Links 10/18/18

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Dems damp down hopes for climate change agenda The Hill

Retired admiral says climate-change research may mean ‘our survival’ Stars and Stripes

Fixing the Climate Requires More Than Technology NYT. In fact, in requires a strong, functioning State, but apparently it’s still taboo to say something like that in a headline.

We’re just beginning to understand the toll climate change takes on mental health Grist

U.S. Shale’s Glory Days Are Numbered

Uber considers spinning off self-driving car unit FT

Did Uber Steal Google’s Intellectual Property? The New Yorker. Nice people we have at Google:

One day in 2011, a Google executive named Isaac Taylor learned that, while he was on paternity leave, [robot car maven Anthony Levandowski, who later left for Uber,] had modified the cars’ software so that he could take them on otherwise forbidden routes. A Google executive recalls witnessing Taylor and Levandowski shouting at each other. Levandowski told Taylor that the only way to show him why his approach was necessary was to take a ride together. The men, both still furious, jumped into a self-driving Prius and headed off.

The car went onto a freeway, where it travelled past an on-ramp. According to people with knowledge of events that day, the Prius accidentally boxed in another vehicle, a Camry. A human driver could easily have handled the situation by slowing down and letting the Camry merge into traffic, but Google’s software wasn’t prepared for this scenario. The cars continued speeding down the freeway side by side. The Camry’s driver jerked his car onto the right shoulder. Then, apparently trying to avoid a guardrail, he veered to the left; the Camry pinwheeled across the freeway and into the median. Levandowski, who was acting as the safety driver, swerved hard to avoid colliding with the Camry, causing Taylor to injure his spine so severely that he eventually required multiple surgeries.

The Prius regained control and turned a corner on the freeway, leaving the Camry behind. Levandowski and Taylor didn’t know how badly damaged the Camry was. They didn’t go back to check on the other driver or to see if anyone else had been hurt. Neither they nor other Google executives made inquiries with the authorities. The police were not informed that a self-driving algorithm had contributed to the accident.

C’mon, let’s be fair. Who keeps track of collateral damage?


EU summit on hold as May fails to convince leaders of Brexit progress Irish Times. It doesn’t matter that May was permitted to address the EU summit; she wasn’t on the agenda. The address was a courtesy, no more.

Germany preparing for no deal on Brexit, says Merkel Deutsche Welle

Et tu, Boris? 12 Brits who will shape Brexit Politico

The depths of the cuts: the uneven geography of local government austerity British Politics and Policy, London School of Economics

U.S. Stalls U.K. Bid to Stay in $1.7 Trillion Market Bloomberg

European Commission Threatens to Reject Draft Italian Budget Der Spiegel

The Psychologicals LRB. Irish novelist Anna Burns.


Audio Offers Gruesome Details of Jamal Khashoggi Killing, Turkish Official Says NYT. I know I may be overly counter-suggestible, but audio nobody has been allowed to examine, proferred by an anonymous intelligence official, in this case Turkish, isn’t “evidence.”

‘The greatest embarrassment’: Inside the kingdom, Saudis rattled by handling of Jamal Khashoggi case Independent (Olga).

Jamal Khashoggi: What the Arab world needs most is free expression Jamal Khashoggi, WaPo and Jamal Khashoggi’s final appeal Editorial Board, WaPo

Commentary: Khashoggi case shows America’s collapsing Mideast clout Reuters

Saudi Money Flows Into Silicon Valley—and With It Qualms WSJ

A Middle East Monarchy Hired American Ex-Soldiers To Kill Its Political Enemies. This Could Be The Future Of War. Buzzfeed

Israeli reporter for ‘New York Times’ praises AIPAC at closed event: ‘You’ve got our backs’ Mondoweiss


China’s Factory Heartland Braces for Trump’s Big Tariff Hit Bloomberg

China’s Great Leap Backward Foreign Policy. The Blob on Xi vs. Deng.

Cambodia construction boom built on ‘blood bricks’ and slavery – report Reuters

Indonesians underestimate how bad nepotism is for the economy Asian Correspondent

India’s central bank has finally removed the biggest roadblock for e-wallets Quartz

The empty seat on a crowded Japanese train: 10 years on, the ‘gaijin seat’ still grates Japan Times. The story is more optimistic than the headline.

New Cold War

The Russia investigation shadows Trump’s presidency, but few Democrats campaign on it Los Angeles Times

Mueller Ready to Deliver Key Findings in His Trump Probe, Sources Say Bloomberg

Trump Jr. and Other Aides Met With Gulf Emissary Offering Help to Win Election NYT. Plot twist: It wasn’t the Russians after all! It was the Saudis!

The Autocracy App NYRB

Trump Transition

Donald Trump to pull US out of postal alliance in latest move targeting China South China Morning Post and White House Announces That the U.S. Intends to Withdraw From International Postal Agency Government Executive

Mitch McConnell Calls to Cut Social Security, Medicare Newsweek

Trump socialism and housing finance Credit Slips

Trump team makes controversial change to allow chicken plants to operate at faster speeds WaPo

What if there was a prize for food sovereignty? New Food Economy

Democrats in Disarray

Democrats won’t defeat Trump by becoming the Trumps of the left Max Boot, WaPo. Has anybody made the “Max and his brother Jack” joke yet?

Hillary Clinton’s Master Class in Distraction NYT

Imperial Collapse Watch

WEAPON SYSTEMS CYBERSECURITY: DOD Just Beginning to Grapple with Scale of Vulnerabilities (PDF) GAO. I can well believe that DOD is an enormous IT clusterf*ck, but I’m also leery of studies like this, because of the obvious implication that another round of enormous spending on weapons built like Ferraris is what’s needed, an enormous windfall for IT, which (a) wrote the code for the vulnerable systems in the first place, and (b) hasn’t demonstrated an ability to secure anything else.

Guillotine Watch

Inside the Washington area’s most expensive homes for sale WaPo. Check out the interiors. The actual Versailles was far more tasteful.

Class Warfare

The American Economy Is Rigged Joseph Stiglitz, Scientific American

A $21,634 bill? How a homeless woman fought her way out of tow-company hell Seattle Times. Law enforcement for profit; the tow company has a city contract, so no wonder it felt free to ignore a judge.

Iceland’s Lessons for the #MeToo Era Foreign Policy. Lysistratic non-action…

A Blue Pill Is Stopping HIV, World-First Study Shows Bloomberg (original).

Maker Movements Should NOT Endanger School Libraries, Librarians, and Reading Nancy Bailey’s Education Website

Living with Dolly Parton Long Reads

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Henry Moon Pie

    Re: American mercenaries–

    So I was watching the Brewers vs. Dodgers game yesterday when an ad came on. It almost looked like a video game, but it was not. A camera followed a half-dozen men dressed in the typical robocop outfits armed with automatic weapons. They’re headed down a narrow alley between mud buildings in a village in a desert setting. One of the soldiers stops, and the camera zooms in as he takes out his phone a touches the screen. The shot widens as we see a building blow up about a block from where the soldiers are at. Text appears on the screen:

    Warriors Wanted

    Then at the bottom of the screen: US Army.

    So the Army is openly recruiting the kind of fellows looking for some action of the type pictured in the ad. Maybe bust down some doors and go all Haditha on the women and children there.

    We are creating a caste of bloodthirsty, trained killers. Some we loose on the rest of the world as the article describes. Some we bring home and give them cop badges or House seats.

    No worries. No chance for blowback here, right?

    1. Wukchumni

      What’s odd about the ‘recruitment’ tv commercial, is that the average age of a MLB viewer is 53. I’d suggest that it really isn’t an attempt to get more cannon fodder, but more of way to impress quinquagenarians, that Yo!, we’re bad-ass, and only if you were younger, you could play along.

      Baseball has the oldest viewers of the top major sports, with 50% of its audience 55 or older (up from 41% a decade ago), according to Nielsen ratings. The average age of baseball viewers is 53, compared with 47 for the NFL and 37 for the NBA, according to the ratings.

      1. Christopher Fay

        Have you seen the start of a Sunday night football game? The last opening I saw I was waiting for the human sacrifice amongst the flags. That ad plays on NFL. Blacks kneeling at the start of the game is too much cognitive dissonance for the national audience.

        1. Wukchumni

          Every last one of the 5 presenters (all of whom are ex players or coaches) on the CBS NFL StateFarm post game show wears an American flag lapel pin*, as the league knows it’s gotta pull out all the patriotic stops, in lieu of players kneeling.

          Was watching Inside The NFL last night, mainly for the highlights, and there’s lotsa empty seats in various stadia all over the country, fans are staying away in droves.

          * go to 3:10 on this youtube

          1. oh

            I’m willing to bet that all those American flag lapel pins are made in China. What a show of patriotism. Fools fall for that!

      2. Jack Gavin

        Well, who do you think is aiding and abetting the military recruiters? That 18 year old recruitee is poked, nudged and shoved by folks older than he/she is. Plus, it is not at all clear to me that the demographic experts are accurately capturing barroom viewership both quantitatively and qualitatively. I’m 70+ and watch my Sunday football at my local which is populated mainly by the 30-40+ crowd, all of whom, while being fans of one team or another, are more interested in their fantasy team. Thus, multiple games on multiple TVs equals diverted attention. What’s the constant? Same ads on every channel.
        And for you warmongers keeping score out there: how many years have you been hearing about those “insurgents” setting off those IEDs with cell phones? Followed by the question – mostly unasked – “how come we’re not doing that?” That ad is answers that. It’s a disgustingly wonderful recruiting tool.

    2. noonespecial

      – So the Army is openly recruiting the kind of fellows looking for some action of the type pictured in the ad. – published this piece recently: “Why today’s troops fear a new war is coming soon”. The article summarizes the results of a survey of 829 responses from active-duty troops, of which “46% of troops who responded…said they believe the U.S. will be drawn into a new war within the next year.” A 2017 poll found that 5% of respondents thought the same.

      A small survey surely, but could this survey show how the folks behind the curtain are grooming not only the plebes, but by extension their families and thence a wider public for armed conflict?

      1. a different chris

        Yes they’ve taken the measure of Trump and he is just a blowhard. In my “didn’t vote for Hillary either” defense, Ms. Clinton would already be 6 months into it.

        I don’t know how we are going to ever stop this. It will burn itself out eventually, but what will be left?

    3. Another Scott

      The DLA Energy slogan is even worse – “Warfighters First.” We’ve lost all pretense of having soldiers, let alone citizen soldiers. It’s really sad how much the MIC has completely altered how we view our military. Their sole purpose is to kill other human beings, should we be surprised when they start doing it for money?

    4. cocomaan

      Creating a caste? This is as old as dirt. Warrior poets sang about this stuff a long time ago.

      Heck, back in Vietnam, they trained draftees using the words KILL KILL KILL. They literally trained them to shoot first and ask questions later.

      This isn’t anything new and isn’t unique to our culture.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        If you’re saying this has been the reality of our military since the beginning, I have no disagreement with you, but this ad did strike me as quite a divergence from the usual TV recruiting ads that make it look like you’ll be spending all your time in the Army rescuing orphans from floods. Instead of hiding the reality, now they’re hyping it in a targeted appeal to people who lust for a chance to kill and get away with it.

        1. Lord Koos

          “People who lust for a chance to kill and get away with it” definitely describes a certain percentage of both military and police recruits.

    5. TheScream

      This is old stuff. And we have been on the receiving end of blowback for a few centuries. Even George Washington set off an international war in 1754 and that was blowback.
      US is a militaristic, violent nation. The idea that Americans love peace is propaganda designed for domestic consumption by those who are not living in any of the dozens upon dozens of countries the US has invaded and destroyed.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’d claim December 8th 1941, was where it really started in earnest…

        We’d come out of the Great Depression bruised & battered, and were done with war, our army was no great shakes, the equivalent of Romania or something like that, an elephant trying to fit into pajamas 100 sizes too small.

        The US tanks of the late 30’s required somebody up in the turret that would tap the driver on the left or right shoulder, indicating that he should turn in that direction.

        Anyway, fast forward to the day after a day of infamy, and we never looked back, completely Krupp’d.

        1. TheScream

          This ignores US expansion South and the incessant invasions, assassinations and machinations throughout the Caribs, Central America and South America during the 19th century. And places like the Philippines.
          The US has been militaristic and violent since its inception. White Americans kicked off their arrival in the New World by slaughtering Native Americans wholesale, stealing their land, and breaking every single treaty they ever signed with them. That was a prelude and psychological preparation for places like Iraq and Vietnam. The government learned that Americans had no qualms about slaughtering people who were not white.

          1. Wukchumni

            I’m not claiming we were relentless pricks when it comes to messing with other countries, I had my moment of clarity @ the Iwo Jima Flag Raising statue in DC.

            Around the periphery, it has all the USMC campaigns, mostly in Latin America, and they ran roughshod over all comers.

          2. Lord Koos

            The interference in South America continued into the 20th century and is still happening today.

          3. SoldierSvejk

            What can one expect from a place that was forcibly colonised, with most of the native population killed in a multi-generational genocide, and whose economic might got its start through slavery. Can we today even contemplate – much less accurately assess – how much violence had to be expanded to get us where we are today? Violence lives in the subconscious mind of this culture… it is the feature… except, at some point, the monster turns against its own.

            1. LifelongLib

              Ethnic cleansing and war crimes, but there was no deliberate genocide. Diseases killed most Native Americans before the military or settlers even arrived. If that hadn’t happened we of European ancestry would have been annihilated, or at least limited to the sort of colonization that happened in (say) Africa. Probably today there would be no U.S. or Canada, but a bunch of independent Native American nations.

              1. SoldierSvejk

                Surely you jest? Trail of tears ring a bell? The comment is as laughable, as it is historically inaccurate.

                1. Wukchumni

                  It depends upon the tribe & area, here on the western slope of the Sierra, about 85% of one of the most populous groups of Indians in the USA-Yokuts, died of measles in 1868-69.

                  How bad was it?

                  They held the very first Ghost Dance in 1870 about 25 miles from where i’m pecking away, hoping that by having a weeklong marathon dance, those 85% would come back to life.

                  It didn’t work, so they held another one about 25 miles from here in another direction, and then a few more until 1875, when they gave up.

              2. knowbuddhau

                You give Libs a bad name. Not hard to do around here, but, wow.

                Yes, Native Americans Were the Victims of Genocide. by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous People’s History of the United States, which you might also want to look into.

                Kill the Indian, Save the Man

                This was official U.S. government policy towards the education of Indian Children for decades.

                A great general has said that the only good Indian is a dead one, and that high sanction of his destruction has been an enormous factor in promoting Indian massacres. In a sense, I agree with the sentiment, but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race should be dead. Kill the Indian in him, and save the man.
                Capt. Richard H. Pratt on the Education of Native Americans

                In one sense I agree with Pratt’s sentiments. But only in the belief that education is critical for all peoples. But an education that destroyed cultures, families, self-worth and identity is what Pratt proposed, what Congress agreed with and what is a large part of the problems found in the native community up to this day.

                And ignorance of the most fundamental facts of how it is you happen to be on the ground you’re on, I’ll add, ain’t helping, either.

                What would you say, LifelongLib, to someone who denied the Holocaust? You don’t seem to be aware that that wasn’t the one and only.

                Genocide denial continues the genocide. All the information you need is literally at your fingertips. That’s just the tip of the bloody iceberg. Learn.

                1. LifelongLib

                  If the intent of our (European) ancestors had been genocide, there would be no identifiable Native Americans left in the U.S. or Canada.The Trail of Tears would have been a pile of bodies. No reservations however impoverished. No schools however spirit breaking. Genocide is death, period. I don’t deny any of the atrocities. If called to answer, I would have to plead guilty (as I said above) to benefiting from ethnic cleansing and war crimes. But genocide — no.

              3. Mildred Montana

                “We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux even to their total extermination–men, women and children.”
                ——telegram from Sherman to President Grant (1867)

                The public record can’t be clearer than that.

              4. TheScream

                Tribes were infected intentionally with diseases like smallpox. They were displaced to unproductive land. They were slaughtered with guns and swords.
                Wow! So destroying most of the indigenous people and culture of a continent is better than what we did in Africa? Hmm, do we even want to debate this? Probably not.
                I sense a certain “to the victor go the spoils” and “it’s us or them” mentality at work here. Otherwise, please read some American history written by ALL sides.

                1. LifelongLib

                  No, it would have been better if our settlement efforts had been defeated and the Native American cultures had survived. As happened in Africa. But it was diseases (not some special brutality of the European people that settled America) that made the difference.

      2. LifelongLib

        “US is a militaristic, violent nation”.

        No it isn’t. Americans are lousy warriors. If we’d ever fought a country that was anywhere close to us in population and resources we’d have been defeated. All American armies until the 20th century at least had enormous desertion problems and lukewarm popular support at best. It’s only since WW 2 that most Americans had any contact with the military and being a soldier became “respectable”.

    6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      No more Hessian mercenaries for hire these days?

      The British, for their part, found Gurkha soldiers to be good at fighting.

      And the French, their way was (is still?) the Foreign Legion.

      1. TheScream

        Foreign Legion still exists and they are as hard and tough as ever. But, they no longer take just anyone. Murderers, rapists, etc. need not apply. They won’t turn you in, but they will turn you away. I wonder what their view of bankers is?

      1. crittermom

        The Rev Kev & Posaunist:

        The photo itself made me chuckle, but each of your comments made me laugh out loud.
        Good ones! Thank you.

    1. Wukchumni

      When I first went to NZ in the 80’s, there were nearly twice as many sheep as there are now. The longest I ever waited on the road in a sheepede was around 20 minutes, they just kept coming.

      We were on the Milford Track years ago and a Kiwi tramper we met in a hut-whose herd @ home totaled around 5,000 and was my age, related that he’d been at it for 30 years, and 75% of the value used to be in the wool, and 25% in the meat, but it had flipped around now, partly because of synthetic clothing making wool old school, and all those new mouths around the world yearning to be fed.

  2. Amfortas the Hippie

    On sheep dogs:we’ve had generations of border collies( the black and white kind) and although I’m a cat person I have always admired those dogs loyalty and forbearance with their charges…be they goats, sheep, geese or chickens.

    On frelling eternal Hillary…please, please, retire quietly to some beach or convent or small moon…for all her interminable accomplishments, her arrogance and entitlement and utter lack of humility embody what’s damaged in the Democratic Party.
    And…I am pleased that the idea of food sovereignty is appearing more and more. A reasonable autarky with necessities….combined with a care for localism…is essential to at least beginning to fix so many of our civilizational ills…from climate change to economics to good old quality of life and eudaimonia.

    1. Wukchumni

      The only reason Hillary is still making noise, is that the donkey show more closely resembles the mid 1980’s Soviet Union, Steny Hoyer could be Andropov, Dianne Feinstein-a Chernenko type that refuses to go away.

      Anybody younger is a nobody learning the political ropes (hope it doesn’t sink in too much…) and they are burdened by their easily discerned past unlike the old guard, which ascended to their various thrones in the pre-internet era.

    2. JTMcPhee

      It occurred to me to ask “what did it cost, in dollars over the last 400 years, to degrade the planet?” And then, “what would it cost, in dollars, to halt the desecration?” And then it occurred to me how insanely Homo economic is I too have become.

      The cost of any possible healthy change is what it would cost, given a very large definition and scope to “cost,” to change the hearts of 7.5 billion humans. Most of whom are cemented in place, out of inertia and daily practice and necessity, to keep doing what has been done, and MOAR of it. Sitting in their huts and McMansions, looking dumbly at one another with a moment of uncomprehending horror as the deluge overwhelms them.

      1. Lee

        Sitting in their huts and McMansions, looking dumbly at one another with a moment of uncomprehending horror as the deluge overwhelms them.

        Are you familiar with Jim Shepard’s Cretan Love Song?

        There is another version that was read on Selected Shorts and published in Zoetrope but cannot be accessed for free.

        1. Lee

          Turns out I have the other version, more complete and evocative saved on my computer. I don’t know if it is allowed to post the piece in its entirety here, but I’ll give it a try.

          Imagine you’re part of the Minoan civilization, just hanging out with your effete painted face down by the water’s edge on the north shore of Crete, circa 1600 BC. Biting flies knit the breeze around your head. Wavelets slap discreetly ashore. When the volcanic island of Thera detonates seventy miles to the north, the concussion, even where you’re standing, knocks passing waterfowl out of the air. Oxen are jolted to their knees.
          Back where Thera used to be, more than thirty-five cubic miles of the equivalent of dense rock have been blown out of the water and up into the troposphere. That’s all of Manhattan and the bedrock beneath it concussing upward thirty thousand feet. It’s as if something has convulsed the horizon and churned the bowl of the sky above. What you’re looking at no one in recorded history has ever seen, before or since.
          Long before the blast column has reached the upper atmosphere, the shock wave coalesces in a grim line that radiates from the outer edge of your field of vision all the way to your little inlet. The oxen, still on their knees, low in terror and struggle to regain their footing. Your boy – your primary responsibility – seems to have slipped from your grasp. Everyone just gapes while the surge flashes across the last of the distance, and when it hits you’re knocked flat like the oxen, the palms above and around you stripped of their leaves in a roaring turmoil of wind and sand.

          The woman beside you is on her hands and knees. The infant she’d been holding is facedown and crying nearby, at the end of a swaddling cloth that apparently unspooled in the impact. One ox is up and lumbering inland.

          Off the beach a dark blue band races like a furrow back out to sea. Your boy calls to you, through air alive with grit and glittering in the sun. He has only one eye open, which may make the view a little less painful.
          Once the undersea furrow finally aligns with the farthest edge of the sea it holds steady for a moment. Your boy is still calling. The infant is still crying. Then the horizon line darkens still more, and widens, all of this accompanied by a continuous rolling thunder that seems to emanate from somewhere beyond the curve of the earth. Another ox has gotten to its feet and bulled in panic past its handler. It’s only when you look to the east and west that you realize the band is widening because it’s rising, into a wave whose size is without precedent. At sixty miles away it already appears an inch tall, its upper edge frayed and filigreed in white. Its reverberations are already oscillating through your hands and feet. You have time to run, but unless you’re able to cover half the island in the next four minutes you might as well stay where you are.
          She’s put wings to your feet for the entirety of your lives together, and with them you run. Your boy mostly keeps pace, clutching at your arm when you begin to pull away.”

          Your boy finds you, since you’ve done so little to find him. He asks what’s happening. He asks what you’re going to do. He asks as if the very extent of your love and responsibility might carry with it sufficient power to avert even something like this. He reminds you that you have to run, and you understand him to mean that though you won’t reach safety you could maybe reach your home, his mother and your wife. In the interval you have left you might even make clear with just a moment’s embrace and the time to hold her face still and engage her eyes that despite your lassitude and arrogance and petulance and selfishness and pettiness, she’s granted you a gift for which you’ve never adequately expressed your joy. She’s buoyed and nurtured you and weathered your despotism, and continued to envision what you could’ve become rather than what you are. She’s put wings to your feet for the entirety of your lives together, and with them you run. Your boy mostly keeps pace, clutching at your arm when you begin to pull away. He’s the one who got you moving but is now receding, and you reach back your hand at his cry. The wave behind you is an all-enveloping sonic domain. The road before you is one you’ve traversed a thousand times. The woman waiting in the courtyard is your best chance to accomplish one more panegyric before the world upheaves and confirms that, whatever other self-renovations you may have had planned, your time is gone.

          From The World to Come, out now in hardback and eBook from Riverrun

    3. Lee

      In their works on the evolution of dogs and their partnership with humans, the Coppingers write at some length on herding dogs. These breeds’ utility results from truncating the hunting instinct, which in nature consists of several steps: prey recognition, eye stalking, pursuit, bite and kill, dissect, consume. Sheep herding dogs end at pursuit, while some cattle herding dogs will nip at the heels of their larger, more stubborn, and less fragile charges. Similarly, falconers hand feed their birds so that they do not come to associate hunting and killing with their food source.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        Makes sense and comports with my experience and observations. Only our first was ever actually trained…and that was mere rumor. A few of the males ended up eating fa few chickens…gave them to sheep people post haste.
        Otherwise it appeared to be more nature,however modified, than nurture.

  3. JTMcPhee

    A$21,634 hell: (corporation) had a (contract, business plan, innovation, Chinaman) so of course the corpbosses felt free to ignore a judge.

    One more step on the road to anomie and violent self-help…

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      There’s got to be more to this than meets the eye.

      The woman lives in her $1,000 car. There’s no way in hell she’s coming up with $21,634 to get it back from the towing company. Everybody knows it. There’s nothing in it for the towing company but lousy publicity.

      Unless the purpose is to send a message that riffraff will not be tolerated on the streets of Seattle. Who better to deliver it than a towing company. Already universally reviled, they’ve got to have a pretty thick skin to be in that business in the first place. And I’d imagine a fat city contract is more than adequate compensation for communicating what the city politicians want to say but don’t dare, “If you’re living in a car, motor on out to a different zip code. Your kind is not welcome here.”

      1. Lord Koos

        I lived in Seattle from 1974 to 2012 and I’ve had a few interactions with the towing companies contracted by the city. It’s a complete racket and a scam and is very profitable for the towing people.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        My buddy who lives there says the riff raff are very much tolerated on the streets of Seattle these days to the point where it’s becoming a public health hazard.

        There were plenty of addicts when I lived there in the 90s but they tended to die in their apartments. Now people are openly shooting up in the streets and leaving needles all over the place. People are robbing tents from REI and nobody tries to stop them. According to my friend, the liberal authorities are too scared of seeming heavy handed.

        There’s seems to be no happy medium for the authorities between murdering people and doing absolutely nothing.

        But Lincoln towing pretty much sucks which I can say from personal experience. I remember considering jumping the fence to get in and driving my car through it to get out when there didn’t appear to be anyone watching but decided the risk wasn’t worth it and paid the inordinate fine instead.

        1. jonhoops

          The reason people are shooting up in the streets is a safety measure brought on by Fentanyl. If they OD it is better to be in public so they are noticed and given a prompt dose of Naloxone from the Emergency Responders.

        2. Octopii

          Found the same in my first visit to Portland recently. The central library is homeless druggie central because the bathrooms are open to the public and have sharps disposal bins.

      3. Oregoncharles

        I see raw stubbornness, plus they’re used to getting away with abuse. They’re probably responding to their sense of the city’s attitude, but it seems unlikely that city officials would be involved in something this petty – from their point of view, obviously, not Ms. Ogle’s.

        My thought was that they’re guilty of receiving stolen goods, even in trying to get that “rent” money out of her. A criminal charge might help a lot.

    2. Stupendous Man - Defender of Liberty, Foe of Tyranny

      I appreciate the tenacity of Ms. Ogle, and Mr. Egger. In circumstances such as these the return of Ms. Ogle’s property is a victory in and of itself, but is also not adequate. I hope they continue to press for compensation for the years accumulated damages I feel certain Ms. Ogle sustained, and for punitive damages sufficient to deter similar behavior by the towing company.

  4. jsn

    Audio Offers Gruesome Details of Jamal Khashoggi Killing, Turkish Official Says

    Like the wikileaks of Clinton emails, notice that no one outside Saudi is contesting the authenticity. The Saudi’s no doubt have their own recording of the scene that corresponds in its details except for acoustic artifacts of the placement of the recording device. US spooks were probably listening to both recordings live.

    The scene was recorded in order to prove the event, to satisfy the desiderata of the team’s dispatcher and “pour encourager les autres”.

    I would like to be wrong, but this does seem to capture the spirit of “leadership” we live with today.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I think that there is a recording but the point is that it is more valuable not being released than being released. Probably find that Erdogan will bury that recording if the Saudis pull their financial support to those opposing the Turks in northern Syria. The Pentagon won’t be happy but at this point Erdogan has MBR in the barrel and not an oil barrel at that.

      1. jsn

        More valuable to whom?

        If Magnier is right, there’s a seismic shift going on in the ME at the moment and Erdogan at least feels like he’s in the drivers seat.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Ever play poker? There is a big difference when people have their cards to their chests and when they finally lay them down. Thus any recording would be of more value to Erdogan unreleased as it stokes speculation as to what that tape reveals.

          1. jsn

            Yeah, I’ve played my fair share of poker, but I don’t think this is like that.

            The steady drip from Erdogan is keeping the story alive in the news and degrading MBS position domestically and abroad with each drop.

            More water torture than poker.

      2. Eureka Springs

        Time and time again we are expected to believe unnamed sources in or connected to the intel community. That somehow it’s in our best interests to have our bought and paid for information withheld on ‘our’ behalf. And yet so many keep falling for it.

        I cannot manufacture a good enough reason for our peeps to withhold recorded evidence from us if they have it. And my contempt for denial of evidence by our own knows no bounds.

        1. Procopius

          And my contempt for denial of evidence by our own knows no bounds.

          Well, since 2016 I’ve seen a lot of claims that the evidence is undeniable, but somehow it’s never shown. Funny, that. So far, this seems to be similar. I’ve seen hundreds of confident assertions that there really is a “pee tape,” but I’ve never seen anyone claim to have seen it themselves.

    2. Doug Hillman

      Contrast the Trump regime’s response to this this grisly torture-murder with the evidence-free alleged Scripal poisoning attempt. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, SA gave $100 million to the US State Dept, after billions to the US MIC and hundreds of thousands of innocent dead in Yemen. Stark evidence that the USG is a criminal enterprise.

  5. Livius Drusus

    Re: Mitch McConnell Calls to Cut Social Security, Medicare.

    Now THIS is what the Democrats should have been focusing on instead of Russia and Stormy Daniels. This is something that Americans care about, especially older Americans who tend to be the most reliable voters. I will be discussing this with my older Republican relatives although I doubt it will change their minds. They will just call me a liar or say that I got the information from a biased commie source. Still, not everyone is as brainwashed as my relatives. This could be an issue that helps the Democrats if they choose to make a big deal out of it, which they should.

    1. Philonius

      Absolutely. Who didn’t see this coming after the tax bill passed last year? I didn’t expect to see McConnell be so daft as to float this just before midterms, but he must be feeling his oats now after the SC nomination battle. Dems should be hammering this in every election across the country, if only to put Trump on the defensive where he doesn’t like to be. But I haven’t seen anything in my district yet, may be because I’m not tuned into the TV.

      1. Doug Hillman

        Dems certainly would be hammering on this if they actually disagreed with it. More proof of Wall Street capture. Instead they hammer on everything but economics.

        1. a different chris

          And that *exactly* explains McConnell’s, no dummy he, timing. He want the Dems to either

          1) Admit they aren’t going to stop it (not intentionally, but in a leaked “private position” speech)
          2) Claim publically that they will as soon as they are elected, then spend the next 2 years making excuses why they aren’t. This is a really good move if he’s pretty sure the House is lost. It’s actually worse to say you are going to do something an not do it.
          3) Or have Pelosi “take it off the table” in front of God and everyone, because she somehow thinks telling people “no” is leadership that will be rewarded by all discerning citizens (“Yeah Nancy but we need a majority! — a super majority of votes due to gerrrymandering, in fact”) . in which case the Rethugs might not even lose the House.

      2. Stormcrow

        This is why our “representatives” don’t represent you. They represent the donor class. Large concentrations of wealth in the hands of the few (=capitalism) and parliamentary democracy don’t go together.

        “Midterm election spending has rocketed upwards over the past two decades, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The 2002 midterm was the first to cost $2 billion. The 2014 midterms cost $3.67 billion and saw record low turnout. The 2018 midterm could hit $6 billion.”

        1. JTMcPhee

          They are not “donors,” they are “BRIBERS” and “OWNERS.” No donative intent at all, ever.

    2. Phillip Allen

      The only problem with this is that the PTB of the Dems are heart-set on gutting ‘entitlements’, too, though perhaps not so savagely as the Reps and at least not quite so fast – if only for the sake of optics. The notion that the Dems will ever become a party of genuine political opposition seems to me to be purest wishful thinking, profoundly unhelpful.

      Not that I’m sure anything can help. Pretty much everything on offer seems to me to be rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic long after the hull’s been breached, and there are no lifeboats whatever.

      1. Christopher Fay

        The Hillary Dems are pissed cause they were planning on throwing it to the finance industry to loot. They will be missing out on all those not-a-bribes bribes.

        1. TheScream

          This is an interesting comment because it reflects my view of our elected officials (and this ties in with the climate change article). Republicans and Democrats alike are all corrupt, venal and lost causes. The notion that it is better to vote for “my guy” because it’s “my party” destroys democracy. Republicans may be more openly toxic and rapacious with regards to entitlements, social programs and the environment, but Democrats don’t have many laurels to show lately either.
          We really need to throw every single one of them out. Every last one. There is not a single member of Congress worth saving.
          And I would like a pony for Christmas.

      2. Eureka Springs

        Spot on Phillip. Hey, maybe the Dems can add a work requirement to SS like the duopoly is doing on many places with Medicare. So centrist and bipartisan.


      3. sinbad66

        Spot on.
        The only difference between the Dems and the Repubs is that the Repubs are more honest about who they work for….and it certainly isn’t for anyone in the 90%!

      4. Wukchumni

        I’m now just under 1999 days, 21 hours, 27 minutes and 4 seconds away from getting back some my ‘entitlement’ that I put $xxx,xxx.xx into over the course of earning a living.

        It could be that McConnell really wants the donkey show to take over by talking of slashing entitlements that give every voter of a certain age on either side a sizable gulp, as the pachyderms have pretty much accomplished everything they set out to do, aside from making ACA go away.

    3. todde

      The Dems are/were trying to make it part of a grand bargain.

      You seem to think they’re against it, when they are not.

    4. taunger

      I am seeing this in some social media postings now (call it research), but the messaging is the typical terrible liberal messaging. Beyond taxes pay for services, it is too technical, looking to demonstrate Repubs are WRONG, LYING, rather than generating support for Social Security and proposing concrete solutions.

      So it doesn’t matter what issue, the Donkeys will [family blog] it up.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Politics is not a team sport, though it may seem that way.

        Republicans bad = Democrats good…that’s just too tempting for us.

        And we see it all the time…bad, bad, bad Republicans (and implying, good, virtuous you know who…), in comments, and in posters adding links.

        Even in sports, especially professional sports, or even in the Olympic games, the glory belongs often to the teams and athletes (with future monetary profits), but not so much for the fans.

        When politics is a team sport, it’s likely, again, the fans get nothing either, however deeply, intensely, passionately they identify with their favorite team.

    5. Roger Smith

      “After instituting a $1.5 trillion tax cut and signing off on a $675 billion budget for the Department of Defense, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the only way to lower the record-high federal deficit would be to cut entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.”

      Um… excuse me but I would like to author to publish the complete list of Democrats who also voted for one or both of those things. People sticking to congressional halls like dried gum on the underside of a diner table like Debbie Stabenow are included (up for re-election this year). Another MI criminal is dynasty Debbie Dingell who voted at least for the military budget as well. Instead of implying this is GOP doing, let’s look at the real picture, alright Newsweek?

    6. rd

      This should be the headline in every Democratic candidate ad for the next two weeks. I was flabbergasted at McConnell’s arrogance that he would put this red meat out there right before mid-terms. Normally, they would want to hide this part of the agenda until after mid-terms.

    7. Doug Hillman

      Try telling your relatives that Social Security is S-S-Socialist (from a distance). It’s a shame that Dems now agree w Reps

        1. polecat

          the Dems — “cuz they’re Ba-Ba-Bad to the Bone .. saw — with the imperative to cut through the body plebicite !

    8. Big Tap

      Always thought McConnell was a smart man. Runs the senate and gets things done better than Harry Reid ever did. Knows how to bend the rules. This may be the dumbest thing I ever heard said by a politician. You make statements like this AFTER the election not less than three weeks before. Luckily the Democrats aren’t smart enough to utilize this comment to it’s fullest potential. Russiagate rules and reality doesn’t.

      1. Procopius

        I don’t see how it was so dumb from a political standpoint. He was saying that IF the Democrats get a majority in the house, THEN the Republicans will be able to get together and destroy SS and Medicare, which they cannot do while they control the Presidency, both Houses of Congress, and the Supreme Court. From the comments, a lot of people believe him. To me it’s not a good reason not to vote them out while hoping (probably a slim hope) that we can prevent the Dems from doing it, but I think it resonates with a lot of people.

    9. oh

      From Obama’s actions where he offered to cut SS as part of the austerity deal why would anyone trust the Dims to oppose the cuts?

    10. drumlin woodchuckles

      I would suggest reading and/or listening to the McConnell statement very slowly and carefully. He makes very clear that cutting Social Security and Medicare will have to be “bi-partisan” because it won’t happen without Democratic collaboration. I believe that McConnell is dog-whistling to the Democrats in search of the co-operation with Republicans to destroy Medicare and Social Security which the Clinton-Obama Democrats WANT to show.

      McConnell is very clever. He may even be sending coded dog-whistles to elements of the Republican Elite to arrange the defeat of Republicans in those races where they could be replaced with Blue Dog Clintobamacrats who support destroying Medicare and Social Security in a Clintobamaform Grand Bargain.

      Here is the link to an article drawing attention to this aspect of the McConnell statement.
      Look at the picture of McConnell and Schumer. They are clearly birds of a feather, laughing together.

      Here are three leading bullet-points before the main body of the article.

      Senate Majority Mitch McConnell said both parties should sign on to entitlement reforms to help get the deficit under control.
      McConnell said any deal to reform entitlements like Social Security and Medicare would have to be bipartisan.
      There’s no way Democrats are getting on board with entitlement changes.

      And here is his dog-whistle call for turning over part of the government to Democratic control in order to get Democratic collaboration in destroying Social Security and Medicare. More of a dog-foghorn dog-boathorn, actually.

      “I think it’s pretty safe to say that entitlement changes, which is the real driver of the debt by any objective standard, may well be difficult if not impossible to achieve when you have unified government,” McConnell told Bloomberg.

      The meaning is clear. The response should be strategic. Those voting citizens who want to preserve Medicare and Social Security have to see that the Democrats remain a minority in the House as well as the Senate. The way to do that while also purifying and disinfecting the Democratic Party is to vote for the Republican in every race where the Democrat is a Blue Dog or a secret Clintonite or Obamazoid agent or acolyte. Every Democrat running will have to be Extremely Vetted for any sign of DLC or Clinton or Obama or Wall Street or DNC or DCCC or Rahm Emmanuel connection. Any trace of such connection should get the disease vector bearing that trace defeated in its election.

      The Democrats must not be allowed to get a majority in the House because they will use it to conspire with the Republicans to destroy Medicare and Social Security, just as McConnell has slyly invited them to do in return for being granted a return-to-majority in the House.

  6. Watt4Bob

    MIC’s reaction to questions concerning DOD cyber-secuity;

    “Come on, lighten up, we’re just trying to make some money here.”

    This is a ‘free’ country, all other concerns bow to unbridled greed.

  7. Wukchumni

    Devil’s Ombudsman Dept:

    Essentially unlimited fiat money more or less coincided with essentially unlimited oil, as dual engines of growth without limits.

    If faith is lost in the former, how will that effect the latter?

  8. Carolinian

    The empty seat on a crowded Japanese train–that’s a great story and a useful corrective to those who thought this sort of thing was confined to my ancestral rednecks. We must all be like that Japanese mother and keep an open mind toward “the other,” be they Rosa Parks or even poor white deplorables.

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      I don’t know if others will think of the below series with as much levity and delight as I did, but more then a decade ago I stumbled upon it, and it details the trials and travails of an American dude & his students whilst teaching in the Japanese school system. I first learned of the gaijin smash, and kancho there.

      First time I read it, i had to binge-read the whole darn thing, it was so funny. Hopefully someone else enjoys too:

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The empty seat on a Japanese train.

      The empty space of a Chinese painting.

      The empty tea cup (waiting to be filled).

      These are all very Asian images. And we might ask, where is that emptiness of the current Sino-American relationship? That, time, silent it is…there will always be time? That what is natural and organic will be longer lasting than what is contrived and forced?

  9. zagonostra

    Refer: Joseph Stiglitz article

    “The basic perquisites of a middle-class life, including a secure old age, are no longer attainable for most Americans. We need to guarantee access to health care. We need to strengthen and reform retirement programs…”

    Excellent article with many charts and statistical data. The problem is the “We,” that Stiglitz constantly refers to.The Oligarchs have an iron grip on what the “We” can and cannot do. That grip has become a death grip since the advent of new technologies and since the days of FDR’s “New Deal.”

    1. ChristopherJ

      The only thing left for ‘we’ if we want change is mass civil disobedience – Chris Hedges

      And he is right, from student debt to the health system. These are all issues where our governments have allowed their own donors to predate on the citizens they are duty-held, or is it honor-bound, to protect.

      When one party fails on their side of the contract…. It’s a big failure. You’ve spoken out about lesser issues. I mean our governments are there to .. to … do what?

      Time to speak up, it’s all we have now. And, we need to be loud, persistent and non violent.

    2. newcatty

      Technology enabled and supported the Oligarchy to go global. Feudalism is alive and well in America and through its hegemony in league with compromised city states it has conquered the world. Banksters have no allegiance to soveriegn states. Religion is indeed just another smoke and mirror placeholder for people to find some hope and Community. Some find solace and belief to keep some sanity. Eastern spiritual “traditions” rushed in to fill the void for many disillusioned with Religions. And, hey, yoga and meditation feel good! The empire’s military might and full spectrum dominance is falling under its own weight and greed. This is delightfully evident in the falling attendance at the gladiator bread and circuses NFL games. The use of these circuses, now available for anyone to watch on TV, by the MIC to recruit mentally conditioned young men and women to belong to ranks of the Brave and Free is deplorable.

      The last crumbs of bread provided for the plebs most vulnerable to exploit: the old, the poor, the sick and disabled, the used up veterans and laborers, the fractured families of greedy and selfish men and women, the homeless and literally hungry citizens, the incarcerated citizens. Add to this the raping of natural resources.

      Social Security, Medicare are not entitlements. I, as a recipient, am not entitled to these benefits. I, and my spouse, worked and contributed to these programs. The argument that they are socialism or need to be cut to lower the federal deficit is disingenuous and used to whistle to those republicans and fellow travelers that to keep their party rolling, then other Americans can, and (sigh and unfortunately) must be thrown under the bus. Until Americans figure out that the two political parties are two sides of same coin nothing will change. Maybe if the play actually happens, something as drastic to people’s livelihoods like Social Security and Medicare being limited and thrown to the wolves then the plebs may revolt. But, the Empire will be ready. Won’t they? Let them eat GMO, processed, rounded up cake. BTW, I am not jaded or cynical. People’s innate goodness can still be brought to light the darkness.

  10. Clive

    Re: Living with Dolly Parton

    Highly recommended, although it lives up to its billing as a Long Read.

    Complex problems, no easy answers. Even the answers aren’t really answers, just precursors to more problems. How, I wonder, did we manage to get ourselves all the way out here? How will we ever get back home again?

    1. savedbyirony

      It is a good read but right at the beginning, Pat Summitt a “masculine woman”, wtf! A perfect example of why i hate all this “gender” spin as anything other than pigeonholing, female constraining junk (most of the time). Patricia head Summitt was an athlete, she was a basketball coach, she was EXTREMELY competitive/driven/hard working, she was a leader and she was a winner! and these make her “masculine”? For the record, for those perhaps not familiar with her life and work, she was also a key force in the growth and empowerment of females in sports, especially team sports – as athletes, coaches, journalists, etc. (hmm – does that make her “masculine”?, does that make them “masculine”?) and by all accounts, one of the most gracious and generous leaders in sports the USA has yet to know, as well as practitioner of a whole slew of typical “female” qualities and accomplishments.

    2. Polar Donkey

      Went to Dollywood in summer 2017. i would describe it as Myrtle Beach of the mountains. Economy isn’t doing so well. Tourism was down. There were closed businesses on the main strip. Fires in the winter of 2017 had done a lot of damage. The rural South is really declining. The people that go to Dollywood don’t have much disposable income. Even coming from Memphis on the other side of the state, Appalachia is a bit of culture shock. Lots of confederate flags on houses. Strange, since east Tennessee had almost no slaves and voted to stay in the Union. West Tennessee had plantations, cotton, and thriving slave trading. See Nathan Bedford Forrest. The majority of people I work with are black. I was surprised how many had been to Dollywood and liked it. I reckon the confederate flags just come with the territory for them. Go to a theme park in East Tennessee, you are have to expect some of that. At least they are up front about it.
      As a parent of a 2 and 4 year old, I have a bookcase f ull of books we got free from Dolly Parton’s charity. There are no means tests. Every kid in Tennessee can sign up for free books. Aside from Governor Ned McWherter in the early 1990’s introducing Tenncare, I don’t know what other Tennessean in the past 30 years has done as much for the state as Dolly Parton.

      1. Lord Koos

        I’ve never been to Dollywood but I did meet Dolly Parton in 1976 when as a musician backing another act, we shared the bill with her for a couple of weeks at a big Nevada casino. At the time I’d heard a few of her records but was not a fan particularly. I’ve met quite a few show biz types in my career as a musician, some famous, some not, and I have to say she was one of the nicest people, and she sang great on every show during those two weeks, she sounds better live than recorded. She treated her band well too. She was also very ambitious, spoke to me of plans for her own TV show, working in films, making the record with Linda Ronstadt and Emmy Lou, etc (all of which came to pass) but you got the feeling she wasn’t going to step on people to get what she wanted. I was impressed with her, she seemed like a real person. It’s a shame she had to outsource her park to that corporation to run.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Maybe the Confederate Flags are for the benefit of Flatlander tourists from far away and not-the-Mountains.

        If I ever get a chance to go to Dollywood, it will be to see most of all the American Chestnut revival and recovery efforts which take place there.

        And here is a bunch of images about these Dollywood chestnut trees, though some of them are not strictly the Dollywood chestnut trees.;_ylt=AwrJ7JanhMlbtsAA.5ZXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTByMjB0aG5zBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw–?p=dollywood+chestnut+trees&fr=sfp

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Commentary: Khashoggi case shows America’s collapsing Mideast clout”

    Not mentioned is how Israel is also ignoring America such as, for example, that US student they have kept prisoner the past fortnight after she arrived there to study at a university. This was for minor BDS activism and the Israelis have even demanded that she “repent” her beliefs.
    Took umbrage at one bit in that article reading it, namely-

    “In Yemen, for example, where Riyadh is leading a coalition against Iran-aligned rebels, a Saudi air campaign using more indiscriminate Russian-style weapons and tactics – as seen in Syria – could kill even more civilians than the thousands who have died already.”

    I think that the people of Raqqa might dispute this statement. The Russians are there at the invitation of the Syrians and have been careful about causing too many civilian casualties. The US, which is illegally in Syria, has been killing civilians by the thousands and their reckless attacks on Mosul and Raqqa are out and out war crimes. I have no idea what military doctrine is being followed but it is a guaranteed way to make future enemies.

    1. Andrew Watts

      Your crocodile tears over the people of Raqqa is growing tiresome. You can oppose US policies in the Middle East without utilizing the suffering of other people as a rhetorical prop. If you actually cared you’d go to Raqqa and help them clean up the city and bury their dead. Watch out for IEDs.

      The Russians are there at the invitation of the Syrians and have been careful about causing too many civilian casualties.

      The Russian military cares so much about civilian casualties they don’t even bother counting them. They fought in the most densely populated areas of Syria so they incidentally killed thousands of civilians, Most estimates are between 10,000 – 20,000 civilian casualties as a result of Russian air strikes.

      The US, which is illegally in Syria, has been killing civilians by the thousands and their reckless attacks on Mosul and Raqqa are out and out war crimes. I have no idea what military doctrine is being followed but it is a guaranteed way to make future enemies.

      The current estimate for civilian casualties in Raqqa is only in the hundreds. This makes the liberation of Raqqa one of the few urban battles in history where more combatants died then civilians. Usually it’s the other way around. I don’t disagree with your assessment of Mosul though. It was ineptly handled from the start of the battle for the city with too few humanitarian corridors secured to enable civilians to evacuate.

      1. Carolinian

        The current estimate for civilian casualties in Raqqa is only in the hundreds.

        Source? It’s usually useful when you are criticizing someone else for unsourced assertions.

        1. Andrew Watts

          Amnesty International’s latest funding raising update about Raqqa. I’ve been critical of Amnesty in the past, and I fully stand by that criticism, but I know their source in this case. Their estimate is from the civilian council which governs Raqqa. The committee in charge of reconstruction and their volunteers handle the remains of people dug up from the rubble.

          I don’t think that an online outlet like Air Wars has any sources on the ground. They’re probably reliant on Twitter and that comes with a lot of misinformation. The spokesman for Inherent Resolve dunked on Air Wars awhile back when it turned out one of their claims involving civilian casualties turned out to be made up. Considering that the Coalition has been pretty good about disclosing the general area where strikes are taking place, and more importantly when they happen, this was an epic blunder committed by Air Wars.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Although an admirer of the American military, American military doctrine has become badly skewered over the past twenty odd years as a result, I believe, of the adoption of this warrior culture instead of a soldier culture. This sets them up for not only mass war crimes but also to be manipulated by enemy forces. As an example for present doctrine used – if a sniper was spotted atop a tall building, the entire building was destroyed with no thought who else was in that building. If a tarpaulin was spotted, that area was obliterated as a possible enemy cover with no thought that it might be civilians seeking some sort of shelter from the elements. It was totally over the top but in line with the American doctrine of overmatch.
        As for going to Raqqa, that area is under control of the US military as it seeks to turn the area into a US Protectorate with Saudi funding as you must well know. Outsiders are not welcome to visit. And for those IEDs, the Russian doctrine is to send in teams of specialists to remove them all so that civilian can return there but the US military just left the whole lot there for the civilians to cope with – or not. And if you think that there were only hundreds killed in Raqqa, then you must be getting your information from either the Washington Post or the New York Times instead of from actual news sources.
        Also when you mentioned that there were “too few humanitarian corridors” opened, the military would shoot at people trying to escape just like at the 2nd Battle of Fallujah. Sure I go on about what is happening in places like Syria but it happens that that region is of interest to me as other people have their other interests here such as oil, finance, banking, etc. Try reading the work of journalists like Eva Bartlett to see what is really going on. They actually go there and do not depend on hand-outs from Al_Quada Public Relations like most western publications do.

    2. Procopius

      Also, too, I hate this “Iran-aligned” rebels. See Col (ret) Pat Lang’s explanation. Short version, on the one hand the Houthis follow a different branch of Shi’ism than the Iranians, and on the other hand geography makes it impossible for Iran to “support” the Houthis. Like so much in our media this is made up by an advertising agency/public relations firm.

    3. Unna

      From what I’ve read mass destruction of the enemy, his civilian population, and economic resources has been an American war doctrine beginning with the wars against native peoples. Sherman, probably the best general of the Civil War, burned down a path through Georgia to force the South into submission. Burned down cities, houses, farms, and so on. They even wrote a catchy song about it my father learned in elementary school back in the day which he used to sing to me:

      So we made a thoroughfare for freedom and her train,
      Sixty miles in latitude, three hundred to the main;
      Treason fled before us, for resistance was in vain
      While we were marching through Georgia.

      Hurrah! Hurrah! we bring the jubilee!
      Hurrah! Hurrah! the flag that makes you free!
      So we sang the chorus from Atlanta to the sea
      While we were marching through Georgia.

      Sherman’s lessons of off the grid maneuver war were studied by the Germans, the Soviets, and deGaulle who was a tank commander. The Americans took from Sherman the lesson of overwhelming mass destruction. My father who was a marine in the Pacific waiting on Guam to invade Japan thanked the “bomb” for saving his life, even though we know now he was probably wrong about that.

      There are nice pictures circulating on the internet with Dresden on one side and Raqqa on the other asking the reader to figure out which is which.

  12. Otis B Driftwood

    Regarding that second antidote photo, the following song comes immediately to mind.

    Heaven, I’m in heaven
    And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak
    And I seem to find the happiness I seek
    When we’re out together dancing cheek to.

    1. freedomny

      That’s so funny – I didn’t think of the song but thought – that’s the happiest dog in the world….

  13. Craig H.

    > Did Uber Steal Google’s Intellectual Property?

    According to people with knowledge of events that day, the Prius accidentally boxed in another vehicle, a Camry.

    So nobody has sworn to this in court yet but this has been passed without ownership to the New Yorker writer? Or was this pulled verbatim from court documents? The article is not precise but my interpretation is the former.

    Labowski sounds like an anus but so does everybody else in the story (and the writer and the editor) with the possible exception of the Camry driver who was “boxed in”. Or run off the road. Assaulted with a deadly weapon for all practical purposes. If that actually happened like it’s reported.

    I hope they are OK.

    1. cnchal

      > If that actually happened like it’s reported.

      I bet that Camry driver was surprised, a “Prius doing this” not realizing that the tech bros probably drive BMWs outside of work.

      I can see the marketing department all over this. Would you like the AI “Attila the Hun” option? Only $1000 extra. “Guaranteed to get you ahead”.

      1. Mark Pontin

        Would you like the AI ‘Attila the Hun; option?

        In case you think you’re only being funny, in reality the car companies making autonomous cars will be competing partly on their software. In 2016, Mercedes Benz headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, announced that when it started selling autonomous cars, their moral algorithm will always prioritize their occupants’ safety.

        ‘Mercedes-Benz’s Self-Driving Car Will Kill Pedestrians Over Drivers.’ Oct. 14, 2016

  14. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Inside the Washington area’s most expensive homes for sale WaPo.

    Last sentence in the article in a description of an “1860 Federal-style rowhouse at 1409 29th St. NW in Washington’s Georgetown” that is listed for $4.5 million:

    This house was previously listed at $5.5 million in April.

    Uh-oh. Pretty big haircut in 5 months. Prolly not enough bathrooms. Lordie, those rich people seem to be inordinately fixated on bathrooms. Saying that they’re so full of shit is almost too obvious, but it’s gotta go somewhere, right?

  15. Christ on a Bike

    I am shocked, shocked:

    Dems Damp down Hopes for Climate Change Agenda

    The Resistance Lite – one-third more calculating than true opposition

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      If the Dems were not such Clintoform Obamacrats, I might see a certain cunning in their ” go slow-ish” approach.

      That cunning would be this: Trump’s base, iindeed all of Red Country, is psychically and culturally and emotionally committed to Global Warming Denial. They will need several years of Category 6 and 7 Hurricanes, F 6 and F 7 tornadoes , ” Category 6 and 7″ droughts, ultra-mega hyper-rains dumping Harvey-loads of water all over Red Country, etc. Possibly after several years of this, with 300mph tornadoes containing hailstones the size of bowling balls and etc., the Global Warming Denial citizens will be prepared to set aside their denial and collaborate in real Global De-Warming solutions.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Though of course the Pat Robertson fan-clubbers, the Rapturanian Armageddonites, etc. would welcome this kind of weather events as being the Unfolding of Biblical Prophecy. And that particular constituency would object to Global DeWarming because Global Warming is part of God’s Plan as laid out in Bible Prophecy, and trying to DeWarm the Global is helping Satan to frustrate God’s Plan.

  16. Summer

    Re: Trump Jr. and Other Aides Met With Gulf Emissary Offering Help to Win Election NYT.

    Eventually it has to be admitted that the US government has been bought and paid for by a global elite. Who needs voting booths when you have lobbyists handing off cash. What fool thinks that the Trumps are trailblazers in the scheme?

  17. Ignacio

    Europe loses 55bn euros to massive tax scam –report

    A gigantic years-long tax scam saw banks drain 55 billion euros ($63 billion) from national treasuries in Europe, a far larger sum than previously thought, media from across the continent reported Thursday.

    The so-called “cum-ex” deals relied on complex tax trickery that allowed owners of shares to claim several times over refunds for tax paid only once on dividend payouts — effectively syphoning off taxpayers’ money into investors’ pockets.

    1. Watt4Bob

      So, they’ve learned how do the same thing American billionaires have been doing to us?

      I’m weeping.

    1. Watt4Bob

      Just watched “The Great American Read” on PBS the other night.

      It’s series, each with a few short interviews with people extolling the virtues of their favorite books, and then your given an invitation to go to their web site and vote for your favorites.

      The show I watched included a couple people praising Ayn Rand’s ‘Atlas Shrugged’, other episodes pushed ‘Left Behind’, and ‘The Hunt for Red October’ by Tom Clancy.

      It made me think, it’s sort of a fairness doctrine for literature, in Trumps new Randian Amurka, if you want to use public funds to educate people about great books, you have to include some charlatans, religious zealots, and MIC cheerleaders in the mix.


      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well, either that or see PBS legally abolished completely. Which certain purists might well prefer, but which I would not prefer.

  18. Judith

    Thoughtful interview with Anna Burns, who just won the Booker for her novel, Milkman. (Today’s links, The Psychologicals.)

    She describes her novel:

    “Although it is recognisable as this skewed form of Belfast, it’s not really Belfast in the 70s. I would like to think it could be seen as any sort of totalitarian, closed society existing in similarly oppressive conditions,” Burns explains. “I see it as a fiction about an entire society living under extreme pressure, with long-term violence seen as the norm.”

    And here is part of her own story:

    “Go back four years and Burns was unable to write for excruciating back pain, living peripatetically around England, house-sitting when possible, struggling to make ends meet and using food banks (which she thanks in the acknowledgments of the book – and which in turn have now thanked her). When she was finally able to send the manuscript to her agent, it was turned down by several publishers. What an end to the story.”

    1. ChristopherJ

      Millions of artists like her. The agent-publisher-author story, can be very painful; lots of looters out there and you need one thing, more than any other, I think – luck.

      Persistence? – no, not in today’s world, too much noise.

      Good story, we are all encouraged and re-motivated when one of ours makes good.

  19. rps

    Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the only way to lower the record-high federal deficit would be to cut entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

    Here we go again with the never-ending feckless elected public officials playing chicken with the third-rail of politics. Control the talking points, own the conversation.

    Social Security and Medicare are NOT Entitlement programs. According to FDR, Social Security is described as the “old-age insurance system” and the monthly payouts as “payment of old-age insurance annuities.” And Medicare is a single-payer national health insurance program initiated by Dwight D. Eisenhower and enacted by LBJ in 1965.

    FICA acronym – Federal Insurance Contributions Act. McConnell look at your paycheck stub. SSA and Medicare are not gifts from the federal government anymore than your IRA, Roth, 401k or pension distributions.

    Imagine the Federal government dissolving FICA? As if they’d give-up FICA’s bi-monthly monies pouring into the government coffers

    1. Ignacio

      You can repeat this ad nauseam and they will not hear you. The “unsustainable, unsustainable!” is repeated everyday –and not only in the US– and everybody is scared.

      1. Alex morfesis

        Well…a Mitch McConnell act which would dictate HE was unsustainable is in order…time for some creative reviews on his father in law now that he took his money…despite the prenup SHE made him sign…

        1. Maggie

          Do you have any links where I can learn more about this? I’m very curious about the McConnell/Chau political relationship and suspect that they must be running some giant scam but I don’t see much written about them.
          Thanks in advance!

    2. Ranger Rick

      The best part is that he’s probably telling the truth… from a certain point of view. The funding for these programs is recorded as liabilities or debts despite being a massive pile of tax revenue earmarked specifically for payout. (Banks likewise record savings deposits as liabilities/debts, for example.) I’d love to see what the GAO has to say about it, though. Can government accounting be changed to take the accounting for public services funding out of the determination for the budget deficit in a way that makes any sense to the layman?

      1. ChristopherJ

        At this stage in ‘the cycle’, Rick, it doesn’t really matter if they tell the truth or not. They just keep doing things to us which show they are not there for us.

        Watch what they do (first heard from my Mother).

        We watch them all get rich from public service. We know their enrichment has come from us.

        The accounting doesn’t matter. We know the deficit is just a con (as well as free pass to the banking sector) and, by wielding the deficit like a cudgel (look at what you have spent!!!!), they are able to confine us into thinking those ‘taxpayer dollars’ are a real thing and actually re-spent.

        I see this ingrained and incorrect thinking in people every day.

        When you keep being given shit in your real life. What do you do? We all have a tipping point.

        It’s no different from sending back the meal because your steak is overcooked.

        The truth is, most of us don’t make a fuss.

        This time, we’re going to have to. The program cuts aren’t what’s at stake here.

        Cheers, mate

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        This is from the link:

        (politics) A legal obligation on a government to make payments to a person, business, or unit of government that meets the criteria set in law, such as social security in the US.

        Nothing about paying dues, just meeting the criteria set in law.

    3. Procopius

      I think it was actually a very shrewd move, although I think he should have waited another couple of weeks. Still, he’s the very successful professional and I am not. Look at what he’s really saying here. In a unified government, where we control the Presidency, both Houses of Congress, and the Supreme Court, it’s very difficult for us to destroy (i.e., reform) Social Security and Medicare. The voters would blame us. So it would be much better for us to have the Democrats take control of the House, because then we could destroy (i.e., reform) Social Security and Medicare as a bipartisan effort and the voters would blame the Democrats, so if you want to destroy (i.e., reform) Social Security and Medicare vote for a Democrat for Congress. Many of the Democrat-seeming commenters I’ve read don’t seem to be aware of this message, but I notice a lot of people remember Clinton and Obama’s willingness to “reform” entitlements. Apparently not all Americans have the attention span of a fruit fly.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If I had read all the way down here FIRST, I would have seen this comment and would not have written my comment way upthread. I would have offered a smaller version of it here. But since I already wrote my comment way upthread before seeing your comment here, I will just mention that I have a comment about this way upthread.

        And yes, I fully agree that McConnell was quietly offering control of a part of government back to
        Democrats ( nudge nudge wink wink say no more) in return for Democratic co-conspiracy to destroy Social Security and Medicare. And he knows the Catfood Democrats WANT to help him do that and would be EAGER to help him do that in return for being invited back into numerical control of part of government.

        So the Democrats MUST be kept to MINORITY status in the House AND Senate to preVENT them from co-conspiring with McConnell to destroy Medicare and Social Security. The way to do that is to ONLY elect those Democrats who are NOT guilty-by-association of Clintonism or Third Waviness or Obama tendencies.

  20. rd

    73% to 82% of Americans want taxes and tolls raised to improve infrastructure (slightly different questions get different approval ratings).

    Sorry America. This does not fit into the Koch Brother’s long-term plans, so its not going to happen unless you want to cut your Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits to pay for highways and tax cuts for the wealthy.

    1. Wukchumni

      Infrastructure is out.

      I’d suggest you follow the inspiration of Hondurans in the Ayn Rand link above, and apply a little elbow grease & DIY labor in fixing it yourself.

    2. Higgs Boson

      Sorry America. This does not fit into the Koch Brother’s long-term plans, so its not going to happen unless you want to Their congressional lackeys will cut your Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits to pay for highways and tax cuts for the wealthy.

      There, fixed it for ya.

  21. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China’s Great Leap Backward.

    1. The Blob fears only one thing: Xi’s concentration of power impacting their neoliberal ventures in China. If it didn’t, it would be all good.

    2. Bo Xilai and limiting contacts with foreigners (from the aritcle)…even for elementary school teachers. IIRC, Bo’s wife was used by her British lover spy. Is Xi concerned about more charming Western male spies?

    3. Xi reminds me of Yandi of the Sui dynasty, when we talk about China’s BIG PROJECTS. From WIkipedia:

    Emperor Yang, ruling from 604 to 618, committed to several large construction projects, most notably the completion of the Grand Canal. He commanded the reconstruction of the Great Wall, a project which took the lives of nearly six million workers. He also ordered several military expeditions that brought Sui to its greatest territorial extent, one of which, the conquest of Champa in what is now central and southern Vietnam, resulted in the death of thousands of Sui soldiers from malaria. These expeditions, along with a series of disastrous campaigns against Goguryeo (one of the three kingdoms of Korea), left the empire bankrupt and a populace in revolt. With northern China in turmoil, Emperor Yang spent his last days in Jiangdu (江都, in modern Yangzhou, Jiangsu), where he was eventually strangled in a coup led by his general Yuwen Huaji.

    Despite his accomplishments, Emperor Yang was generally considered by traditional historians to be one of the worst tyrants in Chinese history and the reason for the Sui Dynasty’s relatively short rule. His failed campaigns against Goguryeo, and the conscriptions levied to man them, coupled with increased taxation to finance these wars and civil unrest as a result of this taxation ultimately led to the downfall of the dynasty.

    4. Is Xi erecting a colossal cult of personality, as suggested by the author of the article? Is that why Xi is popular (mentioned by one poster yesterday) these days? That contrasts with a July 2018 Aljazeera article that Putin’s approval rating was dropping.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      When I consider the size and scale of past Chinese construction projects, and the ChinaGov’s willingness to kill as many people as necessary to get these projects built, I think China might be able to save its low-lying land from rising sea levels by building The Great Seawall of China.

  22. a different chris

    The Indian story on nepotism is, well, um, interesting. Was it written by an economist? Just says “Doctoral Researcher”, aka somebody who never goes outside I expect. Because people certainly don’t do nepotism because they think their idiot children will do a better job than some other person with actual good grades and references, they do nepotism because it is their children and they just are gonna hope for the best.

    And nobody is going to change the way they manage their family because of something spouted by some egg-head from a different culture. I mean, what would the plan be here? Find some excellent manager, then underpay him/her so you can pass money to your offspring who now don’t even need to try to work?

    How does that even help the economy? I assume the inefficiencies of employing useless sons/daughters creates profit opportunities outside so it’s all a wash. But I don’t have or are working on a doctorate in Economics, so take that for what you paid for it.

  23. nycTerrierist

    Sears predator Eddie Lampert, a real class act:

    “Adding insult to injury, Sears asked a judge for permission to abandon its unsold inventory, fixtures, furniture and other equipment still inside the abandoned stores to save money on dumpsters and other waste management services.

    As reported by The Post, Waste Management National Service had expressed concerns in court on Monday that Sears might not have enough cash left to pay for its services when it’s ready to close stores at the end of the year.”

    They should at least donate all that wasted merch!

  24. Wukchumni

    M(bin there-done that)S is so radioactive, Mnuchin just remembered he had an overdue book he had to return to the library, can’t make it to Davos in the desert, sorry.

  25. Oregoncharles

    Subtitle of the article on Italy’s budget: “The conflict between Rome and Brussels is escalating, with the European Commission considering whether to reject Italy’s draft budget for 2019. If it does, the Italian government would have to quickly produce a revised version.”

    I’m not that familiar with Italian politics, but isn’t that exactly what this government wants? It sets up a sovereignty issue with the EU and Euro, so they can go back to the people with “We’re defending Italian sovereignty and your interests, while the Commission tries to sabotage Italy’s economy and keep you poor.” Populists couldn’t ask for better material.

    Then, of course, the big question is whether the EU has the gonads to pull the trigger on sanctions. I suspect that Italy is betting on not. Being TBTF has advantages. And if the ruling parties’ real agenda is to get out, they could blame it on the EU if it does pull the trigger. Considering the chaos that would follow a sudden withdrawal, somebody to blame would be very handy.

    Would there be anything left if Britain, Italy, and Hungary pull out all at once? (Hungary uses its own currency.)

    Again: who plays Samson?

    1. John k

      Eu can’t blink or Spain, Portugal and France will want the same.
      But tougher for Italy to leave than Brit, they need new currency.
      Course, they could just give all refugees free train tickets to Germany.

      If you were writing a plot of how the Eu breaks up, it would look something like what’s happening. And imagine another recession coupled with balanced budgets.

  26. Tomonthebeach

    U.S. Stalls U.K. Bid to Stay in $1.7 Trillion Market

    What makes UK think that the US wants them in the market anymore. The art of the deal is to crush your competitors when they are vulnerable. Is there an “i” over there left undotted?

  27. John W

    Managing outsource IT whether development or operations is challenging under any circumstances. A government recruiter contacted me a year or so ago so I can say with confidence that the government does IT with people who make less than half industry wages. On the military side of things the contract officers who manage the relationships are much more likely to be on the weapon as opposed to the systems side of things by experience and interest if not education. And the revolving door means their attention if not their loyalty is focused on the issues of the contractors. Given all that since security is a check box or compliance issue it’s not surprising that it gets short shrift.

  28. Jack Gavin

    Well, who do you think is aiding and abetting the military recruiters? That 18 year old recruitee is poked, nudged and shoved by folks older than he/she is. Plus, it is not at all clear to me that the demographic experts are accurately capturing barroom viewership both quantitatively and qualitatively. I’m 70+ and watch my Sunday football at my local which is populated mainly by the 30-40+ crowd, all of whom, while being fans of one team or another, are more interested in their fantasy team. Thus, multiple games on multiple TVs equals diverted attention. What’s the constant? Same ads on every channel.
    And for you warmongers keeping score out there: how many years have you been hearing about those “insurgents” setting off those IEDs with cell phones? Followed by the question – mostly unasked – “how come we’re not doing that?” That ad is answers that. It’s a disgustingly wonderful recruiting tool.

  29. precariat

    Re Stiglitz’s “The American Economy is Rigged”

    The good overview of how serious the damage is to America. Stiglitz is sounding an alarm. He’s worried. We should be too.

    The double hit of political inequality, or corruption, and and a rigged system is killing our citizens (deaths of despair) and killing our political system (dark money in politics), our killing our strength as a nation (Trump), and of course killing our prosperity (bailouts for Wall Street, none for Mainstreet). Fantastic piece.

    1. Webstir

      Yup. That was a work of priceless academic art.
      Like listening to Jerry when he’s really in his groove.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I don’t see MMT and Georgism as incompatible. In an MMT world, taxes are still needed to achieve other aims – and a key aim is cutting the rentier class down to size. So Georgist style property taxes would be part of the overall package needed to make society more equitable.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          My understanding of Georgism (such as it exists now, there are so many strands to it) is that you have that the wrong way around – Georgists reject efficient market hypothesis for land and natural resources, arguing that markets don’t function correctly because of rentier and monopolist behaviour, but that correctly gauged property taxes will improve the market efficiency of land and other ‘fixed’ resources as a byproduct of distributing wealth.

            1. PlutoniumKun

              I don’t disagree with what you say, but I’ve no idea what it has to do with Georgists. Georgism is rooted in classical economics, while EMH arose much later, with Eugene Fama and other Chicago school economists.

              The only thing to my knowledge Georgists have to say about the working of markets is that land and resource markets don’t work efficiently because in the absence of a tax that reflects community/social values, they will be used at a store of value (rentier behaviour) rather than as capital (i.e. something to be worked for value).

      1. larry

        PK & Webstir, Georgism and MMT are incompatible in certain respects. George thought that government needed taxes to underwrite fiscal expenditure. Hence, one reason he emphasized taxation. We know that it doesn’t need taxation for this purpose. George’s Robinson Crusoe figure of a chap in a field lazing about with nothing to do but, say, play his flute is a gross caricature of the general case. A number of us know people like this but they need own no land.

        Marx was critical of George for a number of reasons, but I will mention only one factor. In industrial capitalism, a piece of land may have almost no value in itself for any number of reasons but gain great value after a factory is built on it. It is the factory that gives the land its value, not the land that gives the factory its value. Of course, the land must exist in the first place.

        Now if we take someone like a former editor of one of the tabloids, who owned land in Scotland which he, as far as can be ascertained, did nothing productive with it — shooting parties are not productive other than in a trivial sense, George would have seen this sort of thing as ripe for taxation. And he would have been right. This editor is a quintessential member of the rentier class. But there are more sophisticated ways of cutting the income of rentiers than George’s tax on land, which would include the land the house he lives in sits on, &c. One has to be careful not to commit gross injustices here. George lived in a different time and land occupies a somewhat different position in our time than it did in his. the main reason to tax is to level the playing field and, in our time, one way of dong that is taxing income in order to control spending. That this isn’t done equitably is another matter.

        An error like that of George can be found in the Brexit ‘debate’ where some complain that the Brexit bill will be absurdly high when money is tight. Tight money is a political decision, not a response to economic reality, not with a government operating a sovereign fiat currency system. No taxation is need to meet any Brexit bill. The UK should be able to have all the funds it needs whatever the Brexit bill. Of course, one doesn’t want to be ripped off, but otherwise it is a neoliberal red herring.

        1. skippy

          Thanks Larry that pretty much sums it up – agrarian – artisan economic views transported to early industrialization and now Gates frictionless capitalism w/ a side of different money and monetary realities and perspectives.

          Curious to see how one applies classical economics to say the digital realm, especially as most of it is on the bottom of the oceans e.g. so much income flowing through fiber optic.

    2. Webstir

      Thanks for the replies.
      These are just the questions I’m grappling with. Another consideration I’ve not seen mentioned though, is the Georgist insistence of State ownership of non-developed land & taxation of externalities (I hug trees as well). Despite Georgism leaning toward EMH in my estimation, it still appeals to me due to the foregoing considerations leaning hard toward the democratic socialist end of the scale.

  30. Jeff

    Michel Barnier on french radio this AM (still on as I write) stated:
    * EU side has a negotiating team of ~60 people
    * Withdrawal Agreement has 168 articles and is more than 90% complete and agreed.
    This includes the budget issues, and citizenship issues (at least until the end of the transition period).

    The biggest (and apparently only) stumbling block is the issue on the Irish border. This might kill the agreement, or not.

    As I read this, there is real work ongoing in the background, with lots of political theater in the foreground.
    But as one commenter stated, what is technically feasible is politically impossible and vice-versa, so all of this may still come crashing down.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The problem with saying that a deal is ‘90%’ done is that in most complex multifaceted negotiations, the great majority of issues are fairly simple and can be dealt with easily. So saying 90% is done is meaningless if the remaining 10% is the stuff which was always going to be very difficult. The simple reality right now is that there is no possible deal on the table that would be acceptable to the EU that May could get past her government and parliament. If anything, this is getting more difficult as the Ultras dig in on the one side, and Corbyn seems determined not to come to the rescue.

  31. The Rev Kev

    “Nice people we have at Google: The Prius regained control and turned a corner on the freeway, leaving the Camry behind. Levandowski and Taylor didn’t know how badly damaged the Camry was. They didn’t go back to check on the other driver or to see if anyone else had been hurt.”

    “They were careless people, (Taylor) and (Levandowski) – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…”

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