Links 1/4/19

UK scientists test breathalyser for detecting early cancers Guardian

The legacy of 1979 continues to play a crucial role in 2019 Scroll.in

The periodic table is 150 – but it could have looked very different The Conversation

After the fires, solar power advocates seek greater role in California electric grid San Francisco Chronicle

U.S. judge limits evidence in trial over Roundup cancer claims Reuters

Governor Hogan Rejects Fracked Gas Pipeline Permit, Changing His Tune Real News Network. Some good news from Maryland.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo axes plan to shut down the L Train, saves Brooklynites from commuting hell Business Insider. Likewise, for Brooklyn commuters — even if due to a decision by Ratface Andy.

Waste Watch

Plastic Foam Containers Are Officially Banned in New York City Grub Street

Three Caribbean Countries Ban Single-Use Plastics teleSUR  (martha r)

Tim Cook to Investors: People Bought Fewer New iPhones Because They Repaired Their Old Ones Motherboard

12 easy green resolutions for every month of the year TreeHugger. Many of these aren’t news to those who’ve been been following this area, and some don’t go far enough. Why limit oneself to curtailing use of plastic straws, and not reject single-use plastics – or even better, reduce or replace as far as possible all plastics, for that matter?  But this list provides a place to start.

China?

US updates warning over China travel, urging ‘increased caution’ CNBC. This is a level two warning, on a four-level scale. The article places this warning in context: “The State Department in recent weeks has issued a number of Level 2 travel warnings for countries, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Russia, France, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands, citing the risk of terrorism.”

The Goddess, The Jade Rabbit And The Magpie Bridge – Chinese Culture On The Far Side Of The Moon Moon of Alabama

Worse than Japan: how China’s looming demographic crisis will doom its economic dream SCMP

China says will cut banks’ reserve requirements, taxes, as bad news piles up Reuters

Syraqistan

On Trump’s Syrian Pullout Counterpunch

Trump gives no timetable for pullout from ‘sand and death’ Syria Al Jazeera

America’s Overdue Middle East Withdrawal Project Syndicate. The first book I’m reading in 2019 is Eugene Rogan’s excellent The Arabs: A History.  The section on how Britain and France divvied up the Middle East and North Africa after WW1 explains how these decisions continue to haunt the region.

The Indonesian Counter-Revolution Jacobin

India

Government proposes controversial changes to Aadhaar Act Asia Times

Climate Change Harming Agriculture, India’s Wheat Production Could Fall By 23%: Ministry The Wire

Our Famously Free Press

NBC News veteran warns of ‘Trump circus’ in 2,228-word farewell CNN (martha r)

Health Care

Ralph Nader: 25 Ways Canadian Health Care System Is Better Than Obamacare – OpEd Eurasia Review

A House Divided Jacobin (martha r)

‘A Giant Step’ Toward Humane Healthcare as Democrats Announce First-Ever Hearings on Medicare for All Common Dreams

Realignment and Legitimacy

WRONG VOTES AND SYSTEM FAILURES MAR SOUTH CAROLINA ELECTIONS, REPORT FINDS WhoWhatWhy

America’s New Democracy Movement Project Syndicate

War on Cash

Why Germany is so slow on the global road toward a cashless society Handelsblatt

Class Warfare

Green, Union Jobs: Organizing at Buffalo’s Tesla Factory Strikewave (martha r)

Generation rent is a myth – housing prospects for millennials are determined by class The Conversation

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

These Apps Send Data To Facebook Without You Knowing It International Business Times

New Cold War

Five Weeks After The Guardian’s Viral Blockbuster Assange-Manafort Scoop, No Evidence Has Emerged — Just Stonewalling. Intercept. Glenn Greenwald; from earlier in the week, still germane.

Practice Alert: Russia expands corporate liability for bribery FCPA Blog

John Roberts Praises Efforts To Rid Judiciary Of Sexual Misconduct, Ignores Sexual Misconduct Of His Colleagues Above the Law

Mr. Market is Not Very Happy

Yen flash crash: what happened and why FT

Brexit

Brexit: political variables EUReferendum.com

Universities raise alarm over no-deal Brexit and EU student enrolment Guardian

Democrats in Disarray

New Polling Shows House Democrats Who Won’t Back Green New Deal Could Be Ousted by Progressives in 2020 Common Dreams

The little-noticed change that could boost Biden and hurt Bernie in 2020 Politico

Shunning Corporate Donors and Pledging People-Powered Campaign, Warren Shuttering Fundraising PAC Common Dreams

Trump Transition

Status Quo Seekers Fear This Senator is Advising Trump American Conservative

Trump administration considers rollback of anti-discrimination rules WaPo

Trump vs Mattis: Watch out when men of war come to the rescue Independent. Robert Fisk

Trump’s growing anger with Fed chief poses market risks The Hill

Ajit Pai thanks Congress for helping him kill net neutrality rules Ars Technica

Antidote du jour (MG). White winged dove at feeder at Bosque del Apache, NM. Jerri-Lynn here: A great birding spot, I spent a Christmas break during the ‘90s divided between skiing at Taos and birding NM. Love those green chili cheeseburgers, and the posole, too:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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213 comments

  1. UserFriendly

    Trump gives no timetable for pullout from ‘sand and death’ Syria Al Jazeera
    and
    Plastic Foam Containers Are Officially Banned in New York City Grub Street
    are wrong links

    Reply
    1. Cal2

      Don’t rely on politicians to ban foam:
      When ordering online, tell, write or email this:
      “Any item that is shipped in styrofoam will be returned for a refund.”
      In brick and mortar settings, open it before purchase and if styrofoam packaging, leave it at checkout counter with explanatory note why you refuse to buy it. Millions of dollars of spoiled inventory will pressure retailers/resellers/factories.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There are lots of foam products used in today’s airplanes, for among other purposes, as flame redardants.

        Not sure if there are feasible replacements for them.

        Reply
        1. Alex V

          Flame retardant foam is not there to retard fire on aircraft. Most foams on aircraft either provide seating comfort or sound insulation. The flame retardant is only important from the standpoint of not providing another combustion fuel source in the event of fire.

          Reply
  2. lyman alpha blob

    Bad news in the fight to stop illegal hotels and the ‘gig economy’ in general – Judge Blocks New York City Law Aimed at Curbing Airbnb Rentals.

    Not a lawyer but the judge’s decision to interpret the law as an illegal search and seizure seems a stretch-

    The law, which was enacted last summer and was to go into effect next month, would have required the home-sharing services to disclose monthly to the city detailed information about tens of thousands of listings, and the identities and addresses of their hosts.

    Airbnb and another firm, HomeAway, sued in August, contending the law was unconstitutional.

    On Thursday, the judge, Paul A. Engelmayer of United States District Court in Manhattan, granted Airbnb and HomeAway’s request for a preliminary injunction, stopping the law from going into effect. He wrote that the ordinance violated the guarantee against illegal searches and seizures in the Fourth Amendment, and that the companies were likely to prevail on their claim.

    “The city has not cited any decision suggesting that the governmental appropriation of private business records on such a scale, unsupported by individualized suspicion or any tailored justification, qualifies as a reasonable search and seizure,” the judge wrote.

    Unsupported by individualized suspicion, eh? How about the city waits until neighbors complain about strange people coming and going at all hours and then has a SWAT team bust down the door to find out whether there’s illegal activity?

    Reply
  3. efschumacher

    “the potential consequences of leaving the EU without an agreement are not those that any sensible person would willingly entertain”

    Couple this with the Guardian’s funny little poll of some beast named ‘Tory party members’, which states that some 76% of these animals prefer a No Deal Brexit, and the syllogist must conclude that 76% of “Tory party members” are not sensible persons.

    Tory voters not members of the party, and all other non-aligned voters were not polled this time. They outnumber “Tory party members” by veritable battalions.

    QED

    Reply
  4. roadrider

    Re: 12 easy green resolutions for every month of the year

    I clicked through to the link in that article about bikes eating cars. As a committed road cyclist I’m all for it but there’s a lot of magical thinking and hand-waving in that article. In the past I have commuted by bike to jobs on a semi-regular basis. I didn’t mind hills or getting sweaty. For me those were kind of the point and I can see how e-bikes will make it easier for non-cyclists to consider leaving the car at home. But IMNSHO the idea that this can take off without the infrastructure improvements safer routes, secured, covered bike parking at the workplace, showers (yes – even for e-bikers), rides home when the bike breaks down or the thunderstorms roll in mid-day is just daft. Some of those things existed on a very small scale in the workplaces where I commuted by bike. But if even a small percentage of employees decided to take up bike commuting they would have been severely overtaxed very quickly. In this age of corporate money-hoarding and cost-cutting I have a hard time seeing corporations making those improvements.

    And as far as safer routes – good luck with that! Most municipalities are either completely clueless about how to do that or are so cash-strapped that they can’t make it happen at anything more than a snail’s pace. There’s still an enormous bias towards auto travel and without a major re-orientation of priorities (which I have yer to see happen in any of the communities I’ve lived in) cyclists will continue to get the short end of the stick.

    There was also a real howler about how you can just bring your bike into the workplace. Yeah, sure!!! Not in any workplace that I’ve been in. I don’t doubt that there are some workplaces where that’s allowed or even encouraged but in most places if you had more than a small percentage of employees who wanted to do it the available space would be quickly exhausted.

    I’m all about bikes and hope that more people will adopt them for exercise, recreation and commuting. But based on my experience I have a lot of trouble seeing bike commuting expanding on the scale envisioned in that article for quite a long time. I think telecommuting is something that could be expanded a lot faster and easier as a solution to reducing the need to commute by car.

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      I could have written this exact same post, only not as well.

      A comment – WTF ever happened to “telecommuting”, anyway? Last I heard some awful tech CEO expected her workers – which were coders and salespeople and the like, not dockworkers! – to physically come to work no matter what. Meanwhile, she had her own personal daycare at work for her kids.

      Reply
      1. Mark Alexander

        Telecommuting was actively discouraged at the last place I worked in Silicon Valley, a very large software company, at least in the division I was working in. I was grandfathered in, so to speak, by an understanding manager who allowed me to keep working for him after I moved to rural New England. But his successors really didn’t like my situation and kept wanting me to visit the main office several times a year for incredibly boring and useless multi-day meetings. Every time I did these trips to Palo Alto, the tremendous noise and waste and fumes of the commuter traffic reminded me of why I left in the first place.

        In fairness, the company was good for bicycle commuters; when I was living near the office, I either walked or biked to work, and was able to shower as needed. One coworker even kept his bike outside his office, but that was a rarity.

        Reply
    2. JTMcPhee

      I’ve been out of Corporate-Space for nearly 20 years. But even back in the day, I was amused and dismayed at all the travel (jet planes to here and there, limos and taxis) and lost motion (including hours and hours of commute, at one point seven hours a day for me, Madison, WI to downtown Chicago — don’t ask, just a stupid human trick — and all the meetings and stuff). Most of which, it seemed to me, could have been accomplished without moving ego-driven or desperate-for-wealth bodies from one place 9and yes, face to face can improve communication and facilitate intimidation,) to another, even back in those stone-age days of conference calls on land lines and stuff.

      Vast inefficiencies and wastes of time, resources, and all kinds of energy, all billable or otherwise moetizable, of course, so no negative feedback anywhere in the parts of “the system” I slaved in, except when “the client” got smart and began to examine billings, and then push back over the smarm and schmooze of the “billing partners” (Finders) and “principal contacts” (Minders) management of expectations toward the often fraudulent hourly billings of the “associates” (Grinders)…

      I got a sardonic kick out of conversations in the airplane row seats, in my own mostly nugatory voyages, with enthusiastic young associates just so THRILLED to have been tapped to fly a couple of thousand miles to attend a deposition or document production or administrative or court hearing: “Wow! We’re staying at the Fairmont! And dinner at The Four Seasons! I’m in the Big Time now! On the way UP! All that schooling and sucking up is finally paying off!”

      So how much of all that “travel,” an inherent part of “markets” and “supply chains” and “consumption” and justified or just done, regardless, because “I am entitled to personally carry my sensitive and hungry-for-stimulation limbic system long distances, to experience those sense-tickling wonders and cuisines and cultures of far off places because I can AFFORD it” thinking, is really “necessary?” In a world of diminishing resources and accumulating damage to living systems? And now, where “virtual attendance,” and replacement by algos linked by fiber optics and ultra-high radio frequency “bandwidth,” has become so possible, is “travel” a viable structure?

      I bet even a lot of “troops,” despite the whole indoctrination and seduction of getting to go to far off places, meet interesting people, and kill (or be killed by) them, would prefer to “deploy” virtually into shoot-em-up virtual spaces (where they are already very engaged) and even prefer not to mound up guilt and miseries from driving drone bombers and blowing up wedding parties.

      But such considerations seem to be plainly outside the available thought-space of the species…

      Reply
      1. roadrider

        getting to go to far off places, meet interesting people, and kill (or be killed by) them

        +10 Full Metal Jacket reference

        Reply
    3. SerenityNow

      I couldnt agree with you more. Our built environment privileges motor vehicles over anything else–and we spend billions of dollars every year to make sure that remains the case. Getting people to see that a safe walk to work is more important than an easy drive to the convenience store is going to require a HUGE shift in values.

      Reply
      1. juliania

        It has to start, and it will. My oldest son who is a manager at a very fancy hotel, has been biking to work for several years along a safe biking trail that parallels a train route (on which train, bikes are part of the passenger load – no roadways involved except where they intersect the bike trail at a few points. ) Priorities will have to change in a lot of places, but that only needs a moribund Congress trying to resurrect old priorities to die off – and they will! Corporations may live forever (and there’s doubt about that now too) but people die. Don’t give up hope – the bell tolls for congresspersons as well.

        I say this in the twilight of my years, so I get to say it! We’ll be gone soon. And there’s a new day a-coming.

        Reply
      2. AZCACLARK

        If we considered commuting as a tax we could get the Rethugs to come out against it? At least I hope so. The cost of owning, insuring and maintaining a car is one thing I’d like to dispense with.

        Reply
    4. diptherio

      In Missoula they improved the bike friendliness of the town by painting bicyclist icons in the middle of car lanes {facepalm}. Yeah, that’ll work.

      Reply
    5. Oregoncharles

      Corvallis, OR is something of a model of a bike-promoting town. It isn’t a big city, though, and there’s more to do. And a bicyclist was recently killed crossing the street – in a heavily marked crosswalk – right in front of the Coi-op,

      Bike-friendly is mostly a matter of local ordinances.

      Reply
      1. Joey

        Which is precisely why ‘trails’ are hazardous. Bikes need to flow with traffic to allow cars and bikes to see each other. Crosswalks are for pedestrians the same reasons pedestrians face traffic. Bikers can’t jump backwards.

        Reply
    1. Louis Fyne

      (arguably) 19th century German-Americans gave us class consciousness, the labor movement and 8-hr work day.

      Yet unfortunately despite the largest ethnic group plurality in the US, nothing like WWI to (arguably) make American culture solidly less German/communal and solidly more English/individual.

      Wish the US had more Gemütlichkeit.

      Reply
      1. flora

        Not just in the US. In 1917 during WWI, Britain’s King George V ordered the British royal family to dispense with the use of German titles and surnames, and changed the surname of his own family from the Germanic Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          Cash is King?

          Renaming things usually happens in moments of distress, and countries south of the border had a field day renaming their national currencies, mostly in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

          Presto, fiat accompli!, except it didn’t work.

          Most of the newer named currencies in each country required 1,000 of the old one to equal 1 of the new model worth a lot less. You go through that a few times and you’ve got little to show for any savings.

          Here’s how it went down:

          Argentina Peso Ley, turns into Peso Argentino, turns into Austral, and then to the now current Peso Convertible.

          Bolivia Peso became the Peso Boliviano

          Brazil Cruzeiro Novo turns into Cruzado, and then to the Cruzeiro Real now in use.

          Chile Escudos became Pesos.

          Ecuador Sucres never changed names, but went defunct when the country decided to go to a U.S. Dollar economy instead.

          El Salvador Colon never changed names, and like Ecuador, the country called it quits and went to the Yanqui Dollar.

          Mexico Peso becomes Nuevo Peso.

          Nicaragua Cordoba turns into 2nd Cordoba, followed by Cordoba Oro now is circulation.

          Peru Sol became Inti and then went back to being Soles again.

          Uruguay Peso was replaced by Nuevo Peso and then by the Peso Uruguayo.

          Venezuela Bolivar became Bolivar Fuerte, and now the present Bolivar Soberano.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Renaming things, or people (aristocratic or not), in moments of distress…

            Before, it was ‘Indians’, but now, it’s ‘Native Americans.’

            Or ‘illegal’ to ‘undocumented.’

            Barbers, then, but hair stylists now.

            Just a few examples.

            Reply
              1. Wukchumni

                Not long after 9/11, I interrogated my French press into giving up the usual suspects, some Arabica has beans.

                Reply
        2. Craig H.

          I gather in those days most Americans and British hardly knew what a Russian was but most all of them believed the Germans were monstrous. Sort of a combination of Snidely Whiplash, Darth Vader, the Big Bad Wolf and those guys in Godfather who whacked Sonny at the toll booth.

          There are hundreds of hits if you google image search on (German bayonet Belgian babies).

          Reply
        3. efschumacher

          And Battenberg to Mountbatten. With Philip being one of the latter, technically the ‘House’ should have changed and now be the house of Battenberg. Till the next Queen comes along.

          Bearing in mind that Victoria was a Hanover, till she married Albert, a Saxe Coburg Gotha.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            When George 1 from the German Hanoverians became King, he was a German speaker who couldn’t speak English nor did he want to learn. To communicate to his government ministers he had to resort to French.

            Reply
      2. Wukchumni

        We had a utopian socialist group named the Kaweah Colony here from 1886 until they were ousted from their shakily acquired land by the US Government, which made Sequoia NP, the 2nd NP in 1890.

        German socialism was their calling card…
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        The period following the Civil War was a time, both nationally and internationally, in which there was rising dissatisfaction with capitalism as preferred of national economic model. An American socialist, Laurence Grodlund, wrote of German socialism in Co-operative Commonwealth, a publication which circulated in the United States. Labor activists in the San Francisco Bay Area became interested in Grodlund’s description of a better way. Influenced by Grodlund and other prominent writers, a group of Bay Area residents, lead by the labor activists, organized the Kaweah Co-Operative Commonwealth (the Kaweah Colony). Its purpose was to patent the newly opened timbered resources of eastern Tulare County and use the timber as the basis for a new society. Eastern Tulare was largely inaccessible and thus of little interest to commercial timber interests. The participants applied for 53 patents covering 12,000 acres of land surrounding the forks of the Kaweah River. The Land Patent Office, suspicious of recent fraudulent patent activity in Humboldt County, was slow to process the claims. Assuming success, and perhaps encouraged by the land agents to move forward, the Kaweah Commonwealth was launched without the patents. Funds were not only raised by the participants as part of a buy-in, but also from national and European sources as well. Many of the members never lived at Kaweah, but active clubs supporting Kaweah existed in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, and New York. The colony was begun, and its principal undertaking, starting in 1886, was the construction of an 18 mile road over a four year period to access the standing timber resources. The plan was that the logs were to be cut, milled, and then hauled to market. In terms of daily life, the colony has its own medium of exchange, wherein all participants were paid, based upon the time devoted to Colony undertakings. The time credits could be exchanged for meals and goods at the Colony store. Recognizing that all labor was valuable, all work was credited at the same exchange rate.

        https://blog.aklandlaw.com/2009/09/articles/planning-zoning-development/the-kaweah-colony-a-socialist-settlement-in-the-1880s/

        Reply
      3. drumlin woodchuckles

        It was specifically Woodrow Wilson, America’s most Evil president, who unleashed and drove the wave of anti-germanitic persecution all across America.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          And the segregation of blacks in the Federal work force. I think that he would have burnt the US Constitution if he could have gotten away with it.

          Reply
      4. ObjectiveFunction

        This!

        I have no German blood in me (beyond non-Celtic English), but have long been fascinated with the 150 years of predominance of ethnic (non-Jewish) Germans in large American organizations, from .mil/.gov to .corp to sports teams. To my knowledge it hasn’t been studied, partly due to the hangover from the World Wars.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          It could be partly just brute-force statistical chance. I read a couple of censuses ago that among those census question-answerers who answered the question ” what is your ethnic ancestry” . . . the largest single percentage-of-ethnicity-answered was german. That was extrapolated upwards to the whole American population to suggest that the single biggest claimed-ancestral-ethnicity-group in America was the germans . . . or “germanericans” if you will.

          With that big a percentage of the population, it must makes sense that there are lots of german-ancestry people in high places here and there.

          ( As an interesting side-note, the article noted that the ONLY people who typically gave their “ethnic ancestry” as “American” were the hill-and-mountain Appalachian people.

          Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      I don’t really get it though…

      Anybody in Germany that held onto cash from 1914 to 1945 ended up with a fistful of nothing. Must be a deeper fear involving computers having control.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        My goodness, how did the Germans buy bread and meat and cheese in the many pretty distinct political economy segments that eventuated in the years between 1914 and 1945? For that matter, how did ordinary people survive in all those little South and Central American economies where the currencies underwent all those name- and nominal-vale changes mostly in the ‘89s and ‘90s?

        Answering that inquiry might give us mopes here some idea of what we can look forward to, how we might be able to weather the coming sh!tstorm. And of course many of the mopes in those political economies afflicted by all the vicissitudes of misery in the early to late 20th century did not survive, let alone prosper, of course. There are lessons in that, too.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          We’ve been lucky to have a stable currency, no heavy mental lifting. Every Dollar issued since 1794 is fully redeemable.

          Many currencies have a use-by date, and then typically a 10 year grace period to exchange them for newer issues. All Swiss banknotes of all denominations from 40 years ago or further back are worth precisely nothing in terms of face value.

          Hope that your late astute relative that ‘invested’ in Swiss Francs knows that, when they open a safe deposit box full of something more useful as toilet paper.

          How does it go with an unstable currency?

          Like anything you get used to it. Merchants have slowly raised the price of a candy bar from a Nickel to 75 Cents over my lifetime, and gasoline has put in a similar performance.

          Now, speed all that up in the space of a few years, and you get a better feel for what it must be like, retailers constantly changing the price to keep up with inflation and/or the newly named currency, and the public can’t get rid of any monies they have quick enough, before more debauchment comes calling.

          Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          One way was for those in the city (they were not that large) to go out for trips into the country to beg for food from farmers. During the Allied blockade of Germany earlier in WW1, people actually starved to death in Germany. In Austria in the hyperinflationary period of the 1920s, one formerly wealthy women traded food for a gold necklace – one link at a time. In short, people do what they have to do to survive. I heard of one grocer here in Oz talk about how during the great Depression, girls would come into his shop offering sex for food. Reading history can be a very sobering experience.

          Reply
      2. Cal2

        JT, I was in Argentina when the hyperinflation hit. How’d they survive? I met lovely old ladies in cafes, grandmothers and even great- grandmothers, wearing crucifixes, who would offer to have sex for money. People got real skinny and they got militant. Pitchforks do work.

        Wakchumni,
        Yeah, Wiemar, I wondered about that. Two ideas jump out:

        Even if a hyperinflation hits in Germany, the Euro is still good elsewhere in Europe, versus the in country Mark.

        A second, distrust of central banks and those who control the value of money, left over from Weimar.

        Reply
  5. Olga

    The Goddess, The Jade Rabbit And The Magpie Bridge – Chinese Culture On The Far Side Of The Moon Moon of Alabama – At least the Chinese world order – when it does come and regardless of many detractors – will be tempered by lovely, nostalgic mythology.
    Joseph Cambell may have had fun with this.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      And a little bit more of Chinese culture to be shared with the world. From Three Legged Crow, Wikipedia:

      In Chinese mythology, there are other three-legged creatures besides the crow, for instance, the yu 魊 “a three-legged tortoise that causes malaria”.[8] The three-legged crow symbolizing the sun has a yin yang counterpart in the chánchú 蟾蜍 “three-legged toad” symbolizing the moon (along with the moon rabbit). According to an ancient tradition, this toad is the transformed Chang’e lunar deity who stole the elixir of life from her husband Houyi the archer, and fled to the moon where she was turned into a toad.[9]

      The three legged toad is depicted in a 2,000 year old silk painting, recovered from Mawangdui, in Changsha, China. From the same article:

      Western Han silk painting funeral procession banner found in the Mawangdui Han tomb of Lady Dai (d. 168 BCE), depicting the lunar three-legged toad and moon rabbit (top left) and the solar three-legged crow (top right).

      Toads in China, at least today, are considered auspicious. From Jin Chan (Golden Toad), Wikipedia:

      It represents a popular Feng Shui charm for prosperity.

      That contrasts with toads being more negatively perceived in the West.

      Perhaps, when the Chinese world order prevails, toads will be sought after for kissing, and princesses avoided.

      And it would be a nice change for once.

      Reply
      1. SoldierSvejk

        And even more of interest for all things Chinese (or, Japanese, as in this case):
        http://www.atimes.com/article/poignant-chinese-character-offered-to-world-for-2019-prayer/
        “Kanazawa may just be the world’s most well-known calligrapher, but the artist herself – who has exhibited her original works at the most exclusive and discerning of the upper-crust museums, temples, and galleries throughout Japan – is indifferent to fame. She was born with Down syndrome. Her mother, Yasuko, explains that “prayer” – far from being just another New Year’s resolution – has been the bedrock of her and her daughter’s life from the moment Shoko was born. “For 30 years,” Yasuko says, “my job has been to pray.””

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That particular Kanji mentioned in the Asian Times article, to pray or a prayer, is a Chinese character (all Kanjis are), and brings us back to Chang E again.

          From Chang E, Wikipedia:

          On Mid-Autumn Day, the full Moon night of the eighth lunar month, an open-air altar is set up facing the Moon for the worship of Chang’e. New pastries are put on the altar for her to bless. She is said to endow her worshippers with beauty.

          Among the pastries is the Moon Cake. From Wikipedia, Moon Cake:

          A mooncake (simplified Chinese: 月饼; traditional Chinese: 月餅; pinyin: yuèbing, yuèbǐng; Jyutping: jyut6 beng2; Yale: yuht béng) is a Chinese bakery product traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節).

          And the moon cake has an interesting history. From the article:

          Mooncakes were used by the Ming revolutionaries in their effort to overthrow the Mongolian rulers of China at the end of the Yuan dynasty. The idea is said to have been conceived by Zhu Yuanzhang and his advisor Liu Bowen, who circulated a rumor that a deadly plague of “Hóuzi chuánwěi jíbìng de” was spreading and that the only way to prevent it was to eat special mooncakes, which would instantly revive and give special powers to the user. This prompted the quick distribution of mooncakes. The mooncakes contained a secret message coordinating the Han Chinese revolt on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month.[7]

          Reply
    1. voislav

      It’s much more broader than that. There is a bunch of stuff that ends up in your breath given certain physiological conditions. About 10 years ago I was working on developing a portable breath monitoring device for surgical operating rooms and apparently, breath biomarkers provide not only disease diagnostics (like cancer), but you can use them to monitor a patient in surgery much better than with traditional monitoring methods.

      One of the doctors was saying that with breath monitoring they can detect patient going into cardiac arrest 30-60 seconds earlier than with traditional methods, which makes a huge difference to patient survival rates. All this technology is still not fully reliable, there are still some technical issues that need to be resolved regarding reproducibility, but it would not surprise me to see them on the market in the next 10 years.

      Reply
        1. voislav

          We were looking at a bunch of things, we had several panels from about 40 to over 300 compounds. It was all over the place, common markers like acetone for diabetics, pyridine for respiratory function to some pretty complex stuff. The device we were working on was similar to the airport security screening devices, same technology, just much more sensitive.

          Idea was that you can use breath monitoring to replace pretty much every other instrument in the patient’s room, as well as regular blood tests, with a ~$5000 hand-held device. Measuring the breathing rate and exhaled air volume is a good indicator of hearth rate, so even EKG could be replaced.

          Reply
    2. oliverks

      Breath Analysis could be a big breakthrough for detecting diseases. As you point out dogs are good at cancer. But there was also the case of a woman that can smell Parkinson’s (this has been replicated as well). Also detection of changes in the micro biome could be very important, especially to aging patients. This seems like another good target.

      There is little interest in the investment community in the USA to fund work in this area. The prevailing sentiment seems to be that blood tests will rule the day.

      Owlstone (the company in the article) is the best funded world wide that I know of.

      Reply
      1. oliverks

        I apologize for posting multiple comments. I was having a bunch of problems getting the comment to post, and somehow ended up with multiple entries.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          It appears that the site mechanisms just do that sometimes – even though they’ll normally catch accidental double posts.

          Reply
        2. Christy

          I deleted one.

          Please have patience if your post doesn’t appear right away. There may be different reasons, but as you can see, further attempts result in double-posting.

          If you haven’t done so already, please click on ‘Policies’ in the top toolbar.
          Under ‘Comments’ it will explain all.
          Thanks.

          Reply
    1. johnnygl

      I don’t think that necessarily hurts bernie 2020 as much as the establishment thinks it does. The more relevant question for me is how many states that previously had closed primaries will now have open or semi-open primaries???

      Bernie did MUCH better with independents in 2016, but i do think he’ll do better with registered dems in 2020, in any case.

      Reply
      1. cm

        Agreed. Good riddance to caucuses. I was a WA state Sanders delegate (but not at Philly), and only the party hacks liked the caucus. The rest of us were asounded at the incomptence and lengthy/useless delays. A vote that should have taken an hour at most wound up taking something like 12 hours, with plenty of people leaving before the vote completed.

        Reply
        1. Kurt Sperry

          Agreed. Here in Bellingham the caucus was a hot mess. It was kinda interesting as I’d never been to a caucus before, but I have no idea why anyone would prefer it to a simple primary vote. We had to listen to a DP machine Hill-bot give a long speech with no offsetting Bernie speaker in spite of the fact that almost three quarters of the people present were there to support Bernie. Then I read a month or two later that a secret “non-binding” primary nobody was invited to had selected Hillary! Shady business, I wouldn’t trust the DP as far as I could throw them, democracy isn’t something they (in spite of the name) embrace.

          Reply
          1. Oregoncharles

            There’s no primary in Washington state because you have a two stage, Top Two runoff instead. Big mistake. Oregon voters turned it down.

            Reply
      2. Richard

        That is a good point. New York’s closed primary should be a big target for anyone interested in authentic democracy. The turnout is so low (I love AOC, but she did win in a basically “rotten borrough”, decided by only a few thousand voters) it should be an embarrassment. I mean no disrespect at all to New Yorkers; this should be considered an embarrassment for all usians.
        If we live in a union, and if the elections in Tallahassee aren’t fair, then they aren’t in St. Louis either. Of course one-party corruption exists everywhere. The repubs barely even bother to run in brooklyn or sf or seattle. The dems won’t actually try to win all over the intermountain west and south. Our “choices” are often confined to primaries, controlled by the parties themselves. And the dem party has made it clear in court, in defending itself against the voter purge in 2016 (Brooklyn, NY pres. primary, 200,000 voters purged from polls unlawfully), that it can count the votes any damn way it wants in the primary. Because it’s a private club. They actually said that. What a headline that would have been. CNN, MSNBC, NY Times, a few reporters and editors actually do their job for a few days, and we live in a different world. It can’t be that simple, can it?

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          In some countries, for some parties, you have to study and be approved to join a party.

          And you can be expelled (purged) by the party bosses.

          That system is not better nor worse. Just different. It can lead to more committed party members, I suppose.

          Reply
      3. SpringTexan

        Bernie got shafted in the Nevada caucuses where votes were not estimated fairly from what I heard, I agree that this may not hurt him much at all. Some of the stuff in caucuses took place by voice vote and the presider would pick the side they wanted as being louder when they weren’t.

        Reply
        1. Cal2

          It’s Bernie, or we, and most of our friends, stay home on general election day.
          Trump being reelected will do more to get a real Democrat nominated in 2024 than would any Democrat–except Bernie winning in 2020.

          Bernie’s V.P.? How about Jim Webb? Or Tulsi Gabbard?

          Trump’s making noises about ex-Democrat Webb for Secretary of Defense.
          The ultimate iconoclastic horror for the Democrats;
          Trump asking Webb to be his Vice President.
          I would vote for that ticket over any other Democrat, except Bernie.

          https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/03/us/politics/jim-webb-defense-secretary.html

          Reply
    2. Big River Bandido

      Actually, as a native Iowan who attended 3 caucuses, it’s not hard at all to rig caucus results, in fact it’s even easier. A primary election is a straight-up head count. A caucus is a convoluted process, completely non-transparent, whose effects generally are not seen at the local level. The caucus process is designed to give the local party leaders more control over the choice than the actual “voters” (who are really not voters in this case, just caucus attendees).

      A caucus can be easily rigged by those in power, in secret.

      Reply
      1. Late Introvert

        Another Iowa native who despises the caucuses. The party leaders crowd us voters into sweaty gyms where nobody can sit, and then hours later you get to sorta kinda get counted by standing in a group. My one and only experience of such rudeness was for John Edwards so I’m still paying penance and feeling mad about it.

        This next election we have the option to cast a vote by absentee ballot. Now the only question is will they count them or not.

        Reply
    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      I had always understood caucuses to be much more bully-able, game-able, riggable, etc. than primaries at every stage except the very most final counting of the votes.

      If the system is going over to strictly primaries, then yes, the DemParty will try to defraudulate the primary process at every step beginning with primary-voter suppression and disenfrachisement. The Dems will have to be watched for that very closely and very hostile-ly.

      Reply
    4. Lambert Strether

      > re: The little-noticed change that could boost Biden and hurt Bernie in 2020

      [Jeff Weaver] agrees with the premise that passionate voters can have an outsized effect in low-turnout caucuses: “If you have a dedicated group of folks, because the number of people at caucuses is generally lower, they can have a bigger impact.”

      But there’s a flip side, he said: It’s easier to persuade infrequent voters to show up to a primary than a caucus — and “Bernie Sanders and other progressive candidates will disproportionately get the votes of people who are not consistent voters.”

      IOW, Weaver has the mindset of expanding the base. Unlike the liberal Democrat faction that dominates the party.

      Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      For me, it’s all about a bowl of NM chili, which looks nothing like you’ve ever seen elsewhere in a chili vein, and so innocent looking until around the 3rd spoonful and then you start perspiring not in a nervous way-maybe it’s your taste buds getting uppity, which doesn’t stop until well after there’s nothing left to eat, hmmm delicious.

      Reply
      1. juliania

        Don’t forget beef burritos stuffed with rice and pinto beans from a roadside stand. Nuthin’ like it; nuthin at all.

        Reply
          1. newcatty

            Cal2, yes! We lov3d Renee’s cafe when we lived in Tucson. It was on far side of town, so did not get there as often as we would have liked. Often stopped on way to Tucson’s “mountain get-away”, when in dire need of evergreen trees in our midst.

            New Mexico chili! Nothing compares, though, imo, a few Tucson restaurants can create great red and green, too. Sigh… miss the Mexican, real food, too. One good thing, we were ready to cook more at home, anyway, so we make our own versions of “Mexican” food. We can control for organic and freshness. We do have a great organic cafe here and an amazing pizza place, a few more good restaurants, so cool.

            Reply
      2. Oregoncharles

        NM chile isn’t that Tex-Mex stuff with beans: it’s CHILES in broth, with flecks of meat. Mind-bending, the first time.

        Sadly, I’ve heard that the Hatch Valley isn’t growing nearly so many chiles these days, and my mail-order source, called Los Chileros, seems to be hav ing supply problems. The chiles I like mostly wind up green here – not bad, but not what we wanted!

        Speaking of which, we have a dog anecdote from NM: we were barbecuing over a hole in the ground, so right down low. The first time we weren’t looking, our dog got lamb chops; she was very happy but unpopular for a while there. But the second time, my wife was roasting chiles – the deadly serious New Mexico kind, that look like anaheims but aren’t. That mouthful made it about 5 feet, and she never snitched off the barbecue again.

        Reply
  6. a different chris

    Haha, he laughs bitterly. Here is a pull quote from “Worse than Japan”, because India is ageing but not as fast as China as they are still having many babies:

    “From this, we can say that the US economy will not be overtaken by China but, rather, by India.”

    And of course, here is another Link:

    “Climate Change Harming Agriculture, India’s Wheat Production Could Fall By 23%: Ministry ”

    ‘Nuff said.

    Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “The periodic table is 150 – but it could have looked very different”

    Lots of people have had fun arranging this table in novel ways as shown in this article and it was a beautiful piece of reasoning that produced it in the first place. Have even seen it in an updated scifi setting-

    http://www.lcarscom.net/images/periodic.gif

    Reply
  8. jfleni

    RE: Tim Cook to Investors: People Bought Fewer New iPhones Because They Repaired Their Old Ones.

    What else? Of course APPLE-JACK screaming GIMME all the time did this!
    Whatever happened to WASTE NOT WANT NOT? Not important!

    Reply
  9. Wukchumni

    Sequoia NP is closed as far as the main entrance is concerned, but there’s the little used entrance on the South Fork of the Kaweah River-a 14 mile drive from town-the last 4 of which are on dirt, with protruding rocks as an added bonus. You really want a higher clearance vehicle on this road, and as a consequence it gets little visitation, despite having a plethora of Sequoia trees of all ages, on the Ladybug Trail.

    Driving up to go on a hike, we had a dozen cars coming down and that beat the old record of probably 5 cars quite handily, and when we got up to the South Fork Campground/Trailhead, it was as if the world had rushed in. The trailhead has parking for around 10 cars, and 15 were somehow squeezed in, and in the car camping spots, we noticed nary a tent up, and as many as 3 or 4 cars parked at one spot, cheek by jowl.

    The Ladybug Trail is a local’s trail usually. If we walked on a Thursday a week from now with the shutdown over, a 4 mile roundtrip walk to Ladybug Camp you might see a few people or sometimes not a soul.

    I’ve seen my only Fishers there, one coming towards me and another that I came up behind. It’s rare to see them, and when I saw my first one, it was about 100 feet away weaseling towards me, black in color and my first thought was a baby cub, but bears don’t have tails. The trail is heavily canopied in many stretches, which is apparently where they like to hang out. A week after i’d seen numero uno, we were at a party with a bunch of NP employees, and I was talking to the park biologist, and he asked me to describe the encounter, and I told him that it walked like a Dachshund, and he told me that’s the perfect description, ha!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fisher_(animal)

    There were about 50 people on the trail yesterday, and it isn’t quite time for dare I say about a million Ladybugs to winter over here, maybe another few weeks. In the link below, there’s a photo of a tree trunk encrusted with them, now imagine hundreds of trees like that, with a preference for fallen timbers.

    http://darinmcquoid.com/southkaweah.html

    Reply
  10. Carolinian

    More on the ill considered decision by the Trump administration to leave the National Parks open during the shutdown.

    Indeed, as one former National Park Service director said, keeping the parks open but unstaffed is like leaving the Smithsonian open without employees minding the priceless artifacts. It invites abuse and practically guarantees damage to some of the national’s most treasured public lands.

    https://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-national-parks-shutdown-20190104-story.html

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Initially I thought Sequoia NP staying open was a good thing on account of the timing, in that this is the first government shutdown that’s happened @ prime time, which the holiday period here is for our merchants to gather digital acorns for the sleepy winter.

      By all accounts they did great. I heard that the 8 chain rental places were sold out of almost every size, the demand being great, combined with really treacherous windy icy mountain roads, as it’s been on the chilly side. I’m sure the 200+ vacation rental homes were chock a block full and some iffy restaurants, had to put you on a list to get a table, and that should never happen with the fare they’re slinging.

      When I saw that bathrooms in the NP were going to be closed and no trash pick up, I had a little gulp in my throat, knowing that unless you’re used to going #2 in the wilderness, it’s awkward as for the first time perhaps in most people’s lives, there is no there there underneath your split assets, asunder.

      It didn’t end well, the outcome.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        Perhaps they should have posted signs showing how to dig “cat holes.” People are going to have to “do their business.”

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          I’d guess to the average person, telling them to dig ‘cat holes’ would mean that somebody’s moggy couldn’t make it through that 10th live.

          Reply
        2. Anon

          Yes, they will do their business. And, like the “travelers” up the face of Half Dome, they should learn to bag it (single-use plastic bags did have a second use). Pack it in, pack it out!

          This same issue of unsupervised access to sensitive resources is playing out along the Hollister Ranch coastline in Calif. (Where is Colin Fletcher when we need him.)

          Reply
  11. todde

    Ran a tax scenario for married couple – 2 kids – $60k in business income $333 in other income and $17,900 in itemized deductions:

    2017 tax liability – $9,789
    2018 tax liability – $8,678

    Same info – no itemized deductions:

    2017 tax liability – $10,557
    2018 tax liability – $8,678

    Same info – no itemized – W2 income instead of business

    2017 tax liability – $2,736
    2018 tax liability – $1,478

    Same info 17,000 in itemized deductions – w2 income instead of business

    2017 tax liability – $2,091
    2018 tax liability – $1,478

    Reply
    1. curlydan

      It’s mainly the people with high SALT (state/local/property) taxes that could get hosed since those deductions are now capped. The new standard deduction is $24K I believe for married couples, so that would reduced tax liability if you only have $17.9K in itemized deductions in both years.

      Reply
      1. Cal2

        Meaning Californians whose property taxes are controlled by Proposition 13 are more likely to vote for Trump, versus those who just moved here or flipped houses and pay full market value property taxes? Sounds OK to me.

        Reply
    2. Dan

      This is precisely why I stay on as an employee rather than a partner in our family business, though now I’m running the show and the partners are retired…

      Reply
    3. Kurtismayfield

      So $620 a year, or about $12 a week for a family that itemizes. That got eaten up by increased medical expenses immediately by that family with the chamges that have occurred to ACA subsidies.. This is why no one in the middle noticed it.

      The cuts all expire in 6 years for individuals.

      Thank you for posting this.

      Reply
    4. Tom_Doak

      Isn’t the tax liability so much more for business income instead of W2 income because of Social Security and Medicare matching payments?

      If so, then your $60k incomes are not an apples-to-apples comparison. The person with business income would have had to pay those if he’d been paying himself a salary, so would have needed more business revenue to be left with $60k in w2 income.

      Reply
      1. todde

        the business incomes were all reported on Schedule C, generating a SE tax that is unchanged between the two tax years.

        And I am not comparing business to w2 income, I am comparing tax liabilities generated by different types of incomes between 2017 and 2018.

        but if you are saying that the business tax is higher because of the SE/FICA taxes you are right.

        Reply
        1. Fiery Hunt

          Yep. I tend to pay around a 35-39% real taxes because i’m self-employed….and trust me, I’m not in that income bracket.

          Reply
    5. Yves Smith

      Those business people should be taking salary!!! My understanding is if you don’t it’s an audit red flag. But they you have to allow for the double FICA.

      I think you need to include payroll taxes on these scenarios.

      Reply
    1. Farragut

      Agreed. In another recent example of MSM bias, NC readers may have seen this (which has since been corrected on the WaPo page, to their credit):

      Reply
    2. pjay

      A nice overview by Greenwald, who reminds us that Arkin wrote the very good NYT series ‘Top Secret America’ with Dana Priest several years ago (which became a useful book). CNN did water it down, but at least they mentioned it (and republished Arkin’s letter). My wish is always that incidents like this, or the recent Guardian debacle (see the Greenwald link above) that represent tiny cracks in the propaganda wall, are widely publicized and discussed. Usually they aren’t, outside the respectable alternative media.

      Reply
      1. p

        The Priest/Arkin ‘Top Secret America’ series was in the Washington Post, not the Times. I knew that (I remember the series well), but I think the idea of such a series being published in the Post today is so unlikely that I unconsciously made them Times reporters (only a little less unlikely today).

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          More realistic to posit that sort of series being first aired on “Info Wars” or an analogue.
          Perhaps ‘Duffleblog’ or ‘The Onion’ would have a go. The function of a “Jester” was to air uncomfortable subjects disguised as humour. The more messed up ‘things’ get, the more ‘uncomfortable’ a jester’s gibes are to listen to. Said gibes are getting too close to some internal shame. It is generally acknowledged by laughter, on the theory that it is better to laugh than to cry. Both ‘Duffleblog’ and ‘The Onion’ have garnered such accolades aplenty lately.
          So, I fully expect one or the other of these American Jesters to run a headline soon to the effect: “Democrat Party asks Israel to establish ‘No Fly Zone’ over District of Columbia.”

          Reply
      2. Kurt Sperry

        Deeper dive into the lurid background of the Ecuadorian “journalist” Fernando Villavicencio, credited in the Guardian print edition — but not the online version of the story. This episode has the stench of spooks, propaganda, and editorial malfeasance all over it. Incredible to me people think they can get away with such deliberate misinformation being peddled as news.

        https://jimmysllama.com/2018/06/07/11347/

        Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “Tim Cook to Investors: People Bought Fewer New iPhones Because They Repaired Their Old Ones”: ‘Apple finally says that repair hurts its bottom line.’

    Gee, you think that if companies like Ford or General Motors built cars that people were never allowed to ever repair, that one of them would have been the first trillion dollar company instead?

    Reply
    1. Brian (another one they call)

      Thanks Rev; American cars build in obsolescence. Some don’t have lubrication spots for grease guns, thus destroying the suspension after 100K miles (or so) When they cost as much as a house, it would please the consumer to be able to use it for nearly as long. Not likely to happen.

      Reply
      1. zer0

        Not true.

        Firstly, all car companies have planned obsolescence. All. The reason is mostly due to the engineering and complexity involved. 100,000/5 years is usually the agreed upon guarantee that the engineer/manufacturer can provide based on the life of the components and system.

        Then there is the consumer. The consumer, especially the American consumer, wants it all: efficiency, space, electronics, torque, hp, looks, etc. All of these do not run parallel to one another. If you want a car that lasts for say 500,000 miles on average, it would need to be:

        1) Manual
        2) Minimally electronic
        3) Low power (both torque and max hp)
        4) Low to the ground
        5) Minimal suspension if any

        Now, do you see anybody buying a car like that in America? I dont. Americans want power. They want electronics, everywhere: seats, screens, a/c, etc.

        And dont fool yourself. Phones are nothing compared to cars. They dont have to run at -40C, they dont have to maintain stringent levels of safety, they dont have to work after going through 1 foot deep potholes. Cars are, after planes, the most engineered technologically advanced product on Earth.

        Reply
        1. Dan

          That basically describes our old 1980 Mercedes 240d. It was a dreamboat of a car, not zippy but fun to drive, easy to fix (no electronics) and still got about 30mpg after 35+ years. Sold it at 265k miles to a friend who I hope will take it to 400!

          Reply
          1. zer0

            Oh that was a great car from a great year! The 1980s, suprisingly had some real gems. The 1980 volvo sedan was also a brick, my dad had it with 230k and sold it in early 2000’s to a guy who said he had had one that finally gave out at 400k. Apparently many of the components were matched by hand at the time, and the power trains were built with large clearances to mitigate the effects of wear and tear.

            Reply
        2. Anon

          . . . and it basically describes my vintage 1991 Volkswagen Vanagon: power steering and brakes, but no power windows, no power door locks, no power seats no fancy data screen, no speeding tickets… However, with 14″ brakes it doesn’t stop well. Made in Graz, not Hamburg.
          Would sell for the same dealer price that I bought it at.

          Granted it only sees 5-6k of road work per year, but still humms along.

          Reply
          1. Unna

            1984 Toyota 4Runner. First half year model of the 4Runner. Price new, circa USD $9K. Manual, roll up windows, 22R engine, no radio, but it did have a cigarette lighter, solid front axle, and back seat was an option back then. We didn’t get the back seat.

            It had just over 300K miles when about 2 years ago we basically gave it to our mechanic in exchange for a big repair on another vehicle. I just didn’t trust it on the road anymore with no ABS. Maybe I’m getting old. Mechanic got rid of the tags, fixed it up a bit and still uses it to haul firewood and dirt on his place which backs onto “crown land.” Never needed transmission work or engine work except for machining gasket something or other which cost some ? hundreds at the time. We kept it around as a third vehicle.

            Also had a 1997 Subaru Outback, bought new, which had around 270K miles before it died. I think the trick is to buy a good car, don’t abuse it, and over maintain it.

            Got the kid a 2013 Honda Civic manual which he loves. Simple, easy to repair, cheap to run, with the manual fun to drive, and reliable. He learned to drive on the 4Runner, which because of the no ABS we confined to driving around town. But great for months of snow covered roads in the Canadian Rockies in 4WD going 25-30mph.

            We’re plotting another purchase of something soon. So when are the Russians going to sell me that Lada 4×4? Or will Putin, in his cruelty, force me to buy a Jeep?

            I can’t believe I wrote so much about a bunch of old cars.

            Reply
        3. crittermom

          Okay. Here’s one for ya:

          Back in ’68 my dad gave me a 50’s Borgward.

          Yep. A Borgward.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borgward

          It still had the owners manual in the door pocket, in which it stated that if you kept oil in it, the engine would run.

          I later sold it to a friend, who decided to test its durability when he acquired a newer vehicle.

          He drained the oil out & started it up with a 12 pack on the gas peddle.

          It eventually smoked like crazy, but the engine never seized!
          He drove it to a salvage yard afterward.

          I can see why my dad was so upset when I sold it. The engine seemed indestructible.

          At that time I believe it was one of only 22 in the US. (Parts took many weeks to obtain, having to come from Germany)

          Today I remain extremely grateful my ’87 Jeep continues to run, with over 330,000 miles on her & still goin’ strong.

          Reply
          1. gepay

            I had a Borgward station wagon in the early 70’s. I could take my 5piece blues funk combo to gigs. Sweet little 4cyl engine. One time driving to Boston from Baltimore it stopped running as I had been tardy in changing the points. I flicked them and it ran again. so I drove to a nearby parts store and amazingly they had a points set that would work. Set the gap with a matchbook cover and continued on my way. Living in the slums of Roxbury, Boston, little kids set it on fire. sitting on bare seat springs I could still drive it but the smell was just too terrible with the windows closed. Winter in Boston. sorry to drive it to the junkyard.

            Reply
        4. knowbuddhau

          85 Toyota pickup with a newly rebuilt 22RE, gets 30mpg combined, which I’m delighted/outraged to point out to new car buyers, is often better than theirs. Still getting only 30mpg after 30+ years, seriously?

          It’s a one-of-a-kind two-tone: Hunter Green and Ivory, with a black canopy with “Feel the Bern” stickers on each forward side window. And a badly bent black back bumper. Mostly in Anacortes, sometimes in Bellingham, so honk if you see me, Kurt Sperry and tegnost.

          You know what improvement to my material conditions I really need? A subsidy to convert my obsolete engine to electric. Would that be at all feasible as part of a Green New Deal?

          Reply
          1. Unna

            Just wrote above about our 1984 4Runner which then was just the pick up with a cap on the back. Identical to your 1985. It had a carburetor, but I think the 1985 got the fuel injection, or was that 1986? Bought it new and ran it trouble free until about 2 years ago and gave it to my mechanic, and he’s still running it off road on his place. And yes, to the end, it got 30 m/gal, always started, great vehicle.

            Reply
          2. tegnost

            Thanks, I’ll keep an eye out, hunter green and ivory that’s an easy one to spot, and it sounds familiar… you’re not likely still wearing the whidbey beer works hat anymore…I get to anacortes once or twice a month these days

            Reply
        5. Yves Smith

          My sister in law just bought an Audi, manual. Not low power but old enough to be minimally electronic and < 100K miles. For $4K. No one wants manual so they are real sleepers. My mother has a 2003 Buick. Everyone who has driven it likes it (for a non-high performance car) Even a cab driver who saw it says he'd buy it if she'd ever sell it.

          Reply
    2. David

      It’s a funny kind of journalism that confuses “repair” with “replace battery”. I suppose I must have repaired my Bluetooth keyboard yesterday when I replaced the batteries, as well as repairing my bedside lamp and my portable vacuum cleaner, all in the last few weeks. I’m a real genius at repairing things, even though I can hardly wire a plug.
      This seems to refer to Apple’s cheap battery replacement programme which finished recently, and probably cost them money. I’ve had a couple of things genuinely repaired by Apple Stores or licensed retailers. The reason Apple doesn’t want just anyone repairing its stuff is simply that, with the huge number of devices now in circulation, and the documented stupidity of many owners, there will be a certain number of accidents which at the least destroy the equipment and at worst could harm people. Then there will be million-dollar lawsuits alleging that Apple should have made equipment that was safe for any idiot to use a screwdriver on. There was some discussion in the technical press last year about this issue, with various horror stories about what unregistered repairers had managed to do: apparently it’s quite easy to cause a fire with a Lithium-Ion battery unless you know what you are doing. Then all the people who are now screaming for Apple to let everybody repair everything would screaming for them to be prosecuted for making dangerous goods.

      Reply
      1. Cal2

        Anyone with an internet connection can watch Youtube videos on how to repair almost anything. Worse case scenario with something that doesn’t work already? You ruin it, then can’t spend money to get it repaired.

        Never open up an old TV, you can get a huge shock from “stored electricity”–Google it. Avoid creating fire hazards in electronics. Other than that, what have you got to lose by trying to repair something that does not work and would cost a lot to fix elsewhere, if you can even find someone who can do it?

        Reply
        1. David

          Well, if you are prepared to repair, say, a speaker on your iPhone on the basis of a YouTube video, rather than take it to an authorised dealer, and then shrug and throw it away if you ruin the phone, well I admire you. But it’s not what you do that Apple is worried about, it’s that on Day One, thousands of people will sue Apple claiming that they tried to repair their machines and they blew up or caused damage to life and property. It’s hard to see who a repair-it-yourself policy would actually benefit, except lawyers – I assume you’re not one?

          Reply
          1. todde

            on Day One, thousands of people will sue Apple claiming that they tried to repair their machines and they blew up or caused damage to life and property.

            you say that like it is a bad thing….

            Reply
          2. c_heale

            A repair it yourself (or right to repair) policy would benefit the planet. Most product warranties void if you repair it yourself – so no lawyers involved. The real issue is that Apple has has stopped innovating.

            Reply
      2. John

        When Apple attempts the repair and it breaks the device they give you another device, no extra charge.

        What Apple did wrong at first was in not being transparent about what they were doing. As the battery ages it becomes less able to handle spikes of demand. A need for a burst of power would result in a voltage drop and the phone would crash. Their solution was to limit such peak demands for power. This was good in that you could use the phone longer. The bad thing was that it caused an unexpected slowdown. They should have made this a setting that people could opt out of.

        Reply
      3. John k

        It’s obscene that all devices, like cameras, don’t have easy to replace batteries and memory. I replaced my iPad because it became unable to hold a charge very long.
        Maybe ca should charge a 100 tax for devices that don’t… though the attempt would likely just be an opportunity for legislature to boost donations.

        Reply
        1. c_heale

          The better cameras all have easy to replace batteries and memory. In fact I don’t know any of the dslrs or mirrorless cameras from major brands (Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc.) that don’t.

          Reply
    3. Lambert Strether

      The old ones have headphone jacks. So, anybody who has existing headphones they like, and who doesn’t want to shell out — a moment to search — an extra $160 for AirPods — has an incentive to repair the old one.

      Also, Apple defrauded customers when it wrote software to “nudge” users to buy new phones instead of new batteries by slowing performance. Some executive should go to jail for that. The trade press, shockingly, or not, is covering this theft-through-code as “improved battery replacement policy” or some such verbiage. And the fact that Apple cites this as one reason for falling earnings shows that they made a lot of money on their scam. One can only hope that this is a single episode and not part of a lawless culture, as at other Silicon Valley firms, like Uber or Google.

      Reply
  13. redmeep

    re l train shutdown

    I think a lot of people are upset about this late game decision. Besides the fact that a ton of resources have gone into planning the shutdown, there was the general acknowledgement that 15 months of pain were worth a permanent fix to the tunnel alongside all the system improvements. The new plan is a short term band aid that an unknown committee came up with in two months, and will require years of crappy service that people were against in the first place. Moreover there’s been no public feedback. But it’s EUROPEAN! OMG!

    Ultimately the people most upset were landlords, businesses, and LES NIMBYs who didn’t want *gasp* more bike and bus lines, not Brooklyn commuters who understand that short term pain was worth real infrastructure investment. No doubt a reflection of who Cuomo actually represents. Cuomo, as always, acts in his own political interest when it comes to the MTA and New Yorkers.

    Reply
    1. NoOneInParticular

      The BI version posted here and the NYTimes story I read yesterday are both basically out of Cuomo’s mouth. There are just too many unanswered questions. The timing that makes Cuomo look like a hero? Is it a band-aid or a long-term fix? How exactly does this technology work? How much will it cost? Who profits? It would be great if this really fixes the problem, and if so, Cuomo deserves some credit (unless we find out he was sitting on this all along so he could ride in like the cavalry). We can only hope some media outlet digs into this very deeply.

      Reply
      1. Synoia

        Read as if the fix is similar to the London Underground’s construction. Not a band aid at all. Why the original cables were buried in concrete, and not in cable ducts, trays or suspended, is a masterpiece of bad practice for not allowing for maintenance.

        Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “On Trump’s Syrian Pullout”

    I am beginning to think that Trump may have something here. He is a guy that expects results and has made no secret of his intentions of getting out of Syria. He gave the Generals six months to do something in Syria and they came up with nothing but more bases. Couldn’t even eliminate a tiny pocket of ISIS in Syria’s SE corner with maybe 2,000 holdouts. Now that he has announced that he is leaving, the Pentagon is bombing the area for all they are worth so as not to be embarrassed when someone else takes them out.
    There is too much hero-worship of Generals in Washington and people may remember when they gushed over David Patraeus when he had his shot at command. He failed too. But the truth of the matter is that General after General has come and gone in Afghanistan for example and now the remaining US forces are mostly hunkered down while the Taliban has half the country. To Trump, his proffered Generals are just not winners to his way of thinking.
    Maybe the Generals being selected were not that great after all. Mediocre even. I have read that the lower command levels in Iraq though little of the quality of their top command during the occupation. Even military commanders can be critical of other commanders. Remember when Admiral Fallon, chief of the Centcom, described Petraeus as a sycophant and an “an a**-kissing little chickens***” after their first meeting? From what I have read, officer selection in the US Army at least is broken and needs some serious overhaul. And maybe Trump suspects the same.

    Reply
    1. RUKidding

      Quite agree with your analysis, and many of us have been saying something similar for decades now. The sheer honking insanity of the beyond bloated, and never ever accountable, Military budget is bad enough, but then we have these fools in command who apparently are unable to accomplish jack-shit. But oh hey let’s bring them back State-side and kiss their dubious asses and make them into our Warrior Kings or something.

      Those of us who were called out early on for naming him General Betrayus (before the kiss and tell memoir) have, of course, never been absolved for our purported infamy of defaming a precious perfect General who allegedly was keeping us “safe” from terrorissssss. What a load of hooey.

      What wins have these generals given us? Not a one. Does anyone in our Military these days have a Clue about how to Win anything anymore? About how to properly go into battle – whatever that happens mean these days? Sure doesn’t look like it to me.

      100s of thousands of lives are lost – both in terms of the “enemy” and their people and our own citizens in the military – Every. Single. Year. But what, pray tell, do we have to show for it??

      Oh yeah a bloatedly expensive F-35 that doesn’t even frickin work. Hooray for our side.

      Duly noted that even Republicans have pretty much stopped their hypocritical “Support the Troops” nonsense crapola. I get mad every time I’m at the airport, where I’m asked to give money to buy stuff for the Troops. Haven’t I ALREADY DONE THAT with my tax dollars (please: no lectures to me about how taxes are or are not used. In theory my taxes are allegedly going to pay for the Military)????

      And so on.

      I dislike Trump intensely. But if he gets us out of some these ridiculous Wars, I’ll be more than happy to support his efforts.

      However, never forget that Trump definitely increased that insanely bloated military budget, so don’t think Trump, himself, is not benefiting personally from all of that sweet sweet payola. I won’t hold my breath waiting for Trump to reduce the Military budget. Why did he increase it, if he wants us out of those Wars?

      Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      What kind of person wants to go to West Point at age 16 which is when you need to be serious about it? A dedicated but dull person. This is the problem. America’s greatest general (if we exclude Josh Chamberlain, not a West Pointer), was Hiram Grant. His father owned a tannery and learned shortly before the fall semester that the would be cadet for the Congressional district wouldn’t be attending West Point. He rode down to his congressman and recommended his son. The Congressman wanting to fill the spot as soon as possible accepted the recommendation on the spot. Because its the army, Hiram had to change his name because of bureaucratic confusion to Ulysses. He struggled with a demerit issue and was almost thrown out.

      Due to his reputation, Hiram couldn’t get a job in the regular army despite heroic combat experience. He was recognized by a Congressman who helped him get a militia job around April 1861.

      Bobby Lee, who had met Hiram and another officer at the same time and had confused faces, had to ask a soldier to direct him to U.S. Grant at Appomattox in April 1865. There was a reason Grant rose to the top in such a short time. It starts with the character of the officer corp. The greatest West Point cadet surrendered to a cadet who barely made it and didn’t intend to go. I’m convinced we need to draft officers from the college bound population.

      Without a real war, its hard to filter out the guys who shine their boots really well from the guys who are competent. The navy has better experience because command of a ship does give an officer a chance to screw up just due to being on the ocean. So the navies of the world tend to be more with it.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Fully agree with you comment, especially about what happens when you screw up at sea. Witness those recent ship collisions. Grant was certainly a great General who did the hard yards and I am going to have to read his memoir which other people on NC have recommended. And I will absolutely back your claim to the greatness of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain in the Civil War. Not only his actions at Little Round Top but especially to his actions at the Confederate surrender at Appomattox. Happen to have a book on his life called “In the Hands of Providence” on my shelf as I write.

        Reply
        1. gepay

          I don’t think Grant was a great general. After winning Vicksburg he didn’t win almost any battles. He had overwhelming superiority over Lee but the casualty levels of his troops were appalling. Not even mentioning the equipment differences . Sherman won the war.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Grant was great in that he understood his army’s strengths and weaknesses and worked with what he had to win the war. Sherman worked for Grant, and if Sherman figured out how to break the material backbone of the south, Grant was astute enough to let Sherman have his way. Many generals will delegate authority and then meddle in that authorities’ workings. Smart leaders set their underlings tasks within said underling’s abilities and then get out of the way.
            It is often said that the American War Between the States was the first modern war, fought on an industrial scale. It had industrial scale casualties, and industrial thinking winning generals. As one perceptive critic mentioned, Grant had to do one thing; win the war. He did.

            Reply
          2. The Rev Kev

            He was great in that instead of having the Union launch separate uncoordinated attacks like from 1861 onwards, he use the numerical strength of the Union to launch several attacks across the different campaign theaters in a coordinated attack. The Confederacy previously had been able to meet individual attacks in different theaters but could no longer cope with several fronts at once.
            In addition, when the Union suffered a major defeat, they would go back to rest and recuperate for the next campaign. Grant didn’t. Even after a defeat he kept advancing forcing Lee to react more and more on his home territory and losing resources. Grant accepted high casualties in the short term rather than to accept the same number of casualties long term but without any result.

            Reply
      2. Octopii

        Same problem with admirals. The Navy officer corps selects for politically-minded risk averse rule followers as they move up the ranks. Another Rickover, for example, never would make it to admiral today or even twenty years ago but that is the kind of innovative thinker they need.

        Reply
    3. Lamont Cranston

      Awhile back some one posted a comment by a
      Wall Street firm along the lines of “There’s more money to be made funding cancer treatments than funding a cancer cure.” The same reasoning applies to fighting wars than to winning them.

      Reply
      1. todde

        I attended a seminar when I worked at General Dynamics right before the 2nd war.

        A pentagon general gave a speech, spent a couple minutes talking about freedom for Iraqis and then almost an hour discussing ‘markets.’

        Invade Iraq, open up the Markets and then sell their new army military equipment made by GD.

        its a business plan, not a political or military strategy.

        Reply
        1. pjay

          “its a business plan, not a political or military strategy.”

          A concise description of most of our foreign policy — political, military, or otherwise.

          Reply
        2. Lambert Strether

          This reminds me of Veblen’s distinction between business and industry (which I learned of from some commenter here, but so long ago I cannot hat tip them. The Theory of Business Enterprise
          Chapter 3: Business Enterprise
          :

          With a fuller development of the modern close-knit and comprehensive industrial system, the point of chief attention for the business man has shifted from the old-fashioned surveillance and regulation of a given industrial process, with which his livelihood was once bound up, to an alert redistribution of investments from less to more gainful ventures, and to a strategic control of the conjunctures of business through shrewd investments and coalitions with other business men.

          So warfighting is a business, no longer an industry. The F-35 is a flying business plan, not weaponry.

          Reply
    4. voteforno6

      The dirty little secret when it comes to generals is that they can be very childish and petty. The media seems to be too dazzled by the stars to notice this.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Combined with Mattis’s farewell address with a Lincoln quote regarding Grant, it got me thinking, who hankers for the Civil War?

        Sometime during Iraq War 2, the generals went to wearing Civil War era looking coats, turned modern-but with the distinctive sideways rectangular shoulder lapels.

        What’s it all about, Alfie?

        Couldn’t tell you, but looks are everything.

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

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army_Service_Uniform#/media/File:George_W._Casey_2007.jpg

        Reply
    5. cnchal

      > Maybe the Generals being selected were not that great after all. Mediocre even. . .

      From the article linked above: Trump vs Mattis: Watch out when men of war come to the rescue Independent. Robert Fisk

      After all, no Trump tweet could compare with Petain’s 1916 “We’ll get them!” (“on les aura”) slogan, and the dignified, cold and fastidious de Gaulle would never have lent himself to the rant Mattis embarked upon in San Diego in 2005: “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them. Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right upfront with you, I like brawling.”

      Psycho babble.

      These are the people that back stabbed and ass kissed their way to the top.

      I will lift a finger for the military. The middle one raised in a one finger salute.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether

        > These are the people that back stabbed and ass kissed their way to the top.

        Malcolm Tucker, to me, is not the most sympathetic character. But as compared to this General….

        The special relationship….

        Reply
    6. skippy

      The first problem with the Officer Corp wrt Afghanistan is they mistook a geographical location as a whole and not a series of valley city – village states. Somebody just looked at a map and said Afghanistan Sir.

      So we have a classic state of over simplification for military purposes in planing a course of action based on stuff, without regard to the people, but, then in classic fashion increase the complexity to absurd levels as noted in some old NC posts on PowerPoint 6-pack[?] events.

      The rest is just another day on mister toads wild ride … with intermittent flash backs to its a small world after all …

      Reply
      1. flora

        a classic state of over simplification for military purposes in planing a course of action based on stuff

        so… war by Excel spreadsheet. What could go wrong?

        Reply
        1. skippy

          Back in the day on NC that was exactly the topic, highlighted by say the careers of McNamara and his mea culpa at the end of ‘Fog of War’. The scene at the dinner table with his NVC contemporary’s is a hoot – paraphrasing … we offered you guys everything, but you would not give up the China affiliation. Response was we have been at war off and on with China for around 2000 years, that we use Chinese weapons and ideology to fob of the French and then you is just an ends to a means – self determination.

          Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        Your comment reminded me of something that happened with Napoleon Bonapart. He had one of his top officers return from heavy fighting on the island of Haiti. Napoleon asked him what the geography of the island was like so the officer took a piece of paper, crumpled it up and dropped it on his desk and said: “It is like that, Sire”. And so is Afghanistan.

        Reply
      3. knowbuddhau

        Our goal in Afghanistan is the same as in other occupied territories, like Europe, South Korea, and Japan: to rule by proxy, or deny it to competitors. We win, they suppose, by being there. Location, location, location, right? Gotta be “forward deployed” if they’re going to assert full-spectrum dominance.

        Zbig Brzezinski’s big idea for Eurasia still holds sway: never let a competitor arise. So there, we win by making the lives of whole nations of our kin living hells, just so the Right People can go on living like royalty atop the doomed “brown economy”.

        We occupy several countries in “our backyard,” Central and South America, for much the same reason. We’ve been invading and occupying there in “defense” against European Colonialism, under the dubious dispensation of the Monroe Doctrine since 1823, and we were at it well before that. 200+ years of continuous war, overt and covert, but no debate over pulling out or failing to win, like in Afghanistan.

        What we’re doing in Afghanistan and Syria, and the Saudis are doing with our indispensable help in Yemen, looks like old school war; what about our economic sanctions?

        It’s best, by far, to get people either to self-occupy, or at least pay for their occupation. Wouldn’t be surprised if there was an actual British handbook for colonialists.

        Rule by proxy, preferrably indiscreetly–“rule with a local face” is how I’ve heard it–is best. But if we can’t have it, no one can. Or so they say.

        It’d be a complete catastrophe, for the profiteers and wannabe war gods, if we “won,” which I suppose means, remaking them in our image. Where’s the slush-funded corruption potential, and chance to play god without being called mad (and the way generals dispense with our lives was mad before it was MAD), in that?

        Reply
    7. wilroncanada

      There’s so much hero worship of generals.
      There’s so much hero worship of Trump.
      Same people, no matter what the President and his generals say about each other.
      That’s america

      Reply
  15. RUKidding

    For me I realized how out of step I was when I looked at Trump’s various bumbling intuitions: his desire to improve relations with Russia, to denuclearize North Korea, to get out of the Middle East, to question why we are fighting in Africa, even in his attacks on the intelligence community and the FBI. Of course he is an ignorant and incompetent impostor. And yet I’m alarmed at how quick NBC is to mechanically argue the contrary, to be in favor of policies that just spell more conflict and more war. Really?

    A good quote among many from William Arkin. It also dovetails a bit with what I’m given to understand (I didn’t watch the interview) was Rachael Maddow’s recent incredulity that Elizabeth Warren wasn’t a de facto gung ho War Inc cheerleader.

    Glad to see this spelled out so clearly, albeit it’ll just shoot down the rabbit hole and be forgotten in less than 24 hours.

    The rest of Arkin’s essay is worth a read.

    Reply
  16. Phoenix Ultracool

    The Democrats will gladly discuss ‘Medicare for All’ as long as they know it will go nowhere with a Republican Senate and President. No mention of it when ole’ President Obama had both Democratic House and Senate and a much better chance of making it happen. Pelosi is such a phony it hurts the eyes and ears to even hear or see her. Democrats going back to the losing playbook as fast as they can.

    On investigating Trump: Interesting how Mr. Obama had no interest in investigating George W. or Dick C. and others for Torture, decided to ‘look forward and not back’. I believe ‘Plastic Nancy’ was speaker then as well. But when it comes to paying off hookers with campaign funds, well that’s just a step too far for the Nancy and the Democrats.

    In the USA we prosecute the Person but not the institution. Be in CIA, FBI, Goldman Sachs, only the ‘rogue’ bad appe is responsible. This is the real story.

    The ignoring of Torture by the Media is one of

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      Actually we persecute the person not the institution when it is gummint, but just the opposite when it is private business. Funny that.

      Reply
    1. nippersmom

      Surely Mr. Greenwald was being facetious with this closing:
      That, ladies and gentlemen, is your inspiring left-wing icon of the Democratic Party.

      Does anyone who is actually on the left consider Warren to be left-wing, much less an icon?

      Maybe Warren is confused about which office she’s running for. That statement was supposed to be part of her campaign for the Knesset.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        In truth her remarks are disgusting and probably not much different from what you would hear from Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Indeed Trump may even be to her left on the ME since he defied Israel with his Syria pullout (now being walked back somewhat).

        The problem of course is whether the media will give fair treatment to any candidate who doesn’t have these views. But whether out of (ignorant) conviction or cynical calculation the statements are a black mark for Warren.

        Reply
        1. wilroncanada

          Why do you say he defied Israel? Because the msm said so? He said what he said very simply because he needed another headline that day. Neither Israel nor any of the alphagetti jihadi groups, nor Russia, nor the US other so-called allies, nor anything else ever entered his mind.

          Reply
      2. todde

        Does anyone who is actually on the left consider Warren to be left-wing, much less an icon?

        Well G-squared said the Democrat Party, not anyone on the left.

        Reply
      3. skippy

        Repeating myself here …

        Warrens one and only attribute – here – is her acumen wrt contracts and how that effects the predatory capacity of C-corps [especially] right down to local businesses – in screwing those that use their earnings to pay for goods or services, not to mention the contracts that establish the ability of said earnings to start with.

        As Lambert would say this is something with – concrete material benefits – all the other stuff is posturing and political rhetoric in the big DC bear pit.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          You make her sound like an excellent choice for Secretary of the Treasury, or head of the Federal Trade Comission, but not a President. If anything, technocrats don’t do too well in the top spot. I’m thinking of technocrats like Wilson, Hoover, Carter, et. al. Presidents need that “Vision Thing” to navigate the shoals and eddys of high level politics. Plus, when you are the repository of the hopes and aspirations of myriads of voters, you have to act the part. Much as I despise Ronald Reagan, he did have the acting ability to do that ‘reflection’ of the public’s hidden desires. Trump sups from the same plate, the public performance paradigm. Insofar as he delivers on any one of his core constituencies ‘wish list,’ he will get by. Let him actually wind down the Syrian war, and his base will forgive him much.

          Reply
      1. Carolinian

        You tell us, please. Apparently she did recently say that it was right to get out of Syria.

        The times, and attitudes, are changing.

        Reply
      2. nippersdad

        Good catch!

        More recent reporting has said that she is “concerned” about the issue, but falls short of condemning Israel for its’ actions.

        https://theintercept.com/2018/04/12/israel-palestine-conflict-elizabeth-warren/

        The only thing that I know of that she has done re Israel recently is to vote against the anti-BDS bill on First Amendment grounds. A look at Wikipedia’s Israel section on her notes no effective change in her postion.

        So, mea culpa, but my priors don’t seem particularly endangered by recent events.

        Reply
      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        Sounding like Bibi in 1996 was a hideous position. Bibi didn’t do anything to dispel the obvious cruelty of the Likud Party up to 2014, and so having her position in 2014 demonstrates her general conservative nature and refusal to take stands on issues.

        Its an issue which has certainly been in the news. Ignorance on the matter is inexcusable.

        Reply
    2. Arizona Slim

      A few days ago, I predicted that her campaign would not last long. I didn’t think it would be happening this fast.

      Reply
  17. jo6pac

    The problem of course is whether the media will give fair treatment to any candidate who doesn’t have these views.

    Nailed it, sadly.

    Reply
    1. Romancing The Loan

      The media didn’t give fair treatment to Trump though and he ate it up – played directly to his base (and their own hatred of the professional class that makes up mainstream media). I think that’s the future, which means if these aren’t Warren’s real views then she made another misstep.

      Reply
      1. John

        Really? Trump got vastly more airtime than the other candidates. The media loved his craziness. They may have given a Pro forma “tut-tut or tsk tsk” but they still put him on TV.

        Reply
        1. Romancing The Loan

          I think that describes the primaries, yeah, but my perception at the time was that they went against him with everything they had in the general election – I’ve certainly never seen the Boston Globe do a whole fake front page about the disasters that would ensue after anyone else was elected.

          Reply
          1. todde

            yep or joe and mikka, they turned on him one day after he won the nomination.

            it was almost like they built him up to win, so they could tear him down when he ran against Hillary…

            Reply
            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              It was part of the joint DemParty-MSM “pied piper” strategy. The MSM built up Trump with a billion or more dollars worth of free media to try and make sure he would end up the Republican nominee . . . on the DemParty theory that Trump was Clinton’s most defeatable opponent.

              Reply
        2. Oregoncharles

          Coverage is far, far more important than support – especially, I would say, if you’re a performer, like Trump.

          Reply
  18. ChrisFromGeorgia

    Most important thing for Syria is that Trump sticks to his guns and gets us totally out of there by the fall. There is some wishful thinking in the media that he is having second thoughts, probably being stirred up by the neo-cons. Lindsey Graham and Trump may be new best buddies – the Donald will need as many friends as he can in the Senate, for obvious reasons.

    With Mattis out there will be an orderly withdrawal, perhaps taking time, but I see no path for the neo-cons to keep us involved in Syria much longer. Another “false flag” event involving maybe another chemical weapons accusation against Assad would be the sign that I’m wrong.

    Reply
  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    What about plastic IV solution, single-use, bags?

    Three Caribbean Countries Ban Single-Use Plastics teleSUR (martha r)

    Are they included in the ban?

    Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Glass bottles back then.

        The risk is when they break. Single use plastic bags are probably safer, or tempered glass, but it is still healthier to be of single use.

        Reply
  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Plastic Foam Containers Are Officially Banned in New York City Grub Street

    I think a more fundamental solution is to encourage people to eat at home more often, and pack one’s own lunch.

    Then we wouldn’t have to work so hard that we have no time to eat or cook.

    Reply
  21. crittermom

    Health Care: ‘A Giant Step’

    I believe this sentence in the article sums it up perfectly, whether discussing health care, SS, wages, campaigns, etc.

    “It requires elected officials having to choose between voters and donors…”

    Duh? *forehead hits keyboard*
    That has become quite obvious to any of us paying attention. The very reason we need to get big money out of political campaigns.

    Unfortunately, too many elected officials seem to suffer a hearing loss after taking office, with the sound of money drowning voters out like the “ding, ding, ding” of an ice cream truck beckoning children to divulge in their pleasures (while remaining oblivious to traffic).

    But in all cases, it’s ‘Kaching, Kaching, Kaching’.

    It’s great to hear M4A being discussed, but implementation will require throwing some of those elected officials into traffic–& maybe even under some buses.

    Reply
  22. Wukchumni

    Do the wild gyrations on Wall*Street more resemble a high speed front wheel wobble on a motorcycle, or Galloping Gertie in 1940?

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s harder to steady a stationary motorcycle than one that is moving.

      Maybe that explains the need for Walll Street to keep moving all the time. That relates to the observation that the problem with humans is that we can’t just sit quitely in a room – we’d be unsteady, like a bike, not moving.

      Reply
  23. Big River Bandido

    The CommonDreams article on “Medicare For All” has exactly the hydrogen-headed, naive, completely fairytale take on this issue which made me stop reading that site regularly a few years ago. I concluded it’s mostly a “rah yay Team Blue” kind of site. On occasion they still have pieces with a realistic view of things. But the cheerleading tone makes me even more certain this Democrat caucus won’t do a damn thing on healthcare, beyond the emptiest of symbols.

    And of course, liberals and probably some of the Left will believe this trash, and actually get their hopes up.

    /eyeroll

    Reply
  24. Elizabeth Burton

    Except according to Robert Reich, the GOP is aware they could lose if Trump is still in office in ’20, and are allegedly preparing to throw him under the bus at the behest of their employers to get Pence in the seat in time to run against the Dems. There’s some mild squeaking that he, too, could be eliminated for cause; but given many of the Dems have the same employers as the GOP, I don’t see that happening.

    If Pence is, indeed, installed, the Dems literally have nothing to run with. Their entire election strategy is based on “not Trump”, and unless they’re prepared to grasp the real point of all those freshman in the House this year, they got nothin’. So, the question is whether they will actually move for impeachment before next year or hold off, make motions of passing progressive-appearing bills that won’t get past the Senate, much less Trump, and hope to take back said Senate instead of winning the Oval Office.

    Somebody pass the popcorn.

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Okay, that was supposed to be in the Bernie/Biden discussion, but I put two periods in the email and when I fixed it the post got thrown into a new thread. Reich posted an alleged dialogue he had with a major player on the Hill in which it was suggested it may, in fact, be the GOP that institutes impeachment because they want to replace Trump with Pence. Hence my comment about popcorn.

      Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Gentlemen prefer blondes . . . and Democrats prefer Pence.

      Pence is “their kind” of Republican. The Democrats wouldn’t mind Pence being president at all. He is one of them, a fellow member of the Big Club.

      Reply
  25. Oregoncharles

    We’ve been to Bosque del Apache, back when we lived in New Mexico – 30 years ago, now. We were there in hopes of sandhill cranes. We saw some cranes and legions of geese. Amazing place.

    And yes, the food there is also a wonder. I order ground chiles from a company there. We still make posole (it’s actually pretty easy, though I have to use canned hominy, not the frozen version we found in NM), and I recently discovered I could make carne adobada – pork coated with ground chiles, preferably hot ones, and fried. Wow.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      My apologies. I commented before noticing that our host had herself named the bird in the picture. So . . . never mind.

      Reply
  26. norm de plume

    A very good piece by the estimable Elizabeth Farrelly in the Sydney Morning Herald on the Opal Tower fiasco.

    ‘But what was really cracking from side-to-side was the smooth face of neoliberalism, revealing the ugly lie that good governance can be contracted out’

    I would have replaced the last two words with ‘sold’, and extended the finger of blame a little further in the last paragraph, but whatever.

    She makes the link to our shambolic rail service, which a few years ago switched to a card swipe payment system, also called Opal. The card works OK, though the cost has risen steadily since adoption, but the network itself has suffered from ‘regrettable’ service failures in recent years, most spectacularly on New Year’s Eve. Regrettable for almost everyone, but not for those who lie in wait for public rage at the ‘incompetence’ of the long under-funded public system to reach a mass critical enough to allow full throated roars in the fellow-travelling MSM for private industry to introduce ‘market discipline’ via ‘streamlining’ and ‘finding synergies’ and removing ‘waste’ and public service ‘feather-bedding’… the Playbook, in other words.

    Re the Opal card, when this was being forced down our throats a few years ago, I was interested to find out who was behind it. A few minutes Googling revealed that a former NSW Transport Minister, Bruce Baird, was on the Board of Advisors of the parent company Cubic, based in San Diego. What makes this tasty is the card was introduced under the Premiership of one Mike Baird, son of Bruce, and now a big wheel at one of the Big 4 banks, a position he took up with indecent haste after vacating the top job surprisingly early… just in time to leave hapless successor Gladys Berejeklian to deal with the hangover from the neoliberal orgy he presided over (and which of course Berejeklian herself was part of).

    No matter, she too will end up on a board or two for big dollars when she pulls the pin, ensuring the next few generations of the family attend the tony schools and embed themselves in the servant-class penumbra surrounding the 1%; ie, the owners of the enterprises reaping the profits from the sale of the commons these passing pollies permit.

    ‘Is that all there is?’

    Apparently so. Not much Cincinnatus amongst all that Crassus.

    Reply

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