Links 1/25/2020

Drumming duck will have you ‘quacking’ up New York Post (David L)

Scientists Re-Create Voice of 3,000-Year-Old Mummy Associated Press

Royal Row

Harry and Meghan’s attempt to trademark Sussex Royal brand is blocked Daily Mail (Li). I am told that this is not likely to be someone saying they have an existing mark but rather someone opposing the grant of a patent during the application period, which apparently anyone has standing to do.

‘Kids that don’t fail are normally frugal.’ Wealth advisers say Meghan and Harry’s lifestyle already raises red flags MarketWatch. I had trouble processing the headline by virtue of calling two people well over 30 “kids”.

Team develops an electrochemical method for extracting uranium, and potentially other metal ions, from solution PhysOrg (Chuck L)

US and Europe clash over climate crisis threat on last Davos day Guardian (Kevin W)

Why Tourism Should Die—and Why It Won’t New Republic

Co-Parenting as Friends – The Trend of Platonic Partners Raising Kids Together Marie Claire (Chuck L)

Drugs May Be Killing Twice as Many Americans Than Previously Thought Healthline. Quelle surprise! Just listen to the long list of possible side effects on the next health ad you hear.


China coronavirus: Death toll rises as disease spreads BBC

China’s Battle With the Wuhan Coronavirus is Shackled by a Toxic Relationship With Information Quartz


US pushes India to buy $5-6 billion more farm goods to seal trade deal: Report Economic Times (J-LS)


The EU’s Brexit ‘sanctions’ threat shows the UK should not expect them or the US to be friendly over trade Independent

Note some of this may be due to Brexit, not just austerity: 10% of NHS nurses were EU migrants and some started leaving due to Brexit uncertainty + overt hostility to foreigners:

How a Democratic Counteroffensive Can Win George Soros, Project Syndicate (David L). From Davos. As if his Open Society didn’t wind up funding neo-Nazis. I saw Soros say with great pride that everyone in the post-coup Ukraine government had gotten a grant from Open Society, either personally or an immediate family member, like a spouse. This was when the Ukraine government had ~15% neo-Nazis in official positions, when their representation among voters was more like 1%.

It May Be the Biggest Tax Heist Ever. And Europe Wants Justice New York Times (John C)

New Cold War

Mikhail Khodorkovsky: the Man, the Myth, the Movie Nation


America Has Come Full Circle in the Middle East Atlantic (resilc)

US seeking to carve out Sunni state as its influence in Iraq wanes Middle East Eye (Kevin W)

Pentagon Says 34 Troops Suffered Brain Injury in Iran Strike Bloomberg

Hundreds of thousands gather in Baghdad demanding US forces leave The Hill

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

London police to deploy facial recognition cameras across the city The Verge (resilc)

US citizen detained and interrogated by DHS agents about anti-war movement solidarity with Venezuela Grayzone

New York State Wants To Ban Government Agencies From Paying Ransomware Demands ZDNet

Imperial Collapse Watch

Feedback Driven Decisions and the Evolution of Intelligence Analysis in the United States RealClearDefense. UserFriendly: “Cringe so hard at the PR speak here but the description of useless bloat is noteworthy.”

The US’s Inalienable Right to Violence FAIR (UserFriendly)

Trump’s official unveiling of new Space Force logo is being mocked for looking like a ‘Star Trek’ rip-off Business Insider (Kevin W)

Trump Transition

The Trump administration’s new housing rules will worsen segregation Economic Policy Institute

Lawsuit Filed Against Trump Admin. Over Firearm Regulations Time (furzy)


Americans Don’t Care Enough About Impeachment to Watch It New York Magazine. Resilc: “Too busy going between their part time jobs at Walmart and Dollar General.”

Trump called a ‘dictator’ at impeachment trial Financial Times

Democrats play video clip of McCain at Senate trial to show US support for Ukraine – CNN (Kevin W). Repeat after me: the President gets to set foreign policy.

GOP-Biden feud looms over impeachment trial The Hill


Election Update: What Are The Chances Of A Brokered Convention? FiveThirtyEight (UserFriendly)

Hillary Clinton is still trying to sell herself as a feminist icon. Don’t buy it. Guardian. Filed here because Her Highness is still trying to play kingmaker. PlutoniumKun:

Interesting article inasmuch (with some other similar articles recently) as it seems to suggest that the Guardian is changing its mind somewhat on HRC – and that’s usually a good weathervane for ‘liberal’ and ‘feminist’ opinion.

23 Headlines Obscure Biden’s Lies About Cutting Social Security FAIR

Liberals Say Sanders’s Acceptance Of Rogan Endorsement Sends Dangerous Message He Trying To Win Election The Onion

UserFriendly notes:

I love how voters are reckless and insane for having purity tests, yet candidates are somehow supposed to have purity tests for their supporters.

It’s almost like the ruling class will cynically say or do anything to justify keeping their boot on our neck.

AK-46: The Case Against Amy Klobuchar CounterPunchn(Chuck L)

FICO Changes Could Lower Your Credit Score Wall Street Journal

Who’s Afraid of the IRS? Not Facebook ProPublica


Boeing Mulls Another Cut to 787 Output in New Threat to Cash Bloomberg

FAA says 737 Max could return sooner than Boeing said CNN (Kevin W). Strikes me as overinterpreting Dickson’s remarks.

Curse of Boeing continues: Now a telly satellite it built may explode, will be pushed up to 500km from geo orbit The Register (Kevin W)

Boeing faces Max hurdle as pilot confidence crumbles Financial Times. Ran earlier this week, importantly before new CEO Dennis Calhoun made tone-deaf remarks to investors.

How Boeing’s Responsibility in a Deadly Crash ‘Got Buried’ New York Times (Mike C). Non-paywalled version of this story, which it appears didn’t get featured in Links previously.

Does Microsoft Have a Boeing 737 Max Style Crash Every Week? Matt Stoller (JTM)

Bonds look like they are flashing a warning for global markets CNBC

Class Warfare

Skills as Collateral: Why Not Ask Employers to Co-Sign Educational Loans? RealClearEducation. UserFriendly: “Just what we need. Indentured servitude.”

Antidote du jour. Jennifer F:

I have an antidote for your consideration – Max in the middle. I adopted Max from the humane society several months after my 17 year old cat died. He was a stray, living in a feral cat colony. This boy clearly had a home (and dogs) of his own before his circumstances took a turn. I joke that his problem is that he needs to relax more.

And a bonus:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Livius Drusus

    Re: Drugs May Be Killing Twice as Many Americans Than Previously Thought.

    Thanks for reporting this. Conditions in America are much worse than people realize. Things are terrible out there for many people. I recently visited my aunt and learned that her neighbor’s daughter died from a drug overdose, and this is in a fairly affluent suburb. I imagine that things are even worse in the economically depressed parts of the country. The economy never recovered for large portions of the country. Whenever people talk about whether America will collapse, I tell them that for millions of Americans the collapse has already happened.

    1. epynonymous

      Election update link:

      Can attest to co-parenting with friends. Personally, the combination of the need to have room-mates and (in my case, and presumably many others) autism and other health horror-stories means it isn’t as much a choice as a necessity. Not all bad, considering. We cross gender lines, unlike the two women in the story, but the basic pattern seems to fit… even if the story’s body makes a big-ish matter about it. “co-mom” household they say. More like, post-divorce society.

      Also and unrelated, out back here in Massachusetts there are 8 squirrels (one or two clearly only a few months old) frolicking like its their job. Both of those things (age and activity) are things I’ve never seen in my 3 decades.

      #things you can see for yourself but are only accepted after study publication

      1. smoker

        #things you can see for yourself but are only accepted after study publication

        Love it. Thank you. Many things that have been common knowledge, many times for centuries!

        On a related note, I would add: #books written about the tech industry by those who were its biggest supporters and benefactors (and can somehow still afford to rent and/or own a home[s] in places like San Francisco, Silicon Valley, New York and London) while having watched everyone speaking out against it since even before the Dotcom BOOM, end up impoverished with PTSD and having proclaimed: that’s what they said about the typeable font too! – LUDDITE! (oh oops, not allowed tag, too long, but far less than a meaty paragraph).

        (Lovely, MS Bill Gates 2007 did not know how to spell PTSD, nor what PTSD means, even though Bill had likely, by that time, inflicted it upon millions of MS workers; contractors especially. Didn’t supposedly know how to spell typeable font either.)

        P.S. Squirrels are amazing, aren’t they.

    2. The Rev Kev

      By my calculations, at the death-rate of Americans due to drug overdoses mentioned in that article, it would only take 4.7 years to equal the total number of Americans killed in combat in all the wars in America’s history from the American Revolution right up to today.

      1. epynonymous

        I heard that the J-Day preparations (remember, the atom bomb was a secret, even from ourselves) involved making so many purple heart medals that we are still handing them out to wounded troops today. Not judging, just sharing.

        Rewatched ‘Space Cowboys’ last night, in honor of space command, or whatever.

        1. Wukchumni

          You could buy brand new never issued purple heart medals for $20-30 for the longest time on the aftermarket in the 80’s-90’s, all from former government stockpiles.

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Space Cowboys kicked ass.

          Speaking of Clint Eastwood, if you haven’t seen Richard Jewell, do yourself a favor and watch that. Great movie. Sam Rockwell puts in a tour de force as the a**hole lawyer.

      2. ambrit

        Sorry, but that is a mistaken premise. The “Deaths from Despair” can solidly be linked to the “War on Drugs, (and those who take them.)”
        Whenever the government declares a “War” on anything, expect there to be casualties.
        On the subject of War Casualties, I notice that few ever include ‘innocent’ civilians killed during the war in question.

        1. kiwi

          What do you mean by “linked to?”

          So are you saying that people saw the war on drugs, fell into despair, and then started taking drugs to the point of addiction and death?

          1. ambrit

            Yes, I am implying a partial causal link.
            One of the primary outcomes of the prohibition of any substance is a surge in interest and a degradation in quality of the substance available to the general public. Think ‘Bathtub Gin’ and Drano grade Synthetics. The allure of ‘forbidden’ things to the human being is well attested. So, more people involved and degraded quality drugs equals a higher death toll.
            Another mechanism of the Deaths of Despair phenomenon is the despair bought on by the War on Drugs induced draconian punishments imposed on non-violent users of various drugs. People doing stretches in prison for simple cannabis charges is extreme from any rational point of view. Surviving prison irregardless of why you are in there is despair inducing, plus with the added benefit of radicalizing formerly socially conforming citizens.

            1. Janie

              Hm-m-m. I think you’re onto something. Both the prison industry and the loss of opportunity require solutions that seen to be beyond us.

            2. notabanktoadie

              Nor is the War on Drugs even Biblical (Proverbs 31:6-9, etc).

              But I suppose the churches, having given up or sold out wrt economic justice, must instead focus on blaming the victims.

              Hint: An economically just society would have minimum need to escape reality.

              1. ambrit

                Yes. The authors of the world’s Wisdom Books knew human nature well.
                See the institution of the Debt Jubilee in olden times.

            3. rd

              I have found it beyond bizarre that the US system views marijuana as so bad that it can’t even be researched for potential medicinal uses while millions are getting hooked on opiates through legal prescriptions.

    3. WheresOurTeddy

      The economy in many parts of the country didn’t recover from the 1991-1992 recesssion. Or the NAFTA de-industrialization. Or the H1B invasion. Or the housing crash. Or whatever natural disaster in your area didn’t get cleaned up. You can’t drink the water. Many if not all of your neighbors are on oxycontin, heroin, or meth. Every job is under $30K a year unless you have a degree and has no health insurance.

      But hey that stock market is up and we have a Space Force with a knockoff Star Trek logo, so the aristocrat choir full of Soledad O’Briens will chastise the most popular politician in the country for receiving an endorsement from the most listened to radio/podcast host in the country because he’s a UFC guy who isn’t PC and expands the tent with too many smelly proles who don’t appreciate Hamilton. I don’t listen to Rogan but he represents a lot more people than the idiotic New York Times endorsing the people in 3rd and 5th place.

      This is why Democrats lose with anyone but Sanders.

      1. inode_buddha

        “The economy in many parts of the country didn’t recover from the 1991-1992 recesssion. Or the NAFTA de-industrialization. Or the H1B invasion. Or the housing crash. Or whatever natural disaster in your area didn’t get cleaned up. You can’t drink the water. Many if not all of your neighbors are on oxycontin, heroin, or meth. Every job is under $30K a year”

        This is the day-to-day living reality all around the Great Lakes, basically what’s left of America’s industrial heartland. This is also the reason why, even if I was a millionaire, I buy everything used, and made in USA.

        Tune in, turn on, and drop out.
        Drop out of their economy.
        Don’t encourage the bastards by giving them business.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Fully engaged Luddite here!

          I noticed when i stopped drinking that i quit the rat race.

          Im on my own time now, and ready for the Butlerian Jihad.

          See yall at the Sietch.

          1. ambrit

            Good for you. Overcoming one’s personal demons is the hardest task to face. Good luck with the West Coast job. (If they don’t go for you because of some BS metric like credit scores, then you are better off not being subject to their whims, and whims they will be.)
            Besides, I’ll bet the food is better in N’awlins.

        2. rd

          Trump’s tariff’s have forced one manufacturer in our area to lay off staff because the tariffs apply to the parts he buys to assemble his products. He then sells the finished goods to Asian countries that want American products but he is now at a serious cost disadvantage to the Chinese selling the complete product to those buyers.

          This is how the tariffs are helping American manufacturing “recover”.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        There is more truth in this brief post than anything I’ve seen on cable news in the last decade, thank you

    4. Lambert Strether

      > Whenever people talk about whether America will collapse, I tell them that for millions of Americans the collapse has already happened.

      Everything’s going according to plan!

  2. allan

    Coronavirus: to tamp down down on this a little, the author of the paper that the Tweeter is referring to
    has already posted a downward revision (although it’s still bad): 2.4~2.6, not 3.8:


    With lots of uncertainty in both case data and model uncertainty, R0 estimates will be changing rapidly. Important to update and monitor. We’ve updated our estimates with case data through 22 Jan. New estimated R0 of 2.5 95% CI 2.4, 2.6. Paper to be updated asap.
    8:43 AM – 24 Jan 2020

    As a PSA, transmission from surfaces is typically at least as important as airborne.
    Time to rewatch Contagion.

          1. ambrit

            Does anyone know the importance, if any, of the number of “recovered” listed at the top right of the tracker screen? I mean, only 52 confirmed recovered out of 2100 confirmed cases, and 56 deaths. What am I missing?

      1. allan

        The tweet immediately above the one I cited in its thread has a direct link to a .pdf of the preprint
        with author’s original estimate of ~3.6-4.0. (This has been submitted, but not yet peer reviewed.)
        He doesn’t seem to have posted a new or revised preprint with the R0~2.4-2.6 yet.

        These are both terrible numbers, so let’s just hope that either they’re wild overestimates
        or that mortality is low.

        1. False Solace

          This year’s flu season has killed 7-9 thousand people in the US so far and everyone yawns. Coronavirus kills 10 people in China and they freak.

          1. allan

            True, but run-of-the-mill flu doesn’t have a 3% fatality rate, which the coronavirus seems to,
            according to the Chinese government figures. SARS had a striking characteristic, which was being very dangerous even to relatively young an healthy victims. The jury is still out on this one, but there is every reason to be concerned.

            1. rd

              15 million people have had the flu in the US this season, 140,000 hospitalizations, and 8,200 deaths, including 54 pediatric deaths. The flu is very contagious so many, many people get it which causes many people to die.

              The coronavirus is nasty but seems to be more difficult to spread.

              The US struggles to get over 50% of the population vaccinated against the flu each year, so herd immunity is poor.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                Do not spread disinformation.

                Not true. Recent estimates of reinfection rates for this coronavirus are ~2.9 (ones from a few days ago ~2.6). SARS was ~1.8. Higher R = more infectious. Seasonal flu way lower, even bad seasonal flu year:

                The search yielded 567 papers. Ninety-one papers were retained, and an additional twenty papers were identified from the references of the retained papers. Twenty-four studies reported 51 R values for the 1918 pandemic. The median R value for 1918 was 1.80 (interquartile range [IQR]: 1.47–2.27). Six studies reported seven 1957 pandemic R values. The median R value for 1957 was 1.65 (IQR: 1.53–1.70). Four studies reported seven 1968 pandemic R values. The median R value for 1968 was 1.80 (IQR: 1.56–1.85). Fifty-seven studies reported 78 2009 pandemic R values. The median R value for 2009 was 1.46 (IQR: 1.30–1.70) and was similar across the two waves of illness: 1.46 for the first wave and 1.48 for the second wave. Twenty-four studies reported 47 seasonal epidemic R values. The median R value for seasonal influenza was 1.28 (IQR: 1.19–1.37). Four studies reported six novel influenza R values. Four out of six R values were <1.


    1. Lee

      New Virus Paralyzes Chinese Cities
      A 17 minute segment on Science Friday.

      The virus is genetically 96% identical to viruses transmitted by bats.

      Vaccine candidates could be developed in a matter of weeks but making it publicly available could take a year.

      China is constructing an emergency facility to care for those infected with virus in Wuhan that will be finished in a week.

      The U.S. funding for such specialized research and treatment centers has been cut and is due to expire in March. Impeach that virus now!

      1. pasha

        trump administration cut 2020 center for disease control (CDC) budget by 19%, $1.2 billion. their war on science has consequences!

        1. Ignacio

          Flu Manchu is confusing.

          What about ‘Batman Returns Virus’? Though it has been said that the origin might be snakes instead of bats.

          1. Wukchumni

            Fu Manchu isn’t considered very PC (People’s China) these days, calling them ‘the yellow peril’ (my nickname for a chariot of ire-a cream colored ’79 Cadillac Seville often in need of repair) and other awful stereotypes in a series of books/movies of a century ago. It does make a bold facial hair statement though, practically screaming as if one were in a perpetual bar room fight scenario, ‘here, hold my Corona beer’

            1. Ignacio

              Flu Manchu is funny, but apt for Influenza virus, not for Coronavirus. Fu Manchu was the quintessential evil in Spain when I was a child.

            2. chuck roast

              Back in the day, I was at an anti-war demonstration outside the Newport Naval Base. Nixon’s son-in-law, David Eisenhower was graduating from the Naval OCS on this day, and Nixon flew in on a helicopter. Coincidentally, Nixon and the GOP were trying to gut the Davis-Bacon Act that guaranteed union wages on Federal projects. There were a couple of hundred union construction guys in their hard-hats mingling sociably with the long-hairs and all giving Nixon hell.
              One of the hard hats turned around and looked away from the action. He yelled, “Hey, it’s f**kin’ Fu Manchu!” So, everybody turned around. And sure enough, the Maoist were marching in with a big poster of Mao waving their little-red-books. Ya’ had to hand it to the Maoists though. They stood their ground against the working-stiffs.

      1. Ignacio

        We are not experts but have more info than when the Spanish Flu exploded worldwide, we have to recall it was under the miserable after-war conditions, so we can compare those R0 but cannot conclude anything since so many factors play in epidemiology. Anyway, looks like it won’t be contained this winter and it is penetrating all northern hemisphere regions since there is not pre-existing immunity to the new virus, just like the H1N1 flu did more recently than Spanish flu (2009). This bad news I guess.

        1. allan

          New coronavirus can cause infections with no symptoms and sicken otherwise healthy people,
          studies show
          [STAT News]

          Two papers published Friday in the journal the Lancet offer some of the first rigorous analyses of patients who contracted a novel coronavirus that has broken out in China and spread to other countries. Among their discoveries: The virus does not only affect people with other, underlying health conditions, and people who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus. …

          1. Ignacio

            IMO this makes almost certainly unsuccessful any effort to contain the virus with so many asymptomatic infected individuals.

        2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          I’m not sure that miserable after-war conditions made much of a difference although they obviously did not help, as the US was hit as hard as Europe. The large spread of the disease was attributed to increased travel between countries having me wondering how that compares to our globalised world & if it can be spread by touch, does that effect Chinese exports ?

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I do recall reading an article about the Spanish flu. The big issue as I recall was that ti was highly contagious….

            This paper says a lot is still not known. 1/3 of the world’s population contracted the Spanish Flu, and the mortality rate was high too, 2.5%:


            BTW SARS was worse, nearly 10% mortality rate, but the Chinese were able to contain it due to finding “supertransmitters” and so being able to follow disease spread + SARS victims exhibiting fevers, so they could find them.

              1. The Rev Kev

                One side effect. This may have the effect of shutting down the Hong Kong protests. Mixing with crowds is not a good idea with coronavirus on the loose and I have not heard much news about these protests lately. Hong Kong has already declared an emergency alert in reaction to coronavirus.

    2. Expat2uruguay

      I think we’re looking at an epidemic here, so how will that affect the primary? Probably it would discourage caucusing and in-person voting. Also it could change the electorate by endangering the most aged cohort. Bernie might be the least affected since he has the most motivated supporters.
      Also imagine what the fear of an epidemic does for the census…
      And tourism, at least by airplane.
      I think people will be in a panic in the US in about 2 weeks. And it’s going to be so ugly, with the lack of healthcare access and the inability of food servers to take time off when they’re sick.

      1. John k

        Sars did not significantly spread beyond Asia, I assume bc other countries were warned and jumped on watching those that came from affected areas… and had enough slack in med facilities to handle the modest number… though seems we may be a bit lax in some cases (uk)?).
        But China messed up early, downplayed the problem, and is unlucky with new year migration happening before quarantine… all travel should have been stopped.
        China looks to be toast. Ro 2.5 or 3.8 doesn’t matter when hospitals must turn away patients. And new hospitals won’t help if all doctors exhausted or sick.
        Might have to run it’s course in China, I.e. everybody gets it but maybe 95% aren’t affected or get well, just like pandemics of old. And most that don’t make it are non productive elderly. If this is what happens Some products made in China (stuffed animals?). Might become unpopular.

        1. allan

          “Sars did not significantly spread beyond Asia”

          That’s not exactly right. A single patient spread it from China to Toronto, where it sickened
          more than 250 people, killed a tenth of them and put a significant stress on the health care system.
          I know someone who ended up working a SARS floor in a Toronto hospital for 8 months.
          It was not fun.

          If the current figures from the PRC are to be believed, the fatality rate for the coronavirus is 3% –
          better than 10% but still scary if the epidemic spreads.

        2. Expat2uruguay

          this new virus, nCoV19, has had death in asymptomatic patients. I’m not sure if they’ve verified that asymmetric patients are contagious, and how contagious they are. But SARS was mainly spread by super-transmitters, and containment was accomplished by following the super transmitters contacts and isolating them. Not everybody was a super-transmitter. the difference in Contagion details like this may be critical for whether it becomes a pandemic.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “HOLY MOTHER OF GOD – the new coronavirus is a 3.8!!”

    I am afraid that the genie is out of the bottle with this one. We already have a few cases in Australia that arrived from China. A few years ago I was reading up on the 1919 great flu pandemic and read something about such pandemics. If I remember right, these viruses continue to evolve and mutate as they are spreading. And that a typical pattern was that they come in three waves with the second wave typically being the most deadly.

    This was the way that Australia was not so badly hit in 1919 – by the time it got here, it was a less virulent strain from the third wave. My point is that this may be the first wave we are seeing with perhaps a more deadly strain yet to take hold but those with biological expertise may want to correct me here. Meanwhile, we are still dealing with this sort of idiocy-

    “Chinese woman ‘bragged on social media about cheating airport coronavirus screenings’ – before being tracked down to France after posting from a Michelin Star restaurant in Lyon”

      1. TroyIA

        Wuhan coronavirus confirmed in 29 of China’s 31 provinces

        And from China Global Television Network

        Beijing to stop all inter-province shuttle buses from January 26

        Beijing has announced that it will suspend all inter-province shuttle buses from January 26 amid the coronavirus outbreak, local authorities said.

        China to halt all outbound tourist groups amid coronavirus outbreak

        China will halt all outbound tourist groups as of Monday, January 27, the China Tourism Association announced on Saturday.

        The association said domestic flight and hotel bookings through travel agencies have been put on hold since January 24, while similar services for overseas destinations will be suspended from January 27.

        At this rate China will soon be close to shutting down the entire country.

      2. Ignacio

        Thank you PK. I’ve watched the first minutes and though they say many important and sensible things I beg to differ in my conclusions regarding the blaming game. First, I would say that If we have to blame anyone, it is precisely the local government for not applying sanitary measures in the exotic meats market in the first place to prevent any sort of thing like this. Second, and for the little information available, I believe once this started, the containment would have been extremely difficult even if the Chinese Government hadn’t been lax. I refer here to articles that say that many among those infected are nearly asymptomatic and these can, apparently spread the virus. Now, I go to watch the rest and see if I change my opinion.

        1. chuck roast

          You have to cut these guys some slack my friend. I’m guessing that they were working overtime comparing social credit scores with confusing facial recognition results. Just a man-power issue.

      3. anon in so cal

        China really did screw up big time because reports state that this outbreak was observed and identified as an atypical pneumonia as far back as early December. The Chinese are probably the world’s largest tourist contingent and they typically fan out all over Asia and the world in huge numbers, starting in late December. We’ve been going to Asia over the winter break every year for the past ten years (not this year due a a sick dog), and hotels are typically jam-packed with Chinese tourists. What’s particularly alarming is that the virus is apparently transmissable by those who have contracted it yet appear almost symptom-free (although this also means the fatality rate is lower).

        1. Ignacio

          Even if this started in December this has been surely known in retrospective. December is high season for many respiratory viruses so it could be easily confused with any of these until some new and striking symptom pattern could be identified and this would require several or at least some cases showing a new clinical pattern. Then you need to study these and if a new pathogen is suspected you have to change diagnostics methods, change the usual procedures. Until someone used electron microscopy to see If a virus could be associated with the disease or someone used universal CoV RT-PCR on a sample to check if it could be something like SARS-CoV surely some days passed in between. I wouldn’t play the blaming game so easily.

      4. John k

        Scary video. Short version seems accurate.
        Main thing is looks way worse than sars, not least bc new year timing… and maybe official reaction is worse now than then.
        Amazon out of most effective masks is scary too, looks like we’re not very prepared for a pandemic either.

        1. Wukchumni

          I’d go to the post office in SoCal every day mailing something, when all of the sudden the SARS thing hits and every other person in line is an Asian person with a box full or 2 of N95 masks they all want to mail to the far east, and none had ever mailed anything before for the most part, they kind of threw themselves upon the clerks really slowing up things, and there was a definite air of concern on their countenances of worry far away I remember thinking. This lasted a month or two in 2003.

      5. Brian (another one they call)

        Thanks PK; I got through the video thinking how different and similar our cultures are. We have had a science education here that appears to be more based upon daily living, where in China that appears to be sparse. (no soap, little disinfectant, little refrigeration; per story)
        Yesterday a story suggested that doctors don’t have a lot of college graduates in their ranks. Yet their other doctors know more about natural medicines that ours would imagine.
        I come away from the story with a sense that there is little that can be done to stop it. It may be too early to predict what the RO is going to be. Real information appears to be restricted from the offical organ.

      1. Lee

        Good one!

        I was once attack by a Canada Goose while bike riding and the bane of my mother’s existence as a child was a Tom Turkey that would chase her across the yard at every opportunity.

        1. divadab

          Yup – my grandmother’s african geese were pretty scary with their hissing and pecking at 4 year old little me.

      1. jefemt

        I have a bridge for sale… I respectfully disagree whole-heartedly. White-breasted boids

        Blue and ruffed grouse
        Hungarian and chukar partridge
        ring-necked (Chinese) pheasant
        Wild turkey

        Dark-breasted: lesser prairie chicken, sharp tailed grouse
        Mourning dove

        I’ll concede that wild birds who walk, a lot, have tendon laden strong aromatic dark meat legs, and that the breasts tend to be quite dry , and nuttier (or, evoke hints of the food-mast).

        Domesticated birds that have limited ability to range are much more mild (flavorless).

        Not uncommon to hand a bird for several days to have the flessh break down and tenderize (rot).


        1. Amfortas the hippie

          guinneas are all dark meat(and make the best “chicken and dumplings”)>goose meat is dark-ish, but rather greasy(cook it on a rack in the pan.fat makes excellent gravy or stock)>>pidgeons have purple-ish meat(wild flock in town that got loose long ago. we netted some, and nobody minded)
          OTH, store bought chicken is essentially all white meat…even the dark meat parts(legs and thighs)
          nothing like i remember.

          our chicken flock is getting old…a retirement flock, if you will.
          they won’t be good eating(old=stringy, wood-like),hardly lay eggs any more, so i’ve advocated humane dispatch…but have been overruled.(sigh)
          so waiting on attrition to do it’s thing.
          i’ve moved up construction of new chicken house over here on my side accordingly(mom’s chicken taj majal is much better suited for chicks, after i can whitewash it)
          so if construction proceeds as planned, the old birds can retire eating bugs in my pasture.
          and we’ll have a whole new mess of birds.
          now, if only i can get mom to avoid all the weirdest ones on offer…(behavioural issues(aricana, and another one i can never remember) and stupidity(look like barred rocks, but are some hybrid they sell as 2 month olds mom found somewhere…dumb as rocks, even for a chicken. takes forever to herd them into the house))

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          Huh? I’ve eaten wild turkey a TON, ditto quail and other “waterfowl” (wild ducks, domestic and wild goose, pheasant, coots, and coots are a close cousin to shoe leather). My father was an avid hunter but would only kill critters if someone would eat them. He abhorred pure “sports” hunting.

          None has any white meat, which makes me suspect everything you assert about other wild birds. And most wild birds are gamey and often tough unless you got a young bird (quail a noteworthy exception, quail is pretty much always terrific). You can prepare the bird to some degree to compensate for that, but still….

          1. MT_Bill

            This might be a case of having different standards. I kill and eat pheasant regularly, and consider the breast meat white, at least compared to a mallard.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            I have read somewhere that the protein which gives meat a darker-than-white color is called myoglobin. It is supposed to be an even stronger oxygen attractor-holder than hemoglobin. Its function appears to be to wrench oxygen off the passing red blood cells and attach it to itself for the muscle to use in fast-and-furious or long-slow-heavy activity.

            Domestic chickens and turkeys do rather little high-powered flying and I gather have been selected for not bothering to make myoglobin for placing into the breast meat. Wild birds which fly some should, by this logic, have somewhat darkish breast meat. Wild birds which fly thousands of miles or thousands of hours should have even darker breast meat. I have read somewhere that whale meat is almost black-colored from all the myoglobin in contains.

            Here is a bunch of whale meat images. While none of it looks outright black, some of it looks very very dark.

    1. ambrit

      At the end, said chickens are coming toward the cameraperson. Thus, I’m guessing that these are tamed wild or perhaps domestic chickens. I know that the “organic” eggs we buy at the supermarket say “Free Range Chickens.” So, these look to be very free range! And so many of them! Is this a normal chicken flock population size?

      1. Wukchumni

        Wouldn’t playing chicken with a chicken be tantamount to matter interacting with anti-matter, and does it matter if they cross the road?

            1. inode_buddha

              Probably bragging rights, but I forgot to ask. BTW I had the scrambled eggs and pancakes at Denny’s the next morning.

    2. skk

      There are feral chickens in Ybor City, Tampa. And protected by City ordinance too. The area is now reestablished as an entertainment and bars area, it was the Cuban quarter once.

      1. ambrit

        I passed through Ybor City thirty years ago. The Tampa area has some curious nooks and crannys.
        If it is now an “Entertainment Area,” then I would expect to see some Nasty Chickens too. Especially it being near to all those retired military personnel.

  4. Darius

    Now the US is going to carve a Wahhabi terrorist incubator state out of Iraq. What could go wrong? All because the superstitious rapture ready white supremacists that run US foreign policy can’t get over the Iranian hostage crisis from 40 years ago.

    1. Chris Smith

      I used to know a guy who was a 40+ year foreign service veteran. Usually a sane guy unless you mentioned the Soviet Union or Iran. He was irrationally angry with Iran because some young revolutionaries held some diplomats captive. The nerve! I reminded him that the revolutionaries treated those “diplomats” far better than the US-backed Savik treated prisoners. I then noted that many of those revolutionaries may have been themselves or had relatives tortured by the Savik. If so, then they showed incredible restraint in their treatment of their captives. He never brought up Iran again around me.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Also, I would suggest those people are dying, and they aren’t receiving “the greatest generation” treatment. The fp elites can bring in brownnosers like Buttigieg, but Iran is a nothing burger to people under a certain age.

      Remember how overtures to Cuba would be the end of the world? I would argue the real reason Libya and the murder of Gaddafi aren’t trumpeted all the time is age has altered the population to a point where so many people simply weren’t victims of early 80’s brainwashing.

      The Shah supporters could be quite dangerous as they should have recognized the population isn’t anywhere close to where they were 20 years ago.

      1. Typing Monkey

        I would suggest that this is a stupid public negotiating tactic to try to convince Iraq to not kick out US troops

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      Sanders is going to have the most votes and delegates, even if he’s not at 50%+1.

      If they give the nomination to literally anyone else in that scenario, the democrats lose. Badly.

      I get admonished by “vote blue no matter who” activists in my area when I flat out tell them to their face “I’m not voting for a class enemy ever again. Adjust your expectations and decisions accordingly.”

      1. HotFlash

        Agreed. I already refuse to vote for a war criminal (would make me an accessory, no?), and I will add your ‘class enemy’ to my never, never list as well.

      2. ambrit

        Agreed. The ‘True Blue’ Democrat partizans I interact with are becoming somewhat desperate of late. The TDS coupled with Id-pol makes them just about not ‘agreement capable.’

        1. Carey

          >The ‘True Blue’ Democrat partizans

          Who seem to self-identify as the Truly Reasonable-Minded, IME.


      3. Oregoncharles

        “If they give the nomination to literally anyone else in that scenario, the democrats lose. Badly”
        Sounds like a plan. It’s still the Republicans’ turn (two full terms at a time).

        “vote blue no matter who” – so it’s their priority, and their job, to nominate someone you WILL vote for. Severe denial of responsibility, otherwise. Personally, I just refuse to take them seriously.

    2. Potted Frog

      I think the DNC has been going for a brokered convention because they knew Sanders is a contender.

      Each of the (sanctioned) idpol candidates is a slice of the idpol pie and each is an attempted cutaway from Sanders. Looks like a strategy to me.

      Sanders keeps being Sanders – holding his position on positions he’s held for decades – offering concrete material benefits to the 90% that have been grist for the neolib/neocon mill for decades.

      The last couple of weeks has evidenced Establishment anxiety in action: smear, smear, smear. Pathetic.

      I now think we skip a brokered convention and go straight to the Maine Event.

      I see a lot of broken rice bowls in the future. And a future for the rest of us.

  5. Henry Moon Pie

    It may have been linked here earlier, but I just watched a video of an Iowa City (IU) rally for Bernie led by Philip Agnew. It is quite powerful, and anything but your typical political rally.

    It is getting more and more possible to believe that something big is afoot. Will people be offended by what is clearly a quasi-religious call and response? I hope not. It’s quite careful to refrain from any language specific to any religious tradition while being a complete rejection of the usual American civil religion patter that glorifies flags and shows of force. I hope anyone inclined to be offended by this will recall Chris Arnade’s findings about the place of religion in the lives of the most oppressed.

    And I am reminded again of Staughton Lynd’s story about the day the group training for the Mississippi Freedom Summer learned that Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner were missing. They didn’t debate. They didn’t pass motions. They gathered together, held hands and sang “Kumbaya.” With solidarity rejoined not just at the intellectual level but emotionally and intuitively, they then tackled the difficult decisions before them.

    1. Robert Hahl

      Phillip Agnew: as John Kennedy said after watching MLK on television at the March on Washington, That guy’s good!

    2. Big River Bandido

      Philip Agnew has been a major organizer and powerful voice. This was a very powerful speech. There’s enough of a “revivalist” tone that it completely fits the political moment. And yet he’s chosen words and examples that put the focus not on another world or people long gone, but this world and people struggling to get by. The mood and the forms will be familiar — and possibly even comforting — to anyone with a Protestant or Catholic upbringing. But the strength here is that he turns this language and directs it to the people in the audience. This is classic inspire-and-motivate-the-troops kind of language…and yet brilliant in the way it transcends politics and focuses the listener on the human connection.

      Last, I am struck by how this is playing out. This is a rally a week out from the caucuses, the candidate can’t be there, and here’s a surrogate rallying the base.

      This puts the lie to the bloviations and and BS of the media hacks.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        And what an extraordinary contrast to a Trump rally! The contrast presents quite an argument to the voters.

        1. Big River Bandido

          It’s also a perfect metaphor for the Sanders campaign. And coming right at the moment he’s sequestered in DC. I’m beginning to think even the use of impeachment to keep Sanders off the trail will backfire. It’s putting the spotlight on the people at just the right time.

          1. The Rev Kev

            The Iowa Caucus is in what, eight days? Would it serve Republican interests to have some of the Presidential nominees – particularly Sanders – MIA in Washington till or even after that date?

            Maybe Bernie should take a leaf out of Modi’s campaign and arrange a virtual Bernie in Iowa for that date. His team should be able to arrange it. Hell, even canned messages or a Skype connection would help him here.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              It would certainly serve Mainstream DemParty interests. They want Bernie defeated by Convention Time. They hope tying him up in Washington can stop him from giving Iowans the personal retail-politics face-time they have come to feel entitled to. They hope that will irritate some Iowans who wanted to “see the Candidate” into voting against him because he “wouldn’t take the time to see them”.

              We should all remember that the Pelosian Cheney-Democrats would rather see a President Trump Term Two than a President Sanders Term One.

        1. Aron Blue

          That’s a great idea? Who else would you add? I’m thinking AOC .. not familiar with his stump speech understudies …

    3. Geof

      I hope Bernie wins, and though a lifelong atheist I’ve been thinking for some years that what’s needed is some kind of religion, but this is scary. I know a friend who would say, “don’t take yourself so seriously.” But I also suspect my reaction would make some people angry. I think that proves me right.

      Religion (or its absence) is not the problem. The ritual is designed to stealthily ramp up social pressure to force a phase change of the audience from gas to liquid to solid. Once you’ve held hands, you’re committed. It would take an incredibly strong person to disengage.

      For all the talk of the importance of consent, I find this a gross violation. If participants know what they’re in for, fine. If they’re willing to take part on faith, maybe that’s fine too. But for some or many, I don’t think that’s what happens. You participate despite a reluctance within, a barrier: but your fear of social exclusion forces you through. The freedom from self is exhilirating. When you’re done, you’re left cognitive dissonance. You didn’t will it, but you did it. You have the choice: shame for letting go, or retroactively committing. You commit. The ritual has achieved its goal: it has changed what you stand for, it has led you to surrender your judgment to another, and it has made that feel good.

      I think that’s a bad combination. If I did this, I hope I would disengage hands and walk away, though I doubt I would have the courage. Otherwise, I would never forget my shame. This is a terrible power, a dangerous power, and although it can be used for good, the habits formed can be turned to great evil. If I was in that room, and I didn’t know what to expect, I would feel violated, and I would feel complicit in that violation. I don’t think anything would ever wash away the stain.

        1. JBird4049

          And the power on the Right?

          The Left has not had any real economic power since the neoliberal economic coup of the 70s, certainly not after the Clintons subverted the party in the 1990s.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        I basically asked for reactions to the Bernie rally, and you’ve provided an excellent one. While I was watching that video, I was wondering about the atmosphere in the room because I’ve been in rooms where there was a certain “buzz” that made me uncomfortable. Group coercion or hypnosis is something I would strongly oppose in all circumstances.

        It’s not an easy question about how to approach the very real need for deep solidarity to deal with what lies ahead. In the ideal circumstance, that’s something that’s built within a group over time as they learn they can rely on each other, but we don’t have that time. On top of that, there are so many people hurting so badly that the exercise that Agnew took them through can be more personally empowering than coercive. It sounds as if you’d disagree with me on that.

        There were people calling the Sanders movement a cult four years ago. We’ll obviously be hearing that again. I don’t think that should stop the Sanders movement from using this exercise, but your concerns about any coercive aspects should be seriously considered. The last thing needed is something that legitimately feels like coerced public prayer because that is wrong when considered from any angle.

        1. Geof

          Thank you for the response. Having seen the video I would know what to expect were I to attend such an event. If I still went, I would feel a lot more obliged to go along – why go knowing that one is likely to spoil the mood? Even if I were ignorant, I would feel a social obligation not to undermine solidarity in pursuit of personal principles. Maybe one should be willing to accept personal moral compromise for the greater good… but take care, that can lead to terrible things.

          I don’t mean to tell anyone else what to do or what to feel. I know that other people have different responses, priorities, and needs than I do. I just wanted to explain why some people (I presume I’m not alone) might have allergic reactions to this kind of thing. I realize solidarity is necessary, even if I’m not the guy to do it. The need for collective action like this doesn’t stop me from being scared of it. It might not serve the cause for me to criticize it, but I think a reservoir of skepticism is a good thing. I truly believe in the need for a diverse intellectual and moral ecosystem.

          It’s likely this conflicted approach is a hindrance for those on the left (though I don’t want to identify myself with any ideology). That’s unfortunate when you’re fighting for things as important as not dying for lack of health care, or against inequality that overwhelms democracy. Personal ethics don’t reduce to group ethics, and vice versa (to me that was the lesson of [i]Dune[/i].) Negotiating ends and means isn’t supposed to be easy.

          Also, Sanders himself does not strike me as a cultist, nor as a cult leader.

          1. Robert Hahl

            Likening public displays of solidarity on the Left with personal moral compromise, can lead to terrible things.

      2. DJG

        Geof (and thank you to Henry Moon Pie for two illuminating comments): As a bad Catholic and a bad Buddhist, I hardly qualify as religious. Yet I made a comment about religious belief here recently, and someone came back with Who cares what religious people think….

        I do. I take religion seriously, even if I am not much of a believer.

        I think that you have to keep in mind two cultural issues: Philip Agnew’s rhetorical power certainly comes from knowing the black church, but that doesn’t make Agnew a religious figure. Many black people have loosened their ties with the traditional back church. Also, and here is an irony, Agnew is leading the mainly white group in an exercise in solidarity that recalled for me the civil-rights movement. The resonances and echoes–and, yes, deep emotion–that I felt evoked Martin Luther King. And Martin Luther King’s use of religion was tactical and elegant: Re-read the Letter from Birmingham Jail. What Agnew is evoking is that average white people in the US may now be having their own Selma–and what is that going to mean?

        The Italian political theoretician Norberto Bobbio, in his Destra e Sinistra, points out that the Left tends to stress equality the most of the three great revolutionary virtues, Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, which can be Englished as Freedom, Fairness, and Solidarity. Bernie Sanders’s campaign is very much about equality and fairness, and now we see a glimpse of what solidarity–the great neglected virtue in the US of A–might be.

        Further, Geof the Nonbeliever: The crowd most likely is made up mainly of people from Iowa, from the University of Iowa, with a fair number of students from Illinois and Minnesota. The dominant religious influences in this region are Catholicism, Lutheranism, and, maybe, popular Buddhism of the farmers markets. So you are dealing with religions that tend to be wary of declarations of faith, but not wary of declarations of compassion.

        I noticed a few poeple who wouldn’t hold hands with their neighbors–a young woman at center, a big guy about 40 years old at right. That’s allowed, too. Norwegian Lutherans are notoriously shy.

        The irony (here in flyover land, the goofy Great Lakes States + stepchild Iowa) is that this is the perfect place for a ritual of solidarity. We have our farmers (who work together), the artisan tradition, the labor unions. Let’s just bring solidarity forward again and see what we can cause to happen.

        1. Geof

          I say I’m an atheist, but I do not have – nor have I ever had – anything against religion. I have met people of faith whom I admire, and I believe that their faith has helped to make them admirable. Good for them. If that was a path for me, I would take it. It’s not. People are different, and that’s great.

          I’m not wary of declarations of faith, I’m wary of declaration of identity (any identity – I take care not to claim identity with any political ideology) or group membership (any group). Religion=militant atheism=neoliberal dogma=being a music fan, so far as I’m concerned. I’m not a joiner. Other people are: good for them. If everyone was like me, there would never be any movements for change and we’d be trapped in alienated neoliberal hell forever.

          But just as I think we need people like them, I also think we need people like me. It really does take all kinds. For people like me, being stuck in a situation like that (which I would have no big problem with until it got the point of making declarations of intent – at which point it would be rude to let go and drop out) would be extremely alienating. Do that enough without warning, and I think that people like me might flip. You probably wouldn’t need our votes, but I think we would all be better off with our diversity than without it.

          We seem to be undergoing a generational transition in values, the likes of which I have never seen. The new generation do seem to act in solidarity. They have the potential to remake our shared (I say as a Canadian) culture for the better (or worse – I loathe identity politics). I hope they do, but I’m not one of them. Though I think inequality and social alienation is catastrophic, though I am convinced that we desperately need to rebuild a sense of community, I doubt that I could bear to enter that promised land.

          1. ocop

            I’m late to the game here but I feel it’s important to let you know you are not the only one who feels discomfort in this sort of thing.

            I remember attending an Obama event at my university in early 2008 and can personally attest to how bizarre and alienating it is to sit through a blatantly manipulative (even for a “good cause”) call and response exercises (“yes we can” “yes we can”). You literally feel like you are living in a different reality than the folks enthusiastically joining in. I say manipulative because that’s the entire point: to tie the “responder” in call and response more tightly to the cause at hand. I’m not sure it’s quite as sinister as it comes off in your description, but I think we are more in agreement than not.

            Of course, Obama turned out to be a charlatan while I think Bernie is almost certainly the real deal. And in this case the “cause at hand” truly is a good one. But for me there has to be a better way to build solidarity and community than rhetorical tricks and emotional manipulation. Of course this is not how the real world works. The communal/tribal spirit is probably a draw for many (most?) supporters of a cause.

            Yves makes the point below that the same sort of feeling can be found at sporting events or theater. I’ve certainly seen (and participated!) in this in the sporting context, but that’s the entire point of sports–to feed the lizard brain desire for action/domination and the base primate instinct for “tribe”. Sports are (rather, should be) harmless manifestations of those. But I reflexively find it off-putting in “real” human affairs.

            Bernie has my $$ support and my vote but I’m disinclined to attend any events if that’s the sort of evening I’d be walking into (although ultimately it’s still important to show up as a show of solidarity and force and/or middle finger to the current misleadership class). I know I’m a minority in feeling this way, but I am fundamentally distrustful of emotional appeals in any sort of decision-making, and doubly so of the people making them. I would want to get the hell out of the building during the call-response part of the rally. We’re all wired differently, I guess.

      3. chuck roast

        I don’t see this as crypto faith-based coercion in any way. Here we all are in hyper-capitalist societies that purposefully isolate and compartmentalize us. This is what leads to our extreme alienation and self loathing. It will be hard and it can be painful to attempt communitarian connections and to try to establish public goals that benefit all of us. Be reminded that the white-guys were (ostensibly) freed of their self-imposed bonds when the slaves were freed, and so we all, as a comity and as individuals will be improved human beings if we can somehow pull any of this off. The alternative may be a unimaginable dystopia that none of us wants.

      4. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Yes, but theres clearly people who didnt participate.

        What is so hard about saying No in this situation?

        Im 100% behind this. Then again im 100% unashamed to share this kind of stuff.

        I agree with most of your posts and didnt expect this reaction based on ur Bernie posts.

      5. Yves Smith Post author

        I have to tell you, having been around the New Age, which includes a lot of cults and cults wanna-be, that the phenomenon you describe is no different than experiencing really good theater, moving music performances, or very exciting sporting events. Those are never considered cultish.

        What makes a cult a cult is the reinforcement of behavior consistent with the professed belief structure (which may not actually be observed well), community recognition of the exemplars, shunning and exclusion of the apostates or deviants.

        Absolutely none of that can happen in a single meeting. Revivalists and cultists need to regularly and vigorously reinforce the results they seek to achieve.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          Thanks for this, Yves. Wise points.

          And I appreciated Geof’s honest reactions to the scene. One could imagine Le Guin’s hero in The Dispossessed, Shevek, voicing similar discomfort about any ritual or activity even if its purpose was increasing solidarity.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      I believe they’re making calls right now for the Iowa Poll that will come out next weekend. Which is significant because tonight the DM Register will issue their endorsement of a Not Bernie. While their pollster is still making calls!

      Forget their ink-stained thumbs, the DM Register is standing on the scale this year.

      1. flora

        The economy in the DM metro area is dominated by financial and insurance entities. Not surprising the Register would endorse a not Bernie. I think, correct me if I’m wrong, Iowa has 3 distinct economic areas: Des Moines metro area dominated by the FIRE sector – national and local Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate; the eastern Mississippi river valley area once dominated by light and medium manufacturing, now off shored (think Maytag and Amana appliances); and the rural agricultural areas, still in a tug-of-war between family farms and Big Ag (e.g. Monsanto) finance.

        I think the Resister is talking like a ‘home town’ newspaper instead of the state’s ‘paper of record’.

        I think that’s also what the NYT editorials are about, protecting the enormous increase in FIRE sector wealth that’s flowed into the NYC and eastern seaboard financial centers over the past 40 years, even as the rest of the country was made poorer by financialization. Imagine it, the NYT editorial is now suggesting that T, who they’ve nearly called the worst despot since (insert some despot name here) , is preferable to the guy who wants to raise the minimum wage, implement M4A, and proposes a tiny tax on stock trading to pay for education.

        Faced with a choice between the ‘worst despot since (insert some despot name here) ‘ and a guy who would marginally reduce the wealth and power of the FIRE sector the NYT editorials think there’s no real choice. Choose the despot. /big snark, of course.

        1. flora

          adding about Iowa: not forgetting John Deere, which still does do a lot of manufacturing in Iowa and the Quad Cities area. And good for them. (Their intellectual property no right to repair stance is a different question.)

        2. Big River Bandido

          You’re pretty well correct about Iowa’s economy. The one element you missed: what ties the rural and urban areas of the state together is the farm-related industry. Deere’s world headquarters are in Moline, IL, across the Mississippi from Davenport. Case, Caterpillar, Harvester…all had huge plants there and throughout eastern Iowa. The other element of that is food processing (grains, cereals, animal feed, meat packing, etc.) — these are more widely dispersed throughout the state, but also more heavily concentrated in the east.

          Most of the state has been hit hard by 40 years of economic strangulation — the more heavily-populated, industrial eastern counties are the key to any statewide Democrat victory in Iowa. They’re the reason Clinton did so poorly in Iowa. (Have to go back decades to find such a poor showing from a Democrat in Iowa. She damn near lost Scott County, which is mind-boggling.)

              1. Big River Bandido

                On reflection, I missed another microeconomic sector: education. Lots and lots of students, especially in Iowa City, Ames and Cedar Falls, but also smaller contingents scattered over a dozen other counties.

                Also, you pointed out the “eastern Mississippi” counties and their influence. It’s no coincidence that Tom Vilsack’s political base was in Mount Pleasant (southeast IA).

    2. chuckster

      Oh Nos — Bernie is losing the neocon vote. I guess Her Highness, the Duchess of Chappaqua is standing there in the wings trying to save the Democratic Party and the stupid voters are not clamoring to support her.

      From Wikipedia:

      “Brett Stephens is known for his neoconservative foreign policy opinions and being part of the right-of-center opposition to Donald Trump, as well as for his contrarian views on climate change.

      “In 2002, Stephens moved to Israel to become the editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post.[15] He was 28 years old. Haaretz reported at the time that the appointment of Stephens, a non-Israeli, as editor triggered some unease among senior Jerusalem Post management and staff.[14] Stephens said that one of the reasons he left the Wall Street Journal for the Jerusalem Post was because he believed that Western media was getting the Israel story wrong.[15] “I do not think Israel is the aggressor here,” Stephens said. “Insofar as getting the story right helps Israel, I guess you could say I’m trying to help Israel.”[15] Stephens led the Jerusalem Post during the worst years of the Palestinian campaign of suicide bombings against Israel and pointed the paper in more neoconservative direction.[15] In 2003, the Jerusalem Post named Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, an architect of the Iraq war, as its Man of the Year

      “Stephens was a “prominent voice” among the media advocates for the start of the 2003 Iraq War,[36] Stephens has also argued strongly against the Iran nuclear deal and its preliminary agreements, arguing that they were a worse bargain even than the 1938 Munich Agreement with Nazi Germany.”

      If the Liberal Democrats think Joe Rogan is repugnant then WTF is Brett Stephens?

      1. Darthbobber

        And in his article, when he lists fundamental elements of our democracy that Trump hasn’t moved to get rid of, the first two he mentions are NATO membership and sanctions against Russia. Which would tell us where he was coming from even if we didn’t already know.

        Also, having previously equated Trump and Mussolini he now clarifies that a literal fascist (who nonetheless leaves the “foundational” elements of our version of democracy untouched) is no worse than a mildly social Democratic alternative. Claro.

    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      that second link lets it all hang out: Trump isn’t threatening the rice bowls so is a better choice than the so-called socialists. Life is pretty much the same for “most of us” as it was under Obama.

      a goodthinking liberal (she does at least support M4A, the House version) asked me in an email exchange yesterday, What’s the difference between left and liberal?

      after I shared some info, she asked, So will the left, neos, and liberals pull together to support one Dem candidate?

      I told her probably not, cuz Bernie threatens the corporate gravy train—but don’t take it from me! and added that link.

      It is perfect for taking the blinders off as to what the centrists are really about.

      1. hunkerdown

        Lambert once suggested that the difference is whether they endeavor to unite (left) or divide (liberal) the working class.

    4. lyman alpha blob

      Wow. From your 2nd link –

      Yet for the overwhelming majority of Americans, life is pretty much the same under Trump as it was under Obama.

      The truth of Trumpism is that it’s a morally corrosive and corrupting force, not a politically or economically catastrophic one. It’s a reality Trump’s critics need to internalize lest their criticism become a self-defeating caricature.

      So they finally admit publicly what we’ve been saying at NC for years. The resistance-types don’t dislike Trump because of his policies as those continue to serve the elites well. It’s just that he’s such a boor about it all, not an “articulate” man like Obama.

      In other words, he’s blowing their cover which is why said reality must be internalized lest the rubes catch on to the con.

      Somewhere there’s a tumbrel waiting for Bret Stephens and the NYT editorial staff.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The NYTimes also supports those who have said that the DemParty would actually factually literally prefer a President Trump as against a President Sanders. Or apparently against a President Warren as well.

    5. Amfortas the hippie

      #3 is essentially the same as ever:the Right will say mean and ugly things about us, and will try to block everything we do.
      isn’t this exactly what happened in obama’s reach across the aisle time?
      i’ll allow that it happened somewhat less during the clinton regime, but only because clinton stole most of the rights’ platform and set about implementing it, leaving them nothing but war and religion, and a bit confused, too.
      (and he still got impeached and labelled a commie and a drug runner and a minion of satan, who wanted nothing else than to drain us of our precious bodily fluids.)
      does that argument still work out there, somewhere?

      the first two feel like the same time honored affirmations that we must be better republicans than the gop, and bernie won’t ….so, we must reject him.

      all very innnerestin, ahm shore…
      but what’s the goal of this dude, and whatever shadowy reptilians are behind him? they can’t think that this will engender them with the suburban upper middle gop people they still insist on courting, can they?
      it won’t touch trump’s “base”.
      it will further alienate everyone to dick nixon’s right.
      so what’s the point?
      last time around, when bill kristol and david frum and a host of neocons and other repubs were climbing on the hillary turnip wagon of inevitability and doom, i predicted that the Big Center would eventually try to come out with a unity party of it’s own…on the way to abandoning the horse race altogether, due to diminishing returns(nobody much likes them)…after which they would just take the gloves off, and fully activate the panopticon they’ve been building all this time.
      that project was sent into disarray by the impossible orange bad man actually beating Herself, of course…so Russia! and etc.
      but i don’t think the idea ever went away.
      in fact, i still think it’s the logical next step for those people(logical, here, being the system logic based from within the bubble)
      if their pets get stomped in the primary. i think we’ll see the same phenomena as before, but bigger….legions of “good republicans” emerging from the woodwork to rally to some Centrist Third Party challenger. the myriad institutional barriers to entry usually employed against third parties will suddenly seem like no obstacle at all, and the MSM will be wall to wall with this new Beacon of Hope and Champion of Antediluvian Norms…and the irony(and utter hypocrisy) will be totally lost on them.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        s’posed to be “left of nixon” of course.

        and it occurs to me in my agon that obama went one better in reaching across….and presented the gop with their Own Damned Healthcare Plan…and they still called him commie and went all nuts and frothing.

        so the kowtowing and laying upon the floor has been tried, with a will, for most of my 50 years…and the evidence is all around us…including the smug and indifferent aristocracy, wondering why the little people no longer listen to them…hate them, even.
        the experiment is a failure, by any measure, save the maintenance of that upper crust. it’s been pretty good at that.
        they’re fattened and well marbled.
        manhattan/hamptons, etc as CAFO’s,lol.

    6. JBird4049

      The quote from the Op-Ed about what makes Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren so, so very terrible.

      Second, the argument understates the radicalism of what Sanders and Warren propose. Theirs is not a painless policy massage in the direction of a kinder, gentler economy. It’s a frontal and highhanded assault on American capitalism. If it succeeded, it would entail devastating dislocations to millions of workers lasting for years. If it failed, it would have devastating effects on the country lasting for decades.

      All these horrible results have already happened and are from the neoliberal “reforms” advocated by the Chicago Boys, as well concurrent massive increase in corruption since the 1970s, which was advocated by the leadership of both political parties. That corruption is the reason for the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause not being used in President Trump’s impeachment. Sanders and Warren are having to propose radical, really not so radical, reforms to deal with the damage of the past forty years.

      The whole op-ed is a well reasoned piece of complete cluelessness.

      1. Darthbobber

        Well, Stephens is another sort of Chicago boy, having done his Bachelor’s there in political philosophy, so Straussian influence and possibly classwork under Bloom of “closing of the American mind” fame.

    7. chuck roast

      Hell be chillin’, but it has not quite frozen over. Check the story narrative from an accompanying bar graph…
      “…the poll also highlighted the combined appeal of the centrists: 55 percent of those surveyed said they preferred a standard-bearer who is “more moderate than most Democrats.” Just 38 percent said they wanted one who is “more liberal than most Democrats.”
      This, unremarked upon, also from the bar graph. It shows that 51% of the respondents would support, “a Democrat that promises fundamental systematic change to American society.” Ever consistent in ignoring the very large size of the pi**ed-off population. They are going to have to stop asking these kinds of questions. Mustn’t annoy the PMC.

      1. newcatty

        Ha! My two lovely felines, both also from “reduced circumstances” ( found at local humane societies) have their human’s positioned in our bed on most nights as we settle in for winter naps. The communication with the two females is amazing. So different in many ways regarding feline personalities. Their main activities ( indoor only residents) are almost totally in sync: eating of main morning meals, times to nap and dream, treats ( any time really…Sometimes solo), late afternoon time to cuddle with a human and settle in for the evening. About the only time they are truly solo is when they use their litter box. Both irritated if a human walks in on their business. Love them…So glad they are not snacks for local coyotes, bobcats , mountain lions or casualties from the cars that speed around almost everywhere.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Why Tourism Should Die—and Why It Won’t”

    I don’t think that you can stop what is called tourism as I think that it fulfills more than a need to get a tan. Apart from the need to get away to relax and reset, there are other reasons to want to go to another place. Some want to be in a place where they can be more free to act without worrying what their regular neighbours think. Others want something different and new in their lives and are bored with their daily routine. Whatever the personal reason or reasons, it is real and it is there.

    I sometimes think that all those pilgrimages that trekked back and forth across the UK and Europe in the Middle Ages was also fulfilling this need apart from the religious aspect. Just read Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to get a taste of what it might be like to be on pilgrimage and the types of people on it. Even Australian aborigines had the custom of Walkabout which was typically for adolescents and where they left the tribe to wonder in the wilderness. People need what they need.

    1. Tomonthebeach

      Tourism is both good and bad. It is good because it seems that the vast majority of Americans seldom travel more than 300 miles away from home. I recall while living Oklahoma City, my lawn-service guy once telling me that we were living in the Garden of Eden “We have it all right here.” he said. Incredulous, I asked if he had traveled much. “Went to Arkansow wonst.” “What was your impression?” I queried. He answered, “Dint lahkit. We came back early.”

      How people tour is bad. The problem is that Americans are so paranoid about “ferinners” that they flock to canned tours where they will travel surrounded in safety by fellow Americans, stay in American-amenity hotels, and are bused or cruise-shipped from one icon to the next which they have seen 50 times in movies. “So that’s what the Eiffel Tower looks like.” REALLY?

      What is happening in Venizia and other cities is an obscenity. However, it is a self-inflicted wound, as pundits have for decades warned of the impending doom and lack of infrastructure to protect the town. As Americans, Chinese (especially), and others increase travel, Eastern EU will be destroyed too. Dubrovnik is already like Disneyland and just as crowded. Romania’s Vlad’s (tiny) Castle Bran is a half-hour wait for a ticket, and then you walk 6 inches behind the person in front of you till you exit. There are better castles within an hour’s drive – for now.

      1. Monty

        Schools should teach everyone how to initiate lucid dreams. Then they can astral project somewhere else for a while with zero carbon footprint. Problem solved!

      2. JBird4049

        One good thing about traveling is that it expands the mind. It would be great if more Americans tried going around the United States, never mind the rest of the planet although that too would be good. Yes, I understand about the dangers of loving something to death and of pollution, but that t is a big world even now; bringing back trains, buses, and ships and perhaps the restoration of much of what has been lost both of nature and of the cities can change that.

        On what has been lost, whenever I read about what wildlife existed in California in the 1840s, or heard about what the whole San Francisco Bay Area was like even 50, 60, 70 years ago city and countryside wise, and then look outside my window and almost want to weep. Just what is left except unaffordable housing and a drying landscape.

        There are the tourist traps, but they are like the belts of forest left between the road and the clear cuts. What people think of as San Francisco is more of a ghost of the past. The whole country is becoming increasingly homogenized with strips of prosperity surrounding and being surrounded by economic disposal zones. Much of what was described to me and some of what I have seen is no longer there and not merely from the change that is always happing.

        I do not think that climate change at least locally is wholly from fossil fuels. The Redwoods blanketed much of Bay Area with large wetlands ringing the Bay. Plants, especially trees, help to create their environment, their weather.

        So maybe people travel, unconsciously desperate, looking for what is left, and perhaps realizing unconsciously that it has disappeared, is dying, or needs to be embalmed. Maybe what has been destroyed is at least as responsible for the increasing economic and ecological dystopia as is the corruption and pollution. Rather like how clear cutting can cause flooding when even mild rains fall.

        1. Procopius

          Don’t know about “expanding the mind.” I think it depends. Most tourists don’t spend enough time at their destination to get to know it. Lots of them go the “if this is Thursday this must be Budapest” route. A large part of the expats who post on an expat forum here despise the native people, find the institutions primitive, and don’t like the food.

    2. Calypso Facto

      I have come to believe that a possible way to reduce tourism would be to massively increase second (and by extension primary) homeownership. Hear me out:

      When I was growing up (1980s), my entire extended family on one branch – for every adult- had at least two and in some cases three modest dwellings. They were usually a ‘city house’ – usually a postwar suburban tract house, one of the earlier smaller ones that they had been able to afford when they were just married. They also had (mostly) a ‘lake house’ in addition, which was a very cheap small plot of land on a rural lakefront (this is in an extremely uncool part of the swampiest part of the NW South, so not really a desirable place for most people – but still pleasant if that’s your thing!). A few family members even had a third – an apartment on a ski mountain in a cheap resort a few states away, or a large piece of hunting land with a small cabin.

      I spent almost every weekend, holiday and extended school break with this branch of the family, at one of those recreational houses. To such a degree that I did not take a single ‘vacation’ as we think of them today with any member of this side of the family (my mother’s, so very close!) The sound of ‘3 houses’ is literally insane to us now because of the hyperinflated value of the structures, but these were not nice houses, not luxury, we spent our time there building extensions or gardening or playing in the lake. I have no idea how to do a normal trashy vacation, I think you’re supposed to relax by drinking and eating a lot? Maybe take some selfies? But I just want to go back to my garden on the weekend and get good at identifying the local birds, I don’t drink or post on social media, the entire structure of tourism is meaningless and boring for me.

      I realize this is all my personal experience and anecdotal, but I don’t think my feelings around tourism being boring are really that unique. Obviously we have to destroy the rentierism built into tourism before we can have mass multi-homeownership that isn’t an ecological nightmare. But think of the possibilities! Permaculture small- and tiny-home communities from natural materials, anyone?

      1. Janie

        Sounds like the Oklahoma I know – same city house for decades, place at Lake Eufaula, Texoma or near Miami (pronounced miamah). The retreat was usually owner-built, a trailer or a double-wide. You kept your boat there, anything from a john boat to a cabin cruiser. Fun times.

          1. Janie

            Beautiful country. Love the Will Rogers Menorial in Claremore. I remember tbe old hotel there tbat housed tbe huge gun collection; the new museum is boring.

    3. lyman alpha blob

      I thought this bit fell a little bit short of the mark –

      The only actual way to mitigate tourism’s impact on climate change is for humanity to stop traveling.

      Well as things are today, maybe. But what if we managed to reduce the population? Or what if tourism weren’t quick fossil fuel powered jaunts covering thousands of miles to spend a long weekend? You mentioned the Walkabout Rev Kev; I can’t imagine anything particularly damaging with that. What if we had the time for a leisurely visit? If we all worked less at unnecessary bullshit jobs (looking at you, marketing!) and structured society so everyone’s needs were taken care of, we’d have the time to spend several weeks or more taking a slow trip and really getting to know people at the eventual destination.

      It’s the fossil fuels, not the travel per se, that are the problem. I’d never been much interested in the all inclusive package type vacations – where’s the adventure in that? – but several years ago my folks retired and my mom really wanted to take everyone on a cruise to celebrate so I caved in and went. The few thousand people on this boat were gathered together at the start of the trip to be shown the ropes and the only thing I remember from this orientation was that this cruise was supposedly environmentally friendly so they requested that everyone put their cans and bottle in the appropriate recycling receptacle. That was about all they had in terms of being green. I thought that if they were really serious about protecting the environment, they’d blow a hole in this boat and sink it to the bottom of the ocean. Maybe it would help jump start a new reef to replace the ones other ships have been destroying.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        wife and i got sent on a cruise for our honeymoon. houston to cancun(6 hours) to cozumel/playa del carmen(almost 12 hours) and an island off the east coast of Honduras(a mere 4 hours).
        the first were mainly shopping experiences, with “fishing for sheltered adult children”(“i can’t…” i told my wife,lol), a trip to a mall(!) and a long busride through the xeric yucatan jungle to Tulum, before it was disneyfied.
        honduras, by contrast, was a wooden pier, with actual hondurans waiting for us, and—with warnings from the romper room attendants to watch out for the locals—we took a “cab”(early 70’s datsun b210!) driven by a lunatic local yokel who was just as cool as hell…if the boat had stayed longer, we might have stayed with him(he invited us, and even drove by the walled compound he lived in, and we waved to his kids in the yard, through the open gate.). authenticity writ large, made larger by the arid, hyperorganised “joyful diversions”tm on offer from the cruise people.
        on the way out of the us, literally everyone on the boat was waiting outside the big ominous doors of the casino, waiting for the bell to ring…a perfect representation, in my mind at the time, to Hunter s Thompson’s reptile lounge, greed and salivation.
        we had no interest(or money to burn)
        I’d rather throw a mattress in the bed of the truck, myself.

        1. Janie

          I’m with you on the mattress in the truck in preference to a floating city of 5,000. I do love to travel, though, and would hate to give it up.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Harry and Meghan’s attempt to trademark Sussex Royal brand is blocked”

    I don’t care what anybody else says, whenever I hear the words Sussex Royal I am immediately reminded of fine porcelainware like Royal Doulton or Wedgwood.

    1. ambrit

      Don’t ask me for a better connection, but Royal Sussex makes me think of the Pre Norman king, Ethelbert the Unready. (968 – 1016.)
      Why do I get the feeling that this saga is going to follow the plot of “The Mayerling?”
      See if this doesn’t ring a few bells, or at least musical rice bowls:

  8. Wukchumni

    Why Tourism Should Die—and Why It Won’t New Republic
    I feel fortunate to have traipsed around the world when it was such a big place and for the most part interestingly different, as the internet was a sleepy dream a couple of decades away from changing everything.

    I’m not sure what the appeal is of being there now in crowded places that are overly popular because everybody goes there, it would be a real turn-off to have to share the Cinque Terre trail with nearly 3 million others.

    When I walked it with friends, we’d have mile-long gaps towards the end of the 10 mile sojourn where we didn’t see anybody else, now i’d probably feel like I was on the 405 @ rush hour, as everybody slowed down to a crawl in order to glimpse the diminutive Mona Lisa propped up on a Botts’ dot in between lanes.

    Mona Lisa performed by Tommy Emmanuel

  9. Carolinian

    I’d say the Stoller site’s guest post on Microsoft is extremely important

    Software engineering could have been a practice like engineering, with ethical codes about safety and reliability. Other professions, particularly those that involve real risks to human life and property, have very clear, real licensing guidelines including training, testing, certification and continuing education. Structural engineers, as one example, before being allowed to sign off on the design of an overpass need an Engineering degree from an accredited program as well as, typically, 4 years of supervised work as an Engineer in Training and must pass at least one state-administered exam. Mostly this is because these professions emerged when we had strong public rules ensuring both competitive markets and public interest protections.

    By contrast, a software engineer who works on Microsoft Windows or, perhaps, is required to … pass a job interview. And that is assuming that these jobs have not been offshored to a software contractor in India or Vietnam. But in an environment where raw power and only raw power mattered, we moved risk onto the public, instead of reducing Bill Gates’s bank account balance by a zero or two.

    One could make the case that every time a bank or local government is hit with ransomware they should send the bill to Bill Gates and he could cough up some of his second richest man billions to help them out. The targets are invariably Windows computers. Or maybe they should send the bill to Gates and the NSA.

    The fourth was a decision at the National Security Agency to focus not on making computer networks more secure through defensive strategies, but to focus on offensive capabilities. The NSA wanted to be able to hack our enemies when they use our own software, and that meant keeping our software shitty. Essentially the shadow regulator of software security became our spies, and they regulated to ensure there would be more vulnerabilities, not fewer.

    The article says that the rise of the now critically important software industry coincided with the rise of the bad deregulatory economics of the Reagan era and the results are dangerous to us all. Who can disagree?

    1. shtove

      And yet copyright protection mushroomed in league with Microsoft’s growing dominance – to suppress the same mischief by which Gates gained his crucial advantage, when he copied the code of another programmer.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      Who can disagree?

      I found the article too broad or else I missed the implicit qualifications in it’s outline of suggested regulation on writers of software.

      First, software is so ubiquitous that in its broadest sense I see it’s regulation (or lack therof) more as a matter of free speech than of quality control for certain domains. Free speech does indeed create problems, but it is a choice where the expectation is that the harm is outweighed by the benefits. Likewise with software. Not all software is mission critical and even in that case, a broader societal understanding and familiarity with software acts as an antiseptic buffer against esoteric misuse. There is a greater pool of people with less vested interests that can observe and blow whistles. Moreover, who is to say that OS vulnerabilities would be more likely avoided in our criminogenic environment of financialization and corporate corruption if only qualified engineers could write it and thus knew anything about it? Did these engineers prevent Boeing from launching death traps into the air and covering it up as long as possible? That does not mean certain types of software shouldn’t be regulated in this way, but the author didn’t make clear to me that any differentiation in type was part of the solution.

      Second, as with free speech, placing broad restrictions on who can become involved with software overly restricts the type, ingenuity, and uses. Had such stringent development/competency requirements been imposed on all software, we likely would still be at the mercy of AOL, CompuServe, and GEnie on the net and restricted to things like talking about movies or whatever AOL felt we should be talking about. The web, with it’s largely still one way data flow model where cookies are required to keep any idea of “session” initially failed utterly at any formal transactional integrity and yet nevertheless, the audience (us) were conditioned to expect and accept such difficulties as minor given the convenience and advantages. In a more controlled environment, such social as well as technical innovation and flexibility, for better or worse, would not have happened.

      1. Carolinian

        placing broad restrictions on who can become involved with software overly restricts the type, ingenuity, and uses.

        I believe the author is saying that private industry is now doing this by monopolizing important areas of software like operating systems, social networks etc. Stoller’s blog is after all about monopoly.

        And for companies that do provide this sort of mission critical software–obviously that leaves out a vast array of software–he’s saying that those who provide must be held to a higher standard just as contractors are held liable if their buildings or bridges fall down. After all software is not speech but a type of machine and something that is created by engineers rather than authors or journalists. Holding accountable may not mean more governtment meddling so much as changes in legal liability. Using the analogy from the article title, if Boeing is responsible for a crashing airplane then Microsoft should be liable for leaving holes in their software–particularly if they are indeed collaborating with the government to make sure some vulnerabilities exist. Admittedly that latter is more informed speculation (via Snowden and others) rather than established fact.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          I think Stoller describes the problem well (as always), but his solution(s), in this case to software development, need refinement to avoid unintended consequences.

          BTW, a bit of a nit pick perhaps and sorry for that, but software isn’t freedom of speech? How bout pornography? If the one, why not the other?

          What ever software is, it’s not a machine (even of sorts), but rather is ultimately (after translation) evaluated by a machine. A pen is a machine, the writing (or thought behind it) is considered freedom of expression. And by that reasoning, the output of software reflects aspects (not always easily map-able) of the thought behind it and is thus also freedom of expression, or so it strikes me.

    3. Fraibert

      I want to emphasize that software is different than other engineering disciplines.

      Engineering generally deals with physical objects and is based in the laws of physics and chemistry.

      Software is not based in the same realm of precision. It is probably closer to medicine in that there is a good bit of judgment involved. I say this because it is (unless quantum computing eventually changes this) effectively impossible to prove that a computer program will behave in accordance with its specifications. The math required to make a proof of anything more basic than the simplest programs quickly becomes astronomical.

      Furthermore, on the software side alone (hardware can be made vulnerable or have flaws too), there is an additional consideration, which was the subject of an article or lecture I think by Mr. Ken Thompson (one inventor of the C Programming Language ). Even if the software is perfect, there is no guarantee that the compiler is not adversarial. (A compiler turns human readable code into machine code that the computer can execute.) In Microsoft’s case, they use their own in-house compilers but a lot of critical software not on Windows uses either the GNU compiler collection or clang.

      An adversarial compiler could add vulnerabilities. Compilers are also, like operating systems, extremely complex (they all parse the code to optimize performance, for example) so it’s quite possible to slip attacks into the system that even a code audit could miss.

      In a way, the compiler issue is akin to out of specification materials being used in a perfectly engineered project. But it differs in that at least you could test the materials using standardized techniques if absolute conformity to specification is required. As noted above, we can’t do that for compilers.

  10. Craig H.

    > Trump’s official unveiling of new Space Force logo is being mocked for looking like a ‘Star Trek’ rip-off

    This is not boldly going where no man has gone before.

    (Get a life!)

    1. Wukchumni

      Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the czarship U.S. Enterprise. Its (slated for at least 1-year) five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds and slap tariffs on them. To seek out new life and new civilizations that have never been taken by the equivalent of a telemarketer on the phone who wont let you hang up.

    2. ambrit

      I’d say that this is an astute move by the government. The Star Trek associations are a magnet for a certain sub-set of the population. Exactly the sub-set that would do best in a mainly techno force structure. This is not a rip off. This is a classic call to arms. “Rally round the Federation sophonts!”
      It is also a very subtle bit of propaganda, since it conflates the strictly American Space Force with the fictional Pan Terran and multi species Federation of Planets. Trump here is claiming the stars for America!
      Trump has always been a showman.

      1. Carolinian

        But will Bezos get to play Captain Picard? The real Picard is back and can give him tips.

        Make it so!?

          1. Massinissa

            Hahahaha Oh god that’s great. Never going to be able to get that one out of my mind.

            Alot of shows and movies are trying to make their antagonists be like Trump. Maybe they should make their antagonists like Bezos or other bigger fish squillionaires instead.

      2. John

        Star Trek associations are a magnet, but that which is associated with Little Donnie Trump is a repellent.

    3. Cris Fraenkel

      Please…. That arrowhead element has been in use in countless space squadron patches for decades (including my old unit’s). I’m not nearly old enough, and can’t be bothered to look it up, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if it turns out to have predated the Star Trek series to begin with. Of all the very real stupid wasteful things to mock the space force for, *this* is what people focus on????

      1. Craig H.

        Rodenbery was a fan of NASA and there is a symbolic cycle. What you have here is the old question of which came first the chicken or the egg.

      2. kiwi

        Obviously, we need to impeach Trump for plaigerism or trade-mark stealing or something. Call Schiff immediately!

        And the stars and sweeping circles – those have never, never been used ever.

        My house has this weird household radio/call system (the house was built in 1949) that has two circular sweeping images with stars – because at that time, people thought it was so space-agey to have this contraption.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      Instead of Star Trek the new Space Force reminded me of Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Telling” and the Aka slogan — “The March to the Stars” and also some lines from the movie Starship Troopers.

      1. Massinissa

        The Space Force reminds me of the Starship Troopers film, which was a parody of the original book by making the fascistic ‘good guys’ as farcically incompetent as humanly possible. Great movie, but alot of people seem to miss that its parody and say that its a bad movie.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          The director makes his intent very clear to anyone who listens to the director’s commentary. The line from the movie that I recall is the old trooper signing recruits for the infantry saying the infantry made him the man he is today. He said that line without irony. The guy had multiple prosthetic limbs and as I recall he got around in a wheelchair.

          1. John

            Wheelchair while on duty. Super-duper prosthesis after hours. He says his job is to scare them away with his horror show so they don’t sign up because they think it romantic and cool. The book was okay if a bit simplistic.

            The cheesiest thing in the movie was putting the genius boy Carl in something that looked like an SS uniform.

            Every time I hear a news report that mentions civilian casualties, I am reminded of a woman who says her family or friends on a planet that has been attacked will be just fine because they are civilians. Wonder if that attitude has any legs here and now.

            1. LifelongLib

              Saw a factoid that in the U.S. Civil War civilian casualties were 2% of the total, but that in a recent African war they were 90% of the total. Modern wars are directed at entire populations, not just soldiers.

            2. ambrit

              I imagine that that aspect was intentional, double irony. First, ironic in that institutionalized meritocracy shades into outright fascism. Second, ironic in that the SS, under Himmler had a department devoted to ‘psychic’ and ‘mystical’ investigation: the Ahnenerbe.
              Plots like those in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” have a basis in fact.
              Besides being a terrible pun, the policy of considering “innocent” victims of things like drone strikes as legitimate “collateral damage” is now part of American Exceptionalist thinking. It will not end well.

        2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          Whenever I hear mention of humans in space, T-Bone Burnett’s ” Humans From Space ” kick’s in on the old jukebox in my head.

          We come from a blue planet light years away
          Where everything multiplies at an amazing rate
          We’re out here in the universe buying real estate
          Hope we haven’t gotten here too late

          We’re humans from earth
          We’re humans from earth
          You have nothing at all to fear
          And I think we’re going to like it here

          We’re looking for a planet with atmosphere
          Where the air is fresh and the water clear
          With lots of sun like you have here
          And three or four hundred days a year

          We’re humans from earth
          We’re humans from earth
          You have nothing at all to fear
          And I think we’re going to like it here

          We bought Manhattan for a string of beads
          And we brought along some gadgets for you to see
          Here’s a crazy little thing we call TV
          Do you have electricity?

          We’re humans from earth
          We’re humans from earth
          You have nothing at all to fear
          And I think we’re going to like it here

          I know we may look pretty strange to you
          But we got know-how and the golden rule
          We’re here to see Manifest Destiny through
          And there ain’t nothing we can’t get used to
          We’re humans from earth
          We’re humans from earth

  11. Wukchumni

    For me, everything really changed when Congress was hit with an onslaught of upset from their constituency over the proposed $787 billion bailout, and not caring about that all too much, went through with just the first of many episodes of Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus.

    Now, what are the odds of the very same 3 number combination being bailed out?

    Boeing Mulls Another Cut to 787 Output in New Threat to Cash Bloomberg

      1. ewmayer

        And had to give back 10% of his golden parachute! He has to retire on a piddling $150 million and change.

        1. Carey

          phase-change: “wait, what? ahh.. f*ck this…”

          Senator Warren got to grandstand “against” him though, so it’s all good.


  12. Katniss Everdeen

    Apologies if this has already been linked, but I haven’t seen it and it’s important.

    Two of the four Carter Page FISA warrants have been declared invalid.

    The “DOJ assesses that with respect to the applications in [April and June 2017] “if not earlier, there was insufficient predication to establish probable cause to believe that [Carter]Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power.””

    No wonder they needed a speedy impeachment on Ukrainegate. Russiagate is unraveling. Finally.

    1. kiwi

      And the other two are in dodgy-land, too. I think they are still being evaluated.

      Time to get rid of that fisa court.

      Then Laura Ingraham has obtained information that Mr. Not- Whistleblower had a meeting at the WH with the Pres and Ukraine’s officials – about Biden and Burisma.

      It seems adequately substantiated, but we shall see.

    1. Massinissa

      “Hey Democrats chill out even if we (s)elect Hillary Clinton 2.0 in the primary we will still pwn trump”

      Thats what they said 4 years ago too…

  13. Wukchumni

    ‘Kids that don’t fail are normally frugal.’ Wealth advisers say Meghan and Harry’s lifestyle already raises red flags MarketWatch.
    Can’t wait for the limited edition DVD of the séance where Harry & Meghan channel Diana doing a voice over in order to make money off of her.

    1. Carolinian

      Some would say Diana not that saintly herself (even though she does now have a shrine). Apple not that far from the royal tree?

        1. Carolinian

          Not making a brief for any of the royals even if our PBS keeps trying to spitshine their image with shows like Victoria. At least Elizabeth can say she was drafted. Diana and Meghan were volunteers.

          The British show The Crown is interesting in how it highlights the ambivalence of some of the peripheral players. Margaret claimed to hate the stuffy rules and the limelight while simultaneously courting the latter and declining to give up her many privileges for love. I don’t think it’s unfair for some in more straitened circumstances to say “cry me a river.”

    2. Pat

      Until Charles decides to practice some tough love on Harry, his youngest son regardless of what the DNA says or doesn’t say, they will not have it that rough financially. My bet is the Duchy will also end up picking up the protection if Canada rebels.

      Where they were really stupid and naive (and arrogant) was about the press. Harry was probably too young to really remember the worst of it. The Royals spent years working out their agreements with the press. Sure they get criticized but the worst of the paparazzi coverage is gone, the kids are largely off limits except as decided by the family, etc. They thought they would still have the same protections but could further control access to jettison any criticism if they stepped away. Wrong. This past week was just the beginning of their education.

      1. kiwi

        But Meggy is fixing all of that now – showing pictures of her doing charity ‘work’ before she married Harry.

        Oh, and she has tea with some activist groups recently. Nothing says committed activism more than swinging by for a visit, some tea, and pictures.

        1. John

          Point of information: Not being a ‘royals watcher’, what did that woman do to deserve the negative press coverage. I don’t follow, but the headlines are ubiquitous.

          1. kiwi

            Not a royal watcher either…but I’ve been following this story. (and I love fashion-although I’m not fashionable – so I enjoy seeing dress designs)

            Well, the situation appears to be a classic case of abuse by a partner of the other partner.

            Harry and his family seemed to have a great relationship – you can see all of the pictures throughout the years. H was said to be very close to his brother, and was friends with Kate before H and K were married.

            Here comes M and breaks up these close knit relationships. And she is doing this while Prince Philip was sick and the queen was dealing with that.

            M is further isolating H from his family by moving to Canada, and the baby won’t be involved with his extensive family (I doubt that M will allow the baby to visit much in England).

            These actions are the actions of an abuser – exert control over the target and isolate them and break them up from their family and friends.

            M could have sucked it up for a few years, handling the situation with some dignity,but like a typical narcissist, she had to be a drama queen (oh no!! if someone doesn’t get me out of this place, I’ll go crazy!!).

            I find this situation so offensive I guess because I am experiencing something similar with my Dad and my sister. My sister has always taken financial advantage of Dad, and it has become even worse with his dementia. She worked to turn him against me and my brother. Now, my Dad has always been crazy about his kids, and it is very surprising and painful to see how easily she manipulates him.

            Dad moved in with me in 2015, then my sister came and “granny” snatched him, took all his financial records from my house, then convinced him that I was going to steal from him, and took him to change his financial POA from me only to both of us. She changed his phone number and did not want his former girlfriend contacting him or visiting him.

            So, he moved back in with me (when she was done with her dirty work, taking over all of his financial accounts), and has been with me for more than 3 years while she hasn’t visited once over this time frame – not even when he has been in the hospital. (she had breast cancer in 2019, so I guess that can give her a pass for 1 year).

            It’s very painful to have someone manipulate a member of your family and turn them against you. And it’s really not my Dad’s fault, because he has dementia.

            I’m sure H’s family is just heartbroken over this.

  14. pjay

    Re: ‘GOP-Biden feud looms over impeachment trial’ – The Hill

    GOP defenders of Trump want the Bidens to testify. They are irritated that the Dems keep saying that the corruption accusations against Biden have been “debunked.” The Hill story reports this, then later on says:

    “Hunter Biden worked on the board of Burisma while his father served as vice president. In 2016, Joe Biden pushed for the dismissal of Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin because of concerns he was overlooking corruption in his own office.”

    “There’s no evidence that Joe Biden was acting with his son’s interests in mind, the former vice president has denied doing so and the GOP claims have been debunked by fact-checkers.”

    Here is John Solomon’s latest attempt to get the “fact-checkers” to consider some facts. It is full of links. The links are almost all to public records or mainstream accounts by sources like the NYT or FT. Of course I have no love or trust toward the GOP, or Solomon for that matter. But this is getting ridiculous.

    1. Daryl

      > There’s no evidence that Joe Biden was acting with his son’s interests in mind

      Headline: Joe Biden is a bad father.

      To be honest, I’m not sure why Joe Biden issued a memo about this. It seemed to have been effectively buried by UNITY and IMPEACHMENT and other scams the Democrats are running. Bringing it up again was a rather bad idea.

    2. marym

      This is whataboutism. Nothing was stopping Trump from having the DOJ follow the legal process for initiating an international investigation of a US citizen if he cared about corruption. Whether or not what he decided to do instead is impeachment-worthy is a separate issue from whether the Bidens did wrong.

      1. inode_buddha

        And yet nobody screamed about impeaching Biden. Gee, I wonder why? Selective outrage is selective.

          1. inode_buddha

            Except this isn’t about Obama’s Ukraine Policy. It is about Biden’s corruption. How come the Democrats didn’t make 24×7 noise about it? After all, they are very concerned about corruption, aren’t they?

      2. inode_buddha

        Frankly, the whole thing about corruption is incredibly disingenuous. For the Dems to even bring that up is an insult to intelligence.

        By the way, Pelosi is just as impeachable….

        So you have to ask yourself, what is this sham trial really about? I think its because Trump is in fact quite boorish, a foreign policy embarrassment, and he exposes the entire system for the fraud that it is. Notice how most people’s lives haven’t changed an iota under any of them? Trump doesn’t bother with the “nice guy” mask and he certainly isn’t the smooth-talking ivy league type that make the Dems moist.

        Most of all, they are offended because they can’t own and operate him like a sock puppet.
        But none of those things is impeachable.

      3. pjay

        I don’t think Trump cares about corruption, or much of anything but his own interests. And there are many things for which I’d like to see Trump impeached (among others, from both parties). But for me, this particular impeachment charade, essentially an extension of Russiagate, is about much more than Trump. And Biden was in the middle of it. Which “side” in this skirmish was supporting neo-Nazis in Ukraine? The “fascist” Trump? Which side is more willing to reduce tensions with Russia, and which side seems more willing to start WWIII by provoking them?

        If we were discussing Iran, then my views on teams Blue vs. Red would be reversed. But this impeachment is supposedly about Trump’s call to Ukraine, so,,,

        1. marym

          I think what Trump did was wrong regardless of how corrupt the Bidens are or aren’t, and how much better or worse Trump is than Democrats. I agree basing impeachment on this is ridiculous.

      4. kiwi

        What exactly is this “legal process” of which you speak?

        Can you please provide some regulatory citations?

        You might want to read some of the transcript of the call:

        The· President: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with
        this whole situation with Ukraine, they s_ay Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your weal thy people… The server, they say Ukraine There- are a lot. of things that went on, the·
        :whole situation .. I think you 1 re _surrounding yourse·lf with some of the same people. I .would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to ·get to the bottom of it. As you say yesterday, that whole nonsetise ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Muelle_r, an incompetent performance-, _but they. say a lot of it started with
        Ukraine. Whatever you can do, ·it’s very important that· you. do it if that’s possible.

        The Pre·sident: Good because I· heard you had a prosecutor who· was very·good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. _·A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the_mayor bf New York Ci:ty, a great mayor, and I would like him to
        call you. I will ask him to call yoti along with the Attorney·_·· General.· :Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could _speak to him that would be great. The
        former ambassador from the United $tates,· the woman., was bad news and the people she was dealing with in .the Ukraine .were bad news so I jtist want to_let you know that The other thing,
        There’s a lot 6f. talk about Biden’s son,. that Eiden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you ·can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.

        I don’t know how anyone could read the transcript and conclude that Trump was not no way no how concerned about corruption, especially since Ukraine is considered one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Additionally, Trump has withheld funds from other countries for the same concern. Trump withheld aid from Puerto Rico for that reason (and there have been arrests made due to corruption in PR), and this act had no political upside at all – so asserting that Trump manipulates funds largely to benefit him politically isn’t supported by the facts.

        Because Trump is being impeached because of the content of the call, which mentioned the Biden corruption issue, the Biden issue is directly relevant to disproving dems’ claims that Trump’s efforts were entirely self-serving and served no legitimate purpose.

        1. marym

          Treaty Between the United States of America and Ukraine on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters

            1. marym

              The US has these treaties with countries all around the world. The citation we need is Trump citing the circumstances* under which they (or other customary procedures for investigating international crime) don’t apply. If these procedures are so inadequate, he and his supporters should be sharing their concerns, and demanding better alternatives than his attempts to replace them with offering possible photo ops, withholding aid without notifying Congress, and having non-government cronies investigating.

              *Other than the “president can do whatever he wants” defense, which should be unacceptable for any president.

        2. John

          This isn’t a transcript. It’s their summary of the call.

          The call is on Trump’s special secret server.

          Release that.

          1. kiwi

            Then subpeona it.

            I find it interesting that the dems are whining about the lack of info provided by the WH when they could have subpeonaed it all during their investigation.

            The dems apparently didn’t want that fight about executive privilege at that time. If the SC decided in Trump’s favor (I’m assuming that the matter would go up the chain, and that courts would expidite the process), the dems wouldn’t be able to gripe about it continously.

            And the dems need to stretch this out to the election, since they are trying to keep Trump from being on the ballots.

            Just like the DNC knee-capped Bernie when he clearly would have won, the dems are trying to knee-cap Trump because they can’t win. And yet dems want me to believe that Trump is a threat to our country.

            Also, I hope the call is released (assuming that something was transferred to a super duper server)- Trump is great at springing traps on the dems and making them look like fools. He probably already has a plan to spring it a the right time. We shall see……

  15. Olga

    For all those who are sick of the current world (dis)order, full of endless violence, instability, and chaos:

    “FDR’s 1944 vision, as Putin is well aware, was based not on “world government”, but rather upon the concept of a community of sovereign nations collaborating on vast development and infrastructure projects which were intended to be the effect of an “internationalization” of the New Deal that transformed America in the years following the Great Depression.

    The closest approximation to this spirit in practice in our modern age is found in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

    Thousands of Asian, African and South American engineers and statesmen were invited to visit the USA during the 1930s and early 1940s to study the Tennessee Valley Authority and other great New Deal water, agriculture and energy projects in order to bring those ideas back to their countries as a driver to break out of the shackles of colonialism both politically, culturally and economically.

    In opposition to FDR, Churchill the unrepentant racist was okay with offering political independence, but never the cultural or economic means to achieve it.

    Although the world devolved into an Anglo-American alliance with FDR’s death in 1945, the other Bretton Woods Institutions which were meant to provide international productive credit to those large scale infrastructure projects to end colonialism were taken over by FDR’s enemies who purged the IMF and World Bank of all loyalists to FDR’s international New Deal vision throughout the years of the red scare.”

    So much of this history has been lost in the fog of (cold) war…

    1. HotFlash

      Thank you, Olga. This is very interesting, and, I think, a hopeful portent. I am reminded of the ‘debate’ question, “What would you say in your first call with Russian president Vladimir Putin …?” Go Bernie.

    2. Kit

      The TVA’s main benefit was powering Oak Ridge Laboratories to make atom bomb from Uranium, which took lots of electricity. Always thinking ahead, FDR.

      1. inode_buddha

        One of the biggest wind tunnels in the US is located right next door to the TVA, for reasons of physics: try powering a 200,000 HP electric motor at a distance of even 20 miles, the cost becomes prohibitive.

        1. Oregoncharles

          My understanding, also. One of the poorest areas in the country was transformed. It didn’t altogether turn out well, of course, but the initial impulse was right in line with other New Deal programs.

          1. HotFlash

            Agreed, O’charles. But by any measure, TVA hydroelectric power has left a far better legacy than, say, coal mining with its tailing ponds, ‘mountaintop removal’, and blacklung.

  16. polecat

    Those Anti-Joe Roganites … They are a very small minority. In trying to lead a Virtue Parade by brow-beating the public, I believe most won’t attend to the rout!

    1. Carey

      My guess is that it’ll boomerang. The Many are quite a bit tired of being told they’re not woke™ enough..

        1. Carey

          >Told they’re not woke enough by people who are picking their pockets.

          And well-paid to do so, AFAICS.


    2. Massinissa

      I read that as Anti-Joe Reaganites and was very confused for a moment. Since when would Reaganites be against Joe Biden?

      Anti-Joe Roganites makes much more sense.

  17. Pat

    Jeanine Pirro lit into Clinton’s “how could we have known” excuse regarding Weinstein on Fox. Most of it is just a highlight version of the Clintons attacking women accusing Bill, but she also quotes a Seth McFarland joke from the Oscar monologue in 2013. Oops.

    Fey and Dunham have both apparently admitted they warned the Clinton campaign about him for the 2016 run. Bigger oops for the tribe.

    The drip drip drip continues, erosion is creating canyons. I can only hope it takes less time for the Obamas.

  18. Basil Pesto

    The very fact of an impeachment trial makes the ‘dictator’ claim risible on its face. Christ these people are dim.

    Incidentally, fyi, the music in the wild chicken video is a classic videogame reference:

    1. kiwi

      I’m still waiting for Trump to jail journalists ( or whatever those people think they are), take over all communications, impose martial law across the land, dissolve Congress and the judiciary, and defy judicial orders.

      How can people be so stupid? Some of these wackos need to be forced to live in some real dictatorship countries for a few months so they can discern the difference.

      1. inode_buddha

        Agreed, X2.

        The worst part about it all though, is that Conservatives feel exactly the same way about the Dems and the Left.

        “Waah Waah this place is a Communist Dictatorship because they won’t let us take all the money and do everything we want screw society waah waah!!”

      2. allan

        “I’m still waiting for Trump to … defy judicial orders.”

        I hope this was snark, because defying court orders has happened so many times in the last three years
        that it hardly registers anymore. Just a few from the last week:

        Iranian Student Deported From Boston Despite Court Order

        U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at Logan International Airport denied entry to an Iranian national who was set to study economics this spring at Northeastern University. Despite a federal court order to delay the man’s removal, CBP placed him on a plane Monday night. …

        ‘What Happened Next Beggars Belief’: 7th Circuit Scolds Feds for Defying Order in Visa Case

        The panel, composed of Judges Frank Easterbrook, William Bauer and David Hamilton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, said the Justice Department “flatly refused” to implement the original order. …

        Justice Department Ignores Kushner Part Of Court Order To Release Mueller Interview Notes [HuffPost]
        In apparent defiance of a court order, the Justice Department has held back all notes in the Robert Mueller investigation concerning interviews with Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner …

        If any one of these had happened under Obama, or HRC, the GOP and FOX would be (BENGHAZI)^∞.

          1. jsn

            Since Jim Crow, the US has been authoritarian, even dictatorial, for a specified class.

            The 68 Civil Rights legislation didn’t dismantle any of the repressive machinery.

            The Reagan revolution was to redeploy that machinery towards more diffuse classes, but no less authoritarian or dictatorial for individuals one categorized into the exploitable class, first by The War on Drugs, then the one on Terror.

            If a society is only as free as it’s most oppressed dissidents, the treatment of Manning & Assange qualify ours as dictatorial. To paraphrase Gibson, “the dictatorship is here, it’s just poorly distributed ”

            The machinery, from electronic voting machines to border walls to universal surveillance to militarized police is all there, thank God for Trump’s incompetence: that’s why The Blob liked Klobuchar, Harris and Buttigieg, PMC authoritarians.

            1. John

              Remember Trump saying “take the guns first”?

              Why does his base still believe he’s what he says he is on anything?

            2. ambrit

              That depends on how ‘motivated’ the armed citizenry is. If a putative dictatorship can convince a half of the armed citizenry to side with them, the game is over.

              1. Buckeye

                Yeah, that is the whole basis of the NRA’s agenda. Arm a right-wing militia to protect the status quo elite from the likes of Bernie Sanders
                and real democratic equality.

              2. Roland

                Game’s not over in your scenario, because dictator’s not the only player. Armed people are always in the game, and can change their minds in a way that those in power cannot afford to ignore.

                As long as you retain the means, the motivation can wait. You could spare me today, and murder me next year.

                Besides, even armed minorities can make themselves enough of a nuisance that a dictator might prefer to appease them.

                I’m not claiming that an armed people are necessarily free or happy. They just have more political options than if they weren’t armed. Power is not joy, any more than money is. Power, like money, matters most when you don’t have it.

                BTW the NRA seem to be in a bad odour with US right wing gun nuts nowadays, because they are seen as sellouts–a “gun misleadership class,” if you will. Lots of gun nuts online complaining about the executive compensation.

                1. ambrit

                  Good point about the NRA rank and file. (Pun intended troopers!)
                  NRA members can only claim one obvious point of congruence, gun nuttery. Otherwise, they run the gamut of political and socio-economic categories. The makeup of the NRA is only slightly less complex than the make up of the membership of the AARP.
                  It’s a big country.
                  As for our imaginary dictatorship, it only needs to curry the favour of a minority of the ‘armed citizenry’ to keep a semblance of legitimacy. As long as legitimacy is claimed, a lot of dirty doings can be conveniently ‘looked away from.’ I propose Franco’s Spain as an example.

  19. ewmayer

    “US and Europe clash over climate crisis threat on last Davos day | Guardian” — URL points to yesterday’s Links page.

    1. Massinissa

      Another article there was “Bernie Sanders welcomed as member of Alt-Right after Rogan endorsement”. Hilarious.

      Also, “Hillary Clinton posts condolences for Tulsi Gabbard’s suicide one day early”

    2. ambrit

      Finally. Fox News will have some serious competition. That’s how “Free Markets” are supposed to work. Now to transfer this method into politics.
      “In breaking news, the DNC announced the acquisition of the Republican Parties’ Moderate Membership lists. The Republican Party offloaded the lists as part of its hostile takeover by the Trump Organization. It was described to financial journalists as a standard funding mechanism for the Trump Organization’s executive bonus program. ‘Wait until you see what we do to enhance stockholder equity’ exulted Trump Organization’s Director of Mergers and Acquisitions, Jared Kushner.

  20. Kit

    “…How a Democratic Counteroffensive Can Win…”

    Soros not only funds Nazis, but also district attoneys all over America for his Machiavellian purposes.
    “Soros has spent on district attorney campaigns in Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas through a network of state-level super PACs and a national “527” unlimited-money group, each named a variation on “Safety and Justice.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      He also funded protestors right after Trump was elected back in 2016 through cut-out organizations. I would call that meddling but that did not count as he is not Russian.

      1. Darthbobber

        No, when a citizen of the United States donates to political campaigns we don’t generally describe it as meddling.

        1. The Rev Kev

          This was not a political campaign. These were the riots that you saw right after Trump was elected that were committing acts of arson and getting into fights. Antifa types. He is just another billionaire using his money to shape and change the United States into a form that he approves of which I would call meddling.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Never said Antifa (which I would not believe) but Antifa type by which I meant their violent tactics. It came out that at least one of these mobs was receiving funding from the Soros organization and I was reading about this about December of 2016. Soros funds so many organizations in so many countries I wonder if he actually keeps track of how his money is being spent. But in the end he was the ultimate paymaster so he bears responsibility for what they do.

  21. Plenue

    >Pentagon Says 34 Troops Suffered Brain Injury in Iran Strike Bloomberg

    Start the timer now for how long it takes them to admit the strike actually killed people.

  22. Carey

    From Nate Liver’s Election Update: What Are The Chances Of A Brokered Convention?:

    The wall-of-text profundity:

    “..Conversely, it’s possible to imagine the outcome being genuinely in doubt — but the relevant negotiations to resolve the deadlock take place before the first ballot is cast. Say, for instance, that after the Virgin Islands, the delegate count was Sanders 32 percent, Biden 28 percent, Amy Klobuchar 25 percent, and Warren 15 percent. There’s a lot of doubt about the identity of the nominee when everyone gathers in Milwaukee. But Biden offers Klobuchar the vice presidency in exchange for Klobuchar instructing her delegates to vote for Biden on the first ballot. Klobuchar agrees and almost all of her delegates go along, so Biden is nominated with 53 percent of the vote on the first ballot. To me, that ought to count as a contested convention, even though it technically required only one ballot..”

    and, even better:

    “..Whether it’s 10 percent, 12 percent or 15 percent, I suspect the probability our model spits out for a contested convention will strike some of you as high and others of you as low.”

    Good thing the dude’s never been wrong; otherwise I’d call this phoning-it-in gibberish.

  23. Carey

    Thinking more about the piece on Rogan that was linked (in comments, I think) from The Atlantic: I read the whole thing, and with some care, and it strikes me that its author
    and that organization *really are* having to walk a tightrope: showing cultural hip-to-it-ness, while maintaining that very small class’s bona fides; finally landing safely on the side of the latter, of course.. I almost felt sorry for the author by the end.

    Rogan2024 is not necessarily farfetched.

  24. Pat

    Thanks Jennifer F for sharing your relaxed trio. I have come back several times to look at them and smile. So glad Max found a wonderful new home where he both matches and fits in so well.

  25. The Rev Kev

    “Hundreds of thousands gather in Baghdad demanding US forces leave”

    The number of protesters varied by who you read. The BBC said it was huge but did not put a number on it. ‘Time” said that hundreds gathered. The Canadian “Globe and Mail” said thousands but said that it wasn’t a million as predicted. “ABC News” went with tens of thousands but I am more inclined to believe the commander of the Iraqi police forces, Ja’afar Al-Batat, in saying that over a million attended going by videos that have seen.

  26. Wukchumni

    Scientists Re-Create Voice of 3,000-Year-Old Mummy Associated Press
    That was underwhelming, I was hoping it would finger an Isis operative.

  27. smoker

    Re: Who’s Afraid of the IRS? Not Facebook

    Finally, way too late in the day, the ‘online alternate media’ finds this important? I’ve been checking from time to time – for the three and a half years, since it came to light (also way too late) – regarding the outcome on this, to the tune of crickets. The Partisan slant of the ProPublica piece, favoring Democrats, is totally unwarranted. It was a Bipartisan failure over decades that diminished the IRS (and State Income/Franchise Tax Authorities) from collecting billions of dollars of tax revenues which should have been collected from Multinational Corporations over those decades.

    And, in the case of Facebook, one could definitely make the case that it was Obama and California Blue State™ Legislators who were all on board with Facebook (along with Apple, Google et, al) becoming an Entity Too Large to even worry about paying the appropriate Corporate Tax Revenues, or California Franchise Tax Board Revenues. Why didn’t California’s Nancy Pelosi add this to her [faux] ire over the Cambridge Analytica Affair? In general, regarding California Domiciled Multinationals, why this from June, 2004, House passes bill on taxes / Firms would get break on earnings returned to U.S.

    The so-called repatriation provision is a top priority of high-tech and other companies that have large overseas operations, including Intel Corp., Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems and other big manufacturers that contend it could provide a big boost to capital spending. J.P. Morgan Chase estimated the amount of foreign earnings “stranded” overseas at $650 billion, roughly 6 percent of gross domestic product.

    A tad bit lower down, look at Barbara Boxer betraying her adoring base:

    The measure, which was introduced last year as the Homeland Investment Act, was pushed heavily by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., but enjoys wide popularity in both parties. It is included in a companion corporate tax bill in the Senate.

    Noticeably, the California Franchise Tax Board did not even follow suit with the IRS in questioning Facebook’s dubious Ireland Asset Transfers. Politicians would much rather the US Federal and State Income/Franchise Tax Boards go after the already impoverished citizens for revenues than the Multinational Corporations which fund their electoral campaigns.

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