Links 1/28/18

Become a professional Cat Cuddler in Ireland TreeHugger (resilc)

Australian raptors start fires to flush out prey Cosmos (furzy). Australia has badass wildlife! Note the behavior was reported earlier but no one seemed to have figure out why the birds were doing that.

Ancient supercontinent mysteries revealed after 1.7 billion-year-old chunk of Canada found stuck to Australia Independent (Chuck L)

Study links decline in teenagers’ happiness to smartphones Portland Press Herald (Chuck L)

Mental Illness Weaponry and Shrink Hypocrisy About Abolishing Stigma Counterpunch

Fukushima heroes still fighting effects of radiation, stress and guilt South China Morning Post (Roy M)

North Korea

US military must be ‘psyched’ for war with North Korea: Marine commander Asia Times

Inquality and Wealth Distribution in Germany Der Speigel. Resilc: “I’d rather be in the bottom in Germany than here for sure.”

Paris on high alert as river Seine continues to rise Guardian


EU expands Brexit ‘no deal’ team as concerns grow in Europe over whether Theresa May can deliver Telegraph. Key para:

The EU has proposed releasing negotiating guidelines on trade and the future in March, but sources said this could now be delayed if the UK did not clarify its position, or continued to adopt a “cake and eat it” approach to the negotiations.

Fresh pressure for Theresa May as Brexit battle moves to Lords Guardian

The president of Honduras starts his second term under a cloud – A contested inauguration Economist. UserFriendly: “​Odd how Iran protests got wall to wall coverage and this barely got a peep.​”


Why Europe Must Reject U.S. Blackmail Over Iran’s Nuclear Agreement – An Update Moon of Alabama (Chuck L). From last week, still germane.

Saudi billionaire freed after settlement BBC

Imperial Collapse Watch

Why We’re Underestimating American Collapse Eudaimonia and Co. Resilc flagged this paragraph:

But that is America’s task, not the world’s. The world’s task is this. Should the world follow the American model — extreme capitalism, no public investment, cruelty as a way of life, the perversion of everyday virtue — then these new social pathologies will follow, too. They are new diseases of the body social that have emerged from the diet of junk food — junk media, junk science, junk culture, junk punditry, junk economics, people treating one another and their society like junk — that America has fed upon for too long.

Meet the CIA: Guns, Drugs and Money Counterpunch

Trump seeks to halt funding for International Space Station by 2025: report The Hill (furzy)

MSU scholars find $21 trillion in unauthorized government spending; Defense Department to conduct first-ever audit Michigan State University (Chuck L). Note in 2001, the DoD’s own auditors said it could not account for $2.3 trillion in transactions in a single year.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The War on Dissent Consent Factory (Romancing The Loan)

The American Family Today 2018 Walmart (resilc)

Thought Police for the 21st Century Chris Hedges, Truthdig. From last week, still germane. Bill B notes:

Facebook: “We believe that a key part of combating extremism is preventing recruitment by disrupting the underlying ideologies that drive people to commit acts of violence. That’s why we support a variety of counterspeech efforts.”

The Senate Hearing where Monika Bickert testifies can be found here:

This Custom-Made Jihadi Encryption App Hides Messages in Images Motherboard

Trump Transition

Judge: Kushner Company Must Reveal Identities of Real Estate Partners Pro Publica (resilc)

The Russiagate Stakes Are Extreme Paul Craig Roberts. As Stromcrow said: “Roberts may be wrong, and he can often be over the top. But he makes serious allegations.”

Trump gets chance to sell nation on rebuilding plan The Hill

Controlling the Chief New York Review of Books. Important.

Air Force One Needs 2 New Refrigerators. Together, They Cost $24 Million. New York Times (UserFriendly)

Trump’s deregulation efforts are still going strong MuckRock

Trump: ‘I wouldn’t say I’m a feminist’ The Hill (UserFriendly). Wellie, in retrograde Republican moments, Trump has the good luck of timing to come in a distant second to this: GOP candidate says feminists have ‘snake-filled heads,’ hopes daughters don’t become ‘she devils Washington Post

No, Bernie 2020 Will Not Be The Same As 2016 Medium (UserFriendly). Important.

Incredible. Majority of Democrats Now View George W. Bush Favorably Antimedia

Republican Candidates Are Now Filming Their Campaign Ads In Swamps Mother Jones (resilc)

The High Cost of Free Speech, From Charlottesville to the Women’s March Bloomberg. Aiee.

Ryan’s Shameless Pandering to the Gulf States American Conservative

Ohio’s very high-stakes, under-the-radar Senate race, explained Vox (resilc)

Scott Walker Is Literally Preventing Wisconsinites From Voting The Nation (Atlandmain). However, as allan stated:

I loathe Scott Walker, but want to point out that Andrew Cuomo did essentially the same thing in NYS recently because he wanted to keep the Dems in the minority in the state Senate in order to minimize pressure from the left during this spring’s budget negotiations. Gridlock is Cuomo’s friend, or rather fig leaf that he can hide behind when challenged on his record.

Sex in Politics…Not!

Hillary Clinton protected aide Burns Strider from sexual harassment charges Quartz. Reslic: “Trouble in pantsuit nation.”

Casino Mogul Wynn Quits as GOP Finance Chief After Sex Allegations Bloomberg

Fake News

Google’s New App Is a Fake-News Disaster Waiting to Happen Vanity Fair

Nearly 50 million fake Twitter accounts are being sold to real users Axios

Facebook, Google and Twitter reveal little in answers to Senate CNET (furzy). Quelle surprise!

End of the 9-Year Rental Housing Boom? Wolf Richter (EM)

Class Warfare

The profitable business of selling to the hard-up Thrifty Living (resilc)

The death of Christianity in the U.S. Baptist News Global (furzy). Given that atheists have been found to behave in a more moral manner than believers, I have trouble seeing this as a bad thing. However, having said that, churches are one of the few remaining communities in American life.

No Wrinkle in Time Atrios. On robot cars.

The Sackler family made billions from OxyContin. Why do top US colleges take money tainted by the opioid crisis? Guardian. This has been going on for decades. The Sackler wing of the Fogg Art Museum opened at Harvard in the early 1980s.

Amazon’s New Supermarket Could Be Grim News for Human Workers New Yorker. Help me. See Leonid Berzinksy at Bloomberg’s take: Amazon’s Pointless Obsession With Cashiers. Plus shrinkage.

Antidote du jour. Speaking of snakes, from crittermom: “This beautiful bull snake resided at the last place I lived & had grown to 4 ft by the time I moved.”

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. fresno dan

    so I’m watching the 2012 remake of Gambit with Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz and Alan Rickman Netflix doesn’t carry the original :(
    Anyway, as the movie ends and the protagonist is talking about future capers, he broaches the idea of foisting a fake Picasso upon a NY billionaire…..Donald Trump.

  2. The Rev Kev

    Fukushima heroes on both sides of the Pacific still fighting effects of radiation, stress and guilt

    I really feel sorry for those poor sailors aboard that nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that were exposed to radiation. If there was only some way for warships to have equipment to detect radiation in the air, if there was only some way for each of the exposed sailors to have some sort of pinned badge which would tell them if they were being exposed to radiation or not, if only that ship had experienced men with radiation-proof suits that could have hosed down the radiation off of that deck.

  3. Hana M

    Amazon’s new supermarkets might be grim news for the customers too. This from the comment section of Leonid Berzinksy’s article: “Amazon Go reduces shoplifting by only allowing customer entry with good credit. Reducing shoplifting is the target.”

    How fine for shoppers at Amazon Go that, unlike 7-11s, one need never see an ‘unbanked’ person, let alone one with a poor credit history! /sarc

    1. cnchal

      Amazon Go, which opened in Seattle on Monday after more than a year of testing, is an exciting demonstration of technology. It took months to figure out how to track customers’ movements with dozens of cameras and to rig weight sensor-equipped shelves that prevent shoplifting. . .

      Calibration and maintenance headache coming up.

      I suspect that at it’s core this is a giant misdirection about the reason to use thousands of cameras and rigged shelves to save a couple of seconds of customer time to buy, through a cashless system, what surely is an overpriced sandwich.

      Perhaps Amazon’s real competition is the Chinese government, which is developing and perfecting a system of social control based on massive electronic surveillance and the police crushing anybody that even appears not to be going along with the program. This surveillance system is expected to be sold to other governments worldwide, in other words a totalitarian police state ready made for export to any country that is a willing customer.

      The thousands of cameras in an Amazon Go store (all made in China no doubt) is a technique to soften up the population to the idea of constantly being monitored.

      Amazon would prefer that totalitarian police state system be sold by them.

      Globalization is a disaster, no matter where one cares to look.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        for some time, whenever I think about the systems that are being erected to fence us in, I realise that most of them rely on electricity(virtual and physical, from GPS to traffic cams to online surveillance).
        That realisation, in it’s turn, makes me wish I was more adept at electrical engineering, so I could get on the stick developing a hand help EMP, and issue it into the public domain.
        Eventually,if things continue as they are, we’ll be left with that stark choice: Freedom, or Electricity.
        It’s as if the PTB book club read all the Scifi Dystopias of the last century, and said:”yeah! let’s do that!”

          1. jsn

            In fairness, we’ve only developed the ability to incinerate all life on earth in a half dozen innovative and disruptive ways in the last couple of hundred years. And the most effective ones do map over our developing understanding of electricity pretty well.

            1. Procopius

              Aww, c’mon. We’ve only been able to incinerate the whole Earth since after World War II. Probably about 1948 or 9. Maybe not even until 1952 or 3.Of course, now there are enough nuclear devices to do the job a dozen times over, but, really, once will be enough. Also, there are more ways now to kill large numbers at one stroke than ever, even if it’s irrelevant.

          2. Amfortas the Hippie

            not sure if it’s a one to one correlation,lol.
            But prior to the 20th century, one at least had the option of venturing out into the wilderness and getting away(even if temporarily) from the various empires.
            Now, there’s nowhere to go.
            My Bohemian ancestors did this very thing when they came to Texas(Dimebox, Texas, via Indianola), circa 1850.
            Daddy said,” go to America”, during the Bach Years of political unrest and oppression.( )
            the only frontiers remaining are the Ocean, Antarctica and space.
            in the same way that, economically, we don’t know how…as a species…to be steady state, only to grow and expand(inertial habit of 10,000+ years)…we don’t know, politically, how to live with one another in a confined space.
            Reckon this will be our biggest challenge.

            1. Wukchumni

              Last time we were soaking @ Saline Valley hot springs in Death Valley NP, I was across the way from a ’68 Czech (the earlier Bohemian’s Bohemian arrivals were termed ’48 Czechs) lady who was quite the fan of getting into hot water, and we talked about our mutual shared heritage, and she related that she had been on quite the pilgrimage around the west to find the next one, and told me a commonality was there were almost always Czechs testing the waters everywhere she went. Had some great tips on where to go and what to expect, and told me that Idaho was the promised land, oh so many.


          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            aye! I just inherited a bunch of metal and woodworking equipment, which went into my not ready shop(it’s quite open, like the Elvish workshops in Lord of the Rings). as I realised it would take time and money to collect the material to physically secure it, I bought a little do-dad that creates a pain field using ultrasound.
            Tiny little wafer board with diodes and such and a tiny tweeter…hooked into a motion sensor liberated from a cast off yard light at the dump.
            after I tested the device on myself(makes ya shityerpants and run away, with only lizard brain in control…it cannot be resisted), having the usual Bhikku Compassion for my fellow sentient beings…even would be thieves,I put up signage.
            I invited my pot dealer to check it out(with the same, incredible, effects), and I am certain that word has spread among the local criminal element, thus adding a further, mythological, layer of protection(“warning: powerful wizard in residence”).

              1. Amfortas the Hippie

                3 inch range,lol.
                like i said, there’s much work to be done.
                Not only is the tech/knowledge not there yet(Darpa, perhaps)…I can wire a house, but I suck at small electronics.
                This is why I went with the sonic pain field, instead.
                when we had the 8 year prowler problem, I looked in to a laser based “active denial” system, but the cost was prohibitive, and in that conflict I ended up using various clever booby traps, a la the Anarchist Cookbook and the Poor Man’s James Bond.(when the prowler finally died in the nut house, autopsy revealed many nail punctures in his tiny feet)
                Since I’m in Right Winger Land, I hear many public gripes about resisting the “Federals” when they come to take our guns or whatever. I always think:” one Predator Drone with one Hellfire, and this whole town is toast.”
                That, and the Prowler, led me into thinking about potential countermeasures.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              If you are interested in personal survival ( or even just food-and-pleasure) gardening, you might be able to repurpose this sonic-technology to a very different garden-oriented use.

              Years ago it was discovered that certain frequencies induced plants to open wider the stomata ( pores) in their leaves. Some people, in particular Dan Carlson, combined this with spray-feeding of plants with leaf-absorbable nutrient solutions, to speed up plant growth.

              I believe the operative frequency is a steady oscillation between 3,000 and 6,000 hertz soundwaves played to the plants. Smoothly up and down . . . 3,000 to 6,000 to 3,000 to 6,000 . . . smoothly up and down.


              1. Amfortas the Hippie

                I have a “neighbor’s dog trainer”, too, from when i lived in town. put it in a plastic coffee can on a fence post near his neglected and ever howling rottweiller, and the poor thing learned quickly to cease and desist(no real animal control/welfare out here). Bark=> loud noise only dogs can hear= operant conditioning.(I’d toss him bones and such for compensation, and we ended as friends(the dog and I)) there are similar products to keep deer out of your garden, but I find that a few old pie pans on the fence, and judicial application of human hair and urine to fence rows, works just as well.

      2. a different chris

        So all I have to do is hack the shelve s/w and I can walk out in front of every (family blog)ing camera in the place?

        Hmmm, maybe the Brave New World won’t be so bad after all.

    2. Carolinian

      From the Bloomberg

      Technology is not a goal unto itself. Amazon, of all companies, should understand that.

      Isn’t it perfectly obvious that for Amazon technology is a goal unto itself? Their whole business strategy from the beginning has been to leverage technology in order to conquer retail markets. Unfortunately for Amazon they are running out of ideas and have to turn to drones or bizarre stores with weight sensitive shelves and hundreds of cameras on the ceiling. Necessity is not the mother of these inventions other than the necessity of trying to stand out in an environment with lots of well established competitors.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        People who shop in Amazon’s “Wilderness of Cameras” deserve every bad thing which can happen to them.

        Don’t want to deserve the bad things? Shop in human staffed real stores.

    3. Craig H.

      Have you ever worked in a hotel where they have different hallways, stairways, and elevators for the employees than the guests? Sometimes hospitals have this parallel route architecture.

      That’s the new smart city on the drawing board in Silicon Valley. If you have enough money you won’t even ever have to see, hear, or smell any Wiggan Pier riff raff. The very worst is you might be exposed to my comment in text typed on an internet message board.

      That is the plan.

      See Philip K. Dick for a few of the unintended consequences.

      1. Matt

        I’m sure machine learning algorithms are being developed to identify the comments of “commoners.”

        1. Rates

          Machine learning algos are overrated. It’s obvious who the “commoners” are. Anyone not holding any stocks of tech companies are commoners.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Wasn’t it in New York recently that there were new buildings with rich people’s entrances and not-so-rich people’s entrances? Something about New York’s laws where they got to share the same real estate but the building’s owners designed the two entrances to keep the plebs away from their betters?

      3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Reminds me of Jeffersons Monticello where he hid his slaves down the hill and out of sight.

        Fn disgusting

    4. Robert McGregor

      @Hana To the “top 20%,” an unbanked person, or a person with poor credit is little better than a common criminal . . . Don’t forget the “Amazon Go” Model is another step towards a government-dominated cashless society.

  4. allan

    The Sacklers: a new front for cleaning up their image is the work of a member of the third generation,
    making indie films on topics ranging from charter schools to Belarus to life behind bars.
    A recent New Yorker article lets the family connections and money slide by:

    … The director of “O.G.” is Madeleine Sackler, who is best known for her 2010 documentary, “The Lottery,” about a Harlem charter school and the debate around school choice. … Sackler is thirty-four, slight, with a deliberate and unhurried air. A mild disposition and a tendency toward upspeak disguise an abundance of self-assurance and drive … Sackler doesn’t make a big show of her good intentions, or of her affluent background.

    Her grandfather Raymond was one of the three Sackler brothers who owned Purdue Pharma, makers, since 1995, of the painkiller OxyContin. Opioid sales have made the Sacklers one of the nation’s wealthiest families. Sackler’s father, Jonathan, is a Purdue director (and notably, in light of “The Lottery,” an avid charter-school advocate). She nevertheless describes her upbringing, in Greenwich, Connecticut, as fairly ordinary, by the standards, anyway, of Greenwich. She went to a public high school, and then to Duke.

    One might detect a certain irony in Sackler’s social activism. A great portion of the Pendleton [prison in Indiana, where the film was made] population is there because of the scourge of drugs, or, if you’d prefer, the scourge of the drug war. OxyContin has undoubtedly deepened the problem of addiction, and contributed to the current heroin plague. So one might suppose that Sackler’s concern and sympathy for the incarcerated is some kind of expiation. But she thinks this is baloney. She points out that her other grandfather was a mathematician, and that she has also made films about basketball and Belarus. It pains her to think that the perception of her project, and of the hard work of everyone involved, would be tainted in some way by her pedigree. …

    No one chooses their parents or grandparents. But one might detect a certain lack of self-awareness that is … painful.

      1. jsn

        This is the role of the corporate press: they can no longer hide that our corporate society is completely sociopathic, but the people who run it, with out in any way being responsible, are so nice and interesting when you get to know them!

        Ian Welsh is clear on this

    1. a different chris

      Or course now I’m a bit mystified about *how* I should feel about the Sacklers… because one of the other really good links above — “Why We’re Understimating…” says:

      In many countries in the world — most of Asia and Africa — one can buy all the opioids one wants from any local pharmacy, without a prescription. You might suppose then that opioid abuse as a mass epidemic would be a global phenomenon. Yet we don’t see opioid epidemics anywhere but America 

      So what part of this problem is Sackler and what part is, well whatever makes us different from “many countries in the world”?

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        The Sacklers set out to get people addicted. They targeted not well educated MDs by MD standards who worked in areas where they’d be sure to see a lot of people with repetitive stress and other orthopedic injuries and would tell them they weren’t prescribing enough painkillers. Purdue Pharma also launched a supposed time released version, where you didn’t need to take a pill IIRC every 8 hours, you would take it every 12 or 24, I can’t remember which. But the drug didn’t last that long. The patients would start being in pain 2-3 hours before the next dose was to be taken. Purdue told the MDs to increase the dose if patients complained. The articles that described this practice said that was a prescription for creating addicts.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Saw plenty of pain caused by the Sacklers in my 7 months in Rehab. Opiates F u up. I never touched the stuff and consider myself lucky to be addicted to Coke\Crack.

          Dont Smoke Crack.
          -Lawrence Taylor in “The Waterboy.”

          Wise words indeed.

        2. rd

          And the deaths are mainly coming from fentanyl etc. that are being put into the black-market versions of the drugs. Opiates would probably still not be viewed as a major problem except for the quantity of OD deaths. My guess is that fentanyl is not being introduced into the drugs in Asia and Africa.

          Meanwhile, we have reverted two centuries in having opiates as a major feature in our discourse:

    2. Lambert Strether

      Well, she took her grandfather’s money.

      “But only to do good!”

      Yeah, charters!

      * * *

      The current blight of squillionaires really does seem, well, crapified compared to those of the Gilded Age. Compare Andrew Carnegie’s libaries to Bill Gates’ charter schools, or whatever the Zuckerbergs are doing….

  5. The Rev Kev

    Why We’re Underestimating American Collapse

    Not just an American collapse but like so many things, America is at the forefront of this trend. In thinking about this, I would say that the inflexion point came in the 1970s that led us to where we are now. After that, things changed and not for the better. You try to put so many strands together such as the willingness to bomb and invade other countries, business executives judging it best to let some of their customers burn to death in their cars rather than to fix the problem, rich families selling addictive, deadly drugs to their fellow citizens that end up killing untold hundreds of thousands, the school shootings, the rendering of bonds between family and community and trying to find a common link is hard.
    I did remember one thing though and that is from a book that I still have. It is the part-autobiography of a New York firefighter back in the early 1970s (“Report from Engine Co. 82”) and what I have always remember from it was one of his reflections. In it, he said that so many of the problems that he saw were caused by an emerging trend where people were forgetting the value of a single human life. I always thought that he may have been right and so many of the problems that I noted above do come from the fact that we value human life so much less than in former times. You see this more in the past two years where people that even vote different to you are deplorables, clingers, the 47 percenters and are worth less than you who deserve every misfortune that comes their way which news is to be met with glee.
    Just a final point. Last year I read an article by a black guy living in a trailer park and I am sorry that I did not save it. What he noted in it was that those in the black community or Hispanic community stuck together in hard time and did better as both individuals and as a group. Those whites in the park fared far worse as they did not have community bonds to fall back on and thus turned on each other and ultimately themselves. He wondered if it was because they were as a group too new to hard times. Whatever the truth behind this article, I would say that he was right in that those with a community to back them up do better in hard times. Just a thought

    1. JTMcPhee

      Anomie seems to be the social equivalent of apoptosis. As individuals are physically dying, from diseases or simply wearing out in the aging process (the one that the squillionaires are hoping to defeat, of course, a last F-U- to the rest of us), parts of their bodies struggle to survive and continue the habits of respiration and digestion and cell division and homeostasis. But still, organ systems fail, one by one or in a rapid cascade, until respiration and circulation and perfusion cease, and rotting begins, taking the corpus back to constituent parts. Ashes to ashes… Maybe something similar happens at the more macro scale?

      Your fireman had some insight. But individuals and sets in human societies, from what I think I have learned and can remember, have always divvied up the individuals into strata of “worth.” Slaves sort of universally don’t seem to have been “worth” much except as capital. Same with “troops.” “The enemy,” that wonderful and poorly studied and understood archetype (except in the sense that like “the national interest,” everyone knows what it is but nobody can really define it) is of course of negative value. (Note that ‘enemy” is not even listed in this compendium of archetypes,, other entries of which seem pretty good analytically)

      The notion of the Golden Rule seems to have been pretty universal, and pretty universally re-interpreted for the benefit of the Few. I’ve tried to read up on Hobo Culture resulting from past “capitalist excess cycles,” and it seems even white folks were able in many places to cooperate and practice comity, to the extent of prolonging their existence and such, a la “Grapes of Wrath.” To where their Hobo National Convention in 1889 developed a pretty good ethical creed:

      Seems to me that what is coming is a lot more than just “hard times.” The planet is proving to be a lot more frail, and the biosphere more mortal, than us “pinnacle species” critters are able to understand and address, or if in small cases people do see it, many just ramp up the looting to maximize personal benefits.

      1. whine country

        Reading this article reminded me of John W. Gardner, who served as Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under Lyndon Johnson and famously said: “The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.” You might say that he was foreseeing the crapification of America (no pun intended).

      2. Amfortas the Hippie

        there’s a sort of neo-hobo culture all around us.
        (disclosure: i partied with folks like this when I lived in Austin)

        given the wherewithal, this culture would make for a remarkable field study. I’ve been able to find virtually nothing in the sociological/anthropological literature about them…and it is unknown how many of them there are. They sure ain’t recognised by the statistics people(BLS, etc). What does it say about our culture that an unknown number of our youth are opting out of the whole enterprise and choosing(in my experience) to ride the rails and live in tents, instead?

        1. Oregoncharles

          It says we’re really in a depression.

          However, the boom times of the 60’s also produced a similar youth culture. More sedentary, though, and some of them had enough money to buy land.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Thank you for that. I wondered what had become of this spirit. The author would be worth following, too.

          The music isn’t really that innovative; it’s jug band crossed with 60’s protest songs – not much of a division even then. The interesting thing is that they’re making records; not so easy for hobos in the 60’s.

          Good to know they’re out there.

        3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Homeless in Denver during Pots 1st Legal Summer in 2014 on 16th St:

          Gutter Punks
          Rainbow Kids
          Original Gangstas

          An amazing communitarian/anarchist feel that made me feel more Alive and Capable than id ever experienced.

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            that was the Vibe I got, too, some 20 years ago in Austin.
            They take Freedom seriously.
            It’s not just a slogan or a bumpersticker.
            and even then, pre-internet, they saw right through the BS that surrounds and penetrates us.
            Of course, there were plenty of loons and nihilists, too…and plenty of the one’s I knew had come from some kind of tragedy, real or imagined…but overall< i've never felt safer passing out in the woods around strangers in my life.

    2. Wukchumni

      When I lived in L.A., there was a great anonymity to the place, I felt.

      It was common for people to not know their neighbors a couple of doors down, or barely know them as to necessitate the need of a wave from a passing car, or when you saw them emerging from their backwards drawbridge raised up to allow exit, and they had no choice but the acknowledge your existence as a homeowner on the street.

      When you have nothing invested in people you barely know, that doesn’t bode well for cohesiveness as a community, when push>meets<shove.

      1. Oregoncharles

        E.g., wildfires. I’m told the survival rate was higher in lower-class than upper-class neighborhoods – perhaps they were more likely to know each other.

      2. subgenius

        East LA, that’s a community…Lincoln Heights and Boyle Heights – and the Asian areas further east (Monterey Park and Alhambra) – I spend as much time as possible in those ‘hoods. Boyle and Lincoln Heights are the next target for the gentrifiers, unfortunately – Shepard Fairey did a big show recently, following on from the 14th Factory; and Windish Agency just moved in….Rents are escalating at an incredible pace …I have heard of 25% year-on-year for some commercial spaces…

    3. DJG

      The Rev Kev: Thanks for your comment. Resilc (up top in the links) pointed out Haque’s rousing last paragraph: Junk junk junk junk. What the firefighter is referring to is the increasing use of cost-benefit analyses. It is also the general impunity of white-collar workers. I recall my brief time living in a highly prosperous, old suburb of Chicago: The strongest impression I got was of a culture of genial incompetents. Smart people wallowing in their own junk. This was the late 1990s.

      Here’s another sentence from Haque’s article: “American intellectuals, media, and thought doesn’t put any of its problems in global or historical perspective — but when they are seen that way, America’s problems are revealed to be not just the everyday nuisances of a declining nation, but something more like a body suddenly attacked by unimagined diseases.”

      As with Brexit, and this sentence certainly describes Brexit, my interpretation is that the English-speaking world, with its narrow vision of economics and of the worth of human life, is hurtling toward destruction. The Five Eyes and other such saber-rattling junk make up one symptom. I’m not ready yet to extend the psychosis of the English-speaking world to other countries. Given the current panic about Russia in the U S of A, why bother listening to the official interpretations of the ills of Iran?

      1. Christopher Dale Rogers

        Re: Your last paragraph in relation to Brexit and English speaking world.

        As a Celt from the Celtic fringe in the UK, my country voted to exit the EU, whilst Scotland voted remain, as did Northern Ireland, whilst, with regards the first referendum vote on the Lisbon Treaty, Ireland voted not to endorse it, so, feelings are mixed, but one thing we have in common is extreme inequality, which, has not destroyed all social bonds, quite the reverse, the rich and the Elite are detested, while, in reality, the poor only have themselves to rely on, which is why, all above mentioned countries have rather large black markets and all still place a higher value on human life than our masters do.

        In all reality, apart from the ‘bloody liberal do-gooders’ at the top of the pile, our wealthy peers don’t give a toss, which is why they vote Tory, whilst us poor buggers vote for social democratic parties. Indeed, in Wales last June more than 50% of the electorate that voted placed an X next to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, which is indicative that we actually do care, we care for each other, we care about the shambles of our nation state and we care about the planet.

        Of course, people get led astray, see Trump as an example of this, but also note how Sanders galvanised a re-emergent Left in the USA. Lets be blunt, we are propagandised against 24/7/365 by the MSM and hectored by neoliberals who rule the roost – see Davos and see John McDonnell’s (Labour’s Shadow Chancellor) warning to the Davos Elite. And still. And still, we don’t give up, we don’t lie down and die. Listen to some Chris Hedges, understand his memes and RESIST, they can’t take away our human spirit if we resist and they know it, hence the move to police states in said English speaking parts of the world, for they fear us and with bloody good reason!

      2. Lambert Strether

        > Haque

        That’s an excellent link (and Haque publishes in the Harvard Business Review a lot, but maybe this article was a little too rich for their blood). Puts “American Exceptionalism” in a whole new light; and the topic awaits its De Toqueville (it would be nice it it were Chris Arnade, instead of the odious J.D. Vance, but I don’t think Arnade’s front row/back row distinction has sufficient analytical rigor and in any case ignores the role of capital).

        “Junk” is an interesting word, meaning not only worthless stuff, but “unorthodox pitches” like the knuckleball, heroin, and the external (male) genitalia. So a lot of interesting connotations to work with, there.

        1. jonboinAR

          I read a book about 19th c. whaling ships. The horrible slop the sailors were given to eat was called “junk”, or “horse”. This told me who probably the first junkies were.

    4. susan the other

      Our obsession with extreme capitalism has been with us for centuries. Fighting for equality is dna itself. Like an overgrown petri dish of little organisms that cannot think outside the dish, we continue to use the same old tactics over and over again. We have been collapsing forever and only now that we are so overpopulated and underinspired are we now dying. Evolution will be the solution, not clever new innovations. It is sad, but we’ll be able to deny our way thru it somehow. Using better and better technologies that distribute the necessities and still maintain the oligarchs. And not just here in our own rotten society – that’s hype. Every country in the world has these social mental blocks. It all stinks.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Yes but something changed. Recently. In Us.
        Watch “Ken Burns – Vietnam” and be amazed at the sight of millions of people in the street. Not concerned about what was happening to “them” but rather concerned about what was happening to others. To the world. “We”. Not “Me”.
        Not Hilary’s “I’m With Her”. Should have been “She’s With Us”. And not “MeToo”; should be “UsToo”.
        Muhammad Ali, Guinness Book of Records, world’s shortest poem:
        “I; we.”

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            so long as such emplacement is, like everything should be, by consent, then it’s cool.

    5. Summer

      “What he noted in it was that those in the black community or Hispanic community stuck together in hard time and did better as both individuals and as a group. Those whites in the park fared far worse as they did not have community bonds to fall back on and thus turned on each other and ultimately themselves. He wondered if it was because they were as a group too new to hard times.”

      I don’t think it is as much being “new” to hard times as much as being more invested in a culture of putting on a “doing great” face.
      And that can happen to people of any race. It is a part of American culture: the happy face.
      Others history in this country aren’t that invested in “happy face” culture because they’ve seen the face on the other side.

      1. visitor

        I think that the article referred to by the Rev Kev is onto something:

        Those whites in the park fared far worse as they did not have community bonds to fall back on and thus turned on each other and ultimately themselves.

        From what I remember, an analysis of the fate of prisoners in Japanese camps during WWII showed that Australians fared the best because of that “matey” solidarity. British prisoners fared worse — their heavily class-based society fractured solidarity within prisoner groups. Americans fared the worst. I do not remember about the Dutch.

        1. Objective Function

          If you have a source, I’d love to hear more about that.

          Evidently the North Koreans had a terrible time ‘brainwashing’ Turkish prisoners, since when they separated the officers and then the noncoms, the ranks would simply follow the lead of the eldest among them. Fascinating stuff. Also a reason you think very hard before picking a fight with Turks….

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        I wonder if this varies by part of the country due to weather. Maine despite being very rural and white has a pretty strong sense of community. As Lambert says, even if you hate your neighbor, you’ll help him fix his boiler because you might need the same sort of help someday. When I briefly lived in Escanaba, Michigan (in the famed Upper Peninsula) I was struck by the fact that it was what I would later recognize as a strong blue collar intellectual streak, something that is apparently widespread in Europe and the UK historically but largely absent in the US. My sense was it had to do with the influence of people of Swedish ancestry in the local culture. Swedes are egalitarian and the parts of the US where Swedes had influence on local institutions tended to be more social welfare oriented (the Great Plains, Seattle until Big Tech invaded, think of how it has holdovers, like owning its own electrical utility and thus having free streetcar service in the center of town).

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Best Friends a UPer!

          And hes from Escanaba!

          He used the GI Bill to get a Geology degree from UW-Tacoma and im flying up to see him in June!

        2. Wukchumni

          I think the anonymity is really in regards to big cities I know such as L.A. & S.D.

          I knew .00000001% of the population of L.A. & environs by name & face, here it’s closer to 10%

          It’s quite rural here and if a tree falls on the road, somebody usually has a chainsaw in the back of their truck, and they split it up and clean up the mess a bit. Nobody would wait for the city or county to do something, it’s a harmonious community that looks out for one another, and being small in population, there’s accountability.

        3. southern appalachian

          Not just weather, in my experience – in my part of the Appalachians there’s descendants of Palatinate Germans – 1600’s, I think – and then Scotch-Irish. And then in the sandwich go the Dunkers, Brethren now, Mennonites and Quakers, versus the Presbyterians and Baptists. Few Catholics here and there and so on. It’s an important thing to know, I’ve discovered.

          Along the lines of Albions Seed: I can drive an hour and be in a different culture. Everyone looks more or less the same, but in one town, the co-op works, there’s a food hub, people contribute to communal projects. Another town, nothing like that happens or ever did, but people take care of their own. Or did – that’s kind of going away. You see that at the edges – caring for school age kids, or hospice care. Finding someone to sit with the dying can be tough work in some communities.

      3. Rustbelt

        It cuts both ways. I have seen many people get a toehold on secure middleclass life only to be dragged back by a medical/addiction/employment disaster of one of their extended family members. The social support system that helps when they are struggling can also sabotage their successes if they feel an obligation to contribute back.

        It has made me especially skeptical of new money. Who’d they sell out to get ahead? “Success” for the trailer set is a mark of selfishness and ethical failures. But I’m multigenerational middle class so who am I to judge?

  6. integer

    Re: Air Force One Needs 2 New Refrigerators. Together, They Cost $24 Million.

    Wondering if the NYT would be able to get through this article without taking a dig at Trump, I decided to read it.
    The answer: Of course they couldn’t.

    1. Wukchumni

      When our fridge was about 20 years old, a friend needed one and we came through, and then went shopping for a new one @ Lowe’s, and they had a great selection of around 40 different kinds, and I like to know where things were made, and set out on a quest to see where this array came from, and around 35 of them were imported from Mexico.

      1. Octopii

        When we redid our kitchen, I made sure the fridge was at least “assembled” in USA. No spec was provided on foreign parts content as one sees on automobile stickers.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Personally I am thinking of bidding on that contract myself and will charge them only $20 million. My business plan is to simply install a new fridge whenever it lands back in DC but to make sure that it is completely full with a wide variety of mini-bottles free of charge, especially for the press.
      As well, I will make sure that each member of the crew has their own gift pack of larger bottles to keep them on side and that those in charge of procurement get their share of ‘walking-around’ money. Not everybody mind. Only the big bosses and let them keep their own subordinates in line by judicious spreading around. I understand that it is an old practice.
      And why shouldn’t it work? Remember when three young drop-kicks set up a company backed by nothing and got a contract with the Pentagon supply to the Afghan military with $300 million worth of ammunition ( along with other contracts? Hey, if a bunch of stoners could almost get away with it, why couldn’t I?

      1. integer

        If I was Trump I might consider taking you up on that offer. I can see the headline now: “Catastrophic refrigerator failure brings Air Force One down mid-flight with President on board. No survivors.” The article to follow would have an oddly gleeful tone to it.

    3. Lambert Strether

      The Air Force One refrigerator is so expensive because it’s an IoT-enabled, Section 702-compliant refrigerator.

      It would have been cheaper if the Democrats — and the crusading journalists at the Times — had won their tooth-and-nail fight against Section 702. Oh, wait…

      1. Wukchumni

        The Swedes supplied the 3rd Reich with a lot of it’s iron needs until about 1944.

        They were pseudo neutrals…

        The Allies believed that without the Swedish iron ore, the German war effort would grind to a halt because not only was the ore being sent in large quantities but it was also of very high quality, making German steel manufacture extremely efficient. The US military was also appalled at Sweden for escorting German ships, allowing use of its own ships to transport the ore and for its failure to stop the transit of German soldiers and war materials across its territory.

        After America joined the blockade against the Axis forces and assisted in the Economic Warfare measures already being implemented by the British in early 1942, efforts were made to stop the Swedish iron ore trade and to reduce the practical help she was giving to Germany, although these attempts initially did nothing to reduce the German war effort.

    1. OIFVet

      Too lazy on this fine Sunday morning to look for the link, but Ikea used Romanian prison labor during Causesku’s regime.

    2. Mel

      When I was young I furnished a couple of apartments from IKEA. I could only do it by going underground. To get in and out in under two hours I had to find a way to bypass the rat maze of showrooms that they ran everyone through. Finding secret doorways, evading staff, etc. Seriously.
      It still rankles that they have a web presence, you can pick out all your stuff in advance, and they still try to keep you from getting near it.
      I expected a lot from Harry Harrison’s The Stainless-Steel Rat, but there wasn’t much there. A government employee with an endless supply of sleep-grenades. Compared to me, he was nothing.

  7. mikerw

    What has happened to supermarkets perfectly illustrates the underlying changes in the American economy. I worked one summer in a local supermarket, part of a regional chain that was run by my honorary uncle; who was responsible for bringing bar coding to the industry.

    Most permanent employees, the manager, cashiers, department heads, enjoyed a true middle class living on Long Island. Kids could afford college, healthcare benefits, annual family vacation, reasonable income security (for an industry that was very challenged by the inflation of the 70s). These were good jobs.

    Try making a living in a job like this today, good luck. I’m sure Amazon wants broad based employment with secure and satisfied workers. No wonder a large portion of the country is irate.

    1. whine country

      Sounds like I grew up in the same era as you. What’s astounding about things like you describe is that while we constantly hear this and that about how much greater America is than back in those bad old days, no one ever seems to ask….yeah better, FOR WHO?

    2. Jim Haygood

      ‘Try making a living in a job like this today, good luck.’

      Jill Mislinski of Advisor Perspectives started with average hourly earnings data and applied two necessary adjustments — hours worked (which have declined from over 38 in the 1960s to around 34 today); and inflation (CPI-U).

      Result: this chart, showing that real weekly earnings peaked in Oct 1972 at $863 and have declined by one-eighth to $754 today.

      Spend decades flushing capital down the toilet on a value subtraction global military empire, and pretty soon you’re frickin’ poor. Trump’s proposed FY2019 military budget of $716 billion shows that far from fixing America’s broken, malicious economic model, the plan is to dramatically hike malinvestment until the US looks like Blade Runner 2049.

      Smash the MIC …

      1. Wukchumni

        If we have to leave from the roof of the Intercontinental Hotel in helos ala Saigon in ’75, just how far can we get away from Kabul before we run out of gas and have to ditch in the desert?

      2. georgieboy

        Defense spending as pct of US gdp has declined from about 30% in mid-1960s to about 18%.

        So-called Entitlement spending (pension, healthcare, welfare payments) have grown from less than 20% of gdp in mid-1960s to more than 40%.

        It would seem there are many kinds of costs to empire.

        PS you can build your own chart to observe trends in US govt spending over the last century.

        1. a different chris

          Where do you get those numbers? The link you supplied isn’t about total US gdp, so it isn’t there. We have like 18% of GDP on healthcare, that’s been kicked around enough that I think I can just state it right out. And the gummint only “pays” for about 1/2. So not sure what you mean by Entitlement but we only get 9% “given” to us.

          So I don’t know where you find either 22+ percent (if you consider my d— ridiculous BCBS plan as an “entitlement”, I sure as h— don’t) or 31% more for “pensions” and welfare payments. The link has Fed welfare at 9% of the Fed budget, that’s when roughing the Fed budget to 20% gdp comes out to 1.8% of GDP. So we are no where near 40%.

          So I tried to add state welfare payments, and the same link you gave us said “In FY 2017 total US government spending on welfare — federal, state, and local — was “guesstimated” to be $1,145 billion, including $702 billion for Medicaid, and $443 billion in other welfare.”.

          Which freaking mixed healthcare (Medicaid) back in, and still only came out to 1.145/20 which is… well how about you start doing the math instead of me?

  8. PlutoniumKun

    No, Bernie 2020 Will Not Be The Same As 2016 Medium (UserFriendly). Important.

    Important indeed. I really don’t understand Progressives who accuse Sanders of having sold out. He is a politician who made a big compromise in order to run as a Dem – it was always clear (or should have been) that he had little choice but to show a certain degree of ‘loyalty’ once he made the decision that he could only make a meaningful run as a Dem, not an Independent or Green. As someone looking in from the outside, I think he has played a very politically weak hand masterfully. I very much hope he stays healthy and runs, and picks a top class running mate who will carry the torch after him.

    The big question though is how the establishment will react. It will have been noted that the gracious act of the centre left establishment in both the US and UK in letting the left have a look-in blew up spectacularly in their faces with the success of Corbyn and Sanders. They won’t make the same mistake twice. They now know that once people see the chance of a genuine change they will take it, whatever the mainstream media tell them to do. I think that Trump has been such a huge distraction for everyone that they’ve taken their eyes off Sanders. Once he is running they will have to decide what they’ll do. Everyone needs to be ready.

    1. edmondo

      Bernie can run again in 2020. Who cares? He won’t win the nomination. Then he can “masterfully play his hand” again and campaign for Cory Booker and ask for a few crumbs that don’t really matter much in 2021 as Eric Schmidt becomes the new CIA Director and Jamie Dimon is named Treasury Secretary.

      Bernie is playing poker in a rigged game. Doesn’t matter what cards he has, someone else will magically have a better one. You can play all day and all night but you won’t win unless you find a new game that is less crooked.

      1. nycTerrierist

        who would you prefer to run?

        what ‘new game’ do you propose?

        Given the chance, this voter will be voting hard for Bernie, dog bless his health

        1. Sid_finster

          To do what any rational person in his situation would do – wreck the game.

          If Team D cheats (and that is what Team D does) – make sure that Team D loses, and hard.

          Don’t worry, if you give Team R its head, they will screw up fine on their own.

      2. JohnnyGL

        I’m getting a real vibe of despair and hopelessness from your comment.

        I also don’t think it’s accurate at all. Not even close. Corey Booker isn’t winning anything. I don’t even think he’d win a NJ primary. I hope I’m not wrong.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The feeling of despair, justified perhaps, is actually from the article – that the road must go through the Dark Forest known as the D party.

          1. JohnnyGL

            It’s a dark forest indeed, but the Dems are deeply discredited and divided. Even the donors themselves are disenchanted as some of them actually want to win and care about where their money goes (per Nomiki Konst’s reporting) Post Trump, these problems seem to be getting worse. I’m starting to wonder if Schumer and Pelosi are vulnerable to leadership challenges, if they keep screwing up. They looked pretty secure a few months ago when they were riding high post VA governor win and with the AL senate win.

            An excellent opportunity to rebuild is coming. I really hope Bernie stays healthy because I can’t see anyone else that might be up to the task.

            1. Wukchumni

              The donkey show reminds me of fractured French politics of the late 30’s…

              “Strange Defeat” by Marc Bloch, is a great tome that showed what happened in a similar vein to the French military, and one of the things was an insistence on military messages being delivered by motorcycle courier in lieu of immediately via wireless. WW1 ways weren’t up to the challenge.

              1. Tom Bradford

                From a security point of view motor-cycle couriers are much better than wireless. If the Nazis had used couriers during WW2 rather than relying on the ‘unbreakable’ Enigma wireless codes the Allies would have been deprived of a great deal of intelligence and had a harder job of beating them.

              2. Mark P.

                The French military(‘s) … insistence on military messages being delivered by motorcycle courier in lieu of immediately via wireless.

                The French in WWII, IIRC, also installed radios in their tanks that only worked one way — that is, they could only receive orders from their superiors, but not send back reports of what was happening or that they were refusing to follow some particularly impossible order.

                And now I’m recalling this stuff, durin the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 the French had machine guns installed only on railroad flatbeds and carriages, which meant they couldn’t run up them up the last mile to the front. The Prussians kept their machine guns mobile, on the other hand.

                Well, the Germans/Prussians won both times. I guess the French military’s preferred fix would have been as in Kubrick’s PATHS OF GLORY — based on a real incident in 1915 — shoot a few working-class soldiers pour encourager les autres.

        2. Octopii

          Corey’s recent gambit (chewing out Kristjen Nielsen as being complicit) got a lot of attention. I think he’ll make a big play for the nomination.

          1. Geophrian

            Booker is following the DNC model of showing outrage at “the other side” while offering nothing of value on the Dem side.

            It might grab headlines but doubtful it will get votes.

            1. Lambert Strether

              My understanding is that the voters of Newark were very happy to get Booker on to the national stage and out of their hair. I imagine some of them would be happy to share their views.

              However, I don’t think much oppo has been done on Booker. I assume Sanders has an oppo operation. If he doesn’t, he’d better (though it would probably be best to be completely out front about it, inverting the usual Beltway practice. Otherwise, it would probably blow up in his face).

      3. Howard

        If Sanders announces soon that he is running for president, he has the ability to raise an enormous amount of money quickly. This has to be the nightmare scenario for the DNC apparatchiks.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Sanders has disintermediated the party structure in several ways:

          1) He didn’t give them his list

          2) He doesn’t need them (or the donor class) to self-fund

          3) He can get a million viewer to listen to Canadians talk about single payer on Facebook

          IOW, Sanders has real structural strengths (which, at this point, sadly, are not transferable to a politician of similar stature, because there isn’t one).

          4) I would love it if Sanders did an anti-empire tour of the flyover states; Trump voting precincts are disproportionate for both enlistment and deaths, and I think they’re tired of it. Careful framing needed, of course, but Sanders’ many years of work on behalf of veterans would insulate him from a lot.

          #4 would really flummox both party establishments (and Sanders had better not go up in any small planes if he goes there).

      4. dcblogger

        There is a very obvious test for a Bernie 2020 run, will the Our Revolution candidates win their primaries and prevail in the general? If so Bernie will control the party, and there will be a sharp limit to what the DNC can do to limit his chances. If the Our Revolution candidates mostly lose their primaries, Bernie still has a chance, but it will be harder. So let’s see what happens in 2018.

      5. Kurt Sperry

        The Dems can only rig the process so far. They are hardly in a position of strength and the realization that the 2016 nomination was as rigged as they dared to make it is now a common one. Even the brighter hardcore partisans must realize. It wouldn’t take much for Sanders to overwhelm the thumb on the scale–he almost did it last time, and he was running against the ultimate insider party tool with every advantage the party and bottomless corporate money could supply. If Sanders makes a 2020 run at the nomination, I’m willing to bet that the Democratic Party will fail to keep him out a second time. They will obviously be desperate to, but I don’t think can stop him, even by cheating again.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > The Dems can only rig the process so far

          I’m not sure the liberal Democrats have learned a thing. To do that, they’d have to admit that Clinton lost. They can’t even get that far.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      More competing candidates in 2020 (vs. one in 2016, Clinton) will not make it easier, but harder, I believe.

      If the goal is to get 50%+1 of all delegates, and not just to finish first among the pool, it’s more difficult, with more to split and siphon off votes it would seem.

      And then there is this, from the ‘beef’ paragraph:

      If they expand the number of debates, it has already been well documented that once an undecided voter is exposed to Sanders for the first time, the chances are that he will win them over.

      I think his problem is with those who were exposed him in 2016, and are done with him now, not new ones exposed for the first time. These former supporters have to be accounted for.

      1. JohnnyGL

        “These former supporters have to be accounted for.” – They’re angry and bitter, but they’ll come around. They’re not big in numbers, but they have a disproportionately high representation on social media and comment boards. Much like the diehard Clinton-ites that STILL believe are over-represented, too.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          How many are they – that will be debated.

          (The ‘beef’ paragraph in the article is also the longest).

          I believe in many endeavors (not all and not every time though, so there are many exceptions), one only gets a once-in-a-lifetime chance to go all the way, and when one”s so close, one has to seize the opportunity.

          Had Obama failed in 2008, could he have done it in 2012? What would have happened to all the excitement, charisma and freshness? We will never know.

        2. integer

          They’re angry and bitter, but they’ll come around.

          Because they’ve got nowhere else to go, right? Sounds familiar. At the very least, I doubt the 12% of those who voted for Sanders in the D party primary that then voted for Trump in the general election will be coming back. Also, never underestimate the venality and corruption of the D party establishment, especially now that the intelligence community and neocons have thrown their lot in with them. Lastly, diehard Clinton supporters hate Sanders for ruining their queen’s coronation. They will do everything in their power to ruin Sanders’ chances, simply out of spite.

          Overall, and especially in comparison to most other US politicians, I like Sanders, and by unequivocally exposing the corruption of the D party in 2016, I think he he played a huge role in moving the US forward to a better place. I can’t see him winning the D party primary in 2020 though, let alone the general election. Maybe I’m wrong.

          1. integer

            Adding: I wouldn’t put it past the D party to forego holding primaries for the 2020 election, citing the need to unify the party to remove Trump from the office of President or some similar bs. After all, Trump is, as all good liberals know, the biggest threat to the US evah. I mean, it’s not like the D party establishment is constrained from doing so by any laws or charters (or principles, for that matter).

            1. JohnnyGL

              LOL, and I thought I was cynical! :)

              “Sorry everyone, primaries are cancelled this election cycle!”

            2. Oregoncharles

              The primaries are run by the states. Caucuses, noticeably less democratic, are run by the party. I don’t think the primaries can be cancelled by the party, at least in most states, and they don’t have control of most state legislatures. I can’t imagine that even in Oregon, where they do control the leg.

              1. integer

                I’m just speculating. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but I figure it’s worth putting this possibility out there, so that people aren’t blindsided by it on the off chance that it eventuates (which is a non-zero probability imo).

      2. JohnnyGL

        Dem establishment in 2020 has two major options to beat Bernie. Neither look promising right now.

        1) One candidate vs. Bernie. Biggest name they have right now is Biden. I think anyone with a functioning brain cell knows that Bernie crushes this one once campaigning gets underway. Biden’s a terrible campaigner. Almost as bad as HRC.

        2) Lots of candidates vs. Bernie. 2016 Repub primary shows what might happen here.

        To be honest, consultant class might be hoping to bury Bernie in the general election, at this point. Trump or Pence will do just fine for them.

          1. JohnnyGL

            Definitely possible, but front-runners have a tendency to pull away from crowded fields. Look at Romney in 2012 or Trump in 2016. No real direct competitor emerged, so the electorate lined up behind the winner and each ran away with it by the end.

            Maybe you could argue Dem primary is different, somehow. I don’t think so.

            Bernie’s probably going to blow out Iowa and NH, and maybe win SC. If he’s got a decent lead coming out of Super Tuesday, it’s practically over. I think he’ll squeak out wins in the South rather than blow them out.

            Of course, to REALLY win the south, he’s gotta run this ad….over and over…


            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Remember, CA has moved its primary way forward. CA is now a huge part of the game. And as we saw in that primary, the Dems cheated like crazy in the primary. They can do that because it is such a Dem machine state.

              So what Bernie needs to do there is a mini version of what Obama did in 2008 and has been since forgotten: he had what was described as the biggest one day law firm. Tons of election observers that were attorney who knew the relevant law in states where shenanigans were most likely to occur.

              1. JohnnyGL

                I’d forgotten about Obama’s army of election attorneys.

                I recall seeing one of the guys from Election Justice USA or one of those groups saying someone had worried about Ohio during 2012 and had the FBI in the Secretary or State’s office.

                That was offered as the reason that Karl Rove freaked out on election night. He thought the fix was in ahead of time there and it turned out they couldn’t pull it off.

                Also, regarding CA. I remember how the Secretary of State there set up a virtual obstacle course for independents who wanted to vote in the Dem primary there. In spite of that, and the ridiculously early mail in voting process, where HRC built a monster lead, Bernie still only lost by 7 points.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I think they have two other options:

          1. Run faux left wingers to try to split Sanders vote (I think there is evidence they are already doing this in some local races).

          2. Try to force him to take on a ‘Unity choice’ (i.e. an establishment Dem like Harris) as Veep if he wins the nomination. This would, of course, then invite a bullet (literally or metaphorically) if he was to win.

          By the way, when I say ‘establishment’, I don’t just mean the Dems. Sanders would deeply worry a lot of very powerful people in Washington, not to mention a lot of defence contractors. I would not be surprised, for example, to see a whole series of concocted ‘scandals’ about Sanders staffers and supporters and his wife and kids (assuming that they can’t find anything on him).

          1. JohnnyGL

            He can pick Elizabeth Warren for VP. Establishment won’t be able to argue with that. It also undermines any motive to kill Sanders.

            Establishment is more likely to give him the McGovern treatment (at the general election) or the Carter treatment (while in office).

            Establishment has lots of weapons at their disposal besides actual assassination. After all, they’ve got Congress! :)

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Warren would be a terrible choice politically, I hate to tell you. She is way too old (she’ll be over 70 in 2020), she’s from the Northeast like Bernie, and so buys him nothing from a geography standpoint, and I hate to tell you but that really matters.

              Warren’s highest and best use for Sanders would be as Treasury Secretary.

              He needs someone younger from another part of the US and if not female, a man of color. That is how things roll these days.

              1. JohnnyGL

                Yeah, I’d agree on how best to deploy Warren. She would probably prefer the Treasury Secretary job, anyway. I offered that up as a choice if Sanders was genuinely concerned about assassination and he needed a pick he could trust.

                I actually can’t think of who I’d suggest for a VP. Tulsi Gabbard and Nina Turner can be trusted and tick the id pol boxes. But they both have thin-ish resumes and aren’t well known on the Hill. Ideally, you’d want to have a back-slapper and arm-twister combo as VP. Biden did the former, Cheney the latter.

                I suspect Donna Brazile finds a job under Sanders, though. Maybe Chief of Staff? The Clintons hate her (read loyalty) and she’s got everyone in her rolodex.

                Here’s a VP pick…Gutierrez from AZ. Swing state value, got some fire to him on immigration reform.

                Someone on the interwebs threw out Barbara Lee for the anti-war credentials, but I feel like she’s also too old and may not want to campaign hard. She also isn’t a big enough name on the Hill for back-slapping and arm-twisting.

                1. integer

                  I suspect Donna Brazile finds a job under Sanders, though.

                  Wow that is a terrible idea. Brazile threw her lot in with Clinton, and then burned her when it was convenient to do so (not that I’m complaining about it, but it is what it is). Not to mention her role in helping Clinton cheat in the debates. Why would anyone trust her after that?

                  1. JohnnyGL

                    I actually picked up her book. Brazile has been a life-long party loyalist (party hack, if you want to be harsh) and she is clearly unhappy with what the Clintons and Obama have done to the party over the last decade-plus.

                    Brazile didn’t just burn the Clintons, she revealed a lot of dirt and didn’t have to drop the kind of bombs she dropped. I doubt the book sales justify it.

                    I think long time insiders like Brazile genuinely want to win, are possibly open to a new direction, and are potentially useful to someone like Sanders.

                    1. integer

                      Fair enough, however the phrase “limited hangout” comes to mind. Personally, I wouldn’t trust Brazile to hold my beer while I went to the bathroom.

        2. JohnnyGL

          If the media turns weirdly positive on Trump in 2019, or the establishment manages to throw him overboard by then and stick us with Pence, wrapped in a glowing honeymoon period, you’ll know the official plan is: STOP BERNIE!!!

          In fact, this is my greatest political fear, right now. I can see it happening, and even see it working, sadly.

        3. Rhondda

          Speaking of Biden. Eric Zuesse has just posted a scathing dissection of Biden’s recent Bizarre-o Backwards World article in Foreign Affairs: The War in America’s ‘Democratic’ Party over Whether to Go to War Against Russia

          “By attacking the West, the Kremlin shifts attention away from corruption and economic malaise at home, activates nationalist passions to stifle internal dissent, and keeps Western democracies on the defensive and preoccupied with internal divisions.” He asserts that “To safeguard its kleptocratic system, the Kremlin has decided to take the fight beyond Russia’s borders to attack what it perceives as the greatest external threat to its survival: Western democracy.” …

          “To fight back, the United States must lead its democratic allies and partners in increasing their resilience, expanding their capabilities to defend against Russian subversion, and rooting out the Kremlin’s networks of malign influence. The United States has the capacity to counter this assault and emerge stronger, provided that Washington demonstrates the political will to confront the threat. However, since the Trump administration has shown that it does not take the Russian threat seriously, the responsibility for protecting Western democracy will rest more than ever on Congress, the private sector, civil society, and ordinary Americans.”

          What’s really frightening to me is that I’m starting to believe these people actually believe this sh*t.

          1. a different chris

            Wow if you reverse”Russia/Kremlin” and “United States/Washington” in every instance it reads… the same. Remember everybody thinks they’re a democracy so no substitution there.

            By attacking the East, Washington shifts attention away from corruption and economic malaise at home, activates nationalist passions to stifle internal dissent, and keeps Eastern democracies on the defensive and preoccupied with internal divisions.” He asserts that “To safeguard its kleptocratic system, Washington has decided to take the fight beyond NATO’s borders to attack what it perceives as the greatest external threat to its survival: Eastern democracy.” …

            “To fight back, the Kremlin must lead its democratic allies and partners in increasing their resilience, expanding their capabilities to defend against US subversion, and rooting out Washington’s networks of malign influence. The Kremlin has the capacity to counter this assault and emerge stronger, provided that Russia demonstrates the political will to confront the threat. However, since the Putin administration has shown that it does not take the American threat seriously, the responsibility for protecting Eastern democracy will rest more than ever on the Politburo, the private sector, civil society, and ordinary Russians.”

            And of course notice the chutzpa — Russia (I’m back to the original now) is “taking the fight beyond its borders.” America’s military doesn’t recognize anybody’s borders, let alone its own.

          2. integer

            What’s really frightening to me is that I’m starting to believe these people actually believe this sh*t.

            It’s just projection, that classic technique of accusing the other of doing exactly what it is that you are doing. Perhaps it is subconscious but I highly doubt it. In any case, it’s great way to muddy the waters of discourse, though pretty obvious to those who are grounded in objective reality.

          3. Mark P.

            Rhondda wrote: What’s really frightening to me is that I’m starting to believe these people actually believe this sh*t.

            Oh, many of them absolutely do. Elites are often clueless.

            French elites threw a whole bunch of money into supporting the American Revolutionary (1775-1783) to give the hated British a black eye. The rest of the French struck back against the resulting immiseration in 1789.

            Not incidentally, the corporate spellcheck algorithm here wants me to reject the word ‘immiseration’ as either a non-word or an incorrect spelling.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        I could stand corrected, but I don’t think there is any evidence from the polls that there is a significant number of ‘disenchanted, won’t vote for him again’ ex-Sanders voters. A few grumpy people on comment boards is not a significant movement. The trend over time is consistent – his favourability ratings are going up slightly, his ‘unfavourable’ ratings are dropping.

        My guess is that the mainstream Dems will try to split Sanders votes by running faux left wingers.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          In any business, the key is to have repeat customers.

          Fooling new customers is not a sustainable strategy.

          (Just speaking generally)

          As for grumpy ex-customers of his, specifically, it may be a bit early to tell how many they are, but it’s definitely something his opponents can and will exploit.

          “When Donna Brazile informed you, at the convention, of the rigging, did you think only you, or rather, all of your voters have been cheated? Did they have a right to that evidence? Would you say that that was an example of elites sorting things out among themselves?”

        2. Watt4Bob

          A few grumpy people on comment boards is not a significant movement.

          If you ask me, a few grumpy people on comment boards is evidence of ‘resistance‘, yeah, that ‘resistance‘.

          It’s not sour grapes, or defeatism, or childish parent blaming, it’s resistance, long game resistance.

          Having lost the battle of the first progressive era, and thus having to ‘endure‘ the New Deal, the enemy is not about to ignore the rise of effective progressive leaders this time.

          And BTW, the enemy obviously includes the Dem mis-leadership class.

          This video is evidence of how prepared ‘we‘ are, to take ‘them‘ on at this moment.

    3. ChiGal in Carolina

      To tie together a couple of recurring themes at NC, I thought the article was very good (but I was never a disillusioned Bernie basher) so saved it to an email to share. I have also taken to sharing things to Google Keep. Yes, I am still stuck with Google and my grassroots activism has even required me to join FB to communicate effectively with the larger group that doesn’t organized but does participate and act on our initiatives. We keep our shared docs in GDrive for ease of sharing and editing.

      So I considered that rather than sharing just to the core, I should post it on FB. Being on FB has been very frustrating because as someone who is not putting my real name or face out there, but wants to “get the word out” it is a time-consuming calculus exactly where to post and with what privacy settings. So I decided against.

      That decision made, I wanted to click to clap and was immediately shown a page to sign up for medium which then informed me that my browser settings of no tracking would come undone if I joined so I shouldn’t.

      Really, Medium, you too?

      It sucks that everything is surveillance, even the tools for fighting same.

    4. JohnnyGL

      Yes, just finished reading it. It should be widely read. It answers a lot of the important questions. Sanders has been more subtle in his attempt to fight the dem establishment. He’s pushed the DNC for reforms to the primary system that would pull the rug out from under a lot of the election shenanigans that state parties pulled…switching registrations to a different party, throwing people off the rolls. Sanders’ solution is same day voter registration and open primaries.

      PK’s important question, “How will establishment react?”. Well, a lot of expensive consultants and grifters are suddenly throwing out names like Patrick Kennedy. Apparently, he’s going to respond to the SOTU address. That should tell you how desperate they are.

      It’s worth pointing out that establishment experts like Nate Silver are already calling Bernie the frontrunner.

      Here’s where people miss out on the usefulness of a potential 3rd party run….it’s a wonderful weapon of deterrence. Bernie can threaten with the Mutual Assured Destruction of the Dems if they don’t let him run. “If you don’t let me run, I’ll yell it from the rooftops, go independent and Trump will get re-elected and it will be YOUR fault!”

      Let’s update your comment from a year ago that, “he has played a very politically weak hand masterfully”. That WAS true, but isn’t anymore. Now Sanders is in a position of strength.

        1. JohnnyGL

          I think you are overestimating the influence of NPR and underestimate the hatred of the political establishment.

          Bernie lost 54-46 in pledged delegates with little name recognition. Now, he’s probably the biggest name in the 2020 pool.

          I’m actually not worried about the primary, it’s the general that scares me.

        2. Amfortas the Hippie

          I’ve mentioned repeatedly that my bernie sticker on my tailgate has started lots of conversations with Tea People out here(deep red rural Texas).
          I have determined that these folks, whom the DNC has written off entirely, are ripe for a second Bernie run, and are amenable to Universal Healthcare, and even the idea of Healthcare as a Right…as well as Living Wage, debt relief, and an aversion to globalism.
          one just has to phrase it all in the right way(avoiding terror words like “communal” and “social”)
          If/when he runs again, I’ll be visiting the feedstore more often than usual, in order to be the evangelist for democratic socialism in this far place.

          1. JohnnyGL

            To your point, Bernie gets some respect from the hard-core conservatives in my extended family. Getting railroaded in 2016 probably boosted his stock with your heavily anti-establishment crowd.

            I don’t think Bernie wins too many from this crowd in a head-to-head with Trump. But if the establishment tosses Trump overboard and those folks are looking for a way to get back at them….Bernie might be their man against Pence.

      1. John k

        Third party does not threaten the dem elites, it just assures the rep wins, not a problem, corps still write checks.
        Bernie is the threat.

        1. JohnnyGL

          I didn’t say he should run 3rd party. I’m saying he should THREATEN to run if they don’t let him run in the Dem field.

          It’s like nuclear weapons. The usefulness of nukes isn’t actually in using them, it’s in deterrence.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s actually less threatening, if he is not just a threat, but the threat, to leave it up to one person, and not to all of us, in our everyday activities, in various state legislative houses, and in Congress.

        3. Geophrian

          Especially if that third party is a Michael Bloomberg type. Maybe they’ll run a Zuckerberg/Bloomberg third-party ticket and capture the billionaire vote!

          1. neo-realist

            If Bloomberg runs as a third party guy, great: An avaricious corporatist and defacto centrist republican who’d take votes from Trump vis-a-vis Perot from HW Bush back in 92 and hopefully give Sanders the presidency.

    5. DJG

      Thanks, PlutoniumKun: Astute comments as always.

      Niko House’s article may not serve as an eyeopener to regulars here at Naked Capitalism, because the commenting groundlings have been chewing over the meaning of Sanders, Sanders’s chances, Sander’s program, and how to get Sanders to be a true foreign-policy leader so as to get the U S of A out of its endless wars and its dependence on such self-serving allies (alloids?) as Israel and, yes, even the Five Eyes.

      I’m somewhat skeptical of someone running for president at age 78. (But at least he won’t faint in public and claim to be able to campaign with pneumonia.)

      Much depends on his running mate, for obvious reasons. I think that may be one reason Nina Turner is running Our Revolution. And I’m not going to wrangle over Turner or other VP possibilities now.

      So the Niko House’s article is a must-read as a jumping-off point for further discussion.

    6. John k

      I was a little disgruntled after the election, but Ive been over it for a year now. What’s the alternative anyway?
      I’ve been convinced for some time that Bernie will be next pres barring poor health or accident… he will destroy the divided oppo on issues, and electorate has never been more ready for issues… supers won’t have anybody to get behind…
      I see the general as a landslide, virtually all the indies and dems plus some working class reps…
      If so, he will have coattails, certainly take senate and good chance for house.
      And smart enough to get appointees in place before changing deep state.
      Willingness to prosecute white collar crime assures continued popularity even if congress opposes.

    7. JohnnyGL

      The real worry is this:

      1) economy does decently from now until 2020.
      2) white working class gets a bump in wages because of less competition from immigrants and is seen to have gotten that bump because of Trump.
      3) Mueller investigation continues getting nowhere and a backlash builds against Dems and in favor of Trump, bolstering Trump’s anti-establishment cred.
      4) Bernie wins nomination and can’t win general because dem establishment gives him the full McGovern treatment and the white working class decides to stay loyal to Trump because he’s the only one to lift a finger for them in the last 20 years.
      5) Trump wins 2020 over Bernie in a close election, possibly even losing popular vote again, and the left is disenchanted and discredited for years. CNN and MSNBC scream, “We told you so” endlessly.

      1. JBird

        He can pick Elizabeth Warren for VP. Establishment won’t be able to argue with that. It also undermines any motive to kill Sanders.

        I question just how she would be acceptable because while Senator Warren is fairly conservative, she is one of the few democrats who truly supports the rule of law, reforming Big Finance and making it more fair economically. That would be a very big hit on their wealth and power. I think that the Powers That Be would actually hate having her as Vice President however else she might be acceptable.

        Bernie wins nomination and can’t win general because dem establishment gives him the full McGovern treatment and the white working class decides to stay loyal to Trump because he’s the only one to lift a finger for them in the last 20 years.

        Well, then regardless of my circumstances, I would spend all my efforts at making them the Neo-Whig Party, and I would almost certainly have a lot of fellow travelers. Hopefully, we would win in 2024

    8. Oregoncharles

      That’s easy; they’ll just cheat, like they did before. As I predicted. Ask Greg Palast: Dems can cheat in elections, too.

    9. drumlin woodchuckles

      Such progressives were purity preeners . . . strutting their moral superiority stuff and expecting validation from Sanders . . . expecting Sanders to flush his goals and his chances down the toilet of the Green Party for example . . . a validation which never came.

      So of course the self-actualization performative-progressive snowflakes raged and wailed and gnashed their teeth and rended their garments. . . Just like they will all through 2020.

  9. QuarterBack

    Re Underestimating American Collapse, I have witnessed an accelerating decline in self awareness by individuals, and the nation as a whole, over the past 30 years. In particular, we have lost touch of how maladies inside our borders are perceived from the outside. The best way to improve the USA’s standing in the world is turn our focus inward (“Physician heal thyself”). Reading the article made me remember a scene from the 1999 movie Three Kings, where a captured US soldier is interrogated by an Iraqi intelligence officer.

    1. Geophrian

      Since the election of Trump I’ve seen some turn introspective in trying to understand how we as a nation got here. Most have continued looking outward (Russia, racists,etc) and refuse to look inward.

      As I read once: “The walls we build to protect ourselves are not there to keep others out, they are there to protect us from looking inward and seeing who we really are. If we take down our walls we will see those things about us we are afraid to confront. It is easier to keep our defenses up than to change who we are.” (Not an exact quote, just my memory of it)

  10. Lee

    They are new diseases of the body social that have emerged from the diet of junk food — junk media, junk science, junk culture, junk punditry, junk economics, people treating one another and their society like junk — that America has fed upon for too long.

    Not to mention just plain junk, in the form of crap products that look like things one used to buy that functioned well and lasted.

    The handwriting was certainly on the wall when a company that makes the worst hamburgers in the world becomes universally associated with that product.

  11. Jason Boxman

    Am I the only person that actually *likes* going to the grocery store? I must not be Amazon’s target market. I don’t have Prime, either. It *would* be nice to be able to order a couple of small personal care and household items and have them delivered, but I can’t do that with Prime (yay! add-on item only) or anything else I’ve seen; sending me my single tube of toothpaste isn’t profitable. (Briefly Target shipped anything free if you had a Red card, but they wised up to my ordering of $5 toilet paper once every six months, a clearly unprofitable purchase after shipping is taken into account I presume.)

    1. Wukchumni

      My livelihood was based on constantly buying and selling, arbitrage was my game, profit via turnover was its name.

      Twas something I did for many decades, no day ever being the same as any other, blessed in that regard.

      I’ve missed it, and enjoy going grocery shopping as ad hoc arbitrage

      We’ve discussed it prior, in regards to Grocery Outlet and what a great setup it is, where seemingly a 99 cent store merges into Trader Joes, albeit almost all in a eating vein. It’s a tribute to failed food for one of many reasons, and about 1/2 of the products change over all the time, the rest are almost always on shelves.

      It reminds me of what Trader Joes used to be like back in the day, when the owner was a an actual Joe, who would come on the radio in L.A. on commercials and advise us that he was in France and found the best jam he’d ever tasted and bought 10,000 cases and when it was gone, there was no more.

    2. Wyoming

      “Am I the only person that actually *likes* going to the grocery store?”

      Yes. Just fyi, there are some things you just should never admit to.

    3. Lee

      Am I the only person that actually *likes* going to the grocery store?

      Depends on the store. We have the usual chain stores, but fortunately we still have alternatives to Safeway and Lucky in our town. We even have an open air fruit and veg stand at a prime location in our downtown. May it ever be so.

      But disruption is in the air. We’re 50 miles from the heart of Silicon Valley and 10 miles from San Francisco. Our low lying island city is under a lot of pressure from the state and regional authorities to increase residential density and, as night follows the day, more chains have set up shop. Interestingly, most of this development is built on bay landfill, only 4 feet above sea level, and is thus subject not only to sea level rise but also to liquefaction should one of our several earthquake faults disrupt the terra infirma they’re built upon.

      1. Wukchumni

        It takes people awhile to forget about earthquakes, and I noticed a really interesting thing in regards to the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge temblor that took out huge bridges and overpasses, in that for about a year afterwards, drivers were hesitant to fill the empty spot underneath an overpass in really slow traffic-so there would be a 4-5 car empty gap. I saw it on Sepulveda Blvd that parallels the 405 in particular.

        And now nobody would ever think of doing something such as that.

      2. Judith

        I generally start my weekly grocery shopping by walking to the farmers market on Saturday morning. And where I live (Cambridge MA, where oligarchs are trained), there is a summer farmers market and a winter farmers market, so I consider myself lucky in that regard. Round about April, the root vegetables begin to look at bit sad though, even the parsnips that spent the winter underground getting sweeter. I like the sense of community that I experience at the farmers market. Local bands playing music and farms like Hutchins Farm that have been growing organic since the 1970s.

        I fill in the gaps at the local WH, which is also for me walkable, but it does not have the same charm.

    4. DJG

      Jason Boxman: Depends. But I agree with you. Here in Chicago we have some independents that are genius grocery stores. The HarvesTime and Edgewater Produce “empire”–they are two stores owned by one Greek immigrant. Of course, he’s a Greek immigrant. And there are others like his empire.

      Yesterday, after dropping off my data with my tax preparer, I stopped in HarvesTime, which is a “cult” grocery store. Giant produce section, with dragon fruit, little bags of herbs, as well as big selection of greens. Greek aisle filled with olives and tiny jars of mastic. Who knows when I’ll need mastic? But I know where to find it. (And the bread aisle has addictive paximadia from Crete.) I skipped buying a container of chicken feet in the butcher’s case.

      So I’m spoiled, as I toddled home with the oversized jar of dried tomatoes in oil from Italy. And going to a grocery story is a “street-level” task that a person can do to take the temperature of the neighborhood and the city. The store is a palimpsest–with just about every one of the major immigrant groups physically represented by cans, jars, and bags.

      That’s why disembodied Amazon Prime is such a danger: You the fearful “consumer” can’t even go to a shoe store and talk with the sales people? Digitization is bringing about enforced solitude–which is unhealthy.

      See you in the yogurt section.

    5. curlydan

      I like grocery shopping. It’s the only way to get what _I_ want stocked in my house. My favorite store is Aldi–going there is the “ultimate socialist shopping experience”, at least the experience here in the USA.

    6. Yves Smith Post author

      Haha, I grew up in a household of daily shopping so I like grocery stores too!

      I recall right after 9/11 when I realized the collective anxiety in NYC was getting to more than I pretended (for instance, I was proud of myself for not going out for a drink until about the 4th day after, the bars were packed after 9/11 because so many people seemed to need to be with other people as well as have the mild sedation of alcohol), I went to the grocery store and realized that that was actually comforting, the orderly shelves and food, that even though the overwhelming majority was stuff I would never buy, it was there as always.

    7. Oregoncharles

      No. Going to the Co-op is a big part of my social life, and I know where everything is, until they move stuff again.

      Even Fred Meyer, the big variety store, has the best paperback display in town. Can spend much too long there.

    1. allan

      “Excellent for locating overseas military bases ”

      Depressingly, also excellent for locating ultra-poor neighborhoods in the homeland™ U.S.
      If you zero in on your favorite impoverished ZIP Code, you’ll see almost nonexistent exercise.
      Whether this is due to not being Fitbitted, fear of walking outside on dangerous streets or
      two minimum wage jobs keeping people off the streets, this is good news for Fox News.
      We’ve found the no-go zones!

  12. Lemmy Caution

    RE: The Quartz article “Hillary Clinton protected aide Burns Strider from sexual harassment charges” includes the same barebones paragraph describing Strider’s alleged behavior similar to most recent articles:

    “Burns’ colleague “told a campaign official that Mr. Strider had rubbed her shoulders inappropriately, kissed her on the forehead and sent her a string of suggestive emails, including at least one during the night,” the Times reports, citing three officials close to the campaign.”

    On the other hand, this Buzzfeed article “Hillary Clinton Let Him Stay. Women Say His Harassment Continued” goes into much more depth about what actually occurred and is based in part on dozens of interviews with people who worked with Strider and a 45-minute interview with Strider himself. The details that emerge paint a far more disturbing picture of Strider’s behavior than the brief, whitewashed descriptions I’ve seen everywhere else.

    Interesting side note: the article says the research, interviews and leg work for the article have been going on for the last month.

      1. Lemmy Caution

        Yes, the pattern seems very well defined.

        And anybody who signs off his stalky, creepy, late-night emails with

        Hope, Joy, Celebration

        seems to have some Grade-A cognitive dissonance going on.

        1. Geophrian

          Considering he is still close with Clinton it shows he’s not alone.

          Apparently Rev Jeremiah Wright “would not have been” her pastor, but this creep is right for her. Hillary’s mind must be a fascinating place full of walls and chasms.

      2. Hana M

        Agree. I read The Quartz article and thought “that girl’s a Snowflake!”; The Buzzfeed article shows a much, much creepier version, complete with stalking, timing office departures and that really ugly detail from the complaint documents that he ““told her he wants to get her drunk” and “told her he buys porn while on the road for travel.” My first impression, ‘informed’ by Quartz, was so wrong. That young woman was anything but a Snowflake! I would have been quite terrified of Strider and the woman in question had a lot of courage to come forward as she did. Also JohnnyGL is right: there is a serial pattern of stalking, obsessive behavior that is very telling.

        Kudos to Buzzfeed for solid research. The Quartz article is a whitewash job.

        1. Geophrian

          Sounds like a great “Spiritual Advisor”. Worth every penny Clinton’s donors paid him.

          Seriously, wish I could get a gig that paid six figures and only required me to send one email a morning.

            1. Geophrian

              They’re still close it appears from that article. Even after all of this. Seems she is happy to have found a spiritual advisor who understands the existential needs of a soulless person.

  13. Stupendous Man - Defender of Liberty, Foe of Tyranny

    Personally I like most snakes (the exceptions being them that can kill me – vipers). While not exactly a pet I’ve had a black rat snake occupying my barn for the past 15 plus years. Given their life span in the wild of 10-15 years it is likely my barn has hosted a multi-generational family, and I’ve seen babies several years. They hang out in the same places year after year. They even molt in the same places year after year. I encourage them by tolerating them, and just letting them be. If I’m active in a place they tend to hang out I usually give them some warning so they can move to another spot.

    Not all others are of similar mind. I expect your antidote today is gonna be stress inducing for some.

    1. Wukchumni

      My favorite piece of asp around here is the California striped racer, and a reoccurring nightmare is one mating with a rattler, yikes!

      They can fly, i’ve seen one go about 30 feet in 5 seconds…

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      It was surprise inducing for me. I thought to myself, that’s the very first time Jerri-Lynn has used something other than a bird for the antidote!

    3. ArcadiaMommy

      Maybe not. I am almost paralyzed by fear when I see a rattlesnake out walking or running, but the king snake that has lived in our back yard for several years doesn’t scare me at all. It was about the length of a golf club last year, with black and very bright green bands. I see lots of bull snakes smushed by cars when the weather warms up.

    4. Amfortas the Hippie

      we have a neighbor who is a 7 foot Texas Rat Snake. me and the boys call him Jormungandr (, but I don’t know if its a he or a she.
      I’ve seen him 30′ up in the big oak tree.
      They eat rattle snakes…and I’ve read that the musk they give off is a rattler deterrent.
      That earns him Good Neighbor Status, around here.

    5. MojaveWolf

      I even like the pit vipers. We’ve had one Mojave Green (not big but most deadly and far the most agressive of the bunch) and two sidewinders (one a super cute youngster!) show up in our yard (or rather, next to the house, and right in front of a door in the case of the sidewinders) and I just herded them into a box and carried them out in the desert to where I turned box on side and left, coming back to get empty box the next day.

      Red racers/Rosy boas are scary fast, yes. Gorgeous but fast fast fast. Was helping a friend get two westerndiamond backs out of his yard (much bigger but more sedate and less agressive than vipers previously mentioned, and really, none of these are big dangers unless you mess with them or accidentally step on them or something) a few years ago and afterwards we cleaned all the brush piles in his yard. He uncovered a red racer and called me over to look at it. It was slowly moving in my direction. Gradually kept picking up speed. Still in my direction. At some point I became alarmed and took off running while he burst out laughing. He told me later it caught me in about half a second then took off in a different direction.

      Bull snakes, gopher snakes, king snakes, red racers etc are all beautiful and good to have in your yard, as they help keep the more poisonous varieties away.

    6. Geophrian

      Always had a terrible fear of snakes. Had a babysitter when I was a kid who once had her boyfriend over. She told me he had a python and it escaped. I spent much of that evening hiding in my room terrified until she told me he found it and left.

      Only years later did it dawn on me that the “python” was a euphemism and it was merely a clever ploy to get me to stay in my room while she and her boyfriend could “look for his python”.

    7. The Rev Kev

      The old style farmers would keep carpet snakes around their homes to keep down filed mice, rats, etc which the kids would make pets of. It was a symbiotic relationship and it worked great although it might be unnerving to be sitting on an outdoor dunny late at night by candle-light only to find a carpet snake slithering between your legs.

    8. marieann

      Yes…..I debated about going further but I managed to get to the links with my eyes closed.

      It’s a thing with me. I don’t wish harm to any of them (see how I can’t even say their name) I just don’t want to be involved.

      Luckily I live in Northern climes where they don’t come around ( I hope)

  14. George Phillies

    The death of Christianity in the U.S.

    This is a Christian doing something we have not seen much of in some centuries, namely denouncing other Christians as heretics and idolaters. It is perhaps postiive that anti-Evangelical Christians are finally growing some backbone.

    1. Garrett Pace

      Interesting – I would say that denouncing, factionalizing, and us-and-themming are some of mainline Christianity’s most unfortunate habits. For myself, I’d rather attempt to demonstrate Christianity’s potentials through my actions rather than pronouncing judgment upon those that might be getting it all wrong.

      1. vidimi

        our society constantly demands of muslims that they denounce extremists among their midst, well so should christians. american christianity is a satanic form that must be denounced.

        1. JP

          Well there does seem to be a disconnect between new testament Christianity and old testament old school god the punisher.

          1. Plenue

            That’s because the Old Testament/Torah is a Hebrew text commissioned by the 7th century BC king of Judah, Josiah. in which a single, omnipotent God was edited into existence through redaction of an earlier polytheistic tradition in which the deity that eventually became Yahweh, El, was merely the head of the pantheon (he also had a wife, Asherah). The deity of much of the Old Testament very much is a petty, cruel narcissist who fits right in with the pantheons of the ancient near east. And who harshly punishes disobedience, a moral lesson a king would very much be interested in getting the plebs to take to heart.

            This only becomes a major problem when Greek speakers, spear-headed by Saul, histories greatest conman, hijacks a Jewish Messianic (literally) cult and claims it’s a lovey-dovey hugfest for all of humanity, and not just Jews.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Garrett – if you take that seriously, you wind up tarred with some very ugly brushes.

        But don’t listen to me; I’m an apostate. The sort of person you lose by letting the Evangelicals define you.

  15. habenicht

    Umair Haque’s article above on Underestimating American Collapse does a nice job of connecting dots and articulating the dynamics of a shredded social contract in America.

    In the last few months or so, I’ve read links on this site about:
    o a woman coordinating lunches for children on a snow day (some children would otherwise go hungry)
    o hospitals coordinating manufacture of drugs which are constantly in short supply or egregiously overpriced
    o a University of Alabama alum who created a Do-it-Yourself Pancreas and open sourced the code for it

    and I am sure I have overlooked other examples.

    As the number of basic services typically attributed to government are increasingly meet without the help of government, at what point do we have a legitimacy crises? At what point do citizens stop themselves and say, “hey, we do all this stuff on our own, what do we need the government for? All it does is loot us, fund imperialist wars, etc.”

    I am not a libertarian. And maybe I am over-extending this observation. But along the same lines as the author: with the resiliency forced upon us in a sink-or-swim fashion, is there a point where we collectively balk at the costs imposed by government when a growing number of social benefits are provided outside of this framework? What is the collapse going to look like?

    1. whine country

      As crazy as this must seem to many here, I think you describe why the so-called “deplorables” support Trump when he champions a tax cut that basically ignores them and rewards his cronies. You’ve identified the critical issue: – If we’re not going to get anything from the government why should anyone pay them anything. Not saying I agree with that but, as you observe, it seems to be on a lot of peoples’ minds just now.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In the film, No God, No Master, it is sometimes said that anarchists (aka libertarians) want no government, and at other time (in the same film) minimal government.

      Another feature (not a bug) of libertarians is they want to be minimally, or not all, not organized themselves.

      And so, for example, during the Spanish Civil War, their minimal organized existence was exploited by the very organized Stalinists, and well, decimated.

      It reminds me of the evolution of Zen, which was Chan in China before becoming Zen in Japan. Chan can be traced back to the Taoists of the Warring States period, and not the Taoists of later dynasties with their search for immortality through alchemy, etc. The main difference between those ancient Taoists and Zen Buddhists is that those Taoists always just go with the flow and do not contrive to achieve anything; whereas as the book Zen Bones, Zen Flesh whose title makes it clear, you must have the pliable flesh supported on rigorous bones.

      I think anarchists/libertarians need to take that leap.

      In any case, what you are describing sounds like something the anarchists would want.

      1. Massinissa

        I feel youre being disengenous treating libertarians and anarchists as if they’re the same thing. Anarchists do not want anarchy, they want a form of organizing that is not the state. As for Libertarians, they’re closer to what you are talking about, where they basically want no organization of any kind, state or otherwise. I feel like you don’t really know what you’re talking about when you say that they are interchangeable.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That term was used interchangeable in the film.

          And a little while back, someone commented that that in Europe, the term has been used for a long time when describing anarchists.

          One can take the position that that term is the natural choice for describing anarchists and let others, the Johnny-come-latelies who like to use that as well to explain away they are different.

          By the way, in the same film, it is said that Proudhon used the word anarchism (stateless) differently than it was (leaderlessness) traditionally.

          1. visitor

            In European countries, there is a distinction between “libertaire / libertär” (French / German) and “libertarien / libertarianisch”. The latter words correspond to the usual definition prevalent in the USA, the former are old, obsolescent synonyms for “anarchist”.

            It is somewhat related to the terminological difference where Europeans follow a historically correct classification of “liberal” as a right-wing or, more properly, bourgeois ideology, while in the USA the word is improperly taken as a synonym for “left-wing”.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Thanks for that additional information, as Wikipedia doesn’t quite get into that. From it’s Anarchy page:

              Since the 1890s, the term libertarianism has been used as a synonym for anarchism[41][42] and was used almost exclusively in this sense until the 1950s in the United States. At this time, classical liberals in the United States began to describe themselves as libertarians, and it has since become necessary to distinguish their individualist and capitalist philosophy from socialist anarchism. Thus, the former is often referred to as right-wing libertarianism, or simply right-libertarianism, whereas the latter is described by the terms libertarian socialism, socialist libertarianism, left-libertarianism, and left-anarchism.[43][44] Right-libertarians are divided into minarchists and anarcho-capitalists or voluntarists. Outside the English-speaking world, libertarianism generally retains its association with left-wing anarchism.[45]

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Sorry, the film is ‘No Gods, No Masters.’

          That one, No God, No Master, is a different movie.

      2. Oregoncharles

        Actually, at least in English, there’s a fairly bright line between the two. Anarchists believe that government is unnecessary, to be replaced by voluntary associations (I think they’re wrong, but that’s another issue.)

        Libertarians want government to be minimal, restricted to its basic functions: essentially, the military and the police. That, too, may not be very practical; but they allow for coercive functions of governance.

        And traditionally, anarchist are considered part of the Left, libertarians part of the Right. Anarchists are anti-corporate, on the grounds that corporations are creatures of the state; libertarians just the opposite – in part because of corporate funding. OTOH, I just heard John Zerzan, an anarcho-primitivist, say that he is opposed to the Left. The other anarchist is a Wobbly – well to my left.

        The biggest difference is really in the values each promotes; anarchists generally share a lot with the Left, libertarians with the Right. (There are also left-libertarians, like Noam Chomsky, and Mr. Zerzan – a very interesting thinker, actually.)

        One could say that the Communists attacked the anarchists in Spain because the former are really reactionaries – that was their role in Russia. It gets confusing, intentionally so.

        However, equating the two minimal-government philosophies is very misleading. Sounds like the movie was.

        1. Plenue

          In practice Anarchism seems to boil down to wanting the people to be able to democratically set up their own society, from the ground up, free of coercion. Ideally the resulting society would be based around cooperation and sharing.

          Whereas Libertarianism wants government to only exist in an extremely limited sense, to protect the nation and contracts, and for society (which many of them claim doesn’t really exist) to do everything else through the market, which they imagine is both the natural default, and the most Efficient™, form of human behavior. They imagine such a world will, for some reason, always remain an idealized sphere of competing small and medium firms, and that monopolies that accrue unto themselves government-like power will never emerge.

          My view is that Anarchism is a genuine, sincere field of worthwhile, though perhaps ultimately impossible, ideas, while Libertarianism is a realm of utter stupidity, kept afloat by copious amounts of funding from cynical rich people engineering ‘intellectual’ backing for deregulation.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Evidently this duplicates the Wikipedia article MLTPB posted. It’s at least partly from personal observation/education, though.

          I’ll add that I think it matters who your extremes are. I’d rather have anti-authoritarian anarchists over on my left than authoritarian communists.

    3. JTMcPhee

      Not a libertarian. But do away with government. Anarchy-syndicalism, then? But a couple of things:

      o there will almost always be people of an altruistic bent, who organize and provide goodness (for some definition) for others — as a retired nurse, I can offer that a whole lot of people who to into nursing in my age cohort did so to “do good” and gave up more lucrative alternatives. I can’t vouch for current cohorts, given the corrosive destruction of neoliberalism, but surely still there. Many teachers (not “educators,” of course) even today are of like disposition.

      o I think the coordinating hospitals have at base a sort of neoliberal motive in combining to produce compounded medications — not quite the same thing as setting up in competition to Pfizer and the rest. The drivers for C-suite-ers are laid out pretty well in this article on penny-pinching and bottom line protection: “In Struggle to cut expenses, hospitals eye the pharmacy,” One thread in the thinking about cutting costs is the omnipresent “government” in the background, the “payer” in so many cases, which is setting, and enforcing with inspections and reporting requirements, a whole raft of standards and those FBing “metrics” that often, thanks to corruption and and credentialism and “lobbying,” are pretty perverse — measured against “First, do no harm.”

      o That ‘artificial pancreas’ is actually more of an updated glucose monitor and insulin pump, based in the cloud, not a replacement for the defective organ that people with diabetes have. It’s also a bit of an end-run around regulatory requirements that, though they have come to be so effectively gamed by looters, who also use them offensively to extirpate that sacrament of “competition,” had their origin in the attempt to use government regulation and judicial penalties to drive quacks and charlatans and corner-cutters out of “the market.”

      Hierarchy and “government” seem pretty much inevitable. As is the process, in human space where corporations have been created and turned loose on us all, where “government” comes to be owned and operated by those “slow Artificial Itelligence Artificial Constructs” acting through their many Quislings and minions. It’s a hard problem, and I don’t see a whole lot of people working on a solution to all that.

      Yes, it’s nice for the species that a few of us in a few places are working to stabilize and add resiliency to their local political ecologies and economies. But that obviously depends on the existence of a lot of preconditions, including exceptional individuals who won’t just “go fo the gold” at the first opportunity. The elephants are a-trampling, and from an old joke, “What’s the brown stuff between elephants’ toes?” “Insufficiently agile natives.”

      1. Oregoncharles

        Did you read John Michael Greer’s (aka the Archdruid) two articles on political philosophy – especially syndicalism? On; illuminating discussion, well worthwhile. Not an anarchist, though.

        1. Oregoncharles

          AARGH – that should be political economy, not pol. philosophy (which also exists).

          Political economy is what NC is about.

    4. Fraibert

      I think we are probably reaching the point where citizens will rebel against taxes, and more broadly against current governance at all levels. As it stands, we have the following (apologize for lack of links, but writing this quickly):

      1. Serious scholarly evidence that the general citizenry has essentially no influence over how government functions.

      2. Widespread practical sentiment that the citizenry has no real effect on government.

      3. The general crapification of public services, and failure to invest properly in infrastructure.

      4. Evidence leading to an inference of widespread actual political corruption or other questionable behavior. Some examples that come to my mind: (1) the failure to prosecute any “Too Big to Fail” connected individual for the financial crash, (2) the prosecutions of Gov. McDonell in Virginia and Senator Menedez of New Jersey–where although neither was convicted, these are high profile cases in the media, and (3) the recent NY Times report concerning why the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority’s subway construction costs are significantly higher than elsewhere in the world at I’m sure there are many others with which other readers have greater familiarity.

      5. The broad use, especially by states and local governments, of non-progressive taxes and other fees for services that are essentially taxes in disguise. These forms of revenue raising weigh more heavily on the larger part of the populace that isn’t wealthy.

      6. The stagnation of real wages for 4+ decades.

      To the extent the above is a fair description of reality, how does government justify taking a substantial portion of the average citizen’s paycheck? On the one hand, this hypothetical citizen can see that government is unresponsive to his or her needs and concerns, doesn’t provide good quality services, and doesn’t do a proper job of its core responsibility of maintaining infrastructure. At the same time, this citizen can see that government is effective at handing out the citizen’s money to connected individuals (corruption) and imposing taxes and fees that the citizen increasingly cannot comfortably afford due to the lack of wage increases.

      This is a brief caricature of the current situation, but it reflects my general sense of where things are going.

      1. Wukchumni

        Well said, thank you.

        On the way to the end of the road here in Sequoia NP, in Mineral King 25 miles from whence you came in the foothills, the first 10 miles are Tulare County’s concern and the next 15 miles is the NPS’s duty to keep the roadbed in good stead.

        There are approx 400 potholes of different sizes on the asphalt, ranging from the size an apple to a Lhasa Apso,,,

        Part of that $12 billion backlog of needed projects on the NPS docket, and the other part being there no will or means to on the part of the county, to do anything.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          I think government…of whatever size or origin(meaning I include corporate governance)…will gradually retreat into the various urban cores, and we’ll end up with a sort of neo-city-state movement, with essentially random forays into the hinterlands to exploit whatever resources are deemed necessary at any given time.
          This is already beginning: 1. rick perry ended the maintenance of “roadside parks” in Texas, which was an Icon of the LBJ/Eisenhower style, and a source of pride to previous generations of Texans.
          2. a Texas Monthly article prolly 3-4 years ago was the first I saw regarding the movement in associations of city managers and whatnot to become independent of the state…as the state government retreats from providing services…from health to roads to international trade agreements…cities are increasingly filling the void.
          3. this is why the Texas repubs (and presumebly elsewhere) have recently abandoned even the idea of “Local Control”. This is a stark reversal, and can be seen in the anger and antilocal legislation over everything from Sanctuary Cities, to Municipal Living Wages, to anti-fracking city ordinances.
          I expect examples of this to become more numerous, and at the same time expect there to be little fanfare.
          we hardly notice the overlapping and chaotic jurisdictions we spend all our time in.

          1. Roady

            This is already beginning: 1. rick perry ended the maintenance of “roadside parks” in Texas, which was an Icon of the LBJ/Eisenhower style, and a source of pride to previous generations of Texans.

            Reminds me of Texas DOT’s unpaving projects of recent years. From 2013: Texas can’t afford paved roads, replaces them with gravel:

            Earlier this year the department asked for $4 billion in additional funding just to maintain roads in their current condition and another $1.6 billion to address the damage brought on by the energy sector. State legislators responded by approving $450 million towards repairing county and state-owned roads effected by the oil biz. TxDOT said it needs more than double that sum on an annual basis just to maintain and repair the roads consistently damaged by oil-industry trucks.

            Of course, this is not just a Texas thing. A quick search finds unpaving projects in Iowa, North Dakota, and Vermont for starters.

            we’ll end up with a sort of neo-city-state movement, with essentially random forays into the hinterlands to exploit whatever resources are deemed necessary at any given time.

            Sounds like what we’ve mostly had already. The big difference would be the further abandonment of the illusion of participatory governance for those in the hinterlands. And fewer concessions to the dispossessed who live in the colonies outside the city-states. The RT article linked above cites State Senator Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio) declaring that the TxDOT “imposed a unilateral solution on these communities with no notice, no opportunity to seek alternative solutions, and no clear understanding of what to expect in the future.”

            1. Amfortas the Hippie

              Well be like the Savage in Brave New World, out on our Reservation(the irony!).
              Remember that Heretic means “choice maker”…the Machine knows by now that it’s easier if it’s minions have at least the illusion of choice(see: the Matrix, the Architect ).
              and it’s prolly prudent to keep a pool of genetic diversity/source of slave labor around, just in case.
              Such thoughts remind me of a political cartoon I saw somewhere, with depressed Historians…lamenting that they saw it coming.
              “Doom”, she cried, as they carried her away…

              1. Objective Function

                And I shall send out my War Boys and Imperator Furiosa to take the gasoline from Oiltown! (Or barely intelligible Aussie pidgin to that effect, setting up the next car chase scene….)

        2. JP

          I think there is a sign on the Mineral King road that has been modified to say Road from this point UNmaintained by the federal gov.

  16. Emorej a Hong Kong

    Re: No, Bernie 2020 Will Not Be The Same As 2016

    Presumably the establishment knows that their only chance of denying Bernie the nomination is:

    1. Settle on one champion (not named Biden) before any caucuses or primary votes;

    2. Double down on every trick from 2016, and find some new and bigger ones.

    In view of their shocking success in persuading Democratic loyalists (at least in the chattering classes) that the CIA(!) and FBI are protecting the sanctity of our Democracy from Republicans and Russians, perhaps somebody will fabricate a Moscow piss tape with Bernie in it. But they probably can’t beat him with anything less than a poison-tipped umbrella bearing “indicia consistent with Russian assassins’ trade-craft”.

    What they can do, however, is ensure that President Bernie is prevented from exercising his formal powers.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Two years is a long time.

      The article seems to cover many 2-dimensional chess moves. Where those hidden (because we don’t exist in their higher dimensions, thus hidden) moves that will blindside people?

      in the next war, new tricks will be deployed.

      And one more thing to keep in mind – Hillary was a historically bad candidate in 2016. That alone should make 2020 unlike the last war.

      1. John k

        Yes, but she was in a historically strong position before the primaries began.
        Bernie is likely to be in the lead in the beginning, and he is a very strong campaigner.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s one of the lessons from 2016 – it’s how you finish.

          And near the finish, there was the ‘Draft Biden’ desperation call.

          I wonder if he regretted not jumping in early on.

      2. Win? What?

        Maybe the goal isn’t even winning unless they can produce a candidate equally corrupt as clinton or as devoted to neoliberals and neocons as obomba.
        For the big donors the most important is after all their interests and democrats or republicans is just as different as coke and pepsi = none, only marketing

    2. MojaveWolf

      I have some mainstream Dems in my Twitter feed. They have an obsessive dislike of Bernie at least comparable to their hatred of Trump, & already made a failed effort to get a “Bernie Sanders, Russian Agent” meme going. I recall mocking it after someone kept retweeting this Eric Garland nutjob into my timeline. I believe he started it. Claims to be some sort of national security consultant iirc. If people in power are listening to garbage like that, it would explain a lot about American policy failures.

      But yeah, expect a multi-pronged effort to simultaneously demonize, minimize and co-opt against Bernie or any similar candidate, 2016 × 10. Non-stop propaganda onslaught.

  17. derechos

    I can’t help but to note researchers at Michigan State University discovered “$21 trillion in unauthorized spending in the departments of Defense and Housing and Urban Development for the years 1998-2015.” Yet Michigan State University was unable to discover a pedophile within their own sports medicine department, molesting young women over at least the latter half of those same years, even after some of the young women affected bravely came forward in protest.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      College-and-younger athletics is a billion-dollar-plantation. The actual athletes are the slaves who plant, hoe, chop and pick the cotton. Somehow they have been tricked into thinking they are free agents pursuing their athletic dreams. But they are slaves on the Big Amateur Athletics Plantation.

      Why would the Plantation overseers and owners care about some complaints from some slaves? Well . . . of course they wouldn’t. They don’t and they won’t. Of course they tried to suppress and contain these reports as long as possible to keep the money flowing.

      This will continue until all the amateur athletes recognize the reality of being slaves on the Athletics Plantation . . . and act on that recognition by not entering or competing in any of these athletic organizations any more ever. When the Plantation is burned down, then the sexual assault of the Plantation workers will cease.

  18. JohnnyGL

    The attempted rehabilitation of GW Bush has been a highly successful project. It’s completely unnecessary, accomplishes nothing and I’m at a loss for an explanation of 1) why it has been attempted and 2) why it’s been successful. I can only presume it’s paper thin support and democrats are answering irrationally in the context of their extra special hatred for Trump. I think it might be the most depressing thing I’ve seen in a long time.

    The thing that scares me is confronting the idea that large numbers of Americans are only interested in a president that doesn’t SOUND like a moron and/or act obnoxiously in public. I know SOME Americans feel this way, but I really want to believe it’s not a really big number.

    My imagination is wandering to bad places….in a dystopian future where Dems nominate GW Bush for a 3rd term against Trump, I’m going to vote, donate, and actively campaign for Trump and I’m going to go to rallies and chant, “LOCK HIM UP!!!”.

    1. Wukchumni

      As much as we tried to avoid ‘ssshrubery’s utterances, for some reason my wife and I were watching this presser from 2006 in regards to immigration, when about 25 seconds into it, the teleprompter feed obviously goes out, and there sits a most frightened man that has nothing to say now. Watch his eyes dart about, almost crying MOMMY!

      The youtube video calls it a “False Start” ha!

      And then after a few minutes, the teleprompter feed was reestablished and he aced the 2nd version

    2. djrichard

      To use the language from the consent factory article linked above, Trump committed the unpardonable sin of leading an insurgency. Even if manchurian, that’s still unpardonable as a marketing campaign. In comparison, GWB didn’t. Makes all the difference in the world to the powers that be. After that, it’s just a matter of letting media works its magic. Have to wonder how much the media actually needs guidance on this or have they internalized their masters beckoning call so much, they can be pretty much let off the leash as is.

      Anyways, somehow this slipped through, from SNL of all places: ‘Saturday Night Live’: Will Ferrell Reprises George W. Bush To Skewer Trump (WATCH) Obviously, SNL will need to limit transgressions like this. Still the editor at Variety did get to bash Trump in the headline.

    3. whine country

      You raise an interesting question Johnny. If Trump is impeached, can he run again? Seriously, I don’t think that many people have carefully thought through where we’re headed. If Trump is indicted by Mueller, does he get a public trial in the courts or is the only remedy impeachment? If he gets a trial and wins, well it’s game over. But if he gets a trial and loses, he is not automatically removed from office. He would have to be then impeached (ostensibly for high crimes and misdemeanors) Either way, the voting would likely be partisan. Now I know that Trump doesn’t exactly curry favor with his fellow Republicans and maybe the Dems will take the Senate before push comes to shove, but think of the precedent this will set. The majority party can in the future vote to hire a Special Prosecutor who will somehow get a trumped up (sorry) indictment against a sitting president, who will then be impeached by the majority party. The “statute of limitations” should toll on POTUS the moment he or she is sworn in. If all the agencies and partisan players in the political arena cannot find enough dirt on anyone who is running for President, up until the time he or she is elected, it should be too late to do anything other than find things the he or she has done since taking office and lawfully go through the impeachment process (or invoke the 25th Amendment). Anything else, such as what is going on now, will destroy the Republic. Looks to me like the parties to this fiasco are ignoring the old admonishment to be careful what you ask for, ’cause you just might get it.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The opposition will certainly look at the ease with which to impeach Sanders, should it come to that.

        1. JohnnyGL

          I actually think it’s important that the ‘deep state’ and special counsel is getting completely discredited right now (at least on the political right). The public will have little patience for these weapons to be deployed against Sanders.

          whine country….Trump running again after being impeached….wow…are you trying to make heads explode??? Because that’ll do it.

          1. integer

            While it does look like the “deep state” is about to take a serious blow (assuming of course that the R party doesn’t screw it all up – a fairly big assumption), make no mistake that the intelligence community and neocons will be looking for 2020 candidates behind whom they can sneak back into control of the levers of power. In fact, it is extremely likely that they will have parallel plans on how to achieve this for almost all candidates. Trump will almost certainly be the only candidate in 2020 that they will know that this plan is not even worth trying on. The “deep state” are malevolant, but they are no fools*, and they have a survival instinct resembling that of cockroaches**.

            * They aren’t brilliant either; not by any means.
            ** Ironically though, cockroaches will survive a nuclear apocalype, while they won’t, and I don’t see cockroaches trying to start wars with other nuclear-armed states.

      2. Plenue

        They haven’t thought it through in multiple ways. A big one would be that they’d be replacing the mercurial Trump, who changes his mind every 30 seconds and who is mostly inept, with Pence, who has consistent policy positions, all of which are terrible, and who would be much more likely to get things done.

        But since so much of the ‘outrage’ about Trump is how uncouth he is, it’s clear that if Pence did all the same evil stuff, but was more dignified and Mature Adult President Man about it, the ‘opposition’ would remain largely silent.

        They’re resuscitating George W. Bush, who they spend most of a decade turning the mockery and vilification of into an art form, because in the end he never actually repelled them on a fundamental level. It was just kabuki.

        I should add that the above goes for the leadership and chattering classes. Plenty of average people are genuinely repelled by Trump, but haven’t thought through the costs and consequences of removing him. These are also the type of people who are convinced he’s ‘#Not My President’ because they refuse to understand that the popular vote doesn’t matter.

      3. Mark P.

        Looks to me like the parties to this fiasco are ignoring the old admonishment to be careful what you ask for, ’cause you just might get it.

        Yes, indeed.

    4. ChiGal in Carolina

      “I’m at a loss for an explanation of 1) why it has been attempted and 2) why it’s been successful.”

      As per Democracy in Chains, and as everyone here knows despite or rather with the participation of Clinton and then Obama, the stealth campaign to move the Overton window to the right has been extraordinarily successful over the past 30+ years.

      1. MojaveWolf

        As for why attempted, I’m going with “look! Look! Even the worst establishment-approved candidate is AWESOME compared to the horror of outsiders”.

        As to why so successful, I can think of Zero non-depressing or helpful explanations. Beware the power of propaganda. Note it, take account of it, prepare for it should you ever oppose the mainstream, and move on.

        1. Geophrian

          Spot on.

          It’s why they were all in for Jeb or Rubio. Why Bloomberg was threatening a third party run if Sanders beat Clinton.

          The last thing they want is change.

          If it looks like insurgent candidates are on the 2020 ballot I fully expect a third party run by Bloomberg, Zuckerberg, or some other billionaire savior of the elites.

          1. JohnnyGL

            I would LOVE Sanders vs. Jamie Dimon, Zuck, or any other billionaire clown. I suspect Senator Sanders, himself, would relish the opportunity.

          2. neo-realist

            I wouldn’t expect a behind the curtain puppet master elite like Dimon to run (Trump and Perot were exceptions); If Sam Giancana or Meyer Lansky never ran for the Presidency, why would Dimon?

      2. Roady

        The attempted rehabilitation of GW Bush has been a highly successful project. It’s completely unnecessary, accomplishes nothing and I’m at a loss for an explanation of 1) why it has been attempted

        There’s still time for Condi Rice to be recruited to cross-over as the DNC’s* nominee for 2020. She’s younger and has more federal/national security ‘experience‘ than Liz Warren, has many connections to potential big donors, and checks a lot of boxes for both an establishment, deep-state candidate and an identity politics campaigner. And she would appeal to those suburban GOP voters that Chuck Schumer is so obsessed with.

        * Or the Repubs challenger for 2020.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > she would appeal to those suburban GOP voters that Chuck Schumer is so obsessed with.

          Not just Schumer; that was Clinton’s strategy in 2016 in her post-Convention turn. It seems the default position in the Democrat Establishment hive mind. Since they refuse to expand their base, either through policy or voter registration, it’s a couple of decades of “they have no place to go” inverted and thrown back at them.

          But that Joe Kennedy. What a smile! And a chin like the prow of the Titanic!

          1. Roady

            A Titanic smile! And as your link from the 26 January Water Cooler shows, Joe Kennedy has all the right funders too: Goldman Sachs, Raytheon, Bank of America, Bain of America and…MacAndrews And Forbes??

            Hi, Ron “Not The Actor” Perelman! [waves]

            In addition to his S&L deals, corporate raider Perelman ran Marvel Comics into bankruptcy in the 90’s, also taking down a slew of related firms and distributors, while pocketing $300 million according to Sean Howe’s reporting (page 390). And the 5x married Perelman’s philanthropy docket could just as easily include funding Columbia Law School’s Alimony Center. ; )

  19. jfleni

    RE: Trump seeks to halt funding for International Space Station by 2025.

    I hate to say it, but he’s right!

    This clutch of sticks, wires, and oxygen bottles was OK at first, but now is an international embarrassment; where is the real space station with its own rotation and artificial gravity and spacious labs. Impossible now since the jumped-up generalissimos want spend more trillions to conquer the whole world!

  20. Synoia

    Paris on high alert as river Seine continues to rise

    Amazing what the Terrorists can do. Or was it the English again?

    1. Wukchumni

      The new normal comes with atmospheric rivers that aren’t the norm as we knew it, and it’s happening all over the place, but you don’t hear about it so much.

      The Meteorological Agency expected the low-pressure system to move toward the Sea of Okhotsk and the cold front to pass through the Tohoku region by Thursday evening, with warm, humid air masses causing unstable atmospheric conditions.

      Heavy rain and thunderstorms were expected in a widespread area with local downpours exceeding 50 mm per hour.

      From midnight through early Thursday, the city of Shizuoka saw 57.5 mm of rainfall, while 45 mm fell in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture, and Nasushiobara, Tochigi Prefecture.

      The Meteorological Agency predicted that in the 24 hours to 6 a.m. Friday, up to 150 mm of rain would fall in the Kanto-Koshin region and 120 mm would hit Tokai.

      Meanwhile, a record-breaking amount of rain fell Wednesday in Nagoya, causing flooding in streets and houses in most areas of the city, as well as subways.

      The torrential rains caused by an extra-tropical cyclone that also struck the Kinki and Chugoku regions left one person missing and five injured. More than 200 houses suffered from severe flooding, prompting officials to issue warnings and evacuation orders for more than 40,000 people.

  21. dcblogger

    The situation in Saudi Arabia shows what happens when there is no law worthy of the name. There was nothing to prevent the King from arresting all of his critics within the royal family and shaking them down for money.

    Trump would do this if he could.

    This is yet another reason the arbitrary actions of ICE and the Border patrol are so serious, it is yet another break down of the norms and rule of law.

    1. Wukchumni

      Wasn’t this what grasp Putin did?
      “The situation in Saudi Arabia shows what happens when there is no law worthy of the name. There was nothing to prevent the King from arresting all of his critics within the royal family and shaking them down for money.

      Trump would do this if he could.”

    2. whine country

      Hey, I’m no Trump fan but Ice and the Border patrol have been ordered to break down the norms and rule of law? I thought they were ordered to enforce the laws with respect to illegal immigration. What laws are you talking about?

    3. Altandmain

      I suspect that the Establishment types would try to do this if they could.

      Despite everything that Trump has done, I still feel that Clinton would have been just as bad. We would quickly have recognized the fact that we were betrayed and then it would get ugly really fast.

      1. JP

        I just can’t agree with that. The deconstruction of government agencies and appointment of crazy wing judges will be the sabotage that keeps on giving

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Study links decline in teenagers’ happiness to smartphones Portland Press Herald (Chuck L)

    How do they link?

    1. Teenagers’ happiness and less homework
    2. Their happiness and fewer school hours
    3. That and fewer school days
    4. Being happy and dating more (or less)

    Do we want them to do homework, even if they are not happy, because it’s good for them long term? Is there something more than just whether they are more or less happy?

  23. Jim Haygood

    Progressive disclosure — always a winning strategy:

    Justice has decided to allow Congress to see just 7,000 of a total of 50,000 Strzok-Page texts – slightly less than 15 percent of the total.

    “The department is not providing text messages that were purely personal in nature,” Asst AG Stephen Boyd wrote. “Furthermore, the department has redacted from some work-related text messages portions that were purely personal.”

    Sounds legit. After all, those other 43,000 texts were mostly about yoga routines, Chelsea’s wedding, the FBI softball league, and the like. /sarc

    But this don’t ring quite right:

    Boyd said that “in a few instances,” the Justice Department consulted with the office of Trump-Russia special prosecutor Robert Mueller and made some redactions “related to the structure, operation, and substance of the [Special Counsel’s Office]’s investigation because it is ongoing.”

    Wait — what?? Mueller’s office, which fired Strzok and Page for cause, now gets to censor embarrassing (or incriminating) comments from their texts?

    “Oo-ooh, that smell” — Lynyrd Skynyrd

    1. Roady

      How on earth does anyone work a (presumably demanding) full-time job, have time for an affair, and still be able to punch-out 50K texts? Those poor phones…

  24. Wukchumni

    Our tangerine tree has been expecting for over a month now from a color standpoint-they looked ripe, but tasted more like a Meyer lemon, and week after week i’d try one and left the other 3 dozen to wait it out, and the past week saw temps right around freezing @ night, and that’s all it took to turn them sweet. yum yum

    1. crittermom

      Ohhhh, I’m envious!
      As a child, I spent a couple years in southern CA & our neighbors tangerine tree hung over the wall between us. I used to sit in our backyard & gorge myself on ’em. Yummy!

      1. Wukchumni

        Our first summer fruit ripening here is loquats which come in mid May and tiny orbs are on the tree today.

        When I was a kid growing up in SoCal it was almost the unofficial fruit tree around, everybody had em’ it seemed. A messy eat the size & look of an apricot with 4 or 5, 1/2 scale hazelnut sized pits within, but a most interestingly sweet taste. I’ve never seen them for sale @ a supermarket.

        1. Liberal Mole

          They can be found in some Asian supermarkets, but at exorbitant prices. They bruise far too easily and quickly cannot be sold. So delicious! There were two loquat trees in my childhood backyard, one with white flesh and the other with orange.

  25. FreeMarketApologist

    From the “No Wrinkle in Time” article:

    “The idea of a car that’s going to pick you up at your house and take you to your destination across the city is always only going to be viable for an elite because there isn’t room for everyone to do that; there physically isn’t room.”

    I’m just back from a week in Mexico, and if you ever want an example of traffic hell, spend some time in a car in Mexico City. Unbelievably difficult to get around because of the congestion.

    The slow ride back from JFK airport to midtown Manhattan last night was a comparative sweet dream.

    1. Wukchumni

      I always thought that Bangkok was the ultimate traffic hell i’d been privy to, when one day in the early 80’s on a 4 lane heavily congested road, our taxi driver saw that he could gain 1 precious car length by going into opposing traffic and then darting back to the safety of actually not getting us into a narrowly avoided head-on collision with a rapidly oncoming car. And then we saw people riding motorcycles on sidewalks, and later attempted to jaywalk in between one of the long boulevards, stifled after 9 minutes of trying to catch a break.

  26. Summer

    Re: Bernie 2020 will not be the same as 2016…

    Bernie’s deals with the Democrats go back before 2016. One of the reasons he caucused all these years with the Democrats is so that they would not intensely challenge him as an Independent in Vermont. A 3rd party challenge on a national level was never going to come from him.

    As for viability or new parties, the Democrats and Republicans can barely reach 30% each of registerd voters out of a population were not nearly all eligible are registered or actually all vote. They have only hung on to viability, laregely due to the mainstream media focus on them and the narrowing of the terms of debate around political and economic issiues. But the mainstream media is less and less trusted each election cycle.

    Every moment not taken to to ensure the creation of new parties or dedication to the destruction of the old is a momoment wasted.
    And so people are pointing to the Democratic Party and the Republican parties as barriers, when one of the first steps should be letting them meet their demise. Neither can pull even 40% of registered voters. Don’t re-enforce the barriers.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Many believe Rome was not and a political party cannot be built in a day.

      In 2016, two years ago, many thought we couldn’t afford the time, or perhaps it could never be done.

      Today, 2018, many still hold that conviction – we can’t afford the time. pr it cam’t be done.

      In 2020, the fact will still be, we can afford the time, or it can never be done.

      It’s likely the case.

      Some will still try and sometimes miracles happen.

      1. Summer’s always “this election” because ir means big paydays for election industry consultants and pollsters to keep up the myth of the dwindling viability of the duopoly.
        The evidence is in that the duopoly is the graveyard of movements. They spend more time on fundraising than policy amd have turned over policy making to wealthy lobbyists. As for the Democrats in particular, how many times do they have to show people who they are before people believe them?

      2. MojaveWolf

        Dems and the general both need to get back to hand counted paper ballots asap to avoid a legitimacy crisis.

        Re: parties, I’m all for keeping all options open. Nothing to say you can’t support Bernie (or Tulsi or Nina or Tim Canova or Raul Grijalva etc) in the Dem primary while working to get a meaningful, effective scaffolding for a third in the event you view the Dem winner as an enemy.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Oregon is a closed primary state. During the primary campaign, the Oregon Pacific Green Party lost almost half of its registrations (panic time – registrations are critical to ballot access). Once he lost, we got back that many plus quite a few, plus some very good organizers who worked on Jill Stein’s campaign and are now working on party development.

          So yes, double tracking is possible. It’s trickier in campaigns other than Presidential, because many states, including Oregon, have “sore loser” laws that prevent you from running in the general election if you’ve lost in the primary. So you’d have to switch to a different candidate.

          We have no complaints about Bernie’s campaign, despite early trepidations.

    2. Altandmain

      At that point, I think that the Democratic Establishment has outlived its usefulness to Bernie I’m that regard. Even if they ran someone against Bernie for the Vermont Senate seat, it would be difficult to find a candidate that would unseat him. They would no doubt spend a amount ofhuge bucks on the job of trying though to get rid of him

      1. Altandmain

        Oops autocorrect. But yeah the Democratic Establishment would spend a huge amount of money to get rid of Bernie if they thought that they could get away it.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Hey, thanks for that link. It should be in tonight’s links page. When that article came out I flagged it as bogus because it came out just on Thanksgiving when a lot of news people were away from their desks.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Hate to tell you, we saw the original story as soon as it ran at Washington’s Blog and decided to pass. Way way way too much conjecture plus an actual error. And you can’t even see the detail in the screenshot, so that isn’t proof either.

        The shoddiness of PropOrNot is an indictment in and of itself. If you are going to try to tie it to official sources, as oppose to see it as what it claimed to be, 30-40 people (who seemed to be mid level intel state wannabees) looking for funding, you need something a hell of a lot more solid than this.

    1. Duck1

      Just a snarky comment by someone who had the (dis)pleasure of watching the SF Dem machine for many years, it looks like London was not on the short list for political advancement, at least not yet.

      1. JBird

        And just how does she get on the short list? Bribery? I am not too shocked at this as San Francisco has had flaky politics since the Gold Rush.

        The woman is president of the board of supervisors, and if supervisor Feinstein could remain mayor why not supervisor Breed? Granted, Feinstein’s elevation was for much more…traumatic reasons than a heart attack and people needed some certainty then.

        This will require some popcorn.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      OMG, how sad. I know this isn’t adequate as a remark, given the importance of his work and his courage in practicing real journalism at a high cost to his career.

    1. Carolinian

      A shocker–to his family as well sounds like. The obit says he was 68 and had undiscovered cancer. Apparently Ukraine on Fire is now available–finally–in the US.

      It also says Consortiumnews will continue. If we didn’t have the web to tell us what is really going on where would we be?

  27. crittermom

    “Australian raptors start fires to flush out prey”

    Wow. Enjoyed this article.
    I hope the Raptors here in the western US don’t learn this skill.
    We’re still bone dry with temps in the 50’s & even 60’s. Skiers not happy.

    1. Wukchumni

      Being a ski resort operator in the new normal is being on the front lines of climate change.

      This time last year, there were 30 foot high piled walls of snow in Mammoth, this year a bit more than bupkis.

  28. Tony Wikrent

    Guardian article headline asks: “The Sackler family made billions from OxyContin. Why do top US colleges take money tainted by the opioid crisis?” Obvious answer: who else are they supposed to get money from in an oligarchy? It’s not like Republican legislators are about to start fulling funding the “secular humanists in ivory towers.” This has been an increasing problem for half a century now.

    I am annoyed by most discussions of economic history that use broad strokes, such a “class struggle,” because it tends to let the great malefactors of wealth off the hook. It allows people who should be judged monsters, based on the economic devastation and privation their ideas and actions have caused, to instead be regard as great achievers at the pinnacle of their professions. People like the late Joseph Flom of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (which Flom built into the largest and most profitable law firm in the world) who was the top legal adviser in corporate mergers and acquisitions from the 1960s until he died in 2011. In my judgement, Flom is one of the people most responsible for facilitating the acquisition and looting of USA industry by the dirty money of organized crime, and enshrining the “shareholder value” doctrine that has decimated the USA economy. But instead of being reviled and condemned, Flom has his name emblazoned on a building and a chair of Law and Business at Harvard University.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You seem to have missed that the sort of elite universities to which the Sacklers give don’t need the money. I pointed out above that the Sacklers gave a new building to the Fogg Art Museum in the early 1980s. Was that necessary? Did it add to the caliber of Harvard’s education, even in its esteemed fine arts program? I say that as someone who was an intern at the Fogg around the time the museum opened (as in I am sympathetic to the humanities, but not to the edifice complex, which is where a lot of big donor money goes).

      To give you an idea of how much Harvard et al have become hedge funds with educational subsidiaries, one of my friends went to his 30th Harvard reunion. The 30th is considered a minor reunions (the 25th and 35th are big ones) so they don’t lean all that hard on class members for donations.

      Nevertheless, his class gave $100 million at that reunion.

      That is more than enough to pay for the full tuition of the freshman class.

      The income on Harvard’s endowment is $1.8 billion. That is 6X what it would cost for every undergrad to go tuition-free.

      The grad schools (the B school and law school) cover themselves, so they don’t need help from the rest of the university.

      1. integer

        You seem to have missed that the sort of elite universities to which the Sackers give don’t need the money.

        Heh. Sackers = Carpetbaggers. FWIW I don’t know the history of the Sackler family so perhaps this is not a precise equation, but I like it nonetheless. Nice one.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Overpaid people who raise even more money, admin bloat, glamorous gyms and dorms…while more and more teaching is being done by members of the precariat, aka adjuncts.

  29. Oregoncharles

    ” Given that atheists have been found to behave in a more moral manner than believers, I have trouble seeing this as a bad thing. However, having said that, churches are one of the few remaining communities in American life.”

    A while back, there were efforts to set up atheist “churches,” precisely in response to the need for community. Does anyone know what became of that? The news media lost interest shortly after.

    Around here, the Unitarian Universalist church serves as a general-purpose non-Christian community. It’s so “universal” that Wiccan covens meet there. It’s also the locale for a lot of political organizing, as is the Presbyterian student outreach center – though that’s mostly a matter of being a handy meeting place. It’s on our shortlist of venues. The Oddfellows, appropriately enough, are very active here; they still own their lodge downtown. Taken over by a clique of hippies back when. League of Women Voters (now open to men) is also very active. Are we unusually fortunate?

    1. Daryl

      There are still several such groups going. There’s just no central organization for obvious reasons.

      This one is probably the largest “congregation,” having several active locations:

      It’s similar where I am — the local Universalist church and several Buddhist groups host people who are perhaps interested in that sort of community.

  30. polecat

    Regarding Fukushima from up top, we can always look to the bright side. Maybe things will just get so funky landside, ecologically speaking, that whatever humans DON’T die off will revert (evolve/devolve) back into the sea … flippers, blowholes, sonar, consuming all those seething masses of ever increasing numbers of living calamari .. the whole package !
    So what’s old will be new once again, and who knows ….. maybe the cetaceans will have the last laugh, waving (flipping us off ?) to us as they regain the continents they formerly inhabited …. what’s not to like. `;]

  31. Daryl

    > US military must be ‘psyched’ for war with North Korea: Marine commander Asia Times

    It’s really heartening to know that a high school football coach is in charge of decisions that may get people killed.

  32. Jim

    Paul Craig Roberts in “The Russiagate Stakes Are Extreme,” characterizes our contemporary structure of power as a police state in which America is confronted with a coup conspiracy organized by top officials in the Obama Justice Department, FBI, CIA, the Hillary DNC and most the media–all collectively involved in an attempt to overturn the results of a previous democratic election and remove Trump from office.

    The Niko House article develops a series of arguments about how Sanders (through a clever combination of rhetorical concessions to the Democratic party in 2016) was able to parlay a politically weak hand into an almost victory for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

    And today, according to House, Sanders( with a potentially more sophisticated 2020 electoral strategy) is in a position of much greater strength than in 2016, and will somehow be able to outmaneuver not only the Police State agencies described by Roberts above but also the contemporary tight-knit Leninist vanguard Democratic party and whatever machinations they throw-up against him.

    For the sake of democracy it would be nice if House turns out to be correct in his predictions but count me highly skeptical–especially if there is an earlier successful coup of some sort against Trump–because then democracy will have already ended and the attempted rule of a one-party police state will have formally commenced.

  33. Pat

    I have a very big fantasy of some evil genius destroying the Amazon store by making their electronic systems decide that the shoppers are all Jeff Bezos and charging their purchases to his personal credit cards. Maybe a day or two where other top Amazon executives get to buy those customers whatever their heart desires. They could even insert repeating gifs of Jeff giving the thumbs up sign for all the surveillance. It would be even better if this wasn’t the gated community version of shopping so that Bezos could be supplying have nots with some unwilling largesse.

    Oh, and they should do it over and over again, until this modern ‘marvel’ is considered the stupidest tech idea since the Newton. (In a less tech obsessed world, that would be the stupidest idea since driverless cars, but…)

  34. Wukchumni

    Hackers able to make ATMs spit cash like winning slot machines are now operating inside the United States, marking the arrival of “jackpotting” attacks after widespread heists in Europe and Asia, according to the world’s largest ATM makers and security news website, Krebs on Security.

    Thieves have used skimming devices on ATM machines to steal debit card information, but “jackpotting” augurs more sophisticated technological challenges that American financial firms will face in coming years.

    “This is the first instance of jackpotting in the United States,” said digital security reporter Brian Krebs, a former Washington Post reporter. “It’s safe to assume that these are here to stay at this point.”

    Small-scale jackpotting attacks were reported sporadically in many countries over the next few years, according to Reuters. They finally went big time in 2016.

    A gang stole $13 million from Japanese ATMs in three hours that spring, Fortune wrote. In the summer, loose cash was spotted fluttering around dozens of First Commercial Bank ATMs in Taipei, Taiwan.

      1. integer

        Thanks Roady. I’ve heard this before but hadn’t seen the illustration that accompanies it. I’m feelin’ it. Cheers.

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