Links 12/13/18

Spectacular footage of swimmer surrounded by killer whales Yahoo (David L)

North Pole warns of pilot shortage as reindeer leave for commercial sleighlines Duffle Blog (Kevin W)

Microplastics discovered in the guts of sea turtles all over the world New Atlas (David L)

Vermont man installs massive middle finger sculpture on lawn BoingBoing (resilc)

Humans may be reversing the climate clock, by 50 million years PhysOrg (UserFriendly)

Subhankar Banerjee, The Vanishing TomDispatch (Anthony L)

An unlikely drug pair combine to cut off cancer’s energy supply New Atlas (David L)

FCC Panel Wants To Tax Internet-Using Businesses, Give the Money To ISPs ars technica

‘Cryptocurrencies Are Like Lottery Tickets That Might Pay Off in Future’ Guardian. If this is the best case that can be made now, it’s desperate. Lotteries are a tax on people who are bad at math.

Rep.-elect Mark Green walks back claim that vaccines cause autism Washington Post (Kevin W)

Huawei

Freeland says a second Canadian is missing in China Globe and Mail

China confirms second Canadian Michael Spavor under investigation for allegedly endangering national security South China Morning Post (furzy)

Jeffrey D Sachs: Meng arrest a huge provocation to China Asia Times (JYT). Factual errors here are frustrating. Meng is not charged with violating Iran sanctions, she’s charged with fraud and making misrepresentations to banks. Also note his outrage at the idea that an executive might be held accountable for what they do at work. So that means Sachs must be OK with not prosecuting anyone for the financial crisis. How does he reconcile this with his 2013 statement to the Philadelphia Fed that most of what Wall Street does is “prima facie criminal behavior”? I’m not saying that there isn’t an argument to be made here but this one is telling in a bad way.

Italy promises budget cuts to avoid EU sanctions Financial Times

If you want to understand the gilets jaunes, get out of Paris Guardian

Brexit

‘Labour Party could SPLIT over second Brexit vote’ – John McDonnell CONFRONTED by claim Express. Take with a grain of salt. May loves the raw PM power play of just saying “no referendum” but it might behoove her or Corbyn to pull out a calendar in January and explain why this is not on.

Ireland’s economy ‘threatened by Tory fundamentalists‘ Guardian (Kevin W)

Grenfell cladding firm: ‘fire could have been put out with simple extinguisher’ Guardian (Kevin W)

Syraqistan

MbS Tries to Restart the Lebanese War LobeLog (resilc)

Why do we Revere Malala but Not Ahed Tamimi? Juan Cole (resilc)

What’s Really Wrong with U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East American Conservative

State Dept: Ending Yemen War ‘Sends a Wrong Message‘Antiwar

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Ships Infected With Ransomware, USB Malware, Worms ZDNet

Imperial Collapse Watch

USAF Command Behind Light Attack Aircraft Program Now Says It May Never Fly Those Planes The Drive (JTM)

Trump Transition

Pinocchio and the two Democrats: how that Trump meeting descended into farce Guardian

Frank Rich: Trump’s Incredibly Dumb Shutdown Threat New York Magazine. As a very left-leaning political scientist said, ”

Pres. Trump’s plan to revive the U.S. Postal Service: Sell access to your mailbox 10tv (Chuck L)

The campaign-finance threat to Trump just got more severe Washington Post

How the National Enquirer broke up with President Trump CNN (furzy)

EU Is Playing Trump on Trade Just Like It Played the Brexiters Bloomberg (resilc)

While Working for Trump, Giuliani Courts Business Abroad New York Times (resilc)

Donald Trump Moves to Deport Vietnam War Refugees Atlantic. Resilc: “No roads or healthcare. Only bullshit like this.”

Universal healthcare could save America trillions: what’s holding us back? Guardian

Sanders and Warren Are Challenging the Post–Cold War Foreign-Policy Establishment Nation (furzy)

Educators converging on Lansing to protest Lame Duck bills this week Michigan Advance (martha r)

North Carolina Legislature Calls for New Primary if New Election Is Held in Disputed District New York Times. Resilc: “Next to pass in North Carolina is legal slavery by the gopers.”

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam Considering Clemency for Cyntoia Brown the root (martha r)

Big Oil Doubles Down On Shale Despite Price Drop OilPrice

Parker Drilling Bankruptcy Kicks off “Oil Bust 2” Wolf Street

Verizon Trims 10,000 Employees Despite Billions in Tax Cuts and Government Favors Motherboard (resilc)

‘Something bad is going to happen on Friday’: Weekly Standard staffers brace for end Politico. UserFriendly: “Tiny Violin.”

Boy Scouts of America Considers Bankruptcy Filing Amid Sex-Abuse Lawsuits Wall Street Journal

Insurance Is Supposed to Cover Opioid Addiction Treatment, But It’s Still a Nightmare Vice

Squelched report shows Wells Fargo charged high account fees to students CNN

Ten Problems with Tesla Credit Bubble Stocks

Class Warfare

People are attacking Waymo’s self-driving cars in Arizona by slashing tires and, in some cases, pulling guns on the safety drivers Business Insider (David L)

The IRS Is Ignoring Rich Tax Dodgers and Going After the Poor VICE

Antidote du jour. From crittermom:

And a bonus (hat tip martha r):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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171 comments

  1. Alex V

    Hm, I think the commentary on the Sachs piece regarding Huawei makes some misrepresentations. Yes, the charges against Meng are related to lying to the banks, not the Iran sanctions directly and that definitely weakens the article.

    Stating that Sachs is opposed to prosecuting executives is a bit of a stretch. He states:

    “Yes, corporate managers should be held to account for their company’s malfeasance, up to and including criminal charges; but to start this practice with a leading Chinese businessperson, rather than the dozens of culpable US CEOs and CFOs, is a stunning provocation to the Chinese government, business community, and public.”

    “Yes, hold CEOs and CFOs accountable, but start at home in order to avoid hypocrisy, self-interest disguised as high principle, and the risk of inciting a new global conflict.”

    These statements go against the claim “So that means Sachs must be OK with not prosecuting anyone for the financial crisis.” I believe his point is that the benefit of going after Meng specifically is not worth the potential cost to US standing, whatever is left of it.

    Reply
      1. todde

        Our PTB can arrest Chinese billionaires and they can arrest ours.

        The only thing we should be concerned about is how do we take advantage of it.

        Reply
              1. JTMcPhee

                At least elephant poop is part of the Great Cirlce of Life. Dung beetles love it, it adds nutrients to the soil, stuff like that. And when they die, their substance largel gets returned to that circle.

                The Elite are a lot more like the Daleks, seems to me, or the “mechs” from sci-fi and the role-playing games my stepson spent hours mastering, assembling chassis and weapons to dominate and destroy…

                Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        That’d be brilliant, Adelson makes most of his jack from his Macao* casinos, and a little surgical strike on the licensing agreement and he’s shift out of luck.

        * I took the hydrofoil from HK to Macao a few times in the early 80’s, and remember getting off the boat and going through customs, which was I kid you not, a shed. The Macao Grand Prix was held there, and the starting line on the road just outside the shed looked as if it was done by an alky going through a serious case of the DT’s and given a can of Krylon to do the job.

        It was a thoroughly dilapidated Portuguese colony that hadn’t seen any new buildings built in eons. The bigger casino was called the Lisboa, and any scuzzy North Las Vegas casino would outshine it in every way, shape and function.

        A friend I went on one of those hydrofoil trips with has been back there in recent years, and he was telling me that the grandeur, pomp & circumstance of the new casinos there, make Vegas look like a tawdry bauble in comparison.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          Trump at his worst is a paragon of subtlety and good taste in comparison to the Chinese when they are let loose to design and build casinos.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Somewhere in China, Shakespeare’s birth place is being recreated.

            Not sure if its’ going to be a casino though.

            Reply
            1. JEHR

              Yes, the Chinese have a penchant for re-creating places that already exist elsewhere: See here.

              They sort of use the same technique with technology that they “borrow” from other countries and then make it supersede the original.

              Reply
              1. PlutoniumKun

                They have nothing on the Japanese – Huis Ten Bosch is an entire town in Japan modelled on a semi-imaginary Dutch city. Its quite a remarkable place. And its not the only one – the Spike Japan blogsite has a fascinating compendium of such places. I’ve no doubt many of the Chinese variations will have a similar fate.

                Reply
        2. Craig H.

          I don’t think his geopolitical acumen is brilliant. But I loved the quip where he goes thank god for Mohammed bin Salman we are only tied for first place as the most insane government in the world.

          Reply
        3. Lee

          My one positive memory of spending a bit of time in a casino was decades ago in, IIRC, Virginia City NV. The noisy machines were in a separate room from the card tables and other table games. It was so quiet that one could clearly here the rattle of dice. I learned how to play craps, won a little, lost a little and that was the beginning and end of my gambling life. Ordinary life is risky enough as it is.

          Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Meng is one executive. The freakout is disproportionate to her being all of one executive. The US prosecuted one of the most elite businessmen in the world, Rajat Gupta, the former managing director of McKinsey and a board member of Goldman and the Gates Foundation. Two Berkshire Hathaway executives went to prison in a finite reinsurance scam. The US does not never prosecute top businessmen, although it is far rarer than it ought to be.

      The US has also been a hardass about Iran-related banking violations. It threatened to do what would have been fatal damage to Standard Chartered by yanking its New York branch license. A bank that can’t clear dollar transactions (which would have been the result) is no longer an international bank. Virtually all of its corporate customers that did foreign business would have moved most of what they were doing to other banks in fairly short order. The US ultimately forced IIRC 13 Standard Chartered executives to resign, including a board member.

      A big issue in the US is that if you get lawyers and accountants to bless what you were doing, you are scot free. And we have way too many pliant lawyers who are willing to sign off on bad conduct. So the ability of US executives to get away with borderline or actual criminal conduct to a significant degree rests on corruption in the professional services industries.

      And see here for a story on how the DoJ has been having an uphill battle in prosecuting US executives:

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/insider/2016/07/11/recent-trials-highlight-dojs-challenges-in-prosecuting-individuals-for-corporate-misconduct/#9621c922e7a9

      We chronicled the crisis and IMHO the problem was not that the US did not make attempts, but it totally lost its nerve after some early losses. Neil Barofsky pointed out that when you are working on new areas as a prosecutor, you expect to have some initial losses but that wasn’t the attitude of the DoJ.

      The SEC and DoJ moved pretty quickly to prosecute Bear Stearns hedge fund executives. The SEC has become so enfeebled that they were incapable of conceptualizing it as anything other than an insider trading case. In fact, those Bear Stearns hedge funds were victims of misselling by the rest of Wall Street, so they were victims rather than perps. It was a huge black eye to lose that case.

      The SEC also went after Angelo Mozilo, former CEO of Countrywide. They tried including a Sarbanes Oxley charge, which would have enabled them to flip the case to criminal easily if they got supporting info during discovery. But the judge ruled out the Sarbox charge with no explanation. I suspect it’s because they also had securities law claims and the language is similar, so the judge saw it as double dipping. The SEC never tried a Sarbanes Oxley claim after that.

      In general, it is difficult to prosecute securities law claims criminally. You have to establish intent, which is a subjective state. It’s not hard to muddy the waters and confused juries do not like to convict.

      Now we argued there were legal theories that were preferable to securities law theories, but the SEC was the place that was supposed to do this stuff and refer it to the DoJ if thing looked criminal, and the SEC sees everything through a securities law lens.

      Reply
      1. Alex V

        One thing to note though is that the majority of your examples are of US executives, so there were little to no international consequences to those US prosecutions. I think this case is a bit different in that regard.

        I think the freak out may be coming from a curiously selective case, given the proportionally insignificant harm alleged.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Where have you been in the extraditions of US and UK bankers over money laundering and various types of bid rigging and money laundering? There have been lots of extraditions and extradition attempts. A partial list:

          https://www.reuters.com/article/us-rabobank-libor/former-australian-rabobank-trader-agrees-to-u-s-extradition-court-idUSKCN0YI0P9

          https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jul/31/former-hsbc-banker-wins-appeal-against-extradition-to-us-stuart-scott-charges-foreign-exchange-rigging

          https://etapps.indiatimes.com/fcm_webnotification.cms

          https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-08/ex-goldman-banker-ng-said-to-fight-u-s-extradition-over-1mdb

          Reply
          1. JEHR

            When I think of all the bankers that committed fraud and then manipulated the justice system to escape their corrupt behaviour, I boil. When it happens again, I feel sure the result will be the same. Homegrown bankers seem to get a break that extradited executives do not: maybe that’s a way of keeping one’s reputation “solid” in the world!

            Reply
    2. flora

      I’ve been reading Jeff Sachs for decades now, and I’ve just about given up on him. He’s great at jumping out in front of hot-button issues, always with a finger in the wind to please tptb, imo.

      His final line is telling in this regard:
      The Trump administration, not Huawei or China, is today’s greatest threat to the international rule of law, and therefore to global peace.

      I doubt that. But I can see how tptb would find Trump the greatest threat to the Globalists’ project by refusing TPP and TPIP, redoing NAFTA, and not wanting to start a shootout with (cue scary music) russiahhhh (scary echo echo echo). heh. Only my opinion, of course.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Some in the Twitterverse pointed out that Sachs had been pushing Huawei products a month ago when the dispute was about China being able to have backdoors in its wares, and speculated that he might be in their circle or somehow beholden to them.

        Reply
      2. Alex V

        Um, who would you consider the powers that be in this case? China, Huawei, Trump, Trump’s opposition, the mainstream press? Yes, Sachs is supporting Huawei in this case, but from the mainstream western coverage I’ve seen (who we can assume represent TPTB?) most opinion has been against the company, so what other interest is he serving that I’m missing?

        Reply
        1. todde

          the PTB isn’t monolithic, hence the pluralization of the word power.

          so what other interest is he serving that I’m missing?

          His wallets, the same as most people.

          Reply
          1. Not From Here

            and from the wallet where does the trail go? Otherwise, one could say the same about myself, or about you. It’s a meaningless smear without some facts on where the money leads, about as meaningless as unnamed sources on the “Twitterverse “.

            Reply
  2. Wukchumni

    Gooooooood Mooooooorning Fiatnam!

    The Dominoes Theory, was that if you didn’t get delivery within 30 minutes of ordering, they’d throw in crazy bread-in shrink wrapped bundles. There was no way we were ever going to allow this to not happen, as the consequences were just too dire to contemplate.

    We would order via walkie-talkie, and then make ourselves scarce under the jungle canopy, so as to assure that delivery would always be delayed enough, necessity being the mother of intervention.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      The temptation to cheat is everywhere, ain’t it? Fraud is pandemic, no? If the delivery person is late because one is concealed, does one have to still proffer a tip to him or her?

      Reply
  3. Lunker Walleye

    Crittermom captured a beautiful, delicate, “lacy” moment. It lifts the spirits. And the black panther is a wonderful bonus.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Indeed!

      You can see how Louis Comfort Tiffany* must’ve been inspired to make beautiful stained glass works of art, by a butterfly such as that.

      *Not to be confused with the firm selling overpriced mass produced jewelry & trinkets bearing his name

      Reply
    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      The colors, the composition! Cool lavender and warm amber, and the bee echoing the butterfly, all beautifully balanced.

      Thanks, crittermom, for spinning gold out of straw and sharing!

      Reply
    3. Oregoncharles

      I’m impressed that she even saw a Monarch. They supposedly exist here, but with a garden full of flowers, I’ve yet to see one in 30 years.

      The local milkweed is beautiful, but apparently hard to establish – I’ve yet to succeed at that. Another commenter was helpful about it, but I may not have the right kind of ground.

      Reply
  4. zagonostra

    >Universal healthcare could save America trillions: what’s holding us back? Guardian

    “Well, the real stumbling block is not that single-payer advocates’ arithmetic is poor, it’s that American politics are dominated by the rich.”

    So that’s the answer? You mean Europe, Canada, Israel, and the rest of the advanced economies of the world are not dominated by the rich?

    How about going a little deeper and seeing how people like Dick Gephardt, Howard Dean, and other former Democratic and Republican members of congress have sold their souls to making sure the Health Insurance and Pharmaceutical companies continue to financial eviscerate the American public. And of course lets not forget where Obama made his first post presidential $400K speech.

    The political system is immoral and corrupt to its very core, how about that instead of your limp answer, Guardian?

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/obama-wall-street-speech-400k_us_5900bf16e4b0af6d718ab7b9

    Reply
      1. Spring Texan

        Dean did and it was really sad. :-( He wanted a health policy position like HHS from Obama who really owed him cuz Dean got him elected but when he got nothing . . . Dean went to the bad and I’m really sad about it. Awful. Guess he just figured the hell with it if he was never going to get to make a difference then he’d make some money.

        Cuz in so many ways he was once a great guy, sigh.

        And then Obama appointed Kaine and totally destroyed the constructive, 50-state strategy work Dean had done at the DNC . . . wish Dean had had the dignity to leave Washington instead of sell out. One can survive in Maine.

        Reply
    1. a different chris

      Not understanding your post at all? You say “the rest” are also dominated by the rich, but instead of telling us how that was circumnavigated, or at least telling us where we should to find out, you then list a bunch of American pols and rant again on how they sold out to said rich.

      I know how ours were bought out, the question is how theirs were not, isn’t it?

      Reply
  5. Amfortas the hippie

    on the irs’ focus on the poor.
    we paid for this house with eitc.
    probably my favorite program for the poor, even though it’s existence is due to the odious Uncle Milton.
    I didn’t realise it until I started trying to get on disability, but it turns out that I’m not much of a bookkeeper…when Social Security asked for my work history, and I didn’t have dates and times for all the numerous jobs I’ve had—just years, at best—the lady looked at me like I was an alien. who doesn’t keep such records?
    when they asked about wages, it was even worse…I have no idea,lol.
    Not enough.
    when you don’t have money, learning to manage money is like learning Japanese from old godzilla movies.
    when you’re eternally precarious, lugging around boxes of bank statements(that only show how little money you have any way) seems silly…like worrying about what Hillary had for dinner, as you snag loose fries from the plate in the little serving window, and call it “dinner”.
    being “on” SSI…or things like foodstamps…means scrutiny of such things.
    “how many steps do you take in a day?” “how far can you carry 25 pounds?”
    these are difficult enough…I’m not a widget, not a box to be checked.
    but then there’s “please itemise what percentage of your monthly expenses are paid for by someone else…”—-as if I get a receipt when I eat dinner at my mother in law’s or a punched card when i snag a wooden pallet off the side of the road and turn it into something useful.
    all this is bad enough…I simply don’t live in the world they thin…assume…I live in.
    and they don’t live in mine.
    so when I see things like this Vice article….that the dreaded(not so much any more?) irs is coming for the likes of me…it’s worrisome. There are no boxes of receipts and bills to be dumped before an examiner.
    But it’s also old hat…assumption of fraud as the default is par for the course of being poor in America.
    The really discouraging thing is that the poor so audited have little recourse, and hardly any way of comparing notes….are in fact actively discouraged from sharing their financial and regulatory woes…made to feel ashamed that they’re not playing golf or eating crab cakes at a champagne brunch.
    This all but enforced shame…and the resulting silence…is one of the main mechanisms that keeps all this horrible machinery going, when it long ago should have seized up from it’s own absurdity.

    Reply
    1. nippersdad

      Well said! Systems are only devised when there is something that needs managing. Managing to live day to day is not a system.

      Reply
    2. Stephen V.

      Amfortas wrote: The really discouraging thing is that the poor so audited have little recourse, and hardly any way of comparing notes…

      Leaving aside the fact that just bcz the EITC is aimed at lower income folks, does NOT mean that filing the form’s correctly is a simple matter.
      My favorite /s is the IRS letter which informs you that you owe more $$ bcz you allegedly left off an item of income. What they do in that letter is nuke your EITC but you have to parse it line by line to see that. Makes my blood boil to see their intimidation / enforcement used in this way. Pity the peeps who just write a check out of fear or ignorance. State of AR does similar with inventing higher amounts due.
      This is all done by machine which I don’t think this latest slew of articles points out! Much cheaper than auditing rich folk. A feature! not a bug as Lambert might say.

      Reply
    3. todde

      and when we realize that the Pentagon was given 27 years to prepare for their audit, which they we so out of compliance with their requirements to account for their ‘numbers’ that it couldn’t even b completed, we can start to see the priorities of our ‘betters’.

      Reply
  6. rd

    I think Trump’s comments yesterday about using Meng as a bargaining chip has put Canada in a box. Canada needs to be seen as preserving the rule of law, not acting as a pawn of the US to grab an executive to use as a trade chip.

    Meng’s attorneys will bring up Trump’s comments in the extradition hearing and claim she is a political prisoner. That could very well position Canada to let her go and simply deny her entry to Canada in the future until the matter is better resolved.

    China detaining two Canadians means that China just views all these people as bargaining chips now that Trump confirmed their suspicions for them. The irony is that I don’t think Trump even knew she was getting arrested until after the fact, so his off the cuff remarks probably just torpedoed his own Justice Department’s actions.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In that scenario, Democrats would claim this is impeachmen worth (torpedoing DOJ).

      Then, the Canadian judge would rule it not political on the part of the US DOJ, pointing out Trump’s obstruction.

      Possibly, she is brought into the US.

      Trump can pardon her at that time, if he can get a good deal from China (if Trump has not been impeached by then).

      (Assuming her lawyers’ argument is that the case is politically motivated).

      Reply
    2. Skip Intro

      The whole thing, despite evidence that the timing was coincidence, felt like an action by ’embedded resistance’ meant to scuttle Trump’s China negotiations, where he was about to pull a deal out of the hat. If Trump manages to damage that strategy and give Canada a face-saving way out, that could be counted as a win for him and his deals.

      Reply
  7. JTMcPhee

    “Regardless of class.” Interesting notion: Denmark’s state-funded ‘hotels’ for new mums
    A state ‘maternity hotel’ programme in Denmark enables babies to receive the same care during their first days, regardless of class.
    http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20181212-denmarks-state-funded-hotels-for-new-mums?ocid=global_capital_rss&ocid=global_bbccom_email_13122018_capital

    This kind of ties, in my mind, with the bits in recent comments about “creative destruction” of “speed cameras” that are used to extract money from drivers “automatically” and in the amounts of billions of Euros and other currencies. One of the articles on the subject:

    Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “Freeland says a second Canadian is missing in China”

    Well as they say, one missing Canadian can be considered an accident but two looks like carelessness.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      The most maple leaf stickers I ever saw festooned on a piece of luggage when I was overseas was 7.

      I approached the gent with a faked smile and asked him: “What part of the states are you from?”

      He was so politely perturbed @ my insolence, that he felt the need to pull out his wallet and show me his Ontario driver’s license…

      Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          When I was 12 me and my cousins favourite pastime was going up to Canadian tourists in his parents pub (a popular tourist haunt), ask them where they are from, and when they said ‘Canada’, we’d say ‘oh, you mean the US!’. The more they’d insist Canada was a different country, the more we’d insist it was the same place. It never failed to have us in stitches. I don’t think a single one of them realised we were just teasing them.

          Reply
          1. Savita

            Brilliant! here in Ausralia, a Chef I was working under had a favourite pastime after a long day in the commercial kitchen. Go home, open a bottle red, get on an internet chat room, and engage someone from the US. and keep asking them where from Canada they were from. Apparently they would respond ‘huh?’ over and over. So the story went anyway
            He was actually responsible for making ‘Bogong Moths’ , the subsistence food for the local indegenious populations in the Winter time, whereby they’d be smoked out of caves and cooked for a protein source – into a international cuisine

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bogong_moth

            when travelling people always say ‘are you from NZ ‘ ? i wondered why I was always mistake for a Kiwi. It took a long time for someone to explain that, basically no one can tell the difference between the two accent, so they say ‘are you from NZ?’ because Australians aren’t offended for the mistake – but NZ’s are offended if they are considered Australia. Fair enough.

            Reply
            1. Wukchumni

              Ask an Antipodean to say the number between 9 & 11, a Kiwi will pronounce it ‘Tin’ and an Aussie will say ‘Ten’.

              That’s all you need to know.

              Reply
              1. The Rev Kev

                Works too with the number sixty-six. A Kiwi will pronounce it as sexty-sex. Should note that when I was in Europe back in the eighties, the Canadians would always make clear that they were Canadian with their distinctive flags as they did not want to be mistaken with Americans. Same with Kiwis who did not want to be confused with Aussies. No American I met ever had a stars and stripes flag though I did run across one with a cowboy hat. As I had my Aussie diggers wide-brim hat on at the time, we each did a double-take.

                Reply
            2. LifelongLib

              I once had a conversation with an Australian and a New Zealander together. I could hear a difference in the accents but couldn’t put a finger on what it was and for sure wouldn’t be able to tell one from the other without knowing who was who…

              Reply
          1. Lee

            The Canadian a…holes I’ve met were for the most part quite polite. On an extended camping sojourn in BC and Alberta I encountered various right wing Canadians and we would argue well into the night drinking whisky around a camp fire. These debates never interfered with the atmosphere of friendliness and willingness to share camping and hangover cure tips and material assistance. “Ah, but that was long ago and far away….”

            Reply
        2. marieann

          I traveled to Scotland last month and I didn’t have to insist I was a Canadian, my Scottish accent gave me away….as Scottish with a wee bit of Canadian eh!

          Reply
      1. Arliss

        Years ago when I was traveling around the world I used to pretend I was an American. I can do a great southern accent. This allowed me to get away with atrocious behavior. So if you’re ever wondering why Americans overseas have such a bad reputation, you can blame me

        Reply
      2. Merlin

        I have maple leaf flag stickers on my luggage even though I am an American citizen.

        My reason: Americans are hated in many parts of the world but I didn’t think anybody hated Canadians. Don’t know if it would save me in a hostage crisis.

        Reply
  9. JTMcPhee

    Article on spreading ‘creative destruction’ of “speed camera” devices that are uesed to automatically extract money from mostly mopes. https://www.thenewspaper.com/news/65/6598.asp Should have been added to comment about Danish “baby hotels,” that provide a good start for all Danish babies and mothers, “regardless of class.” There are models and actions out there that taken together, add up to hopeful signals that humans can in fact “do better…”

    Reply
    1. Lee

      Aren’t the Danes the happiest people in the world? If I could trace my line of descent back far enough, I’m sure I’d find a Dane in there somewhere. Maybe I could then claim a right of return. Being an American has turned out to be something of a disappointment.

      Reply
  10. pjay

    Re: ‘Sanders and Warren are challenging the post-Cold War foreign policy establishment’

    They do challenge the Neoliberal Consensus and hold such policies to be a major factor in the rise of the Right worldwide. That is an important point that can’t be emphasized enough, IMO. But do they challenge the “foreign policy establishment” on Cold War 2.0?. Here is Vanden Heuvel’s next to the last paragraph in the full WP piece:

    “There are differences between the two. Warren stakes out a more traditional view of Russia and China as power rivals posing a “threat” to Europe and to Asia. Sanders lumps Russia and China into the “authoritarian axis,” but says little about how to address them. Neither questions directly the wrongheaded National Defense Strategy that elevates Beijing and Moscow to the status of primary threats facing the United States. Neither details how to forge the essential balance between necessary cooperation — on global warming and nuclear disarmament — and potential confrontation — against the push for spheres of influence, or China’s economic mercantilism. Both admit that far more creative thinking is needed to define the world that we need to build.”

    Yes, a little more “creative thinking” is needed, I believe.

    Reply
    1. John k

      Maybe a little preelection caution… they both have lots of enemies, a change of policy would sack most of state, defense, and cia.
      Trump attacked cia before taking office… an example of how not to do it… better to get your appointees in place first.

      Reply
        1. pjay

          Actually, Bernie has not been bad on Palestine. It’s his contribution to the establishment Russia narrative that concerns me.

          Reply
      1. Cal

        Ah, the Peptide…
        From the Intercept:
        “One voter who identified himself as a Warren supporter, John Bangert, stood up and objected to her recent vote, in the middle of the horrific attack on Gaza, to send yet another $225 million of American taxpayer money to Israel for its “Iron Dome” system. Banger told his Senator: “We are disagreeing with Israel using their guns against innocents. It’s true in Ferguson, Missouri, and it’s true in Israel . . . The vote was wrong, I believe.” To crowd applause, Bangert told Warren that the money “could have been spent on infrastructure or helping immigrants fleeing Central America.”

        But Warren steadfastly defended her “pro-Israel” vote, invoking the politician’s platitude: “We’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one.”

        Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            Lizzy Warren approved Israeli attacks
            Cause they gave her 30 pieces of silver back
            When she saw what they had done
            Now she wanted thirty one.

            Reply
  11. jfleni

    RE: FCC Panel Wants To Tax Internet-Using Businesses, Give the Money To ISPs

    All the more reason to let the states & localities (like Charlmont MA) start their own ISPs; a pox on the ISP plutocrats.

    Reply
    1. Kurtismayfield

      We already have a Universal service fund, which has not had the most stellar history. Why do we need another tax? It is insulting for AT&T to argue that we need a tax after their arguements against net neutrality. That they have the gall to propose this is more evidence that the FCC is a regulatory agency that is completely captured.

      Reply
    2. WheresOurTeddy

      as part of the 75%+ of Americans that has 1 (ONE!) choice of internet in my area (and surprise! It sucks and is overpriced), I say when the revolution comes we start with the ISPs.

      Reply
  12. Wukchumni

    Donald Trump Moves to Deport Vietnam War Refugees Atlantic.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    There’s about 90,000 Hmong-Americans in the Central Valley here, and most came 30-40 years ago.

    Wouldn’t that be something if say the Hmong physical therapist that was working on my knee (bone bruises suck by the way-i’m approaching my 4th month of the ordeal and am still not back to normal) who was born in 1992-and is thoroughly American, had her parents deported?

    She told me a story about her parents I really liked…

    They came from some impossibly poor hamlet, and would eat meat once per annum during the Hmong new year’s celebration, and the way it worked was there was a lone village pig, and all year long, everybody fed it as much as they could, so it would be of enormous size, and then one day it was dinner for the community.

    Reply
    1. vidimi

      not unlike theresa may deporting windrush migrants from the 1950s in the UK a few months ago.

      like may, i’m sure trump can withstand such a scandal, though.

      Reply
    2. RUKidding

      I was living in Fresno (Central Valley CA), when a large group of Hmong came to live there about 27 years ago. I helped some of them out in some very small ways via couple of charities (can’t remember which). Most of them, then, could speak little to no English. They had a tough time of it at first. I think I’ve mentioned before that there were several incidents where some families captured someone’s pet dog and ate it (free protein on the hoof so to speak), which matches nicely with your story about the village pig.

      They learned over time not to do that (I’m sure while shaking their heads at the notion of having valuable protein as a pet, but nowadays in Laos you do see people with pet dogs), plus not do things like light cooking fires on their kitchen floors. Oh dear.

      I’ve been fortunate to visit one area of Laos where some Hmong are from. While Laos is probably not as poor and messed up as Cambodia is, they’re certainly not as wealthy as, say, Viet Nam. AND I suspect that if any Hmong are deported back to Laos, they would probably be put in jail or worse.

      Thing is, the vast majority of these SE Asian refugees have become model, tax paying citizens. They have added tremendously to our country AND they helped us out tremendously during the VN War.

      The whole notion of deporting Viet Namese and Laotian residents now just stinks rotten. Makes my blood boil. Bastards.

      Reply
      1. Cal

        Yes, but isn’t Trump talking about only deporting those with multiple felonies?
        We have enough of our own felons, no need to host foreign ones, no matter how long they’ve been here.

        Reply
        1. wilroncanada

          The devil is in the details.
          One would have to investigate how many of those “hardened criminals” smoked a little pot those years ago, or shoplifted a toy for their kid, or jaywalked once too often, to build that multi-felonies history.
          Given the US justice system’s dealings with the poor…

          Reply
          1. Cal

            Shoplifting under $950 is a ticket, so is jaywalking, pot? Well most charges have been dropped retroactively.

            Felonies are where the state prosecutes you to protect itself.
            Virtue signaling and speaking for others can get one in trouble.
            What makes you so sure Vietnamese refugees are poor? Many second generation are professionals, far higher than our black population.

            Let’s send some of our bankers back with them to Vietnam.

            If our prisons are overcrowded, perhaps we could send our long term and lifers to Mongolia or some place where it would be really inexpensive to house them, thus saving our prisons for rehabilitation and vocational training.

            Reply
    3. David

      The NY Times did a better job with this story back in November.

      Trump Administration Quietly Backs Off on Deporting Vietnamese Immigrants

      Of the 8,000 people in question, roughly 7,700 are convicted criminals. They are not US citizens. Why should they populate US jails?

      The US cannot detain these people for more than 180 days if their deportation is not “reasonably foreseeable”.

      Considering that Vietnam exports $5B (20% of total exports) in goods monthly to the US and imports less than $1B in goods monthly, this problem should be easy (for Trump) to resolve.

      Reply
    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Meat and a lone village pig.

      I assume meat doens’t include fish? I think people in that area are more likely to eat fish than pork.

      If so, that would be a healthier diet than too much meat consuming diets.

      And it would be similarly ironic to stories of people living longer and healthier for consuming (I forget) some part of the honey that rich people don’t, and stories of peasants eating whole rice, instead of white rice favored by the rich, and living longer.

      Reply
  13. vidimi

    i want to comment on an excellent interview the economist did with adam curtis someone shared here yesterday or a couple of days ago.

    curtis is a fascinating person, i love his movies, and would surely be near the top of the list of people i’d want to have dinner and a bottle of wine with for the fascinating discussion we would have. however, he can be very frustrating, especially when he airbrushes out of existence people or movements to underscore his points.

    for example, he claims that climate change is presented solely as an apocalyptic scenario and that there is nobody out there presenting it as an opportunity. that airbrushes plenty of people with Naomi Klein at the forefront who have presented it as a chance for a Green New Deal and an opportunity for massive wealth distribution and infrastructure development. In fact, there was a massive conference on this very recently.

    he claims that nobody on the british left is presenting brexit as an opportunity. well, jeremy corbin supports brexit precisely because he sees it as an opportunity to radically remake the british political system. he may not have communicated this message very well, but he and other leftish supporters of brexit have been airbrushed out of the picture.

    he claims that nobody on the left is talking about loneliness and depression, which is why jordan peterson is so persuasive to so many. that ignores the work johann hari, and i’m sure many others, have done on this subject.

    he claims that no leftish politician has a positive message and all they stand for is a negation of something; that ignores people like bernie sanders, AOC, and many others who have campaigned on specific issues and specific initiatives to improve peoples’ lives in face of the problems we currently face.

    all of this is like saying that nobody saw the financial crisis coming when, in reality, lots of people did, including our host here. airbrushing them out continues to both marginalise the people offering an alternative and to promote the only game in town. it is incredibly frustrating.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      If you are so inclined, I would be interested in your thoughts on my comment from yesterday’s Yellow Fever post, which if you haven’t read in full, I would recommend.

      Lee
      December 12, 2018 at 10:33 am
      No expert am I, but I have the impression that the respective left wing parties of the various EU nations don’t work much together. It would seem that capital has totally stolen the march in this regard without a corresponding response from labor movements and the progressive left. The radical right at least has nationalism as a powerful, ready-made call to unity within their respective countries. Is there no organized working class internationalism as an antidote to neoliberal globalization? Am I missing something that is obvious to others?

      https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/12/yellow-fever-france.html

      Reply
      1. vidimi

        yeah, that’s broadly true. as PK has previously said, the european left is very fractured. the right has parties for the rich, nativist parties for the working class, and liberal parties for the cadres, but they all work together on conserving the status quo despite sometimes having differences in how to regress.

        the left, meanwhile, is more splintered, less willing to form coalitions, and more ideologically pure. it comes down to power and how it is seen. the right sees it as something to be taken and used, whereas the left sees it as something to be contained. as a result, it is ineffective at both its use and its containment.

        in the EU parliament, the right has a very broad coalition across many different parties and they are in power. the left doesn’t have an answer to that although people like Yanis Varoufakis are trying to change that.

        Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “If you want to understand the gilets jaunes, get out of Paris”

    I think that the author is right. One of my favourite books is the 1989 book “A Year in Provence” by Peter Mayle. The lifestyles, ways of thinking and even the food and drinks of Provence were so different to Parisian values that even in that year you could see a major split. France seems to be like so many neoliberal, western countries where most of the resources of all these small country towns and villages are being sucked up by the big cities like Paris. People living in flyover America and northern England would understand all about that but people like Macron have not a clue what you would be talking about.

    Reply
      1. jrs

        Trump is like Macron though, tax cuts for the rich and all.

        And are these leading to tax increases on the not so rich? It seems they might be at least on the state level.

        Reply
      2. pjay

        Absolument! As someone who lives in flyover country but used to live back East, it’s hard to express the degree of cluelessness.

        Reply
    1. flora

      Latest from US MSM, in this case from CNBC, so take with a grain of salt.

      French government to face a no-confidence vote following street protests
      – President Emmanuel Macron’s parliamentary majority makes it unlikely that the government will fall.

      “The French political system makes it extremely difficult to remove a President from office,” said the Deputy Director of Research at Teneo Intelligence in a note Wednesday.

      “The only political tool available to the opposition to expel Macron is the constitution’s impeachment procedure, which no one is currently considering,” he added.

      The motion is expected to be debated at 10:30 a.m. eastern time on Thursday, according to media reports.

      https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/12/macron-government-to-face-no-confidence-vote-following-french-protests.html

      Reply
      1. David

        Yes, it’s true enough. Nobody expects the government to fall. But bear in mind that this is the government, not the Presidency, that is being targeted.

        Reply
  15. Wukchumni

    If you’re ever in my neck of the woods, headed for Kings Canyon NP on Hwy 180, a stop @ Cat Haven in Dunlap is a must!

    Last time we were there, one of their black panthers (if it’s a breed of feline-they probably have it) effects a limp with one of it’s forelegs for you, and the docent told us that it was taught to do that for a movie in it’s previous career, in Hollywood.

    Here’s a video of some impossibly cute baby jaguars there that are all grown up now:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0b0aisuuQDE

    Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    “MbS Tries to Restart the Lebanese War”

    The man is a maniac. A medieval maniac. The brutality of that war went on year after year with 120,000–150,000 people dying. Lebanon once had a reputation as being the “Switzerland of the Middle East” and all that went away in that civil war. And now MBS wants it all to come back? Just to get to Hezbollah? Was it because they help destroy Saudi terrorists in Syria? Or is this part of some deal between him and his best new buds Israel? Looks like nobody wants a bar of his crazy idea fortunately.

    Reply
  17. Carolinian

    Re Waymo vandalism in AZ

    an uptick of people frustrated with the vehicles’ presence, the Arizona Republic reports

    Don’t forget this was the state where the technician operating a speedcam truck on the side of a freeway (it photographs license plates for automated ticketing) was shot and killed. Whatever one thinks of Waymo, the state’s kamikaze drivers–and their guns–are arguably far more dangerous. Those Waymo “safety drivers” may have to start packing heat.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Nah, who wants an attempted murder rap? I’m waiting for a driverless car sniper who shoots out tires from long distances. That would still freak out passengers and drivers and damage the cars.

      Reply
      1. KPC

        Not that I do not appreciate your snark, we are waiting for a little common sense. Like, why does one even find new tech necessary for a “self driving vehicle to transport people and stuff”. From my personal point of view, a train, a bus, a taxi, a taxista and a few other options are “driverless”. E.g., I can read, sleep or otherwise pay no attention whatsoever.

        On the other hand, the first rule of law is “no violence”.

        Driverless cars are a solution where there was no problem.

        Reply
        1. KPC

          I am very serious about the no violence. This is explicit law which can and does trump nation state constitutional.

          Especially in forums such as this, I do not appreciate the so-called humor which degenerates into visions and words of violence. Violence can be and is inflicted via words or language and directly as well as indirectly. It can easily violate the law on the books in USA. E.g., your freedom of speech is, indeed, limited. The case law on this subject is very old, long pre-dating that First Citizen thing.

          Web sites like this and others, including mine, have a distinct responsibility which is a bigger deal or more elite exactly due to the nature and influence each of you on this web site have. You are smart and experienced and, thus, charged with an elite or higher level of responsibility as am I.

          Reply
        2. ChristopherJ

          KPC, not to pick on you, but a lot of people say there is no problem. Apart from reducing the road toll arising from human error (a not insubstantial sum), driverless cars seek to solve a very large problem in society, underutilisation. To be successful, they need us humans to relinquish the road.

          The benefits:
          1. Never having to outlay, and have tied up mone, for a vehicle;
          2. Always being able to hire a driverless car in one minute or so (at a price which reflects marginal cost – pennies for an electric vehicle);
          3. Being able to convert your garage into something more useful;
          4. Convert all the parking in the city to something better;

          In this scenario, no one owns cars. The rich have drones flying them around and it will be fairly exclusive as the ‘slots’ will be very expensive or rationed to keep us mopes on the ground.

          One day a year, those of us that keep our special gas guzzler, will be able to drive them on special roads…

          That is your future.

          Reply
          1. Carolinian

            Interesting, but hard to see such a huge change in our culture happening any time soon. And if roads were totally given over to robotic cars then these high tech experimental cars wouldn’t be needed anyway as embedded road sensors could guide them on their way. Clearly this is not the world that Google and others are preparing for. And so it’s fair comment to question the practicality of their schemes.

            Reply
          2. JB

            While I can appreciate the intent, I believe it will be abused, and human history indicates as much. Likewise for IoT. One can argue it will enable surveillance, threats, blackmail, and murder with plausible deniability unlike any technology that humans have embraced wholesale. If we are concerned with the overthrow & assassination of democratically-elected leaders, persecution of whistleblowers & journalists, our rights to dissent/protest/organize, etc., then we should be extremely concerned. There will be little/nothing to stop the corruption that is already rife in the system, and thus inequality will only increase further. The asymmetry will be expansive in a paradigm in which everywhere you go, everything you say, and everything you interact with is under surveillance at a minimum and in most cases vulnerable to direct intervention to your detriment. As a result, this means our environmental, safety, and health standards as well as our civil rights can and likely will be undermined, disregarded, and deregulated with little/no repercussions…just so the very rich can have more. There will be no pathway for the truth to set us free. The rich elite will have the masses pinned down in a way that has only existed in their wildest dreams…and the masses will have voluntarily adopted these technologies because they wanted to believe it was for their benefit rather than recognizing how the societal trends that encompass them will also inevitably corrupt the utility of these technologies.

            Reply
        3. TimR

          Re- “Driverless cars are a solution where there was no problem.”

          The “problem” is not ours, but theirs: the Cage is not yet tight enough.

          Each Citizen must be fully accounted for, tracked, measured, recorded and controlled 24/7. Like livestock.

          Yes the old open road was/is an illusion of freedom to a degree, but it’s better than this grand new “solution.”

          ALL the glorious future visions we’re being given have this dark dystopian side if you tilt the Futo-Rama specs e’er so slightly…

          Reply
        4. todde

          there is no ‘law’ without violence.

          The 1st rule of law is the ones who can commit the most violence, makes the laws.

          The 2nd rule of law is the ones who can monopolize the violence, enforces the law.

          Reply
    2. cm

      The follow-up article (the Business Insider was just plagarizing the AZ Republic) gives more explanation as to the rage:

      A white Waymo minivan — sensors spinning on the sides, a big black bulb on the roof — crept slowly toward a bad accident in a Chandler intersection in mid-October, almost like the robot car was curious about this traffic scenario and wanted a closer look.

      Emergency crews directed the afternoon traffic around the wrecked cars and fire engines at McQueen and Pecos roads in the Phoenix suburb.

      The self-driving Waymo awkwardly, slowly, rolled toward the scene, even as dozens of other vehicles merged into the turn lanes far sooner.

      [snip]

      The maneuver that most reveals robotic decision making from the cars seems to be lane changes, which are so difficult that the vans sometimes miss their turns because they can’t move over in time.

      In multiple instances, we saw Waymo vans use their turn signals to try a lane change, only to turn it off if there was not enough room to move over.

      Sometimes it took multiple attempts for the vehicle to successfully change lanes.

      And turning the indicator off and on multiple times appeared to confuse drivers around the vans. One van took 1 minute and 23 seconds, and multiple attempts, before changing lanes in moderate, flowing traffic.

      Reply
      1. voteforno6

        Yeah, that sounds pretty maddening…I shudder to think what would happen if they tried to test these vehicles in the D.C. area.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          I would contend that if those cars are not ready for the D.C. area, then by rights they are not fit to be on any road in any built up area.

          Reply
      2. Carolinian

        The robot car probably puts on its lane change signal and the adjacent cars speed up to block rather than giving way–behavior we human drivers know all too well. Not only that, it may even stop at stop signs rather than rolling through. Very frustrating.

        But I don’t necessarily disagree that mixing robot and human drivers on city streets (as opposed to limited access highways) is a bad idea. Recent articles suggest that even Google/Waymo has started to question whether they will ever be able to get rid of that safety driver. You do wonder what the point is other than R and D.

        Reply
    3. Cal

      As an ex cab driver, my first inclination when seeing any self driving car, is to throw a brick at the vehicle, as long as no humans are visible inside.

      Walking up to the vehicle when it’s sitting in traffic and puncturing tires with a phillips screwdriver is probably safer for other motorists as no debris is left in the street. What do laser pointers do to the sensors on these vehicles?

      Reply
    4. Arizona Slim

      I have a neighbor who packs heat when he’s going out to check on his mail delivery. Because you never know when your mailbox is going to pull a stickup.

      Reply
  18. Louis

    With respect to to the Guardian article about why universal healthcare has not happened in the United States, I think it largely comes down the to the “I got mine, to hell without everyone else” mentality that is pervasive among those with employer-based insurance.

    Reply
    1. vidimi

      american democrats like to blame the republicans, but the american republicans are really no worse than the right wing parties in just about any other developed nation. the difference is, those other developed nations have much stronger social security systems. so what gives? i think you’re only as good as your leftmost main party, and the truth is, the democrats are to the right of every other left-wing party in the developed world.

      Reply
    2. Eureka Springs

      Still it doesn’t explain why so many are willing to pay so much. Including business itself.
      And I think politicians could never get away with this if the media weren’t entirely corrupted as well.

      But hey, we’re going to keep on bombing Yemen, I mean committing acts of MIC customer service for our Saudi buddies, for dawG knows why or how long.

      Reply
      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Getting a service from their government sends the opposite message of what business wants the public to believe. It’s worth the extra money for Insurance companies if that keeps people from getting wrong ideas about what the purpose of government in a democracy is.

        Reply
    3. PlutoniumKun

      I think there are two key reasons – one is just bad political luck. The US nearly had the first stages of a proper healthcare system a few times in the post war period, but it never got established – but as private healthcare got bigger and more bloated, it simply got too big politically to kill. In Europe, a major driver was that the mainstream elites realised they had to encourage social stability as a means of fighting off communism, which was much more on Europes doorstep than the US (despite, ironically, the US being far more paranoid about it). Private healthcare simply never had the political clout to kill it off (in the UK, the post war Labour government simply bought off the medical establishment, which was in strong opposition to the NHS).

      A second issue – one the US shares I think with South and Central America – is racism. Social programmes that are seen to benefit non-whites are resented by working class whites as much as the elites. This to me is a major impediment to the sort of universal benefits that are considered normal in Europe.

      Reply
      1. KPC

        You cannot even imagine how wrong you are with respect to Central and South American and your reference to racism. Wow. Ignorant. And I mean that respectfully.

        We have a huge amount of education facing us with you and others on this very issue in the Americas but especially the USA part of North America.

        Central and South understands this profoundly. You, tragically, do not.

        You might want to revisit some of Dr. King’s work which was in no way focused or even limited based on black color? Have you people up there gone this far over the edge.

        Russell Means?

        Eartha Kitt?

        John Walker and Juan Santa Maria?

        All things are connected.

        Reply
        1. Cal

          “Social programmes that are seen to benefit non-whites are resented by working class whites as much as the elites.”

          Yeah, all those working class whites in Mexico, Brazil and Colombia really resent the poor who harvest a bounty of social programs. !

          Reply
        1. KPC

          Like Yves’ discussion yesterday, we need to start over. Just throw all of the old out and start anew. Have courage. Just let it all go.

          This sounds radical and it can be. But it is doable. It has been done and in the context of very recent history.

          The current system has become so intensely complex it sort of folds into itself. We get so wrapped up and around in these sort of silly details. But you see, you and we get the principles. We understand the principles.

          So, these systems can be and should be shockingly simple. Sit down with a blank sheet of paper or a blank computer screen. Outline the principles. What is the goal? What is the objective?

          There is more than enough talent here on this web site to do just this so long as, for this exercise, we ignore political people, parties, the rich and famous, the poor… . We just sit down quietly and write out a system which achieves our goal such as “health care”, nothing more, nothing less… .

          Reply
          1. KPC

            Take a look at Costa Rica’s stats on this gig. We rock.

            I have not looked recently but I suspect Bolivia might be doing cool, as well?

            The stats I reference are the international metrics.

            Typically, it is a bunch of “economists” which run these places…and a few attorneys…and a psychiatrist as well. Abe is one of the best… .

            Reply
            1. KPC

              And I believe Bianca Jagger and her daughter are damned near, if not actually, marching in the streets on these issues…but in a proper and non-violent and respectful manner .

              Bianca Jagger is from Central America and I say this with intense respect for her and Mick Jagger.

              Reply
      2. jrs

        yes it’s almost certainly historical and then the industry becomes hard to fight just because of size. Attributing it to innate psychology rather than historical factors is just silly, as if this country even had one psychology, and wasn’t hopelessly regionally divided. We already have governors mouthing about M4A, it’s just more risky to implement on a state level.

        Reply
      3. gepay

        I think pre-WW1 Germany had a government health insurance scheme. When they ran Holland during WW1 they instituted it there. The Dutch government thought it was such a good idea they kept it after the Germans were thrown out. British Labour said after WW2 that if we could afford that bloody war, we can afford health care for everyone. The populace agreed. Nixon had a single payer plan but the American Medical Association mostly stopped it. Plus the Unions had their employer health insurance so they didn’t help. The big American corporations were so dominant until the 70s that they didn’t care about the cost. There was a big push for a better health care system when Clinton was elected. Bill gave the plan to Hillary to create. Nobody liked her plan and the chance to make a change evaporated. Now the private system is so entrenched that our bought and paid for Congress will never give universal coverage – wiping out the private health insurance industry.

        Reply
          1. gepay

            You are quite right – It was Belgium that I should have written – but it was many years ago that I read that – no excuse.

            Reply
    4. ChiGal in Carolina

      It’s down to our roots in fears of authority undermining individual freedoms resulting in a drastic devaluing of community. And yes, racism, or more generally the heterogenous nature of our society. It is easier in Norway to extend universal benefits since everyone is of the same tribe.

      Success of M4A here requires addressing this.

      Reply
    5. Copeland

      A lot of good analysis in these comments.

      Also, hasn’t health care become such a large portion of the US economy (I think I’ve seen figures stating 17%) that –according to some folks– any reduction would quickly “crash” the economy?

      I don’t know if this theory holds water…

      Reply
  19. JTMcPhee

    Brexit and les Gilets Jaunes are very attractive stories. But — Looking at the MSM news, it seems like the consensus is that the Blob and its helpmates are on the point of making Pence the next President of the Free World. https://thehill.com/homenews/the-memo/421139-the-memo-allies-worry-as-trumps-woes-mount, as just one example of the crowing and mooning. Just idle wishful thinking, or is the howling mob close to achieving that idiotic and nicely distracting own goal?

    Reply
  20. Wukchumni

    I should be jaundiced by the lack of people inquiring about my yellow vest I was attired in from a few days ago, but i’m not giving up easily on my quest to have somebody ask me why i’m wearing it, so round #2 coming up in the big city down on the fruited plain.

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I’m next to Sequoia NP, which will be my next yellow vest adventure, and yes, we get a fair amount of French tourists.

        Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      Several online retailers sell 10-packs of yellow safety vests for $20-$25. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0761YKMTV/ref=nav_timeline_asin?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1 Made in China, of course. I am buying several packs to give (one per giftee) as Christmas presents, along with copies of a couple of articles that have been flagged here in the NC discussion of the remarkable phenomenon.

      Hey, how does one get in touch with DSA? This might be a wonderfully clarifying and catalyzing thing for them to be passing out, along with their messages…

      Reply
      1. jrs

        Well there are probably DSA meetings you could go to locally. Of course that likely depends on location, I’m in deep blue plus urban and they are active.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          The nearest is about 20 miles. I just dug down and paid up to become an NSA-tracked member .. With hopes that the sortsthat have helped kill off the New Deal in the FL Democrat Private Club won’t be dominant.

          Reply
      2. ChristopherJ

        Careful guys, some of the GJs have been violent.

        And, those hi-viz vests? Well, make you an easier target they do.

        But, yes, to see a protest movement achieve some success is uplifting

        Reply
    2. Aumua

      I tell you using the yellow vests was a stroke of genius. They’re so ubiquitous, and they capture the working class ethos so perfectly. I see regular construction workers wearing them all over the place here in the U.S. and every time I see it now, my awareness of the bigger picture in the present world and where I am in it is expanded. I’m definitely buying one to wear to class.

      Reply
  21. Pylot

    Congress has imposed a rule on the Post Office forcing them to fully fund employee retirement 45 years in advance and within 10 years of the start of the 45 year clock. The Post Office could actually fund 45 years in advance using proceeds from their existing fully funded retirement years. Congress won’t allow this. The Post Office routinely makes several hundred million a year over operating expenses.

    So the crisis is manufactured and has nothing to do with reality. I have to guess that the sponsoring congress thieves are in the pocket of the commercial providers and are in cahoots to reduce the size of the Post Office in order to open up more to the congressional contributors.

    Reply
  22. mikef

    https://newsok.com/article/5617173/point-of-view-mandatory-vaccines-are-bad-medicine-bad-politics?fbclid=IwAR2XHnxsP5en19bjJZn02JYvkxU4rk69UXpnua6vA2yT2g6nclAOMWYm3p0

    “There are thousands of documented cases of vaccines given one day, and regression into autism the next. The same aluminum adjuvant contained in many modern vaccines has been found in autopsies of autistic individuals. Also, the U.S. Vaccine Court believes vaccines cause neurologic injury. To date, the court has paid over $3.6 billion in claims.” Dr. Steven Lantier

    Lantier is an anesthesiologist at the Surgery Center of Oklahoma.

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        “The Commander-in-Chief answers him while chasing a fly
        Saying, “Death to all those who would whimper and cry”
        And, dropping a barbell, he points to the sky
        Saying, “The sun’s not yellow, it’s chicken”

        Bob Dylan

        Reply
    1. gepay

      It is ridiculous to think that vaccines should be different than every other medical drug and not have side effects.Some people having severe ones.Yet mainstream medicine says they are absolutely safe for everyone. There is the documented fact that the CDC’s own study did find a strong link for autism for MMR vaccines given to black males before 3 years of age and a stronger one for before 2 years of age. Just as is done in many studies, the pool of subjects was manipulated so as to make the cluster go away. It is a fact that a babies immune system is just developing. It is not the same as an adult’s in ways that are not clearly known. The CDC schedule of vaccines is absurd. 25 vaccinatons before 2 years. with 3 HepB – like babies would use needle drugs or engage in group sex (those who are at risk). with the first one on the day of birth when their immune systems hardly work at all.
      Do you know how hard it is to prove that a vaccine caused the damage to your baby? – especially as it may be a combination or a delayed effect – yet billions have been paid out.- yet there are very few studies to find out why and who is susceptible. Just endless statements that they are safe for everyone at all times except maybe a few ot them not to be given to pregnant women.

      Reply
  23. Oregoncharles

    “North Carolina Legislature Calls for New Primary if New Election Is Held in Disputed District”
    I’m now paywalled at the NYT, so I read this at Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/north-carolina-election-fraud-legislators-call-new-primary-2018-12. They do make the mistake of calling the problem “voter fraud,” when it wasn’t.

    However: the primary is subject to the very same charges, the same manipulation by the same guy, as the November election, so the call for a new primary actually makes sense. What I don’t see is criminal charges against Dowless and probably Harris.

    Reply
  24. sundog

    Cheers for the monarch butterfly pic, that is a species in deep trouble. Cheers also for the Banerjee link but I found it odd there was no mention of the kelp forest destruction linked to decline of starfish populations off the west coast of North America.

    Word of the day: “solastalgia”

    Reply

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