Links 8/9/18

The Oscars’ new “popular film” category is a bad idea from a panicked organization Vox

Sex toys cause closure of German airport terminal CNN Oops.

The Useless French Language and Why We Learn It LA Review of Books

More than 150,000 forced from homes on quake-hit Lombok Asia Times and Aftershock brings fresh trauma to Indonesia’s quake-hit Lombok Reuters. Latest update.

Jurors mull ‘day of reckoning’ in Roundup cancer trial France 24

Burn, Baby, Burn

The era of megafires: the crisis facing California and what will happen next Guardian

California’s wildfires are hardly “natural” — humans made them worse at every step Vox

California wildfire: Should inmates be fighting the state’s worst ever blaze? Independent

Household phenomenon observed by Leonardo da Vinci finally explained Phys.org (Dr. Kevin)

New Cold War

US sanctions Russia over Novichok attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal in UK SCMP

Our Famously Free Press

Pilger Excoriates Media on Assange Silence Consortium News

Syraqistan

Saudi claims ‘badge of pride’ in break with Canada Asia Times

Canada to Ask Allies to Help Cool Saudi Dispute; US Offers No Aid The Wire

On Iran, the Neocons Are No Ronald Reagan American Conservative

Europe, Russia and China Defy Trump on Iran Sanctions Truthdig

Why They Fail – The Quintessence Of The Korengal Valley Campaign Moon of Alabama The Rev Kev

Health Care

Why the Latest Attack on Single-Payer Backfired TruthOut

Drug pricing could be a slam-dunk campaign issue for Democrats — if only they had a plan Stat

AstraZeneca settles Texas drug lawsuits for $110 million Reuters. e mayer: “Sounds like a typical slap-on-wrist cost-of-doing-business settlement.”

Black Lives Matter

Black People Won Something! Robert McCulloch Is Out As St. Louis Prosecutor. Above the Law

India

Rightwing commentator picked as director at India’s central bank FT

Fool on the Hill: the Bombast of Boris Johnson Counterpunch. Patrick Cockburn.

Brexit

Brexit: the “no deal” penalty EUReferendum.com

Sterling falls against dollar and euro amid fears of no-deal Brexit Guardian (The Rev Kev)

Brexit concerns push UK lawyers to register in Ireland FT

Turkey

Turkey is fighting an ‘economic war’—against reality WaPo (The Rev Kev)

Turkish Banks Scramble to Stave Off Debt Crisis, as Lira Plummets Wolf Street. e mayer:

I was unaware that Dani Rodrik (last name alas misspelled in the piece) was Turkish … note especially this bit at the end:

‘While Turkey’s economy is not big enough to cause a global crisis of its own making, it is big enough and connected enough to set off contagion effects in other places, including other struggling emerging economies, as well as banks in France, Spain, Italy, the U.S. and the UK, whose exposure to Turkey’s banking system is particularly pronounced.’

Couple that with the ever-more-likely prospect of a hard Brexit and things could get interesting (in the proverbial ancient-Chinese-curse sense) very fast.

Tariff Tantrum

Giant shipload of soybeans circles off China, victim of trade war with US Guardian (The Rev Kev)

Class Warfare

Wall Street Salivates After Elon Musk Floats Taking Tesla Private NYT (The Rev Kev). Yves: “Kill me now. Who are the greater fools?”

SEC Inquired About Tesla CEO Musk’s Tweets WSJ

Did Elon Musk Violate Securities Laws With Tweet About Taking Tesla Private? NYT James Stewart.

New York City just voted to cap Uber and Lyft vehicles, and that could make rides more expensive CNBC

Uber and Lyft Drivers Celebrate Passage of Historic Legislation DrivingGuild.org

Verizon lied about 4G coverage—and it could hurt rural America, group says Ars Technica

The only economic discussion the Left needs is how to deal with the coming crisis Tax Research UK (UserFriendly)

‘A Newspaper Closure Does Indeed Lead to Higher Costs for Local Governments’ FAIR (UserFriendly)

Another consequence of high college costs: Foreclosure MarketWatch. Solution: Free college.

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) charged with insider trading, federal prosecutors announce WaPo

Kill Me Now

CORY BOOKER CLAIMS HE DIDN’T KNOW HE HELD A PRO-PALESTINE SIGN. NEW DETAILS CAST DOUBT ON HIS DENIAL Intercept. Cannot believe he’s considered a serious presidential possibility.

The Obamas Are Back in Their Favorite Summer Vacation Destination Travel and Leisure

Guillotine  Watch

Inside the Very Big, Very Controversial Business of Dog Cloning Vanity Fair

Gunz

74 shooting victims: How Chicago emergency rooms handled the most violent weekend of the year Chicago Tribune

Trump Transition

Trump connects with Rand ‘at gut level’ Politico

‘Nothing bodes well’: Lackluster election results spark debate over Trump’s midterm role WaPo

Antidote du jour.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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160 comments

  1. fresno dan

    The Oscars’ new “popular film” category is a bad idea from a panicked organization Vox

    I watch about 150 movies a year (Netflix, on dvd). The last one I saw was Dealt – a documentary about a blind card mechanic (i.e., a card mechanic is a card “magician” or slight of hand expert) – and the last movie I really liked was Lucky – ironically, or actually not, the last movie made starring Harry Dean Stanton. Even than, there are dozens of movies I am unable to see because not all interesting films are distributed.

    But I don’t think the Oscars mean much to most serious movie aficionados. Maybe the baseball equivalent of the all star game. And with all the movie festivals, and other movie awards (Palm D’or) where one can see stars dressed up, I think this just cements the idea that the Oscars, like the MSM, is losing relevancy. Pandering is just going to show that the award doesn’t really signify much of anything.

    So instead of watching the Oscars, I will be doing what I usually do when the Oscars are on….watching a movie (or out drinking, or best yet, home watching a movie while drinking)

    Reply
    1. Louis Fyne

      The Oscars jumped the shark went winners turned it into a political platform. It was already enough of a drudge as is.

      IMJO, awards shows should be non-partisan. Use art to bring people together and make them circumspect about their own lives, don’t lecture.

      Can’t-be-bothered-to-fly-commerical Leo DiCaprio lecturing me on global warming and carbon footprints is a real hoot.

      What’s that saying about bears and honey?

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, when a Jihadist PR unit is awarded an Oscar you know that the whole voting system can be gamed six ways to Sunday.

        Reply
        1. allan

          No, Man in Aleppo wasn’t awarded the Oscar for Best Documentary
          (and, sadly, neither was Abacus: Small Enough to Jail).
          Icarus was the winner.

          Reply
          1. Julia Versau

            Allan, I believe the reference is to “The White Helmets,” which won an Oscar, but has been roundly castigated as blatant propaganda.

            Reply
            1. allan

              Ah … The White Helmets won Best Documentary (Short Subject) in 2017,
              while Last Man in Aleppo, which also features the White Helmets,
              lost for Best Documentary Feature in 2018. Thanks.

              Reply
      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        When I think of long-distance vacations to exotic places, I think of those gods and goddesses…they not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk.

        “Yeah, baby. Burn that jet fuel. Just you and…moi…all alone up here.”

        Reply
      3. Lynne

        What got me was the jaw droppingly racist comment that DiCaprio casually dropped on the Kermode and Mayo film show, when he asserted that people didn’t know the story of Hugh Glass because Native Americans didn’t have any written history. That was wrong on so many levels, it would take hours to unpack. And, of course, nobody bothered to question him about it, busy as they were fawning over his completely bogus movie version of the story.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Maliciously racist? Or just crashingly ignorant?

          If DiCaprio were to be informed-in-depth about the many written languages and literatures in these two continents before the European Holocaust of the Native Nations, then he would in a position to know. If after such intensive informationization he then chose to stay crashingly ignorant, that would be a sign of malicious racism.

          Of course, it will take someone up there in his own social and economic circles to inform him about that. He certainly won’t learn anything from anyone else. We are just Not His Kind, Dear.

          Reply
      4. Jag Mayeroffer

        Let’s not forget about the best parts of Hollywood…
        Pedophilia, sexual abuse, rape and so on.
        I actually boycotted theaters due to the #metoo movement. Now Spielberg and Hanks accusers going mainstream, you see how deep and dark the tunnels of Hollywood go.
        Btw, anyone remember the story of the druid Merlin from King Arthur stories? His magic wand was made from a holly tree, or Hollywood….
        Kinda ironic, don’t ya think?

        Reply
      1. Louis Fyne

        probably a little of everything.

        At the trajectory Hollywood is going, 99% of the box office will be Disney-Pixar CGI films or a comic book/summer blockbuster movie, with 1% non-mainstream arty films.

        The category that included formerly mainstream films like “Forrest Gump,” “Field of Dreams,” “Dances with Wolves” is disappearing and turning into a niche at the box office.

        Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One new popular film category I eagerly anticipate would be films about how the Greens have cost the Democrats elections again and again, most recently the past Tuesday.

      First, they whinge about something, then, you see it in many movies.

      But let’s go back to basics:

      1. It’s not quality not quantity
      2. again, quality, not quantity

      So, it’s you Democrats not voting Green candidates that has been costing quality Green victories.

      The blame, in fact, and clearly, goes to the D’s, for all the elections that could have been Green….imagine all the Gore votes that could (and should) have gone to Nader

      Reply
    3. RUKidding

      Over the years, I’ve had phases of really enjoying watching the Oscars – usually in a group setting where my pals and I vote for the catagories to see who gets the most right. Sometimes the opening monologues were good, but lately they’ve gotten worse and worse. And I’m also getting bored with the politicing that goes on (even tho often I may agree with what the “star” is saying). Actors are citizens and well entitled to their POV. Go out and do something to effect the changes you want to see happen, but please do it in a better “forum” than the stupid Oscars.

      As for the categories and the “winners”? Anymore, my friends and I would often place two votes: one vote was for what we personally felt should get the award, and the other vote was for what we predicted the mostly older, rich white male Academy voters would choose. 99 times out of 100, the Award went to what the older rich white men picked.

      A couple of years of this two-tiered voting system, and I’m totally “off” the Oscars for the long haul. Perhaps back in the day, the awards made more sense and were a bit more relevant. Nowadays they are so clearly slanted to the usually boring but very predictable preferences of elite, rich, white male Hollywood insiders that it’s no fun.

      I enjoy films and watching movies, so I’d rather just watch what I like and skip all the awards. It’s a load of hooey anymore.

      This latest proposed category is pandering and stupid.

      Meh.

      Reply
  2. voteforno6

    Re: Oscars’ “Popular Film” Category:

    Ugh. This really is a terrible idea.They just don’t want the negative publicity after Black Panther doesn’t get nominated for Best Picture. It doesn’t deserve it, either.

    Reply
    1. Roger Smith

      This is the consensus I’ve seen around the internet as well. It really goes to show how fickle this Identity crowd is when, not receiving accolades based on skin color is a cardinal sin, but getting a pandering special participation trophy is deemed acceptable. A mediocre movie is a mediocre movie. The more internal problem is that, in this state of disrepair, people really don’t give a good hoot about what these bloated egos have to say [about Trump] or what outrageously expensive and anti-utilitarian garb they paid some designer to have foreign children make. There isn’t a special awards category they can add that will fix people’s rightful apathy for this pseudo-feudalistic display.

      Reply
      1. Pat

        While I like to blame identity politics as much as possible, it is worth remembering the Oscars is a money raising event for the Academy. Falling ratings and an increasingly saturated awards genre is as much a driving force as Black Panther. There has been growing restlessness with Oscars disdain for popular fare since Star Wars. And that audience is now the mainstream,young and old even within the Academy itself. Black Panther was perhaps a more weighted example, popular and diverse sort of. But even if the lack of diversity stung, the Academy mostly just wants the Oscars to remain a giant worldwide audience draw. And having representatives from the most popular films of the year drawing viewers (worldwide) is my bet as to the reason for the ham handed pandering

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          That’s about right. It’s just a big TV show and a very unreliable barometer of merit. After all the While Helmet jihadis got an Oscar for the documentary they made about themselves. There’s no reason for us to take the Oscars too seriously although obviously the people in the industry take it very seriously. Why shouldn’t Black Panther–a good enough super hero film–get some recognition?

          Reply
      2. Jean

        Roger,

        The Oscar is nothing more than a turd polished with geld.

        Thank god for Netflix, Prime, Youtube and all the various web based ways to produce, and more importantly, distribute the good, the bad and the politically incorrect without the remnants of the incestuous and tribal Hollywood Studio System controlling American minds.

        Reply
        1. JEHR

          Well, Jean, that’s a bit harsh; but I must say I really enjoy foreign films from Russia, Australia, Denmark, Norway, France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, etc. It is refreshing to see how other countries make movies.

          Reply
          1. Jean

            I agree about foreign films, but what do they have to do with the Oscars?

            BTW, there are some great foreign TV series on Netflix that further humiliate Hollywood which has a controlling interest in furthering social breakdown for profit on tv as well.

            My chosen example-Sex in the City. A great role model for our daughters to follow, no?

            A pox on Amazon? The video, and tv programs, are “free” if you have prime. Never ever pay for extras. Order ten items in ten separate packages and help bankrupt the bastards.

            Plus there are multiple means to watch international tv programs of your choice for free with the caveat that you never download any possibly viral software from them.

            If it doesn’t work on Silverlight, required for Amazon Prime or the viewer on Firefox which has multiple redundant anti virus constantly updated, it’s not worth watching for security’s sake.

            Reply
      3. Temporarily Sane

        Also exasperating is the widespread belief that movies starring non-white actors represent a paradigm shift in race relations and that these “positive role models” will help young black kids thrive in American society. So forget income inequality and entrenched racist attitudes, Hollywood can change the world! Just look at what “proud feminist” Harvey Weinstein was able to achieve.

        Along with progressives and liberals suddenly discovering the wisdom of the spook agencies and how much they love war and war criminals after all, the post-iPhone era is a depressing testament to the power of media, ubiquitous propaganda and accompanying social pressure to completely familyblog people’s minds and critical faculties.

        Reply
        1. Jean

          So you mean there are other created role models besides the NBA and NFL?

          Yup, the chances of becoming a Hollywood star are actually better than making the team to the detriment of studying.

          America, the land of growing opportunity.

          Reply
    2. Katniss Everdeen

      On the plus side, there will be one additional opportunity for an award winner to use his/her “academy” enhanced status to screech about Trump’s assault on the foundations of our democracy, subsequently providing days and days of opportunity to replay the clip as evidence.

      Reply
    3. Summer

      I think it has more to do with the entire Disney/Fox merger. That’s a bigger change for the industry as a whole. The behemoth will have a marvelous universe of pop films.
      So is it a dig at what longtime members think of as low caliber “art” or is this a special deal that will give the biggest kid on the block more representation in the awards?

      Reply
    4. Summer

      I think it has more to do with the entire Disney/Fox merger.
      The biggest kid on the block would dominate that new category.

      Reply
    5. voteforno6

      For me, a much more interesting change to the broadcast would be a segment correcting past mistakes. First up: revoking the Best Picture award to Kramer vs. Kramer. It still galls me that this was deemed more worthy than All That Jazz or Apocalypse Now.

      Reply
      1. Chromex

        well as long as we are paling that game how about Sean Penn( Mystic River) over Bill Murray(Lost In Translation) for best actor in 2004 or no Joachim Phoenix for either the Master or Her.. or both for that matter as an examination of him playing very different roles would reveal. Or the total silence the following year for I Heart Huckabees-still great despite the checkered future of the director
        All of these awards shows including emmies and grammies are bogus as a check for the 1966 grammy ( Winchester Cathedral over Good Vibrations) would reveal.Many other examples abide. I would support the category suggested

        Reply
        1. Roger Smith

          How about Jaoquin Phoenix for I’m Still Here? That was so over everyone’s heads that it simultaneously proved the entire project’s point about the fickle callousness of humanity, especially those in the entertainment industry and performed poorly. That was such a great social experiment. I agree to that Her is fantastic.

          Reply
    6. Darthbobber

      They just don’t want to admit that “best picture” is already halfway to being “popular film.” Black Panther really makes no more pretense of being art than any other money-raker in its genre.

      But the roster of Best Picture winners is littered with more problematic claimants than that.

      Weird things happen in award land. Remember when the Grammy folks decided it was time to finally hand one to Jethro Tull, and decided to categorize them as Heavy Metal in order to accomplish that?

      Best Picture is sort of like winning a WWE championship belt.

      Reply
      1. RMO

        The Academy has been dead to me ever since it stiffed The Beast Of Yucca Flats – it didn’t even get a nomination! They could have redeemed themselves by nominating Cool As Ice for best picture but they didn’t even do that.

        Reply
  3. fresno dan

    Sex toys cause closure of German airport terminal CNN Oops.

    In 2016, the latest year with available data, nearly a quarter of the 1.2 billion pleasure trips taken by Europeans occurred in July and August.
    =============================================
    With the …uh, er….accouterments available, one wonders why anyone needs to travel for pleasure….

    AND, where did CNN get those pictures of….uh, um….massagers. That one looks like its from the middle ages….must have been powered by a water works….
    AND, German security personnel can’t tell the difference between bombs and vibrators? Really? Seriously

    Reply
      1. ewmayer

        Time for some Frank Zappa … troubled protagonist Joe visits L. Ron Hoover at the global HQ of the First Church of Appliantology, seeking advice for the lovelorn:

        And thus, having rationalized his expedition to L. Ron’s modernistic office /
        cathedral / warehouse / condominium complex, JOE seeks The Answer to
        his problem…

        [JOE:]
        Oh oh oh
        Mystical Advisor
        What is my problem, tell me
        Can you see?

        [L. RON HOOVER:]
        Well, you have nothing to fear, my son!
        You are a Latent Appliance Fetishist, It appears to me!

        [JOE:]
        That all seems very, very strange
        I never craved a toaster
        Or a color T. V.

        [L. RON HOOVER:]
        A Latent Appliance Fetishist
        Is a person who refuses to admit to his or herself
        That sexual gratification can only be achieved
        Through the use of MACHINES… Get the picture?

        [JOE:]
        Are you telling me
        I should come out of the closet now Mr. Ron?

        [L. RON HOOVER:]
        No, my son!
        You must go into THE CLOSET
        And you will have
        A lot of fun!
        That’s where they all live
        So if you want an
        Appliance to love you
        You’ll have to go in there
        N’ get you one

        [JOE:]
        Well…that seems simple enough…

        [L. RON HOOVER:]
        Yes, but if you want a really GOOD one,
        You’ll have to learn a foreign language…

        [JOE:]
        German, for instance?

        [L. RON HOOVER:]
        That’s right…
        A lot of really cute ones come from over there!
        (Fifty bucks, please)

        And a cheerful group of Appliantologists dance into the room wearing
        aluminum foil lab smocks, lock arms in a circle around JOE, making
        sure he pays in full, all the while singing with L. RON as he delivers
        nis final instructions…

        [L. RON HOOVER:]
        If you been
        Mod-O-fied,
        It’s an illusion,
        an yer in between
        Don’t you be
        Tarot-fied,
        It’s just a lot of nothin,’
        So what can it mean?
        If you been
        Mod-O-fied,
        It’s an illusion,
        an yer in between
        Don’t you be
        Tarot-fied,
        It’s just a lot of nothin,
        So what can it mean?
        [etc., etc., etc.]

        JOE leaves the First Church of Appliantology and sets out to try L. RON s expensive advice

        [CENTRAL SCRUTINIZER:]
        This is the CENTRAL SCRUTINIZER… Joe has just learned to speak
        German Now, get this, heres why he did it! He’s gonna go to this club on
        the other side of town, it’s called THE CLOSET…
        And they got these Appliances in there that really go for a guy dressed up
        like a housewife who can speak German (you know what I mean)… so
        Joe’s learned how to speak German, he goes in this place and he sees
        these little Kitchen Machineries dancing around with each other, and he
        sees this one…that looks like it’s a cross between an industrial vacuum
        cleaner and a chrome piggy bank with marital aids stuck all over its body…
        it’s really exciting…and when he sees it, he BURSTS INTO SONG…

        Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Back in 2004 one of these things also shut down an Australian airport much to the amusement of a lot of people. The people who actually worked at the airport, uhhhh, not so much. Maybe it might be wise to remove any batteries before heading out to the airport?

      Reply
    2. Mirdif

      A friend who worked in airport security once upon a time told me that all electrical goods are liable to be inspected and indeed they were regularly tested to see what they missed by having somebody masquerading as a traveler.

      Reply
    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Should they be banned?

      They waste energy, proportionally speaking, similarly to plastic straws in the overall scheme of things. And yet, there will come a time, when every little bit counts.

      And moreover, in the age of overconsumption, unless it’s medicinal and prescribed by a doctor, wouldn’t the happy solution, here, be to live naturally and accept what is is?

      Lastly, if there is little time to look back on world war II and atomic bombs used at the end, due to all the urgent problems we face today, shouldn’t we think less about artificially stimulated fun?

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        MyLessThanPrimeBeef
        August 9, 2018 at 10:07 am

        And moreover, in the age of overconsumption, unless it’s medicinal and prescribed by a doctor, wouldn’t the happy solution, here, be to live naturally and accept what is is?

        Its as MEDICINAL as you can get….
        I would post snippets from the article, but if I did that it would probably get me permanently banned from this family blog ;)

        https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/all-about-sex/201303/hysteria-and-the-strange-history-vibrators

        Reply
  4. DJG

    The Uselessness of French.

    An excellent article for its observations about what we have done to the English language, which has been executive-summaried into sludge covering the Earth like “actionable items,” “fierce” (everyone’s fierce these days, don’tcha know), and “fake news.”

    And this paragraph is telling:
    Olivier “trusted in a sort of emotional maquillage, in which people took a few minutes to compose their thoughts, rather than walking around, undone, in the affective equivalent of pajamas.” Americans may feel oppressed by the high regard in which the French appear to hold carefully constructed sentences and carefully constructed appearances: “Where I saw artifice, he saw artfulness.” But Collins doesn’t need to inhabit the francophone world for long to realize that “[t]he baseline register of my English — the English of an educated, coastal-dwelling white American — sounded like exaggeration. I might have been speaking in all caps.”

    Occasionally, there are mini-debates here about national character. And I submit that Americans have little understanding of how artificial fundamental American agreements are, how easily identifiable Americans are because of American groupthink, and how limited Americans are by a fence of cultural prejudices. All of that amounts to character.

    The article also mentions the French obsession with words as words and with the French language as a way of expressing oneself in the world. I notice a similar (maybe less club-like) attitude among the Italians. The Catalans certainly show that attitude in regard to Catalan: All I had to do in Barcelona was to try to use a Catalan word and the tone of the exchange altered.

    The article doesn’t mention two myths: French, even though it has had much influence on English, isn’t easy for English speakers because French vowels are nothing like English vowels. And French lacks intonation and word accent, which are strong in English. And the myth that English is easy to learn and master is wrong, too: All those mushy vowels and our many many idiomatic expressions (let alone the mushiness of many English speakers).

    National character? We are shaped by language, and there is no way around that. Undoubtedly, the English language has many strengths, but the national sloppiness isn’t helping, as the article points out.

    Reply
    1. JA139

      Why do people get so hung up on French words being either masculine or feminine? It is the word that is M or F not the object. The spelling and pronounciation are also pretty good clues to whether to use le or la.

      If anything, English is more the odd one out in not having different classifications for words, either M/F or common/neuter etc.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If justice is color-blind, should language be gender-free?

        Also the ‘it’ vs ‘he or she’ distinction seems a bit too anthropocentric.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The last makes the speaker sound like unenlightened cave-dweller…though, here, we remind ourselves we are not superior than cave dwellers (one progressive step at a time, I guess, sigh)

          Reply
            1. The Rev Kev

              The Skynet giveth and the Skynet taketh.
              Blessed be the name of Skynet.

              Found in Steve Jobs 1:21 of the King James Version of the Bible

              Reply
        2. Jonat

          If languages were gender free then we would have no concept of gender, which comes from the study of languages and was only applied to people in 1955.

          Reply
          1. kgw

            We could pick different allusions (namely, words of any sort) to represent what is nominally called “men” and “women.” How’s that? They are still what they are…

            Reply
      2. DJG

        JA139: American provincialism and puritanism? The words have “sex”!

        Yep, grammatical gender is a classification. Even the Romance languages don’t agree. La mer and la dent in French become il mare and il dente in Italian. And Italian has words that change gender from sinular to plural. Don’t tell U.S. religious fundies.

        And isn’t it Netherlands that has common + neuter?

        And modern Greek has kept masculine, feminine, and neuter, which was a lot of work for someone just trying to use a couple hundred words to get along in Athens. But I did well with spanakopita (feminine). It’s all part of the game and the joy of trying to communicate.

        Reply
        1. Brooklin Bridge

          These languages -and for myself I speak of oral usage- all have a deep music and for each it is a special unique privilege to get to the point of mastery where one can be a part of it; a form of rarely conscious joy like a fish in water. I’m talking about near or complete oral fluency.

          Much as I love the expressive strength of English, I’m particularly fond of French in that respect. I’ve never heard or enjoyed being totally inside the environment of anything so mellifluous.

          That was long ago, over thirty years, and while I can still communicate quite well, I lost that special state gradually, but noticably about ten years after moving back to the States.

          Reply
        2. Irrational

          Hmm.. my previous post was gobbled up… apologies if this results in double post.
          Danish has common + neuter. So does Swedish and Dutch if the internet does not lie.

          Reply
    2. djrichard

      LoL, from the last comment in the comment thread to that article:

      What was that Charles V said about the many languages he spoke? “I speak Spanish to God, French to men, Italian to women, and German to my horse?” That sounds about right.

      Lots to enjoy in the article itself as well.

      Reply
    3. Carolinian

      a fence of cultural prejudices

      One might point out that chauvinism is a French derived word. Here’s suggesting their national vanity is second to none.

      In my perhaps advanced SC school district French was taught as early as the 2nd grade. This was the only language taught and it may have had to do with the presence of a French woman (from Grenoble as I recall) to teach it. Needless to say being made by my mother to take the optional class turned me off French language study for life but when I later visited France my rather poor French was spoken with an accent good enough to fool the natives. So clearly something took.

      France is a wonderful country to visit and that alone is reason to study the language. Perhaps, even for me, it’s not too late.

      Reply
    4. ewmayer

      …what we have done to the English language, which has been executive-summaried into sludge covering the Earth like “actionable items,” “fierce” (everyone’s fierce these days, don’tcha know), and “fake news.”

      Hey, mon ami, I’m not fierce, I’m “passionate”. I demand you make your next actionable item the swift retraction of your fake news about my alleged ferocity.

      Reply
  5. Livius Drusus

    Re: The only economic discussion the Left needs is how to deal with the coming crisis,

    The first rule should be saying “no” to austerity. Most center-left parties did a poor job pushing back on austerity and some of them were even pressing for austerity. You also have to make a case that the government can and will create jobs for unemployed people during the downturn with the emphasis on public employment and not tax cuts. Obama’s stimulus was too heavy with tax cuts and didn’t do enough to directly create jobs. I believe that state and local government employment actually deceased under Obama. We can see the results in the decaying infrastructure in many American municipalities.

    Reply
    1. Adam Eran

      Amen. Unfortunately many “lefties” embrace austerity. Democrat Edmund Muskie proposed it as a key issue when he was running against our last liberal president, Richard Nixon.

      …and they do so at their peril. I’d suggest this is why Dilma Rousseff couldn’t hold on in Brazil.

      Reply
    2. bronco

      we don’t want any more government jobs period. There are already too many pension liabilities poised to crush states , cities, and towns and by extension anyone that owns property , if you rent you will get to share in the pain too.

      Reply
      1. skippy

        Royal – we – seems presumptuous.

        Don’t know why any capitalist would not want to see anyone not working.

        Reply
      2. JTFaraday

        The national collectivity is paying for every single private sector pension as well. It just takes some intelligence to figure that out.

        Reply
        1. bronco

          the government pensions are guaranteed though , the private sector pensions will all disappear in a puff of smoke.

          Standard neoliberal doctrine ? no its standard libertarian actually Feel free to retire at 50 just do it on your own dime

          Reply
          1. witters

            Want to drive? Build your own car and road! – Personally, Bronco, it is a bit early in the morning here for the Ayn Rand comedy.

            Reply
          2. pretzelattack

            i’m sure you never drive on public roads or use the library or call the cops or the firefighters–want to stop your house burning down? buy your own fire truck. on economic issues it’s hard to distinguish between neoliberals and libertarians, since they adopt so many of the same policies–many libertarians don’t seem to have a problem with the vast waste in the pentagon, either, or nsa snooping, come to think of it. the reason so many private sector pensions disappeared in a puff of smoke was corrupt pols following neoliberal (or was it libertarian) policies and responding to donors, and allowing that to happen.

            Reply
          3. skippy

            Back not so long ago the public sector was a slack labour employer where you took less for a more permanent job w/ “long term benefits”.

            Now during the ensuing time period the private sector endlessly screwed down both wages and long term benefits because the equity market rewarded it. Because it made the officers of the company wealthier without having to do anything else and it became the dominate view of equity holders in investing e.g. crush wage earners and get a magic boost in share price – Craptialism.

            Look in retrospect its not the pubic sector that went the full retard, it was the private sector high on short term extraction and not productive enterprise or a fair share of productivity. Then some wonder why so many don’t have savings, use more credit, fall off the ladder, and then become dependent on the state.

            Self fulfilling prophecy… but yeah the government or poor people have mental disorders thingy…. sigh….

            Reply
    1. apberusdisvet

      Assange has proof that the Clinton/Podesta emails were leaked not hacked. This would destroy the DEMs Russia-gate claims. Notice that 2 anti-Trump Dems asked for the interview; I would assume to control it to ensure that it becomes a nothingburger. Oh what a tangled web we weave……….

      Reply
        1. Hameloose Cannon

          It’s not that Binney examined an unattributed metadata printout. That neither here nor there. The indictments allege a GRU officer forgot to use his VPN when pretending to be cool-guy Guccifer 2.0 on WordPress, an American organization amiable to answering a subpoena. Clinton emails could have been disseminated by carrier pigeon and it would not change the criminal culpability of the Trump Campaign. But all bar stool hearsay based on the fruits of a disinformation campaign aside, the emails were alleged [to be proven in court, of course] to be exfiltrated west, with open source technology circa 2004 to aid VoIP communication, to Illinois server space purchased by co-conspirators.

          Reply
          1. pretzelattack

            oh the supercompetent russians who with only 100k changed the result of the u.s. election “forgot to use a vpn”. the disinformation campaign is russiagate itself.

            Reply
            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              My bet is that the top of line Russian fighter jet is also cheaper than the US counterpart.

              Which one is better at war – that I don’t know.

              Reply
              1. pretzelattack

                i don’t want to find out, either. this russiagate bs is dangerous. the propaganda flood never stops, now it’s the u.s. sanctioning russia for allegedly poisoning the skripals–no evidence for that, either.

                Reply
              2. Plenue

                You don’t actually believe this “the Kremlin ‘influenced’ the election through Facebook ads” nonsense, do you?

                A couple key differences with your comparison would be that Russian fighter jets are actually operated by the Russian government, and that they don’t wait until the fight is over before sending in 50% of their planes.

                Reply
          2. Jean

            Hame,

            Yeah, but before being exfiltrated west, they were supposedly hacked eastward. That’s where the numbers matter. Besides, doesn’t the NSA have the ability to hand over to congressional investigators all the material, since they vacuum up *everything*?

            Binney and fellow investigators looked at the actual files posted supposedly “as evidence” by “Guccifer.”
            Watch the video, I don’t want to repeat technical jargon beyond the above.

            Reply
    2. Shane Mage

      “The US Senate Intelligence Committee has asked Julian Assange to give evidence on what he knows about Russian influence in the US election.” Around the end of 1938 the House Unamerican Activities Committee, then headed by Texas Democrat Martin Dies, invited Leon Trotsky to testify *in public session*.
      Trotsky enthusiastically accepted. Nothing further was heard from Dies & co.
      The “invitation” to Assange, in contrast, is to a “closed” session. Unless the session is to be public, Assange must refuse that offer.

      Reply
      1. Irrational

        Thanks for posting the Pilger interview for whom I have huge respect. Anyone who has not should read his book Hidden Agendas. It is from quite some years ago, but still scarely pertinent (I recently re-read).

        Reply
    1. Kurtismayfield

      The graph says that the percentage of contingent workers compared to total employment is decreasing.. which is true since job in total is increasing.. but the total contingent jobs is increasing.

      That graph is also a perfect demonstration of “Lies, damn lies, and statistics”.. look at the last two data points and the gap between them. Did the author forget 12 years of data?

      Reply
  6. Summer

    Re: Cory Booker
    “Cannot believe he’s considered a serious presidential possibility.”

    I can’t either. Maybe somebody with bucks thinks he’s more useful as long as he thinks he has a chance?

    Reply
    1. Pat

      As someone who has seen Booker in action, let me say right now people who write him off do so at their own risk (see Trump). Booker, unlike most of today’s politicians, has massive personal charisma and an ability to make people he encounters think they are hugely important to him. He reads a crowd better than any politician I have seen live, and that includes Trump.

      Much as I hate it, our political system rewards the best snake oil salesperson in the room. And he is good at it. I wish people were able to divorce the charming young man from the political representative/grifter’s actions and get that it is snake oil, but that takes time and getting burned.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        Another Slick Willy, then.

        Speaking of having seen someone in action: I recently attended a Merkley town hall, relevant because he’s now exploring a Presidential run. He’s remarkably good at the aw-shucks, good ol’ boy persona, even better than DeFazio, who has built an entire career on it. As it happens, Merkley could be a lot worse; he’s a classic “progressive,” except when he turns out to be just-a-Dem. He’s been a pleasant surprise, especially compared to Wyden.

        His biggest disadvantage is that he’s from a small state (Oregon) but then, so is Sanders.

        Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) charged with insider trading, federal prosecutors announce”

    Saw this on the TV tonight and thought it strange that this Rep was being charged with inside trading. I thought that that was one of the perks of the job. If you go to http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-09/new-york-congressman-chris-collins-charged-for-insider-trading/10091908 you will see an image of who was in on this which the above article does not make clear. It shows his son, his son’s fiance, the fiance’s mother and father as well as two of the fiance’s brothers but not the sister (awkward Thanksgiving coming up!). By bailing out of this stock they avoided losses of over $770,000 but did not answer the question of why they are nailing this sucker. But then the article showed why. Collins told his son and friends of his family but forgot to tell his Republican buddies and so they probably took a bath. Bernie Madoff could have told Collins that you can rip off all the little people that you want but never rip off insiders – or else!

    Reply
  8. Summer

    Re: Cory Booker
    “Cannot believe he’s considered a serious presidential possibility.”

    Maybe someone with bucks finds him more useful as long as he thinks he has a chance?

    Reply
    1. Shane Mage

      The aim for Booker et. al. is not the 2020 nomination. It is the 2020 VP nomination on the Sanders ticket.

      Reply
  9. Olga

    Why the Latest Attack on Single-Payer Backfired TruthOut
    Methinks this is the part that scares the d-o out of TPTB and why we are now starting to see the very real start of Internet censorship:
    “In the hours and days after news of the study broke, however, something interesting happened. Advocates, citizens and journalists (some, but not all progressive) published rapid-fire responses that helped explain how this study served to, unwittingly it seems, make the case for single-payer. ThinkProgress, Business Insider, Vice, the Week, Slate, the New Republic. Jacobin, Common Dreams and others all managed to explain what $32.6 trillion means in context to current spending — something totally absent in the AP story, among others.”
    In this segment (https://www.rt.com/shows/sputnik/433866-far-right-agitation-britain/), George Galloway discusses with his guest exactly this “rapid-fire response” that has been enabled by the Internet. TPTB have lost their monopoly on the dissemination of information. And that is why all who do not comply/conform/obey must be silenced before the virus of free exchange of information dare spread.

    Reply
  10. The Rev Kev

    “US sanctions Russia over Novichok attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal in UK ”

    The question arises whether Trump would ever sign a sanctions bill that accuses Russia of also being responsible for the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Now that could get awkward that.

    And are those Cormorants in tonight’s Antidote du jour?

    Reply
  11. begob

    Brexit concerns push UK lawyers to register in Ireland

    Interesting point is that they’re registering, but not many are seeking practising certificates – the assumption is that UK law will continue to predominate in forum choice, and that registration will underpin their professional privilege with EU clients.

    I wonder if there will be problems with international enforcement of UK judgments. The UK defaults to Brussells Convention on no-deal, but this article says it will be easy to sign up to the Hague Convention. What if the EU objects?

    https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=a7420483-9af9-4898-80ae-68a6fa83e8be

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      A colleague of mine who was at a conference in Brussels on Brexit and its legal implications told me that there is active discussion behind the scenes there on ‘asking’ Ireland and Malta to abandon Common Law in order to simplify the application of EU Directives. The logic being that this would simplify the law/regulatory process in the EU and ensure that the last vestiges of British influence is expunged.

      I’ve no idea how you’d actually go about doing this, but if it did happen it would very significantly complicate things for UK solicitors hoping to practice in the EU via an Irish registration.

      Reply
      1. begob

        I don’t practice anymore, so I’m not up to speed, but the common law and precedent have been mostly put to bed by statute in almost every field, even in the UK. To put it another way, the only judicial innovations are through interpretation of the black letter. The outstanding field is real property, but even that is highly codified.

        In Ireland, the constitution says EU law takes precedence in a conflict, but only if it’s necessitated by EU membership, which is why there are so many referendums – so far the voters have agreed on that ratchet effect. Maybe what’s meant by getting rid of “common law” is … enough with the referendums!

        The big law firms in the UK – Eversheds is the mega-shark – seem relaxed about Irish registration as sufficient for their EU business. I’ve seen their internal arguments over legal qualification before in a UK context (rights of audience), and they’re quite clear and thorough. The baxtards!

        Reply
      1. Jean

        It’s not “Gunz”, it’s “Gangz”.

        Yet another hardware law ignored in the hood won’t do jack.
        How about drug legalization, Medicare for All (including free rehab) and some serious job creation programs that would hopefully begin to tackle Chicago’s problem.

        Baltimore chimes in “We’re Still Number One!”

        Reply
    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I live in another city racked by gang violence. Gunfights between gangs and within gangs spill over into the downtown tourist areas and the suburbs. It’s the Wild West, but there’s no Marshall Dillon to clean it all up.

      It seems to me there’s a possible analogy to the Middle East in all this. In that part of the world, the U. S. and Israel do their best to stir up trouble between various Muslim factions, arm them and root for them to kill each other off while they profit. Is there a similar strategy at work in American cities, substituting poor, urban AAs for Muslims? Why is it that these city governments and police forces, that were so adept at cooperating with the feds to infiltrate and destroy Occupy and the militant Left in the 60s, seem so helpless at taking on gang organizations?

      Reply
      1. todde

        because gang bangers are smarter than your average Occupier, callous to threats of violence and not scared on incarceration.

        and if you cross a gang’s line, there are consequences.

        Reply
      2. todde

        I will say I was paul bearer to a murdered girl when I was a child.

        The police were sure to let us know who murdered her, but they didn’t have enough to arrest him…

        Reply
    1. Olga

      Could be… and today’s bus (and children) destruction does not help. Wonder what Ms. Haley would say to that? (Maybe he’s just too unruly and has cozied up too close to VVP.)

      Reply
  12. Tom Stone

    On the Caliornia Wildfires, this is just the beginning, as anyone who has been paying attention over the last decade knows.
    Marin County is terrifying, that’s where Sudden Oak Death Syndrome first emerged in California and the fuel load is immense.
    We’ll see quite a few deaths when that burns ( Narrow roads make it difficult to get out) and the loss of irreplaceable art.
    The Tahoe Basin has more than 1 Million dead trees…
    Fire danger is extreme and will be for months to come.
    The good news?
    Morel mushrooms!

    Reply
    1. Lord Koos

      That was pretty much the only upside to last year’s fires in WA. Unfortunately morels only come up once, the year after the fire. Get ’em while you can.

      Reply
    2. JBird

      Marin County is terrifying, that’s where Sudden Oak Death Syndrome first emerged in California and the fuel load is immense.

      We’ll see quite a few deaths when that burns ( Narrow roads make it difficult to get out) and the loss of irreplaceable art.

      Just like the Oakland Hills Fire of a couple of decades back. The front page pictures of the traffic jammed burned out cars of people who failed to escape was just disturbing as Heck.

      I can personally attest that Marin’s hills, especially on and near Mt. Tamalpais’ slopes, are laced with narrow, often single lane, winding roads, some of them very steep as well. It is a massive death trap without controlled burnings and steady clearing.

      The fire departments have been pushing for controlled burns for decades even before the Oakland Hills deaths, but it the smoke is inconvenient for the locals, and there is always a small chance that the controlled burn will escape control. So no burns and not even a pretense of clearing the accumulated deadwood.

      I know I am rumbling, but I just dread what might happen especially after Santa Rosa. Heck, there are many small communities throughout California that are vulnerable. Or not so small like in Los Angeles.

      Reply
  13. The Rev Kev

    “California wildfire: Should inmates be fighting the state’s worst ever blaze?”

    The deal should be that while they fight the fires, serious time is taken off their sentences but that the State picks up all their medical and insurance coverages. It is a bit better organized now firefighting. I have an American book on firefighting which talks of how in earlier times when there was a forest fire, that a truck would go down to the other side of the tracks and all the drinking bums in the local bar would jump aboard and head on out to fight the fire. Real amateur hour stuff but I suppose that you could consider it community spirit.

    Reply
    1. RUKidding

      https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/12/how-much-longer-will-inmates-fight-californias-wildfires/547628/

      One of many articles about CA inmates fighting fires, which has happened since the 1940s. It’s strictly voluntary, and due to efforts more recently to shrink the prison population, the ranks of eligible inmates has declined.

      They get paid a princely sum of $1/hour, which is more than what they’d get paid for other prison slave labor, but it’s very dangerous work, clearly. Some inmates are happier than others to get the work, and I believe it does reduce time served, so there is that.

      It’s a mixed bag, for sure. They really do make a difference, especially with the massive escalation in the number and intensity of forest fires. Too bad we can’t just use inmates for better forest management, which could go some distance to reducing the fires and their intensity. But use precious tax dollars for something that’s pro-active, rather than reactive? Heaven forfend! That might be socialism. Can’t have that.

      Reply
      1. Jean

        Controlled burns, when the ground is wet in winter is the solution for urban interface areas.

        However, the neighbors complain, the real estate industry objects and beside, they contribute to global warming don’t you know?

        Reply
      2. JP

        California Mountain Home State Forest, above Springville does use Mountain Home Prison to work it’s demonstration forest. The state forest stands in stark contrast to the adjoining federal forest. It has a beautiful storied growth of varied species and an open understory resistant to fire propagation. The national forest just over the boundry is choked and stunted and the understory is impassable with 100 years of fuel accumulation.

        Fire is the natural course of forest development in the California sierra. Historically, frequent burns, by lightning, created a mosaic of burned and unburned that limited the propagation potential for fire. Over 100 years of fire suppression is what has caused the tremendous accumulation of fuel on the ground. The use of prison labor to reduce the understory fuel by cutting in the summer and burning in the winter has made the Mountain Home Forest an example of intelligent stewardship. A descriptive phrase I would use rather then some ism.

        Reply
        1. BobW

          Unable to find it now, but I remember seeing a satellite picture of the US-Mexico border showing a pattern of small burn/green forest areas, where Mexico did not douse every blaze, and HUGE burn/green areas on the US side. Letting nature take its course prevents enormous fires. Too late now, though.

          Reply
        2. JTMcPhee

          How much do the fire-fighting”inmates” get paid for their labor and personal risk? As much as lower-rank GIs who Fight The Nation’s Evil Enemies? Which is little enough, of course.

          It’s a little annoying that people commenting here supposedly as progressives use that “we” noun to suggest that inmates of the carceral state can be treated like indentured servants or maybe slaves. But hey, property must be protected, right?

          Reply
      3. JBird

        The inmates are not allowed to be fire fighters after they leave because they are felons, which is insane. It is one of those punishments that makes no sense especially when A) They need jobs like anyone. B) It is dangerous work, but well paying, for which there is a labor shortage sometimes.

        Reply
        1. Jean

          Public employee unions might want to limit the labor pool. Do ya think they might have any influence on those no ex con rules?

          Reply
          1. JBird

            You mean like the California prison guards’ union always pushing for expanding the prisons and increasing criminal penalties? Nah, I’m sure that they have Californians’ welfare at heart.

            Reply
      4. Lord Koos

        It’s dangerous and the pay is low, but it’s a chance to get outside for a time, which is no small thing if you’re locked up.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          Well then, it’s all ok! Also get a chance to be burned to death, adding spice to that momentary “getting outside.”

          Weird value system some folks have…

          Reply
  14. Brindle

    re: The Obama’s @ Martha’s Vineyard

    How about a Medicare For All chant ?

    —” so who knows, maybe you’ll be able to spot them dining out next weekend too. But maybe let them finish their appetizer before you start chanting at them.”—

    Reply
    1. RUKidding

      Well it was a lot stronger for bankers, Hedge fund managers, private equity, Wall Street, the elites, the mega-wealthy, etc.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        …and then when the MMA person gets older, and starts having radiculopathy problems in hands and arms and all kinds of neck pain, due to those hours of “ bridging,” that I did lots of for wrestling and football, to go along with the concussion damage, I’m sure MMA will have a nice fund set aside to pay for their care…

        Reply
        1. Todde

          Lol. Thats funny.

          The UFC starts you out at 4k a fight.

          If you win, the next fight doubles. That continues until you lose 2 fights or wim 4 im a row, and then the reevalute whether you stay in ufc or get a real contract.

          Reply
  15. allan

    Democratic Socialism Threatens Minorities [The Atlantic]

    The cra-cra is strong in this one:

    … Instead of individual capitalists deciding what to produce in their endlessly varied, constantly competing private businesses, “without any democratic input from the rest of society,” control over industry and decisions about what to produce would reside in state planning agencies. And imagine their decisions perfectly, if improbably, reflect the actual democratic will of workers, whether in the nation; or a state, like Ohio or Utah; or a metropolitan area, like Maricopa County or Oklahoma City.

    Popular control is finally realized! So: How popular is Islam? How many Muslim prayer rugs would the democratic majority of workers vote to produce? How many Korans? How many head scarves? How much Halal meat would be slaughtered? What share of construction materials would a majority of workers apportion to new mosques?

    Under capitalism, the mere existence of buyers reliably gives rise to suppliers. Relying instead on democratic decisions would pose a big risk for Muslims. And Sikhs. And Hindus. And Jews. And maybe even Catholics.

    Right now, under capitalism, vegetarians and vegans have more options every year. But there aren’t very many of them. Five percent of Americans are vegetarians. Three percent are vegans. Would “the workers” find a societal need to produce vegan meat or milk substitutes? No one knows the answer.

    How important would worker majorities consider hair products for African Americans? What if a majority of workers decided that only English-language commercial reading material should be printed in the United States? …

    A mind is a terrible thing to lose. I blame BS and AOC.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      >Under capitalism, the mere existence of buyers reliably gives rise to suppliers

      HahahahahahaHA!!

      I don’t know what the difference is at this point, and how much the Euro neo-lib project is going to affect this, but picking just one area:
      1) Does anybody dispute at this point that Europe is much more socialist than the US, and the gap not long ago was really, really wide?
      2) Does anybody think car-making is not a capitalist enterprise?

      Yet, for us who accept 1 and 2, (I don’t know what planet the rest of you live on, hope it is interesting) the availability of niche automobiles is insanely greater in Yurp than in the US. Just a single f’instance, we are just slowly getting station wagons back, and most of them are too expensive (Volvo). Ford isn’t going to make cars at all for sale here, so whole categories are going to shrink.

      As always, I don’t claim this is or is not an “aspect of (whatever societal form you are trying to talk up)”. What I claim is it’s just BS with a bunch of facts stuck around it for decoration, with the hope that you don’t notice that they are just scotch-taped on and maybe a little wistful hope that one or two actually bears on the discussion. Like so much of what we are sold/told today.

      Reply
    2. makedoanmend

      One should point out that democratisation of the workplace means that workers have a hand in the some decision making processes, such as deciding who are the better business directors to guide daily and strategic business decisions, and also reap the total rewards of their own collective labour. Different business modes of production would have immense variation on the depth of worker participation in their own production given certain constraints and resources.

      Democratic Socialism does not mean that people of a nation vote in a referendum on whether or not to produce hair products for people of African descent. That’s the mindless bluster that capitalists peddle to make sure that us proles don’t actually think about the means and results of production. Though I sure their concern about minorities is deeply heart felt.

      Long before the rise of capitalism, there were vegans and after capitalism fades away there will be vegans. They either didn’t buy meat or didn’t slaughter their animals for consumption. They made their own meals. They didn’t need corporation X to decide what a vegan ate. Modes of production don’t necessarily determine what is or is not produced. Also, it is not unsurprising that people can also produce many things for themselves if they have unfettered capital or other resources with which to do so.

      Currently, the circumstances limiting what people want to produce is decided by what a capitalist decides will be produced via the offer or refusal of money or other assets. There are decisions made everyday about what gets produced and who receives the rewards of successful production based solely on the wants and needs of capital providers against the detriment of all other facets of society. They like to call the detrimental products of their decisions by sweet little words such as ‘sunk costs’ evidenced by pollution, social alienation, and poverty.

      And if Democratic Socialism is so limiting, which in the past had an effect on European politics and production, why did European countries provide a wide variety of goods to their populations? And if Capitalism is so superior as a social guiding principle, why are so many African Americana in poverty now? Does a special hair gel really confer greater democracy?

      Reply
    3. Darthbobber

      FLASHING BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL AT THE ATLANTIC.
      Visit for this dreck and they throw in the equally vacuous “Why the Left is Terrified of Jordan Peterson.”
      Sigh.

      Friersdorf seems to believe in the inverse of Say’s Law. Not only is supply to create its own demand, but now, in his telling, demand also creates its own supply.
      1) To the extent that this applies at all, it applies only to the sorts of items individuals buy off the shelves. Breathable air, drinkable water and decent medical care don’t seem to fall into that category.
      2) To the extent it applies at all, it applies only to effective demand, ie demand backed by the requisite bucks to make the purchase. You can be as barefoot and threadbare as you like, and without the do re mi you generate no supply. Duh.

      (As to the original “law” of Say’s, folks from Marx to Keynes have had enough fun with that. No need to add more. There’s no need for a multibillion dollar manipulative industry to help supply create its demand if the process is as automatic as all that.)

      Friersdorf would apparently believe that the recent rash of advertising resources invested in pushing candy-flavored mini-cigars at black kids is really an informative response to some identified deep demand for the product preexisting in those youngsters.

      Where you get your vegan food and burkas (or tomorrow’s meal for that matter)if you possess no money is a question he deals with not at all.

      But if its important to you that the same lager arrive in different cans/bottles depending on whether its being sold to rednecks, yuppies or African Americans there is indeed nothing like the status quo for delivering exactly that.

      Reply
  16. Irrational

    Seen a lot of coverage on the Uighurs following the article NC linked to the other day, including in Frankfurter Allgemeine.

    Reply
  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Another consequence of high college costs: Foreclosure MarketWatch. Solution: Free college.

    —-

    Not free housing?

    Even in the USSR, only some flats were free, and not all.

    But we can do better than them Russians/others, no?

    Reply
    1. Olga

      They were not necessarily free, but were very, very cheap – and subsidised , as was energy, public transport, and food.
      Free education (including kinder-gardens) and free healthcare.
      Pretty much same in the other socialist countries.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        You’re likely right.

        Googling, I found it mentioned that in some rest places in the country (USSR), during the summer, were free of charge. Can’t say I know that for sure, but that was what came up.

        That said, I wouldn’t mind free housing.

        Reply
        1. Olga

          In one other former socialist country I know – most factories and organisations either owned – or had at their disposal – places of rest: for example, skiing chalets or summer recreation facilities. Stays were subsidised to a large extent and vacations were taken very seriously. The funny thing is that, with the new capitalist “freedom,” everybody has to hustle and no one has time for a vacation (or, most don’t).

          Reply
  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) charged with insider trading, federal prosecutors announce WaPo

    —-

    Is this another case for going after the smaller (politician) fish?

    Nothing about, say, some foundation?

    And that other congress person who tipped the investigators – no info on said foundation to pass on to law enforcement?

    Reply
  19. Unna

    On the Saudi Canada spat: My semi educated opinion is that the Saudi anger is not the criticism of Saudi policy per se, but that the Saudis see Freeland’s tweet as a cheap shot by two virtue signaling twits, Freeland and Trudeau, who thoughtlessly and casually believed they could get away with it at the expense of a weaker non Anglo non Western country. Personally I find MBS and the Saudi regime repulsive. That having been said, I’m still waiting for this dynamic duo to tweet their criticism of the neo Nazis in Ukraine and inside the Ukraine government, their criticism of Columbia’s murderous record against labour organizers along with their condemnation of Maduro, their criticism of Saudi funding of radical Islamist fighters to overturn Assad along with their current statements about the Saudis, a condemnation of Saudi’s war in Yemen, some serious criticism of Israel’s new nationality law, and so on. I think I see a pattern here. Trudeau, of course, had no problem selling the Saudi’s hundreds of Anti personnel vehicles that are mostly useless in combat but are very useful at crowd suppression.

    Also I wonder how much the Saudi action was made with Trump’s knowledge and permission. It’s not as if there’s any love lost between The Donald and Canada’s very own version of Obama.

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        1. Unna

          What do I know, but I see Freeland, Canada’s foreign affairs minister, as a pure Hillary style neocon mainly because she’s so anti Russia which includes each and every position that goes along with that. Freeland strikes me as a sort of shallow self promoter of a certain style. Trudeau, who’s not the brightest bulb in the chandelier follows her lead. He wants to criticize the Saudis and do business with them at the same time. Trudeau and Freeland all but openly supported Hillary in the election. Despite that, Trudeau can’t fathom why anyone, including Trump, wouldn’t like him. Nor can Trudeau quite figure out that Trump sees Canada as a vassal state and Trudeau himself as nothing more than a bothersome petty potentate residing somewhere in the north who doesn’t know his place. Trudeau needs a long term serious plan to deal with Trump but he doesn’t have one. The people who advise him are Bay Street neolibs who’s way to “make Canada great again” is a Trump style infrastructure bank and more trade deals.

          Don’t get me wrong, Canada’s a great place to live, work, and raise a family. I like it here very much. But no place is without problems and, at least in my opinion, Canada currently has some political leadership issues in all three of it’s major parties. And that has given an opening for someone like Doug Ford in Ontario.

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        2. todde

          I think the 3rd World is sick of the West lecturing.

          The general consesus was “Now that the West is weak, they want ‘human rights’

          Reply
      1. Elizabeth Burton

        Especially when you’ve just tried and failed to assassinate a head of state with the help of a neighboring country. Can’t have any of those inconvenient facts making their way into the consciousness of the US public.

        Reply

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