Links 4/13/19

Join Dr. Michael Hudson, New Testament Scholar Dr. Aliou Niang, and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, Biblical Scholar and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign for panel discussion on Michael Hudson’s book, And Forgive Them Their Debts, at The People’s Forum, 320 West 37th Street, New York, NY, from 6-9pm on April 15, 2019. From the announcement:

Debt plays a central role in upholding the economic and social order of the day. In the US, mounting debt and the crippling financialization of our lives is taken as fact. Our political leaders see no real problem and offer no serious solution. This was not always the case. Throughout antiquity, widespread debt-cancellation was understood as a moral and practical necessity. In a significant new book, And Forgive Them Their Debts, economist Michael Hudson traces the biblical demand against debt and the long history of economic jubilees. Counter to dominant history and theology, Hudson reveals how the Bible itself is concerned most with the moral failure of economic systems, rather than personal sin.

* * *

Kovind, Modi, Rahul pay homage to Jallianwala martyrs Economic Times

After the Jallainwala Bath Massacre, came the torture, crawling, floggings Times of India

Amritsar, 100 years on, remains an atrocity Britain cannot be allowed to forget Guardian

Tourists behaving badly are a threat to global tourism, and the industry is partly to blame The Conversation

On his 500th Death Anniversary, 8 Things You May Not Know About Leonardo da Vinci The Wire

After reports of infant deaths, nearly 5 million Fisher-Price Rock ’n Play Sleepers are recalled WaPo

In Praise of Public Libraries New York Review of Books

Chinese scientists have put human brain genes in monkeys—and yes, they may be smarter MIT Technology Review

High-cat diet: urban coyotes feast on pets, study finds Guardian

2020

Bernie Sanders Imagines a Progressive New Approach to Foreign Policy New Yorker

Only a heckler can improve an evening with the money-grabbing Clintons NY Post

Cory Booker, a would-be bachelor president, says Americans are ‘open to lots of different types of families’ in the White House WaPo

The Politics of Troy and the Stalled Campaign of Kirsten Gillibrand New Yorker

Indonesia election and the role of its powerful military Al Jazeera

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

The opt-out illusion  Times Literary Supplement

Big Brother in the Mall WSJ

Is Your Smart Speaker Listening In on You? Truthdig

Health Care

Americans Are Delaying Health Care Until Tax Refunds Arrive Bloomberg

I Felt Americans Needed to Know’: Insurance Industry Whistleblower Gives Glimpse of Effort to Crush Medicare for All Common Dreams

Syraqistan

No more excuses – Israeli voters have chosen a country that will mirror the brutal regimes of its Arab neighbours  Robert Fisk. Independent.

Protesters clash with police in Algerian capital France 24

Assange Arrest

The Legal Narrative Funnel That’s Being Used To Extradite Assange Caitlin Johnstone

Calling Assange a ‘narcissist’ misses the point – without WikiLeaks we would live in darker, less informed times  Independent. Patrick Cockburn.

Assange’s Arrest Signals a War on Investigative Journalism and the Right to Dissent The Wire

Pentagon Papers lawyer: The indictment of Assange is a snare and a delusion The Hill

Chelsea and Julian are in Jail. History Trembles. Craig Murray

Chomsky: Arrest of Assange is ‘scandalous’ and highlights shocking extraterritorial reach of US AlterNet

The Next Woodward and Bernstein Could Go to Jail Jacobin

After 7 Years of Deceptions About Assange, the US Readies for Its First Media Rendition Counterpunch

North Korea

Kim offers Trump a third summit Asia Times

Class Warfare

Are Walmart’s Robots A Threat To Its Workforce? International Business Times

1 in 5 Bus Riders in New York City Evade the Fare, Far Worse Than Elsewhere NYT

Imperial Collapse Watch

How the Navy’s Top Commander Botched the Highest-Profile Investigation in Years ProPublica

Guillotine Watch

Chinese tycoon’s son buys US$3.8 million Bugatti Chiron in Vancouver with dad’s Union Pay credit card, complains about Canadian taxes SCMP

India

India election 2019: Voting kicks off in world’s largest election BBC

Waste Watch

Plastic bottles are the most common litter in European waterways TreeHugger

Easter eggs: hunting for a solution to excessive packaging The Conversation

Migrant Watch

Four EU countries to take rescued migrants after Med standoff  Reuters

737 Max

737 MAX crisis prompts Southwest pilots to question its all-Boeing fleet Seattle Times

FAA meets with U.S. airlines, pilot unions on Boeing 737 MAX Reuters

Jet Airways halts all international flights BBC

EU eyes tariffs on $12bn US exports in Boeing-Airbus trade row FT

Why airlines make flights longer on purpose BBC

Trump Transition

Trump threatens to send undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities Politico

Trump Is Rewriting the Rules to Favor the Pipeline Industry TruthOut

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See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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192 comments

  1. The Rev Kev

    “Chinese scientists have put human brain genes in monkeys—and yes, they may be smarter”

    No! Don’t do it! That’s the background story for the development of the apes in Planet of the Apes.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      The scientists are inserting human genes into primates in an attempt to understand what gave rise to human intelligence, which clearly is not well understood. And yet one of the scientists says –

      “Although their genome is close to ours, there are also tens of millions of differences,” he says. He doesn’t think the monkeys will become anything more than monkeys. “Impossible by introducing only a few human genes,” he says.

      Pretty cavalier attitude. Perhaps the apes will someday look around and see the treatment their fellows have gotten from humans over the centuries and in the spirit of turnabout is fair play, decide the brains of Chinese scientists are a delicacy.

  2. cnchal

    > Chinese tycoon’s son buys US$3.8 million Bugatti Chiron in Vancouver with dad’s Union Pay credit card, complains about Canadian taxes SCMP

    China’s Union Pay credit cards have been the subject of increasing scrutiny as a conduit for money out of the mainland. China has an annual cash export limit of US$50,000, and Union Pay says it enforces an annual overseas cash withdrawal limit of 100,000 yuan (US$14,880).

    But while overseas purchases of more than 1,000 yuan (US$149) must be reported to Chinese regulators, there is no general limit on spending, and there is no suggestion that the purchase of the car is improper.

    The bill, from Vancouver Bugatti dealer Weissach Group according to a visible phone number, was issued to Chen Mailin, whose name was clearly displayed.

    The address of his home on Vancouver’s Drummond Drive was whited-out but still readable.

    The address is that of a palatial home purchased by Chen Mailin in 2015 for C$51.8 million (then US$40 million), in what was then believed to have been the biggest residential transaction ever conducted in Canada.

    The 49-year-old Jiangsu province businessman is a former duck farmer who founded what is now a skyscraper-building property and investment conglomerate, Nanjing Dingye Investment Group, of which he is chairman.

    He is a former member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China’s legislative advisory body.

    Some animals are more equal than others.

    No price is too high when paying with loot. Where is the opportunity for Canadians to loot tens of millions to compete with the Chinese?

    I pity the tree that the Bugatti will eventually be wrapped around.

  3. Carolinian

    Re Walmart–Haven’t yet encountered the Walmart roomba but our newly renovated local store does feature the “pickup tower” and a drastically altered checkout area which went from zero self checks to a couple of dozen. There are still a few human manned checkout lanes which have long lines of self check refuseniks. Walmart does seem to be taking a leap here in assuming their lower income customer base will follow them into the Jetson’s future (they probably will). Still it may not be too long before manned cash registers go the way of the full service gas station if the country’s largest retailer is going all in. Meanwhile the store has been completely revamped with new signage and displays so this is not just tinkering. The Amazon menace is being taken very seriously (too seriously?) and those former cashiers are presumably being put to work pulling online orders for store pickup.

    1. Randy

      I was at my somewhat local Home Depot the other day and all the traditional checkout stations were gone, replaced with four of the self checkouts identical to what WalMart is using.

      My WalMart has about 15 traditional checkouts with usually only one or two “manned” and 8 self checkouts with lines at all of them. It is making more and more sense to shop online when brick and mortar retail continues to increase the crapification of the retail experience.

      Then you have the handicapped parking spaces which have multiplied to unreasonable levels. Abuse of these handicapped spots is rampant. I watch the people exiting their cars in these spaces and typically they don’t look handicapped. Lately I have seen parking spots with signs saying they are reserved for the people picking up online orders. Those signs are an invitation for me to park there. Then there the parking spots at the local grocery store reserved for women with infants.

      My rant can stop…………………for now.

      1. ambrit

        It’ll only get worse until it….stops.
        All ‘online’ shopping is botlenecked at two spots, that I can see.
        Bottleneck one is electricity. All ‘online’ is conducted over electricity dependent networks and computers. Disrupt the electricity supply and you cripple the ‘online’ aspect of the system.
        Bottleneck two is the cost of transportation. All ‘online’ purchase deliveries are done by vehicle now. Even if ‘drone’ delivery is able to ‘fly,’ it will require an energy source to effect. So, a big jump in the cost of gasoline can drive the overall ‘cost’ of the ‘online’ shopping system into ‘the Red.’ Basically, the ‘cost’ of an item from ‘online’ will become prohibitively expensive and retail trade will decline.
        A third possible bottleneck is the phenomenon of “just in time” production and stocking. With ‘Brick and Mortar’ retail, some semblance of predictable demand can be worked out by the producers. Since “Brick and Mortar” outlets stock excess units in anticipation of average sales over a period of time, they can purchase predictable amounts of products over an extended period of time. Some degree of predictability and ‘comfort’ for all concerned is achieved. I’ll posit that strict ‘online’ sales are inherently short term. With “just in time” as a mantra, producers now struggle with a “boom and bust and reboom and rebust” environment that usurps the previous ‘stable’ wholesale retail relationship. Chaos might be a neat concept to play around with at the Macro level, but ‘on the ground’ it has severe costs in wear and tear on the “meat” units of trade.
        Oh well. Rant off.

        1. Wukchumni

          I had an epiphany in January when we were in Sacramento-adjacent eating in a breakfast restaurant in a strip mall that was 60% empty of retail businesses, the only remaining capitalism was doing something that couldn’t be done on the internet. (nail & hair place, Mexican restaurant, cup of coffee purveyor, sports therapist, etc)

          1. ambrit

            Yep. It’s the ‘Return of the Service Economy!’
            What I worry about is the inherent instability of the new internet retail model. Most retail models have to take disruption into consideration. Thus, the phenomenon of ‘inventory’ on hand. The internet model has no such resiliency. One disruption and the whole process grinds to a halt, quickly.
            Think riots and looting of shops during civil disturbances.
            Of course now, when I think of “Service Economy” I harken back to Ross Perot and his citation of that “Giant Sucking Sound.” However, White House Interning is still illegal in most jurisdictions, except perhaps in some places in Nevada. So, yet another case of “innovation” based on breaking the law.

        2. ArcadiaMommy

          Yes electricity is kind of important. I had to do my Thanksgiving dinner shopping late one year. Just as I was about to pay, the power went out because of a storm. They made a list of the groceries (which the POS system probably recorded), took my phone number and let me leave with the food. I went back to pay the next day. But I was a long time customer at a local store. Pretty sure WalMart would not have let me do that.

      2. Robert McGregor

        My WalMart has about 15 traditional checkouts with usually only one or two “manned” and 8 self checkouts with lines at all of them. It is making more and more sense to shop online when brick and mortar retail continues to increase the crapification of the retail experience.

        The “penny-wise, dollar-foolish” aspect of Neoliberal business management: They don’t finish the equations. They do the first equation, “Reduction of Costs = Increased Profits,” but not the next series, “Reduction of Costs = Reduction of Quality which =
        Reduction of Revenues which = Reduction in Profits.

        I see this over and over again–whether retail, restaurants or services–whether Walmart, chain casual restaurants, or car and truck rental.

        1. aletheia33

          the 2nd series involves the passage of time,
          and they do not expect to still be around when Reduction in Profits arrives.
          they will be off to their bunkers and/or islands to wait out the deluge.
          they think they have figured out how to game the planet.
          a far more foolish delusion.

        2. eg

          Walter Reuther would ask them, “how are you planning to get those self-checkouts to buy your stuff?”

      3. Cripes

        Randy:
        It’s always foolish to assume you can assess the disability of a person simply by watching them walk from a car. Getting approved for disability benefits in the United States has a notoriously High bar. Disability examiners spend thousands of hours looking for ways to deny disability claims. Then they must qualify for their state Department of Motor Vehicles requirements for a designation of Mobility impairment.
        You have no way of seeing fibromyalgia, cervical disc disease, foraminal stenosis, multiple sclerosis, sciatica, COPD or peripheral neuropathy to name a few, and no way of assessing that persons severity of symptoms on any given day or hour of the day. Wheelchairs and walkers are certainly not the only or even the majority of reasons people are Mobility disabled.

        But you’re okay with rolling your car into parking spots reserved for order pick-up. Okay.

        Better to leave these judgments to doctors then to the general public at Walmart and home depot.

        1. Lepton1

          In our area the blue parking cards are overused. Some doctors give them out as favors. Family members will use a parent’s card. Sometimes when the legitimate user passes away family members keep using it.

          1. Cripes

            Wow, you must be quite the detective to know that doctors give disabled placards away as favors, and relatives and dead people.

            This kind of stuff reminds me of people who start sentences with “black people are always…”

            And some people drive without licenses, and others open five million fradulent bank accounts.

            What’s your point? That disabled parking spaces should be eliminated? What’s your proposal?

      4. LarryB

        I find it interesting that my local Costco tried the unmanned checkouts, but (thankfully) abandoned them. I would be interested in knowing why. Too expensive, too much manual intervention required (liquor sales, and the like). If Costco can’t make them pay, even with their higher than average wage scales, how can WalMart?

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      As long as the Refuseniks of Walmart keep refusing the robo-checkout lines, they buy a little time for “something to happen”. And if Walmart goes Full-Metal Robo despite the Refusing, the Refuseniks can always bring a super-full cart to the checkout area, feign surprise and outrage to discover there are no more manned checkout lines, and storm out of the store leaving their super-full cart of stuff to be put back away. It would help if their carts were full of frozen-section stuff which needed to be put back away right then.

      And would that be oppressing the Walmart employees? I hope not. I assume they would be paid by the hour for whatever task they were performing, including Refusenik cart putaway.

      And of course as long as Middle End and High End stores keep manning the manned checkout lines and all possible people keep boycotting the robo lines in THESE places, perhaps retail will become two-tier; robo-checkout for the masses and manned checkout for the classes.

      1. ambrit

        Sorry about the frozen foods, but, I am here to testify that any perishables returned, not left in a cart, are endumpstered. In house returns take a long time, mainly due to short staffing and excessive “productivity” targets. So, unattended, left alone and friendless frozen stuff is often just thrown away.
        The employees are paid for hours worked. However, the dirty little secret is that these workers are tasked with too many jobs per hour available. Some perverted variation of Taylorism has been utilized to make the “average” employee become burdened with a work load that would daunt a Superbeing.
        For the ‘Return of Taylorism’: https://medium.com/new-tech-revolution-sciencespo/how-taylorism-has-been-revitalized-through-the-digital-revolution-9dcde8d3b2b2

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Well, cancel putting frozen food in the carts, then. It seems wrong to waste the frozen food. Or fridge food either.

          I still stand by the rest of my suggestion. If entirely too many abandoned-in-anger carts give too many workers so too much to do that critical store-stopping things begin to go undone; then the pain and torture will begin reaching the Decider level and the Deciders might restore manned checkout lines.

          1. ambrit

            I’m with you on the disruption front. I wonder what would be the best form of ‘disruption’ to use here? Does WalMart have an annual stockholder’s meeting? Perhaps a couple of hundred people wearing Target shirts to demonstrate for a bit, before being given the ‘bum’s rush.’ However, the “class” of people who own and run big outfits probably only pay serious attention to strategies that hit them in their wallets. So, back to your “left cart” idea.
            One allied idea I saw done recently at a WalMart was when several people checked out, actually, scanned, a cart of merchandise at the self check out lines and abandoned the whole mess at that point. Restocks galore, and it tied up a Customer Service Associate for a few minutes. I can see the pure fiendishness of several dozen people doing that simultaneously.
            Also, there is the “protest” optics aspect. Sooner or later, such “raids” will be pre-arrainged so as to have local coppers on hand to arrest the ‘demonstrators.’ Propaganda at it’s finest!

            1. Carolinian

              I’d say you have a mistaken impression that Walmart customers hate Walmart and that the company gained its dominance through bullying rather than–the actual case–giving the lower income demographic what they want. The company tried a previous makeover–trying to be more upscale and like Target–and the customers hated it. Whereas previously they deleted the sewing/crafts section, this time they’ve given that section an upgrade and the same with their tools and hardware. The real reason many customers are avoiding the self checkouts is probably because they are afraid of machines, not through some political stand.

              None of which speaks to the larger question of whether machines are going to displace large swaths of the retail employed. But that’s about more than just Walmart.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                It should be passive-aggressively obstructed wherEVer it happens. Or is even tried.

  4. timbers

    Health Care: one small recent experience

    My employer switched health insurance from last year’s. This is my second year running same employer with employer provided insurance, and 2nd different plan in 2 years. Before that I had a 3rd employer provided plan, and before that RomneyCare for a bit, and before that nothing for a period of time and then a 4th employer provided plan. So 5 different plans in about 5 years.

    So I called and set up my annual with my Doctor and the receptionist said “Oh good, you have a different plan so we don’t have to wait to do your annual.”

    The Doctor asked me if I wanted to do Colaguard a bit early before the allowed 3 years. I had a different plan so they will pay for it, he suggested.

    That was a big mistake. Colaguard wouldn’t ship the test. I called Colaguard and went up 2 steps past the Customer Service agent – past the Team Leader who hung up on me because I said “bullshit” (swearing) to her when she told me the FDA prohibits Colaguard being used more than once every 3 years, finally to a Supervisor.

    Reminding the Supervisor that patient history is private and they can’t tell my insurance anything about my medical history, and that the insurance told me they would pay for it, didn’t change the Supervisor’s mind. He said it would be “fraud” to ship it to me. I guess just like it was “fraud” for my Doctor’s receptionist to schedule my annual checkup before my 1 year anniversary.

    He then said:

    “Who changes health insurance coverage so often anyways? I can’t imagine this applies to many people” or something to that affect. I realized they would not budge. He said he would refuse to do a conference call with my insurance to verify they would pay if I insisted my medical records remain private because that would be “fraud.” I ended the conversation saying I was a amazed he actually thinks it’s rare for people not to have the same insurance always, and asked him if he lives on the same planet as me.

    1. tegnost

      the people I know who work in the health care complex have very stable lives and extensive paid vacations. A completely different planet.

      1. Robert McGregor

        Funny isn’t it? Just check your friends. Not even thinking about the people at the top of the heap–the physicians and hospital administrators–think about the nurses, medical paraprofessionals, even the janitors (“environmental services”). Aren’t they a hell of lot better off financially than all the other neoliberal rift raff? Go into almost any piece-of-shit small town, and the most impressive edifice is the health center.

        1. Carey

          Yesterday I asked what the great monuments and achievements of the US Empire are. I think you just answered that question.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            The beatings will continue until the plebes recognize one thing: there is no worker on dog’s green earth whose labor is worth $22,000 per hour (Big Pharma, Bezos makes $4.7M per hour).

            The entire machinery is constructed to ensure these crimes against economic humanity continue unabated.

            At the very least we should reinstate the income tax policies of that famous left-wing commie radical:

            Dwight D. Eisenhower

          2. VietnamVet

            Yes. America’s Edifices are Universities and Medical Centers. All built on debt which can never be paid off. Draining debtors of everything. This ends like Zero Hedge. Shorting the Apocalypse.

            1. skippy

              AKA bringing – liquidity – to the market place [tm].

              Don’t think they ponder the meaning of – liquidity – in this context ….

          3. polecat

            I refer to these as Taj Mahospitals …
            Here in our small city, it IS in fact the local Medical Complex that seems to be in a constant state of development/construction metastasis … while either assimilating any small, formerly independent medical practices into the Medical Borg Cube, or putting who’s ever left out of business and on the curb !
            And boy, how the CEO likes to tout how GREAT things are, as they add more staff, equipment and such ..
            I’ll just have to die before entering THAT fine ‘edifice’, as I wouldn’t be able to afford to pay whatever the mystery charges be accrued anyway, anyhow !

            1. ArcadiaMommy

              Taj Mahospitals is right. I had kids at a hospital with spa services, valet parking, Starbucks and an art collection. Just boggles the mind. Now the boys and I use IHS because the premiums on our shitty insurance plan with $13K deductible went through the roof. Not fancy but is actually much easier to access services. Luckily we are super healthy so no clue what would happen if we had some chronic illness.

        2. Carl

          The local “public” hospital here recently built itself a brand new building, which is quite awe-inspiring, what with the massive art displays, high ceilings and all. So impressive, until you realize that they apparently don’t have the funds available to fully staff the nurses. Oh well.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      I don’t think your medical information is really private–what it is is portable. For purposes of accountability and billing, not better care.

      That HIPAA paperwork you sign basically tells you who WILL have access to your history, not who won’t. There is no way your insurance doesn’t have any history that was billed to previous insurance or made a note of in your medical record imho.

      Yours is a common and deliberately engineered misconception.

      1. timbers

        Thanks. So, patient health care is not private, and there must be an exception to the 1 yr annual checkup rule when switching carrier’s otherwise my doctor’s receptionist goofed and I could get billed.

    3. kareninca

      Why do you want to do a Colaguard test? Why not a FIT test?

      “The Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer recommends Cologuard as an acceptable second-line screening option. The task force concluded that physicians should recommend colonoscopy first. For patients who decline to have one, the FIT test should be offered next, followed by second-tier tests such as Cologuard and CT colonography for patients who decline both of the first-line options.” (https://www.statnews.com/2018/09/24/colorectal-cancer-screening-science-cologuard/)

      I’ll admit that I don’t know why the FIT test is second in line. But it is. I could get a colonoscopy through my medical coverage but I’ve decided to take a FIT test yearly instead, and my GP (who is very keen on studies of these sorts of things) thinks that is just fine. Of course I don’t know your (non-private) medical history, and if it would lead to the conclusion that a Cologuard test would be better. But it does seem that the Cologuard test is being marketed very vigorously, which makes me suspicious of it.

      You can buy a FIT test on Amazon for $26.99 (including shipping if you have Prime). Or you can buy one directly from the manufacturer. You get the results instantly; you don’t have to mail anything in. It is the same FIT test that doctors’ offices use. I used the Amazon-bought FIT test for a couple of years as a matter of prudence before I hit the age where it would be covered by my insurance. Even now at $26.99 I would be willing to just buy it myself if that is the only reason I would be going to the doctor.

    1. Janie

      If only there was some way we could have health care for all who need it. Maybe somewhere, someone will propose a solution. (Sarc)

    2. GramSci

      On her first day at a new job seven years ago, our daughter was knocked unconscious by a low-hanging pipe. An ambulance ride, two ER visits, out of a job, and two CAT scans later, she found herself being dunned for $15,000. She went to a workmens’ comp lawyer who told her that her claim wasn’t worth his time.

      If we had been living in the same state, we could have helped her out. Instead, she moved to Spain, which for all its problems clings to the vestiges of civilization.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Wasn’t her employer liable, considering the workplace hazard? With pain and suffering that might have been more worth the lawyer’s time.

        1. Janie

          Probably short term, nothing permanent, for a fast-healing young person. So, nah.

          Again I say, health care for all, as is found in Spain – just for example.

        2. GramSci

          For the record the injury occurred on a sales call to a client’s factory. So maybe she could have sued the client? The moral is one shouldn’t need to sue for health care. It was easier to go to Spain.

      2. Tom Bradford

        Another healthcare experience, in New Zealand:

        An old man’s problem – an enlarging prostate closed off my urethra. A swollen bladder took me to hospital emergency department where it was relieved by a catheter and I was informed I would need a TURP. Cost of three hours in emergency dept? $0.

        I could have had the operation done under the public system for $0 within two months but as I could afford it I had it done privately within eight days. Cost of 105 minutes in theatre, surgeon, anaesthetist and two nights in private hospital with sundries? $NZ10,000. ($US6,800)

        And the surgeon still manages to drive an Aston Martin!

        1. Carl

          You’d still be paying for that ER visit in the US. I shudder to think of what the procedure would’ve cost ($40,000? $50,000? hell, why not $100,000?).

        2. rd

          He can still drive an Aston Martin because he doesn’t have a lot of backroom staff for insurance and billing. That is where much of the savings comes from in healthcare in other countries.

  5. Paid Minion

    The 737 MAX and the US Navy ship collisions are just new examples of a trend that has been going on for 20-30 years now.

    Designing, building, and operating complex machines, while cutting back on the number of qualified people to design, maintain, and operate them.

    AKA the “shortage of qualified people” meme. The true shortage is of people who can pass a drug and alcohol screen (at hire, and recurrent), and of educational, financial and/or quality of life incentives for people to enter these fields.

    Our society gives out tons of “incentives” for certain businesses and industries, and punishes those that work in others (low pay, no benefits, poor working conditions, poor job security, competition from legal and illegal immigrant labor).

    Pay remains pretty good for those with mandated skill sets, and can generate revenue immediately (doctors, nurses, pilots, etc.)

    If you work in a field where the need for skills can be deferred longer than workers can live without pay or outsourced, you have been screwed for a long time.

    The bill is now coming due on these deferred problems. Chickens are coming home to roost. US business, who made these decisions, are now whining to the government for fixed/subsidies to bail them out for years of underinvestment.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      The logical response to the ills of predatory capitalism is to create alternative institutions based on the cooperative model rather than the predatory model. This seems obvious to me. There are enough people around who, if they pool their resources, could come together and carve out an economic “space” for themselves and those they care about. You see this in immigrant families/clans you don’t see this in people raised in the USA because we have forgotten how to come together so obsessed are we with our culture of narcissism. In a sense we deserve what we are getting.

      1. Janie

        Yes. I don’t see it as narcissism, however, as much as absence of communal traditions. Barn raisings aren’t part of our memory. Our history is a story of heroes. George Washington! Abraham Lincoln! Culturally, it’s the Lone Ranger. I think more Americans ideal is a lovely home in splendid isolation on an average rather than in a convivial neighborhood.

      2. Anon

        A very Cosmos-politan observation. ;)

        Actually, it’s not just the immigrant families that understand familial cooperation. Wealthy families inculcate these principles also. See the elite university access scandal; or how Titans of industry create foundations for there progeny to “intern” then Chair for lucrative compensation.

        It’s Americans near the slippery edge that have “bought” into the “I’ll get mine” meme.

        1. Robert McGregor

          Yves has talked about this–the neoliberal idea that unemployed and underemployed people should just move to a better labor market (Tyler Cowen is one of the biggest proponents of this with his book, “Complacency”). The problem is that the economy is so volatile that one year’s boom town is next year on the decline (North and South Dakota) Financially marginal people move across country for a job opportunity, and then are cut off from their family and social capital back home.

        2. Cripes

          Anon:

          Exactly that.

          While average workers are vilified for using public resources or benefits, and damn near murdered for attempting to organize for common interest such as unions, the elite are big proponents of their professional guilds and chambers of commerce and mutual interest societies and insider dealing and special privileges for their kids who apparently don’t belong in universities in the first place, ad infinitum

          So naturally they spent a century building a propaganda campaign to convince the serfs to pull up their bootstraps and become self-made tycoons. The media produces a torrent of reality show competitions just to prove that you can make it if you try try try.

          They wouldn’t be caught dead going it alone. And laugh at people who think they can succeed on their own abilities instead of using privilege and access, snickering at their naivete.

          Next at 10 see spoiled billionaire’s spawn explain how he made it all on his own despite his wealthy dad.
          Barf.

    2. John k

      737 is going to cost Boeing a lot, may have to be saved out of bankruptcy. Triple damages? Loss of orders? Expensive fixes.. installing triple redundant sensors computers? How long before Faa certifies… and then how long before other regulators agree? Shut down assembly lines at Boeing and suppliers?
      Cutting inputs to boost profits and share price is foolish long term, maybe costly lessons will be learned. Or not.

  6. The Rev Kev

    “Kim offers Trump a third summit”

    I think that I see Trump’s problem here with Kim. Take a look at the Palestinian-Israel conflict. He announces that he is taking problems off the negotiation table. The Embassy question? He gave that to Israel. The Golan Heights? He gives that to Israel( he thinks). He recognizes Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. He gives that win to Israel. And now he has just said that Israelis should be immune from the International Criminal Court. This is his idea of how negotiations work. By “taking problems off the table”.
    Well that won’t work with North Korea. He can’t take North Korea’s nukes off the table as they won’t give them up. He can’t take North Korean missiles off the table either as that is North Korea’s ace in the hole. He can’t attack them as they will attack right back whose consequences would be catastrophic. The North Koreans are well aware of his long history of cheating and stiffing partners so there is zero incentive to trust him. Funny how that works out in life. It must be very frustrating for Trump as I bet that he wanted a Nobel peace prize as Obama had one.

    1. barrisj

      What has happened is that Trump himself is “off the table”, with Notlob Bolton and
      Pompeo running the show. Mr Kim is again testing the waters, encouraging Trump to break free of his neocon shackles in order to give real negotiations a chance…prolly won’t happen, unless there’s a Nobel Peace Prize on offer.

  7. Pelham

    Re Assange: Apparently he’s not charged with anything relating to the 2016 election, but this is what’s occupying many minds celebrating his arrest.

    In this regard, Wikileaks is said to have published Russian-hacked DNC emails as a means of sowing discord in the electorate. But even if that were true — and even if that were the intention — wouldn’t it have been far outweighed by the possibly inadvertent public service performed? Isn’t it vital for the public to understand the corrupt inner workings of one of our duopoly political parties?

    1. petal

      They(the folks celebrating) just want revenge.
      Yes, it is vital, but things have boiled down so much it’s about blind tribalism now. No more than that, I think.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        And validation for blind devotion. Hillary’s predictable incompetence and the continuous failures and malfeasance of the Obama Administration made Trump possible despite demographic trends. Credible warnings were simply ignored for years if they weren’t attacked. Then there grand conspiracy theory which was less coherent than Iraq war conspiracy theories came crashing down, and people like Schiff were obvious frauds all along (after all, why would Schiff give Trump so much power if he was a Russian plant?), but instead of self reflection, they will attack anyone who didn’t clap loudly enough then wonder why everything went to hell.

        1. Randy

          Obama doesn’t deserve all the blame for Trump. The incompetence, malfeasance and failures go at least all the way back to Bill Clinton and the rest the Capitol Hill gang. If Clinton and his bipartisan buddies hadn’t given Wall Street the tools they needed to trash the global economy Obama wouldn’t have had to fail to prosecute them.

          There are plenty of establishment failures to blame for Trump.

          1. Robert Valiant

            I’m paraphrasing: “Obama had to fail to prosecute Wall Street.”

            That’s a pretty dubious hypothesis.

      2. Chris Cosmos

        I don’t think it’s revenge they want. They are looking for convenient scapegoats to blame–that’s always been the case with the Democratic operatives in which I include nearly all of the media. This crisis has been useful to see just how obviously biased the media is. Anyway for the average “liberal” or “pwogwessive” it is just a matter of the continuing campaign to shut down logic and reason which can be annoying particularly these days.

        1. Geo

          No, it’s revenge they want. Go through the comments on any Assange story at RawStory or DailyKos and see hundreds of vitriolic calls for his imprisonment, execution and damnation to the fires of hell.

          They didn’t get to see Mueller drag Trump out in cuffs, they need a sacrifice upon the alter of their idol.

          If you really want some fun, post a comment on one of those threads about the first amendment and then count how many times you get called a Trumpist and a Putin patsy. There was a thread yesterday about Chomsky and the vast majority were calling him a traitor/commie and/or senile.

          1. Chris Cosmos

            Revenge means that someone did something harmful to you and you responding in kind. In the cases you mention it is scapegoating–Assange did nothing to damage the lives of KOSsacks. I did go look at the absurd vitriol around the web and in the mainstream and it felt like something out of 1984 which means the total abonment of reason and a deep fall into the lower brain.

    2. urblintz

      Yes. The publishing of damning info on Clinton has been made the issue, as opposed to the damning information itself, all in defense of Clinton as opposed to the well earned embarrassment she should be suffering through. Lordy – she lost to Donald Trump! And her partisan pom-pom waivers just can’t wrap their tiny minds around that fact.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        It’s not even for publishing information about Hillary. It’s about not clapping. Between Clinton election results and her public record, she was a disaster in the making. She often polled behind McCain in head to head match ups in 2008.

        She peddled her status and celebrity into a safe blue senate seat which she used to rename a post office and validate the Bush Administration.

        1. Wukchumni

          To be fair, its mostly those in Congress that are serial post office re-namers, Kevin McCarthy being the poster child in that regard. It’s about the only legislation he’s introduced that’s been passed into law.

          I’d like to claim it was just him, but they’re all in the same league. Check out your local Congress critter’s legislative record, and they’re probably in cahoots.

    3. David in Santa Cruz

      I like Patrick Cockburn’s analysis of the importance of exposing the lies our government told about murdering civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. My one quibble: Chelsea Manning is the Daniel Ellsberg in this story, not Julian Assange. Julian Assange is the Neil Sheehan/Arthur Sulzberger.

      I also have zero outrage at Assange about the publication of the DNC emails, since it is equally evident that he didn’t hack them, but merely published them. Their publication exposed the Democrats to be no better than Trump.

      Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell.

      — Justice Hugo Black, New York Times vs. United States

        1. newcatty

          Agree. The absurdity that the content of the emails exposing the corruption of the DNC is not the political canary in the duopoly parties’ dark mine is the story that matters. Not, to mention that it may be that the emails published by Assange were not hacked by anybody. But, leaked?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        My question is “so what do we do now?”

        The longer we cling to models of reality that are just not operational any more we will keep fighting the wrong battles in the wrong way.

        #1. The elite no longer go to jail for committing crimes.
        #2. There is no longer any such thing as Constitutionally-protected “freedom of speech”.
        #3. The main news organizations can no longer be trusted to deliver anything like “a balanced view”: they are simply partisan stenographers.
        #4. The political parties will do absolutely nothing to promote the interests of actual people and absolutely everything to promote the interests of corporations.

        But we all are subject to “recency bias”: we remember when the Democratic Party at least occasionally represented the needs of people; we watched a crook president be forced from office and an unjust war end because we were able to raise our voices and the institutions (press, legislative, judiciary) were still operational.

        Folks it’s time to wipe those hard drives clean (yes, Hilary, like with a rag). New Men and Women will see the world as it really is: with every previous institution and the entire contract between the citizen and the state hopelessly corrupted and broken. In other words, illegitimate and invalid.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            #They already decided the old rules do not apply to them. #We need to catch up

            1. polecat

              Sooo, Lampost and hemp necktie parties ?? Is THAT what it will take to effect change ??
              I see the 2020 election as the last opportunity to steer clear of the iceberg of oligarchy

              1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

                Too right, we already have an oligarchy, the question is whether we will do anything about it now, or just let it fester for later. If we do it now there is enough remaining in the concept of “America” to salvage, it would be called “goodwill” on our balance sheet. If we wait until the 1% also consume the 10% and the 90% looks more and more like Cuba (but without the healthcare and education) then what re-emerges might not resemble a shining city on a hill at all.

        1. rob

          life continues on, even under occupation.
          And that is what we are, under occupation.
          The united states is run by an occupying force called “the establishment”
          they control the left and the right…. the republicans and the democrats.
          They get their life blood from the money that gives them the power. With that they control the means of production. of goods, of consent, of opinion,even of “money”

          We can all commit political suicide,en masse and vote the green party in.
          If the green party were to gain power, the powers that be would try and have a more successful campaign to co-opt and infiltrate them… but for now. there is no chance of them winning… so there is not a real effort to convert them into lap dogs, like ALL the other parties of note.
          The republicans,democrats, and libertarians, are all firmly establishment brands.

  8. taunger

    That Bugati story does the best job burying a lede I’ve seen in a while. We’ll worth reading to the end.

  9. ChiGal in Carolina

    Big Brother in the mall

    Wow, just wow. So stores can monitor our vitals even when we’re offline and monetize that data.

    Glad I am so rigorous about turning Bluetooth off when I’m not driving and have very few apps on my phone, all with background and location activity collection disallowed. Many of the apps on my Android phone 😠 (auto-complete just suggested that emoticon for me–yikes!) are disabled, including Chrome, cuz they can’t be deleted.

    Now I’m going to check out the opt-out illusion link and I probably will find all of my precautions are for nought…

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Ah well, behind a paywall. But it’s a review of Shoshana Zuboff’s book which I plan to get.

    2. Late Introvert

      I don’t think you can lock down an Android phone. I read up on all the different breaches and malware pre-installed and unless you pull the battery, can’t be blocked. My guess is they already have a solution for that as well.

      I’m sure even my flip phone is leaking all kinds of shite. It’s a ZTE, you can’t really find one that isn’t made in China and therefore pwned. Thanks Capitalists!

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Is Your Smart Speaker Listening In on You?”

    Just thought of another unpleasant aspect of these devices. For those who insist on having them in their bedrooms – and there must be millions by now who do – then they must also be recording what people say in their sleep and send it off to storage in a server somewhere. When you are awake you can be circumspect in what you say with these things listening but who knows what you say when you are asleep? The Smart Speakers know, that’s who.

    1. cnchal

      When a “Smart Microphone” is defined as a “Smart Speaker”, we have lost the plot, collectively. We don’t even know when “they” are doing it to “us”, as they are doing it.

    2. ambrit

      You just make me glad to be a Neo-Luddite.
      To your point; those of us who sleep next to “significant others” can do this experiment. Try to stay awake for an hour or so after retiring to bed. When your significant other enters rapid eye movement sleep, keep your ears open. Another version of this experiment requires one to run a tape recorder, or modern analogue, during the sleep period. For better amity in the home, listen to the “interesting” bits along with your “significant other.” Both must promise not to ‘go postal’ on the other later on.
      The above might not be a good idea for everyone. I once made the mistake of teasing Phyllis about something she said in her sleep that I was awake at the time to overhear. She blew up. I ‘suffered’ the fallout for weeks afterward. Essentially, what I mentioned to her was extremely embarrassing to her. It would not have been embarrassing to me. I learned a lot about the fallacy of assuming strict similarity between partners with that experience.
      Now, if the effect on people of good will on their relationships is that severe with the airing of ‘secret’ thoughts, imagine the effects of people of ‘bad’ will doing so. Think blackmail, electronic style. Imagine that e-mail that starts out with: “Hi there! Your life belongs us….”
      The Right to Privacy should be the ‘Fifth Freedom.’

  11. anon in so cal

    Antidote Bird:

    Looks like a Nutmeg Mannikin aka Scaly-Breasted Munia?

    We see little flocks of them occasionally in our yard.

    They’re exotics from Asia that got loose and thrived.

  12. Wukchumni

    Interesting developments in our little town…

    Vacation rentals have hollowed out our community, turning it into a transient tourist affair, where you really don’t want to get to know your new neighbors, as they’re leaving tomorrow. They aren’t all bad, but outsiders tend to be loud, leave a lot of lights on outside in that rarest of communities these days, where dark skies are a given.

    Not unexpectedly, enrollment in our K through 8th grade school has fallen quite a bit, as for some reason Molly & Trevor, visiting with their parents from Rancho Cucamonga, don’t make any effort to make up for lost student bodies in their 3 day stint stay, by going to our school.

    Last week it was announced that for the 1st time since 1950, there wouldn’t be a ‘team roping’ rodeo event that lasts 4 days, this coming on the heels of our Dixieland jazz event held since the mid 70’s-Jazzaffair, also going away.

    1. Robert McGregor

      I like that, “Molly & Trevor, visiting with their parents from Rancho Cucamonga . . .” It’s a very convenient part of American culture (all cultures?) that you can usually identify the generation of a person by their name. I know the name, “Molly” goes back to “Silent Generation” and before, but I’m a “middle baby boomer,” and in the thousands of students I went to school with from Kindergarten through college, I don’t remember a Molly or Trevor, but the names are common for millennials.

      1. ewmayer

        Inquiring minds want to know what Ashley & Ethan thought of their friends’ Molly & Trev’s doings. Time to check each other’s Facebook feeds for new selfies!

        1. newcatty

          Ha, now Ethan, Trevor and Ashley are not cool names. Most kids, born recently, have names that are so “unique and special” that you have to guess how to pronounce them or else they are just so obscure that they were found by careful and diligent research by parents. Some are lovely. Some are strange. One boy, we know, was named after an evil personage from literature. Its certainly “different”, but really?

  13. The Rev Kev

    “Bernie Sanders Imagines a Progressive New Approach to Foreign Policy”

    I have long had the feeling that Sanders was weak on foreign policy and he was much more comfortable talking about issues such as American health care. In any Presidential debate however, this would be a fatal flaw so perhaps articles like this are attempting to say that he is putting thought into it. I am afraid that it is not working. He talks about “how many governments we have overthrown” but then repeats CIA talking points about Venezuela. He goes after Saudi Arabia’s medieval siege on Yemen but that is a popular stance among politicians at the moment. He attacks Iran as being involved with terrorism when in fact that country is fighting terrorists in places like Syria. So much of this article makes him seem wishy-washy on foreign affairs and reluctant to take hard stances, one way or another. I still cannot find any statement for example on Assange’s arrest from him. If there is ever a Sanders Presidency, if he was smart he should recruit himself a very strong Vice-president who is solid on foreign affairs. Then he would need to back up that Vic-President to the hilt and not throw them under a bus to get a local domestic win.

    1. urblintz

      Sadly, I agree. Maduro “regime?” That’s a weasel word and if used needs to be applied equally to Trump, May, Macron and just about every leader in the Western empire. Worse even than wishy-washy, the article ties Bernie to Clinton and Carter and the onset of a dubious “humanitarian interventionism” which has exposed liberalism as just another side of the the neocon’s counterfeit coin. Mind you, Sanders is, imho, still the only viable Democrat (I’ve also sent “get them to the debates” money to Gravel and Gabbard, understanding they haven’t a chance to get the nomination) and I do appreciate his stated frustration at the political “complexities” of foreign policy. Indeed, since all presidential contenders lie about their real position on controversial issues I am tempted to hope that, if elected, he’d be less wishy-washy in practice. But I admit it’s a naive hope, alas… as the saying goes: “hope in one hand and sh(family blog) in the other and see which fills faster.”

    2. Chris Cosmos

      He’s a serious Presidential candidate and therefore must kiss the rings of the national security state. There is no choice here. Trump, for example offended the ring holders and they’ve gone after him to the degree they almost staged a coup d’etat. He had to find allies in the Pentagon shoot missiles into Syria and so on. He had to backtrack on all he hoped to do to stay in office and they’re still after him on not being warlike enough. If Sanders went in the direction you suggest there would be little chance he would be nominated. Even if we was abd managed to be elected the attack on him would be worse than the treatment they’ve given to Trump and I believe there would be a coup or worse and he knows it.

      1. rob

        I have to say your example of trump, as someone who offended the national security state.. is way of the mark…… but right “on script”

        Personally, after two years in office…. team trump is right there keeping the dream alive.

        What have they done…
        run up deficits.. check
        passed massive tax breaks for the wealthy…. check
        been perfectly ineffectual at enforcing any meaningful laws ….check
        put foxes in charge of all hen houses…. check
        gotten coyotes as judges on all major circuits and supreme court to oversee said work by foxes in charge of hen houses…. check
        let two years pass with no intervention in any police state tactic or operation…check
        in the process of selling family silver…. check
        giving more money to warmongers…check
        taken scrutiny off all foreign affairs debacles by taking the camera off the players….check…

        and in return for these and other true gestures of faith,
        all the chump has to endure is the fear and loathing of a sector of the american public, and constant tv attention… he is in essence the reality tv star, before the break, when everything looks bleak…
        tune in next week same chump channel, same chump time…..
        was the meuller investigation….. on to something?… tune in to find out…
        and from the woman with whom he had an affair …. to his wife…. why do you settle for such a small,and odd …..um ……
        tune in next hour to find out……
        theme song plays in the backround…….

        “cause we can’t keep him off the twitter , when he’s on the sh#tter”

        1. polecat

          What’s fascinating, is that Trump, though intention or not, has completely ripped the scab off the fetid sore that is our government grift — All of it ! … Machine Democrats, their sycophants, virtually ALL of Congress, the courts, Big Bidness, Walls-to-the-GoldenBallSachs Street, all of it !!!
          As a result, many are slowly coming out of their long held bernaysian induced stupor, to see thing as they are, with newly cleared eyes ….not as they once wished things to be.

    3. anon in so cal

      Someone on Twitter found an old tweet from Julian Assange about Bernie Sanders.

      The gist was that, while B’s domestic agenda sounded great, a sound domestic approach likely
      spelled inverse results for foreign policy.

    4. jhallc

      I read this piece and got the sense the author held a large bias against Sander’s and the “left”. My intuition was confirmed when I read his recent article on “Mayor Pete” which was largely a puff piece with little substance. Lines from the Sander’s article like:
      “His phlegmy baritone acquired a sarcastic lilt. “It’s a global economy, Ben, in case you didn’t know that!”, and
      “In the early summer of 2017, a little less than a year after his Presidential campaign had ended, Bernie Sanders spent a few days on a speaking tour in England, to promote the European version of his book “Our Revolution.” The Brexit resolution had passed twelve months earlier, a general election looked likely to consolidate the conservative hold on the country, and Sanders’s audiences—in the hundreds, though not the thousands—were anxious and alert. I was at those events, talking with the people who had come—skinny, older leftists and louche, cynical younger ones—and they were anticipating not just the old campaign hits but a broader explanation of why the world had suddenly gone so crazy and what could be done. ”
      Why mention the number of people at his talks, just a chance to get in a slight dig? And skinny older leftists? I resemble that remark. I see this a subtle nuanced hit piece

      While Bernie does have some issues with regards to foreign policy, he is light years better than Hillary and forget about “Mayor Pete”.

      1. newcatty

        Thanks jhallc, I would be considered by some as an older leftist. But, I am not skinny. Guess I would not be included in the hit on leftists. Whew, now I can be incognito.

    5. John k

      I disagree.
      First, and above all, he must get elected. Changing foreign policy is very important to me, but clearly not to the electorate… how much traction is tulsi getting?
      And who else is making this a campaign issue? If Biden isn’t calling to end foreign wars, why should Bernie? Just makes him more enemies and a bigger target to people with guns.
      So stay with what resonates most with voters until he’s got the bully pulpit and his appointees confirmed. People trust him to do his best to deliver m4a, unlike the slippery eels in the dem party mouthing some of the words because they think they must. I Reuss he will do what he can to pull back our imperial foreign policy because he’s a true progressive… why would such a person send lower classes to fight unnecessary foreign wars?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Don’t forget though that Trump did very well in districts where there were high casualties from the Forever Wars. Those areas know very well the price that America is paying for these wars that is more or less out of sight in wealthier districts. Without those districts going Trump’s way because of what he said against these wars, they may have swung Hillary’s way instead.
        In any case, lots of voters want to know what their candidates stand for, even if they disagree with them. A candidate who refuses to say what they believe in and substitutes jazz hands for idea and policies is never trusted by the electorate. To date I still cannot find any statement by Sanders on Assange’s arrest. Even if Sanders said that he deserves the guillotine at least that would be something but this silence is a terrible look for him.

  14. Wukchumni

    Speaking of my Congressman, and his legislative prowess, here is his last bit of rule-making, in being one of 54 co-sponsors in successfully renaming a post office.

    To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 2801 Mitchell Road in Ceres, California, as the “Lance Corporal Juana Navarro Arellano Post Office Building”.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Had Democrats spent just a fraction of the time they spend bickering amongst each other working to enact real change on health care, maybe Americans would not be burdened by skyrocketing premiums and limited health provider choice. Republicans, however, stand for solutions that will protect Americans with pre-existing conditions while offering greater choice and more affordable health care options.

    Despite being in the minority, House Republicans have listened to the American people and have acted. We have condemned anti-Semitism, a stance the Democrats have simply refused to take. We have fought tirelessly against infanticide, a brutal practice of murdering infants born alive after a botched abortion; this is not a pro-life issue — it is a matter of doing what is morally right.

    https://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/community-voices-redefining-the-house-minority-in-the-first-days/article_ce470314-5d62-11e9-ad1b-67c979dd43f6.html

  15. diptherio

    There are few occasions when I wish I was in NYC. This is one of them.

    But what I’d like to know is when is Michael Hudson going to come speak about his book in Hot Springs, MT (after soaking in our mineral water hot springs)? Like, do we not rate, or what? Why, I bet we could get 20 people there, or even more if we advertise at the churches…

      1. Janie

        Since I’m not well informed about Russia, I can’t speak with authority; however in my reading of RT, i prefer it to US media for international news. Don’t tell the powers that be!

  16. Octopii

    From my own waterway travels in France it is clear that plastic pollution there is far less than the US. In rural areas it is actually rare to see any trash in the water – it’s amazing.

  17. Hopelb

    I have been calling The People’s Forum (347-349- 1372) to ask if they will videotape this event but no one is answering. I see that they do post videos, so if anyone here is going will you please request they record this?
    Bernie is coming here to Schenley Plaza, in the shadow of the Cathedral of Learning (which was architectually disparaged yesterday) tomorrow at 5 pm! Not many people I run into know about this event, so we will see how many people show. I did hear a well dressed man lecturing the security guard at the gas station about the evils of socialism, conflating it with communism. At least, Bernie has gotten the word out on that!( The well dressed man informed me he would not be attending.)

  18. JohnnyGL

    I’m looking at news headlines and responses around Trump’s flagrantly racist smear and incitement against Rep. Omar.

    Dem leadership is its usual soggy self, trying to avoid taking a stand on an issue and just saying soothing things about how tragic 9/11 was.

    I think we’re all missing the lesson of the 2016 election around the Access Hollywood tapes and again with the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process. What I learned was this: ALWAYS BE ON THE ATTACK

    I’d like to see the left escalate and call Trump a lover of terrorism with pictures of him doing the sword dance with Saudi prince MBS and scream about how the 9/11 commission found extensive links with Saudi Arabian government. Saudi intel was making deposits into the hijackers’ bank accounts.

    If someone is going to smear you and basically call you a terrorist sympathizer, which is what Trump’s basically doing, then you should call them a terrorist-enabler (which the US govt has an extensive track record of doing) and have evidence to back it up.

    The only thing Repubs understand is ESCALATION.

    1. allan

      For some reason, the NYT Book Review decides to lend a helping hand to the right wing hissy fit:

      As discouraging as these times may be for fans of liberal democracy, the mood among liberal friends of Israel — including most American Jews — is more like severe heartbreak. Look one way and there’s Israel’s right wing carousing with European despots and Holocaust deniers while fanning racism at home. Look the other way and see the cream of the intersectional left cavorting with the reactionary bigot Louis Farrakhan while young rock-star progressives in Congress set about rebranding the Jewish state from ally into enemy and its supporters — meaning, again, most American Jews — into traitors. …

      The Times has basically become the NY Post for aspirational 1%ers.

    2. Brindle

      So far, Warren, Sanders, Castro and a few others (lesser known candidates) have offered support to Rep. Omar since the Trump tweet/video. Notably silent are Kamala Harris, Biden, and Gabbard and Gillibrand.

        1. allan

          Gillibrand’s expression of support is pathetic:

          @SenGillibrand

          As a Senator who represents 9/11 victims, I can’t accept any minimizing of that pain. But Trump’s dangerous rhetoric against @IlhanMN is disgusting. It’s a false choice to suggest we can’t fight terrorism and reject Islamophobic hate at once—a president should do both.
          11:09 AM – 13 Apr 2019

          “can’t accept any minimizing of that pain” is buying into the entire RWNM narrative.

    3. Geo

      Trump in 2016:

      Trump says if he is elected: “you will find out who really knocked down the World Trade Center.”

      “It wasn’t the Iraqis,” he explained. “You may find it’s the Saudis.”

      “They have papers in there that are very secret,” he also said, referencing the 28 still-classified pages of the 9/11 commission report. “But you will find out.”

      He’s pals with them now but Omar is the one people are attacking. Speaks volumes about our nation. We’re not interested in justice, truth, or peace – we are primitive tribalists who demand vengeance and retribution.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        “We’re” not interested in justice, truth, or peace” . . . ? Which “we” are you talking about. Yourself?
        I don’t see how. Most of us on these threads? I don’t think so.

        There is a bad legacy habit left over from the liberals of making pious displays of guilt over something in public, so one can display how very moral one is by how very guilty one feels. It is not a necessary habit or a helpful one. I would like to see it discarded or at least brought under control.

    4. marym

      Here’s a twitter thread keeping track

      Currently – approx 1:30 pm CDT

      Supportive statement naming Omar:
      Bernie Pete Castro Klobuchar Inslee Hickenlooper Beto Gravel Williamson Kamala Warren*

      Nonsense:
      Swalwell Pelosi Perez Gillibrand Tim Ryan Yang

      No statement: Biden Booker Delaney Gabbard Schumer

      Re: asterisk for Warren: Link

      (A note of context on Warren. She was one of the first candidates to put out a statement and refers to Trump’s attack on a “sitting congresswoman.” The necessity of saying Omar’s name may not have been apparent at the time of Warren’s statement. Context is forgiving here.)

  19. dearieme

    “Trump threatens to send undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities”: that seems about right. Why should they be dumped on any other places?

    1. marym

      Despite the headline and Trump saying “ I call them the illegals, they came across the border illegally” the people he’s considering sending have been detained after arriving at the border and following the legal process to enter and seek asylum.

      Using people whom one has portrayed as, or truly believes are (who knows what’s in Trump’s mind) violent criminals as weapons against one’s political opponents ought to be seen as reprehensible, regardless of one’s position on larger issues of immigration and asylum.

      Here’s another link.

      1. Cal2

        But I thought there were women, children and people seeking a better way of life, plus willing to do jobs that Americans don’t want to do?

        If they are only violent criminals in Trump’s mind, then you should have no problem with them displacing the homeless seeking services in your community.
        You can’t have it both ways: railing against over priced housing, lack of jobs for African American youth, lack of services for homeless and at the same time, wanting to import Central America and Mexico’s poorest and least educated into (other people’s) communities.

        1. marym

          When Trump proposes policies to address “over priced housing, lack of jobs for African American youth, and lack of services for [the] homeless” or to uplift any other underserved or vulnerable group; and his anti-immigrant followers demand and support such policies, then their input will be credible as to whether, to address those issues, there’s also a need to curtail the immigration of people seeking and willing to work for a better life.

          In the meantime it’s just hate-mongering and the celebration of using people as pawns for what Trump and followers (though not necessarily the supporters of sanctuary) perceive to be punishment of their political opponents.

  20. Carey

    Anecdote on Sanders 2020: I was able to give away ‘Bernie 2020’ stickers to four
    very enthusiastic recipients in my small apartment complex in about two minutes.

    This is encouraging.

    1. human

      Saw my first yard sign today, for Andrew Yang, in Southport, CT. Very upscale and tony area. One of the local parishes has an annual Blessing of the Yachts. I kid you not!

  21. Carey

    Love today’s antidote-birdie! They’re really singing where I live, and I hope to get a photo
    or two soon.

  22. Mike

    re: Plastic Bottles in European Waterways

    My wife and I are going on a canal tour through Netherlands & Belgium the first week of May, which will include some natural waterways. May be wise for me to check on the “progress” in battling this issue. Anyone interested in an update?

  23. Wukchumni

    Tourists behaving badly are a threat to global tourism, and the industry is partly to blame The Conversation
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I did the bulk of my overseas travelling in the 80’s & 90’s, and back then you’d see Japanese tourists armed with camera in hand in Europe snapping shots of sights like dervishes, and now we’ve all turned into Nipponese, except the object of our desire tends to be ourselves being seen cavorting with the camera faced at us.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Tourists behaving badly are often a threat to themselves. I lived for ten years in a tourist area at the Oregon Coast. It’s a rocky coast, that’s why it’s so beautiful, and full of hazards, from sneaker waves to incoming tide to cliffs full of rotten rock. And gigantic logs on the beach that suddenly move when a wave comes in.

      For the most part, it wasn’t locals that succumbed – though there were exceptions; one girl I knew had a log roll over her. It was visitors, who apparently assumed that if it’s a recreational area, it must be safe. No, it’s the ocean, it’s never safe.

      One of my favorite places out there is a promontory on Neah Kahnie Mountain, with thousand-foot cliffs dropping into the sea. At the very end, there’s a cluster of standing stones – natural, I assume. The place feels alive; I used to go there (right past the “do not pass” sign) to recharge my batteries. One January, I was reading the local paper and discovered that 3 people had died there the previous year. One was probably a suicide; one was a girl who’d gone back for more beer; and one was a guy who was taking a picture and stepped back without looking. Guess what I spent a lot of my time doing? It wasn’t drinking beer.

      The dramatic scenery that makes a tourist place is almost always hazardous.

      1. Janie

        Visitors from Texas were surprised when I warned them about Oregon coast danger and handed them a news clipping. Texans are used to the Gulf Coast (very gentle sloshing, slow rises of tide).

        1. polecat

          Well, Darwin does like to bat curve balls. If a selfy-stick hastens the resultant demise of the clueless, so be it. And to be honest, I’ve come kinda close myself .. on those few rare occasions .. sans stick though. ‘:o

  24. Carey

    I’m wondering if any NC/WCers might have a dumbphone and carrier recommendation?
    Looking forward to terminating the Sprint™ and smartphone™ I have with extreme prejudice, soon. That’s assuming there’s
    something better available, though!

    Cheap and with decent int’l calling rates
    are the main needs.

    1. Geo

      I don’t know about their international rates but I highly recommend Credo Mobile. Mainly just because it’s nice to pay a monthly bill to a company I actually hold a lot of respect for. And they have some dumb phones.

      1. Carey

        Thanks for that recommendation! I used to use Credo long-distance- at the time they were called Working Assets Long Distance, I believe- and had
        entirely forgotten about them. They were a good outfit to deal with.

        “Fascism becomes the spirituality of the predator class.”

        -quote from yesterday’s links (I think), by Norb.

    2. Inode_buddha

      Walmart family mobile piggybacks on Tracfone network which in turn is carried on Verizon. No-contract dumb flipfone, does everything you want and what I use, for $25/mo. Purchase price is another $25 one-time. However I have no expectation of privacy on *any* type of wireless regardless of the technology or the brand. If you want real privacy, stick with the old Ma Bell landline and a rotary dial phone.

      1. Carey

        Thanks for this tip. After doing some looking around, I’m really leaning toward
        getting a landline again, and ditching cell phones completely.

  25. lyman alpha blob

    RE: 1 in 5 Bus Riders in New York City Evade the Fare, Far Worse Than Elsewhere

    Maybe that would change if they still accepted cash. Last time I was in NYC we grabbed a bus and tried to pay in cash and were told it was no longer accepted, we’d have to get a metro card (or whatever they call it in NYC). The driver was nice enough not to kick us off and let us ride for free. If only 3.4% of subway riders don’t pay, that is likely because the cards can be purchased in the subway and not at bus stops.

    1. Harold

      Lately, the machines are refusing to recognize metro cards, they tell you “Please swipe again at this turnstile, over and over.’ If you are at an entrance without a manned booth to help let you in you are stuck. On the other hand, I do see a lot of fare evaders, much more than I used to. They have stopped handing out tickets, it is as simple as that.

      1. JBird4049

        Do you wantIt the local Deplorables to mooch off the system with even more free stuff? /s

      2. Baby Gerald

        I take the bus probably more than the average New Yorker who doesn’t really have to and I don’t know so much about that statistic in the headline. I’ve seen a very occasional customer get on with a non-working MetroCard but not one intentional evasion. And the buses are hardly every crowded enough to warrant kicking off someone for these reasons, anyway. It’s not the most pressing issue facing our decrepit transit system, that’s for sure.

        Fare evasion on the subway isn’t the subject of this story– turnstiles and turnstile hopping are separate issues. As someone who has been around long enough to witness the advent of the card system, first paired with then entirely replacing tokens, I’ve been impressed by MetroCard’s longevity and reliability. The recharging of cards at machines is easy and the turnstiles take my card on first swipe a good 95% of the time. I’m loath to see what newfangled touch-less nonsense they choose to replace it, because MetroCard is one of the few things the MTA seems to have done correctly and improved upon over time.

      3. Oregoncharles

        They are in my town, admittedly a bit of an oasis. The voters passed a fee increase to pay for it.

  26. barrisj

    Re: Israeli elections and the Fisk article….Gideon Levy and Almira Hass have remained amongst the very few voices of sanity in the country, and Ha’aretz is to be praised for allowing them full latitude on their reporting. The shameless conduct of Benny Gantz in shabbily dismissing the support of Israeli Arabs indeed cost him the election, but given his hostility toward the Arab population, little difference in policy would have resulted. Gantz was only the anti-Bibi candidate, with little else to recommend him.
    Israel is accurately described today as the Second Coming of apartheid South Africa, with virtually no constraints against its appalling conduct toward both the Palestinians and Israeli Arabs.

  27. barrisj

    Re: Julian Assange extradition…apparently, lawyers for a second alleged rape victim in Sweden are urging prosecutors to reopen their investigation into rape charges against Assange, which brings up the issue of which country gets first crack at prosecuting him, Sweden or the US? As the UK arrested and detained Assange pursuant to a bail violation on the original Swedish charges, it would appear that if Sweden wished to continue the rape charge investigation, he would be sent there in the first instance. However, given the “special relationship” between UK and US, no surprise if the man isn’t quietly “Gulfstreamed” back to the US, Sweden be damned.
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/04/12/julian-assange-arrest-extradition/3445061002/

    1. Geo

      Maybe they’ll pull an MBS and “divide him up” between themselves? They’ve already proven a journalist’s life is worth nothing anymore.

    2. rob

      USATODAY has been pretty despicable in it’s coverage in the last couple of days..
      talk about propaganda coming out of the woodwork… The headlines say it all… smear campaign.

      considering those “rape” charges come from having consensual sex with two women,one the condom broke…. and the other without a condom…..

      the story then was an obvious set up,,,, and now people don’t even remember the absurdity of the charges, and just see words like rapist, or molestation… and then think there was something that happened that didn’t.

      the two women had gone to a police station not to charge him with rape, but to try and track him down to see if he could be tested for an STD…. They never said the sex was not consensual.
      But in sweden no condom use is evidently like getting a speeding ticket or something of a minor infraction and “rape” as translated into english is not accurate.
      But for some reason, the state is the one who is keeping these charges alive…. I wonder why? We all know prosecutors never try and convict the innocent… for political purposes.

  28. john

    I love your website – especially the links section. Why so much “Brexit” coverage. It feels somehow like PBS Downton Abbey fetish. Perhaps jack up the climate coverage.

    1. Yves Smith

      You are not required to read topics that do not interest you. This is a finance and economics site, not a general news site. We don’t pretend to be all things to all people. It is unfortunate that you do not appreciate or take interest in the fact that Brexit is an epochal event.

      1. Anon

        I appreciate the Brexit coverage, although I must admit I don’t comprehend nearly enough of the “British nuance” to say I understand what the hell is the end game there.

        I read the coverage so I can claim myself “witness” to these epochal events.

        1. Massinissa

          There IS no end game: May and the rest have no damn clue what to do. They’re ‘winging it’, as it were.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            She knows precisely what she’s doing, her brief was to pretend to “try hard”, tell people how scary and difficult her hard-trying is, and through her endless hard trying, create a chaos that can only be resolved by unwinding the will of 17 million people (a majority of voters)

    2. Massinissa

      There are lots of sites that cover climate coverage already.

      As Yves says, this is mostly an economics site. Honestly, its very hard to find Brexit coverage covered as exhaustively as at NC. I care about the climate too, but I have other websites for that. And its not as if NC doesn’t cover the climate at all, they have articles on it regularly.

    3. shinola

      NC provides more & better info. on Brexit in 1 week than I could get from local & national TV news plus newspaper in a month. This yank appreciates it.

      Trump’s election + Brexit – is the English speaking world starting to lose its’ collective mind?

      1. John k

        No. It’s the first attempt at revolt by the have nots. Some may think the attempts misguided, but options of the have nots to change the neolib direction, or even to be noticed, are poor. Think of their first attempt as a warning shot across the bow… So far they have eschewed armed rebellion, probably not off the table.

  29. Geo

    I Felt Americans Needed to Know’: Insurance Industry Whistleblower Gives Glimpse of Effort to Crush Medicare for All

    I wonder if those cheering on the arrest of Assange think this woman who leaked this video should be imprisoned too? Probably do since they’re the same ones who idolize Mrs. “Medicare for all will never happen!”

    But, seriously, the fact that so many regular people let their tribal ideological alliance cloud their principles to such a degree that they can have an actual bloodlust for Assange is fascinating and scary.

  30. richard

    Hey, word out to Yves and the NC crew: the google pop-up problem (or whatever you call it when an banner ad shows up at the bottom of the screen) has disappeared! Thanks for talking to your ad person about it :) I can’t think of many places where a problem like that gets cleared up so quickly. Your consideration for your readers really stands out, and believe me that’s not even in my top 20 of reasons I love NC.

  31. allan

    File under Guillotine Watches Class Warfare in China:

    China’s JD.com boss criticizes ‘slackers’ as company makes cuts [Reuters]

    Richard Liu, the founder of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com Inc, has weighed in on an ongoing debate about the Chinese tech industry’s grueling overtime work culture, lamenting that years of growth had increased the number of “slackers” in his firm who are not his “brothers.” …

    Three JD employees, who declined to be named as they were not permitted to speak to the media, told Reuters that morale at the company was low after several senior executive departures and layoffs across the firm in recent weeks. …

    It’s good to see that the China’s industrial espionage included stealing the management techniques
    of celebrity CEOs like “Chainsaw Al” Dunlop and Eddie Lampert. /s

  32. The Rev Kev

    “In Praise of Public Libraries.”

    In reading this article, I can see so much of the 19th century way of doings things when it was at its best. It was an era when people came together to build roads, bring water to towns, bring in gas lines and undertake sewerage projects. People were seen as something to be invested in. It’s all there in old newspaper files and history books. Children were encouraged to learn and libraries were set up to grow them as people. Even workers had institutes set up so that they could socialize and borrow books to read. Sure there was a lot wrong with the 19th and early 20th century but when they got things right, the results were magnificent.
    Now, our economic system seems determined to take everything free or inexpensive from people and sell it back to them at a premium price whether it be roads, education, healthcare, socializing – whatever. Every human transaction has to have crammed in-between some financial toll booth, even if there was none needed. Libraries are something that our tech elites would wish to go away so that all knowledge would have to be digitally delivered through some tech monopoly and at an exorbitant price. Well, I say that libraries are worth fighting for. I cannot even conceive how much time I have spent in libraries over the years and the things that I have learned. If you don’t fight for them, you will lose them forever. Just remember, and paraphrasing Patton here (and not being literal), ‘No sonovabitch ever won a cause by dying for it. They won it by making the sonovabitch on the other side dying trying to take it away.’

    1. Cal2

      Rev,
      We used to have Trust Society, made up of our own cohort, with a common language, common values and common standards of behavior. Now we have “multiculturalism” with a babble of languages, moral relativism and self-selected and preferred behaviors. When outsiders come into our society, bringing their worldview, values change as do social outcomes.

      Imagine the advocates of the economic system you decry trying to pull that in a late Nineteenth Century America. At best, for them, they would be shunned or run out of town.

      Why do you think the small towns in Idaho, Montana and Utah are growing again?
      People gravitate toward the world I described, in spite of the weather.

  33. Synoia

    After the Jallainwala Bath Massacre, came the torture, crawling, floggings Times of India

    True. However, the English never created a program as bad as Iraq between the first and second Gulf Wars.

    Something about “People who live in Glass Houses…” crosses my mind, or Physician Heal Thyself.

    I’ll repeat my comment to a very good Irish friend: “True, the English did that (list of historical atrocities), but I personally did not.” I’ll add I do not fell responsible for the actions of people in the past. I’m much more concerned about the present and immediate future.

    1. richard

      A J. Dore video is a chance to hear some really good bad language
      he really knows how to use the 4 Syllable Queen Of All Swears
      sotto and disgusted is his style
      though he does use it too liberally I admit
      I think you should try to stretch 20 of them out over a whole year
      yeah right
      but it’s a good goal
      and then the word really means something when you say it :)

    2. polecat

      It really does seem as though a political ‘phase shift’ is happening .. not along straight partisan lines .. but more of a metamorphosis towards an amalgam of factions coming to a more common agreement of who’s really screwing over the plebs, as well as having a clearer idea of the reasons why .. I peruse the Zhedge on occasion (yes, I know …), and even there, I’ve noticed a change in commenting, such that more of the consensus seems to not be quite as toxic as has been the case prior to 2016. It’s kinda strange seeing these changes occur in what1 were once disparate opinions slowly merging into at least SOME common ground .. not in huge numbers, but still …

  34. allan

    Not enough jobs for science graduates challenges STEM hype [Sydney Morning Herald]

    Oopsie.

    Job opportunities for university science graduates have failed to match the push to get more students to study science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, warn policy experts.

    University of Sydney head of business analytics John Buchanan said while STEM skills were important to society, there was not enough demand for graduate scientists and engineers in the labour market.

    “I think having a world with more people who understand science, technology, engineering and maths is fantastic, but … employers aren’t creating that many jobs in those spaces,” Professor Buchanan said. …

    Time for another round of tax cuts for the job creators …

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