Links 9/22/18

National Geographic

New Scientist

BGR (David L)

ars technica. Does this asteroid have enough gravity for anything to land?

s Syracuse (bob)

Carl Edward Rasmussen. Anthony L: “The most depressing thing I’ve read this week.”

CNN

Engadget. Kevin W:

Saw the section that says: “What also speaks volumes is the context of Pai’s remarks, and who he was addressing as he headlined a fundraiser for the Maine Heritage Policy Center. If you’re unaware, the MHPC is behind a failed attempt to rig taxation to shrink public services in Maine, opposes universal health care, and argue that raising the minimum wage harms everyone. The MHPC is part of the State Policy Network, a coordinated network of ultra-conservative and libertarian policy groups.”

Capitol Fax and a follow up Andrea Thome (Jerry B). Wowsers.

Aeon (Chuck L)

Financial Times

Florence

Miami Herald (UserFriendly)

China?

WSWS

Bloomberg

Asia Times

Al Jazeera (Chuck L)

Danske Bank Money-Laundering Case Spreads to U.K. Wall Street Journal (Kevin W)

Bruegel

Reuters

Brexit

RTE. A great piece, and an example of how the Irish press is streets ahead of the UK press on Brexit.

The Sun

BBC

FFS!!!!!
May’s Finest Hour!!!
The media is sick
It’s not even a joke

— ARTIST TAXI DRIVER (@chunkymark)

Politico

Guardian (Kevin W)

Business of Fashion (J-LS)

Wolf Richter (EM)

Syraqistan

Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L, Darius)

DW

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

CNET

The Verge

Trump Transition

New York Times

Washington Post

Lawfare

Vox

Charles Pierce, Esquire

Kavanaugh

The Onion (David L)

BBC

The Hill

Associated Press

The Onion (David L)

Caitlin Johnstone

Counterpunch. On intersectionality.

RealClearPolitics. UserFriendly: “Out of context the headline comes across like an insult. Odd given the right tilt of RCP. Interesting that he didn’t fill the arena and how his most insane supporters treat the press.”

New York Times

F RealClearPolitics. UserFriendly: “Not even rats fleeing a sinking ship, this is genuine criticism.”

StarTribune. UserFriendly:

She somehow thinks the fact that she told a doctor Ellison was emotionally abusive vindicates her. The note specifically says she had no physical injuries. Her entire claim is that Ellison was emotionally abusive and one time pulled her leg without enough force to knock her off the bed. This kind of BS makes it sooo much harder for women who are actually abused to be believed.

Fake News

FAIR (UserFriendly)

City Pages (Chuck L)

Wall Street Journal

John Pilger (Chuck L)

Crisis Orgy

Kingston University Professor Steve Keen says that the Fed has accentuated the financial crisis through quantitative easing

— BSurveillance (@bsurveillance)

The Week

Ideas (UserFriendly). Quelle surprise! Highly leveraged firms fire more people when things get bad.

Counterpunch (jerryb)

Quilette (KF). Important.

ScienceBlog (Dr. Kevin). Also important.

Class Warfare

Consent Factory (Anthony L)

Ideas (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour. From Eddie M in 2016:

And a bonus video:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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183 comments

  1. Bill Smith

    Gotta laugh at the “Quick Notes on the Rosenstein Revelations” on the Lawfare blog.

    “Presumably the Times did a thorough assessment of its sources to confirm the validity of the story, especially since the story (as I explain below) so helps the President’s narrative.”

    If the story hurt Trump it could just be thrown out there without checking?

    1. DorothyT

      Don’t stop with the Lawfare blogging. includes this key subhead:

      “But other accounts dispute the story.”

      The sticking point, simply put, is that the NYT reporters admit they did not interview anyone for their story that was ‘in the room’ when Rosenstein made these statements. Were they statements or sarcasm? The WaPo and NBC, at least beginning last night, interviewed others who ‘were in the room’ and attributed Rosenstein’s words to sarcasm, giving them an entirely different meaning.

      There is no more significant published reporting that the NYT has done that could have such historic consequences. And they need to get it right.

    2. Will Smythe

      If the story hurt Trump it could just be thrown out there without checking?

      no?

      they’re clearly implying that anonymous sources in the White House would be more likely to lie about a story that puts the President’s narrative in a positive light.

      1. Procopius

        Gee, I wonder what ever happened to the pledge, lo, those many years ago, that they would stop using anonymous sources. Why did they bother inconveniencing Judith Miller by firing her?

    3. pjay

      On that subject, here is another nice response to Thusday’s NYT Russia debacle by Joe Lauria at Consortium News:

  2. allan

    Florence flooding: a has video taken by an environmental group,
    including a little critter being plucked from the muck.
    But journalists are still barred from the Sutton site. Out of an abundance of caution, no doubt.
    The revolution Jackpot will not be televised.

    1. Edward E

      Uh, not exactly, that was hawgzilla the morning after I was almost charged by another big boar. Sorry about that, think I sent her some live pictures of razorbacks tearing up the place.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Edward E is right. You do not want to at the receiving end of an attack by a wild boar. I have seen claypans out west that had the consistency of cement – and yet wild pigs out there can just zipper the surface open with ease. Scary stuff that. You want to go with a .270 solution here.

          1. Procopius

            Interesting. There’s a temple here in Nakhorn Sawan Province where they have forest pigs roaming free. They’re larger than the peccaries of the American West, about as large as the domestic hogs my grandfather used to raise, but hairy. They seem pretty complacent, wandering around the temple grounds and (I guess) not endangering the worshippers.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        That’s an antiantidote then, what will all the dead pigs in North Carolina.

        The real swine sadly are still greedily ing at the trough

          1. allan

            [NC Medical Journal]

            Background: Life expectancy in southeastern North Carolina communities located in an area with multiple concentrated animal ing operations (CAFOs) after adjusting for socioeconomic factors remains low. We hypothesized that poor health outcomes in this region may be due to converging demographic, socioeconomic, behavioral, and access-to-care factors and are influenced by the presence of hog CAFOs. …

            Results: Residents from Study groups 1 and 2 had higher rates of all-cause mortality, infant mortality, mortality of patients with multimorbidity, mortality from anemia, kidney disease, tuberculosis, and septicemia, and higher rates of ED visits and hospital admissions for LBW infants than the residents in the Control group. In zip codes with > 215hogs/km2, mortality ORs were 1.50 for anemia …, 1.31 for kidney disease … ,
            2.30 for septicemia …, and 2.22 for tuberculosis …

            Conclusion: North Carolina communities located near hog CAFOs had higher all-cause and infant mortality, mortality due to anemia, kidney disease, tuberculosis, septicemia, and higher hospital admissions/ED visits of LBW infants. Although not establishing causality with exposures from hog CAFOs, our findings support the need for future studies to determine factors that influence these outcomes, as well as the need to improve screening and diagnostic strategies for these diseases in North Carolina communities adjacent to hog CAFOs. …

            And that was before the flooding …

            1. Steve H.

              Decent study.

              I’ve never seen a hog farm in a gated community. If you can’t move away when it’s built, you ain’t got the Do Re Mi;

              Hog, a pig, a big male pig
              Re, a short term for yuan
              Me, I’m stuck, in this pig sh*t
              Fa, is where I wish I’d run
              So, I’m stuck here with my fam
              LA, where Guthrie sang his song
              Tea, so I can drink what’s boiled
              That brings us back to it’s so wro-ong

      2. Edward E

        Razorbacks don’t stand a chance against #9Auburn. Just saw our running back and tight end injured in a horseback riding accident. They were being trampled to death… fortunately the manager of the Wal~Mart quickly unplugged the 🏇

        Sorry about that, guess I spoiled the antidote for Yves

        1. Bugs Bunny

          I thought the antidote was an “antidote” to this age of depressing news; an image of an animal friend that could cheer us up.

          This is indeed the opposite and I hope that Yves deletes it and substitutes something appropriate.

          It’s unacceptable and frankly, disgusting. Some of the comments are as well. Look at yourselves.

          1. JBird4049

            It’s unacceptable and frankly, disgusting. Some of the comments are as well. Look at yourselves.

            Yeah, but sometimes when you have reached the completely crazy, as in the situation in North Carolina is, all you can do is laugh, or just go insane.

          2. Edward E

            Look Bugs, you need to read up on these cheerful little critters not…

            Come over some time I’ll show you the damage they’ve done to our trees and critters. They’ll eat anything that won’t eat them, including your cat or dog. I sent a photo to Lambert of a large tree that’s been stunted at the base because of hog rubbing. Sorry, I sent some photos, I didn’t mean for her to use that one. Was just telling her thought I was going to get charged by another tusker

            1. Wukchumni

              About this time of year, sometimes you’ll see adverts in the local paper along the lines of:

              “Responsible 3rd grade teacher in Central Valley hopes to be able to hunt wild boars on your property, with your permission.”

              But, for whatever reason, our wild hogs have largely disappeared in the past couple years…

              I’d really get a kick out of seeing what I termed a ‘pig conga line’, as around 10 of them would cross the road in front of your car, all snout to tail, one might be 125 pounds, the one in front of it 425 pounds and the one behind it 220. We’d see that once or twice a year.

              1. Oregoncharles

                There’s a serious (and probably futile) effort to eliminate feral hogs in southern Oregon; they’re an invasive species and destructive to wildlands as well homesteads.

                Notably, in medieval Europe (pre-guns), they were considered the most dangerous game. Of course, that was hunting them with a spear.

                1. HotFlash

                  Odysseus had a scar on his leg from a run-in with a wild boar. And he was just hunting with a spear. Well, and a bunch of friends, also with spears. But still.

                  1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

                    Odysseus also had a run in with Polyphemus the Cyclops.

                    Oddly, the boar inflicted more damage.

                    Not including Odysseuss comrades of course…

                2. Amfortas the Hippie

                  my neighbor, who’s spread pretty much surrounds us, brings by several of those per year…catches them in enormous traps. Best pork ever…but incredibly damaging, dangerous and prolific.
                  Game Warden says that some of them are descended from pigs that got loose from the Spanish outposts and missions and whatnot, some 400 years ago.
                  Back when I still could canoe the Llano, I floated by a large gang of them…not 15 feet away on the bank…large boar eyeing me suspiciously, and with malice in his eyes.
                  They’re smart, and craftier than coyotes, and a big problem for fences and trees and crops.

                  1. Wukchumni

                    You boar me, and i’m gonna be in a world of hurt, as pigs aim for your lower extremities. I’ve never had an encounter, but a friend did, and he was very lucky in that there was an oak tree he could climb up enough to be out of harm’s way, and then waited out the bored boar.

                    It so freaked him out so much, that he took to wearing holster & pistol, when out and about on his many splendored acres.

  3. noonespecial

    Re: Sic Semper Tyrannis

    The Electronic Intifada site published a piece entitled: “Trump official wants students prosecuted for Israel protests.” The piece includes another video clip from the Al Jazeera documentary on the Israel lobby.

    The article highlights a US Department of Ed official – Kenneth Marcus – who serves as a top civil rights enforcer at the US Department of Education. At the time of the recording, Marcus was the director of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, an Israel lobby group.

    EI provides a partial transcript from the clip wherein Marcus states: “Right now, the challenge is that there are people who say, ‘you know what, anti-Israel politics have nothing to do with anti-Semitism…What you gotta show that they’re not the same, but they’re not entirely different either…You have to show that they are racist hate groups, and that they are using intimidation to get funded, and to consistently portray them that way.”

    And to turn words into actions, as part of Marcus’ work at the DeptEd, he is responsible for, “reopening a bogus complaint against Rutgers University made by the Zionist Organization of America.”

  4. Wukchumni

    “This is a confusing and uncertain period, when a thousand wise words can go completely unnoticed, and one thoughtless word can provoke an utterly nonsensical furor.”

    “The only thing I can recommend at this stage is a sense of humor, an ability to see things in their ridiculous and absurd dimensions, to laugh at others and at ourselves, a sense of irony regarding everything that calls out for parody in this world. In other words, I can only recommend perspective and distance.”

    “A person who has been seduced by the consumer value system, whose identity is dissolved in an amalgam of the accouterments trappings of mass civilization, and who has no roots in the order of being, no sense of responsibility for anything higher than his own personal survival, is a demoralized person. The system depends on this demoralization, deepens it, is in fact a projection of it into society.”

    Václav Havel

      1. flora

        It’s from Havel’s essay ‘The Power of the Powerless’. An abridged form can be found here:

        In long form here:

        Interesting, to me, his remarks about the post-totalitarian world. We are living now in the post-totalitarian world, and his description seems prescient.

        1. flora

          edit: The last quote in the 3 quotes is from The Power of the Powerless, written 1978.
          The second quote (and probably first) quote is from a speech Havel gave in 1999.

          In the Power of the Powerless he points out the absurd in living in a totalitarian state. After the fall of the communist regimes he points that post-totalitarianism has its own absurdities and unofficial diktats that reduce the individual almost as much as the communist regimes but in different ways.

          Here I’ll point to an essay from a right-leaning site. I think it brings up important considerations. While it is from a right-leaning site I think most NC readers can parse what is important and useful. We aren’t the spoon-fed crowd. cheers.

          1. flora

            adding adding (because it’s important to place things in their time) :

            1978 was 10 years before (roughly) the fall of communism in the Eastern Bloc countries, including Czecho. 1999 was 10 years (roughly) after the fall of communism in the Eastern Bloc countries.

    1. Carey

      Thanks for those Havel quotes, Wuk. My main reading right now: Alice in Wonderland,
      Through the Looking Glass, and Li Po.

    2. Massinissa

      The thing I have never really understood about Havel is I don’t understand how he can be pro-capitalist and anti-consumerism at the same time. I guess I just think of consumerism as an inextricable byproduct of capitalism.

      1. flora

        Think of Havel’s dismay that capitalism was “consumerism” in the West and was not synonymous with Enlightenment principles of freedom and liberty for the individual as similar to Emma Goldman’s dismay that the Stalinist USSR was decidedly not synonymous with Marx’ and Engel’s ideals. Per wikipedia: ” she denounced the Soviet Union for its violent repression of independent voices. She left the Soviet Union and in 1923, she published a book about her experiences, ‘My Disillusionment in Russia. ‘ ”

        The VoA was advertising.

        1. flora

          Which is to say, imo, it’s important to work in your own backyard to make the society and government you want.

        2. Wukchumni

          I always thought the lure of consumerism was one of the main factors in the fall of Communism, a quite foreboding forbidden fruit, when one got used to lining up outside food stores on a rumor of canned peaches or tins of sprat.

          During the Communist era, my aunts or uncles would come and visit us (on my dad’s dime) and about the time Havel wrote in regards to consumerism 40 years ago, I remember being in a supermarket in L.A. with my aunt, and she was just dunbfounded as the sheer variety of foodstuffs offered, couldn’t believe it, as it was her first time out from behind the Iron Curtain.

          1. flora

            lure of consumerism was one of the main factors in the fall of Communism,

            I think that’s right. However, now that ‘consumerism’ in the West has become ‘debtor-ism’ there is a disconnect between perceived Western goodness and western oppression, a la debt peonage, earlier known as “I owe my soul to the company store”, imo.

            1. Wukchumni

              Everything changed demonstrably, in that we were told via advertising that if we had dandruff (the heartbreak of psoriasis! gasp) or used the wrong deodorant, well it might be curtains for us, but only socially, nobody ever broke the bank on shampoo.

              …now the tv commercials are more likely to say something like:

              “Do you have $50,000, $100,000 or $250,000 in debt?

              By using Debtsolvers, we can lower it to pennies on the dollar!

              Here’s a testimonial from Jerry B who owed $82,436. and he only paid $3,600 to clear it.”

          2. vlade

            There’s a few aspects to this.
            As your experience with your aunt tells, one aspect is like taking a kid to candyshop – one that has never seen more than two candies together. There simply wasn’t much to be consumerist about in the former Soviet block.

            The other aspect is that having a good lifestlyle was a very visible hallmark of the West. You could say that the rise of consumerism is in the 1950s – when a vast number of people suddenly could afford much more than before, including things that before that were pure rich-man playghings (cars, washing machines etc.).

            TBH, yes, consumerism is bad. But for me, the main problem after the fall of Iron curtain was the rise of “meism”. That is, the idea that the capitalism means “I win, and that’s all that matters” – the Thatcher and Reagan version of capitalism, which again was the most visible. But, if you can believe it, in even worse form (some of the worst “how to defaraud your company semi-legally” stuff came from the former Czech republic, only to be adopted in the West. Not the greatest export). But that’s really for a long post or a sociological study.

      2. Olga

        The thing to understand about Havel (and I have friends who were in his circle) is that he was mr. hypocrite no. 1. He turned against socialism because the govt., after 1948, took away some real estate on Vaclavske Namesti (i.e., square) in Prague that belonged to his uncle. He was a west-made creature, far from being universally loved in the ol’ Czechoslovakia. A mediocre, so-called artist. Most likely a CIA asset. I think like a lot of us back then, he simply had no understanding of capitalism at all. Plus, capitalism (at least in Europe) back then was also less cruel (all cruelty being purged from the system during the 2 wars – at least for a time). When he died, the west sang praises – on a slightly smaller scale than for McCain – but not too many mourned him in the two republics he left behind. (And don’t forget, he lent support to the war against Iraq! A great humanist, he…)

        1. JTMcPhee

          But his words were good… all that seems to be left for people of decency and comity (assuming any of us naked apes are really capable of either) is to sniff and enjoy the flowers where we find them.

          What can and should be the organizing principle for our species, if it is to survive much longer and reduce the amount of pain and sorrow we give and get? What are the elements of a decent political economy, and is there any way, given the proofs of the Triumph of Will and Greed we see all around, to get there?

          1. JBird4049

            By the end of the Cold War, everyone was using everyone else to justify their oppression, and the control of the system by the elites’ in those systems; in the Soviet sphere, basic needs were meet at the cost of variety, and in the Western sphere, the cost of variety was not have basic needs guaranteed.

            The West generally was only less repressive than the Soviets to their people, but if one was foolish enough to challenge the failures of whatever system you were in, such as poverty in the West, and drabness in the East, as well as the means of control by the respective elites, you would be dealt with. Sometimes brutally and often fatally, or by more quiet means of ostracisation, failure, and impoverishment.

            I will also note that when countries tried to integrate the best features of the Western Capitalism/Free Market and Soviet/Eastern Communism/Socialism as well as Democratic government, it went badly, often fatally, because the elites in both systems did not want to have the narrative that they used to keep themselves in power, challenged. Period.

            Incidences like Operation Condor’s overthrow of democratically elected governments and the near extermination of the left in those countries and the destruction of the Hungarian Revolution happened for a reason, and it was not what they said it was.

            What we are seeing with neoliberalism today, and with the American political establishment is the same.

            And about Havel’s hypocrisy.

            Vaclav Havel was a flawed individual, but so what? He wrote well on a flawed system. Everyone is a flawed individual, and most every leader in every reform effort are often doubly flawed, or at least their flaws are more exposed because of their exposure. Karl Marx, Martin Luther, Johannes Kepler, MLK, Malcom X, FDR, LBJ, TR, John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, and more, I have studied and every single one had…issues. Often serious issues, but they all did glorious things and not because they were perfect.

        2. vlade

          Just one thing to debunk (as it’s by far the easiest) – “not too many mourned him in the two republics”.

          Slovakia was never close to Havel. Nothing to mourn there.

          The Czech Republic pretty much came to a stop when he died – even though he was not in the public eye for quite a few years. I know, I happened to be in CZ at the time, – and I was extremely surprised by the normally very cynical Czechs (seeing Czechs flying a national flag, outside of hockey or footbal championships is as rare as hen’s teeth, that Decemeber they were everywhere), especially the younger generation, how emotional they got, and how much they showed that.

          It’s pretty well documented, including photo documention of large meetings remembering him, and Prague Castle was filled – with normal people, not just politicians – for his funeral.

          So you’re lying. Better trolls please.

          Of course, the whole emotional thing lasted about two months, and then disappeared as fast as it came.

    3. Olga

      Yes, and he worked very hard to destroy the system that was not so consumerism-oriented. We lived in socialism, not in a totalitarian state. Please note that such descriptions came to us from the west (at the same time, when the French were killing in Vietnam and then Algeria, the Brits in Africa, the US in Vietnam, Indonesia, and G-knows where else). But hey, we were totalitarian!
      Not that that there was no paranoia on the part of the socialist governments… But there may have been much less of it – and thus, less of the perceived repression – if the west did not spend every waking minute after WWII trying to destroy the socialist world.
      Looking back, that economic system now seems a lot more sustainable than what we have today in the fabled USA.

      1. vlade

        “We lived in socialism”. Ha. Thanks but no thanks.

        I don’t really care for socialism that (amongst others):
        – can’t take care of its citizens basic needs. Large queues for toilet paper? Women unable to buy hygiene pads and having to do with whatever was handy? I remember all of that..
        – on contrary, tries pretty hard to suppress anyone who does not fit in. Like, you know, was soo subversive like boy scouts (that is, unless you were a young pioneer, including a proper oath of loyalty to the Communist party. hmm.. reminds me of something jugend? Oh, and if your parents happened to be the “wrong” parents, you weren’t allowed to join, which then lead to all sorts of touble later on).
        – takes its revenge unto the fifth generation. So grandkids of people jailed in the 50s (like the “politically unreliable” airmen who fought in the Battle of Britain – or even some who fought with Soviets, but commented that sometime the Red army wasted people’s lives needlessly) could not still hope to get to the uni in 1980s.

        And when, in 1968 (50 years this year, not that many people in the west noticed), people tried to keep the economic side, but change the political side (where it was not even an attempt to overthrow the communist party, just a change in the party itself), it gets steamrolled by the friendly invation of tanks from all over Warsaw Pact (did NATO ever invade any of its members – like literally take over with heavy armament and troops, shooting the citizens – civilian ones – of that country in the process)?

        большое вам спасибо братья захватчики, спасибо большое, никогда не забудем

        That pretty much tells me it was never about “socialism”, but always about a Russian empire.

        Which is when people could choose whether to go with the American empire, or the Russian one, they choose the American. Not because they would necessarily think American’s were more moral and less power hungry – but because you at least got the toilet paper (and other goods on the top of it).

  5. timbers

    Sanctions on China because it’s buying Russian military hardware? And it’s the S400 which everyone who’s anyone seems to want. Isn’t that like sanctioning the Vatican for buying crosses instead of menorah’s or for not celebrating Wiccan holidays?

    These type of extreme and desperate measures IMO reveal there may be real fear amongst the D.C. elites they are in danger or losing everything or at least they are beginning to see for the first time how that’s possible in the distant future.

    Our international actions seem to have gotten more transparently self-serving. Haven’t read anything recently about Germany’s plan for new gas pipeline with Russia, but it seems this has the potential to be an inflection point. Will the Germans admit they are slaves and puppets of the U.S. and buy more expensive U.S. gas, or not? Also read the EU is starting to realize if they want to not take orders from Washington, they need to have a currency system completely independent of the U.S. swift system and banks. Some ZH type article (low quality) said German elites have decided it’s time to make sure Europe can bypass U.S. sanctions with it’s own independent banking systems and currency movements, but I’m skeptical.

    1. jo6pac

      Here’s the normal slight hit piece from those wonderful people at npr. It’s being built and it one of the few times Germany did the right thing for their citizens and not Amerika.

    2. Carolinian

      Trump has said that he will not issue sanctions over Nordstream 2 while still condemning Germany’s participation in the project. He was asked at a news conference.

      And this is very very good.

      With new media, especially when it goes from 1 to 100 in no time flat, it should be no surprise that the news it delivers changes too. We went from a few dozen TV- and radio stations and newspapers to a few hundred million potential opinions in the US alone. The media are no longer a one-way street. The first effect that has had is that the chasm between news and opinion has narrowed spectacularly. If their readers post their views of what they read and see, journalists feel they have the right to vent their opinions too.

      And then these opinions increasingly replace the news itself. The medium is again the message, in a way, a novel kind of way. A hundred million people write things without being restricted by due diligence or other journalistic standards, and we see journalists do that too. They will come up with lies, half-truths, innuendo, false accusations, and moreover will not retract or correct them, except when really hard-pressed. After all, who has the time when you post a hundred+ tweets a day and need to update your Facebook pages too?

      It’s a companion piece to yesterday’s linked Harper’s article about how digital is changing the way we read, think.

      1. timbers

        Thanks. Didn’t know that. I wonder, do you think Trump is in control of sanctions issued against Russia? That I do not know.

        1. Carolinian

          Congress can pass their own sanctions but then he’d have to sign the bill so presumably the answer is yes. But what he was asked was whether his administration would be placing sanctions–as once threatened–on Germany for Nordstream.

    3. Olga

      Soon, there’ll be more countries under US sanctions than not (they just sanctioned Thailand for something or other). At that point, the world will say a big fam-blog… That’ll be the real beginning of the end. Bye, bye, hegemon… nice knowing you!
      (And maybe the US can finally get to start taking care of its own people…. yes, one can dream!)

    4. Altandmain

      To put it bluntly, sanctions don’t work.

      They will hasten the demise of the US hegemony. While I don’t agree with the author of the article about the importance of primacy of the US dollar being the reserve currency, he is right that sanctions will backfire.

    5. norm de plume

      ‘These type of extreme and desperate measures IMO reveal there may be real fear amongst the D.C. elites they are in danger or losing everything or at least they are beginning to see for the first time how that’s possible in the distant future’

      Or perhaps not so distant. I too have slowly morphed my apprehension of recent US behaviour from being just the latest aggressive expressions of the pure hubris and arrogance that were given full throttle after the Cold War and the ‘end of history’ – to a growing suspicion that it may actually be driven by desperation; the fear that a coalition of the rest of the world’s major powers not just could, but would put an end to the lone hyperpower status – financially as well as militarily. Perhaps what they are doing is simply employing the time-honoured (but often unsuccessful) military strategy of utilising a hard power advantage that is perceived as temporary, to go all out in the hope of embedding it permanently before the greater opposition forces are able to coalesce. A dice roll to prevent, or at least stave off the demise of the empire…

      Use it or lose it. Death or glory.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Rod Rosenstein Suggested Secretly Recording Trump and Discussed 25th Amendment”

    Well that should help Trump in the midterms. Trump has been saying that his administration is full of people working against him. The ‘respected’ media say that this is a sign of a paranoid Trump and his raving delusions. Now, not only is there an anonymous source saying that people like him are working against the President but now this cretin suggested secretly recording White House deliberations in order to help him being given the heave-ho with the 25th Amendment. What do you think people that voted for Trump will think about that? Maybe give them reason to continue their support?
    I had never considered it before but Trump here is reminding me of the Captain Queeg character from “The Caine Mutiny” (). For those not familiar with the story, the Captain realizes that he is out of his depth and appeals to his officers for support but who cold-shoulder him which leads him to become more unstable over time. Since Trump is the President, perhaps it would have been wiser to have given him the support that he needed instead of constantly trying to undercut him, even though there was no way he was ever going to be 25th Amended. Too late for that now of course.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well, that’s why the NyTimes published that “Letter from Anonymous”. To enrage Trump into acting out and lashing out in order to maneuver Trump into presenting the appearance of needing to be removed under Article 25.

        Thereby making Pence the President. Because between Trump and Pence . . . Democrats prefer Pence. Because Pence is one of Them. Pence is a member of the Big Club. Just like every Dem Senator. So President Pence would be just fine with them, thankyou.

  7. Stephen V.

    Erm, Trump derangement syndrome takes another sorry turn. Don’t think I can ever look at a toadstool the same way ever again. Thank you Stormy.

    1. The Rev Kev

      And yet, Stormy said to herself: “Oh yeah, baby. I have got to get some of that! Where do I sign up?”

  8. Wukchumni

    We’re living in the Meghalayan Age. But a scientific scuffle has broken out over what marks the beginning of this new geologic time period.

    Ancient Megadrought Causes Present-Day Drama National Geographic
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I for one would enjoy watching the spectacle of a scientific scuffle, lots of shoving, pushing & head butting, all over a.

    California had a couple of megadroughts lasting about 200 & 140 years, and if you look at where the Indians lived in the state, it was all about water.

    Imagine not only the length or your life, but also your parents, grandparents and great grandparents all being within the duration of a drought?

    The majority of them in the Central Valley lived in the foothills, and even during those punishing droughts, they were able to persevere as water flow from the Sierra Nevada was perennial then, as now.

    The Yokuts consisted of about 60 different tribes, more or less a compact USA of sorts. They had one of the highest regional population densities in pre- North America.

    Historically there were relatively few Indians living in what are now our bigger cities, as virtually all of the water consumed in metropoli is imported.

    They of course, made no ‘improvements’ in terms of delivering the translucent liquid from afar, as we have.

    The 5 year long drought really did a number on flora & fauna, I remember seeing bush chinquapin dying off @ 9,000 feet, and it’s a ground cover that seemingly not only thrives, but takes over, allowing nothing else to grow. As the wildfires get more intense in ferocity, this is the sort of plant that replaces forests, not so majestic, and a pain in the arse to walk through should you ever have to.

    200 year old blue oak & buckeye trees that had never been watered by the hand of man, started dying in the 4th & 5th years.

    A drought lasting a century or 2 would probably be a complete rearranging in terms of looks, with the exception of a few noble species of long lived trees.

    Meanwhile, over in Phoenix:

    About 40 percent of Phoenix’s water supply comes from the Colorado River — an increasingly fickle water source with a limited future.

    The Phoenix City Council will soon vote on a citywide water-rate hike that officials say will ensure the northern portion of Phoenix still has access to drinking water, even if Colorado River water is no longer an option.

  9. Livius Drusus

    Re: Set Theory of the Left.

    I am glad that the author mentioned Walter Benn Michaels because I just finished his book The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned to Love Identity and Ignore Inequality that is critical of identity politics. I would definitely recommend it to any NC readers who haven’t read it yet

    One important point that Michaels makes in his book is that the United States and most other Western countries are no longer officially discriminatory even if instances of discrimination exist. His point is not that women or people of color or gay people never face discrimination or hardship based on their identity but that the ideology that dominates the neoliberal West is explicitly anti-discrimination as long as the discrimination is based on some essential quality like race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.

    In order to think that modern Western capitalism is pro-discrimination you have to ignore the fact that elite universities, corporations and political parties all try to play up their diversity and they often really mean it. For example, I don’t think that the Women in STEM campaigns of Silicon Valley companies are all PR work. I think many people in corporate America really want to have more women in STEM.

    One of the major reasons why there is so much anger over Trump’s victory and the victory of similar right-wing populists in Europe is the perception that they DO support discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity and religion. That is why there is such anger and hysteria over these politicians winning elections in an era where discriminatory beliefs are supposed to not exist or at least not exist in the mainstream. Anti-discrimination is one of the core beliefs of neoliberalism. Just because some people don’t live out that belief (just like some Jews and Muslims eat pork and some Catholics will use contraception) doesn’t mean that anti-discrimination isn’t part of the elite neoliberal ideology and worldview.

    Under neoliberalism the only legitimate form discrimination is based on your merit, hence why identity politics is essentially a right-wing ideology. Poverty is seen as deserved as long as it is not due to discrimination based on identity. Hence poor or working-class white males are seen as part of the “privileged” group, only they are the less meritorious part of the privileged class. They are seen as especially epic losers because they failed even though they were supposedly born into privilege due to their race and gender.

    If you read some of the online comments within some “social justice” communities you will see a lot of negative comments about lower-class white males, including many nasty comments about hillbillies, coal miners and basement-dwelling men. These insults would never be tolerated if they were directed at other groups but because “working-class white” is associated with “privilege” and “Trump supporter” poor whites and poor white men in particular are seen as legitimate targets.

    As the Counterpunch article points out, once a big part of the population is left out of the intersection club then that part of the population cannot be your ally. So why are we surprised when American working-class whites or native-born working class Britons or Frenchmen or Italians or Germans start to vote for economic populists? When you put up a sign saying certain people are not welcome (which is pretty hypocritical for people who tout how inclusive they are) then they will go someplace else where they feel welcomed and right now that looks like the populist right.

    1. Carolinian

      C.J. Hopkins with a sarcastic version of what you said.

      He has his own blog.

      The great Diana Johnstone is also now to be found at Unz and Consortium.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        I would never have understood how evil the Clintons are if Johnstone had never written Queen of Chaos. Thanks for the links.

      2. tgs

        Both Johnstone and Hopkins have apparently run afoul of the editors at Counterpunch. Johnstone because she wrote an article critical of the antifa style of left politics. Not sure what the problem is with Hopkins other than his scepticism about the current ‘nazi threat’ here in the USA.

  10. The Rev Kev

    Re the cat video. Why do cats have to be such d**** at times? I have seen them sweeping stuff off tables myself even when you tell them to stop.
    I have even had cats stare me in the face while surreptitiously pushing stuff off a table with their paws. They seem to think that you do not notice as they have eye .
    Still, great photo-bomb on the part of that cat while that human was trying to do an exercise video. Full marks for that one as well as taking the camera out.

    1. Enquiring Mind

      Some cats will aid and abet their canine friends with such antics. Visualize a little dog treat on a counter, too high except for those leaping cats. Then fast-forward to the happy doggie chewing away. That (almost) makes up for the seemingly random feline ‘protests’.

      1. Dita

        My cat loved playing that game with our dog — flipping a bit dry food across the floor to send the dog scrambling for it. They were great pals

      2. Oregoncharles

        When I was in college, we occasionally roasted a chicken or turkey. The remaining carcass was too large to fit in the refrigerator, and the house was quite cold at night, so I just put the carcass on top of the refrigerator to pick over in the morning. (Yes, lazy.)

        when I walked back into the room, there was my cat on top of the fridge, pushing the chicken carcass off while the other cat and a dog waited below. Altruism, of a sort.

        I don’t think those are “protests;” I think they just enjoy watching things fall. A small sense of power, perhaps?

    2. Pat

      Sometimes it is about space, sometimes it is about attention, and sometimes it is a comment on your taste.

      I once had these little native american made owls my father sent me from the Pacific Northwest. Two had fur for feathers over carved wood while the others were carved stone or wood. The first shelf I put them on was my tuxie’s favorite to perch on, so when he knocked off the furry owls I just figured I had interfered with his space. I moved the owls to the shelf below that one. He still kept knocking over the furry owls. He never played with them or did anything with them once they were on the floor, he just didn’t like them on the book shelf. Oh occasionally he would knock off one of the others, but always with the ones with fur. He would wait until I was home to knock them off (if they were on the shelf when I left they were there when I got home). He even did that stare at you while reaching down to the shelf below to knock off the owl thing. I admit I kept them around for awhile just because it amused me. After putting the fur covered owls in a drawer we went back to our usual routine of his knocking something off only when I forgot the space was his or he felt he was being ignored. No other objects offended him like that again.

      It has been almost fifteen years since he passed and I still miss him.

    3. In the Land of Farmers

      Cats are not dicks, you just do not understand them. I used to do the same stuff when I was bored and trapped in a house.

      1. Unna

        Politically incorret but likely true. I’ve always had cats but never had a cat push stuff off tables. My last cat sometimes slept on my desk while I worked, she was getting old and I acquiesced, but she never pushed stuff off. Cats otherwise should not be allowed on tables, counters, shelves, etc. Cats want to hunt rodents, preferable outside. That’s their job and they’re good at it. Then they come in exhausted and want to cuddle and sleep. Also, if your cat goes outside, never put a bell or a collar on her, they’re dangerous to the cat

        1. Unna

          And while I’m thinking of it I’ll add this. One day I was in the living room doing math with the kid and our cat came in with a mouse in her mouth, sat down in the middle of the rug, and proceeded to “play” with the mouse, cat style. On the third time she dropped the mouse, it ran under the couch and disapperaed. The cat spent the next half hour frantically but unsuccessfully looking for the mouse. The very next day the cat came in with a second mouse in her mouth, sat down on the rug, and this time immediately crunched down on the mouse and proceeded to devour the thing. Essentially saying, there! When I catch a mouse, it stays caught. And yesterday? That never happened. All proving that cats take professional pride in their work.

        2. Elizabeth Burton

          The average lifespan of cats allowed outdoors is 2-3 years. Probably less if you live where there are coyotes and large raptors or other major predators. Including feral dogs, or dogs left by their owners to run free because that’s their nature.

          1. Wukchumni

            I shouldn’t jinx it for the overlords here @ the all cats and no cattle ranch, but they’ve been free-range for over a dozen years now, with nary a hairy loss of life.

          2. HotFlash

            That seems kind of short. Perhaps that is for a feral cat? I live in a residential neighbourhood in southern Canada, my cats are indoor-outdoor-indoor-outdoor cats. The longest lived was my Hatshepsut (may she LPH) at 21. My beloved Scrofulouses (pronounced Screwloose — long story), a family of mom and 3 kittens, all made it to 12, one to 13. I have had many, many cats, all go/have gone out when they please and in when they can get someone to open the door.

            Most of mine have been are ‘found’ cats, so I don’t have their birth dates, but none has died before 8 yrs with us, except one killed by a car.

    1. rd

      Actually, that work is under way. Here is a link to the first step in the process, a detailed analysis of the fluid dynamics of cats:

      I believe this won the 2017 IgNobel Prize for Physics.

  11. Bridget

    “She somehow thinks the fact that she told a doctor Ellison was emotionally abusive vindicates her. The note specifically says she had no physical injuries. Her entire claim is that Ellison was emotionally abusive and one time pulled her leg without enough force to knock her off the bed. This kind of BS makes it sooo much harder for women who are actually abused to be believed.”

    Karen Monahan clearly doesn’t understand nobody gives a rat’s ass about the substance of #metoo accusations. It’s all about the politics, and obsequious deference is only accorded to those who accuse the right people.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      No, it’s about how her conveniently revealed allegations of abuse change according to whether they receive enough attention. We have an alleged video she won’t show to anyone because it’s too traumatic, and now we have her claiming a medical report as proof that actually shows the opposite.

      What she clearly doesn’t understand is how she’s doing damage to women who are being beaten on a regular basis in places that don’t show in public, and making a joke out of very real claims of emotional abuse, which I have personal and extensive knowledge of. That’s the problem with it—there aren’t any bruises or broken bones, and the people who cause it are narcissists who are capable of fooling everyone.

      It may well be that Keith Ellison is an emotionally abusive monster, but Karen Monahan’s allegations aren’t going to prove it unless and until there’s a lot more evidence.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Multiple Online Banking Systems Go Down in the UK”: ‘For bottom-line-obsessed bank executives, IT systems are an expense to be slashed. The results are in.’

    I’m sure that it was Clive that was talking about this point a couple months ago or perhaps vlade. Most banks seem to be all about IT these days and most people interface their banks through technology. When that falls down through neglecting to spend the money to keep the systems going, they have nothing. Still, it was a good reminder for people to make sure that they are ready if their banks encounter problems post-Brexit.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Big regional bank I happen to ‘have money in” just had a “payments system malfunction.” Caused the president of said bank to have to go all “strategic apology” to reassure us mopes who put our ones and zeros in their Cloud that “hey, the money is still there, and we will work really hard to be sure that something like this is as unlikely as possible to happen again…”

      Dear [customer]:

      I want to apologize personally for any inconvenience the disruption in our digital systems earlier this week caused you or your business.

      I understand and regret your frustration, and our team stands ready to work with you on any concerns. I assure you that for every SunTrust teammate, including me, the goal and purpose of our work is to ensure your financial success through convenience, trust and confidence.

      Issues during a scheduled system upgrade led to the access problem. Those issues have been addressed, but more importantly, SunTrust will continue to invest substantially to bring you the most reliable and valuable technology, combined with outstanding service.

      Thank you for being a SunTrust client.

      /s/
      Bill Rogers
      Chairman & CEO

      I am, like, totally reassured now… How little most of us realize how vast our mope vulnerabilities are — or at least we really, really do not want to think about all that.

      Interesting to me that the various New Deal programs discussed here recently worked as well as they apparently did. I wonder what the organizing principle that drove the people that activated and managed and worked in them could be stated to be?

      1. Wukchumni

        Interesting to me that the various New Deal programs discussed here recently worked as well as they apparently did. I wonder what the organizing principle that drove the people that activated and managed and worked in them could be stated to be?

        In the book, “The Great Depression-A Diary” by Benjamin Roth, banks are teetering bad all through the early 30’s, closing everywhere. If your money was in a bank that went lights out, well, you were screwed.

        There was an active market on passbooks from banks still open, but not allowing withdrawals in Youngstown, Ohio (all of them!), in that you could get from 35 to 65 cents on the dollar from somebody wanting to buy real estate, which the banks had and were oh so willing to get rid of, with the buyer utilizing discounted money from the same bank.

        I’d guess the period from 1930 to 1933 so scared the populace when it came to banking rules, that they embraced the New Deal with its safeguards as a must, and that would go for those that managed & worked to make it tick.

        1. JTMcPhee

          I’m trying to get at what the moral axis of the people who actually operated the CCC and WPA and the other GOOD alphabet agencies. What belief structure, what set of principles, what experience and insight, led them to do and proselytize what maybe most of us mopes think of as “good work?”

          Nice bit about the banks, of course. One tiny part of the bigger story.

          Now most people who are at all aware of the looting by the parasites have some understanding of “how you get ahead (of the rest of the buffalo racing toward the cliff).” How does it come about that back in the ‘30s, there were people who did that “roll up your sleeves and get busy doing wise things to repair or mitigate the damage the looters did and are still trying to do” set of things? I get that there are a lot of mopes who are working today, around the margins of the charnel-house-in-posse that is the wider human presence on the planet.

          Was it just dumb luck and circumstances that opened a window for decency and comity and all those young people planting trees and building bridges and long-lasting infra-structures and Glass-Steagall? Never to be repeated, likely to be just part of the next mass die-off?

          1. Wukchumni

            Different sort of Americans back then, our backs were against the wall, and through group effort were able to effect amazing change for the betterment of all.

            It was our good luck to have FDR, who was really into forestry, and what
            a perfect perch to practice it with all of those young men in the CCC, which was the public favorite of all alphabet soup programs.

            I’d hoped that BHO would be a worthy contemporary of FDR, and have a similar program, but he was only interested in rescuing Unabankers.

          2. HotFlash

            A good person to start with might be Arthur E. Morgan, the TVA guy. I have read (owned perhaps?) a book he wrote but cannot recall the title.

            A good place to start looking for him might be .

  13. a different chris

    “Did Trump just kill the US auto..”

    No he might have prolonged it’s life, but most likely will do nothing at all when measured over a longer arc of history. Anyway, the point of the story is that China…China is letting all these European automakers in and they will just get rich rich rich!

    But China operates like that bug, I wish I could figure out how to google it, that lays eggs on a wasp or grasshopper or something. The lil’ ones hatch and burrow into the now host, and take it over. So it will be BMW, then BMW China, and eventually Christian Wiedmann or if they are lucky his successor will be replaced by a Chinese national.

    I don’t really have a problem with that, you get what you ask for. And I support the Chinese, who have every intention of building their “own” cars. I notice most of the complaining comes from economists and financial types, people who can barely operate their own toaster and let alone understand what goes into making a toaster. They spend their time picking our pockets and call it work and scream at what plumbers, who they can’t outsource, charge.

    1. Summer

      Also from the article :”China also holds the keys to the future of self-driving cars. Rather than attempt to design autonomous vehicles to negotiate the poor infrastructure of American cities, China is designing cities around the concept of autonomous vehicles, with roads fenced off from pedestrians and 5th-generation mobile broadband.”

      Autonomous vehicles requie non-autonomous people – like the way most other tech is designed.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        Is ‘fifth-generation’ a tell? When I see that any PR includes ‘fifth-generation’ I smile and move on.

  14. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Why a human-centred Universe is not a humane one

    Thanks for that one! The title doesn’t indicate it, but it’s on the anthropic principle, a subject which never fails to get my blood running a little hotter. I’ve read entire books on the subject and for the life of me I cannot understand why anyone gives it the time of day.

    The basic argument is that the universe is fine tuned for our existence, otherwise we wouldn’t be here to see it. To which I would respond “And your point?” The whole argument seems very small minded, assuming that human beings are the pinnacle of biological achievement. But if “we” weren’t here to observe all this and life as we know it didn’t exist, it seems entirely likely that some sort of life as we don’t know it, would. To me, that’s the end of the argument.

    The article does touch on that point but only briefly, and it does spend a lot of time on other valid but more complicated counterarguments. The best debunking I’ve read was by physicist Victor Stenger – . But I still don’t understand why entire books are needed to deflate this argument. Clearly some in the physics community see something in the anthropic principle that they feel is worth debating. So what is this physics dilettante missing?

    1. Summer

      It explains why people conflate human contribution to climate change with the ability to control the climate like a central heating and cooling thermostat.

    2. Plenue

      Ah yes, the universe is fine tuned for human life…which is why 99.9999999999999% of it is instantly lethal to all life, human or otherwise. In this context it makes far more sense that biology evolved to scrape out an existence in whatever places it could find.

      One of the more ‘charming’ aspects of monotheism is that, having invented a god in their own image, some believers then berate other people for being arrogant. The fact that people can say with a straight face that the universe was fine tuned for us when the vast majority of it consists of either an empty radioactive void, giant nuclear fireballs, or airless rocks, never ceases to be impressive.

      1. John

        The point is that if some physical constants had slightly different values then starsad alaxies wouldn’t form so there would be no people to debate this.

        My take is that the popular press makes too much of this. It is a great puzzle which won’t be solved till we know why these constants have these values. It may be that they are connected together at some more fundamental level. Maybe they are not allowed to have independent values just as the value of pi is set by the geometry of our space. It would be silly to say that circles couldn’t form if the value of pi were slightly different.

    3. Grebo

      Despite the name it’s not about homo sapiens and if some other sort of life existed instead the question would still stand.

      Some people think it’s an argument for God. Others think it’s an argument against God. Some think it can lead to new insights into physics. Others think it’s a meaningless coincidence, like the Sun and the Moon looking exactly the same size from Earth. That is a coincidence, isn’t it?

      Out of all the possible configurations of universe there is very few that would permit life to develop. Yet here we are. Did we just win the lottery? It suggests to me that there must be every other possible universe out there somewhere.

  15. JP

    Re: Poisening of Willowbrook. Hope this explodes in Rauner’s face in time for the governor’s election, though Pritzker is a bad choice too. Reminds me of a recent presidential election.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      What is really scary about the second story is that it didn’t take all that long for exposure to that solvent to produce cancers. A mere seven years for the mother, IIRC.

      1. JP

        I posted a link on my fb page to both articles, asking for comments. A friend worked for a company contracted to Willowbrook, and was told off the record by people who worked for the city to not spend a lot of time working outdoors near the facilities. Another friend who has cancer in remission lives in the area directly under the worst part that he and many of his neighbors have lawyers and are joining a class action lawsuit. He told me they found out about this about a month ago.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Hey, what about the people that actually work at Willowbrook? What is happening with them as they work at Ground Zero?

      2. ChiGal in Carolina

        Thanks very much for posting, Yves, I sent the links to everyone I know who lives/works out that way.

    2. dbk

      If this cannot be “managed,” pronto, by the Gov and ILEPA doesn’t intervene quickly, it will end up being an even bigger scandal than the deaths at the IL Quincy Veterans Home.

      A story that deserves to be followed closely and compared/contrasted with citizen efforts in the Parish of St. John the Baptist (“Cancer Alley”) in southern Louisiana.

      The PE firm Rauner founded, GTCR, is part owner along with Warburg Pincus. Rauner withdrew from active management in 2012 to run for Gov, but maintains a financial interest.

      On an added note: Capitol Fax is the best pure politics blog I’ve ever read. It’s all-politics, all-Illinois, day in day out. Really smart commenters, including some who are in state gov. And it’s a one-man operation. The source for what’s really happening day-to-day in Springfield/Chicago.

    3. heresy101

      Ethylene oxide may be having other harmful effects elsewhere, from Wikipedia:
      ethylene oxide itself is a very hazardous substance. At room temperature it is a flammable, carcinogenic, mutagenic, irritating, and anaesthetic gas.[8]

      As a toxic gas that leaves no residue on items it s, ethylene oxide is a surface disinfectant that is widely used in hospitals and the medical equipment industry to replace steam in the sterilization of heat-sensitive tools and equipment, such as disposable plastic syringes.[9] It is so flammable and extremely explosive that it is used as a main component of thermobaric weapons;

  16. The Rev Kev

    “French court orders Le Pen to submit to psychiatric evaluation”

    Hey, isn’t that what the old Soviet Union did with dissidents? Grabbed them, took them off to the local funny farm and then claimed that they had those views because they were nuts? Good one France. I’d like to see a psychiatric evaluation done on Macron though. That would be interesting.

    1. Big River Bandido

      I’m amazed at that decision and I noted with approval that Melanchon issued a very sensible opposition. The decision represents a shockingly blatant form of totalitarianism — I can’t fathom this not coming back to bite Macron and the establishment severely.

  17. allan

    [NBC]

    A press adviser helping lead the Senate Judiciary Committee’s response to a sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has stepped down amid evidence he was fired from a previous political job in part because of a sexual harassment allegation against him.

    Garrett Ventry, 29, who served as a communications aide to the committee chaired by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, had been helping coordinate the majority party’s messaging in the wake of Christine Blasey Ford’s claim that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her 36 years ago at a high school party. …

    This is one of the people who (in a since deleted tweet) clearly knew in advance of Ed Whelen’s sleazy attempt
    to push the “mistaken identity” meme.

    Ventry can be expected to land on his feet.
    American Conservative Union, AEI, Mercatus, NRO, WSJ … the possibilities are endless.

  18. Brooklin Bridge

    Underwater walls could stop glaciers from melting, scientists say -CNN

    Trump could get a wall after all.

  19. Wukchumni

    I’ve still yet to watch an MLB game in entirety, but am starting to get interested as the playoffs will be here soon.

    I’ve been reading that God Bless America has replaced Take Me Out To The Ballgame, and it’s understandable in this age of young ones not mixing well with goobers, that the latter was given the shove, as one verse in particular sounds an awful lot like premeditated peanutcide.

    Take me out to the ball game,
    Take me out with the crowd;
    Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
    I don’t care if I never get back.

    1. Wukchumni

      p.s.

      Cracker Jack is very anti-semantic

      Wording on the box exclaims:

      “Prize Inside!”

      And whadya get in the box, but something labeled:

      “Surprise”

      A cheesy little sticker is no prize, but i’m not surprised.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Underwater walls could stop glaciers from melting, scientists say”

    Let’s see. Building massive underwater walls to hold back hundreds of billions of ton of melting glacial ice. Sounds legit. Forgetting about financing the damn thing as well as putting together the resources to build it, wouldn’t it be a tad difficult to build in what must be frozen waters? It would be cheaper and more doable to build massive fans as big as skyscrapers to blow on the ice and help the glaciers to stay frozen.

    1. rd

      Actually, the wall concept is to hold back the deep salty warm water warming the glaciers. Effectively, these are underwater levees but without having a differential water pressure head across them. This is much more doable (still very difficult and expensive, but at least plausible). Physically restraining the ice sheets would be a technical non-starter for numerous reasons.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Yeah but the massive fans would presumably require fossil fuels for power. Better would be to genetically engineer gigantic seagulls – a wingspan of 500 ft or so ought to do it – and tether them to the glaciers using hemp ropes. Then you set up a series of trebuchets which would hurl gigantic french fries (from the genetically modified potato farm!) into the air. When the giant birds chase down their quarry, the flapping of their wings cools the glaciers. This stops sea level rise and keeps all the rich people’s coastal homes safe, all done with a minimal carbon footprint.

      See, we can keep trashing the planet and science will save us all!

      1. UserFriendly

        Points for creativity but I’m afraid Rev’s initial premise of increasing air circulation would actually warm the ice faster. Fans generally feel cool because as air goes over our skin it picks up small amounts of moisture, as that evaporates it absorbs energy and causes a temperature drop. Blowing any air at glaciers would just increase circulation and get the heat to the ice faster.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          the vineyards around here have huge fans(like smaller versions of the giant windmills) that blow over the tops of the vines when there’s a late frost. microclimate engineering. heats the air above the vines just enough(friction) to stave off frost formation.
          colder snaps require the burning of round bales of hay around the vineyard perimeter.
          It’s also a well known meteorological concept that wind friction warms the air…the stillest nights are the coldest.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      It’s a nice expensive geoengineering project that could make a lot of money for someone and might not do quite as much harm as some of the other projects that will be suggested in the future.

  21. In the Land of Farmers

    RE: Could we save the world if we all went vegan? Financial Times

    Can we end articles like this forever? I will not go into the stupidity of trying to and ever growing population on a finite planet and will just focus on health. Not everyone exhibits good health on a fish free diet. In Europeans that includes about 15% of the population, which translates to more mood disorders and more cardiovascular disease. It is the fantasy of capitalists that there can be some form of monoculture that will make managing humanity so much easier. So now they want to monoculture our diet? I will eat fish till the day I die, because if I don’t, I am much more likely to die.

    1. Wukchumni

      Not one morsel of fish has ever passed through my lips, as I get a gag reflex when attempts on denizens of the underworld came to a standstill.

      I feel i’m likely to die, eventually.

    2. clarky90

      What were some of the traditional names for Vegans?; before veganism was being promoted by our “masters”.

      (1) Serfs, (2) peasants (3) convicts (4) drought year populations (5) slaves (6) Useless Eaters (7) Gulag workers (8) Inmates of re-education camps (9) populations during forced immigration

      Before you know it, we will be under 24 hour surveillance. Digital barbed wire….

    3. jrs

      I don’t think people not eating fish have a lot of cardiovascular problems if they are vegans, but I do suspect some people do better with some animal protein.

      Black and white arguments probably just lead people to dismiss doing anything, but it seems there is a lot of bang for the buck in just cutting back red meat (beef and lamb), that’s the number one thing to do to reduce the carbon impact of one’s diet. And then to a much lesser degree cutting back dairy. Even eating chicken and eggs etc. instead (yes legumes can also be a protein source for some meals). Yea in an ideal world the chickens and their eggs would also be humanely raised etc., but we’re not there now for everyone so animal agriculture still has a dark side. But nonetheless the number one thing to reduce carbon impact is to dramatically cut back on red meat.

      Yes it all only does so much good if the population keeps increasing of course.

      1. Lord Koos

        I’m a person who seems to do better with a certain amount of meat in my diet, although I eat far less of it that many Americans do. I wish it weren’t so but there it is. Vegans and vegetarians do not like to be reminded that we evolved as omnivores… one reason for our success as a species is that humans can eat a lot of different stuff.

    4. clarky90

      The author lost 95% of his intestines as a result of a botched colonoscopy. He has learned much about nutrition by just trying to stay alive. No word of him since 2016

      ARE WHOLE-HEALTHY-GRAINS DEFENSELESS?

      “In a world full of animals that bite, claw, sting, envenomate and gore, it’s nice to know that there are perfectly defenseless plants for the weak at heart to hunt. But are plants really as defenseless as they appear? We all know that there are plenty of highly toxic plants in the world, but certainly the ones we eat aren’t poisonous. Think again. There have been weapons of mass destruction created from plant toxins, like ricin (used by the Soviets during the cold war), but I know of no WMD ever derived from animals.

      Every single living thing on this planet has one goal in mind – to proliferate its genetics. Nothing wants to be eaten – life has a mechanism to protect itself and its offspring. The nice thing about animals as a food source is that their defenses typically die with them. ….. Plants have evolved a much different way to protect themselves – and especially their offspring. Any species that does not develop a mechanism to protect its children would have certainly went extinct by now.

      There is a major misconception that human beings existed mostly on plant foods with only a small amount of meat for supplement. I guess the conventional wisdom there is based on the idea that our human ancestors were poor at hunting…..”

    5. blennylips

      > I will eat fish till the day I die, because if I don’t, I am much more likely to die.

      Are you sure that is still true?

      etc,etc,

      1. In the Land of Farmers

        Yes, the microplastics worry me but heart disease is my more immediate risk. Fish raises my HDL from 37 to 47 quite quickly. Plus I mostly eat sardines which have lower levels of microplastics:

        The radiation is still very low.

    6. Comradefrana

      Eh, I’m just baffled that they consider this a separate question. To me, it simply falls under the umbrella of “Would rich countries adopting the living standards of poor countries help with environmental problems?” Obviously. But taking into consideration that most people strongly prefer not being poor, they will try to do that as little as possible, food included.

    1. Monty

      Fascinating. What do you think would happen if undeniable evidence of this alledged “deep state” treachery, simple enough for the average american to understand, became public. Would the universe collapse in on itself?

      Have you read about indicted SSCI security officer James Wolfe and his NY Times ’s roll in this? I hadnt even heard of him, until i went down that epochtimes rabbit hole! ->.

  22. Tom

    Re brexit. It’s implausible that May’s civil service technocrats have been unable to make clear to her and the cabinet the UK’s treaty obligations and its scope for negotiation.

    But we know (a) that May and the other tory brexeters are principally opportunists, and (b) capital can always profit from a crisis and is indifferent to human cost. So maybe she chose her path knowing that even if she end up with a bad or no deal, she and the ruling class she represents would do ok, maybe even make a good profit, on a crash out. Would she be the first tory politician to be so selfish?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I don’t think you need to ascribe malign or selfish motives to most Tories with Brexit. I think that while the government is recieving some good advice behind the scenes, they are also recieving lots of terrible advice. When you add in confirmation bias – the tendency of just about everyone to ‘hear’ what confirms their prejudice and ‘unhear’ what they don’t like, then this can explain any number of terrible policies (it is, for example, one of the major reasons military historians will say why good Generals often make terrible decisions – being a much studied example). This has been exacerbated by the loss of some of the more sensible diplomats and civil servants in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote (no doubt many were deliberately pushed out by the ‘Ultras’.

      But, behind the scenes, there is certainly an ideological element of disaster capitalists who are very influential in the Tory Party – some of these made a fortune in the 1990’s in Russia and Eastern Europe, and would relish another go in Britain. This don’t represent all capitalists – plenty of Tory business people are utterly horrified by Brexit – but a substantial subsection. They are powerful enough to stir up uncertainty and muddy the waters when anyone tries to talk it through like an adult.

      1. vlade

        Out of curiosity, which “good generals” do you mean in OMG? (I can think of one of the top of my head, but I doubt it’s the you think.. :) ).

  23. edmondo

    Apparently there were two different Texas senate debates last night. There was the one the NYT attended and the one that the Texas newspapers went to. Can someone tell me why anyone still reads the New York Times?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I can explain that one. I was reading an article some time ago by a west coast reporter that went to work for the New York Times. Most newspapers take in the news, select what they want to publish and then put it into their format. With the New York Times, there is an office (hand on my heart) where they decide what the ‘narrative’ is going to be. They then tell the editors to only publish stories that fit this narrative or to ‘modify’ stories to fit the narrative. That is why the difference in coverage. I suppose that you can say that the New York Times is really the newspaper for the 10% just like the Washington Post.

      1. Pat

        Unfortunately anymore, that is largely what we have in the US, from those to all the Murdoch outlets, MSNBC, etc. There are few choices for news where the narrative hasn’t been predetermined.

  24. Olga

    Within the R3-gate context, WSWS writes:
    “n the early summer, the Clinton Foundation released hundreds of pages of newly declassified documents about conversations between US president Bill Clinton and Russian president Boris Yeltsin between 1996 and 1999. The documents show the extent of US meddling in Russian domestic politics in the 1990s, and are a stark testimony to the groveling of the Russian oligarchy, personified by Boris Yeltsin, before US imperialism.

    Under conditions of a thoroughly hypocritical and right-wing media hysteria about alleged Russian “meddling” in the 2016 US elections, and a massive NATO military build-up against Russia, these documents acquire special significance. It is telling that hardly any US newspaper reported on the newly declassified records which contradict almost every element of their anti-Russian propaganda.”

    1. Alex

      Thanks for the link! I have my own (vague) memories of the elections and it’s really hard for me to reconcile them with these things that get uncovered, billions of usd poured to help Yeltsin…

  25. Prison Hipster

    Would someone remind me again why “accuser” has replaced “alleged victim” even on sites that don’t seek to smear or diminish the credibility of the victims?

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Because in what passes for journalism these days the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” has been abandoned in favor of its opposite where doing so supports the approved agenda. Not that the media haven’t always been ready and willing to act as judge and jury, but at least they had the courtesy to use words like “alleged” in the process. Now, they are adopting the language of the French Revolution instead, where a sufficiently loud accusation is considered sufficient for execution of the accused.

  26. MRLost

    Regarding Mr. Rosenstein and whether or not he was speaking sarcastically –

    “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” (Henry II speaking of Thomas Becket) remains my favorite “I was speaking sarcastically” line in history.

  27. Plenue

    >Stormy Daniels’s Detailed Description of Donald Trump’s Penis Explains a Lot

    This is just insipid.

    Have we reached peak TDS yet?

    1. ewmayer

      “Explains a Lot” … about the inane drivel, opinion-and rumor-mongering that tries to pass itself off as ‘journalism’ these days. And these idiots want us to let them play gatekeepers-of-truth-and-real-news.

  28. Expat2uruguay

    Earlier this week Lambert asked for reflections of expats on the US. Having recently returned from a three-week vacation in Sacramento California and Gainesville Florida after living two years in South America I thought I could add my observations. I spent a miserable two weeks in Sacramento without a car. It is absolutely positively impossible to live a decent life in Sacramento without a car. The August fires were burning up Northern California and releasing tons of smoke into the air, so there weren’t many pedestrians either. And the people in their cars spend most of their time sitting in traffic not going anywhere at all.

    I contrast it with the transportation situation here in Uruguay, where the population density is high and there are all kinds of markets (bakeries, meat markets, vegetable stands, hardware stores, dry cleaners, flower sellers and restaurants) within a 10 minute walk of anywhere in the capital city. People are walking around all the time. The buses run frequently and go all over the place. And they’re cheap, 1 hour cost less than a dollar. Here it feels like a vibrant place, and it’s a real shock to go to the US where no one is on the streets. The United States feels barren, dead, apocalyptic.

    When I visited Florida I was really struck by the gigantism of the stores, parking lots, and city streets. It felt antiseptic, sterile and lifeless. And pointless. What’s the purpose of all of this space being used in such an unnatural way? It increases heat and runoff from storms into the sewer system. It makes being a pedestrian hell. I firmly believe that large parts of Florida will become uninhabitable due to saltwater intrusion into the water supply and other flooding effects within the next 10 to 20 years. The orgy of building is so at cross-purposes with the reality of climate change, and I even wonder if that’s the purpose of it.

    I think this Urban landscape has a profound effect on the communities living therein. People are erased from the public space, replaced by asphalt, glass and concrete. There is no Commons that the people interact with, they just traverse the landscape and their little coffins, I mean cars, completely unconnected with their community. It breeds distrust of the other, and devalues the natural world. And it may even damage democracy itself, because faith in humanity is effectively erased.

    It was really weird and I was glad to get home to my bustling and vibrant life. The lifestyle I live here feels like what the future could look like in a resource constrained world. My visit to the u.s. felt like a prison of open paved spaces designed to lock-in the non-future of consumption and planetary degradation. Really depressing, no?

    I also noticed a difference from my last two visits made during the autumns of 2016 and 2017. In 2016 everyone was riled up about the election and had been agitated for nearly a year. In 2017 the outrage against Trump was still running strong. This time it seemed people were tuning out and accepting the status quo as the only thing possible, regardless of how bad their current and future lives appear.

    1. Carey

      “I think this Urban landscape has a profound effect on the communities living therein. “People are erased from the public space, replaced by asphalt, glass and concrete. There is no Commons that the people interact with, they just traverse the landscape and their little coffins, I mean cars, completely unconnected with their community. It breeds distrust of the other, and devalues the natural world. And it may even damage democracy itself, because faith in humanity is effectively erased.”

      Thanks for this detailed comment, particularly the quoted paragraph.

    2. Wukchumni

      Nice view from beyond the wire…

      Nobody walks if they can help it, a year ago I parked about 200 feet away from the entrance of Wal*Mart and got out of my car, and a quite hefty couple nearby were bickering over who got to use the electric cart normally reserved for the handicapped & elderly, that happened to be near their car, and in the end, she won out and he had to walk the torturous distance to the store, poor thing.

      Cars breed anonymity and I saw it in spades in SoCal, where I found that lotsa people hardly knew their neighbors.

    3. Olga

      True, those of us travelling abroad often know exactly what you mean. Plus the excess here is sooooo over the top, it is hard to escape an end-of-times premonition. In booming places, all sense of human scale has been lost; suburbs are devoid of live people; too many green spaces are demolished to put up yet more convenience stores and gas stations… how much longer can this go on?

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        Re: Expat to Uruguay:
        Indeed.
        I’ve spent the last week and a half in and around the Methodist hospital in San Antonio.Lucked onto a decent shady parking space, and decided that the shade was important, and the chaos of the surrounding streets was too chaotic for my sanity…so crippled me walked everywhere. 3/4 of a mile radius.(thank dog for ace bandages and vicodin). aside from the numerous homeless people one sees in pre-dawn coffee runs(where do they go during the day?), there’s hardly anyone walking. There’s no place to sit during one’s slog to the mexican cafe(the few benches have zero shelter from sun or rain), and traffic is crazy for someone on foot. 30 seconds to cross a busy 6 lane road with honking and roaring engines and the busses that splash and soak the unaware(rained the entire time I was there).
        Really gives a different perspective from driving by in one’s coffin.
        At the very least, one appreciates the sidewalks around the medical center…elsewhere, such amenities are nonexistent or poorly maintained.
        I often thought about some mogul in the rarefied highrise thinking up novel ways to punish the carless.
        The nearest grocery store is more than a mile away…whole families slogging uphill, back to the roach motel(weekly rates!), loaded down with plastic bags of grub and toilet paper.
        If not for the numerous perfect strangers around there who wanted to pray for my wife, my misanthropy would be at dangerous levels.

    4. ObjectiveFunction

      Well said. I live walled off in the expat bubble in the Philippines, with the .001% local elites who like to pretend they are in LA. Anyone of any means has kasambahay to run errands and all the other drudges of life (basically, either you have servants or you are one).

      For the 103 million Pinoys outside that bubble, life is mainly lived in a 5km locality. Tiny sari sari shops and stalls share every available roadside patch with moto repairmen, and “junk shops” whose economic model escapes me. Lots of people sitting around gossiping but when they do get busy they are very industrious, if sloppy. Noisy smoky Jeepneys take you anywhere for a quarter, just don’t be in a hurry. If you break a leg the clinic will fix you up ok but for the big C it’s painkillers and prayer.

      These people are living the Jackpot already, it won’t faze them. They will tinker, sing and f+++ their way through the apocalypse and inherit the Earth long after we’re all dead.

      My last US visit was to Hawaii and while that’s a bit of an outlier, I did notice many of the Walmart shoppers seemed generally on edge in spite of the general aloha spirit. A lot of marginal looking folks of all ages and races, with a look that said they would take what they could get; I tended to park my car in a readily visible place.

      1. Lindsay Berge

        Is the Philippines not a net importer of food? I would think living in a heavily populated island which is a net importer of food could be very bad in the not so distant future.
        That included Britain.

  29. Wukchumni

    Due to tariffism-a tax, retailers are talking about add hoc inflationary measures coming round the bend, as in raising prices on a bunch of stuff, most of which comes from China.

    I can well imagine some consumeratti having to resort to using their $40.10 k nest eggs and cash them in @ Coinstar in the front of the store, to be able to afford to live in a lifestyle for which they’ve become accustomed.

  30. a different chris

    “The customer is not always right”.

    Yup, and agree with the thesis… but I do want to point out something he seems to have badly fumbled, and it was packed all in the same two sentences:

    I think it’s okay to say that we have little to offer an American political class that supports a president who said he “love[s] the poorly educated.” I actually want to hear more from the folks in disciplines that offer relatively little in reach and impact.

    Folks who have spent their lives immersed in disciplines that have “little in reach” are pretty likely to be “poorly educated” in other areas of life, yes? Can a student of Victorian Poetry claim his degree gives him the knowledge to sit down in the middle of the biology department and immediately wade into the study of something even more obscure like, say, flightless flies? So his particular distinction is simply a problem of having his nose way up too far in the air, not one supportable by actual life.

    Shorter me: “Poorly educated” simply does not mean what he wants it to mean. Again somebody looks down at the Deplorables, instead of accepting them as simply different from him.

  31. audrey jr

    Thanks so much for your observations on life in the good ol’ USofA, Expat2uruguay.
    Having worked hard to become multilingual I have often dreamed of leaving this country forever.
    It is deep family ties which I use as my excuse for going exactly nowhere.
    I now see that it is just that: an excuse. How American.
    Now, at 60, I cannot tell you how much I regret not leaving and how I regret not having the cajones to get myself and my now grown children out of this place.
    While reading your observations made during your recent ‘vacation’ back to our ‘land of plenty,’ I could not help recalling the observations of one of the main characters in the book, “The Poisonwood Bible” and how she felt during her brief journey to the U.S. with her family. They were white American’s who had been raised in an evangelical setting in what is now the DRC.
    And thanks to Lambert for having asked that question of any expat readers.
    To any youngsters out there: Please do yourselves a favor and get out while you still can.

  32. drumlin woodchuckles

    Since I can’t ( as yet) get past the FT paywall to see the vegan article, I will copy-paste a -reader’s super-short summary-critique of the article for others who can’t get past the paywall and are too cheap to buy their way in. And here it is.

    “Since the Financial Times is a money-grubbing propaganda outlet (ironic, I know) you won’t be able to view any of the article without a subscription. Don’t bother giving them your money to do so. The gist is that they went out and looked at some weird, bougie vegan magazine that had a range of exotic foods that came from around the world. Their conclusion is that (obviously) vegetarianism/veganism would be more harmful to the environment than industrial meat production… (or at least, if you want to get pedantic, ‘as’ harmful)

    So many things in response: most vegans eat frugally on simple foods. Some bizarre magazine in no way represents the mainstream (I’ve been veggie for 6 years, have never read it). What if we found some ridiculous gourmet meat magazine and passed it off as mainstream? The logic of the thing is so pointless: if we used more jet fuel on product A than product B, we would have used more jet fuel. The list goes on.

    But the most frustrating thing is the mental hoops that these people will jump through to reassure themselves that the thing they are obviously doing is simply not occurring.

    Anyway, just wanted to put this ridiculous article on people’s radar, since plenty of people read the FinTimes.

    Edit: I welcome anyone who does have a subscription looking through the article as well and adding things I missed.”

    And then somebody else replied . . . “I was able to look at it without a subscription.

    But, the article actually touts the environmental advantages of veganism.”

    So I will keep trying a little more to see the article and decide what to think.

  33. allan

    Brett Kavanaugh is owned by the White House, hook, line and sinker.

    Just as he did several weeks ago to prepare for his confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court, Brett M. Kavanaugh was back inside a room at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building — again facing questioners readying him for a high-stakes appearance in the Senate.

    This time, the questions were much different. An array of White House aides, playing the role of various senators on the Judiciary Committee, quizzed Kavanaugh last week about his sex life and other personal matters in an attempt to prepare him for a hearing that would inevitably be uncomfortable. …

    But Kavanaugh grew frustrated when it came to questions that dug into his private life, particularly his drinking habits and his sexual proclivities, according to three people familiar with the preparations, who requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. He declined to answer some questions altogether, saying they were too personal, these people said. …

    This is reminiscent of Cheney interviewing possible VPs for Bush, collecting dirt and filing it away.
    Just the mere existence of these mock hearings creates a conflict of interest.
    If he had any judicial ethics, Kavanaugh would need to recuse himself from every case
    involving the Executive Branch.

  34. Geo

    This is an amazing article. It’s clickbait is about a Tea Party hero who lost everything but upon reading it’s a fascinating look at the pay-to-play dynamic of our politics, the failures of our justice system, racist operations inside our prison system, and a very human story of political extremism tempered once reality opposes idiology.

    A truly important read:

  35. Wukchumni

    Kinda funny, this far far right representative in Arizona Paul Gosar, who had 6 of his siblings vouch against him in favor of the democrat attempting to unseat their brother…

    It’s very much how our family feels about our brother-in-law in Arizona, who has gone off the deep end in a similar fashion to the Representative, lots of similarities & conspiracy theories up the wazoo, the only difference being he’s just a regular joe.

    As long as he doesn’t try and run for office, i’ll keep my yap shut.

  36. The Rev Kev

    From the Department of You Can’t Make This Stuff Up-

    They came for the sexy Halloween costumes – and I said nothing.

  37. ewmayer

    “Report: Google suppressed an explosive memo about its Chinese search engine CNET” — Got an e-mail from a Google recruiter a couple days ago … my reply:

    Hi, —-:

    Thanks for your interest. Maybe if Google stopped being evil I would reciprocate it.

    Cheers,
    -E

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