Links 1/29/2020

Tesco cat Pumpkin defies Norwich supermarket ‘ban’ BBC (David L)

Another southern resident orca feared dead Seattle Times (Chuck L)

Revenge of the albatross: seabirds expose illicit fishing PhysOrg (Robert M)

Scottish scientists use radioactive isotopes from old nuclear tests to find counterfeit whisky. More than 40 percent of what they tested is fake CNN (David L)

Journey To the ‘Doomsday Glacier’ BBC

Fears mount that two old satellites will SMASH into each other above US this week RT (Chuck L)

Turning carbon into concrete could win UCLA team a climate victory — and $7.5 million Los Angeles Times (David L)

Virtually All Major US Drinking Water Sources Likely Contaminated With PFAS TruthOut

New toxic byproducts found in chlorinated water New Atlas (David L). You have to read way too far into the story to learn that these “toxic byproducts” have yet to be found in municipal water supplies. But it does bear watching.


The Coronavirus Is a Threat to the Global Drug Supply Wired (Robert M)

I saw a video purporting to be a citizens’ quarantine in Wuhan. Shih is a Serious Economist, so he’d be careful about not getting out over his skis on something this important. With a second report, this looks to be valid:

UAE confirms first cases of new Chinese virus in Mideast Associated Press

UPDATE Wuhan coronavirus – 2019-nCoV Q&A #6: An evidence-based hypothesis Science Speaks

White House tells airlines it may suspend all China-US flights amid coronavirus outbreak CNBC. But then: White House holds off on suspending China-U.S. flights amid virus outbreak Reuters

Australia to quarantine coronavirus evacuees on Christmas Island Axios

‘We see people getting ill around us’: the foreigners trapped in Wuhan Financial Times

Many in China Wear Them, but Do Masks Block Coronavirus? New York Times. Consistent with reader discussion yesterday.


S&P 500 companies are complaining about tariffs despite Trump trade deal MarketWatch

Backlash over 5G Huawei deal: US officials and British MPs accuse Boris Johnson of sacrificing security as he clears China tech giant to work on new network Daily Mail. A more polite version: Huawei decision jolts UK-US ‘special relationship’ at sensitive time Financial Times

Harvard Chemistry Chairman Charged on Alleged Undisclosed Ties to China Wall Street Journal (Li)

Grenfell Tower firms knew planned cladding would fail in fire, emails suggest Independent (Kevin W)

Paris descends into chaos as riot police deploy GRENADES & WATER CANNONS against striking firefighters (VIDEOS) RT (Kevin W)


Pentagon now says 50 service members suffered brain injuries from Iran attack ABC

Trump Offers Mideast Plan That Palestinians Say Is Non-Starter Bloomberg

Opinion: Trump’s Middle East ‘peace plan’ delivers neither DW

Iraqi government cracks down on anti-US protests WSWS

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The FBI Has Been Lying About Seth Rich Craig Murray (Chuck L)

How to delete what Facebook knows about your life outside of Facebook Recode

US Colleges Are Trying To Install Location Tracking Apps On Students’ Phones The Verge

Imperial Collapse Watch

How Our Defense Budget Became So Bloated Nation

Trump Transition

Ocasio-Cortez slams Trump over his ‘wealth test,’ saying ‘the American Dream isn’t a private club with a cover charge’ MarketWatch


McConnell Says GOP Doesn’t Have Votes to Block Impeachment Witnesses Wall Street Journal v. Republicans signal renewed confidence they’ll avoid witness fight The Hill. Note there are way more of the first sort of headline out there.

#Resistance Hero John Bolton Caitlin Johnstone. Kevin W: “The cartoon of John Bolton in a Pink Pussy Cap is something that once seen, can never again be unseen.”

The Impeachment Show: Asking All the Wrong Questions on Ukraine Antiwar (Chuck L)

Don’t Be Confused by Trump’s Defense. What He Is Accused of Are Crimes. New York Times (David L)


From Dan K. Please read the thread. This incident if anything is worse than it looks:

I thought Bernie’s Iowa numbers seemed unrealistically high. Then I saw his rallies Guardian (furzy)

Bernie Sanders’ Wealth Tax Would Be Bad For Workers JTM: “Piling on.”

Sexual Politics

Washington Post reinstates reporter who it suspended over Kobe Bryant tweets, saying she didn’t violate policy CNN. Kevin W: “Probably as a result of this –

Australia Asked Gay Asylum Seekers If They Could Stay In The Closet To Avoid Persecution Buzzfeed (Chuck L)

New analysis reveals alarming number of Minnesota teens reporting sexual exploitation MPR News (Chuck L)

Practice Fusion, Once Backed By Top VCs, Pushed Doctors To Prescribe Opioids in Kickback Scheme TechCrunch

From Scott:

Class Warfare

Why private equity keeps wrecking retail like Fairway. Slate

AirPods: The New It Item Among the Playground Set Wall Street Journal

Antidote du jour (CV). How I feel:

And a bonus (guurst). Did the sloth figure out the snake had a full belly?

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.:

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  1. PlutoniumKun

    Scottish scientists use radioactive isotopes from old nuclear tests to find counterfeit whisky. More than 40 percent of what they tested is fake CNN (David L)

    From the article:

    Carbon-14 is absorbed by most living things — including the barley used to make Scotch whisky. Atmospheric nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s and early 1960s produced a spike in carbon-14 levels. Those levels have gone down over the years, creating a “bomb curve” that scientists can use to estimate the age of any number of things.

    Unless I’m missing something, this article is horribly confused. You can’t use carbon 14 to date something like whisky – because much of the carbon could come from ‘old’ sources such as peat or the wood from an older barrel. To date the well water used for the whisky you would use tritium, which was emitted during atmospheric nuclear tests from the early 1950’s to 1962.

    Even using tritium may not be accurate, as the water source could be from ‘fossil’ water in wells.

    1. Richard Heys

      No, the researchers appear to have the right strategy—they analyzed the C14 content of the alcohol component. That comes exclusively from fermentation of the sugars in barley

      1. PlutoniumKun

        C14 is produced in photosynthesis, fermentation is an anaerobic activity, it cannot produce meaningful levels of C14 for measurement.

        In any event, alcohol is an effective solvent, which is precisely how it absorbs so many different chemicals (such tannins from oak barrels) and creates complex flavours. I can’t see how accurate measurements can be achieved that way without knowing the entire lifecycle of the whisky, in particular whether it has ever come in contact with peat.

        The only possibility I could see that could yield measurable dates is that they can measure the C14 from the barley itself, not the fermentation product – dating grape residues is sometimes a method used to verify the age of wines.

        But it still seems dubious to use C14 when tritium would give a far more accurate figure, at least for whiskeys less than 70 years old – the only confounding variable with tritium is whether the water came from a surface source or a well, and that would be easy to establish.

        1. chuck roast

          Thank you both for this excellent tutorial. For my part, as long my Aberlour continues to absorb the residues of sherry casks I will continue swilling it.

            1. Wukchumni

              Thanks Colonel, re-peating myself.

              Its always fun to serve Lagavulin to a first timer to the single malt, to see their reaction.

          1. Winston Smith

            Speaking of which US-based folks better stash their favorite single malt before the idiotic 25% tariff kicks in friday

        2. Jim Thomson

          Richard is right.
          Barley takes up carbon dioxide as source for all its carbon, thus any C14 comes from the atmosphere.
          Barley makes starch.
          Starch in barley is converted to glucose in the mash ( enzymes in sprouted barley)
          Glucose is converted to ethanol (alcohol) by fermentation by yeast.
          Ethanol is distilled to about 40% and then aged in barrels and bottled.
          Thus all the carbon ( some of which is C14) in the ethanol comes from CO2 in the atmosphere.
          To analyze the C14 content the ethanol in the whiskey is further purified, in this case by distillation, from the water and other components in the whiskey.
          PK is right in that other components, from the barrel, could be carried over in this distillation.
          so the issue is what is the purity of the ethanol that is analyzed. Since this is a routine issue in analytical chemistry I would assume that the researchers are aware of this and create a high purity ethanol for analysis. One would need to read the analytical section of the paper to understand the methods used.

        3. Winston Smith

          I actually looked at the Journal abstract-the full article is not available unless$$$…the abstract hints that calibration curve methodology is fairly complex. I think the approach makes sense in that it is fitted to a calibration curve from known samples of known age. I would assume such a specialized journal would be aware of the issues you raise. Impossible to judge without having the actual scientific article in hand with a clear description of the method, results and the critical discussion of those results

      1. allan

        No, it wasn’t that the LATimes tweet was fake,
        but it was a distortion of what Feinstein said.
        Admittedly, what she said was word salad,
        allowing them to pick and choose.
        She should have retired a couple of generations ago.

  2. S Haust

    Re: Paris firefighter clashes

    So sorry to see it come to this but to anyone who followed French protests
    over the last few months, it was clear that it would or at least could.

    The simple message: Macron must go

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Macron must go

      I would love to see that! I’d love to see it even though it probably isn’t enough. In ’68, nations were sovereign states; now their highly subservient to global finance. True, Macron is the perfect and inevitable stone cold bureaucratic face of the cancer, but stopping him won’t stop it for long. That said, what the French are doing, this whole movement, is critical for us all and it’s not easy.

      Carolinian posted a link to an excellent review of why a few days ago. Don;t know if it got picked up in links but it’s worth repeating:

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Actually the French Revolution didn’t start until the 1% figured out how badly they were being screwed by the .001%. We’re not there yet.

        Peasants, pitchforks, and rivers of blood from the Place de la Concorde came later

        1. Wukchumni

          It was much simpler than that, the price of bread went up to 50% more than an average Frenchman’s daily earnings, as a decade of iffy to bad harvests of wheat came a cropper on account of a volcano erupting in Iceland.

    2. David

      The people who were demonstrating were “sapeurs- pompiers”, who are a combination of firemen and first medical responders. They are generally well thought-of, but have been on a kind of strike for months now. The origin of the problem is complaints about working conditions and inadequate staffing. This is part of a wider series of protests throughout the health and other services in France, although recently it’s become mixed up with the pensions dispute and arguments about the retirement age. .
      The SPs, as their name indicates, were originally part of the military, and in Paris and Marseille they still are. They also tend to be young and fit. This video, from the site of Le Parisien, gives a rather better sense of what happened. Essentially, many of the SPs turned up in their protective gear with helmets, and some, at least, were involved in scuffles with the CRS. The main problem seems to have started when some of them tried to storm a police barrier and were pushed back. Because most of the images are of people in uniform it’s sometimes hard to see what’s going on, but basically the CRS are in black, often with numbers on their backs, and the SPs have silver helmets and yellow flashes on their uniforms. There are shots of black-clad figures running alongside, but whether the black blocs were involved is anyone’s guess. More will presumably become known during the course of the rest of the day.
      It’s a sad situation by any standards.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Long ago, as I remember it, I was told that a general sense of solidarity and unusually strong cross discipline support prevailed in ’68 and was a strong part of the success (such as it was).

        While there seem to be echos of that today, this particular strike still seems more specific to concerns of the firefighters (legitimate as they may be) rather than as support for a broader movement and need.

        Is that a fair assessment do you think, and if so can they, like the police, maintain at least their own gains (fought for by the many in past Republics) along with the Police due to thier relative advantage of being critical resources?

        Speaking frequently with French cousins, the elderly at least are sympathetic to the more general strike, but getting tired of it, particularly the issues with trains and services.

        1. David

          It’s the usual French problem of fragmentation. Even among the sapeurs-pompiers there are different trades unions with different ideas, and there’s no real unity between the different parts of the public sector either. The SPs have mainly been demanding parity with the police for special allowance for dangerous work (they aren’t especially well paid). Whilst all of these strikes, demonstrations, protests etc. have been going on at the same time, and have a number of points in common, they are not part of the same struggle.
          The government has now conceded on danger money, and reports tonight say that all of the trades unions have called off the strike. But there’s a residue of bitterness in many parts of French society that will take a long time to disappear, even under ideal circumstances. It’s the product of generations of neoliberalism imposed on a profoundly non-liberal society, where people are attached to their country, their region, their town, their families and their professions.
          This is why “Macron must go” is not a serious proposal. Macron is just the history-as-parody stage of the process (after tragedy and farce) and it’s hard to see who could replace him who wouldn’t be just as bad. Remember, Macron is not a Prime Minister, but directly elected President. The reckoning won’t come before 2022, and it’s beginning to dawn on elites here that maybe “if you think I’m bad try Le Pen” may not be the best slogan to fight an election on.

          1. Clive

            “Macron must go” in France reminds me of “Corbyn must go” in the UK — well, Corbyn has gone but that’s hardly fixed anything.

            Systemic problems might be helped somewhat by particular individuals shuffling off the scene (and as with Macron, that’s not always a realistic possibility anyway). But it takes a lot more than that.

            And RN would hardly be an improvement.

            1. Tom Bradford

              “Macron must go” in France reminds me of “Corbyn must go” in the UK — well, Corbyn has gone but that’s hardly fixed anything.

              True, but if Corbyn had gone six months ago things might have been different. Here in NZ Labour, heading for defeat in the 2017 General Election, dropped its rather Corbyn-like leader Andrew Little for the sharper, more positive Jacinda Ardern with only eight weeks to go and turned its fortunes around.

              I don’t know if the UK Labour Party had an Ardern in its ranks in September last year but I suspect the election was theirs to win had Corbyn gone then. That might not have fixed everything but at least the UK wouldn’t have been nose-diving to disaster as it is now, (IMHO)

              1. Clive

                True, but I could equally well cite the UK Liberal Democrats who picked Jo Swinson as leader in the run up to the election, who fancied herself as Jacinda Ardern. Swinson turned out to be polling booth poison. So it doesn’t always work out, even with what seems like potentially positive leadership changes.

          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Similarly: just thinking about how ineffective it would be simply to replace Trump with Bernie (yes yes yes it needs to be done and yes yes yes it would be progress).

            But the Meta-State (run by one political party with two right wings as Gore Vidal said) simply closes ranks to protect itself, viz the Tom Perez nominations for the various DNC committees. Anyone who thinks the General Counsel for Blue Cross will simply allow Bernie to get in and do *anything* I fear is sorely mistaken.

            So a reformer like Bernie has to fight the entire establishment: both political parties, the entire mainstream media, the awesome surveillance-industrial complex led by Silicon Valley, and all of the money that supports them.

            Multi-billionaire ex-Republican Mike Bloomberg has already spent $250M on his “Democratic” run and believe me he is not about to upset *any* of the apple carts.

            (I think I’ll grab a brick now and throw it through a bank window, the tree of liberty from time to time must be watered with blood).

            1. inode_buddha

              At that point, maybe its not a question of what the Establishment will allow Bernie to do. Maybe it will become a question of what We The People will allow the Establishment.
              As it should be.

    3. Craig H.

      That RT video is amazing. Their camera guy must have been wearing riot gear and right in there. Police officers and firefighters going after one another is just a horrible look. I cannot offhand think of a single example which is comparable to it.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Revolutions win when security personnel switch sides or stand aside. Division would be part of that.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        This is another problem with Warren. She’s so conservative she can’t even come up with a slam dunk answer which is to name a relatively safe reformer that demonstrates she knows more than Shrub. I mean the Nobel prize digs these people up every few years. It’s not hard. They know the press is going to ask about cookie recipes. Have some slam dunk answers.

        1. Darius

          Off the top of my head, I’d say Pope Francis and he is problematic. If you watch the Wim Wenders documentary on Netflix, it’s stunning what an environmentalist he is. Malala is a safe outside the box choice. I understand she also has some questionable associations. Melanchon? That would drive them nuts.

    4. Oregoncharles

      In the clip I saw, the police backed off and the firefighters continued their march. Looks like a win to me.

      Speculation: firefighters are generally very, very fit – have to be. Police don’t have to be and frequently aren’t.

  3. lambert strether

    I checked out the Times Live Updates page on 2019-nCov; good to see them holding the line on their paywall. Sure, the New England Journal of Medicine dropped theirs, but they’re only a world-class medical journal, as opposed to a venue where I might slip past a gatekeeper and read a Tom Friedman column for free if people aren’t careful.

    1. Carl

      Thanks for that coffee-spitting moment. Hey, shouldn’t we start calling the Democrat front-runner Joe “Vote For Someone Else” Biden?

      1. Dirk77

        A comment in the twitter thread:
        “Can Joe Biden just get into a fist fight with a voter already? Time is running out.“ Man, how can I fret about the future with wit like that around?

    2. BillK

      If you install the Firefox Ghostery extension it stops the NYTimes paywall from running and you can read the whole article.

  4. Brooklin Bridge

    It looks like the sloth and the snake are old drinking buddies. Either that or the sloth thinks he’s joe biden dealing with a potential voter who dared ask him a question. Anyway, the muck looks the same, and the sloth is as quick as biden (or else he’s just biden his time).

    1. ambrit

      Well, of course. “Sloth” Biden has been ‘hanging out’ with snakes all of his professional life.
      Me, I wouldn’t want to go out in my back yard and encounter a snake like that. But, then, I don’t live near ‘K’ Street.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Had a near miss of this situation two days ago here in southern Costa Rica. Fortunately the resident sloth disappeared for half a day as the snake slithered through the yard. The snake was very large, but not as large as the twit vid.
        Have a good photo of the sloth. Will send it in for consideration.

    2. a different chris

      I wonder about that picture — I have a memory of being told, rightly or wrongly I have no idea, of sloths being almost incomprehensibly strong. A slow-twitch muscle arrangement that a weightlifter would die for.

      So maybe the sloth just didn’t see the snake as a concern, hungry or not. It would simply pry its way out, it’s a sloth so no hurry.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Given those claws, it would likely just slice open a door and walk out in slow motion if the snake swallowed it whole. Agree the sloth looks strong, but as I understand it, it’s slow speed is due to exclusive leafy diet and as a result the need, addressed by evolution, to conserve energy.

        1. jsn

          Yeah, given those fingernail, I half expected the Sloth to just plunge them into the snakes spine as he walked by: per the image title, I already knew the score.

      2. mpalomar

        Not sure about their dining habits but my impression was constrictors asphyxiate before digesting.

    3. Oregoncharles

      I suspect that sloths are inedible – one source said they’re mostly skin and bone. Otherwise, how would they have survived?

  5. zagonostra

    >How Government and Media Are Prepping America for a Failed 2020 Election – Whitney Webb

    As Bernie gains momentum plan B is well in place.

    Naming the culprits in advance:

    Over the past several months and with a renewed zeal in just the last few weeks, anonymous intelligence officials, dubious “experts” and establishment media outlets have crafted a narrative about the coming “chaos” of the 2020 election, months before it takes place. Per that narrative, certain state actors will use specific technologies to target the “American mind” in order to undermine the coming presidential election…

    In addition to the apparent consensus on how foreign meddling will occur during the 2020 election, there is also agreement regarding which countries will be responsible. Again, this is largely based on statements made by U.S. national security officials. For instance, the joint statement issued last November by the DOJ, DOD, DHS, DNI, FBI, NSA, and CISA regarding 2020 election security, states that “Russia, China, Iran, and other foreign malicious actors all will seek to interfere in the voting process or influence voter perceptions” before adding “at this time we have no evidence.”

    1. farragut

      A bit tangential, but my wife & I thoroughly enjoyed Season 6 of “Homeland” and are half-way through Season 7 on Hulu. Things quickly turned south when the script blamed the Putin-era Russians for interfering in US elections in 2016 and attempting to exploit existing divisions within US society in 2019, invading Ukraine, etc. They’re pure evil, we’re led to believe.
      Unlike the Soviet-era meddlers, who apparently were better–because they followed strict ‘rules of engagement’ in their meddling.

  6. Polar Donkey

    This seems to be universal. Cops are the least self-aware demographic in existence. Almost everyone likes firefighters, almost no one likes cops. Was there no one in the police department that said “I’m not beating firefighters with clubs, spraying them with water cannons, and shooting them with teargas just because of the terrible optics, let alone all the moral reasons not too.”

    1. funemployed

      This is my biggest fear re: Bernie’s attempts to create actual democracy here in the US. You can do everything right on that front, but if you don’t convince enough members of the law enforcement/military apparatuses to go along…well…those history books don’t make for pleasant reading.

    2. Brooklin Bridge


      I’ve seen French cops (long ago) walk bow legged up and down a small deserted street in the 15eme posing like wild west cowboys. And I’ve seen them knock heads as if they were punching a soccer ball. And I’ve seen them save lives. And I had an experience with French detectives who were nothing less than magicians and cared about the little guy. A crazy mix of the good, the bad and the ugly – and the indifferent bureaucrats. I imagine some of this has passed down to this generation, but going against fire fighters is something I suspect is new and far more sinister.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        and the indifferent bureaucrats. -> but mostly indifferent bureaucrats, volatile under the surface like wasps.

      2. mpalomar

        Don’t know about Paris but from my NYC days I recall an element of animosity between les flics and the firefighters. Pistol packers vs. the hosers.

    3. Bugs Bunny

      And… they’re both ultimately under the Interior Ministry.

      Interior Minister Castener met with firefighters yesterday and they agreed to end the strike sometime next week, in exchange for a larger fire bonus. These guys only make about 1700€ a month and the fire bonus would go up to 200€. I’m not sure why they’re waiting until next week but I wouldn’t trust anything Castener or his bosses say. Even if it’s on paper.

    4. ocop

      Almost everyone likes firefighters, almost no one likes cops

      I believe the gist of quote as I’ve heard it (in reference to firefighters and paramedics) is that everyone has a mother that might need saving at some point. Views on the police were not quite as supportive.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Olga.

      Evenings, especially Thursdays, and the regular migrations to Strasbourg won’t be the same without the British contingent, not just MEPs, but their support staff and lobbyists.

      Place Luxembourg and its surrounds were the usual haunts for drinking, and worse, but homosexuals would often go the areas where there were Arab male prostitutes for hire after an aperitif or two with us at Luxembourg or Marnix. One of them is an Anglican lay preacher and church warden from Kensington. He works for a Wall Street TBTF and is often the link between Peter Mandelson, France’s Sylvie Goulard and Jamie Dimon, although Mandy also used Epstein as a go between.

      In Strasbourg, the hotel and restaurant commandeered by the UKIP delegation was to be avoided for that week. The restaurant frequently commandeered by the Tories often featured one of their middle aged MEPs dancing on the table with just a bra above the waist and sometimes nothing above the waist.

      The Labour MEPs were a useless, if not corrupt, bunch.

      1. Olga

        I once tried to locate my MEP – impossible. The whole thing seems to me to be a giant scam. The Brits just may have had more fun with it then the rest.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Years ago when I lived in England I wrote to my MP and MEP (both Labour) on an issue of concern. Silence from the MP (who was and is notoriously useless). The MEP’s reply could be summarised as ‘wow, I can’t believe someone actually wrote to me about something important!’.

  7. zagonostra

    >Bloomberg – BAR

    Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign should be a political deal breaker for black people in this country. The man who terrorized 700,000 mostly black New Yorkers with the NYPD stop and frisk policy should not be under serious consideration…

    But instead of opposition we see capitulation. Congressman Bobby Rush has endorsed him. So has San Francisco mayor London Breed. Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot is testing the waters when she says she is “considering” an endorsement.

    The black misleadership class of compromised and callow politicians were tailor-made for this onslaught of Bloomberg’s cash. These mayors, congresspersons and state legislators play a dubious role in our system. They give cover to the powerful while giving lip service to the people. The end result is a political system that gives us nothing that we need or want, even when Democrats are in office.

    1. chuck roast

      Jeez…Bobby Rush…you can’t fall any further than a former Black Panther. He could have, like Eldridge Cleaver, just retired and published a cook book. At least you wouldn’t have to cross the street if you saw him coming down the sidewalk.

      1. OIFVet

        Bobby Rush is my congressman, given the demographics of the district I can only speculate how much it cost Bloomberg to get Rush’s endorsement. It wouldn’t be the first time Rush has been involved in situations where money changed hands.

        As for Lightfoot, well, I never thought of her as a progressive, no matter how much she tried to pass off as one.

        1. JBird4049

          Mayor London Breed endorsed Michael “Police State” Bloomberg? Ick. How not nice. People keep saying that San Francisco, or for that matter the Bay Area or California, is some sorta liberal/leftist/socialist Paradise, but I have not seen it.

          Surrrrre, they talk a good game, some civil rights are protected, and there is something to said for Medi-Cal and some other stuff. But the SFPD, or Vallejo, or the LA Sheriff’s Department has too many people who will happily beat or shot you.

    1. Carla

      What local pharmacies? In NE Ohio, we’ve got CVS, Rite-Aid, Walgreen’s, Wal-Mart and Target. Oh, and of course, Amazon. Nothing local at all.

    2. BobW

      I try to use a local pharmacy that is fairly successful, having ten locations. Fortunately, it is in-network for my Medicare Advantage plan. The consideration they gave my mother was outstanding. One of the pharmacists went over her multiple prescriptions noting interactions and recommending that she have her doctor change some of them. I don’t know if a chain would match that kind of service.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I’ve encountered and observed big-chain pharmacists who would in fact actually perform to the full extent of their scope to benefit patients, flagging errors and inappropriate medications from some knowledge of the customer’s condition. But of course the relentless pressures to do more work with less staff for fewer dollars under full metric scrutiny militates against that being the norm. It’s all up to the individual pharmacist and his or her tolerance for pain and exhaustion.

        There’s this kind of problem too: “ Patients sue Walgreens for making money on their data ”

        And this: “ Walgreens sued for ‘inappropriate comments’ in patient database”

        Three Florida women have filed separate lawsuits against drug store chain Walgreen Co. after unflattering comments about them were allegedly entered by pharmacy workers into prescription records kept in the company’s customer databases.

        The comments, which included statements such as “She seems shady,” were entered into the database by pharmacy workers using computerized on-screen forms, according to the lawsuits. The on-screen forms used by the Deerfield, Ill., company are Drug Utilization Review (DUR) records kept for customers, featuring the name of the drugs prescribed, dosages, patient addresses, phone numbers and details about the drugs dispensed. There are also blank areas of the form where notes can be entered, which is where the unflattering comments were entered, according to the lawsuits.

        “The system is a great system for the intended purpose,” said Cathy Purvis Lively, a Lake Worth, Fla., attorney who represents all three plaintiffs. “On this particular entry in the database, people are using it for a different purpose,” she said. “Our concern is whenever that kind of [insulting] information is entered, where does it then go?”–inappropriate-comments–in-patient-database.html

        Not to pick on Walgreens — the others do it too.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        prolly the least surprising thing y’all’ve seen all day: I loathe corporate chain pharmacies.
        due to the way i look—wife says like a cross between waylon jennings and radagast the brown—i apparently fit some kind of profile they teach them in pharmaskool.
        red flags spring up at my feet whenever i enter one of those places, and there’s nervous looks from all sides.

        i get grief attempting to fill amoxicillin…let alone hydrocodone.
        in comparison, our pharmacy here, in town, is locally owned…everyone knows the owner, and where he lives(!)…and the same for everyone that works there. my wife is related to 1/3 of them,lol.
        they don’t even notice my terrifying visage any more.
        so in the interest of keeping them in business, we direct all of our trade to them.

        1. inode_buddha

          I thought in Texas you were supposed to be clean-shaven buzz-cut with a starched white t-shirt and peg-leg jeans. No wonder you make them nervous.


          I didn’t cut or shave anything for 20 years, I know what you mean. I looked like Moses or something. When I finally took my beard off I found an order of chicken wings and 83 cents in change. The wings were still god but the change wasn’t enough for a candy bar.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            the buddies of my youngest(8th grade) call me either jesus or moses, depending on the mood, and whether i have my stick at that moment.
            i can turn the terrifying on and off, somewhat, when i think about it….otherwise, all that fieldwork would be impossible.
            and during all that fieldwork, people are universally surprised that i am well spoken and erudite….if still in a slow, east texas drawl. books and covers and all….i think that my looks indicate hill people or something.
            (wife would laugh at me about now, and say something about living in hollow logs and merging seamlessly with underbrush.)

            1. JTMcPhee

              When I got back from Vietnam I was assigned to Fort Hood, deep in the heart of Texas. All the locals fit the then stereotype with the short hair and T-shirt or cowboy duds. Pretty intolerant of long hair, especially facial hair.

              I have no idea what the population of Killeen, TX looks like today. But having visited various states since then, including MS and TN, and lived in the sort-of South (FL west coast), I have been just fascinated at the proliferation of facial and head hair and what used to be “hippie” clothes, not counting the pre-shredded designer jeans and American Flag outer garments and underwear. Just amazing.

              I recall reading that one of the waves of conquerors that swept over china imposed wearing of the hair in a queue as a sign of submission. Then in a few generations, only the special people could wear their hair that way. Not sure if it’s a true story, but there it is.

              Some kind of mimesis?

              1. Wukchumni

                If you wanted to have a beard during the days of Peter the Great, you needed to buy one of these tokens that allowed you the right…

                In 1698, Emperor Peter I of Russia instituted a beard tax to bring Russian society in line with Western European models. To enforce the ban on beards, the tsar empowered police to forcibly and publicly shave those who refused to pay the tax. Resistance to going clean shaven was widespread with many believing that it was a religious requirement for a man to wear a beard. The tax levied depended upon the status of the bearded man: Those associated with the Imperial Court, military, or government were charged 60 rubles annually; wealthy merchants were charged 100 rubles per year while other merchants and townsfolk were charged 60 rubles per year; Muscovites were charged 30 rubles per year; and peasants were charged two half-kopeks every time they entered a city.


              2. Amfortas the hippie

                my fixation on having long hair is due to the ear pulling in junior high(big, dumbo ears under this mop).
                it was a part of me by high school.
                endless troubles because of it, but i persevered.
                now, i learn from my redneck cousin back home, that it’s all good…that rednecks have long hair, now, and listen to rap music sometimes.
                and that all that bullshit i endured back then was for nothing.( i’ve always been a redneck,lol…that’s the really crazy part)

                and i often find leaves in my hair.

            2. Oregoncharles

              Get some green hair color and go as the Green Man for Halloween.

              I could, too, with some leaves on the bald area; a friend fits the image better.

              You would fit in better around here.

        2. Norge

          We had an excellent local pharmacy that went out of business about six years ago, not because of the chains but because of big pharma. The cost of maintaining their stock became prohibitively expensive. It was a great loss. A knowledgeable pharmacist saves doctors and patients from prescribing errors and malpractice.

  8. funemployed

    I’ve never understood why the US-UK “special relationship” is always surrounded by quotation marks. I feel like the words do the job on their own, though the quotation marks do make the middle-schooler in me giggle every time, so I’m not complaining.

    1. a different chris

      You surround things with quotation marks when you are implying that a label isn’t really true. You can’t have a one-sided special relationship, but you can make sniggering remarks about Mary’s “special relationship” with John which so is one-sided.

      John is of course banging everybody who comes along and probably can’t find Mary’s flat on a bet….

      Now I expect the people who print it nowadays actually have no idea that’s what they are doing, but I bet the first guy/gal who did was certainly well aware of what she/he was doing.

      1. funemployed

        Ahhh. This explanation makes sense. I was confused because the context I typically read it in (including a fairly recent and popular poli-sci text) seems to use them to mean something akin to “extra special,” which is, of course, how we USians, with our badly stunted senses of subtlety, irony, and grammar, would interpret it. Many thanks.

    2. cm

      US forces UK to extradite an Australian for lawful activities that happened outside the US.

      A US wife of a NSA employee (aka spy) kills someone in a traffic accident in England, flees the country, and US rebuffs any attempt at UK extradition, claiming “diplomatic immunity” though spouses of spies don’t fall under that protection.

      That “special relationship” is equivalent to Thomas Jefferson’s “special relationship” with Sally Hemings.

  9. a different chris

    This is weird because I actually agree with what he is trying to say, but I can’t understand why an educated man would make this mistake:

    >A reminder that Britain joined the EC to regain sovereignty it lost when it found itself shut out of decisions affecting its vital interests.

    “Sovereignty” — you keep on using that word, I don’t think it means what you think it means.

    “Power” I think is what he was going for, being part of an in-group giving you a hand on a larger hammer as it were. But not sovereignty, which simply means that you can go off and rot if you want and nobody can tell you not to.

    Anyway it continues my late-life questioning of my betters. They all seem to just be babbling near-nonsense at this point.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “US Colleges Are Trying To Install Location Tracking Apps On Students’ Phones”

    I am trying to think of a solid reason that colleges are trying to make this a general thing and the only thing that comes to mind is that with such tracking, you will be able to see who is friends with who, who is zooming who, and where students go when not at class.

    This was what Facebook was supposed to be able to do but most kids think Facebook uncool to have, from what I have heard, and don’t bother with it. I suppose that such information can be monetized but it does not seem to be an over-riding reason to start to bring this tracking across the board.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Agree, a huge question mark. Whaaa?

      NC has recently posted at least a couple of threads about contagion of pathological traits that don;t have likely physical pathogens, yet behave in awfully similar ways to communicable diseases that do.

      This may be something similar where faculty (obeying administrative dictates?) are succumbing -after years of subjection to sick propaganda- to strains of protofacism as if it were a virus. It’s just hard to imagine them getting behind such a self defeating and destructive policy otherwise. People will behave the way you treat them. Years ago, this was one of the first things new students noticed when starting college; they were treated like adults.

        1. a different chris

          >don;t have likely physical pathogens, yet behave in awfully similar ways to communicable diseases that do.

          My italics, obviously. Man if I could write fiction for s(family blog)t I would write a sci-fi story where somebody, somewhere discovered that a major societal ill (such as today’s Republicans and I guess authoritarians in general) was an actual disease vector. And developed a vaccine.

          But the hinge of the story would be of course the denial of said target group of the science, and the avoidance of the vaccine by those who even (secretly no doubt) believed in the science but just couldn’t let go of the addiction to the feelings of power belonging to that type of group gives you.

          Could do a comical version too with people simply running after other people with syringes..

          1. Old Jake

            Spray the vaccine from aircraft flying at 30,000′. Then you can tie in the chemtrails people too. Call them ‘ccinetrails.

      1. Lucky Remora

        That’s a bit alarmist…to say the least. If anything, it’s indicative of the trend of shoehorning technology into a space to which it offers no possible benefit. The university won’t dedicate the resources to adequately maintain it, so it’ll be one of those things people just abide without questioning until the contract expires.

        It’s a jobs program,. Peer into the inner-workings of any large organization and you’ll find examples of these useless barnacles, either vendors like this who peddle software you don’t really need or want, or administrative staff whose sole purpose is to engage in makework.

      2. gc54

        I specifically urge my students *not* to install this tracking software, lately after a discussion of data breaches, normalizing surveillance, and monetization. The reason given by the university admin for pushing it hard is “to take attendance”. I prefer to treat my students as adults who choose to come for interesting discussion and knowledge.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Maybe the reason is as simple as, at this time in history, because they can.

      Tons of “data” will be generated. It doesn’t really need to have a specific purpose right now, they can figure out how to use it later. Did anyone really think at the time that facebook posts from high school would be “legitimately” used to deny employment, refuse to lease an apartment or question an american citizen for hours at an airport checkpoint?

      For awhile now the goal has appeared to be collecting anything and everything on everybody all the time. “Justification” and “necessity” can be filled in later. And it really might be “beneficial” to indoctrinate those americans who will be admiringly referred to later in life as “college-educated” early on. Presumably, they’ll be the ones making the surveillance rules in the future, and, if “they didn’t have a problem with it……..”

    3. cnchal

      > I am trying to think of a solid reason that colleges are trying to make this a general thing . . .

      The sinister view, it’s part of the training.

      The greed view, every one of the apps on your phone is sending digital garbage on a continous basis anyway and they want to monetize your essence while in their care, so what’s one moar app?

    4. Stephanie

      With the caveat that I think this type of app is a terrible, terrible idea, one reason may be that colleges are responding to helicopter parents. When we attended freshman orientation for my oldest step-son ten years ago, we were informed that the college would not consider the student “missing” unless they hadn’t been seen for 24 hours – they weren’t going to go looking for kids who simply weren’t answering their parents’ calls to their cell phones. But that was a decade ago. Pressure from parents may have become more intense.

      Another, somewhat related reason, is that it looks bad for the school when students die, and I would guess it is increasingly difficult for institutions to control the narrative when they do. The university my step-son attended was in the northern Midwest, close to the Canadian border. It had a free taxi service available for partying students, not only so they wouldn’t drink and drive, but also so that they wouldn’t drink, walk, stumble into a snowbank, fall unconscious, and then die overnight of exposure. We were informed that the University took this issue very, very seriously. Had a tracking app been available at the time, I can see that school making it mandatory in order to avoid this type of situation, and the PR headaches that would follow.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Very interesting comment. You may well have something with helicopter parents applying pressure. A lot of people who should know better still believe technology is always progress and simply has no significant downsides.

        And one can easily understand the pressure to use it for emergencies as you describe in your second paragraph though the example you use might not port as well to warmer regions. But I’m sure there are others, so it’s a point well taken.

      2. turtle

        I agree, this is my most charitable interpretation too. Here’s a sad case of a missing college student just from last week, where having such location tracking could theoretically help locate him:

        However, same caveat. It’s not a good enough reason to do the location tracking. Otherwise they could say that about any of us. Here’s your GPS locator chip implanted at birth in case you go missing. Really, no way we’re trying to just keep track of you and everyone else.

    5. JTMcPhee

      Zuckerburg’s attitude toward the rest of us data giver-overs, one among so many things to keep in mind about our rulers:

      The time Zuckerberg called people who gave over their personal information to his startup Facebook operation “dumb f**ks.”

      Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard

      Zuck: Just ask.

      Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS

      [Redacted Friend’s Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?

      Zuck: People just submitted it.

      Zuck: I don’t know why.

      Zuck: They “trust me”

      Zuck: Dumb fucks.

      His spinners say he was just joking around, only 19 years old at the time he discovered this vast dumbness of his fellow humans and had the inspiration on how to monetize it.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Australia Asked Gay Asylum Seekers If They Could Pretend To Be Straight To Stay Safe At Home”

    On the bright side, they did offer to send them back with their own closet that would have two holes cut out at the bottom for their legs. With the present government, having low expectations is a good place to start so that you can work your way down. Right now they are caught up in a sports funding scandal of their own making with Scotty from Marketing refusing to sack the Minister responsible-

    “Will no one rid us of this meddlesome Prime Minister?”

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      I don’t know much about Australian politicians & the only one that comes to mind is the Father in the film Muriel’s wedding, played brilliantly IMO by Bill Hunter who is perhaps playing a certain type of local grifter.

    2. Oregoncharles

      You don’t really have a parliamentary system, either?

      Parliamentary systems aren’t SUPPOSED to be very stable.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve been to hundreds of concerts, and the top 4 were Tommy Emmanuel concerts, the first time we had front row seats in a small local venue called The Orange Blossom Junction a dozen years ago. He’s not only the best guitarist in the world, but also a showman without parallel.

        You can hear me saying “oh my god” @ 2:22 on this youtube of his song Initiation

        1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

          Best Guitarist in the world (strong words – almost fighting talk).

          I think that Tommy Emmanuel is brilliant. That said I always go back to Angelo Debarre.


  12. a different chris

    One interesting thing from the Biden thread:

    >Biden is so contemptuous of actual voters. He just wants to be crowned and views this whole campaign as a chore.

    He’s HRC all over again. Never thought of it that way, but there it is.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Yes. Contemptuous indeed!

      Can’t help but suspect he knows something about the way polls are conducted and votes are going to be counted that we don’t.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        This is just the result of safe states and having a meaningless job with a bunch of perks. He looked like a hospice patient In 2007 on the stump.

        Hillary was kept away from people for similar reasons. She couldn’t help but be contemptuous. Due to a lack of competitive elections, these people usually have enougo brown noses to silence critics when the focus isn’t on elections. This is just who Biden is. He’s a lazy dollars who stumbled Into a safe seat and devoted himself to servicing the outsized interests of the credit Industry. The GOP is reviled enough not to make head way. If the GOP was stronger there, i think he would have been gone years ago.

        You see it with Pelosi. Crowley should have coasted to reelection. The only reason he didn’t is he was so contemptuous he didn’t bother to show up.

  13. cm

    wrt the Biden video telling the dude to vote for someone else, that person in the video is actually Ed Fallon,
    He writes about the bizarre encounter here.

    And despite his repeated calls for unity, Biden rejects my offer to support him in the general election. That really shocked me. What was even more shocking was how Biden pushed and poked me, and then took hold of my jacket with both hands as he lectured me.

    I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it one more time: Joe Biden is the Democratic candidate LEAST likely to beat Donald Trump. His demeanor on the stump will inevitably come back to bite him, perhaps repeatedly. His propensity to violate personal space is a huge non-asset in politics, and his frequent gaffes are prime fodder for opponents and the media.

      1. chuckster

        Fallon is a bigger idiot than Biden.

        “I’ll vote for you in the general.” WTF? If any politician talked like that to me, not only would I NOT vote for him EVER, but I would work against him with every muscle in my body

    1. JTMcPhee

      LBJ was a constant violator of personal space, knew how to intimidate, but at least he “got things done” on his way to the top…

      Biden is the kind of candy-ass bully that has a little pack of enforcers at his tail. Pretty obvious what would happen to anyone he accosted, male, female, or child, who dared to push or much more to the point, punch back. Or maybe that would be a telling moment: Maybe the Praetorian Guards-Secret Service that provides a nice protective physical bubble around him would stand aside and let the person Bantu Rooster Joe called out (“Let’s step outside!”) take him down a peg.

      Do Deplorables recognize that JB is just a protected cream puff?

      Same thing (the protective bubble) is true of Trump, but he apparently.pushes enough different buttons for his basic physical cowardice not to matter?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        But the man in line to lead this great nation once stared down Corn Pop. Something about rusty razor blades. So we can all rest easy

    2. Daryl

      This is how Biden reacts to mild challenges from voters who seem to like him. Can’t imagine how he’s going to handle Republicans and specifically the king of twitter trolls, Donald Trump, savaging him on a daily basis. I guess I won’t have to imagine it since there’s a fair chance we’ll see what that actually looks like.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        ” Can’t imagine how he’s going to handle Republicans…”

        wait!wait!…I know this one!…
        something about Reaching….reach around?
        reach across?
        he’ll yuck it up and backslap the gop just like he’s always done.
        and if they’re on the more jim crow side of things, he’ll get the beer.
        dnc sure knows how to pick ’em.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      biden must have the shortest fuse on the planet.

      What’s gonna happen when Putin looks at him funny and biden grabs him by the lapels and calls him “Jack,” or Kim Jong-un tells him to stick his demands where the sun don’t shine and biden rips a button off his nehru jacket?

      Go ahead, Punk, make my day.

  14. a different chris

    So as totally off-topic as I can get, but hey it is once removed from an above link:


    It’s weird and I see this a lot – confession, I drink a ton of cow’s milk so I am biased -there is a lot of discussion of “how” something is produced and the greenhouse gases that result.

    However: with the milk I buy, Turner’s, I can go see the cows themselves that produce it with a drive not a whole lot longer than my daily commute (different direction, of course). The dairy itself is equally close.

    But transportation is consistently in these stories not even mentioned. I guess I’ll have to see how many “oat” farms there are in Western Pa, I’m guessing pretty darn few….

    1. Eclair

      I agree with your reasoning, chris. I switched to soy milk about 10 years ago … for a short time. Then we discovered a local dairy that delivered and bottled milk in returnable heavy duty plastic containers.

      Now, in Seattle, we buy milk (unhomogenized; see my first rule) from one of two local-ish dairies, bottled in glass, that we rinse out and return to collect the deposit.

      I am, perhaps, a Luddite, but try to use a few simple rules: the less processing the better. The shorter the supply chain, the better. And, the less packaging one discards (or throws into a dubious ‘recycling’ stream), the better. I am always open to revision.

      1. carl

        We get our raw milk directly from the farm; they use plastic jugs like everybody else. Best milk I ever had, and makes amazing yogurt.

        1. ambrit

          I’m really amazed that your sources of raw milk haven’t fallen afoul of the state health authorities. Down here, milk must be pasteurized before sale, to anybody. A farmer can be fined for giving raw milk away. The laws do not seem to be monolithic, but are widespread.
          I find that our enlightened legislators have taken steps to rectify the inequities of the issue.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            our milk lady had to include pasturisation, under the new rules for small dairy in Texas.
            didn’t effect the quality that i can tell(as others said, best milk i’ve ever had….and we drink a lot of milk)
            what it did effect was price: almost $10/gallon.
            so her milk operation—which was always all about ideology, since she is independently wealthy—evolved naturally and rapidly into a bourgeoisie thing.
            of course, the milk cartels…with whom she competes directly …enjoy government price supports, which keep the price people pay artificially low.

            related: I’ve been mulling about location—“in town”, but outside city limits, for pulling up the truck for an ad hoc farmer’s market…
            city ends up destroying any such endeavor with regs and idiocy and beak wetting….not out of malice, mind you, but i’m sure there’s some influence from the one actual grocer(who’s produce is uniformly bad and flavorless, and thus doesn’t like competitors).
            city does this because the people of influence travel…and go to fredericksburg down the road, and marvel at the wineries and quaint shops, and remember that they used to be executives at 3M and try to engineer that surface prosperity here, without regard for the material basis of the workers, or really any of the numerous things that need to be in place for such things to work.
            (rant done,lol—although i could ramble on and on about those people)

    2. Deltron

      Ideally, these studies would conduct a comprehensive analysis, which would include the methane emitted by the cows as well as the oil for transport and any other GHGs emitted during the processes (e.g., harvesting equipment for oats). Just keep it in mind that methane is roughly 30x more potent of a greenhouse gas versus carbon dioxide even if it stays in the atmosphere for a shorter period of time, and cows emit a lot of it (mostly via burps, not farts). Dairy cows emit twice as much methane as beef cows.

  15. petal

    I love the sloth video! Sloths are the best. Thank you.
    Re: the Biden video. Not surprised after being up close at his town hall, wow, nearly 6 months ago now(I think I alluded to his state in my write-up). I am however surprised it hasn’t happened more, but perhaps his handlers have been keeping it tight. They cannot let him interact with people. But, as someone on that twitter thread said, he’s there to split the vote/play interference. It doesn’t matter how coherent he is as long as he’s got a pulse. And if he won office, other people would be running the show. He’d be a figurehead and nothing more.

  16. ambrit

    Just an anecdote concerning the New Cold War – Propaganda Division.
    I pulled up an episode of something by Lee Camp. He was talking about how the DNC will probably screw Sanders again.
    The Nuclear Option:
    The bottom one eighth of the video screen was taken up by an “advisory.” It stated that: “RT is funded in whole or in part by the Russian Government. Wikipedia [>].” This was not a scrolling feature. It sat there, undercutting the video running above it.
    This is a very subtle form of censorship.
    The RussiaRussiaRussia meme has become an article of ‘Faith.’ (All Good Thinkers have Faith. Those without Faith are Evil.) We all know what happens to Evildoers in a Faith based society.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Wow (the nuclear option). Wanted to tell that guy not to hold back so much, let it out…

      But he does capture the suspicions a lot of us feel.

    2. RMO

      ambrit: And if you look at a video from PBS, the BBC, the CBC etc. the statement is the much milder form of “PBS is an American public broadcast service” Obviously the words have been chosen carefully to increase the credibility of items produced by the US or (currently) approved allied nations and reduce the credibility of (currently) “enemy” nations. The impression left on the viewer by the two forms used would be very different – and this is certainly done deliberately.

      1. ambrit

        Agreed to your point, but this form of ‘branding’ is almost like seeing yourself up on “America’s Least Wanted.”
        It was continuous, not just at the beginning and end. Plus, it was intrusive in that the line of words was always just in the viewer’s field of vision while looking at the video. An ‘obvious’ form of ‘subliminal’ communication.
        The purpose of the ‘branding’ was to ruin the source and content through repetitive denigration.
        Using the truth in the propagation of a Big Lie.

      2. chuck roast

        Let’s call it what it is – the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
        From the website:
        “PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned by its member public television stations. PBS distributes programming to nearly 350 locally owned and operated public television stations across the country and is funded principally by these member stations and by CPB.”
        It seems to me that the “Corporation” part explains a lot. A private corporation funded by the US Government. Not, of course, a propaganda organ of the US Government.

  17. a different chris

    And continuing my “off-links” thought process, it suddenly occurred to me: The Jews have been heavily discriminated against in Europe. To the lowest point, which went beyond discrimination to attempted extermination, that of the Holocaust. Now the Holocaust was inflicted in early mid-century Germany, pretty much if not the whitest place in the world, then at least as white as anywhere. But here is the Jerusalem Post reporting on a antisemitism poll:

    >The poll, which started at the end of 2019, included Omar as one of the top three nominees, alongside Louis Farrakhan and Richard Spencer.

    Only one of these three could be photoshopped into a WWII German Army picture without looking way out of wack. But nonetheless there the other two are. Tend to kick down, much, I have to ask?

    I guess it’s easier.

  18. Olga

    “The difference between the totalitarianism of dictatorships and the inverted totalitarianism of “free” societies is that in totalitarianism they allow one ideology which supports the status quo, while inverted totalitarianism allows two ideologies which support the status quo.”
    Seems that Caitlin nailed it.

    1. funemployed

      She got inverted totalitarianism from Sheldon Wolin, who ranks right there with Chomsky in my book. Worth a read if you fancy that sort of thing.

      1. Thomas Jennings

        Beat me to it. IMO, Wolin, and many of his great students, are in a class apart from Chomsky, whom I admire, but is sort of predictable.

    2. Thomas Jennings

      Inverted totalitarianism is a term coined by the late Sheldon Wolin, one of America’s great political philosophers. I recommend reading his last book, Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, for a way to re-frame how you look at current events and American society in general.

      1. Olga

        I’ve listened to his interviews at (I think) the Real News Network… back in the day, when it was a good site. It’s just that Caitlin’s phrasing is so concise, as to be elegant.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Trump Offers Mideast Plan That Palestinians Say Is Non-Starter”

    I note that only three Arab Ambassadors turned up – those from such super powers as Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. I cannot see Arab leaders supporting this as this would not be a good hill for them to die on for them. The only country to have a good word about this fiasco was Boris from the UK. Everybody else was busy looking at their shoes or up at the ceiling.

    This is the sort of Plan that Sparta offered their Helots. Israel not only got everything on their wish list but more. The only thing that Trump did not promise them was to demolish the Al-Aqsa Mosque atop Temple Mount and have the US build the Third Temple for them. Maybe that is what he is promising them for his second term.

    Essentially the Plan dictates that the Israelis get all the goodies and the Palestinians have all the onuses on them to show this or show that. But here is the thing. It is not a Plan at all. I have read a fair bit of it but it is not so much a plan as a starting point for one. Even the map shown is not set in concrete but is up for “discussion”. So much of what is promised the Palestinians is dependent on either Israel or the US giving it the OK from some committee that hasn’t even be formed yet. The promised facilities, roads, etc do not even exist. If you do not believe me, the document is embedded in the following page-

    The best description I heard of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is two guys sitting down negotiating on how to divide a pizza. But one guy has a gun in the other guy’s face and is eating it as they negotiate.

  20. JTMcPhee

    On that sexpoitation of teens item, a couple of anecdotes:

    In high school, phys ed (remember that?) required everyone to take swimming. The swimming coach, with apparent approval of the School Board, required that all us male students swim in the nude. And the females were required to wear these virtually see-through speedos. He walked around with his whistle and yellow wifebeater shirt with the school logo and “COACH” on it, and really puffy red swim trunks. There was a window in the side of the pool where he could watch the lithe young bodies writhing around. Nothing at all wrong with that, eh?

    And it’s pretty widely known that “organized religion” is a great place to encyst yourself if you are a sexual predator or “deviated prevert.” The head of “Christian education” at the for then very large church I grew up in, it turns out, a fellow who wore starched collars and three-piece suits and was very definitively holier than thou, also had a nice private office where he took ‘bad boys and girls” for a little extra “education.” That “religious community” which included a majority of “Mad Men” and their families, was a hotbed of drinking and wife-swapping too. This was in a “bedroom community” on th North Shore of Chicago. Subtle irony in that phrase, which did not strike me until years later. Communion wine was Welch’s Grape Juice, so as not to tempt the recovering alcoholics…

    That’s where i learned to spell “hypocrisy.”

    One of the many fine things about NC is how the commentary educates us to realize that nothing is ever what we think it is, and how vastly misleading are the mythologies we are steeped in…

    1. phobic

      Thank you for validating high school memories I sometimes doubt. Same thing, nude male swimming, plus we were made to play water polo, half of us sitting on shoulders of other half. Plus poolside “inspection for diseases”–line up and bend over, while he walks behind like a drill sergeant, examining our rectums. Plus I skinned my knee on the dirt/gravel playground and he put a homemade pink concoction on it from a jar labeled “Atomic Jelly.” Stung like hell. Other odd and sadistic things. No wonder I always hated gym/sports. Can’t quite believe that I’m typing all this, or even that it all happened with no complaints. Early sixties.

    2. norm de plume

      I went to a Christian Brothers high school. My first inkling of the sexual undertow in the place was the use of the strap. Apparently the cane had been discontinued after a scandal involving the bleeding buttocks of a scion from a well connected local family. But the reduced risk of broken skin seemed to give some teachers permission to ‘go for broke’ when giving ‘six of the best’, to the extent of being actually airborne at the point of contact.

      Two teachers in particular, one a Brother, definitely received a sexual charge from strapping boys. The Brother once contentedly watched a group of us over-staying our allotted time in the creek below the school, and then lined us up for a mass strapping for being late when we came back. I heard later that he had left the cloth and was last seen on a float at the Mardi Gras.

      My school principal, school chaplain, local priest and two successive Lord Mayors were all pedophiles. One of the Lord Mayors used to take boys up for a ride in his helicopter, with extras. Three convicted, one murdered by one of his erstwhile targets and one official suicide, though I am plausibly informed that the perp for that one is not necessarily the same person as the victim.

      The priest tried a move on me once after a party he had hosted for our final year. Alcohol had been involved and as my dad was working that day and got held up, I found myself alone with this Friar Tuck of a man, who, after serving me a Dimple began massaging my shoulders from behind. As I tried to move away he pushed down hard. I managed to break free and muttered something about waiting for my father out front. Just then Dad arrived, spoke warmly with the priest for a short while, then we got in the car and drove off.

      On the way home, I thought about saying something to Dad, but thought better of it, fairly certain his reaction would have been to turn around and confront ‘Father’. I told him about this only a few years ago and his stony look told me I wasn’t wrong. In the interim the community had been rocked by the revelations about the apparent ‘cell’ of prominent predators in our midst. We knew families with as many as 3 boys affected.

      We got off lightly really, my experience being the only instance in the immediate family so far as I am aware. With 4 younger brothers that’s almost a miracle. Discussing once why we were left alone we decided we were just too ugly for them to bother with us! A country cousin wasn’t so lucky; he was sent to the Big Smoke for a lengthy hospital stay when he was 12 or 13. He and other underage patients were regularly raped in the middle of the night by a man with a stocking on his head who appeared to have no trouble entering and leaving the premises.

      I have a gut feeling that as inequality keeps widening that the sexual exploitation of youth will increase. Power differentials mean access to justice differentials, and any threat to scot-free sin can, as Epstein shows, be ruthlessly shut down if you are important enough.

  21. Wukchumni

    There’s an air of desperation to fearless leader’s tweets regarding Bolton and you wonder where this is all heading?

    I’ve mentioned this before, but of what use is Trump to the GOP after having disgorged all the gifts & grifts already, he’s an all grown up Anthony Fremont threatening them to do things his way or he’ll wish them into the scorned field.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      GOP electeds are very much like their voters and afraid of them too. Mittens was once the rule but has shifted to the exception starting in the mid-1980’s with Newt’s takeover of recruitment policies. Tossing Trump aside would be an attack on their voters and themselves.

      As long as Team Blue is run by the ilk of Tom Perez, what does the GOP have to fear from being a party that won’t grow? Their competition has thrown in the towel.

      The #NeverTrumpers are by and large people who had their personal access to halls of power shut off. They would all jump for joy if Trump called them.

    1. ambrit

      This is interesting. I have a link, via a different series of numbers etc. to the same video as this one. My link includes a “This channel is supported by the Russian government” banner along the bottom of the video. so, what gives? Are the Lee Camp people sending out a ‘jailbroken’ version of the video? Do only certain viewers get the propaganda banner? Why two separate YouTube links for the same video?
      Ah ha! The two versions of the video are sourced from different venues. My ‘propagandized’ version is from ‘Redacted Tonight’ and your’s is from ‘Lee Camp.’ I guess those counter-propagandists aren’t running on all cylinders yet.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Ambrit, I followed your link and noticed that Russian “warning” too. I immediately jumped up on a table and started swinging a broom violently at the floor while shouting over and over, “Better Dead Than Red,” at the top of my lungs.

        It’s so patently obvious I can only imaging it has the opposite effect intended.

        1. ambrit

          I’m not so sanguine about this method. It partakes of semi-subliminal communication, and also constantly reinforces a Big Lie meme.
          I’m glad to see that you had a ‘Goodthinking’ reaction to the advisory so graciously put there to warn us against engaging in KR (Kounter Reactionary) thinking. I hope to see you at next month’s Trump Hate Rally. [Bring the broom. I’ll bring mine. Together we’ll “Clean Up America!”]

        1. Olga

          That is funny…. on the other side of the world, the entire family would sit next to a short-wave radio, listening to VOA, thinking that we were hearing the voice of wise men (or just gods). AAhhh, the power of propaganda…!!

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            my dad gave me a shortwave radio when i was around 10.
            ran an antenna through the trees and everything.
            a week later he noticed that i was listening to Granma….for the music, back then.
            it was only later that i discovered Cuba’s english station.(and VOA struck me as silly, from the get go…like one of those albums that Senators used to make, where they just rambled on and on and you could see them in your mind doing the usual speech making gestures)
            dad just couldn’t win for losin’.

  22. JCC

    Regarding the article written by Jordan Weissmann, “Why Private Equity Keeps Wrecking Retail Chains Like Fairway”,it is a nice summary of what Private Equity does for a living.

    But he is being far to kind when he writes, “it’s simply easier for the private equity guys to shoplift whatever value they can.” It isn’t shoplifting. When you strip large groups of people of everything they have, including their wealth and jobs, it’s called pillage and rape.

    And it is more than condoned by US Laws and both core Republicans and Democrats, it praised.

    As I occasionally tell my friends, The Eye of Sauron long ago turned inwards.

  23. Stromcrow

    Important article on impeachment today by Michael Tracey.

    The bogus articles of impeachment have ratified a number of extremely fraught New Cold War assumptions that have now been embedded into the fabric of U.S. governance, regardless of what the Senate concludes. It’s crucial to emphasize that this is the first impeachment in American history where foreign policy has played a central role. As such, we now have codified by way of these impeachment articles a host of impossibly dangerous precedents, namely: 1) The U.S. is in a state of war with Russia, a nuclear armed power; 2) the sitting president committed treason on behalf of this country with which the U.S. is in a state of war; 3) the president lacks a democratic mandate to conduct foreign policy over the objections of unelected national security state bureaucrats.

  24. chuck roast

    I, personally, owe Nikolas Bowie of Harvard University and the NYT a great debt of gratitude for explaining in terms that a know-nothing like me can understand about President Trump’s enormous crimes.

    “Abuse of power may be “unwritten” in any code, and obstruction of Congress may be “implied” by statutes, but these crimes are now as well established, well defined and destructive of the public trust as bribery or treason. If the president did what the House accuses him of doing, he can and should be punished.”

    We are so fortunate to have the national paper of record and an historian and law professor from America’s leading center of learning explaining impeachment to us in the concrete terms that we can all understand. “Implied” and “unwritten”. Nuanced and damning.

    Unimpeachable sources. Undeniable logic. Cogent analysis. Well grounded legal precedent.

    Off with his head!

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Damn good thing there are “unwritten” abuses of power to gin up and haggle over, otherwise they might be forced to deal with the obvious ones like vice-presidents or secretaries of state shaking down every Tom, Dick and Harry they can think of to line their own and their families’ pockets.

      I’m pretty sure this is what the framers “intended.”

  25. skk

    Thanks for noting: “How to delete what Facebook knows about your life outside of Facebook Recode”
    Studying who is actually sharing your activities on their website with FB is really quite enlightening. Even sites like the Grauniad ! And nope I’m not logged into FB, nor do I ever log into websites with the “Log in With FB” options

    In that vein, as a result of new EU and California privacy laws coming into force Jan 1st, websites ought to be asking one to reauthorize being tracked. While they still obscure how to refuse ( gives new meaning to the classic management course : How to say No) – refusing has gotten quite a lot easier. Don’t just say “OK” / “Yes”

    Look for “More Info”, “Manage Options”. You often come to a page where a single click on “Do not Track”, or a slider for “Tracking off’ lets you turn it off.
    Does it actually turn it off ? Ahhh.. time will tell.

    1. Monty

      “Does it actually turn it off” No. Don’t forget, your isp is at a choke point and has a list of every web request you ever make. One of the first pieces of legislation passed in the Trump administration was one that finally allowed ISPs to monetize that data by selling it to all and sundry including Facebook. Surf accordingly!

      1. skk

        Very very good point.
        A good ( paid-for, not free ) VPN service, who assert that they don’t do logging and you use their unlimited use service so they shouldn’t need to log, is the way to go to get past that. The Tor browser is another way, but I find it too slow. The HTTPS everywhere extension ? It doesn’t hide the end-domain so from that perspective its a no-go for me.

        Setting up one’s own peer to peer exit point, with the exit point in some country where stronger laws apply ? I must check that out too.

        Of course, it the a-holes in USA hadn’t passed that law in the first place.

        I find the Comcast “pledge” not to sell your browsing history amusing – amusing in a sick sort of way. Cos they’ve got their OWN ad network so they use it THERE.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          A good ( paid-for, not free ) VPN service, who assert that they don’t do logging and you use their unlimited use service so they shouldn’t need to log, is the way to go to get past that.

          Of course, in effect, you are simply moving the issue of trust from your ISP to your VPN, but at least the VPN (usually?) states categorically (not sure about contracts) that it will not share your data or meta data aggregated or otherwise.

  26. Wukchumni

    This is an update to a CVBB tale of whoa in McFarland, Ca., whose population is 91% Hispanic/Latino, and whose residents would be the target of ICE detention.

    The city of McFarland has received two requests from private prison company GEO Group Inc. to modify conditional use permits for the Golden State Modified Community Correctional Facility and the Central Valley Modified Community Correctional Facility to allow the facilities to detain immigrants.

    In December, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement awarded GEO and another private prison company $6.8 billion in contracts to run immigrant detention facilities in California. With the new contracts, which fly in the face of state law meant to ban such practices, GEO can drastically expand immigrant detention beds in Kern County.

    Currently, the company runs the 400-bed Mesa Verde Ice Processing Center in Bakersfield. By using the two McFarland facilities, GEO could expand its capacity to 1,800 beds.

    1. ambrit

      It finally looks like the Daily Mail has hired some University trained writers. Expect a renaissance of felicitous phrasing.

      1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

        Suicide watch?

        In the UK the “Daily Mail” has been described as “the newspaper to commit suicide to” That said, back in the ’30s it was known to look more than kindly towards the new kid on the European power block (leader of a functional death-cult).

        Note of personal shame: one my brothers “takes” the Mail. (bows head).


  27. kimyo

    You have to read way too far into the story to learn that these “toxic byproducts” have yet to be found in municipal water supplies.

    it is correct that the newly discovered toxic byproducts haven’t yet been found in municipal water supply.

    however, my water district regularly finds three chlorine-based toxic byproducts in the water they deliver, including bromodichloromethane at 36 times the ‘safe’ level (ewg).

    this is not a ‘future’ problem. it is already happening.


    Most BDCM in the environment is formed as a byproduct when chlorine is added to drinking water to kill disease-causing organisms.

    For most people, the most likely means of exposure to BDCM is by drinking chlorinated water. Usually the levels in drinking water are between 1 and 10 ppb (parts per billion).

  28. inode_buddha

    The toad doesn’t look too happy — but I guarantee you he’s peeing in the person’s hand.

  29. Plenue

    >Iraqi government cracks down on anti-US protests WSWS

    What’s fascinating here is that they both have the same demand: get the US out. The government wants to do it formally and more slowly, while the people want us gone yesterday.

    And we will leave. al-Sadr has withdrawn from the protests for now, presumably to give the government some breathing room. But if real progress doesn’t start being made soon, the people will take it into their own hands and force us out at gunpoint. And if we try and use force back things will get even uglier.

  30. r.j. sigmund

    this is a bit of nonsense: Scott Fullwiler:
    “Another way of looking at it is we currently need 4% deficit to achieve 2% growth.”

    there’s little correlation and virtually no causation between the two..

  31. The Rev Kev

    “Australia to quarantine coronavirus evacuees on Christmas Island”

    This is so embarrassing this. It seems that in order to be evacuated to Australia’s version of Devil’s Island, that they will have to pay about $1,000 for the privilege. And when the quarantine is finished, they will be flown to Perth and be dumped there. So if you lived in, say Sydney, you would still have to go another 3,280 kilometers (2,040 miles) to get there

  32. Synoia

    Neanderthal genes found for first time in African populations

    The FBI and various police departments are investigating this apparent theft of Neanderthal Genes. A spokesman for the FBI is saying any large scale theft of Neanderthal Genes could trigger deportation, after a stiff jail sentence.

    He further stated that those who took Neanderthal Genes when departing Africa, should not have take them, and returned them to their Neanderthal owners.

    The Republicans in the Senate are considering stripping citizenship from all such “Gene Thieves” and anticipate this would cause a 75% decline in votes for any democratic candidate in a election race.

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