Links 2/9/19

Dear patient readers,

We had a good meetup in Fort Lauderdale. We had over 10 people attend and the discussion included living in Europe, the Federalist Society, crisis reminisces (as in of telling incidents), and MMT. We met outside on a lovely day. But the flight back today was totally screwed up, four hour delay and then they moved everyone to another flight (this wasn’t a scheme to cancel the flight; Delta needed to get the crew and equipment to New York, and they still had the flight as delayed after they got pretty much everyone off it). And someone on the plane had a mild heart attack.

Two other random data points: The cab driver on the ride to airport volunteered that his service had seen the last few recessions coming via a drop in their rides, which reflected a slowdown in tourism in Sort Lauderdale. He said things had been soft this fall and winter. See another indicator of sorts here:
Bling is no substitute.

One the ill-fated flight back, I would up seated next to an off-duty flight attendant, going back to her base in NYC, I infer after a break in Fort Lauderdale. We did not talk about what I did; I grilled her when the EMTs came on the plane about why they hadn’t brought an aisle chair and immediately gotten her off the aircraft. Got a long story about the fact that the chairs belonged to Delta and Delta didn’t want to be liable, the chairs would not be used until the EMTs had assessed the patient for liability reasons.

Unprompted, she brought up the Green New Deal: “They want to get rid of airplanes. Never gonna happen. You can’t tell people they can’t go to a business meeting. And of course I’d have no job. And what would happen if the US stopped all flights and also didn’t allow international flights to land or depart? We’d become a third world country.

Sumatran tiger killed by potential mate on first meeting in London zoo Guardian (TYJ)

If Bees Can Prevent Bad Information From Going Viral, so Can We Undark (Dr. Kevin)

Isle Royale wolf takes advantage of rare ice bridge, leaves for mainland MPR (Chuck L)

Honeybees Can Add and Subtract, Study Finds Motherboard. Resilc: “Bee bond traders next?”

Deaths put e-scooters in spotlight BBC (David L)

‘Drinkable’ potato chips: the products keeping your phone grease-free Guardian (Dr. Kevin)

Worrisome nonstick chemicals are common in U.S. drinking water, federal study suggests Science (David L)


Italy, Germany resist ban on Huawei’s 5G gear Asia Times

U.S., South Korea Reach Initial Military Cost-Sharing Deal Atlantic (resilc)

A Profound Development in Japan-South Korea Relations The Diplomat (Chuck L)


Vote giving MPs chance to force May’s hand on Brexit set to be delayed Guardian. Help me. The ERG must be ecstatic.

US Congress warns hard border could threaten trade deal RTE (PlutoniumKun)

Gilet Jaunes

Macron Tactics Against Yellow Vests Have Nothing to Do with Public Safety, Everything to Do with Global Politics BSNEWS (Chuck L)


Exclusive: U.S. in direct contact with Venezuelan military, urging defections – source Reuters (resilc)

What Venezuelans Think About Trump’s Intervention Plan Atlantic

What Trump Has in Common With Venezuela’s Maduro Washington Monthly. Resilc: “They both are presidents of joke countries with joke governments?”


Trump’s Palestinian aid cuts means thousands lose access to food and healthcare Haaretz (resilc)

Conflict erupts for control of Libya’s largest oil fieldGuardian. Resilc: “Let this Obomba/Clintoon brainstorm sink in before invading Venezuela.”

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Amazon’s Home Security Company Is Turning Everyone Into Cops Motherboard (resilc)

Facebook’s entire business model is in danger after it was given an unprecedented kicking by an EU regulator Business Insider (David L)

Dozens of Cities Have Secretly Experimented With Predictive Policing Software Motherboard. Resilc: “With all the gunz we have in USA USA, I wonder how many cameras will be shot out or laser blinded?”

US Senators Ask DHS To Look Into US Government Workers Using Foreign VPNs ZDNet

Beware Trojan horse of proposed E-commerce rules IPS News

Jeff Bezos Protests the Invasion of his Privacy as Amazon Builds a Sprawling Surveillance State For Everyone Else Intercept

Jeff Bezos’ investigator suspects ‘a government agency’ intercepted Amazon CEO’s text messages Boing Boing. Resilc: “Wow if real”

Trump Transition

Trump’s Attack on Socialism Is a Colossal Blunder New Republic

Five takeaways from acting AG’s fiery House hearing The Hill

The Economic Impact of the ‘Green New Deal’ Bloomberg. Interview with Stephanie Kelton

AOC Masterfully Breaks Down How Money Affects Politics David Doel, YouTube

Attacking a Pay Wall That Hides Public Court Filings New York Times

A Water Crisis Is Growing In A Place You’d Least Expect It NPR

Rage Drove the Google Walkout. Can It Bring About Real Change at Tech Companies? New York Magazine (David L)

Google Warns News Sites May Lose 45 Percent of Traffic If EU Passes Its Copyright Reform The Next Web

Millions Could Lose Power Under PG&E’s Plan To Prevent Wildfires NPR (David L)

Long, strange trip: How U.S. ethanol reaches China tariff-free Reuters (resilc)

The Only Green New Deals That Have Ever Worked Were Done With Nuclear, Not Renewables Forbes (UserFriendly)

Class Warfare

Some Workers Can Now Trade Vacation Time for Student Loan Relief Vice (resilc)

Facing Opposition, Amazon Reconsiders NY Headquarters Site: Report Washington Post. Keep your fingers crossed!

U.S. Steel wins tax breaks from one of America’s poorest cities Reuters (resilc)

Kleptocracy Is on the Rise in America Atlantic (Randy K)

Finland Basic Income Trial Left People ‘Happier But Jobless’ BBC. “… these results have now raised questions about the effectiveness of such schemes.”

Antidote du jour. Tracie H:

These Mule Deer are probably a common sight in some states, but here is Southern California, not so much. My husband pointed these out to me as we were trudging up the hill to the Getty Center, having decided the tram line was way too long—I took several pictures. They got closer together to nuzzle each other, but this is the only one you can see both of their faces.

And a bonus (martha r):

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Yikes

    If Marc Rich is doing any of that ethanol trading, you can bet it’s USA ethanol being blended with USA ethanol.

      1. Yikes

        It’s also the name of his Zug private trading firm, which his family inherited, separate from Glencor, etc.

  2. The Rev Kev

    Whether we want it or not, the economy that we have now will not be the same one that we will have a generation from now. I was wondering about what that off-duty flight attendant had to say as compared to say, a train conductor from the 1920s as the first passenger planes started up that would replace travel by train-

    “They want to get rid of trains. Never gonna happen. You can’t tell people they can’t go to a business meeting. And of course I’d have no job. And what would happen if the US stopped all train journeys and also didn’t allow international trains to arrive or depart? We’d become a third world country.”

    And is that bounus antidote du jour a Lynx? Nice foto martha r.

    1. a different chris

      >of course I’d have no job

      That’s really interesting, Does she realize that passengers on a train need an assistant just like the ones on a plane? Does she think anything at all, or just react?

      She may be correct on the famous “first approximation”, in that I have no idea but it seems like you could have more people-per-steward on a train than a plane. But her type of job doesn’t go away, in fact it’s probably the most seamless skill to (pardon the pun) transit.

      1. Susan the Other

        I was thinking bobcat but lynx will do. The gaze is neither sardonic nor rueful – it is wild – and lovely.

        1. newcatty

          Agree Susan the Other. We see this lovely and wild look into our eyes from our cats everyday. This just made me even more aware of their great spirits.

        2. Richard

          I thought bobcat, too. My housesitter when I was young (all right, ”babysitter”, but I was a young teenager and not a baby, okay!) had a bobcat. She never brought it.
          Of the 11,649 main disappointments of my life, this surely ranked among the top 5,000.

    2. crittermom

      That is indeed a Lynx. So beautiful!
      That thread is a compilation of incredible photos. I get lost in it whenever I visit.

    3. Eclair

      ” … the economy we have now ….” So true, Rev Kev. And this fear of losing, not just a job, but what defines you as a person, is probably adding more to the underlying anxiety than the prospect of drought, or rising oceans, or more powerful hurricanes.

      The small pizza restaurant we frequent in Chautauqua County, NY, has been in business for 30 years, run by a couple; he cooks, she waits tables aided, on busy nights, by various ‘young persons.’ We chat and she frequently mentions that a $15 minimum wage law would put them out of business. She worries.

      New York is known as a ‘high tax’ state, and the upstate and western counties are Trump country, resonating to his call for ‘lower taxes.’ So AOC’s calls for a 70% marginal tax rate on extremely high income still sounds to them as a call for more taxes for everyone.

      And, Jamestown, NY once had a speedy direct connection by rail to NYC. The old train station downtown is now the site of the new National Comedy Center, built with the aid of millions in state grants. Which NY can do because because it is a ‘high tax’ state. This crumbling manufacturing city has nothing to laugh about, though.

      Now, there is almost no public transportation. There is no local bus system. There is an Amtrak bus that connects with the Buffalo train station, 70 miles to the north, but it is infrequent. A personal car is a ‘necessity.’ Which, of course, adds a further layer of anxiety, as residents hear calls for reducing fossil fuel usage. It’s ‘gilet jaune’ territory here.

      In the surrounding small towns, the only way to leave is to join the military. So, you drive down the main street, and you see dozens of banners hanging from light poles, each featuring the photo, name and rank of a ‘warrior’ who has served in a branch of the US Military. From the 1940’s, up to kids sent to Afghanistan and Syria. This is what defines the citizens and gives them a sense of purpose and pride. They produce young bodies that are sent to ‘protect our freedoms.’

      So, this is an area that has been systematically stripped of its manufacturing base, its jobs, its public transportation network and its hope. The inhabitants there are so far down that they have only a dim concept of what a functioning society could look like. But, they are scared. And their fears are being focused on those people who are ‘different;’ browner skins, non-christian religions, funny accents.

      1. Cal2

        Wonder why AOC doesn’t suggest replacing the capital gains tax rate with the normal personal income tax rate?

        If the elite and the rentiers own the country and pay too little, taxing capital gains at the normal personal income tax rate would probably do as much as her 70%. Gee, why don’t the Democrats endorse that? ;-)

      2. Carl

        Thanks for this enlightening comment. I’m sympathetic to the plight of those you described, but without direct contact or accounts like this one, it’s easy even for me to “forget” about these people.

      3. crittermom

        Your mention of a former train station has similarities to where I currently live.

        This small ‘city’ was apparently booming over twenty years ago when the mine was open, from what I’m told.
        There used to be a tiny train depot in town here that apparently met its demise when the mine closed twenty years ago. I watch as the passenger train zips through town around 50mph now. (There are 2 tracks running this route, with various sidings). Much train traffic.
        (I’ve also seen a lot of Amazon blue containers with their logo on the freight trains that continuously barrel through).

        I used to think that if only the passenger train still stopped here, I could take it to Albuquerque for my treatments.

        I decided to look up the train schedule to see where it now stops.
        The closest depot to me is 60+ miles west, which I would have to drive in order to go the 86 miles east & north of me I drive to my destination by car.

        A girlfriend had to take the train from Abq back to Indiana rather than flying because she didn’t have a ‘verified’ drivers license.
        She said it cost as much or more than taking an airplane but took WAY longer.
        The high cost, by comparison, surprised me. That cost for long trips would have to decline to attract air travelers, I would think, as a trade-off for the extra time involved. Such a thing could be possible, I would hope.

        Faster trains even better, but I suspect these tracks couldn’t handle them?
        (BTW, IIRC, my GF told me it took much longer than the schedule here dictates)

        Sadly, this ‘city’ has been dying a slow, slow death ever since the closing of the mine, as it sits in the middle of ‘nowhere’, basically.

        Hence it has 2 prisons & a detention center. Those were privatized in recent years, crappifying the jobs, resulting in a former nun I know quitting after counseling prisoners for over 16 yrs. (Being a nun she has an infinite amount of patience, but apparently even she lacked enough to continue).

        I did note that the sign outside the men’s prison is hiring at $16.50 hr with benefits, but with wages that high, I must wonder why they have a somewhat permanent sign recruiting workers? (Oh, yeah. ‘Crappified’ job, apparently)

        I’ve seen even more businesses close up since I arrived 1 1/2 yrs ago.
        By appearances, I suspect the only store making money is the large hardware chain that sells sheets of plywood used to board up the windows of the former businesses as the buildings crumble back into the dirt.

        The infrastructure is already there in some places like here, it seems.
        Evidently, there was not enough ridership to continue utilizing it in this small ‘city’, however.

        Within town here, I see a lot of people walk. Many poor who don’t own cars.
        The high school kids pass thru our parking lot each morning & afternoon. Most all are Native American (heavy native population here).
        I figure they’re walking a mile or so each way, with only half of it level. None of them overweight, though.

        1. kareninca

          “A girlfriend had to take the train from Abq back to Indiana rather than flying because she didn’t have a ‘verified’ drivers license.”

          I am confused. I thought that that didn’t kick in until 2020: (the Indiana Bureau of Motor vehicles): “Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, a Real ID-compliant driver’s license, permit, or identification card will be required to board commercial airplanes or enter certain federal facilities unless you present a Department of Homeland Security-approved document.”

          I’ve managed to get my 94 y.o. father in law’s birth certificate, and my husband’s birth certificate (it takes PA about 34 weeks!!!!!!), in order to get our police state papers (oops, I meant Real ID). My husband and I do have passports, but my FIL does not, and we may perhaps have to fly him somewhere sometime.

          1. crittermom

            Wow. Thanks for the link.

            I’d taken her word for it since I chose to quit flying in the 80’s, & she’s had a medical condition for years that makes travel (or even sitting up) uncomfortable so I knew she preferred to fly.

            I remember her telling me something about not being able to get a verified one because she failed to take her marriage certificate along, showing her name change(?), so maybe she’d let hers expire?

            That’s all that makes sense, now.

            1. kareninca

              I can see why she might have gotten it wrong. It is complicated. Also, it is especially horrible for women who have been married a few times, if they have taken their husband’s name (which the vast majority of women still do):

              “A birth certificate is required to obtain a Real ID and if a person’s name is different than the name on their birth certificate, they must also bring in documents — marriage licenses, divorce decrees or court orders — to back up the name change.

              If their name has changed more than once, documents will be needed to verify each change.” . . .

              “Moody flies frequently and knew she’d need the upgraded license, which she had heard about from her older sister. So she grabbed her birth certificate and headed for the nearby SOS office, not knowing that she would also need proof of her three marriages and two divorces.

              “The Suttons Bay office is small and it was packed,” Moody said. “I was asked personal questions about how many times I was married, which the whole room heard.” . . .

              “Moody said finding a divorce decree from a 1972 marriage that lasted just two years proved difficult. Officials in Wayne County, where the divorce took place, couldn’t find a record of it and sent her an email saying it had been dismissed.

              “You can imagine my reaction to that,” she said.

              The lost decree was eventually found when several clerks searched the basement of the building.” (

              I learned of this from chatting with a woman in line at the airport. She had been married 3 times and she said that getting her Police State Papers (um, Real ID) was hell.

      4. shinola

        “In the surrounding small towns, the only way to leave is to join the military. … They produce young bodies that are sent to ‘protect our freedoms.”

        aka cannon fodder

      5. a different chris

        >So AOC’s calls for a 70% marginal tax rate on extremely high income still sounds to them as a call for more taxes for everyone.

        And they’ve voted R since Reagan. You can’t “fix” these people, but they aren’t entirely stupid. You have to show them. Implement the 70% tax and let them
        a) see it doesn’t affect them
        b) see growth in their community, since business investments are always deductible and if you can only keep 30% of your money in cash might as well buy and restore a building to whatever purpose.

        Now also fix everybody’s healthcare, and suddenly the Rich do seem on the other side. Don’t Clintonite the whole thing. A large segment of people won’t vote for you in 2020. So squeak by, do stuff, and you get all of Obama’s hopey/changy votes back in 2024.

        Things change, handwringing though won’t make it.

        >she frequently mentions that a $15 minimum wage law would put them out of business

        I wouldn’t ask, don’t have the social skills to be gentle, but I would want to ask them that when you Do The Math how much does that really come to for pizza? How much do they spend on (likely lousy and high deductible) healthcare? How much does that come to for pizza? How many more locals would show up for said pizza if they had an extra $100 month and no healthcare worries?

        1. John Ashley

          If you are going to increase the consumption of pizza , then you are going to have more health care worries.
          That is not a healthy diet.

          1. polecat

            Depends on the pizza …. one can make a delicious and nutritional pizza easily ! We do it all the time. Chain pizzas can be all across the board. Whatever you do DON’T EVER purchase an ersatz grocery pizza from the freezer section … if you eat it, you’ll wish you hadn’t …They’re THAT bad !!

            And whoever said Ketchup was a healthfood had it all wrong … it’s Pasta Sauce ! .. homemade, of course …

  3. witters

    The Guardian pure:

    “weeks of intense international diplomatic pressure last June to persuade[d] Haftar to agree that the revenues from the crescent were [to be] sent on to the Tripoli-based NOC, and not to a smaller rival oil company based in the east. Markets were deprived of some 800,000 barrels a day and Libya lost $930m (£718m) in sales as a consequence.

    The corporation has been one of the few Libyan institutions that has operated effectively as a national non-partisan force, and has been providing much-needed cash to keep the Libyan budget from falling deeper into debt. “

  4. Wukchumni

    “Donner party of 120, we’re ready to s)eat you”

    Snow glad to be out! More than 120 guests are freed after unprecedented blizzard left them trapped in a California ski lodge under seven feet of heavy snow for FIVE DAYS

    Not a bad place to be stuck for awhile, and just look at all that snow, plus it’s raining to beat the band down low here, which means add a few more feet this storm, and another one wallops us mid week, and let’s start measuring in yards instead, wow.

    I’d mentioned the other day, the winter of record in California in the last century was 1968-69, and here’s a link to the craziness of one storm after another dumping so much snow so quick, from Tahoe.

    This winter is similar, in it coming late and laden.

    The Disney Co. had been awarded the right to build a ski resort in Mineral King in 1965, and they had a team of 6 very experienced ski mountaineers that were wintering over in 1968-69 to check conditions and they had a howitzer to set off small avalanches on high, mounted in the valley below.

    As mentioned, the snow just piled up and in the process, 14 avalanches came roaring down into the valley, and the cabins the ski mountaineers were staying in had 15 of snow over the crest of the roofs, and one of them died of asphyxia by lighting a fire in his cabin where the chimney was blocked, and the others had to tunnel upwards to get up to the snow, and then make their way down and out in what was quite the ordeal.

    A friend told me the howitzer that was mounted on a concrete platform ended up 1/4 mile away after one of those avalanches had it’s way with it.

    There was a bunch of reasons Disney never built a resort, and had they picked 1967-68 or 1969-70 for the team to have wintered over, no biggie. Perhaps things would have proceeded in getting r’ done, but the experience left them wiser and wondering about the potential of blizzards in Orlando, and shifted priorities there.

  5. witters

    To join the Guardian, The New Republic story:

    “But any such infighting on the left is likely to be semantic and largely forgotten once Democrats nominate a candidate. We can fairly predict that the nominee will support universal health care, taxes on the rich, economic reform, and an infrastructure stimulus—all policies that will appeal to the millions of Americans who have been left behind by the economic recovery, and who fear they’ll fall even further behind when the economy inevitably turns for the worse. Trump, by contrast, will be shouting “better dead than red” and insisting that the economy is the greatest, ever.”

    1. Big River Bandido

      We can fairly predict that the [Democrat] nominee will support universal health care, taxes on the rich, economic reform, and an infrastructure stimulus

      Only a fool would believe such nonsense.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Why should we assume the Democrats will nominate a candidate who will seek any of that?
      The whole Mainstream DemParty Prime Directive is to prevent any such candidate from being nominated. Sanders, Gabbard, maybe Warren? ” Never! Ever!” in the deathless words of Hillary.

    1. Carla

      We need a federal Jobs Guarantee — NOT “Basic Income.”

      Who wouldn’t rather have a decent job than an inadequate government stipend?

      1. Chris Cosmos

        I would rather have the stipend than have a “decent” job–depends on your definition of “decent.” Anyway jobs for who? We don’t need jobs we need a life. In the 1950s there were predictions that pretty soon people would only have to work 20 hours–why didn’t that turn out? Jobs are the oligrach’s way of continuing to rule us despite the fact that using clever engineering and all the technology at hand most jobs (particularly bullshit jobs…see David Graeber) could be eliminated.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          I suspect that one of the reasons the US doesn’t have shorter work weeks is because of health care costs. Everything else sorta scales (vacation, sick leave, building utility costs, etc.) with hours worked. Perhaps if we had a national health service…

          1. Summer

            With health insurance (not the same as actual health care) so tied to jobs, suddenly BS jobs do sound like a prop to help sustain the private health insurance industry.
            That’s why they love only the mandate part of the ACA.
            It’s F you, they want to make their scams recession proof.

        2. Summer

          And so many jobs can be done from home. But the conformity and control of the workplace is desired – having relations centered around their profit making.

          Concerns about isolation need to be rethought.
          More people would develop relations that are not so transactional around the workplace and career.

          Maybe we would all have more friends again instead of “networks.”

          1. polecat

            In the Future, Telecommuting will a common practice …

            Ha ! … just like “too cheap to meter” … or “fusion power for all is just around the corner” …

            Bunk .. All Bunk !

          2. Procopius

            I like to post this quote from Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, Book III, Chapter 2, patagraph 10, published 1776, from time to time:

            “The pride of man makes him love to domineer, and nothing mortifies him so much as to be obliged to condescend to persuade his inferiors. Wherever the law allows it, and the nature of the work can afford it, therefore, he will generally prefer the service of slaves to that of freemen.”

            He goes on to explain why sugar plantations mostly employed slaves but growers of corn (wheat?) almost entirely hired freemen.

        3. Carla

          Of course there are, and will always be those who can’t or won’t work (for pay), and any humane society will support them adequately. At the same time, there is so much vital work to do, in rebuilding and maintaining social and physical infrastructure. We need a Jobs Guarantee AND decent incomes for those who don’t work.

          1. Chris Cosmos

            Certainly that’s true. But here’s the problem–who determines what gets built and why. We haven’t yet figured out collectively what sort of society we want to build. Do we want to build more highways for more cars or something different? But we aren’t even in the space where we can even talk about these things seeing as the national reality TV show has all “our” attention.

            1. polecat

              Both sides of the bruising Purple Party, in addition to the hypocritical & sycophatic Press, as well as portions of Academia, have really poisoned the well of any realistic and beneficial conversation.

              So, here we are, with various globs of society, from on high .. to low bottom .. jabbing pointed fingers at anyone but themselves … while simultaneously loosing their sh!t ..

        4. lyman alpha blob

          We don’t need jobs we need a life.

          Hear hear! And I’ve posted this before, but it’s worth reading again, so I’ll just leave this little essay from a smart guy almost 100 years ago here once again –

          Betrand Russell – In Praise of Idleness

          1. Bazarov

            I teach “In Praise of Idleness” every semester as part of my freshman composition class at a major American university. I pair the essay with the first chapter of “The Problems of Philosophy”–another great Russell work–that argues it’s not absurd to question whether reality is “real”.

            Glad to see I.P.I. called out on NC! It’s a classic essay, and Russell is a great writer.

            1. Chris Cosmos

              Great to see Russel talked about and taught! He was a strong influence though I don’t quite agree with his philosophy, still he’s a wonderful read.

        5. John Ashley

          The “that” was an obvious increase in the workforce.
          In other words the women and presto chango along with increase in immigration rate you had a race to more hours with less pay.

          As to “giving” people money to not work ,you will end up with Puerto Rico at the top end.

          You don’t want that.

      2. Lee

        Naw, it’s better to let our infrastructure crumble, our forests burn, our coastal cities flood, leave our sick and homeless to die in the streets, and so on.

        1. Chris Cosmos

          Most people I know, freed from the mind-numbing, and heart-numbing awfulness of the capitalist mentality would create ways to solve these problems pretty quickly. I’ve seen highly spontaneous reactions to emergencies and real need among groups of people–there would be no shortage of people to make sure this stuff gets taken care of. We are dying inside from alienation not infrastructure problems or sickness–much of which could be solved by reducing stress which the oligarchs use to trap us in this era’s version of tarpits.

          1. Carey

            “..We are dying inside from alienation not infrastructure problems or sickness–much of which could be solved by reducing stress which the oligarchs use to trap us in this era’s version of tarpits.”

            Thanks for this.

      3. Eclair

        I like to think of ‘work’ as something you do that makes life better for; your family, your neighbors, your community, your society.

        A ‘job,’ on the other hand, is something that you do to make money so that you can then live your life.

        Work is important and it’s difficult. It’s wiping the bottoms of infants and aged grandparents. It’s planting orchards and making cheese and watching over the sheep and harvesting wheat. It’s constructing shelters to keep out the cold and snow and provide shade in the heat. It’s weaving cloth and sewing clothes for work and for festive occasions. It’s fashioning tools to help others work more easily. It’s sitting in a group for hours while you discuss the best way to solve a problem. It’s playing the fiddle and the drum and making songs and telling stories. It’s teaching the young ones. It’s digging latrines. And, all of it is equally important.

        What work is not? It’s not done to make a few people really really wealthy. And to leave the rest of us scratching around in the dust.

        1. Chris Cosmos

          To be blunt–work is natural jobs are not i.e., humans will spontaneously do work as required.

        2. newcatty

          Thank you, Eclair, agree with you definitions of a “job” and “work”. But, I do have some caveats to consider in those definitions, especially when it comes to the examples of “work”. In a more egalitarian and socially compassionate society ,than the work sited, like teaching young ones, caring for babies and the aged, planting orchards would be respected and valued. The workers would , indeed, have their basic and cultural needs provided. Of course, there are exceptions. Now, most of the work as described in the examples are ” jobs” to many people. A teacher, child care worker, a nursing aide, a farm worker, a construction worker can like, or even love their work. If they work in poor or dangerous work environments, for low wages, no real health care, many with no paid leave (vacation time, sick leave, parental leave, etc. ) and in far too many cases: obnoxious or actually abusive management; then we have work that is just jobs. Just think of all the great employment stats for USA! Just what actual percentage of that “employment” is crapified part time jobs?

          Another interesting thing is that in a society where “jobs are “work”, then you have a number of people who quite willingly and, they would say smartly, play the system. The first time I really became aware of a family that did this, I was amazed. A large family in a rural area that prides itself on not “paying taxes to the gubment”. Identify, most, as Republicans. Believe in the right to “living without gubment interference”. These people have a network of working opportunities where they can do their work as is called, “under the table”. I guess find it interesting that they are all on medicaid, snap whenever they qualify, some with low income housing assistance, visit food banks ( especially at holidays, yay, free turkeys), & have the many kids in extended family on free lunch programs, free fees for sports, etc, and have plenty of money for fishing and hunting supplies. You bet, have huge freezers at houses. OK, see this is a rant. But, by being in this family’s circle I have heard of the bragging about this, when through social obligation, have been in their presence. They are not outliers in their community. I do think of the working class people I also know, who work “jobs” …often many hours, to support their families. They make “too much” to qualify for any of the above government assistance. Pay for crummy health insurance, therefore and no free lunch for kids, etc. How will this be solved for us Americans ?

          1. Eclair

            “How will this be solved for us Americans?” Ah ha! That is the question, newcatty.

            I see us here at NC as accepting that the current System (Capitalism? NeoLiberalism? Empire? Oligopoly?) is, well maybe not broken for the 1%, but certainly not delivering for the rest of us.

            We know we have to change how we live our lives and how we treat our fellow humans, and all our relatives, winged, four-footed, crawling. And we can no longer go on dumping poisons into the waters and the air, and go tromping about overthrowing sovereign governments around the globe. And, we really must start this, like, yesterday.

            How do we do it? How do we envision what we want our communities to look like? How do we discuss this with people who have been taught that ‘socialism’ and ‘government’ are evil? But, that our government is always on the side of the angels when we invade other countries? Without dismissing such believers as stupid and deplorable. How do we even begin to understand how so many people think? Gracious, I even have trouble communicating with my adult kids, who have begun to think that ‘mum has gone radical!’

            Maybe we have got to start face-to-face discussions; with neighbors, with community groups, on city-wide bases. Because if we don’t, I fear all our compartmentalized, algorithmically-determined preference groups, will go spinning off into the angry polarized factions that start civil wars.

            1. newcatty

              It’s very late here Eclair, but if you see this I appreciate your thoughtful response. I noticed in m examples of the family and their network of friends and cohorts in their business world that they don’t see themselves at all as stupid, deplorable or that government is actually evil. That is how some might be angry in the group of ” anti- government” people. These people I am talking about are not stupid and truly think they are entitled to their life styles due to their superior intelligence and cleaverness . They believe, if the society ends as we know it, they will be fine. I am with you…hope for more ground-up discussions as to what we want as our framework for a just and nurturing society. And, yes, no civil wars.

    2. dla

      To add to that, it’s significant that the experiment found *no* significant difference between the control group and the quasi-UBI group when it comes to the percentage of people who found a new job in the trial period. That actually strikes me as evidence against the idea that without conditionality, people will just sit on the couch all day, while the setup of the experiment made it impossible to test any of the macro-effects UBI proponents are hopeful of.

  6. Rajesh K

    Neighbors watching neighbors. You know what that sounds like? The Cultural Revolution in China where everyone was reporting on each other. The result of that is the loss of privacy and the infantilization of an entire generation where it’s ok to ask each other details of personal life like “what’s your income?”, etc, etc. The good thing is that the younger Chinese generation is starting to push back more and more.

    The whole thing makes me think of the following website: (I think one of its articles was once listed in one of the Links). The site mainly pooh poohs on Alibaba (deservedly so I think), but the author has a number of posts where he accuses both Amazon and Walmart as Chinese Communist Party operations.

    Perhaps agent Bezos hasn’t been following orders lately so the CCP released all those nasty details ;)

    1. Wukchumni

      Perhaps agent Bezos hasn’t been following orders lately so the CCP released all those nasty details ;)

      Demandchurian Candidate?

    2. The Rev Kev

      Neighbors watching neighbors – has always been effective. Am currently reading a book about how the flu pandemic hit America in 1919 and it mentions how in selling war bonds, they used people against each other. In Philadelphia, a town crier would go around yelling “All who have bought Fourth Liberty Bonds shall put your four stripe honor flag in your window before tomorrow night! If your neighbor has none, ask him why!” This was the era of the “white feather”.
      More recently, in East Germany the Stasi had about one out of every hundred people spying on the rest and a well-know activist divorced her husband when she found out after East Germany collapsed that her husband was a Stasi informer – spying on her. Awkward! People may have forgotten too how after 9/11 the Feds set up a program so that people like repairmen and service workers would check out people and their homes when called out on visits there. I suspect that any government uncertain of their authority resorts to this tactic. But now they have Alexa, Siri, Cortana, etc. for this.

      1. Baby Gerald

        It seems to be a trait of human nature that authoritarian regimes everywhere have been able to exploit to their own nefarious ends. It is also fairly well-documented that this was the method used by the Gestapo, both in the Reich itself and in the territories it occupied. A handful of agents and a slew of informers, basically neighbors reporting on each other out of spite, for personal reward, out of a false sense of patriotism, and usually a combination of all three.

        1. Parker Dooley

          Significant proportion of our guests at Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, etc. received their invitations via this process, apparently.

      2. Skip Intro

        Where did you get that 1 in 100 number for Stasi informants? I recall hearing it was as much as 1 in 3, and amounted much more to quiet economic subsidy than an optimized surveillance system.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Off Wikipedia which reckoned it at 170,000 informants and I happen to know that they had a population of 17 million at the time. That higher number may have included unofficial informants such as when the Stasi said to different people from time to time if you do not tell us about so-and-so, you won’t get that job/scholarship/apartment that you applied for.
          The old KGB was frankly jealous of mobs like the CIA as they said they had to use so many informants as they did not have anywhere near the same number of computers that the west did. Even maintaining paper files was a killer for them in terms of manpower

  7. MK

    The affordability of water is striking. Here in Rochester, NY, along the shores of Ontario, our water bill is about $75 quarterly. Sewer is billed separately, annually on the county property tax bill, that’s about a $100.

    Perhaps pension obligations are part of the increases, budgets raided to plug other departments, along with infrastructure? Maybe leaking pipes between the meter and the house?

    The rate increases in the article are predatory.

    1. JCC

      I’m not sure that they are predatory. My annual bill for a small house in Ovid NY 8 years ago (and today) is less than $300.00/yr including sewer tax. Here in Ridgecrest CA where I am living now (North Mojave Desert) is about $600/yr (family of one, both places). Both are relatively small towns with few roads wider than two car widths and no high rise buildings or concentrated population areas.

      Last summer I had a couple of hours lay-over time at Chicago’s Union Station and watched some crews digging up the streets for minor repairs and I couldn’t even imagine the costs involved and the amount of general disruption – traffic on one side of the station was being funneled from 4 lanes into 1 lane – for a minor, let alone major, ancient infrastructure rehab in cities the size of Chicago, New York, or Detroit.

      The biggest problems I see in the largest, heavily concentrated population, cities is exactly what the article points out – a little bit between the lines – everyone pays an equivalent share for gallons used, but maintenance and repair either doesn’t happen at all due to very high costs, or what does occur doesn’t happen where it’s needed within those poorer areas.

      That, and as these costs legitimately rise (along with rents, transportation, other utilities, and food, wages do not, particularly for the poorest among us.

      1. JCC

        I meant to add, as a side note, that here in the Mojave area where I presently reside, the average depth of the water table is about 350 feet. 60 years ago, when the NavAir Base was built in the area and the population of the area rose from about 2000 to 24,000, the average water table depth was 30 feet. Not all is to blame on the locals, of course. Most of the feeders to the local water table have been re-routed to Los Angeles County.

        Just another example of how population increase is doing some very serious damage to local ecology everywhere, particularly as regards fresh water, and most particularly in desert areas.

        1. Wukchumni

          There’s a 20 foot tall pier in Keeler that allows you to imagine what Owens Lake must’ve been like before thirsty L.A. put paid to what was called “America’s Switzerland” in the 19th century, and driving Hwy 395 from around Olancha upward towards Tahoe, the similarity to Cantons would be apt, with lush green covered slopes extending down from the higher climes everywhere you looked.

          Just add in cows with bells on and alpenhorns trumpeting away, and there you have it.

          Manzanar-is a take on manzano: which is Spanish for apple trees, of which there were many thousands of, in the decades before it became a Japanese-American internment camp.

          1. JCC

            I have a couple of friends that live in Keeler. They inform me that LA Department of Water and Power regularly harasses them for not cutting down the trees there that “use too much water”.

            They have all kinds of rules there not faced by other towns regarding water usage that are meant to preclude any water use of the natural springs in the area, including the planting of trees.

            There are some fascinating stories available through local authors and the ‘net on the water wars fought against LADPL by land owners and farmers from Olancha through the Bishop area, including dynamiting dams and water pipelines. Needless to say, they lost the battle.

      2. Shonde

        Perhaps my former ocean side home city of 180,000 California residents is an example of how and where sewer and water infrastructure funds are spent.
        Every year we had increases of 10% to 20% on our water and sewer bills. We were always told the infrastructure in the old and older parts of the city was past its useful life and needed replacement and water cost was going up.
        Water cost was going up. That was true. However, anytime work was actually done to replace old water and sewer infrastructure it occurred in areas close to development of new luxury condos, hotels, new industry etc. That development required larger water mains, enhanced lift stations etc. Then of course, the water and sewage treatment plants were declared too small or too ancient to service the needs of the growing city. In the meantime, in the really old residential parts of the city only patchwork was done to repair line breaks.
        Development was charged connection fees and some cost of infrastructure immediate to the development. We paid for all the other upgrades needed.
        BTW, the city council majority was very pro-ALEC and Building Industry Association and real estate PAC funded for elections.

    2. KB

      Wow, that’s a great rate!
      Here in a suburb of Minneapolis, the land of 10,000 lakes, actually more than that I pay over $1,000 a year for a 1957 year built rambler and 3 adults….
      I complain regularly as we are on fixed income, SS…..
      I cannot comprehend how they came up with these rates and how. Tiering and fees were added since an upgraded city water treatment plant…however I was told we have access to our own 16 water table wells.
      I smell a rat!

    3. Oregoncharles

      Water bills are for the pipes not the water itself – although treatment is a significant factor, so the quality of water going in is, too.

      In Salem, Oregon, on the Willamette and at least one tributary, a water bill for a family of 3 runs nearly $100, and they’ve raised it recently. That’s including sewer but without watering the yard. Salem’s a smallish city, maybe 100,000, and the state Capitol. One factor: the towns along the Willamette are surprisingly old, over 100 years, and could easily have pipes that old.

  8. R

    If you haven’t seen AOC video “let’s play a game” in yesterday’s guardian check it out.
    Powerful. I can’t help but be really impressed again with her rhetorical moves/instincts.

      1. shtove

        I did think the brief follow up from one of her witnesses took a bit of wind out of the sails. It’s not strictly dark money – just an influence that the high priests have consecrated to disturb legitimate authority.

  9. james wordsworth

    “They want to get rid of airplanes. Never gonna happen. You can’t tell people they can’t go to a business meeting. And of course I’d have no job. And what would happen if the US stopped all flights and also didn’t allow international flights to land or depart? We’d become a third world country.

    hmmm … so much in a short comment that shows how far we are away from even beginning to deal with global warming.
    – air travel is NOT good for the environment. Yes it is convenient (or used to be), but we will have to do much much less of it.
    – everyone worries about their job, especially in an economy where so few have any savings. The comment about retooling to a green economy is like changing the engine in a car as you barrel down the interstate – not easy (or even possible?) – seems correct.
    – changes need to be structural that gradually get people to change behaviors without being seen as being mandated. For example, up taxes on airfares enough and fewer people will fly. Up gas taxes and fewer people eventually will buy SUVs, and heck they might even car pool or take public transit (make public transit free?), or maybe even change how cities work/are designed.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Putting all your eggs in the Market basket by depending on price to ration will only allow the rich to do whatever they like while preventing the poor from doing even those things that are necessary. For example, using price to ration energy for heating and cooling residences will not force the rich to lower their thermostats in the winter and raise them in the summer, but it will leave the poor unable to provide themselves with the heating and cooling necessary to prevent dying from exposure to cold or heat.

      I’m quite happy to admit that methods of rationing other than price will be more intrusive, but if you care about equity among the classes, that’s the price that absolutely must be paid unless a massive and nearly universal change of heart takes place.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The problem with “gradual changes” is the climate change issue. Gradual changes was probably too little 10 years ago.

      1. Chris Cosmos


        We need fundamental change not only from a technical POV but social/cultural. Without that science tells us what is likely.

        1. newcatty


          Social/cultural Pov is essential, I would add a spiritual/ moral revolution as necessary for that to happen. Know I don’t have to reiterate for most readers here, that spiritual does not mean the same as religious. Though, for some, it is intrinsic to their religion.

          1. Chris Cosmos

            Every other avenue is closed–only the spiritual is open and it has efficacy. I’m happy to see other here are beginning to sense this.

            1. newcatty

              Chris Cosmos…you made me smile. Speaking for myself, I have not just began to “sense this”. I have been around on this “avenue” on a pretty long trip for my life.

    3. Skip Intro

      And on top of that, the ‘They want to get rid of airplanes’ line was fabricated as an intentional disinterpretation of the GND plank of modernized rail and public transportation infrastructure. A complete lie and scare tactic that Tucker Carlson burped out to ambush AOC’s spokesperson. In fairness it may have come from the fake GND the GOP as passing around.

        1. Skip Intro

          Reducing the necessity of air travel is not the same as ‘getting rid of airplanes’. That was the GOP lie.

          1. Carolinian

            Well it’s likely that a large percentage of air travel isn’t necessary right now, so that GOP talking point–that air travel will only be significantly reduced via coercion–isn’t entirely bogus. One problem with the GND that has been discussed around here already is that it suggests climate solutions can be relatively painless–the famous “win win”–whereas zero carbon would in reality mean a complete reordering of current arrangements.

            1. lyman alpha blob

              …it’s likely that a large percentage of air travel isn’t necessary right now…

              I thought that one of the benefits of the online economy was that people, especially businesspeople, wouldn’t have to travel to meetings so much once they were able to easily teleconference from all ends of the earth.

              My company would likely go out of business if air travel for business meetings were even moderately restricted. I would gladly lose my job were it to happen.

            2. notabanker

              Yeah, this is the elephant in the room. Go down to Texas and tell them we need to eliminate fossil fuels. I have family there. I’d have a better chance of convincing them everyone needs to gouge out both eyes.

              I do think there is a mathematical chance to swing the 2020 elections, but it will be the nastiest political battle this country has ever seen. It has to be done, but I don’t really like the chances.

            3. Skip Intro

              You seem to still be misunderstanding. The goal is to offer alternatives for long distance travel in the US (i.e. high-speed rail). Banning ‘unnecessary’ flights is again, not the same as reducing the necessity of air travel. That is still the GOP talking point meant to raise fears of coercion and create opposition to the GND among low information voters, as well as just tarring another popular program with their old brush of government overreach..

              1. John Ashley

                I want to SEE the plan to access the land rights to lay the infrastructure for this high speed rail build out that will reduce by what % the need for flights.
                What % of flights per rail mile built?
                Which routes get priority?

                The current railways (what’s left of them) will not do it.
                How do you build out and with what?

                1. JBird4049

                  What is so great about air travel? I hate it. It use to be easier, even interesting, now it’s an ordeal with getting to the airport and going through TSA wasting almost as much time as an actual flight. It takes so long and is so uncomfortable to use the airport I would rather drive if it’s anywhere in California. At least my carseat is more comfortable, I can use my stereo, and I can reach a bathroom bigger than a (very) small closet. It would be nice if air travel was like it was thirty years ago before deregulation “improved” it and before the TSA fear mongers created it useless, humiliating even degrading, time wasting, obstacle course. Until we deal with those things, I am not going to worry about any restrictions even though air travel is almost required for long distance travel.

                  If you include the canals that were built, United States spent almost two centuries of time (and money) building up transportation. Canals, railroads, trollies, subways, ferries, busses, freeways, bridges, and airports. Of that long list covering two centuries of efforts, aside from the unused canals and maybe most of the old ferries, has anything not been either junked or not maintained into crap? It like people are making money tearing down the system instead of building it up.

                  There are supposed to be drawn under plans for the rail system needed including various options for the engines. Everything from modern steam engines to disel to electric. Repair or replacement of just about all the bridges and major roads. Airport modernization. But the money is never available.

                  Just as there are many obsessive and talented people who are working on fixing or ameliorating the oncoming climate disaster, they are many for our transportation system. But somehow for the past fifty or more years we’ve been either ignoring or even tearing it down. We don’t have a choice really about rebuilding it. It’s either that or start seeing something like New York’s subway just break.

                  1. ChristopherJ

                    Instead of spending Federal money on its citizens, the US prefers to spend so that connected corporations (and the people running them) receive those monies.

                    Only those Americans who travel overseas can see just how deteriorated their own infrastructure is. Third world bad

                2. Skip Intro

                  Well obviously you’re right, it is impossible and we’re doomed. It is already clear that the planet’s brief but ill-fated fling with multicellular lifeforms is drawing to a close. I was just swatting down GOP/industry disinformation here because my private jet has great wifi, and it amuses us.

                3. tegnost

                  there are rail and highway right of ways criss crossing the land, and if need be, eminent domain, which more recently have been used to aid industry. Here’s an example from the fine folks at

                  “Case Study #1 – Whole Take of Industrial Property with Deep Water Port Access
                  A municipal port authority with the power of eminent domain initiated “slow-take” proceedings to acquire an 60+ acre industrial property with deep water access for the purpose of construction a port terminal to be owned by the port authority and leased to a private import company. The owner of the property purchased the waterfront property with the intent to redevelop the former plant and construct a bulk terminal. The property had many unique characteristics including an abandoned railroad line, industrial buildings and a small office building. Additionally, the property contained a landfill used by the former industrial owner and was encumbered by some contamination. The owner purchased the property for $8 million and assumed all responsibility for the environmental clean-up.

                  In advance of filing the condemnation suit, the port authority offered the owner $14 million to purchase the property. However, the port required the owner to remain liable for the environmental clean-up. The owner refused the port’s offer and suit was filed. Following a two-week jury trial in which numerous experts testified for both sides concerning the valuation of the industrial fixtures on the site, the cost to cure the environmental issues, the likelihood of the owner obtaining the necessary permits to construct port infrastructure and connect the rail line, as well as the overall value of the property, the jury returned a verdict awarding $76 million in just compensation for the acquisition of the property. Because the port authority used the “slow-take” eminent domain power, it was afforded the opportunity to decide whether it wanted to move forward with the acquisition and pay the amount the jury determined to be just compensation or whether it would abandon the condemnation. The port authority decided to abandon the taking remaining liable for the owners’ attorneys fees and costs determined by the court to be in excess of $10 million.”

                  Sorry for the long clip, but this is very telling. A “capitalist” purchases a polluted port for the bargain price of 8m US. There is no mention what cost of cleanup will be. Port (fyi,that would be a representative of the citizens of a community) Offers 14 million but the cleanup is still the fool who bought the places problem. Fool goes to court, has the land valued at 76 b, port says forget it then, owner still is on the hook for cleaning this polluted site. This actually happened in friday harbor with a different result, the port purchased jensens marina because they are the only ones who could realistically afford to clean it up. This is a reality across he land, and the people, oops, investors, who won’t do it should lose it.

            4. mrsyk

              I’m not so sure that the intention is to suggest that it will be painless. My take is that the GND is trying to tackle the infrastructure side of the climate issue. The behavioral issues will certainly be more tricky. Remember all the belly aching over the national 55 MPH speed limit. How about the public service attempt at keeping tires inflated to the proper amount? These relatively simple and painless measures were widely ridiculed at the time.

      1. bstamerjon

        A suitable tax increase on aviation fuel would fix this pretty quickly. Perhaps a luxury tax on business/personal jets, too.

    4. Chris Cosmos

      All the objections to a greener more sustainable world are, from a technical point of view, absurd. What people fear is not the end of airplane travel but change of any kind that would force the eyes and mind to open. People love habit even if it’s boring particularly in a society that thinks safety and security are, next to money, the most important principles to live by.

      Anyway, most of the collective problems we face have a multitude of technical fixes but they require social change to some degree. Food can be grown locally rather than in the absurdly wasteful (by law) agri-biz “farms.” Vertical gardening works and is being implemented in various places, community gardens should be priority not only for food but to foster a sense of community that most people lack–this can solve issues of depression (now seen as a result of social isolation), anxiety, drug addiction and stress which is at the heart of most disease. Energy can also be more efficiently produced locally because less is lost by going across short distances. I’ve seen literally hundreds of technical fixes to common problems but all require a willingness to change the culture and this I don’t see. I do see great dissatisfaction around me but people handle that by, essentially, escaping through fantasy, games, entertainments, drugs (legal and illegal), addictive and compulsive behavior and so on. This, for the most part seems to work for most people. Every escapist activity leads to another and thus, theoretically, we are doomed to whatever catastrophe awaits us in the coming decades.

      One thing could change things–visionary leadership not from a Glorious Leader but from many leaders in communities. We’ll just have to see if they emerge despite the fact courage is no longer considered, in fact, a virtue.

      1. a different chris

        Good post. But I personally believe “safety and security are, next to money, the most important principles to live by”, and I think it’s pretty much a definition of what most people on the planet want from “society”. With a likely deletion of the “next to money”.

        So don’t put that down as a negative, instead work with it. A lot of troglodytes don’t care if their A/C comes from a windmill, or a downwind coal plant. So trying to get them to switch is not easy. However, put solar panels on their roof, and even though that may actually cost more you are selling them a sense of “the lights won’t go out” security.

        Localization has a few more arrows in it’s quiver than I think we know.

        1. Chris Cosmos

          Let me put it another way–security, safety and money are important in this world where the idea that we live in an unsafe and threatening world is our current cultural currency. We arrive at these value not as a natural expression of the human spirit but through alienation which is the chief feature of capitalism in all its stages. When we commodify human beings we get insecurity automatically. I’ve seen “primitive” people stand straight in a way that you don’t see in modern man–once they become embroiled with the seductions of modernity they slump like the rest of us. That doesn’ mean I have the least interest in “going back” to simpler times–I want to go forward and use technology to lift not depress the human spirit.

    5. charger01

      ” “everyone worries about their job, especially in an economy where so few have any savings. The comment about retooling to a green economy is like changing the engine in a car as you barrel down the interstate – not easy (or even possible?) – seems correct.”

      A Green New Deal will severely impact those who have the least, the lower/middle working class, the most. The basic needs for transportation, energy for heating/cooling their homes, and increasing costs for consumer goods will be felt acutely. The do not have additional savings for these direct costs. These are problems that will require direct subsidizing or some mechanism to mitigate these pressures. I agree that a Green New Deal needs to occur, now! Otherwise we will have a climate catastrophic events that will impact everyone. This will require a serious effort to retool around 1/3 of our economy.

      “– changes need to be structural that gradually get people to change behaviors without being seen as being mandated. For example, up taxes on airfares enough and fewer people will fly. Up gas taxes and fewer people eventually will buy SUVs, and heck they might even car pool or take public transit (make public transit free?), or maybe even change how cities work/are designed.”

      Explained with classic Dems-speak. The “nudge” ploy to modify peoples behavior will simply generate resentment by those who are impacted, leading to electoral defeat. I would suggest that the recent change in politics in Ontario is an excellent case study why these policies won’t work.
      Your example of increase gas taxes will not cause the decrease of use of SUV or larger vehicles, it will however impact those lower-middle workers to suffer as they require transportation to their jobs, mainly from the country to the urban center. I’d suggest reading the Feb. 2018 column from James Kwak regarding this dynamic, and why a bold sustained program from the federal government is needed to comprehensively address these problems.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        while i love the idea of a green new deal(especially the new deal part), i fear what will become of it once it’s filtered through the dnc/thirdway means tester paternalists.
        for instance….just cuz it’s what i’ve been doing all morning…we heat with wood. if we buy firewood, for a really cold month, its $170/month…versus $300+ for propane(if i could afford to install a central heating system…prohibitive, even if i install it myself(will that be allowed?)) Electric is even worse, unless I also purchase and install a large enough wind/solar plant(i am far from averse, but economics…)
        but with wood, i can get it for practically nothing…with a little effort by me and the boys.
        i don’t really trust the methodology of the emissions formularies i’ve seen regarding wood heat…all that i examined a few years ago smelled of natgas money…but regardless…this is an economic consideration.
        what i expect…having learned pessimism from obama and the clintons…is that i’ll be penalised and fined and required to get some new fangled, high tech heating system, but that it will be way beyond my reach…and no help will be forthcoming without jumping through a bunch of flaming piles of forms in triplicate…and then being denied any way because i used the wrong word on line 5a of page 448(a “reason” i will never be privy to).
        this is, in fact, how every poor person government program i have experience with currently works.
        if it was aoc and bernie designing the gnd…yes…I’m on board. but insert lobbyists and the rest of critterdom into the mix, and i expect it to hurt….and when i cry out at beiing hurt, I’ll be yelled at for being deplorable and barbaric.

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          I replaced my central HVAC under with an EnergyStar system under the Obama rebates. Sticker price 5K, 3.5K after rebates. The fan motor died after 8 years last summer. Tech said that is normal! If the motor had not been under warranty it would have cost two thousand dollars to replace! (Used to be ~$200 with the old system) So efficient that it costs more than it will ever save in energy (only have 800 sq ft). GND sounds nice, but I can’t expect anything other than an onerous boondoggle like the ACA.

          I’ll probably put hoods for WiFi window units in the attic when this one packs it in. Florida, gotta have some AC or the house turns into a terrarium. My $300 dehumidifier has let me raise the temp 7 degrees. (Another 2K to get a central dehumidifier, so I don’t mind emptying the bucket until I set up a pump and line.)

          1. Anon

            The secret to energy usage in living space is conservation. Insulate once and lower the needed heating supply. Orient a building smartly to the Winter sun and get “free” heating. Plant deciduous trees on west side (sunset) and get seasonal cooling.

            DDGo (search) for Energy Decathlon competition and see cutting edge stuff.

            1. Amfortas the Hippie

              i went as nuts as possible with insulation(house in town was circa 1950’s and uninsulated)
              this house:east side, tall side, is all windows, kitchen cabs to 14′ ceiling.sycamores from seed out there, where the sink drains(deciduous.)
              west is where the crazy wind(and hottest summer sun) comes from, so it’s 6′, with sheet metal porch with big louvers for the view. I button everything up for the windstorms.(that’s the firewood porch. fits 3+ cords).
              part of the east porch has a stoa/balcony(roof access, shade, hammock)
              house is a large space—practically one big room– so it takes a bit to heat up, but once there, not too much to maintain. big slow ceiling fans to chase the heat around.
              I designed it with a focus on passive/wind driven cooling. whole thing’s a heat engine. summer heat is really the main concern out here. supercold is generally only 2-3 weeks out of the year, when i need all 4 woodstoves…but july to sptember can be quite brutally hot.(should the ac or grid give out, i’ll be the most comfortable house for miles)

              greenhouse has black rainbarrels for heat sink(27 outside, 37 inside, with just those)…and an old woodstove for when i have seedlings, with an old menudo pot on top for water(another heat sink).
              of course, on sunny days…no matter how cold…there’s a window between house and greenhouse. little fan blows the solarheated air in here.

              all this, house and all, was under 40K, and 80% me alone doing the work(call it physical therapy/art project).
              after I thought about it for 3 years…

              1. The Rev Kev

                Hey Amfortas. Ever thought of putting together a sort of scrap book of your house, the work that you put into it and the ideas that you had that led to what you did? May not sound much like now but I am sure that your grandchildren and great grandchildren would value it. I know that I would have valued such a scrap book from some of the places that my ancestors built.

                1. Amfortas the Hippie

                  that’s an intended part of the “book” i’ve been toying with for several years.
                  visitors initially see a pile of sticks and refuse cobbled together by someone with little experience in conventional architecture.
                  but when I explain it…the interlocking systems and such…they can overlook the unfinished aesthetics(slowly, but surely,lol…preference for function over form, which is an afterthought).
                  when we have demand driven power outages in high summer, it’s particularly evident what i’ve accomplished, here.
                  works like those air-well towers in the mideast: sun heats air at top of tower, which rises, and draws air through entire structure from below.
                  we do use a/c…but it’s cool to know that i can do without, in spite of 105 degrees.

                  similarly with the composting toilet…initial response upon learning it’s there is “gross!”…but it don’t smell, builds pasture/orchard soil profile, sinks carbon, and uses no outside inputs(leaves collected on site) or water(and never clogs,lol).
                  gray water is all but invisible…just doing it’s thing as we do our thing(dishes, baths). only continuing issue there is choice of soap(potassium hydroxide, rather than sodium hydroxide, so as not to salt my own field.)
                  if an impoverished cripple can do this…why can’t everybody?

              2. polecat

                You know, speaking about insulation .. we’ve got about 8″ of light snow on the roof, from our previous storm … I’ve noticed that our place is staying warm longer, withour having to stoaking the woodstove quite so hot. That’s some “green” insulation right there !!
                Another foot or more, however, and we’re toast !

        2. Chris Cosmos

          I agree. One of the things many on the “left” forget about hippie ideas is that they were, essentially, anarchic. Anarchists tend to be optimistic about human potential. Given freedom from coercion and freedom from alienation (capitalism is an alienation factory) people will tend to make the right decisions. But how do you create those conditions? However, we can never get to that question because the PTB are deeply perverse in their minds and hearts and are in love with coercion and alienation for their own sake. So how do we move to a better world? And we have to–this is not a maybe option–it is a requirement. We have a very, very limited time to transform the human race or, whether it’s 12 or 50 years face calamity even with carbon capture technology if that can be made available very soon.

          1. John Ashley

            Just a bit further and the human transformation you will force(given your time frame)ends up in piles of skulls/bodies.
            Many examples google it.

        3. Hepativore

          One thing that I think bears looking into is popularizing and engineering district-heating systems in many urban centers across the world, especially in the US. As most forms of baseload energy-generation (nuclear, coal, biomass, etc.) produce large amounts of waste heat, you might as well put it to use. Many European countries already do just this. As I live in the upper Midwestern US, heating during the winter is one of the highest demands of energy used in cold climates.

          As an aside, I do think that nuclear energy has many unrealized benefits, and that we would do well to be more like France in this regard, but that is a topic for another discussion.

        4. Oregoncharles

          That’s why there’s an extensive “social justice” section. The Gilets Jaunes are a warning: you can’t fix the climate on the backs of the poor. Tax and redistribute models are meant to address that problem: you take from those who spend the most on energy, give to those who have the least.

          In your case, heavily subsidized solar would serve the purpose. That’s the sort of thing you hope to do. We use home-brew firewood, too; the impact of woodsmoke depends on where you are. I’ve seen my town under quite a cloud, and there are tight burning restrictions in the Willamette Valley.

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            yes. we’re in th wilderness, and it’s Texas…so there’s currently zero regs regarding woodsmoke.
            even going full bore, we generate less, objectively, than a rancher burning his coastal bermuda field…or the highway department burning perfectly good wood from their periodic/eternal clearing of the right of way.
            (I’ve made noises to the local PTB about instead giving away that wasted firewood to the poor(and I’ve snagged my share,lol)…but it turns out that in the last 20 years, the local poor have been partially subsidised into switching from wood to electric heat(which I see as a potentially abused dependency–avoiding such dependency on others(propane company, electric grid) is another, secondary, reason behind sticking with wood))
            heat from wood is subject to Kant’s Categorical Imperative…can’t universalise my behaviour, due to the resulting pall of smoke…in town, one could devise a system where waste heat from other processes is utilised, as mentioned, negating the need for my necessarily individualised methods.

    6. Chris

      There has been progress on the electric aircraft front. Some fairly impressive large drones can now fly using vectored currents instead of turbines. But that’s a long way off from the kind of commercial scale travel we have now. Blimps might be a good option. But I think the reality is few people in professional/management elite realize that not a lot of people in this country need to fly.

      The FAA says we have about 43000 flights per day in the USA. Those flights carry an estimated 2.5 million passengers. The population of the USA as of January 2019 was about 328 million. So less than 1% fly everyday. A lot of the people who do fly are the ones who fly a lot. So it’s likely that the population of unique passengers is much less than 1% of all US citizens.

      Interesting to see people who can’t fathom the US giving up or radically changing something that only <1% of us do, while at the same time it's taken for granted that the 10% of the population who are drug users should be able to stop abusing. Maybe we need a "just say no" campaign for aviation enthusiasts :D

        1. Harold

          If people had more holidays and time off they could afford to take slower and less energy-consuming transportation, no?

      1. marieann

        Thank you for this “just say no” seems like a reasonable proposal. Also start taxing jet fuel and increase taxes on ticket prices.

        I really think air fares are really cheap today compared to what we paid 50 years ago, and that is why so many people think it’s their right.
        We emigrated to Canada in 1967 believing that we would seldom see our family…at least not till we saved up for a few years.
        Lo and behold folk can go back and forward a few times a year.

    7. polecat

      We could do a crash passenger-rail buildout, with a portion of the ‘former’ airline attendants getting first dibs on “re-employment” oppertunities.

      1. Hepativore

        We could always prioritize research and engineering into creating a “vacuum train” network. It is an old idea, but mantaining a vacuum in tubes for thousands of miles would be quite an expensive undertaking. Still, the only real limitation for how fast trains in vacuum tubes could go would be how much g-force humans could safely tolerate. Imagine going from Minneapolis to Chicago in an hour.

    8. Richard

      The only way we can possibly save ourselves, as quickly as we need to, is by making “saving ourselves” widely popular almost immediately. To me this strongly suggests populist strategies, raising material living conditions for everyone, or at least life satisfaction outcomes. Less stress and anxiety, more time off, more satisfying labor, fairly paid, and end to pharaonic divides of wealth, these all need to be woven into climate abatement policy and zero carbon policy. It should be presented to the public as a benefit to their lives. It seems obvious to me.
      But of course, sociopaths don’t see things the same way. They don’t care if it works, because they don’t care about humans 20 years from now or today. And because they don’t care if it works, they’ll be likely to repeat failed and failing authoritarian models that they’re comfortable with, as I think amfortas pointed out somewhere in these comments.
      I can’t remember the name of the documentary, 10 or so years old, that pointed out the similarities between DSM definitions of sociopathy and standard corporate behavior. It obviously stuck with me. I wonder if anyone else has studied if and how capitalism and sociopathy have co-evolved?

    9. Susan the Other

      that stewardess was an oblivious person… not surprising, but a good example of what must be changed.

  10. Wukchumni

    My first flight was from LAX to JFK in the summer of ’69, and i’d been prepped to ask the stewardess for wings, a pack of cards and what other trophies she had on hand, and back then you dressed up when par avian, so I had my little man suit on.

    The flight itself seemed to have taken a week in my mind and the smell of spent jet fuel on arrival in the Big Apple was perfume splashed all over the airport, intoxicating.

    I spent a lot of the time up in the air in the decades to follow as jets whisked me to and fro on my rounds of the orb, and after awhile the luster of living la vida runway models lost it’s appeal as far as doing business, but I still liked to go strictly on vacation, and then comes 9/11…

    We flew in 2004 for the first time since 9/11 and had to take our shoes off and other degrading nonsense, combined with TSA, etc., and more or less decided who needs the aggravation, and we’re cool with hanging out in the west where road trips rule over being in a cramped seat on high, oh yeah.

    So we don’t fly domestically again until 2015, as it’s my mom’s 90th birthday and the whole family is going on a Caribbean cruise, and we ain’t driving to Florida.

    We go to check in with 3 bags and the nice lady @ the counter asks how i’d like to pay for the luggage, and I tell her, i’d prefer it was included in the price of the ticket like it always was, and she gives me a smirk, and I hand her an Amex card for the $75 handling fee.

    I think we might fly again domestically maybe in 2024, when the full eclipse comes to Buffalo and Niagara Falls.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Southwest will check 2 bags per person for free. They also will change your reservation if need be, and even refund if you’ve paid a little extra. That was a big help last month.

      Their boarding procedures are, well, different, but seemed to work well enough once we caught on. Don’t know if they fly CA to FL, but I’d sure check.

  11. dearieme

    “Sumatran tiger killed by potential mate on first meeting in London zoo.”

    Artificial insemination is surely easier and safer than shipping triggers around and trusting to luck.

        1. Wukchumni

          There was a feline known as Frasier-The Sensuous Lion…

          “At a now-defunct animal preserve in Laguna Hills, a lion named Frasier became a star when word spread of his virility. After spending most of his life in a circus, lazy, tongue-lolling Frasier went on to father about 35 cubs. “In a time of disenchantment over the Vietnam War, [he] was a pleasant distraction — he wanted only to make love,”

              1. newcatty

                Happy that I am an old hippy. Lots of themes and memes from that time area are as timely and profound as back in those days. Make love, not war(always thought this meant not just sexual love). Flower power! What is war good for? (OK, MIC knows. ) Never trust anybody over 30. Think AOC fits…Bernie fits, too.There are exceptions to the rule. Be kind. Let your freak flag wave. IOW, be radical, if you like. Love Mother Earth!

  12. Eureka Springs

    A happier jobless person. Gasp! When Zero hedgies and Daily Koscrats heads explode simultaneously.

    I would call it an integral part of a green new deal. Since most work is destructive.

    1. human

      Very prescient comment as much of what we do to “earn a living” could be modified by tax structure changes and social programs. As Bucky Fuller noted more than half a century ago, the organized employment labor of everyone is not needed for human progress.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        He also favored a guaranteed income. He said that if you give 100 people enough to live on 99 will go fishing (so to speak) but that one out of the bunch will create or invent something that will make up for the others not working. I have always shared Fuller’s optimism about technology being able to rescue us from drudgery–but drudgery among the public is a requirement for the oligarchs to keep us servile and stupid.

        1. Eureka Springs

          I like the fishing analogy. Since most youngsters these days don’t even know how to eat unprepared and pre packaged foods, learning to fish and eat it could be of great value in so many ways. At this point in our ecology it would be better to pay people to take a cane pole to the river all day.

          1. Brian (another one they call)

            Thanks ES, but how does killing fish, their habitats, already severely compromised due to pollution and development, do anything for humans? We need to live with them, not upon them. Our food chain has been comprimised for decades. Perhaps it is time to consider alternatives to murder for chow?

            1. Fiery Hunt

              It’s called hunting and/or fishing.
              Murder is something else entirely.


              1. Eureka Springs

                Thanks FH. And Brian, if a cane pole down by the river, lake or pond will destroy our chances at a balance… then, imo, we are certainly doomed. Personally I’ve spent several multi-year long periods in my life somewhere between veggie and vegan with detriment to my health as a result. It may work for some, but not for all. Whether we package and ship tomatoes or fish great distance in such quantities… the problemo remains the same, imo. We definitely should produce as much as close to home, with least amount of packaging as possible and pay ourselves to do so.

        2. John

          There are a large number of people that need the jawb to organize their lives by an outside power. They can’t self organize on their own. There are also a large number of people that can self organize and self direct without any outside directive….especially the capitalist slave dictum to make money. How about seeing guaranteed jobs and guaranteed income as a both/and situation instead of the limited, contracted zero sum either/or game.

          1. Robert McGregor

            Show me these people who “Self-Organize well” without a paying job or business. I’ve heard of them; I’ve just never met one. Okay, I do know a 72 year-old who claims she “loves retirement,” but her idea of loving retirement is sitting most days, watching Fox News and occasionally visiting a winery.

    2. Amfortas the Hippie

      aye. “dignity of work” is a frelling myth.
      at least if we’re talking about a jawb.
      I’ve been “retired” for 12 years now, due to unmitigated pain due to having a 76 yo skeleton in a 49 yo body. the only thing i miss about working for a boss is the meager paychecks.
      ….and maybe a little of the flirting with my waitresses(the horror…) and taking pride in being good at what i did(which made zero difference in that meager paycheck).
      bosses and most customers afforded little dignity…it was simply too much to ask(I consider that this may be endemic to the “service” industry, but can’t know for certain).
      in other words, I don’t miss having a Job at all…and am proud of my heresy(gr:” ‘eretikos”=”choice maker”)
      I figure a civilisation needs a certain level of idleness…people sitting under trees, thinking.
      the suspicion of perceived idleness, and the admonition to “workworkwork!!”, even when there’s little reward(or dignity)…is inhuman.
      I was born on this planet. I reckon that I belong here, dammit…no matter how thin my wallet is.

      1. polecat

        I blame the Cavinists ……
        “All Work And No Play MAKE JOHNNY A DULL BOY”

        Hey, bartender ! .. I’ll have shot of that REDRUM …….

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Trump’s Attack on Socialism Is a Colossal Blunder”

    I find one bit of this article a bit confusing. It says that Trump said “that America will never be a socialist country” while “many Democrats scowled”. They did? It took only a 60-second search on Google to show the head honcho of the Democrats, Nancy Pelosi, saying “I have to say, we’re capitalists, that’s just the way it is” to a bunch of students.
    And for those looking for comfort from a possible Presidential contender like Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, it was only last year that she said in an interview “I am a capitalist. Come on. I believe in markets.” I guess that they were not scowling that much – unless you are talking about Sanders or AOC who are on the fringes anyway.

    1. diptherio

      “I am a capitalist. Come on. I believe in markets.”

      At least she’s being up-front about the faith-based nature of her capitalist ethos. She doesn’t know that markets are great, she can’t prove it with data or with logic…but by golly she sure does believe in ’em!

        1. Susan the Other

          There is nothing, nada, in the US Constitution that says we must be a capitalist country. Nothing. We claim our freedom from oppression, that’s all folks. We want free trade – OK then define “free.” Etc. And all those ideals can be achieved by socialism. To say we will never be socialist is the Same Nonsense as saying we will never give up our financialization for the rich. It’s just that simple at this point. And illogical.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      The applause for Trump aside. The GOP’s best asset is Team Blue and the perception Team Blue is just a bunch of nerds having their lunch money stolen by Republicans while still having good intentions keeps Democratic leaning voters from demanding more. Every time they applaud Trump they hurt that image.

      1. John k

        Reps are sincere in the applause, and half or more dems in congress are reps from dem leaning regions, and these find it hard to withhold applause. Involuntary burst of honesty.

        1. Richard

          I couldn’t find in that followthemoney site any breakdown of small donors, much less the 27 and less standard I look for. I’d be interested to know. So far I can say two things:
          1) I am not at all interested in gillebrand, harris, booker, or even warren, if none of them are able to cogently and consistently defend med4all. I’m certainly not interested in sherrod who seems to think “the time isn’t now”.
          2) When AOC is old enough for pres, I think we’ve all pretty much agreed on it, silently and otherwise, she’s in. I wish we had more than 11 years.

    3. Chris Cosmos

      I think Shephard has the common belief in the media that the will of the American people will be reflected by ambitious politicians–this simply isn’t true. The media requires the canard that we are a “democracy” which also isn’t true. We have, at best, some democratic input into policy but it’s largely ignored by the realpolitik idea that money talks and bullshit walks. Democracy has been gamed and elected officials can wave their arms to appear to favor this or that but the Princeton study of a few years ago shows that Congress pays virtually no attention to what the people seem to want but pays a lot of attention to what the rich want.

      But we know all that–still the impression has to be there that we are a democratic and “free” country. Those who know how Congress works know that there is almost no chance that truly progressive legislation has ANY chance of passing any more than there’s any chance of cutting the budgets of the National Security State no matter what the rhetoric is.

      So what Trump was doing here was to tell the oligarch class that he stands firmly against any policy that benefits anyone other than the rich and that oligarchs should not trust the Democratic Party now loaded with a few handfuls of socialists. He’s asking them to stop supporting the Democrats and support him and stop the media storm trying to sabotage his Presidency. From the beginning Trump understood what he was up against. He had to curry favor with the military to avoid a coup (which I think was considered), he had to curry favor with the all-powerful Israel lobby with his Jerusalem move, all of this kept him in power and will keep him in power.

      I don’t understand what Trump wants other than to stay in power. He can’t really do what he wants–with the media’s all out assault on him even this contra-socialism ploy will not work to mollify the oligarchs who are used to Presidents that follow orders without question. Besides the reality TV show of Trump has successfully distracted most of the left to ignore real issues so why change another successful con?

    4. Lee

      Thank you, Donald. His declaration will only serve to further popularize socialism. On the Democrat side, the ensuing debate on the national stage will be illuminating. How many Dems will align themselves with Trump on this issue?

      1. polecat

        I think the TrumPelosi is become an ever greater reality .. as each side tries to circle that square.

      2. Cal2

        Trump is for Socialism. Military Socialism.
        What else do you call an institution that gives taxpayer provided housing, education, clothing, healthcare, travel, and taxpayer provided food, but Socialism?

        How about a “Pay As You Go Pentagon?”
        Or, making the Pentagon fund its pension plans 70 years out like another federal institution, the Post Office?

        Medicare for All might just be putting every American citizen on the rolls of the Veterans’ Administration, or, transferring all military health care delivery to Medicare. The scalable systems are already there.

        1. Richard

          That’s actually kinda brilliant (make them fund pensions 70 years out) and tempting, except thinking in terms of mmt, I don’t think our future is best served with false/pretend shortages, even richly deserved ones!

      3. Aumua

        How many Dems will align themselves with Trump on this issue?

        I’ve been saying that Trump directly attacking it is the best thing to ever happen to Socialism, since now the democrats pretty much have to embrace it. It certainly puts them in an awkward position. I suspect they will try to just sweep this under the rug as much as possible and not mention it.

  14. Chris Cosmos

    What we can learn from bees–apparently not much. But this conclusion from social science stands out:

    “Stimulating independent thought in individuals may reduce the risk of collective madness. Dividing a group into sub-groups or breaking down a task into small easy steps promotes flexible, yet smart, human “swarm” intelligence.”

    This is interesting it terms of the mass-culture we live in. The article shows that collective and individual judgment breaks down in larger groups. We are, if nothing else, a mass culture, and it is obvious that at a fundamental existential level this mass of humanity calle the United States has become highly toxic to the environment and human civilization. We need to break down our social contract to focus on smaller group sizes than our society and its tribes but larger than the nuclear family.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        Yes, that’s what I’m basically for. And thanks for the link–a lot of us back in the day were convinced this was the right way forward–but attempts to bring that about failed.

        My problem with this view is that it requires that it be built within the structure of a relatively liberal State to provide the parameters that would allow such a thing to grow. Community gardens, cooperatives, communes and other attempts require a State structure. Most attempts at this sort of thing run into trouble–high rents, taxes, hostile politicians and corporations, cops, courts, lawyers, and all that. When I used to thing about this stuff I thought we would need to create a fairly large and robust corporations that could hire lawyers, tax accountants and all the rest of it to handle a “safe space” for these communities to have life. After trying to encourage people to try something like that I found that, fundamentally, the large majority of people who might be naturally sympathetic to this idea preferred their little coccoons of private lives and who wanted only the idea of anarchism not the actuality of it. I’m too old now to try and convince anyone–they’ll either develop such structures or they won’t. Meanwhile I’ll work with the people I know as best I can without any attachment to results.

  15. Wukchumni

    Amazon’s Home Security Company Is Turning Everyone Into Cops Motherboard
    “You have the right to be silent, but we’ll still monitor everything you do, have a nice day!”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Can you imagine what would happen if these home surveillance systems were combined with Predictive Policing Software? You would have the police raiding your home because they predicted a crime would occur there and would ‘toss’ the place as a warning to the people living there. And the poor suckers would not think why their home was nominated for a raid.

  16. a different chris

    >The Only Green New Deals That Have Ever Worked Were Done With Nuclear, Not Renewables

    Uh, yeah. And the only people that have been shown to reliably build and run large companies are white males. Look a the percentages!

    You can’t extrapolate as much from history as you would like to think. The nuclear push he mentions (France, Sweden) occurred in the 70s — think about your personal computer then. Oh that’s right, you didn’t have one. The big companies were IBM, GM, and Intenational Harvester. What information about building a business do you get from them that still applies today?

    This isn’t even a screed against nuclear power, I’m just pointing out that, you know, not everything history “shows” us stays true.

    We’re mostly screwed because we will hit 10 billion people before the great Die-Off straightens things out, and energy sources aren’t going to change that.

    1. Briny

      I had a personal computer in the (late) ’70’s, a TRS-80 Model 1 with a whopping 16 KB of RAM and I loaded programs using a cassette player. I couldn’t afford the 32 KB RAM expander and floppy diskette drive. Mostly just played games on it as anything serious was being done on an IBM System/370 at the university from the start of the decade.

      That late part saw me discussing using networks of microcomputers for running simulations of nuclear reactors by the Navy.

      1. StillAboveWater

        In 1981 I was running a simulation of a nuclear reactor on my Atari 800 with a whopping 48KB of RAM. It was a game called SCRAM:

        Funny thing – I never won, the reactor always melted down. I’m not sure it was even possible to win. It definitely changed my opinion of nuclear power.

  17. human

    Resilc: “With all the gunz we have in USA USA, I wonder how many cameras will be shot out or laser blinded?”

    Nah. Gunz not necessary. Can of spray paint attached to pole with jury rigged, string operated lever.

  18. human

    Resilc: “With all the gunz we have in USA USA, I wonder how many cameras will be shot out or laser blinded?”

    Nah. Gunz not necessary. Can of spray paint attached to a pole with jury rigged, string operated lever.

      1. JBird4049

        Dozens of Cities Have Secretly Experimented With Predictive Policing Software Motherboard. Resilc: “With all the gunz we have in USA USA, I wonder how many cameras will be shot out or laser blinded?”

        Hopefully all of them.

        Why aren’t more people going crazy other this? How many more people’s lives will be ruined because Science! can’t be wrong about the Evildoers. As this very site said about those supposedly predictive programs

        Data Scientist Cathy O’Neil: “Algorithms Are Opinions Embedded in Code”

        When I was learning about computing decades ago, having a computer doing something a thousand times faster means having mistakes done a thousand times faster.

        I can just see many police departments and DA offices being all giddy, while the GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage, Out) results destroys thousand of lives removing the undesirable elements from the town like poor people, or blacks, leftists, and civil rights activists, so than all the right thinking (and looking) people will not be bothered.


    It would ironic indeed, if not just desserts if the government agency that intercepted Jeff Besos’ dick pics used AWS’ Secret cloud – The one where spooks stuff runs – to scavenge it.

    But wait, is THAT how Besos knows it’s the spooks wot did it ?

  20. Ptb

    Re: drinkable chips

    Too phone addicted to put real food in mouth? Grease from last-resort food threatens sanctity of phone? Starvation imminent?

    Why do I feel like this product is sabotaging a perfectly good Darwinian process?

    1. Craig H.


      meal squares

      And now you know how Elizabeth Holmes kept her teenage size figure and didn’t have to keep buying clothes. The secret to staying slim is to stay away from any edible food.

      The meal squares testimonials resisted my attempt to cut and paste. They look like copy from The Onion.

    2. Morgan Everett

      Have to wonder about chances of people that are extremely addicted to their phones reproducing as well. Why try to get someone naked in real life, when it’s so much less effort to see naked people on your phone? Tendency to addiction to screens might be an evolutionary dead end.

  21. human

    Amazon’s Home Security Company Is Turning Everyone Into Cops Motherboard (resilc)

    I’ve been threatened by authorities more than once while at traffic stops by exclaiming, “If you want to catch criminals, go to (insert state capitol here).”

  22. The Rev Kev

    “Finland basic income trial left people ‘happier but jobless'”

    I’m not sure that enough information is being captured with this experiment. OK, I did the maths. That experiment must have cost about 27 million Euros ($US 30 million) in payments alone to be sure. Supposing they had given that money to the banks who really deserve it? Why, within two seconds it would have left Finland and would be on deposit in the UK or the US or some other needy country. So no benefit there. Those people that received that money would have almost certainly spent that money into the local economy thus giving a boost to the Finnish economy as it would have been spent on food, accommodation, bills, etc.
    Enabling a person to take a gig job is not a benefit either as it is subsidizing a multi-billion dollar corporation to underpay their workers. In any case, with increasing population and decreasing amounts of real jobs (due to technology) to keep people employed, what to do with them so that they are not alienated from society and do not revolt? Create more bs jobs? Have a gig economy that keeps people impoverished while making corporations richer? We may need to rethink what the basic purpose of a job is.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      It’s critical that we recognize that technology has severed the link between human survival and work and follow up that recognition with a radically restructured society that prioritizes providing for each according to her/his needs.

    2. Amfortas the Hippie

      I’d go further: what’s the basic purpose of a civilisation?
      are we close to fulfilling that purpose?

  23. Wukchumni

    Millions Could Lose Power Under PG&E’s Plan To Prevent Wildfires NPR
    Stoplights not working and gas pumps idled, is there any way to keep the juice on in these 2 critical concerns, or is it ooh ungowa nobody has access to power?

    1. GF

      The company I work for (now very part time) proposed solar powered battery backup stand alone systems that would kick in when street power went down but the municipalities contacted weren’t interested. There would be a small system near each intersection deemed important. The same could done with solar on gas station roofs with battery backup to power the pumps and some lights. Would need to be cash transactions or mobile phone app payments if cell system still worked – they do have battery backup for a few hours after power outages.

  24. DJG

    The Atlantic article on kleptocracy starts by asserting somehow that Russia is the model or problem. Sheesh. RussiaRussiaRussia is the opioid of the chattering classses. There are other kleptocracies that easily show where the U.S. kleptocracy has come from and why. There is Brazil, for instance, based on slavery, sugar (a particularly destructive crop), and concentration of wealth. Sound familiar? There are the sugar colonies in the Caribbean and elsewhere: Jamaica, for one. There is Saudi Arabia, a family-owned kleptocracy older than the current Russian government. There was Belgium in the Congo.

    So I stopped reading: In the United States, from the foundation of Jamestown, the settlers stole the labor of other people. That has gone on now for some 400 years. Kleptocracy is a home-grown problem.

    But let’s blame it on the Russians. Twenty years ago, someone would have blamed in on the Japanese.

    1. flora

      “russia russia russia” has become the language equivalent of the little American flag pins pols in the GOP started wearing to show their real, true American-ness (unlike those non-flagpin wearing Dems. Then the Dem pols started wearing American flag pins to show they were just as real, true,Americans as the GOP pols. Now pols in both parties sport the little flag pins to show they’re real, true Americans. “russia russia russia” seems to be serving the same purpose.

      1. Wukchumni

        “russia russia russia”

        Brezhnev used to be about the only world leader sporting a national flag lapel pin, but now we even have ex-jocks breaking down NFL games wearing em’ too.

    2. shinola

      The article fails to mention the team of “advisors” Clinton sent to Russia that helped to establish the kleptocracy.

  25. chuck roast

    On the aeroplane thing.

    I flew last month for the first time in years. There were two pressed and cut young guys across from me in the waiting area. They boarded first with the 1st class and military class. It finally dawned on me that they were Air Marshalls. I thought that these guys were supposed to go incognito? If a dope like me can figure them out, then the bad guys would have sussed them when they got out of the shower.

    Oh yeah, stop air travel and watch the thermometer rise.

    1. DJG

      chuck roast: I’ve never seen that. Is it possible that they were federal officials or something? “Intelligence community”? I assume that you are in the U S of A, where “pre-boarding” and boarding are one long and drawn-out melodrama of caste and class.

      The only time that I thought that I spotted air marshalls was on a Lufthansa flight (Chicago – Munich) about ten or twelve years ago. There were two male flight attendants in coach who were herculean. Their heads grazed the ceiling of the fuselage, their chests were bursting out of their vests, and it was hard to belive that their long arms were for handing out packets of pretzels. But they were the only “lapse” of this kind that I have ever noticed.

      1. James Graham

        Sorry chuck and DJG but sheer economics mandate that on-duty air marshalls do not work in pairs.

        If one armed guard could not prevent a hijack the US government is hiring the wrong people.

        (I sat behind a youngish man in civilian clothes who was in a front row seat and was greeted by the cabin staff as someone they knew. He was well-dressed, had a great haircut and he listened to personal audio throughout the trip. I concluded he was an AM.)

      2. The Rev Kev

        Air marshalls can have a tough gig as well. I do not know if it has changed or not but years ago their rules demanded that they wear ties, I kid you not. The air marshalls said that ties were just a way for hijackers to come behind and use the ties to choke them with from behind but nobody listened to them. Even clip-on ties were not allowed which would have solved the problem. I won’t even get into the issue of the large-caliber guns they were given which would have blown a hole out of the airplane. Over the years it has been fellow passengers that have taken down trouble-makers and even the ‘shoe-bomber’ was taken down by fellow passengers. Hmm. I wonder who got their frequent flyer points? Them or their agency bosses?

        1. rowlf

          Having found and fixed fair sized holes in airliners a bullet hole won’t do anything but maybe make noise.

          The air marshals I have met at the airport and at shooting ranges were very ordinary looking. None of the wolf look ex-SEALs that trained hostage rescue teams tend to have. (I would get detailed to give technical advise and keep the visitors from damaging our airplanes as they trained)

          1. The Rev Kev

            Should have said the effect of bullets taking out a windows versus holes in the skin which you pointed out are no biggie. You can get sucked through a broken window and it has happened.

                1. rowlf

                  Our practice was to take a piece of cardboard, punch holes in it and place all the screws in numbered relative locations, then check the lengths per the maintenance manual to make sure the joker before us got it right. 747 and other big airliners windows were challenging as a crane and a sling was needed, as well as ignoring a precarious working position.

                  I’ve been surprised on the number of military accidents/incidents where an airplane is lost due to chronic discrepancies. They must be losing their old hands in maintenance.

                  1. MichaelSF

                    They must be losing their old hands in maintenance.

                    Sadly, that’s often seen as a plus. When I retired from my career as a Fed (IT at the end) my director was glad to get rid of a “useless” FTE (full time equivalent) position. “What do those systems people DO?” is a pretty direct quote. We didn’t generate any “work” so we were seen as a drain on the division.

            1. rowlf

              My favorite discrepancy was a widebody write-up that the cockpit door would slam shut and seemed to have an air differential on it. Crawling around the electrical equipment bay below the cockpit while pressurized I suddenly found that I could see the ramp outside through a six inch diameter hole where the front hinge of an air conditioning pack inlet door had torn out and sucked out some insulation blankets. The remaining two air conditioning systems had sufficient flow to compensate for the air loss of the pressure vessel.

  26. DJG

    The two articles on bees are interesting. First, bees avoid bad information, because it affects their livelihood. Well, that explains why Facebook is a slobbering mass of panic, rumors, and cat videos–Facebook is a pastime, a simulation of entertainment. Second, bees can add and subtract. The Pythagoreans, who believed that number infused everything, would have understood this assertion.

    The two articles also remind me of the spate of articles and studies that (finally) show that animals have consciousness and “agency.” Some studies suspect a kind of much-different intelligence among plants. For centuries, monotheism encouraged thinking of animals as machines (Descartes, poor deluded guy, thinking about his thinking) or as something to eat (Dominion over the Earth!). But that line of thought isn’t working out. Instead, we are approaching animism. The Bee People have something to teach us.

    In a sense, the Green New Deal arrives at a good time: Human beings understand the destruction that we have wrought. The science is showing that we are intruding into other worlds that have to be preserved. I note that word “success” in describing bees in one of the articles. And they didn’t even ask for a tax break as job creators.

    And as someone of Lithuanian descent, I will point out that it is an article of faith among some Lithuanians that Lithuanian bees are friendlier than other bees. I await the scientific study.

    1. polecat

      So, are you sayin that Lithuanian bees are more docile than Italians .. or Carniolans for that matter ??
      Now, about these Russia Russia Russian strains …..

  27. integer

    Re: Macron Tactics Against Yellow Vests Have Nothing to Do with Public Safety, Everything to Do with Global Politics

    Thanks for this article. Quite shocked to read that 19 Gilets Jaunes have lost an eye during the protests. That picture of the guy from the Toulouse Observatory of Police Practices’ split forehead really shows how much damage a rubber bullet traveling at “10 times the velocity of a paintball” can do, and if I’m reading it right, the same bullet also badly damaged his helmet. An eye would have no chance. Then there’s the grenades that are being thrown into crowds and have resulted in protesters needing amputations. Macron is an absolute disgrace for allowing the police to use these kinds of weapons on peaceful protesters. It is starting to remind me of what happened in Kashmir in 2016 when Indian security forces were firing lead pellets into crowds of Kashmiris protesting against India’s military presence in the region. 570 people had one eye, or both if they were really unlucky, irreparably damaged (i.e. destroyed) over the course of about six weeks.

    1. Baby Gerald

      It’s vile and disgusting how these militarized police tactics have become the norm at protests and demonstrations all around the world. Trained by IDF/Mossad types, armed to the teeth with grenade launchers and body armor, anonymized behind their black shields and masks, carrying out the orders of a political regime that would and will cut their pensions and social programs in a heartbeat if it meant a balanced budget to show to their EU puppet masters.

      If I were in France, I’d be out there with them, but I’d make sure to have some kind of protection against these weapons on my person. With rules against the protestors wearing masks to cover their faces, what about visors or goggles to cover their eyes? I’m thinking of the goggles used when playing actual paintball or the kind that welders use to protect their eyes from sparks and torch glare. Are there any that can protect against the impact of a high-velocity paintball or smoke grenade?

      Those riot police are brave and strong beating down unarmed civilians, so what about giving them back some of their own medicine? Black paint to cover their masks, something like spikes or tacks to slow up those vans that seem to follow the marchers and block them in when they try to turn around, public shaming of any police thugs whose faces you can identify on film [like that black female cop bravely showing her face while aiming her LBD-40 grenade launcher in the second photo of that BSNews article]. I wonder what her friends and relatives would think if she got called out for being an accomplice to fascism.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        Earlier today a demonstrator lost his hand & I imagine that if one of these rubber bullets happened to hit someone in the jugular vein………

    2. David

      Unfortunately, the article is by someone who obviously interviewed some of the younger and more radical Gilets Jaunes and simply wrote down what they said without really doing any more investigation. The problem is that the GJ have now become a subculture with its own points of reference: they distrust the established media (not unreasonably) and prefer social media with all its attendant drawbacks. There’s now a very pronounced conspiracy theory culture among the GJ, which encourages the circulation of all sorts of material, some well founded but much of it garbage. Quite a lot of the photographs that have circulated on the internet, for example, have turned out to be taken elsewhere in the world.
      Simply put, the French state has not been deliberately using violence against peaceful demonstrators. To do so would be politically suicidal, and in any case ineffective, because the police simply do not have the numbers to contain the GJ. Rather, the government has been desperate to avoid injuries and deaths, which is why the police have been encouraged to turn back or arrest potential protesters, and why the very dubious “anti-wrecker” law was passed this week. It’s quite true that the police have not gone after the “casseurs” and indeed they are under orders not to do so. They have orders not to intervene unless personal safety is threatened: they are not there to protect property, which is in any case generally insured.
      In spite of the right-on class war rhetoric of the article, Macron is not some kind of puppet of international finance, oppressing the workers, and we are not back in the 1960s. Macron is an arrogant young man who appears to think he is Napoleon, or possibly Louis XIV. He won the Presidential election in 2017 not because of a conspiracy by international capitalism, but because he made it through into the second round, largely by luck, and faced Le Pen. A stuffed toy could have beaten Le Pen at that point. He’s also desperately worried for his future, as well he should be.

      1. flora

        I’ve read all your comments on GJ with great interest. They’re very informative. I also read this article, written by a reporter who was a finalist for the 2017 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. So, there are different points of view about what is happening and why.

        1. integer

          I’m going to go with Vanessa Beeley – an extraordinary journalist whose reporting from Syria has been second to none, and one who actually attended a GJ march and saw the police brutality firsthand – on this one. I think the following excerpt sums it up nicely:

          What happened next was chaos. The Place de la Republique became a battleground. I saw medics screaming at the police officers to allow the fire brigade through with a stretcher for someone who had been injured, nobody knew how. We could see police officers from another side street charging the crowd in huge numbers, wielding truncheons. We could hear the firing of the LBD40 weapons and the detonation of GLIF4 grenades. The tear gas was still being rained down. Nothing prepared me for the brutality I was witnessing.

      2. Oregoncharles

        If Macron is trying to avoid police violence, why is he letting them use dangerous munitions that aren’t used in the rest of Europe?

        And if Macron is so worried, why is he insisting on a hard-line neoliberal agenda that he knows is unpopular, even though he knows his support is minimal? It’s as if he knows he won’t be re-elected, so the heck with it. But he’s created this violent resistance by riding roughshod over public opinion (shades of the US). Apparently that’s harder to get away with in France, and good for them.

  28. DJG

    Yves Smith: About the panic of replacing airplane travel with train travel. There is also a class aspect to this. The upper middle class does not travel long distance on trains. Having taken the Zephyr and the Great Lakes Limited a few times, I can assure everyone that train travel is more middle class, working class, student class, and even people who seem to have had a ticket bought for them as they are being sent out to another branch of the family for a new start.

    The regimentation and security of theatrics are pure upper-middle-class melodrama. Don’t even get me going on boarding by “group” = ticket price.

    As many people have pointed out on these threads, many things have to change. But we have to have genuine change, not something out of Il Gattopardo, change so that things can remain the same. And that’s where the mistrust comes from. Americans have been gamed too many times. Wait until that young cabin attendant figures out that after years of contributions, she still won’t have enough money to retire.

    1. Wukchumni

      I used to take Greyhound when I was going on backpack trips on the east side of the Sierra, as there wasn’t really any other way to get there if you wanted to walk something where you started from one place and ended up far away from whence you came, and one time I get on the bus in downtown L.A., and the Landers earthquake had just happened the day before, and the seatmates in front of me were talking as the vehicle departed, and one said that he was in prison the last time there was a temblor, and the other fellow chimed in that yeah, he too was in the joint when the earth moved under his feet.

      I noticed that a good many people on the L.A. to Reno run used it as an ad hoc motel, as it took forever to get to the biggest little city and sleep was cheap.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        The last time I took a Greyhound Bus, the talk among the people waiting in the station in Seattle waiting for their buses was rating all the local jails by the food they served. Everyone seemed to have an opinion too.

        1. tegnost

          maybe not completely surprising in seattle considering the numerous other options that serve the same routes…the greyhound station may serve other social and/or personal needs…

    2. Joe Well

      Where are train tickets cheaper than plane tickets?

      On the Boston-NYC route, plane and trains are similarly priced and the Acela is more than twice as much. When I tried to look up the price of Boston-Washington, D.C. train service the Amtrak website said there was no service available. And the northeast corridor is the backbone of Amtrak.

      I’ve never noticed a socioeconomic difference among passengers of the trains and planes, except for the Acela, which trends upper-upper middle class.

      The real socioeconomic difference is between bus and plane/train. You can get bus tickets Boston-NYC for around a third of the regional train/plane cost.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        freight trains cost only one’s courage,lol.
        of course, the security(and punishment) are a bigger deal now than when i was a kid.

    1. RopeADope

      Canova’s county was one of the ones producing strange results in what I think were the undervotes. From what I remember when I looked at it right after the election the undervotes were totaling at a particular aggregation level in units of 100 when they should have been randomized. It is the sort of thing that shows up in data when you are trying to hide a large round number within smaller subgroups.

      Unfortunately I had saved the file in a temp folder and deleted it on accident or I could be more specific.

  29. tegnost

    I may or may not be the first to say this here, haven’t read comments, but this bezos thing does not pass the smell test. Also, his wife’s divorce lawyer, did I see any mention of that? Because divorce is ugly exactly like this. Stinks to high heaven. What’s that , trump is laughing at him? You can bet he’s not the only one.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I am disappointed that the Enquirer didn’t go all bloody minded and publish the dick pix. Any man dumb enough to take them and send them out to be outed. Women do not get aroused by looking at them, nor are they attracted by a man showing he has normal or bigger than normal equipment (indeed, contrary to male myth, many and potentially most women find long penises painful, (accordingly, the Karma Sutra has positions as to which is best for male size v, female size). Generally speaking, what women like are chubbies rather than long.

      So these pictures are either a display of male narcissism (“I love my dick. Surely you do too”), not understanding women (most would go “Yeech” getting a dick pix), and/or weird reciprocity (as we know, men are turned on by female nudie pix, so this could be either reciprocating for being sent or allowed to take photos in the buff, or an implicit demand, “I sent mine, how about yours?”).

      1. integer

        My vote is for narcissism. He was probably taken by the fact that he is, er, make that has, the wealthiest dick in the world.

          1. integer

            It does give him somewhat of a crazed-villain-esque look, however I’m not really comfortable with making fun of people for things they have no control over. Still, if one is going to do it, then punching up at people like Bezos is the way to go.

            1. The Rev Kev

              I know that he has no control of the way that he looks but he has total control over how he treats his fellow Americans in his slave-factories so yeah, the guy deserves all the flack that comes his way. And I am talking here as a non-American. How he treats his people is well nigh on being unforgivable. At 55 he is worth 130 billion and can never spend that amount in his remaining lifetime so why does he do it?

  30. Wukchumni

    “Dope is king”

    Snow Shoe Thompson — It will be remembered that Thompson, the noted snowshoe traveler, who resides in Alpine County, was present during the first two days races at La Porte. When he left Alpine, the local newspaper gave him a puff and stated that if our boys allowed him to contest for the purses they would have to use their ‘dope’ freely to cope with him. [Dope was the wax-like mixture applied to the bottom of skis to increase speed.] We also hear that Thompson made his brag while on this trip that he intended to capture all the coin that was offered in purses; but unfortunately for him, our boys use ‘dope;’ Thompson didn’t know anything about dope, consequently, when it came to racing with our riders, he had no more chance to win than a lame cow would have in a race with a locomotive.”

    Thompson, who was really riled up over his inglorious defeat, quickly told his side of the story to the Alpine Chronicle newspaper: “I did go to La Porte, expecting to see some scientific snow shoe racing, but I was disappointed it was nothing but ‘dope racing,’ and is unworthy of the name snow shoeing [skiing]. It is nothing more than a little improvement on coasting down hill on a sled. The improvement is, that instead of uprights and crossbars from one runner to the other, they make their legs and crotch answer this purpose and they have no more control over their shoes than a boy has over his sled. They have exhibited some skill in making dope, but all they gain in this is that they make about the same time on a hill of 15 degrees [slope] that a man would, without dope, on a hill of 30 degrees. These ‘dope riders’ at La Porte are good, clever fellows, but they have no more right to call themselves scientific snow-shoers than a man with steel skates on smooth ice, who has a spiked pole placed between his legs pushing himself straight ahead, should be called a scientific skater.”

    The mountains are calling, and I must go.

  31. Dale

    Venezuela. The Atlantic

    “They’ve badly mismanaged the country, trampled its democratic institutions, stage managed elections, benefited from massive corruption, and brutally repressed protesters.”

    Last night in Medellín I enjoyed an excellent dinner in a restaurant across from the hotel. The waitress, a chemical engineer from Caracas, and the chef, an outgoing happy man full of jokes who lived in the hillside favelas surrounding Caracas, could have penned that quote above.

    They also both agreed (as have all the Venezuelan refugees I have spoken with) that Maduro, the former bus driver, absolutely must be driven out of power before any substantial change can happen in Venezuela.

    And yes, they are aware of the risks of a U.S. backed/installed regime, but believe the situation could not be made worse than it already is. Both the chef and the chemical engineer are sending money weekly to Venezuela to support their families.

    The same events are occurring in Nicaragua.

    1. Baby Gerald

      Thanks for the weekly anecdotal reports from restaurant workers not in Venezuela telling us how bad things are under Maduro in Venezuela. I seem to recall [any other NCers want to back me up here?] a similar report of exactly the same type submitted into this comment section a week or two ago with exactly the same ‘the US-backed coup would be bad, but couldn’t possibly be as bad as it is now” sort of vagueness and lack of historicity or causality. At least put some creativity into it, will you?

      As for me, I was in a restaurant in New York across the street from the Waldorf Astoria last night enjoying a fine meal. My maitre’d was an architect from Caracas and told me that it was the US and it’s corporate allies in right wing circles in Caracas that were the cause of the unrest in their country and that the reforms Maduro initiated or took on from Chavez would have succeeded were it not for the manufactured scarcity and strong arm tactics of the so-called protestors against his policies. He brought out the wine steward and five happy-go-lucky line cooks who were his countrymen and used to play in a mariachi band to back up his claim.

      Who are you gonna believe?

    2. Daryl

      > And yes, they are aware of the risks of a U.S. backed/installed regime, but believe the situation could not be made worse than it already is.

      It is always darkest before it gets darker…

    3. Tom Doak

      But wouldn’t the 10% professional class of every country be in favor of America’s intervention on behalf of the professional class?

      That’s precisely the amount of people whose lives we can better, while still letting our corporations skim money off the top of their economy. Just like here at home!

    4. Skip Intro

      Glad the vague claims by bitter expats are no longer being megaphoned using broken english. That was really over-egging the pudding. What complexion were those complaining, I wonder? Perhaps if they resented having the mestizo majority take power.

    5. John k

      Thanks for the input, supports my priors.
      Certainly expats are unhappy, some might have been former elites… but 3-4 million have left so far, about as many as left the Syria war zone. But now that the war is ending Syrians are returning… while ever more leave from V.
      So maybe in Syria the problem has been all the warring foreign invaders and not so much Assad, while in the other case the problem is the incompetents in charge.

      1. Skip Intro

        Well the shooting war in Venezuela is just beginning why wouldn’t they leave? A decade of economic siege has an impact, Those laying siege can’t point to the effects of their war as proof that it is justified. Maybe you need to update those priors.

  32. John k

    Gnd… (auto correct changes it to god.)
    Planes good topic… public travels by planes, not just elite. No planes?!?
    So what we would need is a focused effort, universal participation, and the shared sacrifice we had in wwii.
    Pretty far from that mentality just now… plus the problem is, the whole world with it’s 7b must do it together, or else useless.
    India (1,5b and growing) building new coal plants every week, and busily exploring for new coal fields. China (1,3b, stagnant) big on renewables but still building coal plants. Both countries ordering fleets of new planes. And China’s smart people running their command economy can read the map as well as anybody and see what happens to them with 200-ft sea rise… they lose more land than any other country… where will they plant their rice? to say nothing of the islands they’re building in south ‘china’ sea. Shouldn’t they be leading the effort? They’re not because they’re fearful the population would run them out of town… or worse.
    Everybody is clinging to the status quo… apres moi, Le deluge.
    Maybe more fruitful to start long term planning for when, not if. Just write off all coastal cities, celebrate new oceanfront… everybody gets a (temporary) slice as it moves inland…
    Bernie’s right: focus on m4a and 15/hr, tax the billionaires.

    1. John k

      Plus… 12k years ago ocean rose 400-ft. Can we be sure the current epoch is Goldilocks, just the right amount of ice, just the right sea level for max human life?
      Anyway, I agree with stewardess, gnd not gonna happen, so focus on things that will make a real, material difference to working class, and get us back to where populace has faith in gov as capable of doing good instead of endless wars. Until then I see gnd as distraction that divides the keft when it should be united.

  33. lyman alpha blob

    Hopefully this comment will post as some of my recent attempts have been swallowed by skynet completely, never to appear.

    Saw this one in the sidebar of the Gilet Jaune article linked to above regarding the Skrpal “poisoning” –

    Not familiar with the bsnews website but the article originally appeared in the American Herald Tribune which the last I heard was a reputable news source. The headline is somewhat sensational as the nurse does not in fact tell her tale in the way the headline insinuates, but the article makes the case that this nurse who was the first to happen on the passed out Skripals was highly trained and would have known if toxins were involved. The fact that she assisted the Skripals and is still alive to tell any tale means there was no deadly poison and the ensuing narrative is a complete fabrication.

    1. jo6pac

      Thanks for the link the site looks interesting in that all the writers are people I read. I normal read the left of center.

  34. McWatt

    Chicago water bills: Chicago and the suburbs that adjoin the city have monetized their water billing and are using it as a source of income to attempt to balance their overall budget deficits. Yes the pipes are old, yes they need work but they are not taking the increased revenue and doing the work. My quarterly bills have jumped from 250 to 750.

    Being next to the largest renewable fresh water source on the continent should be a benefit. The streets and water and sewer system are the main reason we form governments in the first place so collectively we can do things inexpensively that individually would be impossible. But now it’s a debate about which developer we should give public land to and how much cash we should give them to build huge apartment buildings cause, you know, Transit Oriented Development, which brings more kids to the schools, which need new additions on them to handle class size which means more teachers which means more pensions which means higher taxes which now few can afford.

    So not only is our town about to be completely overwhelmed with debt, so is our county and our state. Hence,
    incredibly high water bills.

    Interesting aside, the only public pension fund in Illinois that 100% fully funded is the one for Village Managers and Lawyers. So they are good at taking care of themselves, teachers, cops and firefighters not so much.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Grr. I use a Brita filter, not out of general concern re NYC water but my building has ancient pipes. May have to think about more serious water filtration.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Something like this. Fits under your kitchen sink. Notice the small spigot which mounts next to your regular faucet. For filtering tap water the filters are inexpensive, easy to change and last a very very long time. You would probably have to change them every couple of years or so. No more carrying water or using so many plastic bottles.

    1. tegnost

      Rep. Jayapal, speaking for her extremely wealthy district weeps for children from other countries…
      FTL… And Jayapal got emotional when discussing the administration’s family separation policy at the southern border.

      “Do you know what kind of damage has been done to children and families across this country? Children who will never get to see their parents again?” the progressive lawmaker asked. “Do you understand the magnitude of that?”

      Funny how her wealthy district is flooded with homeless people who have been price out of housing, not so concerned about them are you Rep. Jayapal? Not expecting much from this persons super secret health care solutions. Have yet to determine what the “takeaways” are so I’ll go back to reading

      1. tegnost

        OK,so to save others the time required to dredge your way through… You may think from the title that there are 5 surprising elements to be gleaned from the hearing

        1.Whitaker denies interfering, and won’t comment or speculate regarding ongoing investigations. This is a surprising takeaway because…?
        2. The hearing was high political theater…moi…No. You’re kidding, that I cannot believe /s
        3. Dems not done with Whitaker. In other news, beating a dead horse has long been known as the best way to make it get up again.
        4. Trump officials are in for a rough hearings with dems. Not much of that in evidence here, otherwise the 5 takeaways would have some relevant substance. See takeaway #2
        5. Bruce Orr and Roger Stone make cameos. Seriously, that’s the 5th takeaway.

        Can I have my ten minutes back, please?

    2. tegnost

      sorry David(1) I should have commented in the general field, not reply…thanks for the fixed link!

  35. Daryl

    > Finland Basic Income Trial Left People ‘Happier But Jobless’ BBC. “… these results have now raised questions about the effectiveness of such schemes.”

    This sentence reflects a very Democrat-style liberal line of thinking, that ultimately employment and economic productivity must be the source of happiness and meaning in one’s life and thus even the most radical government programs must ultimately have the goal of furnishing it. The article itself goes on to raise the point that not everything needs to have this goal. The sole counterpoint given is from the CEO of an engineering company who no doubt needs employees to be dependent on him in order to turn a profit. Are these the people we want determining what the summum bonum of society is?

    1. Richard

      No kidding. “People are happier? But they have no jobs? Stop!”
      And isn’t bringing joblessness and happiness together more or less what basic income is about? Or what it’s supposed to be about?
      Now I have to ddGo summum bonum. Inferring isn’t good enough dammit!

      1. Daryl

        I was using it a bit sarcastically…each Greek philosophy had their own idea of summum bonum (pleasure, virtue) and this was the yardstick by which all activities were evaluated. It seems to me although it’s never stated out right that all government programs are judged by politicians and media as though economic activity should be their only goal; and that economic activity is inherently good.

        1. Richard

          The gnp is of course the perfect example of what you’re talking about. I grew up with it being presented to me as the one thumbnail measure of how “good” we were doing, and only later came to realize what a blunt and counterproductive measure of happiness or worth it is. 10,000 more cancers employs a lot of people, when you come to think of it! /sarc It’s like Wolf Blitzer pushing back on the idea of sanctioning Saudi Arabia: “well, they buy a lot of weapons!”
          Thanks for saving me the ddgo trip with summum bonum! I like the concept; it seems useful as it gets right to legitimacy.

      1. Richard

        Oops, I didn’t read it very carefully. I also hadn’t realized that the ubi concept had been kidnapped like this. Thanks.

  36. Chris

    I am sincerely worried about the state of our water supplies and citizens access to them. Where we live, the water table is high, we’re protected from nasty runoff that could pollute it, and everyone has their own well. We use septic too, so it’s one big cycle on our little slice of heaven.

    Which is great for us, but not at all scalable. It’s also a solution that’s prone to causing poverty in the suburbs. A well is wonderful until you have to pay for a new one. Or a new septic tank. And with so many independent wells, it’s really hard to enact a unified policy for management. Also, the low density land use that such a policy requires isn’t the best idea either.

    One more way those of us in the upper 10% have instituted “I got mine” into law.

  37. allan

    Interesting bunch of graphs at the Health Spending Explorer from the Peterson [yes, that Peterson]
    and Kaiser Foundations.
    Rummaging around, one factoid I had previously been blissfully unaware of:
    since 1960, US hospitals have gone from 1.7% of GDP to 5.9%.
    Good to know that all that balance billing grows the economy.

  38. Schneider

    My involvement as a lowly tech worker in telco and internet regulatory affairs lets me with no doubt that m communications are intercepted by allof the interested and capable parties (telco’s, ISP’s, state entities) and used for their gain.

    That Mr. Bezos would assume otherwise seems completely unbelieveable.
    So it is very unclear why such texts or photos would even exist in interceptable forms. Whatever one may think about his business honors, he clearly is a smart man. So that discrepancy is as wide as it is unexplained.

    1. tegnost

      yes, imo a pr move to make him look like a ridiculous person and hide his true evil, while adding a high moral tone for those who are true believers. The assumed naivety reminds me of that picture of zuck with a piece of tape over his laptops camera.

  39. Susan the Other

    I love the bees post. (this my dear blog is why NC is so important) – but there’s always the counterpoint that nobee is trying to deceive the others. They have reliable collective intelligence, like ants. I sense the logic of Rupert Sheldrake here. It’s more than “social learning” but we don’t have a finer definition yet. Like invisible connections between each and all brains. You can’t fool all of the bees anytime. We might have lost that protection against deception when we went into language without critical evaluation. – thank you for this link. Language is not analog like bee dances, it’s digital – but miniaturized despite its nuances so they are lost in the buzz – creating our maladaptive herding weaknesses. The maladaptive herding thesis is a question of instantaneous communication – very important. So that opens up new dialog for teaching – the lower the teacher/student ratio the better and one-on-one is even better. Because, strangely, human confusion is a precious resource – It is also called apprehension or curiosity. When it is not satisfied things really do begin to fall apart. Thank you for this link. Long live the bees. And ants.

    1. JCC

      Quick follow-up,the Irish Govt only banned Settlement goods. Good move, I think.

      Even more interesting were the results when I, out of curiosity, entered “Ireland + BDS” into the Google News Page… primarily editorials throwing fits. Among other results, there was a link (near the top of the results) trying to claim a direct link from this legislation to some of the more egregious Vatican support of Germany during the 1930’s –

      No attempted stirring of prejudice there, I’m sure.

        1. newcatty

          Thank you GF. Nazi support=BDS Support. Anti-IsraeIi Apartheid= Anti-Semitism. Palestinian Suffering=Israeli Security. Egregious US Dollars to Israel=Special Relationship. Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu = US Congress Policist. So on…Up is Down. War is Peace. Cruelty is Kindness. Lies are Truth. Religion is Weaponized.

    2. skk

      Back in the ’60s and ’70s the anti-apartheid campaign in the UK had the boycott of all things South African as a major plank of their activities.
      Imagine if South Africa had pressured legislative bodies – county, city, state and federal to pass laws against activities that supported the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.

      Should one make this connection between apartheid South Africa and Israel ? Of course one should.

  40. Plenue

    >If Bees Can Prevent Bad Information From Going Viral, so Can We Undark

    The idea that ‘fake news’ is some existential threat is itself fake news. Or at least the idea that it’s some new (post-2016) phenomenon is. As is the idea that it’s just the unwashed masses sharing BS on social media. Trite but true that it’s ‘reputable’ legacy media that keeps selling us wars and coups based on lies. My most recent sighting was some talking head attacking Gabbard while apparently thinking US troops were in Syria to fight Assad. The idea of these people sitting in judgement over the factual accuracy of anything is ludicrous.

  41. The Rev Kev

    “US Senators ask DHS to look into US government workers using foreign VPNs”

    Could it be that these VPNs are so effective, that all these government workers could be having all sorts of conversations that their bosses can no longer monitor? I doubt that it is because they are worried that these workers may be talking to Boris and Natasha.

  42. VietnamVet

    The Jeff Bezos expose and Donald Trump’s excesses document that Zillionears are as human as anyone else but driven harder by their pathologies. What is covered up by corporate propaganda is that capitalism enables greed to the detriment of others. Neoliberalism is the Great Enabler. If the lower-class nobles and little people are to survive the looming world war and climate apocalypses; a new Magna Carta is needed to rein-in the oligarchs and re-institute the rule of law and government by the people in order to share the world’s resources equitably.

  43. Procopius

    I usually really like Noah Smith, but one of the tweets in that thread starts with, “When the Green New Deal jobs are finished …” Has the man never heard of Dorning Rathsbotham? Has he never heard of Says Law? Of the Fallacy of the Lump of Labor? Does he think entropy is going to stop increasing? He studied Physics before he studied Economics. Does he not understand that roads develop potholes every year? That bridges deteriorate? That school buildings need to be replaced, and until that point need to be repaired? He is an obvious Luddite. I’m very disappointed in him.

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