Links 11/23/18

Ancient mammal cousin looked like cross between a rhino and a turtle Science

Wealthy nations fall short of climate funding pledge FT

Why do billions of people still lack basic sanitation? BBC

Nissan to Seek Review of Renault Shareholding Structure Bloomberg

Carlos Ghosn’s downfall lays bare Nissan’s board problem FT. “The company ‘had literally no governance structure,’ said Koji Endo, head of the equity research department at SBI Securities.” Everything is like CalPERS….

1 big thing: Facebook admission caps year from hell Axios. “Be smart: Facebook seems to be adding a new realism to its founding idealism.” Oh.

I live with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri. Here’s which you should pick. WaPo. From the Jeff Bezos Daily Shopper….

Ottawa County courts piloting robot greeter Holland Sentinel. Ottawa County, Michigan.


Political declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom (PDF) Council of the European Union

UK and EU agree draft declaration for Brexit deal FT

Brexit political declaration: what it means for the future UK-EU relationship The Conversation

How EU Surprised Capitals and Helped May Cross the Brexit Line Bloomberg

Diplomats puzzled at Theresa May’s Brussels visit Politico

Corbyn says deal is ’26 pages of waffle’ and ‘blindfold Brexit we all feared’ – Politics live Guardian

Brexit: a vassal’s charter EU Referendum

Spain repeats threat to veto Brexit deal RTE

Germany prepared for no-deal Brexit: Finance Minister Olaf Scholz Deutsche Welle

As the toffs began to retreat LRB

What do ‘yellow vest’ protesters have in store for Paris on Saturday? The Local

Italy to resist budget pressure ahead of EU elections Reuters

How Greece Is Scrambling to Save Its Banks — Again Bloomberg

Berliners have shown how to stop the march of the far right Guardian

The euro must be fixed or dropped Handelsblatt


If we’re headed for regime change in Iran, get ready for a military draft. We’ll need one. USA Today

CIA holds ‘smoking gun phone call’ of Saudi Crown Prince on Khashoggi murder: Columnist Hurriyet Daily News

Killing of Khashoggi tests U.S. defense industry as backlash builds on Capitol Hill WaPo

Keeping Bin Salman In Place Will Hurt Trump’s Middle East Policies Moon of Alabama


Terror attack on Chinese consulate in Karachi foiled; 5 killed The Economic Times

US government said to be persuading more foreign allies to blacklist Huawei over security concerns South China Morning. So if it’s a question of which government to hand over your data to…

China Should Learn From History Before Embracing AI Sixth Tone. Pro tip: Check the language. “If it is written in Python, it’s probably machine learning, If it is written in PowerPoint, it’s probably AI.”

Guangzhou travel agencies told to avoid sending tour groups to Hong Kong at weekends via new bridge after influx of visitors at border town sparks anger South China Morning Post. The influx of mainlanders is about more than tourism…

Southeast Asia digital economy smashes expectation with $240 billion valuation Asian Correspondent

Trump Transition

Bolton to meet with Brazil’s far-right elected leader next week. Mission? To confront Cuba McClatchy

Trump and Sanders agree on one key aspect of economic policy — here’s how ABC Australia. Distorted clickbait headline, but good quotes from Stephanie Kelton (explanations, not one-liners).

Democrats in Disarray

Hillary Clinton: Europe must curb immigration to stop rightwing populists Guardian

Angela Nagle, Hillary Clinton, and the Left’s Border War Benjamin Studebaker

Scared to Death: the Dominion of Fear in Politics by Richard Sale Sic Semper Tyrannis

Why the Announcement of a Looming White Minority Makes Demographers Nervous NYT. 2044 – 2018 = 26 years is a long time in politics. One might almost think this entire discourse is tendentious.

Health Care

You Snooze, You Lose: Insurers Make The Old Adage Literally True ProPublica

Class Warfare

Samsung Electronics Says Sorry To Staff Who Got Cancer After Working At Its Factories Agence France Presse

Walmart Asks California Fire Evacuees To Vacate Its Property Newsweek

The human costs of Black Friday, explained by a former Amazon warehouse manager Vox (ChiGal).

Black Friday: Amazon workers’ union calls strike Deutsche Welle

Bernie Sanders says Amazon doesn’t deserve government subsidies NY Daily News

The science of self-care: How climate researchers are coping with the U.N. report Grist

Conviviality (MR):

French parents know how to teach their kids to love food without overeating Quartz. Smaller portions would help the climate. But you’ve got to catch ’em young.

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote:

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. larry

    I think today’s post in Chris Grey’s blog, The Brexit Blog, should be added to the Brexit list. It is titled Reflections on the Political Declaration. Eviscerates the Ultras. The Reflections post was preceded by one a couple of days ago, Brexit Redux. Both worth a read.

          1. Lee

            Having spent time watching large predators in action in the wild with great admiration, awe, even affection compounded with sympathy for the prey, all I have to say is: you first!

    1. Lee

      William Blake:

      Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
      In the forests of the night;
      What immortal hand or eye,
      Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

      In what distant deeps or skies.
      Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
      On what wings dare he aspire?
      What the hand, dare seize the fire?

      And what shoulder, & what art,
      Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
      And when thy heart began to beat,
      What dread hand? & what dread feet?

      What the hammer? what the chain,
      In what furnace was thy brain?
      What the anvil? what dread grasp,
      Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

      When the stars threw down their spears
      And water’d heaven with their tears:
      Did he smile his work to see?
      Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

      Tyger Tyger burning bright,
      In the forests of the night:
      What immortal hand or eye,
      Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


      That lamb God made for me was soooooooooooo good!

  2. BillK

    Re: I live with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri. Here’s which you should pick.

    How about none?
    It amazes me that people buy devices that sit in their home thinking “I know what you did last Saturday. And if anyone asks me nicely – I’ll tell them”.
    Is there no limit to the amount of privacy invasion and tracking that people happily accept?

    1. Carolinian

      From the story

      I call it a tribe because each has a distinct culture — and demands loyalty. This decision will shape how you get information, what appliances you purchase, where you shop and how you protect your privacy.

      Oh brother. If your washing machine is your friend you really need to get a life. Of course lots of people jokingly name their cars etc. However corporate America trying to become our machine friends is more than creepy.

      1. cnchal

        Creepy indeed, and from my point of view, also demented.

        The last time we had to choose a tech tribe like this was when smartphones arrived. Did you go iPhone, Android, or cling to a Blackberry? A decade later, it’s increasingly hard to fathom switching between iPhone and Android. (A recent survey found iPhone and Android people don’t even like dating each other.) Now imagine how hard it will be to change when you’ve wired stuff into your walls.

        Why? Won’t the phones accept each other’s calls?

        The flaw in all this electronic crapola? More power is consumed by the servers spying on you and turning lights on and off than the lights consume while on.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If we get to a point where we have several million families living in “smart houses” which are dedicated to creating an energy-conservation environment for the family inside to live in . . . and we also have several million families living in “dumm houses” where the family members themselves are devoted to energy-conservation lifestyling and the family members themselves have to take the energy conservation measures; we can measure the two groups of houses and families to see which ones consume-on-average what amount of energy per house.

    2. cnchal

      > Is there no limit to the amount of privacy invasion and tracking that people happily accept?

      No. It makes therm feel listened to and feeds the little narcissist inside.

      1. Pelham

        Not only that but it also falls under the category of “I’m innocent, I have nothing to hide so I don’t care about being tracked.”

        I think the tech giants understand this quite well and will continue to churn out products that track us more and more, knowing they can easily deflect any concerns due to this basic public insouciance and the powerful tech lobby in Capitol Hill.

        1. Lee

          “I’m innocent, I have nothing to hide so I don’t care about being tracked.”

          What a sad little life that would be.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I think those (who were innocent*) in East Germany or the USSR might have disagreed with that statement.

            *With humans in general, (not specifically any nationality), no one is really innocent.

            1. ambrit

              Some of the old Anarchist bombers would say that: “There are no innocent bourgeois.”
              So, ideologically speaking, the populations of East Germany and the USSR should have been totally ‘innocent.’
              Of course, the parameters of ‘innocence’ depend on who is doing the defining of ‘innocence.’ Wars have been started for less.

        2. Hepativore

          If this is not happening already, what is to stop employers or prospective employers from simply getting your data from Amazon or Google through Alexa, Siri, or Echo before they make a hiring decision or simply spying on employees at home to see what they get up to during their time off of the clock? This would both ensure that they could weed out people that do not fit into the company culture or make sure that they do not harbor subversive ideas about such archaic concepts like “employee rights”.

          1. Procopius

            Well, few people seem to know/remember Old Henry Ford didn’t pay his famous $5 a day to anyone who his spies found were deficient . Didn’t mow your lawn last week? Denied. Had your son bring a bucket of beer from the corner tavern? Denied. Don’t speak English well? Denied. Don’t have an indoor bathroom? Denied. Very few workers actually got the $5. Industrial spying on workers has been very common for many decades.

            1. Hepativore

              Yes, it has. However, something like this would make it even easier for your employer to keep tabs on you and make it even more difficult for workers to organize.

          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            And anyone not having an AlexSirEcho in their house would be branded an anti-social deviant and branded pre-ineligible for hiring.

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      one week since wife unilaterally installed directtv =>> eldest son says he wants a “Dot”.
      so I hafta give a class in surveillance and the marketing uses of data..i digress into Fourth Amendment issues, arm waving, and my best Ian Glenn impression…finally stomping my foot and forbidding such devices.
      at issue is that generations’ perceptions and nebulous automatic ideas regarding the concept of “privacy”.
      we…and other parents out here…allow controlled beer drinking under a sort of contract(ie: we’d rather it happen under our watchful eyes than out there on the roads, since it’s gnna happen any way). one of the most important parts of this contract is, not only do I(or the other parents) collect the keys…we collect the smart phones…because these kids think nothing of placing their entire lives on instagram. Cops understand this, and surveill accordingly.
      it’s a crazy world, and so, so different from when I was his age in the 80’s.

    4. Stephen Gardner

      I accept that ordering online diminishes my privacy but what galls me about things like Alexa is that they are listening all the time and sending stuff back to the servers to be processed.

      1. Paul O

        Also, you can (easily) get a print and recording of everything it has ever been asked. Even within the confines of a family I am not sure that level of visibility (spying) is comfortable.

      2. jrs

        they also seem to offer nothing for the trade off, I mean at least one understands online shopping or having a cell phone as sheer convenience, so one can at least understand what one gets for the trade off.

      3. flora

        …what galls me about things like Alexa is that they are listening all the time and sending stuff back to the servers to be processed.

        Semi-funny story:
        I don’t use a smart phone at work. A co-worker does use a smart phone. After a conversation with co-worker about this and that I suddenly start getting online ads when googling for a device/product/service that we’d been discussing in the office. If the ads were a mere coincidence … well, considering the produce/service, it was one hell of a coincidence… so much so that I remarked on it and was surprised. My guess is the company email url extensions were co-located with the smart phone owner’s company email.

        Everything that can be listening all the time is listening all the time. It’s designed to sell you stuff.

      1. Richard

        it almost sounds like the opening narration for one of those
        MTV Real Life shared housing shows
        I wonder which one forgets to clean the drain after a shower?
        I propose that they’d all be very good about putting their names on things
        they think belong to them.

    5. Geo

      At Thanksgiving dinner yesterday the hosts had an Alexa that was playing music. It took three attempts of loudly speaking to get Alexa to “Play music by ….” and numerous more loud commands throughout the course of the meal to get the volume to a comfortable level.

      I miss the days of putting on an album and adjusting a volume knob which could be done in silence and only required a few steps over to the stereo system.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I read somewhere that someone asked an Alexa whether ” you work for the CIA”. The Alexa supposedly switched itself kind-of “off” and stopped responding to questions.

        If I were in somebody’s house with an Alexa, I would have a lot of fun trying that.

    6. just_kate

      i am totally creeped out to visit one of my close family members who now has these devices installed all over their house :( anyone else faced with this?

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Surprisingly disconcerting, isn’t it?

        I mean, I know I’d never have one any where near my place but, damn, how do other people embrace these things without a second thought??!!

      2. Yves Smith

        My sister in law, who has a corporate job (as is is pretty normal but IT related) has told her immediate family and friends she will not visit them if they have an Alexa. And she has turned around and left gatherings when she’s seen one. She is the antithesis of high maintenance, she’s naturally very ingratiating and laid back. So it is interesting to see her draw a huge red line with these devices.

        1. flora

          Smart woman. Maybe her response to Alexa et al will prompt a re-evaluation of said devices from her near and dear.

    7. TimR

      To the intelligent minority, at least, all this stuff is a very, very bad idea. Now, why isn’t there outspoken pushback from at least 40% of those in publicly visible leadership roles? (Or even higher, since that group would presumably be composed of more educated, more engaged people than the general public.)

      The answer, I submit, is that they are all actors, and/or know they’re on a short leash. I don’t mean just politicians: I mean all the science and entertainment celebrities as well. If we get a few who speak out, they will either lose coverage, or be used to blackwash opponents as fringe weirdos.

      The fact that there is not real opposition from many important media, business, political figures etc. is proof that they’re all stooges and frontmen, promoted because they know how to play the game and have connections.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        What if its worse than that? What if they all believe in The Future and they all believe that Alexa (or the other brands of Alexa) are The Future? What if they believe that the Alexa is a little Sacred Shrine to the Interconnectivity gods, and speaking against Alexa is blasphemous?

        1. TimR

          Hahaha… I used to read the social critic Morris Berman and he always insisted that in the US even the smart people had rice for brains (or HRIR, heads rammed in rears, or some invective like that.) And yes it is said that the more education you have, the more propagandized you are, absolutely. But somewhere someone is setting that agenda. Someone is running the think tanks and implementing these coordinated social changes across the board. But yes point taken, even at the top it could be true believers.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            If these people are indeed True Digital Believers, then the only people who will successfully resist, reject and refuse the SirriAlexaCho in their houses and lives will be the True Analog UnBelievers.

            We will still use digital this-and-that, but hopefully WE and NOT the devices will be Master.

    8. rd

      I don’t use any of them.

      While I am by no means a computer expert, I have been using them for work and at home for almost 40 years, so know the basics. I am finding I frequently need to teach our new millennial employees the basics of how to use workplace software because they don’t understand file types, entering commands, etc. I also frequently help my kids figure out how to wire up things that they buy have wires (they are very good at pairing things using Bluetooth, not so good with actual wires which can provide higher speed and quality)

  3. timbers

    Democrats in Disarray

    Hillary Clinton: Europe must curb immigration to stop rightwing populists Guardian

    Shasa: “Daddy, when are you going to get out of Afghanistan? The internet said said someone was there 11 years and it’s was really bad and made them really bad. How long have we been there, Daddy?”

    Barack: “Well, Shasa, I was going to sit down and have a bear with some folks at that big building I showed you when we drove by it last year, to talk about that, but I think what’s going here is Mommy issues. Folks like us can’t do certain things in the country because of Mommy issues.”

    1. Andrew Watts

      It’s not like Hillary is going to admit that her policies contributed to further instability and the creation of failed states which inevitably lead to mass migration. I mean how would she know that supporting a coup, or regime change, in a country with an already fragile state would lead to people fleeing en masse? At least mass migration caused by climate change won’t be her fault. I’m with her on that much at least.

      1. Conrad

        There’s a pretty clear reason why her campaign went with “most qualified” rather than highlight her actual achievements after all those years of public life. And honest introspection is deeply unfashionable in politics as well.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          “most qualified”

          And it had the double bonus of being technically true by the standards of the Constitution. She was just tied with every other major party nominee besides John McCain.

          1. Conrad

            The late Panama Jack did have the right genitalia if you wanted to take an originalist approach to interpretation though.

      2. John Wright

        Perhaps HRC’s thinking has remained the same as before, what she advocates for is the correct action, it simply may take more time to manifest the wisdom of HRC.


        “But, in speaking with Clinton’s closest aides and advisors, it’s clear that she has already formulated a detailed defense. Clinton, they say, does not see the Libya intervention as a failure, but as a work in progress. The key lesson she has drawn from Libya is not that the United States should always avoid intervention or steer clear from the Middle East altogether, but that it needs to deepen its commitment to the region and find longer-term ways to engage with it. Whether or not the American public accepts that argument, it has clearly shaped Clinton’s present thinking on foreign policy.”

        HRC’s advocacy of foreign policy actions bear some similarity to the Martingale strategy of gamblers, in which they double their bets until (supposedly) eventually they win and erase all their prior losses.

        But she is not playing with her own money or her familiy’s lives.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Cough Iraq Cough.

          I always thought Libya was a desperate attempt to clean the Iraq War vote up, echoing the nonsense position of the Kerry campaign about how he would have fought Iraq but SMRTER! HRC would probably be the former President except for Iraq, so she needed a way to point to how she wasn’t completely derelict in her responsibilities as a Senator which is the best way to spin the vote.

          Libya can’t be a failure she moves on from given how these people think as a limited war was their excuse for Iraq.

      3. Adam

        Hillary did push fracking on a number of countries that really didn’t want it and was certainly pro fossil fuel, so it’s not like she’s innocent on climate change either.

  4. The Rev Kev

    “I live with Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri. Here’s which you should pick.”

    “Snake oil salesman”
    Noun UK ​ US ​ disapproving
    ​Someone who deceives people in order to get money from them:
    e.g ‘He was dubbed a “modern day snake oil salesman” after he ripped off thousands of internet customers.’

    I can see how these things will go. Eventually they will be able to pick out accents and modify their voices accordingly. So if you live in Texas, your home assistant will learn to speak with a drawl. For some who prefer to deal with a visual effect, it will be a girl onscreen doing the talking or perhaps like the Japanese Gatebox, a hologram-

    Eventually you will have home assistant addiction as a recognized medical condition as some people will think of them as real people and some idiot will want to officially marry them sooner or later. Can you imagine if you had Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant as real women in your home and dealing with them?

    1. JTMcPhee

      Already a thing, Rev Kev, maybe you noticed this tidbit?

      The details in the article are, as Mr. Spock would say, “Fascinating.”

      I wonder if the BuddhistShinto priests are A-OK with this? One way to shrink the population… Of course, one “active” male can be the Baby Daddy, doing what is colloquially called “stick ‘n go,” and impregnate lots of females, either via “contact” or by “donating sperm,” and the Tech Lords in the “life sciences” are busily working on parthenogenesis, so all those women who the earlier feminists told us were going to remake the world in a kinder, gentler mode don’t have to “submit” to the gasping and grasping of Evil and Defective X-Chroms…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Some people are married to their money.

        That presents an interesting legal question – Can the government take away a portion of a person’s spouse (money, in this case)?

        “That $500,000 there is my wife. You want me to cut off $100,000 from that and send it in as my tax payment?”

      2. The Rev Kev

        Depressing that there are so many Japanese men who have done this. I was watching a doco on Japan’s decreasing population and in one part they were talking with a sex therapist. They asked her for her ideas on possible solutions and she came up with the idea of bringing in polygamy. “Not the answer we were expecting” they replied but the women said that there is logic in this idea as there were so many surplus, single girls and women that those men who wanted to commit themselves to a relationship should be allowed this. Those females who also wanted the same in their lives would then have a chance of male companionship as so many Japanese men have tuned out altogether from any relationship whatsoever.

          1. The Rev Kev

            That was one of the main points of that doco. That the salarymen had so little time for relationships as their jobs came first or else they did not have a job. Same with the women in the workforce as well but with the added sauce of constant sexual harassment. One part of the doco concentrated on a poor girl that was driven to suicide by her job in a relatively short period of time leaving a grieving mother behind. It was sad watching, that doco.

    2. WJ

      I think marrying holograms is actually already a thing in Japan. Wasn’t there a link to such a story a few weeks back?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Yes. A fine example of “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed,” since a protagonist marrying a hologram is the premise of William Gibson’s 1996 SF novel, Idoru.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Not androids but ordinary plain women who had taken a drug that sent off pheromones that would make them irresistible to any men within their proximity. It seems to be an old idea culturally as even the modern Harry Potter movies showed young witches buying love potions to snag those that they want.

                1. Richard

                  There were 2 H. Mudd episodes. One with the irresistibility drug, and another with the androids. :)
                  Such a popular character…draw your own conclusions (he said darkly)

                2. LifelongLib

                  You’re right, I got the episodes mixed up. “I, Mudd” was the android episode. “Mudd’s Women” was as you describe.

        1. Carolinian

          Don’t forget Ryan Gosling’s hologram girlfriend in the interesting Bladerunner 2049. Perhaps all this ties into the recently linked Atlantic article about the decline of sexual activity. Although Gosling’s virtual squeeze does come up with a way to do the deed.

      2. pretzelattack

        so a hologram could divorce you if you cheated with another hologram. how about community property?

        1. WJ

          Is it not theorized btw that the social demand for female monogamy developed in tandem with agricultural settlement and new notions of the human ownership of “property”? Both contributing to the rise of patriarchy as analyzed by de Beauvoir and others?

          1. Oregoncharles

            Theories like that are about the present, not the past. Because nobody knows, nor is there any way to know.

  5. Mirdif

    Can any of the panel comment on how the vicissitudes of Mr Ghosn are likely to impact on the operations of Nissan in the UK vis-à -vis Brexit.

    My gut feeling is that these events are likely to lead to a greater assertion of control by the Japanese with regard to the board of Nissan. This in turn is likely to mean that the situation develops not necessarily to the UK’s advantage. Am I wrong?

      1. Mirdif

        Nope. I don’t play the casino even if they call it the stock market. If I wanted to invest I’d invest in to the real economy.

        I’m more interested in the Brexit angle.

        1. Massinissa

          Investment tip: Own a bank. Then if you go under the government bails you out.

          Too bad the only people who can own banks are the people who already own them.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I suspect the Ghosn thing is a powerplay between Japanese interests unhappy at the level of French influence in Nissan and Mitsubishi, although it can’t be ruled out I think that its something else entirely (maybe Ghosn indeed just got too big for his boots).

      I think its way to early to say if its good or bad for the UK. You could argue that a leaderless company is less likely to make a decisive decision on Nissan UK’s future, which could be good, not bad for the UK.

  6. GramSci

    I don’t think Richard Sale fully understands the “Dominion of Fear in Politics”. In the US, at least, the Dominion resides principally in the threat that you will lose your job and your children will lose their health unsurance. This is the Dominion the predators relish.

  7. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: You Snooze, You Lose: Insurers Make The Old Adage Literally True ProPublica

    Medicare, the government insurance program for seniors and the disabled, began requiring CPAP “compliance” after a boom in demand. Because of the discomfort of wearing a mask, hooked up to a noisy machine, many patients struggle to adapt to nightly use. Between 2001 and 2009, Medicare payments for individual sleep studies almost quadrupled to $235 million. Many of those studies led to a CPAP prescription. Under Medicare rules, patients must use the CPAP for four hours a night for at least 70 percent of the nights in any 30-day period within three months of getting the device. Medicare requires doctors to document the adherence and effectiveness of the therapy.

    Sleep apnea experts deemed Medicare’s requirements arbitrary. But private insurers soon adopted similar rules, verifying usage with data from patients’ machines — with or without their knowledge.

    How is this even slightly controversial? While there’s plenty wrong with insurance companies, making certain that expensive equipment is actually being USED as prescribed to achieve the desired therapeutic result would not seem to be one of them.

    And not really sure what to make of an “information technology specialist” who, at this point, is blindsided by the idea that his information is being broadcast far and wide so someone can make money off of it. Ditto for someone who hooks a “modem” up to a device and thinks it’s only for remote “settings changes if needed.” Have these guys never heard of facebook?

    As for–gasp–OVERCHARGING for some medical doodad or other–“C’mon, man.”

    Are these some of the people who are against “socialized” medicine because they have “good” insurance so the system is “working” for them?

      1. katiebird

        Have so many people always had sleep apnea? It seems like half the men I know have it and quit a few of the women. How does a person know if they should have a sleep test? It scares me because I know someone who died of sleep apnea.

        1. MichaelSF

          A good indicator is if you find you are “snorting yourself awake”. That and momentarily falling asleep at stop lights on my commute home are what had me asking to be tested. The CPAP helps, but at least for me it is only partially effective. I can’t remember the last time I woke up rested and rarin’ to go in the morning.

        2. In the Land of Farmers

          Sleep apnea is rising for several reasons, the biggest being obesity. The other being new medications like anti psychotics:

          I diagnosed two people with sleep apnea just by sharing a room with them, later confirmed in a sleep studies.

          One was just too fat, the other was from anti psychotics. Neither wanted to change their life so they have CPAPs. Doctors do not want to make you better, they just want to get rid of symptoms. That is the third reason apnea is on the rise.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            If a patient’s getting better depends on the patient doing something that the patient does not want to do and just simply will not do, how is the doctor supposed to MAKE the patient better?

            A germane joke apropos this subject . . .

            How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?

            Only one. But the lightbulb has to want to change.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Perhaps they have given up beating their heads against the wall of patient recalcitrance. ( This only goes for patients who have the money, time and non-frazzlement to be able to follow and apply the doctors’ advice if they only wanted to).

        3. Lee

          Snooze you can use

          I was initially diagnosed with sleep apnea and my insurance provided a CPAP device, which I used religiously for 6 months. It had a slight effect on my fatigue. A second test showed I had positional sleep apnea. This can be addressed by not sleeping on one’s back. You can make or buy a hump that you strap to your back. I don’t use that method. Instead, I sleep in a narrow gap between two pillows, alternating between sleeping on my left and right side throughout the night. This is quite effective. I also seem to have fewer unpleasant dreams.

          As for the chronic fatigue, it appears to be primarily the result of physical dysfunctions other than apnea.

          1. Oregoncharles

            I’ve slept on my side, alternating, for most of my life, because it’s more comfortable. A couple of things: You need a thicker pillow, or two, so your head doesn’t drop down. Given only one, I fold it.

            And you may need a pillow between your legs, if you have any wear and tear on your hips. This adds up to three pillows.

            It’s also awkward if your shoulder is sore.. I wake up at night a lot, but that’s prostate, not sleep apnea. I think my wife has it; being retired, she just stays in bed until she’s rested.

        4. neo-realist

          Many years ago, I had the symptoms of what appeared to be sleep apnea – loud snoring, not sleeping very deeply, headaches in the morning and feeling tired w/ an adequate amount of sleep. Went to an ear, nose and throat doctor who discovered that I had a deviated septum, with one sinus totally closed. Had it surgically repaired – nose cartilage removed, hammered out a cyst or two, and recut the cartilage. A sea change improvement in sleep quality, and mental and physical energy during the day.

          Maybe more people could avoid the CPAP if they got a sinus workup before hand. On the other hand, these machines are probably selling like hot cakes, so it won’t be encouraged because profits.

        5. Steve from CT

          I had a very bad snoring problem and my wife moved into another room to sleep. I finally had the sleep test and was diagnosed with apnea. This was over 20 yrs ago. I got the machine and had no problem getting used to it. Have been on it all night since then with the same setting. I know others who have had difficulty in getting used to it. I figure I am lucky that it was easy for me.

          1. polecat

            Ok …. got a spare 50,000 to 100,000 thou I could borrow to pay the intermediaries, let alone the surgeon man ??
            Cuz if all one has is ‘un’surance, well ….

    1. Wyoming

      I am highly suspicious of the CPAP sleep apnea situation.

      About 10 years ago when I was living in Northern VA I was having serious sleep issues. Really bad snoring, absolutely parched throat, waking up a dozen times a night and general tiredness. Went to a sleep doctor and had the tests where they monitored you overnight, etc. Oh you have bad sleep apnea. You are not even breathing at times for 40 secs and you are coming out of sleep dozens of times a night, etc. Lots of charts showing all this stuff. Something was certainly wrong all right. So it was here is a CPAP machine and how you use it.

      Using one of these things just sucked horribly. Incredibly uncomfortable and awkward. But I stuck with it because I did sleep better, snored less (the wife loved that) and I was more rested.

      Then we retire from our last career’s and head out to AZ for regular retirement. The CPAP machine gets misplaced in the move in rubble and I go without it one night. No snoring, no waking up all the time, no dry throat, well rested. So I decided I like this and try again the next night..and the next. It has been 6 years now and no CPAP machine. I no longer snore, I sleep mostly through the night (I am old and have to get up a couple of times) and am as rested as us old people get. But I don’t need the damn machine living here. From a wet humid pollen ridden low altitude climate to a high (1 mile elev), dry, low pollen/humidity environment.

      Now what is the lesson we can learn from this? I’m not sure but I am certainly curious about this whole sleep apnea thing being legitimate.

      1. Isotope_C14

        “I’m not sure but I am certainly curious about this whole sleep apnea thing being legitimate.”

        I like the cut of your jib Wyoming.

        I’d bet that now that we’ve annihilated countless insects with our sprays for crops, that things that once feasted on pollen and kept these things in check are no longer living in balance and people are experiencing the effects.

        But hey, Monsanto gets to make money, and you get better living through chemistry, except that now pollen is no longer being naturally filtered through insects. Same is likely true for mold and many other microorganisms.

        I’m sure they are happy to capitalize off of the CPAP machines.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Interesting notion, that UNsurance corporations would “care” if equipment like CPAPs are being “used” correctly with the thought that such behavior is needed to improve the health of their victims beneficiaries premium payers. Those UNsurance corps only “care” about income and expenses in terms of their self-assumed duty to “increase shareholder value” and enrich their C-Suite-ers. And as a user of a CPAP, provided by that “socialized medicine entity” known as the Veterans Health Administration, I do find it more than a little creepy that the latest one they provide has a cell transmitter-receiver in it that sends all user data including not only hours of use but frequency of apneic and dyspneic events, how many “mask on and off” (counting your urinary needs at night) and other likely categories that are not listed out where the “user,” can see them.

      I have a little field strength meter that (tin foil alert?) checks for emissions in several bands of radio frequency. There is supposed to be an “airline mode” switch on the CPAP that lets the user shut off the cell frequency emissions when they choose to (like when sleeping with that RFI emitter next to one’s head.) The RFI meter indicates that the cell broadcast does NOT shut off when It indicates it’s in “airline mode” — and how many of us are enough of a tech geek to peer into the innards to see what all the device might be capable of in the way of monitoring?

      What is “slightly controversial” to me is the bland and condescending acceptance of every little increment or Great Leap Forward in intrusive data collection, and the incredible idea that a corporation, pursuing “shareholder value” and all the other nefarious motivations of UNsurance corps and data mines like Amazon, Google and the rest, is not doing something that is vastly harmful to what us older mopes learned of the Triumph of Free Will and silly notions of decency and comity in the myths we were fed.

      I know, KE, “resistance is futile,” right? Just accept the inevitability and, as used in a context that might offend you as much as these intrusions and what are legally known as “conversions,”, offend and frankly frighten and dismay me, “lay back and enjoy it”? Unfortunately, many don’t have the luxury of “choice” in this — using the device is a necessity, to prolong life a little. And this is only one tiny element of the Brave New World that is being constructed by the few of us for their advantage and domination over the rest of us.

      1. sleeponit

        As a doc who prescribes CPAP therapy frequently I can say that:
        1) Doing these tests at home would save a lot of money and more accurately reflect true world conditions.
        2) The machines are rented out at highway robbery prices (a recent patients one year COPAY ALONE paid for a new machine and mask)
        3) Yes masks and more comfortable and machines quieter BUT getting used to the darn things takes time and is not for MOST of my patients easy at all.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        I certainly did not mean to imply that insurance companies do anything out of primary concern for the “health” of their insureds, and I don’t think I said that.

        What I DID mean to imply, is that, among other things, just because insurance companies do it, doesn’t make “health” information collection all bad. It even has a respected name–epidemiology. And there’s no one who has medical information in the minute detail that insurance companies do.

        I’m not talking about CPAPs per se, but I do see the knee-jerk emphasis on “privacy” with respect to all things “health” related as counterproductive, possibly intentionally so, to identifying risks, establishing “best practices” or determining the efficacies of currently accepted treatments.

        Theoretically, if every opioid Rx had been recorded in a single database and linked to subsequent addiction or overdose death, the dangers of over-prescribing could have been known far earlier. Or think of Erin Brockovich vs. pg & e. She had to visit every member of the community individually for them to sign a “privacy” release before connections to pollution of the water supply could be made. Many suffered and died in the interim.

        This is not the NSA reading your license plate or alexa recording your every utterance under the guise of “assisting” you. This is real information which, if aggregated immediately, responsibly and with integrity, could HELP you stay healthy and avoid medical pitfalls which are here today and discredited tomorrow, and minimize the costs of treatment which, for whatever reason, are ineffective and should be reconsidered.


        1. JTMcPhee

          “IF” is doing a yuuuge amount of work there, of course. UNsurance companies collect data to inform claim and coverage decisions, not so much for “epidemiology.” And share and sell data, maybe affecting decisions on stuff like employability and such? Walgreens and I believe several other pharm chains got sued for selling patient data in a slightly different context. Just part of a slippery slope leading to a seamless “web” that is part of what, a “matrix?”

          Nothing to fear, of course. All perfectly “legal” per the informed consents we blithely sign or lobbied legislative initiatives or “reforms.”

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            Once again, I am not defending insurance companies.

            But if there is information that suggests that an expensive treatment is ineffective, for whatever reason, do you really NOT want to know about it?

            1. Procopius

              If it is profitable and costs little to produce/implement, why would I believe they care whether it’s effective? I am utterly sure on the grounds of my opinions about human nature, that doctors, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies do not really want to “cure” our malfunctions, they want to be able to prevent death and ameliorate our symptoms for ever and ever. Can you point me to a case where a treatment has been discontinued as “inneffective?” Orgone therapy, maybe?

        2. Burritonomics

          I do agree in principle with you here, but fear that in practice people would just game the metrics (I can envision CPAP masks strapped on to stuffed animals, the machine whirring away). People who naturally exhibit high adherence to their doctors advice don’t need “nudges”.

          My casual observation about CPAP machines is that EVERY single person I know who has gone for a sleep test had been prescribed one. My joke is that its like a man who goes to an “anti aging” doctor. You’re gonna be diagnosed with “low testosterone” and you will be prescribed steroids. They ain’t in business to NOT sell you something.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            Perhaps, everyone who has gone for a sleep test has been pushed towards it by their spouse/family… I certainly was. My wife and sons refused to go on vacation with me as I was (*WAS*) a wall-rattling snorer.

          2. aletheia33

            i went for a sleep test and was told i did not have sleep apnea.

            as i do have chronic fatigue, i had hoped it might prove to be a fixable part, or even all, of the problem.

            my sister had found that the CPAP transformed her life, reducing her fatigue levels dramatically. no such luck for me!

            the woman who ran the sleep tests at that hospital was a bit eccentric and a delight. she said she loved her job and monitoring people’s sleep progressions during the night. the whole sleep test process itself was acutely uncomfortable and very interesting.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Huawei says it’s “surprised” by report that US is pushing more foreign allies to blacklist its network services”; ‘Countries that buy Chinese network equipment and host American military bases are what concern the US authorities the most.’

    Umm, nearly every country on the planet hosts American military bases so that would mean very few could buy Chinese network equipment by this logic. This is not security but business as the US also tries to stop countries buying Russian airliners and other stuff not on security grounds but because the US wants the contracts themselves. Having said that I would still go for stuff like Huawei mobiles, etc. as the Chinese could spy on you but you are unlikely to see a Chinese SWAT team come crashing through your door because of what you put online.

    1. Olga

      My guess is we’ll see more of this. Unable to compete on the merits, the next step is to try and sabotage your competitors. It does set up a terrible precedent, though. Chinese may have to resort to the old US tactic – by bribing the elites. Totally agree on the swat team part.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If you are being spied on by China, it’s not a good idea to be a tourist there.

      So, it’s not completely risk-free.

      And to reciprocate (China spying on Chinese citizens, and others – for example, Australian citizens, on a large scale), Australia, for example, would have to spy on Chinese citizens, on a large scale as well.

      1. Olga

        Or – potential donors read the tax returns and saw how little of the money goes to actual programs. And who’s still dumb enough to contribute? (But, yes, your comment is funnier.)

  9. TimR

    Re Ancient Mammal-

    No photo of the fossil, and the article doesn’t say whether it was complete, or possibly a single tooth or bone fragment.

    1. Synapsid


      Parts of the skull; shoulder girdle and upper bones of front limbs; parts of spine, upper parts of ribs; pelvis, upper rear leg bones. Go to or Eurekalert for Sulej’s bone map.

      1. TimR

        Thanks! I found the bone map at, though not clearly labeled. Still no photos of the actual specimens (cute researchers poking at dirt instead.) His actual paper was behind a wall.

        I point it out because most museum dino bones are “reconstructions” and, well, fantastic claims require supporting evidence. May seem trivial, but if ALL dino stories are accepted on flimsy evidence, who’s to say the whole thing isn’t a myth?

        1. Synapsid


          The detailed data will be in the published paper. Especially in vertebrate palaeontology, there is often a great deal of fragmentary evidence that wouldn’t add anything to any other publication but is of value to researchers. That’s where Eurekalert and come in.

          Skeletal reconstruction is a whole field to itself. Sometimes material missing from one side of an animal can be supplied by mirror use of the other side. If there are other animals closely similar they can be used as models, and there are other approaches too; in a peer-reviewed publication all this is spelled out in detail. The critter in this case isn’t even related to dinosaurs–it’s more closely related to us–but for dinos in general there is such a huge amount of fossil material available that there’s usually little reason to be too skeptical.

          A side note: Jurassic Park and its sequels are as accurate as we can get in the forms of the dinosaurs, though how they acted is always going to be less certain, I should think.

          1. TimR


            Thanks for your knowledgeable reply. From what I’ve been able to research as a layperson, my impression is that the public does not have access to much in the way of actual specimens. We’re given reconstructions and the originals are allegedly kept in some secure storage facilities.

            The fantastic creatures shown to us in paintings and Hollywood movies really seem absurd in terms of their mechanics, food consumption, weight etc. So it’s something I’d have to see with my own eyes (at least the actual fossils) to begin to accept they’re real.

            1. TimR

              In terms of motive — well, the early dino finds sparked a boom in museum attendance. Most museum exhibits collect dust, but here is something almost too good to be true… “Science” that, wonder of wonders, appeals to the mass public. Maybe that early success (an honest mistake of some sort perhaps) set off an elaborate fraud? Seems incredible, but Piltdown Man fooled millions for decades. Maybe Piltdown was even exposed to “prove” the rest must be real.

  10. Pelham

    Re immigration and majority-minority demography, two thoughts:

    1) Recent commentary I’ve seen elsewhere invokes the Bible and its injunction to be kind to strangers as justification for more open borders. But it strikes me that most of the people doing the invoking are people in the upper 10% of the economic pyramid demanding, in effect, that other Americans in the lower 40% or 50% bear the burden (lower wages, fewer job prospects, dysfunctional communities) of their (the upper 10%’s) enlightened sensibilities. There’s nothing like charity if you can get some chump down a few rungs on the ladder to pay the bill.

    2) Clinton’s comments touch on the theme of Amy Chua’s recent book on tribalism, the tendency of societies divided into distinct majority-minority groups to grow dysfunctional and even violent over time. In a democracy, these tendencies are magnified as there is no effective mediator (such as a dictator) to separate and mediate among the tribes. So the professors projecting minority status for whites who express such tender concern about stirring up the deplorables should instead be listening quite carefully to them. They know more and have a more finely tuned understanding of human nature.

    1. Altandmain

      I agree. It is usually upper middle class people lecturing the less well off. Upper middle class people, who are immune to the effects of job loss and who only get the benefits.

      Without a greater increase in aggregate demand per jon seeker, low skill mass immigration is a transfer of bargaining power from labour to capital.

      It is why Sanders and I would argue the real left are skeptical of immigration. While this does not condone what the far right is doing, we have good reasons for being skeptical. Our class interests are different than the upper middle class.

    2. jrs

      for #2 is there any actual evidence of this in the U.S., I mean you could break it down on a state by state level already, California is already majority minority, is it vastly more violent than elsewhere, does not seem so. The U.S. is a violent country in general of course.

      1. Pelham

        Amy Chua’s examples of violence focus mainly on a variety of other nations. But dysfunction and distrust generated by diversity are widespread in the US, as Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam has documented. His findings: the more diversity in a community, the more dysfunction, and the longer a community is diverse, the more dysfunctional it is.

  11. Andrew Watts

    RE: Angela Nagle, Hillary Clinton, and the Left’s Border War

    If opposition to mass immigration / open borders is seen as damaging to the material well-being of the working class it’s because it has been used as an instrument of class warfare for the last couple of decades. People like Studebaker can attempt to handwave that reality away by saying that it could be different, but he can’t undo the damage it has inflicted in the past or the bearing it has on the present. His openness to compromise by supporting concessions like a border wall in return for legally solidifying the status quo is telling.

    Let’s be clear about something, the Left is dominated by affluent middle class liberals who live in predominantly white and non-immigrant neighborhoods. As such they’ll never have to deal with the fallout from rising rents and gentrification. They directly benefit from the rise in property values while working class people suffer from the influx of people. Their financial well-being and material interests are at stake and if that means supporting a semi-legal form of human trafficking, exploitation of foreign/domestic workers, and expanding the number of people in the underclass so be it. That won’t ever stop them from posturing over the moral high ground because it enables them to cloak their self-interest in righteousness.

    1. Pelham

      Exactly. If there were 10,000 doctors, lawyers, MBAs or movie stars or the like at the border clamoring to get in, many of these enlightened liberals would be chanting, “Build the wall!”

    2. Sastun

      How has mass immigration been used as a tool of class warfare? A sincere question, I’m young and most of my understanding has been that immigrants are scapegoated for economic hardship created in large part by anti-labour policy.
      I suppose I can see however that it can readily be a two-pronged attack— use immigration to undermine unions and provide distraction, while simultaneously passing destructive legislation. But I have to wonder, isn’t a large part of the weakening of labour unions due to the collapse of manufacturing in the US?
      I’d guess that different economic sectors have to be looked at individually, teachers unions persist after all, and they would have been less threatened by immigration.
      Retail might be a good example of a sector heavily imapacted by immigration that also has failed to unionize. Is this due to immigration weakening potential efforts?

      Obviously this is very stream of thought, I’m anxious to hear any explanation or recommended readings to improve my understanding.

      1. Andrew Watts

        Both legal and illegal immigrant labor is used to drive down wages and increase profits across Corporate America. Those laborers have little to no civil rights and as the Obama administration demonstrated in the aftermath of the financial crisis they can be deported at will. Open border policy encompasses more then just mass immigration though. It’s used as a reason to free capital to cross borders uninhibited and prevent economic power from being brought under any government regulation or jurisdiction to the detriment of the dominant ruling class.

        An article on Marx on Immigration posted awhile back covers his ideas surrounding immigration and the ruling class and it’s pretty good until it devolves into economist naval gazing.

        Retail might be a good example of a sector heavily imapacted by immigration that also has failed to unionize. Is this due to immigration weakening potential efforts?

        A better example would be construction and the trades where immigration certainly has impacted the ability of workers to organize. For no other reason then there is a language barrier and little to no interactions between native/naturalized and immigrant labor. At least from my experience at any rate.

        Agriculture comes to mind as well. In Eastern Washington labor from the tribal reservations was swiftly replaced by immigrants from Latin America. I’m not as familiar with that field having spent a few summers picking apples and working for a food processor.

        1. georgieboy

          Thanks for the link to Marx on Immigration.

          In that piece this jumps out:

          “Immigrant rights activists prefer to cite Giovanni Peri, a University of California, Davis professor who argued in 2010 that the total immigration to the United States from 1990 to 2007 would be expected to bring about “an increase of about $5,100 in the yearly income of the average U.S. worker in constant 2005 dollars.” ”

          Peri, who evidently supports illegal immigration, writes a nice just-so story that is so full of it that it reeks:

          “Peri and his collaborators refine this basic model of supply and demand using a principle they call “complementarity.” In their view, low-wage immigrants do not simply substitute for native-born workers: given their lower English proficiency, the immigrants take jobs that require minimal communication skills, encouraging native-born workers to use their greater communication skills to move into higher-level jobs. For example, as Peri wrote in 2010,

          [a]s young immigrants with low schooling levels take manually intensive construction jobs, the construction companies that employ them have opportunities to expand. This increases the demand for construction supervisors, coordinators, designers, and so on. Those are occupations with greater communication intensity and are typically staffed by U.S.-born workers who have moved away from manual construction jobs. This complementary task specialization typically pushes U.S.-born workers toward better-paying jobs, enhances the efficiency of production, and creates jobs. ”

          Wow. Just wow. He wants something to be true therefore he conjures it up.

        2. Richard

          Thanks for your original post and this elaboration. I am becoming suspicious of DSA chapters that are pushing “open borders”, given that the idea has no popular resonance and divides workers. And given that the idea, as you point out, dovetails so neatly with open borders for capital, and no social guarantees for anyone.
          Has anyone considered the idea of infiltration? I feel like a jerk even mentioning it, but we know it’s happened before, and it’s probably guaranteed to happen again.

        3. Yves Smith

          The servant class for the top 10% (more accurately, the 1% to 10%, which has way more people but less $ per HH) is overwhelmingly immigrants, and many not so legal. Nannies. Cleaning women. Yard men. Bus boys in restaurants. Non-managerial employees in lots of retail. I have a buddy in Wellesley whose local grocery store was scrambling after word went out that ICE was making raids. That store had a lot of illegal Colombians.

      2. Richard

        I think that is a good question: “How has immigration been used as a tool of class warfare?”
        I am positive that it has been used so, but I’m also not practiced in seeing it that way, and would like some help visualizing this.
        The conceptual model I am used to is “immigration as a tool for some/many people to make material improvements in their lives”.
        I realize that as true as this might be in individual case after case, it also leaves out a lot, specifically the austerity and regime change that are promoted by a class, and that do generate (intentionally?) a good deal of immigration.
        Soon I will be talking with my 2nd graders about immigration (in the context of a larger unit about personal identities, the idea of “race”, and social justice movements), so make me a better teacher please by broadening me, or at least reminding me of immigration as a tool of class war.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I think I remember back during the Reagan period that meat-working at slaughterhouses and packing houses had used to be a highly paid well benefited unionized job sector. The Slaughter-Packer owners decided to exterminate the unions so they drove their workers into unwinnable strikes so they could fire them all. They then replaced them with illegal immigrants who could be overworked, underpaid, un-safety-ed, mass-injured at work, etc.

          That would be an upper class using illegal immigrants through no fault of the illegal immigrants’ own to perma-destroy a whole job-sector-load of American citizen jobs.

          Also, large parts of the computer and programming industry lie about American computer / programming workers not being able to work computers and programming while bringing in hundreds of thousands of oh-so-exquisitely-legal special-visa-permitted foreigners from India and elsewhere to do the work for less money.

      3. coboarts

        Good question. I’ll offer an anecdote. Growing up in SoCal many of my friends worked in the booming construction industry. They had union jobs, lather, carpenter, etc.. Those jobs paid quite well. And they had a very strong ethos, as in: “square is square, true is true, and plumb is plumb.” Then one day some of our brothers from south of the border showed up. They were willing to do the same work as my union friends, and they could do it very well. The builders started relying more and more on our brothers from down south. And since the builders really didn’t care about the quality of the construction, and the whole quality thing was more a trade union thing, the houses and offices still got built, just not quite as well. And it didn’t take long before those highly paid, highly skilled union jobs went missing. Of course, this didn’t happen by accident. And you can’t blame our brothers from the south side of the border for grabbing the opportunity, me and my friends would have as well. And before the commentariat starts ripping into my comment with delusional projections and misrepresentations, please check your accuracy.

        1. Al Foster

          I was a trade unionist (carpenter) in the CA Bay Area starting in the late ’60s (later a licensed contractor there), and can wholly confirm your observations. I don’t blame the undocumented workers either, as it was the contractors that thrived on cheap labor who by far benefited most.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Those contractors who didn’t go along, didn’t change, found it tougher to survive.

              I can still find good ones who actually pay for workers’ compensation insurance, and don’t let others borrow their licenses.

              A few say they are self-employed contractors on the state website, and do not need workers comp insurance. Then, they bring workers, assistants with them.


              So, I have to remind myself not to forget that. A lot of homeowners don’t care.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I can’t say it’s all on the contractors or employers.

            From coboarts’ comment:

            Then one day some of our brothers from south of the border showed up.

            They just showed up, out of nowhere?

            Did the employer actively place ads in those countries, and take unfair advantage of some visa programs?

            Some cases are like that, and in some other cases, the new workers are already in the country, and employers who want to survive face the question: Should I do what my competitors are doing? In these cases, shouldn’t the government look at making it an even competition field for a lot of these small business contractors (1. by catching the first company to do that, or 2. stop incoming labor at the borders)?

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Ideally, we would slowly patiently painfully elect and staff up a government which would arrest, try, and convict all convictable illegal employERS in order to shut down their bussinesses and create a space for non-illegal employERS to start bussinesses in those same fields.

              We have the prison space to be able to mass-incarcerate illegal employERS . . . who are one group of people who deserve mass-incarceration in the very worst and longest conditions that the Constitution could possibly be construed to permit.

      4. Altandmain

        What creates jobs? Aggregate demand. What is aggregate demand? Well, when you go shop, it creates aggregate demand. It created demand for the goods and services you buy. Why? Employers need to hire people to make those goods, procide services, and for their stores/back end.

        The issue is that low skill immigrants reduce the bargaining power of labour becuase they don’t create much demand. Worse, a lot of the money is often sent back to their home as remittances. So that’s even less demand in the natiom they work in.

        Because they dont create more aggregate demand and there are more workers now, there is now less demand for jobs by employers per worker. This reduces the amount of bargaining power the locals have, particularly becuase the native born citizens want higher wages. Illegal immigrants are willing to work for less.

        The end result is that the employers, while they may pass on some of the cost savings to society, for the most part, pocket the labour savings as profit.

        Hence, the argument that illegal immigration is causing working class citizens to lose employment opportunities and see their compensation reduced.

      5. Jeremy Grimm

        If you read Upton Sinclair’s “the Jungle” in high school you already have some notions of the working conditions in the early 20th century meat packing industry and the ways immigrants are exploited as labor. Here’s an except from an article in Mother Jones describing condition in the meatpacking industry early in the 21st century, a report from 2001:
        “According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, meatpacking is the nation’s most dangerous occupation. In 1999, more than one-quarter of America’s nearly 150,000 meatpacking workers suffered a job-related injury or illness. The meatpacking industry not only has the highest injury rate, but also has by far the highest rate of serious injury—more than five times the national average, as measured in lost workdays. If you accept the official figures, about 40,000 meatpacking workers are injured on the job every year.”
        [“The Chain Never Stops”, Eric Schlosser July/August 2001 Issue, Mother Jones,

        Proponents for immigration often suggest that immigrants only take important jobs inherently so dangerous and nasty no native Americans want to do the work. So these important jobs would go begging without immigrant labor. An excerpt from the Fort Collins weekly puts this argument to lie:

        “By the 1930s, unions were able to bring the black workers on board and as a result, the conditions and pay within the packing houses improved significantly in the ensuing decades. In fact, from 1950 to the late 1960s, the unions were so successful that meatpacking became one of the highest paying segments of U.S. manufacturing. At its height, meatpacking was one of the most organized industries in the nation with approximately 80 percent of its workers union members.

        As a result of wages 25 percent higher than other manufacturing jobs, most meat packers actually had waiting lists of people wanting jobs. It was not uncommon to find employees with 20-plus years employment at the same company. The idea that meatpacking was a job that most citizens would not do had been shattered by decades of organized labor gains. The children of meat packers were going to college and often returning to the packing plants to work because the pay and benefits were so good. Meatpacking jobs had become a fast track to middle class living.”
        [“Meatpacking industry has a long history of reliance on immigrant laborer”, Joel Dyer, The Fort Collins Weekly, December 22, 2006

        The meatpacking industry has a long history of exploiting immigrant labor and using immigrants to undermine unions. It is just one example, but a compelling example. Teenage boys once mowed lawns to make spending money. Who mows the lawns in your neighborhood? “But I have to wonder, isn’t a large part of the weakening of labor unions due to the collapse of manufacturing in the US?” — perhaps you are putting the cart before the horse.

        1. Olga

          What’s the Matter with Kansas by T. Frank explores, in part, the effect of the change from unions to immigrant labour in the industry on the entire state. A truly dispiriting tale…

      6. Sastun

        Re: Andrew Watts

        You make a good point about open border policy encompassing more than just immigration– capital flight from developing countries into first world investments serves powerful interests very readily.

        Yes, construction is a better example. I’ve spent too much time in Canada I think if that didn’t immediately spring to mind.

        Re: Richard

        I’ve spent some time musing on the question over the course of the day. I think one distinction needs to be made immediately: whether an immigrant is motivated by a pursuit of opportunity or an escape from persecution (i.e. a refugee), and further, a question of how genuine the opportunities available to them once they’re landed (e.g., how bountiful is the land of milk and honey truly? The exploitation of immigrants can be horrific).

        I think the use of immigrants as a class weapon fulfills two goals of the powerful. The first, is as a convenient pool of disposable persons. Disempowered, ‘willing’ to work in dehumanizing and dangerous conditions, it serves some industries basic economic interests to have them available. The second, as I already alluded to, as a scapegoat for the powerlessness of local lower classes. I think one of the early chapters in People’s History of the United States provides a compelling example, in which Zinn describes the race relations of early settlers, in which a large portion of the poor whites were indentured labourers. When African slaves were brought in for additional labour, there was initially solidarity and even collusion between the indentured whites and black slaves. However, interactions between races were criminalized, which may not have been sufficient to create a divide, but rewarding white servants for selling out african co-conspirators certainly did. Those are the framings I’m most familiar with, but as many of the other commentators are alluding to, immigrants also seem to be used more crudely as a bludgeon to simply weaken unions.

        Re: coboarts

        Thanks for the perspective, construction completely slipped my mind.

        Re: Altandmain

        Thanks for the clearcut economic explanation, I’m wondering how does legal immigration fit in? This is going back to Studebacker’s original claim that many of the harms done through immigration would be diminished with proper inclusion of labourers into existing unions.

        Re: Jeremy Grimm

        I did read The Jungle from fiction recommendations at the end of People’s History of the United States. Your example is exactly the historical context I was curious to see.
        So you’re arguing that labour unions were weakened (in part by immigration as a class weapon) and that allowed industry to shift manufacturing out of the US? Sorry if I’m mischaracterizing your argument here but I was under the impression that a major motivation for corporations to divert manufacturing overseas was to take advantage of the lower wages and relaxed regulations, more of a globalization argument as opposed to immigration.

        Re: General

        I don’t have the experiental time horizon to have seen the degradation of unions and labour from the 70s (as an arbitrary turning point of the weakening of labour) onward. Most of the threats to unions that I’ve seen have been legislative attacks like ‘right to work’ or similar, but from what y’alls replies have more clearly indicated to me, is that there was an era (still ongoing?) in which immigration was used to heavily weaken labour, both directly by destroying unions, and indirectly by simply expanding the labour pool. Thank you all for the discussion.

      1. jrs

        No most of the left is MUCH MORE strongly for immigrant rights and open borders than liberals, very much so. Liberals just like things that sound good (or when very cynical that benefit them), the left is serious about being committed to those things though.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          The fight against global capital, with its psychopathic devotion to profits uber alles, will require a global response: global labor. National borders and immigration concerns do not matter.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            They matter to people too poor to be able to ship their own capital all around the world.

            They matter to people who have to try making a living at some job or other within those borders that don’t matter to the Overprivileged Left because the Overprivileged Leftists are too wealthy to have to worry about where their next box of ramen is coming from.

    3. Benjamin Studebaker

      I feel this reply somewhat mischaracterises my position–I do not want to “legally solidify the status quo”. I think we need a suite of labor reforms which protect working class people from the negative competitive consequences of immigration. In the piece, I write:

      “If the state expands the workforce but expands labour protections at the same time, it can protect its domestic workers from being undermined. States could compel immigrants to join unions, they could fix higher minimum wages, and they could give undocumented workers legal status to prevent employers from using them to circumvent labor laws. The problem is that rich states haven’t been doing this.”

      We need to push them to start doing this stuff! If we take care of our domestic workers so that they aren’t threatened by immigration it will be much easier to then do an amnesty as part of comprehensive immigration reform. It’s our failure to defend workers economically which turns immigration into a big problem, both for them and for the left politically.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Isn’t there a timing issue? Forty years after deindustrialization, mainstream economists have come round to the view that although the effects, on the whole and on the average, may have been beneficial (at least if you consider that citizens and consumers are the same), nevertheless there are severe local impacts that should have been compensated for. Too late now!

        In the same way, the negative competitive impacts of immigration happen now. The “suite of labor” reforms comes later. If at all. I very much agree with your statement that “It’s our failure to defend workers economically which turns immigration into a big problem.” At the same time, I don’t view “open borders” DSA factions asking US workers to take the hit now, without even coupling this with a desire, let alone a plan, to “take care of our domestic workers,” as having a defensible policy. I don’t even see them as left.

        1. marym

          I agree that “open borders” shouldn’t be uncoupled with labor protections, but isn’t the DSA already committed to unions, a job guarantee, and living wage, whether or not (individuals? chapters? factions?) also support open borders? (I’m reading this here – no other claims to knowledge about DSA policy).

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Fair enough. It’s certainly not sold that way. I read a ton of DSA stuff, and the open borders/U.S. labor protection connection is never made, which suggests to me that open borders advocates do not make it. That also suggests to me a lack of party discipline. We already have one “Big Tent” party. We don’t need another one.

            1. marym

              Supporters and opponents of immigration should be required to support actual benefits and protections for workers.

              DSA may provide support at a distance, which should be addressed as you say. Dems/liberals/virtue signalers provide flawed, weak, uneven, or cosmetic support; and are sometimes complicit in reversing benefits and protections. Right wing opponents of immigration want to destroy benefits and protections.

              Maybe part of what “the left” needs to do, in addition to better discipline of its own policies and message, is to couple the issue better in its critique of the Dems or the right. What also concerns me is people who oppose immigration and also support benefits and protections for workers considering the possibility that Trump got the issue right or spoke to a real need. Imo, he does neither; and in fact has an agenda about immigration, ethnicity, race, class, gender, etc. that is inimical to any good deal for the working class.

          2. integer

            An open border policy will significantly increase the difficulty of implementing any policy that aims to improve labor conditions for the citizens of a nation. Personally, I expect many people who are strongly in favor of high levels immigration know that the two policies are in direct conflict, but pay lip service to also implementing labor protection because they know their arguments for open borders falls apart when the effects of this policy on the labor market are considered. If, however, the desire to improve labor conditions is genuine, those who advocate for high levels of immigration/open borders should consider supporting a moratorium on immigration until labor protections are enacted and set in stone, after which the debate on the pros and cons of immigration could be resumed.

            1. marym

              Closing the border with far more than lip service to destroying those protections, will significantly eliminate the possibility of implementing any policy that aims to improve labor conditions for the citizens of a nation.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        While all that you say is undoubtedly true, I cannot imagine what about the current state of labor / immigration suggests to you a desire of the state to “protect working class people from the negative competitive consequences of immigration.”

        Individual states race to declare themselves “right to work” states in a blatant advertisement that corporations will not be “inconvenienced” by union interference. High profile corporations exploit H-B1 visas by having native born workers train their immigrant replacements in direct contravention to the visa agreement that there is no american qualified to do the job. Employers who hire illegal immigrants are relentlessly excused as innocent dupes with no way of knowing the status of their remarkably compliant employees.

        Despite all the current bleating about “diversity as strength,” immigration is today and always has been primarily a population-manipulating tool toward economic ends. In the past, immigrants were required to prove that they could be financially self-sufficient or to have a sponsor. Today they are mindlessly proclaimed a moral responsibility.

        I mean no disrespect, but we cannot depend on the state to solve a problem that it is deliberately creating.

        1. marym

          This is similar to the reason why I question the assumption that “closed borders” would somehow result in better conditions for US workers.

          Democrats have a marginal-to-nonexistent commitment to unions, workplace safety, social safety net programs beneficial to workers, and a living wage. Republicans oppose all that. There’s bipartisan complicity in prison labor, debt peonage, and lack of immigration enforcement at the employer level.

          Trump’s opposition to immigration is explicitly based on fear-mongering that immigrants are violent criminals, drug and human traffickers, ISIS, MS-13, rapists. His only mention of the impact on jobs that I know of was to say he wants to hire immigrants to fill the supposed jobs of the supposedly “hundreds of companies moving in.” (Link). He continues to hire temporary immigrant workers himself (Link, Link).

          It’s sort of the reverse of Lambert’s timing issue as he described it above. Even if supply and demand are expected to work their magic (though “because markets” isn’t usually an acceptable premise here), it seems as though there would still be a lot of steps between curtailing immigration and a better situation for non-immigrant workers.

          1. georgieboy

            Closed borders becomes a cage match.

            Open borders allows the fight promoter to keep changing the odds and the nature of the match.

            1. RMO

              Propose that doctors, dentists, architects, engineers, who are qualified in their own countries (all of the Americas, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Indian subcontinent to be included) be allowed to move to the U.S., with their equipment and staff in needed, and be allowed to immediately start offering their full range of services on the market for whatever they feel like charging – after all that would be free-market globalized competition which we’re told is good for us – and then see if those in the professional class are still in favor of open borders.

              I do know some people who have moved here to Canada who were accomplished professionals in their own country who had to work as convenience store clerks, private security guards etc. when they arrived. Those professional jobs are still protected from competition unlike the jobs the majority of the population depend on. I do notice the “tech” field seems to be cracking open in this with the cases of obvious misuse of the H1B visa though. I wonder if that’s a preview of the future?

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            > it seems as though there would still be a lot of steps between curtailing immigration and a better situation for non-immigrant workers

            Isn’t H1B a fine counter-example?

          3. integer

            I don’t think anyone is arguing that “closed borders” would automatically result in better conditions for US workers, what is being asserted is that it is a necessary precursor.

  12. JTMcPhee

    Ottawa County piloting robot greeter: there’s an infinity of data out there, but one I would like to see in detail is the documentation of the process that led to the county government paying for a “robot greeter.” Like Walmart, to theoretically displace some “costly” meatspace employee? Because the legislators and planners got a kickback? What was the sales pitch? And of course what Code drives the device, and will it have the gentle touch of a Thelma or Raplh, with all their store of knowledge that might be of use to help other mopes to get around in the courthouse or find a place to get a good cup of coffee? Stuff like that?

  13. Anthony K Wikrent

    In his article, “Angela Nagle, Hillary Clinton, and the Left’s Border War” Benjamin Studebaker for some unknown reason fails to mention the fact that if the Western regime of world trade forced countries into being neocolonial suppliers of cheap consumer goods, rather than allowing countries to pursue actual policies of national economic development. (Lagos, Kinshasa, Nairobi and other cities do not have even a single kilometer of urban rail mass transit; cities like Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Jakarta, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bangkok desperately need their urban rail mass transit systems tripled or more in size, scope, and capacity. Or, where is there a trans-continental rail line in Africa or high speed rail in South America?) Overthrowing the neoliberal dictatorship of bankers, and getting on with the massive industrial rebuilding needed to actually solve climate change would create the economic conditions for most people to want to remain in their countries and prosper by helping to build them.

    Thus it is ironic that near the top of the list of links is the BBC story, “Why do billions of people still lack basic sanitation?”

    1. Olga

      The last person, who had a vision of continental development in Africa (and initial funds to back it), was killed in Libya in 2011, courtesy of Nato. A telling exclamation point to he destruction of Lumumba and Nasser. So where is this development and/or overthrow going to come from? Not that we don’t need it…

  14. XXYY

    Why do billions of people still lack basic sanitation? (BBC)

    This is a super interesting problem and as the article says, an urgent one.

    It’s also a systems problem. Just reinventing the *toilet* obviously falls short of what’s needed. The general waste disposal problem remains even if the toilet itself is able to transform the waste into a more benign form: a toilet that could turn human waste into, say, sterile glass particles would still leave the problem of disposing of thousands or millions of tons of glass particles a day from a large city. So my impression is that many of these very technical efforts are missing the big picture, though may have value in their own right.

    Cities like London (famously) worked hard to address the sewage disposal problem in the mid 1800s by using large amounts of water to flush the waste into a nearby river (the Thames). This led to a big improvement on the ground and was a great stride in public health, but the general approach requires vast amounts of reasonably clean water, and also turns the river into an open sewer unless a big treatment system is put in place. All of this took a century or so to implement in London, a fairly wealthy city. It became (or at least was) the pattern for most first world sewage systems, which grew up hand in hand with extensive municipal fresh water systems that were necessary and complementary technologies. (One definition of a toilet is: “a device that turns small amounts of human waste into vast quantities of contaminated water.”)

    Obviously this is not the pattern to follow in what we call the “developing world”, which features (a) much less money to spend per capita on the problem, (b) lack of fresh-water infrastructure, (c ) increasing shortages of potable water, and, commonly (d) a lack of municipal organization and funding to carry out big, stationary projects over a multi-decade timeframe, especially in villages and scattered farming communities. Low-lying cities and towns that will be submerged in the coming decades are also not good places to embark on big, fixed infrastructure programs at this point.

    Also, the “developing world” lacks high tech materials, manufacturing and maintainance capabilities and frequently reliable electric power, so the proof of concept toilets coming out of university engineering departments are not suitable for deployment at large scale and/or in the middle of nowhere. They are likely to become white elephants in short order in the field even in the unlikely event they can be made and delivered in large quantities initially.

    So clearly, a new paradigm is needed.

    It seems like the requirements are:

    (o) Little or no fresh water consumption.

    (o) Benign or (ideally) beneficial effect on the local environment.

    (o) Uses local material and manufacturing capabilities and skillsets.

    (o) Maintainable/repairable by local residents.

    (o) Extremely low cost.

    (o) “Portable”, in the sense that the system can be emplaced quickly and moved if needed (months, not decades or centuries).

    (o) Resilient: no single points of failure.

    Most of these requirements are violently at odds with current first-world waste systems.

    I confess I don’t see a super obvious way forward on this (I assume no one else does either or this would have been a solved problem long ago). Certainly a one-size-fits-all solution is impossible: gigantic cities and shantytowns will need something much different than isolated villages and farms.

    I assume if society spent say, 10% of the money and engineering expertise we now spend on bombs, we would start to see great progress.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      With the exception of your “portable” requirement particularly — “moved if needed” — you specified an old-fashioned outhouse. [Depending on the soil the “benign” effects on the local environment may necessitate building the pit above some hard pan and lining the pit walls with a layer of heavy clay to prevent sepage.] I think a larger version would be called a pit latrine.

      Of course even less than “10% of the money and engineering expertise we now spend on bombs, we would start to see great progress” in improving the designs. Might be nice to recover the water in urine and perhaps find a way to reuse the urine as a fertilizer. With a little more thought there might be some way to kill the pathogens and quell the fragrances of night soil.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Not all waste was simply dumped into a river in Victorian times – not by a long shot. I saw a doc on Liverpool and it mentioned barges that would take away the daily solid waste from that city in Victorian times. That waste was then sold to farmers in the region to put over their farmlands to grow the foods that were then sold to cities like Liverpool. I suppose that you could call that a virtuous circle – a foul-smelling, disgusting virtuous circle.

    3. Oregoncharles

      Your requirements call for composting toilets. There was quite a long discussion of those yesterday(?) under Links. They even meet the requirement you left out: (o) Keep the human waste separate from industrial or consumer toxins. Manure of any sort is a major resource. The fertility should be returned to the soil.

      It’s also potentially a source of useful natural gas. That requires more infrastructure, but basically just tanks and compressors, much simpler than municipal water and sewer systems. Incidentally, city water and sewer can cost $80 or $90 a month, prohibitive for poor families. Clean water has to be provided somehow, which means keeping the waste out of water sources.

      1. XXYY

        Great discussion.

        I don’t disagree exactly, though there are a couple of issues here (which I don’t claim to have a solution for):

        (o) The idea that human excrement is some kind of benign growth medium for food may or may not have been true in the 19th century, but I’m less confident about that now. The modern industrial world has meant that humans are ingesting (and excreting) all kinds of drugs, pesticides, herbicides, pathogens, hormones, toxins, nanoparticles, prions, plastics, radioactive materials, and presumably other things we’re unaware of now. In other words, the boundary between “human waste” and “industrial and consumer toxins” is increasingly blurred. Of course, anything spread on fields also leaches into (untreated) water runoff and on into the watershed, even if the crops don’t take it up themselves. So it to some extent bypasses whatever “sewage treatment” process is nominally in place for regular sewage.

        (o) Things like pit and compost toilets don’t in themselves deal with the larger problem of “disposing” of the waste. This IMO is the problem of fixating excessively on the toilet itself and ignoring the larger systems aspect. Disposal may be manageable in rural areas where there is a lot of open space per person, but obviously a more organized arrangement is needed in New Delhi. Tens or hundreds of millions of people concentrated in a small area will generate mind boggling amounts of waste, whether it’s benign or not. Individuals neither will nor can handle the problem themselves, just as they can’t grow their own food in such a setting. A large, durable, reliable infrastructure is needed, which I have not seen discussed much as a mission-critical component of the whole solution.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      Aerobic waterless composting toilets which composted the humanure all the way down to non-infectious benign-to-handle humanurepost for feeding/nourishing soil would be better than all the fancy solutions suggested in the article. Those solutions still treat the “waste” as “waste”. Compostoilets would decay the “waste” into fertilizer, thereby turning a Problem into a Product.

      But don’t expect Third Worlders to want such things until they see millions of First Worlders verifiably using compostoilets in their own First World houses first.

  15. Craig H.

    According to this page Buy Nothing Day was invented by a Canadian, Ted Dave. He is a photographer. Photographs of his deceased dog. (If you are in the checkout line at Best Buy this page is unlikely to render on your phone which is a pity because they are good photos.)

  16. How is it legal

    The Camp Fire

    Possibly over ten thousand living in tents and cars (speaking of basic sanitation)? ‘Interesting,’ 15 days later, that there’s still been no estimated count offered up by the Fourth Estate, even after FEMA finally showed up a disgusting EIGHT DAYS LATER:

    Disaster Recovery Center Opens TODAY #CampFire #ButteCounty Former Sears Store, Chico Mall 1982 East 20th Street Chico, CA 95928 Hours of Operation: Monday through Sunday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Closed Thanksgiving Day)…

    4:47 AM – 16 Nov 2018 from Chico, CA

    I’m sure they have a guestimate as to that number living in tents and cars, just like they had a wildly varying count (perhaps helped along by the California Governor Jerry Brown, Governor elect Gavin Newsom, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, and likely House Speaker to be, Nancy Pelosi) of the missing. Burning to death is likely one of the most horrid things imaginable, but since the vast amount of victims were over fifty, or disabled, and on fixed incomes, it will rapidly become yesterday’s news, and California will then undisputedly become the state with the most unsheltered homeless. The Fourth Estate in California should be having a moratorium on glowing articles catering to the elite, their desires, and their faux issues and philanthropy, along with the California Politicians who are predominantly owned by that elite class.

    Now, horror of horrors, there are potential flash floods and near freezing night temperatures in store for the still uncounted evacuees living in cars and tents Rainstorm ends California wildfires, but threatens to cause flash flooding

    The State of California and the Federal Government – despite sovereignty in its own currency – increasingly turning its own citizens into permanently transient refugees, aided and abbetted by the Elite and it’s Fourth Estate.

    1. Lee

      For what it’s worth:

      Among all states California ranks 10th in median household income ($64,500), 8th in per capita GDP ($58,619), 9th in state per capita tax burden ($3,876.82), and yet has the highest poverty rate (23.8%).

      And let us not forget HRC’s bragging about winning high GDP areas of the country and that California is at least politically speaking, a wholly Democrat project.

      1. How is it legal

        The victims in Paradise were older and poorer than the rest of California. The median age was 50, and the median household income $20,000 a year less than for the state as a whole. As far as the government response has been concerned, their lives and continued survival are a matter of indifference. Aside from a handful of shelters—where a norovirus outbreak sent at least 25 survivors to the hospital—and a pittance in FEMA supplies, those fleeing Paradise have had to rely on friends, family and charity.

        It seems a huge population of the US has been left with the Elite, Bipartisan, Fourth Estate promoted idea that the California fire victims, and all California citizens – other than illegal immigrants™, which the California elite bought politicians love to pretend they care about, when they don’t even give a rat’s behind about their increasingly homeless citizens – are well taken care of in such a Meritocratic™, Hillary™, #MeToo™, LGBT!™ GREEN™ Dominant!™ Blue State!™, so anything that befalls them is their own fault, and they should feel lucky for any assistance they receive. Had a call from an East Coast acquaintance with no internet access near insisting that the death by fire victims were wealthy, from what they’ve digested in both their local news and rumors from acquaintances who do have internet access.

        Governor™ Jerry Edmund Brown was horrid enough, I cringe in horror at what’s to come from Identity Politics Master, San Francisco’s Historic Wealth (The Gettys™, et al) PAID, Clinton kiss asser, Gavin Newsom; who flew to Hawaii for a vacation at the first sign of a possible San Francisco Bay disaster, when he was the Mayor of San Francisco.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeed

          other than illegal immigrants™

          Why do they, the elite, make an exception for them (those mentioned above)?

          1. How is it legal

            (I think this response may have been accidentally snagged up two hours ago, trying again)

            They don’t make an exception for illegal immigrants™. They imply an exception for illegal immigrants™ – which they “welcome” for economic purposes and Political Gaming (e.g. Hillary Clinton and Gavin Newsom vs. Donald Trump (all three of them the same ilk, cold blooded)) – yet treat them even shabbier than how they’ve treated those likely thousand citizens who just unnecessarily and hideously burned to death.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Potential flash floods…permanent transient refugees…tents in a Walmart parking lot…

      There seems to be less rage here and now, for our own fellow citizens, than a few months ago along the southern border.

    3. How is it legal

      Much to my regret, horror and shame, I accidentally left out the potential Mud Slides™ which happen along with those flash floods, which two words sound far, far less horrid and life threatening – in this deliberately faux, proclaimed Freee Markets & Mobility!™ California Hell – than they actually are. At the very least they should be termed lethal, quite sudden, oxygen depriving, rapid Mud Avalanches; particularly when they occur in impoverished, utterly neglected and ignored California municipalities, from which there is no escape.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      Steve Bannon’s “Great Mission” is to “dismantle the Administrative State”. Defunding all the Administrative Agencies like FEMA and staffing them with Koch-Pence Approved moles and trolls to destroy them and their functionality from within and above is the Trump Administration mission.

      A SanderSocial Democratic Party might run on pointing that out and planning to reverse the Prime Bannon Directive. Part of how they could run against “dismantle the Administrative State” is to describe in detail all these failings in California and then say . . . . This is what “dismantle the Administrative State looks like.”
      And then run on re-mantling the Administrative State.

    1. JTMcPhee

      And as to “war,” going by the myths we are taught, that set of Big Projects we are now accustomed to call “war” are abject failures. Of course the real metric is just “transfer of public wealth to supranational corporations.” Said corporations demonstrating every day not only a massive incompetence in “pursuing the mission,” if one defines the “mission” as “defeating the enemy” (that elastic and inchoate concept), then the whole military industrial sickness is a complete failure. But that’s not how it’s measured, of course.

      And then the whole MIC is riding an enormous self-licking ice cream cone — every moment of every day, the Tech Lords of the war contractors come up with New Threats, both the kind that they tell us “threaten the nation” and the kind they and the techies who labor so industriously for them come up with to “threaten all the other nations (and the mopes of the Empire at the same time).” On a pretty clear path to something like that dystopic (by mope meatspace standards, not by “the future”) “Terminator” vision, that gets pushed into the brains of all those people who spend all those hours “playing” the many and ever more “realistic” shooter “games,” blowing the heads off muscular male and female and mech “enemies” and often “friendlies” too, just for variety. Because killing, violently and “efficiently,” gives such a massive rush of adrenaline and endorphins, and not just to the fat little basement-dwellers wielding their virtual reality weaponry, kitting up and seeking secret passwords to unlock ever more “power…” Until that so frustrating message pops up: “YOU DIED!”

      What kind of political economy do “we” want, again? And is there any way to get some kind of agreement on what that will be, one hopes something that partakes of ecological and political homeostasis and health, or is it all just push-and-shove Randian Motion, all against all in the last frames of the Great Game?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Two weeks in China.

      Depending on when and where, a visitor might see the below, from above:

      Guangzhou travel agencies told to avoid sending tour groups to Hong Kong at weekends via new bridge after influx of visitors at border town sparks anger South China Morning Post. The influx of mainlanders is about more than tourism

      Are some in Hong Kong thinking perhaps that that new bridge is one too many?

      Or does this call for more building – a wall, maybe, this time?

  17. Andrew Watts

    RE: Scared to Death: the Dominion of Fear in Politics by Richard Sale

    The whole idea that emotions and/or fear among the proles caused Brexit and/or Trump’s election is increasingly becoming popular among the intellectual defenders of our dominant minority. The intelligentsia are quick to ascribe irrational motives to their opposition and remain outspoken supporters of the status quo because they derive their social position from institutional power. They’ll never comprehend the driving force behind a crisis of legitimacy that leads to institutional collapse.

    In any crisis of legitimacy, the loyalty and esteem that institutions once previously held on a collective basis is transferred to individuals on a personal level. Hence the political rise of authoritarianism in the absence of any left-wing alternative. I don’t fully understand why individuals are seen as more trustworthy than institutions. I think it’s partly because the dominant minority and it’s institutions ignore the suffering their policies inflict. They lack any empathy for people who’ve suffered from falling living standards for a generation and increasing numbers of deaths due to despair. The other likely reason why is because they’ve failed so miserably at everything they do and taken a dump on the social contract.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Some of the transference of political loyalty and esteem from institutions to individuals is simply due to the stripping of policy positions from politics. Without that, voters have no real way of telling candidates apart, so they look at candidates’ branding.

      Democrats can’t openly run on the policies they actually support — policies which extend or support the current “predatory capitalist” regime. First, that political ground was claimed long ago by the right wing so any Democrats trying to muscle in will be seen as carpetbaggers. And more importantly, as several recent election cycles have shown, Democrats’ own voters are getting wise to the con being played on them by the so-called “party”. When the dogs won’t eat your dog food, you can’t switch the dog food — that’s your product and you’re stuck with it. You have no choice, then, but to try calling that dog food something else. Hence all the desperate attempts to “re-brand” the party as “progressive” — so long as its economic policies are never allowed to be challenged.

      Such attempts at disguising a party’s true values can work — for a time, at least — with people who don’t follow the ins and outs of policy. To them, O’Rourke and Slotkin represent “real Democrats” because they are “young” and possess (regardless of how put-on) some type of “minority” status. For people who don’t actually pay attention to what the war machine does, or for people who can’t recognize the difference between single-payer and Faux Medicare For All — reducing elections to personalities is the only way they can keep candidates straight. This is probably why the “bernie bro” smears were so effective in 2016 — I suspect that ploy will not work as well next time around because voters know Sanders better now.

      In a sense, I don’t blame voters for needing these branding exercises to be able to tell the Republican and Democrat candidates apart. Take away all the branding, and there’s little to zero daylight between O’Rourke and Slotkin on the one hand, and Lisa Murkowski or Dean Heller on the other.

      It’s tough running as a Democrat who really doesn’t stand for anything.

      1. Richard

        Poor dems :( :)
        I really liked Sale’s one- sentence, to the point conclusion: “what is most required for safety and well-being is the talent that allows us to enter the sensations of other people”.

  18. noonespecial

    Re: Killing of Khashoggi tests U.S. defense industry as backlash builds on Capitol Hill WaPo

    The WaPo article notes: “Hawk Carlisle stated, ‘As a nation we have to uphold our principles. We need to take appropriate action but not have an overreaction…We need to take the long view.’ The revolving door has also gone the other way, as former industry supporters have secured key government positions.”

    While Congress my suspend some arms deal to Saudi Arabia, the nature of the game is to keep one’s options open if one is part of the MIC. To wit,

    A program such as “From Battlefield to Board Room” matches up retired and soon-to-be retired military officers with private companies looking to hire new leadership. New recruits from said program will gather at an event sponsored by the National Association of Corporate Directors to be held at the Watergate Hotel in DC (February 2019.)

    Recently POGO released a report outlining where military officials, “involved in major weapon systems policy, development, or acquisition, left government service and then went to work for or join the board of Pentagon contractors within two years” of retiring from military service. For a quick reference of a who-is-who go to page 16-20 and 22-4 of the report. As an aside, POGO names THE CHARLES KOCH FOUNDATION as one of their supporters.

    Two quotes from POGO’s report that provide concrete examples of how the machinations of the revolving door syndrome play out:

    1. At the Department of Defense’s Office of Inspector General, Lynne Halbrooks was general counsel and then principal deputy inspector general from 2009 to 2015. The function of the office: taxpayer’s watchdog to uphold the standards of ethics and integrity in the federal government. They are also responsible for detecting waste and fraud. After her tenure, she joined the law firm of Holland & Knight, where she is a partner. At the firm, her “focus is on advising corporations and individuals responding to Inspector General audits and investigations. Her recent engagements include investigations relating to the False Claims Act, the federal bribery and gratuities statutes.

    2. When a foreign government buys weapons that taxpayers paid the research and development costs for, that government is supposed to reimburse the taxpayers. In 2017, Government Accountability Office found the Department of Defense waived $16 billion it could have recovered for taxpayers, including a $3.5 billion discount for Saudi Arabia.

    1. Lee

      This will no doubt end with strongly worded letters being exchanged. Nothing to be seen here. The body has been disappeared.

  19. ChiGal in Carolina

    The two Guardian links, one about Berliners challenging the far right, and the other on Hillary calling for Europe to do something about “its” immigration problem, make a tidy pair.

    There is sometimes skepticism expressed here about the value of marching, but the antifascists are quoted in the first article as saying that having a clear vision and being willing to show up made the difference. The retreating neoNazis attribute their defeat to Merkel.

    So in addition to showing up, it helps to have friends in high places. The second article, of course, makes clear that Hillary and her ilk are no such thing.

  20. Susan the other

    Thanks for the link to the review in the LRB. Two books. Edgerton and Hamilton-Paterson – I’m not familiar with either of them but I am with the subject. Who isn’t? The rise of the rotten dysfunctional world of financialization. I read the review thusly: There is little light between the US and the UK today. And it is notable the hypocrisy of both nations: imposing debt on their citizens and giving their respective MICs anything they want without incurring debt as an industry. So my immediate take away is this: If relief from debt has made the MIC phenom so successful, why not make it a constitutional right for all citizens. And there is lotsa irony in this WW2 episode. The same trend happened in the US and the UK at the same time in spite of the fact that we had been unhappy with each other’s foreign policies for 50 years. Some accounts tell us that we USians pushed Germany to defeat communism and make Russia safe for capitalist exploitation BUT at the same time the UK was playing Germany with a promise of sharing control of the British Empire. (The Hess blunder and subsequent revelations.) FDR didn’t like it one tiny bit so we armed Russia on Stalin’s promise to keep socialism “in one country” and to also kill the pesky Trotsky. In fact we wanted nothing more than to tear down all the barriers of the old British Empire and open it up to our free-traders. And after the war when the UK was as destroyed as their empire, we blithely sent them a bill for all our help. At the same time we poured every resource into West Germany to keep it from going commie. And the whole time we smugly assumed we could control China. Hubris. So here’s the irony – we dismantled our own industries as fast as the UK did beginning in the 70s with corporate raiders and vastly incompetent managers and financiers – and compliant corrupt pols. And here we are today discussing nothing more than identity politics. Still too stupid to change the way we organize our society and still slaves to the illusion that money is the only thing that is valuable. I think both our histories look like a forecast of extinction.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Considering creating a piece comprised of found objects that would capture the essence of “Still too stupid to change the way we organize our society and still slaves to the illusion that money is the only thing that is valuable.” Thank you, STO.

  21. Pat

    It isn’t just the spying.

    I mentioned to someone that the recent whirlpool commercial highlighting their stoves ability to be controlled by Alexa and Google scared the heck out of me. They truly didn’t understand. Not even after I pointed out that not only were electronics and heat not a good mix, but that I really didn’t want someone besides the owner to be able to control the stoves because it was a disaster waiting to happen.

    Now some of this is having a stove that started a few fires because their digital controls would turn the oven on by itself occasionally. This was discovered when a few people started to complain they had found their ovens on, and matching recent fires in NJ that started from ovens with that stove (one burnt down the unoccupied house). I have had the electricity for my gas stove/oven on a surge suppressor with an on/off switch ever since. So I am aware that unintended oven use can cause great damage. But the other part of it is knowing that nothing is secure in the internet/cloud world AND how much fun it would be to be able to tell all the ‘Alexa’s or ‘Google’ hubs to turn on every stove in the world for some young computer genius.

    Yup. I’ll be the paranoid weirdo until someone besides their corporate owners someday take over the internet of things. I also predict that the day that happens we will hear a lot of “Nobody could have imagined…”

  22. a different chris

    “If we’re heading for war in Iran…” the best way to avoid said war is to instantiate a real everybody-in draft.

    I, peacenik that I am, think compulsory service would be a very, very VERY good idea for this country of big talkers. We had one really stupid “why are we here, really” war, Vietnam with the draft. And the prospect of having their children fight without recourse in another one just would not be tolerated by the 10%, or pretty much any of said children of any income level.

    Eliminating the draft was one of the best gifts you could ever gift the Kagans of the world.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Excellent comment. However, IMO another false flag operation and related initiatives for unquestioned and congressionally unchecked military action cannot be entirely dismissed.

      As Nazi Luftwaffe commander Hermann Goering reportedly said at the Nuremberg trials, although “the people don’t want war,” they “can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.”

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          And also RussiaRussiaRussia WaPo, NYT, and a few other ones.

          Not just Fox News, it seems.

    2. neo-realist

      If we go for a war in Iran (more likely a 2nd Trump term if it happens for it would be political suicide in the 1st one), I suspect it will be a heavy air bombing campaign and what Troops we use will probably be cobbled together with a combo of Americans, Saudis, Israelis, and Private contractors, in an attempt to do whatever conquering by land we can conquer. Draft is a red line we’ll never cross. Those suburban families won’t tolerate their “Beaver Cleaver darlings” getting used as cannon fodder in a meat grinder land war in Iran.

        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘From what I have read, that bombing campaign was more propaganda than results. When it was over, the Serbian forces came back out from cover in the forests where the NATO air power had not been able to locate them. Here is a paper on the lessons from this campaign-

          However, I believe that a lot of the 15 tons of depleted uranium dropped on them still remains where hundreds of both military and civilians are still dying from cancer and leukemia related deaths due to these munitions.

        2. neo-realist

          Not air power alone but heavy air power to compensate for the lack of troops to be used (cause the White House won’t have the stones for conscription) even if cobbled together from foreign forces.

          Still, there may be enough arrogance and madness in the white house along w/ a few Dr. Strangeloves in the Pentagon to attempt it, but I believe only in a second Trump term if it came to pass.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            The DemPrez nominee could run on “rejoining the JCPOA with Iran” and why that is the smart thing to do.

            I can only imagine a Candidate Sanders running on such a thing. But it would be nice if DemPrez candidate Whomever were to run on that.

    3. Eureka Springs

      @a different chris
      Couldn’t disagree more. Recruitment is a real problem for the all volunteer forces we have. Probably kept Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan from being much much worse on both sides. Troop shortage must prompt major pause in re Iran, Ukraine and more. Forcing a human being/ American citizen to murder for empire is to me as egregious as torture. If any individual freedom matters then being able to say no to whether one wages war or not must be as important as any other. As for all those years of VN protests I’ve often said to old hippies who proclaimed “we stopped the war”, I say no, but you did end the draft. And that was and remains a major victory.

      Imo, the next step is to outlaw war profiteering and enforce it. Equally important, eliminate government secrecy.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Full disclosure: I’m old enough to have been extremely relieved when the draft ended. My brother was drafted and went to Viet Nam. Fortunately, he also returned in decent shape.

        There’s a reason the Constitution references “involuntary servitude,” rather than slavery. It was intended to rule out the draft – involuntary “service” – which was unpopular during the Civil War to the extent of causing major riots. Of course, the Supremes choose to ignore that bit of history.

        I could live with it if it was part of a full emergency declaration, with taxes raised and elected officials taking a salary cut. Everybody contributes, no free riders. But that isn’t the way it works; it’s just a way to extract cheap, dangerous labor.

        Nor am I impressed with the argument that it would prevent wars. It certainly didn’t before; it facilitated them. And it’s never universal – that would be much too expensive. So the children of elites can always get out of it; truth is, I did, but that wouldn’t have saved me if things got really desperate.

        There simply won’t be any more wars that call for full mobilization; anything that big will be over much too quickly. And at this point shortages of troops may be the main thing preventing an invasion of Iran. It’s a big country, and it’s had about 40 years to prepare.

  23. Oregoncharles

    A disturbing article, relevant to “As the toffs began to retreat LRB” and our long-running discussion on gender roles:

    “Mental health: One in four young women struggling”; Mental health: One in four young women struggling. Britain; would be interesting to see the stats for this country. Remember: women are more important than men. As they go, so goes society.

    It looks more and more like the Liberation movements of the 60’s and 70’s went to places we certainly didn’t intend – that, or our whole societies just deteriorated irremediably. Looking back to the toffs retreating: why on earth do people vote for that? Or did they?

  24. Stephen V.

    ECONOMICS [2018 Ig Nobel] PRIZE [CANADA, CHINA, SINGAPORE, USA] — Lindie Hanyu Liang, Douglas Brown, Huiwen Lian, Samuel Hanig, D. Lance Ferris, and Lisa Keeping, for investigating whether it is effective for employees to use Voodoo dolls to retaliate against abusive bosses.


    REFERENCE: “Righting a Wrong: Retaliation on a Voodoo Doll Symbolizing an Abusive Supervisor Restores Justice,” Lindie Hanyu Liang, Douglas J. Brown, Huiwen Lian, Samuel Hanig, D. Lance Ferris, and Lisa M. Keeping, The Leadership Quarterly, February 2018.

    WHO ATTENDED THE CEREMONY: Hanyu Liang, Douglas J. Brown, Huiwen Lian, D. Lance Ferris, and Lisa M. Keeping

  25. Oregoncharles

    “What do ‘yellow vest’ protesters have in store for Paris on Saturday?”
    Hilarious. Police efforts to block or undercut the demonstration will make it many times as disruptive. Since disruption is the purpose, that means the police are doing the movement’s work for it.

    Incidentally, it appears that the “gilets jaunes” have absorbed one of the lessons from the US Occupy movement: don’t get stuck in a park. Make sure you’re at the center and in the way.

    It will be very interesting to see how close they get to the Elysee Palace. Their implicit goal at this point is to drive out Macron. OTOH, I wouldn’t want to be in Paris on Saturday.

    Maybe our French commenters will do some reporting for us. This should be interesting.

  26. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Wealthy nations fall short of climate funding pledge FT

    Do we presuppose only climate funding is needed? That is, just more money, but not less consumption?

    Will we see ‘Wealthy nations fall short of climate consumption-reduction?’ And ‘they still over-consume?’

    This question is timely related to the phenomenon taking place as we speak: Today is one of the biggest ‘shopping (to be consumed now, or shortly after) days of the year.’

    “The least I can do for the planet today is to sit quietly in room.”

  27. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Ottawa County courts piloting robot greeter Holland Sentinel. Ottawa County, Michigan.


    Is it a blind robot greeter though?

    (As in ‘justice is blind.’)

  28. ewmayer

    o “Hillary Clinton: Europe must curb immigration to stop rightwing populists | Guardian” — Is HRH HRC referring to immigration from countries neocon psychopaths like herself regime-changed into failed-state hellholes, or from the other ones? Inquiring minds want to know.

    o “Why the Announcement of a Looming White Minority Makes Demographers Nervous | NYT. 2044 – 2018 = 26 years is a long time in politics. One might almost think this entire discourse is tendentious.” — Tendentious indeed, but the digital-ink-stained wretches at the likes of NYT are well-paid to continuously force-fit such trends into the official narratives sanctioned by their corporate overlords. In this case it’s classic IdPol substitution of a class-based perspective with a race-based one. Ignore those millions of rust-belters who voted for Obama’s hope-and-change lie-promises once or even twice … if they voted for Trump clearly it’s because they’re racists, not economically distressed due to decades of neoliberal economic evisceration as cheered on and promoted by the NYT. In the present instance, they studiously ignore that e.g. 3rd and 4th-generation latino working-class folks probably have a lot more in common with white working-class people than they have ‘in different’ – I see examples of this all the time here in Cali. Such class-based stuff doesn’t fit our race-based IdPol narrative, so we’ll just ignore it! The more truthful title for this piece would have be “Why the Prospect of a Solidarity-Based Working-Class Counterrevolution Makes the Elite Looter Class Which This Paper Serves Nervous.”

    o “French parents know how to teach their kids to love food without overeating Quartz. Smaller portions would help the climate.” — Smaller portions are easier in a culture which values high-quality, truly satisfying food, and demands that such be available to all at a reasonable price. Compare prices of “blue collar brie” in French groceries to the cheapest ones in the Whole Foods cheese department, for instance.

  29. Unna

    From article, French kids and food:

    “The education of taste means teaching children to appreciate and savor the wide variety of flavors in the world and to eat properly at the table. In my eight months conducting research on French parenting in Paris, I found that the education of taste begins very early in families and is reinforced in daycare centers, where even two-year-olds are served formal, yet relaxed, four-course lunches with an appetizer, main course, cheese plate, and dessert.”

    Slow Food practices. Kids cooking with supervision, helping to prepare and clean up as young as possible. Thinking about and discussing the flavour of the food, the ingredients, the method, and what could we have done differently?

    Never order child meals at restaurants because they are only a pandering form of dumbed down food just like fast food. Get, or pay for, an empty plate and take real food from the parents plate and share it with the kid. They don’t have to finish everything but they have to taste everything, then talk about why it was good or wasn’t good.

    Why is one egg tasteless and this other one full of flavour? This pulpy cardboard tomato horrible vs the other juicy one?

    Once their reading ability allows it, turn them into compulsive ingredients label readers in the grocery store so that they’ll never buy anything without reading the label.

    Go as often as possible to places specializing in traditional national cuisines. Take the kid to a sushi bar for his birthday.

    Not only is good food healthy but creating a demand for good food must affect the supply and eventually agricultural practices generally. Maybe good agricultural practices begin at the dinner table.

    1. Lee

      I found that the education of taste begins very early in families and is reinforced in daycare centers, where even two-year-olds are served formal, yet relaxed, four-course lunches with an appetizer, main course, cheese plate, and dessert.”

      I read somewhere or other that the infant’s palate develops in the womb based on what the mother eats. Hence my predilection for butter, salt, meat and potatoes. I am my mother’s son in this regard just my son is, like his mother, is an inventive and adventurous gourmet cook. They have both broadened my culinary horizons, as has living in a hotbed of fusion cuisine.

  30. Olga

    “The euro must be fixed or dropped”
    Quite a headline from Handelsblatt. I almost thought for a moment that we’d get some semblance of rationality here. How naive… Many things are wrong with the proposal…. just let me count the ways. For one, using the US system as a blueprint for revisions to the euro zone is just daft (never mind, completely unrealistic in the European context). And giving Brussels – which is already perceived as totally undemocratic and unaccountable – full power over a country’s financial life is … well, words fail me. Perhaps, recipe for disaster. But I guess it is the best that can come out of a former Economist correspondent.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Since the give alternative to those unlikely developments is exiting the Euro, his article is more radical than it appears.

  31. The Rev Kev

    “Killing of Khashoggi tests U.S. defense industry as backlash builds on Capitol Hill”

    If the US defense industry is keeping a low profile it is because they are playing it smart. I have read that although Trump claims to have sold untold billions of dollars in contracts, very little of the hard stuff is actually flowing into America as they are not being followed up on. The Saudis seem to be keeping the defense contractors in a holding pattern as far as actual deals are concerned so perhaps the industry is letting the Saudis know that they will defend them when there is something worth defending.

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