Links 1/16/2020

Incredible, secret firefighting mission saves famous ‘dinosaur trees’ Sydney Morning Herald (JH).

New Bone-Eating Life Form Discovered in Bizarre Alligator-Corpse Study Live Science

U.S. Crude Oil Production to Reach Record High in 2020 and Norway Offers 69 Continental Shelf Production Licenses Maritime Executive

Merkel Spends Big to Kickstart Germany’s Stalled Coal Exit Bloomberg zu

One in four countries beset by civil strife as global unrest soars Guardian. And by “global” is meant global:


Industry leaders asked the UK government 31 urgent questions about Brexit and have received no answers Business Insider

Last choucroute in Strasbourg: Brit MEPs say goodbye Politico

AA Gill on Brexit DND Law

The Conservative party should care about inequality FT


During democracy’s longest internet shutdown, journalists in Kashmir continue to report International Journalists Network

CAA protests: Investigate UP Police for using ‘excessive and unlawful force’, says human rights body

Why a Hugely Popular Communist Lost a By-Election to BJP in Ahmedabad’s Labour Belt The Wire

India’s About to Hand People Data Americans Can Only Dream Of Bloomberg


Iran’s Students Stage Isfahan Sit-In on Day 5 of Protests, But Tehran Rallies Blocked Voice of America. I’m linking to a US government mouthpiece to make the point that France’s general strike gets virtually no coverage, and coverage of Hong Kong dropped off the screen after the trade deal was done.

Trump walking fine line in supporting Iran protesters Reuters

The battle of ‘resistance’ vs ‘revolution’ in the Middle East Al Jazeera

We “slaughtered” Jeremy Corbyn, says Israel lobbyist Electronic Intifada

Number of evacuees due to Taal Volcano’s unrest now at over 40,000 CNN Philippines

Southeast Asia rubber fungus has auto industry bracing for shortage Nikkei Asian Review

“The Problem of Asia” in 2020 Asian Review of Books


‘One country, two systems’ can continue beyond 2047: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Channel News Asia

Hong Kong security chief defends police tactics amid reports of electroshock weapons being introduced Hong Kong Free Press

Hong Kong protest shoppers show their true colours Agence France Presse

Lennon walls:

* * *

Phase one US-China trade war deal signed by Donald Trump and Liu He, though most tariffs remain South China Morning Post

China, US ink initial accord to ease trade People’s Daily (I believe this is a rough translation of the Chinese original).

China views trade deal as welcome respite in US battle FT

Farmers could be biggest beneficiaries in new U.S.-China trade deal Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Chinese delegates cut South China Sea references from resolution Sydney Morning Herald

Esports is preferred career among Chinese youth, survey finds Star Online

Guatemalan leader says Mexico plans to contain new caravan Reuters

Trump Transition

How Accountants Took Washington’s Revolving Door to a Criminal Extreme POGO


House delivers impeachment articles to Senate The Hill. The managers: Jason Crow, Val Demings, Sylvia Garcia, Hakeem Jeffries, Zoe Lofgren, Jerrold Nadler, and Adam Schiff.

How Giuliani’s outreach to Ukrainian gas tycoon wanted in U.S. shows lengths he took in his hunt for material to bolster Trump WaPo. I ran out of yarn for my diagram. Anyhow:


Exclusive: Warren accused Sanders in tense post-debate exchange of calling her a ‘liar’ on national TV CNN. Who could have known that a “hot mike” moment was being set up?

Op-Ed: Elizabeth Warren brushed off Bernie Sanders and taught a master class in handling sexism Virginia Heffernan, Los Angeles Times

Ep. 19: The Sad Downfall of Elizabeth Warren (podcast) Michael Moore. Worth a listen.

CNN’s Debate Performance Was Villainous and Shameful Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone

The Big Loser in the Iowa Debate? CNN’s Reputation FAIR

Democratic Candidates Immediately Descend Into Violent Pandemonium Without Cory Booker’s Message Of Love The Onion

L’Affaire Joffrey Epstein

Virgin Islands allege Jeffrey Epstein trafficked girls as young as 12 as recently as 2018 Miami Herald. I sure would liike to know more about the very wealthy people in Epstein’s Rolodex.

Sports Desk

Why Asia loves the low-key but rising sport of badminton Nikkei Asian Review. All badminton is based on deception. A great sport!

Imperial Collapse Watch

We Are Not Who We Think We Are Foreign Policy

Detroit homeowners overtaxed $600 million Detroit News

Mold, foundation cracks, sinking houses: How a Florida Habitat for Humanity neighborhood fell apart Scalawag

Why Your State Is Growing or Stalling or Shrinking NYT

Class Warfare

Opioids Are Killing More Than Twice as Many People as We Thought Vice (Re Silc).

Freedom Rider: Solidarity with Moms 4 Housing Black Agenda Report

How Dubious Science Helped Put a New Jersey Woman in Prison For Killing a Baby in Her Care The Appeal

The case for … making low-tech ‘dumb’ cities instead of ‘smart’ ones Guardian. Important and interesting.

Antidote du jour (via):

On the Nuxalbari Tea Estate, Darjeeling, India.

Bonus antidote:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Louis Fyne

    study re. Flame Retardants & Pesticides Overtake Heavy Metals as Biggest Contributors to IQ Loss

    …Despite decreasing levels [to lead and mercury], exposure to these and other toxic chemicals, especially flame retardants and pesticides, still resulted in more than a million cases of intellectual disability in the United States between 2001 and 2016. Furthermore, as the target of significantly fewer restrictions, experts say, flame retardants and pesticides now represent the bulk of that cognitive loss…….

        1. Piper

          Don’t forget Glide dental floss, coated with teflon, and other things you put directly on your body, like socks and bras impregnated with odor fighting chemicals—i.e. fungicides.
          The easiest and best way to protect your health is to stop digging your grave with your teeth and lining it with your wallet: eat a diet of high quality organic food and research and seek out harmless and traditional products.

          Cue the “scientists” from corporate chemical headquarters patronizing us that there are no studies showing harm or differences in products and to “trust them” in 3…2….1….

          See the Precautionary Principle by Nessim Taleb

          “The precautionary principle states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing severe harm to the public domain (affecting general health or the environment globally), the action should not be taken in the absence of scientific near-certainty about its safety. Under these conditions, the burden of proof about absence of harm falls on those proposing an action,[ i.e. Monsanto and Dupont,] not those opposing it.”

        2. False Solace

          Yes and every time legislation comes up to limit or regulate PFAS type chemicals, Trump promises to veto it. Last July. Last week.

          Children are 171% more likely to die of cancer in my county, where 3M dumped PFAS waste for decades.

      1. Louis Fyne

        Every house literally has PFAS, every American has PFAS in their bloodstream.

        Quite likely that if you’ve consumed “spring water,” versus distilled or reverse osmosis purified, you ingested PFAS (of which there is no punishable federal legal limit).

        It’s impossible to zero out one’s exposure—-and I wish there was more information on highlighting which exposure vectors can be addressed for the biggest bang for your buck.

        I’m guessing water/juice/food, clothing/bedding/upholstery, drywall/building materials, cookware.

        1. scoff

          Oh, that ain’t all.

          I’ve posted this link numerous times over the years since I first read about the study. The implications of the last quoted paragraph are nothing less than terrifying.

          Body Burden: The Pollution in Newborns

          In a study spearheaded by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in collaboration with Commonweal, researchers at two major laboratories found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood from 10 babies born in August and September of 2004 in U.S. hospitals. Tests revealed a total of 287 chemicals in the group. The umbilical cord blood of these 10 children, collected by Red Cross after the cord was cut, harbored pesticides, consumer product ingredients, and wastes from burning coal, gasoline, and garbage.

          This study represents the first reported cord blood tests for 261 of the targeted chemicals and the first reported detections in cord blood for 209 compounds. Among them are eight perfluorochemicals used as stain and oil repellants in fast food packaging, clothes and textiles — including the Teflon chemical PFOA, recently characterized as a likely human carcinogen by the EPA’s Science Advisory Board — dozens of widely used brominated flame retardants and their toxic by-products; and numerous pesticides.

          Of the 287 chemicals we detected in umbilical cord blood, we know that 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests. The dangers of pre- or post-natal exposure to this complex mixture of carcinogens, developmental toxins and neurotoxins have never been studied.

  2. zagonostra


    That “when” was as transparent a media “fuck you” as we’ve seen in a presidential debate.

    I couldn’t agree more with Matt Taibbi. I listened to the the audio on CNN YouTube and the first 20 or so comments where uniformly anti CNN/Warren.

    I just had to go and donate $5.00 on ActBlue for Bernie. I hope they keep track of how many like-minded folk out there did the same as I because I want to send a very loud and clear F&ck you to CNN and Warren.

    1. Carolinian

      “calling me a liar”–if the shoe fits….

      After all wasn’t she the one who started all this (or her campaign)? Maybe Karl Rove has been secretly hired. This sounds like one of his manufactured issues.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It also has Warren’s hallmarks.

          The mic leak despite just being bizarre and the way she pulls away (I think her plan was to get Sanders to yell or soemthing hence the weird responses from the faux feminists), but it’s not really different than her producing a 23 and Me DNA test that didn’t say what she claimed it said.

          She obviously lied to use affirmative action to her advantage, and even if she wasn’t, being able to “pass” and not growing up in ghettos effectively would have made her and her grandparents white. She’s a methodist. Instead of addressing fear and difficulties of trying to gain security in life, she simply lied and told more tall tales. Using real concerns (sexual harassment; women not being able to afford to move out, though I guess rich women don’t care) for her own ambitions is part of her character.

            1. False Solace

              From what I’ve seen, some of the commercially available DNA tests routinely lie about percentage of African / Native DNA, reporting “1%” or “<1%" instead of 0. The test results become a Rorschach. White supremacists freak out because they suddenly believe they're part black, while liberals get to pretend they're partly multiracial.

              Warren’s test results, back in the foregone era when she acknowledged that she did one, was far less than 1%.

          1. Piper

            What! Isn’t the PowWow Chow recipe she posted on Facebook proof enough of her deep ties to the indigenous community?

        2. Harry

          Funny you should say. I read somewhere that Warren had hired Harris’ staffers, and that Harris had visited the Hamptons to get “advised” by Clinton very early in her campaign. I imagine some Clinton staffers were inserted into the Harris campaign then,

        3. ObjectiveFunction

          I agree: Shrillary part 2.

          And I suppose it makes sense in a ‘telegraphing a punch kind of way’ if Warren is actually angling for Smoking Joe’s VP slot (and succession).

          If Warren can become the champion of the Hilbots, and kneecap Bernie into the bargain, and then lay claim to the progressive wing once Bernie is out, then she shores up as well as rounds out (minority *gag* woman) the Biden ticket. One dimensional chess.

          Donald laughing spreads his wings (Oh Lord now!)

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        actually, she’s the one who called him a liar! maybe if he hadn’t been the one they asked first it wouldn’t have been so painfully clear.

        she is toast

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          If the Michael Moore podcast is any indication, the only thing warren has accomplished here is causing those who’ve tended to minimize her past political “missteps” to reevaluate their ever having given her the benefit of the doubt.

          Moore spends plenty of time recounting all the times warren has “embellished” her past and, spoiler alert, Pocahontas is back in a very big way, including her plagiarized contributions to the Cherokee cookbook.

          Agree with you about the toast, but suspect Bernie will take some completely undeserved shit from certain corners when she finally gets gone.

          1. a different chris

            That is me exactly! I have re-evaluated, and she’s off the list. Or technically on the “I’ll vote Green Party” instead of this clown list.

            Again, however let me caution: do not vote Trump if you don’t like the Dem candidate (if you like Trump for positive reasons then go right ahead, of course). That doesn’t send the message you somehow think it is sending.

          2. JohnnySacks

            The ‘Pocahontas’ slur was started by Howie Carr, a Boston area third rate Limbaugh radio wannabee years ago in the Scott Brown campaign days. She blew it against that lightweight ass and has been blowing it ever since. Seriously bad political skills.
            Go back in time and repeat as necessary: “Are you calling my grandmother a liar? She told us all, I trust her, I checked a box at the bottom of a form years ago. The 1600 SAT score was what got me into Harvard.”

        2. ambrit

          What worries me is that she, or at least her ‘handlers,’ should have anticipated all the negative blowback from this episode that she would suffer. Is the belief in id-pol as a viable strategy that strong in supposedly smart people? Can these well paid political operatives really be like Baldrick from Blackadder? “I have a cunning plan…”
          If there is a Clintonite Infestation in Warren’s political cadre, then who are those Clintonites really working for? This latest fracas is making me take my originally whimsical “Clinton as Unity Candidate” meme seriously.

          1. jrs

            Actually why shouldn’t it be strong belief in smart people? Attacking on id-pol kind of IS a viable strategy sometimes.

            It was used against Corbyn, it was all lies, and it wasn’t the only issue of course with Brexit. But it HELPED bring him down. They are trying to Corbyn (as a verb) Sanders in case it’s not perfectly clear what exactly is being attempted here.

          2. Matthew

            Well if they want to break the party forever, inserting a candidate between the people and their choice would be a fine way to do it.

        3. flora

          I thought she and cnn might get away with the dirty trick, until….

          Everyone and their uncle, on all sides of all the political fences, called out Warren and CNN for the orchestrated smear. Even then, I thought CNN would tough it out. Nope. A day later, CNN suddenly ‘discovered’ a recording of what the mics picked up, and released that information, thereby throwing Warren under the bus, imo. ‘See, it wasn’t us (cnn), it was her.’

          1. False Solace

            Well, it certainly keeps the story alive for another day. Also riles up supporters on both sides, increasing the odds another Bernie volunteer will say something uncouth about her somewhere.

        4. False Solace

          It’s all to the benefit of Biden. Sowing division between her supporters and Sanders means that in places where Warren doesn’t reach viability, people caucusing for her will peel off to Biden instead.

          That plus the impeachment proceedings magically starting just before the primaries look like a very heavy hand from the DNC tilting the field against current senators.

      2. New Wafer Army

        Remember, Warren identifies as a capitalist. Not just somebody who supports the capitalist economic system, she actively identifies herself as a capitalist. Where does she practice capitalism? In the public sphere. She obviously sees public life as a means of profiting – just don’t steal or cheat. Follow the rules and skullduggery is okay. In her own words:

        I am a capitalist. Come on. I believe in markets. What I don’t believe in is theft, what I don’t believe in is cheating. That’s where the difference is. I love what markets can do, I love what functioning economies can do. They are what make us rich, they are what create opportunity.


        1. False Solace

          Warren is such a capitalist she bought up foreclosed homes in the 90s and early 00’s and flipped them for hundreds of thousands in profit. Trump thought that was remarkable enough he called her out for it on Twitter and called her a hypocrite. But that’s a bit like an unrepentant murderer calling out another murderer for daring to criticize murder, so.

          1. Baby Gerald

            Wow. Thanks for this link, False Solace. It’s mind-boggling how much of a fake democrat Warren is. As I’ve heard before, Warren didn’t become a democrat– the democratic party moved rightward over her.

            She is a perpetual, habitual liar. There are countless clips of her revealing who she really is for anyone with critical eyes to see.

            I’ve now given four times to Bernie in the last three days. It’s encouraging others have responded likewise. Money and numbers are the only way we can show that we mean business this time around.

    2. Whoamolly

      Looking more and more like the whole thing was carefully scripted trap for Sanders—right down to the hot mic “you called me a liar on national TV”.

      Warren’s refusal to shake hands might be the final piece of the script.

      Sure smells like a Clinton-style dirty trick.

      1. Wukchumni

        If you’re gonna attempt political pranks, go with a pro.

        Tuck’s most famous prank against Nixon is known as “the Chinatown Caper”. During his campaign for Governor of California in 1962, Nixon visited Chinatown in Los Angeles. At the campaign stop, a backdrop of children holding “welcome” signs in English and Chinese was set up. As Nixon spoke, an elder from the community whispered that one of the signs in Chinese said, “What about the Hughes loan?” The sign was a reference to an unsecured $205,000 loan that Howard Hughes had made to Nixon’s brother, Donald. Nixon grabbed a sign and, on camera, ripped it up. Later, Tuck learned, to his chagrin, that the Chinese characters actually spelled out “What about the huge loan?”

        In 1968, Tuck utilized Republican nominee Nixon’s own campaign slogan against him; he hired a heavily pregnant black woman to wander around a Nixon rally in a predominantly white area, wearing a T-shirt that read, “Nixon’s the One!”

    3. Brian (another one they call)

      ACT Blue is not necessarily going to give your donation to Bernie, and may give it to the DNC.
      Donate to Bernie directly and avoid it going to Hillary’s charity Hillary. “Our Revolution” is a better option if you want to be sure who gets the money.

      1. katiebird

        Sander’s campaign just sent me a total of all my donations to his campaign. IT looks accurate to me.

    4. ptb

      Re: CNN’s reputation, doesn’t really matter since they went all in on burning it already.

      Warren, however, is gonna (1) lose votes herself (2) is likely to not receive whatever she was promised.

      It looks like the scorched earth tactics from the DNC have begun, so the DNC afraid of a progressive takeover right from the start. Warren is an unexpected angle. Oh well. I doubt it will do much. I am fully expecting the unironic swiftboat style campaign to accuse Sanders of being anti semitic…

      MSM Dem Pundits should understand that this will drive down Dem turnout among marginal Dem voters, exactly whe they are needed most: In states where there is not a cultural consensus for anti-Trump or Blue-no-matter-who. Places where the weakly-Dem-leaning-independent former Obama voter stayed home in 2016 and will in do it again if they feel disrespected.

      Progressives should understand that although the primary is still rigged, Dems do not win the general without both lefty and independent turnout in working class WI, PA etc. It is better to credibly threaten to play this card and win (but suffer the whining of the clueless party cheerleader class the whole way there), than to preemptively pledge party unity, get cheated in the primary, and suffer the material consequences of running the general election with another uninspiring middle of the road hack, i.e. 4 more years of Trump.

        1. Foy

          Agreed, it’s a must watch. That is a fascinating excellent interview and I’m only one hour in, one of the best I’ve watched in a long while. It is astounding stuff as you say.

          And it does give the roadmap for Bernie or anyone else to defeat the Democratic party apparatus. Really interesting how he pushed hard all the working class pressure/talking points to get their voters behind them and upend the Republican party establishment.

          There’s quote after quote and talking point after talking point in there that could be equally used by Democrat with like Bernie Sanders like principles. Which kinda demonstrates I guess how upside down the Republican/Democrat party system has become.

          Thanks very much for posting HAL, would have missed it otherwise!

        2. ptb

          I definitely don’t want Bannon as the role model, because the xenophobic nationalism. Even if there may be parallels or mirror image type thing betw. the tea party repubs and current progressive dems in having to deal with a party that opposes its voters on some big material issues, and thus all this fight at the primary level. Thats kindof obvious tho, except maybe (not clear yet) for the willingness to fight for it.

          But first, note that the Trump admin quickly sold out on much of the right populist agenda, including the substance of the economic items. And not on the nationalist anti immigrant sentiment, if you count that as economic. So the opposite of a good model. And they knew this full well, so that’s bannon’s version of populism for you. When it was clear Trump had his primary opponents beat, the R donors (including many who are simultaneously D donors) made their deal with them, in an indirect way.

          Typical of Republicans, their language is very focused on power relationships, will to power, and with that as the primary goal, they compromise on a lot else.

          So yes, you need the willingness to examine the ugly reality of the power relationship and to work with it, i.e. negotiate with all the available tools, and this state of mind is a little out of character for progressives – we’re not really revolutionary socialists after all. But it is important to get there without a sociopathic route to developing that collective negotiating skill, for lack of a better term. There do exist more positive role models for that.

          1. Foy

            Did you watch the video ptb? I’ve just finished part 1 (2.5 hours).

            He talks about the power relationships in detail and how their first mistake on the first day was not to focus on the swamp, not to hit Paul Ryan and Mcconnell hard, which was a ‘faustian bargain’ that came back to haunt them.

            I agree with you not doing it via the sociopathic route. But there is the focus route, it was very interesting hear him describe his focus throughout the video. The same focus is what is required to bring down the Democratic party elite. Some of it was hard to listen to, eg when and how they decided to go after Megyn Kelly unrelentingly etc.

            What I took out of it was their focus on the working class economic talking points, that I believe was still the biggest factor in the Trump win, working class against the elite. Working class economic talking points should be a natural Democratic position.

            Maybe at a minimum it should be watched to ‘know your enemy’ if one doesn’t like Steve Bannon and Trump.

            1. ptb

              Yes I watched part 1. It is fascinating in a way.

              Bannon left a few things out. Biggest by far was how he and the Trump campaign played the mainstream R’s and D’s off against each other in the media war during the primary. Absolutely vital to the story. Trump campaign success was based on having a media operation independent of Fox. (note that both Fox and Limbaugh etc were pushing Cruz until they started losing their audience). If it wasn’t for the indy-repub-bannon-nationalist media network, fox would’ve shut them down. The way they got that few months of perfectly timed media independence was not because they were SEO geniuses, its because facebook and google were actively boosting Breitbart etc, as a favor to the Clinton DNC, who thought it would help them. (the DNC wasn’t wrong in that assessment, Trump was the only candidate against whom Clinton had a chance – but they overestimated Clinton’s relative appeal even in that scenario).

        3. Foy

          And in the second interview with Bannon in the last minute he actually mentions ‘Modern Monetary Theory.’

          “The division is between between Popular Nationalism and Popular Socialism….at least we are now back to how do citizens get a fair shake right, how do we stop taking care of the elites in this country….a lot what of they are saying on the left and this thing called Modern Monetary Theory is just ‘hey we had quantative easing for the elites to bail them out, how about a quantative easing for the little guy’… ”

          “And so thats why I think even though we are still divided, and culturally we’re divided because divided Trump’s I think trying to put through a systems of solutions, that Obama was divisive for the simple reason that he gave up all his populist, and particuarly the war stuff, he gave up all his populist tendencies and basically became – you know, Barack Obama is a very establishment figure”

          1. Foy

            “How about some quantative easing for the little guy”…. he’s given a slogan for someone on the left to run with right there

      1. wilroncanada

        Good points, “ptb” @1:30pm. We don’t get Fox or MSNBC on our limited cable package, but we do get CNN. I can usually manage to watch it for a minute or two before gagging, and having to change channels for my sanity. It’s an amazingly immature lot. It’s only good for the occasional major disaster coverage.
        I suspect the Clintonites sabotaging, or attempting to sabotage the Sanders campaign. Yesterday I used the term “sandbagging”. I’m not sure they care who the eventual candidate for the DP is, as long as it isn’t Sanders. In fact they might consider their manipulation of Warren’s campaign as success, a twofer, deep-sixing both campaigns. For them, if not Biden or what’sis Buttface, one of the billionaires would do. None of them would be expected to win, but that’s fine for the clintonites. As long as they can continue to fund-raise off the losses, maybe even the House again. I suspect they’re already looking to 2024, with a Clinton (name one), or an Obama (name one) to safely negotiate to the great fat middle. You don’t learn from your mistakes, you double-down.
        By the way, I think they’re delusional to think this prank will permanently disable Sanders.

  3. KLG

    From Taibbi:

    “Poor Anderson Cooper was forced to intercede and point out that it literally is a he said/she said story (and not remotely “reported out,” I might add). Soon after, Bash said it was an ‘out-of-the-park moment’ for Warren, adding that the story was a litmus test for gender solidarity…”

    One question: Where was this gender solidarity when Sarah Palin could have used it?

    And allow me to remind everyone that Taibbi’s recent Hate repays the effort.

    1. DJG

      And then there’s this treasured quote from Dana Bash in the Taibbi article:

      Do [voters] want a Bernie Sanders anti-interventionist, or do they want somebody who has experience and who has — as I’m sure you will hear behind us — voted for things like the Iraq war and maybe has made other decisions that he doesn’t regret and has been a leader on national security, but also has some that he does?

      So evidently Bernie Sanders is not only a sexist but is also a French surrender monkey who somehow favors peace.

      People like Dana Bash don’t send their kids to the military, because Madison (and, perish the thought, Little Tiffany) might be hurt and triggered. People like Bash take their kids to brunch and extol the virtues of Hillary Clinton.

      Natch, my Facebook feed is filled with self-righteous liberals who are proving that Bernie Sanders said what Warren claims, “believing the victim” (Warren), and making plans for Nancy Pelosi to be interim president.

      This will not end well.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Judging from yesterday’s elaborate impeachment signing ceremony in which she used numerous souvenir pens–reportedly one for each letter of her name–nancy pelosi is making plans for nancy pelosi to be interim president.

        1. Redlife2017

          Dear gods. Talk about the Democrats fermenting civil war. I am horrified by the thought of what that will entail. They are the most ahistorical elites ever.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Dana Bash is an out and out Republican. Many of these faux feminists are simply Republicans.

            Many simply can’t go far in the GOP or as far as they wish.

          2. JBird4049

            “Ahistorical” is another fine synonym for ignorant as s***! In order to graduate from college or high school, you have to take world or Western Civ. and American history. Did they sleep through those classes or what?

            On CNN, Edward R. Murrow must be spinning in his grave.

          3. wilroncanada

            I think they’re fomenting civil war, though some of them may also be fermenting, judging by the w(h)ining. And the war has just become less than civil

        2. Wukchumni

          The look of the pens used in the signing either resembling 50mm encased bullets and/or a solar powered vibrator, was not lost on me.

      1. redleg

        Something like:
        Leaked to network with dubious sourcing, published as-is, cited by other news outlets, with the total citations claimed by leaker as individual sources validating claim.

        Anyone have a better definition?

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      Taibbi is becoming one of our very best media watchdogs. Taken together, his articles in RS and substacks, his books, and his podcast are providing an invaluable national service.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        and I saw that; good on AC: a corporate puppet for sure but with a few journalistic impulses left.

    3. Alex morfesis

      Red shirt DemocratFor all theyn the run…Hamburg Independence day centennial… Never apologized then have never apologized since…same old same old…as the lawsuits have shown the political parties consider themselves private partnerships and those who vote are simply registering and opinion….the campaigns and the primaries are simply fodder for advertising… Technically Ronnie Raygun beat Nixon in 68…technically… But then the convention decided otherwise…Bernie is doing rather well considering the divide and conquer… But unless he finds a way to take a much bigger lead instead of just squeezing by, Ali will keep the belt simply by doing a rope a dope dance. for all those nattering naybobs who insist on finding some emergency end of the world nonsense and the coming zombie apocalypse… The US civil war was about many things…the railroads had economically collapsed…cotton Mills in the UK had massive labor issues, the Indian continent was on edge…and the first global telegraph’s were about to come inline, changing the course of commerce and communication… The southern slavers were still screaming about Christiana and the dre

      1. Alex morfesis

        Oops…somehow unfinished…and that dread Fredrick Douglas and his underground railroad… And the double conventions for both the Democratic and Republican parties leading up to the election of 1860 with the nomination of the compromise candidate, one certain Abe Lincoln… We ain’t anywhere near some dystopian zombie alien invasion apocalypse nor a falling apart of civilization… People will soon forget the fake hot Mike set up and also lizze Warren… She does not come across

  4. John A

    At the risk of sounding sexist, that Op Ed in the LA Times could only have been written by a very blinkered feminist who probably does believe there is a special place in hell for all women who do not vote for a woman candidate.
    It takes as flat fact Bernie did say a woman cannot win, and then twists every aspect into an all-out attack on Bernie, including being a millionaire with heart problems who wont admit to what he said. Pathetic. Come on Bernie, admit you beat your wife, we all know you do, even if even she says you don’t.

    1. Quentin

      John A, Don’t worry about risking sounding sexist. Elizabeth Warren beat you to it by a long shot. Bernie Sanders is a millionaire? Well you can knock me over with a feather. Maybe the ‘deplorables’ are still impressed by that but no one on the stage, in the panel and much of the audience (which I understand consists largely of donors) would blink an eyelash. Which of them doesn’t have at least $1,000,000 in assets, liquid or otherwise? If I’m not mistaken Bernie Sanders has the least financial worth of all US senators, that is, in direct inverse proportion to his honesty, uprightness, general integrity. The Clinton feminists are supporting Trump, directly or out of ignorance.

      1. Matthew

        And also: When I was in high school, now almost 25 years ago, one of my teachers told me that one would need upward of two million dollars to retire comfortably. I’m sure that number hasn’t gone down in the intervening years. So the fact that Bernie did what he needed to do in order not to be destitute in his old age is evidence of his perfidy. These morons either believe that being a socialist means taking a secular vow of poverty, and that Bernie is trying to force that on the country as a whole, or they are pushing that line despite not believing it.

        1. jrs

          Almost noone can do what they need in their old age to have 2 million. This is the worst argument yet. I don’t have a problem with Bernie’s money, but no way am I going to think anyone with two million made better decisions than those that don’t have so much money. They were luckier and more privileged PERIOD (and radially so than the average person). Republicans believe in this worth and money garbage. Until we reject it absolutely nothing gets better.

          1. Matthew

            If you’re putting that argument in my mouth, please don’t. I didn’t say anything about the equation of money and moral worth, except to say that the amount of wealth needed to not work until you die does not disqualify you from being morally worthy. I have no dollars; I don’t need to be told how difficult it is to amass wealth in this country.

    2. voteforno6

      The thing is, I wouldn’t be surprised if every one of these women has experienced situations where men have done stuff like this to them. So, it could be that they’re taking it out on Sanders, regardless of the actual nuances at play in this particular situation.The best thing he can do is ignore it and continue to focus on what he wants to focus on, which his campaign seems to be doing, at least so far.

      1. kramshaw

        This is a great and really important take.

        I’m glad there are a lot of women supporting Sanders who can respond to this, because I know as a man it might be really hard for me to successfully reach out to such people. If they will only see me as a representative of the harms they’ve experienced, and the only way to de-escalate with them is to capitulate in a strategically terrible way, seems the best thing I can do is just not engage (which is hard given that the whole situation is so infuriating).

    3. JTee

      The truly bizarre aspect of this manufactured scandal (as some have commented here and elsewhere) is that everyone pushing this is conflating “women should not be president” with ” a woman can’t be elected president”. The two are not the same at all. Even if (I don’t believe it for a second) he had said this, who cares?! It is a prediction or belief in what other people will do in the future. People who are pushing it are either cognitively impaired or disingenuous. I would have considered voting for Warren in the general election despite her shape shifting — no longer.

      1. Monty

        “cognitively impaired or disingenuous”

        I think it’s a certainty that it’s both of these, and then some!

        1. jrs

          I think many people have given up trying to have ANY SORT of argument with the idpol left because they are just that irrational. It gets to be like arguing with climate deniers, completely pointless.

          So an argument that: “well maybe Bernie just meant the electorate has a lot of prejudice ..” (hello, look who is President, there is some evidence of a prejudiced electorate here) would fall on deaf ears. I mean the idpol left are people who go after actual biological WOMEN for saying they don’t believe men can be women, even if they have no issue with trans people living however they want. That’s what we’re dealing with. It’s all about shaming and thought policing with them.

          So it’s probably just better to say there is no way to say what Warren or Bernie said other than he said/she said, because that’s the uncontestable truth. And that hey that sure was a convenient time to drop that bomb wasn’t it? And then they are left with arguments like “always believe women over men”. Yea if I’m ever judged by a jury of my peers, I almost want them to be Republicans, these people are crazy.

      2. Biph

        While I agree that a woman shouldn’t be elected POTUS vs a woman can’t be elected POTUS are different, using the latter is often just an attempt to mask believing the former and laying ones own misogyny at the feet of the nebulous others. Not that I buy for second that Bernie said either.

      3. Matthew

        The conflation of the two mentalities — ie, not being able to distinguish what you actually want from what you think a weighted average of the American people might want, or might be manipulated into wanting — is itself pretty good evidence of where this line actually came from. Because this is definitively how liberals think, and equally definitively not how Bernie thinks, and liberals have issued a million scoldings to Bernie and his supporters for not thinking this way.

        For Christ’s sake, Bernie was willing to run himself to make a statement, never thinking he would come near where he is now. Why would I be expected to believe that he would discourage someone else he agreed with from running based on a possible bad outcome?

    4. Arizona Slim

      Me? I would SO have loved to vote for Barbara Jordan for president.

      Alas, none of us got the chance. While she was in Congress, she was in the early stages of MS. That’s why she left DC and went back to Texas.

      Multiple sclerosis, I hate you. I really do.

      1. CarlH

        This phenomenon is so discouraging. When I read comments sections or twitter threads these days it seems like there is a significant part of the population that when confronted with someone who disagrees with them on anything, pivots right to “you are a Russian, a bot, or both”. Even if you give them well thought out reasons for why you feel the way you do they ignore these and cut right to RRR! or you’re a bot. Are there really that many people in our population who’s thinking processes are this shallow? Are there this many of my peers under some kind of spell? It feels like I am in a Dystopian novel written by a very bad writer.

    5. Amfortas the hippie

      even wife finds this current tempest in the toilet intolerable, and has only watched the weather in the morning since it began.
      and…I’m still kind of miffed that voting for Jill Stein doesn’t count, somehow.

      1. ambrit

        Sorry Amfortas, but JS is a Green Chick. Like the Green Females from Star Trek; libidinous sex-bots. So, to follow the idea to it’s logical extreme, not worthy of being taken seriously.
        I find it hard to believe that DC Fontana let the Green Chick meme pass without at least complaining.
        Read up a bit on the hyper sexuality of some of the early science fictions’ ‘movers and shakers,’ like Heinlein, L Ron Hubbard, and, yes, Gene Roddenberry. There is more than a little support for the complaint that a lot of science fiction is aimed at pubescent boys. (Plus, of course, those that never grew up.)

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘a lot of science fiction is aimed at pubescent boys’

          That is exactly the case with Robert Heinlein. He had a contract to do a whole series of book aimed at young boys and it was only when he managed to write a book that they would not publish that he was able to get out of that contract and started writing more ‘mature’ books.

          In those days I bet if a young girl was caught by her friends reading sci fi books of that sort, that her friends would have raked her over the coals for it. Her female friends that it. But in any case, a lot of fine fiction was written in this era.

          1. HotFlash

            Well, I dunno. I read ‘books of that sort’ along with everything else in my small town’s lovely Carnegie library, and by 13 had read everything in the Young Person’s section and, by special dispensation, was allowed to borrow books from the Adult Section. A landmark for me was Heinlein’s juvenile novel “Tunnel in the Sky“. I was blown away by all those highly compentent young people, especially by an indisputably Black Person in the book, a young woman whose competence with a knife I envied and strived to emulate. Heinlein’s thoughts about knife v gun have been formative in my life. If any of my female friends raked me over any coals at that time, I do not recall it, but then I had good friends. I also think my life might have been very different, or at least different earlier, if I had realized that Andre Norton was a woman.

      2. inode_buddha

        LOL “tempest in the toilet” thank you for that one, it’s funny because its soooo accurate LOL

      3. Jeremy Grimm

        I voted for Jill too, but regretted it when she pushed for vote recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Nevada after the 2016 election.

  5. Winston Smith

    “The easiest way to get a Dem to embrace disinformation is to say what they want to hear abt who is implicated in very real Russian scandal. That’s what Parnas did tonight. Stop wanting the things you most want to be true to be true.” From @emptywheel

    That being said, the whole circus of Parnas, Giuliani et al stinks and should be looked at carefully and dispassionately. The silence of Secretary Rapture on the “surveillance” of Yovanovitch is telling

    1. allan

      Emptywheel now has a post up, Lev Parnas, Creator of Echo Chambers .
      The second part of this was news to me:

      He has positioned himself to be a gatekeeper because he serves as translator for Rudy … But he’s also the translator for John Solomon. …

      Which, along with the fact that Solomon was sharing with Dimitri Firtash the attorneys (and Parnas employers) Joeseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing, was fully disclosed in all those Solomon stories over the last few years, amirite?

      1. John A

        “He has positioned himself to be a gatekeeper because he serves as translator for Rudy … But he’s also the translator for John Solomon.”

        Translators usually have to sign a confidentiality agreement or at least understand they have a duty of confidentiality. Whatever is interpeted/translated by a go-between is strictly confidential, unless specifically agreed otherwise.

        1. allan

          Parnas, as translator for Solomon,
          might have signed an NDA or otherwise owed confidentiality to Solomon,
          but Solomon, as an alleged journalist, needed to disclose to his readers
          (and his editors, which The Hill claims he did not)
          the extensive web of conflicts in which he was entwined.

    2. WJ

      @emptywheel’s “very real Russian scandal.” Lol. She is the one of the biggest disinformation agents out there.

      1. harry

        I don’t know if she consciously spreads disinfo. But she definitely believes the Russians are after our previous bodily fluids. I am always tempted to ask “ok, they dunnit. Now what?”

        1. Mark Gisleson

          I met Emptywheel and her Irish partner many years ago and they’re very nice people. I had no problems with her until she bought into Russiagate and haven’t been able to read her or follow her on social media since.

          Russiagate is exhibit #1 that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns were run like cults. You simply do not see this kind of years after the fact diehard-headness from activists. Clinton’s people have taken the campaign model and by just twisting a few screws a little harder have gone from believing in a cause to believing in one person who doesn’t even have a history of doing things in support of the causes she signals about virtuously.

          I have been immersed so deeply in campaigns that friendships were put on hold for years. But none of those friendships ended because at the end of each election cycle we would realize our disagreements were over politics, and not hung up over the virtue of a particular candidate.

          As all the ‘true believers’ myself included always say: It’s not about Bernie.

          But it is about how both parties have moved so far to the right that absent Bernie on the ballot? I probably won’t bother to vote. Probably not ever again.

          I will never endorse fake democracy. Let me vote for my choice or shove off.

  6. xkeyscored

    India’s About to Hand People Data Americans Can Only Dream Of – Bloomberg
    India may have “a history of collecting and protecting massive personal data sets,” but with “over half a dozen account aggregators” collecting and collating people’s financial information, how long before a huge cache of valuable data gets hacked?

    1. Oh

      The whole thing looks like another con pulled by the religious fanatic Modi. Nothing good is going to come out of this.

      1. Bugs Bunny

        Oh, something very good will come out of it for Reliance Industries. Lots of new consulting contracts and then more services for when the platform burns.

  7. mrsyk

    The Milne quote is spot on.

    The existence of the CNN “hot mike” suggests to me that the Warren smear attempt on Bernie is more than bad political instinct.
    BTW, wasn’t it CNN in 2016 that leaked the questions to the Clinton camp?

    1. Big River Bandido

      I assume the thinking in the CNN boardroom is: So, now that Warren has served her purpose by assassinating Sanders, now we can kill the assassin as well, and be rid of *both* “progressives”. It does look like the perfect setup.

      Too clever by half, though. The corporate media is less popular than airlines, Congress, and heat rash, but they haven’t figured that out yet. It’ll be a rude awakening for them.

      1. voteforno6

        I doubt it’s anything that organized. More than likely they’re probably taking advantage of the situation. I wouldn’t be surprised if they usually keep the mic feeds going after these debates, but generally don’t broadcast them, out of some tacit understanding with the campaigns. Except Sanders, of course, because the rules don’t apply when it comes to him.

    2. Trent

      Yeah and they still get to host the debates. Just like JP Morgan commits felonies and continues to have a banking license. Rules are only for the little people. Does anyone honestly believe this system could even by mistake represent their interests?

      1. Quentin

        Where’s the League of Women Voters when we need them? Remember when the debates were moderated by them and not by commercial, partisan interests? Try to remember or tell someone who is too young to do so.

        1. mrsyk

          +100. I was a big Zappa fan. On his ’84 and ’88 tours he had an agreement with the LoWV where they would set up camp in the entryway and register concert goers to vote. I miss that man. He would have had something t say about the current madness.

          1. Roy G

            Well, he did say this:

            “The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          I think the League of Women Voters ultimately gave a sheen of credibility to a spectacle that has lost all sense of meaning in an era of mass information. In the 1850’s, candidates barn storming was the easiest way to access past information short of hoarding newspapers.

          We know Biden. We know Warren. She confirmed she was the person who stood with Trump and his deranged MIC grift. Even if Biden could spin a good answer to a debate question, he is a plagiarist. Harris came off well in debates, but her record demonstrated she’s a cop who ended an investigation into the priest abuse scandal.

          In a way, it was probably cool to see JFK and Nixon, but really…does anyone talk about it anymore beyond that it happened and there were takeaways? Those two guys were intelligent.

          1. Henry Moon Pie

            “Those two guys were intelligent.”

            And they spoke to their mass TV audience, that encompassed most Americans, as if they were intelligent creatures before whom to present their case rather than reptile brains to be manipulated.

        3. marym

          After a 16 year period in which there were no public presidential debates, the League of Women Voters Education Fund (LWVEF) sponsored three presidential debates in 1976. These debates between Jimmy Carter (D), former governor of Georgia and Gerald Ford (R), President of the United States, were the first to be held since 1960…

          The League continued to sponsor the presidential and vice presidential debates every four years through the 1984 elections. Following that election cycle, the Democratic and Republican national parties came together in a decision to move sponsorship of the debates under the purview of the parties.

          In 1987 the parties announced the creation of the Commission on Presidential Debates. The Commission chose LWVEF to sponsor the last presidential debate of 1988, but placed so many rules and restrictions on the possible format of the debate that the LWVEF was finally unable to agree to participate. In a press release at the time, Nancy Neuman, then LWVUS President, stated that the League had “no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.”

    3. Arizona Slim

      I was taught to be very careful around microphones. As in, always treat them like they’re hot.

      1. xkeyscored

        Nowadays, it’s very hard to be sure you’re not around live microphones. Middle of Antarctica? The depths of the Amazon? Some research group’s probably recording audio and video. Anywhere in a city? Microphones and cameras too numerous to list, many of them permanently hot. Destroy your friends’ phones and devices before speaking? Won’t endear you to them, and you’ll probably still miss a few mikes and cams.

        1. Wukchumni

          I think one of the reasons i’m seeing so many young adult hikers & backpackers, is on account of the wilderness (YWMV) here being nearly completely unobtrusive, the only microphones recording you being perhaps that of the Blue Grouse, and certainly the Marmot Cong, and maybe the Mule Deer. Not only have the Steller’s Jays & Chickarees been listening in, they’re blabbing everything you said to the whole neighborhood.

          1. xkeyscored

            Don’t forget the rocks and trees. From Business Insider:
            The Special Services Group sales brochure advertises surveillance devices hidden in rocks and trees, as well as a “tombstone cam.”
            The company has sold its products to dozens of US agencies, including the FBI, DEA, and ICE.

            1. wilroncanada

              I talk to the trees,
              And they do listen to me,
              And record what i say
              With their boom mikes
              Disguised as branches
              By night and by day.

  8. xkeyscored

    Iran’s Students Stage Isfahan Sit-In on Day 5 of Protests, But Tehran Rallies Blocked
    Trump walking fine line in supporting Iran protesters
    The battle of ‘resistance’ vs ‘revolution’ in the Middle East

    Something missing from all three of these articles is that the protesters are not necessarily pro-USA at all. From this statement “issued by a group of students at Amir Kabir (Polytechnic) University” a few days ago, which rusti linked to (thanks!):
    “In recent years, the presence of the United States in the Middle East has done nothing but sow chaos and disorder. We have long understood where we stand in relation to this aggressive power. … Indeed, the only way out of our current predicament is the simultaneous rejection of both domestic despotism and imperial arrogance.”
    Statement by University Students in Tehran Protesting Downing of Flight 752

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, some people (on both sides of the political divide) can’t seem to get their heads around the fact that its possible to be anti the Iranian government (or anti the Chinese government for that matter) without being pro-US or western.

      1. inode_buddha

        That is called “partisanship” IMHO. Black-and-white thinking. Either you’re for us or against us (false dichotomy designed to manipulate).

        The people who think in such terms do not actually are about their country, IMHO they care only about their ideology or their party.

        1. xkeyscored

          I should have read the articles more carefully. The third, from al-Jazeera, quotes from the same students’ letter, making much the same point I did. My bad, as you say in the USA?

          1. inode_buddha

            I fail to see any error on your part — I was merely trying to state the thought processes of evidently partisan reporting that you were commenting on, and with much the same conclusions. I suppose you could say we are in violent agreement.

  9. russell1200

    The Habitat for Humanity story is odd. It seems to really come down to the idea that the landfill that a whole bunch of stuff was built on (not just habitat houses) was unsuitable for construction.

    That is unfortunate to say the least, but the story seems to go out of its way to say that Habitat (and some other charities like Habitat) somehow is at fault for this.

    1. Wukchumni

      There are a number of housing developments in L.A. built on former landfills, and you wonder if the homemoaners ensconced in their garage mahals there had any idea what is lying underfoot, and just how easy it would’ve been to buy a new home somewhere other than over a dump?

      1. Brian (another one they call)

        I live next to someone that bought a house built on garbage. Every spring new items such as hot water heaters and various interesting pieces of former technology drip down the side of their lot into the creek. I look across and see the holes and wait wonderously for something to emerge.

        1. JohnnySacks

          ‘Garage Mahal’ is what I usually associate with those monstrous new ‘public safety’ buildings which suburban property tax payers get to pay off the bonds on for decades. Gotta keep us safe ya know. Meanwhile all the police blotter shows is how may of the neighboring town’s hispanics unfortunate enough to cross the border are getting pulled over and charged with various violations.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      It kind of is their fault if they didn’t do due diligence on the site suitability.

      The article is very vague about the problems and what is causing them – simply saying they are built on ‘trash’ doesn’t say much. There are plenty of examples of houses built safely on waste of various types – its usually highly problematic, but doesn’t always lead to health or structural problems – it all depends on the type of material and how it was laid out (I once did surveys in the English midlands for property companies, vast extends of suburb had been constructed on mixed mine/commercial waste for decades). But as a general rule nearly all fill material needs time to compact and settle, especially if its mixed waste, so if it wasn’t laid down according to engineering criterial, then the foundations of the houses should have been of the floating type (or other suitable designs).

      So essentially whoever authorised building those houses without doing a basic check on the nature of the sub-surface material was clearly negligent (morally, if not legally), its very hard to argue otherwise.

    3. Wyoming

      My wife worked for large developers her entire career (not in Florida however). She says the standard process everywhere she worked was basically the following.

      The developer of the proposed site hires a company which performs soil tests (this includes drilling small holes around the site to determine the subsurface composition (types of soil, bedrock, trash in this case, old remains of demolished buildings- also in this case), etc. This company then reports its results to the developer and the developer (supposedly if the site is considered suitable for building the types of buildings they are interested in developing) then sends the results to the county which also examines them. The county gives final approval to the developer for the specific plan.

      It is not an exaggeration to say that for this development the wheels ended up some distance from the tracks.

      In a situation where the developer is competent, honest, and basically follows the rules and where the County is also the described situation can never happen. The lawyers must be so happy.

        1. inode_buddha

          We used to have a housing project on the other side of the block from Love Canal. They finally tore it down due to the increase in crime in the neighborhood. The fact that their kids were literally playing on top a chemical dump was never even mentioned.

        2. inode_buddha

          Years ago (before Habitat for Humanity), they built housing projects on the other side of the block from Love Canal, about a mile from where I am typing this. Years later they tore them down, citing an increase in crime in the area, combined with property damage. The fact that people’s kids were literally playing in a chemical dump was never even mentioned.

    4. Krystyn Walentka

      To me the story makes clear that these band-aids are not the answer to the problems created by capitalism. Habitat is at fault, because they are not fighting for the deep structural change we need. We do not need charities. We need Socialism.

    5. Steve from CT

      Back in the mid 2000’s my company signed a purchase agreement on a property in suburban New Haven. We sent our surveyor and engineers to examine and test the land as it appeared to be in a wetlands. It turned out that it was so we hired an engineer who was involved in construction on the Meadowlands in NJ. He proposed a solution which the town engineer accepted and we were able to build a 4 story affordable elderly housing project with low income housing tax credits. Of course we had to do extrawork and created a new wetlands area.

      As an experienced affordable housing developer, I built many different types of housing including single family, condominiums and apartments. I cannot imagine how Habitat was allowed to build on a trash landfill without proper studies and engineering reports. This likely happened because the town and the housing authority did not do a proper job. Something that did not follow the standard procedures happened here and the cover up is under way. There is no way this should have happened.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Flo-ree-da: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Flo. Ree. Da.

        You missed that key word.

      2. bob

        Some local burgher probably found themselves with what they knew to be useless property that they didn’t want to pay taxes on. Turn it into charity! Good press, tax write off.

        1. bob

          Reading through the story, no one owned it before! The previous dump probably either donated the land, or just walked away from it and let the county foreclose. It may have been a county or city landfill too.

          Then, the county is stuck with a dump. Answer- build public housing on it. The county burghers probably get muni bonds out of it (financing the public authority) and the poors get more than they deserve, thanks to big government.

          Single family homes are usually the least regulated as far as surveys and geotechinical studies, which if you are trying to build on a dump is a good thing. Tear down the projects, let the poors build equity while expanding the tax base by taking part in the american dream….

    6. bob

      Habitat has two fuctions-

      1. Make well off people feel useful when they show up for one day to “help” build a home for the poors. They usually get waited on hand a foot while they are hitting their thumbs with hammers. Lunch!

      2. Mortgages. You can’t have a mortgage without a house! Lots of means tested programs to let you “buy” your own house, as long as you fill out the proper paperwork to plead poverty.

      It is not about housing the poors. If it were, rehabbing property would make much more sense in most places.

      1. judy2shoes

        Your comment sounds condescending, not only to the people who show up to work on Habitat projects, but also to the people applying for the homes.

        I am a not-well-off person who worked on a few Habitat projects. There was no being waited on hand and foot. Volunteers are trying to fit Habitat work into their own work schedules, which means that some cannot be there every day. Some don’t come back; it’s not for everyone. I was glad to help, but I also benefited by learning some new skills.

        Maybe Habitat is just a scam as you imply; I don’t know. I’m still glad I worked on those projects.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Volunteered at Habitat Tucson for five years. And I’m trying to remember when I was waited on hand and foot.

          As for the well-off people, sure we had some of them in our midst. But they were out there on the jobsite, working their keisters off like the rest of us.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        during the six years that we lived in town, while i painfully waited for disability and a hip, i watched two habitat houses grow up out of the ground across the street(better than daytime tv)
        almost evangelical to a person, the crew that descended to erect those houses were some of the nicest, sincerest and genuinely decent people i have ever met.
        i brought them coolers of iced tea sometimes and spoke with them.
        no “waiting on them hand and foot”…just respect from everyone who came in contact with them.
        locals called them “caravanners”.
        the people who moved into the houses i have known for 25 years…and wife has known all her life.
        entirely deserving(fwiw) and generally good folks, trying to get by in the world as best they can…both from large, poor third generation field hand families…with all that entails.
        if it’s a scam, it’s a very wily one, with the scammy parts happening somewhere besides on the ground, at the job site.
        that is not the vibe i got, at all…nor does it gell with my observations of their work, from site leveling to finishing, including xeriscaped front yard.

        on the other hand….the rehabbing companies who get federal and state funds to go around putting weatherstripping into grandma’s house—in my admittedly limited experience—do fly by night crappy work. closest to me,wife’s grandma;s house we were living in had had that done some years before, and i was constantly fixing what those guys had done…cheap materials, installed badly.
        and no number to call afterwards.
        (unlike Habitat)

  10. xkeyscored

    We Are Not Who We Think We Are – Foreign Policy
    Indeed, but perhaps we are what we do.
    The article is all about supposed crises in western culture and values, not surprising from “a home affairs advisor for the Church of England.” I’d suggest these ideological crises are not drivers so much as driven by the west’s declining economic and military hegemony. Do we need a new interpretation of Christianity, or economic and social systems that benefit our countries and the world? Reality, for Ryan and Hellyer, takes second place to a battle of myths which will somehow rescue us.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      when i read things like this, i think of several things:
      1. Habermas’ idea that, given the crises of the Enlightenment Project, rather than abandoning that project, what we need is “More Enlightenment”…which leads to:
      2. Nietzsche’ parable of God is Dead—“and we have killed him”…now, what shall we do about it?
      ie: without the universal narrative story handed down from above, it’s up to us, both individually, and collectively, to figure out what the Meaning of It All is.
      3.all of this is confused and chaoticised by two things—cultural inertia(people change their minds about large things rather slowly, with an inherent small-c conservatism being the norm across millennia for things like how we fit into the world)….and the machinations of an incredibly sophisticated more or less global elite, who have learned how to push our individual buttons with alacrity to essentially stop time, in order to maintain the current pyramidal social structure, and their place at the apex of it.
      the former is changing all by itself…helped immensely by the “good parts” of the world wide web(communications across the globe, allowing disparate folks to learn that they’re not really all that different when it comes right down to it)..but also just sort of naturally, as it always has, by exposure to those “Others” that the bossman/clan chief/warlord wants us to hate on.
      The Latter…the Mindf&ck Machinery…is working less well than it used to…in spite of whatever freakout is on twitter, today….largely due to the enormous crises of legitimacy that we see all around us. The laurels that the elite rest upon are on fire, whether they have noticed it, or not.Just about every person i randomly talk with despises the elite class, in some way, although their definitions and taxonomies vary, somewhat.
      in spite of the volume of the latest “Bernie hates women!” nonsense,and other would-be moral panics of unknown provenance, i really don’t see evidence of that kind of thing working anymore, save on an abstract level. (like the local white person complaining to my Mexican American Mother in Law(they grew up together) about the “bad mexicans takin our jawbs”…and blushing profusely when reminded that MIL is, in fact, a Mexican American. I’ve got a thousand such anecdotes, and encounter this abstract/personal disconnect literally all the time)

      (and i agree totally with the reviewer’s rebuttal that Islam is hardly new in “The West”, and indeed has been integral to the development of that “West”—we wouldn’t have Aristotle without the Baghdad Caliphate, which was a paragon of “Enlightenment” when “the West” was still averse to bathing)
      in other words, there’s room for a little modicum of Hope(not Hopium)…but it ain’t gonna be easy…and will be countered, tooth and nail,lie and obfuscation, dog and water cannon,by the powerful.
      and as is my constant refrain, to continue, it is incumbent upon each of us to engage—in person— with our fellow humans at every opportunity, especially those whom we wouldn’t normally engage with….within reason, of course(i’ve pretty much given up on the shrieking horde of Team Blue…and have had more luck(to my great surprise) with former teabilly haters).
      a civilisation is composed of people, and that’s where our true power to shape that civilisation lies.

      1. xkeyscored

        I’d suggest that the Belt and Road Initiative will be vastly more influential than Habermas, Nietsche or Aristotle. I suppose I’m much more a materialist than an idealist.
        And yes, I too find teabillies more amenable to discussing reality than Dems, only often as not I’m talking with their European counterparts. The right are used to looking at facts, eg that western superiority is down to military and economic might, both of which are in decline. The so-called left, mainstream Dems in the US, Blairites etc. in the UK, seem to think it’s down to their superior religion, culture and values, which, being Eternal, will ensure the world is always theirs. I hardly know where to begin with them.

        1. xkeyscored

          An example of what I had in mind, from Nature:
          China is closing gap with United States on research spending
          The United States is no longer the ‘uncontested leader’ in science globally, the National Science Foundation says.
          The gap in research and development (R&D) funding between the United States and China is closing fast, despite modest increases in US funding since 2000, according to statistics assembled by the US National Science Foundation (NSF).
          The United States is increasingly “seen globally as an important leader rather than the uncontested leader” in science and engineering, the agency said in the latest edition of its biennial Science and Engineering Indicators report, which compiles metrics on the state of science and engineering in the country.

          This kind of thing, I contend, will shape the coming century far more than theological niceties and philosophical re-appraisals.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          From one (of many) non-Western perspective (in particular, the one promoting the Belt and Road Initiative).

          There is a saying, dating back (perhaps) to the Han dynasty, in China that you conquer via Legalism (military and economic might), and you govern with Confucianism (cultural and values

          The Qin empire excelled at the former and was the first to unite China. Confucian books were burned though (and Confucian scholars buried alive, it was written).

          It lasted a few decades.

          The Han empire ruled for a few hundred years while promoting Confucius’ school of philosophy.

          Even today, Han Chinese identify themselves as Han Chinese, and not, say, Qin Chinese, for example.

          And the mighty Qin soldiers exist only in terracotta form, near Xian, even while the site is a UNESCO world heritage one.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        2. …up to us…to figure out the Meaning of It All…


        Have we figured out? Is it, ‘to love one another?’ That would take us back 2,000 years, pre-Nietzsche. Maybe God is not dead, in that case.

        Alternatively, we have not.

        If so, then, is this a case of no mind (relating to yesterday’s discussion)? For what good is Mind, without Meaning?

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          reckon we most definitely have not figured it out.
          the point is to try.
          and in times like this, of more and more widespread ‘fear uncertainty and doubt’…when “all that was solid turns to dust”, i think it’s more important than usual to try.
          i’ve had conversations with virulent anti-muslim rednecks(during the worst of the Bush Darkness—and separated from the herd*, of course, with beer and weed) where i’ve been able to lead them a little bit out of the proverbial Cave by talking about the history—and especially the historical branches and divisions—of Islam(I’m no expert, to be sure, but I read a lot, and compared to 99.9% of people i’ve met, i may as well be an expert). when they learn that the “greater jihad” is the struggle within oneself…and hear Rumi recited at sunset…or learn about some of the many similarities between the Abrahamic faiths(hospitality, especially…consideration for the Stranger, setting a place at table for Elijah, etc ), i can see the wheels turning behind their eyes.
          standard hippy-dippy ecumenical outreach, perhaps…but still…
          similarly, in sharing a beer with teabilly rabid redneck neighbor across the back fence when we lived in town…he was shocked(again, visibly) that he had been so wrong about what a (libertarian)”socialist” looked and sounded like…as opposed to the Rush Limburg caricature he had absorbed without question.
          just discovering that all these categories of “Others” that we are taught to hate and fear are in no way monolithic is an eye opener, in my experience.
          i think that one of the biggest obstacles to even beginning to tackle a great many of our current problems is the Mindf&ck I’m always on about…taking harried and harrassed and very busy and exhausted people and confusing them on purpose with lurid tales, and self-serving excuses for why they should blame other relatively powerless people for their problems…rather than “looking upward”, to the proverbial corner office, from whence the sweet rain of freedom(eg “trickle down”=”pee on our heads”) is pouring.
          if a mass movement is the only viable way to dislodge Power from it’s perch…and Power is adept at these machinations, both overt and subtle…then how else are we to accomplish that?
          I have yet to find a single person who would support any of our current wars, after they’ve been given the history of those places…including the history of usa meddling(something very few know about, it turns out,lol).
          of course, as alluded to above, i generally avoid these tailgate/feedstore conversations if the person in question seems too virulent, if their hostility makes my vibe antennae tingle, or if i know them to be lost in their Certainty.

          (* separation from the herd is very important…herd hass an unconscious belief-reinforcement mechanism, and challenging the herd mind can be quite dangerous.)

  11. Bandit

    The Big Loser in the Iowa Debate? CNN’s Reputation

    What reputation?? Oh! the well-deserved reputation that it is one of the most venomous, biased fake news outlets in the msm? Now that would be hard to beat, although the NYT and the Washington Post most certainly are running a close second.

  12. PlutoniumKun

    We “slaughtered” Jeremy Corbyn, says Israel lobbyist Electronic Intifada

    The silence over the parallel treatment of Sanders is deafening. As Mark Ames pointed out, in any other context if a group of upper class white women were describing an elderly Jewish man in the manner that the hosts of The View and other shows have used (“he just makes my skin crawl”), or indeed just refused to acknowledge his denial as happened in the debate, they’d be immediately called out for anti-Semitism. It really is gross.

    1. xkeyscored

      Gross, and absurd to you and me, but I expect a lot more of it, and increasingly worse if Sanders looks like having a chance. Breakaway Dems forming Change USA – The Independent Group, and urging voters to choose Trump over The Greater Evil? Not much more than formalising their current position.

    2. Matthew

      Does anti-Semitism in political discourse refer to anything other than support for Israel these days?

  13. Rose Dornchen

    Re: Virgin Islands allege Jeffrey Epstein trafficked girls as young as 12 as recently as 2018 Miami Herald. I sure would liike to know more about the very wealthy people in Epstein’s Rolodex.

    Something to bear in mind about sexual predators. They finagle their way into positions of power, wealth and influence so that they can have access to victims. I would guess that for many wealthy people it is all about having the power to act out their perverted fantasies. I have seen this while working in exclusive hotels. The power imbalance between staff and guests is frightening. Hollywood is an abuse factory. Wherever you find power imbalances, I guarantee there is abuse going on. If it is not sexual abuse, it is psychological. The next time you meet a wealthy, powerful person, remember that you are looking at the apex-predator of apex-predators. We are their prey.

    1. David B Harrison

      In a society ran by sociopathic predators this is what you get.Leadership by these predators cannot exist if you want a healthy society.Liberals and conservatives tell us my sociopath(Clinton) is better than your sociopath(Trump).Neutralizing sociopaths instead of worshiping them is the only way.Stop worshiping the winners(celebrities,wealthy people,players,alpha males and females,etc.).It’s going to be hard but we have to create a Loser army based on solidarity.My proudest accomplishment in life is that in a sick society is that I’m one of those losers.

  14. Wukchumni

    Say, isn’t the antidote accatremont Mad Max, who held off a trio of ravenous coyotes heretofore in tight quarters, and was rewarded with a trip to Lake Tahoe, where he’s sunny himself on a boulder and plausibly possibly purring?

  15. BillK

    Re: Why Asia loves the low-key but rising sport of badminton

    While badminton is an excellent sport for supreme fitness and agility it is worth mentioning that it is also and excellent exercise for our ageing population. Less energetic, :) but it is a great aid for balance, eye-hand co-ordination and joint mobility.
    There are world senior championships grouped by age levels.

    1. Wukchumni

      Badminton kind of went away with croquet in the USA, I remember playing both on the lawn when I was a yout. The best part in regards to the former was the word shuttlecock, you wonder who came up with that moniker?

      1. Anthony G Stegman

        In the SF Bay Area badminton is very popular, with most courts crowded every night. I love to play…it’s addicting and makes me feel at least ten years younger. The games is played indoors; fast & furious. I envy those who learned to play at a young age. Same as with musical instruments.

    2. PooBah

      Having just read Le Carré’s latest (“Agent Running in the Field”), I can attest that this now is only the second thing I’ve read in many, many, years about the game of badminton.

      1. wilroncanada

        Met my wife while playing badminton 52 years ago at a church in Vancouver, BC. she was a university student with there with 2 girlfriends (as is usual in these things, certain self-proclaimed alpha males were trying to make all the shots in order to claim “victory”). I tried hard to include the young women in the game. I took the three of them out for ice cream afterwards, got the phone numbers of all three, not sure which I might invite out on a date.
        I obviously made the right choice, three daughters, three grandchildren 47 years later. Haha.

  16. larry

    The DND Law article has no date and AA Gill has been dead since 2016. While this is likely to be one of his last pieces, why is DND Law putting it out now? No mention that it might be from its archives either. Strange.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, its an odd one, but the quote is good. AA Gill may have been an arrogant show-off and quite nasty, but he really could write.

  17. katiebird

    Now that Virginia has passed the ERA do we go to the Supreme Court to see if the deadline and the states that rescinded their ratification are constitutional?

    Or has it already been settled? I am confused.

  18. Wukchumni

    Incredible, secret firefighting mission saves famous ‘dinosaur trees’ Sydney Morning Herald
    Great story and just 200 Wollemi Pines left and only discovered in 1994, wow. Similar to Sequoias, their range was throughout Australia once upon a time. You can purchase late Cretaceous era 65 million year old Sequoia pine cones from the Hell Creek formation in South Dakota for around $25 on eBay.

    Mister Peabody, please set the WABAC machine coordinates.

    I’d never heard of them before, and their needles bear a lot of resemblance to a tree on the first mile of the Ladybug Trail in Sequoia NP, the California Nutmeg, or:

  19. JCC

    I just listened to the Michael Moore podcast (worth listening to). I like Warren, she did some important speaking during the initial depression years regarding Wall St. Financial Corruption, but Moore very effectively points out that either Warren, or her staff, has lousy political skills.

    Really lousy. Trump would chew her alive.

    1. anon in so cal

      It’s not just that Warren has lousy political skills and a compromised character.

      She’s a NeoCon. Her replies during the interview with the Council on Foreign Relations rang alarm bells. She would be as dangerous as Hillary Clinton, if not moreso.

  20. Pat

    So last night spent the beginning of my work shift giving a woman a list of examples of Warren lying for advantage, examples of Sanders history of supporting female candidates including the well verified example of his running against Clinton when Warren refused to do so. She still believed Warren told the truth. End of the night was two of my male co-workers telling me that they were disgusted and Warren will never get their vote because her story doesn’t pass the smell test instead reeking of desperation. I think they were surprised when I added that it also proves her political incompetence as if the DNA test hadn’t already done so.

    Didn’t even get into the ways she is more conservative than she is portrayed on most subjects and how her Medicare for All plan is largely show.

    1. inode_buddha

      Would love to have a copy of that list myself. However, I long since realized that IdPol voters are single-issue voters and nothing else matters to them outside of identity. I voted for Jill Stein last time, for reasons that have zero to do with gender, but some people simply cannot wrap their heads around that.

    1. Monty

      When lambasting CNN’s lack of integrity, he actually says, “Just more ‘journalism’ from our friends on cable news.”. Meta!

      1. jrs

        Yea but Republicans *eyeroll*. They say “see lefties, Trump was right on CNN”, but many of us, however you want to characterize our politics, and I’m usually registered with no party, have been lambasting CNN for years. I think it’s about the worst out there, yes worse than Fox, and Fox is not some force for good in the world, it’s incredibly destructive too. And never mind that CNN helped elect Trump and they are doing it again. This opposition between Trump and media is kayfabe!

        Break up the media. Does Tucker Carlson ever argue for that? Why not? It’s the answer.

        1. inode_buddha

          AMEN, brother! Wasn’t it Reagan who abolished the Fairness doctrine? Or Clinton? Gee, I wonder why…

    2. Big River Bandido

      Carlson is a heel on a whole lot of issues, but politics is always about shifting alliances and coalitions. I welcome signs of collaboration on various issues between the left and the right, when it suits good, people-oriented policy. Calling out the media corruption is one of those areas. I was particularly impressed with how Carlson drew a connection between CNN’s vendetta and the statement Sanders issued after the NLRB issued a huge fine against CNN for labor violations.

      Some of Sanders’ support will come from disaffected conservatives who respond to populist economic and even social policy. Some of those people may cross party lines to vote for Sanders in the primary, especially with an uncontested Republican primary. Support like this is a huge assist.

  21. Louis Fyne

    help wanted. ….A remote island in Ireland is looking for two people to serve as management for the island’s accommodation and coffee shop.

    Great Blasket Island is approximately 4 miles long and 1/2 mile wide, according to the island’s website. It features over 1,100 acres of unspoiled largely mountainous terrain……

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its a very beautiful island, I’d envy anyone that job for a summer anyway. The landscapes are amazing, although when storms come in it can be isolated for many days – and storms off the west coast of Ireland are a sight to behold, even in summer.

      It should be said though that the reason the island is uninhabited is that the original community was unsustainable – too many people died from treatable illnesses because doctors couldn’t get to them in time and there were numerous deaths from drowning and falls from the cliffs surrounding most of the island.

  22. inode_buddha

    Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan has just endorsed Sanders and will lead his campaign there, according to the Bernie ads in my FB feed. Evidently a lot of people remember the lies they were told about jobs.

    1. JohnnyGL

      I think it’s an important win to have members of congress within the democratic party on his side. If the party elites are decidedly split, they don’t have the consensus/power/ability to rig things.

      Coming out on Sanders’ side before Iowa is key. It’ll pave the way for more endorsements to follow.

      Contrast with 2016 when Sanders had precisely ONE Democratic Party Senator on his side. Merkeley from Oregon.

  23. Wukchumni

    Opioids Are Killing More Than Twice as Many People as We Thought Vice
    In light of so many ailments discussed yesterday and potential cures certain to remedy the situations, I feel fortunate to have never needed much more than aspirin & Ibuprofen in my wimpy travails.

    Funny how it goes, circa 1972, the menace we were warned about was ‘Reds (Seconal) & Whites’ (amphetamines) i.e. downers & uppers in pill form. I never knew anybody that did them by the time I was a young adult, and the warning was succinct, who would’ve thought that a certain kind of pill would kill many more Americans in a single year, than all of the GI’s that perished in the Vietnam War, and yet there aren’t really any protests about the pillage done.

  24. David Mills

    I read Virginia Heffernan’s piece in the LA Times, WOW. Having seen the video and listened to the (alleged) “hot mike”, I am left wondering what reality bubble to shift to.

    It is pretty clear that Clintonista elements in Warrens’ campaign staff leaked the initial story to CNN and the debate was the follow up. A laser focus on tactics without a mind to strategy. I’d say Warren just shot herself in the foot, but it looks like a clean head shot to me. The meme’s that will flow from this are going to be Hillarious (not a typo); most likely including iterations of a visibly pregnant, native american woman…

    Taleb phrased this one perfectly in either Antifragility or Skin in the game (crap memory) as IYI – Intellectual Yet Idiot.

    Warren, next time get it on tape.

  25. timbers

    I filled in a co-worker in on the details of CNN and the Warren/Bernie thing. My emphasis on CNN seeming to ignore Sander’s denial.

    One thing he said is “Who cares if someone says a woman can’t be elected President? It’s just an opinion.”

    He’s African American.

    1. False Solace

      Not sure what this comment was meant to respond to. Personally I’m fond of public sanitation, fire departments, Social Security, food inspections, and so on.

    2. Massinissa

      “Only idiots believe in corporate benevolence despite hundreds of years to the contrary”

      I fixed it for you.

      1. inode_buddha

        They are both true, you know. And not mutually exclusive. I did not say that corporate Amerika will take care of you, they certainly will not in my experience. I have about 50 years of getting screwed under my belt by both corps and gov’t so far.

        I am merely pointing out that it goes both ways.

  26. Wukchumni

    How will Bernie counter dirty tricks sure to be coming at him en route to just past Halloween, and turn them in his favor?

    The Warren Omission was what they’re all about, a public condemnation via an uninterested 3 letter news reporting firm, followed by a 2 minute show trial, culminating in Elizabeth first stating the case for a faerie queen, now if not sooner.

  27. smoker

    Re: Freedom Rider: Solidarity with Moms 4 Housing

    Some backdrop:

    Moms 4 Housing

    The wait for a family shelter bed in Oakland is 6 months – 2 years. Kicking other homeless families out of an over-full shelter to make room for us is not a solution. #HousingNOW…

    6:35 AM – 13 Jan 2020

    The Housing situation in the California Bay Area is criminal, as it is in many areas across the country; particularly since Obama’s reign when so many investors bought up even more residential real estate to make a killing. I’ve talked to fulltime, decades long State and Local Government Employees (mostly single females) at threat of homelessness.

    I never thought I’d see the day when this Country (and way too many fellow citizens) so openly and brazenly held so many millions of it’s own citizens in such low regard.

  28. bob

    “Detroit homeowners overtaxed $600 million Detroit News”

    This is a big deal in the rust belt. Lots of falling property values and no one trying to figure it out. Have the local gov spend money to lower property values and therefore tax revenue? Good luck. The RE lobby and gov on the same page, little guy gets no help.

    None of this stuff works in reverse. Values only go up! Always!

  29. Ignacio

    RE: Mold, foundation cracks, sinking houses: How a Florida Habitat for Humanity neighborhood fell apart Scalawag

    From the article:

    But the conditions of the land on which Fairway Oaks was built, and the manner in which the homes were constructed, raise questions about whether HabiJax sacrificed normal housing standards to cut costs on building the community.

    Instead of accusing for “sacrificing normal standards” they should try “no compliance with Florida’s Building Code, particularly with Chapter 18: Soils and Fundations” which stablishes the Geotechnical Investigations that should have been done.

  30. smoker

    Re: How Accountants Took Washington’s Revolving Door to a Criminal Extreme

    Thanks for that meaty POGO link. Of course Francine McKenna has some more KPMG backdrop in this June piece: An SEC Fine for KPMG in the PCAOB Data Theft Scandal and Another Horrible Revelation. It includes this priceless gem:

    But the real reason nothing more substantial either civilly or criminally will happen is that nothing has changed since 2005, and nothing changed after the financial crisis period 2008-10.

    It took the KPMG tax shelter scandal in 2005 to bring regulators to the uncomfortable realization there is no contingency plan. The audit firms will continue to push the envelope on legality, ethics and self-interest with impunity even with a new regulator, the PCAOB, in town. We can no longer depend on “professional” disdain for reputation risk to promote self-policing within the firms and within the accounting profession.

    In fact, the moral hazard may have even gotten worse, despite new evidence of the systemic corruption of KPMG after the criminal indictment four top U.S. audit practice partners, and conviction/guilty pleas of three of them, a director, and an employee from the PCAOB, as well as termination of the top U.S. audit partner.

    While the US Treasury, via the IRS, was scaring the living daylights out of KPMG over tax shelter abuses in 2005 and the Department of Justice was considering indicting the firm, KPMG was busily auditing the Department of Justice and the US Mint. In 2007 and 2008 KPMG also audited the Department of Treasury’s Financial Management Service.

    Re: The Auditors, November 28, 2006:

    KPMG is negotiating with the Department of Justice about its troubles while Department of Justice is negotiating with KPMG, their auditors, regarding their audits of DOJ financial statements… in addition to the “too few to fail” doctrine at work here, there was also an attitude on the part of KPMG of, “Hey DOJ losers, who are you to call us a mismanaged, uncontrolled mess?”

    At the last moment, the Department of Justice changed their mind deciding against putting KPMG effectively “out of business” over the tax shelter fraud. Who made that decision? Deputy Attorney General James Comey and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

    Among those familiar, the Top Accounting Firms have had a notorious reputation for corruption, negligence, greed, and toxic work environments for forever, and they’ve gotten away with it forever.

    1. smoker

      Ergo the following depressing, though not at all shocking, May 2018 piece from that POGO series. Not sure what possessed the whistleblower to think the SEC (pre, or post Trump) would take any action – speaking of Revolving Doors – particularly in Silicon Valley. I’m guessing he may have also called one or more California Legislators, only to be horrified at the lack of any meaningful response.

      PwC Whistleblower Alleges Fraud in Audits of Silicon Valley Companies

      After more than a dozen years auditing technology companies in Silicon Valley, Mauro Botta took an extraordinary step: He decided to become a whistleblower.

      Further down:

      Botta alleged that, to keep corporate managers happy and to avoid losing their business, PwC was pulling its punches—trying not to flag too many problems with companies’ internal controls.

      He said he was concerned about “the risk of collusion between auditors and management in this valley . . . with management paying us the fees and auditors picking and choosing what to call an audit issue.”

      Further down:

      PwC’s recent problems also extend to Silicon Valley-based Facebook. In its role as a monitor for the Federal Trade Commission, The New York Times reported , PwC effectively gave Facebook’s privacy protections a clean bill of health.

      “In our opinion, Facebook’s privacy controls were operating with sufficient effectiveness to provide reasonable assurance to protect the privacy of covered information,” PwC said in its assessment, which covered the two-year period ending February 11, 2017.


      In June 2017, PwC supervisors told Botta that, as a result of a restructuring at the firm, he should look for a new job, the lawsuit says. Then, in August 2017, Botta was summoned to a meeting at which PwC Vice Chairman Kevin Baldwin and a human resources leader fired him, the lawsuit says. Botta was immediately escorted from the building, the suit says.

      Botta told POGO that he was accused of falsifying work papers.

      According to his lawsuit, PwC knew Botta was the whistleblower and gave a false reason for firing him.

      SEC enforcement lawyers who communicated with Botta about his complaint referred POGO to the SEC’s press office, where agency spokesman John Nester declined to comment. The SEC generally refrains from commenting on whether it has opened an investigation or on the status of its investigations, the agency’s website explains.

      However, in February 2018, Botta said, his attorney got a call from the whistleblower office at the SEC. The SEC official said the agency would not be pursuing an enforcement action against PwC.

      Botta said he is awaiting written confirmation of that decision.

      I presume, he received that bleak confirmation, there are no more updates in that POGO series on an SEC enforcement action in that case.

  31. Pelham

    Re NYT on why states are shrinking: Maybe instead of unending immigration to sustain populations we could try something like Hungary’s generous pro-family policies that make major payments to married couples who have more than 2 kids. Fertility stats adjusted to account for age show the program is working well.

    Note this is different from the policies in other countries that merely guarantee family leave and free daycare — measures that only somewhat relieve the crushing burden of being parents and don’t do much to raise birthrates. In Hungary, the prospect of having kids is now actually a positive thing, with tangible benefits in proportion to what these future productive citizens will provide for society.

    It’s a case of a government (albeit one that’s objectionable in other ways) actually putting money behind the usual sermons about the family.

    1. The Historian

      I was looking for the /s mark in your post but I didn’t see one. If this is satire, I think you’ve missed the mark. Far right Hungary doesn’t want more people, they only want more of “the right kind” of people, much akin to what the Nazis wanted. Has that escaped you? And in a world where we need to get our birthrates down, you are encouraging larger families?

      1. Carey

        >Far right Hungary doesn’t want more people, they only want more of “the right kind” of people

        Mmm. Is wanting more native-born citizens, rather than uncontrolled immigration as in Sweden and Germany, a bad thing?

        1. divadab

          I think “the historian” is signaling that nationalism of this kind is racist. SO if you want to encourage your people to have babies, rather than import foreign surplus population, you are racist.

          Anyway, it’s absurd and shockingly stupid “logic”.

          1. The Historian

            Don’t put words in my mouth. I didn’t say anything at all about racism. What I am against is xenophobia and the type of nationalism it produces.

            But tell me, since you know so much about “logic”, when did Nationalism ever lead a country towards anything good? Ever? Can you even name one time in history?

        2. The Historian

          Perhaps you can explain to me what the difference is between a native born citizen and an immigrant, i.e., what makes one more desirable than the other? My ancestors were immigrants as I assume your parents or ancestors were too. Does that somehow make them different kinds, and therefore less desirable, people? What does that make you?

          1. Carey

            Assimilation. Note the rise of SD in Sweden (rightly so!) and AfD in
            Germany.. I guess everyone who prefers substantial cultural cohesion is clearly, clearly, Rayciss, right?

            PS you sound a little touchy

          2. The Historian

            I may not agree but I can understand and empathize with a country that says they have too many people and just cannot take in any more, but I DO NOT understand or empathize with a country that says they don’t have enough people and are encouraging more births while keeping all those “other kinds” of people” out.

            Odd how that xenophobic policy against “others” keeps rearing its head in countries that go extremely right wing, isn’t it?

            1. Carey

              This might be a worthy face-to-face conversation, but I doubt it
              can productively go further here. My sympathies are with the
              native-born citizenries of the countries mentioned.

            2. Carey

              >Odd how that xenophobic policy against “others” keeps rearing its head in countries that go extremely right wing, isn’t it?

              Sweden “extremely right wing”? Citizenries are being *driven rightward* by ruling-class driven, uncontrolled, immigration.

              1. hoki haya

                Russia as well grants funding to families who have a third child, in addition to the humane benefits given to the parents of the first- and second-born.

                Hungary is a target western disinfo, as is Russia. there is is nothing wrong with wanting to preserve one’s ethnicity.

                don’t believe the demonization that comes from western outlets, ever.

    2. Massinissa

      How about we keep our birth rate the same and then cut down on immigration? We have 300mil people, that should be enough. I’m tired of this “We need higher population growth to have endless capitalistic economic growth and compete with China and India” nonsense. We are the third largest country by population, at what point is it enough?

      Besides, large chunks of this country will be unliveable in a few decades thanks to potable water shortages and drought, and when combined with sea level rise, chances are we are going to have INTERNAL migration on a large scale.

    3. HotFlash

      In Hungary, the prospect of having kids is now actually a positive thing, with tangible benefits in proportion to what these future productive citizens will provide for society.

      Unless you are, for instance, Roma.

  32. xkeyscored

    Re the impearment proceedings, I find it bizarrely circular that a Senator swears in the Chief Justice, who then swears in the Senators. When it comes to ceremony, who needs royalty when you have the constitution?

  33. Oregoncharles

    “On the Nuxalbari Tea Estate, Darjeeling, India”
    Amazingly lush, for supporting so many elephants. My next thought: I wonder if elephants like getting buzzed? Deer certainly do. And if they do, how does the estate keep them out of the tea gardens? They’re pretty much animated bulldozers.

    Anyway, beautiful picture, interesting setting.

    1. xkeyscored

      I don’t know if elephants are partial to tea, or simply cross the fields on their way to better food, but I found this, which hints at how they’re sometimes kept out:
      Certified Elephant Friendly™ Tea is sourced from tea plantations that meet high standards for protection of elephant habitat and water resources; reducing human-elephant conflict; and reducing barriers to elephant movement between elephant habitat areas. The certified plantations eliminate electrocution risks to elephants from fencing and power lines, drainage ditches and other hazards that may injure…

      And what do deer like getting buzzed on? I know about reindeer and Amanita muscaria, but it sounds like you’re talking about other deer and other buzzes.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Deer getting buzzed: on tea, which I have growing. Originally I was given 6 plants in pots; deer found them and killed all but two. They nibble persistently on the full-grown bushes I have growing; I use repellents (bone and blood meal) and fencing so I’ll get some, too. It’s somewhat bitter, but they seem to like it.

  34. ChrisPacific

    Regarding AA Gill on Brexit: He writes entertainingly as always, but I can’t help but see this as more evidence in support of Clive’s criticism of Remainers. In particular I struggle to see much difference between the nostalgia for lost Britain (which he derides) and his description of a pan-European shared culture (which he celebrates). Saying that Leave won because of narrow-minded provincial xenophobes, and they should have listened to enlightened Europhile sophisticates like him, is not only insulting but wilfully ignorant of the real challenges and concerns that British voters face.

    I did like his description of the UK’s delusional negotiating position, but it’s shooting fish in a barrel at this point.

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