Links 12/20/18

Travelers face chaos as drones shut London’s Gatwick airport AP Not a headline one wants to see a couple of hours shy of boarding an international flight.

America’s most stressful airports are revealed – and it’s New York’s LaGuardia that is most likely to raise the blood pressure Daily Mail

A New Disease Is Testing Us for the Next Global Epidemic Wired

Scientists find secret ‘supercolony’ of 1.5 million penguins TreeHugger. Don’t know why TreeHugger is reporting this event now, but I didn’t see notice in March, so I’m including it here. And, I think there’s no such thing as too much penguin news.

Chinese artisans keep Qing emperors’ clocks alive and ticking SCMP

The peculiar Boston tradition that (mostly) keeps the winter parking peace Aeon. Short shot during the winter of 2015; still germane.

Why windows with a view are so important to older people The Conversation

The economic impacts of climate change could limit climate change Ars Technica

Waste Watch

Waste Not, Want Not The Baffler

Divestment is now considered a ‘material risk’ by fossil fuel industries TreeHugger

Exclusive: Oil giant Exxon secured U.S. hardship waiver from biofuel laws – sources Reuters

Singapore declares lifetime ban for ex-Goldman Sachs Asia chief Tim Leissner FCPA Blog

Malaysia puts Goldman Sachs in the dock Asia Times

California Burning

California Knew the Carr Wildfire Could Happen. It Failed to Prevent it. ProPublica

The Real Roots of American Rage Atlantic (UserFriendly)

U.S. Population Grew at Slowest Pace in More Than 80 Years WSJ

More than 500 priests accused of sexual abuse not yet publicly identified by Catholic church, Illinois attorney general finds Chicago Tribune


A Second Term for Trump is Better Than Beto Benjamin Studebaker (UserFriendly)

Critics Say Bernie Sanders Is Too Old, Too White, and Too Socialist to Run for President in 2020. They’re Wrong. Intercept


Brexit migrant salary cap would be devastating for NHS and schools, experts warn


No-deal Brexit will raise food prices, says Michael Gove Guardian. None of these revelations will surprise our regular readers.

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Death of Global Order Was Caused by Clinton, Bush, and Obama Foreign Policy. Stephen Walt.


China’s tech giants want to go global. Just one thing might stand in their way. MIT Technology Review


Should GM Crops Feature in the ‘Evergreen Revolution’ India Dearly Needs? The Wire

India’s drug regulator is said to be investigating Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder for alleged traces of cancer-causing Asbestos: Report Business Insider

Without Rise in Farm Income, Congress’s Loan Waivers Won’t End Rural Distress The Wire


Making ‘the Guardians’ Time person of the year is courageous – but it ignores America’s relationship with power Independent. Robert Fisk. From last week; still germane.

Russia, Turkey, Iran fail in push for new Syrian constitution Al Jazeera

Syria conflict: US withdraws troops after IS ‘defeat’ BBC

Report: U.S. To Leave Syria Immediately – Updated Moon of Alabama

Facebook Fracas

DC sues Facebook over Cambridge Analytica scandal Ars Technica

‘Zuckerberg Must Resign Now’: Outrage After Report Shows Facebook Let Partners Read Users’ Private Messages Common Dreams

Amazon and Facebook Reportedly Had a Secret Data-Sharing Agreement, and It Explains So Much Gizmodo

Realignment and Legitimacy

Here’s What Happened the Last Time There Was An Election Do-Over Politico

Health Care

The Vietnam War of Health Care Ghion Journal

Class Warfare


As Manhattan’s Chinatown Changes, Food Vendors Keep a Bit of the Old With the New NYT


Globalization 4.0 for Whom? Project Syndicate

Unions get a welcome reception in digital newsrooms WaPo

Gilets Jaunes

Breaking Out of the Margins Jacobin

Trump Transition

Trump’s African Pivot: Another Swipe at China Counterpunch

First Step Act Has Sinister Implications for the Poor and Marginalized TruthOut

Democrats to block end-of-year judges package The Hill. I guess I should say better late than never but instead, I’m enraged at how Democrats focused on virtue-signalling and other empty gestures, and more or less confirmed everyone, up t’il now, that Trump nominated to the federal bench,

Antidote du Jour (not Adélie penguins, but cute nonetheless)

And a bonus video (from March, but still worth seeing: such a vast colony!):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. emorej a hong kong

    A New Disease Is Testing Us for the Next Global Epidemic Wired

    there’s no frictionless way … to alert the public health system that something new might be emerging, … that can cut through the layered, non-contiguous data platforms of American health care.

    — and of course no appreciation of the fact that under-serving the sick leave and other medical needs of food handlers, delivery people, etc. increases the likelihood that all their diseases will be passed on to everybody else.

    1. Cal2

      And activists promoting and defending the movement of people arriving en masse from foreign countries poorest communities, after passing through other country’s poorest communities, with zero control at borders, then disseminating those people throughout your country is not a health hazard?

      Got Chagas Disease? Once edemic to Latin America, it’s now here…example after example now seen in health clinics, schools and public facilities.

      1. Anon

        Nice straw-man you’re constructing.

        Activists are not promoting/defending mass movement of people from foreign countries poorest communities. The Guatemala group was not nearly as large as portrayed. Activists ARE seeking to have migrants from war-torn areas (Guatemala) afforded the ancient right of asylum (and embedded in US law). Individuals entering the US illegally is another issue.

        As for Chagas disease and other health hazards: if the money spent destabilizing the Middle East had been spent on spreading US health standards, vaccines, and health professionals abroad then Chagas would have been controlled in Latin America and not a threat to US citizens.

        There will likely be another world pandemic but it’s more likely to come out of Asia, not Latin America. And Americans will likely die from it since public health services/health care is unaffordable and consistently underfunded. The ability to quickly determine, develop, and implement vaccines is limited, even in the US.

      2. lordkoos

        Leaving aside immigrants, there are millions of American citizens, rich and not-so-rich, that fly back and forth between poorer countries and the USA every year. I don’t see how blaming a relatively small number of refugees for the spread of disease makes a lot of sense.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Humans, in general, these days, are too mobile.

          That’s a concern, with respect to contagious diseases, and energy consumption as well.

      3. JP

        Chagas is caused by a bacterium in the saliva of Triatoma, a bug (crossed wings) that is widely spread throughout the Texas, the southwest and California. Chagus has been in Texas for many years and California had one case years ago as the result of a Triatoma bite. I am not familiar with any person to person contagion.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          It would probably be person to bug to person to bug etc. etc. round and round. And to armadillos too, which I have read are an animal host. It sounds like a slow way for a disease to spread.

          Bigger democides would occur from SARS or MERS or a BirdMan Pig Flu or totally drug immune tuberculosis or something like that.

  2. Wukchumni

    Gooooooood Mooooooorning Fiatnam!

    We were in the DMZ, you know, the de-monetized zone, where if they didn’t take Amex, they most certainly took everything else, or showing your rectangular screen to another one. Cash was kink here, as it potentially involved one having to add & subtract, coming or going. And don’t get me started on having a pocketful of coins jingling jangling in my BDU’s either, giving up my position.

      1. Laughingsong

        Cheney, Rumsfeld, Adelson, Powell of Memo fame ….these are not “boomers” and they were all involved in the deterioration. From what I see it was a multi generational effort.

        Saying it was boomers ignores and even kinda denigrates all the boomers who opposed these people most of their lives.

        1. KPC

          Thank you.

          I am sick of these age bigots. I was born in 1955 and, together with several generations of family and colleagues, have work my entire life to help fix this mess. We are not perfect.

          So, this attitude is explicitly a part of and reflective of the problem.

          1. funemployed

            I agree that it’s prejudiced and analytically unjustifiable to hold “boomers” responsible for our current problems in the same way it is to hold “white people” responsible.

            As a millennial though, I can understand the impulse and the anger that drives the rants. It took me a long time to learn to think of society in terms of systems, institutions, power, and hegemony; to learn that all categories of humans are made of basically the same stuff; and to recognize that pointing self-righteous fingers can only ever undermine genuine equality and democracy in the service of authoritarianism.

            We’re waking up to the fact that we got a raw deal. We just need to do better at realizing we’re far from the first, our deal is far from the rawest, and that if we don’t learn all we can from the successes and failures of those who are passing us the torch in the struggle for justice, we will only screw our kids over even worse than our parents screwed us.

            1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              I approve this message.

              – Millennial

              Ageism is just another identity trap.

              The Working Class needs to stay on point with laser like precision when sharing the message.

              ALWAYS LISTEN
              NEVER JUDGE
              CONNECT A DOT.

              Dat one dot is all it takes.

          2. JP

            I am a boomer. The big event of my generation where we pretty much all swung the same direction was protesting the war in Vietnam. To be sure we were also more then willing to blame our parents generation for all the problems of the world.

            But it is current vogue. Trump’s favorite thing is to find someone to blame for most everything.

        2. ChiGal in Carolina

          Mea culpa, was thinking about recent rants by millennials about how boomers trashed what they were handed down by the greatest generation and now there’s nothing left for millennials.

          I am a Boomer, born 1957.

      2. skippy

        Generational labels are the result of marketing – PR approach to viewing society as a market place, which then became a set of pet ideological slurs to cast blithely about.

      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        The boomers’ parents. Who after all made and designed the boomers to be what the boomers were.

        1. Unna

          The Greatest Generation was willing to fight the Vietnam war to the last 19 year old “boomer” (how I hate that term) because they, the Greatest Generation were not going to be the first generation of Americans to lose a war.

          Well I, for one, bear no ill will to that generation since trying to understand the world they lived and grew up in which shaped them and their attitudes.

          “Boomers” raise by Army and Marine WWII combat veterans were raised under very difficult and strict circumstances. And then they were drafted and shipped off to fight a war which was perceived very differently from the war their parents fought in, it didn’t work out so well for the cultural life of American society. Post WWII Security State America was botched by those in charge, and those in charge weren’t the boomers.

          Post War Security State America has now become the endless war neocon surveillance state austerity America. When will Generation Z start blaming the millennials? Which ever politician, political movement, that can break this cycle should be supported

    1. Steve H.

      This morning was the first time I had a particular protective reaction with response to Beto. I trained it up for variants of Clintons and extended it to Obamas. It is meant to interrupt a click-response and avoid the emotional rabbit hole of pissing & moaning like an impotent jerk when I am trying to accept the things I cannot change.

      “The man who is possessed of wealth, who lolls on his sofa, or rolls in his carriage, cannot judge of the wants or feelings of the day laborer.”

      1. L.M. Dorsey

        Great quote. I was just itching to make a snotty remark about how revolutions are things typically kindled in the desires of the bourgeoisie. But Madison’s cut me off at the knees here, arguing not only that bourgeois “lollers” do not understand “day laborers”, but also the reverse, which he sees as sufficient and imminent enough a danger to invest the Senate with a certain overmastering permanence:

        Such are the various pursuits of this life, that in all civilized countries, the interest of a community will be divided. There will be debtors and creditors, and an unequal possession of property, and hence arises different views and different objects in government…The landed interest, at present, is prevalent; but in process of time, when we approximate to the states and kingdoms of Europe; when the number of landholders shall be comparatively small, through the various means of trade and manufactures, will not the landed interest be overbalanced in future elections, and unless wisely provided against, what will become of your government? Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. The senate, therefore, ought to be this body…

      2. Cal2

        “cannot judge of the wants or feelings of the day laborer.””…because someone has to mow and blow his lawn, clean his house or work in his factory at pathetically low wages with no threat of unionization, thanks to the activism of open borders advocates, besides, The Man does not speak Spanish, so how could he judge their feelings or wants?

    2. Olga

      The Death of Global Order Was Caused by Clinton, Bush, and Obama Foreign Policy. Stephen Walt.
      I like S Walt – but this piece way misses the mark. The first question is – why limit this “death” to only 3 US presidents? The second – what global order? The US has always done whatever suited it – remember that W Wilson was somewhat embarrassed, when – while advocating for self-determination of nations – he was asked uncomfortable questions about the US’ invasions of Haiti and Nicaragua – in 1915! This article reflects delusions of the US elite liberals about some imaginary world order.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        There was an opportunity to break from the past, and colonialism under the guise of Western paternalism became the new way of life. There is no Soviet “menace” and the colonial empires are long gone, so its fair to say all American foreign policy in the last 25 years has not been reactive in the least. As late as Obama in 2009, the opportunities presented themselves.

        Then don’t forget the economic issues that led to Trump found in the article. Money spent on the MIC was “funded” by the wealthy who were buying TBills all these years. Then of course, the government is subsequently picking winners and losers, altering property values, and so forth. In many ways, its a stark contrast from earlier periods where domestic investment wasn’t ignored. Perhaps, the author was using “death of the world order” facetiously as a reference to the complaints from the people who missed brunch that one weekend because of Trump.

        I don’t like 41 and don’t care for everything about the Persian Gulf War, but 41’s coalition included the Soviet Union and he called a “new world order.” Lets focus on the world Bill Clinton found and the opportunity presented for a new age. The old empires are gone. The Soviet Union, it collapsed, but it part of a military coalition with the United States just recently without an alien invasion. China is opening. Yitzhak Rabin is alive. The World Wide Web exists. Bill per Dick Morris (most likely) pined to be a great President, and he did have an opportunity to build a bridge to the future, and instead he preferred the Republican mantra of “theres money to be had.”

        1. Olga

          Well, yes and no. In an ideal world, you may have a point. But my argument is that there never was “an order” to break to begin with.
          Unless, of course, we finally admit that ‘global order’ has always been just an euphemism for ‘we’re the US and we do whatever we damn please.’ The main point is that there is a definite continuation to US policies that no politician can derail. The last one who tried got his head blown off. Anything else is just wishful thinking (not that we should not try to imagine a better world – kinda like in the Nutcracker, to weave the holidays into the narrative). And no, this does not make me happy in the least…

          1. knowbuddhau

            Oh sure, we’ve had a global order: the US has been at war >90% of our history. It’s what we do, and we ain’t the only ones.

            You’re right, Olga. It’s like the “international community” that only refers to our subjugated “allies.”

            And I’d go further: Without the party filter, I see complete continuity from the Founders until today. Further still: property title in these United States goes back to the 15th century and the Discovery Doctrine.

            We were invading, conquering, and imposing empire on other nations even before the Maine, the Philippines War, and Mark Twain’s Anti-Imperialist League. There isn’t a treaty with the tribes that we’ve honored. The other nickname for Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson is “Indian Killer.”

            The tribes are recognized as sovereign nations. Yet, somehow, our centuries of war on them don’t count as foreign wars.

            We were warned against “foreign entanglements” and standing armies long before Ike warned us of MIC. We’d’ve had Wallace if it wasn’t for the Democrat Party blatantly rigging the convention and substituting Truman.

            If the Cold War wasn’t a global order, what was it? And now all the talk is of Cold War 2.0. Some break.

            We can thank Truman for the National Security Act, 71 years ago. The NatSecState is growing stronger all the time, with “client states” and proxy wars all over the world. I don’t see no break.

            And NTG, what was there to like about yet another of our illegal wars of aggression? If you look closely, you’ll see we’re still there. And Afghanistan, brought to us by Carter and Brzezinski, who thought they were so clever in giving the USSR its Vietnam. How’s that going these days?

            Two wings of the same war party. But hey, we’re leaving Syria. I expect my peace dividend aaaany day now.

      2. Ford Prefect

        I think Americans have mistaken the self-immolation of most other countries in the world between 1914-1945 as innate American superiority and moral righteousness. In reality, the only reason the US didn’t have the same happen was the advantage of a multi-thousand mile wide moat.

        By 1945, most other developed countries in the world had completed their self-destruction, either at their own hands or with assistance from others (I recognize that Germany and Japan initiated the actual invasions, but things like the Versailles Treaty positioned those counties for political instabiltiy leading to nationalist dictators after internal instability, unlike the Marshall Plan after WW II). So the US was the only significant player left standing in a global wasteland. This largely continued for the next 30 years or so, but by the early 80s it was clear that many places had largely recovered and were now serious competitors.

        I think the real key to upsetting the global order was the US’s constantly increasing involvement in Vietnam. That made it clear to the rest of the world that the US could be easily suckered into endless proxy war conflicts where the US would waste its people and treasure while other parties could do it inexpensively with third parties. We have seen this replay again since 2001. If you can make it about Communists or non-Christian zealots, then the US will be quite likely to invade.

        The Soviet Union tried it once in Afghanistan which turned into their own Vietnam. They seem to have learned form that since then whereas the US has not.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          “They seem to have learned from that since then…”

          We can ask if it will last beyond Putin. That ‘learning’ can be definitely traced to him, but perhaps we can discuss more about whether it is widely believed, or if there are also hardliners or hawks in Russia, presumably no nation is monolithic….calmly.

        2. Procopius

          Something about the Marshall Plan I think few people have noticed. I remember the complaints from American businessmen and conservative politicians about “sending our money to foreigners.” They did not realize that all that money being sent to European countries (there was no Marshall Plan for China) allowed them to buy goods and services from American companies, enriching American businessmen. Almost none of it was paid to European companies.

      3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Ummm the NEW WORLD ORDER

        lol the one theyve been trying to stick in our brains since the Cold War.

      4. Roy G

        I can’t disagree, but want to add some nuance: The generally accepted/swallowed Great Man Theory of History means that we tend to necessarily attribute actions to singular leaders, which leads to gross oversimplifications and outright omissions. For example, take JFK’s presidency, which includes the Bay of Pigs and other assorted atrocities that were actually fomented by the CIA and Alan Dulles’ Wall Street boys.

        Today’s news is revealing the shadow elite who oppose the US pulling out of Syria. Trump, for his many many faults, is showing real courage and leadership to do this, while Clinton, Bush and Obama have been revealed to be lapdogs to the MIC and shadow elite prosecuting our overseas military adventures.

        My own take on the Death of Global order is that the elites killed the golden goose, strangling it with their uncontrollable greed and lust for power. In my younger more idealistic days, I thought they would at least have enough sense not to go that far, however, I now realize there are no limits to their greed, depravity or stupidity.

        1. Procopius

          Yeah. I believe Einstein said, “Only two things are infininite. The Universe and human stupidity, and I’m not so sure about the Universe.”

      5. drumlin woodchuckles

        In our own day, it was specifically Clinton who deliberately double-crossed and betrayed the world peace promise left to him by Elder Bush.

        It was Clinton specifically who conspired with certain Eastern European regimes to push NATO to the borders of Russia and create the conditions for Cold War Restoration. Hillary wanted to deepen and permanentize this part of Slicky Bill’s legacy. Thank God that Evil Monster Of Ambition didn’t get to become President.

  3. Livius Drusus

    Re: The Death of Global Order Was Caused by Clinton, Bush, and Obama

    Good article. Sadly I can’t remember any major politician who supported a less imperial foreign policy after the end of the Cold War besides Pat Buchanan but his positions on other issues limited his popularity even among Republicans. Maybe other NC readers could remind me of others but Buchanan is the only one I can think of.

    I remember the euphoria over the collapse of the Soviet Union and the belief that we reached the end of history and there was no alternative to American-style democratic capitalism. I remember the United States being compared to the Roman Empire at its height instead of at its end like people do today. It seemed to make sense at the time but 9/11, the disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Great Recession made it clear that Pax Americana was not going to work out as planned.

    1. David

      The problem with the article is that it’s a prisoner of the very liberal hegemony it rightly criticises. It’s enough to look at the density of clichés: I counted “triumph over the Soviet Union”, “spread democracy” “protect nations”, “collusion” between Russia and China, and “right wing xenophobia” in the first few paragraphs alone, after which I gave up.
      The one valuable point the article makes is the disastrous results of the attempt to enforce this hegemony. Liberalism has nothing particular to do with democracy, but a great deal to do with the destruction of traditional societies, values, communities and economic systems. But because it’s a form of secular religion, all opposition to it has to be ruthlessly crushed, and societies forcibly converted to the new faith. Indeed, the best comparison I can think of to the attempted imposition of liberal hegemony would be the Arab conquests of 1500 years ago to spread Islam, with the obvious differences that (1) they were successful and (2) they also spread a very old and sophisticated culture.

      1. hemeantwell

        But because it’s a form of secular religion, all opposition to it has to be ruthlessly crushed,

        Before attributing liberalism’s caustic effect on traditional societies to religion, I’d suggest considering the capitalist mode of production that liberalism decorates. Apex corporations don’t give a damn about the beliefs of the people they exploit. They just want conditions of TINA to their dominance. Relentless jihadi-like behavior should not be assumed to have a religious basis.

        1. Glen

          Yes, if anything the collaspe of the USSR seemed to accelerate the neolibralism. I have read articles stating that as long as the USSR existed as an alternative, the elite treated the peons a bit better. Now, it’s all TINA.

      2. Olga

        Agreed… I almost gave up at “and the two Asian giants are once again colluding against us.” Not sure Russians view themselves as an Asian country… plus the tired allegation of a nuclear Iran. S Walt used to be more incisive and candid.

        1. Laughingsong

          That’s about as far as I got too. Whenever there’s a reference, even as light as this, to the whole RussiaRussia thing (the word “collusion” for me has joined “innovation”, “disruption”, and “Niagara Falls” as triggers) my eyes rolled to the ceiling and refused to come down until I closed the offending tab.

          Sometimes I think I’m just a passenger in this body.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The whole RussiaRussia thing.

            That’s RussiaRussia, and not RussiaRussiaRussia, as in ‘the boy who cried wolf thrice.’

            And when the dragon comes (no in the immediate future, of course, but you never know), or the bear comes, people will just ignore him…unfortunately.

      3. vidimi

        nevertheless, i think articles like these are very valuable for they show us how elites think when they are being honest with each other. don’t forget that foreign policy is a magazing for the fp establishment by the fp establishment. you can learn some valuable information in its pages, just don’t expect american exceptionalism to be questioned.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        George McGovern. From his “Come Home America” speech that served as his acceptance of the Democratic Party’s nomination (unfortunately delivered at 3 AM because that convention was truly democratic):

        I have no secret plan for peace. I have a public plan. And as one whose heart has ached for the past ten years over the agony of Vietnam, I will halt a senseless bombing of Indochina on Inaugural Day.

        There will be no more Asian children running ablaze from bombed-out schools. There will be no more talk of bombing the dikes or the cities of the North.

        And within 90 days of my inauguration, every American soldier and every American prisoner will be out of the jungle and out of their cells and then home in America where they belong.

        And then let us resolve that never again will we send the precious young blood of this country to die trying to prop up a corrupt military dictatorship abroad.

        This is also the time to turn away from excessive preoccupation overseas to the rebuilding of our own nation. America must be restored to a proper role in the world. But we can do that only through the recovery of confidence in ourselves.

        When is the last time you heard an American politician worried about the people we were killing?

    2. Carla

      “American-style democratic capitalism” was always a lie, and as my mother unfailingly reminded us “a lie will always ‘out’.”

      1. Olga

        I have to confess I don’t know what that means. Does it mean the lie will win? If yes, then I’ll just cry (it is very late here – and I’ve had a couple of gins already) – if not, is there hope?
        But likely no hope, somehow one just has to be cleverer than the elites… and yes, it is possible.

        1. scoff

          “a lie will always ‘out’.” means “a lie will always come out.”

          Eventually truth asserts itself. It’s just a matter of time.

    3. JacobiteInTraining

      Since history seldom repeats – but does rhyme a bit – I would say that the comparison would be more apt between the US at the collapse of the Soviet Union to Rome in its late-Republican phase…specifically at the time of the 3rd Punic War. (with the 2nd Punic War’s Roman success – in a war that truly could have gone either way – equivalent to the Cold War and fall of the USSR, while the 3rd Punic War was merely the final squashing of Carthage. i.e., ‘Carthago delenda est’ == ‘RussiaRussiaRussia!’)

      Similar parallels exist between the current US political system and a declining Roman republican system wherein the Roman Senate was increasingly dithering and irrelevant before the run of ‘strongman’ consuls/generals/tribunes/oligarchs who dominated militarily, and eventually ended up eliminating pretenses of true senatorial republicanism and instead establishing Augustus as the ‘Princeps Civitatis’ – Imperator.

      What we haven’t had yet is the Social War, the 3rd Servile War, the assassination of Caesar, and the final elimination of any pretense of the Presidency (or its successor title) as the sole dictatorial master of all it surveys. That would, also, likely come with a corresponding willingness to use military power in an even more crudely brutal manner then we already do (think, tactical nukes against uppity enemy troops, and ‘example’ small nukes against capitals and big cities of our enemies, here and there to instill discipline into their surrender, as well as prison/death camps for the defeated — Caesar’s final vanquishing of the Gauls & ‘Vae victis’ )

      Once that happens, despite the coming final closing of the curtains via global warming – the US could transform into a reasonably successful image of the Roman Imperium for some time — assuming it can avoid nuclear winter.

      Sadly,from a historians perspective, we very likely wouldn’t get anything like a long enough run in order to see the parallels to the decline, and fall, of the Roman Empire….and rather then a wonderfully complex series of histories from a new migration era, we would instead get a sudden and drastic collapse back to the neolithic.

      But hey, I’m an irrepressible optimist! And, apparently, a history pedant… :)

      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve often thought the USA & the USSR to be Bizarro World twins in odd ways, they drank themselves to death-we ate ourselves to death, they had no debt-we all have debt, they had excellent public transport-ours is falling apart, it could take years to get an apartment there-it could take years to save for an apartment here, your adversary is the bad guy-our adversary is the bad guy.

        1. Swamp Yankee

          Both fantastic comments. I’ve often thought we live in the age of Marius and Sulla, in rough equivalence; and that after post-Soviet hubris, the delight at the fall of ones so like ourselves — comes Nemesis….

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      I think President Poppy would have been happy to see the USSR transform itself into the USDR . . . the Union of Social Democratic Republics. And maybe he would have wanted to see it go exploitably Market Stalinist Capitalist after that, but at least he had no desire to break it up into smaller countries so far as I know or remember.

      1. Anonymous2

        Thank you shtove. These kinds of events are worrying.

        In addition I have seen newspaper reports of death threats against MPs and suggestions that Parliamentary votes have been swayed by threats of violence against MPs and their families. The UK has lost its way badly if that is accurate reporting.

        1. chuck roast

          That’s what incompetence and pony-desire gets you these days. If they were doing something blatantly illegal…well now that’s different.
          Now I’m just your standard American Know-Nothing
          but I was given to understand that Corbyn and the Labour Party, as the opposition, establish a de facto shadow government. The shadow ministers are supposed to develop policies that are in opposition to the party in power. Sounds good to me. Please correct me if I’m seeing Corbyn and the Labour Party as dismal failures in this regard.
          I keep remembering James Robertson Justice in some eminently forgettable WWII movie probably from the Rank Organization (they certainly have morphed) say, “This is an exercise in futility!” like only he could.
          It’s no wonder they had to deploy small craft to Dunkirk.

          1. Tom Bradford

            chuck roast wrote:- “The shadow ministers are supposed to develop policies that are in opposition to the party in power.”

            Well, no. The idea isn’t that HM Opposition will automatically oppose whatever HM Government proposes. The idea is that political parties will espouse genuinely held alternative ‘visions’ and argue for them. The current problems are that:

            1. Labour has no real alternative vision to the Tories, apart from some cosmetic tinkering around the edges, and

            2. Brexit doesn’t fit neatly into the ‘vision’ of either party leaving their members pathetically crying ‘prompt’ as they forget their lines before a packed house on opening night.

  4. Wukchumni

    >The Real Roots of American Rage Atlantic

    Good article on anger auras tempered with ways & hows to turn it to your favor.

    Nice description of Chavez’s 300 mile march to Sacramento, and the throng of 10,000 welcoming it there in 1966, compared to the reception the caravan got in welcoming it here.

    The freeways in L.A. grew up with me, and when we finally slipped under the wire and away from the place and had lived here for some time, it dawned on me that being stuck* in traffic, or just the idea that one had to be on a defensive driving alert all the time, was where anger was bred. Not the kind of “I dislike politician A or B” variety, it hit home, er on the drive to or from, that is.

    There’s no traffic to speak of here, thus no pent up anger over the 384 cars in front of me that all had to go slowly by the scene of an accident, or the constant BEFNAR (brakes engaged for no apparent reason) that snarls traffic to a crawl, as we all tread upon the brake pedal in concert.

    *the only upside to this was you could be reasonably late to anything, and just say “damned 405!” and you’d get a pass.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Imagine what it would do to your psyche if you were stuck in traffic and you were listening to a shock jock or an Alex Jones going on a tear. Over time that would seriously mess with your mind.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Chavez was a U.S. citizen and any pilgrimage walkers with him were also US citizens, as was the throng of waiting welcomers.

      And his pilgrimage was for the real rights of US citizen farm laborers to unionize for decent power and respect and a decent living. He was NOT pilgrimaging for the so-called “right” of illegal aliens to enter en mass to destroy everything that Chavez and the UFW were working to achieve.

    3. FluffytheObeseCat

      Try reading that article all the way through. Near the end it turns into a purse-mouthed criticism of (legitimately) enraged Oklahoma teacher-organizer Cagle. The Atlantic author worked Cagle over like a manipulative husband/lover who’s all sad about his wife’s “inappropriate” anger.

      The first half of the article just set the tone for a credentialed class sneer down. It was a key piece of costumery in the masquerade of thoughtful critique. This article is in THE Atlantic. So, we should have known that it would be daintily mendacious. However, it was arguably, the finest and daintiest piece of concern trolling I’ve seen in months.

  5. MayM

    I lived (car free) in Boston for a decade and found the space saver custom totally baffling. People acted like they deserved the spot because they put all the work into shoveling out their car, but the reward for shoveling out the car wasn’t a parking spot, it was getting to use their car.

    The only personal experience I had with the space saver custom was when we had returned from a long-weekend away and parked a Zipcar outside our apartment to return the next day. A storm blew in, we dug out the car and returned it. When we arrived home 20 minutes later, one of our neighbors had placed a folding chair in the spot we dug out. We removed the chair, but it made me wonder how often people were claiming spots they hadn’t actually shoveled.

    My favorite space saver story is this one from 2015, where a guy shoveled all the snow back on a car that stole his spot.

    1. DJG

      Thanks, MayM: The “dibs” thing isn’t peculiar to Boston. In fact, anyone can search for “Chicago winter parking dibs” or similar and come up with endless articles about it. In Chicago, it isn’t considered a benign custom, and it doesn’t keep the peace. There is much controversy, and as people endlessly point out, the streets belong to the public, not to some chair that one dragged out of the garage. (And, miracle!, it often turns out that the worst offenders have garages–that they don’t want to use either because they can’t navigate the alley or have piled it to the ceiling with stuff that they can’t hoard in the house.)

      1. Swamp Yankee

        One of the differences may be that there are very few houses with garages in Boston proper. It’s physically cramped in a way Chicago isn’t.

        Whatever the law may be, the culture here has the view that it is just for those who shovel out a space to possess it.

        This was a bigger deal in previous years when regular huge snowstorms were a feature of November through April.

        I miss it.

    2. Swamp Yankee

      That was a good story. I remember it fondly.

      However, if you are in the habit of moving to places, finding their customs baffling, and then tut-tutting them, you ought not to be surprised that the native inhabitants don’t warm to you.

      Yes, there is a social contract that is a century old, and whether you find it baffling or not is not the problem of the people who live here, it is the problem of the people who move here.

    3. ChrisPacific

      Street parking in a snowy winter climate – one of the things I don’t miss about Boston.

      I learned the hard way the very first time it happened – I spent some time shoveling my car out very neatly, clearing all the snow out etc. so that I could go a few blocks down the road to the supermarket. Naturally when I returned someone else had taken it. I subsequently learned that it’s better to do a half-assed job because it makes your spot less attractive than any others that may have been cleared, meaning a higher chance that it will still be available when you return.

      I don’t recall anyone doing this trick to claim spots, except perhaps rarely (frequently you’d have to park a long way from home to find a space and I was mostly hoping to find a better spot when I returned). I decided to be philosophical about it: I’d probably end up the beneficiary of already-cleared spots about as often as I was the loser, and it would more or less even out in the long run. And if we all did our bit eventually all the spots would be cleared and it wouldn’t be an issue.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Wouldn’t it be nice if “neighbors” all got together and shoveled each other out? And do the sidewalks and the pathways up to the houses of older and disabled people?

        Bwahahahaaa… Here in the LNd of Atomization, Anomie, and Amok…

        (I’ve seen it happen, a few places, and was one of the group shovelers myself.)

  6. SimonGirty

    Ohhh, goody! Now, you’ve gotten me totally addicted to The Daily Yonder, AGAIN! On my fifth story. The boss is fuming, babies unfed and crying, correspondence ignored. I was going to post pertinent, fascinating, insightful articles from under appreciated blogs. But, I just can’t stop reading about topics, critical to huge segments of the populace, yet ignored by monopoly media, solely to con the top 10% into trading Audis for Volvos. Thank you.

  7. zagonostra

    >The Vietnam War of Health Care.

    Excellent analogy if the assumption is made that Democrat Party apparatchik actually gave a damn about anyone but themselves.

    I recently re-visited the history of the Federal Reserve and it was interesting to find out that when the cabal who where behind it failed to get it through Congress with a Republican backing the bill they simply got a Democrat to sponsor it, because of course the Democrats are for the “small guy” and the Republicans are for “big business” so it had a better chance of passing second time around. It’s the same with healthcare, the Democrats will do the bidding of those who butter their bread.

    If only the article’s concluding sentence was true, but alas history shows otherwise for the oligarchs…

    “You reap what you sow. So, let this be a lesson to you. Fight for everyone, not just yourself. Obama lied in 2008. And the fruits of those actions are what’s coming ripe.”

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Breaking Out of the Margins”

    I was reading today that even the police are getting off-side with the government and that some police when off-duty don the yellow vests themselves. They are overworked, tired and apparently they have a massive amount of unpaid overtime that the Government does not want to pay them for – something like 23 million hours worth. More on this at-

    1. Wukchumni

      Assignat what you can do for your country-Assignat what your country can do for you.

      “Assignats were paper money issued by the Constituent Assembly in France from 1789 to 1796, during the French Revolution, to address imminent bankruptcy. They were backed by the value of properties formerly held by the Catholic Church, which were confiscated, on the motion of Mirabeau, by the Assembly on 2 November 1789, and the crown lands, which had been taken over by the nation on 7 October. Credit was wrecked, according to Talleyrand; for Mirabeau “the deficit was the treasure of the nation”. In September the treasury was empty.”

    2. David

      Yes. There was a meeting yesterday between the three main police unions and the government, where the latter backed down and offered various extra payments and concessions. The immediate crisis seems to be over, but the police have actually had it up to here with Macron’s lot, and they are the one bit of the public sector you can’t afford to antagonise too much. The government looked into the abyss this week, and didn’t like what it saw. The problem is that all this is the consequence of years of underfunding and cuts in numbers, and isn’t going to be remedied easily. As it is, these are strictly sticking plaster measures.

  9. Reality Bites

    Long time reader but rare commenter

    I largely agree with most here at NC but the view expressed in the piece on Beto vs. Trump is a bridge too far. I do not want Beto to run for President and I too am tired of neoliberalism. But DJT is entirely something different. In my view, he is a racist. Even if one goes back and reads some of the early biographies on him in the late 90s you will find that he regularly expressed derogatory views of blacks and Hispanics. His comments on Charlottesville and the Hispanic judge during the campaign are just some of many more recent ones.

    While I am in favor of reduced immigration, separating children from their parents and teargassing people at the border who are seeking the legally recognized right of asylum is inhuman. The fact that it was done purely to score political points is even more disgusting. Beto is many things but he is not a racist. In the contest between a racist and non-racist, I vote for the former, period.

    Studebaker’s view that he is worried about the judiciary an acknowledgement of his argument’s weakness. Trump has nominated truly appalling judges. Campaigning for Dems for Senate is laughable given that a critical mass have voted to confirm most of his judges. The usual suspects even voted to confirm Kavanaugh. I can’t accept this reasoning and it is deluded to make that argument given that voter suppression is real and Trump tries to appoint judges that authored those very laws. Expecting the Dems to push back on all those people is expecting an earthworm to grow a steel spine.

    Beto should not be President but he is a heap better than many democrats. He managed to inspire tons of Texas democrats that had not been engaged since Ann Richards was governor. As a result of his campaign, democrats had the best night in a generation in TX and many of the most retrograde Republicans went down. It also empowered a new group of judges to challenge the cash bail system. He is far from perfect but not terrible.

    We sometimes have to recognize that even if candidates don’t agree on everything we want they are still valuable. Beto and Doug Jones are not fully my cup of tea but they were the best democrats for those races. Republicans have dominated both states and the democrats completely left the field for years. Going full Bernie right off the bat wasn’t going to work. The evironment has been toxic to any progressive priorities for too long. It is a long term project.

    Beto’s biggest gift is that he may have fatally wounded the presidential chances of his fellow Texan, Julian Castro. Castro was too weak to even run statewide and is even more the embodiment of Obama style politics. His exploratory committee announcement faded rather quickly and I will be forever grateful for Beto’s contribution to that.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The problem is Beto just means Trump happens again under the guise of Pence or whatever Republican floats to the top. Besides Beto’s own record might fly in Texas to make him good enough to lose (Ann Richards use to win state wide elections too, but then she lost to Shrub), but how does he play with voters outside of Texas in states Democrats need to win? We saw how HRC played in states that were competitive in 2004 and 2016 where she would underperform John Kerry. Oh sure, we could gamble and hope Beto is a secret liberal, but whats the point?

      If Obama was boring, you get Beto. As far as being racist, Biden, the Clintons, the Kennedys demonstrate its never stopped Democrats before.

      but he is a heap better than many democrats.

      Are you sure? He sounds crummy. Almost like Obama, but he doesn’t have a non-binding resolution to hide behind. I don’t think opposing deregulation would have hurt his chances.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > The problem is Beto just means Trump happens again under the guise of Pence or whatever Republican floats to the top.

        E.R. Eddington, The Worm Ouroborous:

        “He looseth this hold,” answered Bremery, “to snatch at safety. ‘Tis desperate, but all other ways we but wait on destruction.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Studebaker is noting the country and world are facing crises. Waiting for Beto to play golf for four years followed by a Republican like Mike Pence is something we can’t afford. These phony pretenders steal oxygen and waste time. They need to be stomped now.

      If Beto wanted better press, he should have tried for a better record. Politicians aren’t your friends. They are your staff.

      1. marym

        12/20/2018 David Sirotta: Beto vs. Democrats: Texas Lawmaker Frequently Voted to Help Trump and GOP

        Capital & Main reviewed the 167 votes O’Rourke has cast in opposition to the majority of his own party in the House during his six-year tenure in Congress. Many of those votes were not progressive dissents alongside other left-leaning lawmakers but were instead votes to help pass Republican-sponsored legislation. In many cases, Democratic lawmakers said that those measures were designed to help corporate interests dismantle Obama administration programs and regulations.

        Amid persistently high economic inequality and a climate change crisis, O’Rourke has voted for GOP bills that his fellow Democratic lawmakers said reinforced Republicans’ tax agenda, chipped away at the Affordable Care Act, weakened Wall Street regulations, boosted the fossil fuel industry and bolstered Trump’s immigration policy.

        1. Reality Bites

          I don’t think Beto is presidential material. But to say that he could lead to another Trump so let’s have Trump instead is a ridiculous argument. Trump’s negative effects are so much worse and the argument is repugnant to anyone that cares about racial equality at the very least. I also don’t agree that one automatically leads to the other. Trump also barely won and Hilary’s campaign choices arguably bare a fair amount of blame.

          I’m not much on centrist democrats but getting a real progressive right off the bat is not going to happen in many states. Studebaker’s argument about needing a strong leader is true but matters little if you don’t have senators and congressmen that are willing to vote for your proposals. You have a chance with Beto. You have none with Ted Cruz.

          We can’t afford to fall for the “if only we had a strong leader” myth. It is always dangerous. You are talking about a serious long term project. The New Deal was not passed overnight and many compromises were made to get there. We can’t just completely trash everyone that doesn’t march lockstep with us.

      2. WobblyTelomeres


        Reality Bites (RB) stated, “I do not want Beto to run for President”. What more do you want? Perhaps, join an international hunt for the real Luxemburg corpse, with the plan of cloning her?

        As I read the post, RB basically said that if one sorted politicians into an array with Rosa on the left and David Duke (or Steve King or whoever strikes you) on the right, with an index running from m (Rosa) to n (Duke), then the index, i, m<i<n, of Beto would be strictly less than that of Trump.

        If you cannot let RB make that statement, then what exactly would you allow RB to say?

        1. witters

          RB can use irrelevant assessment metrics if he wants. I agree. (And look at the bad effects Trump is having getting the US out of Syria. Beto would be a Warrior!)

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            Syria. Heard about that on the radio this morning. Told my wife that AIPAC had their people out early.

    3. Eureka Springs

      If David Brooks wrote for team blue at the daily kos I would expect it to read much like your comment.

      Many progressive issues are not toxic at all. Quite the opposite. Progressive politicians are continuously bringing nerf balls to a back-stabbing knife fight.

      We sometimes have to recognize that even if candidates don’t agree on everything we want they are still valuable.

      Yeah, valuable to those who want to maintain a closed neoliberal/con system. The super plurality to large majority wont vote for that no matter what window dressing the D vs R kettlers put on it.

      As long as “we” continue to support a system with shifty candidates, ever changing non binding views of their own rather than developing an issue based, established democratically, binding platform of some sort… this is pure folly.

      1. pretzelattack

        with climate change and given our deteriorating country, we can’t afford more beto’s. that said, we’ll probably get them.

    4. vidimi

      i agree. beto is a squillionnaire and i don’t expect much from his eventual presidency (obama mk2), but he would likely be better than trump on at least one issue (drugs), and more or less indistinguishable on everything else. ending the war on drugs alone would make him better than the alternative. i still hope that a more progressive candidate wins in the primary (bernie)

      1. pretzelattack

        i’m afraid the democrats are even more warlike than trump. craig murray has a recent post concerning that. things are worse in the u.s. in that they are deteriorating more quickly than under a democrat, but arguably better in the world.

    5. Big River Bandido

      These arguments both in opposition to Studebaker’s thesis and in support of O’Rourke ring pathetically hollow.

      “A heap better than many Democrats???” Really??? He even opposed the milquetoast “reforms” of Dodd-Frank and can’t even bring himself to embrace universal healthcare?

      I can’t think of any Democrat who is worse. I can think of plenty who are just as bad (Manchin, Schumer, Feinstein…actually, pretty much every member of the Democrat party in the Senate). But no, it really doesn’t get any worse than O’Rourke and his kind of empty-suit “Democrat” wrapped up in glittery, expensive packaging.

      I think Studebaker could have profitably spent more time explaining his thesis of Trump’s presidency, which is in truth exactly what we’ve been getting for the last 30 years already. I also think the notion that court appointments under Republicans should register as a salient political concern — since Democrats have confirmed such a high percentage of Trump’s judicial nominees with such dispatch. The “but the Supreme Court” argument simply is a farce, and its inclusion as a caveat weakens the entire piece.

  10. Corbin Dallas

    The “Boston tradition” I have also observed in Pittsburgh and other medium sized cities in the US. Yes, its cute in that neighborhood way but it encourages the same wasteful suburban attitudes toward car culture and the primacy of car “parking lanes” over sharing the street with other modes of transportation.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Maybe 20 years ago in Chicago, where the “chairing” of dugout parking spaces on blizzard days is also a thing, some daring fellow in one of the bungalow neighborhoods dared to move another guy’s chair and park in the spot dug out by the “chaired.” Who there upon shot the “trespasser” in “his” space right through the heart.

      More recently, another parking spot incident of life in the big city of broad shoulders:

      Maybe as public transportation improves, and Uber and Lyft and electric scooters and bikes spread in use, all this will become a bad old memory… /s

      Peace in our time.

      1. Big River Bandido

        This anecdote is urban legend, but possibly true, from the Chicago winter of 1978.

        The story goes that a guy arrived home post-storm to find the space he’d shoveled out being occupied by another car. It was a bitter cold day and right in front of his house, so he hooked up his garden hose and drowned the car with running water…which, of course, froze solid in minutes. The car was frozen in ice until the spring thaw.

        That’s how I heard it, anyway.

        1. JTMcPhee

          I remember the pictures in the Chicago Tribune of that bit of spite. And being aghast at the claim of property rights in the public streets, but the when I ended up in an apartment in Rogers Park in January, the issue got murkier.

  11. hemeantwell

    Re the Moon of Alabama story on US withdrawal from Syria, I’m always puzzled by Moon’s treatment of the Kurds. Moon usually tilts to a “comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable” politics. But when it comes to the Kurds he slides into taking the view that they are at best unreasonable and at times seems to buy into their “terrorist” tag, even though he’s quite aware that their “terrorism” is a military response to their military oppression by Turkey. Pat Lang at Sic Semper Tyrannis is more sympathetic, giving emphasis to their repeated betrayal by the US, but at the end of the day they seem to become little more than collateral damage.

    I suppose what it comes down to is that both sites argue for state-based restabilization of the area, against US/Israeli induced state collapse. As separatists, the Kurds get in the way and so the crimes they endure are, if noted at all, ultimately regarded as their fate. To me this is a terrible shame, both for basic humanitarian reasons and also because recent years have seen some remarkable social innovations in some Kurdish areas, e.g. radical gender egalitarianism in the Rojava area. Perhaps that can be preserved as a social model, but it looks like its geographic basis will be destroyed by Erdogan and his jihadi minions within months.

    1. Olga

      My sense of MOA’s view of the Kurds is that they have too, too often aligned with the wrong party – to their (never-ending) detriment. One could be more blunt and say that they are opportunists – but not too smart ‘cuz it never seems to work out for them – starting with the peace conference after WWI, when they failed to get their own territory. They never seem to learn… e.g., that US is not a reliable ally. Not sure that there is more to it. (Oh, and that there is no such thing as “Kurds” – on account that there are too many divisions among the various Kurdish groups (which may be their main problem)).

      1. pretzelattack

        who would the right party have been, though? my impression is they get screwed by all sides. kind of like our politics, “you should have voted for clinton”, what were the choices they faced?

        1. praxis

          I think in such cases you make alliances in the context of who is still going to be around in 50 years? Allying with the US was only ever going to be temporary. Stupid alliances with weak temperamental power structures don’t build foundations.

          1. pretzelattack

            well turks will probably still hate them in 50 years, the israelis won’t like them either, leaving aside who will be around in 50 years. i think the map of the world is likely to change quite a bit.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I also would like to know why it was wrong or a bad decision by the Kurds to align with the US….relatively speaking. That is relative to other choices.

              The three players elsewhere mentioned are Iran, Russia and Turkey and they have been neighbors (in Russia’s case, not immediate, but in the same region) for a long time. Usually, good and bad things occurred in history, and typically human, as a defensive mechanims perhaps, the negative stories are retold again and again.

              And to undertand the situation better (why the Kurds did not align with others, but went with the new kid – relatively speaking – America*), perhaps they knew better or maybe some commentors go over the history of that area for the last one or two millennia.

              *I assume they are rational…perhaps this can be proven wrong.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                They would have been better off seeking a Federated Peace with some little autonomy with the Assad Government.

    2. Eureka Springs

      I think b has been criticizing those Kurds who aligned with U.S. and Isis etc. made a bad decision from the get-go.

      Col. Lang is arguing that now we are leaving the U.S. shouldn’t just abandon them. The Col. notes it’s who we are and what we have done many times before.

      Seems to me both are correct.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Was reading this morning that it is not only power payers but even Hollywood stars who are decrying the idea of US troops leaving Syria so that it can be occupied – by the Syrians!

        Caitlin Johnston nails the thinking behind this idea though when she tweeted:

        All of the objections to a possible US withdrawal from Syria are based on the premise that Syria is America’s property. It’s amazing how much this premise is going unquestioned.

      2. witters

        I don’t see that the Kurds would be better off if the US refused to “abandon” them. How would that work? Is the idea a kind of Kurdish Israel? Wonderful idea!

        1. chuck roast

          The Kurds are a small tribe and seemed always to play the part of the patsy…er, proxy.
          As fate would have it.

  12. Wukchumni

    California Knew the Carr Wildfire Could Happen. It Failed to Prevent it. ProPublica

    Clearing fuels works, he said. The 600 acres of Whiskeytown that Garcia had treated on a rotating schedule easily survived the Carr Fire. Clearly visible lines ran up the ridges, like a photograph divided into black-and-white and full-color panels. On one side stood tree skeletons charred by the blaze. On the other, healthy groves of green trees.


    Informative article, it all boiled down to getting the funding and/or the will of NPS to allow it to happen, that would’ve staved off a disaster. Classic penny smart-dollar stupid move. But we can’t have nice things such as F-35’s, if forest upkeep was more regular.

    We car-camped @ Whiskeytown about a month prior to it burning up in the Carr Fire, and were surrounded by way too much brush.

    I keep plugging away here clearing out fuels on the ground or dead members on otherwise live trees. When done at your leisure, its satisfying and opens up things to give it a more park-like feel where one can walk anywhere. Still a tangle here-a warren of that there to contend with, with an eventual finish line coming into proximity in a few years.

    And then eventually push will meet shove, a wildfire that tests how an area similar to how it would’ve looked if the Native Americans had cleared it out by fire every fall, will fare.

    1. Cal2

      Wukchumni, Why inaction on wildfires?
      Contractors can charge more for ‘fire resistant construction, therefore enriching the coffers of building permit bureaucracies and property tax reliant local governments. They cannot tax brush and tree clearance.

      Redding spent its money on homeless services. Great, why not just buy them a greyhound ticket to the Homeless Mecca of North America, San Francisco? There $40,000 is spent per homeless arrival per year, soon to go to $70,000 per year with a new corporate tax.

      If Redding and other municipalities were serious about fire prevention, they would allow all fire prevention activities to be a deductible offset from property taxes, as in your fire architecture does not raise your assessed value, or even better, yearly maintenance costs can be deducted from what you pay to the county that year– Dream on.

      As long as real solutions to real problems are being discussed, how about local judges issuing arrest warrants for the banksters that cause homelessness so that they are subject to arrest on local highways when they drive to Ashland Shakespeare or ski areas in the Cascades?

      1. JBird4049

        And I think one of the reasons San Francisco never really does anything effective on housing is that solving the problem will end that money train for the nonprofits. There are also many people who either fear declining property values if “those people” move, or if they no longer can build luxury apartments and are forced to rent to those making only 82k a year, which is the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s low income threshold for one person.

        Also home owners often fight actions like controlled burnings (Marin County’s fire departments have been trying for decades for just that with limited success.) because their views and property values might be destroyed. Telling them that an uncontrolled fire might kill them and destroy their homes has little effect. It’s all about the profitable now.

  13. flora

    here’s another link. long, worthwhile read. a look at much of what now passes for ‘the left’ in the US and France.

    For What It’s Worth: The Yellow Vests and the Left

    These leftists have trained themselves to quickly embrace movements defined in terms of race and gender. Critical interrogation will come from within an assumed position of solidarity, and it will usually be in terms of those categories: Does your racial justice movement x have the right attitude and/or demographics in terms of gender?

    Much less frequently and urgently, and virtually never as a condition of support, will a race or gender movement be interrogated regarding its position—its attitude and demographics—in terms of class.

    The ability of leftists to reject the diversions and cut through to the crux of the matter in one case, while quickly succumbing to them in the other is a perfect example of the left’s diminished attention to, and concern for, class.
    As Tanden and Libé remarks indicate, it’s not just “identity” that’s up there in the hierarchy of the checklist. As I’ve said before, the left has succumbed to deprecating a politics of class solidarity in favor of a politics of solidarity based on like-mindedness on a checklist of issues.

  14. Carla

    Re: Election do-overs , the article says: “Board of Elections has declined to certify the results because of allegations of voter fraud—including the sensational claim that Harris employed a man who collected absentee ballots that hadn’t been completely filled out and sealed in a county in which the Republican won a larger-than-expected share of the mail-in vote.”

    I sure wish the people who write about this stuff would bother to get, and elucidate, the distinction between VOTER fraud and ELECTION fraud. In this case, the writer Steven Shepard is clearly describing the latter (as the subtitle to the piece correctly states) — and he should consistently say so.

    1. EricT

      I don’t understand why the Republican candidate hasn’t been arrested and charged yet. Election fraud identified, the person who did it will get another shot to run again? Where’s the outrage?

      1. Carla

        Yeah, and Black people who think they’re registered to vote but whose names have been stricken from the rolls unbeknownst to them, and so they vote — wind up imprisoned for “voter fraud.” What a travesty.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Russia, Turkey, Iran fail in push for new Syrian constitution”

    Not really surprising this article. There are two peace processes at the moment. The first one is run by the UN envoy, Staffan de Mistura and is in Geneva. This one aims to have Assad and his allies leave government and turn over the country to the people that he has been fighting against the past several years. The second one is run through Socchi and has Russia, Turkey and Iran sorting out the issues and is what has really been doing the heavy lifting. If these three powers failed to agree on a new constitution in Geneva, it would be most likely that they did not want a constitution that will enable yet more wars to break out down the track because of inbuilt contradictions in this Geneva constitution. Probably too Turkey wants a few tweaks to establish a claim to Syrian territory via voting.

  16. Off The Street

    Gatwick droners, ripe with potential interpretations.

    A heckler’s veto?
    One of those Japanese assembly line Stop cords where any worker may slow things down?
    Perhaps a Bartertown situation, to determine who really runs Bartertown, civilization or barbarians?
    Shakedown artists, rival airlines, aggrieved ecos or mischievous teenagers?

    Look around you at how much public trust is built into virtually everything that you do, and how fragile that is when some bad actor decides to screw it up for whatever reason. That would seem to be a type of terror.

    1. BlueMoose

      I would not be surprised to see some copy-cat activity especially if it becomes obvious that nobody gets charged. It seems at the very least, the authorities would first need to capture the drone to have a chance at finding the owner. Not sure how easy it would be to trace back to the drone controller while active.

      1. vidimi

        london is the most videosurveilled place on the planet, so if it were done there, the drone artist would have been identified immediately. gatwick, however, is in west sussex, so the camera penetration is likely too thin. chances are the culprit did it from a field. needless to say, the economic damage, as well as the grief caused to all the passengers affected, is enormous for such a banal act.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      We now all know that anyone can shut down a major international airport at will using a common toy, and further we know that the airports don’t appear to have any plans in place other than shutting down the airspace to prevent or deal with it when it happens. Good to have that out in the open I guess. Potential blackmailers, saboteurs and protesters are, I assume, watching with interest.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Don’t forget the gambling community.

        “And it looks like the Lakers have finally arrived to the TD Garden just in time for tip off. They will be playing in street clothes because their luggage didn’t get moved to the private airport in time after the delays. Critics have suggested Lebron was just tired of the shallowness of LA. How do you think Lebron will play in flip flops?”

    3. BlueMoose

      Without doubt, the Russians are behind this. /s

      On the other hand, maybe it could be considered a public service to prepare people for what starts to happen in ~ 100 days when flight agreements become null and void.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “Waste Not, Want Not”

    In reading this I do wonder how the patterns of garbage have change over the decades. That is, not just the actual amount of garbage from average households but also what they consisted of. As an example garbage, from the 1940s would have hardly any plastic in it while garbage nowadays would be loaded with the stuff. I went looking for a article I read once on this topic and found it at which talks about one such project back in 2002 at Staten Island. There has even been a book written about this topic which is mentioned in an article at

    1. KPC

      There is indeed a change in content.

      Among a curious circumstance, this change in trash content dramatically impacted the electric energy output of a trash to energy co-generation facility in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It was part of the cause of litigation on which I served.

      One of the changes was a reduction in the expected amount of glass in household trash.

      There is, of course, a little more to the story. E.g., the original assumption that oil only goes up in price including in the face of limitations. This assumption is precisely wrong as we are now seeing in the market place. This was relevant as the grid was required to pay avoided fuel cost for the energy generated by this co-gen facility.

      As we work to fix this mess, these matters need to be considered and evaluated.

    2. ewmayer

      I found this snip rather telling about the author’s waste practices:

      “In my current home in Mexico City, I sit with my trash a little longer than I’d previously been used to: instead of dragging trash bags out to a can in an alleyway, then wheeling the can to the curb for pickup by men who jump rapidly off a truck and back on, my roommates and I wait for the trash guy, wheeling a cart with a barrel full of the neighborhood’s waste, to holler—a deep-throated basuraaaa—as he walks by each morning. Inevitably, we scramble for the bags we’ve left on the patio, which may have already begun to waft odor through the kitchen, and rush barefoot down the stairs, dripping trash juice all the way, to breathlessly catch up with him on the corner, hand over our trash, and tip him ten or twenty pesos. Still, once I give him my trash, it is gone. It disappears into a sort of void.”

      So she pooh-poohs “purity cults” like Zero Waste, but her description of her own trash tells me she can’t be bothered to do the minimum. “Dripping trash juice” means there fruit or vegetable matter in there which should’ve been composted or disposalized, or that liquid-food containers were not emptied and quick-rinsed. And if one is doing at least the basic reasonable minimum as far as recyling, one shouldn’t be able to fill a typical garbage bag once a week to begin with, unless said bag is for a large household. I take out a modest amount of trash and reycling on my way out of the house once a day. On a typical day, the trash fits inside a paper coffee cup, and its volume is easily exceeded by that of the recyclables (and I get ‘wet’ bulk food items in glass and metal containers whenever reasonably possible). I never use plastic garbage bags anymore, much less drippy, smelly you-should’ve-properly-disposed-of-this-oozing ones as described by the author. Guess Ms. Wattenbarger was too busy writing highbrow exegeses on offal and the eschatological significance of waste-reduction movements to be bothered. So for her own garbage, Mexico is her version of “urban Ghana”. But she tipped the Basura-man ten or twenty pesos!

      1. JTMcPhee

        A pox on such people. Here’s a view of what the Basura People have in the way of a lifestyle, “Living In A Mexico City Garbage Dump — The Road to Juan’s,”

        Too bad there’s no way to reach out and slap the author (only VERBALLY of course) on both cheeks, and show her the Road to Juan’s. Any guesses whether she would “woke” enough to have a clue…?

        Of course, she may experience that “pox” in the form of some disease bred and spread from that “away” to which she so daintily and distastefully and condescendingly consigns her leavings…

        Years ago, one of my jobs to pay for college was as a garbage collector, a “Basura peon.” What one learns when dealing with what we Nacerima “throw away.” Picking up garbage in the summer also teaches one how the sense of smell can adapt to all kinds of odors… This was in Lake Bluff, IL, where the lakefront properties included chateaus dismantled in France and reassembled a la Newport, RI on the shore of Lake Michigan. A mile or so inland, of course, is where the “po’folks’” residences started.

        One such place was at the end of a long, 5-600 yard driveway, all Louis XIV architecture. At Christmas, some of these folks were generous tippers (more than the equivalent of 20 or 30 pesos). But the lady of this manse, dressed in some designer lounging outfit, met me at the garage area (six car size) with a nicely decorated box with wrapping paper and a bow. Which box, after emptying her seven steel trash cans into the hopper, I dutifully took up to the cab to share with my mates.

        So we sat there in the warmth of the truck cab, and started ripping the package open to see what nice thing she had gifted us with. And found that it was a box of used and dripping and really nasty cat litter.

        At least we had the satisfaction of spilling and clashing her trash cans, early in the a.m., for weeks to come, and eventually leaving them half way back up the long driveway. Of such tidbits are “unguided social disruptions” made…

  18. Swamp Yankee

    I remember when, maybe 20 years ago during the initial wave of Yuppie Invasion (i.e., gentrification) of South Boston, economic-colonialists made the mistake of daring to move the chairs holding someone’s longstanding spot. The response by the neighborhood was immediate, violent, and visceral. The Yuppies did not make that mistake again.

    Reminds me of when, maybe fifteen years ago in Paris, when the Hummer was first on the market and being parked by arriviste new wealth on narrow Parisian streets, the inhabitants of the neighborhoods would quietly let the air out of their tires at night (unlike slashing tires, this wasn’t technically illegal).

    Reminds me of the distinction German sociologists like Weber made between Gemeinschaft (community) and Gesellschaft (society). The local vs. the mass anonymous nation-state.

    I’ll take Gemeinschaft any day of the week!

    1. georgieboy

      Parking spaces: It is called Dibs in Chicago. You shoveled it out, it is your space.

      Rahm Emmanuel didn’t understand it and didn’t support it when he became mayor, adding to the scorn for the fact that Rahm was not a Chicagoan, ever, before Obama parachuted him in to replace the idiot Daley.

      Rahm eventually got the message about Dibs; life in Soviet Democratic Chicago has traditions he could not ignore.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        I imagine there’s a similar system in place in Winnipeg, Moscow, Stockholm, and other northern snowy cities around the world.

        And thanks for the info on Rahm — makes a great deal of sense that he’d not know the culture of Chicago proper at all, esp. now that I went to Wikipedia and discovered he went to New Trier High School. Met some real pieces of work outta’ that place.

        Just as Wellesley =/= Boston, so I imagine Winnetka =/= Chicago.

        By the by, to this New Englander’s mind, Chicago is the most familiar and pleasant of the big American three. It’s got the scale of NYC skyscrapers, but so much more room than the isle of Manhattan, and the people are nice. La Douce Mer, the Freshwater Sea of Lake Michigan and its oceanic feeling….. But unlike LA, it is recognizable to me as a city, rather than far flung suburbs stretching on forever, and it’s culture is distinctly un-South-Californian. Plus, the food! A fond tip of the hat to the Windy City!

  19. Ban

    Facebook and Zuckerberg – fire him and then what? Somebody else will run the snooping on you!
    Ban Facebook.

    1. ewmayer

      Yep. Privacy-violating and unauthorized data sharing are simply too deeply embedded in the “DNA” (to use that awful bizspeak locution) of Zuck’s company for it to mend its ways. It is one of those companies that simply cannot operate in non-crooked fashion, and needs to be killed via regulation and being-sued-out-of-existence as a result. A kind of Bid Data analog of Goldman Sachs in Big Finance, if you will.

  20. integer

    Unsurprisingly for the NYT, the following article takes it as a given that state-sponsored Russian meddling in the 2016 election took place, even though it is highly likely that the IRA’s social media postings were simply the result of an incompetent and inconsequential clickbait operation, but it is interesting nonetheless:

    Secret Experiment in Alabama Senate Race Imitated Russian Tactics NYT

    One participant in the Alabama project, Jonathon Morgan, is the chief executive of New Knowledge, a small cyber security firm that wrote a scathing account of Russia’s social media operations in the 2016 election that was released this week by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    An internal report on the Alabama effort, obtained by The New York Times, says explicitly that it “experimented with many of the tactics now understood to have influenced the 2016 elections.”

    The project’s operators created a Facebook page on which they posed as conservative Alabamians, using it to try to divide Republicans and even to endorse a write-in candidate to draw votes from Mr. Moore. It involved a scheme to link the Moore campaign to thousands of Russian accounts that suddenly began following the Republican candidate on Twitter, a development that drew national media attention.

    “We orchestrated an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet,” the report says…

    Mr. Morgan said he could not account for the claims in the report that the project sought to “enrage and energize Democrats” and “depress turnout” among Republicans, partly by emphasizing accusations that Mr. Moore had pursued teenage girls when he was a prosecutor in his 30s.

    Notably, Jonathon Morgan is one of the people behind the Hamilton 68 dashboard, which connects him to the so-called Alliance for Securing Democracy and the Atlantic Council. Also, it seems probable that both the Oxford University Computational Propaganda Project and New Knowledge have ties to the recently exposed state-sponsored UK-based propaganda outfit the Integrity Initiative.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Report: U.S. To Leave Syria Immediately – Updated”

    I do wonder about this. Maybe Trump talked with someone who said that the number of US troops only goes up there and never down. Then they may have pointed out that US troops have been in Syria for six years so how long should they stay there for. Months? Years? Decades? Eighteen like in Afghanistan? It is true that all the areas that the US/UK & France occupies would have been long ago been retaken by the Syrian army in their campaign until they were stopped by the occupation of US military forces – places like al Tanf. There may be another factor in play here.
    I noted that all the people that have been going ballistic over Trump’s move are basically his enemies. The same ones that he has been fighting the past two years and who have tried to bring him down at every opportunity. Is it possible that Trump decided to launch a counter attack against these people? All he would have to do is to work out what this crowd desires as a group (more US military involvement in the middle east) and deny them this. Mess with their minds and throw them off balance. Do something that would be popular with most people and get his enemies trying to justify a long, long occupation in Syria. Mess with their domestic attacks on him too. It is a possibility this.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Trump’s apparent sanity on troop withdrawal is certainly welcome, but I wouldn’t bet much on it. For one thing, Trump is messing with the MIC and that’s a lot to bite off. His past behavior indicates considerable shallowness in any professed direction he can stay focused on long enough to write a tweet about it. It also strongly suggests there is only one thing that will make him go out on a limb for, and not very far out either, except in optics, and that is something that is and remains “popular” with his base. It’s unlikely that being characterized as a wuss, 24 hours by 7 days a week, is going to remain popular with his “more torture and taller walls please and make America great again” base.

      For another thing, getting troops out of the middle east goes against Israel’s wishes and perceived interests, and as some 20 or so US States have made abundantly clear, and more with legislation pending, doing anything that would have so much as the appearance of mildly criticizing Israel no matter how justified is far worse than knowing someone who is or has been a member of the Communist party.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        With the way Trump has been, my guess is there was a Dempsey/Kerry type meeting where the Pentagon simply can’t operate without retaliation anymore. The corporate MIC certainly might want to be there, but the Pentagon still does the heavy lifting of any operation.

        Trump is erratic enough to be hard to pin down, but one possibility is the simple recognition his movement to normative Republican didn’t keep the House, hence the Trump re-elect committee takeover of the RNC. Obviously in 2016, not being responsible for numerous foreign policy “blunders” was a feather in Trump’s cap.

  22. The Beeman

    Waste Not, Want Not The Baffler –

    if you liked the ideas from Baffler, this book could blow your mind – Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things (2002).

    I bought it when it was published, and the ‘paper’ was reusable – you could wash the ink off the pages easily.

    “architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart present an integration of design and science that provides enduring benefits for society from safe materials, water and energy in circular economies and eliminates the concept of waste.”

  23. JTMcPhee

    Re drones “interacting with” human-carrying aircraft: the reporting and reactions smack of somewhat supportable ‘fear, uncertainty and doubt.” No question that four pounds of plastic and metal into the intake of a turbofan or the windscreen of a big jet or smaller plane “could” cause a catastrophic result. Birds, another “unregulated danger,” are somewhat squishier, but produce millions of dollars in damages and have caused crashes.

    The drones that are so freely available via sites like Banggood and Amazon and even off the shelf in Walmart are one of those “I want what I want because it is COOL and FUN” gadgets that all kinds of people just have to have. And “people” includes the subset of us humans that will drop concrete chunks from freeway overpasses, fire “stray bullets” into the 4th of July and Christmas and New Years sky, aim laser pointers and more potent laser devices at commercial and private pilots’ eyes, start arson fires in forest lands, and pile logs or cross up railway switches to try to cause a derailment or “just see what might happen.”

    Of course Amazon and UPS and others are plotting to fill the skies with drones of a much larger category, autonomous to a degree that goes beyond even the more expensive of the ‘consumer drones,” carrying packages hither and yon. And based on the assumption that there will be people with extractable wealth who will pay for and put up with the stuff that will go along with millions of drones zipping through their living areas. And these corps also want to facilitate their disruptions by outlawing small “consumer’ and even “commercial” drones that they would have to share the airspace and the “publicly owned radio frequency spectrum” with. And I’ve read that the corps also want to have a say over flight paths of commercial and private human-carrying aircraft, to advance their ‘business model.”

    And all the little and large companies that build and sell all these drones are happy to just push them out through the supply chains to “consumers” and that rapidly growing “commercial UAV business,” a “billion dollar ‘industry’ on a steep growth curve,, as fast as they can, and keep adding capabilities that increase the “fun” and complexity and let thoughtless or inimical cretins place drones, flying at zero to maybe 100mph airspeed, up in the finite airspace.

    And of course the “drone” category is large and inclusive, including of course the War Drones Obama and the other “good at killing people” types are deploying in ever greater and more “capable” numbers. In addition to the carnage and horror that drone bombardment intentionally produces, the military drones have resulted in some pretty spectacular unintended harms: $30 million to a Navy ship during an “exercise,” And as of 2014, there have been more than 400 military drone crashes all over the world: “Part One: War Zones — When Drones Fall From The Sky,”

    Of course the lawyers are working the litigation futures,

    This all gets back to the question of what kind of world, what kind of political economy, most of us want to live in. It highlights the destructive bits built into the range of human preferences and behaviors. And of course there are arguments from drone proponents that “they do so many useful and wonderful things, like real estate overviews and mapping and burning trash off power lines and high-speed last-mile deliveries and getting medical supplies to remote communities!!!” Short of a planetary agreement to jst STOP activities like this, I guess it’s like “trade” generally — no mechanisms of homeostatic negative feedback and repair.

    Though the notion, per another link today that “the economic impacts of climate change could limit climate change” is interesting. how’s that going to work on the mechanisms of intersecting positive “worsening, faster” feedback loops like are becoming apparent now?

    Hope Springs Eternal.

    1. Carolinian

      Personal drones are yet another wrinkle of the computer revolution since it takes sophisticated electronics to keep them flying and stable. Banning them from Amazon, Walmart etc wouldn’t necessarily help as many are now homebuilt. But the potential danger may be exaggerated as most of these consumer drones are no heavier than the average bird and bird strikes have been a managed danger all along. Because of the limited power and endurance of their electric motors and batteries they have to be as light as possible. I don’t think your link adds much info to the danger question. Naturally pilots feel any increased danger is unacceptable.

      Of course there are much bigger drones and rc aircraft with wings and often gas engines as well as ultralight human aircraft that can be flown with minimal licensing. But these have been around for a long time. Bottom line: there may be no need to panic about this even if Gatwick did.

      1. JTMcPhee

        As a long time hobbyist flying electric-powers, radio-controlled aircraft and a couple of tiny toy drones, can I note that the few are spoiling it for a couple of million similar citizens? My models are flown line-of-site with a transmitter range of maybe a mile, are required to stay below 400 feet, to keep out of the way of manned aircraft, not operate at all within miles of any airport, and have a flight duration of a max of 10-15 minutes The FAA is being lobbied heavily and of course is predisposed to add more burdens to the existing rules, and the FAA plan is to require transponders and ID coding on all of them. Of course there are dopes and miscreants that operate illegally, flying high and above clouds and with amplified radios and video cameras and telemetry that can put them in bad spots, dozens of miles from the pilot. But the vast majority’s flying presents minimal danger to anyone in a manned aircraft or on the ground.

        And your points about the relative danger of drones, compared e.g. to bird strikes, I tried to point those out. These are thoroughly developed in participation in regulatory actions, and gently (because we are a small, easily scapegoated group) by the model flying community, who see their hobby once again threatened with extinction by big commercial interests like Amazon, the airlines and aircraft builders, and most recently the looters who plan to grab the frequencies we use for their private profit. This has happened several time before, since I started building and flying these models. What we know of the coming 5G is that we are likely to once again be blasted out of the air by bandwidth hogs . “Potential major disaster” stories about what “could” happen are just Bernays sauce preparing the looters’ feast.

        Every little pleasure is being squeezed out of the lives of most people by the neoliberal predations of the few. Builders and flyers of “unmanned aerial vehicles,” the regulatory category that now covers these small models, are just another bit of soft-target collateral damage from operations of “the market.”

        1. Carolinian

          Sounds like you are lot more into this topic than I am although I have owned one and know a little bit about them. There are very strict rules on the books about line of sight operation and protected air space and you wonder how Amazon drone delivery–which was a big scam and will probably never happen–was going to get around these. That said, if Gatwick was worried enough to close an airport then they better figure out a solution fast. Drones could become a favorite of actual bad guys and not just random idiots.

    2. skippy

      Always reminds me of my mate that went to China working in academia with his young son. Story goes that on one day said son accompanied him to campus with a toy plastic pellet hand gun bought at corner shop. Only to have one of his students race over to inform him it was criminal to carry around such toys. After much discussion the student dropped the bomb on him – that yes shops do sell them, but its highly illegal to have them on your person in public.

      Ex 80s Marxist at Uni only to suffer a reality check upon living in the so called communist state of China thingy ….

  24. marym

    Sidestepping Congress, Trump Administration Proposes More Work Rules For Food Stamps

    House Republicans couldn’t get stricter work rules for those who receive food stamps into law. So the Trump administration is attempting to sidestep Congress and add them anyway.

    On Thursday, The Department of Agriculture unveiled a regulatory proposal to expand work requirements for those in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

    The proposed rule change makes it harder for states to waive work requirements in areas that have high unemployment…

    In all, the proposed rule could reduce areas that qualify for waivers by roughly 75 percent, according to USDA officials.

  25. Brooklin Bridge

    But I will not support the party’s presidential ticket. And this isn’t just about O’Rourke–if the Democrats nominate someone else whom I believe to be incapable of delivering profound change, I will decline to support the party’s presidential ticket in 2020. I urge you to do the same, and to make it clear in the upcoming primaries that we will not continue to enable these people. – Benjamin Studebaker

    Completely agree.

  26. allan

    Uber’s Driverless Cars Return to the Road After Fatal Crash [NYT]

    Tanned, rested and ready:

    Uber said its autonomous vehicles returned to public roads on Thursday, nine months after one of its self-driving cars killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Ariz. …

    Uber said it received permission on Monday from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to test its driverless cars again on public roads in Pittsburgh. The company said it planned to put fewer than five cars on the road on Thursday, and slowly add to that over time.

    Each car will have two drivers inside, ready to take over in case something goes wrong, Uber said. The operators will work in four-hour shifts, down from eight to 10 hours previously. No passengers will ride in the cars. …

    The company had grounded its fleet of autonomous vehicles in March after one of its cars — with an emergency backup driver behind the wheel — struck and killed Elaine Herzberg, 49, on a street in Tempe. …

    A problem looking for a solution.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Think of all those people living so much of their lives in the computer-generated spaces of “interactive shooting” simulations we call “games.” How many of them are now psychologically prepared to “take action” to, shall one say, “immobilize” those autonomous vehicles, by any combination of “kinetic” and electronic/cyber tactics? Maybe a NextGen robocar will incorporate “threat detection and neutralization” weaponry, subject to the AI “smartness” built into AI-generated code that sure looks to lead to a HAL2000 kind of outcome sets… And thanks to the hijacking of all the instrumentalities of regulatory and legitimizing power, it will be “all nice and legal-like.” Since perception and realization of vast danger, and the ability of human-scale forms of governance to anticipate and react appropriately, are miles behind the lizard-reflexes of the disrupters “moving fast and breaking things.”

      Makes one long, maybe, for some less than complete version of the Jackpot? Which too bad it would not be retroactive (barring time travel a la “Terminator”) to make all the proponents and profit-takers and externallizers pay for their “smart disruptions and innovations…”

    2. Lemmy Caution

      Our minivan has a backup camera — a nifty convenience for sure. But many times when we put it in reverse the camera lens is partially or completely covered — with dust, mud, snow, ice or some combination — so that the view on the display screen is useless. And we wash the vehicle regularly.

      How in the world will the autonomous vehicles be designed to ensure every camera, sensor and radar is 100% clear all of the time, in all conditions?

      I suppose the manufacturers could include a squeegee and a bottle of windex with every new vehicle. I can see the road of the future and it looks like a line of robot cars pulled over on the shoulder, refusing to continue until their passengers disembark and thoroughly clean all the sensitive electronics.

      1. BlueMoose

        Almost Lemmy, but most likely the passengers would prefer not to disembark. More likely, the citizens living under the overpass/onramp in cardboard boxes will emerge and clean everything and a few quarters will be spit out to the curb for the mob to fight over.

        1. Lemmy Caution

          Yes, you’re probably right. Mobs of homeless with squeegees ready to clean, alternating with other mobs of homeless just up the road, ready with buckets of muddy water to fling all over the newly cleaned robot cars.

  27. Brooklin Bridge

    Travelers face chaos as drones shut London’s Gatwick airport

    I find it mildly surprising that no mention of couter-drones to the offending drones is made. A missed opportunity? The official complaint is that it’s hard to locate the source of the drones. What better way to accomplish that than with AI driven counter-drones, even if only on the drawing board or in the works. Of course such silence on the subject may be because AI driven counter-drone capability really is in the works.

    They seem to be for the the US military or at least part of it’s strategy to develop self-driving Armageddon so as not to be outdone by mere self-driving cars:

    1. BlueMoose

      Counter drones flying in the airspace of an airport would not necessarily help things. I guess it could at least divert the attention of the delayed travellers until the drone battle was complete. Perhaps the airliners could simply equip their planes with AI controlled laser systems to take out the drones? Sadly I think your are correct in that the big thinkers are seeing this as a ‘missed opportunity’.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Great idea about counter-drone battle being an areal display for distracting frustrated passengers, though if you look into the AI-launch nukes link, you’ll note that this stuff happens too quickly for humans to follow closely. I suppose you’re right that drone battles wouldn’t be all that good for airport “conventional” activity, such as getting planes off the ground, darn it, but royalties on news outlets covering these zippy fire-works like events would possibly make up for any lost revenue and then some, and they would be a phenomenal gimmick to get people to relinquish any last remaining vestiges of human dignity in the name of safety.

  28. allan

    Ryan staffers heading to K Street [The Hill]

    Didn’t see this one coming:

    Two of Paul Ryan’s leadership staffers this week announced they are heading to jobs on K Street, as the speaker prepares to leave office and with House Democrats taking control in January.

    Senior Advisor to the Speaker Joyce Meyer will be the executive vice president of government relations for the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), starting Jan. 31, ACLI announced. …

    The speaker’s general counsel, Mark Epley, will be the executive vice president and general counsel of Managed Funds Association, which represents the global hedge fund industry, starting Feb. 19.

    Epley also came to the speaker’s office from the Ways and Means Committee where he was general counsel. …

    From Wiki:

    The Managed Funds Association is a Washington, DC-based industry group that represents prominent hedge funds like D. E. Shaw, Renaissance Technologies, Tiger Management and Third Point. The association is considered one of the most powerful trade groups in Washington, spending over $4 million a year on lobbying.

    Oddly, or not, the loopholes that allow these fine firms to avoid billions of dollars in taxes were untouched by
    Speaker Policy Wonk’s tax reform last year.

    File under Quid Pro Quo or It Didn’t Happen.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think Trump, at the start of his administration, made a point about people serving in the (executive branch only?) government to not do things like this upon their departures.

  29. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    A New Disease Is Testing Us for the Next Global Epidemic Wired

    This is what I wanted to quote, and wrongly quoted something else, the other day, relating to Escobar’s piece on Crimea where he mentioned prosperity along the Silk Road, and it is also relevant to the link above.

    Nevertheless, from Central Asia it was carried east and west along the Silk Road, by Mongol armies and traders making use of the opportunities of free passage within the Mongol Empire offered by the Pax Mongolica. It was reportedly first introduced to Europe at the trading city of Caffa in the Crimea in 1347. After a protracted siege, during which the Mongol army under Jani Beg was suffering the disease, they catapulted the infected corpses over the city walls to infect the inhabitants.[4] The Genoese traders fled, bringing the plague by ship into Sicily and the south of Europe, whence it spread.[5]

  30. FortyYearsInThe UniversitySystem

    I stopped reading Walt’s article when he said that Russia “seized” Crimea. For an astute man to be that un-astute, that ignorant, or that ideological renders him unacceptable as a commentator on world historical events. There are many words he could have used to refer to the readmission of Crimea to the Russian state but “seized” is most definitely not one of them.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I am not sure if ‘seize’ is a problematic word.

        The government can seize you money and give that to your ex-wife, for example. And the receving party*, the ex, will say she is the rightful owner of it.

        *Though there often times where that party doesn’t deserve it. So, it goes both ways, and in that sense, it is neutral.

  31. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    China’s tech giants want to go global. Just one thing might stand in their way. MIT Technology Review


    I think no one can go global technologicailly alone. You have to bring along culture, at the same time, or prior to that.

    WIth military might, like having defeated all the bad guys around, culture can follow. That is an exception. And everyone wants to chew guns, learn your language and rock ‘n roll.

    So, unless everyone in the world starts playing the Han dynasty Chinese soccer (or football) game of ‘Cuju*,’ instead of soccer, Beijing can be only one-dimensional, and the problem of the lingering negative stereotype of, say, rich oil Arab sheiks, will still have to be overcome.

    *Called Kemari in Nara Japan.

  32. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Why windows with a view are so important to older people The Conversation

    When I turn on my Windows computer, there is alwasy a view of something.

  33. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Critics Say Bernie Sanders Is Too Old, Too White, and Too Socialist to Run for President in 2020. They’re Wrong. Intercept

    As with all the presidents we have had, as far as I can recall, it’s the political appointees at the cabinet and below levels that will run the governmen and carry out the agenda.

    To refute the above without taking the whole-team into consideration risks being stuck in the personlity realm.

    And among the loudest calls will be one that says the new guy (or gal) needs someone who can ‘work with the people in Congress.’ That is, someone from the Swamp.

    And without knowing the team, we really don’t know much about who we are voting for (judging by the recent past examples).

  34. Plenue

    The Liberal reaction to Trump getting out of Syria is…well, it’s something. I’m completely bemused, even though after the last two years I really shouldn’t be. Get a load of the comments section on this Maddow video:

    Never suffer a liberal to mock anyone else as ‘low information’.

    1. skippy

      Is it just me or does the comment section resemble what passed for cogent thought on libertarian raniod rothbard youtube videos of days gone by.

  35. Big River Bandido

    The Daily Mail article:

    The study, carried out by InsureMyTrip, assessed flight cancellations and delays at 75 airports across the US.

    A “study”…funded by what appears to be an insurance company, with a shady-looking website. Um, okay. To me this doesn’t look like research, but PR. But even taking these “findings” at face value…

    The stress of flying through LGA, JFK, and BOS is not so much from the cancellations and delays themselves, but the fact that the places in which you have to suffer those delays and long waits — the concourses and gate areas — are living hells.

    Trapped behind security, you can choose only among select items from the most unhealthy food on the planet — and for the privilege pay the largest markups on the planet. Water inside an airport is priced like whiskey elsewhere. To sit in a gate area in one of these places is to be besieged by an electronic hurricane of noise pollution — 3 or 4 competing musical styles, each pumped up and out into the corridors, along with ads, the poisoned brew of CNN, looped TSA warnings…and lastly, boarding announcements which are often inaudible or unintelligible amidst the cacophony. Oh, and yes, the credit card ads announced by the airlines themselves…how could I forget that precious detail? They’re just about the loudest thing in any Delta terminal.

    There is not a single spot in any of those airports where one can sit and relax in peace.

    I cannot discern its ulterior motive, but this insurance company study completely misses the mark.

    1. vidimi

      sounds like US airports are worse than anywhere else on the planet. mind you, i avoid them at all costs since transiting through philadelphia some 8 years ago. it was like entering a country at war.

  36. Phacops

    Re: India’s drug regulator is said to be investigating Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder . . .

    This seems like high comedy to me when those regulators failed to notice the widespread falsification of test records by their domestic pharma. The drugs produced there, which lacked trustworthy analysis for strength, purity, and uniformity, were adulterated by intent and definition of the FD&C Act. Add to that the risk to patients created by the lack of proper quality systems that allowed filthy conditions to be present in aseptic operations or the lack of properly validated cleaning procedures necessary to prevent drug cross contamination.

    Oh, how I would enjoy spending several weeks in turn at Indian drug and device manufacturing facilities doing Quality Systems (Good Manufacturing Practice) audits.

  37. drumlin woodchuckles

    “Zuckerberg must resign now.”

    No. Zuckerberg must NOT resign. Facebook itself must DIE.

    1. JTMcPhee

      To be replaced by…

      The wisdom of crowds: One wonders if les Gilets Jaunes have tapped into some zeitgeist and depth of understanding that might lead to a human political economy that discovers how to live in comity and with sufficient respect for the planet and each other to keep the species alive… Would be a shame for those of us who have tried, believe we have tried at least, to live positive, good lives to get overborne by the parasites and looters who are oblivious and/or gluttonous and/or sadistic enough to burn it all down for their personal pleasure.

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