Links 3/11/19

California’s second ‘super bloom’ in two years transformed a desert into a wildflower wonderland USA Today

Quirky election trends from around the world Economic Times. Alas, handmarked paper ballots, handcounted in public, has yet to catch on as the universal global voting standard. And even India- which achieves far higher rates of voter participation than does the US, for example – uses machines, albeit simple ones, claimed to be unhackable (although there are concerns….)

EU will soon require US visitors to apply for visa-like travel pass NY Post

Testers look into security of car alarms Tech Explore (chuck l)

John Lanchester’s Fiction Tells the Truth New York magazine

The Other Kind of Climate Denialism New Yorker (david l)

Rowan Williams says pupils are right to protest over climate Guardian (martha r)

The Comment Moderator Is The Most Important Job In The World Right Now BuzzFeed (david l)

A Hedge Fund Steps Into Nigeria’s $9 Billion Corporate Dispute Bloomberg (martha r)


Forget nuclear war with Pakistan. Here’s the real threat to India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi SCMP

Lok Sabha elections 2019 full schedule: Here’s when your state goes to polls Times of India. Voting will occur in seven phases, beginning on 11th April and continuing through 19th May. All votes will be counted on 23rd May and results announced immediately thereafter.

H-1B extension rejections rob Indian IT firms of visa power Economic Times


Marco Polo is back in China – again Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.

Why Trump could be seduced by partial China deal Asia Times (re Silc)

Never mind the hype. 5G is arriving with deeply mysterious baggage Guardian (PD)


NYT’s Exposé on the Lies About Burning Aid Trucks in Venezuela Shows How U.S. Government and Media Spread Pro-War Propaganda Intercept (pretzelattack). Glenn Greenwald. Hoisted from comments.

No End in Sight to Venezuela’s Blackout, Experts Warn NYT

Venezuela Suffers Major Power Outages After Alleged Cyber Attack Venezuela Analysis

Venezuela’s Guaido calls for massive protest as blackout drags on Reuters. re Silc: “ cyber coup.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

Robert Gaines & Scott Horton: It’s Time to Stop Fighting Osama bin Laden’s War Bretibart (The Rev Kev) Yes, I know, Breitbart, but….Read it and make up your own mind.


If you plan to travel to the UK with your pet after a no-deal Brexit, here’s what you’ll need The Journal

Tony Blair secretly advising Emmanuel Macron on Brexit as former PM accused of ‘unacceptable’ behaviour  Daily Telegraph (The Rev Kev) Blair does not get that “customs union” does not solve trade issues for UK. Only being in the Single Market = frictionless trade.  A mere “customs union” = physiosanitary and other checks. See border controls w/ Turkey, which is in a customs union with the EU.

EU ‘will charge Britain £1billion a month’ over any Brexit delay if Theresa May is forced to ask for an extension this week Daily Mail

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch


2 Billion Unencrypted Records Leaked In Marketing Data Breach — What Happened And What To Do Next Forbes (david l)

Mark Zuckerberg’s former mentor says privacy manifesto is a PR stunt Mashable (david l)

The House That Spied on Me Gizmodo (PD). Moi: Today’s must read. Who would want such a set-up? Then again, I suppose, I’m not the target market. I’ve yet to acquire a smartphone.

New Cold War

How the U.S.-Russian Relationship Went Bad Atlantic (re Silc)


‘A major player’: Sanders gets props from the Democratic establishment Politico

Democratic Presidential Contender Tulsi Gabbard Takes a Strong Stand For WikiLeaks and the Freedom of Press Gateway Pundit (chuck l)

Cutbacks in local news leave some communities in the dark ABC News (martha r)

Covington Catholic student’s lawyer plans lawsuit against CNN after suing Washington Post USA Today

Realignment and Legitimacy

Making Georgia’s Bad Elections Even Worse New Republic (re Silc)

Anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews express solidarity with Rep. Ilhan Omar Daily Sabah (furzy)

Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is ‘not a state of all its citizens’ Guardian (The Rev Kev)

Class Warfare

Where Have All the Men Without College Degrees Gone? Atlantic (re Silc)

For many Louisiana small towns, decreasing speeding tickets could mean big hit to bottom line The Advocate (martha r)

Elizabeth Warren Is Going to Keep Dumping Big and Interesting Ideas on You Friggin’ Dolts Until You Pay Attention slate (re Silc)

SXSWarren: A day later, Elizabeth Warren defends her Big Tech breakup proposal Ars Technica

The Trailer: At SXSW, Democrats put Big Tech on trial WaPo (UserFriendly)

Ocasio-Cortez Blasts Capitalism as an ‘Irredeemable’ System Bloomberg. re Silc: “after the dnc jams biden down our throats, she will be ready after pres. tom cotton in 2028.”

House committee demands answers from IHS, cites Argus Leader reporting Argus Leader (martha r)

A belief in meritocracy is not only false: it’s bad for you Aeon

Trump Transition


GOP bracing for Trump to veto Congress’s rejection of his emergency declaration WaPo

Trump Diehards Create Their Own Yelp for MAGA-Friendly Restaurants Daily Beast (re Silc)

Antidote du Jour (via). Jerri-Lynn here. This photo of one of my favorite birds shouldn’t be difficult to identify: what a photo!

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Chris Cosmos

    Capitalism as a social system is irredeemable and that should be obvious to all. Inherent in the system is alienation and alienation feeds isolation, fear, distrust, anxiety and depression. We know now that the chief cause of depression are feelings of social isolation this social system does not make for a convivial society but one that commodifies everything ultimately. The reason the system has worked so well was that it operated on social capital built up over centuries and, perhaps, it is a good thing that capitalism has used up that social capital so we can move on to something more sustainable.

    Capitalism has to be phased out. It now has a net-negative effect because it is now a source of social and individual morality. We are “good” to the extent we have a high market value. Now I know most people don’t really believe that in theory but de facto they act as if they do–as the song goes–“the best things in life are free but you can give it to the birds and bees, just give me money.” At this point in history where we are facing the greatest threat to civilization in history, the various environmental time bombs we’ve deliberately set off, money = value ideal will lead to catastrophe. AOC is 100% correct in her analysis.

      1. prodigalson

        Those two items *are* the same thing. That’s like saying don’t conflate Al Capone with crime. We’ve been running the capitalsim experiment for awhile now and though it has more staying power than communism the death toll is mounting and the externalities are growing. At least communism had the “sense” to die before it became a civilizational threat. Capitalism is the logic of a cancer cell, a pile of money with the only goal of becoming a bigger pile of money.

        1. tokyodamage

          To you, is Sweden socialist or capitalist?

          Because I want whatever Sweden has. Not what the USSR had, not what the USA has now.

          Believing that ‘there’s only 2 teams and you have to 100% commit to one or the other’ . . . . this type of thinking is what got us into this mess in the first place (i.e. Thatcher’s infamous “There is no alternative”).

          Let ANY type of -ism rule unchecked and the leaders will screw the people.

          I get that unfettered capitalism is disastrous, but total communism is, like . . .. How can anyone ask farmers to work these brutal 16 hour days and then the government confiscates their crops ‘in the name of the people’? Of course the farmers will say, “Man, screw this! I’m only going to grow enough to feed my family and maybe a little extra for the people in my town. Then I can take it easy.” So then how do you compel the farmers to feed everyone else? The gulag?

          1. prodigalson

            I’ll take a hybrid any day of the week. But what’s been pushed in the US is hard capitalism with a side order of more capitalism. So warning of the dangers of an absolute move to communism seems like a stretch, and disingenous, when we can *barely* get the many, many acolytes of Rand to let go of the idea of “because markets” as the alpha and omega for all policy debates.

            The sledgehammer of narrative talking points pointing out the many failures of capitalism is needed at this point, not the scalpel of “lets shift a tiny bit to the left, because any more than that leads to gulags.” That the sort of narrative reframing I fully expect from the Economist, Harvard MBAs, etc.

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              Don’t mistake the US system for capitalism. We have two systems: capitalism for the plebes and socialism for corporations. So we get the worst of both worlds: the drains on “wealth” from socialist zombie enterprises like banks, fossil fuel companies, MIC, and big tech and Hobbesian “creative destruction” for actual people.

              Amazon: socialist enterprise supported with public dollars by gaming the system so they pay zero tax. JP Morgan Chase: socialist enterprise that funnels trillions in bank bailout funds. Lockheed Martin: socialist enterprise that sucks taxpayer dollars to build hardware for phony wars. KFC: socialist enterprise that gets guaranteed profit no-bid contracts for restaurants at hundreds of military bases around the world.

              Bernie, Gabbard, AOC need to make this simple point to people: we already have socialism, just not the kind for you and me.

            2. Procopius

              When I was in high school (the McCarthy Years) it was accepted wisdom that the United States was not a capitalist country, but had a mixed economy. It was commonly asserted that profit was good, but markets needed to be regulated, because history showed that there were people who would cheat given a chance. The lessons from the Pecora Commission were fresh in people’s minds. We weren’t all that far from the depression.The turning point, I think, was the Carter administration and the beginning of deregulation. That was when wages became stagnant

          2. Grant

            @tokyodamage, why jump straight ahead to state socialism? There is a large gap between what we have here and Stalin’s USSR. I realize the definition of socialism that people have, like totally socializing the means of production, but if you read market socialists like Oskar Lange, he said explicitly that there was a role for capitalism within his model of socialism, and he did point to agriculture as one of the areas. I think that social democracy in Sweden is pretty damn close, as close as you will get, to market socialism. Market socialism obviously uses markets, it is compatible with high unionization rates, a strong role for public sector enterprises, it is compatible with worker self-management and ownership (which Sweden was working towards in the mid-1970’s) and it is compatible with Sweden’s hybrid form of public/private planning. It is also very compatible with a system that uses both private and public enterprises.

            I have to say though, how does capitalism survive the environmental crisis? We know that lots of information is missing in markets, and there are limits as to how much information you can encode in prices. So, we do need an economy that relies far less on markets and more on other types of information. There are limits to growth in throughput and pollution generation, which we have reached or are reaches in many different areas. There is also no realistic way to operate without some form of coordination, or planning. I would prefer a democratic, Swedish style of planning to a Soviet style of planning, but planning is a given if we want to be serious about the environmental crisis. The experience of socialist countries was that there was logical limits to planning itself, and there has to be a means of transferring information around the economy. The experience of capitalist systems makes it clear that there are logical limits to markets and how decentralized any economic system can be if you want to preserve the environment. I think that people get lost in semantics, but I can say with 100% certainty that capitalism isn’t compatible with the world heading for us. A non-capitalist system could be horribly authoritarian and inequitable, so I don’t assume that whatever takes capitalism’s place will necessarily be better, but it could be. I think a democracy with at least more socialization is a given if we are serious about the environmental crisis. The debate will be over the extent of socialization, and whether or not the planning is democratic. If the elites have their way, it won’t be.

            1. Olga

              It’s not that I disagree with your points, but just a few clarifications: yes, Swedish model would be fine, but remember, Sweden was (it is changing now) a small, homogeneous country (small in population, just as all Nordic countries), and so consensus was easy. The country, however, is changing and if you read latest news from there, disruptive capitalism is creeping in big time (same for Denmark, for example).
              Which brings me to the main problem – allowing private ownership on a large scale will always – sooner or later – result in some people becoming too rich, which in turn leads them to buy political power and alter the system to suit their needs (well, they’d be fools not to do it, after all).
              So that is a dilemma we will have to address.
              (And by the way, socialism in the Soviet Union was heavily influenced by the culture – after all, USSR jumped from an almost feudal system into socialism (serfdom was abolished only in 1861) – by 1917-18. And the effort was under a constant threat by the west – when criticising USSR for not coming up with some paradise, pls let’s not forget WWI, civil war, intervention wars, sanctions, embargoes, WWII. Given all that, it is astounding that the country achieved the level of development it did. Let’s please be fair!)
              And yes, the environmental crisis will undo us all – capitalism is a system built on constant growth – that in and of itself does not make sense on a planet that has finite resources. (There was a story recently here about a 12,000-year forest in Germany that a coal co.wanted to raze to extract more coal – is that really the planet we want, with every square inch devoted to extracting resources? But in a capitalist economy, one must grow or perish – and that is eventually the true ‘road to serfdom.’)
              We do need new, creative ways of thinking to come up with some alternatives. On the way there, we can learn a lot from the former socialist economies – and this constant bashing of the former socialist countries, incl. USSR, does nothing to help us keep a clear view (it only helps people who want us to spin our wheels).

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Regarding WWII, the fighting in Europe in the beginning phase involved Poland being split in two, the eastern half being annexed by the USSR.

                This and other events in the Baltic occurred along with being ‘under a constant threat from the West.’

                To fight back, offense is often the best defense, and it had Comintern, taking the fight to the other side’s home turf.

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            There is at least one thing about Sweden that is, or can be, troublesome.

            And it’s the yellow or gold Nordic Cross in their national flag.

            Doesn’t that make many new immigrants there feel, well, excluded?

            Imagine that in the American flag.

            1. super extra

              what’s more important: concrete material benefits and a society that doesn’t expect a random percentage to ‘go die’, or the perceived message of a cultural symbol?

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                For some people, a flag can be an important issue.

                There were protests and some were injured or died. To them, it was as important as concrete material issues.

                1. Carey

                  So, if I understand you correctly, a Northern European
                  country, largely homegenous until very recently, and
                  exceedingly well run by global standards, needs to
                  make sure that unasked-for immigrants do not “feel
                  excluded”, even at the expense of the native citizenry,
                  as is *very much happening* right now?

                  “You need to change your flag, so we immigrants feel better.”

                  This is madness

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    Well, you have a point, and I see that side of the argument. I am not taking position on either side, though, but to point out the flags are symbols, and flying a certain flag in the US will get a lot of attention, for many who remember.

                    Similarly, a cross on the flag might be perceived in an unpleasant context, perhaps, depending on the religious/cultural background.

                    1. Wukchumni

                      You do realize there are gobs of countries with crosses in the design, like say the Union Jack?

                    2. The Rev Kev

                      I have to say that there is an analogy between flags and medals as symbology is also at work here. The reason that I brought this up is a quote by Napoleon where he said that he could get brave men to die for a small piece of ribbon. So for elites, a flag by extension means nothing but a piece of coloured cloth as a tool to get other people to sacrifice for them.

            2. Carey

              Sweden is doing *plenty* to make immigrants feel welcome; way too much, IMO. Have you see the Välkommen till Gävle! sign,
              showing a woman wearing a hijab?

              Won’t end well

                1. Carey

                  Don’t play dumb. Immigration -Muslim immigration-
                  is *destroying* Sweden.

                  That’s my firsthand experience of thirty-three years.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    Thanks for clarifying that.

                    If it is ‘destroying’ Sweden, perhaps you can say more about it, and we can all, or I can, learn.

                    1. Aumua

                      We’ll just have to take his word on it Beef. 33 Years, it won’t end well, that’s all you need to know.

                2. Carey

                  As you can see in the words I wrote, Aumua, I suggested the MLTPB *not* take my opinions as gospel, but rather go to Sweden and see for her or him self.

                  Nice drive-by though; isn’t anonymity wonderful?

                  1. Aumua

                    It’s aight I guess. And how would Beef know anything from taking your so helpful suggestion and going to Sweden, if he did not have any reference of how it was in the past? I mean you might as well have suggested that he take a long walk off a short pier, which is probably what you actually were suggesting, come to think of it.

            3. el_tel

              I am a native Brit but have lived in Australia and Sweden (the latter for just 5 months, mind you). I found Sweden a strange country and assumed it was “just me” until a native colleague took me out for coffee and cake to explain a load of the “unwritten rules” and stuff that goes on.

              Whilst the Swedes are friendly, I, together with a lot of European but non-Scandinavian colleagues, found it hard to integrate. I attended Swedish language classes etc but the system really didn’t seem set up to help me. The Swedish colleague told me even she, being from Stockholm, had to work hard to integrate in the (not small) regional city we lived in and that I shouldn’t take it personally. You can’t just do the Anglo-Saxon thing of “going for drinks down the pub” or “going for coffee” or expecting to go for a meal – at least, not quickly. There is a “process” involving a series of stages (like the classic coffee and cake thing as the first step).

              I noticed that the southern European PhD students in particular ended up forming their own groups, separate from the natives. I instinctively dislike “not integrating” and sticking with Brits but I really could see why this kind of “non-integration” was happening. My Swedish boss was lovely and despite the common “Swedish reserve” I could sense his frustration that he simply couldn’t change a bunch of key factors to improve integration. I knew he understood completely when I felt I had to leave. An Aussie colleague had, separately, ended up in Sweden….she lasted 9 months. Twas a real pity all round – I hated “failing” at integration and still feel quite guilty to point fingers at Sweden :-(

              1. Carey

                I agree that it’s not just you. I’m an American who was involved with a Swedish woman over a long period, and found it rough going, in the larger culture. It wears.

                Much to admire there, though; or there once was.

          4. drumlin woodchuckles

            I have referrenced farmer Gabe Brown on these threads from time to time. I have no reason to doubt that he is achieving what he and others say he is achieving. And he is doing it as a private owner selling food to private buyers.

            If any part of The Left says that Farmer Brown should have his farm Nationalized or Socialized or some such because Socialnizzum!, then that part of the Left is evil and deserves to die.

          5. eg

            To me, capitalism is like fire. A well-tended fire is a useful thing — to heat your home, cook your food, work metals and so on.

            But a fire without suitable constraints will burn your house down, and possibly all of your neighbours’ houses into the bargain.

            So regulate accordingly, and ruthlessly pursue the pyromaniacs among us to the ends of the earth …

          6. Olga

            Just FYI: My grandmother had to give up some land for the collective farm (she was able to keep some land, though). She objected strongly. According to my father, not even two years later, she said there was nothing better than a collective farm – because it made the work so much easier (NO ONE was required to work 16 hrs – that is a very incorrect statement), and pooled resources allowed for greater investment into various tools needed for farming. If you’ve ever been near a farm, you’d know that the work on a farm is back-breaking, so single owners struggled always. The govt did not require people to give up anything. Part of what the large collective farm produced went to the state (grown with tools subsidised by the govt. and after salaries were paid to farmers) and was distributed to feed the population. Part was kept by the individual farmers – there was always freshly ground flour available (and if you’ve tasted bread made out of that….oh, well). So please check your facts before posting misleading comments.

        2. Olga

          Please, let’s be clear… there has never been communism on this earth. We had socialist economies – and they did not die; they were very deliberately killed off by the western capitalists, who saw socialism as an existential threat. Please, let’s keep our terminology (and historical facts) straight! (We’ll need all the clarity we can muster (plus, a few other things) if we want to develop a different system.)

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            The Communist Party of China, for example, has it mis-named itself, in not implementing communism in China, or has it been trying for communism in China since its founding?

            1. Plenue

              The various ‘communist’ countries have always, by their own admission, always been state socialist ‘striving towards true communism’. Communism is (supposedly) an eventual end goal. The CCP has basically abandoned even that fig leaf and now regularly arrests people who actually advocate Marxism.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                So they are socialist parties running socialist countries, hoping to get to communism.

                The problem, then, is what they call themselves, as the distinction between socialism and communism is an important one.

                1. Plenue

                  It doesn’t help, no. But I think regardless of what anyone called themselves our propaganda media would still contrive to automatically equate communism with Stalin etc.

                  I’m pretty sure Marx himself just kind of vaguely felt communism would naturally emerge out of capitalism, and would be democratic. Once we get into the Vanguard elitist nonsense where The Party™ claims to know what’s best and has sole rule is where I completely checkout. To this day there are still people who will defend Trotsky’s faction as the true legacy of Lenin, but I disown everything from Lenin on.

      2. Summer

        Governments securing capital for (preferred amd connected) businesses…
        that is what it is from the US to EU to China.

      3. Massinissa

        Please point out when this ‘not-crony-capitalism’ has ever existed. As far as I can tell, its a no-true-scotsman argument.

    1. scaevola

      furthermore, here’s what many people forget about capitalism. In a capitalist system you, the individual, make your choices about your level of engagement. Do you want to create your communist utopia, then go ahead and do it with you and your like-minded friends. Do you want to sit in your room all day watching anime, then go do it. Do you want to sit a at a computer and make arguments about societal well being and confuse what an individual and a society are, then go ahead.

      Capitalism has lifted more souls out of extreme poverty than any other system, period. Yes, individuals had to work to get benefit. No matter the economic system, we’re talking about economic systems right? No matter the economic system, “there is no such thing as a free lunch”. That probably holds true for whatever social science you want to speak of.

      Before the argument about how “people can’t live on little more than a dollar a day” have you ever been to one of these countries? Have you ever bought rice in Vietnam? It’s a lot cheaper than your local Wawa. Eating rice everyday sure isn’t glamour, but it sure beats starving.

      1. prodigalson

        Thanks for the CATO approved talking points. It’s not like we haven’t been hearing this same gibberish ad nauseam for the better part of four decades. Meanwhile, in the real world, the people suffering from capitalism and gutshot from it are increasingly tired of sacrificing everything on the altar of Ayn Rand. You’re going to need new/better talking points to sway the masses being forced into the gig economy and facing further displacement from AI and automation that capitalism is their friend.

        Capitalism is never having to say your sorry.

        1. Robert Valiant

          Capitalists are taking a beating these days; you can tell because they sure are sore. When was the last time that challenges to capitalism existed inside the Overton window? Not in my adult life time, and I’m 53.

      2. Chris Cosmos

        That’s not how society works. Pursuing self-interest does not lead to conviviality. When society ONLY values money disease results.

        As for lifting people out of poverty, let’s be clear here. Even Marx agreed that capitalism was, generally, a positive force in civilization by lifting people out of feudalism. Capitalism broke up the lock of tradition and allowed technology to create new techniques in place of old time-worn methods. But capitalism had its faults that Marx noted.

        My problem with what you are saying is that you assume that we are in the same place we were in 1800. Capitalism has changed society and with any system, any technique it’s outlived its usefulness. There are phases where we need rapid growth, like adolescence but we can’t just keep adolescence going forever we seek adulthood and maturity. Capitalism was that rapid-growth civilizational adolescence–now we have to deal with the results of our excesses and not repeat them. If we endlessly seek to become more selfish and “individual” this will lead to disaster as we can see from the right-wing’s (not all of it) rejection of science which is the very foundation of the ability for capitalism to endure–for it was capitalism that gave science wings–now the right-wing rejects climate science because to deal with the result of our now radically primitive energy systems we have to grow-the-fuck-up rather than endlessly stay in adolescent nonsense very good when you’re 15 not so good when you’re mature.

        BTW, I’m not a socialist or communist–I’m a pragmatist. I believe in what works not in following fantasies. My ground is social science not ideology.

        1. Robert Valiant

          Capitalism broke up the lock of tradition and allowed technology to create new techniques in place of old time-worn methods.

          Which enabled, and likely required, the genocide of indigenous people all over the world.

          I know you’re not defending capitalism, but I think it’s important to acknowledge that capitalism, like “Nature” (which capitalism proudly claims to mirror), is fundamentally red in tooth and claw.

          1. Grant

            I would also add that a good portion of the technologies in the US came out of the state/military sector, NASA, the NIH, land grant universities, from private companies that got a lot of state financial support, etc. “The Entrepreneurial State” by Mariana Mazzucato is a great source for that.

          2. c_heale

            The old time worn methods were in many cases better adapted to the local and global environments.

        2. eg

          Our unfettered neoliberal version of capitalism is feeding our furniture into our hearths, and won’t be satisfied until it hurls our children into the flames.

          Or if you prefer this metaphor, they are sawing off the branch of the tree of civilized society upon which we are all sitting, having convinced themselves that the social and ecological worlds that gave them birth are irksome restraints.

      3. diptherio

        This particular canard is dependent on some very silly definitions of poverty:

        Capitalism has lifted more souls out of extreme poverty than any other system, period.

        See, that statement is only true if you define “poverty” as “not having money.” So a person living in a non-monetized society, with all their needs being met is, according to apologists like you, living in “extreme poverty.” Also, to the extent that poverty has been alleviated along with increasing capitalism, it’s all happened in China.

        Hard as it may be for you to believe, most people weren’t suffering miserably before the wonders of capitalism showed up.

        1. rd

          Capitalism, Marxism, and feudalism are all theoretically workable and good if the people in charge benevolent and competent. Unfortunately, history has shown that Gresham’s Law plays a major role and all of these systems need effective rule of law in order to function well to the benefit of most. The Magna Carta was one such imposition of that type of rule of law. When that rule of law breaks down in the traditional systems, you get 1789 and 1917.

          Longevity today in most places in the world is very long compared to 200 years ago. Much of that is due to the advances allowed by capitalism and the Industrial Age (Fleming would probably have been plowing a field a century before instead of discovering penicillin).

          Without rule of law, all of these systems breakdown and end up being run by sociopaths to benefit the few instead of the many. Capitalism is no different. I don’t think it is an accident that the happiest countries today are generally ones with a capitalist base system with socialist programs overlaid on that and with stable governments and broad enforcement of reasonably well thought out laws focused on improving society instead of punishing a specific class

          The problem with inequality and break down of rule of law like we are currently seeing in the US is the increased interest in extreme fixes to the problems. Periodic nudges in systems generally work better than wholesale change. Usually the events to create the massive change in society in a short time are themselves very disruptive and destructive (e.g. Civil War in US).

          1. ape

            If you want the real, hard data:

            The pattern of height, and it’s delta over the last century is really interesting. It seems to not depend on the details of the internal organization of a society, but mostly about it’s relation to global capital — it’s role in the British and American empires, and it’s ability to fend them off. Capitalism works, Stalinism works, monarchy works, fascism works — as long as it manages to drive off external players in the larger imperial system.

            It surprised me to be so simple — that western europe, South AND North Korea, Japan, Thailand, China, Cuba and Argentina showed varying levels of success relative to central america, central africa and India. The only commonality I see was the ability to deploy an independent domestic and foreign policy, often due to simple historical quirks. I’d be curious to see where India is between 1948/2048 — that would be the clincher.

            And of course the USAs very early success — I’d expect that the delta was huge between 1776 and 1876.

          2. c_heale

            I thought that longevity was abnormally short 200 years ago due to the consequences of the industrial revolution and capitalism.

            1. Ape

              In fact, if you don’t consider child mortality <5, life expectancy in the developed world has just reached pre-agricultural levels. 10k years ago, if you manage to survive early childhood, evidence points to survival into your 70s.

      4. Grant

        “Capitalism has lifted more souls out of extreme poverty than any other system, period.”

        Come on now. First off, in recent decades, China is responsible for the majority of people that have been lifted out of poverty. Don’t tell me you would define China as capitalist either, especially if you are close to libertarianism ideologically. It is also responsible for a good portion of the reduction in poverty outside of China now that it imports so much from developing and underdeveloped countries. It is also the case that the richest 20% or so of worldwide population consumes over 80% of all resources (produces over 80% of CO2 equivalent too) and has always consumed in such a way that the rest of the world has never had enough to be anything but poor. The capitalist countries developed, like the US, using things like massive protectionism and other forms of state intervention (the US had the highest average industrial tariffs of any country in the world for well over a century and still has among the most protectionist agricultural systems in the world), and once those economies got to the top, they kicked away the ladder and made it so that other countries couldn’t develop. That is where the WTO, the IMF and deals like NAFTA come in. If other countries developed their own industries, they would displace exports from countries like the US, and so endogenous economic development was simply not allowed. Those that have developed in recent decades have done so by radically violating the typical capitalist rules (Japan, South Korea, China, etc.). And besides all of that, it is often argued that free market capitalism won the cold war, which is nonsense. If you look at what most of the West was during the Cold War era, it was social democratic. It is actually closer to what Bernie is now calling for that anything someone like you would support. In places like Asia, they used a form of state capitalism (roughly the Japanese model) that was even farther away from a “free market”. It is also a fact that growth is slower in the “neoliberal” period in poor countries than in the import-substitution era, and we are clearly worse off, working people and the poor are clearly worse off as a result of our turn to the right under Reagan, Thatcher and the like. A good portion of our technologies have come out of the state/military sector, so the state has been central in the US in regards to innovation. Then there is the issue of slavery, colonialism, capitalism and markets being central drivers in the environmental crisis, and the massive foreign debt that poor countries cannot get out of.

      5. Cal2

        Except for royalty and tiny privileged few, everyone was dirt poor in 1800.

        The industrial Revolution lifted people out of poverty with the availability of ever cheaper things and food surpluses.

        How it was paid for was Capitalism. It could just as easily been state sponsored Capitalism as private funding.

        1. Olga

          Your first statement is incorrect. There was gentry – typically, very rich, but there were other classes: various merchants, tradesmen, soldiers, and landowners, none of whom could be defined as dirt poor. In feudalism, many people had at least a bit of land and could feed themselves, had a roof over them (often, built with the help of the community), and had access to an energy source (wood, mostly). Peasants worked hard, that is true. Part of the problem, however, was that women had many children, as there was no birth control, and feeding many mouths could often be an issue. And, of course, they did not have our abundance of material goods (which is really a double-edged sword, as I see it now). Maybe reading a bit of history could help.
          The last sentence makes too little sense to get into.

          1. Cal2

            Yes, I over spoke,

            “dirt poor” as to possessions, life expectancy, health and knowledge.

            Why couldn’t say Britain pay for industrialization the same way they paid for wars?

            1. Olga

              Are you aware that many peasants violently objected to being deprived of their land and sent to cities to work in factories? The second sentence is just a continuation of the exaggeration in the earlier comment (as for “life expectancy, health, and knowledge” – science happened).

      6. lyman alpha blob

        Hey lefty, if you’re looking to have an appendage burned off for promoting unfettered capitalism, you have definitely come to the right place.

    2. James Graham

      “Capitalism as a social system is irredeemable and that should be obvious to all.”


      It’s Monday morning and I’m already assigned to the “stupid and ignorant” pile.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        Ok, so what is your argument? Is this some clever insult? If you’re going to attack my argument do so.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        “Capitalism is irresponsibility organized into a system.”

        Attributed to Swiss Reformed theologian Emil Brunner.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          That’s a great quote even if it’s apocryphal. The internet is no help to me for this one. Would the original quote have been in German?

          1. RWood

            And another:
            Children’s reactions to climate change show us the rawest forms of the heartbreak and dread that humanity is experiencing amid climate breakdown. One U.S. study shows that four out of five of the 10-to-12-year-olds surveyed have strong feelings of fear, sadness and anger about environmental destruction. Children around the world are already seeing the dangers of climate change, from the fires in California to the intensifying droughtsthroughout Africa and the Middle East. And when children are informed about what’s going to happen to the planet in their lifetimes, it can make them panic. As child trauma researcher Daniel Schechter has said about how climate-related disasters make kids think: “Their world becomes less safe. They wonder if it’s some kind of punishment.”
            It’s crucial for us to have children understand that the destruction of their world is not a punishment against them. It’s an assault against them, an assault that’s being carried out under the sociopathic dictates of capitalism.


    3. Livius Drusus

      Unfortunately I don’t think AOC or most people who call themselves “socialist” have any concept of a real alternative to capitalism. At best they argue for a greenwashed social democracy. I have yet to see any socialist or left-liberal figure point out that we will have to seriously reduce our consumerist lifestyle which would probably not go over well at a tech-obsessed gathering like South by Southwest.

      For example, was there any serious criticism of the mining of rare earth metals to make tech products, a process that is both environmentally destructive and brutal on workers? I see that Elizabeth Warren made some critiques of Big Tech but the criticism was aimed at issues like monopoly not whether we can have endless economic growth and technological progress. The assumption seems to be that we can have our cake and eat it too. We can save the environment, reduce inequality, improve workers’ rights and not only maintain out hyper-materialist consumer lifestyle indefinitely but make sure that everyone on Earth can live that way too!

      I used to believe in endless economic and technological progress but now I believe that we must accept that limits are real and necessary if we are to avoid destroying the Earth and human freedom and that we will have to ditch our materialism and consumerism to do so.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        Most of us on the real left have been making the case for limits to growth since the 60s–so I don’t get what you mean. I’ve never changed. I agree with Christopher Lasch’s critique of popular culture as a culture of narcissism made in the 70s and Neil Postman’s critique of amusing ourselves to death in the 80s and 90s. There is little joy in endless consumption–joy comes through more parties, more fun, less fear, less “competition” if you can call races between the privileged and the poor a competition.

        Yes, we have to limit consumption and all that. But but the overwhelming reality is that if we don’t start dealing with climate change ideology will be irrelevant.

        1. The Rev Kev

          From what I can see, the underpinning philosophy of modern society still seems to be: “He who dies with the most toys, wins.”

        2. Off The Street

          Lasch was paraphrased by a professor as follows.

          America is becoming a nation of self-sufficient rapists. People want to drive, live, and communicate alone without regard to impacts on those around them.

          That was prescient in the time before the erosion of mass transit, rise of gated communities and advent of social media.

        3. Olga

          I call it ‘tyranny of prosperity.’
          (In that, socialism made more sense for our not-so-limitless planet. There was less emphasis on ‘stuff,’ and more emphasis on time well spent (socialising, cultural events, learning, sports, even poetry, etc.)) Not advocating for those times, but there is lot to learn from.

        4. Carey

          I’m glad to see Christopher Lasch mentioned. A well edited version of
          ‘True and Only Heaven’ for the less gifted like me would be welcome.

      2. Grant

        “I have yet to see any socialist or left-liberal figure point out that we will have to seriously reduce our consumerist lifestyle which would probably not go over well at a tech-obsessed gathering like South by Southwest.”

        Robin Hahnel has a model, participator economies, that is a systematic alternative. Even if you don’t agree with the totality of the system, he is one of the most articulate critiques not just of capitalism anywhere in the world, but the market itself, and his focus is on the environment. You could get a lot out of his model even if you don’t support the entirety of it. He also has a good book that goes over Sraffa versus Marx on key issues, including the environment. He has a theoretical book on ecological economics that just came out and an older book on the economics of the environmental crisis. He proposes institutional alternatives too. Read his article, “The Case Against Markets”. There is David Schweickart’s “Economic Democracy” model. Both of these people have produced good articles for Gar Alperovitz’s Next System’s project. Herman Daly, Karl William Kapp (gave a systematic analysis of what you are talking about in the mid 20th century), Joan Martinez Alier, Manfred Max-Neef, John O’Neill, Frank Ackerman, among others have focused on these issues. The socialist calculation debate also covered a lot of this. Otto Neurath, who started the thing, did focus on the limits to markets and what we now call externalities, which was an argument he gave for planning.

        As you said though, there is no real way to deal with the environmental crisis that will please many of those in power. With AOC, I think she is already taking on enough herself and already fighting within the system the best she can. It is up to social movements to push through any structural changes. There are plenty of experts on this stuff that have been speaking up. They just aren’t given column space at the NY Times or the Washington Post, and you won’t see them on TV either.

      3. Tom Doak

        Well there is no mechanism to limit growth as you describe under strict capitalism. So AOC is right to talk about changing our value system as a first step in addressing climate change. Yes her SXSW speech was very optimistic about the future, but you’re never going to get anyone else to take a step in the right direction by promising gloom and doom. You have to change the value system first, so the corporations are not making the call.

      4. ckimball

        “I used to believe in endless……. and “I believe that we must accept that
        limits are real and necessary………….”
        Thank you. I feel your words illustrate clearly and plainly the shift necessary in our culture to begin to work toward balance. It seems the
        acknowledgment and consideration of limits have been given short shrift
        in our cultural vocabulary. I would like us to explore our relationship
        to the words progress and limits and reassess the depth of our understanding as they are used today.

      5. ckimball

        “I used to believe in endless……. and “I believe that we must accept that
        limits are real and necessary………….”
        Thank you. I feel your words illustrate clearly and plainly the shift necessary in our culture to begin to work toward balance. It seems the
        acknowledgment and consideration of limits have been given short shrift
        in our cultural vocabulary. I would like us to explore our relationship
        to the words progress and limits and reassess the depth of our understanding as they are used today.

    4. Jeremy Grimm

      The economic system we have now — the accompanying philosophy more like a bizarre religion — is Neoliberalism. Neoliberalism is to Capitalism as the Stalinist Soviet Union is to Communism.

      I am not making a defense for Capitalism. I believe Neoliberalism is a much more dangerous and insidious Evil.

      1. bassmule

        The enemy, as always, is corruption. Which is easy to predict–it shows up where ever there is lots of money.

        “…the benefits of keeping your mouth shut…”

        “…twenty days of vacation plus federal holidays, every other Friday off, and two pensions plans – a 401(k) with matching, plus an additional defined-benefits pension plan that would pay your full salary. And don’t forget the generous six-figure salary and five-figure bonus that was comparable to what you would receive at a private-sector bank outside the sales jobs areas. All that for a nine-to-five job – a true rarity in banking outside the secretarial and menial jobs. Plus, the freedom to add a second job on the side if you were willing to work and use your free time for it – of which you had plenty, as no one was expected to do much in the way of real or meaningful work. All you had to do was adapt to the Fed way of doing things.”

        Noncompliant: A Lone Whistleblower Exposes The Giants of Wall Street

      2. Massinissa

        I don’t know, I’ve always just thought of Neoliberalism as a pure, unadulterated strain of capitalism. Capitalism had to be watered down, so to speak, due the crises of the 30’s, but as soon as it was deemed possible, the Powers That Be have been taking the water out since Reagan.

      3. Olga

        Your comparison, unfortunately, fails the test of historical accuracy. When you say that, all you’re showing is how thoroughly western propaganda has entered your consciousness. The reality of USSR and Stalin was far more complex, and not subject to a clever bumber-sticker philosophy. Prof. Kotkin recently produced voluminous bio of Stalin – it may be of some interest… if facts is what one seeks.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I recall Howard Zinn suggested that Stalinist Communism was not a good poster child for communism or socialism. I don’t remember the exact way he phrased it. I’m just reworking a quip I vaguely recall from one of the two speeches or perhaps the one film I watched about Howard Zinn. As I recall from the smattering of George Orwell that I’ve read, he was not especially enthusiastic about Stalinist Communism. I fear a lifetime of exposure to “Western propaganda” about the Stalinist Soviet Union — from both sides of the aisle — has most definitely entered my consciousness.

          I saw two books on Stalin at Professor Kotkin’s website, “Stalin Waiting for Hitler” and “Stalin Paradoxes of Power”. Which of the two books do you suggest I read and why? I am certain the reality of USSR and Stalin is far more complex than I imagine just as the reality of the Neoliberal American Empire is far more complex than I imagine. What might I look for in the voluminous biography of Stalin which may be of interest and might change my “clever bumber-sticker philosophy” about Stalinist Communism?

    5. alex morfesis

      hate me if you must…but theft-ism is the only system that has ever existed…aoc-ism vs krapitalism vs comeoverhere-ism vs fidel-ism…nothing has changed in the millions of years of human existence as we have flowed from advanced societies that self destructed to cave dwelling geniuses trying to slowly regain lost knowledge and peace…

      care-ism is the only system that has ever worked…capital social commun king bank gold bitcoin salt seashell royal tribal laos et al “isms” can exist or even function, but will never sustainably work if they are not infused with


      anything else is just (family blogging)-ism….

      1. c_heale

        Theftism as you called it is not the only system that has existed. It can’t be applied to many traditional tribal structures, nor to many nomadic cultures. We have no idea what existed at the time of the stone age, and not much idea of what existed before the first cities and towns.

  2. Harry

    Ah yes, regarding Nigerian gas and VR, I know Mr. Deitz. A keen basketball fan. And very active in Yale outreach.

  3. The Rev Kev

    “Testers look into security of car alarms”

    Sometimes it is the low-tech solutions that work against car alarms. One I heard about this week was where some crims put a big sticker on the back window of a car. The owner returns to the car and turns off the you-beaut car alarms and climbs in. Turning in their seat to reverse out, they spot the big sticker on the rear window, get out, and go to the back to see what is going on. The crim then jumps into the driver’s seat which has the keys in the lock and the engine often running, slams and locks the doors and then reverses out and drives away. News that you can use that.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      Best way to keep your car to yourself is find out what cars tend to be stolen and buy something else.

      1. Wukchumni

        The best way to not have your car stolen is to have one with a manual transmission, as few younger would-be thieves know how to drive one.

          1. crittermom

            It’s actually true that many people don’t know how to drive a stick. I’ve read stories of how car thefts were thwarted due to the fact the thief couldn’t drive it. There are many. Here’s just one:

            That brings me some comfort as my old car is manual, & I must stay in the city that was leading the nation in car thefts (Albuquerque, NM) for my Dr & surgery appts.

            I like the idea of rotary phones, too. Pretty funny.

              1. barefoot charley

                I live in the hills outside of small-town northern California, and 10 years ago the biggest risk I ran going to town was getting zuccini-bombed in the Post Office parking lot–gardeners couldn’t give them all away, so we’d sling ’em into your back seat when you weren’t looking.

                That wasn’t worth locking car doors against, but the ever-rising tide of society’s cast-offs has nothing to do but what their masters do: steal. I hate being locked down now.

                I applaud the youth of today (of all ages) demanding that we blind and dumb oldsters get out of the way of real solutions to wrosening, huge problems. Labeling is another way of overlooking. Who cares what you call the suicidal rule of riches?

            1. polecat

              Or one could simply own a Flintstone mobile :

              No stick to shift plus no pedal to gas mutiplied by ‘PUSH’ equals No Problem ! (as BamBam & Pebbles joyride before returning Dad’s ride !) divided by crashed mobile minus Fred’s now rubble-built condo.

    2. ewmayer

      While the security is highly dubious – when’s the last time you heard a car alarm go off and seen a would-be-thief go running or heard someone shouting, “stop, thief!”? – the massive profit and mass-annoyance potential of said devices are beyond dispute. The single-most annoying invention in human history, IMO. Back when I still lived in the Midwest in the 1990s, before departing for the Left Coast, I used to lament the loss of the kinds of lighting-followed-by-huge-thunderclap-followed-by-dramatic-silence natural theater one is treated to in that part of the country. Or at least used to be treated to, because by that time one could no longer have a loud thunderclap without it setting off multiple car alarms up and down the neighboring streets.

  4. Donald

    The Atlantic piece by Burns was what I would expect from a former diplomat— one sided propaganda. Basically we are the well intentioned civilized folk and the Russians are the barbarians.

    I know people who will take it at face value.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      I never read any FP piece in the neocon/neolib Atlantic Magazine which in my youth was once a great magazine.

      I’ve known FP professionals and while some are cynical about their work, most are true believers. Their excuse for US policy, however malignant, cruel, violent and stupid the policy is comes to this point: “someone must rule the world, better us than the Russians or Chinese.” This is dogma. Interestingly, these professionals’ advice is rarely followed. For example, one person claimed that the Bush administration threw out all the State Department and CIA briefing books on what to do after Iraq is conquered. As anyone who has read the Pentagon Papers knows, this was also the case with the Vietnam War. One person at State who sat in, every day, in meetings chaired by Bill Bundy (then Ast. Sec. of State) said the WH completely ignored whatever they recommended–and Bundy’s brother was chief of staff in the Johnson WH!

      1. prodigalson

        You’d think the last 18 years of pure unadulterated evil, looting, and mass suffering might disabuse the FP crowd of that notion.

        1. DanB

          I agree with you, but the logic of the FP Borg is: “Just think how much worse the other guys (Russia, China and their alleged proxies) would have behaved…”

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          The FP elite crowd in the U.S. is racist to its core. Its more like Romans and non-Romans, but its still racist in nature. It might be a softer “American exceptionalism” than what we are used to in the U.S., but its there.

          Sanders gets knocked for not having better FP positions, but simply having a non-racist or “American Exceptionalism” believer in the White House would be such a culture shock. I would go back to 1981 as the start of when we had people who bought their status as citizens conferred special powers.

    2. Morgan Everett

      I never expect anything in the Atlantic but another argument for empire. You are right about Russians being described as barbarians compared to the superior Americans in the article.

      “We each had our illusions. America thought that Moscow would eventually get accustomed to being our junior partner, and grudgingly accommodate NATO expansion even up to its border with Ukraine. And Russia always assumed the worst about American motives, and believed that its own corrupt political order and unreformed economy were a sustainable basis for real geopolitical power.”

      Yes, we made mistakes by not realizing that you wouldn’t embrace your inherent inferiority, and you made mistakes by not realizing that we are superior to you.

    3. The Rev Kev

      Such an article would appear in the Atlantic, wouldn’t it? That is why the top image features Putin and a MAGA crowd. William J. Burns seems to be evenly balanced with his views on Putin. Mostly because he has a chip on each shoulder. When talking about Russia in the 90s, did he not know about the Harvard Boys? And when he went to Grozny during the First Chechen war, did he not know that the Russians caught the CIA supplying weapons and equipment to the Chechens? And after complaining bitterly to the US President, their protests were duly ignored? That when Putin warned that if Saakashvili starts something in Georgia, we they finish it, and that is what happened. Burns would have know that the US were training the Georgians just before their treacherous attack. But Burns blames Putin for the war. When Putin went on a 55 minute tirade, maybe the smart thing would have been to take notes as he was opening up about his true feelings and not fob them off. Putin actually offered Hillary an opening with a Siberian wildlife tour. Call it Ping-Pong diplomacy. And Clinton trashed the whole idea on the trip back. When Burns asks who lost Russia, I can answer that question. People like Burns did and if this book plug is any indicator, I am sure that there would be more confirmation of it in his book.

      1. Darthbobber

        Yes indeed. To make his preferred narrative work even to the limited extent it does, he has to skip key aspects of the history altogether. The disaster of the shock therapy program pushed by our army of consultants, the US wink and a nod to the Yeltsin coup that brought an end to the brief period of conventional democracy and judicial independence, the way these events fuelled the rise of those suddenly wealthy “mafioso” whose existence he notices a few years later. He somehow fails to mention that the eastward expansion of NATO itself breached an agreement, or that may have affects Russian attitudes about the value of agreements with us. Or that the way the new govt and constitution were set up in Ukraine after Yanukovich’s departure clearly breached an agreement on how that transition process was supposed to go. Or that the almost instantaneous transformation of our r2p operation in Libya into a clear regime change operation also violated clear and formal promises made to the Russians, the Chinese, and the Security Council. (You f’ed up, you trusted us.)

        And the list could be longer, but I think these highlights convey the gist.

        1. Carey

          I have read over and over about the Bush I promise to Gorbachev to not
          move NATO eastward, and it may be so- but isn’t that, um, something
          that you’d want to have, um, formalized with a treaty?

          Relying on an American/NATO promise… really?

          Seems rather consequential to me.

      2. Olga

        I was going to read – but I guess, no need. The bits I caught skimming the article reveal such an unbelievable degree of hubris and a total lack of introspection – that it will someday be used as a prime example of “and this is how the (Roman) US empire fell.”

  5. A Farmer

    Living in the heart of Trump country, I don’t really need a guide of restaurants that are Trump-friendly. I may be interested in finding businesses that don’t allow customers to pack, though.

      1. human

        Whenever I see mention of The Green Book I am reminded of this publication of 50 plus years ago by one of the worlds great, progressive, visionaries:

        The Green Book by Muammar Gaddafi – Goodreads
        Search domain
        “Republished in a new translation, The Green Book provides fresh insight into the thinking of Muammar Al Gathafi and his Third Universal Theory for a new democratic society.” “Outlined first is his theory for direct democracy”

  6. allan

    Today is the 8th anniversary of the great quake, tsunami and subsequent meltdown at Fukushima.
    RIP to all past, present and future victims.

    1. Cal2

      We haven’t bought one food item imported from Japan or eaten in a Japanese restaurant that probably uses spices and seaweed imported from the exclusion zone in the last eight years.
      The F.D.A. allows food illegal to sell in Japan to be sold here.

      When Japan can no longer find willing customers for their foodstuffs, maybe they will reconsider adding or prolonging nuclear power.

      Man, how I miss my Udon.

    2. David(1)

      From Wiki:

      [T]he UNSCEAR (United Nations Scientific Committee for the Effects of Atomic Radiation) 2013 report to the UN General Assembly states that the average effective dose of the 25,000 workers over the first 19 months after the accident was about 12 millisieverts (mSv). About 0.7% of the workforce received doses of more than 100 mSv. No radiation-related deaths or acute diseases have been observed among the workers and general public exposed to radiation from the accident…For comparison, the average dose from an abdominal and pelvic computed tomography (CT) scan, with and without contrast, is 20 to 30 mSv.

      A Japanese Research Company was assigned to find out the health effects and casualties caused by the disaster. They found that some deaths were early, during evacuation processes, while other deaths gradually happened after the disaster. The agency found out that the cause of these early deaths were due to the disruption of hospital operations, exacerbation of pre-existing health problems and the stress of dramatic changes in life. It is stated that the vast majority of people who died during their evacuation were elderly.

      The site is still a deadly place:

      Workers on-site now wear full-body radiation protection gear, including masks and helmets covering their entire heads, but it means they have another enemy: heat. As of 19 July 2011, 33 cases of heat stroke had been recorded. In these harsh working conditions, two workers in their 60s have died from heart failure.

      As of September 2012, there were no deaths or serious injuries due to direct radiation exposures. Cancer deaths due to accumulated radiation exposures cannot be ruled out, and according to one expert, might be in the order of 100 cases. A May 2012 United Nations committee report stated that none of the six Fukushima workers who had died since the tsunami had died from radiation exposure.

      1. a different chris

        As of September 2012, there were no deaths or serious injuries to human beings due to direct radiation exposures.

        Fixed it for ya.

        1. Cal2

          How long does it take for stomach cancer to develop? Of course, that’s not a direct death, any more than the leukemia victims around Chernobyl were.

          All pro-nuclear paid shills can gain great credibility by eating, on live television,under proctored conditions, a salad grown in fields next to the Fukushima reactors.

          Put your mouth where your is.

          1. el_tel

            My friend today (see below) said a lot of community leaders in economically deprived coastal areas (where a lot of the reactors are situated) and anti-nuclear citizens in major cities have launched campaigns to build new reactors within major cities that are on higher ground (on the grounds of satisfying the campaigns to reduce vulnerability to the sea).

            Unsurprisingly, the media have not been keen to report on these and the authorities are not so keen to put their money where their mouths are….

      2. Aumua

        As of September 2012, there were no deaths or serious injuries due to direct radiation exposures.

        And the same is true today. Not one single person has died from Fukushima radiation. You know, it’s OK to be against nuclear (fission) power, and to acknowledge the major disaster of Fukushima, and also to admit that fear mongering claims coming from anti nuke people and/or various prophets of doom have been vastly overstated. Believe it or not, there’s room for both thoughts in a single mind. Try it!

        1. Skip Intro

          The weasel word is ‘direct radiation’. The pro-plutonium lobby trots out this disinformation regularly. The real danger that they studiously ignore is from exposure to escaped radioisotopes, either in the form of bio-available elements like Cs and Sr which are bioaccumulating in the ecosystem, or as dispersed particles of fuel and daughter products which can be ingested, inhaled, or stuck to skin and clothing.

          I would say your ignorance-mongering borders on agnotology.

    3. el_tel

      I have just spent the day with my best friend from my uni days, who has spent much of the subsequent 25 years living in Japan. He is a senior professor and fully integrated – he always gives me invaluable insights into “what’s really going on there and what the Western media/blogs don’t know”. Today he told me a bunch of interesting stuff regarding Fukushima.

      Those who died in the disaster (tsunami and reactor deaths) have in some major lists/memorials had their names written in Katakana rather than the Chinese characters….the main time this has happened before is for those who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the nuclear bombing. The link is subtle but not lost on the Japanese at all – these are all victims of (1) Governmental failure to protect the people and (2) The utter awfulness of the nuclear age.

      New studies using more (but still totally inadequate and overly conservative) criteria for safety (such as assumptions about sea-level rises, frequency of seismic events and vulnerability of the nuclear reactors) have been demanded, showing Japan is catastrophically vulnerable. People know this and belief in government has plummeted. Yet the lack of viable alternatives – and, importantly, INCENTIVE for the ruling LDP to do something different, means Japan will just muddle along. They can’t get rid of the spent nuclear fuels so have concluded “the damage is already done, so we’ll just continue on this route”.

  7. Livius Drusus

    Re: A belief in meritocracy is not only false: it’s bad for you.

    I wish more people would read Michael Young’s book that popularized the term meritocracy. Contrary to what most people think about meritocracy, Young saw meritocracy as a system that would lead to a dystopia. Here is an article by Young from 2001 stating that people like Tony Blair failed to understand what his book was about.

    Chris Dillow has also written a number of good blog pieces on the subject of meritocracy.

    Widespread belief in meritocracy is one of the biggest forces holding back any kind of progress on tackling inequality and associated problems. As the Aeon article points out, belief in meritocracy makes people more selfish while a belief in luck makes people more generous. From a progressive perspective we would clearly be better off if more people believed in luck rather than meritocracy.

    Unfortunately, even a lot of people on the left believe in meritocracy. For example, I always thought attacking the Bush family and the Clinton family for nepotism was a bad tactic since it took attention away from their policies and made the criticism more personal. If a Clinton or Bush came out in favor of policies I liked I would vote for them. Let’s not forget that FDR was a scion of a political dynasty. Ronald Reagan was probably more of a product of meritocracy than FDR yet FDR was clearly the better president from a progressive standpoint.

    I would also point out that even ordinary working people use family and friendship networks to their advantage to help land jobs and other benefits and that there is nothing inherently wrong with this as long as it doesn’t become extreme like putting someone unqualified in a position that could endanger lives.

    For a lot of ordinary jobs it probably doesn’t matter much and for some people, like those with blemishes on their resume (bouts of unemployment, too old, not the right “culture fit”) using networks of friends and family might be the only way they can get a shot at getting a job since otherwise their resume probably wouldn’t even get past the automated HR system. In a “true” meritocracy (which would likely have to be a totalitarian system) a lot of folks would be totally out of luck. It would be an even more brutal system than the one we have now since there would be no “wiggle room” for ordinary people.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      Excellent points! It should be mainly about networks ultimately and that is as it should be. Human interactions create high-bandwidth interactions. I’ve found that hiring decisions are increasingly made by looking at the person on paper because HR and head-hunting organizations want their assess covered and nothing works better for that task than paper of electronic paper.

      1. Livius Drusus

        Yeah at this point I will be happy if we can save at least some degree of human life space and that we avoid becoming trapped in some cyberpunk dystopia. To me that would be a huge victory even if we still have political dynasties, nepotism, corrupt politicians and all the rest. At least those are ordinary human problems. I would rather have an imperfect human system than an inhuman, machine-like pseudo-utopia.

      2. Off The Street

        Looking at people on paper has been outsourced by many companies. Their HR service vendors use automated resume software to assign points and rank candidates. Meritocratic or mistakenly exclusionary, or both. Here is a quote from the article.

        Meritocracy is a false and not very salutary belief. As with any ideology, part of its draw is that it justifies the status quo, explaining why people belong where they happen to be in the social order. It is a well-established psychological principle that people prefer to believe that the world is just.

        Admitting that I chose to read salutary as salivary is part of my Modern Pavlov 12-step program.

      3. a different chris

        Networks were a problem for women, they still are for blacks.

        Sigh, not saying *I* have any answers.

      4. Tomonthebeach

        I find it curious that often it is academics who are the loudest deniers of meritocracy. After all, it is educators who perpetrate their the very meritocracy they claim does not exist. Educators teach us from Kindergarten that the world is based on merit. “Gold star for you again, Tommy! Good job.” “Fastest 100-yard backstroke medal goes to our own Tom.” “Congratulations on making the Dean’s list, Tom!” “After years of dedication and hard work, the University proudly confers the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to Thomas — ” Why are the perpetrators of the so-called meritocracy myth so ardent about exposing their own myth? A reasonable person might start looking for sour grapes.

        Merit is alive and well. But, so is corruption. Does the presence of one phenomenon obviate the other? Not in my experience. One problem in academics is that there are only 3 effective ranks unless you want to move into management. Thus, the only gold stars most professors get is more pubs on their CV, plaques from peers, tenure-based pay-raises, and the rare endowed chair or rarer-yet Nobel Prize. Nihilism is much easier to explain moving slow on such a slow track.

        Merit detractors always fail to acknowledge that the rules of meritocracy change in adulthood. Finding and landing a good job, then a better job, is easiest if you have a network – you are “connected.” Likewise, promotions come to those who suck up to the boss. What a convenient, if not cynical, explanation for not producing achievements of sufficient magnitude to get top management’s notice. Of course, patronage can corrupt the process thereby validating fundamental attribution error. When I succeed, it is due to my talent. When I fail, it is due to circumstances beyond my control.

        Yes, there have been times in my own career where a huge achievement went unrecognized. Had I stopped trying, I might never have learned that merit is often ascribed to persistent achievement. I have had superiors tell me that they wanted to see if I was striving for promotion or to advance the organization’s mission.

        As I mentioned, people sometimes do use connections to undermine the meritocracy. Most of the time, that catches up with them. For example, during my Navy career, I once saw conniving dim bulb get promoted to Admiral. As a uniformed organizational psychologist, I asked my chief of staff; “How did that obvious dork make flag rank?” His response was that he had worked as a liaison to the Armed Services Committee on the hill, and Navy was told if his name is not on the promotion list, do not expect Senate approval. “So what now?” I asked. He replied; “Just watch.” A few months later, the Admiral who had weaseled his way beyond his level of competence (Lawrence Peter), was re-assigned to take command of the Bad-news Bears of Naval Aviation. Within months, there was yet another scandalous failure and the unmeritorious admiral was offered the option to retire as a Captain or face an ugly military tribunal. The dismissal was so radioactive that his Senate mentor did not dare to intercede. The organization had healed itself and merit lived to see another day.

        Depending on how you look at the above little story, either an up-and-coming admiral’s career was ruined by bad luck, or he failed because he was incompetent. Yes, the admiral was promoted on the basis of who he knew rather than what he could achieve. On the other hand, the organization corrected the mistake in a very clever way using his own lack of competence as a cudgel.

        My hypothesis for all the merit poo-pooing is often because academic researchers and theorists have little if any actual experience in work organizations. It is easy to assign simple, attribution-error, explanations for events and tacitly asserting a socialist viewpoint. It also encourages students to lead a life of satsificing in a dystopian world – simply because it is easier to blame the world, especially Darwinian neolib capitalism for our lack of achievement.

        It is easy to point to exceptional achievers and assert that they are exceptions to the myth of meritocracy. Or, perhaps life is easier if you just coast.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      Thank you for posting those links Livius,
      When I see the word Meritocracy, I see “grooming and connections”. Back when I was a lab rat I worked with an ex Sachs bear.. at the time we were watching the tech bubble burst and people were watching their highly inflated options deflate. I proposed “Why aren’t we getting in on the ground floor of the next tech bubble, with what we were working on and the people we had around us?”. He asks “What kind of connections do I have?”, I realized I had none from my state uni background and working family, and that was that.

    1. Isotope_C14

      Just a way to squeeze a couple of bucks out of Americans.

      Heck, the Aussies take 20 bux too – 8 EU is a bargain!

    2. Tomonthebeach

      The press are numbskulls. In not a single story pointing out that the reason for this new annoyance is TRUMP. We now require non-Schengen EU members to get US Visas to visit the US, so as payback turnabout is fair play. Think of this annoyance as an EU travel tariff.

      Bulgaria (still not Schengen) is the pivot point as it sits on the Bosphorus and the Greek borders where Trump is sure “evil doers” are sneaking into the EU just to eventually a) learn to speak English, b) learn how to get a passport, c) learn how to buy an airplane ticket, d) get cash to buy tickets and build bombs, e) having previously learned how to build a bomb, f) build a bomb, g) learn where 1600 Pennsylvania Ave is, and finally h) accidentally blow themselves up trying to find DC, or, as a suicidal gesture due to the frustration at the entirely ridiculous quest.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Maybe an exception can be made for those come in by boat.

      That way, we can discourage flying, and eventually dismantle those airports.

  8. The Rev Kev

    “EU ‘will charge Britain £1billion a month’ over any Brexit delay if Theresa May is forced to ask for an extension this week”

    Been watching the Three Blokes in a Pub videos lately and their talks on a No-Deal Brexit. So believe me when I say that if the EU charges the UK £1billion a month over any Brexit extension, that that is an absolute bargain that and should be seized upon with both hands before the EU changes their minds. It would be only a very small fraction of the costs that will be incurred otherwise. Sometimes the status quo is a win.

    1. a different chris

      So for 12billion/year the UK can prolong this (familyblog)show indefinitely? I agree, go for it!

  9. Pogonip

    I can’t identify the bird—seriously—other than it’s some species of heron. What is it)

    1. icancho

      It’s a Glossy ibis, Plegadis falcinellus. It looks very similar to the American White-faced ibis, and also the Andean Puna ibis, but samthebirder operates out of India …

    2. tegnost

      glossy ibis is what I think, but haven’t checked the attribution, available by clicking on (via)

      1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

        It is indeed- and a stunning photo: I think you you can see why it’s called a glossy ibis.

        Usually I don’t weigh in so early on the thread to settle the identification, but here where I posted this antidote b/c it was a great photo – and not to spark any ID debate – I’m happy to confirm the ID.

        1. Lee

          Usually I don’t weigh in so early on the thread to settle the identification, but here where I posted this antidote b/c it was a great photo – and not to spark any ID debate – I’m happy to confirm the ID.

          Oh, c’mon! The birdie ID disputes are a high point of my day.

  10. notabanker

    Posted in the links last night, the full hour and 15 minutes of AOC’s interview at SWSX.

    Haven’t seen a US politician like this in my lifetime.
    Two things from this that really struck hard:
    – When she goes off on what we are capable of, this is how the very best business leaders rise. They motivate people in the art of possibility. Imnsho, this is what differentiates her.
    – She admits that Dems are part of the problem and she will be in trouble “when I go back to work”

    Whether you agree with her politics or not, this is someone who is going to connect with a lot of people and motivate them into action. Further, what sets her apart is that she will attract high quality, high talent, ambitious people.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      I agree with you AOC is a natural. She reminds me of Michael Jordan when he played in college all-star vs NBA all-star game and humiliated Magic Johnson and others–he was clearly the best player on the court then. Once AOC learns how to navigate the snake-pit that is Washington and avoids the corruption of a figure like Pelosi then I think she will do some damage to biz as usual.

      1. neo-realist

        We need more like AOC, if not exactly like her in ideology, certainly more like her in that they are populist and will fight for the economic interests of Main Street Americans (Younger Bernie Sanders types?) In spite of all the noise she makes, she’s outnumbered and outgunned by republicans and neoliberal democrats controlled by the money power and the MIC. If she gets more young people interested in politics and willing to fight for regular Americans, all the better.

    2. human

      “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

      1. ewmayer

        “…and once they are thus suitably motivated, give orders to gather wood and divide the work. Because no amount of high-flown rhetoric ever built a ship.”

        1. human

          Nattering nabob of negativism. The point being, to paraphrase another platitude, is to teach how to fish in order to fulfill ones needs. It often behooves to start at the beginning when embarking on something new.

  11. The Rev Kev

    ” ‘A major player’: Sanders gets props from the Democratic establishment ”

    May not be such a great development that. Since Sanders has long ago signed onto the Russia!Russia!Russia! meme and repeated CIA talking points regarding Venezuela, the Democratic establishment might be calculating that so long as they toss him a few domestic wins (that could be sabotaged by either party down the road) that he will bend when it come to foreign policy. Not saying not to vote for the guy. Just saying that you should not be surprised at such developments if he ever become President.

    1. JohnnyGL

      I understand the cynicism, but do keep in mind how flexible the political class can be, when they decide to be flexible. There’s plenty of episodes of history of the political establishment of a given period adapting to strong movements that originate from below and make themselves felt in government. They’ve had four years to shift around in their chairs and get used to the idea that Bernie’s a force to reckon with.

      That’s not to say we should trust them, but if someone like Dick Durbin is willing to come around, that’s a positive. Characters like him won’t give Bernie his whole agenda, and they’ll probably try to slow him down at various points, but they won’t want to be seen to be doing so, overtly. They’d rather make sure they stay close to the seat of power.

      Team Dem made their peace with FDR, many will do so this time around too.

      Of course, many won’t….and they should be de-fanged, targeted for primaries, and run out of office as swiftly as possible.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        That’s not to say we should trust them, but if someone like Dick Durbin is willing to come around,

        Politicians do hate to break their words believe it or not. Obama didn’t break promises as much as he used enough vapid phrases people projected onto him and were inevitably disappointed. Getting politicians on the record matters. It limits their ability to pivot.

        We knock Pelosi for justafiable reasons, but she delivered almost everything in the 2006 Democratic Party platform. They are politicians because they dig the Hollywood for Ugly People. Actors will sign onto Marvel movies, despite being universally stupid (Ironman was awesome), because they want to be liked. Its the same with politics. Pelosi delivered when she was on the record. The problem is we tolerated promises “nerds were in charge” instead of demanding credible policy platforms first (not me but other people).

        1. neo-realist

          Actors will sign onto Marvel movies, despite being universally stupid (Ironman was awesome), because they want to be liked.

          I think actors sign on to Marvel movies cause the money sets them for life.

  12. Shonde

    After reading the Gateway link regarding Tulsi speaking out for Wikileaks, I immediately sent her another donation. Wow, is she gutsy.
    Does anyone know how close she is to getting 65.000 individual donors so she can qualify to be included in the presidential debates? We desperately need her voice.

    1. integer

      I looked yesterday and couldn’t find any info. It’s a pity she doesn’t have a counter on her website like Andrew Yang, who is now less than 4k donors away from the 65k threshold.

      1. Cal2

        From her website.
        Hit the “Contribute Buttton”

        “Contribution rules

        I am a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted permanent resident (i.e., green card holder).
        This contribution is made from my own funds, and funds are not being provided to me by another person or entity for the purpose of making this contribution.
        I am making this contribution with my own personal credit card and not with a corporate or business credit card or a card issued to another person.
        I am at least eighteen years old.
        I am not a federal contractor.

        To contribute by mail, please send a personal check made payable to:

        Tulsi Now
        PO Box 75255
        Kapolei, HI 96707

        (I did not include the cell phone blurb which is complicated)

        I have a stack of stamped envelopes addressed as above. Anyone I meet who is enthusiastic about her gets handed one to put even a one dollar check into and then mail it, so as to get the 65,000 individual donors so she can be on stage with the other ‘Democrats.’

        My counter? 38 people digging out a check, writing it, often for way more than a dollar.

        1. integer

          Nice work on the donation facilitation. If I was a US citizen I would definitely donate to Gabbard’s campaign.

      2. ChiGal in Carolina

        Still today finding no info. That is an oversight. Only if she is close and hasn’t reached the threshold will I donate some of my Sanders bucks to her.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Yeah, I had to blink a few times….at the source, and the remarkable defiance from Gabbard. I was iffy about her running, but now I’m glad she and Warren are in the race. They’ve definitely added value.

      Keep moving that Overton Window….

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Gabbard also criticized Obama from a couple of years back.

      Has she, or Sanders (any other progressives actually), spoken up for Omar yet, regarding what she said about Obama recently?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Isn’t Sanders’ whole candidacy largely a rejection of Obama? After all, he filibustered the Bush Obama tax cuts for the wealthy and is largely running on reforming every sector in a fashion, not “continuing the good work.” Sanders is pushing for Medicare for All and isn’t even giving ACA a chance to work or offering fix it later promises.

        1. edmondo

          Isn’t Sanders’ whole candidacy largely a rejection of Obama?

          He rejected Obama by endorsing his doppleganger in 2016? We really do project what we want to see onto politicians don’t we?

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            He rejected Obama by endorsing his doppleganger in 2016?

            He ran against her and is still running against ideas. The Third Party challenge was a pipe dream.

          2. JohnnyGL

            Why did Sanders endorse:

            1) The character reason. Sanders promised to endorse the eventual winner ahead of time. He kept his promise. He’s a man of his word. A lot of people respect that. I’m among them.

            2) The political reason. There was little political downside to endorsing. Jill Stein grabbed under 2% of the vote, so there was no real constituency to his left to pull him away from endorsing.

            if Bernie didn’t endorse, he’d be accused of aiding/abetting Trump constantly. Now, after endorsing and doing all he did for HRC in 2016, when he gets accused of helping Trump, the question looks absurd. Sanders went to something like 30+ events in 13 states. He did everything her campaign asked.

            Please try to understand the importance of this. He’s made his critics look bitter and deranged and managed to fracture the ‘never sanders’ careerist dems like Neera Tanden and the rest of the Clintonite hacks from the larger body of politicans that are happy to change with the times. The politico article suggests this process is well underway.

            3) Another political reason. Sanders wants to govern. He needs Dems on board if he wants to pass legislation. Sanders knows there’s no point in winning elections if you’re a lame-duck from day 1. If he did that, he’d damage the left for another generation.

            Sanders’ candidacy isn’t so much a rejection of Obama as much as it’s an admission of his failure.

            1. Eureka Springs

              1) So if I keep a promise to a cheating thief and all her party helpers who did not keep their promise… why should those who supported me trust I would actually fight them for major policy differences later?

              2) Endorsing HRC the lying cheater really makes you look good. And they certainly have been nice ever since.

              3) If you think establishment Dems and their hazed lackeys are going to change their way after all this time/evidence to the contrary… you seem to be complete denial of the daily/hourly stream of consistent factual evidence to the contrary.

              Finally we witnessed last week once again that every Progs will bow down and vote for lies/hazing used upon them. They had everything going their way and they, at best, capitulated. Omar gave them the sledge hammer on both foreign policy and benjamins owning our system and they all ran from it in a most cowardly fashion … every single one.

              Bernie will do the same as Pres… and if he doesn’t on occasion, all but perhaps a very few Congresscritters (dozen or less) will too.

              1. Darthbobber

                Yes. Anybody who doesn’t see the wisdom of launching a bayonet charge across open ground in the face of entrenched machine guns must just be a cowardly weasel. What other explanation could there be?

              2. JohnnyGL

                1) I sincerely doubt the party would have promised him they’d play fair with Sanders, nor did he expect them to be fair. The guy’s worked with this party for years, he knows how they operate.

                2) I don’t think he liked her very much. It was clear he thought she was corrupt. But, again, he promised to endorse her ahead of time and he probably thought she was sincerely better than Trump, or any other Republican.

                3) Parties change over time, sometimes very little for long periods, then, suddenly, they change a lot.

                Bernie’s been moving the needle since 2016, he could have surrendered. He didn’t and he looks stronger than ever.

            2. Baby Gerald

              Great points, johnnyGL. Let me add to your three reasons a fourth political reason, emphasized in his most recent book Where We Go From Here: to have a voice at the table when shaping the party platform for the general election and beyond.

              I was as disappointed as most Bernie supporters by his cowed submission to the corrupt and conniving DNC/Clinton cabal after the primaries were stolen from him, but after reading his book have come to accept that he did what he did in order to stay relevant regardless of the outcome. If Clinton won, Sanders could hold her feet to the fire over policies that wouldn’t have been on the platform without the direct input of himself or his staff.

              I’m personally getting tired of these ‘just you wait and see how he caves’ prognostications. Since losing in the primaries and returning to the senate, Sanders has still done more for the average working American than his 99 senatorial colleagues and virtually all the 535 congresscritters next door. He didn’t go for a long walk in the woods. He didn’t write a book telling everyone how it wasn’t his fault he lost. He didn’t go on paid speaking tours. No, he went back to the senate and continued the long hard fight he knew he’d need to wage. And thanks to him, we now have reps like Ocasio-Cortez and Omar who now feel emboldened to speak truth to power.

              1. Eureka Springs

                It’s not wait and see… it’s look at his record and call his record for what it is. It will tire you the least in the short and long run. Cheer for him, vote for him, but don’t do it with false hopium. He’s a spelunker, and so are Progs. They run right up to the batters box full of piss and vinegar and then say, wait, isn’t this a wiffle ball game? I’m outta here.

                1. Carey

                  Thanks for this comment.

                  Remember “We’re taking it all the way to the Convention!”?

                  Sanders is the best we have, and I’m glad the Dems have “allowed” his limited-hangout bit, but…

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Sanders has not said publicly anyting close to what Omar said recently.

          Should he do that himself, or short of that, come out in support of her, who candidacy can also be said as a rejection of Obama, even before she spoke out?

          It’s similar to Sanders saying not asking Hillary for advice, when people already knew all along he wouldn’t. We don’t run silent campaigns (“just watch what I do”) but speak up, for things we are for, and against things we are not.

          Again, has anyone come out supporting or defending her?

          1. John k

            Sanders, warren, AOC, I think jointly. And others in the caucus… the pushback was enough to completely change the resolution to a face saving condemnation of all prejudice.
            And now a bunch of rabbis went to Omar’s office to show support. IMO this is over.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              The statement in question is the one about Obama and his smiling face.

              Has anyone come out supporting Omar on that?

  13. Foomarks

    Re: Mark Zuckerberg’s former mentor says privacy manifesto is a PR stunt

    McNamee has interesting points to make. But rather than talking about all hacking as a general concern for privacy issues, he singles out Russia as the main culprit. Ugh.

  14. Shonde

    Just read the Guardian link on 5G, the Gizmodo link on the house that spied, and then the New Yorker article regarding climate denialism. My conclusion: I need a explain to me why we are continuing to drive ourselves to extinction with all this new junk.

    The 5G article said we need 5G for the internet of things. The house that spied made it very obvious that all those smart internet of things items are horrendous total energy suckers.

    If we are ever to attain climate stability at a livable range, we need to immediately stop the adoption of even more techie toys that in reality do nothing to enhance our lives and in fact, as the article regarding the smart home implies, instead create new and time consumption problems we have never had before.

    If we want to start saving our planet, we need to stop all this techie nonsense. Stopping the implementation of 5G and stopping production of so called smart products would be a good start for a New Green Deal so why is no one talking about this?

    1. The Rev Kev

      You have to understand that there is almost a religious element to the worship of new technology as seen in that House that spied article. You can bet too, for example, that that IoT bed would not only be able to give reports on just sleeping patterns which is pretty obtrusive and which the long-suffering husband must have realized. And look at all the work involved in servicing that gear not to forget just getting it running. I saw a recreated version of this religious fervour as displayed by the people in that article elsewhere on the net that might explain what is going on-

      1. Shonde

        I haven’t yet listened to your youtube and will later. Thank you.

        However, I am already very aware of how well marketing has worked to make ownership and use of the latest in techie toys into a religious experience. No wonder there is a downturn in sexual activity since ecstasy is now the latest techie fix.

        What I am seeking is stabilization of energy use to the highest degree possible while we at the same time work on things that might and hopefully will reduce energy use in a required time frame. Until we do both together, it is stupid to talk of reduction while as a society we continue this disastrous energy sucking thing we currently call progress. All it does is push the over all goal further away.

        My oh my. Never realized all my stored up anger.

      2. Carey

        But how did the “worship” you mention come about?

        It wasn’t manufactured, was it, as with Amurican worship of military and cops?


        1. polecat

          Tech worship via Steve Jobs, wearing that insidious black collarless guru-like garb … And look now ! EVERYONES’ a Guru of some kind these day .. if they wear black !!
          Just ask Lizzy Holmes … or going back a bit further .. the great mustache of understanding himseff, Thomas Friedman.

          I need to go vomit now ..

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Green New Deal is mostly about supply (greener…upgrade house, rail instead of flying), and not much on demand (inconveninent to talk about sacrifices?).

      One child policy would be one way to address demand (knowing many in the US are childless, so this will result in less than one child, on average).

      Would this be far-left, and would this make being on the left insufficient?

      1. Shonde

        That is a problem I have with the Green New Deal. Upgrading homes, new rail systems and creating new energy supplies all require making the carbon footprint larger ((lots of resource extraction and production of more stuff to do it)before it can be made smaller. Missing is the Luddite idea of stopping the production of things that will require more resource extraction and more energy than is currently being used just to enhance the techie lifestyle we have. In other words, can’t we live with the techie stuff we currently have? This is not taking anything away from anyone. It is just not adding to it so it is not a sacrifice of something we currently love.

        Another need is to make it mandatory that everything is repairable. That also will help stabilize current energy use. Otherwise all our valuable farmland will be covered in solar farms (as I see in Minnesota) and we will starve as we play with our techie toys.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          If the left is advocating what many or most Americans want, the far left is more radical, and advoates proposals that maybe with more informing and time, people will come to agree.

          Here, I thinnk mandatory repairability belongs to the far left.

          If not, I would be interested in knowing what the far left advocates that make it different from the left.

    3. Cal2

      We come to bury 5G, not praise it.

      [5G] “implies the need to install hundreds of thousands of new base stations to ensure meaningful coverage”….Yup, right on that power pole outside your children’s bedroom window possibly. Certainly much closer than current cell towers.

      Then there’s the device “(Yes, your phone is a radio transmitter)”, a few inches from your testicles, ovaries, or eyeballs, with it’s “much higher frequencies.” Round organs are more susceptible to radiation damage.

      According to Physicians for Safe Technology, risks from 5G include:

      Damage to the eyes- cataracts, retina
      Immune system disruption
      Metabolic disruption
      Damage to sperm
      Skin damage
      Collapse of insect populations, the base of food for birds and bats
      Rise in bacterial resistance and bacterial shifts
      Damage to plants and trees

      To hell with 5G. Like “Smart meters” it should be fought tooth and nail. Some communities are refusing to allow their streets to profit centers for private corporations at the risk of the health of their residents.

      Marin supervisors push back against FCC order on 5G wireless networks

    4. jrs

      “I need a explain to me why we are continuing to drive ourselves to extinction with all this new junk.”

      one word: PROFIT

      But I agree, enough of more and more technology if it’s just leading us closer and closer to extinction.

  15. Anony-moi

    I keep encountering a sneaky equivocation between “meritocracy” as a social philosophy and the merit principle in employment itself. The former can only become ever more pernicious as the latter is abandoned. For nigh-on 20 years there’s been a drive to replace competence with “being a team player” (i.e. a lickspittle) as the primary criterion for employment.

    It’s hard to imagine anything more sophisticated than a handicraft economy functioning without the merit principle in some form. Communism spread like wildfire in its early years in large part because it replaced an European employment system still riven with hereditary privilege with one based substantially on individual ability.

    1. jrs

      and then there are those places who explicitly say they hire on “fit”. There may not be any pure merit in the world uncontaminated by prejudice, but as if stating right out that one was mainly hiring on “cultural fit” wasn’t a RECIPE for every prejudice imaginable (age discrimination, racial discrimination etc. etc.).

  16. Furzy

    Re Climate Change: It is intensely hotter and drier than any of us can remember here in SE Thailand….the golf greens are parched, my lawn needs extensive watering 2x a day….my eyes are scratchy and beg for eye drops, especially at night…the pool is evaporating at a rapid, visible rate daily,,,,my impression of what to do from the millendials is “let’s party til it’s all over”….

    1. Fiery Hunt


      Hard to see any difference between “my lawn needs extensive watering 2x a day” and “party til it’s all over…

  17. Matthew G. Saroff

    I would note that the power being out, at least to the upper-middle class and upper class neighborhoods in Caracas, is actually a boon for Maduro, since it makes electronic organizing far more difficult when cell phones and computers do not work.

    A public announcement from Maduro that the poorer neighborhoods, and essential services, are at the top of the list would both play to his base, and hamstring the opposition.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Oh dear god. A whole country without access to Facebook because of the blackout! Oh, the humanity!

  18. notabanker

    Regarding the house that spied on me, using your personal data to sell to advertisers is in many ways now an old school business model.

    These tech companies are gathering free behavioral data to use to train their AI and algos. This automation is going to replace millions of workers and transfer their income to the tech monopolies, who now own this “proprietary” technology. This is real and happening right now.

    Over this weekend I listened to over 5 hours of interviews with Andrew Yang. I have serious questions about his policy proposals, but he is way out front on this issue, and imo, is dead on. About 50% of the American workforce are in jobs that are targeted for automation. He says we have already automated 4,000,000 manufacturing jobs out of the economy permanently. This does not include Amazon and Walmart’s complete destruction of the retail sector. An additional 30% of the retail sector will be closed, 2.5 million call center jobs are at risk, 3 million truck drivers and millions of additional jobs that support them on long hauls are at risk. Insurance administration and clerical, accounting and bookkeeping, legal services the list goes on and on.

    And we are paying for devices that are giving them the data that will enable even more.

    1. prodigalson

      Seems like the singularity crowd is in a race between getting the tech to upload their brains into the cloud before the pitchforks come out in numbers and we go neo-luddite and start picking and choosing which tech to live with.

      I vote Butlerian Jihad baby. “Though shalt make no computer in the likeness of a human mind” and such.

  19. George Phillies

    “The House That Spied on Me ” joins the cell phone as the stupidest invention since the pet rock.

    As it happens, I do not own any of these gadgets. And my stereo, TV, VCR, DVD player, etc are all connected to power strips that are shut off when I am not using them.

    1. JacobiteInTraining

      The 2nd best thing that ever happened to me with regard to sipping electrons and not guzzling them (besides being raised on an ancient ramshackle family farm where things mechanical were still preferred over things electric…never mind electronic)

      …was having to make a modest solar panel energy system work properly up at the off-grid mountain cabin. All of a sudden the awareness of those little vampiric power supplies connected to electronic gizmos with their ‘instant on’ functionality, constantly draining power even when ‘off’ was an eye opener.

      Well, that and the need to have a *very* strict and absolute electron budget based not on what I wanted…but on what I could extract from the solar panels.

      Power strips with an on/off switch that we control at all times, indeed! :)

      1. Wukchumni

        There is no electricity in our cabin community in the National Park, and a few have solar arrays, but most don’t. Everything is propane powered, fridge, heater, stove, etc.

        It took a little getting used to, but did wonders for devouring books, sans juice.

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          Are you close enough to hot springs, or do you do the wood-fired hot tub thing…if at all?

          I have a propane powered shower and kitchen hot water (amongst other things), with some modest wood-fired backups – Jotul stoves being king in this neck of the woods – for cooking and heating — but for that ultimate of luxuries, the hot tub….I’m contemplating DIY’ing a heat exchanger coil and acquiring an old surplussed hot tub from craigslist and doing up my own.

          There is a wonderful spot, overlooking the valley below, with some big old cedars behind. Would really love to get baked on snowy/icy nights and then go sit in that thing long into the night!

          1. Wukchumni

            Really not much in the way of hot springs on the west side of the Sierra, the east side is rich with them though…

            A few neighbors have wood fired hot tubs, and i’m content to live vicariously through them, in occasional soaks. They didn’t get used much during the drought, as what water we had couldn’t be spared for such niceties.

            It takes awhile for them to get up to ‘speed’.

        1. JacobiteInTraining

          Man, I was just watching that movie saturday night and had exactly the same thought – just a stray amp here or there making *all* the difference!

          Of course in my case the downside is just whether I get to watch a movie on the laptop….not getting incinerated on reentry… :/

          1. Eureka Springs

            Friends of mine just over the ridge have been off grid for over thirty years. They finally bought a generator on this most cloudy of winters. One gallon of gas charges their batteries 4 individual, completely dark days for them. Said they have been watching movies like crazy.

  20. Carolinian

    The Reuters blackout story is two days out of date. Here’s MOA yesterday

    Electricity is again available in Caracas. Some parts of the country are still off the grid.

  21. Grant

    Went to Anza Borrego last week with my wife and kids. It was pretty amazing, beautiful. Been raining a lot in the San Diego area recently, at least more than usual.

    1. JohnnyGL


      Well, that campaign is dead for at least another cycle. Most campaigns just fizzle….Gillibrand’s is going down in a fire-ball of destruction.

      Perhaps she’s more like HRC than we thought? #Metoo claims take a back seat when the candidate’s career prospects deem it necessary.

  22. allan

    Sensible centrism on climate change:


    ICYMI: Climate champions @lisamurkowski & @JoeManchinWV on creating climate policies that “bring people together, and not drive them apart” including bolstering the US “innovation ecosystem”, in yesterday’s @washingtonpost

    The bridge to nowhere in the 21st century apparently runs through a removed mountaintop in West Virginia,
    and the phrase “XYZ champion” has hereby been officially rendered meaningless.

  23. George Phillies

    There are more amusing uses for the smart house, as witness these recent emails:

    We are the Elbonian Junior Hign School Student Chess and Comuter Hackers Club. We have taken your lunch box prisoner. To unlock your lunch box, send twenty-five cents in stamps or coins to: Glorious People’s Embassy of West Elbonia, [remainder of address redacted].

    Hello. I have hacked into your sleep and sex bed recording system. I have a complete and exact record of how often and when you carried on with your husband, the milkman, the two policemen and your three neighbors. Actually, your record of extramarital behavior was quite disappointing, but it’s a computer file; you don’t have to have done anything. Promptly send $1000 in bitcoin to [email redacted] or I will send these recordings to your husband. I will include the recordings of the two of you, which he will have no difficulty telling are authentic.

  24. John Beech


    I was once smug about not having a smart phone. Carry one now, wouldn’t be without it.

    The mistake is believing it’s just a phone.

    It’s so much more . . . but some are blind and cannot see.

    1. Pat

      Including those who do not recognize how much of your life you have just turned over to either Apple or Google, not to mention whatever corporations produced the apps you use in the phone being so much more.

      I’m not saying not to have one, just to recognize that choosing not to does not mean people do not know what a smart phone can do it might mean they know but are not willing to pay the undisclosed price for having one.

  25. Jon Cloke

    Can I suggest that in addition to your usual sub-headings, New Cold War, 2020, Syraqistan etc you need to add a new one – antisemitism fraud?

    I know this won’t be popular and you’ve begun to mention it already, but the same antisemitism slur being deployed against the progressive side of the UK Labour party is now being hauled into action against the Justice Democrats in the US, as you’ve started to point out.

    I’ve made the following points on a number of occasions:

    1) Those non-Jewish people loudest in their denunciations of so-called antisemitism are invariably on the extreme right of the political spectrum, are cited most in the right of the MSM spectrum (particularly Murdoch’s Mordor International) and invariably cite commentators from the right of the Jewish communities in the UK and US;

    2) The masses of progressive Jewish organizations that support the BDS movement, refute Zionism and denounce Apartheid in Israel are completely censored by the ‘antisemitism warriors’ in what can only be described as media-organized antisemitism;

    3) As the real hard-right in Europe and the US increasingly attack Jewish communities, burning synagogues, spraying swastikas on Jewish graves, this is either ignored by the MSM or deliberately conflated with the fake ‘left antisemitism’ meme which is just innuendo and repetition;

    4) For all the optimistic noises about the US Dems moving in a more progressive direction politically, whether this is true or not a gotterdammerung of hysterical antisemitism accusations is being prepared by the MSM which will grow in intensity towards the 2020 elections to derail any and all progressive policies chosen by the Dems, and Chuck and Nancy are not going to stand against it

    5) The fake antisemitism campaign is nothing to do with philo- or anti-semitism, it is only and ever a reaction against the growing success of the BDS movement and the loss of control over the narrative on Israel by UKAIPAC and USAIPAC.

    I could go on, but this will do for a start…


    1. Skk

      You did well there. Keep up the good fight, with analysis like that. Breaking that equation anti Israeli govt and their policies ==Anti semitic is an important activity

  26. a different chris

    What’s that saying, if you aim for the King you better kill him. But that is arguably true going the other way:

    Omar has apologized for similar things she said last month. This time, however, she doubled down on her comments, saying she has “not mischaracterized our relationship with Israel. I have questioned it, and that has been clear from my end.”

    They didn’t take her out. And now a lot of Jewish people are coming to her defense, well outside her base defenders. King AIPAC is wobbling. Keep poppin’ that corn.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      She is free to question our relationship with Israel, though it’s better to stay away from making a general statment about people’s allegiance to a foreign country.

      I think there was a recent example given of something Pelosi said about supporting Israel. And she was challenged on that subject. Here is a particular person with a specific act, which is different from Omar’s statement about ‘people’ and allegiance.

      It’s like having credible evidence on someone, getting a judge to OK eavedropping that person, versus, putting a whole group of people on the suspect list.

      I was not comfortable with that statement, as the word ‘allegiance’ has been mis-used before. And sure enough, loose accusation was made, about her disloyalty, without justification, from wearing a head covering.

  27. AnnaK

    I am a financial advisor working with a young couple with student loans in Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. I was doing some research for them and happened upon a very disheartening report from this web page:

    Please download the PSLF Report linked in that page. The stats are:

    2nd qtr 2018: number of applications 32,601, number approved 289
    3rd qtr 2018: number of applications 49669, number approved 423

    In both cases, less than 1%. Why isn’t there OUTRAGE about this? These students have been in the plan for 10 YEARS and have innocent high hopes that their remaining loans will be forgiven.


  28. integer

    Maduro says 2 perpetrators of power grid ‘sabotage’ captured RT

    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said two would-be saboteurs have been caught “in flagrante delicto” trying to take down the communications system of the Guri hydroelectric dam. Investigation into who sent them is underway.

    US withdrawing all remaining diplomatic personnel from Venezuela – State Department RT

    The US State Department announced it is withdrawing all remaining diplomatic personnel from Venezuela, citing the “deteriorating situation” and referring to the presence of US staff at the embassy as a “constraint on US policy.”

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