Links 1/22/2020

Digital de-ageing: from The Irishman’s Robert De Niro to Samuel L Jackson in Captain Marvel, how the tech is reaching new levels SCMP. I watched The Irishman on Netflix recently, and can recommend it. But it was disconcerting to watch a blue-eyed Robert DeNiro.

Mexico butterfly conservationist’s disappearance sparks alarm BBC (david l)

There’s been a huge spike in one of the world’s most potent greenhouse gases MIT Technology Review (UserFriendly)

Netflix, Iran and the Documentary as Geopolitical Weapon FAIR (UserFriendly)

Report: Bezos phone uploaded GBs of personal data after getting Saudi prince’s WhatsApp message Ars Technica. Not a good week for Jeff Bezos. First the India diss, and now this. And see Bezos hack: UN to address alleged Saudi hacking of Amazon boss’s phone Guardian

Claws out! Why cats are causing chaos and controversy across Britain. Guardian I’m not a cat person – hard to be when I’m violently allergic to them. But I know many readers love cats.  So I guess I’m posting this links at my peril.

Class Warfare

Fairway planning to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, close all its stores NY Post. Sad news. As NYC supermarkets go, Fairways are great stores and I once often shopped at their Red Hook location. Occasionally,  I ducked into their Upper West side outlet on the way to or from seeing my hairdresser. Especially for cheese, and own-brand olive oil. And decent fish and meat, cut and wrapped to order.Haven’t dug ideeply nto this, but I didn’t have to look hard to find a private equity villain. See Private Equity Pillage: Grocery Stores and Workers At Risk, American Prospect.

The IRS Decided to Get Tough Against Microsoft. Microsoft Got Tougher. ProPublica

Greenwald

Brazilian prosecutors charge journalist Glenn Greenwald with cybercrimes Guardian

The Empire’s War On Oppositional Journalism Continues To Escalate Caitlin Johnstone (UserFriendly)

Brazil Calls Glenn Greenwald’s Reporting a Crime NYT

LAWMAKERS SPEAK OUT IN SUPPORT OF GLENN GREENWALD, PRESS FREEDOM The Intercept

Syraqistan

The Roots of American Demonization of Shi’a Islam Global Research (UserFriendly). Pepe Escobar

Bush, Obama and Trump Have All Told the Same Ruinous Lie TruthDig

Waste Watch

Malaysia returns trash, says it won’t be the world’s waste bin PBS

Starbucks announces yet another sustainability initiative TreeHugger

India

SC refuses to stay CAA without hearing govt The Hindu

A New Politics – and Aesthetics – of Protest Is Coming to Life in Kolkata The Wire

India losing friends over citizenship law Asia Times

China?

Coronavirus: Chinese officials advise against travel to Wuhan BBC

The basics: What we know — and don’t know — about the virus spreading in China and beyond Stat

China grants emergency quarantine powers to stop spread of Wuhan virus SCMP

2020

Hillary Clinton in Full: A Fiery New Documentary, Trump Regrets and Harsh Words for Bernie: “Nobody Likes Him” Hollywood Reporter

Hillary Clinton responds to backlash: ‘I will do whatever I can to support our nominee’ The Hill She really is a piece of work!

Hilary Clinton; Nobody Likes Bernie Jonathan Turley

Sanders campaign privately urges restraint after Clinton attack Politico. Eyes on the prize, guys.

Is Hillary Clinton Running for President Again? Sure Seems Like It. TruthOut

NYT’s Lukewarm, Wrong, And Ultimately Useless Endorsements American Conservative

Educated Fools; Why Democratic Leaders Still Misunderstand the Politics of Social Class New Republic (UserFriendly)

Press Watch: Why is the mainstream media so gentle with Joe Biden? Salon (UserFriendly)

Iowa is Not the Twitterverse Counterpunch

New Cold War

Authorities Have Thrown Michael Avenatti In The Hole — Attorney Asks To Move Him To Gen Pop Above the Law

Impeachment

Senate adopts ground rules for impeachment trial, delaying a decision on witnesses until after much of the proceedings WaPo

Health Care

Diagnosed With Dementia, She Documented Her Wishes. They Said No.  Kaiser Health News

Davos

Davos 2020: Trump rejects ‘prophets of doom’ at climate-focused WEF Deutsche Welle

Davos billionaires are happy to let the world burn The Week (UserFriendly)

Davos 2020: Imran Khan, Donald Trump ‘discuss Kashmir’ /India Today India Today

Davos: Hopes for digital tax breakthrough between US, France AP

BRAVE: Airport Near Davos Is Offering ‘Green’ Fuel for Rich People’s Private Jets Motherboard. No comment.

Trump Hails Musk, ‘Very Disappointed’ in Boeing: Davos Update Bloomberg

Architect of C.I.A. Interrogation Program Testifies at Guantánamo Bay NYT

Trump Transition

Trump confirms plans to expand controversial travel ban Aj Jazeera

What the GOP’s proposed climate policies would, and wouldn’t, do MIT Technology Review (UserFriendly)

Who Put Trump in the White House? Explaining the Contribution of Voting Blocs to Trump’s Victory∗ William Marble. UserFriendly: “Well worth the read.

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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164 comments

  1. Toshiro_Mifune

    I watched The Irishman on Netflix recently, and can recommend it. But it was disconcerting Ro watch a blue-eye Robert DeNiro.

    Even with the de-aging DeNiro still had the eyes of an older man.

    Reply
    1. Ramon

      Even with the de-aging De Niro still had the eyes of an older man………and the bulk, the gate and the general lack agility that befalls us all as we get older. I felt the resources could have been better used

      Reply
      1. Polar Donkey

        De Niro couldn’t move in the film. Especially in scene where he beat up the grocer. It wasn’t believable. You could see the arthritis in his hand movements and stiffness. Sheeran was a physically intimidating person. 75ish, 5’10” De Niro could not pull that off.

        Reply
        1. John A

          I enjoyed the film but wish I had left 30-40 minutes from the end, which simply dragged on and on, especially as it took the film to the 3hour mark or so.

          Reply
        2. CanCyn

          Before seeing the Irishman, I was skeptical about the special effects but very quickly got swept up in story and character and didn’t think much more about the anti-aging techniques.
          When I pull I it apart and consider individual scenes, then I would say, sure, DeNiro didn’t move like a young man and the young Pacino looks odd to me. I read somewhere that they had some physical coaching to help them move more like younger men, losing their old man stoops & trying to walk and swing their arms more fluidly. My yoga/therapeutic movement teacher could help in that department. There are 80 and even 90 year olds in her classes who move like much younger people.
          Overall, if I don’t ‘notice’ special effects while I am watching a movie, then as far as I’m concerned they’re well done and only matter in post viewing discussions like we’re having now.
          I would like to hope that these technologies will mean a renaissance for older female actors who are so discriminated against in the current Hollywood regime.

          Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      I thought it worked quite well – not as distracting as make up or switching actors. I’m a little surprised thought that they didn’t use younger actors to get the body movement right in some scenes – as others have said, de Niro’s lack of mobility was painfully obvious in some of his ‘younger’ scenes. I watched an interview with Scorsese and the main actors later and it seemed pretty obvious that they were to some extent making it up as they went along, which I guess is a hazard of doing something very new – Scorsese may well have overestimated the ability of the technology. I’m sure later films will do a better job of it.

      The important thing though is that it didn’t (for me) get in the way of the film itself – I found it fascinating and of course brilliantly acted.

      Reply
      1. Basil Pesto

        it was a first for the technology – ordinarily for actors to have their faces mapped for some CGI manipulation, they have to have cumbersome ping-pong ball-type protuberances glued to their face and body, which I gather are then turned into a wireframe model, with textures overlaid. The actors in The Irishman didn’t want this, so Industrial Light and Magic invented a new system to capture the actors and computerise the information they were presenting on camera, by filming the setup not just on regular cameras but with special infrared cameras that could map their performance, as well as adequately capture how the scene was lit (matching the real lighting conditions and applying them to CGI textures in a convincing way is a real bastard to do). I’m not doing the technology justice with this explanation but it sounded like an astounding effort.

        The link Kev posted above, impressive though it is, rather seems to miss the point – it does a better job of making the actors look like younger versions of themselves, that is: Pacino, de Niro and Pesci. However in the film, they look like younger versions of their characters, that is:
        Hoffa, Sheeran and Buffalino. They do not exactly resemble their actors (and this goes beyond de Niro’s blue eyes) and I have no doubt that this is by design. I’m sure ILM could’ve got closer to the characters resembling the actors if they really wanted to.

        Reply
    3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      The Irishman is a huge disappointment to me. And De Aging didnt do shit! Their faces were CGI’d but their bodies could barely move.

      And why put out a film about Union Corruption instead of Solidarity during Campaign season?

      F Netflix.
      Scorceses lost his magic.

      Reply
  2. zagonostra

    Salon – Press Watch: Why is the mainstream media so gentle with Joe Biden?

    Bingo! So now draw out the implications more broadly and what you have is the Manufacturing of Consent and the fomenting of Dissent.

    By not actively asking Biden any hard questions, these top-tier journalists are offering de facto support for the pre-Trump status quo ante, without overtly looking like they are taking sides

    Reply
    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Intentionally or not, that article is hilarious.

      All these Biden quotes are [sic]:

      Writing down biden’s actual words almost makes Trump’s tweets look scholarly.

      In what I can only assume was an attempt to capitalize on the most recent dust up with Bernie, biden did an interview on morning joe this a.m. I seriously doubt that a “transcript” will be made available. sic, sic, sic. And memo to biden’s campaign staff: your candidate should not do interviews from a remote location without a monitor because he needs more than a general idea of whom he’s talking to. The biden schtick involves directly addressing the questioner using his / her first name (or subsituting “Jack” in a pinch). He was hopelessly and relentlessly in the dark this morning. As in the article, the interviewers started identifying themselves, presumably to prevent him from appearing more of the doddering fool than he already had.

      Honestly, it was excruciating.

      Reply
      1. Matt

        When Donald Trump said the media would be more friendly to him once the election was closer because they need him to win so that they can keep their unusually high ratings, I was skeptical.

        It turns out that Trump was right about the media wanting him to win to keep their ratings, but he was wrong about them being more friendly to him when it comes to reporting on his administration. Instead they took the strategy of trying to get the weakest Democrat primary candidate to face off against Trump in the general election.

        Biden is clearly the weakest candidate in the democrat field. He cannot articulate coherent thoughts, he is really old, and people will not be motivated to show up to vote for him. He is even a weaker candidate than Hillary Clinton. Trump would not have to beat him in the debates because Biden would commit so many gaffs that he would be committing political suicide every time he shows up for a debate and opens his mouth.

        The only candidate that I believe can beat Trump in the general election is Tulsi Gabbard. She would be able win debates against Trump and win many of the centrist voters that are avidly against war.

        Although I did not think Bernie had a good chance of beating Trump in the first place, I don’t think he has much of a chance anymore when he has campaign staffers saying things like they want to kill the rich and put republicans in re-education camps. Or when AOC says …”She wants the power, not the money” in reference to billionaires. These are terrifying statements coming out of a self identified socialist’s mouth to the majority of Americans.

        Reply
  3. Ignacio

    RE:There’s been a huge spike in one of the world’s most potent greenhouse gases MIT Technology Review (UserFriendly)

    I think it was about one year ago when similar news on forbidden hydrofluorocarbonate emissions was released, linked here at NC, and India was suspected, or blamed guilty. The source has to be identified ASAP.

    Reply
  4. The Rev Kev

    “Report: Bezos phone uploaded GBs of personal data after getting Saudi prince’s WhatsApp message”

    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has already said that the whole thing was a huge misunderstanding and suggested that Jeff Bezos go to the nearest Saudi Embassy for a Skype conference with him to sort it all out.

    Reply
    1. Craig H.

      Jeff the Walleyed is definitely my favorite oligarch although I am glad I do not work for the poop head.

      Remember the scene in Natural Born Killers where they interview the guy on the street and he says that Mickey and Mallory are his favorite serial killers?

      Reply
    2. Tomonthebeach

      One does have to wonder why the richest man in the world is stupid enough to have nude photos of himself on his phone. Why would anybody do that? You might ask.

      Of course, that does not exculpate MBS, but it does make one wonder why the Israeli’s are now colluding with the Saudi’s. Maybe Bibi’s corruption has roots deeper than first thought?

      Reply
      1. Procopius

        The Israelis and Saudis have been de facto allies for several years, now. The main point of collusion is the destruction of Iran and, hopefully, all of Shi’a Islam. Five or six years ago there were a few articles in print about this development, but I think they weren’t supposed to be talking about it. I haven’t seen further mention of it for a few years.

        Reply
    3. Jack Parsons

      I really suspect that the hacking was done by someone working deep in the bowels of Saudi state telecom, and that MBS and his personal security team (and personal hackers) were completely out of the loop.

      Reply
  5. Adam1

    The Irishman is on my to watch list.

    On a related note I saw The Rise of Skywalker over the holidays and had to chuckle to myself watching a living actor (Hamel) play a ghost while a deceased actor (Fisher) played a living character.

    Reply
  6. Tom Stone

    A question for the Commentariat, I have been prescribed Cadista and Zofran to deal with Chemo related nausea.
    The side effects are bad enough ( Extreme joint pain) that I ceased using them.
    I have regained limited mobility using Hydrocodone and flexeril but I still need a safe way to reduce the nausea.
    I have also been prescribed prednisone, a 5 day course.
    Cannabis derivatives (CBD’s) have been mentioned, however the immense variety of products makes finding the right product confusing.
    A final note, I would vastly prefer something that doesn’t get me “High”, I hate being fuzzy.

    Reply
    1. KB

      I think you are asking about a recommendation for a cannabis derivative product but I have none to recommend. However, my husband diagnosed with asbestos related stage 4 lung cancer last June has tried a myriad of things to counteract nausea from chemo/rad tx….
      His home health care nurse recommended the one thing that works the best: Ice cold popsicles…sounds silly perhaps but he eats a box of them in a few days and it really helps. Always have them in the freezer.
      Sorry I can’t answer your question for ya, and empathize with your symptoms. Take care and at least I thought I’d give you an example of something that works at our house.

      Reply
      1. Tom Stone

        KB and others, thank you.
        I’ll definitely give popsicles a try.
        I brought up Cannabis because there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that it works.
        But, as Amfortas mentioned it’s pretty much a wild west market.
        I’d like to avoid any option that makes me stupid or foggy, I went through three years of that due to a spinal injury..
        At this point it’s whatever works, I have five more months to go with the Chemo.

        Reply
        1. Romancing The Loan

          My dad used a legal cannabis-related product called Marinol for chemo nausea (lung cancer). He said he preferred it to the real stuff because it didn’t get you high and he said he felt weird enough as it is. Best wishes. :/

          Reply
        2. Mark Gisleson

          re: cannabis

          Find out what’s available and then do some research on Leafly. Sativa hybrids can help with pain, nausea and keep your head clear. If you can tolerate smoke, sample promising strains by sniffing a little smoke (it’s really hard to evaluate edibles). The right strain will immediately have a noticeable impact.

          For nausea and appetite, O.G. Kush is pretty reliable, but like most strains that kill pain, it will dull your mind. I’m still feeling my way through this but have developed a deep appreciation for the remarkable diversity of new strains emerging.

          Reply
        3. Oregoncharles

          Strictly 2nd hand, but supposedly CBD does not get you high but does have medicinal effects. So, the most CBD and least THC you can find.

          Reply
      2. ambrit

        During the immunotherapy fiasco, Phyllis used frozen watermelon as her “comfort” food. It did quite well for her. The excess of potassium in it might help. The jury, as far as I know, is out on that issue. Basically, an “organic” popsicle.

        Reply
    2. urblintz

      I understand your hesitancy to be high but a full spectrum cannabis product was the only thing which helped my partner through the nausea of chemo… cbd alone did not help and ultimately he preferred to endure the high for the relief he felt using cannabis. Just an opinion, not advice and I so hope you find something that works for you. Sending healing vibes your way!

      Reply
    3. Amfortas the hippie

      i, too, am confused by the wild west cbd market.
      dont know whats what.
      but wife has had good results with “Emend”–https://www.drugs.com/emend.html
      and zofran.
      no nausea at all for almost a year of folfox

      Reply
    4. CoryP

      In some cases olanzapine is used, which is in a diffeerent family. Also as someone else has already mentioned Emend (aprepitant) or netupitant.

      Guidelines vary depending on the chemo regimen. The cancer centre I briefly worked in has reams of guidelines and I can only assume the people treating you are going through the algorithm…

      As for cannabis we weren’t dispensing it directly so I’m sorry I don’t have any advice there.

      Reply
    5. h2odragon

      I will suggest finding “Hemp Flower” and either smoking it or pulling your own extracts with butter or alcohol. There’s a lot of “CBD” product out there, and I’ve found identically labeled, reputable brands to be maybe it is or maybe it isn’t actually CBD in it… and god knows what else is in there.

      Real flowers are too hard to fake, and can only be lightly perfumed or otherwise adulterated before it becomes obvious.

      I use cannabis for stomach and appetite problems as well as for lung clearing; the CBD only strains are helpful for all, but dont give me the appetite and assist digestion the way THC does. I suspect my therapeutic effect dose is somewhere north of most people’s medical overdose; so “high” isnt a problem past the first day of tolerance buildup.

      Reply
    6. anon

      In California, after my buddy Frank, who had cancer, passed away, I inherited his medical marijuana – Its called Cherry Kush. I know, I know don’t share your medicine but I always say, “somewhere, Frank must be smiling”, when I light up. Its an indica dominant strain. Its really strong. I’ve asked around – people told me you need something strong – this isn’t for a recreational smoker. It doesn’t get me high -sadly.

      Reply
    7. Brian (another one they call)

      I would add that you might use med grade cannabis (no pesticides) and use it orally. I used no pharmaceutical anti nausea agents as a result of its ability to erase nausea. I was prescribed 2 of them because they figured THC wouldn’t work. It seems to fight a lot more than just nausea by the way. I was at stage 4 prior to treatment.

      Reply
      1. DorothyT

        A good friend did extensive research on CBD products and highly recommended their products after I had a dramatic fall with my dog (my fault). Fell hard on both kneecaps and developed painful bursitis. Slow to heal but their product CBDol Topical Salve has been excellent. A little goes a long way. Helps more than OTC pain meds. (Full spectrum CBD 500 mg).

        Reply
    8. ChristopherJ

      Hey Tom, tough gig. The prednisolone worked for me, four tabs in the morning for first four days after the chem day.

      All the best

      Reply
    9. lordkoos

      I would try a 5:1 formulation, five parts CBD to one part THC, or if that is too buzzy, a 10:1 — but some THC is necessary for it to work the best.

      I bet someone makes cannabis popsicles.

      Reply
    10. Jack Parsons

      I believe that your local chemo support group and doctors/nurses know better than anyone else.

      fwiw a relative went on pot for nausea during chemo and it did the trick.

      If you have a legal dispensary available, they might have consulting for this stuff.

      Reply
    11. drumlin woodchuckles

      I have never used any marijuana-derived prescription product. But I did use marijuana itself during my ancient long-ago youth.

      Everyone’s experience is different, but I didn’t find the high to be stupid or fuzzy. I found the high to be enjoyable and vision-enhancing in some cases, and mediocre in others. But never so unpleasant that I regretted it either then or later. I did have a “dissociative episode” lasting a minute or so before “re-association” of the separately-spinning brain-mind modules. It gave me lasting confidence in just how strong my brain-mind really was.

      If one is afraid of the risks of being fuzzy or stupid, one might well try the marijuana or product at the start of a weekend-or-longer off of work when the “must stay alert” stakes are lower . . . to see how one reacts. And learn to compensate for one’s own personal response-feel.

      Reply
      1. CoryP

        I dissociate so easily on the stuff so I stay the hell away unless I’m actively seeking that out. Which, admittedly, can be fun.

        Reminds me of the excellent book “The Master and His Emissary” about the divided brain, both biologically and its theorized effects on human culture.

        Reply
  7. timbers

    This makes me remember Jimmy Dore’s youtube take on comparing the crowds for each of them in the 2016 primaries. It would seen the people are saying “we don’t want to work with Hillary like we want to work with Bernie.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJNDTAo1PkQ

    If you haven’t seen it, it a good chuckle. Sure Jimmy is cherry picking but the reports of poor turnouts for Hillary vs larger for Bernie were fairly common.

    :About that subheadline on Hollywood Reporter:

    “…whether a woman can win the presidency and her not-so-fuzzy feelings about Bernie Sanders: “Nobody wants to work with him.”

    Because asking a woman if a woman can win the Presidency is NEWS…about as news worthy as asking man if a man can win the Presidency. Well…maybe a bit more than that.

    Reply
    1. T

      Remind me who had a number of former close allies campaigning for their primary opponent? Have any of Bernie’s former speechwriters ever publicly said he needs to be kept as far away from the Whote House as possible?

      Also noted that she’s slick enough to mention “one senator” in case people remember McCain and the VA bill.

      Vile.

      Reply
    2. Nancy Boyd

      I have a relative who is completely apolitical, doesn’t even watch TV news, knows nothing of any issue and doesn’t care. But made a small fortune betting Trump would defeat Hillary and made that bet based on nothing but looking at the different crowd sizes each was drawing. We laugh at how this “low-information non-voter” relative ate Nate Silver’s lunch.

      Reply
  8. Wukchumni

    Then: Iron Curtain

    Now: Irony Curtain

    This missive could have well come from the mouth of babes, here.

    Allies of Bolsonaro celebrated the charges.

    Bolsonaro’s congressman son, Eduardo, tweeted: “Glenn Greenwald always said that he loved Brazil and wanted to get to know the country in depth. Who knows, maybe he’ll even get to know prison …”

    The president himself has recently upped his attack on journalists, describing them recently as “a species in extinction” and saying that newspapers “poison” their readers.

    Reply
    1. Olga

      Thought you were going to say “Iran Curtain.”
      (Kinda like Iraq war – just need to change one letter.)

      And speaking of….
      https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/01/20/many-matryoska-dolls-america-way-imagining-iran/

      “On the 17 September 1656, Oliver Cromwell, a Protestant Puritan, who had won a civil war, and had the English king beheaded in public, railed against England’s enemies. There was, he told Parliament that day, an axis of evil abroad in the world. And this axis – led by Catholic Spain – was, at root, the problem of a people that had placed themselves at the service of ‘evil.'”

      Who knew W-shrub had deep knowledge of history?

      Reply
      1. urdsama

        I doubt he would want to leave his husband, the animal shelter he helped to create, and the other activities he is involved with in Brazil.

        Also, I really don’t think that is his style.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          He stayed out of the US for quite a while when W was pres., returned very tentatively and with a lot of popular protection.

          He can’t do much good from a Brazilian prison. You’re also right, of course: it would be a costly move.

          probably depends on how honest the Brazilian courts are.

          Reply
        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          If certain Brazilians decide to murder Greenwald, it won’t be with a BulgariaKGB poison pellet umbrella. Or a fake suicide in prison.

          It will be with an overt shot-gunning as with Chico Mendes or maybe a machete hackathon at high noon.

          Reply
  9. Pat

    Regarding Fairway, yes I am sure Goldman and Brigade Capital Management have been stripping it bare, but please do not leave out the Real Estate interests as the Post notes the lease on the original UWS store is now 6 million dollars a year.

    I do hope the ShopRite group will be able to buy some of the stores. Fairway is reasonable with good quality and employs a whole bunch of people. They are needed even in Manhattan, not everyone can afford seven dollar bags of flour.

    Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Geez. ..he’s not the Messiah. He’s a very naughty boy.

        Well…I guess I know what I’m watching tonight.

        Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      By the late 60’s I was old enough to understand MAD magazine & Laugh-In (my parents loved the show and would often have the neighbors over and they’d get slowly smashed on the it cocktail of the 60’s-the Daiquiri) and along comes Monty Python, who showed up on televisions in the USA just shortly before SNL goes on air for the first time, irreverent comedy had met its match in contrasting styles.

      A bunch of friends went to go see the director’s cut of Holy Grail about 20 years ago, because of the additional 18 seconds of footage, ha.

      Reply
  10. The Rev Kev

    “Claws out! Why cats are causing chaos and controversy across Britain”

    After reading the stories in this article, I am perceiving a pattern. Cats simply do not respect human borders and literally cannot see them. Look at it this way – suppose you could invent a cat translator so that you could talk directly to your cat. I imagine the conversation would go something like this-

    Look Tiggy, you simply cannot go next door.
    Why?
    Because it is not our property. You would call it your territory.
    So where are these so-called borders?
    Why the fence line of course.
    But why are the fences there?
    Because they follow the property lines.
    I can’t see them. I can’t even smell where they have peed there.
    Well they are not really there. And we don’t pee on our fence lines. They are invisible.
    Then how do you know they are there.
    We have proof!
    What proof?
    We have them on a piece of paper to say that they are actually there.

    It would be at this stage that the cat would give you that are-you-some-sort-of-stupid looks that only cats can give and would walk away.

    Reply
    1. Wyoming

      Here in AZ we have a natural solution to this letting your cat run around problem. They are called coyotes, bob cats and mountain lions. Let your cat roam here and it will be dinner within a week. Same goes for any dog that is incapable of defending itself. There are no problems in my neighborhood anything like the article describes.

      Reply
    2. Janie

      In answer to the unasked question, why don’t they keep their cats indoors: windows and doors are not screened. From the yard of our B and B in the Yorkshire dales, we watched a man very politely ask the woman next door to keep her cat out of his house. Impasse: impossible on the warm day with doors open.

      Reply
    3. marieann

      I am in Canada and I have 2 indoor cats. In North America it is common to keep cats indoors. In the UK most cats are indoor/outdoor and they think we are cruel to keep our felines locked up in a house.

      I don’t know why the mindset is so different (I was born in the UK) but it causes many arguments online.
      A group that I post on does not allow the indoor/outdoor cat discussions.
      Same with my family in the UK…..we don’t talk about it.

      Reply
      1. William Sircin

        Yeah, I’ve had indoor cats my whole life and I’ve never seen anything to suggest they are less happy than the free roamers who tear up the local songbirds, poop in unfriendly yards, spend snowy days shivering beneath a neighbor’s porch, and so often wind up under somebody’s tires. Keep your cats inside the house people!

        Reply
        1. BobW

          My cat’s vet says indoor-outdoor cats and outdoor cats live shorter lives. Anecdotally disproved by my sister’s cat who lived to be ~14, but that is sample size of one. And one of the smartest cats I ever met.

          Reply
          1. rtah100

            All of our freerange UK cats have lived to late teens (1 Burmese, 6 Siamese) and died of old age except one poor cat run over. The exceptions were two Bengals that only made it to early teens before dying of heart failure and multiple organ failure respectively. We live in a small city not London so perhaps the risks are lower but keeping cats indoors is just weird….

            Reply
  11. Wukchumni

    Claws out! Why cats are causing chaos and controversy across Britain. Guardian
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Aside from wrecking furniture from clawing their way around & shedding enough to knit a dozen sweaters, our hair’m is controversy free. Sort of similar to cold fusion reactors coming on line, i’m always about 10 years away from going to the dogs.

    Interesting cat tale we heard was about 15 years ago and we’re in NZ watching the news on tv and a story breaks about a problem with too many feral cats in Christchurch, and they showed the De-Sexing Van that was out rounding up tom & tomettes, and we’d never call it that ’cause we’re good at beating around the bush ‘spay & neuter’ almost sounds like a cleaning chore.

    Reply
  12. Quentin

    A few days ago there was a link to ‘phages’, bacteria that devour bad bacteria, developed in the Soviet Union, especially Georgia. Can anyone direct me to the article. Looking back, I can’t find it. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. DorothyT

      Here’s a great place to start regarding phage therapy.

      I subscribe to a free phage newsletter called Capsid & Tail. This is a link to their first anniversary newsletter. Highly recommend it. I follow the research they conduct and about which information they circulate.

      I’ve had an antibiotic resistant bacterial infection and am keenly aware of the risks of taking an antibiotic that hasn’t been tested against the bacterial infection that one has. (That is, if it’s safe to take an antibiotic at all.)

      Reply
      1. lordkoos

        As I have gotten older I try to avoid antibiotics whenever possible. The last course of them which I took a few years ago weakened my immune system and made me ill. Took me a few weeks to recover.

        Reply
    2. Jack Parsons

      Phage therapy was a mainstay product in Soviet pharmacies from the 30s to (I think) the 70s. The SU was very good at training people to a high level but then not being able to use them. I suspect that commercial phage therapy relies on a glut of well-trained but cheap laborers working in bio-laboratory conditions.

      Reply
  13. Carolinian

    From today’s Turley:

    Clinton received overwhelming criticism and later backtracked to say she would support the nominee while adding “I thought everyone wanted my authentic, unvarnished views!”

    Uh, no.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Well she did say that ‘I will do whatever I can to support our nominee’ but by that I think that she meant ‘I will do whatever I can to support our nominee’ and that would never be your nominee. Been some talk how she might try for the Presidency in a brokered convention. I don’t think that this is what she wants. I think that when it goes to a brokered convention, that she will be put in charge of it as an experienced, neutral person of vast political experience. And if you believe that, then I can get you a good deal on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

      Reply
      1. jonhoops

        Then she will proceed to select herself. Much like Dick Cheney, when he was put in charge of selecting a VP for George W Bush.

        Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      This petulant, adolescent, continual demand for attention and relevance is beyond annoying. She is like a fly that WILL NOT stay off the potato salad at the picnic no matter how vigorously it’s swatted away.

      You have to wonder who it is that’s encouraging her to make such a colossal, obviously damaged fool of herself on such a regular basis.

      Reply
      1. Craig H.

        Your metaphor is great. The thing is she is probably being frank. All the people she talks to (vast majority are muckymucks) don’t like Bernie Sanders. A few weeks ago the Economist’ Lexington column on the Democratic process stated that a Sanders nomination is impossible. Impossible.

        This is like the mirror image of Ron Paul in 2012.

        Reply
        1. pretzelattack

          bernie does some headscratching things, but labelling him as a sheepdog is idiotic.
          they hate him, they aren’t playing some 11 dimensional chess, they just hate him.

          Reply
        2. JBird4049

          They don’t like Bernie Sanders because he is gauche enough to speak honestly about the precariat and corruption; the decency of his morality cannot make up for the indecent honesty of that same morality, which makes it hard for the establishment to understand why both Trump and Sanders are so popular. This might also get them to self destruct by doing something like sabotaging the 2020 Convention.

          I saw the clip of the New York Times interview of Sanders and the Times’ staff was looking at him like him like he was some smelly hobo; he had mentioned that the Times, among other politicians, possibly failing the people and helping to create President Trump.

          Reply
          1. lordkoos

            Yeah that NY Times interview was good. I wish Sanders would talk that tough all the time. The NY Times staffers in the room looked a uncomfortable and came off as typical privileged liberal types. I’m sure they don’t often hear a working class point of view.

            Reply
      2. inode_buddha

        Not counting on the fact that I’m the guy that eats the fly, potato salad and all. Oops! They can anticipate swatting, but not being eaten whole.

        I don’t think anyone other than her own Ego is encouraging her. People who have never dealt honestly with their own monsters (Id) tend to behave like this.

        Reply
      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        She needs to stay right in the center of the National Potato Salad for the rest of her natural life.
        There are not yet enough people disgusted enough at the “Scent of a Clinton” to reach a tipping-point massload of hatred for Clintonism in all its forms and faces.

        We need her to stay around, stay involved and keep stinking up the joint.

        Reply
    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Probably the best part was the line about Harvey Weinstein. Her first rationale after claiming she had no idea was that Weinstein gave her money. How could he bad?

      Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “Architect of C.I.A. Interrogation Program Testifies at Guantánamo Bay”

    Talk about your banality of evil. Dr. James Elmer Mitchell was saying that he did this “for the benefit of the victims of the 9/11 attacks and their families.” Of course that did not stop him and his partner-in-crime Dr. John “Bruce” Jessen pocketing some $81 million for their “services” while doing so.

    Using a company they set up – Mitchell, Jessen & Associates – they developed a “menu” of 20 “enhanced techniques” including waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and stress positions. It should be mentioned that after WW2, the US put Japanese soldiers on trial for using waterboarding on Allied prisoners. John Rizzo, CIA acting general counsel, described the techniques as “sadistic and terrifying.”

    So lets try a thought experiment. Suppose that Mitchel and Jesson were not born in the US about 1950 but were actually born in Germany about the 1890s. Then, in WW2, they offer their services to the Government on how to extract information from American and other Allied POWS using their enhanced techniques. How far would it have gotten them at Nuremberg if they said that they did it for the victims of the Allied aerial attacks and their families?

    Reply
    1. Wyoming

      Are you aware that water boarding was the standard interrogation technique used by the US Army/Marines during the Philippine ‘insurrection’ between roughly 1899-1913? Approximately 40% of the ‘insurgents’ waterboarded died then – so I guess we are more skilled at it today. That we did this was routinely in the newspapers and I have seen pictures of it being performed by US troops in history books. Not to mention that the US military used rape during those times and this was also in the newspapers and no one made a stink about it. And, of course, the Army also executed tens of thousands of non-combatants in an attempt to crush the ‘insurgents’ – boys as young as 10. There was not anything that was done since 9/11 that had not been used extensively in our past – some folks had just conveniently forgot about it.

      Btw the were plenty of SS and Gestapo officers who were ‘rehabilitated’ after the war and filled the management ranks of the new German intelligence organizations/military we set up. So depending on luck and circumstances quite possibly nothing would have happened to them.

      Reply
      1. Wyoming

        The point I am making here is not that it is ok to do these things – it certainly is not. But the banality of evil has been the norm of human behavior since the beginning of time. Torture, murder, rape, genocide has been practiced by virtually everyone from all races and civilizations. We are not worse today than before, but more similar. That we have not come to a place where it is unthinkable says a lot about us. That these practices are likely to worsen in frequency going into the civilizational decline being brought on by climate change and declining global carrying capacity is pretty much a given.

        What to make of that and where it leaves us in moral space I can’t answer.

        Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        ‘plenty of SS and Gestapo officers who were ‘rehabilitated’ after the war’

        Yeah, that seems to be a common theme in history. After the Shah was toppled in Iran in ’79, they grabbed the Israeli-trained torturers that worked for him. You would think that after all the pain and suffering that they caused that their next tip would be to the nearest blood-stained, brick wall. Nope. After a lot of consideration of how many threats Iran faced, they were put back to work but this time for the new government.

        Reply
        1. JBird4049

          In someways the revolution was “meet the new government, it’s the same as the old one.” The Ayatollah Khomeini was something of a monster. Not that the Shah was any better and was probably worse.

          Reply
  15. QuarterBack

    Re the CIA Interrogation Program article, the piece and most of its comments cover a debate on the effectiveness of getting to the truth versus the moral costs of torturing. This is fallacious framing of why torture is used and often desired by authorities. Numerous studies have shown that torture is not effective at uncovering truth. However, it is highly effective at getting human subjects to add weight to a narrative by adding their (coerced) voice. Unfortunately, whether that narrative is actually true or not is often of less interest to the tortures. The target of torture is not the human subject. It is the narrative itself and its resulting agenda.

    As long as coerced confessions remain effective at swaying public opinion, shifting focus from alternative narratives, and enabling agendas to push through opposition, they will continue to be desired by parties in power. As an added bonus, these confessions (true or not) reliably help portray investigators, prosecutors, and military actors as someone who can get things done. Unfortunately, human nature tends to have us promote and elect these can do people.

    Reply
    1. Biologist

      I’d say another benefit of torture, from the perspective of the perpetrator, is that it instills fear. Not just on the victim, but on the group from which the victim comes (i.e. the enemy), or even the wider population. In other words, it’s a weapon of terror.

      Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      If the cia wanted “confessions” to “sway public opinion,” they could have just had judith miller and the nyt write “news” articles about them like they did about WMD.

      If they wanted actual “information about future attacks,” they could have leveraged all the saudis that they evacuated the day after 9/11 or not let osama bin laden “slip away” at Tora Bora.

      As far as I’m concerned, this whole affair was and continues to be psychological experimentation on human subjects of the MK Ultra variety, justified as is every other deranged travesty in this day and age–as a “national security” imperative.

      They bought their subjects in a godforsaken wasteland with american dollar bounties, the only “vetting” for criminal culpability being the “word” of those who turned them in for the cash. They have asserted a right to hold them, or maybe to observe them, for life. You can’t get the kind of “data” they were after by torturing pigs or mice or dogs, and no amount of “tearful” invocation of the ghosts of 9/11 changes that.

      Reply
  16. super extra

    re digital de-aging… aside from the sh!tty aspects around an actor’s (former) visage as represented by computer being considered “intellectual property”, the stuff gives me a headache to watch. I stopped watching movies with a lot of motion blur or CGI sometime around 2005 before it got really bad. Thankfully I am also a cinema nerd and have used the last 15 years to catch up on the greats of European cinema of the 60s and 70s (I’m a middle millennial so I was not around when any of it came out originally, it’s all new to me)! I have a Criterion account and don’t even bother with the other streaming services, and I buy hard copies when I want to see something really esoteric or hard to find. A region-free DVD player is cheaper than a month of multiple streaming services and you don’t have to worry about availability windows if you want to rewatch it again later.

    I recently watched The Conversation (1974) and Blow-Out (1981) back to back and aside from the luscious footage of actual film reels and av editing from a world gone forever, I was stunned by how relevant the aspects related to surveillance, corporations as a law to themselves, and crooked government/cia in both films are to current times. From what I’ve managed to get through in recent US films, there is a LOT of open propaganda and ‘creative control’ over the writing and production; the level of thought and execution in the older films is simply not possible with all the interference in the newer works.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Second the recommendations. Also, Gene Hackman, the star of “The Conversation,” did a similar role in the much later film, “Enemy of the State,” which someone linked to recently. I also agree about the “capture” of today’s Entertainment Industry by the Elites.
      I mean, come on, what are the bases of the modern super hero movies? Deflection and infantile wish fulfillment. Perfect ‘control’ mechanisms.

      Reply
    2. CoryP

      The book National Security Cinema speaks a lot about the ‘creative control’ aspect, though IIRC most of the examples are fairly obvious such as superhero films and essentially anything depicting military hardware — they’ll lend it to you for free as long as you give them veto power over the script!

      Reply
      1. super extra

        …essentially anything depicting military hardware — they’ll lend it to you for free as long as you give them veto power over the script!

        Wow! I didn’t realize it was so overt and out in the open! Thank you for the book recommendation. One of the few newer films I managed to get through was Black Panther and I was frankly appalled that the message regarding Killinger appeared to be ‘violent rebellion is never justified’ and I couldn’t believe everyone just let that slide.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          like i said before, the film archivists…after a long, arduous search…have found the 80’s…especially 80’s flicks with submarines.
          some have been lost, apparently, because they had to remake stuff like Red Dawn…now Jack Ryan…
          netflix and amazon are filled with such stuff…and they weren’t a few years ago.
          the real war is for our minds.

          Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          Sometimes the messaging is not so subtle. It was said at the time that in that Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises” when the police battled Bane’s army in Wall Street, that Bane’s army was really a reference to the Occupy Wall Street crowds and the police were the good guys.

          Reply
    3. Norm de plume

      Fellow cinema nerd here. I too sat thru lots of loud Hollywood dreck over the years as my kids grew up and retreated gratefully into cinema history a few years ago, once they wouldnt be seen dead out with a parent.
      Dont limit yourself to the 60s and 70s though. The biggest surprises for me in recent years have been gems from the 30s thru the 50s, mainly European. I have been working my way thru Ernst Lubitsch and he was making hilarious silents as early as 1916. Some are better than others but no duds in 20 plus so far…

      Reply
      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        Ahh- the Lubitsch touch. Check out his To Be or Not to Be (1942). And a small plug for Billy Wilder. Everyone Knows the classics – or should do – Sunset Boulevard, The Apartment, Double Indemnity, Some Like it Hot – one of the funniest movies ever made. But take a look at One, Two, Three – Jimmy Cagney in a comedy! Great film.

        Reply
    4. Oregoncharles

      Look up the World of Apu trilogy (Pather Panchali, etc.) by Satyajit Ray – or almost any film by him. He was Bengali and the setting adds to the beauty. Some of the most beautiful, moving movies ever made.

      I saw the films you’re now seeing when they were new; seldom watch movies now. Reading this string of comments,maybe that’s just as well.

      Reply
      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        I second this recommendation – not only was Ray a Bengali, but he was a son of Calcutta, a city not often thought of as beautiful visually.

        Reply
          1. super extra

            I’m still working up my skills for focus on pre- late 1960s-ish cutting and camera work (middle millennial!) so I’ve been hesitant to really dive into the silents, but one way I have gotten around this is to approach the older stuff like an ethnographer or historical anthropologist – a window into a world that no longer exists. For example, I was able to make it thru Stella Dallas by focusing on differences in class experience (Stella willingly and intentionally estranging her daugher so she would marry up for example was incredibly bizarre to me because I cannot see something like that happening now).

            NC commentariat is the best! Thank you all for the recommendations!!

            Reply
  17. Retired campaign manager

    Who Put Trump In The White House?
    Thanks for including that (dense academic paper) link.

    Unlike nearly every academic paper on elections, this one is written from a campaign manager’s point of view.
    Spoiler alert: It shows Trump’s victory was NOT caused by racism or immigration.
    It essentially shows (verifies) Trump’s victory was a result of “turnout,”, who did show up and vote, and who did not show up and vote.

    I live in Florida. Ahead of the 2016 election, the final register-to-vote totals included an extraordinarily large number of voters who…never had voted previously. It takes a lot of motivation to get people to change old habits. What changed? What caused that new enthusiasm to vote? They had to show up twice, to register, then to vote. Obviously Clinton was not the cause for that enthusiasm.

    The study identified who those new voters were. It also showed those new voters weren’t among those groups driven by racism or immigration issues.
    The researchers didn’t ask or answer why those who never voted previously showed up to vote for an obviously nasty, obnoxious bully.
    I wonder, did they show up to primarily to poke a finger in the eye of the establishment?

    Reply
  18. anon in so cal

    New Cold War

    Twitter continues to suspend pro-Russia accounts. The newest suspension is Marcel Sardo’s account, with 20K followers. Sardo was initially targeted and smeared as a bot at the start of the Russiagate psy ops. When doxxed, it was revealed that he was an engineer living in Switzerland, who merely posted the truth about the U.S. and Russia.

    Reply
    1. Lev

      By “doxxed” you mean he has his own website (http://marcelsardo.com/) which contains this interesting tidbit: “In voluntary exile in Russia since April 2017. Currently in a 60% capacity with a Russian state owned company.”

      So not living in Switzerland, and employed by the Russian government.

      Seems totally legit, can’t believe Twitter would do this.

      Reply
      1. anon in so cal

        He moved after he was doxxed and hounded by Hamilton68 and other McCarthyist organizations.

        “However, an investigation by AlterNet’s Grayzone Project has yielded a series of disturbing findings at odds with the established depiction. The researchers behind the ASD’s “dashboard” are no Russia experts, but rather a collection of cranks, counterterror retreads, online harassers and paranoiacs operating with support from some of the most prominent figures operating within the American national security apparatus…..

        …In perhaps the only case in which the ASD named one of the “Russian” Twitter accounts it was tracking, the group fingered a Twitter user named Marcel Sardo, branding him as the possibly robotic ringleader of a sinister Kremlin-driven influence operation. But when the New York Times’ Scott Shane investigated Sardo’s identity, he discovered that the account in question belonged to an actual human—a 48-year-old computer programmer from Zurich with no ties to the Russian government. Indeed, Sardo was a private individual who openly sympathized with Russian foreign policy. …”

        https://www.alternet.org/2017/11/terror-cranks-sold-america-russia-panic/

        Reply
      2. anon in so cal

        He moved to Russia after being hounded by Hamilton68.

        What if Twitter banned everyone from US gov sponsored agencies?

        Reply
  19. Carolinian

    The New Republic/Educated Fools may be the link of the day.

    In past years, I used to despair: Does anyone in the Democratic Party get it? Of late, I think a few in the leadership do. But does most of the party still not get it? This is a high school nation. Even now, after all the years of pumping up college education as the only way to survive, there’s still close to 70 percent of U.S. adults from age 25 and older—yes, living right now—who are without four-year college degrees. If a college education is the only way to survive in a global economy, then the party’s effective answer to anyone over 30 is: It’s too late for you. And of course, that message gets across. 


    Yesterday there was a post where Matt Stoller talked about how Martin Feldstein’s introductory economics course was one of the more popular at Harvard and about how modern economics is in many ways a faith based bamboozle used to justify oligarchy. If one puzzles over why our elites seem so smug (but also insecure) in their bubble that could be the answer. For example my local library posted a notice at the entrance declaring itself a “safe space.” But surely in the larger sense that’s exactly what a library–a place to find knowledge–shouldn’t be.The NR article is saying that education is important but is also being wildly overemphasized.

    Reply
    1. cnchal

      > . . . my local library posted a notice at the entrance declaring itself a “safe space.” But surely in the larger sense that’s exactly what a library–a place to find knowledge–shouldn’t be.

      Hmmmm. I’m not expecting to get mugged, so do expect a library to be a safe space.

      Reply
    2. eg

      I’m surprised this piece didn’t generate more commentary — it is a stinging indictment of the “let them eat training” ethos, among other Dem pathologies

      Reply
  20. JohnnyGL

    Re: Bernie’s apology, Biden’s attack on Bernie on SS, Bernie’s counter-attack

    Did Bernie’s team feign weakness with the apology, invite Biden to launch an attack, in order to hit Biden with a counter-attack (again focused on SS)?

    If that was purposeful….it was/is absolutely brilliant. I’m not sure it was. But, it could have been.

    Reply
    1. Jeff W

      Discretion is the better part of valor.

      What was deliberate, I’m sure, is that Sanders knows what’s less susceptible to attack and what will bring on a “firestorm” (ugh) of critique (even if it’s dishonest, feigned outrage) and distract from his message. (It’s better to simply point to the “44 billionaires” who have contributed to Biden’s campaign, as Sanders did back in December, than to characterize it as “corruption,” as Sanders has to think it is.) He’s been a socialist running for and winning office for close to four decades so he knows what fights to take on and which to avoid (even if he might be more cautious than we’d like).

      Reply
    1. Chuckster

      Tulsi should set up a GoFundMe page to pay the legal fees. It would generate millions.

      While “Nobody like Bernie” – Everyone hates Hillary.

      Reply
  21. Sionnach Liath

    Re: The Roots of American Demonization of Shia Islam. Fifty or more comments so far today and not one on what may be the most important article posted.

    There is so much wrong with this article, it really deserves a much larger response than a short note or two. I do not know if Mr. Escobar is trying to create even more controversy than already exists between western liberal and Islamic traditions (he should know better if he is) or if he is less knowledgeable than I have previously given him credit for.

    Islam is and has always been a vicious enemy of geopolitical organizations. Abdul Mawdudi stated: “…Islam is not the name of a religion, nor is Muslim the title of a nation…Islam is a revolutionary ideology and programme which seeks to alter the social order of the whole world and rebuild it in conformity with its own tenets and ideals.” Another Islamic author, Sayyid Qutb, in his book “Milestones” said “Wherever an Islamic community exists…it has a God-given right to step forward and take control of the political authority…”

    Even more strongly, Majid Khahauri put it this way: “…The universalism of Islam, in its all-embracing creed, is imposed on the believers as a continuous process of warfare, psychological and political if not strictly military.”

    One final quote, although there are many more on point which could be set forth; Muhammad Hashim Kamali put it this way: “Sovereignty in Islam is the prerogative of Almighty Allah alone.”
    In plain English Islam is a dedicated enemy of western European liberal philosophy of individual freedoms and government based on the consent of the governed. In Islam there are no individual rights, no Constitution or Bill of Rights, and a death penalty awaiting anyone who questions the sole authority of the divine Allah.

    A recently published book, dealing with the legal issues raised by Islamic doctrine in this country, Islamic Doctrine Versus the U.S. Constitution, written by Stephen M. Kirby, Ph.D, is well worth a read.

    Reply
    1. marym

      Surely one can find equally scary quotes from historians and/or proponents of dominionism and zionism as well.

      As far as the recently published book recommendation, other than his having written several anti-Islam books and some references on anti-Islam websites what are the author’s qualifications to speak for how 21st century Muslims in the US, and around the world, interpret their relationship to the governments and societies in which they live?

      Reply
        1. Grebo

          So, some people are interpreting Islam as saying one can’t interpret Islam?

          Religion is a threat to civilisation and sanity. Islam does not stand out in this regard.

          Reply
        2. Oregoncharles

          Neither do Catholics – that’s a key difference from Protestantism. But they do, anyway, at least in the US and western Europe. There’s theory, and then there’s practice.

          Taking doctrine, esp. the totalitarian elements, much too seriously is what makes certain groups “fundamentalists.” Christian and even Hindu, besides Muslim. (I’m not addressing your claims about Islam – I don’t know it well enough. I certainly see something very similar in Christianity, which I do know.)

          The problem is that that underlying doctrine is still there, despite the humanization – again, in all these religions. So it’s likely to keep popping up again, usually under social stress. I agree that it represents a danger in most religions – a few have been designed to avoid it.

          Reply
    2. ambrit

      Hmmm…. and what about the Theocracy in the Palestine?
      All religious fanatics are dangerous. However, no religion has an exclusive right to exceptionalism. Each religion has sects; sub-groups of divergent opinions. The followers of the Nazarene have Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant primary factions. The followers of Islam have Shia and Sunni. The devotees of America have Democrat and Republican. No where is there a truly all powerful monolithic regime. Thank the Maker for that.

      Reply
    1. Woodchuck

      I think they do that on a daily basis, they certainly don’t care about it now.

      I really hope they don’t think she can run again after the disaster that was 2016, but I stopped being surprised by them a long time ago, my expectations of rational thoughts on their end is pretty low. And with the NYT not willing to endorse anyone, who knows…

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Neither is Obama willing to endorse a candidate.
        If Sanders does not enter the Convention with 50% plus one, then expect HRH HRC to finagle the nomination.
        Hillary is like an old Pretender to a throne; always plotting.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          That would be proof positive that the Democrats have a deal with the Republicans to take turns, since she’s a proven loser. Certainly that they don’t really object to Trump.

          Reply
      1. mpalomar

        “One of the most curious things to watch after the 2016 election was the unrelenting reclamation project called Hillary Clinton. It seems the unending work of powerful figures in the Washington and Hollywood establishment. The project now has a name: “Hillary.” It is the latest documentary on Hulu that seeks to show how Hillary was a victim of sexism but remains the oracle of our age.”
        – from the Turley link

        “Why do I think that word of this must have been out among some select Dems for a few days now?”
        -The release of “Hillary” and the Warren/CNN staged hit on Sanders also has a peculiar resonance and coincidence.

        Reply
  22. allan

    Manhattan DA Vance Stumbles in Campaign Cash Race as He Mulls Re-Run [The City]

    Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. raised a modest $25,450 in the last six months, campaign filings posted Tuesday show — putting him far behind two challengers in a growing field.

    The three-term incumbent has just under $30,000 on hand — far less than the $1.35 million he stockpiled before his 2017 run, according to campaign disclosures filed with the state Board of Elections.

    The campaign finance news came as rivals and others called Vance resignation over his handling of a series of high-profile cases. Meanwhile, he remains undecided on whether he’ll seek a fourth term in 2021. …

    [pulls out and tunes the world’s smallest stringed instrument]

    Reply
  23. Lee

    Wuhan Virus

    Two of my house mates works in close contact with the general public in the SF Bay Area public transit system that caters to thousands of both commuters and tourists every day. Yikes!

    Reply
    1. hunkerdown

      Andrei Martyanov, known around the web as Smoothiex12, has also been waxing lyrical on the Russian government shuffle and proposed constitutional changes. “Hey, few more years of Lavrov’s memes and trolling, who would decline that?” He welcomes the new social contract of sorts brought about by the personnel changes (thank heavens Medvedev is safely away from economic power), in which he sees a partial Sovietization of Russian society:

      […] free higher education, free lunches for small kids, more, more, more in social sphere–kindergartens, better schools, better medicine. Do I read from the Brezhnev’s report to the XXV Party Congress? One cannot escape this feeling of deja vu. Do you know that the staple of 1970s Soviet industrial vision, BAM (Baikal-Amur Rail), actually, was already largely completed? Bigger, more massive plans are already in work to expand rail to places in Russia which even Soviet Union dared not to dream about. All that, including what is a direct financial help to most needy which state takes on its shoulders directly. The only difference with USSR? Free enterprise–state has no direct business in retail, restaurants, private transportation services, real estate, unless it is provision of free or subsidized dwelling (and that expansion is in plans too), economy of other services, just to name a few.

      Which puts the screeching about Russians by the neoliberal Democrat establishment into a plausible context — they don’t care about Putin being ruler forever, they care about themselves not having a turn to be seen in the driver’s seat and profit from it personally — and makes the shrill tones all that much sweeter to the ear.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Where can Andrei Martyanov be found commenting now, now that Sic Semper Tyrannis has no comments section?

        Reply
  24. Synoia

    Davos billionaires are happy to let the world burn

    Is Climate Change is a driver for increased Vulcan ism and Earthquakes?

    Loss of ICE, especially in the Antarctic changes the weight on the Antarctic surface of the earth, the crust. If the Antarctic Crust moves outward as Ice is lost, other crust must move to keen the Earth’s core volume constant. If other areas of the earth’s crust move to compensate for antarctic crust movement, could that explain the apparent increased volcanic and earthquake activity?

    In other words is the apparent increase volcanic and earthquake activity caused bu Climate Change?

    Reply
    1. mpalomar

      “In other words is the apparent increased volcanic and earthquake activity caused by Climate Change?”

      From the article,
      “However, he pointed to one alarming trend: “The most volcanism that is going in the world at present is in regions that have only recently lost their glacier covering – after the end of the last ice age. These places include Iceland and Alaska.
      “Theory suggests that this is occurring because, without ice sheets on top of them, there is a release of pressure on the regions’ volcanoes and they become more active.”

      Reply
      1. Synoia

        Is that in the Davos article quoted? I could not find it there.

        I could find references to many currently under Ice volcanoes, but no discussion of earthquakes, such as the swarm in in Puerto Rico currently, nor a reference apparent current increases of volcanic activity around the world.

        Local volcanoes exposed by removing ice is one event. I was considering global events triggered by the changing weight of ice at the poles. That is movement of polar crust triggering movement of non-polar crust (aka Tropical Earthquakes), and extra volcanic activity in the tropics.

        Reply
        1. mpalomar

          The quote is from my link above to an article about the discovery of many more volcanoes than previously known under Antarctic ice.

          I don’t think it suggests any connections between tropical earthquakes or tropical volcanic action and melting ice caps but does note that as the weight of ice releases pressures at the poles volcanic action may be triggered. At least that was what I understood.

          Reply
  25. smoker

    Regarding the Coronavirus and Wuhan

    I don’t understand why San Jose’s Mineta International Airport has still not been added to the CDC check point list. It currently includes: San Francisco International; New York’s JFK; Los Angeles International; and the recently added Chicago’s O’Hare International and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airports. Silicon Valley has a significant Chinese Citizen population, I would guess far larger than Atlanta’s or even Chicago’s, and Mineta [SJC] has daily flights to and from Beijing (on Hainan Airlines [PEK] ), which I understand is used as a stop off point between Wuhan and the US. This, particularly with the tragic explosion of homelessness in San Jose (the San Francisco Airport, unlike San Jose’s Mineta, is not in San Francisco, with its tragic homelessness explosion).

    Reply
    1. LifelongLib

      Honolulu’s airport isn’t on the list either, although there’s a fair amount of travel to and from China through here. My understanding is that the CDC is most concerned about direct flights. Supposedly travelers with stopovers prior to arriving in the U.S. will be screened at those places.

      Reply
      1. smoker

        But that Direct Flights explanation doesn’t appear to explain the O’Hare [WUH-ORD] and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airports [WUH-ATL] checkpoints; unlike, say, San Francisco International [WUH-SFO], and WUH-JFK. It doesn’t even appear to answer the Los Angeles [LAX] decision. (Didn’t want to add too many links, just plug in WUH-LAX, etcetera, to the flights from link).

        Reply
    2. smoker

      Additionally, why wasn’t Seattle-Tacoma International [SEA] added (Delta Air Lines, Hainan Airlines), with the King County/Seattle Metro area’s significant and tragic homeless population, and also a likely population of Chinese citizen’s higher, at least, than Atlanta’s?

      Snohomish County man has the United States’ first known case of Wuhan coronavirus

      The Snohomish County patient didn’t fly directly from Wuhan to Sea-Tac. CDC and state health officials wouldn’t say which other airport the man had traveled through, but they are tracing his movements and any people he may have come into contact with in China and the United States.

      (the link is via lordkoos’ post on yesterday’s links.)

      Reply
  26. Oregoncharles

    From the “The FBI Scandal,” from the Taibbi tweet; the conclusion: “That folly has deformed our politics. Now, in 2020, voters are faced with a choice between two parties led by conspiracy theorists and gaslighters.”

    I don’t really agree with the first sentence; I think it has merely REVEALED the deformation. I omitted the last sentence, which narrows the point to Trump. But the second sentence is crucial. That leaves the question of what to do about it. There is no reason to think that either gaslighting party is reformable – it’s been tried.

    Reply
  27. Oregoncharles

    From “Diagnosed with Dementia,” about a care center refusing the patient’s wishes:

    “In a letter, lawyers told Saran that the center is required by state and federal law to offer regular daily meals, with feeding assistance if necessary.

    There’s no provision, the letter said, for “decisions to refuse food and water.””

    That is almost certainly a lie. I know that because my mother died in a similar, excellent care center when she stopped eating or drinking. Granted, there was no question whether she was of sound mind; it was clearly her decision. (At 101, she had it about as good as anyone can.) But given written instructions, that shouldn’t make any difference. That center was in Indiana, not the most enlightened state. So I don’t believe the lawyers. I hope Ms. Saran’s lawyer is good.

    Reply
  28. drumlin woodchuckles

    About the bird in the antidote image: it reminded me of a corn crake. So I looked up corn crake images and it differs in certain details.

    So I will say it is a crake but not a corn crake. Hopefully someone will tell us what kind of crake it is.

    Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Oh my . . . well, that’s not even a crake at all, then. Of any kind whatsoever.

        Still, it was fun to have guessed. And being given the true name may help sharpen up my future guessing.

        Reply
  29. Wukchumni

    Wonder how the White Elephant appeasers will take this news?

    The Trump administration secretly approved the transfer of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi without informing Congress.

    One transfer was signed off 16 days after the journalist was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October and a second came in February. The remains of Khashoggi, 59, a Saudi-born US resident have never been found.

    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/trump-sold-nuclear-tech-to-saudis-in-secret-after-khashoggi-killing-9q39glhwc

    Reply

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