Links 1/16/19

Dear patient readers,

So so sorry, but as we explain in a post that is already up, we announced that cancelling our NYC meetup that had been set for this Friday, the 18th. Some readers said they will still go to the venue, Slainte, at 304 Bowery, informally. Normally I would come out, but I haven’t left the house for days except to go to the drugstore to try to get some OTC relief from the flu.

World’s ‘loneliest’ frog gets a date BBC (David L)

‘Bin Laden’ the giraffe moved from Dusit to Khao Khiao Open Zoo The Nation (furzy)

Plantwatch: is sphagnum the most underrated plant on Earth? Guardian (David L)

Taking an elevator into space could actually happen. Here’s how New Scientist (Dr. Kevin)

This Part Of Antarctica Was Not Supposed To Be Shrinking Gizmodo (Kevin W)

Groundbreaking deal makes large number of German studies free to public Science Magazine (David L)

EU approval of glyphosate weed killer was based on ‘plagiarized’ Monsanto studies, report finds RT (Kevin W)

China?

China responds to the US’s and Canada’s travel warnings with its own, the latest move in an escalating feud Business Insider (Kevin W)

Brexit

Brexit: May’s plan for cross-party talks under fire as MPs condemn her for sidelining Corbyn Guardian. Live blog

Brexit: Labour threatens to bring no confidence vote ‘again and again and again’ Mirror

Ministers split over whether May should soften Brexit deal after defeat Guardian

Brexit latest polling: Public hate Theresa May’s deal – but still back leaving Telegraph

Boris Johnson says there is STILL time to renegotiate the Brexit deal without delaying Britain’s departure from the EU – as he says he WILL back May in confidence vote Daily Mail

Brexit: Nicola Sturgeon says another EU referendum ‘only credible option’ BBC

Two Lessons From France’s Yellow Vest Protests Ian Welsh (UserFriendly)

Syraqistan

What the ‘Irish Famine’ Genocide Teaches Us about Palestine Mondoweiss (Chuck L)

On the road with Iran’s women truckers YouTube (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Teachers are scanning students’ brains to check they are concentrating New Scientist (Dr. Kevin)

Ajit Pai Gives Carriers Free Pass on Privacy Violations During FCC Shutdown ars technica

Engineers 3D print smart objects with ’embodied logic’ Science Daily (Kevin W). I want my toaster to toast, not to be “smart”.

Trump Transition

Trump Orders Thousands Back to Work Without Pay to Blunt Shutdown Disruption Bloomberg. Slavery has arrived in the US. I doubt they’ll get interest on their back pay. Conservatives must be delighted. This will make even fewer capable people want to work for government.

Federal judge sides with Trump, allowing workers to go unpaid during shutdown Politico

Government shutdown begins to harm US economy Financial Times

Trump’s Version of ‘Let Them Eat Cake’ Bill Black

Barr Defends Mueller, Says He Won’t Cave to Pressure From Trump Wall Street Journal

Federal Court Blocks Trump’s 2020 Census Question Plan Bloomberg (furzy)

Before the Law in Tijuana Baffler

Migrant caravan: Hundreds of Hondurans set off on new trek BBC. Fortunately for these refugees, the Trump Administration isn’t likely to be organized enough to know of this interview and then connect the statements to the individual cases. They are all to various degrees presenting themselves as economic refugees, not asylum-seekers. None of them was arguing that they were in physical danger. The closest were the two who didn’t want to join gangs to earn a living, but even then, they made it sound more like a moral issue than a matter of risking life and limb. Shorter: what the press thinks are sympathetic portrayals are if anything hurting these individuals’ legal cases.

Bernie Sanders: Democrats Need to Rein In Our Out-of-Control Military Spending In These Times (martha)

Trump wanted to eat Democrats’ lunch. That’s why they didn’t show up for his. NBC (furzy).

Gillibrand announces exploratory committee to run for president on Colbert The Hill

These 2020 hopefuls are courting Wall Street. Don’t be fooled by their progressive veneer Guardian (martha r)

Congressman David Cicilline Is Out to Change Tech and Antitrust Bloomberg. UserFriendly: “Good news. Someone check his donors. At least he is in a safe seat until RI looses a CD in 2022.”

Please send to everyone you know in Kentucky. Tobe was forced off the board of the now virtually-broke Kentucky Retirement Systems for objecting to their dodgy practices. Among other things, Tobe clashed with the fiduciary counsel Robert Klausner (who we managed to run out of CalPERS) who has been the subject of well-deserved bad press since the early 2000s for his pay-to-play business.

PG&E Bankruptcy Threatens Wildfire Suits, Green Contracts Wall Street Journal

Do social media bots have a right to free speech? Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (Dr. Kevin)

Heavy Crude: From Glut To Shortage OilPrice

Global economy puts pressure on Vermont’s local sawmills VTDigger. Resilc: “My guy down the street in Stamford cuts alone with 2 helpers. Had 20 people in early 2000s. I’ve bought 40$k worth of wood to do my part.”

Hackers Broke Into An SEC Database and Made Millions From Inside Information, Says DOJ CNBC

Open Letter to Elon Musk – Planet Earth: Worldwide 5G Radiation from Orbit? EMFSA (furzy)

From Carlos-san to Ghosn ‘yougisha’ (suspect) Bangkok Post (furzy)

Class Warfare

Poll: A majority of Americans support raising the top tax rate to 70 percent The Hill. UserFriendly: “Anyone shocked by this poll has no business being in office.”

Republican Agenda Should Unite Populism and Republicanism National Review. UserFriendly: “the right noticed the lack of noblesse oblige isn’t working out well.”

Sanders to introduce bill that would raise federal minimum wage to $15 The Hill (martha r)

Big companies are crushing their competition in the US, and it’s creating a dangerous ‘fake capitalism’ that hurts workers and consumers Business Insider (David L)

Repeat after me, progressive ideas are not radical:

Antidote du jour (@angeliateah):

And a bonus video. Another drama queen husky!

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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275 comments

  1. Isotope_C14

    “Bernie Sanders: Democrats Need to Rein In Our Out-of-Control Military Spending In These Times (martha)”

    Actually, seeing as the Military is a huge contributor to the global CO2 footprint, they actually need to be eliminated.

    Failure to do so will result in the extinction of our species even sooner.

    Why can’t we just live the last 5 years of human existence at this scale in peace?

    Reply
    1. Ignacio

      I was wondering if stating that, which of course makes a loooooooot of sense, increases or reduces the possibility of Sanders being elected.

      Reply
      1. Annieb

        Wish he had been this outspoken about foreign policy in the 2016 primary. Better late than never! I think that Tulsi is going to be a good influence on all the Dem candidates

        Reply
      2. neo-realist

        Sanders should talk to the public about the 21 trillion the Pentagon misplaced as prime evidence that its spending should not only be cut but given greater oversight..

        Reply
        1. Oh

          Instead of killing people around he world and plundering for our mega corporations, imagine how many good things we could’ve built for the people with $21 trillion – fast trains, superior major transit in cities, a great healthcare system, a nice retirement package, support for the elderly….are just some that come to mind. What a travesty that continues in the name of “democracy”.

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            Not to mention an excellent public transportation system including trains (not even high speed, just the speeds of the 1950s) would decrease isolation of communities, reduce congestion on the roads and airports and help with climate change. If we actually built an extensive network of high speed rail, that would do so much good.

            Reply
            1. Procopius

              We used to have nice things. In 1900 it was possible to ride a series of light rail and trolley car systems from New York to Bangor for a total fare of about 15¢.

              Reply
  2. Another Scott

    Living in Massachusetts, where the gas workers were locked out of work for 6 months and were forced to give major concessions to the Brits owning the company, I don’t care if Democrats tweet in support of striking workers, such as teachers in LA. I want them to actual support them by providing tangible benefits, not only policies that promote workers and unions, but specific actions during the labor actions themselves. Such actions would be getting them food and health care during the strike, encouraging donors to contribute to worker relief funds.

    Without actions, tweets are simply another way for politicians to save face with unions, take their money without doing anything for the workers themselves.

    Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I believe, based on experience, that it’s never too much to demand more from our politicians.

        Too often, due to years of being disappointed, we expect too little.

        Reply
    1. Pat

      Do not get me wrong. I agree that tangible support should be the standard for our political class. OTOH, not even being able to provide the weak tea of verbal support should immediately eliminate the candidates from any support whatsoever by those on the wrong side of the class war, most particularly union members and supporters.

      It says a lot about how corporate propaganda and yes corrupt union leadership has so twisted the public perception that staying silent is even a consideration. I am not sure which big lie upsets me more – unions are the problem or Social Security is stealing your money you should do it yourself.

      Reply
  3. Steve H.

    > The Naked Capitalism commentariat is the best commentariat.

    There was something odd yesterday that perhaps I’m being oversensitive to. The ‘Fantasyland’ post yesterday had an unusual amount of rancor. We get frisky, but accusations of telling lies, of mirroring ‘help me’s, and tangenting off-topic seemed to be the rule rather than the exception. As taunger said, “I’m having a hard time following you on this thread.”

    I attributed it to a bad seed in the word “fantasyland” and withdrew. Specifically, it seemed to evoke emotional reactions that led to increased projection. People read through heavy subjective filters, responding with what was important to them rather than what was being addressed. Not on purpose! Just internal biases being forefronted by the emotional reaction to the bad seed. Is meat-or-not really part of the Green New Deal?

    I figured I was doing the same thing and got out of the pool. Two points of concern. Who gets to define Green New Deal? And what is the best action (or non-) to take, when even the best commentariat chews on its own leg in response to one trolling author?

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I don’t see this as a trolling author. He made a critically important point and I was very depressed by the commentariat’s reaction.

      Human civilization is about out of runway. The species might also be given the amount of biosphere destruction. I literally saw an article saying that the biosphere gloomsters were too gloomy because life came back after the last species die-off…..after 200-300 million years! And this die-off is progressing way way faster.

      People want hope. They have to grow up and get over that. They should be terrified as to what is coming and take extreme measures. Anything less than that won’t make much difference. Even full bore radical conservation etc won’t be enough but it might reduce the severity of bad outcomes. I can’t stand this idea that people have to be coddled and given cheery scenarios.

      Reply
      1. carl

        Yes, and this commentariat is one of the most knowledgeable and articulate on the internet. Says a lot about how humanity in general will handle the coming years, which is to say not well.

        Reply
      2. Alex V

        “People want hope. They have to grow up and get over that.”

        Hope for a meaningful and productive life without material excess is quite a different thing from hope of preserving the status quo. Is it not possible to ask for this distinction, or is that naive at this point?

        Reply
        1. Morgan Everett

          People aren’t hoping for a life without material excess though, they are still hoping for the exact same material circumstances, except magically green, which somehow makes it all better.

          Reply
            1. Morgan Everett

              Citation? Isn’t it self-evident? I heard from my brother about his colleagues flying about the country so that they can go to seminars on climate change. I’ve witnessed people getting upset and objecting (not based on any scientific reasons, just on their emotional desires) at being told that green energy can not adequately replace fossil fuels. Are you seeing a mass of people decreasing their consumption levels? If so, I’m wondering what kind of social circle you run in. Because I’m sure not.

              Reply
              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I would say that, based on what I know myself about human nature, you’re likely right.

                That’s on the one hand.

                On the other hand, people can be moved to overcome that.

                So, that’s looking at it from the temporal perspective – often times we are or feel this way, and other time, we act or feel that way.

                Space-wise, I would state that the above about human nature is in all of us, and there are not 100% conservatives, and 100% progressives, but that we all have some conservative elements and some progressive elements inside each of us…a mixture of left and right, and left brain and right brain.

                Reply
                1. lordkoos

                  A big problem seems to be that humans are more programmed for the survival of the individual (or perhaps the tribe), rather than the species. Unlike cockroaches, who will likely inherit the earth.

                  Reply
              2. Alex V

                Regarding your flying anecdote – how many of those people flew because it’s the flight that gives them pleasure or meaning? It’s more likely they flew with the goal of learning something new, being social with a group of like minded people, or to broadcast some type of status. Think the tip of Maslows pyramid. None of those things are physically dependent on fossil fuels, and were even possible before the invention of the airplane. My argument is that the ultimate reasons for all of this consumption can be met through other ways.

                My perspective is likely distorted by living in Sweden which I’m guessing has a higher level of awareness on such issues than most places, but of course nowhere near enough. For example a new word added to vernacular, as voted on by the press, is “flygskam”. Literally translates to “flight shame”.

                Reply
                  1. LyonNightroad

                    Just a drop in the bucket compared to the global energy use enabling large populations of people to live in climates they don’t belong.

                    Reply
            2. Plenue

              Anecdotal,. but judging by a lot of fiction out there there seems to be a widespread view that sea level rise is the only real big problem. As in, in fifty or a hundred years the coastlines will be redrawn, and that will suck, but life will continue on much as before, just with a lot of people having to move inland.

              The notion that sea level rise is but one aspect of a changing environment that brings with it a whole set of problems mostly doesn’t seem to have entered the public consciousness. Things like a lack of drinkable water and soil depletion by mid-century are simply not on most people’s radar at all.

              Reply
          1. Harold

            How do you know people are hoping for “the same” material excess? Most people know, for example, that having more than one car per family is unsustainable, that lawns are bad for the environment, ditto hamburgers as a staple food, that throwaway clothing is an abomination, and so on. I find the premise overstated. Most people are hoping we don’t have to look forward to mass starvation and no heat in winter.

            Reply
              1. Harold

                No more dubious that generalizing about what people are unrealistically “hoping”. Why not phrase the same thought differently? Why not say people may be seriously underestimating the sacrifices (if they are really sacrifices) they will be forced to make if they want policies that really impact climate change?
                But can’t we hope that some of these “sacrifices” will also produce some unexpected benefits? For example, would taking several days to travel to a meeting using high-speed rail instead of jet planes really be such a bad thing? And if you have to have a stopover, or two, wouldn’t that mean more people will be employed in “flyover country.”

                Reply
                1. bob

                  “For example, would taking several days to travel to a meeting using high-speed rail instead of jet planes really be such a bad thing?”

                  Why would you assume high speed rail would exist?

                  “People aren’t hoping for a life without material excess though, they are still hoping for the exact same material circumstances, except magically green, which somehow makes it all better.”

                  That is the correct take. Your comment is evidence of this attitude, not a rebuttal.

                  Reply
                  1. Harold

                    I do not assume high speed rail exists, that would be delusional. I would assume that a so-called Green New Deal — or rather climate change policies would involve trying to build such things as high speed rail.

                    I don’t know how you can say that I am hoping for the status quo to continue without saying what the status quo means to you.

                    As for my own “lifestyle”, I already only fly once a year, if that. I live in a row house with the temperature at 65 in winter and I have a small air conditioner in one room of my house for the hottest summer days. We seldom drive, except to visit friends far away every few months. I avoid fast food. I like to keep my clothes for as long as I can (my winter coat is 20 years old). I actually don’t regard these things as sacrifices. But I also don’t delude myself that my personal actions will influence climate change. That is something that will require large-scale public policies, as the article correctly points out.

                    Reply
                    1. Harold

                      Energy efficient is a relative term, as is “high-speed”. I assume that people would not want to take 30 days to cross the country as I once did, traveling by car with my kids, though we had a wonderful trip.

          2. Annib

            Re: maintain the status quo. Not me. I hope for a different, and better future , for my children and grandchildren. Global warming may make it impossible to continue the current resource depletion and horrendous consumerism. No more transatlantic air flights, etc etc. Maybe the police state might fall apart too! One can hope for that. But I agree with Yves that extreme steps taken now are probably the best hope for civilization. But I have fears that the ones to enforce those steps will also enact other repressive agendas.

            Reply
            1. polecat

              I personally do NOT hope for ‘extreme steps’ to be imposed upon me and mine … by the neolibracon duopoly party of, by, and for Nancy, Mitch, and the rest ..
              Privation for me, but not for thee doesn’t cut the poupon in my book !

              Reply
            2. jrs

              I see the possible temporary closing down of airports as a potentially a very positive impact of the government shutdown. I mostly think the government shutdown is completely idiotic and an abomination, just silver linings if they came to be is all …

              Reply
              1. Punta Pete

                I fondly recall that one of the few benefits of the 9/11 attacks was seven days of beautiful blue silent skies.

                Reply
            3. Lambert Strether

              > But I agree with Yves that extreme steps taken now are probably the best hope for civilization. But I have fears that the ones to enforce those steps will also enact other repressive agendas.

              One approach would be a military coup, followed by whatever measures are needed. This seems unlikely to work, to me, since the military is a prime contributor to greenhouse gas; that is, the military would have to become not the military for this to work. The other objection would be that the military is run by idiots, at least if war-fighting is the metric, if you look at Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, etc. (I suppose the intelligence community would be the other candidate, but I don’t see nudge theory, which is the approach they would likely take in conjunction with Silicon Valley, is powerful enough to bring about the desired results.)

              The other approach is to drag the issue into the political realm, which is the only way to bring the power of the State to bear, as with the first New Deal. This mobilization is something that the environmental movement (McKibben, et al.) have conspicuously failed to do, probably because they are a movement. AOC’s proposal was at least a start, but Pelosi (naturally) put a stake in its heart. Capital accumulation — the real problem — must continue! (Never mind that we’ve already got so much stupid money sloshing about that we don’t know where to invest it.)

              I think the second approach is the only approach that has the slightest chance of working. Yes, enormous networks of influencers in the political class, and a large number of squillionaires, would need to be decapitated deprived of influence but the level of pissed-off-ness generally may be sufficient to bring about such a result, properly organized. This is what election 2020 should be about.

              Reply
            1. John

              In our society there are limits to what individuals can do. We need changes to zoning law, construction codes, and tax codes. Wealthy families could put solar panels on the roof, go full electric and shut off the gas line. Renters earning minimum wage don’t have that choice.

              Reply
        2. JTMcPhee

          I recall a snippet of a “nature” program that showed a grasshopper chewing hopefully on a long sprig of grass. While said grasshopper was in turn being eaten, tail first, by a lizard that reminded me a little of Jeff Bezos.

          I wonder if other people tune in to NC to get the latest reporting on the massive avalanche of self-induced (speaking for the species) futility that by all accounts is chuting down on us. I do my daily NC dose probably in part out of depression, and because I do not want to be a chump, a sucker, to be looted and taken advantage of from all sides while being blissfully unaware of what’s being done, by whom, and by what means, to me and my fellow mopes, by the looters and predators and cancers. Still chewing my blade of grass, of course, but hoping, I think, in amongst the pretty uniformly bad news, that somehow, some of my offspring and friends might get to chew their blades of grass, in turn…

          But knowing that like the grasshoppers, enough of us constitutes a plague.

          Too bad there’s no agreement on what the world, including the political economy, should look like, at least if that agreement were to embody a homeostatic relationship between this species and all the others.

          Reply
          1. Carolinian

            Maybe not so much grasshoppers as our fellow primates and other intelligent mammals. I’ve always thought you can learn a lot about humans by watching Nature on PBS.

            Perhaps we should take a break from the climate crisis and do a better job of studying ourselves.

            Reply
          2. patD

            +1!

            “…I do my daily NC dose probably in part out of depression, and because I do not want to be a chump, a sucker, to be looted and taken advantage of from all sides while being blissfully unaware of what’s being done, by whom, and by what means, to me and my fellow mopes, by the looters and predators and cancers. “

            Reply
          3. Oh

            I think that lizard is just trying to survive but the slimy Bezos is greedy, wretched and heartless. I boycott Amazon, AWS and all his ‘enterprises’. I recommend to others that they do the same.

            Reply
      3. Wukchumni

        Getting used to the new normal of lesser expectations is best met head on, rather than to dally around the edges of a precipice. The most important thing to us now, seems to be shopping too much, as we are besieged in our cars and on our phones with temptation.

        How do you change behavior such as this, that’s pretty deep set and has turned a good part of the citizenry into so many Pavlov’s dogs touching levers for reinforcement?

        Reply
      4. Carla

        I’m really with Yves on this one. Didn’t have time to read “Why the Green New Deal Is Fantasyland” yesterday, but having just done so this a.m., I don’t understand why Steve H. would accuse the author of “trolling.” Rather, he very reasonably points out the impossibility of surviving a growth-based economy when the planet is finite.

        Some key sections:

        “To avoid that disaster, we need a strict national emissions ceiling that declines steeply year by year. Across the economy, resources must be diverted by lawaway from destructive and superfluous production, toward meeting human needs. Likewise, abuse of land, water, and ecosystems must be outlawed, no matter how much money-pain it causes those who’ve been enriched by that abuse.”

        “Fortunately—well-tended conventional wisdom notwithstanding—degrowth in America would not necessarily bring on a Great-Depression-style social catastrophe.”

        And finally:

        “A socialist transformation is necessary, but that in itself won’t be sufficient to reverse Earth’s ecological degradation unless it is also dedicated to drawing the human economy back within necessary ecological limits while ensuring sufficiency for all and excess for none.”

        I suggest Mr. Cox’s post is worthy of another read.

        Reply
        1. KLG

          “…he very reasonably points out the impossibility of surviving a growth-based economy when the planet is finite.”

          Herman Daly has been making this point very lucidly for 40+ years, and apparently/virtually no major economist has paid attention. Daly was a student of Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, who got economics and entropy/Second Law of Thermodynamics pretty much correct. IIRC Daly got into trouble with Larry Summers while he was at the World Bank. He wanted to include the “economy” as part of a largely closed system (but not completely entropic as long as the sun shines) and Summers replied, “That’s not the way to think about it.”

          See: Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development, Herman E. Daly, 1997.

          Reply
          1. Cal2

            The main part of a growth based economy is assuring more people for markets and to prop up debt loads.

            Americans have already done their part to reduce population.
            Immigration is responsible for America’s population growth.

            Immigrants use far more energy in the U.S. then they would at home.

            Reply
            1. pretzelattack

              yes we need to stop destroying their countries, by war and economic pressure, which makes us responsible for much of the emigration in the first place.

              Reply
            2. KPC

              Buddy, not even close. The data is precisely reverse. This is simple fact.
              5% of global population which is USA consumes 33% to 44% of the world’s resources including approximately a 30% waste factor in your electric power grid and an apparent approximate 34% waste factor in your toxic food from packer to consumption.
              Enough of this nonsense for you people who refuse to change your personal behavior one damned centavo while you whine like some two your old about your entitlements and the human rights abuses of others.
              Get over yourself.
              The rotw will no longer and is no longer tolerating this.

              Reply
                1. KPC

                  Lambert, as Yves mentioned, there are limits.
                  I am exhausted from the massive disrespect shoved at me and mine.
                  At some point, ya sit on them like my 5 year old kids back in the day… . They are willfully immature.

                  Reply
                  1. KPC

                    I removed a comment. I might be willing to discuss it personally. But not on open net.
                    I am outraged and not wrong in my behavior, sir.
                    Not the first time someone has tried that trick on me, Lambert.
                    Some of us in who work in diplomatic zones are rather more than typical trained in psych. At the end of the day, law, accountancy, diplomacy are all about human behavior. Hence, some of my education is Jung and Heidelberg.

                    Reply
                  2. Lambert Strether

                    > ya sit on them like my 5 year old kids

                    There’s a lot of that going around. In any case, that’s our job. Not yours. We don’t look kindly at self-appointed enforcers in the comments section.

                    Reply
        2. Olga

          I hate to point out the obvious, but some of that is what socialism tried to achieve. No superfluous consumption. The big problem, however, was that just ten minutes away – across the border – there were people who did have more stuff. (I cannot find the link now, but there as a post recently here about a guy who got the N prize for writing (or analyzing) – in effect – about envy.) But if everybody were in the same boat, maybe it could have worked. (And please spare me the comments about oppression – if the capitalist west did not try to undo socialist countries, there’d be much less paranoia, thus much less or no oppression. Plus – like there is no oppression in the capitalist world?!)
          There is also this:
          “This perfectly represents the mistaken belief that a better form of consumerism will save the planet. The problems we face are structural: a political system captured by commercial interests, and an economic system that seeks endless growth.”
          One of the main problems with capitalism is that it needs constant growth to keep the forces of its internal “logic” in balance – but is located on a planet that is finite:
          https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/06/save-earth-disposable-coffee-cup-green

          Reply
          1. Darthbobber

            Soviet style socialism initially proposed to pursue pretty much the same growth/abundance strategy as capitalism. And the point of khruschev’s we will bury you speech was that their growing productivity compared to the west would do that. One wag suggested that they might win the “race” with the west if they would stop running in the same direction.

            The Lieberman reforms were an effort to reignite stalled growth not that long afterwards.

            Reply
            1. KPC

              Sir, there is truth in what you say but there is a better way of communicating.
              The USSR did not collapse because of socialism or communism. It collapsed because of tragic corruption. Furthermore, we did not have do much of anything with respect to the nation state known as Russia or any other with one notable exception. It was the UNION which was removed under the courageous leadership of Gorbachev and a few others including Putin.
              Germany was the one which was “reunified” where a then sovereign nation state was merged or fused into one which existed known as the Federal Republic.
              For pity sake people, Russia lost over 60% of its population in a few short years to defeat evil. USA? Well, tragically late to the game and helped and certainly lives were lost but, in truth, when USA entered Russia had already defeated evil.
              One has to start here and then drop back with a little more understanding and respect.
              Yes, in the classic form of “socialism” a la Dr. Marx there is a seed or flaw which one might call destructive in the literal scientific long known concept that this great home of ours is finite and infinite is LITERALLY not possible, Mam Gaia always trumps and she is not always kind and gentle. The same flaw arguably exists within classic capitalism a la Adam Smith.
              But in the fullness of time, who cares? We simply have to change, each and every one of with no exception and consume a bit less so we can return to a decent life. Yes, there will be difficulties but there are solutions. No matter what you biophobes claim to the contrary, us human beings are indeed natural… . Grow up, get on with it and fix this mess starting with each and every of you making the necessary changes in your personal behavior. Done. No more tolerance.
              By the way, you folks might try a new so-called political party instead of endless useless hours here weeping and railing about nonsense… ? I mean really. Ya do not even need Einstein’s snark for this group on that subject. Flat out boring.
              By the way, this wasteful time of you people directly contributes to adverse global climate change and increased contamination.

              Reply
                1. KPC

                  Lambert, you are stone cold wrong. It is in the archives. One issue is the loss is so great no one could actually quantify it.
                  Get over it.

                  Reply
                  1. Lambert Strether

                    > It is in the archives

                    I would be very happy to look at these definitely-articled archives. Where are they to be found? More importantly, where is this number to be found within them?

                    Reply
                  2. Yves Smith Post author

                    Making shit up is against our written site Policies.

                    And the onus is on you to substantiate wild assertions like that, and not for us to run them down. You have NO business getting abusive when you have been caught out.

                    One more comment like this and you will be blacklisted. And you owe Lambert and the commentariat an apology.

                    Reply
              1. Yves Smith Post author

                Project much? You’ve got huge swathes of text that got caught in moderation and you have the temerity to carry on about wasting time making comments and that being bad for the environment? And then you tell people they should change behavior, oh, and start a new political party too? Why don’t you pull out a mirror and try talking to that person first?

                Reply
        3. Darthbobber

          If there’s a shibboleth more difficult to attack successfully than capitalism, it’s growth as panacea. (of course, they are cousins, since capitalism seems to actually acquire endless growth to remain viable, while it is possible to imagine a fairly steady state economy based on production of use values).

          At present, left alternatives that decline to offer the prospect of getting endless growth back on track are marginalized even within left discourses.
          If you mention the obvious, a lot of people will nod their heads, but that’s as far as it goes.

          Reply
          1. Lambert Strether

            > endless growth

            Back in the day, a lot of labor demands were about time, not stuff. The weekend. The eight-hour day. Maybe we need to get back to that. After all, the alienation of labor has, if anything, increased.

            Reply
        4. knowbuddhau

          Would the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, DIA, DOE (nukes), all special forces, everything under the “Black” budget, etc. be included under that strict emissions ceiling? How could we tell, if they won’t even tell us what they’re doing?

          I searched for “war” in the article. Nothing after WWII. Not a word about our futile empire and the several simultaneous illegal wars of aggression for full-spectrum dominance of the doomed fossil fuel economy (not to be mistaken for “the human economy”). Why don’t we start by stopping a cartoonish effort to conquer the world, a proxy for Nature Herself?

          Our wars didn’t end in the 40s. We’re so used to them, it’s common, to overlook them altogether, like this author does, in telling us we’re fantasizing, only to go on fantasizing about piecemeal efforts without ever mentioning empire.

          There is no avoiding “that” disaster; the disasters are already upon us. And to think there’s any reversing it? Pure fantasy. Way, way, too late for that. We’ve added so much carbon, the climate will be changing for the worse for *millennia. There’s a non-zero chance we’ll tip over into a Neo-Hadean, like Venus, only worse cuz we have more water to boil off into the sky.

          I can’t even wholeheartedly agree with the bit I agree with. News flash, buddy: our industrial economies do not at all equal “the human economy.” Huge numbers (as if quantity made it right) of people in myriad cultures lived thousands of years, often in the same places, without fuqqing things up like we have in only a few short hundred.

          Stop using the rest of humanity as humans shields for your guilt. *We did this, people of our culture. *We need to get right with Nature, ourselves and our society, because there’s going to be Hell on Earth to pay for our hubris for a long, long time to come.

          Reply
        5. Lambert Strether

          > growth-based economy

          For “growth-based” read “driven by capital accumulation.”

          To my mind, that’s the issue. Consumption, for example, is structured for that purpose and no other. Putting capital under democratic control is a requirement, and that’s a very heavy lift, since you also have to convince the electorate of what needs to be done for collective survival (or rather, the survival of our children and grand-children in a non-degraded state. Perhaps raw fear is the best way to do that,* but for that to happen, these issues need to be dragged into the political realm, and out of the scientific realm, or the movement realm. (For example, holding the Kochs personally responsible for climate denialism would be a good start. I need to find out who’s on the House Committee that would do that…).

          NOTE * War, as in World War II run by the FDR administration during/after the New Deal, can do that. The issue, I think, is one of timing. In war, the lag from fear to mobilization can be relatively short. But the time from climate fear to climate mobilization is longer, not only because we don’t have the environmental equivalent of a standing army, but because the time from, say, insect die-off to fearing the results personally is measured in years, not months. Of course, we’re good at propaganda when we put our minds to it.

          Reply
      5. Roger Smith

        Things may be dire, but I see no way that this can ever be sold to the public who has had their sovereignty and security stripped away from them little by little for decades, only to be told that “Guess what? You need to stop this, this, this, and that, and do this, and… etc… for the good of the whole!” That is, or comes off as at least, extremely arrogant. Further we have seen that framing environmental issues as doomsday scenarios is a complete non-starter. The average person doesn’t respond and the critics argue it is all made up or severely exaggerated. You are not going to get people on board by telling them the world is ending sometime in the future unless they give up a little of the few nice things they have.

        Another point of view here, not that I want to die or anything, but what is with this presumption that human life has to survive? There is a general pretentious belief that we are somehow above nature simply because we have the most developed consciousness and associated skills, but that doesn’t really mean much. It is clearly not developed enough if this is such a serious scenario. As George Carlin once pointed out, “The planet is fine. The people are…” not. I have long thought we needed to return to the 90s (when was a kid) and there seemed to be constant drive to lessen pollution. It is a much closer to home, reasonable, relatable message than, ‘The world is ending!–throw everything overboard quick!’. Maybe that isn’t enough, sure (it should have been going on much longer this way). Maybe quality of the end is more important that forcing survival. There doesn’t seem to be a good answer to this problem. Just my thoughts.

        Reply
        1. We're doomed

          Yep: Macron set off the Yellow Vests because taxed petrol and diesel. Notice how the media owned by oligarchs put in yellow vest are ignoring climate issue, but didn’t point out he but Macron didn’t increase tax on aviation gas and kerosene (jet fuel).

          Reply
        2. Grant

          “Things may be dire, but I see no way that this can ever be sold to the public who has had their sovereignty and security stripped away from them little by little for decades, only to be told that “Guess what? You need to stop this, this, this, and that, and do this, and… etc… for the good of the whole!” That is, or comes off as at least, extremely arrogant”

          Well, the left was out there protesting against the WTO, warned against those ideas spreading. The WTO claims that when countries that are party to the WTO sign environmental agreements, and when those agreements clash with WTO dictates, that the WTO takes precedence. Shortly after the WTO was created, it gutted portions of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments and portions of the Endangered Species Act. The investor state dispute mechanism at the WTO has been used by countries to actually attack each other’s renewable energy industries, especially in regards to various types of state support. The World Social Forum produced a number of concrete proposals on how to have a more democratic, equitable and sustainable international economic system. The Another World is Possible books contain many of those ideas. The left warned against NAFTA like deals, and the left going back decades had a number of good ideas. The left lost though, the so called neoliberals won. Their policies sped up the environmental crisis, and tied the hands of government in regards to controlling capital, and their ideas and policies did undermine environmental protections of all kinds. TransCanada at one point was trying to use Chapter 11 of NAFTA to sue the Obama administration for its decision on the Keystone pipeline.

          We did their ideas instead, and things turned out as the left predicted they would. Things got worse not only for the environment, but working people, poor people and our democracy. The same exact economic system, which undermined democracy and workers rights, also was a key driver in the environmental crisis. Those debates really never ended. Why is it hard to explain to people that the things the left has been fighting against led us here? Entirely accurate. We have decades of stagnating wages, decades of progressive ecological destruction, decades of exploding inequality, decades of democracies being undermined, decades of financialization, and it all comes down to roughly the same thing; structural problems in the capitalist system, these ecological impacts are almost entirely missing within markets and prices, we have reached the limits to growth in throughput and pollution generation (both of which are highly inequitable) and the international economy/capitalism undermines our capacity to properly address these things and in fact is making things much worse. A doctor telling you that you have a terminal disease isn’t being arrogant, they are just the person delivering a difficult message. If they have a treatment that may be difficult on you physically, then they should explain what that treatment is and be honest about the whole thing. What you do with that information is up to you. Seems to be where we are at, and the left is the only group of people that was correct the whole time and has any real potential solutions (or at least means of mitigating some of the negative impacts). Peter Frase wrote a book called “Four Futures”, about the broad choices we have in the coming decades. He called what the right is offering as “exterminism”. Seems correct. I, personally, think the idea that we should just throw our hands up and give up to be roughly the same argument, given existing inequalities and power dynamics.

          https://www.jacobinmag.com/2011/12/four-futures/

          But what if resources and energy are simply too scarce to allow everyone to enjoy the material standard of living of today’s rich? What if we arrive in a future that no longer requires the mass proletariat’s labor in production, but is unable to provide everyone with an arbitrarily high standard of consumption? If we arrive in that world as an egalitarian society, than the answer is the socialist regime of shared conservation described in the previous section. But if, instead, we remain a society polarized between a privileged elite and a downtrodden mass, then the most plausible trajectory leads to something much darker; I will call it by the term that E. P. Thompson used to describe a different dystopia, during the peak of the cold war: exterminism.

          Reply
          1. Lambert Strether

            > A doctor telling you that you have a terminal disease isn’t being arrogant, they are just the person delivering a difficult message. If they have a treatment that may be difficult on you physically, then they should explain what that treatment is and be honest about the whole thing.

            I think any doctor (certainly any nurse) will tell you that the way the message is delivered counts for as much as the message, and each patient needs to be told the message in such a way that they can hear it. And doing that is the doctor’s responsibility; they are, after all, not ill, in pain, disoriented, financially stressed, etc.

            So, if we replace doctor with “the left”/the environmental movement, they have not acted as doctor who successfully treats patients would act. Consider the weakness of the environmental “movement” if you think about the scope and nature of the problem. Somewhere, McKibben et al. went terribly astray, though I don’t know enough to know how (though I would guess that it would have something to do with approaches like framing the “Green New Deal” as a unicorn-level fantasy, rather than as a welcome and necessary first step or, more appropriately, a terrain on which to do battle. Is the “It’s a unicorn!” message mobilizing or demobilizing? I say that latter, and I say that’s bad.

            Reply
            1. Grant

              But, the strength of the environmental movement has little to do with the strength of their arguments or strategy. I mean, plenty of heterodox economists have pointed out the major flaws in neoclassical economics. Ecological economics has been fundamentally correct about these things for decades. That doesn’t mean those ideas find their ways into mainstream journals, right? The IMF’s research team does studies on austerity, and point out many of the things wrong with it, then the IMF does those things anyway. This is about power dynamics, clearly.

              I also think that you can claim that the environmental movement is somehow flawed in how they have gone about messaging, but haven’t explained exactly how. You claim that, but need to provide some supporting logic and evidence to support the claim.

              I agree that McKibben and others haven’t at times made the best decisions, but that seems like an obvious truism. No one is free of errors and mistakes of that sort, and there are existing power dynamics that have to be taken into account. The ideas of the left are really popular, but the left has only started to re-emerge very recently. Turning those ideas into actual policy is hard, and involves tons of organizing. Those we have to battle are much more powerful than us individually, so a coherent movement with coherent ideas is needed. Given that McKibben doesn’t embody the entirety of those that have been working on these issues for decades now, I would say that there are plenty of really good and coherent proposals out there on how to deal with the environmental crisis in a democratic and equitable manner. There have also been lots of idea out there on how to design an international economic system that is democratic, equitable and sustainable. Again though, having that reflected in policy is the hard part, and in this corrupt system, it really doesn’t matter how popular policies or institutions are. It’s just a matter of power.

              Reply
      6. bruce wilder

        I was concerned, too, about the “rancor” in comments, but I thought the stance taken by Yves Smith in her preface was spot-on — tougher and blunter and sharper than the ‘Fantasyland’ post itself.

        People sometimes want to argue the truth of climate science against those who would deny climate science, but that’s not even the relevant political / policy frontier. The climate science or the science of ecological collapse doesn’t tell us what to do; maybe it puts some bounds on the envelope within which the political economy undergirding civilization must operate for civilization (and the global natural ecology) to survive, but natural sciences do not tell us how to organize a political economy that can stay within that necessary envelope.

        I would think the NC commentariat would be distinguished by a shared recognition that the economics of neoliberalism, though hegemonic, is so much rubbish, adding to the self-destruction. Knowing a critique doesn’t get us very far. It makes us critics, not architects. That’s clearly not enough. But, merely pretending to be an architect in order to feel hopeful isn’t much of an answer either. Advocating for too little, too late because it is “doing something hopeful” is just another form of denial getting in the way of doing what is necessary. Even declaring one’s self “a socialist” can be little more than a palliative for the ego, though maybe it is also waiting for political opportunity.

        I expect we will return again and again to “the Green New Deal” as it figures as a rally point in American politics and I hope (sic) the commentariat can find a way to think about the ways in which that political template and precedent works as a model, and fails to work. That’s going to require a high tolerance for pessimism.

        I know my own political thinking has long been predicated on “hoping” for an acute crisis triggering a partial collapse of political structures and alignments, disabling the dominant political coalition. That’s kind of a stupid hope, but I do not know that I have much else.

        Soothing the commentariat does not seem appropriate, but some kind of meta-level discussion might make sense.

        Reply
        1. Olga

          Beware, though – one of the the things that brought Hitler to power was the effect of the Great Depression on Germany.
          Be careful what you wish for – although I do agree that nothing short of an environmental catastrophe would finally force major changes.

          Reply
            1. ivoteno

              realist: hoping that at the bottom of the cliff there is a pile of bodies high enough that it will make the fall survivable.

              Reply
      7. jrs

        many of us doubt being terrified will motivate almost anyone to take extreme measures, but will instead have people merely accept the things they can not change and do nothing. Or catch that plane to see the glaciers while they are still there .. That’s why we fight for something against nothing, for movement in the right direction because at least it’s movement and could snowball. Is Bernie Sander’s racial enough? Likely no, but out of his movement the growth of the DSA etc., things getting more radical out there.

        If noone else including those with kids and grandkids cares then neither can I be bothered to care if their kids and grand kids have horrible deaths, dying of lack of food or oxygen or temperature extremes or storms. I didn’t reproduce so, I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone!!! I do feel sorry for other species. It’s only the moral imperative that makes one care. Terror meh, what I’m going to die? I’m middle aged. No, I’m no fan of death, not at all, but I can say I lived an ok lifespan.

        Reply
        1. bruce wilder

          is an understandable aversion to alarmist rhetoric getting in the way of confronting a truly terrifying reality realistically?

          Reply
      8. JBird4049

        What concerns me is the reality that those in charge will use the oncoming catastrophe as a means of eliminating the “excess” population including its power, and acquiring a greater proportion of all the remaining resources including raw power unto themselves. Even without ecological collapse, the British used similar tactics on India and the Irish, while the Israelis do the same to the Palestinians.

        Dehumanize, destroy, and profit from that is often the norm. So the question is not how do we deal with climate change and possible ecological collapse. Instead, it is to how do we deal with climate change, a possible ecological collapse, while concurrently blocking our leadership; there are very real efforts by our civilization’s leadership to not try very hard to stop, or at least allow, ecocide, genocide, and societal collapse because that increases proportionally their control of everything while, they think, guaranteeing them the wealth, comforts, and power that they should have more of.

        Reply
      9. ewmayer

        “I literally saw an article saying that the biosphere gloomsters were too gloomy because life came back after the last species die-off…..after 200-300 million years!”

        Actually, life-on-earth bounced back surprisingly quickly – in geologic-time terms – after each of the five major mass extinction events which mark the Phanerozoic eon. For the mass extinction 66 million years ago which most notably killed off the large dinosaur species and permitted the rise of mammals to biospheric large-creature dominance, life was once again flourishing within a million years. Individual species, however, of course suffered highly disparate fates. Here Wikipedia on the worst of said events:

        The Permian–Triassic (P–Tr or P–T) extinction event, colloquially known as the Great Dying, the End-Permian Extinction or the Great Permian Extinction, occurred about 252 Ma (million years) ago, forming the boundary between the Permian and Triassic geologic periods, as well as between the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras. It is the Earth’s most severe known extinction event, with up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species becoming extinct. It is the only known mass extinction of insects. Some 57% of all biological families and 83% of all genera became extinct. Because so much biodiversity was lost, the recovery of land-dwelling life took significantly longer than after any other extinction event, possibly up to 10 million years. Studies in Bear Lake County near Paris, Idaho showed a relatively quick rebound in a localized marine ecosystem, taking around 2 million years to recover, suggesting that the impact of the extinction may have been felt less severely in some areas than others.

        Of course given that modern humans have walked the earth for far less than a million years and human civilization is less than 10,000 years old, such receovery timeframes should be of little comfort for our species.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I agree I confused how long ago the P-T barrier was with the length of the barren period.

          However, those #s don’t give a good picture because they don’t include ocean life. Between 93% and 97% of all species died of when you include ocean life:

          The Great Dying marked the end of the Permian and beginning of the Triassic period, which is why it is also known at the P-T extinction. It was the biggest of the five mass extinctions on Earth, killing off 51 per cent of all marine families, 82 per cent of all genera and between 93 and 97 per cent of all species.

          https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/ocean-acidification-killed-off-more-than-90-per-cent-of-marine-life-252-million-years-ago-scientists-10165989.html

          Reply
          1. JBird4049

            Just why is anyone bringing up the Great Dying? Aside from referencing the extreme volcanic eruptions that caused, it’s just as silly as arguing over the K-T Extinction Event that exterminated all the non avian dinosaurs.

            Life survived! And humanity has gone through at least two population bottlenecks in which the surviving population was as low as one thousand breeding pairs. Worldwide. The last one being within a hundred thousand years possibly caused by the Toba Supervolcano.

            Yea! Except we got lucky and civilization is a one hell of a lot more vulnerable than we are. Even if we “merely” suffer just a Bronze Age Collapse, it would be horrible. So why don’t we not engage in such comparisons and see if we can prevent ecocide, societal decay, and civilizational collapse without mulling over using genocide or other extreme “solutions.”

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              The problem is that the people presently holding the reins of power evince such a Darwinian Noir attitude.
              Besides, this upcoming ‘bottleneck’ is not the first such, and might not be the last.
              Punctuated Equilibrium.

              Reply
              1. JBird4049

                It would be at least the third human bottleneck. Despite the far greater number of humans, chimpanzees have a far greater genetic diversity. We came really close to extinction at least once and perhaps twice.

                Reply
    2. flora

      Mid January is a time of year already filled with irritations piling up: maybe the holiday get-togethers didn’t go well and still irritate, certainly the IRS tax forms arrived promptly in the mail and are sitting on the desk just waiting for the fun of collecting receipts and reading the easy to follow (snark) instructions and fill out the forms, the time of years when annual employee evaluation process starts for many large state bureaucracies (always 6 weeks of fun), and if you’re in the federal govt and on furlough you have some serious money issues right now, and if you need a govt service that’s shut down right now you aren’t too happy either.

      All this is a long way to say, right now it doesn’t take much extra to cause people to angrily vent at whatever target presents itself. imo.

      Reply
          1. marcyincny

            I can’t imagine that heat. I saw they shortened the second stage of the Tour Down Under but I still didn’t watch…

            Reply
          2. Big Tap

            As a tennis fan I know it’s hot in Australia this time of year. The center of world attention in tennis now is the Australian Open. Summer temps in triple digits (100 F up) are common.

            Reply
    3. Spring Texan

      Steve H. – I thought the same about the author and the comments. When you take the first steps toward a solution – “Green New Deal” – you lay the groundwork for more steps – the “de-growth” that yes is needed. If you talk down any positive action, you lay the groundwork for NOTHING. Yves may like the article, but I definitely did not.

      Reply
      1. anon in so cal

        imho, “de-growth” has to include demographic decrease.

        “The current world population is 7.7 billion as of January 2019”

        http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

        Headed toward 8 billion people, all clamoring for a middle-class lifestyle.

        Habitat destruction, resource depletion, toxic waste (including CO2), etc. This spells doom for all other living species on the planet.

        Reply
        1. JP

          Population increase equals GDP increase. As soon as population growth levels off and GDP begins to decrease the articles start popping up about how the economy is going to go in the toilet if we don’t start making more babies. I know real prosperity and options will reduce population growth but that seems only possible to obtain with heavy resource extraction and a large underclass making babies. Is the only possibility the classics; disease, starvation and guns?

          I won’t be around for the final solution but I am afraid it will be natural.

          Reply
          1. Darthbobber

            With both pension plans and social security linked to capitalist performance, and relying on current workers to fund the retired ones, either population stabilization or a growth rate that fails to outpace technical improvements and rising productivity per worker rapidly create a problem for all security schemes based on that model.

            Reply
      2. mraymondtorres

        Look. This issue has been in front of the general public in various forms since the early seventies. Every policy put in place since that was touted to ameliorate the problem has been either toothless or a cover for corporate rape & pillage of the ecosystem.

        The last thing we need at this late date is another boondoggle-laden diversion. Which, if you’ve been paying attention, is all Congress is capable of at this point.

        Maybe when all the details are in I’ll find that it’s great policy. I’d welcome that outcome. But without a paradigm shift it’s a total non-starter. Too late for “new” ideas that excite the very young people who have no idea what the details wouldvhavevto look like nor how long hammering out policy of this scope takes.

        I couldn’t hear what the ostrich was saying because his head was in the sand, but it sounded like, “Keep hope alive!”

        Reply
    4. human

      No justice, no peace.

      Jail a few outliers, such as Cheney and Blair, and watch how fast the proletariat will react for additional action.

      Reply
      1. Cal2

        Too protected. Corporate CEOs are easier. Think PG&E.

        Besides over a thousand dead, probable final toll, think of the carbon released by those fires, that now number in the double digits, caused by savings that added digits to PG&E officials’ bonuses.

        Reply
    5. Ignacio

      Climate change is receiving increasing priority here and I feel grateful about it. It is a shame for me that I saw that post late. Yes, it is difficult, people rapidly become emotional about it because we are all invested in this fossil-fueled civilization (purposedly avoiding the word economy). I see this very often in my environment not just online but in “live” discussions. Watch the yellow vests…

      Reply
      1. Donna

        Maybe I still haven’t grasped the extreme lifestyle changes coming my way if we push forward aggressively to mitigate climate change. Or maybe I tend towards a positive outlook. (I once read that they found a gene for this).

        I lived without A/C in the suburbs of Philly in the 60s. It wasn’t so bad. Maybe if we cut down on plane travel we will have to keep all communities strong and thereby families closer together. Our children will not be spread all over the continent for work. That seems like a positive to me. Since I will be 70 this year, I am really hoping train travel and other public transportation options arrive in full force. I love the idea of small downtowns resurging with local businesses and local products. How about stores being closed on Sundays again? Or people finally working less than 40 hours with time to care for loved ones young and old. No the capitalist model will not secure these changes but that’s okay too.

        It just seems to me we absolutely need the information about the severity of the problem. But we also need to remind people that life before consumerism took hold could be wonderful in its simplicity. I had 2 grandmothers and a grandfather who never learned to drive. So I can go back to a time in my mind when life was less consumer oriented and better. With the right PR couldn’t we make people hunger for these changes. Or do I just not get how serious this problem is?

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I will certainly consider giving up completely or reducing to the minimum essential amount of meat, wine, weed, beer, cheese completely if necessarily.

          Currently I eat/drink/use little or none of the above.

          Reply
          1. jrs

            I think it’s mostly meat that is the problem and to a lesser degree cheese.

            But yes, I’m ready for shared sacrifice. Social cohesiveness. Well, I’ve never been much for conforming for conformings sake. It’s about doing what is morally right. That’s what it’s all about. So would I join in shared sacrifice for a livable planet?
            I’m there, yesterday.

            Live simply that others may simply live. (of course we still have to get a handle on population, adding another billion is not helping anything, no matter how simply they live, and of course 1000 times it needs to be large scale – so yes we need some kind of GND).

            Reply
          2. polecat

            If obtaining clean water becomes more problematic, due to breakdown of needed infrastructure, then obtaining, or even better, knowing how to brew your own beer, might not be a bad option. Less bad then say, distilling potato derived alcohol … although That might be good as a general disinfectant.

            Reply
          3. lordkoos

            Weed was mentioned before as being a water hungry crop. I don’t think that has to be the case… there isn’t a lot of water in arid Afghanistan and cannabis most likely originated there.

            Reply
            1. Ignacio

              Regarding methane emissions and bovine meat: although it is true that methane has large greenhouse effect, growing cows and eating meat is still part of a “normal” carbon cycle. I don’t know if methane emissions now and in the past have been more or less been accurately estimated, i bet not. Methane producing biota exists in many places, including almost certainly unidentified ones and whereas breeding cows promotes methane emissions, treating urban organic solid waste in biomethanation plants reduces organic waste that otherwise would be naturally recycled to the atmosphere in the form of methane.

              There are other greenhouse gases that are emitted in nature such as isoprenoid volatiles produced by trees in vast amounts. Yet those are still within the n”ormal” cycle.

              The problem here and the climate disruptive activity is mostly and mainly to extract carbon stored for millions of years in the crust and release it in various forms, not only carbon dioxide or methane but in the form of compounds that yet have much more potent greenhouse effect such as HFCs.

              The debate on meat distracts us from the most important things IMO.

              Reply
    6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Taunger said that (“I am having a hard time following you on this thread”) to me.

      I felt no rancor in that comment directed at me.

      I hope it cleared up a bit regarding the role of meat production (or cheese, wine, beer, etc) with my response* to that. And it hope the subject was not tangeting off-topic.

      *They impact the environment similarly – growing barley for making beer, or corn to feed cattle (both relate to land use), methane emissions, animal waste, etc, with meat and cheese, and land use, water use with beer and wine – when drinking clean potable water would do nicely, or eating fruits and vegetables, etc.

      Reply
      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Maybe I got it wrong … I read your comments as an expression of skepticism about the “Green New Deal”. The attributed the drifts in the discussion to the vagaries of the “Green New Deal” proposal. To me it seemed more like an inkblot than a plan.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Yes, you’re right about my comments in the post.

          The comment by Taunger was more specifically related to meat, and as PlatinumKun mentioned dairy as well, I tried to explore other products, in this case, wine, weed and beer.

          Reply
    7. Jeff W

      I didn’t notice the rancor—I think I was focused on trying to figure out what the article was saying. The word “Fantasyland” was a big part of the problem. And I thought the article could have been framed better.

      But, more importantly, I think you raise a really good process point, and even raising process points within groups is itself a good process point. I think the most helpful response is to give some feedback on what you see is going on. Depending on the group, that might be a little risky because it can lead to defensiveness and “resistance.” But I’ve seen situations where just the feedback itself, without even any seeming awareness of the participants, changes the group’s behavior—so it can be surprisingly effective. So I’m really glad you brought the matter up.

      And I take flora’s point about the weather making people cranky and would just say that a lot of things can set people off, including the topic of the looming catastrophe of climate change and the changes necessary to mitigate it—and, when that happens, from time to time, online comments can escalate and people can get testy. But, again, just having people be aware of that dynamic helps them step out of it.

      Reply
  4. christy

    lol. I follow Gillibrand on twitter and 2 hours after her announcement of an exploratory committee for POTUS, no-likes, and 2 retweets. So yeah. NO THANK YOU.

    Reply
  5. christy

    lol. I follow Gillibrand on Twitter and when she made her announcement of an exploratory committee for POTUS, after two hours she had no-likes, and 2 retweets. So yeah. Another Dem elitist, part of the HRC/Obama crowd. People already know this.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Hollywood has its own ideas of what beautiful humans look like.

      You or I may or may not agree with them, and I have only seen her pictures a few times, but she looks looks like someone that would appeal to Hollywood and its target custoemers, if not you, or me.

      My question is, how much of it has contributed to where she is today?

      Reply
      1. Big River Bandido

        Probably of more import to her success is her family “legacy”. She’d never have been appointed a Senator at the age of 43 if her father hadn’t been a party bigwig.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Thanks, I don’t know much about her, not even exactly what state she represents (somewhere in the East Coast?).

          Reply
          1. Pat

            Junior senator from NY, she got appointed to the position when Hillary went to State.

            Actually she is the least offensive of our two Senators having at least done a couple of things not bank/multinational corporation or Israel driven. Still no reason for her to run for President. And yes, she would also be a tool.

            Reply
  6. David Carl Grimes

    Why is the market up if the shutdown is beginning to hit the real economy? Is it just short covering? Or is the market cheering a smaller government and the impending further privatization of government services?

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      Or is the market just a random-noise machine “tracked” by idiots with statistical tools they do not understand?

      Reply
      1. Anon

        Yes. The “Market” is not the larger economy.

        The stock market, today, is much different than it was in the 60’s and 70’s. Much more manipulation of performance data (and thus manipulation of investors—sharpies and otherwise). The Market may “track” the economy in “fuzzy numbers”, but only belatedly. When you are doing well (spending) the economy accelerates, and eventually so do the corporations that sell you stuff.

        Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “On the road with Iran’s women truckers”

    I can imagine that there will be more than a few people who will be grinding their teeth in some Gulf countries while watching this film clip. And these are the sort of people that countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel want the west to attack? What the hell man? Call us when you have female truck drivers driving the roads out of Riyadh.

    Reply
  8. George Phillies

    Gizmodo on East Antarctica melting “East Antarctica holds 52 of the 57 potential feet of sea level rise locked away in Antarctic ice.”

    Guys, that’s 52 meters, not 52 feet. meters and feet are different.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Good catch that – I missed it myself. At 52 meters that works out to about 170 feet which is colossal. I’d hate to think of how many cities that would put underwater.

      Reply
    2. Alex morfesis

      Not to be flippant… But how does the seasonal reality of winter arriving every year factor into this total meltdown scenario… Is anyone imagining there will be such global warming to magically compensate for far below zero weather for months at a time as the winters bounce from North to South to North again…?

      Reply
        1. polecat

          Ah .. but Chaos is anything but uniform … so keep your Bermuda shorts close to your Eddie Bauer parka.
          Also have a hat handy, as it does triple duty .. rain, freeze, or shine !

          Reply
      1. Jeremy Grimm

        As the Arctic melts we approach one of many Climate Chaos tipping points much faster than expected. Most of the Climate Chaos reports assume Climate Chaos will progress as linear transitions of an increasingly hotter equator region with climate zones slowly slipping further up in the latitudes. The record of Paleoclimate changes does not support this relatively hopeful idea of smooth climate transition. Past climate transitions occurred rapidly and they were not smooth or gentle. Adapting to rapid climate change is problematic at best. I’ve pointed to this link before and remain impressed by Jim White’s presentation “ABRUPT CLIMATE CHANGE: THE VIEW FROM THE PAST, THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRs4kIthJ9k . This presentation was made as the Fall AGU (American Geophysical Union) 2014 Nye Lecture and this is the start of the Fall AGU Week 2018 being held in Washington D.C. Dr. White’s presentation is readily accessible to the lay public and builds a powerful case for the likelihood of rapid climate change.

        The links recently included reference to a paper which contained evidence that past sea level increases were the result of Antarctic melt, not Greenland melt [sorry I don’t have the link].

        Reply
        1. Alex morfesis

          Have tried twice to watch your link but he is more long-winded at the start then even moi has been accused (accurately) of more than once in this life…

          Perhaps if we took a look at less theory and more reality of recent history… Guessing there is a reason the great end of the worlders due to seas rising never discuss, describe nor analyze the great rains and flood of the mighty Mississippi in 1927…an area about half the size of the entire state of Florida with damage which was equal to 30% of the federal budget… Accepting the budget for the federal govt was less than 4 billion per year and today’s budget is a much larger bite of GDP…we have a fairly recent and well documented massive Noah’s ark level flood which had such an effect… Most people probably don’t even realize it happened…

          accepting the need to get away from the damage escaping from semi nomadic existence over the last 100 years has done by release of millions of years of carbon back into the atmosphere… But can we have an adult conversation without the extreme guesstimate narrative from opposite sides…??

          There was a massive hurricane which tore thru St Pete in the 1840’s but most locally burp out how the city and area has never been hit by a “real” hurricane and giant surge…?

          We have real and fairly recent data…there have been massive devestating floods in china…massive loss of life in bangladesh and the devestations in indonesia from krakatoa not that many decades past and the earth quake and surge 15 years ago…will either side ever present hard facts or will all sides continue to argue their book and hope no one notices ??

          Reply
          1. pretzelattack

            the climate is changing, caused by fossil fuel emissions. this is a hard fact. the predictions about how fast it will change and is changing have proven to be too conservative. there is not a scientific debate about this. the arctic melting is a tipping point, ice reflects the energy back, water absorbs it.

            Reply
            1. ambrit

              If the magnetic poles flip, the hat will keep off high energy radiations too. See, sunlight intensity and skin cancers. Also, the warmer arctic shifts the atmospheric jet streams which steer the water vapours rising off of the warmer ocean surface. The rain falls somewhere new and farmlands shift. All that stranded infrastructure. My, my.

              Reply
          2. Jeremy Grimm

            I am sorry if you had trouble watching my link — as they say: “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”. I appreciate your feedback. I’ve watched the linked video several times, for interest but also for entertainment [not sure what that says about me but I won’t go there]. I watched again and tried to cut to the chase for your third try if you are still game.

            At a little past 23 minutes into the video watch the age of ice animation from NOAA. and the description of how rapidly thin ice can melt … up to ~26:20. If that grabs your attention you might want to back up to ~17:00 where the discussion is of how abrupt is abrupt. This discusses ice core data indicating a shift of mean temperatures in Northern Greenland of 10 degrees Centigrade in a period of roughly 20 years, with the shift occurring as an increase of 1 degree Centigrade per year for five years, some years of plateau, then an increase of 1 degree Centigrade per year for five more years to a new ‘normal’. At minute 20:00 the discussion covers the Booling Warming for which ice core data indicates a warming rate of 5-10 degrees Centigrade in Northern Greenland occurring over a period of 1 to 2 years. In light of a recent link at NC, you may find it interesting to watch at ~38:00 where there is a slide discussing the sea levels during the Pliocene Epoch when CO2 ppm was between 300 ppm and 600 ppm.

            The trouble with the events you describe in your comment is their much more difficult ties to Climate Chaos. Extreme events are more likely as the world warms, but probability is a difficult causal connection to establish with a Climate Change denier. You present events from as far back as 1927, but consider how difficult it is to establish a causal connection between Climate Chaos and the much more recent Sandy Storm at a time when Climate Change is much more plainly evident than it was in 1928.

            Reply
  9. not giving up

    Open Letter to Elon Musk – Planet Earth: Worldwide 5G Radiation from Orbit? EMFSA (furzy)

    There appears to be no end to the mindless abuse we subject our dear, one and only planet to. It’s so sad. Kiss it all goodbye. I see a market for whole body Faraday cage/suits.

    Reply
  10. vidimi

    update from France:

    it seems the post office is being privatised by stealth. my local post office was shut down permanently at the end of last week and its services moved to the local Carrefour supermarket. so instead of selling off the post office to the highest bidder, they are simply giving it away for free now by ceding the market to private businesses. i am disgusted and at a loss as to what to do.

    Reply
    1. David

      I can beat that. Exactly the same thing happened to me last year, when the local Post Office, 200 metres away, was closed as part of the cost-cutting pre-privatisation drive. Don’t worry, they said, this little corner shop will take over the functions. It did, sort of, for a few months, until the landlord failed to renew the lease and the shop closed down. The main Post Office is about twenty minutes walk away.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        I think that I can beat that but with a bank and not a post office. When we moved near a town many years ago, it had one of the major banks on a corner. After a few years, it was closed down and then took up occupation in a booth at the back of the local video store with some of the video store staff working in the bank booth. When the video store eventually closed it moved to a booth at the back of a coffee shop but now it is gone.
        Another of the major banks had a branch in this town and in spite of being popular was shut down leading to all its customers, including the local framers and their accounts, to go to the sole bank left in town. I guess that the banks figure that a mobile app is more than enough to supplant an actual brick-and-mortar bank.

        Reply
    2. makedoanmend

      This is outta page 1 of neoliberal privatisation playbook. Put the institution in a private profit environment. Let the punters get used to it. Then there is a media circus carried out over time about making the post office competitive and reactive to market conditions by automating, reducing staff and curtailing services to some communities. Then float the institution on the stock market on the cheap, or at least partially and make the case for full privatisation in various tranches as times passes. Watch the service deteriorate over time. But the money always goes to the top. Every penny saved is one more penny in the pockets of the wealthy.

      Marcon is just the latest employee to set the wheeze in motion. Nothing will do until everything and everybody becomes a cash stream or is jettisoned as useless to die.

      There isn’t a revenue/cash stream that the idle rich won’t purloin (through legislation enacted by their elected government employees) into the making themselves more idle and more rich.

      It’s the only objective of every economic activity in our societies across the world.

      Neoliberal PR is just pure fiction to cover the looting.

      Reply
    3. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Vidimi.

      The Arnault family, in addition to their control of LVMH, are big shareholders in Carrefour. Carrefour has hit a sticky patch and selling / closing its town centre City and Express stores. The family are now receiving a dividend from their investment in Macron. The Arnault family are close to the Blairs and introduced Macron to London society.

      Reply
      1. vidimi

        arnault’s fortune has doubled since about 2016, so the politics in France have been very favourable to him. carrefour is in decline, in france at least. i hear it retains its market shares elsewhere in europe. it is much like tesco, a store that used to be good but has rotted from within. i prefer to shop at the monoprix which is both a more upscale shop and has cheaper and fresher produce, despite it being almost twice as far.

        the carrefour city store in my area, by the way, has just been renovated, presumably in part to accomodate the post function. don’t think they will be closing any time soon, but if they can’t up their offering against monoprix and the rising bio chains, they will have a tough ride ahead.

        Reply
        1. David

          Interesting. My Carrefour City nearby is very good and very modern. It seems to be doing well. I have been boycotting Monoprix because the prices of everyday goods are just stupid.

          Reply
          1. Olga

            In Central Europe, Tesco stores always seem packed. The local C-four had trouble, but was forced to stay open (competition!). Not sure what happened since 2016 (it had the stupidest return policy i’ve ever seen). The rest are Kaufland and Lidl (Germ.) and Billa (Austria, I think). They all seem to be doing well (although I noticed that they are actually cheaper in Germany). This is a country that used to be self-sufficient in food. There are only a couple of local chains (one because the big guys eschew small villages) and the other just tries to stay open. There was a big scandal a while back, when folks realised that the quality of the same food was better in the west (seriously, same items – it went all the way to the E parliament).

            Reply
  11. PlutoniumKun

    Plantwatch: is sphagnum the most underrated plant on Earth? Guardian (David L)

    Oh, an article on sphagnum, one of my favourites. Its a fascinating plant as it doesn’t rot when it dies, building up instead in huge peat deposits. The article doesn’t mention it, but it was used for millennia as a very hygienic toilet paper (its very soft and naturally antiseptic). In Viking sites in Ireland, vast amounts have been found in toilet pits, and they are still pungent 1000 years after they were closed. They are often used by hikers here as toilet paper, but as one friend put it ‘nobody told me not to use it when its growing under a pine tree…. pine needles are very painful indeed…’

    Reply
    1. makedoanmend

      One of the wonders of sphagnum is its water holding capacity – something on the order of c. 20x its dry weight depending on the species. Quite a bit of community water for Monaghan County relies on filtration of water captured by sphagnum from Sliabh Beagh and its reservoir. I also believe sphagnum, cleaned and gleaned properly, was used in bandaging and for other sanitary uses in the not too distant past.

      Now, if only we could use bog cotton or breed a binding strain of the plant for use in clothing, we would have some decent natural resources at hand – but mustn’t grumble. There’s always wool. Itchy wool.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        So far as I know bog cotton was used as a cheap fabric back in the 19th Century – obviously it never caught on.

        For Ireland, hemp clothing is a far better idea!

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Read a long time ago of Polish emigrants coming to America and, like at home, would grow hemp to make their winter clothes with. That is, until the FBI turned up to rip up those plants because drugs man whereupon those old Poles would be chasing those FBI agents around their yards shouting what are they doing to the material for their winter cloths.

          Reply
  12. makedoanmend

    “Trump Orders Thousands Back to Work Without Pay to Blunt Shutdown Disruption Bloomberg. Slavery has arrived in the US. I doubt they’ll get interest on their back pay. Conservatives must be delighted. This will make even fewer capable people want to work for government.”

    My first though. Sure. They’ll be some mightily motivated workers – won’t they?

    Then I thought, maybe that’s what it was like for the Soviet economic system, as it approached support-collapse, that promised so much but didn’t deliver what people wanted.

    Then this though crossed my mind (such as it is) of people who have wondered why monuments and settlements like Newgrange (county Meath) or Skara Brae (Scotland) may have been simply abandoned, as some have speculated. Abandoned possibly because the social-economic constraints were too much for the locals and they choose to walk away from such constraints.

    On the other hand, the so-called Republicans obtaining their utopian land of no government for the common people might result in a short term backlash but there is nowhere else for the teeming masses to migrate. And people are becoming sick and tired of the endless red-tape, including pricing, that private conglomerates have foisted in huge numbers on the working individual.

    Neoliberal economic solutions to neoliberal economic problems don’t seen to be so effective any more except for than for the 1%.

    Reply
    1. Eureka Springs

      Trump turns an old phrase – “I’ll gladly pay you on Tuesday (or the Tuesday after that) for a cheeseburger today.” Whilst Mitch, Chuck and Nancy giggle and say, I know that’s right.

      Reply
    2. Questions Abound

      You imply they were motivated and/or effective before. Government workers are notoriously wasteful, especially at the federal level.

      Also this is a statement I’m curious about
      >people are becoming sick and tired of the endless red-tape, including pricing, that private conglomerates have foisted in huge numbers on the working individual.

      Interesting so we now consider governments to be private conglomerates?

      Reply
      1. makedoanmend

        “You imply they were motivated and/or effective before. Government workers are notoriously wasteful, especially at the federal level.”

        I’ve met many Federal workers when I worked in New York and the common denominator is that they were very good workers, concerned citizens and often great providers for their families. They’ve delivered the mail very efficiently for a very long time, for example. There are numerous examples of motivated and dedicated federal employees. Your statement is without foundation. We’ll leave aside the insult you’ve just levelled against millions of US citizens who do honest work for a living.

        As for your very interest in my statement cited: I’m merely pointing the old trope that only governments create red tape contradicts direct experience with private corporations, such as insurance businesses or private transport operators for example, who often create onerous rules and restrictions on our private lives; and don’t even get me started on the liberties that businesses place upon employees to work extra hours for no pay with the implication that employees future prospects depend upon such exploitation.

        The old neoliberal tropes are becoming thread bare and trite and frankly insulting to working people everywhere.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Though I do not live in America, I would state that if anybody is under the delusion that private corporations can deliver services better and cheaper than a government organization I would present to you the US private health companies as counter-proof.

          Reply
    3. Carolinian

      I’m told that once government workers miss two paychecks they may have to start paying for their health insurance out of pocket.

      Reply
  13. timbers

    Class Warfare

    I work at Johnson & Johnson, the DePuy Synthes medical device division in Raynham, Ma. for Kelly Services (contractor). We audit medical device inventory as part of SOX compliance. Most of the staff in the area/team I work with in the medical device area are Kelly contractors (ten of us) with 4 Johnson & Johnson direct hires. So that’s 10-4 ratio.

    We 10 contractors were just told we must purchase our own laptop for work. This has caused a meeting of Kelly folk in my team to schedule a meeting to discuss, as we think it is unfair.

    The J&J Credo – which BTW is almost identical to other local company credo’s like State Street – in part reads:

    “We must provide an inclusive work environment where each person must be considered as an individual…Compensation must be fair…”

    J&J says it wants to move to all employees responsible for getting their own work laptops. But that is not the reality in my team, who are provided funds to purchase their laptops or are provided one by the company.

    How is it FAIR when we perform the exact same job in the exact same office as J&J employees, but we are not provided the same tools to succeed as they J&J employees are?

    Purchasing office software individually will be at much greater cost than J&J pays at huge discounts it gets, so making us get it on own own and denying us access to J&J discounts seems penny wise pound foolish. The computers we use are essential office tools and many most cases we would not use it outside of work. It is strictly an office tool.

    My father tells me: “Just keep quite and work there until you retire.”

    Reply
    1. Spring Texan

      Wow, that’s really awful! Not only contingent employment but they don’t want to provide the laptops and software? Hope your group can unite and at least get this from them! Horrible.

      Reply
    2. Whoamolly

      Re: contractors buy own laptops

      Raises a few questions in my mind…

      Would all thr work on such laptops then be the property of said contractors?
      Would contractors be able to refuse searches of data and content on laptops?
      Can contractors install any software desired? Including strong encryption?
      Can contractors take laptops home for personal use?

      Reply
      1. Whoamolly

        Or plug in personal multi-gig flash drives with all the potential for data breaches and malware

        Sounds pretty short-sighted to make employees buy own laptops

        Reply
      2. timbers

        We will be moving to Amazon work space, so work related stuff will only appear when logged into the work space.

        Yes it will be a bit easier to save confidential company info to your laptop, but the thinking is that is already possible under existing circumstances for someone who is determined to do so, via email.

        That also means we will NOT have to buy software like Microsoft Office, as it will be in the work space.

        Just learned of that this morning chatting to co-workers.

        Reply
        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          If you – as a solo, individual worker – have a standard “temporary employment “ contract with J&J, it probably was worded so that you have no recourse. If that is the case, buy secondhand, or rent what you need, and look for another job. Keep all receipts; the computer, monitor, software subscription fees, etc. may still be deductible on 2019 income taxes.

          If you are working through your own LLC, or as a sole proprietor, can you bill J&J for equipment rental? You signed a contract with J&J at some point, right? What are the provisions in your contract for expense reimbursements? Are there provisions for an increase in your day rate if your operating costs are increased due to new demands by the other party (J&J)? Is an uncompensated new demand on their part a breach, or potential breach, of contract? If so, would it make any noncompete clause unenforceable?

          Reply
        2. Anon

          There is no need to buy MS Office. Try open source Libre Office or Open Office.

          Be aware that Win10 does activity tracking, as likely Bezo’s Office settings.

          Reply
      3. JohnnySacks

        What if you’re a W2 contractor? Can you still write off everything related to work such as mileage, supplies, laptops? (and don’t get me started about us regular W2 employees not having the same deductions as contractors)

        I would think the company expects to lock down the laptop in what (based upon experience as a developer) is a horribly non-productive soul crushing hell. Tether to cell phone to access blocked services, connect to company LAN to do some semblance of work, rinse and repeat.

        Reply
        1. jrs

          I don’t think you get write offs as a W2 contract. But it’s better to be a W2, the company contributes to social security and unemployment and medicare for you. Much cleaner than paying some “self-employment” tax (trying to pay for your own social security contributions) for the privilege of doing contract work and basically being a short-term employee for all intents and purposes (it’s not really self-employment, you are at the mercy of your boss as much as any wage slave).

          “and don’t get me started about us regular W2 employees not having the same deductions as contractors”

          probably best not to, remember they are working without paid time off for sick days (so don’t get sick!), federal holidays (lose pay for xmas even though the office is closed), vacation, and paying their own health insurance (which is a bloody fortune for anything that even kind of covers anything, not to mention the hell that is navigating the ACA), and with no hope of even a modest amount of job stability. Their rate might be high enough to kind of make up for it, but I wouldn’t count on that, they might have just been desperate for work, any work.

          Reply
    3. Big Tap

      J&J’s Credo. The one where employees are treated “with respect and dignity”. The Kelly people were treated as second class people when I worked at J&J in Pennsylvania.

      Reply
  14. noonespecial

    Re: Trump’s Version of ‘Let Them Eat Cake’ Bill Black

    Prof. Black writes, “Trump’s life is one without painful adjustments.”

    Based on a recent article from Forbes, seems like the US head of state will not be forced to cut back his junk food budget a long while.

    I say, let them eat garage sales! (snark obviously)

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexander/2019/01/11/trump-sold-35m-of-real-estate-in-2018/#20feceec45b5

    From the article:
    1. After subtracting roughly $370 million in debt, Forbes estimates Trump walked away with $20 million or so before taxes. The deal required approval from officials inside the Department of Housing & Urban Development, which rolls up to Donald Trump.

    2. In Las Vegas, the president sold 36 units for $11 million inside his 64-story tower, which he owns in a 50-50 partnership with casino tycoon Phil Ruffin…Trump’s cut of those deals amounted to an estimated $5.5 million before taxes. One-third of the Las Vegas condo customers purchased their units through limited liability companies, a move that allows buyers to shield their true identities.

    3. Trump also sold three empty lots near his golf course outside Los Angeles for a combined $5.6 million, according to property records.

    Reply
  15. Darthbobber

    Brexit:
    Grieve manages to say in one sentence that there is no majority in parliament for any outcome, and in almost the next sentence that “parliament must come together” in some unspecified way for “the good of the country.”

    And some still delude themselves that they are playing chicken with the EU, and that the magical solution that gives the benefits of membership without the obligations MUST be just around the corner.

    This is, of course, the one thing that cannot happen. The ultimate common denominator of the EU is collective mercantilism, and allowing Britain or anybody else to function as a Trojan horse inside the trade walls would seriously compromise it’s functioning as trading bloc.

    They prefer no Brexit, but they inevitably prefer Brexit to any variant of having a loose cannon keep one foot in the door. (And they feel even more this way because some suspect that the British foot in the door would be a point of entry for the Americans.)

    Reply
  16. jfleni

    RE: Democrats Need to Rein In Our Out-of-Control Military Spending.

    Whatever you do DO NOT ask the five-sided bughouse! What they want
    desparately is to exterminate the spooks and wetbacks bothering the
    trumpkins and his golden offal!

    Reply
  17. The Rev Kev

    “Teachers are scanning students’ brains to check they are concentrating”

    The program turned out to be a flop. The Chinese teachers that were supposed to be monitoring the student’s brains for concentration levels were instead too busy updating their WeChat status to check on the students status via that app. :)

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They will next replace human teachers with robots to scan students’ brains, to make money out of it, and also becuase robots* don’t get distracted.

      *I wonder what two robots discussing philosophy will sound like…make that AI robots. I think it will depend on the brands. The same (corporate) brand robots will likely agree with each other….on everything. Robots from different manufacturing corporations will likely end up brawling.

      Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Robot students graduate with a 4.0 GPA even while they are being manufactured.

          (And yes, learning is a life long endeavor).

          They learn much quicker than humans, and robot teachers contemplating teaching robot students will not have many jobs.

          Reply
  18. Tyrannocaster

    I see that CNN is now saying that Putin is responsible for the current political meltdowns in both the US and Great Britain. It couldn’t be that old debbil income inequality, it has to be Putin and his incredible mastermindedness. I suppose he’s behind the Gilets Jaunes, too.

    Here’s an idea: let the chyron that runs under every talking head on TV display the current talking head’s net worth.

    Reply
        1. ambrit

          Look. I like the odd Eastern Orthodox mystic pundit double entendre versus triple assonance quip as well as the next gospodin. Like Odysseus in his trip to the one eyed man cave, rave not for you are ‘no man.’ Keep eating those apple seeds Johnny!

          Reply
    1. Roger Smith

      Man, Putin is a true boss. I’d vote for him. Just look at how effective he is. A true leader who reaches across aisles and countries. I’ve never seen a politician here accomplish as much as he has.

      Reply
      1. Darthbobber

        And awesome ROI on miniscule capital outlays. So able to teach any budding marketeer a thing or two.

        Anybody else see a link between contemporary Putin hysteria and the traditional technique of blaming the ubiquitous “outside agitator” for stirring up the otherwise contented workers/slaves/blacks/Irish/whatevers?

        Reply
    2. mle detroit

      I’ve been thinking for some time that Putin’s behind Melania. Talk about a long game — conspiracy theories are fun!

      Reply
      1. John

        The long game was Ivana in the 70’s. Those commies in the KGB knew what they were about. Putin and Melania are just the most recent handlers. Haven’t you been watching The Americans on teevee?

        Reply
    3. JohnnyGL

      Russia-gaters scoring own-goals in hilarious fashion is a GOOD thing.

      I’m happy to see them keep wrecking their own credibility. It damages their ability to manufacture consent in the future.

      Reply
    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is reverse psy warfare at work here?

      You keep crying Putin-wolf when he is not the one, and when Putin-wolf really commmits something for his country, who’s going to believe you?

      Reply
  19. Carey

    Christophe Guilluy- “The Gilets Jaunes are Unstoppable”:

    Guilluy: We have a new bourgeoisie, but because they are very cool and progressive, it creates the impression that there is no class conflict anymore. It is really difficult to oppose the hipsters when they say they care about the poor and about minorities.

    But actually, they are very much complicit in relegating the working classes to the sidelines. Not only do they benefit enormously from the globalised economy, but they have also produced a dominant cultural discourse which ostracises working-class people.

    The middle-class reaction to the yellow vests has been telling. Immediately, the protesters were denounced as xenophobes, anti-Semites and homophobes. The elites present themselves as anti-fascist and anti-racist but this is merely a way of defending their class interests. It is the only argument they can muster to defend their status, but it is not working anymore..”

    https://www.spiked-online.com/2019/01/11/the-gilets-jaunes-are-unstoppable/

    and

    ‘New Analysis sheds light on EPA’s deception on genotoxic glyphosate’:
    https://sustainablepulse.com/2019/01/16/new-analysis-sheds-light-on-epas-deception-on-genotoxic-glyphosate/

    Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        About runways. When an aircraft is taking off, the co-pilot during this procedure calls out three pre-detirmined points as the aircraft goes down the runway itself. At “V1”, in case of trouble, the pilot no longer has the chance of hitting the brakes and pulling the aircraft to a halt. At “Vr”, the pilot has sufficient speed to start lifting the aircraft off the ground. Finally, at “V2”, there is sufficient ‘take-off safety speed’ in case one engine is lost. I do not know where Yves thinks we are along the runway but my guess is that we are barrelling full speed down the it and have already blown past all three checkpoints now only visible in out rear-view mirror. Hopefully our leaders will call out a helpful “Brace! Brace! Brace!” before things really go south on us.

        Reply
    1. David

      Guilluy is now justly celebrated as the man who predicted that basically this would happen, in a series of books published over the last decade. His concept of “peripheral France” turned out to be bang-on. He was furiously attacked for saying what he said, but has been proved right. I’m not sure that his books are available in English, but whatever you can find of his is worth reading, as a good guide to how we got to where we are.

      Reply
      1. Alex V

        The evidence that letter cites isn’t particularly strong. The study from NTP mentioned (a pre peer review draft) states in the conclusion:

        “Under the conditions of these 2-year studies, there was equivocal evidence of carcinogenic activity of GSM-modulated cell phone RFR at 1,900 MHz in male B6C3F1/N mice based on the combined incidences of fibrosarcoma, sarcoma, or malignant fibrous histiocytoma in the skin and the incidences of alveolar/bronchiolar adenoma or carcinoma (combined) in the lung. There was equivocal evidence of carcinogenic activity of GSM-modulated cell phone RFR at 1,900 MHz in female B6C3F1/N mice based on the incidences of malignant lymphoma (all organs). There was equivocal evidence of carcinogenic activity of CDMA-modulated cell phone RFR at 1,900 MHz in male B6C3F1/N mice based on the incidences of hepatoblastoma of the liver. There was equivocal evidence of carcinogenic activity of CDMA-modulated cell phone RFR at 1,900 MHz in female B6C3F1/N mice based on the incidences of malignant lymphoma (all organs)”

        Translation – we have no idea if mobile phone radiation (which is non-ionizing, just like all 5G will be) causes cancer. I think the letter authors either don’t know or chose to ignore the meaning of “equivocal”.

        Reply
  20. Off The Street

    Readers with a historical or philosophical interest may enjoy an article by Stephen Pinker about the Enlightenment. As Lambert and others may say, you might like that if that is the sort of thing you like.

    Reply
    1. pjay

      A very interesting subject in the context of the above discussion of the ‘Fantasyland’ post. Pinker is a very bright academic who has great command of words and the ability to marshal facts to back them up. I have my own views on Pinker’s optimistic argument (not particularly favorable, though I’m all for reason and science), but I would love to hear what other NC commentators think.

      Reply
    2. Grebo

      Not read his books but after hearing and reading lots of good things about him I watched a half-hour interview and was surprised to see he is a panglossian Neoliberal.

      Reply
    1. thepanzer

      Ian’s willingness and proclivity for endorsing political violence is immensely dangerous. Though his analysis may be correct (elite’s only respond to fear) we’ve been down this road many times over the 200 years or so and the result is massive, indiscriminate bloodshed once that genie gets out of the bottle. Worse, as he himself alludes to, there’s no guarantee at the end of the violence you even get a marginally better form of government.

      The spanish civil war immediately leaps to mind for what happens when divided camps decide that political violence is A-ok. Even the “winning” side in that conflict was pyrhic at best and the fault lines and damage are still very much in existence. Ian is too much channeling his inner Jean-Paul Marat, to borrow from the equally horrifying French experience.

      Reply
      1. timbers

        So, it’s better when only the governing class uses political violence against the people? (ex: Atlantic Council on how Obama crushed Occupy Wall Street).

        And, exactly when does the genie get out of bottle?…when citizens use violence or when the governing class initiates it?

        Reply
        1. thepanzer

          Exactly who are the good guys between anifa and the alt-right? Between our new McCarthyite dems and our old racist republicans? Who will be the “good guys” employing violence and to what end, who will reign them in, when does the “righteous” violence end? What will the “good” violence look like compared to the bad? (MLK and Gahndi showed what a peaceful, self-sacrificing insurection looks like and how it effects positive change.)

          Revolutionary France and the Spanish Civil War give excellent examples of what happens when passioned mobs use violence for political change. Marat who called for the guillotine for others was assasinated himself. There will be plenty of blood to go around.

          What makes you think that your would be Che Gueverra’s will look favorably on you? You support them? So? Plenty of French revolutionaries went to the national razor…

          Ian’s acceptance of political violence and/or extreme confrontation with people you disagree with is a step on that road to seeing the other as inhuman and intolerable, and violence becomes an acceptable solution. One of the survivors of the Spanish Civil War interviewed after the fact said that one of the reasons why the “right” and “left” went to war is that they reached a point where they just hated each other.

          Reply
          1. vidimi

            that said, blood is often the price for things like a 40 hour week, 2-day weekend, health care, etc. none of those things were given out for free. neither the french nor the russian revolutions were in vain, and i am grateful to those who paid the price.

            Reply
        2. thepanzer

          The genie gets let out of the bottle when violence becomes acceptable as a means for ending political disagreements, and especially when violence turns into the prefered solution. A survivor of the Spanish Civil war commented in an interview about “how did it come to this?” or similar that the right and left just hated each other. The middle ground dissapeared and after all the mutual blood letting Spain is still reeling from the aftershocks. Even if the Republic had won and the Francoists lost the bloodletting would have been on different targets rather than ceased.

          The “Weimar” republic of Germany was a technocratic mess of corrupt inept politicians. What followed was not better. The assumption that political violence against elite instutions leads to positive results has a dismal historical track record.

          Reply
      2. Carolinian

        Sounds like you are saying the French peasants should have starved quietly.

        If aristocrats only seem to respond to violence then the people to blame are the aristocrats, not the revolutionaries. Of course chaos may be the result and “maintaining order” is the mantra and excuse of all ruling classes. But as it turns out people really aren’t willing to starve quietly even for the sake of “order.”

        Reply
        1. thepanzer

          No i’m saying Ian is encouraging a fool’s errand. The worst possible option is to think that uncorking political violence is going to “fix” things. I’m saying that ignoring 200+ years of modern revolutionary history ranging from France, Spain, Russia, China, etc across a range of cultures, root causes, economic systems, religious backgrounds, class distinctions etc is a very bad idea. All have a similiarly bloody result for the people encouraging and engaging in the violence during those revolutions. The most likely outcome in today’s world is a failed state. Ukraine is the poster child for where political violence is likely to wind up if pursued long-term.

          I prefer that most unpopular solution, muddling through.

          Reply
          1. todde

            What Ian is proposing is dangerous.

            And no one thinks violence is going to ‘fix’ things. Everyone I know uses violence to break things.

            If they won’t ‘spread the wealth’ then maybe it is time to ‘spread the misery’.

            Reply
          2. vidimi

            except in your world, we would still be toiling 16-hour days, living in cramped work houses, with only sunday off for prayer. most of the rights we take for granted come either directly or indirectly thanks to revolutions.

            Reply
      3. ChrisPacific

        Yes, I like a lot of what he writes but that’s the point where I part ways with him. He seems to argue that might makes right is the way of the world whether we like it or not, and the left needs to embrace it if it wants to make any progress. I’m not so sure. How you do a thing matters as much as why you do it, sometimes more, and rallying people around an idea is often much more powerful and enduring than using force to try and shape things the way you want.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          In the case of the Australian Aboriginals and New Zealand Maoris. might made the latter equal with their white peers, whereas the former was passive, easily squashed and in some cases-exterminated. (Tasmania)

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Fully agree with your point but would add an odd data point. I heard a long time ago that the Maoris did come to Australian shores but like the Vikings in North America, the locals proved too tough for them so they quit.
            Those Maoris were something else in battle and I think that they formed attachments with the British Regiments that they fought. At one battle, the Maoris built a road for the British to their stronghold so that the British would not tire themselves out on the march there to the battle.

            Reply
          1. ChrisPacific

            By inflicting pain on them?

            Presumably you’ll need to gain control of government (or overthrow it) in order to do that, otherwise they will use it to prevent you. What system will you put in place to replace it, in order to execute your strategy of modifying behavior via the infliction of pain?

            Reply
      4. Geof

        I agree.

        Violence is almost always motivated by passion to punish the guilty. But it is not the guilty who matter: it is the innocent. And we have seen many times how the category of “innocent” shrinks to nothing once the violence starts.

        What does it even mean to talk of of guilt and innocence in a complex technological society where actions are alienated from consequences. How guilty are we for the harm we cause to the climate when we take a plane? For slave fishermen when we eat shrimp? For Donald Trump because of a vote we once cast?

        Violence at the scale necessary to change society guarantees horror and terror. It guarantees that many innocents will suffer. In exchange, it gives us only a chance of making things better – while also giving a change of making things much worse. History is very clear. Violence, even when richly deserved, even when necessary (e.g. WWII), is a deal with the devil.

        It is possible to justify violence. My understanding is that Gandhi and MLK would not be philosophically opposed to it if it were effective, and if there were no other alternative. Neither was the case, and they found a better way. Thinking of the Indian partition, the horrors had violence been the choice scarcely bear thinking about.

        Violence can be justified if the alternative is worse – e.g. if destruction is the alternative. Violence may not be the best choice in such a case, but it is better than inaction. And how does one know tha destruction (for whom?) really is the alternative?

        It can also be justified if it is effective. The ends can, sometimes, justify the means. This is easy to see after the fact. But it is a very difficult judgment to make in advance. It is far too easy for someone in relative comfort and security to make the easy choice of violence (easy because once past the point of no return there is no more need to struggle Hamlet-like with the ethics of ones actions). It’s not good enough to throw up one’s hands, say we haven’t got a better idea, and choose violence.

        To justify violence, it is not sufficient for Welsh to explain how bad the situation is. He must outline realistically how violence could make it better, of the innocents who would be harmed, and of the inescapable risks that it would go catastrophically wrong.

        At the time of the Iraq war, I thought ousting the tyrant Saddam was a good idea regardless of WMDs. He was a bad man. Innocents were suffering. War could change all that, permanently. If anyone had the capacity to fix Iraq, it was the U.S. It didn’t happen. I was wrong.

        Reply
  21. allan

    Like Uber for elevators. Broken elevators:

    WeWork’s CEO Makes Millions as Landlord to WeWork
    [WSJ]

    For more than two months after employees at International Business Machines Corp. moved into a Manhattan building managed by office space giant WeWork Cos., frequent elevator problems forced workers to climb the stairs of the 11-story building and prompted complaints to the company.

    One of the landlords behind the building was no ordinary owner: It was Adam Neumann, WeWork’s chief executive, who leased the property to WeWork after buying it, according to people familiar with the situation.

    Mr. Neumann has made millions of dollars by leasing multiple properties in which he has an ownership stake back to WeWork, one of the country’s most valuable startups. Multiple investors of the privately held company said the arrangement concerned them as a potential conflict of interest in which the CEO could benefit on rents or other terms with the company. …

    Rather than carping about “potential conflict of interests”, shouldn’t the WSJ be celebrating
    the aerobic exercise that the IBM workers are getting?
    In fact, WeWork should disrupt the innovation space space by charging them extra as a spa fee.

    More evidence that SoftBank is the stupidest smart money on the planet.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Yeah, saw the report elsewhere. Did you see the part where it said: “Another unconfirmed report said the target was a restaurant where US, French and Kurdish troops were meeting to discuss security arrangements for the city.”? If true, then those soldiers really let their guard down by frequenting the same public place again and again. This in a city that is under Kurdish occupation with the help of western forces and loose elements of ISIS and any number of Jihadists running around.
      Probably find that those isolated US forces will be forced to spend more time behind the wires now. Just now had a flashback. I think that I remember reading how just after the Iraq occupation and before the Iraq resistance got underway, that it was an explosion in a restaurant that killed US soldiers that signaled the start of the resistance. It is a long time ago that I read this but I am fairly sure that this was the start of the real fighting in Iraq.

      Reply
  22. tricia

    thoughts re Ian Welsh’s post:

    I disagree that lack of centralized control is key to a large powerful effective movement. It may be effective at this stage of protest, but ultimately there needs to be some centralization (democratic centralism seems to make the most sense – where ie the program, the demands, are determined democratically, but then those decisions are binding. This limits fracturing and divisions- which the security state can and will use to their advantage).

    If the corporate elite didn’t know how effective good leadership can be, they wouldn’t work so hard to destroy it. The question is, always, how do you defend against their attacks.

    I read too often things like, neoliberalism has been tried and doesn’t work yet leaders like Macron continue because they’re ideologues. Nonsense. It has worked. It’s been great for the corporate elite and those in power implementing the policies.
    I don’t believe any of these policies were ever intended to achieve “prosperity” for all.
    With those riches they’ve gained control, or at the very least heavily influence, our institutions. Our government, the MSM, entertainment, much of academia, and to a great degree the unions, the leadership anyway.
    Unfortunately much of union leadership has been cowed and co-opted, and often their status/interests are more aligned with the elites than those whom they represent. Intentional.
    The elite have control of messaging for the most part. And that messaging has included an erasure of our union history (all our resistance history), or at least a great watering-down. Alternative media, social media, allow us to circumvent their messaging. The elite are working on fixing that, but social media has played a big role w/ Yellow Vests, in multiple ways.
    We’re already a repressive surveillance/police state. With- as we’re seeing- a rather powerful “deep state,” that won’t hesitate to destroy any real push-back, to use our very heavily armed police, and further degrade any laws protecting our rights.

    “most protests get nowhere because they threaten no one and nothing.”
    Yes, in many ways we’ve become cowed and obedient in this country. But as Chris Hedges says (like Walsh), “Politics is a game of fear. Those who do not have the ability to make power elites afraid do not succeed. The movements that opened up the democratic space in America—the abolitionists, suffragists, labor movement, communists, socialists, anarchists and civil rights and labor movements—developed a critical mass and militancy that forced the centers of power to respond…Only when power is threatened does it react. Appealing to its better nature is useless. It doesn’t have one.”

    The elite responded once, enough to placate, then worked to shut down the means of further resistance. It’ll be harder now to “open the democratic space” here. Our cops are more heavily armed than in France (so far), and cointelpro is still up and running, if under a different name (or names, more likely).

    Still, we have the numbers, the power, but we have yet to understand this. It seems the Yellow vests have this consciousness. And I am heartened by the teachers’ strikes. Needs to be solidarity strikes nationwide…

    Reply
    1. Carey

      Thank you for this fine comment. As one of the hosts here sometimes says, “everything is
      going according to plan.”

      for now

      Reply
  23. pjay

    Re ‘Big companies are crushing their competition in the US, and it’s creating a dangerous ‘fake capitalism’ that hurts workers and consumers’

    “Fake capitalism”… hmm, I like it! Thanks to Trump (and more worthy critics), “fake news” has caught on and been turned against those who originally coined the term. If a catchy phrase can cut through some of the dense fog providing decades of neoliberal cover, I’m for it. Of course, my understanding of *real* capitalism is not quite as sanguine as that of the authors here, but nevertheless…

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The sad part of that link is that it repeats much of what Barry Lynn elaborated in his books “End of the Line: The Rise and Coming Fall of the Global Corporation” and “Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and The Economics of Destruction”.

      Reply
  24. Summer

    Re: Shutdown

    I read that if a state of emergency is declared it would be in effecf for a year, with 6 month intervals for Congress voting on ending or extending.
    So could the call be coming later in this year in order to extend the emergency powers into 2020?
    Buckle up…

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Paulson, under Bush, considered declaring martial law.

      Is a state of emergency declaration necessary for that, or do you go straight to that?

      My other question is, has France declare a state of emergency?

      Reply
    2. Oh

      What’s the difference in declaring a “state of emergency” vs. what we have now? There’s really no freedom of the press, full scale (covert) surveillance (internet, traffic light cameras, phone, license plate readers, Alexa, Google, Facebook, polarized electorate, election machines that are probably hacked, harassment and jailing of brown, black and poor people, disregard for the homeless, harassment by the TSA, blatant disregard for the consumer by corporations and Congress not adhering to what the people want, etc., etc.

      I guess a formal declaration of a state of emergency would make it official, that’s all!

      Reply
  25. Alex morfesis

    What a way to start a year…discombobulated prime minister playing the part of a knight with no arms and legs….get closer so I can bite you…and emperor distracto soon to begin arguing with his alter ego John Miller…while Putin wonders when anyone will notice his movie prop military is so stretched out the duchy of Fenwick could take Moscow in less than 6 weeks…

    Ah…human nature…

    must be a disturbance in the force up in Maine with that spinning icewheel on the river…did Capt Lambert finally have that funding come thru from DARPA for that reverse polarity negative co2 machine he wrote about in junior high school ??

    Reply
  26. FortyYearsInThe UniversitySystem

    Sadly, having studied the world for a long time, I have come to the awful conclusion that in a culture completely dominated by psychopathic squillionaires and their hired stooges.. er.. politicians, it is completely impossible to change our trajectory. I would that it were not so.. but it is. It was “too late” a long time ago and the squillionaires won so the course is set in stone. There are just too many things wrong to imagine we can be saved. Too many vested interests, too much denial. If the “positive thinkers” were in any way useful we simply would not be in this fix, but they weren’t and they aren’t. It’s just signalling virtue.. and utterly vain. I refuse to do it. It wouldn’t make me feel any better anyway; but don’t let me stop you. Cheers.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Now is the time to gather knowledge and know how, and find ways to conserve as much as possible for the future. I think it is also a good time to move some distance from large urban areas and make many friends for hard times.

      Reply
  27. Roger Smith

    I am reading that Trump has been “disinvited” by Congress from delivering a State of the Union address. Do these people have serious brain damage? Seriously, they think this is a legitimate power play? Here is what Trump does: he doesn’t care about formality and pseudo-religious rituals (hamburger anyone?), he holds his own State of the Union at the White House, maybe on the lawn, maybe some place close where ordinary citizens can come. Surely an argument can be made that this address would fulfill constitutional requirements. Former presidents used to submit them in writing only. What next Pelosi and Schumer? Are we grounded for a few more weeks?

    Reply
    1. Observer

      What worries me is the end of another form of accountability, the State of Union message. I realize it’s just about meaningless. So then the President just speaks from the White House to… ?? Is Pelosi dismantling government as well? A free for all race to the bottom by both parties?

      Reply
  28. bronco

    I am not giving up driving my 12 mpg antique bronco so Al Gore can keep the lights on his mansion. Thats the reason this crap isn’t going to fly. No one believes the so-called elites won’t just keep wasting at the same pace while us peons do without . All the savings I could imagine making in power or fuel use won’t cover that planes environmental impact as it flies to a conference that won’t accomplish anything.

    Those who are given so much extra in this life need to cut their carbon footprint and energy use to the bone first and we will follow their example.

    Everyone who thinks they are special enough to jet set to some conference should climb the stairs of the nearest guillotine and do their duty.

    Reply
    1. cnchal

      In a nutshell, there it is. Additionally, giving up your 12 mpg antique Bronco frees up resources so Al Gore can heat his mansion, jet around the world and be a glutton on the cheap.

      Hmmm, what to do?

      Tax the crap out of Al Gore and his fellow Davos Man buddies, to pay you to do nothing. Call it a jawb guarantee, where your jawb is to do nothing. That has two good effects. One, you don’t have to worry about where your next meal is coming from and Al and Davos Man can’t afford to be gluttons.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A job guarantee where your job (for your boss) is to do nothing is universal basic income, where you can, instead, use that time to do something (for yourself, if you so desire, including meditating, which is doing something, though some argue that you are acutally doing nothing).

        Reply
        1. Oh

          You’re quite correct. I’ll betcha that that people think who are doing nothing are actually doing somethng. If they try meditating, they’ll know it’s really hard to do nothing, especially think about nothing:)

          Reply
    2. jrs

      Maybe Al Gore thinks the same thing: I’m not giving up my mansion while Bezos and Bill Gates are still rich, afterall poor little me, I’m not even in the top .00000001%.

      I’m really not sure there are enough super rich to have all that much of a climate impact just via their personal behavior frankly. I mean is this really a relevant point, their personal impact, or is most impact on the climate really what masses of (mostly first world) people plus businesses do?

      The super riches main reason they are a problem environmentally is their support for *policies* and *economics* that are destroying the world (because it benefits them yes), and yes sometimes the corporations they own do a lot of world destruction too. But their personal behavior? Really, prove it: with data.

      Reply
      1. jrs

        The article yesterday pinpointed the top 33% as those who would be most effected by the need to cut carbon use etc.. Interesting and at least enough of the population that it might actually matter. I’m really unconvinced 1% of the population can make that much a difference even as bad as it is in other ways to have such super rich.

        Reply
    3. pretzelattack

      well we need to do it whether they do or not, but we need to find some way to force them to do it.
      it’s like the us and europe saying well it’s all china’s fault. you get a prisoner’s dilemna.

      Reply
  29. The Rev Kev

    Today’s Antidote du jour was a cute, little donkey. Will tomorrow’s Antidote du jour be a cute, little elephant so that there are no accusations of partisanship?

    Reply
  30. skk

    Thank you for posting the “Iranian women truckers” YouTube link. It was uplifting, lifted me right out of my doom and gloom due to a nasty cold, really shitty weather, and relentless non_stop meetings soothing ruffled feathers, highhorses etc.

    Reply

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