Links 2/25/19

All the winners at Oscars 2019 as Green Book is named Best Picture

Stanley Donen, director who filmed Gene Kelly singing in the rain, dies at 94  WaPo. Take heart, this year’s Oscar losers:

For all its later acclaim, “Singin’ in the Rain” drew favorable but not ecstatic reviews when it was released. …

“We were ignored,” Mr. Donen told his biographer. “Not that it’s such a big to-do. The year of ‘Singin’ in the Rain,’ the best picture went to ‘The Greatest Show on Earth,’ one of the worst movies ever made.”

Giant Tortoise Feared Extinct Reappears After 113 Years Motherboard


The White Earth Band of Ojibwe Legally Recognized the Rights of Wild Rice. Here’s Why Yes Magazine (martha r)

Is Drilling and Fracking Waste on Your Sidewalk or in Your Pool? ProPublica

Half glitzy, half dowdy Times Literary Supplement. On comedy double acts.

Are we on the road to civilisation collapse? BBC

Could we soon be able to detect cancer in 10 minutes? Guardian

‘Stop Funding Climate Change!’: Jamie Dimon Interrupted for Important Planetary Message Common Dreams

Concrete: the most destructive material on Earth Guardian

New Cold War

How Politics Trump Intel in the US-Russia Nuke Treaty Pullout American Conservative. Scott Ritter.

Women at State Dept. fear incentive program contributes to gender pay gap The Hill

Nessel reversing 16 years of GOP ideology in Attorney General’s Office Detroit Free Press (marla r)


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Depicted as Superhero in New Comic Book Breitbart


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivers impassioned response to critics: ‘I’m the boss. How about that?’ Independent


The Political Playbook of a Bankrupt California Utility NYT (Cal2) Hoisted from comments.

Will 2020 Democrats Help Trump By Destroying Each Other? New York magazine. Ahem. I’m posting this to allow members of the commentariat to exercise critical thinking skills.

Kamala Harris dismisses concerns about Green New Deal price tag: ‘It’s not about a cost’ Fox News. Yet another opportunity  to deploy  those critical thinking skills.

As Ex-Enron CEO Exits Prison, Some of Company’s Old Businesses Thrive WSJ. Seems like a different world, although it was only a dozen years ago when CEOs were  prosecuted and sent to jail for their crimes.

Health Care

After Vox story, California lawmakers introduce plan to end surprise ER bills Vox


‘A dark and elaborate art’: How pharma executives are training to avoid disaster at Tuesday’s congressional grilling Stat

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Popular Apps Cease Sharing Data With Facebook WSJ

The snow patrol drones saving skiers from an icy death BBC

North Korea

Why North Korea won’t be the next Vietnam Asia Times


Donald Trump to delay extra tariffs on Chinese imports SCMP


Most People Trust ‘Neutral Media’, Says New Report on Fake News The Wire

Pulwama attack: Imran Khan urges Narendra Modi to ‘give peace a chance’, repeats promise of action

India toughens Kashmir crackdown; 5 dead in battle with militants, more detained Reuters


Jerri-Lynn here: I’ve deliberately gone light on Brexit links today, so as to steer interested readers to Yves’s post today – and thus concentrate the discussion there rather than here on the Links thread.

Big banks divided on defaults strategy after Brexit FT

BlackRock CEO unhappy with UK’s handling of Brexit — report Financial News

BMW and Daimler put aside rivalry to take on Google and Uber Handelsblatt

Class Warfare

Our Twisted DNA New York Review of Books

After Superstorm Sandy’s Rain, Cooperatives Sprang Up Like Mushrooms TruthOut (martha r)

‘Austerity, That’s What I Know’: The Making of a U.K. Millennial Socialist NYT

Helicopter parents: the real reason British teenagers are so unhappy The Conversation


As US withdraws troops from Syria, France and UK remain in the back seat France 24

Trump Transition

Lower refunds amplify calls to restore key tax deduction The Hill

Wary of Trump’s Approach, Governors Seek to Forge Own Trade Agreements

Cuba sees high turnout at polls for constitutional referendum Reuters


Psychopathic US Senator Openly Calls For Maduro To Suffer Gaddafi’s Fate Caitlin Johnstone

Warning ‘Every Option Is On the Table,’ Pompeo Stokes Fears of Military Force in Venezuela Common Dreams

Venezuela in crisis: All the latest updates Al Jazeera

Thomas Friedman Is Right: Pie Doesn’t Grow on Trees Rolling Stone. Matt Taibbi– latest in a long series, the first of which ran in New York Press aeons ago IIRC, on Friedman’s crimes against the English language. No need to have read any of those to enjoy the latest.

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. timotheus

    Yes, Taibbi’s New York Press takedown of Friedman was for the ages. Glad somebody plows through those mounds of pulp so that I don’t have to waste any hours of my life flipping through them.

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Although I’m not certain, I believe this may be the a copy of the original Taibbi takedown: Flathead. Please chime in readers if you have better information than I.

      Here’s another compendium. Although it’s not completely up to date, it’s more up to date than the title suggests – 2011- as it includes links through December 2016: The Definitive Collection of Thomas Friedman Takedowns

      1. ShamanicFallout

        Yes. I love his characterization of Friedman’s being the ‘perfect symbol our culture of emboldened stupidity’. So well summed up

      2. ChrisPacific

        Thomas Friedman and the German fondness for gigantic Franken-words are already two of my favorite things to mock. I love how Taibbi finds an opportunity to do both, in such a way that they complement each other.

  2. dearieme

    The collapse of civilisation piece would have been much better if he’d defined what he meant by our civilisation, and when – in his view – it started. Some obvious options are: the Renaissance, the Reformation, the rise of science (if you want a date for that, the foundation of the Royal Society would do), the Enlightenment, and the start of the Industrial Revolution – which you can date to somewhere about 1760-1800. You could also consider the age of exploration, starting with the Portuguese exploring the North Atlantic and the African coast, leading to the successes of Bartholomew Dias, Vasco da Gama, and Columbus.

    I’d opt for the one that made the greatest difference i.e. the Industrial Revolution – the most important event in history, according to some historians; the only important event in history, according to at least one.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Fully agree. Might not be a bad idea to invest in one of those Dutch ovens linked in today’s post while they still have the resources to manufacture them come to think of it.

          1. Copeland

            Not in Cascadia. Around here “Professional” cast iron cook-wear collectors (hoarders) regularly prowl the thrift stores, estates sales and garage sales and snap it up early in the morning and throughout the day. I suppose they then try to resell online for a lot more money…Ebay, etc.

    1. Wukchumni

      I would posit that the Internet Revolution will prove to be the greatest factor in the collapse of civilization, not that it couldn’t have got there without the Industrial Revolution.

      When previous civilizations went tilt it was never an all-in thing, nobody in Europe knew that the Mayans had collapsed, or the settlement in Greenland was being chased away by climate change, or the most important factor now-everything is interconnected, almost assuring that the wreck will be a pile-up for the ages.

      The most prudent thing one can do is to lay in a good supply of popcorn, and I suggest the Black Jewell brand, cooked on an open flame in a pot with olive oil, and add sea salt.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Here’s an interesting piece from Counterpunch that blames it on our genes. It’s more intriguing than it sounds initially:

      While many on the Left attribute humanity’s dire predicament to capitalism or the neoliberal order, I am convinced that evolutionary biology provides the most accurate explanation for our current predicament. This insight came to me after listening to a discussion involving Bret Weinstein, the noted theoretical evolutionary biologist. In this discussion, Dr. Weinstein proposed that the reason for humanity’s impasse is that we are up against what biologists call an Evolutionary Stable Strategy, or ESS…

      The human focus on short-term gain, the long-term be damned, this seemingly unbeatable strategy that I nickname the MESS (Malevolent Evolutionary Stable Strategy) is, in part, a fundamentally biological phenomenon. The basic biological component has a technical name: It is called senescence, but it is more commonly known as aging…

      The next component of the MESS is humanity’s unique technical and scientific prowess. Mankind has used technology and science to bypass the normal constraints imposed by nature. We have conquered numerous diseases, extended lifespans, produced abundant food, etc. However, this techno-prowess has acted as a force multiplier for senescence. We sit atop the world but our accomplishment is fleeting. This is evident in the heating of the planet, the loss of biological diversity, shrinking aquifers, depleted soil, and many other violations of planetary limits…

      The next logical question, having identified the source of our ills, is: What can clean up the MESS? Perhaps looking to nature for inspiration is the key, duplicating and scaling up a system of altruistic reciprocity found in other regions of the biosphere. Perhaps the unpalatable answer lies in the East, with China’s neo-Confucian and Orwellian social credit system. No matter the method, humanity must transform itself or suffer extinction.

      1. georgieboy

        Meanwhile, taking a different approach to rapid societal transformation, a certain young Democrat who aspires for higher office in Illinois has proposed this gem:

        Mr. La Shawn K. Ford, Illinois state representative from the west side of Chicago, has introduced the following bill to the Illinois legislature:

        Synopsis As Introduced
        Amends the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963. Provides that a peace officer shall not stop any person in a public place based upon an officer’s inference from the circumstances that the person is committing, is about to commit, or has committed an offense as defined in the Code.


        So if you see someone standing with their hands up in the air, while one or more persons rifles through their pockets, removing phones, wallets, other property? No stop allowed.

        Your observations as a police office would now be invalid according to La Shawn K. Ford’s House Bill 0186.

        1. pretzelattack

          he’s 47, and aspires to be mayor of chicago. i would have to know more about the background and context of the bill to understand the implications for police.

          1. Oregoncharles

            So the real subject is CHICAGO police – and since he lives there, perhaps he knows something about that.

            Certainly their public record would justify that law.

        2. a different chris

          >So if you see someone standing with their hands up in the air, while one or more persons rifles through their pockets, removing phones, wallets, other property? No stop allowed.

          I doubt that’s what it says. You are saying that if I, standing there with my hands in the air, say “hey officer come over here and arrest this punk” said officer won’t be allowed to do it.

          This type of warping of intentions is why the right wing gets so far. They don’t have to think, and they don’t make you think, until it’s too late. They like to say “a conservative is a liberal who got mugged”, but it’s equally or more true that “a liberal is a conservative that crossed paths with the police”.

        3. Oh

          If I see someone standing with their hands up in the air, while one or more persons rifles through their pockets, removing phones, wallets, other property, I know it’s probably the crooked cops.

        4. Andrew Thomas

          The synopsis is incorrect. If you read the actual text, it is very clear that, in the event the officer sees an actual crime in progress, he or she does exactly what is done now. The question of “surrounding circumstances “ only applies to police inferences from who the parties are. And, it only applies when no arrest is made. Sure, it’s a response to business as usual in Chicago. But it is aimed at stop and frisk harassment. If more clarity is needed, amendment can supply it. But the synopsis was, IMHO, a deliberate misstatement designed to create exactly the response it got.

          1. The Rev Kev

            That sort of law would also apply to those algorithms that Police have been buying – predictive policing I think that they call it – where they go to an area that has high crime on a computer prediction and shake down anybody in that area. Gee, who would ever think that someone would bring in a law based on that old idea ‘presumption of innocence’ again?

      2. Sanxi

        What? Nothing is explained at all, just vague important-like sounding terms used without definition in a fuax intellectual way. Also exceeding redundant terms. Sentences that don’t connect.

      3. Darthbobber

        Not really a genetic explanation, as it describes this as an adopted social preference.

        And even were it biological, human beings override biological programming all the time, as anybody who ever learned to head a soccer ball, for example, can attest.

        And in any case, what needs to be done still needs to be done, however the obstacles are conceptualized.

      4. Procopius

        I haven’t read the Counterpunch story yet, but back in the ’50s, at the beginning of SETA, there was a lot of discussion in sf fan circles about why we had not been contacted by an advanced species. The theory that most appealed to me, and which the Counterpunch story may support, was that any intelligent species must be evolved from a predator. Predators are aggressive and are necessarily very territorial. Therefore, whenever a species developed nuclear power it is inevitable they will destroy themselves. Now we see that it can be done even without a nuclear war.

    3. Chris Cosmos

      While it is always interesting to compare our era to others, our civilization is so unprecedented that the attempts to compare previous declines always end up being deeply flawed. The BBC piece is, at best, a very lite-weight version of history. It annoys me, for example, when people compare fist century Rome to our society in their talks about decadence. The Empire survived for centuries afterwards and would have survived further and, in the East, did survive for well over a thousand years.

      1. Summer

        The thought is that the Roman Republic was better for people than the Empire.

        Yeah, it chugged along…with psychotic “leaders” and all.

        1. JBird4049

          It wasn’t psychotic leaders that destroyed the Roman Republic. Oversimplifying here. It collapse into an empire because of the growing violence between different political factions with one being the old wealthy ruling Senatorial class and the other the reformist Populares.

          The conflict escalated over centuries with the wealthy ruling class gradually ignoring, or rigging the laws, to favor their acquisition of wealth despite the growing hollowing out of the lower classes especially of the small farmers who were the backbone of the Roman Republic and its army.

          Starting with the murders of the reformist Gracchi Brothers by the elites, there was an escalating level of violence and counter violence until the Proscriptions were imposed whenever a faction won. With entire families being murdered, exiled, or put into poverty, under the Proscriptions, politics stopped being political conflict and became open warfare. Losing an election meant dying and elections became armed conflict and then civil wars.

          There were attempts to stop the process as many saw were it would end badly for everyone. By the time Augustus became emperor people were so tired of war that they were just happy to see the wars end.

          A persistent problem throughout Roman history starting with the Gracchi Brothers was the persistent violence especially in matters of succession in the Roman Empire. Lawsuits, beatings, murder, and finally civil wars were often the tools used once it was no longer safe losing an election.

          1. Unna

            And this is why the political crisis of First Century BCE Rome is indeed so instructive for us today. It should be a subject of contemplation for every educated person. It should be taught in Middle School when children are still subject to education in moral and civic ideals. (So call me a Traditionalist.) Roman degeneracy was not just overweight rich guys being fed peeled grapes by physically attractive slave persons. There is also the quaint concept of Political Degeneracy.

            A better word for the idea perhaps is the German word for degeneracy which is “Entartung” which literally means deviation away from, in German, an “Art” or in English, deviation away from a “kind or type or norm.” So in the First Century BCE, Roman society, economy, and government practices had deviated away from the type or norms that had made the Roman Republic great. So “Entartung.”

            Oligarchy, extreme wealth inequality, and its political consequences, as explained above by JBird4049, destroyed the Roman Republic. These, Oligarchy an so on, in themselves, were forms of political degeneracy. So the Republic had become politically degenerate in its forms, and these degenerate forms of economy and government then served to shape the character of the Roman people, so that Gibbon could say that, truly, by the time of the Five Good Emperors, the Roman people had become incapable of “an ordered Liberty” and therefore no longer capable, or deserving, of self government.

    4. notabanker

      I was struck yesterday by a comment Yves made in the links regarding not overwhelming readers.

      There was a time when these large outrageous stories would develop over days and weeks with tidbits leaking out by various sources that had to dig hard for them. Insiders in the comments would often fill in key blanks, or point to where answers could be found.
      Now it seems that the outrageousness of the stories are pretty turnkey when they hit, and the volume of them is such that they need to be prioritized in order to keep some semblance of focus. Even the categorization of them becomes a source for debate.

      Thinking through this just reinforces my instincts that the path to collapse is accelerating and we are not far away. I also recall a conversation I had in the comments (it may have been in calculated risk) long ago during the fin crisis about the impacts of the bailout in which a number of commenters made a pretty convincing case that we were at least 10 years out from systemic failures driven by it. And well, here we are.

      1. jrs

        of course to most of the 99%, we’ve already lived through 10 years of systematic failures, and counting …

    5. Lee

      I’m still pondering Gandhi’s pronouncement on western civilization. Or, to put it as we did as kids on long car trips: Are we there yet?

  3. Otis B Driftwood

    Al Jezeera’s coverage of Venezuela is like the narrative being fed to us by US news outlets. One sided and specious. They must have missed Rubio’s infamous tweet fantasizing about Maduro suffering the same fate as Khadafi. A sitting US Senator is a demonstrable psychopath, and that isn’t news? That doesn’t color the motivations of the USA in this crisis or give anyone this side of Caitlin Johnstone reason to question what’s really going on there?

    1. Chris Cosmos

      Well, as I’ve followed Rubio’s career (from a safe distance) he comes off as a classic fascist in almost every way imaginable. As for questioning what is going on there–if people haven’t figured out that the mainstream media lies all the time every day in every way then the American Empire is safe in perpetuity marred only by the sheer incompetence and corruption of the National Security State.

      1. Olga

        I’ve thought of Rubio as a colour-by-numbers image: it is blank, until someone starts filling it in – by whatever is in vogue at the moment (or whoever pays the most). A classic opportunist…. but I doubt he is a fascist (as that would imply a certain level of determination and resolve, which I don’t think he has).

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          For awhile I resisted the theory that @MarcoRubio’s play-acting as a revolutionary leader – from a safe, coddled distance, of course – was his attempt to compensate for Trump’s humiliation of his “smallness.” His increasingly deranged, psychotic postings have made this viable.

          Rufio seems like a doofus who calls for violence but a doofus none the less. Rufio is what a very old, white conservative expects millenials to love. He’s not bright and has a flamboyant streak while being white for all intents and purposes (remember the Irish and Italians weren’t white once), speaking in moral terms without being overtly Christian. Rufio might even be auditioning for an early 2024 campaign or to be Trump’s running mate. Pence doesn’t bring much at this point. Trump needed Pence to bring the Khristians on board, but ticking off “liberals” is probably sufficient to gain their support.

          The other side is the neocons looking for new neocons especially with so many lost to the #resistance. Saint McCain is dead now. Why not Rufio? He has a sword.

          1. Janie

            To me, the “unleash Chiang” rhetoric recalls the Truman – MacArthur Korean War episode. You know, where Truman fired the hero of the Philippines for insubordination.

        2. JohnnyGL

          Yeah, he seems to be more of a sock puppet of oligarchs. Happy to advocate for whatever crazy scheme they’ve cooked up.

          The sad irony is that in the larger picture of geo-political game-playing, all this chest-thumping and boat-rocking to foment a coup is likely to turn Venezuela into a location for a base with either Russian or Chinese troops. Russian bombers already paid a visit recently, so it’s clear the parties are thinking of going down that route.

          Maduro and the rest of the PSUV elite around him are going to be pushed in a more authoritarian, militaristic direction just as a mere survival tactic.

          Up to this point, Russia and China have been weary of provoking the USA, but they may shift their approach toward one of deterrence, where they feel compelled to be more ambitious. They may see a need to project power and desire an ability to strike the US directly. Both countries’ military thinkers may want to be able to send long-range bombers to strike FL if things heat up over Taiwan or in Ukraine.

          This is the kind of lunacy that can result from the games being played, currently. The war hawks in Congress and the Administration either are too arrogant to consider the possibility, or just don’t care if a few American lives get lost in the wars to maintain imperial dominance. Probably both, I suppose.

        3. Pookah Harvey

          Rubio seems to think that what we did to Gaddafi, we should do to Maduro. “We came, we saw, he died,” Hillary joked when told of news reports of Gaddafi’s death. By extension Rubio then would like to see the same results of our Libyan occupation for the Venezuelans. I would hope this thought could dampen the cheering of the conservative Latin community for regime change..

          1. Lemmy Caution

            Yesterday Rubio followed up his gruesome Gaddifi tweet with another featuring Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu. It appears the photos were taken at the show trial where they were condemed to death before being summarily executed minutes later.

            As illuminating as Rubio’s tweets have been regrading his idea of success in Venezuela, it is also interesting that not a single Democrat (or Republican, for that matter) seems to have come forward to comment on Rubio’s shocking take on Venezuela.

            I guess the blob really isn’t even trying to pretend anymore. It’s Lord of the Flies time baby … rules, morals and law are for losers!

            1. johnnygl

              His photo gallery of scalps of opponents of US imperial rule is like a modern equivalent of the aztecs with their towers of skulls :)

              His twitter feed is a combo of bible quotes and propaganda trolling about venezuela.

          2. Procopius

            By extension Rubio then would like to see the same results of our Libyan occupation for the Venezuelans.

            Errrrr… we didn’t occupy Libya. Things might have been marginally less bad if we had, although I kind of doubt it.

      1. Pookah Harvey

        AOC seems to be following Bernie’s lead.

        Jan. 24 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement Thursday on the political situation in Venezuela:

        “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.”

        Bernie steps awfully close to calling Maduro a malevolent dictator. What if Bolton decides to join a “coalition of the willing” (Brazil, Columbia) in invading Venezuela to reestablish “democracy”. Bernie and AOC will have a hard time in trying to denounce it.

    2. Craig H.

      1. it appears Rubio has deleted the tweet. Maybe he just wanted everybody to know he has a twitter account. I definitely did not know that Marco Rubio had a twitter account.

      2. Abby Martin’s response was hilarious but it is not safe for work. Link.

      3. I also learned she has 240K followers. I thought that would be a larger number. She doesn’t work for CNN but she has her own television show.

      1. Lemmy Caution

        The Gaddifi tweet is still there. Twitter has thoughtfully hidden it behind a “This media may contain sensitive material” warning. Click on “Learn More” and the Gaddifi photos are right there.

        Guess Twitter can be selective when enforcing its own rules about encouraging violent behavior:

        We want Twitter to be a place where people feel safe to freely express themselves. Thus, we will not tolerate behavior that encourages or incites violence against a specific person or group of people. We also take action against content that glorifies acts of violence in a manner that may inspire others to replicate those violent acts and cause real offline danger, or where people were targeted because of their potential membership in a protected category.

        1. Eureka Springs

          David Swanson’s response to Rubio cracked me up.

          David Swanson
          ‏ @davidcnswanson
          22h22 hours ago

          David Swanson Retweeted WikiLeaks

          Hey Twitter, One of your users is threatening torture, murder, war, and devastation.

    3. ewmayer

      Much as I enjoy the extent to which Trump’s “little Marco” appellation – Trump really is a genius at this sort of personality-summing-up zinger, give the man credit – seems to have unerringly burrowed under the skin of its target, I’d like to suggest another nickname for Marco, based on the Spanish meaning of his last name: “Blondie”. Think Eli Wallach in The Good, The Bad, The Ugly. :)

  4. notabanker

    Re: the cooperative sprang up like mushroom’s story, thank you for that link.

    This is not the easiest of reads, but it is an important story.

    Climate change disaster relief is only available to areas deemed economically recoverable. For the rest, the relief comes in the form of essentially gentrification. Public monies are used as incentives for private sector which are ignoring the resource of the actual people being impacted (whose incentive to work is high and numbers are growing). Instead they are re-developing land use to compete for higher profit demographics (whose numbers are falling).

    The wealth inequality is so pronounced that it has driven a political system that discriminates against “workers” , in this case cooperatives, to the extent it forces them out in favor of people that already have more money.

    I mean, can you not grow the Friedman pie (sorry, had to) by developing coop’s and raising the economic strength of people who are highly motivated to rebuild and recover? To me , this is the perfect example of how federal fiat spending can allocate resources better than the private sector to create private economic growth that was not there before.

    If I was a progressive candidate, my campaign slogan would be “the system is rigged against you”. It is everywhere, in all forms and touches every single facet of modern life. Everyone gets this, it is universal and inescapable.

    1. Pookah Harvey

      Corbyn’s Labour Party platform includes a “Right to Own” plank for cooperatives:

      “The productivity benefits are clear, with worker-owned companies typically being more productive than those that are more traditionally owned,” Corbyn stated about the initiative.

      “Labour will look to create a ‘Right to Own’, giving workers facing a change of ownership or closure of a firm the first refusal in putting together a worker-owned alternative.”

      The left-winger said regional development banks will be tasked with providing the finance to make employee ownership and co-operative ownership a “reality across our economy”.

      Prof. Richard Wolff describes this as the new socialism. They now are concentrating on the microeconomics of the workplace. The drive for the new school of socialism is to make the workplace a democracy. Its hard to say you live in a democracy if you have to live 8 hours everyday under capitalistic authoritarianism.
      For more info check out Wolff’s Economic Update series on youtube and his Democracy at Work website.

        1. tegnost

          hmmm… long tail and short wings makes me think woodland and not water, but it looks like a kingfisher beak…resisting the urge to cheat :)

      1. icancho

        It’s a female Paradise Flycatcher. Probably the Indian P-F, Terpsiphone paradisi, given the location of the source, ‘samthebirder’— though it is very similar to the Chinese species.

      1. tegnost

        It seems that samthebirder is a primary source, if you click the (via) above the picture it provides citation, I think it’d be fun to have it be more of a guessing game because people could start to suss out what the various species/family identifiers are, but I don’t see how you could do it without infringing on the source…

        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          I recently discovered samthebirder, who features great photos. I too like readers to try and ID the bird, without clicking through to the answer. For me, much of the fun of birding in the wild comes from identifying the bird.

          Once in a while I post one of my own photos – and with those, I don’t provide an ID, leaving readers free to try and figure out what the bird is.

  5. Roger Smith

    Will 2020 Democrats Help Trump By Destroying Each Other? New York magazine.

    Will the sky fall on Tuesday, ushering in a new era of rampant death and food shortage? If make a bold, unfounded, poorly formed, partisan statement, but frame it as a question, can I get people to believe it?

    Honestly, I think Trump has it the worst. He he no foils to play off. It is just him, his Obama style failure to the people he made all those promises too during the election, and an empty room. No Rubio or Bush to beat up on to sustain his ‘kick ass’ brand this time. If Bernie or Gabbard get through, he’s done. Never underestimate the losing edge of Democrats though. They will most likely sabotage everything, shoestring Harris into the finals, and let Trump win by 10 points.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      I think the Democratic field right now is a pretty good one and unless they nominate (just say no) Klobuchar I think Trump will lose big in 2020. The reasons Trump won was 1) that many people were making a statement against the elites by giving them the finger; and 2) the almost absurd incompetence of the Clinton campaign both from the candidate and even more so her staff. So that is the one caveat–if any Clinton people are part of a campaign this time then, yes, it is remotely possible Trump could win.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Hillary Clinton did not lose alone. She had an entire ideology and a political coalition behind her — and these have been bleeding votes in the Rust Belt for 15 years. The voters there have soundly rejected this philosophy. And yet nearly every declared Democrat is still closely identified with it. This is why we see such a glut of desperate pieces demanding the Democrats unite around any candidate not named Bernie Sanders.

        Not one of those candidates has a chance in 2020, because they are beholden to an ideology which has already been discredited both on politics and on “substance”.

  6. Haydar Khan

    Re:Will 2020 Democrats Help Trump By Destroying Each Other?

    The demands of the author of this piece are ridiculous(gee I wonder if the establishment is afraid of Sanders!). However, there may be a Team Donkey trainwreck on the way. What happens when the question of reparations for slavery comes up during the debates? For example, look at what could happen to Bernie. As a white male, if he rejects reparations, he alienates… a large voting block. On the other hand, if he endorses reparations, he alienates…a large voting block. How to avoid this double bind?

    1. Eureka Springs

      Free college, free healthcare, public banking, actual affordable unlimited fiber to every home already on the grid, a guaranteed income/22.50 minimum living wage would be reparations far better than a mule. We are out of 40 acre allotments.

      1. Robert Valiant

        We are out of 40 acre allotments.

        There’s still some on Mars, or so I’ve heard.

        I think you’ve identified the core problem of class in a growth based society that has no physical room to grow.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The failure to recognize the development of the U.S. is how we get serious Presidential efforts from the ilk of Klobuchar. She isn’t filling any kind of demand or even have a path to victory. Telling people all they need is tax credits and gumption or to move is astounding, ignoring travel to the Western U.S. was basically subsidized. Then of course, there are the Native Americans.

          1. Shonde

            A radical feminist recently pointed out to me that women were legally the property of their husbands in the United States until well into the 1800’s and did not have the right to vote until 1920. Reparations needed? Was not that akin to slavery?
            Possibly this is the first time I have agreed with Obama that we need to look forward and not backwards.

            1. ambrit

              When Obama said that, I immediately wondered, which of his faces he favoured. (He has two. That I know of.)

        2. polecat

          The Australian back country* is more hospitable then Mars … it even has breathable air ….

          *1Just making a point about the untenable conditions for life on The Angry Red Planet …
          I figure the antipodes have been spoken for for some time now.

    2. johnnygl

      Yes, the question of reparations is a thorny one, politically. But the establishment dems have the same dilemma, and no one trusts them to do anything they promise. Bernie has the edge of being able to lean on a long history of acting in good faith.

      From the standpoint of black voters pressing this issue, i can understand why they look at bernie’s class-based view and say, ‘not good enough’. To them, it sounds like the ‘all lives matter’ argument.

      1. neo-realist

        Bernie has an excellent record with regards to POC and women. He just needs to talk it up among those constituents on the campaign trail, e.g., supporter of pay equity for women, co-sponsored the reintroduction of the ERA, 100% rating from the NAACP. A record that the other candidates would be hard pressed to come close to.

        For any dem to come out in favor of a polarizing and complex issue such as reparations, would be playing with fire. It would become the equivalent of Kerry’s swiftboat in 2004. The Trump campaign and the right wing radio talkers would be talking it up 24/7 as anti-white, as victimizing good white people that had nothing to do with slavery, giving money away to takers, etc.

        If Sanders gets nominated, better for him to stick with attacking institutional racism.

    3. Carolinian

      And that’s a question that is likely to come up????

      The Dems will run against the Trump monster all the way and rightly so given his latest farcical (we hope) three stooges regime change attempt. Some of us are a little peeved that Gabbard has already been cast into the outer darkness while the hardly a shoo in Sanders takes over the spotlight. Was it only last week that a “broad spectrum of views” was considered welcome this early in the process?

      Sanders himself is the one who says elections should be about issues. So let’s debate…

    4. Darthbobber

      If it’s a double bind, it’s one for everybody involved. If pursued seriously, it generates more opposition than support, I suspect. If pursued seriously in the general because people danced around it in the primaries it’s a bigger gift to Trump than any of the things the volunteer referees for the Democratic contest are presently pretending to agonize over.

    5. Darthbobber

      They offer a recipe for repeating the 2004 defeat, when the rush to anoint
      Kerry and avoid clashes led to fielding a cardboard cutout.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Primary Kerry would have been President. His immediate 2004 problem was embracing the Clinton courtiers who I’ll be honest may not have been all in for Kerry as it represented 12 years before HRC would have a shot.

        Kucinich wasn’t getting through. TV mattered too much, and the ground work had not been laid. Clark was too limited. Edwards voted for the Iraq War and was too new. Dean was a tool who rightfully collapsed before Iraq. Mosley Braun is good, but America is bad. Not being in public life at the right time was tough.

        A problem Democrats have is a better campaign would have made Kerry President, but the demands of the electorate are different.

        1. polecat

          “Don’t Taze me Bro” Kerry ?? THAT Kerry ?

          He could’ve turned around as he was leaving that venue, to make things right with regard to the vindictive roughing-up of that questioner by the security thugs …. but no, he just kept right on walking ! THAT was the moment I lose complete respect for Johnny Ketchup !

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Well, 2004 predated the taser incident in 2007, so if this was the moment you lost respect…

        2. Oregoncharles

          ” a better campaign would have made Kerry President, but” … it was still the Republicans’ turn.

          Kerry managed to lose the debates to W. ’nuff said.

    6. Summer

      “What happens when the question of reparations for slavery comes up during the debates?”

      I’ll pinch myself to see if I’m dreaming.

    7. Cal2

      Haydar 8:54 am,

      “Trump and his media allies will ruthlessly take advantage of any Democratic divisions or exposed candidate weaknesses.”
      Those weaknesses are the bullshit beating around the bush obfuscations, partial solutions and “working on it” that the current crop of establishment Democrats espouse. This will emerge in debates and be fodder for political ads.

      Therefore, a succesful Democratic candidate should have strong positions on issues that reflect the will of the voters rather than a desire to obfuscate issues and perpetuate the ossified power structure that challenges Trump.

      Off the top of my head, here are a few issues that should be thrown back in Trump’s face:

      A. Which Democratic candidate did not vote for Syraquistan?
      Answer: Tulsi Gabbard.

      B. Which candidate is for withdrawing all troops from old and new invasion zones?
      Tulsi Gabbard.

      C. Which Democratic candidate voted to exempt student loans from bankruptcy protection?
      Joe Biden and all those who voted for his bill. Tulsi Gabbard did not vote for it.

      D. Which candidate is for M4A, without reservations? Tulsi Gabbard.

      E. Which Democratic candidate voted to bail out bankers and immunize them from prosecution?
      Most if not all of the Democratic candidates. Which candidate has introduced legislation to restore the Glass Steagall Act? Tulsi Gabbard.

      F. Which candidate is for labeling Genetically Modified Organisms in our food?
      Tulsi Gabbard.

      G. Which candidate is a combat veteran? Not Trump. Not Hillary, not Harris, not Warren, Gabbard is. That’s the ultimate ‘rub their nose in it’ that Gabbard can and should use.

  7. Svante Arrhenius

    Thanks for the Frack-salt story. Folks in PA have been told that it’s from conventional wells’ return water and led to make really specious assumption that heavy metals, radio nucleotides and fracking fluid was magically inspected-out of the slurry being sprayed on farm roads all winter and oil sprayed on asphalt and gravel (to keep the dust down… for the kids) all summer. So much for good, organic or free range Amish produce, dairy and meat from PA? Let me go donate again to ProPublica who broke these stories, a decade ago.

    1. tegnost

      aren’t the contents of fracking fluids shielded by intellectual property laws? I’m sure that not only is it as bad as you describe, it’s probably a lot worse.

      1. Svante Arrhenius

        Mind you, these were MSNBC hosting Democrats; who fracked reservoirs, school grounds and 1/4 mile from 41yr old reactors, albeit with slavering, inbred, wetbrained teabagger state legislature & courts.

        See, even The Atlantic used to report this terrifying shit… until David Brock, Rick Berman and the rest of K Street labled us jihadist Russian bots for questioning irrigating monoculture GE crops for CAFO meat with radium flavored fracking fluid. Betya, they’ve tried fracking with steam from Beaver Valley’s secondary cooling loop, huh?

        DEP inspectors were legally constrained from speaking of methane and return water migration, failed annulars, cement jobs and casing poisoning folks’ wells or simple dumping into PA waterways. FLIR images of unflared methane were simply lied away (but, by then, nobody covered any of this).

      2. cyclist

        I don’t understand why some environmental organization doesn’t pay to have some of these fluids analyzed by a lab and publish the results? It wouldn’t be cheap but it might shed light on what we are dealing with here and initiate some outrage. Even using a geiger counter to check the level of radioactivity would be interesting.

        1. Svante Arrhenius

          Mmmm… salty! The cool thing is how both sides basically agree what’s being pumped down there (and what comes back up one way or another) but our betters from both parties, simply feel it ain’t none of our business & serves us terrorists right?

  8. DJG

    From the article about wild rice:

    During the 165 years since the 1855 treaty, significant damage to Anishinaabe wild rice, waters, maple trees, and prairies has taken place due to state and federal mismanagement. Over 70 percent of the original wild rice territory is now damaged, and today proposals to change sulfate standards to accommodate mining projects and new pipeline projects threaten more wild rice. Ultimately these actions threaten the very existence of wild rice.

    So the Native peoples are laying down the law even as various state legislatures are trying to pass laws restricting protests against pipelines. I also note that the Ho-Chunk and the Anishinaabeg, two peoples of the Great Lakes, are taking the lead here. They have been very savvy in dealing with “settlers,” and one of the ways they have been savvy is in simply refusing to move. They tended to ignore the removal treaties, and I suspect that they should be congratulated for that. And I have a feeling that they are more than happy to take on the settlers’ legislatures with laws like this one.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Austerity, That’s What I Know’: The Making of a U.K. Millennial Socialist”

    I understand that the New York Times does not do news so much as narratives. I wonder what the narrative is here? Don’t do hard austerity or you will raise a generation of Marxists? I can see how the New York Times wanted to do a story on how the British Millenials were betrayed in the Brexit vote by the older generation but of course it is not so simple is it? After all, austerity is bound to hit the older generations harder as their flexibility is less due to health, relationships, community, etc. This year I will be very much interested to listening to the older generations talk about the changes in their lives the past several years. A bit of background here.
    Back in 1963 Granada TV interviewed 14 seven-year old children about their hopes and lives which was quickly forgotten after being screened except by one man named Michael Apted – the director. He has gone back every seven year to interview these same fourteen children ever since then and released a film about those interviews afterwards. You get to watch people go to school, get jobs, move overseas, marry, have children, divorce, lose parents to old age, etc. which parallels our own lives. The last one, “56 Up”, came out in 2012 and you had some of these people talk about how austerity was affecting their lives then. The next installment – “63 Up” – is due out this year and I have no doubt that they will talk about even more austerity and Brexit. Here is a link describing it to those not familiar with this series-

    1. BoulderMike

      Looks really interesting. But, like everything these days, it seems as though Amazon has bought up the rights to the series. The current one might be coming up here on PBS, but when I searched on the others all I saw is Amazon. Amazon seems to be buying up all of the good UK programming and I REFUSE to willingly give them one penny. Sigh! If I am wrong, can you point me to where to find the previous films? Thanks!

      1. Pat

        You might try your local public library. Many libraries have DVD programs.
        Netflix’s DVD arm may also have the physical version while not having streaming rights. That would mean a rental fee though.

        1. BoulderMike

          Thanks! A reasonable rental fee, not due to the likes of Amazon would be fine with me. I am willing to pay for valuable content, just not if it means enriching Amazon.

  10. Wukchumni

    The snow patrol drones saving skiers from an icy death BBC
    The prime risk this year in the Sierra Nevada resorts with oh so much snow (and another 3-4 feet coming this week) is tree wells. Avalanches are relatively rare here-I can’t remember a skier dying in California on account of one, and of course thanks goes to Ullr for keeping us safe.

    Dying in an avalanche is lickety quick, it might take hours to succumb if trapped in a tree well.

      1. Wukchumni

        A couple weeks ago @ Mammoth we were skiing in the trees and it was no fun on account of too much powder, ha!

        And yes, always ski with somebody else off-piste.

      2. Brindle

        A few weeks ago I was skiing a double-black tree run at Heavenly (Lake Tahoe) with a buddy–I blew a turn and my ski released. I had no idea where the ski was –but thankfully my partner saw it and what could have been a major bummer was avoided. With the huge amount of snow in the Sierras tree-wells are especially dangerous—give wide berth.

    1. RUKidding

      There have been avalanche deaths of skiers in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Most or all of them have been in the Lake Tahoe area resorts and typically are due to snow boarders going off piste.

      Tree runs are always dangerous. I get why people like them, but I generally avoid.

      Amazing snow this year, though, and good for our water supply.

  11. nippersdad

    Re: Will 2020 Democrats help Trump by destroying each other?

    Well, duh! This sounds like something that was written by a person who knows that the Democratic Party is already in its’ death throes and just wants to set up some fall guys. There is nothing “miniscule” about the differences between a Klobuchar or a Biden and Sanders or a Gabbard; in any other country they would be in different Parties. Trump has far more in common with Pelosi than he does with Sanders as can easily be seen by their thirst for regime change in Venezuela.

    With HR1 (attempting to) legislate third parties out of existence, the open censorship of social media, the DNC rigging the Primaries again and now social opprobrium to be unleashed on anyone who says something about it this may be the last year that the Democratic Party is viable as a national party.

    “Working for” but never achieving anything other than Republican priorities for the past forty years is something that people will want to talk about, and no one is going to stop them. The gauntlet has been thrown down and I can’t wait to see who picks it up. It doesn’t look like it will be Sanders, though that may just be for form; more of the inside strategy. Sanders: “I am committed to making this nominating process a fair, issues focused campaign and am asking you for the same.” Yeah. Good luck with that. That boat sailed a couple of years ago.

    I’m going to lay in a supply of popcorn and see who Whigs out.

    1. pjay

      Yes. By all means let’s be polite and respectful to each other, shut-up and support the Democrat candidate whomever that might be.

      Personally, I like C.J. Hopkins’ take:

      “That’s right, folks, Bernie is back, and this time it’s not just a sadistic prank where he gets you all fired up about his fake “revolution” for fifteen months, gets cheated out of the nomination, then backs whichever corporate-bought candidate the Democratic Party orders you to vote for.”

      “No, this time the Bernster really means it! This time, when the DNC rigs the primaries to hand the nomination to Harris, or Biden, or some billionaire android like Michael Bloomberg, Bernie is not going to break your heart by refusing to run as an independent candidate, unbeholden to the corporations and oligarchs that own both political parties, or otherwise make you feel like a sucker for buying his “revolution” schtick. He’s not going to fold like a fifty dollar suit and start parroting whatever propaganda the corporate media will be prodigiously spewing to convince you the Russians and Nazis are coming unless you vote for the empire’s pre-anointed puppet!”

      Since this is bound to make many here angry anyway, here’s Hopkins’ contribution to yesterday’s NC discussion:

      “Oh, yeah, and in case you’re worried about Bernie backing the empire’s ongoing regime change op in Venezuela, don’t be. He’s just playing 4D chess, like Obama did throughout his presidency, by pretending to do the empire’s bidding while he actually went about the business of resurrecting hope and eradicating racism. Bernie’s just being sly like that! It might seem like he’s aligning himself with mass murdering thugs like Elliot Abrams and sadistic ass freaks like Marco Rubio, but he isn’t. Not really. It’s just an act. I mean, he has to get elected, doesn’t he?”

      Popcorn is very appropriate, since it is all theater.

      1. nippersdad

        “Popcorn is very appropriate, since it is all theater.”

        Theater does have its uses; there is a reason why many plays and playwrights were censored or banned across Europe by various monarchies across the centuries. Bernie may be more of a subversive than we realize. He doesn’t necessarily have to win in order to get his points across and, even worse for some, he may not want to.

        The Congress that he may foresee blocking his every move in the event of a win has a lot less purchase if they don’t have an actual Bernie to kick around in the Oval Office.

        1. pjay

          As I see it, there is a narrow range of variation on foreign policy within the neoliberal branch of the ruling elite. This is marked, for example by positions on the Iraq War (Hillary vs. Obama), the Iran JCPOA (Hillary vs. Obama/Kerry), etc. This is also true for the Palestinian situation, with the more “liberal” of the neolliberals being willing to mouth concern for Palestinian rights (after all, they can’t *all* be transparently hypocritical here if they are to be champions of “humanitarian intervention” elsewhere).

          As I read the Vox article and think back on Bernie’s career, from Central America in the 80s to Iraq to the present, I see him challenging the Blob less and less. He currently fits comfortably within the “liberal” side of neoliberal foreign policy. If the value of his candidacy is pushing the Overton window, then he is certainly doing the opposite on foreign policy. Only Gabbard is challenging the dominant narrative, and she will be smothered by the Establishment.

          I think Bernie *could* challenge the dominant narrative on certain popular domestic policy issues (like M4A). But re Hopkins — and your own original point — if he is too polite to the neoliberal Dems in solidarity against the Trump/Putin/Fascist/Authoritarian threat, he’ll be less than useful.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Unfortunately I agree with that take. I had hopes about him back in ’16 until in a debate with Clinton he came out with that line: “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails”. That was it. His biggest weapon against Hillary and he just threw it away. It was either he lacked the killer instinct to be a successful politician or else he had made some sort of backroom deal with the Democrats.
        I know that he is held in high regard by a lot of people but his habit of aligning himself with neocons just does not cut the mustard. Whether it be with the Russia!Russia!Russia! frenzy or now the attempted coup in Venezuela it seems that he will concede foreign policy to the neocons in the hope of getting something done domestically. Yeah, I am sure that they will honour that pact if he ever gets power. Shame that.

      3. djrichard

        If Bernie is elected, will the US still be an empire? Will global capitalism still be on the march? If so, then I don’t think the real powers that be have anything to worry about.

        Some smaller players in the eco-system will lose out (insurance industry). But as they say, “nothing personal, it’s just business”.

  12. Carolinian

    Re Stanley Donen–he was from Columbia, SC so we liked to claim him as one of our own even though he fled at age 16. Jim Crow era anti-Semitism was one cited cause (his mother continued to live there for many years). He only co-directed Singing in the Rain but gets full credit for Funny Face and Charade–beloved by Audrey Hepburn fans. Brussels, Belgium meets Dixie refugee.

  13. L

    Apropos of the GND there is a nice pair of articles on Diane Feinstein’s encounter with students from the Sunrise Movement.

    The point is made by Bill McKibben in The New Yorker The Hard Lessons of Dianne Feinstein’s Encounter with the Young Green New Deal Activists. McKibben points out that the issue is not her apparent condescension but the fact that she treats it like just another political problem where the cost of delay is minimal.

    The attempted counterpoint in The Atlantic from Caitlin Flanigan Dianne Feinstein Doesn’t Need a Do-Over: Confronted by passionate schoolchildren, the senator held a master class in patience, grace, and asserting her well-earned authority. I say attempted because to my mind she comes off as confirming McKibben’s point exactly. The students were arguing from the need for survival and the response was an announcement of authority but not a solution. Or as the author puts it: ” If she’s going to lose any of her famous courage, it’s not because angry children showed up to teach her a lesson.”

    Diane Feinstein may not have intended to condescend but her supporters sure do.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      Watching the video Feinstein most certainly intended to condescend. Feinstein and her Senate colleagues have never had the any intention of addressing any of our major collective problems let alone take the advice of scientists who are telling us we must act now or we risk the end of civilization. Feinstein, in my view, is a certain kind of monster Washington can turn you into–at least she doesn’t seem to enjoy it as much as Pelosi does. I don’t think being a monster was ever Feinstein’s goal when she started out but that’s the environment she lives in.

    2. Darthbobber

      Her famous courage. Simply amazing. Her well earned authority. Even more so. Oh well, I suppose somebody read that without laughing.

    3. jrs

      but what can anyone do, Californians keep electing her again and again and again, even when a (somewhat more progressive) Democrat is running against her and there are NO Republicans running.

      It’s what Californians quite literally want, as they do have choices and not just going for the aweful Republicans but REAL choices. And they choose her.

  14. tegnost

    One might think that a person with the stature of jared bernsein would know that it’s casting aspersions, not casting aspirations.
    “A debate about ideas is healthy, a debate about motives is not. The Democrats should hash out their differences in 2020 without slashing up one another — not casting aspirations on each other’s integrity, motivation or intentions. It is that latter path that creates an opening for Trump’s reelection in 2020.”
    Now I think I’m starting to “get it” re the dem clown car and the presentation of so many (flawed) candidates. It’s just this “We gave you so many (bad) choices and now you are bickering, we need to come together behind a centrist!” Learned nothing and forgotten nothing. Clearly a message to bernie and his supporters that they need to get in line. I mean, it worked so well last time…

  15. Wukchumni

    Had something rare happen yesterday, I was a couple hundred feet away from a Live Oak that had one of it’s multi-trunked parts come down a few weeks ago, when I heard a loud crack, and another of it’s trunks came down in a hurry, swatting a foot wide trunk of a Live Oak 15 feet away and snapping it off as if it were a toothpick, what an exhibition of the power of thousands of pounds meeting up with gravity. Disassembly required.

  16. tegnost

    re: friedman…Grow the pie dems are republicans who don’t want to be identified as such. Nancy’s red coat just screams it out…

  17. roxy

    Will 2020 Democrats Help Trump By Destroying Each Other? New York magazine

    There’s more than a whiff of desperation in this piece, being nervously papered over with demands to “come down like the wrath of God on any candidate that succumbs to the temptation of straying over the line into attacks on a rival’s character or motives”, and “preemptively demand a certain degree of civility”.

    The author’s condescending referral to “tremulous and confused voters” is this year’s “deplorables” slander. See, we don’t hate you like Hillary did, we want to help you because you’re so stupid.

    Even Michael Moore understood last time that this clueless attitude does not win friends, but does influence people.

      1. ambrit

        Without the lopsided returns from the Democrat Fortress State, (Cali,) she would have lost the popular vote too. (And since the American system was set up to be a Republic, and not a true Democracy, then all’s right with the World.)

    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      Nope! Won’t say what it is until more readers have had a chance to offer their own identifications.

  18. Big River Bandido

    Ed Kilgore, The Intelligencer: Critical thinking skills? If I took this article seriously, I would feel less informed after reading it than before. Most of this article is simply summarizing the so-called “ideas” of two former staffers for…wait for it…Joe Biden.

    That said…I’ll take a swing:

    Second run-on, word salad sentence in …

    multiple voice are being raised to remember the wolf at the door before engaging in any intramural fisticuffs

    I suppose this nonsense construction is to be expected from the multiple voice that cannot thinks but sure love to sings from the “bipartisanship” hymnal — and always in perfect unison with itselves.


    progressive [what makes a progressive, well, progressive, and who says this guy makes the grade?] economist Jared Bernstein in a Washington Post op-ed suggested that 2020 Democrats (and presumably the media) constantly keep in mind that on policy issues “you would need a high-powered electron microscope to see the difference among the Democrats, compared with the difference between them and the Republicans.”

    Is this the same Jared Bernstein who is a longtime advisor to the “Democrat” who sold millenials into debt slavery? I don’t see how that is a progressive goal or value. But student debt is one issue where nearly all Republicans — and all Democrats, save one — are united in Kumbayah with Jared Bernstein.

    The author’s “original” bullet points (or did he crib these from Ron Klain?) are rather like marshmallow creme…light and fluffy-sounding appearance which hides all the HFCS and fat.

    A few of the comments that eviscerate respond to the article are more insightful than the article itself — or, for that matter, the one it copy/pastes. Perhaps the best comment I saw:

    Let’s just shorten this stupid article to its essence to save everyone some precious time: “Bernie Sanders and particularly, his supporters, were responsible for Hillary Clinton’s defeat. Let’s not do that again.” Bullsh!t then. Bullsh!t now.

    Truth. Sorry for the overlong comment, but deconstruction is complexified.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Many HRC primary voters simply aren’t neoliberals even among the professional class (especially the professional class). They are low information voters who despite knowing better hear what they want to hear. The “Other” candidates aren’t building Obama like levels of celebrity, largely because Team Blue exhausted that resource and lost 1,000 seats while they were at it. Its been done.

      All things being equal, a woman and a minority woman would be a twofer. Things aren’t equal. The issues of the day can’t be solved by the acolytes of Bill Clinton. Even in 2016, Team Blue pushed two narratives, one, the secret liberal HRC who couldn’t speak out against her husband because they are married, and two, Sanders and HRC are virtually the same. Hillary might have pulled this off if she had simply conducted a purge of Clinton loyalists and gone home for the 2016 campaign. She would be President now. Or former President if she had done this in 2008.

      The natural instincts of New Democrats is to be support Republican positions without pushing Country Pop at the same time and to cloak it in banal rhetoric, and unlike HRC or Obama, not one of these candidates will develop the kinds of followings those candidates possessed. After all, Obama enjoyed not voting for the Iraq War and anti-DLC sentiment. “Centrist” courtiers need to shape the narrative that the “Others” are the same as Sanders to prevent HRC supporters who bought those narratives from defecting and hope the anti-Clinton sentiment was about HRC not Blue Dogs as a whole.

    2. RopeADope

      Kilgore’s piece violates Rosenthal’s “Political Rules of Engagement” that Ed was referencing in order to launder his own “Rules for smearing Sanders and his supporters as Self-Hating Democrats”.

      This is not particularly surprising as Ed wrote this particular gem back in 2016, “Because Hillary understands what LBJ never did: that he had to be (mostly) at one with his party’s base.”

      Kilgore apparently believes that the base of the Democratic Party is right wing billionaires and American Trasformismo should continue. Except that sending Manafort into the Trump campaign to sabotage it and divert right wing billionaires to the Clinton camp in 2016 shows that manipulation of the electoral process is not the galaxy brain tactic he and Clinton thought it was.

  19. Wukchumni

    About 200 skiers were stuck in midair on a Lake Tahoe ski lift for more than three hours on a chilly Sunday morning because of an apparent mechanical malfunction.

    The Promised Land Express lift at Northstar resort, which serves advanced ski runs on the “backside” area, stopped working at 10:42 a.m.

    Skier Kirk Seward of San Francisco was trapped on the lift for about 3½ hours. The temperature was 34 degrees.

    1. Brindle

      Hope those skiers/boarders stuck got more than a free hot chocolate—they deserve a free day ticket but ski companies (Vail Resorts ?) are misers.

      1. Wukchumni

        It’s a weird gig, imagine being on the extreme front lines of climate change, as your business model?

        I would expect @ a minimum for being stuck in the air, a lift ticket for another day & a meal, but you’re probably right, they were likely offered a $6 hot chocolate, ha!

  20. Wukchumni

    Bee there-done that

    California beekeepers are offering a $10,000 reward to find thieves who used a fork-lift truck to steal almost 200 beehives.

    Two apiarists in Visalia, in California’s Central Valley, reported the honey-producing insects missing two weeks ago amid a shortage of bees for almond pollination.

    California firms Gunter Honey and SP Godlin Apiaries both reported 96 hives stolen on February 10 and 11 respectively.

    Detectives believe a rival beekeeper who would ‘know what they are doing’ and have the right equipment may have been behind the thefts.

  21. Unna

    Bernie’s 2020 candidacy may answer the question as to whether the Dem party can ever be a vehicle for “progressive” change. Bernie’s betting that it can which is why he is running as a Dem and not pursuing the third party/new party route. Due to age, this is his last shot and most likely a one term shot at that. The answer will be not just whether he wins or loses the nomination, but how he wins or loses.

    Does he lose because of rigging or fraud? Will he still support the Dem candidate *again* if that happens? Will his supporters? What if he gets the nomination and the corporate Dems de facto desert him during the GE because Schumer and Pelosi really don’t like the GND, MfA, free college, a curb on military spending and empire, or regulating Wall Street. Wouldn’t Schumer really rather have Trump as president than Bernie, and keep those nice Trump tax cuts for his donors? And what if Bernie actually got elected president and the Dem congress turns against him and he can’t really accomplish anything – which is my bet? Then what?

    I think there’s more than a very good chance the Dems lose to Trump with a Harris type candidate, and the rest of them go down hill from her. Even Biden is vulnerable and the last time I watched him speak, he looked not only old, but a bit feeble, sort of, unlike Bernie who comes across certainly as old, but sharp and fit. Besides, with Biden, who really cares? His foreign policy will be the same, if not worse, than Trump’s neo con variety. Biden’s domestic policy won’t be much different than Trump’s. So I suspect there’s a good chance that even Old Joe could very well lose to the Donald because anyone who wants change will be less motivated to work for him or even to come out and vote. I can’t even imagine donating money to Biden, although Wall Street will make sure he has plenty.

    Just throwing out some thoughts here.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Even Biden is vulnerable and the last time I watched him speak, he looked not only old, but a bit feeble

      So you saw his 2008 primary campaign?

      Biden is especially vulnerable. He’s HRC without the selling points. What does he have? He’s pro-fracking, his foreign policy is wreckless and deranged, everytime Liz Warren speaks she could add we need to repeal this awful thing Joe Biden did without changing anything else. The only good thing about Biden was he couldn’t ruin too much as Vice President.

      1. Oh

        How could he ruin too much when Obama was doing the ruining under his glassy smile and his glorious lies speeches?

    2. JohnnyGL

      Picking off a few of these…

      “What if he gets the nomination and the corporate Dems de facto desert him during the GE because Schumer and Pelosi really don’t like…” — yeah, he’s probably anticipating this. He’s been building his own means of communicating with the public for several years, networking with state and local party officials in states where he was weak in 2016. Plus, there’s more Bernie-friendly elements and outlets in the more fractured media landscape. Bigger TV news outlets will have to give him interviews and airtime if we wins nomination.

      “And what if Bernie actually got elected president and the Dem congress turns against him and he can’t really accomplish anything” — I’m more optimistic on this front. Congress is used to folding up quickly when pressured. Bernie would likely hold rallies in the districts of any holdouts on M4A. His allies would hold voter registration drives. If he’s smart, he pushes a min wage hike out of the gates and then registers those very people who got a raise, along with their friends and families. He’d also be calling on the public to constantly get involved and pressure their reps to ‘do the right thing’. Plus, the donor class runs away quickly from anyone who looks like a dead-rep walking. The donations would dry up. Especially under public criticism. I think Bernie and his allies could bring a lot of heat on any hold outs. Justice Democrats are sharpening their skills at executing primary challenges. By 2022, the left could be in a much stronger position in congress. This all gets a lot easier with Bernie in the cat-bird seat delivering wins.

  22. Vikas Saini

    Ir remember one of Taibbi’s from 2005, which might have been the first. I was visiting NYC from beautiful but sedate Cape Cod. I was sitting in a felafel joint on the upper west side when I randomly picked up a free local paper on the table next to me expecting to do some junk reading. Once I started, couldn’t stop laughing., and it just confirmed for me what a mecca NYC was, if I could find this diamond among the litter….

    Can’t find a link to the original, but here’s a reprint:

  23. JohnnyGL

    Will 2020 Democrats Help Trump By Destroying Each Other? New York magazine.

    Imagine a long, hard-fought primary like that of 2008 when the dems ended up…..winning the general….whoops.

    Okay, fine, but what about the 2016 Repub side which degenerated into farcical food-fights at every debate…..oh wait, the candidate who emerged, President Trump, won that general election, too!

    Of course, the rule listed as #3 in the article is flagrantly there to inhibit examining the candidates’ records’ by equating such examination with ‘personal attacks’ and the hectoring of Sanders to criticize the critics is clear and present in #4.

    Even point #1 could easily be translated as clinton-campaign redux: “Everyone shut up and vote dem because centrists can’t be seen to lose to Trump a 2nd time, else we’re discredited for a decade or more!”

    And of course, right on cue….Sanders takes the lead in a random NH poll…

    Note how Booker, Warren, and Harris are close enough to Trump to risk a NH loss. Which seems like it would be catastrophic. Of course, polls are very dicey at this stage…very dicey…

    1. Darthbobber

      I especially liked the preposterous conceit that Trump came up with “crooked Hillary” because of Bernie Sanders, and not because the line practically wrote itself.

      Apparently the Republicans just wouldn’t be able to find oppo on Harris, or Gillibrand, or Sanders for that matter without having a Democratic candidate point it out for them. Because dredging for mud and pseudomud and preparing attack lines isn’t one of the major specialties of the political industry.

      God, how did the guy come up with Pocahontas? What democratic traitor provided him with that?

      They probably came up with the whole email controversy because Sanders said “I’m tired of hearing about her emails”, and that made the GOP think of emails for the first time, having missed the paltry few hundred articles written on the subject to that point.

      Sanders’ criticisms of Clinton, hers of Sanders, hers of Obama, whatever else they were, were all well within the normal boundaries of primary politics in either party.

      BTW, can issues be firmly separated from an assessment of whether a candidate is believable as an advocate of a given issue? Hardly.

  24. Summer

    Re: Green Book / Oscars

    Spike Lee and others this morning are critical of this win (haven’t seen it and the next day always has a runming list of complaints about winners). Trump (always on foot in tv land) tweets about Spike Lee’s speech.

    During his acceptance of his award for Blackklansman screenplay. Spike called for everyone to get on the right side of history.
    So I ran across this history:

    “The real Ron Stallworth infiltrated a Black radical organization for three years (not for one event like the movie portrays) where he did what all papers from the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program (Cointelpro), that were found through the Freedom of Information Act, tell us he did — sabotage a Black radical organization whose intent had to do with, at the very least, fighting racist oppression. Cointelpro papers show us that these police infiltrators of radical organizations worked to try to disrupt the organizations through things like instigating infighting, acting crazy to make the organizations look bad, getting physical altercations happening, and setting them up to be murdered by police and others. Ron Stallworth was part of the Cointelpro. Cointelpro’s objectives were to destroy radical organizations, especially Black radical organizations.

    There was no bombing that Stallworth or the police thwarted. This was not in Stallworth’s memoir. This was put in the move to make Ron and the rest of the police look like they were interested in fighting racism, like they don’t all protect whatever racist and abusive cops are in there. This is a scene where the whole police force — chief and all — work together with the fictional Black radical love interest to set the one racist cop up. Never happened. Never would, and someone saying vague things while drunk wouldn’t be arrested for that. But it makes the cops look like they
    His partner that did the physical infiltration of the Klan was not Jewish and did not look Jewish to people. This was a made up thing to raise the stakes and make it seem the cops were sacrificing more than they were. Add that to the false notion that they were doing it to fight racism and it endears you to the cops more. This means there was no scene where Stallworth had to go throw a rock through the window or whatever….:

  25. nippersdad

    Re: 2020 Democrats destroying each other.

    This is just too funny:

    Petkanis (Clinton campaign aide) gets some pushback for all of the crap he has been pushing the past couple of weeks. “You can see why she is one of the most disliked politicians in America. She is not nice. Her people are not nice….petty stupid sniping a couple of years after the fact…..They’re some of the biggest a**holes in American politics.”

    This is going to be great!

    1. JohnnyGL

      That gave me a good laugh. Thanks.

      Clintonites just being themselves. Worse than a den of snakes!

      The best part of it is that top campaign brass of Clinton’s campaign like Mook find this kind of petty sniping to be ridiculous and beneath them.

    2. Darthbobber

      A “running joke” and point of contention that they just came up with now to be able to toss some pissing and moaning in at the same time that the GND is in focus.

      If it had even been a real issue for them in 2016, we would have already seen 20 pieces over the last 2 years in which they added this to their endless list of grievances.

  26. Foomarks

    As far as I’m concerned, Sorry to Bother You won Best Picture. Also, Boots gave the best extra-political acceptance speech:

    “Many film critics said that Green Book was such an uninspired Best Picture winner that it could help ease the backlash against Crash that continues to this day.”

    Also: “30 years of work and Spike wins for copaganda.”

    1. Alfred

      I think the Best Picture award generally has less to do with identifying any kind of excellence than it does with producing the image that the AMPAS most desires to project of itself at the time of any given vote, Over the years many critically acclaimed films (or future classics) have failed to win Best Picture while many lackluster movies did. Just this week the example of The Greatest Show on Earth (Best Picture of 1952) has been highlighted in contrast to Singin’ in the Rain, which was passed over.

      1. Carolinian

        The Best Picture award is voted on by the entire membership including those retired from working. Therefore it’s hard to see the result as some kind of plan–more a matter of demographics and currently popular causes. Also merit counts in a somewhat hit or miss way.

  27. Synoia

    As Ex-Enron CEO Exits Prison, Some of Company’s Old Businesses Thrive WSJ. Seems like a different world, although it was only a dozen years ago when CEOs were prosecuted and sent to jail for their crimes.

    Perhaps because he stole from the rich?

    1. Wukchumni

      I remember when Enron took Californians to the tune of around $30 Billion and it seemed like all the money in the world @ the time, but now it’s a mere trifle in the big leagues of buckaroos.

  28. Gregorio

    “Most People Trust ‘Neutral Media’, Says New Report on Fake News ”
    Neutral media? Does that even exist?

  29. Cal2

    The “Concrete Most Destructive Material On Earth” has an interesting quote to tie in to the California Democratic Party and their political-machine candidate Kamala Harris:

    “Party leaders need the donations and kickbacks from building firms to get elected, state planners need more projects to maintain economic growth, and construction bosses need more contracts to keep money rolling in, staff employed and political influence high.”

    The construction industry is one of the main donors to the California Democrats. In return, what they get are new state laws, those currently in the legislative sausage factory, and even bolder ones on the drawing board, all of which force the building of high density concrete-using structures.

    All local environmental, zoning, design standard, community based laws and controls are superseded by these state laws which force high density developments upon unwilling communities.

    The rationale is “Transit Oriented Development–to Alleviate Global Warming. In addition, the building of mandatory low income housing to remedy inequities” is dictated.

    Whatever the rationale, more concrete is poured, more loans are made and more people crowd the state. Great way to combat global climate change–and gain power and profits at the same time.

    1. polecat

      Imagine the Entire Central Valley of Caliphonia* .. from Bakersfield to Red Bluff .. as One • Continuous • Urban • Concurbation.
      I sure as hell can .. and posit that is Exactly the trajectory the Golden-fried State is headed towards !


    2. jrs

      the communities will always be unwilling, NIMBY and property values. If they were acting in good faith and alternate attempts to deal with the housing crisis and not selfishness, they would have a point. It’s like protesting an airport, yes if you never or almost never fly you have a point, flying and airports are incredibly destructive, but if you are flying regularly and just objecting that the airport is in your backyard ..

      What is their solution to the housing crisis? Crickets. There might be lower scale ways to deal with density but it doesn’t involve single family houses either, maybe duplexes and one and two story apartments and the like. Or fine there is the default way: no new housing, rising rents, rising homelessness including middle class homelessness.

      Yes global warming is a problem, a HUGE one of course, but not very many people advocate solving it by depriving people of shelter (and the people who are protesting probably have more rooms then they use and are the most wasteful of shelter – because trust me it’s not the couple sharing a studio apartment that is protesting building new housing), I don’t think that’s in the GND: everyone will now be homeless, even if it is a sustainable lifestyle.

    3. deplorado

      A whole article in the Guardian full of fluff about “solidity” (3 mentions) and barely mentions Rome and alternatives (2 mentions) to Portland cement in passing — when we have this:

      “Manufacturing Portland cement requires heating a mix of limestone and clay to 1,450 degrees Celsius (2,642 degrees Fahrenheit), a process that releases enough carbon – given the 19 billion tons of Portland cement used annually – to account for about seven-percent of the total amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere each year.

      Roman architectural mortar, by contrast, is a mixture of about 85-percent (by volume) volcanic ash, fresh water, and lime, which is calcined at much lower temperature than Portland cement. Coarse chunks of volcanic tuff and brick compose about 45-to-55-percent (by volume) of the concrete. The result is a significant reduction in carbon emissions.”

      Im just a lay person who knows this because I read widely.

      Does the Guardian at least know how to research a subject, if they don’t read widely?!

  30. Cal2

    From PG&E’s political playbook article:

    “And as part of its wildfire-prevention efforts, the company has spent $2.3 billion over the past six years to trim vegetation around power lines.”

    Not mentioned is that the money comes from utility customers that are forced to pay it on their bills as part of the so called regulation from the corrupt state utilities commission.

    Savings from delaying, avoiding or low balling the work are split between the tree contractors and PG&E high officials.

  31. Alex Cox

    Regarding the movies, the biggest news of the last seven days wasn’t the oscars or the death of Donen (in my etc) but the demise of Bruno Ganz. Famous for Downfall, where he played Hitler (what actor wouldn’t do a good job with that part?) but truly wonderful in Knife in the Head, Kings of the Road, The American Friend, and many other films.

    One of the cinema’s best actors. All else is fluff.

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