Links 4/8/19

Local couple married 82 years shares secrets to lasting marriage WSOC TV

Coral reproduction on Great Barrier Reef falls 89pc after repeated bleaching Asian Correspondent

This is the biggest female python ever captured in the Everglades’ Big Cypress, researchers say Miami Herald

They would have laughed London Review of Books. Ferdinand Mount.

Here’s the real reason why Terracotta Army weapons are so well-preserved Ars Technica

In a Poor Kenyan Community, Cheap Antibiotics Fuel Deadly Drug-Resistant Infections NYT

Shell Sued in the Netherlands for Insufficient Action On Climate Change Climate Liability News

Himalayan glaciers on the eve of destruction Asia Times (The Rev Kev). Pepe Escobar

Future of connected cars in Europe faces critical vote FT

Waste Watch

Drinks bottles now biggest plastic menace for waterways – report Guardian

Libya

The backstory to Hifter’s march on Tripoli Al-Monitor (The Rev Kev)

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

On the Pavement with Wikileaks Craig Murray

The Sun Never Sets on the Espionage Act Foreign Policy in Focus

Chelsea Manning’s ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ Moment American Conservative

MTA’s Initial Foray Into Facial Recognition at High Speed Is a Bust WSJ

Big Tech must pay for access to America’s ‘digital oil’ FT. Rana Faroohar

Facebook are ‘morally bankrupt, pathological liars’ – NZ Privacy Commissioner NZ Herald (MG)

UK to keep social networks in check with internet safety regulator CNET

Health Care

Memorial Sloan Kettering Leaders Violated Conflict-of-Interest Rules, Report Finds ProPublica

Anti-vaxxers appear to be losing ground in the online vaccine debate The Conversation

NY Judge Rules in Favor of Unvaccinated Children Spreading Measles With Impunity Splinter

Amazon Wants You to Use Alexa to Track Health Care WSJ (The Rev Kev)

Medicare for All Critics Are Telling Lies Jacobin

Venezuela

US Takes Illegal, Dangerous Actions Toward Regime Change in Venezuela TruthOut

2020

‘Absolutely the Direction We Should Go’: Sanders Becomes First 2020 Candidate to Support Felons Voting From Behind Bars Common Dreams

Elizabeth Warren: Democrats’ message must be more than ‘not-Trump’ Boston Herald

Pete Buttigieg argues against free college. This is why progressives can’t agree about subsidizing tuition. WaPo

Cory Booker raises more than $5 million for U.S. presidential run Reuters

2020 candidates struggle to convince home-state voters they’re ready for White House Politico

737 Max

American Airlines extends Max-caused cancellations to June 5 NY Post

Ethiopian crash hub: Airline reconsidering Boeing 737 MAX orders Africa News

Class Warfare

In the name of ‘amateurism,’ college athletes make money for everyone except themselves The Conversation

Trash pickers in San Francisco make a living by going through billionaires’ garbage and selling the designer jeans, vacuum cleaners, and iPads they discover Business Insider (The Rev Kev)

Scapegoating Unions for the Postal Service’s Phony Crisis TruthOut (furzy)

Lyft went public at a $24 billion valuation. Here’s how that compares to other high-profile tech companies. Business Insider (The Rev Kev)

MMT

Modern Monetary Theory Finds an Embrace in an Unexpected Place: Wall Street NYT

China?

China’s belt and road trade strategy could determine the design of Boeing’s new 797 plane SCMP

China’s US$10 budget phone maker seeks fortune in Belt and Road countries SCMP

India

Did India Shoot Down a Pakistani Jet? U.S. Count Says No. Foreign Policy

The Election Fix: Despite note ban, cash is all over India’s elections – but can votes be bought? Scroll.in

The tiny deals behind Mukesh Ambani’s bid to take on Amazon Economic Times

Trump Transition

Iran rebukes US over rumoured IRGC ‘terrorist’ designation Al Jazeera

Homeland Security chief Nielsen is out Politico

Legislation slows to crawl in divided Washington The Hill

Antidote du Jour (via)

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here

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177 comments

  1. allan

    Re: “In a Poor Kenyan Community, Cheap Antibiotics Fuel Deadly Drug-Resistant Infections”

    Meanwhile, in the U.S.’s world’s greatest rapidly stratifying health care system:

    Telemedicine tied to more antibiotics for kids, study finds [AP]

    Sniffling, sore-throated kids seen via telemedicine visits were far more likely to be prescribed antibiotics than those who went to a doctor’s office or clinic, according to a new study.

    Many of those prescriptions disregarded medical guidelines, raising the risk they could cause side effects or contribute to the rise of antibiotic-resistant germs. …

    Sadly for the rich, those antibiotic-resistant germs, once they get out in the wild, won’t know the difference
    between telemedicine customers and concierge medicine clients.

    Reply
    1. Ignacio

      Telemedicine! Sending pictures of kids throats by smartphone to the physician to identify bacterial colonies?
      I can’t believe.

      Reply
      1. Roger Smith

        Wait until third parties come in with phone tools and apps that sample your spit/blood and send it digitally to the doctor while also cataloging the biological data and records in an uncountable server used to sell your bio-metric data to anyone with cash. We are heading deep into a period of terrible stupidity. It is an evolutionary test, and people seem to be oblivious about it all.

        Reply
        1. Hepativore

          Also, wait until employers start demanding you send them your medical records as a defacto requirement of employment to see if you have any conditions that could be expensive if they allow you on their health plan. Waiving your right to medical privacy before you are hired could become just as normalized as pre-employment drug tests. You could opt out, but by doing so, you are also opting out of a job there.

          Many employer apps such as the one that Starbucks makes employees download grant themselves the permission to snoop on all of your private files that you store on your cellular device and downloading it is a prerequisite to being an employee at Starbucks and I am sure that such apps will also help themselves to medical data on your device and report it to your employer.

          Reply
          1. Shonde

            “Also, wait until employers start demanding you send them your medical records as a defacto requirement of employment to see if you have any conditions that could be expensive if they allow you on their health plan”
            Another good reason to support Medicare For All.

            Reply
          2. Roger Smith

            Wow, I hadn’t heard of that Starbucks application. Disgusting. Can’t even get real jobs in this country, and that still isn’t good enough for these tyrants. How can these people not understand that More-more-more Capitalism or (Burnout Capitalism you could call it) is entirely less profitable than long term, sustained management? Once your income hits needless, no amount above it is measurably relevant and these people could still have needless revenue, without killing off the society in the process. I don’t understand.

            Reply
          3. drumlin woodchuckles

            What does Starbucks do about job applicants who don’t own a cell phone? Is “owning a cell phone” a condition of being considered for employment at Starbucks?

            Reply
            1. JBird4049

              I don’t know about Starbucks, but many places will not hire you if you do not have at least a landline, and if you need to be called back for an interview, you have a problem. Some homeless shelters will use a phone number and their own mailing address for job seekers without using the name of the shelter.

              Reply
        2. Oh

          We’re already in the terrible stupidity period. Many people who use apps on their cell phone are so caught up in the convenience that they shrug off the loss of privacy even when told about how Google, FB et al mine their every activity and sell the info.

          Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Ideal vs. reality.

      The idea of telemedicine, looking at the Wikpedia entry, is to bring medicne to remore areas where health services are not consistently available.

      Of course, an example of the real world is given above.

      Can we say the same of free college – the idea is to widen it, in this case, to more people, in more areas, remote or otherwise – that, in the real world, some get the telemedicine equivalence of credentialism, while the rich get their ‘guanxi’ with real power wielders (young and old) at elite private universities?

      Reply
    1. Yikes

      “You have to start out learning to believe the little lies. “So we can believe the big ones?” Yes. Justice, mercy, duty. That sort of thing.”
      Terry Pratchett

      Reply
    2. ambrit

      As such, Dyer was the embodiment of Empire. Born and raised in the “Far Flung Possessions,” of Empire, educated up to serve that Empire, and carrying out faithfully the policies of Empire. The massacre was just one of a number of similar actions and campaigns of similar bent that he was involved in.
      Dyer’s downfall, even though he was not ‘punished’ for the massacre, his carer essentially ended with it, was to be at the point of action during a time of political change in England and the Empire. The two, I’ll assert, were not the same thing. Improvements in communications and transport made the outlying territories of Empire now much more closely watched and managed by the centre, Whitehall. Whereas previously, the peripheries could act semi-independently due to the length of time it took for orders and information to flow between the centre and outer regions, now the centre had close control. This meant the intrusion of Home Island political considerations into regional decision making. Local events also had magnified effects on central decision making processes. This feedback loop let loose the newly powerful force of Public Opinion, in the Homeland. In the Regions previously, “public opinion” could be ignored because those imposing the oppressions were the ruling elites of that region. Local elites could ignore local public opinions because the elites answered to a far off Imperial master. When that Imperial master became subject to central, Home Island Public Opinion, now partially fed off of the previously isolated Regional Public Opinions, the dynamic changed. Dyers Massacre would have become just a footnote in History fifty years prior to it’s occurrence. By 1919, the ‘times had changed.’
      All this bloviation to set up the idea that the “crapification” of the Mainstream Stream Media is producing the ground state for a reversion to the previous Imperial system of governance. The ‘Far Flung Outposts’ of the Neo Imperium will soon be subject to more stringent and sanguinary chastisements, simply because the newly ‘domesticated’ information systems will be able to effectively compartmentalize the news of any outrages. What one does not know about, one cannot protest about. Public Opinion is thus neutered. As for those “Far Flung Outposts of Empire?” I submit for your consideration: Deploristan, the Duchy of Rust Belt, the Peoples Theocracy of Ozarkia, the Southern Marches, the Rocky Mountain Heights, plus all those places wherein the Stolid Peasantry labours to feed the Beast.
      Thus endeth the Rant.

      Reply
        1. ambrit

          Thus the underlying rationale for the censoring of “fake news” and “hate speech,” and “conspiracy theories,” ad nauseum. Do notice that this censoring is being carried out under the cloak of “independent media” and “private entity” means. No overt governmental intervention in Medialand. (On the Ground is another matter. The first warning sign that something “nasty” is about to happen somewhere is when the ‘authorities’ impose press restrictions.)
          Previously, the Media were semi-autonomous entities with a good deal of competition. Even if the outlets were fronting for political factions, those factions had discrete differences in outlook and policy to argue over. Now, the “Official” Media are wholly owned by the dominant Power Structure, singular.
          This works out somewhat like a “Kabuki of History.” Everyone “goes through the motions,” seldom ever apprehending that those “motions” lead directly to chaos and disaster.

          Reply
        1. ambrit

          That’s out past West We Go, ain’t it?
          Oh no! You don’t mean the Team Mascots for Terrebonne High do you?

          Reply
    3. skk

      When the Shaheed Udam Singh Centre was set up by the Indian Workers Association ( IWA ) on Soho Rd, Birmingham ( a heavily subcontinent originers area ) at the end of the ’70s I remember asking around – “Who was this Udam Singh”. I was told by bystanders – o he shot Dyer of the Jalianwala Bagh massacre – and was hanged for it.. When ? 1940. OK I said, a national hero then… Wait a minute I said, Dyer died in the West Country in the 20s.. I know cos I studied in Bath and I suppose that’s why I knew this.. Delving further I figured out – General Dyer who ordered the shootings in person, and Governor of Punjab O’Dwyer who was the one assassinated by Udam Singh.

      Dyer, O’Dwyer, what’s the difference ? Well facts matter desperately in science, math, computing. I learnt to be suspicious of the smooth talking rhetoric and wonderful flowing phrases of some – because behind that there could be a devastating lack of understanding of the basic facts of an event. Not always lies but just a laziness to do the hard work of grasping all the facts, in sufficient detail, of a matter.

      Reply
      1. Yikes

        O’Dwyer, aged 75, was shot dead at a joint meeting of the East India Association and the Central Asian Society (now Royal Society for Asian Affairs) in Caxton Hall, London on 13 March 1940, by an Indian revolutionary, Udham Singh, in retaliation for Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar.[20] As the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, O’Dwyer had endorsed Dyer and called the massacre a “correct” action; some historians now believe he premeditated the massacre and set Dyer to work.[21][22]

        At his trial, Singh told the court:

        I did it because I had a grudge against him. He deserved it. He was the real culprit. He wanted to crush the spirit of my people, so I have crushed him. For full 21 years, I have been trying to wreak vengeance. I am happy that I have done the job. I am not scared of death. I am dying for my country. I have seen my people starving in India under the British rule. I have protested against this, it was my duty. What a greater honour could be bestowed on me than death for the sake of my motherland?

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_O%27Dwyer

        I don’t have much faith in anything in Wikipedia, but it seems your friends were more correct than you might have known.

        Reply
        1. skk

          Indeed, by accident I mean, meaning as per my recollection they didn’t even know that there were two different individuals with similar sounding names. But yeah at the strategic level they got it right. Of course Udam Singh knew what he was doing alright. Talking about the wiki, I see this in the entry on him in the wiki :

          “In Singh’s diaries for 1939 and 1940, he occasionally misspells O’Dwyer’s surname as “O’Dyer”, leaving a possibility he may have confused O’Dwyer with General Dyer.[9]”

          Looking at your quote from his trial statement, I don’t think that’s much of a possibility is it ? I shall think about editing that entry to remove that last bit.

          The Ghadar party is of great interest to me.. It originated in San Francisco !

          Reply
    4. JEHR

      The Rev Kev: I was educated (propagandized) to believe in the power of the British Empire–all those pink countries that make up the British Commonwealth where “the sun never set.” I was proud that we had British heritage. Now as an 80-year-old, I am disgusted by what that empire did to the many countries that it conquered. The empire has completely lost its way now and Brexit will have its day. I have no sympathy for the elite that now struggle to make sense of their own choices. May the world have its way!

      Reply
      1. eg

        As was I out here in the colder regions of the former Colonies. It was only with some embarrassment that I later realized my Irish heritage put me among the offspring of its earliest victims.

        Reply
      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Here Here!!

        Let slip the fertile arrows of Democracy in truest form…

        Free from the Empires tentacles!

        #selfdetermination

        Reply
  2. Krystyn Walentka

    On “Himalayan glaciers on the eve of destruction”

    The article quotes;

    New report warns that two-thirds of glaciers in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, which feed 10 major river systems across Asia, could melt by 2100.

    I wish they would change the way they talk about climate change from future event 80 years from now and focus on how it is affecting people now. I think that might go a long way in helping people take action. People have so many current urgent threats (financial, health) that these 8o year from now disasters are low on the list.

    So how about just talk about air and water pollution and the death of species and keep it simple?

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      For people in the upper reaches of those catchments, a seasonal shortage of water is very much a current urgent threat from climate change.

      Reply
      1. Shonde

        Yesterday’s New Yorker link regarding How Climate Change is Fueling the US Border Crisis is excellent in discussing already existing climate changes in Guatemala such as water shortages. A must read.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It would seem Germany, for example, would be a nicer destination for those leaving Guatema, fueled by Climate Change.

          But there is an ocean to cross.

          And the US is likely higher on the list than say, Mexico (as they cross it on the way north).

          If Germany is not practical, so the US is the second choice, and if the US is not practical, would Mexico be the third choice, or would it be some other countries, like Cuba or Colombia?

          Reply
      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        1.9 Billion water fat natives. Wheres Stilgar? Def gonna need a Fremen and Bene Gesserit to create and implement a new religion based on conserving water.

        Reply
    2. John k

      Yes.
      In particular, it seems higher rates of melting now means more flow now, no shortage now, but to be followed by a large reduction… and if falling as rain in future, all coming at once in the rainy season rather than slowly as ice melts in summer.
      And I heard years ago the us midwest has lost 3 of the 6 feet of topsoil the glaciers left when the retreated…
      Man civilized during a golden climate era, when farming was easy.

      Reply
  3. Mikerw0

    I found the NY Times article on MMT interesting. What stood out to me is the mainstream biases. Notably, how the fourth word in the article is “eccentric” then no where in the article is this born out. (Newton –> gravity, Einstein –> relativity, Keynes –> general theory, etc.)

    I know that when new and better theories emerge this is how it happens, but what lazy journalism or editorial nonsense.

    Reply
    1. Summer

      Right now it is just a monetary theory detached from budgetary decisions and priorities established by Congress.
      Wall St. is experimenting with it as a monetary theory.
      Congress openly and consciously using it as a basis for planning and creating budgets may not necessarily be something that Wall St agrees with it.
      Like any monetary theory it can be used to transfer wealth upwards…it all depends on what a society values and prioritizes.

      Reply
      1. JEHR

        Wall Street has always known how MMT works and they use it to their own purpose. That is why so many government officials come from banks like Goldman Sachs.

        Reply
        1. jsn

          Yes, Hatzius, at Goldman Sachs, trained with Wynne Godley who wrote the book on stock flow consistent monetary economics. Godley was the last Keynesian holdout in the Labor party and wrote a biting and accurate critique of Maastricht anticipating its eventual points of failure before the UK voted on ratification back in the 90s.

          So yes, the smart finance guys all already know this, but they prefer to use the power of fiat for themselves and have thus invested heavily in all kinds of obfuscatory ideologies, particularly supporting Austrian economics, an ideology dear to the private financiers of an earlier empire for exactly the same reason.

          Reply
    2. justsayknow

      I guarantee like, Joe Namath guaranteed the Super Bowl, the plutocrats and TPTB are going to embrace mmt. Why? What better way to funnel vast sums into their pockets.
      After all it was Lord Cheney who said “deficits don’t matter.”

      Reply
      1. GramSci

        They already have embraced it. Since Nixon took the world off the gold standard, MMT has ruled, and the U.S. military is the rulers’ Jobs Guarantee. But only the Pentagon is in on the secret. It’s a club, and you’re not in it.

        Reply
        1. WobblyTelomeres

          The “club” is Global Empire. If you don’t support that, then you’re not in the club.

          Reply
      2. shinola

        An economist (whose name I don’t recall at the moment) attended the NC meet up in Kansas City a couple years ago. I spoke with him about MMT & expressed my concern that, in the wrong hands, there could be the potential for abuse.

        His response: “Oh, definitely”

        With Wall Streeters taking up MMT, I imagine we will see that potential realized.

        Reply
        1. WobblyTelomeres

          That’s the main problem, isn’t it? Who controls the printing presses, politicians or bankers?

          Reply
          1. polecat

            “politicians or bankers?”

            I don’t think it matters either way .. in the main, BOTH are corrupt to the hilt !

            Reply
          2. John k

            The latter own the former.
            If the people are sovereign, then the people decide on what to spend to achieve full employment without inflation, if the banks decide it will be used only to backstop their gambling and or looting while encouraging unemployment sufficient to achieve low/falling wages, high Corp profits, and of course high asset prices.

            You might say that the last 40 years has been the realization of a perfect banking world, and not just in the us but certainly Europe. Banks likely truly bewildered that brits voted leave, or usians voted trump. But we’re already great!

            Reply
        2. Grant

          “With Wall Streeters taking up MMT, I imagine we will see that potential realized.”

          I think that this isn’t news to many of them. Seems that the difference is acknowledging these things in public. As the editor of the Financial Times said, acknowledging the reality could have negative consequences, and so it is preferable to operate on myths. Like, the government is similar to a household, and it needs to tax or borrow in order to spend, deficits don’t add to the stock of money in the economy (which Krugman said recently), and banks lend out savings and are intermediaries, the government crowding out private investment, etc. The Paul Krugman types like to analyze economic reality using myths, the assumptions that form the foundation of their models that are radically violated in reality, like ISLM.

          Reply
          1. jns

            The real negative consequences they fear are the transparent use of fiat to serve popular public good, eroding the massive wealth inequality from which they benefit.

            They like to imagine the population in general is as greedy as they are, so they imagine all the world acting out their own worst impulses and so scream hysterically about “the left”, precisely those least likely to share their greed.

            Reply
    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think, MMT is not new…not a new theory.

      To say a money creator can always create more money is like say the government or the Fed can always raise interest rates. In both cases, to infinity.

      You can have rates of 10,000%, 100,000%, etc., theoretically, in the same way, the government can always create more money.

      Of course, you stop creating money when resources are not available, the same way you stop raising rates when the society goes to pieces. Disclaimers like those are not clear cut.

      The trick, for both, is knowing when to do that.

      And because we don’t know, never have mastered the art, the more timid among us have tended to err on the safe side, to be conservative.

      We don’t just raise rates…we leave ourselves room for error.

      And we don’t just create money either. Credibility is important, psychologically, when it comes to humans, and here, it is especially relevant, when it comes to money, because we have seen some extraordinary delusions and the madness of crowds.

      Reply
      1. eg

        OK, but keeping hoi polloi ignorant of the monetary operations of their nation strikes me as the height of concern trolling.

        Reply
      2. Grant

        “And we don’t just create money either. Credibility is important, psychologically, when it comes to humans, and here, it is especially relevant, when it comes to money, because we have seen some extraordinary delusions and the madness of crowds”

        Who’s we? The banks do that, don’t they? Have they invested too much in things that produce too many negative non-market impacts? Have they not invested too little in things that bring negative non-market benefits, and have they not acted in ways that created massive social costs? Who controls credit money really but them? How about the crowd that controls the economic system and the political system? We are heading for environmental collapse, and they keep barking about inflation and how much things will cost. If an asteroid was set to smack into Earth and we could possibly shoot it down, would anyone pay any mind to people that worried about the inflation that could result from trying to shoot it down? Or, how about creating an international economic system that undermines democracies, environmental, financial and labor regulations? Is it madness to think that can go on forever without a dictatorship to force it on people? Are the people mad when they are forced to exist in a society that no longer works, and those in charge of the system refuse to solve our largest problems?

        I, personally, think that the economists with their reality-less models are out to lunch. Seems that working people often understand the real economic system on a deeper level than the damn economists. I see no need to show deference to those in charge of the system. The masses in the US, if you look at polling, seem to have a better picture of what we need than those in actual power. Reminds me of a great interview Manfred Max Neef gave with Democracy Now years ago, when he was discussing how the economic theories he was taught and was teaching were nice and fancy, but essentially worthless to a large percentage of humanity (and objective reality):

        https://www.democracynow.org/2010/11/26/chilean_economist_manfred_max_neef_on

        Well, it’s a metaphor, but a metaphor that originated in a concrete experience. I worked for about ten years of my life in areas of extreme poverty in the Sierras, in the jungle, in urban areas in different parts of Latin America. And at the beginning of that period, I was one day in an Indian village in the Sierra in Peru. It was an ugly day. It had been raining all the time. And I was standing in the slum. And across me, another guy also standing in the mud — not in the slum, in the mud. And, well, we looked at each other, and this was a short guy, thin, hungry, jobless, five kids, a wife and a grandmother. And I was the fine economist from Berkeley, teaching in Berkeley, having taught in Berkeley and so on. And we were looking at each other, and then suddenly I realized that I had nothing coherent to say to that man in those circumstances, that my whole language as an economist, you know, was absolutely useless. Should I tell him that he should be happy because the GDP had grown five percent or something? Everything was absurd…So I discovered that I had no language in that environment and that we had to invent a new language. And that’s the origin of the metaphor of barefoot economics, which concretely means that is the economics that an economist who dares to step into the mud must practice. The point is, you know, that economists study and analyze poverty in their nice offices, have all the statistics, make all the models, and are convinced that they know everything that you can know about poverty. But they don’t understand poverty. And that’s the big problem. And that’s why poverty is still there. And that changed my life as an economist completely.

        Reply
        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Human crowds can go mad when, for example, they believe tulips are the way to get rich.

          In that way, people can have delusions about the government raising rates ever higher, for example.

          Alternatively, they can delude themselves into fear, or euphoria, if they want to believe the government is going to just printing more and more money (when the intelligent philosopher-citizens are caveating about resource limits when it comes to money creation).

          This is the psychological, emotional dimension of economics.

          Reply
  4. Brindle

    Class Warfare…

    Ian Welsh has a piece up…”America: A Failing State

    —“And so, today, large parts of America are shitholes, which the residents hate so much they are consuming record amounts of drugs and committing suicide, because who the f**k wants to live in a nation with no hope, shitty bosses and no hope.

    Oh, of course, there are people doing well. There were people doing well in 400AD as the Roman Empire collapses. There are always some people doing well.”—

    https://www.ianwelsh.net/america-a-failing-state/

    Reply
    1. Chris Cosmos

      I think this society is in a transition phase and to what exactly isn’t clear. You have to have some degree of “creative destruction” in a culture before something new arises. We know for sure that the very best we can do is stagnate as things now stand. All the power arrangements are set and every major institution has been gamed and is now systemically corrupt–meaning that no matter how well-meaning anyone within these institutions may be it is completely impossible to change the system. Right now there are two paths towards reform–one, is from the top-down where significant numbers within the oligarchy realize that it is mentally healthier for them to help their fellow human beings than to exploit and cheat them; and two, things get so bad that people ignore laws and regulations (designed to only mainly help the oligarchs maintain control) and create alternative and parallel institutions through re-establishing a goal of making life more convivial which requires person-to-person interaction and bonding through various sorts of cooperatives. The most painless way would be a combination of the two. I believe this is possible. The main public institutions and, in my view, the most dangerous it the mainstream media. They oppose ANY change to the status-quo and can be said to be the most truly conservative and right-wing force in the country. Should any major media outlet open up a few cracks as Fox has done by featuring an somewhat anti-imperialist commentator in Tucker Carlson who is the antidote to the neo-fascists at MSNBC.

      Reply
      1. urblintz

        Yes… and what a sad state of affairs when Tucker Carlson, of all people, is the only anti-imperialist re: Russia allowed to broadcast such an opinion. He’s the only talking head who put Prof. Stephen Cohen on TV. And to Cohen’s credit he stayed on topic rather than try and sneak in what must be no lack of antipathy he holds for his host, a notorious racist and all around [family blog].

        Reply
      2. JohnnyGL

        “Right now there are two paths towards reform”

        Going with this thought, and Ian Welsh’s comment about ‘late-Roman Empire’ stuff going on.

        People often forget that the Roman Empire very much reinvented itself and transformed into what we know of as the Byzantine Empire and had a good, solid run for another 800-900 years or so, before it was reduced to little more than a small city-state for another 100-200 or so.

        Reply
        1. JohnnyGL

          My point above wasn’t just a random historical footnote for no reason. I was trying to make a point about elite adaptability. Most of the time things don’t go completely pear-shaped as in France 1789 or Russia 1917.

          Reply
        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          And the Roman Catholic Empire birthed from that.

          Romans take a Lickin but just keep ticklin

          Reply
      3. Polar Donkey

        I graduated from a small liberals arts college in 1996 with $17,000 in student loans. The school gave me a quality education. I now manage a restaurant and several hostesses attend my alma mater. They generally regret attending the school. $100k+ in student loans, a rise in sexual assaults on campus and an administration seemingly unable to deal with it, and few job prospects. One student who is finishing in May said in her class with 18 seniors, only 3 have jobs upon graduating. The school only seems to be able to get financial service companies or business schools to come on campus to recruit. The culture of students seems to be degenerating as well. Heavy cocaine use is rampant, academic cheating is rising, and out right lying on resumes is common. On social media arguments have sprung up between graduates from previous generations and today’s students\ recent grads. The older folks ask what is happening to our alma mater and the younger people respond that older people don’t understand the pressure they are under today.
        Now if this is happening at an expensive liberal arts school, the collapse is creeping into the top 10 to 20%.

        Reply
        1. Robert Valiant

          Both of my kids dropped out of the state university they attended after one term, my daughter doing so with a 4 point grade average. I went to the same place for graduate school and loved it. My kids say I don’t understand what the contemporary university experience is like.

          Reply
        2. Wyoming

          About 7 years ago my son related a story to me from his work.

          He was in a meeting with a group of five or so CEO’s of fortune 500 companies and during a running discussion about higher education the subject of whether a university education was worth anything anymore all of them (all) indicated that if they were 18 again they would not bother and would just go into business on their own. True story.

          Reply
          1. Carla

            “if they were 18 again they would not bother and would just go into business on their own.” That’s because they’re well-connected. They were born well-connected, they grew up well-connected, and they have NO idea what life is like if you’re not. And oh, BTW, their kids will be well-connected, too.

            Reply
            1. jrs

              Interview a bunch of nobodies who didn’t go to college on if they were magically 18 again and suddenly had the opportunity to go to college, and I bet a fair amount would be: “oh heck yea, in a new york minute …”.

              Of course most would not own their own business, much less be CEOs of fortune 500 companies.

              Reply
            2. lyman alpha blob

              They may be well connected, but I also don’t think “starting a company” means the same thing today as it did a generation or two ago.

              Companies then seemed to have a little more substance – maybe a warehouse to hold some tangible items, some employees, a storefront, etc.

              Today when I hear ‘startup’, I think some code monkey tweaked an app and wants to run a scam.

              Reply
          2. Angie Neer

            In addition to Carla’s spot-on reply, I would add that those CEOs are talking about education in purely economic terms. I learned a hell of a lot of important things in college that did not make me more money.

            Reply
            1. JEHR

              Yes, Angie Neer, I agree. I took an English degree and during those years did the best reading of my entire life. I have never made enough money to live independently but my university experience was the most important training in “learning how to learn” that I ever obtained.

              Reply
              1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

                YUUUP.

                I got snookered into goin to the neoconservative, opus dei lite University of Dallas.

                Had some of my funnest times and met some of my favorite people there. After 2 years, i transferred to LSU, which ALSO was neocon…

                Shoulda stayed at UD lookin back as i doubt i wouldve ever snorted blow or smoke crack.

                Cest la Vie as they say!

                Reply
      4. Wyoming

        In a science fiction sense those might be two paths to reform, but realistically and historically item one has never occurred and item two is a utopian wish. The only times in history when the oligarchy gave ground was when their survival was on the line and they reacted quickly enough not to find them selves hanging from light poles. Since Obama bailed them out the last time we had the opportunity to hang a few of them they very likely think they have the system captive enough to ride out the next threat – so item one is not happening. We’ll all cooperate with each other when we wind back down to tribal size functionality perhaps, but not before.

        I find it a bit mind twisting to read that someone can wish for the above options and then comment that a person like Tucker Carlson (insert a para or two here detailing his being one of the dictionary definitions of human scumbaggery) is representative of someone who might help those wishes come true. Really? I too have dreams – like this morning, I normally wake up from them in a cold sweat.

        Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          No retreat. No “winding back down to tribal size functionality”. We already ARE in the same tribe, across the globe, from the farmer in Thailand to the plumber in Cleveland. Our TRIBE is our CLASS: the people who actually work. We are LABOR, and the other tribe is CAPITAL. We have them outnumbered 10,000:1, so their only hope is to DIVIDE us. They rub their hands with glee every time we come up with brand new ways to divide ourselves: Gender, age, race, sexual orientation, political party, whether you are for or against #Abortion #MeToo #SinglePayer #GND #Reparations.

          Don’t. Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains.

          Reply
    2. JohnnyGL

      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-11/bullet-trains-are-transforming-the-world-s-biggest-migration

      I was looking for a good article I read awhile back on bloomberg about how immensely rapidly China built out its high-speed rail network post-2008 crisis.

      The numbers are incredible. Hundreds of millions of people are zipping around the country while the USA doesn’t have a single decent quality train. The northeast corridor, the route the Acela runs, is the perfect string of cities to connect via high speed rail and our government can’t/won’t get it done.

      If found it to be a really telling story of state capacity in the 21st century. It’s amazing to see what the Chinese state is capable of doing, compared to the American state. USA won’t be on top for long at this rate.

      Reply
      1. JohnnyGL

        By historical comparison…

        In the 1800s, America built a massive rail network while China drowned in opioid-fueled colonial misery.

        In the 2000s, it seems the same thing is occurring, with USA/China swapping places.

        Reply
        1. Oh

          The US Railroads built the rail networks using cheap Chinese workers; now the CHinese are showing the world how to build hig speed rail quickly and cheaply.

          A big percentage of people in the US don’t understand the value of high speed rail. Politicians have convinced them they’re not cost effective; at the same time the US just wasted $6 trillion on the Afghanistan war. Peole don’t understand that public transportation does not need to pay for itself. Government subsidies are necessary to help move people. The crappy airlines are indirectly subsidized and it’s such a rigor to travel on them.

          Reply
          1. jrs

            Well of course politicians have convinced them they are not effective, Jerry Brown was all the convincing I need. When you waste billions on a railroad to nowhere it tends not to have that effect.

            Reply
            1. Oh

              I agree that the hi speed rail routing in CA was a joke (think Obama’s idea here) and Jerry (more fracking) Brown was there to “refine” the routing. A simple rail link from SF to LA would have been a good start.

              Reply
          2. Pespi

            There were also plenty of Irish and freed slaves. It’s not like Chinese were the only people who could be dragooned into miserable labor at the time.

            Reply
          3. Cal2

            “The US Railroads built the rail networks using cheap Chinese workers”
            Misinformed B.S.

            The Chinese preeminent role was being hoisted in baskets up rock faces to drill holes for dynamite in the Sierras. They were used because they were small and the burly Irishmen that did almost all the other work on building the railroads were too heavey to be hefted up in baskets. Most of the railroads across the plains and deserts where built by Irish labor.

            Besides the rockwork on the Sierra portions of the transcontinental railroads, what the Chinese did was laundry and raise and sell vegetables in and around the railroad work camps in California and the West.

            https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/150-years-ago-chinese-railroad-workers-staged-era-s-largest-n774901

            Old Jake,

            People with Chinese surnames own more than 72% of all property in San Francisco, residential and commercial. Not bad for an oppressed minority.

            Reply
        2. Old Jake

          In the 19th century America allowed a massive transfer of wealth, while killing off several races of people, building that railroad network. In the 21st China has several times trampled on their underclasses to allow their elite to build empty cities, an Olympic “showcase” and likely this high speed rail network (which has had some notorious failures).

          If the US were to build a new high-speed rail network – and it would have to be new to support the technology, as well as new routes needed – property would have to be expropriated. As we are seeing with KXL, there would be losers.

          Do we want to go there?

          Agreed, airlines are miserable when you are hoi polloi.

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            People forget that the Communist Party (5% of the population) owns 100% of the land in the country. Makes it much easier to build incredible new train lines and airports and highways and bridges and cities.
            They estimated how many people have been displaced by these developments over the last 20 years: 100 million.

            Reply
      2. Carey

        Yeah, but they don’t have the super-ultra-cool F-35, Zumwalt-class ships, Ford-class
        carriers, B-21™ bombers, SixthGen™ fighterPlanes… so what if we don’t have
        healthcare?

        /s

        Reply
      3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The ‘Chinese state is capable of doing…’

        The question here is this: what is the difference between the Chinese state of 2019, and the Chinese state of 1968, for example?

        It was a monetary sovereign then.

        Today, it is still a monetary sovereign, though, by fixing their money to the US currency, if they do that, they are limited in some ways.

        Is it not due to that monetary sovereignty, but due to accumulating lots of dollars, that the Chinese is capable of doing what it is doing?

        Reply
        1. Old Jake

          Neither. They know how to do it now, they did not know then. Yes, they could have imported outside experts. But then they still would not know how.

          Reply
        2. Grant

          “The question here is this: what is the difference between the Chinese state of 2019, and the Chinese state of 1968, for example?”

          Well, as of 1949 the average life expectancy in China, according to World Bank figures, was about 37 years if I am not mistaken. Angus Maddison’s numbers show that China’s share of worldwide GDP in the early 19th century was around a third. By 1949, it was about 6%, thanks to British, Japanese and Western imperialism. It could have created as much money it wanted then, it had clear limits in regards to production that could have been set in motion to match the additional money. But China in the Maoist period built a massive amount of public works projects, which often didn’t have monetary values attached to the projects. China still uses a lot of that infrastructure to this day, which Mobo Gao wrote about in a recent book of his for Pluto Press. I think that the biggest difference is obviously productive capacity, although it is reaching its limits in regards to environmental damage and resource use.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            In 1949, were the limits to production related to the inability to buy western machines (not having a lot of dollars)?

            And for that last decade or more, it has had billions and trillions of that.

            Is that the difference (becuase “if It could have created as much money it wanted then…”)?

            Reply
            1. Grant

              China was as poor of a country in 1949 as a country can be. It’s problems were massive, and it was a country that also had among the lowest percentage of land available for farming in the world, very little water availability per capita, a geographical area that had suffered horrific famines going back centuries and one that was a decentralized chaotic mess, with hundreds of languages, local dialects, etc. How it went from that to here is complex and impossible to summarize in a few paragraphs. I will say that as someone that used to live there, there is a cohesion in China that you almost certainly wouldn’t have found in 1949. There was no such thing as China as we know it in 1949, even now it is open to debate what China actually is, which is what Mobo Gao’s recent book is about. What exactly do we mean when we talk about China today? Depends on who is asking and answering the question.

              But the pre-market reform period did lay the foundation for the takeoff under Deng. Not only using the massive infrastructure projects, the housing, the unification of the country, the benefits of mass literacy campaigns and mass education campaigns (former students of mine told me that most of the people in their parent’s generation couldn’t read and many in their villages had never even seen a doctor before the revolution), barefoot doctors, but also the primacy of planning and state owned enterprises. SOEs had lots of problems over time, but they also stabilized the country, employed lots of people and provided basic things like housing, food, healthcare and education.

              Now, if China borrowed money in a foreign currency and had to import machines, fuel and the like from people it owed money to, and if that was indexed to inflation? Different story. It already had massive problems with its relations with the USSR, but what if it was in the position Yugoslavia was in in the early 1950’s? I think China would have Balkanized without things like planning and public enterprises. If the government fell, I think the country would quickly break into a hundred pieces.

              Reply
  5. Eureka Springs

    They promised a “Blue Wave” and as expected, all I hear is a toilet flush. I mean, someone out there is trying to award Pelosi some sort of Profile in Courage gimmick. J.C. on a stick! I suppose there is some amount of courage in raising your value from the 40 million range to the 140 million range within ten years of becoming Speaker and getting another facelift. The most powerful “Progressive” in decades. Corruption and crapification with abject contempt for anything close to democracy or basic human decency is systemic.

    Reply
    1. Wyoming

      Pelosi is without a doubt an example of the 1% and serves their interests more than anything else, but I was intrigued by the 140 million figure you tossed out and decided to research it a bit.

      A more realistic number for the ‘net’ worth of her and her husband (the money is really all his – he is a commercial real estate developer) is more like 16-30 million. The only way to get to the wildly high numbers is to look at only ‘assets’ and ignore debts and place all of the valuations at the very high end. And who knows how much they have hidden off-shore of course. There are good business reasons to make people think you are much more wealthy than you are (think Trump here) so those phony high numbers can be useful. But the implication she is making money by the tens of millions by being Speaker is nonsense.

      Reply
      1. Shonde

        Somewhere, maybe here on NC, I read that their net worth had tripled since 2008. Maybe a little inside information? I distinctly remember when all the Wall Street banks valuations were down so low that even I could buy some of their stock. Too bad I did not know they were going to be bailed out.

        Reply
  6. Yikes

    The backstory to Hifter’s march on Tripoli

    I originally read it as The backstory to Hi-tl-er’s march on Tripoli…
    Considering neo-liberal cum neo-fascist Hill-hitler-ry Clinton’s role in this mess, perhaps that was appropriate.

    Reply
    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Hafter support is puzzling. B of Moon noted the sons are unknown, so I’m not sure why the Russians are on board. Though I suppose being a regional neighbor is a good reward if it works, and they haven’t invested much if it doesn’t. Perhaps they have an in with one of the kids. France and Egypt are obviously are under more direct strain. I suppose he might be the only guy left for the international community to go to. The Benghazi elites under Gaddafi who instigated the invasion/civil war couldn’t obviously run things, preferring to build a mall.

      Gaddafi may have morphed into a cartoon character later in life, but he was charismatic and really smart for a long time. Hafter is after all, a guy Gaddafi fired for the failures in those Chad conflicts. He’s not a political refugee.

      The Russians do hate Muslim extremist for obvious reasons, so it might be a proper fight them over there type deal. I don’t see Libya entering the oil markets anytime soon, but getting it online in any way does hurt U.S. energy export fantasies.

      Reply
      1. Yikes

        Libya is already on-line, exports to France go on. What is interesting is that Total is processing much more oil, and it’s pretty much the only oil that can be processed by Total Feyzin (Lyon), than Libya is reported to be exporting. Who’s watching the meters if exports are not through governmental channels?

        Reply
        1. Yikes

          I should also add that Eni and Total have a lot of off-shore oil in Libya, and so in particular, who’s watching the meters?

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Deep Italy ties and skullduggery. Gaddafi lent UniCredito $4B in the depths of the 2009 crisis and they didn’t feel like paying it back.

            Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        I see that Russia is also providing diplomatic cover for the retaking of Libya by blocking a UN Libya statement singling out Haftar’s forces and they have also supplied gunships through Egypt for the advance as well. I am betting that there are also Russian technical personnel advising Hafter as well. Since western countries destroyed Libya for personal profit, it seems that the Russians are getting a level of trust in the region, even by Islamists and much to the frustration of Pompeo. Know what this whole thing reminds me of? There was a civil war in Sri Lanka that went on decade after decade. India went in at one stage and broke their teeth before pulling out. For whatever reasons, people were satisfied with the status quo until the Chinese stepped in and through their efforts, the Sri Lankans were able to finally mop up and end the war in spite of fierce international opposition. Same here. There is lots of outcry at Libya once again becoming a united country and putting the war behind them finally. Draw your own conclusions why.

        Reply
    2. PlutoniumKun

      I thought that too!

      The article is interesting though – it has explained something I found quite puzzling, which is why for all the conflict, there doesn’t seem to have been a lot of casualties in Libya compared to whats been going on in Syria, Iraq, etc. Lets hope this guy doesn’t disturb that equilibrium too much.

      In the Guardian today its reported that the UK is trying to pressurise the French to stop supporting him. I wonder if they are acting as proxies for this, or whether they are worried they’ve backed the wrong horse.

      Its hard not to agree though with MoA that sadly the only likely ‘not terrible’ outcome for the Libyan people is some sort of relatively benign secular strongman like Hifter gaining full control and imposing law and order, and hopefully cracking down the slave markets that have become a feature in the south.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I never complained about France and Italy intervening in Libya as much as the U.S. intervention for reasons other than being an American. and the disarmament aspects. Gaddafi was old. Someone will make a play for power which is what the elites of Benghazi tried to do. One of the boys sounded bad, and the other sounded disinterested while Gaddafi was more of charismatic leader than the head party vanguard.

        The UK like the U.S. isn’t going to deal with the direct affects. Macron for his faults probably at least has people who knew the score, not the one advertised. I always thought it was about crowning a king with a controlled civil war. Late imperialists are nothing if not intellectually lazy, so they didn’t see things spinning out of control especially with the U.S. on board. The UK like the US just jumped at the chance to intervene.

        https://www.france24.com/en/20160311-obama-cameron-sarkozy-libya-mess-gaddafi-france-uk

        Obama is such a whiner, but I think promises were made to him that this would all be over in a week with a smooth transition. When the Iraq War occurred, Rumsfeld was criticized for ignoring the Pentagon’s war plans. They weren’t war plans. They were plans for a managed succession war and protecting refugees, but I’m still pretty sure this (Sarkozy glomming an opportunity aside) was about the fallout of a Gaddafi death and king making. With the U.S. and the UK, there is a deep held view of themselves that those two countries are guardians of the international order. Kingmaking has to be done under their auspices. Since the UK isn’t under a direct refugee related problem, they are free to whine about kingmaking. Russia, France, and Egypt don’t need permission from Liz to undertake this kind of operation.

        Reply
        1. Yikes

          Gadaffi was only 5 years older than Hiltery Clinton, certainly much younger than Reagan when he took POTUS, but I don’t see why his age would be any excuse for military intervention.

          Benghazi elites? The war was mostly an external sponsored and fought affair. See earlier link. Last thing Total, Macron/Moron, and CIA wanted was functioning independent government.

          Reply
          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The upper class of Benghazi made a play. The Libyans on the Western side were from Benghazi. They were regime elites who had money. Its how they had so many contacts and a power base within Libya itself. Those Libyans they trotted out on tv were all from Benghazi and were making a play for power. I know this is tough, but these countries have their own domestic blocs. They don’t always wait on Langley. Believe it or not.

            The United States has a Vice President and has seen the Constitutional order maintained through various successions. Then their is a line of succession on top of this. The comparison of ages between a 230 year old Constitutional order and a government largely based around one man’s personality doesn’t make sense.

            For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground
            And tell sad stories of the death of kings;
            How some have been deposed; some slain in war,

            Its not quite what Will was going for, but it sounds good. When the king dies, its bad.

            One of the main reasons “democracy” and voting matters is what happens when the king dies. Even look at Trump, he’s having a problem filling offices because those Bush loyalists are waiting for him to effectively be removed and the normal order restored. If they thought Trump was a lasting enterprise, they would be lined up to work for him.

            Obama tried to replicate his “success” in Libya with Sunni elites who thought they could get NATO in. The non-Sunni population was far too threatened by the specter of Sunni rule to let the regime fall, so people expected to sit out (by the original rebels and the Western opportunists) fought because they were invested in it. Obama wanted a super duper smart war and was unwilling to risk retaliation, so he had to settle for gun running. Obama believes in “American Exceptionalism” and believed the Assad regime would be dumped with Western backing.

            Reply
      2. jo6pac

        General Hifter was trained by the Russian military back in the USSR days and speaks fluent Russian. In his fail out with Gaddafi, Gaddafi allowed him to live the country for Amerika it was thought in those days Hifter had become CIA. When he began this event in Libya it was always thought he was still Cia but he has traveled to Russia several times once to have surgery. Russian contractor have been to Libya to remove land mines. He is still close to Gaddafi family and most guess once he has total control over the country they will hold elections with Gaddafi oldest son taking power. He isn’t going to be the dictator and once Libya to return to its self as under Gaddafi. It’s a long time coming thanks to hillabillie. As pointed out the people are tired of war and even the hill tribes the weren’t Gaddafi friend have helped the General and Gaddafi oldest son when in need.

        Just what I have picked up reading about this since it begin. This was the Richest country in Africa.

        Reply
  7. Wukchumni

    This is the biggest female python ever captured in the Everglades’ Big Cypress, researchers say Miami Herald
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Squeeze play @ the plate
    An unexpected twist of fate
    Wrapped around the torso
    Was a tall glass of slither
    Only more so

    Burma Slave

    Reply
    1. Craig H.

      The Miami Herald story on the 17 foot female python w/ a hundred eggs inside her was the best story of the day. The photo is also great with the python capture team. Does anybody have any difficulty figuring out who is in charge in that photograph? The best part is they are working to rid the Everglades of the invasive pythons. Now that is a lifetime employment plan. Since it’s nasty work I bet it pays well. If your parents can’t afford the bribes to get you into USC there are other options.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        I heard the key to capturing her was collaring a male, putting a tracking device on him as he wandered about armorously in the Everglades, and 100,000 watts of Barry White blasting from a flotilla of airboats amassed around the perimeter.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Unfortunately, Barry White now qualifies as “Dinosaur Rock and Soul.”
          Something more of a ‘World Fusion’ sound is needed.

          Reply
      2. ambrit

        Alas, the Python Eradication Program (PEP,) is fully neoliberaled. Most of the catches are by ‘sub-contractors,’ in effect, local swamp dwellers out for an extra few bucks. They are paid minimum wage plus “incentives” based on length of snake, if eggs are found with, etc.
        It’s a “Gig Economy” job. In the old days we would have called this “Salary Plus Commission,” and run in the opposite direction.
        See the PEP details: https://www.sfwmd.gov/our-work/python-program

        Reply
        1. Craig H.

          That sucks.

          When I was in high school most of the boys aspired to get a nasty job like hunting pythons because they paid good money. My cousin went to work in a factory. My friends from high school all wanted to work in a tomato canning plant. Because of the high wages. The practice was if he was going to wallow in filth for eight hours you had to pay the guy.

          Are plumbers still raking it?

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            It depends on where one plumbs. Except for successful independent outfits, plumbers are mainly now relegated to lower paid technician status. I have personally encountered medium sized jobs around the Gulf Coast where the plumbing crews are mainly Mexican workers, (not automatically inferior workers,) “bussed” in from out of town on contract wages.
            The “globalization” of skilled trades ends up just like all other “globalized” endeavours; a race to the bottom.

            Reply
    2. ChristopherJ

      The one that got my second last chook the other week was in that range. I have a six foot fence and this python was easily three times it’s length. I watched it slither over, helped with a couple of whacks from a stick, and sans chook, as we’d forced it to relinquish meal.

      We didn’t eat Amelia and buried her next day. Why not, we were asked? Not that poor or hungry was my response.

      Scrub Pythons very common here in far north queensland. The one I saw will no doubt be back, so care is taken when putting chook to bed. Got a couple on back order as, once you do home eggs, the store ones are never as good.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        Wouldn’t that pythonesque situation make you legal for a shotgun permit? That’s the “American Way” as far as varmints are concerned. Surely a chicken eating snake qualifies as a varmint.

        Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        You might have heard of the Aussie author John O’Grady of “They’re a weird mob” fame. Point is, he wrote that when he was young at the turn of the 20th century, they set up a snake trap to protect their chickens. Imagine a chicken wire fence with a large porcelain egg on each side of it. The snake sees the first egg and swallows it. He then sees the second one and goes through the fence to swallow it. Now he is stuck and can’t move so the kids would go up, cut the head off the snake, retrieve the porcelain eggs and then reset the trap. Might be worth trying.

        Reply
  8. Wukchumni

    As glaciers are melting in the Himalaya, the Sierra amazes with just how much snow is still in the higher climes. there is 55 feet depth of frozen water @ the summit of Mammoth.

    Reply
    1. Ignacio

      What about previous years? Isn’t it that the snow pack in Sierra Nevada varies a lot from year to year?

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Aside from a few glaciers here and there of no consequence, most every snowflake deposited in the winter is gone-melted out by September in the highest climes of the Sierra Nevada.

        The glaciers formed as a result of the little ice age-on account of a few degrees downwards difference of temperature in that era.

        The snowpack varies greatly and always has, 4 years ago to the day, there might’ve been a foot of snow in the worst year of the recent long drought in California.

        I remember talking to somebody that walked the High Sierra Trail across the Great Western Divide up the back side of Mt. Whitney and down the other side to Whitney Portal in April 2015, about 3 months ahead of when you should be able to do it based on an average snow year.

        Reply
        1. Ignacio

          Where I live we have the Sierra de Guadarrama at bird’s eye distance. Snowpack varies from year to year but now it rarely lasts up to june while it lasted to september when I was a child.

          Reply
    2. Wyoming

      One could read your comment to imply that there is 55 feet of water equivalent but what is actually there is 55 feet of snow. According to NOAA the highest water equivalent snow pack in the Sierra is about 90 inches or 7 1/2 feet of water sitting there ready to melt.

      A superb graphic of the snow along the Sierras is found in the below link (I hike a lot and this is the go to for planning a PCT hike).

      https://www.postholer.com/snow/Pacific-Crest-Trail/1

      you can play with it to zoom in on just the 700-1000 mile section of the high Sierra. It is an above average year but not in general a record. As almost always over the whole length of the PCT there are locals with records and others below average.

      Ignacio

      Go here if you want to look up previous years.

      https://www.nohrsc.noaa.gov/nsa/index.html?region=Sierra_Nevada&year=2019&month=4&day=11&units=e

      Reply
  9. The Rev Kev

    Trump did it. Just saw the following headline – “US designates Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as terrorist organization – Trump”. Well that tears it. If US forces decide to attack Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as “terrorists” anywhere in the Middel East, then you can expect payback on US troops in places like Syria. The worse thing about this? Almost certainly he did it to help Netanyahu get over the line in the Israeli elections. And it won’t be Israel that will have to deal with the fall-out from this stupid move. I guess that pretending that Trump had the right to give the Golan Heights to Netanyahu was not worth enough in the elections-

    https://www.rt.com/news/455885-us-designates-elite-iranian-force-terrorist/

    Reply
    1. allan

      You can’t spell “Iran’s Revolutionary Guard” without IRONY:

      Donald Trump’s Worst Deal [New Yorker (2017)]

      The President helped build a hotel in Azerbaijan that appears to be a corrupt operation
      engineered by oligarchs tied to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

      Reply
    2. Geo

      McCain’s ghost is singing “Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” today and Russiagaters are spinning ways to prove this is somehow to Putin’s benefit.

      Amazing how all the political media narratives drive us toward war. No matter how much they try to paint Trump as an anomaly he is just the most crass version of what the entire establishment truly is.

      Reply
  10. Lee

    Facebook are ‘morally bankrupt, pathological liars’ – NZ Privacy Commissioner NZ Herald (MG)

    Will “lean in” be the last words heard by certain FB execs before the blade comes plummeting down?

    Reply
    1. Lee

      This coverage is weird. The video is all about Sanders releasing his taxes and the text only mentions it in passing.

      Reply
      1. pretzelattack

        he’s a socialist you know! and he isn’t even a democrat! oh, and btw he’s the frontrunner. in other news, sanders has not yet released his tax returns!

        Reply
  11. Lee

    737 Max

    A production halt of Boeing’s 737 Max jets could be felt well beyond the aerospace giant’s quarterly profits, according to J.P. Morgan.

    Michael Feroli, the bank’s chief U.S. economist, said in a note to clients that annualized U.S. GDP could fall by 0.6 percentage points if production of the beleaguered airplane is halted temporarily.
    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/21/boeings-737-max-could-hit-us-gdp-if-production-is-halted-jp-morgan.html

    Oops.

    Reply
  12. Wukchumni

    Here’s the real reason why Terracotta Army weapons are so well-preserved Ars Technica
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    What are we going to leave* behind for somebody to find in 4049?

    Aside from a few exceptions such as Stone Mountain, very little evidence will exist that we were ever here, way back when.

    *Native American wall art will still be quite visible-in particular petroglyphs, and where I dwell-stone mortars sunk into granite to use in grinding acorns, will still look similar to how they look now

    Reply
      1. ambrit

        Yes. I think he does.
        So? Future historians, (a big assumption, I admit,) will recognize that monument as a mysterious artifact of the long fabled ‘Confederate Empire.’

        Reply
        1. pretzelattack

          all we have to do is recognize that aliens coming upon the wreckage of earth are future historians. “earth was taken over by a type of leech”.

          Reply
    1. Wyoming

      I know one thinbg which will be there waiting for the archeologists of the future.

      After WWII my father, who was in the Army-Air Force, was kept in the service for an additional 18 months. His job was to direct crews at Davis-Monthan Air Base in AZ in the disposal of planes, parts and tools coming in from the unfulfilled wartime contracts.

      His crews bulldozed big trenches across the desert and the trucks from the factories showed up and dumped their loads into the trenches and they buried them. Engines, misc parts, full tool sets, you name it. He said that most of the stuff arriving was coated or packed in cosmoline. Buried in a hot dry environment like AZ and coated with cosmoline these parts are likely to last for eternity. Not to mention what the future might think of what they find in our nuclear bunkers.

      Reply
      1. Massinissa

        Nah, also for Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

        So, nukes and rockets. I guess there are worse ways to be remembered. Also note that those things were half a century ago. Clearly we are past our peak. Hell, in two decades the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will be ‘celebrating’ their centennials.

        Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I remember looking at some ancient Chinse bronze mirrors at the Huntington LIbrary in Pasadena a few years ago with some notes that were provided that mentioned, over millennia, those mirrors had acquired various patina colorations, and one of them was a slivery coating.

      Presumably, all those well-preserved bronze mirrors (from the Huntington show) were discovered in different locations in China, buried under variuos soil conditions.

      And the explanation in the article here (due to the unique site, and not chrome technology) would not be as strong or convincing, if that site is not particularly unique, and many well-preserved specimens are found in different places.

      Reply
    3. Jeremy Grimm

      We will leave a layer of soil around the world containing some strange radioactive isotopes marking the start of the Anthropocene. There will be ribbons of tar and gravel and ribbons of broken leached cement. The ribbons will end at nodes with deposits of broken leached cement, iron rust, and glass. Outside these nodes there will be deposits of plastics, glass, rust and corroding aluminum, some of the paints, glass and ceramic enamels may survive with little dimming of their bright colors — some colors rarely if ever seen in nature. There will be relatively thicker layers of organic materials from the dead trees and bushes killed by the rapid changes in climate. There will be unusually sparse amounts of fossilized pollen in layers unusually rich with fossilized fungi spores. The ancient coastlines will be outlined by regions centered by high radioactivity with other kinds of unnatural isotopes in the soil radiating outward from their centers. The oceans, like the land will contain a layer of deposits indicating a great die-off. The deep ocean trenches will contain a layer of plastic deposits. The fossil record will show the origins of many new species in an age following the indications of our devastation.

      Archeologists will find plastic toys and our stainless steel eating utensils. They will find tiny metal balls coated with platinum under a thin layer of iron rust. They will discover huge caves and flattened mountain tops. And perhaps, somewhere they might find a cave with a specially sealed room filled with specially selected books including a picture dictionary, some translation dictionaries, and someone’s effort to describe how to read and understand the books stored in the library — a primer of some type I cannot yet imagine. There will also be an account of the times before the collapse, some guesses about the mechanisms and progress of the collapse, and a brief account of the times after.

      Reply
    4. carycat

      u235 has a 700 million year half life, pu239 has a 24,000 year half life. visitors can still marvel at the unnatural concentrations of them well pass 4049

      Reply
    5. drumlin woodchuckles

      The growing Unites States oversaw the extinction of the passenger pigeon, the eskimo curlew, the carolina parakeet, perhaps some other animal species I either don’t know or don’t remember. Those species will remain extinct and that will be a permanently remaining mark on the North American ecosphere.

      Reply
  13. Carolinian

    This is good.

    https://disobedientmedia.com/2019/04/its-time-for-john-bolton-to-go/

    Even this far in it seems almost impossible to understand what is going on with Trump. It could be he just doesn’t care that much about policy except as fodder for his ongoing ego trip or shrewd 2016 campaign material. But while Obama was always a financial sector wolf in sheep’s clothing, Trump does seem to have been captured–by Adelson or perhaps, as the article suggests, Fox News. Meanwhile the MSM attack him for all the wrong reasons and merely add to the policy confusion. M of A has said Bolton is bound to get the boot sooner rather than later but it can’t be soon enough.

    Reply
  14. barrisj

    WA State Demo Party has now switched to a state-wide binding primary for allocating presidential candidate preferences, discarding its long-time traditional caucus system. In 2016, local caucuses went strongly for Bernie Sanders, by over 72% v HRC – and I say this as a proud Sanders supporter. There was a later non-binding state primary that Clinton won, getting ca. 52% of registered Demo votes. But there was no gainsaying the disparity in enthusiasm of Sanders’ v Clinton supporters, and I believe that played out nation-wide.
    Somehow, I can’t but help feel that the national DNC made its views known here, but state Demo leaders claim that they received “13000 comments, and over 90%” supported a state-wide, registered-Demo party primary…hmm, okay.

    https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/washington-democrats-choose-presidential-primary-for-2020-ditching-caucuses/

    Reply
    1. human

      Another nail in the coffin of direct democracy. Like so much else, there is no longer any need of face to face dialog. Just push a digital button. Besides, it’s so much easier to rig one primary rather than several caucuses.

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      With caucuses, it seems a passionate voter is potentially worth more than a not-as-passionate voter. He or she can be there to inform, criticize, virtue-signal, educate, influence others.

      On the other hand, if voters just go into their individual booths, quietly, having time to decide alone, by themselves, a not-so-enthusiatic vote is counted the same as a very enthusiatic one.

      Or if you just don’t have the time (what, democracy is not important*?).

      *maybe not, if you have to care for a sick child that day.

      Reply
  15. bartisj

    So, here is Trump, speaking in front of the “Republican Jewish Coalition” meeting in Vegas, calling for “tighter borders” and that the asylum system is a “scam”, and he was “wildly cheered” for these and other remarks, including referring to Bibi as “your prime minister” amongst other inanities. Now, calling for closing the borders to immigrants and disparaging the asylum system before a group of people whose co-religionists were time and time again turned away from America before and during the Second World War while trying to flee Nazi Germany and Occupied Europe and then to suffer genocidal treatment by the Nazis, is the supreme irony…what were those people in the audience thinking as they applauded Trump’s remarks?
    And, wasn’t Representative Ilhan Omar nearly lynched for comments that were claimed to be “anti-Semitic tropes” by allegedly referring to “dual loyalties”, or whatever…“your prime minister”? Mm-kay, nice.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/06/us/politics/trump-jews-border-asylum.html?emc=edit_cn_20190408&nl=politics&nlid=8948375420190408&te=1

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think they will trust Trump even less for saying that.

      Choosing appropriate words to say is not always easy (unless we can mind read and conclude that is not the problem). Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try our best.

      Reply
  16. rd

    This is what baffles me about the Democratic Party (although Sanders is technically independent):

    https://news.yahoo.com/bernie-sanders-supports-letting-jailed-felons-vote-in-elections-170540639.html?.tsrc=jtc_news_index

    I understand having convicted felons vote after they have completed all of their penal obligations and probation. Even Florida was able to go along with that. But allowing felons in jail vote? That is just creating an election topic that will sway moderate voters away form the Democrats. This isn’t even a circular firing squad – they are simply shooting themselves as well as each otehr.

    There are so many critical issues to run on that have huge potential constituencies. Why bring up divisive issues that have virtually no constituency?

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      Whether felons can vote is not a federal issue.

      Sorry to say this about Bernie, but it’s virtue signaling.

      Reply
      1. David in Santa Cruz

        While I support restoration of the vote after probation/parole and support redefining some felonies as misdemeanors (such as drug possession for use and petty theft), convicted felons should temporarily forfeit the right to vote. Bernie appears to be thoughtlessly virtue-signaling from the campaign stump.

        I thought that this was a Republican issue. If it wasn’t for the Holder Doctrine, most of them would still be on parole for the crimes underlying the GFC, and their president ought to be behind bars for money laundering and fraud…

        Reply
        1. marym

          In the US prisoner and felon disenfranchisement is deeply tied to the disenfranchisement of black people.
          People’s Policy Project

          The Reconstruction Era brought a temporary respite when the Fifteenth Amendment endowed the right to vote regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Soon, however, policies that restricted the franchise based on felony conviction emerged, giving birth to laws designed to criminalize blackness and uphold white supremacy. In 1898’s Williams vs. The State of Mississippi, the Mississippi Supreme Court Court found it “within the field of permissible action under the limitations imposed by the federal constitution” that “Restrained by the federal constitution from discriminating against the negro race” the state could still “discriminate against its characteristics, and the offenses to which its criminal members are prone.” Three years later the 1901 Alabama Constitutional Convention, in addressing “White Supremacy By Law,” brought forward perhaps the most explicit mention of the racialization of felony disenfranchisement: “The justification for whatever manipulation of the ballot that has occurred in this State has been the menace of negro domination.” This strategy would continue through the Jim Crow era, and laid the foundation for the current situation in the era of mass incarceration. A 500% increase in the prison population over the past 40 years, has also meant a 500% increase in incarcerated voter disenfranchisement over the same period of time.

          Prisoners can also vote in many European countries, Canada, S. Africa, Vermont, and Maine.

          Reply
  17. todde

    I know a lot of felons that would vote Republican.

    Dems will have to run against the 3 strike law if they want to clean up on the felon voting block.

    Reply
  18. ChrisPacific

    Wow, for a Rhodes scholar Buttigieg is surprisingly dense. “As a progressive,” he believes that investing taxpayer funds in things that lead to better outcomes (like college) is a bad idea, because there is a chance that people might become wealthier or more successful as a consequence, and thereby less deserving of aid, calling the overall policy into question. The money would be better spent on programs that help the poor without actually lifting them out of poverty, in order to fully preserve their eligibility for our sympathy and financial assistance.

    Here is his argument – judge for yourself if I’m mischaracterizing:

    Americans who have a college degree earn more than Americans who don’t. As a progressive, I have a hard time getting my head around the idea a majority who earn less because they didn’t go to college subsidize a minority who earn more because they did.

    All he needs is a charitable foundation to administer it all and he’ll be Hillary Clinton 2.0.

    Reply
    1. skippy

      Rhodes scholar picks like Bill Clintion and our Tony Abbott should sort that for you, malleable youngsters.

      Reply
    2. Pat

      I think that is an inadvertently honest statement. Not about the subject at hand but about taxation. In a “progressive” tax system, those who earn more pay more, but Mayor Pete has those who make less contributing so much more their taxes would subsidize the education of the children of the wealthy. Mind you in the real world the way we structure taxes and fees (all) it does mean that as a percentage of income those who earn less pay more by design. Either because of realism or more likely agreement with the status quo, the McKinsey guy has also made it clear he is also not about changing that any more than providing a clear benefit to those who struggle to provide post secondary education to their kids.

      Reply
  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    In the name of ‘amateurism,’ college athletes make money for everyone except themselves The Conversation

    They do that to graduate students as well, when it comes to teaching and doing research.

    The dream is to become, one day, a professor too.

    For the amateur athletes, they hope to make it big as professionals.

    In politics, campaign volunteer work can work similarly, by deferring dreams.

    Reply

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