Links 5/14/19

CNN

Weather Underground

New York Magazine

NPR

AgWeb. I wonder if pigs rooting is good for the soil.

FT

Bloomberg (DL). Pardon my schadenfreude.

Science. Increase. That’s why we need robot cars.

WAMU. Like (American) Chinese food for Christmas…

Syraqistan

NYT. “The 120,000 troops would approach the size of the American force that invaded Iraq in 2003.” In 2003 it took many months to preposition the materiel for the invsasion. If that’s happened already, it hasn’t been reported.

Associated Press. I don’t recall articles like this in major venues during the Iraq WMDs debacle. The administration better get busy faking evidence and planting stories like Bush did! Maybe they can ask British intelligence to help out….

Pepe Escobar, Consortium News

Venezuela

Associated Press

WaPo.

Counterpunch

Brexit

The Times. Letter from the 1922 Committee to May

HuffPo

Daily Mail

Guardian

Der Spiegel

India

Scroll.in

Asian Correspondent

The Wire

China?

South China Morning Post

FT

Asia Times

China Channel

CNN

South China Morning Post

RussiaGate

Hartford Courant. The blowback begins.

WaPo

CNN. A good lawyer never asks a question without knowing the answer…

New Cold War

Foreign Policy. We’re gonna force them to buy our more expensive gas? That’s not a good look.

LobeLog

Trump Transition

The National Interest

The Atlantic

The Intercept

Craig Murray

Boeing 737 Max

The American Conservative. By a happy coincidence, Boeing bailout’s bailout is already teed-up.

Jalopnik

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

FT

Bloomberg

Science. We keep hearing nobody knows how AI “deep learning” works; this article says it several times. What could go wrong?

The New Yorker

Los Angeles Times

Antidote du Jour (CC):

CC writes: “Attached is a photo of a butterfly that I took last week when I was in Noda, Chiba Prefecture, outside of Tokyo. The butterfly and the flower are in the Noda City Museum garden.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

211 comments

  1. Jesper

    About “The Rising Tide of the Populist Right”….
    I am not convinced that the divide should be framed as being about left and right as such a divide implies that the side are of equal strength and importance. The divide is between the well off and the ones who are either badly off or on the brink of being badly off. The well off are so few, of course they need to divide the rest into the ‘left and right’, dividing society in the top vs the bottom would put them in focus and them in the cross-hairs. The class struggle would be obvious.

    Linking opposition against the unfettered (anarchy?) capitalism with opposition against things most people have no problem with or even like is a clever strategy. As is, it looks like it has been a successful strategy. It also looks like people are willing to hold their noses and vote for politicians linked to less than nice opinions.

    Left vs right or top vs bottom? The people on the top of the pyramid most certainly prefers the framing of the first one.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The problem with this approach is that much of the populist right is not ‘at the bottom’. They may not be 1%ers, but may are certainly in the top half or quarter of the income spread (just look at Steve Bannon and his backers). This is something seen from the US to Europe and elsewhere (such as the Philippines). Historically, successful populist right movements have always had a core support from prosperous conservatives, their working class supporters are more dupes than leaders.

      1. JBird4049

        You are both right, but between the extremely large and unfair disparity in wealth as well as the sense of revulsion across the left-liberal-conservative spectrum of the it is probably more influential than the political differences are. Telling someone to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, or go to college, or to do what our parents and grandparents told us to do does not mean that much anymore.

        The factories have been shipped overseas, the unions are busted often by illegal labor, the colleges are too expensive, student loans undischargeable, ever fewer things work, the wars are unending, the financial sector always gets the money…

        Whatever your views are on homelessness, race, climate change, healthcare or anything else it is increasing harder to blame “them” for their problems instead of the elites. Which is probably why TPTB are having the increasingly frantic efforts of propaganda and violence as an attempt to keep in control.

        That would explain the great efforts to subvert Venezuela for its resources, the reinstallment of its own wealthy and corrupt conservative elites, and as an example to everyone else of the United States’ power. Venezuela is just not that important. However, if the United States cannot overthrow, or at least “influence,” a Latin American country when it wants to, which it has been able to do since the late 19th century, it’s blood in the water.

        So the American Maskirovka is failing as the country’s economic and military hollowness becomes visible. This gets back to the ruling elites’ Maskirovka. When Hilary Clinton and now that idiot Joe Biden are the Neoliberal Great White Hope, there are some serious problems here. That too is failing with means the blame and responsibility for much of all of our problems is starting to be shifted to them.

      2. jrs

        f-ist movements rely on the middle class right. As for Trump, yes he has a lot of prosperous small business owners etc. (and it is very doubtful that business owners EVER do have much in common with employees, unless they are very enlightened employers, and most aren’t).

        The Dems tend to pull the poorer part of the population that votes (even if they very poorly represent them) and surprise, surprise much of this is also minority as well.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > As for Trump, yes he has a lot of prosperous small business owners etc.

          I have long felt that the weird divergence between surveys and actual business data was caused by the class position of those surveyed. OTOH, “animal confidence” is a real factor….

          1. JBird4049

            Animal confidence doesn’t mean bleep when playing with bears although it is great for denying reality like the homeless villages.

            I have been reading for awhile about business owners complaining that cannot get anyone for their “well paying jobs” or find anyone ready to come off the street and just start working with absolutely no training.

            The highly conservative, even libertarian, bunch just can’t understand why even in the Rustbelt or the South a few bucks more than a minimum wage is not livable and that even retail and fast food jobs require some basic training.

    2. Frank

      Read this article this morning and loved this piece:
      You devote a chapter to the formation of belief – how our genes, traits and experiences shape our views. Does this mean genes play a role in our political views, say whether we’re a leaver or a remainer?
      There have definitely been studies that have looked at different brain profiles associated with ideology. People who are very conservative seem to have a much larger volume and a much more sensitive amygdala – the area of the brain that is involved in perceptions of fear. People who are more liberal seem to have a greater weighting on the region of the brain that is engaged in future planning and more collaborative partnerships. They don’t seem sensitive to immediate threats; instead, they are looking to the future. What we see in propaganda through the centuries is that if you heighten someone’s fear response using environmental manipulation, you are more likely to make them vote in a rightwing way.


      I’ve already sent this bit to one of my brothers ( the very conservative on ) with condolences for having been born with a huge amygdala.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think this is phrenology. The brain is (IMNSHO) infinitely plastic. It is only natural that lived life would have material effects at the individual level. To jump from the brain studies to essentialism is easy to do, but I think it’s as wrong as wrong can be.

    3. eg

      When you are given a choice of the party that serves the oligarchs or the party of the strongman, what are your options?

      Hobson’s choice and desperation are close cousins.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Doris Day dies; legendary actress and singer was 97”

    Sadly missed. She made a lot of films with Rock Hudson and they were great friends together. Next time you see one of their films where you have one of those over-the-shoulder scenes between the two, unseen by the camera is that they would be trying to crack each other up by crossing their eyes, screwing up their faces – anything to get the other to crack up and blow the scene-

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Everyday people die.

      When it’s someone we know, directly or in other indirect ways (saw him or her on TV), we feel a connection.

      We can also feel emotionally an abstract death, of someone we have not known before, not even indirectly (that’s a huge world), until now.

      Of the latter, very few of us actively seek out the news, everyday, of the people who pass away that day. Most of us just ignore that plain fact (of people leaving this world, every second). And our mind and brain can only focus on a small slice of life.

      1. Anon

        Yes, every day people die. But some die differently than others; see Collateral Murder in the links.

        I’m always amazed at the feigned sorrow of US citizens at the death of one of themselves, but wholly unconcerned with death and destruction created with their tax dollars and political choices.

        Doris Day was, indeed, a monumental talent. But probably most venerated for blond hair, trim figure, and characterization of narrow American culture.

    2. Oh

      ENjoyed her bubbly personality in the movies and was pleased to hear that she was an animal rights activist. Didn’t know that she had a rough married life. How sad. May her soul rest in peace.

    3. Big Tap

      Which reminds me of a quote of Doris Day attributed to Oscar Levant. Levant appeared in musicals of the era and was a great pianist. If anyone remembers Jack Parr they probably know who Levant was as he appeared often on his show. “I know Doris Day before she was a virgin”. That was her image early in her career. I liked her movies and her TV show but the cast constantly changed.

      1. wilroncanada

        I remember watching the Jack Parr show after we got our first TV in the 1950s. Oscar Levant was a highlight. I’m not sure if he and Jack Douglas were ever on at the same time, but that would have been a battle of wits. I read “Memoirs of an Amnesiac” in the 1960s–I’d forgotten about that. How about his comment on the divorce of Marilyn Monroe with Joe Dimaggio: It shows that a man can’t succeed at two national pastimes; or when she converted to Judaism to marry Arther Miller: She’s become kosher…now Arthur Miller can eat her.

  3. Bill Smith

    “Satellite images show no major damage to ‘sabotaged’ ships”

    Satellite images are not going to show that a ships’ engine room flooded. I would guess that could constitute ”major damage’.

    Amusing that the Spanish pulled their frigate from the Task Force.

    Interesting claim on the drones and the Patriots.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I find the whole thing very curious – especially at how slow the usual suspects have been to point the finger directly at Iran. I wonder if it is possible that Shia groups with SA or other Gulf states are getting radical independently of Iran and maybe co-operating with the Houthi.

      1. Bill Smith

        I would not be surprised to find you are correct about groups getting radical own their own.

        1. Procopius

          I don’t see how it would make any difference whether they got radical on their own or not. Iran would still be blamed. Saddam Hussein was always an enemy of Al Qa’ida, but the neocons still claimed they were allies. Then they claimed they never said that, but then they said it again, and again.

      2. Olga

        Could be a false flag operation – interestingly coming right after US warned that if anything happened.. and then it happens. Fool me once…

    2. George Phillies

      I have seen fairly close up photo of the hulls and damage, The plating is impressively bent. There was nothing obvious to show scale, and only above-water imaging, but we are certainly not describing USS Cole type damage; I would guess the hole was a few feet across. Of course, if the hole managed to include the engine room, the engine room would certainly have tended to flood. There was no sign that anyone had tried fothering something across the hole.

      One hole very much appeared to be in the ship’s rather flat stern…a surprising localion of a mine

  4. Wukchumni

    Los Angeles Fire Season Is Beginning Again. And It Will Never End. A bulletin from our climate future. New York Magazine
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    A month ago here, a wildfire would’ve had great difficulties in getting going, as everything was in different gradients of green.
    Light a 6 foot wide-3 foot tall burn pile in the morning and the greatly reduced remains will still be hot enough the next day to ignite, and although surrounded on it’s periphery by lush brush only a dozen feet away, not interested.

    We’ve paid our insurance on another year’s worth of uncertainty on our home & cabin, and the idea that you can crawl from the wreckage into a brand new abode should a conflagration consume it, makes you less leery of the consequences of living smack dab in the middle of the forest for the trees, with the knowledge that you can’t rebuild the upright standing members of your community in your lifetime should they suffer a similar fate.

    We’re surrounded by an oak savanna here in the lower climes, and it’s worked as a perfect bulwark against development, as nobody as of yet has had the heartlessness to cut down 200 year old oaks, but if a major wildfire breezed through and killed off said sentinels and left the land wide open, who knows?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Surprisingly, we are still experiencing rain in the month of May, here in California.

      The latest I can remember was April, decades ago (if I remember correctly).

    2. lowfiron

      Oak woodland does not burn like chaparral. A savanna is trees with an understory of grass or annuals. Oaks are pretty fire resistant and can recover after a burn. If oaks do burn it’s because there is chaparral or scrub around them.

      1. polecat

        … which might include these things we call .. you ready?? —– ‘Scrub Oaks’ ! … (Quercus dumosa)

        Not All oaks are savanna inhabitants ..

  5. dearieme

    120,000 troops

    A contemptible little army: they’d need far more than that to invade and occupy Iran. So what is the plan?
    Is it a war plan or an election plan?

    Come to think of it, wasn’t basing lots of US troops in Saudi one of the causes cited by Usama Bin Laden for his jihad? Maybe US troops aimed against Shias wouldn’t count?

    1. jsn

      Cascading incompetence: in Iraq, while they brought the invading army, the forgot the occupying peace force, IIRC if modeled on WWII Germany it should have been 600,000; this time they appear to have forgotten the invading army.

      1. The Rev Kev

        That was Donald Rumsfeld’s doing. The Pentagon had a planned force to go in an occupy the country but Rumsfeld had one of his pet theories that he wanted to prove that the US only needed a small force to do the job. He would hold continuous meeting where he would order this formation dropped from the plan or that unit. I think that at one stage he cut a laundry unit as well from the plan. The chaos and destruction that followed the invasion is to a large extent all on him.

        1. Wukchumni

          Don’t forget the role the National Guard played in Iraq 2.

          We had come back to the states after a 2 month stint in NZ in 2006 and took a rideshare van from LAX which ran into 3 hours of traffic in 40 miles of going nowhere fast, but we hardly noticed, as early in the sojourn i’d started a conversation with a gent who had one of the most gentile deep south accents, where you don’t want them to ever stop talking as its so entertaining to hear.

          He told us he was from ‘Alabamastan’ and had just completed a year in Badhdad-adjacent while serving in the Alabama NG, which was in adjunct to being a fireman for the Birmingham FD for 20 years. He related that he’d been in the NG for a decade and it’d been fun and games largely, until he ended up spending his 50th birthday in a place he described as akin to Tijuana, except TJ actually functions.

          Wonder what role the NG would play in a Persian spat?

        2. JBird4049

          Both the State Department and the military had extensive and detailed plans for the invasion, occupation, and reconstruction of Iraq much like it was planned for Germany before it was actually conquered.

          That would have meant using all our military resources as well as years of work, but probably would have ended with a functional Iraq and no ISIS, but it also would have cost more money. All that death and the destruction of a country in an attempt to save money as well as to look macho.

            1. JBird4049

              Yes, but the long term federal bureaucracy the job was to plan for the invasion, defeat, and rebuilding good enough to at least keep the peace just like with Germany and Japan. It is not their fault that the political leadership is wonderfully, violently incompetent.

    2. Craig H.

      In 2003 it took many months to preposition the materiel for the invsasion. If that’s happened already, it hasn’t been reported.

      In 2003 anybody who worked above the 5th floor with an office window and a view of a main railroad line could see mile long trains, flatbed cars, hauling desert camo tanks and bradleys and humvees. This is not the type thing that can be done clandestine.

      1. Olga

        Re 2003 attack on Iraq – in July 2002, I spoke with an army vet… all his still-active buddies were telling him they had orders to prepare for Iraq. That was almost two months before the infamous “you do not roll out a marketing campaign in August.” (Forget who said it, but someone did.)

      2. Yves Smith

        I read about the repositioning of hospital ships nine months before invasion, and I wasn’t blogging back then and therefore was vastly less attentive than now. The repositioning of the US Navy started IIRC 6 months before and was well reported.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Yes, I played whack-a-mole with all the different WMD stories for months, and there were all the massive demonstrations, and the logistics preparation rolled steadily on, in parallel, unaffected in any way.

    3. Summer

      “120,000 troops…a contemptible little army”

      But a lot of hostages.
      Give them funding or give them death!

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > A contemptible little army: they’d need far more than that to invade and occupy Iran. So what is the plan?
      Is it a war plan or an election plan?

      We can’t even manage a coup in our own backyard. And if we’re not making the logistical preparations for war, we’re not preparing for war.

      Speculating freely–

      We could do airstrikes (say on their “nuclear facilities”), but we’d need a pretext (which is why — tinfoil hat time — I wonder if the recent tanker attack was a false-false flag; Iran bleeding off some of the pressure so if and when the real false flag operation happens, everybody will think back to the earlier one, and wonder).

      We could use the Abraham Lincoln to force open the Straits of Hormuz (assuming we don’t lose it to a Van Riper-style small boat — or drone — attack).

      We could rush to Bibi’s The Only Democracy In The Middle East™’s defense, if some sort of escalation just happen to threaten them; that would play very well with the Christian right “Red Heifer” crowd* and the liberal Democrats….

      . FWIW, I think the role of the carrier task force is the key thing; not the troops. 100,000 is a just a bullet point without a logistics build-up.

      NOTE * Who want the Apocalypse brought on, let us remember.

      1. Procopius

        We could use the Abraham Lincoln to force open the Straits of Hormuz

        If insurance companies are not willing to insure ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz, no tanker is going to do it, whether the U.S.S. Abraham Lincon has “forced the straits open” or not. If the coast of Iran is not occupied by U.S. troops and thoroughly pacified and completely under U.S. control, I don’t believe any marine insurance company will be reckless enough to issue policies. Also, I think the Aegis anti-missile system has never really been tested under stress, like a dozen simultaneous anti-ship missiles.

  6. PlutoniumKun

    Re: Brexit.

    There is scarcely concealed panic now in both the Tories and Labour over the Euro elections. I think they hoped that they could in effect ignore it, but it now seems highly probable that Farages Brexit Party will come out on top and he will milk every drop of the limelight – I suspect possibly even more than opinion polls suggest as hard Brexiters are likely to be more motivated to turn out on the day.

    Looking at Sundays polls, it looks like that of likely voters, maybe 40% or more are strong Brexiters, with maybe just 25% or so strong Remainers, with the rest generally soft Remainers in one way or another.

    The almost dead Lib Dems may well be given a huge infusion of life by a good election, as will the Greens, SNP and PC. The Tories will be humiliated – I’m somewhat surprised that they are even running candidates, it would have seemed more sensible of them to have simply said ‘these don’t matter, so we aren’t running’. For Corbyn, its a potential disaster, especially if the combined LibDem/Green vote is larger than the Labour vote. I strongly suspect a lot of Labour voters wills stay at home as they have no idea what they are voting for. Labour Remainers will vote Green and Labour Brexiters may well vote Farage just to annoy the establishment.

    Its possible that if this is as big a blow to the Tories/Labour as it could be that it could precipitate something very quickly – but more likely it will be pushed under by the summer break, and will bubble up in a toxic manner in the September party conferences.

    I do think that there is a head of steam behind the only ‘solution’ many in both parties wish for – a rapid crash out to at least provide some clarity. Disaster capitalists and disaster socialists alike may see that as their best option. But going by the polls, its the right who will win in the end.

    1. Redlife2017

      To be fair to Labour, the word from HQ back in mid-April was that we expected the Brexit Party to win. The aim was to do better than the Tories and to make sure that any voters who go off-piste and don’t vote Labour in this election do so for any GE.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        It seems to me that the problem with that argument is that Labour can’t win a general election unless it can gather the overwhelming majority of the center and left vote in England, and not lose out too much to nationalists elsewhere. A reinvigorated Lib Dem and growing Green Party will make that almost impossible, whatever happens to the Tories (at least not without vote sharing agreements, and Corbyn has always been very hostile to those). In my opinion a consistent failure in Labours strategy is their constant focus on the Tories, while overlooking the electoral threat further left. There is a huge danger that the Tories will be rescued from their self inflicted wounds by the ‘anybody but’ vote splintering, as we saw in France.

        There is an international long term trend for traditional parties to shrink over time – this suggests that when traditional voters go ‘off-piste’ as you put it, they rarely return full time to the fold.

        But its certainly true I think that Labour must at least end up in a firm second place behind the BP, anything else would be very dangerous.

        1. Tom Stone

          PK, to a Californian this looks like a systemic failure of Government, the Irish Border problem seems intractable for one example..
          The UK lacks the capacity to negotiate in good faith, this makes a tragic outcome nearly inevitable.
          We’ll likely see a United Ireland in a decade or so, other than that it’s hard to see any upside to a clusterfu*k of historical proportions.

          Not that California is any better, the corruption and incompetence ( CalPers, Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge….) is also endemic.
          The UK is simply a little further down the road.
          Interesting times.

          1. Whoamolly

            Useful Wikipedia link for “eastern span of bay bridge” mentioned in previous comment.

            1. Cal2

              Kamala “Hands Off” Harris was allegedly our Attorney General during that multi-billion dollar scam.

              The bridge is owned by the state. No one from the construction finance bond issuing mafia was prosecuted.

              Nothing happened to Mnuchin’s OneWest Bank either.

              Just think what she’ll fail to do if she were elected president?

          2. John A

            How much did that bridge cost compared to the new bridge from Russia to Crimea? Merely asking because obviously, the most odious, corrupt, evil (add more prejorative adjectives you like) Putin would have wanted to ‘wet his beak’ with a few m(b)illions more.

        2. vlade

          I’d add to that that it would have to be close second. If they end up 10 points behind, and only say a couple of points ahead of LD, they have a problem.

          But I entirely agree with you that Labour (and Tories before them) got waay too carried away by the proclaimed end of third parties in 2017 elections (which had the highest percentage of combined Tory/Labour vote ever).

          I think Tories are done for – see today’s call from a senior Tory to do Brexit party alliance for GE.
          But I think that on the current course, Labour are not too far. All it will take is a genuinely charismatic figure (which Corbyn isn’t) somewhere on the left.

        3. Anonymous2

          There is an interesting discussion on a site I have just discovered called CakeWatch. The interviewee is a former Tory insider just turned CUK by name of Peter Wilding. By the standard of most Brexit discussions it is a refreshingly calm, measured, intelligent, apparently informed conversation. It is in podcast 51. Well worth a listen even if it is rather long. I recommend it strongly.

          Wilding claims to have advised Cameron on strategy for the referendum (his advice was ignored). If his claims are true he does seem to be a genuinely valuable source of inside insight into the Tories at present.

          What I take from Wilding’s predictions is as follows (with some glossing from me).

          May is dead meat, will be gone shortly to be replaced by Johnson who will run for Tory leader on a no-deal Brexit ticket. However this will trigger the further defection of enough Tory MPs (20 to 30) to CUK to deprive Johnson of the ability to form a government. A vote of no confidence in the House of Commons will follow, bringing the Tories down. What follows then will be either a general election or a coalition government of Labour, SNP, CUK, Libdems which will negotiate a deal with the EU which will then be put to a confirmatory vote in the country.

          The outcome of a general election cannot of course be predicted but could result in little real change in the Parliamentary arithmetic. Who knows?

          Now Wilding may of course be indulging in wishful thinking (he has switched to CUK after all) but he comes across to me as a very rational commentator who has probably had access to the thoughts of a number of relevant MPs, so may be in a privileged position to know what is going on.

          I will see if I can provide a link to the podcast.

          It would, I think, be poetic justice if Johnson’s insane ambition to be Prime Minister was to result in his being PM for the shortest period of time in history.

          1. Polar Socialist

            What follows then will be either a general election or a coalition government of Labour, SNP, CUK, Libdems which will negotiate a deal with the EU which will then be put to a confirmatory vote in the country

            Why is it that even seemingly intelligent and informed brits can’t seem to comprehend that the deal has been ‘negotiated’ already. All that is left is to accept it.

            Accept it now, or accept it as the first stage of the trade negotiations. Either with EU or USA, which both have clearly said that the Irish border issue has to be settled before any other negotiation.

            1. Yves Smith

              Yes, there is utter confusion about the difference between the Withdrawal Agreement, which is non-negotaible, and the “future relationship” which should be described at a 50,000 foot level in a non-binding document that is to be signed in connection with the WA, but the real negotiations don’t start until the UK has departed.

              1. Anonymous2

                I think it was my fault for not being sufficiently clear. My interpretation of Wilding’s remarks is that the deal would of course be the WA but with some further wording in the political agreement on customs matters (a common tariff?)

            2. ChrisPacific

              Also if you change the party names in that sentence and remove the ‘confirmatory vote’ bit you end up with an exact description of the process to date, and we all know how well that worked out.

              I’m not even sure it matters that much who the government is at this point when it comes to Brexit, since the issue is mustering sufficient votes in Parliament, and no potential party or coalition government is willing to vote as a bloc. Unless MPs change their mind (and their vote) the underlying calculations will remain the same. A GE might change this by changing the composition of Parliament, but it’s anybody’s guess whether it would change for better or worse. A change of government without a GE would do essentially nothing.

              1. Yves Smith

                Agreed on this too. There is no evidence that the EU will tolerate the time a confirmatory referendum would take, nor the uncertainty it would produce. My sense is what Tusk and others meant when they said they’d allow for an extension for the UK to have a second referendum was an actual second referendum, as a re-putting of the Brexit question, perhaps in a better form, to provide more guidance and air cover for MPs to negotiate with the EU on the “future relationship” (or revoke A50)

                1. ChrisPacific

                  Agreed, although I would not be surprised in the least if the media started to conflate the two and was then shocked/hurt/betrayed if the EU refused to play along.

                  If one is of the opinion that the Brexit decision-making process could be improved by adding even more ways to say no, then a confirmatory referendum probably seems like just the thing. In practice I think it will probably offend both Leavers (who will see it as a blocking tactic) and Remainers (who will be annoyed that Remain isn’t an option).

      2. vlade

        “and to make sure that any voters who go off-piste and don’t vote Labour in this election do so for any GE.”

        To do that, they would have to have a good reason. So far, it seems to me that Labour is hell bent on giving them good reasons not to vote for them even in a GE.

        1. Redlife2017

          Out canvassing, we have people telling us this, though. In solid Labour areas, people will directly tell us they will vote Labour in a GE, but Green / LibDem in the EU election. I doubt they are lying. For some people, Brexit is a very different thing to the government you want. I’m not saying that’s right, just what from speaking to people you get.

          1. vlade

            Psychologically, for a lot of people unless they are really enraged it’s easier to say something like that than a direct “no way”. Splitting is hard.

            I’d not really bet on this, TBH.

    2. David

      Ian Dunt has a good today, beginning:

      “The whole edifice of British politics is being torn apart, and both party leaders are so inadequate they can only sit and watch it happen.”

      This is a point that several of us have been making for. while now. Brexit has become a monster, devouring everything it touches. It’s for that reason that, whilst I think speculating about percentages has its place, and is no doubt significant, we shouldn’t assume that the prizes that support and seats usually bring will necessarily be worth having, soon, or even that they will continue to exist in their present form.

      1. Olga

        I hate to schadenfreude, but it is hard not to. This is how spent empires end… in a convoluted, brutal whimper… Could not have happened to nicer guys. Justice takes a long time (starting with Elizabeth I), but it does come. Plus, it’s off with yet another cog in the crumbling structure of the US empire.

    3. Oregoncharles

      ” it now seems highly probable that Farages Brexit Party will come out on top and he will milk every drop of the limelight ”

      Exactly what the EU was afraid of, a British sabotage squad right in their government, a viper in their bosom. Granted, the EU Parliament is mostly a figurehead, but it sure is visible.

      You’re also describing the scenario for Scottish independence, probably on an emergency basis.

  7. Redlife2017

    Re: White House Reviews Military Plans Against Iran, in Echoes of Iraq War
    There is a key point here after the 120,000 number: “They do not call for a land invasion of Iran, which would require vastly more troops, officials said…[big snip]…The 120,000 troops would approach the size of the American force that invaded Iraq in 2003.”

    Uh, so we invaded Iraq by land and that was 120,000 troops to occupy and take over the country. The 120,000 attacking Iran wouldn’t even be land based and therefore won’t occupy the country… Soooooo…we’re going to bomb them back to the stone age with some special forces on the ground? I’ll presume they haven’t noticed how mountainous the country is. When I was there I got to see their huge anti-aircraft guns in the mountains (near a certain nuclear research facility that is on the road to lots of tourist stuff – seriously). They looked to be well hidden from the air and even from the ground were a surprise to see. I am very sure there is tons more all over the many mountain ranges.

    And riddle me this: does anyone think that the plan takes into account the asymmetric response that the Iranian military and the various allies through the region will take part in? What a [family-blog]show.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Racism is the beating heart of the U.S. foreign policy establishment. Imperial subjects virus the pagans. Trump is more virulent than the elements that backed Obama with his American exceptionalism garbage, but the belief in the invincible warriors who march under Old Glory.

      They expect the Iranians to fold when they hear U.S. footsteps or all the “good ones” to overthrow the government and welcome American profiteers in.

      As for retaliation, these paranoid cretins have bought their own propaganda. I also think the relative unfamiliarity with numbers such as explosive force matters. MOAB sounds cool and might even serve a purpose, but against anything other than a single target, it’s stupid but still sounds cool. Expecting rationale behavior out of John Bolton (a human being per Rachel Maddow in one of her more bizarre segments) is not a good idea. It’s no different than the troops will be home by Christmas once they are done slaughtering the Hun, Slav, Commies, etc.

      1. Anon

        Yes, and when the Russian made super-sonic cruise missiles incapacitate the US naval vessels in/near the Gulf the “party will get started”.

        Trump is likely to make the evangelical prophets of Armageddon very happy.

      2. Oregoncharles

        I’m hoping this is all just an example of Trump’s negotiating style. Trouble is, even if he doesn’t mean to start a war, the long-term damage to the Empire is likely to be severe. He’s giving everyone else a really strong motive to make themselves much more independent. Or is that the silver lining?

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Racism is the beating heart of the U.S. foreign policy establishment. Imperial subjects virus the pagans.

        That is the liberal line. About everything, in fact (except their own motivations and behaviors. Of course). I don’t believe it — to the extent there is a claim worthy of belief; what does “beating heart” even mean? — because, well, what about power and money?

    2. amfortas the hippie

      iran and venezuela.
      none of my team blue peeps notice the continuities….neocons turn at the helm, full of bluster and a zealots eyegleam.
      but the false flags are so ham handed! so incompetently done!
      that both places also happen to sit atop our oil goes unremarked.
      same as it ever was…. “but trump is so eeevil!”…”and pottypoo is such a puppet master bent on world domination for his pinko hordes!”
      (i dont think they can actually hear themselves…these are parrot noises, shorn of substance)
      even wife has noticed that it’s like biden has already won….that same inevitability shoehorned into our uncomfortably shared reality tunnel.
      the unenlightement shuffles on

      1. Cal2

        Got bumperstickers?

        “High gas costs” the price you pay to
        sanction Iranian and Venezuelan oil”

      2. ambrit

        As Lambert says, “The Dems are like the Bourbons; they learn nothing and forget nothing.”
        The DNC seems not to have learned from the disaster that the Clinton campaigns use of the “Inevitability” strategy bought on.
        The DNC also has not forgotten how to ‘kneecap’ their pseudo and crypto Democrat competitors. The ‘dirty tricks’ against Sanders have already begun.

      3. curlydan

        Since the end of Vietnam, I’ve really only needed one anti-war protest sign: “Give US your oil…or DIE”.

      4. Procopius

        I like that “pottypoo.” One I saw over at Balloon Juice was “pooty poot poot.” No, they definitely do not hear themselves. They think they are engaged in sophisticated and witty discussion of international affairs. Some of the names are so obscure they have to be shibboleths to mark membership in a secret tribe.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      This has always puzzled me – what exactly is the war hawks endgame? As you point out, there is no possibility whatever that 120,000 soldiers could take Iran, or even a substantive chunk of Iran. Even if they recruited proxy armies in Kurdistan and Baluchistan, an army multiple times this number would be needed to take Tehran, even if it was logistically possible. While the likes of Bolton and WaPo chickenhawks might dream of this, surely even the most rabid military professional would have pointed out this basic logistical complication.

      I’ve assumed the true plan (or plans) is not to land any substantive numbers in Iran, except perhaps to support secessionist movements in non-Shia regions. The true aim is to collapse Iran by bombing – but to do this would almost certainly involve attacking civilian infrastructure (which once upon a time was considered a war crime). In short, they see a Syrian type outcome (well, one in which Assad doesn’t end up as the winner) as the real strategy, with chunks of the former Iran becoming Kurdistan like protectorates of the US/SA/UAE.

      But even leaving to one side moral and legal issues, this seems a wildly reckless military strategy, as nobody can be sure what would arise from such a mess. Its at least as likely that the Russians and Chinese would step in and benefit. It seems the one primary characteristic of being a Washington neocon is to never, ever learn from your mistakes.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Totally agree with your assessment PK. The numbers just do not add up and I am sure that the Pentagon would not want to get into a shooting war with Iran and risk the casualties. There is one possibility that I thought of when you mentioned a Syrian-type outcome. Agreed that 120,000 men are not enough to occupy Iran, they might possible be enough to occupy Iran’s oil and gas fields. Check this map out-

        Bolton, Pompeo and Netanyahu are probably telling Trump that the regime would collapse if the US did this and Trump would say that he has the right to take the oil for payment for “liberating” the country. But looking at a map I cannot see where the US could stage such a large mass of troops nor amass the tonnage of equipment required. That map suggest that Iraq be the logical jump-off point but no way will that country allow themselves to be used for that purpose. I’m thinking that Trump is ramping up the pressure so that a “deal” can be made.

      2. vlade

        I have my doubts whether bombing Iran would be a viable strategy. Iran airforce would be arguably done, but you don’t really need airforce here, just a good AAA. There’s no way you could blockade Iran in terms of weapons, and I’m sure Russia would be very happy to provide Iran with its AAA weapons, if for nothing else than to test them in field conditions.

        There’s no, and I mean no, good way to get landforce into Iran for the US, unless the US would take over Iraq and invade from there. But then the buildup would be very visible, and Iran would likely close Straits of Hormuz way before it would be complete. That would cause very large problems to Saudis – and if the US were tranporting the troops via Saudis, Iran would quite likely treat Saudi oil installations in Gulf as valid military targets.

        Probably easiest route in would be from Afghanistan, but via some passes there, but I don’t really believe the US would be able to build large enough army there. But most of the Iran’s population is in mountainous areas, and I do not believe that the standard US army doctrines would work well there. It’s one thing to run Abrams on the plains of Iraq, but you can’t really use much armour (or mechanised stuff) in mountains.

            1. Procopius

              That’s where the racism in American foreign policy comes in. There was no way MacArthur could imagine that Chinese soldiers could/would stand up to good American white boys (even though the Army was integrated at that point). In fact, most Americans aren’t aware of this, but it was reported at the time that some of Chiang Kai Shek’s officers were cheering for the People’s Liberation Army because of the revenge for the long humiliation of China. In Vietnam there was a subtle stench of “little brown brother” in all the American policy. One reason L. Paul Bremer felt justified in disbanding the Iraqi army before they had been disarmed was because he held them in contempt as “wogs” (he probably didn’t use that word). I’m sure Bolton, Pompeo, and Trump all feel that way about the Iranians (Persians, not Arabs).

        1. PlutoniumKun

          A bombing strategy could probably only really damage Irans military if they could take them by surprise. Once they’d dug in, it would be almost impossible to take out their core defence capabilities. But even with Russian support, I’d be surprised if the US with allies failed to achieve full air dominance. But there is an asymmetry here of course in that if even one pilot ended up in Irans hands they’d have a very strong bargaining chip. So the US would really have to rely on drones and cruise missiles.

          The one way the US of course could crippled Iran is by destroying oil, electricity and other physical infrastructure. I doubt there is any way Iran could stop this happening. But of course this would give Iran a perfect excuse to carry out unlimited retaliation.

          Iran could easily stop the use of Afghanistan as a stepping stone by simply sending a few shipments of Manpads or anti tank weapons to the Taliban.

          I’ve suspected that one of the neocon wet dreams is that they could stir up a rebellion in predominantly Sunni and support it with an attack from the Arabian Sea. A Baloch State could block off all Iranian access to the Pacific.

          1. bwilli123

            Free Balochistan, as per Bernard Lewis, and diagrammed by Col. Ralph Peters in 2006.

          2. vlade

            I’m not so sure.

            The only viable land bases to operate the aircraft are in Saudi. I don’t belive Turkey would let US now to use its bases to bomb Iran. That means stop to Saudi oil exports, as those a) can be hit by Iran (be it missiles or suicide squads) b) no shipping in Straits of Hormuz.

            Any US ship in Persian Gulf would likely be a sitting duck so small suicide boat attacks/missiles.

            So the only other possible bases would be ship-based missiles and aircraft. Which still would have to operate from somewhere in Arabian Sea. So any attacks on Teheran etc. would have to fly across a lot of territory, with mobile AAA all the way.

            Also, US Navy spent so much time trying to set up to hunt for Russian submarines that it’s now (I’m told) having some real problems dealing with smaller diesel subs. I believe Iran would consider sacrifice of a couple of diesel subs for a US Carrier more than a fair trade.

          3. vidimi

            if iran becomes at war then it will not be able to spare any weaponry. i agree that the US would likely achieve aerial supremacy rather quickly, but that is mostly due to russia’s reluctance to fully arm iran. as for allies, except for israel and the saudis, the US will mostly be alone in this as even the EU won’t go along. Poland maybe?

            1. Procopius

              … except for israel and the saudis, …

              The Israelis will be fully occupied in Lebanon and the Golan Heights. The Saudis will not send any ground forces. They withdrew their troops from Yemen after suffering 50 casualties and only use Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and mercenaries hired by the UAE.

        2. philnc

          If the US were to try using those passes it would be another Thermopylae, except this time the invasion would stall and the invaders wiped out before they got very far. Any invasion of either Iran or Venezuela is going to be a bloodbath for both the invaded _and_ the invader. Especially with Iran, where we’d likely see results similar to those predicted for an invasion of the Japanese home islands. Of course, as Mike Gravel has pointed out, nukes wouldn’t be an option this time because we’d be risking nuclear winter that could send us all back into the stone age (assuming we lived). The geopolitical fallout wouldn’t be minor either. Venezuela might finally get us recognized by most of the world as a rogue nation, Iran could break us both militarily and economically.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Geographically, the Battle of Carrhaei would be closer to a hypothetical engagement in the future. Who will emerge the victor this time? It’s hard to predict.

            From Wikipedia:

            It is rumored that some of the survivors of Crassus’s army ended up in China.[41]

            In the 1940s, Homer H. Dubs, a professor of Chinese history at the University of Oxford, suggested that the people of Liqian were descended from Roman soldiers taken prisoner after the battle. These prisoners, Dubs proposed, were resettled by the Parthians on their eastern border and may have fought as mercenaries at the Battle of Zhizhi, between the Chinese and the Xiongnu in 36 BC. Chinese chroniclers mention the use of a “fish-scale formation” of soldiers, which Dubs believed referred to the testudo formation.

        3. Duke of Prunes

          “Strategic” bombing without a ground force never works, and the USAF knows this because more than one pilot has told me they learned this in “war college”. Infrastructure can be rebuilt, and it just strengthens the resolve of the country being bombed.

      3. amfortas the hippie

        since iraq 2.0, ive come to believe that chias atop our oil is just as good as money in the bank. spread that depleted uranium around, oops, did we just bomb the sewer plant? the hospital? the antibiotic factory?
        then in 15 years when bosses need to make a withdrawal, there’s nobody there to defend the place. ngos and humanitarian efforts as a cover… the new missionaries accompanying the legions….helping the seven toed hairlipped unfortunates…while an iranco public private partnership absconds with our oil

      4. Chris Cosmos

        It’s a racket with lots of money changing hands with a strong flavor of:

        Oh, the grand old Duke of York,
        He had ten thousand men;
        He marched them up to the top of the hill,
        And he marched them down again.

        When they were up, they were up,
        And when they were down, they were down,
        And when they were only halfway up,
        They were neither up nor down[1]

      5. Summer

        “As you point out, there is no possibility whatever that 120,000 soldiers could take Iran, or even a substantive chunk of Iran…”

        It’s enough to keep the region in chaos. That’s the point.
        Then they sit there surrounded like hostages.

        1. Yves Smith

          Please look at a map. Keeping the region around Iran “in chaos” = greatly reduced or no oil shipments out of the Gulf states.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            =>(much) high oil prices for Permian, Bakken, etc.
            justifies the higher eroi for tight oil, so we can continue to be “the New Saudi Arabia!” for a while longer.
            perhaps.
            idk.
            maybe we’re giving these loons too much credit for nefarious long term thinking. Maybe bolton and pompous and the gang just have an itch for iran…bush2 era bucket list left undone.

      6. Roland

        As you say, the imperial policy is not about establishing anything; it’s all about wrecking things.

        The USA can keep on doing it, I guess until somebody decides to try nuking them.

        The wrecking of Iraq was successful. Iraq got wrecked: at least half a million people there died or were maimed, while millions more were driven from their homes and almost everybody there is poorer than they were in 2003. The USA was more or less unscathed by the war. After all, it’s not like the Iraqis could hurt them. The only Americans who got killed were people who volunteed. The government printed all the money they needed to spend on the war, per MMT, and foreign capitalists bought up most of the bonds, like the good little imperial subjects they are.

        Best of all, the American ruling class and the foreign compradore classes are all a lot richer than they were in 2003.

        So really, then, how can anybody call the imperial policy a failure? Why should the imperialists change their policy? Who’s gonna make them change it? Remember: Empires are not run for the benefit of their subjects. Empires are run for the benefit of their rulers.

      7. Olga

        There is no end game – or, rather, the goal is chaos. In a world, in which one empire cannot simply take over a territory the way Brits or Ottomans used to do, creating disruption and chaos must suffice. But an Arab Shia friend says “beware.” If the US really proceeds with an attack… it’s been nice knowing you all!

      8. vidimi

        i’m guessing the 120k would be there just to shore up israel, which would become a target for iran if attacked

    4. JohnnySacks

      Not to mention the hundreds of supersonic Soviet Moskit anti-ship cruise missiles designed explicitly to take out naval fleets, all hidden in the mountains overlooking the Persian Gulf. And our carrier groups sitting ducks in a bathtub protected by the arrogant belief that some tech miracle tested in carefully scripted scenarios and sold to them as childish American consumers by the military industrial equivalent of Steve Jobs will protect them from becoming fish food within a half hour of the first shot fired on Iran.

  8. Krystyn Walentka

    Re: Wild Pig Wars: Controversy Over Hunting, Trapping in Missouri AgWeb.

    “I wonder if pigs rooting is good for the soil.”

    That is an unhelpful way to think about nature. Nature does not care about good or bad. It has no morals. It only cares about equilibrium.

    So it is not if it is good for the soil. Rather, one should ask if there is already a balance in the ecosystem that will be disturbed if too many wild boar are killed. For if it is good for the soil it is good for the wild boar, which is why they root. But too much rooting is bad for the soil, and hence, bad for the wild boar. As a result they will die.

    1. jef

      Great comment Krystyn!

      People think that goats are good for removing invasive plants but in truth they often just trim back enough to make the plant more vibrant unless you trap the goats in a confined area and basically starve them so they will eat further. Still most plants will come back.

      Pigs, because they prize the roots will take out the plants permanently. Also their dung and urine is some of the best fertilizer you can get. All set to plant native species some fruit and nut trees.

      Hogs raised in field and forest is some of the healthiest meat there is. Been there, done that.

    2. bob

      “Nature does not care about good or bad. It has no morals. It only cares about equilibrium.”

      This is not true about ‘nature’ or about economics. ‘nature’ came from nothing. zero. the absence of anything. Equilibrium would mean it stayed that way, and no one would be around to make such ridiculous claims.

      Equilibrium, except in a few very specific, man-made analyses, is a myth. It’s a completely human expression and concept.

      1. someday susan

        Turns out depending on how they’re kept too. Equilibrium is the way to go if all species are to not only survive but thrive.

        “You can solve all the world’s problems in a garden.”
        ~ Geoff Lawton

        1. bob

          The lack of equilibrium is what led to anything and everything existing, let alone ‘thriving’

          try again

            1. ambrit

              I’m not sure if “needed” is the right word. My choice for apposite word is “possible.”
              As the Master Yoda crooned at the Young Skywalker: “Do or do not, there is no try.” (From: “Business Success Secrets of the Muppets, Revised Edition.” Far Off Galaxy Press 40 BD [Before Disney])

              1. scoff

                Maybe “inevitable” is the word. Who knows but that before the Big Bang there was a Big Suck, and another Big Bang before that, and….

                Who the family blog knows?

                1. ambrit

                  Yikes! Stripes!
                  Do you mean to suggest that the ‘Big Bang’ was really a ‘Big Blow?’
                  This is nearing something appropriate for Frederick Pohl’s “Kugelblitz Creatures.”

                2. vidimi

                  that has been my “theory” for many years. as the number of black holes in the universe exceeds a critical point, they begin to suck the universe back in. eventually, everything gets sucked into one supermassive black hole. once there is nothing left to suck, the black hole implodes (or inverts) and becomes a white hole, spitting everything back out.

          1. ewmayer

            Speaking of trying again – you’re strawmanning the issue by talking about *thermodynamic* equilibrium, when what is being discussed here is *ecological* balance, predator and prey, animal, vegetable and mineral, &c. In this context ‘equilibrium’ – and I agree it’s not the greatest usage – can be understood as a euphemism for ‘healthy ecosystem diversity, such as existed before humankind f*cked things up’.

        2. Procopius

          I think perhaps “homeostasis” is a better word than “equilibrium.” Although nothing is permanent.

    3. Wyoming

      “I wonder if pigs rooting is good for the soil.”

      The feral pigs are an invasive species. So by definition they are not supposed to be there and have disrupted the natural ‘nature’.

      In Great Smoky Mountain National Park the rangers shoot the feral pigs on sight. It is instructive to walk through a forest and see how the wild pigs have bulldozed what nature intended to be there.

      These pigs are highly destructive. See here:

      Over $1.5 billion in crop losses a year.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        neighbor traps them. i can take as many as i want.
        usually yearlings and younger…under 100#.
        tasty.
        another guy i know around here had a little business for years until he got old, setting up traps on other people’s ranches, and giving the meat to the poor.
        the presence of feral hogs around here(some descended from the pigs the conquistadores brought through here 300 years ago) is the main thing preventing me from pursuing pigs of our own…especially pastured pigs. don’t want to contribute to the problem, and they’re readily available without much effort on my part.

        1. ambrit

          Any of the dreaded introduced Russian Boars in your region? Now there is a fell plot worthy of an Evil Empire.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            the ordinary pigs are bad enough, thank you,lol.
            i’ve confronted a huge momma sow with a bunch of piggies. surprised them while floating by in a reedy part of the Llano river.
            current was fast right there, luckily.
            not 6 feet between us.
            eye to eye.
            and my cousin shot a boar(regular pig boar), once, while deer hunting. prolly 300#, with 5″ tusks.
            tough as nails, and mean when cornered.

            1. ambrit

              Yep. Pigs are definitely ‘big game’ for North American hunters.
              Brave souls used to bow hunt Javelinas in the Everglades way back when. I wonder if the Pythons have eaten them all up yet?

    4. Carolinian

      In the Appalachians wild boar are an introduced species brought by long ago hunting clubs trying to pretend they were in Europe. In other words they are an invasive species and have done great damage to Great Smoky Mountains National Park–a world biosphere preserve.

      1. JBird4049

        I am surprised that they have not reintroduced mountain lions as they will hunt most animals.

        1. ambrit

          Considering how far they will travel, I’m surprised Mountain Lions have not reintroduced themselves there yet. An open ecosystem with lots of available game should be an apex predators delight.

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Nature does not care about good or bad

      If good and evil were not real, it would not have been adaptive for us to evolve the capability to distinguish between them.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Activists at Venezuela Embassy served with eviction notice”

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond-

    ‘Mick Jagger’s Ex, Chosen as Envoy to UK by Guaido, Can Get No Recognition’

    I wonder if Richard Branson recommended her to Greedo?

  10. diptherio

    Pig rooting can be a positive for soil health. In the rotational grazing method known as “follow the leader” pigs are used as natural tillers, usually being brought into a paddock following goats or sheep, and after a short period of time are followed by chickens who spread all the pig manure around and peck the insects out of it, after which the your pasture will come back richer and thicker than ever.

    1. Wukchumni

      Our feral pigs have disappeared on us, haven’t seen one in a few years. They really hate on lawns, I know one fellow that’s been ‘pigged’ (local term, as in “did you hear Steve’s lawn got pigged again?”) three times, and it’s basically the worst imaginable roto-till results imaginable with the puerco eating gangs grubbing for food and leaving a mess of things.

      I had sausage made out of one that was hunted, and it was way gamy no matter how spiced up the cook tried to make it.

      1. Cal2

        Wuk,

        Gamy?

        Might have been Boar Taint, an excess of testosterone at certain times of year.
        You can get that in over the counter pork as well.

        1. Wukchumni

          It wasn’t tasty, i’ll tellya whut.

          Mostly I secure game when traipsing through the aislederness, going serpentine through the frozen food section so my prey perhaps won’t smell me coming, and then ask for a pound of pastrami, wafer-thin please.

      2. Kurt Sperry

        I’ve got a lawn in the Apennine foothills of Tuscany that’s been “pigged” by the local cinghiali, it makes mowing difficult/impossible. Pissing a lot in the area seems to deter them for a time as does just being around, they are people-shy. I yell and wave my arms from the doorway and they flee back into the oak forest.

        As for the culinary merits of boar flesh, if you need lessons in how to make it into something quite delicious, ask any Italian hill farmer — or perhaps more likely his wife. Sausages and ragù from cinghiali can be divine. They even make prosciutto from them, and it can be excellent. A humble, rustic sangiovese makes a good pairing for boar.

    2. Eclair

      I love it, diptherio! And you get to eat them after their work is done. Can’t put a tractor part in the slow cooker overnight and end up with rich broth and shredded meat.

    3. amfortas the hippie

      i’d love to pasture some pigs, but i suspect that the fences would need to be shored up.
      few pigs we’ve had could root right under a fence
      seem to remember certain long legged varieties of pig for this,too
      currently, ill put a chicken bone in the compost pile so the coons and possums will turn it for me

      1. Eclair

        Brilliant technique, amfortas! Must try that as I am simply to lazy to turn compost pile. And, a few years ago, I inadvertently decapitated the cutest little mole, as I was thrusting a spade into the compost pile to loosen it up.

        1. polecat

          A composting aerator works well, and is less agressive that shoveling ..
          .. just sayin ..

          1. ambrit

            A former local built his composting pile in a multiple horseshoe shaped enclosure. Then he laid perforated drainage pipes in the middle of the mix as he filled each bay up. The perforated pipes passively aerated the pile.

      2. cm

        Pigs can be trained to respect a hot wire by putting peanut butter on it. They are so smart it only takes 1-2 applications.

        BTW, a great book about the history of pigs:

      3. BillS

        Raised pigs for years. A good hot electric fence is the best way to keep them in. Their strong snouts will destroy just about anything else. When it rains, they may escape the fence (because shock is weakened) unless you close them in a barn or other form of solid pig-shelter! ;-) They are indeed very smart and will constantly test the fence.

      4. Oregoncharles

        amfortas, I put bones in the compost all the time; will do that today, having first made broth from the bones of last night’s chicken (footnote: roasted chicken makes the best broth. It’s actually worthwhile, though a bit energy intensive, to roast the chicken pieces before making broth.). I wondered who was making the big holes in the pile, then met the neighborhood skunk when I took the compost out at night. Tip: when face to face with a skunk, look away. It won’t be there when you look back.

        We have raccoons, too, but they nowhere near turn the pile. I hear chickens will though.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          armadillos are adept at compost turning.
          pity the earthworms, perhaps.
          but they eat the fly larvae, as well.
          Mom’s found it impossible to exclude them(dillos) from anywhere….and i never even tried.
          stepdad used to sit on the porch and shoot them(!!!–“they keep digging up the yard”)…until i arrived, and explained their relationship to imported fire ants.

          and! in another example of follerin critters around: armadillos are stupidly easy to follow…even carrying a lawnchair. blind as bats…if you stay down wind, and don’t stomp too loudly, they’ll never even know you’re there.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > They really hate on lawns

      When I asked the question, I was vaguely remembering the idea that buffalo were good for the prairie, because they broke up the soil and also fertilized it. Could be wrong on that though!

  11. Wukchumni

    These Motorhome and RV Crash Tests Are Remarkably Terrible Jalopnik
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    No RV’s or trailers are allowed in Mineral King in Sequoia NP as the road has 698 significant turns in a marathon’s distance of blind curves to get there that aren’t a Dime a dozen, they’re even cheaper than that.

    As a result, most everybody is in a tent in the 2 car campgrounds, a refreshing back to the future glimpse before glamping and bringing the whole kit and caboodle with your boxy but good house on wheels.

    RV’s tend to be named for things they aren’t, such as “Wilderness”, “Montana”, “Heritage”, “Cornerstone”, “Mountain Aire” or other wishful monikers.

    Toy haulers on the other hand, all tend to have aggressive names including: “Venom”, “Raptor”, “Scorpion”, “Entimadator”, “Rolling Thunder”, “Rampage” and others you’ll never see on an RV.

    The idea that RV’s aren’t safe in a crash is a given, there’s a fair bit of crumple zone going on, as in the whole vehicle.

    1. philnc

      That video is frightening. Growing up we had travel trailers because dad and mom were fans. Pulling a trailer can be incredibly dangerous. They had one catch fire and burn down on an Ohio interstate due to a stuck brake mechanism overheating (thankfully, the LNP container emergency release did its thing and so emptied before it could be ignited). When I got out on my own I favored tents, because they were light and cheap. Really always wanted to try out hammock camping, but the one chance I had some years back my wife claimed the hammock and I left me with the tent. Life is so unfair sometimes.

  12. PlantFox

    “German Failure on the Road to a Renewable Future”

    Wind and solar grids are not feasible without backup systems. Otherwise balancing the load is quite difficult due to weather dependence. Unfortunately most backup is coal power. The variability of these sources lead to higher cost per KwH and detracts from the overall efficiency of renewable grids. Developing higher density and efficiency batteries is the quickest solution to achieving a balanced grid with these oscillatory power sources. The article only briefly mentions this. More robust batteries lead to a stable grid with less supply and demand imbalances. Eliminating these imbalances smooth and lower the cost/price per KwH. It seems that many minds are focused developing better batteries, so perhaps there is hope that a 100% renewable grid can exist.

    1. JohnnySacks

      The hydrogen fuel cell perhaps? With a lot of advanced research and some foresight the Saudis could have driven the market with their desert sunshine and spared us this ubiquitous Li-ion everready energizer phase of history.

      1. PlantFox

        True, hydrogen fuel cells are a great alternative. The article does mention so hydrogen fuel cell scheme involving cars to balance the grid. Converting the entire auto population to hydrogen is probably a constrained. Although quite a novel idea.

    2. JB

      I didn’t realize most backup is coal power in Germany to make up for renewable energy intermittency. In the U.S., it’s mostly natural gas. Given the scale and duration needed to meet GHG goals, I don’t think batteries can get us there, we will also need demand side management.

    3. Olga

      There is definitely lots of hope… and tangible action/results today. (And “Unfortunately most backup is coal power” is not true anymore (depending on the region, of course), as many old coal units are mercifully retired.) Balancing is necessary, but what today is achieved with fossil fuel plants (more and more, nat-gas) can in time be done – and will be – with energy storage (various technologies). If we only could agree on diverting sufficient resources to R&D of these new technologies.

  13. PlutoniumKun

    Wild Pig Wars: Controversy Over Hunting, Trapping in Missouri AgWeb. I wonder if pigs rooting is good for the soil.

    Its long been speculated that wild boar are very important for forest floor health throughout Eurasia – they dig up and spread soil and prevent compaction. They were driven into extinction long ago in Britain and Ireland, but farm escapees are recolonising parts of Britain now – it does seem they do ecological good – George Monbiot has argued I think that the absence of forest floor natural ‘ploughs’ has led to a long term loss of biodiversity in Britain.

    The question in the US though is what ecological niche they are exploiting? I wonder if they are displacing a native animal or if they’ve simply opened up a whole new niche no existing animal noticed. I’m curious as to why the boar never established itself naturally in north America given in Eurasia.

    1. jsn

      My guess is the feral pig niche opened up as the result of the near absence of big feral cats and dogs: lions and wolves.

      Pace Diptherio above, where they are not part of a manure based rotation through fields, they get in and eat all the earth worms out of the soil: my French organic farmer friend has been at war with them since he converted his soil to organic. I’ve been suggesting he should get into meats so he could deploy Diptherio’s rotation and profit from porcine predation of his worms rather than suffer from it.

      But farming is hard work and I don’t think he has the manpower to add animals.

      1. Eclair

        Earthworms are not native to northern US and Canada. They were imported in soil and rootballs. Who knew!

        1. jsn

          As far as I know, earth worms are native to France…illegal immigrants here?

          Apparently we need more wild pigs in our North American forests!

        2. polecat

          Not entirely true Eclair .. SOME earthworms are endemic to the northern regions of North America, like the Giant Earthworm which inhabits the Paloose region of Wa. State … though with much difficulty ..

    2. Oregoncharles

      Feral pigs are established in a number of places in the US, including California. Oregon is presently trying to keep them out, basically by establishing all-you-can-eat hunting.

      There were native wild pigs in the SW, called peccaries. Don’t know why they weren’t more widespread. Predation, maybe? They’re small.

  14. cnchal

    > AI can now defend itself against malicious messages hidden in speech Science. We keep hearing nobody knows how AI “deep learning” works; this article says it several times. What could go wrong?

    Could? An AI related disaster beyond human imagination is inevitable.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We humans also don’t know how the human brain works either.

      And for at least 200,000 years or so, that has not stopped us from conquering (or some other verbs) Nature.

      Some will say AI is more powerful than the human brain, and that’s why it’s riskier today, than ever. I would only say that at least AI has not shown greed, lust, envy, etc. so far. And it’s the combination of intelligence, and these other ‘qualities’ that make us humans what we are.

    2. PlantFox

      It’s not the algorithms themselves, it is the input data that is being corrupted. The models are working as intended, but the adage holds “garbage in garbage out”. It is interesting how they break down the waveform to identify corrupted input data.

      I don’t agree with the article saying “no one knows how it works”. The process of training a deep-net is well understood; however, quite mathematically complex which is a barrier. In practice, the question is how are given connections created from input to output data. Furthermore, determining level uncertainty for a given prediction is also a industry challenge. Much like humans, models have their unknown unknowns. That’s where these models are most dangerous and can become weapons of math destruction. Although in practice, the online error is monitored closely to prevent a model from running wild.

      I posit, the bigger issues with AI is the how centralized it is. Google, Amazon, and Facebook have the most advanced models, in that order. Google is an absolute powerhouse when it come to machine learning and deep learning. Generally in machine learning, who has the most data is the most dominant.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Notre-Dame and the Paradoxes of Historical Preservation

    “Thinking of what the BOFH would do in this case, I checked and found out that those two stone towers at the front of Notre Dame are about 233 feet (68 meters) tall. It would be a shame if some of these “visionary” architects explaining while visiting atop the building how they want to put a naked steel spire atop the Cathedral or build a glass pyramid to match the one at the Louvre had an unfortunate accident. I’m sure that that is what a jury of patriotic Frenchmen would rule it as.

    1. Darius

      A good reason to rebuild the 19th Century spire is so narcissistic international architects like Foster can’t ruin it. Viollet le Duc had the right idea. Build on historical experience and apply modern technology in complementary ways. The tabula rasa approach of modern international architecture seeks not beauty and function but attention.

  16. Merf56

    RE: U.S. Senate Threatens Sanctions Over Russian Pipeline
    How does everyone here think this is going to turn out? Is Germany going to behave like our vassal? Are the pipeline companies involved going to knuckle under? I think this will give us some serious signals going forward…

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The Germans are utterly focused on getting the pipelines built. This is very much a red line for the German business and political establishment which sees multiple gas sources as strategically essential for their economy. Pushing them too far on this is a very stupid strategy.

    2. The Rev Kev

      I read that if they buckled and started buying the much more expensive US LPG when it was available, that it would make German industry less competitive with the US. The EU is screaming blue murder about Nord Stream 2 as the Ukraine stands to lose a coupla billion dollars in transit fees from that gas – as well as siphoning off free gas – and the EU may have to make up the difference. Recently they asked Russia if they could pay the Ukrainians those billions in transit fees, even after the gas stopped flowing through the pipelines in the Ukraine. No, that is not a joke. They actually asked the Russians that. It did not help matters either when the US Ambassador to Germany threatened companies that work on this project.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A good point.

        Is Germany…

        Germany is not monolithic. There are many active environmentalists there.

        How does everyone here think…

        A more important question is, how do German Greens feel about those pipelines? Do they oppose them?

        The pipeline companies knuckling under… These fossil fule cororations may want to invest in greener projects, perhaps…

        A related question – should fossil fuel exporting countries, like Saudi Arabia, Iran, the US, Russia, be banned from exporting? That would require some work, internationally. But is it harder than changing the Electoral College?

        Not as daunting, perhaps, is to ban all fossil fuel projects that takes more than 5 years (from today) to complete…or 10 years (or other similar numbers of years), because if we only have 10 years or so, per AOC, what is the point of a fossil fule project ready to produce only after 10 years? Or 8 years (that would leave 2 years before the 10 year deadline). Finishing in 4 years would leave about 6 years before the end…and any sound business corporation would ask how much can they get back in 6 years, after investing all that money.

  17. zagonostra

    >Healthcare

    Estimates from a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) survey reveal that 1.1 million people lost their health insurance coverage in 2018…For all age groups, the percentage uninsured at the time of the interview and the percentage uninsured for at least part of the year increased from 2017 to 2018. Some 9.4 percent of individuals lacked health insurance coverage at the time of their interview in 2018, compared to 9.1 percent in 2017.

    Meanwhile in the land of Trumpolina the shadows on the wall keep the netizen’s attention skipping from one topic to another…

    1. jrs

      Well of course Trump policies also contribute to it, actually likely are the cause of increasing rates of people without insurance, however they are not the only thing wrong with the medical system of course, and insurance doesn’t mean you avoid medical bankruptcy.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Lost.

      Some people who want insurance are now without. Not a few who previously were insured received less health care than otherwise because of high deductibles (covered here in NC).

      Some are not insured now because they don’t want to (but were forced to buy).

      Both are counted as ‘lost,’ I assume.

  18. Wukchumni

    A toehold of the counterculture movement will live on at Death Valley National Park, where park officials will largely leave the network of hot springs and artworks at Saline Valley Warm Springs in place.

    The Beat generation and the hippies crafted the soaking tubs at Saline Valley, and after studying the situation and what was on the ground there, the Park Service has generally agreed to let it remain mostly intact.

    Saline Valley Warm Springs are located in a remote northwest corner of the national park, 35 miles from the closest paved road. Recreational users developed soaking tubs and art installations starting in the 1950s. The warm springs, which range in temperature from 61 to 117 degrees Fahrenheit, long ago were funneled into a network of soaking pools, creatively named “Crystal Pool,” “Sunrise Pool,” “Children’s Play Tub,” Volcano Pool,” and “Wizard Pool.” There are elaborate art displays, shower areas, dishwashing areas, a burro watering area, and non-native palm trees.


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    When we were there last Thanksgiving, there was around 175 people and not one Cent was spent among the throng as there is nothing to buy, nor did anybody have a smartphone in their hands aside from taking pictures, as there is no signal. There’s a tradition of bringing food for the Thanksgiving buffet, and I placed a blackberry pie on one of 3 twelve foot long desert tables that were bulging at the seams with goodies, along with the main course and side course tables laden large.

  19. Samuel Conner

    Re: the Weather Underground article about the risk of failure at Old River Control Structure and the formation of a new main channel to the Gulf, via Atchafalaya R., two thoughts:

    First: John McPhee’s wonderful New Yorker essay, “Atchafalaya”

    is worth reading at least once in a lifetime.

    Second, darker thought: if there is any way to mine those problematic upstream sandbars in ways that will worsen climate change and likely increase the risk of failure of ORCS, (perhaps for construction sand or frack sand, both of which I believe are becoming in short supply) it will happen.

    1. polecat

      His book ‘Control of Nature’ .. which includes your above suggestion is a great, and vivid reminder of the foibles of human hubris

      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve never read a McPhee book I didn’t like, and Encounters with the Archdruid is my favorite.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “How an Academic Journal Censored My Review on Xinjiang”

    Haven’t there been more than a few cases where authors cannot find a publisher in North America to print their articles or books and so have had to have them done overseas? Wasn’t Thomas Frank one of them? (could be wrong there) And I have no doubt that the US is not alone in this technique.

    1. zagonostra

      I remember Seymour Hersh had to publish article about Obama’s fictitious/theatrical killing of Osama in the LRB…wasn’t Biden on stage for that performance?

      1. The Rev Kev

        That was who I was trying to remember. Seymour Hersh, not Thomas Frank. Thanks for that correction.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If it’s a case of ‘you did it, so I am allowed to it,’ we are not looking at a better world in the near future.

          Moreover, those who previoulsy criticized the treatment of Hersh would be consistent in speaking up now, if justified (there are some, perhaps, who dispute the claims, or indicate the situation is more complex, or nuanced). Those critics should speak up, and/or be allowed to speak up.

        2. Olga

          But Frank also had to move to the Guardian…. before, he was published in the US. Talk about a brain drain! (When an empire starts stomping on its best, one can imagine the end is not too far off.)

    2. PlutoniumKun

      That publisher is Dutch. I think its an increasing problem with academic publications is that they all want a slice of China action and this means active self-censorship (as also happens in Arabic affairs, nobody wants to anger potential Gulf patrons).

      In the past 2 years or more there has definitely been a ramping up of pressure by China on free speech both inside and outside the country. By making our institutions so dependent on outside money, we (by ‘we’, i mean the west generally) have handed over significant power to autocrats over our own rights.

      1. witters

        “By making our institutions so dependent on outside money, we (by ‘we’, i mean the west generally) have handed over significant power to autocrats over our own rights.”

        So “inside money” is the way to go? Our autocrats defend our rights!

  21. Chris Cosmos

    Escobar’s piece on Iran answers no questions that can’t be answered without beginning to look at the Big Picture which is largely hidden from view. I urge readers to look deeply into the Washington drama as a struggle for power both between groups/factions and individuals. I believe the situation is fairly chaotic within the structure that is the network of operatives, spooks, martinets, gangster contractors called the Washington Deep State that is the only game in town. Within this small community of authoritarian assholes is where the “show” actually is–we have to endure it where we must and oppose it where we can. There is no practical national reason for the needless wars other than ing the beast mentioned above. This has nothing to do with geopolitics and more to do with what the very late Senator Wayne Morse used to call “gangsterism” in his lonely critique of the Vietnam War. There is no real threat to US citizens from anyone or any country. The whole National Security State is a fraud from beginning to end–there is no “there” there. This is organized crime as its most disgusting and is the only major threat we the people are facing other than climate change.

  22. crittermom

    Oh, oh?

    Train tracks run through the town I currently reside in, & yesterday in my travels I noted a LONG train headed westbound–loaded with nothing but tan-colored Army TANKS.

    Left me feeling very uneasy.

  23. Wukchumni

    I’ve become immune to the jackal of all tirades as any shock value was long ago wring’d out, and i’ve shared this previously, a warning from a Venezuelan journalist in January 2017, about what was in store for fellow members of her profession here. She was quite prescient.

    1. Carolinian

      Ah yes Univision owned, like those Venezuelan private broadcasters, by an oligarch–in this case Haim Saban, Dem billionaire supremo.

  24. Tom Stone

    Thanks for the link to the article about the ORCS on the Mississipi River.
    John McPhee wrote a lovely essay about it.
    It must be 25 years since I was sitting in my yard eating BBQ with a friend when the subject turned to the best targets in the USA ( No internet back then) for terrorists…
    Or the USSR, this was at least 25 years ago.
    The criteria was the most damage at the least cost with a team no larger than 5.
    ORCS was #1 on our list.
    I’m sure DHS is all over this, like Becerra on Cal-Pers.

  25. dcblogger

    any lawyers present? Could the insulin cartel be prosecuted under RICO laws on grounds of conspiracy to commit extortion, reckless endangerment, and malicious wounding? They are mass murderers and we need to treat them as such.

    1. amfortas the hippie

      lol. reckon rico could be applied to most if not all of big healthcare…. if we had a gooberment that was ours

    2. cm

      Denninger writes all the time about the govt not enforcing existing anti-trust & anti-monopoly criminal law. The fact that civil charges (and settlements) are the norm instead of criminal charges (and jail time or executions) says it all.

      Business as usual.

      1. polecat

        Come on, get it right … it’s “Just Bidness”, which goes hand in grifting hand with “Just Us” …..

  26. Jesper

    This yacht:

    was along the quays in Dublin on Saturday. Seeing it made me curious, looked it up and it seems that the owner appears to have made a few dollars on insulin-related technologies. The IP laws in place for the good of the many and not for the few…

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I miss the old days when a yacht like that on the Quays would have attracted squads of rotten egg throwing gurriers from Ringsend. I think most of them work in Facebook now.

  27. Svante

    Not if they’re anything like API 5L SAWL/H gas linepipe coming out of the Russian oligarch owned mills in Canada and the US! But, I’d better fess up to holding shares in several pretty evil Rooski gas/ transmission equities?

    1. Svante

      This, was posted in answer to Summer’s “Are these the ‘green’ pipelines?” which I suspect was equally sardonic in intent? Russian pipe mills are pretty much what you’d picture… but it’s not like Russians flare gas percolating out from where the permafrost used to be? Gotta go & watch “Chernoby*” high… and try to cheer myself up?

      * Quick, which large diameter US pipelines were rolled from Azovsthal plate, salvaged from Pripiat & Chernobyl?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        People who have opposed pipelines here and in Canada, are they against these European pipelines?

        1. Svante

          There are people in here who’d helped stop a ridiculously dangerous, stupid wet-gas pipeline (reopened by a Democrat state administration) and a YOOJ 42″ fracked gas pipeline (which will, eventually get the go-ahead). Whether they’re to schlep fracked gas South, to power baggers’ air-conditioners 24/7, to run ethane 400 miles (right past four schools in one place) for creepy foreign conglomerates, or 36″ lines, with river crossings through totally untreated water supplies of two of the nation’s biggest cities. It simply does not matter. Both faces of our tag-team kleptocracy are there to make it so. Same as it ever was?

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            even republicans in texas get all up in arms over pipelines:

            i was there this morning and there’s “Move the Pipeline” signs in almost every yard.
            if only for aesthetic reasons, KM should move elsewhere(Hill Country really is the jewel of this state)

            1. Svante

              I remember how proud I’d been to work my first KM gig (it required acceptance, on the part of some cantankerous coots, who’d spy on you, even when they weren’t working right beside us). It’s a different planet, now. And I’m recommending not buying property in any valley FrackTracker, DeSmogBlog or Propublica maps shows a wet-gas ROW?

  28. Roger Smith

    The flagrant abuse of U.S. citizens at the hands of the Israeli government and our own governments complete cuckoldry of response to this legitimate “bad actor” state makes my head explode. It is maddening how powerless we are to destroy our own corrupt leaders, not to mention some other government’s more corrupt leaders who are stepping all over us, stealing our resources, spying on our kids at school… If Iran can cause significant damage to Israeli infrastructure, I hope a war starts. We need a dynamic shift in power and voting and tribalist rhetoric isn’t getting us anywhere. Oh wait, I am sorry. Russia is the problem. My mistake. Oh look, American Gladiators is on!

  29. Cal2

    “Los Angeles Fire Season Is Beginning Again”

    Doom porn and sidestepping the real issue: Overpopulation.

    Fire is normal in that ecosystem. The real problem is overpopulation and over building.
    Controlled wintertime burns are the solution to fire danger. Controlled burns only can be allowed in wild areas. Once they are developed, no more controlled burns.
    That is the origin of the growing statewide “wildfire acreage”, measured by the life of (Geophysicist wanna-be) “Eric Garcetti, the mayor of Los Angeles, [who] told me. “The only thing that will stop this is when the Earth, probably long after we’re gone, relaxes into a more predictable weather state.”

    Meanwhile Eric and his corrupt construction cohorts are promoting more real estate, high rise construction, “transit oriented construction” stack and pack buildings near new train stations, pour millions of tons of concrete and, most importantly in his, and the state Democratic Party’s commitment to fight global warming, encourage, excuse and politically shelter Latin America’s sur population to come north and hopefully register to vote.

    Who is moving out to Simi Valley, toward Ventura and into the fire prone areas? People leaving the city. i.e. South Central was once white, then postwar, it became black. Now the blacks are being replaced by Hispanics. Say, is that “gentrification?” Where did the blacks move? Out to the foothill cities. People in the foothill cities? Uphill. etc.
    This map is based on the 2010 census. Demographic shifts are more extreme today.

    Eventually the Metropolitan Los Angeles area will be one solid city from Rosarita Beach in Mexico up to San Luis Obispo. Check out Google Maps aerial views of the Mexican U.S. border at the Pacific for a preview.

  30. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From the Bloomberg antitrust article:

    Yet there is a Supreme Court precedent, Illinois Brick Company v. Illinois, that interprets antitrust laws to create a limit on who can sue for violations. Specifically, the Illinois Brick case held that you can’t sue someone who overcharged you as a result of monopoly behavior by a third party. (In that case, the state of Illinois was the end purchaser of bricks that had been sold to it by contractors who brought the bricks from the alleged monopolist; the court said the state couldn’t sue the monopolist directly.)

    In that Illinois case, the 3 parties are

    1. the state
    2. contractors
    3. brick makers (the third party mentioned above).

    So, the last sentence says the state can sue the brick makers?

    It also says the state can’s sue the contractors (who overcharge you as a result of a third party).

    Am I reading that correctly? It means you can’t sue Apple, nor the app makers.

    But it also says in the article that users should sue the app makers (the third party), not Apple.

    This is a bit confusing.

  31. John Beech

    Wild Pig Wars: Controversy Over Hunting, Trapping in Missouri AgWeb. I wonder if pigs rooting is good for the soil.

    No controversy around here. We get wild boars (central Florida) and what I resort to for running them off is a high powered pellet gun with a 4X scope. I aim to hit their ears (they don’t like that at all). Anyway, once I plink a sow or boar in the ear, the tail shoots straight up and they’re off like a shot (all of them – usually including a few dozen piglets) and at a very high rate of speed! The alternative, when they’re rooting for acorns, is a hole large enough to hold a Toyota – I kid you not.

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