Links 8/5/18

Europe’s extreme summer is so hot it melted the highest peak in Sweden, and now it’s only the second-highest Business Insider

The rise and the rainfall of the Roman empire The Economist

Watch Corals Form a ‘Wall of Mouths’ to Catch and Eat Jellyfish National Geographic

Wells Fargo says hundreds of customers lost homes because of computer glitch CNN

Bitcoin Whale’s Bad Trade Leaves Counterparties Holding the Bag Bloomberg

The revenue-growth rate that helped fuel Tesla’s rally relied on an apples-to-oranges comparison Francine McKenna, MarketWatch

The Stock Market Is Shrinking. That’s a Problem for Everyone. NYT

America’s contaminated recycling The Week


This is what no-deal Brexit actually looks like Politics

Brexit: the enemies of reason EU Referendum

UK “Housing Downturn” Pushes Biggest Real-Estate Agency with 10,000 Employees to Brink, Shares Collapse Wolf Street

Jeremy Corbyn ditches consensus to reject EU trade deals FT


Washington Post Blames Iran For Trump’s Unilateral Sanctions Against It Moon of Alabama (KW). Good discussion of Iranian oil.

AngloZionist attack options against Iran The Saker

Dam collapse highlights risks to communities as Laos seeks to become hydroelectricity hub ABC Australia

Dodged a bullet. Thread:

North Korea

North Korea accuses US of backtracking on Trump-Kim summit FT

Venezuela President Maduro ‘survives drone attack’ BBC

VIDEO: CIA Director Mike Pompeo Hints U.S. Is Working with Mexico and Colombia to Push Regime Change in Venezuela Alternet. From 2017, still germane.

New Cold War

Seven Theories of the Case, Updated: One Year Later, What More Do We Know About L’Affaire Russe? Lawfare (response).

The Utility of the RussiaGate Conspiracy FAIR

Feinstein had a Chinese spy connection she didn’t know about — her driver San Francisco Chronicle. Imagine the hysteria if the driver had been Russian…

Russia names action-movie star Seagal as envoy for US AP

Bright fireball flies across Siberian sky (VIDEOS) RT. Russian fireball dash-cam videos are actually a minor genre

How anti-liberalism went global The Week

Trump Transition

Judge: Trump administration has ‘sole burden’ to locate migrant parents separated from children Politico

‘The most bizarre thing I’ve ever been a part of’: Trump panel found no widespread voter fraud, ex-member says WaPo. NC on “The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.”

Special report: America’s greatest threat is a hurricane-force cyberattack Axios

Big Brother Is Watching You

Inside The Spinner: a real-life inception project FT. Holy moly!

Have you gained or lost weight? Congrats, TSA is now tracking you for suspicious activity. USA Today

The Women of WikiLeaks: Speaking Truth to Power Fair Observer (CL).

Our Famously Free Press

Sarah Jeong, The New York Times, and the Gamergate School of Journalism Columbia Journalism Review. (Andrew Sullivan; response).

Health Care

The Leap to Single-Payer: What Taiwan Can Teach NYT

Medicare for All makes a lot of sense Jeffrey Sachs, CNN

Neoliberal Epidemics

Hepatitis A outbreak worsens in West Virginia, Kentucky Outbreak

Scientists FINALLY discover why thalidomide caused birth defects: Pill taken by thousands of mothers in the 1960s left a generation with deformed limbs and organs – but until now, no one knew why Daily Mail (KW).

Guillotine Watch

What It’s Really Like to Have a Trust Fund The Cut

Old-Money Billionaires Are Chasing New Tech Riches WSJ

The Expensive Education of Mark Zuckerberg and Silicon Valley NYT

Class Warfare

“We Rise Together, Homie” Jacobin

The human toll of falling taxi licence values ABC Australia

A New UPS Union Contract Shows How Online Shopping Is Dragging Down Delivery Jobs HuffPo

Airline pilots protest a study on allowing cargo planes to be operated by only one pilot with remote help Los Angeles Times (KW). KW: “Cargo planes at first…” Safety culture?

Internal Documents Reveal How Bronx Prosecutors Are Taught to Slow Down Cases The Appeal (DK).

The tender, terrifying truth about what happened inside the Trader Joe’s hostage siege Los Angeles Times

Antidote du jour:

Bonus goats:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Livius Drusus

    Re: The Stock Market Is Shrinking. That’s a Problem for Everyone.

    The decline of smaller firms seems to demolish the theory that the economy is driven by plucky upstarts which also diminishes most of the “creative class” mythology peddled to workers. An economy increasingly dominated by a few huge firms “whose value is largely found in their intellectual property” looks like what Dean Baker calls the economy of “selective protectionism.” There is a reason why corporate America pushes for stronger laws to protect copyrights and patents put rails against protectionism for workers.

    This is an important point when arguing that inequality and other economic problems for workers are mostly driven by policy and are not just natural products of the working of the market or the unstoppable forces of globalization or whatever other arguments are brought up to diminish the importance of policy choices and politics.

    1. Richard Kline

      Hyperconcentration is a natural function of the maturation of sectoral regimes, which also occur at peak phase social oscillations. The US is there. Once there were many airplane constructing firms; now Boeing is a monopoly. Peak financialization follows a similar arc. It is one reason that small firms can’t thrive, but is symptomatic of long-run cycle phase even more than a deliberate outcome of uber capitalists.

      Bad policy doesn’t ’cause’ hyperconcentration. But it can be a co-conspirator to a somewhat inimical inherent function.

      That’s not to say that policy initiatives and institutional responses couldn’t mitigate some of the impact of an inherent hyperconcentration. The level of overt intervention into a society’s economy required would not be small. Care would be needed not to reap excess unintended consequences too. Let’s just say, I’m not holding my breath waiting for that outcome . . . .

  2. Jesper

    About this:

    Wells Fargo says hundreds of customers lost homes because of computer glitch

    Shouldn’t a well functioning judicial system have stopped that in its tracks?
    The banks messed up but the courts didn’t spot the problem when it went through the courts and the forclosures happened. & no it is not an excuse for the banks, it is an argument that the courts failed as much and worse, therefore something might need to be done about the judicial system as well.

    1. adam eran

      FYI, at least in California, foreclosure is a non-judicial process (unless you want to go after the personal assets of the borrower, not just the real estate)…so…no courts could spot the problem.

      1. Lee

        Citibank almost did the same thing to me. I applied for a mortgage modification but never missed a payment, although some bank reps encouraged me to do so. Somehow, the submission of a modification application triggered both a diversion of my payments so that the mortgage department didn’t get them and a foreclosure process. My then Congressman, Pete Stark, at my request got things straightened out. I didn’t get the modification but I did avoid foreclosure.

        1. Laurel

          CitiMortgage was (is) a financial entity that was performing on par with Wells Fargo, CountryWide, etc. for a number of years during the aftermath of the Great Recession. Let us not forget that it was Prez Obama and his chosen Treasury Secretary Timothy Geitner who preserved the Great Banks and thereby sacrificed the security of at least 10 Million homeowners who lost their homes to foreclosure because the (white)house odds were designed to support the status quo of the financial entities, not the foundation of we the people. When I was going through a protracted battle with CitiMortgage over the course of several years in order to save my family’s modest home, truly only 2 things emerged to salvage my sanity: the first was my discovery of Naked Capitalism, and recognizing that YS had the courage, temerity and the Street credentials to reveal that the Emperor was wearing no clothes. The second was a curious conversation I had with a CitiMortgage customer service representative. The man, who’s name resides somewhere on a legal pad in my foreclosure trauma file, was an anomaly for a couple of reasons, the first being his vocal accent revealed that he was originally of East Indian origin and the second was his disclosure, somewhere in our chat, that he and his wife had recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. Further into our conversation, after my usual statement, repeated because all calls were supposedly recorded, protesting the multiple times that I had already submitted documentation, forms, records, etc. which Citi always had no record of, the man actually acknowledged that Citi was overwhelmed by the volume of applications, understaffed with undertrained individuals, and generally confirmed my worse suspicions that there was no mechanism in place that was designed to foam the runway for the unfortunate mortgage payer and that it was an extremely incompetent business that was unable to function as a financial entity; a new workforce in a forced receivership could not perform worse.
          I eventually prevailed, but it destroyed my (former Marine) late husband’s business, his health and his belief in the decency and competence of the US government, and the modification curiously reset my new principal balance over $20 K higher than it should have been. Apparently the last $14 thousand dollars I had paid them vanished down their rat hole. This is a rather long and rambling attempt to say thank you to Yves and the community that you have brought together.

          1. Yves Smith

            I am so sorry to read your story. So many were hurt, and the worst was most of the time it was sheer incompetence and laziness, the result of front end greed (not spending enough on systems and training to do things correctly).

      2. Westcoastdeplorable

        Why don’t the Feds just put this shell of a company out of its misery and revoke its banking license? There is nothing good about Well Fargo and blaming 400 foreclosures on a “computer glitch” adds insult to injury, imo.
        I got caught in a “escrow trap” myself; Quicken Loans originated my loan and “forgot” to include the Mello-Roos taxes (a California gimmick allowing developers to shunt costs of things like roads, water and sewer mains, etc. off to the homebuyer), so when Chase assumed servicing 9 mos later, the escrow account was insufficient and they demanded an extra $1,000 a month I didn’t have for a year, then my payment would be $300 more per month for the balance of the 30 year loan.
        Despite repeated attempts to find someone at Chase who gave two sh*ts, they foreclosed.
        They offered “cash for keys” of a couple of grand, but I had to sign away my rights to sue, so I told them to have fun drilling the locks.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Banks operate outside of our legal and capitalist systems, an unelected superset class of institution with a stanglehold on our economy and political system.

          I think a single-issue political party could win in a walk. Choose an issue:

          1. Anti-bank
          2. Anti-war

          In either case, the party would organize and speak just to that one issue. Nothing about guns, abortions, LGBT, global warming. A really big tent with a really singular focus. Because solving the single issue solves all of the others (health care, highways, clean water, wages…all of them).

    2. The Rev Kev

      Could you imagine what would have happened if the courts had told Wells Fargo: “You did it. This mess is all your fault. Now you have to make each and every one of these people whole again. All of them. You have six months. Case closed!”

        1. wilroncanada

          Rev Kev and Lobsterman
          Short comment: I agree.
          Longer note: Are the funds the court is telling Wells Fargo to apportion, or the funds Wells Fargo are “voluntarily offering,” anything close to the amount required to make its victims whole? Does it even include making it contact every victim?

    3. crittermom

      The banks did not ‘mess up’.
      It was a feature, not a bug.

      Even MSM carried the story way back on “60 Minutes”, in case any have forgotten:

      That is was due to computer glitches is pure BS. Some of the papers presented to the courts were ridiculous (as in “Bogus Assignee”)–yet they accepted them.

      I’m so tired of having to wear hip waders when reading such folly from the banks, as in ‘it was a computer glitch’!

      No, it wasn’t.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Agreed. And I can’t stand the way these stories get spun as “there was nothing any human being could do”. These poor people begged and pleaded with the banks, wasted time they’ll never get back, and couldn’t get anyone at the banks to help them personally. No human being could be bothered to take a couple hours to look into their grievances and find out it was all a mistake.

        If your mortgage department doesn’t contain any actual people who can help customers when problems arise concerning the most valuable asset most of them are ever likely to have, then you aren’t running a legitimate business, you’re running a criminal racket.

        And that’s what more and more of the companies that remain in this country are. And yet nobody is willing to send the police after the bankers, or Uber or Amazon execs, or any of the other grifters making squillions stealing from the rest of us. Nope, it’s just throw up the hands and claim there was nothing that could be done.

        1. crittermom

          “These poor people begged and pleaded with the banks…”

          Yes. I know only too well.
          I was one of those (now) poor people & lost it all.

          I disagree, however, with your statement, “No human being could be bothered to take a couple hours to look into their grievances and find out it was all a mistake.”

          It wasn’t that they couldn’t be bothered.
          They would lose their job if they didn’t follow the ‘rules’ in carrying forth the robberies that the banks instructed them to, & bosses wouldn’t dare to look into any ‘whistleblower’ complaints for the same reason.

          It wouldn’t have mattered if that grievance had made it all the way to the head of the bank.
          It’s not like they didn’t know what was going on.
          It went exactly as planned, in fact.

          Oh, they knew, awright.
          They all knew.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            “I’m the only one standing between you guys and the people with pitchforks”.

            H.R.H. Barack The Obama The First

    4. Alex morfesis

      Jesper…you are confused on how the American legal process works…it is not judge Judy… A jurist has their hands tied and can only work with the plaintiff pleadings and any retort a defendant can properly place into the record…are there jurists who cross the lines and work to find some possible kernel to help homeowners… Yes…the entire 6th circuit here in Florida effectively shut down almost all foreclosures…and the banks made sure rubio was made senator and Pam bondi went from daughter of a small local politician to Attorney general for Florida… It helped her brother was at the sec covering up the bankers dance and then was the general counsel for the smoke and mirrors review/investigation led by that Greek guy from California… And so…governor dred Scott placed outside the scope of the Florida Constitution a bunch of retired judges and removed the jurisdiction of the local judges who had said no by handing the cases to “senior” judges…and the good ship lollipop…formerly St Pete times now tampabay times owned and controlled by the school marm poynter institute who sees nothing doing their best Sargent Shultz…and the good people of floriduh reelected all the “clean” govt types… So…who exactly sitting on a bench is going to be a hero when the average voter obviously cares not about equity nor fairness..

  3. fresno dan

    Sarah Jeong, The New York Times, and the Gamergate School of Journalism Columbia Journalism Review. (Andrew Sullivan; response).

    It’s typically used satirically and hyperbolically to emphasize how white people continue to benefit (even unknowingly) from their skin color, or to point out the ways in which a power structure that favors white people continues to exist.
    Vox apparently believes that all those people dying of opioid abuse …..are deplorable, but have instituted policies to kill themselves….cause its hip. /Sarc
    It is incredible to me that Vox and NYT, who think so highly of their own thinking, can’t see that the rich use race to keep any serious discussion of CLASS oppression unmentionable and are playing them for suckers. And of course Trump uses it to “own the libs.”
    The fact that such a tiny percentage of “white people” are oppressing anyone, as opposed to RICH white people, is a critical distinction – funny how it never gets mentioned…..

    I think this National Review commentary hits the mark better. How many precincts will Trump win because the race wars are ginned up?

    FROM the ARTICLE: You can come up with as many polysyllabic explanations as you like for why it’s okay for you to mock, demonize, or ridicule white people. You can prattle on to your Ph.D. adviser’s content about how whiteness is a social construct that needs to be dismantled. But maybe you should have the simple decency and common sense to understand that many people won’t see it that way, because the net effect of your “counter-trolling” is that it leads to the opposite of your stated goal: You are making white people feel threatened, and, as a result, you’re making at least some of them more racist. You are making whiteness a thing.

    1. Enquiring Mind

      From memory, an old New Yorker cartoon:

      “I’d say your doctorate is in the bag, Atwood. This dissertation is the biggest pile of sesquipedalian tergiversation these eyes have ever seen.”

    2. Marym

      TO the ARTICLE: Is there any response by people of color to institutional or individualized (like calling the cops on someone for bbq in the park) racism – making economic progress through education and hard work, non-violent protest, legal challenges, armed self-defense, satire, voting, videotaping racist behavior – that doesn’t‘ seem to make white people feel threatened? Or at the least, that politicians and pundits of the status quo or worse won’t claim as a reason for white people to feel threatened, and as an excuse to suppress any response?

    3. PhilK

      You are making white people feel threatened, and, as a result, you’re making at least some of them more racist.

      How could this be anything other than what’s intended?

      1. Louis Fyne

        The old debate: is it malice or ididocy?

        My vote is for tone deaf, bubble idiocy.

        But i understand if your mileage varies

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          It’s the plan.

          There aren’t enough Sunnis and Shiites here to make a difference, so they’ve got to improvise.

          1. Summer

            Maybe that’s terminology for the marketers to go for next. After “Gen Z” – the alphabet ends.

        2. Carey

          If it were mere idiocy, one or another of the overclass’s “idiocies” might be expected to eventually, inadvertently help the many in some way.
          That that *never happens* says much.

          They know what they’re doing

        3. Charlie

          Malice, but not racial malice. Class malice. Notice the privileged are exempt from all these new constructs?

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          Thank Lambert; he posted it in the Cooler a while back, was kind of a paradigm shift for me.

      1. fresno dan

        ChiGal in Carolina
        August 5, 2018 at 1:08 pm
        At the very beginning the threat suggests saving the thread, and I will do that.

        Black Socialists of America
        Mar 22
        “White privilege” was originally referred to as “white skin privilege,” and it was a term coined by Theodore W. Allen under a class-based analysis.

        What happens when you remove the class-based analysis?

        You get Capitalist control of the narrative, and more division as a result.
        Black Socialists of America
        Black Socialists of America
        Mar 22
        What Liberal and Conservative media have done is create a dynamic where poor and working class white Americans don’t feel as though they have any room to move in solidarity with poor and working class Black Americans, and vice versa; common “SJW” RHETORIC deepens these rifts.

    4. Ted

      I think it is a mistake to label the sort of behavior Jeong has engaged in an the NYT celebration of it by hiring her into its editorial team as coming from the “Left” or from “liberals”. It is on the contrary a form of behavior that fits authoritarianism better … in otherwords it is a form of extreme rightwing politics. Jeong’s behavior, which runs wild in academic and media settings these days, reflects little understanding of material/economic processes, and how one’s source of economic power (manual labor vs intellectual labor vs capital) determines more in terms of life chances than race or gender. Such an analysis is the only “Left” that I know of. It is only after a consideration of the primacy of the former (class and political economy) that we can understand the workings of the latter (race and gender) in society in terms of economic and political outcomes. As for those who, as the professor quoted in the Andrew Sullivan piece, who justify the behavior because of “400 or 500 years of grievance” … again, an authoritarian argument (“our people are justified in doing X [insert illiberal actions here] because we are a long suffering people!” … never mind the details) that distracts from or displaces a more productive materialist/economic perspective.

      In the US this is surely a reflection of the absence of Marx from any curriculum anywhere. Even in higher education Marx is waxed over in one afternoon in a specialized sociology class that few students will take. Even then the presentation and presenter are unlikely to know much of Marx’s analysis of capitalism. Most college encounters with Marx will be The Communist Manifesto. Never The German Ideology and certainly not Capital. Fewer still are likely to read contemporary translators of Marx like David Harvey. As a result, college educated people like Jeong are likely largely if not entirely ignorant of how the political economic system in which they live and breathe works.

  4. Darius

    Goats do a great job of clearing land of invasive species. Anyone who used to watch Saturday morning cartoons know they’ll eat anything, including tin cans. They’re expensive though. A goat farmer will charge thousands to rent a couple for a few weeks. They need to be penned and watered while they’re eating all your out of control vegetation.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Keeping goats is labor intensive and can be expensive. They are remarkably good at “getting out” (of anything except solid electrified fencing) and many will eat bushes and plants that are poisonous to them. I’m barely touching the surface . Look into it thoroughly first…

        But they are indeed good at eating everything in sight, and they love thorny bushes that even cows will avoid if they have any alternative.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          My neighbor had a goat named Dixie while i went to LSU. Wed get drunk/stoned/etc and feed him these grass vines growing our backyard.

          1. georgieboy

            Goats are great. But putting them to work out in the country can be a challenge.

            Coyotes find them rather tasty, and a whiff of one will make them herd together as close to civilization as possible. (Hey buddy, c’mon, open up that barn!) Evidently survival instinct says better to slowly starve together than be the outlier.

            1. Wukchumni

              Goats are fodder for mountain lions here, a local account:

              About five to six miles up the South Fork, residents have reported losing several cats and three goats to a mountain lion. A chicken coop was also plundered.

              One South Fork resident reportedly fired a shot recently at a mountain lion while it was carrying off the hindquarter of one of her cats.

              The mountain lion stopped, gave the shooter a defiant look, then disappeared into the brush.


              1. Lord Koos

                That’s very similar to a story from where I live, where a cougar carried off a guy’s dog from a small farm about 12 miles from town. The guy shot at the cougar which then dropped the dog and ran off, the dog survived but needed over 50 stitches.

        2. wilroncanada

          Kept three oats for fourteen years and never had an escapee. They are not land clearers. they will look for young grasses until all dried up in late summer, and then clear the tall standing dried “hay” in the fall. They certainly do eat thorny plants. My daughters fed blackberry plants to our goats as a treat. We did not use electric fencing but stock fence–10-47-6–two levels high on sturdy posts 8 feet apart, the total height just under 8 feet.
          These were milking does.

          Sheep, on the other hand, will eat a whole field down to nothing. And, they will go through or under fencing, not over it.

        3. Richard Kline

          They are used in Seattle to clear vegetation on difficult ground. A herd of thirty just cleared out a half acre of blackberry canes and milkweed down to stubble on a hill patch I’ll walk home past from work in a few minutes. Nuked it. But yeah, they need handlers.

      2. Lord Koos

        I’ve eaten curried goat, and I’ll say that unless you’re really hungry, keeping them as pets is probably a better idea.

        1. Oregoncharles

          Pigs, too. But I’m afraid to use either, because goats also eat fruit trees and pigs would root up and eat any wildflowers – that I know are there.

          Properly penned, pigs would be great at tilling a new garden space, though. Just don’t let them into an existing one.

      1. Oregoncharles

        the Japanese, where it comes from, EAT kudzu. They feed the tops to animals and use the storage roots for starch – you can sometimes find it at the store. I suspect they’re quite amused by our problems with it.

  5. Darius

    Why don’t cities regulate Ubers like taxis? Are Ubers privileged because they have Wall Street backing?

    1. JTMcPhee

      In part it seems to be a matter that “the regulators” just are no longer equipped to “regulate.” When I was working at the US EPA, there were people who took their charge to “protect human health and the environment” seriously, and were pretty good at identifying health and environmental threats and problems, and also at using the available tools of legislation and litigation to rein in some of the corporate behaviors driven by profit and greed and quarterly results. We even put a few corporate executives in jail, which had a strong if brief impact on corporate thinking and legal advice given by corporate and outside counsel to the C-suite-ers (subsequent sustained efforts at re-writing the laws, regulatory capture including Reagan’s onslaught from the top, and legal challenges in friendly venues like the Fifth and DC Circuit courts, and simply outlaw behavior without consequences, brought things to their current situation).

      Most of the staff I worked with were actually of the civil servant mindset (with the usual exceptions of empire builders, Fifth Columnists from the corporate set, and slackers, and the problems caused by tunnel vision and careerism). What I would characterize as the good ones were educated in a time when civics was still taught, when “environmental consciousness” was a thing both popularly and in many institutions of schooling and among government workers who understood and practiced the need for “regulation.” They did not know it all, but there were pretty clear perceptions of where things already stood in terms of degraded health and environmental conditions and where they were headed without functioning limits on corporate and government behavior (the latter including stuff like the mass toxic event at Camp Lejeune, and of course the mess left behind by the Manhattan Project and other reaches for global power).

      Those enforcement tools that were brought to bear were the result of what might be accidents of politics — the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response,
      Compensation and Liability Act (or “Superfund”) and several others. These statutory hammers were enacted at a time when the K Streeters were not as preponderant and well organized as they are now.

      So us oldsters get criticized for “making the current mess.” But there were a lot of us who actually worked the barricades in an effort to stem the tide. Eventually, of course, the dedicated civil servants got marginalized and outplaced, and in came people for whom the work at EPA was just a chance to learn the weak places in the regulatory framework, the ways to bypass lower-level enforcers, and to do the networking to go on to “better paying jobs” as good servants of the corporate armies.

      I suspect that in the municipal context, there are some civil servants (in the best sense) who have been trying their darndest to “regulate” the creatures like Uber and airbnb, but facing critical shortages of the kind of resources it takes to do what an outside view might characterize as the right thing. But of course everybody, pretty much, LOVES the ‘convenience” and pricing (based on externality-dumping) of those platforms, and of course the “opportunities” that both seemingly present for individual profit (at public expense — traffic congestion, people sleeping in their Ubermobiles, destruction of neighborhoods and ridiculous unaffordable rents and houses, etc.) So the few who want to do the right thing, move the culture back toward some axis of stability, are denied not only the fiscal and enforcement tools that would be needed, but the popular support that would possibly force the policy-makers to provide both.

      I stay in touch with some past EPA co-workers, who under the rain of disdain and constant decimation of their tools of enforcement and regulation,, continued to fight the good fight at EPA long after I found in necessary to quit (losing what would have been a very nice pension.) There are people fighting a guerilla war against the corporate types, to this day, at EPA and other federal and state agencies. Thankless, unrecognized work, and ‘the public” dumps on them as “imposing burdensome regulations on the job creators.”

      It must be vastly disheartening to be a critical thinker and awakening person working in one of the gutted agencies that are supposed to be protecting and promoting the general welfare. Bless those who keep trying, against the floods of neoliberalism and its execreble excesses…

      1. Inode_buddha

        Maybe the job creators would find it less burdensome to pay for my co-workers lung transplants? I thank you and others like you for your efforts. I work in heavy industry at the plant floor level and I’m very aware of how they need to safely dispose of their waste.

      2. Wombat

        Thanks for this!

        I can’t imagine what employees of the Forest Service, who joined to be stewards of our lands, are going through right now against Zinke’s onslaught of protections and firesale (or lease) to extractors.

      3. wilroncanada

        I sometimes despair at your pessimism and despair, but at the same time I realize how you have been led to it by having fought the fight as you have described above (9:15AM), and have seen that your efforts, and those of other sincere workers, has almost gone for naught in this neoliberal nightmare. Out here in BC Canada ( the wet coast, but not for the past 5 years, or the left coast, sometimes but not if offending too many well-paid voters), our provincial government has been “stalling” according to the opposition and many of your convenience-lovers, at passing legislation to permit some form of ride-sharing scheme–what a misnomer that is. Something might happen early next year.

        Meanwhile, at a personal level, “back at the ranch” I have to continually resort our recyclables because other members of the family refuse to learn the rules. My sister-i-l used to complain that doing something other than put a pail of everything into the street was “too much work”. My son-i-l uses Uber when he travels to game conventions because of convenience, and he and my daughter and their two children Air Bn’Bd in Honolulu for a combined convention and vacation, in a tower most of which was temp residence, and crawling with cockroaches, because–markets.

    2. Bill Smith

      Because in most places the legal framework under which taxi regulators work has enough gray in it that Transportation Network Companies are different?

    3. lyman alpha blob

      One reason is that is only takes a couple self-absorbed jackasses to ruin things for everybody.

      My city initially fell down on the job of enforcing its existing regulations on lodging establishments, causing a proliferation of illegal hotels, aka Airbnb. Long story short, the city decided to construct a new ordinance regulating rentals, and banning outright any rentals that were not owner-occupied, to stop people from buying up rows of homes in desirable neighborhoods to use as vacation rentals. You want to rent a room in your house once in a while, fine, but you can’t buy up whole neighborhoods for your own benefit, and you can’t run a commercial business in neighborhoods that are only zoned for residential use. The ordinance was passed after months of public debate.

      But our city also has an existing regulation that says any citizen can force the city council to repeal any new ordinance or force it to go to public referendum. They need to gather about 1,000 signatures within a couple weeks of an ordinance’s passage in order to do so. So one guy who claims to be a property rights advocate with no interest in short term rentals himself (yeah right) took out papers and got a bunch of illegal hotel owners to help him gather signatures. Word of the street is they claimed homeowners would not be able to park motorcycles in their driveways or put up clotheslines if the new ordinance stood, arguments that were utter BS. But by lying they managed to gather the signatures.

      The citizens of my city had tried to pass a referendum a few years ago limiting what Exxon could do with one of their pipelines, and in the runup to the vote on that one, Exxon poured the better part of a million dollars into that local election, hiring people to canvas voters and lie to them. The city council did not want a repeat of that nonsense if the ordinance was forced to go to referendum, fearing that Airbnb would do something similar to what Exxon did and the ordinance would be struck down by voters, so they repealed the ordinance. Then they turned around, tweaked some of the wording, and passed a new ordinance a few weeks later with the same ban.

      The same guy took out the same petition again within days after the passage of the 2nd ordinance. Now we wait to see if he can lie enough get the needed signatures to overturn the ban a 2nd time.

      Remember the old saying about not underestimating how a few dedicated people can change the world for the better? Yeah, well it works the opposite way too a lot of the time.

  6. s.n.

    more on contaminated recycling:

    Town halls admitted last night that only a third of the 525,000 tons they collect from households can actually be reused. The black plastic in ready-meal packs is hard to process, according to the Local Government Association.
    It said margarine tubs and yoghurt pots made from polypropylene were extremely difficult to recycle. And it cited major problems with fruit and vegetable punnets and bakery goods trays.

    1. HotFlash

      We are having the same problem here in Toronto. The rules are numerous and the compliance is poor. Perhaps we ‘consumers’ ought to be addressing the companies that package things?

  7. fresno dan

    Ezra Klein: You said being a democratic socialist means a more international view. I think if you take global poverty that seriously, it leads you to conclusions that in the US are considered out of political bounds. Things like sharply raising the level of immigration we permit, even up to a level of open borders. About sharply increasing …
    Bernie Sanders: Open borders? No, that’s a Koch brothers proposal.
    Ezra Klein: Really?

    Bernie Sanders: Of course. That’s a right-wing proposal, which says essentially there is no United States
    Ezra Klein: But it would make …
    Bernie Sanders: Excuse me …
    Ezra Klein: It would make a lot of global poor richer, wouldn’t it?
    Bernie Sanders: It would make everybody in America poorer — you’re doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don’t think there’s any country in the world that believes in that.
    Good for Bernie! But you can almost hear Ezra’s sudden realization that he’s talking to a reactionary old fool!…. Sanders has never had a problem with the nation-state; it is, after all, the foundation for any functioning democracy, and a democratic politician will always put the citizens of his country first. His ideal left-liberal countries — the Nordic ones — are strong nation-states with, until very recently, homogeneous populations. But Ezra really does seem to have an issue — philosophically and morally — with the nation-state. Social justice doesn’t end at the border, after all. And if the goal of the left is universal equality, on what grounds does it not extend to everyone on the planet?
    Apparently, Klein thinks 50 years of stagnant wages of the working class (excuse me, Klein would say “white working class”) is a small price to pay to make Chinese richer. After all, Klein being a scribbler believes that “to get a good job, get a good education” – which has been said for how long with EVER LOWER labor participation?

    And if the goal of the left is universal equality, on what grounds does it not extend to everyone on the planet?
    Funny how that “universal equality” never, ever seems to spend much energy talking about reducing the vast wealth of today’s robber barons…..its always vast racial groups, and never the itsy bitsy number of squillionaires, who remain strangely absent from the conversations….which has nothing to do with the squillionaries owning all the media….pure coincidence….

    1. Scott

      Does Ezra Klein really think that he is a stronger advocate for the working class or Social Justice than Bernie Sanders? It sure seems that way. This has become a common tool among the liberals trying to paint themselves as better champions of the disposed than the left. They take a position that benefits the 10% and then argue that it’s better social policy than traditional New Deal or Socialist policies. His quote about immigration is one example.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Ezra Klein doesn’t do anything that approaches “thinking” which is a flaw of natural conservatives which I believe he actually is by most standards.

        My view is with the GOP focus on being the “daddy” party and a fraudulent masculinity (drive my truck to the grocery store with its bumper stickers) more geeky, conservatives will gravitate towards an alternative power structure steeped in tradition such as the Democratic Party. Then we have to take into account family politics and how that affects identity, but Klein is the kind of person who could easily be a cookie cutter Republican if they were just less nasty and full of a “masculine” pageantry.

        I see Ben Stein, Tucker Carlson, and Bob Novak (41 and his wimp status) as an older style Republican we don’t see that much anymore. People who are born to be conservative want to associate with people who look like them, but the modern GOP with its “toxic” masculinity at the forefront does turn away natural conservatives who hide in other old structures.

        Because I would never accuse a “conservative” of being able to think critically (the first step to not being a conservative is to think), the darlings of the Team Blue elites are reactionary reliant on the slogans of their relative youth. Since Klein was interested in politics, he was probably shaped at a younger age than most people, so he came to his moral maturity during the height of the 90’s tech boom.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      Ezra Klein is no socialist. Haven’t read the link yet (not sure I need to), but the gist of these comments made me feel the need to say that!

    3. Lee

      When Ezra gives up his property rights so that I and everyone else in the world can go have dinner and sleep over at his place any time we want, I’ll support open borders.

    4. Burritonomics

      I keep wondering how the open border types square the concept of creating hundreds of millions of new voracious consumers with climate change.

      1. jrs

        well what if the immigrants are themselves climate migrants? This will increasingly be the case …

    5. JBird

      I have noticed that some effort is being made to imply that the support of the nation-state, say being an American nationalist, makes one a racist, an alt-rightist. So if you want to help struggling Americans by reducing immigration, or at least acknowledging the exist of the American nation/people, you are a racist.

      Even some alt-right activists want to imply that only white Americans are Americans. The only American nationalists are white nationalist. The idea of all the American people together, regardless of race or class have the separate identity of American is undermined as a white racist construct, which helps in maintaining the social divisions and open borders, union busting, worker crushing, and wage destruction.

      1. Baby Gerald

        You’ve hit the nail on the head, JBird. The nation-state and all the restrictions and protections it provides its citizens is a definite target of neoliberal globalists who want open borders to make it easier to exploit the most vulnerable people in societies both at home and abroad.

        Morphing the common term from ‘illegal alien’ in the days of Elian Gonzalez to ‘undocumented immigrants’ crossing our borders today was a propaganda success all its own for the globalist class. The news organizations all stepped into line at some point, because you never see ‘illegal alien’ used much these days at all. The citizenship status of these people may not have changed one iota, but the new term is a lot less negative. After all, we’re a nation of immigrants, right? We’re more closely a nation of illegal aliens, but that’s an argument too far.

        The benefits of a democratic-socialist society quite literally require borders and consistent definitions of citizenship status, along with established routines and rules for immigration.

        1. JBird

          The benefits of a democratic-socialist society quite literally require borders and consistent definitions of citizenship status, along with established routines and rules for immigration.

          Not having an example of a functioning democratic-socialist society is a strong goal of TPTB. One of the reasons that the United States has been overthrowing even center-left governments is to prevent people from seeing an example of any non Social Darwinist economy, run by an honest government that provides good governance and support to its population.

          Rather like Haiti. After the successful slave revolt, the Southern Slavocracy and the French governments spent decades isolating and undermining the whole nation. If a country of former slaves could prosper under the good leadership of its citizens what would that say about our disenfranchised blacks as well as Africans? It is one of the reasons the Congo remains a mess. Well, that and easier access to its resources. Or access to American wealth.

          Most of the governments overthrown tended towards some kind of democratic socialism, or at least the moderation of big business and the wealthy power for the general welfare. These countries tend to be socially conservative (understand we are talking about very diverse nations often centuries old) but also tended to believed in the creating/maintain the general welfare not enriching the rich, or in money over all. This was true even of reformers. Bad for business, so replace them with reactionary psychopathic troglodytes.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “How anti-liberalism went global”

    I think that the author got it wrong here which has led him way out into left-field trying to account for the forces mentioned. I’ll change the title of the article around here for him-

    “How anti-neoliberalism went global”

    There. That works better. Using this as a starting point makes all the factors that he noted like religion and nationalism slot more neatly into place. People gravitate to those because any political parties representing their interests have been captured and now work against their interests.
    Same happened in Iran before the Revolution. The Monarchy was so effective at destroying any political or social representatives for the people that all they were left with was the mosques – which to a large extent explains Iran having a religious government to this day.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Maybe both formulations of the title are correct?

      There’s lots of enlightenment here at NC and maybe increasingly in other places about the real meaning of “liberalism,” as a creed that supports and defends the predations on the 90% by the 0.1% and their wannabe 9.9% enablers. One might hope that there would in fact be a global spread of awareness that the privileged few, with their skills at creating FIRE and elevating it and its outputs to the pinnacle of power, are liking the rest of us and the planet to satisfy their own insatiable lusts.

      Whether that can be translated into effective action, as opposed to some huge spasm of violence, in the absence of a tradition of homeostasis across the political and economic spectrum, in light of all the vectors in effect and in play, is the million dollar question.

      Not particularly hopeful, myself, that there will be enough of the right kind of action in the time that is left.

      Too bad the architects of all this, the corporate and elected rulers of past years and the ones who drive everything that’s bad now, will get to live out their lives of dominance and pleasure and die so comfortably abed, after the best of medical care and the comforting of loving caregivers, free from any consequence or retribution… I am surprised that there has been so little “adverse action” by the mopes who suffer the consequences dumped on them by the Great Externalizers…

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Neoliberal is probably correct. The current “liberals” have nothing in common with the “liberals” of yesteryear who opposed either king or aristocracy on a moral level.

        The neoliberals are still desperate to prop up an archaic and increasingly feudal world order. They may believe in “markets” versus a bizarre inherited tithing system, but the newline rays despite their claims of being “liberals” are the old enemy. “Civility” is code for courtly manners.

        The limits of liberalism are apparent, but it’s kind of like the priest being compared to the blind guy when the lights are out. The current neoliberal priests aren’t really the same as the monk who was copying ancient knowledge to preserve it.

        1. JTMcPhee

          And the current liberals, who as you note have nothing in common with “liberals” of yesteryear, are doing what, in the dark? RussiaRussiaRussia, Clinton Really Won It, Bombbombbomb Iran, globalism is A-OK, Israel First!, #metoo, amassing credentials, serving the 0.1%, stuff like that? Concern about global climate collapse, the Panopticon, the REAL “interferences” with even the myth of voting in a “democracy” of monoparty structure, not so much.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Some are just the new Catholic Church (corporate personhood) of the medieval era and others are minor nobility serving powerful barons, but they are no different, demanding blind faith and putting on distant spectacles they themselves participate in to avoid discussions of why there is no bread.

    2. Summer

      Yes, there is a distinction. Liberalism on steroids can be an annoyance or make some uncomfortable, but neoliberalism kills.

  9. Alex

    Right-wing media outlets dredged up a series of inflammatory tweets Jeong sent between 2013 to 2015, in which she appeared to demonize white people…. Jeong’s tweets were bad, in short, and the writer herself acknowledged “how hurtful these posts are out of context.”

    Would they be similarly tolerant of someone who wrote a racist/sexist tweet a few years ago and then gave a similar non-apology apology?

    1. Kurtismayfield

      The amazing part is that this was written in an editorial after the Roseanne Barr firing:

      “The network’s decision to cancel “Roseanne” over a racist comment will cost it. But when people decide to let racism slide, it costs the rest of us”

      I now no longer can find the quote in the original article, and it appears to be edited.

      Reposted editorial in the NYT

      A version of this article appears in print on May 30, 2018, on Page A18 of the New York edition with the headline:Shocking insult brings a surprising reaction

      I went searching in the Internet Archive for this page, and no results. I cannot verify that this was the original quote, but I would love to.

    2. Nick

      Yes, racist whites are rarely called out on their racist writing and some have great careers.

      Case in point is Andrew Sullivan, whose response is linked above. One of Jeongs tweets (the one about goblins, which is funny) is actually a parody of a racist thing Sullivan wrote.

      1. JBird

        I see it as who are forgiven their sins and who are not. Whether they being racist is not the point, but if they are the Good People or the right kind of folk who have the right of being treated as fallible forgivable human beings.

        I think of it like the police with poor people and driving. Poor people will usually have any driving problems treated strictly, but the middle class and up with often get just a warning.

        In speech of Sullivan and Jeong their faux pas get tut, tutted, with some loud outrage from some, but Barr’s are great wrongdoings, which gets her nailed to the wall, condemned, and fired as having done something unforgivable. Strictly it is not about class, money, or beliefs, but instead some confusing amorphous rules, including appearance and social connections, which even the condemned and their condemners do not truly know.

        1. georgieboy

          who are forgiven their sins and who are not…

          one acid test of the NY TImes would be if Ms. Jeong were to prove herself as an equal-opportunity despiser and went after the Sackler family of Purdue Pharma opioid fame, and called out their, uhmm, background in the process.

          not betting on that!

  10. Henry Moon Pie

    “We rise together, homie”—

    What a great video and interview! It fits right in our history in which it’s often immigrants who are the toughest, most united, most militant folks in the labor movement. From Emma Goldman and Joe Hill to many of the works at Republic Windows in ’08 Chicago to this beautiful wildcat strike, immigrants have often provided the example and the leadership for worker actions.

    For those who don’t recall the details of the UE occupation of Republic Windows in ’08, here’s a 10-minute video:

    1. Richard

      Wildcat strikes are always so thrilling and inspiring. Wow, you could feel the guy documenting it getting so excited watching it, even though you could tell from the interview he wasn’t especially militant or political. Great link, thanks….

    1. nycTerrierist

      yes, powerful story, a public service for readers
      to see how one person who is truly ‘present’ can diffuse tension and prevent damage

      i hope the police read this and learn

    2. JTMcPhee

      “Read this and learn…?’ Nah! That would take all the grim fun out of dressing up in “tactical gear” and storming the place! one night hope that our militarized police might do something better and different… oh, wait…

      1. Carla

        The police in my racially diverse community were called to a school playground because there was a man with a gun there, threatening people. It turned out that the man’s children had been bullied by other kids at the playground, and he went there to “defend” his children. The police officers calmly spoke with the man and persuaded him to surrender his weapon and submit to arrest. Not a shot was fired. In this instance, I believe the man and the children were all African American. The police force is racially integrated. I was very, very proud of our local police department that day. And yes, I know this is all too rare.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          probably not so rare actually, we hear about it mostly when things go wrong, not right.

          definitely there are some depts where the culture is indifferent to bad behavior or even encourages it, but I bet even in those depts there are good apples.

          thanks for sharing something that went right.

    3. Olga

      Yes, it is a remarkable story, and the woman is to be admired totally.
      But it also a horrifying picture of our lives in these US today. Why do matters escalate to such an extreme? The gunman said ‘I only needed someone to talk to…’ Why was there no one t o help him before the horrendous turn of events?

    4. ChiGal in Carolina

      Agree. And an argument for more social workers, not cops, in so schools–NOT that the credential alone suffices, there are sadly plenty of unempathic social workers out there.

      But the skills this woman used are what she learned in her own trauma therapy, and are the ABCs of crisis intervention and deescalation.

      Further, they are the ABCs of being a parent, a friend, a human being. Our culture is so toxic that these quite ordinary interventions stand out. It is not hard to imagine a culture in which everyone treats every other living creature with empathy and respect.

    5. Oregoncharles

      Very interesting to learn that it was really the police that shot the manager. Of course, they’ll blame Atkins, but the fact is that they”re usually lousy shots and regularly hit bystanders, even hostages, as happened very recently.

      Just another aspect of police impunity, which makes them into a menace.

  11. Carolinian

    Here’s the only part of the Columbia Journalism Review piece worth reading

    Editor’s note: James Bennet, editorial-page editor of The New York Times, is a member of CJR’s Board of Overseers.

    In other words the self described “media watchdog” is in turn watched over by one of the people they are supposed to be watching. It’s a cozy little club, and you ain’t in it as Carlin once said.

  12. allan

    Top court nominee has long knocked back environmental rules

    Lots of stuff, but this leapt out:

    … In environmental cases, judges often must sort out who has the legal standing to challenge regulations
    or push for protections.

    “The Supreme Court now for decades has said that environmental and aesthetic interests count for standing,” [Georgetown Law professor] Buzbee said. “My sense is they count less for Judge Kavanaugh.”

    In a 2014 case, he wrote the unanimous opinion finding that environmental groups did not have standing to challenge an EPA decision not to tighten carbon monoxide standards.

    There are also cases where he found that industrial groups have standing to oppose environmental restrictions. One of those came last year, when he was on a panel that unanimously found that logging interests had standing to challenge the designation of 9.5 million acres (3.8 million hectares) in California, Oregon and Washington as a critical habitat for the northern spotted owl. He wrote that industry groups showed clearly that they would face economic harm if logging was banned in the area. …

    Standing for me my friends but not for thee.

  13. a different chris

    See the unfettered market work! People are moving to online shopping! UPS’s business is increasing rapidly! Therefore UPS is continually increasing wages to attract employees into this rapidly growing service sector!!

    Oh, wait…

    1. Robert McGregor

      In most areas of the labor market there is overcapacity (“surplus of labor”) and has been for decades. There is even an overcapacity highly skilled areas (i.e. college professors), and there is especially an overcapacity in the more “grunt” categories like drivers and delivery personnel. But there are still “equilibrium questions:” How many tractor trailer drivers are there willing to endure the poor lifestyle and poor health effects of long-distance truck driving for mediocre pay? Zuckerberg complains he cannot get enough good entry and mid-level programmers, but he really means he cannot get enough at the “price” he wants to pay.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “America’s contaminated recycling ”

    Probably going at this from the wrong angle. How about reducing the amount of stuff that goes into a home so that there is not so much to deal with afterwards. Certainly not the antics of separating all this stuff that are mentioned here. I read some time ago that in the US for example, that what shoppers bring into the average home, only a tiny percent is still present in that home six months later and this was actual goods, not foodstuffs. Kinda reminds me of that old computer adage – garbage in, garbage out. I suspect that there will be a lot less disposable plastic and the like in our future and the elimination of plastic bags and straws are just the first tentative steps.

  15. ChiGal in Carolina

    Why don’t I believe that the Wells Fargo computer glitch that began in 2010 and wasn’t corrected until 2015 “only” cost 400 families their homes when they were wrongly foreclosed on instead of receiving the loan modifications they were entitled to?

    They have set aside $8m to compensate these people. No amount of money can begin to compensate families for the pain and suffering of becoming homeless, having to pull young children out of the familiar school where their friends go and they know the teachers, having their credit scores ruined, losing jobs they can no longer get to, no place to store their furniture, perhaps even in the chaos unable to hold onto irreplaceable things like photo albums.

    This is heartbreaking and infuriating: a computer glitch?

    1. Craig H.

      If Kafka had known about computer glitches he could have made the plot of The Trial sensible to 15 year olds and they could teach it in school. We got 1984 and Brave New World but they do not have the punch that Kafka has.

    2. crittermom

      “Why don’t I believe…”
      Because you refuse to drink the Kool-Aid?

      WTFargo Bank is desperately trying to sell themselves as the new good guys as they apologize for their ‘mistakes’ (& try to put the blame elsewhere). Ha!

      For me, & I’m hoping many, many others, the TBTJ banks will forever be tarnished no matter how many coats of gold they are dipped in.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        I didn’t experience what you did, but in solidarity and on principle those banks don’t get a penny of my $. Got out of Chase (which had taken over 1st National Bank of Chicago) in 2008, and switched to a regional bank. I still have an account there but here in NC I was able to open an account at a credit union, even better.

        1. BobW

          I’m in a credit union open to anyone who lives or works in this city. Love it! Used car loan at 6% IIRC. Almost no interest on shares, but no fees at all except for loans.

    3. Daryl

      It’s interesting that this article calls Wells Fargo “embattled.” They don’t seem to be embattled to me. They seem perfectly fine with treating fines for this horrific behavior as a cost of doing business they way they want to. Until things like this become an existential threat to companies (and criminal prosecutions include the high level people who orchestrate things like this), it will continue to be like this.

  16. Pelham

    I’ve read a lot about this Sarah Jeong business but have yet to stumble across anything that reveals her merits. What has she done to win the hearts of editors at the Times?

    Seymour Hersh did a good deal of tough reporting and exposed the My Lai massacre before he was hired by the Times. I assume Jeong has something in her professional background — though maybe not on that scale — that drew the attention of the Times.

    1. Carolinian

      She went to Haah-vard? Of course tons of smart people do go there but one could point to a time when reverence for the Boston icon wasn’t quite so knee jerk. In Bob Hope’s Paleface back in the 1940s he travels around in a shirt with a big “H” on the front and makes much of his Harvard pedigree. For mid 20th century deplorables this was considered a big laugh getter.

      Also: the Saker article on what war with Iran would be like is well worth a look. Saker claims to be a military expert and goes into detail on the weapons and tactics that would be used.

      1. Heraclitus

        According to Charles Murray in ‘Coming Apart’, the IQ of the average Harvard freshman in 1926 was 117, while the IQ of the average American college freshman was 115. A decision was made in the late ’50s, after Sputnik, to admit students primarily on academic merit, and the meritocracy we know and love was born.

        In 1997, 41 schools took half the top 5% of SAT and ACT scorers, and just ten schools took 20%.

        If you find Murray objectionable, read ‘The Revolt of the Elites’ by Christopher Lasch, a man of the left, who came to the same conclusions.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      jeong’s “merits” are, apparently, that she is an internet “journalist,” a “kid-writer,” who “grew up” on the web and has mastered the craft writing “I’m rubber and you’re glue” tweets for the ages in the newly developed, just for her, blame-free genre of “counter-trolling.”

      Oh, and she’s not just a run-of-the-mill “american” but a korean hyphen one and a female to boot. A highly prized identity twofer.

      I suppose it would be gauche to observe that, in the “dust-up” in which she currently finds herself, she must rely on some of those old, white men (and women lol) she loves to hate, at least in part, for the leg up she’s been given and for acting the fools in defending her, but I’ll do it anyway. I guess even dogs pissing all over the internet can be convenient and useful at times, and a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

      And as an aside, what the hell is “gamergate” and why is it a legitimate defense of foul-mouthed, bratty tweeting anyway?

  17. The Rev Kev

    “AngloZionist attack options against Iran”

    This sounds like a much better analysis than Eric Margolis’s article which seemed a bit thin and one sided. But then again the Saker was an analyst in a former life. The only thing that he did not mention was that Iran shares a 1,000 kilometer border with Afghanistan. If the US smashed up Iran, then there would be no way to stop man-pads and anti-tank missiles going across that border to be used against the 15,000 US troops stationed there. Isolated bases would then become just targets for these missiles and would become toast. Life too might become very difficult for close air-support aircraft like the A-10 Thunderbolt, especially in those steep narrow valleys. And all this would be one minor knock-on effect of a major attack on Iran. Would the US be so stupid as to let Israel and Saudi Arabia talk it into such an attack? Trouble is as F. Gump once pointed out: “Stupid is as stupid does”.

    1. Olga

      His analysis is good, but does not focus much on the Russia/China response. If those two countries allow US to attack Iran – they might as well pack their marbles and crawl home. Everything they’ve worked for in the last 20 years would go up in smoke (Iran being an important link on the new Silk Road path and a member of the new multi-polar world order). Yet they have to respond in a way that does not trigger WWIII. We do live in interesting times…

      1. The Rev Kev

        Good point that. I think that you are right. I cannot see Russia or China letting Iran being taken down without some sort of fight. If things got serious, I would not be surprised to see the Russians send a whole batch of Pantsir anti-air missile batteries to Iran which would make it far, far more difficult to attack Iran from the air.
        Maybe Iran would say that if attacked, that they would obliterate the entire oil infrastructure that Saudi Arabia has across the gulf. Any Patriot missiles could not stop such an attack. I wonder what that would do to the world economy to have Saudi oil disappear from the market for the next coupla years? Who wants to find out?

    2. VietnamVet

      It is a given that China and Russia would resupply Iran. No nation on Iran’s borders would voluntarily grant NATO a safe area to build up invasion forces. The draft is needed by the West to conquer a nation of 80 million who will fight as shown by their stalemating of Iraq. It would be a holy war of Shiites against Crusaders. The invasion armada would have to force the Strait of Hormuz. Compared to this, the Invasion of Japan would have been a cake walk. A bombing campaign only would cut off Gulf oil triggering a great economic crash. Going nuclear will destroy the earth. That we even writing about the possibility of an Iran War shows how crazy and incompetent Western leaders have become.

  18. Wukchumni

    Greetings from Firefornia…

    Just off the dusty trail after 8 days in the Sierra, and we found a new favorite, Iva Bell hot springs-a 15 mile walk into the back of beyond.

    It’s the ultimate natural hot springs we all felt, 7 tubs, the ne plus ultra being the ‘King Tub’, which sports a spectacular view (the 1st image in the link), can hold 5 (our party size, perfect that!) and is about 106 degrees, and has an incense cedar tree nearby supplying ample shade, ah. Oh, and there’s a campsite 100 feet away with a couple of 400 year old incense cedar trees, as sentinels.

    We were surrounded by smoke from various fires one day, and then it was clear the next, only to revert back to form a day later. I’ve never seen so many overflights of helos and assorted water drop planes in one trip, so much money thrown at the problem of our clogged forests only after a fire starts, not so much beforehand @ stopping the issue before it becomes a runaway flame.

    Wildlife was on the scarce side probably on account of the smoke, but we did have the 2nd longest bear encounter i’ve ever had @ about 35 minutes. A 2-tone yearling of the type we call “Billy Idol Bears” (it looked as if it had gotten into a vat of hydrogen peroxide with the resultant look giving it a dirty blonde appearance-offset by the other half being brown) was very curious as to what we were up to in it’s ‘hood.

    Anything of note happen in my absence?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Thanks for the reporting on remaining wild places. Vicarious pleasure is ok for those of us without the health or propinquity to enjoy in the flesh.

      1. Wukchumni

        It’s soothing to get away from the onslaught of the information age, as all we had was of the verbal variety with lots of mad punning on my part. Met a new friend who’s an actual rocket scientist, that fit in perfectly into our group.

      2. Darius

        99 Percent Invisible did a podcast last week featuring Jack Cohen, retired from the US Forest Service, who said that if houses and neighborhoods were designed with wildfires in mind, the fires would just go around them and wouldn’t have to be put out. Cohen got tremendous pushback from his employer, for whom firefighting is a huge part of the budget. A lot of houses are designed to burn and are torched by flying embers when the surrounding trees are untouched.

        1. Wukchumni

          How smoky was it?

          When we arrived @ the main lodge parking lot on the shuttle bus @ 3 pm yesterday, you couldn’t see Mammoth Mountain, and it’s rather imposing usually…

      1. Wukchumni

        You had every right to be envious, a better soak was never had, and about 10 miles in the distance, the Lions Fire came back to life, after being declared ember mortis previously, and in concert with huge billowy towering cumulus clouds, the smoke created A-bomb like mushroom columns ascending to say 10k-11k feet, only to tumble down like Sisyphus as twilight came asunder, and this was a repeat performance over 3 days. We were so mesmerized by it, that a friend said that “we were watching cloud tv”, indeed.

        There’s some good hot springs on Victoria Island i’ve heard, and the only problem with going to hot springs, is there are so many of them to choose from, an embarrassment of riches in a vein emanating from down under.

        We’re doing a road trip next year to Idaho, the promised land of soaking according to all accounts…

  19. horostam

    bad example. The iranian people never wanted a religious government. That came later, and by force.

    It’s true that the Shah was no democrat, he was a monarch who ruled absolutely. However the idea that the shah repressed general freedom is largely a canard.

    Political dissent was not allowed, at the same time the shah and the queen supported causes like rural literacy and environmental conservation. They were patrons of Iran’s cultural avant-garde, hosting people like Andy Warhol in Tehran and laying the foundations for the commercial success of a generation of freethinking artists… and refused to lower the price of oil when the US wanted them to.

    This is who they got rid of.

    who they brought it in, on the other hand, was a religious fanatic who killed thousands after claiming he was making way for a multitude of political parties and options, and this is why he had support. INCLUDING THE SUPPORT OF THE NEOLIBERAL ESTABLISHMENT.

    there is mounting evidence (and consensus among the Iranian diaspora) that the US wanted the Shah removed and was already planning to align themselves with saudi arabia years before the revolution, because the shah kept oil prices too high.

    sorry if the kinks are crappy, im a little lazy

    1. pretzelattack

      certainly the reagan campaigns contacts with the religious fundamentalists are well known; the october surprise was a major contributor to the campaign’s success. and of course reagan supplied khomeini with weapons, at least till that was publicly revealed. and the cia was all over the reagan campaign from the start.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Maybe this post overstates the reverence and nostalgia for the Brit-CIA installed Shah? Might I offer a link that gives maybe a more balance view of both the rule of the Shah and the current affection of mostly young people who did not live under his rule? And are diaspora people the best sources for views on Iran’s past and present? The Empire looked to Iraqi expatriates as their source for how that imperial intervention would work out — flowers and oil, eh?

      By the way, it looks like a lot of the Israeli and generally Jewish diaspora are not enamored of the actions of that government now capitalized in Jerusalem…

    3. Carolinian

      Wow if he brought in Andy Warhol he must have been a good guy, right?

      Isn’t “political dissent” the only dissent that really matters–politically speaking.

      Writing at the time of the Shah’s overthrow, Time magazine described SAVAK as having “long been Iran’s most hated and feared institution” which had “tortured and murdered thousands of the Shah’s opponents.”[24] The Federation of American Scientists also found it guilty of “the torture and execution of thousands of political prisoners” and symbolizing “the Shah’s rule from 1963–79.” The FAS list of SAVAK torture methods included “electric shock, whipping, beating, inserting broken glass and pouring boiling water into the rectum, tying weights to the testicles, and the extraction of teeth and nails.”[25][26]

      1. The Rev Kev

        They learned from the best – the CIA and the Israelis – who both sent personnel to Iran to teach them such black arts. And when the Revolution came these evil b******* were the first against the wall in revenge. Hah, just kidding. They were renamed and went to work for the Revolution instead. Their talents were needed elsewhere. Not surprising that as the same thing happened to a lot of those Gestapo types after WW2.

    4. Olga

      It’s true that the Shah was no democrat, he was a monarch who ruled absolutely. However the idea that the shah repressed general freedom is largely a canard.

      Wow – I believe many millions of Iranians would disagree with this view. But yes, the upper class lived well.

      1. Carolinian

        And now those upper classes live here it seems–lobby for a restoration.

        It’s really a moot point. History suggests that when the US govt. gets involved in regime change disaster happens. It’s probably safe to say that the happiness and welfare of the Iranian people is the last thing on their minds.

        1. Shane Mage

          The Khomeinists did NOT overthrow the Shah. They overthrew first the post-Shah government headed by Shapur Bakhtiar, a democrat who had been part of the Mossadegh movement (overthrown, as we all know, by MI6/CIA), and then overthrew the democratic administration of Abolhassan Bani-Sadr (with Khomeini’s “red guard” US-Embassy stunt as pretext). The difference between Khomeini and Pahlavi is like the difference between Stalin and Yeltsin. There are differences that are real, but there’s no betterness to be found.

          1. Olga

            Sorry, but the comment reveals little knowledge of Khomeini’s role, Pahlavi, Stalin, and/or Yeltsin.

        2. Chris

          History suggests that when the US govt. gets involved in regime change disaster happens

          Does that include US presidential elections?

    5. HotFlash

      Oh wait, oh wait, there was that guy *before* the Shah, what’s his name, Mosaddegh? That’s a link to Wikipedia, if you were worried.

      1. JBird

        Supposedly, In the name of freedom and democracy our country has been overthrowing democratic governments across the whole Earth for over a hundred years. In Iran’s case, the British and American oil companies got the CIA to overthrow Mosaddegh’s government. He had nationalized the oil industry after the companies had rejected the Iranians’ fair offer on the oil contracts. Letting the locals actually get fair value from their oil is bad for profits.

        Weirdly, that always gets left out when the MSM reports on the strange hostility, or unease, in many countries regarding the United States. That is nothing new as even when the news media was large and healthy facts that put America in a bad way got left out.

        A lot.

  20. Summer

    Re: The Utility of Russiagate
    “Since Russia hacked the election, there is no need for introspection, and certainly no need to accommodate the Sanders wing or to engage with progressive challenges from activists on the left, who are Putin’s puppets anyway. The party can continue on the same course, painting over the deep cracks in American society.”

    The Democrats should get rid of the Donkey mascot and replace it with the Ostrich.
    The Republicans can replace the elephant with Wile E. Coyote (it all looks really clever, but eventually backfires tragically…however, the coyote never dies).

    1. Olga

      It is a good summary and shows how the RRR narrative serves various needs – including the marginalization of the left (just like during the heady McCarthy era – pre-, during, and post-McCarthy).

      1. Wukchumni

        We’re still in the McCarthy era, albeit Kevin-not Tailgunner Joe.

        Kevin is the dullest blade in comparison to Joe, though.

    2. gordon

      It’s amazing to watch the US tear itself to pieces over highly dubious claims of Russian interference, when everybody knows the Israelis have been interfering for years and years. Israeli influence in US politics has been common knowledge at least since Mearsheimer and Walt’s well-known working paper (“The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy”) published by the Kennedy School of Government (Harvard) in 2006, and subsequent articles (London Review of Books, Fall 2006 issue of Middle East Policy), and the 2007 book of the same title.

      The working paper which started the ball rolling is rather hard to find (not available at the Kennedy School or Belfer Centre sites (unless I’m working them wrong), and for some reason unavailable at the Wayback Machine – but try here:

      So while the US is busy chasing what is probably a mare’s nest, the well-documented Israeli interference is ignored. Gee, that couldn’t be the result of foreign interference, could it?

  21. FluffytheObeseCat

    Why is TheCut article, about a millennial who inherited all of $400,000, filed under Guillotine Watch? The kid is just barely upper middle class. She was able to pay for her education, buy a new car, and make a down payment on a house. This was not considered mad-crazy-wealth for a ~30 year old in my day.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Because the only way to make it is to inherit wealth. The heir isn’t the issue. Its a system where what once was obtainable requires almost half a million just to reach that point, not work or how communities can function.

    2. Bugs Bunny

      She’s the 9.9% now. Those days you’re referring to are long gone. Maybe you need to get out more, kitty.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        Yes she is the 9.9%. THAT IS MY POINT. She is part of a “privileged” class that can easily lose all their privilege in a year or less. The article indicates that her elder siblings have done just that, and her words indicated that she may be on the verge of a similar fail. All it would take is one breast cancer diagnosis to eliminate her assets cushion, and force her and her husband to short sell the house.

        In the U.S. today, $400,000 is not lifetime impunity money, irrespective of what it looks like when viewed covetously from below.

        Guillotine Watch has usually focused its minatory eye on our actual Lords and Oligarchs, not the nerve-racked, easily decimated Kulak class. Their power is…. ephemeral at best. Chimerical is more like it.

        1. Inode_buddha

          400K is about what I made in the last 25 years and I lived on it in NY state. Skilled trades, paid my own way thru 3 trade schools. Still paying on it.

        2. ObjectiveFunction

          Well defended, Fluf!

          It’s a reminder that once the guillotines come out, they don’t stop chopping. Reason, Mercy and Justice are the first under the knife.

          Interesting you mention skilled trades, IB. Of all the class subgroups that got shafted by American society in the last 50 years relative to their former social and economic standing, skilled craftspeople got it worst,. With the occasional exception of home-maintenance businesses like plumbers. But even then, the money is generally made by having a stable of migrants working for you for crumbs.

          1. Inode_buddha

            Trades absolutely got shafted, especially independents like me. I work a regular 40 and punch a clock, no contracting for me. Where I live, (Buffalo NY area) everybody gets crumbs, not too many migrants here. Even when your industry collapses you still have mouths to feed and the bills keep piling up…

        3. Baby Gerald

          Maybe it’s perhaps it’s because of the obvious effort to somehow portray the lives of trust funders as not being all grits and gravy, they chose a person on the very bottom end of the spectrum to use as their example. I’d barely call a $400K inheritance a trust fund– it’s more like a structured settlement at that level. ‘Oh,’ says the gullible reader, ‘don’t pick on those misrepresented trust funders– they seem to face all the same difficulties we all have.’

          How about The Cut show us the lives of some real-deal trust funders- the ones flying first class from city to city according to the season or on a weekend’s whim, maybe a place in London and another in NY, if needing work getting set up in a posh gig thanks to nepotism and connections. Let’s see how hard their lives are and what difficult decisions they face daily. If they did, I presume they might find people wanting to talk about reinstating that estate tax.

    3. Wukchumni

      $400k is about what my niece and nephew owe on student loans, a slightly different ‘Trust Fund’ that never goes away until paid.

      1. mk

        it’s like lenders, banks, and government created trust funds for themselves sucking the future out college kids by turning them into debt slaves from the git go.

  22. JTMcPhee

    I guess everyone has an opinion, even one supported by ‘links.” So the Shah, installed after a Brit-CIA coup demolishing an elected government, was actually a public benefactor, and we westerners failed by not ensuring that he or a successor dictator remained “our SOB?” I especially appreciate the reference to how the Iranian diaspora, that seedbed of oppositional ideas, has “consensus” that the US wanted the shah removed (after installing him and supporting his rule for 38 years,) including that bit you offer about how he and his minions’ “suppression of freedom was largely a canard.” I guess the notion that the Empire can turn on the puppets it installs is well documented, see e.g., Vietnam (South) and even Korea, and lots of other places where the puppet got uppity or otherwise did poorly on his (it’s almost always a male) annual performance review…

    For a kind of balanced brief article that covered the recent “reverence” for the imaginary goodness of “life under the sainted Shah,” there’s this:

    Thank you for providing one more little nudge in the Narrative push to fire up a war on the ayatollah-you-so’s, in the frame of such a balanced offering. Those of us that are hoping for a really complete WW III, including the full “exchange” of nuclear weapons and the effects on Likudnistan, appreciate all efforts in that direction. That other thing would be better, in our estimation, rapid incineration and nuclear winter and fairly quick death from radiation and all the other dogs of war… Good to know that most of the neocons and other folks who are pushing for pushing the button on BombbombbombIran will likely go out in the same puff of glory…

    1. Norb

      Those wishing to change, or at least resist the pressures of the status quo are well instructed to look at the success of the Iranian Revolution for ideas- if only for tactical inspiration.

      What is the measure of success in American culture- to become a corporate tool? At least Iranian leaders are dedicated to protecting their nation from imperialist invasion and live by some principles, whether religious conviction or socialist beliefs in the relationship of government to its citizens.

      What is constantly left out of any discussion concerning questioning the validity of Anglo-Saxon world domination, is the constant threat and then execution of dissenters. No alternative social form is left standing, only rubble. The policy argument is to, “bomb them back to the stone age” if they don’t conform. Then this lack of social functionality is self-servidaly proffered as evidence of inapplicability of the destroyed system.

      What is truly amazing is that the neoliberals, for all their bombing and destruction, cannot eradicate these competing ideas and systems. The insane fear of the Communists, whether Chinese or North Korean, and the socialist leaning Iranians only clarify this point if one is given the time to reflect.

      All of this is really quite simple. People must make a choice in life. That choice centers around supporting Wealth and Power, or believe, and act in rising the lives of the poorest in society. Demonizing the poor through punishing policy decisions is the surest sign that ones ultimate social intentions are insincere

      Corporate imperialism seems destine to morph into a more regional affair. Local polities will need to adapt, and one can hope that local focus can bring about more humane structures.

      Socialism leads to prosperity. Anything else is a con.

      That sentiment must be followed when the next financial bailout is needed- or someone is trying to justify another war.

      1. Shane Mage

        What makes you think that “religious convictions” (eg., “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet” or “Hors l’église point de salut”) give anyone a better grasp of reality than “neoliberal convictions” (e.g.., “The Market is God”)?

        1. JBird

          Often none, but people who actually believe and live those beliefs will often run the government more for the people rather than the elites.

          Too many neoliberals seem to be scammers using neoliberal ideology to justify their actions.

        2. Olga

          You miss the point – religion in this case it is an organising principle (kinda like Poles used Catholicism to oppose socialism back whenever). The Shia Islam from its inception had an element of resistance (martyrdom, too). It works for them because it has a long history in the country. We do not have to like it – but it is not up to us.

          1. JBird

            I see. Religion being used to backup/organize the nation or Communism for the Soviet Union. Good point.

  23. Tom Doak

    Jeffrey Sachs wrote an entire article on the case for Medicare for All without mentioning health insurance companies once! He said M4A would lower excessive costs in the “health care industry” (private hospitals and drug companies), but ignored the skim of the insurers!

    Is he on the board of one of the many “alternative” (fake) Democrat party endorsed health care proposals?

    1. HotFlash

      Well yes, actually he did. From the Prof Sachs article:

      1.) “The simple retort, of course, is that the reduction of private-insurance premiums would more than offset the rise in the public sector costs (hence the overall net saving). Yet this fundamental point is buried in the report’s rhetoric.” (emphasis mine).

      2.) almost all workers would see a net reduction of their health care costs (with the elimination of private-insurance premiums more than offsetting the rise in taxes (emphasis mine).

      And if you slog thru the Chris Cuomo/Bernie video, this one comes up next: Why is Healthcare so Expensive in America?

      Mr. Doak, careful reading is very important for understanding.

    1. Eureka Springs

      At the gathering of more than 3,000 activists, half a dozen Democrats who are seen as likely presidential candidates – including Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California – walked the crowds through their ambitious liberal agendas and told them not to listen to doubters.

      Still sounds like a pep-less veal pen/jobs fair.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          I live where NN is and the only reason id go is to disrupt that motherfucker.

          Weve now had Unrig Summit, Libertarian Convention, and NN18.

          Nolas 300th Year is so far Neoliberal and Uninspiring.

          Id rather smoke my bowl, order Chinese, and read NC.

      1. Summer

        Got a chuckle out of comparing the Guardian’s excerpts and the Chicago Tribune’s exceprts.

  24. dcblogger

    I was not surprised to learn that the Chinese has succeeded in inserting a spy in Feinstine’s care. Maybe it is because I live in Washington, DC, but I have always assumed there was espionage going on in the. Members of the Senate Intelligence committee are an obvious target.

    Maybe that is why I have always accepted that the Russians DID interfere in the 2016 election. After all, so many other countries do, why would Russia be an exception? I have always thought that voter suppression stole the election and have been shocked at not just the way the national Democratic leadership has turned away, but even much of the grassroots from this issue. Why isn’t Greg Palast the darling of Netroots?

  25. Plenue

    Regarding emptywheel’s response to Lawfare; personally I’m at the point where I don’t thing Wheeler is worth paying much attention to. So long as she insists that she knows Russiagate is true because the spies gave her secret information that she can’t share and we just have to trust her. Well, I don’t. And I don’t trust that they aren’t simply lying to her either.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Mind boggling. Lawfare, affiliated with the buddy Comey used to leak to the press, acknowledges no further evidence for collusion has been made public. Wheeler emphatically insists Trump is toast.

      The comments on emptywheel are also mind boggling. Here’s a sample:

      Ollie says:
      August 2, 2018 at 1:59 pm
      “Trump knows he’s screwed. He’s just not sure whether Putin or Mueller presents the bigger threat”

      This. This right here makes me giddy. Oh please, please let it be Mueller and please triple please I pray the outcome is total destruction of that beastie drumpf and his spawns.


    2. pretzelattack

      if they can share it with her, why can’t they share it with the rest of the voters?? don’t believe this crap sans evidence. in that article, she sounds just like all the other cranks.

  26. Wukchumni

    Bright fireball flies across Siberian sky (VIDEOS) RT. Russian fireball dash-cam videos are actually a minor genre…
    Bought a dash-cam last month to take either photos or 20 second videos of wildlife on the road, as about 2/3rds of sightings come in that fashion, but all i’m good at so far is high resolution images of the rear echelon of other vehicles, as the beasties have been derelict…

    1. Oregoncharles

      The Twitter link on it goes to a discussion of Kimchi in Russia, not the plans for a coup.

  27. Wukchumni

    Notes on a scarecard:

    I’m in Tehachapi en route home, having stopped for gas and wireless @ McDonald’s here. As I was pumping go-juice into my jalopy, a 70 year old man was going through the trash can adjacent to the pumps, searching for nickels in the guise of recyclables that China no longer wants.

    A sign on the front door of the eatery stated:

    “50th Anniversary of Big Mac, MacCoins sold out”

    Perhaps the public thought they were of the virtual variety, i.e. Bitcoin?, and not old school round metal discs, which is what they are.

  28. Wukchumni

    Was taking the bus from Red’s Meadow to Mammoth and chatted up a nice English couple on holiday, and he brought up climate change, and I told him it was still not verboten from a public standpoint, and he related in regards to record heat in the UK, and I needed not say a word about the wildfires that are coming with great frequency, as the view from the main lodge in the parking lot was so awful that one couldn’t see the towering mountain peaks nearby.

    Not all of us buy into the Ostricharchy that predominates in Humordor currently…

  29. Oregoncharles

    Sarah Jeong, The New York Times, and the Gamergate School of Journalism “:

    Expanding on my reaction yesterday to this “issue:” It confirms my opinion that Twitter is a recipe for stupidity. I actually sympathise with some of Jeong’s tweets, and buy the NYT’s interpretation; that doesn’t mean they weren’t stupid. Twitter fosters a toxic combination of hot-take and extreme brevity; it makes lack of nuance into a trademark.

    It’s actually useful for instantaneous reporting on breaking events, essentially livestreaming. But it lured Jeong into being almost as stupid as her harassers, and she may yet pay a high price.

    1. KimberStormer

      Honestly do not know what you’re getting at. What about this is a reason for someone to hate Ocasio? You think it’s better to just declare parts of the country as deplorables and write them off? How is it preaching to the choir to go to the currently red districts?

  30. kareninca

    My neighbors don’t recycle at all. I mean, at all. They just throw everything into the garbage. If the garbage is full, they throw it all, completely unsorted, into the recycle bins. They all have advanced degrees; it’s not like they don’t know. They just don’t care. It’s a condo association. No, I’m not going to complain about them; I’m stuck with them for life, perhaps. And I’m not going to complain to them, either; I’ve never seen that create good relations; just bad feelings. I’m not going to be the middle-aged hausfrau garbage police. So, the sorters at the other end are stuck.

  31. Carey

    A citizens’ union is needed- not joking!- since the gub’mint protects only for the few now. Is that a possibility in these distracted and divided-by-design times?

    1. Inode_buddha

      I’ve recently begun to advocate for nationwide strikes a’la France. Shut the economy down for a few weeks and see who all of a sudden starts to pay attention. It could be funded via the new online methods (gofundme, patreon, etc)

      1. Carey

        Yes, once you have some cohesion, many things could be done to promote the
        General Welfare (what a quaint notion!).

        Imagine the possibilities.

  32. SKBurns

    I believe I am one of those whom Wells Fargo denied a modification due to a “computer glitch” and then was wrongfully foreclosed. Does anyone know how to find out for certain. What channels to go through? I live in the Seattle area.


  33. ewmayer

    From the thalidomide article:

    “Some had no arms or legs at all. Others had extremely shortened limbs, with misshapen hands or feet, or under-developed body parts that looked more like flippers.”

    As terrible as the resulting birth defects were, this is actually quite interesting from an evolutionary/genetic perspective, in the “If shallow-aquatic ancient ancestors transitioned to land and over the eons fins gradually became elaborated into limbs” sense. I.e. similar to the primitive-ancestral forms visible in early-stage embryos – in this case the drug prevents development beyond the ancestral form, the original flipper shape simply grows in size along with the embryo.

  34. anon

    Re: The Expensive Education of Mark Zuckerberg and Silicon Valley

    Uggh, and Kara Swisher got paid for that — while so many people can’t even find an affordable living waged job — as a new (along with, Sarah Jeong) Trojan Mare™ addition to the historically tainted by money and power, New York Times?

    Strained through a sieve, Kara Swisher, a master of utterly supporting Techie Billionaires, yet snarking™ them – still loves Zuckerberg, and finds him infinitely redeemable, no matter the damage he’s done, and how much of a Ivy Leaguer frat boy creep he’s been since day one:

    a business card he had … read, “I’m the C.E.O., bitch.”

    I spent over two hours to determine whether Kara Swisher ever notified her readers of that use of language rooted in prison vernacular (powerfully overtaking and violating someone by force, with the word bitch clearly insinuating a vulnerable, physically weaker, female) by a white Ivy Leaguer frat boy who will likely never witness a jail, let alone a prison (though he should), on his Silicon Valley Business Card, which Kara acknowledges having known about since 2005, and I came up with zilch.

    Not at all surprising, Kara Swisher plans to run for the Mayor of San Francisco; after slyly shilling for the likes of Zuckerberg, et al, for years now, and I’m positive her campaign manager will be contacting Facebook for donor support.

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