Links 2/7/19

Starling murmurations: the science behind one of nature’s greatest displays The Conversation

Tasmania is burning. The climate disaster future has arrived while those in power laugh at us Guardian. Richard Flanagan – Tasmanian native and wonderful novelist.

Smoked Out London Review of Books

PG&E safety record in dispute in probation case San Francisco Chronicle

Thrift stores are overwhelmed with donations, thanks to Marie Kondo TreeHugger

The Open Office and the Spirit of Capitalism American Affairs

Forget standing desks: to stay healthy, you’ve got to move all day Guardian

Brexit

Corbyn lays out Labour’s terms for backing May on Brexit Guardian

Angry clash over EU warning of ‘place in hell’ for Brexit leaders puts May’s Brussels rescue bid in fresh trouble Independent

Brexit in the Context of British History Counterpunch. Patrick Cockburn.

China?

Pufferfish in China: diners lured by delicacy now country has bred them poison-free SCMP

India

How India Votes: Does it matter what voters think of Modi government’s economic performance? Scroll.in

Shashi Tharoor nominates Kerala fishermen for Nobel Peace Prize 2019 Economic Times

WhatsApp says Indian rules on encryption ‘not possible’ to meet FT

Our Famously Free Press

Jill Abramson, former N.Y. Times executive editor accused of plagiarism, defends book on Fox News WaPo. Oops!

Justice Department probing how it handled serial pedophile Jeffrey Epstein NY Post

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Dozens of Cities Have Secretly Experimented With Predictive Policing Software Motherboard

Beware Of The Home DNA Kit! You May Find Yourself Being Sued By A Sperm Bank Above the Law

Health Care

‘It will take off like a wildfire’: The unique dangers of the Washington state measles outbreak Wa Po

New voices at patients’ bedsides: Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Apple Stat

Infamous pharma company declares bankruptcy after 3,900% price hike Ars Technica

CITIES ARE BLAZING THE TRAIL TOWARD HEALTHCARE FOR ALL Who What Why

L.A. County supervisors to consider phasing out pepper spray in juvenile halls LA Times

THE POWER IS BACK ON AT BROOKLYN JAIL, BUT A VISITING FEDERAL JUDGE FOUND UNTREATED GUNSHOT WOUND, “BLACK BLOTCHY MOLD,” AND ONGOING CRISIS Intercept

Sweden’s surprising rule for time off BBC

Class Warfare

New Jersey Will Adopt a $15 Minimum Wage, But the Fight Isn’t Over Truthout

Ocasio-Cortez Says Trump Attack on Socialism Shows President ‘Scared’ of Popular Progressive Policies Common Dreams

Banks weigh whether to embrace or avoid progressive firebrand Ocasio-Cortez Reuters

Democrats Target Wall Street With Financial Trade Tax Proposal Bloomberg

After Uproar, Instacart Backs Off Controversial Tipping Policy NYT

Democrats in Disarray

Tulsi Gabbard Is Driving The MSM Bat Shit Crazy Caitlin Johnstone

Julián Castro’s Early, Neoliberal Years Jacobin

From Karachi to Caracas Craig Murray

Syraqistan

U.S. Asks More Countries To Occupy Northeast Syria Moon of Alabama

Taliban official: Half of US troops to leave Afghanistan by May 1 Al Jazeera

Trump’s ‘Eyeball-to-Eyeball’ Orders to the Generals on Syria American Conservative

Imperial Collapse Watch

Imperial Exceptionalism NYRB

FIGHT THE SHIP ProPublica

Army aims for more combat-ready troops with new fitness test AP

Trump Transition

Siding With ‘Loan Sharks’ Over Consumers, Trump CFPB Moves to Gut Payday Lender Regulations Common Dreams

The number of international students coming to the U.S. for grad school declined for the second year in a row MarketWatch

Trump nominates World Bank critic as its next chief The Hill

Farmers nearing crisis push back on Trump trade policies Politico

New Mexico governor calls Trump border crisis a ‘charade,’ withdraws state troops CBC

Why millions of people are getting hit with a surprise tax bill this year Vox

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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219 comments

  1. Mark Gisleson

    Just got a second soybean check from Trump (2 checks for a field I inherited that’s farmed by my brother). Don’t think for one second that Trump’s in trouble with any farmers not facing bankruptcy. No one was expecting that second check….

    Reply
  2. voteforno6

    File under 2020:

    Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s Mistreatment Of Staff Scared Off Candidates To Manage Her Presidential Bid

    It’s interesting, how people who are a-hole bosses use almost the exact same language in justifying their a-holeness:

    “High standards”
    “High expectations”

    With Klobuchar, though, we get this little twist:

    They question whether former co-workers who thought she was abusive were falling for sexist stereotypes about female leaders with high standards.

    So, people who aren’t a-holes don’t have high expectations? I’ve never understood that logic.

    Reply
    1. Mrs Smith

      I’ve worked for plenty of a$$hole bosses, some were men, some were women. A lot of that Huffpost article seems to imply sour grapes from some of her previous staff, but also maybe poor management/people skills on her part. That doesn’t make her an a$$hole boss, just a not very good one.

      I for one, would take tardy slips over gaslighting, backstabbing and underpayment any day, and as much as we hear about sexual harassment by congresscritters (mostly men), she falls pretty far down on my list of bad actors in congress.

      Reply
    2. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you.

      According to a French former colleague, well connected in City and Parisian banking circles, it was the same with the French former foreign minister and presidential candidate, Dominique de Villepin (who’s a Galouzeau, not a Villepin) in 2007.

      Reply
  3. Henry Moon Pie

    Tulsi Gabbard needs to stay in the Presidential race. While I don’t hold out much hope for electoral politics, especially at the federal level, somebody needs to be talking about the disease of violence and militarism that has engulfed this country.

    Gabbard has guts, guts enough to walk right into the heart of the Beast that is “Morning Joe,” while Bernie has been talking out of both sides of his mouth about Syria, Russia and Venezuela. He’s making a political calculation, and we can understand that the U.S. has so many severe problems that he prioritizes other things, but somebody needs to be talking for peace (imagine that!) and against PermaWar on those debate stages. Tulsi is helping Bernie’s case on the foreign policy side by opening room for him to move toward peace even if she pulls a couple of percentage points away from him in some primaries and caucuses. There is a risk if Bernie continues to dodge foreign policy issues that Tulsi will grab more than a few points because I think many Americans are as sick as I am of seeing our country uphold its GOAT status at purveying violence around the world.

    We are making a world that will hate the U. S. and Americans for generations, and the sooner we stop, the better it will be for our children and grandchildren.

    Reply
    1. Roger Smith

      Gabbard has guts, guts enough to walk right into the heart of the Beast that is “Morning Joe,” while Bernie has been talking out of both sides of his mouth about Syria, Russia and Venezuela. He’s making a political calculation, and we can understand that the U.S. has so many severe problems that he prioritizes other things, but somebody needs to be talking for peace (imagine that!) and against PermaWar on those debate stages.

      This is the prime reason why I think Gabbard is a better candidate. Sanders can talk about great national polices all day long but Congress has to pass them. When it comes to Presidential power, you are the top dog over the MIC and IC and can (at least attempt to) take direct action against that huge titan of corruption. Gabbard is flying right in their face. She also has the benefit of having been a veteran of one of these illegal wars, the most public one at that. I’d rather see Sanders stay in Congress while we flush the turds like Pelosi, Schumer, et al. out.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Linked elsewhere here is a description of Trump going eyeball-to-eyeball with the generals to reduce the military in Syria.

        My point is that we need to make anti-war policy the new absolute politician litmus test, and embrace any move to have less war from ANY corner welcome.

        So Tulsi gets my complete approval and Bernie with his prevaricating and triangulating gets my complete scorn.

        Henry M.P. you are 100% spot on.

        Reply
    2. Medbh

      I looked up her presidential campaign website after watching that video clip. She didn’t have any policy information on her website at all. It was primarily just about her life story. I hadn’t finished my coffee yet this morning so maybe I just missed it, but this type of information should be in the main menu. I’d love to support a candidate that brought some sanity to our military excesses.

      Seems very odd to have a campaign website with such little information about goals or positions. I haven’t looked at any of the other candidates yet, so maybe this isn’t unusual. I learned my lesson about style over substance with Obama, and am not falling for that again.

      Reply
      1. Lemmy Caution

        If you click on the Press Release button at the bottom of her tulsi2020.com page you can access various speeches, op-eds and annoucements she has authored that describe where she stands on many issues. I agree though, there should be an easy-to-access list of positions.

        Reply
      2. JohnnyGL

        https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/02/06/morning_joe_panel_vs_rep_tulsi_gabbard_is_assad_an_enemy_of_the_united_states.html

        Here’s the full video of Gabbard making heads explode in the heart of the blob. Watch the looks of horror as they barely contain their frothing at the mouth. Gabbard is very cool, composed the entire time and explains her thinking in a very sensible manner. This has got to be the best interview I’ve ever seen from her (not that she gets much airtime). I came away thoroughly impressed. She beat my expectations.

        She’s been clear as day on her stance in every speech, tweet, etc. I haven’t looked at campaign website, so maybe you’ve got a point and it needs some work.

        By comparison, yesterday, Lambert dropped a clip of Booker verbally dancing around for 3-4 minutes throwing out every policy idea about healthcare he’s every heard of, while committing firmly and clearly to NONE of them.

        Gabbard’s opening speech said quite simply, “Medicare for All” and moved on to the next topic.

        If any of us weren’t clear on why we need her in the conversation for 2020, she’s made it clear just how necessary she is to this race. AOC and Bernie have both ducked and dodged a lot more than I’d like to see on Venezuela while Gabbard has screamed “NO REGIME CHANGE WARS!!!” about as loud as she can on twitter (while maintaining her very calm, cool disposition, of course).

        If NC fans haven’t seen full clip, it’s worth watching.

        Reply
        1. Avalon Sparks

          Noticed the posters on Zerohedge also seem to like and even respect her, which I’ll admit was surprising to me, since it’s a bit leaning right site. The main concerns expressed was that she’d take their guns….

          Reply
        2. Steve

          Thanks so much for sharing the video. My head exploded with laughter when at the end one of pundits took the discussion down to the Fox news kindergarten level by asking if she thought Assad was a “good” person? While I agree she should stay in the race to impact the space in the public discourse, I also hope she and or allies can equally impact the space inside the Dem. party overlorded by donors and their minions. There are going to be big battles inside the party, win or lose, getting the no more regime change wars position is a political seed worth planting.

          Reply
        3. WestcoastDeplorable

          She’s a winner in my book, and she’s pushing back against her brethren who would enjoy (with glee) a nuke exchange with Russia.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            She is impressive also in that she was willing to meet with president-elect Trump in Nov. 2016, and described it, afterwards, as ‘frank and positive.’

            I think she knows how Trump felt when a top US commander recently said he was not consulted about us pulling out of Syria, and likely knows that she may want to do more, the same, or less than Trump in taking on the MIC, it will not be easy.

            Reply
            1. Procopius

              I wonder why a “top US commander” thinks his commanding officer should “consult” with him about his orders. Whoever this officer is should be cashiered for insubordination. Oh, I forgot, we don’t cashier officers any more, at least after they make field grade (major and above).

              Reply
        4. Procopius

          I strongly recommend her interview by Joe Rogan, which is available on YouTube. It’s long (I think three hours, I did not watch the whole thing), but she comes across as smart and, more important, sane. Of course the MSM will try to suppress any coverage of her — I can’t think how they let her get on Morning Joe.

          Reply
      3. Cal2

        Medbh, Have you seen Kamala Harris’ website?

        Nothing at all except racialist identity politics platitudes and mouthing support for the very things she voted against.

        Reply
    3. Morgan Everett

      Yeah, she should stay in. While I don’t think she has much any chance of winning, she does at least manage to push the Overton window on foreign policy. And it isn’t like Sanders’ run in 2016 wasn’t originally a quixotic draw attention to my issues run.

      Reply
      1. jrs

        that’s still Sander’s main effect so far, and it is a very REAL political effect with real impact on policy to drive things like the DSA etc. It’s a possible lasting legacy (even if he never becomes President) that the front runner (Clinton) definitely didn’t have on things.

        I like Tulsi, and think she has baggage.

        Reply
      2. ChrisPacific

        I like that she is willing to mix it up if she thinks she is in the right. She reminds me a bit of early Bernie Sanders. I don’t think she would rate her own chances of winning very highly, but she seems to be running because she believes in a position that she doesn’t feel is adequately represented at present (i.e., no more endless wars and regime change) and feels that voters who share her view should have someone on the ballot to represent them. As the Sanders run proves, you never know how far that can take you.

        She’s also younger than he is and has a longer political career ahead of her. She could lose this time around and still come out ahead if it positions her more strongly for 2024.

        Reply
      1. Chris

        If Tulsi was on top of that ticket it would make big waves and stand a good chance of winning IMO. I’d love to see the MSM argue that Bernie hates women when he’s a VP behind one. But then again, the MSM is convinced that Tulsi hates muslims, while their preferred candidates show their Islamophilia by bombing Muslim civilians to boody pieces. If that’s love, give me Tulsi’s brand of policy everytime.

        Reply
    4. Big River Bandido

      Gabbard endorsed Sanders in very dramatic fashion in 2016, and at great cost to her “advancement” (among the party establishment, that is) — she’s paying a high price with every news cycle. I’m sure that none of this is lost on Bernie Sanders, and that in the event of a Sanders Administration, Tulsi Gabbard’s star would rise very high, very fast. Gabbard is not going to win in 2020, and surely she knows that. That leaves her free to run a needed and salutary “issue campaign”.

      I think you are correct that Sanders is being “calculating” — but I approve of that, and both Machiavelli and Mushashi probably would have as well. I don’t believe a presidential candidate can directly confront both The Blob and The Banksters at once and survive politically. Better to destroy them one at a time, to prevent them from making common cause against you. There’s way more political hay to be raised in pillorying banksters (who are well-known, whose crimes are transparent to all, and who are almost universally hated by American voters) than the military-industrial complex (who are obscure, who commit their crimes in secrecy, and who even very intelligent Americans find inscrutable).

      Reply
    5. remmer

      “We are making a world that will hate the U. S. and Americans for generations . . .”

      Yes. There was a very good article in the December 24-31, 2018 New Yorker on camps for civilian refugees from Mosul, camps under the control of Shiite militias. The refugees are all Sunni, and there are almost no men among them, most men having been imprisoned or killed. The refugees are almost all small children and their mothers, who have to bargain with the militias to get basic necessities the Iraqi government doesn’t provide — the main medium of exchange being sex. Here’s the key passage:
      “The camps are a time bomb. The fathers are in prison or dead. The mothers are being raped. They will raise the kids accordingly, and their sons will seek revenge. This won’t just affect Mosul, or Nineveh, or Iraq. This will affect the whole world.”

      Reply
  4. WheresOurTeddy

    Tulsi Gabbard Is Driving The MSM Bat Shit Crazy Caitlin Johnstone

    This is right up there with the Bari Weiss podcast interview where she called Gabbard “monstrous” and an “Assad toady”, then when asked what a “toady” was by the host, and had to ask her assistant what it meant.

    They never taught the current crop of propagandists how to actually do journalism first and so many of them are truly terrible at the propaganda. Rubio tweeted about all the oil in Venezuela the other day for Pete’s sake and the comments were all to the effect of “you said the quiet part too loud, Marco”.

    Reply
    1. Roger Smith

      Weiss always struck me as an entitled child from the very little I had seen/read. Then I saw that Rogan video and wow… I was right. She is a high schooler who doesn’t know what the heck she is talking about, at all. And this girl works for the Grey Lady! They should hire me.

      Reply
      1. Trent

        And she’s attended one of western Pennsylvanias most prestigious private schools (Shadyside academy) and Columbia I believe. Speaks loudly of our meritocracy. Mommy and daddy have lots of friends me thinks.

        Reply
      2. Whoamolly

        Re: they should hire me

        They wouldn’t hire anyone who had the slightest chance of going off script on the ‘narrative if the day’.

        Intelligence, integrity and independent thought are not on the list of the job requirements.

        Reply
    2. Whoamolly

      “She had to ask her assistant”

      Assistant? Kind of indicates theres money and power behind this person. Someone apparently is willing to pay a couple salaries to smear Gabbard with what appear to be carefully thought out persuasion (propaganda) tactics.

      Reply
    3. False Solace

      Jimmy Dore posted a clip about this from his live show. It was simultaneously hilarious and pathetic. The spectacle of a supposedly elite journalist so totally uninformed, a graduate of elite schools so poorly educated (unable to spell or define the word toady while using it as an insult…), basically accusing a sitting Congressperson and Army major of treason. Just wow.

      Reply
  5. Rajesh K

    When I read stories like “FIGHT THE SHIP”, a part of me sympathizes with the sailormen. At the same time, this will be used to request even more funds for the armed forces.

    The 7th fleet will probably the force that will initiate WWIII.

    Reply
    1. Alex V

      Article is well written, but the reference to North Korea, China and Russia as “aggressive” were a definite turn off – sad to see ProPublica take imperial force projection as the preferred state of the military.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        I failed to bookmark the article, but a recent conclusion by the War Department is that “our” carriers simply cannot be defended against attacks by modern torpedos and missiles. So after spending $2.6 billion (as I recall) on “best Tech” defenses to be added to the Navy’s “admiral’s barges,” those big grey floating targets, the Navy is now starting the down cycle of the self-licking ice cream cone — over the next five or ten years, spending billions to remove all the expensively and ineffectively installed “systems” in all those Dumbos, which will sit idle (a blessing of sorts) while the “refits” are going on. Note that the admirals and other officers and ratings will continue to draw their pay, and for the admirals continue to be treated like royalty at public expense (speaking of private jets and posh quarters and the rest), while the contractors loot the treasury…

        Here’s one article that kind of announces the reality that the US naval strategy, that relies mostly on carrier groups as a means to “project power,” that imperial hubris thing, against places that can’t pose a reciprocal threat, is massively dumb (except as a great means to move the wealth that undergirds MMT from “socially useful” to dead-end “I am become Shiva” activities. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-carriers-specialreport/special-report-aircraft-carriers-championed-by-trump-are-vulnerable-to-attack-idUSKBN16G1CZ Not as clear and piquant as the article I now can’t find, but the picture is clear. Of course, “Navy Buffs” still peddle the notion that the $30 billion carrier loaded with all those offensive weapons for “power projection” and surrounded by another $30 billion of “escort screens” with all their “anti submarine” and “anti missile” weapons systems, will do just fine in the new world of both asymmetric and peer-to-peer combat. Too bad all the simulations and real world experiences like those described in the above link, along with ‘free play’ war games, shows that the War Machine of the Empire is a lot of dead ducks floating. “Free Play,” unlike the fudged scripting of what was then, at $225 million and after 2 years of planning, the most expensive war game ever, “Millenium Challenge 2002,” where the little “Red” country’s forces destroyed most of the invading “Blue” fleet and troops, And had to be “reset” to produce the desired outcome, http://geopoliticsalert.com/millennium-challenge-us-navy-lost-simulated-war-iran

        Jeez, one gets tired and depressed thinking about all the stupid human tricks that just run on until they finally run into a dead end. As with two world wars, and now the wheezing, unacknowledgeable “fail” that is the vast enterprise of “War, the Racket” in the Graveyard of Empires, Notagainistan… All so predictable, with all efforts to avoid the inevitable outcome, by recognizing that “the only way to win is not to play the game,” so very futile.

        But yes, “live the best we can, while we can.”

        Reply
        1. Lee

          I failed to bookmark the article, but a recent conclusion by the War Department is that “our” carriers simply cannot be defended against attacks by modern torpedos and missiles

          When was the last time our military fought a country with advanced military technology? These carriers are for pounding the crap out of countries with 5th rate military capabilities. And still, we can’t even beat them.

          Reply
        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Luckily (or maybe it’s unfortunately), China has spent lots of money as well to acquire and update one from Ukraine, through an entity in Macao who originally wanted to convert that sword of a ship to a plowing, fun filled, cruise ship.

          And Beijing is buiilding (maybe has completed doing) a second power-projecting admiral’s barge.

          It’s like American is setting a really bad example here, and others are copying. One more folly to fess up to.

          Reply
          1. JTMcPhee

            Classes and categories: “the military” and “the Game of Risk ™ geopoliticians” and the “neoliberal looters” are not bounded by “loyalty” and “patriotic affection” to states or nations. They are separate but allied castes, who speak the same language of “threat” and “dominance,” and drink from the same bottomless cups and eat from the same cornucopian rice bowls.

            Lots of warship worship and that continual tail-chase to get into position to shove a missile up “the enemy’s” tailpipe (interesting Freudian overtones) and eventually, with luck, to find that “one ring to rule them all,” whether it’s that master key to all the cyberassets in the world, or that virus or prion that could be used to threaten the whole human population so a future Dr. Evil could demand “One. Million. Dollars!” or those “Slaughterbot ™ drones,” or of course the nuclear option doomsday weapons.

            Anyone see any way out of the positive-feedback, negative sum ending of all that? The “militaries” of all nations are in the game, together. they share their tech and fantasies and sell weapons back and forth and do the Spy-vs-Spy thing, totally out of and maybe beyond control. Fermi Paradox territory?

            God bless us, every one.

            Reply
            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              That’s true about not being bounded by loyalty to nations.

              Some commanders-in-chief do it publicly, or at least one. Luckily (for us), he is being investigated.

              Reply
        3. JohnnySacks

          The assumption that any ship can shoot incoming missiles out of the sky is ridiculous. Those tests are executed under heavily scripted scenarios, scenarios which go to chaos immediately in any real conflict. The fact that a person capable of independent thought can be brainwashed into believing that fairy tale is astounding. We’re so used to beating up on the weakest kid on the playground that we’ve come to expect the same outcome up against an enemy armed with more that IEDs, small arms, and Korean War vintage Scud missiles. Here’s an old article that sums up why our Persian Gulf Navy is fish food within a half hour after the first missile is launched on Iran better than I ever could. Sure, our defenses have improved since, but offense improves also, and our defenses were never as good as our arrogance assumed they were to begin with. Iran: A Bridge Too Far

          Reply
          1. Kilgore Trout

            Absolutely horrifying article. But I think the author is too optimistic. I’m afraid we’d escalate to a nuclear response as soon as it became apparent our Persian Gulf fleet was lost.

            Reply
        4. Posaunist

          Since the advent of nuclear-powered submarines the U.S. submarine corps, and no doubt those of other countries, refer to surface ships as “targets.” There is no effective defense against stealth and torpedoes.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            I was just reading yesterday that an extremely anti-torpedo system for those carriers had to scrapped and removed as being useless in spite of all the money spent of it. You might be able to shoot down an incoming missile out the the sky but you cannot do the same for a torpedo so those carriers remain vulnerable.

            Reply
            1. Procopius

              No, you can’t shoot an incoming missile out of the sky. Every single “test” of anti-missile defenses was fudged and/or failed. They even failed many of the tests they cheated on. I mean the ones where they installed radar transponders in the targets to help them see and track the target.

              Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Lots of potential conflicts to start WWIII.

      Maybe North Korea vs. Japan.

      Taiwan and China.

      Russia and Ukraine.

      India and Pakistan.

      China and India.

      Venezuela.

      And others.

      Reply
    3. rd

      This article is the outcome of the affirmation of Parkinson’s Law: https://www.economist.com/news/1955/11/19/parkinsons-law

      The problem is not that there is not enough money or people; instead it is simply that the money and the people are spent on the wrong things. So instead of spending money on ships and crews that are actually the purpose of the Navy, the money gets spent on more glamorous and bureaucratic programs that have little to no value for anything other than promoting shore-based staff. One of Parkinson’s examples was the increase in British Admiralty staffing as the number of ships shrunk.

      Reply
  6. bronco

    So the World Bank article is odd , why wouldn’t we want that destroyed ? Get rid of it entirely , destroying it from within by appointing a critic to lead it sounds like an excellent idea.

    More BS neoliberal hand wringing

    Reply
    1. anon y'mouse

      yeah, i am highly suspect now of Varoufakis’ Diem25 wanting to “reform” the IMF and World Bank for….drum roll: “helping to bring the GReen New Deal to the rest of the world”. then holding a soignee’ art auction to fund themselves. i think they just revealed who their REAL potential constituents are–people who can go to and bid on art at art auctions. those types must LOVE the idea of “reforming” those two international economic and resource raping agencies, who have probably created almost as much poverty and misery worldwide as the U.S. military and foreign corp. the question is: why? is this some intellectual blind spot? which country would be willing to walk into that lion’s den to ask for “green project” financing? especially after those two gang-banged your people the first time?

      the idea is similar to a person asking their long-term abusive spouse (think 20 years) for money to go to a psychologist to deal with the issues created by their abuse. or alternately, asking someone who oppressed you for funds to go to college (in an attempt to negate your oppressive circumstance). that Varoufakis and his people can’t see that is sad. and no, i don’t quite care that “not everyone who works for those agencies is a neoliberal foot soldier”. the presence of internal critics means nothing when devastation and destruction has been the policy forever, and was the goal in founding those institutions in the first place.

      Reply
      1. Cal2

        You all know that the world bank is all for Transit Oriented Development?
        That’s where local suburban zoning laws, environmental impact reports, watershed protection and community input are jettisoned in favor of stack and pack developments that profit developers and move large numbers of strangers, chosen by lottery, into existing communities.

        http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/transport/publication/transforming-the-urban-space-through-transit-oriented-development-the-3v-approach

        Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “Imperial Exceptionalism”

    It should be also mentioned that any Empire that has an eagle for a symbol always crashes and burns. Rome used the eagle as a symbol with their military, Napoleonic eagles were used with their regiments, the Wehrmacht also used the eagle as a symbol. I think that you can see where this is going.

    Reply
          1. wilroncanada

            It’s clear why Canada would never join with the US. The US symbol is the bald eagle; the Canadian symbol is the beaver. Combined the symbol would be the bald beaver. Brazil has already claimed that.

            Reply
      1. LifelongLib

        Well, if you include the eastern part the Roman Empire lasted 1400 years. The corrupt and inefficient Turkish Empire clanked along for 800.

        “Eventually” can be a very long time…

        Reply
      2. Joe Well

        Only to be replaced by other empires. Which have almost all been more murderous than the current world order. Which is why I’m not rooting for the fall of the Uncle Sam…

        Reply
  8. zagonostra

    >Tulsi Gabbard Is Driving The MSM Bat Shit Crazy

    Military interventionism is by far the most depraved and destructive aspect of the US-centralized power establishment, and it is also the most lucrative and strategically crucial, which is why so much energy is poured into ensuring that the American people don’t use the power of their numbers to force that interventionism to end

    As Edward Herman & Chomsky in their “propaganda model”, in Manufacturing Consent, point out, it is not the “American people” the M$M targets, it’s the 20%. This minority corresponds to the “professional class” that Thomas Frank talks about. It’s the teachers, attorneys, managers,nurses, doctors, bureaucrats, that are administering the system.

    Like many of my family members, they are very busy and do not have time to delve into the issues and pick up pieces here and there, maybe at the T.V.s blaring CNN at airport terminals on their way to a meeting, or on NPR driving to work. For the “numbers” that Caitlin Johnston refers to, well, they may be too far gone…look at how many clicks a YouTube video with a little cleavage garners, or an animal attack, etc…and compare to how many people are parsing and calling out the lies of M$M spews out by using sites like this one to get at the truth.

    Reply
    1. jrs

      teachers are in the top 20%, really? I have some doubts about nurses either. Ok some professor with tenure somewhere maybe, but teachers in general? Maybe teachers and nurses should be top 20%, but uh it’s traditionally women’s work so the pay wasn’t there.

      Reply
      1. zagonostra

        I didn’t mention income or “top,” if I did I was mistaken.

        The 20% refers to that segment – though struggling economically – are still are able to provide a decent life for themselves and their family, healthcare, shelter, food, safe environment, etc…The “propaganda model” assumes that that is the corporate media target market.

        You keep them (20%) distracted with Democratic and Republican theatrics using the police power of the State to keep the other 79% in check, assiduously avoiding discussions of structural problems.

        Reply
      2. Joe Well

        Teachers have a median annual salary of about $58k, which is lower than the median for college educated and graduate-school-educated workers, but still puts almost half of teachers in the top 20% of income earners.

        My interpretation is that anyone who has stable employment (and teaching is still a relatively stable employment; you are much more likely to quit in disgust than be fired) is already miles ahead of all the Americans who are unemployed, underemployed, or precariously employed, gig-economy’d, etc.

        From what I know of teachers here in the wealthy northeast, the strongest complaints aren’t about salary but about professional autonomy, working conditions, understaffing, and the bald-faced cynical lies of elected officials, the media, etc. In some Republican-dominated states like West Virginia, abysmal salaries are a bigger concern.

        Reply
    2. pjay

      I think these are important points. A lot of what we criticize here as the “MSM” is aimed at the professional-managerial class, who have been taught to trust their fellow “professionals” in the elite media to inform them about the world beyond their own bubbles of specialized knowledge. This group, in turn, controls the institutions and information shaping the lives of the majority — including TV shows like Morning Joe. Emotional appeals to patriotism are powerful among the masses, which is why the smear tactics of the Morning Joe crew were so despicable (they knew what they were doing).

      I completely agree with Johnstone that exposing the MIC empire is the absolute Third Rail for the Powers That Be, and therefore the most dangerous topic for any public figure. *Please* keep talking Tulsi — and watch your back!

      Reply
    3. Grant

      I think the language the establishment uses is really interesting. When they ask Gabbard whether Syria or Assad is our enemy, who exactly determines these things? Did you or I get asked what we think of Syria and its impact on us? Did the public at large get asked whether Syria is our enemy? No, a relatively small group of people high up in the government (most of whom will one day be paid by war profiteers to spread propaganda or to get nice government contracts) decided this or that country is our enemy. When the media asks people like Gabbard, they are essentially claiming that the opinion of a small group of people constitutes the opinion of the “US” regarding another country, government or leader. It doesn’t. It is a relatively small group of people that have power because some corrupt politicians gave them power. They were never elected, and I was never asked about any foreign government, country and leader. So, I don’t have to accept their opinion, their opinions don’t constitute the US’s position, nor do I have to accept their (often twisted) logic either. It’s an authoritarian mindset. I am also reminded of the Church Committee and all of the information that came out about the CIA and the intelligence community controlling large parts of our media. I realize that this media system isn’t exactly like the old Soviet system. MSNBC might not be like Pravda or state TV exactly, but it isn’t that far off either.

      I am also reminded of Orwell’s original introduction to Animal Farm, which was critical of the Western media too.

      From Orwell, “The sinister fact about literary censorship in England is that it is largely voluntary. Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban. … The British press is extremely centralized, and most of it is owned by wealthy men who have every motive to be dishonest on certain important topics. But the same kind of veiled censorship also operates in books and periodicals, as well as in plays, films and radio. At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is “not done” to say it, just as in mid-Victorian times it was “not done” to mention trousers in the presence of a lady. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.”

      Reply
  9. timbers

    Eyeball to eyeball:

    Few other foreign policy decisions of this administration have sparked more criticism than Donald Trump’s announcement that he will remove U.S. troops from Syria. Even as he declared last night during his State of the Union address that “as a candidate for president, I loudly pledged a new approach…. Great nations do not fight endless wars,” he drew a tepid response from Congress. The planned applause line fell discernibly flat.

    Nobody in Washington wants to ride the peace train. All aboard the War Express.

    And Gabby will be gutted if not by the corporate pro war media, than by Democratic rigging of elections.

    Reply
    1. Steve H.

      Tulsi is tough. ‘Stop the Wars’ is the fight Sanders hasn’t picked, but others can carry that weight, which may be the biggest one. Tulsi and Trump make quite a triangulation.

      I’m pretty sure she knows she can’t win the Oval. The US could barely elect a Catholic, never elected a Jew, and she’s a polytheist. Na ga hap. But she is a devastating power puncher on military affairs, Sec Def is a real possibility. I’ve contacted her to support her run, she can savage the flank and open up the neck for Sanders.

      Reply
      1. John k

        Perfect fit for Bernie. Female, young, good looking, vet, and moving the window.
        IMO she’s running for his veep… and being in the race deflects some of the vitriol that would otherwise be aimed at Bernie.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          If we thought politics was mean spirited during the 2016 campaign, I fear that “we ain’t seen nothing yet!”

          Reply
          1. Big River Bandido

            Establishment pols and their media sycophants are like hogs stuck under a gate. If they aren’t squealing, you know you’re not getting to them.

            Reply
      2. Joe Well

        never elected a Jew

        Yeah, how are we ever going to elect a Jewish president when the Democratic party is being destroyed by diversity-hating Berniebros?

        /s (putting in the sarcasm tag because I’ve gotten myself in trouble before)

        Reply
    2. Carolinian

      Nobody in Washington wants to ride the peace train.

      One could argue it’s the very reason we have a duopoly. No dissent is to be allowed when it comes to empire. Perhaps destroying democracy in other countries–making their economies “scream”–is how the elites send a ruthless message to our own US population. During Reagan times I used to believe that the Reaganauts were doing in Central America what they would do in this country if they could get away with it. Back then the Dems at least supplied a bit of pushback. These days Pelosi would be cheering on the Contras.

      Reply
      1. timbers

        Yes. I started paying attn to politics during the run up to the War in Iraq. I came to believe Dems or a good number of them supported peace.

        Then I watched Obama as President and changed my mind.

        Then I watched Hillary, Obama and Dems do Russia!Russia! and changed to my mind again, this time to the possibility that Dems have become even bigger warmongers that Repubs.

        While I believe many Americans – either a majority or a plurality – support peace, the corporate media and political establishment has so far neutralized and sidelined them almost to the point of disappearing.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          Big word, “war.” Never defined with much specificity, even, as I’ve noted many times, in the Pentagram’s Big Golden Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, https://www.jcs.mil/Portals/36/Documents/Doctrine/pubs/dictionary.pdf, where the term is used hundreds of times as part of a compound (“warfighter,” etc) or stand-alone. Everybody who counts, at least, sort of acknowledges it as a shibboleth, an elastic “everybody knows what it means” meme that can encompass the entire planet (“Global Network-Centric Battlespace,” e.g.) and all its people and resources and environment.

          Another big word is “peace.” Also used, hundreds of times, in that Big Golden Dictionary of Military and Associated terms, also undefined except by inference from usage. Like this, which of course is one “operation” that is not ever going to happen if the War Party Duopoly and its parasites and tumors have their way:

          demobilization — 1. The process of transitioning a conflict or wartime military establishment and defense-based civilian economy to a peacetime configuration while maintaining national security and economic vitality. 2. The process necessary to release from active duty, or federal service, units and Reserve Component members who were ordered to active duty or called to federal service. See also mobilization. (JP 4-05)

          Words are important. Words have meaning. Except for words that become whatever “war” and “peace” have become, as the human population heads toward 7 billion. “We” the mopery talk about “peace,” but what do “we” mean by that? What are the indicia of “peace?” What are its constituent parts and functions? Not just the absence of “war,” not a useful lexical construct. The New Oxford Dictionary offers this:

          Peace
          noun
          1Freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility: You can while away an hour or two in peace and seclusion.
          -Mental calm; serenity: The peace of mind this insurance gives you.
          2 a state or period in which there is no war or war has ended: The Straits were to be opened to warships in time of peace / [in singular] : the peace didn’t last.
          -[in singular]
          a treaty agreeing to the cessationof war between warring states: support for a negotiated peace
          -freedom from civil disorder: police action to restore peace
          -freedom from dispute or dissension between individuals or groups: the 8.8 percent offer that promises peace with the board

          Lots of subtle manufacture of consent in that set of definitions, no? Like that “peace” is (and historically has been) just an interlude between “wars,” and “peace of mind from insurance,” and “police action to restore peace.”

          So what kind of peaceful political economy do “we” want to live in, what can “we,” or will we, be willing and able to do to achieve “a just and lasting peace…”?

          Reply
        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          A plurality of Americans, strategically deployed among an Electoral College majority of states; could not be neutralized and sidelined enough to prevent us from electing Trump. That could be the first crack in the wall, if people wish to take it that way.

          Perhaps the Democratic Party will be confused and off-balanced enough to be unable to rig-fraudulate Sanders out of the nomination next time, the way they did it last time. And between Sanders, Warren and Gabbard; people can see how big the “dissident Democrat” vote will be through the primaries.

          I hope in the months to come that millions of ordinary supporters and lowest-level campaign volunteers and operatives for Sanders, Warren AND Gabbard will hold extensive and intensive meetings with eachother about how to pool their delegate votes at the Convention on the Second Ballot so as to stop, and keep stopping, every Mainstream Democrat choice which the Mainstream DemParty Leaders will put forward. I hope all the people connected with those three candidates will be willing to support whichEVer one of them has the most and highest numbers of hard supporters at whatever critical decision time-point is most relevant.
          If that means that Gabbard has the most actual supporters at the particular point in time when the decision has to be made, that the Warren and Sanders supporters would all be willing to switch their support to Gabbard in order to use her as a nail-studded bludgeon with the most possible force behind it to smash and explode the eyes out of the Mainstream DemParty’s eye-sockets with. And if Sanders has the most support at that critical timepoint, I hope that the other two candidates’ supporters can all unite behind Sanders as the most effective tire iron for smashing all the teeth out of the Mainstream DemParty’s mouth at the gumline. And if Warren has the most support of the three, I hope the supporters of the other two can all agree to support Warren to make her the most effective ice pick possible for stabbing deep into the brainstem of the Mainstream Clintonite Sh*tobamacrat DemParty

          Do insurgent and dissident Dems really understand that the Mainstream Dems will have to be purged, burned and exterminated out of public life and out of the DemParty before it can be taken over and used for pro-public purpose? I hope the three nomination seekers and their supporters will act in the spirit which I have just described.

          Reply
    1. Judith

      Here is my not-confident guess. I am assuming the photo obscures the belly of the rail, which would show any banding.

      red-legged crake (Rallina fasciata).

      Reply
      1. icancho

        That’s what I thought at first (that it was R. fasciata), but I am now seeing it as a Chestnut-headed Crake, Rufirallus castaneiceps, given the colour of the back.

        Reply
        1. Judith

          The only picture I could find of the chestnut-headed crake looked as if it had dark legs, unlike the red-legged crake. Not much online info for the chestnut-side crake, however.

          Reply
          1. icancho

            well, I just followed this pic to its origins in a tweet from samthebirder, who operates out of India, and he says this bird is a Ruddy-breated crake, Zaporina fusca, so, assuming he took this pic in s. Asia, it certainly couldn’t be my suggested South American species, despite the very close similarity! Live & learn!

            Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      Judging from it’s appearance, I feel certain it took the red-eye from Perth to Sydney, if that helps in identification.

      Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      This article reminded me of another trend but that is more long term. We had to move my mother out of her unit not that long ago as she was too old to stay there and had already broken her hip and had to wait until somebody checked on her to find her.
      We had to get rid of most of her stuff as she could not take it to the nursing home she was moving to. A lot of the smaller goods and trinkets we took to charity shops and I saw how the shelves were almost overflowing with such good quality things. And I mean good quality stuff.
      It then occurred to me that nearly all her generation was either passing away or downgrading or moving to a retirement home to live. As these people had to downsize in any case, or had family having to get rid of their things, a lot of this stuff was going to such charity shops which explained possibly why there was so much stuff there. As the baby-boomers age even more, I would expect the tempo to increase here.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        The very same mechanism is driving the collectibles* market in a downwards spiral of too much inventory coming on the market as baby boomers and their parents downsize, while millennials could care less about the debris field they leave behind, they aren’t into it.

        * average stuff, not ne plus ultra $48 million 1962 Ferraris, et al.

        Reply
      2. Robert McGregor

        “As these people had to downsize in any case, or had family having to get rid of their things, a lot of this stuff was going to such charity shops which explained possibly why there was so much stuff there. As the baby-boomers age even more, I would expect the tempo to increase here.”

        More and more of that stuff will end up in landfills since fewer and fewer in the generations after the Baby Boomers have the 3-level homes to house all that shit. 2 bedroom apartments if they’re lucky, or 1 small room in a motel. Or homeless. As George Carlin said, “Houses are containers for holding crap,” and millennials won’t be buying those 3-level, crap-holders.

        Reply
      3. RUKidding

        One of my siblings is a major hoarder (real problem), who also sells antiques and used items in a number of different stores in their area (western PA). The three stores where they work are LOADED to the gills, and I regularly hear tales of lots of “looking” but not much buying.

        Indeed, it’s true that as the older generation – now mainly the Korean War gang – moves into retirement/nursing homes, they are purging their stuff, and the boomers aren’t far behind.

        Reply
      4. Cal2

        This is an excellent opportunity for all Americans to stock their homes with high quality American made items that will never be seen again in our lifetimes. I have a closet full of beautiful Brooks Brothers and Nordstrom’s shirts and sweaters that I bought for a couple bucks each.

        I have a card with all my friends’ collar/sleeve sizes and pant waist/lengths. I grab the great stuff for them when I’m looking for my own wants, no extra time involved.

        The look on the face of a young guy who has never worn anything but t-shirts and Carhardt work clothes when they appear in public dressed in high quality clothing is amazing.
        “Bro, I can’t believe how people treat me differently. the way the ladies react.” etc.

        Is there some reason that you can’t carry a size card for your friends?

        What is this ongoing trend going to do to Target and other retailers of cheap Chinese crap as well as clothing sales? It’s got to hurt them. Not only are younger people buying less, but now they have all this almost free higher quality stuff available.

        Reply
        1. newcatty

          Cal2, Yes, agree nice time to buy nice quality clothes at thrift or second hand stores. Just an opinion on your statements about how ” the way the ladies react”. Perhaps this is more an observation from a older lady, who has some experience in the society. First: for all the ladies reading this now., a word of causion. It is an old saw: don’t judge a book by its cover. Lots of sad tales of ladies meeting men who are sharp dressed, but come to find out its a cover for a dull knife or a blunt instrument.

          Reply
          1. Cal2

            Oh, so you think women are looking for a sharp operator with a rapier wit, to continue the metaphor then?

            At least the ladies will more likely talk to a man wearing a nice shirt, whether or not he’s a jerk. They usually won’t even interact with a guy in a T-shirt.

            Also, there’s a sense of responsibility when dressed better. I have noticed that guys act nicer when they are treated better. I doubt my proffered button downs are going to create any Don Juans.

            Reply
    1. integer

      My apologies to the NC hosts and commentariat for my drunk posting of the above links to rap songs that some may have found offensive. I don’t even really listen to that sort of music anymore, although did when I was younger. I decided to quit drinking beer a couple of months ago, but after finding out I got an interview for a job I hope to get I thought I’d make an exception and do a little celebrating while seeing what was going on around the interweb. Needless to say, I ended up doing a little too much celebrating. Anyway, I think I have now experienced my last ever hangover because I am now almost certain that I am going quit drinking beer, and alcohol in general, on a permanent basis (!). Some might say it’s unAustralian not to drink beer, but hey; life is better, for me at least, without alcohol. Quite surprised to have reached this conclusion after all these years.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether

        > I think I have now experienced my last ever hangover because I am now almost certain that I am going quit drinking beer, and alcohol in general, on a permanent basis (!)

        One day at a time, my friend. One day at a time.

        Reply
  10. The Rev Kev

    “The Open Office and the Spirit of Capitalism”

    I think that in years to come that this will be known as the era of corporate mismanagement and offices will be held up as an example of how things were done so wrong. Want a few examples? Humans value territoriality so management brings in “hot-desking”, humans value privacy so they knock down walls and have a huge open office where you have none. Humans need a bit of quiet to work efficiently so open offices means you hear the voices & noises from everyone! Standing all day is exhausting and puts a strain on backs and joints so they bring in standing desks. Management encourages multi-tasking but which your brain is not set up for which reduces efficiency. Over-illumination makes you tired so they bring in fluro lights everywhere. Also, management gives pep talks which is proven to cause long term depression but when management really wants to gum up the works and kill creativity – they hold more meetings!

    Reply
    1. dro

      This year is the 20th anniversary of the movie Office Space. There were some memorable scenes about how cubicles are dehumanizing, but it could not have anticipated that work places would move to open offices that are even worse than cubicles.

      Reply
      1. Conrad

        Wow that makes me feel old. I always thought I’d be a Peter but am rapidly becoming a Milton, complete with my treasured all metal stapler.

        Reply
            1. wilroncanada

              Yea for real utility! I was in the office supplies business, at various levels, almost continuously from 1964 to 1994. I witnessed the crapification of almost all office products. The crapification has continued unabated since. I have a small (half-strip) Apsco 4004R stapler I bought at University of Toronto in 1964, still working well. We bought an old Office Specialty cabinet about ten years ago from Crown Assets Disposal, BC’s centre for products the government is replacing. It was about 40 years old when we bought it, a made in Canada product. We see no need to replace it, in spite of the olive green colour (remember that?). I have other examples, but I don’t want to bore you.

              Reply
  11. allan

    “Siding With ‘Loan Sharks’ Over Consumers, Trump CFPB Moves to Gut Payday Lender Regulations”

    Another big win for the back row kids (/s) while the front row kids in the draining swamp take it on the chin (/s):

    “U.S. Banks Win $21 Billion Trump Tax Windfall Then Cut Staff, Loaned Less” [Bloomberg]:

    Major U.S. banks shaved about $21 billion from their tax bills last year — almost double the IRS’s annual budget — as the industry benefited more than many others from the Republican tax overhaul.

    By year-end, most of the nation’s largest lenders met or exceeded their initial predictions for tax savings. On average, the banks saw their effective tax rates fall below 19 percent from the roughly 28 percent they paid in 2016. And while the breaks set off a gusher of payouts to shareholders, firms cut thousands of jobs and saw their lending growth slow. …

    Reply
  12. JCC

    Regarding “Cities Are Blazing The Trail Toward Healthcare For All”, Sally Pipes says:

    “Personally, I resent paying the Healthy SF tax for mainly undocumented workers on my restaurant bills in San Francisco as I am already paying for my own health care”

    Ms Pipes of Pacific Research Institute (“Promoting the principles of individual freedom and personal responsibility”) makes over $365,000.00/yr. She resents contributing a little extra on all her restaurant bills for the health insurance of those who pick the lettuce for her salad and cleans up after her. I’m sure we all feel sorry for this poor woman!

    https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=7433

    (Side Note: Pacific Research Institute’s rating isn’t that good)

    Reply
    1. Kurtismayfield

      “Personally, I resent paying the Healthy SF tax for mainly undocumented workers on my restaurant bills in San Francisco as I am already paying for my own health care”

      These people are so short sighted… Either you pay people more (and more for the products/services they are producing), or you subsidize them to live. She wants her cake (cheap produce and restaurant labor) without paying the full price.

      Plus you are paying for emergency room care of people without insurance in your health care premiums and taxes.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        A large swath of the “Enabling Class” is not on board with your two choices. They implicitly support a Third Way: Neo-liberal Rule #2 – “Go die.”
        The present elites now view human labour as a disposable “asset.” In a sense, such a world view could be just a ‘reversion to mean.’ The more rapacious aristocrats seemed to have viewed and treated their ‘underlings’ as animals, perfectly comfortable with killing them off when they became a nuisance. There are perfectly good reasons why human social interrelations so often broke out into violence, initiated from both sides. (Simplistic I’ll admit, but, you get the point.)

        Reply
        1. JacobiteInTraining

          Disposable ‘go-die’ peeps shall thus do their best to acquire the worst of communicable diseases and….well, communicate them. Widely.

          To all Classes in a fair and balanced equitably-shared manner shall we go forth – coughing, sneezing, phlegming and bleeding on all and sundry as we go hither and yon.

          I mean, at least it will give the last few hours/days of our Black Death/Smallpox experience a happier and more productive mindset. Sort of like a chicken-pox party…but with *everyone* invited! :)

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            I sort of like that idea. We’re all one big unhappy family! Tolstoy had something to say about that.
            The new fangled reboot of a Tolstoy classic: “War and More War.”

            Reply
    2. Judith

      I think it is a good idea that the people harvesting the produce I eat are healthy, both for their continued well being and mine.

      Reply
    3. Cal2

      We need M4A, not cities administering their own health care systems. San Francisco is my home town and I have witnessed a lot in the last 60+ years.

      The article on Zuckerberg Hospital billing is a warning about the local misapplication of “giving poor people healthcare.”
      https://www.vox.com/2019/2/1/18206893/zuckerberg-hospital-er-surprise-billing-suspension

      The hospital is run by the San Francisco Department of Public Health. As in most city departments it’s a politicized and corrupt disaster.

      There’s a lot of money available. All large San Francisco employers have to pay into a 1.5% payroll tax, except the tech companies in special tax free zones, like Twitter. Stock options? Nope, no payroll tax on those millions, you’re welcome tech bro! That’s not mentioned in the article.

      Restaurants collect an additional “Healthy San Francisco” charge for employee health care administered by the city.

      Larger employers pay a brand new special homeless tax.

      But, where does this money actually go? The city offers free health care to the city’s homeless. (7,499 in 2017)
      https://projects.sfchronicle.com/sf-homeless/2018-state-of-homelessness/
      Great site with informative graphics.

      With the new homeless tax, Proposition C, the per person, per year, cost of all services to the ‘homeless’ is $70,000 each.

      Also, free city I.D. cards are provided to 44,000 illegals in the city so that they can apply for free healthcare and other city services.

      Most importantly, that gives them the right to vote in local elections to perpetuate the giveaway government.
      https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/san-francisco-allows-undocumented-immigrants-vote-school-elections-n893221

      The money “solution” to homelessness and poor undocumented migrants attracts more and more of both, what a surprise.

      Someone has to pay for all this in the hospital. The “two million in fees collected” is a drop in the bucket. “NHOR” is hospital billing code for “No Hope Of Recovery.” That will be the ‘homeless’, the ‘undocumented family’ that has no money and the drug O.D.s.

      From the first link above, the middle class man who owes the hospital more than $92,000 for an emergency appendectomy and gets an “adjusted” bill for $90,000, or the woman who goes to the E.R. after a bike accident, who does have insurance, and is billed out of network for $20.000+, they are the ones that pay.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        >The money “solution” to homelessness and poor undocumented migrants attracts more and more of both, what a surprise.

        What’s your basis for this claim? And even accepting said claim, what’s your threshold? But that I mean, so I get one homeless and X hard-working migrants due to the fact that if they fall off a ladder here they can get help whereas back home, not so much. What number do you think “X” is today, and what number do you think it needs to be?

        Because don’t tell me that the current value of “X” is zero. It sure the (family blog) isn’t.

        And don’t think I’m a bleeding heart, because I think the population of the world ideally should be half what it is, evenly (de) distributed across all regions. But on an individual basis, I don’t judge people on where they come from or the language they speak.

        Reply
        1. Cal2

          Thank you for a rational policy discussion.
          My “claim”; Were there zero dollars spent on homeless services, zero benefits to illegals, do you really think the same number would be here? Places with far better weather and more natural settings, ie Santa Barbara, but with far fewer services, less money spent and actual law enforcement, have far fewer homeless.
          Don’t assume all ‘migrants,’ legal and otherwise, are hard working, or even working.
          Back home there’s free or very inexpensive healthcare for Mexican citizens were they to fall off a ladder. Probably far better then most of the U.S.
          My X? Zero $ for illegals, and similarly only limited tax $ for homeless locals who are actually from here and have contributed to the city. The voluntary arrivals can rely on private charities, or, as they can presently, get a tax payer paid free Greyhound ticket home, which they usually refuse, because of the services they get here.
          So, all the people in the world who work on ladders or shoot meth should come to San Francisco because we care for them so well? Don’t be surprised when numbers increase. Turnabout, what number of illegals do you think S.F. should accept, shelter and pay for? Where do you live by the way? Are you affected by any of this?

          You don’t judge; great, write all the checks you want to charities. Just don’t expect taxpayers to do so. I’m sure there’s room on your floor to house a few people, maybe even their kids who decided to change countries. Be generous man!

          Reply
    4. RUKidding

      The Ms. Pipes of this country are all selfish freeloaders, frankly. They want their cake and eat it, too. Sure probably Ms. Pipes works hard and earns her money, but so does the restaurant worker, who’s not paid fairly for their work, like the lucky (having won the sperm & egg lottery) Ms. Pipes is.

      If lower paid workers – often those who are the bedrock of our society providing super needed work and services – are not somehow compensated for health insurance (that maybe equates to health care), then they’re gonna go to the ER – and Ms. Pipes will be paying even MORE to subsidize that via her health care premiums, deductibles & out of pocket expenses.

      So tired of selfish, short-sighted people living in their cozy dream world of : I got MINE, eff you. It’s the Ms. Pipes of this country who are costing ME more, not the restaurant worker.

      Reply
      1. Cal2

        So now the restaurant workers can go to the E.R. for free and middle class people get financially raped to offset their free care? That’s not fair.
        BTW, will you vote for Kamala based on her sperm & egg status which she and her supporters highlight as one of her main attributes?

        Reply
        1. False Solace

          I take it you’re a big supporter of M4A, which would ensure middle class people are not “raped” while also taking care of the people you find so objectionable.

          Personally I would rather be “unfair” than allow people to die in the street. Fortunately, under single payer we can avoid both. Have a nice day.

          Reply
  13. Watt4Bob

    From the Tasmania is burning article;

    Scott Morrison’s proudest boast is that when the barbarians were at the gate, he stopped them. But now the truth is clear: the barbarians were never at the gate. They were always here, in the palace, in power, and they were blinding us with their lie that the enemies who would destroy our world were the wretched and powerless who sought asylum here.

    Describing the antics of fossil fuel/coal industry champion, and climate change denier Morrison in the Tasmanian parliament, who brought a lump of coal as a prop and told everyone it wouldn’t hurt them.

    His country is now suffering immense wild fires.

    Sounds and looks exactly like our own James Inhofe from Oklahoma, who brought a snowball onto the Senate floor for similar reasons.

    All over the world, the idjit barbarians are in charge.

    Reply
    1. jrs

      as one commentator on that article writes:

      “Politicians globally are quite incapable of getting us out of this massive bind. It seems as if the world’s most vacuous people, mostly males, are aggregated and placed into government, banking and corporates. What hope do us ordinary people have?”

      Reply
      1. False Solace

        It almost makes one wish that genetic engineering could be employed to weed out people with no compassion or empathy. Sadly it appears that as soon as a person becomes rich they lose empathy for others — this has been documented in multiple studies — as though handing someone bags of money simultaneously removes their conscience. Maybe we could locate people immune to this phenomenon and encourage them to breed. Over time we’d become a kinder, more compassionate species, which would give me a reason to mourn our forthcoming, self-inflicted extinction. As matters stand I feel grateful we won’t be spreading pollution and sociopathic greed throughout the galaxy.

        Reply
    2. ambrit

      Oh thank you. That image prompts a new meme: “A Snowballs Chance In Congress.”
      I was going to use Snowflake, but on reflection, it comes across as too “twee.”

      Reply
    3. ChristopherJ

      Thank you, Bob. The microclimates that have created all that diversity are being torn apart and the animals, insects, birds, plants, fish, bacteria, fungi and everything will not be able to adapt. Our weather is now at the extreme levels for many to survive. And, our evidence suggests that things are getting worse and worse with every passing week. People that believe there will be a bolthole they can escape to are delusional.

      I give us only a few years. Unless everyone on the planet starts to work on reversing the damage, we are fucked. The plants, insects and animals are all pointing to a future when plants can no longer be grown at scale. Perhaps we can shift all that rice, corn and wheat indoors?

      Hunger games is our future

      Sorry as always for cussing in this place particularly, but I feel strongly about what is happening. At least we are watching it in real time…

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether

        > the animals, insects, birds, plants, fish, bacteria, fungi and everything will not be able to adapt.

        I don’t want to minimize the problem, but I think that statement is at best unproven. We have seen evolution/adaptation occur in animals in near-real time (decades, not centuries). The same true of bacteria (and I assume fungi), where generations are so much shorter (think of antibiotics as a subset of anthropogenic change). Generally, I think plants are as “smart” as we are, maybe smarter.

        Now, whatever is to come may not include the human species on the same scale or distribution as now. So there’s that.

        Adding, I have a personal aversion to using counsels of despair as a spur to action (“I give us only a few years. Unless….). Because if a particular reason for despair turns out to be false (“the science” may be “settled,” but that’s not, and cannot be true for individual cases) that could discredit all spurs to action. So “venting” could turn out to be, well, another sort of greenhouse gas. Eh?

        Reply
        1. newcatty

          Lambert, yes…venting could, indeed, be another sort of greenhouse gas. Let us , indeed, not allow despair to overshadow the light of the fact that there is more to the nature of life, in all its manifestations, then we can imagine. Who knows, at least as far as most of us, what evolution or even intervention will be? Its hard for the times, some times, to choose love instead of fear.

          Reply
  14. pretzelattack

    i don’t know where she stands on domestic policy, but tulsi gabbard is the only dem candidate i see who is willing to take sane positions on foreign policy. i love her willingness to fight back against the media bull.

    Reply
    1. Steve H.

      “no country should be obliged to pay foreign debt in a currency (such as the dollar or its satellites) whose banking system acts to prevents payment.”

      Could Venezuela say, okay, we’ll pay you in our gold that you’re already holding?

      Reply
    2. Shonde

      After reading the Hudson interview, I started to wish I hadn’t. When I got to the part that hypothesized the US and England may actually not have the gold to send to Maduro, I wanted to do “capital flight” with my meager savings. But where to?

      Fascinating article. A must read. Maybe all the gold bugs who have been saying the US has been holding down the price of gold might be right.

      Someone who understands things better than I do, please comment to put me at ease.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        Crickets.

        That suspicion, that the gold isn’t there, occurred to me immediately. Theoretically, this is the origin of banking.

        Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Perhaps “fly” your capital out of “money” and into the material bases of personal and community survivalism, community and social relationships, etc.

        Food will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no food.

        Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            It is a paraphrase of the title and chorus of a country song.
            Love will get you through times of no money, better than money will get you through times of no love.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bgg6LwD2u8

            At some point Stewart Brand paraphrased it as . . . libraries will get you through times of no money, better than money will get you through times of no libraries.

            I like to think that I invented the paraphrase . . . food will get you through times of no money . . . but maybe I picked it up and just don’t remember where.

            Reply
  15. DJG

    On pufferfish, with and without the poison:

    “Those who eat fugu soup are stupid. Those who don’t eat fugu soup are also stupid.”
    –Japanese proverb

    Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    “Trump’s ‘Eyeball-to-Eyeball’ Orders to the Generals on Syria”

    Not to put too fine a point on it but Trump is the Commander in Chief of the US Armed forces and is in the line of command. If he gave those officers a command then that is it. As for those officers that argue that the US must stay in any country that they are in no matter the cost in blood and treasure, I think that at this point Trump can turn around and say the following about Syria to them-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjplZXgodhs

    Reply
  17. Chris Cosmos

    The “Smoke Out” piece in LRB is outstanding in the full sense of the word. I still engage with denialists from time to time and am deeply saddened that such self-delusion is possible. I’m not a scientist but have some scientific literacy and have followed the science for thirty years. I”ve had to try to explain to them elemental systems theory and I get no response–to them such a discipline does not exist. Climate science, some of them tell me (it’s surprising how many) is a conspiracy of nefarious nerds to impose a world government to enslave the world for some purpose–as if the world is not pretty close to becoming enslaved by the billionaire creeps who fund denialists.

    The piece combines some detailed personal experience of the horror of the fires in the West–when I was out West last fires were around but they seem to be now a permanent summer problem. The books reviewed are also important.

    Still, I see no possible solution to this problem as things stand. There is no potent force in the US that seems even mildly interested in doing much about it even though action on this would create a much more convivial society with far less time spent in traffic, for example, and more sharing which makes everyone feel better as happiness studies have shown.

    Reply
  18. JEHR

    Re: Banks weigh whether to embrace or avoid progressive firebrand Ocasio-Cortez:

    This young woman is mesmerizing–she can hold in thrall all the banks, all the lobbyists and most Republicans by just explaining how money really works and by advocating for public healthcare, for abolition of debt and for free and fair education. I sometimes feel that she is such a diminutive and humble person swimming amongst the swampy politicians who might turn and drown her at any moment. She shows how the people of the US should be the focus of politics and not financial institutions and vile politicians. How can she possibly prevail? I hope she does and maybe she will in the most unexpected of ways. I am rooting for her!

    Reply
  19. Chauncey Gardiner

    Baffling attack on “socialism” by the current president in his SOTU speech when the wealthiest and most politically connected segments of American society – Wall Street, the MIC, big energy et al – are its primary beneficiaries. Must be overlooking something.

    Reply
    1. JEHR

      When Wall Street is bailed out that is not called socialism except in a sarcastic way.

      From Wikipedia:

      The term ‘democratic socialism’ is sometimes used synonymously with ‘socialism’, but the adjective ‘democratic’ is sometimes used to distinguish democratic socialists from Marxist–Leninist-inspired socialism which to some is viewed as being non-democratic in practice.[4][5] Democratic socialists oppose the Stalinist political system and Soviet economic model, rejecting the perceived authoritarian form of governance and highly centralized command economy that took form in the Soviet Union in the early 20th century.[6]

      Democratic socialism is further distinguished from social democracy on the basis that democratic socialists are committed to systemic transformation of the economy from capitalism to socialism, whereas social democracy is supportive of reforms to capitalism.[7] In contrast to social democrats, democratic socialists believe that reforms aimed at addressing social inequalities and state interventions aimed at suppressing the economic contradictions of capitalism will only see them emerge elsewhere in a different guise. As socialists, democratic socialists believe that the systemic issues of capitalism can only be solved by replacing the capitalist system with a socialist system—i.e. by replacing private ownership with social ownership of the means of production.[3][8]

      The origins of democratic socialism can be traced to 19th-century Utopian socialist thinkers and the British Chartist movement, which differed in detail but all shared the essence of democratic decision making and public ownership in the means of production as positive characteristics of the society they advocated. In the early 20th century, the gradualist reformism promoted by the British Fabian society and Eduard Bernstein in Germany influenced the development of democratic socialism.[9]

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Thank you, JERH, for that.

        Like of many other things, we can similarly ask, what version of socialism, or which socialism.

        And it’s possible, and indeed has been the case many times, that one socialist dislike or hate another socialist. I recall the reaction of George Orwell after visiting the USSR.

        The question for us today is, what do American voters see or perceive, when they see the word ‘socialism.’

        If most see it positively, then, it’s an easy road going forward.

        If negatively, then, there will be work ahead.

        Reply
        1. Partyless Poster

          If you ever read Zero Hedge or sites like that, its clear Socialism means anything Conservatives or Libertarians don’t like.
          So yes there is much work ahead.

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Do we really need them? The Democratic Party beat their brains in 2006 and 2008 largely promising to be progressive. Max Boot wasn’t the kind of Democrat who mattered in those elections. He probably voted for Republicans. Obviously, they were vague, but the GOP is a party of old people. Its not going to suddenly get better.

            Reply
          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Yes, that is expected.

            The peope of interest are those battleground voters, swing voters, etc. What do they percieve when they come cross that word?

            Reply
            1. Chauncey Gardiner

              (By way of Lewis Carroll): …”When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’ – ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’ – ‘ The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that is all.'”

              Given the SOTU context with its international audience, perhaps it was also a play on Xi’s recent speech to the 40th Party Congress in which he repeatedly used the phrase “Socialism with Chinese characteristics”, except in this case maybe it was intentionally flipped. Hard to say, and you could be right about the intended audience, particularly given the pervasive use of focus groups. But there is that poem: …”Humpty Dumpty sat on a Wall”…

              Reply
    2. Skip Intro

      I think he might be trolling the dems… again. They must either agree with him in demonizing socialism, or they undermine their own existential struggle against the left. Obviously they’ll have to agree with them, but his remark still strengthens the brand.

      Reply
    3. Skip Intro

      I think Trump is trolling the Dems… again. They either have to agree with him, or they have to undermine their own existential struggle against the left. Either way, his mention strengthens the brand, which hurts the corporate Dems more than his GOP base.

      Reply
      1. tegnost

        yes I agree. That’s what he did to good effect in the main event. He’s dancing on their third rail and pelosi is all…”why won’t he die :( “…
        It’s a sort of disturbingly shamanic coyote performance art.

        I mean he got pelosi to applaud anti socialism. …. Who are the democrats, what, if anything, do they stand for?

        That and Great countries don’t do endless war. That was for the 100 million who didn’t vote

        Reply
    4. RUKidding

      In Trump/conserva world, socialism is only about the worthless peons getting their due. Can’t have that.

      Privatize the profits, socialize the losses is the name of the game in this country.

      The rich get richer and the rest of us can take a hike.

      Reply
  20. Chauncey Gardiner

    Good to see a financial transaction tax being seriously proposed. Could reduce the volume of raw short-term speculation and high frequency trading in the financial markets that constructively contributes very little to the real economy, but negatively affects the public’s perception of market manipulation. Additionally, would like to see restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act and breaking up the big banks, limits on the scope of their speculative business activities, restrictions on their ownership of corporate equities and speculative contracts and trading in derivatives, and ending Fed-Treasury monetary and financial support of the financial markets which includes ending the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets (Plunge Protection Team).

    Reply
    1. marym

      11/17/2017:

      President Donald Trump’s pledge to expand U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan has been realized, bringing the total number of American soldiers in the country to 14,000, the Pentagon announced on Thursday.

      As well as an expansion of Washington’s troop presence in Afghanistan, the U.S. military has stepped up its airstrike campaign against radical Islamists aligned with the Taliban and the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).

      In September, the military dropped 751 airstrikes in Afghanistan, the highest total for any month in seven years of military action in the country.

      If there were 8.4K troops in 2016 and 14K now, and the current number is reduced by half…

      Reply
      1. Craig H.

        First of all I am an ignorant spectator here just like almost everybody else.

        But maybe, just maybe, consider the possibility it’s like this:

        Donald the Fat mister smooth deal artist negotiator did the first part and now he can tell the deep state master minds “OK we tried it your way and that did not work so how about we try it this way?” Maybe it is kind of like a television game show.

        Reply
        1. marym

          I’m not inclined to think he’s a multi-dimensional chess player, but who knows? Anyway, surging troops and then un-surging them isn’t unique to Trump.

          Reply
  21. el_tel

    regarding standing desks: As usual I think this is a “sort-of right but be careful” warning. I used a standing desk for 5 months working in Sweden. It helped, but wasn’t the ultimate solution. My lumbar support (I have an L4/5 slipped disc) in my ergonomic seat used in Australia was probably equally efficient. Moving every hour to walk around *PROVIDED* I wore my orthotic under the heel of my shorter leg helped most in both countries.

    Moral of the story – as is usual in health stories – stop looking for “one solution”. There are many, and “a little bit of everything” is probably the way forward.

    Reply
  22. el_tel

    regarding measles & (in recent post) vaccination and information/socioeconomic status: I don’t have the link to hand (though Rev Kev or someone down under with more time than me to spare could just as easily find it I’m sure) but the NSW health authorities graphed immunisation rates across the state a few years ago. It was very illuminating – the richer/more middle class the area, the lower the immunisation rate. I lived for 5 years in former PM Abbott’s constituency (and furthermore in what was the richest postcode in all Australia until parts of WA overtook it). The huge push for “naturopathic” medicine was simultaneously amazing and depressing. I witnessed a middle class man pull his clearly whooping cough-infected kid across the road in one of the poshest bits of the area. Plus a colleague got whooping cough – due to the fact the immunisation we all got in the 1970s was not lifelong and made the assumption that the disease would be eradicated within a couple of decades. Watching him erupt in coughing fits was truly horrifying. He was a US libertarian but expressed the belief that non-vaxxers should be shot. I found it hard to disagree with him.

    Although on balance I think Aus beats my native UK in terms of healthcare, when it comes to vaccination and the “naturopathic” rubbish allowed to flourish (and get public money) I despaired daily on the lower north shore of Sydney.

    Reply
    1. skippy

      Naturopathy got traction down under due to its well spring, being the same social strata it services e.g. well enough off lady’s looking to start a business from home i.e. basically practicing medicine without a license 20 years ago.

      Networking provides the feed back loops, even sundry home service people included … house cleaners, gardeners, et al … hay the rich people are doing it …

      Watched it unfold from back in the mid 90s, which has now morphed into wellness centers. Personally I hold more stock in my grandfathers old band aid tin filled with dried wild garlic and spring onions for when a sniff or cough came on.

      Reply
      1. el_tel

        Thanks for the insights. I was a senior academic in healthcare in Sydney. I read of the emerging measles epidemics in Dublin and the UK when out there and wanted to shake people. But what I hated most about the “individual right to choose it” was that it HAD EXTERNALITIES – if you don’t vaccinate then you are endangering babies and those who can’t be vaccinated due to health issues. Although I know I’d be shot for this, I’d put all people refusing clinically OKed vaccinations together on an island and let nature take its course. As my grandma said, “the burnt hand teaches best”. Alternatively, humans are stupid and need regular lessons.

        Reply
      2. skippy

        No worries el_tel and concur with your assessment, always considered it just high brow tupperware or the old coffee shop for the bored 20%’er house mouse. Look I’m making money or tax write off for hubby ….

        Reply
        1. ChristopherJ

          Not against vaccinating kiddies, skip. and tel, but still not lining up for flu shot… ie voluntary stuff; maybe it’s the needles

          Reply
          1. skippy

            I did not think flu shots were the actual topic ChristopherJ, more so individual and socially crippling stuff.

            I also think if some are going to be hyper concerned about vaccinations their time would be better spent on back ground toxicity in their enviroment – food – water supplies.

            Reply
            1. ChristopherJ

              @Skip. Hyper concerned about vaccinations? Nah, just never, ever had the flu, brother and heard anecdotal muchly about side effects of said flu shot. Why would I bother? Happy to do children, when science says is ok, but me as adult? Yeah, nah. And…

              Why would I be better spending my time on worrying about toxicity of my food and water? I’m worried too about impending shit, but don’t think a year’s worth of food and water, or whatever is going to get me to my Uncle’s age.

              You have an answer for everyone. It’s just never one we can easily parse and I don’t make a good target

              Reply
              1. skippy

                I try to use facts, if that registers as answers for everyone and it makes you uncomfortable, don’t shoot the messenger and don’t project your bias as my lack of unpacking it to your satisfaction.

                Reply
                1. ChristopherJ

                  Facts, skippy? You are an internet bully; have been reading your comments for maybe 10 years and you are picking on the wrong person, and for the wrong reasons

                  Reply
                  1. skippy

                    I responded to your original comment which moved from the topic to flu shots, followed by another one, which I referenced others ill informed hyper concern relative to broad long term environmental exposure over a life time. I mean you should be familiar with Mt Isa and how that squares with say any vaccination.

                    To this I received – “You have an answer for everyone. It’s just never one we can easily parse and I don’t make a good target”

                    Never in anyway in either of my comments did I personalize it at you, if that’s bulling you have a different standard than I’m antiquated with. Claims about making stuff easy is not my job, complexity is what it is and making it simple has a bad habit of editing data. Its not like over the years I’ve had to change previous positions based on strong evidence or facts, something that can be very personally challenging.

                    Never made you a target – see above.

                    I would also suggest you reconcile past comments and their context wrt who they are directed at and why. These are specific incidents with specific dynamics sounding them. Since your familiar with MB I would point out 007 as an example and the amount of times their comments have be shown to be fabrications, out of whole cloth, or so ideologically biased they no longer hold the original information they are based off. That hits two major trip wires of bad faith argumentation and agnotology. Getting stroppy with people that play those games is not bulling, its pushing back on rank ideologues in front of their followers, sometimes with their own rhetorical tools. Sorta how AOC explained herself of late.

                    Reply
    1. jrs

      yes there is that undercurrent isn’t there? I mean one might hope it might lead to people buying less because most things “don’t spark joy” or something.

      But holding the standard of “things must spark joy” seems like me like it would lead people to discarding perfectly functional things in order to replace them with new ones that “spark more joy” because they are shiner and newer or something. Or what is fast fashion?

      Whatever happened to it makes sense to keep something if you actually use it or realistically plan to, joy or not. And of course donate that which is not likely to be used (and this might include things one bought and never liked etc., because as wasteful as it might be, we all make purchasing mistakes).

      And joy in things and the idea that “things spark joy” is of course is what every advertiser in the world wants you to think, it’s like it was made to fit right into Madison Avenue advertising psychology. A very rich bernaise sauce. Not things are useful, that’s too practical for a age that depends on unnecessary spending.

      Reply
  23. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Brooklyn Jail w/o Electric Power” —
    Imagine the jail w/o power for a month. Now imagine a month long power outage in a region including the homes of the guards who run the jail. Now think of how many jails and prisons, and how many people, some harmless and some extremely dangerous, we have incarcerated around this country — and imagine a regional power outage for a month or more.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      The simplest solution, which I would lay money on would be used, is to leave the prisoners locked in their cells and let them starve to death. The incidence of such a policy would, I’m surmising, be much higher in ‘privatized’ prisons than the state run kind.
      Never underestimate the power of greed, nor the inhumanity of the greedy.

      Reply
      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        I would add the latent inhumanity of man in general, within the right circumstances.

        I watched Anthony Scher the other evening in the one man play ” Primo “.

        What particularly struck me was Levi stating that the system at Auschwitz – Birkenau enforced an everyone for them self mentality, as in one could not steal from the Lager on pain of execution, but it was fine to steal from another also starving prisoner. He however formed an alliance with another Italian inmate, with later additional & crucial assistance from another of his countryman who was a civilian worker.

        I forget the name of the German corporation they were working for, but it did strike me as an extreme version of the philosophy behind Neoliberalsm……if you are no longer of any use, go & die.

        Stunning performance btw.

        Reply
      2. Jeremy Grimm

        I don’t think there is a ‘happy’ solution to the problem. Let all the prisoners starve to death, or more likely die from thirst, harming a substantial population of relatively harmless victims of our Prison Industrial Complex, or release a large number of predators into an already incendiary situation on the outside where food and clean water are becoming generally problematic on account of the general power outage. The best solution would be to greatly reduce the number of people held in our prisons and jails and try to make sure we’re holding the predators, and not so many clueless shoplifters, petty thieves, and drug offenders. I believe that would make one of the bad solutions slightly more palatable.

        Reply
    2. GF

      I was wondering since it is a federal facility is it in AOC’s district? Irregardless, why hasn’t the federal government stepped up?

      Reply
  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Dozens of Cities Have Secretly Experimented With Predictive Policing Software Motherboard

    They would say they don’t have money for this or that, but they can always find money for the above.

    Reply
  25. Oregoncharles

    “Beware Of The Home DNA Kit! You May Find Yourself Being Sued By A Sperm Bank”

    Because they can remove the anonymity of sperm donors. The article mentions that in Europe, anonymous sperm donation mostly isn’t allowed. I think that makes sense, because in modern medicine, genetic details can be a matter of life and death.

    My family is an example; one of us is alive only because of a bone marrow transplant. It happened there was a family donor (me). If not, you’re looking for the one-in-a-million chance of an unrelated donor – and ethnicity matters a lot. There is also an open adoption, where the birth mother remained in touch with the family, the result of a direct deal. It was inspired, in part, by the transplant. ( The other adoptees are from overseas, so their birth parents remain highly anonymous.)

    The other reason for forbidding anonymity and limiting the number is to reduce the chances of accidental incest. (Granted, there is also the occasional man who leaves a large number of half-siblings the natural way, but there isn’t much to be done about that.) The danger of such matches may not be all that high – half-siblings are about as closely related as first cousins. But it’s awkward, if discovered. There’s an Irish song about that.

    Reply
    1. tegnost

      “a bone marrow transplant. It happened there was a family donor (me)”

      youch… thanks for your kindness, what did they do, and did it hurt?

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        This was a number of years ago; they have better ways now – were working on them when we had the transplant. In those days they extracted marrow from the hip bone with multiple needle sticks – under anesthesia. It’s a bit like a load of shot to the rear, but a fairly small price for saving someone’s life. The marrow grows back quickly.

        Reply
  26. crittermom

    >”New Mexico governor calls Trump border crisis a ‘charade’, withdraws state troops”

    I currently live in New Mexico, but just saw that ad last night for the first time (worth watching in the link).

    I voted for her. She has spunk & I liked what she stood for from what I saw.

    Her R opponent (Steve Pearce) was not at all to my liking.
    This article not only talks about him but much about how the R party got walloped in this state & their plans regarding 2020.

    From Dec in the Las Cruces Sun News it begins, “Steve Pearce won an election this year, after all.

    New Mexico Republicans on Saturday chose the outgoing congressman to chair the state party as it smarts from a walloping at the polls last month and seeks to maintain relevance after losing not just every statewide race but every congressional district and a row of seats in the Legislature.”

    Yep. They got walloped.
    https://www.lcsun-news.com/story/news/politics/2018/12/09/congressman-steve-pearce-elected-chair-new-mexico-gop/2257072002/

    I remember that late in his campaign, Pearce boasted how he was going to bring jobs, in the form of an Amazon Fulfillment Center, to this state. (And he thought that a plus?)

    I cried BS.That was already in the works before he began positioning to take credit for it.
    https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/abq-to-throw-hat-in-the-ring-for-new-amazon-facility/4597975/

    I liked Lujan Grisham. She’s opposed Trump’s wall all along.
    Former gov immediately moved troops to the border here after Trump began spouting about the need for more security. I remember that well, as I thought ‘oh, no’.
    Grisham is moving them out.

    I missed an opportunity for a meet & greet with her & 2 others I voted for, at a restaurant across the street when they campaigned. (Very informal)
    I didn’t know about it. I was told by another tenant–after the fact. Dammit!

    I had previously met the congresswoman I voted for who was apparently one of them there that day, Xochitl Torres Small.
    My first question had been regarding her views on M4A after I told her I was in favor of it.

    I wasn’t fond of the answer, as she said I wouldn’t be. (Well, at least she was honest).
    She wants to expand Obamacare, instead.
    She is far, far better than her R opponent was so she still got my vote. (LOTE?)

    Torres Small is pretty, smart, & very personable, but in some ways, I felt she was a little ‘too smooth’.
    I got lots of photos of her (very photogenic), in case she climbs up the ladder further. If she ever becomes POTUS, maybe I can then make some money from them? It would be nice to make some money OFF someone in govt, right? ;)

    Of course, by then I may be very old & feeble of mind, & forgotten where I put the disk of photos!

    I really would’ve like to have met Grisham, however.

    While I don’t plan to remain in this state, I still felt it important I cast my vote while I reside here.
    Happy to see my choices won, & to see Grisham stand her ground with the views she campaigned on, like no wall.
    Also glad to see this ‘nothing’ state making news like this.

    PS–I noted my free Grammarly program accepted “M4A” without argument. Good.

    Reply
  27. Elizabeth Burton

    Black Agenda Reports took time to read HR-1, the bill the Democrats are touting as the greatest thing for democracy since [insert favorite improvement here], and may have discovered why the bulk of the media coverage of same was provoking outrage at easy target Mitch McConnell for saying the idea of making Election Day a paid federal holiday was a “power grab.”

    I mean, seriously? The most innocuous element of the bill, and the one with the least likely impact? That’s the one we’re supposed to believe gets the GOPsters’ panties in a twist? What are the Democrats hiding?

    Turns out it’s this.

    Reply
  28. Oregoncharles

    On Sen. Schatz’s financial transaction tax proposal: “Such a tax, however, remains a legislative long shot, especially with Republicans in control of the White House and the U.S. Senate.”
    So now is a safe time to propose it. We’ll see how it goes if/when the Dems control the Senate, too.

    Worth considering: Trump is a real estate guy, not a bond trader. Just on his personal interests, he has little reason to object to such a tax. I gather his relationship with finance has been rather antagonistic, as in multiple bankruptcies.

    Reply
  29. lyman alpha blob

    RE: After Uproar, Instacart Backs Off Controversial Tipping Policy

    The headline should read “Instacart Backs Off Stealing Employees’ Earnings“.

    And how in the hell are these companies simply allowed to change their “policy” when the policy is illegal?!?!

    I know it’s a cliche, but mug a person on the street in NYC and you’ll be thrown in Rikers, rob thousands of people and your on the front cover of Bloomberg touted as the next great CEO.

    The constant barrage of criminal corporate executives never suffering any penalty for their disgusting actions is really starting to tax my pacifist tendencies.

    Reply
    1. crittermom

      Great article, & I couldn’t agree more with both your description of the company’s policy as well as feeling taxed.

      I noted the word “misguided” used in their explanation of their (now former) policy. Ha!

      I find that word being used too much these days to excuse bad behavior.
      I wish these companies would ‘fess up & call it what it is: “We got caught being REALLY greedy”.

      To then read the link provided by allan regarding Amazon doing the same thing is even more infuriating.

      It’s good to read how people came together & won at Instacart. It reminded me of the excellent article in Jacobin linked to in NC recently (Bernie Against the Billionaires) & this statement within it:

      “But which is a company like Amazon or Walmart more likely to survive: two weeks of radio silence from its CEO, or two weeks of its workers going on strike? The answer tells you who really builds a company and keeps it running.”
      https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/02/bernie-sanders-estate-tax-proposal-2020-president

      Reply
    2. lyman alpha blob

      And I meant to add – if you’re going to tip someone, always do it in cash This wouldn’t be a problem if the driver were handed a sawbuck.

      Reply

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