Links 12/5/19

Rare Individuals Are Amazing at Reading Cats’ Expressions. Are You One of Them? Vice. Hahaha, I was really bad at the test! My rationalization is that I’ve had three Abys and they are half way to being dogs, as in care about their humans making nice to them, and therefore generally make happier faces to their humans than most cats.

The U.S. Army Is Making Ear Protection for Its Military Dogs Popular Mechanics (resilc)

Here’s what happened when a charity gave $1,000 each to poor households in Kenya WeForum (David L)

Redemption for NASA scientist who made bold global-warming call 30 years ago MarketWatch (David L)

Global emissions to hit 36.8 billion tonnes, beating last year’s record high The Conversation (Kevin W)

Russian Scientists Reveal Photos of Arctic Methane Fountain InfoRussie (UserFriendly)

‘The Best Thing You Can Do Is Not Buy More Stuff,’ Says ‘Secondhand’ Expert NPR (David L)

Pablo Escobar’s Brother Made a Folding Phone for Some Reason Popular Mechanics (resilc)

Life Under the Algorithm New Republic. Resilc: “Why your doctor is always typing too during a visit.”

5 ways to eat acorns for survival Outdoor Life (resilc). Seems some have never heard of acorn flour.

Samoa shuts down in unprecedented battle against measles crisis Agence France Presse. UserFriendly: “Way to go anti vaxxers!!”

China gene-edited baby experiment ‘may have created unintended mutations’ Agence France-Presse (David L). Gah.


Here’s what happens to markets if U.S. tariffs on China kick in on Dec. 15 Bloomberg

Mid-sized American Companies are Already Moving Away from China” and You Should Too China Law Blog (Troy P)

Former US envoy says Chinese officials anticipate ‘partial decoupling’ of the nations’ economies South China Morning Post (Troy P)

France braced for biggest national strike in years BBC


EU to spell out plans for potentially years more Brexit talks on day after general election, leak shows Independent (Kevin W). Barnier will be back! He did a terrific job but if I were him, I’d want to tell the UK to sod off. But his continuity of knowledge (as well as his ability to keep cool despite The Stoopid) will be a considerable advantage…as if the EU didn’t already have the upper hand.

Luxembourg’s PM says the UK must play by EU rules or accept No Deal Politico

The UK election viewed from continental Europe: Meh Bruegel

A theory, but tweets are cheap:

Third general strike keeps pressure on Colombia’s Duque Agence France-Presse


These photos show what it’s really like in Iran, where — despite its antagonistic relationship with the US— life is surprisingly normal Business Insider (resilc). About 1500-2000 Americans go to Iran a year, mainly academics. We’ve heard a similar account.

Iran Says U.S. Must Pay $130 Billion in Damages After World Court Rules Against Trump Administration Newsweek. Kevin W: “And in a complete coincidence – ‘US judge orders Iran pay $180 mn to reporter over detention’ at

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

An Oregon town couldn’t afford to hire cops for the night shift, so it proposed installing security cameras manned by volunteers who can identify ‘hardcore criminals’ just by looking at them Business Insider (Kevin W)

Amazon unveils voice transcription tool for doctor-patient interactions Business Insider. Dr. Kevin: “What could possibly go wrong with transcribing BOTH sides of the conversation?” Moi: And having Amazon have a record?

Imperial Collapse Watch

Obsolete or A Real Killer: Can We Save the Aircraft Carrier? National Interest (resilc)

French President Macron Is Right, NATO Is Brain Dead Without U.S. Leadership LobeLog (resilc)

Trump Transition

Trump calls Canada’s Trudeau ‘two-faced’ over jaw-dropping video remarks Reuters

Nancy Pelosi Pushes to Remove Legal Protections for Online Content in Trade Pact Wall Street Journal

Impeachment. The lawyers for both the Dems and the GOP didn’t cover themselves with glory, but feel free to discuss the hearings among yourselves.

Giuliani, Facing Scrutiny, Travels to Europe to Interview Ukrainians New York Times (furzy). Not a good look.

An Effort to Improve Scientific Integrity in the Federal Government | RealClearScience (UserFriendly). Remarkably, article points out an example of data fudging under Obama Administration pressure, but it’s undeniable that Trump has been way worse on this front.

“Financial Times” Editor: “Can’t Find” What Article GOP Sen. John Kennedy Is Citing About Ukraine Election Interference RealClearPolitics. UserFriendly: “MSNBC all lies all the time. This is so hilariously awful, he starts going off on the 17 intel agencies bit too.” Moi: It took me all of one minute to find this FT story from 2016. I am sure there are others: Ukraine’s leaders campaign against ‘pro-Putin’ Trump.

Freedom Rider: Liberals Love the Military Black Agenda Report

Georgia governor picks political newcomer for U.S. Senate Herald Mail (resilc)

US sailor kills two employees on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam before fatally shooting self CNN


UserFriendly: “Imagine if this nutjob had won!”

Democratic Candidates, Weary of Endless War, Propose Greater Restraint on America’s Military Role Foreign Policy. UserFriendly: “ROFLMAO, the blob has a sad.”

Bernie Sanders isn’t polling in first place. His caucus organization may mean that doesn’t matter Des Moines Register

How Klobuchar would expand national service Politico. Resilc: “But she loves the military.”

Carceral State

He’s a Liar, a Con Artist and a Snitch. His Testimony Could Soon Send a Man to His Death. ProPublica. UserFriendly: “Why are there literally no guard rails against prosecutorial misconduct?”

Our Fabulously Free Press

A Facebook rumor about white vans is spreading fear across America CNN

Boeing will pay for its previously cosy relations with regulators Financial Times. In case you missed it:

But the US Federal Aviation Administration said that it plans to inspect and sign off on every single 737 Max before delivery, once the watchdog agrees to let the grounded model back into the air. This effectively revokes the company’s longstanding ability to perform routine safety checks on its own. Then the European Aviation Safety Agency weighed in, saying that it would independently assess the safety of Boeing’s next new model, the 777X, rather than relying on the FAA to lead the process.

Calpers Drops Most ‘Emerging’ Equity Managers as Returns Lag Bloomberg. Annoyingly, even though no media outlet in the rash of coverage today acknowledged that we broke this story a full month ago (and one had the temerity to claim its account yesterday was an exclusive), CalPERS did indirectly in the way it blew reporters off:

Calpers spokeswoman Megan White, responding Wednesday to a request for comment, said the reduction “isn’t new news.”

Videos of long lines at Tesla Supercharger stations in the US reveal a big hurdle that companies like Tesla and Volkswagen need to clear before more people will buy EVs Business Insider (Kevin W)

Class Warfare

Uber Office Had Separate Bathrooms for Drivers and ‘Employees’ VICE

San Francisco has nearly five empty homes per homeless resident Curbed

What’s behind the spike in death rates among young adults in Minnesota? MinnPost (Chuck L)

Antidote du jour. Paul H, with a shot from southern British Columbia:

And a bonus video (Chuck L). Wild in both senses of the word:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. toshiro_mifune

    Rare Individuals Are Amazing at Reading Cats’ Expressions. Are You One of Them?

    I got %100, didn’t even need to watch the full clips.

    1. Ignacio

      I’ve got 7/8 and 5/8 in the second test. Not so bad. No cat in my house. Once we adopted one but my wife isn’t keen on cats, so she (the lovely cat) lived with us for only a couple of months.

      In the long past I bred a few birds species including a lovely southamerican owl, a capybara, a puma, turtles, crocodriles a jaguar and a white tail deer.

      1. Ignacio

        puma = cougar. I dislike the term mountain lion because where they have space this species inhabits lowlands.

          1. Ignacio

            A new word! I like it. According to Merriam-Webster lynx would also be catamounts and I have learned about the Western Carolina Catamounts from Cullowhee in the Tuckasegee Valley, NC by the way.

          2. petal

            Wuk, there’s a good chance they are back east. There was a recent sighting near here in the past year. The state refuses to go all in and say they’re back, but people pretty much think they’re back. I am trying to find the article about the sighting-I think it was last spring or summer.

      2. Randy G

        Ignacio — Am I understanding this correctly — you bred pumas, jaguars, and crocodiles?
        But your wife has an issue with house cats?! (Does she know about your past?)

        Are you a zoo keeper/biologist? I’ve bred snakes, tortoises and lizards as a hobby so fascinated by your amazing list and hope you elaborate.

        1. Ignacio

          I worked in a biological station long ago. I am biologist / biochemist. We bred some of the species for population recovery (crocodriles and turtles) and the other were found in poor conditions or taken from human captors and we tried to save them, not always succesfully. I met my wife when I was there so she knows it. She is… well she is… economist though I try to hide this sad reality hahahaha!

          1. ewmayer

            For those wondering how that second ‘r’ made it into Ignacio’s crocodile, the Spanish cocodrilo puts the r in the 3rd syllable. The history of the term illustrates how the confusion arose:

            ORIGIN Middle English cocodrille, cokadrill, from Old French cocodrille, via medieval Latin from Latin crocodilus, from Greek krokodilos ‘worm of the stones,’ from krokē ‘pebble’ + drilos ‘worm.’ The spelling was changed in the 16th cent. to conform with the Latin and Greek forms.

    2. Bandit

      I have been raising cats for the last 10 years, many abandoned before they are weaned, and others probably just about 8 weeks old. I currently have 13 but have had as many as 25. So, it was not difficult for me to read the cats and get 100%.

      That said, the videos were far too short to really be certain as to what was happening in the cat’s mind, so it was somewhat of a crap shoot. One has to look at the total picture of the environment of the cat at those particular moments which would have made it a lot easier for most people to get a correct idea. Also, one has to consider many other factors beside the face, such as the body posture and the stimulus to which the cat is responding.

      The give away in these photos was in the “look” in the cat’s eyes, position of the ears and facial expressions. Cats do have distinct facial expressions although they are not as obvious as a dog’s. Cats also have very distinct personalities. It is my firm belief that if humans have souls, then so do my cats and all other conscious animals that have ever existed on this earth.

      1. The Historian

        I couldn’t watch the videos because I have a crappy internet and I couldn’t get them to load but I have two cats who are very different in facial expressions. My dark Norwegian Forest cat has an incredibly expressive face and I think even a stranger could tell what she’s thinking at any time. My favorite face is her Fu Manchu face where she twists her ears back and somehow points her whiskers straight down. My other cat, a calico Norwegian Forest cat mix, has a completely inexpressive face. I have to watch the ears and tail to figure out what she’s thinking.

      2. Procopius

        Don’t know where the comment comes from, maybe Mark Twain? “Cats used to be worshipped as gods. They have not forgotten this.”

    3. T

      I missed one. And still not sure that cat was positive about being petted.

      That said, how can you not watch a 2 second video, when 1 second is loading?

      1. Wukchumni

        Got em’ all and i’d like to thank my hair’m for teaching me.

        Bonus question…

        Why is it almost always regarding women when the word catty is used?

    4. Susan the Other

      I qualified as a cat whisperer on the first one with 100% but I only got 50% on the second one. With my last cat (of 6) I swear we communicated telepathically. I think that cat was a human whisperer.

    5. laughingsong

      8/8 and 5/8 respectively. I have had a few cats in my time. But I don’t think that focusing just on the face makes sense as they give some ‘full-body’ signals and sometimes sounds as well. So it’s a whole package of communication.

      The ones where they are about to barf I missed. But cats barf all the time, I wonder if they are a bit more sanguine about it.

      1. Cancyn

        6/8 and 3/8. Am a former car owner and used to seeing body language too I guess. My husband certainly got swatted way more by our temperamental cat than I ever did so I think could read him better.
        I was wrong about the barfing videos in the tests too and thought the same thing about sanguinity … our cat seemed to love barfing up hair balls. He always came to us when the heaving started, seemed like he wanted an audience.

    6. RMO

      8 out of 8 on the first but only 6 out of 8 on the second… Since I’m a dog person and haven’t ever lived with a cat even the lower score was higher than I expected to get. It helped that last summer I read a couple of books about how to understand cat communication though. My wife is a real cat lover and we plan to adopt a cat from the shelter soon. Then, down the road a bit I hope to have a dog again too. One of the most heartwarming things I’ve ever seen was at a friend’s house where they had adopted a German Shepard from friends who couldn’t take a dog with them when they had to move away and the big wolf became fast friends with their cat and became very loving and protective of the kittens it had not long after he moved in. Two sleeping kittens curled up on top of a sleeping German Shepard and an adult cat curled up and sleeping next to them was a critical mass of cute.

  2. cnchal

    > A Facebook rumor about white vans is spreading fear across America CNN

    An Amazon spokesperson has denied all responsibility, but just in case, are demanding all the white delivery vans be painted black, at the contractor’s expense.

    In the mean time, data centers suck ever moar power for no good reason.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Black for winter, white for summer. Those silvery colors would be reflective, too, but unsafe on winter roads around here – look just like wet pavement. We drive w/ the lights on a lot.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Anecdote: I worked for West Marine Products, a national retailer of boating equipment and supplies. The store was in Clearwater, FL, where the Scientologists have a big ugly presence, and now they have a majority of the city council. Scientologists operate a lot of corporate fronts, My boss liked “big deals,” and so when a pair of these folks (they never seem to operate alone) came in to buy a bunch of stuff, he jumped at the chance for a “big sale.” What the pair wanted? Porta-Potties, 10 of them. Drinking water storage containers. Marine VHF radios, which cannot be used legally for land communications except as a base station talking with boats on the water. The particular ones they specified had a scrambler function built in that mixed up the audio signal so that it could not be overheard and required a similar radio to decode. Night vision devices. Handheld walk-in-talkies. These were all to be fitted into the Scientology fleet of “white vans,” apparently to be used for extralegal surveillance and maybe for grabbing and detaining wayward Scientologists. Leading to stuff like this, This particular transaction occurred before Amazon was a thing — now the Scientologists can just order this stuff up anonymously through one of their fronts.

      So there are “white vans,” out there, all right. Of course, within a couple of miles of my house there are at least four vehicle dealers who specialize in white commercial vehicles, including a lot of Econoline and similar vans.

  3. Dworn B.

    Maybe someone with math credentials could calculate:
    if you multiply a 2-faced (Trudeau) by a half-assed (Trump) the product is ??

    1. tegnost

      Sorry,in order to get them both on the same side of the equation I think you’ll need riganometry to figure that one out

    2. dearieme

      Vectorially that depends on whether it’s a dot product (an allusion to Trudeau’s brain) or a cross product (an allusion to Trump’s temperament).

    3. polecat

      2-faced … hummm

      White on the left side, Black on the right … or the other way around ??

      Oh, silly me, I forgot ! .. Justin’s mono-oreo, quite unlike the orange Hell-boy

  4. PlutoniumKun

    EU to spell out plans for potentially years more Brexit talks on day after general election, leak shows Independent (Kevin W). Barnier will be back! He did a terrific job but if I were him, I’d want to tell the UK to sod off. But his continuity of knowledge (as well as his ability to keep cool despite The Stoopid) will be a considerable advantage…as if the EU didn’t already have the upper hand.

    As was pointed out BTL yesterday, while the UK newspapers have been trying to argue that Irelands influence will be weakened, Barnier will in fact be reporting to the EU Trade Commissioner – one Phil Hogan, Irelands appointee, and a notoriously hard-headed politician, and back room schemer for the last two Irish PM’s. Hogan will almost certainly be pushing a very hard line on Barnier, he is not a man known for half measures.

  5. BillK

    Re Brexit election –
    What the people want in this election is a box to tick that says ‘None of the Above’.
    The contempt for UK politicians is more widespread than I have ever known before.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The problem is that so long as that contempt is expressed as ‘a pox on all your houses’, it means absolutely no difference in the election, the Tories would win, just with a reduced overall vote, which would not bother them a whit.

      1. BillK

        But if all the choices are appalling then whatever the result you end up with appalling politicians running amok. The only difference is which groups / areas of the country suffer more than others.
        This election is turkeys voting for Christmas (or Thanksgiving).

        1. Darius

          So, I guess you’re just swallowing the Fleet Street version of Corbyn. Over on this side of the ocean, I hate Bernie because the media told me to.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Should be a good year for new/alt. parties, like the Greens. the nationalist parties will probably clean up, too.

  6. Summer

    RE: Oregon Town / Police volunteers

    “They can identify by the way that they dress, because they have a certain apparel that they wear all the time, the way that they walk, sometimes they carry certain things with them all the time – it could be something as simple as a skateboard,” Rebecca Patton, Cave Junction’s city recorder…

    The potential problem is not only race profiling.
    You don’t want to be caught “out and about while young…”

    Fears od another soon dead town.

    1. anon y'mouse

      i refused to read the article because of the obvious stupidity, but this is in Cave Junction?

      yeah, backwards crackers doesn’t begin to describe it. it’s a 1 stoplight kinda place, and likes it that way.

      *disclaimer–my relatives are some of those crackers!

      1. Oregoncharles

        Yeah, I got the same impression, as far as I got.

        It may matter that it’s something of a tourist town, near the Oregon Caves N.P. and a lot of scenery. So lots of outsiders around. It’s also in a prime marijuana growing area.

    2. Vegetius

      A lot of people would say that Cave Junction died a long time ago.

      Spotted owl fever combined with the Clinton-era National Forest road building rule largely destroyed the town’s timber-based economy. In the two decades since it has shown all the signs of decline we normally associate with Appalachia and the Rust Belt. Much of the crime is related to domestic violence, meth-related crimes like theft, and illegal marijuana growing.

      I am not a fan of these sorts of cameras but racial profiling fears about cameras are silly. A nonwhite population is basically non-existent. Nonwhites are going to be profiled simply for being there, camera or not, even if the profiler in question is aware of FBI Table 43a or not.

      This is how the world works, in Cave Junction and everywhere else.

      The liberal conceit that all of this can be eliminated with childhood indoctrination is simply not supported by existing science. And the more data we get, the more we will see that the cause is hardwiring and not soluble by ideology.

      Human beings begin to show awareness of racial differences and a preference for their own racial group as early as nine months. No amount of training is ever going to change this.

      1. Lost in OR

        Good call! With a similar story told along much of Oregon outside the I-5 corridor.

        In the book Penturbia the author claims that it takes the passing of two generations before a new culture/economics can assert itself. Meantime there is nothing but the angst and funk of service jobs and wasted potential. This is a dispersed population that has no desire to be retrained as programmers or social workers. New vision is in order here.


      2. Roy G

        Let me guess, your Liberal Conceit comic book is in black and white. You make quite a leap from awareness of ‘racial’ differences to ‘prejudice is biological, so it’s useless to pretend otherwise.’

        Since you appear to live in an all-white community, you may not be aware that different ‘racial’ groups of people may live in their own close-knit community and yet also interact with, and, yes, tolerate or even like people from other ethnic groups. Plenty of this going on in the world outside of your white view.

        1. Vegetius

          Don’t strawman me, bro.

          The sooner we stop basing on our policies on demonstrably false egalitarian assumptions among and between different races, and discard magical thinking with regard to race, the sooner we might be able to make real progress.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            He’s not strawmanning you. You said:

            And the more data we get, the more we will see that the cause is hardwiring and not soluble by ideology.

            Making shit up is against our written site Policies. So is getting aggressive on bogus grounds. Provide a link to a study with a decent sample size (n>200 with sample and controls) in a peer reviewed journal or cut it out.

  7. divadab

    Re: Delusional Democrats – the Hillary Clinton self-centered, self-justifying, and utterly ungrateful projection onto Sanders is well paired with the delusional rant from the Stanford Professor Kalan. These lunatics are the brains of the Democrat party? If I were a Stanford law student, I’d avoid any class with Prof Kalan, and I certainly have never voted nor will I ever ever vote for any Clinton. Dang these people should never be given a microphone. And who thought this Kalan woman would add anything of value to this pointless show trial? Oh ya, it’s a pointless show trial.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      What an embarrassment Karlan was, particularly in contrast to Turley.

      Her unhinged, pussy-hat-worthy, TDS-for-three-years rant, which started right out of the gate, should scare the hell out of stanford law school’s reputation police. The next time some genius on msnbs tries to figure out why the people of america are not buying into the dem’s hair-on-fire impeachment bullshit, they just need to watch the video of this loon “testifying.”

      1. Robert Valiant

        My bet (I’d even give you odds) is that a typical Democratic party voter would have view of Karlan diametrically opposed to yours.

        Not being a partisan, it’s all partisan theater to me.

        Well, partisan reality TV, anyway.

      2. pjay

        I have been pretty cynical about our political theater for a long time now, and I didn’t think I could be surprised by anything anymore. But I have to admit that watching this farce has shaken me. First, this parade of “Resistance” fighters hold (or have held) some of the most powerful positions in government or academia, with the requisite credentials. Second many of them seem to *actually believe* what they are saying! Third, and worst of all, they have many admirers in the “professional managerial class” (PMC – but I’ll try to avoid acronyms) who seem to believe this BS as well and are in positions to disseminate it (including some of my own friends/colleagues).

        Or maybe this is worst of all: in addition to finishing the destruction of the Democratic party, this show is guaranteed to get Trump re-elected.

        1. WJ

          And in many cases, these are the same people who opposed the Iraq War and, for at least 4-6 years, advocated that Bush and Cheney be tried as war criminals. I remember this because as a young movement conservative (youthful folly) I had many of their type as professors.

          Now, they are CIA-fellating McCarthyist interventionists who, from my perspective, have learned all the wrong lessons about American politics over the past two decades, while I moved from a 20 year-old Bush voter to a 24 year-old Obama voter to a 28 year-old leftist in the space less than a decade.

          It’s almost as if the Democrat Obama’s presidency effectively depoliticized the Bush doctrine of shock and awe interventionism by making it as much a plank of the Democratic as the Republican Party that, today, anybody opposed to that doctrine is a [Russia/Assad/] “apologist” in just the same way that people who *rightly* opposed the Iraq War were called Saddam apologists.

          It’s almost as if most of the self-described “informed” people in this country have no ability to employ their memory of past events as a tool for thinking critically about present events.

          It is almost as if this has happened by design…

      3. anon in so cal

        Rumor had it there was applause for her rant in the faculty lounge at Stanford. Ties in with Sheldon Wolin’s “inverted totalitarianism,” while holds that (many) academics are fully co-opted by the MIC. Karlan was absolutely scarily unhinged.

        1. WJ

          I think this is right, with the proviso that very very few of them are aware of the degree to which MIC opinions they used to mock are now their working cognitive assumptions. To me, it is a lesson in how powerful a tool of propaganda party tribalism can be especially if manipulated with the right corporate media narrative.

      4. polecat

        This ! .. is what our once vaunted institutions of higher learning have become – ‘baffoons r us’ .. with a heaping side of penurous rentierism.

    2. Cheating for the Oligarchs

      The Clinton quote from Howard Stern “. “I hope he doesn’t do it again to whoever gets the nomination, once is enough.”
      It seems as if it is already decided that Sanders cannot win the nomination.

      Hope Sanders have a plan and the guts to strike back really hard.

      1. Pavel

        I’ve decided that Bernie’s only chance is to run on a third party ticket and let Trump and the DNC-Approved™️ Dem candidate split the corporate neolib/neocon vote.

        The MSM will never let him get the Dem nomination. Remember WaPo’s 16 anti-Sanders hit pieces in one day in 2016?

        A boy can dream…

      2. inode_buddha

        What galls me is that she did everything possible to rig the election against Sanders, and their humiliating loyalty pledge, and now they have the cojones to say that They Are the ones who were hurt…. These people need to have their competence investigated by psychiatric professionals. Crap like this is why the Dems will continue to lose, not that they will ever admit it.

        1. tegnost

          We should be thankful she’s such a sore loser. Shot herself in both feet and now she’s waving the gun around and ranting.

      3. MrQuotidian

        What’s insidious is that this kind of shit actually works it’s way into the minds of ordinary dems. I’ve had friends and family just casually say, as though it were a fact, “well, you know Bernie was helped by Russia,” and “he didn’t support Hillary.” It’s not like these friends and family strongly believe it’s the case – they abandon it at the slightest pushback – it’s more like they’re looking for any excuse to not support a “radical” and people like HRC give them an easy reason to latch on to. Sigh.

        1. WJ

          Goebbels was right about people coming to believe the lie if you only repeat it often enough and successfully repress dissent.

        2. Roy G

          It is amazing to see the Democrats succumb to such degraded groupthink, especially since the Obama era when everybody assumed the Birther wackos were solely a Republican thing.

          The brainwashing works, unfortunately, but as you noted it’s not all that strong. However, the paradox seems to be that the more accomplished people are professionally, the stronger they will hold these opinions, or at least vocalize them in any virtue signaling opportunities.

          I think the cause is both the Dunning-Krueger effect and conformism as a prerequisite to joining the halls of power. Early on, the youngsters will parrot the views of the elders in power, even if they don’t agree with them, in order to get ahead. This self-selection eventually metastasizes into a condition that isn’t recognizable within the group, but is apparent to outsiders, viz the performances of Ms. Kalan and Madame Clinton.

          Why yes, the Emperor’s new clothes are exquisite! Wouldn’t you agree?

    3. Trent

      They were always lunatics. They were lunatics in the 90’s and they’re still lunatics today. The scary part is that some of our peers worship them. A comment like she made is the type of delusion that leads to reeducation camps.

      1. inode_buddha

        I see in the cable news feeds that it may be about abuse of office. Perhaps someone should remind these news people about renting out the Lincoln bedroom?

        Where were the howls of outrage back then? What about arms deals while accepting donations to their charity through the back door? Again, where was the outrage?

        What they are really upset about is not being in Power, that is all it comes down to.

      2. anon in so cal

        Was reading an article about Bill Clinton’s barbaric and unjustified bombing of Serbia in 1999, which killed 1500 civilians, etc. The article said Hillary had not spoken to him in months (right after the Lewinsky scandal) but she resumed talking to him when he bombed.

        1. dearieme

          I happened to be in the US on the day US troops waded courageously ashore in Serbia. Or, actually, it turned out to be Greece. The camera shots from the beach were rather good though they did remind this viewer that if the cameras were on the beach then it must have been an unopposed landing. The thought occurred – Gosh, these politicians and media people think the US telly viewer is really dim and ignorant. It was a remarkable display of contempt.

          It presumably happened a few weeks before La Clinton ducked Serbian sniper fire.

    4. The Rev Kev

      I am trying to imagine what it would be like right now in the third year of Madame President Hillary Clinton. If missing out on the top prize has left her somewhat unhinged, what would she be like after three years of having all that power? I suspect that whatever she did, the media would be giving her a free pass whether it was air battles with the Russians over Syria or missile strikes on Venezuela.

      1. polecat

        She’d be as a potato sack encapsulated in a Capt. Pikeian motorized wheelchair ..

        “Madam President .. do we now have your permission to bomb the russian state in it’s entirety??”

        One beep goes the GreenLight ….

    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      Actually, yes; these people should be given a microphone. Microphone after microphone after microphone, so people can have every opportunity to smell the stench.

  8. PlutoniumKun

    Re: The UK election.

    A theory, but tweets are cheap:

    It’s possible, but I’ve heard the same thing about the youth vote many times, and it rarely happens. I don’t think there is much evidence that the UK youth are any angrier now than they were the last election, or the one before that. Its also not clear to me that the youth vote is concentrated in the right constituencies to make a real difference. It also ignores that many older folks (the ones who usually go out to vote) are pretty riled up too, and many of them see their precious Brexit slipping away if the Tories don’t get a majority.

    To me, the only hope for a non-Tory majority is that a lot of centrists get cold feet at the idea of Boris having everything his own way, and switch to the LibDems or others at the last minute, depriving the Tories of a few dozen seats they look to be on their way to winning. A combination of a Corbyn surge (quite possible, as the more people see him unfiltered, the more they seem to like him) and the Libdems getting their act together seems to me to be the only hope of preventing a clear Tory majority.

    1. PlutoniumKun


      The UK election viewed from continental Europe: Meh Bruegel

      Leaving aside the campaign’s superficial entertainment value, it is not even clear that very much is at stake from a continental perspective, given the UK government’s willingness to put off, repeatedly, its most difficult choices. It will take more than the vote on December 12 to make the continent pay attention to the UK.

      To be sure, Europeans are diverse, and generalisations are always fallible. The Republic of Ireland, for example, is a special case, and this partial view does not intend to cover it. But when it comes to “continental Europe” there are some common threads to the mood about the UK.

      Viewed from the Republic of Ireland, I can confirm that the general view here too is ‘meh’. The general assumption is that the UK is in a state of chronic political (and maybe economic) decline.

      1. Joe Well

        Re: The UK election viewed from continental Europe…

        The title alone says it all. Looking at another country’s politics is gross, like looking at someone else’s underwear hanging on the line.

        The only time that a country’s political news made me respect them more was when Peru indicted all its living ex-presidents.

  9. zagonostra

    >Whitney Webb (a real journalist doing real reporting)

    … while The Intercept has long publicly promoted itself as an anti-interventionist and progressive media outlet, it is becoming clearer that – largely thanks to its ties to Omidyar – it is increasingly an organization that has more in common with Bellingcat, a group that launders NATO and U.S. propaganda and disguises it as “independent” and “investigative journalism.”

    …the Intercept’s main funder – eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar – shares innumerable connections to the U.S. government and has helped fund regime-change operations abroad in the past, suggesting a likely reason behind the publication’s willingness to associate itself with Bellingcat.

    …Omidyar made more visits to the Obama White House between 2009 and 2013 than Google’s Eric Schmidt, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg or Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. He also donated $30 million to the Clinton global initiative and directly co-invested with the State Department — funding groups, some of them overtly fascist, that worked to overthrow Ukraine’s democratically elected government in 2014.

    Even after Obama left office, Omidyar has continued to fund USAID, particularly its overseas program aimed at “advancing U.S. national security interests” abroad. Omidyar’s Ulupono Initiative also cosponsors one of the Pentagon’s most important contractor expos, a direct link between Omidyar initiatives and the U.S. military-industrial complex.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, both.

        Omidyar’s Luminate has won British government aid mandates like the Gates and Clinton Foundations. Using that as cover, it has participated covertly to advance western interests, e.g. in the recent Zimbabwean and South African elections.

        “Bell end cat” started life contributing to Grauniad blogs. Eliot Higgins lives in the Midlands, not far from the jihadist masquerading as the Syrian Human Rights Observatory. Higgins has progressed from being a bed room obsessive to one of the most venal propagandists in these islands.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Hi Colonel, whats your take ‘from the ground’ of how the election is going? The current polls look very ominous for Labour I’m afraid to say. There seems two schools of ‘optimistic’ thought – one that the youth vote can make a difference, the other that the prospect of a Johnson led majority government will make many ‘never Corbyn’ centrist types change their mind and vote more strategically. Any thoughts?

          1. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you, PK.

            I have no idea. From where I live and work, one would not think that an election is on. If the election crops up in office conversation, most, but not all, remainers will vote Tory. Corbyn is a commie and racist etc.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Thank you Colonel. I found something interesting about Bellingcat the other day. An image showed him receiving grants from Porticus, Adessium, The National Endowment for Democracy, Pax for Peace, Open Society Foundations and the Dutch Postcode Lottery. That last one was a head-scratcher so I dug further. Wikipedia says-

          It was founded in 1989 by Novamedia, a marketing agency that sets up and runs charity lotteries. Fifty percent of the proceeds of this lottery are donated amongst 81 charities, which, in 2010 amounted to over 270 million euros.

          Further down the page it said that several notable individuals endorse the lottery, and have been appointed ambassadors, including:

          Rafael Nadal, tennis player
          Nelson Mandela
          Johan Cruyff
          Bill Clinton

          Straight away I saw where the corruption starts to creep in. It also mentioned that the ‘Clinton Foundation is a recipient of proceeds from Nationale Postcode Loterij’. And if a charity organization is funding the Clinton Foundation and Bellingcat, that is how you identify a ‘dirty’ charity organization.

  10. Summer

    RE: Facebook rumor / white vans / kidnapping

    There is also the Uber version of this tale going around…but it is kidnapping for body organs.

    1. Wukchumni

      A couple years ago my sister and her husband went on vacay for 10 days and we played parents for them in lieu of, and took our nephews out bowling one night, and they invited a friend along, and we went to pick him up where he lived in an upper middle class SD neighborhood. There was a basketball rim & backboard out on the street, and I asked the 12 year old if he played, and he told me his parents heard of a white van in the neighborhood that had been seen driving around, so no, they didn’t want him outside.

      We scare real easily these days.

      I think back to childhood & being a free-range 12 year old-do whatever you want after school, just be home for dinner.

      1. neighbor7

        “Home for dinner”–the only rule! Those were the days…

        Home for dinner, though, meant 6:00 pm: mom was a first-grade teacher (and cook) and got up early.

        1. Robert McGregor

          “Home for dinner”

          Yeah, now Moms are too scared of white vans to leave their kids outside to play, and no regular family dinner is there to come “home for dinner.”

      2. StillAboveWater

        Yes! My mother put me on the “just be home by dinner” rule when I was 6. I roamed as far as my legs would take me. Summer days were long and full of adventure.

        One time when I was 7, I got home late for dinner. I was as surprised as my parents were angry. I told them that I had asked my friend what time it was, because he had a wristwatch, and that I thought I was on time. My mother said “maybe he lied to you, so you’d spend more time with him.” The next day she took me to Woolworth’s, bought me a Timex, and told me I didn’t have any excuse to be late again. I wasn’t, at least until I was 16, because I didn’t want to risk losing my privilege.

        I feel sad for today’s overprotected kids – they’re being robbed of something vital.

    2. anon y'mouse

      the “white van=kiddy napper” rumor has been around longer than i have been alive.

      in at least one case, it wasn’t just a rumor–Zebra Killings, for instance. also, the rumor was prevalent when the Beltway Snipers were active.

    3. petal

      When I rowed at Cornell 20+ years ago, we had to run from campus to the boathouse. One day I missed the big group and had to run by myself. A guy in an old van kept driving past me very, very slowly several times on both sides of the road and looking at me. He’d drive past, then come back. This happened several times. At the intersection with the highway before you get on a rail trail to the boathouse, he stopped his van and cut me off at the light/crossing. I took off and dodged the highway traffic. I’ve never run so hard in my life. It was a light peach van with faded different colored circles on the sides, I think it was one of those old Chevys, 1974ish. Not something I’ll ever forget.

        1. petal

          ha! Forgot about that song. But yeah, was a scary, bad situation. I’m not big. I got to the boathouse absolutely terrified, informed the coach what had happened, and she promptly tore me a new one and blamed it on me because I had missed the rest of the group(I had had a class run late). It was horrible. I’m not one that gets shook easily, either.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Yes, very scary that. I suppose that these days, you could whip out a mobile, let them see that you are taking an image of their van showing their number plates, be seen tapping a quick message, and then let them see you calling someone while watching them carefully while nodding a coupla times for maximum impact.

          2. RMO

            Your experience is distressingly familiar. A similar thing happened to a friend of mine once. She called the police. When the police came the officers essentially accused her of being a prostitute who called 911 because of a disagreement with a John. She was 19 at the time.

        2. J.Fever

          I believe there was a whole movie made on this song, cuz I remember sneaking outside the drive-in back then and watching it. Because there was…nudity.
          40 foot tall.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Here’s What Happens to Markets If U.S. Tariffs on China Kick in Dec. 15”

    “I have no deadline,” Trump told reporters. That is not quite true that. His ultimate deadline will be Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020. The selection of the Democrat that will be standing against him next year will remind him of this fact.

  12. PlutoniumKun

    Mid-sized American Companies are Already Moving Away from China” and You Should Too China Law Blog (Troy P)

    One thing missing from this analysis is the China side – and I think its pretty clear that while they don’t like the pace and tone of US moves, they are not adverse to a decoupling, and in fact have been driving it in their own way. I’ve noticed in the past few years from following a variety of informal sources in the country that for at least 5 years (i.e. before Trump) there has been a distinct rise in xenophobia in China, led by official sources. Almost every non Chinese person I know living in China has commented on it, or has suffered directly from it, and many Chinese people I know have mentioned it too. Just as one, seemingly small example, foreigners in China are now lumped in with criminals and the illiterate in having to queue at separate kiosks just to buy a train ticket, while most Chinese with their wechat pay accounts can buy a ticket with a flick of their card or phone. There is no logical reason for this except to send a clear message that certain people are not considered first class citizens, and this includes all foreigners, including those who have made China their home.

    A lot of this I suspect comes from a long time strategy to see trade as a means to an end, not an end to itself. The Chinese have long studied intently the forerunners in the Asian model of development, and they’ll have noticed that export based industrial strategies can only bring you so far before they either run out of steam, or the importers start using their muscle against you (as happened to Japan in the 1980’s. I think they’ve always been prepared for a more domestic based economy and a move to more autarky while simultaneously expanding their influence through soft, and occasionally not so soft power.

    There is also a significant psychological aspect to this – China, with reason, resents being seen as a source of cheap shoddy goods. It wants ‘respect’, and in the world of power politics, that means military and diplomatic power, used unilaterally. And as can be seen in Chinese history, when Beijing wants something, internal economic needs can often become secondary considerations, so the squeals of export companies won’t necessarily get a sympathetic ear.

    So when two sides of a marriage are looking for a divorce, that means that the divorce will happen very quickly, and probably irrevocably. Other Asian countries have seen this coming for a few years now, which can be clearly seen in the massive ramping up in military spending in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia, etc. And conspicuously, where possible they are all trying to develop their own weaponry, they don’t seem to trust either Chinese or US sources.

    1. Ignacio

      Thank you for this commentary. Very interesting. On a reverse view, the last time I went to a renewable trade fair in Madrid with companies from all around the world, I noticed that chinese companies could feel a cultural barrier and probably some xenophobia in the atmosphere. Even the only company from India was more confortable than the several chinese companies present. Looks like it is somehow reciprocal.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think part of that is cultural – the Chinese (like the Japanese) have always struggled a little with dealing with non-Chinese in a way that Indians don’t. Its something quite common I guess in quite homogenous societies. But I think that frequently well-grounded worries about intellectual property theft makes many companies very reluctant to get too close to Chinese partners.

        1. Ignacio

          Yep, also they entered in western economies in a way that generates mistrust. Avoided using existing commercial channels and transport services and buildt their own. It is all, or almost all, Han. They chose speed and low prices instead of creating trust.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      China…more autarky…


      That would not be the first time.

      China today is like that under the Yongle emperor – that one that send adm Zheng He on 7 voyages to as far as Africa (or around the world, as some have speculated).

      The Yongle emperor was also the one who moved the Ming capital from Nanjing to Beijing, and built the magnificent Forbidden Palace we see today. Without him, Beijing would likely not have been the political center in China for close to 1,000 years (from Liao and Jin dynasties, who controlled northern China, through Yuan, Ming and Qing dynassties, when China was unified), but instead, Nanjing would likely have been the center for that last 600 years (assuming the Manchu army, from nearby Manchuria, that easily captured Beijing, would not have easily marched all the way to Nanjing

      It was under Yongle that a stele was planned that would have been about 70 meters in height (including the base, and crown) when installed. The three parts of it were left unfinished, in Yangshan quarry, near Nanjing. In contrast, the world’s tallest stele, searching on the net, appears to be the obelisk in Axum, Ethiopia, at around 24 meters. For some reason, it was only after the project had started that the architect informed the emperor it was not possible to move the parts to the Nanjing site of Ming imperial tombs (most of the Ming imperial tombs are located north, close to Beijing). No word on how the emperor reacted to that news.

      In any case, after Yongle, China looked more inward. From Zheng He, Wikpedia:

      In the 1950s, historians such as John Fairbank and Joseph Needham popularized the idea that after Zheng He’s voyages China turned away from the seas due to the Haijin edict and was isolated from European technological advancements. Modern historians point out that Chinese maritime commerce did not totally stop after Zheng He, that Chinese ships continued to participate in Southeast Asian commerce until the 19th century, and that active Chinese trading with India and East Africa continued long after the time of Zheng.

      The key word here is Haijin*. Per the quote above, the ban was not total. But reduced quite a bit.

      *People interested in more details about Haijin can research on their own.

      1. Oregoncharles

        There’s considerable evidence the Chinese were trading with Mexico quite early, too, but I’m not sure of the period. Before 1492.

        There are Mexican natives who look particularly Asiatic, compared with, eg., USian natives. For what that’s worth.

    3. Oregoncharles

      As MLTPB implies further down, there’s some deep history here. For geographic reasons, China was relatively isolated for most of its history. The only neighbors not cut off by mountains or deserts were Vietnam, Korea, and Japan, all with cultures heavily derivative of China – and all of which China invaded at some point.

      Compare the Middle East, which is the crossroads of the world. Europe doesn’t have the same kind of barriers, either.

      Of course, there was contact and trade via the Silk Road as well as ships, but it was far more tenuous than in western Eurasia.

      A qualification to my point: India is also cut off by mountains; but it was in easy contact with both the Middle East (our “Arabic” numerals in fact came from India, via the Arabs) and Southeast Asia, where their influence crossed with the Chinese. And India was rarely unified before the British, if at all. There’s a big cultural and linguistic contrast between north and south. I suspect modern Indians are more at ease with Europeans because of the long British rule.

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      While I am sure you are correct about China, you’ve got Japan all wrong. I worked for a Japanese bank, first as a client, then as an employee, which was the lead member of its keiretsu, from 1984 to 1989. I traveled regularly to Japan.

      There was no meaningful foreign owned manufacturing in Japan. There weren’t even foreign-majority-owned distributors. Even in Tokyo, there were almost no gaijin present and they’d congregate in so few places that I would run into people I’d met. I’d go occasionally to Osaka on the Shinkansen and I was regularly the only gaijin on the train.

      Western companies, big ones like Pfizer, would approach Sumitomo about buying into Japanese distributors or if they were a minority partner, increasing their stake to a majority, and we’d have to politely tell them no. It was hard not to laugh at them because merely asking the question showed they weren’t very clued in (and it wasn’t as if these people were having to make a sincere go because top management asked them, they clearly thought this was a reasonable idea).

      The US has to resort to the Plaza Accord (forcing the yen to the moon) in 1985) to try to normalize trade with Japan. While US imports of Japanese goods fell, Japanese imports of US goods did not rise. The explanation? “Informal trade barriers.”

      The US was able to force market opening of Japan to a degree in financial services, via Japan being a military protectorate and the US getting the Japanese to deregulate quickly. But even then, they got virtually nowhere on retail. The only exception was Citigroup in its wealth management area, catering to Japanese interested in foreign investments.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yves, sorry if I didn’t express myself well – I’m not sure what you think I was implying about Japan, but it certainly wasn’t that Japan was somehow more open to foreign interference in its domestic economy. The point I was trying to make was that China is no doubt aware of how in the 1980’s the US tired of the one sided nature of trade with Japan once it looked like Japan was becoming a potential strategic threat and acted. In other words, The Chinese have always known that the economic model of simply becoming a manufacturing export base for the rest of the world would have to end sometime. They’d rather it ended on their own terms, but even if not, they have to some extent prepared for it, although its anyones guess as to what direction they really want to go. South Korea did something similar in the late 1990’s with its own domestic reforms (which Ha Joon Chang was strongly critical about, although I’ve mixed feelings about his arguments). Japan of course has continued to plough its own furrow for some time now, if in a much more opaque manner than China.

  13. dearieme

    “Four long months – quarter of a year. ” And to think that the Hindoos used to be world leaders at arithmetic.

    I grant that she’s probably not a Hindoo but her ancestors probably were.

    1. David J.

      Why do you feel compelled to reduce so many of your comments into some kind of stereotypical slur? How does this habit improve the dialogue here?

      1. dearieme

        I fail to see how it’s a stereotypical slur to acknowledge the former leading role of Hindoos in arithmetic. They were the people our “Arabic” numbers came from, they were the people who invented zero. Consider the possibility that your earnest desire to take vicarious offence means that you keep missing the point.

        1. Massinissa

          The problem isn’t the joke.

          The problem is that you’re calling them ‘hindoo’ instead of ‘hindu’.

          If you’re a native English speaker, that spelling is equivalent of a slur if done intentionally. If its an accident because you’re not a native speaker, then its just a typo, but if you’re spelling it that way with intent it is a slur.

          Also, you’re basically implying its a race when it is a religion.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          And by the way, this commenter has never ever yet told me what kind of woodpecker she once wrote about having in her yard.

  14. Livius Drusus

    Re: What’s behind the spike in death rates among young adults in Minnesota?

    Many young people believe that they have no future and so alcohol, drugs or suicide can be a way out of the constant feelings of misery. The talk about the great economy only applies to the top 20 percent of the population at most. The majority of Americans are just keeping their heads above water or they are doing rather badly. So things really are bad, it is not just a problem of lost morale.

    But I think it is significant that there is even more pressure now to keep up appearances mostly thanks to social media creating yet another arena for status competition. Feeling like a loser today is probably worse than in the past because there is so much emphasis on curating the perfect life on social media.

    Previously, you only saw your immediate family/friends/neighbors or celebrities on TV but now you can see many more people who are supposedly living a better life than you are. It doesn’t matter that much of social media is fantasy, it is the feeling, reinforced by our Social Darwinist culture, that if you are not a winner as defined by society then your life is meaningless.

    1. Sol

      Exactly this. When people are forced to play a game they’re not allowed to win, they stop playing by whatever means necessary.

      We need a better game. I would settle for sportsmanship, except a good sport seems likely to tire of this game too.

          1. Robert McGregor

            How about those coffin-like pods in Japan? At least those are temperature controlled, and with bedding and a TV.

  15. PlutoniumKun

    Here’s what happened when a charity gave $1,000 each to poor households in Kenya WeForum

    I think its a bit misleading to tie this into UBI, as the article attempts, as the experiment seemed to focus specifically on the poor and was more ‘random’ than ‘universal’. Its closer in design to a basic social welfare provision. An example is Lula’s Bolsa Familia programme, which tied direct cash transfers to the poor to behaviour (like getting their children vaccinated). This was highly successful – even the World Bank and the Economist magazine had (no doubt through clenched teeth) to admit that it created numerous benefits – not least very significant economic multiplier effects through poor communities.

  16. Adam1

    I thought the cat test was interesting. I did moderately well at it (5 out of 8), but have 2 quibbles…
    1) Incomplete information. Cats use their whole bodies to communicate. The videos with their tight facial focus deprive you of other inputs. Yes, a wide shoot would have likely given away external insights and rendered that video biased, but it would have allowed some for a better read. One of them that I got wrong was a cat that was obviously walking and to me looked indifferent. There was no option for indifferent so I indicated positive (maybe I should have rated indifferent as not being positive so therefore I should have chosen negative – oh well). What I did wish for was to see where his tail was positioned, was it up, down or neutral?
    2) Biasing clip. There’s one of a cat where the answer is negative and the reasoning is that it’s at the vets and the vet has determined it is in pain. My initial thought was that while the cat might be in pain, the video, to my eyes, captured the cat during a moment of pain relief which would have been positive. Upon returning to the video for a second view what I realized was the issue is that the image you see before the video starts is a clip and not the first frame. In this instance the transition from the clip to the start of the video gives the impression that the cat temporarily narrows its eyes which is common when happy. After watching it many time and being aware of that clip to start transition, it become obvious that the cat’s eyes never change.

  17. Wukchumni

    5 ways to eat acorns for survival Outdoor Life
    Acorn eaters tend to be hunter-gatherer types, 2/3rds of the diet here was acorn based back in the day. The prized variety came from the Black Oak, and in the lesser ranks, Blue Oaks & Live Oaks. You can buy acorn flour on Amazon, it’s aimed at the Korean market, gatherers not so long ago once upon a time.

    I’ve tried to make acorn bread with not much luck, but got a little inspiration from a lady I met @ Arizona hot springs not quite a fortnight ago, who is a teacher @ a Waldorf School, and she’s around 66 and teaches 6 year olds. She related that they make acorn bread & cookies and other treats, hmmm.

    Wish i’d inquired about the anti-vax position of the school, but didn’t get around to it.

    Took a drive the other day on the Generals Highway in Sequoia NP hoping to see Bear sighting #7 on the year noshing on acorns, and traffic was light, so I went slow and craned my eyeballs up & down embankments and sideways to & fro to no avail. It’s an interesting exercise counting coup, and the drought-mass tree die off & lack of food-as a result, was quite devastating to their numbers, as I went from a high of 56 sightings in a year a decade ago, to 5 three years ago, 3 two years ago, 12 last year, and probably 6 this year.

    The key foodstuff gone awol is pine nuts from Sugar Pine trees, the most calorie-laden nutmeat in the Sierra. They have the largest & longest of all pine cones @ around 6 inches wide & 20 inches long, and they reckon about 80% of them died from the 1-2 punch of the drought & bark beetles.

    Being on the large side the pine cones are hard to miss when on the ground, and I saw precious few new ones, future missed meals.

    A friend that works for NPS was telling me about one of his 5 sightings, and it was a bear carefully ripping a Sugar Pine cone apart and when they’re eating, often don’t care if humans are around, so he was able to watch for a few minutes as it ate the pine nuts, and then left. He told me he went and picked up the pine cone, and there were a few of the pine nuts the bear had missed, so he ate them and said they weren’t bad.

    1. Krystyn Walentka

      Yes, Wukchumni, the indigenous people of Northern California lived largely off of acorns. I lived in a tent in an acorn grove in the mountains near Garberville for a few weeks. Spiritual to say the least.

    2. Xihuitl

      Acorn flour is delicious! Incredibly flavorful. Lots of coffee/chocolate/spice flavor. I’ve been baking cakes with it for years. No wheat flour or baking powder, just old-fashioned whipped egg whites. The white oak flour is supposed to have less tannin.

      I never made the flour myself. I always bought it from small US suppliers. But this year, I found they have all gone out of business. The only acorn flour I could find was from Poland. (I don’t like buying from Amazon, but I see now they have Korean acorn flour.) I even went to the big Korean market here in Houston (where we have lots of acorn trees) to look for acorn flour, but they had none, despite acorn pudding being a staple.

      I highly recommend mesquite flour also. Another very healthy and tasty indigenous staple. I buy it from a grower in South Texas.

      Seems wars were fought over highly productive oak trees. Don’t know about mesquite trees.

      Guess I’ll have to make my own acorn flour now. It’s supposed to be a mast year for acorns here in Texas. I’m not noticing that, though the squirrels have been very active. Several years ago they were piling up in the streets and cracking windshields.

  18. russell1200

    The Aircraft Carrier piece is better than most.

    One of the big issues it misses is the threat of submarines has increased as the diesel-electric submarine is becoming the AIP (air independent propulsion) submarine. And while these submarines are very dangerous to carriers, you need some sort of air asset to deal with the submarines as well.

    That being said, the way the USN charges its carriers into relatively restricted waters is absolutely crazy. They are asking to be ambushed. The Soviet Attack on a US Carrier group in the Tom Clancy novel Red Storm Rising was gamed out prior to writing it by using the Harpoon Naval Wargame.

    In the case of a US Navy (mid-1980s) with reasonable room for maneuver sailing into contested waters, being sought out and attacked by a large (but plausible) number of Soviet Backfire Bombers, the US forces didn’t always come out very well at all. And this is before cheap drones.

    A discussion of the scenario (named Dance of the Vampires) can be found here:

    The actual scenario is available at the Wargamers Vault for $8 as a pdf.

    A lot is discussed within the scenario about issues that you never hear about in these death of the carrier discussions.

    1. bob

      The navy has two types of boats- subs and targets.

      The targets are just that- targets. Put a few thousand troops on a boat, pull it into harms way and just DARE the bad guys to do something.

      It’s the juvenile equivalent of a back-seat fight between two siblings. One with their hand in the others face: “i’m not touching you…I’m not touching you”

  19. PlutoniumKun

    Obsolete or A Real Killer: Can We Save the Aircraft Carrier? National Interest

    Apart from giving a distorted view of Japanese naval policy in WWII (the Japanese used their carriers as an offensive force separate from their battleships, which were intended solely for an early showdown with the US fleet, which the US fleet wisely avoided), it ignores the key reason why ‘Great Powers’ like aircraft carriers. They are not intended for fighting other ‘Great Powers’. They are intended to bully weaker nations. Long before the Russians and Chinese developed long range hypersonic carrier killing missiles, they’ve both been capable of wiping out carriers using a long existing weapon – the attack submarine. The reality is that any projection of a major war between the US and/or Russia and China would have given the carriers a very minor role due to their extreme vulnerability.

    The purpose of an aircraft carrier is to be able to project power and dominate any small to mid sized nation that dares stand up to its would be, or former colonial masters (presumably why its countries like the UK and France that desperately cling on to their small, unaffordable carriers). A lot of people wondering why the Chinese have invested so much in carriers knowing (as they surely must) that they wouldn’t last a day in a war against the US or any other major power have ignored the massive investments by China in Africa. Only a carrier allows them to retaliate against any African nation that may decide it wants to seize Chinese financed assets.

    The threat to carriers is therefore not Chinese or Russian missiles. Its the proliferation of those missiles and other related technology to smaller nations that will worry naval planners. So far, it doesn’t seem likely that either country will sell those missiles (not least, from the Chinese point of view, that they could be used back against China), but things can change quickly. I suspect the gamechanger would be if Iran developed a genuine carrier killing missile and started selling it or distributing it to allies.

    1. bob

      Carriers are A) provocation and B) defense contractor welfare. They aren’t even a good platform for airpower. Most US flights are from ground based runways, refueled in the air, to get them around the world and back.

      This is you buying the def con talking points and believing that the US is loosing the carrier race. We need more money!

      1. bob

        “national interest”

        When I’m bored I sometimes go over to yahoo news to see what’s new in trash. “The National Interest” always has a few stories about how the US is losing some battle by not spending enough money.

        No F-35 For You: The French Air Force’s New Rafale Fighter Won’t Be Stealthy

        The Reviews Are In: 31 Air Force Pilots Say Why They Love the F-35 Stealth Fighter

        It’s straight up, un-cut, mainline propaganda.

        1. John A

          Maybe they could use the technology from The Irishman, to make Tom Cruise look much younger and remake Top Gun with the F35 stealthily swooping down to Red Square and destroying the Kremlin

    2. Carolinian

      When was the last time carriers played a decisive role in American power projection? I’m trying to think. They do see use in our attacks on small countries but is that only so Navy guys can pretend they have something to do? Perhaps what carriers really do is to project profits into defense contractor pockets.

      And even small wars kill some Americans so it’s easier to simply regime change those small countries if you have press and oligarch allies onsite.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        We use the carriers against the little countries for air supremacy. It’s absolutely vital. Without it, we would have to hold and secure territory for logistics. The old enterprise could fly to a “trouble spot”in no time.

        Even with friendly bases abroad, the local countries have control over the rent. We can’t threaten to pack up.

        From the stand point, they don’t make sense for national defense. They are necessary for rough get up smaller countries. They serve the same role ocean going ships served in the development of European colonial empires. The British could drop Crack troops and mow down local militias before a local power could react. Without territory to defend or worries about feeding troops, they could drop in and out whenever they needed. A country with a first class rail system could counter their troop movements. Once modern rail and road systems were established, guess who was kicked out of the colonial empires.

        1. bob

          What little country can even pretend to put up an air-supremecy fight?

          Carriers are massive consumers of resources, not logistics support. If you’re having logistics problems, get rid of the useless resource hog. Adding a carrier to a supply line doesn’t help the supply line, it taxes it. Instead of the dozens of ship that have to ferry resources, constantly, to a carrier, use those ships elsewhere.

        2. Carolinian

          Once again please cite a recent conflict where carriers played a decisive role.

          We have other less expensive ways of bombing people including missiles fired from smaller surface ships and even submarines. There are also of course drones and long range bombers. I believe during the Iraq war some of these latter even flew from Nevada.

          The aircraft carrier is a useless dinosaur unless you think their very existence has some symbolic power.

          1. mpalomar

            Business Insider has a list of those who’ve been naughty or nice at least as far as the Pentagon is concerned. There is no doubt carriers are a giant boondogle and a ready target in either asymmetric confrontation or any straight up confrontation with either Russia or China (both far more sensibly rendered cooperative by diplomacy rather than the MIC preferred confrontational stance).

            Otherwise its hard to find information on the usefulness of these floating targets because they really don’t have a use except as symbolic tools of extortion useful against small sovereign states acting a little too sovereign and few care to report this.

            “…the USS George HW Bush is nicknamed the “Avenger.”

            It’s the most recent Nimitz-class carrier addition to the Navy, delivered in May 2009. It is the last of the Nimitz class of carriers.

            George HW Bush served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq. In 2014, the carrier was one of the first to launch air strikes against ISIS.

            The nuclear powered USS Ronald Reagan is stationed at Yokosuka Naval Base, in Yosuka Japan. It saw a 2006 deployment which brought it to the Persian Gulf.It’s served in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

            The Stennis has home port at Naval Base Kitsap in Washington. It’s nicknamed “Johnny Reb,” and is named after the former Senator John Stennis from Mississippi and was commissioned in 1995.

            It has served in Operation Enduring Freedom and has engaged in pirate hunting in the Persian Gulf. It was also featured rather prominently in the Transformers films.

            The USS George Washington, nicknamed “GW” or “G-Dub”, is currently stationed at Yokosuka, Japan. It was in the Persian Gulf in 2000, and was in New York Harbor after 9/11 providing airspace defense. It has served in Operation Southern Watch and Operation Enduring Freedom.

            The Truman, called the “HST” or the “Lone Warrior,” is stationed at the Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia. The HST was launched in late 1996, first serving abroad during the enforcement of the no-fly zone and eventual hostilities over Bosnia.

            The HST then served during Operation Southern Watch and flew 1,300 sorties during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

            Truman was involved in the air campaign against ISIS in 2015. By the end of its deployment, its air wing had dropped over 1,118 bombs on ISIS target, passing a previous record set by USS Theodore Roosevelt’s air wing earlier that year.

            The USS Abraham Lincoln is stationed at Naval Station Everett in Washington and nicknamed “Abe.”

            It was first deployed when rendering relief to US personnel on Luzon island in the Philippines during the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, moving 45,000 people off the island. It carried out air patrols over Mogadishu in Somalia and was the first carrier to fully integrate female airmen.

            It served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. President George W. Bush gave a speech in front of a “Mission Accomplished” banner on the ship upon its return.”

            1. Carolinian

              So all these carriers are named after presidents. Does that mean there will be a USS Donald Trump? Who gets to decide?

              1. mpalomar

                “So all these carriers are named after presidents.”

                -You forget the pirate hunting ‘Johnny Reb’ otherwise the USS Stennis. Trump already has a tower named after him and perhaps someday a wall, though I don’t see any carriers in his future.

            2. The Rev Kev

              I think that it was a mistake naming carriers after Presidents for political points. They should have kept using names like the Enterprise, Yorktown, Saratoga, Lexington and Hornet. Names that mean something in history.

              1. mpalomar

                Perhaps a new Pinafore class of carriers with names like Abu Ghraib, My Lai, Guantanamo, Wounded Knee, names that mean something in history. Or how bout the uss wikileaks?
                What they really need to work on are the names of their episodic wars like ‘Enduring Freedom’, so prone to ridicule.

              2. Robert McGregor

                If an anti-war candidate like Tulsi Gabbard or Bernie Sanders gets elected President, will they say, “Don’t name an aircraft carrier after me!” Will they have to put it in their will so they don’t try to name an aircraft carrier after them after they die? Silly Me! There won’t be any aircraft carriers built after Bernie Sanders or Tulsi Gabbard are deceased.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            What constitutes “decisive”?

            I’m being quite clear. None of the wars of aggression in recent decades even start without the carriers. They make roughing up small powers possible without committing massive amounts of troops and actual diplomacy.

            The propaganda about “American Warriors” is a problem, but our NATO allies routinely mock American abilities to move under fire. The basic critique involves the American soldiers fully expecting air support to come and be immediate. It raises real questions if our modern army is actually capable of functioning in the field without a decisive air advantage.

            1. Carolinian

              Do carriers do much ground support these days? Isn’t that the business of helicopters and aircraft that don’t fly from carriers?

              And you may not be committing troops but you are committing pilots not to mention the sailors who will drown when cheap cruise missiles take out those carriers. Supposedly during recent Iran tension the Navy was afraid to even take their carriers into the Persian Gulf for fear that one of the expensive throwbacks would come to harm (now that tensions have eased a bit they did take a carrier group in).

              As Tom Dispatch is constantly reporting the US has hundreds of military bases all over the world. When it comes to bases we don’t need the kind that float.

              1. NotTimothyGeithner

                Yes, but the problem with the helicopters and other air craft is if you can’t keep enemy jets from flying they are sitting ducks.

                The carrier is what is needed to bring force quickly and to provide the protection for helicopters and such. The aircraft carrier brings the force to bear immediately. There isn’t a base construction stage where they would be open to being hit.

                1. bob

                  They keep the aircraft carriers as far away from trouble as they can. I thought I heard they won’t even bring them into the Persian Gulf anymore.


                  According to that CVN-72 is scheduled to go into the gulf this week, but most of the time they stay just outside of it, in the Indian Ocean. Check back next week…

                  Edit- According to this they are currently in


      2. Wukchumni

        When was the last time carriers played a decisive role in American power projection?

        If we didn’t have aircraft carriers, there would’ve been no turning point @ Midway, and the 3 carriers previously @ Pearl Harbor were sent to widely different areas before the day of infamy, Enterprise to deliver planes to Wake Island, Lexington to deliver planes to Midway, and Saratoga was @ NAS San Diego.

        That’s what i’d do, divide your most important capital ships, and leave your 1910’s era battleships to their own devices in Pearl Harbor as you know an attack is coming because your ambassador in Japan was tipped off by the Peruvians earlier in the year.

        On January 27, 1941, Grew secretly cabled the United States with information gathered from Ricardo Rivera Screiber, Peruvian Minister to Japan, that “Japan military forces planned a surprise mass attack at Pearl Harbor in case of ‘trouble’ with the United States,” information that was declassified twelve years later.

        Grew’s account said, “There is a lot of talk around town to the effect that the Japanese in case of a break with the United States, are planning to go all out in a surprise mass attack on Pearl Harbor. Of course I informed our Government”

        1. Carolinian

          Midway was my favorite battle as a kid. There was a great book written about it that highlights the view of the battle by one of the downed torpedo plane pilots floating near the Japanese fleet. Of course the carriers played a big role then, but by the end of the war and Okinawa the Japanese were dispatching their own cruise missiles–Kamikaze planes- and they were highly effective. The fierceness of the Okinawa battle was cited as one reason for dropping the atomic bomb.

          1. bob

            Offensive battles when the range of aircraft were limited. That’s the only use for them. With mid-air refueling, aircraft now have unlimited range.

            1. inode_buddha

              What if you need to refuel 40 aircraft in one mission at the outset of hostilities? I can see where a carrier might be better.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Besides the loss of contracts, this is why S400 sales are so frightening to the hegemon. If the work as advertised, we can’t have air impunity. The US gets away with a lot because we can move troops rapidly without fear of retaliation during transit. Special forces are worthless if they have to move with the regular army or have to worry about supplies.

      1. The Rev Kev

        It should be mentioned too that US troops have not been bombed from the air since the Korean war – well if you forget all those accidental attacks by the air force and navy pilots that is. What happens if US troops now have to really start paying attention to aerial attacks during overseas operations because those S-400s are keeping the skies clear of US aircraft?

    4. David

      I think it’s more general than that: it’s about power projection for any purpose. If you want to carry out a military mission of any kind outside your national territory, you have to be able to get the forces there. In general, there’s only two options: by air or by sea. Even when there is a potential land route (as in Bosnia during the UN and NATO missions) it’s often cheaper and easier to send equipment by sea. Most military equipment these days is only air-portable with difficulty, if at all. The same applies to air operations: French aircraft attacking targets in Mali fly from the French mainland and have to be refuelled twice in the air : one retired French officer recently calculated that every jihadist killed costs 1M€. Flying missions off their carrier (if they could do it) would be much cheaper and easier.
      An aircraft carrier gives you not just a floating airfield (its original purpose), but a floating helicopter base, a dry-dock for smaller boats, a floating intelligence-gathering capability, a floating command post, a floating military barracks, a floating hospital and floating repair, storage and even training facilities. So, during the UK’s deployment of forces to the UN Mission in Bosnia between 1992 and 1995, there was a carrier always available to evacuate the troops if the situation got out of control, able to send in helicopters, provide fixed-wing aircraft cover, provide command and control etc. If you were the Swedish contingent and something went horribly wrong, you were stuck.
      A good example of where a carrier might actually be used is Lebanon today (as the French used one of their helicopter carriers in 2006). If things go south, there will be a potential need to evacuate thousands of foreign nationals, as well as getting UNIFIL and international organisation personnel to safety. You can’t do this by air: the airport is very close to the city and access is easy to block. The only land borders are with Syria and Israel. So you would need forces to take and hold the port, vehicles with protection to collect people from around the country and bring them down to the port, boats capable of collecting and transporting them, military medical teams to set up forward casualty stations to treat the wounded, a Joint Force headquarters, helicopters to move around, some way of opening up the airport for flights in and out … and no doubt military planners could think of lots more things. Such an operation would not be possible without a large floating platform of some kind. Having a large floating platform simply gives you more options than not having one.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I always find the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Forces nomenclature illuminating when it comes to the real purposes behind vessels. A few weeks ago I was standing on one of the bridges over the Inland Sea, watching an Osumi class ‘tank landing ship’ sail under me. In any other Navy, they’d be called amphibious assault vessels, but a country with a pacifist constitution isn’t supposed to have anything for ‘assaults’, so they just changed the name. Likewise with their helicopter destroyer (‘destroyer’ being usual navy terminology for a defensive vessel) seems to bear a remarkable resemblance to an aircraft carrier.

        Anyway, you are right of course that smaller aircraft carriers and helicopter carriers have multiple uses – in fact, they are probably the only class of military vessel that is genuinely essential for many types of emergency humanitarian rescues. But I’d still stand by my general point, that since the development of modern attack submarines back in the 1960’s, aircraft carriers are really only useful for combat against non-strategic powers, they are the military equivalent of flat track bullies. Those who argue they are out of date because the Chinese could sink them are missing the point of them.

        1. David

          Yes, I remember the genesis of these ships in the late 90s, when the MSDF was gingerly getting into a (dormant) force projection capability. The idea then was that you could operate second-generation STOVL aircraft off a prospective DDH, probably the Harrier. From the look of these vessels, you could, though I’m not sure they could operate anything as modern as an F-35.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            One problem is air craft life span. The size of the Nimitz was based on the proposed air craft and how to keep airplanes in missions, ready for defense, and in maintenance. Those plane engines basically need to be rebuilt every two weeks (vaguely remembered averages) when they are in use. They are under more stress than the car. These aren’t P-51s, the kind of plane any yahoo with a bit of training could probably rush into service if they really needed to.

            Anything too small means that they can’t carry enough planes to keep them in action beyond two weeks.

        2. bob

          I don’t think they are useful at all for humatairan missions. They bring along the massive requirment for dozen of other ships to keep the carrier moving, instead of just bringing the other ships, who could then help with the mission (moving aid onshore), rather than worrying about keeping the carrier supplied(moving aid offshore)

          “but they have hospitals!” which require a helicopter transport for any person to get to it. If they do dock, which they are very reluctant to do(because they are so fragile), they then take up valuable docking space in the deepest harbors available. Again, bad for moving aid onshore.

          Anytime i’ve seen pictures of carriers being used in supposed humanatian missions, the hospital beds are empty and the crew is just milling about.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I think its dependent on the potential antagonist. Being able to field dozens of helicopters to a situation where they aren’t at risk of rpgs or enemy fighters has all kinds of uses.

            As you mentioned, the Pentagon is at least wary of taking the carriers into the Persian Gulf, but “David” makes a good point about the small carriers being effective at kinds of missions. The primary issue the size and use of the carriers.

            Desert Shield lasted six months for a reason. The Iraqis needed to be softened up before trying an invasion, and creating conditions where tanks could race across the desert made the rapid victory in Desert Storm possible. Those tanks aren’t going anywhere if the Iraqis could wreck fuel convoys that came too close except slowly.

            1. bob

              I really don’t understand. A carrier allows you to keep dozens of helicopters away from RPG’s? Wouldn’t that mean that you’re keeping the helicopters, and the carrier, away from the battle? Schrodinger’s carrier?

              Helicopters are very good at getting away from trouble. Even faster than a carrier. Smaller target too.

              There really is something genetic about carriers in the US.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        You are making good points about the useful of carriers in situations where there is limited threat of retaliation against the carrier group. This is why mothballing the Enterprise without a proper replacement was a bad idea. Yes, its theoretically not capable of defending itself anymore, but it can actually respond to the kind of crisis the carrier advocates like to claim they can be used for.

        Then of course, it reaches a point where questions need to be raised about the Nimitz and Gerald Ford (is that the class name?) carriers. They are not simply meant for these rapid reaction forces, and they are insufficient for any real trouble.

    5. Big River Bandido

      I think it misses part of the point to view carriers only in light of “small countries”. It would be more apt to say they are used to seize control of “small regions” or small areas”. Important to note there that this “control” is, of course, temporary.

      Often this isn’t even about invasions, but “operations”…I don’t recall whether the mission to kill Osama bin Laden was based from an aircraft carrier, but that’s one type of role carriers are well-suited for (creating a temporary military base close to an area of operations but in international waters).

      It would be difficult to cite a recent instance where carrier power alone was decisive. But the era of Midway was left behind long ago, once aircraft attained the range to cross oceans without refueling or refuel in the air.

      At the same time, it would be hard to separate out the carriers’ role because while no longer dominant, the presence of carriers in a fleet provide added flexibility and a safe, temporary, floatable moving base. It is really in this role that carriers still provide valuable service to a fleet.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Samoa shuts down in unprecedented battle against measles crisis”

    With 62 dead so far, it is noteworthy that it is going towards the number of people that were killed in the tsunami back in 2009. But people are still running away when the vaccination teams call at their place. Samoa’s 74 year-old Prime Minister said: “It is disappointing and I am very angry. Very angry in the sense that we have done all that is possible.” But then again, he himself was only immunized just yesterday. The Samoans should have remembered what happened with their fellow Polynesians in Hawaii back in the 19th century when measles wiped out 10% to 33% of the population at the time. Measles is deadly.

    1. Wukchumni

      Immunisation rates in Samoa dropped steeply to just 30 percent before the outbreak, the World Health Organisation said, blaming an anti-vaccine messaging campaign.

      Two babies died after receiving measles vaccination shots last year, which lead to the temporary suspension of the country’s immunisation programme and dented parents’ trust in the vaccine.

      It was later found the deaths were caused when other medicines were incorrectly administered.


      Meanwhile over @ the Waldorf…

      On November 19, 2018, the BBC reported there was an outbreak of chickenpox affecting 36 students at the Asheville Waldorf School located in North Carolina. Out of 152 students at the school, 110 had not received the Varicella vaccine that protects against chickenpox. The United States Advisory Committee on Immunization, the Centers for Disease Control, and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services all recommend that all healthy children 12 months of age and older get vaccinated against Varicella. The Guardian reported that several Waldorf schools in California had some of the lowest vaccination rates among kindergarten pupils in the 2017–18 school year, with only 7% of pupils having been vaccinated in one school.

      1. divadab

        In my age bracket 100% of kids were not vaccinated against chicken pox – we got it and got over it and that’s it. I don;t understand the hysteria about chicken pox – it does not seem rational and the Waldorf people seem right to me.

        1. Wukchumni

          I asked my mom how chicken pox went down in our family, and one of my sisters and my brother got it just before xmas, so my other sister and I were rushed into battle, and while the first duo had a mild reaction, sis & I were scratching ourselves silly so much, we had to be put in restraints. No big deal.

          I’m a year or so away from getting a shingles shot, and i’d dread coming down with the malady, family & friends have had it and made their life oh so miserable. Big Deal.

        2. katiebird

          A girl in my younger sisters class had some complication where the chicken pox got in her brain and it did almost kill her. She was in the hospital for months.

        3. Jack Parsons

          Chickenpox is safe to someone between 5 and 10 years old. Outside that age group it seems to become dangerous.

          The old system for it was if you knew someone whose kid had it, you arranged a play date with them so that your kid would get it. I remember having some kid with spots appear at my house with the intention that we would hang out. Being profoundly antisocial this was a total WTF? He gave me the pox and I never saw him again. I never got what happened until years later.

  21. Tom Stone

    HRC is losing it.
    And there’s a part of me that would really enjoy watching her go up against Trump again…and lose.
    If the Dem establishment uses a brokered convention to screw bernie out of the Nomination who else is there?
    It would be a shitshow for the ages.

    1. John k

      But imagine…
      Say she gets the nomination and loses even worse in 2020. And then, given she remains alive, would the dem elites run her again in 2024? Why not? The dreaded trump would be gone. Surely she’d be a sure thing against pence…
      they gave Stassen three shots…

  22. The Rev Kev

    “These photos show what it’s really like in Iran, where — despite its antagonistic relationship with the US— life is surprisingly normal”

    Now Iran is one country that would be really interesting to visit. Lots of historical and archaeological places to visit and the people have a reputation for being friendly. Those fotos may be misleading though as it reinforces the idea of a county where it is always hot and dusty. That is not necessarily true that for Iran-

    1. Wukchumni

      I always wanted to slap on the planks in Iran, but will settle for China Peak tomorrow with a claimed 3 feet of white goods courtesy of Ullr, no doubt.

      Haven’t hurled myself down a steep embankment repeatedly in about 6 months, but its like riding a bike, albeit with no handlebars, seat, wheels, frame, gears or brakes

      Ski Heil!

    2. jef

      I have friends who said the same thing about Iraq before the invasion. The economy was definitely hurting but there were areas of suburbs and strip malls that looked and felt like Concord CA. Little or no overt religious tension or separation. Syria too.

      Lebanon had been called the riviera.
      Lybia was the most advanced African country with the highest living standards.

      But thankfully we saved them all from that.

    3. Craig H.

      I thought the photos were great. That is very weird that there is no direct flight from London to Tehran. The photo I liked the best was the huge monitor outside the mosque that was supposed to be showing the Friday afternoon sermon and was displaying a windows error message.

    4. PlutoniumKun

      I know quite a few people who have travelled through Iran and without exception they rave about the beauty of the country and the friendliness of the people, especially outside Tehran. One of my favourite travel books is ‘The Road to Oxania’ by Robert Byron, an account of a driving trip in the late 1920’s through Persia as it was then. The archaeology is fascinating and Byron, among others, considered the architecture and art to be superior to that of Greece.

      1. Jokerstein

        My favourite too.

        His book, the Byzantine Achievement, does a great job of explaining WHY he held this position.

        Another good book on Iran is Mirrors of the Unseen, by Jason Elliott.

  23. Winston Smith

    I am not really surprised by Trudeau’s comments and more concerned at the fact that he seemed unaware (as were others) that they were being filmed with sound available. I have no idea why this is allowed in such a forum.

    The lack of respect and abuse directed at Trudeau and Canada by Trump and co during the new NAFTA negotiations was appalling and I think some of that bitterness lingers. In any event, I doubt that JT’s comments are uppermost on Trump’s mind at the moment. He has other things to worry about.

    1. JEHR

      The recording was done by a journalist who works for the CBC (our public broadcaster) and I don’t know why he thought it was such a good idea.

      1. cnchal

        I have not seen the piece and am not going to look for it, but I am thankful the journalist did record it.

        It exposed all of them as the dipshit assholes they actually are, a bunch of self serving narcissists with an inside joke not meant for public display. They must truly beleive the delusion Trump will be gone soon, and demonstrating that level of direspect speaks volumes about how the peasants back home are equaly disrespected. Any apology from any one of them means nothing, just empty words, as usual.

  24. Carolinian

    re acorns–I’m reading a book that says the acorn evolved its particular shape so squirrels can tell which is the bitter end and leave that part to grow a new tree. Seems to work as my yard is covered up with oak trees–and squirrels.

  25. icancho

    Re: Antidote du jour—
    I guess you can’t keep a good yellow pine chipmunk down!
    Didn’t we see this very same guy a little while back?

  26. The Rev Kev

    “The U.S. Army Is Making Ear Protection for Its Very Good Boys”

    Yes, I am sure that these dogs are highly trained and drilled to attack by command and so are worth equipping with ear muffs but what happens if the Taliban retaliates by flooding a battle area with female dogs on heat?

    1. xkeyscored

      Perhaps even more weirdly, I recently heard that Russia (I think) is experimenting with virtual reality for cows. The idea is they wear specially designed VR googles, see green fields and produce more milk.

      1. xkeyscored

        That should have read “VR goggles”. Google for dogs and cows – coming next? (I sometimes wonder when the Internet of Things will get its own social media, so your toothbrush can become depressed and anxious because of insufficient Likes and retweets …)

    2. ewmayer

      I can see the big-budget movie based on this now: Rin Tin Tin Ear, War Dog. Think mash-up of American Sniper and Old Yeller. Hmm, who should we approach to direct this – Kathryn Bigelow or Steven Spielberg?

  27. Dr Mike

    Re: Amazon transcribing medical encounters

    This is not a solution, this will make documentation issues much worse

    The last thing I want in a medical record is an entire transcript of my visit with the patient. Over the course of a visit I ask a series of questions trying to understand the patient’s condition and rule in or out possible diagnoses. This is often a messy process and there’s usually a lot of back and forth and clarification.

    When I write my note, I’m trying to synthesize all of this into a clear and comprehensive formulation that makes clear to someone reading it (most likely me, several months in the future) what my thinking and reasoning is and why I came to the conclusion I did. The whole point here is to have enough detail so that the reader can follow my train of thought, but to be concise enough to quickly understand the issue.

    The main problem with the documentation systems that, I gather from NC are common across the US and starting to infect Canadian hospitals as well, is bloat. Specialists send me these long notes with page after page of checklists and data which is not organized or prioritized. It’s not meant to impart useful information to the reader, it’s meant to satisfy administrative requirements. I often get to the end and still don’t have an idea of the assessment or plan, which is mostly what I care about.

    Transcribing an entire visit just makes this worse. We don’t need documentation of more unorganized data, we need more constructive synthesis of data to be useful. The only use I can see would be if someone wanted to go through this transcript to make sure they weren’t missing anything when they came to their conclusions – this might improve accuracy of diagnosis I suppose, but will certainly not save time

    1. cnchal

      . . . but, but, think of the poor data centers. They need to store and retreive an exponentially growing number of zeros and ones to justify themselves. The imperative is to collect all the digital garbage and call it the new gold.

      1. inode_buddha

        Remember, Amazon also contracts to the spooks…. and now the medical data. I’m going to be watching this space, looking for dots to connect.

    2. Cuibono

      indeed and whatever became of the telephone? My patients now get admitted to the ICU and I get hundreds of pages of mostly useless paperwork but never a phone call from the intensivists to discuss the patients case. Often a 3 minute call can set things right that 100 pages of drivel will never.

      1. smoker

        Thank you!

        Having dealt with way more ER visits for loved ones in less than a year than I ever thought would happen, I’ve been horrified at the assumptions that backgroundless (despite EHR™, which, just for one, does not include an automatically updated medications list at Hospitals, I’ve found it imperative to update the current meds being given, always) Intensivest & Hospitalist treatment has been based on when an immediate, few minutes phone call to the person’s years long Doctors, and Family members, who many times don’t live close by in this sickeningly forced transience society, would have clarified so much.

        Telephones (not at all referring to texting), in such emergencies seem ideally the best means of communicating in the most timely, efficient and lifesaving manner as possible. I would think the average person speaks much clearer, faster, and with much more meaningful nuance (negating the need for writing numerous adjectives and adverbs, and possibly misundertood acronyms) than someone emailing or texting could ever do. Analogous: 911 operators, who answer the line immediately (hopefully), won’t be done away with anytime too soon.

    1. inode_buddha

      Just wait until the families of the disabled start suing the crap out of the administration. *Many* of them are on food stamps, etc.

    2. Wukchumni

      They’ve killed off 700,000 via opioids since the turn of the century, now a different tack to do in another 700,000.

    3. jrs

      Well maybe they will find volunteer or training opportunities (I’m certainly not foolish enough to think there are paying jobs for all, but I know less about the rest, how much free training – and it has to be free or else it’s just exchanging poverty for debt – or even volunteering exists). Can we just start a charity to have everyone plant trees at this point? At least that’s useful work.

      But it does give a lie to “Trump is for the little guy” nonsense. Which should be an obvious lie of course, but just seems not to die near quickly enough. Trump is for the plutocrats it’s pretty clear, not the only one who is for the plutocrats perhaps, but certainly he is.

  28. Summer

    RE: “San Francisco has nearly five empty homes per homeless resident’ Curbed

    Last paragraph:
    “Vacancy rates are estimated by in-person visits to properties or by interviews via mail, email, or phone. The upcoming 2020 census will employ more exact methods and should result in housing and vacancy estimates with less room for error.”

    But plenty room for spin…

    1. jrs

      The publication LAist published such figures about Los Angeles, then had to take them back because they were unverifiable despite being pushed by a couple non-profits. Is there more housing that people, more people than housing? Sometimes it seems noone knows.

  29. BobW

    Flipping through the channels this morning caught Headline News Network report on Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The announcer reported that he was suffering from a sever infection. People who make their living by talking should really be more familiar with words. Just venting here, sorry. Reminded me of rural radio reporter saying indignant poor. That’s one thing, but HNN is a major network for cryin’ out loud.

    1. ewmayer

      Have you considered the possibility that the archbishop cut himself and said cut got infected? That would be a “sever infection”, no?

      1. cnchal

        Another possibility is that the news reader is a fake AI talker and an AI writer auto corrected severe to sever and passed it on.

        AI isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

  30. David

    The strikes in France are a really big deal. I will keep tabs on what’s going on today and post a longer comment tomorrow.

  31. Danny

    “The Best Thing You Can Do Is Not Buy More Stuff,’ Says ‘Secondhand’ Expert”
    Like buy yet another book that will end up in landfills?

    Thrift stores are wonderful. Donate and buy from your local one. The best charity and most effective re-user of goods is The Salvation Army.

    They do the most effective job of rehabilitation for the chronically unemployed, drug addicted and ex-cons, provide child care to working parents etc. Their guys came to the house, picked up a used wooden bed that had been used by 3 sets of kids and the driver explained how a defect in the paint would be fixed before it was sold.

    Goodwill trashes almost everything. Goodwill is a franchise.Some Goodwill stores are NOT charity and DO NOT help in any way. Beware of “Us Again”, “Clothes and Shoes,” “Planet Aid” and other for-profit scams that turn useful items into rags for profit or landfill.

    IRS records obtained by NBC Washington show Planet Aid reported making up to $42 million annually to help fund charitable activities in Africa. But in a 2001 FBI memo, Danish authorities suggested Planet Aid’s funds, from government grants in addition to donated contributions, were often diverted to “personal use” by members of a controversial Danish group known as Tvind, or the Teachers Group, NBC Washington and Reveal reported. The memo also stated that “little to no money goes to the charities.”

    Donated Clothes May Fund International Fugitive

    1. GramSci

      Fifty years ago, by happenstance, I got to know a rich kid who had spent Christmas vacation cruising the Caribbean on the yacht of the CEO of Goodwill. The joke was “you don’t have to pay cripples the minimum wage”. Truth is, he didn’t. I suspect that loophole is still in the tax code somewhere…

      1. Danny

        Actually disabled employees can actually make money for large corporations that hire them.

        Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC)
        ” Available to employers who hire individuals from certain targeted groups by offering them a federal income tax credit. The WOTC can reduce an employer’s federal tax liability by up to $9,600 per new hire.”

        Safeway for example, gets tax credits for every disabled person they hire which, along with self-checkout machines, may end up a net hourly profit for them. Unfortunately this means someone else, one of those burdensome employees who get paid a full wage, is not hired.

        Years ago when my brother was driving a cab, he picked up executives of United Way and took them to a very expensive restaurant in San Francisco.
        “Would you like to donate this ride to charity?” one of them had the nerve to ask him. These creeps often extort money from employees paychecks through employer guilt-tripped “voluntary contributions.”

        1. marym

          WOTC: Based on about 15 mins of “research” so fwiw:

          Applies to a number of groups:
          TANF Recipients
          Designated Community Residents (individual between the ages of 18 and 39 who has “a principal place of abode within an empowerment zone, enterprise community, renewal community, or rural renewal county.”

          Vocational Rehabilitation Referrals
          Summer Youth Employees
          SNAP Recipients
          SSI Recipients
          Long-Term TANF Recipients
          Long-Term Unemployment Recipients

          Originally created as part of the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996 as a temporary provision, which has been renewed and modified. Legislative history in first link below. Currently it seems to end with employees hired in 2019.


      2. Wukchumni

        Its getting weird out there, when I was down in SoCal, I heard sketchy reports of the Salvation Army using MRAP’s when picking up the takings of red kettles.

        Like everybody else, they’ve armored up…

    2. jef

      “The Best Thing You Can Do Is Not Buy More Stuff…”

      Except that that would crash the global economy in short order putting hundreds of millions out of work.

      But it truly is the only solution.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If people stopped buying more stuff, and took their buy-more-stuff money and spent all of that money on fixing and repairing the stuff they already have, would that create more jobs in the fixing-and-repairing-stuff sector?

        Would it be possible to float the economy down on a cushion of thing-fixers and stuff-repairers to make up for the new-stuff-makers thrown out of work because of Not Buy More Stuff . . . ?

        1. anon y'mouse

          not really.

          why? because the initial -boughtenstuff- was made deliberately in order to not be repairable.

          example: shoes. i used to get shoes repaired regularly. the places have mostly closed down. i asked one guy who was still running one what was going on. he said most shoes were made so that they couldn’t be fixed at all (molded on heels) and the materials were not worth reusing anyway. shoddy craftmanship, meant for the landfill after one season’s wear.

          that guy was doing a brusque business though, but there used to be one of those in every neighborhood and he was one of the few left in a downtown urban location, so people were coming from miles around. and waiting for weeks to get their shoes back.

          he also spoke on how no one wanted to be trained for such jobs, and that the olden days’ training was done in jails or as rehab for people who had been in jails.

          he said that as his phone was ringing off the hook, and him clearly in need of a front-shop assistant/apprentice. no time to train someone, nor money to pay them, i guess.

          signed, your humble field mouse interviewer

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Reincarnation can be thought of as ‘recycling souls.’

        Why produce more when we can reuse them?

    3. urblintz

      Agreed. Although I am not man of faith and have some reservations about the “Christian” part, Salvation Army is the best at both helping the downtrodden and effective rehandling of giveaways.

      Goodwill is the exact opposite of what its name suggests.

    4. Jokerstein

      “The Best Thing You Can Do Is Not Buy More Stuff,’ Says ‘Secondhand’ Expert”
      Like buy yet another book that will end up in landfills?

      Borrow the eBook from your local library (Yay, libraries!!)

      If you want to keep it, learn how to use Calibre to strip out the DRM.

      Kovid Goyal FTW!

    5. Oregoncharles

      Thrift stores are life savers – we rarely buy new. Enables us to get by with remarkably little income.

      There are pitfalls: the house is cluttered with knick-nacks that we couldn’t resist at the price. Inherited some, too. But we’ve also found a few truly valuable items.

      Having run out of shelf space, I rarely go unless I need clothes. Which is quite a bit, since gardening eats them.

  32. JohnnySacks

    Who couldn’t foresee the epic failure of EV charging stations? That punishment will be inflicted on anyone taking a road trip at popular times because every single new product development is driven by the need for vendor lock-in. Buy our product and you’re forced to never look elsewhere but to us for anything that product will ever need throughout it’s lifetime. And when we decide to not support it anymore, it becomes useless scrap.
    And here we were at the time, poised at the start of the introduction of a world changing development – electric cars – Volt, Bolt, Leaf, Tesla, etc. Billions in store for every manufacturer, and all that was needed was a consistent battery pack design, maybe 2 or 3 form factors, the equivalent of A, B, and D size batteries. Drive the car into the equivalent of a gas station, do an under 5 minute battery swap, and off we go. Instead we get this crap.
    But I guess with the new Tesla pickup, we can all put gas powered generators in the bed for that road trip.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      In a sane world, we wouldn’t produce battery-only electric vehicles, but instead use hybrids.
      A small gas powered generator would extend their range exponentially. You could also place stator/magneto generators in every wheel and get essentially free electricity for charging while you’re tooling down the road.

      Quite surprised this tech hasn’t been employed in railroad locomotives, every wheel is basically a charging station.

      1. inode_buddha

        Actually it is employed by the railroads. Source: my uncle who retired from the railroad. Basically any locomotive built in the last 50 years operates like this. Those big diesel engines are spinning generators and charging battery banks.

        Obviously, they are not going to just up and scrap their older technologies however, until it no longer pays.

        1. Danny

          It works better with electrified railroads where power can be put back into the overhead lines. The General Electric GGI locomotives used on the Pennsylvania, New Haven and New York Central Railroads were the apex of American technology and efficiency back in the 1950s-60s.

  33. Wyoming

    Great little story my wife just told me.

    A friend of hers who lives in Idaho just sent her a message. She walked into Whole Foods (owned by Bezos of course) and there was a sign encouraging the shoppers to buy food and put it in the donation box for the poor. She was incensed by this because she is retired and lives month to month on what little she has and Mr. Bezos is a billionaire. So she is wandering around the store steamed and the light bulb goes on. She grabs a bunch of food off the shelf and goes by the donation bin and puts it in there. Then down another isle and more in the bin. She did this a whole bunch of times and mostly filled up the bin for the poor. Then bought her groceries and left feeling much better. LOL

    Give this some consideration please.

  34. urblintz

    Ya know…. I loathe Trump, always have, was never one to dismiss his criminality just because he was a tv celebrity… and whatever good he did for NYC during my 30 years there came at a price too high, imho.

    But to see Macron, Johnson, Trudeau and Ruttle (not to mention the Princess) yucking it up over his it-shouldn’t-be-so-surprising ridiculousness at a time when France is erupting, the UK is blowing up, Canada is supporting Guaido (while Ontario is being run by another Ford) and the Netherlands has covered itself in shame with the overt russophobia that has always been a hallmark of British Royalty, including the princess… and all of this happening at a NATO event… well…

    seems as if the joke’s on them and they have yet to understand the punchline.

    1. jrs

      And meanwhile record carbon use and almost no country even following the weak Paris accords (COP(out)25 going on as well).

      Trump is part of the problem, and not the solution to be sure. But neither are they. Ask Greta Thurnberg, the only person capable of speaking with any moral authority to these fools, the obscene adults with power, what she thinks of them yucking it up, while the world drowns and burns and … more like rhymes with yucking it up.

  35. flora

    re: CalPERS – Bloomberg

    Focusing on achieving the best risk-adjusted returns should be the priority at Calpers, according to board member Margaret Brown, who applauded the manager reductions.

    “It’s about time we put our fiduciary duty ahead of politics,” Brown said in an email.

    I agree. Bravo to NC for keeping the pressure on CalPERS with focused reporting; for supporting Brown in her campaign; and for keep us all (including our many state pension plan board members) aware of what’s real and what’s not in the investing world.

    Annoying that Bloomberg, like CalPERS regards NC as the ‘blog that must not be named’. Yet, ignoring NC has not made NC go away. ;)

Comments are closed.