Links 3/18/19

Patient readers, we just this instant switched on the codes for a new advertising vendor. A very much unintended and unexpected side effect is that some of you may be seeing video and other pop-ups. We were very clear in that these types of ads were not allowed. We are working to make them go away as fast as we can, because we know how much you hate them (and we do too)! –lambert

Update by Yves: The site seems to load faster with the new ads (the ads were what would slow down loading times), so once we get the popups sorted out (which thank God are appearing only on the landing page and so aren’t interfering with reading articles), this should be a net plus to readers once we get past transition issues.

Stonehenge-like monuments were home to giant pig feasts. Now, we know who was on the guest list Science

What’s the cost (in fish) between 1.5 and 3 degrees of warming? Anthropocene

Home Of Strategic Command And Some Of The USAF’s Most Prized Aircraft Is Flooding (Updated) The Drive

Radical plan to artificially cool Earth’s climate could be safe, study finds Grist

Fire Breaks Out At a Houston-Area Petrochemicals Terminal Bloomberg. Second in a week. Video:

Leave the oil in the ground, and this doesn’t happen…

The Fed has exacerbated America’s new housing bubble FT

Churches are opening their doors to businesses in order to survive CBS

Some county treasurers have flouted Iowa gift law for years Bleeding Heartland

Corporations Are Co-Opting Right-To-Repair Wired


What will it take to push May’s Brexit deal over the line FT. The arithmetic: “To overturn her 149-vote deficit, she would have to win over at least 75 MPs. The most plausible route starts with the DUP’s 10 MPs. If they backed her deal, then some 50 of the nearly 70 Tory Eurosceptics who voted against it last week may change sides. Then Mrs May would need a further 15 Labour MPs, in addition to the five Labour and former Labour MPs who backed her last week.”

Northern Ireland’s farmers urge DUP to back Brexit deal FT

Around 40 Tory Rebels Told Theresa May: We’ll Vote For Your Brexit Deal If You Quit Buzzfeed

Labour likely to back public vote on UK PM’s deal, says Corbyn Reuters

Brexit by July 1 unless UK votes in EU election: Document Politico

The Irish Backstop: Nothing has changed? It has actually (PDF) Lord Bew and Lord Trimble, Policy Exchange. Bew is a Professor of Irish Politics. Trimble is a former First Minister of Northern Ireland and a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Well worth the clickthrough to read the entire PDF. Here is the final paragraph:

All of this suggests that a backstop that functions for more than a short period of time – and the DUP has indicated in Parliament that it could live with a short backstop – is likely to be an extremely unstable affair. If it does not negotiate a trade deal with the UK in the next year or so, the EU is also likely to become increasingly aware that the Protocol will give it nothing but grief as it gets sucked into the Northern Ireland quagmire. In this quagmire, the UK Government (which has the support of the majority of the population in Northern Ireland and which pays the subvention which subsidises the entire society), holds most of the cards.

Politico’s London Playbook calls their report “a ringing endorsement of the tweaks to the backstop agreed by Theresa May in Strasbourg this month.” Readers?

NORMAN LAMONT: History will never understand Tory MPs if they kill off Brexit Daily Mail

Brexit will mark the end of Britain’s role as a great power WaPo. Surely Suez did that?

Macron calls for ‘strong decisions’ after violent Yellow Jacket protests Politico

Among the Gilets Jaunes LRB


Months after saying US will withdraw, now 1,000 troops in Syria to stay Jerusalem Post but US denies report it is leaving up to 1,000 troops in Syria Channel News Asia. And what about the mercs?

Saudi Crown Prince’s Brutal Drive to Crush Dissent Began Before Khashoggi NYT

A Palestinian Farmer Finds Dead Lambs in His Well. He Knows Who’s to Blame Haaretz

Algeria After Bouteflika Jacobin

North Korea

Investing in resource-rich North Korea seems like a good idea — but businesses find there’s a catch Los Angeles Times

Picking Up the Pieces After Hanoi Richard Haass, Project Syndicate

New Cold War

How ordinary Crimeans helped Russia annex their home Open Democracy

How Russia Gets To Build Its Most Controversial Pipeline Riddle

Trump Transition

The Pentagon’s Bottomless Money Pit Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone. How are they gonna pay for it?

Government withholds 84-year-old woman’s social security, claims she owes thousands for college WISH-TV

737 Max

Flawed analysis, failed oversight: How Boeing, FAA certified the suspect 737 MAX flight control system Seattle Times

737 MAX disaster pushes Boeing into crisis mode

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

All the Crime, All the Time: How Citizen Works NYT

Global Mass Surveillance And How Facebook’s Private Army Is Militarizing Our Data Forbes

More Than a Data Dump Harpers. Why Julian Assange deserves First Amendment protection.

Democrats in Disarray

Establishment Democrats Are Undermining Medicare for All Truthout. As I kept saying with my midterms worksheets, the liberal Democrat leadership’s #1 priority is to prevent #MedicareForAll, and to that end they shifted the center of gravity of the electeds against it. Now we see this strategy born out in falling sponsorship numbers.

Even a Vacuous Mueller Report Won’t End ‘Russiagate’ Stephen Cohen, The Nation. “[T]he Democrats and their media are now operating on the Liberty Valance principle: When the facts are murky or nonexistent, ‘print the legend‘.”

Venture capitalist Steve Case spreading funding to Middle America with “Rise of the Rest” CBS

Class Warfare

What’s Wrong with Contemporary Capitalism? Angus Deaton, Project Syndicate

Bill McGlashan’s firing exposes hypocrisy in impact investing Felix Salmon, Axios

The College Admissions Ring Tells Us How Much Schoolwork Is Worth New York Magazine

How Parents Are Robbing Their Children of Adulthood NYT

‘Filth, mold, abuse’: report condemns state of California homeless shelters Guardian

Wall Street Has Been Unscathed by MeToo. Until Now. NYT

What the Hell Actually Happens to Money You Put in A Flexible Spending Account? Splinter

‘Super bloom’ shutdown: Lake Elsinore shuts access after crowds descend on poppy fields Los Angeles Times. “Desperate for social media attention, some visitors have trampled through the orange poppy fields, despite official signs warning against doing so.” Thanks, influencers!

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See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. Amfortas the hippie

      the slideshow indicates that i’ve seen numerous identical tanks creeping up my highway over the last several years.( I sort of lust after them,lol, thinking about rainwater storage.)
      no mention of where they’re getting the water they use that doesn’t accompany the hydrocarbons out of the ground, though.
      nor what’s in it that needs “treatment”.
      fouling the nest continues to be regarded as an “externality”.
      I grew up in George Mitchell Country, and remember the drilling pads all through the piney woods. Nothing grows there to this day but poverty grasses.(that is, unless a subdivision has been planted there)

      1. ChristopherJ

        Yes, you can’t make omelettes without breaking eggs…

        The mining/extractive industries are very unethical when it comes to cleaning up their messes. Usually not their nest they are fouling.

    2. pretzelattack

      repurposing toxic waste, cause capitalism is lifting us all. 737 problems, dangerous medical billing practices, i can’t keep up with all the scams and failures of this system on a daily basis.

    3. Oregoncharles

      I don’t quite understand why they don’t just reuse it for fracking. Even if that’s more difficult for some technical reason, why aren’t they REQUIRED to? Water consumption is one of the main objections to fracking, right after all the waste-disposal problems.

  1. Wukchumni

    ‘Super bloom’ shutdown: Lake Elsinore shuts access after crowds descend on poppy fields Los Angeles Times. “Desperate for social media attention, some visitors have trampled through the orange poppy fields, despite official signs warning against doing so.” Thanks, influencers!
    The golden poppy display is just getting going here, and is the best i’ve ever seen, particularly around the backside of Lake Kaweah, where 100 sq foot or larger swaths are giving off a 22k sheen in the distance, with the potential of the dozens of displays merging as one. There is no easy way to get to these fields of gold aside from taking a boat across the lake and then clambering uphill to where they’ve taken up residence, so they’ll bask in all their glory, unfettered from those that would do them harm.

    1. anon in so cal

      We decided to go to Anza Borrego California desert state park yesterday.

      We took 15 south to the 79. It took us over an hour to traverse a short stretch of the 15 south through the Elsinore area. The hills were spectacular with huge swathes of California poppies (the state flower). We could see swarms of people on the trails on the hillsides. The Elsinore area off ramps were backed up for over a mile. The over-passes were gridlocked. The freeway itself was gridlocked.

      When we got to AB, it was impossible to get near the visitor’s center. Park rangers and sheriffs were directing traffic and there was only very remote parking. We’ve been to the beautiful visitor’s center many, many times, including a month ago, so no big deal.

      We drove to Di Giorgio road. Everywhere, huge hoards of tourists. Lots of beautiful verbena, coreopsis, desert chicory, encilia, etc. The Anza Borrego state park is a spectacular place with wonderful desert habitat and vistas. Great for camping.

      40 million is the current California state population. Will probably be 80 million in less than a decade.

      New subdivisions and serial monotony everywhere. In one month, previously unspoiled open space areas have simply vanished.

      1. a different chris

        >The Elsinore area off ramps were backed up for over a mile. The over-passes were gridlocked. The freeway itself was gridlocked.

        We used to have trains for stuff like this, right? Sigh. There was some yearly to-do in the North East that escapes me, early in the 20th century, and the railroads just swept people up and deposited them where they all wanted to be. And then brought them back. I bet the per-person impact of the smoking steam engines still netted out to less than all those purportedly smogged cars.

    2. lee

      There is no easy way to get to these fields of gold aside from taking a boat across the lake and then clambering uphill to where they’ve taken up residence, so they’ll bask in all their glory, unfettered from those that would do them harm.

      What are you waiting for? Put on your hiking boots, row on over there and get us some pictures.

      Here in the SF bay area, the yards of my neighbors and I who have murdered our lawns and given up on weeding out the oxalis are now graced with beds of lovely green “shamrocks” and and bright yellow flowers. Oxalis is an excellent ground cover that keeps the Bermuda grass down. The oxalis will die off on its own as the season progresses and we only weed it to help an established plant, to encourage the wildflower seedlings, and for new plantings.

  2. Clive

    Re: ” The Irish Backstop: Nothing has changed? It has actually ”

    This is *very* important. Anyone following Brexit should read this piece.

    Briefly, I wish I had more time to go into this in the manner it deserves, anyone who has any sense whatsoever would run, not walk, away from getting embroiled in Northern Ireland. It is a geopolitical contradiction made into a province and inherently unstable. Most who have to deal with it extricate themselves from it as quickly as possible. It is the politics version of that game you might have played as a kid, the one where there’s a container full of straws pushed through holes in the sides and some marbles above these. The object of the game is to remove the next straw without it being the one which causes all the marbles to come tumbling out.

    I am assuming for a moment the EU27 aren’t stupid. But the EU’s Achilles Heel has always been a dismissal of Member State individual local politics and a consequential tendency to misread what are otherwise well-signalled pitfalls.

    But even if it isn’t aware of the quagmire that is NI, within a few months at the most of having to manage its newly-inserted role in the running of the Six Counties, it’ll be learning the hard way what a nightmare the place is. Brokering practical agreements between Arlene Foster and Mary Lou Mcdonald? In what fantasy is this occurring? But nevertheless, that is what the Commission will be faced with trying to do. From the rarefied convivial and generally congenial atmosphere of Brussels, it’ll be like being transported to the baying public spectacle of a professional wrestling match. The eurocroats would be signed off work with stress in a month.

    The EU27 will be wanting to extricate itself as quickly as possible from the whole hideous grizzly mess.

    The DUP must know this. Why, then all the kayfabe remonstration over the backstop?

    1. vlade

      Uh oh. ” From the rarefied convivial and generally congenial atmosphere of Brussel” Maybe in the Brussel’s diplo corps, Colonol can comment more.

      But not nearly so between the countries themselves. Not that I disagree with you that you have to be mad to get involved in NI politics, but the EU politics is not nice by any stretch of imagination (and I’d argue way worse than Westminster, as Wesminster’s “rivals” aren’t really internal and on comparable footing).

      1. Clive

        Whatever the Eurocrats think they’re used to dealing with, times that by about a factor of 10 on the awfulness scale. Then stick a stapler to your hand and press hard. That’s somewhat akin to the pain which they are letting themselves in for, but I have toned it down a little.

        There is nothing, nothing at all, in the EU like Northern Ireland. A devolved legislature which is supposed to be in session but is neither sitting nor disbanded handing off its regional powers back to London but London not willing nor perhaps able to re-formalise the Direct Rule which is in place in all but name that no-one can admit to being the situation because Dublin would have to agree to it or at least agree not to challenge it but can’t because it wants to retain the pretences that the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement isn’t really dead it’s alive but only about as much alive as the parrot in the Monty Python sketch which it needs to cajole Sinn Fein into rejoining but finds that difficult as FG is at daggers drawn with them in the Dail where is has to supposedly help facilitate as an Honest Broker Sinn Fein’s resumption of power sharing in the North while being in direct opposition to it in the South then on to all of this the E.U. will slap a three-hundred odd page clumsy obviously rushed cut ‘n paste job of a subset of the Acquis into a Withdrawal Agreement which most of the governing party in the U.K. says it loathes but might have no alternative to accept but will, if accepted, have to impose on NI on behalf of the EU via the sort-of Direct Rule which is in place that no-one can admit to being in place all the while simultaneously trying to get, for its part, the DUP back into devolved government where neither the DUP want to restore power sharing nor do a lot of the U.K. Conservative party but they can’t be seen to have said that either even though they think it with everyone (the DUP, the UUP, the U.K. AG and the Commission) itching, just itching to get all lawyered up to try to exploit the manifest loopholes in the Withdrawal Agreement but which case might be heard in either the CJEU, the UKSC or the ICJ as no-one would agree who has jurisdiction over what.

        Not a word of the above is a lie. And I’ve simplified and sanitised a lot of the issues in play. It is all significantly more complicated than I’ve alluded to there. And this ghastly, ghastly, intractable gloopy sinkhole is what the E.U. wants a piece of? It seriously needs its head examined. If there’s anything to rival this nest of vipers anywhere in the rest of the E.U., I really want to see it.

        1. pretzelattack

          your second paragraph’s second sentence is the best run on sentence i’ve seen. periods would only interfere with the flow.

          1. Clive

            Thankーyou :-)

            I did deliberately avoid full stops, because they would convey an air of order and delineation which the reality does not, unfortunately, posses.

            1. larry

              I agree with pretzelattack. I had to take a breath at the end, as I ws holding it while reading.

              Your description of the NI situation is mirrored to some extent in the corporate world according to the FT, How the modern office is killing our creativity, 15 March 2019. It is, however, about more than the title indicates. Some of the studies referred to are thought-provoking. Not mentioned by the FT author, however, is The Toxic University: Zombie Leadership, Academic Rock Stars and Neoliberal Ideology by John Smyth (2017). The picture Smyth paints is redolent of yours of the NI. OMG.

            2. ambrit

              Appropriate to ‘channel’ the literary spirit of Joyce when dealing with matters Erse. (Is Ersine a word? It bears consideration.)

          2. chuck roast

            It even beats R.H Tawney. My favorite run on guy of all time. Here’s a sample…

            It is still possible for the largest education authority in the country to propose to erect inequality of educational opportunity into a principle of public policy by solemnly suggesting, with much parade of philosophical arguments, that the interests of the community require that the children of well-to-do parents, who pay fees, should be admitted to public secondary schools on easier intellectual terms than the children of poor parents who can enter them only with free places, and that the children who are so contemptible as to be unable to afford secondary education without assistance in the form of maintenance allowances shall not be admitted unless they reach a higher intellectual standard still!

            1. Anonymous2

              ‘Passages, which to a boy are but rhetorical commonplaces, neither better nor worse than a hundred others which any clever writer might supply, which he gets by heart and thinks very fine, and imitates, as he thinks, successfully, in his own flowing versification, at length come home to him, when long years have passed, and he has had experience of life, and pierce him, as if he had never before known them, with their sad earnestness and vivid exactness.’


            2. The Rev Kev

              Imagine if he had been saying that sentence at the United Nations. And you were the translator that had to wait for the full sentence to finish before you could translate it before he was off onto his next sentence.

        2. David

          I think the point is that, complex and sometimes nasty as EU politics can be, this would resemble much more the EU’s ham-fisted interventions in crises in other parts of the world (the Balkans and Africa come to mind) where their happy-clappy liberal state ethos has come to grief. I can imagine the Council Conclusions now, mandating a working group to produce a complete solution to the NI problem in the next six months “in full consultation with governments and international organisations, civil society and religious groupings, and paying particular attention to the interests of women, children, the elderly, the sick and disabled, ethnic religious and sexual minorities and other vulnerable and marginalised groups.” You know, that sort of thing.

          1. Clive

            Yes, I couldn’t help but recall the EU’s ill-fated (and, to be fair, not subsequently repeated) attempted adventurism in Ukraine.

            I’m almost tempted to, if the Withdrawal Agreement is passed as currently written, drive over with a van load of Gay Cakes into NI under the “personal use” provision clause therein then sell them at a pop-up shop in the Garvaghy Road and tell Arlene Foster I want my human rights protected under E.U. Single Market rules.

            1. Neil Carey

              I dare say if you got a trading licence you could quite happily at least attempt to sell said cakes on the Garvaghy Road. I can’t imagine given the history of loyalist triumphalism in the area that Arlene is too welcome in the area, it is Nationalist.

        3. The Rev Kev

          Sometimes you meet a person and their behavior is really out of whack and you ask yourself how did they get that way. What happened in their lives that they turned out the way that they did. Then you meet their partner and a little light goes on and you say now I understand. From your description, after dealing with the UK the past coupla years with the Brexit negotiations, they are going to get an up close and personal look at the UK’s partner – Northern Ireland – and will say “Now we get it!’

          1. liam

            Ah yes. It’s Northern Ireland’s fault that the UK is out of whack. Who’d ‘ave thunk it?

            1. The Rev Kev

              Actually I blame the British for the whole thing when they divided up Ireland a hundred years ago which set up the conditions that we see today. I suppose that the original Boundary Commission was never going to have get it right. The idea was to have a representative form each side take part but Northern Ireland refused to take part so the British chose a Belfast newspaper editor to represent Northern Irish interests instead. That was a sign of things to come. Ideally the whole island should have been granted independence, even if divided, but that was never going to happen either. I sometimes wonder if Northern Ireland being granted independence after the troubles finished was ever an option either but I think that NI would have refused.

              1. Carla

                “Actually I blame the British for the whole thing when they divided up Ireland a hundred years ago which set up the conditions that we see today.”

                Yes, that seems to be common sense. Waiting for Clive to weigh in.

                1. ambrit

                  H—! Go all the way back to ‘Bad King John’ and the Anglo Norman incursions. The roots of this are truly ancient and dishonourable.

              2. liam

                You don’t actually have to go back that far. If they’d just treated both communities with respect the last 50 years would have been a whole lot less nasty, a whole lot less people would have died.

                Instead, in a reversion to form, we hear the current Northern Ireland Secretary refer to British soldiers who committed a massacre as just honest Joes doing their job, and at that, a mere one week before an inquiry is supposed to rule about whether they be prosecuted or not.

                Clive above refers to a nest of vipers. He should look at who runs his own country, the mess it’s gotten into, and just where it’s going. It’s very easy to look out at the mess your own culture has generated elsewhere with derision. Makes one feel good. Adds a certain supercilious curl to the tongue. He should shine a light closer to home.

                You know it’s funny. David Trimble, one of the “characters” in that ahem, opinion, once called the Republic “pathetic, sectarian, mono-ethnic and mono-cultural.” Now, it’s a confident, liberal, outward looking, cosmopolitan place, that for all it’s faults I’m proud to call home. It’s amazing both the direction and distance we’ve travelled. And there’s David Trimble’s champion, in a desperate lurch in the opposite direction, heading towards the magnificent isolation of Topsy Turvy land. Good luck with that.

                Here’s a thought experiment. What might have been had the Unionists been forced to reconcile with the people they live with, without their often violent sugar daddy keeping them sweet? Wouldn’t you like to know? I sure would, but then going backwards seems to be a curiously English thing. Well done to him. Fine words he wrote.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  If in your comment you were referring to the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre, I do not think that that was singling out the Irish. Remember the 1989 Hillsborough disaster? There was 96 dead and 776 injured and it took the authorities nearly thirty years to admit to what really happened and just this week the cop found guilty was still claiming he was innocent. Or the 1966 Aberfan disaster when 144 died – mostly children – and £150,000 was taken from the disaster fund that people from around the world had contributed to spend on what the company that cause the disaster was actually responsible for. In other words the UK government has form in this sort of behaviour. The UK elite has been treating the Irish in the same way that they have been treating their own people. It is not right but there it is.

                2. Clive

                  I’ve not seen such a fine example of a straw man since Worzel Gummidge. I hold the UK government primarily responsible for the problems in NI. Duplicity, double-dealing, lies and obfuscation are the only way it operates and has ever operated there.

                  The second place I point the finger of blame at is people who say they want to move on, to build something better and brighter, to do a bit of forgiving and forgetting. But then proceed to take off their new rose-tinted spectacles, put on their ones with the green-orange lenses and have a good old wallow in the past.

          1. a different chris

            That was awesome. Also David’s “working group” construction had me under my desk.

          1. Clive

            Yes, Catalonia comes to closest. But at least neither Spain nor Catalonia want to leave the E.U. (although I think the E.U. would like Catalonia to leave, or deem it to have left in the event of a secession from Spain). Luckily, the former is not going to happen and as for the latter, it all seems to have gone quiet. Or it’s not getting any MSM coverage in the English language press (which isn’t necessarily the same thing at all, I appreciate).

            1. Ignacio

              Brexit eats everything! Here, Catalonia it is an everyday issue. Lately the trial against the organizers of the illegal referendum and all the demonstrations and noises around it. Also, although nobody has noticed this, Spain is having general elections in one month. Migth this be problematic in case the EU is asked for an extension? I don’t know.

        4. vlade

          I wrote that I agree that only a mad man would voluntarily take on NI politics.

          But if you want some fun, I’d suggest heading to Balkans. Try Croat-Slovenian border dispute for one of the more “mature” approach ones.

        5. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

          The allusion to the falling marbles game (“Kerplunk”) is very apposite.

          The support for the marbles is a rat’s nest full of holes and so is any political setup*. Remove one of the supports at your peril.

          It seems to me that there are two types of politician: those who don’t believe the “marbles” are effected by gravity and support can be removed willy-nilly, ignoring tipping points and human nature. When in business they are the “don’t bother me with the details” type. The other rarer beast is the leader who games the game of political Kerplunk and puts in more support at every level – or at the very least realizes that this is what is required.

          As the technology races on and people are more connected by trade, telecommunications, and ease of travel, the game becomes only more complicated.

          Pip pip!

          *nb Anachronisms rule (especially visible in Ireland)!

    2. David

      I pointed up the VCLT Art 62 last week, in the hope that among NC’s numerous expert commentariat there would be some international lawyers who could help us. No reply as yet.
      So here we have the assertion that “the UK Government is now correct in asserting the right, in extremis, to appeal to international law under the Vienna Convention” to withdraw from the backstop. Now you could argue that “in extremis” means what it says, ie that it’s always possible to imagine circumstances which are so dire and terrible that this or that unlikely provision actually comes into effect. But that’s not what’s being argued here. rather, the authors take as examples “discontent” arising from Unionist cattle being tested in the Republic, and higher prices in Ulster supermarkets. I’m sure these are both serious political issues, but the question is not only whether they and similar issues could be “socially destabilising”, in the formulation of the Attorney General, but whether the AG is right to suggest that this social destabilisation amounts to a “fundamental change of circumstances which has occurred with regard to those existing at the time of the conclusion of a treaty, and which was not foreseen by the parties.” The second test on the face of it can’t apply, precisely because this change of circumstances is foreseen by the AG. But then I’m not a lawyer. On the other hand, not only am I sure Clive is quite right about the dangers of the EU getting involved in N Ireland, but I really wonder how, between a desperate government, a DUP which seems to be having second thoughts, and an EU that hasn’t focused on the problem particularly, how this is all going to play out in the next few days and weeks.

      1. Tom Doak

        Everything is “socially destabilising” in Northern Ireland, because it’s unstable to begin with.

      2. Yves Smith

        I’ve been reading BrexitCentral (you need a shower afterwards, but important for monitoring the temperature of the ERG) and the reports are that their pretentiously-named Star Chamber (which really does have some legal heavyweights among its members) think the Vienna business is all wet. I’ve admittedly only read for the drift of the gist.

        Possible defections by the likes of David Davis on the “this is the only Brexit we might get, better to take it than nothing” seem to be a bigger risk to the Ultras than the debate over the Vienna Convention.

        1. David

          I read the “Star Chamber” (have they no knowledge of history?) report as well, and I thought it was convincing. But the issue is less what you or I think than whether this is going to be fed into the political process and discussed by people who have no idea of the issues, but see political advantage in presenting one interpretation or other. I hope not. But if May’s government, in desperation, gives Unionists the idea that it can dismantle this backstop thing any time it feels like it, and the 27 don’t see it that way, well…..

    3. Donn

      You’re right of course. Unfortunately, as the Republic is an EU member state, it may now simply be inevitable that the EU becomes increasingly and unhappily embroiled in the Northern Irish quagmire. Dan O’Brien is Ireland’s foremost economist? News to me. Can’t help feeling, too, that the authors’ concluding paragraph overstates the strength of London’s position in the province.

      For anyone interested, there’s a vigorous yet sympathetic interrogation of Bew’s work as a historian in a review of The Politics of Enmity.

      Finally, not immediately relevant to today’s piece, but interesting observation all the same in the linked article: “But if the 1998 agreement were to fail the constitutional and treaty default position is substantively the same as the 1985 agreement – which is no accident and helps concentrate both liberal and illiberal unionist minds on making the present arrangements work for fear that joint authority might otherwise emerge.”

    4. PlutoniumKun

      The article is not correct, it is written in extremely bad faith. There are lots of ‘tells’ in it, the most obvious being paragraphs like this: (clue, Ulster is not Northern Ireland)

      Second, will Ulster shoppers accept higher prices in supermarkets if the checks requested by the EU between Northern Ireland and the UK in the new proposed third country trading relationship do not work smoothly and there is a delay to ‘just in time deliveries’?

      Plus, that an article quotes Dan O’Brien as ‘evidence’ of anything (for non-Irish readers – he is a ‘public’ economist who makes Tyler Cowen look like a pillar of academic rigorousness) is ridiculous. And the article lacks any reference to genuine experts in international law.

      For reference, the lead writer, Paul Bew, is a well respected historian, but one who has never been known to stray from his mainstream Unionist, Tory views. David Trimble is a small time nasty little politician who was railroaded into agreeing to the GFA and was rewarded with ermine (as was Bew). Neither are authorities on international law and both are utterly reliable stenographers for whatever line the Tory mainstream wants.

      The raising of Article 62 and ‘exceptional circumstances’ is laughable. Philippe Sands, who is an international law expert deals with this in the Guardian. Even the collapse of the Iron Curtain was not seen as ‘exceptional circumstances’ to overcome treaty obligations. This is a gigantic red herring which was introduced by Cox, who has been shown to be little more than a bar room blusterer in the past few weeks.

      I confess not to understand much of the argument they are trying to make, except to somehow argue that the backstop is an issue that can be overcome. But it must be emphasised that the backstop came about because of the refusal of London to address other, much more sensible options, such as the Irish Sea border. Brexit is a disaster for Northern Ireland and any approach to it is, to put it mildly, sub-optimal. But you certainly won’t find any sensible solutions coming from the likes of Bew or Trimble.

      1. Mirdif

        It’s from Policy Exchange so no surprise it would come up with the usual “they need us more than we need them nonsense”. After all, these were the fools who put out the nonsense about the UK thriving under a “Clean Brexit” shortly before Mrs. May announced her red lines.

      2. liam

        I read it as dangerous bluster. The notion that creating additional instability would give the UK and the DUP an out is a very dangerous idea regarding the north.

        Thanks for the link to the Phillippe Sands article.

      3. ChrisPacific

        Yes, it sounded – sort of – convincing to me as a layman, but the tell was the arguments in favor of magic technology fairies at the border (“senior international customs experts” indeed). If it’s so obvious and clear-cut, then why can’t we hear what the systems are? Assume money and implementation is no object, describe exactly the systems you would ideally want in place, then consider all the various customs scenarios that might need to be handled and explain how your systems would deal with each of them. It’s not rocket science – it’s almost the first thing you do in this kind of implementation. Having it ready for review would improve the ERG position immeasurably, and they’ve had more than 2 years to do it. Why hasn’t it been done yet? And why haven’t we seen an example of an existing world border where systems like this are used in practice? As Sabine Weyand says, the obvious answer is because no such systems exist. Given the flip manner in which the viability of such solutions was asserted (without evidence) that is enough to make me suspicious of the rest of it.

    5. PlutoniumKun

      am assuming for a moment the EU27 aren’t stupid. But the EU’s Achilles Heel has always been a dismissal of Member State individual local politics and a consequential tendency to misread what are otherwise well-signalled pitfalls.

      But even if it isn’t aware of the quagmire that is NI, within a few months at the most of having to manage its newly-inserted role in the running of the Six Counties, it’ll be learning the hard way what a nightmare the place is. Brokering practical agreements between Arlene Foster and Mary Lou Mcdonald? In what fantasy is this occurring? But nevertheless, that is what the Commission will be faced with trying to do. From the rarefied convivial and generally congenial atmosphere of Brussels, it’ll be like being transported to the baying public spectacle of a professional wrestling match. The eurocroats would be signed off work with stress in a month.

      I think you’ll find the EU is extremely aware of the quagmire of NI politics, because the Irish government has made it very clear to them what’s involved. In fact, for over a year now the Irish foreign office team has been giving private tours to senior politicians and officials from each and every EU27 country of the border region. As a civil servant I know has said, the foreign minister of Latvia is now better briefed on NI politics than any Tory, probably including the NI Secretary of State. They know its a quagmire, but they also know that there is no avoiding the quagmire with Brexit. They never wanted the backstop, but it was the only alternative there was when May rejected the Irish Sea border option (which would in fact have dragged the EU even more into NI politics, not least because it would have probably meant NI Euro parliamentarians.

      I think you also greatly underestimate the fear and horror of NI people of a return to the violence. The GFA might be a horrible hodgepodge of an agreement, but it has undeniably worked. For any regular visitor, they will know NI is a completely different place than it was 20 years ago. Everyone over the age of 30 knows what it used to be like, nobody wants to go back to how it was (and this includes the paramilitaries, many of whom have done very well out of the agreement). This is precisely why the DUP are rapidly back-pedalling as they are realising their supporters and not following them as they wished.

      1. Ignacio

        As I see it, and I am sensible to this matters cos my country has suffered terrorism by independentist groups, the GFA, with all the caveats it migth have, is one of the most positive agreements recently achieved in Europe and must be defended until it is replaced by something that is better.

        The same will that led to the GFA should prevail now to provide a good solution in brexit.

    6. Avidremainer

      ” The UK government….holds most of the cards”. Where have we heard that before? At no point has the UK government held anything other than a five high to a straight flush on any of the points at issue.
      The Unionist leadership are in denial. So to are many Conservative and Labour MPs. Their version of the Union is in terminal decline.
      Lest we forget, the DUP does not reflect the majority view in the six counties on any of their policies least of all the EU. Currently the population in Ulster is evenly split between the Catholics and Protestants. There will be a majority of Catholic voters in Ulster who will soon vote to be in the 21st century as opposed to the 16th century in which they now live.
      The GFA ended the protestant ascendancy and paved the way for a united Ireland. One of the little remarked outcomes of Brexit is that for the first time ever Great Britain will be surrounded by a foreign power. If the Scots go their own way then the problem gets worse. England and Wales becomes completely surrounded, a state of affairs never encountered before.
      I think it was Palmerston who said ” Countries do not have friends they only have interests “. If Brexit happens there will be no ” special relationship ” with the EU. When their interests coincide with ours all well and good, when not -hard luck. We only have to look at the Anglo-American relations over the last century to see what happens when our interests run counter to those of a great power.
      The ” grizzly mess ” is a British construct and leaving the EU will hasten the clearing up of the mess.

      1. larry

        PK, Clive, CS, Vlade, et al., I think you might like to have a look at this: The Full Brexit’s founding Statement and its list of founders and supporters. Most of them appear to be academics. Mitchell, Fazi, and Lapavitsas are supporters, as you might expect. Here is the url of the organization’s founding statement and list of associates: There seem to be quite a lot of founders and supporters. It says it has no party line and that, therefore, each author is independent, though contributors must agree with the founding statement. Lawyers for Britain, in a recent email, argue that Brexit will be just fine. Here is the link: They are currently on tour around the country. It is my understanding that they will soon be in Durham. The lawyers may be right about May’s deal and they may be right that Brexit will be fine, except that the latter would be true only if Brexit were not being ‘managed’ by incompetents.

        1. Anonymous2

          It depends rather what you mean by ‘fine’. The world will not end. The UK (or bits of it) will continue to exist. As of now Brexit means the UK is about £50bn a year poorer as a result of the Brexit vote – money which could have gone on schools and hospitals (but probably would not have done). There are people who says its fine for the UK to be poorer if it means it has more autonomy. Put it the other way round, it is a bit like being offered the chance to become richer by cooperating with others and saying ‘no’. I am very sure most people did not understand this back in 2016.

          1. larry

            I never said that the world would end. The money you are talking about is not being distributed in a zero sum game, as it were. Were the present government other than neoliberal, any losses brought about by Brexit could be replaced by the government. But the present incompetents have given no indications that they intend to do anything like that.

            1. vlade

              A lot of the losses will be in export, which can’t be really replaced by the govt as the UK can’t run an autarky (in food nor energy)

    7. Joe Well

      What Northern Ireland badly needs is a good dose of US identity politics. By which I mean, a Twitter influencer mob comes and tells them they’re all white as mayonnaise and they’re all canceled. /s.

      Sorry, I can’t resist. The spectacle of old white people in an identitarian snit is just amazing view from the American left.

    1. Shonde

      Right to repair is also a climate change issue especially the need to provide replacement parts.

      Why are our politicians awaiting some massive magic bullet legislation to address climate change when there are so many small things that can stop the increase in our carbon footprint which will make it more difficult to address the increased CO2 level when and if a plan is ever put in place?

      1. Fraibert

        I suspect one reason (beyond the usual quasi-corruption of politicians) is that the right to repair simply doesn’t affect them. State legislators usually hold a regular job of some kind and federal legislators are in the top 10% of income earners from their official salary alone. Hence, if it breaks, it either gets taken to the official repair places (e.g., Apple stores) or tossed and replaced because the resources are there.

        The only devices that seem to get consistently repaired are computers and cell phones. Computers are largely designed to be modular (one of the brilliant and under recognized influences of the IBM PC) and smart phones are simply too expensive to justify replacement without the carrier subsidies (few people I wager pay $800 retail for a new iPhone).

        In many cases too it isn’t that economical to repair. I had my current 4+ year old smart phone repaired last year–the power button and volume rocker got replaced–at a cost of $70 at a local small business. I could probably have gotten a new mid tier phone with carrier discount (and better specs than this former HTC flagship) for $100.

        And let me say, Apple laptops are a bear to fix–I fully disassembled an IBM ThinkPad T43 once to replace the motherboard (makes sense) but on a mid-2012 MacBook Pro had to do the pretty much the same for…a keyboard.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        Good question! I believe you are referring to the omnibus legislation implicit in the Green New Deal [GND] when you refer to “some massive magic bullet legislation to address climate change”. I worry it’s easy to posture over big legislation because it’s so easy to hide all sorts of devils and demons in them, and if they’re long enough and sufficiently complex no one can be sure what they really mean.

  3. Henry Moon Pie

    Here’s an excerpt from a sobering paper on the gravity of our ecological situation:

    Some analysts emphasise the unpredictable and catastrophic nature of this
    collapse, so that it will not be possible to plan a way to transition at either
    collective or small-scale levels to a new way of life that we might imagine as
    tolerable, let alone beautiful. Then others go further still and argue that the
    data can be interpreted as indicating climate change is now in a runaway
    pattern, with inevitable methane release from the seafloor leading to a
    rapid collapse of societies that will trigger multiple meltdowns of some of
    the world’s 400 nuclear power-stations, leading to the extinction of the
    human race (McPherson, 2016). This assessment that we face near-term
    human extinction can draw on the conclusions by geologists that the last
    mass extinction of life on earth, where 95% of species disappeared, was
    due to methane-induced rapid warming of the atmosphere (Lee, 2014;
    Brand et al, 2016).

    The author says it’s time for “deep adaptation” which includes Resilience, Relinquishment and Restoration:

    In pursuit of a conceptual map of “deep adaptation,” we can conceive of
    resilience of human societies as the capacity to adapt to changing
    circumstances so as to survive with valued norms and behaviours. Given
    that analysts are concluding that a social collapse is inevitable, the question
    becomes: What are the valued norms and behaviours that human societies
    will wish to maintain as they seek to survive? That highlights how deep
    adaptation will involve more than “resilience.” It brings us to a second area
    of this agenda, which I have named “relinquishment.” It involves people and
    communities letting go of certain assets, behaviours and beliefs where
    retaining them could make matters worse. Examples include withdrawing
    from coastlines, shutting down vulnerable industrial facilities, or giving up
    expectations for certain types of consumption. The third area can be called
    “restoration.” It involves people and communities rediscovering attitudes
    and approaches to life and organisation that our hydrocarbon-fuelled
    civilisation eroded. Examples include re-wilding landscapes, so they provide
    more ecological benefits and require less management, changing diets back
    to match the seasons, rediscovering non-electronically powered forms of
    play, and increased community-level productivity and support.

    The whole article is worth a read for its discussion of the psychological impacts not only on us schlubs but also on climate researchers and environmental activists. Also interesting is the history of the resilience concept within the environmental community.

    1. a different chris

      >changing diets back to match the seasons

      I have really worked hard on this. It now literally disgusts me – which is an odd reaction to something so luscious – to see for example raspberries that I can grow in my back yard on sale from Chile in winter.

      Beyond the ecological ridiculousness, how does this “instant gratification” even work? It’s an oxymoron to me, I get gratified when some work or at least patience pays off. So I plant berries and wait for them to fruit. If I just allow myself to have them every day for a few bucks, I don’t think there would be any gratification for me at all.

      1. marieann

        I also have been working on eating seasonally.
        One of the early crops in my area is Asparagus, which I love. I eat it every day while I can and enjoy it very much. When it’s done I don’t eat it again. I find that I really enjoy the taste of veggies eaten that way much more than if I ate them all year.

        Another one is sweet corn…I so look forward to sweet corn season.

        I also grow raspberries…..and I pig out on them when they ripen

        1. Wukchumni

          There’s Himalayan blackberries all over the place around these parts July-Aug. You can glean for about a mile or so on a section of Mineral King Road and make off with $12 worth @ full retail. Your fingers & thumb will look as if you had voted in an Iraqi election, as in beet purple.

      2. Jen

        Once I tasted fresh strawberries from a local farm, there was no gratification (instant or otherwise) from eating the bland variety that shows up in the supermarket. They look like jewels and the flavor is incredible. I’ll eat the first quart of the season driving home from the farm stand, and gorge myself for the short time they’re in season. There’s no substitute!

    2. rd

      Sea level rise is a problem for humans living along the coast. However, we had 400 feet of sea level rise about 20,000 years ago and it did not appear to create an ecological crisis. We also had massive temperature shifts with huge areas that became ice covered and then melted over the past million years, and the planet seems to have adapted well to that (we evolved during that period).

      The two big ones that concern me with climate change are the release of the methane you discuss and decreasing alkalinity in the oceans that can massively disrupt much of the sea life. Those are the ones where you can’t just recover by doing some migration.

      We are also making our planet much more susceptible to ecological collapse by the massive devegetation of the continents and pollution of the estuary, coastal regions, and coral reefs with farmland runoff, urban sewage, and plastic trash. This will impact the oceans’ ability to repair themselves.

      1. Wukchumni

        It could boil down to methane pushing humans higher, and wouldn’t that be interesting, in that it’s difficult to grow food in the mountains, and you can’t squeeze that many people in, if say the minimum safe zone was 6,000 feet.

    3. Brooklin Bridge

      Part of the bleakness of this paper comes from the fact (as the author point out) that while we could indeed do a lot to mitigate climate change, we have a built in response-lag which results in a simple fact: we won’t, at least not in time to avoid his thesis of adaptation. Without assigning blame or criticism, it’s simply not in our nature as humans in swarm (billions of us highly focused individually as well as collectively – our religion, our economies, our politics, our social norms – on getting what we can while we can) to respond as quickly and as collaboratively as circumstances require for mitigation.

      There seems ample support for that assertion.

    4. freedomny

      Recently finished Dahr Jamail’s book The End of Ice. It’s is beautifully written – meticulously researched as his background as an investigative journalist with the reflective soul searching quality of a memoir. Emotionally it is a “hard” read though – I took many “breaks”….

    5. Sanxi

      Henry Moon Pie – Thank you for that. I am without hope, therefore I see what is necessary, say what is necessary, do what is necessary. If enough act this way we continue, if not we die.

  4. Livius Drusus

    On the subject of parenting, education and the college admissions scandal, this is the inevitable outcome of a system that has destroyed economic life for most ordinary people. The destruction worked its way up from the poor and working class and is now impacting people higher up the income/status ladder.

    There seemed to be much less pressure on students and parents when there were more good jobs available for people with only a high school education. If you weren’t a superstar student in the period from the 1950s-1970s it was not necessarily an economic death sentence since you could find a good job working in manufacturing or some other “old economy” sector. There was also less credentialism and companies were more willing to train people even if they didn’t have all of the right degrees.

    Now you have fewer and fewer good jobs as they have either been outsourced, automated away or turned into bad jobs via union busting such as in the meatpacking sector. Meatpacking used to be a good, middle-class job but now it is one of the worst in terms of pay and working conditions. Many of the workers in meatpacking today are undocumented immigrants working under barbaric conditions. The few good jobs left require a four-year degree or more. Some of the trades are still viable career options but there is only so much demand for electricians, plumbers, etc.

    Under these conditions it makes sense for parents and students to engage in ruthless competition for the few remaining good jobs left. This is why I understand why parents engage in helicopter parenting and why some people will even go to extreme lengths to try to game the system or engage in outright cheating. People feel like their lives are at stake and considering the terrible consequences of being poor in America they are right to think that way.

    We need to come to the realization that only so many people can join the ranks of the professional-managerial class (PMC) and that trying to make everyone go to college is not the answer to our economic woes. Even if we made college admissions more meritocratic it would still do nothing to help the majority of Americans who do not have a 4-year degree and work in non-PMC jobs.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      I’ve tried hard not to infect the boys with my pessimism, re: civilisation.
      I’ve couched my warnings as pragmatic hedges for an uncertain world: pursue a history degree(or whatever-“follow your bliss”, and all), but also learn as many valuable, practical skills as possible.
      now my eldest(17) has decided to jettison the first part, as it were. wants to go to trade school…for what, exactly, is yet to be determined.
      I’m all for this, even as i am saddened that the Humanities, etc are more and more regarded as superfluous and silly.(he’s been into history and archaeology since he was tiny)
      instead of a star trek future of universal prosperity,with an attendant ability(and desire) to follow one’s dreams, I foresee further disruption…both from whiz kids and from Mother…and a necessary focus on more prosaic ends among the unfortunate many.
      my goal since they were born(same as before, just more directed and urgent) has been to establish a stable redoubt out here to which they could return.
      long way to go still, but we’re debt free, at least.

      1. notabanker

        I can relate. I just had the trade school discussion with my youngest. He wants no part of it, but he has thought it through and is pursuing something that will be difficult for him, but useful to the world and he has some natural talents in it. The oldest one can think for himself and has had enough exposure to multiple cultures to call game on the propagandists. He will need to learn some lessons for sure, but didn’t we all? There are fine lines between challenging conversation and Dad lectures. I catch myself crossing them, but that’s better than no conversation at all. The most satisfying ones are when they come back later and say you were right or you were wrong. The object isn’t to win, but to make it stick.

        I’ve had a goal to release them into the wild debt free, and so far so good, but I’m not quite out of the woods yet.

        1. JohnnyGL

          “I’ve had a goal to release them into the wild debt free”

          21st century revised American dream right there!

        2. Carla

          @notabanker & Amfortas– you sound like the kind of dads lots of us wish we had had, and every kid actually deserves. Good on you.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        I tried to talk my son into a trade like HVAC. To succeed in that trade would require knowledge of electrical work, plumbing, and ideally a broad and deep understanding of the workings of heat. With some further study it would make a good basis for inventing ways to use and re-purpose some of the salvage that will be around after the ‘Jackpot’. It will be important to collect and preserve as many of the existing motors and generators as possible, along with a variety of repair parts and metals.

      3. wilroncanada

        An archaeology career truly is in ruins (sorry, Amfortas,just had to do that). My daughters graduated from high school in 92, 94 and 96, the first two here on the west coast, and the third on the east coast. After seeing with our first how little actual information was available from the ‘counselor’–fortunately she pre-selected a career by grade 10. After that, we and other parents in the grad class formed our own committee to research not only what opportunities were available across Canada, but also where scholarships or bursaries might be available. We thought our second might choose an art school rather than university, which was fine with us, but she ended up with two arts degrees and is a journalist. Our youngest went the science route to become a nutritionist/dietician.
        One of their teachers on the west coast had been keeping track of what each of the grad class students claimed was their goal, what their parents’ goals were, and what they actually did. 90% of parents saw their kid going on immediately to university. 75% of the students said their goal was to go on to university. The actual number going on directly to university? –45%.
        Of course, some will have gone back later, but if wishes were horses…..

      4. Joe Well

        What you could tell your children is what I wish I’d known: that the world of tenured professorships is almost certainly closed to you today, along with 99% of the population. However, there are opportunities to pursue your love outside that corrupt system, like by writing a popular history book (very few are written by professional historians, something I did not know when I was in college), or trying somehow to get work in a foundation, or the National Park Service, or another branch of the federal government.

    2. Michael Fiorillo

      Having worked for a time in a unionized slaughterhouse (and in the relative oasis of the maintenance department, not the kill floor or fabrication) I can assure you that it’s a mistake to think of those as ever having been “good” jobs. The stench alone could knock you back on your heels…

      You could fill libraries with the books and studies produced during the “Golden Age” of post-WWII capitalism, which sought to understand and ameliorate the physical and psychic tolls of factory work; though not yet economically precarious, those jobs were widely understood to often crush the body and soul.

      In my experience, whatever “good” was to be found in those jobs was centered on the camaraderie and bonds you developed with your fellow workers, rarely in the jobs themselves.

      What made those jobs “tolerable” were the union wages and benefits.

      It’s the same with most factory work (with exceptions for the skilled trades), which tends to be noisy, dirty, dusty, tedious, often toxic and cumulatively quite hard on the body.

      It was the unions that made those jobs “good,” and little else.

      1. JBird4049

        Now we have jobs that crush body and soul while giving hunger and want. They do make the companies’ management and investors plenty of profit. So it’s all good.

        I am just wondering here, but I think much of that factory work would always “be noisy, dirty, dusty, tedious, often toxic and cumulatively quite hard on the body.” Much of that is from not paying much attention to fixing the problems. Still all those things but much less horrible if work was done to ameliorate.

        It it like how those “dark, Satanic mills” were made much less satanic once the efforts were made. But the owners had to be forced to do so over generations because the Holy Profits would decrease by making the slightest efforts.

        I think a lot of the body crushing could be alleviated easily. Just look at the assembly lines of car manufacturers. At least at some of the union ones they found that mixing up the work by shifting workers from position to position and doing simple things like adding a chair to a station made the jobs less boring and damaging. Still not what I would want to do but still an improvement.

        Since the unions have been busted and such as OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) defunded by Congress, we have been going backwards.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        Upton Sinclair didn’t write “The Jungle” to point out the health violations and unsanitary practices in the American meat packing industry.

    3. Jim A.

      Meatpacking used to be a good, middle-class job but now it is one of the worst in terms of pay and working conditions. Many of the workers in meatpacking today are undocumented immigrants working under barbaric conditions.

      I would argue that it is an industry that has ALWAYS had terrible working conditions and a pretty high injury rate. Lots of repetitive motion injuries, and a high accident rate. The work itself was often only a little bit easier than that protrayed in The Jungle. Like coal mining, though with a good union, it at least paid pretty well, even if it took a serious toll on the bodies of the workers.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Flawed analysis, failed oversight: How Boeing, FAA certified the suspect 737 MAX flight control system”

    It is only a matter of time until the first books come out about this catasrophic failure of the 737 Max which will nail Boeing and the FAA’s hide to the barn door. Perhaps they could get Ralph Nader to contribute to one of these books. I can see the title now-

    “The 737 Max – Unsafe At Any Altitude”.

    1. Carolinian

      Nader’s grandniece is said to have died in the Ethiopian crash.

      And according to the Seattle story budget cuts are one excuse the FAA has used for letting companies certify parts of their own airplanes. So perhaps Congress can be included in some future 737 hall of shame.

      But above all else Boeing management seems to be the culprit.

      1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

        According to this video I chanced on last night it is definitely the managements fault with assistance from the US DOJ. The film report was made by SBS Dateline Australia in 2011 & for the most part tells the story of two female investigators who became whistleblowers while working for Boeing, who were later relieved of their duties.

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          I should have perhaps pointed out that the above film refers to structural deficiencies. that led to I believe planes breaking into 3 parts.

    2. Craig H.

      Great article from the Seattle Times Aerospace reporter.

      The people who spoke to The Seattle Times and shared details of the safety analysis all spoke on condition of anonymity to protect their jobs at the FAA and other aviation organizations.

      As if the NSA doesn’t know exactly the names of the Boeing and FAA folks who are talking to the Seattle Times and what they have said or written. There are folks whose careers will get trashed in the next few months, but if any of them are in corner offices I will open an account on facebook and post a selfie with my naked flabby butt.

    3. Sam Adams

      11 days before the Ethiopian crash Boeing was asked about problems with this plane, shortly thereafter former Trump U.N. ambassador and former anti union SC governor (Boeing opened its manufacturing plant underher watch) Niki Haley was appointed to the Boeing Booard of Directors. Coincidence?

    4. VietnamVet

      Last century the 737 MAX would have suffered the state fate as the de Havilland Comet and Lockheed Electra. Forbes points out the Airbus order line is full with openings only in the mid-2020s and it is almost impossible for Airbus to increase the rate of production. The Max has significantly more efficient engines than earlier versions. With resource limitations and climate change, airlines need the Max. China and Russia are building competitor single aisle planes. This will help these counties but won’t have impact until the 2030s elsewhere. Boeing has a chance to survive as long as the duopoly holds and the company and FAA address the safety issue competently. But, both and the Trump Administration have been totally incompetent so far (relying on new-generation cost cutting, omissions and propaganda rather than training and fixing the airplane). If orders are cancelled and if litigation is expensive, in the twilight of commercial aviation, the manufacture of major passenger airplanes could become a European monopoly.

  6. Wukchumni

    By Sunday morning, one-third of the base was underwater, she said. About 60 structures have been damaged, most on the south end of the base. No one, though, has been injured.

    Of the base’s 200 buildings, 30 are completely inundated with as much as 8 feet of water, including the 55th Wing headquarters building, the E-4B Nightwatch hangar and the Bennie Davis Maintenance Facility.

    And to think that talk of climate change wasn’t verboten in the MIC as it is @ the highest levels of civilian government, in theory they had plans in place in case of the extremes we’re now seeing happening en masse, and we observe it in action, as in get all flyables in the air en route to someplace. Everything else will just have to drip-dry.

  7. russell1200

    “The College Admissions Ring Tells Us How Much Schoolwork Is Worth”

    I thought was interesting. But I have seen a number of places where that where you go to school only seems to matter in a limited number of the professions: Doctors and Lawyers in particular.

    For almost everything else, its a combination of what you do at school, and who you (or your parents) know that seems to matter the most.

    However, the value signaling to the parent of having a child at a prestigious school, probably needs to be factored into some of that value as well.

    1. a different chris

      That’s the old “in 3 years it doesn’t matter” saw. Actually, it’s admittedly not an old saw, it’s true for 98% of us.

      The problem is that there is a different conveyor belt for the non-science/eng Ivies.* We normies don’t even hear about those jobs. White-shoe I guess they are called law firms, etc. You don’t go to State U, spend 3 years working for that “we get money for you” law firm on the cheap TV channels, and then have the same opportunity to get hired onto to Smug, Aloof, and Expensive as the kid from Yale. You just don’t

      *I want to spell that “Ivys” but spell-checker hates it.

      1. a different chris

        Hmmm, reading your post again I think we might be on the same page. I guess my problem is with your “but”, Dr’s and Lawyers are good jobs that it would be nice if they were spread a lot more evenly. And there are other groups (accounting) that you can’t entirely suck at – unlike doctoring or lawyering – but if you can add and subtract then the Ivy degree leads you to the top firms, the door is shut for the rest.

    2. Carolinian

      The NY Mag article suggests that some of this is because we live in a labor surplus country where employers can demand often meaningless credentials whether needed or not. Had a talk the other day with an ex employee of our local library system who said that all permanent jobs there, even if largely clerical, require a library science masters degree. It does seem somewhat off tilt that in an era where information is so easily and promiscuously available–a golden age for autodidacts–that formal instruction is at such a premium. In the US at least, a country that was once all about pragmatism is increasingly all about status.

      1. Darthbobber

        Here in Philly part of the point of that requirement for many non-librarian jobs at the Free Library is to provide a leg up for those existing librarians whose librarian jobs will be vanishing before their retirement dates in transferring to utterly unrelated jobs in the system. Jobs which they’d be easily beaten out for without that library degree requirement.

    3. Chris Cosmos

      Universities have become, like everything else in the USA, con games. Testing has shown that young people, on average, learn very little. In fact most of American education exists to exist just like every other major institution. Real education must be found elsewhere as I generally advise young people. If they are worried I just recommend community college the first few years at major universities is not much better days (it was in my day of course). Some grad schools are excellent and some are awful–you have to be very careful in your research. I will say that the Ivy’s are pretty rigorous but rigorous in the wrong way usually–that’s just my impression from what I’ve seen.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In money, we have the 1% vs. the 99%.

      In professions, we also have the 1% vs. the 99%. In the 1% professions, credentials, including prizes (some are given before, say, peace is achieved), are looked at.

      In the world of credentials, again, we have the same division. And this powerful source of inequality in life is a separate issue from free college tuition.

      1. newcatty

        Chris Cosmos, indeed, “Universities, like everything else in the USA, have become con games.” That this a feature, and not a bug, is the salient fact that the country is now just a feudal society. I don’t think it’s neo-feudalism, just an inevitable evolution of feudalism through high tech and global empires. Consider class in USA. Social and economic inequality are now just seen as inevitable or encouraged through the elites propaganda minions. The overlords are in control and the mercantile class are in paying homage to the Lord’s and Ladies to keep their class in place. The lawyers and doctor’s have their places. High priests and snake oil peddlers have their places. Professional sports are home to our gladiators.
        The recent varsity blues “scandal” is just the rot at the top coming out in one of the most elementary institutions in the country. College used to be not so much of a con game and racket. With greed and corruption being it’s core now at the upper echelons of governance and competition ,and whoring for coveted grants, most from the MIC or corporations…lots of the ends justified the means have been easily used for rationalizing corrupted departments. Our kids are now seeing that it’s all a big con. My granddaughter just played varsity soccer in a prestigious tournament. She is the real deal. Gifted with talent and works hard. Most, importantly imnsho, she loves to play. She is a real student athlete, too. Works for great GPA. The message of the wealthy cheaters, who get their kids into schools: the ends justify the means. The message to all of us: f**k you. This is justified and how the American dream comes true. Think that this light on the elites’ corruption, the light on the Boeing corruption, the daily warnings of climate change looming disaster from our science town cryers, the corruption of the federal government and on down to most local ones, the fact that our food supplies and natural world is corrupted and sacrificed is seen as just the cost of business, is the unraveling of the empire. Maybe science fiction, or fantasy, or divine cosmos will intervene. If not, how can we have a peaceful revolution of good will and turn swords into plowshares? To quote: “I really want to know.”

    5. Jeremy Grimm

      After Education has been monetized it is no longer Education. What becomes of Knowledge without Education? What kind of society values a de-based certification over Knowledge? What does it mean to have a Calling if the economic system calls for little of true value?

      Neoliberalism destroys our civilization by a thousand cuts.

  8. vlade

    “Brexit will mark the end of Britain’s role as a great power”

    Corrected headline:

    “Brexit will mark the end of Britain’s pretention to being a great power”

    1. The Rev Kev

      They still want to be a great power. Those two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers that they are striving for as well as the fleet of F-35 fighters are all about power projection. For self defense, not so much. There was even talk of setting up bases in Asia and I read as well that they want to recruit more Ghurka battalions. I dedicate the following song to this effort-

      1. Chris Cosmos

        In case anybody didn’t know Britain has about the same size defense budget Russia has. Think about that for awhile.

    1. pretzelattack

      it’s weird to me how biden polls better head to head against almost anybody, with his baggage and history of nonaccomplishment.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        People don’t know Biden’s record. They just feel he’s warm and evokes nostalgia–that’s enough to get where he is in the polls right now. Once election season starts and we see where the money goes then we’ll see what’s what. My guess is that Beto, unless he falters, has the upper hand among establishment candidates but this may not be the election for an empty suit.

    2. zagonostra

      The “weirdness” is the establishment’s thumb on the scale. For me, when I saw the Colbert interview with Tulsi Gabbard it brought home more than anything just how wide spread the rot has spread.

      Just about all establishment outlets are solidly on the side of keeping this evil system in place. When I read through the links like the one with the 84 year old lady whose soc sec check is being withheld for outstanding student loans or the story on how the Democratic establishment’s number 1 goal of heading off the momentum for M4A I know that the battle for truth is going to encounter that foul stagnant maw of establishment propaganda.

      1. JohnnyGL

        A big part of the gap looks like it might be coming from the 18-29 crowd. Bernie wins a whopping 61% with them. If they show up to primaries and general election….take everyone’s election models and throw them out the window immediately.

        To be clear, that group doesn’t usually show up and the assumption should rightly default that way….until it’s overturned.

        1. zagonostra

          No, I don’t think that is actually true based on exit data from 2016. I don’t have access to the links, his support was greater than just the 18-29 crowd.

          I attended a rally, and I can tell you there were a lot of old geezers like me cheering him on.

          And, this does not even include all the ballots in Broward that were illegally destroyed and the Brooklyn ballot fiasco.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            HRC saw significant drops after the ages of 38 and then 34 in 2016 in the primaries. Those ages match who was 18 in 1996 and 2000. This matches her 2008 experience which was 30 and 26. Hillary organized better and faced a weaker opposition force. She had no support among people who weren’t old enough to vote Al Gore. The break is also close enough to 9/11. Did it affect people in school? HRC tried to paint herself as anti-gun, and it was her rallying cry. She still lost the vote in the primary of the post-Columbine generation.

            If HRC didn’t have support among 18 year olds, its likely the 14 to 1 7 year olds felt the same way. What has happened to separate them?

            Although Sanders had support older than the 38 and under crowd, its representative of a sea change. This age group didn’t vote for a candidate who looked like them. In a sense, they did for Obama.

            I knock Donna Brazille, but she addressed the state of the young people at Hillary headquarters. She lamented the lack of excitement by the kids working there. It reminded me of a photo blog of Hillary headquarters, and it looked like tired Young Republicans, a few more women. The demographics of “The Emerging Democratic Majority” weren’t there for HRC or the entire Democratic establishment.

    3. Phenix

      The purpose of regional candidates is to force a brokered convention. Harris, Beto, and Warren are strong in their respective regions or States but do not have national traction.

      I can see Warren doing very well with college educated white women but she’ll run into millennials that remember her embracing Clinton.

      Beto is Beto. He is a rebranded product that no one wants but he has name recognition in TX.

      Harris…how she has not imploded yet is amazing. Her own father had disowned her. She started her career by sleeping with a 61 year old. And the country has moved beyond her brand of justice.

      Biden…just why. He is phony and has a ton of baggage. #metoo

      1. nycTerrierist

        If, dog-forbid, Biden is the candidate (thanks to the DNC’s trusty thumbs on the scale),
        all Trump has to do is tie the student loan albatross to Biden’s tail like a trail of rattling tin cans.

        That should do it.

      2. JohnnyGL

        I’d actually like to push back against the ‘everyone is running so they can stop Bernie’ idea.

        There was a tremendous consensus established in 2016 to back HRC, unlike anything I’d ever seen. It’s very hard to keep the fractious dem party all on the same page most of the time. HRC pulled it off because she was ‘inevitable’ and very vindictive towards her enemies. Once HRC lost, it shattered any direction from the top to discipline everyone.

        I generally agree with the rest of your comments, but the electorate seems much more fluid with Sanders being a clear 2nd choice of voters who like Biden best.

        Where’s that phrase from lambert about things being ‘overly dynamic’????

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          She was effectively the Queen, an actual monarch in waiting. One reason she picked Kaine was he couldn’t become President on his own and didn’t have a natural constituency to offend or risked turning off potential supporters because with Kaine 2020 or 2024 was still wide open.

          HRC was the queen, but in the primaries, she had virtually no support with the 30 and under crowd in 2008 and virtually no support with the 38 and under crowd in 2016.

          With HRC, there are narratives about a secret liberal Hillary (after all, “It Takes a Village” Hillary probably would be the former President) and she seemed like she would be willing to take it to the GOP for obvious reasons, these were narratives people genuinely believed. They aren’t transferred simply because a candidate gains the staff of Hillary, especially Clinton staffers.

          With 2016, the other side is very little in the way of legislation was actually done. Liz Warren became a household name (for politico types) before she was a Senator, but what about the other legislators? This was largely due to not doing anything. Truman became FDR’s VP, but he was a leading figure on the Truman Committee, addressing wasteful military spending and corruption during World War II. He actually was a household name. DiFi has been a Senator from California for 30 years as she told the 3rd graders, but that’s it. Its all she can say.

          With Obama, the 50 State strategy, and the Congressional majorities, there should have been jockeying to promote future ambitions. We see it with various candidates who would never normally “support” single payer, but we do see it now that offending Obama or in the future HRC is off the table. As a result, no one had the profile to beat HRC who had the same troubles in 2016 as she did in 2008.

          I go back to JFK and the shared imagery between Obama and Jack, but when Jack left, he left people who made their mark whether from his administration or Congress. Lets not get too into, LBJ and JFK’s respective roles, but names who dominated the next 25 or 30 years started there. Who has come out of those eight years with an actual list of accomplishments or ones they want to advertise? Sanders and Warren are the closest. Beto? Its the closeness of an election. Harris? She’s not bringing up mortgages. Booker? Klobuchar? No staffers have been hospitalized at least publicly. Biden? He hasn’t done anything terrible on the legislative in ten years.

          I see Buttigieg, I don’t know much about the politics of South Bend but you have to say his mayor status is cool, and this Andrew Young guy gaining a certain amount of donors to be participants, but they aren’t crazies. In a way, they are just removed from the Democratic Party structure. Its absurd they are running for President, but next to these other more qualified clowns, they have as much reason to be there as others.

          Tim Kaine gave the SOTU response in January 2006 after a crushing blow to the GOP candidate as the first test of the 50 state strategy who was the state attorney general and well liked. Kaine’s opponent wasn’t a drooling nut, well at least he was friendly enough. Despite all the Trump hysteria, the official response to the SOTU this year was given by a loser who had a profile and plenty of cash. Georgia’s shifting demographics are similar to Virginia. It has the same promise.

          Even then, everyone is cloaking themselves in a version of Sanders language. Its not DLC third way tripe. Donna Brazille just went to FoxNews. She doesn’t have Clinton patronage to give her a phony campaign position anymore.

      3. Darthbobber

        But Beto splits favorite son status with Castro. Warren I think is not so much a regional as a segment of the spectrum candidate.

        There’s easily enough factionalism and personal ambition in play to exceed the Democratic establishment’s ability to hold anything to some pipe dream of a master plan.

    4. neo-realist

      Biden still hangs in because he hasn’t gone out on the road to campaign for votes like Sanders did in 2016 and is doing in the present primary campaign. A lot of wishful thinking going on from supporters of Biden that will dissipate when eventually campaigns and opens his mouth. What is he going to offer the youth considering his stance on discharging student loan debt? What is he going to offer farmers that are struggling in the rust belt?

      1. polecat

        Biden would have no recourse but to duck, 24/7, all those flying rotten cabbages the youngins be throwin his way !

      2. Grant

        The entirety of Biden’s support comes from his connection to Obama. All of it, and I can’t see how it doesn’t melt away pretty quickly once his horrible record is analyzed with any detail. Biden fizzled out and did horribly in previous attempts at the nomination, and that was before the country clearly shifted away from his worldview. Now, when the country clearly wants changes, they’re going to elect him? Let’s say that he wasn’t VP, what exactly would lead him to be anywhere near the top, given his record, given his mountain of stupid statements, give the massive harm all that he has done? I have to say though, I have no faith in the Democratic Party, the entirety of it, to make the best decision. The best decision isn’t beating Trump alone, it is also radically changing the context he emerged from and providing actual solutions to our problems, which are structural in nature. You cannot beat Trump and Trumpism by keeping the system and the context that produced him. And water is wet.

  9. witters

    “Churches are opening their doors to businesses in order to survive”

    Everything here is wrong.

    1. Wukchumni

      In not so very religious NZ, you’ll see churches for sale-repurposed as housing, here’s one.

      An Auckland-based artist who purchased a church on a “whim” as he drove through a small Waikato town six years ago, is selling the building which comes with a baptism pool.

      The 130-year-old church, built from native timber, was relocated from Te Aroha’s main street to Centennial Ave about 30 years ago.

    2. Samuel Conner

      It’s sad as an indicator of decline in viability of traditional forms of community, but speaking as an “insider”, I think that the traditional model of church ownership of costly “vacant most of the time” meeting places is itself wrong-headed. Maybe churches should rent spaces, or use public spaces, that are vacant at their preferred meeting times. That’s more or less how it began.

      1. barrisj

        The “gig economy beckons…open churches up to “co-share/work-share” spaces, and watch the entrepreneurs flock in…only in America!

      2. Craig H.

        At the church I belong there are three congregations and the parking lot is occupied at least 1/4 for 12 hours daily the other six days of the week beside Sunday. It is for all practical purposes a business for the staff whose job it is to run the micro-institution. If Starbucks wants to rent space they will have to be squished in.

      3. NotTimothyGeithner

        I think about transitional periods. The U.S. model for many things came from a period of Westward expansion. Houses of worship despite previous state support don’t pollute the landscape in Europe or aren’t so large in countries such as India.

        The influence of the Imperial structure aside, when did Christianity go from “Where ever two or three are gathered… (I’m not looking it up),” to a place where there are one or two church towns. Then in the U.S., we had no imperial structure and immigrants from all over or who came at different times plus segregation.

        We have public schools and libraries. The Vestal Virgins in Rome were responsible for maintaining wills and deeds beyond their religious duties of keeping a candle lit. People die everyday, so the place always had something to do. The state still does this, but we don’t assign them religious functions to do these jobs.

        We call it traditional, but I’m not sure the American experience is all that natural.

    3. Cal2

      Churches and temples ARE businesses that pay no property or income tax and whose members are often exempted from normal law enforcement processes.

  10. pjay

    Re: ‘How ordinary Crimeans helped Russia annex their home’ – Open Democracy

    Finally the truth! The overthrow of Yanokovych in Ukraine was by “ordinary people” who just wanted an end to corruption (and EU membership). But what appeared to be overwhelming support in Crimea for Russian annexation was actually “a Russian state intelligence and military operation that exploited elements of a local Crimean conservative counter-revolution.”

    My thanks to the NED, Avaaz, several Soros Foundations, and all the usual suspects (see the list of Open Democracy supporters) for the history lesson — and for starting my day with a laugh.

    1. John A

      Yes, spelling Kiev as Kyev is a real tell. As are all mentions of the referendum in quotation marks!

      No mention of US plans for Crimea as a US/Nato naval base. No mention of the referendum in “Kosovo” after US/Nato totally wrecked Yugoslavia both to end any attempts to have a genuine socialist style society while at the same time hiving off Kosovo to create the biggest US base outside the US.
      No mention of the Crimeans wanting to be part of Russia when the USSR collapsed.
      All the usual propaganda by omission.

      1. Olga

        Yes, it is amazing how one can weave a seemingly engaging article – with revelations! that had not been seen before – with skewing some facts, omitting others, and presenting the rest without any (incl. historical) context. No doubt, the author has a great career ahead of her…

    2. integer

      The quality of the liberal international order’s propaganda may be poor, but there is no denying they excel in terms of quantity.

    1. JohnnyGL

      I did a search….the word “Japan” doesn’t come up throughout the article. Right off the bat, that tells me the writer either isn’t writing in good faith, or doesn’t know what (s)he is talking about. Why is Japan relevant? Because it’s a country with a lot of monetary sovereignty who’s currency isn’t a reserve currency.

      One of the strongest arguments for MMT is to point at Japan and say to some hypothetical practitioner of conventional economics: “You and your theories have NO explanation for what’s happened here since 1990. That means you’re wrong. Don’t give me some BS about ‘high domestic savings’ or whatever. You HAVE NO explanation.” MMT comes along at explains it so much better. Richard Koo’s theory of ‘balance sheet’ recession was great. I think it helped turn the corner for my understanding.

      That said, the article is better than it first seems and it has some good bits like this: Deluard is quick to note that worldwide quantitative easing throughout much of the 2010s was proof that MMT can work when deployed correctly. He argues that the entire process was actually MMT in practice.

      Consider this: Even though more than $10 trillion in debt has been monetized around the world since 2008, the wheels haven’t fallen off. Not even close.

      That was excellent. But, how on earth does the guy then suggest that even though the theory’s been battle-tested, it might damage the USD as reserve currency?!?!?!

      Yves has pointed out that the US govt’s willingness to run trade/current account deficits and the ROW(rest of world) has a preference to run surpluses. Until this changes, USD is going to be reserve currency.

      Ironically, if the EU did some MMT-style changes, and ran some current account deficits, in spite of Germany’s fetish for surpluses, it might put a lot more euros in other people’s hands and force them to start using the euro as a reserve currency. Before the Greek crisis, there was evidence that this was happening. It all went rapidly into reverse after that.

      1. JohnnyGL

        re-reading above, I’d like to reign in my Japan-based critique at the top a bit, I might have been too harsh on that front. But the article could have benefited from using Japan as evidence that MMT has been battle-tested.

        His points about reserve currency and why USD is it make no sense.

      2. el_tel

        My best friend has lived in Japan for 25 years. I made him laugh last week on his latest visit back to the UK when I told him a trope I’d heard years ago:

        “Economists have predicted 20 of the last zero hyperinflations in Japan”.

      3. PlutoniumKun

        I think the EU needs MMT even more than the US – at least in the US even Republicans will (covertly) provide fiscal boosts to regional economies (via hidden subsidies and military spending). The Eurozone is heavily hamstrung by a refusal to use any fiscal or monetary instruments to do more than shore up rotten banks. The potential for MMT inspired direct investment (whether through a jobs guarantee or direct investment) in the peripheries of Europe is enormous, there is far more capacity within Europe to grow if they can just dump austerity.

        1. JohnnyGL

          I agree.

          I’d prepared to smash the article…then realized it was much more mixed, and had to reel myself in a bit. :)

      4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s about 30 years of quantative easying in Japan since the 1990’s.

        Do they need another 30 years to do what they want to do?

        Deluard is quick to note that worldwide quantitative easing throughout much of the 2010s was proof that MMT can work when deployed correctly. He argues that the entire process was actually MMT in practice

        So, has it worked in Japan (so they can stop their QE now)?

        MMT describes everything that is done under the current monetary system. Any process is MMT in practice. Isn’t that so?

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Churches are opening their doors to businesses in order to survive”

    Actually this is a good idea. Though not a religious person myself, I have often thought that a church should be part of a community and having the building serve community needs itself when not in use an extension of this idea. In any case, it is still just a building. Once there was an old church that was decommissioned and somebody was going to use the church building for a completely different purpose which upset a lot of the locals. In the end, someone from the higher echelons of the church stepped in and more or less said that the church was the people and not the building. People that confused the building with the church, he said, should examine their ideas on just what a church was.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Britain is full of very interesting church conversions as the official Church has retreated. They sometimes make amazing houses, and others are used as shops, offices, restaurants, bars, community centres, etc. In my experience the Anglican church in the UK was very commercially minded in shifting them on to ‘alternative’ uses, including redeveloping graveyards, which even as a non-believer I found quick icky.

      Close to me here in Dublin a very beautiful baroque church has been converted to a beautiful pub, named unimaginatively ‘The Church‘. Ironically enough the church was a favourite of methodist anti-alcohol preachers back in the day. Others have been quite nicely converted to unusual offices (favoured by architectural practices for some reason). To its credit, the Catholic church in Ireland has vested some of its city centre churches to minority religions, even to non-Christian ones.

      1. el_tel

        Last week a family with ethnic origins in the Indian subcontinent stopped their car on the main road near me to ask directions to “an Indian Temple”. Little did they know was that I realised they were (a) sikh, but (b) part of what we’d call a “very progressive branch” which didn’t require wearing of the turban in males who’d come of age but more importantly which welcomed lots of minorities. I only realised (b) because a former colleague (who didn’t wear a turban and cut his hair short) years ago revealed he was Sikh and told me the background.

        The “Temple” they were looking for was one I was 99% sure I knew – a former Anglican church. They seemed reluctant to name it, particularly when I (when trying to help) mentioned a “mainstream” Sikh who owned the local shop. I sensed I’d touched a nerve – the Sikh equivalent issue of “Protestant vs Catholic in Northern Ireland”. I gradually gained the trust of the family and twas clear this former church was indeed what they were looking for (they were not from this city). Nice that old churches are being used for purposes promoting inclusivity.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s cyclical, perhaps.

        Centuries ago, the mosque in Cordoba was converted to what is now the Mosque-Cathedral there.

    2. Walter Guthrie

      Expansive churches can also be very bad neighbors. One I’m familiar with lied to a State sanitary authority to obtain septic permits for a dinner theater.

      The CBS headline might equally well read,

      “Businesses are opening churches to secure zoning and tax advantages.”

    3. lyman alpha blob

      Opening them up for businesses is an excellent reason to start taxing them. If they go under, turn them into Grange halls. Revitalizing that community institution would do a lot of good right about now.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Me: “Beto’s the rich, snobby a-hole your daughter brings home from college that you have to deal with until she runs out of patience with him. He then makes you question why you’re writing checks for this expensive school if this is the primary result.”

    2. jhallc

      My Congressional Rep. here in MA is Lori Trahan. She replaced the HRC fan girl Nikki Tsongas. I didn’t vote for her in the primary but, had hopes she would not turn out to be another neoliberal. She has not come out in support of H.R. 1384 Medicare for All. I received an email from her the other day, filled with pictures of her and a smiling Nancy Pelosi. So, looks like I can only hope she gets a primary challenger that I can support.

      1. JohnnyGL

        You should give her a call and tell her to get on board. I’m hardly an activist or anything, but I’ve at least made myself get in the habit of making a phone call once in a while when something important comes up….usually my blood boils around healthcare and war…not too much else, really.

        People who’ve worked as interns/staffers say they do track the calls and if they hear a lot from constituents on an issue, they consider it.

        I’ve bugged my rep, Katherine Clark a few times. She tends to be quiet, but usually gets the big issues correct.

      2. Carla

        Agree with Johnny GL. As long as Trahan is your congress critter, she’s representing YOU, so please call her and urge that she sign on as a co-sponsor to HR 1384. Ask your family and neighbors to do so as well. It took YEARS for us to get Marcia Fudge (D-OH) to sign on to HR-676 M4A, but once she finally did, it stuck (after plenty of us implored her to make sure it would) and she has co-sponsored HR 1384 Improved M4A. SAME thing with Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Joyce Beatty (D-OH). They were not early supporters of M4A, but now they have stuck.

      3. jhallc

        She’s holding a town hall meeting and asked for topics in the e-mail. I sent her a question asking her why she didn’t co-sponsor the M4A bill. I’ll follow up with a call.

        1. Carla

          Great! BTW, our rep Marcia Fudge actually pledged to co-sponsor HR-676 when she was cornered, in public, at a jam-packed town hall. When the challenge was posed, the crowd let out a roar, and she caved. It was fabulous!

    3. Chris Cosmos

      He thinks he can get the Biden/Clinton vote by being young. He may be right. My guess is that he’s counting on Biden not running–if that’s the case he has a decent chance at being a player next year. He’s going to collect a lot of money. The question is–will the media want a woman or is a youngish guy a better bet. I certainly would not vote for him in the general.

    4. JohnnySacks

      We have to be more pragmatic, something like a gradual introduction via a robust public option. Feel the excitement?
      Making some prescription drugs less expensive for families earning under $40k a year. Still excited?
      But I’m just a purity troll, Trump must be defeated at all costs. Hope and change, the potential of America, aspirations even!
      And when it’s lost, it’ll be Sanders to blame, seems to be his cross to bear.

  12. jhallc

    Re: Venture Capitalist Steve Case Spreading Funding to Middle America

    “We joined the billionaire on his bus for a recent road trip and soon found ourselves aiming for the edge of a wheat field in Tennessee.
    Steve Case is here to meet a few entrepreneurs who say they’ve created a new technology that could revolutionize the way America farms. These robots are actually miniature tractors that are operated remotely.”

    Sounds great for big Ag but, how is this is going to help the small farmer? It will likely drive costs down for the big players who can afford it and ultimately drive the little guy out altogether.
    Does this billionaire believe this will help really help the small farmer?

    The article really should be entitled:
    “We’re all Bozos on this Bus” (Firesign Theater)

  13. jfleni

    RE: Radical plan to artificially cool Earth’s climate could be safe, study finds.

    Not even close to Green New Deal, and a lot less dangerous. Wackos like Billy Boy have been making proposals like this for years; just make sure they don’t
    do it next door to you!

    1. zagonostra

      Surreptitiously geoengineering has been going on for years, anyone paying attention to the the sky and who follows the works of Dana Wigington knows this…and dangerous? you bet your bottom butterfly wings.

      1. human


        Fracking and their waste water lakes, factory farm fecal lagoons, methane flaring, oil spills, open pit mines and their tailings, nuclear tests and accidents …

  14. Wukchumni

    The Fed has exacerbated America’s new housing bubble FT

    The War & Housing bubbles kept us going since the turn of the century, when both were unassailable by somebody overseas undercutting us, in selling it cheaper than we could do ourselves.

    What would be the repercussions of both bubbles popping simultaneously?

  15. rattlemullet

    please establish a category called Republicans in Ruination, there are obviously thousand of documented examples

  16. Chris Cosmos

    The big story here is the Taibbi piece on Pentagon spending. The article meanders and then meanders some more into labyrinths within labyrinths that is the world of Pentagon spending. Underneath it all is the clear fact that the highest rated US institution is the military. Sometimes I talk to people about this and they say they don’t support the military as such but the soldiers (thank you for your service etc.) but that’s essentially bullshit.

    One of the most essential characteristic of American civilization is to make violence and coercion almost sacred. We cannot be “safe” people say unless we are protected by violent institutions. The military has a 74% approval ratings and the direction of those ratings are up the last time it was measured. The police poll in the 50s and the only other institutions that tends to poll better than 50% is “small business” but it is the military that has the highest ratings. So much so that the mainstream media will not and cannot report on the massive corruption within the Pentagon that Taibbi in his desire to color within the lines only alludes to. The fact is the Pentagon is the chief instrument of massive corruption in the country. The money could go anywhere and few people would notice. How is it that Washington is such a rich city with McMansions and lavish estates everywhere you go? Are we getting excellent weapons in exchange for this money? Russia spends about one eleventh of what we spend and achieves, regularly, at least strategic parity with the US and it is being constantly threatened not just by the US but NATO in its entirety (Britain, btw, spends about as much as Russia).

    The Pentagon does get away with this crap because of massive public support and the existence of the military-industrial-congressional complex that makes this the perfect racket. And it is a racket. First, the majority of the expense is wasted–I’ve worked in the field of government contracting at least to the degree that I understand how the racket works. Taibbi talks about this in the multiple systems–what he doesn’t talk about is how and why they exist. Each system of each area in the Pentagon and the rest of gov’t exists to feed an ecosystem of congress-contractor-bureaucrat corruption and it is systemic and not a matter of individual malfeasance. I can go into details but one thing was clear in my work–the bureaucracy is totally hostile to reform and will scuttle any attempt to reform itself. I’ll put it another way–it’s a nightmare. Washington should be razed metaphorically speaking.

    1. sanxi

      Ya, well the idea of being ‘safe’ when thought out, like so many things is in fact screwed up, but there it is from 1776 on. Things change nothing is forever, including the DOD.

    2. Joey

      Eugene Jarecki covers this in why we fight (book version). The fighter plane no one wanted kept funding because parts were manufactured in lots of congressional districts. Pork kickbacks to donors sold by MSM as ‘jobs.’

      Such a crock.

  17. The Rev Kev

    “How ordinary Crimeans helped Russia annex their home”

    Well considering the absolute bulk majority of the people that lived there voted to join Russia, this should come as no surprise. And this was including votes from the local Ukrainians and Tartars as well. It was odd that the UN declared it invalid as it is one of the core missions of the United Nations to help with the political self-determination of people. Going by those votes, they seemed pretty damned determined. Of course the UN and international community could have over-watched the same vote all over under their supervision but for some reason did not want to go there. I think that I read the other day that about 80% of the Ukrainian soldiers present in Crimea quit and joined the Russian Federation forces and the same was probably true with the Navy. There was only two killed in the takeover and those shot on opposing sides seem to have been shot by a third party. Otherwise Russian special forces did a brilliant job in retaking the island without casualties. So, NATO lost a base in the Crimea, the US lost setting themselves up in Sevastopol. The west lost all those hydrocarbons off Crimea. No more idea of kicking the Russians out of the Black Sea and setting up nuclear-tipped missiles there. No wonder they are still sore about the whole deal. And as I said in previous comments, Russia is no more likely to give up Crimea than America to give up Texas. Not gunna happen.

  18. integer

    Cohen is correct that Russiagate will not go away, even though the findings in the Mueller report will almost certainly be trivial, at least with regards to collusion with Russia. Liberals, after being relentlessly propagandized by the D party and liberal media establishments both before and after the election, are too emotionally attached to the narrative to take a step back and assess the facts on their merits. For example, just look at the replies to this tweet by Gabbard:

    Short-sighted politicians & media pundits who’ve spent last 2 years accusing Trump as a Putin puppet have brought us the expensive new Cold War & arms race. How? Because Trump now does everything he can to prove he’s not Putin’s puppet—even if it brings us closer to nuclear war.

    1. Lepton1

      There is curious surge in claims by the right that Mueller’s report will not contain anything damaging to Trump. Mueller has leaked nothing. It looks like preemptive propaganda in preparation for bad news. Meanwhile, indictments and jail sentences pile up for Trump’s team members. Thousands and thousands of documents have been supplied to Nadler’s committee in response to their request. Trump had a twitter meltdown over the weekend. I look forward to the entire crime family going to prison, Pence included.

  19. antidlc

    Re: What the Hell Actually Happens to Money You Put in A Flexible Spending Account?

    Reminds me of a 2001 Booz Hamilton report that talked about a “trillion dollar opportunity”:


    Increased adoption of defined-contribution health care plans leading to convergence of
    health care benefits and financial services industries

    1. curlydan

      I once missed a deadline on a $4K dependent day care spending account. I had maxed it out, then forgotten to get reimbursed. After serious begging/pleading, my company cut me a check for $3K. It was hell to realize that after April 15th of the next year, I could have been [bleep] out of luck.

      Any unused funds should, in my opinion, be returned to the holder and taxed at the appropriate rate for wage income. Let’s see how many employers would offer them after that.

    1. Liberal Mole

      Gee, why the delay? If you read further, a big Democratic bundler came in to save his fundraising, and the D party gave back 4 million from his senate campaign . He wasn’t getting the online, small individual donor support, and he won’t. He hasn’t released the donor stats.

    2. Shonde

      If what follows on Twitter is true, “Former Obama bundler Louis Susman, senior advisor to Perella Weinberg Partners and Atlas Merchant Capital, coordinated with O’Rourke campaign to secure contributions from senior Democratic Party donors & donors in financial industry to set record” we now know who the chosen one is.
      Time to send another Bernie donation.

      1. Geo

        Louis Susman, former U.S. ambassador to the U.K. and a lead bundler for Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign, has been speaking with political financiers from across the country, including those in the financial industry, to see if they will invest in O’Rourke’s campaign, according to people with direct knowledge of the outreach.

        The former Obama backer has put together a string of senior party donors who are willing to contribute to the former congressman’s presidential operation, said the people, who declined to be named due to the conversations being deemed private.

  20. Colonel Smithers

    The French PM has just replaced the prefect for police in Paris with his equivalent from the south west and banned demonstrations in the capital. Any thoughts from David and other French residents? I am on the train home from Paris.

  21. a different chris

    Anybody get WTF was Deaton trying to say?

    >is the failure neither of “Leviathan” (the state) nor of “Behemoth” (the market), but of community, which no longer serves as a check against either monster.

    He blames the community here, which then he later groups with… one of the other ones, but he also says the populace is powerless against the Behemoth, but somewhere in between he blames social democracy for preventing the market – which doesn’t get referred to as the Behemoth in that particular stretch – for fixing… I dunno, itself?

    Jesus he needs retired.

    1. anon y'mouse

      i haven’t had the stomach to try to to read it. it sounds a lot like “blame the victim”. you know, like those people who blame “unmarried mothers” for societal breakdown, crime, and a host of other social issues (instead of cRapitalism).

      *sighs heavily while clicking the link

    2. Carla

      Well, thank God for your remarks, a different chris. I tried to comment on Deaton’s dreck this morning, but then I lost courage because I just… couldn’t… think… of what… to say. Sometimes I’d lose my mind on here if the commentariat weren’t here to save the day.

    3. pjay

      LOL. I masochistically read this essay twice to see if Deaton was actually saying anything. Here is the introductory abstract:

      “Behind today’s populist upheavals is a widespread recognition that the economy no longer serves the public good, or even the interests of most of its participants. To understand why, one must identify what has been lost amid so much material technological gain.”

      What has been lost? “Community,” Deaton tells us. But he does not explain *why* community has collapsed because he cannot. Like all such learned musings, he pretends to make some profound observations by describing a few symptoms. But to account for this condition would require considering the actual structure and dynamics of 21st century capitalism. People like Deaton tend to avoid this at all costs. Note his last paragraph:

      “Like Rajan, I think that community is a casualty of an elite minority’s capture of both markets and the state. But unlike him, I am skeptical that stronger local communities or a policy of localism (inclusive or not) can cure what ails us. The genie of meritocracy cannot be put back in the bottle.”

      *How* did this “elite minority” capture both markets and the state? He doesn’t say, because he can’t, at least not honestly. But let’s not be too hard on him. He is only a Nobel prize winning economist after all. He feels for the losers, and he has described some of the symptoms of losing in his work. But gosh, “the genie of meritocracy cannot be put back in the bottle,” can it?

  22. David

    The Jacobin story on Algeria is one of the better ones in English but it’s confusingly written and wanders around between different time periods. It spends too long talking about post-Bouteflika, even while the old man himself is still around. The parallel with the gilets jaunes is not very close – the Algerian protests are more urban , more organised and have a strong presence of students and intellectuals. Effectively, what you need to know is:

    – Bouteflika’s gambit of saying he wouldn’t run for a fifth term and then cancelling the elections has failed.
    – Protests are continuing and even strengthening
    – Nobody knows what will happen next, including the regime.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I didn’t bother reading the Jacobian link on Algeria. I looked for you comments instead. Thank you again for the insight you provide.

      I remain intrigued by what I recall as your comment from a week or so ago that there was little agreement between protesters other than agreement that Bouteflika must go. That seems like a formula for societal collapse without any center.

      1. David

        Thanks. Bouteflika has issued a new statement today, which uses a lot of words to say not very much. The French and Arabic versions didn’t quite line up, but eventually he seemed to be saying that he would be staying around long enough to see the reform process through, however long that would take. So nothing new there. In other news, there continue to be defections from the ruling clan – the latest is a number of members of the FLN, Bouteflika’s own party, who have put out a statement demanding that he go. It’s falling to pieces, but slowly. All of the opposition groups know what they want in terms of generalisations and ideas, but few of them have much idea what that would mean in practice.

  23. NotTimothyGeithner

    I know Greenwald has his own reasons for posting this Donna Brazille joins FoxNews story, but he’s missing a major part of the story.

    After years of working to elect Republicans, Donna Brazille finally joins Fox News! This is a major pickup for Fox. Not even David Brock and Mark Penn have damaged the electoral fortunes of Democrats the way Donna has.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Donna Brazille finally joins Fox News? I read that to read Donna Brazille finally going home.

  24. Synoia

    Stonehenge-like monuments were home to giant pig feasts


    Party next year at Stonehenge to celebrate the Summer Solstice!! Just a short walk off the Ridgeway (Turn left at the Avebury Circle)!!

    Free Beer!! BYOP.

    (Bring your own pig)

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      A nice time-traveling, green sci-fi woud be for the hero to go back in time and stop meat eating early on.

  25. David

    Brexit Alert.
    The House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow, has said the government cannot bring the meaningful vote back to parliament again unless there has been substantial change to the Brexit deal.
    Well now, cat and pigeons, headless chickens, any other natural world metaphors?

    1. Eclair

      “SomeKindOfExpletiveHere!” Any other country than the UK, after months of the so-called ‘government’ running around headless and squawking, and so obviously not-in-charge, the military, presumably headed by a few adult, lesser-twits, would have stepped in, sent the civilians to their rooms, and issued a few orders. No one would be happy, civil war might ensue, but at least someone would have made a decision!

      If one could harness all the energy, psychic and physical, plus all the hot air produced in the last two years, fulminating about Brexit, we could have green-powered Scotland for a year.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Combine the Brexit and the RussiaGate hot air into one giant dirigible, load the billionaire class aboard, and float them up to Mars

    2. ChrisPacific

      I think the moment of truth might (finally) be approaching. May now needs to ask the EU for an extension even though she will almost certainly not be able to meet their criteria for one. One would hope she hasn’t forgotten that point, or if she has that she remembers it before the 29th (though it would admittedly be a fitting conclusion to the whole process if she didn’t).

      Meanwhile unicorns are, amazingly, still alive and well. I’ve just read a Simon Jenkins column in the Guardian (prior to the speaker’s contribution) in which he argues that May’s deal must be voted down, again, so that there can be a “sensible compromise” in 2 to 3 months(!) Nowhere does he mention the need for an extension, EU approval of same, or the conditions they have said they will apply when considering one.

      I am expecting another Salzburg type scene and a refusal by the EU to grant an extension, which should make for an interesting final week.

  26. Susan the other`

    Yet another example of hubris and denial. Offutt AFB near Omaha, close to the now-flooding Missouri River. They did a press release saying they expect the waters to subside soon. Right. I wonder if any of those AF whizkids have observed the remaining snowpack in Montana’s Rockies, or the glacial conditions preserving them this spring. Offutt has lotsa underground bunkers for emergencies. Oh, goodie. This just goes to show that even the US Military, who is compulsive about anticipating events, can find itself stuck in flood and unable to do anything about it. And those are the guys we are counting on to save the rest of us. It’s gonna be New Orleans all over again.

  27. Susan the other`

    “Some say water and some say ice”… isn’t that how it goes? There’s a radical new plan to artificially cool the climate one or two degrees with SO2 – sprayed in the upper atmosphere to reflect sunlight… but wait, that’s what all the cloud covering is doing already… and just wondering, do CO2 and SO2 interact in some potentially dangerous way? Could the SO2 hang around long enough to both reflect sunlight and contribute to sulfurous acid in the air we breathe? What will it do to the oceans? Would it even make a difference considering all the other variables we are dealing with?

    1. Chris Cosmos

      It depends who plans all this. If the plan has behind it solid international scientific support meaning that they will first start to see how SO2 reacts to sunlight, ocean water and so on then I would favor trying it out. The problem is you cannot trust political leaders to carry anything out properly because the system they operate in is systemically corrupt. If it’s run by scientists, nor free of corruption but largely free of systemic corruption then this may work. No possibility should be left behind and some risk may have to be involved because, clearly, no one is going to do much in this country at least to mitigate the creation of greenhouse emissions.

    2. barrisj

      There are reports of the reaction of sulfur dioxide with ozone in the atmosphere to produce sulfur trioxide, the immediate precursor to sulfuric acid, which is highly corrosive and is known chemically as a strong acid. “Acid rain”? – you ain’t seen nuttin’ yet!

      1. Eclair

        Leading to a re-make of the iconic Gene Kelly dance scene.

        (And, Susan, I am joking not because I take this whole mess lightly, it’s just that in the last week, the realization that we are not going to do anything to actually mitigate climate disruption, has hit me. We’re going to go on merrily dancing our way into Climate Hell. So, I am reverting to the coping mechanism of my oppressed Irish ancestors; you spin lovely stories, drink a wee dram, and have a good laugh.)

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Don’t despair — I still think this Bob Mankoff cartoon —

          best captures the essence of these times. Its caption reads:
          “And so while the end-of-the-world scenario will be rife with unimaginable horrors, we believe that the pre-end period will be filled with unprecedented opportunities for profit.”

          An investment in the right geoengineering scheme could payoff with big profits.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Some say fire, some say ice … the fire of a new climate or the ice climate of the Snow Piercer. I believe it was Mirowsky who noted the irony of pushing for low sulfur coals and petroleum because of acid rain and now the ‘geoengineering’ ideas of the stage three Neoliberal program for monetizing Climate Chaos proposes adding sulfur to the atmosphere.

  28. Cal2

    “Bill McGlashan was at the forefront of attempts to quantify the social impact of investments, but I have yet to see an internal impact accounting that includes the consequences of funneling dynastic wealth to him and his family…”

    Family…there’s that word. His late brother, Charles McGlashan, was a Marin County Supervisor. His pet project and that of his donors? Transit Oriented Development and a huge taxpayer funded partially built boondoggle called the “Smart Train” that enriches developers by forcing the building of stack and pack high rises within half a mile of any new transit, no matter what community standards, zoning, environmental impact reports or carbon emissions balance sheets say…

    6 Tactics to Hijack California’s Suburban Way of Life
    Richard Hall

    “Vilification, subversion of language, truisms and California’s one party government are just some of the tools being leveraged to push a developer funded radical rapid housing growth agenda that would dramatically reshape California’s single family home neighborhoods.”
    This link is about the statewide program and the local effects.

    “The official color of SMART cars is McGlashan green, after former Marin county supervisor Charles McGlashan.” Wikipedia

    Read about the disaster that is the “Smart Train” for the groundlings that actually try and get somewhere on it.

  29. Kilgore Trout

    Found the Deaton review puzzling and disappointing. Doesn’t he seem to be making poor capitalism the victim here? As Lambert might put it, the lack of agency in the wording, “capitalism became…” is off-putting, and has it bass-ackwards.
    “Rather suddenly, capitalism is visibly sick. The virus of socialism has reemerged and is infecting the young once more…The success of social democracy in the postwar era weakened the market’s power to act as a moderating influence on the state…With median household incomes largely stagnant and a growing share of wealth accruing to the rich, capitalism became manifestly unfair, losing its popular support. To manage its opponents, Behemoth called on Leviathan for protection, not understanding that a right-wing populist Leviathan eats Behemoth in the end….”

    1. Carey

      I have to single out this part: “..The success of social democracy in the postwar era weakened the market’s power to act as a moderating influence on the state..”

      end times

  30. Jeff W

    After reading that Science piece on the Stonehenge pig feasts, I happened to read this piece, “Rare diseases prompted care in ancient times,” linked to below it.

    One quote:

    Case after case challenged the common notion that life in the past was nasty, brutish, and short. In a line of research called the bioarchaeology of care, scientists are finding that people with rare diseases often enjoyed the support of their societies, survived well into adulthood, and were buried with their communities, not as marginalized outsiders.

    The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.
    —L. P. Hartley

  31. Peter VE

    “Fire Breaks Out At a Houston-Area Petrochemicals Terminal Bloomberg. Second in a week.”
    Does anyone else wonder how this may have been related to the electrical system breakdown about 22 hundred miles southeast?

  32. A Polite Strangle

    “Only one participant, sitting near the front, wore a yellow vest. Moments after he rose to speak dozens of red cards were fluttering like bunting. He had referred to ‘Macron’ without the polite prefix ‘monsieur’ or ‘le président’. He favoured nuclear energy; a tax on aviation fuel; and with the number of injuries at demonstrations still mounting, he called for Castaner to be replaced. More red cards flew up in dismay”

    Exactly what happened during the Nuits Debout. As soon as a working person spoke they were ignored or just listened to politely.
    These “meetings” are hi-jacked by the polite people and therefore will never lead to sny change. They are there to make sure the change doesn’t happen.

  33. ewmayer

    o “Radical plan to artificially cool Earth’s climate could be safe, study finds Grist” — ‘Could’ is doing a lot of work in that headline.

    o “The Fed has exacerbated America’s new housing bubble FT” — In other news, a recent scientific study has revealed that water is wet! Analogously, a friend from down under recently sent me this link touting a similarly revelatory study there: Reserve Bank economists find cuts in official interest rates drove up house prices. Economists are shocked, shocked I say! – to find policies explicitly designed to inflate housing proces actually have that effect. My reply to my friend:

    LOL, Is this supposed to be some revelatory finding amongst the economists? Because in Oz as elsewhere, cutting interest rates, along with all the other measures – lower down payments, loosened lending standards by the banks, laxer oversight of same, allowing foreigners to buy multiple properties without significant tax penalty and/or non-resident-ownership penalties, tax writeoffs for mortgage interest expense – are DESIGNED to inflate the property market. Feature, not bug.

    o “Brexit will mark the end of Britain’s role as a great power | WaPo. Surely Suez did that?” — Even before Suez, surely the 2 world wars and Indian independence which preceded it were all waymarkers of the decline. “But we gave those dirty Argies what-for in the Falklands, what, what? I say, that was a jolly good show!”

  34. Mel

    Update by Yves: The site seems to load faster with the new ads (the ads were what would slow down loading times),

    Subjective reaction: Article text is appearing sooner, but the ads are still coming in at about the same rate, so Firefox here reformats the page about 3 times over the first 10 seconds or so. Before the change, the screen was blank while much of this was happening. No need or reason to reject the new ways.

  35. gordon

    In a triumph of brain-dead pseudo-journalism, Richard Haass (“Picking Up The Pieces After Hanoi”) manages to discuss US-North Korea sanctions and denuclearisation without a single mention of the 1994 Agreed Framework arrangement which was abandoned by the incoming Bush Administration after 2000.
    Nor does Haass mention the revealing remarks by Pres. Trump to the effect that the South Koreans can do nothing by way of sanctions relief for North Korea without US approval:
    The US doesn’t want an agreement with North Korea. Nor does the US want the South Koreans to negotiate with their brothers and sisters in the North. Trump meetings with Kim Jong-un including the Hanoi meeting just represent the US shouldering South Korea aside in a most humiliating fashion and ensuring that no deal is reached.

  36. homeroid

    My ipad would not load NC all day. Gets stuck when the ads start. Runs Safari. Any ideas.
    Need my ipad as i spend 12 hours a day in my taxi. NC is essential.

    1. Savita

      try disabling Javascript
      sounds like there are some teething problems with video etc that might improve things for you once fixed
      in the mean time try turning off certain display settings – no javascript should do it

      1. homeroid

        on it thanks. I live away from town so no wifi here. Will find out in the morn. Thank you.

  37. Savita

    NC we wish you the greatest of success and income with the new ads :-) you put the bienvenue back into revenue :)

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