Links 6/20/18

Giant hogweed, plant that causes blindness and third-degree burns, discovered in Virginia CBS

Weeds Are Winning in the War against Herbicide Resistance Scientific American

Lloyds under pressure as HBOS fraud report is published Guardian (Richard Smith). Smith: “Lloyds HBOS bomb finally goes off. Giant fraud, giant fraud coverup – just about everyone is alleged to be implicated: HBOS directors, Lloyds directors, FCA, KPMG…” Thread with excerpts from a nastygram to Lloyds, with an NC mention:


SoftBank: inside the ‘Wild West’ $100bn fund shaking up the tech world FT

Where is State Street deploying AI? Everywhere American Banker

As Tesla races to meet Model 3 deadline, factory pressures and suspicions grow WaPo

Tesla severance agreements may restrict whistleblowers AutoBlog (EM).

Life, Liberty, and Trade Secrets Rebecca Wexler, Stanford Law Review. “A criminal trade secret privilege is ahistorical, harmful to defendants, and unnecessary to protect the interests of the secret holder.”

How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions Counterpunch (EM).


US says Israel responsible for Syria air strike that killed dozens of pro-Assad fighters Independent

Syria – Ready To Start The Daraa Campaign Moon of Alabama

No breakthrough in Turkey-Iran-Russia talks on Syria constitution Al Jazeera

North Korea

Pompeo cancels Senate briefing on North Korea deal NBC

North Korea expected to begin transferring remains of U.S. troops soon: officials Reuters (KW).

How energy could play a role in North Korea denuclearization talks Axios


What’s Left to Be Settled Before Brexit (Quite a Lot) Bloomberg

We can get through Brexit if we’re high, says Hague Daily Mash

The Guardian view on the NHS cash boost: pay for it with deficit spending Editorial Board, Guardian. With shoutout to Stephanie Kelton!

The Force Behind Europe’s Populist Tide: Frustrated Young Adults WSJ

Combative Salvini seizes control of Italy’s agenda FT

The Right to Explanation, Explained Margot E. Kaminski, SSRN (PDF). “[T]he significant algorithmic accountability regime established by the GDPR.”


The United States Is Pushing Toward War With China The Nation

Nothing to fear from China, says Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad, but lopsided deals must end South China Morning Post

‘It’s a blessing’: Why a millennial ‘towkay’ fasted with his Muslim migrant workers Channel News Asia


Going South, Coming North: Migration and Union Organizing in Morristown, Tennessee Southern Spaces

Immigration Divides Europe and the German Left Consortium News

EU migration crisis: where the faultlines lie FT

Many Maryland crab houses expect to go without migrant workers this summer after again losing visa lottery Baltimore Sun

This map shows the US really has 11 separate ‘nations’ with entirely different cultures Business Insider

Trump Transition

FBI Agent Peter Strzok, author of anti-Trump text messages, escorted out of bureau headquarters but still employed: Lawyer CNBC

Women speak of pervasive harassment in DC lobbying culture The Hill

Trump urges House GOP to fix immigration system, expresses no strong preference on rival bills amid uproar over family separations WaPo

Schumer rejects GOP proposal to address border crisis The Hill

Former CIA Employee Charged In Massive Leak Of Confidential Information NPR (JT McPhee).

Six Down To Earth Questions We Have About Trump’s Space Force The Drive (KW).

Imperial Collapse Watch

Fall of the American Empire Paul Krugman, NYT

Thanks To NATO Infighting, the Future of the F-35 Is Shrinking Defense One

How quickly could Canada build an atomic bomb? Ottawa Citizen

Net Neutrality

This California Democrat is single-handedly ruining our best chance to save net neutrality Medium

Health Care

Trump administration finalizes rule to expand association health plan access Modern Healthcare. On the “skimpier” association plans, see NC here. Note this is being done through regulation and not, as originally proposed, through executive order.

The dangerous complacency of classical liberalism The Week

Class Warfare

Worker Cooperatives – Islands in a Sea of Capitalism (podcast) Grassroots Economic Organizing

Race-Class Narrative National Dial Survey Report (PDF) Demos

More than 400 Washington Post staffers wrote an open letter to Jeff Bezos calling out his ‘shocking’ pay practices Business Insider

Alexa for hotels lets guests order room service, control in-room smart devices [Updated] Ars Technica (BC). BC: “Shoot me now.” And in an update to the article: “According to an Amazon representative, hotel guests can request for the Echo device to be removed from their room if they do not want to make use of Alexa during their stay.”

I went to the massive World Cup party in Moscow, where up to 25,000 fans celebrate the games Business Insider

Messi Walks Better Than Most Players Run FiveThirtyEight

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Bugs Bunny

    Re: “Alexa for hotels lets guests order room service, control in-room smart devices”

    Those who already embrace Alexa will also enjoy a feature coming soon after Alexa for Hospitality’s launch: the ability to temporarily connect your Amazon account to an in-room Echo device. Doing so will allow guests to access their own content like music and audiobooks from the hotel’s Alexa-enabled device. Once guests check out, their account gets disconnected from that Echo device.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Can one not simply unplug these things and put them in the safe? I suppose drowning it in the bathtub would incur a charge.

    1. Roger Smith

      I think most hotels charge if the safe is used too. Zoinks! I suppose one could be their own potten soild and a plastic baggy… bury thing for the duration of their stay.

    2. a different chris

      Also… why does anybody leave home at this point if they are happiest when they bring everything with them? And not except, but especially if you are a business traveler, maybe if you are doing deals you better immerse yourself in the local culture. And that could be Kansas City as well as Malaysia.

      1. Wukchumni

        Saw a quite long trailer on the road yesterday, being pulled by a ‘stretch’ Suburban, and the moniker on the former was “WILDERNESS”, so, yeah, you can take it all with you.

    1. Craig H.

      Anti antidote for the water cooler. (It looks quite handsome.)

      Heracleum mantegazzianum, commonly known as giant hogweed,[1][2][3] cartwheel-flower,[1][2][3] giant cow parsnip,[4][5] hogsbane or giant cow parsley,[6] is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae. In New Zealand, it is also sometimes called wild parsnip,[2] or wild rhubarb.[2] It typically grows to heights of 2 to 5.5 m (6 ft 7 in to 18 ft 1 in)

      Eighteen feet.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Actually, I think triffids were modeled on artichokes. Ever seen a field of those? They look really menacing.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Actually, I appreciate the article, since they’re found in the PNW and they resemble cow parsnip, which is very common here – they dominate the ground down by the river, and one garden patch (shade).

        Cow parsnip also has some toxicity issues, but not like giant hogweed.

  2. Jim Haygood

    Comey publicly schools the recalcitrant HRC:

    Moderator Holger Stark asked Comey if he would apologize to Clinton after the Department of Justice Inspector General report revealed that Comey had used his personal email to conduct FBI business. Stark referenced Clinton’s “But my emails” tweet responding to the IG report.

    “No, and here’s why: again I don’t want to criticize her, but it shows me that even at this late date she doesn’t understand what the investigation in her case was about,” Comey said. “It was not about her use of personal email system, and she didn’t get that during the investigation.”

    “That was not what it was about. It was about communicating about classified topics on that system,” Comey said.

    For his part, Comey fails to understand the awful trauma the poor woman has endured. What if this had happened to him:

    1. Pavel

      Why the hell shouldn’t Comey criticise her for blatantly and repeatedly breaking the laws governing use of classified material? You know, the laws she had a special FBI lesson on when starting her SoS gig…

      And Comey needs a reminder lesson that “intent” is not necessary to prove guilt, despite his claims to the contrary.

      After browsing through the coverage on the IG report, it’s clear to me the entire FBI is not fit for purpose and should be scrapped and started from scratch. A combination of incompetence, corruption, political interference, and lots of dishonesty.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Keystone kops:

        Paul Sperry


        “Nobody was listed as a subject of this [Clinton email] investigation at any point in time,” adding this was “surprising.”

        So neither Hillary nor her top aides were formally under investigation by FBI at any time in 2015-2016!

        11:56 AM – Jun 19, 2018

        If an “investigation” has no subjects, should it be downgraded to a “matter”? How do you do a perp walk with “nobody” in handcuffs?

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          (1:13:34) Horowitz: “We did not find no bias with regards to the October events.” (Read that carefully.)

          (02:25:30) Horowitz: “What we say here is not that there was no bias … .” (Again, read that carefully.)

          It’s a good thing this immigration issue blew away mention of everything else, otherwise someone might have had to deal with the meaning of all these double negatives.

          PS. [Peter] Strzok, who had a central role in the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving as secretary of State, was reportedly escorted from the FBI building on Friday amid an internal review of his conduct.

      2. Procopius

        He shouldn’t criticize her because he reported that she didn’t break any laws governing the use of classified material, but did it in such an oblique way that many people don’t realize that’s what he said.

      3. Procopius

        … “intent” is not necessary to prove guilt, …

        This is apparently no longer true. If it were true, a lot of bankers would be looking out through bars.

        1. Oregoncharles

          First, there has to be a prosecution, which is ultimately an executive decision.

          Plenty of crimes don’t get prosecuted, especially when committed by Important People.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      And there’s also the bit about having her own personal server which Comey fails to mention and sHillary conveniently forgets about.

      If that doesn’t show intent to deceive then I don;t know what does.

      1. Procopius

        I think you don’t have any idea of how bad State Department servers were ten years ago (probably still are). Let me point out that no evidence was ever offered that her private server was ever compromised, while the State Department servers are routinely hacked. Still. Also, and my memory may be corrupted on this point, at the time (2009) the laws and regulations concerning use of government IT facilities were much vaguer than they are reported to be. Because of efforts to enforce austerity and also to prevent corruption, government IT is very primitive, clumsy, obsolete, and insecure.

        1. John Wright

          If so, why didn’t HRC get official approval documentation from the state department that her server was completely acceptable for official use?

          And given that HRC actually headed up the State Department, if she was possibly aware that government IT is primitive, clumsy, obsolete and insecure, why didn’t she attempt to fix the security for all other State Department workers?

          That appears to be a dereliction of duty.

          After all, the security minded HRC would have known that an email sent to another State Department employee at their .gov domain could be compromised.

          How is an un-encrypted email sent from an secure mail server to an insecure server secure?

          Asserting that because “no evidence was ever offered that her private server was ever compromised” does not prove it was not compromised.

          Someone could have hacked HRC’s server and is quietly mining the deep pockets of the Clinton Foundation as this is being written.

          Or perhaps she was simply lucky that it was not compromised.

          Avoiding FOIA seems a far simpler motivation for HRC’s email server.

          1. The Rev Kev

            That correspondent was not her property! As Secretary of State, they should have been sent to the National Archives for preservation, classifying and retention for future history. In fact that is the law. She ignored it because of all her activities with the Clinton Foundation, the Saudis and all the rest and rather than have separate servers, one for her personal stuff and the regular Government server, she fed it all into her personal server because there was far too much dodgy material to consider trying to separate it. If you want to know what was on it, the NSA will have a copy – along with every government that might have hacked it by figuring out the password which was probably ‘123456’.

  3. LaRuse

    Re: Hogweed:
    I would just point out that my local (Richmond, VA Metro area) news is following up the Hogweed story with news that VaTech has also determined that the recently discovered hogweed was planted intentionally decades ago and has not spread from that location.
    So while it is something good to know and be wary of, it isn’t worthy of the panic-inducing posts I am seeing fly across my Central Virginia social media views.

    1. s.n.

      giant hogweed –known here as bjørnklo (bear-claw) – was reportedly imported from asia as an exotic garden plant early in the mid-20th century and is now rampant whereever one goes in summertime southern Denmark, The dangers however are greatly overstated in the CBS article. A lot like poison ivy: avoid touching it. I have accidently brushed against these giant plants many times with no ill effects. However the article’s concern with speed with which the plant spreads is not exaggerated, and once you’ve got it, you’ll never get rid of it, only control its spread. Sadly, many landowners here keep it under control with “roundup”.
      Fortunately poison ivy has yet to find a foothold in northern europe

      1. PlutoniumKun

        The dangers of Hogweed are one of those recurrent stories the British tabloid media loves. In reality, its not all that harmful, except maybe to overcurious children. Its actually quite a handsome plant, I passed a clump a few days ago here in Dublin. But as invasive species goes, there are much worse ones around.

      2. Oregoncharles

        There’s a persistent rumor (calumny?) that English gardeners planted poison oak (the western version of poison ivy) as an ornamental. It’s actually very pretty, turning bright red in the fall. Birds are very fond of the berries – I have to patrol vigilantly for it here – so it’s a vigorous spreader if suited to the locale. Count yourself lucky if it hasn’t gotten to the Continent. However, you’re a good deal north of its native range (45 degrees, and south), so maybe it doesn’t do well there.

      3. wilroncanada

        LaRuse & s.n.
        I think you may be understating its affects. There was a small invasion on southern Vancouver Island a few years ago, and a couple of people suffered quite severe burn-like symptoms. My son-in-law found a plant on their property in town. He dug it out at the roots, wearing heavy gloves and ‘bomb-disposal clothing. It never returned. English ivy on the other hand…..

  4. Jim Haygood

    Guardian editorial:

    Politicians are obsessed with avoiding an increase in the deficit, an impulse so ingrained that Professor Stephanie Kelton described as it “almost Pavlovian”. Growth is flatlining, real wages are stagnant and there’s little inflation. The UK’s indebted households are sinking deeper into debt. Hardly the time to raise taxes.

    The public sector deficit ought to be seen as an instrument to support the economy, not a way to break it. The government should engage in Keynesian deficit spending: this would help to keep not only the public healthy but the economy too.

    “Flatlining” and “stagnant” are symptoms of chronic debt disease. At 85% government debt to GDP, the UK just missed the 90% cutoff for inclusion in the “highly indebted” group of eight OECD nations that are pitted in a groaf challenge against the remaining 26 in the Haygood wager.

    But piling up debt to fund consumption will get it there in a couple of years. An economy that can’t muster a budget surplus after years of ostensible recovery and growth is headed for the dustbin.

    Ol’ Jim visits the leafy UMKC campus:

    1. David May

      Jim, the sad thing is that you have in NakedCapitalism possibly the best resource on the net for learning about how money, banking and finance works, but you wilfully choose not to. The problem with the UK economy is not that they have nearly 90% public debt to GDP; it is that they have so little debt! Your continued refusal to engage with reality reminds me of the case of the doomsday cult, the Seekers:

      The Seekers abandoned their jobs, possessions, and spouses to wait for the flying saucer, but neither the aliens nor the apocalypse arrived. After several uncomfortable hours on the appointed day, Martin received a “message” saying that the group “had spread so much light that God had saved the world from destruction.” The group responded by proselytizing with a renewed vigour. According to Festinger, they resolved the intense conflict between reality and prophecy by seeking safety in numbers. “If more people can be persuaded that the system of belief is correct, then clearly, it must, after all, be correct.”

      You’ll be waiting a long time for your UFO, Jim.

    2. diptherio

      Jim, you are such a bizarre specimen. One would think that continually spouting the same debunked nonsense would catch you more flack around these parts…but you make charts, so I guess we let it slide.

      Why is 90% gov’t debt-to-GDP such a big scary number? Because it’s round? Because Rienhart and Rogoff, in their now discredited paper, claimed that anything above 90% was disastrous?

      Please explain how you think the gov’t removing currency from the economy, via running a surplus, will lead to economic growth, rather than quashing it. After you answer that one, I’ve got some questions about the relationship of public and private debt….

      1. Grumpy Engineer

        The government didn’t remove currency from the economy the last time it ran a surplus. In 1999, the federal government ran a surplus of $1.9 billion, but these extra dollars were used to purchase outstanding treasury bills in the bond market, which effectively re-injected the dollars back into the economy. So it was a net zero.

        So now I have a question for you… If the federal government injected a net zero dollars into the economy in 1999, where did the dollars for that year’s 4.7% nominal GDP growth (and a massive stock market bubble) come from?

        The answer is the Federal Reserve. If you try to examine the topic of the money supply by focusing solely on federal government activities and don’t include the net lending (or spending) by the Federal Reserve, you’ll have an incomplete picture of the story.

        1. paulmeli

          I think you’ve made an accounting error.

          Two transactions:

          The surplus removed $ from the system => a net negative $

          Re-purchasing bonds existing in the system => a net zero $. Its an asset-swap moving $ from a savings account at the Fed to a checking account.

          Balance across the two transactions => net negative $.

          If the federal government injected a net zero dollars into the economy in 1999, where did the dollars for that year’s 4.7% nominal GDP growth (and a massive stock market bubble) come from?

          The government may have injected a net zero $ but it amounted to $1.9T in spending, a 4.25% increase from the previous year and a direct contribution to GDP.

          There was just no net savings added to the non-government.

          It may be surprising that a 4.25% increase in G would result in a greater % increase in GDP as it is normally less, but the level of private debt increased 43%.

          So yeah, the big lie is exposed. The government balanced the budget and attributed to the surplus a booming economy which was actually a result of opening up the private debt floodgates and putting us on the path to the GFC.

          It’s private debt that hurts us, not public debt, which is debt only in the technical sense with zero chance of default unless done so intentionally.

          The only money the Federal Reserve “spends” would be for office supplies and IT, maybe rent and utilities, an insignificant amount. I think it is more accurate to say the Fed does the accounting when people/businesses borrow from banks. The Fed makes sure all transactions clear in the banking system.

          1. Oregoncharles

            I don’t think so. “Its an asset-swap moving $ from a savings account at the Fed to a checking account.”

            “Money” in a savings account at the Fed is not in circulation. Money in a private checking account is. They recreated precisely the circulating money they extracted. Since it was doubtless all digital, they extinguished it, then spent it back into existence (leading to some questions about how many dollar signs can dance on the head of a pin.)

            The real problem is WHO they repurchased those bonds from. I’m guessing most of it went to quite wealthy individuals or companies. That is less stimulative than money paid to people who will spend it.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > but you make charts, so I guess we let it slide

        You do realize that you are simultaneously running an ad hom and assaulting the integrity of the site, no?

        1. witters

          Still, Jim’s economics is an intellectual mystery. though one surely may speculate that the mystery is solved if we take class into account.

        2. Oregoncharles

          It is more to the point to say that Jim’s posts are both informative and entertaining, and even more important, that it’s useful to have his point of view represented here, if only as a starting point for debate.

          I would add that there is surely more going on in the world of finance than any one theory can account for, so other approaches are worth considering. They may be contributing to the chaos.

    3. Alejandro

      Bloodletting austerity is a conjured remedy of gold-bug derangement syndrome. Which is malpractice for the issuer. Financial budget constraints and financial debt may be an issue for a user, but not an issue for the issuer.

      Please recall, ” Reinhart and Rogoff failed to distinguish between nations with a sovereign currency and nations lacking such a currency.”-Bill Black

      Reinhart and Rogoff were peddling a pretext for austerity. It certainly seems that, to these sycophantic apologists, the [unnecessary] immiseration and hypoxic effects of the consequent policies are incidental to their forcing fictitious ‘commodities’ into their dogmatic “free” market ‘modeling’. It takes effort to break from this dogma and recognize that the problems created by “free” market ideology cannot be solved by “free” market ideology.

    4. Brian

      Don’t worry Jim, understanding debt is tough for people whose paychecks depend on increasing it. Debt hoovers up all in its path and the benefit goes to very few as the rest of the population gets goodly stretched by the head and in delerium demand more. In a system that combines criminal behavior and the printing of the currency in lockstep, how can the end game be any different than every time before? They “lost” 21 Trillion greenbacks (they think they admit) in this one country. But they can’t imagine how it happened or who got it.
      groaf is cancer, it will eat everything.

  5. William Beyer

    The son of a friend tweeted two questions regarding the Space Force proposal:

    1. When will the citizens of Flint get clean water?
    2. When will Puerto Rico get power restored?

    1. Kevin

      William: Good questions; if there were a profit to be made doing either, it would already be done.

      1. JTMcPhee

        At least with PR, the profit game is already well advanced: now that the land clearing has been done by Mother Nature and the population diminished and further un-powered, the vultures are swooping in to “take legal title” to all the good spots so the Elites can have more places to play. From Bloomberg, “Big Money Is Buying Up Puerto Rico’s Risky Real Estate,” At some point, of course, as with Flint, public funds will infill the necessary infrastructure. Maybe then the Banksters and other vultures will dispossess the remainder of the deplorables and take their next slice off the rotting carcass of what we mopes thought of as “our” Great Nation…

    2. Expat

      Trump sees the Big Picture…the Yugest Picture. The Space Force will seize the asteroid belt and bring back water to Flint and methane to Puerto Rico. Those damn people are so ungrateful! All they can do is take, take, take. If they had a little patience, this will be solved and the solar system will be ours! Now, tell them to wait calmly for about 75 years while we sort this space travel thingy out. Space is big you know…it’s really, really big and it’s long to travel across.

      In the meantime, we can send Puerto Rico some illegal immigrant children in cages with child-sized hamster wheels. Hook those up to a generator and voila! As a bonus, each kid gets a green card when he hits 10 megawatts.

  6. zagonostra

    Refer: Krugman, Fall of the American Empire

    “The U.S. government is, as a matter of policy, literally ripping children from the arms of their parents and putting them in fenced enclosures …He has been insulting democratic allies while praising murderous dictators. And a global trade war seems increasingly likely….What do these stories have in common? Obviously they’re all tied to the character of the man occupying the White House…What we’re witnessing is a systematic rejection of longstanding American values — the values that actually made America great.”

    So the internment of Japanese during WWII, dropping of bombs on Hiroshima/Nagasaki, training death squads in Latin America, bombings in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, invading countries on false pretenses, and on, and on…should be also looked upon as “tied to the character of the man occupying the White House” instead of in a social/political/economic and systemic way. Please!, my God, what patronizing hogwash. Krugman is so “obviously” playing on his reader’s dislike of Trump.

    Such cheap and shoddy journalism from the NYT.

    What “these stories have in common,” Russiagate, Stormy Daniels, and now Trump “ripping children from the arms of their parents” (remember Obama was responsible for ramping up deportations) is that the establishment is trying to throw as much mud on the sitting President to see if anything sticks.

    Maybe the NYT and their columnist like Blow and Krugman shouldn’t have written all that malarkey about Bernie and avoided the deep flaws/corruption of HRC. They bear as much responsibility for “ripping children” from the arms of parents as Trump…

    At least I’m glad to see Krugman use the word “Empire”…funny when Michael Parenti started using that word to describe the U.S. decades ago, few were willing to listen.

      1. armchair

        Exactly. What about the Marshall Plan? What about peace in Ireland? What about South Korea’s prosperity? What about Japan’s post WWII rise? What about being the host nation for the UN? It is hard to understand how the Dulles brothers, Kissinger, LBJ, Oliver North and Dick Cheney exculpate our current administration. What about seizing the moment?

    1. Pavel

      I see @BillClinton and @HillaryClinton are on twitter of course slamming Trump for “ripping babies from mothers’ arms”. Perhaps @Madeleine Albright can remind them of Bill’s and her Iraqi sanctions policy which only *killed* 500,000 kids. Not sure if they were ripped from any arms though.

      And barely a squeak from the “liberal” MSM and the Dems about the ongoing genocide in Yemen which is actually killing hundreds of thousands of people, and aided and abetted by the US and UK.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          Which reminds me…Does anyone know at what point the US corporate media ceased referring to those seeking asylum in the US as “refugees” and began referring to all of them as “immigrants”?

      1. Scott

        I guess now would be the time to post this link which shows Obama and Clinton basically agreeing with Trump’s immigration policy. It’s from Zero Hedge, but still applicable.

        This really seems to be a case of the Democratic Party and MSM (which are largely interchangeable at this point) applying the Trump rules where something becomes horrible only when Donald Trump does it.

        1. Procopius

          In response to Trump’s tactical retreat, somebody finally got around to naming the “Democrat passed law” that he was basing his policy on. It seems that back in the Clinton administration somebody (I’m not going to look it up, but I presume it was a Republican anti-immigration activist) sued the government, and the Democratic administration signed a consent decree with the court agreeing to not keep children in “detention” with adults for more than 20 days. Since Trump admits he loves torture, I guess he’s happy torturing the language to make this “a law passed by Democrats.”

        1. Plenue

          Numbers are likely worse than that. Eight million are already headed for starvation. If the UAE/Saudi Arabia take Hodeidah, which it looks like they will, they’ll cut off food and water shipments altogether, ensuring those eight million deaths and up to another ten million besides.

    2. John Wright

      Krugman resorted to the patronizing “Think about it”, as if his readers were not paying attention.

      I believe many people have thought about America’s role in the world post WWII and do not see it as
      Krugman does:

      “But what we mainly did instead was help defeated enemies get back on their feet, establishing democratic regimes that shared our core values and became allies in protecting those values.”

      During this time the USA ramped up the cold war threat, blockaded nations such as Cuba, supported Marcos in the Philippines, Diem in Vietnam and de-industrialized much of itself and conducted a number of “bringing democracy” military actions.

      Perhaps “establishing democratic regimes that shared our core values and became allies in protecting those values.” implies that the core values of the American elite were established and protected, but not for the betterment of the American citizen.

    3. funemployed

      I also love how Krugs refers to Trump as “surely the worst human being to ever hold [the presidency].” I don’t contest that he’s terrible, but by what metric, exactly, might he be considered “surely the worst”?

      Economists really need to study a lot more history.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Richard Nixon isn’t what I’d call a lovebug. And we had quite a few 19th century presidents who would give Nixon a lot of competition in the Department of Worst Human Beings.

        1. Plenue

          If pressed I would say LBJ and Nixon, as a twofer, for their overt slaughter in Indochina. But Truman is also a strong contender, for many reasons, not least of which is setting up the context in which the next four administrations would directly and indirectly cause the deaths of some four million Southeast Asians.

          As for Trump, he has yet to destroy a country. I expect he’ll rectify that in the future, but as of right now, he’s caused less death and destruction than either of his predecessors. Yemen (the blame for which can’t be entirely placed on Trump; he inherited it from Obama, it started in the waning days when Obama didn’t even try to pretend to give a crap about anything) has the potential to be several times worse than what the US did to Indochina. But I don’t see any liberal goodthinkers distraught about a literal genocide, for some reason. Like, here’s something you can and should unequivocally attack Trump over, and all I hear is crickets.

        2. Procopius

          Andrew Jackson. Personally marched a coffle of slaves he was selling to the market.

    4. Carolinian

      They’ll have him throwing newborns out of incubators next. I’m told that last night Maddow and her guests broke into tears at the thought of it all.

      We now have a perpetual election to go with our perpetual war. They’ll never let it go. It’s very reminiscent of the Republicans versus Clinton in the 1990s. Reporters love it but I suspect much of the country–including those who have no liking for Trump–hate it.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        No need to tell any tall incubator tales–he broke laura bush’s heart. Given that she emerged from eight years in george w.’s white house with her heart firmly intact, that right there oughtta be enough.

        1. RUKidding

          heh… no kidding. At least Babs Bush has expired and doesn’t have to “waste her beautiful mind” on this spectacle. No doubt, she’d wax lyrical about well these kids are being treated and what a “step up” for them to live in cages in the high heat just because they’re on US soil.

          But I believe that Laura Bush was resoundingly “yelled at” by the usual suspects at Fox, etc. How dare she criticize this fabulous policy which is not a policy?

      2. Roger Smith

        I just happened across the Maddow clip. She is utterly disgusting. I cannot fathom how some like that could actually be a real human being. I am more willing to believe she walks away from the desk, zips off her shell, and a tiny alien bug creature appears, opens a closet door, then shuts itself in until next broadcast.

        1. Olga

          Or… she opens her online banking account and just counts the latest deposits. It is amazing – the power of money!

    5. Expat

      It’s a shame to see that the Establishment is doing this when they never threw mud on Obama and Clinton, used racist terms, and generally disrespected them. I guess the Establishment is 100% liberal commies.

      I also enjoy the direct and implied blaming of Obama for this brutality towards children. “We can’t help it. Obama started this and we are powerless to stop it! If only the liberals would stop these horrible things!”

      I wonder if most Americans would sit still for a history lesson? What would conservatives and Trumpsters do if schools were required to teach real American history? Would they protest and claim it’s commie propaganda? Probably? Americans generally refuse to believe that they are wrong or that they ever did anything wrong. It’s always a “few bad apples.” The Germans have largely accepted their guilt for WWII. The French accept blame begrudgingly for their abuses in Algeria. Even the Japanese have taken steps to admitting that there were perhaps excesses on a national level. But America has Calley, England and Graner (and a handful of others) who were the few ever punished for the atrocities committed by the US military.

      What I fail to understand is why Democrats did not attack Trump during the campaign. His past is horrendous. His much vaunted business acumen is a sham. He has a long history of racism and fraud. There is so much old mud to toss around that we don’t even need new mud.

      As for throwing any mud at all, I don’t see why not? Trump and his supporters have built a political party out of insults, threats, racism, and ignorance. I am not a Christian so feel no need to turn the other cheek. If insults and lies are all Trump understands, then let’s use that against him!

      1. Carolinian

        Trump definitely provokes the Dems with his crudity. But the Dems did in fact throw everything but the kitchen sink at Trump during the election and he became president anyway. When the process has spoken then it’s time to shut up and accept unless you also oppose letting those deplorables vote at all (which some of us suspect is the secret Dem wish). If democracy matters then the Dems should be fighting Trump on real issues of concern to most people and not with Youtube videos and accusations that have to be walked back later on the inside pages. Call me cynical, but I don’t believe many of those TV pundits give a rip about immigrant children. And we know what Hillary and Madeleine Albright think about the acceptable price of power.

        1. RUKidding

          It might also help if Dems would get offa their collective asses to, you know, GOTV, but they don’t do that anymore. Plus they folded like a cheap deck chair when the R-Team shut down ACORN, which was doing a great job registering minority voters and helping them get to the polls. But whyever should Ds protect who they claim to be their “constituents” when they need to spend more time pandering to their super wealthy patrons?

          Plus, ya know, maybe it woulda helped (dunno maybe not) if Hilbot had got offa her ass to, you know, go campaign in places like PA, MI, WI, etc? My understanding is that Bill, flawed as he is, was really pushing her to get out more, but Robbie Mook said no, the Stats had it all in the bag… or something. So why go interact with – shudder! – the hoi poloi. Much more fun to rub shoulders with the rich and famous. And then decry the hoi poloi for not voting for them.

          1. Aumua

            And succeeding brilliantly. I find myself getting blocked and/or unfriended on a regular basis these days on social media for not 100% agreeing with the “revolution” memes coming from the so-called left. Every time I turn around there’s more. Immediate recourse to personal attacks is standard. It feels like it’s getting to where even attempting to be a voice of reason about Trump and the propaganda campaigns on both sides is something that will get you ostracized, and probably beat down in some situations. It’s out of control man. People’s phones are telling them what they believe, custom tailored to them individually. Fascist attitudes are rising all around, not just on the far right.

            1. Elizabeth Burton

              Had a pleasant moment just this afternoon when that happened, and someone who had actually read and understood what I said was appalled at the personal attacks. Which, as usual, contained nothing of substance to counter what I’d said.

              Can one hope progress is being made?

              1. Oregoncharles

                We know that Hillary had her own troll farm out doing exactly what’s described; do we know that it was ever shut down?

                Of course, there are plenty of volunteers, too. In truth, most people are equally disgusted with both her and Trump, but the internet can greatly magnify a relatively few loud voices.

                From this month’s Harper’s Index, which has a number of surprises:

                Percentage of Trump voters who now say they regret their vote: 3
                Of Hillary Clinton votes: 3

                1. Procopius

                  I don’t mind the insults so much, but so many of them are downright childish. On the level of “stinky old poopyhead.” What I find particularly annoying are the attempts to make witty but derogatory names. I’ve decided if I can’t be sure who the poster is calling that they probably mean Trump or somebody in his family and to hell with them.

              2. Oregoncharles

                When confronted with personal attacks like that (not here), I usually respond with “So you’ve got nothing.”

                Produces sputtering, inarticulate rage, but then that’s not far from where they started.

      2. Big River Bandido

        What I fail to understand is why Democrats did not attack Trump during the campaign. His past is horrendous. His much vaunted business acumen is a sham. He has a long history of racism and fraud. There is so much old mud to toss around that we don’t even need new mud.

        The election campaign that I saw in 2016 was nonstop mudslinging by Hillary Clinton.

        If that doesn’t explain why the Democrats lost, then probably nothing will.

      3. Elizabeth Burton

        I took American history 50 years ago, and it was carefully edited even then. It’s gotten worse, but under both parties, who make sure that history only reinforces “my country, right or wrong (but never really wrong).

    6. RUKidding

      I guess it’s “bracing” or something when brown children are abused and mistreated and incarcerated (and, likely in some cases, die) right here, right now on USA soil.

      I guess it makes the terminology “brings it home” have new meaning.

      I confess to being utterly horrified and appalled by what is happening to these young children near our southern border, to the point where I can barely force myself to read about it.

      That said, yes, this nation has been engaged and involved in similar treatment worldwide for decades. It’s just that it’s usually “over there,” so we can more easily (well SOME can more easily) avert our eyes and pretend it’s not happening or something or doesn’t matter or the kids didn’t suffer or…. ??

      The saddest and most shameful part for me right now is how very happy and delighted a rather significant portion of our population are as they daily witness what’s going on. Just awful.

      But yes, the lamantations from those who sat on their thumbs and kept their yaps shut in the past, most particularly when “their” POTUS was in power, is galling, to say the very least.

      I can, at least, say, fwiw, that I’ve been actively protesting these actions in one fashion or another since the ’60s… to little avail, alas. I AM aware of all that’s gone before that has led directly to THIS.

      Sadly, I see not much changing. So depressing and disheartening.

      I continue to do what little I can. Mostly these days that means being very active locally, while lodging what protests I can elsewhere.

      1. zagonostra

        I too have the same visceral reaction as you being equally “horrified and appalled,” you wouldn’t be a decent human being if you didn’t have those reactions. What galls me is when pundits like Krugman and other political operatives manipulate these basic emotions/feelings to get at their enemies.

        When they (NYT) selectively calls attention to evil only where it suits their interest it comes off as what it is, a political ploy absent genuine concern for children. It is the utter totally transparent/hollow/ mendacity/hypocrisy and falsity of speaking out of both sides of their mouths that gets under my skin…it is certainly no love for Trump or his policies.

  7. Jim Haygood

    The last original member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average is leaving it:

    Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (NASD:WBA) will replace General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE) in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) effective prior to the open of trading on Tuesday, June 26.

    “General Electric was an original member of the DJIA in 1896 and a member continuously since 1907,” says David Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

    “Since then the U.S. economy has changed: consumer, finance, health care and technology companies are more prominent today and the relative importance of industrial companies is less. With [Walgreens] addition, the DJIA will be more representative of the consumer and health care sectors of the U.S. economy.”

    S&P goes on to explain that GE’s share price of under $13 gave it less than half a percent weight in the arithmetic average, whereas Walgreens share price of about $65, while below the mean, is still higher than six other DJIA components.

    1. Enquiring Mind

      As a former (decades ago) GE employee, I have mixed feelings about the matter. While it is sad to see a once-proud company decline, I have to feel that it is largely the result of all that Welch-Immelt hubris.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “This map shows the US really has 11 separate ‘nations’ with entirely different cultures”

    Just for a comparison. John Michael Greer wrote a book called “Retrotopia” set in 2065, decades after the US breaks up after a vicious civil war. At is a map of how this North America evolved and it bears a resemblance to the Business Insider map. In passing, rather than just a doom’n’gloom book it depicts how the Lakeland Republic has mined the technology of the past to adapt to a new future in a fascinating way.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Yes, I thought of that book when I read the piece: there was an interesting conversation a couple years ago about it when Lambert (I think) posted a book review of it. One takeaway for me was that Anglos, not to mention “whites” are divided amongst themselves, with quite different histories and values.

        The tweet series also posted by Lambert from the Black Socialists was similarly clarifying. They object to the current liberal/left focus on “white privilege” as pernicious because it reinforces the artificial construct of “whiteness” as if it was a real thing and not a ploy to undermine solidarity amongst those exploited by the ruling class.

        In that same tweet thread they explained that for lack of a better option for now they refer to the particular ethnic group that was taken from Africa and enslaved for generations as Black, arguing that they are not African Americans, cuz that is what people who continue to come voluntarily from Africa to live and work in the US are rightly called, and they have a distinct history and values from Blacks.

        Black or ”white”, it’s really all about culture/ethnicity…

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          I learned recently the whole idea of “white privilege” was coined by a white academic and published in The New Yorker. I’ve said all along that using the word “privilege” seems almost calculated to get people’s defense mechanisms charged up, especially if they aren’t members of the 10%. The only people with “privilege” are the people who can afford it, but telling everyone with a pale complexion they should be ashamed for it is an excellent way to keep them divided from their fellow serfs.

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            It is possible you have been misinformed. Admittedly this is from Wikipedia, but this is the origin story I have read elsewhere; also, a mention by Booker T Washington apparently predates this:

            Theodore William “Ted” Allen (August 23, 1919 – January 19, 2005) was an American intellectual, writer, and activist,[1] best known for his pioneering writings since the 1960s on “white skin privilege” and the “invention” of the white race, particularly his seminal Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race, published as a pamphlet in 1975, and published the next year in expanded form. He stressed that the white race was invented as “a ruling class social control formation.”[2]

            An independent, working-class scholar, Allen did research for the next quarter century to expand and document his ideas, particularly on the relation of white supremacy to the working class. He published a two-volume work, The Invention of the White Race (1994 and 1997): “The Invention of the White Race,” Vol. 1: “Racial Oppression and Social Control” (1994, 2012) [3] and “The Invention of the White Race,” Vol. 2: “The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America” (1997, 2012); [4] which explored racial oppression as a system of social control (in Volume 1) and the origin of racial oppression in Anglo-America (in Volume 2). It was republished by Verso Books in a new expanded edition in November 2012.[5]

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            Not sure where you learned it from, but it’s not right. Here is the source:

            Theodore W. Allen, The Invention of the White Race, Volume 1: Racial Oppression and Social Control Verso Books, 1994.

            Purely pragmatically, I’m not sure how well the term has fared: It’s hard to convince white people who have had hard lives that they’re privileged; somebody who’s lost their job and their house doesn’t feel privileged, even though being white made it easier to get a job (privilege) and made it easier to get the house (privilege). Then again: Are people whose life expectancy is going down really that privileged? The term also has the feel of a zero sum game: For person A to gain privilege, person B must lose it. That’s a hard sell, especially to person B.* And the left should IMNSHO be about abundance, not redistributing scarcity.

            NOTE * And the Democrats don’t make that sell; they simply wait for demographics to take its course.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Chronologically, It went from White Man’s Burden to White Privilege.

              “First, you work. Then, you enjoy.”

              In that world, you only see whiteness.

              Nothing else exists.

              “Who are you? Do I know you?”

              In a racist’s world, everything is racial.

    1. Andrew Watts

      I thtink that whoever made the JMG’s Retrotopia-inspired map has a better grasp of the different cultures in North America. The people of California and the Pacific Northwest might share common political values, but they couldn’t be more culturally different. The Left Coast as imagined by the author of the original article is political ungovernable and militarily indefensible.

      My criticism of the Retrotopia map is that it greatly underestimates the influence of Mormonism in the West and thus the extent of sociopolitical influence that a theoretical Republic of Deseret would wield. I imagine that the Rocky Mountain Republic wouldn’t exist either* and be partitioned between the successor states of Cascadia, Deseret, and a Great Plains (Missouri) republic.

      That’s assuming foreign powers wouldn’t intervene and carve out portions of the US for themselves. Which JMG kinda alluded to when he labeled Cascadia as a Chinese client-state. I, for one, will welcome our new Chinese overlords if they keep Cascadia out of the second American Civil War.

      *Which is to openly admit to the fact that I would march the Cascadian Army to the Rockies to forge a defensible military frontier if I was in charge. Just sayin’

      1. Oregoncharles

        Northern Idaho IS the Rockies. It’s also politically and culturally incompatible with “Cascadia.” For that matter, so is Spokane. I’m very familiar with that area because my wife is from there.

        Cascadia is current, but it’s really what Callenbach called “Ecotopia”. He included northern California.

        1. Andrew Watts

          I’m don’t disagree with that cultural assessment as I spent summers in the Tri-Cities (Columbia Basin) and Boise. Culture wouldn’t be the only deciding factor though. By only incorporating Northern Idaho Cascadia would be under an existential threat from whomever controlled the Snake River. The claim to waters rights and electricity flowing from the Snake River are necessary for the economic viability as well as the settlement of Eastern Oregon / Washington.

          My entirely fictional counterpart would theoretically want to control Boise and the northern bank of the Snake extending into Wyoming to guarantee this. While advancing as far eastward to control as much of the western bank of the Missouri as possible. Most people don’t think about the conditions for a territorial viable nation-state. Major rivers make good territorial boundaries and landlocked countries are always in a perilous state.

          As far as Retrotopia is concerned, the Rocky Mountain Republic would be in a similar geopolitical position as Poland when they were surrounded by Prussia, Austria-Hungary, and Russia. Only without the population, territory, or the technological base to support a viable country.

  9. Jack Lifton

    The identity groups here, African Americans in Flint and Puerto Ricans anywhere can provide no further value to the Democrat Party. They vote as they are told and have nothing left to underwrite graft and theft by the party’s bankrollers. I suggest that the children now being canonized by the bought and paid for Democrat Party and it’s media puppets be resettled in California ‘s African American majority districts under the direction of Maxine Waters to ease their transition from one gangster kingdom to another and to give Maxine a chance for a really big score-that’s what governments all about, isn’t it?

    1. Darius

      Excuse me. The problem for Democrats is that historic core constituencies don’t vote in sufficient numbers. The dogs aren’t eating the dog food and the Democrats won’t address the problem.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “I went to the massive World Cup party in Moscow, where up to 25,000 fans celebrate the games”

    I wonder if he is still there. After the Russian second win, they have been having a country-size street party. The whole place is going ballistic. Never seen so many happy people having a good time. Wish I was there (sigh!)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I see patriotism…nationalism….national flags…national anthems…fervent desire to beat the other guys…

      Non-violent competition, at its best, but is this different from the NFL playing the American anthem and flying the flag?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Hmmm. Maybe it is one of those irregular verbs that as in-

        I am a patriot.
        You are a nationalist.
        He is rabid provincialist.

          1. witters

            So exceptional in fact that your World Series includes just you. Here a distinction can be made…

              1. wilroncanada

                I always thought it was interesting that of the several songs written to raise money for Ethiopian famine relief, two that were sung by ‘supergroups’ were: Canada–Tears Are Not Enough, and the US–We Are the World.

                Do the titles reflect anything in particular?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              And Canada once in a while, but can’t say they are that exceptional, though our friends up there might not agree:<

  11. a different chris

    Nice story but did you notice the difference in height between the “Towkay” and his workers? Tells you something…

  12. WobblyTelomeres

    Re: How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions

    She is a door beckoning us to step through and see the world from a different location, from a different perspective.

    This, as James Baldwin pointed out, is the proper job of the artist. It is (or should be) what they do. We seem to be woefully short of artistry in this world.

    1. perpetualWAR

      That was a good article. I remember my first beginnings of awakening regarding the Palestinian people happened when I met and had a comversation with a Palestinian woman. After that conversation, I wondered why the U.S. was not hated around the world. That was many, many years ago. Now I know that our government is hated around the world. Ahhh, the stages of enlightenment.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        I referenced Baldwin. I should have also referenced Joseph Campbell, as he describes this reframing as the hero’s journey. Sadly, our media-defined culture seems to consider only those that refuse to see as heroes. When the veil gets lifted in some foreign land, the newly enlightened warrior is traumatized, often tragically so. The lament to which no response is sufficient (“What have I done?”) is, from what I’ve been told, all too common.

        1. Procopius

          Read Grahame Greene’s The Quiet American. At the end the narrator predicts that the American CIA agent will fail/refuse to recognize the truth of what he has done.

      2. Sid Finster

        Why is the United States not hated around the world?

        Because we have bought and own the political establishments of most of the countries of the world and because we have the best propaganda available. Not just in the United States, but in the MSM around the world.

        1. Olga

          That (no doubt!) – and Hollywood propaganda. The soft power Hollywood enabled US to exercise is (was)…. priceless. Nothing compares to it. Of course, as the quality of films has declined, so has the power of H.
          It is amazing how often I talk to people who still think US is paradise – but all their knowledge of the country is just from H. films and TV shows. Those who’ve actually travelled to the US, have a more sober view.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Which of the three countries is a good choice to settle in, for people moving up from south of Mexico:

            1. Canada
            2. America
            3. Mexico

            Countries like France are not included because they are too far and too costly to go to.

            I would think America is the least popular choice.

            1. Oregoncharles

              The drug war is a real, shooting war in Mexico, with substantial casualties. It’s a dangerous place; you have to worry about more than just the police.

    2. David

      The article starts off decently enough, but we soon realise that the author is just as much in the grip of a narrative as those he criticises, and it’s largely the same narrative.
      His suggestion that “everybody is the same” is actually the underlying faith of the very narrative he criticises. It’s this assumption which gives us the right to intervene everywhere, introduce western economic and political systems, and upend traditional societies and practices. The whole development and governance agenda, which is the real hidden hand that directs much of the world, is based explicitly on this assumption. After all, if everybody is the same, there’s no need to go through the tedious business of understanding other cultures and histories. Just fly people in from missions in Cambodia, Mozambique and Colombia to build a nation in Afghanistan because, in the end, people are pretty much the same everywhere. Aren’t they?
      Secondly, he’s swallowed the “Israel/Palestine” narrative, which is itself surprising. The problem is not between “Israelis” and “Palestinians”, but between Zionists (ie those Jews who have tried to establish an ethno-nationalist state) and other groups who once lived, or still live in what was Palestine.
      Narratives are harder to escape from than we might think.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      To get around that enslavement, one thing we can do is to ask ourselves to hear from all sides on any given issue.

      For example, on immigration, go to various websites. Quote from all of them, and we can discuss, disprove or affirm their claims. The worst we can do is to hear from only one side.

      That way, we reclaim for ourselves what we are – we are all artists.

      Yes, that’s part of their enslavement, to make you think that only special people are artists.

      Wrong!!!! No!!!!

      You’re the artist of your life. You have stories to tell, ideas to share, etc. Techniques are not so important as living the process of being creative, being artistic.

  13. PlutoniumKun

    Immigration Divides Europe and the German Left Consortium News

    This is a pretty good explanation and overview I think of the convoluted arguments within the European left about migration and globilisation.

    A good part of the European left, whatever its dissatisfaction with EU performance, is impregnated with its free movement ideology, and has interiorized “open borders” as a European “value” that must be defended at all costs. It is forgotten that EU “freedom of movement” was not intended to apply to migrants from outside the Union. It meant freedom to move from one EU state to another. As an internationally recognized human right, freedom of movement refers solely to the right of a citizen to leave and return to her own country.

    In an attempt to avoid ideological polarization and define a clear policy at the Left party’s congress early this month, a working group presented a long paper setting out ideas for a “humane and social regulated leftist immigration policy”. The object was to escape from the aggressive insistence on the dichotomy: either you are for immigration or you are against it, and if you are against it, you must be racist.

    The group paper observed that there are not two but three approaches to immigration: for it, against it, and regulation. Regulation is the humane and socially beneficial way.

    The gap between what might be termed the pro and anti-immigrant left is quite profound,but if often seems quite random in how it is expressed in reality. For example, the dominant strain in Sweden is pro-immigrant, while in Denmark its the opposite, and as the article explains, Die Linke, the main left wing party in German, is split down the middle over it.

    The answer would appear simple, as expressed above – total support for free movement within Europe (i.e. within relatively equal countries), but humanely regulated immigration from outside. But the left never seems to be able to settle on the nice easy slogans and policies of the right, even though the right is equally split on the topic.

    1. David

      I agree. Maybe it’s because the Left is itself divided between a comfortable middle-class leadership and a dwindling base of ordinary people. Immigration simply doesn’t affect all groups the same way. If you are a typical militant of an allegedly Left-wing party in most European countries, you are probably part of a professional couple with a decent standard of living, and you see freedom of movement as a cheap nanny and gardener, a greater variety of restaurants and the chance for your children to spend time studying abroad. If you are an ordinary human being you see illegal immigrants brought in to drive down wages, social services stretched beyond breaking point, and large numbers of pupils in your children’ school who don’t speak your language. The fact that the first are fond giving moral lectures to the second doesn’t help.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Its partially that, although a personal theory of mine is that many Trade Unions found themselves caught between opposing immigration in order to protect jobs, while also fighting for the rights of their own new immigrant members who of course faced a lot of shop floor racism. They were probably somewhat embarrassed by the naked racism of some early Union campaigns (a few years ago I visited a museum of mining in Montana which had a display of anti-Asian posters produced by mining unions – even by the standards of the time they were breathtakingly racist). But they failed I think to develop a coherent policy, and fell back on a fairly simple anti-racist line instead, which implicitly supported immigration.

    2. Olga

      We don’t even have to go so far as “humanely regulated immigration from outside.” I did not hear too many objections from this vaunted European left, when Libya was being destroyed. So how ’bout we start with “bloody quit interfering in other countries!” Just stop… enough is enough!

      1. Chris

        Yes, that’s the central issue.

        If we in the West want to solve the problem of mass migration – hundreds of thousands wanting to leave their homes and settle somewhere less execrable – then we should just stop making other people’s homes unliveable.

    3. Left in Wisconsin

      That is one depressing article. The main takeaway for me is that the left, as a left, has completely abandoned any effort to actually take power to implement a left program. The “pro-immigration” worldview seems to me completely indefensible as either an electoral or governing strategy, neither a winner at the polls nor a workable program.

      I will be curious to see where Wagenknect and Die Linke go from here. My guess is their separate ways.

    4. Jesper

      I am back from a recent visit in Sweden. As far as I can tell the broad divide about ‘solidarity’ is between the ones who don’t have to rely on pooled resources (the safe ones) and the ones who believe they might have to rely on the pooled resources.

      The safe ones argue that the pooled resources should be shared with more people. It doesn’t cost them anything so they can afford to be ‘generous’.
      The ones who rely (or think they might have to rely) on pooled resources would prefer if less people shared those pooled resources – the safe one call these people ignorant racists who are not capable of realizing that GDP would increase if more people came in. The importance and the pride of an increasing national (GDP) is of course not racist….

      So it might be argued that both sides of the divide are making rational arguments based on their different circumstances but the smugness, arrogance and general lack of empathy of one of the sides is very off-putting to me.

      The left used to care about the ones who had to rely on the pooled resources but now? As far as I can tell the left is now about virtue signalling.

      1. JBird

        So we destroy numerous countries and the survivors flee to the West. Here in the United States with the American Gestapo ICE honest to God goon squads arresting, incarcerating, and often transporting hundreds of mile away men, women, and children without telling anyone where they are. Sometimes in an illegal manor, often for misdemeanors that can be decades old, or in cases where it was the norm to release them on their own recognizance. Children have been forced to represent themselves alone to judges.

        Denied legal representation, often used as slave labor with the management and the guards trading food, toiletries, threats of solitary confinement, and demands for sex. Even in a well run place, the prisoners are paid one ($1) per day. They are also denied adequate medical care. Now actual concentration camps where the children stolen from their families are kept in cages.

        I am really big on restricting immigration. The American economy facing possible collapse or at least the Second Great Depression; undocumented immigrants are fleeing from economies the United States destroyed, or falsely documented B-1 visa holders, being used illegally to fire Americans, bust unions, and drive down wages; those who mainly blame “racism” for the apathy, if not active hostility, to immigration of many Americans are at best fools and at worse tools for the powerful. Blaming the powerless, the victims, for not thinking right thoughts when they don’t have work is disgusting. It also will not end well. Even in California, there a lot of people across the spectrum who are thinking bad thoughts and many of them have guns. Sleeping in a car with your children, in the rain, does tend to make one very angry.

        I also really big on treating people like the human beings they are. Everyone has rights, has humanity that earns respect, have needs that should be filled. Yet. And yet. We have people being denied what few rights that they have after they have had to flee the Hell that our country created. If they do escape the attention of ICE, they will be used to further impoverish my fellow Americans.

        One party cries crocodile tears for the immigrants, and the other thinks “be evil” is a good slogan. Neither party seems to give a damn for 90% of Americans because they steadily burning every right in our Constitution and its Bill of Rights, and denying the means to a good life, on the Holy Alter of Free Market Capitalism with dollars being used as tinder.

        I do not know what else to say except that it will not end well. I was so hoping for peaceful change, but it looks like we won’t get it.

  14. PlutoniumKun

    Thanks To NATO Infighting, the Future of the F-35 Is Shrinking Defense One

    It seems that the Europeans have decided that the F-35 is a trojan horse intended to destroy the European aerospace industry.

    France and Germany have agreed to work together on a sixth-generation fighter, the so-called Future Combat Air System, or FCAS, to begin to replace the Tornado by 2040. The previous chief of the Luftwaffe, Lt. Gen. Karl Müllner, had been in favor of replacing the Tornado with the F-35. Partly for that reason, he was dismissed in May.

    It would be ironic if the chaos caused by Trumps trade policy accidentally allows him to achieve one of his rapidly dropped campaign pledges – to kill off the F-35. Turkey has been excluded from the project – now the Germans have strongly signalled they want a European alternative. Other European countries will no doubt follow.

    There is always the British of course, no doubt they’ll need an F-35 equipped pair of aircraft carriers to keep thousands of Spanish trawlers out of UK territorial waters.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Wouldn’t it be nice if all the “nations,” or at least the fractions of “nations” that have actual agency in War, The Racket, stopped “cooperating’ in the idiocy of building any kind of “6th generation manned fighter,” that always-in-the-Future Combat Air System (FCAS) (and we must always remember to include the weaponized acronym, to remind us how deeply Milbabble has penetrated “our” language…) And of course woiuldn’t it be nice if all those agents also stopped the race to develop the One Weapon to Defeat Them All…

      And all the “nations” diverted all that wealth and energy into preserving what is left of the biosphere?

      What is the percentage of 7.8 billion people need to be dedicated to the Global War Project In Aid Of Extracting The Last Bits Of Resource And Wealth, to achieve the “rotten apple in the barrel status,” in their devotion fo destruction and looting, that spoils all?

      Kum bay yah, Lord… Hahahahahahahahaha….

      1. Olga

        Well, not just extracting the last bit of resources – but extracting it for the benefit of very few people. Nothing will wake up the humanity (all 7.8 billion) until the ultimate catastrophe… by which time it’ll be too late.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Are we at 7.8 billion now!? Ugh! Everything is coming apart faster and faster. I thought there was more time than what seems there might really be.

    2. The Rev Kev

      There is an article at which comes out and says that three-quarters of the F-35s meant for export over the next five years will be obsolete. There is a good chart about which countries get which versions but what it amounts to is a roll call of Air Forces who will be crippled for decades to come. I think that Turkey just dodged a bullet.
      You’re going to love the next bit. The only engine overhaul facility for the F-35 aircraft’s engines in Europe is located in Turkey which means that the UK will have to go to Turkey to maintain those engines. This story came out last October ( so I don’t know what happens now that the US Senate has reneged on the delivery of these aircraft. Turkey even manufacturers some parts for the F-35 so that may effect the supply chain too.

      1. Wukchumni

        The thing is, that since around the turn of the century, jet fighters must’ve done something in the scheme of things, but if it amounted to much, how come we weren’t treated to the penultimate pilot hero, in a press situation post 9/11 where any old stateside returning GI Joe is heralded as if not the greatest American, surely right up there?

        When Mubarak sent out a squadron of them over Tahrir Square in Cairo to subdue the crowd, nothing happened aside from maybe wooing those below with aerial acrobatics.

    3. David

      If I remember rightly, German Tornadoes were only ever used for shipping strike in the Baltic (the Germans had their own variant for this). They were originally part of the Navy, not the Air Force, although the Air Force took over the role about a decade ago and a relatively small number are still in service. But the backbone of the Air Force is of course the Eurofighter, and I wonder if that’s what the article was about, rather than the Tornado. Replacing that in 2040 would make sense, whereas the Tornado, in service since the 1980s, would surely have to be replaced long before.

      1. JTMcPhee

        “Would make sense” to replace the Eurofighter in 2040? Makes sense only if one accepts the Idiotic Narrative of the War Is A Racket people. Eurofighters are busy taking part in bombing the snot out of Wogs in places like Syria and Libya. And of course the World Weapons Bizarre Bazaar has delivered lots of Eurofighters to Our Loyal Allies the Saudi Arabians, who are using them to bomb the snot out of “rebels” in Yemen. Not without a loss or two, , and not just the Eurofighters fall to “rebel’ fire and pilot-stupid and “technical issues:”

        But the idiotic beat goes on, now doesn’t it, and mopes die and are displaced and looted…

      2. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, you are right, the article got its aircraft mixed up – the Tornadoes are pretty much obsolete now anyway, only useable as missile carriers. They were considered something of a failure during Operation Desert Storm (among other things, they ran into dry sand dunes that their terrain following radar couldn’t detect).

        It has to be said though that the history of multi-national European co-operations isn’t good, the Tornado and Eurofighter both ended up way over budget. The French and Swedes have shown in the past that keeping it simple and going it alone has its own merits.

        1. David

          There’s a limited but successful history of Franco-German cooperation as well (Transall and Alphajet) in relatively simple aircraft. The problem, as I remember with the Tornado, is that governments take one look at the likely cost of a national project and have a seizure, so the search is on for partners to share the load and reduce costs. In practice though, I think you can say that this never, ever, happens, and in the end delays and compromises mean that it would often have been cheaper to buy nationally.
          There’s also some debate over how Swedish the Grippen actually is – it has an American engine, and quite a few of the clever bits are from the UK. But then these days even US aircraft consist of 50% foreign sourced components.

          1. JTMcPhee

            And no one even asks the question, “Why is all this Crapified grossly expensive sh!t even necessary?” When, if one is going to accept the BS that “we (meaning all the beneficiaries of the War Economy, in all the various ‘nations’ that are still at the Great Game, as extended and revised) gotta have it for SECURITY and DEFENCE (both Big Lies told to sucker the mopes into letting the Game continue),” are any of these pre-failed Rube Goldberian idiocies ever going to be strutting their Big Pilot Ego stuff in actual aerial combat? Especially since somebody in a trailer will be watching their flight path and sending missiles or beams or viral code to return them to their component parts.

            These things are not even very efficient offensive-weapons carriers, and of course the Terminator-class drone/autonomous hardware will soon terminate any Battlespace Utility of these excrescences. Let alone bleedin”the State” dry of resources, all so a bunch of uniformed idiots can play their games of life and death for others…

            But we who have learned the lingo and thought processes of the Game, particularly the Military Industrial and War part of it, just have to go on discussing and debating and showing our knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the weapons systems and stuff. Because why? I know, silly question — “That’s just the way it is, the investment sunk in it is yuuuge, and many of us have great careers out of it!”

            Sun Tzu is lauded, at least the parts of what he wrote about how to conduct a war once one is in it. He likely had no idea that War would become a globalized racket. The best part of the wisdom distilled under that name is in the first couple of headings:

            I. Laying Plans

            1. Sun Tzu said: The art of war is of vital importance to the State.

            2. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.

            3. The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.

            4. These are: (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline.

            5,6. The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger.

            7. Heaven signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons.

            8. Earth comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death.

            9. The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerely, benevolence, courage and strictness.

            10. By method and discipline are to be understood the marshaling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure.

            11. These five heads should be familiar to every general: he who knows them will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail.

            12. Therefore, in your deliberations, when seeking to determine the military conditions, let them be made the basis of a comparison, in this wise:–

            13. (1) Which of the two sovereigns is imbued with the Moral law? (2) Which of the two generals has most ability? (3) With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth? (4) On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced? (5) Which army is stronger? (6) On which side are officers and men more highly trained? (7) In which army is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment?

            14. By means of these seven considerations I can forecast victory or defeat.

            15. The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will conquer: let such a one be retained in command! The general that hearkens not to my counsel nor acts upon it, will suffer defeat:–let such a one be dismissed! …

            II. Waging War

            1. Sun Tzu said: In the operations of war, where there are in the field a thousand swift chariots, as many heavy chariots, and a hundred thousand mail-clad soldiers, with provisions enough to carry them a thousand li, the expenditure at home and at the front, including entertainment of guests, small items such as glue and paint, and sums spent on chariots and armor, will reach the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day. Such is the cost of raising an army of 100,000 men.

            2. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength.

            3. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain.

            4. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.

            5. Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.

            6. There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare. [NB: he said “country.” Not “Empire,” though the principle holds. He also did not say “supranational corporations linked in a globalized racket, managed by profit- and rent-seekers and careerists and, well, middle level material types and incompetent (measured against “battlespace victory”) generals and colonels.]

            7. It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the evils of war that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on.

            8. The skillful soldier does not raise a second levy, neither are his supply-wagons loaded more than twice.

            9. Bring war material with you from home, but forage on the enemy. Thus the army will have food enough for its needs.

            10. Poverty of the State exchequer causes an army to be maintained by contributions from a distance. Contributing to maintain an army at a distance causes the people to be impoverished.

            11. On the other hand, the proximity of an army causes prices to go up; and high prices cause the people’s substance to be drained away.

            12. When their substance is drained away, the peasantry will be afflicted by heavy exactions.

            13,14. With this loss of substance and exhaustion of strength, the homes of the people will be stripped bare, and three-tenths of their income will be dissipated; while government expenses for broken chariots, worn-out horses, breast-plates and helmets, bows and arrows, spears and shields, protective mantles, draught-oxen and heavy wagons, will amount to four-tenths of its total revenue. …..

            So we have loser generals and loser colonels (except maybe in the struggle for parts of the yuuuge wealth controlled by the Pentagram), abetting and abetted by profit-grabbing C- Suite-ers and lobbyists and fully expensed legislative members and executive branch shills, who have decide “IT’S WAR!!” in patent violation of the fundamental considerations that the Ruler and the General are supposed to have in mind, per the ancient wisdom of Sun Tzu that is sure borne out by even a cursory view of current events, before they ever lay the first nickel and Troop on foreign ground.

            Who knew that Sun Tzu was also a master of the political economy of decency and wisdom?

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      “It seems that the Europeans have decided that the F-35 is a trojan horse intended to destroy the European aerospace industry.” Maybe they’re also concerned the F-35 would destroy their defense capabilities and ruin their military budgets.

  15. JTMcPhee

    To confirm our biases a little more deeply, here’s a bit of “platform” from one FlaDem gubernatorial candidate in the crowded perpetual electoral cycle here, Dawn Graham. She is the daughter of arguably the most decent governor the state has had in the last 40 years, Bob Graham.

    Health Care

    Gwen personally experienced how difficult it is to go through a health crisis when her husband, Steve, was recently diagnosed with stage-four prostate cancer. They met with doctors, attended chemo treatments and faced the physical and emotional challenges, together. Today, Steve is in full remission — and Gwen is fighting to make sure every Floridian has affordable access to insurance, healthcare and positive outcomes.

    Gwen believes healthcare is a human right and that insurance companies shouldn’t decide who lives or dies.

    In Congress, she voted against the repeated attempts to repeal Obamacare and she fought to protect coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and to prevent insurance companies from discriminating against women. With Donald Trump in the White House, Gwen is fighting against Republican attempts to replace Obamacare with legislation that will raise premiums and increase costs for Floridians over the age of 55.

    As Governor, Gwen will expand Medicaid and work to hold insurance companies accountable. She’ll work to reduce the cost of premiums and medications.

    Yaas, “fighting for every Floridian’s human right to affordable access to insurance, healthcare and positive outcomes. And to defend Obamacare. And to hold UNsurance companies accountable.”

    Dynastic politics and playing on names, are they perpetual or only late-stage symptoms of end=stage disease? George and Lurleen Wallace, the Adams family, and more recent hand-me-downs?

    I do have to say that far as I can tell, none of the other Dem-branded candidates have anything better on offer, in the policy area. Four hours a day for fundraising. When will it become six, or eight, or twelve? And the WassermanSchultz Dems keep on doing what they do (fundraising, virtue signaling), carrying on the fighting strategy that serves their real base, serving up creatures like Alex Sink, “financier,” who patently did not want to win —

  16. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Schumer rejects GOP proposal to address border crisis The Hill

    Democrats want to keep the pressure on Trump instead of having Congress assume responsibility for the growing crisis.
    The GOP leadership supports a bill that would require that immigrant families be kept together in a humane setting while waiting for an immigration judge. Furthermore, it would expedite their hearings to minimize their time in detention.

    This is not Breitbart, it is The Hill.

    Can anyone explain to me how the “humanitarian” democrats win this one? We BLEED for the children, except Trump.

    1. Roger Smith

      Incredible. I fail to see how a minority party can act like they have any leverage here, while spitting on their supposed cause at the same time. Sure, any legislation might have unagreeable provisions, but shouldn’t the minority’s position be to take the best they can get, given their collective circumstances, until they can become strong enough to lead their own chosen policy legislation? I know this would require Democrats to actually respond to voters but…

      This was the same nonsense Planned Parenthood was doing. They claimed over and over that only 3% of their funding was used for abortion related treatments. Then when Trump et al. threatened to take away their budget allocation what did they, the minority in this situation, do? They doubled down! They leveraged the care of potentially half of their enterprise over what they themselves claimed was 3% of their enterprise. Count your loses and do the most good you can do at the given moment. Isn’t that what Non-profits are for… oh wait.

  17. marym

    Re: Many Maryland crab houses expect to go without migrant workers this summer after again losing visa lottery Baltimore Sun

    See also:

    Kentucky landscaping and construction (Link)

    Maine Summer workers (Link)

    LI NY agriculture (Link)

    Dallas-Fort Worth construction (Link)

    Ohio landscaping (Link)

    Colorado landscaping, construction, hospitality and tourism (Link)

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Soooo, the Kentucky landscaper spent an additional $18,000 importing Guatemalan workers so he could pay them the same hourly wage as American workers…

      How does that make any sense?

      Or is there some deep BS being told?

      Maybe the guy should just save the H1-b visa fees and pay AMERICAN WORKERS higher wages with that $18,000!!!!

      1. ambrit

        I’d like to find out if there are any ‘Coyotes’ involved in this labour supply scheme. Second, do these documented labourers expect to stay on and work towards citizenship? Third, do these labourers send home significant amounts of money to their home folks? Fourth, do these farmers, or perhaps mega corporations, pay overtime? When harvesting, time is of the essence. I’d expect overtime to be standard out in the fields. Overtime pay, not so standard. Fifth, being a demonstration that there is no lower bound when financial shullduggery is involved, do the ‘guest workers’ have to pay for room and board to the employers when they are in the country? The scams and schemes are almost as infinite as is the human evil imagination.

    2. RUKidding

      I don’t have links, but certainly Central Valley CA farmers have also been whining about not being able to hire migrant farm workers this summer. I don’t know how it is or is not affecting their ability to gather their crops.

      They claim that they cannot hire documented US citizens to do the work bc they don’t want to do the jobs. Wonder why? Maybe because they want to make pennies on the dollar to work in unsafe and unhealthy conditions in the insane heat of the CA summer??

      1. marym

        California (Link)

        Farm labor shortages, especially in California, the nation’s leading agricultural state, are widespread, according to news reports. In California, 55% of farmers said they didn’t have enough workers, a survey by the California Farm Bureau Federation in 2017 found.

        Immigration policies, an aging population of current workers, and an apparent reluctance from Americans to take farm jobs are just some of the complications.

        Despite wage increases and some growers providing health insurance and 401(k)s, recruiting native-born workers remains difficult. “Nine in 10 agriculture workers in California are still foreign born, and more than half are undocumented, according to a federal survey,” the Los Angeles Times said said.

        LA Times link

        1. RUKidding

          Thanks. I know that some farmers have allegedly increased pay and even offered benefits, but one does wonder by how much.

          That said, most of the farm work in CA is grueling, and you’re stuck doing it in 100 degree heat or more for hours at a time.

          Most native born, caucasian Americans aren’t up to the task. Not saying that to be mean or facetious or whatever. We’re just not.

          Could that change? Could people learn to do this work? Sure. But it takes a whole lot of hunger to motivate you to do it – I think. The migrant farm workers have been motivated by their poverty and inability to find jobs in their native lands, combined with security risks at home. They work their butts off in terrible conditions and it’s really back-breaking work.

          Yet we revile these people and blame them for the lack of jobs of flyover country. It’s risable.

          Trump’s never going to give concessions to farmers in CA to hire migrant workers. Despite Trump’s assertions that “millions of illegals” are what swelled CA votes in favor of Clinton, the fact is: CA is a blue state and legally voted overwhelming (for better or worse) for Clinton. Trump will NEVER “reward” CA for such perfidy, despite Central Valley farmers being strong supporters of Trump. Too bad, so sad, you live in a blue state, so eff you.

          1. kareninca

            If you pay people enough per hour, then they don’t have to work ridiculously long hours to get by. If you pay people enough per hour, they don’t have to work during the heat of the day, in order to work enough hours to get by. It is really weird how people assume that farm labor has to be terrible. With high enough wages, the hours can be short enough so that it doesn’t have to be awful. With high enough wages, people can afford to move there for a few months a year from another part of the state or country.

            You don’t have to force people into a state of desperation to get them to do farm work. You just have to pay enough. I read of a physician in a Scandinavian country who painted his own house. It was economically rational for him to do so. We’re just used to the idea of farm workers having sh** wages and working conditions. It doesn’t have to be the case.

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      What do high school and college age kids do during the summer that putting some extra cash in their pockets by driving a riding lawn mower or taking tickets at a water park in the Dells is such an unentertainable idea?

      Is the concept of “jobs americans won’t do,” or the fact that you’ll just borrow what you need and worry about it later really so ingrained and compelling?

      I can remember a day when summer parks and rec groundskeeping jobs were so coveted and competitive that people were disappointed when there weren’t enough to go around and they had to find something else.

      1. RUKidding

        THAT is a good question.

        I do know that at one point some of my friends’ kids couldn’t get summer camp jobs because of the hiring of foreign teenagers on some kind of special visa (forget the designation) to do this work. I can only assume that the foreign teens earned less than if they hired US-born teens – or the camps got some sort of concessions for doing this. Or else why favor teens from overseas?

        As for taking tickets at water parks and the like? Or doing grounds keeping at parks and such? I don’t know why US teens don’t do this work, if it’s factual that they don’t. Or, again, are these jobs underpaid to the degree that it makes it not worth it? I simply don’t know.

        1. ambrit

          The managers and owners are arbitraging the labour. In many regions, the sub standard wages the places pay, substandard for Americans, are good. Add in provided room and board and you’ve got a mini gold mine.
          As too many have remarked here over the years, the visa system is a tool for short circuiting the ‘supply and demand’ system regarding labour. Now the visa scam has reached up the economic ladder form simple grunt work into the ethereal realms of skilled trades and knowledge work.
          When Carlos Slim gets blown up by some Neo Magonistas, we’ll know that things are changing. Until then, business as usual.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Local teens work in the parks during the summer in my very prosperous town. I’m wondering about the whole story.

    4. kareninca

      The Baltimore crab house article did not mention even once what the wages were for crab picking. Not once. A peculiar omission. Commentors pointed out that higher wages, leading the the harvesting of fewer small crabs (since they are harder to pick), would be good for workers – whether immigrant or citizens – and good for the Bay. And that people don’t have a right to cheap crab meat.

      1. ambrit

        Well, when we lived on the Gulf Coast, you could go buy crabs, live, and boil them yourself and do the picking at the table. Even, gasp, catch them yourself. We did just that down at the local boat dock and landing place, and disposed of them properly. The leftover crab parts made excellent fertilizer for the veggie garden. To get said crabs, bait the traps and drop your crab traps down among the piers. Everyone had a different colour scheme for their floats. One enterprising bunch got caught emptying other peoples traps, and suffered a beating as a result. No one called the cops. Not me. We were one of those transgressed against. When living in small communities, methods of enforcing conformity can be, demonstrative and vigourous.

        1. kareninca

          Yes, you can do it yourself. I grew up in New England about five miles inland, and we went crabbing a few times. You don’t have to use traps, you can just use bait on a string; the crab will hold on. We brought them home and boiled them and picked them ourselves. What I learned was that I thought that it wasn’t worth killing an entire creature in order to get such a ridiculously small amount of food.

  18. Jim Haygood

    How to add value to worthless currency:

    Venezuela’s currency has become so worthless that it makes more sense to turn colorful bolivar bills into a purse than to spend them on a purse — or anything else.

    So that’s what Alvaro Rivera and other artisans in one small Colombian town along the Venezuelan border are doing — using the once mighty bolivar as raw material to make handbags, bird sculptures and other curios.

    The largest handbag Rivera sells on the streets of Cúcuta, along the Venezuelan border, is painstakingly woven from 1,000 individual bills totaling 100,000 bolivares. The value of that cash at money exchange houses in Cúcuta? Seventeen U.S. cents. The bag, on the other hand, sells for 13 dollars.

    “The price of the work has nothing to do with how many bills I use,” Rivera explained. “What I’m selling is the art.”

    It’s actually a rather nice looking purse with subtle hues of lime, pink and beige. And the fine rag paper bolivars should make it rather durable. This hundred-million-bolivar objet d’art may be chavismo’s highest achievement.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Yea the beat goes on
      And the beat goes on
      Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the bra-ain…

      Let us never remember how all this came about, not the libertarian and market-loving neoliberal version but all the bits and pieces.

      “A U.S. Policy of Non-intervention in Venezuela Would Be a Welcome Change,”

      And for more on the activities of “our” CIA and related agents of change, there’s this: “How US Intervention In Venezuela Works,”

      And of course the financialists don’t have their jackals and “economic hit men” circling, circling, and dashing in to chew a piece off the beast, and hopefully cripple it, so the pack can jam in for the kill…

      Love the superficial sympathy for ‘the poor Venezuelans…”

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The Force Behind Europe’s Populist Tide: Frustrated Young Adults WSJ

    This makes it sound like populism is not a regular state, but only when the elites are distracted from their usual business….something to be addressed from time to time.

    If the definition of a populist is a member or adherent of a political party seeking to represent the interests of ordinary people, then frustrated or no frustrated young adults, you have always populism.

    1. Louis Fyne

      it’s nasty “populism” when you disagree with the bottom 80%.

      but you laud “the voice of the people” when you agree with the bottom 80% (or get them to agree with you).

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s subtle brainwashing we are constantly being bombarded with.

        You relax for a second, and you’ve been programmed successfully.

        “Mission accomplished.”

  20. Mark Gisleson

    The Dial Report (after a quick skim) appears to be all Race and no Class. Everything has been pre-chewed for the reader, all you get are powerpoint slides on how Lakoff would respond.

  21. Synoia

    Alexa for Hotels

    Amazon programmed Alexa for Hospitality with a few special privacy measures: recordings of Alexa commands are deleted daily, and hotels can’t get access to guests’ voice recordings or Alexa’s responses to those voice recordings.

    Hotels cannot be peeping toms. But what does Amazon keep and is able to access?

  22. fresno dan

    Jim Haygood
    June 20, 2018 at 8:23 am

    from yesterday’s 2 pm water cooler:
    a different chris
    June 19, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    (Oh, and I didn’t even notice when I wrote that sentence that a former heavy-duty, and still quite busy, “maker” (i.e., GE) was replaced by a do-nothing middleman (Walgrens). Awesome. Gotta wonder what the Chinese think).
    can’t improve upon what adc said, but just reiterate the point. Reminds me when everybody in America was gonna get rich selling their ever appreciating houses to one another. Now we will all get rich selling our stocks of companies that sell us ever …rising… ;) shares of companies that sell us viagra…..

  23. precariat

    The Dangerous Complacency of Classical Liberalism

    Strange bedfellows of laissez-faire market,capitalism and reactionary nationalist bigotry..,er populism. Not really. The reactionaries are tools not a ‘paradox’ of the GOP-Trump administration. These two forces are *not* equal. The right-wing populist reactionary is only encouraged and tolerated if it serves the ‘classical liberal’ oligarchy. What is their service to the 1%? Deny, disable, distract on emotional, social power-mongering, hot button issues while Trump gives our country to the rich. Only in understanding the role of the reactionary nationalists can one address their actions and not be derailed.

  24. precariat

    Indeed. This is my view of populism. But ‘populist’ has been imbued with negative, reactionary meanings. Always an effort to recast the idea of populism, power to ordinary people, as dangerous. Hmm, why is so dangerous? Because of the reactionaries, who are encouraged. And the real everyday folks are stymied, having to fight the reationaries *and* the concentrated power. A feature for the 1%.

  25. precariat

    Seems to put Comey’s actions in a more understandable light. Still his decisions were unprofessional – if this is why he went public twice. Comey did not have the guts to confront a sham investigation as such. Are institutions in US *that* far gone?

    1. RUKidding

      Sadly probably yes.

      No love lost on Comey. I think he’s a weasel who did his job poorly. Much as I hate to admit it, I think Trump was right to fire him. Good riddance.

      1. Arizona Slim

        I also find myself agreeing with Trump on this one. Guess that makes me a backward deplorable.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          And one reason why I have a hard time understanding

          1. Everything Trump does is so he can slap his name on it
          2. Everything Trump does is motivated by r*cism.

          24/7…everything..everyday…every time…

          1. RUKidding

            I’m willing to admit when Trump’s right. Factually, he has done a few things I agree with, firing Comey being one of them.

            FWIW, though, Trump, himself, is setting the narrative, and his boorish ways mask the few things he does that are useful.

            But yes: some are so blinded by hatred that they don’t want to admit it.

            Then again, same b.s. went on with Obama, who did some good things, too.

            Same old, diff’rent day.

  26. FluffytheObeseCat

    Those otters are so danged cute. Keep in mind, however, they are highly successful carnivores. They can depopulate a koi pond in a weekend. Seen it happen.

  27. MaxFinger

    Great link today outlining Worker Cooperatives – Islands in a Sea of Capitalism
    Very appropriate since we are collectively working on creating worker cooperatives by educating some local people just what the values of collectivism can achieve.
    This lead me to:
    “Great human beings gain their true dimension among us when
    they are contemplated with enough perspective to be able to
    encompass their true human stature. Distance in time ennobles
    those who are illustrious and irrevocably fades the futility of
    The passing of the years provides a good yardstick to evaluate
    the depth and the wisdom of good ideas.”
    The reprinting of this booklet, which collects some of the
    Reflections of Don José María Arizmendiarrieta, is meant to be
    an act of tribute and acceptance of his irrefutably wise leadership.

  28. Jeremy Grimm

    In the relative quiet of today’s news what mischief lies hiding in wait for discovery later after its fait accompli?

  29. Fastball

    Speaking only for myself, and having been to the areas I will discuss, were I drawing national boundaries within the U.S., and as a Coloradoan, I would create one sub-nation consisting of Eastern Colorado, Northern New Mexico and far southern Wyoming (just Cheyenne) and excluding the entire rest of what Woodward calls “the Far West”.

    In eastern Colorado, we share very little of the outlook and attitude I have observed elsewhere in the “Far West”. I don’t want to insult anyone so I won’t use any negative adjectives here. Cultures are just different, not better or worse.

    Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, the Dakotas and so on are nothing like Eastern Colorado — nothing like it. Probably Nevada is closer to E.C. in character, but slightly different.

  30. Andrew Watts

    RE: The United States Is Pushing Toward War With China

    The rebranding of Pacific Command into a new Indo-Pacific Command is probably the result of American war planners. I theorized in a comment a few years ago that the outbreak of war between China and the US would initially be fought in the Indian Ocean as the US Navy tried to sever the Chinese lines of communication from the Gulf while closing the Straits of Malacca to Chinese naval vessels. This probable course of action would attempt to strangle China’s ability to supply itself with oil and other raw materials.

    However, I don’t believe that any war plan or name change of Pacific Command are what’s pushing China and the United States towards a disastrous war. As long as America’s ruling class believes in the efficacy of military force a Sino-American war is almost an inevitability. I’m not that optimistic about America’s chances in any war either. The US military has never accepted the idea that war is primarily a contest between minds and willpower. Their obsession with physical fitness and technology hasn’t exactly helped them win any wars.

    We’re also comparing the intellectual difference between the people of a rising power who learned strategy through Go on one hand, and individuals who primarily practiced operational planning through fantasizing about American football on the other.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When Xi first took power, there was a drive to expose corrupt government officials and military officers.

      Then, the response was that it was to (or also to) remove internal opposition players.

      If that is the case, then, corruption is still rampant…even in their armed forces.

      That, potentially, is their Achilles Heel….has always been (see, for example, Ci Xi dowager empress and the Bei Yang Fleet, with the most powerful war ship in the Far East and getting beaten badly by the Japanese).

      1. Andrew Watts

        I believe the Chinese get more bang for the buck from their military budget. The Pentagon lost how many billions in Iraq and Afghanistan on logistics, infrastructure projects, and the ghost Iraqi Army which folded in the face of the onslaught launched by Islamic State?

  31. boz

    RE Lloyds report published by Ian Fraser.

    I’ve been searching for this on his site and elsewhere and I can’t see the doc anywhere. I’d like to see more than the tidbits the Graun deigns to publish.

    Any readers with a link?

  32. The Rev Kev

    “The United States Is Pushing Toward War With China”

    The rules of the game are changing. The Chinese are making a solid effort to have a more professional military which you can see on the China Defense Blog. Just because they are Chinese doesn’t mean that they aren’t any good, after all. It may only be a matter of time until we see a Great Yellow Fleet ( on a world tour.

  33. cripes

    Re: Worker Cooperatives – Islands in a Sea of Capitalism

    I see scant interest in the topic here.
    As much as i am intrigued by the prospect of worker cooperatives–or horizontalism–I am reminded of Marxist critiques that worker cooperatives in a Sea of Capitalism would degenerate into capitalist enterprises under economic pressures to survive, albiet with a somewhat more civilized governance and compensation structure within.

    They could barely survive, let alone prevail without taking state power.

    I fear at best, they may serve as counter-examples and organizing foci for labor. Which is reason enough.

  34. drumlin woodchuckles

    About controlling weeds without herbicides, I have read books that seem to fall into two basic approaches.
    One approach is physical cultivation . . . use of the right tools at the right time to kill the right weeds the right way. Here is a book showcasing that approach.

    The other approach focuses on which weeds germinate and grow under what particular conditions of soil drainage, soil aeration, shortages or excesses of which particular mineral, shortages or excesses of in-soil organic matter, aerobic versus anaerobic decay of in-soil plant remains, manure, etc. There are a few books on that approach.

    And these books are written for serious farms of many acres apiece, not little gardens of a few hundred square feet where de-weeding can be easily done with hand tools and no chemicals at all.

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