Links 12/3/19

Reptiles Known as ‘Living Rocks’ Show Surprising Cognitive Powers Nature

Fire Blight Spreads Northward, Threatening Apple Orchards New York Times

Reusable plastic shopping bags are actually making the problem worse, not better Quartz (resilc)

Apostrophe society shuts down because ‘ignorance and laziness have won’ London Evening Standard

Doctors Are Turning To YouTube To Learn How To Do Surgical Procedures CNBC. This is “kill me now” of another sort….

China?

Hong Kong: A different kind of Cold War Asia Times

China Hints U.S. Blacklist Imminent in Threat to Trade Talks Bloomberg

Who Pays the Tax on Imports from China? The Big Picture

Brexit

What Jolly Good Fun It All Is Current Affairs (UserFriendly)

Cameroonian Asylum-Seekers Flee US-Backed Forces Intercept

Syraqistan

The Superpowers Battling Over Iraq’s Giant Oil Field OilPrice

The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer: Global Turmoil: Ethics offer a way out of the crisis MidEast Soccer

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

All New Cellphone Users In China Must Now Have Their Face Scanned MIT Technology Review

Chinese tech groups shaping UN facial recognition standards Financial Times

Portland Plans To Propose the Strictest Facial Recognition Ban in the Country Fast Company. More of this, please.

Google, Facebook In EU Probe Over User Data Mercury News

Vulnerability In Fully Patched Android Phones Under Active Attack By Bank Thieves ars technica

Imperial Collapse Watch

The U.S. Army’s Worst Tradition: Never Ready for the Next War Daily Beast (resilc)

Trump Transition

Trump just slapped tariffs on Brazil and Argentina to try and dig himself out of a problem he created Business Insider (Kevin W)

US threatens tax on champagne and French cheese BBC

Trump Was Right Before He Was Wrong: NATO Should Be Obsolete Antiwar

Could America Survive a Truth Commission? Charles Hugh Smith (Chuck L). This is a bit off base. The original Truth and Reconciliation Commission was on South Africa’s apartheid era, one massive human rights abuse that had dominated political and economic life. Where do you being and end with America’s truth commissions? WMD in Iraq? Continuing mistreatment of people of color, ranging from mass incarcerations of blacks to ongoing threats, like stop and frisk and trigger happy cops (which also take out white people, just not in the same proportions)? The massive transfer of wealth to financiers post crisis? The second financial services industry bailout, foamed by 9 million significantly preventable foreclosure? Unnecessary deaths, disease, and disability due to unaffordable health care? I’m sure readers can add to this list.

Impeachment

Trump uses impeachment to market to his base Axios

Yes, Ukraine Meddled in the 2016 US Election Consortium News (Chuck L)

2020

Election polls aren’t broken, but they still can’t predict the future ars technica

Trump campaign denies press credentials to Bloomberg News BBC

Democrats call BS on malarkey Politico

Influential Iowa group endorses Sanders The Hill

How a Hillary ‘shill’ went all in for Bernie Politico (resilc)

No More Nice Dems New York Review of Books (resilc)

Mentions of Government as Top U.S. Problem Near Record High Gallup (Jerry B)

PG&E Had Systemic Problems With Power Line Maintenance, California Probe Finds Wall Street Journal. Damning:

State fire investigators had previously determined that PG&E equipment started the Camp Fire, which killed 85 people, and the company hasn’t disputed the findings. But the new [700 page] report goes well beyond earlier findings, alleging numerous serious violations of state rules for maintaining electric lines and specific problems with upkeep of the transmission line that started the fire….

“The identified shortcomings in PG&E’s inspection and maintenance of the incident tower were not isolated, but rather indicative of an overall pattern of inadequate inspection and maintenance of PG&E’s transmission facilities,” the report by the commission’s safety and enforcement division found…

he findings of the utilities commission report could lead California to impose fines and other penalties. It could also influence ongoing investigations by law-enforcement agencies, including the Butte County District Attorney and the California Attorney General, that are deciding whether to file criminal charges against the utility and its executives.

It could also become a factor in PG&E’s probation. The company is on federal probation for failure to properly inspect and maintain its gas pipeline system, which led to an explosion in 2010 that killed eight people. The federal judge overseeing PG&E’s probation has indicated that the company has violated the terms of its probation and is weighing further sanctions.

Coal Power Becoming ‘Uninsurable’ As Firms Refuse Cover Guardian

ECONOMIC LESSONS FOR 2020: A CONVERSATION WITH DR. MICHAEL HUDSON People’s Organization. December 12 in NYC.

The laws of stupidity according to economist Carlo M. Cipolla Quartz

MMT Heaven and MMT Hell for Chinese Investment and U.S. Fiscal Spending Michael Pettis. A good primer. From Ed Harrison via DS.

Also…

Cord-Cutting Pushed To ‘Tipping Point’ as Video Streaming Grows Bloomberg

Is the fintech bubble bursting? FT Alphaville

Guillotine Watch

Billionaires only, please! London vault for the ultra-rich opens Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

Class Warfare

How poor people survive in the USA | DW Documentary YouTube (resilc)

Appalachia vs. the Carceral State New Republic (UserFriendly)

Automating History’s First Draft Scientific American (Robert M)

Our workforce is dying faster than any other wealthy country, study shows USA Today

Antidote du jour (Tracie H, at the Los Angeles Zoo):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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