Links 11/11/18

Entire cities evacuate as hellish wildfires whip through California Grist

Save the Climate, Eat Less Red Meat Bloomberg

What is the financialisation of food and why should we care? Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute

Using No-Till this Fall USDA (!).

Cobalt’s supply shock a painful warning to carmakers FT

Inside the Crazy Corruption Scandal That Ensnared Leonardo DiCaprio and the Hollywood Elite Daily Beast

7-Eleven accused of weaponizing ICE raids to shed troublesome franchisees Boing Boing

Social media growth is over in the U.S. — which is its most valuable market Recode

New study claims Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are linked to depression MarketWatch

The inside story of Quanttus, a failed health tech start-up whose alumns are now health leaders at Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and other giants CNBC. Failing upward?


Brexit negotiators say draft treaty is close FT. EU diplomats crying “wolf”? Again?

‘We must vote against the deal’: Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Brexiteers unite with the DUP and publicly vow to torpedo Theresa May’s Brexit plan if it threatens the Union as four Remainer ministers ‘prepare to resign’ Daily Mail

Jeremy Corbyn meets head of MI6 for first time amid snap election fears The Telegraph (UserFriendly). UserFriendly: “LOL snap election in the cards?”

Brexit in Name Only: Causes and Consequences By Dr Lee Jones Briefings for Brexit. Not sure a “clean Brexit,” which the author regards as the road not taken, was possible either.

The City has been threatened before — it will be just fine after Brexit Financial News

Adding kitties to politics improves Mimi’s posts. r/forwardsfromgrandma, Reddit


U.S. and Saudi officials have heard tapes of Khashoggi’s killing, Turkey’s president says Los Angeles Times

Ten Years Gone: Iraq and Afghanistan Vets on What It All Meant The American Conservative


China steps up drone race with stealth aircraft

China has developed a virtual anchor to deliver the news CNN

No Left Turn in Russia Carnegie Moscow Center


Estimating India’s nuclear weapons-producing capacity Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

India’s ruling BJP turns up Hindu nationalist heat with renamings, statue plan Reuters

Trump Transition

Trump and Macron find common ground after defence spending row FT

Jaworski’s Road Map May Not Guide Mueller Lawfare

Navarro tells Wall Street ‘globalist billionaires’ to end ‘shuttle diplomacy’ in U.S.-China trade war Politico

The VA Shadow Rulers’ Signature Program Is “Trending Towards Red” Pro Publica

On this World War I anniversary, let’s not celebrate Woodrow Wilson WaPo. I’d say Wilson exemplifies the Peter Principle for university administrators, except Wilson wasn’t incompetent.

UPDATE I really should have thought to include this. Series finale:

Realignment and Legitimacy

Who’s the Real American Psycho? Maureen Dowd, NYT. “War criminals-turned-liberal heroes are festooned with book and TV contracts, podcasts and op-ed perches.” A bit stunning to see a sentence like that in a MoDo column.

Rebirth of a Nation Jonathan Taplin, Harpers. “On the one hand, his administration may represent the consolidation of minority control by a Republican-dominated Senate under the leadership of a president who came to office after losing the popular vote by almost 3 million ballots. Such an imbalance of power could lead to a second civil war—indeed, the nation’s first and only great fraternal conflagration was sparked off in part for precisely this reason.” Hoo boy. The Civil War wasn’t “sparked” by an imbalance of power; one of those powers was the Slave Power. I mean, it really takes brass ones to erase the Abolitionists, but that’s what Taplin does (“in part” is doing a lot of work, there, even when coupled with “precisely,” a nice dodge). His piece is a brilliant illustration of process liberalism, an object lesson that elite liberal Democrat factions would prefer to break up the country (“you will rule or ruin in all events”) rather than soil themselves by asking for votes in rural areas (and the ask is easy). Scholten in IA-04 and Golden in ME-02 — the nation’s second-most rural district — would be disappointed, though perhaps not surprised, to hear this.

Scum vs. Scum Chris Hedges, Truthdig

Our two states Capitol Fax (JB). Of Illinois.

Democrats ride monster fundraising to take the House, GOP successfully picks its Senate battles Open Secrets

Dear Democrats: Don’t be corporate stooges too Nick Hanaeur, The Hill

Florida recounts begin as tensions escalate across state CNN

State elections observers have seen no evidence of criminal activity in Broward County Miami Herald

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Amazon’s Smart Doorbell Is Creepy as Hell Medium (GF).

Class Warfare

Tech C.E.O.s Are in Love With Their Principal Doomsayer NYT. “He worries that because the technological revolution’s work requires so few laborers, Silicon Valley is creating a tiny ruling class and a teeming, furious ‘useless class.'” Jackpot!

Capital Hill Democracy

“This System Is a Moral Horror” Jacobin

Be Afraid of Economic ‘Bigness.’ Be Very Afraid. Tim Wu, NYT. The URL (likely autogenerated from the original title): “fascism-economy-monopoly.” Not quite so anodyne….

Camille Paglia: It’s Time for a New Map of the Gender World (interview) Quillette

‘Phenomenally saddening’: inside the sordid world of America’s for-profit colleges Guardian

L.A. Band Threatin Faked a Fanbase To Land a European Tour No One Attended Metal Sucks

Bug Bounty Hunter Ran ISP Doxing Service Krebs on Security

Specification gaming examples in AI – master list Vraikovna (more here). “A robotic arm trained to slide a block to a target position on a table achieves the goal by moving the table itself.” But aren’t these specs basically how evolution works?

Antidote du jour (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. Livius Drusus

    Re: Social media growth is over in the U.S. — which is its most valuable market

    Since this article touched on social media and advertising I would like to recommend Bob Hoffman’s excellent Ad Contrarian blog to any NC readers interested in solid critiques of the modern marketing industry, including online marketing.

    Below is just one of his blog posts critiquing online advertising.

    I don’t think online ads are as useful as people in marketing think they are. Most people seem to be really annoyed by ads when they are online. I still think TV is a better medium for advertising. I seem to remember TV commercials better than any ads I see online.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      I took a copywriting course in college, long ago. that’s writing commercials. entry level.
      we’d watch commercials in class…prof was enthusiastic about the super bowl, just not the football. Commercial-watching parties.
      It was a real eye opener. (I hadn’t heard of Bernays, yet).
      The blatant and shameless manipulation of the masses, using psychology, sociology and the rest of the Humanities as weapons against our minds…
      the numerous cognitive biases we all share, now bull-eyes to target with saccharine and everclear.
      Changed the way I do/”consume” media forever…as well as the way i experience a mall or a walmart.
      Automata and Belief are powerful things, and the Mediated Reality didn’t begin with the Web.
      Enlightenment eats itself.

      1. Wukchumni

        We were watching a Superbowl in Westport, NZ, a dozen or so of us Yanks that had found the promised land, a bar that had it on.

        The difference being that the commercials were for things like “Morrie’s Used Cars in Westport” and other local or NZ content, and the game was an absolute snoozer blowout early on, and everybody lost interest and left, nothing to keep us there, as so happens in the USA.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      When so much is garbage, ads will inevitably backfire. Though declining traditional television watching is seen as a threat. How do you chase new consumers? Especially when they are strapped.

      I suppose we are conditioned to television breaks. Thinking about being conditioned to the breaks, I simply ignore vast portions of websites anyway. Ads with noises when I forget the volume is on are just unpleasant noises to be silenced.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i’m almost allergic to advertising.
        can’t stand it.
        especially FM. yelling and breathlessness,lol.
        we live in a limnal space between radio markets…almost equidistant to san angelo, austin, san antonio.
        so radio is unreliable, unless you like country western cliche…depends on which way the wind is blowing.
        so I have grown unused to having a radio on.
        hanging around san antonio, the radio feels like an intrusion. car ads, furniture,on and on.
        out here, the only tv is the internet, or satellite.
        I feel fortunate to have avoided being engulfed in all that for so long…but wife has decreed that we shall obtain dishtv, post haste. The bright side, I suppose, is that i will be encouraged to spend more time in the shop.
        I’ll also note that my boys, growing up with intermittent tv, are notably less flighty or acquisitive than their peers. I allege that the lack of constant advertising had a lot to do with that outcome.
        It seems most folks fail to even notice this soup they swim in, this chaotic babble in the background…but they notice it when it stops….like me,growing up in the woods, and missing the sound of crickets in the sterile apartment complex.

        1. Wukchumni

          I find advertising fascinating in its green crystalline approach and thanks to my lead shielding, am impervious to it’s Kryptonic ways of persuasion.

          What sort of desire are they up to this time?

          Take the major insurance companies for instance:

          A gecko lizard or duck is their spokesperson, and another has a Black-American with an authoritative voice, while another has a balding senior citizen, or Flo-who could be a waitress if she didn’t have this gig, and most bizarre of all is the white-guy nuisance named Mayhem that’s always causing auto accidents.

        2. Ignacio

          I pretty much agree with you. I can’t stand advertising, marketing in general. We still have a landline phone in our house that sometimes rings but we don’t bother to pick it up. Marketing has killed it. Radio: fortunately we have some public broadcasters lacking ads. TV: nobody here watches any of the supposedly main channels. Not to mention TV news. Internet: As L.D. says above internet ads are overvalued in my opinion. Internet ads migth inspire hate rather than attraction.

          The older one comes the less patient with advertising.

    3. John Wright

      The advertising market reminds me of a mining enterprise that finds it has only low quality ore to mine (as in fewer consumers with money to spend) so each incremental ad is less valuable.

      One can look at FM radio for what might eventually happen.

      More stations in the SF Bay area are promoting long “commercial free listening breaks” usually keyed to their carrier frequency as in “98minutes/100minutes commercial free”.

      Assuming these stations are profit maximizing, they would prefer to sell ads, even at low rates, during this time, but may be so concerned that listeners will tune to another station if they do, so they don’t.

      This is further signaling to potential advertisers that FM radio advertising is not deemed useful (by other potential advertisers),

      A friend who worked at a radio station many years ago remembers radio ads consuming 20 minutes of every hour.

      Going from 33% ad content to 0% has to be playing havoc with some radio stations’ revenue.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Would this be an emerging opportunity for radio-knowledgeable lefter-winger groups of people to aquire a near-zero revenue radio station here and there?

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          Ja. if only I had a few million laying around.
          I’ve thought about this. there might be an opportunity for Pacifica or someone similar to expand their reach.
          the little radio station here…country, local football…as well as the little radio station in the town 40 miles up the road…are the only non-fluctuating stations we can get.
          the former is available through most of the FM dial…FCC doesn’t seem interested that they’re doing a Wolfman Jack.(I called because I couldn’t get the NPR from 60 miles south, due to the country bleeding all over the spectrum.)
          of course, as soon as someone sets up a mobile pirate station, FCC is all over it.

    4. Craig H.

      This short article was not bad but they omit what could be the biggest effect. Profit is what matters, far more than revenue. If it is difficult to grow revenue, most the accountant’s attention will turn to expenses. The people who work for the great FAGMA may be in for the shock of their lives when they learn how many of them and how fast they get identified as redundant.

      Inside dope from an old fart: two weeks of salary for each year of service won’t go far. Save money. Eliminate debt. Or there may be a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth for you.

      1. jrs

        Even saving money really only does so much good if you can’t find work – it staves off hunger and homelessness for awhile, which is definitely not nothing but …

        But it doesn’t even deal with the huge emotional effect of feeling worthless because one can’t find work and the emotional effect of dealing 24/7 with an uncertain future because one can’t find work (money in the bank won’t even stave off thoughts of suicide when you contemplate whether it’s the only way out of unemployment, nor does wasting it on therapy seem wise in such uncertain circumstances). Noone can save enough to not work again, unless they are quite near Social Security age.

    5. Odysseus

      Most people seem to be really annoyed by ads when they are online.

      There are things that aren’t annoying. Simple, static logos for instance. I don’t need autoplay video with screaming audio.

      Why do advertisers demand that they be allowed to be obnoxious?

  2. The Rev Kev

    “Entire cities evacuate as hellish wildfires whip through California”

    Saw a video clip from near Paradise where some dude went in and found burnt out vehicles and basically skeletons, so fierce was the fire. The area itself was a wasteland. Those fires were so fierce due to the winds that they took off like a pyroclastic flow and I would not wish them on my worst enemy. Cue Donald Trump putting his two cents in-

    “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”

    1. Wukchumni

      Smokey Bear told us since around the time that our President was born that:

      “Only you can prevent forest fires!”

      So it became our policy, and man oh man did we prevent them for happening, in what was a big mistake, as we anathematized fire.

      I just read an article on 5,600 bored out of their minds G.I. Joes & Janes on the border in Texas waiting out a lone vigil, eating MRE’s and almost no electricity-the same conditions they would be facing if they were either working the fire line, or in anticipation of wildfires, clearing our forests of all the debris that’s accumulated when we did nothing, on an animated character’s advice.

      1. Lee

        Smokey Bear told us since around the time that our President was born that:

        “Only you can prevent forest fires!”

        So it became our policy, and man oh man did we prevent them for happening, in what was a big mistake, as we anathematized fire.

        Relevant interview on West Coast Live with Timothy Egan, author of The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America.

        1. anon

          These current fires are not really forest fires. In fact, one of the Fire Commissioners responded to Trump’s tweet and called them “urban interface” fires.

          It’s possible that Pacific Gas & Electric’s power lines experienced some issue, and this *may* have been a trigger. Another factor, mentioned in the linked article, is that people build houses right up against (and in) wilderness areas, putting themselves at risk. But the underlying dynamic is California’s 2011-2017 severe drought, and the current new drought; and, of course, climate change. It was 118 F in Monrovia, California, this past July 6, and that further baked a lot of vegetation.

          1. Wukchumni

            What I find unusual is never once did I hear mention of the cause of the fires in SoCal. Usually the press is quick to blame somebody/something/arson, etc.

            I do road trash pick up a few times a year, and by far the commonest item I pick up is cigarette butts, and you wonder how many are tossed out while still lit?

            Conditions here in the Southern Sierra are in the single digits as far as humidity goes, with 50 mph winds-as in no bueno. Red Flag situation through to Tuesday.

            The profound lack of rain isn’t helping things…

            1. anon

              There is some speculation that the Thomas Fire in Santa Barbara may have been caused by faulty Edison utility wiring.


              The Colby fire was caused by three careless guys at a campfire.

              AFAIK, only the horrific Station fire was definitively caused by an arsonist.

              Yes, cigarettes are a problem. Here, in Los Angeles, there are signs saying “No smoking in the hills.” But people disregard them.

    2. jefemt

      Sedom if ever any culpability ascribed to those who choose to live in/near the woods, and their own duty and obligation to manage their ‘ranchettes’ with principals of defensible, fire-proofed space. The collective we will reimburse them all , so they can rebuild, either through increased property/casualty premiums, or the inscrutable federal disaster-aid Byzantium. The only difference here from the privatize profits/socialize costs model is that it is simply loss-loss-loss.

      50-60 million souls from the bay area south to the border / Tijuana, within 50 miles of the water… lots of scrub oak and oily vegetation for ladder fuels, lots of property, lots of potential for human and animal loss.

      Mr. Malthus might have had some thoughts on California’s actuarial potentials…

      1. Lee

        Thanks to developers, who are largely immune from future risks presented by such catastrophes, and local governments that are either corrupt, clueless, underfunded or all of the above, there are myriad ex-urban housing developments all over the state built in picturesque woodsy landscapes. Many are inhabited by retirees and others of modest means. A school principal from the town of Paradise noted that 67% of his students are eligible for free lunches. The school survived the fire but the homes of his students and their families didn’t. “There’s no place to live in Paradise,” he concluded.

        1. jrs

          true there is probably an upscale market for such locations, but there is also a downscale market, some areas it’s the only way some people got into home ownership and even landlordship, rather than renting. Worth it? Maybe only if you can get a fire policy!

          1. JBird4049

            I am guessing that they will find that a lot of the dead are either elderly, car poor, or just poor as the costs of housing has forced many retirees and the poor in general to move waaaayyyy out into the country. Forget buying a home, renting is expensive, but if you can do two or three hour commute, each way, it is possible to work in Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, or Contra Costa but live in counties Sonoma, Sacramento, Mendocino, Lake, and Culusa. Renting is (almost) affordable, if you don’t mind the wear.

            There are also a fair number of retirement homes and communities and many retirees in Northern California. Since there was no general warning ahead of the firestorm…even if one could get away cleanly, making an effort for the family, friends, random stranger might catch you anyways. That is not to mention the “roads” that some places have.

            Even in wealthy areas like Marin there are narrow two and one lane roads into and out of some neighborhoods perched on often (steep)sides of hills. Cliff on one side, vertical slope on the other, one panicked driver, or one flat tire, and you could write-off the occupants of a number of homes, even small neighborhoods. In wealthier areas, where the homes are “investments” and the views among the Redwoods very nice, the suicidal idiots block such efforts as controlled burnings. Even Redwoods can burn without the occasional brush fire or clearing.

            However, it is often desperation just for a place to live that is a reason making the fires much more lethal.

      2. John Wright

        I can reply as one Northern Ca homeowner who lost their home in the October 9, 2017 wildfire complex.

        It has been interesting to see the local city’s response in the aftermath.

        For example, the city fathers voted 5 to 1 to allow an incremental 200+ homes to be built in one of the burned out regions.

        And an economist from the LA area was brought in to encourage even MORE housing growth,

        ““You have to build now,” said Thornberg, a founding partner of Beacon Economics, an independent research and consulting firm in Los Angeles. “Otherwise, the economy is simply going to stop growing.”

        “Thornberg followed by reminding listeners of his previous recommendations for both the county and California to encourage more housing.”

        ““What this fire has done is simply intensified a crisis that already existed,” he said.”

        The real estate industry in CA is too powerful for much to change in CA building practices.

        At least Australia seriously tightened its building codes after the 2009 Victoria bush fires (“bush fire” = Australian for “wild fire”), but few elected to build very fire resistant homes.

        The insurance industry will eventually gate development in CA, as I suspect the state will not want to get into the fire insurance business.

        My response to rebuilding, and that of a few others I know, is likely to rebuild in concrete, while most of the current rebuilding effort seems to be wood frame construction but with fire resistant vents and added sprinklers.

        1. Wukchumni

          We’ve seen a lot of paradise lost episodes in the Golden State all too often in the recent past.

          Was doing my fire doomeratti thing watching L.A. tv news, and one of those interviewed had his home saved, while all of those across the street were erased from view.

          The culprit was one of those landmarks of L.A., the silly stark tall palm trees loaded with fire grenades only in search of a spark.

          Driving home yesterday co-piloting from the right seat, I noticed oh so many palm trees all over in glimpses here and there, mostly planted 50-75 years ago.

          1. John Wright

            There are numerous concrete building systems out there as indicated by my web searching.

            One co-worker is getting ready to go with the tridipanel (or similar). As local pioneer, he is catching all the arrows for varying from stick construction, I’m hoping.

            I like tridipanel building because the concrete is on the inside/outside surfaces whereas some other concrete building methods using styrofoam forms end up with flammable styrofoam on the outside/inside surfaces.

            One of the Tridipanel homes went through a Northern California wildfire in Lake County and survived. The fire got into the garage and burned up everything there, but the rest of the house was in good shape (windows had to be replaced as I recall),

            Thanks for the links, as the only silver lining of this, for me, is the opportunity to build a house that might function better and also be fire resistant.

            Maybe the other positive thing is I don’t have to remember where I left something in the house.

          1. John Wright

            Yves, thanks for your response.

            One employee of the large firm I work at died from his burns.

            I did not know him.

            As one might expect, the Sonoma County fire affected thousands of people in different ways.

            I am rather pleased to be alive,

  3. el_tel

    Re Social media and depression. Am in two minds – some very good work has been done on students “in the lab” which led to valuable findings. On the other hand, before “fully signing on” to such results I like to see more real world (wider groups of people “out there”) research. The article is good in acknowledging that research involving wider age/socioeconomic groups examined correlation, not causation, but I’d hope that some big studies like the huge GLAD study of anxiety and depression in the UK might shed more powerful light on causation “outside the lab in the real world of Jo(e) Public”.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Just spitballing here – but there is a lot of evidence I recall that being at the bottom of social hierarchies is always stressful for social animals. It occurs to me that so many social users focus on people who are (at least apparently) doing better than them – whether well off, successful friends, or instagram stars. I doubt if many people using social media make their less fortunate friend their first port of call when they switch on their phones. In ‘normal’ interactions, the average person is almost by definition something in the medium of their social hierarchy, whether at work or with friends. But in a social media hierarchy, since people are always glancing up, they find themselves at the bottom, with all that means for confidence and self esteem.

      Plus of course there is the issue of ‘interaction’, without those things that should go with social interaction – meeting someones eyes when talking, physical contact, contagious laughter.

      1. el_tel

        Oh indeed, agreed. And following on from your last point I also have a bugbear over to what extent that younger (particularly more social-media oriented) people have properly come to realise the important “dimensions of well-being”…though I won’t go off topic on that one!

  4. The Rev Kev

    “On this World War I anniversary, let’s not celebrate Woodrow Wilson”

    Or as I call him, the first neocon President. Saw the mention of 116,000 American dead in this article which-side tracked me due to something that I saw today. It was a doco on the last day of WW1 and it was a shocker. In the eleven hours of that last day, the different countries of the Allies were still launching attacks even though they knew that the cease-fire was on for 11 o’çlock that morning. In the American army, the generals wanted to make a point with the Germans, including Pershing himself, and so 3,000 Americans were killed and wounded on that last day of the war and attacks were being launched up to 15 goddamn minutes before the cease-fire. That is how Henry Gunther came to be the last American killed in WW1 at 1 minute before the cease fire. There was a Congressional Hearing about the 3,000 Americans casualties that were totally unnecessary but they never published the results as it would make the Generals look bad. As it is Armistice Day in America now, I quote the words of The Ode-

    “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning
    We will remember them.”

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      I am generally not into the idea of ‘molding’ young minds into the way *I* want them to think, instead trying to present the most cogent arguments for multiple different positions…along with whatever primary sources seem appropriate to the task at hand so the youngling can make up his/her own mind based on data….but I must admit to violating that precept when it comes to the military and war.

      The boy I have semi-sorta adopted has gotten a constant stream of blatant and unapologetic antiwar rhetoric from me, and as he turned 17 just a few days ago – not too far from ‘register for selective service’ age – was pleased to hear his thoughts on all that.

      He respects the viewpoints of those who have served, but not remotely interested in ever enlisting himself nor being drafted should that ever occur again. Felt particularly proud when he fiercely stated ‘war is a racket’. (that dog eared copy of Smedley Butler must have had an effect)

      In other news, I guess I missed that Trump’s Roman Triumph in the Campus Martius scheduled for today was canceled. Baby steps, man…baby steps:

      Now if I can just get to the damnatio ad bestias in the Colosseum on time today, and can swing by the slave market before the best stock is sold…. I’ll have the perfect sunday in this old Empire of ours..

    2. Richard

      Walter Karp is very good on the awful impact of Wilson and his policies, notably his essay: The America That Was Free, And Is Now Dead. Sorry I have no link. The only place I know for sure it can be found is his collection of essays: Buried Alive.
      Karp has got to be one of our most forgotten writers. He got the dems and repubs dead on in Indispensible Enemies, their little dances of gerrymandering and rotten boroughs, written before the reagan reaction. And then he got the reaction itself exactly right in Liberty Under Siege, how it began in the think tanks of neoconservatism and thrived with support from within carter’s own party. He died in he early 1980s. I have found him remarkably prescient.

        1. Richard

          Thank you for finding it and linking to it!
          I’ve never found a writer quite like him. He really gets to the fundamental betrayals that underlie so much of our history, and really feels it, and it sort of permeated everything he wrote. He can really thunder.

      1. pretzelattack

        damn, the local library doesn’t have it. they probably got rid of it during one of their periodic book culls to make space for current crap. oh well, maybe some local used book store will have it. thank you for the recommendation.

    3. Olga

      On the topic of WWI – this is a long read, but worth it – on what followed the war in Germany and the opportunities for a revolutionary change:
      “On November 9, 1918, two different republics were declared on the squares of Berlin. One declaration aimed to usher in socialist revolution in the heart of capitalist Europe. The other sought to forestall events and contain the social explosion.
      The German Revolution had many sources: the world-shattering transformations brought on by the Great War, the legacy of strong socialist organization among German workers, and the drastic expansion of political horizons announced by the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.”

    4. Louis Fyne

      In addition to everything above, Europe’s tangled web of mutual defense treaties was the napalm to what at worst might have been a (yet another) regional war in the Balkans.

      A lesson Nato and its fans dont feel is relevant.

    5. Louis Fyne

      Michael palin hosted a BBC doc. some years ago about the last day of WWI.

      It’s floating on the intertubes via your fav. search engine

    6. JEHR

      It wasn’t only the Americans being killed; the other “enemies” were attacked also after the ceasefire came into effect.

      On 11 November, at 5:00 am, an armistice with Germany was signed in a railroad carriage at Compiègne. At 11 am on 11 November 1918—”the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”—a ceasefire came into effect. During the six hours between the signing of the armistice and its taking effect, opposing armies on the Western Front began to withdraw from their positions, but fighting continued along many areas of the front, as commanders wanted to capture territory before the war ended.

      1. RWood

        Of further relevance:

        It is impressive how wars turn out to be emergent phenomena in the complex social system formed by human groups. In other words, wars are not the result of ideologies, religions, mad rulers, or the like. They emerge out of a social network as the result of the way the system is connected. That doesn’t mean there are no causes for wars: they are the result of accumulated capital that needs to be dissipated in some way. Wherever there is an unbalance in the accumulation of capital, the excess will spill from the more endowed side to the less endowed one. In a sense, war is the offspring of capitalism, but capitalism is just another emergent phenomenon of complex societies. In short, wars are not caused by a lack of resources, they are caused by an excess of resources.
        which leads to:

        Between 2000 and 2006, I extended this line of inquiry further. Another book for a general audience, The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization, examined the threat to global stability of simultaneous and interacting demographic, environmental, economic, and political stresses. These deep stresses are operating largely in the background, quietly eroding the resilience of humankind’s adaptive mechanisms. The danger is that several will reach a crisis point simultaneously. Such a convergence of events could overwhelm the resilience of even the richest and most powerful societies.

    7. HotFlash

      Heard a performance last night by the Toronto Symphony Orch of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem. For people who don’t know the piece, the music was written in 1961-2 for the re-dedication of the Coventry Cathedral. The Ordinary is the Latin mass for the dead, the Proper, instead of being drawn from the Testaments, are poems by Wilfred Owen (more here and here). Owen when he first enlisted was a member of the Artists’ Rifles. The what?

      The Requiem takes a bit of time, but so much worth listening to.

    8. clarky90

      Re ; WW1

      Yesterday, at Orthodox Church, Father Carl said that the “modern” railway system had greatly exacerbated the WW1 blood-bath.

      Before the RRs, it took more time to move armies and assemble the material of war. That lag time could be used for negotiation or second thoughts. The number of combatants arrayed was much less, because of logistics.

      With the railways, millions of soldiers and guns could be deployed relatively quickly. There was less time to ponder.

      Stalin and Hitler went on to use the railways (cattle cars) to murder millions of civilians.

      Trains are objects of nostalgia for me and many others. But they do have a dark side…..

      1. HotFlash

        First there were feet, then there were horses, then there was the wheel, and then railroads. It does not seem fair to blame the tool, but it does well to be aware of what humans do with their tools. Cf “Atoms for Peace”. Fun fact, the contractor for the first 3 nuclear reactors out of the US was a company that was famous for its bowling equipment!

        Shall we now blame automatic pinsetters?

        1. Duck1

          Tools: high explosive, smokeless powder, the gatling gun or hotchkiss, trucks with rubber tires, airplanes to spot artillery, canned food, mass production of textiles, uniforms, boots, a perceived overage of proletarians. Means of destruction.

      2. LifelongLib

        Ditto for the telegraph. There’s an account that after the assassination of the Arch Duke Ferdinand, Austro-Hungary sent a demand to Serbia via telegraph that required a response in 48 hours. Serbian diplomats could not respond that quickly and WW1 began…

    9. Big Tap

      I remember seeing this documentary on the History Channel years ago. It covers the needless and cruel deaths on the last day of WW I after the truce was signed on November 11, 1918. The combatant nations than knew the war would end soon at 11 AM that day but some high officers continued fighting. Soldiers still were ordered to fight on and continue the war to the last minute for no reason whatsoever. This is the definition of dying in vain.

  5. Darius

    Antitrust also is a huge rural issue. Farmers lives are dominated by big ag conglomerates. Obama promised this then ran the other way when he was elected.

    Following up on my comment from yesterday, Obama begged the Republicans to set his agenda for him. His message was, “Tell us what you want and we’ll meet you halfway.” That’s when they knew they had him. Give it to McConnell. He read the opposition like a book.

    1. Lord Koos

      Pelosi said similar things the day after the mid-terms:

      “We will strive for bipartisanship, with fairness on all sides. We have a responsibility to find our common ground where we can, stand our ground where we can’t, but we must try. We’ll have a bipartisan marketplace of ideas that makes our democracy strong. A Democratic congress will work for solutions that bring us together, because we have all had enough of division. The American people want peace. They want results. They want us to work for positive results for their lives.”


      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        New Dear Leader and PRS (Principal RussiaGate Screecher) Democrat Adam Schiff clearly has his finger on the pulse of what voters want.

        No need for pesky new legislation and reform and programs, health care, child care, highways, or hospitals. What people want most are more investigations.

        As he said to CNN: “Let’s face it, investigations are interesting and sexy, the legislative process less so…”.

        Nancy Pelosi also knows just what her constituents are clamoring for. “Our top priority will be Trump’s tax returns”.

    1. Tomonthebeach

      One has to wonder what one small judge in the mega CJ system can do to change the world. On the other hand, one small Indian lawyer freed his country of British colonialism. Bynum sure sees how the system works and how neolib capitalists exploit the CJ system and the poor. Will his reforms catch political fire? That is hard to say.

      Socialists tend to undermine their progress by overselling their solutions. For example, it is irresponsible to call abolishing ICE – immigration enforcement – when the goal is merely to reform how we treat refugees. Likewise, calling for systemic reform of our CJ system mainly because incarceration disproportionately impacts the poor ignores that it is the poor who are disproportionately the victims of crime. Such unbalanced arguments make it very easy for opponents to portray them as foolish.

      1. Skip Intro

        Have socialists called for abolishing ICE? I thought that was all virtue signaling from neolib identitarians in the ‘#resistance’.

  6. allan

    Jury tells Aetna to pay $25M to late cancer patient’s family [AP]

    A jury has ordered Aetna to pay more than $25 million to the family of an Oklahoma City woman who died a year after the insurance company refused to cover a type of radiation therapy.

    Jurors found that Aetna doctors didn’t spend enough time reviewing Orrana Cunningham’s case before denying her coverage for proton beam therapy in 2014, The Oklahoman reported . The jury ruled that Aetna recklessly disregarded its duty to deal fairly and in good faith with Cunningham, who had nasopharyngeal cancer. …

    An Aetna doctor denied Cunningham coverage for the therapy in 2014, deeming it experimental. Two other in-house doctors reviewed and upheld the decision.

    The Food and Drug Administration had approved proton beam therapy, which is also a treatment covered by Medicare, according to Doug Terry, the family’s attorney. He alleged that Aetna denied coverage for financial reasons and that its doctors were unqualified, overworked and biased when making decisions. Court records show that one doctor complained to the insurer about having to review more than 80 cases a day.

    Like robosigning, but for death sentences.

    But Aetna’s CEO has a unique sense of mindfulness and empathy, so it’s all good.

    1. Ernie

      It’s a good thing that we have avoided the “death panels” that “socialized medicine” would force us to face. /s

      1. el_tel

        I acknowledge the sarcasm you put into that comment (and agree with). As a former health economist who tried to help inform decisions regarding a “cost per quality-adjusted life year gained” ceiling (caricatured as “death panels”, as you say), I have had profound scepticism of the “ceiling” principle used in UK/Canada/Australasia/Much of Mainland Europe etc because of the awful implementation of the system. Leaving aside MMT principles (which would render moot a lot of the arguments regarding healthcare “budgets” anyway) I saw in practice shocking examples of implementation – a treatment which got funded only because the ridiculously complex statistical model showing it to be cost-effective was, at the last minute, found to have a plus and a minus the wrong way round – an error only a handful of specialists in the world could have spotted; the growing acknowledgement that the well-being/health of carers, children etc should be included, if true “population health” is to be maximised, given true resources available etc.

        Then of course you have the issue that given the backlog of evaluations of areas of health, less “sexy” areas (mental health) have experienced truly awful funding situations with stories as painful as this, and the current UK government’s big drive to “correct things” (this is where my sarcasm gland goes into overdrive).

        Cases like this are shocking, but I’d hope “Medicare for all” (or whatever might one day be implemented) could learn from the mistakes on this side of the pond.

  7. Amfortas the hippie

    on the financialisation of food.
    been there,lol.
    the move towards hydraulic despotism in food supply(like with everything else) means someone like me is relegated to the gray market, at best. I include farmers markets(the tiny town version) and CSA’s of varying degrees of sophistication and structure.
    the grandad vision of “Five Acres and Independence” is laid low by economies of scale(maximalised), and by cartels.
    Even Organic and Sustainable have been colonised….leaving the originators and laity of that movement(ie:me) wondering what happened.
    I’m slowly collecting tools and infrastructure to hopefully diversify our income…but i expect most transactions to remain akin to a drug deal in an alley.

    1. ambrit

      Being as we’re talking organic food, that would be an anti-drug deal. Still relegated to the back alleys though.
      Don’t know about your ‘neck of the woods’ but around here, one has to be a member of some ‘in-group’ to even gain access to local organic food. Seriously, one farm “market’ is restricted to members of a “faith based” group. Others have hooked onto the ‘10% market’ and have very high prices. Now, even with reservations, I can understand a farmer wanting to get the best return for his or her efforts. However, when that impulse leads to the exclusion from the ‘market’ of most of the population? It looks like a mechanism for bringing on the dreaded ‘Jackpot.’

      1. Wukchumni

        However, when that impulse leads to the exclusion from the ‘market’ of most of the population? It looks like a mechanism for bringing on the dreaded ‘Jackpot.’

        I prefer: ‘Great Leap Forward’

          1. Wukchumni

            Ever see The Red Violin?

            Not giving anything away, but it ends up hanging out in the Cultural Revolution for a spell along the way…

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i was the first to start talking about it, out here.
        25 years ago…then with a will after hurricane rita took out the supply lines for a week.
        i’ve either attempted myself…or been a part of…several FM efforts, but like Ambrit says, the target audience were the petit bourgeoisie, and there’s simply not enough of them, and they are rather flighty and inconsistent.
        during all the farm stuff, I was cooking at local cafes…until I finally had my own.
        I encouraged local ag…to some success, at least for bored grandmothers(tomatoes, okra, yard eggs.I grew wild sourdough starters for the table bread, even)..and was an evangelist for “Real Food”.
        911 killed my cafe, but it also made a bit of survivalism and pragmatic contingency planning a little less strange. But there’s no organised effort, or anything remotely like that. Just maybe a hightened awareness of how great grandad did things.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Ten Years Gone: Iraq and Afghanistan Vets on What It All Meant”

    This article makes mention of Paul Hardcastle’s “19” which I remember well when it came out and very powerful it was. Thought that I would make mention of another song that came out a bit earlier that reflected the Australian experience in Vietnam. It was by a group called Redgum and is called “I Was Only 19”. This song, oddly enough, was mentioned a coupla times in the book “World War Z”. Some of the place names and military terminology will not be familiar but I am sure that Vietnam Vets will nonetheless recognize a lot of it. In 2015 the song was added to the Sounds of Australia Registry at the National Film & Sound Archive-

    1. ChrisPacific

      World War Z will never be mistaken for literature, but there were some quite perceptive passages in it all the same. I enjoyed the interview with a former power broker who describes how he manipulated the crisis to benefit his political allies, sabotaging any possibility of an effective unified response as an incidental side effect. He had found a new job in the post-apocalyptic world as a manure shoveler, which I think was a little optimistic on the part of the author.

  9. lyman alpha blob

    Veteran’s Day note –

    My folks were in town and last night I took my father to a minor league hockey. He grew up in a rural area and has carried a small pocket knife with him for the last 60 years or so. They were ‘honoring the troops’ at the game, whatever the hell that means, so there were a good number of military personnel in attendance. I was not aware that people would have to go through metal detectors to get into the arena and when my father went through, they confiscated his pen knife. It was for our safety I was told. The blade of the car key he was allowed to take in was larger than that on the knife they confiscated. Needless to say I had a few choice words for the security people for treating my father like a criminal which I will not repeat on our favorite family blog.

    So we have a couple hundred trained killers in attendance, trained to take a human life in any number of different ways, with complete access to as much alcohol as they wanted to drink, but it’s the old retired guy with a pen knife who’s the bigger threat to society here. Ain’t America great?

    Thanks for the Black Adder clip and the reminder of the futility of it all. Happy Veterans Day.

    1. el_tel

      I still remember the bit of an episode of Points of View (BBC) reviewing that episode shortly after airing. A British veteran had written a letter saying it was the best thing he’d ever watched regarding WW1 – and bearing in mind that in circa 1989 a WW1 veteran was not part of the Blackadder comedy series “target audience” it was especially poignant.

    2. Stillfeelinthebern

      Experienced this multiple times with my father when the airline security tightened up. He ALWAYS carried a small pen knife and all through my life I remember many times it came out and solved a problem. He gave one to every grandchild, but all the security and risk of carrying one crushed the tradition of being prepared to help with your pen knife.

      I’ve always wanted to know, exactly how many people every year (by location) are kept off planes by the security theater? Anybody know if this data is available?

      1. RMO

        Stillfeelinthebern: I can top that: I know an airline pilot (Canadian Pacific later flying for Air Canada when CP was absorbed into it) who was issued a small multitool at one time by the airline as part of equipment to be carried with him when on duty. The security theater thespians confiscated it from him on his way to the flight he was piloting. He got in a little trouble when he pointed out how stupid this was given that A: he was already going to be at the controls and had no need to take the cockpit by force and B: there is a freaking crash axe in the cockpit which is considerably more potent than the multitool!

    3. whine country

      The Arizona Diamondbacks make exception for blades 3″ or less but I was caught by surprise when I went to a game in California where there is a no tolerance policy. I lost my trusty Swiss Army knife that I have carried for many years (those things ain’t cheap either). I tried to justify the ridiculous policy somehow but the only thing that I could think of is that they were concerned I might use it to defend myself from being robbed by the concessions inside the stadium.

      1. barefoot charley

        Defending my Swiss Army knife’s Constitutional rights is my single greatest nightmare of traveling. To get it (and my mouthwash) onto the plane I have to check my bag, but remembering in time that airports criminalize my pockets isn’t as easy as it may sound. A few years ago Britain decided to defend its pockets at the border, where only divine intervention saved my knife from hysterical ferry security, which I hope targets other terrors now. How can a civilized man face the world with no bottle opener?

        1. barefoot charley

          Stillfeelinthebern, when pocketknife theater began decades ago, army-surplus-type stores displayed literal buckets and barrels of Swiss Army knives that they bought by the pound from the security state, and sold by the ounce. Wish I’d bought a lifetime supply, the confiscations died down as we learned to herd correctly.

        2. Lord Koos

          I enjoy carrying a useful pocket knife and it irks me that they can confiscate them. I’m so accustomed to carrying one that I feel strange when it’s not in my pocket. I have gone so far as mailing my knife to my destination, so that I’ll have one to carry after I arrive. Never tried palming it with the phone, that really works? I thought you had to put your phone on the tray to get scanned.

        3. Olga

          Once, at a Canadian airport, my tiny Swiss knife was detected. The guards were nice enough to suggest that I leave it the check-in desk. When that did not work, I went outside the airport and buried it in the nicely landscaped grounds. Took me a while to find it on the way back, but I did – and did not lose it. (Works if one has time.)

          1. Lord Koos

            That’s funny, I did the same thing when I had to visit the Seattle INS building, I wasn’t allowed to bring my pocketknife in so hid it in a bush to find later.

      2. Jfreon

        I’ve been leaving it in my car, putting it in my shoe, or palming it with my phone for the scan.

        Haven’t had one taken for years.

          1. HotFlash

            Ha! One of our clients had his harpsichord tuning wrench confiscated. He was told he could mail it to himself at his destination. People, please, a *harpsichord tuning wrench*??? BTW, I have been taught to kill people with my bare hands, with a credit card, with a pencil, with their own headphones. No idea how I could kill anyone with mouthwash or shampoo, but perhaps that’s a fault of my training?

            I have had at least one other client who was refused entry b/c of his bagpipes, but that is understandable.

            1. Doug Hillman

              It’s easy to buy deadly-sharp, metal-free ceramic-glass-fiber-composite knives for just a few bucks, and plastic-porcelain guns too that will go thru any detector. The entire surveillance apparatus is theatrics, part of the war/security profiteers’ propaganda program. Highly sophisticated psyops, probably gamed out before 911.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          I tend to just avoid such places.
          and i realise that this can be seen as limiting, but i never liked such places that would have metal detectors, any way.
          the metal in my legs sets the damned things off every time, too.
          I find that I am not cut out for a hypersecurity state, and would rather just stay on the farm.

          1. JBird4049

            You don’t actually believe that the screenings are for our safety do you?

            Nonetheless, under the department’s unique interpretation of Penal Code 265.01, almost every pocketknife on the market today can be considered a gravity knife. It’s as if authorities in New York City were using an antiquated law against flintlock muskets to prosecute BB-gun owners.

            The number of places that have metal detectors and prohibitions on everything from not only guns to anything remotely sharp is increasing. There might be legitimate safety concerns (there are violent people out there) but the list of possibly maybe perhaps objects that are being prohibited, often just for their appearance is large and growing.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              Yup. the darth vader knee braces i sometimes hafta wear have an aluminum hinge thing on either side of the knee joint…that’s four (4!) potential weapons!
              last time i was searched because of these and the metal that’s actually inside me was at the Johnson Space Center’s diseyfied tour, some years ago. actual storm troopers made me take off the braces, and when I still dinged the thing, wanted to strip search me. Luckily, my Dad was there, and he knows important people at Nasa(worked there, Apollo 10 to Skylab).
              My walking stick…a 4 1/2 foot section of push-broom handle…an excellent weapon…went unregarded.
              There’s not as much of this nonsense outside the cities, as yet.
              and in Texas, at least, not really that much of it outside of big event venues and courthouses, airports and the like.

              1. ambrit

                Ah, the walking stick! I know a man, who I meet on the odd occasion during my occasional forays to the thrift shops, who uses a sword cane, as a cane. He found it at a thrift.
                We enjoy swapping stories and the occasional real thrift shop ‘find.’
                The last time I was told that I would have to give up my folding knife at the entrance to a court house, I demurred and returned it to my car.
                “You’ll be late for jury selection!”
                “So what?”
                No answer was there offered.
                I wasn’t even needed. The jurys were filled before my cohort was called.

  10. Wukchumni

    7-Eleven accused of weaponizing ICE raids to shed troublesome franchisees Boing Boing

    What flavor Slurpee would be considered the best weapon?

    1. ambrit

      You can tell when 7-11 is ready to ‘ICE down’ a franchise location. The company changes the Slurpee out for Slime-ee.
      “New! Jalapeno Flavour! Same Bright Red Colour!”

      1. Wukchumni

        About 20 years ago, i’d come off a 10 mile dayhike in Topanga, and had built up a thirst that only a Slurpee in the summer can assuage and it happened to be July 11, and a sign in the front window of a 7-11 in Woodland Hills proclaimed that today being 7-11, all Slurpees were just 11 cents, oh happy day.

        This would’ve been the late afternoon, and when I strode up to the counter bearing my gotten goods, the gentleman running the place who was formerly from the Sub-continent gave me the most downcast look while saying:

        “Slurpeeeee promotion over @ 4 o’clock!”

        I pointed to the sign which had no such lingua franca in terms of hours, and held my ground as he grudgingly accepted a dime and a cent for services rendered.

  11. Carolinian

    Bravo Dowd although one could argue about whether Trump is a maniac or just a blowhard and a boob. She approvingly quotes the maker of a new Cheney film.

    “Here’s the question,” he said. “Would you rather have a professional assassin after you or a frothing maniac with a meat cleaver? I’d rather have a maniac with a meat cleaver after me, so I think Cheney is way worse. And also, if you look at the body count, more than 600,000 people died in Iraq. It’s not even close, right?”

    Clearly her days at the NYT are numbered if she can diss the neocons this way.

    Meanwhile over at Harper’s Taplin thinks that the Never Trumpers–most of them neocons–will ultimately win the day against Trump’s prole uprising–giving us majority rule by those populous coastals. His NYT berth awaits.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Yes, MoDo hits Michelle. If a random attorney and mother who happened to be married to a then state Senator is damned for rehabilitating Cheney and company, then you can imagine the parts HRC or Kerry played in giving legitimacy to the Iraq invasion or not preventing it.

    1. polecat

      Maybe she can secure a New FOXy gig … right along side Tucker !!

      Necessity often makes for strange bedfellows …

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Estimating India’s nuclear weapons-producing capacity”

    What is missing here is Australia’s involvement with India’s nuclear program. Since 1977 Australia has had a policy of only exporting uranium to countries for peaceful non-explosive purposes. Then, a coupla years ago, both parties here got together to pass a law to enable uranium shipments to India ( in spite of them not coming clean about their nuclear program. The idea was that we ship uranium to India for civilian use and the Indians get to use uranium destined for that sector to be diverted to the military sector instead. What could possibly go wrong? I believe the first shipment was sent to India last year.

  13. edmondo

    Is there any possibility of getting a new subcategory labeled “Burning Down the House”? It can included all the stupid things the Democrats are doing (and plan to do) now that they have captured the House of Representatives. I thought it would be nice to have a living diary that shows why they lose the House elections in 2020 or no later than 2022 for sure.

    Here’s another entry for posterity:

    Incoming House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff told Axios that Democrats plan to investigate whether President Trump abused White House power by targeting — and trying to punish with “instruments of state power” — the Washington Post and CNN.

    1. apberusdisvet

      If you add up all the IQs on the Dem Intelligence committee, you might reach 100. Then again, maybe not.

  14. JohnnyGL

    Aaron Mate interviews Vijay Prashad re: conference in Russia, with India and the Taliban.

    Could be potential for some political shifts in the region.

    I’d like to make the point that if the US empire is in decline….it’s for political reasons (not military or economic ones). USG has done too much destroying in the last two decades and other players seem to be working things out without USG in the interests of stability.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Without pressing the issue, the U.S. empire circa 1998 would still be down without proper assimilation.

      The empire is far too large and too distant from the imperial heartland to have been developed through simple conquering. The U.S. empire is the result of the vacuum left by World Wars and the collapse of the USSR before China and India were ready to be alternatives.

      Our wars are more about preserving empire, but short of a threat of an Imperial style Japan running across large portions of the globe, the U.S. empire isn’t needed. This change takes time, and Putin was definitely supportive of junior partner status in the U.S. empire giving it new life as the U.S. empire has had positives. The decline was inevitable without assimilation or expansion of the Empire in a fashion. Canada and Mexico are possible because they are close to the imperial core, but we can’t do that everywhere forever.

    2. Olga

      Thanks. Vijay Prashad is always informative. Having him describe the area and the war, one (or, at least, I) get this goose-bumpy feel of lands far away, where so much is happening – with most of it completely outside the awareness (never mind, understanding) of the west and its inhabitants.
      VP describes the Moscow meeting as one of “confidence building,” and that makes total sense. Diplomacy and diplomatic solutions take a long time and involve many steps.
      Plus, the unexpressed idea that Russia (and, likely, China) is engaging in the difficult diplomatic process not because it somehow sees itself as a “world power,” but for a much more mundane purpose of self-preservation. Both countries would like to reduce opportunities for chaos (and unpredictable outcomes and/or players) near their borders.

  15. Wukchumni

    Leaving Los Angeles yesterday was so surreal…

    The Santa Anna winds that were pushing towards the coast, causing so much consternation via conflagration, had achieved the impossible, in that the San Gabriel mountain range gave me the clearest visage i’ve ever encountered of it from the vantage pointe of a 4 lane freeway.

    I’d never seen the canyons & ridges in such perfect smog swept glory looking eastward, and it was something to behold @ 70 mph getting the hell out of dodge. Meanwhile if you looked westward, the sky was relentlessly beige from a smoky standpoint.

  16. Wukchumni

    Had breakfast with Bob W. @ my mom’s assisted living place, who is a few years short of being a centenarian, and was a Seabee throughout the Pacific during WW2.

    He’d had grown up outside of Philadelphia, and related to me on a previous repast, that he went to the Navy enlistment center the day after Pearl Harbor, and it took him 18 days to get inducted into service, the demand being so high…

    If your last name started with the letters S-Z in Philly, you went into the Seabees, and that was all she wrote, and Bob told me that he must’ve wrote 500 letters to the Dept of the Navy requesting active Navy duty while hopscotching the Pacific, and the one that finally broke the quest, garnered a response from somebody in the Navy brass that replied saying:

    “You’re a Sebee and that’s your job, please stop writing letters.”

    My wife and I like him a lot and he’s a scotch fancier, so we gave him a bottle of Lagavulin and imbibed a wee dram with him, toasting a life.

  17. Jerry B

    In my half awake state, I skimmed through the “Rebirth of a Nation” Harpers article and the point seems to be that to prevent a political “civil war” at the federal level we need to promote states rights. The article seems to imply that the political divide at the federal level would be the driving force behind a civil war i.e. coastal/major cities USA vs flyover USA.

    This seems to gloss over the political divide within states. The “Our Two States” link that refers to Illinois is an example. Illinois is predominantly blue (Dem) in the Chicago Metro area and predominantly red (Repub) outside of the Chicago Metro area. This seems to lead to a more localized urban vs. rural political divide than the federal/country divide the Rebirth post mentions.

    In the not to distant future when oil/gasoline becomes very expensive and scarce, thus restricting long distance trips, the urban/rural divide will increase. IMO along with large cities such as Chicago, Atlanta, etc. the population will be concentrated in mid size and small cities throughout each state.

    I hope my point in this comment is coherent. My “night owl” brain does not fully come online until the early afternoon! :-)

    1. Altandmain

      The divide is more urban vs rural than anything else. An example might be upstate vs downstate NY.

      To be honest, though I think the real divide is that the rich are using social issues as a cover for other things. The fights are on guns, abortion, role of religion in schools, transgender bathrooms, etc.

      There is no discussion about the structure of capitalism.

      1. JBird4049

        It is a partially created conflict for while there are serious and honest disagreements over issues like abortion, guns, religion, even racism among others, the extent is usually exaggerated, and the general agreement over the economic pillaging, corruption, permanent wars, and general dislike of the ruling class is glossed over.

        It’s a textbook example of divide and conquer.

      2. VietnamVet

        Working America is in a decline with coastal suburbs barely remaining afloat and rural areas sinking due the industrialization of farming and the decimation of single factory towns. The gentrified 10% (The Empire Keepers) are doing Okay. Politics today is simply Divide and Rule; i.e. rural verses city, male verses female, white verses everyone else; anything to get 51% of the vole by any means possible. The real division is the current power struggle between globalist and nationalist oligarchs. Globalists want to keep raking in the money from offshoring and endless wars. Nationalists want to keep it to themselves. Not too different than the conflict between Industrialists and Planters 160 years ago. Except, a civil war within the Western Alliance would go nuclear rather than an Armies, once again, marching through Georgia.

  18. Lynne

    On the Maureen Dowd’s piece, it was noteworthy that all those she chose to go after were Republicans. Granted, her examples are heinous, but I did find it interesting that the only criticism she made of any Democrat was of Michelle Obama , and that for not going after more Republicans. Why is she covering for any war machine, even if it is the Democratic one? Sorry, but the clip of Albright callously declaring that dead children were “worth it,” not to mention that hideous interview of Friedman in which he said, “suck on this” surely can’t be what she approves? /s

    1. Stormcrow

      War criminals-turned-liberal heroes …

      This sounds to me like a critique of liberals (Democrats). You are right, however that, Dowd doesn’t go far enough.

  19. Jerry B

    ====Navarro tells Wall Street ‘globalist billionaires’ to end ‘shuttle diplomacy’ in U.S===

    While I appreciate Navarro’s calling out the Wall St. “globalist billionaires” for their interference in the US government’s trade war with China, the line “No good can come of it. If there is a deal, if and when there is a deal, it will be on President Donald J. Trump’s terms, not Wall Street terms” is laughable.

    In the last 40+ years (i.e neoliberalism era) when has anything the US government done NOT been on Wall Street terms? The Page and Gilens paper describing the US as an oligarchy and not a democracy seems to support the “on Wall Street’s terms” view as well.

    Although from what I have read, Robert Lighthizer is a tough cookie and is trying to do things (trade, intellectual property, currency, etc.) regarding China that should have been done forty years ago. That is going to be like putting a runaway horse (globalization) back in the barn and the horse’s rider (Wall Street) is not going to get out of the saddle easily. For the sake of the country’s manufacturing base and hollowed out/abandoned rural areas of the country I hope Lighthizer levels the trade playing field. Lambert has mentioned having an actual federal Industrial Policy as well. But since as I mention above that anything the government does is on Wall Street’s terms I am not optimistic.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Excellent and thoughtful comment. Thanks, Jerry B, although I share your pessimism. Wall Street and the globalist billionaires have many hundreds of billions in sunk costs invested in their strategy that has so damaged working class Americans and American manufacturing.

  20. ambrit

    I love that antidote! So much can be ‘written in’ to that image.
    For me, the picture captures the essence of “Southern Strategy.”

      1. ambrit

        “Here’s yer Green candidate. Say yer prayers!”
        “Om. Mani. Padme. Chomp!”
        There are a lot more…
        A representative of the American Kochidile? “Conservative Compassionate Cuisine goes Chomp!”

          1. ambrit

            Hover Tesla with occupants is stopped in street of marginal constituency by ‘Election Observers.’
            Election commissioner: “How long have you had these ballot droids?”
            Assistant political operative: “Three or four election cycles.”
            Election commissioner: “Where are you going with those ballot droids, re-programmed with votes?”
            Political adviser: “They are for sale.”
            Election commissioner: “We’re going to have to see some voter identification.”
            Political adviser: “You don’t need to see any voter identification.” Swirls fingers. Tokens of value appear.
            Election commissioner: “We don’t need to see any voter identification.”
            Political adviser: “These aren’t the two ballot droids you were told to look for.” Shakes hand of Senior Election Observer. Tokens of value disappear.
            Election commissioner: “These aren’t the ballot droids we were told to look for.”
            Political adviser: “He can go about his business of re-programming ballot droids.”
            Election commissioner: “You can go about your business of re-programming ballot droids.”
            Political adviser: “Move along. Nothing to see here.”
            Election commissioner: “Move along. Move along. Nothing to see here.”
            Politics is just as crooked in an electorate far far away as it is here.

    1. voteforno6

      What, no Apocalypse Now? That’s one of the greatest films of all time, and one that Coppola himself always intended as an antiwar statement.

      1. ObjectiveFunction

        Noted, but I personally find it refreshing that this list is not for once overwhelmed by Hollywood megapics….

        In that spirit, I would add 2 French films: “Battle for Algiers” and “La 317ème Section” (1965), as well as a little known Australian Vietnam film “The Odd Angry Shot”. The Chinese did a Band of Brothers style Korean War film, “Assembly” that was not bad. And for non-Hollywood US indie, you can’t do better than “Johnny Got His Gun.” (adapted stage play).

        Also a personal soft spot for the 1987 Anglo-Israeli film “The Beast”, which while set in Soviet occulied Afghanistan contained a veiled self-critique (“How come we’re the N# zis now?”)

        1. The Rev Kev

          I’d also add in “The Last Valley” set against the background of the Thirty Years War though not strictly a war film. Much under-rated.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Interesting list. Its only scratching the surface really, there are so many great war movies.

      I’d add a number of Japanese films – The Human Condition is a stunning series of films about the Japanese occupation of Manchuria. It was written and directed by veterans of the war so it has a sense of authenticity most such films lack. It was really the last gasp of the Japanese golden age of film when film makers could get the budgets to make films that didn’t necessarily fit with official narratives. The Burmese Harp is also a very fine war film (the original version, the remake is too sentimental). Apparently the story is that the director fooled the studio into thinking they were getting an exciting action film, not a Buddhist meditation on pacifism in the face of war, by the time they found out it was too late.

      Not often considered a war film, but in my opinion is is one (its wrong headed western reviewers who think of it as a ‘Japanese western’ is the great Seven Samurai. Apart from being maybe the best film at actually demonstrating battle tactics (the film devotes an enormous amount of its screen time setting out the way the seven samurai work out how to defend the village from a more numerous opponent), it is really centred around the tragedy of the warrior in a society which can’t decide whether to respect or fear them.

      In more recent years, the Israeli Waltz with Bashir is a truly amazing film, certainly worthy of being in any top 10. Its a film that will stay with you forever having watched it.

      1. Roady

        I’ll cast another vote for “Waltz with Bashir” and “Battle for Algiers.” I’ll add J’Accuse (1919) and Wings (1927). It’s been a long time since I’ve watched “No Man’s Land” (2001) and “Hotel Rwanda” (2004), so I’m curious if they hold up.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I would add

        Black Sun 731 (about the infamous unit)
        Black Sun, the Nanking Massacre (also by T.F. Mou).

        And on the European front

        A Woman in Berlin
        Germany, Year Zero

  21. Wukchumni

    There’s lots of superb books on WW1, but The Good Soldier Švejk stands alone for me. It’s a tour de farce with comedy so relentlessly absurd that it seems normal after awhile. Sometimes i’ll read a few pages to get inspiration in attempting the same on here, it’s that good.

    Švejk barely makes it into combat barely-not that it matters, it’s the circuitous route in getting there that’s half the fun.

    1. Olga

      I’ve not read it in English, so not sure how well translations deal with the (very) colloquial dialect often used in the book. It makes the the biting satire and parody of what is already plenty absurd that much funnier (and, too often, painfully so). More at
      The author Hašek is credited with developing the concept of an anti-hero as a protagonist: “Švejk is an anti-hero, who never fires a gun. Instead, he is playing cards, drinking cognac, singing to himself, and marching in the wrong direction.”

      1. Wukchumni

        It’s easy to get caught up in the argot of long ago if you’re not acquainted of things Austrian, and perhaps a pre-reading exercise would be The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth, in order to better indulge.

  22. Jeff W

    I mean, it really takes brass ones to erase the Abolitionists…

    [Emphasis added.]

    Absolutely conceding the point about the Abolitionists, I think these metaphors based on testicles (e.g., cojones, “grow a pair,” and so on), whether positive (denoting courage, bravery, confidence, etc.) or negative (as here, temerity, nerve, audacity, etc.)—along with corresponding metaphors based on female anatomy, e.g., the vagina (“pussy”) denoting weakness—reinforce traditional and, to me, offensive notions of masculinity and femininity—men and women can be, obviously, courageous, confident, nervy or weak—and, really, best be retired.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Agree wholeheartedly. Now there’s an anatomical metaphor that we can retain :)

      Never understood why “L’Origine du Monde” is used as an insult. It just doesn’t come to mind as a bad thing.

      1. Oregoncharles

        I totally agree with your point, but equating someone with their genitals is never a compliment – the same applies to men.

        As someone said, it should really be a figure for tough; that part takes a beating,

    2. lambert strether

      That is why I used brass “ones” instead of, say, “brass ovaries.” (I was taught to use “stones” as applying to either sex, but obviously brass stones would make no sense.)

      I object vehemently to tropes that map sexual relations onto political relations, because I think the mapping is poor (akin to “government is like a household”). I’m not sure what harm you see in the actual wording I used.

    3. ambrit

      I beg to differ.
      The ‘crudity’ of the use of words connoting male and female reproductive anatomy is a big part of the message being conveyed. The concept of ‘earthy’ and ‘vulgar’ language cannot be completely suppressed.
      Base insults or compliments are just that, basic.

  23. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: ‘Phenomenally saddening’: inside the sordid world of America’s for-profit colleges Guardian

    …… By 1992, however, lawmakers began to wise up to the predatory recruitment practices and the virtually useless degrees these colleges were offering students.

    At the time, a series of congressional hearings, and the attention of Congresswoman Maxine Waters (who appears in the documentary), helped set in motion a series of provisions that would allow for oversight of the for-profit industry: the 85-15 rule, requiring that at least 15% of the companies’ revenue came from sources other than government student aid; the 50/50 rule, ensuring no more than half of college courses were offered online or by mail; and the incentive compensation rule, banning college recruiters from receiving bonuses based on how many students they lured to the program. In the following decade, though, congressional interest in policing the for-profit sector waned and many of these regulations were dismantled or otherwise softened.

    Only in the vernacular of the u.s. congress in general, and the criminal idiot maxine waters in particular, could this be considered “oversight” or “policing.”

    It’s perfectly fine to sell “useless degrees” to desperate people as long as you only get 85% of your “revenue” from the taxpayers, and deliver only half of your worthless content face to face instead of online or by mail.

    The “waning interest” in the endeavor is also a familiar euphemism for the power of the campaign “contribution,” which, presumably, was only 85% funded by the very taxpayers who were being defrauded.

    A win-win for maxine.

    1. apberusdisvet

      One has to appreciate the perceptionalism of Trumps disparaging nicknames, especially

      “low IQ Maxine”

      certainly rings with the base, but she is quite blatantly one of the best con artists in the House. A multimillionaire, living in a gated mansion far from her constituents, the majority of which are dirt poor, and jobless. Isn’t America great?

  24. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thanks for the last link under the Brexit category today. The photo of the cat posted on Reddit together with her salient advice regarding Brexit reminds of ancient Egyptian deities and the Oracle(s) of Delphi in ancient Greece. Think this points to the need for broader applications; i.e., a Feline Oracle ap that combines advisory services in a number of different categories ranging from personal relationship and investment advice at the individual level to management, domestic and geopolitical policy advice at the corporate and government levels, respectively.

  25. Oregoncharles

    “Adding kitties to politics improves Mimi’s posts.”
    Cryptic, but go to it. Funniest thing I’ve seen in quite a while.

    Thank you, NC, for a good laugh.

    1. ambrit

      “Phaque Newz Alert!”
      The Chinese have nothing on the US.
      Ronnie Reagan was replaced with an animatronic “President” specially built by Disney Animatronics in 1981 after Hinkley killed Reagan.
      We’ve had Max Headroom in the White House ever since.
      Incidentally, the character of Max Headroom was first broadcast in 1985. Obviously inspired by the underground tales of the heroic efforts of the Disney people to save the Republic.
      As a senior Republican official remarked when asked about the rumours concerning the robotic Reagan; “Believe that and I have a war in the Middle East to sell you.” The press corps is said to have broken out in laughter at that remark.

  26. Plenue

    >Camille Paglia: It’s Time for a New Map of the Gender World (interview) Quillette

    Can it be a map with a terra incognita that we exile Paglia to so no one has to interact with her ever again?

  27. Plenue

    >Tech C.E.O.s Are in Love With Their Principal Doomsayer NYT

    “When Mr. Harari toured the Bay Area this fall to promote his latest book, the reception was incongruously joyful. Reed Hastings, the chief executive of Netflix, threw him a dinner party. The leaders of X, Alphabet’s secretive research division, invited Mr. Harari over. Bill Gates reviewed the book (“Fascinating” and “such a stimulating writer”) in The New York Times.”

    The Gates review reminds me of how whenever there’s a book from someone like Sheldon Wolin or Chalmers Johnson, the back and cover will have blurbs from establishment sources saying how it’s “important” or even “revelatory” or similar. And then those establishment sources continue on exactly as they did before, completely ignoring everything the book they reviewed had to say.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’ve rather enjoyed Harari’s books and his outlook is similar to mine, in terms of electronic tethers and such…

      And Mr. Hastings wrote: “Yuval’s the anti-Silicon Valley persona — he doesn’t carry a phone and he spends a lot of time contemplating while off the grid. We see in him who we wish we were.”

      His writing on AI and the awful possibilities of it were enlightening to me, perhaps the most Luddite individual on here when it comes to computers, as in I know nothing about how they tick and would prefer to keep it that way.

    2. djrichard

      On the topic of “doomsayers”, highly recommend Zone 23 by C.J. Hopkins. It has a lot of resemblance to … the present.

  28. Oregoncharles

    “Camille Paglia: It’s Time for a New Map of the Gender World ”

    Footnote first: this isn’t really an interview, because it was done by email and Paglia is intensely literate. It’s really two short(ish) essays in response to questions. It’s much better than any interview I’ve seen.

    The piece remodels my image of Paglia. I see her as a professional loose cannon, a Dionysian bomb-thrower. But in this, she evidently sees herself as a defender of ” basic scholarly standards”; and in her response on “MeToo,” as a voice of sweet reason and for fairness between the sexes – which, indeed, is what feminism was originally about. I saw nothing significant I could disagree with. Like her, I’m very much a product of the 60’s, so I’m pleased to see her defending the discoveries of that era, too.

    The title is from her concluding line. She’s drawing the real lesson of #MeToo. And again, she’s defending the insights and impulses of Women’s Liberation aka 2nd Wave Feminism. They called for a new dispensation, which somehow never happened. The movement was distracted by blaming men – I saw it happen. As a result, they focused on adopting the more rewarding aspects of the masculine role, without asking men whether that was a good idea. It’s a trap, which served bosses well in exploiting men.

    Having just read the linked description of The Jackpot, I think we’re in it. There are too many crises, all at once, to really cope with. And I’m not off topic, because the vexed relations between the sexes constitute one of those crises, a particularly personal and passionate one. No wonder birth rates are declining.

    Paglia stops short of describing that “New Map,” which I’ve been thinking of as a new etiquette. Map is better. I like this new (?) persona of hers; I look forward to her thoughts on The Map.

  29. Chris

    I’m willing to bet that this article in The Atlantic sums up the considered thoughts of all “right thinking” and “serious people” right now:

    Will the Left Go Too Far?

    I’m amazed by the premise though. It erases everything the Dem$ have done to resist change and makes it seem like AOC, Bernie, and Cornell West are now ranking members of the most important congressional committees. It’s as if this was from an alternate world where Occupy, Standing Rock, single payer, Glass-Steagall, and no austerity, were unambiguously and unanimously supported by every Democrat in every branch of government throughout the land. It’s as if none of the media black out for Ben Jealous and other left aligned politicians in the last election ever happened. It’s like Obama actually showed up and did what he said he wanted to do before he was president.

    I think articles like this in combination with all the calls for bipartisanship are the best chance those in power have of Restoring America ™ and trying to forget Trump ever happened. If this truly represents the established thought on policy and our priorities and what happened over the last 10 years…wake me when Trump is re-elected in 2020. There’s nothing to see here. Team Blue Dog refuses to hunt for anyone but their masters, and they ain’t us!

    1. Doug Hillman

      Good wrap-up.

      “It riles them to believe that you perceive the web they weave…face piles of trials with smiles”. — Moody Blues

      1. knowbuddhau

        Nice, I need a T-shirt of that.

        Agreed, Chris. Trying to impose a “clean break” with the awful past, which jsh to be their past, which quite a few of us remember, bc still awful.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Actually, though you’re right about the writer’s condescending attitude and bizarre attempt to turn the Democratic Party leadership into passive bystanders….the article is actually pretty good and I’d say accurate. This is a useful description of the left:

      At a time when the terms liberal, progressive, and leftist are often used interchangeably, it’s worth clarifying what these terms mean. In America, what distinguishes leftists from liberals and progressives—as well as conservatives—is their commitment to radical equality. Leftists are more likely than liberals to argue that economic inequality renders America’s constitutional liberties hollow. They’re more likely to look abroad—to the Soviet Union or Cuba in past eras, and to Scandinavia today—for alternatives to America’s political and economic models. They’re more skeptical of credentialed experts who define the limits of acceptable change. And, perhaps most important, they’re more willing to challenge entrenched norms of fair play to forge a more equal country.

      Now, a good centrist like Beinart omits WHY leftists have come to believe such things, but that description isn’t bad.

      I like the context he gives about the pressure FDR was put under by the left, especially from churches and trade unions. A lot of libruls will happily pretend FDR just did nice things like Social Security out of the kindness of his heart. Same for Kennedy/Johnson and Civil Rights movement.

      But, yes, the headline shows Beinart’s true colors, and if the headline isn’t written by the writer, this paragraph does the job, too…

      But another lesson of the 1930s and the 1960s is that threatening entrenched norms and disrupting public order—although effective for a while—can eventually provoke a fierce backlash.

      Again, Beinart isn’t entirely wrong here, even if he loves his ‘norms’ and ‘order’ a bit too much.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        “In both cases—in the mid-1930s and the mid-1960s—the left gained that power through mass movements that threatened public order. To maintain that order, and forestall more radical alternatives, Democrats passed laws that made America markedly more equal.”

        The problem with Beinart’s slick narrative is that it relies on the false statement above. The left in the 1930s and the 1960s gained power through mass movements that won at the ballot box. Left-leaning Democrats were voted into office in those decades by ordinary citizens; they were not elevated into power by street rioters. Threat to public order was not what made new laws. Not what actually increased equality. It was the legislation. And that legislation was not passed due to threat of insurrection. His entire argument rest on this oft-repeated falsehood.

        The right wing backlash that arose in the 1950s, and again in the 1980s, relied – and relies today – on this over-repeated baloney. The pundits who love to push this line commonly claim to be great centrist Democrats. But, they work so relentlessly to denigrate the left and to eradicate the actual legislative history of the American left, that you have to wonder where they truly stand.

        Or rather, you don’t. There’s no wonder in it at all.

        1. JohnnyGL

          Yes, thanks for making the major point that what threatens ‘order’ is highly contentious. First, off, what is ‘order’? I think I conceded too much to Beinart in my comment above.

          The state was happy to employ plenty of violence to defend its various imperial projects from protestors throughout the Vietnam War era. It was fine with imposing a compulsory draft on a bunch of teenagers and send them into a hell-hole of its own making, bringing all the misery, trauma and destruction that comes with it. It was just as happy to defend Jim Crow ‘norms’ and law. It also imposed/engineered consensus around the ‘drug war’ to help defend itself from leftist challengers (that’s not my opinion, that’s what a top Nixon aide said). Again, requiring militarization of police, shifting priorities away from investigating and resolving issues of violent crime towards hunting drug-traffickers for profit. Again, replete with violence, corruption, trauma that comes with wars abroad.

          Similar things could be written about the force used to crush unions prior to the 1930s. Lots of violence and resistance to peaceful calls for change on behalf of big business and its allies in the state.

          None of these things sound like they’re a matter of ‘keeping order’, quite the opposite, in fact, but these are things centrists tell themselves to justify opposing the left’s calls for change.

          It takes a real mental leap to recast history as ‘leftists’ threatening disorder, when it’s really the state that repeatedly chose to sow disorder and chaos in order to resist the changes being called for, mostly peacefully, by the activist left. And yes, a fatigued populace eventually yielded to the state’s demands.

  30. Jack Parsons

    I strongly suspect that an eco-terrorist group will create a CRISPR-based virus that kills all cows.

      1. Chris

        The start of a White Plague in doubt…

        Ah well, at least we’ll have Good Omens to watch as the world burns down. I could use more Terry Prachett and Neil Gaiman in my life right now. Less of Frank Herbert :/

        1. ambrit

          The Conspiracy Theory wing of the population believe that the HIV/AIDS phenomenon is a test run for the main event.

  31. The Rev Kev

    Saw something funny this morning. Google wants to set up a headquarters in Berlin and wanted to put it in Berlin’s uber hipster district of Kreuzberg. The locals binned that idea as rents would skyrocket and there is not much love for Google in there in any case. However, the Berlin district of Lichtenberg decided to come to the aid of Google since they love companies like Google and offered them a pre-standing building – the former headquarters of the East German Stasi. Hah!

  32. dcblogger

    went to Metro DC DSA this evening. was blown away by the range and energy of their projects. They have a group attempting to organize Lyft and Uber drivers, a group working against slum lords, another on wage theft, and more I can’t remember. This last time I was in a room or activists with that sort of energy and determination was June 1989 in Tbilisi.

  33. allan

    NY Pols Express ‘Serious Reservations’ About Amazon Reported HQ2 Plans for Long Island City [NBC New York]

    A pair of New York City politicians expressed “serious reservations” over Amazon’s reported plan to split its new headquarters between Crystal City in Virginia and Long Island City in Queens. …

    In a joint statement on Sunday … Sen. Michael Gianaris and New York City Council member Jimmy Van Bramer, whose districts include Long Island City, maintained that “[o]ffering massive corporate welfare from scarce public resources to one of the wealthiest corporations in the world at a time of great need in our state is just wrong.” …

    “We were not elected to serve as Amazon drones,” they added. “The burden should not be on the 99 percent to prove we are worthy of the 1 percent’s presence in our communities, but rather on Amazon to prove it would be a responsible corporate neighbor.” …

    Poor Mr. Gianaris and Mr. Van Bramer seem not to have gotten the memo.
    The 99%ers need to be grateful for the opportunity to supply tax subsidies to the .01% and their 1% facilitators.

  34. Oguk

    > Using No-Till this Fall USDA (!).
    No-till seems attractive (cf Masanobu Fukuoka, The One Straw Revolution), until you realize that the current industry implementation of it calls for regular use of herbicide + GM crops (altered to resist the herbicide). The problem is that without regular tillage, perennial weeds (deep rooted, long-lived) tend to take over.

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