Links 12/16/18

What happened next? Was the punk turtle that breathes through its genitals saved from extinction? Guardian

Wiping the slate clean: is it time to reconsider debt forgiveness? FT. Gillian Tett reviews Michael Hudson’s new book.

1MDB dragnet closes in on Najib, Goldman Sachs Asia Times

Washington Gov. Proposes ‘Herculean Effort’ to Save 74 Remaining Southern Resident Orcas EcoWatch (Glenn F)

How McKinsey Has Helped Raise the Stature of Authoritarian Governments NYT

Waste Watch

Legal plastic content in animal feed could harm human health, experts warn Guardian

Egypt tomb: Saqqara ‘one of a kind’ discovery revealed BBC

‘Morally Unacceptable’: Final Deal Out of COP24 Sorely Lacking in Urgency and Action, Climate Campaigners Say Common Dreams

The Case of Agatha Christie London Review of Books

Huawei Hullabaloo

Canada will ‘be on the losing end’ over Huawei arrest: professor CTV News

Our Famously Free Press

Apple News UK editors rely on six outlets for 75 percent of Top Stories Columbia Journalism Review

How I Quit Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon Motherboard (martha r)

Where Can Apple Make Its iPhones If Not In China? International Business Times

Apple Computers Used to Be Built in the U.S. It Was a Mess. NYT


How anger in Washington over Khashoggi’s murder has led to progress in the Yemen conflict Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

Class Warfare

Los Angeles and Oakland Teachers Rally Amid Deadlocked Contract Talks  Capital & Main

LA Sheriff Eliminates Some Deputy Disciplinary Rules And Weakens Others Laist (martha r)


Brexit: feeding the beast

Party activists pile pressure on Corbyn to back second vote Guardian

What the tactics of Middle East dictators can tell us about Theresa May’s political situation today Independent . Robert Fisk.

Theresa May’s team plots new EU referendum The Times


India’s gig-economy apps are fighting the monsters they made Quartz

Climate change is paving the way for shock-proof seeds Economic Times

Geoengineering: Should India Tread Carefully or Go Full Steam Ahead? The Wire Whatever could  go wrong?

Laid bare: the limitations of identity politics The Telegraph


China’s Green Great Wall is on the front line of its fight against desertification, but is it sustainable? SCMP

Germany wins access to world’s biggest lithium deposit Handelsblatt

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

China Is Now the Greatest Threat to Americans’ Privacy Bloomberg

Google says it won’t sell face recognition for now—but it will be hard to slow its use MIT Technology Review

British Security Service Infiltration, the Integrity Initiative and the Institute for Statecraft 456 Craig Murray

Gilets Jaunes

‘It’s time for the people to take power’ Spiked (martha r)

Taking French Lessons: The Power of the ‘Yellow Vests’ TruthDig

martha r:

Health Care

Federal judge in Texas rules all of Obamacare to be unconstitutional AlterNet

Pam Bondi’s (and Rick Scott’s) Texas-sized role in Affordable Care Act fight Tampa Bay Times (martha r)

Legal experts rip judge’s rationale for declaring Obamacare law invalid WaPo (The Rev Kev)

Democrats in Disarray

Does the Media Have It Out for Elizabeth Warren? Rolling Stone. Matt Taibbi

Biden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll The Hill

Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its Baby Powder Reuters (martha r)

‘Unregistered foreign agent’: Clinton Foundation oversight panel hears explosive testimony RT Chuck L:  “I’m shocked, shocked that there’s barely a peep about this in the MSM.”

Trump Transition

The Criminal Justice Reform Bill You’ve Never Heard Of Marshall Project

Deportations under Trump are on the rise but still lower than Obama’s, ICE report shows WaPo

6-Year-Old Separated From His Father Tells Judge He Wants to Go Home ProPublica


‘He would have given up a very valuable appendage to get that job’ Politico

Antidote du jour:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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      1. crittermom

        It would help if we knew where this photo was taken, but I very much doubt it’s a buzzard.
        They usually have bald faces/heads, which are best for eating carrion.
        My research suggests some kind of eagle, but even those results are pretty lame.
        Great photo, however!

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            The NZ falcon has two black stripes starting at the corners of the beak and going down either side of it’s neck. Those are not apparent to me in today’s antidote (though I’m no expert). Eyes also look bigger (but photos/perspective may play a part)

            1. Wukchumni

              I’ve been as close to a NZ Falcon as about a dozen feet away, a number of times. The winged ones are really docile in that bird world country.

              Sure similar to the photo, but i’m not up on my buzzards.

        1. KB

          you are thinking of vultures, from google:

          In the United States, when someone refers to a buzzard, it means a turkey vulture, a member of the New World vultures. Elsewhere in the world, a buzzard is in the same family as Old World vultures – Accipitridae – in the Buteo genus. In North America, the Buteo genus refers to hawks or buzzard hawks.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Names can be so confusing from place to place. In “Ameringlish” buzzard means vulture, usually specifically the turkey vulture. In “Englandish” buzzard does indeed mean . . . THE buzzard, Buteo buteo. The only species of genus Buteo to live in Britain.

          Where was this picture taken? It looks like a “buteo” hawk, but which one? Here in Canadamerica, we have several to choose from.

  1. emorej a hong kong

    Important: The Intercept Shorter restatement:

    ‘a 2021 reversion to global climate policies of Obama/Hillary would doom civilization — starting with the poorest, who are disproportionately the victims of racism, sexism, etc., and whom Obama/Hillary lovers profess to champion’

    Our language lacks superlatives sufficient to characterize the mass murder & mass suicide entailed by a vote for any 2020 Presidential candidate who denounces the climate policies only of Trump, and not of Obama/Hillary.

  2. emorej a hong kong

    Since this was entirely predictable:

    Canada will ‘be on the losing end’ over Huawei arrest: professor CTV News

    … it appears intentional that W’s farce is being repeated as Trump era tragedy, as Bolton updates, in substance, the largely hollow rhetoric of W.:

    We’ll force you to be with us unless you’re so against us that you bail out of our extradition treaty’

    1. rd

      There is a good chance that Canada will accidentally lose Meng as she skips bail and is spirited out of Canada.

    2. Chauncey Gardiner

      Regarding Canada’s predicament following the arrest, detention and possible extradition to the U.S. of Hwawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou, think I’ll go with the observations of Larry Lindsey on December 12th in an article in Zero Hedge unless something happens that diverges from it.

      My reading of his article is that essentially there is a temporary confluence of interests between Xi and Bolton, and that Meng will likely be released when “everyone thinks ‘the lesson’ has been learned”. Besides the obvious lesson that pervasive surveillance by the U.S. and Chinese governments is both global and ubiquitous, “The lesson” in Xi’s case is not to place your corporation’s interests over those of the Chinese government. In Bolton’s case “The lesson” is that U.S. enforcement of sanctions on Iran are to be taken seriously down to the individual executive level. (I think the IP theft issue is a red herring designed to play to domestic US audiences that don’t really care about or support his sanctions on Iran.)

      IMO China’s subsequent arrest of two Canadians and possible impairment of Canada’s interests from being caught up in this episode are collateral damage that will be soon reversed following Meng’s return to China.

  3. bassmule

    Re: “Unregistered foreign agent,” just curious, is this the same investigation the NY Times reported back in January?

    Amid Calls from Trump, F.B.I. Renews Questions Over Clinton Foundation

    “The Justice Department, in a letter sent in November to the House Judiciary Committee, said prosecutors would examine allegations that donations to the Clinton Foundation were tied to a 2010 decision by the Obama administration to allow a Russian nuclear agency to buy Uranium One, a company that owned access to uranium in the United States, as well as other issues.”

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      It’s funny to watch the plebes pretend the elite will bear any consequence for their rampant lawbreaking, how 1995 of them. The headlines are breathless:

      “1MDB Dragnet Closes In On Goldman” and “Widespread Lawbreaking at Clinton Foundation”.


      So let me get this straight: Lloyd Blankfein will soon be wearing an orange jumpsuit? And Hilary will get 10 years in a cell next to Bubba’s?

      That’s fantastic stuff, have you ever tried doing standup?

  4. The Rev Kev

    “Apple Computers Used to Be Built in the U.S. It Was a Mess.”

    Anybody see the parallels between Steve Jobs trying to set up an assembly line for his Macintosh computers back in the 80s and Elon Musk’s attempts to build up a working assembly line for the Tesla? In reading this story, it sounds like they’re blaming American workers for their failed attempt to assemble Mackintosh computers though I would bet anything that like Musk, Jobs would have not been much into quality control or giving intense training to his workers. What is the bet that in say another thirty years the New York Times will run a story called “Tesla Cars Used to Be Built in the U.S. It Was a Mess.”

    1. Stephen Haust

      “We don’t have a manufacturing culture,” Mr. Gassée said of the nation’s high-technology heartland, “meaning the substrate, the schooling, the apprentices, the subcontractors.” – Gassée

      Why not?

      I won’t bother with the answer. Seen it here many times.

      But we do need the gilets jaunes here to put an end to it.

      1. Power Trumps Productivity

        Easily explained: in Japan each worker has the right to stop the manufacturing conveyer if they cannot keep up with tempo or quality. Based on the feedback will they change positions ot whatever is needed. Compate this to American managers from the Ivy League educational institutions drawing up production lines according to some “productivity focus” then expect the worker to just adapt.

        Most important in US production is to keep the power in places not the productivity and then the whole car industry must be bailef out.

        1. Synoia

          each worker has the right to stop the manufacturing conveyer if they cannot keep up with tempo or quality

          Coming to amazon, when?


          The whipping might stop when Bezos owns the planet

          What Amazon needs is a strong union.

      2. Dandelion

        That’s odd. I clearly remember visiting clean rooms assembling circuit boards and putting peripherals together in Silicon Valley in the 80s.

        1. Toshiro_mifune

          Yes. There weren’t any problems building them here until C level execs realized they could bump their bonuses for a few quarters be exporting manufacturing to lower wage countries.
          The article is crap, filled with a lack of supporting evidence about why it was so bad building here other than Apple couldn’t sell enough Macs at the time to justify the plant.
          I read it as nothing more than PR for Apple about eventually repatriating manufacturing to the US

        2. John Wright

          I worked in manufacturing lower level electronic components in the late 1970’s in Palo Alto,CA.

          This was actually high mix/low volume manufacturing, something that does not fit well in a large scale factory.

          At the time Silicon Valley manufacturing was already expanding into lower cost USA regions (Sacramento, CA, Boise, ID).

          The quote from Gasse (of BeOS software fame) may sum it up for the future demise of USA industry, if it is true for other USA regions.

          “We don’t have a manufacturing culture,” Mr. Gassée said of the nation’s high-technology heartland, “meaning the substrate, the schooling, the apprentices, the subcontractors.”

          I wonder why they quoted someone known for a software background?

          My jaundiced view of the USA has it first shipping less sophisticated manufacturing overseas, then more sophisticated manufacturing, then intellectual property and design.

          One could wrap this all in one title “How to train your competitors and lose your manufacturing base”

          I don’t understand the point of the article, is the author suggesting that because companies may not be able to profitably manufacture high volume products in Silicon Valley, the USA should not do manufacturing at all?

          1. Bugs Bunny

            Reading the article’s conclusion I got the sick feeling that the reporter was convinced that the current model of outsourcing work to Asia is a triumph for the Valley and any other path would be purely quixotic. Really disturbing.

      3. rd

        China had the high-tech manufacturing culture in the 1980s and early 90s that the US lacked? China was only a few years past the Cultural Revolution at that point.

        It is pretty clear that they were looking to develop a work force that would develop its workers to work for pennies on the dollars with few or not environmental regulations.

        The discussion about manufacturing in high-cost California clearly did not envision manufacturing in other states that were and still are much lower cost, but not as low as China.

    2. David

      The story has been told a number of times. Essentially both Jobs and Ives were fanatics about detail and quality control, and it wasn’t possible to find US companies that would agree too the investment and training needed to make the components to the right tolerances. Companies in Asia would. It was the same story with the car and electronics industries in the 70s and 80s, where, as I remember, British companies went under because they couldn’t match the quality of the Japanese, and people were prepared to pay more for that quality. The decline in apprenticeships and manual skills (now alas just as much of a problem in France) is what’s ultimately behind it.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        …it wasn’t possible to find US companies that would agree too the investment and training needed…

        Coincidentally a buddy of mine just sent me this link today which is for an organization that purports to help people who either can’t afford or don’t want to attend a credential mill to find a job:

        His comment was that while he likes the fact this organization exists, it only does because US companies are too stupid and selfish to train their own workers.

        Hard to argue against that and the attitude seems to be pervasive – my kid’s 5th grade teacher recently regaled us at a parent teacher conference about how the education they are providing is already geared toward the kid getting a job some day. I tried to make the point that public schooling should be about making sure we have well rounded, educated, and responsible citizens, not good little worker bees. Judging by her expression she really didn’t expect to be disagreed with.

      2. JBird4049

        The decline in apprenticeships and manual skills (now alas just as much of a problem in France) is what’s ultimately behind it.

        Strangely, starting in the early 70s, American companies started to reduce, then eliminate training programs, those same programs were cut from high school and colleges, and unions, which often promoted them, got the shiv from the Democratic “allies”.

        It is hard to have find good workers if you prevent your workers from getting the skills they need to do the job and at the same time refuse to pay them enough to actually live on. As for Asian companies being so wonderful on quality while does everything I buy get increasingly craptastic?

        1. John Wright

          I took some shop classes at the local community college about 15 years ago.

          These covered automobile air pollution systems, automobile electrical systems and basic machining.

          Very satisfying take these classes, even though I’ve been tinkering with stuff since a kid.

          One instructor bemoaned that the senior school administrators viewed the school as divided into two parts, college prep and vocational ed, and did not support the vocational ed part well.

          But he said: “But we get the jobs.”

          A nation of college trained managers controlling overseas outsourcing is not going to work well for the USA.

          1. KPC

            Thank you, John. Most of the commenters here and elsewhere speak in the third person in the context of those “factory” “workers”.

            Their attitude screams… .

            So, yeh, I have a couple of doctorates in law and accounting or some such, but if ya don’t know how to do it, ya don’t know how to account for it let alone sell it… .

            Their arrogance is a really big part of this problem.

            By the way, I am a peasant from South Dakota and did attend a junior college as well.

    3. Alex V

      The article was quite thin on why it was a mess, or the consequences to quality. No details as to the production line or why it wasn’t economically viable, other than “Asia was cheaper and better”.

    4. Cat Burglar

      One of the NYT’s functions is keeping the professional class, nationally, singing from the same page of the music. That’s what this article is about.

      A curious person reading the article would want to know why Apple couldn’t build a computer here. And what explanation do you get for it here? “Webs”, “substrate”, “manufacturing culture.” The dog ate my homework because there wasn’t a no-homework eating culture! There was no manufacturing here because there was no manufacturing here! And somehow Apple could manage a global supply chain, but not a national one? “A substrate will lie quiet if music is played to it,” to paraphrase Mark Twain.

      Granted, the article makes a pass at specifics, like lack of supply chains, education, and apprenticeships — but goes nowhere with them. That tells you this article is about providing slogans.

      You can only make fun of stories like this one, and you should. There has been some discussion here about how to get people, especially Trump supporters, thinking and talking about issues like this — having fun with articles like this one is a great way to do it. All hail the NYT for giving us such a great target!

      1. pjay

        This gets to the heart of the real issue — and the primary function of the NYT. Thanks for stating it so well.

        1. KPC

          The real issue is how to make stuff, not a bunch of jerks in NYC tall buildings.

          The issue is how to make stuff anywhere on planet earth.

          So, chico, if ya don’t make it, ya hafta buy it. To buy it, ya hafta pay for it with stuff I want which is explicitly not “US dollar” or MONEY.

          1. pjay

            If this comment is addressed to me, I admit I don’t get your point. But Cat Burglar’s comment was on the nature of the NYT article, not “how to make stuff.” The article *pretended* to be about that, or at least about why we no longer *make stuff* in the USA. But it was really little but a propaganda statement, as CB points out. That is the issue addressed. A lot of people here are well qualified to discuss the relevant technical or economic issues, and have. My comment was indeed about “a bunch of jerks in tall buildings” (at least one building), and what they try to get us to believe about the world.

      1. auskalo

        My first mac (a 512/800, 1986) was Designed in California and Assembled in Ireland. But the mouse was Made in Japan. Manufacturing and assembling is not the same, but I’m sure that then some of the parts were Made in USA.
        Now a days, I’m almost sure that the only thing made in Ireland is to change memory chips (if not soldered to the motherboard) and bigger hard drives to computers out of standard configurations (a feature that is disappearing in the last macs), and send computer parts to Apple Stores across Europe, for repair. All made in China.

    5. skippy

      Funnily enough, whilst having my morning cuppa I popped in to Lars, only to view one one of my favorite fundamental grievances.

      The production function has been a powerful instrument of miseducation. The student of economic theory is taught to write Q = f(L, K) where L is a quantity of labor, K a quantity of capital and Q a rate of output of commodities. He is instructed to assume all workers alike, and to measure L in man-hours of labor; he is told something about the index-number problem in choosing a unit of output; and then he is hurried on to the next question, in the hope that he will forget to ask in what units K is measured. Before he ever does ask, he has become a professor, and so sloppy habits of thought are handed on from one generation to the next.

      Joan Robinson The Production Function and the Theory of Capital (1953)

      One of NC old contributors Philip even wrote a book wrt the topic and after putting it under the noses of a few so called economic practitioners … cough … ideologues [aka payed PR flim flammers] … the response I got was “he had some interesting things to say”. Even had a professed Keynesian – Tobin sort say ‘he had issues with Joan’ without saying why. Strange about that since it was Joan that pointed out and took to task those that “bastardized” Keynes to fit in the neoclassical framework.

      So in retrospect we have Apple et al banging on about labours wants …. shezzzzz … when it’s those damn Tellietubbies [tm] again and not Putin, Xi, or some other scapegoat. But you’ll get that when you can’t formulate theory at onset and then compound error generationally, a single step in natural descent.

        1. skippy

          Best part is the own goal through head hunting to negate the skill development aspect … so homo economicus.

      1. ChrisPacific

        “I didn’t find it convincing” is another staple. This is typically delivered in the manner of a full and final refutation, complete in itself, with no supporting explanation or criticism. Mankiw and Krugman are fond of it.

        1. skippy

          I’ve always drawn a parallel to programming code in the manner mainstream economics is administrated now days.

          I think this avenue has been broached here on NC in the past … slaving minds to machine code, removing the human agency component for deeper introspection, new information, or dare I say intuitive processes developed though experience and knowlage in dealing with humans.

          I also find various disciplines of economics or philosophical groups to have a propensity for computer code in their daily lives.

  5. Off The Street

    Russian roulette is what some MSM boards are playing. They think that if they ignore the Clinton Foundation alleged crimes long enough then those will disappear into the Memory Hole.

    What happens to the media companies (e.g., CNN) if those do not disappear? How will those board members address employees, their readers, investors, anyone? In today’s world, the employees would see pensions frozen at best or transferred to the Pension Benefit Guarantee fund, but not treated with the same consideration given the auto bailouts last decade.

  6. FreeMarketApologist

    China Is Now the Greatest Threat to Americans’ Privacy

    No, the commercial organizations that collect and compile your personal and financial data, storing it for periods beyond when they actually need it, unencrypted, and on poorly secured networks and servers, are the greatest threat to privacy. Along with our own political system that isn’t that interested in establishing strong personal privacy rights because it would undermine their own ability to spy on and intimidate their citizens.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Good thought that. Couldn’t have said it better myself. The article also mentioned that “The other difference is that the U.S. government has not created the kind of database China is now amassing on millions of U.S. citizens.”. I wonder what the purpose of the NSA’s Utah Data Center is then?

      1. pjay

        Oh, and it’s Snowden’s fault, too:

        “In hindsight, it’s clear that [Snowden’s] leak caused great damage. Snowden hindered the NSA’s ability to spy on Chinese computer networks, which helps companies such as Anthem and Marriott learn of digital intrusions. At the very least, this kind of quiet surveillance helps with attribution of hacks after the fact, which acts as a deterrence.”

        Fear the Chinese! Resist all whistleblowers! Don’t worry about *our* intelligence community ever using info to blackmail politicians!

        1. Daryl

          Not to mention, I’m not sure we’ve had any trouble attributing hacks to the Chinese government, nor do they seem to care. At this point it’s more embarassing for the US corps and government, their track record of safety and competence being about as good as Acme Corp.

      2. Alex V

        Or, even better, government entities purchase the data from private companies using tax payer dollars. Law enforcement frequently accesses credit bureau and other data for “preventing crime and terrorism”.

      3. JBird4049

        I wonder what the purpose of the NSA’s Utah Data Center is then?

        Mentioning things like “facts” instead of the feels is going against the Approved Narrative, you know?

    2. JTMcPhee

      And we mopes are invited, encouraged even, every day, even by the articles posted here in NC, to just “accept that there is no (right of) privacy.” “Privacy” being one of those Big Words that has such a vast freight of meaning and so many threads and chains attached to it. All of which makes for what we now routinely call “weaponization” of the word itself, in the many contexts it gets used.

      Anyone for Futilitarianism?

      1. Aumua

        Well the means of communicating privately, even over the Internet, are literally at our fingertips. It’s just that no one’s using it, and the problem is it takes both sides doing it for it to work.

  7. Wukchumni

    Loved the French pepper spray firefight between the GJ and the coppers, but shudder to think what our law enforcement would do in a similar situation…

    Ok, round #3 is in the books, and more recognition this time, as we went to the meet of the matter by hanging out @ the Sherman Tree in Sequoia NP. There was light snow on the ground and enough to offset our yellow nicely. Snow also really brings out the red-ish bark on the trees, as the ground cover of brown is extinguished.

    It’s a powerful magnet for tourists, and draws them in like lichen. It doesn’t matter that a much more attractive Brobdingnagian is only a short walk away and is of smaller stature than the Sherman (the only Sequoia tree in the park with a fence around it) Tree, nobody hardly visits the majestic Chief Sequoya Tree, merely the 28th largest living tree in the world, poor thing.

    I figured its a numbers game, so I enlisted my wife to play through on this caper, and unlike a city situation where I could be easily thought of as a construction worker, this was the National Park, and has a real cosmopolitan feel, where sometimes it seems as if English is a 2nd language, with so many overseas visitors.

    We milled about near the fenced in gargantuan, and the line to take a selfie with the Sherman (formerly the Karl Marx Tree) was never more than 5 during our half hour of making spectacles of ourselves.

    It was the Europeans that commented to us, an English couple gave me a high-five, and a Frenchman that could barely speak our language was complimenting my wife’s bold fashion statement.

    An American visitor asked why we were wearing them, and I told him we were in solidarity with the cause, and nothing more.

    He wanted a detailed explanation out of me methinks, but I was as mime as Mike Pence henceforth.

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      I’m on the road currently, but plan on getting a vest for myself from a local construction-supply store (i.e., NOT Amazon, heh) once I get back. Gonna make the rounds of the super-rich malls in Redmond & Bellevue.

      Also planning on dressing it up a bit with some hand drawn IWW Wildcat logos….not sure which ones yet. The standard ones in front, and maybe an ‘I Can Haz Union?’ on the back. That’ll just to insure its not completely mistaken for a real construction vest at close range.

      Also, gonna 3D print out a bagful of guillotines to give to the chilluns. Well, OK maybe that’s a bit much — I’ll give those to any sympathetic adults. :)

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          Although the slogan is still a bit obsolete by modern combat meme arms race standards, I figure the ridiculously rich MSFT and other techies (and wives, and chilluns) who would see it might be slightly more sympathetic then pure IWW slogans.

          Its blatantly ripped off from this site – credit where credit is due – which also has a few others worthy of consideration:

          Myself – since I move amongst those IT-McMansion circles cuz work – (despite being born and bred amongst the deplorable caste) – will be sure to otherwise dress myself in wealth/class-appropriate clothes and accessories. Obviously, just another filthy rich Dev doing filthy rich Dev things at the mall.

          Hope Paul Blart, Mall Cop, doesn’t taze me. I’ll be on my most polite and nerdy behavior obviously… :)

      1. Wukchumni

        I was thinking of the one thing every American driver has on hand in their car, and phones could be utilized in portraying an image of somebody else wearing a yellow vest, and then said screen held aloft in solidarity panning the barricades.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        In my state a person who pepper sprayed a police officer would be arrested for aggravated assault. The state prosecutors are equipped with very broad and broadly interpreted statutes, a low bar for building their case and in my opinion even their most excessive interpretations the statutes are well supported in past case law. I believe the prosecutors would also have several easily associated violations they could pile on for using pepper spray.

        Aggravated assault on police officer — A person is guilty of aggravated assault if he:
        (5) Commits a simple assault as defined in subsection a. (1), (2) or (3) of this section upon:
        (a) Any law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his duties while in uniform or exhibiting evidence of his authority or because of his status as a law enforcement officer; or
        b. (5) is a crime of the third degree if the victim suffers bodily injury, otherwise it is a crime of the fourth degree.”

        A plea bargain defense attorney will run ~$25K up-front. A case that goes to trial could run ~$40K – $50K. For the aggravated assault alone — without the added charges that may be loaded on and depending on the ‘degree’ of crime the prosecutor presses for — you could be looking at 3 – 10 years in state prison and a fine up to $150K. I suspect there is also some way to class yellow jackets as terrorists under the ‘Patriot’ Act.

        1. JBird4049

          That’s if you are arrested as some American police seem to have a proactive policy of shooting and then asking questions. I have never known police to be overly concerned with anyone’s welfare, but in the past few decades something has changed.

          Also when I saw the clip of it pepper spraying, I was unnerved by how unthreatening the French police were. Yes, they were dressed in black and they were wearing helmets, but they were not encased completely in full body armor, helmets that encased the head completely, ballistic face masks underneath the visor, gigantic often completely black shields and festooned with large clubs, guns, tasers, and who knows what else, while trying to look and act like unfeeling robots dealing with the Mongol Horde.

          Nobody was happy there and it was police facing protesters but it didn’t have the sheer fear and hate vibe with that American demonstrations sometimes have. Maybe that’s the point. No matter how peaceful I and whatever group I am with and no matter how justified we are in protesting, it is likely I will get my ass beaten by the police and possibly later railroaded by the prosecutor just for daring to think I have rights. I have seen the police get… brutally violent with my naked eyes and nothing happens to them. So maybe a few proactive beatings can keep the proles in their place.

          What a country I live in.

      3. Oregoncharles

        My son made a miniature guillotine in, I think, middle school. It was very effective at beheading slugs (we are plagued with giant ones), but he still has all his fingers.

    2. Cal


      The police wear clear lexan plastic face shields.

      A super-soaker water gun, or just a plain water pistol or even a large spray bottle–with the discharge hole enlarged with a hot pin to discourage clogging–can spray a mixture of water and water soluble paint–Yellow of course! to block and make useless those masks.

      Remember, use water base, to be able to clean the discharge device before the contents dry, especially in the pump part.

      Some police have to pay for their own uniforms.
      If wetted quickly, the paint can be washed out. You want to ally them not alienate them.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Apple News UK editors rely on six outlets for 75 percent of Top Stories”

    This reminds me of what Jimmy Dore says in how under Bill Clinton, laws were changes so that about 30 media organizations were allowed to amalgamate until there are only six left these day. So if Apple in the UK is relying on six outlets for their top stories, is it any different to how people in the US have to rely on six media organizations for their top stories?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      This clip which I saw live was cut from subsequent readings of SNL because per Lorne Michaels it “wasn’t funny.” Yes, a man who once hired Dennis Miller and allowed Larry David to quit can tell the difference between what is funny and not funny.

      GE has since sold it’s controlling interest of NBC to Comcast which is why SNL is as relevant and as funny as its been since it was owned by GE.

      1. Baby Gerald

        Wow- thanks for that, NTG. I love Robert Smigel but never saw this. Just brilliantly scathing commentary in lyrical form. It’s pretty obvious why this got buried. One can only wonder how many phone calls Lorne Michaels got about it, from Jack Welch all the way down.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          If memory serves, Smigel’s stuff aired right before the sketches to fill the second half of the show went on.

          This clip only aired once, and considering what SNL will air, I doubt Lorne Michaels’ comic sensibility had much to do with it. Wasn’t GE lobbying for a tax subsidy/cut through business reporting at the time?

      2. ambrit

        Oh yeah! Cue Sid and Marty’s giant koolaid punch bowl!
        There is a lot of really good social commentary that the “New and Improved Politically Correct Lorne Michaels” made disappear down the Memory Hole.

  9. Wukchumni

    Hacker gets into the highest levels of the White House…

    But he developed a relationship with Trump on the golf course, often staying in Washington over weekends rather than returning to his native South Carolina, to hit the links with Trump at his Virginia country club.

    And enough of the guillotine references already, now that cooler heads have prevailed in filling an important position.

    ~‘He would have given up a very valuable appendage to get that job’~

    It’s hard to gauge all the long term damage Zinke unleashed in cleaning house for a couple years of anybody ideologically suspect, or possessing any intelligence deemed detrimental to his interior deportment.

    In a fashion, he was the guy you send into a thriving concern after a private equity firm acquired it, in order to strip anything of value, before declaring personal bankruptcy, in absolving himself by leaving his post and going absent without liability.


    Gary Larson, I know you are well rested and still have it in you, please consider doing comics again…

    The Farce Side

    1. Carolinian

      It’s hardly a battle that started with Trump nor did the Clinton and Obama interregnums from “Wise Use” provide much of a pushback. Clinton was fully down with the Gingrich “fee demo” program which–ideologically–advanced the cause of public lands as an exploitable resource (in that case for tourism) rather than all too vulnerable heritage. As with most things, Trump took the standard Republican (and laissez faire Democrat) agenda and just made it more brazen. But perhaps a Dem House will put on the brakes–or at least tap the pedal.

      1. Wukchumni

        McZinkeism went down to all levels, and with the NPS in particular, where they do research largely without bias. Which NPS employee with a masters in something prestigious and something nearly as glamorous-a full time NPS job, is going to risk it by stating the obvious too vociferously to his or her master’s voice that isn’t listening, can’t hear you, see ya.

    2. JEHR

      ” ~‘He would have given up a very valuable appendage to get that job’~”
      Well, there is a “head” and there is “head.” Take your choice.

    3. UserFriendly

      He would have given up a very valuable appendage to get that job

      Sounds to me like he didn’t much want it but Trump wanted him to take it and wanted to make it look like he was dying for it. That story smells of a plant.

    4. ObjectiveFunction

      Gary was never political. But I think Scott Adams is One of Us at heart, if he ever gets over his 60 year old jack self and stops [familyblog]ging ‘models’ at home.

      I miss his written blog; I just can’t be arsed with that Periscope video bullet points thing, I skim text far faster than I can listen.

    1. knowbuddhau

      80some pages of Prof. Hudson on my new fav subject. Aw yeah.

      Might have to subscribe. Only $9/month, what a bargain.

      Bronze Age rulers had pledged themselves to serve their local sun-gods by overseeing the rhythms of nature and society, periodically “proclaiming economic order and equity.” But most such rulers were unseated by classical aristocracies which used religion and its priesthoods for increasingly narrow ends. To defend popular welfare against the incursions of these aristocracies, the authors of Judaism formulated the idea of a national covenant, placing moral order in the hands of their congregations at large. This populism was the counterpart to the civil law of Athenian democracy.

      Jewish populism inverted the classical hierarchies of worldly power. Although the aristocratic Pharisee element within the temples asserted its own interests throughout the Hellenistic and Roman eras, Christ sought to restore the archaic ethic by overturning the banking tables in Jerusalem’s temple and preaching anew the promise of Jeremiah to

      Page 10

      proclaim equity and liberty (deror) throughout the land. Indeed, it was specifically on this principle of restoring freedom to debt-slaves and unburdening the land that Christianity elaborated its ideas of redemption. In addition to redeeming souls, early Christians redeemed their co-religionists from worldly bondage. When Handel staged the first performance of his Messiah in Dublin in 1742, it was by no coincidence that the proceeds were used to free debtors from prison. For thousands of years, redeeming men and land from debt was the primary and most concrete form of redemption.

  10. The Rev Kev

    Gilets Jaunes

    Funny that video via martha r on the cops getting a dose of their own medicine. I had a thought earlier today on how things could have been worse in France. Trump is still trying to force Germany to kill the Nord Stream 2 project and buy the much more expensive American LNG instead, right? Now just supposing that Bolton or Pompeo winds up Trump enough to invoke 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. It would mean it would be basically illegal to have trade with Russia, including Russian gas. If Germany folded then the rest of the EU would also fall into line, especially since there are countries that would like to see this result like Poland and the Baltic countries.
    So lets follow this to its logical conclusion. Without Russian gas, prices would skyrocket and supplies would become far tighter. America probably wouldn’t be of much help as they are still bringing in tankers of Russian LNG themselves. Now as to France, I found a page called “Sources of natural gas imported in France” at which shows that last year France got 26% of its gas from Russia. Could you imagine what would happen if Macron came out and said as we can’t get Russian gas and everybody is scrambling for gas from places like Norway and Algeria, so sorry, but we are going to have to double the price of gas to heat your homes this winter? Being a neoliberal, he would also say, by the way – from the gas we get, industry gets all its needs satisfied first or some of their profits might drop. Sorry about that.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      the sock puppetry and troll farming continues apace. see the comments:

      and of course Kos….on the apparent go-to page for the yellow vests’ demands(a little dated), the arguments by the agents of confusion are transparent. it’s like it’s 2015, and Herself still had moxy:

      there are many other places where the same is happening….”now now……they’re all right wingers and racist deplorables…” as if it’s simple common sense “the sky is blue”.
      The list of demands on the latter link…being either ignored or cast aside as teaparty hate and idiocy.
      the good news is that these defenders of the status quo appear to have no defenders, themselves.
      That’s a change from 2 1/2 years ago.the veil is torn, flapping in the wind.

      1. Craig H.

        I am confused by what I am seeing from thousands of miles away. In particular this in the truthdig article:

        American actions can and should emulate the determined spirit of the Yellow Vests.

        Some unknown fraction of the protest energy comes from people who don’t want French tax dollars supporting Muslim immigrants and descendants of Muslim immigrants. I don’t know how to discern what this fraction is. 5%? 60%? The author of the truthdig article seems to think this is a minor detail. I question this, to say the least.

        People starting fires is alarming. The author of the truthdig article asserts that violent protesters are a very small minority of right wingers which seems presumptuous to me. Again I am thousands of miles away and trying to decode the dope that I see in my web browser and I don’t think it adds up. I sure as heck do not want people starting fires in my zip code I can tell you that.

    2. David

      It’s not clear where or when the video was taken – I haven’t seen any coverage of it in the French media. Outside the major cities, at the roundabouts where the GJ tend to congregate, as here, relations between the police and demonstrators have usually been friendly. These are ordinary police, not the crowd control groups which were deployed in the major cities this weekend.
      Speaking of which, yesterday’s protests were on a much smaller scale, for all sorts of reasons: horrible weather, difficulty in getting to Paris, imminence of Christmas and start of school holidays. But as several thoughtful commentators observed, it also reflects a change of tactics by the GJ. If a couple of thousand people can paralyse a city centre, not even because of their actions but because of fear of those who might join them later, then you are free to tie up much of the power of the state in the cities, and go off and disrupt elsewhere. In the short term the government has little choice but to continue to lock down the big cities every weekend, but there’s a limit to how long they can do it. Many of the police and gendarmes sympathise with the protesters anyway: outside the big cities they come from the same communities. Their representatives have been making warning noises.
      What’s important though is that this crisis has given ordinary people a voice for the first time, and enabled ordinary people to see other ordinary people on TV. There was an interview yesterday morning with a very articulate woman on one of the roundabouts who was, said the caption “a housewife.” I doubt if a housewife has ever been interviewed about politics on French TV before. This is a major change, which will take some time to work through.

        1. SKM

          re role of media (gilets jaunes). Also,like David saw more than one highly articulate “ordinary person” interviewed on French TV.

          Although of course there are/will be, especially in US/UK (anglosaxon!!) mass media, attempts to classify the GJ revolt as manifestations of various flavours of “deplorables”, the strongest and most consistent message coming through via all the French TV and radio channels, (even the most right-wing haven`t been able to swamp the message by the usual means) is that it is a revolt of the victims of decades of neolib policies, and, for once, the blame is not being placed on immigration or (as in the UK after the GFC) on benefit fraud and the proles living above their means, but squarely and seemingly unanimously on the shoulders of the elites who have instigated, promoted and imposed these socially destructive policies!!!!!!!!

          (Direct (subjective, personal/by chance) experience in the streets of Paris last week confirmed this picture 100%)

          Of course the movement is multi-form, people don`t all agree on the way out of their predicament but near unanimous is the sense of injustice, of a system stacked against the people in favour of a tiny elite.

          This would be impossible in the UK.

          I think it is possible in France for many reasons, not least that, especially since the GFC, there has been wide and often deep analysis of the causes of the crash; neo-liberalism is constantly discussed on the media – all positions at some stage get an airing – it is impossible in France not to be at least a little aware of the mechanisms at work. In the UK this is totally impossible.

          Just now on France 5 there is a discussion called “les intellectuels avec les gilets jaunes”, also an impossibility in the UK! Most of the discussion is about neo-liberalism, not missing out the betrayal of the so-called left who have embraced these policies for several decades in all our countries and yet still get called “the left”!!!!

          Generally, (outside “intellectuals”), there is much discussion about the feelings of abandonment felt in provincial France (low wages, no work, public services disappearing). Worse, the feeling of these people in desperate financial straits (often the working poor) that they are actually despised by the elites and their political enablers. The word “mépris” keeps recurring.

          So, what a disappointment seeing in recent days all sorts of GJ being spawned in the world, exposed to a different media representation of what the GJ are about, some scape-goating the cause of their despair supporting Brexit or blaming immigration exclusively.

          1. David

            I would just add that the GJ seem to be highly representative of the roughly 80% of the population who live outside the centre of the major cities, often in small towns, distant suburbs or in rural areas. They are not really a movement, but rather a cross section of ordinary people, who between them cover just about all of the non-elite shades of opinion. Thus, whatever you want to believe about the GJs, you can find support if you look hard enough in the interviews and the online comments.
            Unlike the opinions of elites, which are bought from the equivalent of luxury delicatessens and swallowed unexamined, ordinary people base their opinions and their wishes on their own life experiences. If you lost your job because your employer brought in cheap expendable labour from Rumania, you might have doubts about the wisdom of immigration; if you are a pensioner whose net income has been cut, you might have views about government priorities, and if you are a farmer driven to bankruptcy by fruit imported from Spain where the state turns a blind eye to the exploitation of illegal cheap labour and poor working conditions, you might have views about EU regulations which France enforces and other states don’t, necessarily. One of the main reasons why the MSM are having such a problem understanding them is that the GJs talk about how life is actually lived, whilst political discourse over the last generation has largely excluded such trivialities.

            1. Amfortas the hippie

              germane to the whole mess:

              I can’t say I felt very dignified very often when I was working…save for a very few discreet instances…and many of those, I had to force the issue.
              (like near work stoppage to prove my indispensability(I was a ninja in the kitchen))
              the social contract is hopelessly marred…it’s just that the palliatives of credit, cheap geegaws, etc are no longer covering this fact for an increasing number of people.
              I’ve been wandering in team blueland today…Kos and alternet…
              and the total disdain for anyone who would 1. feel solidarity with the gilets jaunes, and/or 2. criticize obamacare, or the neoliberal order in general, is palpable. The good thing…as i said earlier…is that the number of people who ARE feeling that solidaristy/giving that criticism is much greater than even a year ago.

            2. .SKM

              Excellent breakdown of who the GJ are from David. I fully agree. I was just making a point about the vast difference in perception of what the causes of the condition of the mass of the population in our current western economies and its link to the dominant framing of debate in the media. So, thank you for filling in the detail I had to leave out better than I could have anyway.
              On another subject, I was pleased to see Michael Hudson`s incomparable work acknowledged in an article in FT of all places but really disappointed in Gillian Tett`s article. The link someone posted to his interview with Chris Hedges (On Contact) re Hudson`s fascinating work on the role of debt in the economy was excellent and gave us a full historical sweep from Babylonian times so that the structure whole edifice was revealed – a terrifying description of where we are and how we got here. Highly recommended. What a genius!

    3. KPC

      I suppose you have this partially correct. But only partially.

      You might think a bit along the line that “resources are limited” in a finite world including with respect to you, me and everyone else?

      By the way, you all are still missing the fundamental “assumption” contemporary economists make including Adam Smith and Karl Marx?

      1. tegnost

        you all are? how do you know that? And more importantly why are assumptions contemporary economists make important? Don’t they basically know nothing? And why the quotey thing around assumptions. I mean resources are limited, but fiat? not so much. Writing teachers would tell you that using vague identifiers such as “it” and “they” (“you” doesn’t go in there as it’s aggressive in attribution, i.e. “you are bad” is more aggressive than “they are bad”) need more specifics, like why are they as they are? Resource limitations are ignored until they can’t be ignored any more. Is that in one of your economics textbooks?

        1. flora

          If you read several of citizen K’s comments you’ll see a remarkable change in voice. Makes me wonder who or what is on the other end. heh.

              1. ambrit

                One of my favourite Conspiracy Theories says that since the major oil cartels of the last century were known as the Seven Sisters, plus the Pleiades star grouping, where Zeta Reticuli resides, are also called the Seven Sisters, that Anthropocentric warming of the biosphere is part of a ‘sinister plot’ to Reticulaform the Earth for future colonization.
                Oh those wily Spacies!

  11. Lunker Walleye

    Biden, Sanders lead field in Iowa poll.

    “The newspaper Iowa depends upon”?
    Really? Biden 32% to Bernie’s 19%? Ugh I swear that Bernie won the Iowa Caucus for 2016 and the idea that we may have another potentially fixed Caucus is abhorrent. Maybe this could be categorized under “Kill Me Now”!

    1. Carey

      Would it be impossible to imagine the Dem Primary, this time, to be fixed from start to
      finish? This isn’t the first poll™ to improbably show Biden with a massive lead over Senator Sanders. Wonder what they’ll do about the pesky problem of massive crowds showing up for Sanders, while likely having to pay people to show up for Biden, as with her-almost-highness?

      1. edmondo

        Bernie ran dead even with Hillary in 2016.

        He hasn’t changed his message (except for supporting Her Highness after she stole the nomination). Polling at 19% is pretty dismal for someone who is supposedly “the most popular politician in America.”

      2. flora

        Dem party fix from start to finish?

        I don’t know. Primaries and caucuses are state events, and plenty of states felt they got burned in 2016.

        Now Dem DNC Chair Tom Perez is going to war with Dem state parties.

        Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez launched an attack on his own party’s state organizations Saturday with a long and angry email over the future of the party’s most valuable asset — its voter data file.

        It‘s the latest fight in a quickly escalating war over the trove of Democratic voter information — a conflict that broke into the open at a gathering of the state parties and the DNC in Puerto Rico late last month. The party’s data are largely owned by the state parties, …

        The DNC wants to gather all the data points on voters into a new, massive for-profit database but needs to convince state parties on the idea. The state parties have been wary, accusing the DNC of conducting a power grab that could financially benefit a few elite party figures.

        Why bother with building a 50-state campaign? Just swipe 50 states’ data instead, as a money making for-profit database venture.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Perhaps Sanders should not base his plans and strategy upon what happens in the infinitely riggable and fundamentally dishonest and fake Iowa Caucuses.

      Certainly Sanders will have to show up there to make a show of appeasing the Fake MSM and its Fake Reporters by taking their obsessions with “Iowa” ( and “New Hampshire” as well) seriously. But that doesn’t mean he has to rely upon the results of “Iowa” and “New Hampshire” to mean anything.

  12. Carolinian

    Interesting LRB about Agatha Christie and how she wildly succeeded by “staying within her lane.” Still one should point out that this is one crowded bit of roadway with many or most scripted shows on both PBS and our US commercial TV consisting of murder mysteries. Surely Edmund Wilson was right when when he describes the genre as a puppet play that is more like a crossword puzzle or a game–in short a pastime–than literature. Even Conan Doyle created more interesting characters which have survived almost any filmed version and actor (except Cumberbatch).

    No doubt though that the “power of narrative”–what happens next–will always be compelling. The Dems are trying the technique even now in their hoped for international mystery story starring our often dubious president.

    1. MIchael

      Not being a “staying within her lane.” type of person, I have found well developed characters dealing with societal issues and mores (usually set in foreign lands) in a detailed historical grounding (while using murder-mystery as the vehicle) to be superior and satisfying compared to the NYT bestseller adverted offerings so prominently displayed in my library and elsewhere which I quit reading long ago. Messy or unresolved endings mirror life far better than super hero or technological solutions to the human problems at the root of conflict.

      Thank you Donna Leon, Louise Penny, Elliot Pattison, Martin Walker, Qiu Xiaolong and many others.

      1. Carolinian

        I’m glad you enjoy them. It’s not really my thing.

        But it is the LRB author who says “staying within her lane” and he is contending that Christie was superior to her competitors precisely because of her lack of literary pretensions (while still offering up a kind of social commentary).

    2. David

      WH Auden once said that obsessive readers of classic detective stories, like him, were usually haunted by feelings of sin. The point about Christie’s books, and similar, is that all sorts of characters have a motive for the murder, and in the end it’s largely a matter of chance who the actual killer is. This is the image of a fallen world in which we are all, in practice, guilty. The actual “murderer” is essentially the sacrificial scapegoat, punished for the sins of the whole, which is why many of Christie’s books have an Edenic setting, and why the thought of somebody actually being hanged for murder clearly disturbed her.

      1. Lambert Strether

        W.H. Auden, “The Guilty Vicarage,” Harpers, 1948, concluding:

        he phantasy, then, which the detective story addict indulges is the phantasy of being restored to the Garden of Eden, to a state of innocence, where he may know love as love and not as the law. The driving force behind this daydream is the feeling of guilt, the cause of which is unknown to the dreamer. The phantasy of escape is the same, whether one explains the guilt in Christian, Freudian, or any other terms. One’s way of trying to face the reality, on the other hand, will, of course, depend very much on one’s creed.

    3. ambrit

      Am I the only one who got to see the first paragraph of the article and then a box demanding my e-mail address? This is the first time for this for my perusals of the LRB. A paywall for the LRB is coming next. (If not already here.)

    4. efschumacher

      Reading those cosy Home Counties female writers who flourished in the war-to-war period: including Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Margery Allingham, plus Enid Blyton, Richmal Crompton, Josephine Tey and others tells you all you need to know about the wet dreams of the Brexit Blimps. It’s that comfortable Upper Middle and Lower Upper Class world of little villages and Big Houses with bus services for the commoner and British built motors for the aspiring, cheap taxis for those who won’t soil themselves (yet) with driving, cheap but loyal maids, and reliably forelock-tugging proletarians in functional mechanical, gardening, railway-servant and corner-shop roles, who _always_ knew their place. George Orwell did a number on it, in his “Decline of the English Murder”, though he was of that world and so his writing has some of the same “atmosphere” as he would put it.

      Growing up anywhere in post-war England, you couldn’t avoid being exposed to all of this Home County bric-a-brac through endlessly passed around copies of their novels, cause it is almost all there was available to read (not counting the Anglicized versions of Reader’s Digest, which also had its own ‘atmosphere’). It was such a relief when the Science Fiction of Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Harlan Ellison, Brian Aldiss, J.G. Ballard, John Wyndham, Frederick Pohl, Larry Niven, Philip K. Dick came into view from the 60s and 70s onwards. Nicely dystopian stuff, writ on a much larger canvas.

      The sooner we’re done with the Brexit propaganda, the better.

      (Which is not to say that the LRB analysis of Agatha Christie’s oeuvre isn’t spot on, because it is).

      1. Carolinian

        Thanks for the interesting comment. Here in America our PBS is in love with cosy (we would say cozy) although they will from time to time attempt shows or mini series that are a bit more cutting edge.

      2. Pat

        I have to say I am rather amused by the idea that murder mysteries where any number of village regulars could be or were the murderers because of greed, jealousy, mental defect or any other numerous human conditions are the reason that so many people voted for Brexit. That a village life unfamiliar except in fiction to numerous British residents induced them to vote to exit the European Union. I must admit that it never occurred to me that the lifestyle of a whipsmart English spinster in post war Britain would be more influential than say promises of increased funding for the National Health Service.

        Of course since those dystopian futures of the Science Fiction you mention have also had decades of time and popularity to influence the British public, I have to wonder if perhaps the real reason for Brexit was to hurry on the dystopia.

        But then I think a better explanation is that the dystopian future for a huge segment of the populace produced by our leadership, Britain and America, have led that populace to reject the policies they see as having produced that state – not some imaginary Christie or Norman Rockwell vision of small town life.

        1. ambrit

          When you are living in H—, or a nearby suburb of, any vision of a ‘Happy Valley’ or a ‘Shining City on a Hill’ will entice and beckon. In recent America, there was, is, and probably always will be stories of ‘Strong Silent Heroes and Heroines’ who beat that nasty old dystopian future ‘into shape.’
          Dystopian stories have the virtue of dispelling ‘Happy’ illusions with slightly more realistic ‘Unhappy’ illusions.

          1. Pat

            While it might be interesting to have a literary discussion of the reality of science fiction dystopia versus the reality of post war mysteries, I’m still not willing to blame them for the choices of the populace.

            Nostalgic fiction or memory of options now denied? We have discussions on this very thread of the reality of health care and insurance in America? Are the people who rejected the ACA is all we need position really basing that on unrealistic expectations or is the real propaganda that ACA provides affordable health care? Have real middle class jobs disappeared in American and in Britain over the last thirty years because people believed Midsomer or Happy Days existed? Or did they disappear because of corporate greed, political corruption and policies that actually encouraged this loss?
            Did Hillary Clinton really offer the majority of Americans the better choice with her status quo campaign? Did the Remain Camp make the case that staying offered more opportunity than leaving? Or did both fail to recognize that continuing the same policies that people recognized as being destructive to their lives and the futures of their children without finding a way to mitigate or reverse that was a recipe for people willing to roll the dice on change?

            I’m not saying people didn’t buy a pig in a poke, I just don’t happen to think that our fictional memes were more influential than years of evidence that the same was the path to ruin and the unreasonable that a change – any change- could perhaps halt or slow that.

            The problem in both cases was not the choice people made – the problem was that no choice was available that wasn’t destructive, dystopian, roads to hell in a handbasket. Fictional genre, be damned.

            1. efschumacher

              Hmm, well I’m not suggesting that all 17.4 million voted Leave because they were influenced by cosy Home Counties memories, because most of them live in the ‘Away’ Counties (FYI the Home Counties are those in commuting distance of London. The rest of us are ‘Them’, not ‘Us’ to them, if you follow my drift) But I am suggesting that a sufficient proportion of the older ones wanted that return to British (English) ‘greatness’ as to swing the balance. Lots of Labour constituency voters also voted Leave because (a) they were tired of Tory Austerity and (b) they wanted, and got a direct opportunity, to stick it to Cameron. They were not fully informed of the collateral damage that would ensue. If all they read is the Daily Mail, Sun, Express, they are still not clearly informed.

              While I admired the analysis of Agatha Christie’s oeuvre, I do see the timing and tenor of the article as akin to the Brexit propaganda that aims to bamboozle those who can be bamboozled. A distinctively non-zero faction.

              1. ambrit

                Factions in their basic forms. Zeros and Non-Zeros.
                Still a binary system.
                Insofar as fiction has shaped the aspirations of the mass of the populace, fiction can also ‘nudge’ those aspirations along. Can we apprehend the ‘hidden hand’ of a ‘Consent Manufactory’ at work? The tension between the hidden desires of people and those desires deemed ‘acceptable’ by society drives the popular literary scene.
                A revealing essay about English ‘Boys Literature’ of the last century is in Orwell’s collection, “Inside the Whale and Other Essays.” The essay is “Boys Weeklies.”
                It turned out that the stories Orwell criticized as the work of a stable of pro-status quo writers were the works of one man, Charles Hamilton. An interesting insight into the methods and meanings of propaganda aimed at the young. (There were ‘Girls Weeklies’ as well, similarly pro status quo in outlook.)
                Charles Hamilton:
                I would essay to state that all literature depends on a society wide agreement on the meanings of words.
                Heavens to Murgatroyd! We’re edging in the direction of Wittgenstein!
                Enough for now.

  13. allan

    Best little madrassa in Texas: Baylor ties pervade rape case that sparked uproar [AP]

    The Texas judge who approved a plea deal allowing a former Baylor University student accused of rape to avoid jail time holds three degrees from Baylor. The criminal district attorney overseeing the case holds two. The prosecutor who agreed to the plea agreement graduated from Baylor law school.

    Local leaders say those connections to the world’s largest Baptist university cast doubt on the handling of the criminal case against ex-Phi Delta Theta president Jacob Walter Anderson, who was accused of repeatedly raping a woman outside a 2016 fraternity party.

    Anderson was indicted on sexual assault charges, but the agreement allowed him to plead no contest to unlawful restraint. He must seek counseling and pay a $400 fine but will not have to register as a sex offender. …

    Waco clinical psychologist Emma Wood, who used to work at the Baylor counseling center, said her clients come to her because of the sexual and spiritual trauma they’ve experienced at the university and at large churches in the area.

    “I see a lot of trauma survivors,” said Wood, who left the university and reached a settlement with the administration over claims of discrimination and sexism. “In fact, that’s the majority of my case load.”

  14. nippersdad

    I thought that this made a nice bookend for the Clinton Foundation unregistered foreign agent story:

    “The most important thing is that you fought for what you believed in, and that it is always worth it. ”

    Two hundred fifty million dollars later I am sure that she believes that in her very bones. Break that glass ceiling! Boys shouldn’t be the only ones to enjoy the spoils. An admirable sentiment, indeed.

  15. MC

    Re: ACA
    Since I lost my full time contract, I’ve been paying out of pocket for health insurance. I signed up for a plan from Nov-Dec that was $7 after my tax credit (I don’t make much of anything as an adjunct but don’t qualify for any other kind of assistance except for the healthcare tax credit). Then the market place starts blowing up my email and phone telling me I have to find a new plan ASAP because the one I’m currently enrolled in is going to jump astronomically. So I look for a new plan on the Market Place but I can’t find the plan I’m already enrolled in to compare it to other plans, even with the increase.
    I get some mail saying I’ve automatically been renewed for my insurance and the monthly premium is going to go from $7 to $35. I’m like well fine, everything else on the Market Place was $20 more a month out of pocket and covered way less. But I asked my friend who does tech consulting for the ACA what the hell that was all about and he said the plan it seems that the plan I was already enrolled just withdrew itself from the market place but decided to keep me on.
    I have no idea what the hell happened but I’ve called 3 times to make sure I’ve got health insurance and they say I do so I’m just going to keep paying them until I move to Maine, and then I have to deal with all this bullshit all over again.
    The insane thing is that I live with an MD, who himself has crappy insurance because he’s a resident and the university hospital doesn’t want to pay for decent insurance for them. Hell, they don’t even do a 401K match for residents.

    1. Jason Boxman

      That sounds unnerving. I hope it works out. I remember going back and forth with a previous contracting company, because they were completely incompetent, trying to get health insurance and not knowing if they would figure it out or I’d be out of luck on coverage. It’s stressful indeed. It’s life and death.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Dealing with BS. That’s been my experience with my Obamacare insurance.

      OTOH, my mom is on Medicare and it works for her. I think it could work for all of us.

      1. ambrit

        Just get rid if the d–n donut hole problem. Make coverage seamless. As a bonus, that would eliminate a chunk of insurance company profiteering as well.

        1. polecat

          You are too wise, good sir ..

          The plebes will continue to get reamed .. seemlessly .. until we have our own continental confab of angry yellow jackets !!

          1. ambrit

            You have just defined the phenomenon for the Americas.
            In Europe, polite-lite Yellow Vests demonstrate.
            In the ‘New World,’ swarms of angry ‘Yellow Jackets’ will riot.
            The dreaded Yellowjacket:
            (Take it from me. You do not want to have these little fellows take an interest in you. I speak from painful experience.)

    3. nippersdad

      Re your MD friend with crappy insurance: I was just at the hospital the other day and had a conversation about hospital costs with the woman who registered me for my CT test: I told her that they had best drag me out of the CAT scanner by my heels if they find any percentage of it is not covered by my insurance, as I would refuse to pay for it and put it in writing. It sounds like even hospital employees have got terrible insurance, which kind of blew my mind and subsequently made me feel a little bad about my insistence upon getting such caveats all in writing in the computer system. Sounded like this woman basically has to pay for her entire year of health care out of pocket before her insurance kicks in!

      I couldn’t believe that. They are killing their own employees whilst doctors I have known don’t know what to do with the all of the money they have socked away. We really do need a more equitable system.

      1. petal

        nippersdad, same thing happened here-I was in for some tests and the NP treating me said I was lucky to have the insurance I did, and that it was so much better than theirs(the hospital employees). She said theirs is downright awful and hardly covers anything. You’d think it would be the opposite.

    4. Eclair

      I feel like a whiner, but here is the tale of my spouse, retired, who has one more year before Medicare kicks in. He signed up with Kaiser Permanente last year, after his COBRA ran out: $650 a month. This year, he re-enrolled, same plan but with a 25% increase in monthly premium. When he called to ask why the big jump, they told him that it was due to the new ACA rules that allowed people to opt out of insurance and not pay a penalty. So, all the old and sick people are now covered, but the young and healthy are going without. Wreaks hell on costs.

      I have Medicare, fortunately. But we now are paying out of pocket for dental care. And eye exams, glasses, etc. Fortunately, we can afford it, but the whole so-called health-care system is rotten to the core.

      1. LifelongLib

        Insurance is paid for by the participants who don’t use it. Letting the young and healthy opt out of ObamaCare dooms it (which of course is the idea). But the basic problem was making it an insurance system in the first place…

  16. Jason Boxman

    The Rolling Stone link on Warren seems like a restatement of the loaded question, “do you still beat your wife?”. There’s no escaping these narrative traps the Establishment media sets up for candidates not favored by the Establishment. The only winning move is not to play. I’m glad to see Sanders is developing his own social media megaphone.

  17. Jason Boxman

    What does it mean to “quit” Apple? I’d never been a user of Apple products, I never cared. I like my cheap LG 6.1 Android phone, which works well enough. What am I going to do with an iPod or an iPad, exactly? I don’t care about Apple’s ecosystem offers, iCloud or whatever, or iTunes, or any of their connected stuff.

    But the Macbook Pro has been a game changer for me. Unlike with Windows or especially a Linux laptop, it *just works*. I nearly never encounter any serious issues, and the few minor things I could resolve. The only service issue I have had, the battery swelling so much the laptop didn’t sit flat, Apple fixed free of charge. (The fact that it happened is disappointing and somewhat disturbing, but Apple did fix it.)

    I actually only just recently rebooted, after over 250 days of uptime. I’ve opened and closed the lid hundreds of times since then. Every time, it resumes nearly instantly. I don’t even think very recent Linux version do this. No more worrying about dropping an open laptop because I don’t want to close the screen and wait minutes for it to resume.

    That said, I don’t use iTunes for anything. I don’t use any of Apple’s apps at all. Just the hardware. I have no inclination to ever buy any other apple products, either. I don’t care about the ecosystem. The Macbook Pro, at least the 2015 version, is decent hardware, with a decent OS. I still don’t regret buying it refurbished from Apple in 2016 for a 10% discount. As long as it lasts another 4-6 years, I’ll be happy.

    I can understand quitting social media. That’s a vacuous blackhole.

    I do use Google for mail, searching, apps, and so forth. I’m willing to pay that price, probably because like most I don’t actually know what the bill will be or when it’s due. Life is about tradeoffs in an uncertain world. (But I do think twice every time I hit Post somewhere, whether that will revisit me in some sinister way in the distant future.)

    Granted this doesn’t touch on the fact that my Android phone does track my every second movements, which is legitimately disturbing, but not yet enough to search out a legacy brick-phone.

    The world we’re unwittingly building, I’m not sure it’s one we’re going to be proud of.

    1. ambrit

      I see this problem from the bottom of the pile and now realize that TINA, (There Is No Alternative), formerly an acronym to be derided, is becoming TINAA, (There Is No Alternative Allowed,) a term to be feared.
      IWTBLA, (I Want To Be Left Alone,) is being redefined as a crime. I will soon be a criminal. That’s going to be a large new feeder population for the Prison Industrial Complex.
      It’s a shame we don’t (yet) have a Pan-Opt-Out-Icon.

      1. marieann

        Thank you for the info on TINA, I never knew what it meant, and as someone totally out of the system I am so guilty of IWTBLA

      2. cnchal

        A few years ago, a comment by a police officer in the local fish wrapper was to the effect that if you weren’t on Farcebook there was something wrong with you and had something to hide.

        I suspect him or her were told by superiors to stop the Crazy Talk because I never read it again, but the officer was just ahead of his or her time.

    2. Summer

      I suspect all Operating Systems work better for each user with their hardware when users take the time to get the computer assembled with basic operating functions. Then add other programs and apps sparingly and only when a necessity (something that will be used the majority of the time when you boot up).
      When you’ve installed the programs more “a la carte,” it’s easier to troubleshoot when there is an issue.
      I’ve never gotten into tablets. My first impression of them is that I would have to spend to much time stopping it from doing or suggesting things I have zero interest in.

      1. Jason Boxman

        Amazon’s HD Fire 8 really, really wants me to enable Alexa. I keep telling it no. I only bought it for the multiple connecting flights I’m taking for the holidays, as I loathe flying and it will give me something to do. The seats on Delta are way too small for me to just use my laptop, sadly. When someone tipped the seat in front of me back last time, I thought I was going to get crushed. I was left with maybe 2 feet between me and the chair.

      1. RWood

        From this
        to this
        with this:
        Shale oil has changed a lot of things in the oil industry, but it couldn’t avoid the decline of conventional oil. That, in turn, had consequences: shale oil is light oil, not easily converted to the kind of fuel (diesel) which is the most important transportation fuel, nowadays. That seems to have forced the oil industry into converting more and more “heavy” oil into diesel fuel but, even so, diesel fuel is becoming gradually more scarce and more expensive, to the point that its production may have peaked in 2015. In addition, it has created a dearth of heavy oil, the fuel of choice for marine transportation. In short, the famed “peak oil” is arriving not all together, but piecemeal — affecting some kinds of fuels faster than others.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Globalization and the US economy are very heavily tied to truck, train, and ship transportation of goods from far far away. The truck, train, and ship transportation runs on diesel. Thank you very much for your comment. Any further links or information on this topic would be much appreciated. I am concerned with the impacts of diesel costs and availability on the transportation of goods through our ever lengthening logistics chains.

  18. Gareth

    In regard to Legal Experts Rip Judges Rationale (WaPo), Prof. Gluck, of Yale, argues the Judge O’Connor is not correctly interpreting the will of Congress in 2017, which not the matter at issue, of course. She states that if congress did not strike the rest of the ACA then the O’Connoe cannot justifiable declare the mandate inseverable. The amount of stretching and bending to avoid mentioning that issue at hand is constitutionality, not interpreting the will of congress, and the the Supreme Court decision that upheld ACA is explicit in stating that the mandate is the only factor that makes ACA a tax and thus constitutional are studiously ignored throughout the article. Indeed, the rest of the article goes on about the number of decisions that upheld ACA’s constitutionality, but it never goes into details, and you won’t find any mention of the Supreme Court’s decision or how they came to their decision.

    Struck by the lack of substance to the article and it’s intentional deceitfullness, I was more than amused to see WaPo had categorized it as a National Security column rather than Healthcare or Law, and my amusement increased when I saw that it was written by Devlin Barrett. Mr. Barrett is none other than the recipient of Andrew McCabe’s leaks regarding the ongoing investigations by the special counsel and other FBI matters. Take from that what you will.

  19. flora

    re: Party activists pile pressure on Corbyn to back second vote Guardian

    And I see Tony Blair has popped up again to lobby for a second vote. (Is he a paid lobbyist now?) Given Mr. Blair’s track record, seeing him rally for a second vote sways my opinion of whether holding a second vote is a good idea.

    1. lambert strether

      I remain stunned that the portion of the political class in the UK that is not Tory is campaigning for a vote, not the outcome of the vote. Are they planning to lose?

      1. David

        I think they want to give the people of Britain one more chance to redeem themselves by voting the right way. That will make them feel a lot better, irrespective of what actually happens in Brexit.

        1. Anonymous2

          I am sure that is part of it. Also, I think, some people wondering ‘if May’s deal is really dead, what are we going to do?’

  20. Wukchumni

    Hello Hollywood…

    Here’s a perfect film for you, and it’s a WW2 saga involving $8 million in buried treasure that we threw into Manila Bay as the Japanese were approaching, and then recovered it under their very eyes, to help undermine the fiat occupation currency system they had set up in the Philippines.

    In the late summer of 1942, when the Japanese had been in control of the Philippines for several months, their occupation currency suddenly began to collapse. Japanese soldiers found that a month’s pay wouldn’t buy so much as a glass of beer. The cause was a mysterious flood of silver Philippine pesos that began turning up in the markets of Manila. Somehow the silver was reaching even the prisoner-of-war camps American prisoners were bribing demoralized Japanese guards for food clothing, medicine. Next, they would start buying freedom! If the source of the silver wasn’t found soon, it could corrupt the whole structure of Japanese control.

    Where did the silver come from? The Japanese knew the MacArthur forces had dumped millions of peso into the deep crater south of Corregidor before surrendering. There was $8,500,000 of it down there, lying at a depth of 120 feet. A diving crew of seven American prisoners of war had been put to work salvaging that fortune — it would be a gift from the army to the emperor. Japanese security police were watching the American divers, guarding every peso recovered. It seemed inconceivable that any of this silver could be smuggled into Manila. Nevertheless, the Japanese decided to tighten the guard over the Americans. (The guards may or may not have known that the U. S. Navy divers whom they were forcing to recover the silver were the same ones who had dumped it there in the first place.) It had all started in the early months of 1942, when defeat in the Philippines had become inevitable…

      1. Wukchumni

        The Japanese were all about issuing fiat paper money in the countries they occupied, whereas the Nazis issued only coins made out of junk metal.

        Almost everything both countries issued is worth precisely bupkis on the marketplace to collectors…

  21. Anonymous Coward

    re: Gilets Jaunes

    This is a meaningful interview with Édouard Louis (The End of Eddy).

    When I was a child—and I don’t say it in order to talk about me but just because it’s the reality that I know the best, and I have the impression that I am more honest in talking about my own past—people like my father, my mother, people around me in the village, very often hesitated, when it was time to vote, between voting for the far right or voting for the left. Never for the mainstream right-wing parties, because they were the symbol of the dominant bourgeoisie. But they were always hesitating between the far right and the left, which was a way of saying, “Who is going to support me? Who is going to make me visible? Who is going to fight for me?” And so, which vocabulary am I going to use? Am I going to say, “I am suffering because of migrants, or because of social inequalities and classism”?

    We know that the same thing happened in the United States. We know that some people who would have voted for Bernie Sanders voted for Donald Trump. When you suffer from poverty, from exclusion, from constant humiliation, you are just trying to find a way to say, “I suffer.”

  22. lambert strether

    Just to underline a few key parts of the Craig Murry story:

    Please note in the interim I am not even a smidgeon suicidal, and going to be very, very careful crossing the road and am not intending any walks in the hills.


    As the Establishment feels its grip slipping, as people wake up to the appalling economic exploitation by the few that underlies the very foundations of modern western society, expect the methods used by the security services to become even dirtier. You can bank on continued ramping up of Russophobia to supply “the enemy”. As both Scottish Independence and Jeremy Corbyn are viewed as real threats by the British Establishment, you can anticipate every possible kind of dirty trick in the next couple of years, with increasing frequency and audacity.

    On this side of the pond, too, I am sure.

    1. Eclair

      ” …. walks in the hills.”

      What British government figure, speaking out against the Iraq War, resigning …. and, having gone to live in the country, died ‘unexpectedly’ while walking in the local hills?

      I remember when this occurred. I was following an anti-war blog at that time and the posts from one of the most articulate and knowledgeable commenters (using a nom de plume) ceased at that time.

      Can’t remember which blog (RiverBend?) or the name of the deceased.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        Robin Cook, resigned from the Cabinet over the war. Slipped hill-walking in Scotland and hit his head.

        1. Eclair

          Thanks, Swamp Yankee. Yes, Robin Cook is the name I could not remember. Supposedly had a heart attack while hill-walking and fell. He was with his wife at the time … and an unidentified hiker came to his aid. His opposition to the war and his subsequent resignation as Foreign Secretary, was a big deal at the time.

    1. Anonymouse

      \Wasn’t the ____hole countries thing on the DNC side? Not sure why we would lambast a Republican for the thoughts and feelings of the DNC.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The effort put into the list is phenomenonal. I remember the number one article by David Brooks, but they could have taken the cheap way out and just listed the first 10 results by David Brooks. Jon Schwarz is right. You have to read it because its an experience, and on a personal note, it really shows the depravity of DC elites.

  23. Cal

    There are three kinds of articles on NC.

    What Occurred.

    What’s actually happening now.

    What is going to, may, might, possibly, perchance happen.

    Brexit seems to fall into the last category. If you can’t read all of the Links, skip the last category to save/make time

    All the Trump stories are in the last category.
    It is so very tedious. TDS

    1. Lambert Strether

      Ya know, to throw Yves’ reporting on Brexit (“articles on NC”) into the same bucket as mainstream clickbait on Trump strikes me as a little bit more then “TDS.” Care to clarify?

      In any case, if you’re bored, it’s a big Internet. Feel free to find the happiness you seek elsewhere.a

  24. Oregoncharles

    ” That moment when Macron’s police try to pepper spray #YellowVests protesters, but the protesters just pepper spray them back”
    Make sure you don’t miss that video; it’s exhilarating.

    That said, one lesson of the Gilets Jaunes protests, for Americans, is that France has remarkably civilized police. The ones in the video, for instance, didn’t shoot anybody; they just ran. For some reason, they weren’t wearing protective gear. The riots in Paris have been a lot more violent, on both sides, and the cops there are using rubber bullets (visible in the Intercept video from the other day; but we would expect US cops in the same situation to carry out a slaughter. Or maybe they just have us buffaloed.

    1. Wukchumni

      The same scenario filmed in the USA would end up with Kent State like numbers of dead & wounded among civilians…

      The last time I saw cops run away from a situation was during the North Hollywood bank robbery shootout about 20 years ago, and that was because they were outgunned with what they had, compared to the arsenal of the bad guys. They were running to go get better arms @ a nearby sporting good store.

  25. witters

    Ben Norton, Grayzone Project: “Every single member in both chambers of the US Congress approved legislation that will impose sanctions and financial restrictions on Nicaragua in an explicit effort to weaken its government.”

    Way to go Bernie!

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