Links 4/10/19

Japan castle cat boosts tourism after disasters Straits Times (TYJ)

‘Flight shame’ has Swedes rethinking air travel PhysOrg

The Death Of Smartphones SafeHaven

Researchers Rethink the Ancestry of Complex Cells Quanta

Teeth whitening products can harm protein-rich tooth layer ScienceBlog (Dr. Kevin)

What Will Climate Change Mean for Security in Africa? Defense One (resilc)

New York City declares emergency over measles as cases double in two months Guardian

Candida auris: Drug-resistant “superbugs” are spreading Vox (resilc)

China?

China’s toxic livestreaming culture: the vicarious lives of angry, alienated, uneducated rural gamers Boing Boing

US threat of $11bn EU tariffs increases tension Financial Times

U.S. Eyes Tariffs on $11 Billion of EU Goods Over Airbus Aid Bloomberg. Resilc: “So who runs the USA USA? Boeing or Bibi?”

India

Indian Elections: Raul Gandhi’s Minimum Income Program Highlights Modi Government Failures The Real News (J-LS)

Brexit

Maybe, just maybe, we need an extension Richard Murphy

May’s position is looking shakier than ever as Brexit negotiations drag on CNN

Blockchain for Brexit: a wonderfully terrible idea FT Alphaville (vlade)

New Cold War

Pompeo Says Egypt’s Purchase of Russian Su-35s Will Lead to Sanctions – Report Sputnik (Kevin W)

Syraqistan

Why is Libya so lawless? BBC

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Senators Introduce Bill That Would Ban Websites From Using Manipulative Consent Forms Motherboard

Thumb drive carried by Mar-a-Lago intruder immediately installed files on a PC ars technica

5G May Never Live up to the Hype – Motherboard (resilc)

A woman miscarried at a California hospital. 6 years later she discovered the hospital had secretly taped the procedure. Business Insider (Kevin W)

Imperial Collapse Watch

Adam Tooze · Is this the end of the American century?: America Pivots LRB (resilc)

Trump Transition

Treasury expected to miss Dem deadline on Trump tax returns The Hill

Trump Is Laying the Groundwork for War American Conservative

Republicans press Trump to drop Herman Cain’s Fed nomination Politico (UserFriendly)

Our Rapidly Blossoming Authoritarian State Is Headed to Another Level Esquire

Barr Forms Team to Review FBI’s Actions in Trump Probe Bloomberg

Brett Kavanaugh: backlash after US university hires justice to teach in UK Guardian (furzy)

Congress Is About to Ban the Government From Offering Free Online Tax Filing. Thank TurboTax. ProPublic. Posted in comments but too important to miss. Update: House backs bill barring IRS from offering free tax filing services Washington Post (UserFriendly)

Republicans Are Warning Drug Companies Not to Cooperate With a Congressional Investigation BuzzFeed (furzy)

Unaccountable Media Faced with Dilemma in Next Phase of Deep State-gate Consortiumnews (UserFriedly)

The Senate Banking Chairmen Are Selling Access Washington Monthly. Resilc: “But only since Alexander Hamilton.”

Ilhan Omar Is Right: Stephen Miller Is a White Nationalist New York Magazine

2020

Joe Biden’s vow to respect personal space fails to soothe allies Financial Times

Bernie Sanders, Now a Millionaire, Pledges to Release Tax Returns by Monday New York Times (furzy)

Bernie Sanders Is Making Union Solidarity an Essential Theme of the 2020 Campaign The Nation

Packed Primary May Let Superdelegates Screw Progressives Again Caitlin Johnstone (UserFriendly)

AIPAC Targets Bernie Sanders in Facebook Ads Focused on Key Democratic Primary States The Intercept

Horror on the Hudson: New York’s $25bn architectural fiasco Guardian (furzy)

Why much of the country is headed for $4 gas NBC

This is How Stocks Get Hit When BBB-Rated Companies Try to Dodge a Downgrade to “Junk” Wolf Richter

Guillotine Watch

A Millionaire Is Trying To Make A Real-Life Battle Royale On A Private Island Ladbible

Class Warfare

Walmart Announces A New Addition To Its Workforce: Thousands Of Robots Forbes (David L)

The Age of Robot Farmers New Yorker

Sixteen Parents Indicted in College Admissions Scandal Wall Street Journal

Google’s Wing drones approved to make public deliveries in Australia The Verge

Waffle House good Samaritan shot to death paying for meals, handing out $20 bills ABC (resilc)

Decriminalizing the Drug War? Calculating the Damage from a Century of Drug Prohibition Alfred W. McCoy, TomDispatch (Tom H)

Antidote du jour. Angie N: “Seen in my neighborhood”:

And a bonus from guurst:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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171 comments

    1. Kurt Sperry

      Interesting. I’ve been truncating any URLs I share beyond the “?” and I haven’t come across one yet that wouldn’t resolve post-truncation. Well, until this one. I do test the truncated links before I share them just in case though.

      Imagine not being able to share URLs minus tracking payloads. Seems like a neoliberal inevitability doesn’t it?

      Reply
    1. none

      20%

      That’s fantastic, they were at 2000 donors just a few days ago. They are getting donations faster than Tulsi Gabbard for whatever that’s worth. She has gotten 10k or so in the past few weeks. She’ll make it to 65k and it will be great if Gravel does too.

      Reply
    2. Pavel

      Wow, I love that challenge by Gravel to Mayor Pete. I guess it is just a bunch of high school kids running his twitter account, but even so well done! Clever stuff.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s also a great demonstration of the intellectual bankruptcy of “centrism” and throwing around the word “moderation” with no context as a a good in of itself. Teenagers versus the Rhodes scholar, and the teens just drew blood. Becoming a joke is the death knell of all politicians.

        Reply
        1. voteforno6

          Eh, I don’t know. A lot of people thought of Trump as a joke when he first announced.

          Once again, I think that 2016 changed pretty much everything that we thought we understood about politics.

          Reply
          1. pretzelattack

            it showed us what a joke the democratic party has become, at any rate. we now have a wide choice of “centrists” of slightly different flavors–they can all lose to trump if they win the nomination.

            Reply
            1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

              I’ve been watching the UK and thinking “so this is what it looks like when a leading first-world government becomes completely and utterly non-functional and every single one of its institutions is hopelessly corrupted and is no longer fit for purpose”.

              But now I’m concluding that this applies to the U.S. too.

              Reply
          2. NotTimothyGeithner

            That might be true of others, but I wasn’t dismissive of Trump. I expected a close HRC win, but I saw Trump beating the brains out of the GOP field right before the first GOP debate. The Jeb sheepdogs were in meltdown mode. The Republicans voted for Shrub, Reagan…they pushed Dan Quayle for years. Joe Scarborough was a Republican. Newt. Its such a clown show of monsters and angry misfits. Anyone acting surprised by Trump is either very young or ignorant about the GOP because they want governing and citizenship to be easy and it would be easier if the GOP was the GOP as presented in movies such as Dave and shows such as The West Wing when its the party of segregationists, loony libertarians, fossil fuel nuts, and snake oil salesmen and has been for over 50 years anyway. The only difference between Trump and Paul Ryan is Trump doesn’t flirt with the press. They are the same nasty vile men.

            I also recognize most people don’t care about the identity of their electeds outside of the President, so Lindsay Graham wasn’t going to rescue Jeb in South Carolina. Kasich was a joke, and Cruz is too much of a evangelical nut when they have different evangelical tribes and super conservative Catholics to get anywhere.

            Buttigieg seems like a television show President, but these kids just burned him. He’s supposed to be this “super smart guy” and he’s offering up banalties even Obama would be bored by. Despite what Democrats aligned with HRC said about Obama and even Obama insiders wanted to say, Obama was elected for two primary reasons over HRC, he wasn’t a Clinton ally due to being new and he didn’t vote for the Iraq War.

            Reply
              1. jrs

                Likely no as supposedly Gravel plans to withdraw and not really run in the primaries. One can debate the benefits of such a ploy but he’s not in it to win it.

                Johnstone might be right about a possible scenario, but probably not about motive: I mean isn’t there much more basic motives involved: greed and ego?

                It’s like asking why people buy lottery tickets (only with better odds), being president is a way to get RICH RICH RICH, beyond one’s wildest dreams RICH. Also ego: everyone wants to be the white knight that rides in and saves the world from Trump, the fact that some of them are ridiculously ill equipped to do so, well it doesn’t really register if you have the kind of narcissism the typical politician does.

                Reply
  1. Redlife2017

    Re:Horror on the Hudson: New York’s $25bn architectural fiasco. Crapification in full force!
    “Ascending the ticketed selfie-scrum last week [at the Vessel], on a single route of 154 possible staircases, I encountered a smashed glazing panel, chipped steps and several places where duct tape had been used to stick errant pieces of cladding back on – after the thing had been open for just two weeks. Some steps look as if they have been crookedly cut on site to fit, while handrails crash into parts of the steel structure as if no one thought about how the two parts might meet.”

    Nothing says pumpmonkey, like crap work.

    The last paragraph sums up the awfulness of neo-liberal economics:
    “This swollen appendage to Manhattan is not a new neighbourhood for New York, but a blunt vehicle for making money, a strange offshore tumescence of global capital to service multitudes of Canadian public-sector pensioners [via a firm owned by the Ontario municipal workers’ pension fund], hundreds of miles away.”

    I mean I don’t blame the Ontarians for wanting Toronto to not be filled with that sort of crap…but it shows how much people have been forced to invest (literally) into the neo-liberal system.

    Reply
    1. Arakawa

      As a resident of Toronto, to the people of New York, I say, truly, truly, sorry.

      New York gave Toronto Jane Jacobs, but now Toronto’s gift in return is way way too many TD Bank branches, this $25bn equivalent to a built-to-flip plywood monster house. And Andy Byford, hardly a titan of urban governance.

      Reply
    2. Olga

      Speaking of neoliberalism, this popped at the guardian:
      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/10/neoliberalism-freedom-control-privatisation-state
      How true:
      “The dominant system of political thought in this country, which produced both the creeping privatisation of public health services and this astonishing attempt to stifle free speech, promised to save us from dehumanising bureaucracy. By rolling back the state, neoliberalism was supposed to have allowed autonomy and creativity to flourish. Instead, it has delivered a semi-privatised authoritarianism more oppressive than the system it replaced.”
      And in case anyone missed his earlier piece:
      https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot
      And from a different author:
      https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/aug/18/neoliberalism-the-idea-that-changed-the-world

      Reply
    3. Pat

      One of my regular bus routes takes me past the atrocity. Besides being amazed at how quickly our century’s version of lower middle class workers started trekking there from public transportation once buildings were up, the biggest shock to me was how regularly I would see shoddy materials or work practices as I passed. Besides the sheer greed evidenced by the policies, I wouldn’t become one of the tourists climbing the “Vessel” just because I did watch it get put together. It may look interesting, but it’s a mess.

      Reply
    4. The Rev Kev

      Looking at the image of Hudson Yards at the top of that article as well as others online, I think that what it really needs is a wall surrounding it. That way, they could turn the whole complex into the world’s tallest gated community. A playground for the top 20% then as who else can afford $800 for a haircut or a coupla grand on a watch?
      As for the Vessel, I suppose that they could wall it in with glass and build floors into it to convert it into exclusive residences. I heard once that it was a basic principal of architecture that when you constructed several large buildings or a new one in a neighbourhood, that it should relate to other buildings into a cohesive look. Call it Architecture 101. That Vessel relates to nothing in size, shape or position. I’m labeling it as an Epic Fail.

      Reply
    5. Craig H.

      The picture of The Vessel is awesome. What are the people doing there? I used to take the stairs all the time and in all the years I worked in an office building the only time I can recall seeing any people was during a fire drill. Do New Yorkers actually use stairs?

      Is it open to the public or do you have to go through a security barrier to walk up it? It looks like the most inviting place to commit suicide ever after the Golden Gate bridge.

      Reply
    6. Alfred

      The photos and description reminded me of nothing so much as Crystal City, together with its more recent and (who would have thought it possible?) even more repellent, southward extensions over a former rail-yard: the future home of Amazon East in Arlington County. Like its counterpart in Arlington County, the Hudson Yards development a “no place.” Mr Heatherwick’s Vessel, with its own colossal emptiness, only goes to prove — without the slightest trace of irony! — the futility of making such a placeless location seem otherwise in a time when post-post-modernism is rapidly receding in the rear-view mirror of our collective Uber ride. I suppose that the Hudson Yards development must be seen in person to be really believed. I can’t quite accept that it’s just a bigger cheapness; it sounds more like a transfiguration of cheapness. Maybe I’ll go some day, just as once I went to see (Thomas-like) the improbable ruins of the WTC, which the article helpfully pointed out as the conceptual basis of Manhattan’s latest proof of resurrection. But I doubt it.

      Reply
    7. Cal2

      “Bears repeating…”

      Many famous record-breaking skyscrapers were planned and built in boom times right before a severe economic bust – this is known as the “Skyscraper Curse.” For example, the Singer Building and the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower in New York were started before the Panic of 1907, the Chrysler Building was started in 1928 before the 1929 stock market crash and Great Depression, the World Trade Center and the Sears Tower were planned and built before the 1973 – 1974 stock market crash, Malaysia’s Petronas Twin Towers were completed in 1996 before the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa was started just a few years before the country experienced a serious real estate bust in 2008 and 2009.

      Reply
  2. Krystyn Walentka

    On “The Death Of Smartphones”:

    I thought it was going to speak to the increasing amount of people I see like me who have switched back to dumbphones. But no, they are talking about having 5G radiation blasting straight at your temple while you wear Google Glasses and trusting all your computations to happen in “the cloud”.

    Just think of all the subliminal messages and advertising while they have your REALLY looking at your screen 24 hours a day!

    Reply
    1. Robert Valiant

      The headline is a trick. It presents the possibility that we’re at the end of the line of the consumer technology revolution.

      Nah, impossible. Actually, something indescribably AMAZING is just around the corner; get your wallets ready.

      Reply
      1. Summer

        They continue to make things of value for people that are handicapped.

        That is nothing to scoff at.

        Problem is that I believe there is truth to the saying: If you don’t use it, you lose it.

        Reply
    2. Carolinian

      I’m so sure we will soon be walking around with data glasses like the Terminator–not. Randall Stephenson simply exposes himself as a doof, which fits with his role as CEO of one of America’s worst companies. Meanwhile here’s what the Motherboard link has to say about 5g

      Verizon only currently supports just one phone: the Motorola Moto Z3. Even then, users need to shell out $200 for a mod for the phone to help extend battery life. Why? 5G is a well known battery hog, and the mod was necessary to counter the immense power drain of the four millimeter wave antenna arrays used to nab a 5G signal.

      So in other words you will be saddled with a heavy and needlessly complicated and perhaps even dangerous device in order to receive features nobody wants. Should the satirical HBO show Silicon Valley ever come back they will have plenty of fresh fodder.

      Reply
      1. Summer

        I’m thinking more of a remake of “Wait Until Dark” with the Audrey Hepburn character wearing one of those things.

        Reply
          1. ambrit

            Go full Neo. Hepburn can “interact” with Alexa while the housebreakers “utilize” Siri. Thus, another sort of “blindness” can become a plot device.
            The possibilities are perfectly fractile.

            Reply
    3. shinola

      From the article: “…we have the smartphone, and no one can imagine life without them…”

      I don’t have to imagine – I live it.

      Reply
    4. Oh

      I suspected that the headline was a fake when I noticed the author was from AT&T. My suspicions were well founded.

      Reply
      1. Stephen Gardner

        Michael Scott isn’t at AT&T. Perhaps you are referring to the fact that the subject of the piece was the pronouncement by the CEO of AT&T that smartphones are dead. Yeah, Stephenson thinks he’s a seer with great vision. His vision put the company under a pile of debt for assets that he can’t run (Time Warner). If you follow T in the news you will see that the executives at TW are abandoning ship. The regime of metrics on all things will be applied to creative sorts and guess what will happen.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          Abandoning or being given the heave ho. The synergy between this predatory telecom and the legendary movie studio would seem to be nil but no stopping it now. Apparently Turner Classic Movies will survive for now but the new owners are very hostile toward the other Atlanta based TW properties.

          Reply
  3. ChristopherJ

    Re measles outbreak, which seems to be worldwide, does anyone know the percentage of people who caught this disease because they were not vaccinated? I have had it, but it can be a big deal for some people….

    Reply
      1. Petter

        I’m old enough and I can’t remember any references to gifting parties in the 80’s. What I remember when it comes to HIV and AIDS in the 80’s is that it was a decade of death and terror.

        Reply
      2. Phenix

        Did you just compare measles to HIV and AIDS? Measles has a 0.2% mortality rate in Europe and the US. It has a higher rate in poor countries.

        Reply
    1. a different chris

      I would guess to a first approximation, all of them? Maybe I’m not understanding your question.

      Reply
      1. ChristopherJ

        Thank you everyone for replies to question about measles.

        I guess point of the question is that some of the media are suggesting that these diseases have reemerged because not everyone is getting their shots, ie due to some people not wanting to be part of the herd immunity.

        So, I am assuming that, if you have had your shots, you are safe. That it’s only the ‘choice’ people and their children who are suffering? (albeit our health systems are impacted, eh?)

        Reply
        1. Grebo

          Most vaccines are not 100% effective, and there are people who cannot have them for valid medical reasons, so it not safe to assume that only refuseniks will suffer.

          Besides which, if we want these things to go the way of smallpox and not have to vaccinate all our descendants, we need to stamp them out not just contain them.

          Reply
    2. Wyoming

      The thing that gets me is how people have forgotten the danger of this disease. Prior to the introduction of the vaccine over 2 million people a year died from it. Not to mention the ones who ended up blind, got pneumonia and brain inflammations.

      The granddaughter of one of my wife’s friends died of measles about 2 months ago. Her daughter is an anti-vaxxer naturally.

      Reply
      1. cuibono

        The 2 million is global to be sure. On the other hand, for the US: In 1920, the United States had 469,924 recorded cases of measles and 7,575 deaths associated with measles. From 1958 to 1962, the U.S. averaged 503,282 cases and 432 death associated with measles each year.
        So we can safely say that the vast majority of decline occurred pre-vaccine.

        Reply
      2. Stephen Gardner

        I’m very pro-vaccine but it’s very interesting. I am old enough to be pre-vaccine and I had the measles as a child. I don’t recall a lot of angst in those days about it. I don’t remember being as sick as with Chicken Pox either. I wonder if this is yet another way that our immune systems have gone haywire with all the environmental poison around. Maybe we fought it better in those days.

        Reply
        1. rd

          Its a pretty low percentage of people who get very bad effects from measles. But it is highly contagious, so everybody in an un-vaccinated population catches it. A low percentage of everybody is a lot of people with serious side effects.

          Reply
      3. VietnamVet

        I remember the dread of polio and the relief when Salk vaccine became available. Measles was considered a childhood disease like chicken pox. I caught measles in Basic and spent a week at Madigan Hospital. On the plus side I missed crawling under barbwire with machine guns firing overhead. But I was so sick that I don’t have a single memory of that hospitalization.

        The measles outbreak is a symptom of the malaise of neoliberalism. Trust in government and science is gone in large swaths of the USA. Not to mention the malignant death of public health system and the inordinate costs of healthcare.

        Reply
        1. flora

          Measles is more dangerous than mumps or chicken pox on the ‘potential devastation’ scale. Measles (which I had as a child, like most in my age cohort) is an insidious disease: it can affect unborn children who are exposed when the mother interacts with an infected person and can leave the unborn child terribly damaged even though their mother may have immunity. Measles can leave infected people blind or deaf or cognitively damaged due to nervous system damage. Maybe most heart breaking of all is that an infected child can show every sigh of a full recovery and then suddenly lapse into a life threatening fever from which they do not recover. They show every sign of recovery with no problems and then drop into a dangerously high fever. That sudden high fever is “The crisis”, as it was once called. “But he was getting well!? He was recovering, the worst was over!? And then… ”

          The old way of dealing with a child’s measles infection is no longer part of general parenting knowledge. The older known way of dealing with measles was no guarantee of recovery, but it was the best we had back then. For younger parents, here’s a brief layperson’s rundown of same (I am not a doctor, but you can ask your doctor ) :
          Measles affects the nervous system (among other systems) so do not expose your infected child to bright lights. Have the child bed down in a room with drawn curtains, and no television or computer/iPad/tablet/screen use. (eyes and optic nerve)
          No loud noises, no television, no loud talking or radio. etc. (auditory nerve)
          No over stimulation of the nervous system. (mind and brain)

          When I was a child, parents would have “chicken pox” parties, or “mumps parties”. Not really parties, but if one child in the neighborhood had the disease then parents would send their kids over to play ( and also contract the disease) to make sure their kids got the “kids’ disease” and got over it young. Much better than getting it as an adult. But the parents never, never had measles parties. Everyone knew how dangerous it was. A sort of unspoken quaranteen was in effect.

          Reply
    3. rd

      Measles is undergoing its Minsky Moment.

      Vaccinations created a large herd immunity for measles and numerous other diseases, so people forgot how nasty they can be. So unproven very low frequency risks touted by the anti-vaxxers trumped the much higher frequency real risks of the actual disease, because people weren’t seeing the consequences. Now the disease is back due to lower vaccination rates, so the success of vaccinations has led to the resurgence of the disease due to the false sense of security the un-vaccinated community had.

      Reply
  4. zagonostra

    >2020

    Being a contributor to Bernie Sander’s campaign, I recently received a request to take a survey, it asked me to select three issues from the list below.

    What was glaring is no mention of reining in Military’s spending and foreign intervention (e.g., Venezuela) although to be fair “Foreign Policy” may have been intended to cover some of the concerns some people have over the ever extending MIC…I’ll have to give Gabbard another $5, might even give $1 to Gravel.

    – A $15 minimum wage
    – Affordable housing
    – Caring for our veterans
    – Combating climate change
    – Comprehensive immigration reform
    – Disability rights
    – Foreign Policy
    – Free College
    – Getting big money out of politics
    – Gun violence prevention
    – improving rural economies
    – income and wealth inequality
    – LGBTQ rights
    – Lowering prescription drug prices
    – Making walthy pa fair share in taxes
    – Medicare for all
    – Racial justice
    – Wall street reform
    – Women’s rights

    Reply
    1. a different chris

      Odd isn’t it that “Foreign Policy” alone in the list doesn’t have a qualifier. College is “Free”. Medicare is “for all”. Climate Change is to be combatted.

      But FP is, well what?

      If even Sanders is that afraid of our extra-judicial offshore killing machine then we really need to rise up and have a reckoning with it.

      Reply
      1. Off The Street

        Speaking of college, here is a fun little Bloomberg article about how those enterprising youngsters are taking advantage of offerings from Wall Street to boost their chances at the jackpot. The indentured servitude aspect doesn’t seem to make the marketing although this quote puts some perspective on it.

        “I envision a whole new equity market for higher education in the next five years where today there’s only debt,”

        A student gets the last word.

        “I am of the opinion that in a society where most of its workers need a college education, nobody should be paying this much to be what is considered a functional member of society.”

        Reply
        1. jrs

          He’s right that people are doing it largely as job training, and why should one have to pay just for the right to the training one needs to be a wage slave?

          But most workers needing college education is questionable. Though there has long been a need for some highly trained workers, many of the jobs are no more skilled than they have ever been, but there is credential inflation of course.

          Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      It might be that not including military’s spending and foreign intervention in his campaign was the price that he had to pay for being allowed to run.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        “You catch more flies with honey…” is an important approach.

        The other issue is many of these issues are everyday issues. A family friend was a state legislator, but she lost her seat despite having more money than god. She ran one issue based ad about her support for veterans issues. She was actually a widow. Her first husband was a navy pilot. BUT, her district and the whole region has the lowest rate of veterans in the state. I know the dorks at the state party were high fiving themselves for stealing an issue from the GOP, but she gave no one in her a district a credible reason to reelect her (there were reasons). She just chose not to talk about them. What had a greater effect on the election? HRC’s vague support for theoretical access to abortion (something half the population doesn’t even need to consider, and the rest don’t consider every day) or health insurance premium spikes? To the average sometimes voter and non-voter, what they do with the kids after school is an issue that will resonate more than how many military bases we might have, even though they are linked.

        To get people to change behavior, they want to come out FOR something, not AGAINST. If it was simply AGAINST, Trump would have won three states. To a certain extent, WE don’t see the waste of imperial spending.

        My gut is that the fix is in, and Gabbard will be the running mate for Sanders. I thought she might have missed coming out with a strong domestic narrative, but that would only hurt Sanders. Warren too for that matter, but she’s too old to be the VP choice.

        Reply
      2. Summer

        People need to get prepare to organize without the Democratic Party or Republican Party.

        Sanders is not going to that and it is needed the most.

        The duopoly’s days are numbered and the only alternatives to various assortments of fascism and authoritarianism are going to have to come from outside the political parties.

        Reply
      3. anon in so cal

        This is a slightly older article (apologies if it was previously posted) but it may explain the minefield Sanders has to navigate:

        “In February, Bernie Sanders announced his run for the presidency with a robust domestic platform but very little talk about foreign policy, a notable silence considering his rousing call for a new internationalism at Johns Hopkins in October. Still, his reluctance to put forth specifics is understandable and even desirable, given the incoherent belligerence of many who oppose Trump.

        On the one hand, polls indicate that an increasing number of Democrats support tougher action on those countries deemed to be Trump’s allies, including Russia. On the other hand, Florida Democrats are saying that no candidate can win their party’s presidential nomination unless they support Trump’s effort to stage a coup in Venezuela.”

        https://newrepublic.com/article/153261/foreign-policy-without-war-corporate-power

        Reply
    3. WJ

      I had been a monthly recurring contributor to Sanders and cancelled on the basis of those very issues. Also wrote an email to campaign telling them this.

      Reply
      1. anon in so cal

        We donated more than the max to Bernie in 2016, and received refunds from some address in Tennessee. I’ve also sent several emails to the campaign, suggesting he adopt an anti-regime change stance.

        Journalist Michael Tracey reminded his Twitter followers of a cringe-worthy tweet :

        https://twitter.com/mtracey/status/1115065366483484672

        It’s probably true that Sanders is constrained by the duopoly and must maintain a neutral, if not, overtly pro-imperialist, stance. But it’s a negative.

        Reply
        1. Louis

          It’s probably true that Sanders is constrained by the duopoly and must maintain a neutral, if not, overtly pro-imperialist, stance. But it’s a negative.

          Bernie Sanders is constrained by the fact that he lives in almost as much of an alternative reality as Donald Trump does–many of his proposals are simply not realistic–not to mention the hypocrisy of railing against the wealthy while owning 3 homes and having a 7 figure net worth.

          Bernie is a has been. He his time against Hillary Clinton in 2016, who was admittedly a flawed candidate with a number of liabilities, but the political landscape has changed since then and not necessarily in his favor.

          Reply
          1. jrs

            these are silly critiques, I mean ok if you support another candidate fine, there are a few that are alright, so if someone is all in for one of them instead ok. But which proposals are not realistic? Surely not a different healthcare system? Although passing it might be, but it functioning would not be, as well we know we have the most expensive healthcare system in the world now, with fairly poor outcomes.

            Bernie’s wealth seems to be the type that parts of the middle class sometimes reached (in the past mind you – no millenial is likely too), if that’s really all it is (or maybe he is much richer than we know).

            I don’t pay any attention to hypocrisy criticisms at all. Moral puritanism has simply got to go. “But Al Gore …. ” has never been an argument against doing something about climate change for instance. At least the Christians had it right, we are none of us pure.

            But how one votes and who funds one, now that’s what matters in a politician.

            Reply
          2. Grant

            “many of his proposals are simply not realistic”

            Name some and explain why they aren’t realistic. As of now, they are unrealistic because of the corrupt people in government. Everything he fights for has strong support among the public, every major issue, and some things like single payer have grown in popularity since he emerged and started to push for them. If what he supports is not only far more popular than the things the worthless political class is now willing to do, but those policies are also superior to anything they would offer, the issue isn’t him it’s the system and people like you that continue to vote for the politicians in the government.

            “but the political landscape has changed since then and not necessarily in his favor.”

            Yeah, the political landscape has moved in his direction. Please, give me a list of policies he has been pushing for that are unpopular. And tell me which of the candidates running that have any chance at all of winning are copying Clinton more than him on policy?

            “not to mention the hypocrisy of railing against the wealthy while owning 3 homes and having a 7 figure net worth.”

            He has addressed the homes things many times. He has been in office for over two decades and has made good money each year, has good healthcare too. How him having over a million dollars is surprising is beyond me. Tell me though, of those running, is he the richest among them? If the structural changes he is pushing for called for increased taxes on the rich (say he wanted them to be revenue neutral and was ignoring friends of his like Kelton), would he also not see his taxes go up?

            Hard to take people like you seriously. I have to conclude that you are okay yourself and you are unmoved by things like this healthcare system killing tens of thousands of people over the next 365 days. Or, maybe you have a “realistic” way to hold on to the system as is while dealing with the environmental crisis. Seems that the “pragmatists” make their arguments as if we have far more time than we do to put in place structural changes.

            Reply
          3. anon in so cal

            Owning three homes and having a 7-figure net worth is chump change and pales in comparison to the unimaginable wealth of the billionaire class.

            Even these 8-figure compensation CEOs listed on the AFL-CIO executive pay watch are relatively poorly off compared to the 1% and especially compared to the .1%

            https://aflcio.org/paywatch/highest-paid-ceos

            “The top 26 billionaires are as wealthy as 3.8 billion people

            mega-wealthy are American, according to the Forbes list of billionaires used by Oxfam. The names include Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who collectively are worth $357 billion, according to Forbes”

            https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/the-top-26-billionaires-are-as-wealthy-as-38-billion-people/ar-BBSw75x

            Reply
          4. cuibono

            ROFL. The man has shifted and continues to shift the political landscape like no one else in this generation. A “has been”.

            By the way, the fact that AIPAC is spending money against him must say something…

            Reply
          5. drumlin woodchuckles

            Microwealth and Megawealth are two different things. Bernie has enough money to buy a few nice things. The Koch Brothers have enough money to buy a few nice laws.

            Bernie’s one million dollars are not a threat to me. The Koch Brothers’s 80 billion dollars is a threat to me.

            When I was no longer a child, I put aside childish things. Your ” ooh gotcha!” style of junior high school hypocrisy-spotting is a childish thing.

            Reply
          6. Spring Texan

            Bernie Sanders is not rich and the hypocrisy criticism is a bunch of garbage. If his recent books finally upped his net worth, he’s still generally one of the poorer members of Congress.

            But even if he WERE rich – it’s a bunch of garbage too even if someone IS rich, like the “Patriotic Millionaires.”

            It’s a common bad-faith sneer from Republicans – like “AOC is a hypocrite because she rides in cars.” On the same page. Don’t do it.

            Reply
            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Its an even more common bad-faith sneer from Clintobamacrats. Don’t believe it? “Watch . . . and learn” as Doctor Zoidberg once said.

              Reply
        2. Chris Cosmos

          I don’t think it is even remotely possible that an anti-imperialist candidate could win the nomination at this time. Sanders obviously knows this. Look at how the media has savaged Gabbard with almost comical hectoring. We have three choices–Sanders, Biden/Beto/Buttigieg or Trump.

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            And if the Democrats give me Biden/Beto/Buttypig as their choice, then I will choose Trump all over again.

            I merely say that in advance so that the Clintonite Forces can know that in advance.

            Reply
        3. JerryDenim

          Cringe worthy indeed. I remember reading that one and almost screaming “No Bernie, No!” Two things that I think Sanders has been forced to give lip service to due to the cultural zeitgeist and the very strong beliefs of the voter demographic he is courting for 2020, despite personally being against or being on record as “against” are as follows; 1.) Russia-gate even though he of course knows it’s Bullshit and it was used against him already in 2016, and ( 2.) Warm, fuzzy positive noises about illegal immigration. Sanders has always been suspicious of stuffing the country to the gills with new immigrants, particularly ones who are undocumented/illegal because of the deleterious effect on wages, working conditions, unions and all manner of government mandated worker protections which are much more difficult to enforce with a black market workforce of illegals who are unlikely to report workplace safety violations and wage theft and if they do they have questionable legal standing to bring civil suits.

          People like Jill Stein or Mike Gravel have the luxury of delivering whatever radical, blue-sky, hippie, peacenik speech they want to give because they never have to worry about getting elected or actually governing. “Yes, yes, immediately upon my first day in office I will end all foreign wars and abolish the military. We we convert all Navy ships into scientific vessels to research climate change and the remainder will combat illegal fishing and whaling under the command of Greenpeace.” I could go on but I’m sure you get my point. No one views them as a legitimate threat so they can rest easy at night no matter what they say. Bernie Sanders’ on the other hand, who is viewed as a legitimate contender and a legitimate threat, has an agenda that is already more than radical enough to get him killed or impeached with some fabricated Russiagate type of narrative. A red-scare or some other manufactured conspiracy would be far easier to pin on Sanders as lefty who wishes to declare war on US oligarchy and plutocracy than it was for Trump, a corrupt establishment plutocrat who found himself in hot water for humiliating the chosen Bush figurehead and not taking orders from people like Michael Froman. Maybe deep in his heart of hearts Sanders is an blood-thirsty imperialist hawk, but I think he’s a old school peace-nik with big ambitions who realizes you might need a few allies with guns if you’re going to take on the most powerful entrenched special interests in the county. Sanders has been very shrewd in my opinion putting himself out front as an advocate for veterans and soldiers while being critical of American adventurism abroad. I think if Sanders was actually elected and managed to get a second term you would see a pivot towards reigning in our bloated and pugnacious military after he achieved his domestic agenda. That is 100% opinion based speculation of course, but I do think Sanders is playing the long game and being selective in choosing his enemies. Me personally, I think it’s smart. You don’t always want to show your hand. I don’t think there’s a soul alive that is capable of waging war on Wall Street, regressive taxation, right-wing idealogue judges, billionaires, Big Pharma, trade and immigration policy, industrial polluters, neoliberal austerity, classsical monetarist economics, AND the MIC/US Military all at the same time and living to tell the tale. I’m not one for centrism or incrementalism, but it’s really hard to implement your radical agenda if you’re dead or locked up on bogus charges. The last part should be especially easy to believe after three years of Russiagate predicated on the most laughable and ridiculous of bogus political oppo dossiers.

          Reply
      1. marym

        Thank you. Good initial summary and critique from PNHP.

        Here’s a link to the Sanders press release on the Senate website. It includes links to a copy of the bill, summaries, and financing white paper. The link to the bill and white paper are automatic pdf downloads; probably the others are too.

        Reply
    4. Cal2

      Sanders and Tulsi supporter here.

      How does “gun violence prevention” work with the today’s Waffle House shooting hate crime?

      What exactly, would be the suggest policy to prevent such things?

      Reply
  5. human

    Why Much of the Country is Headed for $4 Gas

    Not a word of Iranian sanctions, reduced Saudi output, or Venezuelan shenanigans.

    Reply
        1. wilroncanada

          Out here on the Canada wet coast (but not this year, so far) we’re looking at $6.00 gas, and that’s good, if the extra money, besides what the petrol corps are gouging, is going to make non-car transportation more available, more comfortable, and more affordable for more citizens. Alberta (Texas north) has to change its attitude, and stop being a pimp for dirty bitumen.

          Reply
  6. jfleni

    RE: ‘Flight shame’ has Swedes rethinking air travel.

    Everybody else should “rethink” at the same time; fast trains can take one anywhere. By the time you unravel air delays,
    and other obstacles, it’s faster and easier anyway!

    Reply
        1. Susan the other`

          Safety will be the new standard because our weather is so violent and now predictably so. But trains are a much better idea than planes. I would guess that RR tracks are cheaper and more cost effective than equivalent asphalt road. One good thing about trains is that they can be elevated in in places where roads erode and wash out. And we can probably predict problem terrain more accurately these days.

          Reply
        2. matsb

          Thirty years ago, one could go into the central station or a travel agency and buy a ticket over the counter with sleeping car from Stockholm to, for example, Berlin or Paris. One would think that, with the computerization of everything under the sun, this would work even better and smoother today, but the opposite is the case. The spin off of what was previously state railways to a number of private operators and the sale of much of the old wagon fleet are two reasons. The prerequisites for the reduction of air traffic in favor of travel with railways have deteriorated. Plus it is more expensive to go by train than to fly.

          Reply
      1. jrs

        until then there are slow trains. So they don’t work for absolutely everything (an emergency for instance) but if you are taking some time off for vacation, take it slow.

        Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          Not comfortable for long distance unless you have a sleeper berth – which cost at least as much as flying.

          The train is perfect for the hop from Portland to Seattle, though.

          Reply
    1. CanCyn

      In the Flight Shame article a student is quoted, “There is no easy substitute for flying,” she told AFP. “You can’t go to faraway places without taking the plane.” I beg to differ, ship travel still exists. I have not done much travelling in my life, I am not afraid of flying but I do hate the noise, smell, herding and crowding and it also bothers my inner ears and sinuses. As a retirement present to myself I have been thinking that I might like to see Europe, originally I was thinking I’d suffer by plane but now concern about the carbon costs to our planet has led me to to investigate a way to cross the Atlantic by ship. The Queen Mary still goes but it is rather posh for my tastes (not to mention my pocket book). The cruise lines offer passages at certain times of the year when they’re relocating ships at end of season – but I admit I am reluctant to go on one of those great big things. Many freighters offer some passenger services and I am investigating those possibilities & carbon costs now.
      Obviously you have to be willing spend some time, ship travel isn’t fast but you can get there from here without flying if you really want to.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Another option is crossing with a bluewater sail boat, by getting one or by working on one.

        Not sure if you have to worry about pirates though.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          There are ‘still’ pirates in the South China Sea and adjacent island chains. I get the feeling that pirates never really went away. Some entered business while others entered government. The rest lay quiescent until ‘things’ became insecure again.
          I can say from some personal investigation a few years ago relating to a proposed trip overseas that sea travel, via commercial vessel, is just as expensive as flying. Containerized cargo ships will generally have a few passenger capable staterooms to be had. The shipping lines are glad to set you up in one for the proverbial “Slow Boat to China.” Literally. One I looked into was from the Port of Los Angeles to Shanghai and then Haiphong.

          Reply
      2. CanCyn

        Adding – well it doesn’t look like taking a ship is better for the environment than flying: https://foe.org/cruise-report-card/
        Still need to check the freighters. They’re going whether I go or not so seems like the lesser of many evils although I guess you could argue that the need for freighters shipping crap to support our consumerism is a pretty big evil. Sigh.
        Maybe Europe just won’t happen.
        And by the by, one article I looked at noted the incredible air mileage of the 737 max:
        https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/mar/12/boeings-737-max-wooed-airlines-cost-saving-fuel-economy

        Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      A fast train to Europe? A fast train to Japan?

      Can Australians take a fast train to New Zealand? Think they could build one?

      Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “Japan castle cat boosts tourism after disasters”

    Well that’s good news that. Maybe they could introduce some cats into the Tokyo Imperial Palace. Last I heard, the Japanese Royal family was down to only 17 imperial family members – 13 of whom are female. When the last of them die out, the cats will give the tourists something to look at inside the Imperial Palace. That is, unless the cats take over the job from the Japanese Royal family.

    Reply
  8. a different chris

    Ok apologies to all the women offended by Kavanaugh’s boorishness, all the leftists that are incensed by his right-wad viewpoints.

    But he’s a Supreme Court Justice, like it or not. My problem right now is whyTF does he then have another job? One not even in the country? Isn’t there plenty of work to do in our ridiculously backlogged judicial system?

    Jesus. Our elites really do live in a different world.

    Reply
    1. sleepy

      Well it was certainly a different time, but I recall Justice William Douglas scoffing at the idea that the Supreme Court was a hard job. In fact, he only hired something on the order of two law clerks while he was entitled to six or seven, and said the workload didn’t require more and he got to take most afternoons off. Even now, the Court only takes on about 200 cases a year.

      Then again, in his youth, he hopped freight trains to follow the apple-picking harvest jobs in eastern Washington. So his idea of hard work probably differs from the current crop of judges.

      His autobiography, “Of Men and Mountains” is a good read.

      Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Obama and Clinton were bad, but structurally, Libya is a collection of coastal city states which historically were independent entities with vague connections more so based on how others saw them. The Sahara limited geographic expansion, so the ability/need for a strong central government to form never took shape as they can access so much regional commerce through the sea.

      Usually, the nation-state is pushed as a creation of 18th century Europeans. I don’t really agree with this. Its more about geographical limits. Paris is the capitol of the region Paris can rule from before geography becomes an issue. Its too easy to keep Parisian aligned troops out whether its the Rhine, the Pyrenees, and the Alps Inside those borders, its very difficult, even after an Agincourt sized victory. The French were blasted and won despite not being able to hit the English where it hurt. Whether you are in Britanny or Orleans, you have to recognize the importance of Paris over the geographical region, hence Paris becomes the seat of the national government, for trade, diplomatic relations, and defense. Egypt, Japan, England (and later the UK), Hungary, etc,, countries are bound to geographical limits where access to the hitherlands is controlled by a single power that reaches out through the country. Rules are instituted by a single power which possesses a monopoly on violence.

      In Libya, there is a strip of land marked by several major cities that can’t be easily dominated by the neighboring cities within the region because no one in these cities needs permission to trade in Rome and so forth. As a failed colonial project of Italy and ceded independence from the Ottomans, Libya unlike other Middle East states isn’t natural. In this era of nation-states, it almost has to exist, but I don’t see a natural seat of government for Libya. As I mull this problem, I think “Libya” would be best off joining as semi-autonomous EU members. The EU is big enough to make everyone play ball.

      Gaddafi as a charismatic and a strong man was able to come to power and rule in an era of Pan-everything, but its just like the expectations of the Obama Alums that Mitch McConnell would be nice to Obama. If power exerted, there is no reason those city-states (that’s what they are) and tribal governments would do anything together.

      I think the basic problem is we can’t look at Libya as a nation-state waiting to be born. Gaddafi’s focus on Pan-Africanism was due to his understanding of this problem. He needed to go bigger to swallow up the city states within the larger community because within Libya the cities are too strong. New York City might be the world’s greatest city and America’s spiritual capital, but television execs are focused on how shows play Peoria because the Peorias of the U.S. outweigh one NYC.

      Reply
      1. rd

        Afghanistan is similar. Kabul is just a city at a key cross-roads in a country of valleys with roads in the bottom. Each valley area has been ruled by its own tribes and leaders. The Taliban were able to use extreme religion as the uniting force. Other than that, Afghanistan has not been a strong nation-state.

        Reply
  9. Roger Smith

    GASP! The Blue Wave(tm) Democrat Congress supports a fascist plan that will force people to pay private entities to file federal taxes??? NO. WAY. How much money did these McDonald’s Tax filing companies donate to the likes of Lewis and the rest of the pathetic lot? Lewis, who is so old that his tongue has turned to dust,had his handler offer this quote regarding dissenters in the party standing down on the fight:

    “They were persuaded to see that stopping passage based on one objection would kill highly palatable aspects of the bill. Those members recognized that these provisions were meaningful and that we might lose the opportunity to move these salient features forward indefinitely, so they agreed to allow the bill to pass on a voice vote.”

    Nice word salad. How about we implement the opposite. No privatve companies may file or provide consultation to any citizen regarding federal tax filings. Teach everyone how to understand and do it themselves, while at the same time preventing the uber-rich from hiring saavy clowns to subvert the system. Win-win.

    Reply
    1. Cal2

      Roger, Another way to fight the parasites, artificial intelligence, data mining, hacking, theft of your personal information, keep people employed and strive for Democracy, is to in this case, and many others, is to use the U.S.Post Office.
      That is, mail your tax forms in and force the government to process the paper. (Yes, they recycle).

      In addition, never join an internet health portal, or give away any of your personal data like email address, unless it’s a disposable one, to a for profit hospital, doctor’s office, insurance company etc. Use the mail. Best and fastest way to obviate the questions: “I don’t have a smart phone or a computer.”

      If you get the eye rolls and the pleas for ‘efficiency’, trying to get you to log on, sign up or join an internet portal, just mention that “the owners would love to fire you and replace you with software.” At that point you just made a pal in the organization.

      The added advantage of using the mail: You are protected by mail fraud statutes that don’t apply to emails. Make them bear the cost of printing, postage and provide you with the paper records. Isn’t the price of a book of stamps worth your freedom and to uphold our Democracy?

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        I live in a very high-tech town, but I get no further questions when I tell people at the clinic that I don’t want to set up a “portal” because I don’t want my information on the internet. I sometimes think they agree.

        Unfortunately, the clinic’s phone system is family-blogged, probably in order to drive people to the portal. I’m thinking of sending my doctor a letter, then changing (again) if they don’t fix it. Usually I can find a back route to the nurse, but even that’s annoying.

        Reply
  10. The Rev Kev

    “China’s toxic livestreaming culture: the vicarious lives of angry, alienated, uneducated rural gamers”

    From that article-

    ‘from poor and rural Chinese people who sense that the country’s prosperity boom is over and that they have lost out — that all future gains in China will be captured by affluent people and their children and that they will forever be frozen out. This is also a cohort that has been denied postsecondary education (and may have also missed out on a decent secondary education).’

    Lets modify that and try again-

    ‘from poor and rural (Western) people who sense that the country’s prosperity boom is over and that they have lost out — that all future gains in (the West) will be captured by affluent people and their children and that they will forever be frozen out. This is also a cohort that has been denied postsecondary education (and may have also missed out on a decent secondary education).’

    See? Just pick a western country of your choice decimated by neoliberalism and this passage still works.

    Reply
    1. Oh

      It’s fashionable to write about things that are wrong in China and elsewhere because one can distract the attention of people from what’s happening here. After all, USA is #1.

      Reply
  11. B

    RE: Our Rapidly Blossoming Authoritarian State Is Headed to Another Level

    Chuck had me until this…
    ”So, now, while the country is continuing to be targeted by other nations, the DHS is, at the moment, a blind chicken with, apparently, more defenestrations to come. There is nothing that can possibly go wrong in this scenario, which is scaring the daylights out of people who do not scare easily.”
    …If you think the DHS is what stands between you and a terrorist plot, you don’t have a “deeply embedded—and I think, perfectly understandable—distrust of the American “intelligence community.”” You’re just another #resistance tool.

    Reply
    1. crittermom

      This description of Trump from the article is the best I’ve seen, however:
      “… a petulant would-be authoritarian whose empathy for other human beings stops at what he sees in the mirror.”
      Nailed it.

      Reply
    1. Shonde

      Replayed the snow leopard several times. Unbelievable agility that made Olympic gymnasts look clumsy. Loved it.

      Reply
      1. Brian (another one they call)

        I wonder what Buck thought of the highly confusing street signs? I expect he knows you can’t get there from here.

        Reply
  12. Frank Little

    RE: Why is Libya so lawless?

    It’s a bit of black humor that the BBC acknowledges now that under Gaddafi Libya “once had one of the highest standards of living in Africa, with free healthcare and free education.”

    I started digging through the BBC archives for what they were writing about Gaddafi and Libya back in 2011 and somehow this never came up. A sample, both from the BBC’s Kevin Connolly

    Colonel Gaddafi: The last of the buffoon dictators? – 22 October 2011

    He affected not to notice the crowd of journalists and strode about the lobby, pausing occasionally to gaze into the middle of whatever distance he happened to be facing.

    It was utterly ludicrous of course, but somehow we did not say so. Journalism was a more formal business then than it is now, and we were much given to discussions of where the initiative lay, between the colonel on the one hand and the United States on the other.

    The fact that he was a howling buffoon did not form part of the reporting of foreign news in those days, but of course it turned out to be the most important thing of all.


    Habit of fear taints Benghazi’s promise of freedom
    – 5 March 2011

    Gaddafi’s flare for eccentric buffoonery sometimes masks the darkness of his power, and his oil reserves blunted the inclination of the free world to ask difficult questions.

    Do not be distracted by those newspaper photo galleries that show him morphing from white-suited droopy-moustached disco king to russet-robbed and hooded-eyed desert mystic.

    Or by those amusing stories of how he once banned football because it seemed inequitable that 50,000 people had to stand and watch while only 22 people got to play with the ball.

    Remember instead my teacher, annoyed with herself and embarrassed because she could not shake off the habit of fear it has taken her all her life to learn.

    And think about the cruelty, arrogance and violence it takes to reduce a whole country to that state for 41 years.

    I’m sure the Libyans who were quoted in this piece were sincere in their fear of Gaddafi, but the BBC wondering aloud about what happened while talking about a mess that UK and US bombs created is beyond shameless. It’s downright evil.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The BBC and other Western MSM are so dominated by racism (an older “us” versus “them” style) they can’t even rationalize the idea a leader from the dark continent could have been good. The articles are insulting his intelligence and by extension those dumb former colonies (Seemingly unaware Italy failed, but then Italians aren’t fully white).

      Since Biden has been in the news lately, Biden’s “clean” remarks about Obama spring to mind. Joe isn’t offended by skin color, but he’s pointing out Obama is “white” through his personal achievements and thus okay.

      Gaddafi, not being sufficiently loyal to the West and the civilized world, must be a “buffoon”, a word that entered popular usage for its association with minstrel shows.

      Reply
    2. Bugs Bunny

      Couldn’t similar “buffoonery evaluations” be written about say, Trump, Erdogan, Berlusconi et al.?

      And perhaps even the shiny boy king, Emmanuel Macron?

      Reply
  13. John Zelnicker

    As a tax accountant for the past 15 years, I’d like to share a couple of points about the ease of the IRS pre-filling tax forms. Even with these caveats, I fully support such a program, as it would not affect my business, and millions of taxpayers could save some of their hard-earned money, just not as many as some seem to think.

    First, it would not work for anyone working in the “gig” economy as the IRS only knows about their income, not their deductible expenses.

    It would not work for most of the people who file a Schedule A, Itemized Deductions (although that’s not as many people as it was before 2018), since most of the allowable deductions are not reported to the IRS.

    Other groups that wouldn’t be able to take advantage of such a program include families with young children who pay for child care, post-secondary students and their families who may qualify for education credits, and folks who relocate due to a new job.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      After the Obamacare website designs it’s difficult not to agree to making a law preventing the IRS from writing a tax program. [The companies pushing for this restriction should be closed down as public nuisances.] In fact I’m not comfortable with the IRS designing tax forms and instructions on their own. I think we need to form a — committee and working group — to redesign the tax forms. There should be representatives from the IRS, representatives from some group of accounts — NOT in any way affiliated with any of the Big Four, and with no past experience with the defunct Anderson firm, and members of the public representing each major category of tax payers, with gross incomes — pulling numbers out of my hat — less than $200K for individuals and say $300K for couples. The existing forms are horrible and I’m not convinced of the utility in burdening ordinary tax payers with identifying and categorizing their income streams and expenditures in such detail using reams of separate forms. In many or most cases those creating the statements tax-payers use in figuring their taxes could be much more helpful — especially if that were taken into account in designing new tax forms.

      I am dead-set against filing my taxes on-line or doing any payment of taxes or receipt of refunds on-line. It may be very convenient for all parties. The Web is not safe, and access to the Web is far from universal or uniform. Other people can do their taxes on-line if they like but I want to be allowed to continue doing mine on paper.

      Reply
      1. Todde

        Paper filing is starting to be a moot point.

        Your w2s, 1099 and 1098s are more than likely already filed online.

        Frankly if you are a w2 employee, with a house.and some investments the irs should have most your info and you shouldnt have to.file anything yourself because they already have your numbers.

        Reply
  14. Chris Cosmos

    Unaccountable Media Faced with Dilemma in Next Phase of Deep State-gate

    It will be interesting to see how this goes. If the past is any indication I see no way that the media does anything but kind of back off slowly on the Russiagate fiasco rather than blame themselves for gross journalistic malpractice. Actually there was no malpractice because there is virtually no journalism to speak of other than propaganda coming out of the mainstream media. Having said that the world of the power-elite goes through changes of a sort and it is certainly possible that some parts of the media consortium will start taking a different “line” depending on the result of movement underneath the sheets so to speak.

    It is clear that the whole of the mainstream are still in agreement that Russia is the “enemy” and even Trump is being forced, through Pompeo/Bolton to act as if that were the case so Trump may be vindicated in all this but the Russians are still the evil monsters we all must be afraid of so that more billions can go to the Pentagon to make sure the Pashas of the MIC or as McGovern more correctly puts it “Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex (MICIMATT if you will)”, have the better class of prostitutes, boats and pleasure islands.

    Reply
    1. ewmayer

      Actually, while some are in the “help us, Obi-Wan Barr-Nobi, you’re our only hope” desperate-clinging camp, you can already see some of the Russiagate narrative-pushers pivoting to “new” material in today’s links – back to the tax returns! Yes, the venality of these f*ckwits is matched only by their utter ideational bankruptcy.

      Reply
      1. Lepton1

        I don’t see a pivot “back to the tax returns”. There have always been a number of investigations into Trump’s criminality whether it was conspiracy with Russia, money laundering, FCPA violations, and many others.

        Reply
    2. djrichard

      Barr Forms Team to Review FBI’s Actions in Trump Probe Bloomberg

      Makes me think of this from CJ Hopkins https://consentfactory.org/2019/03/21/mueller-dammerung/

      This is not exactly rocket science. As any seasoned badass will tell you, when you’re resolving a conflict with another seasoned badass, you don’t take out a gun unless you’re going to use it. Taking a gun out, waving it around, and not shooting the other badass with it, is generally not a winning strategy. What often happens, if you’re dumb enough to do that, is that the other badass will take your gun from you and either shoot you or beat you senseless with it.

      Have to wonder how they were gaming this out back in 2016 when they decided to take the country this direction. Did they figure this would play out like Iraq? That they could simply steam roll reality and effect regime change? And then apologize afterwards (a la “mistakes were made, but we need to move on”)? If so, what hubris. If not, what stupidity. Talk about high risk either way.

      But only high risk to some, and I guess that’s what makes all the difference. The risk being to those inside the Fed Gov (and ex-Gov officials) who will now be investigated by Barr. And I wouldn’t be surprised if some heads roll. And the rest of the dem establishment will be thankful for their sacrifice, because they’ll have gotten what they wanted. Which is to prevent regime change on their own side – the regime change that should have rightly happened after the 2016 election.

      Not only that, but force Trump to exhaust enough of his political capital on rear-guard fighting that he doesn’t cement his legacy. And otherwise leave Trump with enough scars that voters will be ready for change in 2020. “Hey we may have lied to you this far, but do you really want him?”.

      [Ignoring Bernie of course, who could screw up their plans by winning in 2020 instead of one of their guys. Even so, they can run a small “r” resistance behind the scenes even if Bernie wins.]

      Media will probably come through unscathed. If the Iraq war couldn’t effect “regime change” like changes in the media, I don’t think anything can.

      That said, Russia-gate has to go down in history for its pure chutzpah as a campaign built on nothing but brazen propaganda. Right up there with Iraq. Did this campaign succeed? It’s still playing out. I don’t think we’ll truly know until we see what happens with the 2020 election.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        “If the Iraq war couldn’t effect “regime change” like changes in the media, I don’t think anything can.”
        Something is, of course: the internet. Both newspapers and the big networks are quietly dying all over the place. The big question is what will replace them.

        NC offers a good example, but it depends on donations and Yves working herself half to death. I worry about that as a long-term solution. Abnormally dedicated people are behind a lot of good things, but they’re in short supply.

        Reply
        1. norm de plume

          I’m not sure there’s a shortage of abnormally dedicated people, more that unless that dedication is to goals aligned with those of the elites, such people will remain siloed in the cantons of their constituencies and therefore unseen by the many no matter how relevant or useful their ideas may be, because Big Media will assiduously ignore them.

          The big networks and papers might be physically dying but many are now giants of information provision on the net and their history gives them a ballast of trust missing from the startups, even those, perhaps especially those that have become behemoths. They still tend to set the news agenda and have the skills and resources to follow stories up.

          They are dreadful, sure, instruments of neoliberal control, but they are a PLATFORM, many of them national, with a breadth and depth of audience no blogger has or is likely to have, in the near future anyway. Seas of well-written and persuasive blogs cannot have the impact of even a 5 minute slice of prime time, or the front page of the Times or WaPo.

          So what is needed is a national media platform owned by the citizens with government responsible for its stewardship within very strict nonpartisan guidelines. We have had one here in Australia since 1929, and in the last 30 years we have regularly had to man the barricades to prevent the conservatives from selling it off.

          In an environment where the billionaire or hedge fund owned majority of the media lurches rightward at all times, these people genuinely see the ABC’s balance as left bias because they have no nonpartisan point of reference. Of course, even if it was biased, it would only provide a modest corrective to the conservative domination of major media ownership.

          The list of establishment crimes and misdemeanours identified by the ABC is long and distinguished. The recent banking royal commission, while it could have gone further, is a good example, but this is an organisation which has helped bring down corrupt state governments and pursued countless corporate hucksters, while playing a primary role in the education of the citizenry.

          I’m in the ABC Friends group and find myself talking about this with family and friends and I often say that if they want to see what a Western society without some analogue of the ABC might look like to consider the US. I tell them that if there was a US Aunty there would have been no Iraq War and less neo-colonial adventurism generally. Trump would not have been elected. Financial fraudsters and other malefactors would be in jail and lots of other people currently in stir wouldn’t be. Allies like Israel would have been disciplined long ago. The place would be fairer, more equal.

          It would be good to see a public option for media emerge as an election issue; the crux is that unlike all the other issues we might consider more important per se, this one is vital to the rest. Ie, the media is the vehicle through which we find out about every issue and begin to form our preferences. If that vehicle is narrow, narrowness of awareness and opinion about everything under the sun will result.

          Actually, maybe you’re right: perhaps there is a shortage of abnormally dedicated people. Maybe the dedication, or the potential for it has been sucked out of them. Or maybe they tried but the mackerel-crowded environments of work and politics and social life defeated them.

          Me, I think probably there are more of them than ever, in fact so many of them none of us can do more than skim the surface of all the good sense there is out there on a daily basis (I get most of mine from here or via here). How good would it be to have a national public channel/paper/website that regularly featured the best of them?

          Reply
  15. The Rev Kev

    “What Will Climate Change Mean for Security in Africa?”: ‘The Pentagon faces different challenges in a continent where it has only one permanent base — but lots of troops.’

    I have no idea which Africa that this article is talking about. The one that I have been reading about has a fairly impressive US military presence. That is why there is such a thing as a United States Africa Command-

    https://theintercept.com/2018/12/01/u-s-military-says-it-has-a-light-footprint-in-africa-these-documents-show-a-vast-network-of-bases/

    And as for the Pentagon’s top policy official on Africa – Michelle Lenihan – is concerned, I think that she should get out into the countryside more and keep away from Government ministers. Talking about reducing the reducing the number of children born per woman and focusing on girls and educating them to reduce births may be a case of that Minister telling her what she wants to hear. It sounds like a very woke attitude but how that works in dealing with people whose social structure has evolved over literally thousands of years is going to be a tough one.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      RE: “What Will Climate Change Mean for Security in Africa?” —
      From the statements made in this link it sounds as if the U.S. has identified no clear mission for AFRICOM — which I suppose might be true. But I grew more uncomfortable with the information in this link after I spotted this other story at defenseone: “The US Air Force Needs F-35s, Not the F-15EX”.

      One statement in the link made me especially uncomfortable if it’s true:
      “According to Brig. Gen. Leonard Kosinski, the head of logistics on the continent, AFRICOM relies mainly on so-called cooperative security locations, which is “just some kind of warehouse or just maybe even some square footage on the ground that we have a local agreement” to be able to use if needed.”
      Don’t some theories of guerilla warfare view enemy stores as the best source for advanced weapons and ammunition? In any case, these warehouses of weaponry might be a very bad idea.

      Reply
  16. DorothyT

    Re: Candida auris: Drug-resistant superbugs are spreading …

    I’m grateful that NC has provided links for quite some time about the specter of “superbugs.” This past weekend, however, the reality of anti-microbial resistance (AMR) landed in the headline of the NYT. Suddenly it seems real to those who didn’t take it seriously enough including other publications and online news sources.

    The following article takes the subject further by describing facts we should be aware of concerning our pets and their health: “Urgent Infection Alert for Pet Owners” by Dr. Karen Shaw Becker. Here’s one point she makes that is important in treating humans as well as our pets:

    As your pet’s advocate, you must insist that your veterinarian perform culture and sensitivity testing to determine what type of suspected bacteria has infected your pet, and the best drug to treat it

    Reply
    1. Stadist

      Yeah, good job with the reporting. And the reporting is very much justified because many of underlying reasons tie in to the for-profit medical practice (and industrialised for-profit AG) and thus the capitalism and ultra liberal aspects of capitalism.
      Also one could make claim that uncontrolled use anti-fungal agents (fungicides) has lead to current situation with Candida Auris, which is pretty much analogous to what is happening with these AMR bacteria and antibiotics. You allow people do whatever they want, they overdo it just as a precaution in cases where their livelihoods or even lives depend on it being succesful. So end result is all the fields are sprayed with fungicides if fungal infections are a known occurence.

      Fact is antibiotics and probably also fungicides should only be used after impartial professional assessment, and probably only to treat an existing condition instead prescribing everyone antibiotics just as an precaution.
      Even that article DorothyT linked states that pets are prescribed antibiotics far too much, and further on seems to imply(?) antibiotics are prescribed more to pets than humans.

      Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      People who get themselves all upset about organic food just need to chillll ouuuut, sitttt dowwwwn, ree-laxxx, and drink a nice tall glass of cool . . . refreshing . . . Roundup.

      In all sincerity, there should be a public campaign to demand proof that the people at Newsweek responsible for this article can prove that they don’t ever EVER eat organic food. Let them prove that they base their diet on the toxichemical mainstream food they recommend to their readers.

      Reply
  17. The Rev Kev

    “Google’s Wing drones approved to make public deliveries in Australia ”

    On behalf of Australia, I wish to apologize for the video in that article and the sense of fulfilled Cargo Cult displayed. Look, this is happening in Canberra, Australia’s capital. It is a city-state and lots of weird things go down there. The people there are not typical Aussies in the same way that the people of Washington DC are not typical Americans.

    Reply
  18. The Rev Kev

    “Joe Biden’s vow to respect personal space fails to soothe allies”

    And when Harvey Weinstein saw how Joe Biden was getting a pass from so many liberal and famous people for his behaviour with women and children, he tweeted ‘Hey, how about MeToo?’

    Reply
  19. anon in so cal

    Miscellaneous:

    “U.S. soldiers from 101st Airborne Division will deploy to Ukraine for nine months”

    https://defence-blog.com/army/u-s-soldiers-from-101st-airborne-division-will-deploy-to-ukraine-for-nine-months.html

    Seemingly every day, the NYT has at least one (sometimes several) pro-(illegal?) immigration articles:

    “Trump Says the U.S. Is ‘Full.’ Much of the Nation Has the Opposite Problem.”

    THE UPSHOT

    “Trump Says the U.S. Is ‘Full.’ Much of the Nation Has the Opposite Problem.”

    By NEIL IRWIN and EMILY BADGER

    “An aging population and a declining birthrate among the native-born population mean a shrinking work force in many areas”

    Reply
  20. Ignacio

    RE: Researchers Rethink the Ancestry of Complex Cells Quanta

    Thank you for this link with an interesting discussion on evolutionary biology. I hadn’t seen the term “pangenomes” before. Consider, the discussion on how eukariotes evolved from a single cell or a more or less large group of cells with vertical/horizontal gene transfer. Consider the human pangenome. Consider that our body contains thousands of different types of cells, many prokariotic. Those are part of us. We are not solely eukariotic organisms but a complex and variable mixture of associated organisms. We should change our mind on this.

    Reply
  21. barrisj

    Any lay astronomers here can study with awe the first published images of an actual “black hole”, long predicted by Einstein, but now verified by a planet-wide telescopic array…just stunning:

    Black Hole Image Revealed for First Time Ever
    Astronomers at last have captured a picture of the darkest entities in the cosmos.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/10/science/black-hole-picture.html?emc=edit_NN_p_20190410&nl=morning-briefing&nlid=89483754tion%3DtopNews&section=topNews&te=1

    “…seeing the unseeable…” – my word, yes.

    Reply
    1. allan

      The blog Not Even Wrong, which is highly critical of untestable theories in physics, has a nice pwning
      of string theorists, making its banner (at least for today) the EHT image of the black hole.

      Reply
    2. ewmayer

      But what NYT viewers really want to know is, were there any Russian scientists colluding and attempting to subvert the research?

      Reply
  22. Kapitalismus

    German Naked Capitalism-like sites?
    I have just moved to Germany and I am studying German. Want to learn to talk about important stuff, like the things discussed here. Can anybody recommend any similar sites in German? Would be really dankbar!

    Reply
  23. Wyoming

    RE: Bernie being a millionaire.

    He is in his 29th year of being a Representative or a Senator (they make the same amount of money). And it is a substantial amount – currently $174,000/yr.

    Even someone who just threw the money in the bank over that time would be a millionaire by now and just investing in a S&P500 fund would have resulted in many millions.

    So the real item here is that if he was NOT a millionaire by now he would have to be some kind of stupid. This seems like phony criticism to me.

    Reply
  24. ewmayer

    Re. “The Death Of Smartphones | SafeHaven” — I’ve long been a Smartphone Luddite, been using my 15-y.o. Kyocera candybar mobile as long as it holds up – keeping it turned off most of the time is key to its long battery life.

    But, I admit this past month I finally found a use for Smartphones, moreover specifically of the cracked-screen “broke-o-phone” variety available on the cheap in the for-parts market: as nodes in a cellphone compute cluster, running my search-for-huge-prime-numbers distributed computing code. (Of course one can build & run any code one likes this way, as its a standard Linux setup.) Mine is now built out with 10 phones, giving me a total compute throughput comparable to my big deskside quad-core Intel box. Of course even with broke-o-phones it wasn’t exactly dirt-cheap to set up, the linked page describes that the phones must ‘mostly work’ … I hope to resell the current batch of phones in a couple of years and trade up, ideally would like to get the net per-node cost to around $10. I rather like the idea of, instead of incurring the large carbon footprint associated with new gear, using old phones destined for the organ-harvesting market and getting a few years of useful work out of them along the way.

    Reply
  25. barrisj

    Surprised that there isn’t any commentary on the Tooze/LRB article on “End of the American Century”?. The author convincingly shows that US hegemony is far from in retreat, and that the addition of broad sanctions against “recalcitrant” nations is becoming a formidable weapon in its continued domination of global affairs – particularly as in absence of an alternate currency of exchange, many other countries using dollar-denominated settlements of trade, etc., are as well forced into “honoring” those US-imposed sanctions, contrary to their own foreign policy desiderata.
    My sense is that NC links may want to drop the “Empire Collapse Watch”, as that seems to be wishful thinking than the actual realities of it all.

    Reply
    1. Olga

      Well, let me disagree. Tooze makes a good argument for what US seems to be trying to do, but – as the joke goes (i.e., what do you think of the French revolution (1789) – well it is too early to tell (a 1972 exchange between Kissinger and Zhou Enlai, respectively)) – this may also be the case of “too early to tell.” Just because US tries to get everybody in line – by various means – does not mean that it’ll succeed. I suspect a report just as detailed could be written, compiling all the signs/events that the world is carefully trying to shake off the US embrace. (And it must be done carefully, almost imperceptibly, lest the beast gets provoked and strikes.)
      And Tooze starts by noting that the election of DT signifies a deeply flawed (I like “sclerotic”) system. The trick for others is to get the dollar off the reserve currency perch. Caution is advised, though – and no one knows it better than the Chinese.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        It could be said that Europe is still unwinding out from the First World War. So yes, I can see someone saying that it is too early to tell about the French Revolution.

        That some upheaval was going to happen after the French expenditures in the American Revolution was not unforeseeable. That something like the First World War was likely inevitable was seen by some. Same with the Second World War. What was not seen was the trigger, just how horrible the process would be, and the ending.

        The collapse of the American Empire is inevitable, but just where we are is not so easily seen. There are cut off points that are unforeseeable or not easy to discern.

        Had the French King managed to convene the French Parlement even a very few years earlier or the harvests not been bad, likely no Reign of Terror. Maybe even just a reformation, not an elimination, of the Ancien Regime.

        If the Germans had won the Battle of the Marne, which they almost did, they probably would won the war. If a certain corporal had died on the Western Front, very likely there would never have been a Holocaust although the Round Two was scheduled to happen after the Armistice and President Wilson’s stroke.

        Reply
  26. newcatty

    It would be great if some humans could read and actually comprehend the meaning of not paying attention to the signs around them. This could taken metaphorically or literally. One of my dearest friends was almost in a awful car accident when on a road between her work city and home town, known for dear and elk crossing often. There were the deer and elk warning signs along this road. She being wise drove at or below speed limit and kept a wide eyes look out for crossers. Unfortunately, lots of drivers were not so prudent. The number of speeding demons on this road was amazing. No, never heard about tickets given to speeders. Then, It was also a favorite route for bicyclists … the serious riders in their cool outfits and bikes. They thought nothing, some of them, of riding two side by side on the narrow shoulders, instead of single file. I know this too, since we lived in my friend’s home town and often took this road to the city. Thus was only route to city, unless one took a very long route around hills to city. So, my friend came across a deer crosser at same time as bike riders were on other upside of road. She had to choose between hitting deer or running into riders. She pushed on the gas and just missed deer, as she swerved onto other shoulder on road opposite riders. She was able to stop in time to not crash into hillside. Yeah, she was a good driver. The bycycle riders stopped and watched the show. Seeing she was OK (one guesses) they continued on their merry way…My friend just sat dazed and shaken. She finally got back on road to home.

    Reply
    1. wilroncanada

      And then there was the state that took down the deer and elk signs because the animals kept refusing to read them./s

      Reply

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