Links 9/25/17

Watch: Youngsters in Gujarat put a spin on the dandiya as they perform on roller skates Scroll.in And now for something completely different: cool video.

The day nine young students shattered racial segregation in US schools Guardian

How cricket is going global with Netflix and Amazon New Statesman

Videos: Meet Simone Giertz, comedian of technology and inventor of blundering devices Scroll.in

It’s a rule of the road: When it is easy to drive, people drive. Treehugger

This Amazing Tree That Shows How Languages Are Connected Will Change The Way You See Our World Bored Panda

APNewsBreak: Planes designed for Alaska to take final flight AP

Imperial Collapse Watch

What Is Great about Ourselves LRB. Pankaj Mishra.

Europe is training military forces in weak states – and that’s seriously risky The Conversation

Seven Rules for Running a Real Left-Wing Government Ian Welsh (martha r)

German Election

Merkel Chastised as Far-Right Surge Taints Fourth-Term Win Bloomberg

Merkel’s party slumps to historic low, eyes coalition options DPA International

Who are Germany’s far-right AfD? Al Jazeera Al Jazeera

PROZENTUALE STIMMENVERTEILUNG Handelsblatt. The chart provides the vote breakdown. Note that Merkel only got 33% of the vote. The result pulls the government to the right and has provoked a hysterical reaction in the German press.

Germany’s far-right party surged to its best election result since the Nazis — meet Marine Le Pen-like leader Alice Weidel Business Insider.

Meet the Lesbian Goldman Sachs Economist Who Just Led Germany’s Far Right to Victory Foreign Policy (UserFriendly)

Merkel set for fourth term in power but support weakens sharply FT

Germany’s AfD: how to understand the rise of the right-wing populists The Conversation

Angela’s ashes: 5 takeaways from the German election Politico

Brexit

Merkel’s poll win unlikely to make much difference to Brexit, analysts say Guardian

Jeremy Corbyn refuses to back EU single market membership New Statesman

Catalonia

Catalan separatists take to the streets ahead of referendum Reuters

Catalonia referendum: Madrid moves to take over local policing BBC

Catalan campaigners hand out a million referendum ballots Guardian

New Cold War

Trump allies see vindication in reports on Manafort wiretapping The Hill

Syraqistan

Don’t underestimate Kurdistan’s resilience Brookings

Iraqi Kurds cast their votes in historic referendum CNN

Turkey’s Erdogan threatens to cut off oil flow from Iraq’s Kurdish area over referendum Reuters

Syria – U.S. CentCom Declares War On Russia Moon of Alabama

Health Care

HHS hints at major changes to Medicare that could mean higher costs for patients PBS (The Rev Kev)

GOP changes Graham-Cassidy bill to win over wary senators The Hill

North Korea

What if worst comes to worst with North Korea? China ‘must be ready’ for war on the peninsula SCMP

The forbidden questions about the Korea crisis Asia Times

Trump’s Iran decision could shake up North Korea stand-off The Hill

Real estate guy from Queens gets US North Korea policy right Asia Times

China

How China is using military ties to expand its reach in Southeast Asia SCMP

This Startup Is Luring Top Talent With $3 Million Pay Packages Bloomberg

India

Modi’s Promise of a ‘New India’ Looks Shaky Amid Economic Chaos The Wire

Trump is using the national anthem as a distraction – just like Hindutva supporters in India do Scroll.in

Fake News

Obama tried to give Zuckerberg a wake-up call over fake news on Facebook WaPo

Class Warfare

How Conservatives Learned to Love Free Lawyers for the Poor Politico (martha r)

Uber apologises after London ban and admits ‘we got things wrong’ Guardian

An ethical dilemma for doctors: When is it OK to prescribe opioids? The Conversation

CVS tightens restrictions on opioid prescriptions in bid to stanch epidemic Stat

Facebook climbdown highlights pressure to scrap share classes FT

Quake Relief Reaches Rich Mexicans, But the Poor Feel Abandoned The Wire

Rescue Dogs At Work After Mexico’s Earthquakes Atlantic (Furzy)

Kill Me Now

Biden rips Trump over race in South Carolina return Politico. Say it ain’t so, Joe.

Trump Transition

Why the GOP’s Tax Plan Could Leave High-Wage Earners With Little to Gain WSJ

Kushner reportedly used a private email address to communicate with top White House officials Business Insider

Obama’s Guantánamo Legacy Lingers in Trump Era TruthOut

A Divider Not a Uniter, Trump Widens the Breach NYT Classic pearl-clutching.

White House expands travel ban, restricting visitors from eight countries WaPo

More than 200 protest racism in loud NFL statement NY Post

Trump fight over national anthem could really hurt NFL and its business empire Bizjournals.com

Hurricane Alley

Puerto Rico’s Guatajaca dam failing amid mass evacuations and flash flooding Independent

Puerto Rico’s governor calls for greater federal response to Maria Politico

Puerto Ricans Note Trump Tweeting Fails to Mention Their Plight Bloomberg

Antidote du Jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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103 comments

  1. Webstir

    On, How Conservatives Learned to Love Free Lawyers for the Poor:

    As a small town N. Idaho plaintiff’s lawyer, I’ve got a front row seat for this article. I can personally attest to the fact that for a two county geographic area comprised of 3500 sq. miles, harboring over 50,000 people, there are three, yes three, full time public defenders who are all located in the town of Sandpoint — a 45 minute drive from Bonners Ferry (a County seat).

    As such, I’ve recently agreed to cut my normal hourly billing in half (trust me it’s not that high to begin with) to take on ALL of the County’s initial appearances because it is such a pain in the ass for the 3 public defenders down in Sandpoint to drive 45 minutes in the morning just to say “my clients pleads guilty your honor” and turn around and go home.

    Now, as for the article. Don’t even get me going on the number of “expungement” of felony offenses I do. And guess what everyone, virtually everyone, who comes into my office wants back? Come on, guess …
    Ah, you got it. They want their gun rights back. So basically,I become the filter. Little old plaintiff’s lawyer in a little ol’ small town gets to decide which of the felons I trust enough to push their expungement case forward.

    It’s a little surreal. These rough tough salt of the earth conservatives all strung out opioids and hill billy heroin trying to scrape together enough money to pay a known progressive lawyer to get them their guns back. Twilight zone, really.

    Reply
    1. justanotherprogressive

      Well, this is Idaho. I’ve never lived in a state where the right wing governor has to admonish his state legislature not to do “stupid things” before each legislative session before. But apparently Idaho legislators would rather pass bills that the state has to spend millions to defend (which are going to be declared unconstitutional anyway) than give a dime to people who need medical care…..

      Reply
      1. Utah

        Hey, we’re that way in Utah, too. But our governor doesn’t ask the legislature not to do stupid things, he advocates for those stupid things while costing tax payers millions. I wish they cared about school children and roads as much as they cared about public access roads and federal lands.

        Reply
    2. perpetualWAR

      And then there’s people like me, who couldn’t find a decent attorney to go toe-to-toe with the bank white shoe lawyers, so I did the case pro se. Where are the free lawyers to defend our homes? Non-existent. We’re on our own.

      William Shakespeare was right.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Well, judging from way too many lawyers coming out of law school, to little or no work, we ought to rephrase Billy’s verse to read:

        ‘First we kill all the lawyers salaries’

        Reply
        1. witters

          Shakespeare plaigarised (brilliantly). The phrase (and more!) came from a founding document of Wat Tyler’s rebellion. On their way to London the peasants killed every lawyer they could find and burnt down every lawyers home they encountered. All in the wonderfully bleak “A Distant Mirror: the Catastropic 14th Century” by Barbara Tuchman.

          Reply
      2. Basil Pesto

        I think it’s a shame that there’s little public debate around legal aid (cf. healthcare) in the United States. The infrastructure for legal aid in civil cases in particularly in the US seems very poor.

        Reply
    3. rd

      I saw this article yesterday. I thought it was very interesting that this type of issue re-framing is going on to get past the racism and focus on equal treatment (or some reasonable facsimile thereof) before the law.

      I have been baffled by the focus over the past three decades on the Second Amendment as the way to prevent tyranny. That appears to have been one of the best corporate marketing campaigns in history. By the time you need guns in the hands of citizens to prevent tyranny, then you have already lost as you will be fighting a civil war inside your own country, a la Syria.

      The civil rights movement in the 50s and 60s had it right when they got the Supreme Court to rule many laws unconstitutional followed up by the civil rights acts. That provided the legal basis for many of the defenses today. Those were largely funded by the NAACP and ACLU whereas everyday representation has to be funded by the individual or publicly-provided attorneys. As many countries have proven over the past centuries, the first road to tyranny is to start jailing the undesirables and “troublemakers”. The US has the highest incarceration rate of any major country in the world and one reason is the lack of adequate representation. The irony is that the representation would be cheaper than the cost of jailing them and would be good for the budgets.

      So the irony is massive that poor whites wanting their guns back to express their Second Amendment rights may be the tool used to strengthen the Sixth Amendment rights for everybody, regardless of color.

      Reply
  2. ambrit

    Commenters over at MoA have mentioned that Russian Air units and Syrian Army units are attacking the SDF outside of Deir ez-Zor now. There are believed to be U.S. Special Forces “advisors” “advising” those SDF units. If true, this is a big escalation of the Syrian civil war.
    See: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-sdf/u-s-backed-militias-says-russian-jets-struck-its-fighters-in-east-syria-idUSKCN1C0118
    Trump seems to let the latest general who whispers in his ear lots of leeway. Putin looks to have his generals firmly under control.
    Previously, when America killed Russian or Syrian troops, even if by proxy, the Russians played it cool. Now the Russians are messaging; “Enough is enough.”

    Reply
      1. Basil Pesto

        It reminds me a little bit of UKIP which, as a party, always seemed a little bit precarious. AfD doesn’t or hasn’t had a Farage-like figure to rally around so far, but once Farage stood down from the party leadership, even before Brexit which was supposed to be their raison d’etre, the party seemed to lose its potency and focus. AfD has had leadership issues and internecine struggles in the past if my memory serves. Talk of the far right revival abounds, but precarious may yet end up being the pertinent word. We can hope so, anyway.

        Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Petry doesn’t seem out of step with center-right parties, so given the high profile nature of her exit, I wonder if a member of the CDs is orchestrating a move against Merkel by recruiting new supporters. The SDs are the kind of corpse like group of neo-liberals. Can the greens be bought? Or can cleaving enough member from the smaller right wing parties help make the CDs tolerable to the remains of the SDs?

      Reply
  3. justanotherprogressive

    Re: Germany’s AfD:

    I’ve been looking for scholarly articles about the nexus between income inequality, nationalism and the far right since I heard about Germany’s election. I’ve come across this article,

    https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2994583

    where the author states that nationalism is basically a political method (in richer countries) to distract voters from the economic realities of income inequality.

    It seems to be very good, but I think it was written by a PhD candidate and he gives no references to earlier books (pre- 1980) on the subject. Does anyone know of anything written perhaps in the late 50’s, early 60’s about European nationalism and economic causes? I’m choosing that time period because while there is some distance from the events in Europe, it was still new enough to be relevant…..and I’d like to compare this article to past writings on the subject…..

    Reply
    1. justanotherprogressive

      Errr…to clarify…..I know there are many books about economics and nationalism – what I’m looking for is something possibly about how nationalism was used to distract people from economics…….

      Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          I’m a long suffering Bills fan (Nope Springs Eternal) and my wife and I tend to go to west coast games, so we can see them lose locally.

          So about 6 years ago we venture down to SD to see them play the Chargers, and both teams had 6-7 records, and were strictly going nowhere that season, aside from a one way ticket to palookaville.

          The military dog and pony show we witnessed, was something you might’ve seen @ a 1974 Super Bowl though. Marines in uniform were stationed around the outside perimeter of the stadium-pushing war, and on the inside as well, and once we got to our seats and just prior to the kickoff, 3 huge C-5 jets circled overhead in a show of force, and secretly I was hoping they’d drop bowls of nachos with little parachutes attached, but no such luck.

          Reply
          1. fresno dan

            Wukchumni
            September 25, 2017 at 10:17 am

            Why is the national anthem played at sporting events at all….private profit companies owned by squillionaires for GAMES played by children but played by adults for profit??? Is such a venue really conducive to honor the constitution and the principals of a republic…
            The anthem in not played before MOST gatherings of large number of people. Should it be played before movies? At the daily opening of a mall? At the horse track (albeit attendance at horse races is way down) Las Vegas is open 24/7 so it would have to be an arbitrarily chosen time. How about prior to church services? The opening of the stock exchange???

            An anecdote
            When I was in the Air Force, at ?every? (I can’t remember if NSA played retreat or not due to the number of civilians when just would have turned quitting time into a big mess) base I was stationed at, reveille in the morning and retreat at the end of day was broadcast. If you were outside at this time, you had to stand at attention and salute (if in uniform, if in civilian clothes you stand at attention and put your hand over your heart). And it was quite amusing really the contortions that all my enlisted friends went through to avoid being caught outside and having to stand at attention for about a minute. I thought this irrational (I had a little bit of economist in me after having read “A wealth of Nations”) and in all those times I was caught outside for reveille or retreat, I can count on my hands the number of times someone else was outside. And not ONE time did I ever see an officer…
            I just wonder how many of those military men I served with who went through so much fuss to avoid saluting the flag are now in high dungeon over football players protesting….

            Reply
            1. PKMKII

              In the late aughts, the DoD started paying out millions to the professional sports leagues to get them to amp up the military displays at games. Thinking being that it would drive up recruitment without looking outright like a recruitment effort. This included having the players out on the field for the anthem, whereas they used to come out after it.

              Reply
              1. Arizona Slim

                If tuition-free college gained a foothold in this country, military recruiting would become an order of magnitude harder to do.

                Reply
            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Is such a venue really conducive to honor the constitution and the principals of a republic…

              Good question.

              A similar question is this: Is such a venue conducive to protesting police brutality or other social or political wrongs in the republic?

              From the original choice (of playing the anthem at the start of game, decided by the teams), we have arrived at the present situation of anthem being chosen as the vehicle for protest.

              Why the anthem? Can there be other forms, even at the football stadium? The anthem gets mixed up with many other messages. Some, for example, see it as not honoring the vets. Kneeling isn’t very specific. It, by itself, doesn’t say much. People come to know that it’s a protest (not, for example, about someone forgetting to get up) when explained. And people know what the protest is about (for example, it’s not about Global Warming), when further explained.

              And then, we come to this question: What can be done, after all this time (over a year now)? Is the solution ‘No leisure, no pastime, while there is still one of us suffering injustice?’ That is, no football until we have justice?

              Reply
            3. JTMcPhee

              “Throwing the flag at patriotism:” Maybe the reveille-retreat avoidance was stronger in the Air Force than the Army, but I do recall a lot of Troops and of course officers and civilians, scrambling to avoid participating in that tribal ritual of turning toward the flag (like Muslims turning toward Mecca at prayer) and saluting. This as I recall was more marked during my last months in the Army at Ft. Hood,TX, where there were large numbers of returnees from Vietnam who did not qualify for the “early outs” offered by the Pentagram to Vietnam-service GIs with less than I think 3 months left on their conscription or enlistment. GIs in that category were “nothing but trouble” for the Brass.

              Trump sure is better connected with the shibboleths of ‘Murica than so many of the figures he tweets into rage and harrumphing righteousness. Joseph Heller explained for me how this shirtsleeve patriotism worked, via his writings on “the great Loyalty Oath Crusade” in “Catch-22:” http://epic-site.com/catch-22-loyalty-oaths/ And let’s not forget Harry Truman’s vast loyalty oath crusade either: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_9835

              Reply
              1. skippy

                Heh….

                That brought back memory’s, thanks I guess.

                I think most O-class were at the O-club, in transit or getting ready too.

                Never figured out why so many wanted me as their driver, even turned down division CSM, too his face, in his office….

                Disheveled…. do I look like a poster boy – ???? – or flesh out the whole advancement optics….

                Reply
              2. OIFVet

                I served in the ‘aughts’ and my friends and I certainly did our very best to not be caught outside during retreat. Reveille was another matter, what with mandatory pre-dawn PT…

                Reply
            4. rd

              A few years ago, ESPN did a history of the national anthem being played at sporting events – it goes back to the 1800s and peaks during times of war. Since we have now gloriously achieved Orwell’s aspiration of “War is Peace” with continuous war, I expect the national anthem will be played for quite a while. http://www.espn.com/espn/story/_/id/6957582/the-history-national-anthem-sports-espn-magazine

              I find the focus on the anthem and flag quite interesting. As an immigrant, I view the Constitution and Bill of Rights as the fundamental truth of the US, not the flag or anthem. Everybody has a flag and anthem. Very few countries have something like the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.

              A personal anecdote: The first time I attended one of the parent-teacher events at my kids school, I was just sitting there waiting for it to begin. All of a sudden everybody stood up around me, clapped their hands on the chest, and proceeded to chant. It was the most bizarre thing I had ever seen in my life outside of a movie. Afterwards, I asked my wife about it and she informed me it was the Pledge of Allegiance and the kids recite it every morning at the beginning of school.

              My reaction was: that is a classic indoctrination technique used by totalitarian states. I had never run into anything like that in my life in Canada or visiting European countries.

              So I understand exactly where the reaction of many people comes from when the flag and anthem are dissed by these athletes – it goes against the Pledge of Allegiance which they have recited thousands of times. So of course they are going to find it offensive, which is precisely what makes the protest visible and powerful.

              Reply
            5. Ned

              Along with bouncing ball follow the lyrics singalongs, the National Anthem used to be played before movies when the powers that be had to fight a competing economic system.

              p.s. Is the billion dollar harvesting NFL still taxed as though it were a non-profit?

              Reply
          2. clinical wasteman

            That airdrop is the least they could have done. But then again little parachutes would probably have taken a lot of salsa, queso, guacamole or similar just to be palatable, and those things were all probably hoarded in the Officers’ mess.

            Reply
        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The fans stand and the teams get paid?

          Why is it it’s not the fans who get paid for standing?

          You stand, you get paid.

          Reply
    2. David

      It’s a highly technical (too technical for me I’m afraid) statistical analysis, based on a particular definition of nationalism and correlations between contents of election manifestos and actual results. The choice of some of the countries is odd (Sweden and Switzerland both figure) and some of the parties discussed are from the opposition not the government.
      If you’re thinking about the nationalism in Europe of the 20s and 30s, I’m not sure the argument holds, because what happened in most cases was the replacement of a centrist or conventional right-wing government with a more nationalist one. In the specific case of Germany (which is where this thread started, I think) the Nazis received their (relatively modest) score in 1932 because of the failure of the conventional parties to find a solution to Germany’s economic ills (don’t forget the Communists did quite well also) and their great popularity after 1934 to the fact that these problems were, to some degree, actually addressed. But I’m open to persuasion ….

      Reply
    3. Anonymous

      Does being critical of the massive wave of immigration to Germany by peoples who have no interest or experience of European society (let alone German) make one a racist, even a Nazi?

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        Too bad some of those being critical of the waves of immigrants and refugees, eople who are seeking simple safety and the other many motives they have for taking the dangerous chance of fleeing their homes, are not also critical of the behaviors of national governments in creating the conditions that lead to these waves of people who have “no interest in “(not clear how this was meant) European society.” It seems like a lot of Europeans are neither interested in nor much pleased with the broad category “European society.” And of course lots of the “native populations” in Europe are there as the result of migrations and wars from earlier in the timeline…

        Reply
        1. Anonymous

          No one is saying that we should be inhumane and not accept reasonable numbers of immigrants and refugees.

          The question is it racist, even Nazi, to say that there should be some limit to how much goodness we show when it begins to make substantial changes to the foundation of our society itself.

          Germany as we know it will be gone in a matter of a few decades if the current path is continued. The discussion of whether this is a good or bad thing needs to go beyond virtue signaling and accusations of nazi tendencies.

          Reply
          1. Eclair

            “Germany as we know it will be gone in a matter of a few decades …”

            Yes. It will. Syria as we knew it is gone. Iraq as we knew it is gone. Libya as we knew it is gone. Afghanistan as we knew it is gone. Sudan as we knew it is gone. Somalia as we knew it is gone. I could go on.

            More importantly, all those countries as their inhabitants knew them are gone. Their homes, their livelihoods, their farms, their villages, their schools, their cities. Sometimes, their children.

            Why? Many reasons … but primarily due to the greed for oil and other natural resources, as well as the effects of climate change resulting from our ‘civilized’ societies’ extravagant use of the Earth’s finite resources.

            So, you ask if it is racist to say there should be some limit on how much goodness we show? By golly, it is racist to assume that Germany’s culture is so inherently superior to the cultures of these other countries, that Germany (or any other white european dominated society) must somehow be worthy of surviving unscathed while other cultures and countries, tellingly cultures of brown and black peoples, have been pulverized by our hubristic greed.

            My grandma was fond of warning me, ‘he who dances, must pay the piper.’ We, the rich white european-dominated cultures, have been dancing for decades. The piper is waiting, hand outstretched, for his payment.

            Reply
            1. witters

              “You never step in the same river twice.”

              I wish Herclitus never said this.

              Of course you can step in the same river twice – or a 1000 times or whatever. (“Step back into the Thames again, Lancelot, we must return to the other side.”)

              You can’t (in fact it is simply very, very, unlikely) step into a river twice and encounter there exactly the same, identical, water molecules that caressed your foot before.

              So the apparent meaing of the statement as used in some intendly profound sense rests on equivocation.

              Reply
          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            In the case of Brexit, from what I can gather, they seem to be saying they don’t want other Europeans.

            Do they mean all other Europeans, including those from the Nordic nations or only those from eastern or southern Europe?

            In the former case, it seem be more xenophobic than you know what.

            With the latter, it’s more you know what, but not quite the level of, say, wanting to outlaw Chicken tikka masala and its cooks out of the country.

            Reply
    4. clinical wasteman

      It’s not a book specifically written to answer that question, but the best overview I’ve read of class/national faultlines and their top-down political management in Western Europe, 1945-2000, is Perry Anderson, ‘The New Old World’, Verso (London — there may be another US publisher), 2001/2010. Especially good on Adenauer/De Gasperi-style Christian Democracy in Germany and Italy, and on postwar Kemalism in Turkey, i.e. the ‘frontlines’ of the Cold War economic showcase and political lockdown.
      I recommend it highly, but don’t let that put you off.
      The link below contains what seems to be the entire book in PDF format!

      marcell.memoryoftheworld.org/Perry Anderson/The New Old World (906)/The New Old World – Perry Anderson.pdf

      (Checked briefly for obvious bugs/missing content & didn’t encounter any problem, but can’t vouch for every one of 500+ pages.
      And in case anyone is worried, most of it has already been published on the semi-free London Review of Books and New Left Review sites, it’s not clear whether Verso even still has it in print only a few years after the 2nd edition, and it’s extremely unlikely that Distinguished Professor Anderson of UC Somewhere will be fretting about the paltry royalties.)

      Reply
  4. L

    The closing point of this article “Puerto Rico’s governor calls for greater federal response to Maria” [Politico] is quite interesting:

    If Congress doesn’t step up, he [Puerto Rico’s Governor] said, “my fear is we’re going to have some side effects that are devastating both for Puerto Rico and the United States. Mainly massive migration that would deteriorate our [economic] base here in Puerto Rico and would provoke significant demographic shifting in other areas of the United States.”

    Viewed at first glance that could be a statement of fact, or a threat. One that more nativist groups would take seriously. I make no claim that he intended it as such and knowing Politico, that could just be an out of context close designed to juice up the article but it seems like one that is destined to be remembered by some in ways that will be unfortunate.

    Puerto Rico’s economy has already been hammered by a brain drain which has compounded the costs of neoliberalism and federal mismanagement. The fact that Trump cannot find time to send out a sympathy tweet even as he shakes his whiny fist at football is crass and racist. Perhaps only the threat of a lot of Puerto Rican voters showing up in other states will move them to do more to help the economy. Then again, given what congress has provided in the past perhaps that is help that Puerto Rico does not need.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Interesting that any Americans moving to Puerto Rico can not vote in the presidential election, and have no one in Congress to represent them.

      Puerto Ricans, by moving off the island to the other 50 states, gain the right (that they don’t have staying in Puerto Rico) to vote for the president.

      A manipulative corporation can send many workers to the island to change a small state’s electoral votes…potentially…if we are talking about winning a state by a few hundred votes.

      Reply
  5. Marco

    Welsh’s Seven Rules. What fun! Is it too much to think his rules-set could apply to America? I didn’t read the comments section at his site so perhaps it came up there. He need’s an 8th rule for dealing with the unholy alliance between the budgets of a nation’s MIC / intelligence agencies and how they relate to FIRE+TECH+Energy sectors.

    Reply
  6. allan

    Regulator Wants Financial Industry to Self-Report Wrongdoing [NYT]

    … The [CFTC’s] director of enforcement, James McDonald, plans to unveil the new framework in a speech Monday night at New York University. It is premised on the idea that large financial institutions, given the right incentives, have the potential to be invaluable partners for law enforcement.

    “We start with the shared understanding that the vast majority of businesses want to comply with the law,” Mr. McDonald will say Monday, according to a draft of the speech reviewed by The New York Times. …

    Reply
    1. justanotherprogressive

      Doublespeak for: “We aren’t smart enough to catch you anyway, so if it looks like one of your frauds is going to blow up, let us know in advance so we don’t look like fools.”

      Reply
  7. DorothyT

    “The day nine young students shattered racial segregation in US schools” (The Guardian)

    And from The Atlantic, featuring another Southern statue, this one of the Little Rock Nine:

    The vocabulary has changed over the years; so have the specific debates. “Negroes” become blacks, or “inner-city children.” We argue about busing, then vouchers, then affirmative action. But there’s a worrisome continuity running through these stories: How do we close the achievement gap? What steps should be taken to achieve integration? How do we define equality? The Atlantic was founded to promote abolition, but it—and the nation—are still grasping for what racial justice looks like.

    Reply
  8. Chauncey Gardiner

    Regarding the German election, the massive influx of migrants into Germany and the EU was reportedly pivotal in the election outcome. Foreseeable IMO, and Merkel will clearly face challenges in her effort to build a governing coalition. Nice to see the Greens gain some political influence, though.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-election/merkel-tries-to-build-coalition-after-vote-that-puts-far-right-in-parliament-idUSKCN1C0096

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      I want to see the Greens stay out of that coalition. As far as I can see, essentially all European coalitions that they’ve joined have been very destructive to the party – they wiped out parties in Ireland and Latvia; in Germany, the coalition with the SPD dragged them well to the right and saddled them with political responsibility for the Afghanistan War. That’s an albatross around their necks.

      IOW, I think their power here is to prevent a coalition. They’ve been making noises about being very difficult. If they cared, I’d suggest they demand the moon and then stonewall. Be seen having integrity.

      A chart I saw – can’t find it now – showed that ALL the parties other than the CDU and SPD gained, the left side much less than the right. It looks like the drastically declining major-party affiliation in this country.

      It turns out this German election isn’t boring, after all – and the predictions were once more wrong. Merkel is now trying to govern based on 33% of the vote. How long can that last?

      Reply
      1. UserFriendly

        The reason Greens should join the coalition is to stop AFD from being the official opposition and to hopefully get some environmental concessions out of Merkle. If they end up getting backlash from it hopefully that will go to the benefit of Die Linke.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          The SPD are planning to be the official opposition – one reason they aren’t joining a “grand coalition.” Also, because the coalition with Merkel beat them up pretty badly – as in the worst election since 1933.

          I’d rather see the ancestral Green Party survive, frankly. It’ll force another vote – with the same results, of course.

          Reply
  9. Down2Long

    I grew up in the Alaska bush and I remember fondly the combi 737’s mentioned in the Alaska plane article. Back in the 70s they were used by pioneering Wien Air (which was subsequently bought and desroyed by private equity, like everything in America.) When I was In high school air fares were so high (they were still regulated) that I got the bright idea of forming “groups” to buy group fares. Come up with a slogan, get 40 people to buy in and voila, suddenly you could fly to Anchorage for $50-$60 instead of a coiple hundred (big money on the 70s.)

    I was too young to be smart enough to take a cut, , but I did get to go to Anchorage. As a gay kid, I needed that. My first week in High School I got beaten up badly for being a fag. It was a very uncomfortable place for me, high school was.

    On one trip I got the idea of forming a “group” to see thr touring company of Jesus Christ Superstar on Anchorage.

    As our combi flight was returrning from that trip, the weather was terrible, the plane made two passes at the airfield.

    The captain came on the intercom and said he’d try to make one more pass. If that failed, we were going back to Anchorage. I was so happy – another day of repreive! Then, damn, like any good Alaska pilot, he dropped that combi down between the wind gusts.

    I was crushed, but set about planning the next trip. To me those combis were a ticket to Paradise.

    Reply
      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        Concur. Many years ago flew in an old Wien Air Constellation out to King Salmon, then on by bush pilot to a summer job. Interesting intro to Alaska.

        Understand the airport still hires young people to patrol and keep wildlife off the runways in Anchorage, which is a positive.

        Reply
  10. rd

    A later link to the dam situation in Puerto Rico: http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/25/us/hurricane-maria-puerto-rico/index.html

    The dam is actually performing quite well, all things considered. It was built in 1929 and has probably not received much funding for maintenance or updating since then. You can see that the water is flowing over a spillway and eroding the toe of the spillway out. If a dam is going to fail, this is how you want it to happen, where it is observable with ample time to execute evacuations. That they were able to focus on identifying the issue and making the evacuations happen while storm and flooding was actively going on is admirable.

    This is a typical infrastructure conundrum. Nobody wants to spend the money to construct or maintain infrastructure to take on all comers, but then bemoans when a reasonably controlled failure like this occurs in an extreme event. This was probably a 100-year or greater event. 1929 is early in the era of modern dam construction, so the fact it is still standing is a tribute to the people who designed and constructed it. Some of the major dam failures in the US, such as the Johnstown Flood, the St Francis Dam, and the Teton Dam all occurred with little notice or only a few hours notice before the entire reservoir was released catastrophically.

    Reply
  11. Edward E

    Stump the chump, Jerri-Lynn, is that a Flame Colored Tanager from Costa Rica? Superstar used to live in Costa Rica, that’s what she thinks it is. Women don’t have to work as hard as men, they get it right the first time.

    Reply
    1. justanotherprogressive

      Hepatic tanager maybe? I knew it was some kind of tanager, but that color around its eye had me puzzled for a while….

      Reply
        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          Yes, it’s a hepatic tanager. And, my apologies– I thought I posted a comment saying so earlier, but that seems to have vanished. What a pretty bird!

          Reply
          1. Edward E

            It’s okay, pretty birds don’t want to talk to me a lot, some pecker ever chance they get! 🐦 That is a gorgeous bird.

            Reply
  12. joe defiant

    How is everyone still falling for this “21 states election systems targeted by russian hackers” story?

    The actual story is their public facing networked systems were PROBED by suspected hackers from Russia. Anyone with rudimentary IT knowledge knows that government or business systems accessible online get probed thousands sometimes millions of times a day.

    “Minnesota’s systems are probed for vulnerabilities and attacks are attempted more than 3 million times each day. Fortunately, our state has not yet experienced a major attack that has exposed Minnesotan’s private data. However, Minnesota has experienced incidents that have exposed state systems and data to significant risk.”

    We are constantly told this was “AN UNPRECEDENTED ATTACK” by Hillary Clinton herself and the corporate media. Were they really so unprecedented? Does the USA do much worse to virtually every election? Are russian hackers more of a threat than chinese, north korean, ukranian, or iranian? They’ve also described attacks from all these places as unprecedented or on a scale we’ve never seen before in the last few years…

    “The Office of Personnel Management repels 10 million attempted digital intrusions per month—mostly the kinds of port scans and phishing attacks that plague every large-scale Internet presence” “And though diplomatic sensitivities make US officials reluctant to point fingers, a wealth of evidence ranging from IP addresses to telltale email accounts indicates that these hackers are tied to China, whose military allegedly has a 100,000-strong cyber­espionage division.”

    https://www.wired.com/2016/10/inside-cyberattack-shocked-us-government/

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Hillary Clinton wasn’t merely a flawed candidate. She was a predictably disastrous candidate who would create the conditions for long term Democratic party disunity that won’t be over come for years. Not only that, her efforts to appeal to Republicans will be in temporal in nature and won’t help Democrats in future races. All of this was predictable and could have been determined with the slightest bit of effort.

      When one asks “what happened,” the answer isn’t just about Hillary Clinton’s incompetence. Its about the super delegates who are supposed to make the mature decision to prevent a failed candidacy. Its about the local Democratic Party elites who swore by Hillary. Its about liberals in the media who didn’t report on challenges and presented less than credible analysis about Hillary’s potential. Accountability for the “liberal” elites who swore Hillary could kick the left and unions because she would win “white flight” Republicans (I mean “moderate surburban”) is the next step after answering “what happened” in an honest fashion. The Russian narrative serves as excuse for well meaning, but ignorant people who will serve as a shield between Democratic elites and the youth and left of the Democratic Party.

      After all, aren’t the super delegates supposed to protect us from electing a terrible candidate? Nothing about Hillary or Team Clinton’s political history indicates they would be unstoppable.

      Reply
    2. Arizona Slim

      One of my friends is a retired computer system administrator. Long story short: Internet-connected systems get probed. Constantly. She fought a constant battle with this particular problem.

      Reply
    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Ask another question — if someone can believe the Russian hackers story where is their push to return to hand-counted paper ballots?

      Yet another question — where is the push to act on Ian Welsh’s rule “Your First Act Must Be a Media Law”?

      Reply
  13. Phil in Kansas City

    I would disagree about the pearl-clutching in the NYT article re Trump, NFL, and the taking of knees. Trump’s repeated insertion of his opinions into the fray have done nothing but further the antagonism and deepen divisions. Is there anyone Trump hasn’t attacked or insulted? I mean, besides the KKK guys in Charlottesville and Putin?

    To not be alarmed by the President’s behavior is to normalize it. The President’s behavior is not appropriate, and should not be considered the new normal.

    Reply
  14. SerenityNow

    Thanks for including the Tree Hugger article, which links to a very interesting article on the underused bike infrastructure in Stevenage, a post war New Town in the UK.

    The story of that town and its planners highlights that when it comes to transportation, most people aren’t motivated by what’s “right” or “good” but rather by what’s convenient. And this is why in a lot of post-war cities in the US, public transportation projects like light rail are sexy and exciting but simply not very effective in reducing motor vehicle use on a large scale. If we are concerned with too much driving, we should stop subsidizing it and making it the most convenient choice!

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I suspect the trouble with the TreeHugger article — on the lack of use of the Stonehenge bicycle paths — may be a lack depth. Do the bicycle paths connect people to places? Are there places to store bicycles at both ends of the trip? Was any planning done to connect bicycle traffic with car, rail or bus transportation? Are there reasonable alternatives for bicycle riders when the weather is nasty?

      I fully agree with your idea of halting the subsidies for driving cars — and we should stop the subsidies for oil and gas exploration along with the subsidies for ethanol (Big Ag).

      People tend to do what is most convenient and costs them less money, time, effort and aggravation. Only Saints are motivated by what’s “right” or “good”. Most people have families, work too many hours, and spend too few hours at home. They simply cannot afford to be Saints.

      Reply
      1. SerenityNow

        Yes, good point–if the bike infrastructure doesn’t connect to anything it’s not of much use, unfortunately (especially when there’s an adjacent infrastructure system which connects quite well).

        How to get more tax payers to understand both how deep the subsidies go, and also that most people can’t afford to be Saints?

        Reply
      2. jrs

        “Most people have families, work too many hours, and spend too few hours at home. They simply cannot afford to be Saints.”

        it’s a direct tradeoff, even driving has me working 40 hours a week plus on call pretty much all the time except when sleeping, and commuting another 10 hours a week (2 hours a day). Public transit is even more time. This for a commute less than 20 miles each way of course.

        Reply
    2. jrs

      if they wanted convenient they would focus on speed, how long it takes to get to a destination, because when being stuck in barely moving heavy rush hour traffic is still faster than public transit …

      Of course it could be pleasant in other ways I suppose as well, public transit is deliberately made standing room only as they simply aren’t ever going to add enough cars to the light rails for it to be otherwise, at least not at rush hours, etc..

      Reply
      1. SerenityNow

        Definitely–public transit simply will never be able to compete with private motor vehicles as cars give people more privacy, faster commute times, better comfort, and more flexibility. Just because you make taking the light rail/bus more attractive, that doesn’t mean you’re making driving one’s own car less attractive!

        Reply
  15. Wukchumni

    A friend is visiting the 50 largest living things in the world, and i’m occasionally a willing accomplice. Yesterday, we searched for #31, the Dean tree, to no avail. It’s kind of funny when you come across one that’s substantial (we’re talking 15 feet wide across @ eye level) but disappointing that it isn’t the one you’re looking for.

    Reply
  16. cripes

    After 120-some years of colonialism, lack of representation, population drain, exploitation by pharmaceutical and apparel companies and a dozen years of vulture capitalism and debt bondage, in two weeks Puerto Rico has been leveled by 2 hurricaines.

    Is there anyone with intel on the plotting of disaster capital to swoop down and exploit this tragedy? I can’t imagine they aren’t. It’s like Katrina writ large.

    Reply
    1. rd

      Apparently, they have lost 80% of their agricultural production due to destruction of trees and fields. Landslides and erosion have cut roads to the interior, so many of the crops can’t get to market even if they exist.

      Reply
    2. Basil Pesto

      The other day in links there was an article about Taser and the unethical behaviour surrounding their business, particularly with regards to their ‘scientific evidence’. Another article in the series details Taser’s origins, which stems from an entirely sympathetic story about some friends of the founder being killed unnecessarily by the police. Let’s pick up from there shall we:

      “The tragedy, Smith said later, made him realize two things. One – gun violence was “a huge problem.” And “two – if somebody could help solve that problem, it could be an enormous business opportunity.””

      The American Dream!

      (the relevant link: https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-taser-science/ )

      Reply
  17. FluffytheObeseCat

    The pearl-clutcher about Trump was dainty ‘Gray Lady’ all the way. One tellingly awkward phrase caught my eye because it was part of a highlighted link: “his penchant for punching eventually reasserts itself.”

    The writer knows Trump doesn’t have a “penchant for punching”. He has a “penchant” for down-punching. He strikes only at guys who somehow, right now, aren’t low enough to suit him. I.e. Megan Kelly. Or young black guys on a gridiron. Who get paid “too much” for throwing away ~20 years of life expectancy.

    His ‘base’ is energized by watching him bully essentially vulnerable individuals who have only fleeting, modest amounts of power or acclaim. Trump never tweet targets the people who call the shots in America. The Donald doesn’t slam the really wealthy this way, not even ones like Bloomberg, a guy who disses Trump more effectively and more often than any of his famous punching bags. Trump might type a few tweets against Bloomberg here and there, but he never realllly gets on a roll against a guy who knows how to fight back, and who has the necessary media platform to do so.

    Disdain for Trump is now a socio-political class marker, and most slams against him in the media are facile, petty and (at the Times) under-handed. The thing is, he really is a petty bully. Who artlessly targets……. only the socially vulnerable. Never those able to dish it back to him and win.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Exactly. I’m within easy speaking distance of a friend whose company did business with the Trump organization. And they were stiffed out of something like $60k.

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not perhaps not a good (as in, not effective, not good as virtuous) bully.

      Here, I am thinking of N. Korea.

      Can Kim, being bullied, dish it back and win?

      Reply
    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not perhaps not a good (as in, not effective, not good as virtuous) bully.

      Here, I am thinking of N. Korea.

      Can Kim, being bullied, dish it back and win?

      Reply
  18. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “What Is Great about Ourselves” LRB. Pankaj Mishra
    I tried to read this link but kept getting lost in the woods. I thought my powers of concentration might be flagging with my increasing age. After this I read Ian Welsh and experienced no such trouble understanding what he said. Could my malaise result from a difference between the Queen’s English and American English? I trace the differences to matters of style rather than word peculiarities. In any case I definitely won’t run out to buy any of the books reviewed and may in the future avoid anything under the Pankaj Mishra byline. — Makes me think of Hedda Hopper for the English upper class.

    Reply
    1. joe defiant

      It’s not just you, I agree 100%. I have a sense I am not part of the target audience for things like that. Some things are just written for those who reside in the ivory tower.

      Reply
      1. witters

        I found it wonderful. Perhaps the difficulty is the fact that it eschews a western-centric point of view? I know that can put people entirely off, leaving them bewildered (at best).

        Reply
        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          Not the easiest of reads, I agree, but Pankaj Mishra is an Indian novelist and essayist, and not an academic, IIRC. Unlike many Indian writers who are well-known outside of India, he’s neither been educated in the UK nor the US.

          Although I often find his writing to be heavy-lifting and I by no means agree w/ everything he writes, I appreciate it b/c the POV isn’t western-centric.

          Reply
  19. joe defiant

    That article about the EU training coups is horrible. The last paragraph is this: “The US does not (usually) aim to promote coups, and often cuts off aid to militaries that launch them – but coups are nonetheless an occasional consequence of international training programmes. Both the US and the EU should be careful to consider what the military training they provide might one day amount to.”

    The US does not usually aim to promote coups??? William Blum’s accurate list says otherwise.
    https://williamblum.org/essays/read/overthrowing-other-peoples-governments-the-master-list

    Reply
  20. BoycottAmazon

    NFL – a page out of Obama’s book for passing anti-populist/anti-consumer action

    Trump is an idiot and a cad, but he is also is a master manipulator of the press and public(A one trick pony?)

    His timing on the NFL scheme was perfect. The CFPB consumer protections are going to get slashed and few will be the wiser.I believe he also as a number of appointments and judges to shove through Congress and both Establishment Democrats and Republicans will be complicit in this misdirection.

    https://theintercept.com/2017/09/25/under-cover-of-graham-cassidy-senate-gop-moving-to-gut-major-cfpb-rule/

    Reply

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