Links 2/24/19

Pentagon swear jar funds entire border wall after one week Duffel Blog (The Rev Kev)

A Doomsday Vault In India Holds Frozen Storage For The Survival Of Future Generations Forbes (David L)

Permafrost, the climate change time bomb SCMP

A software glitch is throwing riders off of Lime scooters Quartz (The Rev Kev)

Right to Repair Legislation Is Officially Being Considered In Canada Motherboard

Southwest Airlines mechanics are worried the planes are falling apart Salon

Catholic Church destroyed secret files on paedophile priests, cardinal admits ABC News (Australia)(The Rev Kev)

Camille Paglia: Sexism and the ‘Star Is Born’ Films (Guest Column) Hollywood Reporter

New Cold  War

Putin rattles sabre as nuclear pact collapses Asia Times. Pepe Escobar

This new history of the Christian genocide during the Ottoman Empire sounds a dark warning for the future Independent Robert Fisk


Forget our dire levels of competency around Brexit and foreign policy – Shamima Begum and her infant are the real threat Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

Brexit: bring out your dead

Watchdog permits 170,000 wild bird killings in five years Guardian

Gilets Jaunes

Thousands march across France for the Gilets Jaunes’ “Act XV”

French boy suspected of reintroducing measles to Costa Rica DW News


As Hate Incidents Pile Up, Modi Finally Breaks Silence on Attacks on Kashmiris The Wire

Modi rolls out his big pre-poll promise of Rs 2,000 per farmer – but who exactly will get the money?

Anil Ambani, India’s theatrical tycoon on the ropes FT

India proposes new e-commerce regulations with focus on data rules Reuters


How US experts helped China build a DNA surveillance state MIT Technology Review

Study affirms Chinese spying risk through Huawei components Handelsblatt

Germany Lags Behind Asia in E-Car Battery Race Der Spiegel

The story of China’s economy as told through the world’s biggest building Economist


Saudi Arabia appoints first female ambassador to the U.S. Politico

Trump backs off total Syria withdrawal The Hill

Green New Deal

There seem to be various edited versions of this video floating around — this threaded version is the most complete one I could find (part one above: link to six parts).

New Jersey Said 10 Years Ago It Would Rank Its Most Contaminated Sites. It Never Did. ProPublica

Our Famously Free Press

RCFP updates its one-stop shop for public records law, reporter’s privilege Columbia Journalism Review

Class Warfare

Sackler behind OxyContin fraud offered twisted, mind-boggling defense Ars Technica

Koch Network Pushes Deceitful Textbook on Cash-Strapped Schools TruthOut

Sending Our Prisoners to College American Conservative

Special Courts for Veterans Languish  Marshall Project

The parent trap WaPo

Inside the Rise and Fall of a Multimillion-Dollar Airbnb Scheme NYT


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s call for a ‘living wage’ starts in her office Roll Call


No Apologies: Bill de Blasio on Economic Inequality, 2020 and the Amazon Deal Capital & Main. David Sirota

Elizabeth Warren’s Childcare Proposal Should Be Better Jacobin

2020 Democrats’ progressive gamble is about to get real Politico

Billionaire Howard Schultz is no patriot: Robert Reich AlterNet.

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

These Apps Reportedly Shared Sensitive Personal Information With Facebook Gizmodo (The Rev Kev)

Police State Watch

Another California Court Rules Against Law Enforcement Secrecy, Says Agencies Must Release Old Misconduct Files Above the Law

Trump Transition

Sentencing Memo Paints Manafort as Someone Who ‘Repeatedly and Brazenly’ Broke Law NYT

Trump administration begins effort to strip work permits for immigrant spouses San Fran Chronicle


Venezuela – No More Than 20,000 People Came To Branson’s Concert Stunt Moon of Alabama (chuck l)

Maduro cuts ties with Colombia as protests rock Venezuela Al Jazeera

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. The Rev Kev

    “Saudi Arabia appoints first female ambassador to the U.S.”

    Window dressing
    noun: window dressing

    the arrangement of an attractive display in a shop window.
    an adroit but superficial or misleading presentation of something, designed to create a favourable impression.

    “the government’s effort has amounted to little more than window dressing”

      1. Off The Street

        Hollywood has its own version. Conversation with insiders reveals talk of the Emperor’s New Clothes aspect of so much industry activity. They know that repackaging or recycling old ideas or movie themes combined with posturing to pretend that their seeming embrace of social trends is essentially cannibalism. Those are sad yet predictable reactions to the influence of those barbarians at the gate from non-traditional producers at Netflix, Amazon and a growing cast of would-be competitors.

        1. Wukchumni

          ‘Dacha Hamlet’

          A reality tv show, with illionaires showing off their bungholes in NZ, each vying to top one another in how good somebody in their employ has become @ making a tolerable IPA.

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel


          95% of Netflix and Amazon and Hulu is garbage.

          All the new films n shows simply change a male role into female role and VOILA! Or change out a white female for a black female.

          And Netflix is straight up outsourcing its films!!!!!! While Disney and Comcast consolidate all the fn production companies! The Old Hollywood Liberal bias will soon find its clout considerably diminished once the workers start watching other propoganda.

          In other news, Mardi Gras season has arrived a block away from my house.

          Some parades ive seen:

          Krewes of Little Rascals, Oshun, Cleopatra, Sparta, and Pygmalion.

          At Oshun a local male private christian schools JROTC was marching, and i yelled several obscenities at them.

          Such as, ‘Dont go to War!’ and ‘War is Wrong!‘ and ‘Stay in the US.’

          I felt better after confessing my sins, but the parade-goers around me were shocked. Which is not something their used too.

          Tonight is my family Oscar/Mom and Cousins Bday Party. Im not excited as much as i usually am cuz the movies lack originality. However, of them id prolly pick Vice.

          Cheney may be one sick neocon, but he sure comes across as a badass.

          1. ambrit

            Ah, you live Uptown?
            We lived a block from St. Charles and two from Napoleon for several years. We walked up to St. Charles for parades, and back for pit stops and ‘refueling.’
            I’m glad we did it while we could enjoy it. Somehow, watching a parade from a wheelchair doesn’t appeal to Phyl. (She was in several parades when younger. She said the lack of a decent way to take a piss for the women on the floats was a major pain. [No portas on the floats she was on back then.]) H—. She remembers glass beads as throws!
            Enjoy Carnival!
            Don’t forget to get your ashes the Wednesday after.

            1. WobblyTelomeres

              Washington and Magazine, a long time ago. Had a back upstairs room. Sorta, kinda, remember going to several parades, sitting on the Lee Monument steps whilst chaos whirled around me.

              1. ambrit

                Magazine Street! That’s where Phyl and I met. It was a centre of the counter culture back when. Good days.

          2. Colonel Smithers


            Joyeuse fete. Amusez vous bien.

            Je suis creole mauricien. Nous avons des cousins en Louisiane. Nous souhaitons retourner l’annee prochaine.

            1. Janie

              If You are in Cajun country next year, which I heartily recommend, check out Saturday morning zydeco in Breaux Bridge. Venue changed to Buck and Johnny’s last year. I have not been there, but the former scene was great. Lots of French tourists…

              1. Carey

                I have a buddy originally from Breaux Bridge. He moved
                out to California, missed home, and suggested we go visit
                (early 80s). About the best times I’ve ever had in my life.

    1. Daryl

      Fantastic. I’m sure she will turn heads. Her and her appointed male guardian who will be no doubt accompanying her at all times.

  2. Henry Moon Pie

    Our oligarchs are quite annoyed with us from Paris to DC. Dear Diane explained it all to those children. Feinstein and Macron have jobs: to run the world. We have jobs too. Our job is to do what we’re told.

    Ain’t “democracy” great? I’ll bet those poor folks in Venezuela wish they had a wonderful democracy like they have in France or like we have here in the land of the surveilled and the home of the scared s–tless.

    1. flora

      I think Feinstein (US Dem), Macron in France, and the UK’s Blairites in Labour and the ERG in Tory (all neoliberals, all austerity and privatize promoters) are having a tough time now that voters are pretty much fed up with neolib policies and politics.

      In the US, the Clintonite Dem estab is fighting tooth and nail to keep control of the Dem party. In UK I think the Labour neoliberals are fighting tooth and nail to keep control of the Labour party and away from Corbyn and recognition of the working class. (Is that what the bolting MPs are really all about?) imo.

      The once self-assured neoliberal pols are losing their composure in the face of growing voter disenchantment with their policies. Yes, democracy is great… messy, but great.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Wealth inequality also has shrunk their potential backers. The kind of people who became politically active due to Trump are going to go back to brunch as soon as possible. HRC cleaned up in the nursing homes in the 2016 primary. They can scream Russia until they are late for brunch, but being upset the aristocratic order was upset by aristocrats who didn’t go to cotillion class often enough isn’t going to play well long term or build an electorate.


        So far I don’t think those who rule us are too worried, more a bit annoyed.
        When persuasion becomes ineffective they have firmer methods lined up.

        Collective action for the common good

      3. Carla

        “Yes, democracy is great”

        Maybe we’ll even try it!

        Forgive my cynicism, but yesterday I posted in comments a NYT story entitled “Health Care and Insurance Industries Mobilize to Kill ‘Medicare for All’.” The article now has logged almost 1,700 reader comments, at least 90% of them calling for M4A. Who do you think will win? The citizens or the lobbyists?

        1. flora

          The 503c tax exempt status of these lobbying outfits that claim to be charitable non-profit, non-political – e.g. ALEC and its many arms – needs to be revoked. They’re putting millions of dollars to work for political action and lobbying, and they’re doing it tax free. Past time to revoke their 503c tax status.

          1. flora

            and, about the 90% anit comments to nyt article: these lobby outfits have well-funded astro-turf organizations setup. Not doubting your 90% figure, or even claiming most of that 90% was astro-turf, but I’d bet a large part of it was astro-turf ‘working the media’ to create a band-wagon effect. The nyt itself is known to have an editorial stance. (I’m cynical, too, about how the process works.)

            1. flora

              adding: I can even imagine David Brock setting up a ‘Correct the Record on M4A’ astro-turf shop to, uh, “correct the record”. ;)

                1. Kurt Sperry

                  We can be pretty certain there isn’t and will never be an astro-turfing campaign *for* M4A, or higher marginal rates, or taxing capitol gains as income, or doing anti-trust again, or raising the SS cap, or (more or less anything good and right). So, any skewing of comments will always be in the direction of the astro-turf neoliberal TINA variety.

                  I think there are limits to how even the most corrupt, fixed, bought-off systems that claim to be serious democracies can tilt the table. They are, of course, very, very good at it, but at some point it simply becomes *too* overt.

                  1. Lambert Strether

                    > I think there are limits to how even the most corrupt, fixed, bought-off systems that claim to be serious democracies can tilt the table. They are, of course, very, very good at it, but at some point it simply becomes *too* overt.

                    We’re approaching that limit now, IMNHSO.

                    1. Harry

                      You can tell by the deaths from despair. By the Gillet Jaune. By the Brexiting and the occasional calls for Putin to stand in the Republican primaries. Ok so I made the last one up.

            2. Cal2

              How about Pacific Gas and Electric? Today’s New York Times article is revelatory.

              I hope this gets linked from N.C.

              Between the ten million spent on lobbyists and the expensive TV campaigns, usually showing a identitarian Chicana wearing a PG&E hardhat talking about what a great new company they are, this mass-murdering corporation is abusing the limits of even corporate parasitocracy.

              Willie Brown, Kamala’s mentor, is now a consultant for PG&E. The sickening perversion of politics for profits continues with the sound of human bones, not 100% calcined, crunching underfoot.

              1. Yves Smith

                Thanks for sending the link.

                We limit links to about 45 so as not to be overwhelming (they verge on that now) so it is inevitable that we can’t get to all stories that might be of interest.

                  1. Lambert Strether

                    We are at capacity now.

                    You can always contribute your own links in comments, as Cal2. Within reason, of course. (And often the Links section is crafted in some way to bring out common themes or topics, so derailing Links discussion by posting additional links too high up in the comments is not appreciated…)

              2. JCC

                I’m even getting a ton of these ads on youtube lately. Needless to say I hit the “skip this ad” button asap.

          2. Randy

            Sad and sorry to say this but it is going to take the 100 million voters that stay home for elections, getting informed and out voting for at least the next eight elections to fix our FUBAR country. It will take time to oust the neoliberal cult and its political enablers. Incumbents will be voted out and their replacements won’t get the message until it has been written on a stake and driven into the replacement’s replacements heads.

            Call me pessimistic but I believe that this is as likely to happen as governments getting together and working to solve global warming.

            1. Tangled up in Texas

              What’s the point? Until we have paper ballots counted in public, the system has no integrity. More people voting ln corrupt systems just gives more votes to hijack.

              I voted in the last election but really feel like it was an exercise in futility. I have zero confidence that my vote was tallied as I intended. Somehow I dont think I am alone in this belief.

        2. richard

          Their time…feels over now. It feels like it’s ending.
          Sorry, that’s not very policy specific. On M4all they have no counter arguments that are moving the poll numbers the other way. A rigid stand against (“m4all will never, ever happen”), hell, any stand against it is beginning to look extremist.
          I define “extremist” as insisting on a policy with little public support.
          But overall, their time feels like it’s ending as well. Are you noticing how fox (for instance) tries to attack bernie now? They really have no idea how to comprehensively approach it. They’re using everything in their toolbox from 40 years of pretend fighting with fake democrats: smugnorance, hysterical ad hominem and straw man attacks, lots of trigger words and guilt by association. They actually think venezuela is a counter argument to m4all, for instance. Or to dem socialism. I think we may be seeing, very publically, that the right is OUT OF IDEAS. They haven’t had to face a real opponent in years, and are sorely out of practice from the look of things.

        3. Jonathan Holland Becnel


          No matter how many packed City Council meetings, the District Reps always side with Big Business.

          Be it Big Oil or Big Israel, they always get their way.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Maduro cuts ties with Colombia as protests rock Venezuela”

    Saw on the major news network SBS (Seriously Biased S***?) tonight how three Venezuelan National Guardsmen came across the bridge and were treated as heroes by the waiting Colombians. What was not shown was how they did it. They grabbed two white armoured vehicles and drove them straight at the barricades while people tried to scatter, injuring several people. One was a young girl and may have been the Chilean photographer mentioned in reports. Here is a story about this incident-

    What really riled me was news how Bernie Sanders has supported this propaganda effort in a tweet saying: “The people of Venezuela are enduring a serious humanitarian crisis. The Maduro government must put the needs of its people first, allow humanitarian aid into the country, and refrain from violence against protesters.”
    People called him out on this tweet including Roger Waters, Abby Martin and Max Blumental but the best reply was by journalist Michael Tracey who wrote: “Imagine being Bernie Sanders and thinking Mike Pence, John Bolton, and Elliott Abrams are innocently committed to alleviating the humanitarian plight of the Venezuelan people, and that the “food and medicine” they’re sending has no ulterior motive. Have you lost your mind???”

    1. Brindle

      One of the better articles I have read recently on Venezuela:

      “If you crush this government and you bring in a neoliberal government that is going to privatise everything and is going to sell out, a lot of transitional corporations stand to gain enormous profits and the United States is driven by the transnational corporations,” the former UN special rapporteur told The Independent.

      1. Judith

        Here is a link to a letter to The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres
        and to the High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet

        from Alfred de Zayas, 23 February 2019

        in which he says:

        “Now the government of Venezuela has formally asked the United Nations for humanitarian assistance in connection with the current crisis. We must not let them down.

        I think that the US should turn over all the humanitarian assistance and medical supplies it has flown into Colombia and have them distributed as soon as possible with the help of the United Nations and other neutral organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross.

        Another item of information that is sorely missing from the mainstream media is the delivery last week of 933 tons of food and medicines at port La Guaira — coming from China, Cuba, India, Turkey etc.

        Moreover an additional 300 tons of medicines and medical supplies provided by Russia arrived by air.”

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          The UN should get the blue helmets on the ground in Venezuela right away, then we can be treated to the next new alignment: a hot war between the US and the UN. Red meat for Trump’s base! And I wonder which side Bernie would be on

    2. TomT

      Bernie’s tweet was incredibly disappointing. If he doesn’t want to lead the way on a moral and reality-based foreign policy it should have been simple enough simply to shut up and not parrot these offensive propaganda points. Instead he failed to reach even that low bar, and did harm.

      1. Charles Leseau

        I figure Bernie’s move here is probably related to the Bernie = socialism = Venezuela bit, but I agree it’s disappointing.

      2. Carolinian

        But it does place him squarely in the Dem R2P orbit. Counterpunch had a reprint talking about Bernie’s rise in Vermont as part of the anti Vietnam movement versus his support for Clinton’s Iraq sanctions and Serbia bombing the 1990s. These certainly unwelcome tweets don’t seem to be a mere tactic.

        1. Morgan Everett

          He may have decided that sucking up to the R2P crowd is the cost of having a chance at the presidency. That or he’s actually sincere. Neither is a good option. It’s not like he hasn’t gotten at least one foot onboard the RussiaRussiaRussia train as well.

          1. Harry

            Given the video of him drinking vodka topless in the banya I can see why he would want to position himself as tough on Russia, tough on the causes of Russia.

          1. Carolinian

            “responsibility to protect.” The ostensible genesis was the Rwanda genocide after which the Clinton team and later said they had a duty to intervene overseas–perhaps by only pretending genocide was in the works (see Libya).

      3. Chris Cosmos

        I think it’s a mistake to regard Sanders as some kind of idealistic hero–such a hero cannot thrive in Washington. As he famously told Chris Hedges, he doesn’t want to end up like Ralph Nader. Washington is THE Imperial Court and you don’t F with the muscle and expect to survive besides the US military, regardless of its consistent and epic failures is increasing, over time, in popularity which is now at 74% (according to Gallup in 2018). So you can’t possibly win and criticize US foreign policy which is essentially military policy since the only diplomacy practiced nowadays by the FP establishment (of both parties) is intimidation and threats.

        If you want some a reasonably decent (by current standards) POTUS Sanders is about as good as it can get–I may be wrong but the only anti-war candidate is Tulsi Gabbard.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Yes, let’s not ask for any *idealism* from our candidates, let them stick to the *realistic* business of killing people and the planet through Permanent War.

          Headline 1990: “The Vietnam War has entered its fourth decade as anti-war leaders decided it was more realistic just to go along with Pentagon and U.S. policy because The Imperial Court is too powerful to oppose”.

          And I wouldn’t conflate “support for the troops” with “support for the policy”. People would probably say they liked doctors and nurses but that doesn’t mean they support America’s “pay more to die younger” health care policies.

          1. Chris Cosmos

            Whatever. I like the idealists in the race and I think socialism and various programs are now possible thanks to Sanders. But moving away from war is just a non-starter–it simply isn’t allowed in mainstream politics. Until political heavies move away from it you genuflect to Israel and the American Empire or don’t get power. I oppose, obviously, the Empire but I don’t see much hope for anti-war sentiments until someone like Tulsi can break through. The ball’s in her court and I’m cheering her on.

          1. Carey

            I sent him $27 on announcement day, but he’s saying so many things
            that I can’t agree with now. Will be watching from the sidelines for
            awhile, I think.

          2. Oh

            I have hope for Bernie but if he keeps this up he won’t get a red cent from me. Tulsi, at least has principles.

            I still haven’t figured out why he’s running as a DimRat.

        1. Skip Intro

          Is this the new ‘I was once a Bernie supporter’ trope? I bet the donations have the DNC social media team freaking out a bit.

      4. Skip Intro

        Bernie has since clarified his position in a live interview, saying clearly that there should be no military intervention, criticizing the history of deadly intervention by the US in Latin America, stating that the new guy is not the legitimate president, and that the people of Venezuela should determine who their president is. To pay lip service to the Regime Change Propaganda Tsunami, he conceded that there were ‘questions about the election’, and that there should be ‘free and fair’ elections.
        To focus on his domestic agenda, he has to keep a low profile on opposing the entire military disinfotainment complex. It would be a real gift for the oligarchs if they could use their own coup machine to also wedge support away from Sanders. I think I’ll donate again to counter those claiming to stop donating based on some phrase they find insufficiently anti-imperialist.

        Also, here’s John Pilger, author of Confessions of an Economic Hitman, on Venezuela:

        John Pilger: The War on Venezuela Is Built on Lies
        Should the CIA stooge Guaido and his white supremacists grab power, it will be the 68th overthrow of a sovereign government by the United States, most of them democracies

            1. The Rev Kev

              Notice that Bernie is constantly hammering a “free and fair Election” so that is carrying water for Trump, Pence, and Bolton that by implying that the election was corrupt. Sorry but that is the truth. If you do not think so, imagine Bernie’s words coming out of the mouth of Marco Rubio to see what I mean. Or even out of the mouth of Trump.
              Former US President Jimmy Carter claimed Venezuela’s electoral system is “the best in the world” after monitoring the election before the last one. Considering that Trump is in power even though he scored several millions less votes than his opponent I do not think that he is one to talk about illegitimate leaders. More on Jimmy Carter and what he had to say about Venezuela’s elections at-


              1. Skip intro

                Parse it as you will, Trump and Bolton have moved beyond election concerns to directly anointing their own bastard. They aren’t calling for elections any more, they are preparing for a (proxy) invasion. Bernie has to walk the tight rope. Implying the elections weren’t fair in a very indirect way while insisting on self-determination for the people of Venezuela is much better than the position of the neocon machine, but echoes their phrases, so they can’t attack him with his own statements as easily. I think he is crossing the abyss on a tightrope, and he hasn’t slipped here.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  If you are talking about a proxy invasion, then I guess that you are talking about Colombian armed forces. A Bay of Pigs rabble would not get far without US air cover whereas a regular military might. Only thing is, Colombia shares a border with Venezuela while the US does not. There would be nothing from stopping Venezuelan armed forces striking across the border into Colombia which their President must be aware of. No happy endings there.

        1. cripes

          Confessions of an Economic Hitman is written by John Perkins.

          Pretty sure John Pilger was never a hitman.

      5. Randy

        Bernie has to talk like that or he will end up like Robert Kennedy.

        After he wins he can say more but he will probably wind up like John F Kennedy if he does.

        1. pretzelattack

          tulsi gabbard is still alive, no? ilhan omar has not been assassinated. this just takes me back to numerous “obama has to say this” or “obama has to do that”, not to mention “just wait till the real obama is unleashed!”

    3. integer

      Here’s Sanders’ statement from 1/24:

      “The Maduro government in Venezuela has been waging a violent crackdown on Venezuelan civil society, violated the constitution by dissolving the National Assembly and was re-elected last year in an election that many observers said was fraudulent. Further, the economy is a disaster and millions are migrating.

      “The United States should support the rule of law, fair elections and self-determination for the Venezuelan people. We must condemn the use of violence against unarmed protesters and the suppression of dissent. However, we must learn the lessons of the past and not be in the business of regime change or supporting coups – as we have in Chile, Guatemala, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic. The United States has a long history of inappropriately intervening in Latin American countries; we must not go down that road again.”

      Although he failed to mention the part about regime change, his latest tweet is consistent with the above. TBH I’m somewhat surprised to see such an intense backlash over the tweet in question. Sanders isn’t perfect on foreign policy, but he does have a track record of keeping his word, and if he were to become president and eschew interventionism, that would be a huge improvement IMO.

      1. Skip Intro

        The ‘intense backlash’ is part of the effort to wedge support away from Bernie. I assume it is mostly disingenuous.

        1. integer

          I have no doubt that’s a big part of it, but people like Abby Martin, Roger Waters, Max Blumenthal, and Michael Tracey, all of whom have a significant, legitimate, and well-deserved following on the left, either played a role in precipitating the backlash or are piling on (I’m not sure of the exact chain of events). I don’t think they are being disingenuous. Their frustration obviously comes from a good place, and both Martin and Blumenthal have recently reported from Venezuela so understand the situation better than most, but in this case I’m not sure their hyper-vigilance over a single tweet is entirely warranted.

          1. cuibono

            perfect is the enemy of the good?
            Look, i realize it is a lot to ask that folks have SOME degree of trust for ANY politician.
            But Sanders is NOT Obama.

  4. timbers

    Trump administration begins effort to strip work permits for immigrant spouses San Fran Chronicle

    I remember reading about this when Obama passed it. I work at Johnson&Johnson. There are a lot of Indians working at my office who clearly are not U.S. citizens (judging by there accents) and are foreign workers. If everyone one of them brought their “spouse” over to the U.S. (real or fake marriage to gain access to a green card then divorced after green card obtained) it would about double the amount of jobs taken away from U.S. workers.

    State Street and other financial institutions been doing this a wrap speed, getting rib of tens of thousands of American workers and replacing them with foreign Indians.

    Both J&J and State Street have a “credo” and hold meetings employees discussing it. It is a statement of the values the corporation expects it’s employees to live by. One line reads “we will be a good corporate citizens in the community in which we live and work” (paraphrased). I’ve asked several times this question (not at meetings I like most working there are contract workers and am not allowed to attend the meeting as they are for J&J direct hires only):

    “How is J&J being a good corporate citizen in the community in which it lives and work when you replace Americans who actually live in the community with foreign labor on the the side of the planet?”

    One colleague said “Yah and if you say that you might be called a racist…I’m not touching that.”

    1. Off The Street

      On the other hand, there are now more curry restaurants and wider selections in grocery stores nearby.

      H1-B really means Had one (job), bye. to so many.

      If you know middle-aged guys in IT, chances are they were laid off after training their replacements. Those new hires had essential skills that involved working for less, not working better. Ask around about anyone attempting access to what has become so-called tech support.

      1. Wukchumni

        All of my life until say 5 years ago, when backpacking in the Sierra, it was pretty much a lily-white gig. Perhaps i’ve seen a total of 10 Blacks & Mexican-Americans, as in nothing. I always hoped for more diversity, but it never came…

        And then (mostly from the Bay Area) I met my first Indian-American backpackers, and have seen approx 100 since. They’re taking over the backcountry too!

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


            Didnt Randy solve the Time Travel crisis by convincing the town males to turn gay and have an orgy?

            1. richard

              Randy Marsh is one of my favorite pop culture cartoon characters. It’s nice to have a bellowing boob character who’s more of the white collar fuzzy-brained liberal type. The default tradition for such characters is to make them “working class”, and like most default traditions, it merits exploring at the very least.
              Of course, Randy takes fuzzy-brained to a whole new level:)

        1. Lee

          I think you should use this opportunity to offer your services as a guide. During summer, Yellowstone is more diverse than the U.N. general assembly. I once had a plan to either work for or operate my own guide service there. But then god laughed and life happened.

          We look before and after,
          And pine for what is not:
          Our sincerest laughter
          With some pain is fraught;
          Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.


          1. Wukchumni

            I’ve backpacked with a core group of friends forever, and we’re like old merry couplets in that we can anticipate each other so well and are so easily in tune with one another, which is a blessing being with known knowns, whom i’d rather hang my hammock with.

            My nephews seem keen, and i’m going to focus on them in planting the hook of the High Sierra firmly in their minds as it did mine.

        2. ambrit

          Let’s hope that you don’t have any ‘Gurkha Lurkhas’ out there. They are very hard to spot, and they originally come from high altitude rough country environs, so should fit right in.

            1. ambrit

              True. High altitude promotes production of plant ‘sunscreen.’
              I don’t know about Barry, but imagine the wonderful world we could have had if Bill had inhaled.

        3. Oh

          Do they bring their own curry? :)
          Seriously, I wouldn’t turn my anger at them. It’s the Silly Cone Corps which are chasing cheaper labor and they should feel our wrath.

    2. Ford Prefect

      You can’t judge citizenship based on accents. I think you would be surprised at the lack of definitive correlation.

      If incomprehensible accents (to a listener from other areas) mean that people are not citizens, that would likely mean many people from Boston, NYC, Maine, and parts of Appalachia are not citizens. Try suggesting that to them.

        1. timbers

          Oh not, it absolutely is a rational basis to judge if the are U.S. citizens, amongst several other points I didn’t mention.

          BTW all the other accents you mention are American accents and America locations so, you may have mis-fired your point IMO.

          And accent is not the only reason to judge if they are U.S. citizens. Walking into a tech room where the entire staff is Indian is another amongst other points to judge by. Their uniformity of dress vs Americans. The known fact Indians are brought into this country to replace Americans. Talking to ex co-workers who share they were told they would train Indian brought here to replace them, and their job would end. Going on job interviews and being told by the person interviewing you what I just mentioned about Indians replacing Americans.

      1. timbers

        Well, yes, it absolutely is a rational basis to judge if the are U.S. citizens, amongst several other points I didn’t mention.

        BTW all the other accents you mention are American accents and America locations so, you may have mis-fired your point IMO.

        And accent is not the only reason to judge if they are U.S. citizens. Walking into a tech room where the entire staff is Indian is another amongst other points to judge by. Their uniformity of dress vs Americans. The known fact Indians are brought into this country to replace Americans. Talking to ex co-workers who share they were told they would train Indian brought here to replace them, and their job would end. Going on job interviews and being told by the person interviewing you what I just mentioned about Indians replacing Americans.

    3. Big Tap

      timbers: Unfortunately the J&J Credo today is just a public relations document to entice new employees to work for them and get good mention in business magazines. At one time the company did follow it but no more.

  5. Another Scott

    The real gamble about holding votes on progressive initiatives isn’t for Democrats, but rather is for actual progressives. Anything that passes the House will be DOA in the senate, even if it gets a vote. By holding votes on it, Harris and Booker and Gillibrand get to cast votes in favor of it, just like Bernie. They can then campaign as progressive, and play up identity politics, knowing that if elected president, they’ll do everything they can to stop the legislation. True progressive will be unable to distinguish themselves from the imposters, ensuring that if Democrats ever come back to power it will be as a corporatist party.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      Of course, what else can you expect? Power is power. There is no substantial counter-force to corporate power still–we have to wait for the culture to shift and perhaps it will in the next couple of years.

      1. Eureka Springs

        The culture “shifted” long ago. This hammering of a feckless Progressive with false pretense square peg into a round hole will never work. It’s the doggedly anti-democratic, anti-representative system which is the problem. All who pretend it can work – this time, are part of the problem. The vast plurality will not vote for good reasons and you know many who do vote are fed up as well.

        1. Chris Cosmos

          It shifted into a narcissistic/nihilist sort of culture–but I’m seeing a shift towards seeking meaning, spirituality, and connection with others emerging out of the ruins. Our culture is just not much fun, Netflix notwithstanding–I’ve had enough entertainment–I want to have more parties!

  6. timbers


    Venezuela – No More Than 20,000 People Came To Branson’s Concert Stunt Moon of Alabama (chuck l)

    I walk my dog with a man retired from Raytheon. Our dogs are of similar puppy ages (my Labrador Retriever his Irish Setter) and they tire each other out playing with one another and greeting other dogs and causing general chaos and mischief), so we seek each other out at a State Park we take them to.

    He’s a Trump voter. I asked him if he’d read about the $21 billion the Pentagon lost and can’t account for and asked him where he think it went. He didn’t even have to think about it and said:

    “I’ll tell you where I think it went, it went to all those nations we overthrew that we didn’t like, probably thru the CIA.”

    He has many stories of the corporate culture that existed at Raytheon of seemingly unlimited funding for anything.

    1. johnnygl

      Ask him about all those TOW anti-tank missiles that the syrian rebels got their hands on through the cia’s timber-sycamore program. I’d be curious if he’s got any thoughts…

      Assad’s boys lost a lot of tanks because of those.

    2. Wukchumni

      I know of someone who was on the rungs of the Raytheon corporate ladder, and the retirement package isn’t stingy, it’s big bickies.

      Udderly Krupp’d

    3. integer

      the $21 billion the Pentagon lost and can’t account for

      $21 billion is lunch money for the Pentagon. The cited figure is $21 trillion, though there’s a lot of controversy over it’s accuracy, or lack thereof. Something about unsupported adjustments and an extrapolation from $6.5 trillion. IDK, but it does seem pretty high, even for the Pentagon.

      1. Procopius

        It isn’t so much “lost” as unidentifiable. It’s a “what is this entry and where did it come from,” and the answer is, “Well the debits and credits didn’t add up and closing was coming up so it’s just a number to make the two columns add up and when the rush is over we’ll figure out why they didn’t add up and fix the entry,” to which the reply is, “When the rush is over? This entry was made five years ago.” “Yeah, well …” or maybe “What are all these entries for $750,000?” “Well, we don’t know. We think they’re payments on some contract, but the voucher didn’t say.” or “What’s this debit for $500 million?” “Well, that’s from the appropriation for XXXXX, which was left over at the end of the fiscal year, and was supposed to be returned to the Treasury, but if we did that they’d cut our budget so we transferred it to this five year account.” “But that’s illegal!” “Yeah, well …”

        You know what’s really fun? reading the reports from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). He knows where the money goes, but nobody is accountable.

    4. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Ask him if he ever worked with the ATNAVICS- Air Traffic Navigation And Integrated Coordination System.

      They used to send reps out into Afghanistan when we needed help.

      All that Army training and we still need help. They limit teaching us about military equipment at AIT to feed the MIC.

  7. David

    For those following the gilets jaunes saga the Euronews story gives the basic facts about yesterday’s protests. Numbers were up again and the spirit behind the protests shows no signs of slackening. The protests were almost entirely peaceful.But numbers don’t mean a great deal at this point because this is not the traditional mass politics of the street but something very different, which one of the police trades unions aptly described as « guerilla warfare ». If there were 50,000 demonstrators marching along traditional routes every Saturday then the authorities could cope for a long period of time. But the GJ don’t think in those traditional terms because they have mostly never been in the world of student and trades union protests. They are thinking assymetrically. By announcing a protest in Clermont-Ferrand in the centre of France, they forced the authorities to effectively close the city down. All shops public buildings and even parks were closed, and anything that could be used as a weapon, including rubbish bins and even park benches was taken away. The cost of this was given as 300,00 €, to which you have to add the disruption and loss of business. In the event there was virtually no trouble, but the authorities can’t take chances because next time a few hundred casseurs might turn up and devastate everything. So just by announcing an event the GJ can close down an entire city. Likewise there were about 1200 GJ at Chambord, but nearly as many gendarmes, because the consequences of something happening to the Chateau are unthinkable. Again there was no violence but that’s not the point. The police unions in Bordeaux, one of the centres of GJ protests have said that they don’t think they can cope much longer and have demanded a change of policy, but it’s not clear what that would be.
    Meanwhile we are seeing more attempts by people who don’t understand the problem to recast it as one they are familiar with. French elites are doing all they can to avoid talking about the real issues. At one extreme it’s all about the « brown peril » from the Right. So the insults against a jewish intellectual last Saturday sparked a wave of condemnation, leading to anti-antisemitism rallies addressed by Ministers’ , calls for new laws and saturation coverage in the media. But this week there was nothing. At the other end of the spectrum there are fantasies of heroic demonstrators battling official repression to overthrow the state. But this week there was almost no violence. We can see professional Left-liberal figures trying to take over the interpretation of the issue to define it just as state violence. Shaking their copy of Liberation over an espresso they can say « I don’t agree with the GJ but I think we should start a petition against police over-reaction. » But the GJ don’t t want to be taken over like this. They distrust political parties and trades unions, they despise the media and they have never heard of the media intellectuals who dominate the understanding of political problems. So the elites have no idea what to do.

    1. Off The Street

      Casseurs long for the days of casse-croûte*.

      * Light meal, snack, often for workers

      When food insecurity joins petrol insecurity, no wonder the GJ message resonates with so many.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that report David. Very much appreciated. Also gave me a good laugh as to how the police are trying to chase after possible GJ protests in a wack-a-mole competition. I see what you mean about the Chambord Chateau. They seem to be hitting the French establishment hard – right in the hip pocket nerve. I can add a bt more about those insults against a jewish intellectual. His name is Alain Finkielkraut and what he apparently said that triggered the insults was what he said before that Palestinian children in Gaza “who have no place in that world” are the result of an “unbridled production of surplus men”. People there started to call him a Zionist B****** and a racist. If this was the way that it went down, I am smelling a set-up. There is a page about this at the Saker which has a video clip where he says this at-

      Found a video of him being insulted and led away but my French is far too rusty to translate it-

      1. David

        Yes it was Finkielkraut – I mentioned this in a post last week and I didn’t want to repeat myself too much. There’s some debate about what was actually said, and much tedious discussion about whether « zionist » is an antisemitic slur. I don’t think this is a set-up but I do think that the establishment grabbed the opportunity when it was presented to them.

      2. GramSci

        Great, hopeful quote from the Saker link:

        Here again, it is just a matter of time: the “intermediate classes”, fearful by nature, always switch to the side of those who win, especially when they have already won their sympathy.

    3. integer

      On the topic of the GJs and (accusations of) antisemitism, I found the following article quite interesting, although perhaps “article” is the wrong word. It’s a translation of a Le Parisien interview with Frances Kalifat, president of the CRIF (Representative Council of Jewish Organisations of France):

      France’s Jewish Elites Demand Yellow Vest Protests Be Shut Down Russia Insider

      Is [antisemitism] stirred up by the Gilets Jaunes?

      Frances Kalifat: The movement has radicalised and been infiltrated by conspiratorial movements, the far right, the far left, Islamo-leftists and Salafists. It gives them the opportunity to come and express their hatred of Jews, Israel, during these demonstrations on Saturday.

      What should be done?

      Frances Kalifat: Drastic measures must be taken to bring these demonstrations to an end, which are no longer used to make claims about purchasing power but instead express hatred of institutions, the Republic and Jews.

      Kalifat also says that he expects France to adopt the controversial IHRA definition of antisemitism, enforce the prohibition of boycotts, and regulate social media. I can’t see any of this going down well with the GJs.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Russia Insider has really gone off the rails the past few months with articles like this. This whole anti-semitism thing is just another handy tool for those in power. You see it trying to be used in France but without much purchase though Netanyahu weighed in saying that French jews need to emigrate to Israel now. The same tool is being used against Corbyn in the UK to try to stop him taking power and is also being used in the US to bring in laws in direct contravention of the US Constitution to shut down those who favour the BDS movement. It is such a handy too as all you need is some idiot shouting something in public to be amplified in social media to justify all sorts of laws that essentially shut down free-speech and tar-brush people that you do not agree with such as the GJs.

        1. integer

          I think most who have been paying attention would agree that accusations of antisemitism have been weaponized, and are being used by the elite to curb political dissent, especially that which presents a threat to the liberal international order’s agenda. I haven’t been reading Russia Insider much lately (I think I came across the linked article via a comment at another site), so not sure what you mean by “gone off the rails the past few months”. WRT the article in question though, it’s simply a translation of an interview published in a French newspaper.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Don’t get me wrong. Russia Insider can be a great source of information but I find this whole business of the ‘Jewish question’ that they have had articles about lately a bit of an obsession. I suppose that all such questions are touchy. People seem to have had no problem with that 2004 film “A Day Without a Mexican” ( but could you imagine a film being made called “A Day Without A Jew” and done they way they did with that film? Actually such a film like that was already done – back in 1924 in Austria of all places. In today’s climate, you are more likely to have a major film being made about the 1920 Wall Street bombing. Some topics are off limits to those in power.

            1. integer

              FWIW Russia Insider’s series on “the Jewish question” has been running since the website’s inception. RI cross-posts a lot of articles from Unz review, Mondoweiss (IIRC), and sometimes the Saker and Consortium News, so I usually just look those sites.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Same here integer. That is why I said that it is a great source of information and I stop by once or twice a day to check out their articles.

    4. Lee

      They distrust political parties and trades unions, they despise the media and they have never heard of the media intellectuals who dominate the understanding of political problems. So the elites have no idea what to do.

      One of these “media intellectuals”, Bernard-Henri Lévy, is making the rounds on TV of late pushing his new book. I haven’t read the old ones but based on a review of one of those by Garrison Keillor in the NYT, he cannot hold a candle to Sartre, Camus, or de Beuvoir, and would appear to be a sort French equivalent of Thomas Friedman (sans mustache). In the two recent interviews, BHL, gushes enthusiastically but incoherently about the wonderfulness of the U.S. and deplores its current policy of less than robust global interventionism. Also, populists of both the left and the right are all fascist.

      The book review by Keillor is a gem.

      On the Road Avec M. Lévy

      1. integer

        I saw one of those BHL interviews. He was being interviewed by Hari Sreenivasan. It really was a disgrace; along with what you’ve already mentioned, he talked about how elites represent the highest ideals of intellectualism and beauty, and how populists seek to destroy those things. As we sometimes say down here in Oz: What a total wanker.

      2. David

        Yes, BHL has been active against the GJ, which is quite a good indicator. If you orient your life and beliefs by the opposite of what BHL thinks you won’t go far wrong. It.s a constant source of amazement to most people that someone can be sobstupid and yet so influential.

        1. Colonel Smithers

          Thank you and well said, David.

          It helps that BHL is wealthy, even if the family firm had to be saved by the Bollore family from his incompetence, and married to a not unattractive actress.

          I will be in Paris in mid-March and catching up with a LREM, ex UMP, councillor, also of Mauritian origin.

    5. Judith

      The asymmetry and lack of hierarchy may help the GJ from being co-opted and ultimately weakened, but really this is just the beginning.

      I was thinking this morning that if John Berger were still alive he would have interesting things to say about the GJ.

      Thanks for your reports.

    6. Zagonostra

      Thanks for GJ news, m$m is doing a good job blacking out almost any coverage.. Really like to see local supper in the U. S., OWS is dormant and needs a yellow Jacky sting…

      1. Carey

        I wore mine again this morning (Central Cal Coast). It’s not registering much so far, but it’s a long game.

    7. ChristopherJ

      Thanks for your reports, David.

      Good people all over the world are wishing the gjs get something momentous out of their efforts.

    8. gordon

      I wonder whether and how the gilets jaunes in France resemble the “Occupy” movement in the US and other places.

      1. David

        I have resisted making comparisons because I’m not a USian and I’m not sure I know enough about OWS to say something sensible. But I think there are two fundamental differences. The first equates to the difference between conventional and guerilla warfare. The first tries to occupy ground whilst the other tries to deny ground to the authorities. As its name suggests OWS tried to do the first, drawing on a long tradition of student occupation of universities etc. The GJ are doing the second. In addition the GJ are completely bottom-up and there are no figures like David Graeber involved. There is no real ideology’ and disputes are mainly over tactics. Likewise the GJ don’t really correspond to either Left or Right in the traditional sense.

        1. Ignacio

          One difference is the trigger (the financial crisis, housing prices vs. consumer costs taxes), second the objective of the movement, (banks, financial authorities…vs. authorities in general).
          Coincidence: angry with neolib policies.

        2. gordon

          Thanks. I have to wonder whether the gilets jaunes will go the way of Occupy and other popular anti-establishment movements with no links into the power structure. On the other hand, look what happened to the Greens in Germany. It’s a puzzle.

  8. jfleni

    RE: Self-Driving Cars Might Kill Auto Insurance as We Know It.

    Be effing gone: all the rest of us will be on elegant public transit!

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      For a free concert, and you’ll notice organizers claim 200,000. This is a stark difference.

  9. notabanker

    David Wallace-Wells on ITV news. Everyone on the planet should watch this.

    In regards to China:
    – I believe DWW greatly diminished the western neolib consumerism methodology that drives industrialization of China and Indonesia
    – I am exponentially more confident in China’s ability to implement policy changes than western neolib culture. They have become the global leader in solar energy by an enormous factor, as just one example.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      This quote from the interview is pure gold:

      “Complacency is a much bigger problem than fatalism”.

      So whether you’re fighting The War or The Warming don’t give up, and keep thinking of ways to get complacent people off the couch by giving them hope that we can win.

    2. ChristopherJ

      Thank you notabanker, different person but saying same things as Guy McPherson – that abrupt climate change is upon us and neither us nor the other living things on this planet will be able to adapt quickly enough.

      And you are right, this meme that we have years, decades to fix things is not right. Climate change is happening, and not for the better, in real time with half of the emissions, yes half, emitted in the last 25 years.

      I don’t give myself and lovey two years

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Koch Network Pushes Deceitful Textbook on Cash-Strapped Schools”

    That’s not textbook – that’s a manifest. If you have a generation of kids learning from textbooks like this, you will be raising a generation of dumba**es. Maybe that is the point of such textbooks – to have a generations raised in neoliberal beliefs so that they are incapable of defending their own interests. But if someone wants a good laugh, I see that you can pick up a copy of this textbook “Ethics, Economy, and Entrepreneurship” for $31 in paperback at Amazon.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      Fortunately, young people are pretty cynical about what they “learn.” The go along to get along but I don’t think textbooks are going to make much difference to the smartest among them. We are moving towards a hyper-cynical society where no one believes anyone–I see that as both tragic, sick, and hopeful at the same time.

      1. Cancyn

        I would dearly love to meet cynical and/or sceptical young people. I work at a community college in Canada and I would describe most of our students as going through the motions, completely uninterested in what they are learning and just doing what is necessary to get the piece of paper that is supposed to give them a better chance at decent employment. I suppose you could could call the latter very practical, do what you need to do and move on. I certainly wouldn’t argue that my college is offering rich and wonderful learning opportunities to all, so part of me admires that approach. Our administrators are more worried about funding via increasing bums in seats, preferably international bums because they pay more, than in education. I am yet another person in higher ed counting the days to retirement and looking forward to finding something useful to do with my time when I retire. Anyone else see the irony in a librarian in a community college feeling that her work is not useful to anyone??

        1. Mike Mc

          I work at the computer help center at a large land grant university in the Midwest. Our student workers are smart as whips and for the most part fine young people. Hearing their tales of navigating college classes, funding (scholarships/loans/grants/jobs) and their families while studying the hard sciences, computer and electrical engineering makes me glad that like you, retirement looms… however navigating the Medicare/Social Security maze makes me feel like an undergrad again. (I call it “reverse puberty”.)

          I’m cautiously optimistic b/c they are so smart while still caring about society and each other. The world their grandparents and parents have left them will require all that and more.

    2. Off The Street

      But we were just told that CNN is now indoctrinating impressionable youth through some nefarious school programming to supplement their ubiquitous airport, bar and other programming.
      Which is it, Koch or CNN, what is to become of this clash of titans or titanics? Who else gets a say? Oh, wait.

    3. Pookah Harvey

      Here’s what the Republican Party of Texas (aka Koch Brothers) wrote into its 2012 platform as part of the section on education:

      Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

  11. jfleni

    RE: How US experts helped China build a DNA surveillance state.

    Monkey SEE Monkey Do!

    Why is no body blaming the Idiot Yuppies
    and their idiot enablers?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The haute/petit bourgeois, the professional class, moderate suburban republicans, limousine liberals…the yuppies aren’t new. The yuppies represent the increasing wealth inequality in the 1980’s and even a new aristocracy reinforced by bizarre lending standards. Then there is “keeping up with the Joneses” types.

      Outrageous student debt and a dearth of sufficient jobs to outdo that debt is preventing another yuppie generation from coming up, wealthier young people have to be really wealthy which is creating a public disconnect. The old middle class model is breaking if not outright broken. The bourgeois class as it is is seemingly more removed from the average American than ever before.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Obama is our first Yuppie President, maybe a bit young. It’s largely why he was so terrible.

        1. Swamp Yankee

          I very much agree with this comment, NotTimGeithner (though would the Clintons not count as Yuppies? Certainly the professional class credentials were there….)

          . I’m part of a cohort of the older Millennials. I remember the original yuppies from the 1980s, though from a child’s point of view, typically as people that my ’68er parents loathed (and vice versa). These types have changed, and are rarer the younger you go down the generational line from me. Most of the bourgeois yuppies I know of my generation are actually, very much as you say, the offspring of the rich — not the obscenely rich, but the rich. The Super-rich remain as they have. I had the option, as Scholarship Kid, to join these yuppie-rich (didn’t take it — too much Tom Friedman required), but I was pretty rare compared to most of my peers from where I grew up. Most are worse off than their parents were; or, if prospering, were already on top of the social pyramid.

          The Gen Zers I teach are even worse off, and live in a state of day to day, hour to hour terror that they are going to be shot at the movies or in school or that their sibling is going to OD. The scale of mental health problems, anxiety and depression especially, among those in their late teens & early 20s is off the scale, beyond epidemic. They are also much less assertive and questioning, frankly more terrorized, at the total risk of generalization*; a wise old Professor once told me that generations raised in peace & prosperity are more willing to question and take risks than those born into chaos and strife. Makes intuitive sense to me, and jibes with my experience.

          In other words, we are much more like France in the 1780s than even the America, itself pretty bad, of the 1980s. It’s a pre-revolutionary situation for sure.

          *I agree with Lambert that generational identitarianism is bunk; so view this more as a series of tentative and impressionistic sociological observations rather than any ontological claims about “BOOMERS” or “GEN X” or “MILLENNIALS”, etc.

          1. Wukchumni

            I see parallels with both the French Revolution, and post WW1 Germany-defeated on the field of battle elsewhere-largely untouched at home, or maybe a melange d’etat?

            1. ambrit

              I’ll quibble with the idea that Germany post WW1 was untouched. One of the primary weapons of the Allies then was a pretty complete blockade of German overseas commerce. If I remember my history correctly, there were severe shortages of many ‘essentials’ in Germany by 1918. The armies in the field were still intact and formidable. The country behind them fell apart.
              In keeping with the ‘melange’ analogy, there was later a hyperinflation in Germany. To which the High Priest(ess) Class responded: “The Specie must flow.”

              1. Yves Smith

                Yes, he needs to read The Economic Consequences of the Peace. Germany was stripped of important economic holdings, like all interests in foreign companies, as well as subject to punitive reparations.

                1. Wukchumni

                  A third of our adult citizenry not being able to scare up $400, tells me the country has been stripped apart to a frightening extent (you’re teetering on being homeless…) and I think another factor is the idea of how invincible we’ve built ourselves up to be militarily, well at least planted in the popular psyche as such.

                  When at some point we can’t continue fighting costly faraway battles that aren’t worth the dodgy financing is when the propagandists will have to switch gears, and fast.

                  In the period a few years after WW1, murders became much more common in Germany, and even though our national military may be cut down to size, our individual armories not so much.

                  1. ambrit

                    True about the psychological ‘costs’ of the defeat. But Germany then also had to deal with millions of returning soldiers who had been traumatized by their experiences at the front. England suffered a similar crisis. The “Lost Generation” was not only about those who never returned from the fighting, but also a lot about those who did return, “not quite all there.”
                    Domestically, we are already internalizing the “Battlefield Earth” phenomenon.
                    What I don’t see here yet is some analogue to the Spartacist Movement that took over in Bavaria for two years just after the War. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough.
                    While the Hamptons are not a defensible position, the Sierras are. Be strong, and be safe.

                  2. JBird4049

                    When at some point we can’t continue fighting costly faraway battles that aren’t worth the dodgy financing is when the propagandists will have to switch gears, and fast.

                    Part of the German economic disaster was self inflicted. While the German Empire financed the war effort, the various social programs, including those for the veterans, was financed by the individual states that comprised, and still do, Germany.

                    Just as the United States has more options for financing compared to the various states, so too with Germany. The various states had expanded and financed the various programs not only with taxes, but also government bonds. After the war, the states defaulted on the bonds and the national government did not pick up the debts or the programs. This left many, many Germans destitute, hungry, and without work, or retirement savings, and broke.

                    Making things worse was that one of the reasons Germany stopped fighting was the expectation that their would be a negotiated and fair, if unequal, peace treaty. The country had lost after all and there were going to be consequences.

                    The Germany government sent in a full party of experienced negotiators and staff expecting to actually negotiate; the party’s leaders were sat down in front of a roomful of Allied diplomats and officials to sign the treaty now and to accept full blame for the entire war. The British and French kept up the blockade even during the “negotiations” and its aftermath to encourage obedience.

                    The bitterness resulting from the needless famine, the stripping of its assets including its manufacturing, the years of inspections looking often what didn’t exist, like hidden stocks of food, and having the entire war placed on them was huge.

                    And just like with the Great Depression, the people living in the country often did better than those living in the cities. Often it was family and friends in the country feeding their own in the cities as well as enterprising farmers coming in and selling at overinflated prices in the city.

                    There was no need for the suffering. Germany had surrendered, its military was gone, with its ability to resist nonexistent. So an enraged, bitter, suffering population unable to fight back right then, but with a long memory.

                    Adding to folly, was the Germany government that actually surrendered was not the government that lost. The conservative government including the Kaiser had basically resigned, or just left, once the war was lost with the succeeding, more liberal, government taking the blame for the treaty and the country’s suffering. This helped the conservatives, and Germany, to avoid responsibility and enabling them to blame the liberals for the mess.

                    So as General Ferdinand Foch said, “This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty years.”

                    1. The Rev Kev

                      That economic blockade on Germany hit a lot harder than people realize. I was reading a book by the English author Jerome. K. Jerome (author of “Three Men in a Boat”) who, with his friends, had visited Germany several times years before the war. In this book he would mention that this person had starved to death in the blocked and a nice old women they knew well had also starved to death in the blockade as well. It was brutal. I read recently that this tactic was repeated with the German POWs after WW2 as well and people were shot trying to throw food to the POWs.

                    2. Jessica

                      The Treaty of Versailles was stupidly punitive. However, to see what the Germans would have done had the tables been reversed, it is worth looking at the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk that the Germans imposed on Russia during the interval when Russia had already collapsed and had had two Revolutions but Germany was still standing. It is very similar to Versailles, both in its punitive nature and in the refusal to engage in any negotiation.

                    3. eg


                      Which is to say that the elites of the Empires on all sides were unworthy of their positions both in war and in peace.

            2. richard

              The postwar reparations the allies insisted on were actually pretty harsh; iirc, they even included physical equipment patriated out of the country, not just financial.

          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            I’m not sure the Clintons constituted stylish. HRC had an element which I feel was more linked to women developing a white collar work uniform, but Bill and Hill’s celebrity was linked to employment positions. I at least thought yuppies were linked to the Reagan era and the celebration of Wall Street. The Clintons public life predate the Era.

            I know Bill played the Saxamaphone, but he never struck me as chasing celebrity and style. He picked it up in middle school.

          3. Jonathan Holland Becnel


            My 22 y/o cousin is terrified of literally everything. She has depression anxiety takes anti depressants and smokes hella weed with me.

            Cant even tell her to relax without her getting mad at me. Plus im an older male so im ‘mansplaing’ to her. The neolibs had their claws in her brain and slowly im pulling out each one whether its identifying Identity Politics or Chinese Reeducation Camps.

      2. polecat

        That’s how the Worlocks roll, er, rule ….

        … while we all laugh, smiling, without a care in the world … until the klaxons sound.

  12. Earl Erland

    Just saw Kamala Harris voice support for reparations because “America has a history of 200 years of slavery.” I’m beginning to think she is more GW Bush than she is HC.

    1. JohnnyGL

      That’s really funny. It’s almost like she’s an impressionist that’s got a routine of impersonating a ‘lefty’ of some sort, but she’s being pressed to get more detailed and she just doesn’t have that much material or depth of knowledge in how to act ‘lefty’ and she’s making mistakes as she gets away from the practiced routine.

      The gaffes are adding up quickly. The larger problem for team dem elites is that the shape of the party over the last couple of decades has left them with little presence in big chunks of country, and simultaneously, with massive, wealthy strongholds in the coastal enclaves where the party can pick who it wants most of the time. The candidates that emerge from these strongholds are very good at navigating and consolidating the party apparatus around themselves (look how quickly CA dems have united around Harris), but they’re not battle-tested campaigners with broad appeal.

      With social media keeping the microscope on her, these gaffes are likely to keep adding up and being amplified by her opponents in the activist sphere. I think it’s going to be very hard to ‘manufacture consent’ around her with the broader voting base for the dem primaries.

      2020 is going to be fun…lots of people trying to grab the steering wheel, no one with a clear ability to do so.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        For a long time, I always wondered why California has never produced a national Democrat but two GOP Presidents, seemingly loathsome ones too. Cali should be a microcosm of the country. A statewide candidate there won’t be astonished by nuts in New Hampshire or agricultural subsidy discussions in Iowa. The answer is its too safe. Team Blue simply doesn’t produce candidates who have to fight for popular votes coming up. A New York Democrat lost to a New York Republican in 2016. These people simply aren’t tested and allowed through too often. Obama came out of Illinois, and polled well against Jack Ryan, before Ryan’s fall.

        Sanders by not being a Democrat has faced an established system. Vermont might be more sympathetic to an left indy type, but it was still a fight for popular support. Sanders doesn’t pretend to rap with Killer Mike. He doesn’t need to.

        1. barefoot charley

          California’s statewide Democratic machine makes Chicago look like Smallville. Courageous independence? Your name is Gavin Newsom. Identitarian wallowing is what passes for leadership in cities filled with immigrant identitarians come to flourish. Smothering bureaucracies make sure that good ideas are ground down to consensual mush, which will then get illegally edited by controlling interests after the mush is finalized. A huge state with a huge government apparatus (and a population approaching Spain’s) has huge rewards for conformity, and surprisingly few punishments for phony progressivism in the time-tested San Francisco model. If they’re extruded from that machinery, you know what they’re made of.

          1. June Goodwin

            You got it!

            Barbara Lee in the East Bay made a big mistake by endorsing Kamala Harris instead of Bernie. That’s because of “black solidarity”. But it lines Lee up with the state corporate party machine.

            Bernie’s team needs to — quick — make contact with Jovanka Beckles and the Richmond Progressive Alliance, with Maria Estrada in Assembly District 63, maybe with Kimbeley Ellis, black woman running for the chair of the state Dem party, Jane Kim in San Francisco. And others.

            Real progressives are out and about in California. They need to be contacted by Nina Turner, Ro Khanna and Faiz Shakir.

            1. Oh

              Kamala is about as Black as Obama; she has an Caribbean born father and an Indian mother. Obam ahad a Kenyan daddy and a white mother. Where does Black come in? Hello, earth to Barbara Lee. Anybody home?

        2. JBird4049

          California is not as Blue as some might think. As the national Republican Party went bananas, the California Republicans became less attractive and the Democrats got the political refugees. Mostly the very, very conservative, radical, or the ultra conservatives are running the party with even just a strong conservative not being conservative enough. The process also has occurred in the Democratic Party with growing neoliberal agenda replacing the previous leftist policies and Identity politics being used as cover.

          There is no where for anyone merely conservative or truly left. The Republicans have gone full crazy and no longer can check any unwise policies or legislation of the Democratic legislators. This allows the Identity police to flourish and the corruption inside the ruling party to grow. It is a statewide political machine. The fervent true believers determines who wins the primaries which continues the increasing radicalism and dysfunction. In both parties.

          Strange thing is that California is at least ⅓ strongly conservative with the majority along the eastern and northern fringe and ⅓ actual leftist especially in the large cities along the coast. Those ⅔ have more in common with each other than they do with the ⅓ running all the different governments in California. That ⅔ might still not agree on much, but getting rid of these corrupt corporate run governments running things especially for the wealthy, the Tech Lords, and Water Barons would be.

          It’s depressing. I barely remember when we had two functioning parties running functional state and municipal governments.

  13. tegnost

    Lime scooters…this cracks me up
    The company claims that fewer than 0.0045% of all rides worldwide have been affected, adding that “any injury is one too many.” An initial fix reduced the number of incidents, it said, and a final update underway on all scooters will soon be complete.
    only .0045%? Wow…but further down of course “any injury is too many”, especially, I would imagine, a PR injury. Oh there’s more
    While most scooter-related injuries stem from traffic accidents or improper use by riders, there have also been reports of malfunctioning machines causing injuries, like the Skip scooter that flung Quartz reporter Mike Murphy onto the pavement in San Francisco late last year.
    Where’s the miniscule percentage now? It’s always your fault, and if it looks like our fault it’s a glitch…and this…
    “[I]n very rare cases—usually riding downhill at top speed while hitting a pothole or other obstacle—excessive brake force on the front wheel can occur, resulting in a scooter stopping unexpectedly.”
    At top speed the scooter will randomly slam on the brakes, and not just the brakes, the front brakes. These are the people planning to run the self driving car services, and they are getting the populace ready to have their software issues our fault. They will admit no liability.
    By the way…
    1 death per 100 million miles driven. I doubt there’s been 100 million miles driven on rented scooters in total, and I could give you a list of deaths and serious injuries. At least wear a helmet, that pretty brunette in the picture won’t look very pretty with a smashed in face and a brain injury…

    1. BlueMoose

      I will never get on such a scooter or even in an AI driven car. I’ve been in SW Development for over 30 years. I love playing some of the new games. Marvelous, amazing stuff. And then while I’m wandering around the landscape of these games, I see legs sticking out of walls and characters halfway embedded in the floor.

      Not a big deal in a game.

      1. Roger Boyd

        I have the same background, and totally agree! The real world will always throw up problems that have not been anticipated by the developers, nor found in any form of testing (including in simulated real world conditions). The problem set is infinite, so it is not possible to produce bug-free software, only good-enough software.

        My same thoughts for all this computerization and AI for the battlefield, in the “fog of war” enemy jamming, and latent bug triggering, simpler may very well equal much better.

  14. MikeRW0

    I have been pondering for some time, given the education in MMT that NC has helped me gain combined with with decades both in industry, on Wall Street and as a management consultant, how to bridge what we want our “economic society” to be from where it is.

    The ills, née evils, of neoliberalism are well rehearsed here. An article in today’s NY Times by Eduardo Porter I think puts the pieces in place.

    The answer is to redo the tax code away from favoring capital over labor to the other way around. As an executive I know in many ways that labor is a pain. Robots seem to do what we tell them to, they don’t get sick, talk back, have bad days, get stuck in traffic, etc. But people learn, accumulate experience, solve problems, create productivity. We almost need to remind managers how to manage, and get away from the tyranny of numbers in spreadsheets.

    Yes, a return to using our citizens as agents of the economy will require a push back against all facets of the state; including our elites who benefit from our current structures and the Fed that enables all this by ensuring there is no labor wage increases (I.e., a rising standard of middle class standards of living). But isn’t this preferable to a crisis and societal upheaval.

    The answer is there. Will a policitcian articulate it and build the coalition necessary?

    1. flora

      Great comment.
      one small quibble: I’d rewrite the phrase
      require a push back against all facets of the state to
      ‘require a push back against neoliberal control of all facets of the state’.

    2. Chris Cosmos

      Ultimately, whether we want to face it or not (and any big-picture area of our lives is studiously and enthusiastically avoided by our culture) AI/robotics will capture a lot of jobs in the next couple of decades and since, at least in the USA, the citizenry is increasingly dispirited and more or less stupid, it’s hard to see any area outside wait-staff and prostitution where there is a long-term trend for increased employment. That’s why I favor along with Andrew Yang a UBI which will be a direct stimulus for new sorts of jobs rather than the sh*t and bullsh*t jobs most of us have to work in. It will change the culture. AI/robotics offers us a chance to lead must more interesting, creative, and convivial lives than we live now–so don’t tax AI develop it. The one thing that would change the balance of power in addition to UBI would be restructuring corporations as NOT people.

  15. Wukchumni

    Southwest Airlines mechanics are worried the planes are falling apart Salon
    I’m so old that the biggest concern in flying Southwest, was whether the cabin crew on the flight was going to be funny and leave you in stitches, not that the condition of the jets was a joking matter.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I think I am beginning to understand why Captain Shults and First Officer Ellisor have been so quiet. In the weeks after they successfully landed flight 1380 after its left engine blew out, they were lauded as heroes and got quite a bit of attention. Lately, radio silence.

      Has the airline told them to stay away from the media, lest they slip up and tell the truth?

    2. Cal2

      No mention of these planes being maintained in Mexico, or depending on the airline, China.

      No translations of FAA manuals, airworthiness notices and alerts translated into Spanish, Quechua, Nahuatl, Cantonese, Fujian or Mandarin.
      I *suppose*they can read English in these race to the bottom labor pits.

      President Trump, put your donors money where your mouth is: How about no U.S. airline can use American airspace unless the planes are maintained in the U.S. to U.S. standards?

      1. polecat

        I just knew those air-stream yetis that like to fiddle with engine cowlings mid-flight were feriners … !!

      2. rowlf

        Be careful what you wish for. Having directed aircraft troubleshooting and repair with technical staff around the world I have found a lot of aircraft technicians outside of the United States read and follow the documentation and manuals better than USians do. Also, where as a US technician will be playing with their smart phone while waiting to be told what part to replace the foreign technicians still have mechanical backgrounds and will take stuff apart to see what failed. The Pacific rim stations had a lot of old school Joe Patronis and reminded me of the high quality staff we had in the US in the mid 1980s before the airlines started hiring anyone with an A&P ticket that could pass the drug tests due to rapid expansion.

        Some airlines will order the Earl Scheib maintenance package for heavy check and others will have the same work performed as when they did the work in house (often better now due to better technical information provided). Some airlines will also maintain a quality control and engineering staff on site during the work to minimize the feedback loop when problems are found. Usually there is no savings in outsourcing the work (Cut corners and your reliability goes down. The chickens WILL come home to roost.) and it is now done this way due to lack of staff and facilities in the US to support the larger fleets. US airlines are also starting to have their own technician and pilot training programs to get personnel certified as the labor supply is no longer able to keep up.

  16. Chris Cosmos

    Not much freaks me out in this world either the public or private world. Birth, death, murder, mayhem, living in Washington DC, and all the rest of it doesn’t bother me that much. One thing really, really, really, freaks me–and that is the stunning degree of avoidance and denial by the American public, including the intellectual culture and, in particular, leftists (with some heroic and important exceptions) concerning climate change.

    Let me put it this way–even if we do everything we can to mitigate the coming disasters we are still, at minimum, going to see three degrees centigrade of higher temperatures and that’s not really counting the wide array of positive feedback loops waiting to send us to Venus. While all the issues discussed here are interesting and important all of them combined don’t equal even one one-hundredth of a threat to humanity that climate change poses. Even if the science was not just wrong but radically wrong the issue would still demand some attention in any risk-assessment analysis. Denialists deny everything–most of them believe that the whole scientific consensus is a giant fraud perpetrated by nerds who want to take over the world and get girls or whatever. All denialists seem to claim that there is virtually no chance the science is correct. Ok, I get it–science education in this country for the vast majority high-school graduates is poor at best and only slightly better in college. But the most troubling part is the inability of scientists and those few of us who recognize this threat as threat (as opposed to Russia, Russia, Russia) to make a case to either other educated people or the general public. I know for certain that if climate change data had been available in the 1950s that Americans would have responded very quickly to the threat because of the respect science had in those days.

    I’m an old fart at this point and I may not see the most dire parts of what may happen but I care about my children and grandchildren but even they seem just plain not interested in even looking at this matter or just shrugging their shoulders. Do any of you really care about this? Do you not trust the science which is beyond certain at this point? We are also experiencing the greatest species die-offs since the end of the dinosaurs. Doesn’t even that even register? If not why not? Don’t people understand that life is interrelated? Thriving ecosystems matter. The massive deaths of insects matters. The increasingly large dead zones in the ocean matter. The drastic reductions in glaciers matters.

    Much of this is discussed in this Chris Hedges interview with Dahr Jamail. I wonder if any one of you have thoughts on this. In my view dealing with this tangible threat can help shape, paradoxically, a new and more convivial world to live in because it requires close cooperation and unity in meeting this threat. In the 90s I used to read articles by neoconservatives, just then emerging, and in the PNAC manifesto they said that the US was faced with a major problem in meaning–either it came together to face a common purpose or our society would degenerate in what they called tribalism, hedonism and regionalism (as I recall). For the neocon that common purpose was War and conquest. I suggest a better purpose.

    1. JohnnyGL

      “Let me put it this way–even if we do everything we can to mitigate the coming disasters we are still, at minimum, going to see three degrees centigrade of higher temperatures ” — A lot depends on how much amplification there is with feedback effects from reduced albedo, forest fires, permafrost melt, etc. But, yeah, it doesn’t look good.

      Since we’re clearly NOT going to ‘do everything’, bad scenarios with 4 and 5 degree jumps enter the realm of possibility. That’s where stuff gets scary.

      One quibble….we’re going to become Venus :) Eventually, over thousands of years, rainforests will grow everywhere and pull the carbon back out of atmosphere. That process isn’t going to help civilization as we know it, of course….but it’ll happen. :) Humans will probably live. We’re pretty adaptable.

    2. BlueMoose

      I get your sense of frustration. IMHO though economic collapse is going to lead. Climate change will just be the icing on the cake. Eventually it will get to the point where the the locals will get a few pallets of bottled water, and then they will be on their own (kind of like Puerto Rico). I think Catton got it mostly right in that we are going down, but we could make it less painful/more dignified if we could just acknowledge the problems and avoid the initial skapegoating phase, which we are not doing a good job of so far.

      Would be glad to discuss more. Also lived in NoVa/DC area for over 10 years. Glad I am out!

      1. polecat

        Evolution will just have to continue as it has for eons, even while humans bottleneck.

        Nothing is static in this world.

          1. polecat

            The biosphere is not static either. It’s always in flux. The problem is that many humans like to think otherwise. To amend your last sentence : “Much of the ‘Human race’ won’t have that.”

            1. pretzelattack

              evolution takes time, though. as rapidly as things will be changing, i don’t know that there’s time to evolve adaptations–that’s why we’ve had what 5 great extinctions. there is no necessary reason why life will survive.

          2. Lambert Strether

            Evolution has been observed in real-real (historical) time. Unfortunately, that’s not personal time (except for beings that with very short life spans, like insects and more to the point, bacteria*, who might also have something to say about all this).

      2. Chris Cosmos

        Of course, another great subject people aren’t and won’t mention is that the very, very rich are making arrangements for underground estates, bomb shelters (nuclear war will probably eliminate global warming) and take part in the COG apparatus of underground cities that currently exist underneath mountains, and so on. We have with us an entire class of probably the most evil ruling elites to ever grace our fair planet who I believe would be quite happy to eliminate 99% of the global human population. I will grant you that there are many exceptions but as a class they certainly do a very fine imitation of pure evil almost something out of a comic book.

        1. Unna

          Underground Estates? The “ruling elites” are surely a basket of nitwits if they buy into this. Who has more power, the guys with the money when there’s not much to buy, or the guys with the guns when there’s not much to eat? Who is dependant on whom?

          In a Dark Age situation it’s from each according to his dependence to each according to his power. And in a real Dark Age, money (whatever that is) is not power. Plenty of abandoned pots of gold found from Dark Age Britain amidst the ruins of those country Roman villas. From luxury villa, to “little camp.” Wikipedia: “The word castle is derived from the Latin word castellum, which is a diminutive of the word castrum, meaning ‘fortified place'”. Or a private fortified residence.

          How long do you think heavily armed well trained professional thugs for hire would be willing to take orders from a certified dweeb like Elon Musk when he can’t buy them anything anymore? Plus can’t summon government provided armed contract enforcement services, ie, the police and the courts, to uphold his written contract agreements with them like not to kill him or sell his family into slavery?

          And these people purport to be an “elite”?

          1. Isotope_C14

            Glad to see a discussion RE: On Contact /w/ Chris Hedges.

            We can talk about nitwits, recycling, elites, and grandkids, but there is no point.

            We are completely “humped” ala Firefly. We’re kinda stuck where we are, the future of the earth is Venus. There is too much thawed bacteria already, and they are going to continually pump CO2 and CH4 into the air. We are done.

            Take care of the bucket list now. If someone happens to have a time machine, can they go back and prevent agriculture and domestication of animals? Big mistakes.

            For those that don’t have the climate-reanalyzer:


            t2anom – this is the new normal. No normal.

            This summer is going to be a furnace.

            1. Charles Leseau

              Love the comment. For the past two days I’ve been educating myself about the ramifications of animal domestication and agriculture after starting Asimov’s Chronology of the World a second time in an attempt to more or less memorize the most pertinent details of the whole human story. This period is the one dominating every other internet search and mental imagery of mine for the last few hours, knowing the forensics and date ranges must have changed since the book was written.

              The beginnings of civilization were never so clear until I started to do more than breeze through the book like I did the first time, and your comment is just so timely. anyway, thanks!

          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I love the idea of a tax dodging, planet-frying hyper billionaire hunkered down in a hole under 40 feet of concrete. Plenty of time to contemplate his moral failings as he opens that last can of refried beans and drinks his last sip of purified water. Revenge is a dish best served cold.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Will never get to that point. All a billionaire in his bunker full of his supplies is is a supply-dump with a has-been in attendance by definition. There will be plenty of ex-soldiers with much military equipment laying around in abandoned bases to use to crack that bunker with. And you can count on the locals to point out just where such bunkers are.

              1. Carey

                Helping our Few understand your point seems important.
                Allow ’em to feel just a tinge of the anxiety that we deal with daily.

              2. drumlin woodchuckles

                One hopes such ex-soldiers choose to find and kill every single underground bunkeroo, just on general principals.

    3. Roger Boyd

      One of the biggest misconceptions is the thought that we humans can just stop the climate at a given level, when the reality is that feedbacks will take over and push to higher levels. “Six Degrees” by Mark Lynas is still a great read on this subject. At some point Earth systems take over until they reach a new equilibrium, one which may not include human civilization.

      The other issue on the left is immigration. It is not racist to say that the levels of immigration in many countries are historically extremely high and that a period of mush less immigration may be required to allow for integration.

      A true Green New Deal (which includes significant conservation and costs over-weighted on the rich) together with much reduced immigration (which also makes sense from a climate change point of view) and some level of speculative capital controls (e.g. Tobin Tax) should be a landslide proposition. Of course, such a mix may never be allowed to see the light of day.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The SJW left will always accuse the supporters of Controlled Borders and Controlled Immigration of racism.

        There needs to be a crass and vulgar race-neutral argument against immigration to respond with. Perhaps a kinder and gentler restatement of the following: ” We got a good thing going here. We don’t need no more people to come here and muscle in on our racket, see?”

    4. Randy

      I agree with everything you say. We humans have more than one way to assure our destruction, AGW, killing off the oceans via over fishing and pollution, nuclear weapons, killing off the base of the food chain (insects), ruining the land with over intensive industrial farming, killing of pollinators with pesticides, plastics, etc, etc, etc.

      But we seem determined to finish the job we have started and I don’t doubt that we will.

    1. Michael

      Yes she does!
      Thanks for the share.
      Just watched it 2 nights ago
      Wonder if Gaga considered passing on it as a better version of her character was def possible.
      Now back to the Streisand version for kicks

      (Last night was The Wife with Glenn Close. Are today’s women happy with either?)

  17. Henry Moon Pie

    An interesting post on that discusses two fairly recent papers:

    1) “From Integrated Capitalism to Disintegrating Capitalism. Scenarios of a Third World War” by Gerhard Hanappi, a European academic and EU official

    Interesting excerpt–

    In his new paper, Hanappi concludes that global conditions bear unnerving parallels with trends before the outbreak of the first and second world wars.

    Key red flags that the world is on a slippery slope to a global war, he finds, include:

    – the inexorable growth of military spending;
    – democracies transitioning into increasingly authoritarian police states;
    – heightening geopolitical tensions between great powers;
    – the resurgence of populism across the left and right;
    – the breakdown and weakening of established global institutions that govern
    transnational capitalism;
    – and the relentless widening of global inequalities.

    2) “Inhabiting the Anthropocene back loop” by Stephanie Wakefield, an American academic (geography)

    Interesting excerpt–

    “Viewing the Anthropocene through the adaptive cycle lens, and in particular our threshold ‘now’ of scrambled grounds, discombobulated modes of knowing and being as a back loop, has a number of benefits,” suggests Wakefield. “Chief amongst these is the ability to see the Anthropocene not as a tragic End or world of ruins, but a scrambling where possibility is present and the future more open than typically imagined.”

    New world is on the way. Time to get ready [Youtube].

    1. Chris Cosmos

      I think the movement towards war is not quite as strong as Hanapi suggests. There is only one major country that is itching for war and, in my view, even contemplating nuclear war, and that is the regime in Washington. It is the source of almost all major international tension (excepting Kashmir only as far as I can see) that could lead to any serious conflict cold or hot. Washington, to continue to survive must have continual wars or it looses the favor of the American people who rank the military as, by far, the most beloved of US institutions for reasons that have moved from neurosis to psychosis. Sadly, many of its satellites in Europe seem to share this general belligerency but not from a need to have war but a fear of the hegemon. Once the unipolar world begins to unwind Europe will begin to peel away from Washington very gradually.

      As for the Anthropocene age we are living in–the “scrambling” (which I take to mean the rise of neo-feudalism) will certainly change things but there is also the possibility of temperatures rising more than 5C in the next few decades which is too rapid for plant and animal species to adapt and will result perhaps a 95% or more drop in human population since the technology just to say alive will only be available to a few.

  18. Howard Beale IV

    Single mother goes from traffic stop to bench warrant to jail over unpaid medical bill: ‘It just isn’t right’: Post-Tribune Now private debt has become public prosecution futures. How about some price transparency-when an ambulance rolled for me it was $500+ (with a corporate-paid health plan) – when it rolled for my mother on Medicare it was $100. And because I live in an area where over half of the practitioners are either out of network or won’t accept my employer-paid insurance I may be forced into Chapter 13.

    1. JBird4049

      And the debt collectors and servers sometimes don’t try very hard to give notice or a signature. There have examples of the server saying that they did, but didn’t, rather like those foreclosures with the fake documents.

  19. Joe Well

    From the Richard North/EU Referendum post linked above:

    A no-deal now looks to be the most likely outcome, and there is nobody on record offering any new fixes which would draw us back from the edge of the precipice.

    And that, more than anything, is the most worrying of developments. If we were a nation on the brink of war, we would expect our politicians and diplomats to be rushing around in some modern-day version of shuttle democracy, doing everything humanly possible to avoid an outbreak of hostilities.

    On a similar basis, one would expect all the relevant actors to be making every effort possible to ward off a no-deal Brexit, with the media following every development and reporting on every move.

    With Mrs May headed to the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh, however, there is no sense of urgency and not the slightest intimation that any new initiatives are afoot. It has already been made very clear that the event is a summit with Arab leaders, so there is absolutely no prospect of a Brexit breakthrough.

    The NC commentariat is not big into emojis or gifs, but a few emojis and gifs of horror, shock, and terror are the only response I can think of, and I have no ties to the UK or the EU.

  20. Wukchumni

    Ok, add permafrost to list of worry warts, in need of preparation hex…

    That’s it, giving the world 25 years to get it’s act in order, maybe 30 tops, or i’m so outta here.

  21. Synoia

    Study affirms Chinese spying risk through Huawei components

    This is true, but must be put in context:

    The institute concludes Huawei components include technical “backdoors” for maintenance that could also be used for spying.

    All vendors, including Cisco, have an administration access and their customers, control the passwords for the administrator, for configuration and maintenance.

    Q: Is is there a secret default password not known to the Carrier, Hauwei’s customer?
    A. No. Such secrets do not remain secret over many years. If the secret password existed, then Huawei would not sell another device, because hackers would be into their devices and cause havoc.

    Dose any reader actually believe that if such a default password and access existed, that the US intelligence system would not have both published it and used to to damage Huawei?

    And it affirms that Chinese law would compel Huawei to give intelligence services access to the data.

    Just as US law would so binds Cisco.

    1. Darthbobber

      Yes. The article (maybe the study itself bothers with more, but I doubt it), seems to notice only in the case of Huawei things that are obviously “risks” with the wares of any provider.

    2. ewmayer

      “Dose any reader actually believe that if such a default password and access existed, that the US intelligence system would not have both published it and used to to damage Huawei?”

      I can readily believe that – in the wake of the Snowden revelations it’s become clear that the Intel services, mainly NSA but also CIA, actively exploit 0-days which their experts discover, rather than publicize them, even to the affected manufacturer is based in the US (e.g. Microsoft, Cisco.) The way the spooks think is, “aha – we can use this newly-discovered exploit for our own purposes”, such as hijacking the gear in question to do their own spying, whether on USians domestically or by turning the tables on the likes of Huawei and using the latter’s backdoors for counter-surveillance.

  22. rd

    I think this is the best paragraph I have ever read on explaining neo-cons attempt at stabilizing the world.

    “In retrospect, Boot’s words are painful to read, like love letters from a marriage that ended in divorce. Iraq remains a smoldering mess. The Afghan war is still in progress close to 20 years in. For perspective, Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of France, crowned himself emperor, defeated four European coalitions against him, invaded Russia, lost, was defeated and exiled, returned, and was defeated and exiled a second time, all in less time than the United States has spent trying to turn Afghanistan into a stable country.”

    1. Chris Cosmos

      Let’s start to get clear about a few things. The US was and is not in the least bit interested in making Afghanistan or any other country it ravages into a stable country. The US gov’t seeks chaos, misery, and profits from war–to put it another way–the US wages war in order to use up armaments and weapons almost exclusively. No military could possibly as resoundingly stupid as the US military has proven to be since the end of the Korean War. How do American military officersdeal with that fact? The same way Americans deal with facts–denial and focus on the short term “mission” no matter how stupid and, of course, early retirement and a fat cat salary at a contracting firm or cable network.

  23. notabanker

    Just lost a tree that smashed into a storage shed in the yard. 65-75 mph gusts. Third high wind advisory in a month here. Winds are stronger than summer thunderstorms.
    Massive flooding and landslides in Mississippi, and Tenn.
    I 40 closed in NC again because of rockslides.
    Snow in Los Angeles.
    Snow in Tuscon Az for Spring Training.
    Dual low pressure winter storm hitting Pacific Northwest, again.

    We are so screwed.

    1. Wukchumni

      Lost a 10 inch wide trunk of a Live Oak, and they typically come in 4 or 5 trunk angled compartments, this 40 foot length snapped 10 feet up and narrowly missed landing squarely on top of a woodpile, how convenient.

      The trees here were already way stressed from the 5 year drought, and then you offer them n all-you-can-drink deal @ the bar, and they get tipsy.

    2. polecat

      But it’s these kind of events that made us what we are, evolutionarily speaking. As I said above .. nothing is static, and change abounds !

  24. John k

    Bellicose rumbles and tweets from dc prompt calls for restraint. Certainly we shouldn’t invade yet one more country…
    But things have gone steadily downhill for at least the last decade. Whether elected honestly or not, Maduro more autocratic by the day, legislature, also elected, ignored. Three million plus, probably mostly young, have left so far.,, what other country can say this?
    So,,, are things about to turn around? Peace and prosperity around the corner? Or anothe bankruptcy case where things got worse slowly, then all at once? And if that, will democracy rise from the chaos?

    1. Chris Cosmos

      The general strategy of the US is to bring down ANY government that is interested in the people. Any country which constantly faces threats from the USA both overtly and (in the main) covertly cannot be anything but either authoritarian or surrender to Washington. I think the FP establishment in Washington must succeed to conquer Venezuela in the most agreeable way possible (strictly from a PR standpoint). It’s like the current gov’t will fall within the next six months and probably earlier. After that, likely there will be guerilla war, police state and all the rest of it. Columbia lived with it for a long time I’m sure Venezuela will manage, the ruling class will thrive and the rest who knows.

      1. pretzelattack

        i read that an agreement with the imf prevented venezuela from refining its own oil. they’ve been screwed by the u.s. in so many ways.

        1. Synapsid


          Do you have a source?

          Venezuela does have its own refineries though they’re in awful shape.

          1. pretzelattack

            iirc i read it in william blum’s “america’s deadliest export, democracy” a library book i returned. it’s well worth reading if you can ahold of a copy.

            1. pretzelattack

              can’t find support for this , but i did find an enlightening article about the oil industry in venezuela; the state owned company seems to be a front for the old oil companies, and u.s. foreign policy interests.

              but i’ll keep looking. the state company does have refineries, mostly in the united states through citgo from what i’ve read in my initial search. i’m not sure why the refineries would be located in the u.s. rather than venezuela.

              1. juliania

                I am not well up on technology but do know that Venezuela’s vast oil fields are of a special nature which has meant the only refineries that can make the oil useable are elsewhere.

                Also, no, the legislature in question was not elected in the recent election because the opposition boycotted it, having been disabled by the country’s supreme court because three of the legislators committed acts which were deemed criminal but the legislature still allowed them to serve. Within the country, according to its constitution, the courts acted legally and Maduro even gave the censured legislators the opportunity to run in the recent election but they refused to do so. He has operated constitutionally, which is more than I can say for the government of the US.

                1. pretzelattack

                  i agree, the u.s. doesn’t have any legal justification at all. i dont think i commented on the legislature, though–the article i linked to was from 2003, well before the recent political problems, but linked to them–it’s more about the history over a few decades. it surprised me that the “nationalized” oil company was still cooperating/ colluding with the western oil companies against venezuela.
                  i still don’t see why refineries couldn’t be located in venezuela.

    1. barefoot charley

      Good listen, thanks! Like the interview with the climate-change ‘alarmist,’ it’s so good to see Brits still letting knowledgeable, articulate people talk. I realize it’s unAmerican.

      1. ambrit

        It has only become “un-American” over the last few neo-liberal decades in America.
        I can remember watching Gore Vidal and William F Buckley argue it out on network television while at the 1968 Democrat and Republican Party Conventions. There were a series of these debates, live on network television. My G-d. Giants strode the Earth back then. They really “got it on” at one point.
        There was a lively Left or Pseudo-Left back then. Today’s elites would be calling Eric Prince in to “do something” if they ever encountered it’s like today.
        One infamous exchange:

        1. Chris Cosmos

          Both in their own way were brilliant and erudite and had wit–a rare thing these days. I learned a lot from both.

          1. ambrit

            Me too. For both good and ill, I tried to emulate them. Imagine my shock and horror when I discovered that not only was I not as smart as they were, but that, even if I was so intellectually endowed, very few, if any would be inclined to listen to, much less argue with me.
            Someone, somewhere said that the opposite of love was indifference. That applies to relationships at all scales.

            1. Chris Cosmos

              I think we automatically avoid appearing too smart. I’m continually told to “tone it down” by my wife so now I can socialize within the confines of other person’s culture. This has been good for me because now I listen more and I like that–humility, as T.S. Eliot wrote “The only wisdom we can hope to acquire Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.” Sometimes young people like it when I start pulling a little erudition out but my contemporaries hate it.

              The reality that I’ve found that our historical moment, again, in the USA is post-rational and post-literate which is a deep tragedy for me but I don’t really regret the hours I spend reading in my youth.

              1. ambrit

                For me, it comes down to walking a fine line between the sheer ebullience of learning and the juvenile desire to be noticed.
                Phyllis will sometimes say to me; “Who are you trying to impress? We share the same bed, and that’s where you are going to stay.” It gets cruelly obvious how transparent I must be. Humility is necessary to having a peaceful life.
                Is there a category called ‘Post Cultural?’

  25. Lemmy Caution

    If you had any doubt about the end game the U.S. has in mind for Maduro in Venezuela, Marco Rubio, who has been commenting on events there over the last few days, tweeted a grotesque pair of before and after images 2 hours ago:
    Gaddifi looking happy and confident in his heyday and Gaddifi beaten and bloody just prior to being sodomized with a bayonet.


  26. ewmayer

    “Pentagon swear jar funds entire border wall after one week” — I love Duffel Blog. This piece perfectly captures the combination of bombast and details-cluelessness of POTUS:

    “This is great, really GREAT,” Trump tweeted after hearing of the Pentagon’s success. “Those guys in the funny clothes in the Rectangle Building have really come through for the WALL.”

    Just reading the various other-article headlines in the sidebar is good for a whole lotta followup laughs.

  27. Anonymous

    Is there a way to contribute monthly to Naked Capitalism via a credit card? I see the “Tip Jar,” but that looks like for one-time donations.

    1. Yves Smith

      Thanks so much for being willing to support the site!

      If you go to the Tip Jar and select “Subscribe,” you can donate monthly. It allows you to choose in increments of $5 for your amount.

  28. The Rev Kev

    Came across something that I read this morning – an article about what that so-called comedian Bill Maher said. He was saying stuff like “The flyover states have become the passed-over states,” the TV host claimed. “That’s why red-state voters are so pissed off. They don’t hate us. They want to be us. They want to go to the party.” With attitudes like this, is it any wonder that people find themselves pushed to support a Trump?

    1. ewmayer

      Guess Bill was taking a break from being an Islamophobic bigot in order to be a condescending Deplora-phobic twit. Variety is the spice, and all!

  29. Plenue

    >This new history of the Christian genocide during the Ottoman Empire sounds a dark warning for the future Independent Robert Fisk

    Fisk seems to be not subtly suggesting that the genocide permanently altered Turkish national character, and that we should expect more and even more extensive killing in the future.

    I don’t know about that, but the Turkish behavior in northern Syria in the last few years has left me with a very dim view of the country.

  30. Joe Well

    If you need a laugh, this from Harper’s.

    “The sustainability of our program rests on meeting precise benchmarks for operating costs. The Twist plan is a nonstarter.”

    Raising gruel portions has a populist appeal which seems to have electrified lower-income children. Yet conceding ground to this trend would be a mistake.

  31. Jon Cloke

    Yes, children – thawing of methane in permafrost + melting of trilliions of tons of methane anhydrates in the deep oceans spells your doom.

    Go look up the Great Dying and have yourselves sterilized…

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