Links 2/13/2020

Eat sea urchins to save the oceans TreeHugger I have a confession to make: I love sea urchins. (I mean for eating, they’re a bit of a nuisance when one brushes up against one whilst diving.)

Record-breaking astronaut: ‘Do what scares you’ BBC

Car ‘splatometer’ tests reveal huge decline in number of insects Guardian

A Culture of Cheating Counterpunch

Charles Murray Returns, Nodding to Caution but Still Courting Controversy NYT (RM)

Boris Johnson SACKS Julian Smith, Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey, Geoffrey Cox and Theresa Villiers in brutal Cabinet reshuffle Daily Mail


‘Five to 7 million people from airport to stadium’: Trump excited for his maiden trip to India, says Modi building largest stadium in the world Firstpost

Australia Apocalypse


Wildfires are ruinous – so how to stop them happening in the first place? Guardian

Imperial Collapse Watch

The siren call of a ‘system leader’ Asia Times Pepe Escobar


Coronavirus Update: Virus May Push Germany Into Recession Due To Close Trade Links International Business Times

The coronavirus is the first true social-media “infodemic” MIT Technology Review

CDC director: More person-to-person coronavirus infections in U.S. likely, but containment still possible Stat

China accused of under-reporting coronavirus outbreak FT (David L)

China cannot fight coronavirus and avert an economic crisis at the same time Daily Telegraph (Objective Function) Must read.   Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.

What Will Be the Spillover Effects of the Coronavirus on India Inc? The Wire

Class Warfare

Credit-Card Debt in U.S. Rises to Record $930 Billion WSJ

Courtroom battle: Google faces off against EU Al Jazeera

California Considers Tax on Companies With Large CEO-Worker Pay Gaps Capital & Main

The Survival of the ILWU at Stake! Counterpunch

Nearly 1 in 3 American workers run out of money before payday—even those earning over $100,000 CNBC

The Sprint-T-Mobile Merger: A Jump the Shark Moment for Antitrust? Matt Stoller

Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s Lost Notebook Wired

Guillotine Watch

Jeff Bezos has reportedly broken California’s record for the most expensive home sale of all time with his purchase of a $165 million Beverly Hills mansion Business Insider

Julian Assange

Julian Assange Wins 2020 Gary Webb Freedom of the Press Award Consortium News


Why Washington is paranoid about Huawei SCMP

US says it can prove Huawei has backdoor access to mobile-phone networks Ars Technica

U.S. lawmaker calls for ouster of CalPERS CIO over China ties: letter Reuters (The Rev Kev)



The Passion of Bernie’s Base Is the Path to Victory Jacobin

Just ‘Mayor Pete’? — Trump struggles for killer nickname Agence France-Presse

Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price to resign after caucus chaos Des Moines Register

Will black voters save Joe Biden? LATimes

Fresh From Victory, The Sandernistas Ready For Tough Slog American Conservative

Biden donors are panicking after disastrous New Hampshire, Iowa results NY Post

Inside Michael Bloomberg’s big play for black voters AP

New Hampshire just showed us how to overcome some of the GOP’s pernicious voter suppression tacticsAlterNet

ACTION ALERT: NBC Garbles Graph on Democrats’ Electability FAIR

Whom would you advise they work with to screw up, say, Malaysia?

— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) 12 February 2020

The spectacular collapse of Joe Biden as the Democrats’ front-runner NY Post

Biden’s World Experience Proves a Lead Balloon Foreign Policy

F.A.A. Failed to Assure Southwest Airlines Safety, Report Says  NYT (RM)

Trump Transition

Trump attacks federal judge, prosecutors in Twitter tirade defending Roger Stone WaPo

Prosecutors Rage Quit After Justice Department Appears To Intervene In Case On Trump’s Behalf Above Th Law

Barr ensnared in Roger Stone firestorm The Hill

Senate to rein in Trump’s war powers after Iran strike Politico

AOC Introduces Bill to Ban Fracking Nationwide National Review

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour.

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  1. Anonymous2

    The UK Chancellor Sajid Javid has resigned. This is usually bad news for a Prime Minister but doubtless Johnson will survive. People will want to know more about what lies behind this but at present the supposition is that Cummings engineered this to put someone weaker into No. 11

    1. Monty

      He probably just couldn’t wait any longer to get out there and cash in the chits he must have earned for betraying Britain whilst shilling for Brexit.

      1. larry

        That isn’t the reason. He resigned after Johnson told him to sack his advisors.He refused and resigned. Rishi Sunak takes over.

        Not necessarily weaker, but someone who is willing to be under Cummings.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, Gents.

          Sunak is married to the heiress to Infosys and inherited William Hague’s seat, Richmond, both sensible moves. As it’s jamais deux sans trois, he’s willing to accommodate Cummings and Johnson.

          1. Jokerstein

            And BoJo LOVES Cummings, since it means he doesn’t have to do anything more than play the lovable clown.

            1. Winston Smith

              That is such an accepted truth that it has even pervaded the weekly football (soccer) cartoon published in the Guardian. In this particular edition, Cummings turns to a bare chested flabby BoJo (standing in as a rabid England fan) and says “Don’t just stand there, bang the gong you dummy”. To which BoJo sheepishly assents “yes Dom”.

    2. paul

      ‘The Saj’ ,couldn’t happen to a nastier person.

      Recalling the colonel’s indications of a conflict over the BoE job, I wondered how big the toes were that D cummings could step on.

      At least as big as the chancellorship, it seems.

      In other news,there is palpable dismay over the NI decision.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, the NI decision looks like a very deliberate message. Smith is that extreme rarity – a competent Tory who actually cared about the Northern Ireland job and was widely respected by all sides. He did a very good job in getting the Assembly going again.

        Johnson can’t be unaware that getting rid of him will be seen as a deliberate snub to Belfast and Dublin. But never mind, no doubt they’ll get the bridge to Scotland he keeps promising.

      2. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Paul.

        There were some smiles at my employer. Some of my colleagues, in London, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mumbai, recall working with the Saj.

        No tears should be shed over Mats Persson, one of the advisers, in question. His Open Europe think tank is a bastion of neo liberal vipers.

        The Saj’s work following the Tequila Crisis of 1994 also left a bitter taste at Chase Manhattan and in Mexico.

        The suggestion is that Cummings wanted radical thinker Andy Haldane at the Old Lady rather than bootlicker Andrew Bailey, but the Saj prevailed over Johnson. The Saj has the ear of Johnson’s latest belle. It’s also rumoured that Haldane may get a new post to coordinate policy and initiatives at the Cabinet Office.

          1. paul

            given the talent puddle, it’s inevitable.
            Will he still be the one we first loved is the greatest question.
            So far, he makes a lot of sense.

  2. Amfortas the hippie

    from the comments below the TAC story:
    “I’m going to call out the doubling of my taxes under Bernie part.

    I’m a small capitalist, in a low tax bracket but extremely frugal. Sanders’ healthcare program on the balance makes me richer at the expense of healthcare system profits. If he makes college cheaper for me that makes me richer. If he taxes carbon I don’t care, I use European levels of it. On the flipside I would benefit from any vehicles he subsidizes and live in a place with garbage air that could really use green new deal subsidized cleanup of it. He can tariff China, I don’t spend enough to care. I do care about the government services his tariffs would go to. If he raises taxes on the wealthy then fantastic, because I don’t look at all like them in income terms. They will be stabilizing the finances of the country I live in and benefit from and can’t easily flee like they can. Indirectly making me richer.
    Bernie’s not going to double my taxes – he’s going to build my wealth and make Bezos pay for it.
    The right on the other hand treats the country like a leveraged buyout that I have basically no stake in and on top of that is now fanning white identity politics to distract – yes what I really need are people shooting at me or my friends because we don’t have the right badges on”

    if this take is in any way common among self-described ” small capitalist, in a low tax bracket but extremely frugal” republicans and “conservatives”, then it ain’t just the Dems who have a big problem.
    and all the talk about how wonderful trump’s economy is is unlikely to cloud lived reality like it has in the past.(“green shoots”,lol)
    This comment correlates to what i find in my wanderings here in Texas.
    trump hasn’t delivered for the lower orders, and a new deal sounds pretty good when you have no prospects.

    1. notabanktoadie

      if this take is in any way common among self-described ” small capitalist, … Amfort

      I remember in the movie “The Patriot” when Mel said “Why would you trade 1 tyrant 3000 miles away for 3000 tyrants less than 1 mile away?”

      That’s the way I feel about big and little capitalists IF they are opposed to an ethical finance system; i.e. a fight between big thieves and little thieves.

      Btw, I used to think I was a Republican until I actually went to one of their dinners* (Gingrich was the guest speaker) – I’ve never been with such repulsive people.

      *In Clear Lake,TX btw.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The Team Blue types who go on about “moderate suburban republicans” don’t mean you. They mean the Republicans who go these events.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        yah. my dad(nominal smerconish dem, due to blinders and lack of contact with any po folks besides me(!)) hangs out with clear lake self made millionaires(classic cafe), because that’s who his neighbors are.
        i’ve met a bunch of them over the years. The older(80’s+) repubs down there i can deal with, more or less…they loathe trump and abbot and perry before him and the whole teabilly madness. one almost expects them to start talking about noblisse oblige.
        but the brash braggart kind make my skin crawl….so certain that god smiles upon their greed and cruelty.
        there’s also a little colony of sorts of the league of the south…at Kemah…still mad about the vietnamese fisher folk who helped the usa in Nam and had to flee because of it.
        wherever there’s a marina…

    2. DJG

      Amfortas: TAC represents the paleo-conservatives, who, right now, are a slice of the country with nowhere to go. These are the traditional conservatives who valued thrift, moderation, probity, and stick-too-it-iveness (remember that expression?). They did deals on a handshake. They pride themselves on being as good as their word. And they have been profoundly disappointed for years.

      ‘the right treats the country like a leveraged buyout ”

      This is a damning statement, not some off-the-cuff remark. These paleo-cons detest excess and, especially, showy displays of money. Usually, the also detest showy displays of religion. So you see why they have some trouble with Trump and Pence and the rest of the knuckleheads–including DeVos and her mobbed-up Erik-Princed family.

      urblintz posted this on another article.

      This is part of the four-way civil war now in progress.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        aye. the Old Men i mentioned above are all aflutter when i start talking about Russel Kirk or toss a quote from Goldwater.
        radical wildman hippie guy who agrees with them about Place and Community and looking after one another.
        i get along just fine with pre-Reagan conservatives….even with my on-the-sleeve socialist(really super new deal) leanings

        and that urblintz link was wonderful/
        I’d like to chill with Zizek with a keg of shiner around a campfire in the woods.
        that would be a hoot.
        I’ll even throw in the sudafed.

    3. Brian (another one they call)

      Really well put AMF, thanks for a qualified summation of what real people are talking about.

  3. pretzelattack

    i’m glad there is scientific support (the splatometer–can it count votes too?) for what so many have noticed.

  4. Milton

    An event which may be of interest to today’s Links author is that starting tomorrow is the beginning of the Great Backyard Bird Count. This is an annual event, running four days, where one can tabulate the birds they see at their neighborhood. All instructions are available in the site linked above.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      I’ve participated in many Christmas bird counts, but never any Great Backyard Bird Counts. Thanks for cluing me in!

      1. Fíréan

        How does one know that the same bird is not being counted multiple times, ? By both the individual counter or multiple persons counting in the same neighborhood ( serious) I am truely curious. as i now watch geese fly over head.

        Is ID. required of the birds or “facial ” recognition type technology used ? ( ha ha ).

        1. Ignacio

          They may have correcting algorithms by species and according to observer density. Imagine if you watch flying migrants that can be seen by many.

  5. Dan

    Re: AOC Introduces Bill to Ban Fracking Nationwide. It seems like the industry is ready to self-implode on
    its own. I am sure a lot who were out touting investment in the fracking industry might welcome the emergence of a easy scapegoat.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Before Pelosi celebrates giving a 105% bailout of what Trump asked for in the form of a bailout and opening new land for franking. ..this is where Pelosi would go if you don’t demand do obedience now.

    2. John k

      Hopefully the frackers end up being forced to put up enough deposit to cap a well before they drill it. Most of the small drilling outfits eventually go bk to avoid capping costs when the field goes dry.

  6. carl

    There must have been a large dump of cases of the coronavirus. The count of infected jumped to over 60k.

    1. Samuel Conner

      The Johns Hopkins “pandemic dashboard” showed this disturbing discontinuity beginning some time the evening of the 12th.

      It’s very hard to know what it means. It might be “delayed reporting catching up”, or “more diagnostic gear and personnel deployed to Wuhan” so that diagnoses are starting to catch up to actual cases, or “something else”.

      My intuition leans toward the third option, and among the possibilities, it might be “perceptions management”. Who knows what political pressures the Chinese public health authorities are under? We do know that information was suppressed in the early stages when the epidemic was still emerging. Why would that have changed now?

      The number I have been watching is the “outside of China”, which is also rising, but not as rapidly, And about 1/3 of the outside of China cases are on a single cruise liner currently quarantined near Japan; those perhaps should be “backed out” of the “outside of China” cases to get a sense of how well public health measures are working in “rest of world”

      1. Oregoncharles

        I’ve seen reports that it reflects a redefined diagnosis – sorry, don’t remember just where. Should work its way around the infosphere, if true.

        But it could just be the Chinese playing catchup. We’ve seen multiple reports of people in Wuhan being turned away from hospitals; that would produce a serious undercount, of the death rate as well as infections.

    2. Mel

      I think Automatic Earth covered this. The day before yesterday they counted people with a positive diagnosis and a positive lab test. Since yesterday they’re counting everybody with a positive diagnosis.

        1. JeffC

          In the US there is no actual price. Data point: I had the same CAT scan twice, two years apart, an abdominal-pelvic scan looking for kidney stones. One was at the local small community “nonprofit” hospital. The other was at a strip-mall medical-imaging business a few miles away. Drooling shamefully over my relatively decent insurance, the hospital billed my insurance plan exactly 14x what the strip-mall place did.

          1. polecat

            Non-profit .. Ha !

            Taj Mahospitals are U.$.

            Should the Wuhan Flu—- opps, I mean ‘COVID19’ spread here even a quarter as bad as it has in China, we’ll be fracked, good n hard! well .. the 90% of us without connections, that is ..right ??

            A lack of ‘non-griftable’ medical infrastructure × equipment + drugs, much of which are/ WERE (as everything now has basically seized up) manufactured in China, not even taking account of transportation issues
            .. aspects of which a vangard to mitigating this incipient pandemic do not make !
            And Now, it appears that April is the new wonder month, supposedly where things go back to hunkydory. Trump (and others ..) have said so ..

            I kinda have my doubts about that.

        2. Stillfeelinthebern

          CAT scans deliver much more radiation than an x-ray. Are they worth that exposure for diagnosis? What do they add to the diagnosis?

          1. JeffC

            Fair question. In my case (the first incident), it was the difference between a preliminary simple x-ray’s revelation that “it might be a kidney stone” and the CAT scan’s making crystal clear that “it’s multiple stones jammed up there like a little dam, and there’s no way this will be resolved without surgery.” Five stones, it turned out, and 45 min of surgery.

            The second incident, a couple of years later, was a false alarm, and the CAT scan found nothing. So whether it’s worth what amounts to 100 x-rays is always a judgement call and something of a gamble. But surgery is a gamble also, and you don’t want to go there without a reason.

        3. GramSci

          The price of a US CAT scan greatly depends on health unsurance, Monty.

          6ish years ago our daughter was knocked unconscious on a job with no insurance. 2 CAT scans later (plus an ambulance ride and maybe 2 aspirin) she was being dunned for $15,000. The Workmen’s Compensation lawyer she consulted told her that her case wasn’t worth his time.

          Of course we offered to pay the bill. We probably could have negotiated it down 50%, but daughter got pissed off at America and moved to Spain. I don’t think she’s coming back–at least not for another 12 years when the statute of limitations finally runs out.

          So the costs add up.

          1. Oregoncharles

            50% of $15,000 is still serious money. Too bad she’s so far away now, but you could use the $7500 on a trip to Spain.

    3. Ernie

      The Automatic Earth website has a good explainer this morning on how the dramatic rise in reported new cases is due to a change in diagnostic criteria to recognize individuals who pretty clearly have the virus, without requiring the use of a test kit, which are in short supply. This change has been endorsed by the WHO. Thus, the big increase today is more a recognition that there are many more cases currently existing than an indicator of a dramatic expansion of new cases (though those do continue to expand rather dramatically). The curve should nomalize to the new criteria in the next several days.

      1. Ignacio

        I suspect it is more probable that the jump is not due to change in diagnostic criteria but change in reporting criteria by the new leadership in Hubei/Wuhan. They have an incentive to surface at least some of the cases hidden by the previous leadership.

      2. anon in so cal

        NYT: The test kits distributed inside the U.S. by the CDC are “flawed.”

        “Coronavirus Test Kits Sent to States Are Flawed, C.D.C. Says”


        Some tests distributed by the agency deliver “inconclusive” readings. The C.D.C. will need to ship new ingredients, further delaying results.”

        1. pasha

          and don’t forget that c.d.c.’s 2020 budget was cut by $1.2, or 20%. lots have been laid off, just before they will be needed

    4. Ignacio

      Count on confirmed cases, not on infected individuals. Again, this is not a real-time tracker of the epidemics but an approximation. Heavily influenced by non-epidemic factors. It doesn’t count what it isn’t analysed. Sometimes analysis fails. Obvious, but there are so many inclined to massage the numbers…

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Jeff Bezos has reportedly broken California’s record for the most expensive home sale of all time with his purchase of a $165 million Beverly Hills mansion”

    This story signifies nothing. Jeff Bezoz’s net worth is reckoned at $130.8 billion and this mansion is valued at about $165 million. Supposing that Jeff lost 99% of his wealth so was left with “only” $1.3 billion dollars, he could still buy that place and have $1.1 billion left over. In other words, the purchase is just a status thing like a big boat, or an expensive sports car, or if you dumped your wife and got yourself a younger, hot trophy wife. Oh wait…

    1. Kasia

      “dumped your wife and got yourself a younger, hot trophy wife”

      Lauren Sanchez is actually older than Bezoz’s ex-wife. Most of my male friends would disagree with Ms. Sanchez being labeled as “hot” or as a “trophy wife”. Several have commented that she looks like she is transitioning genders and that the ex-wife was hotter.

      1. paul

        Maybe an older spouse will be more understanding of his social media (++) habits.
        ‘That’s just jeff, I wouldn’t change him for all the money in amazon!’

      2. tegnost

        I’d be glad to show Mackenzie how the other half lives…yeah I think she’s prettier but that’s just based on a quick comparison of head shots. They don’t look a lot different so that may be interesting…. Of course I’m probably just projecting based on ditching bezos good/hanging with bezos bad in my simple binary way.

      3. Katniss Everdeen

        From the other side of the peanut gallery–

        Even if you lived to be 150 you couldn’t spend $130 billion, so why waste your best-lookin’ years with a mutant like bezos? Besides, the pre-nup would have to be bullet-proof considering the hosing he took from his first wife.

        And every time you crossed paths with Tom Brady and Giselle Bundchen at some lavish event, you’d be forced to wonder how some girls have all the luck.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          For those who don’t know, Giselle didn’t marry Tom Terrific for his money. He’s the spouse with a nice little part time job. She pays the mortgage(s).

    2. Fíréan

      From whom has mr.Bezos purchased the house ?

      Or to ask another way – to whom has mr.Bezos given $165m ?
      Why was the property valued at that record breaking price, and by whom ? Or did the buyer and seller just agree to a specific value ?

      What was the previous sale price of this property ?

        1. Alex morfesis

          Rumors ?? Not all truths are rumored…awful nice how no one asked the wife why she had no blood on her clothes if she was near him or crying over him until the ambulance arrived…gotta start your fortune somewhere…fields make for a nice distraction…

  8. Expat2Uruguay

    I tried to read the must-read article at the Daily Telegraph, but it said I had to register and it would be free. So I did register, and it was not free. After I registered they took me back to the article and demanded that I subscribe if I wanted to read it. I’d have more to say about this but since it’s a family blog…

      1. Expat2uruguay

        Sorry, what’s a VON? or is that a typo of VPN? I didn’t consider it might be because of my location out of the u.s.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Try this Outline link-

      Thing is about this article, it says that Coronavirus cannot be stopped from spreading. That may be true but perhaps the Chinese are trying to prevent it foremost from spreading in China.

        1. Ignacio

          Yeps it is great. Suggests that the situation outside Hubei is worse than that confirmed cases signals. I agree very much that the lesser evil for Chinese is to end with massive quarantines and start normal activity. They lost control a month ago and this is not SARS-Cov1. May be the previous experience with SARS made the leadership overconfident.

          1. MLTPB

            The mayor of Wuhan was not elected.

            And looking at the map of Taiping Rebellion, except Guangdong, the areas under Hong’s rule overlap the worst hit provinces of today.

            A recent linked article mentioned something about when fear turned into

            Do we ask the people who would be impacted about choosing between fighting the virus or averting an economic crisis, even if they never had a chance to elect their leaders before? Do they ask if we can’t do both?

      1. xkeyscored

        “The task will then be to tame the virus and hope to buy enough time for warmer weather to slow the spread. It is not the end of the world.”
        But will warmer weather slow its spread? Son Loi in Vietnam has been quarantined. I can’t find it on my usual weather websites, but Hanoi is nearby, and their minimum temperature in the last month was 9 degrees Celsius.
        “Villages in Vietnam with 10,000 people close to the nation’s capital were placed under quarantine on Thursday after six cases [I think I heard a higher number somewhere] of the deadly new coronavirus were discovered there, authorities said.
        The locking down of the commune of Son Loi, about 40 kilometres from Hanoi, is the first mass quarantine outside of China since the virus emerged from a central Chinese city late last year.”

      1. Expat2Uruguay

        After reading the article, I’m still not sure What the New Hampshire situation showed us about overcoming GOP voter suppression. It seemed that they were able to get around The Complicated new requirements put in by the GOP for students who vote to later acquire vehicle registration and driver’s license in New Hampshire. This year they were able to overcome this by utilizing the same day registration and affidavit process. But Most states that have GOP voter suppression do not have same-day registration or an affidavit process so I don’t get it. there was an interesting quote of one of the students where they said that they felt that this vote in the primary was more important than the vote that they would make in the general in Massachusetts. I’ve made the same argument in California with my friends and family. Given the winner-take-all nature of the general election, if you know that your State’s going to go Democrat no matter what, the vote that really matters is the one you make in the primary.

        Another thing that was interesting in the article was the discussion of younger voters who typically do not give away their information such as phone numbers or email addresses. The way around this is relational organizing, which seems to be exactly what the Sanders campaign is focused on.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Record-breaking astronaut: ‘Do what scares you'”

    It was Richard Bach who wrote in one of his books that anything worth doing is always a little scary at first and it is true. Think about your first feelings during that first date, your first time behind the wheel of a car, the first time you move out of home. Sometime scary things are good things that should be sought after.

    1. a different chris

      Yeah but…. the people glorified – and I personally do really appreciate Neil Armstrong, et. al. … aren’t just scaring themselves.

      They have loved ones, spouses and parents and children that they are also scaring the (family blog) out of. So it really takes a certain intense self-focus to do things that dangerous. We can give them a certain level of appreciation, a very high one in fact, but don’t disrespect the person that keeps the home fires burning.

      They are generally the ones that provide the food.

    2. JacobiteInTraining

      Sort of related: years ago I took an elective college ‘outdoor pursuits’ course, hiking and snowshoeing mainly, but in one of the classroom sessions I recall the instructor quoting someone – Aldo Leopold perhaps – as something like:

      “…To be considered true wilderness, it should offer not only outstanding opportunities for solitude, but also outstanding opportunities for death…”

      Always liked that one. Potential for death and/or grievous injury tends to keep one on ones toes. For most people anyway. :)

    3. Bob

      pushing boundaries and expanding our bubble is a good thing. Some people go too far and become adrenaline junkies, always pushing the limit to the point of danger.

    4. Geo

      “Do what scares you.”

      Thanks to an ever increasing spiral of anxiety and depression, at this point just waking up in the morning is scary. So, mission accomplished! I can tackle the world now. :)

  10. a different chris

    Bad headlines are misleading – so how to stop them in the first place?

    >Wildfires are ruinous – so how to stop them happening in the first place?

    I read that and thought OMG sounds like it was written by somebody akin to the guy that loves suburbia. But the article is more summed by this quote: “If we suppress all fires we are literally stopping life on Earth,” Rein says.

    So who the heck wrote the headline? Did they even bother to read any of the story?

  11. a different chris

    From “A Culture Of Cheating”

    >these vices are always latent within society because, for human beings, cheating rather than honesty may be a default position.

    I am far from an expert, but every thing I’ve ever read (pysche studies) this is simply wrong. “People” want to be honest, they want to function usefully as part of (small anyway) groups. The quotes around People are because it’s not *all* people, it’s 95, probably 98 or more percent. But with 7 billion people, even one percent delivers a heck of a lot of Trump wanna-bes.

    In any case, I would re-write it as “these vices are always latent within this society because, to successfully climb up to the top, cheating rather than honesty may be the most effective position. “

    1. paul

      Inclined to agree, the formulation I prepared for myself was:

      People are,generally, as good as they are allowed to be.

      There are exceptions, and they take acceptions, and that’s why we are where we find ourselves.

      And they are in charge, and determined to preserve their exorbitant privilege.

      The majority have no license to express their natural wishes,let alone their unnatural ones.

    2. russell1200

      A lot of psychology notes that there is an extreme cross-cultural bias against both lying and free-loading within our base reactions. It is one of the necessary baselines of humans to make for a cooperitive society.

      So in some sense you are correct that we are wired for honesty, but you could look at the half-full interpretation and say that the problem has to be there to require the adaptation.

      1. paul

        I am only right in my own experience/sense, not ‘some sense’.


        in some sense you are correct that we are wired for honesty, but you could look at the half-full interpretation and say that the problem has to be there to require the adaptation.

        I honestly do not know what you are saying.

        I have generally found my fellow beings to be good and that is the base of my phenomenology.
        The ones that are not, shows why we are.

    3. Tim

      As they say in (car) racing, there are two kinds of people: cheaters and losers.

      It’s a more complete version of “nice guys finish last”

  12. Expat2Uruguay

    I have to admit that I have a special bit of worry when it comes to the Coronavirus. My son is in Vietnam. He went there to gain some experience in teaching English as a foreign language. He got a job, but then they cancelled school because of the Coronavirus. He was bored and noticed that the airline prices had dropped quite a bit in the area. So he went traveling, first of Malaysia and then Singapore. He had a great time, but man is he ever taking risks! Anyway, he’s now back in Vietnam, where apparently he’s going to do some online teaching. I just hope everything turns out okay.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The ‘good’ news would seem to be that they suspect it is not as virulent in hot, humid countries, so somewhere like southern Vietnam might be safer than other countries. So far, anyway.

      I’m sure your son knows this, but its worth double and triple checking his travel insurance – in particular make sure it has helicopter ambulance cover so if he is somewhere remote he can insist on being brought to a big city hospital, preferably somewhere like KL or Bangkok. The best hospitals in SE Asia are outstanding, but this doesn’t necessarily apply when you are somewhere out in the sticks.

      1. MLTPB

        I hope that is correct…about hot and humid places.

        Looking at the cases by provinces in China, only one case in cold Tibet, 84 in cold Jilin, 64 in Ningxia, 18 in Qinghai, though these are not populous regions.

        Hainan, warm and humid, has 157 cases. It’s a tourist destination, kind of like our Hawaii.

        All numbers are as of 2.11.2020.

    2. divadab

      He’s at low risk of death from the virus due to his age and good health. If he were 72 and had congestive heart failure he would be at greater risk of death from the virus but probably less than 10-15% assuming competent medical attention.

    3. Ignacio

      I think that, unfortunately, the epidemics could spread to South America by May-June if harsh controls are not implemented and kept for months.

    4. Winston Smith

      Interesting that you mention this since I know someone about to go do the same thing (teach english in Vietnam) on a Fulbright scholarship….wonder if he will get to go.

  13. Craig H.

    I looked up the biggest stadium in the world stuff. The new stadium in India is a *little* tiny bit larger than the Melbourne Cricket Stadium if you use the number on the Melbourne facility to be the number of cricket fans it can hold for a cricket game (match, whatever — I do not know the proper word for a cricket contest). The record capacity of the stadium is like 1.4X, however.

    record attendance standing at 143,750 for a Billy Graham evangelistic crusade in 1959

    If you don’t need to provide seats for any of them it looks like you can claim 10 or 15 million fans. Here is a piece from the Telegraph in Jan 2015:

    John Paul II’s record was 6 million in Manilla. The Ayatollah Khomeni’s funeral was 17. Probably the splaterometer is far more accurate than the counting technique used for one of these things where the tax man can’t audit the number of tickets you sold.

  14. JTee

    Prosecutors “rage quit” over Stone….

    Well, aren’t they just the noblest of creatures in the DOJ! I wonder how many of these sensitive, responsible, virtuous prosecutors resigned in protest over letting a serial sexual predator [Epstein] of children skate? Surely there were some “rage quits” then? As Heston said in Planet of the Apes: “Damn [them] all to hell!” My feelings, however, run somewhat more strongly in that regard.

    1. Geo

      Years ago Stone wrote a book titled “The Bush Crime Family” and in the synopsis said, “Why aren’t these people in prison yet?”

      I’ve assumed this whole time that his fate as a pariah was sealed when he did that and now the full force of the blob is coming down on him. I mean, it’s not like he’s even in the same league of criminal as the ones going after him. That said, I have no pity for the guy. He’s a scoundrel (who dresses the part). Just find it odd that he’s such a villain while the big time crooks still get to play moral crusaders on tv.

    2. ewmayer

      Similarly oddly, I don’t seem to recall any mass rage-quitting at DOJ over the Obama-administration’s nonprosecution of the crooked bank cartels. Perhaps because O was so very polite and decorous about it. A sort of “Miss Manners prosecutorial standard”, if you will.

  15. Carey

    Helen Buyniski- ‘Are DNC insiders weaponizing ‘election security’ to seize control of 2020 primaries behind the smokescreen of Russiagate paranoia?’:

    “..Defending Digital Democracy, the “security experts” Iowa Democrats were already paying to train volunteers in electoral “worst case scenarios,” is – unsurprisingly, given the name – run by the same Clinton and Romney staffers who sit on Defending Digital Campaigns’ board, Robby Mook and Matt Rhoades. Founded by former Obama Pentagon Chief of Staff Eric Rosenbach and advised by top Clinton lawyer Marc Elias, DDD has been “protecting” elections with the help of CrowdStrike founder (and Russiagate Patient Zero) Dmitri Alperovich since 2017. The Fear of Russian Meddling industry appears to be one big happy family, none of whom, it seems, have ever heard of paper ballots – one sure-fire way to avoid outside interference in an election..”

  16. Michael

    “Will black voters save Joe Biden?”
    Vicky Goins, 48, a truck driver who was undecided until this week, said Steyer had her vote. “It takes a billionaire to beat a billionaire,” said Goins of Winnsboro.

    OOps! Bloomberg?

    Saw a Target ad this am on CNBS with all black actors having a jolly ole time. Quick take in the background showed one doing “whiteface”! Gone in a split second of course.

    1. CBBB

      People keep saying with Joe Biden’s collapse Bernie will get the black voters but I think they’re going to Bloomberg.
      Man the Democrats are just transforming into the Whig party. The Whigs used to win Presidential elections by recruiting ex-Generals to be their nominees. The Democrats just want to recruit Billionaires. I cannot understand what brain disease these people who just want to “beat Trump no matter what” have. What happens after if they do succeed? Where does the party lead by Bloomberg who will probably staff his cabinet full of Republicans go? They just go on to lose to the next Trump 4 years later.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        A few years ago the hot topic was “the talk” that black parents were forced to have with their sons about interactions with police, interactions like getting “thrown against a wall” and searched for just being black. Demeaning. Unjust. Unconstitutional. Racist.

        If black voters let mini-mike off the hook for his part in institutionalizing this “crime prevention” tactic and help him buy the presidency fer chrissakes, then don’t come cryin’ to me when it all goes to hell in a handbasket. There’s only so much that can be done for those who can’t or won’t see the forest for the trees, and there’s no “accountability” if no one’s ever held accountable.

      2. funemployed

        I don’t think we’ll know until we see the votes. Many black voters, especially of the older churchy sort who vote practically 100% of the time, tend to be conservative in the sense of being skeptical and cautious about change, but still open to new information and politically savvy, as well as having sufficiently dense social networks for such information to travel quickly.

        Black voters and potential voters who came of age during the Clinton/Bush dynasty tend to be more alienated and cynical, for obvious reasons, but Bernie is also the first national politician in their lifetimes who isn’t literally trying to run a con on them. Turn out among this group pits justifiable cynicism, structural barriers, and outright fraud against the chance to finally vote for someone in a way that doesn’t feel like prostitution.

        However the vote counts turn out in the end, I’m at a loss for how to even begin predicting how all the factors will come into play over time.

  17. Dan

    McClatchy, Major Local News Publisher, Files for Bankruptcy

    In a Chapter 11 filing in New York, the company, one of the largest news publishers in the United States, said it planned to restructure its pension obligations and the more than $700 million in debt it has struggled with for years as it tried to strengthen its digital business. It said its 30 newsrooms in 14 states would continue operating as usual during the case.

    The hedge fund Chatham Asset Management, its longtime creditor, would operate McClatchy, a 163-year-old family-controlled business, as a private company, under the plan laid out in the filing.

    If the plan is approved by the court, McClatchy would become the latest in a string of local news brands propped up by hedge funds, an unlikely relationship that has become the norm as the finance industry swoops in to wring profits from an ailing industry. Journalists and industry groups have expressed grave concerns about the future of news and jobs in the hands of private equity, but there are few solutions for the growing crisis in the industry. A 2019 report from PEN America warned that the shuttering of hundreds of local newspapers would damage democracy.

    1. Geo

      If only they’d have been stenographers for the push to war in Iraq they could have been millionaires by now. Sadly, they reported the truth and sealed their fate.

      A few years back I wrote an email to the editor of McClatchy thanking him for his work (he was a foreign policy journalist for Knight Ridder in 2002-04) and let him know his commitment to the truth was something I both admired and was inspired by. He wrote back a very gracious email saying it meant a lot hearing that considering how attacked they had been at the time. Truly sad that the ones who get it right on important issues are punished while the liars and idiots are rewarded.

  18. zagonostra

    Below quote from Wolf Street points to the disconnect between those who are relatively well off and stable and those on the margins barely hanging on to the little they have and the desperation that is their lives. Conversations that involve this group of people (“peculiar phenomenon”) have all but disappeared

    But why are consumers willing to borrow at 20% or 30% in the first place? Or even at 16%? These high interest rates almost guarantee that these already strung-out consumers won’t be able to deal with the debt. No one forces consumers to borrow at these rates, but they do. This is a peculiar phenomenon.

    1. Calvin

      IMHO it’s part of the compartmentalization of what were once Americans, into ‘communities’, and ‘victim classes.’

      A nice shiny Mercedes is what it takes to resurrect their public image and they will spend whatever it takes, at any interest level, to obtain it.

      Meanwhile, the smart thrifty people, of any race, class or economic level, drive Japanese cars that they bought used.

    2. eg

      Usury is always with us for a reason

      And I buy used NorAm sedans, because they’re cheaper to buy used (low resale value) and cheaper to repair

  19. Jason Boxman

    Someone sprawled on a blank board at the subway station that his Chinese girlfriend died and he’s going to kill himself. Wonder if it’s true. Or if it’s a sign of what’s to come.

    Never seen anything like it here before but this station in Somerville is tame.

    1. ambrit

      Somerville Mass.? I sort of “knew” that there was a large East Asian population in Massachusetts, but, …I live in the sticks. Here, the main “foreign” population is Central American and Mexican. That said, this “sign” may be a portent. Also, why die? For “love?” For fear of infection? More importantly, what did the girlfriend ‘die’ of?
      Finally, is anyone there putting on a stage version of “Camille Meets Madama Butterfly?”
      Even if the posting you saw is a jape, it points to a certain sensibility that has fully embraced the ethos of “The Decameron.”

  20. JohnnyGL

    Further to our discussion of Bernie’s NH win, and putting it into context. I think this is important.

    We’re in a political world where A) Biden’s electability case is shattered and B) Bernie has yet to convince the democratic base that he’s electable.

    According to an exit poll (usual caveats apply), 7/10 of Amy Klobouchar’s voters seem to have decided to vote for her based on her last debate performance. That’s 45K voters that flocked in her direction on a whim.

    So, I think we need to stop and take stock of what this means.

    1) This group was disproportionately, women, educated, white and older. This seems to be the spitting image of the PMC (Prof Middle Class).
    2) They prioritized electability and seems convinced that Bernie can’t win because he’s too far left.

    We shouldn’t understate the value of a PMC freakout being defeated by Sanders’ very strong ground game. To use a hackneyed term, Bernie has built himself a ‘firewall’ of support, and it held up in NH under a wave of record turnout.

    We should be aware that the ‘electability’ case can only be won by putting up wins on the board. Every time Bernie wins, we move closer to a cascade of voters coalescing around Sanders because he then becomes the ‘electable’ one.

    Also, media talking heads fretting about legions of Bernie’s online supporters can backfire on them, in a sense. It’s implicitly sending the message that Bernie’s got a strong, committed base of support. A ‘firewall’ of support, if you will!!!

    1. CBBB

      Bernie needs to win by bigger margins and many people are voting by what they see on TV a day or two before the election. This is where the Bloomberg advantage comes in.

        1. GF

          A major difference is there are at least 2 honest candidates in this election: Sanders and Gabbard.

          There cannot be bigger margins for the primary winners when there are 10 people running. Once 7 drop out, then the big margins will show. Another difference this election cycle is the billionaire class involvement that will allow scumbags to stay in the race forever suppressing the votes for the righteous.

        1. CBBB

          I don’t know if anyone will care. A lot of +45 year old Democrats care ONLY about winning against Trump. Like Kamakazi pilots, they just want to take him down no matter what.

          1. Grant

            No one will care that a right winger with his record, who endorsed Bush in 2004 and strongly supported the war in Iraq, opposed the minimum wage, has long supported cutting popular social programs, who backed racist and destructive policies years after they were shown to be obvious failures even on their own terms, who was donating to right wing Republicans as of a couple years ago and who is trying to buy an election in a system crumbling because of corruption? People don’t know about his record and are responding to his massive ad buying. It isn’t tons more complex than that. Clinton outspent Trump by a wide margin last time, her past caught up to her. To think that Bernie doesn’t have a mountain of things to attack him on, and to assume that he can go on a debate stage and just sweep it all under the rug is a bit silly. He is already reeling from the Ben Dixon Tweets, and there is a lot coming.

            Did you post before yesterday? I don’t remember seeing you post before, and you have said this in the last two days over and over again. Not only your comments with Bloomberg, but then trying to generalize about what happened in NH, a white, conservative state in a single party’s primary where turnout is a very small percentage of the electorate. You backing anyone, other than Bernie? My guess is yes.

              1. CBBB

                Sorry but I have this feeling, from reading Twitter, etc. this haunting feeling like it’s 2016 and Bloomberg is Trump. In the end no one on the Republican side gave a shit about all the things Trump said. I feel like all these desparate pelting Bloomberg with what he said in the past won’t stop him. The Democrats have been brainwashed by 4 years of MSNBC and just want to beat Trump no matter that they obliterate themselves in the process.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Friendly suggestion: quit the stop and frisk of posters (“Did you post before yesterday?”), you tried it with me yesterday.

              Yves and crew do a very fine job of moderating, best on the web. Suggest you leave it to them.

            2. CBBB

              Look I’m not even American I’m just too emotionally invested in this. But I do think it’s actually vitally important for the world that Bernie becomes President. What I do see is a lot of complacency on the side of the Sanders supporters.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            They don’t actually care about “winning”. They mostly care about being told by their “pundit” friends that everything will be okay.

            They’ve been fine with Democrats not opposing Trump.

            1. CBBB

              These people honestly just care that Trump is off TV. That’s IT. They don’t give a shit if the price of that is turning the US into an episode of Black Mirror under Bloomberg.

          3. lordkoos

            This describes some of my friends and acquaintances perfectly. They think Bloomberg is the only one who can beat Trump.

              1. judy2shoes

                Let me guess…Russian interference? /s

                On a more serious note, I don’t know any dems who can connect the dots.

          4. Pat

            Then the last person they should pick is Bloomberg. His obvious failings in states needed to win the electoral college make him a clear loser.

          5. Lambert Strether

            > A lot of +45 year old Democrats care ONLY about winning against Trump. Like Kamakazi pilots, they just want to take him down no matter what.

            I see this all the time on the Twitter. “We’re fighting Hitler!” They (assuming them not to be part of “co-ordinated inauthentic behavior”) seem to believe it, too. Never mind that Pelosi gave Hitler a brand new space force.

            This is Bitecofer’s theory: Politics as team sports. (Psychologizing, for which I have no credentials, those 45+ Democrats who are PMC are driven by fear; Trump and Putin serve to displace every other fear they have, primarily falling into the proletariat. I also think there is also a strong element of PMC self-regard, too; Trump is an affront to the beliefs they doM have, but whose foundations they cannot examine without severe cognitive dissonance; not sexist, but supports rapist as respected party elder; not racist, but treat maid Maria “like one of the family”; woke, but think the Culinary workers who defied their leadership are going a little too far; etc., etc., etc.()

        2. Deschain

          My hope is that since Bloomberg is really a Republican and not a Democrat, Bernie will be able to take the gloves off and really go after him. He has worked with (and will have to continue to work with) folks like Biden and Klobuchar and Warren, and he understands that to win, he does eventually have to make it one big tent. It’s a tent that doesn’t require Bloomberg, however.

          A divided center lane for a while and then eventually a 1v1 with Bloomberg is probably Bernie’s best shot. Plus if you prove you can beat Bloomberg, it’s hard to argue you can’t beat Trump.

      1. pretzelattack

        bernie now leads in college polling, getting 50%, which is an increase, across demographic groups. i also wonder if he could get some support from yang, and steyer when he drops out.

  21. Michael

    Could Amy be Bernie’s LBJ?
    If the goal is to beat DT…and not elect another billionaire.
    What is politics but compromise

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      We are judging it from the other side, but one could argue LBJ had better politics than JFK…so no.

      Also, LBJ was the master of the senate and a major player. Though he was abusive to staff, he did pass land mark legislation as a Congressman and Senator. Klobuchar goes through staplers. The next VP is likely to be the next President too or at least Democratic nominee in the future. On what planet would Sanders want to hand off his project to the “we can’t have nice things” candidate.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      I’d vote for that ticket. She’s the least objectionable of the centrists.

      That said, the Dems will likely do a number on whoever Sanders picks as VP. That’s another joker for them to play.

    3. John k

      No, absolutely not.
      Tammy Baldwin, progressive senator from Wisconsin, a swing state, is far better and far more likely to be somebody Bernie would pick. (Klobuchar is from Minnesota, hasn’t gone rep since 1972.)
      Granted it can be good to pick somebody that showed support in the primary, such as when Reagan picked bush. But these were two reasonably compatible neolibs. Bernie is the only progressive in the primary.

  22. diptherio

    Re: 1/3 of USians running out of money between paychecks.

    This series of paragraphs is truly bewildering. What editor let this through?

    In order to shield your future from financial threats, Tom Butch, managing director of retail distribution at TD Ameritrade, recently recommended Americans develop a comprehensive financial plan and build an emergency savings fund of three to six months of living expenses.

    That may be easier said than done for those who are routinely running short on cash. Almost half of working Americans surveyed by Salary Finance, 48%, say they don’t have any money specifically set aside for emergencies.

    But having a source of savings can not only save you from getting into high-interest credit card debt or other high-cost loans, it can help your mindset. Those who consistently save experience less financial stress, according to the survey.

    People without money would be better off if they had a savings cushion…but they can’t afford to save because they have no money…but they would be better off if they could.

    Is the thesis of this article actually that people who don’t make enough to save would be better off if they did make enough to save? Just….wow.

    1. inode_buddha

      I run into this kind of thinking all the time among the PMC. They simply cannot imagine not being able to.

      The other day, I said that I will never forget struggling to get by in my crappy $8/hr job in 2001, and the company was bragging about their 401k and wouldn’t I like to join it? My rent at the time was almost 700/mo, you do the math… this was *after* putting myself through school, and a decade of experience.

      That is why the lower classes are “agitated”.

  23. Wukchumni

    McClatchy filed for chapter 11 BK. I guess in theory i’d miss the Fresno & Sacramento Bee newspapers if they got financially raptured, but not really all that much.

    1. Yves Smith

      BK does not mean they die.

      It does mean the McClatchy family is no longer in charge. Chatham, of American Media (National Enquirer) will be calling the shots by virtue of being a big bondholder.

  24. chuck roast

    This is the first paragraph of the WSJ article on credit card debt:

    “Credit-card debt rose to a record in the final quarter of 2019 as Americans spent aggressively amid a strong economy and job market, and the proportion of people seriously behind on their payments increased.”

    I couldn’t read much further because it’s paywalled. My guess is the author, on Yuka Hayashi, will point out that the “strong economy and job market” allows working folk to get a third job without endangering the loss of the first two jobs. He will also opine that “Americans spent aggressively” because many of them are aggressively treading water, and that the number of Americans “seriously behind on their payments increased” because they can’t fit in a fourth job.


    Never mind.

  25. Calvin

    Nicknames for Pete the Cheat?

    Mayo Pete?

    How about
    “A small town mediocrity with a weird pedigree who never served in actual combat and fronted for Military Industrial Intelligence contractors and helped dismantle America’s middle class through his work at McKinsey?”

    They make fun of Trump for getting a million bucks from his rapacious developer father. How about Buttgig’s getting his intellectual formation from his cultural Marxist professor father?

    “In the 20s Lenin challenged theorists to consider how a revolution could be fomented across the West and in other places. More infamous theorists that found “local recipes” for a communist revolution like Mao may have been more “successful” historically, but Gramsci’s analysis – focused on the Christian West – simply took a bit longer to see fruition. In fact, Gramsci’s analysis became the fountainhead of what we today call “postmodernist” theory.”

    Imagine what Trump could do with that in his political ads. The Democrats are at the point of committing political suicide if they let Buttgieg anywhere near the nomination.

    1. jrs

      Of course Pete is not a Marxist, neither is Sanders of course but that’s a different debate. Yea sure they might go with Pete is a hidden Marxist just like Obama was a hidden (not to mention Kenyan!) Marxist.

      It might win some on the right sure, but honestly I wonder how many of them really believe it as opposed to use any stick to beat a Dem. It’s just complete garbage as far as understanding anything.

    2. John k

      No, no… or at least not the dem elites, who far prefer losing to trump than winning with Bernie. Their donors would be so pissed… you’ll never get another dime from me if you can’t keep that sob off the ballot… you have one job…
      I certainly expect Bernie to sweep out the dnc stables if he gets the nom, and said stables expect that, too.
      Thank you so much for your service… how delicious would it be to hear that…

    3. Lambert Strether

      The link to Wikipedia deceptively implies that the quote following is from that source. It isn’t. A quick search reveals the quote is from a site called “Liberty Maniacs,” and there’s not a link to be had in it. So I’m gonna need receipts for all of it, starting with “Gramsci’s analysis became the fountainhead of what we today call ‘postmodernist’ theory.'” I yield to nobody in my loathing for PoMo, but that that claim is just ridiculous. Gramsci is an important and much-contested figure (who died in a fascist jail). Do better!

  26. smoker

    Re: the Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s Lost Notebook book excerpt

    Yet another tech expose book I won’t be reading.

    No attribution to Thiel’s cunning and connections, probably equal in their horrid sociopathy , but likely the more cunning of the too, the author instead

    Totally skips over the enormous assistance he received from the Obama Administration and hops right to RussiaGate. I mean not even a mention of that Obama Facebook Townhall; the Obama Campaigns Facebook Data Scraping (which significantly scraped non Facebook user Data from Facebook users, and therefore did significantly violate privacy) and the White House Bipartisan Revolving Door from pre IPO days?

    Totally skips over who allowed Government entities (Obama, State Legislators, School Boards, etcetera) that non Facebook users rely on to create Facebook pages which may suck up private data from the most vulnerable.

    No mention of the repeated lack of Legislation and punishment regarding repeated privacy violations from Facebook’s inception.

    The author has sickeningly painted Zuckerberg out to be an all omniscient, all powerful and brilliant god of some sort. But he couldn’t have done what he’s done without tons of assistance and support from other horrid persons and entities; much like megalomaniacal sociopath billionaires: Gates, Ellison, Jobs, Bezos, Thiel, Musk, Brin, Page, etcetera, Zuckerberg had a formidable amount of ‘help,’ along with being born into class privilege, to imply otherwise is a lie.

    I’m absolutely positive there are thousands of homeless – and belated homeless – with minds far brighter than any of the above named. Their apparent downfall being – having a moral compass that all of the above named totally lack.

  27. rd

    Re: wildfires

    “Indigenous people knew the art of forest management but much of that knowledge has been lost. Martin Kealy, a chartered fire consultant and managing director of MKA Fire, says: “It’s an art that would have been practised for thousands of years but when the Brits came and took over Australia, that knowledge was lost. The same happened in the US.

    “These wildfires have been going on for hundreds if not thousands of years. It’s not something new and these fires will continue for hundreds or thousands of years – we just need to manage the land,” he said.”

    Modern grasslands and forests evolved with modern humans. The retreat of the glaciers coincided with the final stages of Homo sapiens evolution and so the change in the ecosystems that coincided with that massive climate change co-evolved with modern humans who learned how to manage the grasslands and woodlands as they developed and spread into various areas. This also coincided with the extinction of many large herbivores and predators, some of which were probably greatly assisted along the extinction pathway by pre-historic humans.

    So much of the grassland and woodland “maintenance” was being done by indigenous people setting fires to maintain the environment that they wanted. The upper Midwest prairies were windblown loess steppes or glacial lakes 20,000 years ago. The grasslands that the first European settlers encountered had co-evolved with the indigenous people who had come to the Americas over the previous 10-20,0000 years. Native Americans deliberately burning forests and grasslands was documented in detail by the first Europeans in the 1500s and 1600s.

    Here is a good visualization of the evolution of vegetation in North America over the past 21,000 years. The same pattern existed pretty much everywhere else on the planet due to the major global climate shifts.

  28. Oregoncharles

    From the Pepe Escobar article: “It should be in 2021 that all those corridors and axes of continental development pick up speed across Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean, Central Asia, Southwest Asia, Russia and Europe, in parallel with the Maritime Silk Road”.

    More globalization, with “Chinese characteristics.” He dismisses Covid-19 as a problem, but, on top of SARS, it actually suggests that high-speed connections like the above might not be a good idea. Of course, that’s just as true of the American version. China, for reasons that aren’t going away soon, turns out to be an Incubator to the World. No, it isn’t the only one, but it turns out to be an effective one.

    And is it really a good idea for all those countries to tie themselves so closely to the Chinese Empire? They might want to ask the Uighurs and Tibetans about that. For all its faults, the US is farther away.

    1. Lambert Strether

      > China, for reasons that aren’t going away soon, turns out to be an Incubator to the World

      It would be interesting to know if the original Silk Road had similar effects, albeit slower. I would bet yes.

  29. KFritz

    Antidote looks like a cross between a goldfinch and a kingfisher? It’s not a meadowlark, as far as I can tell

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