what its plans are instead of going in and telling Africans what its plans are?

      1. David

        This is for domestic consumption. Macron is trying to attract votes from the guilty anti-colonialist Left and the so-called “indigenous” (ie identity politics) movements. His aim is to occupy the entire political space from moderate Right to trendy Left, and so present himself as the only obstacle to Le Pen becoming President. ,

        1. Summer

          I was in full sarcasm mode.
          I know the Rothschild’s banker is just the Rothschild’s (as well as a variety of other global corps) politician now.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      Ex présidents get much much more than that. There’s a base monthly payment of about 13k€ plus expenses, security, housing, and more. Macron can give up the base monthly payment and have nothing to worry about.

      Plus he’ll automatically get a position on the Conseil d’Etat, a sort of constitutional court, which will give him additional cash and benefits.

    3. flora

      A large percentage of French citizens are apparently tired of France’s neoliberal experiment, imo. They’re getting the govt’s attention, finally, with these actions.

    4. David

      It’s worse than that, because Macron also gets a pension for his time as a Civil Servant, and another for his time at Rothschild’s. The world champion at this game was probably Jacques Chirac, who until the end of his life was receiving pensions for being a Civil Servant, local politician, Deputy, Mayor of Paris, Minister, Prime Minister, MEP and President. He was raking in, from memory, a good €20,000 a month, or about 10-20 times a typical pension. For most of his life, including after retirement, he lived in official accommodation and paid no rent. This gesture is typical of Macron’s tin ear. People don’t want him to have less: they want decent pensions for themselves.

  16. heresy101

    This morning there was another excellent program on It presented “Burned”, the documentary that describes the green-washing that is putting CO2 into the atmosphere and destroying biodiversity. This is the “Biomass” industry that is cutting down forests. Biomass should be separated from anaerobic digestion that is a truly green process.

    “The first visuals in the film show clear cuts in wetland forests in the US South and Southeast”

    BURNED tells the little-known story of the accelerating destruction of our forests for fuel, and probes the policy loopholes, huge subsidies, and blatant green washing of the globally expanding biomass electric power industry.

    Lisa Merton and Alan Dater are open to helping grassroots groups confront the biomass industry with screenings and information. They are keeping the TAKE ACTION and RESOURCES pages on their web site up to date.

    1. Procopius

      I understand Franklin Delano Roosevelt had two pictures from the time he was Assistant Secretary of the Navy (World War I). They were of a valley in China. One was a painting from the 16th Century, showing the valley as it was then, forested, lovely streams, animals roaming freely. The second was of the same valley in the last decade of the 19th Century, showing it as it is now, after centuries of clear cutting and mining. Similar to the descriptions of Gehenna. He used to show the pictures when he was giving speeches on what was then called “conservation,” between the wars. It was important to him, as it was to his cousin Theodore. As far as I know the pictures are lost, as they have been forgotten.

  17. Summer

    RE” “Artificial intelligence and machine learning can be the backbones of a drug launch playbook” STAT

    Not if the “machines learned” that profit is the priority…

  18. Craig H.

    > The Real Lesson of Afghanistan Is That Regime Change Does Not Work

    Pretty sure it’s working just swell for the military vendors, their lobbyists, and their ventriloquist dummies in the Congress.

  19. smoker

    Re: California population growth slowest since 1900 as residents leave, immigration decelerates

    So very many issues left unsaid in that piece, and I don’t have the energy to address most of them. I will say this about this paragraph, (since I live in Santa Clara County)

    In Los Angeles County, the region saw overall outmigration even when counting the influx of immigrants. Orange, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara and San Diego counties also had negative net migration, even with gains from immigration.

    Decades long Santa Clara County [Silicon Valley] residents were disemboweled, many made homeless, by:

    • a lack of humane apartment rental policies;
    • vicious Race, Age, Class and Gender discrimination;
    • small, decades old businesses shutting down in droves due to: Amazon; malfeasant mayors and city council members wooing huge tech Campus Towns, and predatory commercial property owners.
    • huge imports from Ivy League Schools and various State Department Visa programs, H1-Bs being a large factor. H1-Bs, and other foreign residents allowed to arrive as family members of wealthy foreign business owners on visas were a twofer for the wealthy Apartment Investors, since they now appear to make up the largest proportion of renters in many areas (renters which now are more populous than homeowners due to a vast amount of unaffordable and ugly Apartment Homes sprouting like mold spores) – since they can’t vote for sane housing policies.
    • Foreign money laundering in Housing stock.
    • Such blatantly regressive policies as a near 10% Sales Tax Rate, and Non Profit Business Leader Organizations™ wanting to push it close to 11%

    A few stats from this April 2019 piece, which excerpts a rather disingenuous, gaggable, and lacking report in many areas (e.g. re Minorities™, Unemployment Rates™, [Gaggable] Meritocracy™, Age Discrimination), though the report does acknowledge some severe problems, even when it doesn’t intend to, such as:

    The region created nearly 36,000 jobs in 2018, and more women and minorities continued to diversify both tech and government with their presence. In the tech industry alone, nearly 75 percent of women were foreign-born, while immigrants accounted for 38 percent of the valley’s overall population.

    No commentary was made as to how sickeningly low the rate of women and real ethnic minorities (black and hispanic) were in tech, and why female citizens were so unrepresented. For one, single females (and minorities) with educations generally cannot afford to rent in Silicon Valley any longer, which was indirectly alluded to, regarding females, in this paragraph:

    The income gap in Silicon Valley far exceeds any other region in the country. Adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher earn “an average of $88,000 more than those with less than a high school diploma.” Additionally, the gender pay gap is by far one of the most disparate in the country, where men with a bachelor’s degree or higher earn 43 percent more than women with the same level of education.


    The rampant Age Discrimination, affecting those even in their early thirties, was not discussed at all!

    At any rate, I’m positive, that the California population would have decreased far, far more, were those trapped here able to move anywhere and somehow rebuild their now destroyed lives; or feel at all comfortable with leaving trapped loved ones behind.

    1. Danny

      “The fact that the number of babies is going down is really worrisome….”
      That might be caused in part by the Bayer LifeScience Pesticide advertiser in the middle of the page. Every low income shopping center seems to have a fertility clinic, unheard of a generation ago, tracks nicely with introduction of untested GMOs into our food supply. GMOs and pesticides cause infertility.

      “sickeningly low the rate of women and real ethnic minorities (black and Hispanic) were in tech…” Hispanic, black, women’s studies and art degree in dance, do not translate into those jobs. I doubt that there are any black and Hispanic women with *advanced* computer science and math degrees who are unemployed in Silicon Valley.

      “The region saw overall outmigration even when counting the influx of immigrants. Orange, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara and San Diego counties also had negative net migration, even with gains from immigration.” Not stated is that a growing segment of the population that remains is either immigrants, or the children of immigrants. Thus Aerospace engineers leave, with their pensions, for Idaho and their old house now is occupied by nine people with less than a high school equivalent education. Does not bode well for future innovation, prosperity and taxation levels.

      Those nine people will soon be driving their own cars as well to their distant jobs in the inner city as cashiers in the gentrified zones, owned by the usual elites.

      1. smoker

        I stopped taking your comment seriously at this insulting point, I should have gotten a cue from your instant worry about meritocratic US male (presumably white, since minorities can’t generally afford to live there) sperm count:

        Hispanic, black, women’s studies and art degree in dance, do not translate into those jobs.

        1. Danny

          “meritocratic US male (presumably white, since minorities can’t generally afford to live there) sperm count”
          I will point the thousands of white males living in RVS and tents around the Valley to your uplifting commentary on their scandalously good fortunes.

          “real ethnic minorities” How do you define “fake minorities”?

          Are you talking about Hispanics that outnumber whites and Asians??
          Thus “minority” meaning not absolute numbers, but some SJW definition of the injustice of not being able to jump from mow and blow gardener to software engineer after some reasonable interval?

          Totally agree about age discrimination, if one is over 35, you are “old” in tech, unless you are in upper level management: Viz

          Sundar Pichai is getting a hefty pay raise.

          “The new Alphabet chief executive officer will receive $240 million in stock awards over the next three years if he hits all of his performance targets, as well as a $2 million annual salary beginning in 2020, the firm said Friday in a filing.”

          “If Alphabet shares outperform the S&P 100 Index, Pichai could receive an additional $90 million in stock grants. It’s the first time the company has bestowed performance-based stock awards. Pichai, 47, was named to the top job this month after Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin stepped down as leaders of the Mountain View, California-based firm.”

          1. smoker

            You apparently not only refuse to acknowledge your blatant slur surmising the studies of those left out, with no evidence whatsoever for your proclamation, but you also closed your eyes to this Report excerpt part of my original comment, these are some of the meritocratic white males I was referring to, those doing far, far better than most others with equivalent skills:

            …. Additionally, the gender pay gap is by far one of the most disparate in the country, where men with a bachelor’s degree or higher earn 43 percent more than women with the same level of education.

            The Report conveniently left out the word white from men with a bachelor degree. It’s been proven time and time again that Blacks and [Mexican] Hispanics, are highly discriminated against, sometimes no matter how many degrees they have. It’s also a fact that many white males end up in positions, without any of the skills, or educational requirements, imposed on all others applying. I’ve witnessed it in the valley for decades.

            I never ever said there were no white males homeless, or about to be, in the Valley, I know and love one who is likely to become homeless in less than a year, as am I. I’m sure there are countless white homeless males in Silicon Valley, none of whom deserve it at all. But, that doesn’t erase the fact that the vast majority of white people I see living out of their cars are females who’ve historically made far less on the dollar, and the vast majority of RV dwellers I’ve read about in the Valley, are Hispanic families, living near Facebook and Google. (By the way, Hispanics as residents do not outnumber whites, and certainly not Asians in Silicon Valley, where do you live?)

            As to this

            “real ethnic minorities” How do you define “fake minorities”?

            As always, it depends on the context. When a group of females are both: considered minorities (Foreign, mostly Asian (as is born out by census reports), Visa holders); yet also make up 75% of the women in tech:

            In the tech industry alone, nearly 75 percent of women were foreign-born


            They are not minorities in that instance.

            By the way, there is no indication those 75% of women have *advanced* computer science and math degrees as you alluded to in your first response, anymore than the US females who did not get those jobs.

            I’m done with this conversation with you, I spent way more time than necessary – purely on semantics – defending something I believe was perfectly clear in my first comment, and at the link I gave.

            1. Yves Smith

              I’m sorry about this. We’ve been late to censure Danny. His factually challenged and regularly fact free bigotry is not on and he is no longer welcome here.

              1. smoker

                Thanks, it’s an enormous relief not to have to check back and respond to more baseless, slurring remarks and spend over an hour in precious time trying to both: further explain a comment that seemed pretty clear in the first place; and also attempt to ward off further semantics games.

  20. Carolinian

    That Adolph Reed interview is really good. Sampler

    My dad used to say that in one sense ideology is the mechanism that harmonizes the principles that you want to believe with what advances your material interest.


    the emergence of, or the intensification of, militarized policing in the 1990s and 2000s was directly connected with an increased focus on urban redevelopment directed toward turning central cities into havens for play and leisure. To do this you have to accomplish a couple of things, as Saskia Sassen pointed out almost 30 years ago, in the reconfiguration of the urban political economy in ways that create a basis for upscale consumption, and an industrial reserve army who will work for little enough to make that culture of upscale consumption profitable. Then you have to have the police to protect all of this. It’s really like a tourist economy.

    A few years back Tina Fey–big liberal–said she liked what Giuliani did as mayor because “he made us feel safe.” Of course by “us” she didn’t mean the people being harassed under broken windows theory. The plan was in fact for them not to feel safe.

    Reed is almost into Tucker Carlson territory when he says it’s all about class and race is used as the excuse by both sides of the powerful. Anything to avoid talking about the elephant in the room is the goal.

  21. ewmayer

    Friend mentioned via e-mail just now that she is throwing a pre-Christmas Hannukah dinner tonight, in honor of her eldest daughter and said daughter’s husband, who is Jewish. I also recall that family Scrabble games are big with her at the holidays, so I suggested a fun Yiddish/Scrabble-themed question to pose at dinner, concerning the word “shemozzle”, which the Oxford Dictionary of American English – the one in my Macbook Dictionary app – defines as “a state of chaos and confusion; a muddle” – and for which it suggests a Hebrew origin: “late 19th cent.: Yiddish, suggested by late Hebrew šel-lō’-mazzāl ‘of no luck.’”

    *However*, there is also a similar-sounding German word, “Schlamassel”, meaning screw-up, mess, muddle. Which is the more plausible origin? Discuss!

    1. Danny

      “Never use a foreign word when an English one will do.”

      Strunk-Elements of Style.

      Happy Kwanznukkahmuddle!

  22. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    The Lancet study is pretty horrific but perhaps not surprising as it represents the results of a slow motion shock therapy – at least I believe in relation to Russia in the 90’s. The peak of inequality in men being as a child or between the ages of 40-49 makes sense & in terms of the latter, likely reflects ageism, & a lack of the right skills unless they moved to China. During my 6 month sentence ( what it felt like ) on Universal Credit, i saw a lot of that age group & older with some of the latter looking extremely old & defeated particularly when they were struggling with the PC’s that were made available, for those who did not possess them or something that is so called smart. The place itself was like a mix between a bank & a conference centre with walls covered in huge bright letters that shouted out ” We Can Help “, ” Me Arse ” as the Irish say.

    One day I was reminded of that famous photograph from the Depression of a line of black people in front of a poster illustrating a happy smiley American dream, as I gazed at a bedraggled line who stood in front of those words & they certainly looked like they needed some help. Not being required to spend 35 hours a week jobsearching when there were not that many jobs on offer or wander around the area depositing CV’s where nobody wants them might be a good start to a long list – fortunately for me I was not forced into this sheer pointlessness.

    Manchester being the polar opposite to South Cambridgeshire is hardly surprising but the report states that the US, Spain & Australia would likely be worse than the UK within the developed world. Perhaps it is the NHS that stops the situation being much worse, but of course we know that the grubbers want to dip their beaks into that. The Lancet proposes an array of measures to combat the estimated 877,082 excessive deaths during a period of 15 years, which would likely only occur under a socialist government & we all know how that went.

    None of the MSM have as far as I can tell have featured the report, no surprise there then.

    ” Are there no prisons ?…..”

    1. Danny

      Does he at least provide the guy kneepads ?

      Just taking a cue from Slick Willie and Brown, Willie?

      (Lewinsky and Harris)

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