Links 3/2/19

No thefts reported after Kingston grocery store accidentally left open Family Day Global News

Climate Change Is Here—and It Looks Like Starvation The Nation

Opinion: Investors should no longer bet on Warren Buffett MarketWatch. If CalPERS runs true to form, they will have adopted “Buffet-ism” exactly at the moment when it has run its course.

Lyft’s Risk Factors Are the Stuff of IPO Dreams — Bad Ones Bloomberg

An MMT response on what causes inflation FT Alphaville

Brexit

PETER OBORNE: Why victory is within Theresa May’s grasp Daily Mail. Another such victory and we are undone…

Pound Optimism Growing as Banks Take No-Deal Risk Off the Table Bloomberg

Brexit: damage limitation EU Referendum

Farmer worry as US demands end of ‘unwanted trade barriers’ post-Brexit Farming UK. Chlorinated chicken, here we come!

No deal Brexit: allowing pharmacists to substitute doctors’ prescriptions may be unlawful, says public interest group BMJ

‘Just get us out’ LRB

Labour general secretary Jennie Formby rebukes Tom Watson in letter to Labour MPs New Stateman. The letter:

Very British: “This continues to be coordinated by me and my team and does not require any prompting.”

Venezuela

Venezuela: US Resolution Fails at UNSC as Guaido Vows to Re-enter Country Venezuelanalysis

White House is weighing TPS for Venezuelans McClatchy. Clarifying!

Navy training exercises rattle windows in Ocala and beyond Ocala Star-Banner (guurst).

Mexico

Strike Wave Wins Raises for Mexican Factory Workers Labor Notes

Mexico’s Old-School War on Crime Gets a Surprising New Champion Foreign Policy

Trump’s Surprising New Ally in Mexico? The Government NYT

India

Seems to be real. Thread for India hands:

Pakistan to lodge ‘eco-terrorism’ complaint against India over damage to trees from airstrikes AFP. Trees in the news!

Malaysia plans to halt palm oil expansion to fight bad image Jakarta Post. More trees in the news!

Syraqistan

Saudi Aramco faces key test of demand in global debt markets FT

China?

Opaque world of Chinese state-linked debt unsettles bond investors FT

Xi out to remind China who’s boss at year’s biggest political event Nikkei Asian Review

Foxconn, a tale of slashed salaries, disappearing benefits and mass resignations as iPhone orders dry up South China Morning Post. Gonna be hard to send money home as an act of filial piety this way….

New Cold War

Majority of Americans Now Consider Russia a Critical Threat Gallup. Propaganda works.

Trump Transition

Where the investigations related to President Trump stand AP

Poll finds 37 percent found Cohen testimony credible The Hill

Trump Ordered Officials to Give Jared Kushner a Security Clearance NYT. EM: “Latest MSM-generated teapot tempest – it’s been tradition to let former high officials keep their clearances long after their active government service has ended and they’ve hit the Sunday morning talking head circuit, so pretending these are normally treated as Holy Relics is absurd. But maybe a top-to-bottom review of *all* the currently-issued clearances and some sensible policies restricting their issuance going forward would be good! Just spare us the suddenly-under-Trump-this-is-an-outrage tone.” Looks to me like the Times is doing its allies in the intelligence community a solid.

Here’s Why Donald Trump Doesn’t Want Anyone To Know His Grades Or SAT Scores Forbes. Hard to think of a line of attack from deeper in the professional class bubble than this.

* * *

U.S. says rejects WTO’s ‘straitjacket’ of trade obligations Reuters

PHL online troll earns between P30,000-P70,000 a month, leader bares GMA News Online. Seems high; the average monthly salary of a Philippines airline pilot is P5,639. Though English skills do command a premium. Makes one wonder if US campaign strategists understand labor arbitrage. I would bet they do.

Democrats in Disarray

Sanders plans to weave family story into first major 2020 speech CNN. In contrast to the typical pattern, I think Sanders will tack to the center in the primary, and the left in the general.

Sanders says he’s not interested in asking Hillary Clinton for 2020 advice Politico

‘I don’t think it’s a contradiction: 2020 candidate Kirsten Gillibrand says fundraiser at Pfizer exec’s home shouldn’t be a cause for alarm Business Insider (MV).

A Different Way to Think About White Identity Politics New York Magazine

Big Brother Is Watching You

Phone-hacking device used by police sells on eBay for $100 Engadget (EM). But don’t worry. All the data’s been wiped.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Black History Month: We got distracted, but there were high points. Here’s what we missed USA Today

How a black man ‘outsmarted’ a neo-Nazi group — and became their new leader WaPo. C. Northcote Parkinson: “Operatives assigned to the task of ability-elimination fail (through stupidity) to recognize ability when they see it. An individual of merit penetrates the outer defenses and begins to make his way toward the top. He wanders on, babbling about golf and giggling feebly, losing documents and forgetting names, and looking just like everyone else. Only when he has reached high rank does he suddenly throw off the mask and appear like the demon king among a crowd of pantomime fairies. With shrill screams of dismay the high executives find ability right there in the midst of them. It is too late by then to do anything about it.”

Guillotine Watch

Excellus makes $150M profit, gives CEO 23 percent pay raise Syracuse Post-Standard (Bob). The article helpfully lists all the executive salaries.

Why the legal cannabis industry loves the Ford Transit van Quartz

Class Warfare

Southwest sues mechanics union alleging deliberate slowdowns ABC

Farm Loan Delinquencies Highest in 9 Years as Prices Slump AgWeb

Quantitative easing was the father of millennial socialism FT. Sloppy generational framing.

Early Affluence Tied to Faster Cognitive Drop Late in Life MedPage Today (original). n = 24,066.

Mission To Mars Rolling Stone

Antidote du jour (via):

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.

260 comments

  1. The Rev Kev

    If the UK is forced to adopt US standards – or non-standards as the case may be – then as far as food is concerned the UK would never be allowed to export any of their food products to the EU I would guess. I suppose by extension, that would include any food exports to any country that follows EU standards as well. That would really isolate the UK from the EU from what I can see.
    In preparation for Brexit, the UK is setting up a logistics hub in Belgium where vital medical supplies can be stockpiled and then ferried into the UK. The medicine will be transported to ferry companies in the Netherlands, Germany and France and from there will be shipped to British ports in Dorset, Hampshire, Kent and Lincolnshire. As part of this logistics process, a company called DHL has been given a no-bid contract to carry this all out.
    People may have heard of this company. This was the one that was given the chicken delivery contract for Kentucky Fried in the UK and failed spectacularly to fulfill the contract so that hundreds of Kentucky Fried chicken branches were forced to close. More on this at-

    https://metro.co.uk/2019/02/27/firm-running-nhs-supply-chain-brexit-company-behind-kfc-crisis-8770369/

    Reply
    1. Clive

      If the UK is forced to adopt US standards – or non-standards as the case may be – then as far as food is concerned the UK would never be allowed to export any of their food products to the EU I would guess.

      Not actually correct, but a common misnomer. Having just munched my way through a USA-grown Pink Lady apple, presumably from Florida, this is obviously possible (the U.K. currently importing non-EU produce while at the same time exporting to the EU).

      What will be an additional headache is that U.K. County of Origin produce will need to satisfy EU phytosanitary criteria and, more specifically, to prove it. It will no longer be possible to just chuck some (for example) cheese across the English Channel and say to a Single Market member “you don’t need to check that (and, in fact, you must not check it nor do anything to delay or interrupt its free circulation) because it comes from an EU Member State”.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Thanks for that reminder Clive. What I meant to write, but left out, was processed foods and not just stuff like fruit, meat and vegetables. Even then, stuff like chicken sounds inoffensive but not if it has been washed with bleach.

        Reply
        1. Clive

          Ah, yes, processed food is, counterintuitively, a little less complicated than fresh produce. The Country of Origin checks and food standards requirements must be done and satisfy the EU Single Market rules but these rules are — generally— less onerous to fulfil than for unprocessed foodstuffs because only the final product must be certified and labelled in a compliant way.

          But because both EU-compliant and, potentially, non EU-compliant processed food may be circulating in the U.K. market, it will be the labelling and the documentation of processed food that will become key. If it becomes apparent that the U.K. is going to be lax in ensuring that what is ostensibly the same processed food product but made to different standards (a US made ready meal, for example) gets misrepresented and exported as a U.K.-made product supposedly to EU standards but in fact only adhering to US standards, then the EU will impose much stricter checking (such as moving from random sampling to checking every consignment).

          A lot of the pain, or lack of pain, which the U.K. will face is in how well it regulates the new U.K. independent market and what on-the-ground enforcement is like. I can’t say I’m exactly filled with optimism. If the U.K. screws it up, it can expect swift and costly repercussions from the EU.

          Reply
          1. Sanxi

            The US does in fact export food to the the E.U. which by definition means it is E.U. compliant. If the U.K. wants to export processed food to the E.U. using US food in needs to import US food that is E.U. compliant. I’d suggest contacting Whole Foods.

            Reply
        2. Olga

          You’re prob right… although I’d be remiss mot to mention that EU has its own share of problems with food. For one, there is the persistent problem with a two-tier food production – former socialist countries get food stuffs that look the same, but have a different composition (lower quality) than the west (it’s been discussed at the E Parliament level intermittently). Also, this winter a huge scandal broke out, when it was discovered that Poland is exporting rotting meat and/or meat from sick cows (someone filmed the inside of a slaughter house). And this was not the first time. Most people I know in Central E. avoid food from Poland.
          http://www.newser.com/article/d6d58b1f417343b0bd45323ce49311d6/eu-inspectors-visit-poland-after-meat-exports-from-sick-cows.html

          Reply
          1. Clive

            This is a big problem, of course, for any heavily processed food. Even with the hyper-strict EU food labelling regulations, once raw ingredients (where not only labelling standards are exhaustive but also the end-to-end traceability requirements plus things like special categories such as organic clearly defined) are heavily processed into a product all you get is the Country of Origin for the product itself, not any of the ingredients.

            Personally, I too don’t trust even the EU agriculture rules alone. I avoid heavily processed food wherever possible and even lightly processed food I will only buy from specific Member States. Butter, milk, cheese and other dairy from the UK, IE, FR, DK. Ice cream from IE, BE, FR (never from UK, it’s usually awful unless organic and that’s hideously expensive). Anything with animal origin is UK, IE, DK and that’s about it — as you say, standards are one thing. Adherence is quite another.

            Goodness knows what awfulness we will be subjected to post-Brexit. The US is already on our case asking us to stop worrying and love the chlorine https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-47426138

            Reply
            1. adrena

              EU organic standards are applied differently by each country. That’s why I never by organic food from Spain. Holland, on the other hand, has the most rigid regulations.

              Reply
            2. Pookah Harvey

              Reported in the Guardian:

              Jay Rayner, the BBC presenter, Observer columnist and MasterChef critic, said the UK should tell Johnson where he can stick chlorinated chicken

              Reply
          1. Clive

            We do! Well, some people do.

            Interestingly enough, for the burgers https://www.mcdonalds.com/gb/en-gb/good-to-know/about-our-food.html “We only use British and Irish beef” but for the McNuggets “It’s always 100% chicken breast meat” — so it’s a little shy now about where them chickens came from. I’m sure they used to say “British chicken”. So we’re probably already being softened up for the real, quality stuff from the good ole’ US of A!

            Reply
          2. skm

            yes and it`s been great, interviews with articulate folk, lots of analysis of politics/neoliberal misery etc that would pass muster on NC. Some saying they were out again in reaction to the demonisation campaign by the media and power elite. They complained that the police don`t arest the (obviously) known violent disrupters (“professionals” that come out and cause mayhem on the fringes of almost all demonstrations, especially those that are well-publicised in advance) A great discussion on a programme called “Interdit d`interdire” hosted by Frederic Taddei who lost his often interesting discussion programme (ce soir ou jamais) on state tv a while back….. can be found on the net for francophones… It featured prominant GJ adherents – you`d never hear such an informed discussion on the BBC or any UK media. Smatterings of decent analysis does still filter through onto French main stream media outlets, in a way unheard of in the UK.

            Reply
        3. Wukchumni

          Anybody ever try and do a load of laundry and fry chicken @ the same time utilizing a chlorinated bleach solution?

          Reply
        4. cm

          The reason the chicken is washed with bleach is because of how the butchering happens — machines “gut” the inside of the chicken, bursting the intestines, which then splashes dangerous bacteria all over the inside of the carcass.

          If you’d rather not have this fecally contaminated meat bleached, then I guess you’d better be sure to cook it to 185F…

          I butcher my chickens the old fashioned way — being extremely careful to remove the innards without any breakage. Since this takes longer, of course it is not commercially viable in the US.

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            ime, people either don’ know this, or don’t want to know it.
            ask any random sampling of usians about the fecal soup their mcnuggets soaked in…it’s either total disbelief or a major faux pas, like taking a crap in church.
            this, how many years after “fast food nation” came out?
            I think maybe the biggest obstacles to replacing Big Ag with a fairer, decentralised food production system is not necessarily the rice bowl protection…it’s the enormity and hypercomplexity and entangledness of the current system.
            if you’re ever driving through a rural still-farming area some weekday morning, listen to the farm report. it’s like arbitrary numbers handed down by god, himself. they must mean something, right? and surely they are important to me….
            but if you grow wheat, you take the price offered by pioneer.
            every farmer i know, or even know of in some sixth degree manner, is a de facto tenant farmer…working for conagra, et al..
            and when you consult the https://farm.ewg.org/ , the most successful local farmers…which also means the most intensive chem use, btw…along with the most wasteful water use….are the most heavily subsidized.
            (for the most part, these successes are also the worst when it comes to treatment of their employees…at least as far as my anecdotal observations go(I know a lot of “illegals” and recently “illegals”))

            Reply
          2. ChrisPacific

            I remember hearing a summary of the food safety lecture on chicken from a culinary school class in America. They covered the points you mention and added that organic/free range brands are usually no better, because they are typically processed in the same facilities.

            The conclusion was that from a food safety and handling standpoint, any time you were working with raw chicken “you should imagine that you had just taken it out of the toilet.” Naturally a topic of some importance in the culinary world, where you need to make chicken dishes for your customers without making them sick or killing them.

            Reply
      2. Bugs Bunny

        I’m very worried that the wonderful M&S food shop in Paris will be closing at the end of the month :(

        Reply
    2. paul

      This is the sort of thing they want.
      They don’t really hate europe, they really hate having to put up with the lumpen population. The people that dominic raab described as ‘unable to see past the nhs and council housing’.
      These contemptibles have only scrap value, to be sold off to the land of the free (or anyone else).
      No deal makes alll their wild and miserable dreams come true

      Reply
  2. PlutoniumKun

    PHL online troll earns between P30,000-P70,000 a month, leader bares GMA News Online. Seems high; the average monthly salary of a Philippines airline pilot is P5,639.

    I think this is a misreading of the link – the salary is 98,575 pesos, which is given as $1253 dollars, adjusted to $5639 using purchasing power parity. I assume the massive difference between the dollar and adjusted dollar amount is that buying a nice house is vastly cheaper in the ‘pines, at least outside the upmarket parts of Manila.

    I met a guy once who ran a phone support company in the ‘pines. He said the standard pay for workers (who indeed needed good English, but this is extremely common in the ‘pines) was $2 an hour (about 100 pesos), and he charged his American clients $4.

    Reply
  3. PlutoniumKun

    Sanders says he’s not interested in asking Hillary Clinton for 2020 advice Politico

    I would have imagined it would be very useful, just so long as he remembers its like a country asking the IMF for advice in a financial crisis. Just so long as you remember to do the exact opposite to what you are told to do, you’ll be fine.

    Reply
    1. WheresOurTeddy

      I would go to Hillary for campaign advice, but only because Adlai Stevenson and Lyndon LaRouche are dead.

      She really is the foremost authority on failed attempts at the presidency at this point.

      Reply
      1. nippersdad

        Petkanas, Clinton advisor of recent bitter “King Bernie” fame, is still in the news. I think they let the cat out of the bag, here.:

        “Petkanas, who runs the Democratic communications firm Petkanas Strategies, said he isn’t currently working with any 2020 candidates, or on gun issues.”

        Looks like all of those candidates that are trooping over to Hillary’s house for advice are getting some, and Petkanas is pissed.

        Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The other side is its politics. Its not that effin’ complicated. If you run on popular issues and have name recognition, the rest kind of takes care of itself. When you have to cover your record or don’t want to commit yourself, you have to get creative.

        Besides run to the extremes for the primaries and to the center for the general is the Clinton advice. Team Clinton also tends to look to build coalitions based on “leaders” bringing their followers to the table as opposed to direct appeals to voters or potential voters, hence their focus on celebrity to a point where Neera Tanden still complains about Susan Sarandon. In Clinton land, the support of a doofus such as Bill Kristol is a coup because Clinton land is aristocratic outfit and they expect the lords to bring the serfs despite evidence to the contrary.

        Outside of name recognition and making sure you don’t leave votes on the table, its not where you need advice as much as commitment and passion.

        Reply
        1. nippersdad

          Re: “…hence their focus on celebrity to a point where Neera Tanden still complains about Susan Sarandon.”

          They may just have discovered the little people!: https://news.yahoo.com/unifying-figure-can-beat-trump-2020-former-clinton-adviser-says-100031099.html

          “In the book, Palmieri connects her own disorientation to the pain of other Americans,…disruption had come to my industry the way it had to so many others. Nothing made sense to me anymore. Right. This is how the man who worked coal his whole life felt and now can’t find a decent job feels….This is how the cab driver that was run out of business by Uber feels. This is how everyone feels whose life plan was blown up by some unexpected and confounding force.”

          She feels our pain! Oh, wait, her answer to populist urges in the Party are (wait for it) Gillibrand, Bulloch and Klobuchar.

          Never mind.

          Reply
        2. ChrisPacific

          Sanders style politics is that simple. If you’re an establishment Democrat, and need to deliver results for your donors that are the opposite of what you’ve told voters you stand for, then it’s not simple at all. (Checks and balances, incrementalism, racism/sexism, ‘fighting for’ stuff, ‘advancing the conversation,’ bipartisanship, ‘taking politics out of the picture’ etc.)

          Reply
    2. Earl Erland

      Former Clinton Senior Advisor Nick Merrill took to Twitter to slam Bernie for this. Very early in the response thread one person asked why Bernie should take advice from someone who could not figure out that a campaign stop or two in Wisconsin was good strategery. To which a HC die hard added another excuse to the list:
      “Oh yeah Hillary should’ve campaigned in WI while they were still pulling bodies out of the Pulse nightclub. Yeah, Berners & media would’ve respected her sooooooo much for that.”

      https://twitter.com/NickMerrill/status/1101568154336153602

      Reply
      1. richard

        Okay, I looked at those and they were demented.
        btw, i tried to join twitter for the first time today
        there was some awkwardness and going back and forth, to try to put in the temp. password
        on the right screen
        I ended up getting 2 or 3 diff. passwords
        just got on, and then…
        twitter kicked me off after 2 minutes
        disabled my account
        decided I wasn’t human
        said it would send some code through my phone to reactivate
        I don’t text at all, don’t have that kind of phone
        so…..
        my twitter account
        BeezusQuimby
        which was going to be so famous
        RIP

        Reply
    1. Lee

      Another source for what I believe to be the same info for free. It does seem odd that BMJ would paywall an article about the actions of a public interest group, the The Good Law Project. Perhaps the BMJ article more medically based info. Being unwilling to pay the toll, I cannot say.

      Legal proceedings launched against government’s medicines ‘serious shortage protocols’
      https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/news-and-analysis/news/legal-proceedings-launched-against-governments-medicines-serious-shortage-protocols/20206232.article?firstPass=false

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        wife’s recent post-op experience.
        they didn’t have morphine(!!) so used dilaudid. nurses complained about this for some esoteric reason that I am unfamiliar with.
        there’s notices all over about an injectable opioid shortage…and notices about insulin shortages…and they ran out of whatever blood thinner they wanted to use for her post op, and had to switch. scuttlebut I overheard indicates shortages of other meds, too…as well as sterile plastic things(like IV bags…is this still Puerto Rico?)
        There’s also a focus in the morning nurse cheerleading session about antibiotic resistance
        I admit that this is the most time i’ve ever spent in and around a hospital. But I’m no newbie in such lurkings.
        …and I habitually pay attention and read everything pasted to walls.
        this set of phenomena feels different.

        Reply
    2. ChristopherJ

      I’ve been using outline.com to read articles which are either behind paywalls or heavy with vids and advertising. There’s only been a couple of articles it can’t crack, just copy the url and away you go

      The paywall model is busted

      Reply
  4. jfleni

    RE: Navy training exercises rattle windows in Ocala and beyond.

    Not to worry; It’s only Uncle Sam’s Canoe Club “PROTECTING” us.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Yeah, just like the LOUD fighter jets that have been flying over Tucson for the past few days. I think they’re F-35s.

      Reply
      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Choppers are flying overhead at like 500ft in New Orleans for l (another ones flying by now!!) iterally every.Fn.Parade.

        Back and forth…

        I hear the Choppers hoverin
        Theyre hoverin overhead
        Theyve come to take the wounded
        Theyve come to take the dead

        “Murica

        Reply
        1. Amfortas the hippie

          lol.
          loud as hell.
          and fast.
          all those fighters are.
          we’re in the “west texas training area”…always more active during a republican administration.
          i’ve seen lots of strange things over the years.
          the thing that sticks, is the “invisible aircraft”.
          we hear them…long, low rumbling…goes on and on for 20 minutes sometimes…but nothing visible.
          might be over the horizon, but it sounds as if it’s from Up.
          it can be maddening, since one’s house acts like a giant eardrum/resonator…you can hear these things inside better than outside.
          happily, there have been few instances of barnstorming since the first 3 years of Iraq2.
          during that period, they would fly so low I could sometimes see the pilots of the various aircraft—including a C-130, no less…for something that large to be so low is harrowing(hard bank, right over head, within arrow-range. I thought it was crashing)

          Reply
  5. rattlemullet

    Majority of Americans Now Consider Russia a Critical Threat Gallup. Propaganda works.

    I guess so does the threat of hyper sonic nuclear missiles. Does Russia, I mean Putin, have Americas best interest at heart? I doubt it, we also turned our back on them in their time of need regarding our, (cough) word about no NATO expansion.

    Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      Russia, like most countries not following direct orders from Washington, has to be prepared to defend itself through whatever means necessary. After the fall of the Soviet Union Russia was invaded by Western (mainly US) “consultants” who seemed bent on larceny. Though I have no proof at all it just so happened that, in the Washington area, it was after that fall that McMansions and high dollar townhouses sprouted up in Northern VA (where I lived) like mushrooms. At the very least I can say for sure that a dramatic rise in corruption in Washington did start in the 90s though it was probably more from “reinventing” government.

      Reply
      1. Olga

        True, although I thought they were mainly the vaunted “Harvard boys.” Someone should check whether there was a corresponding mcmansion explosion in the state of Mass.

        Reply
      2. WheresOurTeddy

        THIS. Whether a nation is run by a dangerous dictator killing his own people or by a “reformer” who is a “moderating influence” will tell you whether they buy US weaponry in large quantities or not.

        Reply
    2. VietnamVet

      The 1990s brought forth the replacement for Imperial Colonies; third world Big Men. These are plutocrats who could only safely store their ill-gotten gains the City of London or Wall Street. Caribbean Islands joined in for those willing to take a slightly greater risk. Oligarchs conquered Russia, Africa and all places between. This went on more less great until the 2008 Great Recession. Since then the West’s keeping Big Men in line has spread chaos across the world when Muammar Gadhafi and others started keeping their wealth at home. That just wouldn’t do. Except today a Big Man is President of the USA and we are into the 18th year of the Forever Wars.

      Reply
  6. Mikerw0

    Lyft – well how interesting. I expect a lot of ink to be spilled on this IPO in the next few weeks. Having read through the S-1 (as a former Wall Street analyst at a major asset manager) I really wonder how this market will receive this. Having followed the excellent, ongoing series on Uber on NC Lyft looks about the same. Losing money, high risks on multiple fronts, and most importantly no obvious path to breakeven, much less profitability. Unlike the prior generation of tech IPOs, the trends seem to be in the wrong direction, notably more revenue produces more losses. There are no signs of competitive advantage or scalability that others that have succeeded possess.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      More revenue produces more losses? What a business model! Where can I sign up to throw money at this company?

      Reply
  7. notabanker

    Excellus article states they made profits that equal 2.6% of revenue.

    However, it also states the company took in $5.7 billion in revenue and paid out $5 billion in claims. 12.3%.

    One non-profit in Syracuse is taking in $700M in excess premiums. Take note of this number.

    Krugman: In 2017, private insurance paid about a third of America’s medical bills — $1.2 trillion, or 6 percent of GDP.

    Great Paul, thanks. Where did the other $168 billion go? Oh, we can only count the profits of a measley $35.5 billion?
    I’m guessing not here: People are raising $650 million a year on GoFundme for healthcare

    Reply
    1. JCC

      Although Excellus is a large regional player, they are still relatively small compared to companies like United Health Care.

      The salary structure is one of the things that drives me nuts compared to a M4A type of system. We consistently hear that Medicare/Medicaid has about a 3% to 4% overhead cost while private insurers have an average of of 30% overhead costs, and salaries are a big part of that.

      The average Supervisor salary of the 10 Regional Medicare Offices as well as the Supervisors of the Health and Human Services Dept is about $155,000.00/yr (GS salary scales are easily looked up) and yet the protagonists of M4A constantly yell about “inefficient govt” and it’s high costs and fraud.

      Too true, propaganda works!

      Reply
  8. allan

    Poster linking Ilhan Omar to 9/11 causes melee in West Virginia statehouse [NY Post]

    A poster connecting Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar to the Sept. 11 terror attacks sparked a chaotic scene at the West Virginia statehouse on Friday, where lawmakers got into heated arguments and one staffer was injured, a report said.

    The poster showing the Democratic congresswoman next to the Twin Towers exploding into flames was part of a display for “WV GOP Day,” according to WVNews.

    “’Never forget’ —you said….” read the caption of the image with Omar, a Muslim, in her hijab. “I am the proof — you have forgotten.” …

    Oddly, the poster had no picture of Shrub with Bandar Bush.

    Reply
    1. WheresOurTeddy

      who helped get Bush 43’s first (failed) oil company going in the pre-governor days? The answer may (or may not) surprise you…

      Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    “Navy training exercises rattle windows in Ocala and beyond”

    From time to time, I read articles on how the US military conducts drills and training exercises in actual towns causing chaos. This happened in California not long ago and was a right royal pain for the people that lived there what between the soldiers, vehicles and helicopters. It’s not like the U.S. Department of Defense is short of land for maneuvers and training. At the moment, the US military owns, leases, or possesses about 11.4 million acres of all land in the United States so you would reckon that they have enough land for all this.
    After some thought, I have a proposal to make. How about the fifty States get together and agree on one of them to be turned over to U.S. Department of Defense, lock stock and barrel. All the cities, towns, farms, woods, fields, swamps – everything. The U.S. Department of Defense can do what it wants with it and conduct all the training and maneuvers and war games to their heart’s desire. But, but in return, they will never be allowed to do any of that stuff in the other 49 States ever again – ever! Sound like a deal?

    Reply
      1. Lee

        Should come in handy for when we invade Switzerland.

        Just wild guessing here, but I assume most of these novice skiers are from poor backgrounds and would otherwise never learn to ski. I didn’t learn to ski until rather late in life. It was like a spiritual revelation.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          I’d suppose you’re correct in that assessment of the semper fi’s, and it’s rare for somebody to pick up skiing later in life, congratulations.

          It’s pretty magical the scene of 4 year olds sharing the playing field with 74 year olds and every age in between.

          One of the skiers in our group is 66 and he only started when he was 45, but the rest of us all have 40-50 years each under our assorted belts. Next weekend, there will be around 250 years of experience in our group of 6 on the slopes.

          Reply
        2. Amfortas the hippie

          “… for when we invade Switzerland.”
          this is in preparation for the Arctic Theater…which term I may have just inadvertently coined.
          at some point, we’ll add frostbite to the amputation wards at the VA.
          sigh.

          Reply
      2. Unna

        So I snooped around and it looks like they’re now using a Tele system called the “NATO Ski System” made by Asnes of Norway.

        https://www.military.com/dodbuzz/2017/12/26/marine-corps-invests-millions-new-skis-cold-weather-training.html

        It’s the new Asnes Instad backcountry ski reviewed here and they look interesting: https://www.telemarktalk.com/viewtopic.php?t=1641

        Hey, I still have a pair of Asnes tele skis stored away that are stiff and that I only used on “hard pack” days principally because, well, having a pair of Asnes back then was considered cool. And I could have sold them to the Marines for real cheap. Great skis but they probably wouldn’t have liked the colour….

        Reply
          1. Unna

            Free Your Heel, Free Your Mind. Join the Marines!!! The Jarheads are looking for a few good Pinheads.

            But I say this with some respect. My father was a marine.

            Reply
    1. Carolinian

      When I lived in Atlanta the Navy F-18s would do their touch and gos at Dobbins (about 10 miles from downtown) and then roar over the nearby neighborhoods several hundred feet in the air. Nobody complained, but it helped that those neighborhoods were in one of Georgia’s most rightwing and military supporting counties.

      But on the whole I believe the Pentagon does confine most of its training to the boonies.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        During an election in Darwin, Australia the US military decided that it would be a great idea to have aircraft roaring over the city at this time making an unholy racket. Their defenders claimed that this was merely “the sound of freedom” that people were hearing. That phrase may be common in the US and yes, we have heard of it down here, but nobody was buying it.

        Reply
      2. Wukchumni

        The other day a couple of F-35’s were dogfighting overhead @ about 5,000 feet for about 10 minutes, and it took me 5 minutes to finally see them in the mixed clouds and blue above, and my devoted Fox News watching neighbor was about 100 yards away doing a burn pile, and after the show I walked over to say hello, and mentioned to him it was the first time i’d heard/seen them in months, and he got all defensive and must’ve brought up the T word half a dozen times telling me how America wasn’t messing around anymore, as T had so increased the military budget.

        Weird times in these not so United States.

        Reply
      3. dcblogger

        I lived in Norfolk, Virginia right under the training path of Navy jets. sonic booms were a regular feature of life.

        Reply
    2. lyman alpha blob

      Deal! – let’s use Florida. It’s been nothing but trouble for years.

      The people who live there shouldn’t mind moving to accommodate the troops since the whole state will be underwater soon anyway, and subsequently the imminent deluge will take care of our excess military.

      What’s not to like?

      Reply
    3. WobblyTelomeres

      They will screw it up, poison the land and waters, and demand another state.

      Nuke waste, perfluorinated compounds, benzene, etc.

      Reply
    4. WheresOurTeddy

      you sound like a frog who doesn’t like the water being gradually brought to a boil around you

      Reply
    5. newcatty

      Rev Kev, unfortunately the U. S. State Department has dedicated at least one of our states to protecting the homeland. There are more, but New Mexico is a prime example. To name just the obvious , and acknowledged, bases and “research” facilities:
      1.Los Alamos National Laboratory
      2.Fort Bliss: headquartered in Texas
      3.Cannon AFB
      4. Hillman AFB
      5.Kirkland AFB
      6.White Sands Middle Range AFB
      7. Los Alamos Demolition AFB

      This gives me no pleasure to point out that this beautiful state has, and is, used by the MIC. I lived there in the past.

      Reply
      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Fort Bliss. So huge that it costs 30 $ to get from New Bliss to Old Bliss.

        Did some snow tubing in Ruidoso, NM. Awesome place.

        1-Never taken an Uber or Lyft.
        2-Never golfed
        3-Never put on skis

        Reply
      2. RWood

        Don’t forget WIPP and a possible poisonous neighbor:

        Holtec International wants to open the world’s largest “interim” nuclear waste dump for one of the most deadly materials on Earth – high-level radioactive waste – in southeast New Mexico. The proposed site is located 16 miles northeast of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. But Holtec has to obtain a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), among other approvals.

        http://nuclearactive.org/new-holtec-information-from-albuquerque-hearing-last-week/

        Recall Helen Caldicott called New Mexico a sacrifice state.

        Reply
        1. RWood

          And it’s really a bit more widespread:

          Hundreds of ageing nuclear power stations now have dry stores or deep ponds full of old used fuel, known as spent fuel, from decades of refuelling reactors.
          The old fuel has to be cooled for 30 years or more to prevent it spontaneously catching fire and sending a deadly plume of radioactivity hundreds of miles downwind.
          Some idea of the dangerous radiation involved is the fact that standing one metre away from a spent fuel assembly removed from a reactor a year previously could kill you in about one minute, the Greenpeace report says.
          https://climatenewsnetwork.net/growing-nuclear-waste-legacy-defies-disposal/

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Thank you for that comment & link as every time someone comes on here saying ‘Hey – how about we use nuclear power to get us out of climate change’ I intend to point them to the information in that article. Nuclear power is only a way of writing a cheque – so that we can power more gizmos – so that it will be up to our descendants to honour that cheque and of course they have no say on it at all.

            Reply
          2. Grumpy Engineer

            Yes. Used nucelar fuel rods are intensely radioactive. Very hazardous. This is why countries like France, the US, Russian, and Japan all reprocess their used fuel rods so that they can separate usable fuel from the shorter-lived more intensely radioactive nucleotides. The usable fuel is put back into new fuel rods (replacing what would otherwise have to be freshly-mined uranium), and the waste products are isolated and buried deep underground, where they can’t hurt anybody.

            Only the US has implemented the idiotic idea of storing used fuel rods on-site at power stations scattered nationwide, undoubtedly with varying levels of security and containment integrity. Most of the blame for this can be laid at the feet of Jimmy Carter (who prohibited fuel reprocessing) and Barack Obama (who cancelled the Yucca Mountain project, where the rods at least could be better monitored and secured).

            Reply
      3. Oregoncharles

        We lived in Albuquerque for a couple of years. Beautiful, fascinating place.

        Kirkland AFB, which adjoins the airport, was just south of us. It has significant entertainment value. Like others, we used to go park at the end of the main runway and watch the planes take off. Watch, and feel. Once one wth two engines stood on its tail directly over us. I suspect they knew there was an audience. Then we couldn’t see the kid and the dog. Found both of them cowering on the floor in the car. Almost as if they knew something we didn’t.

        And we drove through the edge of Los Alamos repeatedly, because it’s right next to Bandelier National Monument, an important ruin. If you look closely, you see other old native residences wherever the canyon walls face south, including inside the nuclear reservation.

        Quite a smorgasbord of cultures, New Mexico.

        Reply
      4. MichaelSF

        That’s “Kirtland” AFB, not Kirkland.

        ABQ is also home to one of the Sandia National Laboratories (the other is in Livermore CA, my father worked at both of them).

        Reply
  10. sporble

    Re: PHL Troll article:
    the 2nd link which references the salaries appears to be have problems: airline pilots don’t make 5,639 pesos a month; it appears that, after deductions, they make an amount of US$ which is much closer to the amount in the 2nd column of that chart, i.e. 1,253 US$/month (ca. 65,000 PHP).
    The first column of the table indicates “PPP” for each entry, but this appears to be a comparison of Philippines vs. US purchasing power (see footnote 1 in the chart) – this is not the pilots’ actual salary in pesos, which can be found in the column “gross monthly average income”.
    According to oanda.com (currency converter website) the current exchange rate is 1 US$ = 51.8PHP.
    Using gross monthly average income of 98,575 PHP, you get $1,903.
    A 31% deduction (indicated in the next column) = nearly $590
    So net monthly income would be ca. $1,313 – rather close to the number ($1,253) from the 2nd column.

    The reason I did this: we’re off to the Philippines on vacation soon (I welcome any tips!) – and I happen to know the exchange rate is around 60 PHP to 1 Euro. I couldn’t imagine pilots in the Philippines – or anywhere, for that matter! – working for under 100 Euros/month.

    Now I guess I need to go back and read about the trolls…

    Reply
  11. Brindle

    AOC vs Blue Dog Dems…

    She has a nice thread going on the reality of Dems who vote w/ the GOP.

    “Again, didn’t threaten a primary.

    I was upset that 26 Dems forced the other 200+ to vote for a pro-ICE provision at the last min without warning.

    Because I think an agency that pins children down + forcibly injects them w/ antipsychotic drugs shouldn’t be given more power.”

    https://twitter.com/AOC/status/1101831550126170113

    Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      I don’t think this was a good move by AOC–not that I don’t sympathize with her position. But leftists should stay away from cultural issues like immigration, guns and religion and hammer away at single-payer, the corporate oligarchy, income distribution, class-struggle, climate change, permanent war, criminal reform, cannabis legalization and other popular ideas that seem to have support across cultural groups. Any reference to culture wars and identity politics will automatically alienate substantial parts of the population. Here in the South white people are getting very paranoid about the Democrats obsession with cultural issues and, while many here may be hostile, the people I know who are upset with the Democrats over these issues are not monsters but often warm and giving human beings who will support Republicans because they feel endangered and they have plenty of reason to think so. Democrats need to focus on popular issues that Congress (and Democrats) have ignored that opinion polls show are supported by all segments of the population.

      Yes, ICE has a bad record and had a bad record during the Obama administration and should be reformed. But that reform has to come within the context of immigration reform that, at present, is impossible until after Trump gets defeated–and he will be.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        ICE is representative of a police state. It ends to be addressed as part of the post 9/11 fraud and is significant representation of malinvestment.

        Does Congress appropriate funds for ICE? Then its an issue that matters. Putting our centrists on the record hampers their ability to use fraudulent identity politics again st the left.

        This focus on the popular issues is third way tripe. Leaders move issues.

        Reply
        1. notabanker

          I completely agree. Being the first shot across the bow at the blue dogs, forcefully administering psychotropic drugs to children is a pretty good place to start.

          This relates directly back to the debate over tactics post this morning. These issues must be confronted. People are going to choose to change or face their own peril.

          Reply
        2. bob

          Instead of using the horror show of ICE under Trump, just wait until the next admin buys it. Then, settle for reform.

          rotary club anarchist, at best.

          Reply
      2. WheresOurTeddy

        “Here in the South white people are getting very paranoid”

        I used to live in the south (Georgia). There’s no “getting”.

        Reply
      3. Cal2

        “But leftists should stay away from cultural issues like immigration, guns and religion and hammer away at single-payer, the corporate oligarchy, income distribution, class-struggle, climate change, permanent war, criminal reform, cannabis legalization and other popular ideas that seem to have support across cultural groups.”

        Following your schemata,
        Tulsi Gabbard is the ideal candidate. I refer you to the hour long interview of her by Joe Rogan. Pure policy discussions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPNGfAUWQ5o

        Kamala Harris is the worst. “losewithKamala2020”

        “Leftists” should love Gabbard.

        The value in her candidacy is to introduce policy ideas into the debate, to name, shame and blame her fellow Democrats for their likeness to the Republicans. She will be more provocative than Trump in the Republican debates. The Democratic Party is terrified of Gabbard because she would also appeal to disgruntled Republicans that voted for Trump and would probably win more votes from them than Sanders who is not a combat veteran.

        Gabbard in the debates would be high drama. 65,000 people from at least 20 states sending her campaign any amount, say a dollar, gets her into the show.

        Reply
      4. Unna

        Yes, Chris Cosmos, I agree. At this moment it’s not a question of the value of some of these cultural positions. That can be argued later. But it’s a question of their being counter productive politically. I’d say that AOC has perhaps eliminated herself ever from a realistic shot at the presidency or the Senate for that matter. Those positions will stay with her for the rest of her political career.

        When she’s in the position of being the most public face of a WWII style government program to combat GW that touches so many aspects of society and the economy, which will be backed up with the full enforcement and coercive powers of the government (I’m not specifically arguing against this, mind you), then perhaps she ought to be more circumspect about what she says and what positions and policies she talks about.

        Expect the Repubs to hammer the Dems in 2020: The NGD Dems want everybody to live in 30 story high rises in big cities like Manhattan; they want to take away your cars; they want to pass laws against your having children; they want to prohibit you – but not them – from travelling by air, and so on. This is going to freak people out.

        About the ICE/gun amendment: the way I understand it at least, this was a profoundly clever move by the Repubs. Let’s get the anti gun people to vote against an anti illegal immigrant amendment – which would prohibit them from getting guns – because these anti gun people are more pro non discrimination against those who are present in the United States in violation of the laws, than they are actually anti gun.

        Now, how’s that for pure evil genius?

        Reply
      5. Unna

        Or conversely, let’s get the anti discrimination/anti gun people to vote pro discrimination because they’re anti gun. Whatever.

        Reply
        1. Chris Cosmos

          How can you say that? Compared to the millions of lives the Washington regime has destroyed and traumatized abroad–that’s not such a big deal. Compared to both parties refusing to deal with climate change that could destroy everything, not much of a crime. Compared to the millions of Americans experiencing anxiety, depression, shorter life spans, addictions and misery due to a predatory system profiting only the rich–it’s not that much. Yes, of course, it’s terrible but it’s typical–look at how poor children are treated in poor school districts, or punished by either incarceration either in juvie or through harmful drugs and on and on. The whole system sucks and that’s what needs to be attacked not some relatively minor abuse of a very limited number of people.

          Reply
          1. bob

            This is beyond the pale for Chris-

            state sponsored child abduction is not a cultural issue, it is a crime against humanity.

            Reply
      6. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        I agree.

        Especially down South, its always ALWAYS safer when i try to radicalize someone in their own words and language. I avoid like the plague race, the Wall, gays, abortion, and even Socialism. I ask them if they want more power and control over their own lives. Simple, Logical Stuff.

        3 families own ~50% of Americas wealth. Not that hard, people!!!

        Lose the hate and attitude as well. Be convivial.

        Reply
        1. Chris Cosmos

          Exactly–they will agree with me on most issues–I talk to people all the time and the identity politics supporters just turn everyone off sometimes for good reasons sometimes bad reasons.

          Reply
        2. cm

          Also, it ain’t capitalism if the gov’t bails out banks and car companies. In capitalism, incompentent companies fail.

          Ergo, America is not capitalist.

          This is a simple (and accurate) message that is easy to convey to just about every adult who suffered through 2008.

          Reply
      7. Sanxi

        Stop saying leftist, it doesn’t convey anything excepting a bunch of very old, nearly dead Soviets. On the left, self styled Left, be clever, you can do better than that.

        Reply
        1. Chris Cosmos

          I’ve defined this often. But let’s put it simply. Leftist are people who are against imperialism/militarism and coercion in general. We are for a convivial society–science has pretty much been able to define what that is.

          Reply
        2. Procopius

          I think many of us chose “progressive” when the conservative/centrists preempted “liberal.” I don’t call myself any of the above. Usually call myself a “Revolutionary Socialist,” but really mean “Roosevelt New Deal Democrat.” We’re an endangered species.

          Reply
          1. Amfortas the hippie

            not endangered at all.
            just most New Dealers simply don’t know that they’re New Dealers.
            the language has been corrupted…so I don’t use it in the feed store.
            I use a lot of Sermon on the mount language…Social Gospel resonates profoundly.
            for the numerous things that doesn’t encompass(unions, for instance…) i hafta use allegory and analogy.(instead of unions, which is pavlovian, now, I point to the chamber of commerce on the square(bosses’ union) or the farmer’s co-ops and grange)
            these days, i rarely hear anything about race in public…it’s faux pas…uncouth…impolite.
            i do hear almost pleading laments in private…as if they’re asking “can’t I blame the mexicans for my woes?!”
            this requires patience and kindness and focusing on our shared humanity and our common immigrant past(irish experience is particularly relevant, as is the civil war era experience of our local german idealists). social gospel words come in handy, here, as well.

            Reply
          2. drumlin woodchuckles

            I sometimes call myself a New Deal Reactionary.

            The New Deal was a good deal for most of us. I miss my New Deal. I want my New Deal back.

            Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. says rejects WTO’s ‘straitjacket’ of trade obligations”

    Oh this is rich. The WTO was originally set up by Washington and other nations to keep developing nations down so that developed nations can stay on top – among other criticisms (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_the_World_Trade_Organization). So Trump is annoyed that the WTO has findings against the US from time to time in its behaviour and is demanding that judges positions be filled with American judges who will be able to make the ‘right’ decisions. This is one reason that the US is blocking the appointment of more judges in order to cripple this organization until they comply. Last year Trump said “If they don’t shape up, I would withdraw from the WTO” but it is a matter of perspective. Analysis shows the US wins about 90% when it is the complainant and loses about the same percentage when it is complained against so I would call that even though Trump does not think so. Do be not surprised if Trump pulls out of the WTO as well. Forbes did a story on this whole deal about two years ago in an interesting article called “US Trade Laws And The Sovereignty Canard” and it is at-

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/danikenson/2017/03/09/u-s-trade-laws-and-the-sovereignty-canard/#393285df203f

    This is what happens when you have a President that takes his inspiration from Calvinball.

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      Since I was part of the opposition to the WTO in the first place, I would see Trump pulling out of it as…highly ironic. Certainly we welcomed his withdrawal from the TPP, the next stage “trade” agreement.

      Because of the way it’s structured, the WTO has proven less imperial than it was intended to be. But if you’re talking about the trade courts (right word escapes me at the moment), blocking them is a good thing.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        aye. when he made noises about withdrawing, i was still in various liberal/progressive socmed…and I had the audacity to say,” well, good…maybe he’ll blunder into ending the WoD, too”
        I was, of course, pilloried for still being anti-WTO by a bunch of “progressives”.
        watching them defend the wto, and the neoliberal global order in general, was sickening.
        ahistorical turnips, newly fallen from the truck each day, who don’t understand irony.

        Reply
  13. Chris Cosmos

    Re: Russia is the enemy. Propaganda does work very well. As most people here probably know modern propaganda was said to have been invented in WWI by the CPI. That tradition endures today–while the mainstream media is no longer under orders by statute to print/broadcast government propaganda–they are being forced to do just that de facto.

    On the positive side the Orwellian campaign to make Russia the all-purpose “enemy” has benefit. Russia does have a the most credible nuclear deterrent and it looks like it has very cleverly managed to stay afloat despite sanctions and the idiocy of the US vassal states in Europe whose media outlets seem to follow orders from the CIA even if that is not the case so that we have a stable and seemingly permanent enemy just like in Cold War I. This is much better than the endless imperial war against minor countries and may, in fact, mean that Iran and Venezuela need not be invaded or attacked. The Orwellian enemy is in place–the right-wing Democrats (nearly all of them) can wave around the anti-Russian banners, keep the war budget high with ever more complex weaponry which may help us innovate technologically, and make it obvious that we cannot “afford” to do anything for the sheep other than keep the population from mass-starvation. This will at least save the lives of many people around the world who would otherwise be the victims of US war-crimes.

    We have to remember that the citizenry of the USA are or appear to be utterly confused and thus the false Narrative about Russia may not last through the growth of alternative information outlets that this may slowly change and people can avoid the propaganda organs obsession with fear, enemies, and identity politics.

    Reply
    1. pretzelattack

      i’ve noticed a number of articles on some sports blogs that are basically drumming up anti russia sentiment, wondered if it was part of the campaign.

      Reply
      1. Chris Cosmos

        Yes that is clearly the case. I was deeply shocked at the overwhelmingly negative coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics. I’d never seen such obviously slanted coverage of any foreign sporting event. It was so over the top I was embarrassed for the presenters. That attitude is now everywhere.

        The propaganda the media spouts is so overwhelmingly childish it makes the old Soviet press seem reasonable in comparison.

        Reply
          1. polecat

            Just you wait ! Soon they’ll have everything that was Bernays crammed into a robot ..er.. sorry .. an ‘artificial person’ – a young, more vital version of ol’ Eddie.
            Perhaps that will spark our own kind of Butlerian Jihad ..

            “No machine will be made in the likeness of an ad-dled inhuman mind”

            Reply
        1. katiebird

          We were shocked and embarrassed by the coverage. Not just NBC but the night time comics and Facebook jokes. When Bob Costa’s eye erupted it almost seemed deserved.

          Reply
      2. Amfortas the hippie

        I’m still noticing ads on tv as i walk by advertising a bunch of movies from the 80’s that have a distinctively cold war feel.
        it’s as if WGN and TCM have just uncovered a hidden vault somewhere.
        conversely, there was a scandinavian show on netflix about (Norway?) being invaded and occupied by Russia to prevent the former from giving away what sounded like Thorium Tech to the world…because it would upset Big Oil. Throughout, I felt like Russia was a stand in for the US(which is itself interesting)
        propaganda is insidious…and not always obvious.
        hunt for red october is now firmly in the rotation. I expect red dawn to join it soon.

        Reply
  14. Tom Stone

    The Lyft, Uber and Tesla IPO’s are all a big deal when it comes to SF house and Condo prices, there are tens of thousands ( You read that right) of high end condo’s coming on the market and the speculators who built them are already nervous about the softening market.
    And can anyone tell me why two ride hailing services and a niche carmaker are considered “Tech” companies?

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      They’re tech companies because we can hail a ride with an APP! And everyone knows that an APP! is so-o-o-o cool!

      Reply
        1. Duck1

          Russia/\3
          But what if our military is crap? Ford class AC and F 35?
          Lot of special services and 800 or so lily pads?
          Sad.

          Reply
  15. Wukchumni

    Mexico’s Old-School War on Crime Gets a Surprising New Champion Foreign Policy
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Must’ve been to Rosarito Beach dozens of times, often then off to nearby Puerto Nuevo for a lobster feast. Tijuana had tacky souvenirs & underage kids getting blotto in bars image to it, best avoided unless that is, you wanted to take in a jai alai match @ the fronton, where they served ice cold Dos Equis @ your seat for a Dollar, as you wagered a few bucks on humans running around with a funny shaped long scoop on one arm, hurling a ball against a wall. But that was then and this is now.

    Our ski group is mostly from SD, and they tell me nobody goes down under anymore.

    Reply
    1. John k

      Got lots of memories from ‘80’s, stayed regularly at las gaviotas 9 mi south of Rosario, and drinks dinner hai Lai (sp?) in tj… only neg was long wait to return, though I learned shortcut from ave de los heroes…
      Hear it’s too dangerous now, though also hear people brave it for excellent and cheap dental.

      Reply
      1. EMtz

        Fortunately, the rest of Mexico is different from the border region. I chose to leave the US pressure cooker and live full time on the altiplano in Central Mexico. My BP went from borderline hypertensive to low numbers I haven’t seen for decades. The culture is rich and deep. The food is fantastic. I live in a working class neighborhood and my neighbors are thoughtful, helpful and a pleasure to get to know. Most of my friends here are Mexican, not expats, many of whom tend to cluster into English-speaking ghettos and recreate their lives in the States. No thanks.

        Past this, the article about AMLO and militarization misses an important point as described in this link. https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/UN-Agrees-to-Train-Mexican-National-Guard-on-Human-Rights-20190301-0010.html
        This is just one small piece. There is a much larger context. You can’t really understand the sea change underway here without being familiar with AMLO’s framing of the “Fourth Transformation” of this country. Citizens here recently gave him a 67% approval rating, up from 62% 3 months ago, because we know the integrated program he is implementing that affects every aspect of this society is precisely what is required after decades of corrosive neoliberalism. We also know that while it’s going to take time, the violence will end. As AMLO said when he took office, “We’ll see who gets tired first.”

        Mexico certainly has its problems but it is far more unified in working towards solving them than is the case in the US. I feel privileged to be here and I’m staying right where I am.

        Reply
        1. cm

          Can you comment on the state of unrest/crime/etc in Oaxaca? When I lived in Arizona, I wanted to visit, but by the early 2000’s it was a disaster, and I moved away and a visit is not in the cards. However, I think their region has by far the best cuisine!

          Reply
          1. EMtz

            I have not been to Oaxaca in a couple of years but from what I read in the Mexican press it’s pretty calm. Even the teacher blockages of roads have diminished there, I suspect in large part because AMLO is rolling back EPN’s so-called education “reforms”.

            Agree that the food there is stellar. But every region has its specialties. Puebla is right up there, too.

            The situation here is very fluid. One has to use common sense, maintain awareness, read the oress to see where the hot spots are and not attract attention. This is true all around the world but particularly in Latin America where rule of law is weak.

            Reply
            1. cm

              Thanks for your response. Looking back, what was so shocking about Oaxaca was how quickly ( < 5 years) it degererated into dangerous territory.

              Reply
              1. EMtz

                I live in the State of Guanajuato. In one year the murder rate doubled. The splintering of the cartels into rival gangs. Huge uptick in carjackings with apparent impunity from corrupt local government. Even bigger uptick in gas pipeline theft that caused AMLO to shut down the pipelines and truck in fuel causing major gas shortages. 2600 federal forces have come in and they slowly are taking ground back but it’s going to be a slog.

                Reply
          2. EMtz

            I haven’t been to Oaxaca in a couple of years. It’s pretty calm from what I read in the Mexican press. Even the teacher bloqueos have stopped since AMLO pledged to undo EPN’s ill-advised education “reforms”.

            Agree about the food. But then every region has its specialties. Puebla is right up there, too.

            The situation here is fluid. A person has to use common sense, maintain awareness, stay up to date about hot spots and not attract attention. So it is in much of Latin America where rule of law is weak.

            Reply
      2. Jeremy Grimm

        My family used to go down to Tijuana for two kilo packs of tortillas hot from a tortilleria back in the 1970s — before the US dumped corn on the Mexican markets. But I heard — long ago — the US Navy has declared Tijuana “Off Limits” after losing too many sailors. The tortillas aren’t the same anymore after the cheap US corn mixes.

        Reply
        1. EMtz

          Thankfully, there’s a movement to save native varieties of corn and educate people about how crappy Maseca and its cousins are. The new government is aiding in this by subsidizing farmers who grow landrace and other varieties. This is part of an integrated program designed to make Mexico food-independent within the next 10 years and offer campesinos an alternative to growing opium poppies for the cartels.

          Reply
  16. cnchal

    > No thefts reported after Kingston grocery store accidentally left open Family Day Global News

    In other news shocking to Americans, when Canadians buy gas, you drive up to the pump, pump the gas, then go inside to pay if not paying at the pump.

    Reply
    1. Jim Thomson

      I came across such a gas station, a relic, last year in Gardnerville, NV. I was very surprised to have no card pay station at the pump. I just pumped and then went inside.
      I told the clerk, a young male, “It has been at least 20 years since I have seen a gas station like this.”
      He quickly said, ” Now you can’t say that anymore. ”
      I chuckled for hours after that.

      Reply
    2. Wukchumni

      Anybody ever get gas in the Gulag Hockeypelago and then just politely leave a note on the pump with a IOU attached that has a phony name, because they want to steal, but not make a scene?

      Reply
    3. lyman alpha blob

      I have a station like that across the street from me. Of course there are several surveillance cameras covering the property from every angle, so not exactly just a friendly, trusting mom and pop store…

      Reply
    4. JCC

      I was in Santa Maria, CA last year in need of gas and pulled into a small gas station. Totally confused, I stared at the pump for a few seconds trying to figure out how to pay. No card slot, no sign, just a lever across the handle. Shift the lever, pull out the hose, pump the gas, then go inside and pay. Just like it was when I started driving 50 years ago.

      My initial consternation made me smile. I immediately wanted to move there.

      Reply
      1. Ahimsa

        Wow, pump then go inside to pay is still totally normal here in southern Germany.

        Self service tills are creeping in in some supermarkets and hardware stores, but, to be honest, the cashiers here are much quicker.

        Reply
    5. RMO

      In many places in Canada (the entirety of my Province for one) fuel must be pre-paid or paid for at the pump. The law was implemented in BC after one particularly nasty pump and run incident that resulted in the death of an attendant. Many stations made it mandatory on their own even if not required because if someone does a pump and run the police will do 100% of nothing. The vast majority of stations have the ability to pay at the pump and that is what almost everybody does anyway. Fueling up in the States took a lot more time when we traveled south for the total eclipse as the pumps didn’t work with PIN cards and would ask for a ZIP code when swiped. Actually, we only saw one PIN reader during our trip which kind of surprised me as I had assumed the technology would have been widespread in the US before we got it in Canada.

      Reply
    6. wilroncanada

      cnchal
      Honour system gas not quite univeral in Canada.
      British Columbia has passed a law some years ago, called Grant’s Law, after a young man, working alone in a gas bar, was killed by someone doing a gas and dash. Gas is prepaid here. Two station employees have been killed in Ontario in gas and dash crimes, but that province has done nothing yet, as far as I know. Alberta has now also eliminated what I call “honour gas” because honour is disappearing. We still have honour veggie, fruit and egg stands here in semi-rural parts of Vancouver Island.
      In the early 1990s I worked for a friend in his hardware franchise store on a small Island near Vancouver Island, approximate population 9000. One night the owner left the doors unlocked, both front and rear. He also left outside the front all the items he normally put out on display for the day. This included 2 riding mowers, several gas mowers including a premium brand, lawn furniture, and miscellaneous other items. It was all still there the following morning.

      Reply
  17. Wukchumni

    All of the fruit trees here have a triangular set of posts, with chicken wire (poultry wire for those of us that are politically sensitive to foul play singling out just one species) around the perimeter, to in theory stop the deer from doing their worst. I use a 6 foot tall metal U-post, with another 4 foot U-post screwed in near the top of the 6 footer. I’ve purchased close to 200 of these over the past 5 years, and the 6 foot ones were $6.

    Needed a few more, and got my first China trade war sticker shock yesterday, as they are now $9.38 @ Lowes.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Would having a device that occasionally plays predator noises – like that of a mountain lion – be an option for you where you live? Or whatever the local predator is for the deer in your area?

      Reply
  18. dcblogger

    Possum! I luv possums. They eat ticks, rats, mice, and just generally everything you want eaten. Also I think it is so cool that they are marsupials.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Seems to be a somewhat accepted notion in EnZed that if you see a possum (Aussie kind-not North American) on the road, you might want to swerve to hit it. Not only that, but they also make clothing out of them.

      Reply
    2. Carolinian

      They also hiss at you nastily (it’s all a bluff) and look like the prehistoric beasts they are. Possums can be a pest where I live but beats having raccoons.

      Reply
      1. richard

        Wait, is possum the antidote today? I was going to ask, but I see you guys talking in this suspicious, “antidote” sort of way. :)

        Reply
      2. JCC

        Possums can be a pest where I live but beats having raccoons.

        Particularly if one decides to die of old age in the crawl space under the house. They stink almost as bad as a skunk and it takes months to dissipate.

        I’ll take a raccoon over a possum every time, at least they have the courtesy to expire in their own homes and not under mine.

        Reply
      3. notabanker

        I was out having a smoke one night a couple of years ago and heard this big ruckus in the wild cherry tree we have in the yard. It’s like 40 feet tall and has a huge canopy. I got the flashlight and looked over there and there were 3 coons up in the tree, three on the ground and two possums hanging around on the periphery. The ones in the tree were eating and stripping the ripe fruits off the branches and the ones on the ground were gorging themselves. They looked up at me like ‘yeah whatever’ and just kept going to town like they had won the critter lottery.

        The next morning I went out and they had stripped every piece of fruit off of the tree. I was laughing thinking about them laying around somewhere sick as can be for the next week after eating all of those cherries.
        This fall, I’d see the raccoons and possums here and there, but there were plenty of cherries left on the tree.

        Reply
  19. justsayknow

    Gillibrand -Pfizer $2700 fund raiser

    And you don’t see a contradiction there,” Wallace asked.

    “I don’t, because at the end of the day, people are going to support our campaigns because they believe in us,” Gillibrand said. “They believe that I will fight for women’s reproduction freedom, that I will [fight] for LGBTQ equality, that it won’t demonize people across this country. This country has always been great because we care about one another.”

    Determined to lose the election but win in the boardroom?

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      They believe that I will fight for…

      A wise person once said that the secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.

      Reply
    2. Chris Cosmos

      I think this is bad move on her part. I believed she was more pragmatic than that. The trend in public opinion is running negative on Big Pharma. She should have just privately assured them that she was their “guy” like Obama did with all the major lobbies. She could have been a good compromise candidate now she’s virtually announced she’s running right of center in hopes she can discourage Biden and Clinton from entering the race?.

      Reply
      1. Unna

        Maybe, by running, she’s just trying to raise her politician profile which could equate to increasing her “buy price” in the form of big donor money?

        Reply
      2. Procopius

        I’ve been getting negative vibrations from her for the last year or so. Not as bad as Harris, but definitely less “lesser evil.” Actually, I don’t see her in the news that much, so maybe it’s just high profile stuff like this that I’m seeing.

        Reply
  20. ChiGal in Carolina

    From the article on whiteness:

    He thus sees the attempt to force group-oriented whites to celebrate diversity or celebrate their own demographic decline as a form of cultural imperialism, akin to forcing Protestants to attend mass.

    Asymmetrical multiculturalism as a thing provides food for thought, but please: it is not so much a matter of forcing anyone to attend Mass as of allowing others to do so in peace.

    He perhaps has a point that the changing demographics may play out differently than anticipated, if individuals like himself, a quarter Latino and a quarter East Asian, nonetheless continue to self-identify as “white”, WASP identity having given way to white identity as the out-groups became not ethnic Europeans but Blacks, etc.

    The piece doesn’t really address though how and why that transformation came about (though the book may): the overlords sowing dissention among the peasants to keep them down. In fact, it seems the author is precisely arguing that acknowledging whiteness as an identity with as much right to be celebrated as any other is an effective way to let the air out of the much more dangerous phenomenon of right-wing populism.

    Maybe in an odd way, there is some agreement with A Reed here. Dunno…

    Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      I didn’t read the article but I am solidly against identity politics. I see what it has done in my part of the country (the South) and consider any major candidate pushing those buttons to be solidly pro-oligarchy. People who would vote for more progressive policies will vote RP every time because the DP is seen as catering to minorities only by giving them special privileges, through quota systems and so on. The oligarchs love this.

      Only class politics should be practiced by the left.

      Reply
      1. Rhondda

        It’s a really interesting book review, Chris Cosmos. From your comments (which I very much enjoy and agree with) about engaging with people on issues, I think you will find it more than interesting– you will find the ideas useful. Best wishes to you in your efforts to engage with and persuade people from all walks of life and points of view.

        Reply
      1. nippersdad

        She is doing very well in the comments sections of Politico and The Hill, though. I was kind of surprised at that, but, like the pols, I tend to watch them for trends. I suspect that FOX has riled up its’ legions of true believers but the trend is clear. Both sides of the aisle need to be nervous. She as been very effective at bringing up shibboleths that would otherwise have remained buried.

        AIPAC sympathisers are taking a pounding.

        Reply
  21. John k

    Russia hacking dnc…
    Much is being made of the speed data was extracted… can anybody comment? Too fast for internet, or not? Does the actual dnc link to internet matter?

    Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      William Binney says the info was downloaded to an external drive. I believe he is the most credible source of this sort of information. Anything the mainstream media accepts as true when it comes to foreign policy is probably false.

      Reply
    2. richard

      The speed matters, because it speaks to the likelihood of hack vs. leak. The material was downloaded too quickly to have been a hack, without question. My source is also W. Binney, but my understanding of tech matters tends to be simplistic, so I may have misunderstood.
      And of course, from snowden we know that had the material actually been hacked externally, the NSA would know every single thing about it, and the whole thing would have been made public 2 1/2 years ago. But these lunatics have no evidence, and also no apparent guilt over driving our country mad with this lie, insisted on over, and over, and over…

      Reply
      1. RMO

        I do love the fact that the main discussion is still how the information was brought out and who did it – and almost not mention of the information itself showing that the Dems were deliberately manipulating the primary and subverting what little democracy still exists. An analogous situation would be if a voyeur, in the process of spying upon people found out that the mayor of a large city was running a slavery operation out of the basement of city hall – and all the coverage of this revelation focused on what is to be done about this perverted peeping-Tom!

        It would almost be darkly amusing if we were to stumble into World War III as a result of this. Think of it: the Dems get caught corruptly manipulating the primary so they can get the chosen candidate in, then they run an expensive, incompetent campaign in which the generally poorly-regarded candidate loses to an animatronic Troll doll, then, in order to avoid taking responsibility for this (or learning or changing) they start a full-blown propaganda war blaming the Russians and managing to get the Cold War back.

        Reply
        1. Procopius

          I’m not so sure the NSA would admit it if they had proof, but remember they only admitted to “moderate confidence” when the CIA published that “assessment” in January 2017 and tried to pretend that “all 17 members of the Intelligence Community” were included. Man, that was embarrassing, that piece of trash.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            You mean that assessment that was done by the 17 intelligence agencies that turned out to be an assessment from only three of the intelligence agencies that turned out to be an assessment from certain “picked” members of those three intelligence agencies? That one?
            Reminds me of the time how people like Dick Cheney browbeat and personally harassed intelligence analysts at their desks into saying that maybe, perhaps Iraq had WMD. Then after the invasion was done and after thousands of American soldiers alone were dead, all you heard in the media was how the Iraq WMD fiasco was the result of a failure of US intelligence.

            Reply
    3. Plenue

      The metadata attached to the DNC files indicates a couple things. One is that it was stored in the FAT file system at one point. Any hard drive made in the last twenty years and running a modern OS is going to be running something other than FAT, most likely NTFS. Just about the only thing still running FAT are USB thumb drives. The second thing is that the metadata also indicates that the speeds the files were transferred at align perfectly with what you would expect for copying something to a thumb drive physically stuck into the computer.

      The ‘hacked’ narrative depends on us believing that not only were the files transported over the internet, but that apparently these alleged elite Russian government hackers weren’t doing something like bouncing their connection through a bunch of proxies, something that would have killed the transfer speeds. That they transferred these files right out in the open, full bore, which would have caused an impossible to miss burst of data traffic.

      Once again, the narrative has Boris and Natasha alternating between being evil geniuses and pants-on-head-morons based on whatever is most convenient to the story at any particular moment.

      Reply
    4. cm

      The speed absolutely matters because it means the data transfer could ONLY have happened on a USB device physically attached to the computer.

      A transfer over the internet would be orders of magnitude slower.

      Remember Seth Rich.

      This was an inside job.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        If it had been a transfer over the internet, the NSA would have been able to trace every single electron in that download going from start to finish. The fact that they have said nix can only be that there is nothing there to be found. And since they have not come out to put paid to this idea of a transfer over the internet then that can only mean that there are playing politics with this information. Don’t you hate it when something comes out that makes Trump look like the good guy in this drama?

        Reply
          1. RWood

            “Secondly, new light was shed on the process by which the DNC Emails published by WikiLeaks may have been sourced, thanks to two reports: https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2019/02/why-the-dnc-was-not-hacked-by-the-russians.html#more aformer NSA Technical Director Bill Binney and former CIA analyst Larry Johnson, with the other work penned by Disobedient Media’s Adam Carter (https://disobedientmedia.com/2019/02/fat-anomalies-in-leaked-dnc-emails-suggest-use-of-thumbdrive/ )”

            https://disobedientmedia.com/2019/02/russiagate-in-flames-no-evidence-of-collusion-new-findings-challenge-dnc-hack-narrative/

            Reply
        1. Plenue

          John McAfee doesn’t own the antivirus program anymore. He sold the last of his stocks in the late 90s. These days he’s only a minor, single-digit millionaire. He lost much of his wealth in the 2008 crisis, and he lost his half a million dollar home in Belize after fleeing the country when he became a person of interest in a murder case. He spends most of his time now doing cocaine and making insane tweets, mostly shilling for cryptocurrencies.

          Reply
      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Bern Bernie Bern!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Terry Alexander, Nina Turner, and Shaun King nailed it.

        Especially, Turner. Shes good at Speeches.

        Reply
        1. Baby Gerald

          Gotta agree entirely regarding Nina Turner. She’s incredible. Shaun King’s speech was excellent, as well. Go Bernie, go!

          Reply
      2. nippersdad

        We just got our new bumpersticker in the mail yesterday. Hindsight 2020

        I thought that was brilliant as well.

        Reply
  22. Annieb

    Re: Democrats in disarray, Class Warfare
    This podcast by Joe Rogan with Andrew Yang is well worth listening to. Rogan calls Yang the technological Paul Revere, warning about the AI revolution. Yang says he is running for President but I think he just wants to get this very important message out. Lots of jobs are in the process of being replaced by robots. We have all heard about this but he has lots to say, all of it well thought out, logical, and frightening. But he also has some great solutions that are also well thought out, logical, and hopeful. And he explains the benefits of a universal income, and how to pay for it better than anyone else I have heard.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cTsEzmFamZ8

    Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      Yang is the an almost stunningly articulate candidate wth clearly worked out policieses I have seen from any candidate. I think his grasp of FP is weak but due to his generally pragmatic approach I would vote, at minimum for the most opposite to Trump candidate we have so far.

      Reply
      1. Cal2

        “A stunningly articulate candidate” would not misuse the term “decimate”, especially when discussing statistics. I wish Yves would write a sidebar about the misuse of this term the way she did the other day about “ad-hominem”.

        Yang is an unelectable wonk with some great ideas that deserve a forum.

        Tulsi Gabbard is however stunningly articulate, a combat veteran and an experienced house member who has sponsored bills that are truly progressive.

        Team her up with Sanders as V.P. and the White House would be Democratic.

        Reply
        1. BobW

          On the other hand, language evolves, and words mean what they are understood to mean. Decimate lost its Roman legion meaning long ago.

          Reply
    2. Yikes

      For the right personality it is also very profitable to run for president, or any political office, if you can either avoid using expensive consultants or the expensive consultant has you as a partner in the firm. 60 minutes once did a piece about how Congress Critters in safe seats were legally spending left over campaign funds, post election, on themselves and their family. That’s what keeps Hillary from not declaring, if a fund is set up, even if she decides not to run, it’s hers after the election. A Sherman pledge would drastically reduce her chances for graft.

      Reply
  23. Carolinian

    I stupidly overlooked this link from yesterday’s Water Cooler but this is the definitive NYT takedown and definitely worth a look. The gist is that our leading national newspaper no longer seems all that interested in the news (i.e. simple factual information).

    https://www.cjr.org/special_report/why-the-left-cant-stand-the-new-york-times.php/

    And to expand yesterday’s discussion of Walmart, here’s a story about other changes including the elimination of overnight stocking shifts at smaller stores and the move to robot sorters in the back room (apologies for the ZH link).

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-01/walmart-replacing-overnight-shifts-labor-saving-machines-eliminates-store-greeters

    Even my local main library is getting into the act and for several years has had a robot sorting machine for returned materials as well as patron self checkouts. In Walmart’s case they are clearly moving to a heavy technology investment to reduce payrolls and improve their much criticized stocking. The Amazon/discount grocery threat is having an effect.

    Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        Solnit is not only weirdly long-winded, but not very honest. The latter conclusion stems from a long piece on Commondreams, during the second Obama campaign, about how lefties were too negative (have you read much of Solnit?); turns out, halfway through, that it was a campaign plug for Obama. She meant too critical of him. Not honest.

        Oddly, I was able to read the FT piece. Early quote: ”
        .
        https://www.ft.com/content/89d973be-0c15-11e8-8eb7-42f857ea9f09

        ” It’s the piece that brought us “mansplaining”, a phrase she coined after the host of a fancy party in Aspen tried to explain a “very important” new book about 19th-century photography to her — without giving her enough conversational airtime to explain that she was, in fact, the book’s author.” This story is very weird. For one thing, she’s talking about a rare opportunity: a chance for an author to find out what a reader really got out of her book. If she was smart, she’d maintain a silent but smug grin until he was done. Second, it’s a high compliment: he was using her book to impress this rather attractive woman he’d just met. 3rd: he was doing just what men are supposed to do. Maybe not very well, but you have to feel sorry for the poor guy. If the story is even true. See my first para.

        Is it clear that I don’t like Solnit – personally, or as a writer or thinker? And that’s based on reading her work and her own self-account in that piece. Has she encountered many examples of male condescension or even sabotage? Probably, but she doesn’t say so, just that weirdly interpreted incident.

        Reply
  24. Wukchumni

    State Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) is proposing a $400 million bill to lift the sinking Friant-Kern Canal.

    On Wednesday, Hurtado said Senate Bill 559, will “help secure California’s water supply by investing $400 million toward restoring lost (delivery) capacity on the Friant-Kern Canal, one of the San Joaquin Valley’s most critical water delivery facilities.”

    The Friant-Kern Canal delivers on average one million acre-feet of water, and 2.2 million acre-feet in wet years, to more than 18,000 farms across the Central Valley every year.

    The canal has been slowly sinking.

    Subsidence caused by severe groundwater overdraft during California’s historic drought has led to the canal dropping by as much as an inch per month.

    A few inches may seem insignificant, but Friant officials say it’s enough to reduce water flow through the canal by up to 60 percent.

    https://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/2019/02/27/california-senator-proposes-400-m-bill-fix-sinking-friant-kern-canal/3005805002/
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The long drought and scant amount of H20 available from the State Water Project meant that only an underground movement could save the vast orchards from dying of thirst, and now it’s time to pay the piper for lowering the boom.

    Reply
    1. Sanxi

      California, has to give up the ghost and live within it means, which means a vastly reduced water supply, and accepting wherever that leads. You’ve got exactly 11 years to figure it out and implement it.

      Reply
    2. BobW

      Wasn’t there an Andean civilization that collapsed because their canals tilted too much due to the mountains moving?

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        A little closer to home, the Hohokam, in proto-Phoenix had something similar, but different happen…

        Rapidly changing climatic conditions apparently substantially affected the Hohokam agricultural base and subsequently prevented the cohesion of their large communities. Repeated floods in the middle 14th century significantly deepened the Salt River bed while destroying canal heads, which required their continuous extension upstream. Soon, additional flooding removed irreplaceable segments of these extensions, which effectively rendered hundreds of miles of canals virtually useless. Because of differences in hydrology and geomorphology, these processes had a lesser impact on the irrigation systems used by the Hohokam in the Gila River basin, yet these were abandoned, as well.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hohokam

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          It’s always about the water, isn’t it? You can only have as much civilization and infrastructure as there is water to support it. I suppose that you could write a book about how the history of civilization is really a history of the supply of drinkable water. Certainly a place like California would be a perfect demonstration of that.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            Not much of the native population of California lived in what is now San Diego, OC/LA & SF in the many thousands of years they called it home, as water was iffy.

            Los Angeles could only support 100,000 Americans on local water sources, circa 1900, to put things in a later perspective.

            Reply
        2. Carolinian

          A friend lived in Phoenix some years ago and says she would water her back yard once a week by opening the sluice gate to the canal behind her house. That was also when people would ride horses in the streets.

          Oddly now that she lives there again she still has a canal several hundred feet away from her house–the Central Arizona Project that carries water through the burning desert from Lake Havasu on the California border to Tuscon. When the Colorado River eventually runs dry it will too. Nobody rides horses in the street any more.

          Reply
  25. Wukchumni

    Being a captured audience while ensconced in my combustion powered chariot, the lead on NPR hourly news yesterday was Pence giving a speech @ CPAC where he described the horror that socialism is, and how we would no longer exist as America, should we veer off our present course.

    p.s.

    What are the righty-tighty-gawdalmighties doing @ a place named the Gaylord National Resort?

    Reply
    1. Janie

      Didn’t look it up, but is it an E K Gaylord property, from the far-to-the-right of right wing Gaylord family that owns the Daily Oklahoman newspaper and resorts in Nashville, Fort Worth and elsewhere?

      Reply
  26. Big River Bandido

    She was never a serious candidate to begin with. The “lane” to the White House for coastal neoliberals was under construction for several years; it was finally torn up in 2016. It’s now an exit lane. Cuomo and Christie at least realized that. The others will soon discover it for themselves.

    Reply
    1. Big River Bandido

      Odd, I guess I mis-posted this…it was in response to justsayknow’s post above, on Gillebrand.

      Reply
  27. Savita

    Clive
    In Australia decades ago McDonalds would proudly advertise, as they do now – ‘100% Australian Beef’
    Turned out what they really meant, so sorry, was they use a company with the name 100% Australian Beef.
    Subsequent enquiry revealed, whatever was in those patties not only wasn’t Australian – it sure as hell wasn’t beef either! I suspect nothing has changed

    Reply
  28. Savita

    RE: service stations
    ALL service stations in Australia have one filling up at the pump, then walking inside to see the friendly attendant and buy something else you don’t need. The pay at the bowser thing does exist in isolated cases but is usually for special rewards card holders only, and even then it is very new – and optional. Many rural places still have an attendant approaching the car to fill it up for you

    Reply
  29. Bob

    re: allowing pharmacists to substitute doctors’ prescriptions

    Pharmacists routinely do this in Australia when there is a cheaper & just as good substitute. Given UK has similar legal system – it basically means the High Court case is driven by big pharma.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      As US physicians provide less and less palliative therapies and prescribe more medicines for ‘efficiency’ and as the cost for a medical visit increases — NOW seems like a very good time to take a second look at the control physicians exercise over drug availability … as well as their control over other aspects of our Medical Industrial Complex. Consider the difference in schooling on drugs for physicians versus pharmacists. I recall 6 months for physicians versus 6 years for pharmacists.

      I believe the AMA and the many State Boards letting physicians set prices for medical procedures make a very damning case for why unions/guilds are not necessarily a good thing for our polity/economy. If I were a physician — I would be very angry at the way the AMA, and the costs of medical school has made it easier for the Medical Industrial Complex to undermine the autonomy of physicians and make them captive to ‘Heath’ Corporations. I believe it takes the professional calling to the practice of Medicine — such as remains — right out of the of the would be doctor.

      Reply
  30. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Farm Loan Delinquencies Highest in 9 Years as Prices Slump” [AgWeb]
    Now might be a good time for the US government to build more grain silos and buy up some grain and soybeans — as long as they buy from the ‘smaller’ farmers [‘small’ is complicated given the amount of capital even ‘small’ farmers require. But this is no time to pump money into the agribusiness cartels!].

    Reply
  31. Big River Bandido

    re: MedPage article on relationship between early affluence and late cognitive decline:

    This article has a refreshing candor. I was pleasantly surprised to read the authors of a study quoted with their critiques of their own work. Pieces like this which get printed in mainstream rags have a breathless tone of self-promotion. This article, by contrast, was actually enlightening.

    That said, the article leaves me with questions. What means “affluence”? Ability to cover the monthly bills? Freedom from financial worry? Or family owns a yacht and two summer homes? There’s a pretty wide scale in there, although perhaps not as wide as it used to be. In the 1950s well into the 70s working class people could purchase a home and support large families. They would have to budget, and at times things might get tight especially after a big purchase…but by and large, it was possible to live comfortably but not be technically “wealthy”. Is that still “affluence”, per the terms of this study?

    Another thought I had was pure geekery: If you have more cognitive capacity to start with, you have farther to fall. Then wouldn’t your rate of decline by definition be “faster”?

    Reply
    1. Carey

      Wonder how much longer Krug-krug can keep the self-assured tone.
      OTOH he’s still got the big megaphone at the Times.

      Reply
    2. Oregoncharles

      Are economists intentionally confusing? The explanations I see here aren’t, but that exchange sure as heck is.

      I thought MMT’ers advocated printing money INSTEAD of borrowing it.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith

        No, MMT advocates say there is no reason to be worried about net spending, whether done via borrowing or monetization, as long as there are slack real economy resources. Any borrowing can be paid off because the currency issuer can issue the needed funds to pay interest and redeem the debt. Investors like risk-free assets, so there are reasons besides managing government finances for a currency issuer to use bonds rather than monetization.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          How do you sustain your programs when there are NOT “slack real economy resources?”

          If, that is, there aren’t. You’d have to have sacrificeable spending.

          Reply
          1. Yves Smith

            No, you tax. MMT has always said that taxation is how your drain excess demand.

            One of the reasons for MMT promoting a Job Guarantee is that it is countercyclical: the private sector will have to raise wages or offer better terms to hire people out of Job Guarantee positions, which will lead JG spending to fall and lower net spending.

            Reply
      2. skippy

        This stouch is mostly about the IS-LM from a tool for policy formation with a side of slavish model dependency and crappy educational rigor:

        http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=24812

        In which, Hicks himself is quoted as saying: In 1980, Hicks wrote that he rejected the way in which is little aparatus had been deployed by economists and the policy interpretations they had drawn from it.

        He said (1980: 139):

        The IS-LM diagram, which is widely, but not universally accepted as a convenient synopsis of Keynesian theory, is a thing for which I cannot deny that I have some responsibility. It first saw the light in a paper of my own, “Mr. Keynes and the Classics” (1937) … I have, however, not concealed that, as time has gone on, I have myself become dissatisfied with it … [the] … diagram is now much less popular with me than I think it still is with many other people …

        By way of conclusion, he wrote (1980: 152-153):

        I accordingly conclude that the only way in which IS-LM analysis usefully survives — as anything more than a classroom gadget, to be superseded, later on, by something better – is in application to a particular kind of causal analysis, where the use of equilibrium methods, even a drastic use of equilibrium methods, is not inappropriate. I have deliberately interpreted the equilibrium concept, to be used in such analysis, in a very stringent manner (some would say a pedantic manner) not because I want to tell the applied economist, who uses such methods, that he is in fact committing himself to anything which must appear to him to be so ridiculous, but because I want to ask him to try to assure himself that the divergences between reality and the theoretical model, which he is using to explain it, are no more than divergences which he is entitled to overlook. I am quite prepared to believe that there are cases where he is entitled to overlook them. But the issue is one which needs to be faced in each case.

        When one turns to questions of policy, looking toward the future instead of the past, the use of equilibrium methods is still more suspect. For one cannot prescribe policy without considering at least the possibility that policy may be changed. There can be no change of policy if everything is to go on as expected-if the economy is to remain in what (however approximately) may be regarded as its existing equilibrium. It may be hoped that, after the change in policy, the economy will somehow, at some time in the future, settle into what may be regarded, in the same sense, as a new equilibrium; but there must necessarily be a stage before that equilibrium is reached. There must always be a problem of traverse. For the study of a traverse, one has to have recourse to sequential methods of one kind or another.

        The last point was telling. While the intersection of given IS and LM curves might reflect conditions now, the other points on the respective curves are what John Hicks called “theoretical constructions” (1980: 149) and “surely do not represent, make no claim to represent, what actually happened”.

        Reply
  32. Big River Bandido

    Southwest Airlines: I remember the query to readers about this a few weeks ago, when a piece on the sudden massive grounding of Southwest planes appeared in Links or Water Cooler. Looks like we have our answer. Even unions who are prohibited by law from striking have two powerful weapons to bear on management: “work to contract” and “gee, there sure is a nasty flu bug going around”. The big tipoff that’s what is happening here:

    The airline’s chief legal officer, Mark Shaw, warned union leaders that they must stop “this unlawful job action” by union members.

    Attorneys always say “if the law is with you, argue the law; if the facts are with you, argue the facts; if neither is with you, pound the table.” Shaw is just pounding the table. If he had anything, he’d already have an injunction.

    There must be a thousand union rules and federal regulations that could be cited with every aircraft, every flight; we’re seeing the cumulative effect of what happens when union workers follow the contract language *to the letter*.

    Reply
    1. rowlf

      Usually airlines are not very good at insuring their FAA approved programs and procedures all agree with each other. Often one manual or procedure will contradict another. A union job action will take advantage of these inconsistencies that the airline provides.

      Reply
  33. Cal2

    Trump’s Surprising New Ally in Mexico? The Government

    Read the 500+ comments. More like Trump’s surprising new ally in the New York Times readership.
    Reader’s Picks are 85% in favor of stopping, thwarting, sending back, blocking the ‘migrants’ from coming into the U.S.
    Overall comments are at least 70% so.
    NYT picks are surprisingly so, at least to me,
    maybe I overestimated the number of philo-illegals in that paper.

    The subtext is that the Democrats calling for open borders are committing “particide” and that Trump will win again.

    Reply
    1. kareninca

      Holy cow. I cannot believe those comments. I have never seen comments like that on a NYT article. It is stunning. I wonder if some outside group took over the comment section; it is so totally and utterly out of character.

      Reply
  34. George Phillies

    Amusing minor thought for remainers supporting referendum two: What is your working plan if you lose?

    The answer for leavers opposing referendum two and losing is easy: Referendum Three!

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Isn’t that what the EU did for referendums with individual countries that got the result ‘wrong’? Ireland had to repeat a referendum because they got the wrong result first time around.

      Reply

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