Links 3/3/19

The Weirdly Quiet Sun May Get Even Quieter (and BTW, Earth Is Still Warming) Weather Underground

Ancient plants escaped the end-Permian mass extinction Nature

The woodsman who’s revealing the secret lives of trees Handelsblatt

Building Habitat for Pollinators Means Bigger, Better Fruit Anthropocene

Warming oceans are hurting seafood supply—and things are getting worse Science

Youth climate strikers: ‘We are going to change the fate of humanity’ Guardian (MR).

Carpocalypse now: Lyft’s founders are right — we’re already in the endgame for cars Business Insider

Baltic Cash Cow Delivers a Second Crisis to Sweden’s Oldest Bank Bloomberg

Delaware hedge fund tussle puts efficient market hypothesis in spotlight FT


“What Surprises Me Is the Extent of the Mess” Der Speigel

How British MPs are inching towards backing Theresa May’s Brexit deal Business Insider

House-Cleaning LRB

There are still big questions about a second Brexit referendum Institute for Government

Brexit and migration: our new research highlights fact-free news coverage The Conversation

Former Canadian minister denies Trudeau committed a crime, despite interference claims Axios

Portugal has found an antidote to right wing populism Kontrast


China tries to forget, but its war with Vietnam ended with a US victory. Just look at Trump South China Morning Post

South Korea’s plastic problem is a literal trash fire CNN

A month of recyclables sit at a Charleston County landfill with an uncertain fate Post and Courier


US discussing emergency economic aid for Venezuela FT

Mexico Is Making the Wrong Bet on Venezuela Council on Foreign Relations

India v. Pakistan

Pakistan continues partial opening of airspace amid India crisis Al Jazeera

An airstrike and its aftermath Reuters

New Cold War

The True Story of How Russia’s Foreign Policy Process Evolved National Interest


Sanders returns to NY roots, says he can defeat Trump AP

Only a unifying figure can beat Trump in 2020, former Clinton adviser says Yahoo News (CI).

Bernie Sanders Still Doesn’t Pass the Commander-in-Chief Test Foreign Policy.

Kamala Harris Speaks At Beverly Hills Campaign Fundraiser Beverly Hills Courier and Kamala Harris to fundraise in Boston for 2020 White House bid Masslive

“They Are Not All Going to Be Able to Raise Enough”: Elizabeth Warren’s Rookie Mistake Foreshadows a 2020 Money War Vanity Fair

Fallout continues from anti-Muslim display at WV Capitol Charleston Gazette-Mail

Democrats in Disarray

Top Democrat demands another apology from Rep. Ilhan Omar, accusing her of ‘a vile anti-Semitic slur’ WaPo

Dems feel growing pressure on impeachment The Hill

The arcane procedural drama that has House Democrats seething, explained Vox

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Revealed: Facebook’s global lobbying against data privacy laws Guardian

Health Care


Drivers of the fatal drug epidemic Journal of Health Economics

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Visualizing Police Exposure by Race, Gender, and Age in New York City Socius

The Case Against Reparations Adolph Reed, From 2016, still germane.

Forty Acres and a Mule in the 21st Century (PDF) William Darity Social Science Quarterly

Guillotine Watch

Look Inside Damien Hirst’s $100,000-per-Night Suite in Las Vegas Bloomberg

How Jeff Bezos Went to Hollywood and Lost Control NYT

Class Warfare

The ‘heartbreaking’ decrease in black homeownership WaPo (MR). Obama’s miserably inadequate response to the foreclosure crisis is carefully airbrushed out.

Lawmakers declare war on the biggest civil rights problem you’ve probably never heard of HuffPo. Compulsory arbitration.

Why Coretta Scott King Fought for a Job Guarantee Boston Review

The fall and rise of small-town Arizona FT

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterdays Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Darius

    The deep injustices in Obama’s home foreclosure program were a feature not a bug. Designed by his favorite sociopath, Tim Geithner.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      There is a reason the Obama Ziggurat will be a re-education camp (training future leaders or something paradigm) instead of a library.

      1. nycTerrierist

        Archives, shmarchives, who needs them when you’re ‘looking forward’?

        Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it…

        Heckuva job Obama!

    2. Polar Donkey

      Yet here in Memphis, the only majority black metro area in America with over a million people, you can barely say anything bad about Obama and never anything about Michelle. 94% of foreclosure here were in black and Hispanic neighborhoods. A generation of wealth was strip mined out of the community. Yearly migration rates of students within the school system reached 22%. Families destabilized and ripped apart. It was a disaster for Memphis. Then we got charter schools. Thanks Obama. I hope you rot in your $32 million worth of houses.

      1. Chris Cosmos

        Myth ALWAYS trumps reality. The Obama myth was the best marketing campaign the combination of Madison Avenue and the CIA ever created. It was perfect. The ability of Americans to militantly avoid reality in all its guises was on display and still is. It’s like the fact that despite the obvious incompetence of the US military it’s popularity has consistently risen in recent years–it’s approval is now at 74%.

        1. Prodigalson

          And i wonder it will crater after we lose the next peer war. Its a house of cards, thin line between love and hate, emperor has no clothes and such.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          The United States Armed Forces won the Civil War part of the Civil War. Then President Andrew Johnson subverted the victory and threw the peace away. On purpose.

          Does that mean the U S Army was incompetent?

      2. Cal2

        And in California, 36,000 mostly minority homeowners lost their homes to OneWest Bank owned then by the current treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin.
        Kamala Harris, currently running for president with a burnished chocolate chip on her shoulder, did nothing for those folks when she failed to prosecute Mnuchin’s bank. Out of gratitude, he gave her a nice donation for her senatorial campaign.
        Or, maybe he was thinking way ahead and promoting her as a sure fire loser against Trump?

      3. David Carl Grimes

        If they continue to think and vote this way, in terms of identity politics, then maybe they got the leaders they deserve: the black misleadership class.

    3. Susan the Other

      Obama was picked by his advisors. That’s what happens. He didn’t know hot rocks about the economy – he was and probably still is a dolt. Somehow Michelle avoided the same scrutiny he received – but I have never heard her say anything about reality either. She’s into identity politics as deeply as Hillary.

  2. Frank Little

    It’s funny how people treat the most banal observations as unique insights when they come from billionaires.
    From the NYT Bezos story:

    One former Amazon executive … wondered how Mr. Bezos’s behavior squared with a recent letter he sent to shareholders, in which he talked about irrevocable decisions, or what he called “one-way doors.”

    “These decisions must be made methodically, carefully, slowly and with great deliberation and consultation,” Mr. Bezos said. “If you walk through and don’t like what you see on the other side, you can’t get back to where you were before.”

    I think I got that in a fortune cookie once.

    1. Off The Street

      Envision curated lucky numbers, and personalized messages, in those fortune cookies.

      “Alexa, what do I enter on that Lotto ticket?”

      1. Wukchumni

        Unfortunate cookie saying:

        “You will meet somebody new, and despite having a binding contract with somebody else, love will prevail.”

        Unlucky number: 50%

    2. Carey

      I wonder if Mr. Bezos has inadvertently gone through one of those “one-way doors” with
      this new flame.

      Not that I wish him any harm, of course.

  3. notabanker

    Regarding Palmeri in only a unifying figure can beat Trump:
    the political press now is overestimating the degree to which the Democratic primary electorate will move to the left.

    That all depends on how you define the “Democratic Primary electorate”. In my state it was 13% of registered voters and a little more than half of them voted for Clinton.

    “There are constants in politics, and predictions being wrong a year out are one of them,” she said.

    The worst case scenario for the DNC is a large primary turnout. That means people are motivated to do something. And it won’t be for the Chinese menu of candidates or Not Trump. It will be because they believe someone can actually make a difference.

    Apathy is what is killing America. It’s not about what is said, it’s about what is done. Americans are going to have to decide, do I get off my sofa and vote, or do I let someone else choose for me. I believe this is going to be the story of the 2020 elections.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      The tell is that the media doesn’t use Palmieri’s name in the headline. Because no one knows who she is.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Some of us do. She was one of the most odious of Clinton’s campaign sycophants. IIRC, she was also the one who took a cab ride after the 2016 election and tweeted how she feared the Russian who was driving her Uber was a spy.

        She’s a real piece of work.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Me? I would be BEGGING that Uber driver for the chance to practice my Russian conversation skills.

        2. Chris Cosmos

          Thanks for that. There is a notion out there that only Republican political consultants have gone to the Roger Stone School of Dirty Tricks–Democrats have been graduating with honors for decades.

  4. timbers

    Portugal has found an antidote to right wing populism Kontrast

    Using public tax dollars on things that help working people instead of corporations and the rich? Nonsense. Reporting on this must be suppressed at all costs. I’m confident the Establishment will succeed in doing so.

    Why didn’t Portugal follow Angela Merkel’s economic advise? After she as a stellar record with her nation’s spectacular 0.000000000000% growth rate.

    1. Carla

      I was lucky enough to spend a couple of weeks traveling in Portugal and Madeira back around the turn of this century. Delightful people, lovely climate (it was in February, so somewhat rainy, but very temperate), beautiful old architecture. This is wonderful news!

    2. Linda Amick

      I tried posting this on my Facebook feed this morning and it disappeared. It did not post.

      1. Harold

        I posted it to Facebook successfully — so far.

        There is also this:
        Substantially the same info, but forefronting the deficit reduction / economic growth angle.

        The magazine, Kontrast is from Austria and has its own FB page.
        I already saw a response (don’t remember where, unfortunately, I think on Facebook), saying it only happened because Portugal is a “homogeneous” country, and another calling it “fake news.”

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Those who call it a ‘homogenous’ country have clearly never been there – there is a very wide ethnic mix throughout the country, a lot down I think to the huge Brazilian population there.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      And the irony is that while high, government debt to GNP is actually dropping. Why? Well, because the economy is growing so strongly. The same is happening in Ireland, but it took significantly longer due to austerity.

      Mind you, the Portuguese attribute most of this to Eder having lifted a centuries old curse on the country by scoring against France in the 2016 Euro Championship.

    4. Olga

      Kontrast, where this appeared, is an Austrian publication. Austria has also bucked the austerity trend. Interesting that this has not been reported elsewhere.
      (I travelled in Portugal first in 1985, heard stories of theft from tourists, became a victim of attempted theft twice, and my mom had a suitcase stolen, when she was there in 2005. So beware. On the other hand, it is a very interesting place. Algarve is great and tiled homes in Lisbon are fascinating. There is a large sundial clock at the SW tip of the country, where Henry the Navigator is reputed to have been standing, while contemplating far-away journeys. Being there, one can totally understand how the temptation of exploring the world would have been born.)

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I was in Henry the Navigators citadel near Sarges just 2 weeks ago – and yes, I had a bag stolen just a few km from there!

        But it is a fascinating area – as you say, you can see why people there dreamed of travel. The Romans though the SW corner of Portugal was the end of the world.

        But Portugal in general is a great country. Its obviously not as wealthy as the rest of Europe (yet, its catching up fast), but its vibrant and open, with wonderful towns and cities. Lisbon is clearly on the way up fast, although its in danger of becoming another Barcelona with tourism. Its noticeable how nearly everyone seems to speak English, in contrast to Spain – for historic reasons I assume.

        I think like a lot of countries that have thrown off deeply conservative governments they have a willingness to experiment and challenge orthodoxy that is quite inspiring.

        1. Olga

          Not to be nit-picky, but it is Sagres. And yes, maybe another trip sometime… as there is lots to explore.

        2. Valdo

          If you ask me, we can call Portugal a homogeneous country. Overwhelming majority of catholics, and very few other ethnicities or migrants except in urban and tourist areas. Also, the reason we all speak English is because movies and series mostly come from the US, and Portugal always subtitled instead of dubbing, children’s content being the sole exception.

      2. Susan the Other

        Thank you for this mind-meld Olga. I can vicariously feel what you describe Henry felt. Amazing how communication works.

        1. Olga

          Thanks (I’ll have to look up “mind-meld,” though). The 33-year-old memory is somehow seared in my bones. Looking south, there was Africa; looking west, there was the vast unknown. I did feel how tempting and intoxicating it must have been. Also, the sun-burned, wind-swept countryside had an overwhelming smell of oregano, which I simply cannot forget. (Ok, everybody, hop on the Algarve express!)

    5. tiebie66

      This seems to be another article misattributing Portugal’s economic performance to austerity-related policy changes. Tourism has been increasing since 2011 and sharply since 2014 due to problems in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Tourism now contributes about 17% to GDP and supports, directly and indirectly, about 20% of all jobs in the country. These are significant numbers and an assessment of policy effects must discount such extraneous stimuli.

      1. Andrew Thomas

        I need some help here. Portugal got a 78 billion euro “bailout” from the EU in 2011. Has it been repaid in full? Has Portugal found a way to get rid of austerity and stay within the EU deficit requirements? Or have their tax collections practices improved that much? In short, how does Portugal differ so significantly from Greece?

        1. tiebie66

          My apologies, I’m unable to help much as I’m not that familiar with all the issues. The bailout came from the EFSF, EU, and IMF. The IMF part has recently been repaid. See and .

          From these it appears that the reforms Portugal undertook were effective:
          “The programme quickly started to bear fruit. Exports started growing faster than the euro area average, as the economy became more competitive. A two-digit current account deficit was erased. The budget deficit shrank, and growth resumed. Portugal was able to issue bonds again, and successfully exited the programme in June 2014.”
          “The short-term economic and financial situation of Portugal has improved and important progress has been made in addressing near-term risks. Overall, Portugal’s economic rebalancing building on the basis of reforms implemented during and after the macroeconomic adjustment programme has made good progress. Going forward, the challenge is to further strengthen the reform momentum. In this regard, ambitious growth enhancing reform and sustained fiscal structural consolidation are essential to improve the economy’s resilience to shocks and the medium term growth prospects.”

          Greece suffered from a sharp drop in tourism while Portugal benefitted from a sharp increase in tourism. Also, the Portuguese seem to be happy being part of the EU and intent on improving their country. Greece appears, from my remove, to be internally very divided and thus was unable to muster an effective response to the challenge that came their way. I rather suspect that the social character of a people is a stronger determinant of success than economic policy and I’d like to understand this better.

  5. The Rev Kev

    “Top Democrat demands another apology from Rep. Ilhan Omar, accusing her of ‘a vile anti-Semitic slur’”

    Knew that Rep. Ilhan Omar was making a mistake with the type of apology that she did. She should have said that she was pro-Jewish, pro-American and anti-Zionist and let her detractors get themselves into a twist trying to unscramble that one. Now she can expect every jerk from now until her next election to be constantly demanding new apologies from her. Rep. Eliot L. Engel is just the latest and I note that this is a fellow Democrat. I can guarantee that her own party will, down the track, be trying to unseat her so why bother folding so early? Maybe she should have asked why Israel has full health cover for its citizens and yet Americans ship over tens of billions of dollars each year but don’t themselves have full health cover. Ask why APAC has never registered as a foreign agent in spite of all the lobbying that they do. Ask them if they agree with that US general that said that American troops in Israel should place themselves under Israeli command and be prepared to die for Israel in case of a war. Put them on the spot for a change. Because that is what they intend to do to her.

    1. Otis B Driftwood

      Agree. Caitlin Johnstone has a good article on fighting smears here:

      How to Beat a Smear Campaign

      As for Rep. Engel, isn’t this the same guy who found it better to defend the Anti-BDS bill at the expense of the First Amendment.

      Anti-BDS Rifth

      Same guy whose largest contributors are Pro-Israel industries per

      Engel – Funding

      I hope Rep. Omar takes a lesson from the last attempt to smear her and follows Johnstone’s advice.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Just read Johnstone’s article.

        I largely agree with her post. Strength seems to be important to fight bullies (at least in the political realm).

        As an example of how to fight….sadly to say because it was horrible, but effective…the Republican pushback against Brett Kavanaugh was actually really effective.

        The guy is a horrible human being who doesn’t belong on the federal bench, but the right had a strong, disciplined, coordinated media offensive to push back and defend the guy and it worked. They treated the accusations against him as little more than smears (again, not true at all, but as Johnstone points out, truth is irrelevant in these fights, it’s ALL narrative ALL the time). They smeared the accusers, lied constantly and pretended he was a saint and basically said that he was crucified and made a martyr out of him.

        The whole episode was disgusting to watch, but like a horror move where the bad guys win….it worked.

        1. Oh

          It was easy for the Repigs to push back and win because the Dimrats were also intent on confirming that rat Cavanaugh.

      2. JohnnyGL

        Thinking more about Johnstone’s article about narrative control….

        It’s important to keep in mind, the left is stronger than it’s been in many years, but probably not quite strong enough to win huge fights against a united establishment. But, the left is probably strong enough to disrupt projects like the coup in Venezuela. If the left had a disciplined message and said “no coup, no robbing, hands off Venezuela” it might have done the trick.

        Like the syria narrative, don’t get stuck in a rut arguing about whether Assad or Maduro is a bad guy or not. The correct answer is “don’t know, don’t care, doesn’t matter”. Then, immediately get right back onto yelling, “it’s a coup, it’s about the oil, it’s about robbing and stealing, Trump’s crew is a bunch of filthy pirates”.

        Then, repeat “stop robbing and stealing the oil” and repeatedly ask “Since it’s humanitarian aid…will you pledge never to let Exxon or Chevon get a single dollar in contracts to pump oil ever?!?!?!”

        our side: “why won’t you call on Juan Guaido to pledge never to allow foreign oil companies into Venezuela?”

        them: “well, venezuela needs foreign investment and foreign knowledge”

        our side: “so, you’re admitting your goal is to make sure American oil companies get to rob and steal?”

        them: “no, we want to make venezuela better”

        our side: “LIARS!!! You’re aiding and abetting 500 years of open veins!”

        Since it’s all about narrative, talking about oil constantly puts the other side on your home turf. The burden of proof is on them to prove you’re not correct when you hurl accusations of looting and pillaging.

        When you talk about human rights and democracy, you’re on their turf and you end up getting stuck trying yourself in knots about whether Maduro ‘must go’ or not. Wrong conversation.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          Like the syria narrative, don’t get stuck in a rut arguing about whether Assad or Maduro is a bad guy or not. The correct answer is “don’t know, don’t care, doesn’t matter”. Then, immediately get right back onto yelling, “it’s a coup, it’s about the oil, it’s about robbing and stealing, Trump’s crew is a bunch of filthy pirates”.

          Agree 100%, and not doing what you suggest is precisely why Kavanaugh is on the SOTUS right now. The Democrat party opted for idpol-based character assassination and it backfired. They should have gone after him on policy. The problem there is that the right-of-center Dems (the vast majority of them) more or less agree with the further-right-of-center Republicans on policies both neoliberal (you can’t have nice things because markets) and neoconservative (we must blow it up because markets), so we had a few months worth of kabuki instead of an honest reckoning of what Kavanaugh stands for politically.

          “Our side” needs a much bigger microphone.

          1. johnnygl

            Yeah, without getting into the weeds too much, i was surprised at the swift, immediate pushback from the right on kavanaugh. I thought repubs would bury the guy quickly. I think dems were, too.

            If dems wanted to get kavanaugh, they should have followed bernie’s lead when he asked for a perjury investigation. But, as we know, dems don’t want to win….they just want to be seen to be trying to win.

        2. Laughingsong

          Agreed. I usually try to avoid that by saying that whether these foreign leaders are good or bad is irrelevant. What’s relevant to me is MY leaders: these are the people I am indirectly responsible for and that are representing me worldwide. And also, these are the leaders that matter most to me because they have ever so much more power to affect my life than even the most determined terrorist. If I have to proceed to the point that we here in Murika would never allow some other nation to choose our leader for us, I will. One great thing about Trump is that even with all of the faux left yammering about impeachment, they still wouldn’t want Germany to invade and knock him out. It’s clarifying for everyone, that.

          So it’s my leaders’ behavior that I focus on. That’s why I told folks that no, I was not afraid of al Qaida, or Saddam, or Assad, and I’m not afraid of Xi or Putin now. Because I am much, much more afraid of my own leaders and the crap that they constantly do to ruin my life.

        3. Cal2

          “500 years of open veins!”

          Not all people will get that reference.
          If one is going to read one book about American looting of Latin America, this is it:
          The Open Veins of Latin America, Eduardo Galeano.
          Free online:

          Book review

          The second would be “Confessions of An Economic Hit Man” John Perkins

          Third, “War Is A Racket” U.S.Marine Corps General Smedley Butler.
          Read it at Federation of American Scientists website

          1. wilroncanada

            Very few Americans, or Canadians, will understand the reference to Galeano’s book. We’re too busy watching Fox & Fiends. If we read at all, it’s fan magazines, or maybe we strain to read a Tom Clancy. Then, there’s NHL or MMA (sometimes the same thing), or NFL or NBA, or if we’re REALLY educated, the same sports from the olde alpha mater, for nostalgia (neuralgia plus myopia) we say.

            1. Cal2

              Sadly, I agree with you. I think the way to educate the large class of non Naked Capitalism reader Americans is to put things into an American perspective, that is, make what we do to others, done exactly to us in a format that Americans get, a TV series, or a movie.

              The closest we get to this now is science fiction where the Martians bomb us, or, Red Dawn, where the Commies take over an American town. Of course the Americans win.

              How about this scenario off the top of my head:
              The Chinese dictate that Kamala Harris is actually the real president of the U.S. for the good of the American people who are rioting in the streets allegedly to protest racism, inequity and potential fraud in Trump’s election. They send their troops in to back up that claim after destroying NORAD and our air bases.

              Along with some food aid, stuff that was beyond its expiration date, they land troops to help with the humanitarian relief. Meanwhile, part of the local Chinese population is armed and assumes control of our ports, airports and other vital infrastructure to combat the terrorists. Dowager President Harris eagerly cooperates with Beijing from her new headquarters in Canada. After her utility has run out, her plane has a strange mishap with her on it. After ten years, a new generation of North American children settle in, learns Chinese to serve as administrators under Chinese rule in the new North American Co-Prosperity Sphere. No more NFL, NBA or Baseball, instead, weekends are dedicated to Chinese language lessons.

              So, how do you think the average American would react to that?

              1. Hopelb

                Love it! Who has bought up houses in the US after the “crash” in cash? The Chinese, either attempting to escape their government /or through Chinese government subsidized loans and Blackrock(should have been appropriately named Blackmold).Interesting times, especially given that the msm/npr demands we focus our attention on is politics. Guess they never learned geography either?

          2. Hopelb

            And Galeano wrote “Soccer in Sun and Shadow”! Soccer being an unsupervised sport played every and anywhere with no equipment required because you can always repurpose rags into a ball.

        4. Carey

          What works for the Right will not necessarily work for the left, though; in fact,
          will likely *not* work. The Right are enabled by their nominal enemies, the
          Dems, in my view.

          What will work for the left is sheer numbers. The citizenry are catching on,
          regardless of the misdirections and obfuscations from the legacy parties.

          1. Milton

            Who is this Left of which you speak? Certainly, they aren’t visible in any numbers from which I can tell – I see tons of Liberals, though – and they most certainly have almost no representation in any position of authority.

        5. drumlin woodchuckles

          “Leave Venezuela alone” is a more American-sounding use of language than “Hands off Venezuela”, which sounds typically EuroLefty Intellectualish. Of course, if the Left doesn’t care about that, then they won’t give “kind of language” any thought.

      1. JCC

        My sincerest apologies, I double-checked and misread the opensecrets listing, it was $150,000.00, not $300,000.00.

        But that’s still a lot of money.

    2. richard

      I think of how much she’s getting attacked now, and I know it would be even twice as intense if she directly challenged the most ridiculous parts of the establishment narrative (the state of Israel needs everyone’s support, because it’s so weak and vulnerable, for instance). That said, she’s much better off trying to directly dismantle the shoddy reasoning of the pro-Israel lobby, than trying to apologize for “anti-semitism” that was never there in the first place.

    3. Chris Cosmos

      I don’t thing the Congresswoman had any choice. Pelosi and the media simply do not tolerate any criticism of Israel which, besides the MIC, may be the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel cannot be criticized even if the Israeli PM publicly should eats Palestinian babies. The only critique that whould be allowed on that event would be to object to the fact it was done in public.

      I can fault Rep. Omar for surrendering her dignity–I’m sure she was made an offer she could not refuse.

  6. Alain de Benoist

    The article on the lack of a populist / nationalist right in Portugal misses the main cause of such parties: diversity. Portugal is an extremely homogeneous society, certainly by European standards. They have minuscule Muslim and Jewish minorities; a small number of Africans (mostly from their former colonies); and most of the few new immigrants come from Russia, Ukraine, or Brazil. There is never any talk of “Portuguese Guilt” nor discussions on the “knapsack of Portuguese Privilege” nor any cheerleading the day when the Portuguese become a minority in their own nation. They have not suffered any Islamic terrorist attacks and almost none of the participants in Angela Merkel’s Million Male Muslim March back in 2015 found their way to Portugal. In other words there is absolutely no need for any sort of populist right in Portugal as there is for example in Italy, France, Sweden, the UK and increasingly so in Spain.

    Diversity is indeed the populist / nationalist right’s strength!

    1. Laughingsong

      Please explain why anyone “needs” a populist right to demonize people….. I mean that to my way of thinking, one only “needs” to demonize a group when the majority of people feel deprived. Muslims, Jewish people, immigrants, women, left-handed folks, redheaded stepchildren . . . Anyone but the leadership/system actually doing the depriving, right?

      1. Alain de Benoist

        When faced with strong Demographic Change, manifested in some of the ways I described above, if we make an analogy to the human body, the body politic will read the Demographic Change as a form of infection and will seek to develop white blood cells (if you will) to combat the changing demographics. Normally left wing parties are strong instigators and champions of Demographic Change and so the only option people have if they want to remain the majority in their nations is the populist / nationalist right. And just to be clear the establishment right are also huge promoters of Demographic Change seeing it as a way to reduce labour costs and to destroy the social cohesion necessary for a healthy welfare state. The one counter example on the left I can think of is in Denmark where the Social Democrats have recently come out as strong opponents of Demographic Change. Bernie Sanders gave an interview with Vox a few years ago where he articulated a powerful anti-immigration position (open borders is a Koch brothers’ wet dream) but he lost his courage and abandoned this position during the campaign.

    2. Harold

      So the reforms work well, but only because Portugal’s population is “homogeneous” (except for Brazilians and Ukrainians (!), according to you )?

      Why is that, exactly? And do you have counter examples of countries in which identical reforms have failed because of the presence of Muslims. What it is about Muslims that precludes raising minimum wages, etc., etc.

      1. Valdo

        I think you got it mixed up. His argument is that the lack of right-wing parties might have more to do with a homogenity than repudiation of austerity. I’m inclined to agree, although I wouldn’t dismiss a resurgence of the far right just yet, judging for what I’ve been seeing online, which is a general perception that the political class is inept and/or corrupt, and the perceived solution to be a strongman like the historical dictator Salazar

      2. Alain de Benoist

        A great counter example is in the US where “diversity” is employed regularly against Bernie Sanders. Bernie even made the questionable decision to apologize for his campaign being too white and too male, as if this will ever satisfy his opponents. In a homogeneously white nation, it’s hard to imagine whiteness being a liability. In such a society, people would not be discussing Bernie’s race but instead his ideas. If you look at the history of the post WW2 European welfare states, they arose in demographically homogeneous and cohesive societies where trust among fellow citizens was high. As the various nations increased their diversity; trust inevitably went down, and normally the welfare state suffered in return. So as Harold points out above, one of the reasons the Portuguese were free to vote left and the reforms were successful was because they are a homogeneous society. It will be a great irony if the leftist government in power now starts flooding the country with migrants and thus provokes a reaction that forces the left out of power.

    3. Tinky

      I don’t completely disagree with your comment, but Poland is quite homogeneous, and so to some extent seems to undercut your main point.

      1. Alain de Benoist

        Yes, it does But we have to look at the past century to understand why Poland chose the populist right. Given the still vivid memories of Communist oppression in Poland there is very little chance a populist left political entity would have much of a chance. So in Poland the only option besides the typical neoliberal and globalist left/right parties was the populist right.

        The Portuguese (along with the Irish) used to act as Europe’s migrating cheap labour. I was on the island of Jersey recently and they have a very large Portuguese community who emigrated several generations ago. The Polish and other Eastern European people now act as Europe’s traveling cheap labour. So the Polish have an extra interest to fight efforts by other European countries to bring even cheaper third world labour into Europe and only a populist right government will take up this challenge.

  7. The Rev Kev

    “Carpocalypse now: Lyft’s founders are right — we’re in the endgame for cars”

    Uhhh, what if you were not a policy wonk or techno-capitalist that lives in a city? We live a coupla kilometers from the nearest town here and the nearest city is about 40 minutes away by car. I suppose we could saddle up one of our horses for transport but you can’t do much shopping by horseback. I seem to recall that the Yellow Vest movement was kick-started by bureaucrats in France who arbitrarily made it much more expensive for those in the country to get anywhere by car. And France is smaller than Texas in terms of size. And those protests are still ongoing.
    When this article talks about how ‘the car industry goes the way of the horse-and-cart’ they are right. Without cars in the country, we will all be going back to horse-and-carts once gain. Maybe they should take these geniuses, transport them to some tiny town in rural Iowa, tell them that they cannot have any cars (hired or otherwise), and them tell them that they must depend on local transport to get them round. To make it more fun, have them bring their wives and kids so that they themselves can tell these geniuses just how well their ideas work out in practice.

    And I’m calling today’s Antidote du jour a Silky sifaka from Madagascar.

      1. David Carl Grimes

        I don’t think Lyft and Uber can stay in business in the long, long term. For every dollar in sales they get, they lose 50 cents. To become profitable, they’d have to double their rates. Then they’d be at par or even more expensive than taxis.

        1. Yves Smith

          Any price hike would also have to recover past losses AND provide an adequate return on invested capital.

          Horan described long form how Uber is nota low cost producer. Same logic applies to Lyft.

          They would be more expensive than cabs.

    1. cnchal

      I would prefer to buy a used car sight unseen than buy a seen one from these two guys, with their idiotic I got mine grins.

      I call bullshit too. The car business may get smaller, but the idea of personal transportation going the way of the dodo bird is not what I expect. What I do expect, is that if level 5 AV cars are ever fully developed and sold, people will buy them and drive them around empty more than they are with someone in it.

      Instead of the hassle of finding a parking spot, tell it drive around the block until you are finished doing whatever the reason was for stopping there.

      Drop me off here, pick Suzy up there.

      Of course, status conscious families will have several of them, so multiple AV cars can be on the road simultaneously running empty most of the time.

      Besides, who wants to get into the scuzzy back seat of an Uber or Lyft AV that they own, run and don’t take care of.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      The problem with that article is it didn’t disentangle economic impacts from societal change in assessing the claimed drop in car purchases. Not to mention the short term impact of Uber and Lyft providing huge short term subsidies to their users. Increasing inequality of course makes it inevitable that even in a growing economy, more and more people will be unable to afford cars, even if they need one.

      There certainly is evidence of some societal changes against car ownership, especially as younger people favour living in central urban areas. There is also some evidence in Europe that the boom in electric powered bikes may well be eating into car sales – in many places they make it unnecessary for families to run two or more cars. These trends certainly have car companies worried, but so far I think these are chipping away at the margins, not becoming a central feature of the economy. In most countries, especially in north America and many developing countries, we’ve more or less by accident baked car dependency in.

      1. JacobiteInTraining

        “…There certainly is evidence of some societal changes against car ownership, especially as younger people favour living in central urban areas….”

        Sample size of 1, but just yesterday I was having a pleasant day out with some kids, their mom driving and us to some 2nd-hand stores, coffee, a little food out, and Mom drops a bombshell to the 25 year old daughter: “I’m thinking of putting $5,000 into a car for you so you can get around better”

        Daughter is suitably gracious at the concept of the gift – but so completely non-auto-interested as to cause my jaw to drop. ‘Nope’, says she, ‘don’t need a car’ (She ubers everywhere) ‘…instead, maybe I could pay off credit card debt and take some college courses?’

        As a Gen-X’er myself, the whole concept of a parental unit pledging 5k for a car would have been followed by rainbows, a unicorn, the parting of the red sea, and angels and cherubs frolicking in the sunny meadows with ponies, bunnies, and kittens….the kind of momentous unforeseen event that causes one to potentially realign ones flagging belief in a higher power of goodness and light.

        But nope, daughter says ‘meh’: Don’t need one, Mom.

          1. JacobiteInTraining

            Not a typo…heh, OK….so I guess I’m old enough I have moved into the ‘anyone a couple decades younger then me is a kid’ phase… :)

            1. Tom Doak

              It wasn’t that, I was just amazed that the decision on whether young woman needed a car had been pushed back to age 25. In many parts of the country, you’re not going anywhere without a car, and your parents won’t be driving you around until you’re 25.

              1. JacobiteInTraining

                Ah, I see. Nope…the daughter has never had a drivers license, nor even learners permit & doesn’t really want one, never had a car of course. The family tried getting her to get permit & teach her to drive at the ‘usual time’ (15-17) and give her the old family car but she…wasn’t interested.

                After high school, she never had to have the parents drive her everywhere, she was pretty self-sufficient. Currently works full-time as a store manager (pretty much been working since 18 just after high school) and initially took the bus everywhere. With auto loans being what they are she easily could have afforded a car since her early days working….and the family (though a bit broken up and rough around the edges these days) could have gotten her a reliable used car at any time she had indicated an interest….i.e., its not a ‘poverty prevented it’ decision.

                As far as I know her coworkers, friends, and cohorts, only one of them actually has a car. The rest – ubers, bus, bike, and living close to work suffice.

                1. Laughingsong

                  I was 28, myself. Lived in SF and didn’t need one, couldn’t afford it anyway. Finally my mom GAVE me her old car if I would just get my license. Since I was moving to the South Bay Area and did need it at that point I said yes. It was a 1964 Ford Falcon.

                  We have a used car now but hardly use it, we ride bike mostly, even in winter. We usually only use the car on a weekend where we have a number of errands that take us all over the town, and / or need to get larger items that won’t fit into the bike trailer.

            2. Lee

              Most of my doctors look to me like their 12 years old. One nice thing about becoming a wrinkly old guy is that young women now hold the door open for me.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Very similar with my experience – my nephew was gifted a car by his parents when he started college, but rapidly sold it, he said he had better things to do with the money.

      2. John Zelnicker

        March 3, 2019 at 9:50 am

        “…we’ve more or less by accident baked car dependency in.”

        Not exactly by accident, but rather an agreement between John D. Rockefeller and Henry Ford to promote gas-powered internal combustion engines for personal transportation. Eventually, this allowed people to move away from the urban core while still being able to get to work and shopping areas quickly which led to the suburban sprawl we suffer from today.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes, you are quite right, it wasn’t entirely an accident, although I think the intention was to promote cars for the economy rather than to ensure absolute dependency (although notoriously the car companies did buy out some tram companies specifically to close them down).

          But in other countries its been a more or less accidentally side effect of catering for car users – they’ve created environments where its almost impossible to live without access to a car.

          1. Olga

            Destruction of a fairly well-developed system of public transportation in the US also was not an accident… years later, here we are. Choking in traffic!

      3. lyman alpha blob

        The article seemed deliberately obtuse, mentioning that employment was at record highs all over the world, wondering why auto sales have dropped, and then trying to give the credit to Uber/Lyft, without considering that Uber/Lyft don’t pay people much and neither do most of the other newly created “jawbz” to the point where purchasing an automobile is unaffordable unless you want to live in in too.

        It also completely ignores the logistics of what would need to happen if the dreams of these criminal operators (let’s not forget they made their billions by breaking the law) were to come true. These companies try to paint it as if they’ll be doing the world a favor by removing vehicles from the road, but a link in another comment above notes they actually increase congestion.

        If customers of these criminal cabs had to pay the real cost instead of the subsidized one, they’d stop using them in a heartbeat.

        I have about a 5 minute commute to work. Even that short ride will cost me about $12 each way once a modest tip is included with a legal cab, as opposed to $1.50 each way on the bus. Yes, that bus ride is also subsidized, but it’s subsidized by my own tax dollars, not some squillionaire’s VC money. Public transportation is the answer here. If I’m already paying for it, why not get some benefit out of it?

        1. Alex Cox

          I second that! The author assumes everything’s rosy on the job front, and that therefore everyone should buy a car. But most of the new jobs, as NC reminds us, are part-time and disastrously paid. The author blames Brexit: but Brexit is another reaction to austerity, poor jobs, and lousy pay.

          “Automated, driverless transport services will likely reduce the demand for cars in the future.” Here the author, like all MSM driverless car enthusiasts, assumes that Level V vehicular automation is right around the corner – wonder if he or she even knows what that is.

    3. ChrisS

      Even those wonks and technocrats must only live in Manhattan and the NW quadrant of DC. I’ve lived in a lot of estadosunidense cities (New York, DC, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Dallas, Austin, and just outside both Boston and San Francisco) and only New York and Boston would allow one to live car-free in any practical way. Even then, I lived and spent most of my time in Manhattan and the South Bronx so I won’t presume to know the walkability of the rest of the city. You can also live car-free in Boston if only because it is so small you can walk it.

      Fun anectdote: I used to be an attorney at Legal Aid Society of DC. This meant I had to go to the then IMA office to help clients with their TANF (welfare), SNAP (foodstamps), and Medicaid (better off well) problems. Legal Aid’s office was on H street at New York Ave. IMA was few miles east down H street. A bus stopped right in front of the Legal Aid office went directly down H street and stopped right in front of the IMA office. It was still significantly faster for me to walk to metro center, take the red line to Woodley Park (I lived right next to the stop), get in my car, drive to IMA, find a place to park, and then walk to IMA then it was to take that bus.

      But I have a feeling those wonks and technocrats never venture into the NE quadrant of DC.

      1. a different chris

        One quibble:

        >I used to be an attorney
        … leads to
        >to help clients with their TANF (welfare), SNAP (foodstamps), and Medicaid
        and ends with
        > It was still significantly faster for me to walk to metro center, take the red line to Woodley Park (I lived right next to the stop), get in my car, drive to IMA, find a place to park, and then walk to IMA then it was to take that bus.

        But you were a busy attorney? Who could afford a car. Who could afford parking fees. But who also had a lot of stuff to do. But does a person going to get TANF really need to do it “significantly faster”?

        And also, does even a high-tech worker need anything more than mass-transit for his daily commute? She tends to go to one place (don’t even get me started on the “work-from-home” mirage) and at the end of the day return.

        1. ChrisS

          Sure, but that is kind of my point, unless you live in specific places (notably Manhattan or Boston) expect mass transit if available at best to be a giant tax on your time and probably your patience as well. In DC I found easy access to good grocery stores more than justified the car tax I paid. Getting to remote areas of DC, that is those not within 10 blocks of a metro station without an hour to two hour bus ride was icing on the cake.

          Maybe that is the difference, good train coverage (constant service and not mixed in with cars) makes car-free existence possible and desirable. But outside of New York and Boston, I have yet to see this.

      2. Alfred

        I lived carless in Los Angeles for several years in the 1990s, getting around everywhere by bus or (occasionally) cabs. The cost was less than what I had previously been paying to live there with a car; the stress level I experienced was much less. I also had no trouble living carless in Chicago for a couple of years. I agree that getting around without a car in New York varies by borough (I’ve tried in all five, though I admit I never gave Staten Island’s public transport system a fair shake) and neighborhood. Ditto throughout most of DC and its inner suburbs: a carless life is next to impossible in DC’s outer suburbs.

      3. efschumacher

        I concluded that if I want to (almost) eliminate personal car use on a day-to-day basis I had to leave the Wash DC Metro area and move to a medium sized city in the UK. So here I am in York. Most days we either walk the 2 miles into the city centre, or pedal around on foldable bikes.

        We had to buy a car anyway, since if you want to go hiking in our great National Parks and their environs, you have to drive, since public transport is strained out there. Still, we turned a 20,000 miles a year 2 car dependence in Montgomery County MD into a 6,000 miles a year 1 car plus several bikes, 2 pairs of legs (one each) and a Two Together Railcard flourishing life.

    4. Rajesh K

      That article conveniently ignores that the countries mentioned like Great Britain and Turkey are going through a period of great economic uncertainty. The US is probably the only exception, but then again with auto loan defaults at such a high level, the economic strength in the US might simply be a mirage.

    5. Amfortas the hippie

      re: without cars in the country.
      if i didn’t have to drive 60-130(one way) miles for healthcare, I would be all that closer to a mule and a buckboard.
      admittedly, I’m a rather extreme minority in that I could conceivably live that way…most folks out here would starve without a personal vehicle.
      there is the “Hop”…a short bus that takes the elderly to the doctor in fredericksburg…but they don’t let just anyone ride.
      and too, there’s been several attempts over the years to stand up a taxi service…but even with the saturday night wine bar crowd, these never last. the dirt roads in inclement weather necessitate 4×4, so gas eats them up.
      like you say…i invite any upscale metrosexual hipster family of four to come on out and try carlessness.

    6. temporal

      re: Carpocalypse

      The graph showing few registrations and increased purchases probably suggests that a lot of folks, including many of those on social security, have decided to swap a history of decaying older vehicles for getting shiny a one due to extended financing or leasing supporting relatively low per month costs. When I go to a store I see plenty of people in their sixties, seventies and even eighties with nearly new cars.

      I know a person that has been driving barely adequate cars for years but recently purchased a new SUV, at least in part, because she’ll now have social security to rely upon. I am certain this is a bad idea, but it seems to be a thing where I live. I also see people with handicap stickers driving new F-150s or SUVs fairly often.

      Imagine an older person walking, say, ten or twenty blocks to buy some groceries and bring them back home and then explain how small town Americans are going to give up their automobiles. Consider that an alternative, like taking a cab or a cab-substitute-bus, would nearly double the cost of a weeks groceries. The only people I know that have given up their cars did it because they had no choice.

      Uber doesn’t exist here and I’m fairly certain it never will, this town will never allow a taxi that doesn’t pay the license fee.

      1. a different chris

        >would nearly double the cost of a weeks groceries.

        Um, a 30k car depreciates 6k when you drive it off the lot? Lots of groceries there. $50/month car insurance. And you haven’t even gone anywhere yet. Tires, gas, further depreciation.

        Otherwise, yes, I have the same head-scratching at the new-cars/old-people phenomenon. I think they have no real way to feel important anymore. How does a person get in and out of an F150 if they are handicapped, I gotta wonder.

        1. cnchal

          Old people say, “I drove crap all my life, now I want something nice, before it drives me”.

          Nothing to do with feeling important.

    7. Arizona Slim

      I’m noticing that, in other countries, even rural areas have train and bus service.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        I’ve been wondering if our appalling lack of rural and intercity transportation could be taken to the UN on the grounds of restricting freedom of movement.

        I was able to sell my car 10 years ago and have been blessed with folding money since. But maybe don’t try this at home, unless home is in an existing walkable urban core.

        Car sharing, especially with Neighborhood Electric Vehicles, could help transitioning, but that requires real infrastructure investment, not the Stone Soup model of Uber and Lyft.

      2. Ape

        Has to do partly with town layout. Not overall density but average density. A village of 500 in most countries has only a couple of 100m diameter where in the us it could be half a mile to a mile mostly in concrete and unused lawn.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Yes – I cycled down the Bread Divide in the mid-West a few years ago – coming from Europe what I immediately noticed was just how physically big many American ‘villages’ are, due to both very low density layouts and huge areas given to roads. The exception are pre-20th Century towns and villages for obvious reasons. And the latter always seemed to me to be much nicer places to hang out, especially those that kept their original buildings.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            I meant ‘Great’ Divide above, not ‘Bread’, autocorrect did something very odd there…

              1. newcatty

                PK and Synapsid,
                Maybe autocorrect had a Freudian silp. Kind of creepy to think about…There are Bread Divides in U.S. Think about the cost of bread, now. The staff of life. Please no comments on it being a source of carbs, or wheat, etc. A salient point is that there is a huge divide of the cost of different kinds of bread at almost any market. Any organic bread is more costly than non-organic bread. Almost any whole grain is more costly than white refined flour bread. We are fortunate, and buying for just two, that we buy organic and/ or whole grain products. I have sympathy for lower income persons and families who really have to buy less expensive products. Organic everything is going up in price at all my markets. I think it’s a travesty that all people don’t have access and can afford organic food. Why this is, of course, food for thought in another discussion.

                1. wilroncanada

                  Buying bread takes a lot of dough now. And, buying dough to make bread takes a lot of bread too.

    8. Chris

      I agree. Even for the parts of the world where this kind of thing is a real option there are so many problems with Ubers and self driving cars.

      I find it weird that people continue to whistle past the issues with self-driving cars. Especially the people who might make decisions that they would hope to keep private. For example, say I’ve been drinking and there’s been a notice from my wife/GF for domestic abuse. Why shouldn’t the car not take me home? Why shouldn’t it take me to jail? Ditto if I’ve enjoyed a recreational drug and it detects it on me from my breath/heart beat/pupil dilation/behavior? What happens when your self-driving car gets hacked by a virus and you have to stop at every Starbucks? Or when it doesn’t let you out until you a pay a ransom? All of that is coming with self-driving cars. Yet people keep pushing for them. I don’t understand it.

      I also don’t understand the trend of people not getting driver’s licenses because of self driving cars and rideshare. The current version of self-driving cars kicks over to a driver in challenging situations. There is currently no path to develop a self driving vehicle which doesn’t require either a remote pilot option or an in vehicle driver. I would think folks would continue to learn to drive simply for safety reasons if nothing else. Like, what happens when your strung out Uber driver has a seizure and you need to get to a hospital? You gonna car an uber for an Uber? Beyond issues of needing people who know how to drive for civic purposes (military, emergencies, EMTs, etc.) we need people to stop being apathetic about this in the hope that the likes if Bezos and Musk will magically solve these problems. When you abdicate responsibility and control to these people they come up with solutions you won’t like.

  8. s.n.

    surely someone has already linked to yesterday’s Dave Egger’s piece, but jkust in case….. Excellent reportage once again, this time from the El Paso rallies earlier this month.

    But how to explain that about half of Trump’s audience that night in El Paso were people of colour, most of them Latino? How to explain the fact that Trump attracted 15,000 supporters to his rally, while O’Rourke garnered only 4,000 people to his event, held in his hometown, on the same evening?


    1. a different chris

      Because Trump’s the POTUS aka most powerful man on the planet and will no doubt, Clintonite fantasies of legal removal notwithstanding, be one of two contenders for the office again just next year? Whereas O’Rourke is.. well who dat? It’s like the Rolling Stones vs your edgy local band.

      But yeah the article gives a much better view of Trump’s appeal than the DNC will ever manage to figure out. It was just a stupid comparison.

    2. Lee

      I’m shocked, shocked I tell you, to find such a diversity of political views among PoC. You mean to suggest that melanin based political solidarity is not a universal human trait?

    3. Cal2

      How to explain?
      Legal immigrants that followed the rules now made to look like gullible chumps by Trump’s opposition that favors open borders?

  9. jfleni

    RE: Carpocalypse now: Lyft’s founders are right — we’re already in the endgame for cars.

    It can’t come soon enough; imagine NO MORE sh##boxes! Public transit FOREVER!

        1. juliania

          Where and when it is possible to do without a car in your life, do it. Even if it takes up a bit more time to travel using public transportation, the money you will save, the wellbeing you will feel – these are all worth it. Admittedly, this country in many ways makes it hard to do, but one of the ways you will save is on gymnasium costs – there’ll be no need. Walking is the best therapy there is, no question about it. We are built for it.

          I don’t say everyone can. And sadly, many are afraid to try. It would help save the planet though; food for thought.

          1. aletheia33

            thank you. i have been doing this since august in my pre-20th century small town where i can walk to the food coop, the old hardware store, a pharmacy, a great thrift store, the post office, the movie theatre, and the library, meeting most of my basic needs.

            the benefits of doing all this walking, plus a daily morning exercise walk i already had in place, are far beyond what i expected, because, what you said. the well-being. the therapy. i’ve lost 20 pounds and have become more limber. some incipient knee problems have vanished. i am 64. walking seems to medicate anxiety, fatigue, and winter blues as well, and is excellent for thinking problems through and generally useful and enjoyable reflection.

            every few weeks when certain errands call out for attention, i rent a car on a weekend special. free of the overall cost of owning, i could easily afford to do this rental more often than i actually want to.

            having started this experiment because i lacked sufficient savings to replace my last car, and having made it this far through a new england winter without any regrets, still looking forward to my daily errands in a way i never did when i drove around doing them, i am now seriously unsure if i will ever want to own a car again.

            i am lucky in working at home and not needing to commute to a job. that said, if i was job hunting locally, i would start my search within a walkable radius.

            in my state there is “medicaid transportation” that i rely on for all my medical appointments, which is a big help. they will take patients anywhere in the state. conversations with the drivers, who do it for all kinds of reasons, are always interesting.

            friends have put themselves on call for whenever i need their help to get somewhere. i’ve not had to take anyone up on this yet. when someone does offer me a ride on the spot, i usually accept, mainly because it gives me a chance to spend a little time catching up with that person. as a result i am less socially isolated than i would be if i was going everywhere in my car alone.

            the fact is, i’ve realized that driving around doing errands in my car by myself is (and always has been) very boring. and one spends a good part of one’s life doing that stuff. whereas walking, i’ve discovered, is endlessly fascinating. while walking i am not just existing, strapped into a box. i am living.

            the above is just some of why i find myself captivated by a new lifestyle based on walking.

            for those who’ve seen my earlier reports on this “adventure”, i apologize for the repetition.

  10. Chris

    Re: FP article on Bernie Sanders.

    It’s amazing to see the establishment dance around their failures, while Sanders’s is also dancing around the tropes he either believes or thinks he has to believe to run for president.

    The FP article asks what Sanders would have done differently that Obama in Syria. Completely absent from the discussion is… Sanders could have done nothing. As in, not getting involved at all in a civil war in a country with no capacity to threaten the United States. From the discussion in the article that’s clearly not an option that anyone ag FP would support. And, by the way, why all this questioning about Syria when the authorization we are in there currently is to combat ISIS? Would the FP establishment have been OK with anyone helping to set up a refuge aid area and then not getting involved in any war with Assad and the rebels? I think not.

    A better article IMO would have been about the current contradictions in Sanders policies vs. what his supporters believe. For example, Sanders has jumped on the “RussiaRussiaRussia” bandwagon. Have his supporters? Obama began a program to completely update our nuclear weapons program. Russia has also began to update and even leap from our capabilities in this area. Would Sanders continue that? What do his supporters believe? Sanders has made varying comments relative to MMT and cutting the military budget to pay for domestic social programs. But he’s also talked about lending support to international institutions which require us to maintain current levels of funding in a number of areas. Do his supporters and his advisers understand those contradictions? Does he?

    All in all, the article was disappointing. It was a bland regurgitation of neoliberal foreign policy trying to critique Sanders for not being neoliberal. It listed Iraq 1/Desert Storm and our involvement in Kosovo as unmitigated successes. Really? Surely the FP can do better Sanders trolling than a long form piece that amounts to “I was a Sanders supporter but then he…”

    I am more interested in learning about what Sanders believes and the FP establishment’s opinion if whether he’ll get rolled into all the same misadventures that got us go the status quo of Forever War. I am interested in learning about whether candidates like Gabbard and Sanders can get us to stop being in a state of constant war. I don’t need FP wonks to pretend there was a better way for Obama to screw up the world. It’s sad to see how limited this conversation has become and how few options we have for public discourse. It makes me think Sanders or anyone else won’t be allowed to change anything, ever. The MIC prevails :/

      1. Carolinian

        Say no more. From the article

        While Sanders has decried Trump’s acquiescence to Russian meddling in the U.S. election, he has said nothing about how he would harden U.S. democracy against such predations. Obama, likewise, struggled with how to confront this unprecedented menace during the waning days of his administration.

        In other words the usual bs from the usual sources. Links today seems to have several articles designed for commenter potshots. The National Interest article with its fever brained depiction of Putin as a religious fanatic (he is religious like, say, most Republicans or Hillary on the Dem side or Tony Blair on the Brit side) would be another.

      2. pjay

        Yes! Nossel is at the very center of the liberal “humanitarian intervention” network of the Establishment. I challenge any reader of this article to explain what the hell she actually wants Bernie to do. Such people have to talk in circles to hide their service to the military-industrial-security complex behind pseudo-humanitarian cant.

        From her Wikipedia entry:

        “Journalist and peace activist Chris Hedges resigned from PEN in protest of Nossel’s appointment [as its Executive Director]. Hedges claimed in his resignation letter to PEN that “Nossel’s relentless championing of preemptive war—which under international law is illegal—as a State Department official along with her callous disregard for Israeli mistreatment of the Palestinians and her refusal as a government official to denounce the use of torture and use of extrajudicial killings, makes her utterly unfit to lead any human rights organization, especially one that has global concerns.”

        She has been Executive Director of Amnesty International, COO of Human Rights Watch, a senior Fellow at the Century Foundation, Center for American Progress, and the Council on Foreign Relations among many, many other positions. She is at the very heart of the “liberal” wing of the Blob. And she has been extolled as a role model for young women among the coastal 10 percent.

        The content of the article is vacuous. The bio of the author is very educational.

      3. The Rev Kev

        Nossell must have part of that group known as Clinton’s Harpies – as vile a group as to be found anywhere. There were more women in that group than just Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power and Susan Rice as is often reported.

        1. VietnamVet

          Don’t forget, Victoria Nuland, Godmother of the Ukraine Coup that restarted the Cold War.

        2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I once recognized Susan Rice, travelling with her (female) partner, unguarded at the little airport in Chiang Mai Thailand.
          I had such a delicious time giving her a proper excoriating for Libya et alia ad infinitum. No security detail to make me be quiet or go away. She engaged at first then realized I had the truth on my side and knew it so she buttoned up in moral superiority mode. Very satisfying nevertheless.

    1. Tom Doak

      Thank you for the details. One of the greatest crimes of the media is that they deliberately obfuscate the bylines of the people whose voices they choose to amplify. Guests on the Sunday news magazines are always listed as “former Secretary of State” instead of “current lobbyist being paid six figures by x, y and z”. And it’s not that the news organizations are unaware of those connections.

        1. rowlf

          “Hi, I’m Rowlf. I’m one of the Green Room attendants. We recently had a change in broadcast rules and I need to hang these albatrosses from your neck before you go out in front of the cameras… Whew. You’re pretty lucky to get out of here with just three. Our last guest needed a wheelbarrow. Yeah, nice guy, just bad judgement, ran with a bad crowd. You should have seen John McCain’s dumptruck… some folks thought the studio reeked of old guy smell afterwards but it was all the birds…”

  11. The Rev Kev

    “The True Story of How Russia’s Foreign Policy Process Evolved”

    The funny thing about the National Interest here is that they boast about using a realistic approach to foreign affairs. Skipping though that article, let’s see how well that works out with these examples-

    “Russia is the only country in the world (and perhaps in world history) that is run by former and current intelligence officers.” Obviously they have never heard of George H. W. Bush, 41st President of the United States and one time Director of Central Intelligence.

    “The Kremlin was particularly angered by democratic revolutions in former Soviet countries, above all in Ukraine, and believed the “subversive activities” of the United States were the main culprit for this.” Not mentioned here is the minimum of $5 billion dollars spent fomenting this coup along with all the training and equipment.

    “it is worth noting the psychological pressure that the Russian intelligence services consistently put on Michael McFaul, the U.S. ambassador in Moscow”. Maybe this had something to do with it-

    “the Russian leader believes that the hostility of the American establishment is preventing the Russian and U.S. presidents from agreeing on a new world order.” Anybody remember what happened when Trump met Putin and the cries of treason that resulted that had never occurred with any previous American-Russian meeting?

    1. JCC

      “Obviously they have never heard of George H. W. Bush, 41st President of the United States and one time Director of Central Intelligence.”

      Not to mention the Dulles Bros during the height of Cold War 1.0. Apparently what is good for the goose is not good for the gander.

      1. Olga

        Well, that was my thought – i.e., GHWB, a CIA director – and the author never heard of the blob basically taking over the running of US govt after Nov. 1963.
        The first part – about Russia taking a long-term view – is accurate (as are the Chinese) – but the rest of the article is a bit of a wishful thinking (se RK’s examples). But not a surprise given that the author, Solovey, is a member of the “liberal” opposition in Russia (the fifth column, in other words). “Nuf said…

  12. Alex morfesis

    Reparations for slavery or post Jim Crow economic oppression and diversions, both corporate and government… Article 6 of the ’70 enforcement act is still good law, especially after Jones v Meyer($cotu$ 1968) yet…

    even as we sit here today, the nonsense rainbow diversity movement is apparently designed to give every fake and shake special group a slice of the pie that only black people paid for in the 1950’s & 1960’s…

    If we simply handed back the two trillion dollars in real estate black America has been gentrified out of in the last 50 years.

    …where white people moving into previous black majority neighborhoods were given loans after the black neighbors were moved out, while those same exact bricks were prevented from being owned and kept by black folk due to red lining…

    No need to twist and turn and go back 150 plus years…black folk have been done over in the last 50 years…it is useful for context to lay out all the corruptions and conversions after manumition, but there has been enough theft and conversions against black folk in recent history to allow a reasonably calculated compensation…

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I am extremely dubious about the “lineage aspect” of the ADOS proposals; for starters, it feels very much to me like the sort of complex eligibility requirement that liberals love (with plenty of niches for credentialed professionals). I’ve seen a couple of geographically-based proposals, and after all, the “forty acres” were originally located somewhere. And sticking it hard to the real estate industry — and the banks? — has appeal, especially after the foreclosure debacle. In the course of my travels through the Twitter on reparations, I heard an amazing story of the chicanery that still goes on. Captured local governments.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “The fall and rise of small-town Arizona”

    This article should really be turned into an illustrated book. I certainly like the artwork by that Tina Mion shown in that article.

  14. Carolinian

    Re Adolph Reed–perhaps the Dems can push both impeachment and reparations and thereby ensure Trump’s reelection. A recent article suggested that the upcoming presidential election could be like 1972 when a president who was widely despised by the elites nevertheless won an electoral landslide against a candidate who blamed his loss on “a thousand dollars and a thousand percent.” The country is a different place now and the analogy is hardly exact, but the Dems do risk throwing away (or failing to take back) their greatest strength which is populism, not special pleading. Sanders seemed to get this when he rejected reparations. But will he realize that McGovern had the winning electoral position (these days) when he campaigned against a US policy of intervention?

    1. Lee

      I look forward to a presidential campaign in which both candidates are “widely despised by the elites.”

      1. Carolinian

        The elites are going to do everything in their power to make sure that doesn’t happen–on the Dem side at least.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      One thing that has not changed since 1972 is that the first priority of Democratic Party elites is to prevent an antiwar candidate with Leftish domestic views from becoming President. Current elites may tell us that getting Trump out of the White House is their primary goal, but my prediction is that most will sit on their hands if Bernie is nominated and some (like McCaskill) will not-so-quietly support Trump. If a Bloomberg runs, I’d bet a majority of Dem elites will jump on that bandwagon rather than support Bernie.

      We already see some of the more reactionary elements of labor criticizing the GND and other proposals. An even larger segment would opt-out if a real antiwar candidate was nominated.

      1. VietnamVet

        The Swamp’s (Southern District of NY) investigation into Donald Trump’s finances assures that the President is not going anywhere. He knew Dick Nixon. Winning a second term avoids prosecution until January 2025. That’s eternity for a 72 year old. He has as much chance of being impeached as Bill Clinton. His CPAC speech shows that he is going for the Big Enchilada. A 2020 Democratic corporate candidate will replay Mitt Romney’s loss.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Let them do so. Let them be seen to do so.

        And in the meantime, let Sanders, if he gets nominated, offer them nothing. No praise, no positions, nothing.

  15. Tom Doak

    The Council on Foreign Relations’ retelling of the Venezuela story is breathtaking – like a shot to the solar plexus. Are they trying to warn Mexico they could be next?

      1. Olga

        I dunno … the US incompetence still has a lot of ooommhh left in it. Remember, all they have to do is create chaos – and they win.

    1. Susan the Other

      I don’t want to overdo it on body language, but it looks to me from TV clips (one especially when last week at a conference of Lima-minded Americans where Guaido stood next to Pence and spoke to him in a very direct manner – no sound track – Pence acted like Guaido wasn’t even there. Ignored him completely. Stunning. So Guaido might be realizing things aren’t as easy as he imagined. And he might be as fearful as his gestures indicate – fearful of being captured by the authorities and thrown in jail, tried for treason and insurrection and etc. Which wouldn’t bother an old silver weasel like Pence at all – it would be an excuse to storm the bastille, “for Guaido!” and throw Venezuela into turmoil. Right? And Obrador? All he has done is offer the possibility of asylum to Maduro. In the sense that he doesn’t condemn him. Maduro would be wise to remember Trotsky.

  16. dcblogger

    Black Lives Matter Activist Pressures MPD for Surveillance Data
    Years ago, as Black Lives Matter DC railed against the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), core organizer April Goggans often posted online about a marked police car parked in front of her home and other instances of alleged intimidation.

    Her lawsuit against MPD, two years in the making, revolves around a 9,000-page dossier that police department officials refuse to release.

    1. Inode_buddha

      Since the PD is publicly funded, I bet that falls under some FOIA law… maybe at the state level.

  17. Wyoming

    Re: The fall and rise of small-town Arizona FT

    Not being one willing to give the FT any money I can’t access this article.

    But I live in small town AZ and am very curious about it.

    I see articles all the time about small towns in AZ and how great they are. Most times they are very skewed towards places that are fun to visit and not actually a great place to live.

    Could someone who has access list the places the article thinks are on the ‘rise’ and why?

    I’ll provide some local color later if you do. txs

      1. Wyoming

        Ahh, I see what it is about. It is a short blurb on a few interesting places to visit when on vacation.

        It has nothing to do with living here.

        Txs anyway

  18. Cal2

    Youth climate strikers

    Effective action would be to do sit-ins on airport runways in Washington D.C. used by politicians traveling to and from congress, or those used by general aviation, such as private jets.
    Why can’t congress critters take Amtrak to and from their districts? This would surely lead to improvements on Amtrak and show that they put their butts where their mouths are.
    That’s the one thing I like about Biden, he rides the train to D.C. from Delaware.

    1. Olga

      More like Texas has invaded Calpers. (A friend worked at HP, when a buncha Texans took over – they drained the company. It was never the same after that!) Is that what’s waiting for Cs?

  19. daryl

    Commentariat, help me out here. What’s the maximum amount of money I can donate to a particular bro’s campaign without having my name plastered on the internet. Is 49.99 the limit?

    I suppose I should form a dark money PAC but it seems the only candidates worth donating to would not accept it.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Use a prepaid mastercard (gift card). Pay cash for one at Wal-Mart. Give fake contact info (or your Fox News loving uncle’s contact info).

      Slow antidote day?

      1. Daryl

        Unfortunately my uncle loves Rachel Maddow and MSNBC as do all of that side of the family…

        I think I’ll keep it legal, debating whether to plunk down a bit more and risk my name being out there as I am in a position to do so. And there’s no employer to tie me to anyway. Although the twitterati may have a field day when they discover how much money supposedly liberal candidates are taking from the shady conglomerate known as “Self-employed”

        Thanks for the replies everyone.

    2. marym

      Re: What campaigns have to report to the FEC


      The Act and Commission regulations require federal political committees to file campaign finance reports disclosing their receipts and disbursements. As part of those reports, committees must list the name, address, occupation and employer for each individual contributor who gives more than $200 to the campaign during an election cycle (or calendar year for PACs and party committees).

      The Act also requires the FEC to make campaign finance disclosure reports available to the public, including on its website, within 48 hours of receipt.

      The Center for Responsive Politics

      This database includes Federal Election Commission records of receipts from all individuals who contribute more than $200 (smaller contributions are typically not part of the public record). Bear in mind that contributions to politicians can also be made through Political Action Committees.

      1. Earl Erland

        marym- Your link is to the FEC page addressing sale or use of contibutor information. The FEC page on recording receipts, which I link to below, states this:

        Identifying contributors

        Contributions of $50 or less

        In advisory opinions, the Commission has recommended two possible accounting methods that satisfy recordkeeping requirements for contributions of $50 or less:

        Keep the same information required for identifying contributions that exceed $50 (amount, date of receipt and contributor’s name and mailing address); or
        In the case of small contributions collected at a fundraiser (such as gate receipts and cash contributions), keep records of the name of the event, the date and the total amount of contributions received on each day of the event.

        Contributions exceeding $50

        Records must identify each contribution of more than $50 by:

        Date of receipt; and
        Contributor’s name and mailing address.
        Furthermore, political committees must maintain either a full-size photocopy or digital image of each check or written instrument by which a contribution of more than $50 is made.

        Contributions aggregating over $200

        For each contribution that exceeds $200, either by itself or when added to the contributor’s previous contributions made during the same calendar year, records must identify that contribution by:

        Date of receipt; and
        Contributor’s full name and mailing address, occupation and employer.

        1. marym

          Thanks! I was looking for the amount that would be subject to public disclosure of the donor information, which seems to be $200, but wondering how they accumulate multiple smaller contributions.

  20. Synoia

    Carpocalypse now: Lyft’s founders are right — we’re already in the endgame for cars

    I wonder what the correlation between wages and car ownership look like.

    Price of new cars, Austerity and low wages would be a better guess on declining car sales.

    I bought a:
    Citron GS in 1975 for about $3,000, 50% of my yearly gross
    Nissan 510 Station Wagon in 1980 for $7,500, 18% of my yearly gross
    Fiat Sypder in 1982 for $10,000, 18% of my yearly gross
    Isuzu Trooper 1985 for $12,000, 15% of my yearly gross
    Nissan Maxima in 1988 for $20,000, 20% of my yearly gross
    A Toyota Prius Plug in 2018 for $34,000

    If I look a pickup trucks I see prices of $50,00 or more. For a works truck, about 16,000 to 18,000.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Have you looked on Craigslist? Of course, it depends on how many miles you’re willing to accept.

        1. Susan the Other

          me neither. i’m thinkin’ tricycle with battery assist plug in and an umbrella – for errands. really. and call/use public transportation for everything else.

    2. Milton

      You make a very nice salary. Kind of lost focus regarding the gist of your comment when I saw you were making 6 figures over 30 years ago.

  21. George Lane

    The CFR article castigating AMLO for being “on the wrong side of history or democracy” for not recognizing the unelected and formerly totally unknown Guaidó as president is amusing, particularly the line about Mexico being “alone amongst the world’s democracies in not recognizing Guaidó”. Of course “the world’s democracies” here, especially when referring to the Lima Group, is a euphemism for “right-wing governments who will do anything the US tells them to and who privilage international capital over their own population”.

    I think it will be prescisely the opposite: those who are still clinging to the US as the shining beacon of freedom and democracy, despite all the evidence to the contrary, are the ones on the wrong side of history.

  22. Henry Moon Pie

    Johnstone’s writing about narrative has been very insightful and helpful. It’s a road worth further exploration.

    Everybody needs what Johnstone is calling “narratives.” Life is complex. We need narratives about ourselves, our families, our communities, our work, etc. to make some kind of sense out of our experience. The problem is that one dominant narrative, let’s call it the American Dream narrative, is losing its power because the dissonance between the narrative and reality of most people’s experience is just too great.

    What that declining narrative power means to those of us who believe we need radical social, economic, political and cultural change is twofold. First, it’s worthwhile for us to continue pointing out the conflict between the American Dream narrative and the reality of American life. The more people we can liberate from that b——t, the better. Second, most of those who have lost faith in the American Dream narrative do not have a new narrative to help them navigate our political and economic landscape. There are plenty of competitors offering new narratives ranging from Steve Bannon to Bernie Sanders. If Johnstone is right about the power of narrative, then that’s where the real battle is, and if that’s the case, then laying out a coherent new narrative that fits reality well is an important part of any response to any smear.

    Let me try an example outside the American Dream context: Tulsi Gabbard on interventionism. Gabbard, as Johnstone urges, needs to be quite blunt in blowing away the narrative of the U. S. as the world’s protector/policeman, in part by exposing how American politicians and media strive relentlessly to keep Americans in a state of fear. But that’s not enough. She also needs to lay out a new narrative that lays out how the world–and the lives of Americans–would be more peaceful and less fear-ridden if the U. S. started to act like a member of the international community rather than its lord and master.

    1. marym

      We need a narrative of the commons and the common good. Aspects of our lives that aren’t/shouldn’t be just a matter of individual striving and accomplishment, or of corporate ownership and profit. Universal healthcare, tuition-free college, and the environment and climate are prominent in political discussions now and good subjects for developing this narrative.

      1. Carey

        Hear, hear. This is why I think the MPP/ Movement for a People’s Party is important.
        The Democrat party is a time-wasting snare.

  23. Wukchumni

    A death knell awaits in weeks…

    The print edition of the local weekly newspaper ends in early April and then they’ll be strictly online.

    …it will be a talisman of the last physical newspaper I ever subscribed to

  24. Susan the Other

    Handlesblatt. Peter Wohlleben. (“well or whole life/living – almost like a pen name). On “The Hidden Life of Trees” 2015. Thank you for this link. Waldeinsamkeit is what happens when roots and branches are your source of adventure. Staying rooted means you evolve to survive in your environment. Being footloose means you can trash a place and move on. For a while.

    1. Wukchumni

      One of the upper echelon of NPS rangers in Sequoia NP is a fellow named Waldschmidt, a perfect fit in the forest for the trees wouldn’t you say?

  25. Susan the Other

    Weather Underground. The sun’s magnetic field and sunspots “work down from the poles toward the equator. Each new cycle (10 year) emerging below the last and ending when the fields from each hemisphere cancel each other out at the equator.” It makes sense that close to the equator there is more “weather” and hence more direct magnetic radiation surrounding the earth, warming it and preventing cloud cover from forming. They didn’t include info on the earth’s wobble which is said to have an effect on the cooling cycle. The sun is behaving “as usual” and we are now headed into a solar minimum, some say grand minimum. And it’s cooler. This is disconcerting because global warming has probably been underestimated. Because the cooling hides the magnitude of GW. And when the sun picks up its sunspot activity it could get suddenly very hot. But we have to be careful what we do because even if the variables are small they can create a tipping point. And what if the next magnetic cycle of the sun is as tepid as this last one? And we actually manage to clear the CO2 out of our atmosphere and instead of a warm blanket of clouds at night we have searing cold nights. We haven’t had really good cold nights in 3 or 4 years – this year was downright balmy at night. The article said they weren’t sure if the Danish research on cosmic rays was significant enough to cause the kind of cooling required to tip us into an ice age, combined with other random events. We are living on a knife’s edge – one false move and we’ll slide one direction or the other. And cloud cover both warms (night) and cools (day) the planet. What an uneasy feeling. It really all hinges on the sun. So that poses yet another problem – that information will become a closely held secret to prevent panic.

    1. newcatty

      Susan the Other,

      There are more things in heaven and earth , Horatio,
      Then are dreamt of in our philosophy.

      Hamlet, First Folio, 1623

    2. Synoia

      Regarding the Sun – The projections assume a consistent, predictable non-chaotic set of processes.

      Assuming the sun is predictable is very questionable assumption. I’d regard the predictions in the same manner as I’d believe in a fortune teller with a Chrystal Ball.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      There should be some weather records that were taken during the Maunder Minimum. If they include temperature records or frost-date records or first and last snowfall records and things like that, we should be able to work out to some extent how much colder the earth surface system got under the levels of skycarbon then existing.

      If we have a Neo-Maunder Minimum 2.0 over the next few decades, then we will get to see whether we have the same level of cooldown as what they had during that other Maunder given the levels of skycarbon we have today. If our level of cooldown is indeed less ( supposing a New Maunder does indeed happen), that would show that the earth surface system is retaining heat better. If a New Maunder happens, then we will know for sure when we know for sure.

  26. bruce wilder

    From the Weather Underground article, The Weirdly Quiet Sun:

    here’s something to keep in mind: even if the sun goes into a multi-decade “grand minimum”, any climate effects are likely to be swamped by human-produced climate change.

    I was staring at that assertion and I realized that I see it repeated endlessly. It is becoming a foundational meme in our culture; one of those things people just accept as True, as they follow the well-worn ruts of culturally mediated community reasoning: we all agree this is true, and so it follows that we should do this.

    The point with regard to climate change is that this hammering away at the “human-produced” nature of climate change misses a critical aspect of climate change: the actual science says the human contribution may be a small, but a critical trigger for natural processes that run out of our (human) control.

    On the one hand, “human-produced” climate change seems to invite still more “human-produced” efforts, such as geo-engineering instead of or in place of constraints on human use of fossil fuels or human activity in general.

    And, in my mind more importantly, people may stupidly imagine that “human-produced” change is isolated from natural processes and proportional: that is, more “human-produced” CO2 in the air translates to higher temperatures more or less smoothly, so “doing something” is enough to “make things better” when, in fact, crossing a threshold beyond which natural processes take over to drive climate change regardless of what humans can do is a near certainty.

    We are hammering away at this “human-caused” meme — and it is not clear to me why, who we are trying to convince of what; are there influential or powerful people who think we are not burning fossil fuels? or that CO2 in the atmosphere is not rising? — and in the process, maybe we are erasing the essential insight that what humans are doing is interacting with natural processes that are also contributing mightily to current and prospective global warming.

  27. Chris Cosmos

    Re: Climate Strikers

    I note the contrast between young people being concerned for their future and the relative indifference of adults (in the room). People often loudly assert, how “the live for their kids” meaning they use their kids to accumulate large sums but, on the other hand, don’t care what sort of world they’ll be handing their children to live in.

    When I read about these young people protesting I feel hope for our planet on the one hand and embarrassment for my generation that came of age in the 60s and espoused peace, love, and understanding as well as environmental concern and a healthy disgust of the ruling class (very much more benign than today’s ruling elites). Now I know, that most young people of that time did not favor pulling out of Vietnam or the demonstrations but enough of us had the courage of our convictions that we put our asses on the line the best we knew how before the authorities cracked down. What happened to us? What happened to me? I certainly have tried to do what I could but as I got older I found my peers becoming part of the System and intricately intertwined with it. Now, it is my generation of leaders that show little interest in either peace, love, understanding or the environment or at least not enough to grow some courage and try to do something about it. I hope some of us will do what they can to support these young people and, at minimum, categorically reject politicians and media outlets that don’t support their efforts fully.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe someone who just felt a Big Chill in their lives. Times change. People change. I once saw an American TV news story from the early 70s. It was about a young guy that was a hippy but when economic times turned bleak, he cleaned himself up, got a haircut, and took a job in his dad’s plumbing shop. Yes, that was literally the story. Probably people who were Yuppies in the 80s would be more at home with the present times than people who came of age in the 60s and 70s.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Did you realize that you liked to sleep in a house and eat food? And that both cost money? And that you probably needed a job in order to make money so you could sleep in a house and eat food? And that the System controlled all the jobs? So that if you wanted to go to work at a job, you had to go to work for the System because the System owned all the jobs?

      So what happened to you? You grew up and realized you would have to do what you had to do in order to live in a house and eat food.

  28. Wukchumni

    Was at our fire safety council meeting today, and the Cal Fire Chief for the area told us of a pilot program the state is setting up involving four 15 person teams set up to specifically clear and burn brush in the state, 2 of them for Southern California and 2 in Northern California.

    I’d prefer 200 for each the north and the south, but it’s a start.

  29. Wukchumni

    Last summer I was having dinner with another cabin owner & his friend who are both firefighters in Ventura County, and they related to me about the burnout that they and everybody in the profession was going through in what used to be a June to October fire season, that was more like a May to December relationship with flames, One of them told me, “Imagine if the NFL went to a 32 game regular season, and how the players would fare?”

    Capt. Ryan Mitchell had just finished three punishing weeks of firefighting. He had deployed to fires far from home, then returned only to dash out to another one.

    Mitchell’s parents and 16-month-old son came to visit him at the station.

    “He didn’t look good. He was tired, he was thin, his eyes were shallow. He wasn’t his usual self,” Mitchell’s father, Will, recalled.

    Two days later, Mitchell reported to Cal Fire’s San Diego unit headquarters in El Cajon for his regular 72-hour shift.

    After he finished, on Nov. 5, 2017, he drove east to the Pine Valley Creek Bridge, among the highest in the U.S.

    He parked his car, walked to the edge of the bridge and jumped.

    Mitchell, 35, was one of at least 115 firefighters and emergency medical service workers in the U.S. who died by suicide in 2017, according to data compiled by the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance, which tracks such figures nationwide.

    The figure, probably an undercount, is a startling one, and one that many worry portends an epidemic as ever-lengthening fire seasons, more frequent mass casualty events and increased strain on emergency personnel take their toll.

    The suicide rate among such workers has been estimated at 18 per 100,000 people, exceeding the rate in the general population of 13 per 100,000, according to a report by the Ruderman Family Foundation and federal data.

    1. Susan the Other

      I think this is referred to in neoliberal economic terms as “productive”. But the truth is, we need three times the firefighters and equipment going forward. There’s nothing “productive” in the old sense about our new normal. New normal productivity is an entirely different animal.

  30. The Rev Kev

    “The woodsman who’s revealing the secret lives of trees”

    German woods are something else altogether and have a place in the heart of Germans. Once while hitching around Germany, I was dropped off on a road by a wood. It was a hot day in the middle of summer but the woods themselves looked dark so I walked into them. Straight away the temperature dropped several degrees which felt invigorating. It was otherworldly too as there were trees everywhere but little growing between them due to the canopy above whose shade was mostly only for the trees there. The floor of the woods was covered by pine needles and it was just so different to anything that I had experienced before. There is another article about the guy that wrote this one and which shows him sitting in the sort of woods that I am talking about but not so dark-

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Were all the trees pine trees? Did a lot of them look the same height and thickness? From the description, this sounds like it could be a several-decades-old pine plantation.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Thanks for asking drumlin. The one that I saw was all pine but was definitely not a plantation forest but looked like natural growth. It grabbed my attention because I read an account of how Roman soldiers were put off by the darkness of the forests that they had to fight in. There are all sorts of forests in Germany and apparently pine represents about 23% of all German species. One time I saw several acres of pine trees flattened like a bomb had hit it. On asking, I found that a fierce wind had blown up the previous night and knocked them all over. Incredible. If you punch in the search term ‘pine forests Germany’ into Google, all sorts of interesting links come back.

        1. Susan the Other

          they’ve also got pine bark beetles and are now actively planting other varieties of trees, i think in poland

    1. marym

      Sanders had a campaign rally in Chicago tonight. I tried sending some links earlier – not sure if it was my own connectivity problem or something causing moderation. So, not to flood the airwaves with possible repeats, this is just a minimal comment. If anyone wants to look further there’s a brief twitter thread of highlights by Chicago Tribune reporter @ElyssaCherney including a crowd photo and a note that the official (sic) attendance count was 12.5K.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Apparently, AOC’s only legitimate transport device would be rickshaw, and her only legitimate fashion choice a barrel worn with tasteful shoulder straps. The stupidity is wearing. Still, endless repetition does work, which is why people do it.

Comments are closed.