Links 11/16/18

Pancake stop snags inmate who fled jail with help from mom AP. Crime makes you stupid.

Amazon: EC Investigation to Focus on Whether Amazon Uses Data to Develop and Favor Private Label Products; Former Employees Say Data Key to Private Label Strategy (PDF) Capitol Forum

Boeing’s automatic trim for the 737 MAX was not disclosed to the Pilots Leeham News. Important. “[T]he 737 MAX no longer has the docile pitch characteristics of the 737NG at high Angles Of Attack (AOA). This is caused by the larger engine nacelles covering the higher bypass LEAP-1B engines.” Speculating freely: I have often wondered if the civilian aircraft industry is reaching some sort of limit or tipping point: The gigantism of the A380, the Rolls-Royce Trent engines that are so troublesome, the on-going deterioration of outsourced maintenance and atrophy of flying skills…. Perhaps pilots and other airline personnel would care to comment?

Mark Zuckerberg says he didn’t know Facebook hired a research firm that tried to discredit its critics by linking them to George Soros Business Insider

Gas flaring continues scorching Niger Delta Deutsche Welle

Killer Tulips Hiding in Plain Sight The Atlantic (RM). Anti-fungal resistance.

Remarkable agrivoltaic influence on soil moisture, micrometeorology and water-use efficiency PLOS One

Farms and forests could be key to curbing greenhouse gas emissions Star-Tribune (GF).

California Wildfires

Air-Fouling Smoke Continues across California; 2009 Report Warned of Potential Fire Disaster Weather Underground. As OregonCharles remarked of Paradise’s road system: “It’s a trap!”

Misery grows in Camp Fire: 63 dead, 631 missing as fearful relatives submit DNA samples San Francisco Chronicle

California Utility Customers May Be on Hook for Billions in Wildfire Damage NYT (Re Silc).

Revisiting Mike Davis’ case for letting Malibu burn Los Angeles Times


Theresa May’s terrible Brexit deal has united the UK in horror Martin Wolf, FT. Quite the headline.

‘Soft’ Brexit agreement not a done deal, warn EU leaders Guardian. Yves: “EU may retrade the draft deal. As I warned….”

IMF says no-deal Brexit to cause 8% hit to UK economy Independent. Could be taken as the IMF rushing to May’s rescue, undercutting the (directionally accurate) message.


Saudi prosecutor seeks death penalty for five suspects in Jamal Khashoggi’s killing Los Angeles Times

NATO Commits Long-Term to Military Training Mission In Iraq

The Twisted Logic of the Jewish ‘Historic Right’ to Israel Haaretz. The headline could be seen as inflammatory, but the article is useful.

North Korea

The New York Times’ Misleading Story on North Korean Missiles 38 North


India is suffering the ‘worst water crisis in its history’ World Economic Forum


Fosun’s founder adds his voice to calm jittery nerves among China’s private-sector entrepreneurs South China Morning Post. Community leaders called for calm.

Young Marxists are going missing in China after protesting for workers CNN

China is winning the trade war with America Gillian Tett, FT

Malaysia’s bold play against China WaPo

Khmer Rouge leaders found guilty of Cambodia genocide BBC. Next up, Henry Kissinger!

New Cold War

Congress Likely to Shelve New Russia Sanctions as Clock Runs Out Bloomberg

Trump Transition

How the Generals Are Routing the Policy Wonks at the Pentagon Foreign Policy. The Atlantic Council appear in paragraph nine.

VA seeks to reduce GI Bill payment delays after IT woes AP

Democrats in Disarray

Ocasio-Cortez gets in closed-door fight with veteran lawmaker over climate change Politico. Like that’s a bad thing!

Big Oil v the planet is the fight of our lives. Democrats must choose a side David Sirota, Guardian

Educated American suburbanites powered Democrats’ ‘blue wave’ FT. In other words, the post-2018 Democrat Party will become more like the party anatomized in Thomas Frank’s Listen, Liberal!, not less. That’s not a bug. It’s a feature.

The ‘Pelosi Problem’ Runs Deep Truthdig

NY Republican: GOP lawmakers to back Pelosi for Speaker if she backs rule reforms The Hill. The centrist “Problem Solvers” caucus, an offshoot of No Labels (“National Leader: Joe Lieberman”).

Congratulations to Former Slipster and (Congresswoman-Elect) Porter! Credit Slips. All power to the blogosphere!

Florida orders first ever statewide hand-recounts as legal fights continue Tampa Bay Times. Only of undervotes and overvotes, and not for the Governor’s race.

Health Care

CMS may allow hospitals to pay for housing through Medicaid Modern Healthcare. “In a speech supported by the Hatch Foundation for Civility and Solutions and Intermountain Healthcare in Washington, Azar said Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation officials are looking to move beyond existing efforts to partner with social services groups and try to manage social determinants of health as they see appropriate.”

Suicide Rates by Major Occupational Group — 17 States, 2012 and 2015 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC

The Best Way To Save People From Suicide HuffPo

Imperial Collapse Watch

United States Budgetary Costs of the Post-9/11 Wars Through FY2019: $5.9 Trillion Spent and Obligated (PDF) Neta Crawford, Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs (Re Silc). Q: “How ya gonna pay for it?” A: “Print money, like we do for the Pentagon.”

Rosie the CNC Machinist: American Manufacturing as a Warfare Domain War on the Rocks

Secret CIA Document Shows Plan to Test Drugs on Prisoners ACLU. “CIA doctors decided that waterboarding actually ‘provided periodic relief’ to a prisoner because it was a break from days of standing sleep deprivation.” Somebody should ask Spanberger, et al., about all this.

Julian Assange has been CHARGED: Justice Department inadvertently reveals they have prosecuted the WikiLeaks founder under seal and US authorities are preparing to arrest him Daily Mail

Class Warfare

Kim Kardashian’s Private Firefighters Expose America’s Fault Lines The Atlantic (FluffytheObeseCat).

Everyone Believed Larry Nassar: The predatory trainer may have just taken down USA Gymnastics. How did he deceive so many for so long? New York Magazine

The Great National Circus Eric Foner, LRB. “From the mid-1830s to the outbreak of war in 1861, Freeman counts more than seventy violent incidents – duels, fistfights, stabbings – in the halls of Congress and the surrounding streets.” Civility problems, eh?

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. zagonostra

    I’m glad that AOC is taking a confrontational approach, but I find it interesting she selected climate change instead of M4All as her first foray.

    Many people I know in central PA, where I live, next month will be struggling, a life and death struggle, to pay their obscene health insurance premium at the cost of deferring buying heating oil for the winter. Poll after poll has shown healthcare is the number one concern. So why start the charge at the old guard with climate change?

    I think the answer is because it is safe. It’s abstract, in the future, and doesn’t impact anyone financially right away. With M4All it is a radical re-orientation as to what a government’s responsibility is to protect it’s citizens from predatory and rapacious exploitation.

    1. taunger

      A possible contrary reason: it is the most imperative issue. It is not the future: fires in Cali, rising oceans in Florida, greater storm damage, water shortages across the west. It is not the future. It will cause immediate financial impacts, and that is a bonus – it should redistribute wealth from TPTB. Global warming is also a radical re-orientation as to what a government’s responsibility is to protect its citizens from predatory and rapacious exploitation.

      Younger people have had most of our lives with this problem, and no significant (as in, fixing the problem) effort at the federal level. Believe it or not, without health care reform, many of us will be fine. Without a massive effort to mitigate global warming, most of us are totally F’ed. In terms of urgency and import, global warming does take precedence.

      1. zagonostra

        Don’t get me wrong, I recognize it’s an existential threat to everyone on the planet if we don’t do something soon. It’s just from the perspective of someone who faces the possibility of death next month, or getting a life saving operation for their child, the priority is more immediate.

        The ideal is we should be fighting both battles, but if you are going to prioritize, it’s getting the insane person driving the bus over the cliff out of the driver’s seat right now instead worrying about getting oil in the engine before it blows.

        For those who are faced with these immediate threats to their, or their loved one’s survival, focusing on next week, month, year, is just no in the cards.

        1. a different chris

          >focusing on next week, month, year, is just no in the cards.

          But, and this is not meaning to understate the awfulness, you don’t have to forego life-saving treatments. You show up at the hospital, get treated and get stuck with a bill you can’t pay in 3 lifetimes. And unlike, say the car dealership, they will treat you again if you show up again.

          We can hopefully address the remaining “lifetime” bills part along with the rest of the mess. Not that the signs have been encouraging, but it’s “just money”. We print it on paper for godssakes.

        2. Unna

          AOC is going with the news cycle. Wild fires. Deaths. Global warming. It’s a smart strategy. You can’t do everything on day one. Med4All maybe next week.

          I was a bit skeptical of AOC at first, and maybe still am, certainly don’t agree with her ICE position. But she seems to be a welcome addition to Congress. At first, reading this, I thought it was actually a real fight, AOC beating up on some poor old Dem pol….ah well. But mouthy confrontation is what we have young people for. And it serves a useful purpose.

      2. jrs

        I can’t think of any more radical reorientation. I’m not sure how capitalism as we know it or at all survives a move toward ecological sustainability (I could be wrong and am willing to be so but ..). I mean you can solve many issues by tempering capitalism with social democracy, but I think the ecological crisis demands a more radical rethinking.

      3. KPC

        You cannot be serious.

        Global climate change is going to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor.

        You need to immediately invest in a little education.

        To start, the impact of global climate change or, more appropriately, its causes is the absolute destruction of capital regardless of whether one is rich or poor.

        The causes of climate change also directly relate to health.

        People with your attitude are, in fact, a part of the very problem.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I feel it’s too much personality thing right now.

            If she does something 11 dimensional, it’s ‘we can’t be confrontational.’ (And the opposite)

            If she does something confrontational, it’s ‘we can’t wait. Must do it now.’ (And the opposite).

            Would be better off she does and we let her do her ‘practice in the gym, away from the limelight,’ thing.

            And allow room (for anyone, especially) to make mistakes and learn from it. No expecting perfection or infallibility.

    2. Linden S.

      We are only in the baby steps of national level climate policy. There are so many different things that need to be done, and a laundry list of options. I think AOC’s demands — giving the committee a mandate to write draft “Green New Deal” by 2020 — reflects this. It is honestly an enormous crime that no one has written even draft legislation for national-level climate policy before now (that I know of..). I think the seemingly simple demand that the committee be made of legislators that have taken the No Fossil-Fuel Money pledge could be devastating in its effectiveness.

      Things are going to start moving fast from here on out. I don’t know what the next fossil fuel industry move is going to be.

      1. taunger

        continue to fund republican officials and candidates that support voter disenfranchisement, suppression, and fraud.

        1. Linden S.

          Good point. I think the nihilism lurking beneath the surface is going to become much harder to hide, though. People are hungry for this kind of language, and (at least in the stage) I think it will lead to large amounts of support for the politicians that speak it with the level of authenticity AOC and Rashida Tlaib do. Once the rubber hits the road of real action, though, is when we’ll see just how far the true believers can drag the rest of the population with them.

    3. Oregoncharles

      It’s most likely an accident of timing – the demonstration would have been scheduled separately.

      1. Jeff W

        That’s what occurred to me, too—activists from the Sunrise Movement had planned a protest in Minority Leader Pelosi”s office and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined to show her support. Had it been National Nurses United demanding single payer health care, Ocasio-Cortez might have just as easily been there.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          The Sunrise Movement website is notably light on institutional information or funding sources, so my paranoia kicks in; the generational rhetoric doesn’t help. Heaven forfend AOC got sucked into an AstroTurf situation.

          Here’s the leadership; I Googled them and don’t find any obvious tells (like none of them interned for Neera Tanden, or anything like that). Could be they were just smart and aggressive when they occupied Pelosi’s office, and luck or contacts brought AOC in.

          1. Jeff W

            Yeah, their endorsements don’t read like Astroturf, either. (And I’m not so sure an Astroturf group would choose something quite as in-your-face as occupying Pelosi’s office, but you never know.) Let’s hope she’s savvy enough to vet the groups she aligns herself with—I’d bet she is.

            I think, as you said, it’s a matter of luck and contacts and, as I said, doesn’t say anything vis-à-vis Ocasio-Cortez’s priorities on other issues like health care. The optics play very well for her—she won’t be shy about confronting the Democratic leadership, it seems. This might prove interesting.

        2. False Solace

          I agree. On the other hand, it’s a gimme to conservatives who want to paint AOC as a fringe environmentalist crazy. M4A is far more popular with even their audiences.

          It will not be possible to build a social consensus in favor of climate change action without first untying the knots of health care and job insecurity.

    4. jrs

      Climate change is safe and doesn’t impact anyone financially right now to take on? No way. It’s a courageous fight about the most daring out there, existentially and morally *THE* issue of this and any other time, it will kill far more globally that the U.S. healthcare system, it probably already has, bound to be fought by deniers and big money on all sides.

      I mean in terms of people’s economics there are any number of issues: lack of affordable housing (massive homeless crisis), lack of decent paying jobs. But climate change is still the issue of our and all time.

      1. Louis

        I mean in terms of people’s economics there are any number of issues: lack of affordable housing (massive homeless crisis), lack of decent paying jobs. But climate change is still the issue of our and all time.

        I doubt there is going to be a significant increase for dealing with climate change unless something is done about income inequality.

        The reason is pretty obvious: it’s hard to get people to care about what happens decades from now, possibly even beyond their lifetimes, when they have to worry about whether they can afford healthcare or a place to live.

        1. JBird4049

          Climate change is more pressing, but its existence is being used to obscure all the other problems like healthcare and homelessness.

          1. jrs

            Who anywhere is using it for that? It seems a total strawman. Seriously I can’t think of ANY political group using it that way (or is it all still personally about Al Gore).

            The mainstream Dems don’t really go near the issue, and well leftists are not using it to obscure anything.

    5. Procopius

      Could it be this just happened to make the news first, and isn’t her first priority at all? I didn’t read the article, but the Republicans currently in Congress are so obnoxious I don’t think a report of a Congressman-elect having words with a seated Congressman is particularly informative.

  2. John Beech

    Amazon: EC Investigation to Focus on Whether Amazon Uses Data to Develop and Favor Private Label Products; Former Employees Say Data Key to Private Label Strategy (PDF) Capitol Forum

    Of course they do! Nothing new about the practice, either. I’m in the model airplane hobby business. A pal of mine manufcatures 67 different fuel tanks for models (blow molded polyethelene). However, of those about a dozen make all the money. It’s known as the 80/20 rule (20% of products produce 80% of revenue). The point is, his product line was picked up for distribution by the largest hobby products distributor in America. One year later they launched a product line of their own fuel tanks comprising 12 different sizes. He bitterly complained the fact is they had the goods on him. Or put another way, they had all the insight into his business to know exactly which products to manufacture. Same thing happened to me with the same company, the chief difference being my interpretation of the lesson had me forming another company to create a different line of products, which I never allowed them to distribute. He wasn’t so fortunate because by the time he figured out what had happened, he was stuck and couldn’t afford to break away and go back on his own (e.g. self-distribute). However, I had my own list of hobby stores and picked right up where I had been and continue in business to this day. My questions is this; why should Amazon be any different? Specifically, why shouldn’t they use the intelligence they gather for their business aims. Whip off the rose tinted glasses! The Japanese grok the totality of the situation, which is business is war!

      1. John Beech

        Pal refers to a friend, a confidant, a friendly associate. In this instance, my use of the word pal is predicated by our shared (and similar) experience in producing products for a major distributor who used the data (intelligence) to its benefit (the flip side being, to our mutual detriment). This created a bond, which persists 25 years later.

        1. todde

          So when someone uses their economic power for their benefit and to you and your friends determent you are ok with that?

          How about when a group of people use their political power to their benefit and your determent, how do you feel about that?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Wonderful, wonderful success story! Really, the greatest! Inspiring! This is how we will make America great again!

      Really, really like the bit about how business is war! Just the best! Superlative! That’s the great, stupendous idea that is working out just superlatively for America!

      Too bad your pal can’t “mold with the times!” A little joke there! But in war there are casualties, always have been!! In fact, that inspires thoughts of renewing the Job Training Partnership Act!! A GREAT Idea whose time has come again!!

      1. Wukchumni

        It’s funny, as veterans get priority over civilians when it comes to hiring @ the NPS in ‘business is war’ style, the caveat being that there is no money for new jobs and those that have the rarity of rarities in the NPS-a permanent job, yeah, it’s not like they’re going away anytime soon, although there has been a shift, as a few full time employees of Sequoia NP, have taken full time jobs instead with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, @ nearby Lake Kaweah reservoir, as being part of the MIC clan, the moolah is flowing free, and the Corps is hiring.

        1. Harold

          Veterans also get a boost in seniority and other things, at least in civil service. Not fair to take priority in jobs, too. Especially ones with benefits.

          1. Wukchumni

            A young seasonal NPS employee I know who loves Sequoia NP, and is in his early 20’s, wanted to further his chances @ being a permanent NPS employee by enlisting in the USMC, so as to get his veteran cred.

            I think he’s done with his tour of duty soon…

            Funny what it’s come to, the country’s most treasured natural parts-our National Parks, only have parts for those who were trained to kill~

            1. The Rev Kev

              Bit of a generational change that. Those vets who came back from Vietnam often found themselves on the bottom of the hiring lists. In interviews, they would ask if you had been in the military and a yes drew a down-check. They then asked suspiciously if you had seen any combat and a yes would put you out the door with no promises as you were seen as a risk.

          2. JTMcPhee

            Yes, let us not frame our thinking about this in terms of “all working class mopes are in the same set, and ought to be demanding jobs and benefits from the Owner class that is waging war on US, war being a business and all that.” Let us instead drag everyone down to the lowest rung and condition — at least that way we can be glad that no Welfare Mothers and other undeserving get any kind of “nice thing” that we, because we don’t organize and go after them, will not be given up by the Owners.

            “I can pay half the working class to kill the other half,” quoth Jay “Plutocrat” Gould. Divide and conquer, on the race to the bottom. Hey, I bet Wukchumni is way better off than most of us here. Let’s drag him down to the basement too!

            1. Wukchumni

              I’ve been unemployed since ‘ssshrubery ascended the throne a second time, I just live richly on things that require little or no money. And I saved my pennies when I did that work thing, so I could goof off more effectively.

              Gas is probably my biggest expense (here come the brickbats about how me and my types are wrecking the world, on account of a roadtrip!)

              The way the absurdly wealthy do it, is things have to match their opinions of themselves, largely based on wealth.

              We’ll be at Saline hot springs with many hundreds of others that enjoy it, and not one cent will pass hands in exchange for anything among the assembled, as you can’t buy anything there. If you needed a favor in lifting something, or wanted to volunteer in the daily ritual of cleaning out the hot tubs, that’d be nice, but it’s not expected.

              The rich mostly want exclusivity, so they would own the hot springs and fence it off only for themselves, and probably have a squad of trained experts in warding away interlopers, out of their element.

              1. Wukchumni


                Expectation of royalty @ Saline is a given, as most will be wearing the emperor’s new clothes, whilst soaking.

                1. Copeland

                  Have you seen the Attenborough video of the Japanese monkeys who bathe in hot springs, but only the monkey “royalty” are allowed into the water? Fascinating!

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    Only the males or both royal males and females?

                    (I can’t recall the details, but remember watching that).

          3. False Solace

            When I was applying for state and local jobs, I was able to use veteran’s preference either one time to get hired or for promotion consideration, not for both, and this was explicitly called out in all hiring materials. Don’t know how it works for federal.

    2. Unna

      “My questions is this; why should Amazon be any different? Specifically, why shouldn’t they use the intelligence they gather for their business aims.”

      Well, OK, until they acquire too much market power and then it’s the job of the government to step in and slap them down. Break them up. First for the purposes of encouraging competition and grass roots innovation, and second, as per Amazon, because they represent a deadly threat to the orderly existence of democratically based constitutional government because of their extreme market and economic power. Amazon has become the rogue tiger that got too big and started attacking people. So the government needs to organize a group of hunters to shoot it, i.e., break it up, and eliminate the danger it represents.

      1. Procopius

        Hahahaha! You make the comedy. That sounds like Teddy Roosevelt progressivism. The Justice department stopped doing that back in the Carter administration. Nowadays all they do is find what loopholes are missing to sell them to lobbyists who then get congresscritters to amend the laws to insert the missing loopholes.

        1. Unna

          Of course I know they don’t enforce it. But they should. Obama didn’t enforce the criminal law on Wall Street either. Congress doesn’t enforce its war making powers. The political parties as well as almost all of their politicians don’t care much about the fourth amendment. Law enforcement must be so 20th century in America. So tell me, what does it say when the population of a country doesn’t care so much, or otherwise finds humour in the fact, that the criminal law is not being enforced?

    3. False Solace

      Amazon is different because they are a monopolist and it is illegal for them to leverage their monopoly in one market area to take over other areas.

      Capitalism and monopolies are a crummy mix.

    1. Wukchumni

      We’re so glad to be shortly out of here, i’ve never wanted to go to Vegas so urgently, and I don’t even gamble. The smoke is atrocious here, and we’re strictly small potatoes compared to Sack-o-tomatoes up north, which is where i’d not want to be right now, ye gads.

      1. Tom Stone

        The smoke is bad in Sonoma County, trying to sleep while wearing an N97 mask doesn’t work real well.
        More admissions to the ER for the elderly and those with heart conditions, noticeably worse driving.
        And the fire danger here is still critical, people are on edge.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s not so smoky here in Southern California, but it could be radioactive, in some places.

          1. jrs

            No last Saturday was bad, horrible and apocalyptic really, but things have improved since then and are back to more normal – well it’s not like L.A. is ever smog free (might be more toxic than it seems though currently, I suspect so).

      2. Brian (another one they call)

        It is also bad in Southern Oregon. It is close to what the local fires were all summer long. We have been inundated with smoke for 5 months from the various fires here and in CA. Just don’t breathe in.

      3. RUKidding

        It’s very very very BAD in Sacramento. Let me be clear: it’s HORRIBLE.

        Of course, nothing compared to what citizens further north are experiencing, so one tries to be sanguine.

        I heard last night that we currently have the worst air pollution on the planet, which is believable, as you can, literally, TASTE it. Ick. Like an ashtray.

        I thought I’d never have to experience such bad air pollution when I flew away from Delhi a couple of years ago.

        My sympathies, though, go to my neighbors northward. What an unmitigated disaster for them.

        1. Charlie

          London 1800s: The Big Stink encroaches on leadership.

          Sacramento 2018: The Big Smoke encroaches on leadership.

          Some things never change, but maybe now someone will have a good idea for how to address climate change.

    2. Lee

      I live in the Oakland CA area and it is miserable. OTOH, heard on NPR that these would be good days in Delhi. Based on how our local conditions are affecting me, in Delhi I’d be dead. I did see Venus this morning for the first time in awhile.

      1. RUKidding

        Sadly, Delhi is has terrible pollution, but I think Sacramento might be edging them out at the moment. Alas.

    3. In the Land of Farmers

      I moved to Missoula this year to see if it would work for me. My health issues make me environmentally sensitive, mostly to pollution. I thought the area would be fine for me since it had a low population and was in the middle of nowhere, but did not take into account the wildfires here and the inversion layers created by the mountains. So it turns out it will not be sustainable. The fires are getting worse here but they are also doing more controlled fires in Idaho which effects the Bitterroot Valley as well, so there is a constant stream of particulates into the air.

      Last year the air was code red for two months straight. This year it was better but there were still several red and yellow days bad enough for my immune system to kick into overdrive.

      Before I chose Missoula I was looking at Chico, CA as a possibility. I was lucky. The Olympic Peninsula looks like my last chance on the west coast. There will be mass migrations from the western droughts, an Oregon is not looking to good right now:

      Also, check here if you are looking for air quality in your area:

      1. Linden S.

        The Canadian forests will just keep burning forever, too. We got a lot of their smoke this summer in the Upper Midwest. I have bad sinuses and it just wipes me out. I hope you are able to find something that works for you.

      2. Lee

        I spent a summer in Bozeman when Idaho was on fire. It was really, really awful so far as far as breathing was concerned. The drinking and carousing we’re pretty good though.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Misery grows in Camp Fire: 63 dead, 631 missing as fearful relatives submit DNA samples”

    If ferocious fires like these are going to be the new norm, then perhaps it is past time to adapt communities to this fact. If you are going to have a small community out in the sticks that could be cut off from fire, then maybe it could become mandatory that a community fire bunker be built. It would have to be built to standard and inspected both during construction and annually by State authorities or else it would only become a death trap if badly designed and built with ‘market’ solutions. Fires pass fairly quickly but it is the radiant heat from the fire that you have to protect people from. For most of the time the bunker could be used as a community center, dance hall, meeting place, whatever – but if a fire approaches rapidly then the locals could head to it until the fire passes.

    1. JTMcPhee

      You also have to keep the people inside from suffocating, a la what happened to so many in the bomb shelters of cities like Dresden, when the fires sucked all the oxygen out of the air. See “Slaughterhouse-Five.”

      I am sure the Israelis have standardized plans that they would be happy to sell to us, for a nice profit…

      “In this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear…” Welcome to Paradise! (Disturbing content warning)

  4. Wukchumni

    You think Paradise was a fire trap?

    It’s got nothing on Mineral King in Sequoia NP. Only 1 road in or out, and at times there are 2 full lanes on the road, but usually more like 1 & 6/7’s lanes and no painted divider to keep drivers on one side or the other, in the 25 mile stretch that goes from 900 feet to 7,800, which includes 698 significant curves along the way. Blind curves aren’t a dime a dozen, they’re even cheaper than that.

    It’s not the road’s fault, which was built in 1879 to facilitate bringing all the ore down from the fabulously rich Empire Mine via horse & buggy, which as luck had it along with every other mining venture, in Mineral King-not worth a plugged nickel, as said mineral deposits were what was known as ‘rebellious ore’ and contained silver alright, but it couldn’t be separated from lead and other stuff nobody wanted.

    In normal times of driving in the summer months (the road is open from around Memorial Day to the eve of Halloween) on any average day, you’ll experience a few near head-on collisions that both drivers avoid, because you’re only going 15-20 mph, allowing plenty of time to react. And once every half dozen drives there’ll be an impasse in an area of the road where there is only 1 & 1/2 lanes, and one of the drivers will have to back up a hundred feet to a more luxurious section of road, to allow the other driver to pass.

    In our cabin community, in case of a fire, our instructions are to head up to Mineral King Valley, which doesn’t have all that much to burn, and is wide open compared to the rest of Mineral King, where damn near every trail to somewhere includes a 2,000 foot gain over 3 to 5 miles, as in steep.

    So, we know what to do~

    Now in regards to the NPS, there is no plan whatsoever for self-evacuation of the public, of which there will be about 600 of on any weekend-as MK has some of the best hiking/backpacking possibilities around, atypically outnumbering cabin owners by a ratio of 6-1 or thereabouts, for a total of 700 people in harm’s way.

    The natural inclination in a fire is to get out, and because the public tourists have no idea what to do, those 600 people will more than likely all start heading down en masse, and run into us, going uphill.

    It would only take say 6 stuck cars @ a choke-point and then nobody’s going nowhere, fast.

    It’s a disaster waiting to happen, and we have smoke hoods, fire shelter tents and other shelter in place goodies, as a precaution.

    Nobody else I know among cabin owners has any of this equipment @ the ready, and certainly none of the tourists.

    1. Linden S.

      I am glad it is something you have thought about, and have a plan for.

      Just like with floodzones or sea level rise, there needs to be public, well-vetted reports on what residential areas are at risk. There must be 1000s of towns across the U.S. where local planners are screaming from the rooftops and developers and city councils are nodding sagely and ignoring all of their advice.

      1. Wukchumni

        A lightning strike caused the Horse Creek Fire in July, in a similar ridiculously steep section of terrain to the current Eden Fire, but a few miles closer in to us, and on the other side of a precipitous canyon with scant to burn that serves as a deterrent for the Eden Fire spreading towards us now.

        We watched for around 30 minutes as about 20 or so bucket loads of water were being dropped by a pair of helicopters-the day after it started, and the pilots were good, as each drop seemed square on target, but the fire kept going.

        NPS was so freaked out about the possibility of the fire getting out of control, that they allowed something rarely done in the National Parks, the dropping of pink-ish fire retardant.

        NPS is real touchy-feely about introducing chemicals that’ll most certainly get into the waterways, but the specter of not having a plan in case the fire went wild, convinced them otherwise.

        1. rd

          There is a big difference between lightning strike fires and power line started fires.

          Lightning strike fires require clouds to form and create lightning. This usually occurs during times of the year when there is moisture in the air, occasional rainfall etc. So it is usually not maximized fire danger and the fires will be more controllable and burn more slowly. In some cases the rain will put them out.

          Power line fires only need high wind to get disrupted and spark, so in places like California the hot dry Santa Ana winds timed for the driest part of the year can trigger those fires at the moment of peak dryness with high dry winds that can whip the fire into a rapidly travelling inferno.

          So lightning strike fires can often get rid of excess fuel and restart the fire ecology process without getting too out of control, while the current fires are designed to create maximum havoc and damage. Building structures in wildfire country with power lines around is a recipe for this type of disaster as California is discovering.

          1. Wukchumni

            I wonder how long it took the Native Americans to figure out how to utilize fire in burning off the understory of their surroundings, so it was advantageous to them?

            They must’ve seen lightning strikes and what fire did, and uttered Great Caesar’s Ghost!, or words to that effect, as a quite primitive light bulb went off in their heads.

            1. WobblyTelomeres

              Pssst: light bulbs go ON when one has an idea. When the bulb goes OFF, well, it indicates a certain dimming…

          2. wilroncanada

            Interesting comment regarding lightning-caused versus power-line-caused fires. Your statement about lightning being less dangerous is not quite accurate. One might think that with lightning there may be rain, but it isn’t necessarily so. Most of the major fires in central British Columbia, including some of the conflagrations, were lightning-caused. there were at times 100 to 500 strikes in any one night, each starting a fire, and without any rain.
            Parts of BC have been in summer drought conditions for many years. Some of those lightning-caused fires were in such close proximity that they combined to cover thousands of hectares, boosted by winds, in one day, just like the Lake fire in California. The BC wildfire costs have exceeded half a billion dollars each of the last two years.

    2. Carolinian

      we have smoke hoods, fire shelter tents and other shelter in place goodies, as a precaution

      Sounds like you need helipads.

      A rich uncle had a house in a luxury community on top of one of our nearby mountains. Eventually he gave it up because of the difficult EMS access. No ER in the wilderness….

      1. Wukchumni

        There’s a helipad up in MK Valley, and nothing other than NPS authorized aircraft can land or take off within the jurisdiction of the NP, although you can fly over it as long as it’s a certain distance above ground level, if a private pilot.

        There’s no ‘luxury homes’ in MK, a typical cabin was built in 1932 using batten board construction and only meant for summer occupation, and has gone through 80 odd winters and is more than a little creaky from the experience.

        If the original owner and corresponding generations were fruitful, said cabin now has 53 owners, all allotted a little bit of residency.

    3. Louis Fyne

      thank you for the comment.

      though obvious in hindsight, my first instinct in a wildfire would never be ‘it might be better to head uphill.’

      1. Wukchumni

        The idea is to allow fire trucks to come up without running into traffic, but it’ll be rushing roulette, with only 1 out of 6 bullet nosed vehicles knowing which direction to get the hell out of hades.

        A disaster, merely delayed.

        I’ve spent 1/10th of my summers there, and would like to get to say 1/4 of my life in paradise, before calamity comes calling.

  5. Ignim Brites

    “How the Generals Are Routing the Policy Wonks at the Pentagon”. These policy wonks are the people who gave us Desert Storm, the bombing of Serbia, the permanent bases in Saudi Arabia, the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, the destabalization of Syria, Yemen, and Libya?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      And so the usual suspects–budget cuts and a rhetorically “erratic” president “disrupting” long-standing relationships with our “allies”–are to blame for an exodus of vital, experienced government employees.

      I suppose it’s just impossible to believe that “civilians” are no longer willing or able to justify and defend foreign “defense” debacles; continuing into a third administration, spanning nearly two decades and inexplicably in danger of expanding; that make sense only in the minds of entrenched military top brass, and in which the only progress is backwards.

      Having heard about it many times here on NC, I am currently reading David Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest. The similarities to the Vietnam catastrophe are eerie. The “civilians” at the state department protested that the Vietnamese people, having spent 20 years fighting for independence from the french, would not welcome the new american overlord and would not support another western invader. This civilian expertise was ignored and denigrated by the generals spoiling for any fight. It was also proven correct, but not until horrendous losses were suffered.

      I don’t think it’s too far fetched to assume that civilians are nowhere near as comfortable being associated with ongoing, escalating disaster as chest-thumping, unaccountable military higher ups appear to be.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I’d guess the notion that civilian employees of DoD are having problems with their consciences is maybe projection and wishful thinking — for the most part. My guess is that the movement of civvies out of GS jobs is into contracting positions which pay a lot more than GS jobs. Or as with the Obama admin, here is one bit of the puzzle: DoD spending bill offers civilian workers up to $40K to retire And where did Obama get the idea? Maybe here? Cut the Pentagon Civilian Workforce, And the current regime has their own playbook, on the same lines: Trump has a plan for government workers. They’re not going to like it. The URL for the last tells the gravamen a lot better.

        If you read the DoD recruiting stuff, like this,, and the job postings, and some of the position papers and reports that the War Department “outputs,” the folks doing the whole Milo Minderbinder “enterprise” know what they are getting into and doing. And a whole lot of them are doing it enthusiastically — whether it’s giving McChrystal and “gung-ho” pervs like that what they want to move up through the bureaucracy over the dead bodies of GIs and “Wogs,” (and remember that all those officers and senior NCOs are doing mostly bureaucratic functions, in supply and acquisition and moving stuff around and justifying their positions), or taking part in various “initiatives” and “operations.” Those are ‘good paying middle class jobs, with benefits,” but they don’t pay as well, by and large, as the contracting equivalents — which the Brass like anyway, as it not only gets stuff off their “budgets” (what a misleading word to use in that context) but gives them networking opportunities to call on when they have maxed out their “careers.”

        And remember too that so much “policy” comes out of the CIA and other Borg sources, and those people are all “civilian GS employees,” with rare exceptions (and Snowden was a contractor, remember) only too happy to plot overthrows and destabilizations and chaos-sowing and controlling the supposed “deciders” along lines laid down by the Dulles Boys and Wild Bill Donovan and the nascent neo “consensus” several generations ago. Until calamity hits, the momentum and inertia of that huge destructive bureaucracy will, I believe, keep on keeping on.

        Remember that the Pentagram is in almost no way “protecting the homeland.” The whole thing is a giant monstrosity that is the end-game expression of corruption, lawlessness, greed, and imperial ambition. It’s sad to talk to current GIs who still believe they are “protecting the nation” by kicking in doors in Kandahar, “droning” gatherings of warm bodies over there, invading other countries just because we can and because we do it out of habit and inertia and momentum, with no limits or negative-feedback loops to rein the excesses and idiocies in.

        It would be so sweet if all of a sudden all those well-indoctrinated, bureau-bred people grew a conscience and awareness and acted to stop the way-too-profitable-for-the-few idiocy. But hey! Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin shares are up again! And

      2. Unna

        Have you read Nick Turse, Kill Anything That Moves? An examination of why the death rate in Vietnam among civilians was so high. I got 2/3 of the way through and put it aside for now. It’s what the Best and the Brightest, civilian and military gave the world. A population death rate similar to what happened in Belarus in WWII. Only the Germans got the job done in only two and a half years rather than ten or so.

  6. Roger Smith

    Mark Zuckerberg says he didn’t know Facebook hired a research firm that tried to discredit its critics by linking them to George Soros Business Insider

    Ahhh… that sweet sound of plausible deniability. He really is learning the ropes for a political run.

    1. RUKidding

      If this wasn’t a Family Blog, I’d have something quite direct to say to Zuck. What a louse… and a liar.

      I’ve never had anything to do with Face Dump, nor will I ever.

      1. Procopius

        Well, it enabled me to get in touch with some cousins and former students I wouldn’t otherwise have any contact with. Do they have advertisements? I hadn’t really noticed. Are there bots? I dunno. What are bots? How do you recognize them. Do they harvest my data? I dunno, I’ve got two separate mailboxes in gmail – social and promotions. I occasionally glance at them while I “select all\mark as read\move to trash.” The news on facebook is sometimes fake? Well, I guess that would be a problem if you trust people you don’t know. Same with newspapers. I distrust the New York Times, but sometimes I have no choice but to read something they publish, and then decide whether to believe it or not (default is not). I dunno why people are giving so much money to Mark Zuckerberg, but it’s their money, they can do whatever they want with it.

  7. Skip Intro

    As usual NC was ahead of the curve on digging up the Mike Davis (pats self on back), this time beating the LA Times to the punch. I wonder if they read it here first too. Great commentariat!

  8. The Rev Kev

    “The ‘Pelosi Problem’ Runs Deep”

    Many years ago I read a book about how corporate raiders were (?) running amok by using leverage to take over companies and asset stripping them. Some companies defended themselves by loading themselves up to the gills with toxic debt so that any raider looking for their next takeover target would take one quick look at the books and would say: “Nope!”
    Could it be that this is what the Democrat party has been doing to defend themselves from being taken over by the progressive wing of the party? By making themselves so toxic? It would explain a lot such as how the party appears to be run by a bunch of geriatrics with the next generation of leaders nowhere to be seen. How a Clinton gets eased in as Presidential candidate and a Sanders never has a look in. How registering voters and giving them something to vote for never appears to be on their radar screen.

    1. TODDE

      No don’t think it is a poison pill strategy.

      I think it has more to do with hubris than anything else.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        With the scale, there is also a never ending supply of brown nosers, ready to tell Pelosi and Schumer how great they seem to be. It can lead to rapid falls such as with Crowley who should have been able to lock down that district.

    2. Big River Bandido

      I think it’s just the Iron Law of Institutions playing out as expected. Their position at the top of the party gives them power, no matter how weak or ineffective the party may be.

      They will only surrender that when forced to. Not even death kills their grip on power — they’ve even become professionals at the well-timed retirement, complete with a “gifting” of their legislative seats to their progeny. Dick Mell gave his Chicago City Council seat to his daughter Deb Mell — what a thoughtful gift! Dan Lipinsky was “gifted” his seat in Congress from his father, and Dan hadn’t even lived in Illinois for 15 years at that point. And there are so many Crowley family members involved in New York politics I can’t keep straight which one of them “gifted” his Congressional seat to good ol’ Joe. None of those legacy brats ever had to earn the nomination the hard way — through a primary. Their primaries were already rigged, or bypassed.

      The only way to put an end to that is to beat ’em at the polls and then spare them nothing when the spoils are dealt out.

  9. Wukchumni

    In traps of things economic, F.I.R.E. doesn’t seem all that different from it’s more unruly Fahrenheit follower namesake. There’s pretty much only 1 road in or out for the entire population,and through crafty computernomics, it all works somehow.

    Nobody gives much thought to it ever breaking down, or the possibility of a wildfire taking out 11,000+ homes in Paradise.

  10. Watt4Bob

    I hope people see the relationship between Michael Hudson’s new book and the Haaretz article on the “Twisted Logic” of Zionism’s claims to the land of Palestine.

    It seems clear to me that the ultimate result of capitalism, unencumbered by regulation and lacking the feature of periodic debt forgiveness is 90% of the world living in conditions similar to those we see in Gaza.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Only the herding, starving and killing will be done by robots whose decision-making will not make anyone among the fortunate few outside the fences feel any guilt whatsoever.

  11. allan

    U.S. Marshals Service spending millions on DeVos security in unusual arrangement [NBC]

    Education Secretary Betsy DeVos began receiving around-the-clock security from the U.S. Marshals Service days after being confirmed, an armed detail provided to no other cabinet member that could cost U.S. taxpayers $19.8 million through September of 2019, according to new figures provided by the Marshals Service to NBC News. …

    While it remains unclear who specifically made the request, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions granted the protection on February 13, 2017, a few days after DeVos was heckled and blocked by a handful of protesters from entering the Jefferson Academy, a public middle school in Washington. …

    That far exceeds the $3.5 million spent on security for former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who resigned in July amid questions about lavish spending habits …

    After receiving the Marshals’ protection, DeVos spent less than 4 percent of her time visiting traditional public schools…

    What, she couldn’t get a discount for mercs from her brother?

  12. larry

    re Brexit:

    Richard North in a blog post today has this to say about May’s position, which is not a very good one.

    “Mrs May [has not] set in train a process where we regain control over the regulatory agenda.

    Therein, one can assert, lies the greatest flaw in the entire draft agreement. Had we adopted the Efta/EEA option, we would have limited the scope of the regulation which would have applied, and would have had some influence over new measure – with a right of veto.

    But Mrs May has been amongst those to have rejected this option, precisely because we had to accept [some] EU laws, while she also wrongly asserted that we would have no say in the making of new laws. But in exchange, she wants us to accept an arrangement which is inestimably worse, taking in a wide range of EU law from an entirely subordinate position, with no easy exit clause.”

    The EEA/Efta option has never been adequately discussed by anyone who should have known what they were talking about. Yesterday, the media were dire. It was painful to listen to.

    1. Mirdif

      He also writes:

      The only real option in place now which unequivocally respects the verdict of the 2016 referendum is the “no deal”.

      Deeply mendacious lunatic. All the words, all the nonsense and it all amounts to “no deal is better than a bad deal.” His whole schtick is built around “they need us more than we need them.” He doesn’t even believe in his own plan – there is actually a referendum after the withdrawal agreement is completed in his “Flexcit” plan and yet you would not know it just from reading his blog. He screamed about the damage of no deal only then to do an about-turn in mid-August and claim that no deal will not be anything like as damaging. And now this – openly wanting a no deal.

      I would be most unsurprised if years hence it was discovered that he was in the pay of some of the “dark pools” which have by and large bankrolled this entire project.

  13. Hana M

    The article on the Boeing 737 MAX from Leeham was very interesting and the comments section is illuminating. See, for example, this:

    November 14, 2018

    Guess which FAA branch does the certifying ?

    That would be the one at 2200 S 216th St
    Des Moines, WA. Which is located just South of Seattle Tacoma Airport. It couldnt be more in Boeings pocket if it was just across the road from Boeing HQ at Oakesdale Ave Tukwilla
    Generally international agencies follow the lead of someone like FAA and rely on their approvals

      1. Hana M

        Good one, David. This quote from Patrick Smith partially addresses Lambert’s comment

        “The alleged dark side of automation is becoming a sort of catch-all these days each time there’s an accident. Yet — not to sound like a broken record on this topic — few people understand what cockpit automation actually does (and what it doesn’t do); how pilots interact with it; or have a grasp of how it did or didn’t play a role in whichever incident. The fate of flight 610 may have had something to do with modern jetliners being so complex and, to an extent, over-engineered, but not with automation in the sense that people are implying. Sure, the stall pusher system is “automatic,” but these systems have been on planes for decades. As I see it, the pilots’ inability to recognize and solve the issue speaks to something else.”

        The something else being, from my first read, providing proper information and training to airlines and pilots, something that Boeing failed to do until last week.

        1. anarcheops

          Exactly. The technology or automation in general isn’t (really) the problem, it’s the implementation of the technology. Reading this sort of thing is like seeing the tip of the dysfunctional corporate iceburg. I would love to read an internal post-mortem.

      2. Olga

        I don’t know… I am not persuaded by his take. His approach is way too nonchalant – and I’ve not lost anyone in that tragedy. Can’t imagine what they would think… Planes may be safer now, but the apparent fact that Boeing did not provide the relevant information is inexcusable.
        “Though it appears there’s a design flaw that Boeing will need to fix as soon as possible, passengers can take comfort in knowing that every MAX pilot is now acutely aware of this potential problem, and is prepared deal with it.”
        We ought to remember that this acute awareness cost the lives of 189 people. Small consolation, indeed.

    1. Lord Koos

      Yes, well it sort of makes sense to have the certification offices near to the largest American aircraft manufacturer, however it doesn’t look good, does it.

      One of the things people in liberal Seattle don’t like to talk about is Boeing’s reliance on defense contracts, it’s a real disconnect, because jobs. Boeing’s defense contracts are also rarely, if ever, mentioned in the local press, although when Boeing snags a new contract for civilian aircraft
      it’s on the front page.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Kim Kardashian’s Private Firefighters Expose America’s Fault Lines”

    In some ways this is both disturbing and it isn’t. If the Kardashians want to rent their own private firefighters then good luck to them. Truth is, insurance companies offering firefighting services has a long history in the US. I have a book on American firefighting which describes the competition between these companies in the early days. At the report of a fire, the biggest and strongest firefighter – usually an Irishman – would take off in the direction of the fire carrying a big wooden barrel. If being the first firefighter from that company on the scene, he would throw the barrel over the nearest fire hydrant. It was then his job to fight off any firefighters from any of the other private companies arriving on the scene until his own company arrived to reinforce him. A building might burn down before the private companies would decide the winner to get the fee for fighting the fire. Real amateur hour and is why governments took them over in the end.
    What would be disturbing if some of these mega-corpoartions decided to get into the firefighting business (“Your Uber fire-truck will be here in two minutes!”) and go after the firefighting contracts in cities and rural areas. Imagine if you knew that Bezos or Musk was going to be running the firefighters where you live. Yeah, that would put the wind up me too. If they stuff up, you can bet that they would be covered for such a situation in any contract that they signed with a compliant mayor – and would have a battalion of high-priced lawyers to back them up. I have been struck how often a 21st century corporation, following a neoliberal creed, will seek out and fight for a practice that was last done in the 19th century. They will ignore the reason why such companies were taken over by government entities but only see the obvious profit. You can bet that they would use high-tech to leverage their capabilities with apps and websites – and by doing so close ‘unnecessary’ fire stations as being superfluous to that place’s needs as well as the number of firefighters. And the firefighters would have all the working conditions of an Amazon warehouse worker. Yeah, good stuff that.

    1. Jack Gavin

      As I’m reading this my thoughts started to drift off toward our health care system. Can’t figure out why.

    2. hemeantwell

      I forget if there’s a guy with a barrel, but the film “Gangs of New York” has a good scene depicting fire fighting a’ free market. (and I just winced when I remembered Daniel Day Lewis tapping his glass eye with the point of his Bowie.)

    3. JTMcPhee

      NC has offered a lengthy look at what happens when the motions of the Market reach that kind of endpoint, particularly the “insurance” aspect of it: “Journey into a Libertarian future,” In five or six parts, the first one appearing here:–the-vision.html

      Something to look forward to, eh?

      Too bad that the notion that Richard North is reminding us about, the notion that government is supposed to keep the looters in check by, inter alia, canceling toxic debt on a regular basis, and doing the Hammurabi-approved stuff, see it all here,, like lopping off fingers and hands from the grasping commercial class, is a notion that will most likely be squashed by “those with benefits.”

    4. Kurt Sperry

      I was thinking along the same lines, this is a just a return to past worst practices. Thank you for saving me the typing.

    5. Lord Koos

      This reminds me of flying into New Orleans not long after hurricane Katrina. I happened to be seated next to a proudly Republican stock broker who spoke admiringly about how wealthy people with properties in the Garden District had hired Blackwater Security to protect their mansions while they fled to safety.

  15. Phemfrog

    Lambert, I heard this story on the radio here in DFW this morning. It is regarding an issue you mention frequently: municipalities offering companies tax breaks to set up new facilities. This is a deal involving the city of Denton, TX and Tyson Foods.

    The relevant part of the article is this:

    “In the past year, council has voted to abandon three tax rebate agreements. It also voted against giving tax incentives to U.S. Cold Storage, which stores and distributes refrigerated and frozen-food items. U.S. Cold Storage moved to Denton without tax incentives and opened in September.”

    An example of your suggestion at work. Companies don’t count these tax breaks as the most important factor in their decision making process. It may be a factor, but not a big one.

    1. Duke of Prunes

      I saw an interview of the president/owner of Lagunitas Brewery (a once small craft brewery from CA that made a major expansion to Chicago, and then got bought out (sort of) by Heineken) when they first expanded to Chicago (and were still a relatively small, definitely independent enterprise). IIRC, he said he was offered all kinds of “incentives” by the city and state, but didn’t want to deal with the “strings” that were tied to these favors (both written and unwritten). He also made a comment that if he needed to rely on such things to expand, he would never expand.

      I guess this is the difference between a little guy and a Tyson/Amazon. The govt holds the strings on the little guy while big corp seems to now hold the strings on the govt.

  16. Alex

    Not sure what you found in the Shlomo Sand’s piece. There is a small cottage industry of writing articles about how Israelis actually have no connection with the Land of Israel, and of course another small cottage industry writing articles about how Palestinians are not actually a nation. I have very little patience for both as all that is irrelevant to the facts on the ground of several million people on both sides of the border who live here and (mostly) were born here and have no other place they can call home.

    Also he’s being rather dishonest with his claims on the DNA. You can’t write a book, whose main premise is that the Jews have no common ancestors, and then, when people do research and disprove this assertion, say how dare you research it and that it makes you a Nazi.

    1. AdamK

      Can relate to the first paragraph of your comment, but the DNA stuff wasn’t ever proven despite genealogy research nor should be a means for proving rights to any place. It is enough that these two nations been there for generations now and both don’t have anywhere to go.

      1. Alex

        Maybe I wasn’t clear enough. My point was that you can have two consistent positions: either DNA is not important (as I also believe) or that it is. My problem with Sand is that he wrote a book specifically about how the lack of common ancestors (=DNA) is important and pertinent, and then, when people do DNA research he calls them Nazis (it’s irrelevant here what this research actually showed). Essentially he’s fine with using this line of argument only as long as it supports his views.

        1. Plenue

          “My problem with Sand is that he wrote a book specifically about how the lack of common ancestors (=DNA) is important and pertinent, and then, when people do DNA research he calls them Nazis”

          Ah, I knew I knew his name from somewhere. From Wikipedia:

          Shlomo Sand has contested the claim that his book has been contradicted by recent genetic research published in Nature journal and the American Journal of Human Genetics. In a new afterword for the paperback edition of The Invention of the Jewish People, Sand writes:

          “This attempt to justify Zionism through genetics is reminiscent of the procedures of late nineteenth-century anthropologists who very scientifically set out to discover the specific characteristics of Europeans. As of today, no study based on anonymous DNA samples has succeeded in identifying a genetic marker specific to Jews, and it is not likely that any study ever will. It is a bitter irony to see the descendants of Holocaust survivors set out to find a biological Jewish identity: Hitler would certainly have been very pleased! And it is all the more repulsive that this kind of research should be conducted in a state that has waged for years a declared policy of “Judaization of the country” in which even today a Jew is not allowed to marry a non-Jew.”[40]

          That Hitler would have liked it has no bearing on whether it’s true or not.

          From the Haaretz article:

          “The founding myth of Zionism – which proceeds in an unbroken line from Max Nordau and Arthur Ruppin, to worrisome geneticists in several Israeli universities and at Yeshiva University in New York – acts as the principal ideological glue for the nation’s everlasting unity, and today more than ever.”

          ‘Worrisome’? Shlomo doesn’t seem to have any actual counter to their evidence and claims. He just doesn’t like what they have to say because it undermines his thesis.

          My understanding, based on the evidence, is that Jews do constitute a unique ethnicity, one that generally speaking has maintained a remarkable degree of genetic continuity with its Levantine ancestors.

          This doesn’t at all justify modern Israel being built on land taken from Palestinians however. Even if we fully accept the hasbara memes that Jews are more authentically native to the land, and Palestinians are Arab colonists, the Palestinians have a more recent claim. You shouldn’t be able to just take someone’s home because you have an older ancestral connection to the land.

          And in fact, the DNA evidence seems to indicate that the ‘Arab’ Palestinians, as well as other groups like the Druze, share much of the same genetic legacy as Jews. They’re close cousins, who never left the Levant in the first place. Sand himself actually agrees with this. Again from Wikipedia:

          Following the Arab conquest of Palestine in the 7th century, many local Jews converted to Islam and were assimilated among the Arab conquerors. Sand concludes that these converts are the ancestors of the contemporary Palestinians.[20]

          The Khazar hypothesis Sand pushes has unfortunately been embraced by many (literal, no hyperbole) anti-semites. Which I’ve always found odd, since they don’t seem to realize they’re embracing an idea that says Jewishness is an identity anyone can adopt, rather than something racial. They do this while simultaneously engaging in untermensch talk and posting meme images of long-nosed merchants rubbing their hands together. Very strange.

        2. AdamK

          As it happens I read his books, and he debunks the arguments of DNA, that one can define Judaism as nationality and arguments from history. His claim is that it is a religion like all other. He is an Israeli citizen and acknowledges that both peoples have nowhere to go and therefor no alternative but to live together as equals

    2. SoldierSvejk

      “Not sure what you found in the Shlomo Sand’s piece.”
      Maybe it was a bit of truth… that has systematically been concealed?
      Just a guess

    3. Unna

      All “nations” are constructs of history, Germans, French, Italians, the “British” etc. Nations are made up of the debris of various tribes, conquered populations, invaders, migrants, and so on due to State policy, including the creation of standardized languages, common origin myths, in order to form a cohesive unit of power which they call a “nation.” And of course the Jews are no different. That doesn’t make nations unreal. They are certainly real.

      And the story about the constructed nature of every nation, including the Jews, is important to remember in resolving the present unhappy situation in Israel. That’s because the myth of Jewish descent from migrants from Egypt, per the bible literally believed, is a narrative by which the present Israeli government claims legitimacy and its right of domination over the land and the Palestinian people, who, according to the myth are present on the Land of Israel in violation of the will of “God.”

      In my opinion, when the day comes that Israeli Jews say, we have no divine right to this land, but here we are and we all know why, and where else are we supposed to go, and you’re here too so let’s work things out. That will be the day when a positive peace process can begin.

      But nations are indeed interesting things. Just in the last few hundred years we see the construction of the “British” nation, its rise to be the greatest empire, its weakening and fall from power, its last gasp of greatness through the self delusion of the “special relationship” and it’s over wrought glossy check out counter magazine monarchy, and perhaps soon it’s dissolution into former constituent parts.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      What is interesting is that the same Progressives who recognize how rude it is to demand that Indians provide “proof of Original Indian blood quantum” to prove they are Indian . . . will turn right around and demand that Jews provide “proof of original Judeo-Semite blood quantum” to prove that they are Jewish.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Haque is becoming one of my favorite writers/observers. He’s focused on the right stuff:

      The reductionists are those who wish to reduce human beings to predators and prey — that is their reductive view of all nature, and therefore, also human nature. All they see when they look at the world is what capitalism allows them to see: violence, competition, dominance, possession. They don’t look at the way the sunlit rain nourishes the sea, or the way a little elephant who has lost his mother grieves, or the way a dog protects an epileptic child from fits, and see something remarkable and beautiful — something improbably transcendent. They only see brutal conquest, shark and serpent devouring fish and fowl — because that is all capitalism has conditioned them to see. In other words, their view of nature is trivially false — nature competes and nourishes and nurtures, not just demolishes and destroys — how else could it live? — but they cannot see even that far.

      I’m going to climb way out on a limb here and suggest that there is a connection between Darwinism, at least as popularly understood, and this reductionist view that Haque critiques so well. The primary metaphor for the natural world becomes a competition between individuals and between species. That’s about as reductionist as it gets.

      Please don’t misunderstand. I don’t want to deny natural selection or evolution. But if you want to take that competition metaphor to the extreme, a human reaction to learning that we’ve killed 60% of animals in the last 40 years might declare, “We’re winning!”

      1. knowbuddhau

        Thanks much, sounds like my kind of stuff.

        There’s a good, and deeper, reason for it: all our suffering is Eve’s fault, remember? Mother Nature is the mother of all bitches, She can not be trusted, She is fallen, corrupt, and a temptress besides. We must salvage Her, make Her a respectable woman: barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen. Et cetera.

        There’s a well documented effort, over centuries, to write women out of the Bible. See, for example, Thou Art That: transforming religious metaphors, by Joseph Campbell.

        The Conquest of Nature doesn’t come from science. Western natural history began as an effort to show how He did it, not question whether. That’d get you killed, or worse: excommunicated. One reason Newton kept to himself so much was that he was a heretic. If friends or loved ones found out, they’d be in peril, too.

        There are two versions: the Ceramic Model, familiar from the myth of the Garden of Eden (itself borrowed, of course); and the Fully Automatic Model, by which most of us here likely live. Over time, we left god out, but kept the concept of the universe as a construct. It’s the one I grew up in. It’s not the one I experience as most real.

        Nowadays, and especially from the left, we see only as far up as sociology, politics, and economics, thinking they’re the last words in explaining human behavior. Religion is bunk, right? so no need at all to consider its influence on people who believe in it, by far the much larger share of humanity, especially going back into deep time. I’m sure a couple centuries of self-described “enlightenment” by a small minority have completely overwritten 299,500 years or so of being human earthlings.

        We bust myths. That makes us immune to them. Right?

  17. Samuel Conner

    Re: this headline “California Utility Customers May Be on Hook for Billions in Wildfire Damage”

    (I haven’t read the piece; just reacting to the headline)

    Perhaps this will modify the in-state economics of distributed generation. If it becomes, comparatively, cheap enough for home-owners to detach from the grid, that would appear to lead to a death spiral for the owners of the power distribution network and the power generation companies that rely on it to reach their customers. As the customer base shrank, rates would have to rise, which would stimulate more conversion to distributed generation, and so on. Sort of like the adverse-selection spiral in the health insurance context.

    Basically a good outcome, though attained via a dreadful route.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I am not an expert on New Deal Era legacy law concerning the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) and Rural Electric Co-Ops. But I gather they have been considered so marginal and unimportant that the NeoLiberals never thought that they or the Law that permitted them into existence, were actually worth repealing. If I am right about that, then the REA law is still the law.

      And if that is correct, is there any legal barrier to suburbs and exurbs using both technological and legal-interpretational ingenuity to put in their own distributed micro-wind and micro-solar and their own little electric wire grid network and distributize it all amongst themselves and get recognition as REA-sanctioned Rural Electric Co-Operatives? And thereby detach and unplug themselves from the Electric part of PG&E?

  18. John Beech

    Regarding the vote in Florida

    Florida is portrayed negatively but as a resident of 14 years I am generally pleased with the voting process (as I was in NC and AL before this). The way it works here is simple. Show up, hand them your driver’s license, sign the form (the signatures must match), then go to a booth, bubble in your selections, followed by feeding the page(s) into the machine. Observe it tally your vote (the voter count increments by one), get a sticker that says, “I voted” and leave.

    I fail to understand the fuss, nor why with several weeks of early voting, the populous counties of Broward and Palm Beach can’t seem to get their act together. One thing is certain, I am bothered by news reports of a teacher ‘finding’ an entire bin of votes. I simply don’t believe the volunteers, and that’s what they, whom are manning the polls would leave a single one behind. Thus, I sense an effort at corrupting the vote and hope any hint of it is not only discovered, but perpetrators are pursued to the fullest extent of the law.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Not to mention that you are mailed a sample ballot several weeks prior to the election so that you can see what’s on it, how it’s laid out and research the candidates and/or initiatives.

      And read the directions on how to correctly mark the ballot to cast a vote.

      And there is a large sign in the booth, right in front of your face, reinforcing AGAIN how to mark the ballot.

      All this sturm and drang about voters who circle the name, or put and X or a check mark in the oval that is supposed to be colored in. More and more it seems that someone has to deliberately TRY to do it wrong.

      Or someone has a vested interest in causing doubt and confusion.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Not that there’s any history of voter suppression and tally shenanigans here in Florida, of course — just hundreds of thousands who don’t even get to figure out how to “bubble in,” and lots of other ‘partisan manipulations” to ensure “the right outcome.”

        Yes, the electronic voting process with its “bubbles” is simple for those who are used to that kind of thing. Of course we also have mail-in ballots here, which also come with “instructions.” But of course not all voters are used to managing all the bits and pieces, per my observation. And FL does not use “paper ballots, hand marked in private and hand counted — the tallies run via “electronic voting machines.” I see one person here at NC says that it is just hunk-dory for people to vote ‘over the internet.” I also saw a reply that points out first, that this is (so far) a violation of law, and second, there there is no way to establish provenance of said “voter.”

        All this presumes that “the will of the people (at least the ones who count)” gets done by an electoral process that is run by private clubs (the “legacy” parties”) and huge bribes to the clubs and their ‘candidates” (selected to crush any bettering of the working class situation or the health of the planet) which in a majority of instances do not give the voter anything but a binary choice of bad or worse. Or as in FL’s case, likewise elsewhere, thanks to gerrymandering and the falsity and cowardice of the Dem party, only a single “choice” (other than “not voting”) since so many offices and judicial positions have only one unopposed candidate.

        One hopes that AOC and other atypicals are successful in derailing “business as usual.” On the other hand “Mr. Smith Went To Washington…” like Patty Murray and Al Franken and many others…

    2. Louis Fyne

      From 1,000 miles away, Snipes/her office looks incompetent. just being honest.

      And of course, the GOP sees Snipes’ incompetence as malicious voter fraud, while Democrats prefer to sweep everything under the rug rather than airing all the dirty laundry.

      Hope the truth comes out. Not holding my breath though

    3. FluffytheObeseCat

      Can’t help but notice you said “they” not “we” when referring to poll workers.

      Every. Time. I read a screed about the “corruption” or “incompetence” of American poll volunteers, it’s from someone who has never done the work. Someone who likely has never even sat through the training seminar (which is all I’ve done). Someone who expects voting to run like the trains in Mussolini’s Italy… on the back of a bunch of increasingly elderly volunteers, who get maybe a hundred bucks for their 20 hour days of work.

      Poll worker are reeling with exhaustion by the end of the main day vote. One polling site missing one box of ballots (in a place the size of Broward Cty) is not a suspicious anomaly, rather it’s suspicious there aren’t a few more of them.

      The rage of the Republicans (and their ancillary comment troll army) over obeying state law in Florida has been distinctive. And telling. They’ve won the governor race, are likely to win the Senate race, and do not actually care who becomes ag commish. But they seem to be rattled by the popular vote imbalance nationwide, and their disdain for dark-skinned city folk is….. overwhelming. Hence their overt fury over seeing urban and provisional votes getting counted properly, and the insinuations that counting them at all is improper. In their eyes, these kind of ballots are inherently soiled, and suspect, because that is how they view those who cast these votes.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        One polling site missing one box of ballots (in a place the size of Broward Cty) is not a suspicious anomaly, rather it’s suspicious there aren’t a few more of them.


        That would be worse, for we would then ask, what ever happened to those boxes (that we have never heard of)?

        Perhaps all elected officials in that county would have to resign and re-do the elections again.

  19. nippersmom

    I loved this comment on the thread on AOC’s tweet about the Politico article:
    I find it suspicious that you claim to struggle with housing costs when you’re clearly living rent free in the establishment media’s head.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sounds like she is fighting the media (like Trump!).

      “You are a fake.” (Referring to ‘you claim to struggle with…’)

      Of course, being blunt is often criticized as being, well, impolite (and in need of being tsk-tsked).

  20. crittermom

    Here in New Mexico the race for Congress in my district still isn’t final.

    Initially, the R candidate gave her victory speech before all the absentee ballots were counted.
    As they were counted, the D candidate was then declared the winner.

    The R candidate still refuses to concede, however, & has now filed a court motion for the State Police to impound more than 8,000 absentee ballots & all related voting material so that ‘potential improprieties can be investigated’.

    Still waiting to celebrate.

    My own personal experience with ‘voter suppression’ was never addressed.
    Apparently, after talking with the reporter again regarding the proof I’d forwarded, the editor refused to allow the reporter to follow-up. “Nothing to see here. Move along”
    Business as usual, I guess…

  21. Wukchumni

    A few months ago I was talking to a couple of firefighters from the Ventura area, one of them being a fellow cabin owner.

    They both related how burned out everybody was getting, for the fire season used to be a May to October fling, and now it’s been extended to an all year possibility.

    One of them told me, it’d be tantamount to extending the NFL season to 32 games all of the sudden. As it is now, NFL players mostly limp through the regular season due to continual injuries, imagine what doubling the amount of contests would do to their bodies?

    We don’t need soldiers in the MIC to go fight far away dubious battles, the enemy is in our midst.

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Burned out is apt. I have a good friend who worked as a fire crew chief based in Stehekin at the head of Lake Chelan for years who had to bail from the job last year. Great guy, can’t imagine his replacement will be better suited, but eventually there’s only so much a person can take.

    2. ewmayer

      One more urgent reason CA needs to change course and provide a path to regular employee status for those legions of low-level felons they employ on the front lines of the firefighting. It would be a clear win-win … guys who show they have what it takes and work well with others get a route to a decent-paying job and the social standing and sense of self-worth and social support network such brings, thus decreasing the odds of criminal recidivism, and the state gets both a boost in the hiring pool for such jobs and a reduction in its prison population. (Shh, don’t tell the for-profit private PrisonCorp folks.) And I’m sure the cost of providing a living wage for those in such a program would be far, far less than the amounts being bandied about for CA taxpayers being on the hook for PG&E’s latest malfeasance.

  22. allan

    Gerrymandering as a self-licking ice cream cone: Why the Perfect Red-State Democrat Lost [NYT]

    … But most confounding were the unions. One by one, they started supporting [his GOP opponent] Jay Edwards. And not just the building-trades unions, which sometimes side with Republicans, but the Service Employees International Union and the public sector unions — AFSCME, the Ohio Education Association and Ohio Civil Service Employees Association. The only endorsements Mr. Sappington received were from the National Association of Social Workers and the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers.

    He was stunned. He was about as pro-union as one could be. In his video, he had mentioned his earlier activism against the law that Ohio Republicans had pushed through in 2011, eliminating collective bargaining for public employees, which was later overturned by referendum. His mother had been active in AFSCME; his brother belonged to the Civil Service Employees Association. And Mr. Sappington himself was a low-wage service worker. Yet he was losing labor support to a Republican who had supported a state budget that effectively reduced funding for education.

    What he learned when he asked around, and what I later confirmed, was that the unions were, in many cases, making a grimly pragmatic decision in his race and others around the state. The Democrats had fallen to such a woeful level in Ohio state government that unions felt as if they had no choice but to make friends, or at least nonenemies, with some Republicans, in hopes of staving off anti-union measures such as “right-to-work” legislation and elimination of prevailing-wage standards. …

    1. Oregoncharles

      “grimly pragmatic,” and cowardly.

      Have those unions forgotten what it took to get them where they are – or better, where they were 40 years ago? Apparently they aren’t prepared to do all that again.

  23. John Beech

    On jobs and pay – a brief screed to get this off my chest!

    Regarding OJT abuse of the subsidies is merely a reflection of human nature. The are measures put in place, which if implemented correctly will corral those who would break the spirit of the agreement and break them of the habit. However, as these are run by bureaucrats, what results is predictable. Worker abuse is as long as time itself. Self correcting in general until the government gets involved. Self-correcting as in, if I mistreat, abuse, underpay my employees, they’ll quit, or report me to authorities. This places me in the position of facing fines in the latter case, or of hiring and training a replacement employee (difficult, if not painful, believe me). As a consequence, enlightened self-interest sees most employers doing the right thing by the right people. Up to a point because you also have to contend with those who are never satisfied, who like bird chicks always want more. Like the ones who want their due without having paid their dues, who show up late 10 minutes regularly (and usually, are the ones who clock watch to depart on the dot, or early), as well as the ones that show up to work with the aroma of a hard night with the bottle, or want a cigarette break every 30 minutes, plus the incompetent – God help them. Collectively, those are the ones who depart and leave scarcely a ripple. It’s all good to talk about paying folks $15/hour, but the facts are some aren’t worth $2/hour.

    And in the meantime, small business in America contends with things like imports arriving via USPS from around the wold where the postal charges incurred are less than for a similar package shipped three states over. Said products generally costing less as they’re manufactured where the rule of law is less strict, pay is lower, etc. Worse, said sales contribute nothing to local economies as they’re not taxed in any way. But go ahead, make us pay everybody – deadbeats included – $15/hour (calling it a ‘living wage’ if you like). But do so knowing this; my dad once worked three jobs (briefly), two jobs a fair while, then just one job (most of his life). I know because when I begged for a handout, he suggested I take on another job myself. I did and for about a year I worked two crappy paying jobs.

    For our part, as manufacturers, we’ll respond to government mandating pay hikes by taking jobs we do by hand and automating them all the sooner. We did this two years ago when an experienced lathe operator retired and prospective new hires scoffed at his wage and wanted more – but – without possessing the attendant skills. We purchased a CNC lathe, instead. Now the worker tasked with keeping it fed with bar stock; the one who removes, cleans, and visually inspects the work product is paid far less because we could train him in about a half a day? The real lathe operator, the guy with 50 years of experience? He was replaced with a kid for 1/3 the cost. In time, if he sticks around, he’ll work his way up the economic food chain also. And as he becomes more valuable, he too will be remunerated better. And if not, then a bar stock feeder, a conveyor for extraction, plus a machine vision system for inspection will replace him. Then we just hire another janitor (even lower wages) to keep chips from building up around our knees.

    Liberals should try seeing things through the other end of the telescope occasionally before shouting about how they want this, and want that, and basically want more because just as in grade school, we get what we want ‘if’ we earn it. The point being, if you sit on your ass in the back of the class, if you give the teacher a hard time, if you shoot spitballs and are otherwise disruptive, and if you don’t study, and don’t do homework – then – you get bad grades. This results in getting a crappy job with crappy pay once you graduate (or quit). And if you can be trained in half a day you’ll never be worth more than another warm body that can be trained in half a day. Wonder why journalists earn such a pittance? It’s because anybody who can differentiate between your and you’re, who can spell, can write a story with who, what, when, where, and why can do it. Got pretty much all the training you needed in high school if you weren’t disruptive. Small wonder the pay is miserable. Even greater wonder there are so many who dream of doing it for a living and don’t resort to periodically begging for money.

    I also wonder this; how is this my fault? My background wasn’t wealth but taking responsibility. Wanted a mini-bike, Dad said fine, how are you going to pay for it? Took a job delivering newspapers for the Birmingham News. Up at 4AM to roll the stack, e.g. slip a rubber band about each paper, gather them into my canvass shoulder bag and be out delivering them by 4:30AM – rain or shine – then home by 6AM. School by 7:45 until 2:30. My initial 35 client route became 100 once I earned enough for my minibike, then 125. Next I bought a motorcycle, earned my license and took a job at Honda Central (after school). This was menial labor for $1.80/hour (20¢ more than minimum wage) and involving opening crates and installing front wheels and handlebars (note; while maintaining my paper route).

    Graduated high school with grades sufficient to allow acceptance at the state university (where I met my wife). Now I was working at K-Mart as a janitor, and I repaired cars for neighbors up and down the street (folks too poor to afford real mechanics – I can replace ball joints on a car in an hour with a jack, c-clamp, engineer’s hammer and cold chisel, plus new parts and tools). Oh, and I also mowed lawns, took whatever crappy work I could get with a professor (lab work, typically but there was other scut work I was happy to get). We earned enough to pay for our tuition and books, living expenses (wife became a teacher while working at the Sambo’s restaurant chain as a waitress – we counted and rolled tips at night when she got home). We didn’t take on student loans and both graduated, her as a teacher, me as an engineer. Started my first company five years out of college, sold it three years later and started another. The point is, nobody gave us one thin dime.

    Can’t find a job where you live? Fine, hop a bus and go somewhere else. Take a job, any job, and get by. What shouldn’t you do? Don’t buy a 12-pack of beer every day, don’t piss away $6/pack on cigarettes, and you can probably afford a dump to rest you head in and a cheap used car. Work for it brother because nobody will give you anything. That’s America. The promise isn’t becoming the next Jeff Bezos because that takes luck as well. Note; I don’t revile Bezos, in fact my hat’s off to him! So instead, the promise of America is self-reliance. Such that nobody can’ fire you. You don’t ask anyone for more pay, you earn it and pay yourself – that’s the promise of America. The laws are set up for business owners. Grok that and get cracking. Best part is, you’re the one signing the front of the pay checks. You’re the one paying taxes. You’re the one who puts a mortgage on the house to ensure you can meet payroll when billings are slim or late. Plus, you’re the one driving a nice car and living in a nice house hearing oblivious and stupid people enviously saying how lucky you are. Me? I don’t believe in luck. Made my own. And it’s my honor to pay taxes. I’d be lying if I didn’t confess to hating watching the balance take an astonishing dip each quarter but it is what it is and render unto Caesar is how it works. Basically, quit your bellyaching and get to work!

    1. Thanks

      If there are jobs only worth $2 an hour, can you please describe the job that is worth $34,375,000 an hour?

    2. Skip Intro

      You are a model for all of us who live in the 1970s! Your bootstraps must be mighty indeed, thank god for that self-correcting labor market.

    3. a different chris

      >I also wonder this; how is this my fault?

      If you don’t stand for teachers, who I daresay work as hard as you do.

      If you don’t stand for healthcare, because if a person is sick how can they meet your high standards for work until we get them back out of bed?

      >I can replace ball joints on
      I can and have rebuilt every part of a vehicle and haven’t ever took a class for/paid a cent for “car mechanics”. What is your point here?

      >We earned enough to pay for our tuition and books,
      Well nobody can do that, now. Are you paying the slightest bit of attention to anything beyond the tip of your nose? College costs are completely unpayable via summer jobs. My first job in engineering grossed my entire (room and board) college costs in 10 months. My daughter is looking at 4 years. But the thing is – the farther behind the 8 ball you are the farther you continue to get. We didn’t need much student loans. But they take them, at 6% when you can buy a car for 2% and the bank gets the money for almost free.

      >Can’t find a job where you live? Fine, hop a bus and go somewhere else.
      And finally, stop talking to a world that exists only in your head. Actually, they are screwed three ways from Monday but the young kids that you are telling to get off your lawn aren’t the ones really struggling – they have already adapted. They don’t have mortgages, they don’t have permanent significant others, they don’t have kids.

      It is the people that already had gotten started on the American Dream path – who were 40ish and already had locked their lives down with mortgages they can’t pay, kids that get sick whether you can afford them to or not, spouses that have some sort of job so you can’t just pull up stakes and try to find two jobs.

      But you make toys for a living. Yea.

      1. John Beech

        The majority don’t actually go in toys because of agricultural, pipeline inspection, and military UAS. And you also get it wrong in that I don’t make toys, I make money. Then again, if you’d ever created a single job in your life you’d understand the distinction without someone needing to explain it. Add to it, the machines don’t care whether it’s the housing for a servo, or a laser, they’re providing American jobs. This brings me to this; before running your yap, bear in mind this; you’re pooh-poohing one of the few in the industry providing American jobs. This, in an industry that is overwhelming (almost 100%) imported. The real point being, I don’t have a single domestic competitor – not one – so maybe I’m doing something right with my 70s mentality. And by the way, a different chris . . . what have you created in your life beyond poop and opinions? Finally, please note; I am man enough to have my say in a public place – complete with my name, and before God and country – whereas you are hiding behind a cute handle and criticizing what you don’t fundamentally understand. What have you got to hide?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I am beginning to think that the warning someone gave me ( and perhaps all of us) about you may well be correct. That you are a very good performance-art satire-troll. That the name “John Beech” ( just like “John Birch” but different , ha ha ha) is the tell.

    4. Todde

      Are you incorporated as a s corp or maybe a llc?

      Because i am.just wondering why i should assume some of your risk with out having my tax obligation reduced?

      1. todde

        And this State University you went to, do you know the amount of Federal and State funding it received as a percent of Revenue compared to now?

        Sounds like to me both you and your wife received plenty of dimes from the government then.

        Of course, since no one gave you a dime, you must be buying plenty of business insurance and forgoing the limited liability the government could give you at a much reduced rate.

        because, you know, nobody gave you a dime.

        1. EoH

          Yep. Nothing has changed so much since the 1970s as the cost of tuition and fees at public universities. Some, like Miami of Ohio, have effectively been privatized, but without having to pay for the assets and good name (as a public ivy).

          As you say, and just to get this off my chest, so to speak, there’s a world of direct and indirect governmental subsidies for employers and their workers, from which employers profit. Transportation infrastructure and the legal system that allows for enforcement of contracts, restricts labor’s right to bargain, and provides for limited liability of corporate owners and their boards are just for starters.

          Speaking of Caesar, I’m reminded of the Roman consul who thought his will drove his galley, never mind the guys below decks beating drums and pulling oars.

          I think “quit your bellyaching and get to work” in the cultural lexicon comes right after “get off my lawn”.

    5. Lord Koos

      Has it ever occurred to you that if you offered better pay, you might get a better class of workers to choose from?

    6. cnchal

      > We did this two years ago when an experienced lathe operator retired and prospective new hires scoffed at his wage and wanted more – but – without possessing the attendant skills . . .

      It occurs to me that prospective new hires could not afford to work for you for the wage you were paying your lathe operator for reasons that should be crystal clear.

    7. Matt

      Let me get this straight: you hate the idea of government “interference” in the labor market. But when the lathe operator freely turned down the wage that you freely offered him/her in the free labor market, it just made you so mad you had to go on a long rant about the decline of modern work ethics?

    1. Wukchumni

      Not having any idea in these matters, do congressmen & congresswomen go through metal detectors when entering the house?

  24. Oregoncharles

    “Killer Tulips Hiding in Plain Sight The Atlantic (RM). Anti-fungal resistance”

    An issue I have dual connections with: I’m a landscape gardener who uses fungicides – not azoles – and my son had aspergillus during a bone marrow transplant, about 30 years ago. It was removed surgically, and he then had a course of a rather nasty drug (I don’t remember the name, but almost certainly an azole) to prevent its migration – the stuff acts a lot like cancer.

    Because I’m an organic gardener, I find the horticultural dependence on azoles puzzling; there are several fungicides that organic growers use successfully; Cornell solution (baking soda and miscible oil – yes, that simple) and lime sulfur (calcium sulfide) spring to mind, as well as copper compounds. None can be used medically. There are disadvantages, especially to the lime sulfur: it’s very poisonous if ingested (but fugitive), it stinks, and it will burn your skin if left on. I wear raingear when I use it – which reminds me, I need to hose down the peach trees. But it’s the fungicide of choice in the garden.

    Evidently the azoles are better; but using them in competition with medical uses seems deeply irresponsible. Part of the problem, of course, are the giant monocrops the article describes. In any case, the development of resistance will soon render them ineffective in the fields.

  25. David

    Brexit – the Guardian headline “Take it or leave it” effectively sums up the EU 27 position as of today. Some EU leaders don’t seem to be completely ruling out a few small changes to the text but, as I suggested yesterday, it’s simply not possible to renegotiate a 585-page document in this timescale, and certainly not through parliamentary votes. What is being proposed, however, is that there might be scope for a bit of redrafting of the political declaration on the future relationship. But that’s it. Decision point is here.

  26. Olivier

    I am terrified of antifungal resistance and wish the issue had a much higher profile. Anyone who had a serious fungal infection knows how tenacious they are. And we have very, very few effective antifungal compounds at our disposal. Appallingly, agriculture is once more the culprit. To make things worse antifungals are not regulated like antibiotics are (not that this has stopped antibiotics resistance, only slowed it down a bit, and they are freely available if you are a farmer), so everyone can misuse them.

    Sometimes I think the human race has a death wish. I nearly fell off my chair upon reading “It seems implausible to me that a box on a garden-center shelf, available to anyone who cares to buy it, could have any significance for human health.” Do such idiots really exist or was it just a stupid rhetorical trick? The latter, one hopes.

  27. Kurt Sperry

    Frankly apropos of nothing topical, here’s a takedown of the much-hyped potential for practical application of quantum computing that is perhaps less notable for its conclusions than its beautifully accessible and clear prose in a field where that is a rarity. Just a great example of a technical subject being ably written for a general audience, something that is seldom accomplished. Spoiler for those familiar with the field: it comes down to error correction.

  28. GoatE

    I think of links as an “open comments” section so I’m going to ask this question.
    What is the big push for automated driving vehicles? I don’t get it and I can’t find out why?

    1. Duke of Prunes

      Lots of reasons I’ve read on the internet:
      1) I don’t like to drive. I’d rather play on my phone or “work”.
      2) I don’t want to own a car, and self-driving taxis means I don’t have to worry about sketchy cab/uber drivers, and they tell me it will be cheaper because no labor and magic
      3) I want to control/track the movement of everyone
      4) I love technology and believe that automated vehicles are safer than having idiots drive them (of course, I’m never an idiot when I drive).
      5) I’m sure we can get some massive govt subsidies for building them
      6) Because we can (at least I think we can)
      7) I’ve never driven in the snow or on poorly marked roads

    2. cnchal

      Here is MIT guy to enlighten you..

      Joseph Coughlin, director of the AgeLab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, predicts that companies will have a powerful incentive to do so. “The most valuable thing coming from AV technology is trapped attention,” he says. “If I’m Amazon and I have your undivided attention for an hour, I will figure out a way to eliminate motion sickness and remove all the other obstacles to enjoying the ride so that I can sell you things.”

      The purpose of AV is greed amplifier.

    3. Lord Koos

      I brought this up a month or two ago. Where is the demand for self driving cars coming from? From those who stand to profit from it. It’s typical of much new technology that gets foisted on to us, without the consumer having any say about it. We need more and better public transport much more than we need more cars. We don’t hear too much about self-driving buses.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      Money successfully diverted into the self-driving-car boondoggle is money that has successfully been kept away from Mass Transit Restoration. It is a targeted competitive resource-deprivation gambit.

  29. oaf

    RE: Boeing’s automatic trim for the 737 MAX was not disclosed to the Pilots

    Training for Technically Advanced Aircraft has always included emergency procedures for disabling a malfunctioning autopilot. (or any other control system or instrumentation)This would be facilitated through Flight Manual, Simulator, and real-world Flight Training. Certification of the aircraft requires review of design and engineering, as well as component testing on many levels by Government Employees.
    Still, sometimes issues have not yet reared their ugly heads until after certification. New technology can have unforeseen *bugs* or design flaws in a component without any precedent or thousands of flight hours to provide empirical data.
    A system that can’t fail doesn’t need an emergency procedure. All others do. They are normally trained for until proper response is reflex.
    You might find other aircraft types which have had their flight manuals revised after accidents.
    It is of some interest that the matter of issuing a type rating based on holding the rating for an earlier or similar variant has been brought up…

  30. Oregoncharles

    “Ocasio-Cortez gets in closed-door fight with veteran lawmaker over climate change ”
    This is posturing, because they don’t control the Senate or the veto and can’t actually make law. They might be able to have it ready for the prospect of more control after 2020.

    1. Lord Koos

      It’s theater but it’s still important that they are forcing a conversation about climate change. Things have to start somewhere.

  31. EoH

    One billionaire’s company trashes another billionaire’s name, religion, and businesses and the first guy does a full Sgt. Schultz, claiming to know nussink about his company’s conduct? Zuck continues to add to his and FB’s credibility. Not.

    Next thing you know, Zuck will declare a sham contest in preparation for opening a second global headquarters at a secure undisclosed location that he’s already chosen.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Professional sports teams do that a lot – playing one city against another (or others).

      Can’t say that was original (what Amazon did).

    2. Craig H.

      As I recall the beef was initiated by Soros. At the time is was Soros against Facebook, Facebook against Russia, and Russia against Soros. An NC commenter helpfully suggested the good the bad and the ugly mexican standoff film clip.

    3. EoH

      My comment was about Zuck claiming not to know what his company was up to in targeting another billionaire. He and Soros belong to a fairly small circle of people. I did not find the denial convincing, hence my snark.

      On your point about sports teams pitting potential host cities against each other in vying for a new stadium or sports team, I agree. But Amazon has the wealth, expertise, and ruthlessness to abuse the data it acquired from over 200 cities in significant and highly lucrative ways that are denied to almost everyone else, given that it is insider information. In fact, it’s its business.

  32. Huey

    The US is preparing to arrest Assange…
    This is really, really sad news. He has had such a strong spirit for so long.

    1. manymusings

      Waiting to learn more. No idea what to make of this — obviously bad news for Assange and the cause of a free and couragous press — but it’s weird, and has all the hallmarks of manipulation.

      Since when has a WaPo reporter committed an act of journalism by stumbling upon a scoop from reading tedious, seemingly un-newsworthy documents (as opposed getting a call from a confidential source that wants something leaked). Barrett in particular appears to have been a “journalist” of choice for FBI/DOJ leaks related to Russia propaganda. Former reporting would suggest WaPo writers don’t tend to read actual filings or other source documents, but instead report on them from leaked commentary. So Barrett and his co-authors suddenly discover this epic F-up while pouring over court filings just for kicks. And then they publish it, after bringing it to the attention of an ostensibly blind-sided DOJ that proceeds to confirm that the Assange implication is both true and a mistake?

      Bizarro. All sketchy and demoralizing.

    2. witters

      It is evil news. One thing I don’t like: even on Glenn Greenwald’s twitter, everyone seems to want to say something like “So what if Assagne is an asshole, this issue…” The first bit seems to me a worthless meme by which even Snowden and Greenwald signal their (apparent) commitment to power serving group think. It is ugly.

  33. ewmayer

    o “Pancake stop snags inmate who fled jail with help from mom AP. Crime makes you stupid.” — Not sure about it making you stupid, but it sure seems to make you hungry! And speaking of mouths to feed…

    o “India is suffering the ‘worst water crisis in its history’ World Economic Forum” — Is that really a water crisis, or a too-many-people-competing-for-finite-resources crisis, likely exacerbated by both climate change and a generous dollop of neoliberal capitalism? (The latter of which of course promotes groaf-under-alles, and the easiest way to get groaf is to grow one’s population, thus ensuring an ever-increasing number of neolib cap’s fundamental unit, the “consumer”). Indian population surged ~10% in last 5 years, and is now roughly equal to that of the entire world a mere 150 years ago. Here, from the Wikipedia entry on India, is the kind of happy-language the groaf-addled academic-econ and corporate types use to describe what is an ongoing Malthusian catastrophe. The only ‘warnings’ are related to things which might hamper that perpetual exponential groaf curve, or dent the supply of future-debt-slave uberconsumers:

    According to a 2011 PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report, India’s GDP at purchasing power parity could overtake that of the United States by 2045.[237] During the next four decades, Indian GDP is expected to grow at an annualised average of 8%, making it potentially the world’s fastest-growing major economy until 2050.[237] The report highlights key growth factors: a young and rapidly growing working-age population; growth in the manufacturing sector because of rising education and engineering skill levels; and sustained growth of the consumer market driven by a rapidly growing middle-class.[237] The World Bank cautions that, for India to achieve its economic potential, it must continue to focus on public sector reform, transport infrastructure, agricultural and rural development, removal of labour regulations, education, energy security, and public health and nutrition.[238]

  34. JBird4049

    Secret CIA Document Shows Plan to Test Drugs on Prisoners

    This is nothing new. Unfortunately.

    After the Tuskegee and Guatemalan syphilis experiments by the CDC, Operation MKUltra by the CIA, the biological, chemical, and even I believe nuclear testings by the military and radiation experiments on children and prisoners by the USPHS and AEC this is just nothing surprising. I have only done the briefest description.

  35. The Rev Kev

    “The Great National Circus”

    Read about that vicious attack by Preston Brooks on Charles Sumner. What should have happened is that the House Sergeant at Arms should have arrested Brooks and Laurence M. Keitt who used a pistol to stop anyone from halting that beating. If not him, then the predecessors of Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department. Perhaps too Henry A. Edmundson for being an accessory to the attack. A trial did follow but all he got was a $300 fine but they should have thrown his *ss into the slammer just to remind everyone that there was still such a thing as the rule of law. The whole thing just helped radicalize feelings across the States in a way that could not be reversed. Brookes may have been OK with attacking an unarmed man without warning but he turned out to be a gutless wonder as when he challenged another Congressman to a duel and the guy accepted, backpedaled out of it citing unspecified risks to his safety as quick as he could.

  36. Jeff

    Is there any reason the article ‘Everything You Thought You Knew About Western Civilization Is Wrong: A Review of Michael Hudson’s New Book, And Forgive Them Their Debts’ (with 142 comments and counting) does no longer appear on NC’s list? I found the URL but only via a search engine.

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