Links 2/17/19

Meet the many unsung heroes of the Seattle Snowpocalypse Seattle Times

An earthquake lasted 50 days, but no one felt it. Here’s why. National Geographic

Researchers Create ‘Rat Cyborgs’ That People Control With Their Minds Discover. What could go wrong?

Payback for Bezos Has No Limit Bloomberg. Good clean fun.

Google’s Waymo risks repeating Silicon Valley’s most famous blunder Ars Technica. Important and interesting, but the promise of robot cars wasn’t driverless golfcarts running fixed routes in Florida retirement communities, now was it?

Google reaped millions in tax breaks as it secretly expanded its real estate footprint across the U.S. WaPo

Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs wants a cut of Toronto taxes to build a smart city there CNBC

Fire breaks out at Tesla factory in Fremont Mercury News

IBM’s fast-talking AI machine just lost to a human champion in a live debate CNN

Researchers, scared by their own work, hold back “deepfakes for text” AI

Brexit

France’s President Macron ‘will give legally-binding assurance that Irish Brexit backstop is only temporary in bid to help Theresa May win Brexit battle’ Daily Mail

From SOMK:

Nervous times as crisis grows The Brexit Blog. Be sure to read all the way to the Update at the end: “The political crisis is now deepening on a daily basis, opening up the space for many possible outcomes.”

Parliament’s Brexit drama will play out in three acts FT

France’s class wars Le Monde Diplomatique

Act XIV: Will this be the last Saturday of ‘yellow vest’ protests in France? The Local. As usual, the first to propose violence is always the cop.

France’s Yellow Vest Movement Comes of Age The Nation. On the “Assembly of Assemblies” (another view). I do think “coming of age” is a category error, much like “young democracies” (which we planned to “stand up” back in the Bush era).

The two faces of the gilets jaunes The New Statesman

Syraqistan

Keeping the Syria Peace Process on Track: Astana Troika Meets in Sochi Valdai Discussion Club

‘There are no foreigners left’: Israeli settlers rampage in Hebron following expulsion of human rights observers Mondoweiss

China?

U.S. President Trump receives update on China trade talks Reuters

New Zealand bans Huawei, China has message for New Zealand South China Morning Post

China may only seek a limited naval role in the Indian Ocean Lowy Institute

Resource Nationalism Set to Dominate Indonesian Election Debate Bloomberg

Pharma Company Pfizer to Partner With Government on Drug Resistance The Wire (J-LS).

New Cold War

Dems prepare to force Trump to reveal private talks with Putin Politico. So much winning.

Russia detains prominent U.S. investor on suspicion of fraud Reuters

Natural Gas Guru Who Corrected the CIA Says Russia and U.S. Pick the Wrong Fight Bloomberg

Trump Transition

Why Trump will win the wall fight Jonathan Turley, The Hill

How Congress and President Obama Made Trump’s Wall Possible and What Authorities Is President Trump Using to Build a Border Wall? Lawfare

World Historical Donald: Unwitting and Unwilling Author of The Green New Deal Counterpunch. No Hegel please, we’re Americans.

Highly Unusual Upward Trends in Rapidly Intensifying Atlantic Hurricanes Blamed on Global Warming Weather Underground

Massive restoration of world’s forests would cancel out a decade of CO2 emissions, analysis suggests Independent

Schumer slams ‘stunt’ Green New Deal vote as moderates fret Politico

Democrats in Disarray

Bernie Sanders records video announcing 2020 campaign Politico

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Criticized For Preventing 25,000 New York Evictions The Onion

Amazon’s political mugging in New York is a warning for American business Steven Pearlstein, WaPo

Inside Every Foreigner LRB. Review of Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life.

Health Care

Jayapal Says Medicare for All Bill Coming in Two Weeks as Expert Calls Plan ‘Astonishingly Strong’ Common Dreams

Police State Watch

Houston police officer in drug raid had previous allegations against him Houston Chronicle. No kidding.

Imperial Collapse Watch

What Did Elliott Abrams Have to Do With the El Mozote Massacre? The Atlantic

Army leadership calls for “disruptive thinkers” to step forward so they can be more easily liquidated DuffelBlog

Haiti PM makes plea to protesters. He promises to tackle corruption, reduce spending Miami Herald

Class Warfare

Labor Unrest Is Erupting on Honduran Plantations—And Rattling the Global Supply Chain In These Times

Watch NYC Subway Riders React To Inside Edition Reporter’s Scolding Gothamist. “Many of the fare evaders caught by Inside Edition’s crack team of investigators were, in fact, high school students on their way to gym class.”

Economics After Neoliberalism Boston Review

Hating Big Pharma Is Good, But Supply-Side Epidemic Theory Is Killing People Long Reads. From 2018, still very germane.

Antidote du jour (Furzy Mouse):

And a belated Valentine’s Day antidote:

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

224 comments

  1. The Rev Kev

    “Fire breaks out at Tesla factory in Fremont”

    Authorities reckon it at $200,000 worth of improvements made on the factory floor.

    Reply
  2. efschumacher

    Inside Every Foreigner: Good long review of FDR and his consequences. While it may be true that no politician up to the present has effectively pushed back against the military and the security state, Tulsi Gabbard is making this the center of her campaign. Now she may be sanguine about her actual chances of achieving the nomination, but she has to be applauded for using her platform to instigate the debate against US worldwide overreach, and the consequent strangulation of every domestic budget.

    I would be happy to see President Warren appoint Tulsi as Secretary of Defense.

    Reply
    1. timbers

      On a similar note, I am just not getting into the Green New Deal. Why?

      Just my opinion: if we can’t do brain dead common sense things like Medicare for all, ending our forever wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, etc etc etc and apply the rule of law equally to “corporate persons” by jailing them when they break the law like we jail high school truancy (not to mention getting those brain dead Ivy League “educated” justices impeached from the Supreme Court for gross mental incompetency for their non sense regarding corporate personhood…seriously how anyone say that without proving their are mentally incompetent?)….then……

      How are we going to get Green New Deal passed without it being totally hyjacked and corporatized for the rich and corporations and against it’s actual intention?

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        How are we going to get Green New Deal passed without it being totally hyjacked and corporatized for the rich and corporations and against it’s actual intention?

        The obvious answer to that is to make it profitable for them. Corporations are not in favour of war (it does screw up supply chains), but they are in favour of military expenditure when they find it profitable. This is why (unfortunately perhaps) any GND has to have major incentives for both major corporations (revamping power systems, promoting EV’s), in addition to numerous smaller businesses (mass weatherization and upgrading of homes). You won’t get it through otherwise. The trick is to ensure the incentives are genuinely positive, without negative feedbacks. Thats the hard thing.

        Reply
        1. Robert Valiant

          The obvious answer to that is to make it profitable for them.

          Revolutions have also occurred occasionally throughout history, so maybe this isn’t the only obvious answer.

          Reply
        2. JohnnyGL

          Splitting one portion of capital against another has a lot of precedent for breaking through a log-jam and moving society in the right direction.

          For example, the oil industry was an important player in supporting Glass-Steagall legislation in the 1930s. Rockefeller and his ilk were tired of wall street players destabilizing oil prices.

          Reply
          1. rob

            that doesn’t sound right?
            Rockefeller was a family, one side was oil, the standard oil clan of rockefellers, with the bakers,pratts,buckleys and all,
            the other side of the rockefeller family were the wall street bankers. And by then they were railroad, and industry, and everything else traded on wall street too..and don’t forget politicians too..
            If an oil rockefeller was for glass- steagle, then a banking rockefeller must have been for it too. And if that was true, it must have been one of those create regulation to stymie competition things….because we are so big, we can work around it.

            Reply
          2. Hamford

            A dominant reason for the passage of the GSA was Public outcry once Ferdinand Pecaro dragged Wall Street Execs before the Senate and exposed their shenanigans.

            Yes, GSA was supported by certain elites, e.g, investment banks who were excited about the prospects of removing commercial banks from their turf.

            Yet, it took public outcry and the exposure of Wall Street. Today the banks hide behind orwellian doublespeak terms like TBTF, quantitative easing, fiduciary responsibility, reforms, and shareholder return. They don’t tell you that a key part of GSA stands strong today- The FDIC, which insures speculative behavior of these banks with the full faith and credit of the USG.

            The wall separating commercial banks from underwriting securities was a common-sense, necessary part of GSA. If commercial banks would receive government protection of deposits, they needed to forgo speculative behavior on the same ledger! Not today though. Keep FDIC with no protections. Socialize the risk, privatize the profits!

            Reply
          3. richard

            This is true, and maybe this is a good place to start making distinctions between Roosevelt’s era and ours. My understanding is that capitalists during the new deal, indeed before the 1970’s, did not have much more to bind them together than abstract ideology. I think it was easier for fdr to set categories of capitalist against each other because they did indeed have competing interests, some of which do still exist today, but also because there was less financialization of capitalism, which is a powerful unifying interest today.
            The capitalists of fdr’s time were also missing some organizational structures they enjoy today, most notably the think tanks and foundations to provide permanent homes for critics of new deal type politics, and that create a permanent, mostly unified, neoliberal political structure. These developed in reaction to the popular victories of the 1960’s, so of course Roosevelt didn’t have to deal with them.
            Again, this is just my understanding of 20th century US political economic history, would love to hear other perspectives.

            Reply
            1. Hamford

              Indeed! The “think tanks” have inundated society with deceptive framing such as:

              1) “Job Creators”, “Innovators”, “Venture Capitalists”, “Entrepeneurs”
              2) “Regulatory Burden”,“De-regulation”
              3) “Shareholder returns”

              How do we regain the vocabulary and framing to propogate terms like?

              1) “Robber Barrons”, “Corporate Raiders”, “Pension fund looters”
              2) “Protections”, “Stripping Protections”
              3) “Executive Enrichment”

              That may the battle. As I said above, Ferdinand Pecaro may have been effective in shaping this dialogue in the 30s. I think winning this public framing battle was more proximate to GSA and the wave of protections than any elites were.

              Reply
      2. dcblogger

        one of the qualities of political revolutions is that they break open political logjams, so you can move forward on several fronts at once.

        Reply
  3. Juneau

    Medicare for All:
    I am interested to see the contents of the bill. I have supported universal medicare for years and think it is quite simple to charge premiums for working people like me that help with the costs I am curious to see how they resolve the private insurance dilemma of protecting Mr, Market while they ostensibly put private insurers out of business. My guess is, they will continue with managed medicare plans that private insurers will control to some degree (medicare regs are federal so all plans have to follow certain rules). So Aetna, Cigna, United and BCBS could stay afloat and the country could be carved up into insurance blocks that they partially monopolize. Still, hoping it is a decent bill.

    Reply
    1. scott 2

      Small networks, from an actuarial point of view, are bound to be more expensive than larger ones (essentially the spreading of risk of bankruptcy). While we don’t need a single payer like the Federal government, 6 or 7 large regional networks might approach similar cost savings. Think AT&T and the regional Bells.

      Reply
    2. Fraibert

      If private insurance is to endure, it would likely be for gap coverage. Keep in mind that conventional Medicare has significant (and potentially costly) gaps that become noticeable for the very sick.

      For example, Part A (inpatient coverage) is for 80% of approved cost subject also to certain additional time limits such that someone who needs 6 months of continuous hospitalization is going to start paying 100% of the per day cost out of pocket at some point.

      For this reason, I am somewhat uncomfortable with the Medicare for All branding. It is somewhat misleading as Medicare does have notable limits compared to what I think single payer advocates envision.

      Reply
      1. marym

        That’s an interesting perspective on the value of the name.

        When the original bill HR 676 was introduced in the 108th Congress (2003-2004) the short title was the United States National Health Insurance Act (or the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act). (Link)

        That name remained through the 110th Congress (2009-10). (Link)

        The short title was changed in the 111th Congress (2009-2010) to United States National Health Care Act or the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act. (Link) https://www.congress.gov/bill/111th-congress/house-bill/676/text

        (Were the Dems starting to conflate health insurance and health care?)

        There was no text submitted with an apparent place-holder bill in the 112th and 113th Congress (Was this in deference to the predicted wonders of the ACA?).

        The bill reappeared in 2015 with the short title stripped down to the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act. (Link)

        The Sanders Senate bill introduced in 2017 is called just the Medicare for All Act of 2017. (Link).

        The argument for the use of Medicare as both the name and the administrative framework has been that Medicare is a trusted and successful program, despite issues like privatization and coverage gaps.

        It will be very interesting to see the extent to which the original name and concept remain in the current supposed re-write and re-naming of HR 676.

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          I’m pretty sure private health care insurance will continue to exist to provide boutique health care — I remember reading a story about the advertising industry and how hospitals felt they had to sell their services back in the 1920s. They bought ads describing theselves as spas, and describing a stay in the hospital as like a vacation at a luxury resort. I feel pretty sure nobody is going to be willing to actually forbid all private practice of medicine, and that’s OK by me. I just want to see everybody who needs medical care to be able to get it without having to sell their house and car and declare bankruptcy. No means testing!!! If rich people want the same treatment as me that’s good (same thing for free public college). No payment required at the point of treatment, no bills later, no surprise billing. Pay your tax every year and that’s it. No co-pays, no deductible. Ever. By the way, I think HR 676 is a work in progress and a long, long war from being settled.

          Reply
      2. Anon

        Yes, Medicare has gaps in coverage. The gaps are covered by a choice of Nine selected additional insurance (private firms). The 80% coverage has a monthly premium of about $100 . (It is deducted from your Soc. Security check.) The additional 20% of coverage (depending on age) will cost you anywhere from $75 to $175 in ADDITIONAL monthly premium payments paid by you to your private insurer. Medicare also has an annual deductible, currently $183.

        In the end, if you have enough money, you can tailor your health insurance to your health profile. (I urge erring on the side of too much coverage; medical care, if you need it, has astronomical cost potential.)

        That said, the value of Medicare is its ability to put downward pressure on regular medical care. With millions of senior Americans using it the medical community has no choice but provide service at a negotiated price. Medicare for All would likely do that in spades!

        I have been on both private insurer healthcare plan and Medicare. Medicare costs me $2500 less per year. Medicare. of course, doesn’t ensure that the healthcare “professionals” at your local hospital are competent; more than you know are not!

        Reply
    3. rd

      Here is a discussion of how healthcare is funded in Canada: http://healthcarefunding.ca/key-issues/current-funding/

      The federal government doesn’t play a major role – much of it is managed and funded at the provincial (state) level with some private funding (companies and individuals) for things not covered by the taxpayers.

      Canada spends less than two-thirds of what the US spend per capita on healthcare (11% of GDP) and has effectively universal coverage.

      Basically, Canada is a Medicare-for-all system, but at a fraction of the current per capita healthcare cost of the US. This is why you never see policy makers in the US using Canada as a reference point – it would reduce profits and jobs in the healthcare industry by eliminating a lot of inefficiencies and redundancies that are currently papered over by massive insurance costs.

      Reply
      1. Unna

        Which is why some conservative neo lib type Canadian politicians are trying creeping privatization here thinking that maybe we snow bound “peeps” won’t notice. The gap between 11% GDP (Canada) and 18% GDP (US) represents lost profit for some of their very best corporate friends, both North and South of the border. If the Canadian system can be privatized, think of all that money…!

        Also, the amount spent on medical care per capita in the US is about double what they spend in Canada since the US has a higher per capita GDP than Canada. I’m being somewhat inexact but roughly half that double per capita is seen to represent lost profits both to Canadian and American corporations because of Canada’s MfA.

        It’s a rare Canadian politician who will admit to this shuffle so they hide behind the hypocrisy of “let’s experiment with new models”, or let’s unleash the “magic of the marketplace”, or “let’s look at what others are doing” only it’s never what the French or the Germans or Italians or Danes are doing – they seem to always want to look “South of the Border” to see what the Americans are doing which, needless to say, is the wrong direction to look.

        Reply
  4. PlutoniumKun

    Nervous times as crisis grows The Brexit Blog. Be sure to read all the way to the Update at the end: “The political crisis is now deepening on a daily basis, opening up the space for many possible outcomes.”

    Yuck, if its possible for things to get worse, it really is.

    So, what all this symbolises is that the Parliamentary Conservative Party has now to all intents and purposes ceased to function as a party (and, for that matter, the Labour Party is getting close to that state). This in turn points up sharply what has been true since last summer’s Chequers Proposal: that for the purposes of Brexit the UK no longer has a functioning government. It is extraordinary to have to state such a thing, but it is a plain fact. Which in turn underlines the point with which the main part of this blog post concludes: the political crisis is now deepening on a daily basis, opening up the space for many possible outcomes.

    Arguably, this latest vote has shifted the dial a little towards a delay or even an eventual abandonment of Brexit. There is a growing sense that the ERG are overplaying their hand in refusing to support the Brexit that is in prospect in favour of the Brexit of their dreams. That’s an old story amongst ideological fanatics, and one mark of fanaticism is being so entrenched within a bubble of the like-minded as to be blind to what is happening around them.

    I think this is correct – there is no longer a functioning government in the UK. In many respects this is worse than a Belgian style ‘nobody in charge’, because it has the outside appearance of a government, just no actual governing going on. Hence the still (perplexing to my mind) refusal by Mr. Market to panic over the impending cliff. Lets face it, if there is one thing worse than a no-deal Brexit, its a no-deal Brexit managed by a wholly incompetent and delusional government without even the ability to make a decision.

    And in other news, one small airline collapses because of Brexit (and it hasn’t even happened yet).

    Reply
    1. David

      Which is to say that the UK is now a country without an effective decision-making process at the political level. It still has the outward forms of government, and it still has a government machine, but that machine has no guidance about what to do. It’s like a ship where the officers no longer obey the captain, which is continuing in the same direction because the crew are fighting over which direction to turn.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        I know that this is a far reach, but it is time for the Queen to Act. Take direct control and establish a “Government of National Unity.”
        How about a “Penumbral Government” to do what the “Government” and the “Shadow Government” can not, or are unwilling to do, govern?
        It’s time for the Royals to earn their keep.

        Reply
        1. Avidremainer

          No not possible. The last time a monarch tried this we cut his head off. The Queen has only limited power in very restricted circumstances.
          Keep your hat on we’re in for a very wild ride.

          Reply
          1. ChrisPacific

            At the risk of stating the obvious, the Queen (no less than any other parties concerned) is a self-interested actor. The monarchy is very likely to do quite well in a No Deal Brexit scenario, as in any time of crisis. I struggle to imagine the Queen ever risking the monarchy to save the country, because (a) that’s not her job in practice, whatever it says on paper; and (b) it would be inconsistent with pretty much everything about her career to date. It’s clear that her life’s mission has been to preserve a role for the monarchy in a world that has changed beyond recognition during her reign. She didn’t do that by charging off, Don Quixote style, at the nearest windmill in order to save the population from themselves, especially when it’s far from clear that the population in question want her to, and highly likely that a large percentage of them would bitterly resent it.

            Reply
            1. shtove

              The predicament is unprecedented, so I don’t trust anyone who claims to know how events will unfold. But I have noticed that the Queen and Privy Council can be by-passed by the executive under the Civil Contingencies Act in a declared emergency. Is emergency becoming a fad for western rulers?

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                I’m wondering who the UK Army would back in a dead serious constitutional crisis.
                They might do their worst simply by staying in barracks when really needed out on the streets.

                Reply
                1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

                  Met a British Pilot once in the ‘stan.

                  She was a Royal.

                  Then again she was a officer, so the British grunts must be Corbynites!

                  Reply
                    1. David

                      But it’s also an Army with 300 years of subordination to the political power, and whose officers, in my experience, draw a rigid line between personal views (often soft Tory, vaguely one-nation) and professional behaviour. Anyone who thinks the Army would defend May, or confront the population on the streets is deluded, although I’m sure that accurately describes some parts of the UK political spectrum. The Army is not trained or equipped for these kinds of tasks, and has no desire to get back into the Northern Ireland quagmire.

                2. Procopius

                  I’ve seen comments that the British Army is too small to be effective in controlling mobs if things go pear shaped anyway. I think they are down to somewhere between 50 – 85,000 active duty troops. Heck, the New York Police Department alone has 38,000 sworn officers

                  Reply
        2. Unna

          Ambrit, why would you ever want them to “earn their keep” – or do anything other than what they do now, which is basically nothing. (I’d prefer they do less than nothing by not even being there, but that’s just me….)

          Also, does anyone actually know what the Queen would do if she did something? Does she sit for interviews on British TV and answer policy questions posed by shrill news people? Does she show up for “Royal Question Period” and ask and answer questions with the worst of them? Who advises her? Upon which oligarchy does she base her power and whose interests would she be expected to support? The Queen is not an independent actress.

          It seems to me that her “moral authority” comes from her royal status and the psychological spell that casts upon some people, her accent, how she dresses and comports herself, and since she’s a Windsor, the fact that at least until now, she’s never been photographed topless.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            I seem to have put my foot in it right proper.
            Nonetheless, I view the Royals and more importantly, their available resource base as wasted opportunity.
            Either outcome from a reintroduction of “Ye Royals” into English functional politics is acceptable. They can either go down in a blaze of ‘Red Revolution’ or fulfill their old role of Supreme Warlords and Sovereigns. Since the plot arc of neo-liberalism is manifestly in the direction of a neo-feudalism, (with all the definitional disputes set to the side for the sake of argument,) the latter result would seem to be more in tune with “the times.”
            No matter one’s attitude to Royals in general, the present UK Government has shown itself to be dysfunctional, an actual danger to the public weal.
            Brexit is going to be the UK’s Crucible.

            Reply
            1. Unna

              Ambrit, I’ll defer to you because, really, who knows. And the UK is in such an awful situation. And how could the Queen make things worse anyway no matter what she did? At least she has a reputation to protect which distinguishes her from May and the rest. I suppose I can see that.

              And I don’t fully buy the argument that she can’t intervene in a system with no written constitution where the current “constitutional” practices of the moment are the result of power clashes between monarchs and parliaments which included wars, murders, beheadings, revolutions, civil wars, formal executions of dug up dead people, along with the occasional importation of the out of country minor potentate from Germany. This constitutional system is called Power, who has it, who can get it, who can get away with exercising it in the name of the “people”, or the “nation”, or whatever. History is always in flux.

              But why in so many countries today are the politicians just so many charlatans and con artists with no real policies or beliefs other than satisfying donors and political game playing? Is that the only “policy” and TINA? Canadians have no one to blame but themselves for the Trudeau fiasco, which hasn’t yet had the dire consequences of the May/Boris fiasco only because Canada is currently not facing any serious situations such as Brexit, no matter which side of Brexit one might be on. Hopefully we have sunny ways in Canada until we can get Sunny Ways out.

              It’s as if nobody is responsible for anything anymore, wars, financial meltdown because of no regulation, inequality, collapsing environment, directionless Brexit, and so on. The political situation in UK is highlighting this for everyone around the world.

              But most of the politicians only think about these crises as occasions to run another political or financial scam. And so people want someone to stand up and take responsibility for the public good – but then we look around and discover that there is maybe nobody out there. And so then what?

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                I am just another ‘scribbler’ mouthing off from some far flung hearth. I really don’t deserve deference, just, perhaps, argumentation for a little bit of enlightenment producing synthesis.
                I think that you have put your finger on the underlying dynamic here; people are scared and will acquiesce to almost anyone who promotes “Certainty.”
                The phase change in modern politics is that now the actions of governments can literally bring about the end of the presence of higher life forms on the Earth.
                As Global Warming begins to have serious and visible effects on the world, I expect to see a great Revival of Religion, any and all Religion. Perhaps the optimal course for the long run would be to infiltrate and suborn the major religions. Use Organized Religion to shepherd the flocks into the New New Otherworldly Order. This idea is not new with me. Frank Herbert used that theme in his Dune books.
                Good luck with your “the acorn fell way away from the tree” [Trudeau fils] problem. Maybe a wandering Polar bear, driven very far South by Arctic melting will do him in! ‘Go Bruins!’

                Reply
            2. witters

              Foot still there. And this should be variablized:
              “the present UK Government has shown itself to be dysfunctional, an actual danger to the public weal” to “the present X Government has shown itself to be dysfunctional, an actual danger to the public weal.”

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                A Global ‘Crisis of Legitimacy?’
                Maybe so. If you want to be seen as planetary hegemon, and yet lack the skills to rule…..

                Reply
            3. ChrisPacific

              Wasted opportunity for whom? Either they are sovereign or they aren’t. If they aren’t then your solution isn’t really a solution. If they are, then they are free to give a great big metaphorical middle finger to your suggestion that they self-immolate in the public interest. Who do you think they are anyway? If there is a need for someone to sacrifice themselves nobly and selflessly for the good of the realm, well, that’s what commoners are for.

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                Interesting take. I’ll begin by noting that this is all part of the phenomenon of resources being removed from “socially useful” status and hoarded for selfish ends. Really, the problem of “when is enough enough” comes into play also. that’s where tax rates make their mark. Not necessarily by repurposing resources to “socially positive” ends, but simply by removing resources from under the control of various elites. As major land owners and owners of cultural heritage resources, the Royals inhabit a place in society where “noblesse oblige” is literally true and, if they are being true to their ‘station’ in life, required of them.
                All of the above of course assumes, a dangerous enterprise that, good character on their part.
                Lead by example is what I’m looking for from the Royals.
                Silly me.

                Reply
                1. ChrisPacific

                  Well, I am perhaps being guilty of excessive cynicism. I don’t think your argument would fall on deaf ears among the younger generation of them at least.

                  I still couldn’t see it happening unless it was clearly apolitical and in support of an outcome that was supported by a clear majority of the electorate, both conditions that strike me as near-impossible to fulfill on the Brexit topic.

                  Reply
                  1. ambrit

                    Yes. The Grey Areas are in control of Brexit.
                    I am surprised that the Powers in England haven’t articulated any rational policy concerning Brexit from the very beginning.
                    Perhaps the comment by ‘notabanker’ below might be close to the truth. Strong national governments are in the way of Internationalist looters. Hence, the concerted effort to do away with strong national governments. (I can see this as a prime motivation for the American Oligarchs opposition to Trump. He hearkens back to a strong national government system in America. Somehow, the “masses” in America, also known as the “deplorables” instinctively get this, and support the only national politician expressly propounding a return to “the good old days.” YMMV.)
                    Oh, and, my experience has been that one can never be too cynical. I’m with you 1000% on that front.

                    Reply
    2. notabanker

      Me and my tin foil hat have been wondering for the last couple of weeks if destroying Parliamentarian Government is the end game here. You have to create a void to fill it.

      Reply
    3. Oregoncharles

      PK -this is very similar to my perception that it is not functioning as a parliamentary system. However, it appears that some of that is constitutional (insofar as UK has one), caused by changes in the system that give the executive more authority and independence.

      The underlying problem is that Brexit poses an insoluble problem. No wonder the government is falling apart.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        What scares me the most is that this recent dynamic shows the governing class to have descended into ‘Magical Thinking.’
        The phenomenon is visible on both sides of the Atlantic now.
        As I mentioned elsewhere, today, such a state of affairs is now potentially magnitudes of harm greater. A nation or a region can collapse and then recover. There were reservoirs of resources available elsewhere for rebuilding. Today, we face the threat of losing the entire ecosphere, world wide.
        There is no magic spell, or ideology that can bring us back from a full disaster.

        Reply
  5. Wukchumni

    Massive restoration of world’s forests would cancel out a decade of CO2 emissions, analysis suggests Independent
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Couldn’t call it massive, but my reforestation starts later this month when replacements show up @ the malus palace, and i’ve gone towards the hard cider side with 3 Harrisons, a Foxwhelp, Frequin Rouge, Granniwinkle & Michelin trees going into the ground, along with a Flower of Kent (the tree that Newton saw the apple fall from) & a Johnny Appleseed. (from an ancient one planted by John Chapman)

    Everything in a summer fruit vein is still slumbering save a Satsuma plum which is always quick with the bloom in the early stages, yet to unfurl into delicate display. It’s a good thing the cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines and apricot are at rest, as sub-freezing temps are expected the next week, which put the kibosh on any of them producing much last year, as the blossoms couldn’t handle the frost.

    Cherry Valley lost only 1 last year to a gopher, and a Royal Lee joins 11 other varieties, the biggest ones 6 years old now.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      I wish i could grow apples here…but the Lares seems to be averse to them.
      Peaches(and peach-like), on the other hand…
      I did put in another 1000 sq feet plus of garden space this winter….cleared out much cactus and turkey pear and greenbriar thorn vine to do it. That makes approx. 6000 sq foot total of raised beds—landscaping, really…all along the golf cartpaths and surrounding the shop and cetera.
      Most of it is filled with free city/county mulch from the landfill…lots of sticks(see: hugelkulture)…to which I’ll hafta add a a few tons of manure over the next while.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I grew vegies for awhile, realized that I wasn’t into sprinters whose 119 day lifespan was all she wrote, and then went to apple trees with the hope that there’d be one that’ll last 119 years, long after i’m planted 6 feet under with scant chance of propagation upwards.

        So far-so good, although i’m going to D(eer)-Con 4 this year with a defensive stratagem against their brazen attacks on my trunk show.

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          Lifebuoy bar soap in a sock will deter them…if you can find it.(don’t know why)
          human hair, too.
          the best deer repellent, hands down, is tiger/lion shit…look out for traveling circuses, or ask the nearest zookeeper for a bucket every once in a while.
          my stepdad(wheelchaired vietnam vet) feeds them in the front pasture so he can sit out there of an evening and watch them.
          elsewhere is mostly deer-fenced.
          I’ve got my smokehouse completed, and the abattoir…all i’m lacking is the sausage making equipment, and I’ll be able to harvest them more easily(along with the wild pigs). deer are currently in overshoot around here, and either i thin them or disease and malnutrition will.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            Every tree has an 8x8x8 triangle of 3x 9 foot high posts and 6 to 9 feet of chicken wire around it, and they were getting in under the wire, but it’ll be staked down this fall when Bambi & co. come calling, and i’ll give the Lifebuoy in a sock trick a try, although travelling circuses with lions & tigers oh my! can’t be counted on, in the end.

            Reply
          2. ambrit

            A good friend from the old days would use tyger scat spread around his, “deep woods cash crop growing clearing” to keep the deer and other varmints out. For security reasons, he would only check this agricultural enterprise out two times during growing season. So, the scat method suited the task well.

            Reply
          3. newcatty

            Amfortas, Ralphie said that Lifebouy soap was the worst! It even, in his revenge day dream, blinded him! No wonder deers don’t want to mess with a Lifebouy in a sock.

            Reply
            1. Amfortas the hippie

              I don’t like the smell, myself…but grandma always recommended it for deer…and it seems to work. mom had to order it online from some obscure place,lol.
              I’ve half-assed experimented with irish spring(the only corporate soap i like, when i can’t get my preferred lye and pine tar)..IS doesn’t seem to have the same effect.
              for birds in yer fruit trees…old sunglasses on a string up in the branches.
              i haven’t allowed a pair to be tossed in my presence for 20 years!
              birds think it’s the eyes of some hungry creature…and are in fact wired to notice eye-like shapes.
              that, and feeding the few stray cats under peach trees, seems to work pretty well….and with squirrels, too(they love peaches…and are tasty in a fricassee, in months with an R).
              i also went on a windchime manufacturing spree a few years ago(when shop was still in process, and unsuited for much). most are 4-6 foot long and deep toned(bunch of cast off pipe from the dump). deer definitely don’t like those,lol.
              I don’t know what to do about raccoons, other than thin the mob every ten years or so.

              Reply
                1. richard

                  Pine tar! You’re taking away my home run for too much pine tar?!?!
                  (@@) This is
                  (!!!) G. Brett’s face.
                  Should I finally let it go? old royals fans never die, they just fade away

                  Reply
                2. Amfortas the hippie

                  my legs get scratched up a lot…and pine tar soap seems to help.
                  smells like east texas.
                  keeps my eldest’s zits in check, too.
                  I can’t stand the chemical smells of ordinary soap and detergent(“spring morning!” smells like pasadena, texas, to me)

                  Reply
  6. PlutoniumKun

    Google’s Waymo risks repeating Silicon Valley’s most famous blunder Ars Technica. Important and interesting, but the promise of robot cars wasn’t driverless golfcarts running fixed routes in Florida retirement communities, now was it?

    Its always somewhat amusing looking at very wealthy people make the same mistake over and over, and yes it does seem that Waymo has fallen into the Xerox trap. Its not just self driving cars, they have had a whole series of moonshot projects that have failed to turn into anything viable.

    It has always seemed to me to be a ‘no-brainer’ that in the unlikely event that self driving vehicles work, it will not for a long time be regular private cars. Surely the most obvious application are for delivery and other commercial vehicles driving regular and predictable routes, first in private networks (like industrial estates, major ports, etc), and only then extending out into the highway. That most of the start ups have shown so little interest in this market is in my opinion evidence that they have never really been serious about the technology, the whole thing is intended to boost share values and fund unicorns to allow everyone to cash out early.

    Reply
    1. larry

      There is a guy in the American midwest who has a set of trucks that are driverless only on the highways. As soon as the truck comes off the highway, it is reverted to human operation by the driver who has been in the truck the entire time. The reason he has given is that the system can’t cope with the variability thrown up by complex human communities. A major danger in driving on American highways is going into a trance or falling asleep. Except possibly in Nevada when driving through the mud flats — even if you run off the road into the dried and cracked mud, your biggest danger is running into the small signs that say ‘mud’, as if you didn’t know already.

      Reply
    2. Mel

      Here’s a good one: mobility scooters that could be hailed in a Geriatric Park. Using a phone app, or a largish electronic fob with an obvious button. Introspecting, I think I would be keen on using my remaining awareness to take myself autonomously to places I want to go, but I can’t start until the scooter is where I am.

      Reply
      1. Bugs Bunny

        Slightly off subject but a couple years before she passed away, my 80-something grandmother used her mobility scooter to go about 5 miles to the auto parts store for brake pads, which she then went home and put on her Pontiac Gran Prix. A real Cali cowgirl.

        I don’t think she’d have been up for a robot car.

        May she rest in peace.

        Reply
    3. Daryl

      > Its always somewhat amusing looking at very wealthy people make the same mistake over and over, and yes it does seem that Waymo has fallen into the Xerox trap

      I have to nitpick here and say that PARC produced tons of important things that we still use today, they just failed to capitalize on them. I don’t think Waymo is comparable.

      Reply
    4. ObjectiveFunction

      The Big Droid era isn’t just dejerbing taxi and truck drivers. Warehouse labor and longshoremen will be the first deplorables decimated by AI transport.

      Automating forklifts and binary load lifters (gronk!) to operate within specialized environments is child’s play compared to navigating public roadways.

      Reply
  7. PlutoniumKun

    Massive restoration of world’s forests would cancel out a decade of CO2 emissions, analysis suggests Independent

    The United Nations initially ran a project known as the Billion Tree Campaign, but in light of Dr Crowther’s findings this has been renamed the Trillion Tree Campaign. It has already seen 17 billion trees planted in suitable locations around the world.

    “We are not targeting urban or agricultural area, just degraded or abandoned lands, and it has the potential to tackle the two greatest challenges of our time – climate change and biodiversity loss,” said Dr Crowther.

    I hope they are not pinning their hopes just on planting in degraded areas. Many years ago in my first job I found myself managing and monitoring a project for establishing forests on old industrial sites. It was far, far, harder than expected. Sometimes the land was simply not suitable for tree growth due to past tipping and gassing (you could actually see where the gas was coming out by tree dead spots). And to make it worse, degraded land often has very poor drainage characteristics, so the first drought will kill everything stone dead.

    To make it worse, local people were often surprisingly hostile. I can recall a public meeting where people opposed tree planting ‘because burglars will use trees to spy on my house’. And this got a big round of applause.

    Without being negative, plans like this need to be tightly focused. The most obvious way to greatly increase tree cover is to ensure that all agricultural land is bounded with trees for shelter. Another important way is to use tree cover as a means of flood control (in some areas, for example, making it compulsory to have tree bands around every watercourse to reduce run-off). Another idea with lots of potential is arboriculture – we should be growing more hazelnuts and sweet chestnuts, and less wheat and soya.

    Reply
    1. Charger01

      This was literally a plot point in the book “The worst hard time” by Tim Egan. NRCS and by extension the WPA under FAR wanted to travel through the Midwest and Texas to counter the effects of the dustbowl.

      Reply
    2. Chris Cosmos

      I assume this was in the US? If it was, that makes perfect sense. Security (in the short term) seems to be almost as important as money in US culture along with lack of interest in the environment which is a rather new thing at this time.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        No, it was in England, the West Midlands to be more precise. To be fair, in hindsight I think people in the area (a very deprived one) had enough of crime and well meaning outsiders (like me) with fancy ideas, so were just not in the mood to agree to anything, no matter how reasonable.

        Reply
      2. a different chris

        Yes.

        To beat the same drum as always, security is how rooftop solar gets sold to people who think everything is a librul plot by big gummint.

        Reply
    3. Amfortas the hippie

      historically, farmers/ranchers(and developers, too) strip away all the naturally occurring flora…plant or,build what they want(from monocrops to fences to subdivisions) and then maybe(in the case of the latter) come in and plant imported industrially grown trees and bushes from somewhere else…that take effort to get started and to survive.
      ranches out here have windbreaks planted of some trash tree they got from usda 50 years ago. whole fencerows of standing dead trash trees, who’s wood isn’t suitable even for burning.
      “appropriate tech” in these cases could be appropriate choice of plant.
      (i’m thinking of eucalyptus in Cali, and Kudzu elsewhere.)

      (and…speaking of appropriate tech…when i plant an oak or something out in and around the pasture where i don’t have a water supply(yet), i plant a few diapers under it. that gel they’re made of soaks up h2o, and releases it over time. Makes a big difference in survival)

      Reply
        1. Rod

          If you’re thinking Kudzu, you’re not thinking right.
          In my southern opinion that nightmare began 90 years ago.
          Cedar was a common windrow break promoted by DoA throughout the upper mid and central west and was effective and durable

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            i was referring, there, to introduced exotics…like nutria in the south….that didn’t pan out as intended.
            that parenthetical reference was intended to say “kudzu=bad”…perhaps a local plant can do better whatever you’re importing kudzu to do.
            there’s all manner of invasives like that…just not as overwhelming as kudzu.
            the windbreak trees around here look like a giant sumac in tree form.
            they spread into thickets, then die when we have our droughts.
            can’t remember the name of them, but local extension guy recommended them, years ago.
            i’ve got a patch each of bamboo and river cane that i planted before i knew any better. they are pretty well contained by lack of water, it turns out.
            as for cedar…what we call cedar is really mountain juniper. before the invention of fire suppression, they confined themselves to the hillsides.
            i’ve resisted planting them as windbreaks, tho…because they tend to spread,are hard to contain and once established as a thicket are near impossible to remove/thin without dozers.(also the big allergy producer around here, hence, “cedar fever”)
            currently looking in to a hybrid misicanthus for one needed windbreak…but I am generally averse to even the best intentioned hybrids.
            prolly end up with some kind of hedge with local bushes and trees.

            Reply
          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            If I lived in the South and I had property big enough to contain a sizable pond, here is an experiment I might try in growing green biomass fast.

            I would stock the pond with water hyacinth which would grow and spread fast across the water. I would plant kudzu around the edges of the pond and train it to grow strictly out over the water hyacinth. I think the kudzu and the water hyacinth would each race to try outgrowing the other . . . the kudzu shading and pressing down into the water the water hyacinth and the water hyacinth replicating madly to send new little plantlets into every open space on the water.

            And every so often one could stand on the shore and reel in / drag in the kudzu vines which would drag their entwined and entrapped water hyacinth supports along with them toward shore. I speculate one could get huge piles of green biomass for composting or feeding livestock who have been underfed for a day or two in order to get them hungry enough to “eat it and like it”, or for onsite anaerobic biomass digestion for bio-methane gas for powering the home, etc.

            Reply
  8. The Rev Kev

    “Amazon’s political mugging in New York is a warning for American business”

    From the article – ‘There is little doubt that poor and working-class New Yorkers would have benefited from Amazon’s presence. Although very few would have gained jobs directly, the arrival of more than 25,000 highly paid executives and tech workers would have indirectly created thousands of additional service jobs’.
    So, no good jobs for qualified New Yorkers but only peasants need apply. And no opportunity for local qualified people to learn these skills either. I think that the author – Steven Pearlstein – still believes in the trickle-down theory of benefits but several decades have show it to be in reality a trickle-out policy in application. But I guess that he is not going to write anything that will displease his boss who just happens to be the head of Amazon. He does put in a plea for American businesses to be more socially responsible to avoid this sort of trouble in the future at the article’s end but I cannot see Amazon leading the way here. Personally I think that it was New York that avoided the mugging.

    Reply
    1. tegnost

      That was one of the most bi polar articles I’ve ever read…something for everyone I guess, and at least the comments I read were not the usual newspaper fare but stated the obvious. Highlighting from your clip…

      “There is little doubt that poor and working-class New Yorkers would have benefited from Amazon’s presence. Although very few would have gained jobs directly”

      Yeah,…yeah sure,…you betcha’….
      Pride goeth before the fall.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The locationless Raiders seem like a ominous parable about corporate America’s future. Even nominal progressive DeBlasio working hand and hand with Cuomo can’t pull a con anymore.

        My god, these kinds of tax subsidies may be removed or turned towards smaller competitors and start ups which aren’t of the Silicon Valley app variety.

        Reply
        1. polecat

          Perhaps one, or several, of those smaller competitors could genetically engineer giant rats to replace the NYC inflatables (as seen in a recent NC links), making them mind-control capable, and give free-reign to the public, to do as they will.

          Reply
      2. Chris Cosmos

        I like your “something for everyone comment” because I’ve noticed how deeply political all mainstream journalism has become. They write with an eye to constantly make the bosses happy, for sure, but also make bows to the concerns of Thomas Frank’s liberal (professional) NPR listening elite to not appear to simply be a factorum for the billionaires. This is why I, literally, cannot stomach most mainstream print journalists particularly of the “liberal” variety not because of the content so much as the style.

        Reply
        1. richard

          Why you threw poor tom frank into the midst of that sharp elbowed npr listening professional elite crowd is beyond me, Chris. He certainly doesn’t deserve it. He’s told them the truth and they’ve never listened to him.
          I can’t stomach “liberal” media either, but give Frank a break. He’s been a sharp (and often really funny) critic of the contentless liberal pose for decades now. Read some old, 1990s Bafflers. He savaged the clintons and saw the 90s business culture for what it was: a grift permeated with empty language, and lots of poorly disguised class warfare. He’s called it out for what it is, consistently.
          Pethaps you know something I don’t, but if so, I don’t know what it is :)

          Reply
        2. richard

          oi, sorry! I think I misread your apostrophe: I see now you were probably were attributing those liberals to frank not because you thought he belonged in the group, but because you thought he best described them. Apologies for the reading comprehension error.

          Reply
    2. jhallc

      I agree with you that Pearlstein is just another elite with no real sense of what it is like to be a “service worker”, whatever that is. My nephew has lived in NYC for the last 15 years as an artist. He now works with the NY public school’s. He originally lived in the Wiliamsburg area of Brooklyn, then got priced out of that area. He moved further out until now he’s living in Queens. The arrival of Amazon was only going to push him further out due to the likely rent increases that would go along with the influx of highly paid employees. His commute would be longer and likely more expensive. How does this benefit him or ultimately the environment, when you keep pushing the “service workers” further away from where their jobs are? Reminds me of what has happened in San Francisco and that’s not a good thing.

      Reply
      1. allan

        Pearlstein has been a deficit scold for years. Weirdly, or not, he doesn’t seem to be concerned that
        his employer’s company had an effective tax rate of -1% on $11 billion of profit last year.

        Reply
        1. FluffytheObeseCat

          Big name WaPo columnists can’t retained steady employment in the ever-dwindling print news business by focusing on the little truths that embarrass the guys who call the shots. So, they do not “voice concern” over Amazon’s tax payment deficit.

          Even so, Pearlstein’s piece was an unusually obvious, sloppy tongue bath. Could he be more conveniently obsequious? Concern trolling in the Sunday edition about “working people” neither he nor his weekend readers ever remember to tip, much less give a damn about?

          Reply
      2. timotheus

        Agreed. I suspect that the impact of Amazon on housing was the main driver of the furious reaction. We all knew from direct experience how thousands of new yuppie professionals in Queens was going to further crash that market upward and drive anyone without a 6-figure income to the Siberian suburbs. Pearlstein, who undoubtedly has one, wouldn’t understand that.

        Reply
      3. Robert McGregor

        Cui Bono? Pearlstein is simply talking the 20%’s interests. “Hey, more high-paying jobs is a good thing..” But not if you’re in the 80% who cannot get those jobs, and the increasing rents will make you leave town.

        Reply
    3. BoulderMike

      My hope is that this is the beginning of an awakening in this country, and elsewhere. Companies holding municipalities hostage needs to stop. If NY had $3 billion to give Amazon, why not give it to the local municipality(s) to use for infrastructure, job creation, etc.? My hope is that this leads to more municipalities realizing that they don’t need to be held hostage by corporations (Amazon says, give me $3 billion and I will invest it in your community). How about Amazon invests in the community and pays taxes and once they prove their worth, maybe, and I say maybe, we give them some form or tax break which is a percentage of their contribution. Not, give them $3 billion, allow them to pay negative taxes, then hope that they provide some positive impact on the community. The whole subsidy system is backwards. I would prefer to invest first in the community, and try to attract a more diverse group of small to large businesses that contribute to the community and care about the community.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Perhaps this will cause enough slow-burning deep-frozen rage and hatred throughout New York that the New Yorkers will decide it is time to launch an extermicott against Amazon designed to exterminate Amazon from existence and presence within the borders of New York City.

        Reply
      2. Elizabeth Burton

        I tried to track down the link, but it’s buried in the my news pages. A small number of states are banding together to pledge not to extend tax subsidies to major corporations that don’t need them. One can but hope they’ll stick to it, and add more to their number.

        Reply
  9. diptherio

    That is why I won’t go boating or swimming or anything else in the ocean. That right there is terrifying. Antidote my heiny! That right there is an anti-antidote if ever I saw one.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      He obviously needs a bigger boat. Not to worry though. For blue whales, unlike grizzlies up where you live, people are not on the menu. They are krill eaters.

      Reply
      1. diptherio

        They don’t have to eat you, they just have to come up for air! Horrifying. Literally the stuff of my nightmares (when I was a kid). I’ll stay on dry land, thank you very much.

        Reply
        1. orlbucfan

          I understand your worry, but I thought it was one of the coolest pictures I’ve seen in a long time. Forces a human being to be a little (?) more humble.

          Reply
          1. newcatty

            Agree, as a cool picture. Wishing that an image like that would have the power to “force a human being to be a little (?) More humble.” The very humans, who would or could benefit from that inspiration, are the very ones who would not be. Humility can’t be forced on others…either one is or not. Sigh…it’s like forcing compassion, respectful regard for others, kindness, generosity, fairness, far sightedness for future life.

            Reply
      2. anon y'mouse

        the photo made me worry about accidental topsizing due to wave action and breaching.

        the sea is unfathomable to the human mind that tries to contemplate it.

        Reply
    2. Angie Neer

      I’m right there with you in the primal fear department, but I’d like to know the provenance of that photo before taking it completely seriously.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Yes. That whale, if it is a real whale and not a photoshopped and sized up image of one, looks way too big. I’d like to see that boat a little clearer as well. Too, for something moving just under the surface, I see no wake, or flipper eddys.
        And, to add insult to injury, it looks like a White Whale.
        Oh well. The present ambiance influences one to doubt everything.

        Reply
  10. David

    If you have only the time or the inclination to read one article about the gilets jaunes this week, make it the article from Le Monde Diplomatique in the links. The article is a bit over-schematic (by no means all of the GJ are working-class, and media condemnation has not been as universal as is suggested) but the essential message is very accurate. What we’re seeing here is social and economic class hatred on an enormous scale, on the part of the political and media elites against ordinary people who have the cheek to demand more of a say and more of a share of the spoils. These elites are essentially based around money and education, and cut across party and political lines.
    The protests are not only continuing, but metastasising, with more protests today and different groups emerging with different tactics and objectives. But the political system remains as clueless as it always has been about how to deal with the protests. Only a tone-deaf government could nominate Alain Juppé, a former Prime Minister convicted of fiddling campaign expenses, to the Constitutional Council. It’s being interpreted as Macron’s attempt to cosy up to traditional right-wing voters before the European elections, but, as has been pointed out, Juppé’s pension from this job alone will be more than the average French person earns in a month, and he already has a clutch of other pensions from different jobs. Just the kind of person to settle delicate questions of constitutional law in a fraught political environment.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Of course historically the reason violent revolutions take place is because elites are incapable of thinking outside their particular box. To them everything is going along swimmingly so why should they change. Doubtless globalization has exacerbated this tendency and Macron wants that European army to save him. If nothing else Gilets Jaunes is proving to be an interesting experiment in class conflict, 21st century version?

      Reply
      1. wilroncanada

        Thanks Carolinian
        The other reason violent revolutions take place is because elites,no matter what they call the form of government they have supported, when under pressure from genuine reformers, in the end will try to kill them all, one way or another. When the genuine reformers are either incarcerated or dead, the only response left for ordinary folk is violent revolution. Unfortunately, the most radical violent revolutionaries, unlike genuine reformers, replace the government they hate with its duplicate.

        Reply
    1. Yves Smith

      Yes, I saw the Sun story but though it was BS. Didn’t think Lambert might pick it up. Thanks so much for providing the official denial. Will hoist the tweet into the post. Macron is clearly in no position to make commitments on behalf of the entire EU.

      A more simple rule that regular Brexit readers have likely figured out: the only people who can signal what the EU’s position is at this stage are Barnier, Tusk, Juncker, and sometimes Weyand, Barnier’s deputy.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        It’s amazing that newspapers are still bringing out reports like this – at this stage it is tantamount to gross incompetence. And it does have very serious consequences, this sort of story spreads and becomes part of the miasma of public incomprehension. Even in Ireland, where the Irish Times and RTE have generally been very good, you can see how in the mid-market and down-market newspapers and radio news here pick up ideas like this from UK sources and run with them, generally causing confusion among readers.

        I’d love to know if its deliberate head faking by pro-Brexit writers, lazy space filling, or just stupidity.

        Reply
        1. David

          For what it’s worth, I can’t find anything in the French media at all which might have sparked this off, even as a misunderstanding. I strongly suspect it’s wishful thinking from pro-Brexit sources. Interestingly, Macron is warning his compatriots that Brexit is the kind of disaster you get if you allow the people to decide important issues in referendums.

          Reply
        2. fajensen

          Daily Mail will occasionally just make some shit up and run it. This is one of those occasions.

          It is however interesting to see that even the Daily Mail generally anti-Europe, pro-crash-out Brexit, commentators are on to them this time.

          Reply
          1. Yves Smith

            A new editor came in not long ago and that person is pro-Remain while the last one was hard core Leave.

            I like the DM. It has broken some Brexit stories, actually does good science reporting (they do a very good job of writing up studies), and the headlines are a gas.

            Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “Why Trump will win the wall fight”

    Like another brawl that he got into recently, there has been lots of coverage in the media on the Senate, the House, various pundits, the media itself, celebrities but none whatsoever of the people in Trumpland. How his voters are taking the whole fracas is being totally ignored as being of no significance. That did not work out so well in November of 2016 and it is dangerous to continue this trend now. For all we know, his voters may be totally behind him as he is fighting for the wall that he promised them. His supporters may be saying ‘Yeah, whatever it takes!’ but whatever they are saying, I have not read or seen polls and opinions taken in these areas which, by the way, is mostly the area between the west coast and the east coast.

    Reply
    1. rowlf

      The people in Trumpland often give the wrong answers and will say it isn’t chocolate they are being served. I like when someone gets uppity and tells the interviewer that they don’t like being told what to do by the media.

      Car, motorcycle and firearms forums will often have a separate subforum for political discussion if you want to sample which way the wind is blowing. Some posters can observe and write well so it isn’t always a slog through parroted propaganda.

      Reply
      1. Observer

        Media nullification is today’s version of jury nullification. That speaks to countervailing influences on media control and was evident in the use of social media circumventions and induced coverage in the 2016 election. Readers, viewers, podcast listeners and other media consumers look increasingly to alternative sources that may provide verifiable facts and documentation to allow deeper dives than the soundbite and manipulated video clips that omit context.

        Naked Capitalism Links and commentary are helpful resources that merit wider dissemination and awareness, along with similar bundlers, bloggers and independent-minded thinkers.

        Reply
        1. rowlf

          It’s not perfect and you have to be careful of the cow pats but a lot of blue collar folks express themselves in those forums.

          Reply
    2. Stillfeelinthebern

      January 2019 results for Wisconsin from the Marquette Law School Poll:
      Forty-four percent of respondents favor building a wall along the border with Mexico, while 51 percent oppose the wall. In March 2017, when the question was first asked, 37 percent favored and 59 percent opposed building a wall. When asked most recently, in August 2018, 41 percent favored and 54 percent opposed building a wall.

      Twenty-nine percent of respondents support the partial shutdown of the federal government over the issue of funding a border wall, with 66 percent opposed to the shutdown. Fifty-five percent of Republicans including leaners support the shutdown, while 41 percent oppose it. Five percent of Democrats including leaners support the shutdown, while 92 percent oppose it. Among independents, 25 percent support the shutdown, with 69 percent opposed.

      Respondents were asked, “Regardless of how you feel about the shutdown, who do you think is most responsible for it?” Forty-three percent say Trump, 7 percent say Republicans in Congress, 34 percent say Democrats in Congress and 14 percent say all are equally responsible.

      Link to poll is below. Generally, the Marquette Poll is well regarded in the state. Some consider it to have a slight Republican lean, depending on the sampling for each poll. Charles Franklin is the director and you can follow him on Twitter @PollsAndVotes I find his feed to be super informative.

      https://law.marquette.edu/poll/2018/07/19/partisan-divides-are-vivid-in-new-law-school-poll-results/

      Reply
      1. Lee

        I am most definitely in favor of the wall. For the simple reason that congressional abrogation of its own constitutional powers makes it inevitable and once it’s done, everyone can stfu about a symbolic issue of minimal material significance, and move on to issues of substance. OTOH, if they turn their minds to matters of greater import, they might just make things worse.

        Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            Ja. that is a worry.
            I had the same thought as lordkoos this am: let them have their damned fence(what i’ve seen doesn’t look very wall-like)
            maybe mandate solar panels atop it or something to check off everybody’s boxes….murals painted by underserved youth…whatever.
            but then, I think about the then undistracted morons in charge, and their undistracted followers…what will they demand next?
            especially after a “win”?

            Reply
        1. Left in Wisconsin

          once it’s done, everyone can stfu about a symbolic issue of minimal material significance, and move on to issues of substance

          I think you are dreaming if you think the wall will ever be “finished,” either as a wall or as a political issue. The wall is what they call a “wedge” issue. It will never be finished or go away as an issue.

          Reply
          1. wilroncanada

            left in Wisconsin
            I concur. The idea that “THE WALL” as an issue, will go away if conceded, is far-fetched at best. One pundit? TV talker? i listened to for about 2 minutes on PBS Detroit this morning, did talk about the people in Trumpland, that they would follow him to hell and back (even the fundamentalists) on this and any other issue, but they will not alone win him a second term. And having experienced more than half of a first mandate now, and finding it the closest thing to being emperor of the world that he could ever imagine, he definitely wants more.
            This is a wedge issue, whether he get support from the Supreme Court or not. If he wins in the court, the wall-like thingee will not be built before the 2020 election. He can easily find reason to accuse other Republicans, the Democrats, state governors, and anyone else he can think to name at the time, of stalling. If he loses, or is stalled in the courts, he will include the court that at the moment he claims as his own.
            Don’t forget, he fought the 2016 election against both political parties, and the civil service, and the courts–the swamp,
            It very much sees like a short, long game thought up by a certain Bush’s Brain, or its clones.

            Reply
    3. flora

      The LeMonde article linked today notes the same ‘erasure’ of citizen voters in media and govt in France has lead to the GJ movement. This same erasure of recognition of working class citizens applies in the US, I think, and for the same reasons. The media and politicians ignore them. Ignoring them is part of the problem, imo. From the LeMonde article:

      The yellow vests movement marks the failure of a project born in the late 1980s and later led by the evangelists of social liberalism, to create a centrist republic in France that would end ideological upheavals by pushing the working class out of public debate and political institutions (6). The working class, though still the majority of the population, was too fractious, and would have to make space — all the space — for the educated middle class.

      France’s ‘turn to rigour’ in 1983, the liberal counter-revolution driven by New Zealand’s Labour Party (1984), and in the late 1990s the third way of Tony Blair, Bill Clinton and Gerhard Schröder, all seemed to have carried out this plan. As social democracy bedded down in the apparatus of the state and made itself at home in the media and on company boards, it banished its former working-class supporters to the political wilderness. ….

      But this social world, which was supposed to have been obliterated…, has come to life again under the Arc de Triumph and on the Champs-Élysées, and at roundabouts across the country.

      Adding: I’m being to wonder if the word “centrist”, as in “centrist” politician, means “ignores the working class and working class issues”.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think that is certainly the modern meaning of ‘centrist’.

        What I find interesting is the way in which certain electoral systems seems to facilitate this type of centrism. Here in Ireland we have a Parliamentary system with multi seat constituencies and proportional representation. This type of system has its flaws (not least creating an intensely parochial pork barrel type of politics), but it does have the strong virtue that it makes it almost impossible for any successful political movement to ignore or marginalise a large chunk of the electorate – its simple electoral suicide if they did that. A technocratic centrist party just couldn’t be elected in Ireland or any other country with this system – although the opposite – a centrist populist catch-all party can. The current PM would like such a system, but he’s strongly held in check by the need to keep a coalition of local activists happy.

        I think its very significant that countries with presidential or one person one vote systems such as most Anglophone countries and France have suffered most from this type of faux centrist. There is no perfect electoral system, but I do think that variations on proportional representation and parliamentary systems are far better at getting governments that reflect the popular mood (for good or ill).

        Reply
  12. ex-PFC Chuck

    The Johathan Turley piece “Why Trump will win the wall fight” is important.

    “For decades, Congress frittered away control over its authority, including the power of the purse. I have testified before Congress, warning about the expansion of executive power and the failure of Congress to guard its own authority. The two primary objections have been Congress giving presidents largely unchecked authority and undedicated money. The wall funding controversy today is a grotesque result of both of these failures.”

    Working to take back some of that authority is what responsible Congress critters who oppose the wall should be doing instead of toothless grandstanding.

    Reply
    1. Fraibert

      Agreed. But I think a significant purpose of Congress’ massive delegation of powers to the executive is to avoid having to make hard decisions that could be politically costly to individual representatives . Put in that light, I suspect that Congress has no intention to get serious.

      Reply
      1. tegnost

        don’t forget the surveillance tech companies paying dems to get out of the way of the grift, which they were more than happy to do. Yet another win for the reality tv star. TBH it’s got to be so easy for him when facing up to such hypocrites as schumer and pelosi, all he has to do is throw a crumb to the dems base, something schumer and pelosi would never ever do…trump can even promise things to the dem base that he doesn’t support knowing that schumer and pelosi will stop the crumbs from falling
        “What are you doing! Don’t feed the animals!”
        O the outrage.

        Reply
      2. cm

        Like the nebulous open-ended Authorization of Use of Military Force. Congress abdicated its Consitutional responsibilities 10 years ago and has never looked back.

        Reply
      3. rd

        I believe “pusillanimous” is the technical term to describe this Congress.

        I wonder at what point they would agree that the Presidency should not have term limits and be hereditary?

        Reply
      4. Tom Doak

        Yes you see that right now with the Senate Democrats who don’t want to have to cast a vote on the Green New Deal, for fear a “yes” vote will be used to beat them in the next election [and a “no” vote will expose them for the lying gas bags they are].

        Reply
    2. bruce wilder

      Congress critters have transformed from politicians into spokesmodels. They are not in Congress seeking power, they are seeking celebrity, because there is no power in Congress anymore. And, the reasons there is no power in Congress are structural — structural not in the institution of Congress, but in the structures of the political economy.

      For Congress to have power, there has to be political conflict in the political economy that only government can arbitrate. Being able to play interest groups against one another is what used to free the Congress as a whole to decide.

      But, that’s not the political economy we have anymore. As the financial sector and the media sector have consolidated into behemoths and unions and other mass-membership organizations have declined, power has drained away from Congress as the conflicts on which Congress feeds are subsumed inside the executive suites of giant conglomerates and propaganda drowns public opinion.

      Attributing the weakness of Congress to the character of its members is misattribution. The Congress has always attracted opportunists, grifters and egomaniacs who could not get along well with others. Some of them at least used to come for the power, or stayed when they found power. And so the institution guarded power as its own. But, power is not there anymore, for reasons that have not much to do with the character of the members.

      Reply
  13. The Rev Kev

    “Dems prepare to force Trump to reveal private talks with Putin”

    This the best that Democrats can do? Hope that somewhere in the translator’s notes that there is a bit where Trump sells out America to Putin in return for the right to build a Trump hotel in Moscow after he is no longer President? Maybe in their talks with all these lawyers they can ask about the concept of a precedent. That would be very instructive for them. If they succeed, then what foreign leader will talk frankly with an American President as it could all come out quickly to much consternation. Will the Republicans do the same to a Democrat President? You betcha! This might lead to a practice where American Presidents meet alone with world leaders but use only the translator for that foreign leader as they cannot be called to testify. There is absolutely no upside to this idea so perhaps this is only a tactic to keep Trump off-balance and occupied. I hope so.

    Reply
    1. Fraibert

      This situation surprisingly strikes me as one where an assertion of executive privilege is warranted for exactly the reasons stated. The President should be able to have candid discussions with foreign leaders to probe out positions and work out understandings without Congress snooping into the minute details.

      With that said, the actual outcomes should be subject to Congressional oversight.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        “Advice and consent of the Senate”

        It would be reasonable for the Senate to make this request. The House on the other hand…they have opportunities to stop funding Trump. After all, Trump didn’t pay to fly out to meet with his puppet master, but Adam Schiff didn’t seem to care.

        Reply
    2. Bill Smith

      “This might lead to a practice where American Presidents meet alone with world leaders but use only the translator for that foreign leader as they cannot be called to testify.”

      Nixon and Reagan did this. But not likely because of the fear that a US translator might be called to testify.

      Reply
    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      I don’t think it is a tactic to keep Trump off balance. I think it is a desperate wishful attempt to find something to remove Trump from office with.

      And get Pence instead? Well . . . yes.

      Gentlemen prefer blondes. Democrats prefer Pence.

      Reply
  14. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Seattle Snowpocalypse

    They wouldn’t have to call it a “Snowpocalypse” if anyone had bothered to listed to Charlie Chong about twenty years ago.

    Old time Seattle residents (is there anyone who lived there in the 90s who hasn’t bailed out yet?) will remember Chong as the Sanders-esque city councilor with socialist tendencies who the powers that be of the time tried to paint as a crackpot once he got uppity and decided to run for mayor. There was a huge snowstorm in 1996 or so, which shut down the entire city as they didn’t have sufficient snow removal equipment. Articulated buses jackknifed after skidding, blocking the streets, and the city basically just had to wait for the snow to melt to get traffic moving again. I remember pulling down street signs to use as sleds to slide down the middle of the street on Denny hill at 2:00 AM because there were absolutely no vehicles out.

    After the storm Chong made the eminently reasonable suggestion that the city spend about $300,000 IIRC to buy some used snow plows in case such a storm ever happened again. He was ridiculed as a silly socialist – I mean where’s the grift opportunity in used snow plows?

    Reply
    1. neo-realist

      I’ve been there since a little before the 90’s and its not as easy to bail out as one wants when most cities that arguably take better care of their snow and have a vibrant arts/culture scene are just as or even more expensive than Seattle (and you have to convince a spouse w/ family in the city.) One other good reason to leave is the eventual earthquake, which could happen tomorrow or 20, 30 years from now; The destruction of the infrastructure w/ the loss of access to food and water resources would potentially turn us into the “new puerto ricans”, a whiter and tech savvy bunch at that. If a republican administration is in power, you can bet this blue voting city would be left to rot.

      Re the snow equipment, the reason the city feels it isn’t necessary to invest in a lot of snow equipment is that such storms only happen once every 10 years or so–we had a similar one in 2008 and one just a week ago.

      Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      I tried to read the article, but soon after opening it a paywall that greatly approximated ‘snow’ on tv sets in the 60’s & 70’s appeared, so i’ll have to only imagine what went down.

      Reply
    3. Synapsid

      lyman alpha blob,

      When the articulated buses bend too far (I’ve only seen it happen on packed snow and ice) a cut-out kills the engine, and it can’t be re-started until the bus has been straightened out.

      The one time it happened to a bus I was on the driver put on the intercom and said “Ladies and gentlemen, we walk from here”, and phoned the location in.

      Reply
    4. Angie Neer

      I arrived in greater Seattle in the winter of ’96, right around the time of that storm. Having come from upstate New York, I made fun of the fact that the region ground to a halt with something like 3 inches of snow. I’m not as snobbish about it now, since these storms are very unusual, so it’s not obvious that maintaining snow-removal infrastructure for such an event is worthwhile.

      However, I feel that the terms “Snowpocalypse” and “Snowmaggedon” have been played out. I’ve been trying to introduce the term “Tsnownami”, but it hasn’t gotten any traction (pun intended).

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Alas, I repent me of my sins, but, this Seattle Snow Blast will ‘chain’ us all to the ‘wheel’ of ‘Clown Carma.’
        I believe that practitioners of Zen call it “Ken-Snow.” A sudden understanding of the cold reality of Winter.

        Reply
  15. Milton

    How CNN Led Facebook To Censor Pages Of Russia-Backed Video Company And Manufactured News Story – FDL alum, Kevin Gosztola, uncovers CNN’S attempt (mostly successful) to silence a media company’s opposing viewpoint to the prevailing corporate-sponsored news agencies by having their presence shut down on Facebook. Lots of interesting tidbits here, including the feeling from Maffick Media employees the CNN’S interview felt less like a story gathering piece and more like an intelligence interrogation.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Good grief. When I opened up that page I recognized it from a story on TV last night. They tried to spin it as Russian propaganda and when they tried to confront that Rania Khalek about these made-up allegations, she did not back down but put them down. Still did not stop Facebook censoring them though. It’s like the MSM cannot stand to have any opposing voices to their narrative and try to destroy any site that says their chocolate is not something else.

      Reply
  16. Craig H.

    The Le Monde Diplomatique article was very well written but it seemed a little slanted anti GJ. It included:

    Émile Zola, reassured by the punishment that had resulted in 20,000 deaths and almost 40,000 arrests, thought it offered a moral for the working class: ‘The bloodbath they have just experienced was perhaps a horrible necessity to calm some of their fevers’

    I always thought Zola was anti-establishment. Surely some of the protestors must have been horribly obnoxious if he excuses shooting at them. They couldn’t have set his car on fire. Maybe they broke his windows?

    Reply
    1. David

      I don’t think it was slanted so much as it was showing the depth and violence of the elite reaction against the GJ. As far as Zola is concerned he was a young journalist at the time and caught up in a frightening and complicated situation. He was arrested by the communards at one point. Like a lot of the middle class he was against the Empire of Napoleon III but wanted it replaced by moderate political forces, not the radical communards.

      Reply
  17. David Carl Grimes

    “From the very beginning, the Obama administration’s “vision” for high-speed rail featured bizarre technical choices driven by fairly obvious political motives.

    This map, as drawn, features a number of routes that, due to the small size of the cities involved, are not very promising in ridership terms: Dallas to Little Rock, Boston to Portland, Boston to Montreal, and Birmingham to New Orleans. Meanwhile, it ignores the much more obvious potential of connecting Houston to Dallas. It’s only if you ignore information about transportation demand and think about the US Senate map as it existed in 2009 that this begins to make sense.

    Adding Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Arkansas, and Louisiana (states that had many of the key swing senators at the time) to the route map is a lot more politically valuable than connecting America’s fourth and fifth biggest metro areas, even if it makes no sense in ridership terms.

    This is a fine way to proceed if you’re just tossing around stimulus money and trying to seem vaguely forward-thinking. But if we want to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and/or improve American economic productivity, we have to do better than this.”

    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/2/15/18224717/california-high-speed-rail-canceled

    Reply
    1. Big River Bandido

      The corridor between Chicago and Omaha — home to well over a million people — has had no passenger rail service at all for about 40 years. The Obama stimulus-that-wasn’t contained some funding for this project, but required as well commitments from the states (IL and IA), which eventually reneged. Five years after Chicago-to-Davenport service was supposed to start (in 2014)…still nothin’ but bus lines.

      Reply
      1. barefoot charley

        The San Francisco Zephyr goes back and forth on that route every day, theoretically arriving in Omaha around 6 am and getting to Chicago at 3:30. Amtrak has been a pioneer in crapification since before it was even a word, but the trains do run, if not on time, and the restaurant food is microwaved, if not cooked. Leave Oakland at 9:30 am and see Chicago in the afternoon 3 days later, with any luck. Still beats covered wagons.

        Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        I wonder if Obama deliberately mal-engineered a substimulus designed to understimulate the economy on purpose in order to discredit the whole idea of stimulus? And poison the “stimulus” well for decades to come? I wonder if that is part of what he hopes to be made a billionaire in reward for?

        Reply
  18. Alex

    Re the Mondoweiss article, I have little sympathy for settlers but maybe it was worth mentioning that a few days before these events, where no one was injured, fortunately, a 19-year old girl from one of the nearby settlements was murdered not far from there.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Only worth mentioning if you have more detail or a link to offer.

      Of course the traditional Israeli defense is always “they started it” and therefore they are blameless for the quaintly named “price tag” incidents.

      Reply
      1. integer

        I think Alex is talking about this:

        Ori Ansbacher’s killer faces charges of murder and rape Jerusalem Post

        Arafat Irfaiya, Ori Ansbacher’s murderer, was brought to court on Monday to discuss the extension of his arrest on the charges of murder and rape.

        Security officials say that Arafat Irfaiya, 29, from Hebron has confessed to killing Ori Ansbacher, 19, and reconstructed the murder for police on Sunday ahead of his arraignment in court.

        Hard to see how this cycle of hatred will ever stop of its own accord.

        Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        My understanding is that the “price tag” incidents are perpetrated by a small group of hyper-militant squattlers, and that they are not in “reprisal” for any Palestinian anything. What they are is in “reprisal” to any peace-ish proposal or action by the Israeli government of the moment in order to get a cycle of violence going again to impose a “price” on that Israeli government of the moment for daring to do any peace-ish thing.

        In other words, the “price tag” incidents are designed as obedience training actions by the squattlers against the Israeli government to train it not to do anything the squattlers might not like.

        If the US government cut all aid to Israel down to an immediate cold-turkey zero, the American Rapturanian Armageddonites would give them many millions of dollars to keep them in the field, violenting and squattling.

        Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Question. Would you ever want to have those “Settlers” as your next door neighbours? There are places in America where they have set up shop and they are as obnoxious in America as they are in Palestine – except for the violent assaults and murders that is. Even the secular Israelis dislike having them as neighbours because of their holier-than-thou attitudes.

      Reply
      1. polecat

        We humans might be forced, in evolutionary terms, to take up cetacean physiological developement into consideration …
        Ok Class, anyone up for Intricacies of Blow-hole enhancement ?? … Language courses- special emphasis on blips, grunts, & squeals ?? … Squid defense 101 ?? … Sonar projection across abyssal plains ?? …. Anyone ??? … uh, Ok, good. You in back row .. um .. Mr. .. uh .. Spock .. Am I pronouncing that right .. ?

        Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      It could go the other way, i.e., the power of these companies could get Congress to provide subsidies as they do to every and any endangered industry. At this time the main function of government at all levels is to make sure all the status-quo industries continue to reap profits and that nothing change in the structure of society other than more money for the rich. It’s not so much a function of individual decisions–it is the System functioning as designed. Only smashing parts of the System will begin to collapse the system

      Reply
    2. JohnnyGL

      The mother of a colleague of mine lives in FL. I asked him about home owner’s insurance on hurricanes and floods.

      He said there are massive carve outs now with regard to hurricanes. You pretty much can’t buy insurance to cover hurricane damage, it seems.

      Of course, with FL being a swing state where chunks of the donor class inhabit, the Feds will always come through with disaster relief, but that’s a dicey process.

      Reply
  19. ambrit

    Am I alone in this. It happens irregularly to me here.
    A “Geezer Moment.”
    The mondoweiss link was not allowed on my computer because:
    “…mondoweiss.net uses an unsupported protocol” and,
    “…server needs RC4, which is no longer considered secure.”
    Anyone else have this problem? Or am I, typing furiously from deep within the fastness of the ‘Plateau of Geezer’, in a ‘class’ of my own?
    I will thank you Tuesday for for enlightenment today.

    Reply
    1. Craig H.

      mondoweiss link is fine from my ISP.

      Here is the most reliable method to get a not readily accessible link:

      1. stick the title in google
      2. on the results page, next to the title, is usually a down arrow
      3. click the arrow and you will usually see a pop up “cached” widget
      4. click on the cached and it will usually bring up a google cache of the story

      Here is what you get for the mondoweiss story

      https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:kMdhWbZNngQJ:https://mondoweiss.net/2019/02/foreigners-following-expulsion

      key point for me:

      He added that no one was badly injured, but several people sustained bruises on their faces and bodies from being physically assaulted by the settlers.

      Reply
  20. JohnnyGL

    https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/17/trump-russia-collusion-adam-schiff-1173434

    Adam Schiff doing his best impression as John Brennan’s sock puppet.

    Pro-tip for Dems: If the evidence is in ‘plain sight’, that means it DOES NOT EXIST!!!

    Evidence should come in the form of direct testimony from witnesses saying things like, “I was in the room when a deal between Trump and Putin was worked out” and there should be circumstantial evidence with a series of meetings and discussions with details hammered out. There should be financial transactions and/or documentary evidence or phone call recordings (like Nixon and S. Vietnam) that a deal got done.

    None of the above items exist, therefore this is just a giant hoax.

    Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      Just heard this (while cooking) and it’s a great interview. Dore is now the go-to person on the real left (what little is left anywhere) about political matters. I’ve known, even before the 2000 election, that there is no guarantee that anyone’s vote will be counted as voted. The system was specifically designed to bring elections into the hands of oligarchs. Before electronic voting, certainly, election fraud was common but it was more local–if the local jurisdiction was corrupt ballot boxes could be stuffed but it was a cumbersome affair and more people had to be involved and, in those days, if something like that came out there might be consequences. Today, with electronic voting and, in my view, increased corruption in government, election results can be easily hacked particularly because results based on exit polls (other than vague demographics) are no longer allowed on the controlled media that covers elections.

      The sad part is that this information was even, at one time, reported in the somewhat less controlled media of two decades ago and while there was a lot of intense hand-waving after 2000 nothing of any substance was done. To put it very simply we don’t have a Constitutional republic with democratic institutions. We were never really a democracy we were, at best, a managed democracy but now we are not even that. Democracy is not completely absent but it’s getting close to that. Fraud, at this point, can’t be too obvious but when made men and women like Rep. Wasserman Schultz are threatened by an outsider like Canova the machinery starts to whirr–of course the polls need to be close for the fix to be made. The even sadder aspect of the interview was and is he fact that Bernie Sanders and almost the entire “progressive” community ignored Canova both in ’14 and ’16. And, worse, are largely ignoring the issue of our lack of real democracy both in the political arena and our work-life.

      Reply
      1. notabanker

        I have a difficult time watching Dore. The snark, sarcasm, faux outrage is just as damaging to the cause he espouses as Maher is to his. It’s polarizing and continues the mob mentality. It’s just a different mob.

        I think if you look at how AOC is communicating, or her chief of staff Saikat, Killer Mike, Anand Giridharadas they are just as radical but in a far less cynical way with an attempt to have solutions and alternatives rather than just obsessing about the problems and these make believe right, left, blue, red constructs.

        We don’t need our mob to be bigger than theirs, we need to pull the mobs together and fix some pretty big problems. The sooner people realize this is a 99% problem, not a my 10% is the only one that is correct problem, the sooner we get to fixing it.

        Reply
        1. Chris Cosmos

          Years ago I would have agreed with you and my personal approach would certainly not been as insulting as dore–I’m not like him. But in terms of emotions I feel that the ruling elites he pillories particularly the ugly monsters who run the Democratic Party I share his emotion of disgust and anger for people who are bent on destroying the world, literally. What emotion do you suggest? Seriously–the old polite way of doing things is over. Human beings have NEVER lived at a time more filled with possible disaster the old polite patrician discourse is no longer possible in public life. In private life, certainly, I listen to all kinds of people who believe all kinds of ridiculous shit and I have nothing but compassion for them. But people with power are another matter–they have failed on all sides in their responsibilities towards us the peons and future generations. Thus we need a furious comedian jeering at the assholes in charge.

          Reply
          1. richard

            not to be a plusser, but +1
            the gap between the language we need, and the language we get, is indeed huge
            jimmy’s outrage is about as far from “faux” as it’s possible to be I’d say
            what we need are 100 more like him
            (with the same intelligence and integrity, not just the big mouth)
            we need him to become commonplace

            Reply
    2. richard

      I saw that interview too. It changed my mind about what I want to ask my rep. pramilla jayapal about during our wed. town hall, if I get a chance. I want to ask her if she supports Gabbard’s election integrity act (which I believe called for paper ballots, counted in public). I want to let her know that without more open and fair elections in the us, progressive policy initiatives are severely hamstrung and possibly hopeless.
      There’s a great deal we could change about our electoral system, to make it more representative of the popular will. The electoral college, superdelegates, FINANCING, proportional representation, to name what I can think of right now. But what we should start with is getting the damn count right. Supervised and transparent.

      Reply
    3. Elizabeth Burton

      A fellow progressive on Twitter changed his registration from Green to Democrat in preparation for supporting progressives running as Democrats and Bernie Sanders if/when he announces. On impulse, he checked his registration, and discovered it had either never been changed or had switched back to Green. He corrected it, and when he checked back a bit later it had once again reverted to Green.

      So, we are already advising people to keep an eye on their registration status if they’re publicly progressive and registered as Democrats. The election process isn’t the only way to defraud, and the Democrats have notoriously used registration switching and/or cancellation for that purpose.

      Reply
  21. Plenue

    “No Hegel please, we’re Americans.”

    I recall once reading an article on some conservative site or other (maybe The American Conservative) that was all about how Hegel was the worstestest, most evil thing evah.

    Reply
  22. Carey

    Thanks for that link, which I think is essential viewing, especially the last three or so
    minutes. The brazenness of the electoral theft is just unbelievable, as Canova and
    Dore point out.

    Always up for more puppy pics, BTW. ;)

    Reply
      1. richard

        Those are pretty good puppies. I do also like giant whales swimming just underneath me in the ocean, but those are pretty good puppies.

        Reply
  23. Unna

    Onion Article: “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Criticized For Preventing 25,000 New York Evictions.”

    Once again I thought that the article could be real. AOC did something that interfered with the “free market” and then I saw that it’s the Onion. Question: Is reality so bad that the Onion is now becoming a lagging indicator?

    Reply
  24. Altandmain

    I’ve been thinking about Tucker Carlson.

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/why-are-these-professional-war-peddlers-still-around-tucker-carlson-max-boot-bill-kristol/

    There are times when the he sounds more like a Berniecrat (he supports universal healthcare to an extent too and although he is against socialism, some degree of inequality reduction).

    The sad and disgusting thing is that the Establishment Democrats, and increasingly the well off Clinton base has more in common these days with the neocons than any progressive.

    I think that the brutal reality is that we have more in common with Carlson’s base than the Establishment Democrats. What separates us is class, wealth, and who benefited from neoliberalism. If the stereotypical Trump supporter is someone who lost their job to manufacturing outsourcing and neoliberal economics, we’ve got a surprising amount in common, even if we disagree on a lot.

    The original New Deal was one that brought together many competing different interests with many competing ideas around the US. If someone, say a Berniecrat someday wants to assemble a unified coalition, they are going to have to unify many different elements of society.

    I think that the the “false left” with their identity politics will never be able to do that as they don’t tolerate dissent in their ranks. Actually they don’t want to as they are a part of the upper 10% that has benefited from the status quo. That’s the real reason why they voted for Clinton in 2016 over Sanders. They knew that Sanders would reduce the income gap between the top 10% versus the bottom 90% and voted to preserve the neoliberal status quo.

    Reply
      1. tegnost

        since red is republican, blue is democrat,, and purple is the mix at the top, we need a color to represent the belly of the beast

        Reply
        1. integer

          How about taking a cue from the GJ’s and going with yellow?

          Regarding Altandmain’s premise that the left has more in common with Carlson’s base than liberals (i.e. supporters of the D party establishment), I tend to agree. Carlson has some blind spots*, but has a fairly coherent worldview which aligns with that of the left in some important areas, such as rejecting war and neocons, and being against tech monopolies. IMO the D party establishment represents a far bigger problem for the left than Carlson or his base.

          * I mentioned in that exchange that Carlson has ties to the Koch brothers, which is true, however they appear to have parted ways, with Carlson now criticizing them for supporting open borders and breaking the middle class via labor arbitrage.

          Reply
          1. integer

            Just to clarify, it was actually Lou Dobbs, during an interview with Carlson, who criticized the Koch brothers over their support for open borders and engaging in labor arbitrage. There was no argument from Carlson, however for accuracy’s sake I thought I should point out that it wasn’t actually Carlson who said it.

            Reply
    1. Down2long

      It is weird but as a survivor pf foreclosure fraud (Chase Bank was allowed by my crooked judge to foreclose on a building Chase got for free from WaMu andnone which I was currrent and which Chase kept accepting payments on while foreclosing on me) many people in my twitterverse are alao foreclosure fraud survivors. They are disproportionately Trump supporters. As a lefty, I agree to disagree. We have many areas of common interest. Ans Trump did talk a good game.

      Hillary just paraded her contempt and pride at Wall Street connivance (that’s what Goldman offered for my boring-ass speech.) Even if she had talked a good game re: banksters, no one would’ve believed it anyhow. And so, wirh Obama and Eric Holder overseeing black homeownership drop to levels worse than before the civil rights act due to illegal foreclosures, we are now at a nexus.

      A black friend of mine said if Obama “We thought we were electing a brotha.” A brotha of a white motha. Chocolate dipped ice cream cone I call him. My AA friends laugb at me for this. They get it.

      Reply
      1. wilroncanada

        Sorry about your being a fraud victim, Down2long.
        Question for Ans.
        So Trump did talk a good game.
        Obama did talk a good game.
        Fool me once, shame on O, fool me twice, shame on O again?

        Reply
    2. Chris Cosmos

      I’m actually stunned at the break that Sanders reflected in his campaign. The Clintonites and their punks in the media were showed up for what they were, anti-leftist right-wingers–just different right-wingers from the so-called conservatives (of which there are many, many stripes) except they are more dangerous from the point of view of those few leftists that remain who actually are anti-Imperialist, pro-working-class, pro-environmental believers in the fact we could build a truly convivial world. I have been urging others to try and ally with the far larger right-wing anti-imperialists like Carlson but almost always I am greeted with hostility and rage. We can disagree with these people on many things but we can have a dialogue of sorts with them, whereas with Clinton/Biden/Obama types dialogue seems to be impossible.

      After Trump’s election things got far, far, far worse and these “liberals” and “progressives” started slobbering about the mouth about Russia, Russia, Russia and Trump, Trump, Trump and started worshiping our old enemies (I was in the anti-war movement back in the day) the FBI and the CIA which is almost shockingly disgusting to someone like me. I think I lost a friend over this, btw, so this isn’t just theoretical.

      Reply
      1. Carey

        Thanks for this fine comment. Splitting the citizenry from their real and collective
        interests is the goal, in my opinion. Maybe Dore and Canova are right, that an
        electoral boycott [+General Strike?] is the only way to a better future.

        #learntoloveyourpanopticon

        Reply
      2. Altandmain

        I think the issue is simple.

        – Most NCers and Sanders supporters are left wing on social and economic issues.
        – The Trump base seems to be socially conservative, economically left wing.
        – The Establishment Republicans are right wing on both social and economic issues.
        – That leaves the Clinton supporters and Establishment Democrats, which are right wing on economic issues and left wing on social issues.

        Note however they have their differences with libertarians. Libertarians tend to be anti-war, whereas the Clinton faction is allied with neocons.

        Reply
  25. allan

    Melrose Park’s Westlake Hospital to close, reversing plans by new owner to invest in 670-employee hospital
    [Chicago Tribune]

    For some definition of “reversing plans”:

    The new owner of Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park plans to close the 230-bed hospital by July,
    a dramatic shift in plans that’s causing outrage among local leaders who say the hospital is vital
    to serving a largely minority community.

    The about-face by Pipeline Health comes just weeks after the for-profit company bought Westlake, Louis A. Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago, and West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park for $70 million, with plans to have part-owner and prominent Chicagoan Dr. Eric Whitaker help turn around the hospitals.

    Los Angeles-based Pipeline said it plans to file an application with the state to shutter the facility in the second quarter of this year.

    State lawmakers and Melrose Park officials, informed of Pipeline’s decision Friday, said they were taken aback by the news and felt betrayed. …

    Shortly after the hospitals’ purchase closed last month, Whitaker told the Tribune the deal would mean more certainty for the facilities and their communities. “Having a longer period of investment will allow for the development of programs, and there’s no quick need for return on the investment,” he said. …

    Whitaker, a native of Chicago’s South Side, previously worked as director of the Illinois Department of Public Health under Gov. Rod Blagojevich. He was also executive vice president and associate dean of the University of Chicago Medical Center. He’s also a close friend of President Barack Obama, whom he met when they were both graduate students at Harvard University. …

    Folks have got to up their game. Why didn’t Melrose Park offer Pipeline and Dr. Whitaker an incentive package?

    Reply
  26. Oregoncharles

    “The two faces of the gilets jaunes The New Statesman”

    A reminder: “liberal” does not mean the same thing in Europe as in the US. It means about what we mean by “conservative” – or maybe “neoliberal.” In terms of policies, that is the original meaning.

    Short history: In the US, the term was adopted by the New Deal and its sequelae, eg the “Great Society.” It’s the welfare state and regulated capitalism – equivalent to “social democracy.” It also correspond to the golden age – the 50’s and 60’s. But at this point, it’s been narrowed to mean almost entirely idpol and some humanitarian policies. That way it’s compatible with NEO- liberalism, which returns to the words anti-regulatory, big-business roots. That’s the version Lambert refers to.

    It was always imperialist. Liberals took us into WWII, the Korean War, the Cold War, and the VietNam War.

    Anyway the New Statesman’s use of “liberal” doesn’t make much sense to American ears.

    Reply
  27. Carey

    Re: the Econ piece in the Boston Review: I made only it to the twentieth paragraph,
    waiting for the authors (well-paid and comfortable, I’m guessing) to finally say something. Wondering what their motivations were.

    “We’re really on the ball, all appearances aside; just give us a bit more time while you all die!” was my reading. Maybe other more perceptive readers will weigh in.

    Reply
    1. Carey

      “…We personally saw the power of this identification in early 2018, when the three of us attended a workshop on “new thinking beyond neoliberalism.” The participants—historians, political scientists, sociologists, legal scholars, and economists—agreed that the prevailing neoliberal policy framework had failed society, resulting in monumental and growing inequality. All of us were horrified by the illiberal, nativist turn in our politics, fueled in part by these chasms…”

      “horrified by the illiberal, nativist turn in our politics…”

      Get out much? I guess not.

      Glad they “attended a workshop”, though. Super cool

      Reply
    2. bruce wilder

      Their curious defense of neoclassical economics is that it is flexible rather than fundamentalist. Even a fairly stupid economist can produce an argument in favor of his own prejudices. And, this is treated as a feature, not a bug. No really, they make that argument! I quote:

      . . . the science of economics has never produced pre-determined policy conclusions. In fact, all predictions and conclusions in economics are contingent: if x and y conditions hold, then z outcomes follow. The answer to almost any question in economics is “it depends,” followed by an exegesis on what it depends on and why. Back in 1975, in a collected volume entitled International Trade and Finance: Frontiers for Research, an economist named Carlos F. Diaz-Alejandro wrote: “by now any bright graduate student, by choosing his assumptions . . . carefully, can produce a consistent model yielding just about any policy recommendation he favored at the start.” Economics has become even richer in the intervening four decades. We might say, only slightly facetiously, that today the graduate student need not even be that bright!

      Just gaze at the quality of this reasoning — in one paragraph, they go from “the science of economics has never produced pre-determined policy conclusions” to “any bright graduate student . . . can produce a consistent model yielding just about any policy recommendation he favored at the start” without noticing the contradiction!

      Reply
    3. bruce wilder

      It was dreadful nonsense. But, irony being dead, the authors betrayed little awareness of the contradictions underlying their smug self-regard.

      “Economics is in a state of creative ferment that is often invisible to outsiders.”

      “the science of economics has never produced pre-determined policy conclusions”
      is paired with:
      ” [quoting an economist from 1975] ‘any bright graduate student, by choosing his assumptions . . . carefully, can produce a consistent model yielding just about any policy recommendation he favored at the start.’ “

      Reply
  28. ewmayer

    In establishment-propaganda news, I see 60 Minutes had an interview with former acting FBI director and self-admitted coup plotter Andrew McCabe, currently on a nationwide self-promotional tour, tonight – did any of our stronger-stomached readers watch?

    Reply

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