Links 3/21/19

Quantum Machine Appears to Defy Universe’s Push for Disorder Quanta (David L)

The world’s happiest countries REVEALED: Finland comes top while South Sudan is the bleakest Daily Mail

Study shows IPCC is underselling climate change PhyOrg (David L)

New Climate Change Visualization Presents Two Stark Choices For Our Future Earther (David L)

Britain Will Have Water Shortages In 25 Years Thanks to Climate Change, Environment Chief Says Motherboard (resilc)

Four Wikipedias To ‘Black Out’ Over EU Copyright Directive WikiMedia Foundation

Kentucky governor says he exposed his children to chickenpox NBC (Kevin W)

Satellites just photographed California’s dazzling ‘super bloom’ of spring flowers from outer space Business Insider (David L)

San Francisco Moves To Ban E-Cigarettes Until Health Effects Known BBC

Sex, Empathy, Jealousy: How Emotions And Behavior Of Other Primates Mirror Our Own NPR (David L)


Trump Says Tariffs Will Stay Until China Complies With Deal Bloomberg


Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU. Petitions, UK Government and Parliament. Includes a map.

The UK will have very little control over trade tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit Independent


WaPo Gives Campaign Space To Main Sponsor Of ISIS Who Also Jails More Journalists Than Anyone Else Moon of Alabama (Kevin W)

Exclusive: How Iran fuel oil exports beat U.S. sanctions in tanker odyssey to Asia Reuter. Resilc:

Rules for USA USA to learn:

1. You can never beat guys in sandals with AK 47s
2. Iranians have been traders in hostile territory for a couple of thousand years

US exit from Afghanistan could spark wider conflict Asia Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Volvo To Add In-Car Sensors To Prevent Drunk Driving Reuters

Porn and the state: when size really does matter 1828 (guurst)

Inside the Video Surveillance Program IBM Built for Philippine Strongman Rodrigo Duterte Intercept

The Marines Are Test-Flying Their Plywood Drone Popular Mechanics (resilc)

Imperial Collapse Watch

16 years ago today Axios (resilc)

Why America Needs a Stronger Defense Industry New York Times (resilc)

Trump Transition

Donald Trump is using Stalinist tactics to discredit climate science Guardian (Tom H)

US judge halts hundreds of drilling projects in groundbreaking climate change ruling Guardian (J-LS)

Oil and gas leasing rejected in Wyoming because, well, climate change Grist


In early campaigning, 2020 Democrats try out tactics for taking on Trump Reuters (resilc). How about, as Lambert might say, starting out by not sucking???

Joe Biden Faces the Unthinkable: Can He Not Keep Up with Bernie? Vanity Fair (resilc)

Bernie Hires Former Hillary Staffer As Research Chief New York Magazine (resilc)

Is Betomania Real or Phony? New York Times

Elizabeth Warren town hall: how the US could end the Electoral College Vox

‘We shouldn’t be inviting bullies to our neighbourhood’: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defends her criticism of Amazon HQ2 in surprise Queens appearance Business Insider (Kevin W). Not wild about the framing. I should have written about this, but IMHO the issue was affordable housing in Queens. I would have had way less trouble with this deal if it had been in Hudson Yards. In Silicon Valley, cities are having trouble staffing schools and hospitals due to housing costs. Second issue is that it’s normal in NYC development deals for the locals to squawk and the developer to have to give sweeteners. But Amazon just picked up and left.

Minn. lawmakers aim to reduce salt runoff from sidewalks Minneapolis Star-Tribune (Chuck L)

AT&T CEO interrupted by a robocall during a live interview The Verge (resilc)

State AGs put tech giants on notice: ‘Something must be done with these companies … they have become too big’ Business Insider (David L)


Is MMT “America First” Economics? Institute for New Economic Thinking. Depressing. One word response: “Japan”.

Wolfers Blames MMT for Orthodox Economists’ Ignorance of MMT Bill Black, New Economic Perspectives

Powell Signals Prolonged Fed Pause as Inflation Lags, Risks Loom Bloomberg

Monsanto risk takes root with Bayer investors Financial Times (J-LS)

No More Fed Rate Hikes in 2019… Econospeak. Click through to see the chart.

What FedEx Just Said About Europe and China Wolf Richter

Class Warfare

In 24 States, 50% or More of Babies Born on Medicaid; New Mexico Leads Nation With 72% CSNNews (resilc)

It just became easier for employers to dump retirees’ pensions CNN (Paul R)

Uber drivers demand their data Economist (David L). This could be fun. Users could demand data too….

New Futurist Fear: “Economic Singularity” Could Kill Jobs Forever Futurism (David L)

Meritocracy doesn’t exist, and believing it does is bad for you Slate

Antidote du jour (Kimberly R):

And a bonus (Richard Smith):

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. Wukchumni

    Regarding the ban on assault weapons in NZ less than a week after the tragic mass murder…

    When E.F. Schumacher talked about small is beautiful, New Zealand listened and acted with no delay in banning military style guns that have no place in polite society, utilizing creative destruction of them, ala the Schumpeter Principle.

    I’d expect the usual pithy excuses why we can’t do the same here, all it takes is a coalition of the unwilling to continue down this path of destruction of nuclear families, but will we ever have the fortitude to follow through?

    1. The Rev Kev

      I see that there is a lot of divided opinion on twitter over this move as shown on RT-

      Some still want to keep their assault rifles. But seriously – just what are you going to need a assault rifle for? Hunting? If you can’t shoot a target using a bolt-action rifle with a telescopic sight on it but need an assault rifle, then you should just turn you rifle in and take a camera to do your shooting with instead. Less embarrassing that way.

      1. Tom Doak

        There are lots of people in America who are convinced they need their assault rifles to prevent the government from coming in and taking their assault rifles. And can you really tell them they’re wrong?

        1. The Rev Kev

          There are also forty-eight States where it is legal to own a flamethrower. And you can also have grenade launchers. And mini-guns. And cannons. Personally, I have an interest in firearms and find them worth studying. But just because I like a steak occasionally, that does not mean that I want to eat a whole cow. Maybe the government does want to come in and take them. Whose side has the better point when it comes to extreme weapons? When you get to the point of having a Big Sandy Machine Gun Shoot, maybe it is time to rethink a few things? Maybe?

        2. Chris Cosmos

          Many people I know do not trust the government or police will protect their families. They also, some of them worry about government overreach. While I don’t have guns in my home I think these fears are justified. The authorities at every level of society are so corrupt and often incompetent that unless you study every detail of public life you are going to be baffled and uncertain in acworld where authorities at all levels lie routinely.

          1. a different chris

            Yeah but “protect their families” is .NE. to “having an assault rifle always to hand”. In fact I would argue it’s pretty much the opposite, and data backs me up.

            And the authorities have no real difficulty with divesting you of your assault rifle *and* your life, and to top it off they get to bury not only you but the underlying reasons for why your last minutes were on TV in all the noise. Watch the news pretty much every day now. Armed resistance is exactly what they want. Gandi figured this out quite a long time ago.

            1. Cal Bud

              One day the phones won’t work, and the authorities won’t be there to protect you.

              1. BCD

                The primary benefit of an AR-15 seems to be the mancard machismo fantasy warrior mental game depicted in the remmington commercials they use to capture consumers who are swayed by those fearmongering advertisements into fantasizing about having to kill people to survive. Increasing AR-15 sales have statistically lead to more tragic deaths, which feeds into more fearmongering and gun sales. Exactly like Remington needs to win the zero sum pure freedom capitalist drift into mass hysteria.

            2. Sanxi

              a different chris, thank you. I regret the need for others here to take the simple case as argued to the absurd case and say ‘that will teach you’. I do not have it in me to argue with such, but I’m glad you do.

          2. remmer

            I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, in small towns and rural areas. When I lived in the country, many of my friends were farm kids, and every farmhouse had a shotgun and a deer rifle. The town I lived in was the kind of place where the first day of hunting season was an unofficial school holiday — you could skip school without penalty IF you went hunting with your father. My dad wasn’t a farmer or a hunter and we never had guns at home. But friends and neighbors all around us did have guns, and that was just a normal part of life.

            The difference between now and then is that the gun owners I knew as a kid weren’t part of the delusional right-wing gun culture the NRA has been whipping up since the 1980s. The guns they owned weren’t weapons flaunted as a show of Second Amendment rights. They were tools, and the owners used them as tools. But that was then. The culture today has changed so radically that even the strictest gun control laws would probably have no effect.

            1. Wukchumni

              Watching the Wal*Mart ammo indicator during Obama’s terms was my way of figuring out how obsessed the USA had become with being armed & dangerous.

              How could a place like that with 10,000 different items, only keep 15% of the locked glass case cupboards full of odd calibers @ the nadir of nuttiness.

              For what it’s worth, the same locked glass cases are currently 100% full of inventory, around 20x boxes for each caliber.

          3. JEHR

            Chris, you do know, of course, that your government representatives are voted into power by you–the citizen who votes? When you have the opportunity to vote, then the government you get is of your own choosing (supposing that you can get the billionaires out of the lobbying racket!)

            1. Carey

              That’s an interesting belief, for which I see no evidence in the
              last 40+ years, in particular.

            2. Potato Guy

              JEHR–actually in Illinois our reps are voted in through the use of big (outside ) money. The reps are vetted to represent the interest of the big money people. It is not even close to a free and fair election.

        3. Tom Stone

          It would be nice if all of you folks determined to ban “Assault Rifles” bothered to learn what they are and what laws actually govern them.
          An “assault Rifle” is a select fire, shoulder fired weapon using an intermediate cartridge.
          In the USA possession of full auto and select fire weapons is governed by both the National Firearms Act of 1934 and a variety of State laws.
          The AR-15 and other semi automatic ( Self Loading) rifles are not “Assault Weapons” because they re not select fire weapons.
          Restricting the ownership of weapons by law abiding citizens does not reduce crime because violent criminals are not law abiding.
          Mexico has banned the ownership of firearms by ordinary citizens, how’s that working out?
          Here in the USA the most popular sporting rifle is the AR-15, there are more than 20 Million of them in private hands.
          If you ban their ownership, how are you going to enforce that law?
          If 10% of AR-15 owners decide to keep their rifles because “By God, I’m an American Citizen and I have rights” you have just created a Million armed felons.
          And you have just expanded an already large black market in illegal firearms.
          Do you bring in the Military?
          Expand the 1033 program and increase the number of SWAT teams?
          What other unintended consequences might ensue from turning the USA into more of a Police State than it already is?
          And you might also keep in mind that violent crime in the USA has been declining for decades due to both the removal of lead from Gasoline and an aging populace.
          Virtue signaling might make you feel better, but the consequences of banning
          scary looking guns are not likely to be positive.

          If you really want to reduce violence, ban the possession and sale of Alcohol.
          The relationship between violence and Alcohol abuse is clear and very well documented.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


            Ban em all.

            After they killed 20 toddlers in Sandy Hook and 80+ in Las Vegas, I think its time.

            People with guns are pussies afraid to stand up for what they believe in. Guns are a crutch!

          2. a different chris

            >It would be nice if all of you folks determined to ban “Assault Rifles” bothered to learn what they are

            It would be nice if you made an effort to listen to these people. If they are using the term “Assault Rifles” for AR-15 type weapons and you thus think the problem with people who are living in dangerous neighborhoods is they don’t understand gun construction technicalities you are really, really missing the point.

            1. The Rev Kev

              If rifle owners were responsible there might be an argument there but then you get those who insist it is in their ‘rights’ to carry assault rifles into department stores and down streets because of course they want to. And then you get these two jack a***s who, feeling their rights impinged upon in an earlier meet with police, decided to go to a police with one of the guys wearing a bullet-proof vets, an assault rifle and a ski-mask. Damn fool was lucky they didn’t blow his head off-


          3. Summer

            Re:”If you really want to reduce violence, ban the possession and sale of Alcohol.
            The relationship between violence and Alcohol abuse is clear and very well documented.”

            Prohibition was tried in the USA and was a disaster. The violence was off the chain and the criminal element integrated with politics in ways unseen before.

          4. Andrew Thomas

            This and other comments are a perfect illustration of why any effort to control weaponry of any kind is futile in the United States. It would just lead to a new version of the War on Drugs. If you live in the good old US of A, you just have to accept that sudden death or maiming by a man with an arsenal- most always white, between 25-64, is a daily random possibility, albeit a very low possibility. For people of color, this goes back to colonial times. For us white folks, think of it as cultural karma.

          5. Monty

            Sadly, the genie is out of the bottle with regard to guns in the US. You could try to ban AR-15 style guns, but as Tom says, there would be millions of them floating around in the hands of criminals and enthusiasts and they are not going anywhere. I cannot see a door to door search of every home in the US being legal or popular. Even if you did weed out all of the guns of that type, would it make us safer? There will still be millions of pistols, shotguns and high powered rifles etc which are also quite capable of maiming and killing plenty of people in the hands of a madman. You could never get them all. There’s probably more guns that there are people in this country. It’s not just a BS talking point, you really will be left with a bunch of heavily armed criminals vs. an unarmed population as sitting ducks.

            1. Wukchumni

              We could use the same argument in our series of never ending wars, why stop?

              ‘Are we in six wars or only five’? Well to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I kind of lost track myself. But being that this is the House, the most powerful handgun lobby in the world, and would blow your head clean off if you didn’t support the NRA, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well do ya, punk?

              1. Monty

                I would love to see them all vanish, but wishing doesn’t make it so. I am saying we might as well save our emotional energy for causes that have some chance of success.

            2. witters

              “Sadly, the genie is out of the bottle with regard to guns in the US.”

              More TINA. Kind of like US “healthcare.”

          6. Oh

            England, Japan, Canada and several other countries have banned firearms ownership for most citizens and it’s working out very well. If we didn’t illegally run sell firearms to Mexico, it would work fine over there too.

            BTW, assault weapons must be banned for everyone, including the police and SWAT teams. Those are what make for a Police State. Shoot first, ask questions later it is.

            1. JBird4049

              I have several questions and statements:

              Define “assault weapon.”

              The term has no generally accepted definition.

              Why use it instead of the term “assault rifle” which is defined?

              The term has a generally accepted definition.

              Handguns kill many more people than rifles.

              Why are we arguing more over a weapon (rifles) that kills fewer people than a weapon (handguns) that does?

              Why is the total number of dead going down along murder rate going down with the mass shootings and suicides going up as the economy gets worse?

              How do we take all these hundred of millions of weapons from at least eighty million people without making things worse?

              Identity Politics.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I think in the UK and in Japan, most police officers don’t carry a gun either. When needed, they call in special units.

              Do I understand that correctly?

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


                  What about those on foot patrol? Do they still do that in coutries?

                  Or cops taking public transportation (doing what they can to save the planet) to patrol a neighborhood?

                  1. Plenue

                    Both UK and Japan have walking beats.

                    Japan also has the koban police boxes which are mini police stations manned 24/7 in shifts. Japan seeks to directly integrate cops into neighborhoods; they’re permanent fixtures and often do stuff like teach kids judo lessons.

                    That’s the theory anyway, in practice Japanese law enforcement is often an ugly disaster. Neighborhood cops are often less Officer Friendly so much as constantly snooping on denizens, and profiling and spontaneous searches of non-Japanese are ubiquitous. Japanese seem to have a pathological refusal to admit Japanese can commit crimes, “was he Japanese?” being a common, disbelieving question upon the reporting of any crime. Also the police only arrest people they ‘know’ did the crime, and they’ll detain you as many days or weeks as it takes for you to admit you did it.

                    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                      Thanks again.

                      Do they keep guns in those koban stations or are those officers truly gunless, except by calling in the special units?

            3. RMO

              No, Canada has not banned firearms ownership for most citizens. Semiautomatic rifles are perfectly legal here, the only restriction is that magazines on rifles that fire center-fire cartridges are (mostly) limited to five rounds. Limiting the magazine capacity is usually done via a single rivet which wouldn’t take more than a few seconds to remove if anyone wanted to restore the magazine to the original capacity. Larger capacity magazines, full-automatic fire and handguns with short barrels fall into the prohibited category. Prohibited firearms are still legal to buy and sell for those who owned firearms of that type before a 1990’s round of legislation, so we still have a fair amount of those firearms in use here. We have two licenses you can get, a standard firearms license and a restricted – restricted allows the possession of handguns and center-fire semiautomatics. Getting both licenses is usually done with a weekend course. As long as you have a clean criminal record and no current or recent severe psychiatric problems it’s not difficult to get licensed and own firearms in Canada.

              The culture in Canada is very different though – I’ve not met a firearms owner here yet that thinks in terms of how much damage a gun can do to a fellow human being. Self-defense isn’t legally a legitimate primary reason for possession of firearms here. The storage and transportation regulations reflect that. In the US though, I doubt any regulation would make any difference to the mass-shootings that happen. That’s even if either party were to actually do anything, which I doubt they will. The status quo is far too useful for both Republicans and Democrats.

          7. Plenue

            Yeah, I’m not going to play this semantic game with you. The only meaningful difference between an AR-15 platform civilian rifle and a military M rifle is that civilian models aren’t allowed to have full-auto. Which is a. something easily remedied with after-market mods, and b. not actually much of a negative. The Marines had full auto-removed from the M16A2 because soldiers in Vietnam kept panicking and simply holding down the trigger and not hitting anything. I’ve seen the full Christchurch video; all auto would have done was cause the idiot to miss even more than he already did.

            Toyatomi sword hunt; ban them, all of them, period.

          8. lyman alpha blob

            Restricting the ownership of weapons by law abiding citizens does not reduce crime because violent criminals are not law abiding.

            Oh really? If law abiding citizens don’t possess assault rifles, then criminals wouldn’t be able to steal them.

            And if assault rifles are made illegal, it stands to reason that their manufacture would be banned as well. So where are the criminals going to get them?

            And yes, to state the obvious, people can commit crimes without an assault rifle (so I’ll hopefully save anyone the trouble of providing anecdotal knife murders narratives), but a lot fewer people would be dead. There’s a reason people don’t bring compound bows when trying to commit mass murder.

          9. Skip Intro

            Assault rifles are optimized for killing people, and lots of ‘em, your standard NRA talking points to lead us into the weeds notwithstanding.


        4. Cal2

          ” violent crime in the USA has been declining for decades due to both the removal of lead from Gasoline and an aging populace” and
          the availability of abortion so that unwanted future felons, or as Hillary calls them,
          “super predators” aren’t born in such large numbers.


          Disinterested observer here. I used to be hot with a Daisy BB gun you know….

          There are a lot of people who are convinced they need their assault rifles to
          prevent or shoot poor people, “super predators”, from coming for what they have after an earthquake, other natural disaster, war, civil insurrection, global warming, whatever.

          Watch the videos of the Korean shop owners in action during the Rodney King riots, insurrection, retribution, ruckus, whatever you want to call it.

          Also, the government’s backing down in Nevada during the Cliven Bundy incident after it “won” in Waco and at Ruby Ridge gives them quotable reason to believe that assault rifles are necessary, although I believe as you say, long range bolt action hunting rifles were the weapon of choice in Nevada.

          1. Oregoncharles

            Backing down in Nevada might have had a lot to do with the real political sympathies of the Feds on the scene. The people they were up against were not outsiders, like the ones at Ruby Ridge and Waco.

      2. Louis Fyne

        the (alleged) perp. was an Australian national. How does a can non-US national get a gun in the US? I don’t know. Just saying.

        it’s a Gordian knot of issues. gun laws, migration laws, etc. all should be on the table. But I’m not holding my breath. Pretty much everyone has run to their partisan corner and pulled out the standard post-shooting playbook.

        1. Wukchumni

          I used to go the gun show held @ the L.A. County Fairgrounds in Pomona, until it was done away with post-Columbine. About 3/4’s of the 50 states have no laws in place as far as background checks go, nor does it preclude foreign nationals from purchasing weaponry.

          They call it ‘the gun show loophole’

          How would you feel about the same Australian fellow killing 50 people here, with easily gotten guns?

          1. ambrit

            Come on now Wukchumni. America’s elites are all in for Globalism. Also, the elites have been promoting ‘outscourcing’ of jobs for decades now. Killing is now just another “dirty” job that it is cheaper to hire a foreigner to do for you.
            The psychology of guns now. That’s a tangled web indeed.

          2. Tom Stone

            There is no “Gun Show Loophole”.
            Background checks for gun buyers are required by Federal law.
            You might want to pick up a copy of “How to own a gun in California and not go to Jail” on the off chance you might be willing to learn what the laws actually are.

            1. Wukchumni

              I made no mention of California in particular as far as the gun show loophole goes, a little trigger happy perhaps?

              Federal law requires background checks for commercial gun sales, but not for private-party sales whereby any person may sell a firearm to an unlicensed resident of the same state as long as they do not know or have reasonable cause to believe the purchaser is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law. Under federal law, private-party sellers are not required to perform background checks on buyers, record the sale, or ask for identification, whether at a gun show or other venue.


            2. Anon

              It’s not the Gun Show weapons presenters that are the issue. It is that the Gun Shows are meet-up venues for individuals interested in selling/purchasing a unique/illegal gun to another individual. There is no talk or interest in a background check by either party to the transaction; and none takes place.

              Astoundingly, a local Pasadena, CA police department official was fired for selling his personal weapons (acquired through law enforcement exemptions) at one of these “gun shows”.

          1. Paul Boisvert

            “Well my two main men are Jesus and old John Birch,
            So we’re goin’ on down to the gun sale at the church.”

            –The Beat Farmers

      3. Vegetius

        Facing a single instance of what Mayor Khan called “part and parcel” of living in a major – read racially, ethnically and religiously diverse – city, the PM of New Zealand has decided that the virtuous course of action is to adopt the garb of an alien faith that oppresses women while disarming her own citizens.

        1. Joe

          Facing an instance of a horrible crime, the PM of New Zealand decided to show sympathy and respect to the victims of that crime and moved quickly to ban the weapons that made that crime possible.

        2. Anon

          Hmm…what do you think of the Governor of Mississippi? If not allowing women access to protected healthcare isn’t “oppressing women”, then maybe you should cry into a hijab?

        1. ChrisPacific

          Yes. It’s not a surprise that there would be divided opinion among Americans. By contrast there seems to be a remarkable degree of consensus in NZ.

          1. Wukchumni

            It’s very much a us & them gig on guns in the not so United States. A lot of times it has the feel of an incredibly religious evang going up against an atheist, with predictable results in their lack of agreement on dogma.

    2. cm

      Look at US mass shootings pre-1980 vs. post-1980. The quantity of guns per capita hasn’t changed, yet mass shootings have incrased.

      Something else (SSRI drugs given to children, perhaps?) has.

        1. JBird4049

          The increase in mass shootings, and I believe suicides by gun, does roughly align with the increasing American precarity which is often ignored by partisans on either side of the debate. So violent murders including the use of guns is declining, as social stresses are increasing as suicides and mass shooting are as well.

        2. Summer

          Add the two then multiply by the effects of social media and then square it by whatever the next hell is that gets marketed to you.

        1. Oregoncharles

          After the Texas Tower shooting, caused by a brain tumor.

          Remarkably similar to the Las Vegas shooting, caused by who knows what.

          But I think you’re right about most of our rage shootings. for one thing, schools are young peoples’ workplaces. Even the ones that seem to reflect some sort of warped cause I think are really lightly-disguised breakdowns. Not that that helps.

    3. Pylot7

      The founding Fathers incorporated the right to keep and bear arms so that the citizens would have a means to kill tyrannical politicians. All of this fantasy about disarming the country needs to be contemplated in the light of other countries who have, in the past, disarmed their populations. Stalin did it, Hitler did it, Mao did it. There are dozens of examples and society never ended up safer.

      The only thing preventing our current political class from running amok and extending their current tyrannical practices is the fear that someone will shoot them.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’d be cool with our citizenry armed to the teeth with state of the art 1787 muskets that our founding fathers would have utilized, where in the hands of somebody talented, could get off 2, maybe 3 shots in a minute, not dissimilar from a shotgun or rifle with a magazine of a similar amount of rounds.

      2. Partyless Poster

        That’s Libertarian fantasy talk.
        If you have guns in the house and the feds know they will just kill you because of the threat.
        All a cop has to do is say “gun, gun, gun” to a partner and your dead.
        The rise of SWAT teams is a result of this.
        A list of the times citizens have held off the government with guns would be a very short list.
        The list of times the government has killed citizens because of guns is long and growing daily.

        1. JBird4049

          All a cop has to do is say “gun, gun, gun” to a partner and your dead.
          The rise of SWAT teams is a result of this.

          Nixon’s War on (Some) Drugs and the increase police militarization and growing fear of everything all started at about the same time. The percentage of guns has remained mostly the same. Care to explain? Especially as an average 15% of the approximately 1,100 Americans killed by police each year are completely unarmed with any weapon, including golf clubs, sticks, rocks, cars, knives, and guns of any kind?

        1. Partyless Poster

          The national guard is going to protect the citizens from the government?
          Good luck with that

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I think the governor of California withdrew national guard troops from the border with Mexico…that’s, if not protecting CA citizens, then, going against the government.

      3. Grebo

        Stalin did it, Hitler did it, Mao did it.

        Are you sure? It seems to be very popular meme, but apparently Hitler didn’t. Not seeing clear info on the others, just Infowars-level dreck.
        I do recall watching a ‘Are you good enough to join the SAS?’ TV show back in the 1990s. A young female Russian contestant easily won the AK47 stripping round and when asked how she knew how to do it she replied ‘we learned it in school’.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I wonder if she ‘learned it in school’ by practicing there, but not owninng the weapon (couldn’t take home with her).

          When weaponss are banned in countries, soldiers or reserves can still learn how to use them at some government facilities.

          And here, we go back to the first comment by Wukumuchi at the very top when he wrote:

          banning military style guns that have no place in polite society,

          We can additionally ask, in polite society, do they guns have any place anywhere. That is, should the military be banned from using them as well?

          For, in a truly civilized world (mythical, like pure or true capitalism, or pure/true communism), guns will be banned both privately and publicly.

      4. Jeotsu

        I think what gets missed is that when the founders were writing and the brown bess was a hunting & military weapon we were not in a world of combined arms warfare. Your AR-15 will not b much use when the air strikes and artillery reduce your position to a bloody pulp.

        If the US truly sinks to a state of armed insurrection then long-range, high-accuracy bolt action rifles are not a bad choice at all. American Patriot “snipers” at Concord and Lexington started the trend.

        Powerful rifles for home defence in a suburban context are also poor manners. The 99% of rounds that miss sail through the walls and into your neighbors house. Very rude.

        Finally, a point about NZ firearms law and culture: It is never okay to use a firearm against another person. If you had time to unlock your rifle, bolt and ammunition, assemble the weapon, load it, and then shoot the invader than you had time to flee. Property is never worth more than a life. Just climbing that psychological mountain will be trouble enough for too many Americans.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I have read often about small weapons being of little use against air strike and artillery.

          And A different Chris made the point of the futility of armed resistance, it being not as good as Gandhi’s non violent resistance.

          But is variety the essence, if not spice, of life? By that I mean, many roads lead to Rome or victory.

          Take, for example, the North Vietnamese. They didn’t have the air power US had. Badly out-weaponed, they had the will.

          Do people who own guns (I don’t) to insure themselves (buying insurance like many of us do, hoping not to use it) against tyranny look to cases like Vietnam?

          1. ambrit

            I’ve trotted this out before, but it seems to fit today’s thread.
            Ghandi never had to deal with Hitler.
            The unspoken alternative to non violent persevering and slogging on to victory in campaigns against injustice and oppression is death. Real visionaries are willing to die for “the Cause.” This level of commitment is rare.
            The other ‘unmentionable’ dimension to any discussion of resistance to oppression is the type of tactics that actually work, for whatever definition of work we can encounter. An earlier back and forth with one of our esteemed UK commenters led to the discussion of Collins and “irregular” warfare. That is what worries the American elites. If the American ‘deplorables’ take the lessons of the Irak debacle to heart, and learn to think like the Irakies did….

            1. Wukchumni

              When cultures clash, it often boils down to who puts up a fight…

              The English army was no match for the NZ Maoris, fierce warriors who fought them to a standstill in wars lasting over 25 years, whereas the Australian Aboriginals were meek in comparison, and easily subjugated. They would’ve been an excellent fill-in for Gandhi.


              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                I remember from the film, War of the Worlds, the one made in the 50’s.

                In that particular cultural clash, humans tried to stop space aliens in a place called La Puente, with the most powerful weapon (yes, that one) avaiable.

                I think you’re from that area, and always have interesting stories to tell…

            2. Plenue

              “Ghandi never had to deal with Hitler.”

              This is nonsensical. Hitler was stopped by the use of military force on a level many magnitudes greater than any armed citizenry could ever hope to muster. If we’re going to talk about Hitler in regards to gun control, the most likely (inevitable, really) outcome to armed resistance against a real army is the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, ie the resistance gets absolutely slaughtered.

              Also, the Indians had already tried armed rebellion, most notably in 1857. That involved actual soldiers, and they still lost.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                A few assassination attempts came close to stopping the guy.

                Bad luck.

                With a little more luck, he would not have to be stopped by the use of military force on the level actually used, but by something smaller.

                (Take the anniversary speech at the Munich beer hall, for one example).

                As for Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, etc, for every success, one or some failures can be shown, no doubt.

                That’s life – full of different choices.

                1. Plenue

                  You could kill Hitler. That isn’t the same thing as killing his operation, or destroying the circumstances that created him.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    I respond to the part of the comment: ‘Hitler could be stopped…’

                    And for some, or not a few, without him, the operation would be over.

                  2. Yves Smith Post author

                    Help me. Late in the Nazi era, there was a plot among Army officers to kill Hitler. It failed. Hitler had the lone plot survivors tortured and filmed the torture. He made Army officers watch it. Most found it so horrifying they couldn’t sit through it.

            3. Oregoncharles

              It seems generally forgotten that there was an armed resistance in India from the end of WWII, in the background of Gandhi’s campaign. It’s even mentioned in the movie.

              Something similar was true in the American South in the 60s (within my memory); they were called the Deacons in Mississippi, something else in Alabama. They were in the background to MLK Jr.

              And lest we forget, there were also the Black Panthers.

      5. False Solace

        The 2nd Amendment was added to ensure that slave catcher posses couldn’t be made illegal. Read the text and actually think about what it says: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State”. There’s nothing in there about protecting anybody’s freedom from tyranny. Slave revolts, on the other hand, certainly were a big danger in both the popular imagination and reality.

        The purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to protect slaveowner property.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          There are two factors, if not more, to consider:

          1. the posse connection is not explicit in your comment. Perhaps it is still the case. More background information would be helpful.

          2. Many things we use today come out of military research and development…originally intended to kill and destroy. In some, many or all cases, we look at its usefulness today, perhaps even mindful of its dark origins. This (number 2) can override the first one, if it was indeed the sole reason behind it.

        2. Oregoncharles

          The 2nd Amendment is incomprehensible. One plausible theory is that that was intentional, to finesse the issue. Remember, they had to sell the Bill of Rights to most of the states.

      6. Plenue

        “The only thing preventing our current political class from running amok and extending their current tyrannical practices is the fear that someone will shoot them.”

        Stuff like this really makes me wonder where the flying f**k you gun-nuts have been the last 18 years, (at least, it’s really more like 40+ years). The government is already doing whatever it wants, trampling straight over any annoying constitutional rights that may get in the way. And you loud-mouthed cowards have done exactly nothing to oppose it. In fact, it sure seems to me that the second amendment is viewed by our rulers as a useful sop; a certain portion of the population will tolerate pretty much anything so long as they’re allowed to keep collecting their metallic phallus extenders.

        1. JBird4049

          Please do not forget that “our rulers” want us to oversimplify and demonize the supposed opposition. For instance, labeling anyone who did not vote for Clinton as the Deplorables, the working class as the White Working Class, and “you gun-nuts” as right wing crazies instead of being, like the working class, a fairly broad class like this Sanders supporting socialist. Rather like how the terms, and the individuals and organizations of Stalinists, communists, socialists, leftists, liberals, unionists, Democrats, even community activists were collapsed into one vast mob of ostensibly evil, un-American traitors.

          It is correct to say that “the second amendment is viewed by our rulers as useful sop” as it is used in passes as our current political discussions to enrage, demonize, divide, and make more manipulative Americans. It is the equivalent of yelling Look, Ducks! as a means of stopping actual conversations.

      7. Gary

        The founders incorporated the right to bear arms because there was no national army, and in the event of war the states would be asked to muster their militias, whose members had to supply their own weapons.

        As far as the fantasy of resisting the tyrannical government goes, consider the vast amounts of munitions expended by our troops in the average high tech firefight abroad: against the government jack-booted thugs, the gun bearing patriots would run out of ammo in no time.

        1. eg

          From the outside looking in, it appears to me that the proliferation of guns and the associated fascination therewith primarily serves the purposes of Jay Gould and his ilk, convinced as they are that should it prove convenient they could pay half of you to kill the other half.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      China also has the advantage for waiting for a new president, every 4 or 8 years, in the US, in contrast with Beijing’s doing away with term limits recently, with or without precluding snapback provisions in any deal with Trump.

  2. taunger

    It seems the MSM have decided the way to cover over/against decent policy positions is to ignore them. Multiple linked articles reference the lack of policy difference inside the large democratic candidate field. What an obnoxious narrative. I hope it doesn’t last.

    1. Chris Hargens

      Along with that narrative is the argument that Sanders is going to have a hard time distinguishing himself from the rest of the pack. The next step is to imply that if there is no difference in policy between Sanders and the others, then it would be better to go with someone younger, given that he’s closing in on 80.

      1. jrs

        Well there are others with good policy, in a field of 30 some candidates how could there not be? Gabbard on foreign policy, Islee on climate change, etc. But are they likely frontrunners? Probably not.

        1. False Solace

          They also have no real track record. Sanders is on video arguing for M4A 30 years ago. No one else compares. The Left would rather have another 4 years of Trump than another Obama.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      Noxious yes, but it is rather clever. A little tricky to dismiss without giving it credibility. Sanders could do it quite well, but I doubt he will. At this point, I think they are throwing better and better stuff (possibly even group tested) against the wall to see what sticks best with who and what will get a rise out of which candidate.

  3. Wukchumni

    16 years ago today Axios (resilc)
    I was on a backpack trip to Willett hot springs when shock & awe shucks started, and missed the opening ceremony. We of course had no idea that another dubious war had begun…

    Omission Accomplished

  4. LaRuse

    That mouse! Did anyone else watch that little video and immediately think of the old Disney Cinderella and her helpful little mice friends??? Thank you for sharing!

    1. Judith

      The old Disney animation is lovely. I can still see Cinderella in my mind’s eye. Bambi as well.

  5. Todde

    The framing should be:

    Amazon shareholders are not exempt feom our laws and if they can’t abide by them then they have no place here.

  6. Shonde

    Too bad that neither the CNS News or Kaiser source information showed which states had Medicaid Expansion and which did not. Correct me if I am wrong but I assume expansion states numbers could be higher simply because those states cover mothers with higher incomes than non-expansion states. For instance, just doing a little internet research, Texas showed a Medicaid birth rate of 54% without expansion. How much higher would that percentage be if more mothers had qualified under expansion?

  7. zagonostra

    >Why America Needs a Stronger Defense Industry – New York Times

    If good jobs is the Summum bonum, why not create “green jobs” or ones that benefit life and not death? Also, you could certainly argue that rather than stabilize foreign regions, forces oversea destabilize them.

    If below is true and the military is now going to be the “unshakable foundation” of our economic life as a country, then it’s time to take the blue bill and enjoy that nice virtual steak…

    Those arms sales not only help create good jobs at good wages in America…they also enhance America’s capacity to bolster and stabilize our regional alliances, even as they may reduce the need to deploy more American soldiers overseas.

    Here, then, is what the grand strategic view… While President Dwight Eisenhower in many ways viewed the “military-industrial complex” as a source of waste and inefficiency, the Trump administration sees our defense industrial base as the unshakable foundation of both economic and national security.

    1. a different chris

      Wow I try to not comment on links I didn’t read and am not going to read, but… wow. Did that writer just compare the views of a Presidency that
      1) Had a bunch of people that knew exactly what war was like
      2) Was headed by a guy that was a top leader in said war
      3) Running a country full of veterans and their families, heck everybody was a veteran in some way in that the war literally impacted every facet of their life.

      Vs. the Trumpists? Lordy.

      1. Cal2

        Therefore, today, Tulsi Gabbard is the only qualified candidate.

        If you want to stop wasteful losing wars and spend our national treasure on what’s needed at home, she is the only candidate who

        A. Has the experience and the credentials in the military.
        B. Has stated a willingness to do so.
        C. Is an experienced congress member.

        Listen to her clearly articulated policy positions on this interview with Joe Rogan last September;

        Then imagine her in the debates versus Veto O’Dork, Clumsy Hands Biden, Komatoser and remember, she voted for Bernie last time and if running as his V.P., would demolish Trump.

  8. Roger Smith

    Ending the Electoral College has to be the dumbest liberal movement of the decade. How about not sucking? Win the votes for the country if you want to represent them, not for the specifically oriented large cities and states. The purposeful ignorance behind the pro-absolution campaign is absurd. Oval office voting already goes by the popular vote, the individual state’s popular vote. That winner then gets a certain amount of electoral votes based on the population of the state as measure by the most recent census (plus the constant senators). That is completely logical for a country of UNITED STATES. This is nothing more than more arrogant ‘cool kids’ “we know what is right, now shut up” nonsense. It is frightening how many ‘bandwagoners’ there are on this one. And then how it is being reframed as a State’s initiative to abolish it… smart insanity.

    The state’s that are for this are those run by partisan liberal governments. They aren’t looking out for their constituency. It is all about the color of the flag they are waiving. Gutting the constitution for this tribal nonsense is extremely dangerous.

    1. Another Scott

      Ending the electoral college is a good idea, but it shouldn’t be a replacement for policies that directly improve people’s lives or campaigning to win. For now, let’s focus on the second part. In 2016, HRC and Democrats knew the rules, that the winner would be the person with the most electoral votes. Yet instead of campaigning in states that would help them win (Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania), HRC chose to spend time in Iowa, which she had no chance of winning and North Carolina, to run up the score. I find it hard to believe that Obama or Sanders would have made those types of tactical mistakes. It’s the same arrogance that led her to ignore the caucuses.

      Also if the electoral college was abolished, you’d almost certainly see the GOP do even more tactics to suppress the vote, while Democrats do nothing but shout loudly.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The electoral college is connected to the idea and fact of two senators for every state.

        Sanders is a senator from Vermont, with a population of about 600,000 to 700,000 people. His one vote in the senate is counted the same as the vote from another senator from a far bigger state.

        1. Darthbobber

          But in the electoral college the weight of Vermont by no means equals that of a larger state.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Though it still exceeds what it is entitled based on population.

            Electoral college votes of each state = 2 senators (regardless of poplulation) plus representatives (due to round off erros, some states are robbed, and some gain undeservedly).

            Take out those 2 votes, Vermont will be both 1) not equal to those of a larger state, and 2) cast number of votes proportional (roughly, round off errors, see above) to its population.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I agree with Roger Smith, electoral college change is up there with “reparations” and unfortunately “climate change” and GND as the lightning rod issues that people will even give a crap about and rally around.

        I propose just two policy planks for the winning strategy:

        1. Stop The War
        2. M4A

        Stop The War: so we have enough money to solve virtually every other problem, starting with infrastructure. Polls at 70%+

        M4A: so you have a hardcore instant pocketbook issue where people are feeling incredible pain. Also polls at 70%+.

        The rest are just divisive distractions. Bernie/Tulsi

    2. justsayknow

      Just to push back for the sake of debate;

      I live in a very red state. There is no doubt which party’s candidate will win in the presidential race. Hence my vote means nothing. Is this a wise way to run a country?

      Two of the last three presidents were minority “winners.” And look how divided we are now. There literally is talk of civil war and armed rebellion at the highest levels.

      I see no evidence the electoral college is aiding our union as a nation. It’s hard to argue against one person one vote. And every vote counts.

      1. curlydan

        I totally agree. I live in Kansas City, and no President or candidate gives a crap about my vote regardless of the what side of the KS/MO state line I’m on because KS and MO are both going to vote Republican.

        The Democrats should have been working on this since 2000, but they just thought “demographics is destiny” and planned for their supposed glorious future.

      2. Oh

        The Electoral College is stacked with appointees of the party machine fromone of the duopoly parties and there’s no way everyday citizens can get in.

    3. Carla

      Jill Lepore: “How to elect a President was vexed from the start. At the constitutional convention in Philadelphia in 1787, the men who framed the federal government made a great many compromises, but “the Convention were perplexed with no part of this plan so much as with the mode of choosing the President,” as the Pennsylvania delegate James Wilson later explained. Some delegates believed that Congress should elect the President. This allowed for popular participation in government while avoiding what Hamilton called the “excess of democracy.” But having Congress elect the President violated the principle of the separation of powers. Wilson proposed that the people elect the President directly, but Madison pointed out that the Southern states “could have no influence in the election on the score of the Negroes.” That is, the South had a lot of people, but a third of them were slaves; in a direct election, the North, which had a lot of people but very few slaves, would have had more votes. Wilson therefore suggested the Electoral College, a proposal that built on a mathematical compromise that had taken the delegates most of the summer to devise. Under the terms of the three-fifths compromise, each state was granted one representative in Congress for every thirty thousand people, except that slaves, who could not vote, counted as three-fifths of a person. Wilson’s proposal applied this formula to the election of the President: the number of each state’s electors in the Electoral College is the sum of its congressional delegation, its two senators plus its number of representatives. Substituting electors for voters conferred on the slave states a huge electoral advantage, once the first census was taken, in 1790. Virginia and Pennsylvania had roughly equivalent free populations, for instance, but Virginia, because of its slave population, had six more seats in the House than did Pennsylvania, and therefore six more electors in the Electoral College. This bargain helps to explain why the office of the President of the United States was, for thirty-two of the first thirty-six years of its existence, occupied by a slave-owning Virginian.”

      1. Ed

        The Electoral College is also an “only in America” thing, in other republics the heads of state are either elected directly by voters, or voted in by national legislators and/ or local government officials. For that matter within the US all statewide officials that are elected are elected by direct election. You really only need a US style electoral college if you are going to have a republic and slaves.

        1. rd

          Parliamentary systems have the Prime Minister heading the party with the most seats. That does not mean you got the most votes, although usually it does (similar to Electoral College).

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Internationally, in the United Nations, or at the World Bank, etc, India gets one vote, as does, say, Bolivia.

          The former has way more people.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        “…each state was granted one representative in Congress for every thirty thousand people…”
        now, it’s around 700,000-800,000 folks per “representative”.
        I habitually take discussions about this as an excuse to toss onto the pile one of my favorite Constitutional Causes: Article the First:

        I imagine a giant pole barn(the astrodome is still available) where congress meets, with thousands of representatives, who each have constituencies small enough that they fear going home after they step in it for reals…
        i mean, if we’re gonna keep calling ourselves “of, by and for the people”…
        …as long as we’re mucking about in the Amendment Process…
        I’d like to see a Right to Vote set in stone as well.

        1. a different chris

          Yes we have a lot of representatives in Pa, and of course the obvious “solution” to a lot of people, there is one writer in the Post-Gazette who loves to bang on it, is to cut the number back.

          Yeah, that makes sense. /s I guess since the 99% are poorly represented at all levels of government we might as well give up completely.

        2. NotTimothyGeithner

          Based on past experience, unicameral legislatures after about 600 to 700 legislators becomes unmanageable. Its kind of like the military idea of a person only being able to handle 5 inputs at one time.

          Effectively, DC has:

          -50 governors and legislators with relative size differences.
          -territories such as Puerto Rico
          -435 Congressional Reps from SMDP districts (another issue)
          -100 Senators from wildly different sized states.
          -The President and a large cabinet not selected from the legislature
          -A Supreme Court of 9

          50 G’s, 50 State L’s, 435 Reps, 100 Sen., 1 President, and 9 Supremes adds up to 645 powerful entities that have to be dealt with in a fashion. They all have power bases which aren’t equal. The net result is only the President can cut the Gordian knot because only the President has a national electorate and immense individual power.

          My ideal change is to do this along with the obvious abolition of certain jobs:
          -term limits and age limits for the Supremes. Other than this, I would leave it untouched.
          -Abolish the states and institute larger regional governments. Its time. Whether its managing the Colorado River or cleaning the Chesapeake, its time to abolish the states. Modern New York City was five separate governments just 120 years ago. The scale of the country does require a separate entity for each region. How they are set up, I don’t care.

          As far as the legislature, I go back and forth. In my imagined land, with the introduction of regions, we should go straight to PR districts, but some may have a city-state element to them. 450 PR spots, and maybe 150 locality based districts (New York City might have 3 SMDP districts; the city of Boston one; with another for the Boston suburbs)? Would they be separate houses or one? I think the goal should be around 600 to 650.

          As for the executive, the “President” would be a Prime Minister from the PR side of the legislature. Treaties and cabinet type level officials might need the approval of the SMDP reps, just a majority. In my imagined system, I feel I’ve reduced complexity, increased democracy, and still maintained an understanding that there are regional concerns in need of address.

          1. Sanxi

            Exactly what past experience, say beyond that of a citizen of what? Two questions at least?

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            Not Tim,
            “-Abolish the states and institute larger regional governments. Its time. Whether its managing the Colorado River or cleaning the Chesapeake, its time to abolish the states. Modern New York City was five separate governments just 120 years ago. The scale of the country does require a separate entity for each region. How they are set up, I don’t care.”

            I’d be all for this, if we could include some subsidiarity…locals really do know their local environs better that whiz kids in DC.
            …and i realise that we’re getting close to the question of mankind’s ability to govern himself…

            ..and City States are a cool idea, and already trying to be born anew…I remember a Texas Monthly article, years ago, now, about just that.
            It’s the Top Down version of “Liberalism” that I have issues with. It abandons, without comment, a pinnacle of Enlightenment Thought…that democracy is viable, because Mankind is Improvable.

    4. NotTimothyGeithner

      As the article “Carla” links to, the electoral college exists to deal with slavery and no other purpose. Ignoring the moral problems with slavery, the electoral college ceased to serve a purpose in 1865.

      This doesn’t excuse Team Clinton’s inability to grasp how the electoral college works, but like the Senate, the filibuster, and Joe Biden, the electoral college is a holdover of a structural racist past that needs to be abolished.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        I’m sorry, but the Electoral College in the 1780s and the Electoral College today are about more than just slavery, though that of course was a factor — but it was not the only factor. It is about protecting small states as such from the overweening influence of mega-states like Virginia and Pennsylvania and Massachusetts and New York (then, different ones today), and therefore also about federalism. There were small northern states, like New Hampshire and (at that time) New Jersey, that did not have slave economies that were very nervous about a national legislature dominated by large population states. I mean, Rhode Island didn’t even send delegates to the Constitutional Convention and essentially had to be embargoed into ratification. Why should they, then, or Wyoming and Vermont now, consent to surrender their essential integrity as bodies politic? States aren’t just provinces; get rid of the Electoral College and you’ve ushered in a unitary government.

        And why in the world of realpolitik would the small states, be they Rhode Island or Nebraska, consent to give up either the Electoral College or the Senate?

        Seems like a good way to begin breaking up the Union to me.

        Or Democrats could, you know, try to actually win, like Roger Smith says above.

        For what it’s worth, I think a proportional Electoral College would solve a lot of the problems that critics of both the current Electoral College and the popular vote bring up. You’d have Republicans campaign in NY and Dems in TX and be rewarded for it.

        1. Montanamaven

          Jerry Fresia’s “Towards an American Revolution” written in 1988 is a fun read. It makes the case that the Articles of Confederation just needed tweaking. But the elites didn’t like those gd farmers and blacksmiths having so much say in the state legislatures. “Democracy is a disease” Hamilton wanted a strong Federal government. So the Articles weren’t tweaked, they were dumped.

          1. Swamp Yankee

            Yes, they certainly were terrified of popular movements. I wrote my undergrad thesis on Shays’ Rebellion and related agrarian revolts in New England (Vermont’s Green Mountain Boys, Maine’s Liberty Men/White Indians; there are other incidents, like Shays-related disturbances in NH, and the soft money/paper currency policy of independent Rhode Island).

            There’s a great letter from Washington to Henry Knox, his former comrade in arms. Are these rebels merely tools of the British, or do they have real grievances, he asked. If the latter, why hasn’t the Commonwealth of Massachusetts met them? (Answer: because it was dominated by wealthy mercantile and eastern financial interests).

            Of course Knox, an absentee landlord in mid-Maine, could not see the legitimate complaints of the rebels, but then again, like Upton Sinclair said, he believed what his financial interests needed him to believe.

            Groups like the Carolina Regulators were also popular movements that defied central authorities, so it wasn’t only a New England thing — it was a backcountry thing. There’s a reason backcountry districts were overwhelmingly opposed to ratification.

            I would recommend the book by Saul Cornell’s The Other Founders
            Anti-Federalism and the Dissenting Tradition in America, 1788-1828
            (Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1999). Really also Charles and Mary Beard, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. In many respects the ur-text of this discussion.


            And Hamilton’s fanciful notion that we abolish the states seems to have risen from the ashes among elements of both the Vox and Jacobin crew. In political terms that seems to me like trying to abolish the Moon. They were a fact of political life in the 1780s, and they remain one today. A reminder that, at least as far as life experience went, Hamilton in important ways wasn’t American; people born in the 13 colonies like Adams or Washington knew the importance of the states. Would that his successors (oh, Lin-Manuel, how Woke Is Thy Bankster Reactionary!) learned this lesson as well.

            I’d wager hard currency (no Continentals!) that Massachusetts and Virginia, which existed before the federal union, will continue to exist afterwards. And so on.

            1. kgw

              “Paul Revere’s Ride,” by David Hackett Fischer is a most interesting study of the 2-3 years preceding the Concord Fight. It examines the culture of the time, and the reasons the colonists fought. Highly recommended.

            2. Wukchumni

              In Colonial times, Massachusetts had silver shillings, 2, 3 & 6 pence coins and a bunch of halfpenny sized coins, while Virginia had merely halfpennies.

              The majority of coins in circulation were ‘other people’s money’ aka foreign coins.

              1. The Rev Kev

                If the French government was supporting the Colonial forces then, would that imply that Washington’s troops may have been paid with French coinage?

                  1. The Rev Kev

                    Thanks for that, Wuk. Sounds like that back in Colonial America, that you had to have a good idea about the value of things, including the money that you used.

            3. Rhondda

              Swamp Yankee, thank you for this excellent comment and the book recommendations. I look forward to reading The Other Founders.

              Reading the shockingly anti-democratic remarks of Alexander Hamilton, I find it interesting that today’s Democrats love them some Hamilton, to the extent of even naming their RussiaRussiaRussia dashboard Hamilton68. Funny how these things are always hiding in plain sight. Like an “in” joke. Except not a joke.

        2. EarlErland

          Unitary Government is a gross overstatement. Abolishing the EC has no effect on the state/federal power structure of the Constitution.

          1. Swamp Yankee

            I can see why you might say that, but I don’t think it is an overstatement. Getting rid of the EC absolutely changes the balance of power between the states and the federal government. The former become increasingly a creature of the latter. Thus, it quite literally “ushers” – in the sense of brings one toward — a unitary government.

            I wouldn’t say this but for the following: we know there is a movement among our metropolitan culture-producing class to simply get rid of the states, especially when this class loses elections (See, e.g., the left-wing statement here and the centrist one here First the EC will go; then the Senate (which of course is undemocratic, it’s a mixed government, not an absolute democracy) will be, to use the parlance of our time, canceled. With those two key guarantors of small states’ sovereignty gone, they are no longer in any position to exercise leverage over either large states or the federal government. The balance of power key to federalism is lost. They essentially become administrative divisions like French departements.

            That may be a feature, not a bug, for some. I’m not in that crowd.

            This also, like cake-ism and unicornismo in Brexit, completely ignores the fact that — the small states hold the cards here. How are they going to be made to give up the rights that caused them to join the Union in the first place? They have no material interest in giving up either their EC votes or their seats in the Senate. So how do proponents of abolishing the EC actually get them to accept this?

            Again, I think a proportional EC where it is done by Congressional District and not by Winner-Take-All actually satisfies the objections of both Electoral College defenders and critics.

            1. Paul Boisvert

              Hi, Swamp Yankee,

              Thanks for linking the Jacobin article, which, though you obviously disagree with it, makes a compelling case that Federalism’s devolvement of power to the states has been in general a huge impediment to the struggle for democracy, and for economic and social justice in the US. I hope all NC readers will read it. While abolishing states per se won’t happen anytime in the foreseeable future, every measure to limit their power is a blow for such justice.

              But no, proportional EC cannot (logically) satisfy both EC critics and proponents. You can’t both preserve the ability of the fewer members of some states’ populations to have disproportionate power over the rights and desires of the more numerous members of other states, and simultaneously negate it. Either the minority will have disproportionate influence or they won’t–no solution (including the only democratic one, eliminating the EC) can satisfy both sets of desires. So, as always in the left’s battle for democracy and justice, you have to answer the fundamental question–which side are you on?

              1. Swamp Yankee

                Very fair points, Paul Boisvert — I hate to do so, but I would answer your question with a question — to borrow from the great Canadian political philosopher Charles Taylor — whose democracy? Which justice?*

                I think these things when considered in abstraction are a very different story than when considered in the concrete. Perhaps incommensurably so. (And I fully admit I am not a doctrinaire leftist — more of a Red Puritan, if that makes any sense. 17th century Commonwealth ideology**.)

                But reasonable people can disagree, so I would also suggest that people ought to read the arguments in Jacobin, even if I don’t agree with them.



            2. Sanxi

              The balance of power between the states and federal government? No, that was changed by A. Lincoln for better or worse to the benefit of the Federal government. The only thing in play is the election of the president, period. Nothing else, nadda. Congress and its actual makeup, is what determines, what is important, as where the money goes, as in to what states, to what ends. Case in point the current stupidity of NASA being unable to build a rocket according to it being designed by congress. Funny how that works. The rest is just ancient history. Or put another way – Follow the money.

              1. Swamp Yankee

                Yes, of course Lincoln decided it, in ultimate terms. And note of course that states like Vermont and Rhode Island fought for that settlement.

                But what is being proposed is an upset of that settlement, one that extends federal power and the power of the big states beyond what was contemplated by Lincoln.

                I’m not insensible to the fact that states’ rights has historically been used by the Slave Power and the Bourbon Southern Democrats to defend their prerogatives.

                Yet it is also true that, as Louis Brandeis said, states are the laboratories of democracy, and if Wisconsin wants to go progressive, or if MA and CT are opposed to the War of 1812, they also have rights towards that.

                So yes, the balance is in favor of the central authority, and I agree with that — to a point. If you want to re-open this question, it really is a ball of worms and troublesome.

                The idea that anything is ancient history is something I reject. I’m with Faulkner when he said “the past is never dead — it’s not even past.”

                And again I do ask proponents of EC abolition — why would any small state, whether Delaware or Idaho, accede to your demands?

                Is not politics about power?

            3. Earl Erland

              What state sovereignty that exists is largely a function of Constitutional grants of, and limitations upon, the exercise of federal judicial and legislative power. Abolishing the EC will not result in the federalization of, say, divorce law. Abolishing the EC will not result in Congress running school districts, deciding the appropriate criminal penalty for tailgating, or setting the licensing requirements for barbers. I deliberately chose mundane examples, because the Commerce and Necessary and Proper Clauses, as well as Article III (and to a lesser extent Articles I and IV) provide limits.

              I did read the Jacobin article, and it obviously does not address what must be done by way of a wholesale rewrite of the Constitution should states be abolished. In this the article is a Beto. Let’s grant that the existence of states is an impediment to needed social reform. And yet, we have as a Country made extraordinary progress on, for example, what equality means and to whom the concept is applicable that very few in the 18th and19th century could have dared to imagine. We are, if too slowly, undertaking a reexamination of the Criminal Justice system in light of our evolving norms and expectations.

              AS for your observation about “holding the cards” I can only write: Yup, but in theory abolishing the EC via Amendment is not the only tool available.

      2. Montanamaven

        Once we go down the “no electoral college’ road, I’m having trouble seeing it work in so very large a country. It would no longer be a “United” states, but a big country run big cities. Maybe the idea would be to take these “united” states and divide them up into large regions? Maybe 5? Each would have farmland and ports for trade. Might be easier to govern. If there is just one big country with one person one vote, who fixes the roads or makes the sewers work? What is the closest comparison to a system of one person one vote? Russia? China? India? Canada? I don’t know enough about them. But I do see problems with bigness.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It would no longer be a “United” states, but a big country run big cities

          So would those big cities, allow for mergers of giant agribusiness that would lead to the destruction of small farms and lead to the creation of gross factory farms that pollute everything? Is that the fear?

        2. The Rev Kev

          Maybe it could be organized where you have the capital as Washington and then have the rest of the country organized as separate 13 Districts with each specialized into an economic activity. If they get uppity, you might have to destroy, say, the 13th District ‘pour encourager les autres’ but that should work.

    5. Eureka Springs

      I think abolishing the U.S. Senate would be far more democratic. We’ve already amended the Constitution with incremental efforts in re the Senate to no good end…it’s time to once and for all eliminate it.

      For those who are mired between two awful corrupt parties (TINA), it’s time to post two maps again. This is the super plurality of eligible voters in overwhelming agreement – No to both D or R. Ignored now at the favor of the narcissistic duopolists… but eventually, ignoring this will be at all out peril. You D and R’s both have 70 percent of the electorate either refusing to vote for you or voting against you!

      Accepting the status quo for a moment… this map gave me great pause. I think this much read, with very, very small concentrations of blue make a strong argument FOR the E.C.

      (Thanks to N.C. links and cooler for initially finding brilliant maps).

      1. Louis

        How is having all major decisions made by less than 10 states, which is what would happen if the Senate was eliminated, democratic?

    6. anon in so cal


      Ending the EC essentially means California and a couple of other coastal states get to choose the president from here on out.

      1. Partyless Poster

        But your essentially saying that my vote as Californian shouldn’t count as much as
        someone from Wyoming.
        That doesn’t sound like democracy to me.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It’s the same with the Senate.

          In fact, the Senate is the problem.

          The total electoral vote is the number of senators plus the number of congress representatives, plus 3 (for the District of Columbia).

          Without the senate number, the electors would be like the House of Representatives (leaving out DC for a moment).

          Perhaps remove Senator Sanders, and a few others from smaller states, and combine a group of them into one ‘senatorial district.’

          1. jrs

            The Senate is worse, about 80% of the population is soon going to be represented by 20% of the Senators. It’s why people say electing Bernie won’t do a darn thing, and they may be right, unless the obstacle that is the Senate, that is undemocratic to an extreme, is somehow overcome nonetheless. Because legislation does have to go through Congress no matter how little that congress represents the vast majority of the people …

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Abolish the Senate.

              And abolish the Electoral College.

              Should they be on the table for consideration?

    7. jrs

      But please do end the electoral college as well. It’s completely archaic and shouldn’t exist.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Precisely my point above re EC, reparations, GND. Dems should not be floating trial balloons on signature policies That.Will.Not.Happen and mostly benefit the next generation.

          Warming? I’ll turn up the air conditioner. Reparations? Give me a break. Meantime the Pentagon feasting on lobsters and champagne makes me incredibly angry, and I’m about to lose my house due to medical bills.

          THAT’S how to get people to give a crap.

          1. jrs

            I’m really not sure the wars are an issue most people care about. And per MMT money is no obstacle, we can have our guns and butter too.

            There is a moral argument for stopping the wars? Sure, and for caring about the next generation (I think they’re doomed, but one can do the best of it).

  9. charles 2

    Re : Porn and the state: when size really does matter

    It really is that simple. The problem is that the government clearly doesn’t trust parents to keep their children safe online.

    No, it is not simple : The problem is that parents cannot trust other parents to keep their children safe online. For one couple of parents who does things the right way (and it is not easy, it means setting up a proxy on every single screen in the house), there is another one who does nothing because they know nothing about IT. In other words, children get access to pornography through their friends smartphones…

    Personally, what I chose to do is to “trust but verify”, I.e. log the browsing of my kid on an encumbered computer. Once the inevitable happens, it was time for a serious talk. Not ideal, but this is the world we live in…

    1. Ed

      The UK doesn’t have a first amendment, and porn isn’t protected by the US first amendment, but I would hope judges would take a dim view of the government prohibiting being able to view anything anonymously. I realize they spy on internet browsing anyway but they are not supposed to.

      1. Beniamino

        Only piping in to say that the First Amendment unequivocally does extend to pornography in principle, so long as the material in question does not qualify as “obscene.” While I grant you that the legal definition of “obscenity” is extremely vague and could theoretically encompass any depiction or description of sexual activity (in addition to scatological jokes, etc.), the practical reality is that prosecutors are generally not particularly aggressive about submitting these kinds of cases to juries and that “obscenity” is expected to require something more viscerally repulsive than traditional human coitus.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I believe the SC justice said essentially he didn’t know how to define obscenity except “I know it when I see it”.

          I personally think depictions of people getting their heads blown off with firearms are what is really obscene but we’ve chosen to define that instead as “entertainment”.

    2. a different chris

      Actually I think this is generally the “ideal” for parenting, although it’s unfortunate that we have yet another new icky subject to deal with. Cocooning, which is basically another form of misleading, your kids regularly goes way wrong when the world does seep thru and they have no experience on how to handle it.

    3. The Rev Kev

      This all sounds like an idea to have the government monetize all those that view porn on behalf of the porn industry. It’s like requiring that all those that gamble online make their full details and identity know in advance. You could almost call it the first steps in having a digital passport to use the internet. There have been calls by politicians to have greater control of the internet and requiring the virtual abolishment of anonymous internet browsing is one aim that many want to achieve, But getting back to the question of porn. How many people would that be? Last time they did a survey, they found that 78% of the population admitted to watching porn from time to time while the other 22% of the population were lyers. At least when they bring this measure into the UK, the British won’t be under any other pressures. I wonder if people will go back to buying porn magazines again. Even there you had problems-

  10. Amfortas the hippie

    Re: quanta mag, regarding anomalous quantum behaviour.

    “What kind of physics allows this to happen? This is a kind of deep and profound question that runs through many areas of physics, and I think this is another incarnation.”

    i think it’s rather profound(and cool) that we have no clue, as yet, about such fundamental things.
    I’m reminded of a leit motif in “Stargate Universe”…a quantum signature behind everything that indicated non-randomness(and therefore Intention!) in the deepest layer of Reality.
    …and the Star Trek next gen episode about the runes in the dna of sentient species throughout the galaxy.
    I also really dig it when high level cogitors start sounding like Mystics.

    1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

      Yes….I like the mystery & believe that it will be forever beyond us, which given our record, is just as well.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        The problem is that we’ve penetrated the veil of the mystery just enough to destroy our planet.

        1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

          Like an isolated virus……& as Carlin said, the planet will be OK, but we won’t.

    2. Sanxi

      Amfortas, I suppose having an opinion on the laws of physics has some poetic value, but that physicists as myself hold beliefs such as we have doubts about much of what we know – not so much. The unknown unknowns are a very very small area. Ok?

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        last i looked, we didn’t know what most of the universe is made of(dark matter, dark energy being useful euphemism for “have no frelling idea what THAT is”), and don’t really know what Gravity is.
        all knowledge is provisional(Popper), anyway…so keep on looking!
        and humility is a good thing…constructive, even…
        Nemesis forever stalks Hubris, and all…

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Joe Biden Faces the Unthinkable: Can He Not Keep Up with Bernie?”

    From reading about Biden’s history, all I can say is this-

    “The (older Democrats) now tells me how tough things are. Give me a break. No, no, I have no empathy for it. Give me a break”.

    1. allan

      High comedy. As is this:

      I generally don’t do horserace politics. But with an unpopular president, a mobilized Democratic base, and before the “Bernie is Hugo Chavez with a New York accent” stuff even gets started, isn’t this actually a terrible poll for Sanders?

      For some definition of “generally don’t do”. You’ll never guess who the tweeter is. /s

      1. Grant

        To be honest, Bernie was polling much better vs. Trump before than he is now. I can’t make sense of it logically, but it seems to be the case. The polling of Biden is just mind blowing. How many people supporting him now seem completely uninterested in his record, his corruption and what he has actually said? His record impacting working people, the poor, indebted students, communities of color, and his foreign policy record, is horrible. I realize too that most of these polls over-sampled older voters, but some polls even among Millennials show strong support for Biden at this point. It is depressing. Look at our structural problems, look at the changes needed, and right now, THESE are the people many voters are preferring over Sanders? WHAT do they prefer? That he was VP under Obama? What exactly?

  12. Wukchumni

    In 24 States, 50% or More of Babies Born on Medicaid; New Mexico Leads Nation With 72% CSNNews (resilc)
    A friend became a newly minted RN almost a decade ago, and loved everything about babies, so it was a natural that she ended up in the nursery helping coerce bundles of joy for their coming out party.

    She lasted a little over a year, and her reasoning was that 4 out of 5 babies delivered, weren’t what she’d hoped for, mom & dad beaming with smiles and “were gonna have a baby!” expectations, it was just the opposite, unwed moms, single mom on welfare, mom with partner in jail, mom on drugs, mom that’s almost homeless, etc., etc.

    1. edmondo

      I’m going to give you another look at the Medicaid Babies:

      I work with a young woman who has had three pregnancies, all with the same partner. She works about 28 hours a week with me . (We were restricted to less than 30 hours a week part-time work so that the company did not have to offer healthcare benefits after ObamaCare was passed into law.). They live together, not married, but he is as much as partner to her as most of the other married couples I see. He works full time but at a not-very-well paying job. All three of her pregnancies were paid for by Medicaid because – as a single mom with low income – she is eligible for it as well as WIC and post-partum pediatric care. This couple will never get married because they will lose all these benefits and be forced cannot afford to pay 125% of their salaries for a Silver Plan with a $5000 annual deductible. They are using Medicaid because they found a legal loophole that works for them. Would I rather that these people get healthcare than Mitt Romney get another car elevator because of a legal loophole? Damn straight.

      Being a “welfare mom” ain’t all it’s wrapped up to be.

      1. newcatty

        Edmondo, I can agree hat the system is set up to actually encourage people to “find loopholes” to have their healthcare needs provided through using a state’s Medicaid. Your example of a couple having “Medicaid babies” sounds reasonable and understandable with the lack of real universal healthcare for all people in the country. Both people in the relationship work…This sounds like responsible people and parents. The other side of Medicaid being the fallback for lower class working people, as well as poor people, is that it is also manipulated by people consciously. This noticed by working people who do not qualify for Medicaid. They are stuck with the awful, expensive “Silver Plans”. Even If They are fortunate to have employer provided insurance, it often is not much better in coverage, though premiums a bit less. The hard working person, let’s say a single mother or two working parents who don’t qualify for Medicaid are, indeed, paying a large amount of income for health coverage. Anecdotes: We personally know a large, extended family who make no bones about it; they are proud to be on Medicaid, WIC.,if on Medicare, then also on Medicare; free lunch programs and activities in school for kids; use food banks; etc. The family lives in a very nice home, along with other domiciles. They are shrewd and purposely not makes enough income, even when in “real” jobs to not loose their benefits. Most of them all work under the table. They see federal government as too big and nosey. They vote straight Republican. They have a whole community in their circles of people. They laugh when told they are receiving their benefits from “big government”. They have no sympathy for the the people they know are in the Silver plan circumstance. They are the most smug people I have ever met. The most, being the son in the military, soon to retire nicely. Until, universal health care is implemented, this is just the result of all of the corruption and relative morality the elite have as their lack of a true moral compass and have modeled for the peoples.

  13. jfleni

    RE: Kentucky Gov. Bevin Says He Deliberately Exposed His 9 Children to Chickenpox.

    The rest of us have always suspected that Kentucky was “strange”, as in “deranged” or “tapioca”; now we are sure!

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Every time I hear some Texas windbag hollering for secession afore the socialists take away everyone’s pickups, guns, money, and bibles, I mutter, “Please, please, take Kentucky with you.”

      (apologies to Amfortas and the majority of Austin)

    2. John

      May Gov Bevin enjoys his experience with shingles when it comes. His children will be autonomous adults and can decide for their shingles vaccination or not, if such things are still available then.

  14. Henry Moon Pie

    Apropos of nothing in particular but nearly everything in general, I invite members of the NC community to take a trip to 40 years ago and spend 18 minutes listening to one of the most maligned speeches given by an American President in modern history.

    Jimmy Carter is far from my favorite President. He was arguably the first neoliberal in the White House. But Carter’s intelligence and integrity must have moved him to make a speech so grave and so prescient that it is worth our time to hear it again in 2019. As remarkable as the text of the speech is, I would encourage you to listen to the speech on YouTube so that you might hear the desperation and angst in Carter’s voice and eyes as he tries to speak the truth from the Oval Office. You will be disabused of the notion that our troubles began with Trump or Clinton or even Reagan. The American soul was already eroded 40 years ago, and with it was also lost unity and a concern for anyone but ourselves.

    I would argue that this was one of the last times an American President spoke the truth to citizens. The press ridiculed Carter’s speech as the “malaise speech” though that word was never used. Carter lost his bid for re-election to an actor who, with a shake of the head, promised “Morning in America” and delivered with a doubling-down on violence, materialism and dog-eat-dog capitalism. Especially ironic is that Carter’s 2016 campaign was centered on making the government “as good as the people.”

    There are many “what ifs” as we drift toward climate disaster. Many of them can be found in this speech with its dogged emphasis on conservation. “Don’t take unnecessary trips. Park your car one day a week.” Those things might have made a difference for climate change too. What is clear that we are no better and probably worse off than when Carter described our crisis of confidence and loss of moral values 40 years ago, and yet what is required is exactly what Carter was begging for in 1979.

    1. prodigalson

      I don’t know if Carter is anyone’s favorite president, but he’s the only one I know of in recent times who spent his time out of office honestly trying to help others, living humbly, and not seek self-enrichment and aggrandizement like pretty much all the others of the last few generations. I think that counts for a lot, if not in redeeming then at least ameliorating the mistakes of his presidency.

      1. Wukchumni

        Carter set the standard for future Presidents, in that whatever you do, don’t dare come off as weak* or the consequences will make you come off as one of the worst leaders imaginable, which i’d guess is why he alone of all of the ex-Presidents, has done so much to help the common man, in making amends.

        * the malaise speech, collapsing in the midst of a 10k run**, disaster in attempt to rescue the U.S. hostages, etc.

        ** is this why all Presidents henceforth typically only ever play golf on closed courses, and are seldom seen going for a hike, or taking a swim @ the beach, etc.?

        1. pretzelattack

          he was portrayed as “weak” because of allegedly being soft on communism, not invading iran over the hostages, the malaise speech, etc. similarly, the doddering reagan was sold as “strong”, though he was only half aware of what was going on in the world.

      2. David King

        and the democratic party was already careening toward neoliberalism, including edward kennedy. carter was not an influential president within his own party.

      3. JohnnyGL

        Truman was pretty humble, even if he was very problematic in office and a big cold war hawk. He was at least a respectable guy, on a personal level.

        FDR was, of course, so ridiculously popular that he won 4 times comfortably and died in office and congress had to pass a law to stop anyone from ever trying to pull that stunt again where you help people a ton and they keep voting for you in perpetuity. It’s almost like he cut a ‘deal’ with the American people and they both kept their end of the bargain! :)

        But, to your point, the last bundle of them since Carter have all been scoundrels.

        1. cm

          Truman was really remarkable. IIRC, he & Bess drove in their own car back to Missouri. No escort, etc.

          Also one of the few Presidents to not die a millionaire.

          He led an artillery company in WW1 & had the distinction of keeping all his men alive.

          1. The Rev Kev

            And oddly enough, he came out of the Kansas City Democratic machine led by Tom Pendergast which sounds almost like Chicago’s machine – but he outgrew it. You read about Kansas then and it was almost like a mafia racket so Truman came a long way. Come to think of it, there was a President in 19th century America that came out of one of these corrupt political machines so when he became President, it was expected that the corruption would go on. Instead, when he became President, he told them to go to hell and ran a pretty honest administration but I am afraid his name escapes me at the moment.

      4. Eureka Springs

        He’s the only one in my lifetime I thought was, and still is, a decent human being.

  15. russell1200

    “t’s normal in NYC development deals for the locals to squawk and the developer to have to give sweeteners”

    That is generally true anywhere where the developer is piggy-backing off pre-exisitng conditions that make the area attractive. It is payback of some of the “free” positive externalities.

    But in this case, the positives are pretty thin compared to other venues, thus the payoffs and incentives. It seems to have come down to “Where does the boss have a house?”.

  16. Stillfeelinthebern

    On salt use for deicing. Take a look at the picture of appropriate amount to use on a sidewalk at this Dane County, Wisconsin website.

    It is an eye opener. Many use way too much salt on ice out of not knowing how little is needed to be effective.

    Also, no mention in this article of “brining” which is applying a salt solution before the ice/snow comes. This technique greatly reduces the amount used. Finally, biodegradable substances exist and are used by municipalities, but they cost more.

    The most popular of these biodegradable is sugar beet juice. The environmental impact of that is suppose to be low, but there are always side effects.

    Here is a really good article on the issues.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Sometimes it gets just too cold to use salt. I was listening to the British Army on the Rhine radio station during the winter of 1980/81 and they were describing how cold it was in the UK then. One incident that stuck out was when they described how a council truck went out to salt the roads but when they arrived at their destination, found that the salt in the truck had frozen into a solid block. After a few attempts to loosen up the salt, they gave it up as a bad job so they decided to return to the council depot when they found to their consternation that the fuel was freezing up.

  17. Summer

    Re: New Futurist / Singularity

    Worrying about the fall-out from AI taking over all jobs means skipping discussion on what the hell happened when AI took over 50% of jobs???

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Exclusive: How Iran fuel oil exports beat U.S. sanctions in tanker odyssey to Asia”

    Trump is trying to eliminate the oil coming from two major producers – Iran and Venezuela. Maybe it is just to drive the price of oil up for the surplus oil that he wants to sell out on the market. But there are plenty of countries that for some reason, cannot get by with reduced supplies of oil. Thus this article comes as no surprise. I can see how this works out in practice.

    Singaporean Port Authority Officer: “Do you have anything to declare?”

    Iranian oil tanker Captain: “No. Nothing at all.”

    Singaporean Port Authority Officer: “I see that your ship’s manifest states that you are carrying 130,000 tonnes of oil aboard.”

    Iranian oil tanker Captain: “Yes, that’s correct. We have a very leaky engine so we carry spare oil to top it up with.”

    Singaporean Port Authority Officer: “Sounds legit. The tugboats will tow you to your berth now. Number forty-two as usual.”

  19. Wukchumni

    When we left L.A., the only locale that was a given as far as seeing down and out folks, was Santa Monica-home of the homeless. You most certainly didn’t see indigents camped out in tents on sidewalks all over the place, as is the situation now. Due to a 2006 ruling there, authorities can do nothing to remedy the situation, in effect the outmates are running the show, our caste of untouchables.

    This is an hour long special by ABC news out of Seattle, which explores the same situation there as L.A., and squalor is winning.

      1. newcatty

        Visible homelessness. As opposed to invisible, in that it’s so prevalent that it is not just single men in the once romanticized “hobo camps”, and rugged renegades and loners. When the poor and misbegotten people were just that ‘s the way it is ( the poor will always be with us) and they were kept in locales as Santa Monica and other sacrificed places, then it was not a problem, OK? With the breaking up of civil society, now we have moms and kids living in cars. If have family or friends, they are pretty much in same financial straits. I have heard that a lot of the women , who do have relatives, prefer the car as opposed to reckless and abusive characters among them. Mentally ill were kicked to the streets. It’s a mess and a tragedy. The squalor of the street people in the streets or alley ways is disgusting and will increase diseases and disabilities . Homelessness, the canarys in the under world are escaping and fleeing into the upper world of cities and towns everywhere.

    1. Craig H.

      Supposedly they are just going to guard the government buildings. I thought most of the damage last weekend was in shops with champagne and shoes. What are looters going to target in government buildings? The supply closets?

  20. allan

    Everything is CalPERS, East coast edition:

    Baltimore Mayor Pugh says she paid taxes on book sales, calls inquiries a ‘witch hunt’ [Baltimore Sun]

    Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said she properly reported and paid taxes on all sales of her “Healthy Holly” [children’s] books and called inquiries into her deals with the University of Maryland Medical System a “witch hunt.”

    Pugh declined to provide copies of her personal and business tax records related to the $500,000 she has received from the medical system for 100,000 books since 2011, a period that includes her time as a state senator and as mayor. …

    The mayor broke her silence on the issue as legislative leaders in Annapolis were meeting with medical system officials about potential conflicts of interest among board members. And Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot blasted the mayor for striking a deal to sell books to UMMS while she served on a powerful Senate committee that approved millions in state aid to the system. …

  21. WJ

    “Meritocracy is a Myth…” Slate

    What the author calls “Luck” was known for millennia as “Fortuna,” the deity or semi-deity in charge of the distribution of temporal goods.

    Dante in Inferno 7–the circle of avarice and lavish expenditure– writes:

    Similarly, for worldly splendors He ordained a general minister and leader

    who would transfer from time to time the empty goods from one people to another, from one family to another, beyond any human wisdom’s power to prevent;

    therefore one people rules and another languishes, according to her judgment, that is hidden, like the snake in grass.

    Your knowledge cannot resist her; she foresees, judges, and carries out her rule as the other gods do theirs.

    Her permutations know no truce; necessity makes her swift, so thick come those who must have their turns.

    1. zagonostra

      Which translation did you use?

      John D. Sinclair’s I think is my favorite, though reading in the original Italian is the most satisfying…

      1. Carey

        Z, do you (or anyone else) know of a good edition that has both the Italian and an
        English translation, perhaps side by side? I have Mandelbaum and Musa now, English only.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          I’ve got Robert Pinsky’s translation in bilingual edition. I’ve found a few minor translational quibbles but it’s exactly what you are looking for.

    2. Tomonthebeach

      Why are we so eager to characterize success due to taking risks as just dumb luck?

      • We do not live in a just world
      • Competition rarely occurs on an even playing field
      • Risk-taking often ends in failure

      Nevertheless, success always involves investment risk. Attending college, rich or poor, is an investment risk. In the US, nearly 50% of freshman wind up with tuition debt but no degree. Was that bad luck or lack of effort?

      No arguing that Bill Gates is a lucky guy. He dropped out of college to start a business, and through hard work and diligence, despite an unjust world and an uneven playing field, his willingness to risk and persevere in the face of repeated setbacks made him wealthy. Point to a successful person, a lucky person, and I think you will find that in every case, taking a risk preceded their luck of success.

  22. NotTimothyGeithner

    Asked by Dana Bash if he would vow to put a woman on his presidential ticket, John Hickenlooper replied, “Of course,” and then said, “How come we’re not asking, more often, the women, ‘Would you be willing to put a man on the ticket?’”

    He’s so damn proud of this line. This is the worst thing he said last night, despite explaining why he took his mom to see “Deep Throat”.

    Hickenlooper is clearly sheep dogging for O’Rourke or Biden by trying to point out there are worse people out there.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Why America Needs a Stronger Defense Industry”

    There are lots of good ideas in this article but I am afraid that there is a flaw in it and that is pushing the production of the M-1 Abrams itself. Maybe I should modify that and say that so long as the production of these Abrams tanks was only for export, then that would be a good idea. The problem is that the Abrams is getting a bit long in the tooth now. It was developed back in the 1970s and went into full production about 1980. With old tank designs, when you try to modify them with newer gear you start to run into problems. You get problems putting in bigger engines into smaller engine bays. Boeing can vouch for the problem of fitting newer engines onto older designs.
    You also try to put a heavier turret onto a tank and you run into the problem that the suspension may not be able to cope. There comes a point when you have put in as much new gear as an old design can cope with. I suspect that this is the case with the Abrams. There is an article below that talks about some of the problems with this tank-

    Unmentioned in this article is the threat posed by Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) which gave the Israelis such a hard time in their invasion of Lebanon back in 2008 and more recently we have seen the effect of American supplied ATGMs by Jihadists on the Syrian battlefield. The long and short of it is that the US needs to develop a tank for the rest of this century but last I heard this is not really being done as a matter of urgency. So if this article is spruiking the production of more Abrams for the use of the US armed forces, this may not be the wisest of decisions.

    1. No

      I can’t see what role tanks could have in any modern conflict. If we’re fighting a war that seriously requires big tank deployments, then odds are we’re all about to die when the nukes start dropping.

      Also while I can see the scammy appeal of selling tanks to marks who don’t realize their overall strategic uselessness, those tanks are probably going to be used by despotic regimes against their own citizens.

      1. prodigalson

        On the nukes and tanks that’s a big maybe. Our elites seem very interested in starting a war with Russia or China or both at once. They’re so convinced they can control the escalation that we may all get to find out in the future how well that escalatory ladder works in practice.

        If we’re lucky our elites don’t get their war.
        if we get unlucky they do, the nukes stay at home, and we *only* have a very bloody WWII style conventional conflict with phyric victory as the best result.
        if we get really unlucky item #2 happens above and at some point the nukes do come out to play.

        Go check out the public release of the national defense security strategy and similar. They’re totes serious about kicking this off. Not getting nuked may be contingent on how cool and rational Putin remains if we go conventional on him.

  24. urblintz

    Another takedown of “Hamilton” the ahistorical money maker:

    “As the talented young Hamilton cast members lined up to take their bows before the exuberant audience, their faces gleamed with the sweat of intense effort and pleasure over the validation pouring forth for them and for Lin Manuel Miranda’s Broadway Hamilton in all its identity politics-promoting, neoliberal victim-blaming and white supremacy-enabling glory.

    I wondered if the queasiness of my stomach was a symptom of the receding flu or more likely resistance to the cultural fraud I had just witnessed.”

    1. The Rev Kev

      Once you remember that Hamilton was not an American hero but a hero to the 20% – with most of them living in the Washington DC-New York axis, it all becomes a lot clearer. He’s another culture’s hero.

  25. upstater

    re. “Volvo To Add In-Car Sensors To Prevent Drunk Driving”…

    Just how is this “big brother”? The fact of the matter is almost 11,000 people DIE because of DUI each year in the US and 300,000 have debilitating injuries requiring hospitalization. 40% of deaths are innocent victims, the majority of whom are in other vehicles or pedestrians. There are more innocent DUI deaths than 9/11 every single year. The US is a clear outlier with DUI deaths and injuries, far exceeding most any other OECD country.

    We can all oppose unwarranted search and seizure, the security theater we endure every time we board an airplane, the intrusiveness of CBP at points of entry or corporate spying.

    At a certain point there are legitimate concerns regarding public safety are reasonable. Why should we tolerate drunks on the road? Victims have rights too — for “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, which drunk drivers deny them. Volvo warning its driver that they may be intoxicated seems more than reasonable to me.

    What next? Big brother rants about the Second amendment and government wanting to take away our AR-15s and AK-47s?

    1. human

      In these days of omnipresent sensors, surveilance, and knowledge why did this ever take so long?

    2. prodigalson

      Because it’s orwellian in the extreme and opens the door for further abuse of meta-data collected and/or the obvious next step of conversation monitoring with or without your consent. Between IoT monitoring in homes, this sort of monitoring in cars, current monitoring in public, monitoring at work and school, we’ve voluntarily created a surveillance panopticon that can readily be converted over to a China style “social credit score” dystopia. This is what Snowden warned of in regards to “turn-key totalitarianism.”

      The safety items you mention can likewise be applied to every category listed above, Co2 in homes, fires, slips, falls, etc. But at some point you either have privacy or you don’t, and once it’s gone regaining it will be difficult if not impossible.

      Likewise i’ve personally known security managers and there’s more than enough flakes that would either snoop and/or use your info for their own kicks, or would judge you harshly based on your race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Your “guilt” would have nothing to do with any actual nefarious activity, but be based solely on triggering their predispotion for what a “bad” person is, which could include just being in the “wrong” political party. Proceed with caution.

      1. Carey

        Hear, hear.

        I see the primary purpose of “IoT” being to even further control the citizenry, along
        with the monetized perma-snooping.
        Amazing that people willingly put this
        stuff in their homes.

      2. human

        The article did not mention the pervasiveness of the system, however, a simple matter of disabling the controls locally, without any exterior or saved communication has been suggested/recommended in the past.

        1. prodigalson

          I’m afraid it will start relatively harmless and then be “improved” over time, likewise the local disable would likely eventualy itself be disabled and red flag if you try to, there’s also the temptation to auto-deduct for speeding violations and similar once that surveillance tech is installed and improved over time (remember the auto-deducter in Bruce Willis’s air taxi in the fith element? heh.)

          Remember, based off everything we’ve seen with phone and social media surveillance the assumption that those implementing the tech are acting in good faith is a dicey call. If anything, at this point we should actively assume bad faith and that these newer surveillance tech items are being designed specifically for data capture/monetization along with surveillance/control as the true desired end state. Things as harmless as video games have been turned into ruthlessly efficient skinner boxes over the last two decades and are targetted specifically at young children for monetization. Our tech overlords have no scruples and are fully vested with the surveillance/control crazies in elite circles.

      3. upstater

        prodigalson, you comments are ridiculous. How can you possibly conflate freedom, personal choice and privacy with an illegal, anti-social behavior that kills 11,000 people and well over 4000 of them innocent bystanders? This isn’t about government surveillance — it is about a clear and present threat to public safety.

        People have the right (“freedom” in your mindset) to get a drunk or stoned as they care too. You can play Nick Nolte in “Leaving Las Vegas” for real if you want to. Nobody cares and nobody will bother you. Go head and drink yourself to death, in the safety of a hotel room or your home. Please exercise your freedom.

        Everyone knows it is illegal to drink and drive. Everyone. Yet, like so many indicators of health and well being, the US is a clear outlier with respect to drinking and driving.

        I live in upstate NY; my son attended university in Ontario. Canadians have a real affection for beer and partying, just like Americans. Yet the death rate in Ontario is 1/4 that of neighboring NY State. The Canadians are just as “free” or “spied upon” as we are. What is the difference? It is enforcement with swift and certain penalties for anti-social behavior of driving under the influence.

        You might feel very different about being to Que-Sera if you had lost a family member to an entirely, preventable act of violence as we did.

        BTW, most cities and many states have ordinances to have smoke detectors and some CO2 monitors. Should we start ripping them all out now because the government might start spying on us through them? Are you that paranoid?

        1. prodigalson

          Upstater I feel for your loss and emphathize with your anger and desire to do something.

          This particular doing something is an extremely bad idea though. You’re too emotionally close to this issue. There are reams of data in the public domain over systemic abuse of surveillance systems sending people to jail for non-violent or minimal offenses right now today. Likewise the Chinese are barring people from travel, work, loans, and other needs of life right now today based on their total surveillance based “social credit system.” This isn’t some Hunger Games fantasy from the movies, you can google and research it yourself to verify. We’re already at the gates of this particular dystopia.

          Trading broken lives from DUIS for broken lives from systemic surveillance abuse is shifting the pain to different people from a different vector.

          1. upstater

            Data talks, bullshit walks. 4,286 innocent victims in 2017. 100,000 since 9/11. What gets government attention in this country anyway?

            An impaired driver is using a public right of way used by you, me and everyone else (although my daughter and her boss were run down in a parking lot in daylight at highway speed). Why should an impaired driver, knowingly breaking the law established for the common good, have any expectation of privacy in a 4,000 pound vehicle capable of driving 80 MPH?

            It is insulting to suggest “You’re too emotionally close to this issue” anymore than saying someone that thinks right-wing nutjobs shouldn’t be allowed to have AR-15s or AK-47s on public display in places like Lee Circle in New Orleans or Charlottesville is too emotional. Like drunk drivers, right-wing nutjobs or unstable people with guns is simply a bad idea and intolerable.

            Tell me, should airline pilots be allowed to fly drunk? If not, why? What is the difference? It can’t be because the pilot is getting paid and the drunk driver is out having fun, right? Or is that the REAL difference here?

            Conflating a warning to a driver of impairment or distraction with big brother is complete bullshit. If a Volvo alerts a driver that is impaired, drowsy or texting, how is this a bad idea? It is the SAME goddamned thing as a low oil pressure, low tire pressure, no seat belt or check engine light. Do you feel threatened by these warnings? How is the government going to use them against your personal “freedoms”?

            Seeing big brother around every corner is silly paranoia. Yes, there are many, many very legitimate concerns about surveillance of law-abiding people. I resent the intrusion in my life by corporations and the insults by CBP at a point of entry. I wouldn’t read this site if I wasn’t disgusted with TPTB.

            But just like people that use firearms irresponsibly or intentionally harm, or corporations that make defective products (e.g., Boeing) drunk drivers are a threat to public safety.

            Get your priorities straight and realize who the real criminals are. Don’t defend knowingly criminal or anti-social behavior.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          The solution, as you clearly state with your Canadian example, is stricter laws and tighter enforcement. It’s not Big Brother sensors in your car sniffing your f@rts to see if you ate an unauthorized quantity of beef this week

          1. upstater

            See above:

            Conflating a warning to a driver of impairment or distraction with big brother is complete bullshit. If a Volvo alerts a driver that is impaired, drowsy or texting, how is this a bad idea? It is the SAME goddamned thing as a low oil pressure, low tire pressure, no seat belt or check engine light. Do you feel threatened by these warnings? How is the government going to use them against your personal “freedoms”?

            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              You nailed it. When my car tells me my oil pressure is low as a *free* individual I have the right to pay attention to it or ignore it.

              When an app in China tells me the guy walking next to me once spat on a sidewalk and has a low social score and I should browbeat him about it, or the train conductor should not sell him a ticket…I call that the opposite of *free*.

              Government will set the alcohol limit on the sensor. Then they will lower it, and you will have no say in the matter. Then they will decide zero is the tolerable amount. Then they will decide soft drinks give you a sugar high so also need to be prohibited. Then it will be Facebook posts you made that an algorithm decides indicate elevated stress levels, so your car can’t start. Dangerous ThoughtCrime.

              Think, please. Stricter laws and better enforcement work. We do not need any further excuses for government to invade our lives.

              1. upstater

                What you are saying, that it is OK to have alcohol (or any other intoxicant) in your system and drive a 4,000 pound car at high speeds on a public thoroughfare.

                It is scientific fact at ANY alcohol impairs all manner of functionality to operate a motor vehicle (or pilot an airliner, for that matter). You’re saying that it is OK for a doctor to see patients in an impaired state, too. Your are justifying the “freedom” for drunk people drive cars or semis, fly planes, pilot ships, etc, etc/

                You are assuming that “the government” will somehow be transmitted information about distraction or impairment. Seat belt lights have been in cars for decades, on the basis of what you’re saying, soon that information will be beamed up to the nearest cop so he can write you a ticket. You’re saying that your speed will be transmitted to the nearest cop for a ticket.

                Paranoia runs deep.

  26. Wukchumni

    …a tale of 2 hospitals

    I’d made mention of my neighbor who served in the luaufields of Hawaii in 1974-75. He had never taken any veteran benefits offered, prior to going to the VA hospital in Fresno last year. He couldn’t stop talking about how amazing the facility is there, no waiting time to be seen, the $35 for 3 months of Rx meds plan, etc. He told me all he does is scan his VA card @ a terminal when he enters the facility, and everything proceeds in a hurry.

    A friend ended up sick enough to be ambulanced to the hospital in the Big Smoke nearest to us, and we went down to visit, and the waiting room of the emergency ward was akin to a Petri dish sat amuck, yeah there were a few lone seats available here & there, but there’s no way i’m sitting next to a fellow with an open sore on his mouth, as he’s cradling his head so it won’t hurt as much, yikes.

    1. kareninca

      I took my 94 y.o. father in law to the local VA hospital – which is said to be one of the best – for ear wax removal. He came out in agony with his ear bleeding. He insisted that it was fine, fine, fine and I should bring him there again for the next round. However, I took him elsewhere, the private sector, where he was actually ear-cleaned by an MD and there was no blood or pain. He can get his glasses and free hearing aid at the VA and that is it, thank you.

      1. CarlH

        The V.A. is fantastic. Far better than any private system I ever experienced. That you had one poor experience is unfortunate, but to dismiss the V.A. like that seems entirely unfair. Trump is trying to make the V.A. like the rest of the failed private system and that has many of my fellow vets and I in a state of great angst.

    2. Kokuanani

      Then why is there always all this whining about “deplorable conditions” at veterans’ hospitals and how veterans aren’t getting their due?

      Are some hospitals good & some bad?

  27. Frank Little

    RE: Is MMT “America First” economics?

    I’ve been trying to read more about how MMTers apply the theory to countries whose currencies are not as widely used in reserves and trade as the dollar and found this article on Bill Michell’s site: Addressing claims that global financial markets are all powerful.

    This section in particular deals with what I’ve always wondered about MMT in the context of very poor but monetarily sovereign countries, who can be very far from full employment while also facing “real resource” constraints. I would imagine poor island countries would be a good example of countries in this predicament.

    [T]here are countries that will always be vulnerable to exchange rate pressure. Extremely underdeveloped countries that can only access limited quantities of real resources relative to their population and are highly dependent on imports of food and other life-sustaining goods – cannot ensure the well-being of their citizens alone, no matter the status of their currency sovereignty.

    This is especially the case, if their export potential is limited,

    These countries may find no market for their currencies and may be forced to trade in foreign currencies. I have long argued that in these cases, a new multilateral institution should be created to replace both the World Bank and the IMF, which is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that these highly disadvantaged nations can access essential real resources such as food and not be priced out of international markets due to exchange rate fluctuations that arise from trade deficits.

    But that situation does not apply to most advanced nations.

    I wish this issue was discussed more in the context of MMT (though these countries are often ignored in all contexts, economic or otherwise). The kind of multilateral institution he alludes to here would be a very good thing but also represent a pretty significant break from how things operate now. It feels a little handwavy to address this issue by proposing a completely novel multilateral institution without even giving an example of the kinds of countries he’s talking about.

    Haiti would seem to meet the criteria he lays out and that’s 11 million people right there who would need this kind of institution that is still completely hypothetical. They are not export limited necessarily, but are under constant pressure to maintain appalling labor conditions and low wages to support the export industries they do have, such as the garment industry.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Yeah, this is a great point that doesn’t get discussed enough.

      Other countries have constraints that often don’t apply to the USA, which has WAY MORE sovereignty than any other country in the world.

      I like to use a country like Brazil for an example because it’s a coutnry that COULD and SHOULD have much more sovereignty to take policy in whatever direction it wants, but unfortunately, it’s run by an unambitious crowd of parasitic gangsters who only know how to loot and pillage.

      Regarding this….“a new multilateral institution should be created to replace both the World Bank and the IMF, which is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that these highly disadvantaged nations can access essential real resources such as food” — I’d say, “No! The challenge is for Haiti to figure out how it can feed itself so it doesn’t NEED to import as much food! That’s how you reduce the risk of famine!”

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Not just food.

        From another part of the quote above: “…food and other life-sustaining goods.”

        Perhaps not smartphones, but medicine or rare earth minerals maybe, regarding life-sustaining goods.

        If they are a proud nation, and they are, they perhaps want to make computer chips or solar panles, or other products more profitable to their citizens, then, it will cost hard currency money to import machines for production, or look to some new international agencies (so far, handwavy…) to finance the purchases.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Thank you for the informative quote.

      Another question regarding poor countries not being able to just print money relates to pegging.

      What do nations peg their currencies to another one?

      How many nations are currently doing that?

      And what limits does pegging do to their monetary sovereignty, before and after they have acquired
      lot of the currency they are pegged to?

    3. Peter Dorman

      Not all of Epstein’s criticisms work for me, but some of them do. The issue of genuine economic sovereignty and policy space is valid, and the invocation of “Japan” doesn’t alter it. Japan is a structurally surplus country; the US is structurally a deficit one. Current account balances absolutely pertain to the vulnerability to sudden stops Epstein invokes.

      More to the point, there is a need for a more concrete discussion of capital controls, the role they should play in shoring up economic sovereignty, and the limits to what they can do. That also has to do with the spillovers Epstein invokes. I consider this part of his argument to be the weakest, since it just assumes the existing international framework, which ought to be a target of policy.

      I would rephrase his concern for over-full employment: MMT is knife-edge economics. Inflation is a purely binary matter, not a problem or a constraint until it is, with the switch point conveniently occurring at full employment, as if we lived in a one-good market-clearing economy. One policy, monetization does all the lifting up to that moment, another, net taxes, take over fully after it. What could go wrong?

      1. Sanxi

        Peter D. What could go wrong?” – [minus[ MMT is knife-edge economics / Inflation binary matter, / problem or a constraint /with the switch point / one-good market-clearing economy. /One policy, monetization /does all the lifting, → what are you talking about as in trying to say? Is it possible to express without the gibberish? Not trying to be mean, but the onerous is on you to be clear not on me to figure it out or make assumptions about your meaning. I conclude you mean nothing.

        1. Peter Dorman

          Sorry, Sanxi — I’m speaking economese here as a shortcut. It would take rather longer to explain otherwise.

      2. Oregoncharles

        ” Inflation is a purely binary matter, ”
        Doesn’t really reflect reality, does it?
        I think you’re talking about the issue that bothers me: how do you know when you’ve gone too far, without actually overshooting? Granted, accumulating inflation is a problem no matter the theory. But I don’t think our economic data are really up to the task, even of measuring “full employment.”

      1. Kurt Sperry

        I threw her another small donation, I hope she makes the cut for the debate. Her voice on FP and forever war is sorely, sorely needed.

    1. nippersmom

      Either by the framing of the questions, the selection of the polling pool, or both, one can make poll results say whatever one wants them to.

  28. tegnost

    Can’t help but to wonder whether southwests “all mechanics on deck” from a few months back had anything to do with this issue…Here’s the NYT (I found it in the seattle times) giving a boost to wall st. with a “nobody knows what really brought down the planes” article, when everyone knows what really brought down the planes…

    1. Bill Smith

      There are now reports that the pilot of the Ethiopian jet didn’t do his required simulator practice on the jet before he started flying it. Also that the Ethiopian Airlines was flying the jets without having all the manuals.

      Sounds like a lot of problems added up here.

      1. Sanxi

        No, the pilot was flying without the training, the manuals was a third order degree of failure. It’s very hard to fly a jet and read at the same time.

        1. John k

          Especially when said jet repeatedly tries to fly straight down.
          Granted, if you’re not reading the manuals maybe you’re not reading the latest bulletins, either.

        2. The Rev Kev

          Imagine that you are in a self-driving car. Suddenly, and for no reason, the car tries to swerve violently into the path of oncoming traffic. Your wife is frantically trying to look in the car manual from the glove box what to do while you fight the steering wheel. Every time you get the car pointed right, it swerves again into oncoming traffic until you finally swerve into an oncoming truck. Yeah this scenario can apply to the 737 MAX but how long until this plays out in real life out on the roads? There have already been a few ‘incidents’.

  29. dearieme

    “In Silicon Valley, cities are having trouble staffing schools and hospitals due to housing costs.”

    By what law are they forbidden to pay more to their school and hospital staff?

    I suppose it’s the natural law that says there will be more graft for politicians if they control rents instead.

    1. kareninca

      Increasing wages doesn’t help if there is no increase in the supply of housing. All that happens is that rents go up because the market will bear it. I live in Silicon Valley and that is how it works. They are building more housing now, and it is instantly filling up, and as a consequence driving anywhere is becoming a nightmare.

      There’s a whole country out there but you’d never guess it from where all the tech giants want to be based.

      1. Sanxi

        The district can outside of salary provide housing if they so choose. At a county level it’s done for doctors and cops all the time, just saying.

  30. Yikes

    neo-liberal Cory Booker finally gets something right, but for the wrong reasons (donations from pot growing corporations).

    US elections candidates try be ‘cool’ and brag about drug-use while kids can’t get jobs over pot

    Booker has come out and really laid it out how how obscene it is or the other candidates including Senator Sanders to be joking about marijuana while people are locked up still and having it on their record so they can’t get jobs. We have this thing we’re taught in school; everybody in America is equal under the law and you’re treated the same. It’s simply not true, marijuana charges can keep people from getting student loans. You can actually murder somebody, you go to jail do your time, and then get a student loan from the federal government to go to college — but if you’re on a drug charge you can’t ever get a loan to go to college.

  31. EoH

    Kentucky’s Attorney General should consider charging his governor with child endangerment for exposing his brood to chicken pox rather than vaccinate them.

    1. Wukchumni

      Just got off the phone with mom, who knows all.

      I’m just a little older than 3 a day before xmas in 1964 when my brother and sister catch chicken pox, and in due course, my other sister and I also get it as mom the pusher puts us all together in a room, and the former had a mild form, while my sister & I were scratching ourselves silly to the point where we had to have our hands bound behind us. A neighbor showed up xmas day, and their daughter got spinal meningitis from us, this while she was pregnant with a be named later offspring.

      Her excuse being there was no immunization for chicken pox @ the time, and it seems flimsy, but there you have it.

    2. Yikes

      … include endangering the children and old adults of everyone who works at the governor’s mansion, etc.

      immunization is a population based effort, vs. vaccination, as no vaccine is 100% effective, something I learned even before medical school. The idea is to create enough immunity in a population to stop it from spreading out of control, and this sort of action in a high traffic household is criminal.

      Direct contact is not necessary for transmission, bedding, clothing, soft toys, etc, can act as transmission agents, and I doubt this moron is doing anywhere enough to manage the risk.

  32. notabanker

    After May’s speech, book makers odds for a 3-29 Brexit dropped from 5.7 for 1 to 4.5 for 1.

    Yesterday, an extension past 2022 was the second most likely outcome, behind an Apr to Jun 2019 Brexit. Today, a 3-29 Brexit is the second most likely outcome.

    Betting odds still say A50 will not be revoked, WA will not be passed, there will be a short term extension and a Brexit by June.

    Again not advocating gambling on this, but interesting data points.

    Although it seems optimistic to not crash out on the 29th, I can see the EU agreeing to amend A50 to a May 2019 date to allow everyone to get their act together until the last possible moment. Much has been written here about the legal impossibilities of doing so in such a short timeframe, but there is always the option to just do it and tell the hard Brexiteers to sort it out in the courts if they have a problem with it. Of course, that possibility has a sense of pragmatism to it that these actors appear to be utterly incapable of.

  33. Wukchumni


    I know nothing about soybeans, other than you can store them for about 6 months after harvest, and I like soy sauce.

    How much of the soybean crop was flooded out in storage the past week?

    1. Mike Mc

      Lots. Live in Nebraska and while we were spared the flooding trauma, we’re up to an estimated $1.4 billion in ag losses less than two weeks after this disaster (livestock and crops). Lots of farms and ranches that are total or near total losses; lots of grain stored in farm silos lost; lots of top soil heading to the Gulf of Mexico via our various rivers that run into the Missouri then the Mississippi.

      If you like beef, stock up now and throw it in the freezer. Spring calf crop decimated (Nebraska was known as The Beef State a few decades ago, still a major ag product).

      Some good recent articles:

  34. James Graham

    As someone once involved in “where do we expand?” decisions I applaud Amazon for walking away from NYC.

    There are hundreds of locations where AOC and her ilk will never have political power.

    Why sign up for a future influenced by anti-business politicians?

    PS. I was born and bred in NYC.

    1. a different chris

      How is she being “anti-business”? If I incorporate does that mean everything I do is beyond reproach? Wow where’s the papers, I’ll sign immediately!

      And, please try to be a bit more informed: the cameras do glue themselves to AOC like flies to flypaper. But she didn’t actually have any direct power at all in this. There were a lot of other people, elected ones, that thought the Amazon “deal” was horse(familyblog), and they were the ones that killed it.

      PS: nobody cares where you grew up. Do you live there now? If no, then do you think you have some sort of birthright? Well, you don’t.

  35. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The world’s happiest countries REVEALED: Finland comes top while South Sudan is the bleakest Daily Mail

    From Wikipedia (Out of current population of 5.5 million):

    Largest Groups of Immigrants:[144][145][146]
    Russia Russia (83,675)
    Estonia Estonia (52,424)
    Sweden Sweden (42,210)
    Iraq Iraq (32,778)
    Somalia Somalia (19,807)
    United Kingdom United Kingdom (16,732)
    Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia (12,229)
    China China (11,814)
    Thailand Thailand (11,553)
    Vietnam Vietnam (10,817)


    Not too many Americans.

    We don’t want to go or we are not welcome to go (to the happiest nation in the world)?

  36. Alex

    I think the meritocracy article is wrong to treat it as a black and white issue Of course luck plays a huge role, especially at the top. But it doesn’t mean that the meritocracy does not exist. It definitely exists in a sense that in different cultures people with different ‘merits’ tend to rise to the top (or even to the middle management level). I have noticed it myself having lived and worked in a number of very different places and it’s quite easy to make a thought experiment along the lines of “what is the likelihood for a person with these particular talents born to a median-wealth household to succeed in modern-day Sweden vs 1900s US vs Medieval England?”

    1. Alex

      The fact that believers in meritocracy made more discriminatory decision might be true (although would be good to know the sample size and it’s a correlation and not causation at any rate) but I’m curious why didn’t they test other things. I would expect that belief in meritocracy would correlate with some positive things like hard work, integrity and long-term planning (after all if everything is determined by luck there’s not much point in setting lofty goals and working hard towards them).

  37. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Another comment on the world’s happiest countries.

    From the link:

    1. Finland (7.769)

    2. Denmark (7.600)

    3. Norway (7.554)

    4. Iceland (7.494)

    5. Netherlands (7.488)

    6. Switzerland (7.480)

    7. Sweden (7.343)

    8. New Zealand (7.307)

    9. Canada (7.278)

    10. Austria (7.246)

    I list only the top ten from the article above, and ask, looking at it, why the top 4 are all Nordic, as are 5 out of the top 10?

    Correlation is not causation, it’s important to keep in mind, lest people subconsciously agree with the Austrian corporal in a mistaken way.

    So, it is critical we examine why. What makes them (per the article) have more trust, for example? Or more generosity? What makes them good at (per the article) converting wealth to well-being?

    1. Louis Fyne

      take your pick depending on one’s worldview…

      tiny populations (metro NYC has more people than most countries on that list), no military adventurism, (historically) limited inbound migration, no substantial legacy de-industrialization, high education, cultural homogeneity, lots others that I’m sure i forgot.

      1. rd

        Universal health care at substantially less cost than the US per capita.

        Low student loan debt

        If you reduce stress, happiness can increase.

    2. urblintz

      My boyfriend is Finnish, lives in Helsinki (without me, alas) and recently had to have a root canal and crown. Both procedures, in total, cost him $50…

      I just had an implant crown replaced for $1500. I’m glad the implant and abutment are still good or it all would have cost $5000 or more.

      As someone who has struggled with cavity prone teeth all my life (my salivary glands don’t produce much) and have spent a small fortunes on them… well… just sayin’… a 50$ encounter with the dentist, for anything, would make me very happy.

      There are concrete benefits to high taxes

      1. Oregoncharles

        Yes. Years ago, during the previous recession, I (and an entire roomful) was told by a local economics prof that Oregon was known as a “low tax, low service” state – basically in an effort to attract “jobs.”

        At the time, Oregon had the highest unemployment in the entire country. Mission accomplished.

    3. Temporarily Sane

      I am very wary of grand conclusions derived from attempts to quantify abstract concepts like “happiness.” Besides, genuine happiness is by nature fleeting and spontaneous. Medicare for all, free tuition, job security etc. are all good things that improve quality of life and well being, but I doubt Scandinavian people wake up in the morning thinking “Having great healthcare just makes me so darn happy!”

      The neoliberal era’s obsession with happiness is telling. People who are content in the present and optimistic about the future do not worry constantly about a lack of happiness in their lives. Chronically stressed out people facing a precarious future, otoh, probably do. Especially in a culture that relentlessly pushes empty hedonism and phony positivity while shunning introspection and serious thinking.

      1. jrs

        yes I’m skeptical of it too, how do we even disentangle it from a culture’s propensity to allow expression of either individual happiness or unhappiness? (and even that may tie to individualism etc.) And I don’t think Nordic states are exactly the most emotionally expressive.

        And btw, where people will tend to run of the rails with this is equate happiness as the opposite of unhappiness/depression/dissatisfaction etc. but happiness researchers don’t. These are two independent variables. High in happiness and low in unhappiness are not the same, maybe greater than zero correlation, but it’s really not a mirror image.

        Basic material needs should be met because they should be met, and because not having them met does tend to add additional MISERY. Period.

        1. jrs

          On second thought these are the criteria:

          using six metrics: GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, the freedom to make life choices, social support, generosity, and perceptions of corruption

          Well that makes for things that might make a country a desirable place to live.

          It (to it’s credit) does not have much to do with an individual subjective emotional state and willingness to communicate it, which is where I think measurement is likely to fail, but is what common speech tends to define as “happiness”.

    4. Mo's Bike Shop

      What makes them (per the article) have more trust, for example? Or more generosity?

      In the Nordic countries, Mother Nature is actually trying to kill you for half the year. Much harder to believe in rugged individualism when you could be in serious trouble for picking the wrong shoes this morning.

  38. BoyDownTheLane

    With regard to the gun control argument:

    “… Social media is desperately trying to erase anything but the official narrative. It is clear they do not want people looking at the raw data and deciding for themselves what is going on. In New Zealand, it has been declared a criminal offence to download, share or keep a copy of the original live stream video of the sharing. Something is being hidden…..”

    “… The second amendment pertains exclusively to the amelioration of tyranny…..”

    1. Wukchumni

      Do you remember any tv networks showing a snuff film, where you get to watch half a hundred lives expire in some twisted soul’s version of being famous for a little over 15 minutes?

      Yeah, me neither.

      1. BoyDownTheLane

        Yes, the TV networks repeatedly aired a snuff film for days …. in the week following 9/11.

      2. BoyDownTheLane

        Aside from the aforementioned repeated airing of the WTC collapse, let’s not forget the exponential growth in fentanyl/heroin overdose [] or the sacred cow of the third-trimester infanticide .

        Or “the violence routinely inflicted upon Muslims in the Middle East by the US war machine…” [ , or the infamous Highway of Death during DesertStorm, or the Iraqi troops bulldozed alive.

        Talk about snuff films in the living room…. The Nightly News

      3. Beniamino

        Nope, but I remember Zapruder copyrighting footage of the Kennedy assassination. Anyway, no matter how disturbing the footage, these murders are unquestionably a matter of public concern. Big difference between the government refusing to allow the public broadcasting of uncensored footage (reasonable) and threatening anyone who retains or disseminates any portion of a copy of the footage with ten years’ imprisonment (emphatically not reasonable).

  39. lyman alpha blob

    RE: New Futurist Fear: “Economic Singularity” Could Kill Jobs Forever

    That argument reminds me of a good scifi novel by Charlie Stross – Singularity Sky.

    In it, aliens with superior intelligence and technology come to a planet bringing with them a cornucopia machine which can instantly produce anything asked of it. Of course everyone on the planet starts fighting about who will get control of the machine.

    No one bothered to ask the cornucopia machine to simply make more cornucopia machines.

    Sharing seems to be a hard concept for humans to grasp.

    1. Louis Fyne

      in the fictional economy on the show “The Expanse”—-people get a basic income (called “basic” in that show), but are forced to spend in on an approved list of stuffs that directly benefits the elites.

      So….be careful what you wish for? As the corporations/lobbyists will fin a way to make money off of it.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        When everyone has basic income (basic enough to not worry about money needed for survival), what keeps the eiltes in power?

        Do they play off people’s economic worries?

        Do they try to buy votes?

        It seems likely to me (and maybe I am wrong here), but if every one of us has enough money to survive, there will be fewer ways to keep the elites eliteness.

        Perhaps beautiful people can still remain elite, and people still are fans of those celebrities, and will listen to what the beautiful people suggest.

        Or people who can run very fast. They will still be idolized and there is power in that, for those who know how to use it.

        1. Hepativore

          The elites might make a massive grab for all of the land they can to stop common people from getting it and charge exorbitant fees for everybody else in terms of housing. Unfortunately, land is a finite resource which would remain so even in a society with basic income. The elites would probably evolve into a class of super-landlords and might even give themselves or maintain hereditary titles to go with it.

          Also, while access to education would be easier with a basic income, the elite class would probably restrict access to a network of highly exclusive educational institutions much like the current Ivy League schools are. Anybody could get a college or advanced degree but only degrees from said restricted institutions might be thought of as being worth anything by anybody.

          The elites will probably not vanish, but their nature will change, and they might base their elitism and class on prestige, land ownership, social capital, and the political power that goes with it.

      2. newcatty

        Stress sounds cleaver… haven’t read the story. When the genie in the magic lamp agrees to grant three wishes, let’s ask as carefully and graciously as we can.

  40. Oregoncharles

    That’s a Stellar’s Jay; handsome devil, but a bit of a pain in the neck. Or foot, as my stepson discovered when one pecked him. We have nut trees – hazels, mostly – so we have lots of jays and squirrels.

    But we didn’t have that much snow; that might be Eugene or Portland, or up in the mountains.

  41. Susan the other`

    What makes us tick? It’s a combination of quantum energy and spin, and the infinite geometries of space. Well, how very interesting. Entropy herself is the goddess who controls creation. QUANTA. Marcus Woo. “Quantum Machine Appears to Defy Universe’s Push for Disorder.” This even explains consciousness and epigenetics! A “scarring” occurs when there is a slight change to the energy level of a quantum particle. It seems to fit the definition of memory. The atoms in common seem to regroup instead of disperse. The scarring must give the particle/atoms enough gravity to resist the pressure to expand. To dissipate. And entanglement is the spark. Beginning to sound like all of biology and evolution. I betcha that if Leonard Susskind had been at their Trieste conference he would have said, “Of course – it’s String Theory in a nutshell.”

  42. rd

    Re: Companies can dump pensions

    “You’re getting 20% to 30% less than what the pension could buy”

    Corporations have been struggling to understand why they can’t get as good a deal as US Social Security starting in 2034. The Trump Administration was clearly listening to their concerns.

  43. Plenue

    >Study shows IPCC is underselling climate change PhysOrg

    The IPCC represents the absolute baseline, not, like deniers seem to think, some exaggerated doom is nigh prophecy.

  44. rattlemullet

    “How about, as Lambert might say, starting out by not sucking???”

    Seriously, compared to T-rump how could any candidate be accused of sucking? The bar has been set by trump and republicans so low even a cadaver wouldn’t suck. Who on the republican would you site as a stalwart of not sucking? Seriously, name one please. By the way I learn more from this blog through your links than any other. Thanks for all you do! Avery long time reader.

    1. Plenue

      You can’t beat something with nothing. The Dems already managed to lose to Trump once by running an empty technocratic (pant)suit. Is there any real reason to think it will work better next time? If the Democrats manage to win with such a strategy, it will be solely because Trump manages to self-sabotage himself enough that whatever empty vessel the DNC runs will be able to scrape over the finish line first. That’s where we are now: the Dems suck so bad the only way for them to win is for their opponent to suck worse.

      We’re currently in a phase where the Dems frantically switch from one vapid, nothing-in-human-form candidate to another (Harris, O’Rourke, freaking Biden ahahahaha oh my sides) in a desperate search for the right shiny object to entice the crowds with. But everyone with half a functioning brain cell knows the only viable option who can beat Trump is Sanders. And the Dems would rather lose than win with him.

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