Links 4/4/18

Where are all the leaders? openDemocracy. On the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination.

Deep learning neural network used to detect earthquakes TechXplore (David L)

New study shows seafloor erosion now occurring like coastal land loss PhysOrg


Brexit deal should be judged a failure if businesses face ‘additional costs’ for EU trading, MPs warn Independent

Anger as Remainer MPs insist that Britain should stay permanently shackled to the EU even after Brexit Daily Mail

France’s spring strikes: 4 key questions Politico

New Cold War

Porton Down experts unable to verify precise source of novichok Guardian

Putin calls for probe into poisoning of former spy in UK The Hill

From Politico’s daily Europe e-mail:

SALISBURY LATEST: The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will gather today in The Hague for an extraordinary meeting called by Russia over the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

Of A Type Developed By Liars Craig Murray (Chuck L)

Are you pro-Putin? Do you hold secret meetings?’ – NY watchdog asks Russian pancake chain Defend Democracy (furzy)

Imperial Collapse Watch

The U.S. Navy Wants to Spend Billions on Aircraft Carriers That Aren’t Ready PlutoniumKun

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Suit to let researchers break website rules wins a round Axios

Maybe it is time to #DeleteWhatsApp Vivek Wadhwa (David L)

Public Hearing on IoT Risks Bruce Schneier

US suspects cellphone spying devices in DC Associated Press. This is news? After we eavesdropped on Angela Merkel’s cell phone?

Your own devices will give the next Cambridge Analytica far more power to influence your vote MIT Technology Review (David L)

Tariff Tantrum

Trump just rolled out a massive list of $50 billion worth of Chinese products that will face new tariffs Business Insider

Trump administration targets $50 billion in Chinese electronics, aerospace and machinery goods with tariffs Washington Post (Kevin W). Note that polls show public disapproval of the tariffs.

Trump and His Tariffs Counterpunch

Trump Tranaition

Trump Wants Military to Secure Border with Mexico

Lawyer Who Lied to Mueller About Russian Spy Gets 30 Days Bloomberg

Robert Mueller had authority to probe Manafort’s Ukraine lobbying Financial Times

Trump infrastructure policy adviser to leave White House The Hill (allan)

Trump admin asked for public comment on the $70 park fee. THE PEOPLE RESPONDED. Grist

Can Democrats survive an assault from the left? The Hill

Court Gives Florida 1 Month to Revamp System for Restoring Felons’ Voting Rights Governing (UserFriendly)

Cynthia Nixon Starts Campaign For Governor by Attacking Unions UCOMM (Jeff N)

Crypto Exchanges Charge Millions to List Tokens, Report Says Bloomberg. David F proposes a new “mais bien sûr” category….

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Only Black People Prosecuted Under Mississippi Gang Law Since 2010 Jackson Free Press


YouTube shooting: Woman shoots 3 before killing herself in San Bruno, California — live updates CBS

>Disgruntled video-maker who expressed anger at YouTube policies ID’d as shooter SF Gate. Wonder if she depended on her YouTube videos for income.

Fake News

Trump Wants to Promote Sinclair? Let Him. Politico (UserFriendly)

Facebook Fracas

The infuriating invisibility of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg The Hill

Facebook fights fake news with author info, rolls out publisher context TechCrunch (EM)

Facebook deletes posts linked to Russian ‘troll factory’: CEO Zuckerberg Reuters

Facebook blames bug for saving users’ deleted videos TechCrunch (EM)

The Bezzle

From Dana D: “Jack Ganssle is a programmer who likes to point out bone-headed programming mistakes. From

…spent a night in a “Hub by Premier Inn” hotel in London. The room, though small, was very high-tech, and sort of felt like being in a spaceship. The hotel has a very innovative design and cleverly uses limited space. All room functions are controlled by a bedstead switch panel. The next morning, as is my wont, I got up early. The panel had crashed. I couldn’t turn any lights on. Reception had to reboot the room.

And a picture from his flight back:

Tesla’s Model 3 Is Now America’s Best-Selling Electric Car Bloomberg (Kevin W)

John McAfee charges $105,000 per tweet to promote your ICO MarketWatch (EM)

What Kind of Hyper-Enthusiastic Market is this that Blindly Keeps Pursuing Scams to Make a Fortune Overnight, even if They Already Crashed the First Time? Wolf Richter (EM)

Mobile home loan delinquencies are a warning sign for the economy Business Insider (Dr. Kevin)

Bond Market Has A $745 Billion Bet Against the Dollar Bloomberg (furzy)

As opioid crisis evolves, anonymous company loopholes remain a gap FairShare

A note on personal income and spending Angry Bear

Class Warfare

Why is the media—including the liberal media—supporting these teachers’ strikes? Cory Robin (Randy K)

Les Leopold Talks to Staten Island United About Starting a New Movement Runaway Inequality. UserFriendly: “Long video but good intro for newbies. Pins a lot of it on s​tock buybacks.”

Making Sure YOU Stay Alive When Millions Are Dying Ian Welsh

Brahmin Left vs Merchant Right: Rising Inequality and the Changing Structure of Political Conflict (Evidence from France, Britain and the US, 1948-2017 Thomas Piketty (Brad DeLong via flora) and Thomas Piketty says Bernie Sanders’ electoral strategy is the way to beat back the right Salon (UserFriendly)

The Job Guarantee: Design, Jobs, and Implementation Levy Economics Institute (Chuck L)

Antidote du jour (Tracie H):

Late to post this bonus antidote from AFXH:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Pat

    Don’t really like dog strollers, but King Charles Cavalier spaniels are always welcome.

    The bonus is just awwwwwwww and awe inspiring.


    1. RUKidding

      Hate to say it, but the bonus elephant/lion pic is an April Fool’s joke.

      Good photoshop, though.

      1. crittermom

        It’s a shame that it is Photoshopped, but let us not forget that the bird landing on Bernie’s podium during his campaign was real. THAT incident remains happily burned into my brain.

    2. Edward E

      The dog stroller is probably a necessity if you have to go to town because separation anxiety is a real issue with Cavaliers.

    3. Elizabeth Burton

      Older dogs with severe arthritis are well-served by dog strollers. So are those with various other ailments or conditions that can make long walks difficult and/or painful. It allows them to get out and socialize instead of being confined to a few steps in the back yard.

  2. Henry Moon Pie

    So when Mr. Ganssle arrived after his flight, he could truthfully say, “I went through Hell to get here.”

    1. polecat

      Outside temperature reading from the swing around the ‘sunny’ side of Mercury ?
      Icarus Airlines as conveyor ??

  3. Terry Humphrey

    The Hill, one of the most Right Wing-biased mainstream outlets is concern trolling here. The old axiom, “you can’t promote a heresy in a church you don’t belong to” works here. Notice the author’s painstaking attempt to talk about “the left,” without once mentioning, let alone naming the man who started it all and is the real force to be reckoned with now.

    1. Loneprotester

      The Hill is actually a platform with contributors from both ends of the spectrum. It can be confusing and infuriating, but it is so on an equal opportunity basis.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        Yes. However, the author of this piece, a former Bush administration official, is concern trolling here. Again and again he speaks of an ill-defined “left” that is plaguing the Democrat establishment, which he presents as the heir to Johnson’s legacy. He “worries” that this “left” will force the party to run candidates who are too far to the “left” for Democratic victories in unspecified midwestern localities.

        Somehow, I doubt his concern is all that real. The author of this piece very carefully avoided mentioning who is in this dreadful leftist block. Possibly because a name or two would blow his spin to smithereens. Possibly by allowing the reader to compare the contemporary “leftist” with Johnson. The reader would very likely find that the policies espoused by the “leftist” of 2018 are more like Johnson’s than…… the policies of any mainstream Democrat or Republican on offer.

        1. willf

          Good catch.

          The article is full of wtf? lines like this:

          “The establishment was engaged in a desperate struggle to retain control of a party liberals felt Obama had left to them.”

          Obama isn’t the establishment? And “liberals” felt Obama had turned the party over to them?

          And this:

          “With Obama’s presidency — the most liberal in American history — the left rose to their greatest height.”

          What!? Whatever happened to LBJ? Or FDR for family-blogging’s sake?

          But the last paragraph makes clear the concern troll aspect that FtOC noted:

          “In 2016, Democrats, at their establishment’s insistence, may have nominated the only candidate who could not have won. In 2020, Democrats, at the left’s insistence, may be preparing to only consider nominating candidates who cannot.”

          Concern noted.

          1. Strawman

            “With Obama’s presidency — the most liberal in American history — the left rose to their greatest height.”

            With that assertion writer JT Young proved his lack of qualification to tackle ANY subject related to reality. (Though The Onion might come calling.) WTF, indeed.

            1. UserFriendly

              I thought all that was rather obvious, I submitted it because I thought it was cute they were concern trolling the left.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            I was noting these constant references to ‘liberals’ and thinking, this article only works if it is using Lambert Strether’s fairly new definition of ‘liberal’. But even then it fake-argues for the fake-existence of a fake-difference “between” the liberals “as against” the establishment of the DemParty.

            Maybe he is also trying to trick waveringly ex-Clintonite/ post-Clintonite readers into believing again that Obama and such were some kind of “lefty liberals” versus the DemParty “establishment”.

            I only noted at the end that the article was written by a Dubya Bushite. So of course it will be intellectually dishonest. I note that he is scareder-than-anything that the DemParty might be forced to nominate some kind of Sanderist. His desperate fear that a Sanderist nominee could win the election is hard to hide.

        2. Daryl

          Democrats seem to be carrying on LBJ’s legacy of picking unwinnable wars just fine.

          Having a lucid domestic policy intended to vastly reduce poverty (and being successful in doing so) on the other hand…

    1. Jim Haygood

      One tunnel-boring machine in the city, for example, was operating with upwards of 20 staffers, where in most cities that machinery would be run with fewer than ten. “I’m the union, and sometimes I’m saying to myself, ‘What the hell are they even doing?’” Richard Fitzsimmons, a Local 147 business manager, told the Times.

      Indeed. Nothing has changed since young Jim worked on the MTA capital program in the early 1980s. At the Coney Island heavy repair shop, workers could easily meet their quota of bogie overhauls before lunch. Afternoons were whiled away playin’ poker up on the roof.

      At the other heavy repair shop — 207th Street in Manhattan — new NYCTA president David Gunn paid a visit. Radicalized TWU workers commenced to bang their spanners on the subway wagons, shouting abuse. It was a feudal scene straight out of a British colliery from half a century earlier.

      Cynthia Nixon noted that she’s a union member herself (SAG). That doesn’t mean she has to put up with medieval staffing practices in the MTA. Just this week a dozen subway station renovations were canceled because funds ran out. Meanwhile the 1930s block signaling system fizzes and clicks in the dark, since the billions needed to replace it aren’t available in our threadbare military empire.

      1. Carolinian

        I agree there’s a bit of heavy breathing in that attack on Nixon. Long established unions do have their issues (and I’ve been a union member).

      2. JTMcPhee

        Maybe she would do something, then, about the vast featherhedding in that much yuuuger “Jobs Program”!called the Military, and it’s dependent industrial and “security” structures? But then some of us are only concerned about Evil Unions and Public Pensions and their “restraint on trade,” eh?

        “Don’t burden you, don’t burden me (we’re Unvestors! after all) behind that tree!””

        1. djrichard

          If people want unions to be more efficient, just wait til the US rolls out a JG program. We’ll see all kinds of wailing and gnashing of teeth around how the JG programs are highly inefficient.

          It seems if we’re going to serve the motherland, we all need to pull together as a team. Because … the motherland will fail otherwise? Who knows.

          That said, states can’t ran a perpetually increasing budget deficit like the Fed Gov can. So if I were a state Governor, I’d be figuring out how to draw on the Federal teet as much as possible. And how to make Federal tax laws more progressive so I could mirror that in my own tax laws without taking too much of a political hit.

          But otherwise, push JG programs onto the Fed Gov. Like the DoD, lol.

      3. expat

        Politicians co-opted the unions for political support. The Mob co-opted the unions for no-show jobs, racketeering and skimming payrolls and pensions. Workers went from using them as a tool to end abuse by employers to a way to get overpaid and underworked..

        The US, and the world, has a short history of unionization. Prior to that there were, of course, guilds which fulfilled many of the same functions but perhaps without so much Mafia influence (any historians have any insights into racketeering in 17th century goldsmith guilds?). Many Americans are against unions because of the modern perception of unions as socialist (nay, even communists) who destroy the economy through forced excess wages and employment. No one remembers children in factories and coal mines, 120 hour weeks for a pittance, company stores, and other such charming features of the early 20th century.

        Perhaps we have moved beyond the need for unions, though with Republicans in America yearning for MAGA which seems to entail a return to the glorious 19th century as far as women, minorities, and workers are concerned, I shudder to think where America or Europe would be with no unions at all.

        1. tongorad

          Workers went from using them as a tool to end abuse by employers to a way to get overpaid and underworked.

          I don’t know of too many workers who are overpaid and underworked. The stereotype of the lazy, overpaid union worker is similar to the WelfareQueen, isn’t it?

          I do agree that the focus of union organizing must change – it must become more radical.

          1. jrs

            I think some people are underworked but these days this is ENTIRELY the company’s decision and if anyone should be badmouthed for this it is the corporations themselves for not allocating work well (and let’s face it, they often suck very badly at doing this well). So that they are either putting 2 people’s work on every 1 person, or leaving employees twiddling their thumbs half the time, waiting for the next project.

        2. jrs

          “No one remembers children in factories and coal mines, 120 hour weeks for a pittance, company stores, and other such charming features of the early 20th century.”

          perhaps not but the modern job market is horrific enough: few overtime protections, massive wage theft, often little guaranteed sick time (some states are trying to change this), take time off for to care for a sick family member at some companies and don’t have a job when you get back, at-WHIM employment (what at-will employment often is), etc..

          America basically has NO UNIONS at all except the public sector, private sector work is overwhelmingly non-unionized.

        3. Procopius

          According to Henri Prenne, Economic History of Medieval Europe, the guilds served many purposes of the elite. They gave city government a way to control the quality of manufactured goods similar to the way they controlled food imported into the city. They gave the Masters a way to participate in running the city. They justified the use of violence by city authorities against apprentices and crftsmen workers to keep wages low. In general, from the 9th century, when they reappeared (there were associations in the Roman Empire which had some characteristics like guilds), they operated for the benefit of the masters. Conditions for craftsmen and, especially apprentices, were appalling and insurrections were fairly common.

  4. Henry Moon Pie

    Ian Welsh’s warning is best heeded. It’s about way more than “prepping.” We must be building alternative ways of living. By that, I don’t just mean living on much less or even things like beginning to cultivate medicinal plants and learning as much as possible about their uses. We must be working hard to build local social groups that rely on mutual trust, openness and democratic governance to accomplish essential tasks. In our neighborhoods, dog-eat-dog must be replaced by “we’re all in this together.”

    While I agree with Welsh’s low expectations for conventional political solutions, there is one issue for which we must all be ready literally to man the barricades, and that is war vs. peace. No amount of preparation can save us from nuclear war, and we seem to have plenty of lunatics in high places whose recklessness or even malicious intent in this area must be stopped.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      If the Arctic goes fully blue this summer, I will officially give myself over to hedonism.

    2. Amfortas the Hippie

      That’s the hardest part of “prepping”, of course.
      I’m probably not the best specimen to study for this, having been something of an exile my whole life,lol…but the social/community part of the process, at the risk of my breakfast, “it takes a village.”
      What I’ve observed in my long experience with attempting to withdraw from the madhouse and go another direction, is that folks seem to have taken the Binary/TINA thing to heart: It’s hard to find folks willing to gift economy or coop their gardening or cheesemaking or frelling macrame, because they feel like if they do that, they hafta go all the way(and be more like me,lol. it’s work!). Little efforts at the margins are all that’s left to us to counter the’s the only way I can think of to actually try to start building alternative structures and institutions(“dual power”), but folks resist…even(maybe especially) if they are aware on some level of the myriad problems in the rootkit of civilisation.
      For instance, here in Deep Redistan, everybody recycles(this is never in the political news,lol)…even yard waste(giant pile at landfill, managed by a dude they sent, at some expense, to become a compost expert, no less)…but I’m told that I’m the only one who actually expends the labour to use it.(the compost, as well as all the useful things I find down there. I come out of the dump with more than i go in with sometimes)
      Recycling has become just something to do…without context.
      That context is what they resist…it’s too big and overwhelming.
      A few years ago, the local food bank(church run and preachy) asked me(agnostic druid mystic,but the only organic/sustainable guru) to help them get a community garden going.
      I gave them a list of things to do(like shoveling tons of manure), and within a week, they said nevermind…that the city attourney had referred them to some governing body(i don’t remember which) that imposed a bunch of unworkable rules, making what I suggested unlawful.
      I said, do it any way…and rambled on about guerilla gardening, and a membership coop to overcome most of the odious corps(e) written rules.
      it was too much.
      The combination of FUD(fear uncertainty doubt) with busy-busy-busy with the siege mentality that is the easiest response with the knowledge of something analogous to a fast roman-style collapse…and they freeze.
      they’ll gradually adopt rituals…like separating green from clear glass and plastic…and then they feel better, with little thought expended.
      Kubler-Ross, again.
      “Acceptance” is still a long way off.

      1. ambrit

        “Acceptance” will have to be imposed from below.
        One of the more evil effects of the privatization of the waste stream has been the legal demonization of ‘dumpster diving.’ That poor French dude and the loaf of bread comes to mind.
        “The Farm” up in Tennessee pops into my head when alternative living comes up. Them and the Amish and Mennonites suggest that an actual quasi religious social structure are needed to successfully navigate the stresses and strains of going ‘rogue’ in todays’ society. I include “hippy” communes here due to the basic rules for running a cult that inform many of their organizing decisions and practices. It takes discipline to have a viable social system.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          ” an actual quasi religious social structure are needed to successfully navigate the stresses and strains of going ‘rogue’ in todays’ society”

          This is one of the questions that fascinated Ursula K. Le Guin. What would it take for anarchism to really work? Is a quasi-mythical person like Odo required, along with some sacred scriptures combined with education to shape values? There are so many traditions to draw upon that could provide some moral structure to replace the shambles that Capitalism has made of our ethics and our relationships with each other and Nature, but most of those traditions have been used so successfully to divide us over the centuries that their utility is limited.

          1. ambrit

            Good point, which brings forth the question: What is the optimal population for a viable civil social group?
            I’d suggest that the basic divides are already there, baked into the social matrix. What is pernicious is the manipulation of those social groups for private benefit. Therein lies the ‘value’ of the ‘Odo’ myth. It promotes the manipulation of the social groups’ foibles for the overall communities’ good, not a small cliques’ good. In this regard it mirrors the Marxist idea of ‘The Vanguard.’ Absent a functional ‘Force of History,’ cadres are needed to steer social development. Their creed is then paramount. Echoing the early Greeks, it requires not only Philosopher Kings to make the society function, but Philosopher Saints as well. I, personally have encountered precious few of either in my limited experience.

        2. bones

          There is an excellent book on the communist communities of 19th century America, written by a member of the Oneida Community (the title escapes me at the moment). The author was of the viewpoint that the communities that were successful had two characteristics: First, a well-developed craft (silverware for Oneida, furniture for the Shakers), whereas the many failure communes invested heavily in land–a quick route to bankruptcy. Second, regulation of sex (the Oneida prohibited monogamy, and the Shakers prohibited sex). I couldn’t stand to live in a community that regulated my sex life, but from the little I’ve read of cooperatives, communes, and cults, I think this guy was on to something.

          1. JBird

            It is probably not regulation of sex itself, but the simple, clear, rules, as don’t kill, steal, rape, how to create a family, and so on. Also community social activities like Thanksgiving, crafts or other industries that requires, or at least is helped by group, or community, participation.

            All these form social connections, which is what creates and maintains communities, not some written agreements.

            1. bones

              I believe it’s more direct.

              There were hundreds of Phalanxes, Owenite communities, and other communes in 19th century America which had collective practices like the ones you mention (eating together, working together, etc.–that was actually the point). The problem appears to have been holding onto the communities’ property. And as we can see from all the failing homesteads of the same period, having a viable economy (not just grabbing land and trying to farm it) was key. The jealousies surrounding sex also seem to have been instrumental in many communities’ downfall, though the cases mentioned had pretty odd practices.

              1. JBird

                The problem appears to have been holding onto the communities’ property.

                Then perhaps the concept of individuals owning land and not the community might have been the problem?

                Plenty of European communities, and Native American ones too, had community ownership, and use of at least some of the land, and often animals, and tools, especially of expensive oxen, plows, the local mill, the grazing areas, and woods. That wouldn’t stop an individual to own his own personal home, or clothes, or whatever. The family arrangements would be familiar to us, but the way the economics was done, would be seem strangely socialistic, even communistic to us. For us, land equals money, and money is the most important thing on an unconscious level.

      2. polecat

        My humble semi-sustainable actions probably flout most city convention and codes, e.i. keeping chickens, and bees, garden instead of driveway, solar clothes dryer, dog and cat-free avian/neodinosaur sanctuary, insectivorious habitat ….
        …. but I simply • don’t • care ….
        Government entities are almost always reactive … rarely, if ever, proactive. So, yes A. Hippie, it literally be a ground-up movement !

        1. Arizona Slim

          You have a dog and cat-free avian/neodinosaur sanctuary? I wish I could clone you and move you into MY neighborhood.

          1. polecat

            Well Slim … I don’t know about the cloning part(s), as I dont’t have handy a CRISPRcritter machine … but if you’ll consign to adopt your’s truly, and the family (SO + offspring) as bluecoast refugees, I might be willing to make the jump.
            Couple of questions : 1.) Are there any CCRs against growing big bamboo in your hood ?
            2.) Would you be willing to bury me under one should I expire in your company ? Bamboo IS the ultimate in natural ‘cloning’, after all …
            so in that sense, yes, you can clone me ! ‘;]
            Double plus is that looooves them some shoots !

            1. polecat

              uhg .. ‘chickens’ before looooves.

              Was frantically pecking reply before being timed-out !

            2. bones

              I don’t mind roosters crowing in the early hours or dogs barking, but bamboo can be a nightmare. I’ve seen properties consumed by it, and (worse) it spreading into the surrounding forest. I’m sure you are a responsible dude, but I don’t want just any hippie planting it, or at least not the more invasive varieties. People have to be careful about what they plant in general. In this case, they have to be ready to remove it (preferably by some means other than dumping a bunch of round-up on it), when their use of the land is through. This is precisely the sort of regulation I am down with, I am afraid.

              1. Oregoncharles

                There are clumping, ie non-running bamboos. The mountain bamboos are the hardiest. They get bigger, in the manner of most plants, but expand only an inch or two (or 3 or 4, on a very large one I have) at a time. Fargesia is the most common genus, but there are others. Main issue is size; the clumpers with large canes are tropical.

              2. drumlin woodchuckles

                I have a purely speculative idea about how to kill a patch of bamboo if you have to kill it.

                Cut every shoot and culm off at ground level and pour a pile of white crystal sugar over each cut-off shoot stump. The dry sugar should osmotically “suck” all the sap in the shoot stump roots up through the stump and into the sugar. If you could cut off EVERY shoot and culm without missing ANY of them, and pour a pile of sugar on top of EACH of them, and KEEP doing it to EVERY newer shoot which breaks through the ground and tries to grow, you should eventually bleed the whole root system to death and dehydration.

                Maybe. Just a thought.

                  1. drumlin woodchuckles

                    It looks like fun. But I think bamboo has a vastly stronger and more aggressive and more survival-worthy underground root-network than sugar cane has. So I think bamboo would need a more patient bleeding-to-death approach than sugar cane would.

                    Still, perhaps the experiment should be done. Someone could set up two plots of bamboo and then try killing one by groundlevel-cutting and bloody-stump sugaring. And try killing the other with flamethrowing. And see which works how.

                    1. Amfortas the Hippie

                      with a suitable retort(sourced, of course, from the dump) bamboo makes excellent blacksmithing coal.
                      I planted mine(dug up, from side of road–“golden bamboo”, I think) for a privacy screen to prevent the annual invasion of deer hunters from paying too close attention to my nekkid lounging(like they’ve never seen a redneck hippie before,lol)
                      I have never watered it, so it stays pretty much where I put it.
                      I reckon that one of these days, it will make excellent paper, when it all goes to grief, and I’m running a scriptorium trying to salvage the Western Cannon.

                1. Procopius

                  Instructions I’ve seen: Cut the bamboo canes as close to the ground as you can. Lay a tarpaulin over the stubs. If shoots grow despite the lack of light, cut them, too. Put the tarp back. Eventually the roots will die.

    3. David May

      ‘”dog-eat-dog must be replaced by “we’re all in this together.”’

      That’s just not going to happen. Look in your heart of hearts, soul of souls and tell me Americans are going to start caring about each other.

      In Why America Failed, noted historian and cultural critic Morris Berman’s brilliant, raw and unflinchingly accurate postmortem of America, he concludes that this hustling model, literally woven into the American DNA, doomed the country from the start, and led us inevitably to this dysfunctional point. It is not just the American Dream that has failed, but America itself, because the dream was a mistake in the first place. We are at our core a nation of hustlers; not recently, not sometimes, but always.

      The decline is baked into the cake. Reading NakedCapitalism every day confirms this. Every day is worse than the day before. Another mass shooting. More drug deaths. A family of four die sleeping in their car. The EPA relaxes emission standards. Millions go to Mexico for healthcare. Black people are gunned down like vermin by the police. RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA! The military budget grows. But we cannot have ponies. Because markets. 40 million live in poverty in the richest country in the history of the planet. Every day, the corruption gets worse. Hustle, hustle, hustle. Tomorrow will be worse. And the day after worse again. Americans are the most depressed, anxious, narcissistic, individualistic, emotionally disturbed, drugged out, hollow, anti-intellectual people to walk the Earth.

      Sauver sa peau.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        This is in reply to both you and Amfortas above.

        I couldn’t agree more with Berman’s analysis, but I’m not hoping that “Americans” will change. I just want to build some trust and camaraderie with the people on my street. Amfortas has a lot of experience trying to do just such a thing, and he explains with some excellent concrete examples how difficult it really is. Where I live, a racially mixed, poor to working class urban neighborhood in the Rust Belt, is different in several ways from where he’s at in the rural South, but it’s still tough. I fully expect to be giving much more than receiving, but those of us who can see what’s coming must be like water flowing over rock.

        I wish I’d stuck with my instincts and continued down the path I was on 35 years ago, but having kids greatly increased the pressure I felt to play along with the game. But we can’t start living better any sooner than now, so I’m going to give it a shot with the time I have left on this mistreated planet.

        1. Summer

          It’s not out of the question for people to seek trust and community.
          We already do, but in a cliquish “what are your credintials (not only referencing academics)” and “what are you wearing” kind of way.
          The community based on proximity ideal would be more likely to come with lack of access to outside communities or simply a lack of others to engage with for a variety of reasons, not excluding population collapse.

          1. jrs

            Lack of access to other communities would for most people mean lack of ability to work as we know it, because how many people can even work where they live?

        2. Amfortas the Hippie

          I determined some years ago that i’d never make any money farming/gardening. so i just give it all away.
          when we lived in town, I’d send the boys around the neighborhood hanging walmart bags of surplus veggies on doorknobs when people were at work.
          it turned out to be an accidental experiment in gift economy…neighbor would show up with salsa, or tamales, or stop on their way by to help the cripple(me) struggling to move a big fan or something.
          “as ye sow…”
          now, 2 years back out in the sticks, I’m still gearing up the garden…perennials…herbs…trees…and self sowing annuals…and tons of manure and that city-made yard waste compost as substrate.
          the propane man gets eggs…the hardware lady gets eggs…the pot dealer gets eggs…and good will is planted right alongside the fig trees.
          eventually, I’ll be able to make beer money from a couple of the cafes in town with some of this…but mostly not.(it’s illegal, it turns out)

      2. Sid Finster

        Had a good discussion years ago with some Russians. Without boring you with the details, the Head Russian in Charge noted that it was not in fact true that all Americans are idiots, the true percentage of morons in the United States is only about 95%, 98% tops.

        Not only that, but there are people even stupider than Americans. “Well who could possibly be even stupider than Americans?” one of the junior Russians piped up.

        “Europeans.” replied the HRIC.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          To be fair, most Americans are not smart enough to design drones or devise regime-changing color revolutions.

          Only the 2% to 5% smart and EDUCATED ones can.

          If only there was some way for them to pay for the damage caused by their education…

        2. Arizona Slim

          Yours Truly has been learning Russian since last year. Here’s something I’ve found: Native speakers will not hand out participation trophies for attempting to speak their language. You have to be GOOD.

          I think that more Americans should hold themselves to such high standards.

            1. Procopius

              To learn a language you have to use it. To really learn a language, you have to need to use it. The more you use it, the better. One reason it’s harder for older people to learn a language is nobody wants to just sit down and talk with them. I’ve noticed that attractive young women are more easily able to learn a language than older men.

        1. Kevin

          GREED – we reward greed in the U.S. “Greed is Good” as opposed to Greed being one of the seven deadly sins.

          FEAR – as you scan through TV channels, websites or Twitter posts, keep a scorecard in your head of “positive” shows/posts versus “negative” shows/posts.

          Combine fear and greed and you have America in a nutshell.

          1. polecat

            Greed and Fear, especially fear, is what made the likes of CNN, Fox, and dare I say .. National • >totedgasbag< • Public • Radio, what they are today !

      3. Summer

        “Black people are gunned down like vermin…”

        And the streets promote “the hustle” mentality. It’s getting some pushback by people like Lester Spence who wrote “Knocking the Hustle: Against the Neoliberal Turn in Black Politics.”

        But it’s up against “Can’t Knock The Hustle” by Jay-Z.

      4. Tooearly

        Or as my Latin teacher used to say, ” remember it is always darkest before
        it is totally black”.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Latins know a little about dark ages.

          And at the dawning of a dark age, the world gets darker.

        2. The Rev Kev

          In the dark and gloom they said “Cheer up! It could be worse”.
          They were right. I did. And it was!

      5. EricT

        I’m sure similar views were shared by commoners in the late 20’s prior to the depression. We survived the depression, so I have hope. Question is who is going to win this time, the wealthy or the poor.

      6. drumlin woodchuckles

        How does that theory explain the New Deal, then? And why did the OverClass require several decades of concentrated plotting and planning and propaganda and agitation to get the New Deal abolished and burned all the way down?

      7. drumlin woodchuckles

        Those parts of America which were heavily settled by . . . and remain heavily culture-influenced at the local level by . . . people of German, Scandiniavian, Slavic, Finnish, etc. ancestry . . . . came here without that hustler culture and without seeking the hustlers’ dream.

        Their descendants may have been hustlerised from the surface inwards, but they may have culture-memory-survival-traces of their non-hustle ancestor-culture ethics. Perhaps multiple group and large-group survivals may be attempted in these areas among these people.

        I remember reading many years ago a book called ” From the Land and Back” by Curtis Stadtfield. it was something about some small and very small farmers in a part of Michigan. I read it so long ago that I can’t even remember what most of it was. But I have one little standout memory. Somewhere in that book, Professor Stadtfield referrence some rural sociology work by someone named ” Sue Jacoby” I think. Whatever it was that she was researching, she stumbled onto this interesting discovery. Anglo-Saxon ( “English”) ancestry farmers viewed farming as a bussiness opportunity and bussiness activity, and would immediately sell the farm if they reasonably believed that selling it would result in greater money opportunities for themselves. Whereas German ancestry farmers viewed farming as a way of life rather than a bussiness activity and would endure as much on-farm poverty as they possibly could to avoid selling the farm and leaving the life.

        Since the South was so heavily settled by Anglo-Saxon-Celtic people along with their African captives, perhaps the Anglo-Saxo-Celtic culture of hustlefication was indeed the only culture throughout the South, and even unto this very day not enough ScandiGermaNavians , Finns, Slavs, etc. ever moved to the South to affect the culture of hustle. Whereas parts of the non-South were so heavily settled by the Germans etc. that the BlackWhite Afro-Saxon Culture of Hustle was diluted in parts of the non-South by virtue of overwhelming local and regional majorities of non Afro-non-Anglo-non-Celtic immigrants submerging the Culture of Hustle.

        Here is a link to that book.

        Here is a link to Curtis Stadtfield his own self.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          1/4 of my people were Czech farmers in central Texas, beginning in the 1850’s,, and I can confirm(anecdotally) what you say. That Ideal…way of life over cold bidness…was evident even down to my grandad’s business practices and relationship with his employees. I remember in the 80’s oil bust, when some of the trade unions were making threatening moves(small industrial services in Houston), and not a one of his guys went there, because they were family.
          similarly, where I live now was first settled by German Idealists(see: Adelsverien) and their influence on the modern polity is subtle but noticeable.
          In the history of this place, it was the arrival of the “Anglo-Americans” that introduced the Rapine and Plunder Style and threw everything into chaos.
          Michael Lind said as much, as well…regarding the Plantation System, and that style of doing things…he focused more on “Scots-Irish” and their influence in Dixie: clannishness, honor, duels,, etc…even connected the Cult of the Lost Cause with the King under the mountain(Finn McCool, Arthur, etc), which I thought was remarkable.

    4. freedeomny

      I am as pessimistic as Ian Welsh. While I have kept an emergency backpack with medical supplies, water, food and shelter (tent) for the past decade, my goal by next year this time is to be living in a home that while not entirely off grid, is largely self sufficient.

      1. Oregoncharles

        My big concern is water. We’re on a well, but the pump requires electricity. We’re also on a little river, so the cheapest solution might be a big filter. But I wouldn’t drink out of that river without serious treatment.

        We grow mostly perennial fruits and nuts, but we have land and could grow most of our food. But not without irrigation, and a filter wouldn’t help a whole lot. Maybe I should look into wind mills. Or solar panels.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          I’ve got 2 of these, and many filter replacements…for short term end of days, until I can get the sand filter up and running(takes time for the slime to form, which is what makes it effective).
          we have triple redundancy with water: regular well pump, ancient aeromotor windmill(must run it all the time or the “leathers” dry rot, otherwise it runs forever) and rain…which I’m still working on.
          if you have a running river, might look into a water hammer/ram pump(
          simple and cheap to build and can lift water a long ways. runs on gravity.
          I also have a cast iron hand pump, with the down-hole stuff(footvalve, etc) waiting in the wings for the time/money to get the third old well cleaned out…giving us quadruple redundancy.
          (a major impediment to this last is that no well company will touch it, because of regs. I’ll hafta build a gantry and an apparatus and do it myself. 1860 tech)

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      Rome’s decline was gradual. Much of Roman culture and civilization remains today — what the Church failed to extinguish or had adopted. Given the large proportion of slaves in the Roman populations it might not be far fetched to view Rome’s decline as progress in human civilization. The coming collapse will be very unlike the decline and fall of Rome.

      I believe the coming collapse might be much more aptly termed the coming implosion. The word ‘collapse’ fully captures neither the extent, nor the depth, nor the speed of what is to come. Human population grew exponentially during the age of petroleum. We know, whether we admit it or accept it, we know the Earth’s climate is changing, changing rapidly, and that change is accelerating. We know the Climate Disruption will have devastating effects on our food crops and supplies of fresh drinking water. We know the oceans are rising and many parts of the Earth will become uninhabitable. In response we talk about carbon budgets. The changed Earth will not feed and give fresh water to the human populations we have grown. Slow change over a century might enable a graceful and relatively pain free and deliberate decrease in human population. I do not believe we have that much time to make our peace with the future.

      With our exponential growth in population we have created an exponential growth in human knowledge. I am hopeful we might save and preserve much of that hard earned knowledge. We will need it in the future as the age of petroleum comes to an end. I believe the combination of our large populations and the power of the petroleum age were crucial in discovering much of our knowledge. We may never have another chance to gain that knowledge. It will be vital in adapting to the new Earth and advancing beyond the oft imagined return to a golden past of little 18th or 19th century farming villages. Those little farming communities were never so ‘golden’ as remembered and the future will not be so kindly to farming.

      Surviving the population implosion will compel the cooperation of survivors. Our strength as a species is our unique ability to form large [more than ~200] associations of cooperating individuals. We have neither tooth nor claw, nor great strength, nor speed, and intelligence is not unique to humankind. The weakness of our present civilization is the leadership we have served so long. At our pinnacle we serve leadership endowed with all the most heinous traits of humankind. Our society glorifies and aggrandizes the most sociopathic or psychopathic individuals to hold power over us. I suppose it were possible to argue that the singular drive and insanity of these individuals may be responsible for the heights of knowledge we have attained. Their madness to build monuments to themselves and their drive to cast populations into deadly wars, fostering efforts to find new ways weapons was part of the engine which drove our gathering of knowledge. Neoliberal capitalism offers a crowning apex to the insanity of our human leadership. They have decimated small farms and farmers around the world. They have so thinned and scattered the goods and products and their means of production to assure the greatest possible difficulty in humankind’s crossing under the hammer and anvil of Climate Disruption.

      I believe human society must and will evolve for humankind to cross to a hostile new Earth. The individuals who brought us to this crossing will not be forgotten. They will be expunged from humankind and the new society will hold new values selecting for a new kind of leader. To lead is not an honor or a birthright and there is no credential for leadership. Leadership is a grave responsibility to care for and aid those who are lead so that all might prosper.

    6. Expat2uruguay

      Henry Moon Pie:

      We must be working hard to build local social groups that rely on mutual trust, openness and democratic governance to accomplish essential tasks. In our neighborhoods, dog-eat-dog must be replaced by “we’re all in this together.”

      What you’re describing here sounds very much like “Wild Wild Country”, a documentary series on Netflix through that I only learned of yesterday because of posters here. I’ve only seen two episodes so far, but it is what I imagine would be a successful strategy for dealing with collapse.
      I see the coming together of four collapses in the United States: political, economic, societal, and local effects of global ecological collapse. This they will reinforce and accelerate each other, and this is why I left the US. But it is not enough to find a new place, the only successful strategy I can see for an apocalypse is community. And that Community should be set up as soon as possible before things really get bad. So far, my concept of Preppers is individuals.
      Then comes the problem of being successful during a collapse….

      1. Oregoncharles

        Rajneeshpuram. I remember that – the devotees wore red, so they were fairly conspicuous. It wasn’t that far away, at Antelope, so we used to see them. There’s an OPB documentary on it that I’ve seen; don’t know if it’s the same one.

        Very interesting experiment that attracted a lot of very able people. Based on religion, of course; might have been a bit like Oneida, but they didn’t come up with a craft to sell. Didn’t last long enough. It’s too bad they managed to alienate both the locals and the government. Rajneesh managed to elevate some sociopaths to power at a time when he wasn’t speaking or appearing, so they had a free hand. Makes you wonder. They were women, too. He may have been misled by his gonads.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘The Massachusetts Democrat and Trump foe [Elizabeth Warren], who has been touted as a potential 2020 presidential candidate, has said U.S. trade policy needs a rethink and that she is not afraid of tariffs.’

      Warren casting her lot with President Donald J Hoover’s tariffs? Ha ha ha ha.

      See how that plays in Iowa, Liz, where China has already retaliated against US pork and soon will punish soybean growers.

      We’re gonna need a new Farm Aid concert after China gets through savaging the heartland with retaliatory tariffs. Faux populist city slicker Liz Warren ain’t invited. Some of the musicians at the last show aren’t around no more:

      RIP Glen Campbell, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Tom Petty, Lou Reed.

      1. Lobsterman

        Glad Warren has finally figured out that farmers are a totally lost cause. They won’t vote for Dems; too “urban”. Period. There is no way to affect them on this topic. Their commitment to white supremacy is total, and they are willing to sacrifice their kids and grandkids on this altar.

        1. flora

          And yet, a whole lot of farmers voted for Obama in the hope he’d take on the banks that were crushing them with debt and end the endless middle east wars that were killing their kids enlisted in the military. Go figure….

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          How does a neoliberal politician gain from Bubble III bursting?

          What goes into the his or her profit-maximizing calculus on this issue? Is it easier, better or more profitable to be against it, or for it?

          And if China retaliates with an eye on the electoral map, would that be ‘election meddling?’

        3. bob

          It’s not true that ‘farmers’ are on the side of big agriculture. They’ve been consistently calling for anti-trust enforcement. An issue that no one of the left wants to recognize or deal with, because — dumb farmers playing in the mud.

          What’s one of the biggest companies in the US, with respect to China and Pork?

          A giant multi-national corporation. Based in ….CHINA

          Claiming they are ‘farmers’ is insane. They’re bankers with an Uber like labor division.

          As far as how these tariffs effect Smithfield? I’d say they don’t. Smithfield ‘makes’ pigs in lots of different countries. Importing and exporting aren’t necessary.

          “In addition to the over 500 farms Smithfield owns in the United States, another 2,000 independent contract farms around the country grow Smithfield’s pigs.

          Outside the U.S., the company has facilities in Mexico, Poland, Romania, Germany and the UK.[5] Globally the company employed 50,200 in 2016 and reported an annual revenue of $14 billion.[2] Its 973,000-square-foot meat-processing plant in Tar Heel, North Carolina, was reported in 2000 to be the world’s largest, processing 32,000 pigs a day.”

          And as to China putting tarrifs on US feed? Good luck. China needs to import lots of feed. I don’t see any other countries finding a Kansas sized chunk of production.

          1. bones

            It is quite positive to see farmers opposing trusts, but the last moment of the populist farmer in the US happened way back with the Nonpartisan League. They’ve been Farm Bureau conservatives with typical petite bourgeois proclivities since. Even during the New Deal, the large farmers (and who’s left today?) were a regressive political force.

            1. bob

              So, we should set up camps for them, all of them…

              Please then also describe the red state teacher revolts? The ever present outside agitator Putin?

              1. bones

                So, we should set up camps for them

                What’s that “law” that predicts all internet discussion devolves into people being called Nazis? Please don’t take things there.

                Please then also describe the red state teacher revolts?

                Only a fraction of rural people or people in red states are farmers. According to the Census Bureau, there are only 2.1 million farms in the USA. And yes, I agree, rural people, and people from small cities and suburbs in red states should not be dismissed.

          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            More ways to divide and conquer, frame the argument.
            Farmers vs Big Ag
            Red States vs Blue
            Gay vs Homophobe
            Guns vs No Guns
            MeToo vs He-Men
            Black vs White
            Dem vs Repub

            When the real divide that matters is Class. The .01% of the planet vs Everyone Else

            Trying to imagine there is some kind of distinction in “trade” that respects national borders is silly, multi-national supra-national mega-corps rule, all linked in global capital markets in a giant chaebol designed to do 1 thing: extract rents from the 99%. The rest is theater IMO

        4. bob

          This is just blatant racism-

          “Their commitment to white supremacy is total, and they are willing to sacrifice their kids and grandkids on this altar.”

          So what then? Turn them, their children and grandchildren into pig feed? No one would notice, right?

          I can feel the enlightenment from here. Urbans are the new hicks.

        5. Amfortas the Hippie

          i disagree, categorically.
          I live in (former) farm country…deep red rural texas…knee deep in Tea.
          there was a lot of interest in Bernie at the feedstore, and I get asked even today…quietly, in the produce aisle…about what “soshulism” actually is.
          we’re not monolithically sheetwearing unibrowed morons.
          Sadly, that’s the current Team Blue trope.

      2. djrichard

        Jim, given wallstreet is interested in protecting the stock market above all else, has wallstreet weighed in with any prescriptive advice on what to do about the trade imbalances? Or are they simply standing on the side line, cheerleading the farmers?

    2. The Rev Kev

      It almost sounds like, and I could be wrong here, it almost sounds like that both Elizabeth Warren and Cynthia Nixon are both trying to punch to the right of Donald Trump for electoral success. If so, I am absolutely sure that this would be a winning strategy here (sarc mode disengaged).

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The winning strategic move has been made.

        Xi is life-time president. Chinese can suffer while he leads China to (trade) war with Trump.

        Trump, or Warren, will have to end Chinese ‘abuses’ (per the link above) with no suffering.

        To me, the first question is whether it is or isn’t the right course of action to pursue, and to save Europe (or Vietnam, South Korea, Granada or Panama), or to preserve the union, and then, you try to win (hoping people will accept the sacrifice and buy war bonds or trade-war bonds).

        If it is not, it is not. The ‘should we or shouldn’t we’ question comes before the cost question.

        And to answer the question, we have to remember that there was apparently a war before and we lost (Did you just sneak that fastball by me while I was not looking? Try again.)

        1. witters

          “Xi is life-time president.”

          No term limits doesn’t mean “life-time president.” Of course he could keep getting elected by the National Peoples Congress. Or he could not.

  5. Enquiring Mind

    $70 park fee. That is petty and punitive, designed to signal those on the wrong side of Washington History, especially among those well-known park visitors in California. The issue also provides an opportunity for the indignant punishers to hector a symbolic, even memetic, and now emetic, group while ignoring the monumental absurdities (e.g., F-35) within the DoD budget(s). True to form, any spinnable issue will be presented according to the whims and malice of the presenter. And people wonder why the voting public is disgusted.

    1. Alex Cox

      Why is Trump being blamed for the proposed $70 park fee? Did he or his predecessor propose it?

      The price of the Golden Age Pass (for oldsters like me) was raised from $25 to $85 last year, courtesy of President Obama.

      These things (rather like Obama’s $1.2 trillion nuclear ‘upgrade’) are decided some time in advance.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The price of the Golden Age Pass you referrence as being $85 dollars is for a single-purchase bought-only-once good-for -life-thereafter pass which gets the holder into all National Parks. I will cutpaste the paragraph which says so and will give the link.

        Okay? Here is the paragraph.
        “Interagency Senior Lifetime Pass
        $80. Valid for life.
        This is a lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over. This pass provides access to, and use of Federal recreation sites that charge an Entrance or Standard Amenity Fee*. The pass admits the pass holder and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per vehicle fee areas and pass holder plus 3 adults at per person fee areas.
        Frequently Asked Questions.”

        And here is the link.

        The $70 dollar pass suggested by the Trump budgeteers is a one-visit-only pass, good for one visit only. Every single visit thereafter would be charged its very own $70 fee for every single visit thereafter, Every single time. $70 after $70 after $70 . . . after $70 . . . . after . . . .
        Every. Single. Time.

        See the difference? Any comparison between a one-time-payment of $85 for a Whole Lifetime Of Visits thereafter . . . . and the Trump pay-once-visit-once every single time plan, appears to miss the difference between the two plans. And appears to miss the point of the Trump plan.

        My theory however, is that the Trump plan is not meant to get revenge on the Clinton voters. It is meant to turn the too-poor-to-pay citizen majority against National Parks, so that eventually National Parks will have no supporters against the eventual Republican Plan to sell them all to private buyers.

  6. Mark K

    Regarding Trump wanting military on the border: “John Pershing, please pick up the white courtesy phone.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      More like, Zachary Taylor.

      You got us into us into Mexico and forced them to sell California to us. You deal with it.

      Outside of Mexico City, at Chaputepec Castle, there is a monument dedicated to the cadet defending the city who wrapped himself in the Mexican flag and jumped to his death instead of surrendering to the Yanquis. Truman was the first US president to visit it. Many people in that country still remember that ‘unjust’ war (per Grant) and the forced sale (theft?). Perhaps even those who are living in California now.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Little-known fact: Zachary Taylor was an excellent musician. Probably good enough to turn pro, but he had this political thing going on.

      2. John k

        I bet the Hispanic descendants of Mexicans living in ca at the time have few regrets.
        Beyond that, in what way did Mexico ‘own’ ca? Didn’t the natives have title? A better argument would be that we stole it from the natives, but just who are the natives changes with time.
        Russia sold us Alaska because they knew they could never hold it… their ownership also rather tenuous.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s not unlike the visigoths having won (from the Hispano-Roman people) and then lost much of Spain, nevertheless, participated in ‘Reconquest,’ via the kingdom of Asturias, whose founder Pelayo was likely a Goth.

          And for Spanish speaking people, they will always have a little bit of that unique history of Reconquista embedded in the language itself.

          Maybe there will be another one…a multi-ethnic one, like the first (Goths and Hispano-Roman)

  7. Loneprotester

    That photo from Kruger National Park is amazing. What is going on there? Is the elephant wise enough to know that she can win some good will from the lioness even as she gets the cub to associate elephants with security and love rather than food? Is the ecosystem changing animal behavior by making it easier for predators to secure other sources of food? Is it female solidarity at work? Maybe all three.

    And what pops into my mind but that classic Looney Tunes cartoon of the sheepherding dog Ralph and Wile E. Coyote clocking in and out of work, greeting each other as workmates, then getting right down to it every day.

    1. Jennifer

      It’s photoshopped (you can click through the tweet to see). I believed it, too! I only clicked-through because I was hoping for additional pictures. :)

      1. Quentin

        How could it be anything but photoshopped? Non-human animal behavior is as fixed as human animal behaviour. In fact the image is a bit patronising towards the lioness. The cub would enjoy the ride, though (kids as far as the human eye can see).

  8. Wukchumni

    Trump admin asked for public comment on the $70 park fee. THE PEOPLE RESPONDED. Grist

    Glad to see that the proposed onerous increase was shot down, and that said, something has to be done to improve the experience of visitors to our National Parks-which have all experienced big increases in visitation. We went from 1.4 million visitors a year a decade ago, to just over 2 million this past year, here @ Sequoia-Kings NP.

    There has been a 3 to 4 mile backup of cars just to get though the park entrance on July 4th and Labor Day weekends, the past few years.

    That combined with pretty limited parking availability in the NP itself, if you don’t get a parking spot early on those key holidays, all you can do is drive-by sleuthing while craning your head out the window @ the tall timber with XXXXXL waists.

    I’ve enjoyed using Zion NP’s mandatory no cars-bus only system-which utilizes a miles long dead end canyon perfectly, but SEKI is more of a drive-through series of NP’s, and our mountain roads are less than ideal for buses of size, for instance you never see the ubiquitous tour bus here, the Generals Highway is just too hair pinny.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Universal Basic Income is one possible solution.

      Then, people don’t have to all go on the Fourth of July.

      Viola, no more 3 or 4 miles of cars at the entrance burning electricity or gas.


    2. Carolinian

      Overcrowding is a problem (and BTW try finding a parking space during busy times so you can get on one of those Zion shuttles) but the fee increase was ridiculous. And it probably wouldn’t have solved the crowd problem anyway since the large fee would have applied to the more popular parks.

      Perhaps one solution is to have more parks for people to go to. As I’ve said before the entire West–or large portions of it–could be a national park.

      1. curlydan

        Exactly! We need more national parks, and it would be a good short-term jobs program to create them.

        And state parks. I’ve been to a few state parks in the San Antonio/Austin area, only to find huge lines to get into those or simply being turned away. It’s kind of ridiculous.

        1. polecat

          I say we turn ALL lands outside the confines of our present-day urban concurbations into ‘parkland’ and, via. constitutional amendent, allow each citizen a spear, a flint, and a waterbag, wish them “May Gaia be with you” .. and have at it !

          But first we send in the beltway crowd, to show us how it’s done ….. without the spear, the flint, and especially the water bag !

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Space and time.

        The world is made of at least these 4 dimensions.

        More space = more parks.

        More time = fewer days at work…

    3. RUKidding

      Cue Trump blathering on to the children at the Easter Monday egg roll thingie about $XXbillions being “given” to the Military, as if this is something that we should all be clapping and cheering for.

      Sheesh. The weirdness of Trump and Melania at that “event” (fronted by an even weirder looking Easter Bunny) was truly something to behold.

      But infuriating to be adjured by that idiot that we should all be thrilled to waste ever more money on an already bloated, way out of control, crooked outfit like the US Military. Puh-leeze.

      And then yeah: let’s charge $70 to enter the US Nat’l Parks. That’ll show the rubes!

      $70 won’t fix a g-damned thing. Ugh.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          She was crying her eyes out on election night when The Orange Man won because she knew what it meant. I give her high marks for even hanging in there

  9. zagonostra

    Any article on MLK should start with the fact that MLK was murdered by his own government, especially on the 50th anniversary. Maybe there are no leaders because people with a public voice don’t have the kind of courage that requires being ready to sacrifice your life.

    The WaPo printed an article on 3/30 which to it’s credit mentioned William Pepper who spent over 30 years proving the government’s involvement in the killing MLK, yet it framed the article in the interrogatory instead of declarative.

    For some people it’s not raining until those in authority say it’s raining. MLK was murdered by the government. Until it’s delivered to the public on a platter by the MSM it’s speculation, conspiracy theories, etc…

    1. Carla

      Through IndieBound, I ordered a copy of “The Plot to Kill King” from my local, independent bookstore. I should be able to pick it up today or tomorrow.

    2. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Zagonostra.

      Oddly on the BBC this morning, the talking heads professed surprise that MLK had a message of social / economic justice and had more to say than just civil rights.

      These are the family bloggers spouting BS daily at taxpayers’ expense and being cocksure that they are right and no one should dissent.

      1. jrs

        He was erudite (which granted is a good way for a black man to impress otherwise biased educated whites but yes). He was *funny*. He was cynically radical about all defenses of the status quo. And all that is in his speeches. How many know that?

        He was like little on the scenes today, although you can hear the echos in say a Cornel West …

    3. RUKidding

      The US govt murdered King more bc he was questioning the War in Viet Nam and other related issues, than for his stands on Civil Rights for AA citizens. Of course, the US govt didn’t particularly enjoy the latter, either, which we can STILL witness TODAY with how AA citizens are treated by the US govt.

      We have not come very far in 50 years, sad to say.

      And yeah: where are the leaders who wanna put their lives on the line – literally – to speak truth to power. Let’s just witness how those Parkland HIgh School students are treated by the M$M, for starters.

      Oh yeah: land of the “free” and home of the “brave.” And we have so much Freedumb ‘n stuff here in our “Democracy.”

      ha ha ha

      1. Ed Miller

        IIRC in his last speeches he was talking about taking a hard look at a system which enriches the few and provides little for the many, i.e., he was coming around to questioning capitalism itself. That’s a death sentence for a public figure. Banksters don’t allow people to think that way here.

    4. perpetualWAR

      This reminds me of a conversation I had with an African American who was involved with the Washington NAACP. I was furious when I found out the Seattle branch of the NAACP held a BLACK TIE GALA to celebrate their 100 years of existence, when the African Americans were losing their homes by the thousands in the AA communities of Seattle. I asked why a black tie gala when your entire organization should have commandeered a march to Washington DC in response to the financial crooks grabbing black wealth! His response: “No one wants to be out in front. They killed MLK.” I told him, “For f***’s sake, put ME out front. I will take the bullets for your community. Happily.”

      We need to begin to step up to the plate and challenge authority.

      I don’t know if any of you clicked on the article within that MLK article entitled, “Why the A**holes Are Winning.” It is an EXCELLENT article which we all need to digest.

      1. Summer

        The dispersement of any community weakens the political clout.
        A feature or a bug in the process of gentrification?

  10. flora

    Taibbi about Facebook and the destruction of newspapers and newsrooms:

    “Can We Be Saved From Facebook?

    “The social media giant has swallowed up the free press, become an unstoppable private spying operation and undermined democracy. Is it too late to stop it?”

    (Makes me wonder if the Sinclare stations’ anchors reciting canned anti-fake news scripts was aimed against Facebook, at least in part.)

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      So, we should dump all alternative methods of communication, of which social media are a large part, and rely on phones and letters and email to organize and send out alerts, hoping those who most need to get the information are set up to get it quickly? Not to mention the majority of the population will then never be exposed to any kind of alternative information because their only source will be the corporate media. Unless, of course, people really believe the average person is going to spend hours online double-checking what they hear/read to ensure they have all the facts.

      1. flora

        The all-or-nothing approach isn’t what I am suggesting. Regulations to prevent monopolistic control and misuse of major channels of communication, misuse of data in those channels, etc, isn’t an all-or-nothing. It’s more a this-with-safeguards-to-prevent-abuse approach. The FCC used to be pretty good at that before deregulation became de rigueur. Imagine a basketball game without refs on the court. “The other team is doing awful things! Cheating! What can be done? um… Add refs to the game? ”

        My comment about Sinclair was on the order of seeing is as potentially about attacking a behemoth rival for ad revenues as much as any political context. If Facebook helped elect Trump (big “if” ) and Sinclair’s owner is a righty who would want Trump elected, then why attack the FB-centered fake news meme for political reasons? Seems more likely to be an attack, at least from that quarter, based on financial reasons. imo.

        1. flora

          adding: if memory serves, the ‘fake news on Facebook’ meme got started by the Dems and WaPo and NYTimes (and used the bogus Propornot story in WaPo to smear NC) as an excuse for why their news outlets got the election so wrong.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Deep learning neural network used to detect earthquakes”

    It might be prudent if that team of researchers with Harvard University and MIT stay out of Italy if they are making any earthquake predictions there. Maybe just send them their predictions via email or something. Just sayin’.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Send them in fortune cookies. Italians love humor and drama (seemingly) as much as life itself (or maybe they suspect the two are life itself.

  12. Jim Haygood

    China’s new retaliatory tariffs announced today are brutal on the US midwest: soybeans, corn, sorghum, wheat, beef, passenger cars. Full list:

    US stocks are getting smacked senseless in pre-opening trading, with Dow futures down nigh on 500 points as President Donald J Hoover’s trade war rips the stuffing out of the heartland economy.

    Au revoir Bubble III — the orange know-nothing, charlatan economist Peter Rabbit Navarro and their Republican party stuck a shiv in its stomach.

    Snarling bearish …

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Under Xi, few in China will say “What about our domestic soy-eating pig farmers?”

        That will severely damage one’s Social Credit score (think of the lowering of your FICO score…the intimidation is similarly palpable).

        Across from them over the Pacific, the patriotic thing to do here is to eat more tempeh or have miso soup more often. (Trump will probably switch to veggie soy-bean steak with his usua ketchup at the White House).

        1. Edward E

          He risks losing the critical farming states in the upcoming elections and subsequently getting impeached. At any rate they’ve decreed a sixty days consultations period and even longer for implementation. No dates have been set by China. Have to imagine that some agreement would be arranged and the issues laid to rest.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I asked earlier, would that (targeting farming states) be China meddling in our elections?

            1. John k

              So we should support sanctions to punish Xi for the dastardly plot.
              Let’s ban lithium and cobalt imports.

                1. JBird

                  The oncoming nightmare, the economic, political, social, and environmental instability facing both countries are severe, but the countervailing traditional quasi-independent multilevel political, social, economic conditions, which still exist, even in faded form, gives the United States more flexibility and strength at the cost of immediate powerful, centralized control. Wood compared to steel although the American wood is now dry, not green, and the Chinese steel is now cast iron. Brittle

                  So China is potentially worse off than the United States; American has always been, and is still able to (over)feed itself, has a much less damaged environment, and social trust, including the inclination to form social, political, and religious organizations is much higher even now. As long as the Chinese government can maintain its centralized grip, it is stronger than the United States, but if, and once, the Chinese Empire’s central government looses the ability to feed its several component nations, things will get interesting. That is one of very significant reasons for the collapse of the last Chinese dynasty after all.

                  Whether or not the various countries around the world can stay intact despite bad harvests, for example, the former Soviet Union did, will probably depend a lot on whether the United States can feed itself, and maintain a surplus. Several times in the past century massive famine was adverted only with American harvests, if our harvests are reduced to only just feeding ourselves, never mind having an American famine, that will almost guarantee that there are countries, continents perhaps, that will be having famines at the same time.

                  If I had to guess, the United States will have food shortages, although not famines, within a few decades, which means kissing the governments of China, India, parts of Africa, and who knows where else goodbye.

                  Maybe I should change my major. This is depressing stuff to study.

                  Or maybe I should read one of my books on Chairman Mao’s delightful weight loss program. And maybe this explains China’s obsession on massive, overwhelming surveillance, as it was not only the previous regime’s authoritarian murderousness, and the bad harvests, but the posterior covering fecal matter used by regional authorities to hid the true extent of the problem, and worse, give insanely optimistic projections, and then carrying through, and both denying the local populations food, and the central government the information it needed to deal with the crisis.

      2. Jim Haygood

        Market commentator Jared Dillian elaborates [from an email; no link]:

        We’re at the stage in the regime change cycle where the hits are coming thick and fast, and we’re getting buried under headlines with implied exclamation points:

        Stocks post worst start to April since the Great Depression —CNBC

        Tesla recalls almost half the cars it ever built, as shares tank and Musk’s billions shrink —NBC News

        Technology shares plunge again amid growing backlash —Wall Street Journal

        China hits US goods with tariffs as ‘sparks’ of trade war fly —Reuters

        People are rattled. Confusion reigns: “Is this a blip, or something more?”

        But still … still … regime change isn’t being talked about! Apparently, one guy was on CNBC the other day saying the market was “taking a breather.”

        Bzzzt. Wrong answer.

        And Bloomberg tweeted on March 26: “The stock market that seemed doomed just a couple days ago is suddenly screaming, ‘buy.’”


        I will continue to bang the regime change drum.

        Me too, Jared. Flake-o-nomics has turned as toxic as Novichok, and peeps are gonna die.

        1. Lee

          I will go out on a limb and speculate that we are in the bluster, bluff, and feint stage of a transaction that will reach a conclusion rather different from what currently seems apparent. But then I have of late adopted as my motto: “What, me worry?”

        2. Tooearly

          Sure seems to me that this sell off is calculated.
          Trump knows full well the affects of said trade war and killing the goose that laid the golden egg tech. Add in the timing of the anti FB MSM crusade and you have either a shot across the bow or an attempt to deflate the bubble before it pops

    1. Jim Haygood

      Once again the Feb 8th “line in the sand” close of 2,581 was broken, though the S&P 500 currently is a few points above it, leaving a monster gap from yesterday’s close.

      Intraday low was 2,533 on Feb 9th, before the market turned around and closed higher. So 2,533 to 2,581 is the death zone where Wall Street’s self-driving bots dump spoos.

      Happy bots are all alike; every unhappy bot is unhappy in its own way.” — Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s possible a few algo traders might have to get into manufacturing and start making all-cotton underwear, or organic tofu to keep their mansions.

    2. Amfortas the Hippie

      I look at that list(…and the part of me that has read Smith and the guys sez:”well…corn, tobacco and even beef should soon be in surplus, and thus cheaper for us’n’s.”

      But I’ve seen considerations of Supply and Demand lacking in the things I’ve read about this particular cat fight.
      I see where you’re coming from with the rhyming with smoot hawley…but doesn’t S/D matter anymore?

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        I’m with you, Amfortas, in my economically ignorant, naive sorta way.

        I was thinkin’ that some of those second graders moppin’ floors to pay off their “lunch debt” could use some of that extra orange juice, cranberries and “whole and half head fresh and cold beef” tossed their pathetic little ways.

        I mean, if the chinese can live without it…..

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Now is a good time to try the vagan or vegetarian diet.

            And maybe save the planet…a small step for the tofu eater, a giant leap when everyone joins in.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Thanks. I got confused thinking Vulcans who are, I believe, vegetarians.

                So, perhaps we can dump our soybeans there.

          2. newcatty

            A pointed and pathetic example of our feudal system in practice at the local level of the realm. I worked for some years as a substitute teacher in grades K-12 in a southwestern midsize city. The social class divides of the serfs and mercantile classes was never more evident in the public schools. At the most affluent school district I one day taught in an elementary third grade class. The kids either brought lunch to school or purchased lunch from “cafeteria”. The lunch costs around 2 bucks( some years ago). They could have a salad bar choice, a “hot “meal”, pizza bar choice or sandwich. One little girl in the whole class was more poorly dressed, had worn out looking shoes and happened to be only child not white. She had no snack from home. Another girl gave her a lemon from home. She sucked on it at snack time. She had no lunch and no money or cafeteria account. As I watched kids all around her find places to sit in the pretty courtyard or at tables, she just hung back in the shadows. I asked her if she was going to eat lunch. She said no. I asked if she felt OK. Answer a quiet yes. She then whispered that she had no lunch to eat. I questioned cafeteria teacher on lunch duty about situation. I got a cold answer that that girl could have a free peanut butter sandwich. I noticed all other sandwiches looked like a deli delight. I asked little girl if she wanted one. Her answer was no, she hated peanut butter. I had no cash with me to pay for a lunch. I had not planned to eat at school. When I told teacher of little girl’s response, the woman just rolled her eyes and said: well she just won’t eat then. Adding in a conspiratorial tone: you know she is one of the cheap apartment people whose mother got a place in our district, so her kid can go to our great school. I bit my tongue and walked away. I found an old granola bar and gave it to little girl. She thanked me. I asked principal about situation. Told, as a substitute, it was not for me to be concerned. But, appreciated my “imput”. This is just one tale of the naked city.

            1. Janie

              Appalling but not uncommon. Philando Castile, killed by police, worked in an elementary school and fed the hungry. A charity established in his name has paid cbildren’ s lunch debts. Seems to have struck a chord that resonates. Maybe it’s an example for us all.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                One wonders if that is something the DSA could do too. Pay childrens’ lunch debts in targeted support-recruiting zones.

            2. The Rev Kev

              I’m pretty sure that when Jesus said: “Suffer the children” that he did not mean it as an instruction to be acted upon.

      2. djrichard

        S/D manifests itself in international trade the Ricardian model of comparative advantage. But you can “game” that comparative advantage by suppressing your currency. And a good way to suppress your currency is by buying your trading partner’s currency (with your goods) to buy assets in your trading partners country (direct foreign investments). A form of mercantilism.

        Regarding Smoot Hawley, that occurred when we had balanced trade with the world. So by definition if you penalize imports, then less of your currency is going out the door to your trading partners. And voila, they have less currency to repatriate to the US – therefore reduced exports by the US.

        To some degree that’s no different today. Penalizing imports means less currency being exported, and therefore less currency to be repatriated. But our trading partners have a choice. Do they reduce their repatriation in goods and services from the US? Or do they reduce their repatriation in assets in the US. China is telling us that they’re going to keep their repatriation in assets at par, and reduce their repatriation in goods and services. A clear sign that China isn’t interested in giving up the mercantilism game.

        1. Andrew Watts

          Regarding Smoot Hawley, that occurred when we had balanced trade with the world. So by definition if you penalize imports, then less of your currency is going out the door to your trading partners. And voila, they have less currency to repatriate to the US – therefore reduced exports by the US.

          The Smoot-Hawley Act was a punitive response to foreign tariffs on American goods. When Congress finally got around to retaliating they did so at a time when most European countries had reduced or removed their tariffs on American products. It was a case of bad timing.

          Soft-headed economists and historians discount the effect the Japanese invasion of Manchuria and the collapse of Credit Anstalt had on deepening the Great Depression. The collapse of Credit Anstalt set off an economic crisis in Central Europe and banking crisis which reverberated across the world. It was hoped that the mythical China market would bail the world out of the depression. Those green shoots wilted when Japanese troops invaded.

    3. djrichard

      And yet, look at the market climb that wall of worry. I’m sure it’s on low volume too.

      The more the think about it, the more “bulls” makes sense as a metaphor the upward movements of the market. Something that grazes off the land as long as possible, “climbing that wall of worry”. Until the last possible moment, when they need to exit stage left, rampaging for the exits.

      We’re not there yet by the way. When we are, the bears will have their feast. They graze off the land too. But they truly feast when the eat the meat off the bulls.

    4. Andrew Watts

      Boohoo! The US trade deficit with China in January ’18 alone was over 35 billion dollars. That’s larger than the deficit with Canada for all of last year. Where’s the fiscal conservatives cheering Trump on?

  13. The Rev Kev

    “The U.S. Navy Wants to Spend Billions on Aircraft Carriers That Aren’t Ready”

    I wonder how many people know that the Ford-class aircraft carrier and the F-35 fighter both have something in common. They were both built with the idea of concurrency in mind. That is, as they were building it, they were also designing it. There is a good article that talks about this carrier at but the point is that it is not fit to join the fleet. So no, concurrency not only does not work with aircraft but it also does not work with great, big, honking aircraft carriers either.
    The F-35 is proving an extravagant pain and I have read, though cannot confirm it, that all the earlier block of F-35s will never be used as it will be too expensive to rebuild when the money could be put to better uses – buying F-18 Super Hornets for example! With aircraft carriers, though, you are talking about putting them in dry-dock – potentially for years – while you rip out whole sections from the hull and do a rebuild on it. The cost would be horrendous and the Navy would be short on carriers which would mean putting more of a strain on the remaining carriers and their over worked crews. Do that and you get bad accidents and people quitting the service.
    I have been trying to think just why the US Navy is ordering more of these flat-tops if the first one is proving to be such a dud and only one thing comes to mind. By ordering several of these carriers, it is committing the US Navy to build its fleet around them so that they would have to double down on them just like they have with the F-35. If there was only one Ford-class ever built, being such a failure would cause people to go after the people responsible for this fiasco. Maybe too many admirals saw what happened to “Fat Leonard”‘s admiral friends and do not want to join them.
    Before I close, I would like to briefly bring up another piece of whizz-bang technology that was going to be such a game changer – the rail gun – which actually featured in a Transformer film. Another piece of revolutionary technology. Yeah, about them-

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Concurrency contracts are a license for fraud. Once launched, they are almost impossible to cancel, as so much of the cost is front-loaded. The contractor therefore has no incentive to deliver what is needed, but lots of incentive to do everything they can to add costs. Cancelling the F-35 is likely impossible, the costs are too high. The government would literally be paying hundreds of billions of dollars for no aircraft.

      Another example is the Littoral Combat Ship. It simply doesn’t work as a concept, but due to the number under order under concurrency they are desperately trying to find new roles for them, such as replacing frigates, something they are totally unsuitable for (too lightly armored, too short ranged). Just like the F-35, the result is a weapon that is in many ways actually inferior to the weapons they are replacing.

      At least with the idiotic Zumwalt Destroyer, they could cancel the contract for more quietly without costing more than a few billion (loose change in military budgets these days).

      1. John

        Concurrency is such a wonderful BS word for “make it up as you go along”. Sorta like children telling lies.

      2. polecat

        Cue in the Hemingway quote … just a little bit, slowy, and then recite the rest of it allatonce.

  14. Alex

    The Job Guarantee article has a very detailed list of possible jobs that would be available under such a program which is great because a lot of other JG proposals are pretty vague there.

    What this article doesn’t cover is what would be done if the program is more or less actively abused. Let’s say someone just wants to minimise the work he does,so he looks at the menu, sees that a species monitoring job available that requires weekly reporting of unicorn sightings in his neighbourhood. Instead of going out and faithfully counting the unicorns, he just sits at home and makes up numbers. This is a job so eventually the fraud is discovered. Will he be put in the JG black list? or local black list? or allowed to continue? In which case it would be easier to pay a basic income.

    I think that these people would be a tiny minority of all JG participants, and definitely it’s not right to design a social program assuming the worst, but on the other hand there should be certain resiliency to the attempts to game/abuse the program, otherwise it will lose public trust pretty soon.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Any room for conscientious objectors who believe the GDP machine is conducting a genocidal war against Nature, and refuse to participate in it?

      “I rather stay at my cave and play with cats?”

    2. djrichard

      This is a job so eventually the fraud is discovered. Will he be put in the JG black list? or local black list? or allowed to continue? In which case it would be easier to pay a basic income.

      You’re touching on the very soul of the issue. As Dylan said, “you’ve gotta serve somebody”. What about those who aren’t really interested in serving in the way that the private sector or Fed Gov offers (in a JG program)? And what about those who haven’t “woke” to who they want to serve? And what about those who are simply avoiding this whole serving thing.

      Maybe UBI is the best answer.

      Still have the same exposure as usual though, “It ruins it for the rest of us. Why should we be working so hard, when they get to slack off?” Of course, the argument back is that if those people working so hard were truly doing so as a servant in the way Dylan (and the church) described it, then those people shouldn’t have to worry about what fellow travelers are doing. Of course, we never have that discussion. Instead we persecute the “slackers”. Because it debases the value of work, don’t you know. Which after all, is bad … right?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        “The value of work.”

        Picasso once responded ‘It took me years of training to be able to paint like that,’ after someone complained of the high price he commanded when he painted with just a few lines and in less than one minute.

        (Presumably this happened when he was older, and not in his younger years, though his early works could still have been expensive when they were done, that is, immediately, due to his inherited, but untaxed – inheritance tax here -creative genius.)

        Similarly, doctors and others say the same – I’m not charging you for the five minutes of singing, but the years of training and preparing for this career.

        As the orange grower picks the oranges in his orchard to sell to you, he’s also not charging you for the 3 seconds it takes to pluck one from the tree. It takes years to grow that tree.

        And so, as you do nothing in life, or so it seems, you could be preparing yourself to write a book about your life, or gain the painful wisdom to become a guru, that the ‘nothing’ you do now is similar to all the stories mentioned here, and you can charge people for that.

        And that would be work, in the usual sense, though a broader sense should definitely include caring for one’s parents.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          The Doctor, the Baker, and the Picasso maker don’t charge “for” their years of “nothing” until they have something to show for it after all those years. There has to be a service or a thing which can be bought before there can be a reckoning and a charging for the “nothing” which went into the final doing of the service or the making of the thing.

  15. djrichard

    Matt Taibbi on the Thomas Piketty paper (Brahmin Left vs Merchant Right …)

    Papers like Piketty’s are a warning that if the intellectuals in both parties don’t come up with a real plan for dealing with the income disparity problem before someone smarter than Donald Trump takes it on, they’re screwed. Forget nativists vs. globalists. Think poor vs. rich. Think 99 to 1. While Washington waits with bated breath for the results of the Mueller probe, it’s the other mystery – how do we fix this seemingly unfixable economic system – that is keeping the rest of the country awake at night.

    1. perpetualWAR

      Quote from the article: “It was clear that if all of these groups ever started to align with each other – the Occupy types and, say, the victims of the foreclosure crisis – you’d have revolution, and probably a pretty quick one, given the numbers involved.”

      I tried, in vain, to get the Occupy people in Seattle to care about the massive wave of foreclosures. In doing so, I tried to get the leaders of Occupy talking with the leaders of the Tea Party, as both were being targeted by foreclosures. Just as these talks were going to occur, the mayors began beating on the Occupy people in every major city and Occupy went underground or dissolved in some cities. Coincidence? I think not.

      1. djrichard

        I remember when the Tea Party first started up. I went to one of the initial protests in my area. If I remember correctly, my sign was something along the lines of “welfare for the poor, not for the banks”. I knew I would be tweaking some sensibilities with the 1st part of that, but that what was motivating them was the 2nd part.

        Anyways, once the Tea Party got taken over by deficit hawks, that was it for me.

        I still hit ZH every day to read their articles. It’s hard to sell some of the type of thinking we have in NC over there in the comments section, but I give it a go every now and then. And the articles on ZH aren’t as antithetical to NC’s agenda as some might think.

  16. Brooklin Bridge

    Can Democrats survive an assult from the left? -TheHill

    […]While the Democratic establishment withered, the left’s influence in the party grew. Liberals’ ascendancy was both cause and effect of the establishment’s decline. With Obama’s presidency — the most liberal in American history— the left rose to their greatest height. [emphasis mine]

    There seems to be a real residue of April fools day going around.

    1. Tooearly

      Posts like this should come with a warning sign: don’t read the following with a mouthful of coffee

  17. human

    My own anecdote re “bone-headed programming mistakes:”

    I recently signed up at a new work offer platform only to find that the app wouldn’t let me enter my leading-zero zip code and truncated the data to 4 digits. The 4 digit zip code, being meaningless, negated my ability to search for job offers near me and would only show the entire list; Washington to California to Florida and Maine; even one in Hawaii!

    I sent an eMail to support to be removed from their databases explaining the problem and noting my disgust at the current state of “technology.” More than a week later I had not received any response when their CTO phoned to apologize, acknowledged the oversight and asked me to reconsider.

    1. Mark Alexander

      That’s pretty funny (not really). I can just see what was going through the programmer’s mind: “Hey, we can save a bunch of storage in the database by storing the zipcode as an integer instead of a string! Cool! I’ll just check this in without a code review ‘cuz it’s such a simple change…”

    2. Oregoncharles

      I never signed up on LinkedIn because there was no checkoff for my field – landscaping, not that small a business category. However, I’d already filled out quite a bit of information, so they posted me anyway, without permission. I was getting email from frustrated acquaintances on LinkedIn for years. Maybe I finally went back and erased everything – don’t remember, but the emails stopped.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The U.S. Navy Wants to Spend Billions on Aircraft Carriers That Aren’t Ready PlutoniumKun

    Even though the government can spend as much as it wants, present congress notwithstanding when it comes to domestic spending, and taxpayers don’t fund federal public spending, we citizens still have to be on the look out for government waste like this.

    In short, make it a habit to make sure the government spends prudently. Make it justify.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Imitating Trump:

      “The Washington Post should register as a lobbyist.”

      “Facebook should be included under the NSA’s budget.”

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      Taibbi seems to feel that by-in-large, traditional news outlets were the good old days. If anything, they were as bad as Facebook; they just had less technology to exploit their audience with. A few honest reporters gave a gloss to the industry as a whole and people “believed” what they read and what they watched. If T.V.’s had just built in a ‘like’ button, (now a reverse camera, and speaker, moisture sensing remote, and so on), and maybe Karl Rove to replace AI algos, it would have been identical.

      Until the internet, I don’t remember EVER (since the 50’s in my case) getting any real news about what was going on in the Middle East, or in Central America, or in Chile, or anywhere. You could find it, places like the NYT or Le Monde, even in the Boston Globe if you really knew what you were looking for (and that was the key), but you had to be almost a 9-5 professional to do so and it was still like shining a pencil light on the universe. Limited. It was somewhat better if you hung around the right places, such as Universities or I imagine enclves in the big cities. Oh yes, briefly in the late 60’s and early 70’s you would do pretty well just going into a book store, or picking up some underground rag left for free in stores.

  19. Summer

    “Disgruntled video-maker who expressed anger at YouTube policies ID’d as shooter SF Gate. Wonder if she depended on her YouTube videos for income.”

    Reports say she complained about getting 10 cents for over 300,000 views. That’s a problem. But I suspect her problems started long before she began posting videos.

      1. Arizona Slim

        If your business depends on a platform, you don’t have a business. (Repeating what I’ve read here on NC.)

    1. Oregoncharles

      Her complaints, of financial manipulation, sound very much like some reporting about Google/Youtube manipulation we’ve seen here. She was probably right – but reacted in a not-very-sane way.

  20. cocomaan

    The Sinclair hysteria is fascinating.

    One of my over-the-air stations (I don’t have cable) was an independent media group that used to run Russia Today/RT. It’s since been withdrawn and the station gone dark. Political pressure had something to do with it, I’m sure, since NHK news from Japan still went on.

    In a Vox article on the subject, they said that local news stations get more watch time than cable news stations. That’s interesting in and of itself. Media gatekeepers like CNN and MSNBC and FoxNews actually don’t talk to that many people.

    1. diptherio

      Back in the early days of Youtube, I used to watch a show called InfoMania. One of their recurring segments was a montage of news anchors saying the exact same thing. The point was obvious: everybody’s reading from the same script. So I’m a little confused as to why this particular incident is raising such a stink, when I’m pretty sure you could make one of those videos every single day about whatever the most recent “news” is.

      1. perpetualWAR

        Perhaps people are beginning to wake up to that propaganda exists and they are the targets of it? I don’t know. It’s weird what people finally lock onto that shakes their version of reality.

    2. Summer

      Yes, you could do more mashups of news anchors and other talking heads reading from scripts. The ones on the current Russiophobia would be extensive.
      But as Dan Rather said:
      “The faces of the men and women you see delivering this chilling message are befitting those of a hostage video. Maybe some of these local anchors took to it with gusto, but I believe that number is few. That’s not why people are drawn to journalism. And maybe you will say that they should have refused or even resigned in protest, but I know that one can grasp in desperation for rationalizations and compromise when one feels their livelihood is at risk….”

      And so it goes on and on…the things people do to each other to feed THEIR family.

    3. Oregoncharles

      During the Battle in Seattle over the WTO, we had occasion to observe that the local reporting was far more honest than the network news. Local stations have to deal with people who know what happened. Furthermore, when they report at all, it’s stuff that directly affects people’s lives, like traffic.

  21. Summer

    Re: Brahmin Left vs Mercantile Right…

    Long paper….will check out, but:
    “Do we need extreme circumstances in order to produce the type of Social Democratic/NewDeal political coalition that led to the reduction of inequality during the 1950 1980 period?”

    Looking like 1950 (Brahmin Left) vs 1850 Mercantile Right.
    No way forward in any of that…..

  22. Oregoncharles

    Relevant to a discussion yesterday of the high school rebellion (and at least partly supportive of my position):

    Substantial quote:
    “Role of Youth in the Coming Transformation
    by KEVIN ZEESE – MARGARET FLOWERS FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
    The eruption of youth protests over gun violence in schools and other issues is another indicator that the 2020s could be a decade of transformation where people demand economic, racial and environmental justice as well as peace. Students who are in their teens now will be in their twenties then. They will have experience in how protests can change political culture.

    Some view the youth awakening in these protests as reminiscent of youth movements in previous generations, others are less optimistic. We cannot predict the role this generation will play, but throughout the history of mass movements, youth have been a key factor by pushing boundaries and demanding change.

    One of the slogans in the actions against gun violence is “adults failed to solve the problem.” The truth is, as many youth are aware, those currently in power have failed on many fronts, e.g. climate change, wealth disparity, racial injustice, never-ending wars and militarism, lack of health care and more. These crises are coming to a head and provide the environment for transformational changes, if we act.

    Beware of Democratic Party Co-option…”

    As Yves pointed out, so far the kids’ proposals are not very radical. Evidently they know they’re up against the 2nd Amendment. But they’re just getting started. One reason I’m encouraged is that I remember how “the Sixties” got started; for me, it was in high school. My class was unusually restive, and experienced the terror of the Cuban Missile Crisis. When we got to college, under the influence of the Civil Rights campaigns and the threat of the Viet Nam War, all hell broke loose. In a mostly good way.

    And now the kids have Youtube on their side.

  23. Oregoncharles

    “Can Democrats Survive an Assault from the Left” – from the author’s profile: “J.T. Young served under President George W. Bush as the director of communications in the Office of Management and Budget ”

    That explains the questionable definition of “the left” and some other oddities, such the cherry-picked poll results. Nonetheless, his analysis of the structural situation is on point. Sometimes the opposition has insights the insiders would not. I don’t agree that imposing a “left” candidate in 2000 would kill their chances – he carefully avoids the polls showing wide support for progressive policies, as well as for Sanders; I just think the party will go to any required lengths to prevent it, as it would break too many rice bowls.

    Anyway, if all remains the same, the economy will ensure Trump’s re-election. But I’m hoping there will be more disorder than that.

  24. Andrew Watts

    RE: Where are all the leaders?

    Where are they exactly going to come from and who in their right mind would aspire to leadership in these difficult circumstances? The former question is easy to answer and the latter is an impossible dilemma to solve. We might receive a class traitor in the form of a Solon, witness the rise of one from the lower order a la Aurelian, or it’s probably more likely there won’t be any leaders of wisdom or knowledge. We’ll just have to settle for whoever is either stupid, ruthless, or lucky enough to gain and keep a position of power.

  25. Oregoncharles

    About the Ian Welsh article (the one that made your hair stand on end), a couple of relevant links:

    That’s just a couple – a search on “Transition Towns” will yield a variety. It’s community survivalism, meant as a response to the disaster Welsh makes so vivid. Not a panacea; there isn’t any. I wouldn’t bother if you’re below a hundred feet above sea level, and the water could get higher than that, or in a hot zone already. That’s going to look like Dune. (Sorry, Slim).

    1. polecat

      Psssst … hey Elon …
      have I got a moneymaker for You ….

      … self-pumpndumping ‘Stillsuits’…

  26. Edward

    “Are you pro-Putin? Do you hold secret meetings?”

    What is the point of holding secret meetings if you are going to admit you hold secret meetings?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Then why does the United States Secret Service have a Uniformed Division? You think that wearing uniforms would give the game away.

  27. John D.

    Re: Cynthia Nixon.

    Oh dear, Miranda. And up till now, you hadn’t been doing too bad.

  28. kareninca

    About mobile homes: this is a very good article from last year: Manufacturers have found that they can make a lot more money by making costly ones with lots of features. The recent hurricanes have destroyed many existing cheap ones that people were living in, forcing them out onto the market to buy a new one. They have to buy new, because while mobile home parks often allow you to buy a used home that is already located in them, many won’t let you bring an older model used mobile home in. So if you’re living in a park, your home is destroyed by a hurricane, you can’t go out and buy a similar cheap one and haul it into the park; you have to buy a new one. I’m guessing that there are delinquencies since these people are forced to buy costly new ones or nearly-new that they can’t really afford. Also the interest rates for these purchases are much higher than for mortgages; they are considered personal property purchases (“Last year, 64 percent were purchased with high-rate loans, compared with just 7.2 percent for traditional single-family homes”)

    “Hurricane victims emerging from ravaged trailer parks are discovering that the U.S. mobile-home market has left them behind. In Florida and Texas, dealerships are swarmed by buyers looking to rebuild their lives after hurricanes Harvey and Irma, but many leave disappointed.
    The industry, led by Warren Buffett’s Clayton Homes Inc., is peddling such pricey interior-designer touches as breakfast bars and his-and-her bathroom sinks. These extras, plus manufacturers’ increased costs for labor and materials, have pushed average prices for new double-wides up more than 20 percent in five years, putting them out of reach for many of the newly homeless.
    Last month, Judy Goff, a 73-year-old hardware store clerk whose double-wide in Naples, Fla., was blown to bits, pulled into a LeeCorp Homes Inc. sales lot and wandered through models with kitchen islands and vaulted ceilings. In the salesman’s office, she got the total price, including a carport, taxes, and removal of her destroyed trailer: $140,000. “I don’t have that kind of money,” said Goff as she stood amid the wreckage of her old home, whose walls and ceiling were stripped away, leaving her leather furniture and a lifetime of possessions to bake in the sun. “That was all I had.””

    So the increase in delinquencies may not entirely be a sign of a worse job market or worse wages; it may also be because an important item that poor people typically buy has become much more expensive. The safety net shrinks again.

  29. ewmayer

    “The U.S. Navy Wants to Spend Billions on Aircraft Carriers That Aren’t Ready” — Depends on what you mean by “ready”. If you mean “ready for actual combat”, yes, most of the recent super-expensive Mil-hardware programs have been colossal failures. If on the other hand you mean “ready to make a bunch of defense contractors incredibly rich”, then you have put your finger on the “readiness” that really matters to the folks involved in the whole weapons system procurement circle-jerk.

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