Links 7/30/18

International Tiger Day 2018: successes, and the challenges The Hindu. Better I post this a day late, than never– belated happy international tiger day!

‘Panicked’ kangaroo smashes way into Australian home BBC

The rise and fall of bees Economist (David L)

From Wales to the Champs-Élysées: the selfless rise of Geraint Thomas The Guardian

The $3 Billion Plan to Turn Hoover Dam Into a Giant Battery NYT (David L)

Heavy Stuff Popula

Is there more to Adam Smith than free markets? John Kay. Adam Smith is a writer more often misquoted than read.

Mr. Rogers was my actual neighbor. He was everything he was on TV and more. Vox (Dr. Kevin)

American History for Truthdiggers: Andrew Jackson’s White-Male World and the Start of Modern Politics Truthdig. Maj. Danny Sjursen.


Fake data – the disease afflicting China’s vaccine system SCMP

How E-Commerce Is Transforming Rural China New Yorker (PD)


Oh for the days when it was all Brussels’ fault! The Guardian (vlad)

Brexit: panic is the right thing to do

Rightwing UK thinktank ‘offered ministerial access’ to potential US donors The Guardian

New Cold War

Trump, Putin & Helsinki: Henry Kissinger Still Calls the Shots Counterpunch. Includes a shout-out to Seymour Hersh’s excellent book on Kissinger.



‘Our life is hell’: Iraq’s IDPs suffer interminable wait for home Al Jazeera


Interview: ‘The Notion of GST in a Country like India Is Absurd’ The Wire

Modi courts India’s farmers with higher prices FT

Assam: Millions risk losing India citizenship BBC

Rural finance: Delays in cash transfers are pushing troubled beneficiaries into greater debt, poverty FirstPost. Part six of a series; includes links to earlier installments.

Can the Aadhaar Act and a Data Protection Act Coexist? The Wire

Trump Transition

US Considering Attacking Iran, With Saudi Forces Leading Strike AntiWar (The Rev Kev)

Trump joked that he ‘could have had Tom Brady’ as a son-in-law: report The Hill . UserFriendly: “I just can’t help but imagine Ivanka going DAAADDDDDDDD!!!!”

New York Times Publisher and Trump Clash Over President’s Threats Against Journalism NYT

Charles Koch vows to hold Republicans accountable The Hill

The Trump Administration Takes on the Endangered Species Act New Yorker. Elizabeth Kolbert.

Health Care

Spin it Again – Four More Go Through the Revolving Door From the World of Corporate Health Care to Top US Government Leadership Positions Health Care Renewal

Democrats in Disarray

How “Abolish ICE” Went From A Twitter Slogan To A Litmus Test Buzzfeed News (UserFriendly)

Kamala Harris increases her visibility in front of possible presidential bid San Francisco Chronicle

Class Warfare

Man of Letters City Lab

The Productivity Gain: Where Is It Coming From And Where Is It Going To? Rodney Brooks (PD)

Spiders, sewage and a flurry of fees – the other side of renting a house from Wall Street Reuters

Headlines scream about “epidemics” of shootings and stabbings – but what if we took that literally? From Chicago to Glasgow, treating violence as a public health problem has produced great results. Mosaic

DA Taking Radical Steps, Shaking Up Philly’s Criminal Justice System American Conservative

How the Suffrage Movement Betrayed Black Women NYT (UserFriendly)

No Shirt, No Swipe, No Service Slate.

With Greed and Cynicism, Big Tech is Fueling Inequalities in America Monday Note (PD)

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch


For Sale: Survey Data on Millions of High School Students NYT

Kill Me Now

The Impermanence of Importance London Review of Books. Readers should have fun critiquing this hagiogaphry of Trump’s exalted predecessor.

Facebook Fracas

Has Zuckerberg, like Frankenstein, lost control of the monster he created? The Guardian (PlutoniumKun). Hoisted from yesterday’s comments.

Want to delete Facebook? Read what happened to these people first MarketWatch (The Rev Kev)

Obama Foundation delays presidential center groundbreaking until next year Chicago Tribune

I didn’t want to write this, but the courage to listen to different ideas is vanishing The Guardian

Antidote du Jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. UserFriendly

      As Sy Hersh points out; Kissinger never gives honest interviews to the press. He’s pushing something, maybe trying to calm China’s fears of a US Russian Detente; not that one looks even possible now.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        He’s always been a hyper-nationalist. He’s vile, but he isn’t as stupid as the average foreign policy decision maker or obsessed with little things. Who has blamed him for withdrawing from Vietnam? No one. The war didn’t matter except to a bizarre sense of honor, and when he recognized that, he found a way out. A destructive way, but he did get out. My sense Kissinger recognized that the Middle Kingdom had been on the downs for 150 years and knew that wouldn’t last especially with the U.S. decision to go there, but that was to separate the Chinese Communists from the Soviets.

        Now he sees Russia and China moving together because the previous bonehead in the White House decided to attack Russia and China at the same time. Russia isn’t the old USSR, and its not a threat to be more than a senior partner in arrangements with most foreign countries unlike China which can be a threat to slowly assume a dominant colonial overlord position. At the same time, he sees the Russian Federation as a manageable partner for the U.S. to control China and prevent China from building alliances through arrangements with the Russian Federation acting a counter balance to China. Russia isn’t big enough to worry China anymore, but its too big to be consumed the way France and Britain were by the U.S. Good Chinese relations with Russia means good Chinese relations with Indonesia, Brazil, and Iran aren’t far behind.

        1. Olga

          HK goes to Russia occasionally, and has been known to talk with VVP. I think it has been true for a long time, that US (aka the borg) does not fear Russia (short of an actual war, of course), but has feared China and its economic might for quite some time. In all this, Russia is just a distraction (at least for the US public), to be sidelined with sweet promises. But China has the power to overtake the US (all that drive and 1.4 bil population!). The Russians won’t bite ‘cuz they’ve learned their lesson (so did the Chinese, for that matter). Both countries likely anticipate underhanded ways to separate them. I do agree that it is China US is gearing up to battle, but first, it has to isolate the country.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            I do think Russia serves as the Middle Kingdom’s way to the world. I use the Middle Kingdom because I tend not to buy 18th century political jargon about nation-states. China sort of ran out because it reached defensible positions in the South East, India with its bizarre geographic based religions, and oceans and wasteland. What you have is a fairly large and varied but still alien construct in relation to the world.

            Russia has its foot in multiple worlds and remains Russian. This is appealing to smaller countries who are worried about being swallowed by China but want access to China. There are other issues such as economic ones. Gasprom as a state owned enterprise can effectively be a better company than America’s fossil fuel industries. Why do you need an F-35 if the S-400 will protect your airspace unless you are intent on conquering? Russian science isn’t anything to sneeze at. I see many areas where the U.S. has dominated about to be undermined by a Chinese/Russian axis. In some ways, it comes back to where would the country be if the soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan weren’t picking up contracting jobs in Iraq and Afghanistan. They will be home and possibly angry.

            It some ways it comes down to Joe Biden’s investments in fracking only pay off if there is no Russian pipeline for gas.

            1. Procopius

              Minor quibble — the S-400 is technically an obsolete system. The Russians are in the process of deploying the S-600, and are willing to sell the S-400 (they are selling some to Turkey to the fury of NATO and the Pentagon — especially the Pentagon, because half their job is selling weapon systems). However, I do believe the S-400 is still capable of knocking down F-35s. Trump is totally wrong that the plane is “invisible.”

        2. Lord Koos

          “…when he recognized that, he found a way out.”

          It’s just a shame he didn’t recognize that until after 60,000 American kids, along with millions of Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians, were killed unnecessarily. Kissinger is highly intelligent, but I don’t think that makes him any less vile, maybe the opposite. Stupid people take all the mocking, but it’s the smart guys that usually get us into the most trouble.

  1. David May

    Re: I didn’t want to write this, but the courage to listen to different ideas is vanishing

    Coincidentally, Prof. Morris Berman has just posted a new essay on his website:

    Declinism Rising

    He had tried to get it published elsewhere but he is effectively blacklisted as a dissident, even by left wing media. Morris Berman is probably America’s foremost cultural historian but his analysis of America is brutally stark, hence the title of one of his books: Why America Failed.

    He writes, “About a month ago, someone named Sean Posey asked if he could do an interview with me, and then submit the transcript to some alternative websites, such as Truthout etc. Thus far, everyone approached has declined to post it, which is of course no surprise: these “alternative” sites are not really radical at all. They still move within the orbit of America Can Be Saved (like the NYT, or Trump). Should someone come along and speak the naked ugly truth–that Americans are not terribly smart and that the country has no future–they shut their eyes and ears. Too real, too scary.”

    Is his essay too scary for NC readers? I do hope you have the courage to read it.

    1. Carla

      I recommend “Why America Failed.” Lent my copy to somebody or other, or I would dip into it again.

    2. perpetualWAR

      I must admit, he’s right.

      However, I moved to a small-ish town not in “blue” America and I have found a much more community-driven culture here. Surprise!

      Also, not having TV 24/7 in my life excludes that driving consumerism that is so prevalent. You really don’t need the latest and greatest gismo. I like living simply.

      1. Olga

        That makes you an enemy of this consumer-funded (and driven) economy! (Just kidding!) But seriously, all this stuff we’re surrounded with is yet another distraction, a way to keep all busy so they do not focus (or have time for) on what is really important – like building sustainable communities.

        1. polecat

          Speaking of ‘sustainable communities’ .. well, hopefully sustainable going through next winter .. I, as a bio-dynamic backyard beelover, am currently the proud caretaker, and humble servant to 4 vigorous beehives, all with viable queens, MUCH capped brood ( foragers + the beginnings of winter cluster), capping moar honey — this, even after some swarming (one, a 3-4 lb’r*, of which I caught, and coaxed into an empty hive, the other 3 surviving from last year) .. with the drones now being cast out into the cruel, cruel world of wasp predation ! (circle of life thing !) ..
          This may appear ‘off topic’ .. but this I do to help the non-human world to continue forward, in spite of the difficulties.

          *denotes estimated weight of swarm.

        2. Lord Koos

          It’s not in the interests of the American state that people become empowered, quite the opposite.

          I live in a sort of schizo community, a small university town in a county where there is a lot of ranching and farming, along with some big-city refugees (myself included, although I grew up here). Everyone gets along mostly. Political differences between the rural county and town can seem stark, but you wouldn’t know it from talking with most people (the subject is mostly avoided), and there is definitely more of a community spirit here than I saw in the city.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Does he similarly reject the idea that humans and the world can be saved?

      Is it also that ‘humans are not too smart and the planet has no future?’

      1. djrichard

        Well unfortunately for us humans ..

        Nietzsche was right when he said, “God is dead.”

        On a related note, just watched the movie “Silence” this weekend. Ignoring it’s specific message, I think it gives a good view of a completely different way of life, where salvation was everything. Nowadays, not so much. Possibly why “God is dead”.

    4. gsinbe

      Thanks for the link – I’ve always enjoyed Berman’s writing and think he has a pretty clear eye when it comes to our failings. My only small quibble with him is that he seems to believe that many of our national characteristics are a recent phenomenon. The Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville saw Americans with the same clear eyes when he visited America in the early 1800’s. I think it’s pretty fair to say we’ve always been a people on the hustle, totally focused on material well-being, with very few scruples about how we get ahead (just ask the native Americans).

    5. jrs

      by what definition is he even left wing and therefore I’m not sure why he should be picked up as such by left wing (often really liberal progressive and not that left but nontheless) media.

    6. MemorableUsername

      I think perhaps his interview (it isn’t an essay) is too banal for NC readers. Everything he rails against (anti-intellectualism, consumerism, boosterism, capitalism and capitalist framings, lack of “solid political organizing” on the left) have been targets of derision among the educated class for a century. We all (hopefully) got enough exposure to critiques like this by reading Sinclair Lewis.

      The most worrying part of the interview is the way he dismisses Krugman in favor of economists who have “demonstrated that capitalism has no future” really shows that MB has his world-view and sees conflicting viewpoints as definitively debunked. I can’t help but wonder what other viewpoints (or inconvenient facts) he’s overlooking.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I read Berman from time to time but I have difficulty with some of his assertions. For example:
        “When young people ask me, What should I do?, I tell them: Hit the road, Jack! Emigrate now; don’t put it off. What do you think is waiting for you, when you are ready to retire? ”
        OK — fine — emigrate now — to where? This has been a topic of many threads at NakedCapitalism.

        I think Berman views other countries and cultures through rose colored glasses. I read a few of his commentaries on Japanese culture — though not his book — and I saw a much different Japan in the month I stayed in Tokyo. That impression was encapsulated for me by a young Japanese salaryman speaking in an English-practice discussion group in Roppongi. He said he felt like an ant.

        Similar to other writers Berman likes to compare contemporary America and the late Roman Empire. I put “VITA BONA FRVARUR FELICES” on my drinking cup and lift it too often just like the late 3rd Century Roman who owned the cup with that inscription I saw in the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York. But I am troubled by comparisons to the late Roman Empire because they seem to suggest America is just another Empire in the process of collapsing. Comparisons with Rome only go so far. The American Empire is of an entirely different scale and kind. Even Caligula could not order or bring about the end of the world through his madness. And besides, the decline and collapse of the American Empire is a story for page 5 compared with the ongoing decline and collapse of the relatively benign and stable climate humankind once enjoyed. And there are other front-page stories.

        As for the “Declinism Rising” interview — it was not especially informative or well written. The ideas are repetitive of Berman’s other writings and ranged about without direction.

      2. cnchal

        What isn’t banal is that he rails against the “educated class” itself, which is a target of his derision.

        That Francis Fukuyama could write a book around that time called The End of History and be a professor at a major university has got to be the most laughable thing imaginable. (Don’t get me started on the degradation of American higher education. Jesus, talk about decline!) As though history could end! What a dummy! One of the things I’ve argued is that there is a lot of stupidity in the United States, and it includes large numbers of people with high IQs. There are people running around with high IQs–David Brooks, for example–who are in fact little more than bad jokes, and yet are worshipped as sages. Fukuyama is a good example of this.

        I can see why no major media wants to run that interview. No one likes to be called a fuck up and he isn’t sugar coating anything, and his reply to a comment is instructive.

        Anonymous Coleman said…

        Frequent reader, first time writer here:

        This is a direct line to all of the observations routinely collected on this blog, of the exceptionally high statistical rate of violence and even murder in this country.

        How can we sociologically account for the demographic trends and how violence is displayed here? As a youngish black man, I look at what Jesse Jackson once said [one of the honest things he’s said] that he was tired of walking down the street at night, hearing the sound of footsteps, turning around in fear, only to be relieved that it was a white man walking behind him. African Americans commit 50% of homicide. And about 50% of that is commissions of black-on-black crime.

        And then I truly look at those numbers. It isn’t black people, 14% of the population. It is young black men. Like me. But mostly in urban cultural deserts. These are rarely women. So, really, that is 7% of the population, accounting for 50% of homicide commissions. And then all of this gets swirled into Identity Politics, and Black Lives Matter. That black people are being hunted down by the police. Professor, I know you have a highly sociological background in your studies, do you have any words or interpretations.

        Coleman H



        Thank you for writing in. Participation sure beats lurking.

        I remember that quote from Jesse, yrs ago, and I thought: it’s tragic, but at least he’s being honest. Another thing I read, also abt 20 yrs ago: if you were to randomly, metaphorically spkg, put yr hands on a black male between the ages of 18 and 24, the chances are 200 to 1 that he’s in jail, as opposed to that he’s in college.

        Two of the keenest bks I’ve ever read on the American race situation, by black authors: Elijah Anderson, “Code of the Street,” and John McWhorter, “Losing the Race.” Also check out this, by Anderson:

        Leaving causality/analysis aside, the empirical data, as I understand them: black people are at the bottom of every category of jobs except for sports and music. As for standardized testing of any sort–IQ, SAT, etc.–the ranking order, top to bottom, is yellow, white, brown, black. Jews are typically at the top.

        Again, I’m not delving into the reasons for these data and situations; I’m just reporting them to the best of my understanding. (And pls correct me if I’m wrong.) But I can tell you that there is one thing that I believe most of that 14% black population understands: there is no hope. They have very little chance of escaping their at-the-bottom condition in American society, and they know the game is being played with a marked deck. A few get Ph.D.’s, of course, but most black male students who enroll in college drop out w/in the 1st yr. In my view, their perception is correct: they are in a no-exit situation. Things are of course much better than the one depicted in the film “Mudbound,” but the fact remains that this particular population is largely poor and disadvantaged, and going nowhere.

        Now if I were one of those people, here’s what I would feel: Rage, with a capital R. America makes all of these great egalitarian promises, but the reality is something very different. It is also very difficult to express that rage openly, because you have a white police force, nationwide, that is ready to pounce. You have a black population (understandably) bristling with “attitude,” and a police force that is going to tolerate no shit, no how. (Check out Chris Rock’s hilarious video on how not to get your ass kicked by the PO-lice. It has always amazed and puzzled me, the ferocity that the cops display toward black people.) It takes literally 0 for a black person to get arrested: just sit in a Starbucks and wait for a friend, for example. Or sit in a car and read a bk on yoga. This shit is in the news nearly every day. “Breathing while black,” etc.

        Meanwhile, the “justice” system is skewed heavily against the poor. Whites tend to get life imprisonment for homicides, blacks the elec. chair or lethal injection. Whites snort cocaine and get lighter sentences than blacks who smoke crack. The dice are loaded in an obvious direction. While I was revolted by the outcome of the O.J. Simpson trial, one hasta remember that it was fairly common in the South for blacks who had committed no crimes whatsoever to get lynched, and the executioners bragging abt it the next day in public. The last president to own (de facto) slaves in America was Woodrow Wilson–kinda late, imo.

        The bad news: there is very little chance that the race question in America will ever be resolved. For one thing, no one is doing anything to resolve it, and banning the Confed flag, or taking down statues of Lee, only generates more racial hatred on the part of whites. If you read ch. 4 of WAF, you’ll see that the greatest mistake made by the North after the Civil War was not only in not apologizing to the South for what the North had done to them, but demonizing them, ridiculing them, and degrading them–a practice which goes on to this day. The South will never forget its history, and what happened to them, and without that apology (the odds of which are in the negative infinity category), it will continue to be a cauldron of resentment, and a thorn in the side of the rest of America. Instead of making that apology, which wd allow a healing process to begin, the nation takes down statues of Robt E. Lee, which only deepens the wound.

        Rage on both sides, then, and not a hint of a solution on the horizon. We’ll just continue to limp along in profound ignorance. And part of that ignorance is identity politics, which I’ve discussed on this blog a # of times. So while it’s great that black people don’t hafta sit at the back of the bus anymore, they ride the bus with 50 cents in their pocket, have no jobs or have ones with shit wages, and are basically on a ride to nowhere. The socioeconomic and political conditions of America have bulldozed them into nothingness, and identity politics and political correctness are merely anodynes, at best. They probably make the situation worse.

        That’s all I got, kid.


        Not one crystal of sugar in there.

        1. ChrisPacific

          He has correctly identified a lot of the problems, but has no solutions (which is the difficult part). ‘Leave’ is not a practical suggestion for the 300+ million Americans currently living there. I didn’t see anything on what he thought the commenter should do. Overdose on opiates and keep a loaded gun handy in case he needs it to finish the job? If that’s not what he’s saying then he should make that clear, because it sure sounds like it from what he’s written.

          1. cnchal

            Coleman wasn’t asking Berman for a checklist of solutions, and certainly at no time does he advocate suicide for those at the bottom with no hope. If that is your interpretation, you got some explaining to do.

            He recommends getting out, of the US if you can. A young black male living in an “urban cultural desert” caught up in the misery of life there has zero chance of that. There is no solution on the horizon for “him”, is what Berman is saying, and as Coleman perceptively realizes, identity politics is used as a weapon by the political elite, appropriating the misery to get what they want and using young black men for their own ends, and really doing nothing for them.

            Anyhow, I don’t have any solutions that would be acceptable to those large and in charge. Do you?

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Just a semi-random quote drop: “It is not the slumber of reason that engenders monsters, but vigilant and insomniac rationality”. – Gilles DeLeuze

    7. Lord Koos

      Thanks much for the link, I didn’t know about Berman before this. He makes perfect sense to me.

    8. ObjectiveFunction

      Re Berman, many thanks for posting! The Archdruid (JM Greer) is also a declinist and I find his work very interesting.

      Intriguing too is that unlike many gloomer academics, it seems Berman has walked his talk and expatriated (as did I). Bookmarked for future reference!

      “[Spengler’s] notion was that what holds any civilization together is a central Idea with a capital I, almost like a Platonic ideal. When people stop believing in that ideal, the culture starts to fall apart. People will try to hold on to the ideal, but it’s just a hollow shell. The internal reality is that the culture is rotting from the inside.”

      Must think on this some more. I agree with Berman that there is indeed a central Idea(l) to Western civilization. But Berman hasn’t stated (here) what that Idea *is* that we have now stopped believing. He likes other cultures it seems, but hasn’t defined ours except that it’s “rotting”.

      And no, it’s not just dead white guy fancy words glossing over a 2500 year long grab for land, gold and [brown] slaves, as much as cynics may like to entertain that notion. Were we truly that soulless, our cultural record would be like Nebuchadrezzar or Trajan, carving images of sacked cities and groaning slaves onto triumphal columns. (Oh, wait, what are those murals in Rockefeller Centre again?)

  2. Amfortas the Hippie

    the cultural appropriation thing in the guardian…as well as the original thin-skinned rant that started the mess…really bothers me.
    the whole neoinquisition and policing of language so as not to offend is in itself offensive.
    the existence of idiots who strive to offend by…say…denying the Holocaust…are the price we pay for Freedom of Thought and Speech.
    “Approved Discourse” is anathema, and this trend seems to be spreading. From “microaggressions” to the insistence on appropriate pronouns(“Xe”?) to the more strident and sans-due process versions of #metoo to the seeming prohibition of me picking up a feather and sticking it in my hat, this has the real potential for dystopia.
    Am I to limit myself to Czech/Irish/Cherokee cultural expression?…can I still listen to Blues Music…by a white chick?
    This sort of orthodoxy will lead to no one at all being free, let alone satisfied.
    I am reminded of a faceborg exchange wherein a woman I had “known” online for a long time decided that I was evil for still liking Miles Davis…since he was a known misogynist and all around a$$hole. This made me, in her eyes, also a misogynist and hemanwomanhater.
    She “unfriended” me over this, and then ranted for days about how I was probably a rapist, too.
    Jefferson owned People…should we throw out all his good parts?
    Gandhi made it a practice to sleep naked with girls, to “test his celibacy”…should we burn his books?
    Can we have a civilisation where this is the norm?
    How can one possibly make connections with others if everyone has large angry toes sticking out everywhere, that one cannot help but to trample upon?

    1. Carey

      All well said. I do wonder if the language and thought-policing is an organic thing,
      or if there is some potentially-benefiting entity behind it.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        one wonders.
        I held forth on this all the way to the dump and back with my wife(who is well used to such idiosyncrasies, and is more or less tolerant of them).
        it troubles me more every time I see an apparent instance of this phenomenon.
        Sure, Mary Fallon’s daughter is a psychopathic narcissist…but the origins of all cultures contain feathers and beads and facepaint.
        To me, given how I came up, in the pre-Murdoch pages of Natgeo, etc, the most beautiful thing about Humanity is it’s incredible diversity…not just physically, but culturally, spiritually, intellectually.
        That would not have been possible without wanton borrowing from each other.
        Hell, isn’t Christianity culturally appropriated from the Levant?
        Algebra, from the African Moslems?
        and we wouldn’t have Jazz without Chattel Slavery.
        In order to learn from our mistakes, we must first be able to recognise them as mistakes…and that includes being able to discern what is good and what is bad in the whole of the thing that contains the mistakes.
        I didn’t see it til later, but it’s apropos that Morris Berman’s latest is linked, today.
        and in that interview, he mentions Neitszche and the Death of God, which is pretty foundational to my own worldview…that, now that we’ve murdered him, we must become gods, ourselves, in order to be worthy of the crime of crimes…ie: we must figure out for ourselves what is good and bad, rather than receiving such determination from on high.
        Looking at all this pearl clutching and big toes out everywhere through that lens…well, I just wonder if we’re up to the task, sometimes.

        1. Whos afraid of Richard Wolff

          The Pearl clutchers here are people calling this thought policing and censorship. Saying terrificly stupid and vile things like Grier does makes one unpopular. I see old lefties misunderstanding these critiques as totalizing. No one but the straw men they conjure are saying whites should only write whites. It’s a critique of an entire system where mediocre old white writers are the only ones making a living, often telling cartoonist and insulting versions of what they think minorities perspectives are. Disinviting Germaine Greer from some Australian writer’s festival is hardly farinheit 451. She’s unpopular because saying reactionary and vile things are unpopular, not illegal. She’s welcome to say those things and welcome to not enjoy the adulation or company of people who are disgusted it. Y’all sound like David Horowitz with the hysteria and dishonest rhetoric.

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            i did hafta look every single one of the people mentioned in both those articles up;didn’t know who any of them were.
            and that former feminist person seemed pretty odious, what with the rape apologia, and all.
            but it remains a phenomenon on what remains of “the left”.
            It is, for instance, currently in fashion to damn Jefferson to outer darkness, while lauding Max Boot and Bill Kristol as “brave” for disliking the walrus. Meanwhile, due process be damned…mob justice is all the rage, and I am a misogynist for voting for Jill.
            But this is just my own experience, and can therefore be disregarded, since it is surely intemperately colored by my overall lack of pigment.
            Perhaps the inquisitors have just not noticed you, yet.
            Know that I, for one, will have your back when they do.

          2. witters

            May I congratulate you on your sensitivity and open-mindedness – and the lovely concluding ad hominem. Just perfect. Really makes your case.

            1. Amfortas the Hippie

              my apologies.
              maybe my hard-won carapace has worn a little thin, of late.
              I do empathise with the folks I have criticised…it’s a hard old world, and feels like it’s getting harder. Still…
              I think I might follow Thomas Frank’s example, and withdraw from all this for a time.
              sit under the Big Oak, read Heraclitus.
              listen to the birds.

  3. Colonel Smithers

    Further to Kev’s link about a US and Saudi attack on Iran, my dad, who spent 21 years based in Riyadh after 25 years in the Royal Air Force, had a good laugh about that.

    The joke amongst foreigners, especially the UK and US former military personnel, was that the Saudi national anthem is “Onward Christian Soldiers”.

    Saudi forces and Pakistani mercenaries are to protect the Al Saud franchise and repress potential rivals like the Al Rashid / Djebel Shammar clan (maternal family of former King Abdullah), Shiites (who live above the oil fields in Eastern Province), Yemeni irredentists in the south (related to the Bin Ladin clan of Hadramawt) and people around the Red Sea coast who pine for the Hashemite / Hejazi pretenders and resent the Al Saud / Najd usurpers (like the Stuarts and Hanoverians in 18th century Britain).

    1. The Rev Kev

      I’ve read that to properly understand the Table of Organization for the Saudi Armed Forces, that it is good idea to have a copy of the genealogy of the current Saudi royal family handy. I have to admit that when I saw that headline I broke out in laughter. Just not their style. They can buy the weaponry but don’t do so well in independent operations as shown in Yemen.
      I heard a story decades ago (which I cannot verify) that a Saudi pilot was on exchange with the RAF in the UK. One day he crashed his plane so he ran off, grabbed a shower, went to the officer’s club and maintained innocence of the whole matter. When shown his signature on the flight plan, maintained he knew nothing of it and had nothing to do with the crash. I sometimes wonder if that really happened or not but you never know.

      1. David

        I had a good laugh as well. The universal view among people I’ve met with experience of the country is that the Saudi Armed Forces may have a number of functions, but fighting is not one of them. If I were the Iranians, I’d be saying “come on then!”

      2. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Kev.

        That’s correct.

        The Armed Forces, Security Forces and National Guard are run as fiefdoms to balance princely power, so when dad served the Armed Forces, Sultan was head, Nayef when at Security Forces and Abdullah when at National Guard.

        The National Guard was / is staffed by Abdullah’s maternal clan, the Djebel Shammar Bedouins.

        It’s not possible to serve in any branch without at least three generations of Saudi or predecessor entity citizenship.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Thank you Colonel. I understand that Trump is still pushing for the formation of an Arab NATO comprising six Gulf Arab states, Egypt and Jordan but which sounds suspiciously like a Sunni alliance. Good way to keep tensions wound up with maybe future demands that this NATO also dedicates a portion of their GDP to buying American weaponry. I’m trying to imagine a Saudi attack force trying to establish a beach-head across the gulf on the Iranian coastline but all I picture is the beach scene from “Saving Private Ryan”-

    2. vlade

      If the report was true, I’d say that Iran should say “anytime you wish!”. Saudis have no land border with Iran. I’d really like to see them doing ampibious assault on Iran coast. Even if the did manage to get a beachhead, they would struggle to get past the broken hills a bit inland.

      Missiles you say? Well, Most of Iranian oil fields (no idea re capacity though) are well inland. Most of Saudis are near eastern coast. Not to mention Strait of Hormuz.

      There’s a reason why Saudis never attacked Iran, even if they would dearly love to. Unless they became totally stupid overnight, this ain’t gonna happen. If you’d ever want to attack Iran, and hope for sucess, you’d have to do it from the east (Afghanistan/Pakistan). Good luck to Saudis/US with that.

      1. John k

        Does saudi think their oil fields wouldn’t be bombed?
        Sounds like either a bluff or insanity. If the latter… maybe buy domestic oil… imagine losing up to 10mmb/day Iran saudi exports…
        Can we have record oil price at same time as record s&p500? Maybe not…
        Maybe go long us oil and short s&p…
        Don’t suppose those already long us oil pushing this…

      2. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Vlade.

        Sunni Arabs in Khuzestan, Baluchis in Baluchistan and Sistan, Azeris around Tabriz and Turkmen around Mashad could be stirred up in a colour revolution.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I think its pretty clear that both SA and the US has been doing its best to stir up Iranian Sunnis, so far with fairly limited success. The only thing that might succeed I think is if the Iranian economy continues to stutter. This is why I think Russian (and maybe Qatari) investment in Iran is vital for the government there.

          In the article linked yesterday, Robert Fisk seemed to hint there are some bad things brewing in the Iran economy – the wealthy seem to be bailing out as fast as they can. I wonder if after all these years its finally starting to crack under the pressure. Its also possible of course that these are just the rich who returned hoping for a quick buck when the nuclear deal was signed, and are now changing their minds.

    3. RUKidding

      I always heard that the Saudi’s hired the US (and our various mercenaries, which may include Al Qaeda – remember them???) to do their wet work. It’s just too too declasse and messy for Saudi’s to do it themselves.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you.

        It’s not just déclassé for Al Saud princes, but Gulf ones, too.

        A colleague and former Royal Artillery officer said these cadets would often refuse to train at Sandhurst, especially anything physical. They are kept out of doctrine classes. The princes who do get stuck in are the Jordanians.

        It’s the same with Qataris at Coetquidan, Brittany. They are just playing.

    4. PlutoniumKun

      The uselessness of the SA military is a feature not a bug – the Saudi’s saw how in other countries the militaries ended up usurping existing power structures, so they followed the old playbook of using military toys to keep loyal princes happy (once it was fine horses and armour, now its F-15’s), while using mercenaries to do the real fighting if its necessary. Yemen of course has shown the flaws in this set up. Although interestingly the UAE seems to be doing a much better job of fighting. Maybe as a small power they’ve had to be less indiscriminate in their spending.

      The idea of course that the Saudi’s could spearhead an attack on Iran is a joke of course. They could do a one-day assault with combat aircraft, but it would be a case of someone stirring up a hornets nest and then running away to let someone else deal with it. Inevitably, of course, they assume it will be the US who will do the clearing up.

      Of course, it makes absolutely no military sense to let the Saudi’s stir things up, and then attack an already on-alert and prepared Iran. But maybe some in the Trump administration sees it as a better political strategy i.e. ‘we must defend our Saudi friends!’ may get more traction than ‘lets unilaterally attack Iran!’

      The past playbook has always seen an escalation of false flag attacks, Gulf of Tonkin type lies, etc preceeding a war, so at least we can’t say we weren’t warned.

      1. Olga

        They cannot even manage Yemenis; how in the world would they fight Iran? They do prefer others to do the dirty work for them.

        1. ambrit

          Give credit where credit is due. The Brits came afoul of the Yemen back in the day. Remember when everyone from Moscow to Washington said that the “primitive tribesmen” of Afghanistan would be a walkover?
          I get the feeling that the SA military is really there to prop up the regime.

      2. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, PK.

        The UAE pioneered the use of mercenaries. They are marginally less of a joke.

  4. HB

    There are many disturbing lines in the FirstNet piece, but this is the most disturbing, to me, from a former cop, turned FirstNet lackey:

    ““At a time of crisis, yeah, you’re trying to call your mom and say you’re safe,” Herraiz from IACP told The Intercept. “But it’s more important that that network shut down every citizen, so it can be used solely for public safety purposes, so lives can be saved.”

    I don’t like the sound of “shut down every citizen.”

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      and connect that dot to the Slate dot about going cashless, and we have arrived on Huxley’s Island.
      My Weed Guy will probably take eggs in barter.
      I don’t know what everybody else is gonna do.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      Indeed, the most insidious aspect of this is preemptive bandwidth meaning that in times of unrest, they can shut down the internet (choke it ostensibly for bandwidth needed to keep us free and safe) much the way China or other authoritarian states do. You can bet this was intentional and well designed into the plan of making FirstNet remain part of (even if insulated from) the overall public network.

      What will be interesting is to watch how they expand this power to that of shutting down specific areas of the network and ultimately specific sites – all to keep us safe and free – the sweethearts. It will come.

  5. UserFriendly

    ​This world is nuts. The US supports nazi’s in Ukraine against Putin. Putin supports Nazi’s (explicitly praises Hitler and shows swastika tat) in Georgia (country, not state) who idolize Trump and want to bash gay ravers.​ I am somewhat skeptical, though. Russians are very proud of defeating Hitler, but I don’t know if that would be enough to stop Putin from using them as pawns on the chess board, or since they are tied up with the orthodox church that might be good enough. But it’s not like the BBC is a neutral source on Russia either.

    I would want to show this to every person that calls Trump a fascist so they could see what the real thing looks like, except that it would just further their Russia! Russia! Russia! delusions.

    1. Quentin

      Oh, my goodness. Is it then most prudent to accept or reject the BBC’s report since it’s not ‘a neutral source on Russia either’? Aren’t there people in the USA with swastika tattoos and people who ‘idolise Trump’? I am not a neutral source either.

      1. UserFriendly

        Do I doubt there are actual fascists in Georgia who hate the gay ravers? No.
        The question is how much support they get from Putin. The BBC’s evidence is like one picture of a guy with no explanation. That said, it seems clear that the fascists are supported by the orthodox church which makes support from Russia in general (if not the Russian government or Putin specifically) quite likely.

        1. Olga

          If you question BBC’s evidence (or, rather, lack thereof), why does your above comment say that Putin supports Nazis? It is not nice to spread fake news, particularly not on NC. The entire 15min piece is on ravers vs more conservative types. I did not see anything about Putin and Nazis. That is a pretty outrageous claim on your part…

        2. integer

          The Orthodox Church is decentralized, so a group being supported by the one country’s OC does not necessarily suggest they have the support of another country’s OC. From Wikpedia:

          [The Orthodox Church] operates as a communion of autocephalous churches (“jurisdictions”, or national churches), each typically governed by its own group of Bishops called a Holy Synod.[2] The Church has no central doctrinal or governance authority analogous to the Roman Catholic Church’s pope; however, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares (“First among equals”) of the bishops.

          I would be very careful accepting anything the BBC has to say about Russia at face value. The UK government has attributed the refusal of much of the UK public to buy into of the official narrative of the UK’s chemical-weapons-based false-flag attempts (i.e. Skripalgate and the White Helmets) to Russian propaganda, and in response has declared their intention to fight a “counter-propaganda” war against Russia. Needless to say, the BBC, which John Pilger has described as “the most refined propaganda service in the world”, is one of the UK government’s primary weapons of mass propaganda.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Doesn’t really help when in the link that you provided, that directly underneath that video is the text “Why you can trust BBC News” with no /sarc tag.

  6. Peter VE

    The Times article on using Hoover Dam as a storage battery for solar and wind power was interesting. It did not mention the declining amount of water in the Colorado river. The amount of water stored in Lake Powell and Lake Mead has been slowly dropping since 2000, and the current level of Lake Mead is about 150 feet below maximum. Based on current climate projections, no one expects them to be full again. Are they handwaving the issue away, or have they done the calculations to know that there will be enough water stored below the dam to be pumped back upstream?

    1. JohnnySacks

      Thought the same myself, wouldn’t it be the equivalent of pumping most of the volume that flowed through the turbines at night back up to the lake during the day? Where do you store all the water that passes through the turbines at night so it’s available to pump back?

      This note bugged me also:

      The Hoover Dam is visited by millions of tourists every year. If the plan to pump water back to Lake Mead comes to fruition, federal officials want the operation to be largely invisible to the public.

      Why do that? Are we not proud of the Hoover Dam? What about the new Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge arching over it all also? A stinking highway of all things, but not a massive green energy program too?

      1. John k

        Doesn’t seem it would need to hold that much since just pumping up in afternoons with excess solar and boosting underused Hoover generation in evening. But does terrain support a little dam just downstream?

        Energy Storage is very short term, wouldn’t affect water levels hardly at all… that point should have been discussed.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “The Trump Administration Takes on the Endangered Species Act”

    Could it be – could it be that there are some rich dudes who want this act abolished simply so that they can hunt and shoot a Bald eagle so that they can have it mounted in their den?

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      wasn’t there a movie some time ago that had an elite dinner party and a Sinatra wannabe singing the Miss America song about the Komodo Dragon that was on the menu?

      1. monl

        “The Freshman”, 1990 with Marlon Brando and Matthew Broderick. The guy singing was actually longtime Miss America pageant host Bert Parks.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Fake data – the disease afflicting China’s vaccine system SCMP


    It would be fortunate for the disease to be confined to her vaccine system.

    Maybe also fake data in, say, defense (or offense).

    1. Anonymous

      Vaccines are incredibly vulnerable to fraud of all sorts. They are the only pharma product that can be ethically marketed to healthy people, i.e. with other pharmaceuticals they need to wait until the patient has a diagnosed condition. Furthermore, in the US the manufacturer carries no liability for vaccines, unlike their other products. This creates wonderful incentives for vaccine manufacturers to flood the system with products and game the regulators into releasing them.

  9. Carolinian

    Re Zuckerberg, Frankenstein, the Guardian–the author seems to think that the problem with Facebook is that it isn’t censoring enough and allows sites like Infowars to thrive despite presenting falsehoods and conspiracy theories. But of course some of us would say the same thing about The Resistance and even respectable publications like the The New York Times and The Guardian itself. Should they be fact checked and censored? Zuckerberg is actually correct that any site that starts down that road is on a path to self destruction.

    And perhaps destruction would be the best solution. We seem to increasingly live in a world where everything–including what people believe to be the truth–is social and Facebook may be acting as a giant megaphone for this tendency. But if Facebook is to continue and speech is to still be free then it should also be free on Facebook, Google etc. The Guardian, as usual, gets it wrong.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Has Zuckerberg, like Frankenstein, lost control of the monster he created? The Guardian (PlutoniumKun). Hoisted from yesterday’s comments.

    Is Frankenstein not us and have we not lost control of the science and technology enabled consumer economies the world over?

  11. Brindle

    re: Obama Foundation/ Library

    What an ugly main building—looks like, I dunno, a soylent green factory ?
    ….and 2,500 jobs?

    —The Obama Presidential Center is expected to be a sprawling campus with three buildings that will contain a museum, meeting rooms, an athletic center and a public library branch. The project is expected to bring thousands of visitors to the South Side, create about 2,500 permanent jobs and infuse the local community with tourist dollars.—

    1. Peter VE

      By the time they actually build that hideous blob, architectural fashion will have moved on and it will be out of date the day it opens.

    2. polecat

      To me, the architectural renderings look like they came straight from an old StarTrek episode : an ersatz matt painting of an outta-this-world complex .. built by a longed-to-be-departed-of-the-mopeooids uncivilization ..
      As Bones might say to Kirk in this instance : ” Why, THAT green-blooded goblin’s done it again Jim !! That monstrosity is deadening to the eyes.”
      For the oratorial ‘vulcan’ Obama … logic was always a foil .. to set everybody to stunned !

      … and what good are photon torpedos anyway, if you can’t bomb wedding parties to smithereens … ?

    3. Arizona Slim

      It makes the Clinton Library look like an attractive building.

      And I’d like to know what it will do that will require the employment of 2,500 people. Sounds like one of those higher ed things that needs vice presidents, associate vice presidents, and all the various assistants to these people.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        2,500 permanent administrative patronage slots to dangle in front on the managerial class should be a powerful political tool to wield.

    1. David Carl Grimes

      What I find strange was that Bernie hasn’t done a cost analysis? After all this time? When the number one argument against Medicare for All is the cost?

      1. tegnost

        Don’t fight on your enemies turf, think waterloo

        “Bonaparte and the authors who support him have always attempted to portray the great catastrophes that befell him as the result of chance. They seek to make their readers believe that through his great wisdom and extraordinary energy the whole project had already moved forward with the greatest confidence, that complete success was but a hair’s breadth away, when treachery, accident, or even fate, as they sometimes call it, ruined everything. He and his supporters do not want to admit that huge mistakes, sheer recklessness, and, above all, overreaching ambition that exceeded all realistic possibilities, were the true causes.
        — Carl von Clausewitz.[192]”

        1. Olga

          Yeah, my favourite part is when they say napoleonic wars spread the ideas of the French Revolution to the rest of Europe! As someone who has to look out at a castle blown up by his soldiers (and another one nearby), somehow I don’t buy it. Utter arrogance, hubris, and greed was more like it…

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’m not really sure “cost” at the Federal level is an argument as much as a signal to people who simply need a deflection for saying why they don’t want Medicare for All. Politicians who receive donations from HMOs cite cost because they don’t want to say the truth. Presenting a cost benefits analysis after all these years won’t matter. Its like the national debt. No one cares.

        The only argument necessary is trillions for obsolete weapons, how much money was tossed away in Afghanistan, etc and your school system just cut music. Democrats don’t want to do that because Medicare for All would immediately empower workers and a source of donors and golden parachutes would dry up immediately. The problem is the mistaken belief Democrats care. Any politician who utters “MMT” in public should be strapped to an Elon Musk rocket. Its a waste of effort. Focus on who funds the anti-Medicare for All politicians, and the rest takes care of itself.

        Everyone saw their healthcare premiums go up. Thats all thats needed. The real problem is the Democrats who swore ACA was anything other than a bailout for HMOs and health insurers because they will be less likely to trust actual reformers going forward.

      3. Harold

        I believe the statement that Sanders has not done a cost analysis is contrary to fact.

        Sanders has done a cost analysis. He says the US currently spends $3 Trillion on health care (much of it on administrative expenses) and that his plan would cost 1.38 Trillion.

        For perspective, the current “national debt” is said to be $21 Trillion.

        A study by the ultra-right, libertarian Mercatus Center (of George Mason / Koch Bros University) disputes this. Yawn. Color me unimpressed.

        1. JEHR

          Canada’s healthcare system cost $211 billion in 2013. The U.S. has 10 times more people so the costs would be ten times more than $211 billion or $2110 billion or $2.1 trillion.

      4. Julia Versau

        I wouldn’t trust a tab served up by George Mason University. Not a university so much as a rightwing think tank allowed to issue diplomas, it always provides the “academic” imprimatur needed by scurrilous GOP actors.

        1. voteforno6

          I don’t think they’ve really infected the whole school – their influence has mainly been on the economics department.

          1. Eureka Springs

            IIRC, George Mason is where much of the Patriot Act was all ready drafted and waiting in the wings for Arlen Specter to deliver it to congress.

      5. crittermom

        I personally believe that all these high figures about why we can’t afford Medicare for All are pure, intentional BS ‘encouraged’ by both Dems & Republicans to keep their donor’s money flowing in, so I give no credibility to them. (Would it be telling to see a list of the Universities biggest donors, I wonder?)
        Bernie cited his figures on the savings that would come from his program when he was campaigning.

        When asked how we could afford to implement it, he talked about how much cutting the fat tax breaks for the squillionares & other such methods–that would not impair the 99%–would help cover costs.

        Unfortunately, he hasn’t stated squat about that in far too long, allowing the BS to continue & convince people that it’s impossible to have health care as a right (in the US only, it seems).
        Oh, how I wish Bernie would get back to some of these ‘basics’ to counteract the actual ‘fake news’!

        Or… is it just that the news is, in essence, being ‘barred’ from reporting that side, since Democracy is a word that itself has now been corrupted?

        Scary, scary times we’re living in.
        I’ve often said I was born a century too late, as we seem to be witnessing the takeover of our country by our own govt oligarchs & I don’t like it.

        I suspect I might’ve been happier in boots & buckskins ‘staking my claim’ out west, with a good rifle & a 6-shooter by my side.
        Those with the most money didn’t necessarily win back then…

        1. Procopius

          There’s a fascinating blog called “Whatever It Is, I’m Against It” I first started reading it a couple of years ago. What is does is present a couple of stories from the newspapers (mostly New York Times, I think) of 100 years ago today. I think they have an archive, so you could go back and read from a few years ago. The news stories from 1917 were horrifying. (White) people were lynched for refusing to support the war. People were fired for showing insufficient enthusiasm. The authoritarianism was appalling. Combined with my reading, many years ago, John Dos Passos’s trilogy USA, I was reminded that life in the United States 100 years ago was not idyllic.

      6. Adam Eran

        Government is the only fiscally unconstrained player in the economy. It frickin’ makes the money. Modern Money Theory economist Stephanie Kelton, one of Bernie’s advisers knows this very well.

        One might as well ask where did we get the $16 – $29 trillion (figures from the Fed’s own audit) to bail out the banks. We got that money from where we get the rest of the dollars. And no, not from taxes; taxes make the money valuable, they don’t provision government. Where would tax payers get the dollars to do that operation if government didn’t spend the dollars out into the economy first?

        So where do we get the money? We get it from the place where the scorekeeper at the ball game gets the points.

        I always wonder about the “Where do we get the money?” conversation generally, but more specifically, “Where do we get the money to spend half as much as we’re currently spending on healthcare in the U.S.” is the real question. It’s an absurd one, too.

    2. voteforno6

      It’d be interesting to see the fine print of that study. Does it assume all current healthcare spending rates, and applies it to cover all people? This being George Mason University, there is that question of the influence of the Kochs – particularly in the Economics Department.

      That sure seems like a lot of money, and I’m sure the usual suspects will latch onto it to tell us why we can’t have nice things. So, the more details the better.

      1. Synoia

        This being George Mason University,…”Ekochnomics Department.” – Estimate $32.6 trillion increase over 10 years, or an increase of 3.6 Trillion per year.

        The Medical sectors is 18% of US GDP. 19390.60 billion US dollars in 2017.

        Medical sector 18% of 20 Trillion Dollars, or about 3.6 Trillion dollars. per year. How GMU come up with a number for the increase which is the same as current sector revenue is very questionable.

        Of that $3.6 Trillion, Lets examine the number if there are two sets of profit centers, the insurance companies and the medical providers, each for profit entities.

        Of each $1,000 of premiums, the insurance companies take $400 (40% margin) as a cost and pay out $600, of which another 40%, $240, if taken as a second cost, leaving a total of $360 actually paid to direct medical care.

        Premium: $1,000
        Insurance ($400)
        Administration ($240)
        Net dollar benefit $360.

        Medicare for all reduce the insurance cost to about 5%, or $50, a saving of $350.
        Premium $1,000
        Administration $50
        Administration $240
        Net dollar Benefit $360
        Surplus $350 – Which means another 30% of the population can be treated without any increase in individual costs.

        This assumes that cost in the system will not be initially reduced.

        The UK system costs about 8% to 10% of GDP, for similar outcomes.

        The US medical system will improve outcome through prevention, not tertiary care. A couple of simple efforts would appear to make a huge difference (High Fructose corn Syrup,Cutting Dietary Sugar), because it is Public Heath which has the greatest impact on healthiness, not tertiary care.

        Relying on tertiary care to improve health is similar to expecting, body shops, to improve driving skills.

    3. tegnost

      Hair on Fire…
      Among the many bs lines in this relatively short piece…
      “”It’s showing that if you are going to go in this direction, it’s going to cost the federal government $2.5 trillion to $3 trillion a year in terms of spending,” said Thorpe. “Even though people don’t pay premiums, the tax increases are going to be enormous. There are going to be a lot of people who’ll pay more in taxes than they save on premiums.” Thorpe was a senior health policy adviser in the Clinton administration.”…
      so instead of wage earners paying a ridiculous portion of their wages for no service, the people who actually spend a lot of time at the doctor, the wealthy, who also go to a dentist regularly, will now be faced with a (if you’re wondering this is where the speaker takes a match to his hair)…TAX INCREASE!!!!
      I’m sorry, but Isn’t the PPACA a tax? Not only that, but a tax on people who can’t afford to use the service to benefit those that use it all the time, the wealthy, as mentioned above?
      Then of course there’s this from 2015, and I heartily doubt that heathcare is getting cheaper on a gdp basis…
      Wait for it…2015 healthcare gdp 3.2 trillion, which for those who are frightened by big numbers come to 32 trillion omg effing dollars after ten years
      so clearly the article is stating that medicare for all will save us lots of money at the same time it provides better service! Yay! What’s that …oh this is why it can’t be done…oh got it thanks…think of the sinecures, would you leave them thus?

      1. Kurtismayfield

        The taxes will be shuffled. State and local taxes that pay for health care (Think about how much of your town’s taxes goes to pay for health insurance for their employees) will be federal taxes instead. Business will get an immediate cost savings from not playing health insurance anymore. Employees take home will go up since they won’t be paying a percentage.

        Such dishonesty is of course part for the course for the anti single payer folks.

    4. marym

      The study is from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University “the world’s premier university source for market-oriented ideas.” Charles Koch is chairman and CEO.

      From a link posted in yesterday’s Links comments:
      U.S. health system is already predominantly taxpayer funded
      Objectives: We estimated taxpayers’ current and projected share of US health expenditures, including government payments for public employees’ health benefits as well as tax subsidies to private health spending.

      Results: Tax-funded health expenditures totaled $1.877 trillion in 2013 and are projected to increase to $3.642 trillion in 2024. Government’s share of overall health spending was 64.3% of national health expenditures in 2013 and will rise to 67.1% in 2024.

      2013 Study based on HR 676 which is very similar to the Sanders Senate bill and contains a proposal for paying for it
      Funding HR 676: The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act: How we can afford a national single-payer health plan

      Under the single-payer system created by HR 676, the U.S. could save an estimated $592 billion annually by slashing the administrative waste associated with the private insurance industry ($476 billion) and reducing pharmaceutical prices to European levels ($116 billion). In 2014, the savings would be enough to cover all 44 million uninsured and upgrade benefits for everyone else. No other plan can achieve this magnitude of savings on health care.

      Specifically, the savings from a single-payer plan would be more than enough to fund $343 billion in improvements to the health system such as expanded coverage, improved benefits, enhanced reimbursement of providers serving indigent patients, and the elimination of co-payments and deductibles in 2014. The savings would also fund $51 billion in transition costs such as retraining displaced workers and phasing out investor- owned, for-profit delivery systems.

      Health care financing in the U.S. is regressive, weighing heaviest on the poor, the working class, and the sick. With the progressive financing plan outlined for HR 676 (below), 95% of all U.S. households would save money.

      Link to Friedman study (PDF)

      1. marym

        Adding: Analysis of Mercator report from Matt Bruenig

        Mercatus Study Finds Medicare for All Saves $300 Billion

        The US could insure 30 million more Americans and virtually eliminate out-of-pocket health care expenses while saving $300 billion in the process, according to a new report about Medicare for All released by the libertarian Mercatus Center.

        In the report, Charles Blahous attempts to roughly score Bernie Sanders’ most recent Medicare for All bill and reaches the somewhat surprising (for Mercatus) conclusion that, if the bill were enacted, the new costs it creates would be more than offset by the new savings it generates through administrative efficiencies and reductions in unit prices.

    5. Elizabeth Burton

      So, a study from the Koch Brothers School of Economics says providing universal health care will cost the moon. Quelle surprise.

      And for those who are late in arriving, Bernie provided an overview of the cost of the proposal when he was running in the primaries, an overview a Clinton-supporting economist said was entirely feasible:

  12. Arizona Slim

    Well, that leaving Facebook article really hit home for me.

    As mentioned earlier, I logged off on Monday, March 5. And -eople are finally starting to notice my absence. Got a call from one of the FB friends last night. In his phone message, he said something about my not posting on FB in quite some time.

    To be honest, this guy used to be a neighbor and was more of an acquaintance than a friend. I will call him back, but let’s just say that returning the call is not at the top of today’s to-do list.

      1. polecat

        Ah contraire, Arizona Slim. l think you’re on to something. In light of the ‘medium’ in question, -eople is a rather apt description !
        …. as in ‘The -eople of Facebook’

    1. Carolinian

      Email is still a thing, right? Isn’t the notion that all communication now has to be via Facebook more a matter of habit than anything else?

      1. marieann

        I never did the facebook thing, I communicated by e-mail with my nieces in Scotland….until they all got involved in facebook.
        I don’t hear from them anymore, well except the one that isn’t on FB.

        It really frosts me that this can happen…oh well perhaps they will come around. I follow the FB story and I celebrate every little bad thing that happens to it.

        Is that selfish?

    2. neighbor7

      FB doesn’t need to be an either/or thing. I decided several months ago to waste less time. I log on every 2-3 weeks for a few minutes, check in with a few people, get a few laughs, am always surprised by how much I’ve not missed and don’t miss it.

  13. Synoia

    Spiders, sewage and a flurry of fees – the other side of renting a house from Wall Street

    The only way to make a good profit on rentals is become a slumlord.

    Slumlords defer maintenance, and create slums.

    Same old story. The tenants have no alternatives.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Tell me about it. I can look out my window and see several such properties. This, in a neighborhood that’s supposedly gentrifying.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      In our neighborhood, the two destructive elements are slumlords and the banks. The houses that are vacant and deteriorating can be traced to one or the other cause–sometimes a combination of both.

      Both the slumlords and the banks cost the city a lot of money. We watched two dump trucks and a loader from the city spend two days cleaning up a huge mess of discarded lumber (with plenty of rusty nails) and building debris from the back yard across the street. The slumlord behind us has mowed his lawn 3 times in 5 years. Otherwise, the city has to do it. The city can rarely collect because the slumlords hide behind a LLC, and the banks foreclose but don’t take title.

      Being a landlord doesn’t have to be like that. We have neighbors, older and retired like us, who own the house next to them and rent it out. You could eat dinner off the sidewalks in the front or back. The tenants stay decades, not years. They actually look after each other when it comes to health issues, etc.

    3. Oregoncharles

      “The only way to make a good profit on rentals is become a slumlord.”

      This is simply not true, and I’m speaking from personal experience. We’ve always striven to take good care of our investment, and our tenants, and we’ve done just fine from it, thank you. A lot better than during the period our nest egg was in bonds. (We’ve been gradually retiring pretty much the whole time.)

      In fact, rentals are the only way, that I know of, to make a decent return on a relatively small investment. The disadvantage is that it’s a significant amount of work – or of expense to have it managed; and that you’re unavoidably entangled in your tenants’ lives. Our experiences have ranged from gratifying to really bad ( a meth addict).

      I should add that we got into it partly as a Socially Responsible Investment; at least we’re providing decent housing, not bombs or tobacco. And a further caveat: we’ve been fortunate in both location (Willamette Valley) and timing. A rental in Detroit would have been disastrous.

  14. Lunker Walleye

    Antidote looks like a Red-tailed hawk. We have one in our neighborhood and it tried to bathe in our bird bath a few weeks ago.

    Did anyone identify yesterday’s antidote? I was not able to figure it out.

    1. crittermom

      Aha! I found the source of the photo, & it’s said to be a Golden Eagle! I am not familiar with this site, however.
      (see #6)

      I was surprised, as the photos I have of them show much darker heads.

      With hawks, it can be very difficult to identify them at times since most (or all?) go through phases of coloring.
      I hadn’t thought eagles went through such dramatic changes, yet had never seen one this light-colored before.

      1. Lee

        Possibly a juvenile? Golden eagles are quite formidable. In central Asia they are trained to take adult wolves. As an advocate of wolf reintroduction, the linked video is a bit hard for me to take. OTOH, I understand that the Mongolians much admire the wolf themselves and have sought to limit their numbers for the sake of their herds but never to eradicate them as has been the practice in the West.

      2. Lunker Walleye

        It is quite beautiful and fierce looking. I would love to know what yesterday’s antidote was. Did you happen to see that Crittermom?

        1. crittermom

          LW- I did, indeed!

          Searching that source identified it as a ‘yellow finch’, but I’m a bit skeptical. That’s a very generic name, of course, & that site appears to be one where photos are identified by the individuals taking them, & I’ve seen birds/critters misidentified on other similar sites.

          It did have a heavy beak so could be of the finch family, but I really don’t know.
          I’d been hoping someone else was able to ID it!

          I like the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website for their in-depth info, but I haven’t seen their Merlin ID Tool working for a long time, as they were once again feeding it more info to expand its ability.
          I just tried it & the site appears to be down currently.

          … Admittedly, it was driving me nuts, so I did some research.
          I suspect it may have been either a Hooded Oriole or Altamira Oriole. (Not https site, but I’ve used it before without consequences)

          I’m leaning toward the Hooded Oriole, mostly due to location by assuming the photo was taken in the US.
          It also appeared to have the 2 white wing bars as described.

          1. Lunker Walleye

            It drove me nuts, too. I appreciate your lengthy comments and am inclined to agree that “Oriole” of one of the two types you link to looks like a good possibility. As you mention, it could be a bird from another country. We had humming bird wars here today. Love the birdies!

          2. Edward E

            I was kinda thinking about Yellowtail Orioles from down around the Yucatan, but they tend to have longish tails compared to the one in the antidote yesterday.

  15. Carolinian

    The latest Truthdig on the age of Jackson is good and well worth a read. However just as demagoguery can be dangerous, analogizing the past to the present can also be dangerous. For example while Trump very likely is a bigot in private and sometimes in public (and many of his wealthy peers also I suspect) the notion that his support is only about white supremacy is–IMO–greatly exaggerated. My state went solidly for Trump and yet we have a black (Republican) senator and an otherwise execrable former governor who stood in front of the state house and said the Confederate flag should come down. Racism is no longer respectable for politicians around here even though it may certainly still exist in private. Interracial couples are common and black and white children go to school together and can be seen on playgrounds playing together. Caste is gone or on the way out (at least where I live).

    So this is not at all like a world where slavery was defended as Biblical truth and economic necessity. We do not live in Jackson’s world even though Trump may seem to be superficially like him.

    Indeed if riots are being encouraged, nullification reanimated, it may be on the opposition side of the fence. Everyone needs to calm down.

    1. voteforno6

      Agreed. I also find it curious that the article discusses the impact of Andrew Jackson without once mentioning Martin Van Buren – he probably had a lot more to do with how the Democratic Party was actually organized than Jackson did.

    2. polecat

      “Everyone needs to calm down.”
      But, unfortunately, they won’t .. the Crowd-of-Virtues and the 5-eyes media will see to that !

      A partisan plague has spread into the plebicit.

    3. Amfortas the Hippie

      I agree. Overt racism is a big faux pas,even in Texas.
      much more so than even 35 years ago.
      My very obviously MexicanAmerican mother in law, who’s been in this town all her life, talks routinely about sundry white folks talking to her on the street corner and parroting whatever Faux newts nonsense they’ve most recently imbibed about the “bad mexicans takin our jobs” or whatever.
      and MIL saying calmly, “ know…I’m a Mexican…” to which the white person splutters and turns red and apologises profusely.
      not only do the actual racists themselves understand that they are a dying breed(sic), but the ordinary commoner often doesn’t connect the dots between whatever hannity is spewing and people they actually know. as I’ve noted, the faceborg personas of actual humans represent the unmediated Id(as in the Freudian term), and are not representative, necessarily, of the actual humans in the real world. I see the behaviour of all those FB Ids as humans working all this out.
      Things are getting better, incrementally…and that’s a good thing.
      Perhaps various groupings of powerful folks who derive at least part of their power from such divisions might have reason to prolong such divisions, but it’s having less and less purchase.
      as in the rednecks I know, who’s favorite cousin comes out as gay, and marries a black guy,lol.
      still the same cousin, likes hunting and talking smack…but with thise new twist that must be integrated somehow.
      I’ve witnessed this process, and find it quite fascinating.

  16. Jean

    Re Tech’s promoting inequality, yes I agree, but through long commutes?

    Generalizations about the demographic history of the San Francisco Bay Area. At present San Pablo, Pinole, Richmond and parts of Oakland are where mostly Hispanic very low wage labor lives that commutes to Marin and San Francisco across bridges from jobs. This is where the sheet metal workers, truckdrivers, cab drivers and skilled trades, i.e. your solar installer, used to live.

    The three hour commutes lamented in the article are from areas around Santa Rosa, Stockton and Sacramento, 50 to 80 miles out from S.F.

    Tech workers do not live there, they live closer, in better bedroom communities of Marin and San Mateo Counties, or San Francisco itself. Here’s a map of Google, Genentech and Facebook private bus routes.
    There are public buses that often parallel these routes, but they are slower, more crowded and wallow in local traffic. Or, you could drive, but all those cars…

    The reason for the three hour commutes is that working people in the skilled trades have been pushed out into Kunstler’s “asteroid belt suburbs” by higher rents caused by mostly unskilled Hispanics in San Pablo, Oakland, Pinole and Richmond, who are willing to live in very crowded and thus high rent conditions. Open borders and low rents are mutually exclusive.

    It’s an odd onion ring. Most highly paid live closest to jobs, actually in S.F. or the near suburbs, then the lowest paid are in the next ring out, Finally what’s left of the Middle lives farthest away.

    Public transit? One death or rape a day on BART recently, the subway into San Francisco from the far reaches of the inner suburbs. Women I know are not willing to work late in the city and use BART, hence they drive.

    1. Richard

      “The reason for the three-hour commutes is that working people in the skilled trades have been pushed out into Kunstler’s ‘asteroid belt suburbs’ by higher rents caused by mostly unskilled Hispanics in San Pablo, Oakland, Pinole and Richmond, who are willing to live in very crowded and thus high rent conditions.”
      Divide and conquer much? I can’t believe some of the poorer people have gamed the system, so they get to live closer to work than someone a bit better off! And all they have to do is live in very crowded conditions! It’s their fault!
      Love the counterpoise between “working people” and “mostly unskilled Hispanics”.

      1. Jean

        Forgot to mention that the Middle Class precariat is not willing to send their kids to school in the barrio/ghettos of the East Bay, so they go long and pay for it in commute costs. Same thing with the fire and police personnel of San Francisco who have clustered for years in the outter limit of distance to which they can live and keep their jobs; Rhonert Park.

        Living in crowded conditions is common sense for mostly young males working day labor and low wage jobs. Compared to where they came from, it’s a nice place. For Americans, not so nice.

        You are right, I should have said “skilled tradesmen” versus “unskilled labor.”

        Red Star for you.

        Here’s a race map of the Bay Area for those interested.

        1. Richard

          I live in an urban, low-income housing area myself, within Seattle’s city limits. It is crowded. It is mostly families. A few blocks to the west, if I go for a walk in the upper-middle neighborhood that adjoins us, I’ll see many signs there that say “slow down! Children live in this neighborhood,”. No one ever seems to remember that lots of kids live on my street as well. They are less visible, with no yards or safe streets to play in.
          You make a lot of assumptions. I’ll stop there.

          1. Jean

            OK, I’ll stop trading facts for emotions and defer to your worldview in Seattle dictating our reality.

  17. JEHR

    I’ve read a couple of articles on Geraint Thomas and they have both been truly complimentary. What got me was his admission that he cried twice in his life: once at his wedding and once after the win in Paris. What a guy!

  18. TroyMcClure

    For anyone here at NC looking to keep up with what us youngsters are up to here’s a look at livestreamer Ice Poseidon (yes THAT Ice Poseidon) from the New Yorker:

    When he had a bad stream, his disappointment was sharpened by harsh criticism from viewers, the people who seemed to care the most about him. In a clip from that era, he breaks down on stream. He is alone outside in the dark, with his face lit from below. “I don’t even talk to my parents. I live with my parents, but we maybe talk two words a day,” he says. “It’s really hard to not have any sort of, like, human interaction with anybody except for the people who watch your stream over the Internet.”

    1. djrichard

      In a way, pairs up nicely with the Declinism Rising article, linked further above. From that.

      The modern era in general is a desperate search for meaning

      1. jrs

        I had never heard of that ice Poseidon person but yes, or alternately it seems one of the most unfortunate ways to have to make a living. An argument for a job guarantee so people don’t have to stream their lives to pay their bills anymore.

  19. ScottS

    Re: Trump, Putin & Helsinki: Henry Kissinger Still Calls the Shots Counterpunch.

    His and Dick Cheney’s continued existence aren’t considered irrefutable proof that there is no just and loving god?

  20. Jean

    The Trump campaign and Democrats suicide wish;

    Please, please run Kamala Harris!

    From the left

    and the right

    Her record speaks–dozens if not more articles like this on her which will be used by Trump.

    “SAN FRANCISCO — The assault on Amanda Kiefer at dusk in San Francisco’s posh Pacific Heights was extraordinary enough for its cruelty.

    A stranger, later identified as Alexander Izaguirre, snatched her purse and hopped into an SUV, police say. The driver sped forward to run Kiefer down. Terrified, she leaped onto the hood and saw Izaguirre and the driver laughing. The driver slammed on the brakes, propelling Kiefer to the pavement. Her skull fractured. Blood oozed from her ear.

    Only after the July 2008 attack did Kiefer learn of the crime’s political ramifications. Izaguirre, police told her, was an illegal immigrant who had pleaded guilty four months earlier to a drug felony for selling cocaine in the seedy Tenderloin area.

    He had avoided prison when he was picked for a jobs program run by San Francisco Dist. Atty. Kamala Harris, now a candidate for California’s top law enforcement post. In effect, Harris’ office had been allowing Izaguirre and other illegal immigrants to stay out of prison by training them for jobs they cannot legally hold…”

    1. JTMcPhee

      Ooh, ooh, another Willie Horton! IF KH is forced on the Dems as candidate, can Dukakis-izing be far behind? Maybe she can run an ad showing her driving a tank in an outsized helmet? Schadenfreude unfortunately does not lead to concrete material benefits…

  21. Richard

    Lee Camp’s comments on appeal court decision, that TSA employees are immune from sexual assault prosecution on the job, are hilarious and effing sensible, as usual.

    Sorry for the awkward looking link. I couldn’t get the highlighting of the text word connected to my URL.

  22. ewmayer

    “New York Times Publisher and Trump Clash Over President’s Threats Against Journalism | NYT” — LOL, the NYT editorial board has either the temerity or self-delusion to dare to use “New York Times” and “Journalism” in the same headline.

  23. georgieboy

    Re the Chicago/Glasgow violence reduction essay: an exercise in Wishful Journalism

    The journalist admires what she claims are measurable improvements stemming from an organization called Ceasefire. The picture on the ground in Chicago is a little different.

    1) The founder fawned over at length, Slutkin, was caught recycling money granted to Ceasefire by Rahm Emmanuel back to — guess who ! — Emmanuel, Michael Madigan, and the usual Democratic regulars in Illinois.

    2) Money given to Ceasefire seemed to go to gangbangers who recycled it to buy heroin and other inventory for their drug operations.

    3) Slutkin’s claims and charts aside, sadly no measurable impact on street violence observed in Chicago.

  24. The Rev Kev

    “How the Suffrage Movement Betrayed Black Women”

    This article is about events from a century ago but it is still relevant today. We have now what we call third-wave feminism but I note stories from time to time about black women trying to raise issues important to them being drowned out, pushed aside and eventually pushed out by their white sisters. I have seen complaints like this several times and it seems to be a thing. To be fair though, these third-wave feminists also push aside any working class women that also try to raise issues important to them. Still , this always brings to mind that photo that I saw once and is at the top of this page-

  25. witters

    Pleased – though Lambert was looking forward to it – that no-one has bothered with the LRB essay. Runciman writes there on sport and on politics. He is a political theorist at Oxford. On sport, he is good, on politics not so much. He was for whom he called “the one in the pants suit.” Didn’t like Sanders, hates BREXIT. I think of him as the Thomas Friedman of Oxonian political wisdom.

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