Links 7/1/18

American History for Truthdiggers: The Forgotten and Peculiar War of 1812 Truthdig. Maj. Danny Sjursen.

‘It’s nothing like a broken leg’: why I’m done with the mental health conversation Guardian (Terry)

Study Shows Most People Are Spreading Dangerous Bacteria Around the Kitchen and Don’t Even Realize It USDA (Chuck L)

These tiny little bugs are a harbinger of wetland health — and they’re disappearing MPR News (Chuck L)

Orangutans have been adapting to humans for 70,000 years The Conversation

Good news for human life spans — at age 105, death rates suddenly stop going up WaPo. Chuck L: The way things are going I don’t want to live anywhere near 105.

TfL ‘incredible quiet’ about £300,000,000 owed to Oyster card holders Metro. An issue with stored value cards.

The strange reason owl theft may be on the rise BBC. An odd front in the war on cash.

Trade Tantrum

The US-China trade war: can Trump learn from history and resolve it? SCMP

How Conservatives Weaponized the First Amendment NYT (Glenn F)

EFF sues to kill FOSTA, calling it “unconstitutional Internet censorship law” Ars Technica


A Nervous Rupee Should Force India to Take a Hard Look at its Macroeconomic Risks The Wire
PAN-Aadhaar linking deadline extended till March 2019: CBDT order Economic Times

Trade-war fears drive Indian rupee to record low FT

Killing a Journalist in Kashmir Consortium News

One year after GST, India’s smaller companies are on the backfoot

Mexico elections: Polls due to open after campaign marred by violence BBC


Iraq executes 13 and orders hanging of hundreds more amid fears of Isis resurgence Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

US needs to draw a line in the sand with Iran over Yemen Asia Times (The Rev Kev)

The ‘ultimate deal’ that Jared Kushner is proposing for Palestine would strip the people of all their dignity Independent. Robert Fisk.

Class Warfare

The working-class struggles that propelled Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to victory WaPo UserFriendly: “​It’s like WaPo just remembered that people outside of DC matter.​“

As Interest in Democratic Socialism Surges, Ocasio-Cortez Explains to Colbert What a “Moral” Economy Would Look Like Truthout

The best books on GDP Five Books. FT correspondent David Pilling.

U.S. Inflation Rate Hit 6-Year High in May WSJ (The Rev Kev)

Amazon buying online pharmacy with nationwide reach; drug store stocks dive Ars Technica

Tesla keeps changing how it builds the Model 3 The Verge (The Rev Kev)

The Rise of Bullshit Jobs Jacobin

Federal Lawsuit Filed In Chattanooga “To Prevent VW From Swapping Older Workers For Younger Ones In U.S.” The Chattanoogan (The Rev Kev)

Vermont’s $10,000 Gamble American Conservative

Black Injustice Tipping Point

A white woman called police on a black 12-year-old — for mowing grass WaPo (The Rev Kev)

Kill Me Now

Obama: ‘You are right to be concerned’ Politico. Must be read to be believed.


Brexit: encapsulating the incomprehension

The stain of Britain’s part in torture and rendition will never wash away The Conversation

Health Care

Opioid Makers, Blamed for Overdose Epidemic, Cut Back on Marketing Payments to Doctors Pro Publica

North Korea

“Officials” Attempt To Sabotage Further North Korea Talks Moon of Alabama (The Rev Kev)

Trump Transition

This Political Theorist Predicted the Rise of Trumpism. His Name Was Hunter S. Thompson. The Nation (furzy)

Why Ayatollah Khamenei will not negotiate with Trump Al Jazeera

US ambassador to Estonia resigns over Trump policies and provocations Guardian


How Supreme Court Nominations Lost Their Apolitical Pretense Politico

Here’s All Our Anthony Kennedy Coverage In One Place — See Also Above the Law. Links to links, so of which I concede, are inside baseball. Still, worth collecting in one place.

‘We have to pick a great one’: Inside Trump’s plan for a new Supreme Court justice WaPo

Trump Does Deep Dive on High Court Finalists Before July 9 Pick Bloomberg


“Are you alone now? WaPo

Protests Across U.S. Call for End to Migrant Family Separations NYT

It’s official: The Trump administration has replaced family separation with indefinite family detention Vox

In the new climate of fear, our rescue boat turned away from people drowning New Statesman

Antidote du jour.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Superduperdave

    “Weaponizing” the 1st Amendment – so now free speech is a bad thing. How can I possibly keep up?

    >How Conservatives Weaponized the First Amendment NYT (Glenn F)

    1. Carolinian

      The article is a bit of a muddle because it conflates the issue of corporate versus individual speech with the issue of conservative versus liberal political speech. Therefore some “progressives” can take the wrongheaded “corporations are persons” distortions of recent court rulings as an excuse to denounce political speech they don’t like–so-called “hate speech” etc. They too want the first amendment to mean whatever they want it to mean.

      What the article should have talked about was the way conservative judicial activism produced claims that campaign spending limits amount to censorship. This defiance of common sense really has nothing to do with the real purpose of the first amendment which was to protect open debate. Clearly some forms of speech are harmful including using your money to drown out other views.

      1. remmer

        Liptak did deal with the Buckley v. Valeo decision “that campaign spending limits amount to censorship,” based on the claim that money is speech. But he blamed that decision on liberals, not conservatives, and by “liberals” he meant mainly the ACLU, which represented the plaintiffs. What he didn’t say was that the Buckley in the case was William F. Buckley’s brother, then-Senator James Buckley, who had been elected on the NY State Conservative party ticket. He was joined by the Libertarian party, the American Conservative Union, and Human Events, Inc. The ACLU agreed to represent them only after a long internal debate between the liberals and libertarians on its board, a debate the libertarians won. The ACLU has backed the money-is-speech argument right up to Citizens United, but it gets ideological cover for this right-wing position by the liberal stance it takes on social issues. Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen made the perfect bumper-sticker definition of a libertarian as one who turns left at sex and turns right at money. The ACLU has been turning right at political money at least since the early 1970s. Liptak didn’t mention the liberals in the case, Common Cause and the League of Women Voters. The Court admitted them as intervening defendants when DOJ — whose job it is to defend the constitutionality of U.S. laws — decided instead to submit an amicus brief. The weaponizing of the First Amendment began with the conservative/libertarian victory in Buckley v. Valeo, a decision the liberals lost.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Does that mean that Michigan Republicans want to remove the democracy out of America as well as it is “too partisan”?

        1. JTMcPhee

          Two guys are sitting at a bar, nursing their drinks. One guys is rolling three little round balls with his forefinger, back and forth. The other guy gets interested. “What you got there?” “Well, pardner, these are smart pills. Eat one and you’ll get smart.” “Naw, go on — I don’t believe you.” so the first guy rolls one over to the second, who scoops it up, pops it back and chases it with a swallow of beer. He sits there for a while, then says, “Hey, I don’t feel any smarter.” “Well, maybe you just need another one of these,” so he rolls it over, the second guy swallows it, and sits back to await increased intelligence. And says, after a while, “Man, I still do not feel any smarter.” The other guy says, “I only got one left, but you can have it,” and he rolls the last one over. The second guy picks it up and is about to swallow it when he decides to look at it more closely. “Hey,” he says, “this looks just like a rabbit turd!”

          Says the first guy, “NOW, your getting smart.”

          There ain’t no Democracy in America, except for a very cramped definition that what we got is “democracy,” by decree of those in authority.

          NOW you’re getting SMART>

  2. Livius Drusus

    Re: Bullshit Jobs.

    I never liked this meme. It always strikes me as a form of lifestyle-ism where some leftists sneer at people for working jobs as “paper pushers.” Sure many jobs can be classified as bullshit and some might even be pernicious but in real life I am loath to call the way somebody feeds themselves and their family “bullshit.” I also sense that this idea is related to the obsession with the “creative class” where people in cool, creative jobs are lauded while those stuck in boring jobs are dismissed as mediocre flunkies.

    Graeber’s critique of the job guarantee sounds exactly like what conservatives said about the WPA and many other New Deal job programs. They criticized those job programs as “make work” and the people in those jobs were ridiculed for supposedly being lazy and inefficient. But you can find testaments to the good work done by the people working in those New Deal programs all over the country. My grandfather and great uncle worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps and they loved it. It certainly wasn’t a “bullshit job” to them.

    Also, Graeber seems to subscribe to the romanticized view of unemployment that other UBI advocates hold. Being on the dole is horrible and the UBI is just the dole on steroids. There will be no massive upsurge in creativity. Bill Mitchell dealt with this issue in a great blog article last year.

    “Unemployment is miserable and doesn’t spawn an upsurge in personal creativity.”

    I understand that many people hate their jobs these days but that is mostly due to the lack of power workers have today. The decline of unions, the gutting of labor regulations, vicious management practices and a labor market that is often skewed in favor of employers through deliberate austerity all contribute to the misery that workers feel today.

    1. Jack P Lifton

      My first job was as a paper delivery boy; then I worked as a drugstore clerk (including the moping of floors); then I went to college for which I worked various jobs to pay my own tuition; and as I entered graduate school (chemistry) I got my first job in an engineering laboratory. I retired as the CEO of an OEM automotive supplier of engineered materials 37 years later. I did not attend business school, nor did I get a PhD. I liked working. Today, 20 years after “retiring,” I am engaged full time as a “consultant.”
      The easy route to mediocrity is a credentialed life where “others” of your kind give you a “helping hand.”
      I remember when black people had to walk on the other side of a main street in Detroit after dark, and when a Jewish friend of mine pretended to be Roman Catholic to get a management job at the Chrysler Corporation.
      Its sad to think that anyone needs a guaranteed income or considers themselves to be excused from ambition by being a victim. Has the War on Poverty been lost?

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        I cannot follow your argument here. A UBI is one strategy for addressing poverty. It does not preclude recipient from ambition, in fact it might free people to pursue their goals instead of living moment too moment hand to mouth.

        And are you suggesting that having to cross the street or deny your heritage is somehow character building and a good thing for society?

      2. Isotope_C14

        I get that some of you spring chickens haven’t looked at job postings lately.

        Tuition in some schools is over 20k a year, well obviously those students should work harder right? So you need a 40 hour a week job, plus a 15 credit hour load. That should be manageable right?

        Excused from ambition, my god do the math. Tell me what job postings you see that will hire at 40k a year and allow a full time work schedule with classes. Go work a minimum wage job and look at your paycheck after 2 weeks. Jobs that pay the luxurious rates of 35k require a degree many times.

        This sort of holier than thou attitude is exactly why there are boomer-hate blogs. I’d humbly suggest that if it was so great and affordable when you were 20, that you think about why it is not now, and avoid blaming the victim, because they are..

        1. Chris

          Exactly. Especially because some kids have been sold the BS of needing not just one but two degrees to do what they want in their careers. Plus graduate school. Doing all that and working full time is something few people can handle. And the minute you get an unexpected bill or an illness you’re screwed.

          1. Kurtismayfield

            The education inflation is ridiculous. Jobs that used to be 4+1 or masters are now PhD’s. The system exists just to propagate itself.

          2. Isotope_C14

            UW Madison:


            Minimum $40,861 ANNUAL (12 months)
            Depending on Qualifications

            PhD required; preferably in cell biology, molecular biology, or related field

            This is a real posting. This is why I’m not in the US anymore, I get paid well over this in Germany, without a PhD.

            But Bezos and Wall-street need more money, what possible good could a trauma-surgery cell biologist do…

            1. Kurtismayfield

              I have met 6 different PhD’s in science that teach High school. All across the spectrum, it’s not just Molecular Biology that is undervalued out there. And this is in the Boston area.

              1. Felix_47

                With the internet and curiosity we really don’t need that much school. I did an Ivy League degree and when I think of the hours of research and library work wasted compared to the way I learn now….. The problem as I understand it is the Duke Power decision. Before that an employer could give a test on general intelligence and use it to base hiring decisions. After the Duke Power case they could not. The case was about a black who applied for a job as a lineman but the test was basically an IQ or general knowledge test. The Supreme court said that if the test did not measure a specific skill required for the job that it was illegal. The substitute for a lot of employers ended up being a college degree which suggested the applicant had some sort of intellect and was able to show up at least most of the time to class…..which culled a lot of applicants out. There should be a more cost effective way to screen applicants. The beauty to a test is that it is not tied to college or hundreds of thousands in tuition. If a high school kid does well on the test, has clean urine and no criminal record who cares about a college degree? Of course, as an employer I realize that finding someone who can read and write well, has clean urine, no criminal record and will show up on a regular basis is not so easy in the US. On the other hand if I don’t like American employees (meaning US) l should move my business to Mumbai or Calcutta or Tegucigalpa. I should not be permitted to hire employees from overseas for my US based business that makes money in the US on US consumers.

        2. kareninca

          “Tuition in some schools is over 20k a year”

          Tuition???? It’s a lot worse than that.

          My dad is a retired professor; he taught at a Catholic college on the east coast. It is not a bad college, exactly, but I wouldn’t advise someone really bright to go there unless they had some particular personal reason. I just checked. Presently, for tuition, room and board, it is: $62,000 per year. Going there would not get you a truly wonderful education (of course much depends on what you put into it, but still), or a great shot at a job. I had my dad guess what the cost was and his guess was about half that. He nearly fell off the couch when I told him the real figure.

          I don’t think this is going to be much offset by a part-time job during the academic year. It is true that it is a private college, but public universities are now proportionately as ridiculously expensive.

      3. Kurtismayfield

        My first job was as a paper delivery boy

        That job doesn’t exist anymore

        then I worked as a drugstore clerk

        They have Pharmacy Techs with certificates, and PharmD students do that now.

        then I went to college for which I worked various jobs to pay my own tuition

        I did that too, my college costs were 7k a year. You may be able to do that at a community college if you live at home and have your parents pay for food now.

        The rest may be possible if you go to a T1 grad school/ have the right connections. But the bootstraps approach is not really feasible for the majority of young people in this country. We all appreciate the opportunity that the 55-80 set had, but they don’t exist in the same way anymore.

      4. Jeremy Grimm

        Did you forget trudging three miles through the knee-high snow every day to get to school and work? I bet you were friends with Horatio Alger and I wonder whether your comment is just as real as that character. Congrats! You did get a bit of a rise.

      5. Richard

        Oi. The family blogging “war on poverty”?! That sad, starved and abandoned thing that Moynihan democrats and conservatives like to to drag out and flog? Or I mean liked to drag out and flog, back when that comment was 40 years closer to being relevant. See, we tried once, and it ruined them.
        Many are pointing out to you the enormous difference in the opportunities Boomers enjoyed, and what prevails today. Let me amplify on that. A period of cheap rent and housing prevailed through the 60’s and into the 70’s. Higher public education was always affordable, and in some instances was subsidized or free. Health care was far less expensive. There were far more career opportunity jobs, in both blue and white collar, where one might grow within a company, and expect a pension when you retire. And of course all this made for a much softer terrain for the entreprenuereal types, of which you seem to number.
        So yes, you have a sizable generational privilege that you appear blissfully unaware of. May that sense of bliss be short lived!
        But it’s also my sad duty to report to you about the War on Poverty, as you appear to have missed a few memos there as well:
        *They went to war in Vietnam
        *They forgot all about it
        *Way more poor people now
        There, that catches you up.

        1. Pat

          Not quite, you missed that secret war on labor that managed to take root and destroy many of the things that allowed all those career opportunity jobs in the blue collar and eventually the white collar world. The most visible warrior for that was Ronald Reagan, but there were a whole lot of people who worked long and hard to make sure the deck was stacked against those who build things, produce things, fix things, or for all intents and purposes don’t run multinational companies or sell financial services for a living.

          And it was all about buying many of those politicians who were there for the ‘war on poverty’. They wrote laws favoring corporations and ‘investment’, and restricting labor and employee rights. They helped fill the judiciary with people who did their best to make sure the corporations had no responsibilities to their employees, their customers and the communities they were located in and/or did business in. God forbid they have to help build the roads, or keep the water clean, or even help fund the education for their future workers. Nor should they have to make sure their workers made enough to have a roof over their heads, food in their bellies or health care. They shifted all that to the government and the government shifted it back to the employees who didn’t see a real wage increase in decades at least until they actually saw wages decreased. You know because the corporations could claim that market rates were half what they were a year ago or even a few ago.

          It isn’t even the generational advantage that pisses me off. I actually enjoyed some of that. I might not have used it, but I got to go to the biggest University in my state for a tuition that a minimum wage worker could easily make in a summer break, and live in a space where a part time job could pay the rent. I actually got work in an unionized job, will have a small pension, and until recently had health care included in my health insurance even though in later years my union struggled to provide it. It is the lack of recognition that we were luckier than some in our generation, and that not so even playing field has gotten smaller and more restricter every year. It is the lack of recognition that much of the things that probably piss off people who complain about things that remind them of the failure of the ‘war on poverty’ and probably the waste of their ‘taxes’ don’t get that everyone who has been winning this class war has been regulating things to rip them off as well. They probably lost a lot of money in the various bubble crashes of the past two decades, without realizing that the people at the top really didn’t, lose in fact they made out like bandits. That they are probably, like most of the rest of us, paying a larger percentage of those taxes they complain about than Bezos and Buffett and certainly jerks like Welch and Peterson did. Welch and Peterson worked long and hard to make sure that was the case. But even more it is the lack of recognition that they would probably have a better life, a more secure world and yes, their kids a more secure future, if those psychopaths had been routed and destroyed and the means they used to buy the political capital they used to enact their desired agenda became the quickest way to political oblivion.

          Much of our history is made up of public programs that were NOT were they appeared to be – ‘war on drugs’/the new Jim Crow;’free trade’/regulated trade expansion of globalization on and on. They were distractions, distortions, and out right opposites of what they were stated to be in order to distract the masses. The so-called ‘war on poverty’ was part and parcel of the same. It is past time for many people to recognize they got sold a bill of goods.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            We had the “exorbitant privilege” of issuing the world’s reserve and trade currency after WWII. That meant we could print oil, where everybody else had to 1. Earn a profit; 2. Buy dollars; 3. Buy oil.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Most of the “associates” and “customer service representatives” I dealt with recently, as a nurse trying to get “authorizations” for treatments and medications for my doctors’ patients, thought their jobs (gatekeepers in the Medical UNsurance Industry’s “Departments of Denials” were “bullshit.” I commiserate with them about being just a target for the anger of “policyholders,” and ask them about how they feel about doing what they do.

      Many will, despite the “calls may be monitored for training and quality” threats to their continued employment if they don’t toe the narrow line of scripts and resistance, lay it out there that what they do is just cruel and/or bullshit.

      There are millions in those UNsurance ranks, millions more in call centers and similar operations, millions more doing uber and such, and hundreds of thousands in the “mid-managers” just above them, who just do bullshit work all day long. And yes, one dare not sneer at them because at least they get a paycheck of sorts, whether they are “zero-hours” or sort of hourly or “you are now our no-life-no-rights slaves because we pay you a ‘salary’.” Too bad they all find themselves in “lives of quiet desperation.” With none of the tools of history or culture to help them organize and move the Juggernaut in a different direction.

      Of course there is always hope that things might change, like this small example:

      The tiny union beating the gig economy giants —
      A grassroots fightback is helping to win basic rights for couriers, cleaners and other workers on zero-hours contracts. And the IWGB is showing how unions can thrive

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        As an LCSW I have mentioned before that discouragingly that since about 2010 these UNsurance (great word btw) jobs have proliferated and are paid more than jobs for front line workers who actually make a difference in people’s lives.

        1. Spring Texan

          I agree. But your ordinary paper-pusher is doing stuff like this. I heard a “The Weeds” podcast where the folks there denigrated a job cleaning up parks because “that’s not a meaningful job.” Hell, of COURSE it’s a meaningful job, what are they smoking? But, yes, denying people healthcare is NOT a meaningful job. Neither is trapping them into buying stuff they don’t need. But plenty of very mundane jobs are not bullshit jobs and I agree that this stuff about the ‘creative class’ has made people think they are.

          Plenty of ‘creative class’ jobs ARE bullshit jobs.

          People (like HR folk, or library clerks) who work in an environment where they are allowed to be fairly helpful to people in getting their paper pushed effectively can find their jobs meaningful, and rightfully so. So do people who clean stuff or maintain stuff or whatever. And they are right – these jobs are worth doing and they contribute.

          1. FluffytheObeseCat

            Yes. I doubt Graeber realized his piece on “bullshit jobs” would go quasi-viral, and raise these kinds of category issues. He seems to have relied heavily on self reporting from the ranks of “bullshit jobholders” via the web. Which certainly induces sampling bias; “paper pushers” would be over represented with this method. I mean, who else can vent at lunch by answering questions on an academic’s website? It’s rarely front line employees who get to do that.

            He has a point about too many people stuck in jobs that exist wholly in order to prevent access, deny coverage, or bulk up the entourage of some management overlord. It’s just… those jobs aren’t always based in cubicle land.

          2. marieann

            I always thought that the jobs the “creative class” had were the bullshit jobs. They are the tech/paper pusher jobs meaningless jobs.
            Cleaning up a park is a real job…it benefits the public and the community.

            1. Lord Koos

              Cleaning up a park is more important than writing code for a new facebook app? /sarc

              1. Procopius

                I may be going off on a tangent here. I have believed for many years that a good prostitute is as valuable to society as a good plumber. Many years ago I saw a quotation from a Brazilian prostitute, “Yeah, it’s a shit job, but lots of jobs are shit jobs, and the pay isn’t bad.”

      2. Mark Gisleson

        Another tired story from my years as a resume writer, but the only time I dealt with insurance industry employees was 1) entry-level resumes, 2) resumes for competitive positions, 3) resumes for finding work in other industries. 2 was rare but even then no one I worked with in the insurance industry liked their job. It was one of the most universal truths I learned.

        At parties I always quizzed insurance employees. Unfailingly they had horror stories about narcissistic management, bullshit jobs or simply existential angst. Those assigned to denying claims were extremely unhappy people.

        Ditto phone centers, customer service and bad sales jobs. (Bad in the sense of having to sell an utterly worthless product or worse, a product that actually harmed the earth and/or its users.)

        Jobs that were coveted become despised (thinking of nurses who switched to Big Pharma sales). I also got input from professionals complaining about junk job holders pestering them (pharma sales reps make doctors lives a living hell, ditto almost anyone in an actual purchasing position).

        But none of this touches the crappy jobs which for some insane reason always pay the worst. The lowest paid healthcare workers empty bedpans. The city employees you rely most on (garbage workers) get paid least. The people who care and watch for your children get paid far less than the small army of workers paid to make sure your kids eat sugar. The youngest/most inexperienced cops get the worst neighborhoods. Yet these people who are critical to society receive the least respect and compensation.

        There are worse things than BS jobs, but it takes a capitalist to make them that way.

        1. JTMcPhee

          As to municipal workers you and I rely on most, let’s not forget the ones who maintain your public water supply, and of course, and this is a big one, keep your sanitary sewers and stormwater drains and sewers and ditches and canals functioning. And road repair. And that occasionally authoritarian but useful set of tasks involved in enforcing building codes and other regulatory functions that the individual stupid greed of greedy individuals (and ignorant too) makes necessary.

          And of course those who denigrate government employees and their horrible deficit-generating pensions and benefits will chime in that a lot of government employees maybe do not work all that hard for the pay they get (which is often pretty puny, especially in Deplorableland and around where Rich People live). But by and large, my observation (including time digging out storm lines and collecting garbage to earn my college expenses) is that most municipal workers, including clerical types, earn their keep in actual service. (I bet Pentagram Procurement People work hard at looting the planet in pursuit of dreams of hegemony and to extend and expand their Huge Set Of Good Paying Middle Class Jobs, so I would categorize those as bullshit jobs in the sense that they are helping to kill us all.)

          It’s so hard to work out the many different categories of that monad, “bullshit,” isn’t it, depending on our individual belief structures, preferences and prejudices. Maybe one reference that might help is this categorization of different kinds of human stupidity and bullshittyness:

          “The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity,”

        2. Felix_47

          I don’t think garbage workers in New York have it that bad. There was an article in the New York Times some time ago about the huge numbers of applicants…….and the pay was outstanding and with benefits and good hours. Union municipal workers are paid “workers employed by the Department of Sanitation — which collects residential trash — are unionized and offered health care, pensions and a median base pay of $69,000.” The private workers, largely immigrant, illegal and scab labor are the ones that don’t make much. Cut off this labor source and garbage workers would be able to strike and make a lot more as they did 50 years ago.

      3. Jeremy Grimm

        I think Graeber misses the extent to which many of the bull-shit jobs he bemoans are part of the comodification and quantification of making all things fit the disciplines of the Market. I also believe in what C. Wright Mills termed the Managerial Demiurge — the idea that managers have a drive to control and direct the work of others driven by a will to power more than mere mindless Taylorism.

    3. Stillfeelinthebern

      Agree. 100% Cleaning, cooking, caring, all these service jobs are essential, but the people who do them are treated like ?hit. We need to restore the dignity to ALL work, especially the work many do not want to do (like cleaning, cooking, caring) and pay them well and respect them for doing this work. Dignity at all levels matter.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        House keeping is not included in the GDP.

        Will it be considered a job in the job guarantee program?

        How will visiting lonely seniors add to the economy”s productivity? Should people be paid to do that? Will it one of the jobs in the program?

        Will that lead to inflation?

        And farming should be as prestigious (or with as dignity) as all other jobs. Unfortunately, it seems to be one of low prestige, from a comment a few days back.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Farming’s largely crapified. Big Ag factory farms, practicing monoculture supported by huge amounts of Tech and Big Data and fuel consumption, and fertilizer, pesticides, soil depletion, perverse (from a species survival and autarkic standpoint) incentives, pricing power of big corps and middlemen to bleed out all the smaller-farming income streams, debt, and DEBT.

          Hard to find meaning and honor in that fundament of “civilization,” going back to when the first gleaners and hunter-gatherers discovered grains and legumes and root crops could be cultivated, leading to our “civilization” of walled enclosures and priesthood’s and armies and hierarchies and stuff like the Israelites knocking down the walls of Jericho and putting the inhabitants to the sword, not that the Israelites had and have any singular lock on that kind of behavior — See, e.g., Monsanto-Dow, and Big Pharma, and Lockheed “We never forget who we are working for” Martin, and all the rest.

          Though of course there are humans of good intent and good will, who are working hard to establish sustainable and resilient ag practices and little pockets of “food sanity” that may survive the next round of greed-driven collapse that sure seems to be coming at us pretty fast… No guarantee, of course, that people with gunz and experience of organizing repressive and autocratic operations won’t still end up at the top, with all the babes and booze and best bits of the food chain…

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            In the beginning:

            Hard to find meaning and honor in that fundament of “civilization,” going back to when the first gleaners and hunter-gatherers discovered grains and legumes and root crops could be cultivated, leading to our “civilization” of walled enclosures and priesthood’s and armies

            In the future:

            that people with gunz and experience of organizing repressive and autocratic operations won’t still end up at the top, with all the babes and booze and best bits of the food chain…

            It’s like history (and prehistory) repeating itself.

      1. tongorad

        Gilded Age, part duex:

        Scrap ‘outmoded’ 8-hour workday in Germany, economic experts say

        The German Council of Economic Experts says that the country’s Working Hours Law is out of step with the times and that the concept of a normal work day should be fundamentally “loosened.”

        “The idea that you begin your working day in the morning in the office and end it when you leave the company (in the late afternoon) is outmoded,” Council Chairman Christoph Schmidt told Germany’s Welt newspaper.

        Funny how some people’s ideas of “flexible” and “loose” call for an ever-tightening noose.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      My take away from the Graeber interview was encapsulated in a single sentence near the end:
      “People want to contribute to the world in some way.”
      The homo econimus of the Market is as alien to homo commonus as a Martian. I won’t argue the merits of our Race-to-the-Moon or the military intent behind all the glorious “March to the Stars” hype. What I remember was the palpable excitement I heard in voices of the engineers I worked with who had worked on the Moon program as they recalled their work on that effort. They felt that what they had been doing was something greater than themselves, something they felt really was a “… giant leap for Mankind.” I spent my first years at college in the dorms where many of the students before me had been training in engineering because they wanted to be part of something greater than themselves. The Race-to-the-Moon was over, the pink slips went out, the houses of entire neighborhoods not far from where I lived were empty with numerous foreclosures — but I could still sense the residual excitement from the generation before in the dorm walls and suite’s whiteboard.

    5. Lambert Strether

      > Graeber’s critique of the job guarantee sounds exactly like what conservatives said about the WPA and many other New Deal job programs. They criticized those job programs as “make work” and the people in those jobs were ridiculed for supposedly being lazy and inefficient.

      I agree the meme has been hijacked in bad faith* :

      85 years ago: FDR’s forest army planted 3 billion trees in national forests, shelter belts Tree Source

      However, I’m very sympathetic to the notion bullshit jobs in academia; that’s administrative layer that’s sucking away all the resources from teaching and research (which used to be central-to-mission for the university, and are no longer, sadly).

      * Sadly, often by UBI advocates, who should know better.

      1. el_tel

        I’m sorry Lambert, whilst I usually agree with you, having seen first hand what the so-called “proper” academics do, my reaction is that bullsh!t jobs abound among them just as much as among the management class. If I were emperor of the UK the first thing I’d do would be to abolish NICE. I know where the bodies are buried on various studies that caused funding/defunding decisions; its premise is built on non-MMT foundations; I have seen how certain academics have perpetrated what will eventually be interpreted as some type of fraud, even though they “passed” all the current peer-reviewing.

        Let me give you a real world example that MATTERS. Consider the two statements “I can have a lot of love, friendship and support” vs “I can have quite a lot of love, friendship and support”. Chances are if you are American/Canadian/Australian/New Zealanderer/Young British you will say the second is “more” than the first. Only among older Brits is the first statement the “top” amount. Yet my former colleagues went ahead with this and continue to advocate its usage in any English-speaking country, despite my warnings…..despite the fact I showed them EMPIRICALLY that the “utility” of each statement supported the “new US English” ordering and I was forced to do a fudge, that whilst passing statistical peer-reviewing (and we’re talking a GOOD journal here, not some rubbish one) meant that the two statements get the “same score” – somthing that is basically a least bad compromise. I made my concerns repeatedly to my team. But getting the instrument used in the USA trumps everything it seems. I disavow the instrument. It is flawed beyond redemption, due to academics who want to make a name for themselves. And people wonder why significant proportions of the population now eschew science? I can show you why. And it ain’t pretty.

      2. Plenue

        Graeber is being completely disingenuous. I maintain that he’s raging against a monster he’s largely created inside his own head. He’s written extensively about jobs, especially bureaucratic ones, that he thinks are completely pointless and don’t serve any purpose. He may well be right. But in terms of a jobs guarantee he’s conflated it with bullshit jobs in a way that has little historical basis. He seems to imagine that there isn’t enough real, meaningful work to be done in America and so any JG would involve getting people to paint rocks white, an example he seems to love and references often. That’s what he’s reduced the entire New Deal to; he ignores the vastly greater number of meaningful things it accomplished.

        1. Lambert Strether

          > He seems to imagine that there isn’t enough real, meaningful work to be done in America and so any JG would involve getting people to paint rocks white

          As I pointed out elsewhere today, FDR’s CCC planted a billion (1,000,000,000) trees. That sounds like exactly the kind of planetary engineering (on Earth) that we should think about if we want to avoid the Jackpot. If Graeber wants to file that under make-work, so be it. I trust Graeber’s sharp perception and powers of observation and description, but (IMNSHO) his anarchism is a crippling intellectual deformity.

        2. Richard

          Hmm, I seem to be missing something. I’ve looked through the Jacobin article a couple times and see no critique or even mention of a Jobs Guarantee. Is the critique supposed to be implied, or is it located elsewhere, or what?

          1. Plenue

            “You know, I’m an anarchist, I don’t want to create a statist solution. A solution that makes the state smaller, but at the same time ameliorates conditions and makes people freer to challenge the system, that’s hard for me to argue with. And that’s what I like about UBI.

            I don’t want a solution that’s going to create more bullshit jobs. A job guarantee looks good, but, as we know from history, it tends to create people painting rocks white, or doing other things that don’t necessarily need to be done. It also requires a giant administration to run that. It does seem often to be the people with the sensibilities of the professional-managerial class who prefer that kind of solution.

            Whereas universal basic income is about giving everybody enough that they can subsist on; after that it’s up to you. (I mean the radical versions, obviously; I’m not for the Elon Musk version.) The idea is to divorce work and compensation, in a sense. If you exist, you deserve a livelihood. You could call that freedom in the economic sphere. I get to decide how I want to contribute to society.”

            I love how in Graeber’s mind making sure everyone gets a regular installment of money won’t involve a bunch of new bureaucracy, but a JG that people like Sanders explicitly envisage will have a large local and state component isn’t okay with his anarchist sensibilities.

            1. Richard

              I guess that might have not bit me in the face, if it was a snake, just sort of hanging out at Jacobin magazine for some reason. I’m sorry I caused you to type all that. Seriously.
              They both sound like promising ideas to me. Basic Income has a bit more the “scent of the academy” about it, and there are a ton of jobs to do in this country. I didn’t know about Roosevelt’s billion CCC trees, how inspiring would something like that (or exactly that) be going forward? Think all off the work we could be doing mitigating the effects of climate change!

              1. jrs

                painting rocks white might mitigate climate change as well, reflective white surfaces right?

                Anyway the problem isn’t getting the trees planted, it’s keeping them alive once you do. Trees are dying at a rapid rate.

                1. Richard

                  Why? Can you explain?

                  Mmm, if the white surfaces crack was meant seriously, I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t be helpful. The problem is that heat is being trapped by the atmosphere, not that the earth’s surface needs help reflecting.

                  1. HotFlash

                    Yeah, white roofs and such are maybe not the Whole Answer, but it means that we have a cool house w/o central air conditioning, which my neighbours pretty well all have. Even the climate denier across the street.

      3. cat's paw

        I saw some of those “forests” in an unlikely place while doing research on aspects of ranching and conservation out in the remote Great Plains. While in Nebraska several ranchers, for various reasons, pointed out these anomalous belts of mature trees– some of them quite extensive– were planted in 30’s and 40’s by the govt. Having ranch land that borders or contains these belts is highly prized now by area ranchers as they offer some timber, wind and snow breaks, and habitat for wildlife and game.

        Work, the fruits of which, whose value is dear to many generations down the line. Imagine living in a social and political order where such a value was prominent.

        I haven’t followed the Graeber bullshit job debate closely. I thought Graeber’s original article was not nearly rigorous enough, though the intuition which prompted it is probably onto something. Graeber’s world is primarily academia, presumably. And yeah, the number and scale of nonsense admin layering positions (usually having the word “coordinator” somewhere in the title) added to universities over the last 10-20 years is outrageous. From the perspective of education qua education it is criminally stupid.

          1. Plenue

            I’m guessing you’re trying to be sarcastic. But yes, that looks like a very worthwhile project to create money to pay for.

          2. HotFlash

            But then again they have a sovereign currency

            And a (benevolent?) dictator. I can’t imagine how any of these urgent, urgent measures will ever be implemented in democracies.

    6. Mo's Bike Shop

      It always strikes me as a form of lifestyle-ism where some leftists sneer at people for working jobs as “paper pushers.” Sure many jobs can be classified as bullshit…


      Yeah, people often make this mistake. When you talk about bullshit jobs, they just think jobs that are bad, jobs that are demeaning, jobs that have terrible conditions, no benefits, and so forth. But actually, the irony is that those jobs actually aren’t bullshit. You know, if you have a bad job, chances are that it’s actually doing some good in the world. In fact, the more your work benefits other people, the less they’re likely to pay you, and the more likely it is to be a shit job in that sense. So, you can almost see it as an opposition.

      On the one hand, you have the jobs that are shit jobs but are actually useful. If you’re cleaning toilets or something like that, toilets do need to be cleaned, so at least you have the dignity of knowing you’re doing something which is benefiting other people — even if you don’t get much else. And on the other hand, you have jobs where you’re treated with dignity and respect, you get good payment, you get good benefits, but you secretly labor under the knowledge that your job, your work, is entirely useless.

      …[Way later]This is subjective assessment of the social value of work by the people doing it.

      Maybe this is just transcript vs podcast but to me his first substantive statement is making the distinctions you say he is not making. Processing EPA waiver extension approval requests for BigCo is not going to feel better if you are empowered.

      Graeber’s critique of the job guarantee sounds exactly like what conservatives said about the WPA and many other New Deal job programs.

      No, it does not sound like that at all.

      1. fresno dan

        Mo’s Bike Shop
        July 1, 2018 at 1:27 pm

        My volunteer job is kinda of a BS job that is doing good. On the one hand, the job only exists because medicare is this incredibly complex, convoluted, byzantine system that a good number of people cannot comprehend
        (because the system is trying to support putting a square peg in a round hole, i.e., letting the health care industry be as PROFITABLE AS POSSIBLE by means of health care).
        On the other hand, even though what I can clarify to these people is pretty minimal, it is BETTER THAN NOTHING and sometimes helps them get benefits they did not know were their due.

    7. J Sterling

      Being on the dole is horrible because it’s conditional: you’re not allowed to have other income or be employed. UBI is unconditional, so it isn’t the dole on steroids, it’s the pension on steroids. No one goes around saying the pension is horrible, take it away.

    8. boz

      The rise of bullshit jobs is real – DG’s assessment of it is spot on. The % of time spent doing proper work is about the only useful thing that comes out of time and motion studies.

      Re caring sector jobs / jobs guarantee / etc: it probably comes down to the potential impact that unionisation in those industries might have. High potential = major target for union busting and structural ratchets downwards on wages.

      Our environment is in such bad shape that a jobs programme here would be brilliant.

      Homo economicus has been drilled into us so much that we no longer value public space, the environment, social cohesion, the advancement of science and knowledge…expect where it can be quantified in financial terms.

      That is a tragedy, and one which accountants need to respond to, as they are, for better or worse, custodians of what gets measured and valued.

    9. nihil obstet

      Like Mo’s Bike Shop, I think what Graeber said is quite different from what Livius Drusus condensed it to, to begin this thread. The statement that many paper-pushing jobs are useless seems to have triggered a reaction that a job, any job, is good, and have triggered some anger that Graeber’s against professional work. And then some posters seem to be arguing that Graeber’s against all work. I’d argue for the article to encourage thought about what we should be doing and how to organize for it.

      As Lambert points out, administrative bloat has afflicted schools. This is part of the accountability issue that management has so enthusiastically adopted. Each semester, faculty must develop a detailed plan with goals, benchmarks, outcomes, and measurement techniques. Sounds good, right? Very time consuming for faculty to develop the plans and deans/supervisors to approve. Then time consuming for teachers and students to measure outcomes (lots of testing, anyone?). Then, have teachers called each student to check on why they were absent? What if something isn’t working? Well, hire another dean or vice president in charge of the area, who will give more instructions to faculty. I’d question whether education has actually improved in the last thirty years, but I’m pretty sure no one has worked on why or why not. Meanwhile, most of my friends in academia hate the paperwork and think it takes away from teaching, research, and service. I don’t think it’s just sneering at professional desk jobs to agree with them. Some are valuable, but a growing number are not.

      I can go through the same process with lots of other professional areas, as some commenters have already done.

      The long-winded point is that it’s not just pro-work or anti-work, or even pro-job or anti-job. It’s that the way we identify and organize useful work is failing in a lot of cases. And since UBI got into the discussion, I would be more convinced of opposition to it if we had 100% inheritance tax to make sure everyone needs a job.

    10. Stephanie

      Yes, thank you. This is just such a weird, anti-solidarity meme for Graeber to pursue. At some point in his interviewing, did he really not come across ANY o flunkies or duct-tapers or task-managers who like their jobs, or at least don’t hate them enough to want to give up their routines/incomes/status as employed persons in a capitalistic society (and if anything I think a UBI will only inflate that status, at least in the U.S.)? Did he not come across ANY people in bullshit jobs who have no idea their jobs are bullshit, who think they are really contributing something, and were deeply offended when told they have really been offering nothing of value to the world for the last 30 years?

      There’s an entire department of the latter at my workplace, Department Z, who are in the process of being phased out, Golgafrincham-style, and who are all convinced the company will no longer be able to function without them. I’m really not sure how these people fit into Graeber’s worldview, or if he just doesn’t see them because they don’t fit his thesis.

      1. Richard

        It sounded to me as if his methodology was to interview people who self-identified as hating their job/seeing it as useless, and then to categorize their testimony. From that pool, he may indeed have found very few or no respondents who would say their job was useless, who would then take offense at having their response reiterated.
        But he wasn’t clear at all about his methodology, so it’s hard to say. But I didn’t see anything that red-flagged intellectual dishonesty.

        1. jrs

          look who hasn’t at one point or another had a job where at most you had 2 hours of work to do in an 8 hour day, so you filled the time somehow, check the weather forecast 50 times a day, bid on ebay, socialize again at the coffee machine, take another stroll in the hallway … it takes a pretty severe level of self-delusion indeed to have a job like that and not know it’s BS. But I’ve had several jobs like that. Now if this was the old soviet union one could find some peace with their lack of any ambition for anything better, but in this country that really doesn’t tend to work out well long term.

    11. jrs

      Uh people might be perfectly aware THEIR OWN jobs are bullshit jobs, it’s not just an externally applied label. Yes they still might need the paycheck. The tragic thing is doing bullshit jobs in many cases will make those same unfortunate people stuck in them less employable in the future. It’s actually a fricken tragedy in many ways. And it’s not the fault of people stuck in BS jobs to live, it’s a screwed up system.

    1. Lord Koos

      There was a report of over 100 candidates assassinated in the recent Mexican elections. I guess that’s how many criminal groups “decide the outcome”.

      1. JTMcPhee

        135 at last report. Of course that was my point. And we do it so much more urbanely, here in our version of republican democracy — keep the electoral results close, but don’t let the mopes see that they can only choose between two faces of the same Beast.

        Chicago used to have hand-marked paper ballots, hand counted “in public.” Yet one guess how all the electoral results turned out, since the “Machine,” a “legitimate criminal enterprise,” ran the joint, either “persuading” citizens to “vote correctly” by endless well-practiced stratagems, or by ‘finding” the necessary votes under a rock or in the back of a police squadrols…

        And all the bits of the ward mechanism were on task, 24/7, to make sure the oligarchy (fronted by Richard “See how simply I live, I’m just like Warren Buffett that way” J. Daley) got fed its constant diet of the Wealth of Mopes and the side dishes of “honest graft,” and of course the “dishonest flavor,” too. Enforced by the ability to take down and punish and deprive anyone who dared be too noisy about complaining or “reforming.” Except for the few toothless if acerb and fully tamed aldermen who represented “liberal” wards. How it worked, in brief:

        And of course the Obamas, all of them, are right in there now, and BHO’s buddy Rahm Emanuel continues the traditions of the sewer politics. Lookie here for a taste:

        So the narcogangsters in Mexico have figured out, really just adopted from prior, well-documented practice everywhere there is “human civilization,” a shortcut to doing what has been done more subtly in polities across the planet. And it’s not wise to go against the people who will happily kill you for the tiniest opposition to their looting.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There are arguments to be made for abolishing the ICE.

        It’d be nice (and important) to offer replacement ideas…unless we say 100% borders should be open. And that itself is a subject we have discussed here.

        ICE – Immigration…Customs…Enforcement.

        Customs – do we abolish that?

        Will we be flooded with endangered species, exotic birds or tigers? More mink coats?

        It would seem to make oneself vulnerable to just say we will abolish the ICE, period.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Globalists mostly want those completely “open borders.” Implicit in that, as you point out, is “no regulation of trade and looting. “

          Exceptions to the larger rule are globalist supranational corporations that can use local regulations to protect their “advantages” via arbitrage and monopoly positions in particular markets. Hypocrisy everywhere. All about advantage and domination.

    1. David

      In most countries in Europe, anyway, it’s a criminal offence to help illegal immigrants to enter (or remain) in the country. It ‘s generally considered a form of trafficking and punished accordingly. Stories like this have been circulating for at least a decade now, often in circumstances where there’s a conflict between immigration law and wider maritime responsibilities, as laid out in this UNHCR document. What’s changed is the sheer size of the problem.

      1. Sid_finster

        Can you provide a link or links as to most EU countries? I know someone who seems to think the problem is confined to “bad” Hungary.

        1. David

          The best I can do is this French Senate report:

          Otherwise, there’s a EC decision from 2009 against illegal immigration which makes it an offence to assist illegal immigrants:
          “Chaque Etat membre adopte des sanctions appropriées : à l’encontre de quiconque aide sciemment une personne non ressortissante d’un État membre à pénétrer sur le territoire d’un État membre ou à transiter par le territoire d’un tel État, en violation de la législation de cet État relative à l’entrée ou au transit des étrangers ; à l’encontre de quiconque aide sciemment, dans un but lucratif, une personne non ressortissante d’un État membre à séjourner sur le territoire d’un État membre en violation de la législation de cet État relative au séjour des étrangers. »
          Which is pretty clear and applies to all countries.

      2. Chauncey Gardiner

        Re “The sheer size of the problem”: In reading the linked article in the New Statesman, I was reminded of the documentary film “Human Flow” by exiled Chinese artist A. I. Weiwei regarding migrants and the related sense of desolation and desperation. Recall that in many cases the migrants he filmed were as educated as those who were deciding what to do about them.

        The ports for them are now closed.

        1. Chauncey Gardiner

          Addendum: Tragically, it appears that the outcome the New Statesman writer feared was realized, as we’ve seen in many other reports over the past few years.

          Begs for political solutions, as The Rev Kev pointed out at the 7:12 pm mark here on NC yesterday. Social fragmentation and armed conflict seem to be intensifying in Libya based on news reports.

  3. Christopher Dale Rogers

    Please be advised, the “Tesla keeps changing how it builds the Model 3 The Verge ” link keeps taking me to Outlook.Live for some unknown reason – so, seems the link is broken.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Try the new link– this should work. Sorry! My fat fingers.

    2. cnchal

      This is engineering insanity.

      Those changes can be big, like the new tent-covered assembly line that Tesla recently constructed in one of its parking lots at the Fremont, California factory. But they’re often much smaller, like the spot welds that hold the car’s frame together, for example. According to the Times, Tesla executives approved an idea from the company’s engineers to have robots make about 300 fewer “unnecessary” welds in order to save time on production.

      300 spot welds sure sounds like a lot. Down the road structural failure is built into the car. It’s buyer beware, as this big fat disclaimer at the end of the article explains.

      One of the many risk factors included in the company’s most recent quarterly filing with the SEC addresses this quandary head-on. “While we have performed extensive internal testing on the products we manufacture, we currently have a limited frame of reference by which to evaluate detailed long-term quality, reliability, durability and performance characteristics of our battery packs, powertrains, vehicles and energy storage products,” the company wrote. “There can be no assurance that we will be able to detect and fix any defects in our products prior to their sale to or installation for consumers.”

      I can understand the crazy tent assembly line, which is a temporary solution, the testing of robots by speeding them up past their design limits to see where the break point is, even the mega thrash assembly process to get the cars out, but declaring 300 spot welds as not needed anymore to get the jawb done, is where I draw the line.

      To any Tesla Model 3 buyer. Are you feeling lucky?

        1. John k

          Me, too.
          But nobody has a car like Tesla for sale except them. Lots of so far very satisfied customers, otherwise they wouldn’t have the multi year waiting list, the envy of all other auto makers, and which explains their rush to copy Tesla’s superior tech. Maybe in a few years it will be different… course, Tesla will have more experience then… if they survive.

          1. Lambert Strether

            I tend to discount testimony from persistent Tesla fan bois. Readers, so should you.

            I agree that a waiting list that’s willing to have another $2500 extorted from them stump up $2500 for a car they already put down a deposit on is a waiting list to die for, but I think that says more about the fan base — and their discretionary income — than it does about the quality of the product.

            1. Hamford

              Indeed, how many of these waiting listees are waiting for a tesla as their family’s second (or even third) car? Seems more likely they are awaiting to add a tesla to their luxury armata of Mercedes, Range Rovers, and Jaguars. Elite Musk Minions.

      1. Chris

        Removing 300 spot welds isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It all depends on the initial design and how they did the evaluation to determine that they weren’t needed. A lot of good manufacturing practice is about eliminating the “belt and suspenders” design elements that make people feel good but are in reality unnecessary and costly.

        1. John k

          Yes. Fabricators are continually trying to simplify design to simply fab.
          But need more data… if they originally had 3,000 welds, cutting carefully selected 300 likely ok. If they started with 400, maybe not.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Perhaps better writing or journalism could help.

            According to the Times, Tesla executives approved an idea from the company’s engineers to have robots make about 300 fewer “unnecessary” welds in order to save time on production.

            Financially unnecessary? Functionally unnecessary? Safe-wise unnecessary?

            The reader is left wondering.

              1. fresno dan

                Lambert Strether
                July 1, 2018 at 1:37 pm

                accounting engineers….financial engineering
                am moi acknowledged as truly cynical – I would hate to be branded as merely ersatz cynical

        2. David(1)

          I would love to know how Tesla can remove 300 welds that “hold the car’s frame together” without Telsa being required to validate that the altered chassis still meet the NTSA’s crash test requirements.

          1. JTMcPhee

            All Mush has to do is wait for a few more Tesla crashes. Then model the outcomes via Big Data and ‘reverse engineering” to depict what omitting those spot welds resulted in.

            I be waiting for the “tort of the week” class action and liability lawyers to leverage off all this… trouble is, it looks like maybe Mush and Tesla ain’t got no deep pockets to go fishing for a big jury award judgment in…

      2. Lemmy Caution

        The slapdash nature of Tesla’s assembly line sounds like manufacturing malpractice.
        The price of a state-of-the-art vehicle manufacturing facility is around a billion dollars.

        The insanely specialized and talented designers, engineers and managers who conceive the vehicles and the skilled teams who assemble the vehicles embody many thousands of years of cumulative experience.

        The conceit that a neophyte can come swanning along and slap together a quality vehicle under a tent while changing up the manufacturing process on the fly would be laughable if didn’t border on criminal negligence.

        1. Lambert Strether

          There is a certain irony that lean manufacturing and a “just in time” inventory system also resulted in enormous increases in profit while leaving wages stagnant (see Kim Moody).

          Still, it’s undeniable that lean manufacturers and the Deming crew really know how to build cars. What I read about the [family blogging] tent tells me Musk and his crew know nothing. When you’ve got unlimited quantities of stupid money, you can afford to throw knowledge away, and if you’re a Musk fan boi, well, fans are fans. Of course, if you’re an innocent bystander, that’s another matter, but in that case you should realize that by your sacrifice of life or limb to fire or accident, you’re contributing to the betterment of society….

        2. The Rev Kev

          When I think about it, I would love to go see a movie about the making of the Tesla, even if it was not a comedy. Not sure who would star in it but everything that I have seen about the story of the Tesla would make a great entertaining story…that is, unless you went out and brought one of these things. I think that a highlight of that film would be the flamethrowing paint sprayers and the crazy assembly line in a tent so yes, maybe it should be a comedy.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Obama: ‘You are right to be concerned’”: ‘Barack Obama’s message to Democrats: Stop dreaming of him.’

    I wish to state that there is no truth to the rumour that after saying this at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser, he then broke into a song to match his sentiments-

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Amazing, isn’t it, how uninspiring and, well, common his rhetoric is when the words are just written down, and not “performed” with his unique brand of cadence and well-honed flourish.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        There was a flurry of articles around 2013-2014 about how Obama lost his speech mojo, and I’m pretty certain anyone looking for Obama for actual solutions simply could find any, but instead of looking backwards they just assumed Obama had lost something. The crowds of 2008 projected onto Obama because he offered easy answers for what plagued America. His whole 2004 DNC speech pretty much claimed all the issues in America could be solved by hope. I’m sorry he clarified he meant “substantial hope.”

        “If we don’t vote, then this democracy doesn’t work”

        Obama really is just a walking ad campaign of mindless slogans.

        We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

        Yep, “pledging allegiance,” the great orator of the ages!

        1. Arizona Slim

          When it comes to orating, Bill Clinton was much better. But even he wasn’t half as good as the late, great Barbara Jordan.

      2. J Sterling

        If you look at the great speech makers of history, like Lincoln or Churchill, they turn out to be able to write so your hair stands up, without their even having to speak the words. Churchill won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and Disraeli was a popular novelist. When I think of politicians who can only talk pretty, as long as they’re actually vocally talking live, I think of Reagan, “the Great Communicator”. An actor, source of a performance, not a source of ideas.

        1. ObjectiveFunction

          Sting’s best lyric evah: “They all seem like game show hosts to me”

    2. Greg Gerner

      The link to “Please Release Me Let Me Go” is genius. LOL. It’s gold, Jerry, gold. Thank you. Given the current state of affairs in the US and the world, humor like this is all I have to laugh about.

    3. Eureka Springs

      There he goes again. Making night terrors seem like a hopeful dream. Even then he wants to kill hope.

      Delusional con man. I bet Trump wishes he said this.

      “If we don’t vote, then this democracy doesn’t work.”

      What democracy? Work for whom?

      Notice the article never specifically mentions the hosts by name, but everyone did get a:

      -gift bags in the end with a big red bag of Intelligentsia coffee beans inside and a “Stay Energized for November” sticker on front.

      That’s what I do not call a Party.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > Intelligentsia coffee beans

        I loved that detail (and kudos to actual reporting from Politico).

        So very, very 9.9%*. The attendees** really have no self-awareness at all. A closed, sycophantic loop.

        NOTE * I’m going to say 9.9% for Thomas Frank’s “10%” going forward, per recent discussion here from a commenter I would give a hat tip too were I not so absent-minded. 9.9% connotes, in its typographical expression, the possibility of splitting that class in a way that 10% does not.

        NOTE ** I changed “they” to “the attendees.” After all, if the 9.9% is to be split, we must assume that some will get the irony. It may be that “they” is a word to question, exactly as “we.”

      2. ChrisPacific

        On the plus side, we can stop wondering why Democrats lost the 2016 election. It was him. He raised our expectations too high. He was just too much awesome for us to handle. We all need to stop looking for the next Obama to come along, because there will never be another President like him. (How could there be?) Even though the remainder of our political lives will be one long disappointment, it’s still important that we get out there and vote for whichever pale imitation seems least unsatisfactory. To do less would be an affront to the memory of Obama, the greatest President ever.

        I would adjust his slogan a little: “If you vote for the latest Judas goat corporate Democrat promising to “fight for” policies that they have spent their political lifetime failing to deliver, then this democracy doesn’t work.”

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Looks like it will take a disappointingly long time for people to understand exactly what Saint O was.
          Though it is fun to ask an O-Worshipper to make a list his incredibly awesome accomplishments.

          1. Richard

            Well, there was all that shoe leather I laid down in Wisconsin. I certainly didn’t abandon or betray anyone, and no one could argue with the results: public employees unions are crushed and the state lost to the republicans. Nope, no problems there.
            Seriously, do you actually ask them? What do they say?

  5. timbers


    Protests Across U.S. Call for End to Migrant Family Separations NYT

    Yesterday while driving through Bridgewater, Ma downtown – an area that has tiny hints of being a much smaller version of crunchy granola Cambridge with a blink or you’ll miss it block of storefronts with business like “The Better Bean Coffee Shop” and a bakery called “Just Dessert.” At the tiny downtown juncture, a crowd of old mostly white folks where gathered and protesting. It slowed traffic as they held signs that read things like “Don’t separate my children” and hate not being a family value and various catchy phrases.

    Earlier that morning I watched the Real News report on how Obama separated 5,000 families and their children in 2011 alone and there was no comparable outburst of protests from Dems. The guys being interviewed said the media is acting like they born yesterday and this child separation thing never happened before and people like him and his co workers have been crying in their hearts about this for decades.

    One might be tempted to say it seems Dems are not upset immigrant children are being separated from the families as much are they are that Hillary isn’t the one doing it.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Slim checking in from Tucson.

      Yesterday morning, I did not attend the anti-migrant family separation protest. Reason: I had other things to do. Plus, I have some misgivings about this current round of protests.

      Here, as in Bridgewater, the crowd was mostly white and older. And, in my not-so-humble opinion, that’s not the kind of crowd from which massive movements grow.

      And then there’s the Real News report that timbers summarized. Makes a pretty good point about what happened during the Obama years, and, here in Tucson, a detention center for kids opened up in 2014. It’s mentioned in this article:

      Place used to be a motel, then it was abandoned. A few years later, it was gutted and remodeled and turned into a student housing complex called College Town.

      This complex was just a few steps away from the Downtown Campus of Pima Community College, a commuter school if there ever was one, and just over a mile away from the University of Arizona. But the UA kids never took to the College Town, so it went bust.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We are a long way from the days when stealing bread to feed one’s family (like Jean Valjean did to feed his family) got one separated from one’s family.

        Today, we keep those family-feeding bread thieves together with their deplorable or homeless families.

      2. Elizabeth

        AZ Slim – isn’t there an immigrant facility in Eloy, AZ? I remember reading about it many years ago, but I’m not sure what its purpose is. I used to live in Tucson,and I remember seeing it while driving to Phoenix.

        I’ve come to the conclusion that It’s not what is said or done, but who’s saying or doing it. According to Obama, we all love stories of hope – well maybe he got it right – all we ever got from him was a story.

    2. Summer

      “Earlier that morning I watched the Real News report on how Obama separated 5,000 families and their children in 2011 alone and there was no comparable outburst of protests from Dems.”

      They were worrying about what couch to buy back then.

    3. Lord Koos

      Do you have a link to the Real News report that you mentioned? I tried to find it on their site with no success/

    4. marym

      The government in recent weeks took 2,000 children from their parents with no intention of reuniting them. Maybe as a result of this imperfect protest we’ll be able to find out what they intended to do with them, and what was done with them during the Obama years.

      Here are some examples of protests that didn’t get enough attention during those years.

      1. Lambert Strether

        I think it’s a mistake to conflate demonstrations by immigrant activists with Jane- or-Johnny-Come-Lately virtue signaling midterms-focused appropriation, expressed as ostentatious and opportunistic displays of “cheap grace” ritual piety by liberal Democrats. It’s like confusing #BlackLivesMatter with Pod Save the People. Or Shulamith Firestone with Hillary Clinton.

        1. marym

          I include liberal opportunistic Democrats among those from whom the activists didn’t get enough attention.

          I’m also trying not to conflate liberal opportunistic Democrats with people who may have been “woke-d” enough by recent events to pay some attention to how we got here, and what that means in figuring out how to get somewhere better.

  6. Pelham

    Re: Mexico election: Polls due to open after campaign marred by violence

    That headline floors me. The story says 130 candidates and campaign workers were slain during the “marred” campaign. That’s not a minor defect by any measure, is it? The hed should read: “Polls due to open after campaign devastated [or gutted, or some such] by violence.”

    As a rule of thumb, anytime a journalists uses words like “marred” or “flawed,” read more closely.

      1. readerOfTeaLeaves

        NYT reporting as of 7:30 pm PST that Obrador has won in a landslide.
        Interesting times.

        1. Expat

          Hey, kids! What time is it!
          It’s CIA-Sponsored-Coup Time!
          Hooray! And we can invade without all that pesky overseas travel! Plus, if we draft poor Latinos in the US, we will at least have an occupying force that more or less speaks the language.
          I suppose we could invade Canada as well, but then we would have to learn French which is out of the question.

          p.s. I KNOW that most of Canada speaks English.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        As a former blogger, I had these kinds of days. Keyboard never sticks just once, cut’n’paste cache doesn’t always clear, and nothing is easier to break than a link (especially when you tap the keyboard to find your missing cursor).

        I take all these links for granted until one is broken and then that’s the one that reminds me how much work goes into this site. Thanks for all that you and Lambert and Yves do.

  7. Lee

    You may change your mind about this:

    Good news for human life spans — at age 105, death rates suddenly stop going up WaPo. Chuck L: The way things are going I don’t want to live anywhere near 105

    If you check out this:

    As Interest in Democratic Socialism Surges, Ocasio-Cortez Explains to Colbert What a “Moral” Economy Would Look Like Truthout

    1. Wukchumni

      Everybody is around 95 @ my mom’s assisted living place, and they’re all pretty much just marking time until the inevitable comes along and nobody @ their funeral will exclaim “he or she was too young!”.

      They’re all overlivers that i’d guess would dread the idea of being 6 feet over a decade from now, as opposed to being 6 feet under.

      1. Lambert Strether

        I’m guessing they don’t buy any green bananas?

        I’m of two minds on this question (not that larger forces than my own mind won’t be intervening).

        I don’t think the Jackpot will be pretty. OTOH, there’s something to be said for not depriving the world of the wisdom of age (flawed, but real). People who, as it were, “know the story.” “No, children, the Internet didn’t always suck! And once upon a time, in California before Reagan, college cost you a few hundred dollars.” In trying to turn around a world of diminishing possibilities (at least for “the many”) there’s something to be said for retaining a collective memory of a time when possibilities were broader (as they could be again).

        1. Lord Koos

          I’ve always figured that the pentagon will be thrilled when everyone that can remember the Vietnam war is dead…

        2. Wukchumni

          I’ve mentioned it prior, but the commonality to the place is sharp minds, who can remember a Kamakazi attack on their destroyer in 1944 in pretty vivid detail, and really want you to know their oral history, lest it go down with the ship.

          I’m quite the fan of tales told by those there, as it gives an everyman slant to things past.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Can we have jobs (in the JG) that keep these incredible humans company, so that they don’t just mark time?

  8. Watt4Bob

    WRT HST, Hell’s Angels and Trumpism.

    When I read Hunter Thompson, starting with The Hell’s Angels, back in 8th grade, I always thought that his ‘style’ was hyperbola, right off the charts.

    I’ve re-read most of his stuff over the last ten years or so, and now I’m shocked at how realistic his political assessments come off.

    This quote in particular, from Fear and Loathing, went right over my head at the time, ignored as obvious and ‘flavorful excess, but now seems a perfect description of the problems we face right now;

    “There is no way to grasp what a shallow, contemptible and hopelessly dishonest old hack Hubert Humphrey is until you’ve followed him around for a while on the campaign trail. The double-standard realities of campaign journalism, however, make it difficult for even the best of the ‘straight/objective’ reporters to write what they actually think and feel about a candidate.”

    He was reacting to seeing Humphrey trying to co-opt George Wallace’s opposition to school busing while campaigning in front of Florida voters, and then denouncing Wallace as a racist when courting the Black vote up north.

    And of course the MSM’s reluctance to make truthful commentary on ‘difficult’ political reality.

    Now substitute HRC’s name for Humphrey’s and re-read that statement.

    Then recall the explanation HRC offered her Wall $treet buddies, that she has “both a public and a private position” on Wall Street reform.

    It’s flat-out amazing how prescient Hunter Thompson’s analysis was, and how relevant it remains.

    1. DJ Greenfire

      Gonzo Journalism & Beverly Hills Dreaming

      Are you serious? “Don’t wait for the perfect message…they [Rs] don’t worry about inspiration. A new national message will come…” Talk about lowered expectations… Obviously, we’re to understand that the message of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie is not that “new message.

      …and Aretha? Really? ”Think about what you’re trying to do to me”…? Surely the DNC leaders didn’t mean…. These are strange days indeed. Pershaps a return of Gonzo style and attitude is called for today. HST would be in fine form today on familiar ground.

      So, no more “kvetching” and “hand wringing,” OK? Ds don’t need to “exaggerate.” Things are terrible for the poor, working class, and young. Time for centrist pablum to go away.

  9. Watt4Bob

    Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3, is this thing on?

    I’ve lost three comments in the last week, it’s sort of disheartening.

    1. Lee

      Join the club. Others have of late noted similar problems. Recently, a number of mine, tagged for moderation, did show up after a time. A problem of limited resources, with which they are doing the best they can, I suspect.

    2. crittermom

      I’ve noted that I’ve been unable to edit some of my comments after posting, as that option no longer always appears.
      And yes, occasionally my comments disappear as I hit ‘post’, never to be seen again.

      I am not complaining, however. Still love & respect NC for all their hard work but if NC is not informed, how would they ever know there is any problem?

      1. Watt4Bob

        @Lee, and crittermom;

        With you all the way, so I’m not angry, just occasionally perplexed.

        I hope this is just ‘growing-pains’ and so, in a way, a sign of success.

        It’s obvious that Yves and all the NC crew are working very hard, and have our backs, so I very much agree about the love and respect due them!

        BTW, todays missing comment showed up.

        1. el_tel

          I’d counsel patience. Yves has taken the time to explain to me in the past how NC has limited ability to screen comments. In the last few days I have had comments I expected to enter the “5 minute edit time” appear instantly, others go into moderation that I didn’t expect to (passing within half an hour) and, most confusingly, comments that seem to “disappear into the ether” only to appear half an hour later after a few F5/refreshes.

          1. Lambert Strether

            There does seem to have been an upsurge lately. We are all quite regular in our processes, since that’s the only way to be productive, so I can only surmise it’s the algos. Skynet moves in mysterious ways. It will settle down, so yes, be patient.

            1. Jeremy Grimm

              I suspect the comments problems reflect one or more race conditions between process threads handling comments and comment editing. I don’t know how moderation fits into the mix. In most cases it should only delay posting of most comments but it too may introduce threads into the processing stream which could lead to races. Unfortunately, if I’m correct in this WAG, identifying and patching race conditions is one of the more difficult software problems to deal with.

              1. Lambert Strether

                > race conditions

                That makes a lot of sense. Most of these commenting issues are difficult, and we just have to wait them out. (There’s also CloudFlare in the mix…)

      2. Left in Wisconsin

        One thing I have noticed increases the possibility of disappearing comment is being a long time on an unrefreshed page. Especially if you write a long, thoughtful post (I know mine all are :), write it elsewhere, refresh NC page, then paste it in.

        1. Expat

          I always assume the worst: that I got carried away, censored, and likely banned. Lord knows I have come close!

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Why Ayatollah Khamenei will not negotiate with Trump”

    I see no reason why the Iranians should put any faith in Trump’s negotiations. Just today, I saw Trump’s buddy Rudy Giuliani calling for Iranian regime change at rally and saying that within a year that the Iranian government ‘must be replaced by a democratic government which Madam Rajavi represented’ i.e. of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq or MEK.
    This mob is so hated and detested in Iran that America is more likely to ask the Westboro Baptist Church to form government in Washington first. They were on a terrorist list not that long ago because they had a track record of killing Americans and now Washington seriously considers them to be their ‘government-in-a-box’? Neocons have not learnt a damn thing the past twenty years.

    1. rd

      Trump appears to be so mercurial that it is not clear why anybody would bother to negotiate with him. McConnell basically gave up working with him on immigration because the ground rules kept changing.

  11. Carolinian

    Re the War of 1812–he’s laying on a little thick extolling the supposed liberalism of Britain versus rapacious, Canada coveting America.

    If the War of 1812 was a war for freedom, it was for a very narrow and limited freedom indeed. Republicans extolled their commitment to liberty and equality, but those sentiments extended only to the white men of the young republic. Britain, which had already abolished slavery, would for blacks and Indians prove the better beacon of liberty.

    The Irish or those other Indians might have different views on Britain as “beacon of liberty.” And some American politicians were still scheming to take Canada as late as the Civil War–this time Northern Republicans rather than Southerners.

    In the end all is forgiven and the “cousins” are the best of buddies even if they did burn down the White House. Still Canada better watch their step.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        In an otherwise fine essay by Major Sjursen, I must note one factual error: while Britain had abolished the slave trade in 1807 (as would the US), it would not abolish slavery itself until 1833. In places like Jamaica and Barbados and other West Indian parts of the British Empire, this was significant.

        Of course, Sjursen’s larger point stands — the Empire was both imperialist _and_ extremely multi-cultural, as Stephen J. Hornsby argues in his excellent BRITISH ATLANTIC, AMERICAN FRONTIER (University Press of New England, 2005); the empire, in crucial ways, adopted the old French habits of the fur trade, “the middle ground” in ways that was critical to running it
        — e.g., cooperation of African-descended peoples in the greater Caribbean, of Native peoples in Canada and Le Pays d’en Haut/Upper County, i.e., the Great Lakes Region, as well as the Mississippi Valley where these two regions meet (the Illinois County, the Arkansas Post, the lower valley from Natchez through to New Orleans). Thus, in Hornsby’s interpretation, Canada remained fundamentally oriented to a British-Atlantic world, really until after WWII.

        By way of contrast, Hornsby argues that the US, starting in the 1790s, but drawing on earlier events going back the 17th century or earlier, was an agricultural, expansionist, society, tending to absorb newcomers rather than exist in a state of uneasy cooperation with them, and fundamentally oriented _westward_, away from the British Atlantic, over the Appalachians.

        I thought it a very interesting argument, though one that I think necessarily must be qualified by region (the Carolinas and Connecticut will have different frontiers, e.g.). Still, on the whole I think it stands up well.

        And yes, 1812 was an inglorious disaster all round, with the exception of Tecumseh and his brother, the prophet Tenskatawa, whom I think come out as genuinely tragic figures.

      2. Lee

        Thanks for the link. A better idea, let’s start a war with Canada and then immediately surrender.

        1. HotFlash

          Oh, jeez, we’d have to give you free health care.

          Don’t worry, you’\d learn to like it.

    1. Sid_finster

      IIRC, any ban on British slavery in 1812 did not extend to the colonies, which is where the vast majority of the slaves in the British Empire were.

    2. bronco

      the same british who were all about addicting china to opium because they were so virtuous

      1. Lord Koos

        The British always struck me as the worst of the colonial powers, their drawing of borders with little regard to local ethnic and tribal boundaries still plague the world today.

        1. Sid_finster

          FWIW, the Spanish and Portuguese had the reputation as the most exploitative and rapacious colonialists at the time.

          1. JBird

            The history of Belgian colonialism in the Congo is pretty dire.

            I would say Congo’s colonial experience was perhaps the worse recorded and its current horrific state comes directly from King Leopold’s Belgian “Free” State. The man was just an evil man, but the Western powers then continued, and current in some ways still terroristic, efforts to keep the country destabilized for cheaper resourece extraction means colonization has really never ended for it; the past is the present still going.

    3. Summer

      The article does appear to make more of a case that 1812 was a pretense for a Canadian invasion…no matter how much the word “honor” was mentioned.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Part of me thinks the ethos behind the idea of a “Democratic Smart War” and the real point of the Iraq War was at play. It wasn’t about invading Canada as much as rank thuggery done because it was perceived as being easy. Henry Clay boasted 1000 Kentuckians could conquer Canada, and there were promises Quebecers would welcome the invaders. It would just be so easy with the right alliances.

        I think the war party is always on the lookout for what they perceive as an easy win, great gains with minimal effort as long as the temptation is there. Its why the Pentagon would go along with Libya but balk at Syria (the story about Dempsey pressing Kerry against a conflict). These wars are fought because they can be fought.

        1. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

          Re NotTim.. and the easy win.

          Another way of putting it is that the uncontainable hawks are looking for the ‘easy mark’ ….or the mil. spec. equivalent of what Erika Jong, in another form of politics, called the ‘zipless family blog’.

          ‘Sunk costs’ nearly always get caught in the zipper.

          Pip Pip!

    1. SimonGirty

      Great piece, thank you. And we don’t really have to go to far to preview the ramifications, many of us? I’d shut down my credit reports only to discover the worst, most blatantly dishonest and criminally negligent of the agencies has been outsourced to verify our SSA identities. All these years, where federal, state and local bodies knew all my employer’s wages, expense reimbursements, witholding… my fingerprint activated payments, phone camera deposits, ip/dns/gps, etc. But the credit reporting agency’s bogus, innacurate & half-ass information has me owning a 2006 Accord and duly making payments on a house, 450 miles away (thank god, my indentured doppelgangers are so frigging creditworthy!)

    2. Vastydeep

      Great article. For historical perspective, you might give a look to John Grisham’s 1991 classic — “The Firm.” The horrors! Poor protagonist Mitch McDeere had his home and car Alexa’d and his phone service smartphoned (in the FB-patented way) by the evil Morolto mafia. The Morolto crime? Money laundering! — if Nick Shaxson had written Treasure Islands 20 years earlier, we’d never have had The Firm.

      And now we’re all voluntarily surrendering to even more pervasive surveillance (the Morolto’s didn’t have GPS on Mitch), and for what? Facebook??? Time for a new Timothy Leary: “Turn off, tune out, reengage”

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      “You only have power over people so long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power – he’s free again.” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
      Neoliberalism is working hard to free us all.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        He was very Zen in that quote.

        “When you have nothing, you possess everything*.”

        *Here, we remember that everything is empty, for Buddhists.

    4. Lambert Strether


      [C]entralized control of the internet could enable the possibility of automated discrimination on the level of the individual citizen. Which is exactly the power we are seeing deployed in China, even if the politics are different.

      I think Stoller is right. Of course, we can always distribute “the Internet” via USB sticks, as they do in China. Hard to incorporate a payment model into that, though (especially in an era of digital cash (hmm, it all fits together)).

      1. Carolinian

        Here’s an interesting discussion of “dynamic pricing” which is legal but many consumers (including this one) think it shouldn’t be. It is illegal if based on factors such as race.

        In September 2000, outraged some customers when its own price discrimination was revealed. One buyer reportedly deleted the cookies on his computer that identified him as a regular Amazon customer. The result? He watched the price of a DVD offered to him for sale drop from $26.24 to $22.74.

        Delete those cookies?

        I find the Stoller column a bit far fetched precisely because the US is not China and retail companies operate in a different environment than a one party government. (You can withhold your business from a company unless it is a true monopoly–no escaping the government).

    5. crittermom

      More than just a ‘great piece’, I absolutely believe this is a MUST READ. Thank you for posting it!

      I sincerely hope NC will include this in tomorrows links.

      I was disheartened when net neutrality was an issue too many people failed to pay attention to.
      When I’d talk about it, I received blank responses. An “Oh, well” attitude, never giving a second thought to the ramifications of it, while I feared it could threaten even our First Amendment rights on every level.

      I still see it as a launch pad in this country for what is happening in China, yet the majority of our population is oblivious to it & will remain so until they’re educated about it.

      Matt Stoller does an excellent job of this, revealing recent rulings I, & probably most were not aware of while showing the consequences that can result.
      A huge wake-up call–if people don’t ‘snooze through this alarm’, too.

      As Bernie so often says, change starts from the bottom up, so it seems loud opposition to the kind of judges making these rulings would be the first step.

      As a victim of a TBTF/TBTJ bank, I am well aware of the consequences of allowing any company to become too large. (And I continue to be amazed by the seeming majority who are still not aware of how many of us lost our homes & what actually happened).

      I hope Bernie will address this topic in his speeches, referencing what’s happening in China, when speaking of our current govt & recent rulings.
      He was very outspoken & active about Net Neutrality. The results of that ruling, despite so many outspoken voices, is rarely mentioned by anyone now.
      I hope he reads Matt Stoller’s article & educates even more on this subject.

  12. Jus' Thinkin'

    RE: Hunter Thompson Trump, Obama – Read This

    Thompson was a great writer but not called gonzo for nothing. He probably did hit it on the head with “Angels.” Obama at a “elite” fundraiser talking about what to do- Amazing!
    Then we have Trump. I think we all know our government is more corrupt than we are willing to put up with, after all Senators spend a large portion of their workday calling for donations. We spend trillions on wars when that money could have been used in the good old USA. Obama got elected because he promised Hope and Change. He did not deliver. It was pretty clear what we would get with Hillary so Trump gets elected by a slim – very slim margin and we are getting change. You might not like it, but Trump is changing things.
    There is a very good book out about the so-called Trump voter and why they voted for him. It is fascinating – “The Great Revolt, Inside the Populist Reshaping of American Politics” by Salena Zito and Brad Todd.

    1. Watt4Bob

      It was pretty clear what we would get with Hillary so Trump gets elected by a slim – very slim margin and we are getting change. You might not like it, but Trump is changing things.

      Trump is changing things to the same extent that Obama changed things. That is, not very much, and only around the edges.

      Trump has kept small, symbolic promises on the margins while energetically continuing the only job our pols take seriously, making the rich richer.

      He kisses up and kicks down like the rest of them, and offers his ‘followers’ a daily tweet-storm, as empty, and vacuous as any Clinton might pen.

      His chaotic trade-war side-show will end in ‘serious’ negotiations that revert to the neoliberal norm as soon as the mid-term election season passes, and he’ll get back to his main job of making sure nothing much changes except his net worth.

      The race-to-the-bottom continues, the ground is coming up quick, and misery is so thick it smells of death right up to the gates at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, so no, nothing has changed except the rate of fail accelerating.

      That rate of fail would be accelerating even if Obama had been allowed another term.

    2. marym

      The Nation article is right that calling the Trump movement “populist” is “misplaced.” In the US the populace is all of us. The anti-populist Trumpians, and the media that love analyzing their “revolt” need some of the lectures about focussing on class, not identity.

  13. Sid_finster

    Re: Hunter Thompson.

    If more and more people are being left behind and vote Trump as the only way they have left to retaliate, the technocratic/meritocratic/professional class (hat too to James Burnham) solution is simple.

    If they won’t vote the right way, then don’t let them vote any more, or at least restrict their choices to Team D Tweedledee and Team R Tweedledum. You know, for their own good and stuff.

    1. Summer

      I’m not so sure that Thomspon would have agreed with that take on his book, but I’ve only read some of his articles in Rolling Stone.

      While he may have pointed out some dangers, would he have believed the solution would come from non-questioning acceptance of the technocratic elite’s solutions, because they’re such “winners”?

      1. Sid_finster

        I don’t advocate restricting democracy as a solution, and I don’t think HST would, either.

        However, it doesn’t take a Nostradamus to figure out that this will be the preferred method for our elites.

    1. John k

      Trump doesn’t need her, he always gets dem votes for his nominees.
      Better to purge the party and primary the many Dino blue dogs and later run against honest right wing reps. Lots of side benefits, easier to get rid of the bag runners like pelosi and Schumer.

    1. fresno dan

      David Carl Grimes
      July 1, 2018 at 11:50 am

      apocryphal quote: sometimes it becomes necessary to replace the electorate….

      If anyone knows the supposed origin or the exact quote, I would appreciate knowing it.

      1. Mel

        Maybe Bertold Brecht. The wikipedia article mentions a poem of his

        Brecht’s subsequent commentary on those events, however, offered a very different assessment—in one of the poems in the Elegies, “Die Lösung” (The Solution), a disillusioned Brecht writes a few months later:

        After the uprising of the 17th of June
        The Secretary of the Writers Union
        Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
        Stating that the people
        Had forfeited the confidence of the government
        And could win it back only
        By redoubled efforts.

        Would it not be easier
        In that case for the government
        To dissolve the people
        And elect another?

      2. Rostaleösung
        Die Lösung” (The Solution) is a famous German poem by Bertolt Brecht about the uprising of 1953 in East Germany. Written in mid-1953, it is critical of the government and was not published at the time.[1][2][3] It was first published in 1959 in the West German newspaper Die Welt.

        Die Lösung The Solution
        Nach dem Aufstand des 17. Juni
        Ließ der Sekretär des Schriftstellerverbands
        In der Stalinallee Flugblätter verteilen
        Auf denen zu lesen war, daß das Volk
        Das Vertrauen der Regierung verscherzt habe
        Und es nur durch verdoppelte Arbeit
        zurückerobern könne. Wäre es da
        Nicht doch einfacher, die Regierung
        Löste das Volk auf und
        Wählte ein anderes?[4]

        After the uprising of the 17th of June
        The Secretary of the Writers’ Union
        Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
        Stating that the people
        Had forfeited the confidence of the government
        And could win it back only
        By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
        In that case for the government
        To dissolve the people
        And elect another?

        1. fresno dan

          Thank you Mel and Rostale – “to dissolve the people and elect another” is what I was thinking of. I didn’t know the history of the quote so thanks for the background as well.

          July 1, 2018 at 12:44 pm

          July 1, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    2. flora

      The business and general press are writing stories about a tight labor market putting upward pressure on wages.
      Largest pay raises in 11 years for the private sector in the first 3 months of this year. CEOs are not happy.
      What to do to put downward pressure on wages? Why, import more labor! That will keep wages low!

      Non-immigrants aren’t failing our country; they’re finally starting to get raises after years of flatline wages. That’s what’s the the CEOs now suggesting more immigration. To put downward pressure on US wages.

      1. flora

        adding: wage suppression in US jobs is very much an issue for the PPC, imo.
        I’m reading Thomas Franks’ new book ‘Rendevous with Oblivion’. It’s wry observation, even entertaining, with several points about how the middle class across the country has been and is being destroyed.

        One para in the chapter ‘Meet the DYKWIAs’ talks about airport/airline jobs and the effects of wage suppression.:

        “Matters worsen as you descend from [flight attendant jobs], taking into account the people who handle the baggage, who help with the wheelchairs, and who clean up the bathrooms. Years ago, according to a report issued by the Berkeley Labor Center, such work often paid a middle-class salary; today, thanks to outsourcing and other ingenious techniques of wage suppression, the people who toil in these occupations can expect to spend their lives in a condition of near poverty. “

      2. jrs

        is there actually any increase in immigration?

        really if they want to stop (basically non-existent) wage increases (so maybe just the fear thereof), won’t they just let the Fed handle it? Because they can entirely independent of immigration.

  14. GooGooGaJoob

    Looking forward to all of the future ‘People Safaris’ liberal newspapers will be taking to Ocasio’s district to explain the mystery of why they voted for her.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Only a snowball’s chance in hell of that. The cost of exit polling is prohibitive, and “news” organizations don’t bother with it in congressional primaries because of the local penetration needed — especially when they know the incumbent is going to win. That smug sense of self-satisfaction prevented them from seeing one of the biggest political news stories of the year. I suppose if they’d really had any clue about what was going to happen, they might have put pollsters in place, but I doubt it. Last thing the corporate media wants to do is lend any credence to the insurgency, even if finding it would give them a good scoop.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I have read about a couple of Democrats joining her ‘abolishing the ICE,’ but yet nothing (as far as I know, as the election) of coming around to Medicare for All.

          That’s their way of twisting (or not, depending on exit-polling data, which, it seems, we have none) the whole victory into Abolishing the ICE (and no other issues).

  15. rd

    Re: rescue boat turning away.

    Maybe the rescue boats need to change their model. They could carry seaworthy lifeboats with food, fuel and life jackets that they drop off for the people who need to be rescued. They could then return to where they came from or go somewhere else.

    1. John k

      That’s not what they would do. If, say, they were in the process of being capsized 100 yards from Libya and are given a new rubber dinghy, they’ll just go out further until they are once again in danger.
      The point is to get in trouble so that the waiting ‘rescuers’ have an excuse to pick them up. What makes this apparent and absurd is that they aren’t taken to the nearest land, the Libyan coast, but to what is usually much further away, Europe.

      1. J Sterling

        And that article pretty much admits the ships all along weren’t telling the truth. They said they were out there to save the occupants of the boats from drowning, but if they can’t take them to Europe, they won’t go in to save them. That’s an admission that saving them from drowning wasn’t what they were out there for. They’re out there to take them to Europe.

  16. Wukchumni

    The National Park here is quite hesitant when it comes to informing anybody about the 200+ natural caves in Sequoia NP, can’t say as I blame them really, they all require quite a journey to get to them on foot and then there’s the idea of entrances, some require a 70 foot rappel down into, others have complicated entry points and all are as dark as dark gets inside, turn off your headlamp and you might as well get yourself a white tipped cane, you ain’t going nowhere, as blind as blind gets.

    4 of us dayhiked to my favorite set of caves here, in the seldom visited Panorama Bowl area of Mineral King. It’s a 13 mile dayhike with 2,500 feet of elevation gain which you give back on the way down, including off-trail travel, each mile of which is probably closer to 3 miles in exertion compared to being on a trail. You’re well and truly tired after this caper, lemme tellya.

    My favorite is one called “Bathing Cave” and it’s about a 50 foot walk from the entrance to a 15 foot wide chamber that has a 8 foot wide pool @ the end, serviced by a 20 foot high waterfall constantly flowing the coldest water imaginable through the cave and once it leaves, turns into a disappearing creek that flows into one of the 15 or so sinkholes common to this area and nowhere else i’m aware of in the High Sierra.

    Here’s the NPS description of the area:

    Panorama Bowl is a spectacular alpine karst valley. A single stream flows through three separate caves in this area. This complex hydrology-pattern begins when a surface stream flows into Alto Cave, sumps and then appears again in Bathing Cave where it plunges over a 20-foot high waterfall. The water flows from Bathing across the surface and into Sink Cave where it disappears again. Dry passages connect Sink to Panorama Cave where the stream again appears. Panorama-Sink is the longest cave in the area with nearly 4000 feet of passage. Panorama Cave is one of the most unique caves in Sequoia and Kings Canyon. It is formed in black marble, which contains amphibole asbestos minerals in the form of tremolite crystals. The cave’s passages have developed in a varied pattern of rising and falling tubes and canyons, denoting a complex hydrology.

  17. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “It’s nothing like a broken leg …” — There is too much truth in this link. It’s frightening. And bad as mental health services may be in the U.K. they are so much worse here in the U.S. where the police and the Prison Industrial Complex are the first stop for far too many of the mentally ill.
    And there is far too much truth in: “How do I explain that, sometimes, I doubt the professionals know what they are doing?”

    1. Susan the other

      Yes. I appreciate that link. It is very direct and hard hitting. Makes me uneasy in my conformity. And I directly relate to Hannah on various levels of going along and getting along for the sake of expedience. Her writing was the kind of excellent that only a crazy person can write. Also very Caitlin/Diane Johnstonesque. She’s a regular at the Guardian. Hope to see more of her writing.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Yes, that story is frightening. What is worse is that the authoress knows that it can happen again and will not be able to do a damn thing about it. She is only young too.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The US-China trade war: can Trump learn from history and resolve it? SCMP

    Assuming, here, that everything depends on one person…’Can Trump do that or that?’

  19. Jean

    “Younger and slimmer Volkswagon” can, I guess, count on young people who usually have little personal spending power buying their new vehicles, because this oldster is going to boycott them and spread the word among everyone I know everywhere and online from here on out.

  20. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for posting the informative and wide-ranging interview of journalist Vijay Prashad about the assassination of respected journalist Shujaat Bukhari in Kashmir and the broader applicability of his murder to organized efforts to suppress media reporting about state actions in other settings and conflicts. Deeply troubling attacks on members of the press is a recurring pattern of organized suppression of the truth.

  21. Plenue

    >US needs to draw a line in the sand with Iran over Yemen Asia Times

    Oh man, this article is magnificent. There’s so much nonsense packed into it.

    “No need to repeat mistakes of Afghanistan, but Washington must make it clear to Tehran that it will block bases and weapons in Yemen with airstrikes ”

    But this is already happening. The country is under blockade, the Saudi air force bombs anything it pleases, including fishing boats that are the only conceivable way Iran could get any weapons to Yemen.

    “Yemen’s political-military mess cannot be solved now, or anytime in the foreseeable future, despite the UN announcement of another negotiated deal to halt the fighting – for now. Iranian-backed Houthi rebels will continue their assault on the Saudi/UAE-backed Yemeni government in what appears to be a horrendous quagmire in a strategic place at the narrow bottom of the Red Sea.”

    I like that the assumption is that the Houthis need to be the ones who stop fighting. As if the Saudi coalition is justified and the US has no leverage over them anyway.

    “Yemen is a corrupt, ungovernable, backward, warlike country. A military victory by the Saudi/UAE/Yemen government “coalition” over the Houthis wouldn’t fix that and would leave the “victors” with an occupation that would necessarily last indefinitely and bleed the occupiers.”

    Look at how corrupt these savages we started waging war on are! Also, Saudi Arabia seems to have thought ahead and decided just depopulating the whole region is a viable solution.

    “It is Iran that must be dealt with, not Yemen. The US must make its strategic interests and its position absolutely clear – that the United States will not tolerate a highly armed Iranian proxy state in Yemen.”

    Oh, is that the latest claim for why we’re assisting genocide? To prevent an ‘Iranian proxy state’? I must not be keeping up with the propaganda department well enough.

    1. ewmayer

      Indeed, sounds like someone has an elite foreign-policy agenda to push. Consider the disingenuousness of “Iranian-backed Houthi rebels will continue their assault on the Saudi/UAE-backed Yemeni government in what appears to be a horrendous quagmire in a strategic place at the narrow bottom of the Red Sea” which curiously – or not – fails to mention the US support of the Saudi/UAE campaign. More disingenuousness – no mention of the horrific genocidal nature of said coalition’s campaign. The author credits at the bottom help clarify things, looks like another neocon elite-policy-couple in the Robert Kagan & Victoria Nuland mold:

      Stephen Bryen is a regular contributor to Asia Times. Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director of the Jewish Policy Center in Washington DC. and is a leading specialist in US defense policy and Middle East affairs.

      “Jewish Policy Center” – ergo the spinning or the Evil Iranians vs the totally non-hegemonic and non-genocidal pro-government coalition.

  22. JBird

    A white woman called police on a black 12-year-old — for mowing grass

    Even if one was a small souled racist, from the pictures, it’s some preadolescence children with lawnmowers almost too large for them mowing the lawn, so how could one be afraid? It’s such an anodyne and cliched activity. Maybe the caller is mentally ill?

  23. Lambert Strether

    > ‘We have to pick a great one’: Inside Trump’s plan for a new Supreme Court justice WaPo

    One of the authors is Philip Bump, a top WaPo political reporter. If you read the article, which is worth reading, you will see that all the yammering, from both Never Trumpers and liberal Democrats, about Trump having mental health programs, Alzheimers, being unhinged, not to mention stupid, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum, ad infinitum, is just wrong. Trump, according to Bump’s reporting, is fully capable of focusing on a political goal, delegating authority to achieve it, and following through on it over an extended period of time (here, picking Federal judges). That doesn’t mean I support Trump as a person or Trump’s goals or Trump’s politics. It does mean that when liberal Democrats doubled down on their multi-decade go-to play — “Republicans are stupid!” — that they were wrong. Dangerously wrong, if you believe that knowing your enemy is important to beating him. Their claims bore no relationship to the truth; were, in fact, a fine case study in bullshit. No irony or incongruity noted in Bump’s article, of course.

    And liberal Democrats wonder why nobody believes what they say.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Calling him a stupid bully makes it easy to overlook why people voted for him. That way, there is no need to work to come up with ways to compete.

      “More time for my corporate donors.”

    2. Plenue

      Ah yes, Trump is so unhinged and stupid…which is why Dems keep giving him more military money and domestic spying powers. You know guys, the whole “he’s a mad fascist!” line might go over better if you didn’t rally behind him every time he does a cruise missile strike.

    1. JBird

      Thanks for the link. I have been wondering about getting around those hidden identifiers for years if for no other reason then not having more ways to be spied on.

  24. Alex

    The Kushner plan (has it already materialised by the way?) is definitely unjust, as most of the past peace deals have been (the truce in Kosovo has been unjust to Serbians trapped there, the truce in Abkhazia to Georgians unable to return to their homes, just to give a couple of examples from not too distant history) but they are definitely better than an alternative of never-ending fighting in those places.

  25. ewmayer

    o From the “Owl Thefts” piece: “Cash is the thieves’ best friend – it has instant value, can be carried easily, is relatively untraceable and can be quickly disposed of.” No mention of cybercrime rates in the context of the push-for-cashlessness, curiously enough. But perhaps the author wanted to focus on the “cut crime in the old-fashioned areas, it will show up elsewhere, including odd places such as mentioned here.”

    [Posted edited version of this next one as reply-to-Plenue above, but reply failed to appear and no “moderation” note, so retrying here:]
    o “US needs to draw a line in the sand with Iran over Yemen Asia Times (The Rev Kev)” — Sounds like someone has an elite agenda to push. Consider the disingenuousness of “Iranian-backed Houthi rebels will continue their assault on the Saudi/UAE-backed Yemeni government in what appears to be a horrendous quagmire in a strategic place at the narrow bottom of the Red Sea” which curiously – or not – fails to mention the US support of the Saudi/UAE campaign. More disingenuousness – no mention of the horrific genocidal nature of said coalition’s campaign. The author credits help clarify things, looks like another neocon elite-policy-couple in the Robert Kagan & Victoria Nuland mold:

    Stephen Bryen is a regular contributor to Asia Times. Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director of the Jewish Policy Center in Washington DC. and is a leading specialist in US defense policy and Middle East affairs.

    “Jewish Policy Center” – ergo the spinning or the Evil Iranians vs the totally non-hegemonic and non-genocidal pro-government coalition.

  26. Lambert Strether

    > “Are you alone now?”

    I cannot forebear. Firesign Theatre:

    “Are you alone?”


    “No… we are here with you.”

    “Oh, I see what you mean, uh, no.”

    “Yes. How many are we?”

    “Here? Three.”

    “You don’t want to count the elevator boy?”


    “Three or four?”


    “But, of course there’s your family.”

    “But they’re not travelling with me.”


    “Where I’m going.”

    “But you’re here… how many?”

    “Four… with the elevator boy”

    “Ah, he is in your family.”

    Menacing subtext then; the text, now.

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