Links 4/23/18

International Business Times

New York Review of Books

TLS Posting this b/c I’m a big Patrick Leigh Fermor fan, and I suspect there are others among the commentariat.

Racked

Seeking Alpha (The Rev Kev)

Retail Dive Not news I like to see.

SCMP

RT (The Rev Kev)

Ars Technica

Class Warfare

WSJ

WaPo

Financial Review (UserFriendly)

BBC

(UserFriendly):

This will be a fun conversation.

— Stephanie Kelton (@StephanieKelton)

BBC

Motherboard

Climate Liability News

WaPo

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Buzz (David L)

Police State Watch

AlterNet

Facebook Fracas

Foreign Policy in Focus

Der Spiegel. Part one of two. .

Guardian

North Korea

Vineyard of the Saker

Brexit

EUReferendum.com

The Wire

India

WSJ

 The Real News Network (UserFriendly)

FT

Scroll.in

Quartz

China?

Handelsblatt

Stars and Stripes

Asia Times (The Rev Kev).Just happen to be reading a mystery– Michael Dibdin’s A Long Finish– and wine is a big part of it.

Pepe Escobar

Syraqistan

Al Jazeera

LA Times

Health Care

Stat. Stay away from hospitals! Teaching or otherwise.

Daily Yonder

Independent

Gunz

Politico

Hill. She’s like the Energizer bunny: keeps on going.

American Conservative

Trump Transition

Politico

Counterpunch

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

166 comments

  1. Jesper

    About the decline in smartphone sales:
    The increasing use of power-banks for phones and tablets might explain some of it. My smartphone is now three years old, the one and only reason why I’ve considered replacing it is due to the battery getting old. But the choice for me was between a power-bank (external battery) for a couple of euros or paying hundreds of euros for a new phone. Since I don’t need any more features than extended battery life the choice for me is to keep my smartphone and use a power-bank (if/when needed)

    1. mle detroit

      And when the battery is well and truly dead, get a new battery. $45 (for a Samsung Galaxy 4) at Batteries+ two weeks ago.

      1. Marley's dad

        The Galaxy 6 and beyond do not have replaceable batteries. Ditto for the LG V30 and maybe earlier versions of the LG.

        1. perpetualWAR

          You can still get Galaxy’s that have replaceable batteries. I just did. That was a requirement, in fact!

    2. Kurt Sperry

      I am reading this on a no-name android phone I paid 50 euro for. It has a quad core processer, 2 gigs of physical memory, a big hurking replaceable battery that lasts forever, three SIM slots and generally works exactly the same as a flagship phone costing 10x more. I know, I know, the NC consensus is that these things are evil incarnate but having the internet in my pocket almost anywhere and any time is just too valuable for me to refuse.

    3. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

      Chinese smartphones at the PK (is it still called the PK?)

      Never having been to a US military base I can only form an opinion from what I have read. Selling something which is a potential hazard to health is all part of the deal at the PK and sugar-licious down-home fast-food abounds.

      Milo Minderbinder would be proud (Egyptian cotton dipped in chocolate anyone?).

      This article reminds me of a wide-ranging conversation I had with a retired Pentagon officer last year in Germany. As a few beers took hold, I cheekily posited that having seen the way things have panned out, Richard Nixon seems to have been an agent for China. From his cheery response I took it that this possibility was not news to him.

      Pip-Pip!

        1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

          Thanks Kurt.

          I must have been disengaged from US politics back in those particular years.

          Same-same but different as the Thais say. Who is really running the joint?

          Pip-Pip

          1. Waking Up

            “The party has won by running charismatic people against Republican cornflake candidates (see Clinton v. Bush I or Dole, or Obama v. McCain or Romney). Yet whenever Democrats find themselves squaring off against a faux-populist who plays to voters’ base instincts, the party always make the same move: running a wonky technocrat with an impressive resume, detailed policy proposals, and little else.”

            “Does it succeed in drawing a sharp contrast? Pretty much always. Does it succeed at winning the White House? Pretty much never: Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, and now Clinton.”

            That makes a pretty clear case of “one party, two wings”.

      1. ewmayer

        Possibly you conflated the 2 Mil-cronyms PX (post exchange) and KP (kitchen police)?

        [Or mayhap you were subconsciously thinking of NC reader PlutoniumKun?]

    4. Arizona Slim

      My smartphone is another one of those three-year-olds. But the darn thing keeps working. So, I’m gonna keep using it.

      So there, smartphone makers!

    5. none

      You can replace phone batteries or get them replaced at repair shops. I would never buy an iphone but it’s actually pretty easy to replace the battery (just open the phone with a torx screwdriver and do the swap). With some other phones it’s harder but it’s just about always doable. See ifixit.com for info about specific phones.

    1. RabidGandhi

      Yes, it is remarkable that MMT can now be mentioned in polite society. The fact that “serious people” like Blanchard are even entering into the conversation is a huge win. Previously MMT could only be whispered in back alleys like UMKC and written off as conspiracy theory, but it is now at least possible to mention the words– along with other heretofore verbotten phrases such as “Socialism”, “99%-1%”, “Bring Home Troops” and even (on some occasions) “Palestinians”.

      If it weren’t for the whole impending nuclear war and climate disaster thing, I might even be optimistic about the future.

    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      Agree. Good to see. Luv the location of Stephanie Kelton’s “fun conversation” on the Las Vegas strip this week. Debt, or control over federal debt, evidently matters to the Mnuchin Treasury and the members of the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee since they reportedly have already applied MMT to set up and fund a $500 Billion federal cash contingency reserve fund. Besides reducing congressional power through reduced congressional control over the purse strings, questions have arisen about the public purposes to which those funds might indirectly have already been used, including material support of stock market prices through the primary dealers:

      But there is the small matter of implications for MMT policy of emergent price inflation which, not coincidentally IMO, is rising with rising interest rates and the increasing price of oil ahead of the Saudi Aramco IPO.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Time for a consult with Dr. Haygood…

        So glad that economists, even “good ones,” can have a “fun conversation” about giant global issues that rule the lives of billions… All up there at that higher level… Though Kelton’s remark was likely intended to be Ironic (I hope.)

      2. DanB

        AS MMT is a conceptual tool or reflects a state of affairs, the mainstream acknowledging it may portend malevolence and dissembling galore that will soon emanate from government and Wall St. Nevertheless, it is good to see MMTers gaining a bigger stage for expression of their views.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    How China’s winemakers succeeded (without stealing) Asia Times (The Rev Kev).Just happen to be reading a mystery– Michael Dibdin’s A Long Finish– and wine is a bit part of it.

    Colour me sceptical. . In theory that wine is bottled and sold from its origin, but (I can’t find the link now), those who have dug into the figures think its most likely that its blended on a huge scale with the generally horrible local wines to make them more drinkable and avoid duties. I’m no expert on viticulture, but from what I know there are very few places in Asia with a suitable climate for quality grapes.

    1. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, PK.

      I agree.

      I was in the Bordelais last September and was told the same by a Chinese woman at Margaux, hence many estates there and in Burgundy going to Chinese buyers.

      On a similar note, there were many Chinese racegoers at Longchamp a fortnight ago, expressing interest in buying horses.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Your friend, a certain enobled Magan is 20 million euro richer having sold his modest pile with 150 acres not far from a major horse centre. Its reported here he gave more than a small hand to some of the prominent Brexiters in the cabinet, I wonder if the two are connected. It did occur to me that the house and lands are perfect for a breeder. Maybe the Chinese are investing in grass as well as the horses.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you, PK.

          From the link you provided, the house looks elegant and is well located.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I am assured by someone I know who had professional reasons to visit it, that it is indeed magnificent. It was well chosen for someone who likes his privacy – it is hardly mentioned in any architecture books or official sources despite being one of the finer Palladian houses in these islands as previous owners were unwilling to allow access to surveyors. It was though, once owned by a well known chancer, the self styled Baron de Breffny (who was actually the son of a London cab driver)

            Apparently it was restored with impeccable taste (not something you can say for many ‘restoration’ jobs from the nouveau, or even demi-nouveau riche). It only reached public notice as there was a quite obviously expensive marketing job done on it. And it worked, nobody quite expected for it to go for that much money. Given the location, I strongly suspect an equine connection to whoever paid for it.

    2. kgw

      Being a oueno, I came across a recent story in a wine industry newsletter that appeared in my email, of a Bordeaux producer caught doing the same thing! One of the reasons I get 90% of my wine from a trusted source, namely, Kermit Lynch.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, KGW.

        Out of interest, do you or any members of the NC community recommend a cognac house for visiting? I am going to La Rochelle for the middle fortnight of September.

        1. kgw

          Colonel Smithers,

          I am on the southern coast of California, but here are suggestions garnered from research:

          Bar Luciole, 14 Place du Solencon, 16100, Cognac, France. This looks to be 40-48 km from La Rochelle.

          Cognacs:
          Paul Beau: The Beau family is one of the oldest artisanal cognac distillers in Segonzac, the heart of Cognac’s first growth, known as the Grande Champagne region. Their master distiller, Olivier Laurichesse, produces their cognacs without additives in the absolute best way possible.

          Guillon Painturaud: The Painturaud family owns 18 hectares of Ugni Blanc located in one plot around the farm they have been living in since 1610. The distillation know-how has been passed from generation to generation, with Line Guillon Painturaud now running the family business.

          Navarre: Jacky Navarre is one of the last purists among the artisan Cognac distillers and he’s on the verge of becoming a cult icon. He takes care of his small Grande Champagne estate with a very basic rule, “Let nature do (most of) the work.” Jacky distills on the lees to add complexity of flavor. His cognacs see no sugar or caramel coloring. And no water. These products are in the purest form there is.

          Please, enjoy yourself!

        2. ArArAt

          Go to Armenia instead. The 25 years Ararat cognac (called cognac in Russian) is just wonderful.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Me too. And you probably saw that Philip Kerr died late last month. So no more Bernie Gunther– although I’ve yet to read the latest instalment– which came out this month, and the last is with the publisher and due out next year.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I only quite recently discovered Leigh Fermor, I read through some of his books aghast at the sheer quality of his writing. He lived quite a life, they don’t make them like that anymore.

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          Not least for that incredible — and successful– operation to kidnap General Kreipe, the German commander on Crete, and spirit him away to Egypt. The film Ill Met By Moonlight told that story, with Dirk Bogarde playing Fermor– one of the rare cases where the actor wasn’t nearly as handsome as the original.

          And the writing: stunning. I’ve read each of his books, some several times.

          1. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you, JLS and PK.

            You may be interested in .

            If you do visit, perhaps the UK / London based NC community would be interested in evening drinks.

            1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

              I would love to attend. And although I expect to be passing through the UK sometime this summer, alas, I expect that won’t be until after this exhibition has closed. But the suggestion of evening drinks sounds intriguing– I’ll follow up on that once I know my plans.

          2. Synapsid

            Jerri-Lynn Scofield,

            If you haven’t read In Tearing Haste (I think I’ve got that right) I’d recommend you look at it. It’s the correspondence between Leigh Fermor and the Duchess of Devonshire.

            They are two people I’d like to have known.

            1. Colonel Smithers

              Thank you.

              The Duchess, Debo(rah) Mitford, was a great friend of Labour politician Roy Hattersley. He wrote extensively about her and Chatsworth.

        2. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

          Re Leigh Fermor;

          His ‘Time of Gifts’ reminds me of ‘Beyond Nab Hill’ by William Woodruff.

          Woodruff was a working-class boy (from up north) in the 1930’s who went to Oxford university through the good offices of the Greater London Council. As part of his informal education during his Oxford vacations he was in Germany during the pivotal years.

      2. pretzelattack

        yes, i first saw the news of his death here. i’m glad there are a couple more books coming out; i’ll feel sad reading them, though.

  3. Don Midwest USA

    China’s influence in Asia with a focus on Australia

    The second link discusses the book by the Australian public intellectual Clive Hamilton. In addition, he will be in DC for a conference on April 30, 2018. From the conference announcement

    Clive Hamilton’s controversial new book, Silent Invasion: China’s Influence in Australia, almost went unpublished after three publishers pulled out citing fears of reprisals from Beijing. His warning that the Chinese Communist Party is engaged in a systematic campaign to exert political influence in Australia seemed vindicated before the book appeared. Published in February, Silent Invasion quickly became a best-seller and is being read in countries around the world that face a similar threat from a rising China under an increasingly authoritarian state.

    Clive will explain the CCP’s influence and interference operations in Australia, the structure of its overseas influence network, and the techniques it uses. Australia’s elites are the target of sophisticated influence operations, and parts of the large Chinese-Australian diaspora have been mobilised to buy access to politicians, limit academic freedom, intimidate critics, collect information for Chinese intelligence agencies, and protest in the streets against Australian government policy.

    He will comment on how ill-prepared Western democracies are to face the new kind of power China represents and how Australia is beginning to push back through new laws and heightened awareness.

    He is part of a panel discussion sponsored by Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments scheduled from 11:30 to 1.

    More on Clive from the announcement

    Clive Hamilton is an Australian public intellectual and author. He founded, and for 14 years directed, Australia’s leading progressive think tank, the Australia Institute. He has held visiting academic appointments at Yale University, the University of Oxford and Sciences Po in Paris. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, Scientific American and Nature. He is professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University in Canberr

    1. The Rev Kev

      I believe that what Clive Hamilton says is true. However, as far as I know, the Chinese have never organized a coup in Australia which is more than can be said for what happened to Gough Whitlam in 1975.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We have to remember that Rome was not built in one day.

        Secondly, it may not be their preferred way, if money can do the job. In fact, any country familiar with Dao De Jing and the Art of War will probably want to have multiple options, including the ‘meek shall inherit, shall prevail option’ – from chapter 78, Dao De Jing:

        Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water. Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better; It has no equal. The weak can overcome the strong; The supple can overcome the stiff. Under heaven everyone knows this, Yet no one puts it into practice

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      parts of the large Chinese-Australian diaspora have been mobilised to buy access to politicians

      This needs documentation.

      Parts – how many?

      People should be presumed innocent.

      On the other hand, where is that list of Chinese oligarchs? Are they kinder than Russian oligarchs or Australian oligarchs?

      One such oligarch is with the corporation mentioned in the story quoted below by allan. The oligarch also owns, I believe, the paper, South China Morning Post, which claims, a while back, that the trade war was over, and China won. (Probably based, partly, on the strength displayed by Alibaba to the American corporations mentioned in the article).

    3. ewmayer

      For readers interested in the cooption-of-western-academics aspect of this long-running CCP campaign, I suggest doing a websearch for “Confucius Institute”.

      1. Procopius

        If they want to keep a balanced perspective it probably would be a good idea to brush up on the United States Information Agency (aka United States Information Service) and look up the old articles on the CIA paying “journalists” and funding “cultural” associations and student groups. Actually, I miss the USIA. They funded a wonderful library in Bangkok. I no longer live in Bangkok, so I don’t know if it’s still operating, along with the excellent high level English language school they created. I know they had funding difficulties after Congress closed down the USIA, which really was too often a front for the CIA.

        1. bob

          No way.

          “with a black head and neck, white cheeks, white under its chin, and a brown body.”

          Maybe this-

          1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

            I retract my bone-headed call– and will admit I was relying on the obviously wrong caption rather than looking at the birds themselves. Mea culpa! I’m usually not so sloppy, especially w/ bird ID.

            While I’ll concede they’re definitely not Canadian geese, I need to study your picture carefully before I’ll venture another suggestion. Thanks!

            1. Edward E

              I’d say Bob is probably correct. Just that the geese in the photo are a little browner than most greylags. The tail is basically the same, see greylags in flight here.

              1. kgw

                Saw some of these, or their very close relatives, on an empty grass area last time I was in Death Valley National Park…

            2. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

              Bird Identification:

              I have a birding friend who says that If he ever saw anything remotely rare or vagrant he would not say a word to anyone in the birding community because of the derision that would be heaped upon him.
              Birders can be trolls par-excellence.

              Photographic evidence with embedded GPS data is the way to go.

              Pip Pip

                  1. Edward E

                    This is a yellow dove. The other one I don’t know, still driving me bogazeetee… you know

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                That seems rather different than the approach taken by birders in America.
                (I used to be a birder).

                As junior birders gain more respect for their observation and identification abilities by the senior birders, the post-junior birders feel tentatively confident
                to announce the sighting of something rare somewhere if they feel very sure they can defend their identification by description and analysis. The senior birders will interrogate them on their sighting. If the senior birders feel provisionally satisfied, a few or a couple of them may go out to see if the rare bird can be found. If it can be, they tell the others.

                If a rising junior birder achieves a good rate of reported rare birds being found and corroborated, the rising junior birder gains respect and honor and becomes a mid birder. Enough years and enough good tips and the mid-birder eventually becomes a senior birder.

                At least that was my experience decades ago.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    iPhone X is dead as consumers turn their backs on pricey smartphones – analyst RT (The Rev Kev)

    Not altogether surprising, it was inevitable that smartphones would lose their cachet and just become commodity bought according to value. There will always be people who want the newest and glossiest version, but they are a minority. I’ve noticed that in the past 2 years my most techy friends and relatives have migrated from Apple and Samsung to almost identical but much cheaper Chinese copies like Xiaomi.

    The only regret I think from seeing Apple stall is that it means Google will now become even more dominant in its control of worldwide data.

    1. Pavel

      I was just reading a thread over at TeslaMotorsClub.com. Apparently a new Model 3 reservation-holder is about to receive his car and says he doesn’t have a smartphone and asks if there are alternatives. (It seems the M3 unlike the pricier Teslas doesn’t come with a “key fob” to open the doors and start the car, so one must have a smartphone device.)

      Apart from adding a mad new level of technological tyranny to cars (the software in them is already complete vendor-specific and long gone are the days when one could repair a car on one’s own), several posters said that they have cheap Android smartphones bought for $70 on Amazon. They are just a commodity now and the top level Samsungs have as many or more features as the iPhone. (I would never use Android as it is less secure than iOS but that’s another matter.) In any case Apple should be reducing iPhone prices rather than pushing them higher.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, I think Apple are in danger of being stuck between two stools – too common to go for upmarket cachet (and very high profit margins), while unwilling to compete on price with the clones. With the X and those exclusive Apple watches they obviously tried for the Louis Vuitton/BMW road, and it seems to have failed. They may try to be the VW/Honda of phones instead – a little more cachet, for just a little more money. But I suspect they will find they have little choice but to start producing much cheaper phones (I’ve noticed that the prices of the 5SE and 6 are going down) to protect iOS. There is a real danger that Android phones could end up with a complete monopoly, thats in nobodies interest.

      2. Altandmain

        What if your battery is dead on your phone and you need to open up your car door?

        This is ridiculous design.

        1. RMO

          My Nissan, which cost a lot less than a Model 3 let alone a Model S came with a key fob. The fob has buttons for door and trunk lock/unlock, it acts as a proximity key so that when you’re at the doors or trunk with the fob in your pocket or bag a push on the door button unlocks that door and if the battery fails a metal key slides out of the fob and can be used to unlock the doors in the “old fashioned” way. Oh, and if the fob battery is dead you insert it in a slot in the dash and the car scans it allowing you to start up with the push button on the dash. This car is the product of a mediocre, mainstream manufacturer and one wonders that the geniuses at Tesla can’t figure out stuff like this. I think it’s because Tesla culture is heavily Silicon Valley and coding focused and they don’t really respect the hardware engineering and production people. I’m pretty sure the standard response to anyone who doesn’t like the need to use a smartphone to drive their car will be ruthlessly mocked for being primitive troglodytes. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t hate Tesla. I have a (much wealthier friend) who owns an early Model S. It’s been a good car for him and I give them credit for making electric vehicles more desirable but they sure do some mightily dumb (and some just plain bad) things.

          1. JTMcPhee

            I wasted the time to send Musk a letter asking him why, since the world’s highways and byways are rough and will be getting rougher, he does not set his engineers to designing something that would actually be material-conserving and energy-conserving and suitable for the bumpy road of the future. Assuming he is planning to still be on this planet, not off like on Mars or something (where the same design might be appropriate.)

            Something like a dune buggy style, with a race-car “space frame” (note the “space tie -in”? Cute, eh?) and rare-earth electric motors in each wheel and some latest-tech batteries and solar panels of course, with comfy sling seats and lots of comfort adjustments and a heads-up display and a body made of hemp fabric. Something light and agile, with tough tires and wheels and a long-travel suspension for negotiating the potholes and refuse piles of the future… And it could be made cheap, and priced high because it was cool, if Rocket MAn has not wasted his charisma and cachet on neoliberal nonsense…

        2. JTMcPhee

          Use that little tool you can buy on the internet that has a special pointed hammer thingy part that you can use to break a window! The tool also has a slasher blade to let you escape from an uncooperative seatbelt! and a little compass in the handle, problem solved…

    2. The Rev Kev

      “it was inevitable that smartphones would lose their cachet and just become commodity bought according to value”

      You mean like this?
      “Excuse me, I’m looking to get a new smartphone.”
      “Certainly sir. They are over there – right between the electric toasters and the microwave ovens”

      1. Altandmain

        I wonder if Silicon Valley is starting to lose its lustre due in part to the end of Moore’s Law.

        The incremental improvements in the latest version of phones has been in decline for a while now.

        Certainly this generation of startups seems to be lacklustre. Uber, Lyft, and other ride sharing companies are losing money. Tesla is too and Elon Musk may not be able to turn it around.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I don’t know about the end of Moore’s law. I’m reminded of something I want to attribute to Bill Gates from around 10 years ago (maybe not that long) where he noted much of what we do on computers at least the consumer driven market has topped out due to programming constraints on the soft ware and user side. Its kind of like a bullet train for much of the I-95 corridor. It doesn’t make sense given the need for stops, or the need for traffic between Boston and Washington is very small. I cant remember when it was (my guess is Skyrim’s release), but video game consoles met the late 90’s of PC game potential around 2012. My little sister said she observed the recent release of Madden and thought it was creepy and clunky compared to 00’s releases of the game just to stick faces behind helmets.

          If the process is instantaneous for all intents and purposes, it doesn’t matter what the speed is. I need a better phone, but I cling to my phones like the gun nuts promise to cling to their bizarre interpretations of the 2nd Ammendment. Besides, I would just drop my new phone. Even if Moore’s law was still in effect, would Clippy be less annoying or more annoying?

          1. Adrienne

            Moore’s “law” (which never really was a law, just a prediction) is indeed dead—and good riddance to it. It’s been misused by non-technical people and journalists to hype technological progress all beyond reality. So we get people convinced, for example, that batteries will improve “exponentially” and other such nonsense.

            Making stuff is hard, technological progress is difficult, and most new ideas fail. Physics, y’all!

    3. Duke of Prunes

      In my world, it is only the hard-core techies that like their rooted Chinese Android phones, but those more focused on “I just want something that works” are ditching Android (after many ditched Apple around the 5 because they wanted bigger screens and more features). Apple is perceived as less buggy. Although, watching my wife’s iPhone8, it seems like Apple is doing everything it can to create equally bad software. I started with Android about 3 yrs ago and couldn’t believe the instability that was acceptable to the Android crowd (I came from Windows Mobile – never thought Windows would be more stable, but it was). These are not casual users, but people whose livelihood depends on their phones (work in the field). I definitely agree that the “typical” user is probably not buying the X…

    4. David

      There have been a number silly stories like this, based on an analyst’s report, based in turn on rumours and insider gossip. Most of the technical press gave the story a good kicking – for example. Apple has a policy of bringing out new models every year, and the X, a deliberately high-end product which, according to Cook was the best-selling iPhone model of the last quarter, will be discontinued in favour of something else. Yes, the X will be dead one day, just like the iPhone 3, the white plastic MacBook ….

  5. Wukchumni

    California’s Trees Are Dying At A Catastrophic Rate Buzz (David L)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Back from a sweet little backpack trip to the South Fork of the Kern River and a perfect game, in that our group of 4 didn’t see another human bean for 3 days…

    The oddest thing with all of the trees expiring in the dead zone of the Sierra Nevada (4,000 to 7,500 feet) is the idea of just how many new fruit and nut trees were planted during the drought. We took Hwy 65 home, and hadn’t been that way in about 5 years, and i’d guestimate there were 100,000 new trees in the ground, versus the last time we were there. This is on account most likely of the pending groundwater legislation coming in 2020, the thought being that if you have trees in the ground, they’ll be grandfathered in under the new aegis.

    Around our community @ 7,000 feet in the higher climes, about 60 trees have died in the past few years in close proximity to our cabins, some of them being quite pricey to bring down (the most expensive i’m aware of was $5k, thousand dollar trees being a dime a dozen) and i’ve seen a 400 year old tree that was very much alive one day, be dead as a doornail a week later, on account of the bark beetles compromising the tree’s vascular ability to transport water to the upper parts.

    The biggest problem our community has faced in getting the newlydeads cut down?

    Professional loggers can make big bickies working major wildfires during the summer, were talking $100 a tree, no matter the size and a competent cutter can take down 50 to 100 a day real easy, versus 3 guys bringing down 1 tree too close to a cabin or cabins for $1500, which also includes swamping the branches & bucking it up into rounds, whereas when they’re working a wildfire, all they have to do it cut them down and they’re done.

    As a result, they aren’t all that interested in our ‘little jobs’.

    1. perpetualWAR

      In Seattle, the birch trees are dying from some sort of bug.

      And I have a friend in KY who stated that there are trees in KY dying from some sort of beetle too.

      I think its tragic what’s happening. Looks like it’s a precursor of what is going to happen to humans.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Won’t be happening to the humans who have set up the precursor political economy and the ones who are running it now — they will be either comfortably dead and beyond retribution or restitution, or off to their protected paradise islands and, worst case, comfortable bunkers…

        1. The Rev Kev

          I think that a good question is that as these trees die off, what types of trees will come along naturally to replace them? The ecological niche is there.

          1. Wukchumni

            Mostly, formerly upright standing members of the community will be replaced by low lying scrub brush, such as chamise & chinquapin. Not quite the previous look of the forest for the trees, but that’s whats coming.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Brexit: from muddle to Pulitzer-level stupidity EUReferendum.com

    North is beginning to remind me of those people who supported the Iraq invasion, but exclaimed afterwards in despair ‘but I didn’t think they’d be so incompetent!’ His favoured alternative – EFTA and EEA has its own issues, not least that the existing members have said quite clearly they are not entirely enthusiastic about greeting the EU as a member as it would significantly change the power dynamics. Just as with the invasion of Iraq, had Brexit been managed competently, it would be significantly less damaging, but that doesn’t mean it would have been a good idea.

    1. BillK

      I doubt whether many Brexit supporters thought that Brexit would be a “good” idea. More like it was the “least worse” of many bad choices. Mass immigration had to be controlled else the UK would end up with foreign no-go zones and rising crime rates like parts of Sweden and Germany. Yes, the economy would be greatly changed / disturbed and parts would be worse off. But maybe some parts would be better. It would hurt, but it had to be done.

      1. Indrid Cold

        The UK has had a mass immigration going way back. After WW2, despite their being no shortage of home grown labor, they started importing huge amounts of people from commonwealth and colonies. Maybe to reduce upward wage pressure as Fabian socialism had finally started paying dividends and things like the NHS started coming into being. Now Britain has no shortage of maniacs calling for Caliphate in Britain and other issues that the BBC will no report and if someone else mentions it on the net then it’s a “hate crime” . Most people of south Asian extraction probably just want to get about their business and get along, I imagine, but intelligence agencies love using gangs of fanatics as cats paws and recruiting pools for subversion overseas.

        1. Wukchumni

          We came home to some pretty pissed off members of the catiphate, and a collection of beheaded beasties in their wake on the back patio, oh the gopher-annity!

        2. icancho

          on the other hand … we might look at such as this ethnicity map of UK to realize that, apart from a few points of concentration, UK is still overwhelmingly “white”:

          (same goes for USA: a useful antidote to those worried about “losing their country”):

          1. The Rev Kev

            Funny thing about the areas of the UK that are still overwhelmingly “white”. Somebody did a bit of checking and found that those who were the biggest advocates of mass emigration into the UK – like J. K. Rowling – also happened to live in some of the “whitest” postal codes of the UK. It was almost like they know that bringing in all those extra emigrants would never effect them. Funny how that worked out.

    2. johnnygl

      Re: Iraq War

      Well, i was against it and even I didn’t think they’d be THAT incompetent. Then, I thought it was just W’s crew. Then i realized it was the entire political class. Then i realized it was our entire ruling class. Then, i looked at history a bit more closely and realized they’ve often been pretty bad in the past, too, though they’ve definitely stepped up the awfulness and the stupidity.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, JGL.

        You are spot on when you say that they have stepped up their awfulness and stupidity. My parents and I have had dealings with Whitehall, and me with Brussels, from 1970 to the present and despair.

        My parents began their government service with people who had served in WW2. Once these disappeared, from the mid-1980s, the spivs took over everywhere, especially the ones called Thatcher’s children in the UK.

        1. JohnnyGL

          Yeah, here in the USA, we figured we could improve on what you had going by making 3 major branches of government instead of just Parliament.

          Because they can’t ALL fail simultaneously, right?

          Oh yes….they can….

        2. mle detroit

          You’ve used ‘spiv’ a lot in the last few days, so I finally had to look it up. The definition is a perfect fit for our own Yes Donald in the WH. Thanks!

          1. Jim Haygood

            Many of us learnt the word from the unofficial moniker of Britain’s Iraq War prime minister, ‘Tony the Spiv’ BLiar.

            1. Colonel Smithers

              Thank you, MLE Detroit and JH.

              I played a character called Spiv in a school play in 1984. It was a futurist / space age play.

            2. Colonel Smithers

              Thank you, Jim.

              Said Bliar owns two estates / mansions near me in Buckinghamshire. They were acquired by the UK’s blood and treasure.

          2. PlutoniumKun

            The Irish equivalent is ‘cute hoor’, a term now sadly devalued as Heineken likes the phrase so much they gave it to their new IPA.

  7. Pavel

    Re Apple and peak iPhone… I just stumbled on this amusing item over at Macrumors. The Apple Watch pop-up shop at the very classy and expensive Isetan is closing down shortly. It seems that those ludicrous early special edition watches selling for $10-17K didn’t really hold their value:

    MacRumors left out the most interesting nugget in the whole story, imo. From 9to5Mac article: “Earlier this week, Apple held a fire sale for the Apple Watch Edition on the Isetan website, where remaining inventory quickly sold out. The 38mm model was offered for 75,600 yen (just over $700 USD.) Upon its debut in 2015, the Apple Watch Edition was priced from $10,000 to $17,000, depending on the model.”

    Those gold watches had to have been the stupidest design/marketing decision ever made by Apple. (Though not as stupid as the people who bought them.) Of course the software and hardware inside them are completely obsolete and un-upgradable.

    As for the iPhone X, Apple jumped the shark on its pricing. Just when just about everyone has a smartphone and economic times are tight, they thought lots of people would want to spend $1000/£1000/1000€ on a phone that is arguably harder to use (FaceID vs TouchID) and has an ugly notch in the screen?

    1. Wukchumni

      I bought the limited addition Apple watch for $13k, for I had to be one of the first to have one, as it only goes to 11 o’clock.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      As for students buying them, some have traded in BItcoin, and possibly they could afford to buy with the money they have made.

      Since it is possible to buy Bitcoin with student debt, is it more difficult to buy $1,000 phones with that money?

  8. allan

    [AP]

    … As the Trump administration pushes China to play by fair trade rules, companies are caught in a quieter but no less crucial struggle for rules-based access to a $610 billion online marketplace, an AP investigation has found.

    Executives from five major consumer brands told the AP that after they refused to enter exclusive partnerships with Alibaba, traffic to their Tmall storefronts fell, hurting sales. Three are American companies with billions in annual sales that rely on China for growth. …

    The executives spoke to the AP only on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, but their concerns were echoed by a U.S. industry group, brand consultants and policy makers in China and JD.com itself. …

    In its months-long investigation, the AP interviewed more than 30 people and reviewed two contracts from Alibaba that contained previously unreported exclusivity clauses. The AP found that the platforms that control access to Chinese consumers online wield such enormous power that even multibillion-dollar foreign companies can have trouble fighting back. …

    Rapacious capitalism with Chinese characteristics.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Muliibilllion dollar foreign corporations CONTROLS the world.

      At least in the US.

      That means

      1. Alibaba (or China) is savior for those yearning to fight back those multi-billion dollar corporations

      or

      2.. They are even more worrisome.

    2. ewmayer

      Too bad the companies’ execs insisted on anonymity – I’d be very interested what % of their actual goods-production occurs in the US versus elsewhere. But I’m gonna go out on a limb – not – and speculate that the domestic % is miniscule. So they’re gonna make less stuff in Asia, thus hurting profits and – perhaps – C-suite pay & bonuses (since there are few or no domestic low-level epmployees) and reducing the amount of corporate profits they pay little or no tax on due to multinational-corp-written tax loopholes. Boo-fricking-hoo.

  9. Dominated

    EU ambassadors vs OBOR: again show how dominated they are by US interests.
    “sharply criticizes China’s “Silk Road” project, denouncing it as designed to hamper free trade and put Chinese companies at an advantage”
    As if current world order is not about putting US companies at advantage.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I wonder if the Europeans themselves want to do the dominating.

      In that case, not wanting to be dominated via the Silk Road does not have to imply that they are forced by the dominating US.

      1. Anonymous

        Geoengineering is the practice of spraying chemicals into the atmosphere in order
        to effect the local climate. It has been discussed in scientific literature as a means
        to temporarily forestall disastrous climate change impacts. The geoengineering chemicals
        can contain aluminum. It is a reasonable explanation for the rapid increase in soil aluminum
        levels.

        Soil aluminum levels of over 400 ppm are bad for plants and trees.

  10. Wukchumni

    Not all graft is bad…
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Considering the level of poverty in the city, free access to fruit is a fantastic idea. With no means to afford a decent meal, the homelesss would benefit from this. However, guerrilla grafting is actually illegal.

    In many populous areas, urban foresters make it so that the fruit trees don’t grow fruit, in a way to keep fallen fruit from making a mess on sidewalks and attracting animals. Most of the Bay Area fruit trees are fruitless, which guerilla-grafters do not clearly like. City authorities view urban fruit trees as a public annoyance, while agriculture lovers see them as an opportunity to share fruit free for anyone who strolls by.

    According to there social media page on Facebook, “Guerilla Grafters is a grassroots group that sees a missed opportunity for cities to provide a peach or a pear to anyone strolling by. Their objective is to restore sterile city trees into fruit-bearers by grafting branches from fertile trees.”

    1. Arizona Slim

      Here in Tucson, we have ornamental orange trees in our parks and along the streets. You wouldn’t want to eat one of those oranges on a bet. They are BITTER!

      OTOH, I glean them. Why? Because ornamental orange juice, combined with salt, is great for cleaning my copper bottom pots.

      1. Wukchumni

        I was walking a 60 mile stretch of the PCT starting from Big Bear about this time last year with a buddy, and we parked one car off of Interstate 15 near a gas mini mart place as a transfer, and I noticed there were 4 or 5 cherry trees around the periphery of the parking lot loaded with them, and when I took my first bite, oh so bitter.

        Why not Bings, bay-bee?

        Yeah, it’ll take away from junk food sales inside the store, but only for a week, ha!

        1. Eclair

          They may have been a sour cherry variety. These are mainly grown for cooking, canning, pie and preserve making and they are much superior to the sweet cherry varieties, such as the Bing, for these purposes. Sweet cherries tend to get mushy and lose their flavor when they are cooked. A jam made of sour cherries is one of my favorites.

      2. Chris

        We drove through a deserted resort development in Greece in 1988 (campervan, four kids, world tour of Europe). There were orange trees lining the streets, laden with fruit, so we picked a lot.

        Yep, they turned out to be too bitter to eat (probably Sevilles). So we bought a few kilos of sugar, and made some great marmalade.

        When life sends you lemons…

      3. Oregoncharles

        Those may be the type traditionally used for marmalade, which are bitter. You might want to try it, as long as you’re gleaning the fruit anyway.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    How China’s winemakers succeeded (without stealing) Asia Times (The Rev Kev).Just happen to be reading a mystery– Michael Dibdin’s A Long Finish– and wine is a bit part of it.

    1. Paper, printing, gunpowder etc. were first invented in China.

    2. No one is claiming anything about stealing steel making knowledge, but the other day, there was an article with the claim about cheating in selling steel.

    3. Is the question here not about stealing (hopefully they are referring not to stealing bottles of wine, but wine-making knowledge), but cheating (to gain market share)?

    1. allan

      [Decanter]

      Intended for the Chinese market, but you have to wonder how much “Chateau Latour”
      is making its way to the West. A first world problem, for sure.

  12. Wukchumni

    Another mass murderer and a shirtcocker, apparently…

    Definition: A guy at the Burning Man Festival who walks around with a shirt on and no pants, with genitalia exposed.

      1. Wukchumni

        That’ll work too,

        Being a shirtcocker @ Burning Man is a big no-no, and something only newbies not hep to what’s up, do.

        That said, a very small percentage of Burners are nekkid, for the daytime temps tend to be in the 100’s, and like driving a convertible with the top down in the triple digits, it’s no fun being exposed to that much fuego on body parts.

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Data Privacy Is a Human Right. Europe Is Moving Toward Recognizing That. Foreign Policy in Focus

    An animal right also, possibility.

    For example, Big Foot doesn’t want to be found. I believe it’s likely that when it is discovered, it will be the end of Big Foot…either dies right away, or suffers miserably in captivity.

    But humans are arrogant.

    “We are here to study how you animals mate,” he says to a group of ducks….

    I imagine even ducks want privacy.

    (I imagine a lot).

    1. Oregoncharles

      Ducks? From what I’ve seen, not really. Come to think, actual mating may have been in more private areas, but the chase certainly wasn’t.

  14. Wyoming

    Re: Harley-Davidson

    It may be worse than that. They might be doomed.

    Here in central AZ they are ubiquitous. But saying they are ridden by those over 50 is a bit misleading. I am in my mid-60’s and where I live I would be one of the young ones if I was so crazy. In my neighborhood I would guess the average age of Harley owners is closer to 70. And for further evidence of the creeping Alzheimer epidemic I note that about 5% of them are wearing helmets.

    Plus the fact that from a distance they look like as bunch of big Hondas. Harley’s, to someone who came of age in the 60’s are not supposed to look like Honda’s.

    Interesting side note. In 1969 I was in Oakland visiting with an older sister and her husband. He was buddies (don’t ask) with a patched member of the Oakland Hell’s Angels. I was so impressed (youth!) that he got me a ride on the back of a members chopper when a group of 6 of them were going somewhere in town. It was truly an eye opening experience to see large numbers of people in cars moving out of the way just like we were the police!. I have never forgot the less than subtle message in that.

    1. Wukchumni

      Before the moneyed class took over the 1% moniker, the Hells Angels wore it proudly…

      The diamond-shaped one-percenter patch is also used, displaying ‘1%’ in red on a white background with a red merrowed border. The term one-percenter is said to be a response to the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) comment on the Hollister incident, to the effect that 99% of motorcyclists were law-abiding citizens and the last 1% were outlaws. The AMA has no record of such a statement to the press, and calls this story apocryphal.” (Wiki)

    2. Jim Haygood

      Probably they had read Hunter Thompson’s Hells Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga (1967). Most impressive to me as a callow youth was how they earned street cred by wearing one pair of Levis until — thanks to stains of beer, blood, motor oil, urine and semen — the pants would stand up by themselves absent the occupant.

      Mom did not accept this explanation of why doing laundry was unimportant, and indeed, possibly deleterious to one’s reputation. :-(

      1. Wukchumni

        We had the Hells Angels book pretty much an entire motel for the weekend here about 7 years ago, and the coppers got wind of it, and there were 197 bikers and 198 law enforcement in town for a stanza-off.

        It’s normally really Mayberry here as far as law enforcement goes, the one sheriff in town knows all the locals and I occasionally have lunch with him…

        We had cops from every tom dick & harry city canvassing the town, with an elaborate command center set up that screamed a million bucks, and hardly ever used.

        The Hells Angels themselves?

        Seriously, they might’ve been impressive as 24 year olds in 1969, but now a good many are getting SS checks, for they were more akin to the Hecks Angels, and some trailered their choppers in, to give you an idea of what’s what.

      2. Wukchumni

        p.s.

        Back when 501’s were about 4x as thick as the crapified Levi’s they sell today, my mom would have us take a warm bath with a new pair on, so as to form fit them to our body.

        Did anybody else’s mom do that?

        1. Wyoming

          LOL

          We used to take them out in the back yard (which was dirt not grass) and throw them on the ground and hose them down and walk all over them in the mud. And then mom would run them through the washer about 4 times to soften them up. Then they were ‘respectable’ enough to wear. MAGA!!!

          Re: the Angels getting older. The last gang member I know today rides around in an electric scooter chair with an oxygen tank hooked up to him. The days of riding the Hog are long gone. This is not to say, of course, that the Angles are not a substantial organized crime outfit with plenty of young and potentially murderous members – because they are still.

        2. Lunker Walleye

          “Form-fitting” is an interesting idea. Did it work? My depression-era mother would have gasped at filling the bathtub for such a purpose and precipitated a “you are wasting precious water” comment.

          1. Wukchumni

            It worked ok, but it took forever to make them not stiff, and going to school in brand new Levi’s was never as cool as well worn ones, and don’t get me started on bell bottoms…

    3. Eureka Springs

      Agree with all Wyoming said. I’ll add it’s not cool in the rebellious sense when everyone is doing it. Countless thousands of clones fill these hills every weekend. You can’t be a fat dentist by day and an outlaw on a 40k bike on the weekend at the bed and breakfast with lace curtains.

      If I ever buy another bike it will be anything but a Harley. Something which takes me where they can’t go and that I can pick out on my own in a parking lot the rest of the time.

  15. JohnnyGL

    Bernie outdrew CNN at points…seems like a big deal…

    I noticed CNN is taking shots at Youtube now. They must really feel under threat. The narrative has NOT been controlled effectively, especially around Syria.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Yeah, Jimmy Dore got stuck into them in a 30-minute video at about this. He really took them out behind the woodshed on this one.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer challenged over royal commission”

    Yeah, this story needs a bit of context here. In Australia the big four banks and other financial institutes have been getting out of hand with same real criminal behaviour and a Royal Commission was demanded. A Royal Commission is an inquiry where if they ask you to attend, you have to go and any evidence that you give is under oath which means that perjury charges can apply. This is the big guns of inquiries here.
    Our Prime Minister, an ex-banker, resisted until he had no choice and with all the grace of a man giving birth to broken glass, announced “The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry” last December. He was able to set only a 12 month term to this Royal Commission but what has been coming out has been explosive. Stuff like dead people being charged for financial services and mortgage documentation being changed by the banks without the customers knowing about it.
    My guess is that the solicitors will be clearing their calendars for the next decade or so just for all the lawsuits arising. Here is some of the stuff that has been coming out the past three weeks called “‘I’ll be working till I’m 80’: The biggest revelations from the Banking Royal Commission”-

    Could you imagine what such an inquiry would come up if held in London or New York? And they couldn’t stop it?

  17. allan

    [Reuters]

    Drug prices, infrastructure, non-intervention, draining the swamp. All are vaporware or worse.
    And yet Reuters polling also says that (as of April 19) there are still 39% who support the president,
    including 84% of Republicans.

    Two generations of Radio Rwanda on talk radio and Fox have produced a class of Unreachables.
    Amplified by design choices of the founders who couldn’t see 230 years in the future, Jim Crow,
    gerrymandering and Citizens United, this country has become ungovernable,
    and it’s hard to see a way out.

    1. Eureka Springs

      84 percent of Republicans is not much. Considering Republicans who voted for Trump were about 26 percent of the electorate. He’s down to what 17 percent of the electorate now? This is only disappointing because TINA of the collective psyche remains and the so-called alternative – D’s for disastrously determined to remain dismal.

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      Of course 84% of Republicans support Trump—he’s their means of enacting the agenda of total cutting of both federal government and Constitution the plutocrats have slavered over for, well, pretty much 1789. In other words, he’s doing exactly what he’s supposed to do, and the corporate media and Third-Way Dems are collaborating by ensuring the attention of the bulk of the population is firmly focused on the Oval Office.

      Any report on any political poll that is written in such a way as to express shock or confusion over why people still support Trump without pointing out that fact is contributive propaganda. It simply continues to ensure no one pays attention to the crooks behind the curtain who are doing the real damage.

    3. Oregoncharles

      What’s 84% of 22%? Because that’s how many will admit to being Republicans in a poll.

      Of course, far more than that voted for Trump, including som e of our friends here.

  18. Kevin

    GOP Split on Guns vs. Banks

    “Major banks are cutting off business with the gun industry, roiling Republicans who want to respect the financial decisions of private institutions while still showing their unyielding support of the Second Amendment.”

    Translation:
    “Major banks are cutting off business with the gun industry, presenting a dilemma for Republicans who want to keep bank money rolling in while at the same time not losing NRA money.

    my money is the banks wining this one.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      People don’t rub banks with guns as much as (or perhaps not as effectively as) they used to.

      It’s more profitable to do it from inside an office building. Unconsciously, though, banks still fear guns.

      1. Wukchumni

        I was in a bank when it got robbed takeover style 25 years ago, with 3 all clad in black running through the lobby, one vaulting a teller counter, guns raised high.

        It was one of those moments in my life when things have gone really slow motion, as my mind sensed danger. Another time was when I fell out of the raft coming into a Class 4 rapid and big rocks were approaching fast, but again, it was as if time stood still.

        Back to the bank robbery, their take was $800 and they got caught about a mile down the road on the 60 freeway.

        Why’d they get caught so quick?

        One of the people in line waiting to see a teller was an off duty cop, and he looked into the parking lot as the bank robbery was in process, and one car was backed into a parking spot right in front of the bank, and nobody does that, right?

    2. JBird

      my money is the banks wining this one.

      One should be careful of what to wish for.

      The Federal government at the behest of the the political parties and their supporters have increasingly been using financial institutions to control, or eliminate, what is deemed unacceptable. Pot, porn, the sex industry, certain charities, whatever is the deplorable du jour of the moment like sex, guns, drugs, or poor people. Even if the socially unacceptable is legal, it is not illegal to deny them financial services, and since the Feds, and the very large banks, can cut off themselves, or pressure the smaller banks, and companies like PayPal, to stop servicing deplorable activities, or businesses.

      Note that what is unacceptable is usually what a proper upper middle class New Yorker or San Franciscan, or a socially conservative Christian in the Bible Belt would think; it is the poorer, hence less powerful, gun owner, porn star, past pot grower, and the Middle Eastern charity supposedly terrorism that gets hurt.

  19. RabidGandhi

    Bush and Bono: One love, One blood:

    [Rolling Stone]

    Bono was awarded the inaugural George W. Bush Medal for Distinguished Leadership Thursday, with the former [#Resistance] president honoring the U2 singer for his work in combatting the HIV/AIDS crisis and poverty in Africa.

    “It’s a huge honor to [win] this award, and I’m here to honor your leadership on the greatest health intervention in the history of medicine,” Bono told Bush Thursday.

    In addition to Bono’s tireless work promoting neoliberalism and PPPs in Africa, he can now add Bush’s President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to his CV. This US State Dept Publicity Stunt aid programme aims at reducing AIDS by promoting “the ABC approach, an acronym for ‘abstention, be faithful, use a condom”,

    groups at high risk for HIV/AIDS (LGBT, prostitutes, IV drug users, etc.); the promulgation of misunderstandings about HIV transmission, prevention and safe sex (condoms); the promulgation of misunderstandings about the causes of HIV/AIDS epidemic.

    Bono boasts 13 million lives have been saved by this “work”; whereas Department of State’s own Office of U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC) found that “there is no real evidence that the credit for declining HIV prevalence where it exists, is as a result of the [Bush programme]”.

    But virtue signalling and rehabilitating George W. Bush is definitely a win-win.

  20. Craig H.

    > The Key to Everything

    People might want to note the author is Freeman Dyson. He is one of the most lovable crackpots still living. Or that it is a review of a 479 page book from Geoffrey West who was director of Santa Fe Institute which might be the closest thing we have to an Organization of Pro Crackpots. I bet the book is great but not a lot of people have the attention span for a 479 page book in 2018.

    Cheap space travel requires two kinds of public highways, one for escape from high-gravity planets such as Earth, the other for long-distance travel between low-gravity destinations. The high-gravity highway could be a powerful laser beam pointing upward from the ground into space, with spacecraft taking energy from the beam to fly up and down. If the volume of traffic is large enough to keep the beam active, the energy cost per vehicle would be comparable with the energy cost of intercontinental travel by jet planes today. The low-gravity highway could be a system of refueling stations for spacecraft driven by ion-jet engines using sunlight as an energy source. Both the high-gravity and the low-gravity systems are likely to grow within two hundred years if we do not invent something better in the meantime.

    Yes Please!

    (Dyson might be as famous as Carl Sagan ever was except he doesn’t believe in Anthropogenic Global Warming.)

    1. Harold

      I stopped reading after he attributed the cause of “genius” to inbreeding in isolated villages such as Athens and Florence, both of which were famous for welcoming strangers. It just shows, you may be right about somethings but you can’t be right about everything. It is true that Athens denied citizenship (serving in the army and on juries) to ‘aliens’ but there is nothing to suggest that it practiced ‘inbreeding’ — unfortunate word.

      Our city is thrown open to the world, though and we never expel a foreigner and prevent him from seeing or learning anything of which the secret if revealed to an enemy might profit him

      –Pericles speech in Thucydides

        1. Harold

          The quotation may have been fabricated but the substance was not false. Can you produce any evidence that the Athenians practiced inbreeding or were in any way isolated? Or the Florentines. These were cosmopolitan cities not isolated villages.

    2. witters

      Well, Freeman Dyson does (now) accept anthropogenic climate change (in the end he had too – it was him Versus physics) and has had a Brilliant Idea: We don’t need to do anything except invent”Carbon-eating trees [that] could convert most of the carbon that they absorb from the atmosphere into some chemically stable form and bury it underground. Or they could convert the carbon into liquid fuels and other useful chemicals.”

      1. Craig H.

        The most relevant cite I can find quickly:

        IT WAS FOUR YEARS AGO that Dyson began publicly stating his doubts about climate change. Speaking at the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University, Dyson announced that “all the fuss about global warming is grossly exaggerated.” Since then he has only heated up his misgivings, declaring in a 2007 interview with Salon.com that “the fact that the climate is getting warmer doesn’t scare me at all” and writing in an essay for The New York Review of Books, the left-leaning publication that is to gravitas what the Beagle was to Darwin, that climate change has become an “obsession” — the primary article of faith for “a worldwide secular religion” known as environmentalism. Among those he considers true believers, Dyson has been particularly dismissive of Al Gore, whom Dyson calls climate change’s “chief propagandist,” and James Hansen, the head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York and an adviser to Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth.” Dyson accuses them of relying too heavily on computer-generated climate models

        If you got something you like better I would be very interested to see it.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      ManMade Global Warming doesn’t care whether Dyson ( or anyone else) “believes” in it or not.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Hey, it was ok with Aaron Burr and poor old Alex Hamilton, and Andrew Jackson was a practitioner of some note.

  21. Summer

    Re: EU Ambassadors / China

    They sound a lot like those “working class deplorables” when it comes to their 1% losing money to some population deemed as “other.”

    All those conquering trade routes over the past centuries to the East work both ways, don’t they?

  22. Pat

    Regarding the American Conservative’s article/review of Amy Chozick’s book, I thought it was interesting that they also seemed to focus in on the fact that Clinton’s ‘deplorables’ line had been a laugh line in the big exclusive fund raisers but she goofed and used in a more public venue. I caught that when reading the review that cited the more laughable and less believable “They were never going to let me win” and thought that was the real story.

    Here’s the thing, there were obviously witnesses to the multiple use of ‘deplorables’ and the idea that Chozick might have seen or have sources who had is plausible to me. Does anyone really think that someone who believes that Clinton hates her would be present when Robby Mook as the designated dead messenger let HRC know that she had lost in the private room where she was waiting? Or that anyone who would be in that room would tell her about Clinton’s response? While I understand that they might be delusional enough to think that more “poor poor pitiful me” from Clinton would play with anyone outside of true supporters, all evidence leans to the Russia hacking being the agreed upon bad guy and that quote doesn’t really go with that.

    We talk about grabbing onto the news/reporting/stories that reinforce our already formed notions and ideas. So While I might believe that was her thought process, with multiple bad buys as the bullies holding back the poor deserving hard working most qualified ever Hillary she is in her head, I have some real problems both with that quote and what it says about the validity of the rest of the book. And yea, from I’ve read of it so far it probably would reinforce my current view of her and her campaign organization.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Put my name on the library’s reserve list. Can’t wait to read this book. It sounds a lot like Shattered, which was evil fun for this slender bibliophile.

  23. allan

    [Reuters]

    Wells Fargo & Co’s (WFC.N) disclosure of how its chief executive’s pay compares to the rest of its workforce has drawn criticism from some company employees ahead of the scandal-plagued bank’s annual shareholder meeting.

    More than a dozen employees made posts criticizing pay details the bank released in March, according to comments on an internal communications website seen by Reuters. Separately, a worker advocacy group said it plans to raise pay issues on Tuesday at the shareholder meeting in Des Moines, Iowa.

    Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan earned $17.6 million for 2017, according to its proxy filing, an estimated 291 times the median of the annual total compensation of all the bank’s workers. …

    After several days, Wells Fargo closed the notice board to new posts, writing that some comments do not comply with company policies, according to the internal discussion. …


    Together, We’ll Go Far … into Moderation.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Query: did Sloan “EARN” that nearly $20 million, or did he just manage to have it “awarded” or “gifted” to him? Lots of stuff for linguists and semioticists to autopsy there…

  24. audrey jr

    Speaking of propaganda, CBS owned Showtime is really pulling out all of the stoppers in the quest to do the bidding of the ‘overlords.’
    Besides renewing that god-awful “Inside the Circus” crapfest they have “Homeland” chasing the Russians this season and an absolutely terrible animated show called “Our Cartoon President,” poorly penned and executive produced by the once funny Stephen Colbert.
    It is insulting and disgusting to this Showtime subscriber that I am having to pay on a monthly basis to be preached at by the ‘moral relativity’ crowd at CBS, to whom I do not subscribe nor watch, ever.
    I am really considering whether the shows I enjoy on Showtime are worth my being propagandized at.
    May have to cancel that subscription if they don’t tone it down.
    Wonderful links today, Jerri-Lynn.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      It’s not just Showtime. CBS produced a mid-season techno-thriller series mid-season last year that started off halfway decent, if more than a little clichéd. Earth faces impending destruction via asteroid impact, gang of quirky geeks, including one “child” billionaire is recruited to save the planet.

      As I said, it wasn’t half bad until the fourth episode when (a) the US government refused to even consider the top-level space science operations of Russia and Iran in favor of—wait for it—India. And then the main was kidnapped by his mentor, who turned out to be working for…?

      Yep—the Russians.

      What really made the whole thing evil, though, was that it was stated the asteroid’s point of impact would be in Asia and the Middle East, which made the rejection of help from Russia and Iran doubly evil. Needless to say, episode four was my last.

  25. Plenue

    >Dear Liberal America: The FBI Is Not Your Friend — And It Never Has Been AlterNet

    Where are we now on the Comey “Hero of the Republic” vs “worstestest backstabber evah” roller coaster?

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Chemical attack protection suit – $30 (Dupont Tychem 2000…google chemical attack protection).

    Solar cooker – there is one for $63.99 (google solar cookers)

    Yemenis resort to burning firewood and rubbish to cook food Al Jazeera

    Instead of spending money on those, we give sell fighter jets.

Comments are closed.