Links 5/19/19

Survey finds that 76 percent of Americans think they are terrific drivers. They’re not. TreeHugger

Dribble no more: Physics can help combat that pesky “teapot effect” Ars Technica

Dude, where’s my regulatory framework? As CBD gains popularity, Washington struggles to keep up Stat

City trees reduce daytime heat. But to curb sweltering nights, minimize pavement. Anthropocene. From last month; still germane.

How Chase And The Big Banks Undermine Climate Action International Business Times

Election 2019: Do we have a majority or minority Coalition government? Here’s what happens now ABC News (Australia)

Waste Watch

California Weighs How to Lighten Its Plastic Problem KQED

Big Brother IS Watching You Watch

Police Are Feeding Celebrity Photos into Facial Recognition Software to Solve Crimes Motherboard

Why parents should think twice about tracking apps for their kids Conversation

New York State Senate introduces bill to make texting while walking illegal ABC7NY

The Strache Recordings – The whole Story Der Spiegel

German Parliament Criminalises Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement The Wire


FM Javad Zarif: We don’t want war, and no one can confront Iran Al Jazeera

War With Iran Would Be a Murderous Disaster Jacobin

CONFIRMED: Chemical Weapons Assessment Contradicting Official Syria Narrative Is Authentic Caitlin Johnstone

Four times the US has made the same mistake in the Middle East. Now Trump is making it yet again over Iran Independent. Patrick Cockburn

From the Middle East to Northern Ireland, western states are all too happy to avoid culpability for war crimes Independent. Robert Fisk


Brexit: big and bold

Tory party will split if Boris Johnson becomes leader and pursues no-deal Brexit, warn MPs Independent

Three Reasons There’s A New Push To Limit Abortion In State Legislatures FiveThirtyEight


Amid Wave of Anti-Choice Laws Across US, Warren Introduces Plan to Protect Abortion Rights Common Dreams

Elizabeth Warren Was Smart to Tell FOX to Go to Hell Counterpunch

Even GOP Voters Are Applauding AOC and Sanders for Taking on Lenders TruthOut

Obama announces DNC’s ‘Unity Fund’ to back party nominee CNN

Bernie Sanders Unveils ‘A Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education’ Common Dreams


A Simmering Unemployment Crisis in India The Wire. Part 4, the last in a series; the previous three segments are linked within. Unemployment, the farm crisis, demonetization, and Hindu nationalism are four major issues in the Indian elections. The last voting occurs this w/e; counting day is 23rd May, and the results will be announced immediately.

Despite EVMs, EC officials can ‘make or mar’ poll results Economic Times

Over 80% Indians now have bank accounts. How many are actually using them? Scroll


With economic corridor’s viability on the line, Beijing searches for an answer to Pakistan terrorism SCMP

Donald Trump eases tariffs for allies as he focuses on China FT

The Country That Exiled McKinsey ProPublica

737 MAX

Bjorn’s Corner: Why I wouldn’t hesitate to fly on the MAX after the fix Leeham News

Facebook Fracas

Democrats Need to Tame the Facebook Monster They Helped Create Politico. Matt Stoller

Facebook wants your data: 5 ways to keep it safe CNET

Class Warfare

The little-noticed surge across the U.S.-Mexico border: It’s Americans heading south WaPo

Elon Musk says in email to employees that new cost-cutting measures are the ‘only way for Tesla to become financially sustainable’ Business Insider

Tesla’s trumpeted solar shingles are a flop MIT Technology Review

The Uber Presidency The Baffler

Meet the Fixers Pitting States Against Each Other to Win Tax Breaks for New Factories WSJ

America’s Illusions of Growth Project Syndicate. Jeffrey Sachs.

5 More States Sue Maker of Prescription Opioids TruthDig

Trump Transition

What Putin and Pompeo did not talk about Asia Times. Pepe Escobar.

President Trump’s new immigration proposal would be terrible for tech Vox

‘Unfathomable Evil Recognizing Unfathomable Evil’: Trump’s Possible Pardons of War Criminals Provoke Outrage Common Dreams

Antidote du Jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. PlutoniumKun

      Its a very depressing outcome – I’m sure some of our Aussie contributors will come along soon (if they are not in a suicidal mood), but the government there really is a collection of the worst bunch of neanderthal idiots this side of… well, the US and UK governments. I really can never quite reconcile the wonderful Aussies I always meet travelling and the awful politicians they elect.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Ever since John Howard was the Prime Minister, the Coalition has tried to veer the country to a more conservative stance, both nationally and internationally, in order to give it better odds of winning elections. There has also been a lot of cross-pollination with conservative factions overseas like the Republicans from the US and the UK Conservatives via international conservative conferences. The result of this has been a more fanatical strain of right-wing politics as well as politicians in the Coalition. Right now the Coalition has enough votes to run the country in the Parliament.
        But – and this is a very big but – in the half-election in the Senate I have heard that neither party has enough seats to rule in their own right. To get anything passed, the Coalition will have to get the Greens to vote with the Coalition. I have noticed this trend over the past decade or two. To vote a majority party in the Parliament but choosing a minor party in the Senate so that whoever is in power, they cannot pass radical legislation without the support of the smaller parties. Politicians from both main parties bitterly complain how this limits what they can do in government but I think that few really trust either party much anymore. Just my thoughts here so take it for what it is worth.

          1. ChristopherJ

            Queenslanders (my State) voted for the LNP. My fellow citizens were bombarded in the Murdoch press and Sky News. Their message was don’t go with Risky Bill Shorten and, instead, vote for the steady economic management of genial, uncle Scotty (never seen a man hug so many kids, who were always on hand from some nice LNP voter). And they did, the voters put pegs on their noses and voted people back in that they knew were not the sharpest tools. Change? Not for us, we like our coal and high levels of immigration as long as they stay in the southern states /s

            Talk about undue overseas influence in our elections. We are beyond despair, we were banking on change.

            Hey, Bill Shorten was a $1.13 for newt PM with the bookies and they took at least one one mil bet to win about $150k. That’s how unexpected this result was

            We’ re seriously thinking Spain or Thailand. Being an australian citiizen these days just comes with too much baggage

            1. Wukchumni

              Why not cross the Tasman to NZ?

              They’ve got the flipside of your political leadership going on, it seems to me.

              1. ChristopherJ

                Yes, by any standard, more fair and equal.

                A fantastic place to explore.

                But, we don’t do cold anymore, wuk, it just hurts

                1. Wukchumni

                  Check out the Bay of Islands, in the far north of the North Island, as warm as NZ gets, i’d reckon.

                  I hear ya though as far as your political strife goes.

                  I too feel very much like a prisoner of Zenda, here in Ruraltania.

        1. witters

          Both parties are neoliberal in Aust: indeed,the Hawke/Keating labor govts first did the deed. Bill Shorten, the labor leader, ran a Hillary style campaign of depressing business as usual centrism: he told school kids not to make their climate strike in school hours, but after school or on weekends; he told climate protestors not to cost the police/authorities so much (in their heavy handed response); and he told people to “stop bullying” him on his refusal to utterly reject the evil of the Adani Coal Mine. He offered the narcissism of small differences as is the neoliberal playbook, and got what that now gives you. The only good thing is that this works against the Blairites who have been gleefully expecting Australia to “prove” that their emasculated, collusionist, neoliberalism is the way to go.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Yes so many parallels, Labor tried to win as “Republican-lite”. Plus (like Hil) there was a solid bloc of people who just did not like the candidate (Labor’s Bill Shorten). Most importantly, just like the U.S., they completely misread the immigration issue. Labor should want less immigration, not more, to protect local wages. The Big End of Town (the Owners) want unlimited immigration: they want to reduce their costs.

            So now the Accidental PM, who was simply the last man standing in the palace coup, will be strutting his stuff, making us sniff his f@rts for three years. The original coup had Peter Dutton, a true sadistic fascist, in the leadership chair, but somebody asked how his poll numbers were for PM. Oh, look, 2% support. So then they bypassed a relatively classy woman (Julie Bishop) in favor of a true dipshit (Scot Morrison). Maybe some enterprising journalist will pose a simple question to him: “Mr. Prime Minister, do you speak in tongues on the weekend at church?” as he is a member of the Hillsong church.

            “The best lack all conviction and the worst are full of a passionate intensity” W.B. Yeats

      2. upstater

        Neandrathals is exactly the term we used discussing Morrison over morning coffee! It seems like things only get worse.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          Although its probably an insult to Neanderthals, the latest research indicates they were a surprisingly sophisticated bunch.

          1. Lee

            And they are among the ancestors of all human populations except those of exclusively sub-Saharan descent.

      3. Louis Fyne

        your ad hominem comment points out why Liberals/Greens/Progressives keep being stuck in a quagmire at the polls.

        Don’t be patronizing to the people. Something the Establishment still isn’t getting through their skulls.

        “Will of the People” = poll results that the Establishment likes; “Populism” = poll results that the Establishment scorns.

        Just being honest.

        1. Ignacio

          But apparently the results where precisely what the Establishment, at least the energy Establishment, wanted. Because of patronizing?

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel


          And until the 5 EYES countries actually run populists who think like us, gabbard, sanders, etc, the people will continue to give a middle finger to the Establishment.

          Wheres Australias Dr Cornel West?

          1. Norm de plume

            Where’s our Sanders or Gabbard? Or AOC or Omar? Or Corbyn, or Jacinda?

            We have a Tanya, another in a long line of pointless people with the common defining characteristic of being excellent at keeping Labour out of office, lined up to take the reins, someone who approvingly retweeted an odious Neera Tanden jibe at Assange. Who by the way was utterly absent from the campaign.

            Truly we are The Land That Time Forgot down here. Clearly most of us are nasty, selfish or credulous throwbacks, these not being mutually exclusive.

            We have now officially joined the ‘two tribes’ nations, like tbe US and now the UK, where the rancour IS the politics. All going according to plan.

            Here comes the privatisation of the ABC, coal mines and fracking galore, harrassment of unions, continuation of the 10:1 private to public school funding ratio…

            And 4 more years of Dun Scottus with his Trump caps and upturned thumbs…


          1. Wukchumni

            …would Fractured Flickers be a reality tv show about life in the Permian Basin?

      4. eg

        “I really can never quite reconcile the wonderful Aussies I always meet travelling and the awful politicians they elect.”

        Presumably the more troglodytic Aussie’s don’t travel?

    2. Foy

      There was one other thing that crossed my mind after this election. I believe that Modern Monetary Theory describes how money is created and how the Reserve and private banking systems work and so am a big supporter of it. However one aspect of MMT is the use of increasing taxes to control inflation when it occurs.

      Labour went to the election with policies to raise $56 billion from changes to dividend imputation rules, $32 billion from negative gearing on houses and $30 billion over a decade from superannuation plus a climate change platform. Shorten, the Labour leader who lost said beforehand “I think the Australian people can detect unfairness at a long distance. I think they are more egalitarian than we give them credit for,”.

      The Liberals ran a successful scare campaign against the what they called the ‘retirees tax’ (changes to dividend tax concessions etc). This election demonstrates the difficulty with getting tax increases or tax concession reductions through in an election. It can be done eg as with the Goods and Services Tax years ago, but it’s really difficult. If in an MMT environment inflation starts to pick up, election time would get even more interesting.

      Lots to digest from this election… another one being how pre-polling is failing badly these days…

  1. PlutoniumKun

    Four times the US has made the same mistake in the Middle East. Now Trump is making it yet again over Iran Independent. Patrick Cockburn

    I wish the final two paragraphs of this article could be made into a poster and sent to every single US politician (and plenty in Europe, and add in every news editor too).

    A little-noticed feature of the US denunciations of Iranian interference using local proxies in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon is not just that they are exaggerated but, even if they were true, they come far too late. Iran is already on the winning side in all three countries.

    If war does come it will be hard fought. Shia communities throughout the region will feel under threat. As for the US, the first day is usually the best for whoever starts a war in the Middle East and after that their plans unravel as they become entangled in a spider’s web of dangers they failed to foresee.

  2. The Rev Kev

    “New York State Senate introduces bill to make texting while walking illegal ”

    Next law up for consideration by the New York State Senate – a bill to make it illegal to walk and chew gum at the same time.

    1. Doggrotter

      Very important move. Looking at most pols it’s appears they can’t walk and chew gum. I’m surprised they haven’t done it already

    2. urblintz

      I lived in Manhattan for 30 years and such a law would have been welcome. Between the tourists with their eyes up at the skyline, heads lolligagging about with no consciousness of other pedestrians, and the texting walkers… well… we had a name or ’em: meanderthals

        1. wilroncanada

          urblintz, jsn
          Too bad. Maybe if New Yawkers slowed down enough to actually begin to enjoy what they have, to interact with those “sidewalk hazard” tourists, to stop and talk to the odd texter, maybe there wouldn’t be as much rumour about how self-absorbed and unfriendly New Yorkers are. Or maybe put up billboards at all the transit, airports and major highways into the city saying something like: Don’t Stop Here! We Want Your Money, But Not You! Try Our Main Streets; They’ll Knock You Out!

          1. witters

            What? The “self absorbed and unfriendly New Yorkers” need to interrupt the “odd texter” (good term, that) who are bursting with unmet sociability as, eyes down, fingers spasming, they blunder into people and past the world around them?

    3. Lee

      This another instance of “smart” technology making people more stupid. Far be it from me to save Darwin award seekers from themselves. But inflicting serious psychological trauma on other humans, in this case drivers, by making them unwilling agents in ones death or maiming is unconscionable. As one interviewee noted, if a pedestrian gets hit, it will be the driver who more often than not who will be sued.

      1. human

        Last year, my vehicle was struck by a motorized wheel chair. The authorities came to investigate, and the disabled person was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

        Wheelchairs are considered pedestrians in Connecticut. I was found not at fault for any DMV violation and released by the supervising officer. I reported the incident to my insurance company and have yet to be advised of _any_ action other than my only recourse being to bring a civil action for several hundred dollars of behicle damage against the owner or operator of the wheelchair as I do not carry collision coverage.

      2. Odysseus

        As one interviewee noted, if a pedestrian gets hit, it will be the driver who more often than not who will be sued.

        Which is as it should be. If you are going to strap on a couple of tons of armor, you need to ensure that you don’t hurt people.

        1. JohnnySacks

          Sorry, stepping into oncoming traffic in a drizzle after dusk wearing dark colors pretty much invites the expected outcome. And of course it’s all the driver’s fault, his insurance policy has the $$$$ to cover it.

    4. Wukchumni

      In Sequoia NP, the Giant Forest is where the biggest too large to fail features in the world dwell, 5 out of the top 10, including the Sherman Tree.

      A great walk is to park your car @ the museum parking lot, catch a free shuttle bus to Crescent Meadow, walk the Congress trail from there to the Sherman Tree, and catch another shuttle bus back to your vehicle.

      A little over 3 mile traipse through time travelers…

      Heretofore, you could only get wired up @ Wuksachi Lodge, a few miles from the grove, but then this came down, er went up.

      It’s supposed to be up and going by 2020, so you’ve got a year to walk the Congress trail w/o running into the usual suspects, rectangle @ the ready.

    5. Mo's Bike Shop

      They are wearing noise-cancelling earphones as well. You nearly run into them and they look at you like you just pushed them off the couch. It has raised my estimate of the average driver that pedestrian deaths have not skyrocketed.

      An you’re not saving time by walking and reading. You could do each faster separately. /grumblegrumble

    6. ChrisPacific

      The headline is wrong. The proposed bill is to make it illegal to text while crossing the street, similar to existing laws in places like Hawaii. The entire article talks about this, so I’m not sure why they chose such an inaccurate headline.

  3. Edward

    I think Bjorn is making optimistic assumptions about Boeing’s fixes for the 737 MAX. One would also have expected Boeing’s CEO to resign over this fiasco but that hasn’t happened. The MCAS system cannot be fixed by revising the software alone; at a minimum a second sensor is needed for the system.

    1. Doggrotter

      Do you think he used to believe smoking was safe when the tobacco CEO’s told him it was?

    2. Darius

      MCAS is an electronic bandaid for a badly designed plane forced by shareholder capitalism. The plane is inherently flawed.

    3. 1994gator

      Bjorn needs to remember most pilots and aviation experts thought Boeing got the MCAS system right the first time. How many more logical fallacies are in the article?

    4. PlutoniumKun

      While I’m sure he has his contacts within Boeing, I think he underestimates just how bad an organisation can behave once its gone beyond a certain tipping point. There is plenty of evidence looking from the outside that Boeing has gone into full damage limitation mode, as opposed to damage repair mode. Sometimes organisations just go bad and can’t be retrieved without swapping out the entire management.

      I think its also the case that there is an element of cognitive denial within the airline community – the 737 is so well known and familiar that I think many are unwilling to accept that the design may have been fatally compromised. If they’d called the MAX the 797 there may be less willingness to give Boeing the benefit of the doubt – even less so if it had been an Embraer or Comac aircraft.

    5. Carolinian

      I believe using both AOA sensors was part of the announced fix. Some say they should use three the way Airbus does but the plane at the moment only has two.

      1. Edward

        They had better come up with something darn convincing, because at this point who trusts the company?

        There is a separate question about whether the MCAS system is even needed. It allows 737 pilots to fly the MAX without new training. If new training is provided, can the MCAS be dispensed with?

        1. Carolinian

          The company itself has said MCAS only kicks in during the rare instances when the plane is about to stall so that seems to be their excuse for not paying more attention to the design (and the AOA fault possibility).

          1. Edward

            They tried to classify MCAS as a non-critical system. They could do this initially because originally the MCAS only made a small adjustment. However, later the adjustment was increased and MCAS should have been re-clsssified as critical.

            1. rowlf

              Was the MCAS system initially considered as an evolution of the Stall Management Yaw Damp (SMYD) system which acts to trim nose down and can be overidden? Boeing has been using flight envelope protection on its airliners since the mid 1990s.

              1. Edward

                I don’t know anything about SMYD. Presumably, it doesn’t depend on one sensor like MCAS. According to “737 Pilot”, the MCAS system can be overridden in two ways, besides shutting off the electronics:

                1) Using the electronic trim control shuts it off.
                2) Extending the flaps shuts it off.

                This is something the press has misreported, if 737 Pilot is correct.

                1. VietnamVet

                  This is the fundamental flaw with the first version of MCAS. After the using the yoke trim control MCAS resets itself. 10 seconds later due the bad sensor it nose-dived the plane once again. It keeps doing it until the plane can’t recover. Flaps can’t be extended if the airplane is flying too fast. The new software will only dive the plane once. The question is this enough or do the pilots need additional training to avoid and recovery from the inherent stall characteristics of the Max. American airlines won’t get Max Flight Simulators until the end of the year. If the FAA recertifies the airplane before the pilots are trained to safely fly the Max, this indicates that money for Shareholders and CEOs is more important than public safety.

                  1. Carolinian

                    You may be exaggerating the “inherent stall characteristics” of the plane. As I said above a Boeing executive was heard to say that they didn’t think MCAS was a big deal because it would only rarely be activated. My understanding from the coverage is that the new engine placement creates a greater tendency to nose up under full power but the jet is typically under full power only when taking off and climbing to cruising altitude–a time when at least one of the pilots is always at the controls and therefore monitoring the airplane’s pitch.

                    The pilot who comments here has claimed to have actually flown a 737 Max and that the handling is different from the previous versions but not radically so.

                    What seems to be clear from the reports is that it was the MCAS that likely crashed the planes, not the handling characteristics of the plane itself. Perhaps there have been other incidents due to the nose up tendency but I haven’t seen them reported.

                    1. VietnamVet

                      True. But the pitch up effect was enough of a problem that MCAS was implemented in the first place and after flight testing the degree nose down pitch was increased from 0.27 to 2.5 degrees without telling the FAA. Then there is Boeing’s legal document from an unfair competition case against Bombardier that the Max could not be safely flown out of high-altitude airports like Denver (or Addis Ababa). Takeoff is a critical period of flight that is under pilot control. To me, this indicates that pilots should have on hands simulator training with the Max’s different flight characteristic and trained together to use the manual trim, if needed, as a last resort.

                  2. Edward

                    “After the using the yoke trim control MCAS resets itself. 10 seconds later due the bad sensor it nose-dived the plane once again. It keeps doing it until the plane can’t recover.”

                    This is the part that doesn’t make sense to me. By using the yoke trim control the pilot can deactivate MCAS, so it can only operate for a short time, say half a second. Is that enough time to do much damage? In the 60 Minutes video, several seconds were needed to adjust the elevators.

    6. JDM

      Bjorn has been one of the most informed commentators on the MAX from the beginning and he is an experienced pilot. He is worth listening to.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        What ever his past performance, this article boils down to thin gruel: “They wouldn’t dare do it again,” when they (the CEO and upper management) breathtakingly havn’t admitted to doing ANYTHING wrong in the first place.

        The article almost parodies itself. Wouldn’t dare screw up again is an admission they did indeed screw up, and a rather sordidly ironic (if you think about it) thread bare euphemism that we’re all safe cause nobody has the fortitude to commit murder in plain sight three times in a row.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    City trees reduce daytime heat. But to curb sweltering nights, minimize pavement. Anthropocene. From last month; still germane.

    Its nice to see it proven, but of course this has been known at least as far back as Ancient Greek and Arabic city planning. Its amazing the coolness a mature tree can provide in a city square in hot dry climes like around the Mediterranean. Trees also reduce run-off from rainstorms so reducing flood likelihood and also help with air pollution (essentially, the extra area provided by the leaves maximises the deposition of micropollutants).

    But they are not always welcome – back in the 1990’s in the West Midlands in the UK I was peripherally involved in tree planting projects in run down areas. People were surprisingly hostile to them – I remember well people claiming that burglars would use street trees to spy on their houses.

    1. Ignacio

      Yeah, when analysing heat loads in buildings, it is necessary to calculate reflecting heat from the environment. Pavement helps to reheat during long hours. Try running in Madrid in summer at 11:00 pm… bufff! at 5:00 am. is the only possibility.

    2. Wukchumni

      Cities in the Big Smokes have plenty of concrete & barbed wire, and often the native trees are ripped out in new housing projects, so as to have a ‘clean slate’ to work with.

      Here, we have hardly any concrete, and lots of 200 year old oaks that’ll take 10-15 degrees off the outside ambient temperature when under their canopies, in shady dealings.

    3. Cal2

      That tree in the photo is going to die in a few years when it expands it’s seasonal growth rings, on top of the one below it, out to the constricting grate.
      The flow of nutrients from the leaves down to the roots just under the bark will be cut off. Amazing how many trees are planted, then killed by careless add ons like such grates, ‘holiday lights’ or even wire supports to stakes.

      Black asphalt absorbs more heat than whitish concrete. Concrete pavement, if done right can last 100 years and absorbs and reflects less heat and probably uses less energy than fives cycles of asphalt, which might last 20 years in a high traffic situation.
      Asphalt can be coated with white paint to absorb and radiate less heat.

      The ideal solution? Basalt blocks, or cobblestones.

      They can be laid in a thin slurry of recycled concrete, last forever, can be pulled up to add new pipe, then replaced. They prevent skateboarders and obviate speed bumps as speeding on them is jarring. Hard on bicyclists, that should be on a separate segregated path anyway.

      Teapot effect? Wow, let’s do a million dollar study and hire mathematicians. This is what’s wrong with society, nobody can figure out nor do things with their brains and hands anymore.

      In a thin metal teapot spout only, with needle nose pliers, centered, on the lowest part of the end of the spout, make a tiny bend downward, 1/8th inch or so deep, toward the point below and ahead of the end of the spout . The dribbling stops and the whistleflap, if the teapot has one, still works.

      1. Synoia

        In a thin metal teapot

        What? And ignore my fine china?
        I’m willing to bet there are more China or Pottery Teapots in the UK than metal ones.

        1. Cal2

          They have legal betting offices in the U.K, go for it.

          The metal teapot upon which I did that surgery was made in Germany, BTW.

          1. Wukchumni

            I had a made in New Zealand metal teapot I brought home in the early 1980’s I used for around 15 years and it served me well.

            The socialist cradle depraved NZ of that time had big import duties on a good many things, so home industries made some items, if not, you did with what you had.

            I’d guestimate that every seventh car on the road in Auckland in 1983, would’ve been circa 1957-60 Morris Minors, a UK VW of sorts. I remember ogling early 1950’s French autos that looked very gangsterish to me, ooh la la.

            You kept it going, there wasn’t an alternative.

            New cars just weren’t seen all that much, compared to what you see rolling down the LA freeways, rarities.

            Enter anything goes economics in the later 80’s, and all of the sudden everybody’s ride is an imported ex-Japan car that was 3 or 4 years old, and as they have right hand steering wheels in Nippon, a perfect fit.

      2. nothing but the truth

        intelligent people with power are more interested in “disruption” aka destroying other peoples income and grabbing it.

        this is leading to most people being fearful of their welfare.

        fearful population cannot think constructively. They are more prone to outbursts of anger and escapism.

        At the end of it all, this is a moral problem, which the pseudo science of economics is known to exacerbate.

        1. Cal2

          I am. Thanks, I’m referring to a metal kettle, used to boil water. It has a removable lid so one can put loose tea or bags in it and the thumb activated cover at the end of the spout has a hole in it that whistles when steam goes through it.

          Sometimes the most obvious thing is the most ignored.

          So why don’t ceramic teapots have a little bump at the bottom end of the spout to prevent dribbling?

    4. Joe Well

      On my mom’s 1890s-era formerly treel-lined street, all the trees are now gone. The last two disappeared in my lifetime, one because it was destroying water pipes and the other because it was unhealthy and big branches kept having to be removed for safety reasons.

      I think the water pipes and falling branches are the biggest issues.

  5. SlayTheSmaugs

    Re: Even GOP Voters Are Applauding AOC and Sanders for taking on Lenders.

    This bit:

    “Critics were quick to argue that this would both create a credit squeeze as private companies move away from providing loans to riskier customers, and that it would also force cash-strapped credit card companies to do away with such perks as consumer loyalty rewards.”

    is a classic example of corporate lobbying. Look at the embedded empirical assumptions and embedded value assumptions, with some class warfare thrown in:

    1) “as private companies move away from providing loans to riskier customers”

    a) this is an empirical assumption that is intended to mean: people who need credit won’t be able to get it, and a value statement, that to the extent credit dries up, it’s a social bad, that is, credit is a social good for such people.

    1. it’s probably true that some debtors won’t be able to get credit at 15%. But how many? Who are they? From a social good perspective (this is legislation after all) how does their lack of access to credit compare to the reduced financial stress of everyone who gets the lower interest rates?

    The value of the empirical assumption as argumentation is that if you don’t think about it, it sounds like an argument for preventing Congress from capping interest rates. But on its merits–that is, if you think about it–its persuasive value, if any, is unknown.

    2. The value statement, that it is a social good for anyone denied credit at 15% to get instead, is even more flawed. Is credit at >15% better for them than bankruptcy or any other approach? Is credit at >15% really the best legislative response for this constituency? Really hard to intelligently evaluate that without knowing the contours of the first constituency–who they are and how many. My biases tell me it’s hard to believe that expensive credit is the best policy.


    2) “it would also force cash-strapped credit card companies to do away with such perks as consumer loyalty rewards.”

    a) “cash-strapped credit card companies”? Another embedded empirical assumption, but this one is implausible. Really? Who are they? Capital One and Citibank issue a lot of credit cards. If their credit card divisions are cash strapped, that’s meaningless accounting. If there’s some standalone specialty credit card issuer that manages their business so badly that they are “cash strapped”, why should their needs drive policy?

    b) Here’s an empirical assumption class warfare bit: “force cash-strapped credit card companies to do away with such perks as consumer loyalty rewards.”

    “perks” and “reward programs” are top 10% privileges. The people facing over 15% interest generally aren’t. Also, poor companies, this policy would “force” them to end these programs. Of course, would it? Apparently the top 10% are a valuable enough constituency fo credit card companies to fiercely compete for them (think of the number and variety of rewards programs). As an empirical matter, losing how many subprime credit card holders at 15% interest equals an end to a reward program for the top 10%?

    Again, the corporate lobbyists’ arguments (“critics”) in the article’s term sound persuasive if you don’t think about them. And that’s how they win; legislators embrace the talking points, repeat them on cable, and tell themselves they’re doing good policy (or that they have sufficient cover for doing bad policy.)

    One of the challenges the pro-consumer, pro-citizen, pro-human side of debates faces is effectively calling bs on all the assumptions, value judgments, and class warfare rallying cries. An effective media that would ask good questions would be helpful

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      ^^^”…it’s hard to believe that expensive credit is the best policy.”^^^
      “credit” is a weasel word, too…meaning “debt”.
      how about a living wage, instead…adequate income….just compensation.
      those “critics” who weep for the poor credit card companies can’t even think in those terms.

      i’m the only person i know who’s never had a credit card in their name.
      wife got a Beall’s card 4 years ago(without my knowledge,lol), but i’ve never had one.
      we avoid debt like the plague.
      this makes it hard to do some things…but I don’t regret not playing their game.
      the widespread usage of one’s credit score to determine the worth of a human being is horrible, and should be resisted.

    2. Summer

      It is hilarious how the MSM takes the view that the cash strapped credit card company is a bigger issue than cash strapped people.
      When people are cash strapped, they aren’t able to pay their credit card bills, but to the establishment’s mind, the answer to that is doing more to make more credit available at higher interest rates. This means finding more people to run up debt until they become cash strapped..
      and the answer for the establishment: make more credit available at higher interest rates.

      1. The Rev Kev

        People are getting less and less tolerant with the MSM that you mentioned. They always jump on the bandwagon to help protect entities like those credit card companies (or to support a war) but this is starting to have a bit of blowback. Lots of them freaked out when they discovered a sniper video game called ‘Sniper 3D Assassin’ where one mission was to assassinate a journalist. And it was a extremely popular game as well-

      2. Brian (another one they call)

        A better description of capitalism may not exist. Usury is the 52nd state. How much money and how few people scrape their living off the work of everyone else in the world? Bribe, Bezzle, Blackmail and Bondage.

      3. cm

        If credit card companies are “cash strapped” doesn’t that imply SOX issues? I thought we were beyond TBTF banks. If a bank is “cash strapped” shouldn’t it be shut down? How about the “reporter” either provide a list of these “cash strapped” banks, or else resign & register as a lobbyist.

        1. Summer

          TBTF: gets their money at around 0% interest, loans out to the majority of the population at double digit interest (but apparently some can’t imagine that this is true), still cash strapped.
          For crying out lout, that is exactly a business that should fail.

          The greatest system in the world?????

          1. Mo's Bike Shop

            The greatest system in the world?????

            And if you feed the poor or something like that, it will collapse into hyperinflation, Wiemar, and Zimbabwe tomorrow morning.

      4. WheresOurTeddy

        how many spots on cable news and live sports broadcasts do YOU buy? Because credit card companies buy a lot.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          in ad related news…i was just at mom’s.
          commercial for “onstar”. they seem to think it’s a selling point to compare their onboard surveillance equipment as analogous to a literal cop following you around.
          connecting their service in my mind with the 5-0 tailing me makes me want to rip even the unused do-dad in wife’s car out.
          like the numerous drug ads…and credit card ads…there’s a rather narrow target audience, there…and considering just who that target audience is, isn’t it remarkable how far that is from dropping acid, burning bras and sticking it to the Man?

    3. montanamaven

      Again, Tucker Carlson surprises some and agrees with Sanders and AOC.

      Carlson noted that the act would dramatically help a significant number of people since the median interest rate on credit cards is 21.36 percent. According to, the median interest rate a decade ago was 12.62 percent.

      “Banks, meanwhile, can borrow money from the Federal Reserve at 3 percent interest,” Carlson said. “Do the math. It’s a very good business.”

      The bill would also place the same 15 percent limit on consumer loans, effectively banning payday loans.

      “There’s a reason why the world’s great religions condemn usury and why societies have restricted it for thousands of years,” Carlson said. “High interest rates exploit the weak. Credit card debt destroys people — not just chronically irresponsible people but good people, decent people.”

      Then he had on Prof. George Vartarian from George Mason U. who attempted to defend usury with the above mentioned stupid talking points. Tucker (like SlaytheSmaugs) wasn’t buying it.
      Tucker on Usury

      1. Cal2

        Tucker Carlson could be a very interesting presidential candidate.


        “Carlson/Gabbard” 2024

        1. montanamaven

          Won’t happen, but I’d support that ticket. We just need to work on them about a single payer health system. But Tucker is sensible and if he would have a spokesman from Physicians For a National Healthcare system, I’d be really impressed. He did acknowledge this past week that a majority of Americans support a single payer system, but for Americans and not for people who are not citizens unless it’s for an emergency.
          Someone also suggested that Trump pick Tulsi.

      2. ewmayer

        “Banks, meanwhile, can borrow money from the Federal Reserve at 3 percent interest,” Carlson said.

        But do they even need to do that? I thought the whole point of fictional reserve lending was for banks to be able to create credit money ex nihilo, with the only “cost of funding” being the default rate on said lent-out credit money.

        1. Higgs Boson

          Yes, banks make loans and reconcile their reserve position after the fact. They can obtain needed reserves through repos (repurchase orders) with other banks who have excess reserves. They can also get needed funds from the Fed “discount window” as a last resort, which is what he may have been referring to. But, I’m not sure he understands that or if he was “dumbing it down” for his audience.

        1. rowlf

          What, lay people have direct connection with their monetary god? With no priests involved in the middle? No tithings? Are you trying to destroy the church?

    4. a different chris

      I don’t know, but I’d be very, very, very surprised if the vast majority of payday loans came down to two things:

      1) America’s ridiculous medical system
      2) People who keep losing jobs and get behind, so now they have a job and think a payday loan will get them caught up

      These people aren’t using these loans to pick up a leather livingroom set at Broyhill furniture….

  6. 1994gator

    I know I’m a below average driver, so I take less risks.

    I’m glad speeding showed the lions share of fatalities. The number of people that think speeding is ok and it’s the slower drivers that are the problem infuriates me. There’s no need to be going 20 over the limit on the highway, or 40 in a 25 in a neighborhood. Sometimes I want to ask people, to what or where are you rushing to?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      People often slip into terrible habits over time without being aware of them. I’ve a friend who got her license 8 years ago and I’m in the car regularly with her – I’ve noticed how she’s gradually gone from being a very careful and thoughtful driver to being, while still quite good – guilty of a few very bad habits, most obviously speeding. I think there is a lot to be said for compulsory 10 year testing.

      I don’t own a car, so my driving is intermittent, somethings months between times behind the wheel, so I’m acutely conscious of how you need a balance of experience and thoughtfulness, especially when driving a type of hire car I’ve never used before. I like to think of myself as being careful because I have to ‘think’ my way into driving after a break, but its remarkable how quickly I find old reflexes and habits (good and bad) come back.

      1. Carolinian

        As I’ve complained here before, drivers where I live are getting worse and especially when it comes to running stop signs and even red lights. It’s almost as though they see driving as a boring task to be dispensed with as quickly as possible or to be made less tedious with smartphones or other gadgets. Clearly they are just waiting for those robot cars to take over the task completely, so they can devote themselves to Facebook while on the road. Meanwhile the rest of us cringe at every near miss.

        1. Robert Valiant

          I think increasingly competitive mindsets contribute to speeding, aggressive driving, and risk taking (running lights and stop signs).

          When I drive on the highway, I stay in the slow lane at or under the speed limit. I marvel at the speed of the vehicles in the lane beside me which often looks something like a Road Warrior film.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            it’s tailgating/”following to closely” out here.
            sand trucks and shiny suv’s are the biggest culprits in my experience. the latter, one might assume, have entitlement issues…they are more important than you are.
            but i can be an a$$hole, too, when so provoked…i slow down to 40mph on the curves.
            there’s a 20 mile stretch just before the next big town(regional hub) where it’s impossible to pass safely/legally…but these folks do so, on blind curves and hills…the 70mph speed limit ain’t fast enough.
            so they pass…and we end up right behind them at the first light in town any way.

            1. cnchal

              > . . . the latter, one might assume, have entitlement issues…

              Nope. Because they can see over top of you, it’s like you aren’t even there, so it’s a perception issue.

              Forty MPH in a seventy zone is a hazard all on it’s own.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                generally light traffic out here…so waiting to pass safely shouldn’t be such a big damn deal.
                turning grandma as punishment is reserved for the most egregious offenders…sometimes serving to give the deputy time to find their keys and head my way.
                interestingly, prolly 80% of the wrecks out here are one car…sometimes with deer,but mostly due to sleepyness and driving too fast. this, per the scanner, and knowing the sheriff, etc.

            2. Summer

              There is an old con for making money of people in tailgating cars pay dearly. You have to have an eye for who has the insurance and it takes a team of at least two cars.

              When I was between jobs once, someone said…you have a car, let’s go make some money. But a job came along.

          2. Carolinian

            You’re absolutely right. It’s Game of Thrones on the road.

            But in the case of city driving and my town they seem to be doing it because everyone else is. Some of us fogeys cling to the rules.

            1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              I feel Arya out there on the Highway.

              Slashing through traffic like the Night King and King’s Landing.

              My lots on Tyrion to take the throne, most likely involving Jon, Davos, et aliis executing Dany and the Dragon.

              Lot of Neolib tears will be shed if in fact Dany does Die.

        2. Procopius

          I used to be able to take the bus (I’m retired now). I was very conscious of the fact that someone else was doing the driving while I was able to read my book, or just look out the window. America needs a LOT more public transportation. It’s a public good, but it also benefits employers because their employees can come from a wider area. The arguments against it are similar to, “I don’t have kids, why should I pay taxes for public schools?”

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      “to what or where are you rushing to?”

      Jackson Browne had an answer for that:

      Everybody’s going somewhere
      Riding just as fast as they can ride
      I guess they’ve got a lot to do
      Before they can rest assured
      Their lives are justified
      Pray to God for me baby
      He can let me slide

      Bright Baby Blues

    3. EVM

      Seems to be another in a long series of reports that (some number greater than 50%) of the population thinks they are above average at (any particular routine task). It’s a known cognitive error that goes beyond evaluation of driving skills, i.e. we’re still human.

        1. richard

          especially if they’re trying to get away, spinning their legs like wheels, and some wise guy has got ahold of their collar!
          hey, wait a minute mister, don’t you get irony?
          no, no i don’t
          the equivalent of helpful second grader, at your service!

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Yes don’t make the unforgivable mistake of temporarily placing your hand on the back of a woman in a backless dress, as Garrison found out the hard way.

          1. Procopius

            I missed that. What was the context? Why did he have to put his hand on her back? Wasn’t there something else he could have grabbed to keep from falling down?

      1. Eduardo

        This does not necessarily reflect a cognitive error on the part of the survey takers. Possibly a cognitive error on the part of the survey creators?

        What does it mean to be a better than average driver? The problem (a problem) is the vague definition which each survey taker may take to mean that which matches their skills (no distractions, precision steering, good parallel parker, pays attention, drives the speed limit, able to drive above the speed limit with no accidents, follows laws, great vision, drives slow to compensate for bad vision, etc).

    4. Mark

      Favorite frequently-used phrase in newspaper reports of crashes: Speed was not a factor in the crash, authorities say. Really? If the car was not in motion, then how on earth did the accident occur?

    5. crittermom

      The problem is that apparently 76% think they ARE good drivers. Not surprising.
      I would vehemently disagree, however.

      I’m not ashamed to label myself as the ‘world’s worst passenger’, having been in four accidents as a passenger, at least two being avoidable. As a passenger, all you can do is hang on and pray as you see it comin’.

      I usually tell others about being in accidents when they offer to drive, using it as an excuse and putting the fault on me and my ‘previously bad experiences’ rather than attacking their poor driving directly (which would lead to, “But I’m a GOOD driver”).

      There are friends, however, that I’ve flat out told why I would no longer ride with them.
      One GF was as you described, speeding everywhere (30-40 mph+ over the speed limit), with me telling her I found her driving to be pure arrogance and I refused to be a victim of that.

      Another was always speeding and tailgating, as well.
      I’ve no doubt that when she traded that car in, had someone lifted up the passenger floor mat it would have revealed dents from me as a passenger ‘braking’.

      When my dad taught me to drive, the first lesson he told me was to “assume every other driver is either drunk, stupid or tired, so drive defensively” (not ‘aggressively’), always trying to leave an ‘out’ for when they screwed up, as he assured me would happen.
      It has served me well in my 67 years.

      Today I think it’s worse, with too many distractions. ‘Looky here. An electronic map in the dash so you know where you’re going’. Aarghhhhh.

      And cell phones when driving (and I’m not even talking texting!)?

      I am probably among the minority when I say I don’t think people should be talking on the phone when driving, whether it’s ‘hands-free’ or not.
      The simple fact being, their MIND is not on driving when doing that. Hang up and drive, dammit!
      (If I happen to call a friend while they’re driving, I tell ’em to call me back when they’re not. Wouldn’t that bother your psyche if you called them and ended up hearing their death as they crashed while talking to you?)

      I also think the percentages are skewered in the survey.
      Only 9% texting?
      Those are only the ones who admit to it, I assume.

      Sorry for the rant. It’s obviously a heated subject matter to me!

    6. ChrisPacific

      I consider myself a better than average driver BECAUSE I take fewer risks. I have not had an accident in 30 years so I believe I have some evidence to back that up (though I have not always been a regular driver for all that time).

      I made a conscious adjustment on the speeding thing after I noticed I was routinely travelling over the limit and couldn’t come up with a good reason other than “it’s what everyone else is doing.” These days I obey speed limits unless I have a good reason for doing otherwise (and I agree with you about speeders that blame slower drivers for issues). I also took a defensive driving course when I was young and the mindset made a lot of sense to me, so I’ve consciously tried to adopt it. These days I am constantly scanning for risks and hazards while I drive without needing to think about it.

      The appropriate first response to most traffic hazard situations is nearly always to slow down. The solution to those hypothetical no-win dilemmas that people like to pose for self-driving cars (kill an old lady on the sidewalk vs. run into opposing traffic vs. drive into a ditch and risk killing yourself…) is generally not to get yourself into those situations in the first place. That usually involves being aware of everything that could go wrong and driving at a speed that would allow you to handle it all if it happened. I regularly slow down for what probably looks like no reason to others, just so that I am in a position to react safely that one time out of a hundred or a thousand that something goes wrong. (One in a thousand might seem like nothing to worry about, but if you take that risk once a day you will have an accident about every 3 years on average).

      My only bad habit that I’m aware of is excessive blind spot checking – I used to be bad at this when I was younger and had some close calls because of it, so now I am a bit on the paranoid side and sometimes take longer than needed. This can sometimes divert my attention from the road ahead longer than it should, and affect my reaction times on things like sudden braking. I am trying to work on this one without over-correcting, and I think I’ve made some progress.

      Most people do not share my assessment of myself as a good driver, because ‘good driver’ means something different to them than it does to me. To them I’m the annoying guy that holds them up on the highway, slows down even when nothing is coming, and so on.

      1. cnchal

        > . . . slows down even when nothing is coming, and so on.

        Yes, you are annoying to share the road with for the reason that you drive unpredictably. That means other drivers, usually good ones that pick up clues about how well or poorly you drive do not trust you.

        > . . . excessive blind spot checking . . .

        Well adjusted mirrors work great for checking your blind spot without looking over your shoulder and taking your eyes off the road. This is one of the criteria I use to determine if the driver in front is trustworthy or not, by aligning myself so that my line of sight is straight down the side of the car in front and square into their driver side rear view mirror. If I can see a face, I know the mirrors are not adjusted properly, a big clue as to what else might be going on behind the wheel.

  7. Doggrotter

    A very simple fix would be to limit all new vehicles to the maximum permitted speed. Or, slightly more complicated use Sat Nav to either limit vehicles to the local speed limit or turn on a flashing light on the roof of vehicles going too fast (my preference) I admit to still owning high performance cars

    1. Carolinian

      Local police enforcing the traffic laws might be an old fashioned approach. Meanwhile bannered across the side of my city’s police cars: “find us on Facebook.”

        1. newcatty

          I am once again very happy that I quit driving years ago. I first decided to do it when I noticed my vision blurring. It wasn’t that I couldn’t compensate for lack of clearly seeing my surroundings, it was the resulting realization that the poor vision was adding to my stress while driving, so often defensively, as it was undeniable that more drivers in my town were driving either more aggressively, most always over the speed limit, running red lights, and passing me driving at the speed limit when not safely. As I slowly improved my vision: two cataract surgeries and glaucoma procedures; I had lost my confidence and instincts for driving . I realize that I am lucky, I have a spouse who drives(carefully and skillfully) who doesn’t mind doing the driving for us. There are taxis, when desired. Wish there was public transportation, but not in my neck of our woods. When I was talking with a close relative, who I hadn’t talked to in a while and in conversation it came up I wasn’t driving anymore, she was surprised. Well, aren’t you spoiled? I was amazed at this reaction. I had just explained the background in our catching up with each other. I was saddened by her attitude. Not defensively, but just trying to make it more understandable, I said , Well, I didn’t want to risk hurting myself or anyone else by not being a safe and skilled driver, anymore. I think driving is necessary for most adults in this society. But, think that “giving up the keys” can be a sane and caring thing to do.

      1. a different chris

        Problem is some of them (cough, Ferguson Missouri, cough) find it a convenient “revenue enhancer.”

        1. Carolinian

          We’re not Ferguson and in my estimation the white/black ratio of stop sign runners is about 50/50 like the town itself. In fact it’s possible that the national controversy about police pulling people over has led to a decrease in traffic enforcement as in this area the local cops don’t need the money.

          Bottom line: if nobody ever gets a ticket then most people it seems run stop signs (after a quick, flying looksee). This is annoying if you are coming to a cross street and have to guess whether the approaching car is going to stop or hit you. Meanwhile our county has a very poor record of traffic accidents and too many struck pedestrians and cyclists.

      2. griffen

        More likely to find those parked at a QT. At least about 7.30 on a weekday morning.

        1. Wukchumni

          …meanwhile here in Mayberry-adjacent

          I talked to the lone sheriff in town for 5 minutes yesterday, and he’s our neighbor’s son-in-law, the long arm of the law. Nice fellow, we’ve shared Thanksgiving together a few times in the past…

  8. The Rev Kev

    “Facebook wants your data: 5 ways to keep it safe”

    I have a different 5 point strategy for keeping your Facebook data safe.

    Step 1: Don’t get a Facebook account.
    Step 2: If you have a Facebook account, kill it.
    Step 3: Discourage family members that have Facebook accounts from posting your photos and information on their account.
    Step 4: Use an add-on to disable any Facebook JavaScript files when browsing the web.
    Step 5: If you have to use a Facebook account, litter it with lies, browse for obscure groups on it, fill it full of personal irrelevant static.

    1. eg

      I have never had a Facebook account, since in my former life as a school administrator all I ever saw it create was trouble.

      But I am informed that even in the absence of an account, we are apparently still being tracked in the form of “shadow accounts”?

      So even though I have no interest in Facebook, apparently Facebook remains interested in me … :-(

  9. PlutoniumKun

    Facebook wants your data: 5 ways to keep it safe CNET

    I’d be interested in hearing from tech minded people than me on this – I’ve been trying (and failing) to cut out the tracking on my phone and pc as much as possible. In particular, does anyone have recommendations on a good VPN? That seems to be one of the prime ways of confusing them.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      UNS is the VPN this rabbit uses.

      Costs money but you can also use it to watch TV from other countries that might be blocked in yours.

  10. PlutoniumKun

    Brexit: big and bold

    Tory party will split if Boris Johnson becomes leader and pursues no-deal Brexit, warn MPs Independent

    I’d always assumed Johnson would never get the votes among MP’s, but it does seem that things are changing – there is every chance the Tories will nominate either him or Raab, and both will doubtless commit to a no-deal crash out. It seems certain that whichever two names are sent to the membership, the most hardline Brexiter will be chosen.

    The latest polling in the Observer is not good news for anyone really unless your name is Farage. It seems the UK is almost entirely split down the middle, with around 45-50% of people wanting to Tory, Brexit Party or UKIP, the rest scattered between Labour (who knows?) and the firm Remained parties. The only good news is that the Greens are becoming a real force. But this really comes down to left Remainers feeling they can’t vote for Labour.

    While you can’t read too much into a European election – UK voters traditionally see them as a protest vote, and go home to their party in national elections, the polling really does suggest an almost complete breakdown in support for the traditional Big 2. But the vagaries of the first-past-the-post system means its very hard to know what this will mean in terms of MP’s – and that will determine if a new Tory leader will decide to engineer a quick election. I wouldn’t put it beyond Johnson or Raab to do a deal with Farage to run Brexiter spoilers in strong Labour constituencies while dividing up pro-Brexit constituencies between them with the aim of forming a coalition with the DUP after an election.

    In the Observer today Andrew Rawsley – who is normally a fairly clued in watcher of trends – thinks that the chances of either A-50 revocation or No Deal has gone up dramatically – I think he’s right.

    Pressure is building within Labour for the party to take an unambiguous stand on the other side of the barricades and become an anti-Brexit party. That pressure will be increased when the Euros see large numbers of previous Labour voters desert the party for the Lib Dems, Greens and Change UK. If a general election hasn’t happened by September, Labour’s party conference is highly likely to force its reluctant leadership to make a no-qualifications commitment to a fresh referendum. The middle ground, such as it was, has become scorched earth. The chances of this concluding with no Brexit or a no-deal Brexit are both rising sharply.

    1. Synoia

      Ok, Fearge’s new party may hold the majority of the UK’s EU Parliament seats.

      Then what? Will his party members refuse the emoluments provided to EU Parliament members? Will they refuse to take their seats and emoluments? Or will the become full tome EU parliament members, offering only a veneer of Brexit?

      Ferage ran UKIP and got the referendum result he wanted, then he became invisible when it came time to implement.

      What is his plan to address the Neo-liberal driven austerity which is imposed on the British? We know he is against the EU. What are his proposed programs? The devil, as usual, is in the details.

      As for a negotiated exit from the EU, that was dead almost immediately after the Brexit referendum vote, and was always a clear non starter. Any negotiation which can only start after agreed on the parties exchanging Billions is going to become pointless.

      The choices are clear: Crash Out, Remain or the continuing limbo. I’d bet on the continuing limbo, no clear decision, and the UK continuing to pay it’s contributions to the EU.

      That suits the EU and the UK’s parliament, because it provides a bright shiny object to deflect the UK’s misery away from the Neo-Liberal infestation, grinding austerity, as the real issue.

      I look forward to Brexit’s unresolved 10th anniversary in 2025,

  11. The Rev Kev

    “Obama announces DNC’s ‘Unity Fund’ to back party nominee”

    Sounds like the DNC wants to sop up a much donation money as possible that is out there and bring it under the control of the DNC. Stop it going to such unworthy people – people like Sanders and Gabbard. And of course Obama is always ready to put on his comfortable walking shoes and to go out and help a good cause.

    1. Brindle

      ….and the DNC’s choice for the recipient of the Unity Fund: Joe Biden at his rally in Philadelphia.
      So these people coming out from under rocks and fields–can the rocks be in the fields? Are the rock people and field people forming an alliance?

      –” But the people are not divided. It is our politics that’s divided.
      And that gap, that gap, that’s causing the failure to act. It’s giving rise to the worst elements in our society. People coming out from under the rocks, out of fields, carrying torches.”–

      I read the whole transcript–it was a slog.

      1. montanamaven

        On Wednesday night’s show Tucker Carlson called Biden’s answers to a simple question on China to be “the verbal equivalent of abstract art”. He’s skeptical he will last 1 year. At about 18 minutes in. Tucker on Biden

    2. tegnost

      I guess since shut up and do what the smart people tell you to do didn’t work in 2016 they’re going with Unity. It’s idpol on steroids, put a clown car of candidates representing each little demographic who have all declared unity to the super delegate dems in that smoke filled room who will give us a centrist republican who wears a blue tie. Hey, at least Nancy is shameless enough to wear that red coat.

      1. newcatty

        The sheer brazeness of the DNC “Unity Fund” phrasing is unfortunately not surprising. Flip the fact that people are indeed divided, state it’s not true, then state that as it’s our politics that are divided. Nice example of propaganda at its finest and an answer to the failure of appealing to any voters who did not “shut up and do,what the smart people tell you to do”: Now, do, what is necessary to save us from those torch bearers, who will be our worst elements in our once upon a time exceptional and hopeful country. This time you must unite and support our Democratic candidate. This time you won’t fail to act…Joe or no.

  12. tegnost

    The vox on H1-B led me to read a piece on tech companies hiring in canada, making the claim that toronto gained three times the employees than seattle sf and DC
    FTA… “CBRE ranked 50 markets across North America, using measures such as talent supply, concentration, education and cost as well as outlooks for job and rent growth for both offices and apartments.”
    What? no mention in any of pearl clutching by big tech of medicare 4 All in Canada as a possible draw for both immigrants and their benefactor corporations? Hmmm. Since they haven’t noticed maybe I should call and let them know, I’m sure that will lead to a highly paid consulting job…

  13. ObjectiveFunction

    I knew a fair bit of the Mongolia story, although it was news to me that McKinsey consultants were doing what is in effect project development. Pretty shoddy work too, by the sound of it, never mind the skanky local partner. As always, the MBA meritocrats had no idea what they didn’t know. They assumed they could spreadsheet and powerpoint into life an unbelievably complex production and logistical enterprise in a country with no institutional history of conducting such things. And hey, even if they couldn’t, there were great fees to be made and resumes to burnish for when they jumped ship to private equity and the bigger money (other people’s of course, as always).

    Unlike modern investment (merchant) banking and its PE and VC offshoots, whose roots lie deep in the City of London, management consulting is an all-American industry. Its analytical methods are rooted in Taylorist ‘management sciences’ but its actual business model borrows heavily from the up-or-out billings partnership model of white shoe law firms, and the always-be-closing sales tactics of Madison Avenue and Dale Carnegie’s power of positive thinking (Which in turn is not far off from the tent revivals and patent medicine hucksterism of Mark Twain’s day)

    This is the way the American Century ends, not with a bang but with a whimper.

    … Or to mashup Fitzgerald and Green, in the custody of a nomenklatura of dilettantes who break people and things and then retreat back into their beach houses and their vast carelessness, while never having better motives for all the trouble they caused.

  14. Brooklin Bridge

    Bjorn’s Corner: Why I wouldn’t hesitate to fly on the MAX after the fix

    I won’t bother with such an ass licker’s empty PR; what I found curious wasn’t in the article itself, a pathetic, “They -Boeing- woiuldn’t dare screw up again,” slimy self interested screed, but rather the absence of remarks in the comment section about the fact that Boeing (is allowed to and) does it’s own FAA certification testing.

    As per the excellent article of the other day,

    And that [crapification] has become remarkably easy to do in aviation. Because Boeing is no longer subject to proper independent regulatory scrutiny. This is what happens when you’re allowed to “self-certify” your own airplane, as the Washington Post described: “One Boeing engineer would conduct a test of a particular system on the Max 8, while another Boeing engineer would act as the FAA’s representative, signing on behalf of the U.S. government that the technology complied with federal safety regulations.”

    It’s hard to imagine a more quintessential example of the failure of neo-liberalism. Also, as the absence of comments from a clearly well informed commentariat suggest in Bjorn’s Corner article, the apparent reality that self certification might as well be a state secret under the highest security classification simply couldn’t be a more accurate and wholesale, last nail in coffin, condemnation of our ruthless “shareholder” profit at any cost system and its ability to obscure deep structural weaknesses.

    1. Synoia

      Boeing management would build and test of a particular system on the Max 8, and Boeing management would certify the result….

      There – that’s a bit simpler.

    2. John k

      Where, exactly, is self cert not allowed in our economy?
      Great attention here because planes are once again falling out of the sky, but self reg has become the norm.
      Along with, ‘they would never dare to do it again’.
      Really? You mean the same management, the lot that kept all the bonuses and stock gifts from the last time while avoiding jail time, would never dare to take risks with other people’s lives again? Lol.
      Just like msm would never dare to happily push us into another war to shore up their falling circulation and ad revenue, or the financial sector would never risk sinking the economy, or pharma would never overprice drugs… all of which cost lives, just not dramatic as crashing planes…

    3. ChristopherJ

      thank you, BB. I think the decision to allow self certification could be viewed by courts as negligence and something which contributed to the two crashes. That is, the Federal Govt should shoulder most of the blame. That’s how I view it

  15. The Rev Kev

    “The little-noticed surge across the U.S.-Mexico border: It’s Americans heading south ”

    Mexico may want to be careful here. Do they remember what happened the last time that they let in Americans under an emigration system? It did not end well for Mexico-

    Of course if the 1% keep running the country into the ground in pursuit of that last dollar, lots of people may just decide to bail-

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      we looked into moving to Mexico about 20 years ago…knew a guy who owned property just north of Puerto Vallarta who wanted to open a beach cafe(i was a chef).
      even got some how-to-expat books.
      at the time, there were some very complicated and prohibitive restrictions on doing it legally, let alone things like owning property…too much for us to overcome(for instance, to even somewhat lessen the anxiety producing ignorance of mexican law, we’d need a non-shyster lawyer(!) who specialised in such things)
      the sad paradox is that you have to essentially already have sufficient wealth in order to take advantage of the much, much lower cost of living.

      1. Olga

        I think it is easier now – friends are moving down south in a month. Took them about 6 mos from making the decision, to finding a house on a coast, and to arranging for the purchase (about $160K) plus all legalities. They are not rich, but are retired.

      2. John k

        More difficult within 50 miles of the border… Mexico worries about having too many expats close to the border, thinking US might just move border south a bit to recapture our runaways. Prudent.

        1. a different chris

          >thinking US might just move border south a bit to recapture our runaways

          Funny but nowayinHE-double toothpicks, the maliquadoras are all located there if memory serves.

          The very last thing the US powers-that-be want is actual territory. They want financial control over other territories. They’d “sell” – actually repackage into several layers which, surprise, you would find them still at the top – off good chunks of Real America if they could.

      3. Joe Well

        Amfortas is very right that the Mexican government does not roll out the welcome mat for immigrants of any kind. There are many Americans pressing their luck as long term tourists but they may have a rude awakening some day. In the meantime, you can’t get health insurance after age 65 or so, and Medicare does not cover outside the US…so…be prepared to die a horrible and expensive death.

    2. Joe Well

      That article on Americans retiring to Mexico is absurd. If you speak Spanish at close to a native level, the xenophobia is very difficult to ignore, and I certainly tried to while I was there, no matter what the mayor of a tourist town says. Having the mayor of a town of 100k speak on behalf of country of 150 million is typical of American arrogance toward Mexicans.

  16. CletracSteve

    1: A war with Iran would be a murderous disaster
    A nit or point of confusion on my part: Reading many articles, including this one, it is stated that the alleged mine-attacks on the oil vessels occurred in the Persian Gulf. The port of Fujairah, where the vessels were damaged, is NOT in the Persian gulf, but south of the Straits of Hormuz and in the Gulf of Oman. First, this shows sloppy research and investigative reporting, copy-propagation of false-facts. Second, I see an attack here having less strategic value regarding any threat by Iran to close the SOH. As a fellow Naked-Capitalism fact-nerd, I find these glib errors frightening as the collective-narrative is being built. Article authors unwittingly and readily add to the public misconception. But, then truth is only an attribute.

    2: re walking while texting
    I often play the game of walking straight in my ‘lane’ and not dodging texters. ‘Tis easy for me as I don’t even have a mobile. They are usually shocked and annoyed at me for not yielding the right-of-way to their zombie cadence.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      before we started hanging around hospitals last fall, I hadn’t experienced this phenomenon. (if i had my druthers, i’d never leave the farm…let alone venture into a city)
      it’s sort of striking that these people don’t run into each other, or walls, or wander into traffic, more often.
      it’s strange to observe, from the outside.
      another shocker, to me, was the number of people apparently talking to themselves in public,lol(something called “bluetooth”).
      “privacy” means something entirely different to this latter group, i guess…just randomly wandering, I heard all kinds of intimate snippets of people’s lives.
      (“condom broke”,”i can’t stop pooping”, and the like)
      what a weird world we’ve made.

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Me too.

      I get off the streetcar at Bourbon St n Canal then walk down Canal St to the Saenger. You should see some of faces tourists give me when they literally run into me aka A BRICK WALL.

      Lol. Locals i tend to give a few inches :)

    3. Summer

      A technicality but what if they are walking and “browsing the internet” or does the law specifically say “texting”?

  17. tegnost

    Re the corvid…I don’t know if I would trust a creature that hangs around with drongos and babblers…

    “sometimes joining mixed hunting parties along with species such as drongos and babblers. “

  18. flora

    re: Three Reasons There’s A New Push To Limit Abortion In State Legislatures – FiveThirtyEight

    The story is accurate as far as it goes. The author describes ” no real force within the GOP to counter the well-organized anti-abortion movement. And that movement is powerful.” I think the movement can be more closely defined and identified. The author makes a remark about rural voters, but rural does not automatically equate to conservative Christian right. That’s important to keep in mind, I think.

    In the late 1970s Jerry Falwell started The Moral Majority, in a break with the traditional Baptist principle of separating religion and politics. The GOP wanted and still wants those ‘new’ conservative religious voters. (prior to that the GOP had been fairly liberal on social issues, equating them with personal responsibility and freedom.)

    “The Moral Majority was a prominent American political organization associated with the Christian right and Republican Party. It was founded in 1979 by Baptist minister Jerry Falwell and associates, and dissolved in the late 1980’s. It played a key role in the mobilization of conservative Christians as a political force and particularly in Republican presidential victories throughout the 1980’s.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Theyre passing these garbage de facto abortion bans to keep Marxists from uniting urban and rural poor.

      Its useless arguing one way or the other until the deleterious effects of the law manifest. When Grandma sees her grandbabys browsing history, ‘How to have an abortion with a coat hanger…’

      So i guess a winning argument would be Public Health?

      This girl im trying to date is distraught over AL and GA. Her Facebook page is a ‘Dumpster fire’ because she tried to reason with her Evangelical friends and family.

      1. JBird4049

        Back when most people were or had live under abortion bans many conservatives especially doctors were not a fan of them as seeing the effects of back ally abortions was nightmare inducing. Even when many wanted a ban, seeing the effects on people driven to such means was traumatizing enough to oppose at least a strict ban.

        Of course, those with money would just go off the states with more liberal laws or find a doctor to give a medical diagnosis requiring an abortion as that option was usually there.

        I hardly remember the time, but the fear was real enough even after Roe v. Wade. It would not be so evil and cruelly punative if the reasons for abortions were dealt with. Even just decent healthcare would greatly reduce the numbers, but noooo, let’s just pass a law, which for them is a feel good one, making things worse. Like the War on Some Drugs. Criminalize and punish with draconian laws.

        Well, the Republican leadership does have to pander to the religious ultras to keep their support for the upcoming political bloodfests we all see coming up.

        1. Pat

          I remember a moment in a documentary about abortion before Roe V. Wade. I believe it was in a section that touched on the collateral damage of failed illegal abortions as I also remember several interviews with healthcare workers. But it was an interview with a a young man, probably in his early twenties. He had many siblings and the family was living in poverty. His mother, already distraught at the inability to always feed her children sought out a back alley abortion. She didn’t make it. There was some background on what happened to the family in the wake of her death, but the most resonant moment for me was the young man’s conclusion: “We didn’t miss that baby, we missed our mother.”

          Because the only important thing is the fetus, the mother and her surviving children…well..she got what she deserved and they should have had better parents. Friggin’ hypocritics, it has nothing to do with ‘life’ and everything to do with control, shame and punishment.

    2. a different chris

      The question I don’t have an answer to, even though I was “there” – but blissfully politically uniformed – is why the Republican Party?

      The Christian Right was, and still is, not exactly full of millionaires. They have this emotional issue, but otherwise they aren’t stupid. They do believe in a “collective” society, even if a closed one, so the libertarian Right has no appeal at all to them. Jamie Dimon is not gonna be somebody they like.

      Was it just simply that the Republican Party, despite Reagan, was heading for the ashbin of history so they were ripe for the taking? That is a simple explanation for their support of Trump. It’s all power-taking.

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        in a word, Yes.
        they were in terminal decline, until paul weyrich met with howard philipis(i think) and another guy in the HoJo lobby in St Louis. there, they formulated a plan, on a literal napkin, to gin up support for the gop.
        this was while roe was still in the courts…so 71, 72?
        prior to this, abortion was not on the radar…and the fundies had abandoned politics after the scopes monkey trial put their lunacy and intransigence into the national spotlight.
        while these old white men and their fellow travellers may have had a true aversion to abortion, it was still a cynical grab for power, using hyperventilating religious emotion.
        it’s also the greatest example of mindf&ck in history….or at least since the constantinian shift.
        it made the reagan revolution and the culture war possible, and enabled billfrellingclinton, and the entire engineered rightward swing into neoliberal/neoconservative one party tina imperialism.

        1. JBird4049

          Civil rights (Identity Politics), guns, abortion, climate change, even the “War on Terror” have all been transformed into weaponized hot button, political and social identifiers. Say That Word (whatever it is because it is all the same really) and get the actually programmed, perhaps Pavlonian responses; we then split into the warring tribal marks ready to be used in the two political parties’ chosen camps for the extraction of money, time, passion.

          Baby killers, gun nuts, freaks, Deplorables, those people, the Christians, the Liberals…all labels used to simplify into caricatures of bad, stupid people while we all see the rich Elites get richer, and the Nomenklatura who control the system for them as well as the apparatchiks who work for the nomenklatura keep their well paying positions and jobs.

          That does not mean that the issues we fight over and our dreams for our nation and the world are not important or that there is no honest conflict; all of the issues are automatically scooped into the into the controlling system’s apparatus to be weaponized and are not to be solved as that would cost the system a tool.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Police Are Feeding Celebrity Photos into Facial Recognition Software to Solve Crimes”

    Did anybody else twig to the fact that these same police did not seem willing to put their own mugs into this Facial Recognition Software but sought out celebrity photos instead? It was almost like they are afraid of what that system might come up with.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Elizabeth Warren Was Smart to Tell FOX to Go to Hell”

    No she wasn’t. Sanders went on Fox and took away the audience from the Fox hosts by nailing issues that all Americans can agree with. Warren not doing so is admitting her weakness in confronting debates so I have no idea how she expects to make out this time next year. By explaining her case, she may have even won over some of that Fox audience. As it is, she has merely confirmed their dislike of her. They are still her enemy. Warren should have taken Lincoln’s advice about how you destroy an enemy when you make them your friend.

    1. cm

      Agreed. The 2nd sentence in the article:

      It seems odd but there seem to be a not insignificant number of people who believe that Warren, and anyone really, should simply jump at the opportunity to go on FOX and, I don’t know, convert the right wing audience to a more humane politics?

      I strongly believe Sanders can in fact convert the right-wing audience. As has been mentioned here, it would not take much to switch 75% of American voters from a “Democrat vs Republican” division to “99% vs 1%” division.

      I wonder if Fox has the guts to invite Gabbard?

      1. Pat

        Yes, Sanders has that ability to hone the presentation and the response in a manner that speaks to more self identified Republicans. I’m not sure that Warren does.

        I’m torn on whether Warren should have gone on Fox. Yes, I think that more of their audience would agree with many of her policies than Fox might think. Yes, I think making that connection is important. But Warren is a technocrat and does not have the same ability to shape her message to avoid coming off that way. Nor does she think on her feet as well as Sanders or AOC, people who not have broad communication skills but can switch between terms, analogies and illustrative descriptions with ease.

        1. a different chris

          >I’m not sure that Warren does.

          Me either, but I think she would gain more points going on there and humanizing herself than doing another “deplorables” try, and this one in the open. The last one didn’t work so well.

      2. crittermom

        I received this email from Tulsi yesterday, so she’s certainly willing:

        “I’ll sit down with anyone, anywhere to help address the threats and challenges facing our nation today. That’s right, anyone — including Fox News.

        We’re more than a year from the general election but already, other Democratic presidential candidates have refused to attend Fox News town halls and debates. Whether I agree with their views or not, Fox News viewers are real people — real people that I, as President, will commit to serving. So I’m not interested in playing partisan games or trying to score political points. I’m running for President to put the interests of the people first — ahead of profit and ahead of political convenience.”

          1. montanamaven

            Thank you! I saw both of these interviews live so I missed the great comments on You Tube.

          2. crittermom

            I wasn’t aware she had been on Fox. I’ll have to watch those links. Thanks!

            I just now received another email from her with this:

            “The Daily Beast is really scraping the bottom of the barrel in their attempts to “get” Tulsi. They combed through our donor records looking for Russian support for our campaign. Despite only turning up $6,000 in donations from three people who fit their invented profile, they just published a hit piece claiming our campaign is being “underwritten” by some of the nation’s leading Russian sympathizers.

            This hit piece is an example of the kind of McCarthyist witch hunt made possible by the mainstream media’s role in fomenting the new Cold War with Russia… ”

            It continues on from there (eventually asking for a donation, of course).

            Seems she’s ‘made the big time’ now, with a hit in the Daily Beast. ;-)
            I just turned on the top of the local news (free TV here) to discover a car has apparently driven completely into the Dollar General store very near me. (photo, too)
            I can’t even imagine how they did that. Geesh.

            No reported injuries, but I’m bettin’ a lot of plastic was shattered.

    2. flora

      I like Warren. Her background, however, is in University. She’s an academic by training and inclination, imo. So her statements that “somebody ought to do something” (Congress should pass a law to achieve something)” makes sense… in the academic world. Form a committee, have a committee decide to do something, have committee agree on policy statements, never get out ahead of committee or take an unvetted step. Always test the waters before making any bold statement. (You’ve noticed the hesitations and undertone request for agreement in her comments. That’s academic, both male and female academics adopt that voice.) Collegiality and go-along-to-get-along. Doing otherwise means the end of an academic career. Academic politics isn’t electorial politics. Both are hard ball politics but in very different ways.

      I think Warren could be a great Treasury Sec., or Consumer Affairs, or SEC, or Commerce Secretary. She’s smart, dedicated to improving the financial playing field for the average mope, and digs in to discover all the relevant facts.

      1. crittermom

        I agree with you.
        What bothers me about Warren, is her message as I understand it is that she wants to make more laws so “they can’t do that”. Problem? Nobody enforces the laws we already have!
        Had that been the case, over 9M of us wouldn’t have ‘lost’ our homes.

        While I think she’s been effective in the Senate, I don’t see her as POTUS material. (And TBH, IMHO I often feel her voice sounds ‘whiney’–thus irritating, which is not good for a leader).

        I want someone who will put their shoe–or combat boot?–on the throat of the PTB whenever necessary and possible.
        I feel Bernie and/or Tulsi would be better at accomplishing that.

        1. nycTerrierist

          “…she wants to make more laws so “they can’t do that”. Problem? Nobody enforces the laws we already have!”

          Thank you! crazy-making this is not pointed out more often!
          not re: Warren specifically, but in general.

          1. a different chris

            It’s pointed out plenty. On the Right… and it’s a good argument. “We did this, it didn’t work (not necessarily true) and in messed these people up (maybe true) and you want to do more?”

            I keep waiting for a Presidential candidate to say, for example on taxes, “I will pass higher rates on higher incomes. Beyond that, I will reduce the tax code by 20% each and every year I am in office”.

            No more thousands of incomprehensible pages, which you don’t understand but you’re pretty darn sure that’s the point because they benefit somebody better connected.

            People from everywhere that is not DC think we have way too many laws. Fairness is as or more important than a couple of 100 bucks.

            1. polecat

              I would ALSO include the number of new laws proposed, and enacted, by all State legisators .. of questionable need, such as the proposed ‘walking while texting’ law !! They ALL should be in session only part-time … to reflect the utter uselessness of their seat ! Less time in office, means less emphasis on personal hubris and blowviation at the plebs expense !

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                the texas lege is in session only a few months, every two years.there are pro’s and cons to this.
                the pro is exactly what you allude to: not much time to get into mischief…although, with radio preacher at the helm(dan patrick), they have managed some doozies regardless,lol.
                the con…only operable if you believe that government can do good and/or is necessary…is that they can’t do nothin’ if there’s some disaster or something.
                (the gov can call a special session, but rarely does for anything besides bathroom bills and other hateful nonsense)

                1. flora

                  The ‘only meets every other year’ is a great boon to conservatives who want to cut taxes and school funding and social programs.

                  although, with radio preacher at the helm(dan patrick), they have managed some doozies regardless…

                  Say, for example, in year fy1, when lege is in session, lege does the above – cuts funding for important public programs to pay for tax cuts to a few wealthy people or corps. Those funding changes don’t take effect until year fy2, when the lege is out of session. If fy2 if the public is outraged by changes there is no one the public can vent its ire on directly. By fy3 when the lege comes back into session the public ire has spent itself or people have forgotten the real source of the problem.

                  Call it hit-and-run budgeting.

                  An every-2-years, or every-other-year budget process gives the lege the perfect dodge from public accountability… until it doesn’t, and people wise up and vote the bums out.

    3. Chris Cosmos

      I agree. Sometimes Warren seems to be a little too desperate to pander. I love her pre-Senate work but as a politician she’s clumsy and just lacks the ability to bullshit that Obama had. She has no chance whatsoever at getting the nomination with this brand of idiocy. Fox, in fact, is way more interesting and diverse as a network than the official Democratic Party organs, CNN and MSNBC along with nearly all the rest of the media who are moving rapidly to some sort of perverse form of “leftish” neofascism.

    4. Big River Bandido

      That Counterpunch article had such tortured reasoning that it struck me as a puff piece, making excuses for a candidate who basically didn’t go on Fox because she’d get eaten alive.

      Sander’s appearance lays bare the fact that a significant share of Republican voters will respond to *real* economic “populism” when expressed with authenticity and conviction. That kind of campaign has the potential to realign partisan politics in this country.

      The establishment finds that a mortal threat.

    5. Big Tap

      I agree with you. Warren not going on Fox says to me she has either no interest winning a general election if she is the nominee or is politically out of touch with how the Electoral College works. Using a Hillary Clinton campaign model is a loser. The middle of the country matters and Fox gets a lot of that crowd. Warren also appears as a coward that can’t handle tough questions Fox will ask.

  21. Pat

    The tracking that is going on is both stupid AND rampant. An organization I’m somewhat familiar with is now tracking doing extensive tracking of their social media campaigns including whether you open their emails. They are, by their own admission, late to the game. Much of their current clientele is older which is why they are getting relatively decent open and then click through rates. They are too stupid to have 1.) figured that out, and 2.) realized that maximizing the response from their current (and dying) clientele is NOT doing the necessary expansion of their customer base. But they want to use technology to increase the response of customers while limiting traditional marketing and non-social media marketing. Nope, they want to find the money to subscribe to Google’s database (no need to actually interact with humans and the community to find customers).

    Not only is it annoying that this is so pervasive, it is also yet another indication that we also have Technology Solves All Problems Delusion problem. Between something as basic as building a customer base for a distinctly local service/group and as problematic as a plane that doesn’t work properly, the software will solve the problem. It is as if logic and common sense is ditched the moment someone says any of several tech key words.

    (A part of me really wants to be able to hear about the marketing results say two to three years from now, as even people trained to always open their email learn to delete anything that is not solicited unopened…)

    1. Summer

      You think that’s crazy? There was an event that our company wanted to fill with an audience of young people. They went online?etc…

      There was a high school two blocks down the street.

  22. Olga

    The Strache Recordings – The whole Story Der Spiegel
    I know it’s just little Austria, but this story has ominous undertones. There seems to be little doubt that Strache was set up (while not denying that he acted pretty stupidly). The question is who set him up? Spiegel does not say… so it’s hardly “the whole story.” The recordings can be used to continue the anti-RussiaRussiaRussia narrative, and also to go after the ruling party (which is defined as “right-wing”).

    1. Craig H.

      > The question is who set him up? Spiegel does not say… so it’s hardly “the whole story.”

      Classified. Restricted to folks with need-to-know, i.e. not us.

  23. Wukchumni

    The Suez Canal Crisis of 1956 was the swansong for the British, Israelis & French as far as a ‘whateva, I do what I want!’ stance, when the U.S.S.U.* disapproved of their chess move, checkmate.

    There was humiliation a’plenty for the UK & France…

    By a wide gulf, the U.S. is Cartman, and I doubt it’s anything other than a feint in casting aspersions, a dodge & phonies show, but should things get going on, what’s our Kryptonite as far as feeling humiliated, a coalition of the unwilling-other countries that are sick of us, saying you gotta stop, right now.

    “By the way, have you considered going to a 12 step War Anonymous meeting?”

    *United States & Soviet Union

  24. SlayTheSmaugs

    Re abortion laws

    This discourse needs to change. The fight isn’t about life, it’s about personhood and rights. Clothing it in a frame of ‘life’ is dishonest, how can the biological processes occurring before birth not be counted as ‘life’? But personhood is something else. The way we talk about abortion now conflates life and personhood when really, they’re different things.

    Does personhood begin at conception? Does the biological life growing in a womb achieve personhood sometime after conception, but before its parasitic nature changes? (I’m a happy mother of two, but really, until that life form can live independently of the mother’s body, it is a parasite.) Does personhood begin after viability, but before birth? Or does it begin only at birth?

    If personhood begins before birth, is it full personhood, equal to the woman’s?

    And an honest discussion would also include the fact that what drives some people to insist personhood begins at conception is religion, and not all religions agree nor are all Americans religious.

    An honest discussion would also include the context of patriarchy, the context which routinely deems the personhood of women to be relatively less than the personhood of men. (So don’t claim relative personhood isn’t a thing; remember racism and xenophobia too)

    An honest discussion would also include the context of poverty, and the cost of children.

    But to frame it and discuss it in terms of ‘life’–of heartbeats or pain perception or whatever–is dishonest.

    I’ve seen articles start to appear trying to focus in on personhood as the issue, but I think much more needs to be done to get the debate re-framed into these terms. It’s possible to reach any political outcome in this rhetoric frame–it does not inherently de-legitimize opposing positions. People are still free to believe and argue that personhood begins at conception. But it does mean that pro-choice people don’t have to claim the fetus isn’t ‘life’.

    1. crittermom

      And to think this was supposedly all decided 46 years ago.

      Back then, however, it was done with great struggle and many voices.

      This year, overturning it was done quickly and quietly before the majority even had a say. Wow.

      1. crittermom

        I should have said “is being done … before the majority has a say”, but it wouldn’t let me edit.

    2. a different chris

      We did all that, there really is no answer, so we thought we had settled law and thus the people who agreed moved on to other things and the people who didn’t kept chipping away.

      >But it does mean that pro-choice people don’t have to claim the fetus isn’t ‘life’.

      And that gets them, what?

    3. chuck roast

      There is one right…a woman’s right to control her own body.

      All the hand wringing and pearl clutching verbiage is angels on the head of a pin. Pregnancy, broken leg, dandruff? It’s enough to give anybody Tourette’s Syndrome. When it comes to the woman next door I practice the principle of parsimony…she appears to know what she is doing, and what she is doing is none of my business.

    4. martell

      I don’t think focusing on personhood will get us anywhere. For one thing, abortion opponents do sometimes claim that a fetus is a person. This makes sense rhetorically since the notion of a person is very closely tied to the notion of a rights bearer, at least in this culture, and rights are generally understood to be deserving of legal recognition. That said, I doubt that abortion opponents are really in earnest when making arguments from personhood (which is not to say they’re being dishonest). Rather, some of them really are moved by the fact of a beating heart in what is, in some very loose sense, a human being. This, at least, is what opponents to whom I’ve spoken have said, and I have little reason to think they were lying or self-deceived.

      And there’s another major problem with appeals to personhood generally: the concept is not well-defined. Rather, we seem to have a number of typically overlapping criteria for being a person, some of which have to do with physical form, some with abilities, some with genesis. To get a sense for what I’m getting at here, consider the numerous science fiction programs in which a character satisfies some criteria for personhood (looking human, speaking, even engaging in religious practices) but fails by others (e.g., because “he” or “she” was manufactured and programmed instead of having been born and raised). Much of the plot can revolve around disputes about personhood precisely because our criteria, in these science fiction scenarios, are indeterminate.

      Also, the criteria for personhood were not developed with an eye toward the hard cases with which we now have to deal on a regular basis due to technological advances and social changes. Rather, our concept of a person is derived from a theatrical concept having to do, originally, with the mask worn by an actor, and, later, with the agent to whom the words and deeds of the actor are to be attributed. So, the concept was developed to pick out the agent who is to be held responsible from all those who might have been called to account for something said or done. Later still, the fact that some human being can be held accountable came to suffice for being a person, personhood came to be considered grounds for respect, and the latter eventually got cashed out in terms of rights. In any case, the concept was not developed to address the question of the month, day, hour, or second at which a living being deserves a certain kind of respect. No wonder, then, that there is interminable disagreement about this.

      1. SlayTheSmaugs

        The reason I like framing in “personhood” terms is because I’ve engaged in respectful debates with deeply religious supporters of banning abortion who begin and end with the proposition that “life” begins at conception, and though they really mean, they think “personhood” begins at conception because they believe a “soul” exists at conception, they make arguments couched in biology and focus on things like heartbeats or the ability to respond reflexively to stimuli including pain. They say: abortion is murder because there is biological life; abortion is murder because there is a heartbeat; abortion is murder because there is reflexive response to stimuli. I say, abortion is not murder because the fetus is not a person, regardless of whether it has a heartbeat or can ‘feel’ pain, and this is especially true when the fetus is not only a parasite, but able to live only as a parasite–that is, is not viable.

        I guess I focus on personhood because so many marches in, so many debates had, I really am tired of being called a murderer/murder-supporter, and that frame not only gives me a very clean way of responding to the claim, but also, it’s more clean than just talking about a woman’s body. That the fetus is a growing organism, on its way to being a full person, is true. It just shouldn’t count as much as the woman who grows it. I realize this language is weird sounding, but I think it is accurate descriptively.

        But maybe abortion is actually one of those topics that isn’t about persuasion and debate, maybe it is just about emotional views (both sides) and getting people who share your view to show up at the polls. It’s just so personal.

        And re the personal, I am grateful I am raising my soon-to-be-fertile daughter in NYS, which codified the protections of Roe, though I hope that any pregnancy she has is one she tries for.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          ive lived in rural texas all my life, so i’ve had occasion to have that conversation…what gives the lie to the “prolife” people’s case is that so many of them are also anti-contraceptive and anti-sex-ed.
          no one Likes abortion….the mythos peddled in the 80’s that it was a fun thing to do on saturday night was stupid….right up there with satanic ults under every bed.
          so the obvious answer is to limit the need for abortion…by providing cheap or free contraception to whomever wants it, and also providing free, comprehensive sex education to all and sundry, just as soon as puberty approaches.
          but this idea leads most anti abortion folks i’ve known into conniptions.
          it’s not really about abortion…and it’s not really about sex. it’s about a world that’s changed from the narrative they grew up with, in their little cultural islands….fomented by a bunch of cynical powermad greedheads who can’t get over the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.

  25. Ignacio

    From the Jeffrey Sachs article.

    Asked about their feelings the previous day, the majority of Americans (55%) in 2018 said they had experienced stress during a lot of the day, nearly half (45%) said they felt worried a lot, and more than one in five (22%) said they felt anger a lot.”

    That is the most important datum in the article. The troubles begin with exactly this. These days I’ve been watching the Stalin chapters of the french Apocalypsis series. The conclusion that one can drag is that all the brutality in the early 20th century comes from anger. That makes the Hitlers and Stalins of the world emerge.

  26. Lee

    Walla Walla County might just be the only place on Earth where you have to brake for bees.

    “You can see the signs here,” says Mike Ingham, as he drives by a 20-mile-per-hour speed limit sign with a smaller sign below stating “Alkali Bee Area.” “There’s actually a county ordinance to slow the cars down who go by here, because a speeding car can kill a lot of alkali bees.”

    1. Wukchumni

      $80,000 will get you 800 nights in a motel room that you don’t have to worry about finding a parking space for, and doesn’t depreciate madly all the while, getting 5 mpg.

      Saw a new low in ‘yes, you can bring it all with you’ news:

      A bulbous RV with a 4 door Jeep in tow of it, and a 15 foot speedboat leashed to the latter. Where you’d park that rolling boulevard, I have no idea.

      1. Carolinian

        Yes, it does seem to be pounding the square peg into the round hole. Of course if you use an RV to go some place and stay there it has its points–if you don’t mind tight quarters.

        RV movies:

        –RV with Robin Williams (great)
        –About Schmidt (didn’t care for it)
        –The Leisure Seeker with Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren’s very good Southern accent (worth a look)

        1. Wukchumni

          When I went to Burning Man, there was always somebody in our camp that rented a good sized RV for a couple weeks which included getting to the event and back, and for this I was thankful, for my bulwark against the alkaline dust storms that happened at least a few hours a day, and sometimes the better part of a day, was an American version of the Russian nesting doll, a tent within a tent within a tent.

          It worked ok, keeping the dust at bay a little, but there was nothing quite like seeking refuge when visibility was down to 10 feet, and there you were in said RV, drinking gin & tonics to ward off scurvy, waiting for it to pass.

          1. Carolinian

            That was one of my dad’s favorite movies. I didn’t think anyone else would ever have heard of it.

            Another I can think of is We’re the Millers with fave Emma Roberts and Jennifer Anniston. A drug smuggler hires an RV and a fake family to get through customs. Somewhat droll.

            1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              Paul- Seth Rogen and Simon Pegg Alien comedy.
              Road Trip- 90s Tom Green/Sean William Scott gross out comedy.
              The Hills Have Eyes- horrific Ted Demme movie about SW cannibals.
              Are We There Yet?- Ice Cubes take on RV comedy.

              *looks up RV movies on google*


              Lonestar drives a RV instead of a Milennium Falcon.

              AND MEET THE FOCKERS!

          2. Oregoncharles

            Yes, I remember that one. One of their better efforts. Their comedy holds up better than the Honeymooners.

  27. Wukchumni

    I have a hunch back in France that the Notre Dame fire seemed to extinguish the GJ movement, not having heard from our on the scene correspondents in awhile.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      RT had a 5+hr long YouTube clip. I believe the title said 27th Week. Leave it up to the French to kick our American asses in Protesting skills.

  28. oliverks

    Regarding Tesla’s solar city. The solar tiles were a product that never made much sense to me.

    If I was asked to evaluate the technology, I would quickly home in on the “connector” problem. How do you wire all this stuff together, and keep it working well for 30 years.

    And you have to it cheaply, and you have to do it efficiently.

    It seems like a massive problem.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Haven’t heard much about them, have we? too high end.

      However, regular solar panels can be designed with waterproof connections, so they function as roofing. Far fewer electric connectors. I walk under one of these every day, since the co-op has an entry porch covered by them, where people park their bikes and hang out when it’s wet (which is alot).

  29. Wukchumni

    Ever give a think to our tenuous gasoline tethers?

    I’d imagine that if you’ve got a few cars, maybe 30-40 gallons in the tanks if full, and lets say you’ve got 5 gallons in a plastic can as well.

    That’s about it. As if any joe schmoe has a 500 gallon tank they can draw off.

    We’re down to 1 horsepower vehicles, if push>meets<shove.

    Around these parts we have hundreds of horses in residence, a good many of them big pets that just hang out mostly and seldom get ridden, but on the other hand, the world famous Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls trick riders, put their mounts through their paces. It starts getting interesting @ about 2:00 into the video…

  30. Oregoncharles

    “City trees reduce daytime heat. But to curb sweltering nights, minimize pavement.”

    Unfortunately, there’s a practical contradiction between the two. Tree roots can be very sensitive to traffic over them – including foot traffic, which has far more (literal) impact than you’d think. For instance, gravel surfaces do not protect the roots; I’ve seen a large Douglas fir go over (yes, on my neighbor’s house) because the roots had stopped at their gravel driveway. The effect was dramatic, something I’d read about but not seen before.

    Impervious pavement can also starve roots of air and water – the pavers seen in the picture are a solution to that one, but they store heat quite nicely.

    So to both reduce pavement AND have more trees, you have to somehow keep people off the root zones, or protect them in ways that don’t store heat. In the city, restricting people’s movements is probably a non-starter, though I’ve seen thorny branches arranged along the walkways in plazas in Mexico. Cactus work too, in the right climate.

    I’ve actually thought about this on our property. One option might be metal grids with stuff growing through them, like the portable runways they used in WWII. You see these sometimes on drawbridges – exciting, since you can see right through them to the water below. Deep-rooted trees would help, too; Doug firs are not. However, there’s a limit to that: the feeder roots are primarily near the surface.

    It’s an interesting landscape design conundrum. There are doubtless other options. Roofs are easier: paint them white, or even reflective. Or add solar panels, which convert some of the energy to electricity and reflect some of the rest. There isn’t really much excuse for most urban roofs NOT having solar panels on them, but that’s another issue.

    1. Wukchumni

      There isn’t really much excuse for most urban roofs NOT having solar panels on them, but that’s another issue.

      What if your slanted rooftop is not oriented for a south facing view of the array?

      1. Oregoncharles

        Good point, but there are generally two slopes. Panels can be set up on racks, too.

        I’m mainly thinking of downtown and industrial roofs, which are often more or less flat.

  31. Wukchumni

    Cats run a few degrees temperature higher than us, and in the winter, the Lilliputians will often have me pinned down on the bedspread, but as it gets warmer they vamoose generally, as in seldom seen, maybe one’ll share a neutral corner, that sort of thing.

    Just had a 4-cat-night, as it got down to the low 40’s in the foothills…

    Looks as if there’s 2 new feet of snow above 8,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada, with more coming.

    Talked to an older Sierra fanatic friend yesterday in regards to the May=January bromance going on, and he shook his head in disbelief, when I asked if he could remember a May that resembled what was passing through, here in the land of little rain after April, that only blesses us with its presence again in October or November.

  32. Wukchumni

    Dude, where’s my regulatory framework? As CBD gains popularity, Washington struggles to keep up Stat
    Frequented the local pot shoppe the other day, and the CBD thing is interesting in that heretofore of cannabis being legalized in the state, it was something the casual buyer/user with a connection that had a couple of strains of locally grown goods, simply didn’t have. Terra indicanita, if you will.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      “Frequented the local pot”


      Have u seen that Kathy Bates/Chuck Lorre show on Netflix? Its called Disjointed.

  33. ewmayer

    o “Police Are Feeding Celebrity Photos into Facial Recognition Software to Solve Crimes | Motherboard” — Fine, but last time I checked, most crimes were committed by non-celebrities. Maybe the cops are cracking down on crimes against fashion and good taste?

    o “Obama announces DNC’s ‘Unity Fund’ to back party nominee | CNN” — Complete with swearing of blood oaths and pledging of firstborn children, no doubt.

  34. rowlf

    Along the lines of our admiration for the nun-battling tool-and-die guy’s obituary I’d like to live my life in such a way to cause the Westboro Baptist Church nutters to immolate several of themselves in protest at my funeral.

    Until then (not being in a rush to stop entertaining whatever deities exist) there is this sweet gem today:

  35. Bill Markle

    Re: With economic corridor’s viability on the line, Beijing searches for an answer to Pakistan terrorism SCMP

    Is this piece blocked, except for the headline and author? All text is blocked out.

    1. Christy

      I tried the link and was able to pull it up with nothing blocked out.
      Perhaps refresh your browser and try again?

  36. dk

    BTW today could have been Malik el-Shabazz’s 94th birthday.
    Aka Malcolm X.

    I read Alex Haley’s Autobiography of Malcolm X when I was 14, related to the thug-life and to the continuing search for a more worthwhile identity.

    RIP and happy birthday sir.

  37. anon in so cal

    “The Weapons Industry Lobbyist Advising Joe Biden

    Stuart Eizenstat, a long-time player in Democratic politics, is advising Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. Eizenstat told Politico he “planned to advise the campaign on foreign policy,” according to journalist Theodoric Meyer, and Eizenstat also confirmed the position via email to In These Times…..

    ….As a lawyer and lobbyist at the firm Covington & Burling, Eizenstat has represented fossil fuel companies Shell, BP and Noble Energy, as well as defense contractors Caterpillar, Raytheon, BAE Systems, Boeing and the notorious private security firm Blackwater.

    In March, Eizenstat, alongside his peer group of Washington influence peddlers, spoke at the annual conference organized by American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the powerful bipartisan pro-Israel lobbying group. Roughly 18,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C. to hear pro-Israel talking points from lawmakers, lobbyists and war profiteers…..”

    1. Lambert Strether

      Does anybody else get a ERR_TOO_MANY_REDIRECTS message from In These Times? I haven’t been able to load their articles from the home page for quite some time.

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