Links 4/15/19

Dogs Watch Us Carefully and Read Our Faces Very Well Psychology Today

Betting on a Soft Landing: the Takeaways From the IMF Meetings Bloomberg

Create a Crisis, Capture a Unicorn NYT

Autonomous machines: industry grapples with Boeing lessons FT

American Airlines extends Boeing 737 MAX cancellations through August 19 Reuters

The whole package: the food businesses binning plastics Guardian (J-LS).

60 Minutes: Australia’s recycling lie exposed: Plastics being dumped, buried and burned in Malaysia 9 News

Chevron bid shows there is no place like home for US oil FT. “The deal is based on three important assumptions. The first is that oil is here to stay.”


Brexit Heralds a Decline of Anglo-American Power Defense One

New push to oust May as Tory grandees say the rules CAN be changed to hold a new no confidence vote on her leadership Daily Mail

Brian Monteith: The Brexit Party should not be written off in Scotland The Scotsman

Nigel Farage has caught his second wind – trivialising his influence now will make him unstoppable Independent

German regulator says Huawei can stay in 5G race FT


America vs. China New Left Review

Trade deal nears, but tensions are rising over China’s inroads into America’s backyard South China Morning Post

A Deadly Pig Disease Is Reshaping Global Soybean Markets Bloomberg

Malaysia to ‘take advantage’ of rail link deal to sell China more palm oil Asia One

GitHub Has Become A Haven For China’s Censored Internet Users NPR

Five years on, truth of Sewol disaster still shrouded in mystery Korea Times


Hoping for Swachh work after Tumkur polls People’s Archive of Rural India


‘Large’ IMF majority on Venezuela leader issue needed: Lagarde Reuters. Oopsie.

US Military Attack on Venezuela Mulled by Top Trump Advisors and Latin American Officials at Private DC Meeting The Grayzone Project

Is the U.S. Prepared to Accept a Defeat in Venezuela? Venezuelanalysis


Fans excited for final season of Afghanistan DuffelBlog

Iraq Wrecked Me for Nothing Peter van Buren, The American Conservative. More about Afghanistan than Iraq.

New Cold War

How ‘Russiagate’ Has Reshaped American and Russian Public Opinion The Nation

Investigation Nation: Mueller, Russiagate, and Fake Politics Counterpunch

Russian lawmakers have adopted the final version of new ‘Internet isolation’ legislation. Here’s how it’s supposed to work. Meduza

Trump Transition

Inside Mueller week Axios

How A Trump Proposal Could Reduce ‘Happy’ Disabled People Forbes

Trump learns to love acting officials The Hill

Trump’s Most Worrisome Legacy Joseph Stiglitz, Project Syndicate. I think that “truth-telling, truth-discovering, and truth-verifying institutions” are much thinner on the ground than Stiglitz thinks they are, and have been steadily dwindling throughout the neoliberal era, because markets.


Bernie Sanders Accuses Liberal Think Tank of Smearing Progressive Candidates NYT. Sanders came to play.

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

Health Care

What It Was Like to Have a Baby in Sweden Fatherly


My Final Visit with Julian Assange The Intercept

US scrambles to keep F-35’s secrets safe from Russia and China Nikkei Asian Review

Imperial Collapse Watch

(How) American Collapse Resembles Soviet Collapse Umar Haque

Black Injustice Tipping Point

The Red Summer of 1919, Explained Teen Vogue

Guillotine Watch

Oprah Winfrey Thought Avocados Were Too Expensive So She Bought an Orchard: ‘It Was Ridiculous to Pay for Avocados!’ People

Class Warfare

Global Commodity Chains and the New Imperialism Monthly Review. Dense, but ambitious.

College Grads Sell Stakes in Themselves to Wall Street Bloomberg. From last week, still germane (!).

Retired Pope Benedict reemerges to step into the roiling clergy sex abuse debate Los Angeles Times

Tiger Woods’s stirring Masters win is the first victory of his reconfigured life Golf. Hagiography, but holy moley, what a comeback!

What Is Freedom? Nathan Robinson, Current Affairs

Antidote du jour (via):

Caught by a Montréal traffic cam.

Bonus antidote (DK):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Henry Moon Pie

    Tiger’s cool and steady performance at Augusta National capped an extraordinary, comeback. It was the second in the space of a week after UVa’s men’s basketball team went from being the laughing-stock of college basketball to national champions in a little more than 365 days with the same group of players (since the Wahoos don’t do one-and-done).

    1. rd

      I normally don’t watch golf, but I watched about 3/4 of Sunday’s round because it is such a compelling redemption story.

      Tiger was living a lie during his marriage to Elin Nordegren. After everything hit the fan, he did an extraordinary mea culpa (contrast with Lance Armstrong) and rebuilt his life from scratch. His body was also falling apart, as well as his mental state, and he put in extraordinary physical effort, including numerous surgeries, to rebuild that and did the incredibly difficult rehab work.

      So Sunday, was compelling because he was playing in a rebuilt body with a rebuilt mind and it was great to see his family and friends greet him at the end. A lot of people try to fake second chances and redemption. In this case, Tiger seems to have truly accomplished it in his personal and professional life, which is rare and should be applauded.

      Oh, and his mental toughness came through as he coolly executed his game plan on the back nine as many of his co-leaders collapsed into a puddle (or pond, as the case may be). It was a clinic in how to play Augusta. This was really one of the great sport accomplishments in history, on a par with Kerri Strug landing a perfect vault on one leg to win a team gold medal because the other leg was too injured to stand on.

  2. William Beyer

    US scrambles to keep F-35’s secrets safe from Russia and China Nikkei Asian Review???

    Could have sworn this was from the DuffelBlog.

    1. Chris Smith

      Maybe that is the real purpose behind the F-35 – convince the Russians and Chinese to steal the technology, incorporate it into their planes and render their air forces non-functional.

      1. BlueMoose

        And probably why Turkey wants to buy S-400 systems from Russia. The US will then not allow Turkey to buy any F-35’s.

          1. Procopius

            Better machines is not the point. Profits going to Russia instead of America is intolerable. /sarc However whatever we learn from the S-400s the Turks pass on to us (and they will) will not be incorporated into American technology because not invented here.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          And that fat tub of a fuselage from the VTOL fan the Marines insisted on getting in there.

          I can just see the stories coming, where our new tech performed brilliantly in battle, and yet somehow we needed to stage a “strategic repositioning” (i.e., a retreat, and post haste).

        1. ambrit

          A Classical description for a contemporary phenomenon.
          “Trojan Lede.” AKA ‘Clickbait Headline.’
          My work is done for today. (See more below the fold.)

    2. John A

      Has anything been found of the Japanese F35 that disappeared from radar last week? Though I did think its invisibility to radar was its trillion dollar USP.

  3. Arizona Slim

    Thanks for including the NYT article about the liberal think tank’s attacks on Bernie. Here’s his latest email:

    Just like that, our campaign is under attack from the corporate establishment.

    This week, an organization that is the epitome of the political establishment — the Center for American Progress (CAP) — unleashed and promoted an online attack video against Bernie.

    And behind the scenes on the day Bernie introduced his Medicare for All bill, they held a conference call with reporters attacking the bill.

    That is the Center for American Progress’ real goal. Trying to stop Medicare for All and our progressive agenda.

    CAP’s leadership has been pretty upfront about their disdain for Bernie — and for all of us. They see our political revolution as a threat to their privilege and influence.

    So today, we have to do something VERY important. We have to send a message that their attacks will only make our campaign stronger. And we have to do it in the language they understand best:

    Make a $27 donation to our campaign today as a way of saying you have had ENOUGH of deep-pocketed organizations working to defeat our progressive agenda. Every single donation sends a critical message.

    The Center for American Progress is an organization whose massive annual budget is bankrolled by billionaires and corporate executives that profit from finance, pharmaceutical companies, fossil fuels, and sending American jobs overseas.

    Last year alone, they took funding from financial giants like Bank of America and Blackstone, whose CEO was chair of Trump’s business council and is a leading Republican donor.

    Before that, they cashed checks from companies like BlueCross Blue Shield, Pfizer, WalMart, and defense contractors like General Dynamics and BAE Systems.

    They also took hundreds of thousands of dollars from the fossil fuel pumping United Arab Emirates while the country was bombing innocent civilians in Yemen – a war Bernie has led the fight to end.

    The Center for American Progress has deep connections to the economic and political elites who have done so much damage to working families in every zip code. And what we must do today is send a message that we are prepared to fight back against those who are working day and night to defeat our movement.

    Contribute $27 today to send an unmistakable message that we will fight back against corporate-funded organizations that try to defeat our progressive agenda.

    The establishment is panicked because together we are building a campaign that is on its way to winning the Democratic nomination, beating Trump and transforming America.

    If we come together to show that we won’t tolerate their attacks, organizations like Center for American Progress will think twice before attacking our campaign again.

    In solidarity,

    Team Bernie

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Okay, time to make my third donation this round. Thanks for posting; I had unsubscribed.

    2. Svante Arrhenius

      Not that I could actually plow through Umar Haque’s Medium harangue, but it is disheartening to constantly be tag-teamed like this, played so obviously. Knowing just how many astute, dedicated, ABLE and electable people the Kleptocrats stomped down in 2016, 2018… That’s their shtick, that’s their job. Anybody else remember those 1938 Loony Tunes, where Butch and Foghorn have been trying their hardest to kill each other only to wish each other a friendly “good night, see you tomorrow” while punching out, lunch-bucket in paw? Only, now… it’s UAE, AIPAC, Wall Street Benjamin’s pouring into K Street firms’ offshored “social networking advocacy solutions” specialists. And they mostly got bogus ivy league degrees while not particularly trying that hard? Academic, now… we’ll never even know what’s going on, journalists & whistleblowers in jail?

      1. jhallc

        “Foghorn Leghorn”… I say son… son…. I think you got our loony tunes characters a little mixed up. It was Ralph and Fred I believe.
        I’m not sure what you expect Sander’s to do but, it seems you suggest they should just give up as it’s all a sham anyway. I get depressed about the state of politics for sure but, I still have a thread of hope.

        1. Svante Arrhenius

          By George, I believe… why I believe, you’re right, son? Nah, the exact opposite. I’m proposing, just for that, we’re going to tear ’em limb from limb. Why, varmint, Im’a gonna draws me a LINE, I’s fixin 2 commence an’ endeavoring to persevere. But harboring specious illusions hasn’t been part of anybody’s agenda I’ve supported. Bernie’s gotten results. We all need to support concrete advances, actual success, but reward candor.

          1. jhallc

            I can see your youth was misspent as much as mine on Saturday mornings right after the 3 Stooges. Perhaps that’s why I always exited “Stage Left” when it came to politics.

            1. Svante Arrhenius

              I’d seen some pretty remarkable attempts at using Warner Brothers’ agitprop used to explain our goofy warped minds. Especially, Fritz Freeling and Bob Clampett’s racist, sexist anti-American… come to think of it: Cagney, The Dead End Kids, Johnny Garfield and Warner Records thrown in? Hey, them guys was Jewish, Eastern European AND from the Rust Belt, like Alan Freed and “Porky” Chedwick! You don’t think all this constant propaganda, dope, miscegenation… nah, nevermind! Bye-bye, MST3K will be on, any minute!

              1. ambrit

                Foghorn: “Ah say, ah say. Listen at me when I’m a talkin’ to ya son!”
                Aside: “Ain’t nothin’ dumber than a dog what won’t eat the dogfood. Heh. Heh. We’ll fix that.”
                Looks over at Beltway Bandit: “Hey Weasel! I say, Weasel! Cumere son. I’ve got a job for you.”
                Anyway. Why wait for MST3K? MSTY2K has been running for almost two decades uninterrupted now. Only, lately, the sarcastic comments are being ‘redacted.’ Shame really.

            2. ambrit

              Yes. Snagglepus. Mustn’t forget Hannah Barbera and their Saturday Morning Subversion Shows. Good times.
              There was a Golden Age, and this ain’t it.

              1. Wukchumni

                Its interesting watching the collectibles field of old fade away, the hobby of kings® in particular. Young adults could care less, and they do. Heck, they can avoid coins pretty much now in most circumstances, except when say laundering money.

                I stopped collecting aged round metal discs when I was a teenager, as I knew my way forward was doing something most businesses don’t do, that is both competitive buying & selling with parameters to be sure, but also with more variables & vagaries of value than you could shake a stick at, to be deciphered for potential arbitrage. Being very near-sided was a gift, I had my eyes checked about a decade ago, and the doctor told me that with my eyes, I would’ve been the perfect person to do intricate scroll work on say bible pages around a dark ages ago.

                The funny thing, Is I could care less about collector coins and have none to call my own, and what really got me going though was very much a polar opposite from something rarely more than 2 inches wide held between my thumb and forefinger, that is grand sweeping views of the Sierra Nevada, and Giant Sequoia trees.

                It’s as if i’ve been overcompensating.

                1. Wukchumni


                  Meant to say, that numismatics golden era was concurrent with Snagglepuss (1959) until the turn of the century, fading slowly but surely, and then the bottom fell out as far as interest goes.

                2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

                  I too am near sighted. I have an astygmatism in my right eye and my prescription is ~-7.0 ie everythings blurry af without glasses. Ive only met a handful of people whos vision was worse.

                  I like to think Socrates came up with the Allegory of the Cave cuz he needed glasses.

              2. Svante Arrhenius

                Just IMAGINE how our parents coped with how little their lives reflected the world view of Jazz Age, psychedelic Betty Boop / Bonzo Dog and Popeye cartoons? Devolution, I believe it’s called?

          1. Svante Arrhenius

            Rocky and Bullwinkle, a work of fiction, mere human artifice? Balderdash, I say! I’d worked on Shell’s Bullwinkle platform, so have their patch on my hardhat. Before that, during Reagan’s Miracle, Rocky and Friends theme eminated from every beat apartment in our rust belt university neighborhood, as we left to work as rent-a-cops, nurse-assistants, stock “boys,” drivers and cleaners; exponentially ever deeper in debt. Moose and Squirrel kept us sane, as Peewee’s Playhouse never could?

    3. ambrit

      Bernie is the poster child for the real “Culture War.”
      This will not end, no matter how much money is raised or how many signatures go on the petitions. The Oligarch’s minions are the essence of ‘True Believer.’ Many will fight to the death, theirs or ours.
      27 dollars to the nth power will not stop the ‘Forces of Reaction.’ I fear that it will take blood in the streets. Why? Because the Occupy movement was crushed by a quasi-military ‘police action.’ The precedent has been set.
      Get ready for a very nasty election campaign.

      1. nycTerrierist

        Agreed. Glad Bernie is pushing back this time —
        and in his own constructive way. Hope we see more
        of this Bernie moving forward.

        1. ambrit

          You and me both. Bernie is walking a thin tightrope with this political campaign. Our job, as I see it is to counter the efforts of the Status Quo and be sure to push him off of the tightrope, when, not if, when that time comes, to the Left side.
          Bernie is in a situation analogous to a scene in an old Hollywood Middle Ages sword and sandals film. The hero is to be punished by the evil Emir by being forced to slide down the edge of a giant knife blade. To make him more comfortable with his fate, the Emir offers him a pillow to sit on while sliding down the knife blade.
          Bernie has his work cut out for him.

          1. Left in Wisconsin

            And of course winning is just the first step. He needs to bring along as many allies as he can, which even in the best case won’t be a lot, and then he needs to be prepared for all out war from a united D/R establishment for at least the first two years.

            1. ambrit

              I think it is.
              I don’t believe it’s from the Tony Curtis Kirk Douglas epic “The Vikings.”
              I had originally thought that it was from the Robert Wagner oater, “Prince Valiant.” Wrong yet again! (I could see a young Arnold Schwarzenegger as Prince Valiant.)

      2. Summer

        True. As much as I am a supporter of MedicareForAll/Single payer, it is the kind of thing the “powers that be” could start a civil war over.
        It is more like the issue of slavery than people are willing to admit.

        1. Brian (another one they call)

          Spot on Summer. Slavery it is. Making sure the companies can continue to harvest everything the slaves make, earn and grow. The status quo is made up of many staid and unreliable partners in life.

        2. Cripes

          If by slavery you mean that there is no way to live but by selling your labor at whatever terms your overlords decide, and pay any price they decide for housing, medicine, transportation and debt, debt, debt, or die; then yeah, I guess so.

          But they gotta catapult the propaganda to keep it going.

          1. Summer

            Yes, and at a more basic level “the debate” around health care is a lot about who deserves humane treatment and who doesn’t.
            The only way to maintain the for profit system is to deny the humanity of others and, in effect, all.

            1. BlueMoose

              Why can’t we all have access to the same plan that our illustrious leaders in Congress and the Senate have? As an alternative, they could all make a statement and choose to go with ObamaCare. Are you telling me that we have a 2-track state here in the US?

              1. marym

                The ACA requires that they purchase their insurance on an ACA exchange. If they buy a gold or platinum level plan about 72% of the premium is subsidized.


                1. Pat

                  Hell I might be able to afford a gold level plan if they subsidized 72% of my premium. And I expect to see what little coverage I have go bye bye at the end of the year once I no longer have access to my discount value catastrophic plan. And are they required to buy from the market place in their districts OR can they buy there or DC?

                  I know that is not the point, they are ‘affected’ by ACA. But in some ways they are also protected from the worst aspects of it.

                  1. marym

                    They made themselves eligible for a special exchange set up for small businesses. There have been controversies over whether this was some tricky self-serving maneuver, and whether the exchange works all that well, but I never paid attention to the details.

                    As you say, with a 72% subsidy, whether the ACA or the regular federal employee benefit program, it’s a better private insurance deal than lots of people have.

              2. NotTimothyGeithner

                To me, this is one of those draft the kids of the rich style tactics. It sounds good, but it overlooks the existing assets of the would-be Congressional class. Besides their own assets, what is the assets of a spouse and in particular the insurance of a spouse in a phony job.

                Then there is the situation of health. One, most electeds are close to Medicare anyway, and secondly, many of the health problems which cost hideous sums are going to come after they reach Medicare age or would have appeared already.

                As a practical matter, I can’t imagine there are many elected members of Congress who particularly care about their own healthcare plan the way the average American worries.

                Most chronic illnesses or situations requiring treatment will allow a golden parachute style job in addition to their existing salary. Of course, there is insider trading potential.

              3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                There is that Bodhisattva Way – they will not enter Nirvana until everyone else is in it.

                If that case, no senators/congress persons will have health care insurance until we all already have.

        3. ambrit

          Very good point. From Chattel Slavery to Wage Slavery and back to something very like Indentured Servitude.
          The underlying dynamic is Power, and it’s emoluments.

      3. Left in Wisconsin

        This will not end

        Indeed. This is a really clarifying moment. Tanden and CAP – and the entire neoliberal establishment – are dead-set against Bernie, and every future potential Bernie, getting anywhere close to the levers of power. This is only the start of what needs to become a very public war. I understand the logic of Bernie’s statement (“can’t we all just get along?”) but my guess is he knows this is just a shot across the bow and that the Dem electorate – and for that matter the Dem policy establishment that has heretofore been able to pretend there can be unity on the left – is going to need to make some serious decisions this time around. (Very interesting to me that Krugman is trying to tread a middle path.) I believe the notion of Bernie as a sheep dog will be increasingly unbelieveable.

        Given that Bernie has what seems to be an enormous lead in the quest for the nomination (if Joe Bro the non-candidate wasn’t included in the polls, it would be immediately apparent), much bigger than Trump’s lead among Repubs last time around, there is little time for the establishment to act and the knives have already started to emerge.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          You have to remember what “centrists” think is bad often looks good to not entirely insane people. The #Resistance would be more respected if they simply kept monsters such as David Frum away. Frum doesn’t bring anything to the table except to validate the world view of a “centrist.”

          When they go to attack Sanders, it will be more bizarre and unhinged than anything else. The lesson they took from Hillary’s Goldman Sachs speeches is that the left hates rich people (degrees exist; everyone hates Howie Schultz), but what was particularly loathsome about Goldman Sachs situation was the obvious pay for play going on. Maybe she is that incredible of a speaker! She’s not, and she’s been giving it away for free for years. Obviously, she wasn’t being paid for her wisdom. “Centrists” besides being greedy are also intellectually bankrupt and can’t tell the difference between say Lebron holding out for more money or a billionaire threatening to move a team over tax subsidies. They moved to attack Sanders on this book deal because “Centrists” are just stupid.

          The real problem isn’t the attacks from “centrists”, but they will demand a seat at the table, and they are just dangerous people to have around. Matt Stoller twitter reviewed that Hundt book about Obama’s response to the economic crisis, and it sounds like Obama could have simply listened to the people who weren’t connected to the Bush or Clinton families in Roemer and Warren and made accomplished something. Its important that Sanders runs to win, makes the case for why he should be President, but Bernie needs to make the case for why Neera, David Brock, etc can’t be part of the nominal left going forward.

        2. Sam Adams

          If the Democratic leadership continues along this ‘take no prisoner’ path, they will re elect Trump. The Democrats like Pelosi, Hoyer and Clayburn as well as the Clintonista operatives are Trump’s best campaign workers. I know that I will pass over the races that have no real candidates and vote for no one on the ballot in 2020. But that may be their plan

          1. Cal2

            Short version:

            Democrats would rather lose to Trump again than to win with a true Democrat like Bernie/Tulsi.

            Donate and vote accordingly.

          2. Procopius

            … they will re elect Trump.

            I think that’s already set in stone. They would rather destroy the party than let “progressives” acquire more influence. Even in 2018 they actively campaigned against any candidate as leftist as Richard Nixon.

    4. anon in so cal

      More on the Center for American Progress:

      “Benjamin Armbruster


      “A few months before, in the Fall of 2011 (and this hasn’t been reported before), a senior CAP nat sec staffer demanded that we stop writing about Saudi human rights violations b/c a Saudi prince was in town & this staffer was trying to solicit donations 6/16”

      Lee Fang


      “CAP fellow Brian Katulis simultaneously works at the influence peddling firm Albright Stonebridge Group. Emails leaked from the UAE ambassador show he helped foreign dictatorships lobby the Trump admin. He has a long history of censoring ThinkProgress on foreign policy issues.”

      1. Brindle

        Like how Ocasio-Cortez calls out “our War in Yemen. Taking ownership of militarism is necessary.
        From her twitter @ AOC

        —“All too often, “bipartisanship” tends to mean coming together to advance corp lobbyist interests, or raising the military budget ad absurdum.

        It doesn’t have to be that way.

        It can also mean building unconventional, yet principled coalitions to end our War in Yemen and more.”—

    5. integer

      I sure hope Sanders wins the primary, because if he doesn’t he’s almost certainly going to end up endorsing a candidate whose agenda aligns with that of CAP and the D party establishment. Personally, I expect he will end up being be ratf**ked out of the nomination, and will then encourage his supporters to vote for a status quo candidate, most likely Biden or Harris, because Trump. I hope I am wrong and he wins the nomination, or, failing that, encourages his supporters to walk away from the D party and begin building a new party.

      1. turtle

        If I were Sanders and CAP, DNC, et al screwed me out of the election once again after doing it last time around, and knowing that this would be my last chance, I would run as an independent in the general. Familyblog the liberal establishment. Nothing left to lose.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          This time around, it will be crystal clear that’s what happened. And, as I keep saying, with an independent mailing list, media operation, and canvassing operation Sanders is much more powerfully strategically than he was in 2016. And he’s confident, which is what his willingness to take on CAP shows.

          Periodically, I remark that the Beltway “is a sack of pus waiting to burst.” If Sanders lances and drains CAP, that will be a good thing.

    6. Knifecatcher

      This might be the start of something I’ve been waiting a long time to see:

      Hippies punching back.

  4. cripes

    Oprah Winfrey Thought Avocados Were Too Expensive So She Bought an Orchard:

    But, but, another historic first.

    1. Quentin

      What’s the point of giving this woman attention. Sometimes ND seems to be tickled by gossipy trash. That woman has no idea how destructive the avocado rage is the agriculture of various countries, especially Chile. I don’t think she’d be especially concerned. After all, she makes money on her orchard—wanna bet on it?

      1. jrs

        Well if her orchard is in the U.S. and she makes money on it, I don’t think that’s part of the problem, because I don’t think that’s where most of the destruction caused by avocados is going on.

    2. Wukchumni

      I was having breakfast with my mom at her assisted living place with a Korean-American couple in their 90’s who are also residents, that bought a home in 1954 where I grew up in L.A., and seeing as the Haas avocado was invented the next town over, he was describing to me, literally an entire rural enclave full of avocado groves as far the eye could see, not one of which exists anymore, as single family homes pay property taxes, and guacamole doesn’t.

      1. coboarts

        We had avocado trees in San Diego’s east county, the Fuerte type. They were amazing. Once established, let the leaves build up underneath, prune out the dead wood, add a little cow in spring, and let the fruit be fruitful. We lost a few trees to shock after a major fire came close, but the rest produced incredible bounties. I gave away bags full every year. And it was the ability of the avocado to grow on steep hillsides with very limited water that helped usher in the era of drip irrigation. I know it’s fun to dump on Oprah, and I know what has happened to the avocado industry, but the avocado is one really great fruit tree, and I just wanted to send a little praise its way.

        1. Wukchumni

          My dad was mad about fruit & nut trees (black boxes for commercial jetliners ought to be made out of Macadamia shells, ha) and we had a couple of Haas trees that paid off like broken slot machines, just take the 10 foot long fruit picker with the clawed cage @ the end and pick as many as you’d like, or just wait for them to fall.

          1. coboarts

            We had a doberman who was getting fat, so we put her on a diet. Still, she got fatter. One day we discovered the truth. She was burying the avocados until they were ripe, then digging them up… explained the bad breath, too. – I wish more natural materials were put to better use, like Macadamia shells :-)

      2. JBird4049

        not one of which exists anymore, as single family homes pay property taxes, and guacamole doesn’t.

        I guess that is why Santa Clara County’s fruit orchards do not exist anymore too.

        1. Wukchumni

          This must’ve been many a county’s fiscal nightmare, back in the day.

          The Williamson Act of the US state of California (officially, the California Land Conservation Act of 1965) is a California law that provides relief of property tax to owners of farmland and open-space land in exchange for a ten-year agreement that the land will not be developed or otherwise converted to another use. The motivation for the Williamson Act is to promote voluntary land conservation, particularly farmland conservation.

        2. coboarts

          My first time up to Santa Clara County was in spring 1981. We came up to row with the Los Gatos High School Crew on Lexington Reservoir (go Aztecs!). Having grown up in San Diego’s east county, I knew the scene – terracing and foundations being laid everywhere. I live up here now, same same.

    3. Roger Smith

      You’re getting an avocado!
      You’re getting an avocado!
      And You’re getting an avocado!

      Can we forget Oprah yet?

      1. The Rev Kev

        Hey, that is one-time possible US Presidential candidate Oprah that you are talking about!

        1. Roger Smith

          “One-Time”? She’s on the top of my 2020 ticket! #Writeincampaign Just think about what all those expensive avocado sales could do for the GDP!

    4. Phacops

      The depth of my dislike for Opra’s magical thinking knows no bounds. We talk about the major anti-science frauds; the anti-vaxxers, the creationists, the flat earthers, without even discussing the brain rotting stupidity and self enforced ignorance that Oprah peddles as her way to understand the world.

      She doesn’t come off as an obvious crank and so her soft sell, like the gospel of money Joel Osteen preaches, is couched in positive terms, making her grift more palatable. Yet, at its ultimate, she appeals to t
      emotional, reptilian, thinking, asking only that your powers of reason be disengaged.

      How Oprah damages clear thinking and our relationship to our world is rarely discussed. But then, it would not matter to her supporters.

          1. Wukchumni

            Take the wayback machine to a Chautauqua with me, we’ll dial it up to arrive in 1899, ok?

            The most famous speech

            The most prolific speaker (often booked in the same venues with Bryan) was Russell Conwell who delivered his famous “Acres of Diamonds” speech 5,000 times to audiences on the Chautauqua and Lyceum circuits, which had this theme:

            “Get rich, young man, for money is power and power ought to be in the hands of good people. I say you have no right to be poor.”


      1. Plenue

        It is interesting how people like Jerry Springer and his many clones are often condemned as exploiting dumb people (in fact they usually aren’t particularly dumb, just poor), but Oprah somehow gets a pass.

        I think if anything she’s worse. She exploits both her guests and her gullible audience with an endless stream of bullshit (not to mention frequent crimes against literature with her book club). In her capacity as a purveyor of ‘human interest stories’ she’s nothing less than a modern carnival barker.

        1. newcatty

          Also include all of the armchair psychology she and her chosen “experts” and “professional ” academics and practitioners sell to the vulnerable audiences of her branded venues. This is one of the most dangerous of her snake oil. Armchair psychology is despicable since it can do a lot of harm to people who are going through any mental health issues. Its like diagnosing someone with any psychological “illness” without ever talking to them in person. By happenstance, at a hospital waiting area, I saw an O magazine. I was disgusted when two of the main articles highlighted on cover were along the lines of :Is she a collector or a hoarder? And, Is she a shy person or an introvert needing help to come out of her shell? The cruel: Can you let go and love yourself?

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          I love Jerry Springer. It came on at 4pm and id watch it before my parents came home, especially anything involving strippers, hookers, and lesbians.

          Picked up his biography at a truck stop during my greyhound bus days. Have to admit its kinda good.

    5. Anon

      Don’t know if that video interview is current or not, but this season California avocado’s are under quarantine for a contaminating virus. Eat as much as you like, Oprah.

    6. drumlin woodchuckles

      If life hands you lemons, make lemonade.
      If life hands you melons, make melonade.
      If life hands you demons, make demonade.

      I gather Oprah Winfrey is a culture leader and a figure of great respect in much of Black America. Perhaps the sight of Oprah Winfrey “growing her own avocados” might inspire those few-to-several-million American Black Americans who are in a theoretical position to garden personally for personal food . . . to garden personally for personal food. They might come to feel that if its good enough for Oprah, its good enough for them. And that would be a good outcome from all this.

  5. Wukchumni

    (How) American Collapse Resembles Soviet Collapse Umar Haque
    I see the Soviet Union-United States resemblance as being a Bizarro World, where everything collapsing is similar-yet different, take Gorbachev for instance, his reforms which were based on the new openness, well, we have the same thing here in our President, the exception being that he’s quite open about lying to us in one breath, and denying that he uttered such a thing with another.

    G.U.M. was our Amazon, albeit a completely different one-size-fits-all retailer, that sort of thing.

    All of the pretty ‘because markets!’ defense of capitalism has the feel of the a 5 hour plan-to make profits, and really who gives a rat’s patootie about the future?

    I’m not sure how GDP relates to our burgeoning homeless population, maybe as Gross Domestic Poor, fitting nicely with the Bizarro World we’ve become.

    1. Mike

      It is truly sad, and a phenomenal sign of our educational morass, that we still equate Communism with the car wreck that occurred in Russia and China. Haque does this, following the established rant the US has followed for decades. Anyone who can read can see the obvious difference between idea and practice there. So, two things to say here:

      1) All revolutions run out of “gas”, here being the anger and emotional gut that produced the uprising in the first place. Russia’s was spent within 3 years, and the tiredness and decimation of the lower leaders of the revolution in the civil war left a population bereft of desire and pre-occupied with survival. Enter Stalin, bureaucratic management, and the end of internationalism, the beginning of national “security” – yet, a complete secret police structure was needed to keep it docile, because Stalin could not produce prosperity, and rewards rose to the top as they do traditionally in class systems.

      2) Any form of democratic politics runs into the same exhaustion, and Haque is partly saying this is what is occurring here in the US. Further, it should be obvious that the ruling caste in this country studied and learned from both Nazi and Stalinist methods of mass control. Psychological tools are merely the veneer of the mailed fist, and “smart” citizens read this well, becoming docile in the face of possible loss of status, social support, job, even life. It’s called conformity, and it pays well if you keep your political head down and your appeasement head up. Nonetheless, all this can change and reverse on a dime given conditions, which produces revolutions in the craziest ways. Anyone expect socialism to be even mildly acceptable 15 years ago???

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think it is still debated today whether the Bolsheviks turned ‘anti-communist’ under Lenin (see Krondstadt Rebellion, Wikipedia).

        we (people reading that) get different arguments there.

        1. Alice X

          Search for Maurice Brinton – The Bolsheviks and Workers’ Control at Marxists dot org – It is 68k words but well worth the read. – Yesterday I put a reply with a link but it must have fallen into the spam filter.

  6. David D Chaney

    Pretty sure the Russians and Chinese already know all they need to know about the F-35s. First of all the Syrians shot down Isreali F-35 using an ancient (by military standards) missile launcher that Egypt is now trying to buy, much to the consternation of Trump and Uncle Sugar.

    They don’t fly well (or is it just fly invisibly) in rain. they decapitate pilots. They cost is too Damn high. They don’t work across the several military services, AF wants to keep its old planes. Their payload is limited.

    So riddle me this: Why, other than to annoy the U.S. would would China or Russia spend good money to dredge one up from the deep?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Agreed the plane is crap and now the US military are ordering planes like the F-15EXs to replace F-35s orders with. I have read that if the engine of the F-35 was recovered, that a lot could be learnt from them about engine construction. At the moment, if China and Russia sent in a fishing boat in the area, that there would be major freak-outs by the US and Japanese.

      1. Yikes

        The point of the article is to drum up more tax payer money for another vacuum cleaner – have you seen those films by Robert Ballard, etc of (real) Titanic, Bismark, various ships. That’s all tax payer, or more properly Bond Holder, funded work. This is just another marker for meritocratic proof of efficiency when they spend a fortune to recover the carcass of an aircraft that is no longer sucking on the teat of the public weel. Gotta grub every groat.

          1. ambrit

            Oh, thank you for this. Ballard is giving a public lecture at the local state College tomorrow night. I’ll try to ask him about this. (I’m really curious about the status of the Black Sea exploration scheme.)

          2. Yikes

            Yes, that’s the why in ‘why’ the bondholders / taxpayer is left holding the bag for the corruption.

            I don’t know anyone who would think the Navy was seriously going to do something about those reactors if they were leaking. I suspect the Navy would even regard leaking reactors as a positive because it might discourage the Russians from attempting to remove missiles or other items of strategic value for intelligence analysis. Mostly however I think it was regarded as an opportunity for various parties in the Pentagon to enrich themselves, one only needs to look at the 21 trllion missing to get an idea of the scale of corruption.

      2. WJ

        Given the behavior of the US, it would be irresponsible of Russia and China *not* to undertake any action which might in the future serve as some kind of deterrent to the empire’s death throes of rabid aggression.

        That said, it is my understanding that Russian engineering in jet and rocket propulsion is currently 5-10 years ahead of the US.

      3. Bill Smith

        The F-15EX are to replace worn out F-15 C/D’s. Given the constant wars the US has been involved in they are wearing out all the equipment using it many more hours a year than originally planned.

      1. Plenue

        It’s not clear that actually happened. The IDF was bragging that it was using F-35s in live operations, and then soon after announced one had been grounded due to a bird strike. No idea if that actually happened, or if Syria scored a kill.

    1. Svante Arrhenius

      Yay, we’re SAVED! I’d seen the one linked pdf elsewhere: but, notice how few spoke up, throughout Obama’s fawning promotion of monopoly multinational “free” trade agreements, where oligarch controlled Investor-State Dispute Settlement would make everything they do to us legal and anything we’d try, to disclose or protect ourselves felonious (across borders, regardless of existing laws, “rights” or regulations). Difficult not to notice ALL German beer was testing positive for Glyphosate and fungicides well before US microbrews. Almost like it was cleared as a dessicant there, for barley/oats/wheat before Bayer bought Monsanto?)

      Thank you for posting this!

  7. voislav

    Amazing bonus antidote. I was looking at the picture for a few minutes, could not see it for the life of me, until I saw a blow up further down in the thread. Now I can see it easily in the original picture. Brain is a marvellous thing.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      Mrs. Bunny saw it within seconds. I couldn’t see it for the life of me – and that’s a critter that could have eaten me!

      1. Wukchumni

        I’ve yet to see a mountain lion* in the Sierra Nevada, and wonder how often i’ve been seen by same?

        * so, a friend comes up to Mineral King for the 1st time a couple years ago and has a perfect sighting for about a minute, where it’s just laying on the trail and so it goes

        1. Brindle

          We had a mountain lion here in the Wasatch in Utah last summer. It was coming into a rural neighborhood picking off people’s cats and maybe a goat. I never saw it but added to the excitement of simple things like the morning walk and putting out the garbage bin.

          1. Wukchumni

            A fairly big sized cougar was picking off deer, goats, chickens & cats in our neighborhood a few years back and I heard it’s wails, but never saw it.

            Similar to a soundtrack from a 50’s horror film…

            Somebody filed a depredation order to stop the killing of livestock, so as to stalk & kill it, and the deed was done, and the deer done got more numerous, and the young ones were able to lay waste to sections of apple-lachia here, that wouldn’t have been around if the mountain lion had been left in it’s place as regulator.

      1. rps

        National Geographic: Illegal poaching continues to threaten the world’s ever dwindling population of snow leopards. But, at the Snow Leopard Trust in Kyrgyzstan, a group of conservationists is collaborating with local communities to yield big results.

    2. shtove

      I am furious! My patience ran out before I could spot it, even after the clue further down the thread. Furious!

        1. pretzelattack

          yeah at first i thought this was a closeup of some 6 inch icicles. nay, they are considerably larger than that.

    3. Otis B Driftwood

      I won’t give it away, but the trick to seeing it is understanding the scale. That’s what makes it difficult. For me, the landscape is much larger than my brain originally thought and only when I forced myself to try different sizes the animal jumped out at me. ;)

  8. Koldmilk

    The article “(How) American Collapse Resembles Soviet Collapse” proves its own point

    Sure, there are Democrats — like Elizabeth Warren — who really do have bold and brave plans to truly fix America’s Big Problems. But the strange thing is that they’re systematically ignored — when they’re not openly demonized.

    neatly by not mentioning Bernie Sanders. Ever.

    Which rather ironically highlights the article’s central thesis of the way dogma has captured the minds of the establishment and stifled dissent.

    1. Sutter Cane

      I noticed the omission of Bernie, too, and found it rather odd given how otherwise I could find little in the piece to disagree with

    2. JEHR

      Re: (How) American Collapse Resembles Soviet Collapse

      The communist Soviet Union collapsed and began to change into a capitalist economy (with the advice of American economists) by means of privatizing many public institutions and creating an oligarchic branch of monopoly billionaires who were supported by the dictatorship as long as they toed the political line in supporting the autocratic leader. The result is a strong leader with much public support who pretends to hold votes in elections but chooses his opponent or destroys those who might challenge him successfully.

      The American collapse was much slower and the change was from a predatory capitalistic economy (privatizing everything, deregulating everything, getting rid of taxes for the wealthy, destroying healthcare for all, etc.) to demeaned democratic institutions which began to destroy the rule of law. The autocratic leader pushed the limits of the rule of law and slowly destroyed the economic system by implementing many destructive ideas such as deregulation and imposing tariffs, by dismissing the importance of international organizations such as NATO, WTO and by changing many trade deals to suit the United States’ purposes. The president, apparently, is untouchable as long as he is the president. Think how much he can accomplish because he has become “teflon don.”

      1. John k

        NATO is intended to surround, contain, and ultimately force Russia to kneel to America. Should that org continue?
        China joined the wto with special rules that allowed it to protect young, important industries from western competition. Plus they are allowed to purchase our companies while us investors can only own 50% of a Chinese company… no control. Plus they have been free to copy and or steal technology. Should all this continue?
        Personally I think trumps moves I’m these areas are long overdue… and China is the dangerous adversary, not Russia… we would do better if we cooperate on several issues with the latter… eg syria.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Russia would have made an ideal partner and eventually they could have been made part of NATO. Obviously that is not what happened though. Too many interests want that country broken up and the richer regions hi-jacked by western business interests. And now we are at the point that if you make racist statements about Russia in the msm, you will never be called out on it. So now we have literally forced Russia to ally itself with China and under the umbrella of this massive geographical block, countries like Iran and Venezuela will take shelter. And typical Russians despise the west because they too can read what the west has been saying about them over the past coupla years. And China is now too powerful to attack and humiliate. Western statecraft at its best.

        2. wilroncanada

          They steal, you steal.
          But you also kill millions with impunity in order to steal.
          Resources. It’s all about resources.

    3. jrs

      You read too much into it, he’s probably just a Warren fan, some are. But yes it shows as much lack of exposure to what is out there as he is critiquing.

  9. allan

    2020 candidate Pete Buttigieg “troubled” by clemency for Chelsea Manning [CBS]

    From a month ago, but only just saw this.

    South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who launched a an exploratory committee in January to run for president in 2020 as a progressive Democrat, is criticizing former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden for disclosing classified information.

    Buttigieg left his day job as mayor to serve as a lieutenant in the Navy Reserve in Afghanistan in 2014, before returning to office. He said while deployed he was expected to read intelligence briefs before going on patrol and is criticizing Manning and Snowden, saying they abused their access to classified information. …

    Buttigieg also took aim at Snowden’s leaks … “I certainly agree that we’ve learned things about abuses and that one way or another that needed to come out,” Buttigieg said. “But in my view, the way for that to come out is through Congressional oversight, not through a breach of classified information.” …

    Sparkle ponies, MILO edition.

    1. jo6pac

      Buttigieg said. “But in my view, the way for that to come out is through Congressional oversight, not through a breach of classified information

      That’s funny

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        He’s for freedom, security, and democracy, not monarchy, danger, and tyranny. He’s for good things, not bad things. You may have heard of leading member of the #resistance and former poster child of the radical right, Joe Scarborough, but Morning Joe hasn’t been this excited since Ronald Reagan! All those people who were too young to be proper 60’s radicals except in a style sense who pushed the Democratic Party to the right have found their candidate!

        We will hear refrains about “how all we need to do is to listen to Mayor Pete.” South Bend has 100,000 people and is part of a county government, so he probably has to talk to a city council and a board of supervisors. 100,000 people! That’s 10 times the size of Wasilla. Republicans are going to love this guy. For every vote lost from the left, we are going to get like 12 no 13 Republicans votes! Did I mention Joe Scarborough? He’s on MSNBC.

        Mayor Pete is inspiring! I’m beginning to suspect this is an elaborate way to create a celebrity host for MSNBC.

      2. False Solace

        Cool, well Jimmy Dore showed us on Saturday how the CIA briefed Congress in detail about torture starting back in 2002, including Nancy Pelosi herself. So it seems like the “oversight” was more of an “overlook” and Manning was fully justified in doing what she did. Now that we’re clear on all that, I assume Buttigieg will vanish in a poof of logic.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the way for that to come out is through Congressional oversight, not through a breach of classified information

        That’s how they do it on the West Wing, for sure.

  10. The Rev Kev

    “Is the U.S. Prepared to Accept a Defeat in Venezuela? ”

    It seems that the longer this goes on, the more the plan falls apart. Colombia has been at the forefront of attacks on Venezuela such as the aborted “aid” convoy. But recently Trump went off his brain and said that Columbia had done nothing for the US (or did he mean Trump? He confuses the two in his mind). He said that drugs had gone up 50% since the present President had taken over. Well that went down like a lead balloon. Lately too Columbia has had problems with their pipelines through ELN rebel attacks but that must have reminded them what Venezuela could do to them in case they sponsored an attack on Venezuela. And through the attempted take-over of Venezuela, both Russia and China now have a firm foothold in South America. There will be sanctions and attacks diplomatically but the people of Venezuela have little desire to have the country turned into a neoliberal paradise. They have been there, done that, and have gotten the t-shirt.

    1. Wukchumni

      Don’t count the duopoly of Columbian Cartels in Humordor out just yet, our Bolt-On Tool kit still has a few tricks of the trait left in it.

  11. Summer

    Re: Brexit Heralds the Decline of Anglo-American Power

    “Above all, we need a democratic and prosperous Europe that doesn’t nurture anti-democratic forces, which today range from disgruntled Islamists to homegrown European neo-fascists, anti-Semites and racists.”

    No, you wouldn’t want to nurture racism, but on the other hand…

    “As demands grow for UN security council reform, post-Brexit Britain will no longer be able to count on EU support for the retention of its seat on the security council. The seat might eventually go to Germany; it’s more likely to leave western hands for Asia or Latin America.”

    And this:
    “As the outlines of the post-Brexit world grow clearer, Washington should be planning for a diminished Britain, a more obstreperous EU, a challenging United Nations Security Council, further NATO decline, and Scottish independence — at the very least. None of this will be good for the United States.”

    Wouldn’t want other countries to think they have any national interest. That is the dreaded “nationalism” and it is not good for United States…a concern that is obviously not nationalism.

    1. Craig H.

      What’s happened to the Santa Ana River homeless people since their motel stays expired?

      The last time the local police department public relations team was at my apartment complex the number two item the other tenants wanted to talk about was the guy who lives in an RV on the street out in front. Nobody complained that he had actually done anything. Litter, let his dog poop on the sidewalk, play his stereo too loud, whatever your neighbors complain about when they complain about each other. They objected to the fact that he existed. His RV is big and it makes the street look untidy or something. The police were very sympathetic with the people paying rent. The statutes permit him to stay there as long as he isn’t parked in the same spot for 72 consecutive hours. In Oakland they have to move at least a mile away but here all he has to do is move across the street. Cop actually told the complainers exactly how to get the law changed to make the loophole a thousand times tighter.

      He’s gone now. He was there for over a year. I saw him one time. He was putting oil in the engine or something.

      1. Wukchumni

        As far as camping spots go, the aforementioned campground in Whittier could accommodate another 100-200 tents, given the real estate holdings of a similar stature, as videos of the Santa Ana river homeless along the bike trail.

        There isn’t anything in the way of public restrooms anywhere nearby, you’d have to walk about 1/2 mile or so, in order to do your ‘business’ transaction.

    1. urblintz

      As a kid in Florida, the undeveloped land in my then sparsely developed neighborhood was laden with pine trees which were a favorite place for eagle’s nests. One of the older kids convinced my naive self that it would be cool if he threw a rope over an adjacent limb and haul me up to see what was inside those eagle’s nests, since there were no eagles anywhere. I agreed, despite my antipathy to heights, and when i got up there and looked in a huge owl flew out. I remember at the time that what surprised me most was its enormous wingspan and it remains one of my most vivid childhood memories.

    2. Off The Street

      Those special feathers at the wingtips make for silent flight. That can be startling when an owl swoops by you from behind, just a few feet away. You get that peripheral vision impact without other sensory inputs, so a wonderful introduction to more mysteries of nature, and some fight-or-flight sensation, too.

  12. DJG

    Umair Haque, definitely today’s must-read because of how he describes the increasingly limited set of options in the Anglo-American world. Less and less is being portrayed as Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness.

    Middle of his article:

    That brings me to my fourth parallel between Soviet and American collapse — self-referentialism. In the USSR, nobody much discussed anything that happened outside the USSR. Nobody said: “hey, maybe we should build an economy like Germany’s…a healthcare system like France…a retirement system like Spain.” And that’s exactly the case in America. It’s Sunday today — the “political talk shows” are on. And what really makes them strange, bizarre, special, is that on them, the world is never, ever discussed. Except in the context of war, of blowing it up. But learning from it? Understanding it? Knowing it? Forget it — nobody on an American talk show has ever once said, “maybe we should have a healthcare system like France”…not to mention a column or article.

    Yep, American discourse has been stuck for some time, conveniently, at freedom fries.

    1. RopeADope

      I agree Umair’s article was very good. I have not seen the self-referentialism part described quite so well before. As the linked article was such a good read I perused some of Umair’s others and what I saw is causing me to digress from today’s article.

      It appears he makes the same mistake Chomsky does in conceiving where humanity is at this point in history. Fascism was an outcome of state capitalism, we exist within a global capital framework today and references to fascism or ultra-nationalism miss the moment. The forces that manifested during the period of fascism will now manifest within the global framework itself. This is why John Bolton’s foreign policy is based on removing democratic impulses from the supra-national power structure. Ultra-nationalism is being spread to create a weakness in the global power structure so that control can be seized by a smaller fascistic power base.

      World polity theorists such as those employed by Stanford are completely blind to the danger of this moment, your best bet to explore this danger further would be realists who pay more attention to balancing the interests of the various actors in world politics. The Boomer policy delusion espoused by places like Stanford has led to think tanks like Center for American Progress taking donations from many of the main actors behind Bolton’s push for a supranational fascistic-like structure.

    2. Chris Cosmos

      I too found your quote very compelling. All societies tend to be insularn but the US is the most insular society in the developed world that I know of. The “debate” over health-care during Obama’s first term showed this up dramatically. There was no interest in the media or the political class in the experience of other societies. There was little mention of comparative statistics. Even very progressive Americans don’t know that most developed countries don’t have single payer but a variety of systems that make basic care universal, in other words, they regard health-care as a public utility available to all and not a profit source for capitalists. Nothing has changed since Obamacare passed. The mainstream media steadfastly refuses to look at alternatives and ANY reform of the health-care system because they rarely if ever (I know of not instance) where they report on the fact that the US system costs twice the amount of the OECD average and that the government already spends as much in health-care as Canada does which offers universal coverage. Why? Because of corruption–all systems, as was the case in the dying days of the Soviet Union, are systemically corrupt such that they can only be reformed through radical change.

      However, I don’t see collapse anytime soon. The system we live under is waaaay more sophisticated and robust than the Soviet system could even dream about. Plus we have a population that enthusiastically is willing to pull the wool over their own eyes as we can see from the Russia collusion myth. Americans seem quite happy to have to spend most of their lives going paycheck to paycheck. I see a lot of people and few of them care for politics except as a means of recreation.

      1. jhallc

        Isn’t ” self-referentialism” just another way of saying “American Exceptionalism”. We are the best, so why bother looking elsewhere. Or even worse, trying to force our ideas on everyone else.

        1. Plenue

          I guess it’s a way to explain something I’ve noticed: America thinks it’s exceptional, the rest of the world presumably consisting of pathetic peasants living in their own filth, while also forever being unable to achieve things those peasants have had for decades. Maybe we just aren’t aware high-speed rail and non-crappy airports exist elsewhere on the planet.

        2. Chris Cosmos

          I’m not sure that’s entirely it–I think a component of that is the tendency to try to simplify our map of reality in our world of seemingly endless complexity.

          1. jrs

            +1 and information overload anyway, not that the trends haven’t been around awhile. But if you can’t keep up with all the details of all the latest news anyway … who has time for following everything in other countries?

            You could spend forever down the rabbit hole on just U.S. centric news like Assange or Russiagate, claims and counter claims and conspiracies, and we the mopes may never be allowed to have full knowledge regardless, though I have a stance. And hey there’s the latest Trump tweet! It’s outrageous! And there are a dozen and ever growing number of candidates running for the Democratic primary and gotta watch all their presentations and research all their voting records …

            Never mind what is really going on on the ground level of your society (and why are their so many homeless anyway? how did that happen?), much less the latest news on ecological collapse (the Arctic and the Antarctic!). And how did things get so screwed up in the U.S. anyway, and so one has one or another book on labor and political history in the U.S. with them always. And never even mentally left U.S. shores.

            And then is U.S. news about other countries even believable, what’s really going on in Venezuela (uh oh down the rabbit hole …), what went on in Brazil?

            And this not for intellectuals and academics but Joe Schmoe with a job and a family.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “60 Minutes: Australia’s recycling lie exposed: Plastics being dumped, buried and burned in Malaysia”

    On my trips down to Sydney I saw how things had changed since we had moved. Homes had at least three different sorts of plastic garbage bins outside and each with different colours to signify what sort of waste those families had spent the time dividing their trash into. And I am willing to bet that not even one out of a hundred had a clue that it was all being packed aboard a diesel-spewing boat to China for dumping. Maybe not even one out of a thousand. Man, all that virtue-signalling gone to waste.

    1. Wukchumni

      I found the Chinese using this reason for a hold-up as game as Ned Kelly, eerily similar to them saying ixnay on recyclables, eh?

      “It remains unclear why Australian imports have been targeted for the hold-ups at customs. Official explanations from China have mentioned the need for environmental checks and even a suggestion that imports needed to be checked for radioactivity.”~Guardian

    2. Jerri-Lynn Scofield

      Yes, depressing. But I found encouraging the Guardian link about three UK businesses that reduce the use of plastics. We need more of such efforts: that’s the direction we need to go. And less recycling virtue signalling.

      1. Wukchumni

        Why is much beloved Mexican Coke/Pepsi only available in glass bottles?


        Like many a budding capitalist on here, in the late 60’s-early 70’s, I gleaned a tiny living from picking up soda bottles at home construction sites, that were good for 3 or 5 Cents depending on size. Here’s the odd wrinkle though. The Mexican ones had no deposit value, down under. They were definitely recycled bottles though, oftentimes looking a bit haggard from being on it’s 53rd refill.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Simple fix: packaging laws. Germany has them, and when you buy a broom there it has a simple sticker attached. Buy a broom in America and you get a giant non-recyclable plastic condom around the entire sweeper area with marketing fluff printed all over it.

        But I’m sure we can’t have that, because 3 billionaires simply must have that second private island.

    3. Tom Doak

      I’m all in favor of recycling, but it is pretty amazing that Australia outsources this to China, and can’t find enough land to site a very large landfill.

  14. allan

    How a powerful ex-lawmaker move to UBS ranks in the revolving-door game [Marketwatch]

    Following in the footsteps of other influential ex-lawmakers, former House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling this month scored a job in the financial industry — with UBS, in the Texas Republican’s case.

    It’s hardly a novel maneuver. Other politicians who once chaired that committee or its Senate equivalent have made similar moves as they left office.

    Former Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Barney Frank took a seat on Signature Bank’s SBNY, -0.52% board of directors after running that House panel from 2007 to 2011, while former Ohio GOP Rep. Mike Oxley became a lobbyist for Finra, a securities-industry group, after chairing the committee from 2001 to 2007. …

    “Going into the private sector — where one will be compensated primarily for one’s contacts in government — that is all too familiar,” said Jeff Hauser, founder and director of the Revolving Door Project, which aims to track corporate political influence. His project is part of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a left-leaning think tank.

    At the same time, Hensarling’s decision to join a particular company, rather than some other enterprise, could be part of a relatively new and growing trend, according to Hauser.

    “It is a little more unusual to go in-house for a specific corporation, rather than go to a law firm or a lobbying shop or a trade association,” he told MarketWatch. “You might actually see this sort of maneuver more frequently in the future, because the relative opacity about what’s going on at a financial institution as big as UBS is such that you can not only avoid registering as a lobbyist, but even if you’re doing lobbyist-like activities, it’s going to be pretty hard for anyone on the outside to know.”…

    “lobbyist-like activities” – what’s not to like? You get the 0.1% lifestyle without all those pesky forms to fill out.

  15. Stanley Dundee

    New from C. J. Hopkins on establishment-friendly responses to Assange arrest:.

    …given the arrest of Julian Assange last week, and the awkward and cowardly responses thereto, I felt it necessary to abandon my customary literary standards and spew out a spineless, hypocritical “hot take” professing my concern about the dangerous precedent the U.S. government may be setting by extraditing and prosecuting a publisher for exposing American war crimes and such, while at the same time making it abundantly clear how much I personally loathe Assange, and consider him an enemy of America, and freedom, and want the authorities to crush him like a cockroach.

      1. jrs

        do the American people even support Assange? I have my doubts at this point, the propaganda has been so thick. If not there are no points to win, even if Trump was other than he is, a short term narcissist just in it for himself. Meanwhile even though he was never trustworthy, Obama has literally been better for Assange than Trump.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        The DLC Wall Street Clintobamacrats don’t want Sanders or Gabbard or Warren nominated. It is not a lack of brains and guts. It is deliberate service to the upperclass and the overclass. That is why they are conspiring so hard this far ahead of time to force the Convention into brokership.

        But what triggers moving from having ballot after ballot after ballot . . . into accepting a brokered convention nominee? Anything specific? Or just all the factions wearing out enough that each factional leader meets with all the others to co-broker the Convention?

        What if the Sanders/Warren/Gabbard faction never did wear out? And never would wear out?
        And kept rejecting every call for a brokered Convention? And kept forcing vote after vote after vote with no end in sight?

        And what if the convention went into a hundredth vote? And then a hundred-and-wunth vote? And then a hundred-and-twoth vote? And what if the combined vote totals for Gabbard/Warren/Sanders remained close enough to 50% that the Superdelegates could never beat this mass of delegates into defeat and acceptance of brokership?

        Perhaps the level of hatred could be raised high enough that the Warren/Sanders/Gabbard side would finally come to accept that the Neera Tandecrat Party needs to be exterminated from existence and incinerated off the face of the American political map. Perhaps “progressive” DemParty voters in the field would finally be ready to vote strategically to exterminate every Neera Tandecrat there is in every office there is. A Sanders/Warren/Gabbard “loss” to Trump would be worth it IF it led to the comprehensive extermnation of the Neera Tandecrats from the pages of history once and for all. Because then the Neera Tandecrats would no longer be in existence to pollute politics and interfere with the Sanders/Warren/Gabbard Lone-Survivor Wing of the Party when the next New Deal Opportunity arrives.

  16. The Rev Kev

    “America vs China”

    This article reminded me of a video that I came across recently which is in two halves. The first features film clips from a major Chinese military parade set to the music ‘Hell March’. Yeah, cue the Clone War jokes but what I see is a very sharp performance which is very impressive in its precision. The second half shows the training that went into getting those troops up to parade performance and is even more impressive with all that hard work and attention to detail.
    The point of bringing this up at all is this. You look at their performance and what you can see is dedication, hard work and relentless practice. And I wonder if the Chinese are also putting the same effort into their combat skills and the equipment and doctrine that they use. This is not your grand-pappy’s People’s Liberation Army but is something else. And the worry for me is that some countries going into a conflict with them and underestimating them.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If China beats America in altruism, the world can rejoice.

      And if the Middle Kingdom is better at military parades or at combat skills than Uncle Sam, peaceniks can find nothing to celebrate there.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        MLTPB, maybe you can enlighten: isn’t “The Central Kingdom” a better translation than “The Middle Kingdom”?

        Much different meaning.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s a good question, OTPBDH.

          I don’t know for sure, but perhaps it has to do with the Doctrine of the Mean (中庸).

          From Wikipedia,

          The Doctrine of the Mean or Zhongyong is both a doctrine of Confucianism and also the title of one of the Four Books of Confucian philosophy. The text is attributed to Zisi or Kong Ji, the only grandson of Confucius. It was published as a chapter in the Classic of Rites.

          The phrase “doctrine of the mean” first occurs in Book VI, verse 29 of the Analects of Confucius:

          The Master [Confucius] said, The virtue embodied in the doctrine of the Mean is of the highest order. But it has long been rare among people
          — Analects, 6:29 (Burton Watson tr.)

          The Chinese word for ‘Mean’ (中) is the same as the word used for Zhongguo ,中國 (See below).

          Though ‘the Mean Kingdom’ doesn’t sound too nice.

          From Names of China, Wikipedia:

          Zhōngguó is the most common sinitic name for China in modern times. The first appearance of 中國 on an artifact was in the Western Zhou on a ritual vessel known as He zun.[3] It is formed by combining the characters zhōng (中) meaning “central” or “middle”, and guó (國/国), representing “state” or “states”; in contemporary usage, “nation”. Prior to the Qin unification of China “Zhongguo” referred to the “Central States”; the connotation was the primacy of a culturally distinct core area, centered on the Yellow River valley, as distinguished from the tribal periphery.[4] In later periods, however, “Zhongguo” was not used in this sense. Dynastic names were used for the state in Imperial China and concepts of the state aside from the ruling dynasty were little understood.[1] Rather, the country was called by the name of the dynasty, such as “Han dynasty” (Hanchao 漢朝), “Tang dynasty” (Tangchao 唐朝), “The Great Ming” (Daming 大明), “The Great Qing” (Daqing 大清), as the case might be. Until the 19th century when the international system came to require a common legal language, there was no need for a fixed or unique name.[5]

          And this:

          Zhongguo appeared in a formal international legal document for the first time during the Qing dynasty in the Treaty of Nerchinsk, 1689.

          Plus much more interesting information there (including a mention of a Tang Dynasty Nestorian Stele naming China as Zhongguo).

          In any case, Zhonggua could be translated in other ways, and it didn’t always mean China (and China was not always the China we think of today, territory-wise or the make up of the peoples within it).

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        Do you mean the altruism they show in Tibet?
        Or the altruism they show in Sinjiang?
        Or perhaps some other altruism?

    1. Geo

      Implied is that people should/will move to places where there isn’t as much chance of death and destruction.

      Judging by how the impacts seem fairly wide spread and somewhat unpredictable regarding when they occur, it seems basing residency on climate change impacts is like playing “Wack-a-Mole” with your life.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Cities will become death traps. Only greater fools would move INto New York City or New Orleans or Miami or wherever just ahead of rising oceans, falling supply chains, collapsing life-support grids, etc.

    1. edmondo

      That’s a pretty small survey sample. I wouldn’t trust anything under 400 — and does it really matter 10 months from the first voting?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Isn’t the aim for Sanders not be just leading, but getting more than 50%?

        Perhaps more (to have room to account for convention rigging).

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          That’s why I have suggested from time to time that the Sanders, Warren, and Gabbard groups ALL study in detail the numbers of delegates that EACH and ALL of those three primary/caucus candidates end up getting.

          Their only hope for reaching 50% on the first ballot is if all three of their earned-groups-of-delegates all decide in advance to All all ALL unanimously decide to pool all their votes for whichever of the three candidates has the biggest subset of delegates to begin with.

          If they can’t do that , ( and it seems against hulman nature to think that they could), they could at least hang tough and force ballot after ballot and keep it going for hundreds of rounds of balloting if that’s what it takes to wear out and break down the Neera Tandecrat delegates and superdelegates. If there is to be a brokered convention, it must be the Sanders/Warren/Gabbard side which does the brokering. Meaning the brokering of which of those three people is to be the PrezNom, which the VicePrezNom, and which to be the Third Most Powerful person in a sorta progressive Administration or Executive Branch.

    2. Left in Wisconsin

      One nice thing they did was ask Biden supporters who their second choice was. With no Biden, doing the math, looks like this:
      Bernie: 36-37%
      Mayor Pete: 13%
      Beto: 12%
      and down from there.

      1. Geo

        Who are these people that have Biden as a first pick and Sanders as a second? That’s like saying, “I’m in the mood for a triple bacon cheeseburger but if you don’t have that I’ll have a carrot”.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The narrative of Democrats as feckless exists. Not every HRC voter was a neo-Republican from the professional class, voting a short term, narrow class interest. Many of her voters believed in a secret liberal Hillary or believed HRC’s previous treatment at the hands of Republicans means she would be willing to fight them. Biden, what ever else he is, likes to play a tough guy on tv, and if you believe the problem with Obama is his weakness, Joe Biden might seem like a reasonable person as he largely exists as a character from tv.

          Since Biden is part of the Obama Administration, people who don’t put much thought into how elections are won might conclude Biden “knows how to win” or possesses a kind of special experience due to having lived at the Naval Observatory.

          Hillary didn’t push the narrative that she was Sanders but more practical for shits and giggles. She did it because policy and philosophy aside she makes a good deal of sense as a candidate compared to Sanders. Obama pushed the narrative of both how he inherited so many problems (despite running for President) and unprecedented Republican obstructionism because he can’t come out and say he didn’t want to pass even the health care reforms that he ran on in 2008. Its anecdotal, but a Biden supporter I know believes we should have free college and universal healthcare. He knew nothing about Joe Biden except that he was a stronger version of the fictional Obama. A Sanders run didn’t make sense to him because Sanders wasn’t doing anything HRC wasn’t doing in his mind.

          For the future also rans, they will suffer a similar problem Sanders had which is why they are running. If Biden is out, his support defaults to Sanders. These shallow people don’t know these also rans, just like they didn’t know Sanders in 2016.

          1. JohnnyGL

            This is a good comment. Team Dem has spent years mastering the art of coming up with excuses for not delivering and managing down expectations for its base (along with changing the composition of that base).

            A lot of the work the left has to do is

            1) expanding imaginations – Things CAN get better and you deserve better (get those demands and expectations back UP HIGHER!)


            2) demonstrating the contrasting splits in team dem and show who’s on what side.

            From this perspective, the public comments of AOC being ‘meh’ on Biden, Pelosi belittling the left, Sanders firing shots at CAP, lots of people piling on Rep. Omar and some defending her and some only vaguely doing so.

            These kind of things are a lot more clear and in your face than the passive-aggressive, passive voice comments from Obama. It’s not what we’re used to, but it’s refreshing and I hope to see more of it. We need to see a picture painted where Pelosi can clearly be demonstrated as: ‘soft on trump, hard on intraparty rebels’.

            My only bone to pick is that you’ve called some voters ‘shallow’. I don’t think that’s right. I’ve got friends with graduate degrees (not big political junkies) that are poorly informed about who the democrats really are and can easily support any of the candidates, but generally sympathizes with Bernie’s ideas. If people like the friend I’m thinking of can’t see the differences, it’s because team dem and their media allies have spent years throwing sand in people’s eyes and confusing them. The disinformation campaign worked quite well, and it takes time to undo it.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Will Biden’s delegates do that, in case he leaves at some point, or will they vote Biden’s endorsement?

  17. pjay

    Re: ‘How ‘Russiagate’ Has Reshaped American and Russian Public Opinion’ – The Nation

    No surprise that after years of anti-Russia propaganda — and policy — by the US, citizens in both countries would see each other as “more rivals than partners.” Also no surprise that Democrats suffer much greater Derangement than Republicans, given the partisan use of this narrative against Trump. But cynic that I am, a few passages struck me in this article, starting with the opening paragraph:

    “While the Mueller report has yet to be released, Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary of the report’s findings assert that the special counsel’s investigation found evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election but none of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.”

    “Evidence of Russian interference.” Hmm. This sets up another interesting statement:

    “In Russia, fully 78 percent of those polled believe their country’s foreign policy is the reason behind the decline in relations with the United States.”

    Really? It would be nice if this were explained more fully. What aspects of their country’s foreign policy were blamed by 78 percent of Russians for this decline? I couldn’t tell from the article or the links supplied. There was also this statement, reinforcing the implications of the opening paragraph:

    “According to the report, ‘Russian interference in the 2016 election has clearly impacted how Democrats view the US relationship with Russia’.”

    Note that “Russian interference” is simply stated as fact in the report cited by author James Carden. What report? One based on “A timely new poll taken by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and Russia’s respected, independent Levada Center…”

    Until 2006 the Chicago Council on Global Affairs was The Chicago Council on Foreign Relations; the connotations of that name still apply. The “independent” Levada Center, whose “senior staff have been trained in the USA and Western Europe” (from their website), was required to register as a foreign agent by Russia in 2016 because of its overseas funding. Just sayin’.

    Wittingly or not, this is how the boundaries of acceptable discourse are established for the “compatible left.” More articles in The Nation by Cohen and Mate, please.

    1. Chris Cosmos

      I think the full-throated support of “Russian interference” with the election, btw, the term means nothing whatever unless it meant Russia physically altered the vote or kept people from voting. We could say, for example, that the fact RT has people like Chris Hedges on their channel might meant they are “interfering” with the election since Hedges favors the Green Party usually.

      The real reason both parties are lining up to support the Russia narrative, and it will be a key part of next year’s election, is because this gives the oligarchs a clear path in shutting down dissent as we have already seen by calling it “Russian interference” and even making criminals out of dissenting journalists. Most Americans, as has been shown many times, do not favor civil liberties for people they regard as dangerous or enemies of the State. We are moving rapidly on the “left” in particularly towards a truly bi-partisan fascist state. I always cite this but it is important to keep in mind–despite massive and almost ridiculous levels of corruption and failure 74% of the American people approve of the US military. That to me signals that, at some point, we are going to have some kind of military or military-lite rule and it will be done to protect us from the Russians. As long as this is only for Orwellian reasons (the actual leaders know that Russia is on threat) and does not involve actual war–maybe that’s the best we can hope for in the future.

      1. Synoia

        We have to have “Russian Interference” to prevent us from the machinations of the people in Washington who count (votes).

        Personally I find the Russians like socialized medicine, and the political consultant class in DC modeled after the current for profit US health care system.

        Very expensive and with good outcome$ for operators of the system.

  18. JohnnyGL

    For those who want their optimism to be data-driven….all emerson polls below…

    4-11 to 4-14 – Sanders-29, Biden-24 – Sanders+5
    3-17 to 3-18 – Sanders-26, Biden-26 – Tie
    2-14 to 2-16 – Sanders-17, Biden-27 – Biden+10
    12-6 to 12-9 – Sanders-22, Biden-26 – Biden+4

    Also interesting, seems to be that Buttigieg’s rise looks to be at the expense of O’Rourke and Harris. They both lost a few points.

    1. Synoia

      Holding the Democratic Primaries under Circus Maximus rules to find the winner would be a good spectacle.

      With Pelosi as Emperor of the Democratic Games.

  19. Wukchumni

    Took an Uber for perhaps the 4th and 5th times, and its easy to see the appeal, 4 of us went around 8 miles for $8 (my sister had a 30% discount gig) in what would’ve been a $25 fare in a taxi. The drivers seemed to relish the platform as a way to temporarily have a social life, but I couldn’t see how one could make a living being a cager for hire, as there’s no money in it.

    1. Yves Smith

      A cab driver drove for Uber for 2 weeks and asked all his passengers what they paid. They cooperated pretty much all the time. He had data on ~200 rides.

      He said that new Uber users get particularly heavy subsidies.

      1. Wukchumni

        Image really is everything, and Julian looking like a Newsandrathal isn’t a winning entry.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Assange in not being forgotten. Remembering Assange, growing furious over his treatment, tracking the details of his torments, and wondering about torments that will never find their way into any current news — what purpose is served? Is it apathetic to recognize crushing futility?

      1. The Rev Kev

        People forget that even though Sanders has a lot of progressive ideas and values, he is still a paid up member of the establishment. That is why he was fully aboard with Russiagate, protecting Hillary from the email accusations during 2016, and lately the attempts to go after Venezuela. I am not saying not to vote for the guy next year. All I am saying is to remember all the high hopes for changes with Obama after eight years of Bush and what happened after he got in. I think that Sanders is definitely one whose feet you will have to keep to the fire to make him keep his commitments once in power.

  20. Wukchumni

    Floral tip:

    We were practically dumbstruck yesterday by the awesome display of carpets of yellow and gold in the Grapevine section of Interstate 5, near Fort Tejon, @ an altitude of say 3,500 down to 2,500 feet nearing the Central Valley floor, where the artist’s palatte suddenly ran out of ink. Hillsides shimmering as if they were holograms while your head swiveled @ 70 mph, to the ecstasy of golden poppies soaring on either side

    In a spring of unprecedented showings springing up, another beauty.

  21. rps

    Guardian reports on the crossover between pollution and racism; “We’re not a Dump”. Birmingham Residents and nearby counties are outraged over treated sewage (poo) transported by train and truck from New York and New Jersey along with other states toxic waste that is dumped into Alabama landfills.

    Alabama, home for 173 operational landfills (that’s 35 landfills for every million residents compared to NY with 3 landfills per million residents) has infamously become the dumping grounds of the Nation. From Across the country, besides treated sewage, toxic waste including 4 million tons of potentially hazardous coal ash (unlined coal ash storage ponds contain mercury and arsenic toxins) arrives by train and dumped near Alabama’s poor, rural communities, many with large African American populations.

  22. Cal2

    “Red Summer”
    100 years ago. The perpetrators of that are all dead for several generations.

    Let’s focus instead on the living: The Rodney King riots on Los Angeles a mere 25 years ago, when white and hispanic people were pulled out of cars and beaten to death for not being black. Those criminals still walk the streets.

    The Vogue Teen article is grievance hustling to sell ad space for makeup,useless online services and yet another chocolate chip on someone’s shoulder. Thank Elaine Welteroth for further poisoning the American civic well to promote [one] of her parent’s race based insecurities, and possibly promote the other’s philosophies.

    It is really pro-Trump re-election propaganda to invigorate apathetic white voters who are tired of being blamed for the Original Sin of being white. Notice how many small donations President Trump is getting?

  23. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “Global Commodity Chains and the New Imperialism” — The statistics in this review are sobering. I didn’t realize the World Input-Output Database: Socio Economic Accounts (WIOD-SEA) existed, although the news that it is now available for download only teases my ignorance in how to make use of it. Unrelated to the review’s interest in furthering Marxist theories of labor exploitation, I wondered whether there might be some way to extend the model by adding measures for the ability of consumers to consume the products of the global supply chains as more of them became unemployed and underemployed and as prices and costs of living increase while the share of labor in all economies declines or remains static. Unless something changes the global economy seems to be grinding toward a collapse. I was also disappointed the review didn’t explore the power relations — independent of cost savings — that I believe characterize some of the outsourcing of labor, especially in cases where a few cartels have particularly strong control over their markets.

  24. skk

    Re: Teen Vogue on the racist riots in Red Summer 1919.

    An excellent article. It even quotes Harry “Black Bolshevik” Haywood ! I read his autobiography in the early ’80s. It made a big impression on me.

  25. vidimi

    tragedy here in paris as notre dame is burning down. watched the fire in person for a few minutes from about 200m away. after a few cinders landed on me, i couldn’t bare the sadness any more. terrible to outlive something so monumental that has been around for 850 years. was hoping future generations could also admire the gothic genius but that is increasingly a vanishing possibility.

    1. newcatty

      Yes, vidimi…tragic and brought this American to tears. It is symbolic of the loss of sacredness of the places that are beyond any religion ( though , of course, for those whom have that faith that is the essence of loss). My heartfelt condolences.

  26. newcatty

    This a tragedy for all of the people in the world, who believe in the sacredness of hallowed places. Of course, no words can express what is sadness for France.

  27. JerryDenim

    FT Article, “Autonomous Machines: grappling with Boeing lessons”

    I have some major problems with the framing of this article. As I see it there are two major overarching themes primarily responsible for the twin Boeing 737 Max disasters, they are: (#1.) The horrible effects of neo-liberalism’s total victory- Boeing engineering crapification and regulatory capture (#2.) Aviation industry over-dependence on automation and the enfeebling of basic pilot skills due to the crutch of automation.

    While I applaud the fact that the Financial Times is willing to shine the spotlight of the twin 737 Max disasters on automation and not just Boeing’s design flaws and slap dash certification process, sadly most of the FT’s discussion surrounding automation amounts to little more than a red herring. Yes, the old dictum surrounding user error and ‘garbage in, garbage out’ applies, but that’s always an issue with any machine interface and not unique to aviation. Furthermore that’s not what looks to have happened with Lion Air 610 or Ethiopian 302. Yes, human machine interfacing and automation mode confusion is a concern and has been a primary factor in other recent aviation accidents, but again, no, that is not what made trouble with either of the recent Boeing 737 Max disasters. The painfully obvious 800lb gorilla that the article goes to great lengths to not acknowledge, is that heavy use of automation inevitably leads to a degradation of human skill and capacity. In the case of Ethiopian 302, even worse, it appears the crew never even managed to form the basic skills necessary for the safe performance of their duties because of chronic automation dependency that appears to be built into the airline’s training curriculum and flight philosophy.

    The article solely relies on quotes and the opinions from people employed by the “automation solutions” industry and as Upton Sinclair might predict, unsurprisingly, their opinions are blinkered and exude a tone-deaf false triumphalism. To be more precise the article engages in some very heavy duty false causality that a quick Google search should be able to debunk.

    Nevertheless, there is powerful evidence that carefully-implemented automation has saved many lives.

    Steve Casner, a research psychologist for Nasa, the US aeronautics and space agency, points out that, as recently as 30 years ago, fatal airline crashes were relatively common in the US. In 1989, 259 passengers died in five separate fatal incidents involving US-owned commercial aircraft. But it is now 10 years since a Colgan Air flight crashed near Buffalo, New York, in February 2009, killing 49 people — the last fatal crash of a US-owned commercial airliner. Other advanced economies have seen similarly sharp improvements in safety.

    Mr Casner, who was involved in developing many of the automated systems now in use, says that 20 years ago he would never have thought the present safety record possible. He believes the introduction of automation to help pilots has played a key role.

    “We did something right and we spread the ideas throughout the industry, especially to pilots — they participated every step of the way,” says the California-based Mr Casner. “I feel that we did something great here. We made it work and we took safety a step forward.”

    Well it’s nice for Mr. Casner that he feels entitled to take a bow, but that’s one heck of a leap and a bizarre bit of false attribution/ false causality on his part. Equating all of the aviation safety gains since 1989 with increased automation without any underlying proof makes no sense, especially since the autopilot was invented in 1914 and advanced automated systems have been common on airliners since the 1950’s. If automation was truly the cause of this great safety miracle you would expect to see a safety dividend starting sometime in the 1950’s, but that never happened. Well perhaps the 1950’s during the early day of automation adoption is too tall of an ask, but surely these amazing automation safety benefits would have shown themselves by the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s when advanced automation was standard equipment on every large airliner, but no, again that’s not what happened, so why such an outrageous claim lacking any factual evidence? Automation like any other powerful mechanized technology is tool, and like any other mechanized technology, say a chainsaw or a cotton gin, it can save you a lot of sweat and labor, or it can kill you just as easily. It’s just a tool, and it’s safe or unsafe usage is up to the humans that harness it. As the NRA might say, airplanes don’t kill people, unsafe pilots doing dangerous things in airplanes kill people. Automated technology is just a tool and by itself confers no automatic safety benefit.

    What did change around 1989? That was approximately the time the study of “Human Factors” or “Crew Resource Management” (CRM) achieved widespread acceptance and adoption by US Airlines. It was an absolute sea-change in philosophy and cockpit practices and is the more widely accepted explanation among experts for the unprecedented and drastic improvement in aviation safety that was witnessed in the 1990’s through today. The original Human Factors CRM has evolved into the more modern “Threat and Error Management” framework which has been wildly successful and adopted by many other industries including medicine.

    More and more, as a new generation of pilots accustomed to increasingly advanced navigational and automated aircraft from the early phases of their primary training move rapidly into large, sophisticated and automated airplanes without much hand flying or raw data flying experience, we increasingly see perfectly good airplanes crash not due to poor communication, dysfunctional power dynamics among crew or sloppy cockpit discipline as we did in the 1970’s and 80’s, but rather the creation of a cadre of pilots who can’t actually fly because of the automation. Everything is Jake when everything is working and nothing malfunctions , but if something breaks and the automated systems which some pilots desperately rely upon become unavailable or compromised, bad things can happen and small oversights can quickly become deadly. In other instances like Asiana 214, maybe nothing breaks or malfunctions, but pilots overly reliant on automation and unsure of their own abilty to fly the airplane of which they are in charge hesitate or refuse to take action when a user error or oversight causes confusion or a dangerous state that demands a quick transition to hand flying and manual inputs.

    Automation makes an excellent servant but a horrible master. Automation in the hands of a proficient, well trained crew that takes care to maintain their basic hand flying skills can make them safer and more efficient. But over-reliance on automation over time can cause the most skilled pilot’s skills to atrophy and even worse, automation can make a weak incompetent pilot who is unable to pilot his craft without assistance appear more capable than they actually are.

    1. dcrane

      Thanks for that detailed post….it’s interesting to hear the proposed link to the development of modern CRM. When did TCAS become widely used? Has this been a major factor as well? (I can’t get the FT articles.)

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > What did change around 1989? That was approximately the time the study of “Human Factors” or “Crew Resource Management” (CRM) achieved widespread acceptance and adoption by US Airlines. It was an absolute sea-change in philosophy and cockpit practices and is the more widely accepted explanation among experts for the unprecedented and drastic improvement in aviation safety that was witnessed in the 1990’s through today. The original Human Factors CRM has evolved into the more modern “Threat and Error Management” framework which has been wildly successful and adopted by many other industries including medicine.

      That is a terrific argument. Thank you!

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