Links 4/21/19

Easter: eggs, hares, lamb and the return of warmth and sunshine – a Christian festival that feels pagan The Conversation

Silk Roads author Peter Frankopan: ‘We’re in trouble in the long term’ FT. Apologies for the paywall: his book, The Silk Roads, is wonderful. I also enjoyed his translation of The Alexiad.

Looking for Shakespeare’s Library Lapham’s Quarterly

Can Botox and Cosmetic Surgery Chill Our Relationships With Others? NYT

How Le Corbusier’s American Dream Became a Nightmare American Conservative

Canadian cannabis giant bets on US legalization Asia Times

Frogs, salamanders and toads suffering ‘catastrophic population decline’, scientists say Independent

Sri Lanka church and hotel explosions: at least 100 killed and hundreds injured – live Guardian

California Burning

How PG&E Ignored Fire Risks in Favor of Profits NYT

Extinction Rebellion: disruption and arrests can bring social change The Conversation

Notre Dame

Thousands of Bees Living on Notre Dame’s Roof Survived the Fire Motherboard

Hugolian Gothic London Review of Books. From 2010 but still well worth your time.

Notre-Dame: why the French elite is picking up the tab FT

Yellow Vests Demonstrate in Paris as Notre Dame Donations Highlight Wealth Inequality Common Dreams

Class Warfare

Will AI kill developing world growth? BBC

Thanks, Harvard. But We’ll Take What’s Ours. Jacobin

What are the worst jobs in America? These have stress, low pay and lack of job security USA Today

‘Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution’ Looks At The Quantum-Physics-And-Reality Problem NPR (David L)

Waste Watch

There’s no ‘garbage patch’ in the Southern Indian Ocean, so where does all the rubbish go? The Conversation

How recycling is changing in all 50 states Waste Dive. Lots of interesting info in this overview.

Driving? The Kids Are So Over It WSJ

Living in a Country That Thinks Green BBC

Environment Aotearoa: Government stocktake describes New Zealand environment on the brink Stuff

Measles

If my measles shot was years ago, am I still protected? 5 questions answered The Conversation

New York judge dismisses parents’ lawsuit against measles vaccine order Jurist

Anti-vaxxers are just as bad as climate deniers AlterNet

Assange

Debunking All The Assange Smears Caitlin Johnstone

UK Blurring Two Very Different Extradition Claims Consortium News

2020

Buttigieg has been the surprise of the Democratic field. Where does he go next? Connecticut Post

‘The Democratic base is angry as hell’: Cory Booker’s message of love falls flat Politico

Republican Strategist Karl Rove says Bernie Sanders could beat Trump in 2020 Vox

On impeachment, Warren just stole the show from her dodging Democratic rivals NBC News

Kamala Harris expresses ‘regret’ over her California truancy policy The Mercury News

Tulsi Gabbard fundraises off 4/20: ‘Appalls me’ that feds consider marijuana illegal The Hill

Imperial Collapse Watch

‘Oversubscribed’ US Navy leans more on coastguard to help counter China SCMP

The Longest Wars: Richard Holbrooke and the Decline of American Power Foreign Affairs

India

SpiceJet, Air India step in to clean up after Jet Airways Live Mint

Bhopal gas tragedy among world’s major industrial accidents in a century, says UN agency Scroll.in

What’s ailing the Indian aviation industry? Economic Times

We May Not Like the Choices We Have, But Vote We Must The Wire

What Does Jokowi’s Win Mean for Indonesia’s Economy? The Diplomat

China?

U.S. intelligence says Huawei funded by Chinese state security: report Reuters

Egypt

Egypt votes in referendum aimed at extending Sisi’s rule to 2030 Al Jazeera

737 Max

Why Boeing and Its Executives Should be Prosecuted for Manslaughter Counterpunch

Claims of Shoddy Production Draw Scrutiny to a Second Boeing Jet NYT

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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228 comments

  1. Jesper

    About what are the worst jobs in America… At a glance it seems that the author of that piece might not have researched a lot about what is done in the different jobs. Or possibly I am not aware of how little US companies have done to remove/lessen the need for physical labour. Looking at a few of the jobs then I’d be surprised if for example dock-workers or loggers are still doing lots of manual labour. Logging trucks, fork-lifts etc have been around for a long time now.

    I’d say that many office-jobs are stressful. Better tools reduces the skills needed for doing the job and increased competition for the available jobs could be stressing.

    Reply
    1. Svante Arrhenius

      The worst job anywhere, is the job you’re trapped in; your expenditures driving you ever further into debt, your dead-eyed, sneering boss empowered to feed off of your soul; your pathetic comforts, dreams and hopes all crushed. Everything, formerly W4 that’s now 1099?

      Happy holidays everyone!

      https://www.bonappetit.com/story/first-dates-olive-garden (mine would be Azuri, but they’re outa business perhaps, that halal cart on W77th @ B’Way?)

      Reply
        1. Svante Arrhenius

          Shovelling salt under a melting supercritical reactor core, without “safety equipment” or worker’s comp: comes in at 67, being on a Mississippi road gang, testing phony siphiletic remedies based on mercury: 43, writing for BuzzFeed, MotherJones or Kos, awaiting that junior partnership with maman et pere’s firm… PRICELESS? I wonder where ‘moderator’ comes?

          Reply
          1. Susan the other`

            The worst job anywhere is the one that gives you panic attacks because you fear it could really make you die of boredom… nobody ever says the internet is a phenomenal success because it feeds your brain… but that’s why. Now if jobs could just do that.

            Reply
            1. Svante Arrhenius

              Working harder than everybody else, doing a quite literally gut wrenching job, that also requires doing trig in your head to visualize defects, buried in a weld, in ridiculous 120dB conditions, right after racing in from horrid Melanoma surgery, just to keep your pretty useless health insurance… is a bad job?

              Reply
      1. jrs

        Well the thing about much contract work is you are seldom all that trapped as they won’t last long (and then hello unemployment). But for the time being trapped, the temporary confinement without vacation or sick days (even if you are really quite sick) or paid holidays. And then unemployment, when the time in the prison cell ends, and it’s time in solitary.

        Reply
        1. Svante Arrhenius

          Unemployment, for Independent Contractor gig work? Where’s that? Perhaps the only two hopey-hopes I’d allowed myself about Obama: 1099 mis classification (since it was his sole Senatorial accomplishment). No, I never thought he’d stuff the judiciary with fair-minded appellate & circuit judges. No, I never thought he’d give up trading our kids (and innocents abroad) for poppies or oil. YES, I certainly did enjoy them peckerwood heads exploding whenever he dun spoke ril purdy!

          Reply
        2. neo-realist

          Temp to Hire employment (from my experience working in life sciences)–In some cases, you are treated like crap by fellow co-workers and superiors because you don’t have the employer protections of the permanent position against such mistreatment and if you try to complain to a higher up, they will let you go. You get to sit in on some team meetings, but not on others (proprietary information discussion, but also to possibly talk about you and your fate behind your back.) But if it’s a career you’re invested in, you’ll do the very best so that they will hire you; However, in some cases, the hire part is a disingenuous promise to get you to work as hard as possible before they let you go. They figure that you will slack if you know you’re working for a finite amount of time so they have to lie about your prospects to get you to work hard. On some level it was like working with the “Sword of Damocles” above your head.

          Hope I’m never in such a position again.

          Reply
          1. Enquiring Mind

            I think that the concept of supply function needs to be deconstructed like the demand function. One component that the Econ 101 instructors mention about the latter is tastes.

            Suppliers have some aspect of taste as well and that influences how they choose to include or exclude and weight humanity. There are many suppliers that include by design, from the co-op grocery store to the organic farmer or counselor or artist. Add your own examples, too.

            Reply
    2. Chris

      The statistics for positions such as mechanics or welders are skewed by something. Not sure what yet. If you get more certs as a welder your pay goes up substantially. Also, there’s a difference between your average guy with a stick welder and someone who’s qualified to make welds in steam pipe. My guess is their use of the job title welder is rolled into all of the other guys who occasionally use welding devices. The welders I know who are certified to work on power plant equipment, or as foremen, make between 75k$ and 150k$ per year. Comdiering how many welders I’ve known and worked with, I find it hard to to believe they were all so far above average.

      Reply
      1. Charger01

        The power plant welders (or boiler repair) are very well compensated, but that’s literally one person for that job for each plant.

        Reply
        1. Svante Arrhenius

          Those were the days! We’ve watched many union welders & fitters being replaced with whomever the Russian, Indian, Brazilian or Nazi tea-bagger owners could cajole to run 1,200 Amps through a wire with fellas shooting bright blue flames into the 6-8 ton pipe slamming together, inches away. In any old type of weather, maybe 2 1/2 minutes a pass. Nobody having the slightest clue what they were doing. Many, using the same BS documents, unable to understand their incompetent, abusive supervision. One guy spent the night, suspended in a 36″ pipe, dangling from a crane, after ICE emptied the plant. Foster-Wheeler plants still union?

          Reply
            1. Svante Arrhenius

              Really happened: Baytown, TX. circa 2006. Indian owned, ex US Steel mill. A few weeks earlier they’d managed to kill three workers.

              Thanks, though. It still makes me cry to think: it’s not only the south, it’s no longer just the foreign oligarch owned mills. Shit actually got a bit worse with Obama’s PHMSA. Contemporaneous with the 80% SMYS operating pressure pipelines, we had five new mostly Indian owned mills, seven OLD, hastily reopened Russian owned mills, the slick-water fracking of the Alleghenies; all new folks at the vendors, gas and oil companies, 3rd party inspection agencies (all of the above were big fish eating little – experienced- companies. Emperical smarts disappeared with early retirement, contract buy-outs, DOT 5-panels and… yep, 1099.

              Reply
        2. Chris

          Not sure where you’ve worked. During outages there’s a lot of welders on shifts. And they typically travel to support other outages too.

          I’ve been on site at 12 or so power plants in the US and Canada. Smallest in house welding crew I’ve ever seen is 5 for a typical plant.

          Reply
          1. Svante Arrhenius

            I’d done the coal-fired plants like Keystone & Homer City, where the boiler makers were getting $44 (30 years back), while we were getting $12.50 to do NDE on waterwalls and structural welds, and (ISI) a company from Louisiana was paying $6.35/ hr. Now, they’re offering $54 but… excuse me, just 90 miles west of here, it’s ~$17/ hr. NO, thank you!

            Reply
      2. inode_buddha

        Ability has zero to do with it. Being in a union is what does it. I’m a welder of 35 yrs exp, plus trade schools at own expense. I do a lot of TIG pipe in a chemical plant. I get 16.50/ hr because they can and do get other guys for much less than that. The union guys * start* at what I make, do the same work, and end up making far, far more after 5 yrs. why is it like this? Because we voted to have a third world shithole for the last 40 years. And thats exactly what we are getting, you think the bosses care about that???

        Reply
        1. Svante Arrhenius

          Bravo! I’m thinking back to when, mostly Democrat, USWA, UAW, etc. Ofay voters installed Reagan. To “put the – – – – – – in their place.” Well, they certainly discovered, who the – – – – – – were? Or not! It’s why some of us have little faith in how we’re going to cope with Princess Ivanka and Chelsea’s coronation, working on some Ukrainian super-deligate job creator’s plantation/ hospice, indentured by our ‘final expenses.’ But you summed it up.

          https://www.desmogblog.com/2019/04/21/range-resources-amity-and-prosperity-pulitzer-pennsylvania-fracking

          Reply
        2. Chris

          Totally agree. Never had any problems with Union welding talent. Actually had some union apprentices come up to me as an engineer to learn more. As opposed to hires at other sites going forward without verifying what they were supposed to do sometimes. They’d just get OT correcting the mistakes.

          Reply
        3. ambrit

          Same here Down South with just about all skilled trades.
          The good thing about the Unions is that the Union runs standardized training programs for it’s apprentices. A journeyman tradesman who is union comes with a predictable skill level. Non-union tradesmen and women now, are only as good as their pride and ambition boosts them to achieve.
          I most definitely would, and do, look long and hard at the material and technical level of expertise in any “Galt Gulch Construction Company” products.

          Reply
    3. Pelham

      Basically, anyone (outside of healthcare. Maybe) who does anything necessary or useful is doing one of the worst jobs.

      I’d like to see a list of all the nice, cushy jobs that could just vanish tomorrow and no one would even notice.

      David Graeber had something like that in his latest book — a compilation by economists of various jobs with a calculation of how much each adds to or subtracts from the economy. I recall that bankers had the worst return: For every dollar they “earn” they subtract about $7 worth of value from the economy. But generally, the loftier professions had a negative value (again, healthcare excepted) while really unpleasant, poorly compensated, gritty jobs had strong positive contributions. (Re healthcare: Given the minimal gains in life expectancy for those reaching adulthood, it’s not entirely clear that our megabucks expenditures on fancy doctors and researchers are paying off. Perhaps the greatest value contributed by the sector comes from nurses and nurse’s aides, those with the lowest pay and physically most unpleasant jobs who are on the front lines of providing the care that matters.)

      As Graeber has said, it’s almost as if the system punishes us for doing anything useful in life.

      Reply
      1. eg

        That’s because who ends up doing what is a function of power — and those that have power force the powerless to do the dirtiest, most necessary tasks.

        Because they can.

        Reply
        1. Conrad

          Re healthcare: I strongly suspect that the orderly cleaning the bed pans has a significantly larger effect on overall health than a senior oncologist.

          And plumbers have had a greater impact on overall health than the entire medical industry.

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            Actually, it was the City or County Inspectors who drove the ‘safety express’ back ‘in the day.’
            As a (formerly) self respecting plumber, I have had to leave jobs because I would not degrade my standards of quality as far as was demanded of me. The City then has the task of holding the contractor to minimal standards. If the City is corrupt, so will, eventually and literally, the sewer and water systems be.
            You can complain all you want to a corrupt city hall. Nothing will be done.
            This dynamic is behind the perennial Reform movements at the local level.
            But, to return to Conrad’s comment, public sanitation has been the major force in improving the life expectancy and lowering the illness rates in Western society. I’m cynical enough to suspect that reversing that great improvement in public facilities is one of the methods being used to bring on the Jackpot.

            Reply
  2. Donald

    I am a little cynical about the Packer piece on Holbrooke. It was worth reading. But it falls in the genre that centrist liberal journalists love so much, of heroic bureaucrat made wise by tragedy, well intentioned, doomed to be Cassandra in a situation that repeats Vietnam.

    I would be more interested if Packer had spent some time explaining what Holbrooke did when he was in charge of our East Timor policy under Carter. I love Carter now and agree with people yesterday that his post Presidency is his way of atoning for his Presidency. East Timor is one of the things he needs to atone for.

    Joseph Nevins wrote a book on East Timor. As I recall, Holbrooke and Wolfowitz were in agreement that there should be no partisan bickering in the 2000 election about East Timor.

    Reply
      1. norm de plume

        The poor East Timorese. A brief moment of independence after the coup in Portugal, then super-power (US) and regional power (Australia) backed Indonesian invasion and brutal occupation. Ironic that Australia’s PM at the time (Whitlam) is regarded, as was Carter, as one of the most progressive leaders in his nation’s history.

        Eventual return to independence after a long slog, featuring the ever-so-helpful regional power, and a necessary effort to identify and exploit the tiny nation’s resources. They soon discover that the big, friendly regional power had been bugging their private Cabinet meetings to gain information about upcoming negotiations or an oil and gas treaty, to set out boundaries for exploration and exploitation.

        The whistleblower in Aust intelligence who brought this to light is being prosecuted by the Aust govt for revealing this nakedly commercial use of the nation’s espionage services – and so, believe it or not – is his lawyer. Australia’s Foreign Minister of the time, Alexander Downer, who ordered the bugging operation after artfully manipulating international maritime law to disadvantage the Timorese, later joined the board of Woodside Petroleum, which won the contract to exploit the resources. He is not on trial for anything.

        There’s a whiff of Assange in this story. Whistleblower reveals previously unseen truths – ugly, illegal, potentially actionable state activities. Lawfare used to silence whistleblower and those assisting him. Beneficiaries of illegal state actions – safe and sound.

        Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      Have never been a fan of Richard Holbrooke from stuff that I have picked up over the years but has anyone else noticed a link at the bottom of that article to another one called “How Samantha Power Could Change U.S. Diplomacy: Meet Richard Holbrooke, 2.0”? The irony is too rich here. I am sure that that title was supposed to be complimentary but her record speaks for itself. It doesn’t reflect well of Ricard Holbrooke either.

      Reply
    2. JCC

      Relative to part of the thrust of the article, military power, what caught my attention was the article’s subtitle, “The Decline of American Power”.

      Did we ever have that “power” to begin with? Other than the wars (in different times when it comes to weapons and strategies) with Mexico, Spain, and some small, poor, Central American/Caribbean countries we never single-handedly won any war against a foreign power (note that I am not including the wars against any American Indian group), despite what D.C. and Hollywood continue to teach us.

      Germany expended approximately 75% of of it’s resources fighting the Russians, not the U.S.

      So far we have spent large fortunes fighting insurgencies in Afghanistan, Viet Nam and numerous other countries, and the best we have done is either a loss or a stalemate against groups of civilians or small armies, with relatively limited weaponry and no air or sea power.

      Holbrooke, as well as understanding that loss was inevitable, still continued to believe that the battles were necessary because our mission is to Save the World for Capitalism and “Democracy”. It’s our Manifest Destiny.

      It seems to me there is no Decline of American Power, we talk a good story to the world but when it comes to on-the-ground military power – not including nukes or economic power, or hubris – we are ultimately on a pretty even footing with everyone else.

      Reply
      1. dearieme

        we never single-handedly won any war against a foreign power: you pretty much did against Japan. If the Australians hadn’t held on in New Guinea, if the British hadn’t eventually won in Burma, if the Nationalists hadn’t put up a bit of a fight in China, you’d still have beaten Japan, in all probability.

        Is it coincidence that the war against Japan was the first in the history of the US that wasn’t a US war of aggression? Yes, it probably was.

        Reply
    3. pjay

      Your first paragraph is absolutely spot-on. We can learn a few things about insider politics from work like this. But there is so much missing that such writing actually operates as ideology to mystify history. Case in point: Packer’s description of the Situation Room evaluation of Afghanistan policy where Obama asked the “hard questions”:

      “Why are we in Afghanistan?”

      “Because al Qaeda attacked us from Afghanistan. Our objective is to prevent another attack, and ultimately to destroy al Qaeda…”

      And it goes on from there, spouting the accepted narrative while noting the “tragic” contradictions. Nothing about the fact that Cheney and the Bush administration *already had an extensive war plan* for an Afghan invasion before 9/11. Nothing about oil, gas, or geopolitical strategy behind either Afghanistan or Iraq. Nothing about the larger economic or ideological interests behind our world-shattering decisions at the beginning of the 21st century. And of course nothing about the US role in creating Al Qaeda in the first place (which, by the way, is part of the Bosnian story). Rather, we get the usual “tragic but well-intentioned” narrative that keeps “educated” liberals from understanding real history over and over again. Thanks for your astute comment.

      Reply
  3. diptherio

    A Technical and Cultural Assessment of the Mueller Report PDF

    Key Take-aways:

    * If Mueller delivered a “born digital” PDF to Justice, that file was printed and scanned back into a set of low-quality images for release; a disservice to all future users of the document, and also a violation of Section 508 regulations.

    *If Mueller delivered a paper document to the Department of Justice which was subsequently scanned, DoJ’s treatment of the document is more understandable, but still non-conforming with Section 508.

    *Irrespective of the evidence and conclusions about the Trump campaign, the Special Counsel’s report showcases the essential qualities of static, self-contained, reliable, sharable PDF in a world that increasingly runs on HTML.

    Reply
    1. cocomaan

      These complaints about format are hilarious. Have people never read a book?

      It’s almost like they don’t actually want to do the reading at all.

      Reply
    2. Chris

      It’s also amusing to hear these complaints in light of what Hillary did with the printed emails she provided to investigators. The same complaints about limits on OCR, post scanned text recognition, and difficulty in working with the documents apply there too. And yet, no one bats an eye when journals claim that every printed and scanned page was thoroughly reviewed and vetted.

      The answer appears to be simple then. Just use the same tech that 4 years ago was capable of processing the printed text for 30000 emails Hillary sent. Should be no problem to process The redacted version of Mueller’s less than 500 page work ;)

      Reply
  4. allan

    Re: Claims of Shoddy Production Draw Scrutiny to a Second Boeing Jet

    The good news is that the C-suites who decided to union bust diversify the supply chain
    by opening the SC plant have all safely made it into retirement with their 8 figure retirement packages.
    And no clawbacks.

    But surely there’s a way to monetize this:

    Airlines could charge more for a trip on a 787 assembled in Everett than one made in North Charleston,
    with the passengers rational economic actors frictionlessly maximizing their individual utility functions
    at time of purchase. Landing safely or making next month’s student loan payment? Decisions, decisions.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      A coupla weeks ago another commentator gave a link to a video on YouTube called “The Boeing 787: Broken Dreams l Al Jazeera Investigations” and it was at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvkEpstd9os fr those who want to see it. Point is, this article sounds almost like a written version of that five year old video to the point that it was getting uncanny. Is this just the New York Times getting lazy and fleshing out that old video story with a few new bits and pieces to try to make them sound on top of things?

      Reply
      1. whoamolly

        Re: New York Times Getting Lazy?

        Good catch. Sounds like they did what Matt Taibbi calls “Internet Research” in his book Hate Inc. where clicks replace interviews. Apparently this is very common in younger reporters.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          ‘Apparently this is very common in younger reporters.’
          I’m sure that you mean younger stenographers which is par for the course these days.

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            The mouse clique is quite versatile, they can create vast amounts of money on one hand, and go 2 pages deep into Google when researching for a story, with the other.

            Reply
      2. Cal2

        Like Boeing, the NYT has become crappified.
        Maybe they could find some Indians with good English language skills to write the articles?

        *The New York Times had trouble finding qualified workers for its Mumbai Office. There was no work force comparable to the generations of newspaper professionals the company has nurtured in the New York City area*, but who were too expensive for profit sucking the paper.

        That’s OK, there will always be enough suckers to keep subscribing to keep the ad rates up until there aren’t. By then the financial parasites will have feasted on the corps of the paper, taken their retirement and sold their stock, just like Boeing.

        “Boeing had trouble finding qualified workers for its North Charleston plant. There was no work force comparable to the generations of aerospace professionals the company has nurtured in the Seattle area.”

        If the aerospace professionals aren’t good enough to build the planes then I guess they, their families and fellow citizens aren’t good enough to fly on them.

        IF IT’S BOEING, I AIN’T GOING.
        (Or I will fly Lufthansa or some other airline that uses non-Boeing planes.)

        Reply
    2. timbers

      What about taking this to the next level?

      What do you think of agency regulators who fail to prosecute corporate executives for their crimes, should also be sent to jail and prosecuted, for failure to apply the law they are entrusted to enforce?

      And let’s include President’s of the United States, too. Who made up the rule that Presidents can be impeached for firing subordinates (Andrew Johnson) or a blow job (Bill Clinton) but not illegal wars and mass murder?

      Reply
  5. whoamolly

    RE: Why Boeing and Its Executives Should be Prosecuted for Manslaughter

    Wasn’t it Mitt Romney who said “Corporations are people too, my friend.”?

    Pretty good article. Clear and concise argument for prosecution.

    Reply
  6. Wukchumni

    We didn’t belong to any mystical bowing league, so Easter’s meaning was more tantamount to the amount of candy one got, a solid milk chocolate hare of size, being the ne plus ultra in gotten gains, but in general the schwag was as good as Halloween, without having to traipse all over the neighborhood @ night, practically begging strangers for a sugar fix.

    Xmas in Mexico is no big deal, it’s really on the down low, although Easter on the other hand is quite the event. I guess the thinking goes that anybody can be born-but not many are resurrected, in terms of celebration.

    Reply
    1. Conrad

      I misread your first line as ‘mystical bowling league’ and was somewhat disappointed when I realised what you’d actually written.

      Reply
  7. whoamolly

    Re: Claims of Shoddy Production Draw Scrutiny to a Second Boeing Jet

    A damning report of a non-union manufacturing facility.

    These articles make me reluctant to ever fly in a Boeing craft again. Is it possible to fly only Airbus?

    Hmmm… The Kayak search engine https://www.kayak.com/ appears to let me specify Airbus. I did a test search on a flight from San Francisco to the East Coast and the price for Airbus only is about the same.

    I like trains, but in many cases Amtrak service is simply impractical.

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        We’ve flown twice domestically since 9/11, and have earned Rip Van Winkle status, so much so that when the nice lady checking our bags in at the airport counter a few years ago en route to Florida, asked how i’d like to pay the $25 per bag charge for our tagged trio to be stashed in the hold, I told her that ideally, i’d like it to included in the price of my airline ticket.

        She gave me a slight wince, and I think she knew I was some sort of hick, most recently from the last century.

        Reply
      2. John B

        I am horrified to watch how toxic my U.S. middle class lifestyle is, yet I have to be dragged kicking and screaming out of it. Flying is one of the most addictive parts.

        Reply
      3. Lee

        The last flight I took was a few days after our invasion of Afghanistan. It was from Houston, where we boarded under the watchful eyes of National Guard troops, to San Francisco. Those born on that day are now old enough to be serving in that conflict.

        Reply
  8. ChiGal in Carolina

    Breathtaking antidote, a jewelled Faberge egg of a bird, befitting the day.

    Thanks, Jerri-Lynn!

    Reply
    1. KB

      An Asian green bee-eater I believe….and yes beautiful….they also eat wasps.
      Could have used one of these yesterday in the Midwest….the wasps have awakened!

      Reply
        1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

          Sorry about that – I had inadvertently inserted a rogue formatting command. Fixed it!

          Reply
  9. Carolinian

    That NYT Boeing story is about 787s being made at the company’s South Carolina plant.

    “As a quality manager at Boeing, you’re the last line of defense before a defect makes it out to the flying public,” Mr. Barnett said. “And I haven’t seen a plane out of Charleston yet that I’d put my name on saying it’s safe and airworthy.”

    The issue includes metal shavings inside the fuselage that can penetrate and short out wiring. The plant has also seen controversy over claims that workers were arbitrarily fired after a union organizing effort. Of course the plant itself was seen by the company’s long servng and highly paid Seattle workers as a union busting move. Our then governor Nikki Haley wouldn’t have it any other way. Perhaps all future Boeing stories should be filed under Crapification. Just to continue

    Employees have found a ladder and a string of lights left inside the tails of planes, near the gears of the horizontal stabilizer. “It could have locked up the gears,” Mr. Mester said.[…]

    While inspecting a plane being prepared for delivery, Mr. Clayton, the technician currently at the plant, recently found chewing gum holding together part of a door’s trim. “It was not a safety issue, but it’s not what you want to present to a customer,” he said.

    etc… Much more at the link which suggests the inexperienced workforce may also be at fault.

    Reply
    1. barrisj

      “…inexperienced workforce…”
      Boeing went to SC because it’s a “right-to-work” state, and fitted in to the company’s overall strategy of reducing its unionized head-count over time. The screamingly obvious downside to this is poorly-qualified assembly-line personnel, major quality issues, and frequent recourse to the long-time, experienced hands at Everett, WA to bail out the eff-ups in Charleston. If there ever was an apposite description of Boeing’s travails, “crapification” tops the list. Just as many car-buyers eschew imports actually built in Southern states for those models assembled in automakers’ home countries, several airlines are specifying Everett-built Dreamliners, for good reason. Only because of regulatory capture has the crapification at Boeing been allowed to thrive to the degree it has…SAD!

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        I’d say the story is far more damning of plant management than the workers. In fact it has been the workforce–frequently–that point out the problems.

        By most accounts the German managers of my county’s BMW plant are quite rigorous.

        But no question worker satisfaction and morale can affect quality.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          Just to add–from the NYT

          The issue has cost Boeing at other plants. In March, the Air Force halted deliveries of the KC-46 tanker, built in Everett, Wash., after finding a wrench, bolts and trash inside new planes.

          In other words it’s not just the Charleston plant.

          Reply
          1. Heraclitus

            I’ve toured your county’s BMW plant. We saw mostly robots doing the work, with few human employees. I know the plant employs a lot of people, I just wondered where they were.

            Reply
    2. Enquiring Mind

      The examples were updates of what GM experienced in many production lines. One favorite story was about the mystery rattle that turned out to be a pop bottle that got inserted along the assembly line.

      Reply
      1. JohnnySacks

        Knowing my assembly line was about to be shut down and my family dealing with the ramifications, you wouldn’t want to buy anything I assembled between that announcement and the padlocking of the gates. It being used as a latrine would be the least of the issues. Morale does not improve relative to the level of abuse dished out.

        Reply
  10. Wukchumni

    Mark Twain reckoned he’d seen enough pieces of ‘the true cross’ ensconced in churches in Europe, to perhaps create a picket fence with the proceeds. More than likely Notre Dame was chock full of religious relics of great importance, which in our modern day, relics of famous people have replaced.

    An 1872 piano is a yeah whatever gig, worth a few thousand, maybe $10k, but add in the intrigue of it being John Lennon’s piano that he wrote many songs from Sgt Pepper’s, and presto! it’s worth $718k.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-6943745/Indianapolis-Colts-owner-Jim-Irsay-drops-718K-John-Lennons-piano.html

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Don’t think a piano would fit into one of those reliquaries should one be thinking of establishing a Church of Lennon.

      Having been spawned by corn fed Baptists I found the reliquary thing to be a bit weird on a long ago tour of Europe. But Catholics probably think being dunked in a tank of water behind the pastor’s podium is weird too. Thankfully here in America we (mostly) don’t fight about such things.

      Reply
    2. Lee

      I’m leaving my artificial hip to my son as a relic of me that can also serve in post-apocalyptic times as a tomahawk. Or maybe he’ll just crack nuts with it should peace and harmony prevail.

      Reply
    3. John A

      Apropos Lennon and piano, allegedly Lennon played Imagine on the piano for George Harrison at his majesticand luxuriously furnished country house in god knows how many acres of grounds. At the end, George looked round the room and wryly asked ‘Imagine no possessions eh, John?”. To which Lennon replied “It’s only a song, George!”.

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        Hmmm…that little story neatly summarizes the difference in character of John and George. I dont know that much about them. Unlike most of my cohort of girls in my teens, I always liked George best. Even as a kid, I thought he was “deep”. He was more mysterious…He had beautiful eyes.

        Reply
        1. Enquiring Mind

          George seemed to take the Indian trip more to heart, too. That influence came through in his songs.

          Reply
  11. The Rev Kev

    “Republican Strategist Karl Rove says Bernie Sanders could beat Trump in 2020”

    The US elections are turning weird and they are still a long way off yet. Karl Rove of all people saying that Bernie could beat Trump? Just tonight I saw a video where Ann Coulter – Ann Coulter! – says that she could vote for Bernie and go to work for him. And the reason why she could? Because Bernie has a history of being against open borders in order to protect blue-collar workers she say. I wonder what things are going to be like this time next year? A mad-house cubed I would say.

    Reply
    1. JohnnyGL

      People like Ann Coulter will say anything to get attention. She’s got a long history of doing so.

      Regarding Karl Rove, I don’t think he’s quite as much of a sinister, cynical operator as Bannon, but he can be, sometimes. Rove might just be trying to stir up trouble.

      Reply
      1. integer

        Whatever the case, it won’t be long until liberals are breathlessly talking about the R party using a Pied Piper strategy to elevate Sanders.

        Reply
        1. Charger01

          The citation needed podcast covered this quite well with their “inexplicable Republican advice” episode.

          Reply
        2. edmondo

          The problem with nominating Bernie is that you can never be sure when he’ll stop campaigning and endorse his opponent a la 2016.

          Reply
              1. Yves Smith

                This is complete bullshit. I don’t mind plugs of Gabbard up to a point, but fabrication is not on.

                Sanders is a decades-long independent from a small state who ran as a Democrat for practical reasons that turned out to be correct. He’s an outsider who has been treated with hostility. To assert there is any loyalty is complete crap. He has had to play with the Dems (as in vote with them) to serve his small state properly.

                Reply
                1. Chris

                  And he clearly learned from his last experience! He’s fundraising off their attacks and smears now. He’s responding to people like Neera Tanden. He’s firing shots back at TP. I imagine he’s not going to go on a unity tour with sour faced Tom Perez whatever the outcome of the 2020 election. I have issues with Bernie’s foreign policy approach. I don’t like that he’s on board the RussiaGate bandwagon. But I dont see him stooping or shedding his ideals to stay in the party.

                  Reply
                  1. Cal2

                    That’s what I meant.
                    He learned from last time and he won’t do it again as shown by his recent actions.

                    Apologies,I guess every thought has to be spelled out without counting on inferences.

                    Reply
              2. Aloha

                I wanted Gabbard to be genuine but in doing some research I am sharing just a little of what I found: Tulsi is a current member of the Counsel on Foreign Relations and CFR members are telling: they include all previous presidents (although I can’t find trump on it yet), N. Palosi, J. Diamon of JP Morgan, D. Chaney, Z. Brzezinski, Rockefellers, Soros, Gen. Powell, M. Albright, H. Clinton, J. Epstein, J McCain, R. Murdoch, Gen. Patreus, C. Rice, Dan Rathers, H. Kissinger, and Allen Dulles are just a few of over 4k and while I am sure that there are some CFR members that are doing good works around the world I just have yet to come across one. The CFR has been controlling the political dialogue since their inception in 1919, with a revolving door straight into the White House. Just a reminder that Obama entered the public imagination with the same antiwar speeches as Gabbard’s but her actual voting record on war and peace issues, especially on military spending, is not nearly as dovish as Sanders’. She voted for 19 of 29 military spending bills in the past 6 years, and she has only a 51% Peace Action voting record. Many of the votes that Peace Action counted against her were votes to fully fund controversial new weapons systems, including nuclear-tipped cruise missiles (in 2014, 2015 and 2016); an 11th US aircraft-carrier (in 2013 and 2015); and various parts of Obama’s anti-ballistic missile program, which fueled the New Cold War and arms race she now decries. She voted at least twice (in 2015 and 2016) not to repeal the much-abused 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, and she voted three times not to limit the use of Pentagon slush funds. In 2016, she voted against an amendment to cut the military budget by just 1%. I have lived in her state for 20 yrs and I am hoping that people will think about taking her off of the antiwar pedestal soon. HI is owned and operated by the MIC. The large bases on Oahu and BI, hostel takeover of land that continues here today, the air, noise and water pollution and the general attitude that they can do anything that they want where ever they want is prevalent and she is part of that tribe. She is still in the military herself and embraces what she calls a “military mindset.” She ended a CNN Town Hall by saying that being Commander-in-Chief is the most important part of being president. And if she becomes a part of the Sanders ticket, we have to ask, “Which Tulsi would we see in the White House?” Would it be the Major with the military mindset trained to take orders from above who cannot seem to vote against new weapons systems or even a 1% cut from the trillions of dollars in military spending? Or would it be the veteran who has seen the horrors of war and is determined to bring the troops home and never again send them off to kill and be killed in endless regime change wars? Sanders has stated that he thinks that we need to go into VZ to have a fair and honest election. Well Carter certified Maduro’s election and says VZ has the most legitimate elections in the world and that Marduo is the most legitimate democratically elected leader in the world. Maduro has done in VZ what Bernie promises to do here but if Bernie is against Maduro, then is he against everything he is saying he will do for us if he becomes pres?

                Reply
                1. dcrane

                  These are good questions about Tulsi. I am puzzled, however…if she is just another CFR drone being groomed for the presidency, the system has an odd way of showing it. She is being alternately smeared and ignored by the mainstream press. Party-loyal Democrats seem to have absorbed the early message that she’s an icky “Assad toadie” who hates gays.

                  Also, I don’t remember Obama so unambiguously denouncing regime change wars or the destructive effects of the MIC. He decried “dumb wars”, which wasn’t the same. I do admit to having believed Obama would push back more against our interventionist foreign policy, so again I think these are good questions.

                  Reply
                  1. Aloha

                    dcrane, if she is just another CFR drone being groomed for the presidency, the system has an odd way of showing it.
                    Does it? How about reverse psychology…Just try and tell a person that they can’t have something and what happens? ie Sanders in 2016 as just one example. Are they messing with us again?

                    Reply
                    1. dcrane

                      But Sanders in 2016 was stopped this way. I understand the point and the same idea has crossed my mind, but if so then that’s a pretty complicated chess game that’s being played.

                      One problem is that there doesn’t seem to be just one unified set of interests under the concept of “MIC”. Perhaps some powerful elements are trying to sink her even while others hope/intend for her to be a friendly pro-military force if elected.

                      I’m still interested in her candidacy and will keep supporting her financially if she continues to show promise. I hope she gets more than two sentences at the upcoming debate.

                    2. Aloha

                      I have to admit that I can’t get even a little bit excited over US elections when they are so corrupt and yet Sanders is willing to go in and FIX another countries first? And of course it isn’t right to put all of this on him because these problems have been on going for centuries. Where is democracy and why aren’t our elected officials fighting for it here first?
                      A quote from Sanders web page regarding VZ reads:
                      “The United States should support the rule of law, fair elections and self-determination for the Venezuelan people. We must condemn the use of violence against unarmed protesters and the suppression of dissent.”

                    3. Yves Smith

                      You are cherry picking what Sanders said to the point of misrepresentation.

                      Sanders follows the same formula on Venezuela: obligatory handwaves about the the US should be on the side of clean elections, followed by a clear statement that the US should not intervene.

                      See:

                      Sanders warns against outside intervention in Venezuela, stops short of calling Maduro a ‘dictator’ CNN

                      Why Bernie Sanders’ Statements On Venezuela Are Crucial To Efforts To Defeat Trump Shadowproof, specifically his bottom line:

                      “So my view is whether it is Saudi Arabia, which is a despotic regime, or Venezuela, I think we have got to do everything we can to create a democratic climate. But I do not believe in U.S. military intervention in those countries.”

                      Wolf Blitzer, host of “The Situation Room,” had a follow-up question. “Why have you stopped short of calling Maduro of Venezuela a dictator?”

                      “It’s fair to say that the last election was undemocratic, but there are still democratic operations taking place in that country,” Sanders answered. “The point is what I am calling for right now is internationally-supervised free elections.”

                    4. Aloha

                      I’m not intentionally trying to cherry pick what he says. In fact my only point is that I am frustrated and disappointed that we still have voter tampering and easily rigged voting machines being used today.

                  1. dcrane

                    Still almost a year until the primary is over. Seems like plenty of time to keep listening, at least. Especially since nobody else is saying anything quite like what she is, right now.

                    Reply
              3. dcrane

                What is the evidence that “party loyalty” was Sanders’ reason? This is the guy the Ds have fits over because of his non-membership.

                I think Sanders honestly believed that Trump was so unfit that we had no choice but to support Clinton once she had the nomination. I disagreed and voted 3rd party, but it was a fair argument.

                Reply
        3. catlover

          And of course the pied piper strategy worked so well for the Democrats that it couldn’t also possibly backfire on Republicans either.

          Reply
        4. beth

          Whatever the case, it won’t be long until liberals are breathlessly talking about the R party using a Pied Piper strategy to elevate Sanders.

          Yes, my fear is that the D’s strategy is to give us Trump II. We all know that Trump is better than Bernie.

          Reply
    2. richard

      The a.coulter remark was clearly meant to divide. She obviously has no intention of working for or voting for bernie. Some elements within the anti-bernie coalition seem to think that disagreements about “open borders” will divide the left in the u.s.
      I don’t believe in unregulated borders either. I believe that as of now, having meaningful national borders is the only way workers here or anywhere can protect the gains they make. So me and the people who think the same way, suddenly we’re in a group with ann coulter. And I’m certain that will never be used by a group of unprincipled tribalists against us. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

      Reply
  12. JohnnyGL

    Re: Harris

    1) She even ‘expresses regret’ like a Clinton. Completely cynically and opportunistically so. If she gets pressed on it like Bill Clinton got pressed a few times, I bet she’d snap back and defend the policy, just like Bill Clinton did.

    2) Wake me up when she ‘expresses regret’ for not locking up Mnuchin.

    Reply
    1. Brindle

      Harris comes off as the most poll driven focus grouped candidate out there. She knows Bernie has lots of support in CA and that if she loses there she is done. Look for her to be constantly hedging leftward trying to draw away voters who might be inclined to vote Sanders. She is the Clinton proxy in this election so expect some underhanded Clintonian moves by her campaign.

      Reply
      1. Cal2

        2)
        “Even among the many bad actors in the national foreclosure crisis, OneWest stood out. It routinely jumped to foreclosure rather than pursue options to keep borrowers in their homes; used fabricated and ‘robo-signed’ documents to secure the evictions; and had a particular talent for dispossessing the homes of senior citizens and people of color….”
        https://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/steven-mnuchin-treasury-bank-233813

        “I slept on a sofa in a driveway for three months. I lived in an RV on a driveway for one month. I actively fought to keep people’s houses from being stolen from banks. We were fighting AGAINST #KamalaHarris to save homes. YES I WILL actively do everything I can to expose her!”

        — PMbeers (@PMbeers) January 22, 2019

        I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Some clever campaign operative or elected on the left needs to find people who fought foreclosure and fought Harris, and make a video compilation.

        “Dehumanization by Deification: On Kamala Harris and ‘Black Women Will Save Us’” [Verso]. “[T]here is a duly irresponsible and unacceptable idea that an individual’s politics are beyond reproach because they possess a marginalized identity (or multiple ones)… This superficial politics of representation (i.e. the idea that elevating minorities to positions of power is an unquestioned social good regardless of their politics) and a weird fetishization, rather than actual respect, for non-white womanhood.”
        Yes, it certainly is odd that Harris’ campaign site has no mention of policy…. In 2017, we didn’t have a name for devotees of this “irresponsible and unacceptable idea,.” Now we do: identitarians.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith

          No one fought Harris because as we pointed out at the time:

          1. Harris got a better (or more accurately, less crappy) deal for CA than the rest of the states

          2. The deal in all states included payoffs to the organized housing and foreclosure activists to buy their silence

          Reply
  13. Wukchumni

    Sri Lanka church and hotel explosions: at least 100 killed and hundreds injured – live Guardian
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I’d mentioned the other day, the great importance of a name:

    Christchurch

    To a Muslim in the middle east not cognizant that religion mostly means diddily squat in NZ, the mass murder of 50 Muslims there by an avowed white supremacist in a ‘mecca’ of sorts, means an aye for an eye, of westerners.

    The Taliban & ISIS can be singled out in a way, as they are very keen on destroying the past, be it Ancient Roman or Buddhas in Bamyan.

    This mysterious fire @ Notre Dame is interesting payback, in that construction on it started right smack dab in the middle of the Crusades, and if the aforementioned groups can be accused of anything, they certainly know their history, and tend to carry a hell of a grudge.

    We”ll call it a ‘electrical fire’ for now, as it’s easy to blame it on technology.

    It’s funny in contrast here, in that most every mysterious conflagration that breaks out, arson is almost always mentioned first and foremost.

    It’s not really all that different than what we did in the new world, with say the Maya Codices, most of which were destroyed by the clergy. If the old culture didn’t exist anymore, did it ever, really?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_codices

    Reply
    1. Lee

      …if the aforementioned groups can be accused of anything, they certainly know their history, and tend to carry a hell of a grudge.

      I think it was Lambert who observed something the the effect that it is unwise to pick fights with people for whom revenge is a family value.

      Reply
      1. newcatty

        Also, note the obvious timing of these events. The fire at Notre Dame at start of the most holy and revered week in Christiandom. The church that , whether Catholic or protestant, is held in regard. The fact that it is an old church that is a potent symbol of not just worship by Christians, but a symbol of France. I read that other atrocities of Christian churches in France have been happening recently. An example of altars being desecrated with feces…think it was said to be human. Other acts like this in major churches in France. Then the timing of Sri Lankan tragedy… on Easter morning. This troubles me deeply. Chickens are coming home to roost. Yes, it has been done to the old world. Native people’s have only recently been “allowed” to practice their spirituality without harassment or worse. Also, of interest, many Catholic churches were purposely built on ancient ruins of so called pagan sites, especially those dedicated to Godesses. I read this is true in Ireland, Mexico and other countries. Why was that?

        Reply
    2. coboarts

      https://twitter.com/i/status/1118664191064399872

      Amy Mek
      @AmyMek
      BREAKING: Architect of restorations for Notre Dame Speaks Out!

      Media: “So your’re telling us that this type of timber doesn’t burn like that?”

      Notre Dame Architect: “NO, You know, oak that is 800 years old doesn’t burn like that….You would need a lot of kindling to succeed.”

      14.3K
      4:55 PM – Apr 17, 2019
      13.4K people are talking about this

      Reply
      1. ChristopherJ

        My first thought about the fire was how convenient for Macron… gets attention away from the yellow vests.

        Speaking of them, I watched some MSM footage, which focused on the violence, while the yellow vests watch. Of course, the violence is blamed on the yellow vests. It doesn’t matter that the violence is perpetrated by right wing groups while the flics watch on…

        Reply
      2. Acacia

        Former Chief Architect of Historic Monuments, Benjamin Mouton, who was responsible for Notre-Dame Cathedral from 2000 to 2013:

        “Just before I retired, that is to say in the years after 2010, we overhauled the entire electrical installation of Notre-Dame. So there is no possibility of short circuit. We brought all the fire detection and protection of the cathedral up to standard, even with far-reaching standards, with elements of measurement, air, etc., which made it possible to detect a start of fire. At the bottom of the cathedral, there are two men who are there day and night, and who are there to go check as soon as there is an alarm and call the firemen as soon as a doubt is raised.

        “It was a huge job, like in all these sites of historical monuments, especially Notre-Dame: we have a technical and normative management, verification, etc., which is considerable, that we don’t see elsewhere. I must say that I’m still pretty stunned.”

        “In 40 years of experience, I have never experienced a fire like this.”

        https://www.epochtimes.fr/notre-dame-de-paris-lancien-architecte-en-chef-des-monuments-historiques-stupefait-par-la-puissance-de-lincendie-806255.html

        However, as Le Canard enchaîné points out (see: « Cathédrales et monuments : seuls les crédits ne flambent pas » 04/17/19), this is not the first time a historic monument burned up during a project to restore it. Notre-Dame joins the Nantes Cathedral (1972), the Hôtel de Ville de La Rochelle (2013), the Hôtel particulier Lambert (Île Saint-Louis in Paris, 2013), and the Cathedral of Auxerre (2016). In each case, a fire began on the construction site which did significant damage. This is not a recent problem, either, as the roof of the Cathedral at Chartres was entirely destroyed by fire in 1836, due to negligence on the construction site.

        The remainder of the Canard article is full of surprising statistics about the grossly inadequate maintenance budgets for historic monuments in France. E.g., for 2019, the French govt allocated only 18 million euros in payment credits for historical monuments belonging to it, including 200 buildings, of which 86 are cathedrals, i.e., less than 100,000 euros per monument. For Note-Dame alone, of the 210 million euros worth of work anticipated in the immediate future, the Ministry of Culture had planned to transfer only 40 million between 2019 and 2029, or 4 million a year. Even the scaffolding for the work being undertaken during the recent fire had been estimated to cost 2 million euros.

        Another case for the crapification file?

        Reply
    3. Janie

      Re cultures which retain grudges: there was a documentary a few years ago retracing Alexander’s route. The narrator said that Middle Easterners were quite familiar with the events and referred to them as if they were recent.

      Reply
  14. JohnnyGL

    Re:Frankopan and Silk Roads

    I’m a big fan, it’s a fun book. It gives a much fuller picture of world history.

    For fans of Mackinder’s “Heartland” thesis of global strategic dominance, it helps under-gird why Mackinder would have thought that the Eurasian landmass was so important. (Naked cap has had an article or two on the idea, which I thought was really interesting). Also here’s a good video on it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZL8TLiOcF6c

    I see Frankopan has got a new book out which attempts to anticipate the future ‘silk roads’, discussing China’s Belt and Road initiative. Haven’t really checked it out, yet.

    Reply
    1. Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author

      I’ve not yet got ‘round to buying – let alone reading – Frankopan’s new book yet. But I really enjoyed The Silk Roads and have given several copies away as gifts.

      Reply
      1. JohnnyGL

        Frankopan includes this excellent quote that he cites from Eric Wolf regarding the story of history that we learn in the west:

        “Ancient Greece begat Rome, Rome begat Christian Europe, Christian Europe begat the Renaissance, the Renaissance the Enlightenment, the Enlightenment political democracy and the industrial revolution. Industry crossed with democracy in turn yielded the United States, embodying the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

        That is a PERFECT description of how history is taught in the United States. I recall taking AP Modern Europe in high school. Providence College, one of the schools I considered attending (but didn’t), made a big fuss about Western Civ core curriculum. I’ve got a Minor in History and I could have easily achieved that without taking courses I did about the Middle East, S. Asia, and Russia.

        Keeping the above in mind puts me in an exclusive group of Americans who know more than most about history, I’d barely heard of really large important cities like Merv, Samarkand, Bukhara, and Nishapur.

        In fact, you can even find stretches of history, as late as mid-1500s, in which Europe doesn’t have a single entry in the top 5 largest cities in the world, as seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-FTxVhFWWw

        Frankopan makes a great point that the discovery of the Americas is what really put Western Europe at the center of everything.

        Reply
        1. Jeotsu

          Recently read both of the “Silk Roads” books. The second volume really only deals with 2013-2018, and it is quite startling just how much has happened in that time period regarding reshaping of relationships between nations along the tradition Silk Road corridor.

          I recommend them both. The first book in particular was clearly a labor of love, and is chock full of interesting historic twists and turns showing how much travel along the Silk Road — of knowledge, goods and people — there was for the last 2k years.

          Reply
    2. Lee

      In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond also attributes much of human technical advancement to Eurasian geography that allows latitudinal travel and cultural cross fertilization, as well as environmental advantages, such as storable grains and large tractable animal species that allowed at least some to think about more than getting their next meal.

      Reply
      1. JohnnyGL

        Jared Diamond’s work is very good, broadly speaking. But I think the story he tells over-states the guns and steel part and under-emphasizes the germs, at least in the western hemisphere.

        Charles Mann’s 1491 was about the pre-Columbian American civilizations and the destruction of them could easily be described, Diamond-style as “Germs, Germs and MORE Germs”.

        A good counter-example is Sub-Saharan Africa’s colonial history. In modern S. Africa, the story of germs gets flipped. The germs worked AGAINST Europeans in that context. Malaria inhibited attempts to colonize further inland, which meant the European settlers stayed mostly in a small pocket around modern day Cape Town. Even though they still had the guns and steel, they never really broke out of that area until around the 1800s. The indigenous Africans fought them to a draw, more or less, for around 200 years.

        Reply
        1. Lee

          I agree with you on the catastrophic effects of the introduction of novel pathogens as being determinative in the conquest of New World indigenous peoples. Other historical examples leave no doubt doubt that descendants of Native Americans’ would now dominate these continents were it not for Old World diseases.

          Alfred Crosby’s works, which precede Diamond’s, put more emphasis on biological factors. But Crosby, now considered an intellectual founder of contemporary environmental history, was too a great degree initially ignored. He is credited with coining the term “Columbian Exchange.”

          Reply
          1. newcatty

            Lee, yes to your points about New world indigenous peoples being decimated by Old world diseases. Another important factor in the conquest of the peoples as a the destruction of their natural foods. Whether it was wiping out buffalo herds or encroaching on their gathering places, hunting grounds or their cultivated crop lands; their food sources were stolen. Another important fact is what was forced on them to replace their sources and foods. The crapified wheat flour and meat was mostly it. Especially on almost any reservation in the country. To this day ramifications are suffered by the indigenous decendents. For example, in AZ the peoples have an out of sight incidence of diabetes. Obesity is common. Early deaths all too common. The poverty of many reservations all too well known. Young people, often turn to drugs and excessive alcohol. Domestic violence is a plague, especially for native women. Trace it all back to those conquers.

            Fortunately, some native peoples are rediscovering their roots. Traditional foods are being lauded and eaten, again. Kids are being taught their culture. Even when the mainstream sports are played by the kids…They have a “res” point of view. Native people’s are in the fore front of standing up for the environment. More women and men are becoming lawyers, medical practitioners and teachers; and going home to help their peoples. There are charlatans, bad actors and swindlers like in any group of peoples. Sometimes, the worst are found in tribal governance. Sometimes they hide in their roles as, most egregiously, “born again Christians”, who start their own little kingdoms of vulnerable followers. But, the positive stories are certainly hopeful to hear.

            Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          ‘A good counter-example is Sub-Saharan Africa’s colonial history.’

          Also the West Indies. The amount of Europeans that died there is horrific. British Regiments would get assigned to go for a tour of duty there and would be decimated by the diseases there.

          Reply
  15. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. intelligence says Huawei funded by Chinese state security: report”

    These sort of stories are symptomatic of a US system which finds itself, for the first time in a generation, in competition with two peer competitors with one about to surpass it. There is an article called “China locked in a power game with the US” at
    https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/04/article/china-locked-in-a-power-game-with-the-us/ which goes into it more. It didn’t have to be this way but forty years of neoliberalism has weakened the west considerably in terms of both is peoples and industrial capability.

    Reply
    1. MK

      The military is all we have left. That is the only thing we will ever have more of than anyone else on the planet. Expect more $$$ to be sunk into that complex and waiting for something to happen somewhere so we can deploy our big guns (even if a false flag, which I expect to be the white helmets in VZ). Not that we have the best weapons systems, but the mostest.

      Gotta break some glass in order to have to buy more!

      Reply
      1. VietnamVet

        The intelligence community is incompetent. It couldn’t even prevent the election of Donald Trump or remove him from office like they did to Dick Nixon. The military hasn’t won a war since defeating Imperial Japan. The people are restive. The UK is close to splintering apart. France is rioting. All Russia needs to do is tell the truth to isolate the global elite from their populations. China, if it wants, can turn the screws and shut down retail America. What is worse is the 10% believe their own propaganda. The Credentialed can’t acknowledge their complicity in the extractive economy. This cannot turn out well.

        Reply
    2. notabanker

      BREAKING: US Tech firms funded by CIA and US Security State

      Oh sorry, that news is actually 20 years old.

      Reply
  16. chuck roast

    Thanks for the Lapham’s Quarterly piece. Lapham’s is perfect reading for those of us whose brain still functions, but not with the efficiency and duration of earlier days.

    I love The Folger. It’s right next to the Supreme Court, but the bad vibe has done nothing to diminish the wicked exquisite music of the Folger Consort. THE place for music in DC.

    https://www.folger.edu/folger-consort

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      re Shakespeare’s library–Edward de Vere probably just walked down the hall of his castle and pulled the books off the shelf.

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakespeare_authorship_question

      Kidding of course–think that theory has been debunked–although they did make a somewhat interesting movie about it.

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymous_(2011_film)

      Reply
  17. Svante Arrhenius

    PG&E, Boeing, et al. For our conglomerate media to profit from cynical clickbait; monitize tragedy implicit in 35yrs of deregulation, crapification and corporate cover-up, lies & whistleblower prosecution… well, I’m guessing that some where between PropRNot, Facebook, Twitter, Google and the Assange SMEARS, we’ll see lots less anxiety on the part of youth, looking at their future on phones & seeing Sauron’s eye glaring back at them? Esketamine, will make them sleep? With Iranian poppies, or fentanyl for us olds?

    Reply
    1. 115kV

      re. PG&E, the Caribou-Palermo line had a failure resulting in tragic consequences, its “unreliability” is by no means unique in the electric transmission industry. Caribou-Palermo experienced an outage with a root cause of a line material failure.

      Literally every electric transmission owner in North America has its share of similarly poor-performing transmission lines, invisible to the public and regulators. This is the consequence of light-touch regulation and under-investment when it comes to asset health.

      Like the FAA, FERC has outsourced reliability regulation to NERC (North American Electric Reliability Corporation), a nonprofit NGO, funded by industry dues and penalties. NERC sets reliability standards, which are largely devised and written within its committee structure. The committees are staffed primarily by current or former industry employees.

      NERC has been largely successful in preventing blackouts like 2003, but there is more to reliability than system collapses.

      The electric transmission industry is the ultimate “keeper” of reliability data and is the final arbiter of its reliability performance. The public remains ignorant of electric transmission reliability because none of this information is in the public domain (NERC’s annual State of Reliability Report is useless to understand how an individual company, geographic region or individual transmission line performs). Regulatory bodies are inquisitive only when blackouts or tragedies occur. There are no regulations, standards or penalties to mandate that poorly performing transmission lines are maintained or rebuilt to minimize failure.

      Crapifiction at public expense.

      Reply
  18. The Rev Kev

    “Notre-Dame: why the French elite is picking up the tab”
    ‘Donations by France’s richest families illustrate the changing relationship between business, culture and the state’

    No it doesn’t. It merely underlines the way that things are. Some in France thought that the Yellow vests would fizzle out after the fire but instead it has provoked a more violent reaction. Here is how it works as hinted in that article. The Arnault family pledges €200 million (US$225 million) in donations to restore the Notre Dame. Because of a 2003 law, they will be able to get a 60% tax break on that donation which means that they will be able to claim back €140 million (US$135 million). This means that the Arnault family is thus only up for €80 million (US$90 million) while the average French tax payer (like the yellow vests) are up for the other €120 million (US$135 million). So the billionaires get the credit while the poor workers get most of the bill. An interviewed yellow vets said all this outright on the news today. But wait, it gets better. A 60% tax break was not enough for these billionaires and they demanded a special 90% tax break instead. So people like those yellow vets would have had to pay nearly all those contributions on those billionaires behalf instead. The measure failed but no wonder the yellow vest went ballistic this weekend.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      The amount being ponied up for the cathedral is about a third, compared to the new NFL stadium in L.A., just different houses of worship-the latter for sheep thrills.

      Reply
    2. Oregoncharles

      How does that “tax break” work? Because your numbers don’t make sense. In the US, the donation could and would be deducted from taxable income, resulting in a break of around 30% – or whatever the top rate is. Is it 60% in France? That would be impressively high.

      Furthermore, the donations presumably replace public expenditures; doesn’t Notre Dame belong to the state?

      I can understand the GJ’s being upset that anyone CAN make such a large donation – it highlights the disparity.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        That 60% rate is confirmed. I have read it in several other places but it is in the article itself-

        There are also juicy tax breaks. In 2003 France passed a law through which individuals and businesses benefit from at least a 60 per cent discount on charitable gifts.

        But those billionaires still wanted it to be made up to 90%. I do not think that it was the size of the donations that upset the GJs s much as the fact that because of that tax rebate, that most of that ‘donation’ would be actually coming from their own pockets.

        Reply
    3. dearieme

      Your logic is bonkers, Kev. (i) The Arnaults put up a net €80 million and the generality of taxpayers (including the Arnaults) put up €120 million. Alternatively (ii) The Arnaults make no one-off donation and therefore the generality of taxpayers (including the Arnaults) put up €200 million.

      You argue that (i) costs the other taxpayers more than (ii). That’s just bad logic.

      Reply
    4. David

      Important to realize that the taxpayer as such isn’t contributing anything. All of the main donors, so far as I can establish, have said that they don’t want their contributions to be offset against tax. In any event, the law only allows so-called ´défiscalisation’ up to a maximum of 0,5% of turnover for businesses or 20% of taxable income for individuals. There’s a box on the tax form where you can record charitable giving, and large numbers of ordinary people do so. It obviously has the effect that people who make such donations pay less tax, but the effect is concentrated at the lower and middle parts of the income range.

      Reply
  19. David

    If you are having difficulty knowing what to think of media reports of the gilets jaunes this weekend, and a possible read across to Notre Dame, well, that’s not surprising, because the situation is very confused. Here are three things to keep in mind.
    The numbers involved – around thirty thousand recently – mean that the protesters now constitute a determined hard core, relatively more likely to disobey instructions not to demonstrate, more likely to resort to violence against property, more likely to seek confrontation with the police. There are, though, still significant numbers who prefer peaceful demonstrations on approved routes.
    These protesters are accompanied by, infiltrated by, radicalised by, wary of and increasingly indistinguishable from, various fringe groups, mainly anarchists, whose main hope is to smash the system, and anything else breakable they come across, while enjoying a good punch-up with the police. These groups are not “left” or “right” in any coherent sense, but they are highly organised and disciplined, and choose their moments to get involved. They were pretty much absent last week, which is why Act 22 passed off with very little violence. Every time the authorities start to think the worst is over, they come back.
    The authorities still really have no idea how to cope with the protests, and are just hoping they will end naturally. They are stopping protesters from arriving where they can, and sealing off large areas of major cities. But this kind of thing is highly manpower-intensive (60,000 were mobilised yesterday) and it’s not clear how long they can keep it up. The police are badly over-stretched, and they themselves staged a protest last week to draw attention to the fact that police suicides are running at double the rate of recent years. The police are one of the two major occupations (the other is agriculture) with the highest suicide rates. The latest suicide was a 48-year old mother of two in Montpelier. (The government have set up a telephone helpline.) So the fact that some of the protesters yesterday were shouting “go and kill yourselves” didn’t go down well.
    In the light of all of this, media coverage has to be treated with some care. Journalists will accost anyone who looks like they are willing to talk, wearing a yellow jacket or not, and write down the most quotable phrases. The lack of any central organisation within the GJ means that everybody is free to say what they want, carry a banner or write a slogan on their back. As best I can judge, some of the protesters have mentioned Notre Dame, not to criticise the intended rebuild, but to ask why the country couldn’t find the same amount of money to address, for example, the homeless sleeping in the streets (parts of Paris now resemble an open-air dormitory). The fact that people have individual private fortunes large enough the they can pledge a hundred million Euros to rebuild the cathedral has not escaped peoples’ notice, either. If anything, as I suggested earlier this week, the GJ and the outburst of sentiment about the cathedral have a common origin – the fear of the disappearance of French culture and identity. Meanwhile, Macron, with his faultless ability to misread the popular mood, has launched an ambitious initiative for European cooperation to preserve heritage sites. Nobody obviously thought to tell him that the French have all the expertise they need, it’s just that the programmes have been starved of money. And finally, a leader of the largest French student union, the UNEF, has said he “doesn’t care” about Notre Dame, because he doesn’t care about French history. So you know where tomorrow’s ruling elite will be coming from.

    Reply
    1. Craig H.

      > The fact that people have individual private fortunes large enough the they can pledge a hundred million Euros to rebuild the cathedral has not escaped peoples’ notice

      Bernard Arnault, François Pinault, and Bettencourt family are the big hitters. I had to look them up on google as these are not household names in my regular-class Californian domain.

      On a sort of a tangent (I could explain how it is related but not briefly) Zizek and Peterson had a debate! I haven’t watched it yet but I did let it run while I was doing other stuff until they got past their opening statements which I was not interested in paying attention to. If anybody else thinks this is the way to watch it and wants to know how far to scroll ahead, the number is 1:12:22. That is how long the preliminary remarks went, Peterson first.

      Here is the you tube link:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78BFFq_8XvM

      It’s their protest, not mine, but I definitely would have skipped the pyro for one week if I was running the protest.

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        Nobody “runs” those protests – both an advantage (unpredictability, no leaders to arrest) and a disadvantage (somewhat incoherent.)

        Reply
    2. s.n.

      thank you david once again for your very valuable insights on the GJ movement – i follow your postings closely, as I am sure do many NC readers

      Reply
    3. Jeremy Grimm

      As s.n. says “Thank you for your insights.” I read your comments as a best source of information often ignoring the related links.

      I am troubled by your description of: “…various fringe groups, mainly anarchists, whose main hope is to smash the system, and anything else breakable they come across, while enjoying a good punch-up with the police” and “…highly organized and disciplined, and choose their moments to get involved.” There is something incongruous about this characterization. Well organized, disciplined anarchists? What sort of anarchists operate in the way you described? Where do they come from? How many of them are there? Here in the U.S. “a good punch-up with the police” can get you several years in a state prison. If you use any sort of ‘weapon’ bump up the number of years. I would think that might thin the anarchist ranks. Is France much more tolerant than the US of a good punch-up with the police?

      Reply
      1. David

        It’s a fallacy that anarchist groups are, in themselves, disorganised. In Europe at least they have often been highly organized. Their ideology, such as it is, sees the state as the enemy and all actions which weaken or damage it as worthwhile. They seem to believe that destroying the power of the state will be liberating for ordinary people. As regards violence this tends to be semi-ritualized and against specialist formed units of police who don’t carry firearms. The anarchists use stones and rocks as well as iron bars, petrol and acid bombs. The police have gas and plastic bullets and suchlike. The police do not intervene just to protect property but will respond if attacked or if they think lives are in danger. Typically’ a crowd will gather, and throw projectiles at the police, who will reply with gas to disperse the protesters. If that doesn’t work, they will stage a charge, at which point the crowd will disperse and run. Hand to hand fighting does happen but usually only when there are isolated individuals or small groups of police to be attacked. Because of the hit and run tactics, and the concentration above all on dispersing and controlling crowds, you don’t get mass arrests.

        Reply
        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Thank you! I get the feeling that demonstrating in France is very different than demonstrating in the US, peaceful or otherwise.

          Reply
    4. Summer

      “The numbers involved – around thirty thousand recently – mean that the protesters now constitute a determined hard core, relatively more likely to disobey instructions not to demonstrate, more likely to resort to violence against property, more likely to seek confrontation with the police…”

      Oh, it’s just a determined core with no security ageny infiltration or provocateurs. If nothing else, it is a new kind of movement.

      Reply
      1. David

        It is a new kind of organization or at least an untypical one. It’s also highly decentralized and consists of small numbered of activists from many different communities.

        Reply
    5. chuck roast

      “Go and kill yourselves.” That’s the kind of thing you yell at cops when have the final epiphany…cops aren’t around to do things “for” you, they are around to do things “to” you.

      Reply
  20. Wukchumni

    Frogs, salamanders and toads suffering ‘catastrophic population decline’, scientists say Independent
    ~~~~~~~~~~~
    I of newt persuasion, can confirm cold blooded Sierra Newts are still plentiful a few thousand feet above from whence I type this missive, the shocker coming a few months ago, when I spotted a red infiltrator here, well below their range.

    Reply
  21. RWood

    Re: UK Blurring Two Very Different Extradition Claims, Jonathan Cook warns

    “That the Trump administration has cast all this aside to get Assange behind bars should have every journalist in the world quaking in their boots, and loudly decrying what the U.S. is seeking to do.“

    Another discussion about these contests of “ownership” of the accused, https://consortiumnews.com/2019/04/19/cn-radio-episode-7-francis-boyle-on-extradition-of-julian-assange/
    In which, at about 24 minutes, Boyle expands on the hypothesis of a censorship in development — a new and improved domestic OSA.

    Reply
  22. Carolinian

    he doesn’t care about French history

    Interesting. I sometimes wonder whether Europeans–surrounded by all that storied history–become bored with and blaise about all the monuments, not to mention the tourists. I rarely watch a French movie these days that doesn’t feature American music or some character talking about how great NYC is. Jean Luc Godard’s “children of Marx and Coca Cola” seem to have dropped the Marx (maybe not the yellow vests) and gone all in for the Americana. Hope that’s not true?

    Reply
    1. David

      For the last generation anglo-saxon culture has carried all before it, and in the average supermarket you are more likely to hear songs in English played than in French. Partly this is assumed, through young people especially going for foreign models but mostly it’s imposed by a ruling class obsessed with anglo-saxon neoliberalism. But the point here is the fashionable denigration of French culture and history among the elites. French history is something to be ashamed of (colonialism, slavery, war) when it isn’t seen as just a minor adjunct to the more important history taking place elsewhere in the world. It was pointed out a few days ago that the most fashionable current book on French history (called ´France in the World’) doesn’t even mention Notre Dame

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        Thanks for the reply. When younger I bicycled across France and thought the place was glorious and romantic (the countryside more so than Paris). I grew homesick after awhile, but it’s a shame to think that places not like here may be on the wane, even if only a little.

        Reply
      2. JBird4049

        But the point here is the fashionable denigration of French culture and history among the elites.

        The American elites seem to denigrate Americans culture and history, which makes it easier to disparage its people and their suffering; I assume that is the point of the French denigration.

        Is there a French term that is the same as the Deplorables in the United States?

        Reply
        1. Acacia

          David may have something more precise, but the French version of deplorables might be “les beaufs”. It’s a slang term derived from “brother-in-law” (“beau-frère” –> “beauf”), which seems to mean vulgar, “undereducated and annoying white dude”, narrow-minded, arrogant, chauvinistic, racist, etc.

          “Les beaufs”, which have become a widely-mocked stereotype, were brought to national attention already in the 1970s by the graphic novelist Cabu (who was assassinated in the 2015 attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo).

          Reply
  23. flora

    re: Notre Dame du Paris updates

    AP is reporting the organ is mostly intact.
    France24 is reporting no indication of arson but investigation is ongoing.
    AP is reporting sources saying an electrical short is being looked at as the cause of the fire.

    An electrical short-circuit most likely sparked the inferno at the Notre Dame Cathedral, a French police official told the Associated Press on Thursday. —

    Reply
  24. dearieme

    “U.S. intelligence says Huawei funded by Chinese state security”.

    But then U.S. intelligence said Trump danced to Putin’s tune and didn’t that story turn out to be a pack of lies. Is there any reason to believe anything said by U.S. intelligence, even when it is damn near axiomatically true?

    Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      This is where we are. How can any reasonable person believe US intel or any intel organization because when we talk about the intel “community” we mean a very broad network of officers workings specifically for the agencies and departments, contractors (where, increasingly, the rubber hits the road), foreign intel agencies, and even organized crime at the edges. The secret world has ballooned because it is the most effective way for governments to avoid scrutiny, make money on the down-low, and engage in the fun sport of power. This force within Western society has become highly corrupt and explains a lot of seemingly irrational acts which I leave to you to figure out but solves the problem of why European elites, despite their country’s obvious self-interest, continue to support the madcap adventures of Washington imperialists.

      Reply
  25. Brindle

    re: Buttigieg
    A couple of interesting tweets from Buttigieg. He is not trying to understand Trump voters, it’s “Trumpism” that must be defeated–like it’s a bad flu or something. He appears to place actual policies that would help people—“living wage” etc. to be separate and maybe secondary to “racial and social justice”.

    He is great at nuance and sending vague feelgoods.

    –“If we really want to send Trumpism into the history books, the best thing we can do is defeat it decisively at the ballot box in 2020.”–

    —“While we remind voters that we’re the ones trying to get a living wage, paid family leave, and healthcare, we must never budge on our bedrock commitment to racial and social justice because that is where our moral authority as a party comes from in the first place.”—
    @ PeteButtigieg

    Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      There are several candidates I don’t like who are obviously phony, like K. Harris, Beto, and several others. But Buttigieg arouses my instant dislike–there’s something about the way he comes across that irks me. Or maybe it’s the media’s fawning love of this center-right candidate which worries me a lot. I haven’t seen this much media-love since George the second was running in 1999.

      Reply
    2. dearieme

      our moral authority as a party: ah, the party of the Trail of Tears, slavery, segregation, Jim Crow, and Tammany Hall. Oh yeah, and the Clinton Foundation. Moral authority indeed.

      And until the lamentable George W Bush there was a strong case that the Dems tended to be the war party. Comparing Obama and Trump you could still make the case that the Dems are the war party.

      Reply
      1. nycTerrierist

        re: the rhetoric of that tweet. Note the slimy way B. reinforces a specious distinction between

        concrete material benefits (economic justice) and identity politics (so-called ‘moral authority’).

        That’s some Obama-caliber gaslighting

        Reply
    3. Juneau

      The Democratic Party is again trying to win the election by alienating any potential swing voters (by insulting them), while running a large group of candidates each of which is incapable of gaining support by the majority of their own party. Making the same mistake over and over again. Attack your opponent not the voters. I don’t mind Buttigieg but his chances are not so good.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I don’t mind Buttigieg

        I didn’t until recently, but like Beto, he’s running for President and offering discount Obama as a candidate.

        What does he really bring to the table? The “ability to come across as sincere.” The Presidency is an important job. It has to be treated as more than an ego booster.

        Reply
    4. ewmayer

      Note the weasel-wording by Mayor Pete:

      ‘living wage’ – As I recall a lot of team D notables, including HRH Hillary, were against this before they saw the writing on the wall and were for it. And being for relentless jobs-offshoring and open borders do not exactly jibe with “living wage”.

      ‘healthcare’ – That can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, Pete. Could ya maybe be just a *little* more specific? Are you talking about Romney/Obamacare-esque “access to health unsurance”? Or maybe some hybrid public-private BS? Or actual universal medicare-for-all-style coverage? Or am I supposed to be just so gosh-darn thrilled at the Identitarian wunnerfulness of the prospect of the nation’s first (openly) gay president that I should just shut up and “defeat Trumpism” by voting for Team D?

      Reply
    5. WJ

      “get a living wage, paid family leave, and healthcare” = material benefits to poor people, a disproportionate number of which are black

      “racial and social justice” = Starbucks sporting rainbow flags

      All you need to know folks.

      Reply
  26. Jason Boxman

    Another good book on Quantum Physics is:

    Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality

    which I found at a public library book sale on John’s Island near Charleston SC of all places while visiting Charleston.

    Reply
    1. Lepton1

      What is Real by Adam Becker is interesting. He covers more of the philosophical differences that were ignored for most of recent history.

      Reply
    2. WJ

      The afterward to that book is interesting wherein it is discovered that roughly only 4 in 10 practicing quantum physicists consider themselves adherents to the “orthodox” uncertainty school of, I believe, Bohrs and Heisenberg. One of the amazing things about that book was that by the end it is fairly certain that Einstein was right to be skeptical about the coherency of the model even as he was wrong about other things (I.e entanglement of quarks allowing for instantaneous change at faster than the speed of light, something ruled impossible by relativity, I believe.)

      Reply
  27. Jeremy Grimm

    RE: “How Le Corbusier’s American Dream Became a Nightmare” —
    This link makes the point that our urban and suburban spaces were planned and built “… under the control of specialists and technicians invested with public authority.” Aside from visions of the ‘rational’ planning of urban space making use eminent domain as needed: “Land will be measured and assigned to various activities,” which sounds like visions of a perfect office filing system. Corbusier’s dream included a planning construct designed to “… use up tires, wear out road surfaces and gears, consume oil and gasoline. All of which will necessitate a great deal of work . . . enough for all.”

    The urban renewal programs also achieved other goals. The assertion “…the new public housing towers were an attempt to isolate, concentrate, and contain the urban African-American population,” and the poor, is detailed with an analysis of how and who brought about the “urban renewal” of New Haven, Connecticut, G. William Domhoff’s short book: “Who Really Rules? New Haven and Community Power Reexamined”.

    If we could in the past somehow afford to build our present dilemmas, how is it we are paralyzed now in making efforts to unbuild them?

    Reply
    1. Darius

      Urban renewal was rule by the experts. I’m from the government and I’m here to help you. A good argument against the meritocracy.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Urban renewal was rule by the experts. I’m from the government and I’m here to help you me. A good argument against for the meritocracy.

        We just must describe these things accurately.

        The prisons of Brutalist Architecture and greenless greenbelts for the plebeian masses with the attractive sunny homes in architecture styles like American Midcentury Modern all in beautiful lush green landscape for our Meritocratic Ruling Class. The former to have their souls crushed by their living space while the latter is refreshed and invigorated by theirs.

        Reply
    2. Carolinian

      My library has, yet again, been fixing leaks coming from the flat roof. It could be that Tom Wolfe’s From Bauhaus to Our House is very much due for a revival and a re-look. One of his principal assaults was on the impracticality of Europe’s “art” architecture.

      Reply
        1. Carolinian

          Some say Falling Water was actually Wright’s bid to do better Bauhaus. His early buildings mostly had sloped roofs.

          Our library’s problem may have as much to do with AGW as architectural fashion. It rained like crazy this winter.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Had a school hall built in our local high school and the damn thing cost big bikkies to build. But after it was finished it was found that the rook leaked badly. They have been building roofs for several thousand years now. You would think that by now they would have succeeded in learning how to do it so that it fulfilled its primary purpose – keeping rain out. It can’t be that hard. Seriously!

            Reply
  28. nechaev

    for those following South Asian maoism:
    The spectre of a new Maoist conflict in Nepal
    https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/spectre-maoist-conflict-nepal-190404111507371.html

    Biplab’s party … enjoys the support of many within Nepal’s disadvantaged and marginalised communities frustrated by casteism, corruption, underdevelopment and injustice, which the current government has made no serious attempts to address. It has a nation-wide organisation and can lay credible claims to have regrouped a chunk of the Maoist “People’s Army” that once waged a deadly war against the state. In fact, many local Maoist leaders have at least some sympathy for Biplab’s party. They started to understand and support Biplab as their disillusionment grew with Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as Prachanda, the former Maoist supremo who, in a show of great opportunism, merged his party (Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre)) with an opposing Marxist/Leninist group and became the co-chair of the Communist coalition currently ruling the country.

    Reply
  29. Oregoncharles

    I don’t see an update on the bombings in Sri Lanka, so: at last report, up to 207 killed; still no one claiming the attacks. Focused on foreigners and churches, so there’s a clue. Not a lot of Muslims in Sri Lanka.

    Reply
  30. Susan the other`

    Thank you for Adam Frank’s review of Smolin’s “Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution.” It really should never surprise anyone that we use quantum mechanics all the time in our science and engineering without having a clue what we are talking about. It’s almost a metaphor for our existence. That Smolin believes the mystery of quantum theory will be solved when we discover the deeper realism behind it. I’m going to read this one. It sounds like somebody is saying that quantum mechanics tries to understand the mysterious multi-dimensional speed limit of particles which possess, what seems to us as, something far faster or more multi dimensional than light and the speed of light. Maybe there’s a light hole out there. For when the tiniest things that have no mass achieve infinite speed and dimension…

    Reply
  31. SerenityNow

    How Le Corbusier’s American Dream Became a Nightmare

    I support the author’s critique of the modernist project overall, and would like to point out that zoning was entrenched in the US permanently by the Euclid vs. Ambler decision of 1926. While Corbusier seemed to be excited about modernism as progress, industry, and technology, I think a lot of American zoning was primarily based on good old fashioned racial exclusion, commodification of land, and class exclusion. For example, this comes directly from the Euclid vs. Ambler opinion:

    With particular reference to apartment houses, it is pointed out that the development of detached house sections is greatly retarded by the coming of apartment houses, which has sometimes resulted in destroying the entire section for private house purposes; that, in such sections, very often the apartment house is a mere parasite, constructed in order to take advantage of the open spaces and attractive surroundings created by the residential character of the district.

    And from the terrific book The Color Of Law:

    Terrified by the 1917 Russian revolution, governt officials came to belive that communism could be defeated in the United States by getting as many white Americans as possible to become homeowners–the idea being that those who owned property would be invested in the capitalist system.

    Many early proponents of zoning in the US were actually realtors, looking to secure a standardized market for the products they wished to sell. Zoning allowed for sanitized, controlled districts with uniform products for desired consumers.

    Reply
    1. chuck roast

      Sorry, it is not going to stop.

      The Atlantic became a fishwrap…and a bad fishwrap at that, after Zuckerman sold it. When they gave the cover page to David Brooks my subscription was doomed. Michael Kelly became the editor. A complete reactionary, he embedded himself with the troops in Iraq and bit the dust. He was mourned by Maureen Dowd and all of the usual suspects. None of the usual suspects, however, bothered mourning the passing of a great and important American literary institution.

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          Amazing bit of propaganda that.
          I can imagine the ghost of Hearst chuckling to itself: “You supply the Times Op Ed page, I’ll supply the war.”

          Reply
  32. skk

    So it reads as if here Smolin though perhaps not going as far as ” invisible variables” thinks that there is really is something more to say to bring realism to QM.
    For those with an IT ( theory not just say Oracle DBA expertise ) bg, there is a Google talk by Ron garret https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEaecUuEqfc
    That’s worth checking out. It takes as a given that the state of quantum, that is all, systems is observer( just another system ) dependent. And then works out the “paradoxes” of quantum entanglement. All using just Shannon’s ideas of information entropy, mutual information. It’s quite an old talk,from 2011

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      I’ll look on the bright side. The Court Jester, which evolved into the Comedian, had the task of speaking the truth to power.
      Now, who is this new leader beholden to? That’ll set the limits of action going forward.

      Reply
    2. ptb

      They’re been on the IMF program for a while. Reducing public expenditure, privatization / public-asset-sales. Stabilize things long enough for the pre-crisis creditors to get out in one piece. PM Groysman seems to be the international face of this process, and the person occupying the presidency isn’t going to change it much. Though at the oligarch vs oligarch level it may be quite significant.

      Relationship with China may be a wild card, but don’t look for that until the all the checks from the IMF have been cashed (IMF bailout is broken down into several-$billion sized bits, and there are still a couple of more to go).

      Reply
  33. barrisj

    Rudy Giuliani finally surfaces, and is interviewed on MTP where – inter alia – he compares the release of the DNC emails by Wikileaks as being comparable to dissemination of the Pentagon Papers…“I wonder if there isn’t an argument that the people had a right to know that about Hillary Clinton.”…no dissent here, Rudy

    https://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/video/full-rudy-giuliani-no-reason-to-dispute-conclusions-of-the-mueller-report-1501518915838?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=New%20Campaign&utm_term=First%20Read

    Reply
    1. pjay

      Coulter, Rove, Guiliani — uttering statements from their own mouths with which I agree. How screwed up are we, anyway? Or is this some sort of psyop?

      Reply
      1. Geo

        My take: Bith sides of the establishment are corrupt and tribalistic. They use legit examples of the other side’s corruption to take the heat off the corruption on their own side but only ever put any effort into enforcing action on anyone if that person or entity has done something to upset the establishment – which is why GWB, Clintons, etc will never see any punishment for their crimes but Chelsie Manning will keep ending up behind bars.

        They’re only saying things we agree with because the “enemy of their enemy” is their ally today.

        Reply
  34. barrisj

    Re: “worst jobs” link…the writer obviously hasn’t heard about the ILWU pay-scale for dockworkers, which is well above the wage cited: ca. $29000 median. Check these more meaningful numbers:

    Longshoremen receive hourly pay increases based on how many contract years they have worked as well as when they started working with the company. Per the current contract, new longshoremen who are ILA members earn a pay increase from $20.00 to $23.75 an hour after two years of work experience. Their pay grows to $29.40 an hour with four years of experience and $35.00 an hour with six years of experience. From July 2017 to late June 2018, new ILWU members earned hourly rates of $29.49 with up to 1,000 hours of experience, $30.49 for 1,000 to 2,000 hours, $32.49 for 2,001 to 4,000 hours, and $40.93 with 4,001 or more hours of experience.

    Salary website PayScale reported the average annual longshoreman salary based on experience as of May 2018:

    0 to 5 years: $53,000
    5 to 10 years: $54,000
    10 to 20 years: $81,000
    20 or more years: $83,000

    https://work.chron.com/average-wage-longshoreman-20463.html

    The ILWU has been legendary in its securing of high-wage packages for its members, especially in light of massive automation of port jawbs. One of the very few remaining US unions that still retain formidable clout vis-à-vis employers.

    Reply
  35. Roland

    Be careful with using rhetoric of “imperial decline.”

    1. Empires are ruled for the benefit of their rulers, not for the benefit of their subjects. When empires do unnecessary harm, or unnecessarily waste resources, those are not necessarily signs of imperial decline. Rather, wastage is just empires doing the only thing that empires ever do.

    2. Empires are net negative for their subjects; that’s why all empires spend most of their time declining and falling.

    3. The only thing worse than being in a falling empire, is to be anywhere near a rising one.

    4. The problem is not that empires collapse. The problem is that it takes too long, and the damned empire usually ends up taking its whole civilization down with it. There are things to admire in any civilization, but empires are never among them. Toynbee was right: the very fact that an empire forms, is strong evidence of a civilizational breakdown.

    5. Most imperial history is written by people who fed off the empire, so empires get better press than they deserve. Ruling elites and their sycophants really love their TINA, and any empire, by definition, is a gigantic TINA machine.

    Reply
  36. dcblogger

    Democrats Ran On Lowering Drug Prices. Now They Could Cut A Bad Deal With Donald Trump.
    The private feud between Nancy Pelosi and progressive Democrats is going public.
    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/democrats-ran-on-lowering-drug-prices-now-they-could-cut-a-bad-deal-with-donald-trump_n_5cba1934e4b068d795cc45b5?ncid=engmodushpmg00000004
    For months now, House Democratic Party leaders have been feuding behind closed doors with members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus about how to lower prescription drug prices. But as details of negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and President Donald Trump have leaked into the public, frustration among progressives is boiling over.

    Speaking in a personal capacity on Thursday, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) told HuffPost that he and “the overwhelming majority” of his fellow CPC members “will oppose” any prescription drug bill that cedes the government’s authority to regulate drug prices to an independent arbitration firm. It’s a direct challenge to Pelosi ― who is championing arbitration in private ― and an effort to disrupt the talks with Trump, which progressives believe are ignoring their views.

    Reply
    1. Pat

      Can’t upset the donors, aka big Pharma.

      Khanna has been around long enough to know that profits always matter than more voters. And ceding governmental powers is SOP for making sure that things remain that way just in case voters get uppity and elect someone who doesn’t know that.

      But I am glad that it isn’t just Bernie causing the leadership agita, long past time.

      Reply
  37. a different chris

    So it’s 3:45 Easter Sunday afternoon and some poor bloke just delivered an Amazon package. Jesus. Note: I do not shop Amazon, but don’t have (or want) control over the adult members of my family. But whatever is in the package certainly could have waited until tomorrow.

    Reply
    1. newcatty

      Um, maybe it is the Easter Bunny. He now travels by Amazonian packaging. He is the Easter Bunny, so can hold his breath as long as needed, until set free at his destination. You didn’t know? Actually there are a legion of bunnies. That’s how they can hide eggs and solid chocolate bunnies to all good little boys and girls. Well, some of the kids have to settle for just chocolate shell bunnies. He is good friends with Santa Claus, Tinker Bell, Tooth Fairy, Cupid, and good witches.

      Reply
    2. dearieme

      That’s nothing. We were once having Xmas lunch and a political volunteer from the (UK) Liberal Party delivered a leaflet to our letterbox. Mark you, he was wearing sandals which you could take as an allusion to Jesus, though hardly to Jesus as a newborn.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Hold it. I imply that this was in England, since I know of no other country where the Labour Party (UK) operates. The middle of winter, since that is when Christmas occurs. So, wearing sandals in the middle of winter out of doors. That qualifies as “Mortification of the Flesh” in my book. A definite nod to Christian practice. Whether Jesus would have been proud or not, I do not venture to guess. (I don’t know whether Jesus would have been a Labour supporter or a Trot.)

        Reply
          1. ambrit

            Fair cop.
            I must admit to not having ever seen an ‘Anarchist Jesus’ action figure.
            Where did he get the whip to chase the money changers out of the Temple anyway? Borrow it from a BDSM Temple Prostitute?

            Reply
            1. skippy

              I think its reasonable to consider Hudson’s views prae money in the construct of contracts as it filters through time becoming what we know it now.

              Reply
              1. ambrit

                Sort of a “chicken or egg” problem. Did ‘contracts’ give rise to money, or vice versa?
                Go back a few tens of millennia and wonder at how the “simple” hunter gatherer societies managed it. The only universal “store of value” I can think of for back then would be one’s children. The Social Contract of that time would be different from today?
                I don’t know about “filtering” through time. Any filter selects for some desired value. The form of the filter would be determinative.
                Oh well. Happy First Monday after the Full Moon after the Vernal Equinox.

                Reply
              2. skippy

                Regardless, I would suggest contracts both define and shape individual and group dynamics, hence those with the most power over that framework set the stage.

                Sort of what I was getting at above thread WRT humans being instructed to obey earthly masters as they would the one above – same for awls in doorways, etc.

                Hudson’s anthropology with some early leftover communal groups treatment post nation state and their heresy towards contractual norms.

                Reply
                1. ambrit

                  I think I ‘get’ it. Define “contract” loosely, and the rest falls into place. Money falls into the category of ‘tools of power.’
                  Thanks for taking the time to explain.

                  Reply
  38. Janie

    Awesome, just awesome! Yes, it’s Easter and not Thanksgiving, but I have to say thank you to Yves, the staff of NC and the best commentariat ever. So much information, humor and civility, an endless reading list and people who feel like friends. You have all outdone yourselves with today’s links, antidote and comments.

    Reply

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